the GHAZNAVIDS (r.977-1186)

Section 3, top margin C, left margin a
Ghazni in its setting (Ghur, home base of the Ghurids, is a region to the west of Ghazni); an excellent guidebook to Afghanistan: *N. H. Dupree*
A modern satellite view of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border makes it clear why people sought out the Khyber Pass
The famous KHYBER PASS between Kabul and Peshawar, through which so many groups entered South Asia
There was ample scope in different valleys for Buddhism, various kinds of Muslim and Hindu practices, the Dravidian language Brahui, and other local cultural variations
In the Kabul region, the early medieval "Hindu Shahi" dynasty (itself of Central Asian origin) survived until c.1026, leaving us many of the *Salt Range temples*
As the Ghaznavids prospered, their second capital of Lahore, like their first capital of Ghazni, became a wealthy and sophisticated cultural center
The great Persian poet Firdausi (c.940-c.1020) presented the newly-composed Shah-namah (the Persian national epic, which has been called the longest poem ever written by a single author) to his patron, the young Mahmud Ghaznavi, c.1010-12
One of the chief glories of the Ghaznavid court at Lahore was al-Biruni, an excellent all-round scientist, mapmaker, and geographer-- and the author of the invaluable "Tarikh al-Hind," or "History of India"
Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh of the Hujwiri Sufi order came from Ghazni in 1039, and lived in Lahore till his death in 1072; his shrine remains an important Lahore landmark
The famous Persian poet Sa'adi tells an anecdote about an idol called "Somnath," thus evoking Mahmud Ghaznavi's most famous temple raid
These "gates of Somnath" were ostentatiously brought back by the British from Ghazni-- but turned out actually to be the gates of Mahmud's tomb
Very little of GHAZNI's former grandeur has survived to the present-- its two once-lofty victory towers are now little more than ruins
The Ghaznavids' successors, the Ghurids, left behind even less in their own home region of GHUR-- but they did create the magnificent Minar-e Jam (c.1174), a precursor of the *Qutb Minar*; compare also the *Kalon Minar* (c.1127) in Bukhara

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