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Daradas were a people who lived north to the Kashmir valley. Their kingdom is identified to be the Gilgit region in Kashmir along the river Sindhu or Indus. They are often spoken along with the Kambojas. The Pandava hero Arjuna had visited this country of Daradas during his northern military campaign to collect tribute for Yudhishthira's Rajasuya sacrifice.
The Vayu Purana, Brahmanda Purana and Vamana Purana mention the Daradas with the Kambojas, Chinas, Tusharas and the Bahlikas etc. The Bhuvankosha of the Puranas locates the Daradas, Kambojas, Barbaras, Bahlikas, Lampakas etc. in the Uttarapatha division of ancient India.
Puranas also refer to river Sindhu as watering the lands of Daradas, Gandharas and the Aurasas (Ursas). Brhat-Samhita groups the Daradas with the Abhisaras and the Tanganas. Mahabharata also mentions the Daradas as neighbors to the Kambojas and Bahlikas. Mahabharata also notifies that the Daradas, Sakas, Kambojas, Yavanas etc. were originally Kshatriyas but were slowly sank to the status of vrishalah or degraded Kshatriyas due to the wrath of the Brahmanas. According to Manusmriti (X.43-44) also, the Daradas like the Sakas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Pahlavas, Paradas etc. became Mlechchas since they had ignored the Brahmanas and did not perform sacred Brahmanical codes. Mahabharata locates the country of Daradas in the Himavata-Pradesa. Ptolemy refers to the Daradas as living below the sources of river Indus. Herodotus refers to the Daradas as Dadicae and groups them with the Gandharas and the Aparytae (Afridis?). Herodotus and Strabo also connect the Daradas with the gold producing area located in the west of Tibet. There is an evidence that the Daradas, in ancient times, had their colonies located in Baltistan and Leh also.
- Kirfel’s text of the Uttarapatha Countries of huvanakosha, based on the Puranas.
- Mahabharata, (1,67), (2,43)