Salt Range


Salt Range

The Salt Range is a hill system in the Punjab province of Pakistan, deriving its name from its extensive deposits of rock salt. The range extends from the Jhelum River to the Indus, across the northern portion of the Punjab province. The Salt Range contains the great mines of Mayo, Khewra, Warcha and Kalabagh, which yield vast supplies of salt. Coal of a medium quality is also found.

*Sakaser and Tilla Jogian are the highest peaks of Salt Range.
*Khabikki Lake and Uchhali Lake are lakes in the Salt Range.

History

The salt range also contain historic temples dating back to the sixth century [ [http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/arth/meister/pakistan.html Salt Range Temples, Pakistan] ] ANCIENT REMAINS IN THE SALT RANGE NEAR NOWSHERA VALLEY SOAN SAKASER KHOSHABBYJASON NEELISDepartment of Asian Language & LiteratureUniversity of Washington Box No. 353521Seattle WA 98195-3521USA.(Prepared with the help of Malik Sarwar Awan of Naushera Soan Valley)AMB

There are two Hindu temples above the village of Amb Sharif about five miles south of Sakaser. Like the temples at Malot and Katas in the eastern Salt Range, the temples at Amb share some features of the Kashmir style of architecture, but instead of a pyramidal roof, they have the less conical shikhara design as found in temples at Kafir Kot on the Western side of the Indus River across from Mianwali ( Rahman 1979282-3) . A third temple is mentioned in earlier reports ( Cunningham 33, Wilson 29, Rodgers 9) and was visible as late as 1985, but is no longer preserved. The larger temple on a square platform (93’x62’) has been repaired for structural support. Just as in the temple at Katas, once can climb o the top of this temple (60’) via a staircase inding through three stories. Based on the architecture of these temples, Cunningham estimated a date of between 800-950 AD for the construction of these temples.  Surrounding the site are extensive archeological remains of stone buildings. Near the northern side of the side is an underground spring, which has been protected by some very old masonry. This channel was probably the water supply for the settlement. On the ridge above the temples and the ruins of dwelling places is a very strong defensive wall constructed from large blocks of stone. Comparing this structure to forts at Malot and Nandana will probably reveal that it belongs to the period of the Hindu Shahis around 1000 A.D. Aurel Stein’s Archeological reconnaissance’s in North-Western India and South-eastern Iran (London 1937) is a good source for the study of Hindu Shahi temples and forts in the Salt range.HAR DO SODHIBehind the Government High School is an old well made of Kangar stone. This well was discovered while digging anew well at the same site. Many chunks of Kangar stone were excavated from the well along with many potsherds. An almost completely intact spouted kuza pot was also found which is very similar to Kuzas found at Taxila (Marshall, 414-5, plate 123, 129,especially no 72). Three round stone spacers which separated the chattras (umbrellas) on top of a stupa are also lying nearby the well. According to the report of an inhabitant of the neighbouring house, round flat stones were used in its foundation. There are traces of a stupa base next to the house. A stone with a mason’s mark and a red stone statue base can also be found on the ground nearby. The evidence seems to indicate that a Buddhist stupa and monastery was located here. To the West of the school a Buddhist stupa is attested by photos in the Lahore Museum and by the oral reports of local inhabitants and Mr. Muhammad Sarwar Khan another stupa on the slope above this site is an old irrigation channel. Other shrines made of Kangar which may have been used to build the stupa are abundant in the immediate vicinity. Kangar is not found naturally within a distance of 10-12 miles, which indicates that it was valued as a building material. Since many of the Buddhists remains at Taxila are also made of this type of stone (called Kanjur in Marshall’s repot), it is likely that the shrines made of Kangar in the Salt Range were also once Buddhists sites.KHURA A well-preserved stupa base, which is part of a cemetery, is located in Ghanair near Khura village. A column or Shivalinga is also stuck into the ground at this site.A Tarri near Khura are four rectangular shrines, which resemble extra large graves, are on top of a knoll. Three of these shrines are made of Kangar and small Shivalingas are abundant. A stone on one of the shrines seems to resemble a very worn sculpture of Nandina, the bull on which Shiva rides. Such iconographical remains many indicate that this site was venerated by Hindus before it was adopted as the burial place of fakirs (Muslim holy men) known locally as Zabula and Kabula (?) Beside the main road at Athal near Samrani pas and Khura is a Muslim cemetery with the shrine of a saint. Very old square bases resembling the foundations of the stupas at Har Do Sodhi are visible on both sides of the road. One spacer, pieces of what may be chattras, and perhaps a corroded frieze can be found here. It seems that a Buddhist stupa or stupas fell into ruins which were used for Muslim graves. A mound close to Samrani pass is crowned by a shrine or grave of a Muslim saint made of stone blocks forming a rectangle. A shrine made of blocks of kangar and local stones overlooks Samrani pass. Such shrines, which are found throughout the countryside, are often called marris. These structures are regarded as tombs of anonymous Muslim saints who lived in this area very long ago. Sine many of the shrines are made from materials which probably once belonged to Hindu temples or Buddhist stupas, these sites may have been regarded as sacred places before the advent of Islam. Marris may indicate locations of indigenous spiritual worship going back to a very early period, which preceded the introduction of other religions into this area.JABBIFrom Har Do Sodhi it is possible to walk towards Jabbi by following trails through many ancient remains. Chilach Kot is located above a canyone in the Jabbi area. The site on a high plateau is covered by many remains of stone structures. A very interesting feature is a collection of large blocks of stone arranged in a circle in a grid pattern. According to local tradition this particular spot was a place for making decisions. I think that this very unique arrangement of large rocks which is not a natural formation may indicate a pre-historic megalith site. Another such place has been reported 3-4 miles north of Dadhar, which overlooks Khabekki lake . A large wall on one side of Chilack Kot may have been built for defense or for blocking water because it traverse a cleft in the rocks where the vegetation is very dense. A spring, which may still exist, could have supplied the water for this defensive settlement. A white boundary marker or memorial stone is placed between Har Do Sodhi and the village of Kawwad. Such monuments are often inscribed in ancient Europe and South Asia, but here there were no indications of writing and the accounts about its significance are uncertain.Not very far from Kawwad towards Jabbi in Rakh Doghari are the remains of an extensive settlement built entirely o Kangar blocks of stone next to a canyon. Between200-400 rooms have been preserved and the remains of the foundation of a stupa site can be identified. A local story relates that the girls of this place would sit on a large square rock at the bottom of the canyon while the boys would observe from a cave above them. In my opinion this site may have been a quarry for the kangar which was used to construct. In my opinion this site may have been a quarry for the kangar which was used to construct shrines throughout this area. These ancient remains may belong to a very early period perhaps contemporaneous with the other Buddhist remains in Har Do Sodhi, Khura and elsewhere in the vicinity, but it has not been noticed before as far as I am aware. In Khole between Kawwad and Jalhara (?) are many remains of maris on top of mounds in the valley. Several of these structures are made of yellow blocks of stone, which may have come from stupas. Numerous potsherds confirm that these places were continuously occupied for a very long time. It is not clear to me whether these mounds are natural formations or were built up through levels of settlement.KHABAKKI Several interesting sites are located around Khabakki Lake. Two possible stupa foundations partially made of Kangar and a large stone spacer about 2.5 in diameter and 3’ deep are located in a Muslim cemetery on the western bank of the lake. The remains of a stupa foundation is visible above the level of the water which has recently inundated the site.  About 4-5 stupa bases made of kangar are found along the southern side of Khabakki lake. These remains are known as marris and often are surrounded by graves.KHOTAKKA/AHMADABAD  A Muslim cemetery near Khotakka / Ahmedabad 8 Km west of Jaba beside the road contains the square foundation of a large stupa made of kangar, with some fragments accumulated in a pile on a top of the structure.JABBA About 3 km south of Jabba near Zammewalla pond on the road leading to Khushab or Chakwal is a relatively well-preserved stupa with what seems to be an intact reliquary chamber made of kangar. The square chamber penetrates very deeply into the mound from the side, unlike the Manikyala stupa near Rawat on the GT Road which is excavated from the top 5-10 railing segments made of kangar lie on top of the mound and on nearby graves. Fragments of a chattra can also be found in the mound. Other stones have been fashioned into long rectangular blocks used in the construction. Some of the kangar stones from this structure have supposedly been used for building a nearby imambarah in Jabba.NARSHINGH PHUR A beautifully preserved Vishnu ( Narasimha) temple with a spring which produces spray ( phur) is at the bottom of a canyon.KATHWAI

