THE Hindús, south of the Narbadá river, are

Origin of the

now amalgamated in religion; and possess a general system of faith and literature, which may be termed Brhámanical Hindúism. There was a time, however, in the history of the peninsula, when they consisted of distinct tribes, who were not Hindús; and this is recognised in their traditionary histories, or indicated by their copper-plate grants of land. Even so late as the Mohammedan inva­sion, under Mahmúd of Ghazní, the prevailing system of faith, in the provinces of Gujarát, Khándesh, Aurangábád, Bíjapúr, and the Konkans, appears to have been the heterodox one of Hindúism, or the Jaina religion. This will sufficiently account to us why so many remains of this faith, as may be seen in their cave temples, are yet found on the western side of India. But to trace the progressive steps by which this religion was extended from the south-east to the north-west* would be foreign to this sketch of Hindú history in more recent times.

The interval from the first great battle between

The obscurity
of their history,
from the end
of the tenth
to the end of
the twelfth

the Mohammedans and Hindús, to the establishment of the Patan empire of Dehlí, or from A.D. 977 to 1193, is a time of great obscurity in the history of India. Excepting the names of individual Rájás, who at this period opposed the kings of Ghazní and Ghór, Mohammedan authors give but little information regarding the state of the country. That little, however, when compared with the traditionary history of the Hindús, and the list of dynasties supplied by the copper-plate grants of lands, written in Sanskrit, and found throughout India, will enable us to form an opinion of the civil constitution and state of Hindú society in those times.

No work deserving the name of History can

No work deserving
name of His­tory
among them.

be said to exist among the Hindús.* The lists of their kings, the legends of their holy places, with the traditional histories of provinces and of religious leaders or sects,* when extensively compared, will give us some insight into the migration and distribution of tribes, or the nature of their civil society. But such can be of little use in history, without some means of fixing the chronology of events to which they relate.

It is here that Sanskrit grants and Moham­medan

Utility of San­skrit
and Moham­medan
in illustrating
their tradi­tions.

annals come to our aid, in dis­covering truth. The accounts of even the most recent transactions are so clouded by mythology, that without such we cannot discriminate between history and fable. The exaggerated notions of chronology among the people, and the pretended antiquity of their gods, have led to the blind endeavour of adapt­ing their domestic history to the fabulous ages of the world, and tended to involve both in almost impenetrable darkness. Other sources of exaggeration will be found in their traditions; of which the most constant is confounding indi­vidual revolutions with the general history of India. Such may be discovered most frequently in traditionary accounts of provinces, where the history of the native princes is ignorantly blended with that of their foreign conquerors.

The western coast of India, from the Indus to

Sanskrit geography
of the
western coast.

Dariyá Bahádurgarh, appears to have been known to Sanskrit writers of early times by the name of Sauráshtra, Gurjara, Abhíra, Konkana, and Govaráshtra. The first division extended from Hingula, or Hingláj, in the great western Run, to Jambúka, or Jambúsír, on the Narbadá. From hence to the Tápí, or Taptí river, was Gurjara; and from this, southwards to Devagarh, the country was called Abhíra, or the region of Shepherds.* Konkana extended southwards from Devagarh to Sadáseogarh; and from hence to Bahádurgarh was Govaráshtra.* The southern divisions, now enumerated, also bore the general name of Ahikshetra, or country of Snakes; which is called, by Ptolomy, Adisatra, from the moun­tains of which the Chaberas, or Cávery river, has its origin. It was also known to the Sans­krit writers by the name of Maru,* or the wil­derness; from which the Greek and Roman traders, by adopting the Arabic article Al, and inflecting the word, obtained the appellation of Limyrica, or Almúrika. Abhíra was distributed into several minor divisions; as Berbera* or Marahta, from the Taptí river to Bassein; Virata, from hence to Bankút; and Kiráta, from Bankút to Devagarh. The latter name implies the region of Foresters; and was also applied to the western part of Gondwána, which was distinguished, however, by the appellation of Kiráta Chanda.