The Grand Trunk Road - Behind the Scenes

On the trail of Alexander the Great

We knew that Alexander the Greatís armies had passed along the Grand Trunk Road. But because it was around 2,300 years ago, we didnít know how to capture Alexanderís journey through interviews and photographs. In the end, we stumbled upon some relevant stories when we least expected them.

We learned from many restauranteurs in Bradford that their cutlery was imported from Wazirabad because, like Sheffield, it was regarded as the capital of cutlery. But when we stopped there we realised that Wazirabad had an even greater claim to fame. I could hardly believe my ears when a workshop owner explained how the cutlery making tradition developed there:

We have been repairing knives since the time of Alexander the Great. When his convoy passed through Wazirabad, they stopped here at a small village to repair their swords and knives. Alexander the Great learnt from the people that there are craftsmen here who know how to repair swords and things. So then they started making the swords and things here. This is the history in the books. So this is the profession of our forefathers. I am third generation in cutlery. Although it is a cottage industry in Wazirabad this is capital of cutlery. This is a mini Sheffield.

During another interview, a polo player told us he was certain that Alexanderís horse, Bucephelus, was buried just off the Grand Trunk Road in Serai Alamgir near Jhelum:

...when Bucephelus died, it was one of Alexanderís most emotional moments. It was a poison arrow during a battle that killed the horse. Alexander went into a state of mourning when the horse died, and then carried the horse to the point of burial.

Since so many of our leads came from the people we interviewed, we took it seriously and spent the rest of the day looking for clues along dirt tracks in the sweltering heat. On this occasion though, our search was fruitless.

Map link: see where Wazirabad is»

Document icon Learning article provided by: Bradford Industrial Museum | 
Photos © Tim Smith

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