Previous Page [Digital South Asia Library] Next Page

Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 15, p. 96.

Graphics file for this page
attack the Hunza valley ; he and his force were destroyed, and Gilgit
fort fell into the hands of the Hunza Raja, along with Punial, Yasin,
and Darel. The Maharaja sent two.columns, one from Astor and one
from Baltistan, and after some fighting Gilgit fort was recovered. In
1852, partly by strategy, partly by treachery, the Dogra troops were
annihilated by the bloodthirsty Gaur Rahman of Yasin, and for eight
years the Indus formed the boundary of the Maharaja's territories.
Gulab Singh died in 1857 ; and when his successor, Ranbir Singh,
had recovered from the strain caused by the Mutiny, in which he had
loyally sided with the British, he determined to recover Gilgit, and to
rehabilitate the reputation of the Dogras on the frontier. In i86o
a force under Devi Singh crossed the Indus, and advanced on Gaur
Rahman's strong fort at Gilgit. Gaur Rahman had died just before
the arrival of the Dogras. The fort was taken ; and since then the
Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir have held it, to their heavy cost
and somewhat doubtful advantage.
Ranbir Singh was a model Hindu: devoted to his religion and to
Sanskrit learning, but tolerant of other creeds. He was in many ways
an enlightened man, but he lacked his father's strong will and deter,
mination, and his control over the State officials was weak. The latter
part of his life was darkened by the dreadful famine in Kashmir,
x877-q; and in September, 1885, he was succeeded: by his eldest son,
the present Maharaja Pratap Singh, G.C.S.I. He bears the hereditary
title of Maharaja, and receives a salute of ig guns, increased to 21 in
his own territory.
Through all these vicissitudes of government and changes in religion
the Kashmiri has remairied unaltered. Mughal, Afghan, Sikh, and
Dogra have left no impression on the national character; and at heart
the people of the valley. are Hindus, as they, were before the. time of
Sikandar Shah. The isolation from the outer world accounts for this
stable unchanging nationality, and passages in the Rdjalaranginl show
that the main features of the national character were the same in the
early period of Hindu rule as they are now.
The valley of Kashmir is holy land, and everywhere one finds
remains of ancient temples and buildings called by the present inhabi-
tants, though without historical foundation, -Pandavlari, 'the houses of
the Pandavas. These ancient buildings, though more or less injured by
iconoclasts, vandal builders, earthquakes, and, as Cunningham thinks,
by gunpowder, are composed of a blue limestone capable of taking the
highest polish, and of great solidity. They defy weather. and time,
while the later works of the Mughals, the mosques of Aurangzeb and
the pleasure-places of Salim and Nur Mahal, are crumbling away and
possess little or none of their pristine beauty.
The Hindu buildings of Kashmir have been described by Sir
Previous Page To Table of Contents Next Page

Back to Imperial Gazetteer of India | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Monday 18 February 2013 at 16:20 by
The URL of this page is: