Aurel Stein
  The Sanskritist
  Manuscript Treasures
  Kashmiri Scholarship
  Interface of Scholarship
  The Adopted Home
  Unfinished Tasks
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Supported by:
  Heritage Lottery Fund, Cambridge.
  Bodelian Library, Oxford.
  Nityanand Shastri Library Collection, Delhi.
  Kashmir Bhavan Centre, Luton.
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Antiquarian Tours
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Stein saw that the stout castle of Lohara built by rough uncut stones solidly set in a framework of wooden beams had been reduced by neglect, heavy rains and equally heavy winter snows to a shapeless heap of stones. Looking at it, he was aware of its former might and yet he knew that all that remained was a lingering tradition. Rubble and legend of the fortress’s impregnable location identified it as the bastion that had kept Kashmir inviolate for seven hundred years, repelling all would be invaders.

From Loharan valley, Stein returned to the open glassy slopes of Maidan at thirteen thousand feet. He chose this route along the northern slope of the Pir Pantsal because it was one of the oldest and most important connections between the Punjab and Kashmir. Stein knew that once a Kashmir pretender invaded the Happy Valley by this pass and reached Srinagar in two and half days. To make certain that this route permitted so speedy a march, he was happy to have furnished proof of Kalhana’s truthfulness by actually trekking the path. Leaving Loharan on the morning of 19 th August with animals loaded with baggage and coolies carrying miscellanious boxes of the finds Stein reached without difficulty on the evening of the following day at the Tosamaidan near the village Drang . From there Srinagar was a march away across the valley. He recorded, August 20, 1892: “If times were different I could imitate Prince Sussala (7th century) and fill my pockets with gold in the suburbs of Srinagar tomorrow”. On arriving in Srinagar, Stein did fill his pockets. Colonel Prideaux told him that Rupees one thousand five hundred were granted for the second edition of his Rajatarangini.

Aurel Stein made a spot visit to Paraspora in Sept. 1892 . There he traced the actual ruins of the building described in the Rajatarangini . These remains were situated near the village Sambal on a small plateau (Udar) between the marshes of Panznor and village Haratrath. Stein identified five great buildings which Lalitaditya had erected at Parihaspura . These were identified as Parihasakeswa , Mukatakeswa, Mahavaraha , Govardhanadhara and Rajavihara. The first four were temples dedicated to worship of Vishnu and the last named was a Buddhist convent. However when revisiting the site in May 1896, Stein found many of the stones missing that existed in 1892. On inquiry he learned that these stones were taken away by the contractors engaged in building the new Tonga road to Srinagar.

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Sirahasila kota, Sharda

To prevent such callous damage that was being caused to these relics of past, Stein made a representation to the Resident Sir Adelbert Talbot for urgent need of protecting the remains. The Resident supported his petition and effective steps were ordered by the Maharaja to prevent repetition of similar vandalism.

In September 1892, Stein also visited the castle of Sirahasila while on tour to search the Sarada shrine. After locating the Sarada shrine, Stein lost no time in tracing the old fort with the information provided to him by one of the villagers who remembered having seen traces of an old wall on the mountain ridge.

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Parihaspura ruins

In Oct 1892 he made a visit to village Trigam at the confluence of the Vitasta and Sindhu He made a repeated visit to the site in May 1896 . The hamlet between Paraspora and Zirpur leads to small village of Malikpur . Here Stein . “found the basement walls of an ancient temple now partly used as an enclosure for a small Ziarat of Sayyad Ahmed Kirmani. Near the basement walls and inside the enclosure formed by them are found numerous sculptured capital bases of Lingas and other archetectural fragments evidently belonging to the original building.” The Malikpur ruins lay between Trigam swamp and Badrihel Nala which stretched between Haratrath and Andrakoth villages. On the opposite side of Paraspor rises the ancient Parihaspura. Stein ascribed the extant temple ruin of Malikpur as of Vainyasvamin based on the tradition communicated to him by Pandit Mukund Ram.

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Rajavihara Temple NW, showing stairs
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Malikpur and Zirpur from
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Paraspura, Cella of Buddha
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