Habits and Habitats of Kulinda/Kuninda people of Mahabharata Era

Habits and Habitats of Kulinda/Kuninda people of Mahabharata Era
History of Kumaon, Garhwal (Uttarakhand) – Part 29

Historical Aspects of Ancient communities of Kumaon-Garhwal (Uttarakhand), Himalayas-26
Historical Aspects of Mahabharata Kulindas or Kunindas Janpad of Uttarakhand (1400-400 B.C.) part-7
(All the History write ups are dedicated to great Historians Hari Krishna Raturi, Badri Datt Pandey and Dr Shiv Prasad Dabral)
By: Bhishma Kukreti
Habitats – There are four types of inhabitant of Kulinda/Kuninda people in Mahabharata
3-Piligrimage Places
4-Ashram or education centers
Villages and Towns of Kulinda/Kuninda of Mahabharata

The villagers were two types
1-Stable village dwellers
2-Roaming villagers who used to change village according to season as happens today in Niti and Mana regions of Garhwal. These villagers used to live on high upper Himalayan hills in summer but used to migrate in winter towards southern parts. The herdsmen used to roam.
There were villages in Bhabhar near water sources. Nag communities used to live near Gangadwar (Hardwar). There are mentions of palaces here in Mahabharata.
The houses were built by wood, mud and stones. The roof used to be either of grass or stones.
Ekchakra Town- Ekchakra town of Vetrakiy kingdom seems to be important town of Kulinda people of Mahabharata. Pandavas lived here in their bad days. Ekchakra was hygienic city and was attractive. The city had thousands of inhabitants. The majority of inhabitants were Brahmin. People used to offer foods to Brahmins with pleasure.
The king of Vetrakiya was defeated by a Rakshsa and then Bhima of Pandvas killed that Rakshsa.
Kulindnagar- It seems Kulindnagar started from Hardwar and might be up to Rishikesh as chariots used to be driven there in that town.
Varnavat- Varnavat was also very beautiful city near Ganges bank. According to Kedarkhand, Varnavat was in Uttarkashi district.
Shonitpur- Shonitpur was the capital of Vanasur an Asur king. It seems Shonitpur was in Nagpur Badhan regions of Chamoli Garhwal District.

Pilgrimage, Sacred, Holy Places of Mahabharata Kulinda, Kuninda Region

Gangadwar (Hardwar), Kankhal, Kubjamrak, , Kushavart, nagtirth, Vilwak, were famous pilgrimage places for dipping into the reverend rivers.
Other pilgrimage, holy, sacred places of Kulinda or Kuninda region of Mahabharata were Agystvat, Agnishivir, Angarparn, Angriashram, Gangamahadwar, Balaka, Bhardwajteerth, Bhrigutirth, Bhrigushring, and Vasudhara.

Education centers or Ashrama of Mahbharata Kunida or Kulinda Region

Angirashram, Upamanyu Ashram, Badrikashram, Kanvashram, Devlashram, Bhrigu Ashram, Nar Narayan Ashram were famous education centers of Mahabharata Kuninda/Kulinda region of Uttarakhand.

Economy of Mahabharata Kulinda /Kuninda Region
Agriculture- Kulinda/Kuninda citizens were mainly dependent on agriculture, animal farming, and forest produces. The citizens used to produce food not only for them but for also for education providers. The cereals were rice, barley etc. There were many types of fruits and vegetations (already described earlier).
Animal farming- Mahabharata describes domestic animals of Kulinda/Kuninda region as cow, buffalo, Chnvar Gay(Yak), sheep, goats, horses, donkeys, and elephant. Perhaps people used to domesticate dogs too.
Kulinda/Kuninda of Uttarkahnd had great identity for milk producing cows. Even the post Mahabharata writers as Panini and Kashika appreciated very much the productive domestic animals of Uttarakhand especially cows and bulls.
Badrikashram region of Kulinda Uttarakhand was famous for Chanvar (flippers) of wild ox and sheep and woolen dresses.
In plains of Uttarakhand or Kuninda /Kulinda region of Mahabharata period was famous for beneficial horses and elephants.

Craftsmanship in Mahabharata Kulinda /Kuninda Region –
Woolen Products – The Uttarakhand or Kuninda/Kulinda region was very famous for woolen articles in Mahabharata era.
Honey Bee Farming or honey beekeeping – The people of Mahabharata Kuninda /Kulinda knew bee farming and they also used to collect honey from forest.
Flippers from wild ox- The flippers of whiskers from tail of ox were exported from Uttarakhand of Mahabharata Kulinda/Kuninda region.
Mineralogy- Mahabharata states that mineralogy was very much there in Kulinda /Kuninda region. The region was having identity for its minerals mines, precious stones. The gold, silver and iron were exported to other parts.
The metal pottery technique was very much developed in Uttarakhand region of Mahabharata Kulinda/Kuninda region. The metal appliances makers used to produce metal weapons, dishes, bowls, and vessels.
The hut and building technique were of supreme categories. People knew the uses of resins and other building materials.
Stone Appliances- Mahabharata mentions various stone appliances found in Kulinda/Kuninda region.
Wooden Appliances –Mahabharata describes various wooden appliances used by people of Kulinda/Kuninda region.
Weighing and Measuring Appliances- There is no mention of weighing and measuring application of Kulinda/Kuninda region in Mahabharata except Dron. Dron is equal to dun of Garhwali –Kumauni unit of weighing material. Dun or Dron is equal to thirty two ‘man’ or kilos.
Transportation facilities in Mahabharata Kulinda/Kuninda Region
Chariot in Plains of Uttarakhand- There are mentions in Mahabharata about horse cart or chariot being used in plains of Kulinda/Kuninda region as in Gangwadwar , Kanwashram.
Common people used to walk by foot. However, the rich or elite people used to sit on soldiers or back of strong slaves or servants.
Rich and elite people also used Kandi (grass or wood box) on the back of servants for reaching from one place to other.
The grass rope bridges were used to cross deep rivers.
People also used cot type of appliances to carry rich people.
People used to take various care and used to have arrangement of food etc while travelling in hills of Kulinda/Kuninda region.
Social customs, Social culture in Mahabharata Kulinda/Kuninda Region

Loan /borrowing- the words Pitririn, Matririn, Gururin, Devrin, Rishrin , Manushyrin in Mahabharata suggest that there was some system of borrowing and loan too.
Marriage Types in Kulinda, Kuninda societies
The son was a must for the couple as son was related to get heaven after death. Tarpan system also suggests that to have son was important aspects of life.
Due to load of agriculture, having many wives was common system in Kulinda/Kuninda people of Mahabharata Age.
Brahm type of Marriage- When marriage was fixed by analyzing the education, qualities and family traits the marriage was called Brahm marriage.
Asur Type of Marriage- When the groom family used to take the girl by force or without consent of girl or girl side, the marriage was called ‘Asur’ marriage.
Gadnhrva Marriage type-The love marriage or by consent of only girl and boy was called ‘Gandharva’ marriage. Gadnharva marriage was common but society used to resist such marriages or the society was not in favor of Gandharava marriage.
Choosing groom by bride- Among elite class, the Swayambar type of marriage was also common. The desirous grooms used to come in one place and bride used to choose her groom from them. There was dowry system.
Widow marriage- There was widow marriage system too.
Son- There is mentions of Niyog system or test tube bay producing type system in Mahabharata for producing sons.
There were many Sanskars (Rituals for various age) to be performed by people as birth celebration, thread ceremony, learning ceremony, hair cutting ceremony, counseling rite, marriage, cremation, shradh or paying tribute after death every year.
Division of Labor- The human being was divided among Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra from the birth.
Joint Family- joint family system was common.
Importance of Women- There was mother power system and father power systems together. There was importance for women. However, there were many liberal and strict taboos for women too.
Sati system- There was sati system (woman burning with dead husband) in Mahabharata age.
Widows- There was many taboos and rules and regulations for widows many of those still prevail in Hindu –Jain societies of India.
Son-Son used to get main importance in the family
Daughter- There was importance of girl in the society. Many times girls were married for getting diplomatic benefits.
Woman as consumable item- Women were also used as consumable items as Draupadi was given to Duryodhan by Yudhisthar.
Social behaviors- There were untold rules for people to obey as respecting orders, respecting teachers, obeying councilors or kings.
Getting education- the division of labors was started at that time. Therefore people of each caste were advised to take cast wise education. That is Brahmin will read, Rajput would take war and weaponry training and craftsmen would take training from family members for craftsmanship.
Social gatherings- There were various social gatherings and ceremonies as Bhoj, Nritya, sports, archery show, war show, gambling etc in the society.
Non vegetarianism – taking non vegetarian food was common.
Hunting-The hunting was common.
Slavery- There was slavery system
Four spans of life- The people used to obey four cycles of human life- Brahmcharya by twenty five years, grihsthashram by sisty years and vanprasth after sixty or so.
Yogi- There were Yogis in the society.
Worshipping deities- people knew the techniques of worshipping deities and even evil spirits.
Truthfulness- People used to pay attention on truthfulness.
Sin- People were afraid of doing sinful acts.
Astrology- There was importance of astrologers. People used to believe on supernatural powers, mantras, tantra etc

Copyright@ Bhishma Kukreti 4/05/2013
(The write up is for general readers and may not be suitable for history research scholars)
History of Garhwal – Kumaon (Uttarakhand) to be continued… Part -30
Ancient communities of Kumaon-Garhwal (Uttarakhand), Himalayas- to be continued…27
Historical Aspects of Mahabharata Kulindas or Kunindas Janpad of Uttarakhand (1400-400 B.C.) to be continued…8

