Exploring Lahanthoor-Shopian

So far as the scientific investigations are concerned this is all a myth
Mughal period Mosque Shopian
Mughal period Mosque Shopian Auhtor

Is Lahanthoor (Shopian) the place where mysterious copper plate’s treasure is buried?  Is Kumdalan Shopian, the place of the Buddhist  Kundal van? Is Memendar  Shopian founded by the Menandra the Indo Greek prince? Did Menandra hold discussion with Nagsana at Negisaraan Shopian. These are mysterious questions that require to be explored in these historical villages of the town of Shopoian.

There is a curious folklore locally very popular about the site Lahanthoor. This legend states that the treasure of Koruvas is somewhere buried in this hill rock. The site basically is an isolated little hill rock surrounded by few villages  bearing  ancient Greek  and Kushan period  names  Kumdalam, Nagisareen and Memendra.

Usually the ancient archaeological monuments and sites are attributed to Panduwas and Koruwas. The ancient remains of stone buildings and temples are also usually called pandow-lare, the  remnants of buildings of Pandow.

But so far as the scientific investigations are concerned this is all myth, there are no remains of either Pandows or Koruwas found anywhere in Kashmir. In fact there are ancient remains and sites found but those are associated with different historical periods. 

Similarly there are number of ancient  sites   found of ancient Greeks , Scythians, Parthians,  Karkotas, Utpalas, Lahouras, Sultans, Mughals, Durranis Sikhs and Dogras. Several of those ancient sites have still carried their names either in full or in corrupt forms. 

Just the Memendra is actually derived from Menandra the most famous Greek prince recorded to had ruled southern parts of Kashmir during 2nd century AD.  He is also recorded to have held discussions with the Buddhist saint called Nagasana which can  also  be identified by present day Harda Negisereen.

The conversation of the two is recorded in an ancient Buddhist manuscript called Milidpanah. Since Kumdalvan is the corrupt form of kundalvan the place mentioned by Tarrent the Indian historian as the place where the fourth Buddhist council was held.


This conference was held during the period of Kanishka the famous kushan prince believed to have rule Kashmir in 1st century AD. But it is not certain that it was this Kumdanlan where the so called Buddhist conference was held.

In fact the mysterious and the isolated hill rock Lahenthoor is surrounded by these ancient historical  sites  and  the myth treasure  buried  in  this hill rock  can be an indication of any famous treasure trove  which can be  in the form of ancient copper plates.

Archaeologically speaking Shopian area has never been explored. Indeed there are reports of various archaeological and numismatics finds recorded in official and unofficial collections of this land but those have mostly been chance finds. In fact the south–western Rambara and Vishu valleys of  Shopian and Kulgam  districts are still to face any archaeological explorations.   

The students of Kashmir history and culture are very much aware of a mysterious puzzle of Kushan era. The puzzle is about the hidden  Buddhist copper plates. It is very much recorded in the ancient scripts of this land as well.

The most significant event associated with ancient Buddhism in Kashmir is the holding of an international council in the period of Kushans in about 1st century AD.  The council is said to have sat for six months and collected scattered sayings, theories and dictums of various doctors of the law.

The council is believed to have, ‘composed 100,000 stanzas of Pupadesh Shastra explanatory of the canonical sutras; 100,000 stanzas, of Vinayas Vibhasa Sastras, explanatory of the Vinaya; and 100,000 stanzas of Abhidharma Vibhasas Sastra, explanatory of the Abhidharma. For this exposition of the Tripitaka all of learning from remote antiquity was thoroughly examined; the general sense and the terse language was again and again made clear and distinct and learning was widely diffused for the safe guiding of the disciples’.

The commentaries of the council, it's said, were written in Sanskrit on copper plates, which were enclosed in stone boxes. These boxes were then deposited in a stupa specially built for the purpose.  Nither Kalhana, nor any other ancient historian has recorded anything about holding of this international Buddhist council  of ancient  Kashmir.

It was Huen Tsang, the Chinese Ambassador, who was first to give birth to this mystery when he arrived here in 7th century AD to study the Buddhist manuscripts. He  in his accounts made the mention of the Buddhist council   and copper plates, but he has not given the exact location of venue of the conference. 

Where the stupa under which the copper plates are buried, no body knowns. However, the 20th century Indian scholar called Tarrant has suggests Kundal Van’ as the place where the council was held. But where is that place that is still to be identified.


Different scholars have been identifying Kundalvan with few places of Kashmir bearing somehow a similar name. The names of the places suggested in the process are Kuntikleun (the area from Harwan to Gupkar in Srinagar) Kund in Kulgam and Kanelvan in Bijbehara. Kumdalen in Shopian as the corrupt form of Kundalvan. Dr. Token Sumi a Japanese scholar believes that ethnological studies about the Yakshas in Kashmir may lead the archaeologists towards the right direction.

Several local  scholars and historians got individually involved in tracing of this mystery. The most prominent amongst them included Ibni Mehjoor, Mohammad Yousuf Taing and Fida Mohammad Hussinain. Mohammad Yousuf Taing has also been identifying various places in Shopian where he thinks that the copper plates are buried but perhaps he has not taken into account the mysterious hill rock of Lahanthoor and site of Kumdalan which are located towards its eastern outskirts.

It is in place to mention that no Buddhist population nowadays exists in Kashmir valley, and Buddhism is hardly practiced anywhere here. But before the conversion majority of Kashmeris are learnt to have followed Buddhism. 

In fact  few  ancient Buddhist sites and artifacts have also been found  from Kashmir valley, but  the hidden treasure of Buddhist copper plates  has still been a  unsolved  mystery.

The preliminary exploration and survey of these Shopian sites particularly, Memender. Nagisaraan, Kumdalan and Lahanthoor needs to be taken to make certain surface studies.

The history departments of Shopian and Kuglam Degree Colleges can easily avail this opportunity to explore the hill rock of the Lahanthoor Shopian and collect the requisite data.

These colleges can also approach the archaeology and history departments of Kashmir University and in a joint adventure explore this forgotten isolated hill rock.    

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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