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Full text of "A summer ride through western Tibet"

Wa$<m 




Cornell HitiuctHity library 

ilttiara, 23cm Work 



CHARLES WILLIAM WASON 
COLLECTION 

CHINA AND THE CHINESE 



THE GIFT OF 

CHARLES WILLIAM WASON 

CLASS OF 1876 

1918 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924023017704 



A SUMMER RIDE THROUGH 
WESTERN TIBET 



"k 




Photographed by the Author. 



e page 297. 



The Buddha Rock, Sadpor, Baltistan. 



A SUMMER RIDE 

THROUGH 

WESTERN TIBET 



BY 

JANE E. DUNCAN 



WITH 93 ILLUSTRATIONS AND A MAP 



LONDON 

SMITH, ELDER & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE 

1906 
& 

All rights reserved 






GLASGOW I PRINTED AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS 
BY ROBERT MACLEHOSE AND CO. LTD. 



PREFACE 

So much attention has been attracted recently to Tibet 
in its military and political aspects that it is hoped that 
an account of what may be called the domestic details 
of the western portion of the country, as set forth in the 
following pages, will be of interest to the general reader. 
The charm and ease of travelling in Western Tibet, of 
which I have tried to give an impression, may encourage 
those who have leisure and opportunity to set out and 
experience it for themselves. 

To the Rev. A. H. Francke, an accomplished Tibetan 
scholar and a keen archaeologist, who is stationed at the 
Moravian Mission, Khalatse, Ladakh, I owe a debt of 
gratitude for having drawn my attention to the many 
ancient remains scattered over the country, and for having 
awakened my interest in them so much that I was fortunate 
enough to discover some which are of considerable his- 
torical value, and have been hitherto unrecorded. The 
archaeology of Ladakh and Baltistan is only beginning 
to be made known to European scholars, and there is 
undoubtedly a rich field for exploration in these countries. 
Repeatedly during the last twelve months, and up to the 
present week, I have had news of fresh discoveries of 



vi PREFACE 

ancient buildings and inscriptions made by the Moravian 
and Scandinavian missionaries there. 

My warm thanks are also due to the Rev. Dr. Shawe 
and to the Rev. H. B. Marx, of the Moravian Mission 
Station at Leh, for much information and for interesting 
photographs to adorn my book; to Miss Christie also 
for the many beautiful photographs she has allowed me 
to make use of; to Sir R. C. Temple, Bart., C.I.E., for 
permission to reprint material and illustrations from an 
article on " Balu-mkhar," contributed by Mr. Francke 
and myself to the Indian Antiquary for September, 
1905; and to Mr. Hay ward Porter, for much valuable 
criticism of my manuscript and for careful reading of 
the proofs. 

Lastly, I have great satisfaction in acknowledging the 
skill, energy, and resourcefulness of my servant, Aziz 
Khan, without which my journey would not have been 
practicable, and for the unfailing tact, courtesy, and 
attention shown to me by him and his colleagues 
Habibullah and Subhana, who combined to make the 
whole trip a pleasure and a success in every respect. 

JANE E. DUNCAN. 
March, 1906. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CHAPTER I. 
Preparations for the Journey, 1 

Srinagar: plans for the journey to Western Tibet: position 
and history of Kashmir Territory ; the Devil Dance at 
Hirais : looking for servants : Aziz Khan and his colleagues : 
transport : tents : food : clothing : books : money. 

CHAPTER II. 
The Sind Valley and the Zoji La 14 

Departure from Srinagar : a tumble-down Venice : Gun- 
derbal : an unhurried picnic : Sind Valley : Gagangair : 
Sonamarg : a fellow-traveller : a sportswoman : Baltal : 
Tibetans on the march : a second fellow-traveller : the Zoji 
La : a rough road : Matayan : the cuckoo on the Zoji La : 
how the cuckoo deposits its egg in a nest : teaching its 
young to utter its note. 

CHAPTER III. 
Stony Tibet and its Buddhists 24 

Matayan to Dras : absence of natural vegetation : gold- 
workings : winter storms: "a real Sahib": paying the 
coolies : an upset in the camp : sculptured pillars : barren 
scenery : irrigation : Kargil : crops : birds : manis and chor- 
tens : prayer-wheels and flags : Shergol Gompa : Maulbek 
Chamba : irrigation canal : polyandry : Tibetan women's 
jewellery and dresses. 



viii CONTENTS 

PAGK 

CHAPTEE IV. 
A Wedding and a Visit to a Monastery, . . 37 

Statue of Chamba, the future Buddha : the Namika La : 
mixed population : a wedding : dance of Nyopas : poetical 
catechism : dances of villagers : TTottu La : weird scenery : 
visit to the gompa at Lamayuru : the map-room : the 
library : images : Lamas and nuns : resemblance between 
Hindu, Buddhist and some Christian rituals : Khalatse : 
Saspola : the oasis of Bazgo : Nyemo : dak-bungalows and 
their fittings. 

CHAPTER V. 
Leh and Himis, 48 

A mile-stone : Pitak : Leh : the climate : flowers and vege- 
tables : visitors to Leh : game and game-laws : enquiries 
about Pangkong Tso : yak and sheep caravans : Manchester 
muslin at Leh : the ride to Himis : the Gulab Bagh : the 
natives' love of European medicine : the British Joint Com- 
missioner's reception at Himis : a dinner-party. 

CHAPTEE VI. 
The Devil Dance at Himis Gompa, .... 59 

Pashmina goats : interior of the gompa : first day of the 
Devil Dance : the spectators : masked Lamas : solemn cere- 
mony and a travesty of it : the second day : a severed arm : 
a tipsy old Lama : a Lama from Lhasa : the treasury of the 
monastery : Chinese chests : jingals : provisions for a siege : 
a poacher : ponies and dogs consecrated : Durbar present : 
comb and rosary : my visit to Lamas from Lhasa at Delhi. 

CHAPTEE VII. 
A Tamasha at Himis. The Approach to the Chang La, 72 

The Commissioner's tamasha : dances round a, bonfire : 
breake-up of our party : alone at Himis : monks and nuns : 
the Buddhism of Ladakh : the ride to Chimrey : the kardar 
and his wife : a picture of the Potala, Lhasa : supplies laid 
in : Zindral : Changpas : sensations at 16,400 feet. 



CONTENTS ix 

PAGE 

CHAPTEE VIII. 
The Chang La and the Pangkong Tso, . . .81 

The ascent to the Chang La : the hla-tho on the summit : 
Moorcroft's experience on the pass : disinclination for food : 
a sportsman on his way to Great Tibet : fox-terriers : mono- 
tony and fascination of the journey : Tankste : a Lama's 
seven years' "retreat" : pack -sheep : yaks: native estimate 
of distance : Habibullah's accident : a Changpa hakim : Pang- 
Kong Tso : the wrong route : karewahs. 

CHAPTER IX. 
From Pangkong Tso back to Leh, .... 95 

A jungle dog : flowers on the mountains : setting Habi- 
bullah's collar-bone : Tibetan hospitality : a shop in the 
desert : invocation to the spirit at the hla-tho : re-crossing 
the Chang La : inscribed stone from mani : a spinner : 
thriving village of Tikhzey : manis and chortens at Leh. 

CHAPTER X. 
Leh. A Funeral, Shopping and a Tamasha, . .107 

Habibullah and the pony as invalids : gaieties at Leh : a 
funeral on the desert : story of the German Lama at 
Lhasa : the gompa at Leh : offering for rain : a school : 
Nazir Ali Shah's curiosity shop : Tibetan communion 
service : Lhasa silks made in England : the Wazir's 
tamasha : effects of the British Expedition to Tibet : absence 
of crime in Ladakh. 

CHAPTER XL 
Some Correspondence, 118 

Aziz Khan and the Tibetan Expedition : Habibullah's letter : 
another bazaar letter : the Gyalpo's castle, Leh : the Lama's 
chorten : » re-incarnation : variety of languages spoken at 
the Mission House. 



x CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CHAPTER XII. 
Sport. Missionary Work, 124 

Unpopularity of sportswomen : trickery of shikaris : kyang : 
increased numbers of them : a mission service : matrimonial 
difficulties : resemblance between Buddhist and Roman 
Catholic rituals : religious ideas of the Ladakhis : missions 
and their influence : medical work : vaccination : operations 
for cataract : friendliness of people of Great Tibet : their 
desire for medical aid. 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Returning down the Indus Valley, . . . .131 

Terrifying description of the route through Baltistan : large 
fortress at Bazgo : forms of rocks and cliffs : Saspola once 
more : a path by the Indus : Prince Louis of Orleans : 
harvest work at Khalatse : apricots as an article of com- 
merce : European and Tibetan dogs : Yarkandi and Turki 
pilgrims to Mecca. 

CHAPTER XIV. 
The Fort oe Balu-mkhar, Khalatse, . . .139 

The Rev. A. H. Francke : Khalatse castle : the fort of 
Balu-mkhar : carvings on the rock : Mr. Francke's transla- 
tion of inscriptions : his "Notes on the English Translation " : 
probable date of inscriptions : a fortified custom-house : 
rope-bridges : relics found at Balu-mkhar : jars found iu 
ancient grave at Leh : stone-age flourishing in Western 
Tibet : the high Lama's throne : manis and chortens erected 
by the garrison : evidences of change in the climate : further 
discoveries of ancient inscriptions in Ladakh. 

CHAPTER XV. 
Tibetan Music and Poetry, 152 

Great variety of Tibetan tunes and songs: "The ABC 
Song"; "The Tibetan Fiddle"; "Kesar Returning to 
'aBruguma, his Wife' - ; "The Poor Girl and the Rich 



CONTENTS xi 



PAGE 



Girl ": chant of the Bunan pilgrims: "Preparations for 
a Dance " ; Mrs. Bishop on Moravian missionaries in Tibet : 
grisly relics :• a Tibetan newspaper : carved rocks in the 
Indus Valley : specimens of Tibetan music. 



CHAPTER XVI. 
Skikbichan and the Hanu Nullah, . . . .169 

A little known district : Skirbichan : guardian spirit of the 
tamarisks : an evil-smelling gompa : a religious service : 
present of a prayer-flag : a tea-churn : Hanu Nullah : Hanu 
people, Scythians : polyandrous Buddhists : similar colonies 
in the Himalayas. 

CHAPTEE XVII. 

Goma Hanu. A Lonely Vigil and an Attack on 

the Camp, 179 

Choosing a camping-place : exchanging pins for needles : a 
startling find : making friends : a long wait on a lone hill- 
side : a fight : the lumbardar's punishment : we march off 
with flying colours. 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
From Goma Hanu to Khapallu over the Chorbat La, 189 

Change of scenery : great variety of flowers : dress of Hanu 
women : crossing the Chorbat La : a rough march : two 
prosperous Baltis : an oriental injunction : Puyan : a kindly 
lumbardar : polygamy and polyandry : a water-mill : medical 
aid : an eccentric watch : a tamasha and polo : unorthodox 
Mohammedans : Pathan husbands. 

CHAPTER XIX. 
Khapallu, 201 

A parao : the Shayok river : water-worn boulders 1000 feet 
above the river : meeting a European : ibex-shooting : 
Khapallu : good looks of the women : their dress : Sultan 
Bi. 



xii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CHAPTER XX. 
Life in Khapallu, 208 

The bagh : the Rajah's family : a Hamlet-like relationship : 
the "big" and "little" Ranis: a visit from the Rajah: a 
dali : news of a carved rook near Skardo : a hookah of local 
manufacture : crowds of patients : cataract, goitre and 
indigestion : an Arcadia : a polo match : polo sticks : speed 
and endurance of ponies : backshish for the Rajah : history 
of polo : drawing at a mosque : Balti mosques : the killa at 
Khapallu : the boys' school : more patients : washing the 
baby : Skardo Hospital. 

CHAPTER XXI. 
The Industries of Khapallu, 226 

1 Sending for letters : date of the big tamasha held once in 
thirty-six years : charms of Khapallu : metal-work : the 
" maila" Rajah : an invitation to tea : good system of sanita- 
tion : a ragged old lady and her new suit : the zemins or 
farms : Balti coolies in India.: the Indian post-office : the 
village council : Balti and Ladakhi sleeping arrangements. 

CHAPTER XXII. 
Harvest at Khapallu. Chakchang Mosque, . . 236 

A midnight tamasha : the claque : abstinence of the people : 
the mosque at Chakchang : carvings in walnut : an arrival : 
news from Lhasa : a Shiah nimaz : the Nur Baksh sect : Aziz 
Khan's prayers : harvesting in the bagh : Ramzana forgets 
the stamps : Macbeth's witches : walnut-trees : the little 
Rani's house and garden : the swasti : chucks or knuckle- 
bones : bowing to the moon : games of cards : the Rani's 
request : ' ' little Mary " : Balti politeness : a rota : European 
masters and Indian servants : the little schoolmaster. 

CHAPTER XXIII. 
The Big Tamasha at Khapallu, .... 255 

The prelude : gay dancers : a sacred dance : matchlock guns : 
a "lord of misrule": another European visitor: trouble 
again at Goma Hanu : the big tamasha : photographing the 



CONTENTS 



zemindar rajah : a comedian : various dances : polo : back- 
shish : the tamasha thirty-six years before : a chit : the 
importunate Rani : a letter from the little schoolmaster. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 
From Khapallu to Skardo, 266 

Good-bye to Khapallu : the zak ferry : skins collapsing : a 
zak sixty years ago: progress in the "unchanging East" 
Dowani : crops and vines : the Thalle La : rock carvings 
out-spread hands : hunting-scenes : a bad parao : Kiris 
bird-life : basket-work houses : an archery target : junction 
of the Shayok and Indus : another zak : a sportsman : 
Parkuta pottery : mem-sahibs in Baltistan : view of 
Skardo : Miss Christie's dangerous journey : neglectful 
reception at Skardo. 



CHAPTER XXV. 
Skardo and Shigar, 284 

The post-master : a hawking party : the killas at Skardo : 
the Dogra siege : ancient type of ferry-boat : Fa-hian's 
description of the Indus Valley route, 400 a.d. : Shigar : 
the polo-ground : view from the killa : manufactures of 
zahar mohra or green-stone : mosques : archery butts : 
offerings for good crops : amulets : an officious youth : 
Kanjuti robbers : former evil case of the Baltis : their 
present prosperity. 

CHAPTER XXVI. 
The Buddha Rock and Ancient Barrage at Sadpor, 297 

Trip to Sadpor : primitive butter-making : the Buddha 
rock : the inscriptions : my copy : a second copy made by a 
Tibetan : his long journey : Mr. Francke's translation and 
notes : former Lama's interpretation of the medallion : 
Sadpor Tso : the barrage at Assouan anticipated in minia- 
ture by Tibetan engineers : sluice-gates : Gurkhas doing 
pujah to figures of Buddha ; last Buddhist Rajah of Skardo : 
no mention of rock or barrage in books on the district. 



xiv CONTENTS 

PAGE 

CHAPTER XXVII. 
The Tehsildar op Skardo, 308 

Wrath in the camp : no supplies : a letter to the Tehsildar : 
an interview with him : sitting in judgment on the district 
magistrate : the telegram : his consternation : he fines and 
imprisons the lumbardar. 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 
Passes and Plains, 314 

Leaving Skardo : a vision : vegetation on the mountains : 
the Burji La : the Deosai Plains : the Sari Sangar Pass : the 
Stakpi La : the rest-house, Burzil Ohowki : Dards : the 
Tehsildar of Skardo once more : the Gilgit Road. 

CHAPTER XXIX. 
Down the Gilgit Road to the Vale of Kashmir, . 322 

The "ant-gold" of Herodotus: marmots throwing out 
particles of gold : other ancient writers on "ant-gold" : the 
natural history of Herodotus : his general accuracy : a 
monotonously good road : a high telegraph-station : Gurez : 
a Kashmiri-Dard village : tramping clothes in a, tub : the 
Rajdiangan Pass : Nanga Parbat : Habibullah at Bandipura. 

Appendix, 332 

Index, 338 



LIST OF PLATES 



The Buddha Rock, Sadpor, Baltistan, 

Ph ( 

Aziz Khan, 

The Camp at Sonamarg, 

Chomo, or the Ladies (carved stone), 

Tibetan "Wedding, .... 

Prayer Wheel, 

Manis and Chortens, . 

Maulbek Chamba Gompa, . 

Statue of Chamba, 

Lamayuru, ... 

Town Gate of Leh, .... 

Masked Lamas, 

Devil Dance, Himis, . 

Himis Gompa, ... 
"Women from Lhasa, . 
The Chang La, . . . 

Yak Caravan, 
Ladakhi "Women, 
A Funeral in the Desert, . 
View from Gyalpo's Palace, Leh, 
Trumpets, hookah, stone from mani, 
Tea-pots, Buddhist communion ser- 
vice, etc., .... 
Tamasha in the Street, Leh, 
A Street in Leh, 



. Frontispiece 


ed by the Author. 




Facing page 18 


the Author, 


18 


Miss Christie, 


28 


the Author, 


28 


Rev. H. B. Marx, 


32 


Miss Christie, 


32 


5) 


34 


the Author, 


34 


» 


42 


j> 


42 


Rev. H. B. Marx, 


62 


the Author, 


66 


11 


66 


Beresford Pearce, 


70 


the Author, 


70 


3) 


82 


11 


82 


Rev. H. B. Marx, 


108 


» 


110 


the Author, 


110 


11 


114 


11 


114 


» 


116 


») 


116 



XVI 



LIST OF PLATES 



Porch of Palace, Leh, 



Inscriptions at Balu-mkhar Fort, 
Balu-mkhar Fort, Ladakh, 
Rope Bridge, .... 
Khalatse Castle, Ladakh, . 
Ancient Jars found at Leh, 
Granite mortars found at Balu-mkhar, 
Ruined stupa or chorten, Balu-mkhar, 
Chorten in the form of a burning 

place, . 
The Indus Valley, 
Gompa, Skirbichan, 
Hanu women, . 
Hanu men, 

The Shayok at Khapallu. 
The Rani's House, „ 
Khapallu Women, 
Sultan Bi and the Chowkidar, 
The Rajah Nasir Ali Khan of 

Khapallu, . 
The Rajah Mohammed Sher Ali 

Khan, . 
Mosque at Khapallu, 
TreadiDg out the Corn, 
Mosque of Chakchang, 
Panjiar, or cage-work, 
The Rani's Front Door, Khapallu, 
The Rani's Back Door, Khapallu, 
A Sword Dance, Khapallu, 
The Zemindar Rajah, Khapallu, 
Polo-players at Khapallu, . 
The Claque at Khapallu, . 
Zak Ferry on the Shayok, . 
The Zak afloat, .... 



