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124                       JOURNEYS IN" PERSIA             LETTER zx

placid Bawali, and at dawn were at the foot of the grand
pass of Handawan, 7500 feet in altitude, which is
ascended by steep zigzags over worn rock ledges, and the
dry boulder-strewn bed of a torrent. A descent of 2000
feet and a long ride among large formless hills took us to
a narrow gorge or chasm with a fine mountain torrent, and
thence to the magnificent Tang-i-Buzful, from which we
emerged with some suddenness on the slopes of the low
foot-hills on the north side of the plain of Burujird or

This very rich plain, about thirty miles long by from
six to eight broad, has been described as " waterlogged,"
and the level of the water is only a foot below the sur-
face. Certainly very numerous springs and streams rise
along the hill slopes which we traversed and flow down
into the plain, which is singularly flat, and most of it only
relieved from complete monotony by the villages which,
to the number of 180, are sprinkled over it, many of
them raised on artificial mounds, at once to avoid the
miasma from the rice-fields and as a protection from the
Lurs. Above the south-eastern end rises the grand bulk
of Shuturun Kuh, with a few snow-patches still lingering,
and towards the other lies the town of Burujird, the
neighbourhood of which for a few miles is well planted,
but most of the plain is devoid of trees. It is watered
by many streams, which flow into the Burujird river
and the Kamand-Ab, which uniting, leave the plain by
the magnificent Tang-i-Bahrain.

The first view, on emerging from the buff treeless
mountains, was very attractive. The tall grass of the
rich marshy pastures rippled in the breeze in wavelets of
a steely sheen. Brown villages on mounds contrasted
with the vivid green of the young rice. Towards Burujird,
of which nothing but the gilding of a dome was visible,
a mass of dark greenery refreshed the eyes. The charm