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 13 - Country of ’O-hi-chi-ta-lo (Ahikshetra)

Note: Ahikshetra (or, Ahikshatra, Ahichchhatra) was the capital of North Pāñchāla or Rohilkhaṇḍ.[1]

This country[1] is about 3000 li in circuit, and the capital about 17 or 18 li. It is naturally strong, being flanked by mountain crags. It produces wheat, and there are many woods and fountains. The climate is soft and agreeable, and the people sincere and truthful. They love religion, and apply themselves to learning. They are clever and well informed. There are about ten saṅghārāmas, and some 1000 priests who study the Little Vehicle of the Ching-liang school.[2]

There are some nine Deva temples with 300 sectaries. They sacrifice to Īśvara, and belong to the company of "ashes-sprinklers" (Pāśupatas).

Outside the chief town is a Nāga tank, by the side of which is a stūpa built by Aśoka-rāja. It was here the Tathāgata, when in the world, preached the law for the sake of a Nāga-rāja for seven days.[3] By the side of it are four little stūpas; here are traces where, in days gone by, the four past Buddhas sat and walked.

From this going south 260 or 270 li, and crossing the Ganges river, proceeding then in a south-west direction, we come to Pi-lo-shan-na (Vīraśāna) country.

Footnotes and references:


Ahikshetra, Ahikshatra, or Ahichchhatra, a place named in the Mahābhārata, i. 5515, 6348; Harivaṃśa, 1114; Pāṇini, iii. 1, 7. It was the capital of North Pāñchāla or Rohilkhaṇḍ. Lassen, Ind. Alt., vol. i. p. 747; Wilson's Vish.-pur. (Hall's ed.), vol. ii. p. 161.


In the text "wang" is a mistake for "ching", but the school is properly the Saṃmatīya school.


The old story connected with this place was that Rāja Adi was found by Droṇa sleeping under the guardianship of a serpent, hence the name Ahichhatra (serpent canopy). This story was probably appropriated by the Buddhists. For a full account of this place and its present condition, see Cunningham, Archæolog. Survey of India, vol. i. p. 259 ff.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: