Lost Cities of Punjab - Ancestral Home of Punjabi Communities
We, the Punjabis historically have not been documenting our own history. The Muslim Punjabis have almost forgotten their genetic ancestry and now try to connect their gene pool to the Arab aristocracy of Sayeds and Qureshis. The Pakistan government ignorantly names its missiles after the Islamic invaders who dispossessed their ancestors from their land. The Hindu Punjabis have written off their own ancestors, warriors kings, and Gurus and relate more to the Middle-India heroes such as Rama, Krishna, and Shivaji, The Sikhs have done a better job in staying connected to their roots but their historical reach is limited just to the Sikh period. Punjab history has to be taken as a whole, and that includes, Adivasis, Indus valley, Aryan Khatris, Kushans, Rajputs, Gujjars, Jatts, Islamic invaders, Sikh period, British rule, and the post independence era.
What's the Problem?
So what? The results of this ignorance is astounding. We never wrote our own history and our recent generations are oblivious of their roots. They grew up reading their history as written by others - Chinese, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Mughals, British, and the Leftist or Hindutva leaning Indian scholars, or pro-Islamic Pakistanis.
Guru Nanak gave us the message of Ek Ongkar - One Creator for all Humankind. “Give me not a knife but a needle. I want to sew together, not stab,” sang Sheikh Farid. But we Punjabis didn't follow their wisdom and slit each others throat in some form of religious frenzy. In this process we lost our common heritage, culture, and history, We forgot the history of our own land in which our ancestors are buried or cremated.
Lost Cities of Punjab and Sindh
How many Punjabis and Sindhis know that they are the descendants of one of the most advanced civilization? The Indus Valley Civilization flourished in the basins of the Indus River, which flows through the length of Sindh and Punjab and then spreading along a system of five rivers that coursed one of the most fertile land in the world.
Sacred Hindu scriptures Vedas were composed here. Panini
defined the grammar of Sanskrit on this land and Patanjali
wrote Yoga Sutras in Punjab. The descendants of most of the Hindu Gods
that all of India worships are the Khatris of Punjab, the only
true Kshatriyas. Jainism and Nath traditions have roots in
Punjab. Buddhism flourished here in Taxila, and a secular
Sufism challenged the fascist Sharia in Punjab.
Lets nw look at some historic cities of Punjab and how these cities are related to Punjabi communities, otherwise known as cases or Last names.
Mohenjo-daro in Sindh and Harappa in Punjab, emerged in 2600 BC along the Sindh River valley. Harappa is an archaeological site in West Punjab, about 15 mi west of Sahiwal. Harappa was mainly an urban city sustained by surplus agricultural production and commerce, the latter including trade with Mesopotamia. main characteristics included "differentiated living quarters, flat-roofed brick houses, residential irrigation and drainage system, and fortified administrative or religious centers."
The weights and measures of Harappa were highly standardized, and conform to a set scale of gradations. Distinctive seals were used, among other applications, perhaps for identification of property and shipment of goods. Sindhis and Punjabis Aroras are most likely the direct descendants of Indus Valley Civilization.
Aror is the ancestral town of the Arora Community. Aror is the medieval name of the city of Rohri, Sindh was once the capital of Sindh. It was captured and sacked by Arab invader Muhammad bin Qasim in 711 AD. Arab historians recorded the city's name as Al-rur, Al-ruhr and Al Ror.
The city was totally destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 962 AD triggering the migration of its residents, the Aroras from Sindh to West Punjab.
Just as Aror is the ancestral home of Arora community, Chhab is the ancestral home of the Chhabra community. It is located in along the banks of Sindh river in the Jand Tehsil of Attock District in West Punjab.
This site was overrun by the Khattak tribe of Pashtun invaders triggering mass migration of Chhabras to Sindh and West Punjab.
Gandhāra was an ancient region in the NW Frontier basin The region was at the confluence of the Kabul and Swat rivers, bounded by the Sulaiman Mountains on the west and the Indus River on the east. Gandhara's existence is attested since the time of the Rigveda (c. 1500 – c. 1200 BC), as well as the Zoroastrian Avesta, which mentions it as Vaēkərəta, the sixth most beautiful place on earth created by Ahura Mazda.
Gandhara was founded by the Druhyu prince Gandhara who was the son of King Angara of Druhyu Dynasty. King Nagnajit of Gandhara was defeated and killed by Rama's brother Bharata. It gets mention in Mahabharata as Gandhari, the queen of K uru dynasty was the daughter of the king of Gandhara. Her brother Shakuni, the Gandhara prince was the political adviser of Kauravas against the Pandavas during the Kurukshetra War.
Gandhara was one of 16 Mahajanapadas (large urban areas) of
ancient India mentioned in Buddhist sources such as Anguttara Nikaya.
It was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC.
Conquered by Alexander the Great in 327 BC, it subsequently became part
of the Maurya Empire. Gandharais ancestral home of Khatri last name
Kandahar province of Afghanistan is sometimes mistakenly associated with Gandhara. However, Kandahar is instead etymologically related to "Alexandria" a city created by Alexander.
Taxila is the home of Kukhrain Khatri - the tribes of Kushrain or
Kushan Khatris include - Anand, Bhasin, Chadha, Chandhok, Ghai,
Ghandhoke, Kapoor, Kohli, Sabharwal, Sawhney/Sahni, Sethi, and Suri.
Rama's brother Bharata's 1st son Taksha established Takshasila (Taxila) in Gandhara on the banks of river Sindhu and 2nd son Pushkara established Pushkaravati (Pushkar) in Gandharva tribe on the banks of river Saraswati (Sirsa) in Haryana-Rajasthan border after defeating and killing its king Sailusha. Bharata's descendants ruled this kingdom afterwards. King Suvala was the ,father of Gandhari and Shakuni. After Mahabharata Shakuni's son was the last ruler of Bharata dynasty was defeated by Arjuna for Yudhishthira's Aswamedha Yagna.
Gandhara's culture peaked during the reign of the great Kushan king Kanishka the Great (128–151). The cities of Taxila (Takṣaśilā) at Sirsukh and Peshawar were built. Peshawar became the capital of a great empire stretching from Gandhara to Central Asia. Kanishka was a great patron of the Buddhist faith and Taxila University was known in the region as the center of Buddhist knowledge. Khukhrain Khatris are descendant of Kushans.
Wahika or Vahika is an ancient region located near Rawalpindi and home of the Wahi Katris. Its name in Sanskrit suggests a spring garden valley. The town of Wah is located between Hassan Adbal and Taxila. The natives of Wah were annihilated by the Epthalite or Abdali Pashtoon tribe and Wahi Khatris are their descendants.
Another place related to the Wahis is Takht-i-Bahi (Throne of the water spring"), which is an archaeological site of an ancient Buddhist monastery in Mardan, NW Frontier. The site is considered among the most imposing relics of Buddhism in all of and has been "exceptionally well-preserved.
The home of Behl Khatris is the ancient kingdom of Bahlika, more commonly known as Balkh in Afghanistan. Puranic evidence locates Bahlikas in Uttarapatha or North. The Brahmanda Purana attests that river Chaksu (Oxus or Amu Darya) flowed through the land of Bahlavas (Bahlikas).
King Bahlika had participated in the Mahabharata war with one Akshauhini (division) army of Bahlika soldiers and had sided with the Kauravas against the Pandavas.
Balkh is a town in the Balkh Province of Afghanistan, about 12 mi northwest of the provincial capital, Mazar-e Sharif. It was a center of excellence for Buddhism and had close links with Persia as Zoroaster, the founder of the Persian Zoroastrian religion was originally from Balkh.
After defeating the Persians, the Arabs overran Balkh in 715 AD. In 1220 Genghis Khan sacked Balkh, butchered its inhabitants and leveled all the buildings – the suffering inflicted on Balkh again in the 14th century by Tamerlane, the Turk. The surviving Behls migrated to West Punjab.
Madra is the name of an ancient region and its inhabitants, located in the north-west division of the ancient Indian sub-continent. The Madra Kingdom's capital is located as the plains between rivers Ravi and Chenab in the Majha region of West Punjab.
Ancient epic, the Mahabharata that describes the armies of the Madra
Kingdom led by King Shalya, marching from ancient Northwest
Punjab to Haryana in support of the Pandavas. His sister Madri was the
second queen of Pandu and mother of two Pandavs - Nakul and Sehdev. He
however fought the battle on the the side of Kauravas against his own
Arora clan of Madan originate from the region.
Kekayas or Kaikeyas is the ancestral home of Khatri clan Kakkars. They were an ancient people attested to have been living in north-western Punjab—between Gandhara and the Beas river since remote antiquity. The Kingdom of Kekaya was founded by Kekaya who was the father of Kaikeyi, the step mother of Rama.
The Kekayas are said to have occupied the land now comprised by three districts of Jhelum, Shahpur and Gujerat in West Punjab. Ramayana lists the Kekaya metropolis as Rajagriha or Girivraja. which A. Cunningham has identified with Girjak in Khushab Tehsil on river Jhelum in the Jhelum district.
Sagala or Sangla is likely the city of Sakala mentioned in the
Mahabharata, a Sanskrit epic of ancient India, later mentioned by Greek
accounts as Sagala. The city may have been inhabited by the Saka, or
Scythians, from Central Asia who had migrated into the Subcontinent.
The city was razed in 326 BC during the invasion of Alexander the Great. In the 2nd century BC, Sagala was made capital of the Indo-Greek kingdom by Menander I. Menander embraced Buddhism after extensive debating with a Buddhist monk, as recorded in the Buddhist text Milinda Panha.
The city was visited by the Chinese traveler Xuan Zang in 633, who recorded the city's name as She-kie-lo. Xuan Zang reported that the city had been rebuilt approximately 2.5 miles, away from the city ruined by Alexander the Great.
The city was said to have been located in the region between the Chenab and Ravi rivers, now known as Sangla Hill. Punjabi bania community of Singla are related to Sangala. Some historians erroneously link Sagala with Sialkot.
Dinga is ancestral home of Dhingra clan of Aroras. It is a city in District Gujrat, in West Punjab.It lies between the rivers Jhelum and Chenab. Dinga is about 62 mi from the India-Pakistan border.
Mong is the ancestral home of Arora clan Mongia. It is a small town in the Mandi Bahauddin District in West Punjab province of Pakistan.
The origin of lentils Moong is associated with this region.
Multan city located in the South West Punjab is one of the oldest
cities in South Asia, Ancient name of Multan was Mool-Sthan which
in Sankrit means the "origin". It is said that when Alexander was
fighting for Multan city, a poisoned arrow struck him, making him ill
and eventually leading to his death. The exact place where Alexander was
hit by the arrow can be seen in the old city premises. The noted Chinese
traveler Huen Tsang also visited Multan in 641.
In the 8th century, Muhammad bin Qasim of Basra led the Arabs on a Gazi religious zeal to conquest of India and took Multan after conquering Sindh. He destroyed the water-course; upon which the inhabitants, oppressed with thirst, surrendered. He massacred the men capable of bearing arms, but the children and women were taken captive.
The most important place of the Hindu period was the "Surya Mandir". It was named after Sun god Aditiya, which is was shortened to Band even Ayt as in the case of Aditwara (or Aytwar) for Sunday. The ruins of Sun Mandir are located near the High Court of Multan.
Muhammad bin Qasim
chose not to destroy the temple and Hindu pilgrims continued to visit
it. Qasim took 6,000 priests of the Sun temple as captives most
converted them to Islam. One Brahman of Multan confessed to Muhammad bin
Qasim about a treasure hidden beneath the fountain. Muhammad bin Qasim
found 330 chests of treasure containing 13300 mounds gold. Entire
treasure was shifted via Debal to Basra on ships.
Whenever a Hindu king would plan to attack Multan, Qasim would threaten to destroy the temple and it's idol. In the 10th Century, Al-Biruni, regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval Islamic era, also visited Multan and gave a glowing description of the temple.
The temple was finally destroyed in the 10th Century by Turk Mahmud of Ghazni. Eventually this temple was also abandoned and it turned into ruins.
In 1810, the temple was rebuilt when the area was under the rule of Sikhs. Alexander Cunningham described this temple as it was seen in 1853 by him and wrote that: “It was a square brick building with some very finely carved wooden pillars for the support of the roof.
A numbers of ancient Hindu temples have disappeared or are now occupied by land grabbers. These include Sun Temple on Suraj Kund Road, Narsingapuri and Prahladpuri Temples.