ALEXANDER THE GREAT of Macedon in his quest to conquer the world had reached India in 326 B.C. He defeated Porus or Puru, the king of what is today Punjab in India as well as Pakistan, in the Battle of the River Hydaspes or Jhelum. His army swept through a large part of western India. He wanted to continue further east by crossing the Ganges, but his army mutinied against him as its spirit was broken by the small but courageous army of Porus. His commanders were scared of much more powerful armies of the rulers in the east. And Alexander was forced to return. But he persuaded his commanders and army to proceed towards ocean by following the river Indus. Before doing so he ordered his sculptors and builders to erect 12 altars to the 12 Olympian gods on the banks of the river Hyphasis, that is, Beas.

A large fleet of 800 ships was built and half his forces sailed on ships while the other half marched along the riverbanks. Alexander and his forces overcame the hostilities they met on the way and reached the mouth of the Indus in the Arabian Sea in July 325 B.C. He explored the entire delta area, which included the present day Rann of Kutch, by following both the arms of the Indus up to the ocean. From here a half of his army took the sea route and the other half, led by Alexander himself, land route to return home.

Alexander was not only a great conqueror, but he was also a wise philosopher. While in India he sought out Indian philosophers and pundits and debated with them. He encouraged his soldiers to mix with the local people and allowed them to marry Indian women. Such soldiers were even permitted to stay back in India, if they so wished. Also, he left many representatives in India. When the army decided to return home after reaching the Kutch area, many Greeks elected to stay back here rather than to face the long and arduous returning journey to Greece.

In 325 B.C. Kutch region was the westernmost part of Aanart Pradesh. And Aanartapur, its capital city, was very prosperous. Naturally many of the Greeks, who themselves being city dwellers, traveled from Kutch to Aanartapur and settled there. The Greeks were fair skinned, curly haired, bright eyed, shapely in physique, and intelligent. They were worshippers of a pantheon of gods and goddesses like the Indians. Loaded with the looted wealth they had no difficulty in seeking out matrimonial matches with the best of the Indian women and assimilate with the local population in no time. According to one of the many legends about the origin of the Nagar community, which has its Community God (Ishta Dev) Hatkeshvara in Vadnagar, the progeny of these Greeks came to be known as the City Dwellers or Nagars.

The legend has persisted over time. Archeological finds of Greek coins and other articles from excavations around the Lake Sharmishtha give considerable credence to it. The belief among the Nagars that they came from Kutch at some point of time in history cannot be brushed aside lightly. Physical similarities between the Nagars and the Greeks are difficult to be ignored. Their natural aptitude to be city dwellers approximates to a genetic factor.

The Greek bloodline in Vadnagar might have extended to other communities like the Nayaks and the Sompuras. Greeks had well developed art forms like drama and sculptor. Dancing flourished in many parts of India but, quite uniquely Nayaks of Vadnagar developed the drama as none else in the country. Similarly, Sompuras from here have produced stone creations showing extraordinary realism and finesse very similar to the Greek sculptures of the classical period. Someday we may find a conclusive proof of the Greek connection.


So far there have been very few archeological excavations at Vadnagar. Also, they have been more of the experimental type and in the peripheral areas. The large mound on which the present city exists has remained unexplored and it is here that the real treasure might be waiting to be revealed to the world.