Naga Worship in Afghanistan (Post No.3154)


Compiled by London swaminathan

Date: 14 September 2016

Time uploaded in London: 20-43

Post No.3154

Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.

Afghanistan, now a Muslim country, was once ruled by Hindu and Buddhist Kings. Many of them were from the Naga tribes. Their names and the mode of worship explode the half-baked Western theories that they were non-Aryans. Here is an excerpt from the book “The Sun and the Serpent” by C F Oldham, Indian Army Officer, 1905.


“The great Persian hero Ruustam was the son of Zaal, and his mother was Ruudabeh, the daughter of a serpent chief. Ruustam was called a Kaabuli because of his relationship with Afghanistan.

Ferishta tells us that the race of Zahaak, one after another, succeeded to the chieftainship of Ghor until the time of the Prophet. We learn also, from the same authority, that the genealogy of the kings of Ghor, according to the most authentic historians, could be traced upwards by the names for three and twenty generations.

Minhaaju-s Siraaj, who came from Ghor to India in 1227 CE and whose father was Kazi to the army of Mahomed Ghori, commences his history with a genealogical list, which traces their descent back through Zahaak to Noah. It seems therefore, that the ruling family of Kaabul, in the time of Ruustam, and the chiefs of Ghor, as late as the thirteenth century, claimed to be of serpent race. The Rig Veda mentioned Ahi, the serpent chief and the Zend Avesta mentioned Azi.


People of the country between Kaabul and Kashmir worshipped the Nagaa demi gods.


In the Pahlavi Kaarnaam-I Artakshir Papakaan it is mentioned that the Persian King Artakshir in the first half of the third century was defeated more than once, and his camp taken, by Haftan Bokht. This chief who was ruler of Kirmaan and Lord of the Dragon, worm or serpent, eventually defeated and killed. The ruins of his fortress of guzaaraan are near the town of Bam, not far from the frontier of Baluchistan. The bam fort is still known as Kut-i-Kirm, or fort of the worm or serpent.


My comments:-

Kirm, English word germ, all come from the same Sanskrit root for worms. Kut is the Sanskrit word for peak and living place (Kuti, hut etc). All the Kings from the times of Ruustam, the legendary Persian hero, they had relationship with Naga tribes or Kings. This author interprets Ahi, enemy of Indra, as a Naga Chief in the Hindu Kush area. He may be right.

Idol worship was prevalent in spite of conversion to Muslim religion.



“Other traces of the serpent race remain in the neighbouring country. In Baluchistan is the Koh—I Maaraan or the Mountain of the Serpents. Which doubtless took its name from the race of Zahaak.

And one of the legends of Heraat says that this fortress was founded by a daughter of Zahaak.


“Notwithstanding the conversion of the people to the Mohammedan faith, traditions connected with the serpent (Sanskrit word Sarpa = snake) race still remain in the wild country between Persia and the Indian border. Near Mazar, in northern Afghanistan, is the village of Gor-i-Maar, or grave of the serpent, where a great serpent is said to have been killed by Ali. Amongst the Kafirs of the Hindu Kush, also, there is a tradition that the Bashgul valley was once held by a great serpent, who devoured travellers passing that way, and who was killed by Imra or Indra.


Reports of Chinese Pilgrims

The first clear descriptions we have, of the country between Kaabul and the Indus, are those of the Chinese pilgrims who visited India as the holy land of Buddhism. Of these Fah Hian arrived in India about 400 CE, and seems to have travelled by way of Baatli and the Upper Indus valley.


This pilgrim says: “Crossing the River Sinto (Sindhu/Indus), we come to Wuchang, where commences Northern India.”

Wuchang, or Udyaana, included the valley of Swat river and much of the neighbouring country.

Fah Hian goes on to say that the language and the dress of the people, and their food and drink, are the same as in Mid India. They were, therefore, an India race. He further describes the religion of Buddha as very flourishing, and mentions that Sakya (Buddha) visited this country, to convert a wicked Naga.


“Fah Hian also says that the Nagas of the Tsung-ling mountains (Hindu Kush), when evil disposed, spit poison, winds, rain and snow. He notes, too, that in Udyaana a stranger was entertained for three days and was then requested to find a palce for himself”. This is a Rajput custom, which is referred to by Quintus Curtius in his account of the entertainment of Alexander by Taxiles, and which exists to this day.



My Comments

In Tamil also we have a proverb that Feast and Medicine is only for three days. There is another saying in Tail, First day- Vazai Ilai/on a full length Banana leaf; Second Day- Thaiyal Ilai/Stiched Leaf; Third day-Tharaiyila/on the floor; Fourth Day- thalaiyila/on your head!

So this custom of entertaining a guest is done only for three days from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.


“Sung Yun, another pilgrim, entered Udyaana about 518 CE by way of Kashkara (Chitraal) valley. He records that the king of the country was then a Buddhist, who observed a vegetable diet, and that the Buddhism was flourishing.


Naga Temple with 50 Priests!

This pilgrim mentions a regular system of irrigation from the rivers, which indicates a considerable degree of civilization. He also escribes a Naga temple, which was served by fifty priests or more, and says that the king propitiates the Naga with gold and jewels and other precious offerings.


“The pilgrim says a former Naga Raja of this lake was killed by another Naga, who seized upon his possessions and caused great mischief by raising storms. A stupa and a vihara, built by Kanishka Raja, were six times destroyed by the Naga. At last Kanishka collected his army, intending to destroy the Naga chief, but then he submitted.

In Lamghaan, wich was subjected to Kapisa, there were about ten sungharamas with few followers, and there were several scores of Deva temples. In a great cavern was the abode of the Naga Gopala. At Hidda, a neighbouring town, were many relics of Buddha, including a skull bone and an eye ball.


“In Gandhara which was then governed by an officer from Kapsa, was the ancestral home of the king of Kaabul and of so many neighbouring countries.


“Hiouen Tsiang, on his way back to China, was entertained by this king at the city of Udabhaandapura or Waihnad, which as noticed by Cunningham, and more flly by Stein of one of the capitals of the Hindu Saahiya Dynasty the pilgrim marched with the king by way of Lamghan to Kabul. This again shows that the  Kshatria king of Kaabul was one of the Saahis of the Kator or Pala dyasty of Gandhara.


The pilgrim describes some of the towns and villages as deserted, but others were rich and prosperous. There were many sugharamas and stupas, some of them in ruins and many temples of the Devas. It is mentioned too that men came from every part of India to pay their vows at the temple of Bhima devi.


This is the country which was said by Sung Yun, in AD 520, to have been destroyed by the yetha two generations before. The Hindu rajas had evidently recovered possession.


“Hiouen Tsiang next came to Udyaana, which has been described by earlier pilgrims. Here he found the law of Buddha greatly respected but Buddhism was less flourishing than formerly. There were temples of the Devas, and the Naga demigods still ruled the elements and still presided over that lakes and fountains.


The pilgrim visited the fountain at the Naga Apalaala, which the source of the Swat river. He visited also the Stupa built by Uttara sena, the Sakya king of Udyaana over the relics of Buddha.

“Hiouen Tsiang relates the history of Uttarasena, and of his marriage with the daughter of the Naga raja, through whose influence he obtained the kingdom. He also says that over the head of the princess appeared the hoods of a nine headed Naga.


The he visited Takshasilaa. Whenever the people wanted rain or shine, they went with Buddhist priests to the tank of Nagaraja Elapatra, where after praying, they immediately obtained their desires.”



From this source we learn

1.From Kabul to Indus Hindus lived there until seventh century.

2.Buddhis religion existed along with Hinduism

3.Worship of Brahmanical Gods and Naga demi gods was practised

  1. Naga worshipping people inhabited the area.







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