 Two interesting sites are close to Kathwai Kutte Mar and Tulaja fort. At Kuttee Mar to the Northeast of Kathwai are Muslim graves made of Kangar and the purported grave of a dog that is said to have died defending the wedding procession of its owner from an attack by bandits. Kutte Mar may have been the place where the Khura inscription of Toramana was found (Buhler 1891-2, 238-41; Sircar 1965: 422-4). If this assessment is correct, a Budhist monastery was established here around 500. A.D. This inscription and another fragmentary inscription found at Sakaser (Pakistan Archaeology 5, 1968: 284-70) confirm that this area was a flourishing, centre for Buddhism, which is borne out by the extensive archeological remains. The Tulaja fort is located on a huge rock outcropping with sheer cliffs overlooking the shrine of Kacchianwalla and the Punjab plains. The entire area is covered with the ruins of defensive walls, houses, and other structures made of large stone blocks. Although one building has been identified as a mosque, it is very difficult to distinguish other religious, military or civil structures. One of the most interesting features is a large square tank made of the flat rectangular bricks, which may have supplied water so that the fort could withstand a siege. Comparing this tank with those in other forts may help in assigning a relative date to its construction. In addition to architectural styles, evidence from any coins, which are found here, may help to indicate if this city belonged to the period of the Turk Sultans, Lodhis or Mughals. Extensive remains of a cemetery and other settlements are on the slopes below the fort. There are also supposed to be some remains on Tulaji across the valley from Talaja.

REFERENCES

1. Buhler, Georg. The New Inscription of Toramana Shah, Epigraphia India vol 2 ( 1891-2) 238-41.2, Cunningham, A Ancient Geography of India Indian reprint, 1963 pp. 155-93. Archeological survey of India, Report for the year 1872-3,vol 5, pp 79-85.4. Archeological Survey of Report for the year 1881-2, vol 14, 33-41.Rahman. Abdur The Last Two Dynasties of the Sahis. Islamabad. 1979 Rodgers. Chas Revised List of Objects. 5. Archeological Interest in the Punjab Lahore. Pp 8-9.Sircar, D.C. Select Inscriptions bearing on India History and Civilization Vol. 1, 2nd edition Calcutta. 1965, pp 422-4.Stein, M.A. Archeological Reconnisances in North- Western India and Punjab Lahore. 1937.6. Wilson, J. Pnjab Gazetteer, Shahpur District 1897.

sender shaukat awan General Secretary Adara Afqar e Gabriel main bazar nawababad Wah Cantt Distt rawalpindi Pakistan.shaukatawan@rocketmail.com

People

*Khokhar
*Khokhran

ee also

* Mountain ranges of Pakistan
* List of mountain ranges of the world
* List of mountains in Pakistan
* List of highest mountains (a list of mountains above 7,200m)

References

* [http://www.apnajhelum.com Apnajhelum.com - Official website of District Jhelum located in Potohar Range]
* [http://www.apnajhelum.net Apnajhelum.Net - English - Official website of District Jhelum located in Potohar Range]
* [http://www.jhelum.info Jhelum.info - Official website of District Jhelum located in Potohar Range]

References

*1911


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