References and Further Reading Suggestions:
Ajaya Rawat, History of Garhwal
Alexander Cunningham, 1996, Coins of Ancient India: From Earliest times down to the Seventh century
Badri Datt Pandey, 1937, Kumaun ka Itihas, (second edition.) Shyam Prakashan, Almora (page 155-179)
B.P. Kamboj, 2003, Early Wall painting of Garhwal
C.M Agarwal history of Kumaon
Dabral, Shiv Prasad, 1968, Uttarakhand ka Itihas Bhag-2, (pages117 to321), Veer Gath Press, Dogadda, India
Dabral, Shiv Prasad, 1992, Kulinda Janpada
Dinesh Prasad Saklani, 1998, Ancient Communities of the Himalayas
D.D Sharma, 2009, Cultural History of Uttarakhand
D.P Agarwal, Jeewan Singh Kharakwal, 1995, Cist Burials of the Kumaun Himalayas
D.P Agarwal, J Kharakwal, 1995, Kumaon Archeology and Tradition, Almora Book, Almora

Hari Krishna Raturi, 1921, Garhwal ka Itihas
Imana Simha Cemjonga, 2003, History and Culture of Kirat People
Jagdish Bahadur , 2003 Indian Himalayas
J.C. Agarwal, S.P.Agarwal, S.S. Gupta, 1995, Uttarakhand: Past, Present and Future
John Whelpton, 2005, History of Nepal (page 22 , Khasa)
Khadak Singh Valdiya , 2001, Himalaya: Emergence and Evolution , Uni Press, Hyderabad, India
Khemanand Chandola, 1987 Across the Himalaya through Ages: a study of relations between Central Himalayas and Westren Tibet
K.P.Nautiyal, B.M. Khanduri, 1997, Him Kanti (page 85 for Khasa)
Kanti Prasad Nautiyal, 1969, The Archeology of Kumaon including Dehradun
K.P Nautiyal, B.M. Khanduri, 1991, Emergence of Early culture in Garhwal, Central Himalaya
Lalan Ji Gopal and Vinod Chandra Shrivastava , History of Agriculture in India (up to 1200AD(article of Dr K.P Nautiyal et all – Agriculture in Garhwal Himalayas o to 1200AD, page 162)
Maheshwar Prasad Joshi, 1990, Uttaranchal (Kumaon-Garhwal) : An Essay in Historical Anthropology, Shri Almora Book, Almora

Minyan G. Singh, 199, Wooden temples in Himachal
M.S. S Rawat (editor), Himalaya: a Regional Perspective
Mamta Chaudhari, 1977 Tribes of Ancient India
Narendra Singh Bisht and T. S Bankoti, 2004, Encyclopedic Ethnography of the Himalayan Tribes (Page for Khasa – 736)
Dr. Naval Viyogi, Professor M A Ansari, 2010 History of the Later Harappans and Shilpkara Movement (two volumes) Kalpaz Publication, Delhi, India
O.C. Handa, 2003, History of Uttaranchal (Page 22 for Khashas)
O.C. Handa, 2009, Art and Architecture of Uttarakhand
O.P Kandari and O.P Gusain, 2001, Garhwal Himalaya (Pages for Khasa- 309/360)
Parmannad Gupta, 1989, Geography from Ancient Indian Coins and Seals
Prem Hari Har Lal, 1993, The Doon valley Down the Ages, Dehradun, India
R.C.Bhatt, K.P. Nautiyal, 1987-88Trans Himalayan Burials, visa vis Malari, an Assessment, JOSHARD, Vol11-12 (pp 95-101)
R.C. Naithani, 1999, Radiant Himalayas,
S S.S. Negi, Back and beyond, Garhwal Himalaya: Nature, Culture and Society
S.S.S. Negi, Himalayan Rivers, lakes and Glaciers
Sukhdev Singh Charak, 1979, History and Culture of Himalayan states
Savita Saxena, 1995, The geographical Surveys of Puranas
Surendra Singh, 1995, Urbanization in Garhwal Himalaya: a geographical Interpretation
Upinder Singh, 2008, History of Earlier and Medieval India.
Vishwa Chandra Ohri, 1980, Himachal Art and Archeology, State Museum, Shimla , Pages 3,5 and 65)
H. Sarkar, A.Banerji 2006, Hari Smriti , Chapter ‘ The Kunindas and their Archeology in Garhwal Himalaya (pages-391-398).
Http://www.thefreeliberary.com/cist +burial+Himalayas-a017422774
New cultural Dimension in the Central Himalayas, region of Uttarakhand, an Archeological assessment:
http://opar.unior.it/664/1/5/Annali 1986 (f1)K.p.nautiyal-B.M.Khanduri
Carleton Stevens Coon, 1962, The Origin of Race
C.S. Coon, The Races of Europe

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