THE SANSKRIT CONNECTION – THE SILK ROUTE CITIES OF NISHAPUR (IRAN) AND MERV (TURKMENISTAN)

Merv was a major oasis-city in Central Asia located on the historical Silk Route, near today’s city of Mary in Turkmenistan. In ancient Persian texts (that is Avestan texts), Merv is mentioned as Mouru , which is a distortion of the Sanskrit Meru (मेरु), the original name of the first city built on this site. The remnants of the most ancient sacred site of Merv still exist at ‘Gonur Tepe’. To read more about the Sanskrit-Vedic connection to ‘Gonur Tepe’, click here.


An Indus Valley like seal of an elephant
found at Gonur-Tepe, Turkmenistan 



Another ancient city on the Silk Route was Nishapur (निशापुर)  which is located in present day Iran. It was established in 3rd century AD by the Sassian King Shapur, who was the son of King Ardashir. In Sanskrit ‘Ardasi’ (अर्धासि) means a ‘dagger’. Probably his name derived from a given name like ‘the sworded one’. Shapur’s father’s name was Sassan who was married to a lady by the name ‘Ram Behest’ (राम विहस्त) meaning ‘completely absorbed in the thought of Ram’. She was the daughter of the chief of a tribe named ‘Bazrangi’, an obvious distortion of the Sanskrit  word ‘Vajrangi’  (वज्रङ्गी), which is another name for the vanara-god Hanuman.


Nishapur flourished up until 1221 AD, when Genghis Khan’s vicious daughter, in vengeance after her husband was killed in Nishapur, had the city destroyed. She ordered  the death of all 1.7 million people living  there. It is said that the skulls of all men, women and children were piled up in pyramids. The massacre of Nishapur is regarded as one of the bloodiest war-crimes in the history of the world.



Nishapur, which means ‘Dark City’ in Sanskrit, must have indeed got this name after the massacre. The city was founded by King Shapur and was probably called by the name Shapur, before it turned into Nishapur after the massacre.


A Zoroastrian Lamp found in Nishapur, Iran

Zoroastrianism has a lot in common with the Vedic religions-

especially fire worship

Replica of an artifact found in Nishapur
Notice the Devanagric script
.

Suggested Site

1.History of Turkmenistan
2. Encyclopaedia Iranica
3. Nishapur Massacre
4. Asiatic Researches

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