Sec. iv] THE PASS OF NANDANA AND ITS RUINS 37
the construction was much coarser. Subsequently I traced plenty of similar ruins of much decayed dwellings, built with large roughly laid blocks of stone, all along the slopes as far as the village of Ratwâl, about 21 miles from Jalâlpur. Here, too, pottery of the old type referred to above was plentiful. The specimens reproduced in Pl. I show painted annular lines ( Rat. 13 ) or ribbing and other moulded ornamentation ( Rat. 1, 4, 7, 1 1 ) . Judging from the number of these structures and their position, I was led to conclude that a considerable population built its homesteads on these slopes, perhaps partly to save all fertile ground below for cultivation and partly for greater safety.
I may now proceed to give an account of the route leading down from the Salt Range through the pass of Nandana, and of the remains of the ancient stronghold, a true chiusa, which guarded it. I was able to make a close examination of them, with the help of Dr. Fâbri, between November 28th and December 2nd, after having gained the upper approach of the pass at the rest house of Ara by a march of about 17 miles from Jalâlpur. The route starting from the village of Ara may, in view of the explanations given in the preceding section, well claim our interest as the main one that saw Alexander's forces descend to the bank of the Hydaspes. About 2 miles to the south of Ara the outer or southern one of the two more or less parallel chains of hills into which the highest portion of the Salt Range is here as elsewhere divided, dips down steeply towards the riverine plain.
Between the two chains there extends a series of small open valleys, fertile at their bottoms and situated at elevations between 2,000 and 3,000 feet approximately. Approach to these valleys is easily gained by several roads which traverse the broken, but all the same for the most part carefully cultivated, plateaux stretching to the west of the Grand Trunk Road and the railway line between Taxila and Jhelum. The distance between Taxila and Ara, approximately 72 miles in a straight line, but necessarily a good deal longer by road, could readily be covered by five or six marches of ordinary length. But we shall never know which of the several practicable routes between the two places, past Rawalpindi or Chauntra, Chakwâl or Dhudiâl, and other localities of larger size, are likely to have been followed by Alexander's army; for no definite indications are recorded.
Near the village of Ara there extends an open plateau, over 2 miles across and well provided with water. Sloping up gently towards the watershed it would have afforded a very convenient place for assembling a force before its descent to the river. We must assume that on this plain, more than thirteen centuries after Alexander's passage, there took place that battle between Mabmtid of Ghazna and Bhimpâl Shâhi, which the Muhammadan chroniclers mention as