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The Lands of the Avesta E-mail

By Tahir Kabuli

 A look back at our history and going back into centuries will clearly indicate that the history of our land is far older, reaching to thousands of years. However, there is no written records of the earliest parts and to know about those early times we have to rely on certain legendary stories, stories of kings, tales of the heroic deeds of famous heroes and archeology.

Among many sources that can shed light to our very ancient past and many parts of our land are what is known as the Aryan Songs. These songs are basically the records of those ancient Aryans' religious, military and epic deeds. These songs provide us with much information about their ways of living, religious believes and their environment. Based on time and place, these songs are divided into two parts: Avestan songs and Vedan songs. The Avestan songs are written before the Vedan songs. However, both of them mentions of the parts of lands in them. Though, Vedan songs has less mentions of parts of our land than the Avestan, non the less they both form a reliable source of information about our early part of history.

The first Fargad or chapter of part of Avesta that is called Vandidad mentions of vast lands, lying besides each other around the Hindo Kush mountains. These lands formed the home of Aryans and consisted of sixteen parts. The lands which  used the waters originated from this Hindo Kush mountain ranges were considered part of the holy lands in Avesta. The following are the names of the lands that mentioned in these songs:

1. Aryanam Vayju: These two words literally means, the place of the seed of Arya. It refers to the lands where the Aryans originated or immigrated towards south and can be translated as the home of Aryas or home of Aryans. Archaeologists and historians place this part of the Avestan land between Amu Darya (Oxus River) and Syr Darya around today's Farghana.
   2. Ai to mant: This is the region of Hirmand. The Greeks referred to this region as Ai to manders. In some period of times was also called Nimruz.
   3. Soghda: This land is clearly the lands that is known as Soghdian or Soghdiana located on the right side of the Amu Darya covering most of today's Tajikistan.
   4. Bukhdi: This is one of the important parts of Avestan land. It is also called Bakhel Bamik, Balkh Bami and Balk Gazman.  It is today's Balkh.
   5. Harai wa: This is the Hari region popularly known as Hari Rud region. Hari or Ary is the slight variation of this name used in later times. The name of today's province, Herat or Harat is most likely derived from this name. It is important to mention that the researcher entirely agree on the location of this place being the Hari region.
   6. Hari weeti: Hari weeti is the name of the region of Arghandab river.
   7. Kakhra: This region is believed to be located in or around Ghazni.
   8. Khananta: Some researcher believe this region is the region of Heer kania or Gurgan in Iran.
   9. Morow: This is the region of Marw Rud or Marghab (River of Marw) which passes through today's Marw.
  10. Naysaya: This region is located between Balkh and  Marghab. Some researchers believe that it could be today's Ashqabad.
  11. Oorwa: There is no agreement between researchers as to where this place is exactly located. Some believe it is Ghazni and some others believe it is Tus.
  12. Ragah: Some believe it is today's Ragh in Badakhshan and some other researchers believe it is the Ray located in Iran.
  13. Ranga: Its location is not determined so far.
  14. Warna: Its location is not determined so far.
  15. Weekra ta: This region is determined to be today's Kabul
  16. Hapta Indo: This is translated as Seven River and was the ancient India's Panjab region.
 
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