Major Henry George Raverty’s brief work with the title, ‘An account of Upper and Lower Suwat, and the Kohistan, to the source of the Suwat River; with an account of the tribes inhabiting those valleys’ was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Volume XXXI, No.I. To V. 1862) Calcutta in the year 1862. That work of Major Raverty is produced here on this website for the interest of the readers and research scholars. Raverty wrote: (PART 8)
After getting clear of our difficulties, and out of our dangers, we reached the small village of Kottah, to the south of which, on the very summit of the mountains, there are extensive ruins of buildings, so numerous indeed, that I never seen the like anywhere else. Two of these buildings were large and lofty, something as European barracks from a distance. They are still in excellent preservation, and indeed seem quite perfect and entire; so much so, that during very heavy rains, the villagers take shelter in them. The houses of this ruined city are not built near each other as we seen the present day, but are detached similar to the bungalows of officers in India. I could not discover anything in the shape of carvings, or idols any where about. The ruins of these dwellings are square, and are built of hewn blocks of stone; and are very sharply in appearance, but not very lofty , not being more than six, or under four yards in heights. The walls were about half a yard in thickness, and in some places less. Each house contained an area of about six yards. The cement used in joining the stone together is of a black colour, but could not tell whether it was lime, mud, or anything else. Every house has a door, as have the two larger buildings also. These ruins are of Buddhist, not of Grecian architecture; but are like those at Bihi near Peshawar, which we visited together in December 1849; and are altogether without verandas. The large buildings I refer to, as situated on the very brow of the mountains are said to have been built by Suwatis of former times as watch-towers; but in my opinion they are the remains of idol temples, which Hindus often built in such places, as at Purandhar near Poonah in the Dekhan, which I accompanied you to, in 1852. There is no made road , which has now disappeared. The ruined city is close to the Landdakaey mountain, but the village of Kottah is nearer, and Barikot is still further off; for this reason I have written “near Kottah instead of Barikott.” This is, no doubt, the ruined city mentioned by the French Colonel Court as near the last named place, which is a large place, whilst Kottah is but a small village. The ancient ruins in Suwat are situated in such difficult and out-of-the-way places, that it becomes a matter of astonishment to conceive how the inhabitants of them managed to exist, where they obtained water, what they employed themselves on, and how they managed to go in and out; for several of the houses are situated every here and there, on the very peaks of hills; but Suwat does not contain so many ruined sites as writers would lead us to believe.
Proceeding on our route from Kottah, we saw the villages of Nowaey-Kalaey, Abu-wah, Gurataey, Bari-kott, and Shankar-darah. Close to this latter place, there is a tower called called Shankar-dar. Shan-kar, is the Sanskrit language, is one the names of Siva. It stands on a square base of stone and earth, seven yards in height, and just forty yards in length and breadth, which I myself measured. On this square platform, the tower, which is of stone, joined by the dark coloured cement I before mentioned , stands. I computed the height, from the base, which I had measured, to be about thirty yards, or ninety feet; and I also measured the base, which was twenty-five yards or seventy-five feet in circumference. It is egg shapped, as in the annexed sketch; and there is no road by which the summit may be gained, nor did it appear to be hollow inside; but there are small holes just large enough, to all appearance to admit the hand, every here and there, which seem to have been indented to give light or air. From top to bottom, the tower is vaulted like that of the mihrab of a mosque, but not so deeply indented or niched that one might place the foot thereon, but about a finger’s breadth only; still the vaulted shape could be distinctly traced to the summit. Each niche or recess is about a yard or more in length and breadth; and between each of these there is the hole, before mentioned. As the height increases, the tuks or niches diminish in proportion. The Afghans of the neighboring villages have been removing stones for building purposes for the northern side of the tower, and have built several therefrom; hence it has sustained considerable injury on that side. The people tell all sorts of tales about the tower; and all agree that Akhund Darwezah, the celebrated saint of the Afghans, who flourished from the year A.D. 1550 TO 1600, gave out , in his lifetime, that this tower contained seven idols , one large, and six smaller ones.
Reference (Source Details):
‘An account of Upper and Lower Suwat, and the Kohistan, to the source of the Suwat River; with an account of the tribes inhabiting those valleys’ was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Volume XXXI, No.I. To V. 1862) Calcutta, pages 237-239.
TO BE CONTINUED…