Introduction
  Kashmir
  Aurel Stein
  The Sanskritist
  Manuscript Treasures
  Kashmiri Scholarship
  Interface of Scholarship
  The Adopted Home
  Unfinished Tasks
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  Kashmir Bhavan Centre, Luton.
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Archaeology of old Kashmir
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Aurel Stein made a detailed archaelogical tour in Kashmir by visiting ancient sites during August-September1891. He was able to carry the work with a permission and assistance granted to him by the State Council. Following the completion of this archaeological survey, Stein submitted a report to Raja Amar Singh, the President of State Council on Oct 6, 1891.

AN ACCOUNT FROM THE REPORT:

Accompanied by Pandit Govind Kaul, Aurel Stein started for the Archaeological survey of ancient sites in Kashmir on August 11, 1891. He left Srinagar for the first halt at Prang after passing through the villages of Ganderbal and Nunar. At Prang he took the route that pilgrims usually followed to visit the sacred lakes of Mount Haramukh.

Proceeding upward he passed through the valley of Kankani river to reach its first village Baraveil. Its rich ground furnished a high historical interest. Close to the village Stein discovered a large sculpted slab which from its shape indicated it to be a base of a Linga. The peetha about 3 ft. sq. and 2 ft. high, according to Stein belonged to an old linga of considerable antiquity.


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Ruined gateway of
Temple Rampur, Jehlum Valley
   

On the following day August 13,Stein reached the hamlet of Vangath, the last inhabitated place in Kashmir valley. Up higher the valley led to gorges strewed with ruins of not less than 17 temples at an altitude of 7000 ft. Stein found them surrounded with overgrown luxuriant vegetation that had caused lot of destruction to their edifice. Before beginning the excavations around the ruins he first cleared the jungle growth surrounding them.

Excavation revealed a group of 6 temples in the South and another group in the North. Adjoining the North group of temple ruins lay the sacred spring called Naran Nag at whose quiet waters the pilgrims performed the rituals ablutions for their dead.


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Babus from Vangath Valley
   
Due to the remoteness of these ruins Stein could only utilise the services of about 15 collie helpers and was thus obliged to restrict his excavation at the first group of temples. Two days were spent in clearing the area by cutting trees while stein during this time obtained details about the temple ruins based on local traditions. Based on the spot inquiries Stein ascertained that the name of the mountain on the West of ruins was called Buchear which the Pandit tradition identified with Bhutesevera. The site was sacred to Siva. Here Stein looked for the remains of many temple structures reported to have been built by many kings from the time of Jalauka to that of King Avantiverman. These consisted of two groups. One nearer to Vangath comprised of a large temple with a well preserved roof. The small three temples lay close in the west, two other bigger ones lay towards the South.

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Ruined Temple, Siva Bhutesa,
Mount Haramukh
The ruins revealed that all these temples were enclosed by stone walls and placed on a platform. Below them about 150 ft. flowed the Kankani river.
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