Gandhar (Ancient India) and उपरिश्येन (Hindu Kush) Mountain Range

Gandhara Mentioned In Inscription of Iran

Bagastan Inscription of Iran and its connection with Gandhara (Ancient India) & Hindu Kush (उपरिश्येन) mountains.

• Antiquity : ~500 BCE • Patronage : Darius, Achaemenid Empire

Location of Bagastan In Iran on Map
Bagastan Inscription

Darius, in this Inscription, mentions about ~23 territories under his control. Gandhara is his eastern most territory. 7th line of the Inscription mentions गन्धार (Gadaara in Persian language) as a part of Achaemenid Empire.

Text of the inscription
Location of Gandhara shown as white square in today’s world map

Gandhara (गन्धार) was part of 16 महाजनपद of ancient India (~600 BCE). Later it was part of Indian Maurya Empire (~310 BCE) as its North-Western territory. Due to its placement (West of River Sindhu), it was always a place of conflict between Indian and foreign powers.

Location of Ancient Gandhara (Now In Pakistan)

Gandhara As Uparishyena In Akkadian Translation

Interestingly, Akkadian translation of this Inscription replaces गन्धार with Paruparaesanna (Sanskrit उपरिश्येन – Beyond the Eagle/Hawk) due to the sky kissing mountains of this territory. These mountains are now popular as Hindu Kush (Killer of Hindus).

Uparishyena (Hindu Kush) Mountain Range (Ancient India)

Uparishyena As Hindu Kush

The admission comes from contemporary Islamic scholar Ibn Battuta (14th century). He says : They used to transport Hindu slaves across this mountain. It was named Hindu Kush or “Hindu slayer” because of the death of Hindus due to forcible transportation.

Snippet Source :

Uparishyena In Avestan Language

Persians and Afghans used to call it by its Sanskritic original name even before Islam emerged from desert. Before 7th century, the mountain was known as “Abarsen” in Persian & Upairisaena in Avestan (which is a equivalent to/ borrowing from the Sanskrit word).


References –

  1. Images & Maps – Internet
  2. Text of Inscription – Internet
  3. Information on Hindu Kush Mountain Range Name :

Published by Hiren Dave

Student of Sanskrit, History, Epigraphy, Literature and Indology contents.

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