Alexander’s Conquest of India – A 2ndlook

Posted in European History, Gold Reserves, History, India, Media by Anuraag Sanghi on January 23, 2009

Indian armies had two great military advantages over Alexander’s armies. War elephants and a cavalry which had invented the stirrup. Could Alexander have defeated such armies?

Alexander – Son of God

Alexander has long been a vital cog in Western history.

Alexander’s halo gave bragging rights – first to the Greco-Romans and then to the Euro-colonialists. The American Department of Defense, in its Legacy Program, has a section on Cultural Heritage Training. The use of Alexander’s mythos there is self evident. Between the Greco-Roman historians and the Euro-Colonialists, has sprung an entire industry, to create a mythos surrounding Alexander.

The troops beg Alexander to allow them to return home from India in plate 3 of 11 by Antonio Tempesta of Florence, 1608 (Courtesy - alexanderstomb.com)

Alexander troops beg to return home from India in plate 3 of 11 by Antonio Tempesta of Florence, 1608 (Courtesy - alexanderstomb.com)

The conquest of India, a super power then, by Alexander was seen as major victory. Much was made of this ‘victory’, as for most of history, India and China accounted for nearly half the world’s economic output.

Modern econometric modelling shows that for much of the last 1000 years (at least), India has been a significant economic power. Till the 1900, China and India, this analysis estimates, accounted for 50% of the world economy. Statistical analyses showed India with a world trade share of 25% for much of the 500 years during 1400-1900.

In modern times, within a short 70 years after British evacuation from India, the decline of the Britain has been slightly faster than the turn around in the Indian economy. Thus, Alexander’s ‘conquest of India’ was the seminal point in Western history. Western time lines of Indian history are ante-post Alexander ‘invasion’ of India. Some Western historians seem to imply that Indian nationhood itself sprang from Alexander’s conquest.

The Porus Red Herring

Modern Western historians use the ‘Porus Red Herring’ to claim conquest over all of ‘India’ – with a single victory against Porus! Indian political class is blamed for “dividing India into small kingdoms, which were hamstrung by infighting.” But when one of these small kings (like Porus) is defeated, India is defeated. Colonial Western historians have maintained a uni-directional focus on the battle with Porus at Hydaspes – to draw attention away from the more glaring aspects of the hagiographic details of the Alexander’s Indian conquest.

“Arrian and other writers clearly recount the special significance to Alexander of the victory in India. Later authors in the West continued to dwell upon the commemoration of this battle. Some of the accounts are quite unbelievable, but their very existence proves that the battle against Porus remained a popular subject in Greece and Rome for many centuries.”

Medieval caricature of the Alexander-Porus battle ("Alexander defeats King Porus in single combat"(West Flanders; c. 1325-1335).

Medieval caricature of the Alexander-Porus battle ("Alexander defeats King Porus in single combat"(West Flanders; c. 1325-1335).

Western Colonial historians implied that after the Battle at Hydaspes, India became a Greek colony, due to the the loss in that one battle! Anyone in the world can have their lucky day – including Alexander! The one important question which is ignored was “Were the Greeks able to retain their Indian conquests?”

Within the next few years, Western history admits that the Indians kings won back all their losses – quite unlike the rest of Alexander’s conquests. For instance the Sassanians, a true-blue Persian dynasty was able to retake Persia, in 223 AD, 500 years after Alexander, from the phil-hellenistic Parthians, who in turn were able to depose the Seleucids after 250 years – by 63 BC. Egypt, Greece never, of course, never recovered.

Accounting for the Porus Red Herring, further analysis of Alexander’s actions,  in fact, seem to show that Alexander aimed at patching up alliances with Indian rulers to secure his borders.


Of course, Indians believe that all are वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम, vasudhaiva kutumbakam (“vasudha” meaning the earth; and “kutumbakam”, “family”) ‘vasudevaih kutumbakam’ and ईसा वास्यो मिदं सर्वंisa vaasyo midam sarvam(meaning we are one family on earth and God is in everyone and everywhere respectively). So, Alexander’s claim that he was son of Zeus would not enthuse Indians – or strike as odd or strange.

Enigmatically, Indian archaeology, writers and history do not know of any Porus or much of Alexander’s Indian campaign. Under the onslaught of a ‘defeatist’ version of Indian history by colonial historians, Indian nationalistic historians admit that at best, Alexander may have conquered some border districts of India. They ask “Why did Alexander’s undefeated troops, after the Indian campaign, suddenly feel homesick?”

Nationalism apart, there are many reasons to examine the plausibility of Alexander’s conquest of India? There are two interesting positions (for me) to examine. For one, it represented “the importance of Alexander as a positive paradigm for European expansionism in India” (from British Romantic Writers and the East By Nigel Leask). Alexander represented the ‘triumphant West’ over the ‘muddling East.’

The other interesting aspect of the Western History is the Colonial device of the ‘divided Indians.’ This device overused the assumption that ‘Indians always lost because Indians were divided – look at Ambhi versus Porus, Jaichand versus Prithviraj Chauhan, Mir Jafar versus Nawab ud Dowlah, Tipu Sultan versus the Marathas, et al.’

Alexander – Hagiography and /or Cultural Dacoity?

Th first step in the propaganda campaign was how a Balkan general, (Macedonian father and Albanian mother) from an obscure part of Eastern Europe, Macedonia, was Hellenized. Alexander, became a Greek conqueror of the world. It would be similar to the Chinese claim to Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Empire.

Since recent history of the Balkans has not been very glorious, Alexander was transported from the Balkans to the Mediterranean region – for propaganda purposes. Truth is, the contribution of the Greek soldiers and the Greek City States, was always a drag on Alexander – rather than a help. Alexander’s release of Greek soldiers after Ecbatana, was also in response to the difficulties that Antipater was having in Macedonia with the Spartan revolt.

The mythos surrounding Alexander calls for serious questioning of the sources themselves. What and who are these sources?

Sources Of Alexander mythos

'Sources' Of Alexander mythos

Our knowledge of Alexander therefore rests on histories produced long after the fact: a late first-century b.c.e. section of a world history written in Greek by Diodorus of Sicily; a Latin History of Alexander published by the Roman author Quintus Curtius Rufus in the first century c.e.; a biography in Greek by Plutarch of Chaeronea, also produced in the first century c.e.; a history written in Greek by Arrian of Nicomedia sometime in the second century c.e.; and Justin’s third-century c.e. Latin abridgment (Epitome) of a lost Greek secondary account by the first-century author Pompeius Trogus. Each of these five narrative treatments of Alexander’s reign claims to be a serious work of history or biography, but all five contradict one another on fundamental matters and cannot be considered absolutely reliable unless somehow corroborated by other evidence. Beyond these texts, we have little except a compilation of legendary material known as the Greek Alexander Romance, a wildly imaginative work filled with talking trees and other wonders that later thrilled the medieval world. (from Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions By Frank Lee Holt).

400 years after Alexander’s death, Arrian’s hagiography is today seen by the Western world as the last word on Alexander. One man’s word as history? Arrian, of Nicomedia (in modern Turkey, near Istanbul) patterned his own version of ‘history’ on Xenophon’s Anabasis – a propaganda account of 10,000 Greek mercenaries. Arrian’s version of history alleges that Alexander conquered India by defeating King Porus. This is the foundation on which Westerners have based their version of Indian history.

The (deliberate?) trickle of translated material from the Babylonian clay tablets, Astronomical diaries released in the last few years is, of course, filtered and edited, to raise suspicions about the charade of Western history.

Homesick troops – after 7 years of war

Greek ‘historians’ tell us that the main reason for Alexander’s turning back was homesick soldiers. During the (nearly) half-year long siege of Tyre, Alexander received fresh troop reinforcements from Macedonia. Before his India ‘campaign’, at Ecbatana, Alexander cashiered thousands of his Greek troops who wished to return home. After the death of Darius, at Ecbatana (330 BC), to all the Greek officers, wishing to return home, Alexander awarded one talent of gold (approx. 25kg-60 kg).

Also at Ecbatana, Alexander dismissed the allied Greek troops he had requisitioned thus far under the powers granted him by the Greek league. The official goal of the invasion, the destruction of the Persian empire in revenge for its attack on Greece, had now been achieved, so the official duties of these troops were fulfilled. (from Alexander the Great By Arrian, James S. Romm, Pamela Mensch)

At this stage, Alexander also inducted into his army, fresh Persian soldiers, trained in Macedonian style of warfare. Again, after his marriage to Roxanne, a further 10,000 Persian soldiers joined his army. Hence, the troops left with Alexander, were either fresh or those who decided to stay with Alexander.

Homesick … or frightened?

The pleadings of Coenus, that Alexander’s men, “long to see their parents, wives, and children, and their homeland again.” were patently the cries of frightened soldiers. Once back in the folds of the secure Macedonian Empire, the same soldiers joined the mutiny at Opis. These Macedonian soldiers revolted when they were released by Alexander to return to Macedonia, demonstrates that reason for the revolt in India, was not home-sickness.

As per Arrian, the only ‘victory’ celebration by Alexander’s troops was after the battle with Porus. Surprising – that Alexander’s troops did not celebrate any victory, till the very end of the campaign. Was it, instead, a celebration that they had escaped with their lives?

After all, Alexander’s horse, Bucephalus died during the Indian campaign. Before that, in the Battles with the Aspasioi /Asspassi, Alexander (along with Ptolemy and Leonnatos) was wounded. Again in the battles with the Gandaridae /Candaras /Gangaridae Gandridae and then the Massagaetae.

And – a soon after the revolt, he received a large contingent of cavalry and infantry – with military supplies and medicines, through Memnon, from Thrace. As Alexander retreated from India, a Mallian force attacked the Macedonian army. In this Mallian attack, Alexander was himself injured – and his very life was in balance for the next many weeks.

Indian war elephant against Alexander’s troops by Johannes van den Avele, 1685

Indian war elephant against Alexander’s troops by Johannes van den Avele, 1685

So, what frightened Alexander’s army ?

326 BC was the year of the battle with Porus. After that battle, what possibly frightened Alexander’s army was the ‘information’ that further from Punjab, lay places

“where the inhabitants were skilled in agriculture, where there were elephants in yet greater abundance and men were superior in stature and courage

And Plutarch tells us how Alexander’s armies were

told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants. (from The Life of Alexander, Plutarch, The Parallel Lives).

A hundred years later, terrorized Roman armies lost major battles against Hannibal and Pyrrhus. What about Pyrrhus and Hannibal frightened the Roman armies?

Elephants. That is what. War elephants.

Pyrrhus’ army had elephants. That is what. Hannibal’s elephants are better known. If 20 elephants of Pyrrhus, or Hannibal’s 37, frightened the Romans so much, what happened to Alexander’s army, when faced with 100s, if not 1000s of elephants, which were common in Indian armies.

To put that in perspective, Chandragupta Maurya had thousands – figures range between 5,000 to 9,000. And how many elephants did Porus’ army have? 200 of them is the estimate by Greek hagiography.

War elephants in history

In the battle against the Massaga, resulting in the defeat and death of Cyrus, against Queen Tomyris, Indian elephants played a crucial role. Thereafter, Persians (then Zoroastrians) did not use elephants (considered evil by Zoroastrians). Possibly, the outcome against Alexander would have been different, had they used elephants.

The story of Semiramis, the Assyrian Queen and the Indian King Stabrobates by a Greek ‘historian,’ Ctesias (in Diodorus Siculus) is of interest. Apparently, foreign armies used ‘faux’ elephants to frighten enemies.

One of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus Nicator traded in some part of his empire, for 500 elephants. In the ensuing Diadochi wars, at the decisive battle of Ipsus, it were these Indian elephants that gave Seleucus victory.

At this decisive battle of Ipsus, the Seleucid army fielded “the largest number of elephants ever to appear on a Hellenistic battlefield” which turned out to be, as a historian describes as the “greatest achievement of war elephants in Hellenistic military history.” And Pyrrhus learnt his lessons, on using elephants in battle, at Ipsus.

Cyrus The Great

Cyrus The Great

What did the Persians tell Alexander …

Alexander’s newly inducted  Persian advisors would have filled him in, on how a few centuries ago,  Semiramis, Queen of Assyria, and Cyrus the Great, two significant historical figures of the Levant, had failed against the Indians.

Both Cyrus the Great and Semiramis are the subject of many volumes and books written by the Greeks, Persians, Babylonians tablets, etc.

Alexander in fact is said to be eager to capture India precisely because two earlier conquerors-Semiramis and Cyrus-had failed to do so. Here it is worth noting, Alexander apparently views the legendary Assyrian queen as an historical figure, the equal of Cyrus the Great, and strives to outdo them both. (from Warrior Women By Deborah Levine Gera).

The Assyrians, whose trans-Asia Minor Empire and their legendary Queen Semiramis too, had failed in the Indian campaign with faux elephants. Cyrus The Great, too had met his nemesis, trying to conquer India (or an army with significant Indian component). A modernized version of Strabo’s The Geography of Strabo reads,

Alexander … heard that no one had hitherto passed that way with an army and emerged in safety, except Semiramis, when she fled from India. The natives said that even she emerged with only twenty men of her army; and that Cyrus son of Cambyses, escaped with only seven of his men … When Alexander received this information he is said to have been seized with a desire of excelling Cyrus and Semiramis … What credence can we place in these accounts of India … Megasthenes virtually agrees. (from Alexander the Great By Ian Worthington – ellipsis mine).

The Indian elephant contingent had played a significant role in the win of Massaga Queen, Tomyris over Cyrus The Great and the Persians. Were the Massagas from Magadha? The other name for this tribe (referred to by the Greeks) against the Persians was the Derbices or Dahae. Was this name derived from the darbha grass, which Chanakya had used to swear the downfall of the Nanda kings?

The start of the Indian campaign

Alexander’s troubles began soon after Ecbatana (331 BC).

Allied troops were released from the Macedonian army – at Ecbatana and Hecatompylus. Then the veterans decided to leave – with a show of loyalty by veterans like Atenor. Bessus has destroyed the bridge across Oxus river – and that finally took a toll on the veterans – who decided to leave. After the Cyropolis treaty, Alexander ‘released’ the victors at Gaugemela, the Thessalian cavalry, much to the astonishment of Cleitus The Black.

Then began the conspiracies, confrontation and revolts. Even before Bactra, at Artacoana, was the conspiracy at Xerxes’ Gate (or the Persian Gate)  – the first of the many assassination conspiracies. The conspirators’ main grouse was the expansion of Alexander’s military brief to include India. Philotas and others (Dimnus, Nicomachus) were implicated in this affair.Then came The Pages Conspiracy (327 BC) – which saw the indictment of Callisthenes. Next in line was the killing of Cleitus the Black.

If this was not enough, came the constantly shifting battles against the rulers of the Indian North West – especially, the foursome of Satibarzanes, Bessus, Spitamenes and Datafernes.

First, off the block was the ruler of Artacoana, Satibarzanes allied himself with Bessus. He was finally killed in a one-to-one combat with (sources differ) with Erigyius (or with Leonnatus) in 329 BC. Then started the chase for Bessos /Bessus. Bessos, Spitamenes and Datafernes were to take up the next nearly three years with constantly shifting theaters of wars. Spitamenes and his Massagetae soldiers created havoc in Alexander’s army.

Bessos, the mathista, was handed over to Alexander’s army, (only Arrian claims that Ptolemy represented Alexander) by Spitamenes and Dartafernes. Was the handover of Bessos, made as a hostage, upon a guarantee of safekeeping, by Alexander? Did Alexander break a safe-keeping covenant, when Bessos was executed? This scenario acquires credibility when seen in light of the fact that Bessos was finally executed after nearly a year of his surrender.

Did Alexander, finally agree to execute Bessos, to curry favor and gain acceptance with Sisygambis, Stateira and Oxyathres? Was the disfigurement of Bessos, the spark that set off the Bactra-Sogdia War against Alexander by Satibarzanes, Spitamenes and Datafernes?

This was also the grist of the satire mills. A Greek poet, (possibly named Pranikos) with satire, provoked Cleitus Black into insulting Alexander himself. Alexander killed Cleitus.

At Bactra (Bharata?), Alexander did not have to battle the ruler Artaozos. He had a credible story. The stated story – the avenging of the Persian king, by the assassin, Bessos. Or was it the new Persian King, securing his frontiers against the biggest threat – India. Based on this story, Alexander’s armies were allowed to pass through.

Instead of the complete collaboration that Alexander got from the defeated Achmaenid ruling family of Sisygambis, Stateira, Oxathres (brother of Darius III; also written as oxoathres and oxyathres) et al, the foursome of Bessos, Spitamenes, Datafernes and the Scythians made Alexander’s life miserable. At Gaugamela, it was Bessos and his cavalry which broke Alexander’s formation.

The tribes and kshatrapas (satraps) of Indian North West swath, delayed Alexander for nearly three years – before he could step into India. In India, Alexander had to pay the King of Taxiles, Omphis, (Ambi) 1000 talents of gold (more than 25 tons of gold) – to secure an alliance. He had to return the kingdom of Punjab to Porus – purportedly, after winning the battle. His loot and pickings from India were negligible. Thus while, invaders were kept at bay, within the Indic area, borders and crowns kept changing and shifting.

The Greek characterization of Bessos as the killer of Darius III and usurper was out of touch. Bessos was appointed as mathišta – the Achaemenid word for a successor. The appointment of Bessos as the mathišta, also explains the support that Bessos got from the various kings.

Dutch scholars have argued that mathišta (which simply means “the greatest” and can also be used in common expressions like “Ahuramazda is the greatest of the gods”) was the title of the man who had been chosen by the great king as his successor.

As a killer /usurper or a successor, either way, Alexander’s target was Bessos.

Between Bessos, Satibarzanes, Spitamenes and Datafernes, Alexander was tied up in the Bactra-Sogdia region for more than two years. To control this war, Alexander travelled all the way to the Scythian chief, Dravas, agreed to release all Scythian soldiers for no ransom. While he was negotiating a treaty with the Scythians at Jaxartes, Kurushkkat or Cyropolis, the Macedonian army was massacred at Polytimetus. Alexander instructed his surviving troops, at the pain of death, not to discuss the massacre of Polytimetus with other soldiers – ‘to maintain the morale of his own men, and to limit the propaganda value of these losses to his enemy’ (from Alexander the Great:Lessons in Strategy By David J. Lonsdale).

Thus well before, the start of the Indian campaign, Alexander had a first hand experience of the North West buffer that protected India from Western foreign invaders. Added to this experience by Alexander, was the history of costly misadventures by Semiramis and Cyrus, in the Indian realms.

Alexander paid in gold to Indian king …

If the Porus Red Herring is ignored, we can see that an important success of Alexander was his alliance with Ambhi – the ruler of Taxila. To cement this alliance, Alexander ‘gifted’ Ambhi with ‘a wardrobe of Persian robes, gold and silver ornaments, and 30 horses, 1000 talents in cash’. 1000 talents is anywhere between 25,000-60,000 kg of gold – 25-60 tons of gold !

Does this look like Ambhi accepted Alexander as the conqueror of the world – or was Alexander ‘persuading’ Ambhi to seal an alliance – at a huge price? Portrayed as traitor, a sell out, by Colonial historians, Ambhi’s case was a simple case of providing neutrality and supplies (at a fabulous price) to a travelling army, which was securing its own borders.

The payment of 1000 talents in gold to Ambhi aroused much envy and outrage in Alexander’s camp. It prompted Meleager, to sarcastically congratulate Alexander for ‘having at least found in India a man worth 1000 talents.’ What seals this incident is Alexander’s retort to Meleager, “that envious men only torment themselves.” (C 8.12.17 & 18).

In the year 518 BC, a few years after the defeat and death of Cyrus the Great, by a joint force of the Massagetae and the Indians, and more than 200 years before the death of Alexander, Darius-I re-organized his inherited empire into 20 satrapies.

To put these figures in perspective, Babylon and Syria, the richest provinces, paid 1000 talents, while Egypt paid 700 talents. (from Inner Eurasia from Prehistory to the Mongol Empire By David Christian).

At least, Darius-I, did not pay anything to the satrapies – unlike Alexander. If Ambhi wanted Alexander to wage a war against Porus, would it not be more logical that Ambhi, the (supposed) feudatory should have paid Alexander? Allegedly, Alexander bribed Ambhi (bribe a satrapy?) to join him and wage war against Porus.

What was Alexander’s response to a ‘sub-continent occupied by a complex network of peoples and states, who viewed Alexander as a new piece to be played in their complex political chess game.’ He had to return the kingdom of Punjab to Porus – purportedly, after winning the battle. His loot and pickings from India were negligible.

To these lean pickings, what was Alexander’s response? Writes a historian, “the Macedonians frequently massacred the defenders of the city, especially in India.” Another modern historian, an expert on Greek history writes that ‘the tale of slaughter told in the ancient sources is unparalleled elsewhere in the campaign.’ ( from Ancient Greece By Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan)

His other famous ‘victory’ was at Jaxartes, over the Scythians over a people which had hitherto been deemed by its neighbours invincible’. Of course, the writer goes onto mention that it was Alexander’s illness (he had the runs, the dysentery, these days known as Delhi belly), which ‘saved the Scythians from extermination.’

But after a few paragraphs, Alexander becomes ‘famous for clemency and liberality.’ After an overnight ride, the next morning, Alexander concluded a friendship pact with the Darvas, the Scythian chieftain with just a handshake – at Alexandria Eschate (The Furthest”) in modern Tajikistan. He also ‘agreed’ to release all Scythian prisoners – without a ransom. Was the reason for this clemency and liberality, or to isolate Bessus, Spitamenes and Datafernes responsible for ‘two years of savage warfare waged across Sogdiana on a scale unequalled anywhere else in Alexander’s anabasis.’

By the way, Scythians are known in India as Sakas or Shakhyas – and Buddha was Shakhya. Scythians were also engaged in Athens to patrol Rome, with clubs. Is that why they were called Massagata = Maha + gada (club), finally becoming known as Magadha? Much like their descendants, the Pathans were used in India, for debt recovery.

Alexander’s marriage

Was Alexander’s marriage, a similar alliance, with the Bactrian (Afghan) King, Oxyartes, whose daughter Rhoxane /Roxana /Roxanne /Roshanak (in Bactrian) was?

For almost the first ten years of his reign Alexander avoided marriage with remarkable success. After Issus the majority of the Persian royal ladies were in his power. Alexander scrupulously cultivated the Queen Mother, Sisygambis as his “Mother’ and promised dowries to Darius’ daughters. Taking over Darius function as son and father he buttressed his claims to be the genuine King of Asia. But he stopped short of actual marriage, contenting himself with a liaison with Barsine, the daughter of Artabazus and descendant of Artaxerxes II. This liaison was protracted and from it came a son, Heracles, born in 327, but there was no question of marriage till the last days of Alexander’s campaign in Bactria /Sogdiana. Then came his meeting with Rhoxane and almost immediate marriage. (from Alexander the Great By Ian Worthington).

How would Greeks pronounce Bharata? Most probably as Bactra (τὰ Βάκτρα)!

And we know that in the Indic context, a marriage is for life – and a marriage alliance is sure way of creating goodwill and positive bias. And the importance given to a son-in-law by Indians is also known! And in the Indian marital tradition (Savitri, Sita and Draupadi), wives did not stay back in palaces.  And Roxane accompanied Alexander, like an Indian wife would.

Other sources

Ekkehard, a 12 century Benedictine monk, a participant in the Crusade of 1101, had many such questions, in his updates of Chronicon Universale, (probably co-written by Frutolf of Michelsberg).

Coming so soon after the schism between the Greek and the Roman Church, Ekkehard must also be seen through the prism of Christian Church politics. After all, how could a monk of the Roman Church let go of such a juicy Greek target? Similarly, in 19th century environment, Alexander’s inflation must also be seen in the context of Western colonialism, which needed to show ‘Western’ superiority.

Alexander’s Indian Conquests

Alexanders shown with elephant headdress

Alexander’s shown with elephant headdress

Apart from the written sources there are ‘other proofs’ also. Subsequent to his Indian ‘conquest’, Alexander minted (possibly only some) elephant coins and his successors minted definitely many coins – for propaganda purposes.

The propaganda purpose of the elephant coins becomes clearer, when the spread of the coins becomes is seen – 21 of the 24 specimens recovered are in the Iraq and Babylonia region. It is in this region that this coinage would have worked – and the local population who would have looked at the Macedonians with respect, as they had ‘conquered’ India.

After all, a few centuries ago, Cyrus The Great had met his nemesis, trying to conquer India (or an army with significant Indian component). Semiramis the Assyrian Queen, whose Empire in Asia Minor, rivalled Alexander, lost her throne (to her son (Ninyas /Ninus) – after her loss to the Indian king, Stabrobates. Many of Alexander’s actions in fact seem to have been aimed at patching up alliances with Indian rulers on his borders – to avoid the fate of his predcessor ‘conquerors’ – Cyrus The Great and Semiramis.

The significance of these coins itself is questionable. Elephant units, managed by Indians, were a common feature in Central Asian region – and later Greek armies also co-opted elephant units. These elephant coins could well have been stuck to  celebrate Alexander’s victory at Gaugemela over Darius.

Alexander’s coinage system itself is very hazy subject, with many sub-plots and qualifications. An expert writes,

There are few series which present more difficulties in the way of chronological classification than the ‘Alexanders.’ The mass of material is so vast and the differences between the varieties so minute, so uninteresting to anyone but the numismatic specialist, and so difficult to express in print, that very little progress has been made since the publication of L. Müllerr’s remarkable work in 1855 … (By Sir George Hill from The Numismatist, American Numismatic Association; page 57)

After Alexander

Alexander’s ‘boasts’ about his conquest of India, a super-power then, did get him mileage. Ptolemy, to create legitimacy for his rule, issued coins showing Alexander wearing a elephant head, looking like a mixed Zeus and Ammon.

It also became the butt of comedies. These Greek comedies survive through Roman writers like Plautus’ Curculio – with an ex-India soldier, Therapontigonus Platagidorus, who boasts of his conquest of

the Persians, Paphlagonians, Sinopians, Arabs, Carians, Cretans, Syrians, Rhodes and Lycia, Gobbleollia and Guzzleania, Centaurbattaglia and Onenipplearmia, the whole coast of Libya and the whole of Grapejusqueezia, in fact, a good half of all the nations on earth, have been subdued by him single-handed inside of twenty days

and wants a golden statue – made with melted gold from Philip (of Macedon’s) gold coins. Other such unbelievable accounts were written in Greece and Rome about Alexander’s victory against Porus – “a popular subject in Greece and Rome for many centuries.”

By 303 BC, less than a 20 years after Alexander’s death (323 BC), Alexander’s greatest general, Seleucos Nicator, sued for peace with Chandragupta Maurya. He ceded large parts of empire, made a marriage alliance with Chandragupta, stationed an ambassador (Megasthenes) in Chandragupta’s court.  – and obtained 500 elephants, which proved invaluable in at the decisive battle of Ipsus.

Where did the much vaunted ‘Greek’ sarrisae and Macedonian phalanxes miss out? On the other hand, the 500 elephants that Seleucos Nicator bought from Chandragupta were decisive in the Battle Of Ippsus – which ended the Daidochi wars .

Indo-Greek colonies and kingdoms – at Indian borders

Modern historians refer to the Greek colonies in Bactria, Sogdiana (modern Afghanistan and Baluchistan) as proof of Alexander’s and Greek conquests in the Indian sub-continent. The truth – Herodotus informs us that rebellious Greeks in the Persian kingdoms were exiled to Indian borders – at Susa, Khuzestan (in modern Iran) and Bactria (modern Afghanistan). Among these exiles were citizens of Miletus, who were behind the Ionian revolt in 499 BC.

Alexander continued with this practice. After his death, we are informed by Diodorus of Sicily (World history, 18.7) veteran Macedonians and Greek exiles revolted against their externment – and the Daidochi had to send an expedition, under Peithon, to quell this revolt.

"Alexander Ceding Campaspe to Apelles" by Jéröme-Martin Langlois (1819)

"Alexander Ceding Campaspe to Apelles" by Jéröme-Martin Langlois (1819)

Alexander’s own propaganda machine

Also must be remembered that Alexander had his own in-camp propagandists – like Callisthenes and Aristobolus, who were his camp followers. Alexander was introduced to Xenophon Cyropaedia and Anabasis. These books were excellent propaganda material, which converted a retreat of Greek mercenaries into a heroic saga.

To do his portraits, Alexander commissioned Appelles, the ‘greatest’ Greek painter of the time. Further, Alexander, ‘gifted’ his favorite mistress, Pancaspe (also Campaspe) to Appelles as an added ‘incentive.’ Lysippus was similarly appointed as the official sculptor for Alexander.

Ptolemy (one of Alexander’s inner circle) was himself no mean wielder of the propaganda pen – and Ptolemy’s memoirs of the campaign were used as sources by many subsequent hagiographers. In 321 BC, Ptolemy captured Alexander’s body – and kept it till Alexander’s mausoleum

Soma, was built in midst of the city, at the point where the two main thorough fares crossed each other. Encased in a translucent shroud, it stood there for centuries for all to see.

As a propaganda tool and obtain legitimacy for his rule. In modern times, I am reminded how Lenin’s body was kept embalmed and displayed for the next 7 decades.

Ptolemy, a master propagandist, also subsequently issued many coins showing Alexander as a elephant slayer, as God (Zeus and Ammon). Ptolemy is famous for the set up of the Library of Alexandra, to promote ‘Greek’ learning and propaganda – the precursors to the Alliance Francaise, the British Council and the USIS of today. He ‘imported’ Demetrius of Phalerum, to run the Mouseion an institute of higher learning, or Temple of the Muses.

But, his masterstroke was to circulate rumors about his parentage. Ptolemy I Soter, claimed through these rumors, that he was not the son of Lagos, but in fact one of Phillipp II’s illegitimate children – and thus Alexander’s half brother. Was it therefore strange that his descendant, Cleopatra, surrendered to the Roman usurpers, seeing them as successors to the ‘Greeks’?

Foreign rule in India

Why did Ghenghis Khan avoid India? India, a rich civilization, with massive exports and large gold reserves, was an attractive target. Genghis Khan, whose empire, from Mongolia to Austria, from Central Asia to Russian borders, was larger than Alexander’s – and whose conquests brought Chinese culture to Europe (like abacus, gunpowder, paper, printing) by-passed India completely. Why?

For the same reasons, that Islamic conquerors, by that time, had conquered most of Eastern Europe, had failed in India. By 1000 A.D., Al Beruni’s description of India and its wealth, spread over the Islamic world. By the time of the first significant Islamic raid of Indian heartland, in 1001, when Mahmud of Ghazni invaded India, Islam was already entrenched in Europe. Spain was already under Islamic rule by 718 AD. Parts of Italy fell by 902. Crete (part of modern Greece) fell in 961. In Northern Europe, modern day Georgia (on Russian borders) fell to Islamic rule, by 735.

For the next 500 years, Islamic territories continued to expand. India was the last significant conquest of the Islam. Islamic raiders targetted India for plunder and loot – but were not able to establish themselves till the 13th century. The first significant Islamic dynasty in India was the Slave dynasty – only in the 13th century, Qutubuddin Aibak in 1206. From the 1206 to 1526, Islamic rulers struggled to consolidate in India.

The successful invasion of Babur – from in the 1526 established Islamic rule in the Indian heartland. From 1526 onwards, Islamic conquest waned. Islamic empires started consolidating. On the other, the European star, was on the ascendant from 1492, with the voyage of Columbus.

Colonial historians show Central Asian and Levantine raiders as Islamic raiders, but themselves as European. Central Asian and other invaders like Nadir Shah, Timur Lang, Mahmud Ghazni, Muhammed Ghori, traced their extract from non-Indic countries.

As soon as we redefine India, and include Afghanistan as also a part of the Greater India(deriving its very name from up+gana-stan, meaning allies from the North) foreign presence in India is limited to a brief period of 1206-1500 and from 1756-1947. Thus Mughal rule was characterized by Indic values – whereas less than 200 years after Babur, Ranjit Singh, captured most of Afghanistan again. Thus to show Afghan rule as foreign rule, is colonial mischief.

As Britain itself could never capture Afghanistan (neither could Russia and now the USA is unable to). But Afghanistan was ruled by Indian rulers like Chandragupta Maurya, the Gupta Dynasty did, or the Kushans could, as did Ranjit Singh – made the colonial historians separate Afghanistan from India.

India’s line of defence

Unlike what most Western historians would like us to believe, Indian military machine was a successful system – which safeguarded India well.

Timurs Caltrops


What were India’s main military differentiators? It’s main line of defence? In one word – elephants. The first military general to have an answer to elephants was Timur Lane. Timur mined the fields with caltrops – a four headed spike, with one spike always upward.

Then came the guns, cannons and gun powder. Elephants were no longer effective against caltrops or gun powder. Indians were not lagging in gunpowder, cannons, guns or muskets. Indian ships sailed the world – under Indian or foreign flags.

The main reason for India’s military eclipse was the economic reason – slavery. The use of slaves for economic production, gave a temporary edge to slave societies – which India did not have. Indian rulers, with limited options could not wage long term wars – as slave owning cultures could. Indian rulers, were hobbled by a system which dispersed property, wealth – unlike the rest of the world where it was concentrated in the hands of the few. India, which was never a slave-owning culture, could not muster resources to wage a 100 year war, like Europeans could – at a great cost to their societies.

68 Responses

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  1. Gargi Dixit said, on January 24, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    There was no India before Alexander came.
    His attack on Indian shores provided Chankaya enough stimulus to stand against nand vansh and create a united India somehow.

    Without Chankaya, there wasn’t any chance for improvement in socio-political scenario of India.

    About Alexander, paurabraj fought against Alexander with grace, but he lost and then accepted friendship of Alexander and started helping him in looting others.

    India was totalitarian serfdom those days, yet Chanakya provided a little progress.

    People just because of feeling of native culture may keep eulogising India of those times, but it had nothing to be praised about but just one thing, India was starting to evolve towards the sovereignty and Individual freedom. That struggle is going on even Now, it never stopped.

    • kiran said, on April 26, 2009 at 9:45 am

      India had a history far beyond Greece. Beyond 10,000 years. We all were taught in our schools in European style. That’s why we dont know anything much. They not only used physically but also killed mentally. A person can be killed physically… but also mentally. Even now we are facing the trauma that was created by the British. If u want to know more, find what they have done to the Native Americans.These invaders separated those native children from their parents, started teaching in their way.

      We need to find our history by our own …

    • Dr. Jessie Mercay said, on November 12, 2009 at 6:01 pm

      Hmm.. no India befor Alexandra?…. serfdom?… I don’t think so: Alexander lived from 356 to 323 BC. India had art (including amazing poetry) , science, mathematics, astronomy, indoor plumbing, sophisticated town planning etc.long before alexander.

      Take Mohando Jaro for example: It fourished between 2600 and 1900 BC – Long before Alexander. It was a city/civilization built using sopisticated town planning strategies. it had indoor plumbing.. there is evidence of sculpture and other arts… their architecture included stone building techniques such as corbeling and refined building methods..

      There are temples over 2000 years old on the east coast of Tamil Nadu. If you ever had an inkling of what it took to build a traditional temple you would have to say that the society that built it was extraordinary……

      There are palm leaf shastras that are severl thousands of years old.. they have been re transcribed every 300-500 years. These shastras contain everything from beautiful poetry, healing methods including surgery, architectural codes, and much more…. this is a far cry from primitive serfdoms.

      I admit, I am an Indophile – I love all things Indian. I will stand up for her ancient culture and will do what I can to restore her ancient knowledge – why? because she was the mother of knowledge and culture for much of the world. Her architectural forms have been found all over asia, Europe, Aftrica, North and south Americas… world wide.

      Call me a silly white girl- but the proof is in the pudding.

    • Pawan Aggarwal said, on August 15, 2010 at 8:05 am

      You may aslo like to go through following links for more insight:



    • bmniac said, on May 28, 2014 at 5:42 am

      No comments except to suggest reading a good south Indian history book to know about “totalitarian serfdom? Sovereignty historically is a recent legal fiction and individual freedom is also recent and made much of. As for India why look at just the political angle/ surely it is more. Prof Mukerji on the unity of India seems to be all but forgtten.. .

  2. Anuraag Sanghi said, on January 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Gargi Dixit – This is a whole new version of history – something I was not aware of.

  3. galeo rhinus said, on January 27, 2009 at 12:09 am


    I am always intrigued by contrarian perspectives… in fact I can say that contrarian perspectives are are the basis for intellectual freedom…

    …yet – what would otherwise be a contrarian perspective is a rehash of what Bentick et al have sold to India…

    three fundamental theories were invented in the 1800s and then resold in the 1900s – and Indian “intellectuals” bought them based on their own convictions that were created based on what they saw of India’s history through the thick fog of misinformation…

    the first was that India was not a nation until the English came… it was a “foreign” power that forced India to unite under Gandhi… most of India’s intellectual elite has bought this theory… it was designed for the entry level “intelligentsia”… not everyone bought it…

    …so there was the second foreigner… good ol’ Alex… so if you don’t buy India wasn’t a nation until the English – you certainly can’t argue the impact of Alex’s campaign… can you? did he not stir the Indian nation into uniting? sure….

    …just in case someone did not buy either of these two inventions… a fundamental axiom was created that would permanently weaken the idea of Indic nation… the origin of the “Aryans” with the creation of the AIT – the Aryan Invasion Theory…

    the AIT was assaulted and killed a few years ago… yet it is making a comeback in a varying format… the AMT… the middle letter will continue to change – but the perpetuaters of the A*T will never concede that the Vedic people resided on the banks of the “sapta-saindhva” including the saraswati…

    …sure you seem to like contrarian perspectives… but at least pick one that rattles some foundations… challenge the entrenched… force a rethink… rather than rehash good old colonial ideas….

  4. […] countries, commandeered by the Vatican in the Hussite Wars. Zizka used a similar tactics – like what Alexander saw at Sangala. The Taborite use of wagons in war was revolutionary in Europe – and the blind general, […]

  5. […] Alexander’s campaign had taken the best of male youth from the Greek population and made it incapable of holding at the center. Greco-Macedonian population at the time of Alexander’s campaign is estimated between 1.5 million to 2.5 million – including slaves. That gives us a number of 75,000-150,000 family units which could have contributed one soldier each. […]

  6. […] years – from the fall of Carthage and Corinth 146 BC till the invasion of Alaric, The Goth (410AD). Alexander’s campaign had taken the best of male youth from the Greek population and made it incapable of holding at the […]

  7. Kalidas said, on February 6, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Agree with galeo rhinus of 3rd…

    Btw.. are you the same galeo rhinus who comments on yoss’s blog? Nice arriving here.. 🙂

  8. galeo rhinus said, on February 6, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Kalidas – yes the same 🙂

    I read Anuraag’s and Yossarin’s blogs regularly.

  9. […] Alexander’s campaign to drum up alliances with Indian kings on the borders of his Persian empire did not yield much gold or wealth. Unlike the Persian Empire, most of the gold and wealth in India was diffused and spread. In raid after raid, Alexander came back empty handed – or almost. While he was managing the fires in Bactra and Sogdia, he had to release Scythian prisoners without a ransom. But, while stitching an alliance with Omphis (Ambi /Ambhi), instead he had to pay Ambhi about 1000 talents of gold – which provoked much envy in his camp. […]

  10. Dr. Jessie Mercay said, on February 19, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Your article on Alexander was brilliant. I recently heard from an Indian friend of mine that Indian culture at the time of Buddhism was brilliant. He said that all of the special arts (ayurved, sthapatya ved, traditional dance etc) were known far and wide in their origonal forms. He said tht when the shankaracharya system came along many of the texts for these sciences were destroyed and the society lost the deeper aspects of these science. There was also a change in the spiritual/ religous life of people which affected the society as a whole.

    The person who told me this is an Ayurvedic dr who comes from an ancient family of Ayurvedic medicine. He said that the current texts are not fully accurate and are missing large parts of knowledge because of the shankaracharya system.

    Do you have any research on this concept of the shankaracharya destruction of Indian culture?

    warm regards,
    Dr. Jessie Mercay

  11. Anuraag Sanghi said, on February 19, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Thanks Jessie.

    Most of the grand Indian temples, structures that are extant, date from 10th century onwards.

    My thinking is that from: –

    1. Al beruni’s writings around 1000 AD on India stirred the Islamic world.around
    2. This created interest in India – and Mahmud of Ghazni raided India for plunder soon thereafter.
    3. The new religion of Islam also gained its first converts in India – peacefully, without swords.
    4. Hinduism became competitive with Islam at this point.
    5. Massive temples started coming up – as did other structures. Where did the Indian temple come from? There were no Indic temples in any of Indian classical books.There are no temples in Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas, Upanishads, etc.
    6. Where did these spring from? But Judaism, Christianity, Roman religions, Mithraism, Greek religions, Zorostrianism – all had massive temple complexes (probably built by slaves and with loot). Only Hindusim did not. From 10th century onwards these became widespread.
    7. Temples became monuments to impress – and Indian craftsmen started building monuments instead of spaces to use and live.
    8. Valmiki’s Ramayana is breathless with wonder at Lanka – and makes no mention of Ayodhya as a city. So, shining and gleaming cities were out of place in India – but Indians did associate such cities with slave-societies of Asuras.
    9. The Mahabharata has a cautionary tale about the Khandava dahan – and the building of Indraprastha -which the Pandavas lost very quickly. Maya had be pressured, persuaded and influenced to build Indraprastha.
    10. Monuments became rampant in India too after 10th century AD – including Indic ruled countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, etc.
    11. Shankaracharya was possibly the first Indian to fell into the trap of competitive religiosity – which has corrupted India and weakened India.

    I am in the process of adding dates, data, events to develop this hyposthesis. It looks plausible.

    • samadhyayi said, on March 28, 2012 at 11:25 am

      what nonsense. shankaracharya falling into trap of competetive religiousity.
      absolute lack of perspective and proportion.

    • Dr. Jessie Mercay said, on March 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      Actually there were numerous early Indian temples even before 4th century. I visited a 3rd/4th century hindu temple near Pudukotti in Tamil Nadu in January. We were taken by an archeologist. We had to wade across a stream and walk a bit and there it was, in the middle of a field – small but beautiful. A pure sanctum with small wall. There are cave temples in the area that are 2nd century also.
      There are buddhist temples at Ellora etc too that are early centuries.

      Interestingly enough, earlier temples were often made of fired brick or earth brick and wood hence they did not survive. According to the temple builders (shilpis and vishwakarmans) temples have existed many centuries BC but were used as healing and meeting places.

      And, I agree with you, while Shankara was an amazing person, he and his peers misquoted texts such as Brahma sutras by putting in phrases and words that did not exist in them in order to support their theology. Scholars who really examine the writings and commentaries see this. Even Veda Vyasa did this when he collected the Vedas. It is a very emotional thing for people who believe that their texts and spiritual teachers are infallable – but these facts bear out to be true. The same can be said for the Christain bible. It has sections added that are not even remotely pertinent to the existing verse. They were added by a different author to crete a different meaning – to support Roman theology. Scholars and linguists can identify this through careful examination.

      As you may know, even sanskrit has been changed. Many people believe it is the first language and a divine language. In fact, people who really study language say that the veda was not written in sanskrit. in fact, sanskrit was derived from What the Chatur Vedi of Bangalore (125 yrs old scholar) calls Vedic language. Furthermore, ancient sanskrit is different from classical sanskrit (since pannini). So, people have all kinds of beliefs that are born of rumor or hope, however, these beliefs are not founded on reality.

      • samadhyayi said, on March 29, 2012 at 9:52 am

        And, I agree with you, while Shankara was an amazing person, he and his peers misquoted texts such as Brahma sutras by putting in phrases and words that did not exist in them in order to support their theology. Scholars who really examine the writings and commentaries see this. Even Veda Vyasa did this when he collected the Vedas.

        do you have any idea what you are talking about.
        >>he and his peers misquoted texts such as brahma sutras by putting in phrases and words that did not exist in them in order to support their theology.

        which phrases and words were put that didnt exist.?
        what is the theology that they were trying to support?

        >>scholars who really examine the writings and ocmmentaries see this.
        which scholars?

        >>even veda vyasa did this when he collected the vedas
        what did veda vyasa do. what theology did he propose. what distortions did he make in order to support his theology?

        >>So, people have all kinds of beliefs that are born of rumor or hope, however, these beliefs are not founded on reality.
        you mean like your belief that shankaracharya destroyed india which is born out of rumor that is not founded on reality.

        • Dr. Jessie Mercay said, on March 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm

          My Dear,
          I didn’t say Shankara destroyed India those are your words not mine. I merely stated that he added words to texts that weren’t there to support his Advaita theology. This is well known by scholars who have deeply studied these texts and commentaries. Please do scholarly research and explore that which is actual an not simply “belief.” I would give you the names of the scholars but unfortunately all of my texts are in storage as I am on extended travel. I appreciate Shankarar, Vyasa, and all of these glorious humans – their contributions to society and spirituality were profound – but you must really explore the facts and not rely on pure belief.

          One text that comes to mind that will help you understand this is:
          The Seer of the Fifth Veda: Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa in the Mahabharata
          Sullivan, Bruce Millen
          Year: 1984
          I have communicated personally with this scholar and he is definitely one who understands how these ancient texts were changed and somewhat adulterated. While Vyasa did it to protect the veda, Shankara did it to protect and reinforce his theology/philosophy. Does this negate Shankar no, it simply says what he did. Do Buddhists like shankara? No, he drove them out of India. And, if you examine this further, the aspect of Buddhism that Shankara most hated was Mahayana buddhism which is in reality basically Saivism (Kashmiri).

          While Shankara was a great man his theology can be disputed. He views the world as illusion. How can it be illusion is everything is Brahmam? Even this reality is Brahmam – that is pulsations within the body of Brahmam. We don’t have to transcend or go anywhere to know Brahmam – it is here right now. To negate this reality as illusion is to negate Consicousness itself for we are all That consciousness in a differentiated state.
          In one state of awareness God is separate from me. In another state of awareness my life is an illusion and only god exists (and god is still separate because life is an illusion), in another state of awareness God , Consciousness, Brahmam is everything and there is no separation. Finally in another state of awareness all are true. You may do your own internal research and find this out for yourself as I did.

          In that same way, Shankara was a truly great man and yet he wasn’t. It’s all about seeing what is.

          • Anuraag Sanghi said, on March 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm

            It has been a few years since I proposed this hypothesis of linking Shankara and temples.

            What seemed plausible then, now seems improbable.

            To start with Shankaracharya could not have killed Buddhism – unless the Buddhists had done it themselves.

            Buddhist sanghas started with bhikshus – and ended with rulers like the Dalai Lama. Buddha who was a big supporter of the chatar-varnashrama could not have foreseen a power-grab by the priests.

            This made Buddhism just like the Vatican – where political, spiritual and financial power became concentrated in the hands of the Christian priests. In Tibet, it is with Buddhist priests.

            Unlike in India.

            When the Gupta kings became kshatriyas, they gave up their trading rights. They concentrated only on kshatriya dharma.

            Much later, when the Peshwas, originally Brahmins, became the rulers, their position as brahmins was compromised.

            In India’s classical history, Parashurama killed many kshatriyas, who had become too powerful. But Parashurama himself never bid for power.

            Similarly, most rishis and munis created weapons of awesome power that they gave to kshatriyas to use. In recent history, it was gunpowder technology that was given to the poorest, around the Nalanda University region.

            Under the principles of Bharattantra, power, authorities could not be combined.

            Buddhism which was started to put people on the dhamma-pada, (read dhamma=bharattantra) soon gave up dhamma and started to combine both priestly and political power – like the Dalai Lama.

            India could not – and will not accept this concentration of power.

          • samadhyayi said, on March 31, 2012 at 10:52 am

            While Shankara was a great man his theology can be disputed. He views the world as illusion. How can it be illusion is everything is Brahmam? Even this reality is Brahmam – that is pulsations within the body of Brahmam. We don’t have to transcend or go anywhere to know Brahmam – it is here right now. To negate this reality as illusion is to negate Consicousness itself for we are all That consciousness in a differentiated state.
            In one state of awareness God is separate from me. In another state of awareness my life is an illusion and only god exists (and god is still separate because life is an illusion), in another state of awareness God , Consciousness, Brahmam is everything and there is no separation. Finally in another state of awareness all are true. You may do your own internal research and find this out for yourself as I did.

            what on earth implied that shankaracharya considered the first paragraph correct and the second paragraph wrong is beyond my fatigued intelligence.

            morever the idea that shankara had to put words into brahma sutra inorder to prove advaita to God knows whom. lets see whom. the masses. yes the masses must have known brahma sutra to be authoritative so when shankara changed the words they had to agree. or is it the buddhists. as the buddhists considered brahma sutra to be authoritative they too must have taken in when shankara adulterated the book. or did he have to convince the brahmins maybe from abandoning the vedic study so he had to insert and the silly brahmins never guessed it how the wily shankaracharya forced them to mug up vedas for generations berefting them from all the pleasures of life.

            so on the whole shankara became famous because of his ability in inserting words and phrases into ancient texts. i guess all the scholarship is worth nothng before the argument that shankara thought the world was an illusion so he was stark raving mad/ plain silly/ wilful diabolical/ plain ordinary

          • samadhyayi said, on April 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

            i dont understand. now even vyasa adulterated the texts.
            he adulterated the texts that he himself wrote. this does not make any sense.
            when he is himself the authority. why on earth would he have to adulterate another source of authority. and who is the author of this more ancient source. and what is this source called.

            >>vyasa did it to protect the veda
            what on earth did he have to adulterate to protect the veda. did he adulterate the mahabharatha or what.
            surely you dont suggest he adulterated the vedas that too to protect the vedas.
            why on earth does one have to adulterate anything to make their point . can they not Just create a new book. to indians this idea of adulteration appears ridiculous because there is no point in adultering anything. because different versions and explanations can exist side by side. so why on earth would anyone adulterate anything.

            on the other hand if you are talking about taking the lives of historic personalities and changing the events of their life or combining the history of two or more persons into the history of one super person. this is not some great discovery by western scholars. all that they seem to have noticed is the difference between multiple versions or the existence of multiple versions.
            vyasa as his name suggests is all about expanding the concepts of the vedas by creating puranas by using historical personalities and known events.invariably they have to make the lifes of these people consistent to those concepts. but that doesnt mean that history is lost. or that some science is lost. everything can be derived back if one knows how to do it.

            what is the point in accusing people for doing their Job.
            lest somone think malicious purpose

            i hope you understand what you are meaning when you say vyasa and shankara adulterated texts. you are implying a grave insult on india which you
            claim to love.

            all the different versions of all the scientific treatises and religious explanations exist. unlike the west where books are burned . so how on earth can anyone suggest shankaracharya destroyed or that someone else has destroyed.

    • truth said, on April 5, 2012 at 7:00 am

      Learn to stay consistent. Before you said, India had no religions, just dharma. If so, how did shankarachayra got into competitive “religiosity” without existence of any religion?

      • Anuraag Sanghi said, on April 10, 2012 at 8:23 am

        India had no religions, just dharma.

        Had is past tense.

        These mental frameworks are not cast in stone. India has reacted to this religious aggression. Militarily, ideologically, socially.

        India has been living with religion for the last 1200 years now. From 800-1100 AD in mild form. From 1100-1400 AD with a huge religious wave. 1400-1900 AD religion was weak. 1900 to date we see this becoming strong again.

        My views on Shankaracharya are unformed and inadequate. These are points for discussion. I am yet to firm up my views, do the research and write a post. Which is why these are in comments section – and not in posts.

        • Dr. Yagnesh C. Trivedi said, on April 11, 2012 at 1:46 am

          by Dhananjaya Bhat
          What is the oldest Hindu temple in India is a very intriguing question. The use of the term ‘oldest’ is a bit risky when talking about temples associated with Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism).
          Simply because no one has been able to clearly state how old Sanatana Dharma is, although the age of our oldest scriptures the Rig Veda has been attrtibuted of 3500 years ago. Say this temple is the oldest and immediately another person will come with something much older.
          All of us have been nurtured by our elders,that most of the temples had been existing for thousands of year. But recently archaeology – radio carbon dating of historical sites have thrown lot of light into the actual scientific history of our temples.
          As per these evaluations temple construction in India started only about 2000 years ago!.
          Initally after the era of brickwork the Hindu devotees, seems to have concentrated on the cave temples, as these were ready made structures.
          There the people buried their dead and covered the graves with huge stone circles. The Shakyas in the north, however, adopted cremation, collected relics and places them in a stupa for worship. It was further placed in a cave called Chaitya. The first such caves were created at Rajagir around 500 B.C.The caves at Mahur are guarded by huge figures of Yakshas and carry several Megalithic circles on their top suggesting a large Shakya population in its surrounding. The chaitya worship stopped after 300 B.C. when Manu Smriti, the ultimate arbiter of Hindu orthodoxy, prescribed shraddha ( death anniversary) and immersion of relics in rivers and seas.
          Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh became popular to be worshipped in a temple.These structures built of bricks and wood were perishable. Therefore, a cave temple carrying portraits of various deities was started. The image of sage Parasurama with Indra and Surya in the background in the cave at Bhaje dated around 400 B.C. is the first example of such a cave temple. Several such caves were created upto 300 B.C. They, however, proved to be unpopular mainly because the Chaityas were an abode of the dead worshipped by the Buddhists.
          The oldest temples that were built of brick and wood no longer exist. Stone later became the preferred material. Temples marked the transition of Hinduism from the Vedic religion of ritual sacrifices to a religion of Bhakti or love and devotion to a personal deity. Temple construction and mode of worship is governed by ancient sanskrit scriptures called agamas, of which there are several, which deal with individual deities. There are substantial differences in architecture, customs, rituals and traditions in temples in different parts of India. South India is very different from the north. Hundreds, if not thousands, of ancient temples were destroyed during Islamic rule in India (especially in North India) between 1200 AD and 1700 AD. South India was spared this tragedy and therefore has more large temples still standing.
          The stone temples in South India are unique creations as abodes of God. Vastushastra required that a sanctum should have a roof without any support or pillars. To achieve this, brick arch creating a circular dome was evolved in north India creating temples at Gaya, Ujjain and somnath.
          Unlike South India, it is rare to come across an ancient temple in north India that has not been reconstructed. In south India , experience with cave temples created a special expertise and all the elements such as a garbhagriha mandapa, antaral were created at Ellora and other places. What remained was shikhara for which experiments were made at Mahabalipuram
          In conclusion , it may be stated that the artists created a sanctum with pyramide like stone roof with a capstone and a canopy around A.D. 150 the technique spread towards north via Parashurameshwar temple at Bhubaneswar , replacement of brick temples at Bodh Gaya, Ujjain and Somnath.In South Indiathe famous sculptors of Kanchipuram gave lead to Tamilnadu.
          The 2004 tsunami off the coast of Tamilnadu brought into relief two very old temples of south India. When the tsunami scoured away the sands near Mahabalipuram 60 kilometres from Chennai, it has left uncovered two temples and Dr Satchidanandamurti from India’s Archeological Survey, opines that there is evidence here of two temples. a pallava temple at least 800 years old on top, and beneath, a much older one – around 2,000 years old.
          Again seldom visited by westerners because of its remote location in the western state of Gujarat, are the fascinating and extremely beautiful Jagatmandir temple bordered on one side by the ocean coast and on the other side by the town of Dwarka. One of India’s most venerated pilgrimage sites, scholars confirm that the oldest parts of the Jagatmandir temple may only date to the reconstructions of the Gupta period in 413 AD.
          If one were to look out for the oldest Hindu temple functioning today, and not in ruins, we are on safer grounds and it is the Ma Mundeshwari Temple in Kaimur District of Bihar, and it is one of the oldest Hindu temples temples in the world. It has been restored by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and its construction date is ascribed to . 108 A D. Since then rituals and worship have been taking place at this temple without a break. Thus making it the oldest functional Hindu temple ( in fact any place of worship )in the world.
          Ma Mundeshwari temple is situated atop the Kaimur Hill (608ft). and is in an octagonal shape. The sanctum sanctorum of the shrine has an idol of Devi – Mundeshwari. There is also a ‘Chaturmukha Shivling’ in the sanctum sanctorum. A clear indication that Shiva and Shakti were worshipped here. It is also an indication that the temple might be part of the Tantric cult which is quite popular in the Eastern part of India..
          Apart from Shiva and Shakti, this temple also has idols of other popular gods in the Hindu pantheon including Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu and Mother Goddess.
          This temple attracts devotees during festivals like Ramnavami and Shivratri. Interestingly, the present caretaker of the temple is Muslim, yet another example of the religious harmony at the grassroots level in India.
          Maharaja Features
          Kashi Vishvanath temple:
          A Shiva temple has been mentioned in Puranas including Kashi Khanda (section) of Skanda Purana[8].In 490 AD , the Kashi Vishwanath Temple was built.[9] In 11th Century AD, Hari Chandra constructed a temple. Muhammad Ghori destroyed it along with other temples of Varanasi during his raid in 1194.[10] Reconstruction of the temple started soon after. This was demolished by Qutb-ud-din Aibak.[11] After Aibak’s death the temple was again rebuilt by Hindu rajas.[12] In 1351 it was destroyed again by Firuz Shah Tughlaq.[3] The temple was rebuilt in 1585 by Todar Mal, the Revenue Minister of Akbar’s Court.[13] Aurangzeb ordered its demolition in 1669 and constructed Gyanvapi Mosque, which still exists alongside the temple.[7] Traces of the old temple can be seen behind the mosque. It is said that the Shiv-Linga was thrown in the ‘well’. So the original Shiv-linga now resides in the well. The current temple was built by Ahilya Bai Holkar, the Hindu Maratha queen of Malwa kingdom, in 1780.[4] The temple spire and the dome are plated with 1000 kg of gold donated by the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, in 1835.[14]

          Somnath Temple:

          According to the legend, Soma or the Moon God built the temple in gold, Ravana in silver, and Shri Krishna in wood. Soma was cursed by his father-in-law Daksha to wane because Soma loved only one of his wives, all of whom happened to be Daksha’s daughters. His other wives complained about this negligent behavior of Soma to their father Daksha, and thus the curse. He then built a Shivlinga at the Prabhas tirth (a Hindu pilgrimage) and prayed to Lord Shiva who removed the curse partially because asked upon by Soma’s one wife (the one that he loved more than others). Thus, causing the periodic waning of moon.[12][13][14] Pleased by the prayers Soma (Moon god), Lord Shiva decided to rest in that Lingam till eternity, and thus the Jyotirlingam.
          [edit] Timeline
          The first temple of Somnath is said to have existed before the beginning of the common era.[15]
          The second temple, built by the Yadava kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat, replaced the first one on the same site around 649 CE.[15]
          In 725 CE Junayad, the Arab governor of Sind, sent his armies to destroy the second temple.[15] The Gurjara Pratihara king Nagabhata II constructed the third temple in 815, a large structure of red sandstone.

          Somnath temple, 1869
          In 1024 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni[13][16] who raided the temple from across the Thar Desert. The temple was rebuilt by the Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki king Bhimadev I of Anhilwara, Gujrat (present day Patan) between 1026 and 1042. The wooden structure was replaced by Kumarpal (r.1143-72), who built the temple of stone.[17][18]
          In 1296 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Sultan Allauddin Khilji’s army.[13][15][18] According to Taj-ul-Ma’sir of Hasan Nizami, Raja Karan of Gujarat was defeated and forced to flee, “fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors”.[15] The temple was rebuilt by Mahipala Deva, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra in 1308 AD and the Linga was installed by his son Khengar sometime between 1326 and 1351 AD.[18]
          In 1375 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Muzaffar Shah I, the Sultan of Gujarat.[15][18]
          In 1451 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mahmud Begda, the Sultan of Gujarat.[13][15][18]
          In 1701 CE, the temple was once again destroyed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.[15] Aurangzeb built a mosque on the site of the Somnath temple, using some columns from the temple, whose Hindu sculptural motifs remained visible.[19]
          Later on a joint effort of Peshwa of Pune, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore & Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior rebuilt the temple in 1783 AD at a site adjacent to the ruined temple which was already converted to a mosque.[19]
          [edit] Zakariya al-Qazwini

          A Painting of the tomb of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, in 1839-40, with Sandalwood Doors long believed to be the Somnath, which he destroyed in ca 1024, later found to be replicas of the original.[20]
          The following extract is from “Wonders of Things Created, and marvels of Things Existing” by Zakariya al-Qazwini, a 13th century Arab geographer. It contains the description of Somnath temple and its destruction:[16]
          “Somnath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnath. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honor among the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel. The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand.”
          “When the Sultan Yaminu-d Daula Mahmud Bin Subuktigin went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnat, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans. As a result thousands of Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. He arrived there in the middle of Zi-l k’ada, 416 A.H. (December, 1025 A.D.). “The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and the appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which had been sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in the temples of the idols exceeded twenty thousand dinars.”
          [edit] Restoration of temple after Independence

          Statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in front of the temple
          Before independence, Prabhas Pattan was part of the princely state of Junagadh. After integration of Jungadh in to Union of India, the Deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel came to Junagadh on November 12, 1947 to direct the stabilization of the state by the Indian Army and at the same time ordered the reconstruction of the Somanath temple.[21]
          When Sardar Patel, K. M. Munshi and other leaders of the Congress went to Gandhi with the proposal of reconstructing the Somnath temple, Gandhi blessed the move,but suggested that the funds for the construction should be collected from the public and the temple should not be funded by the state. He expressed that he was proud to associate himself to the project of renovation of the temple[22] But soon both Gandhi and Sardar Patel died and the task of reconstruction of the temple continued under K. M. Munshi, who was the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in the Nehru Government.[22]
          The ruins were pulled down in October 1950 and the mosque present at that site was shifted few miles away.[23] In May 1951, Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, invited by K M Munshi, performed the installation ceremony for the temple.[24] Rajendra Prasad said in his address “It is my view that the reconstruction of the Somnath Temple will be complete on that day when not only a magnificent edifice will arise on this foundation, but the mansion of India’s prosperity will be really that prosperity of which the ancient temple of Somnath was a symbol.”.[25] He added “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction”[25]
          This episode created a serious rift between the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who saw the movement for reconstruction of the temple as an attempt at Hindu revivalism and the President Rajendra Prasad and Union Minister K. M. Munshi, who saw in its reconstruction, the fruits of freedom and the reversal of past injustice done to Hindus.[25]
          The present temple, which was built by Patel and Munshi, is managed by Shree Somnath Trust.[26]
          [edit] Architecture

          Arrow Pillar or Baan-Stambh
          The present temple is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture or Kailash Mahameru Prasad Style[12] and reflects the skill of the Sompura Salats, Gujarat’s master masons.
          The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in straight-line between Somnath seashore till Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the Arrow-Pillar called Baan-Stambh erected on the sea-protection wall at the Somnath Temple. This Baan-Stambh mentions that it stands at a point on the Indian landmass, which happens to be the first point on land in the north to the south-pole on that particular longitude.[27]
          [edit] ‘Proclamation of the Gates’ Incident
          In 1782-83 AD, Maratha king, Mahadaji Shinde (Ruler of North India: Ujjain/ Gwalior/ Mathura) victoriously brought the Three Silver Gates from Lahore, after defeating Muhammad Shah of Lahore. After refusal from Pundits of Guzrath and the then ruler Gaekwad to put them back on Somnath temple, these silver gates were placed in temples of Ujjain. Today they can be seen in Two Temples of India Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Mandir & Gopal Mandir of Ujjain.[20]
          In 1842, Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough issued his famous ‘Proclamation of the Gates’ in which he ordered the British army in Afghanistan to return via Ghazni and bring back to India the sandalwood gates from the tomb of Mahmud of Ghazni in Ghazni, Afghanistan. These were believed to have been taken by Mahmud from Somnath. There was a debate in the House of Commons in London in 1843 on the question of the gates of the Somanatha temple.[28] After much cross-fire between the British Government and the opposition, the gates were uprooted and brought back in triumph. But on arrival, they were found to be of replicas of the original.[20] So they were placed in a store-room in the Agra Fort where they still lie to the present day.
          In the 19th Century novel, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, the diamond of the title is presumed to have been stolen from the temple at Somnath and, according to the historian Romila Thapar, reflects the interest aroused in Britain by the gates.[29]

          The Dwarakadheesh temple:
          The Dwarakadheesh temple (Gujarati: દ્વારકાધીશ મંદિર) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, who is worshipped here by the name Dwarkadhish, or ‘King of Dwarka’. It is situated at Dwarka, Gujarat, which is believed to have been built after the historic Dvarka city, the Kingdom of Krishna himself which submerged in to the ocean after the Mahabharata war. The main shrine of the 5-storied building, supported by 72 pillars, is known as Jagat Mandir or Nija Mandir, and is believed to be 2500 years old. The Dwarkadhish Temple is Pushti Marg Temple hence it follows the guidelines and rituals created by Shree Vallabacharya and Shree Vitheleshnathji.
          The present temple was built in 16th century CE, while the original temple was believed to have been built by Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha, over the hari-griha (Lord Krishna’s residential place) and became part of the Char Dham pilgrimages considered most sacred by Hindus in India, after Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th century reformer and philosopher, visited the shrine and even today a memorial within the temple is dedicated to his visit. Dwarakadheesh is the 108th Divya Desam of Lord Vishnu on the subcontinent, glorified in the Divya Prabandha sacred texts.

          [edit] Etymology
          The town of Dwaraka or Dwarka is the first part of the name while ‘adi’ or ‘adee’ means first and ‘eesh’ means lord. The total sum means the temple of Dwaraka’s first lord.
          [edit] History
          The town of Dwarka in Gujarat has a history that dates back centuries, and is mentioned in the Mahabharat as the Dwaraka Kingdom. Situated on the banks of river Gomti, the city’s legend for being the capital of Lord Krishna. The ancient city was submerged by raging sea waters 8 times, but the remains do still exist[citation needed].
          [edit] Architecture
          A temple was built at the site around 400 BC by Vajranabhji, the great grandson of Lord Krishna, however the present structure was built during the 16th century in a typical Chalukyan style of architecture. The beautiful temple rises up to a height of 51.8 mts. Also known as the Jagat Mandir, the temple has two Sikhara. The Nij shikhar (The longer sikhar) is where the deity of Lord Dwarkadhish is placed. The huge temple consists of 60 exquisitely carved pillars and a number of sculptures that depict the influence of various dynasties such as the Guptas, Pallavas and Chavdas (referring to Chavda Kingdom) that ruled Dwarka over the years.
          The entrance to the temple is from the north, also known as the Moksha Dwaar while towards the south is the Swarg Dwaar, from where a series of steps leads down to the banks of river Gomti. According to legend, the temple was constructed in a single day by Vishwakarma, the lord of construction. The deity of Lord Dwarkadhish is made of shiny black stone and is about 2.25 ft in height. The four hands of the Lord carries a conch, wheel, a mace and a lotus each and is popularly known as ‘Shankh Chakra Gada Padma Chaturbhuj’. It is said that the deity was hidden for years to protect it from invaders while another deity brought from the Rukmini temple was installed in its absence. The original deity was reinstalled during the 16th century after the construction of the new temple. The flag atop the temple shows the sun and moon.
          • The flag is changed from 5 times a day, but the symbol remains the same.
          • The pristine condition of the temple and an important discovery in its surrounding has led to the nomination of UNESCO world cultural heritage site status to the temple.
          • There are two styles of building a temple, Dwarkadhish temple is built in Shaiv style whereas Bet-Dwarka temple is built in Vaishnav style
          [edit] Salient features
          • The temple is a five-storey structure built on seventy-two pillars.
          • The temple spire is 78.3m high.
          • The temple is constructed of limestone which is still in pristine condition.
          • The temple shows intricate sculptural detailing done by successions of dynasties that ruled the region. The structure was not expanded much by these works.
          • Lord Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha, is said to have built the original temple of Dwarkadhish over the hari-griha (Lord Krishna’s residential place).
          • The sanctum of the temple is formed by the Jagat Mandir, or Nija Mandir, dating back at least 2500 years.
          • The Jagat Mandir has a tall tower and a hall of audience.
          • There are two entrances to the temple. The main entrance (north entrance) is called “Moksha Dwara” (Door to Salvation). This entrance takes one to the main market. The south entrance is called “Swarga Dwara” (Gate to Heaven).
          • Outside this doorway are 56 steps that leads to the Gomati River.

          Stairs leading up to the Main Entrance, of Dwarakadheesh temple, Dwarka

          [edit] Char Dham
          The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Rameswaram, Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka.[1] Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism established by Sankaracharya, who created Hindu monastic institutions across India, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer.[2] The four monastries lie across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are Badrinath Temple at Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the East, Dwarakadheesh Temple at Dwarka in the West and Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair.[3] There are four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small): Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri – all of these lie at the foot hills of Himalayas.[2] The name Chota was added during the mid of 20th century to differentiate the original Char Dhams.[2] The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus who aspire to visit these temples once in their life time.[4] Traditionally the trip starts are the eastern end from Puri, proceeding in clockwise direction in a manner typically followed for circuambulation in Hindu temples.[4]

          Rameshvaram Temple:

          According to Ramayana, Rama, the seventh incarnation of God Vishnu, is believed to have prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon king Ravana in Srilanka.[1][3] To worship Shiva, Rama wanted to have the largest lingam. He directed Hanuman, the monkey lietunant in his army to bring the lingam from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita (the consort of Rama) built a small lingam, which is believed to be the lingam in the sanctum.[3] This account is however, not supported by any such mention in the original Ramayana authored by Maharishi Valmiki, nor in the Tamil version of the Ramayana authored by Tamil poet, Kambar. Support for this account may be found in some of the later versions of the Ramayana, such as those penned by Swami Tulasidas (15th Century) and others.
          [edit] The Temple
          The primary deity of the temple is Ramanathaswamy (Shiva) in the form of lingam.[2] There are two lingams inside the sanctum – one built by Sita residing as the main deity, Ramalingam and the one brought by Hanuman from Kailash called Vishwalingam.[3][4][5] Rama instructed that Vishwalingam should be worshipped first since it was brought by Hanuman – the tradition continue even today.[4]
          Like all ancient temples in South India, there is a high compound wall (madil) on all four sides of the temple premises measuring about 865 feet furlong from east to west and one furlongs of 657 feet from north to south with huge towers (Gopurams) at the east and west and finished gate towers on the north and south. The temple has striking long corridors in its interior, running between huge colonnades on platforms above five feet high.[6]
          The second corridor is formed by sandstone pillars, beams and ceiling. The junction of the third corridor on the west and the paved way leading from the western gopuram to Setumadhava shrine forms a unique structure in the form of chess board and it is popularly known as Chokkattan Madapam where the Utsva deities are adorned and kept during the Vasntotsavam (Spring festival) and on the 6th day festival in Adi (July–August) and Masi (February–March) conducted by the Setupati of Ramnad.
          The outer set of corridors is reputed to be the longest in the world being about 6.9 m height, 400 feet in each in the east and west and about 640 feet in north and south and inner corridors are about 224 feet in east and west and about 352 feet each in north and south.[7] Their width varies from 15.5 feet to 17 feet in the east and west about 172 feet on the north and south with width varying 14.5 feet to 17 feet.[2][4][7] The total length of those corridors is thus 3850 feet. There are about 1212 pillars in the outer corridor.[7] Their height is about 30 feet from the floor to the center of the roof. The main tower or rajagopuram is 53 m tall.[1] Most pillars are carved with individual composition.[7]
          [edit] Shrines in the temple complex and around Rameshwaran
          There are separate shrines for God Ramanathaswami and Goddess Visalakshi separated by corridor.[6] There are separate shrines for Parvathavardhini, Utsava Idols, Sayanagriha, Perumal, Santanaganpathi, Mahaganapathi, Subrahmanya, Sethumadhava, Mahalaxmi, Natraja, Anjaneya. There are various halls inside the temple, namely Anuppu Mandapam, Sukravara Mandapam, Sethupathi Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam and Nandi Mandapam.Jyotirlingas
          [edit] Temple Tanks
          Main article: Tirthas of Rameswaram
          There are sixty-four Tīrthas (holy water bodies) in and around the island of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India.[8] According to Skānda Purāṇa, twenty-four of them are important.[9] Bathing in these Tīrthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance.[10] Twenty-two of the Tīrthas are within the Rāmanāthasvāmī Temple.[11] The number 22 indicates the 22 arrows in Rama’s quiver.[3] The first and major one is called Agni Theertham, the sea (Bay of Bengal).[2]
          [edit] Significance
          [edit] Char Dham

          Adi Sankara, the Guru of Advaita, who is believed to have started the Char Dhams
          The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham (four divine sites) sites comprising Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka.[12] Though the origins are not clearly known, the Advaita school of Hinduism established by Sankaracharya, who created Hindu monastic institutions across India, attributes the origin of Char Dham to the seer.[13] The four monastries lie across the four corners of India and their attendant temples are Badrinath Temple at Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Temple at Puri in the East, Dwarakadheesh Temple at Dwarka in the West and Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram in the South. Though ideologically the temples are divided between the sects of Hinduism, namely Saivism and Vaishnavism, the Char Dham pilgrimage is an all Hindu affair.[14] There are four abodes in Himalayas called Chota Char Dham (Chota meaning small): Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri – all of these lie at the foot hills of Himalayas.[13] The name Chota was added during the mid of 20th century to differentiate the original Char Dhams.[13] The journey across the four cardinal points in India is considered sacred by Hindus who aspire to visit these temples once in their life time.[15] Traditionally the trip starts are the eastern end from Puri, proceeding in clockwise direction in a manner typically followed for circuambulation in Hindu temples.[15]
          [edit] Jyotirlinga
          As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of saving) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation.[16] To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light.[17][15] Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy.[16] Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity – each considered different manifestation of Shiva.[18] At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.[18][19][20] The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharastra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharastra, Vaidyanath at Deoghar in Jharkand, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharastra.[16][21]
          [edit] Historical pilgrimage
          The temple is one of the famous pilgrimage sites and there are historical references about it. The Maratha kings who ruled Thanjavur established chatrams or rest houses all through Mayiladuthurai and Rameswaram between 1745 and 1837 CE and donated it to the temple.[22]
          [edit] Temple contributions and donations from Hindu kings and zamindars
          The temple in its current shape is belived to have been built during the 17th century, while Fergusson believes the small vimana in the west corridor belonging to the 11th or 12th centuries.[6] The contribution of the kings of the Sethupathy dynasty to the temple was considerable.[4] Especially to be remembered are the immense sums that were spent during the tenure of Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai towards the restoration of the Pagodas which were falling into ruins, the splendid Chockattan Mantapam or the cloistered precincts of the temple at Rameshwaram that he finally completed. The rulers of Sri Lanka contributed to the temple – Parakrama Bahu (1153-1186 CE) was involved in the construction of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.[4] The temple was repaired and substantial portions reconstructed by the Nagarathars of Devakottai, especially Shree AL.AR.RM.Arunachalam chettiar, then Zamindar of Devakottai,He was the Hereditary Trustee of RamanathaSwamy Temple.There after his son AL AR Kalairajah Chettiar,subsequently his son AL AR K Veerappa Chettiar are Hereditary Trustees of Rameswaram RamanathaSwmy Temple.
          [edit] In News
          The temple priests are Mahastra Brahmins who get Diksha from Sringeri Mutt.[23] Shortage of priests has been reported as there are 5 priests to manage the 13 shrines within the temple.[23] The shortage is more pronounced during the 12 day Mahasivarathri festival when the festival deities of the temple are taken in procession.[23] The temple comes under the renovation and consecration of the 630 temples planned to be renovated by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.[24] The temple authorities have planned to renovate and widen the pathways to the 22 holy theerthams of the temple.[24] The consecration of the temple is planned during 2013.[24] The temple is one of the temples offering Free meal scheme of the government, which provides meals to devotees of the temple. A pilgrim house is planned by the government to extend the scheme to more pilgrims.[24]
          [edit] Temple Gallery

          Shri Rameshwar Jyotirlinga

          People and animals alike gather for the Holy Bath, Rameshwaram

          Shankara Math, Rameswaram

          Near the bathing ghat

          The temple car

          Temple tower

          Corridor of 1000 pillars
          [edit] Shrines in Rameswaram

          Ramarpaadham Temple, Rameshwaram

          Naga Idols at Ram Temple, Rameshwaram

          Lakshman Theertham, Rameshwaram

          Sita Kund – Pond named after Sita

          Floating stones (Hanuman Temple)

          Sugreevar theertham, Lotus pond on the way to Ramar Padham

          • Anuraag Sanghi said, on April 11, 2012 at 4:55 am

            Yagnesh Trivedi /Dhananjay Bhat –

            Please note my comment above is very specific. I have said …

            – grand Indian temples, structures that are extant, date from 10th century onwards
            – temples became monuments to impress
            – I am in the process of adding dates, data, events to develop this hyposthesis. It looks plausible.

