Introduction
  Kashmir
  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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Search for the Rajatarangini
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"Soon after the Oriental College at Lahore closed for the summer break in 1888, Stein fled the ‘grey oven of Lahore’ for Srinagar, the ‘Venice of India’, as the city was called." "His journey from Lahore lasted a week, reaching Srinagar after passing past floating gardens and groves of Chinars lined up the Jehlum."

Aurel Stein had planned to spend his summer holidays in Kashmir following the example of his teacher, Buhler, by searching for manuscripts including and especially the Codex-Archetypus of the Rajatarangini. Before leaving Lahore, he secured the letters of recommendation, from the Secretary of State for the Punjab, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr. William Rattigan and the British Resident in Kashmir, Colonel W.F. Prideaux, that he expected, would enable him to have access to some of the highest authorities in Kashmir to help him get the desired copy of the Rajatarangini manuscript.

Stein first arrived in Srinagar on June 8, 1888 and met the Governor, Dr. Suraj Kaul. Within days, many Pandits visited him at his camp at Chinar Bagh, Srinagar, eager to show him their manuscripts. With each came the hope, that it would be the desired copy of the manuscript of the Rajatarangini.


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Folio of Codex Archetypus
(Sharada script)

It was Aurel Stein’s illustrious teacher Buhler who earlier had clearly recognised the fact that all manuscripts of the Rajatarangini known to exist in Kashmir then were derived from a single manuscript to which he had given the name Codex Archetypus. But he had not been able to obtain more than a glimpse of this ancient manuscript from the owner Pandit Kesavram in whose family it had come down as heirloom.

Following the tracks of Buhler, Stein, during his stay in Srinagar obtained two manuscripts. The first was in the possession of Pandit Balbhadra Razdan which was copied in the first quarter of 19th century and another manuscript copied around the same time from Codex Archetypus was in possession of Pandit Govind Kaul. This convinced Stein still more the necessity of securing the Codex Archetypus which was earlier traced to be in the possession of Pandit Keshav Ram. However his death had taken place soon after Buhler’s visit to Kashmir in 1875. Thereafter the Codex Archetypus had been divided among three of his sons and this circumstance had made access to the manuscript in 1888 still more difficult than in 1875.

It was not until a repeated visit to Srinagar in 1889 that the whole manuscript was collected by Stein from the owners .His success in this regard was chiefly due to the kind interest shown in the matter by Pandit Suraj Kaul, Member of Kashmir State Council. Stein sought the help of Suraj Kaul, through his son Pandit Hari Krishan Kaul who was his pupil at the Oriental College, Lahore.. Their timely aid made it possible to secure the contents of this venerable codex . According to Stein, “both these gentlemen well deserved the thanks of all interested in the ancient history of Kashmir”.

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