Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

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Ambika Mata temple, Kangra Fort

Kangra is a city and a municipal council in Kangra district now in Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Historically it was known as Nagarkot.

Quotes[edit]

  • Kangra, 18 kilometers south of Dharamsala, is known for its famous Bajreshwari Devi temple. This is said to be where Sati’s breasts fell. Legend dates this place back 3500 years to Vedic times. This used to be a fabulously wealthy temple. Then in 1009 the notorious Mahmud of Ghazni stole a huge fortune in gold, silver, and jewels. Then Tughlag plundered it again in 1360. In fact, it was paved in plates of silver during Jehangir’s reign. But the earthquake of 1905 destroyed it, and it has been rebuilt as we see it today. After each time the temple has been destroyed, it has been restored by the faithful devotees.
    • Knapp Stephen, Spiritual India Handbook (2011)
  • [The temple at Nagarkot]... most richly set forth, both scaled and paved with plate of pure gold.
    • Edward Terry, quoted from Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • The stone (idol) of Nagarkot, which had misled the (whole) world, was brought and handed over to butchers so that they might weigh meat with it.
    • About Sikandar Lodi and Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) . Tarikh-i-Shahi, by Ahmad Yadgar, in: Uttara Taimura Kalina Bharata, Persian texts translated into Hindi by S.A.A. Rizvi, 2 Volumes, Aligarh, 1958-59. p. 322-331 ff Vol I, In Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What happened to them
  • When I entered the valley on that side of the Siwalik, information was brought to me about the town (shahr) of Nagarkot, which is a large and important town of Hindustan and situated in these mountains. I instantly ordered Amir Jahan Shah, whom I had sent to the front with the forces of the left wing and the army of Khurasan, to attack the enemy. The amir, in obedience to my order, advanced and charged the enemy. At the very first charge the infidels were defeated and put to flight. The holy warriors, sword in hand, dashed among the fugitives, and made heaps of corpses. Great numbers were slain, and a vast booty in goods and valuables, and prisoners and cattle in countless numbers, fell into the hands of the victors who returned triumphant and loaded with spoil.
    • Malfuzat-i Timuri (tr.Abū Ṭāleb Hosayni), Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 465-66
    • This book claims to be the autobiography of Timur, however the actual authorship of this work is disputed.
  • Khawas Khan, who was the predecessor of Mian Bhua, having been ordered by the Sultan [Sikandar Lodi] to march towards Nagarkot, in order to bring the hill country under subjection, succeeded in conquering it, and having sacked the infidels temple of Debi Shankar, brought away the stone which they worshipped, together with a copper umbrella, which was placed over it, and on which a date was engraved in Hindu characters, representing it to be two thousand years old. When the stone was sent to the King, it was given over to the butchers to make weights out of it for the purpose of weighing their meat. From the copper of the umbrella, several pots were made, in which water might be warmed, and which were placed in the masjids and the Kings own palace, so that everyone might wash his hands, feet and face in them and perform" his purifications before prayers.
  • The idol, Jwalamukhi, much worshipped by the infidels, was situated on the road to Nagarkot Some of the infidels have reported that Sultan Firoz went specially to see this idol and held a golden umbrella over it. But the author was informed by his respected father, who was in the Sultans retinue, that the infidels slandered the Sultan, who was a religious, God-fearing man, who, during the whole forty years of his reign, paid strict obedience to the law, and that such an action was impossible. The fact is, that when he went to see the idol, all the rais, ranas and zamindars who accompanied him were summoned into his presence, when he addressed them, saying, O fools and weak-minded, how can ye pray to and worship this stone, for our holy law tells us that those who oppose the decrees of our religion, will go to hell? The Sultan held the idol in the deepest detestation, but the infidels, in the blindness of their delusion, have made this false statement against him. Other infidels have said that Sultan Muhammad Shah bin Tughlik Shah held an umbrella over the same idol, but this is also a lie; and good Muhammadans should pay no heed to such statements. These two Sultans were sovereigns especially chosen by the Almighty from among the faithful, and in the whole course of their reigns, wherever they took an idol temple they broke and destroyed it; how, then, can such assertions be true? The infidels must certainly have lied!
  • From thence the King marched towards the mountains of Nagrakote, where he was overtaken by a storm of hail and snow. The Raja of Nagrakote, after sustaining some loss, submitted, but was restored to his dominions. The name of Nagrakote was, on this occasion, changed to that of Mahomedabad, in honour of the late king. Some historians state, that Feroze, on this occasion, broke the idols of Nagrakote, and mixing the fragments with pieces of cows flesh, filled bags with them, and caused them to be tied round the necks of Bramins, who were then paraded through the camp. It is said, also, that he sent the image of Nowshaba to Mecca, to be thrown on the road, that it might be trodden under foot by the pilgrims, and that he also remitted the sum of 100,000 tunkas, to be distributed among the devotees and servants of the temple.
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated into English by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, 4 Volumes, New Delhi Reprint, 1981. p. 263 Vol I.
  • Still more horrible scenes were enacted by Firuz Shah Tughlaq at Nagarkot (Kangra) where he sacked the shrine of Jvalamukhi. Firishta records that the Sultan 'broke the idols of Jvalamukhi, mixed their fragments with the flesh of cows and hung them in nosebags round the necks of Brahmins. He sent the principal idol as trophy to Medina.'
    • S.R. Goel, The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India
  • 'On the 24th of the same month I went to see the fort of Kangra, and gave an order that the Qazi, the Chief Justice (Mir'Adl), and other learned men of Islam should accompany me and carry out in the fort whatever was customary, according to the religion of Muhammad. Briefly, having traversed about one koss, I went up to the top of the fort, and by the grace of God, the call to prayer and the reading of the Khutba and the slaughter of a bullock which had not taken place from the commencement of the building of the fort till now, were carried out in my presence. I prostrated myself in thanksgiving for this great gift, which no king had hoped to receive, and ordered a lofty mosque to be built inside the fort' ....'After going round the fort I went to see the temple of Durga, which is known as Bhawan. A world has here wandered in the desert of error. Setting aside the infidels whose custom is the worship of idols, crowds of the people of Islam, traversing long distances, bring their offerings and pray to the black stone (image)' Some maintain that this stone, which is now a place of worship for the vile infidels, is not the stone which was there originally, but that a body of the people of Islam came and carried off the original stone, and threw it into the bottom of the river, with the intent that no one could get at it. For a long time the tumult of the infidels and idol-worshippers had died away in the world, till a lying brahman hid a stone for his own ends, and going to the Raja of the time said: 'I saw Durga in a dream, and she said to me: They have thrown me into a certain place: quickly go and take me up.' The Raja, in the simplicity of his heart, and greedy for the offerings of gold that would come to him, accepted the tale of the brahman and sent a number of people with him, and brought that stone, and kept it in this place with honour, and started again the shop of error and misleading
    • Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) , Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, translated into English by Alexander Rogers, first published 1909-1914, New Delhi Reprint, 1978, Vol. II, pp. 223-25.
  • “The Emperor by the divine guidance, had always in view to extirpate all the rebels in his dominions, to destroy all infidels root and branch, and to raze all Pagan temples level to the ground. Endowed with a heavenly power, he devoted all his exertions to the promulgation of the Muhammadan religion; and through the aid of the Almighty God, and by the strength of his sword, he used all his endeavours to enlarge his dominions and promote the religion of Muhammad…”
    • Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh). Shash Fath-i-Kañgra Elliot and Dowson. History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. VI, p. 528.
  • “…The temple of Nagarkot, which is outside the city, was taken at the very outset… On this occasion many mountaineers became food for the flashing sword. And that golden umbrella, which was erected on the top of the cupola of the temple, they riddled with arrows… And black cows, to the number of 200, to which they pay boundless respect, and actually worship, and present to the temple, which they look upon as an asylum, and let loose there, were killed by the Musulmans. And, while arrows and bullets were continually falling like drops of rain, through their zeal and excessive hatred of idolatry they filled their shoes full of blood and threw it on the doors and walls of the temple… the army of Husain Quli Khan was suffering great hardships. For these reasons he concluded a treaty with them… and having put all things straight he built the cupola of a lofty mosque over the gateway of Rajah Jai Chand.”186
    • Jalalu’d-Din Muhammad Akbar Padshah Ghazi (AD 1556-1605) Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh)
  • Dr. Misra cities Firishta as follows: “In the year A.H. 435 (A.D. 1043) the Raja of Delhy, in conjunction with other Rajas took Hansy, Thanesur, and other dependencies from the governors to whom Modood (the successor of Masud) had entrusted them. The Hindus from thence marched towards the fort of Nagarkota [Kangra] which they besieged for four months and the garrison being distressed for provisions and no succour coming from Lahore was under the necessity of capitulating. The Hindus according to their practice erected new idols… The successor of the Raja of Delhy gave such confidence to the Indian chiefs of Punjab and other places that… they put on the aspect of lions.
