Buddhist records of the Western world (Xuanzang)

by Samuel Beal | 1884 | 224,928 words | ISBN-10: 8120811070

This is the English translation of the travel records of Xuanzang (or, Hiuen Tsiang): a Chinese Buddhist monk who traveled to India during the seventh century. This book recounts his documents his visit to India and neighboring countries, and reflects the condition of those countries during his time, including temples, culture, traditions and fest...

Chapter 4 - Country of K’iu-lu-to (Kuluta)

Note: Kulūta is the district of Kulu in the upper valley of the Biyās river and is also called Kolūka and Kolūta.[1]

This country is about 3000 li in circuit, and surrounded on every side by mountains. The chief town is about 14 or 15 li round. The land is rich and fertile, and the crops are duly sown and gathered. Flowers and fruits are abundant, and the plants and trees afford a rich vegetation. Being contiguous to the Snowy Mountains, there are found here many medicinal (roots) of much value. Gold, silver, and copper are found here—fire-drops (crystal) and native copper (teou). The climate is unusually cold, and hail or snow continually falls. The people are coarse and common in appearance, and are much afflicted with goitre and tumours, Their nature is hard and fierce; they greatly regard justice and bravery. There are about twenty saṅghārāmas, and 1000 priests or so. They mostly study the Great Vehicle; a few practise (the rules of) other schools (nikāyas). There are fifteen Deva temples: different sects occupy them without distinction.

Along the precipitous sides of the mountains and hollowed into the rocks are stone chambers which face one another. Here the Arhats dwell or the rishis stop.

In the middle of the country is a stūpa built by Aśoka-rāja. Of old the Tathāgata came to this country with his followers to preach the law and to save men. This stūpa is a memorial of the traces of his presence.

Going north from this, along a road thick with dangers and precipices, about 1800 or 1900 li, along mountains and valleys, we come to the country of Lo-u-lo (Lahul).[2]

North of this 2000 li or so, travelling by a road dangerous and precipitous, where icy winds and flying snow (assault the traveller), we come to the country of Mo-lo-so (called also San-po-ho).[3]

Leaving the country of K'iu-lu-to and going south 700 li or so, passing a great mountain and crossing a wide river, we come to the country of She-to-t'u-lo (śatadru).

Footnotes and references:


Kulūta, the district of Kulu in the upper valley of the Biyās river. It is also called Kolūka and Kolūta,—Rāmāy., iv. 43, 8; Bṛīh. Saṃh., xiv. 22, 29; Wilson, Hind. Theat., vol. ii. p. 165; Saint-Martin, Etude sur la Géog. Grec., pp. 300 f. The present capital is Sultānpur (Cunningham). The old capital was called Nagara or Nagarkoṭ.


Lahul, the Lho-yal of the Tibetans.


This country is also called San-po-ho (Sampaha?).—Ch. Ed. The suggestion of General Cunningham that Mo-lo-so should be read Marpo (Mo-lo-po, St. Martin, Mém., p. 331) is quite admissible. Mo-lo is equal to "mar", and the symbol "so" is often mistaken for "po". The province of Ladāk is called Mar-po, or the "red district," from the colour of the soil. The distance given by Hiuen Tsiang, viz., 4600 li from Jālaṅdhara, is no doubt much in excess of the straight route to Ladāk, but as he went no further than Kulūta himself, the other distances, viz., 1900 + 2000 li, must have been gathered from hearsay. Doubtless the route would be intricate and winding.

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