            There may have been small unremarkable stone, wooden, brick-and-mud temples from Dwaraka and before. But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking of grand Indian temples.

            It is three years that I have proposed this. I am quite unsure of this even now. The real question in my mind is

            Why did India start really big and grand temples?

            From this one questions follows other questions

            – Were these temples only for worship – or were they cultural centres (devedasis promoting dance and music).

            – Were these venues for academic activities.

            Nonetheless, good points.

            • Dr. Yagnesh C. Trivedi said, on April 11, 2012 at 9:25 pm

              The data I posted about the oldest temples was collected from Wikipedia and internet article of Dhananjay Bhatt, since you were falsely claiming that India did not have temples before 1000 AD. You did not answer my question about your religion. You must be a Jain or a Buddhist who wants to discredit Hindus about everything just like the English did when they occupied India. You are wrong in stating that Hindus were converted to Islam peacefully. That shows how biased you are towards Hindus in favoring nonHindus. Forget about your stupid hypothesis. Who cares about your stupidity. You can write nonsense about Shankaracharya and all great Hindu writers like Vyas, Valmiki. We Hindus do not care. You are entitled to your ignorance. Parshuram killed kshatriyas not because they became powerful, but because they killed his father thinking what a brahmin can do. The same mistake was made by Dhan Anand king of Magadh in kicking a brahmin named Vishnugupt. Vishnugupt wiped out the Dhan Anand clan and installed Chandragupt Maurya on Magadh throne. So, be careful when you insult Hindus or Brahmins like Parshuram, Vyas, Shankaracharya etc.

              Note: This comment has been edited. A warning. One more silly personal attack – and you will be blacklisted on this forum. If you wish to participate on this forum, write comments that need not be edited. Don’t put out garbage, that I will need to clean.

              • Anuraag Sanghi said, on April 12, 2012 at 3:35 am

                Yagnesh Trivedi – When you are asked to substantiate your arguments which you claim are based on Ramayana and Mahabharata, you change your arguments and your evidence. Obviously, you neither wish expose the basis of your beliefs or examine evidence, which may contradict your beliefs.

                You don’t worry about my religion. I am completely ir-releigious. My relationship between my god and myself is private and none of your business.

                Lastly, a warning. One more silly personal attack – and you will be blacklisted on this forum. If you wish to participate on this forum, write comments that need not be edited. Dont put out garbage, that I will need to clean.

    • Dr. Yagnesh C. Trivedi said, on April 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

      Are you a Buddhist? You are saying that India did not have temples till 1000 AD mentioning Ramayan and Mahabharata. Have you read these book? Goldplated Somnath temple was created Daksha’s son in-law with name Som who had T.B. and was cured later. That temple was renovated (Silverplated)by King of Lanka. Kings in South India are called Rav or Ravan(Ram is called Raman there). This Ravan is mentioned in Ramayan. It was renovated again by Krishna (without metal plating) using wood only. Krishna is mentioned in Mahabharata. Thousands of temples existed in Kashi, Mathura, Puri, Dwarika, Avantika, Patan(Gujarat) and all over Bharat from Afghanistan to Assam and Kailash to Kanyakumari.

      • Anuraag Sanghi said, on April 10, 2012 at 8:13 am


        Now can I have some adhyaya, khand, shlok references! Instead of assertions.

        Please understand that these are points for discussion. I am yet to research this to my satisfaction – and write a post on this, and take a position.

        Consider the following: –

        Indus Valley /Saraswathi Basin have not seen any temples in more than 2000 settlements. Indus Valley /Saraswathi Basin settlements were abandoned between 3000-1500 BC.

        If you check the individual temple history of Somnath, Tirupati, Kanchipuram, Jagannath Puri, all these maha-mandirs were built in the 8th century-15th century. There may have been simple garbha-griha, murti-sthapana earlier, but grand temples we see today are not from Ramayana and Mahabharata eras.

        What I remember of worship scenes in Ramayana is a sand shiv-linga before the invasion of Lanka. The Amarnath Shiv-linga is made of snow.

        Shiv-lings made of sand and snow. Not granite and marble.

  12. galeo rhinus said, on February 19, 2009 at 4:18 pm


    Indic thought has always remained dynamic – which has allowed itself to counter the forces of dogma.

    The period of Buddha was a time of intense philosophical churning within India. In addition to Buddha’s teaching were three other schools of thought that came into prominence – mimansa, samkhya amongst others. Each of them viewed Indic polity in an analytical and agnostic way (not atheistic as some have argued). Each of them preserving the Indic polity – yet arguing that the self (atman) and the whole (brahman) are distinct.

    Shankaracharya during the early 800s, in the tradition of Indic thought articulated another competitive school of thought that debated these schools of thought – particularly mimansa (which means debate) with other scholars. His ideas, as presented in the Saundarya Lahiri, suggest that the analytical mind is not in contradiction with the whole mind – but in fact the two are inseparable… the atman and the brahman are the same – non-dual, therefore adwaiita.

    His discussions took him on long journeys in various schools – where is debated the most learned philosophers.

    Not unlike previous times – Indic thought evolved within India.

    However, Buddhism had propagated to many parts outside of India – from west Asia to east Asia and SE Asia. Unlike India, these places accepted, adapted and then codified Buddhist teachings into textbooks to be literally interpreted. Buddha’s ideas, which remain integrated within the Indic framework, were isolated and established as dogma outside of India.

    Eventually Buddhism the religion and Buddha’s teachings in Indic thought came into conflict only when Buddhism reemerged in India as a religion and a political force.

    Inaccurate assessments were made and invalidated dogmas were presented to counter each other. I would give very little weight to any suggestions of “destruction” done by Shankaracharya…

    I see your ayurvedic friend, anuraag and I as three blind men touching an elephant – interpreting what we feel…

    …Indic thought, including Buddhism continue to be analyzed through the fog of dogmatic faiths that have come to rule today’s world.

  13. Dr. Jessie Mercay said, on February 20, 2009 at 5:45 am

    I take my adult students to India every year to study traditional art and architecture. We also visit with our Shilpi Guru, the legendary Dr. V. Ganapati Sthapati. He has told me many times that temples were not originally for worship per say. They were buildings for town meetings, healing and social life. The unique mathematical formulas (tied with physics) that are used to build them are said to actually alter the frequency of “energy” that prevails in the structure thus affecting the individuals spending time in them. In a number of the texts you mentioned in your comment above, the great architect Mayan is mentioned. And, yes, Mayan who originated traditional Indian architecture according to shilpis and sthapatis, built forts, castles, villages, towns, and homes without much mention of temples. But he did it with the same mathematics that temples are built with.
    I look forward to your data.


  14. Anuraag Sanghi said, on February 20, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Parag – Thought to dogma … faith to religion … dharma to commandments … happened due to stagnation and lack of evolution.

    1. The centres of Indian thought, Takshashila (possibly by Alexander’s army, modern history states the HUnas did it), Nalanda, etc. were destroyed by Islamic invaders.

    2. 600 years later, the British further damaged the Indic system of education, with State subsidies and patronage of Western education.

    Thus a lot of what we see today is through the prism of last 800 years of violence and destruction of Indic thought. This problem gets further magnified with the existing and continued subsidy to English language /Western education by the Indian Government.

  15. […] Alexander’s campaign to drum up alliances, with Indian kings on the borders of his Persian empire, did not yield much gold or wealth. Unlike the description of Persian cities, the description of Indian cities in all the Greek accounts, is of very simple and plain Indian cities. Not one Indian city is extolled for its beauty, or its buildings, palaces or temples. […]

  16. […] of Alexander’s actions, seemingly aimed at patching up alliances with Indian rulers on his borders, to avoid the fate of […]

  17. Scott said, on October 1, 2009 at 2:27 am

    The assertion that “Alexanders men were frightened” after the victory over Porus is ABSURD to say the least. An army , which had been fighting for 7 years and nearly 17,000 miles from home and had lost through either disease or casualty of war more than half of its forces……………….WAS SIMPLY WORN OUT and this is absolutely understandable. However, it is common for either the people of India, to somehow “restore” their pride (which was never an issue in the first place so I cannot understand that) in saying that “Alexander and his army was scared” or people who want to show Alexander in a different light, for whatever reason. Alexander was not scared. His army was not scared. They were humans and hade traveled /fought their way on foot, 17,000 miles (not like today’s troops by C130’s 😉 ) and were tired of years of constant war. As for Alexander “holding on to his gains in asia”………….well, that is a very stupid thing to say because……………HE DIED SHORTLY AFTERWARDS on his return home. To say that “he couldnt’ hold onto his gains is idiotic in the extreme, in light of that.

    • Pawan Aggarwal said, on August 15, 2010 at 8:26 am

      Scott you also need a fresh light of explanation of the deeds of your favourite alexander, so so need to go through following links for sure:



      If these links won’r open-up, let me knwo I will cut and paste the whole text

    • Vibhu said, on October 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      TO SCOTT-

      i am not surprised by the arrogance and haughty attitude shown by you as you are no different from your forefathers. Indians were peaceful people. They rarely invaded other countries, why-

      1) Because they were enough prosperous. They had enough food, gold and a huge army.
      2)They had culture and Art (shocking to you, right?). They send messengers to other kingdoms in the world to spread culture and exchange ideas. Similarly they welcomed foreign visionaries with open arms.

      Much of Europe was a savage kingdom, killing each other for food. Basically, there was hardly any culture except Greece, of course.

      We had more literature than any of the western world+ mid-asia ever could imagine.
      Kalidas’s works and works by great indian writers were voluminous texts which i am afraid to tell, were far more accomplished , considering they were written in Sanskrit.
      Thanks to the Islamic invaders and the conspiracy of our local community,they destroyed Nalanda, Takshila- The biggest universities and libraries in the world at that time. Very few texts were left

      The reason why everyone in this country knows the 2 greatest epics ever written- “Mahabharata and Ramayana”, is that majority of the country was literate and knew sanskrit, and the 2 epics were recited by poets and sages to each other and to people. This is how it got passed to generations. Even today, we speak Ramayana at major festivals.

      About Alexander- THE Basic Question i have for all of you is this-

      WHY WILL A RULER WHO ENTERED VIA THE KHYBER PASS, WOULD LEAVE THE COUNTRY VIA THE THAR DESERT and in a boat to Babylon, where he died. NORMALLY, a king would go back via the route he came so as to show his triumph. BUT ALEXANDER left his army, rather his army left him- and fled .He died of gangrene, which most probably was due to a wound inflicted in a fight with an indian army.

      And nobody, i mean there’s no mention of Porus in our hymns, poems, stories that were narrated, although there is mention of Alexander as SIKANDER and also Megasthenes. Indians know Porus through the Western History, why ,because it was made a popular history.

      HISTORY that you know is what you are taught my friend. Histroy is actually what you learn and gauge by the cicumstances. YOu question History, and then search for answers. Just believing everything, is not akin to learning history.
      You know nothing about India. If you want to know anything, live with indians, understand their thought process
      and their culture, then make a assumption.

      As far as the Buddhists and Jains are considered, I respect the religion, but i am a little skeptical in the role played by them in shaping indian history. Buddhists and Jains were basically formed in retaliation to the caste system of the Hindus, the strict rules of hinduism, and other such beliefs.

      We talk about why, Islamists destroyed Indian temples, because they would destroy anythings they thought was related to idol- worshipping. Tell me one thing- Why did they not destroy the Bamian Buddha and other Buddha statues in Afghanistan, their own country. ? Why would they burn Hindu scriptures and texts and preserve the Jain ones ?

      Islamist kings were savages, they only looted and plundered, why this sudden leap of faith. Possibly, the buddhists and Jains lend them support in conspiring for the downfall of the other kings, thereby the Islamists not destroying their statues.
      I am not against the buddhists and Jains as such froma cultural point of view, but yes i am against them when they came into politics.
      Of course, this is a viewpoint.

  18. Dr. Jessie Mercay said, on October 1, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Scott, I’d like to make several points 1. It is absolutely understood by most historians that Alexanders men were freightened by Indian war elephants. There are a few western accounts which leave that fact out but it is true. His men were tired but they entered that war after having two months of rest. How tired can you be after two months of rest? His men in fact tried to revolt against alexander because they didn’t want to fight in India. I’m sure they were simply tired of fighting but it is a fact that the elephants scared them. In relation to this, his troops did not trvel 17000 miles. It is 3000 miles from Egypt to India by air so maybe double that by foot. Granted that’s a long way to travel but it’s not 17000 miles as you stated.

    2. Much of widely published history was written Europeans who have systematically tried to glorify theirselves and simplify Indians to justify the barbaric invasion of India by the British and other Europeans. Max Muller, for example, was paid to mistranslate the Rig Veda to make India look like a savage people who had savage religous practices. Europe wanted the textiles, spices and other resources of india so it needed to show them to be savages so that they couyld justify their colonialism.

    3. I think the tone of your post was extremely rude. Using words like “stupid,” “absurd,” yelling in all caps, is innapropriate for this forum – or any forum for that matter. I am curious why you would want to defend someone like Alexander with such vehemance. He was a great strategist but the fact is he was a ruthless killer who through his own egotistical needs wanted to conquor the world. He went to war time and again against people who were no threat to him and did not harm him in any way. He walked into their home uninvited, stole from them and raped their women. How noble is that?

  19. Dr. Jessie Mercay said, on October 1, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    For those of you who doubt the assertions that Europeans have consciously and systematically destroyed Indian culture read this:

    Lord Macaulay toured India and followed his tour with an address to
    the British Parliament on Feb 2, 1835. The following is a piece from
    that address. It will give you an idea of the strength and purity of
    India prior to the British. The British government determined that they would like to take over large parts of India for monetary benefit. Lord Macaulay and others gave them the key:

    “I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not
    seen one person who is a beggar,(or) who is a thief. Such wealth I
    have seen in this country. Such high moral values. People of such
    caliber that I do not think we could ever conquer this country, unless
    we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and
    cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old
    and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think
    that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their
    own they will lose their self esteem, their native culture, and they
    will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

  20. Ajay said, on November 6, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Aren’t there any contemporary Indian accounts of war with Alexandar?