    • Cited in S.R. Goel, (1994) Heroic Hindu resistance to Muslim invaders, 636 AD to 1206 AD. ISBN 9788185990187 , quoting Ram Gopal Misra, Indian Resistance to Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 A.D. (1983).
  • “On the 1st Rajab 990 [AD 1582] he (Husain Qulî Khãn) encamped by a field of maize near NagarkoT. The fortress (hissãr) of Bhîm, which is an idol temple of Mahãmãî, and in which none but her servants dwelt, was taken by the valour of the assailants at the first assault. A party of Rajpûts, who had resolved to die, fought most desperately till they were all cut down. A number of Brãhmans who for many years had served the temple, never gave one thought to flight, and were killed. Nearly 200 black cows belonging to Hindûs had, during the struggle, crowded together for shelter in the temple. Some savage Turks, while the arrows and bullets were falling like rain, killed those cows. They then took off their boots and filled them with the blood and cast it upon the roof and walls of the temple.”173
    • Tabqãt-i-Akharî by Nizamuddin Ahmad. Jalãlu’d-Dîn Muhammad Akbar Pãdshãh Ghãzî (AD 1556-1605) Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh)
  • He now attacked the fort of Bhim, where was a temple of the Hindus. He was victorious, and obtained much wealth, including about a hundred idols of gold and silver. One of the golden images, which weighed a million mishkals, the Sultan appropriated to the decoration of the Mosque of Ghazni, so that the ornaments of the doors were of gold instead of iron.
    • Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) . Hamdu’llah bin ‘Abu Bakr bin Hamd bin Nasr Mustaufi : Tarikh-i-Guzida, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 65
  • The Sultan himself joined in the pursuit, and went after them as far as the fort called Bhimnagar [Nagarkot, modern Kangra], which is very strong, situated on the promontory of a lofty hill, in the midst of impassable waters. The kings of Hind, the chiefs of that country, and rich devotees, used to amass their treasures and precious jewels, and send them time after time to be presented to the large idol that they might receive a reward for their good deeds and draw near to their God. So the Sultan advanced near to this crow's fruit,^ and this accumulation of years, which had attained such an amount that the backs of camels would not carry it, nor vessels contain it, nor writers hands record it, nor the imagination of an arithmetician conceive it. The Sultan brought his forces under the fort and surrounded it, and prepared to attack the garrison vigorously, boldly, and wisely. When the defenders saw the hills covered with the armies of plunderers, and the arrows ascending towards them like flaming sparks of fire, great fear came upon them, and, calling out for mercy, they opened the gates, and fell on the earth, like sparrows before a hawk, or rain before lightning. Thus did God grant an easy conquest of this fort to the Sultan, and bestowed on him as plunder the products of mines and seas, the ornaments of heads and breasts, to his heart's content. ... After this he returned to Ghazna in triumph ; and, on his arrival there, he ordered the court-yard of his palace to be covered with a carpet, on which he displayed jewels and unbored pearls and rubies, shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, and emeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates. Then ambassadors from foreign countries, including the envoy from Tagh^n Khan, king of Turkistin, assembled to see the wealth which they had never yet even read of in books of the ancients, and which had never been accumulated by kings of Persia or of Rum, or even by Karun, who had only to express a wish and Grod granted it.
    • About the capture of Bhimnagar, Tarikh Yamini (Kitabu-l Yamini) by Al Utbi, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 34-35 Also quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
  • In the year 997 a Turkish chieftain by the name of Mahmud became sultan of the little state of Ghazni, in eastern Afghanistan. Mahmud knew that his throne was young and poor, and saw that India, across the border, was old and rich; the conclusion was obvious. Pretending a holy zeal for destroying Hindu idolatry, he swept across the frontier with a force inspired by a pious aspiration for booty. He met the unprepared Hindus at Bhimnagar, slaughtered them, pillaged their cities, destroyed their temples, and carried away the accumulated treasures of centuries. Returning to Ghazni he astonished the ambassadors of foreign powers by displaying "jewels and unbored pearls and rubies shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, and emeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates."
  • The king, in his zeal to propagate the faith, now marched against the Hindoos of Nagrakote [Nagarkot Kangra], breaking down their idols and razing their temples. The fort, at that time denominated the Fort of Bheem, was closely invested by the Mahomedans, who had first laid waste the country around it with fire and sword.'...
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. I, pp. 27-37.

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