Azamgarh, one of the easternmost districts of the State, once formed a part of the
ancient Kosala kingdom, except the north-eastern part of it which was included in
the kingdom of Malla. Kosala figured prominently among the four powerful monarchies
of northern India during the time of the Buddha when its Prosperity reached its
zenith. The kingdom of Kosala was bounded on the east by the the Ganga and the kingdom
of Magadha, on the north-east by the territories of Vriji-Lichchhavis and those
of Mallas on the north by the territories of the Sakyas, on the west by Surasena
and on the south and south-west by the kingdom of Vatsa with Kausambi as its capital.
The district of Azamgarh possesses hardly any remains of much antiquarian value,
and of the few that exist neither the origin nor the history are for the most part
known. There are some deserted sites, forts and tanks to be seen in every tehsil
of this district and they carry vague legends regarding their builders. The early
history of the district can be traced only from the extant antiquities.
That the region including this district was inhabited in ancient times is testified
by the presence of old indigenous people like Bhars or Rajbhars, Soeris and Cherus
who possibly represent the descendants of the aborigines of this area. Vestiges
of numerous embankmerts, tanks, caverns and stone forts are found in this district
which still bear out their energy and skill. According to a local tradition, the
country of the Bhars, which was included in the kingdom of Ayodhya in Rama's time,
was occupied by Rajbhars and Asuras. The Bhars have left behind them large mud forts
of which specimens may be seen at Harbanspur and Unchagaon near the town of Azamgarh.
The largest of the forts in the district of Azamgarh is that of Ghosi which was
built by Raja Ghosh but there is a legend that the fort was erected by Asuras or
demons, who are also stated to have constructed a tunnel between Narja Tal and the
fort of Chaubhaipur and Vrindavan over a mile (1.6 km.) distant. None of the architectural
remains of any importance are found here but the well preserved ruins of a large
mud fort which was discovered in 1838 A.D. lend interest and antiquity to Ghosi.
According to H.Elliot, Soeris and Cherus belonged to one family. Probably the Bhars,
Soeirs and Cherus together with other aboriginal tribes which have not been so successful
in maintaining their identity were in remote period of antiquity were only one race.
A Rajbhar chief named Asildeo is said to have lived at Dihaduar in pargana Mahul
of tehsil Phulpur of the district ; and the old tanks and mounds at that place are
said to be signs of his power; but the Bachgoti Rajputs of Arara in tappa Nandaon
of tehsil Azamgarh claim him as their ancestor, repudiate him for the title of Rajbhar,
and according to their opinion he was an officer of a local government.
Near the village of Araon Jahanianpur and Anwank in paragana Kauria there are the
ruins of two large mud forts, the first is ascribed to Ayodhya Raj, Rajbhar and
the second is pointed out to belong to raja Parikshit, it is suppose that Ayodya
Raj resided in the kot of Araon-Jahanianpur, but like Asildeo he is claimed as an
ancestor by the Palwar Rajputs; and a smiler claim is made in the case of one raja
Garakdeo who lived in Sagari, a tahsil headquarters town, of the district of Azamgarh.
According to another tradition , Parikhit, the elaest sun of Kuru, once occupied
tract, now called Nizamabad and old kot (at Anwank) near which the battle was fought
between him and the Muhammadans, it is supposed that the headquartes of the Bhars
may have been in pargana Bhadaor, which is said to have been called Bharaon originally
and were called after them ; and the Bhar power may have extended over the parts
of Sikandarpur, both this pargana and Bhadaon having been formally pargaras of Azamgarh.
The farmer inhabitants of Pawai of this district are said to have been Rajbhar or
Bhars and to the Bhars is attributed a large mud fort, the remains of which still
exist, tradition of the series to be found only in pargana Deogaon, in tehsil lalganj,
to the north of the Gangi river; and those relating to Sengarias in the same paragana
to the south of that stream.