    Guess most of it is locked away in native language writings which are yet to be translated

  21. Anuraag Sanghi said, on November 12, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I think more than the native languages needing translation are four aspects which are frequently overlooked by followers of Western historiography:-

    1. Boasts and propaganda

    Alexander’s ‘famed’ conquest of India were more in the nature of boasts rather than fact. Hence, there are no oral or written Indian (or for that matter even Persian) accounts of this ‘conquest of India’. You have to remember that India was seen as unconquerable till about 15th century AD.

    During Genghis Khan’s campaign, the only safe place for Muslim refugees from the Middle East and West Asia was India – during the reign of Iltutmish. Cleopatra, facing imminent defeat and death, thought that escape from Romans, to India, the ‘safe haven’ was the answer to her problems. I am unsure how the Bohris of Gujarat, left Yemen and came to India to prosper here. The Parsis came ‘back to Bharata’ – possibly the real name of Bactra, where Zoroaster was born.

    The above post covers how Semiramis and Cyrus, famous conquerors, were sent back from Indian borders. So, Alexander’s invasion was possibly just propaganda. He used his ‘conquest of India’ story to instill fear and impress his newly conquered subjects.

    2. Secondly, Indian historiography

    The West labours on names, places, dates, geography, incidents, conquests, military operations, pillage, loot, slavery, captives, etc. Indian historiography, in the form of Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, various other texts and scriptures focus on the learnings and lessons to be drawn.

    As an example, I am particularly impressed with one text (linked in my post) which traced the life of Semiramis very well – in a Puranic manner. So, you will not find any parallel to Herodotus in India. Ever!!

    3. Indian numismatics

    Indian coinage was not a State monopoly – unlike the Rest of the World. Hence coins in Indian context are not of the historical value that is assigned in histories of other cultures.

    4. Definition of India

    The biggest stumbling block is the definition of India itself. India meant different things at different points of time. Mahabarata includes practically the whole of Central Asia and West Asia as a part of India. That is not the India that we think of, when we talk of India today. So, the concept of India itself changed as times went by.

  22. Sucheta said, on March 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm


    Why The Greeks Never Came Back To India

    By Rakesh Krishnan Simha , December 2009 [ rakeshmail@gmail.com]
    1Chapter :
    Alexander invaded India expecting a heroic entry but in the end it turned into a humiliating retreat.

    If you’ve seen the epic movie Alexander by Oliver Stone, you wouldn’t have missed the noted American director’s commentary at the end where he talks about the battle of Multan. Stone – with smugness more suited to a conqueror than a director – narrates how the Macedonian king single-handedly jumped into combat against 1000 Indian defenders, inspiring his dithering Greek soldiers and commanders to storm their fort.

    To the victors go the spoils, so if the Greeks and Macedonians were really victorious, as European accounts narrate, then why did they leave India so soon? After all, over 99 per cent of the country was still unconquered. And why did the retreating army resemble a defeated brood – rather than a triumphant force – trekking across inhospitable areas, losing an estimated 60,000 men in the process?

    The fact is that Alexander’s Indian campaign was a complete disaster for the Greeks. They were traumatised after the first few battles, losing most of their men in ferocious battles against Indian warriors, the likes of whom they had never encountered before.

    Let’s flashback to history! In 326 BC the formidable Greek-Macedonian army entered India. It was the first time Europeans and Indians first looked into one another’s faces; the first meeting of the two halves of the Aryan people since their forefathers had parted centuries before.

    In his first encounter, Alexander fought for four days against the warlike people of the city of Massaga in Swat valley. On the first day of this battle, Alexander was injured and forced to retreat. The same fate awaited him on the second and third days. When Alexander lost men and was on the verge of defeat, he called for a truce. Clearly, the Indians weren’t aware of the Trojan horse episode, for the Greeks slaughtered the unaware and unarmed citizens of Massaga as they slept in the night of the fourth day believing that the battle was over.

    In the second and third battles at Bazira and Ora, Alexander faced a similar fate and again resorted to treachery to defeat those fortresses. But the fierce resistance put up by the Indian defenders had reduced the strength – and perhaps the will – of the until then all-conquering Macedonian-led army.

    Greek histories record that Alexander’s hardest battle was the Battle of Hydaspes (Jhelum) in which he faced King Puru, the Yaduvanshi king of the Paurava kingdom of Punjab. Paurava was a prosperous Indian kingdom on the banks of the river Jhelum, and Puru – described in Greek accounts as Porus and standing over seven feet tall – was a generous monarch.

    Perhaps, he was generous to a fault. Legend has it that ahead of Alexander’s entry into India, his Persian wife Roxana, the daughter of the defeated Persian king Darius, arrived in Paurava to meet King Puru, who was preparing for war against the foreign invader.

    Roxana gained access to Puru, and through the bond of rakhi, declared herself his sister. She then begged Puru to spare her husband’s life if he encountered the Macedonian king in battle. The large-hearted Indian king agreed to this bizarre request.

    In the autumn of 326BC, the Greek and Paurava armies faced each other across the banks of the river Jhelum in Punjab. By all accounts it was an awe-inspiring spectacle. The Greeks had 34,000 infantry and 7000 cavalry. This number was boosted further by their Persian allies.

    Facing this tumultuous force led by the genius of Alexander was the Paurava army of 20,000 infantry, 2000 cavalry and 200 war elephants. Being a comparatively small kingdom by Indian standards, Paurava couldn’t have had such a large standing army, so it’s likely many of its defenders were hastily armed civilians.

    According to Greek sources, for several days the armies eyeballed each other across the river. They write Alexander could not move his army across the river because it was swollen from the rains.

    A lamer excuse is not found in history! Alexander’s army had crossed the Hellespont, a 1-8 km wide strip of sea that divides Asia and Europe, and which was well defended by the Persians. In comparison, crossing the narrower Jhelum against a much smaller adversary should have been a far easier task.

    In reality, the Greek-Macedonian force, after having lost several thousand soldiers fighting much smaller Indian mountain cities, were terrified at the prospect of fighting the fierce Paurava army. They had also heard about the havoc that Indian war elephants were supposed to create among enemy ranks. The modern equivalent of battle tanks, the war elephants also scared the wits out of the horses in the Greek cavalry.

    In the Battle of Hydaspes, the Indians fought with bravery and war skills that no other army had shown against the Greeks. In the first charge by the Indians, Puru’s brother Amar killed Alexander’s favourite horse Bucephalus, forcing Alexander to dismount. In battles outside India the elite Macedonian bodyguards had not allowed a single enemy soldier to deliver so much as a scratch on their king’s body, let alone slay his mount. Yet in this battle with the Paurava army, not only was Alexander injured, the Indians killed Nicaea, one of the leading Greek commanders.

    According to the Roman historian Marcus Justinus, the battle was savagely fought. Puru challenged Alexander, who charged him on horseback. In the ensuing duel, Alexander fell off his horse and was at the mercy of the Indian king’s spear (and this is where legend meets history) when Puru perhaps remembered his promise to his rakhi sister (probably a Trojan horse sent in by the Greeks). He spared the Macedonian’s life, and Alexander’s bodyguards quickly carried off their king.

    The Greeks may claim victory but if Alexander’s troops were so badly mauled by the petty regional fiefdoms, how could they have crushed the comparatively stronger army of Puru? An unbiased re-examination of contemporary histories suggests the Greeks probably lost the battle and Alexander sued for peace.

    In his epic volume, The Life and Exploits of Alexander, a series of translations of the Ethiopic histories of Alexander, E.A.W. Budge, Egyptologist, orientalist and philologist, has given a vivid account of the Macedonian’s misadventure in India.

    According to Budge, who worked for the British Museum in the early part of the 20th century, in the Battle of Hydaspes the Indians destroyed the majority of Alexander’s cavalry? Realising that if he were to continue fighting he would be completely ruined, the Macedonian requested Puru to stop fighting. True to Indian traditions, the magnanimous Indian king spared the life of the surrendered enemy. A peace treaty was signed, and Alexander helped Puru in annexing other territories to his kingdom.

    The Greek geographer Strabo complains in the Geographika that all who wrote about Alexander preferred the marvellous to the true. Certainly he alludes to Alexander’s original propaganda to glorify his struggle in the East. He created his own mystified version of the campaign, transforming it into a search for divine traces.

    For instance, the ancient Greeks believed that Dionysius, one of their chief Gods, had his origins in India. They also lamented that the legendary Heracles had failed in his Indian campaigns. Alexander wanted to succeed in the Dionysius’ homeland where the great Heracles himself had failed. Also, while the ostensible purpose of Alexander’s campaign was to avenge the Persians’ destruction of Athens, the real reason was that he had many enemies among Macedonia’s elite, and a state of continuous war kept the warriors and public busy. Indeed, he simply could not afford to go back defeated. The web of lies he and his entourage spun was in keeping with that scheme.

    Plutarch, the Greek historian and biographer, says of the Battle of Hydaspes: “The combat with Porus took the edge off the Macedonians’ courage, and stayed their further progress into India. For having found it hard enough to defeat an enemy who brought but 20,000 foot and 2000 horse into the field, they thought they had reason to oppose Alexander’s design of leading them on to pass the Ganges, on the further side of which was covered with multitudes of enemies.”

    Indeed, on the other side of the Ganges was the mighty kingdom of Magadh, ruled by the ferocious and wily Nandas, who commanded one of the largest standing armies in the world. According to Plutarch, the courage of the Greeks evaporated when they came to know that the Nandas “were awaiting them with 200,000 infantry, 80,000 cavalry, 8000 war chariots, and 6000 fighting elephants”. Undoubtedly, the Greeks would have walked into a slaughterhouse.

    Still 400 km from the Ganges, the Indian heartland, Alexander ordered a retreat to great jubilation among his soldiers. The celebrations were premature. On its way south towards the mouth of the Indus river, Alexander’s army was constantly harried by Indian soldiers. When the Greeks pillaged villages, the Indians retaliated. In some kingdoms, the Indian soldiers simply fell upon the Greeks because they wouldn’t tolerate foreigners invading their country.

    In a campaign at Sangala in Punjab, the Indian attack was so ferocious that it completely destroyed the Greek cavalry, forcing Alexander the great to attack on foot. However, in the following counterattack, Alexander took the fort and sold the surviving Indians into slavery. (That’s another facet of the Macedonian that is glossed over by western historians; Alexander was far from being a noble king, and on the contrary was a vicious and cruel person.)

    His battle with the Malavs of Multan – the most warlike people of Punjab – is perhaps the most recounted. In the hotly contested battle, Alexander was felled by a Malav warrior whose arrow pierced the Macedonian’s breastplate and lodged in his ribs. The Indian warrior seeing the enemy king fall, advanced to take his armour but was checked by Alexander’s bodyguards who rushed into the battle to save their king. The Macedonians later stormed the fort and in revenge killed every one of the 17,000 inhabitants of the fort, including women and children. Alexander never recovered from the wound and died in Babylon (Iraq) at the age of 33.

    Western historians depict the Battle of Hydaspes as a clash of the organised West and the muddling East. That one battle is portrayed as the Greek conquest of India, while the fact is that Alexander merely probed the north-western extremity of India. Puru was by any reckoning a minor king and doesn’t even merit a mention in Indian accounts.

    The Greek invasion of India was a popular subject in Greece and Rome for many centuries. The Alexander romance even entered medieval European literature and religion. Much later it became the fountainhead of inspiration for the colonisation of the East, especially India.

    Yet within a few years after Alexander’s retreat, the Indians drove the Greeks out of India. Inspired by the master strategist Chanakya, Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Mauryan dynasty, defeated Seleucus Necator, Alexander’s satrap. This was quite unlike the rest of Alexander’s other territorial conquests. It took the Sassanians 500 years to get back Persia from the Greeks. The Parthians were able to depose the Greeks 250 years after Alexander. Egypt never recovered its lost glory.

    Arrian, the Roman biographer of Alexander, says the only ‘victory’ celebration by Alexander’s troops was after the battle with Puru. Surprising – that Alexander’s troops did not celebrate any victory, till the very end of the campaign. Was it, instead, a celebration that they had escaped with their lives?

    The Greek retreat from India shows clear signs of a defeated force. Indeed, if the Greek and Macedonian soldiers were really that tired of fighting, as western historians claim, then the ‘triumphant’ troops should have returned via the same route they arrived. But instead they preferred to trek south through unknown and hostile lands in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. The only explanation is that they didn’t want to face the mountain kingdoms again.

    Also, it’s a myth that the Greeks and Macedonians were tired of fighting and were hankering to meet their families. Alexander’s army had a system of rotation where large batches of soldiers were released to return home (with sufficient gold, slaves and other spoils of war) after major victories. In their place, fresh troops eager to do battle (and lured by the promise of more loot) were constantly trickling in from Greece.

    There is more indirect evidence of the lack of major Greek victories in India. The booty that fell into Greek hands after they defeated the Persians in the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC is estimated at 100,000 talents (more than 2,500,000 kilos) of gold. However, there is no mention of any large booty captured from India – strange because those days India was pretty much swimming in gold and other precious metals and stones. So it can be safely argued that Alexander failed to get his hands on a substantial booty because he never won any substantial victories.
    On the contrary, Alexander gave King Ambhi, the ruler of Taxila, 1000 talents (over 25,000 kilos) of gold to fight alongside him in the battle against Puru. That’s even stranger! Because Greek sources say Ambhi voluntarily came over to their side. So why a willing ally was paid such a large amount? If Alexander was really rolling through India, it’s inconceivable he would pay off a minor king to ally with him.

    Almost all accounts of Alexander’s campaigns in India have been based on modern European translations of ancient texts. Unless Indian universities and think tanks look at the original Greek, Roman, Ethiopian and Egyptian manuscripts, a clear picture will not emerge. European translations are mostly slanted for obvious reasons. The Greek and Roman civilisations are the wellspring of western thought, science, culture, religion and philosophy; a defeat for Alexander ‘the Great’, would be a blow for all that he represents – especially the triumph of the West over the East.

    Until Indian scholars ferret out the facts, let Plutarch have the last word. The Greek historian says that after the battle with the Pauravas, the badly bruised and rattled Greeks were frightened when they received information that further from Punjab lay places “where the inhabitants were skilled in agriculture, where there were elephants in yet greater abundance and men were superior in stature and courage”.

    No wonder the Greeks never came back!

    • Rathiraj said, on June 12, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Excellent. It contains the true account of the events that led to demotalised return of Alexander from the Indian shores. Obviouslt, the Western and British accounts have been doctored to show them superior.

      • Shivendra Sharma said, on July 25, 2015 at 6:27 am

        It wasn’t a demoralised retreat you moron! No European is interested in doctoring their accounts to show themselves superior since the European civilisation is in modern date far more superior if true facts are to be spoken. You can’t argue on the fact that every 3rd Indian still lives earning under $1 a day and we still have the dirtiest cities in the world. As if Europeans are really interested in showing themselves superior in such circumstances 😛

        This article is nothing more than a wishful thinking of a pseudo-intellectual who thinks his logic is right. If logic and fact both are to be taken into account, then the fact remains that Alexander actually did beat Porus on the field of Hydaspes. That is something nobody can challenge. Of course if ‘what-if’ analysis is to applied everywhere, then I’m quite sure there would be tons of idiotic content on history coming out. The fact is that:

        1. Alexander’s territory extended even more east from Hydaspes well towards the forts of Aornos and Massaga. If you have evidence to show that the conquest of these two forts east of Hydaspes is also false, then please present them. Alexander’s last military climax was on Aornos which borders our Indian Punjab.

        2. The author fails to challenge the fact that the man established the city of Alexandria Bucephalos was established in what is now Sindh. Elaborate excavations have already unearthed the city and its descriptions found in ancient texts match. How come this city was found when you all think that a world conquering Greek Attila who could steamroll the most power Persian armies would be defeated on the shores of India. Seems extremely out of place for.

        3. The author again fails to give evidence against the Indo-Greek kingdom which is different from Graeco-Bactrian kingdom and had its borders as far as into Punjab. Menander (Milinda) had even successfully taken back some parts of the area that were lost after Alexander’s death.

        4. The author fails to give written as well as physical evidence on the account that Alexander actually was beaten and was forced to retreat, be it an Indian account or Greek. And this is the biggest flaw of it all. How can you PROVE something that has NO evidence?

        5. There is lack of evidence that suggests that Alexander DID NOT give Porus back his kingdom as the author suggests

        6. There is lack of evidence that suggests that Porus was personally made his own satrap (Kshatrap is Sanskrit).

        7. And lastly, there is total lack of evidence that SUGGESTS that all these accounts are doctored.

        If these 7 little points can be challenged, then I would be more than satisfied that the Indian invasion is actually truly doctored. Without it, the fact still stands the Alexander was the doctor at Hydaspes. Presenting in professional, systematic facts to rewrite history is one thing, presenting in bull brained nationalistic chauvinism to deliberately rewrite world history is a different thing. Since I stay away from being a ‘stupid Indian’, I rather choose the first approach that has objectivity and reasoning in it.

  23. Harish said, on May 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Gargi Dixit doesn’t know her history very well.

    The concept of India (or Bharat) was present before Chanakya but the emphasis was more on cultural unity than political unity.

    In a sense it was similar to ancient Hellas with it’s city states like Athens & Sparta but I don’t see anyone arguing that this disproves the existence of a Hellenic culture.

    For it’s time India was a remarkably free society, as Megasthenes points out in his Indica he saw no chattel slavery in India that was so common in Greece at that time. No use trying to backproject modern notions of egalitarianism onto ancient societies, if you want to compare then compare ancient India with ancient Greece or Rome not today’s world.

  24. Nitesh said, on May 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Greek historians tell us that Alexander was brutal and involved in destroying of Persian empire. Also there are some account that say he massacred unarmed people in north western Indian reign. A man like Alexander who is eager to invade India and who is so cruel can take someone’s life who is a barrier to his dream of conquering India.

    Alexander return a kingdom, it is not possible.

    And what about Ambhi who fought with Alexander. if Alexander would have won the battle than Ambhi was the legitimate successor of Porus kingdom.

    As by Greek historian account he has a rival to king Porus, to win Porus”s kingdom he entered into an alliance with Alexander.

    And why a politician like Alexander will make a trusted friend (Ambhi) an enemy by making an enemy (Porus) a friend? It doesn’t make sense. Alexander must have been defeated by Porus. That is the only reason he made peace with Porus.

  25. prabhu said, on November 29, 2010 at 4:11 pm


  26. […] […]

  27. The Mindset said, on January 14, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Loved the post…seriously
    I have not read such greatly analyzed article for long. The use of links and references really helped a lot.
    i hope you will keep the good work in future too.
    Keep writing.


  28. Dr. Yagnesh C. Trivedi said, on January 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Sohrab Modi, a hindi movie producer, director and actor, a parsi by birth, made a movie titled, “Sikandar”, in 1941, starring Pruthviraj Kapoor(as Alexander) and himself(as Puru) based on Greek accounts, since India was under British rule. He did not have courage to show the real history of war between Alexander and Puru, where Puru defeated, captured and then released wounded Alexander on humanitarian ground. When I was in 6th grade, my Hindi language teacher, Jaysinh Saheb, had told me that Greek history was wrong about the war between Alexander and Puru. He had said that as a matter of fact, Puru had won that war and he spared life of Alexander. I had to wait till 2004, to see movie titled, “Alexander”, which showed him being seriously injured by an Indian king monted on elephant without mentioning name Puru(Porus in Greek), and carried off by Greek troops. This came very near the truth, but not 100%. Since the movie did not show Alexander conquering Indian king Puru, the movie flopped in the USA. I agree with Sucheta and Nitesh here about Alexander’s defeat at the hand of Puru. The pity is that this wrong history written by the English is still being taught in India.

    Similarly, King Pruthviraj Chauhan defeated Mohammad Ghori 17 times. After the battle of taraori(tarrain) in 1192, Mohammad Ghori captured King Pruthviraj Chauhan by treachery, and took him to Gajani, but still was not able to capture Delhi, since he had not won the war. Muslim historians write that Mohammad Ghori won the battle at taraori. Actually, Pruthviraj’s son, Kola, ruled Delhi till 1206. Muslim historians say that Mohammad Ghori put Pruthviraj’s son, Kola, on the throne of Delhi. This is a complete lie. Whereever muslim invaders won, they put muslims in charge. Pruthviraj Chauhan killed Mohammad Ghori in Ghori’s own court by shooting arrow. In 1206, when Kutubuddin Aibak attacked Delhi, Pruthviraj Chauhan’s son Kola went to Ranthambhor. Pruthviraj’s grand son Govind established kingdom in Ranthambhor. Pruthviraj Chauhan’s decendents ruled other parts of India till 1947.

  29. john said, on February 10, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Fantastic Article. No one will know the real truth, but the history books do not correlate with the evidence. Unfortunately a lot of history is propaganda, look at all the crazy religions every body think are real??

    Great article.

  30. DoesNotMatter said, on February 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Good Analysis. To be sure, I was always queasy about Alexander’s india campaign. The details simply did not seem to match the conclusions. Once I read a newspapaper account where Bill Clinton supposedly came to a book signing for a book of his (My life) and signed 10000 books in 3 hours. I laughed out loud and exclaimed that 3 hours have 10800 seconds. So he signed book a second? But until I pointed it out no one even noticed. And I had to explain this to people. Seems to me, people switch of their brains when they are reading stuff that comes from supposedly authoritative sources such as newspapers or history textbooks.

  31. daniyal said, on March 28, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Chinese invented the two-sided modern stirrup. So how can you read further after finding out the same crap being presented here as the one being denounced ?

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on March 28, 2012 at 6:08 am

      Daniyal – You have not given any links or support for your statement that the Chinese invented the stirrup. My own research on this invention tells me that the entire Chinese credit is dependent on the work on one man. Needham.

      Needham was a confirmed Sino-phile, who contrived evidence to support his claims. For some of his claims, he does provide excellent evidence. For many, he simply asserts.

      On the evidence of Indian usage of stirrup:

      1. What is referred to here is called the toe-stirrup, and was different and earlier than the double-sided Chinese stirrup that you refer to.

      2. The Indian invention of the toe-stirrup, a first in the world, happened probably around 500 BC-300 BC, at the latest by 200BC.  The Indian invention of the toe-stirrup, made horses easy to ride and manage.

      • Dr. Yagnesh C. Trivedi said, on March 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm

        When the Europeans came to India, they saw the greatness of Indian Dharma, history, music, dance, science, technology, mathematical achievements, Sanskrit language’s antiquity, richness, perfection and beauty, they suffered from inferiority complex. So, they tried systematically to discredit everything about India. They started giving credit to themselves or others but not Indians about India’s inventions, discoveries, technical and mathematical achievements. They gave credit to Greeks for trigonometry, geometry, ankganit, astronomy, Sumerians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Phoenicians for invention of letters, languages and civilization’s history , Chinese for invention of paper and gun powder, Arabs for numbers and algebra, and themselves for rocket technology, calculus, etc. That was the only way they could conquer India and force it to submission. The pity is that some Indians started believing their lies and felt proud to serve them and please them instead of standing up against them. They copied our musical ragas and then gave credit to European kings and European musicians for creating them by changing names. Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Huns, Kushans, Shakas were doing the same things before them. Chinese are doing the same in Tibet. Tibetan Buddhists did the same to Hindus there after occupying Kailash, Mansarovar and other Himalayan mountain areas and renamed them and the rivers. Burma’s Buddhist did the same and changed name from Brahmadesh to Myanmar.

        That is how the conquer treats the conquered. It is no wonder. Arabs, Iranians, Iraquis, Egyptians, Serians, Turks, Pakistanis and Afghans now do not want to believe that Hindu dharma was there followed by Baudh Dharma in their own countries. They all have tried to wipe out Hindus but have not succeeded. The vedic and upnishad philosophy caught the minds of Americans and they tried to take credit for democratic system creation and also tried to give credit to Greeks. So the Hindu principles of universal welfare, equality, freedom, human rights, etc. are now propagated in the new name of American ideas. As long as they are winning war after war it will continue. If some other country dominates in future they will take credit for everything past, present and future developments to themselves.

        May be that is the narrowness and selfishness of human thinking. Only great human thinkers of present and future times can change this present and past trends.

    • hun77 said, on September 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

      ”chinese invented the stirrup”


      the chines took every horse echipement from scythians.

  32. Dr. Yagnesh C. Trivedi said, on April 13, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Dear Anurag:

    I am glad to know that you are irreligious. Since I have taught astronomy in community college in Jacksonville, Florida, I am free from any religious beliefs.

    Regarding your quest for Indian temple, I will say that many Sun temples of India, pyramids of Egypt, Mayan temples in Honduras, Guatemala, Al Salvador and Mexico were created to study the Sun’s apparent motion at equinoxes and solstices. The statues inside Sun temples in India were situated such that on the day of equinoxes the statue in the center will be illuminated by Sun’s rays at the time of Sunrise, on the day of summer solstice, the statue on the right of the center one will be illuminated and on winter solstice the statue on the left of center one will be illuminated. The people who created this Sun temples knew that Sun is in the sky and not inside the temple. They were astronomers of their time. They were tracking sun to plan crop production and keep their calendar to keep track of time.

    The belief based religions of one book or one religion creator did not understand astronomy, and took joy in destroying these Sun Temples which were in fact observatories to study Sun’s apparent movement at sunrise or sunset and study planets’ motion in night sky through out year. They took joy in burying their dead kings or queens in these observatories like pyramids or destroying Sun Temples in Modhera, Gujarat and Jagannath Puri in India.

    Temples became place for cultural activities. Dance started from the time of Shiva and continued since then. These dances were performed with orchestra of musicians and singers in temples as worship. In the hot atmosphere of many parts of India, an air cooling mechanism was created to let water drip one drop at a time on the statue below and drain the water easily through guided path. Evaporating water took the energy from surrounding air and cooled the inside. That statue inside was a symbol of a great man of past Shiva.

    When tantrik cults took over temples after Vikramaditya in 57 B.C. who was brother of Bhartruhari with capital at Avanti and who ruled most of India and his kingdom extended up to Arabia, temples were filled with erotic statues and dancers were turned into devdasis for exploitation by priests and kings. King of Gujarat Bhimdev-1 married one such devdasi dancer Chauladevi. Khajuraho and other such temples were created during the period from 5th to 12th century.

    I have seen modern temples in India and U.S.A. being created with the sole purpose of making money without any consideration to astronomical rules of creating temples called Vastushastra. We have one temple in Jacksonville, Florida where Sunlight never enters the temple at Sunrise or sunset.

    During Bhakti movement people created Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta cults and started fighting with each other. Examples are Sant Gnaneshvar, Mirabai, Narsinh Mehta, Gaurang Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Tulsidas, etc.

  33. S.Suchindranath Aiyer said, on May 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Alexander obviously learnt that the easiest way to take India is to buy its rulers. The British Empire was consolidated with just ten wars. 4 Maratha, 4 Mysore and 2 Sikh. The rest were purchases of key people backed with bayonets. China might succeed where Pakistan fails?

  34. HinduIDF said, on September 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Reblogged this on Hindu Internet Defence Force and commented:
    The Dog Called Alexander ?? Did he Really Defeated Indians or he Lost in India

  35. ravi varma said, on May 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    wonderful discussions

  36. Andracottus IlIl said, on June 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    This would make perfect sense. Indians did not know much of Greeks before Alexander. Its only natural that the Puranas identify them with the more usual Huna mercenaries of Alexander who always tried to invade India.

    But there is a serious inconsistency .(From “Pernicious effects of misinterpreted Greek Synchronism” by Kosla Vepa) The Greek records mention Xandramas and Sandrocyptus as the kings immediately before and after Sandracottus.These names are not in any way phonetically similar to Mahapadma Nanda and Bindusara, who were the predecessor and successor of Chandragupta Maurya, respectively. However, if Sandracottus refers to Chandragupta “Gupta”, Xandramas reckons to be his predecessor Chandrashree alias Chandramas (the last of the main dynasty of Andhra Satavahana Kings) and Sandrocyptus to be Samudragupta. The phonetic similarity becomes quite apparent and also, with the assistance of other evidence, confirms the identity of Sandracottus to Chandragupta Gupta.

    Now how can Purugupta have fought Alexander if he is the Great Great Grandson of Samudragupta who himself is the grandson of Sandracottus who met Alexander????
    Can this be resolved?

  37. Ajay Sharma said, on August 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Indians have so low self esteem left now that any effort to resurrect them will be viewed as right wing propaganda. There are ample people in India who do not find anything in Indian history of which Indians should be proud of. Most of the people will make fun of “Glorious past of India”. For them India did not have nationalistic sense until colonizers made them realize it. If majority of Indians think so why would the rest of world should be interested in boosting morale of Indian people. It is we as a modern society feel that if something is not documented in History then it is not worth discussion. To draw a corollary, if we do not have name of Rose documented in botanical research then it will make its fragrance and beauty useless. Essence of India is great topic and will always remain so. People may like it, hate it, be dismissive about, over exaggerate it and do whatever you can put in words. India lives and evolves and without waiting for its documentation.

  38. hun77 said, on September 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

    i also observed the absolute stupid explanation about ‘ why he did not pursued the scythians’ [ otherwise the scythians could not be ‘pursued’ because usualy they pursued others like the hell ]

    or Curtius or Arrian writes this.

    the scyths in fact beated him in Caucas and Pontus.

  39. Shivendra Sharma said, on July 22, 2015 at 7:07 am

    This article actually amused me and made me nauseate when I realised that there really are a bunch of stupid nincompoops especially in India who are hellbent through all their strength and guesses and conjectures trying to disprove Alexander’s invasion.

    There are stupid people who coin his retreat as ‘humiliating’! Idiots! You fail to realise that his retreat was in the interest of his whole army! The men wanted to go back to their homes, to meet their children and families. But stupid people will never know that he actually promised pensions for every man in an age when pensions were not all so common!

    You fail to remember that Alexander managed to capture the fortresses of Aornos and Massaga after his victory at Hydaspes! And he took Porus as his own ally!

    Pure idiots! No wonder why Lord Ellenborough actually made fun of us in British Parliament of the levels of uneducation India had at that time! Seems it hasnt really changed much!

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