Main line historians say that the city of Bukhara was mentioned in the Zoroastrian holy book ‘Zend- Avesta’ and was founded in the 13th century B.C. during the reign of Siyavushids. The name ‘Bukhara’ originates from the word ‘vihara’ (विहार) which means ‘sanctuary’ or ‘temple’ in Sanskrit. Later the word ‘vihar’ came to be associated with Buddhist monasteries.

The city of ‘Shambala’, located by the Oxus River (ancient Sanskritic name ‘Vaksh’ River) in a region that was once called Bactria (close to Uzbekistan) is named after ‘Shambala’ (शम्भलः) first mentioned in the ancient Indian epic, the ‘Mahabharata, and also in the ‘Puranas’. The Mahabharata mentions that at the peak of adharma in Kaliyuga, Lord Kalki will take birth in a town called ‘Shambala’.

Here is the verse from the Mahabharata:

shambhala-grama-mukhyasya brahmanasya mahatmanah
bhavane vishnuyashasah kalkih pradurbhavishyati

“Lord Kalki will appear in the home of the most eminent brahmana of Shambhala village, the great soul Vishnuyasha.”. 

The village of ‘Shambala’ mentioned in the Mahabharata is associated with a village by this name located in Bangaluru, India.

Shambala city of the ancient Bactrian region is now known as Shamis-en-Balkh. Balkh is a region corresponding with northern Afghanistan and bordering Uzbekistan. The name Balkh, from which Bactra is derived, is mentioned in the Mahabharata and Puranas as Bahilka (बाह्लिक).

Distortions and adaptations of ancient Vedic and Puranic ideas and concepts, place names and those of rivers and mountains, appear routinely in the Zoroastrian texts, Avestan history and Buddhist manuscripts. The name ‘Zend-Avesta’ itself is a distortion of the Sanskrit ‘Gyan’ (ज्ञान) and ‘Vidya’ (विद्या). 

In fact, the ‘Zend Avesta’ was decoded with the help of Sanskrit. French author and Orientalist, James Darmesteter (1849-1894), wrote in his book ‘The Zend Avesta’ in 1880 that, “Avesta received an unlooked-for light from the poems of the Indian Rishis, and the long-forgotten past and the origin of many gods and heroes, whom the Parsi worships and extols without knowing who they were and whence they came, were suddenly revealed by the Vedas”.

Koi Krylgan Kala, Uzbekistan located on Oxus River
(ancient Sanskrit name -Vakshu RIver)
was built in 400 BC in Khwarezm.

Suggested Links:
1.Zend Avesta- James Darmesteter
2. Vedic Elements in the ancient Iranian Religion of Zarathushtra

3. Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India


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