Photographed by Rev. H. B. Marx, 

Facing page 122 

„ the Author, 140 

140 

I 44 
144 

„ Rev. Dr. Shawe, 148 

„ the Author, 148 

150 



Miss Christie, 
the Author, 



150 
174 
174 
190 
190 
204 
204 
206 
206 

208 



»» 


208 


»» 


220 


»? 


220 


>> 


240 


1J 


240 


>1 


248 


» 


248 


Miss Christie, 


256 


» 


260 


the Author, 


262 


Miss Christie, 


262 


the Author, 


266 


» 


266 



LIST OF PLATES 



xvii 



A good Parao, 



Photographed by Miss Christie, 



The Bed of the Shayok River, . 
Bock carvings, Indus Valley, . 
Rock carvings, Shayok "Valley, . 
Bock carvings, „ 

Rock carvings, „ 

Ferry-boat on the Indus, 
Ahmad Shah's Ziarat, Skardo, . 
Archery Butt at Shigar, . 
Butter-making in Baltistan, 
Barrage at Sadpor Tso, looking up, . 
Barrage at Sadpor Tso, looking down, 
Door at Barrage, 
Stone for Inscription, 
The Camp at Shigar, . 
The Deosai Plains from the Burji La, 
Kashmiri-Dards at Gurez, . 
The Kishenganga at Gurez, 



Facing page 


270 


M 


270 


the Author, 


272 


?j 


272 


)i 


274 


>) 


274 


jj 


286 


Miss Christie, 


286 


the Author, 


292 




292 




304 




304 




306 




306 


Miss Christie, 


316 


>! 


316 


the Author, 


328 


Miss Christie, 


328 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT 

Inscription in Kashmirian Takri, . 28 

Comb and Case, drawn by the Author, . 69 

Rock carvings at Balu-mkhar, .... . 141 

„ . . . 143 

Music : No. 1, "The King's Garden, Leh," . . 161 

No. 2, " The Goldsmith," a Dance Song, . . 162 
No. 3, "The Aristocracy of Stok," . . .163 

No. 4, "The ABC Song," ... . 164 

No. 5, .... 165 

No. 6, ... . 166 

No. 7, . . . . 167 

No. 8, . . ... 167 

No. 9, . . 168 



xviii LIST OF PLATES 

Panel of veranda in a Mosque at Khapallu, Baltistan, drawn 

by the Author, 219 

Window frames in a Mosque at Khapallu, drawn by the Author, 219 

Panel in the veranda of a Mosque at Khapallu, drawn by the 

Author, 221 

Tibetan Inscription on Buddha Rock, Sadpor, No. I., . . . 299 

No. II., . . 301 

No. III., . . 301 



Map of Jummoo and Kashmir, . . . Facing page 342 



CHAPTER I. 
PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY. 

Early in April, 1904, I went to Kashmir from India 
and took up my quarters in a house-boat on the Jhelum 
river at Srinagar, the capital of the State. It is not 
good to spend the whole summer at Srinagar, for though 
it stands 5000 feet above sea-level the heat is great, the 
climate is enervating, and the mosquitoes are intolerable 
at that season; I therefore resolved to go to the hills 
for the hot weather. Visions of finding my way to Leh 
in Western Tibet, and perhaps seeing the Devil Dance 
of masked Lamas at Himis Gompa (described in Mr. 
Knight's Where Three Empires Meet), floated through 
my mind, and at last, after some hesitation owing to 
the reported difficulties of the road, my plans took 
shape, thanks in great measure to the advice and 
encouragement of Dr. Neve at the Mission Hospital, 
Srinagar, who said there was nothing to hinder my going 
to Himis, and told me what precautions to take with 
regard to health. One of the luxuries of travelling alone 
is being free to change one's plans at any moment, 
and I was encouraged to make the attempt by the know- 
ledge that if the travelling were too hard, or if the 
high altitudes of Ladakh proved too great a strain 
for heart and lungs, I need not go on. The feeling 



2 WESTERN TIBET 

of being able to turn back naturally did away with the 
wish for it— naturally so in the case of a woman at 
least. 

Ladakh and the neighbouring country of Baltistan 
(sometimes called Balti or Skardo, the latter being the 
name of its capital), which form Western or Little Tibet, 
were conquered in 1833-4 by the Dogra Gulab Singh, 
Rajah of Jammu, a Hindu, who also annexed Gilgit and 
Astor. In 1845 he was secured in possession of the 
newly conquered territory by treaty with our Govern- 
ment, who sold him the State of Kashmir, being then 
ignorant of its value as a buffer State between British 
and Russian territory. The Rajah then assumed the title of 
Maharajah of 'Jammu and Kashmir. In 1887 Kashmir was 
almost bankrupt owing to misappropriation of the revenues 
by the army of Hindu officials who robbed the Maharajah 
on one hand and the peasantry, who are almost all 
Mohammedans, on the other, and as the State would 
very soon have been quite unable to fulfil the obligations 
of her treaty with Great Britain, a settlement officer 
was appointed to fix assessments and regulate their collec- 
tion. This work was finished in 1893 by Mr. (now Sir 
Walter) Lawrence, and the result has been highly satis- 
factory, as while the peasants flourish the revenue of the 
Maharajah increases. Many improvements have been 
made under the direction of our Government, such as the 
abolition of forced labour for the State, a system under 
which thousands of coolies suffered indescribable miseries, 
often ending in death; the preservation of the forests, 
which were fast disappearing ; and the protection of game, 
which was so indiscriminately slaughtered that in some 
places it had become almost extinct. The population of 
the Maharajah's dominions, which extend to 68,000 square 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY 3 

miles, increased from 1| millions in 1873 to 2£ millions 
in 1902. 

There are British Residents or Commissioners stationed 
at Srinagar, Leh, and Gilgit, and there is a political officer 
at Hunza, which, with its neighbour Nagar, has since 
1892 settled down peacefully under our rule, after a long 
career of fighting, robbery, and murder. Our borders now 
reach to the Pamirs, where they march with Russian 
territory. 

The territory of Kashmir is bounded on its eastern 
frontier by Great Tibet, the land forbidden till this year 
1904 to Europeans. The distance from Srinagar (let me 
remark here that this name is pronounced Sri-nugger), 
to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is 250 miles, while Lhasa 
is nearly 1000 miles south-east of Leh. These 250 miles 
are divided into 19 marches, which must be walked or 
ridden; they vary in length from 7£ to 23 miles, but 
in fine weather the short marches can be doubled, and 
the journey done easily in 15 or 16 days. The walking 
powers of the servants and pack coolies determine the 
rate of progress, which is of course slow over difficult 
ground or high passes, but a rider who had a change 
of ponies waiting for him every five miles once did the 
journey in 48 hours, hurrying on night and day and 
galloping wherever the path was safe enough to allow it. 

The great annual festival or Devil Dance at Himis, 
20 miles beyond Leh, was held that year on the 22nd 
and 23rd of June, and in order to be in good time for 
it I arranged to start about the end of May or as soon 
as the road, and particularly the Zoji La, the great pass 
separating Kashmir from Ladakh, was declared to be in 
fair condition. What I should do or where I should go 
after seeing Himis was left to chance to determine when 



4 WESTERN TIBET 

I got there, with the proviso that if possible the return 
to Kashmir should be by a different route, and thus my 
journey to Pangkong Lake on the border of Great Tibet, 
and through Baltistan and a part of the Dard country 
by degrees evolved itself, though I had no idea of going 
to these places when I started. 

Everyone in Srinagar had heard of my intended trip 
seemingly, and most of the badmashes (thieves, rascals, 
scoundrels) in the place came to my boat to offer them- 
selves as servants, no doubt thinking it would be a fine 
thing to get a lone woman up into the hills and rob and 
perhaps leave her there. Bazaar boatmen came sailing 
alongside pressing their wares — helmets, chaplies, warm 
gloves and socks, goggles, khud-sticks, and rifles, and I 
could not take a walk without some man approaching 
with insinuating smile and saying, " Huzoor (sahib) going 
to Ladakh? I bearer!" A week before I started I had 
almost despaired of finding a suitable servant, when Mr. 
Cockburn at the Tourists' Agency asked me to have an 
interview at his office with a really good man whom he 
had known for years, but when I went I was greatly 
disappointed to hear that he could not speak English 
and as I did not know more than a few words of Hin- 
dustani the difficulty seemed insuperable. However, we 
discovered while we were talking that he understood what 
was being said, and as I liked the look of him I engaged 
him, telling him that he must rub up his English, which 
he used to speak quite well, and I would work away at 
the vernacular, but in two days after he came to me, he 
had found his English and was talking quite fluently. 
It was one of the greatest pieces of good fortune I 
have ever had to find Aziz Khan (that is his name), 
for without him or his like I could never have undertaken 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY 5 

the trip. He made all the bandobast (a comprehensive 
Indian word meaning every kind of arrangement), engaged 
coolies and ponies, superintended pitching the tents, packed 
and unpacked, bought provisions that we did not carry 
with us, and did all the cooking. He made excellent 
bread, cakes that Buszard would have been proud of, 
scones, butter and jam, mended my saddle and wanted 
to mend my stockings, did the washing, and kept all 
the other servants and the coolies in good order ; for he 
is a high-class Peshawur Pathan (pronounced Paythan 
by Tommy Atkins, but properly Pattan, with a strong 
accent on the second syllable), and the natives stand in 
awe of such a man and obey him, which is not always 
the case when a Hindu gives an order; while as for a 
Kashmiri the Tibetans hold him in derision and will not 
do a thing he tells them. Aziz Khan engaged three other 
servants — none of them knowing English — one a bearer 
who acted as table servant, and two dandymen, one of 
whom did bheestie work, that is, looked after the water 
supply for the camp. 

Habibullah, the bearer, was a very tall, handsome 
Kashmiri with a gentle melancholy expression of face, 
and a comical habit of breaking out at odd moments 
into histories of his ancestry, which was by turns 
Afghan, Pathan, or Rajput, much the same as if a man 
claimed to be English, Irish, and French. He went so far 
as to tell me that his mother was Aziz Khan's sister, a 
woman he had never set eyes on ! He looked upon Aziz 
Khan as a person of great importance, and wished to 
add to his own value in my estimation by pretending 
to be related to him. He was a kindly, well-meaning, 
rather lazy man, but decidedly stupid, and when he was 
more than usually dense his thick ankles and widely 



6 WESTERN TIBET 

turned-out splay feet seemed to be an additional ex- 
asperation. 

Subhana, dandyman and bheestie, was a Pahari or hill- 
man, an active, well-built, rather little man of 25, a good 
walker and always on the alert. He often walked beside 
my pony in rough places and on the edge of precipices, 
to be ready in case of accidents; he had a great gift of 
speech, and sometimes poured out a flood of talk in which 
"Miss Sahib'' came in at every third word, and as that 
was all I understood I was not much the wiser. 

I must explain that a dandy is a chair borne on poles, 
on men's shoulders ; I was advised to take it in case of 
being ill or too tired to ride, and to have two men of my 
own, hiring two others when I used it, which, however, 
I only did for one day. 

Ramzana, the other dandyman, was a dirty, lazy, 
cowardly, disobedient Kashmiri, a typical specimen of his 
race, and I would not let him come near me. In August 
I noticed that his cotton clothes, which he had begun 
to wear when the weather became hot, looked excessively 
dirty, and I sent an order that he was to put on clean 
ones; but he had not any others, and had come away on 
a four-months' journey with one shirt and one pair of 
pyjamas. The next order was that he was to go to bed 
while one of the other men washed his clothes ; but Aziz 
Khan bought stuff for a suit, found a tailor to make it, 
and kept the price off Ramzana's pay. Before leaving 
Srinagar I gave each of the five servants a suit of warm 
clothes (costing 6 rupees or 8s.) for Ladakh, also socks, 
gloves, chaplies, and goggles to be worn on the snow ; but 
Ramzana wore his warm things in the hot weather, and 
they were in holes when we got to the cold passes where 
there was no chance of replacing them. 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY 7 

Aziz Khan, a strict Mussulman, neither drank nor 
smoked, and the other men, who were also Mohammedans, 
followed his example. 

The Governor of Kashmir very kindly allowed me to 
hire a pony and syce from the Government Transport 
stables, though it is against rule to take them up country. 
The pony, Makhti by name, was capital — quick, quiet, 
and having so smooth a walk that it was like sitting on 
a chair to be on her back, a matter of great consequence, 
as the whole journey was done at a walking pace. The 
syce turned out to be far from satisfactory, taking no 
interest in poor Makhti, and neglecting her shamefully; 
he was in fact not a syce at all, only a transport driver 
who knew nothing of his duties, and the pony suffered 
accordingly. I was also offered a State chuprassi, or 
courier, to take charge of the expedition, but was advised 
by experienced friends not to have him, as small officials 
of his class rob people terribly and are the cause of end- 
less trouble. The villagers sometimes take to the hills when 
they hear of the approach of a party in charge of a State 
chuprassi, with the consequence that no supplies can be had. 

Travel within Kashmir territory is thoroughly organized, 
and at each village it is the duty of the lumbardar, or 
headman, who is paid by the State, to supply at fixed 
rates any food and wood available, and also transport in 
the shape of coolies or ponies, and to show an official list 
of prices if required. The rate for a pony, riding or pack, 
is 8 annas (8d.) per march of about 16 miles, and 4 annas 
for a coolie ; if the march is longer or the road or weather 
very bad the charges may be higher or a backshish 
expected. Prices of food and wood vary according to the 
locality, and forage is twice as dear in the Sind Valley 
■as in Ladakh. 



8 WESTERN TIBET 

There is a dak bungalow or rest-house in or near the 
village at each stage of the road to Leh, but those in the 
Sind Valley, up which it leads for the first 50 miles, belong 
to the State of Kashmir and are mere hovels, only fit for 
eattle, some of them not even having window -places : glass 
is quite out of the question. Beyond the Zoji La, where 
they are under the control of the British Resident at Leh, 
they are clean and comfortable, and are provided with a 
few articles of furniture in each bed-sitting room. It 
is necessary, however, to take tents in case of halting 
where there is no dak bungalow, or where, if there is one, 
it is too dirty for habitation, and I preferred camping so 
much that I rarely used anything but my tent. For myself 
I had an 801b. Cabul tent, which is a load for a coolie 
or half a load for a pony. It measured 11 feet by 9, 
was my only home for nearly six months, and was 
quitted with regret. It had a double fly, the outer fly 
projecting in the rear to form a bathroom ; on the floor 
was a soldier's waterproof sheet (I had half a dozen of 
these, which proved very useful), covered with a crimson 
embroidered numdah or felt rug, and this with the crimson 
rizai, a thing like a thin eiderdown quilt, on the bed, gave 
a look of comfort to the interior. Another numdah was 
laid on the bedstead under the mattress to prevent draughts 
from underneath, which is as necessary as having plenty 
of clothes on the top in cold weather, the ground being the 
warmest place to sleep on when the cold is very severe. A 
substantial table, a low canvas chair with leather arms, and 
a higher chair for use at meals formed the furniture, and it 
could all be folded up flat. The high chair was of a kind 
given to collapsing, and visitors who were aware of this 
peculiarity sat on it with precaution or preferred mother 
earth to begin with. I never sat in the tent except on the 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY 9 

extremely rare occasions when the weather was very cold 
or very wet. 

The servants had two 6 foot tents, one for sleeping in 
and the other for the kitchen ; they were pitched a few 
yards away from mine out of earshot of talking, but one of 
the men always slept on the ground under my outer fly so 
as to be within reach if I wanted anything. The cooking 
utensils consisted of aluminium and iron degches or cook- 
ing pots and a kettle ; the tea and dinner dishes were of 
enamelled ware. The stores were not extensive, merely 
tea, sugar, tapioca, and other pudding stuffs, flour, tinned 
butter, maggi for making soup, and quantities of jam, a 
very wholesome article of food when, as happened fre- 
quently on this journey, vegetables were not to be had. In 
addition to Delhi flour, which is like our home flour, I had 
Paisley self-raising flour, an almost indispensable article on 
the march, as it makes very good bread when used in the 
proportion of one spoonful to six of the other. The lamps 
were all candle-lamps, as kerosene is very apt to flavour 
any food carried in its neighbourhood. There was no 
tinned meat or fish of any description among the stores, 
and I have been told since that I probably owed my 
unbroken health to this circumstance; my being 
practically a teetotaller was certainly also in my favour. 
At each camping-place where mutton, fowls, eggs, milk, and 
wood were to be had, these were bought, and when we 
were going to places where they did not exist, a sufficient 
quantity for several days' march was procured. 

My stock of medicines was very small, much too small 
for the large number of people who came to me for treat- 
ment at some of the villages I passed through. A bottle of 
whisky and one of brandy were taken in case of illness ; 
but the brandy bottle was broken when it was still almost 



10 WESTERN TIBET 

full, and there were the remains of the whisky in my flask 
more than a year afterwards, though I had shared its 
contents among passing travellers. 

A very important article was a canvas water-bag of an 
Indian pattern, with a spout, and a strap for carrying 
it over the shoulder ; it was carried on the march by my 
pony-man and contained a supply of boiled drinking water, 
which by evaporation became cooler as the air became 
hotter. In Ladakh and Baltistan the water of the rivers 
is not good, being full of the sand which they stir up in 
their furious course, and the clear side-streams coming 
down from the snows are few and far between, perhaps 
only one being met with in a long day. 

The servants took about 150 lbs. of rice for their own 
use, which they provided out of their rassad or food allow- 
ance. Rice is the principal food of Indians and Kashmiris, 
and is not to be had between the Sind Valley and Leh. 
They do not like the Tibetan country flour, which they say 
makes them ill, but if it does it is probably because 
they do not cook it sufficiently. I had to explain to 
them the necessity of cooking everything nearly half 
as long again on the high ground in Ladakh and Bal- 
tistan as in Kashmir, owing to the boiling-point being 
lower. 

As I am dealing with the food question, let me extol the 
skill of the Indian cook, who will prepare quite an 
elaborate dinner on a kitchen-range consisting of three 
stones set up on end in the shelter of a rock or tree to 
form three sides of a square which holds a few handfuls of 
wood, and on this the cooking pot is placed and a succes- 
sion of dishes is served, each in some mysterious way kept 
hot till it is wanted. If I started at four o'clock in the 
morning Aziz Khan always had a hot breakfast ready for 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY 11 

me ; luncheon consisted of cold meat and milk pudding, 
with soup or coffee, which he warmed up on the wayside ; 
afternoon tea was followed by a hot bath when the morn- 
ing start was too early for it, and the dinner at 7.30 was a 
repetition of the mid-day meal, with the addition of vege- 
tables, all freshly cooked. I usually got to the camping- 
ground by three or four o'clock after resting for a couple 
of hours in the heat of the day, and the ponies and 
coolies arrived an hour or two later. 

One of the joys of the expedition was getting away 
from dress with its worries as distinguished from mere 
clothes, and many a time after returning to civilization I 
longed to be in the desert again, where the crows and the 
goats did not care what I wore. I took three woollen 
coats and skirts, one thick and two thin, some flannel 
blouses, warm and cool woollen underclothing, a long coat, a 
golf cape and a large fur cloak, a helmet, and a soft cap 
for wearing in the tent or in the evening. When the 
weather was hot the fur cloak was anathematized, and 
when it was cold it saved my life. 

For foot-gear I had the Kashmir chaplies, sandals with 
lining soles of felt, which are worn over socks of sambur 
leather (similar to chamois leather), made like lacing boots ; 
these socks are drawn over the stockings, and the whole 
arrangement is so comfortable that it is like treading 
on velvet, and prevents the feet being jarred on rough 
stony tracks. For use on grass the soles are studded with 
nails, but chaplies are not suitable for wet ground. For 
riding or wearing in the tent in cold weather I had a pair 
of Gilgit boots, which are the same shape as guardsmen's 
boots, the stiff quilted cloth tops coming well above the 
knee, the soles and goloshed part being of thick untanned 
leather ; they are made very roomy so as to avoid pressure 



12 WESTERN TIBET 

on the feet which would interfere with the circulation of 
the blood. 

The stores, etc., were packed in kiltas (leather-covered 
paniers) and my personal luggage was a small cabin trunk, 
a large canvas bag, and a hold-all, but the trunk was sent 
back from Leh with its contents as a mere superfluity. 
The zinc bath fitted into a basket to protect it in bumping 
against rocks, and had another basket inside which held 
bed and table linen, and could be lifted out without the 
trouble of unpacking the bath every day. I took two 
table-cloths and four table-napkins, besides some Japanese 
paper doylies — and was looked upon in consequence by 
other travellers as a hopeless sybarite. 

My books were the Bible, Shakespeare, four volumes of 
the World's Classics, viz. The Pilgrim's Progress, Bacon's 
Essays, Esmond, and English Ballads, and also Sartor 
Resartus, which I have tried many times to read through, 
and have failed once more ignominously. I am not 
scientific, and had not even a thermometer; I deeply 
regretted my ignorance of botany and geology, for even a 
smattering of these would have added immensely to the 
interest of the expedition. 

We had no fire-arms in the camp, which I was rather 
glad of when I was told long afterwards that once in the 
jungle when the brilliant-witted Habibullah was given his 
sahib's gun to clean, he began the operation by acciden- 
tally shooting through the head a coolie who happened to 
be sitting near him. 

Paper money is of no use for paying coolies and villagers, 
so I took 600 rupees (about £40) in silver, and this sum, in 
addition to cheques for 300 more which shopkeepers in the 
bazaars at Leh and Skardo cashed for me, covered all 
expenses (including curiosities), till I got back to Kashmir 



PREPARATIONS FOR THE JOURNEY 13 

at the end of September. It is usual to give the money 
to the head servant to take care of, and he doles it out 
to the sahib as it is wanted. Transport is the costliest 
item, amounting in my case to about four rupees (5/4) a 
day, but when I stayed for a month in one place I did not 
spend more than five pounds altogether. The servants only 
accepted a few rupees of their wages, as they reckon to 
live while travelling on their food allowance — two rupees a 
month, except in the case of Aziz Khan, who had five 
rupees. 



CHAPTER II. 

SIND VALLEY AND ZOJI LA. 

Having completed my arrangements I left Srinagar on 
the 27th of May in my house-boat, and sailed in two 
days to Gunderbal, at the entrance to the Sind Valley, 
instead of going there by land, which would have only 
taken a few hours; but it was delightful to sit in the 
sunshine on the roof of the boat as it drifted with 
the current down the Jhelum river, the Hydaspes of the 
ancients, which glides under its seven bridges through 
the city, a picturesque, tumble-down Venice built of wood. 
The brown, weather-beaten houses, with their gracefully 
designed windows and balconies, are of all sizes, heights, 
and shapes, and slope at various angles, some stooping 
forward as if to look at their own image in the water, 
others leaning languidly against their neighbours for 
support. Here and there a grassy-roofed ziarat or mosque 
stands apart in its own little patch of ground, with the 
broad flight of steps of its ghaut reaching down to the 
river, or a Hindu temple, with its high conical dome 
glitters in the sunlight, which makes it look gay 
whether it is gilded or whether its metal covering is 
merely made from paraffin tins ; trees grow wherever they 
can find a corner for their roots to cling to among the 
crowd of buildings. The stream bears along huge, clumsy, 



SIND VALLEY AND ZOJI LA 15 

square-ended cargo-boats with high sides made of heavy 
planks fastened together with strong metal clamps ; 
doongas or native house-boats with the family occupations 
going on in full view ; and arrowy shikaras, like gondolas, 
darting along to the stroke of their three or four rowers, 
whose paddle-blades are made in the shape of a heart. 
Glimpses are caught of the Himalayas, standing a sentinel 
guard round the beautiful Vale of Kashmir, which is 
approximately 84 miles long and from 20 to 25 miles 
wide, and lies a fertile basin in the midst of interminable 
snow-capped mountains, with the Jhelum winding through 
it in mazy links like the Forth in the Carse of Stirling. 
The boat was towed or poled through the shining shallow 
Anchar, half lake, half swamp, with its water gardens 
and fish traps, and up the Sind River, which falls into 
the Jhelum at Shadipur, where we tied up for a night. 
Slowly we approached the great mountain barrier which 
I was to penetrate, and on a lovely afternoon tied up for 
the last time at Gunderbal. Here I dismissed the pretty 
" Water Witch " and her crew, who clamoured at the last 
moment for backshish and chits (letters or references for 
character), and here my pony Makhti and her syce met 
me, and on the 29th of May I started on her for my first 
march, the syce walking in front, Aziz Khan riding 
behind, and Habibullah bringing up the rear with nine 
coolies, three pack ponies, and the dandy with four bearers, 
all for one small woman ! But when stores for four months 
and tents have to be carried every step of the way, it is 
not a simple matter, oh ye who are within a cab drive 
of a railway station, and never go more than a mile or 
two away from shops ! It proved unnecessary to have 
so much transport, and in a few days it was reduced to 
seven ponies or fourteen coolies, and no extra dandymen, 



16 WESTERN TIBET 

as I preferred riding to being carried, however tired I 
might feel, when I discovered that the Tibetans have no 
idea how to carry a dandy, and are very apt, when shifting 
the poles from one shoulder to the other, to let it drop — 
not a pleasant thing to happen on the edge of the preci- 
pices, along which the roads in Tibet are very often cut. 

And now began a perpetual, leisurely picnic, lasting for 
months, with none of the interruptions which make 
modern life a series of hurries, and no reluctant obedience 
to the call homewards for the prosaic needs of eating 
or sleeping, because food and shelter were carried with 
us. After an early breakfast under the trees, there was 
the long ride in clear air and sunshine through scenery, 
beautiful, grand, sombre or weird, but always supremely 
interesting in its changing aspects ; the halt by the road- 
side at mid-day in some shady spot, often near a village 
whose quaint inhabitants come peering at the stranger ; 
and, at the end of the day's march, tea, a bath, a book, 
followed by a simple dinner, sometimes in the radiance 
of moon- or star-light, and then a night of refreshing sleep 
in the airy tent — all this in a quiet, a silence, a freedom 
from the strife of tongues which was balm to brain 
and nerves, and whose healing influence lasted for years 
afterwards. 

The road for the first two marches up the Sind 
Valley to Gagangair, 30 miles from Gunderbal, wound 
through meadows and paddy fields, where the farmers 
were busy ploughing and irrigating; past barley crops 
in full ear, and patches of lilac iris and field orchids, 
or under the shade of magnificent chenars (plane-trees), 
and mulberry trees covered with the ripe, delicious fruit 
which the black bears are so fond of. Clumps of wild 
roses, red, pink, yellow, and white, ran up the trees and 



SIND VALLEY AND ZOJI LA 17 

hung down in great wreaths and sprays, just as they 
do in the Surrey lanes in June, while the rushing waters 
of the Sind River made a constant accompaniment to 
all this beauty. The hills, grassy or pine-clad, closed in 
as we advanced, and snowy ranges behind them, bathed 
in sunshine, towered up into peaks of 13,000 or 14,000 
feet. On the third day's march the scenery changed 
completely from its former sylvan character. Soon after 
leaving Gagangair we came upon a fakir or holy man, 
dark, shaggy, and morose-looking, with bare chest and a 
sheet thrown round his shoulders, seated on the ground 
beside a hollow tree, which he made his home. His 
appearance was a fitting index to the landscape we now 
began to pass through. The glen narrowed and became 
very wild, the path winding steeply up and down among 
boulders and over avalanches, across great falls of rock, 
which in their descent had carried down trees, whose 
roots, trunks, and branches writhed and twisted on the 
ground with no semblance of their original shape, and 
yet continued to send forth green shoots in their seeming 
agony. The grey-green river roared and boiled far below, 
black clouds gathered overhead, and a thunderstorm 
growled behind in the distance. The whole scene was 
indescribably grand, some parts of it, where the mountains 
were too steep for snow or vegetation to cling to them, 
reminding me of the Canadian Rockies, others resembling 
the more beautiful Selkirk range. At last, after a steep, 
rough climb, we got on to the grassy meadow at Sona- 
marg, where an Australian fellow-traveller was encamped 
who was on his way to Leh on a shooting expedition; 
we had arranged to meet here and pitch our tents together 
for the rest of the journey, so that he might keep an eye 
on my servants and coolies. I waited here for three days, 



18 WESTERN TIBET 

enjoying the magnificent scenery, while he was stalking a 
red bear, and at last he got him, a fine specimen, measuring 
five feet ten inches over all by my tape measure. He was 
shot through the head, on a glacier high on the mountain 
side, and skinned on the spot, and then a wonderful thing 
happened. In less than a minute, in what had been an 
apparently empty sky a vulture appeared, in five minutes 
ten more came, and three-quarters of an hour after that 
bear had been walking about in the snow nothing was 
left of him but his skeleton. 

Sonamarg is a favourite spot for camping, and was 
at one time the principal hill station in Kashmir, but 
was abandoned some years ago in favour of Gulmarg, 
owing partly to the long distance from Srinagar and 
partly to its great height, 8000 feet, which affected the 
health of many people and prevented them from sleeping. 
A little later in the season it would be carpeted with 
flowers, but now it had only just emerged from its 
covering of snow. 

On the second morning, as we were sitting in front 
of our tents after breakfast, a lady came in sight whom 
the sportsman had seen at Gunderbal on his way up; 
she sat down, had some cocoa, and told us her exploits. 
She had been up the Zoji La by herself with a shikari 
and two or three other servants, and had shot a black 
bear, a red bear (worth twenty black bears because so 
much more difficult to get), and two ibex, and she was 
then walking to a place fourteen miles down the valley 
where she had been told there was a leopard; but she 
made up her mind to take a day off and pitch her tent 
beside ours and not to go further till next morning, as it 
was a pleasure to have, someone to talk to after being 
out in the wilds with no one but natives for a week. 



SIND VALLEY AND ZOJI LA 19 

The next morning I walked three miles down the 
valley with this enterprising sportswoman, who was 
going to sit up in a tree that night to watch for the 
leopard ; she would be securely tied to her perch in case 
of falling asleep, and she was such an excellent shot 
that there was little fear of any harm coming to the 
dog to be used as a bait on the ground below. 

On the morning of the 4th of June we struck our 
tents, and set out on the march to Baltal, nine miles off, 
at the foot of the dreaded Zoji La. Though we started at 
10.45 we did not get to our destination till 2.15, which 
seemed very slow; but transport ponies never do more than 
2 J miles an hour, and it is no use hurrying and getting to 
the camping-ground long before servants and tents arrive. 

After leaving Sonamarg, with its farms and cottages 
and flocks of sheep and goats, its grassy meadows, 
cultivated lands, and knolls covered with trees, a bare 
lonely valley is entered, whose steep hillsides are covered 
with screes of stones from which great numbers of 
boulders have rolled down, loosened by wind and frost, 
and now lie scattered by the path. An occasional troop 
of pack-ponies laden with bales of wool or skins from 
Ladakh was met with, driven by wild-looking but good- 
humoured Tibetans, many of whom turned prayer-wheels 
or twisted spindles as they walked, drawing the thread 
from a bracelet of black wool which encircled the left 
wrist. At Baltal an officer of Artillery, whom we had 
seen in the morning as he passed through Sonamarg, 
and who was also on his way to Leh, camped near us, 
and we all dined together in front of my tent on my 
table, as it was the largest and least likely to collapse 
of any in the camp. I was considered to be living in 
the lap of luxury because I had a table-cloth, and could 



20 WESTERN TIBET 

provide the party with paper doylies. Each of us had 
our own cook and table-boy, and separate food, plates, 
knives and forks, and were careful not to encroach on 
each other's stores in any way, as they were calculated 
to last just for the trip, and could only be replenished 
by sending all the way back to Srinagar by coolie. We 
dined together in this way every evening for a week 
(when the two gentlemen pushed on by double marches 
to Leh), though we started independently in the morning, 
and often saw nothing of each other all day. 

Immediately after dinner, on the 4th of June, we 
separated to prepare for the early start next day, and 
at 4 a.m. on the 5th I set out in my dandy, carried by 
four men and accompanied by Aziz Khan, who helped 
to balance the dandy in difficult places, and sometimes 
took me on his back when the roughness of the path 
obliged me to get out of it. The moon in her third 
quarter was shining brightly, and larks were singing, 
though the sun did not begin to flush the snow on the 
topmost peaks till nearly an hour later. The path 
wound by short, steep zigzags for 2000 feet up the face 
of the mountain, which blocks the upper end of the 
Sind Valley, and far below was the nullah (gorge) full 
of snow, now too soft to be walked on, though a week 
earlier, while it was still hard, that was the only 
possible route to take. 

The tents of the two sahibs were still standing down 
in the valley at nearly six o'clock, and it looked as if 
they would be very late, but they were only an hour 
after me in getting in to Mitsahoi, the first stopping 
place. We ascended steadily for two hours, the dandy- 
men occasionally putting me down while they rested 
for a minute or two, but they did not seem to feel the 



SIND VALLEY AND ZOJI LA 21 

climb much, talking to each other as they went — one 
toothless old body, who did not look at all fit for the 
work, breaking out into a chant at intervals while 
the others joined in chorus; Europeans have to stop 
often to gasp, as the quick rise from 9000 to 11,300 feet 
is trying to the heart. At six o'clock we got to the 
top, and then descended for a quarter of an hour down 
a very steep path to the snow where the track up the 
nullah joined ours, and here we entered a fairly wide 
valley entirely covered with snow, which we travelled 
through in about four hours, but in bad weather it may 
take double that time. The first part of the way was 
quite hard, as the sun's rays did not reach it over the 
mountain tops till half-past eight, but after that the 
going became rather bad, and I had to get out and 
walk with the help of a khud-stick (the local alpenstock) 
and Aziz Khan's arm, slipping, staggering, getting into 
holes and falling often. Some people who came through 
this wintry valley a month later described it as a garden 
thickly set with exquisite flowers. 

The pack-ponies were taken one at a time over the 
worst places, one man holding the head and another the 
tail to steady them, and it is really wonderful how these 
little, heavy-laden creatures keep their footing. For 
some distance the track was across the lower end of a 
steep avalanche on the very edge of the swift river which 
had cut its way through it, and if the ponies had fallen in, 
as happened to one a few days later, they and their loads 
would have been washed away and never seen again. 

Just before arriving at the dak bungalow at Mitsahoi, 
we crossed a stream coming down from a side nullah, 
bridged by a single poplar pole on which the passenger 
sits astride and works himself along with legs and arms, 



22 WESTERN TIBET 

a method that did not approve itself to me, so, as it was 
dangerous to ride, I was carried through the water on a 
man's back. A few hours later this torrent would be so 
swollen by melted snow as to be impassable, and would 
be again shrunken the following morning after the night's 
frost. For this reason it is better to start very early on a 
day's march in the spring or beginning of the summer, when 
the heat of the sun is becoming powerful, as otherwise there 
may be many hours' detention till a stream subsides. 

We were within a few yards of the bungalow when 
my foot slipped, and down I came in a muddy pool and 
was wet to the skin ; but I was in a kind of dream by 
this time in which nothing seemed of any consequence. 
A fire was lighted immediately in the bungalow, and I 
dried some of my clothes and changed others, and then 
had a substantial meal, which I was just finishing when 
the two sahibs arrived. They only stayed for half an 
hour to have something to eat, but I lay down for three 
hours, slept, and had tea at two, and started twenty 
minutes afterwards on the pony, feeling quite fresh and 
thinking all my troubles were over. This was far from 
being the case, however, for there was a great deal more 
snow to cross, and the track was so much worse that 
the pack-ponies fell, one turning a complete somersault, 
and I had to be helped along as before. Though the 
march was laborious, it was also amusing, but it was a 
relief when we came at last to a flat, grassy meadow 
and could get along easily to Matayan, the camping-place, 
which we reached at 5.20, having taken three hours to 
do five miles. The tents were soon pitched near those 
of my two companions, who had already arrived, and 
after a wash we all three sat down to dinner, feeling quite 
fit for the next day's march to Dras, twelve miles distant. 



SIND VALLEY AND ZOJI LA 23 

It gave a feeling of strangeness in coming over the 
desolate, snow-covered Zoji La to hear the cuckoo's note 
there. From its peculiarity of sounding "at once far 
off and near," it is not easy to judge where the bird is, 
but it seemed very high up on the side of the mountains, 
which rise 14,000 or 15,000 feet above the sea on each 
side of the pass. The hoopoe we left behind at Gagangair, 
and we did not hear the cuckoo after Dras ; but the lark 
sang merrily wherever there were patches of cultivated 
ground, which became less and less frequent as we 
advanced into stony Tibet. It would be interesting to 
know in what kind of nest the cuckoo places its egg 
here, and what its life-history is at this elevation. 1 

1 Two curious facts in connection with the cuckoo were related to me 
by friends from their own observation. In one case a lady was walking 
on a Scottish moor, when she saw what she took at first to be a fight 
between a pair of hedge-sparrows and two small hawks, but on coming 
nearer, discovered that the assailants were cuckoos. The hedge-sparrows 
were in great distress, uttering loud cries and striking at their foes, then 
retiring to defend their nest, till at last the male cuckoo flew away, 
drawing them off and leaving the coast clear for the hen, who darted in 
behind them to the nest, and in it dropped her egg, which she had been 
carrying in her bill. It has sometimes been asked how the cuckoo can 
deposit an egg in a, nest built in a crevice too small to admit her body, 
but this explains it. 

The other incident happened in Norfolk, where a cuckoo's egg had been 
put in a hedge-sparrow's nest in » bush growing against the wall of a 
house under my friend's bedroom window. When the young intruder 
had been hatched out, and had grown so big that its wings hung over 
the sides of the nest, having shouldered out the poor little fledglings which 
lay dead on the ground below, the father cuckoo came about four o'clock 
one morning, took up his position on a low wall opposite, and began to 
teach his offspring to say "cuckoo"; the lessons were continued at the 
same hour daily till the note was mastered, and my friend said that, 
though she was annoyed at being waked so early, she could not help 
laughing at the ludicrous croaks uttered by the young bird in its attempts 
to imitate its parent. Its cry is so delightful a sound as the herald of 
summer that it is quite a relief to have proof that the cuckoo is after all 
not in all respects the heartless wretch it is generally believed to be. 



CHAPTER III. 
STONY TIBET AND ITS BUDDHISTS. 

The march from Matayan to the village of Dras was 
only twelve miles and was done in four hours, allowing us 
to get in at one o'clock. There was a gradual descent 
through a grassy valley about a quarter of a mile in 
width at first, and widening out to two miles further 
on. After this day we saw almost no natural vegetation, 
everything in this country having to be grown by irrigation 
owing to the extreme dryness of the climate, as all moisture 
is intercepted by the mountain ranges, rising in some 
places to 16,000 or 17,000 feet, which we had just crossed, 
and in which the Zoji La, 11,300 feet, is the lowest 
depression for several hundred miles. The precipitous 
rise of 2000 feet from the Kashmir side is succeeded on 
the eastern side by a fall of 1000 feet in twenty miles — so 
slight a fall that it is only perceptible to the eye by 
the flow of the streams. Soon we passed the village of 
Pandras on a meadow by the side of the Dras river, 
which rushed along on its way to the Indus; the flat- 
roofed houses, totally different from those of Kashmir,, 
looked castle-like with their thick stone walls pierced at 
long intervals by very small windows. On the hillsides 
across the river we saw the cave-like openings of gold- 
workings in which gold is found, but in such small 



STONY TIBET AND ITS BUDDHISTS 25 

quantities that it is not sufficient to repay labour except 
when there is no field or transport work to be done, these 
being the summer industries of Western Tibet. I was 
told that in the autumn before the snow comes and when 
the streams are dried up, geese are driven up the empty 
channels with their feet smeared with ghie (native butter), 
to which particles of gold adhere. The snow lies deep 
here in the winter; a traveller, after a toilsome march, 
looked over a dreary white waste and asked, " But where 
is Dras ? " " You are standing on it," was the reply. The 
houses were completely buried. 

Huts roughly built of boulders have been erected at 
distances of four or five miles, the length of a dak, for the 
convenience of the dak-runners who carry the post-bags 
from Srinagar to Leh; each man carries a bag for one 
dak then hands it on to the next runner. They trot along 
night and day armed with a long stick, the little bells 
fastened to the top of it jingling as they go to warn every 
living creature to get out of the way — a necessary pre- 
caution in the dark where there are wild animals. The 
shelter-huts are of great value to the men, who have often 
in the early spring to struggle through blinding storms in 
the neighbourhood of the Zoji La, and arrive exhausted by 
the extreme cold and the bitter wind, which are much more 
trying at this elevation than on low ground. The snow- 
fall becomes very much less immediately east of Dras, 
amounting in the valley-bottoms to only a few inches in 
the year, although they stand at a height of from 8000 
feet upwards. 

We met three native horsemen on the road, one in the 
rear calling out, " Clear out of the way there ! This is a 
real sahib that is coming," and we still heard him long 
after we had passed, his rate of pay no doubt depending on 



26 WESTERN TIBET 

the amount of fuss he made in proclaiming the importance 
of his master, who seemed to be an Indian trader on his 
way down country. It would have been insulting to call 
out in this way on seeing another native of his master's 
rank approach, as it is only done to keep inferiors out of the 
great man's way. It was quite gratuitous rudeness to us 
Europeans, and was in marked contrast with the manners 
of the Ladakhis and Baltis, which are remarkably good. 

The village of Dras lies just beyond a Sikh fort with a 
pleasant camping-ground near it ; a dry, unirrigated spot 
was chosen, and my tents were soon pitched near those of 
my two companions, on the edge of a stream, whose 
murmur soothed the ear and induced sleep after a long 
march. Here in the afternoon my ponymen and coolies 
were marshalled in a row, and I paid them each separately 
for the journey from Gund in the Sind Valley, four marches 
back, where they were hired. It is the best way to pay 
them oneself so as to ensure their getting their full price, 
for if it is left to a servant some of the money always finds 
its way into his pocket. My two extra dandymen were 
entitled to sixpence each (!) for carrying me over the pass 
from Baltal to Mitsahoi, and sixpence more to Matayan, 
and when I gave them a rupee (Is. 4d.) each, as payment in 
full, they salaamed almost to the ground. 

I suppose the servants were tired and cross that day, for 
there was a regular upset in the camp. The man who 
owned the pony Aziz Khan was riding wanted a rupee a 
day for it, which I declined to give, as the proper charge, 
according to the tariff, was half that amount; but Aziz 
Khan took it as a personal affront, and said he would 
go back to Srinagar, as I was " cutting his pay.'' I pointed 
out to him that it was the ponyman's pay I was cutting, 
not his, and that he should have his pony and was to do 



STONY TIBET AND ITS BUDDHISTS 27 

what I told him. It was the only time that Aziz Khan 
ever showed any sign of temper to me, and he told me 
months afterwards that he was very tired at Dras. Then 
Habibullah took off his sandal to show me a lump on his 
heel, whimpering over it, the great big man of 6 ft. 2, and 
muttering something about a pony. Next, the syce came 
limping with a sore place on his big toe, caused by the 
straw string of his chapli fretting it, for which I promised 
him a remedy, but I noticed that when his back was turned 
to me he forgot to limp. The Major had some trouble with 
his coolies, and went to consult an old General, who was 
encamped close by, as to what he should do. The 
Australian's cook had hired a pony without leave (because 
he saw my cook had one), and expected his master to pay 
for it, and when this was refused he went to the servant's 
quarters and poured forth loud abuse in English ; his 
sahib hearing it got angry and gave him a beating, upon 
which he wrapped himself up in a blanket, sat by the fire, 
said he would go back next day, and professed to be too ill 
to cook the dinner. It was therefore arranged that the 
shikari was to do the cooking and make soup of a soup 
tablet, and I supplied a tin of meat. The Australian was 
sitting in his tent cutting up a plug of tobacco when the 
shikari appeared, and, thinking the man looked rather 
wistfully at it, gave him a piece, which he took away and 
boiled, imagining it was the soup tablet. Of course it all 
came to pieces, and he took the mess round to all the cooks, 
including the General's, but none of them had seen soup 
like that before, so finally it was served up just as it was. 

The next morning when we left Dras at seven all the 
ruffled tempers were smooth again, the injured toe and 
heel were dressed with ointment, and there was no sign of 
anyone going back. 



28 



WESTERN TIBET 



Just below the village on the roadside there are two 
sculptured pillars, each about six feet high, called by the 
people " Chomo " or " The Ladies," which General Cunning- 
ham, the celebrated archaeologist, believed to be Brah- 
minical statues erected by Kashmiri Hindus. Besides 
these two, one of which is represented in the photograph, 
there is a third lying on the ground which was standing 
,. _ when he saw it in 1846 or 1847, 

jjpsjjB- -jt-ttxT ;? and which he had no doubt was 

' a Hindu Sati pillar, marking the 

place where a widow suffered Sati 
(Suttee, i.e. death on the funeral 
pyre), an act of virtue in her eyes. 
He says, "On one side is sculptured 
a horseman, which is the usual 
emblem, placed on the pillar of a 
Rajputni Sati to denote that her 
husband was a soldier. On the 
back of the pillar is an inscription 
of eight lines in Kashmirian Takri, 
which I am unable to translate 
satisfactorily." 1 The horseman is 
shown in the photograph, and I 
give Cunningham's copy of the inscription, as it is now 
invisible, being on the under side of the fallen stone. In 
the drawing in his book he has reversed the stone and 
turned the inscription to the front without mentioning 
the fact. 

The scenery became more and more sterile and charac- 
teristically Tibetan as we advanced. The Major remarked 
that it looked like a country falling to pieces ; the hillsides 
seemed to be in the act of slipping down in shaly slopes 
1 See his Ladak, p. 382. 







Photographed by Miss Christie 

Chomo, or the Ladies (Carved Stone). 




Photographed by the Author 



A Tibetan Wedding. Buyers of the Bride. 



To face page 28. 



STONY TIBET AND ITS BUDDHISTS 29 

or breaking off in fragments of rock. The grass, herbage, 
and stunted birches, which gave some greenness to the 
landscape for a few miles on this side of the Zoji La, had 
now completely disappeared, and were seen no more 
throughout Baltistan and Ladakh, except near the summit 
of very high passes and on irrigated ground surrounding 
villages. The gloomy, barren, hot-looking mountains, 
curiously streaked with bands of colour, rise abruptly on 
either hand from the mud-coloured river which boils and 
rages on its furious way with a roar that rivals the rapids 
of Niagara ; here and there the mountains recede, leaving 
a mile or two of narrow plain, then close in once more, 
taking on exquisite turquoise tones in the afternoon light. 
After hours of riding there is a distant glimpse of trees 
showing where a village is nestling in its plantations of 
poplar and willows, used in building and basket-making, 
and, with extreme sparingness, for fuel ; where the climate 
permits there are also orchards of apricots and walnuts, 
which ripen at 10,000 feet in this rarefied atmosphere. 
The air is always brisk and invigorating, although the 
thermometer may go up to 150° in the sun, and in the 
evening it becomes quite cold. The villages are always 
placed at the junction of a side nullah with the main 
valley, and are irrigated by the streams flowing steeply 
down the nullah, as the Tibetans have no means of 
pumping up the water from the level of the river to 
reach their fields. 

This day's march ended at four o'clock at Kharbu ; on 
the next day's march from Kharbu to Kargil (15 miles), 
our course lay along a narrow and hot gorge, the moun- 
tains, apparently quite sterile, rising to a great height 
on both sides, and the Dras river rushing and roaring 
beside or below the path, which sometimes climbs up the 



30 WESTERN TIBET 

face of the precipice to descend again in steep zigzags. 
It was a great delight to see here and there among the 
stones or in the crevice of a rock a wild rose-bush covered 
with red, pink, or white blossoms. There were also a few 
currant-bushes, a kind of juniper, and another bush called 
amba by the natives, but these were only very occasionally 
met with in miles and miles of barrenness. The heat of 
the sun was great, and was increased by reflection from 
the rocks, but there was a cool breeze with a touch of the 
snow in it. At last we came to a village polo-ground, 
a long narrow strip of dark-coloured sand bounded on 
all sides by small boulders, and in a few minutes the 
rest-house at Kharbu was in sight, and beyond it a pretty 
camping-ground with plenty of shade from poplars, where 
we agreed to pitch our tents. There was a low stone wall 
round it in which the Major was making a small breach 
to let the pack-ponies come in, when the owner appeared 
and said he paid three rupees a year to the Maharajah 
and would require compensation for the wall, which was 
promised him, and as only about half-a-dozen small 
boulders were rolled off the top he was well paid and 
well pleased next morning on receiving fourpence. 

On the 8th of June we left Kharbu at 6.45 a.m., as it was 
to be a hot march through much the same kind of scenery 
as the day before, and we got to Kargil at two o'clock, 
after resting two hours on the way for tiffin. Kargil is 
a district containing many villages nearly 9000 feet above 
the sea ; the hills are lower than before, and instead of 
being of granite are of clay and sandstone ; the land round 
is well cultivated, and it is a relief to the eye to see 
abundant vegetation. Even at this great height, wheat, 
barley, apricots, and mulberries ripen, and willows and 
poplars flourish, six or eight of the latter being often 



STONY TIBET AND ITS BUDDHISTS 31 

grafted on a pollarded willow. But wood is scarce and 
dear here, as all over Western Tibet, and road scrapings 
are carefully collected, made into cakes, and dried in the 
sun for fuel. 

Our camping-place here was somewhat cramped, in a 
walled enclosure containing many poplars, and the fluff 
from them speedily covered the tents, flew into our drinking 
cups, and powdered everything we had. I went into the 
village and photographed some of the people, the men 
laughing heartily when the women looked scared and ran 
away. 

Here we began to see magpies, always singly at first and 
very tame, sitting on the roadside and chattering at us as 
we passed, and there were sparrows in swarms. Wherever 
there was cultivation the lark's song was heard, and from 
here onwards the hoopoe's note, which we had not heard 
since we left Gagangair in Kashmir, again greeted us 
occasionally. Although the valleys of Baltistan and Ladakh 
are more than twice as high as the summit of Ben Nevis, 
yet birds and plants that require a considerable amount 
of warmth flourish in them, because the air is so thin 
and clear that the sun's rays are but little tempered in 
passing through it, and as they are also more nearly 
vertical than in our latitudes we Europeans must wear 
helmets to guard against sunstroke. The cold is arctic in 
the winter, and prevents the natives from washing them- 
selves; in the summer they don't do it because they have got 
out of the way of it, and as they wear their clothes night 
and day till they drop, it is as well to avoid letting a Balti 
or a Ladakhi come between the wind and your nobility. 

As it was a long and hot march from Kargil to 
Maulbek Chamba, the next stage, I got up at 4 and 
started at 5.30. It was an interesting ride, for we met 



32 WESTERN TIBET 

with Buddhist buildings here for the first time, and saw 
manis and chortens. A mani is an oblong enclosure 
between stone walls, from two to six feet in height, and 
from a couple of yards to a mile in length, filled up 
with stones and soil, and roofed with flat stones having 
prayers, passages from the sacred books, and religious 
emblems inscribed on them; the commonest is the in- 
vocation to Buddha, " Om mani padmi hong " (Hail ! 
Jewel in the Lotus Flower), which is as endlessly used 
here as in Burma. Buddhists are particular to pass 
along the left side of manis on coming to them, as they 
believe that by doing so they get the benefit of all the 
prayers on them; this practice of scrupulously following 
the course of the sun is probably an outcome of the 
nature-worship which preceded Buddhism in Tibet and 
is still largely mingled with it. Our Mohammedan 
servants, to show their scorn of such superstition, insisted 
on the ponies being led on the other side. I sometimes 
remonstrated, and told them to let the poor coolies, who 
meekly acquiesced, do as their religion directed them. 
There are hundreds of manis and chortens on the road- 
sides, particularly near villages or gompas (monasteries), 
and the more influential the gompas are the larger are 
the manis and the longer the rows of chortens, which 
are sometimes built on the top of manis. Chortens are 
tower-like buildings from five or six to twenty feet 
high, sometimes surmounted with a finial, shaped, as a 
rule, like a globe placed on a crescent moon. Cunningham 
says it is " a monogram formed of the four radical letters 
(in old Pali), which represents the four elements — ya, 
air; ra, fire; va, water; la, earth, to which is added the 
letter S for Mount Sumeru." 1 Chortens are sometimes 
1 Ladak, p. 377. 



STONY TIBET AND ITS BUDDHISTS 33 

merely religious monuments, and when this is the case 
they stand in groups of three, one painted red, one 
white, and the other blue, in honour of the spirits 
of the earth, the sky, and the water — a survival of 
nature-worship from pre-Buddhist times; they are, how- 
ever, generally uncoloured, and contain the ashes of 
the dead. The Ladakhis, like other Buddhists, burn the 
dead; they then collect some of the bones, which are 
ground down, mixed with clay, and made by means of 
moulds into miniature chortens by the Lamas, and placed 
in the monumental chorten, where they can be seen in 
dozens through a small opening halfway up the side. 
Passing Europeans sometimes yield to the temptation of 
carrying one away as a curiosity, profanely calling it 
"potted Lama." 

On the roofs of the houses there are many flags with 
prayers printed on them, and wooden frames containing 
what at first sight looks like a row of bells; but these 
are prayer-wheels turned by the wind, and men walk 
along with small brass ones in their hands turning them 
as they go. 1 Wheels of this kind are sometimes also 
turned by water. The idea is that the more prayers a 
man says the sooner he will attain nirvana, and that 
he gets the same benefit from these mechanical con- 
trivances as if he uttered the invocations himself. The 
Tibetans are intensely superstitious, and the outward 
signs of their religion are to be met with constantly. 
Amongst the rocks and on seemingly inaccessible places 

1 Miss Gordon dimming, in her recently published volume of Memories, 
gives an interesting account of a successful search for prayer-wheels in 
Japan, where she had been assured by European residents that they 
did not exist. They are there of very great size and are contained 
each in a small building specially set apart for them in the grounds 
surrounding temples. 

C 



34 WESTERN TIBET 

on the mountain peaks and crags, flags, animals' horns, 
and branches of trees are fixed as offerings, and any 
interference with them is regarded as certain to excite 
the wrath of the spirits to whom they are dedicated, 
who will revenge themselves by bringing misfortune on 
the offender. 

The scenery we passed through this day between 
Kargil and Maulbek Chamba, our next camping-place, 
was very varied and interesting. After crossing a bare 
plateau, which it is hoped will soon become fertile by 
the aid of irrigation now begun, we descended into a 
lovely nook with a large village, Pashkyum, standing 
amidst streams bordered by poplars, willows, and beds 
of purple iris, and guarded at one end by an isolated 
peak 1000 feet high, on which is perched a ruined fort, 
the scene of a brilliant deed by the Dogras when they 
captured it during their invasion of the country in 1835. 
Beyond the fort a narrow winding gorge is entered, lined 
with sandstone rocks of brilliant hue, which in the after- 
noon light become of a rich turquoise blue, the beautiful 
tint more than making up for the lack of verdure. Twice; 
the gorge opens out into a valley in which a village 
shows itself, a green oasis. The second one, nearly twenty 
miles from Kargil, being Shergol, where I had my first, 
sight of a gompa, or Buddhist monastery; 1 it is a 
curious little place built in a cliff, and is a dependency 
of the larger gompa at Maulbek Chamba, three or four 
miles farther on — a picturesque building on the top 

1 Since writing this narrative, I have discovered from Colonel Waddell's 
Lhasa and its Mysteries, that it is not strictly correct to call all monastic 
buildings in Tibet gompas ; but it is the name generally given to them 
by uninstructed travellers like myself, and I have now no means of 
ascertaining which of those I describe are simply monasteries and which, 
are gompas or monastic hermitages. 




Matlbek Chamba, Gompa. 



I'hotnpraphed by Mips Christie 




Photographed by the A.uthor. 






To face liage '.A 



STONY TIBET AND ITS BUDDHISTS 35 

of a spire of rock with the village clustering at its 
foot. 

High up on the stony mountain sides, from 500 to 
1000 feet above the valley, a thin line of green is often 
seen extending for many miles, the line, straight as if it 
had been ruled and exciting the admiration of Europeans 
versed in engineering, gradually coming lower to where 
it reaches a cluster of villages, in some cases twelve miles 
from the starting-point. This is an irrigation canal having 
its source in the snow, the sole means of cultivation in 
the country, and if there is a winter with little or no 
snowfall the result is famine. The very small amount 
of land that can be irrigated has led to the people of 
Ladakh adopting polyandry as a means of keeping down 
the population, which is also helped by the celibacy of 
thousands of Lamas. The eldest brother in a family 
chooses a wife, and all the younger brothers become minor 
husbands. They are nearly always all away at work 
except one, and in fact the wife keeps the home together 
for them. If the principal husband is an only son or 
has only one brother, the woman may take an additional 
husband from another family. Mrs. Bishop, in her book 
Among the Tibetans, mentions that the Tibetan women 
look with great contempt on a woman who has only one 
husband, and that the word widow is a term of scorn 
and derision. They have great power, and are very 
independent in looks and manner. They carry a large 
portion of their wealth on their heads in the shape of a 
pberak, a strip of red or brown leather or cloth about 
four inches wide, coming to a point on the forehead and 
reaching a little below the waist behind, where it ends in 
a black knotted fringe finished with a tassel ; it is studded 
all over with rows of turquoises and some cornelians, with 



36 WESTERN TIBET 

two or three very pretty amulet-cases of gold and silver 
among them. These ornaments are handed down through 
many generations if the Lamas do not get hold of them, 
each new owner adding new stones, and they may be 
worth anything up to 500 rupees (about £33). At each 
side of the face there is a large lappet made of black 
woollen cloth edged with black fur, over which fall four 
or five long thin plaits of hair, and some women have a 
group of silver chains hanging over these and looped up 
at the back. They all wear ear-rings, necklaces, and 
finger-rings, more or less handsomely set with turquoises 
showing the matrix, cornelians, and in some cases seed 
pearls. Mediterranean coral necklaces are in great request 
here. The Lamas often contrive to get possession of the 
ornaments on the death of a woman as a burial fee ; if 
they do not get the pberak they must at least have a 
necklace or ear-rings. 

The dresses are made with high-necked, long-sleeved 
bodices and full skirts, of dark blue, or red-and-blue 
striped cloth ; large square mantles of crimson cloth with 
a green border, lined with white lambskin and fringed 
along three sides with silky white goat hair, are worn 
by the richer women, who sometimes replace them with 
Kashmir shawls in the summer. The poorer women wear 
unlined goatskins with the hair next them, as do many 
of the men. 



CHAPTER IV. 

A WEDDING AND A VISIT TO A MONASTERY. 

The morning I was leaving Maulbek Chamba I heard my 
servants laughing at something, and this something was 
a huge four-armed figure 20 feet high, cut in the rock, 
of Chamba, the future Buddha Maitreya, who, it is believed 
by the Tibetans, will be a white man. In this carving 
he looks like a Hindu idol except in feature and expression, 
which resemble those in the statues of the present Buddha, 
Sakya Muni. There was a large chorten in front of him 
ornamented with prayer-flags. 

The stage from Maulbek Chamba to Kharbu Bhot, our 
next camping-place, was over the Namika La, 13,000 feet, 
a very easy pass, and here we entered Buddhist Ladakh, 
which has a population more homogeneous in race and 
religion than any we had met with since leaving Kashmir 
at the Zoji La. Between Pandras and Kharbu Bhot the 
country is dotted with villages of colonists from neigh- 
bouring districts and of varying religions in a manner 
that bewilders the traveller. From Pandras, the first 
village after leaving the summit of the Zoji La, to Chane- 
gand on the Suru river, a distance of 40 miles, the road 
passes through the country of the Mohammedan Dards 
(the name Dardistan is unknown to them or their neigh- 
bours), with colonies of Baltis, who are also Mohammedans, 



38 WESTERN TIBET 

at Pandras, Dras, and Tashgam. An outlying district 
of Baltistan is entered at Kargil, and extends to the 
boundary of Ladakh near the Namika La ; in this district 
colonies of Buddhist Ladakhis are settled at Shergol and 
Maulbek Chamba, where the first gompas (monasteries) 
are met with. Tibetan in slightly differing dialects is 
the language of all these people except the Dards, who 
speak the Dard tongue. 

At Kharbu Bhot (so-called to distinguish it from the 
village of Kharbu, which is not Bhot or Buddhist, Bhot 
being the name by which the Ladakhis call themselves), a 
wedding tamasha (festival) was being held in a small 
house just above the dak bungalow, and the yard in front 
of it was crowded with people watching two elderly men 
solemnly dancing to the sound of drum and pipe. The 
wedding ceremonies date from pre-Buddhist times, and are 
very elaborate ; many songs are sung, and one which 
forms a scene by itself "is a kind of catechism of the 
pre-Buddhist religion of Ladakh. One verse contains 
many mythological questions, the next answers all of 
them. Its language is a more ancient form of the 
dialect, not the classical language." 1 The two men who 
were dancing were Nyopas (lit. " buyers of the bride "), 
who negotiate the match, and arrange what price is to 
be paid for the bride, according to the custom of the 
East. 

On arriving at the house of the girl's parents for the 
wedding ceremony they are not allowed to sit down on a 
carpet until they have answered the questions which form 
the first half of this song. The following verses are the 

1 Ladakhi Songs, edited in co-operation with Rev. S. Ribbach and Dr. 
E. Shawe, by A. H. Francke, Leh, whose translation of the Wedding Song 
is here given. 



VISIT TO A MONASTERY 39 

first six questions and answers out of the ten which com- 
pose the catechism : 

People of the house ask: 

1. The high sky, 

Whose and what carpet is it? 

2. The high glacier, 

Whose and what carpet is it? 

3. The high rock, 

Whose and what carpet is it? 

4. The high ocean, 

Whose and what carpet is it? 

5. The high castle, 

Whose and what carpet is it ? 

6. The wide earth, 

Whose and what carpet is it? 

The Nyopas say : 

1. The high sky 

Is the carpet of the sun and moon. 

2. The high glacier 

Is the carpet of the lion with the turquoise 1 mane. 

3. The high rock 

Is the carpet of the mountain goat, the old ox. 

4. The high ocean 

Is the carpet of the fish "golden eye." 

5. The high castle 

Is the carpet of great men. 

6. The wide earth 

Is the carpet of the King of China. 

After the dance of the Nyopas was finished everybody 
adjourned to a level piece of ground near, the men sitting 
in a wide circle, the women in a group close by. In the 
middle of the circle there were two or three large jars of 
chang (barley beer not unlike cider in taste and appear- 

1 An allusion to the blue colour of the ice. 



40 WESTERN TIBET 

ance), which were constantly being replenished from other 
jars which servants carried up on creels on their backs. 
Half a dozen men got up and danced, doing various kinds 
of steps and stampings as they followed each other, and then 
as many women took their places when the men sat down, 
all the movements being quiet and graceful. 1 After each 
turn the chang was served out to the guests, who all had 
their own cups. There was a tremendous beating of drums 
and blowing of pipes, and great applause from us three 
Europeans, and after a while the Major and the Australian 
entered the circle and set to each other and whirled each 
other round, to the great delight of the people. As soon as 
they stopped a deputation came to ask the mem-sahib 
to perform, but she did not feel quite equal to the occasion. 
Some small children were playing about, and a tiny black 
kid strayed in among us; Habibullah, who had mounted 
guard behind my chair, caused great merriment by seating 
an infant on the kid and giving it a ride, and then holding 
the kid round the child's neck. I wanted very much to 
see the bride and bridegroom, but could not distinguish 
them among the crowd. I should have liked to photograph 
them, for this would be a polyandrous wedding, but as the 
bridegroom is often in his oldest clothes busily employed in 
carrying jars of chang for the guests, I probably saw him 
without recognising him. It was the first Tibetan merry- 
making we had seen, and we were all impressed by the 
pleasant, gentle manners of the people. One man was very 
much interested in the old brown woollen skirt I was 
wearing which had little flecks of bright colour on it, and 

1 The dance of the pigmies from Central Africa, who were exhibited in 
London in 1905, was similar in many respects to the dances of the Ladakhis 
and Baltis of Tibet, being performed in goose file and with the same kind of 
shuffling and stamping of the feet, the chief difference being that the 
pigmies chanted while the Tibetans were silent. 



VISIT TO A MONASTERY 41 

who knows, he may have been a weaver who would 
introduce a new fashion in cloth at Kharbu. 

After leaving that village we crossed the Fottu La r 
13,400 feet, another easy pass, from which we had a fine 
view of the snowy range of the Karakorams far to the 
north, whose topmost peak, Mount Godwin- Austen, 28,265 
feet, is the second highest in the world. The descent of 
2000 feet from the summit of this pass to Lamayuru was 
through some of the weirdest scenery imaginable. The 
cliffs are worn into fantastic resemblances to castles, forti- 
fications, rows of mediaeval gabled houses, spires, turrets j 
as some of them have been used as dwelling-places and 
have had a door and a window or two broken into them, it 
is most difficult to tell whether they are natural or artificial. 
What houses there are have been built seemingly to 
imitate them, and at Lamayuru there are many cave- 
dwellings in the rocks which were inhabited by the people 
till about fifty years ago, when it became safe under the 
Maharajah's rule to live in houses in the bottom of the 
valley near the fields. 

In the evening I went up with the two sahibs to see the 
gompa, which is perched high above the valley as usual, 
for the sake of defence. Two or three red Lamas met us 
just when we had got very much out of breath with 
our climb, and took us all over the place, which is very 
curious, full of little rooms and buildings, some built across 
crevices in the rock, and with many rows of prayer-wheels 
in low recesses in the walls which we set spinning as we 
passed. One old Lama who accompanied us had a small 
brass wheel in his hand, which he whirled all the time 
while his lips repeated soundlessly, " Om mani padmi hong, 
om mani padmi hong," the never-ending invocation to 
Buddha. How wearisome it must become ! There were 



42 WESTERN TIBET 

several large rooms, all very dark, one called the naksha or 
map-room, though its walls were adorned, not with maps, 
but with fresco paintings of scenes from the life of Buddha, 
or of the founder of the monastery, or of saints and 
demons; other rooms contained images, flags, bowls of 
offerings of ghie, water and flowers. In the library books 
of the Buddhist scriptures wrapped up in pieces of cloth 
lay on the shelves. Most of the decorations and draperies 
were Chinese in colouring and design, and there was among 
them a stumpy, grinning species of lion which I had often 
seen in Japan. One god or demon was represented with 
strings of human heads round his neck and waist, painted 
so well that one could distinguish the various races they 
belonged to, some being white and having European 
features. There was a huge Wheel of Life on one wall, 
and on another an eight-handed god holding a mirror, 
brush, bow and arrow, and water-bottle; this deity is 
evidently borrowed from the Hindu religion. Every year 
there is a two days' performance in this gompa as at the 
one at Himis, but it is held in the winter here. We saw 
about a score of Lamas, but the lay brothers, 120 in 
number, were out working in the fields ; these communities 
rent from the State for a nominal sum a good deal of land, 
from which they derive a large part of their income. A 
few nuns, also dressed in red, were moving about; but they 
are of no account, mere drudges in the gompa. Several 
large and savage dogs prowled about the courts and 
passages, growling at us ; one or two lamas guarded us 
both before and behind from them, and threw stones at 
them to drive them away. 

After seeing this and other gompas the thought forced 
itself on the attention that, though all Christian sects 
would repudiate with horror the suggestion that their own 





Town Gate of Leh. 



To face page 4'J. 



VISIT TO A MONASTERY 43 

forms of worship resemble in any way that of idolaters, 
yet it is the fact that the rituals of Hindus and Buddhists, 
of the Orthodox Greek Church, of Roman Catholics and a 
section of Anglicans, have alike developed in a greater or 
less degree in the direction of vestments, images, pictures, 
banners, flowers, lights, incense, hand-bells, rosaries, offer- 
ings, and of a taste for darkness in churches and temples. 1 
An Indian mosque, in its freedom from all these things, 
and in its simplicity (however magnificent it may be in 
point of size, architecture, or the beauty of its stone and 
marble), is a standing protest against them, which has 
lasted unimpaired for hundred of years, and commands 
respect for the religious ideals of which it is the outcome. 

The next march, to Khalatse, was down a precipitous 
slope at first to the bottom of a narrow gully, through 
which a stream flows that is bridged in more than twenty 
places before it reaches the valley of the Indus. Formerly 
the road passed along wooden galleries made in the cliffs, 
but these have been done away with and the road is much 
improved. As we were zigzagging slowly and cautiously 
down the face of the precipice we heard a sound of 
chanting far below, and when we got to the bottom and 
turned a corner we came upon four Tibetan coolies mending 
the road, who immediately greeted us: "Deo le" (salaam), 
backshish ! " and were all smiles when a four anna bit was 
handed to them. Soon afterwards a pony's leg from the 
knee downwards, lying on the path, showed where some 
poor animal had come to grief. The gorge is very narrow 
and winding, with no vegetation but a very occasional 
wild rose-bush, and at last joins the Indus river, which 

1 The earliest Roman Catholic missionaries, who penetrated into Tibet 
in the 16th century, were so uncomfortably impressed by the resemblance 
of Buddhism to Romanism that they thought it must be an imitation by 
the devil of the religion of Christ. (See "Encyclo. Brit." Buddhism.) 



44 WESTERN TIBET 

at this point is hemmed in by rocks to a width of only 
60 or 70 feet. Here a bridge crosses it with a fort at 
one end, and a mile further on is the camping-ground 
at Khalatse or Khalsi, a pretty village in the midst of 
well-cultivated fields and fruit-trees, where walnuts and 
apricots ripen 10,000 feet above the sea. The place was 
so attractive and I was so tired that, though I had only 
come twelve miles, I resolved to stop here till next day, 
especially as the two sahibs had arranged to do double 
marches for the rest of the way to Leh, whereas I had 
no wish and no need to hurry. The dak bungalow here 
is quite luxurious, with curtains on doors and windows, 
and as there is a telegraph office open in the summer 
there was a bunch of Reuter's telegrams for the preceding 
week lying on the table, which had been sent here for 
the use of the British Joint Commissioner, Captain 
Patterson, who had just passed through Khalatse on his 
way to Leh to take up his duties there for the summer. 
The telegrams were a real treat to one who had had no 
news from the outside world since leaving Sonamarg. 
There is a Moravian mission-house about a mile off, and the 
cook from there and her husband came in the evening to 
look at me ; she wore a very handsome pberak, earrings of 
turquoise and seed-pearls, and six or eight finger-rings set 
with large turquoises, and had a pretty Indian shawl 
draped round her shoulders. The husband had a flute 
in his hand and played on it at my request — a pretty 
plaintive air. 

To make up for my laziness I marched twenty miles 
next day to Saspola, through stony, barren country, with 
only one spot of vegetation. The rest-house at Saspola 
was the most primitive I had yet been in, but I had it 
all to myself, luckily. At first settling in the noise was 



VISIT TO A MONASTERY 45 

dreadful; an apparently idiotic child was grinding itself 
round and round in the dust in the courtyard and uttering 
hoarse, inhuman cries, which there was no shutting out, 
for there was no glass in the windows, so, as soon as 
possible, I got the chowkidar to remove it. Then the 
ponymen came to be paid, clamouring at the same time 
for backshish, and an old beggar, hearing that there was 
money going, actually came upstairs into my outer room 
and went down on his knees preparing to lay his forehead 
in the dust (plenty of it!); but the door was shut upon 
him, and Habibullah was summoned through the window 
to take him away. After this there was a tremendous 
hubbub, servants, ponymen, and villagers in a crowd in 
the courtyard all talking at the highest pitch of their 
voices, the syce sitting in the gateway watching it all 
the while he placidly smoked his hookah, till I called him 
to come inside, turn out the ponymen, and close the gate, 
on which " Silence, like a poultice, came to heal the blows 
of sound." 

The next morning my pony was so tired that a day's 
rest was desirable for her ; nothing loth, I remained where 
I was for another night, and the following morning 
had four hours' journey to Nyemo (or Nimu), in the only 
scenery we had passed through that could be called down- 
right ugly, there being no sunshine to bring out the 
colouring, which was the only beauty it could possibly 
possess. The one oasis was Bazgo, a large village in a 
basin-like ravine, which reveals itself suddenly when 
approached from the edge of the plateau above, and is 
most picturesque, with a monastery and some of its 
houses on seemingly inaccessible rocks. Between this 
place and Nyemo there are some enormous manis and 
chortens, always a sign that there is a gompa near. 



46 WESTERN TIBET 

Oh, these rest-houses, how queer they are! At Lamayuru 
there were no windows in the rooms, but the upper halves 
of the doors were glazed, and the dust and sand were so 
thick on them that it was impossible to see through them 
from the outside by daylight. When they were lighted 
inside it was quite a different matter, however, as it 
suddenly occurred to me while I was undressing, so I 
popped out the candle and beheld the outline of a turbaned 
head which ducked immediately, and no doubt belonged 
to a dandyman (told off by Aziz Khan to sleep in the 
veranda), who was interested in my toilet. At Khalatse 
propriety reigned supreme, and curtains were tightly drawn 
over both doors and windows. At Saspola the rooms were 
upstairs, and had good-sized window places with wooden 
shutters, bits of which could be pushed up to admit light, 
but with no glass at all ; and at Nyemo it was the same, 
except that one side of the room was almost all window, 
and, with a half gale blowing, the windward side of my 
face was covered with sand. To make up for the want 
of glass at Saspola and here there was matting on the 
earthen floors with dhurris (cotton carpets) on the top 
of it ; quite a luxury, for in this dry climate the earth 
of the floors is always in process of crumbling away, and 
if a thing drops on it it is caked with dust and sand. 
The walls were so severely whitewashed that anything 
that touched them was powdered. The ceiling consisted 
of joists of small branches of poplar resting on eight or 
nine stout poplar poles, the whole supported by a square 
beam running the entire length of the room, which caused 
Habibullah to bow his lofty head as he walked through 
for fear of getting his pagri knocked off. There was no 
door at all to the bathroom here, so ablutions had to be 
performed in full view of anyone who might happen to 



VISIT TO A MONASTERY 47 

pass. In these circumstances I dispensed with a bath. 
The furniture was the same everywhere — a bare wooden 
table, a chair or two, a charpoi or stretcher bedstead (of 
course you bring your own bedding), and a looking-glass, 
which last is often set down before you the moment you 
take a seat, even in the veranda, by the chowkidar or 
your servant, as if they thought it would give you peculiar 
pleasure to look at yourself in the dishevelled condition 
you generally arrive in after a day's march. In the 
bathroom there was a zinc bath, but no basin-stand or 
basin, and in the walls of all the rooms there were some 
very rough wooden pegs by way of wardrobe. At the 
bungalows one meets with when coming up here there 
are only two sets of rooms, each consisting of a bed- 
sitting-room (with one charpoi) and a bathroom, but there 
is generally an extra charpoi to be had, so that another 
bed can be made up if three people arrive. It is the 
rule that several people may have to chum together, and 
those who have stayed for one night must go away to 
make way for new-comers if there are any. There were 
no locks or bolts or handles on the doors at Nyemo or 
Saspola, but one half of the door folded over the other 
in the middle, and had a chain near the top which was 
padlocked over a hasp in the lintel on the outside, so you 
had to be locked in at night and let out in the morning 
by your servant. The charge for the use of a room for 
a night is one rupee (Is. 4d.), but in the bungalows where 
there is no glass in the windows it is only eight annas. 



CHAPTER V. 

LEH AND HIMIS. 

Immediately after leaving Nyemo, the chief object of 
interest was a little black wooden mile-post with the 
inscription in white : 

18 

M 
FL 

Eighteen miles from Leh. Only 18 out of the 230 from Gun- 
derbal, where I had left my house-boat three weeks before ! 
The road this day was ugly at first, and there was no 
sunshine to give colour to sand and shale, but after a 
while we emerged upon a grassy, naturally irrigated plain 
on which troops of donkeys, lambs, and kids were feeding. 
The plain was a marvel of fertility for this country, being 
quite as grassy as a very much played-on English cricket- 
field at the end of a particularly dry, hot summer. On 
leaving this plain we saw Leh five miles off across burning 
sand, beyond a rock a few hundred feet high having 
a gompa on the top, and at one end of its summit the 
remains of strong fortifications. The monastery here is 
the residence of the Skushok, or re-incarnation of Bakola, a 
saintly contemporary of Buddha's. Bound the base of this 
rock lies the village of Pitak at an elevation of 11,000 feet; 
it is noteworthy that a former British Joint-Commissioner 



LEH AND HIMIS 49 

for Ladakh, on taking up his post, found it possible to 
exist here comfortably though he could not do so at Leh, 
only 500 feet higher, on account of the greater rarity of 
the air there, which injuriously affected his health. 

Leh looked like a green ribbon across the desert at the 
very foot of the lofty ranges of mountains rising behind it, 
and in crossing the sand, which scorched one's face, it 
seemed strange to be only about an hour and a half's climb 
from the snows. On approaching the town the ribbon 
broke up into numberless small baghs or gardens filled 
with trees, and into tiny fields, some only a few yards 
square, terraced, or enclosed in thick stone walls. The 
town-gate is a two-storied building with a wooden door 
and seats within it on each side, on which the elders sit in 
an evening. After mounting some excessively rough 
wooden steps, and passing over a high sill, we entered the 
bazaar, a wide street of shops and houses with a row of tall 
poplars all along one side, and at the far end the Gyalpo's 
(rajah's) palace on a precipitous rock; its massive in- 
leaning walls giving an impression of immense strength; 
behind that again is the gompa, towering up 1500 feet 
above the street. The few people who were about salaamed 
as we passed. After turning out of the wide, empty, sunny 
bazaar we went through some narrow lanes, smelling a 
little of the East, but quite clean, and soon reached the dak 
bungalow compound in the midst of a poplar grove, in 
which the Australian was encamped, while the Major was 
in the bungalow itself. The Commissioner, Captain 
Patterson, whom I had met in Srinagar, happened to be 
calling on the two sahibs, and asked me to join his party 
for tiffin, as my tents had not come in. The Residency 
grounds are very pretty, with a beautiful view of mountains 
through a vista of trees. Irises were growing on the 



50 WESTERN TIBET 

border of a little sparkling stream, and there were sweet 
peas just above ground and roses only in bud on this 14th 
of June, though there were masses of them in full flower 
when we left Srinagar, but that is only 5000 feet up, while 
Leh is 11,500. The climate here is very peculiar, the 
thermometer in the summer going up to 150°, or even 
160° in the sun, and falling to 50° in the night; in the 
winter going down to from 12° to 18° below zero, that is 
44" to 50° below freezing-point, and yet the sunshine is 
so warm that one can sit out of doors in it quite com- 
fortably though it is freezing in the shadow, so that it is 
possible to be frizzled on one side and frozen on the other 
at the same moment. Even when the sun is at its hottest 
at midsummer the air is felt to be perfectly cool the moment 
shade is reached. Europeans have to wear sun-helmets, 
except for two or three months in the winter, and Indians 
keep to their pagris, but the Lamas go about with their 
shaven heads unprotected. In the middle of December, 
1904, there was no snow lying in Leh, though there was 
plenty on the hills. In the middle of the following month, 
the coldest one there, there was the first snowfall to speak 
of, about five inches. "Everything in the house that is 
not in our living-room freezes. The sun tries to do his 
best, but has so far failed to melt the snow away. The 
Tibetans spend the day on the roof of their houses to be 
warmed by the sun, because fuel is now very expensive. 
None of the Buddhists thinks of washing now ; dirt helps 
to make the skin less sensible to the cold! My wife, 
therefore, takes warm water and a towel to school to let 
the pupils first wash the face and hands ! " So wrote Mr. 
Marx, one of the Moravian missionaries at Leh, in January, 
1905. 

Dr. Shawe, another of the missionaries, who has been in 



LEH AND HIMIS 51 

Leh for many years, has given me the following parti- 
culars as to vegetation in Ladakh : " Most of the vegetables 
of Northern Europe do fairly well in Leh, e.g. we grow 
peas, beans (broad and French), cabbages of all sorts, lettuce, 
beet, turnip, carrot, onion (not well here, but good in 
Nubra), radish, vegetable -marrow, cucumber, etc. In the 
flower line any hardy things will do well. Nasturtium, 
mignonette, eschscholtzia, godetia, carnation-pinks, pansy, 
sunflower, etc. Wall-flowers, geranium, petunia, stocks, 
etc., do outside from June to September, but must be 
brought into the house for the winter. Apricots ripen well 
up to Saspola, which is perhaps 10,500 feet. They ripen in 
Bazgo and Nyemo, and even somewhat indifferently in the 
Wazir's garden in Leh, where they are surrounded by walls. 
But the best apricots are at Saspola. I think the com- 
monest sorts of vegetables and flowers grow at Himis, but 
I have not seen any European specimens there. Barley is 
cultivated up at Gya, which is about 13,000 feet. That is 
also the limit of trees here." 

Judging from the visitors' book in the dak bungalow 
very few ladies have come here in former years, and only 
two have come without a man friend, and they, it seems, 
were not on speaking terms when they arrived. This 
year ten came, three singly (an American, another Scotch- 
woman and myself) two together, and the other five 
with sahibs. 

All the people I have met on the way up and in Leh are, 
with two exceptions, officers who are spending their leave 
in shooting, and it is interesting to hear their descriptions of 
the different kinds of game and their haunts, so unlike any- 
thing elsewhere. The ovis ammon, a kind of wild sheep, 
standing sometimes twelve hands high and with horns 
measuring fifty inches, is the most prized, and according 



52 WESTERN TIBET 

to the game-laws of Kashmir each sportsman may only 
kill one in a season ; sharpu and bharal are also sheep, and 
two of the former and six of the latter may be shot. These 
animals have hollow horns and do not shed them as stags 
do, which invariably have solid ones, except in the case of 
a kind of antelope in South America, which I was told by a 
sportsman has been discovered very recently to have hollow 
horns and to shed them. There are some fine heads on the 
walls of the Residency and the different forms of the horns 
can be noted, some standing straight up, as in the Tibetan 
antelope, some bent backwards, as in the ibex, and some 
curled like sheep's horns. Four is the limit for red bear 
and six for ibex, but there is no limit for pig, black bear, or 
leopard, while a reward may be recovered for destroying 
such vermin as wolves, lynxes, foxes, and martens. In 
many stony places which we crossed quantities of marmots 
whistled at us ; they are often trapped for the sake of their 
skins, though the fur is coarse. Chakor and ram chakor 
(mountain partridges and pheasants), geese, duck, teal, 
snipe, quails, and pigeons are plentiful, and are all, except 
the two last, protected. 

Near Lamayuru pigeons were extraordinarily numerous, 
and rose in myriads from the tiny fields, where they must 
have done immense damage to the meagre crops; but no 
means were taken to scare or destroy them, as the 
Maharajah of Kashmir, who is a Hindu, had given orders 
that they were not to be killed, these birds being sacred 
according to his religion. 

Two days after I got to Leh, an American lady, Miss 
Kendall, a lecturer in Wellesley College, Massachusetts, 
who had just arrived and camped in another bagh, came to 
see me ; she too was on her way to Himis to see the dance 
of masked Lamas, and we arranged to go there together 



LEH AND HIMIS 53 

on the 20th. 1 In the meantime I had been making enquiry 
about the possibility of visiting Pangkong Tso (lake), 
one of those salt lakes in the interior of Asia which I 
had read about, and was curious to see. It extends into 
Great Tibet, and forms part of the boundary between 
that country and Ladakh; the western end is about 90 
miles from Leh, and the road to it is over the Chang 
La, 18,400 feet according to Dr. Neve, author of the 
Tourist's Guide to Kashmir; 17,671 according to Dr. 
Sven Hedin's measurement, but considered to be one of 
the easiest passes in the Himalayas notwithstanding its 
great elevation. None of the Europeans in Leh, when I 
arrived there, had been over it or could give any infor- 
mation about it beyond what was in the guide-books, 
which was very meagre; but two days afterwards a 
sportsman came who had crossed it, and to him I applied 
for advice. At first he was very discouraging, saying 
there was nothing to see (that is what I was always 
being told on this journey), and that it was not worth 
the trouble and fatigue, but after a night's consideration 
said he thought I might try, as I could turn back if the 
difficulties proved too great, so I decided to go on from 
Himis and make the attempt. 

I put off all visits to curiosity shops till my return, 
as I hoped that by that time the usual caravans, which 
were due early in July, would have arrived from Lhasa 
<a thousand miles off) and Yarkand, though the British 
Tibet Expedition was likely to interfere to some extent 
with those from Lhasa, owing to the unsettled state of 

1 For some time before the Dogra invasion of Ladakh in 1835 this 
festival was held in Leh in March annually. A quinquennial assembly of 
Lamas lasting for a month was established in India by King Asoka (e. 240 
B.C.), and was followed by a distribution of presents to the monks ; the 
institution still survives in this country in a mutilated form. 



54 WESTERN TIBET 

the country there. The caravans generally take from 
three to six months to come, as the pack animals, princi- 
pally yaks, which travel at the rate of about two miles 
an hour, have to be pastured on the way. Great numbers 
of sheep, laden with salt for the markets at Leh, come 
down a little later from the high plateaux where there 
are deposits of impure salt from dried-up lakes, which 
are numerous in Central Asia. Large quantities of this 
salt are sent down to Srinagar for use in Kashmir. 

I went into the bazaar to buy some muslin to tie round 
my helmet, and after the long journey to this far-off 
place, it gave a pleasant little shock of being still in 
touch with home to see on the end of the piece, " Graham 
& Co., Manchester." The merchant's name and trade-mark 
in gilt-thread, and the coloured stripes at the end of a 
piece are considered highly ornamental by the Indians 
as a finish to the tail of the pagri which hangs down 
the back, so the whole piece was unrolled that my couple 
of yards might be cut off the other end. 

On the afternoon of June 20th I left Leh with Miss 
Kendall, the Commissioner and the Australian having 
gone on early in the day. The Major had already started 
on a shooting tour up the Indus Valley, and returned to 
India via Gartok and Simla, so we did not see him again. 
Miss Kendall had been riding country ponies all the way 
up from Srinagar, and, instead of a saddle, had a pad, 
on which she sat astride comfortably enough. This is a 
very good plan for a lady's pony in constant use here, 
because on these long marches through the mountains where 
the road almost constantly runs steeply either up or down 
hill, and a level stretch is a rarity, a side-saddle is sure, 
sooner or later, to give the animal a sore back. 

Our way to Himis lay at first among numerous manis 



LEH AND HIMIS 55 

and chortens, through a narrow gorge, and then across 
a bridge and up the valley of the Indus, which is dotted a 
few miles further on with villages and farm-houses, and is 
pleasant with the sound of running water in the innumer- 
able irrigation channels which crossed our path and made 
the country green. The valley is several miles wide, and 
is merely desert till these villages are reached. It is 
bounded by rocky mountains, the strata of those on the 
west side having been upheaved to an angle of 75 or 80 
degrees; the softer parts having worn away they leave 
the skeleton ribs exposed, which in the afternoon sun 
take on beautiful lights and shadows. Here and there 
on some high rock jutting out into the plain was a gompa 
or a chorten, and a rajah's house was pointed out to us 
nestling among trees. When we were nearing the end 
of our ride a dust-storm came on : in front black clouds 
hung over the mountain tops threatening terrific weather, 
but it ended in some heavy showers in the night and 
•early morning. Rain comes so rarely in this country 
that its signs are eagerly watched for. Moorcroft in his 
Travels says that during his stay of two years in Ladakh 
rain fell at Leh but on ten days between the end of April 
and middle of September, 1822, and he was told that this 
much exceeded the average fall. 

Our camping-ground was in a walled garden, the 
Gulab Bagh at Shushot, on irrigated ground among 
trees, but dry and comfortable. Next morning rain was 
pattering on the tent when I awoke, but it stopped early, 
and we started on our concluding march to Himis in 
sunshine. 

Soon we came to a sandy plain covered with small 
boulders and stones, among which herds of sheep and 
goats were trying to pick up a subsistence, though after 



56 WESTERN TIBET 

much close looking I could not see a single green blade 
of any kind. We heard afterwards that this part of the 
country is celebrated for its good mutton. This was 
where I first saw sheep and goats used as pack animals. 

In the middle of this desert my syce stopped the pony 
to show me, with a pitiful face, a gathering on one of 
his fingers, for which I promised him a poultice when 
we got to a place where poultices were possible. My 
simple-minded attendants often gave me the impression 
that they thought I carried a chemist's shop in my 
saddle-bag, and they are so fond of sahibs' (European) 
medicine, and have so much faith in it, that they would 
eat boxes of pills and drink bottles of castor-oil straight 
off if they had the chance of doing so, and I always 
felt that my tiny store of drugs was in much greater 
danger of being surreptitiously consumed than the 
whisky and brandy which kept them company in the 
kilta. The servants, including even Aziz Khan, looked 
quite incredulous when told that English people hate 
medicine and never take it if they can help it, as if 
they thought no one could resist such a dainty if it were 
within reach. 

Parties of people bound like ourselves for the great 
yearly festival, which attracts crowds from far and near, 
wound across the desert, the scarlet cloaks of the women 
giving a vivid note of colour in the prevailing khaki 
tones of the landscape. At the end of seven or eight 
miles we came to where Himis nullah turns sharply 
away from the Indus, whose course we had been 
following; here were many immensely long manis and 
large chortens, some of the latter decorated with grinning 
masks moulded in clay and brilliantly coloured (very 
like those we afterwards saw at the Devil Dance), while 



LEH AND HIMIS 57 

one had a human skull on it. The path wound up the 
narrow gorge, and there at last was Himis Gompa, the 
object of our long journey, perched on the hillside with 
groves of trees at its foot and a torrent dashing past. 
I had hoped to be in before the Commissioner to see 
his reception, but he and the Australian, thinking Miss 
Kendall and I were going to make another afternoon 
march, set off early and had already arrived. The chief 
Lamas came out to meet Captain Patterson and made 
speeches; there was a great blowing of the gompa 
trumpets, and offerings consisting of sheep, bundles of 
incense-sticks, and a white silk scarf were made. The 
scarf is an emblem of peace and friendship, and has the 
swasti or mystic cross 1 woven upon it; this and some 
incense-sticks were given to me as memorials of the 
occasion and were highly prized. 

The Commissioner asked us to be his guests during 
our stay at Himis; we took our meals with him, but 
occupied our own tents at other times, and with two 
young subs, on their way down to India from a shooting 
expedition, we were a party of six, representing five 
countries, England, Scotland, Ireland, America, and Aus- 
tralia. We had a merry dinner-party, the two young 
sportsmen in great spirits, having got their ovis ammon, 
which are very shy and difficult to reach, and are only 
found on the hills above nullahs, which are themselves 
11,000 feet above sea-level. On separating for the night 
we were requested to come to breakfast at eight sharp, 
as we were to be shown over the gompa before the 
dance began, so watches were compared with amusing 
results. Mine, I knew, was a little fast, but I was not 
prepared for a whole hour. One of the shooting sahibs' 
'For a description of the swasti, see p. 248. 



58 WESTERN TIBET 

was even worse, for his was an hour and ten minutes 
fast, and as he had been called at four every morning, 
while on his trip, he had really been getting up at ten 
minutes to three! The Commissioner had the time 
telegraphed to him from Srinagar every day, so could 
put us all right. One of the subs had been keeping his 
watch correct by means of a compass; but I did not 
quite understand how he managed it, though I think 
a glass and the sun were mixed up in it. My scientific 
education is still incomplete, it will be seen. 



CHAPTER VI. 
THE DEVIL DANCE AT HIMIS GOMPA. 

On the morning of the 22nd of June we went up to the 
gompa and were met at the entrance to the courtyard 
by a party of Lamas, who showed us over the building. 
On the way we had passed a flock of small pashmina 
goats; a man lifted up the long black hair of one of 
them and pulled out a tuft of the exquisitely soft fine 
white wool which is next the skin, to give to me; it 
came away quite easily, for as the warm weather sets 
in, it grows out and is picked from the living animal 
for weaving into the pashmina cloth for which Kashmir 
is celebrated, and of which the shawls are made. 

The gompa is a queer place, full of dark, ill-kept rooms 
with innumerable staircases, wooden and stone, the steps 
of irregular heights and widths, mostly broken, some 
sloping downwards and some upwards. Climbing so 
many of them took our breath away at this altitude of 
14,000 feet. In some of the rooms were many frescoes 
representing, as at Lamayuru, scenes in the life perhaps 
of Buddha, perhaps of Lamas ; but the monks did not 
seem to know anything about them, and sometimes when 
questioned disputed among themselves as to what the mean- 
ing was. There was a waxen image larger than life of 
the founder of the monastery seated in an attitude of 



60 WESTERN TIBET 

contemplation, and near him another somewhat smaller of 
the second founder, who had added to the original building, 
and before these were brass dishes of ghie and a silver 
cup, the shape of a skull, the top forming a lid. The 
first founder, we were told, came from Bagdad 300 years 
ago and brought his religion with him, a statement which 
revealed the ignorance of the Lama who made it. It 
was remarkable that the only image of Buddha we saw 
(and which we were not shown till it was asked for), a 
large brass one, gilded, was pushed away in so dark a 
corner that the little oil lamps the Lamas carried had to 
be held close to it to allow us to make it out at all. Evil 
spirits and six-handed and fourteen-handed gods are chiefly 
worshipped, next to the founders, who have the place of 
honour ; in fact, as has been remarked, Lamaism is the 
religion of Tibet, not Buddhism, though the priests and 
people are called Buddhists. The only outward things 
resembling Burmese Buddhism are the umbrellas hung 
over the founders' heads, as they are over Buddha in 
Burma. There were two large handsome chortens made 
of silver standing on a platform in one of the rooms, with 
two life-size images, made of gold or silver-gilt, of the 
founders beside them, and when asked if the founders' 
ashes were in these chortens, the Lamas said no, but did 
not apparently know where they were. Here and there 
on tables were little roughly moulded chortens, two or 
three inches high, made of the ashes of Lamas mixed with 
clay. After we had finished seeing the rooms, one of them 
being the bedroom of the head Lama, who is at present 
going through a "retreat" of five years up this nullah, 
we went to the kitchen, a large dark place with little 
fight in it, except what came through the door and the 
hole in the roof which let the smoke out. There were 



THE DEVIL DANCE AT HIMIS GOMPA 61 

several large boilers in which Lhasa brick tea mixed with 
flour was being cooked, which was then poured into large 
brass flagons. The people drink four or five turn bier fuls 
of this in a day, and say it is much less heating to the 
blood than Indian tea, which they consider unwholesome. 
I saw a great deal of brick tea in Burma which came 
from China, and so did this; but everything good in 
Ladakh is said to come from Lhasa, which is a centre 
of trade between China and Western Tibet, and the 
sanctity of the place adds to the value of goods called 
by its name. 

The Devil Dance was now about to begin, the performers 
only waiting for the Commissioner, and after passing 
through a large courtyard in which some very savage dogs 
were chained in small kennels made in the thickness of 
the walls, we were ushered through another court and 
up a stair into a gallery, where we had comfortable chairs 
and a capital view of all the proceedings. The musicians 
were seated immediately below us ; the instruments were 
two brass trumpets, about six or seven feet long, the ends 
resting on the ground, two or three small ones shaped 
like clarinets, several pairs of cymbals, and half a dozen 
drums of a peculiar shape, like tambourines, but a good 
deal larger. Each drum had a long handle which one man 
held, while another struck the drum with a thin brass 
rod, shaped like a note of interrogation, with a piece of 
leather on the end. Small drums of a similar shape were 
also used, which are sometimes made of the tops of human 
skulls. Two small pieces of bone or wood are attached 
by strings to each drum, which is so dexterously whisked 
round on its handle that they strike the parchment. The 
chief Lama had a little brass hand-bell with a crown- 
shaped handle, which he rang at intervals. He sat at 



62 WESTERN TIBET 

one end of the row of musicians, and had a low table in 
front of him. As soon as we had taken our seats the 
music began, and I recognised the sounds which I had 
heard the previous evening and again at half-past three 
a.m., and which were not unpleasant across the gorge. 
The court in which the dance took place is about 90 feet 
by 60, and is surrounded by the monastery buildings ; in 
the centre are two very tall poles with prayer flags on 
the top and wreaths of yaks' hair a little lower down. 
The gallery we were in with the veranda underneath 
extended along the whole of one side, while another shorter 
gallery, at right angles with ours, in which our Indian 
servants sat, had buildings underneath. Opposite us the 
monastery rose four stories in height, backed by the 
almost perpendicular cliff's against which it is built. All 
the windows, balconies, and galleries and the flat roof 
were filled with people. One gallery was " purdah," that 
is, reserved for veiled women, having a curtain hung in 
front of it, and was occupied by the wife (so-called) of 
the Lama who had come from Lhasa to present offerings. 
On the floor of the court crowds of people were seated, 
some with a very flimsy temporary railing in front of 
them, others with none, but making no attempt to encroach 
on the clear space in the middle ; a few of the men turned 
their prayer-wheels or twisted their spindles, combining 
pleasure with business or devotion. It was a remarkably 
quiet, orderly, good-humoured assemblage, though it 
included a good many Changpas, a nomad and very wild- 
looking hill-tribe. The Ladakhi women were all in their 
best clothes, with quantities of turquoises, and both they 
and the men gave a very picturesquely mediaeval air to 
the proceedings. Against one blank space of wall an 
enormous picture of Buddha was hung, while below it 



THE DEVIL DANCE AT HIMIS GOMPA 63 

was placed a table of offerings, consisting of small brass 
bowls of fresh pink rose-leaves ; a skull-shaped silver cup 
stood beside them. In the nearest corner to it there was 
a row of wooden prayer-wheels in a recess about eighteen 
inches high in the wall. 

The principal door of the monastery was opposite us at 
the top of a wide flight of steps, and down these thirteen 
Lamas came, dressed in red robes and mantles, with bright 
red stockings and untanned leather shoes. They wore 
enormous masks, red, white, or blue, the colours of earth, 
sky, and water, some like animals, some like death's-heads, 
others demon-like, with three eyes and coronets of skulls, 
representing the destroying god Varchuk. (The different 
kinds of masks worn at the Dance are shown in the 
photograph of a group of Lamas taken in the Residency 
garden at Leh). They danced, hopping and twirling 
round on one foot or doing steps, while bells were rung, 
drums beaten, and trumpets sounded to the clash of cymbals; 
now the music swelled out loudly, now it died down into a 
soft accompaniment to the low-toned chant of the choir of 
Lamas seated on the ground. 

The dancers returned at intervals, two by two, into the 
gompas, those left continuing to perform till only one 
couple remained, and when they also went up the steps, 
their places were taken by fifteen more, who stood on one 
leg and shook one hand in the air simultaneously, then 
danced like the first comers. After them more came and 
sat in a row against a wall while others danced in front of 
them, sometimes very excitedly. One of the seated figures 
wore a mask in the likeness of Buddha and was treated 
with great respect: another had a large white umbrella 
held over him as a sign of reverence. Numberless groups 
succeeded each other, some being boys dressed as nuns, 



64 WESTERN TIBET 

others as clowns, for there seemed to be as much comedy as 
solemnity in the proceedings, which were a whirl of many- 
coloured draperies, without dignity and without meaning, 
so far as one could see. At one stage a small square of 
mud was made in the middle of the courtyard and twelve 
Lamas sat in a row behind it ; they represented twelve just 
men, and the mud was a road which no demon could cross 
to molest them. Not content with demon masks, some of 
the Lamas had demon faces embroidered on their silk 
aprons. Many of the robes were of Chinese silk, beauti- 
fully embroidered, and some of the hats were very large 
with high conical crowns, some of them with a flag stuck 
in the apex, others with white and coloured drapery hang- 
ing from it ; these hats were worn by Lamas of the Bon or . 
pre-Buddhist religion. Two men made a sacred emblem of 
earth with a coloured pattern sprinkled on it, and presently 
the chief Lama, dressed in yellow silk robes and with a 
bell in his hand, stood on a small tiger-skin mat beside the 
emblem ; one attendant poured ghie out of a large brass 
flagon into a small brass cup which he had previously 
handed to the Lama, and another put some grains of barley 
in it, and after much music and chanting the cup was 
emptied on the ground. This was gone through twice, and 
as the Lama had taken his mitre-shaped hat off and every- 
thing was done reverently it seemed to be a solemn 
ceremony, but immediately four clowns with masks like 
skulls came in and made a travesty of the scene which 
amused the people immensely. 

On the morning of the second day of the performance 
when we entered the gompa a service was going on; a 
dozen Lamas seated on the floor behind a row of wooden 
pillars were chanting prayers to the sound of instruments. 
On one of the pillars a human arm was hung, cut off above 



THE DEVIL DANCE AT HIMIS GOMPA 65 

the elbow and now brown and withered; it had belonged 
to a man who dared to lead an attack on the monastery 
many years ago, and it was preserved as a warning to evil- 
doers. 

During the dance this day, a stout old Lama wearing 
a foolish-looking mask was hustled down the steps into the 
court by four boys wearing white masks (one like a 
European woman's face, with braided hair). They pushed 
him along to a seat, and then a man gave him a lump of 
clay in the shape of a cake which the boys begged from him, 
salaaming and putting their hands to their foreheads. He 
broke it up and gave it to them, and they amused them- 
selves by cramming the pieces into the open mouth of 
his mask, while he tried to prevent them. Then the boys 
danced about, lunging very gently at each other, and when 
one managed to tap another's mask there were shrieks of 
merriment from the onlookers. At last the boys went 
back to the old Lama, who was evidently meant to be 
tipsy, and pushed him towards the door of exit, he swaying 
and half falling and they propping him up ; but when he 
came to the founder's picture (which occupied the place 
that Buddha's had filled the previous day), he stopped and 
went down on his knees to it and touched the ground with 
his forehead. The boys imitated him, sprawling at full 
length, and everybody, including the Lamas, went into fits 
of laughter, though it looked more like profanity than 
anything else. The whole scene was very childish, but 
it was very interesting in view of the mystery attached to 
Lhasa, to see a Lama from there giving presents to a row of 
very grandly dressed priests, who each in turn stood on one 
leg and whirled round to show their gratitude. The Lhasa 
Lama put round their necks white silk scarves like the one 
that had been given to me. 



66 WESTERN TIBET 

We were all struck by the perfect quiet and orderliness 
of the audience, and by their soft voices and well-bred 
laughter. They were not nearly so numerous the second 
day as the first, and our Indian servants, who were in 
great force the first day, would have no more of the 
dance, and made very contemptuous remarks about it. 
There was one sight they would all have liked to see, but 
the Lamas would not allow it, and that was the treasury 
of the monastery, into which we were taken after much 
elaborate unsealing and unlocking of doors, the seal used 
being, I understand, a swasti (see p. 248). The apartment 
was opened in 1896 in presence of the British Joint- 
Commissioner (after having been closed for nine years), 
and again in 1900. The Lamas are supposed to be very 
rich, but if they showed us their best things a good deal 
of their treasure is mere trumpery. The monasteries of 
Ladakh were besieged and plundered by the Dogras when 
they conquered the country, and hundreds of the monks 
fled to Great Tibet. 

In the middle of the spacious treasure-house there were 
two rows of Chinese painted or lacquered chests, fastened 
with complicated padlocks, and it took the Lama who had 
the keys a very long time to find the right one. When 
the chests were opened the contents proved to be quantities 
of very flimsy silk and webs of cotton and a few rolls 
of Chinese gold and silver tissue, these last being the 
only handsome articles in the collection. The magnificent 
dresses belonging to the gompa were all in use at the 
dance, however. The jewellery we were shown consisted 
merely of a few necklaces of Mediterranean coral, which 
is much worn in Ladakh. Against the walls there were 
some jingals such as the Tibetans used at Gyantse against 
our forces — long match-lock guns held under the arm and 




T 


itfip 


&f 




r^ 


_ -% | ft b-^k:-* 








■ 




H^-^S* 










^ 1 




Kg 





a 

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THE DEVIL DANCE AT HIMIS GOMPA 67 

supported on a rest when fired. There were also bows and 
quivers full of arrows, and round metal shields, apparently 
of Indian make, which some of the Lamas carried during 
the dance. On shelves there were great quantities of 
parcels rolled up in leather, which attracted our curiosity, 
and which turned out to be stores of tea, sugar, salt and 
dried apricots, laid in when the monastery was besieged 
sixty or seventy years ago; outside in a smaller inner 
court there were piles of wood dating from the same time. 
The Lamas had asked the Commissioner to give them 
some help towards roofing-in an addition they were 
building, but he pointed to this lot of wood and said 
there was enough there to roof the whole place. 

When we went into the gallery after lunch we came 
upon a scene of great excitement ; a man who had been 
poaching in the nullah, which belongs to the gompa, was 
being mobbed and threatened. The Commissioner had 
him brought up to him and questioned him, and in the 
end the culprit had to pay a fine of a pound of ghie to 
the gompa and two rupees to the head Lama. 

Just before the proceedings came to an end, three ponies 
and two dogs were brought in and anointed on their backs 
with a red liquid ; some ghie was then poured over the 
terrified creatures. They were thus rendered sacred, and 
the ponies will be sent to Hanle", on the Indus, and never 
used again, while the dogs will be kept tied up in the 
monastery courtyard. 

Fa-hian, the Chinese traveller, on his way to India in the 
beginning of the fifth century, saw a dedication, similar 
to this one, of horses, during the proceedings of an 
assembly of Lamas, which he witnessed at a place on 
the Indus, believed to be Skardo, in Baltistan. 

Before leaving the monastery at the conclusion of the 



68 WESTERN TIBET 

second day's ceremonies, the Commissioner gave the prin- 
cipal Lama twenty-five rupees as a Durbar present from 
our Government. The sum was very small, but was a 
token that the religion and ecclesiastical buildings of the 
country would be respected — a feature of the wise policy 
which makes for the popularity of the British rule where- 
ever it exists. 

When we were walking out behind the Commissioner, 
Miss Kendall (an American) remarked to me how a 
Frenchman or a German would have strutted about in 
full uniform on an occasion like this; but the British 
representative's only sign of state was that his jemadar, 
in the royal livery of scarlet and gold, walked before 
him to clear the way, or, along with another servant 
in the same livery, stood behind his chair in the 
gallery. 

The Lamas gave each of our head-servants a comb in 
a case, both of carved wood, and Aziz Khan handed his 
over to me. I bought from him a rosary, also got at 
Himis, of beads of white jade, cornelian, and lapis lazuli, 
some of them possibly only imitation; among them 
were half a dozen made of Venetian glass, with white 
and coloured spots painted on a black ground, the 
same as some I have which were taken from ancient 
Egyptian tombs. In the Louvre, in a collection of beads 
found at Carthage, there are two or three similar to 
them. 

In the following December Aziz Khan met in the bazaar 
in Delhi two Lamas from Lhasa and two women with 
them whom he had seen at Himis, whither they accom- 
panied their superior, who presented the offerings. When 
I heard this I went down to their lodging in the Phus 
Serai, in the city, to see them. One of the men was out, 



THE DEVIL DANCE AT HIMIS GOMPA 69 

but the other was sitting on a mat on the floor, behind 
a low table which held a prayer-bell, a dorje or thunder- 





Comb and Case. 
Drawn by the Author. 



bolt, a cup shaped like a peg-measure, and also a tea-cup 
with a silver cover and high-standing saucer, like the 



70 WESTERN TIBET 

one I had bought in Leh; 1 on another low table at his 
elbow there were little brass bowls of oil. I asked if I 
might look at his tea-cup, out of which he was drinking 
the thickened Tibetan tea; but he was terribly afraid I 
was going to carry the cover off by force, and he would 
not let me touch the things connected with his worship. 
The two women were sitting in another corner twisting 
wool ; they had broad, rather pleasant faces, and wore their 
long black wavy hair flowing loose over their shoulders, 
instead of in numerous small plaits like the Western 
Tibetans ; round their heads they had fillets of red cloth 
studded with lumps of turquoise alternating with dark 
red beads; they also wore necklaces of turquoise and 
cornelian, and thick silver bracelets. Enormous earrings, 
handsome amulet cases, and many rings were all set with 
turquoises. One had a chatelaine hanging from her right 
shoulder very like one I got in Burma which had come 
from the Shan States, with silver tweezers, tooth-pick, 
ear-pick, and a small silver-mounted ivory tusk for scratch- 
ing the head. The chatelaine was ornamented with silver 
tassels like the Burmese one, and they were both probably 
of Chinese manufacture. 

I asked the Lama to let me photograph him and the 
women; he agreed to his companions being done, but 
declined for himself. He said the whole party were going 

'The silver cover of my cup has engraved on it the " Eight Glorious 
Emblems" or Lucky Signs. I quote Colonel Waddell's description of 
them as given in his Lhasa and its Mysteries, p. 224: (1) The Victorious 
Wheel of an Empire on which the sun never sets ; (2) The Luck Diagram 
called by the Tibetans " Buddha's Entrails," but really a symbol of endless 
re-births in worldly misery ; (3) The Lotus Flower of heavenly birth; (4) 
The Vase of divine ambrosia of immortal life ; (5) The two Golden Fish of 
good fortune, the mascots of Yamdok Lake ; (6) The White Umbrella of 
Sovereignty ; (7) The Conch-shell Trumpet of Victory ; (8) The Victorious 
Banner. 




HlMIS GOMPA. 



riiotnL-raiihed lty Beresford Pe; 




Women from Lhasa. 



To face page 70. 



THE DEVIL DANCE AT HIMIS GOMPA 71 

by rail to Gaya, the celebrated Buddhist place of 
pilgrimage on the way to Calcutta, and asked me to 
write a letter to the station-master requesting information 
about trains, and the fares for four grown-up people, 
a little boy, and a dog, which I did, and he put the 
letter in a book. I then wished the women to come out 
and be photographed, but Aziz Khan said in a low tone, 
" He is telling them to say no." I had greatly regretted 
not having the opportunity of photographing these Lhasa 
women at Himis, and could not think of letting this one 
slip, so I demanded the letter, and taking it from the 
book, waved it at him, saying, " No photograph, no chit." 
He kept looking straight before him and again formed 
some soundless words with his lips; the women got 
up, came out into the courtyard into the sun and were 
taken, but not before they had asked for the letter, 
which I kept tight hold of till I had got my picture. 
They then salaamed smilingly and went back to their 
room. 



CHAPTER VII. 

A TAMASHA AT HIMIS. THE APPROACH TO THE 
CHANG LA. 

While we were at dinner on the evening of the first 
day of the Devil Dance, the Commissioner said he had 
arranged to have a tamasha (festival or merry-making) 
that night on a piece of fairly level ground immediately 
below the gompa. When we went out a huge bonfire 
was burning, flickering on the poplars and lighting 
dimly the crowds of people who sat all round. A young 
moon shone down on us, showing the bare giant crags 
and pinnacles of rock that towered over our heads, and 
to add to the illumination several men stood holding 
torches and crusies filled with ghie, which they replenished 
from time to time. It was a weird and picturesque scene 
for us six Europeans here in the centre of Asia. Captain 
Patterson thought the Lamas might perhaps consider he 
was interfering with their religious performances, but a 
great crowd of them were sitting behind us and enjoyed 
themselves thoroughly. All the dancers were villagers 
except one professional from Kargil who had come for 
the gompa festival and went through a dance very 
cleverly, flourishing a sword which flashed in the fire- 
light. Sometimes half a dozen men, sometimes as many 
women, circled round the bonfire, following each other 



APPROACH TO THE CHANG LA 73 

with graceful steps and waving of the arms, the rich 
red tones of the women's square cloth mantles and snowy- 
goatskin fringes glowing and gleaming as they moved 
to the sound of drums, clarinets, and cymbals. Sometimes 
men in the audience whistled shrilly through their teeth 
just as the gallery people in a theatre do at home, and 
made us feel not so far away after all. Two girls came for- 
ward, salaamed, and sat down in front of the Commissioner, 
and sang a song evidently in his honour. One girl, after 
a great deal of persuasion, danced a solo in the midst 
of tremendous cheering led by the Commissioner, who 
waved his handkerchief aloft and called out "Shabash 
(bravo), you fellows, shabash," to the Lamas behind him, 
who joined in with all their might, with the local tehsildar 
(district magistrate) at their head, while the Indian 
servants, wild with excitement, timed the bravos with 
waving of sticks. Suddenly one of the servants would 
dart into the crowd and drag out a bashful woman like 
a bundle of clothes, set her in the circle, and away she 
went stepping out with the others. A shikari, not to be 
outdone, danced with a flagon full of chang on his head, 
and when someone held up a cup he tilted it skilfully 
forward so that a few drops came out of it. Just in 
front of us were some large jars of chang, and from these 
brass flagons were filled and handed round at frequent 
intervals, the people all having their own cups, while 
those who preferred tea had it made for them after the 
native fashion. As the evening was chilly we Europeans 
were regaled with whisky toddy, hot, strong, and sweet, 
to ward off fever. The dancing went on with unabated 
vigour till midnight, and as no Commissioner had ever 
given such a tamasha before, Captain Patterson's visit 
to Himis will long be remembered with enthusiasm. The 



74 WESTERN TIBET 

Ladakhis are a merry, light-hearted race, fond of fun, 
and thoroughly appreciate a joke. 

Early on Thursday morning our two young subs started 
for India, their leave being dangerously near an end, and 
the Australian went away in the afternoon at the con- 
clusion of the Devil Dance, so we were that evening a party 
of only three. On Friday morning Miss Kendall started 
for Leh and Skardo, and Captain Patterson for a distant 
nullah in search of ovis ammon, the villagers turning out in 
great force to say salaam to him, but as I wanted to have a 
day's quiet to think over all I had seen I stayed till 
Saturday. Early on Friday morning the gorge was filled 
with the sound of chanting by the villagers who were all 
hard at work, as they had been for a fortnight before, 
carrying stones for building the addition to the gompa. I 
went down to look at them, and found two men breaking 
up boulders with hammers (there is no attempt at stone- 
dressing in Tibet), while a Lama was directing the work, 
stick in hand, which he was not slow to use if anyone 
loitered or got in the way, as an old woman did who 
stopped to speak to me. From higher ground it looked like 
a swarm of ants going backwards and forwards, and the 
only payment the poor people get for their labour is a cup 
of tea. The Lamas are the money-lenders of the country, 
and in times of distress, which happen not infrequently 
owing to failure of the precarious crops, they lend sums of 
money at exorbitant rates of interest to the villagers and 
never allow them to pay their debts off entirely, so that 
they always have them in their power by this means, as 
well as by threats of supernatural misfortunes which appeal 
to their superstitions; it is therefore easy to understand 
the influence the Lamas have over the people in making 
them do what their own judgment might protest against. 



APPROACH TO THE CHANG LA 75 

The shop-keepers in the bazaar at Leh seemed rather 
pleased with our military expedition to Lhasa, and said 
that as the Tibetans go freely to India to trade it was 
unfair of the Lamas to forbid the Indians going to Tibet. 
There are a good many old scores against the Lamas 
generally, and no doubt their flocks are glad to see some 
of them being paid off by our Government. 

The Himis monastery is the richest in Western Tibet, 
and belongs to the Red Lamas, as do the monasteries 
generally in this country. It has accommodation for 800 
monks and nuns ; the latter do the cleaning, such as it is. 
They too are dressed in red, and some of them wear 
pberaks, while others let their hair hang loose in long and 
repulsive-looking elf-locks, which have quite certainly never 
been combed or washed. The Lamas, who are all clean- 
shaved, have many of them evil faces, but the one from 
Lhasa, who was very Mongolian-looking and wore a pig- 
tail, was of a much better type. It is only the laity in 
Ladakh who wear pigtails. 

The Buddhist religion, as it is practised in Tibet, has 
deviated greatly from the teaching of Sakya Muni, its 
founder. It is said to have been introduced from India 
into Ladakh in the third century B.C. by missionaries of 
King Asoka, into China about the Christian era, and into 
Great Tibet in the middle of the eighth century. It is the 
case in all religions that previous beliefs and customs are 
mixed up with them, and in Ladakh the gods and spirits of 
the nature-worship of the pre-Buddhists have been grafted 
into the later religion, making a strange medley in which 
the spirits of the air, water, earth, and trees have a place, 
as well as gods that have been afterwards introduced into 
the system. Hence the difficulty of ill-educated Lamas to 
explain the meaning of such ceremonies as those at Himis. 



76 WESTERN TIBET 

My last impression of Himis was a very pleasant one. 
As I sat in front of my tent, which was pitched in a 
little terraced field on the hillside exactly opposite the 
gompa, its white walls crowned with richly toned brown 
roofing, the low chant of the Lamas' afternoon service 
mingled with the rush of the torrent and the tinkle of the 
tiny irrigation channel at my feet; the sun shone on the 
warm-coloured crags, on whose very pinnacles (which 
reminded me of the Troltinderne in the Norwegian Eomsdal), 
were chortens and prayer-flags showing against the intense 
blue of the sky, the whole scene being pervaded with a 
sense of peace and beauty. 

As I was advised by Captain Patterson not to take my 
pony Makhti to the Pangkong Tso, which was the object 
of my next expedition, I sent her and her syce back to Leh 
to wait my return. Makhti had been such a good willing 
creature, trudging up and down among boulders, along 
the face of precipices and through numberless streams 
without hesitation, and with only one whole day's rest 
on the journey of 230 miles from Gunderbal to Leh, 
that I was very anxious the syce should take good care 
of her, and told Aziz Khan to tell him so, on which I 
was assured that the Superintendent of Stables at Srinagar 
would kill the syce if anything happened to Makhti, that 
the pony was his god, and that none of the food which 
ought to go into her mouth would go into his. 

On Saturday, June 25th, I left Himis at 7 a.m. on a 
very good little country pony, and after crossing the Indus 
by a bridge two or three miles off, turned up a side valley, 
and at 10.30 arrived at Chimrey, my first halting-place 
on the way to Pangkong Tso. The road lay along a 
wide and well-cultivated nullah irrigated by a rapid river, 
and dotted here and there with comfortable-looking farm- 



APPROACH TO THE CHANG LA 77 

houses standing in the midst of their fields. At a sudden 
turn we came upon a gompa built on a high spur of rock 
jutting out into the valley, with a perfect warren of small 
flat-roofed buildings reaching down to its foot. A little 
further up the nullah there was a ruined killa (or fort) 
with the remains of houses which had nestled vainly 
against it for protection. 

At Chimrey the lumbardar (or kardar, as he was called 
there) was a picturesque old figure, dressed in a long 
black gown and a purple cloth cap, with a trimming of 
silver lace round the front, the back turned up, showing 
a red silk lining; a handsome steel pen-case was stuck 
in his girdle. He sat down and wrote a perwana to be 
shown at any villages I camped at, directing that by order 
of the Commissioner at Leh I was to have all available 
supplies that I required. The paper of Tibetan manu- 
facture is very thin, but tough and fibrous, more expensive 
than European paper, and the people have the knack of 
writing on it without resting it on anything. The manner 
of impressing the seal is ingenious. The end of the left 
forefinger has a little blot of ink smeared on it with a 
pen (generally a wooden one), and the seal ring, which 
has the owner's name carved on it, is rubbed in the ink and 
pressed on a spot on the paper which has been previously 
damped, leaving a perfect impression. I saw a marriage 
contract sealed in the same way at a country wedding 
in Kashmir, and it is also an Indian mode of sealing. 

I asked the kardar if he would allow me to go into his 
house, as I had never been inside a Tibetan one, to which 
he agreed readily after some deprecatory remarks, and 
sent a servant to tell his wife I was coming. The house 
was of the usual Tibetan type, with strong stone walls 
surrounding a small courtyard, and stalls for cattle on 



78 WESTERN TIBET 

the ground-floor. From the court there was a narrow 
wooden staircase, such as would lead to a loft at home, 
up to the first floor, and after ducking my head to enter 
a low doorway, I was ushered into a good-sized room, 
in which the kardar's wife had prepared a seat for me 
by throwing a handsome rug over a chair. The lady 
was very old and very toothless, and her pberak, studded 
with enormous pieces of turquoise, kept waggling over 
to one side while she talked. When I admired the head- 
dress, she said she had had a great many more turquoises, 
but had given them all to the Lamas, not having any 
children to leave them to, as Aziz Khan explained to me 
afterwards. As the kardar is a rich man she has only 
one husband, the poor people alone practising polyandry. 
I was amused to see in this remote spot in the Himalayas 
some pictures from the Graphic and an illustrated adver- 
tisement of "James Buchanan's Scotch Whisky" pasted 
on the walls, given, no doubt, by some shooting sahib 
who had camped here. Another large room was fitted 
up as a private chapel; on the reredos were pictures of 
a god with three disciples on his right and a demon on 
his left; a row of bowls containing ghie and wild-roses 
stood on a shelf in front of them, the demon being equally 
honoured with the rest. A large drum hung a little way 
off, and on a table were a small bell with the top of the 
handle shaped like a crown, and a dorje, which somewhat 
resembles a short sceptre, six inches long, with a crown 
at each end; it is a copy of "the holy Dorje (vajra or 
thunderbolt) which descended through the air and fell at 
Sera in Tibet" (Cunningham's Ladak, p, 311). While 
reciting prayers the worshipper holds the bell in one hand 
and the dorje in the other. 

The old couple were very much amused when I looked 



APPROACH TO THE CHANG LA 79 

at the pictures, etc., and laughed merrily when I turned 
a big wooden prayer-wheel which stood on the landing. 
A string of egg-shells hung from the lintel of another 
door leading into the dining-room, a perfectly bare room 
with one end partitioned off by an open wooden arcading. 
Behind it was a picture of the Potala at Lhasa, an immense 
group of buildings with a square gilded tower in the 
middle. The kardar had been to Lhasa, and the journey 
had taken him three months, which was very quick, but 
the Maharajah had sent him, so that he would have special 
facilities. He receives 100 rupees a year from the Maha- 
rajah as head of the village, £6 13s. 4d. in our money. 

At Chimrey we laid in supplies of mutton, butter, milk, 
flour, and wood, as nothing was to be had between here 
and Durgo, two marches off, and only milk, flour, and wood 
there. The Lamas at Himis would not allow chickens to 
be killed, and none were to be had anywhere till we got 
back to Leh ; but Aziz Khan had bought half a dozen at 
the Gulab Bagh, where we camped before Himis, and they 
rode on one of the pack ponies. All the eggs required 
for the fortnight's journey to the Pangkong Tso and back 
to Leh had also to be bought at the Gulab Bagh, where 
I paid a rupee (Is. 4d.) for sixty. 

We had a short march of 9£ miles from Chimrey to 
Zindral, at the foot of the Chang La, where there was 
only a rough stone shelter-hut, and near it we camped. 
The road from Chimrey led gradually high up on the 
mountain side. All vegetation ceased for miles, and the 
intense silence was only broken by the muffled sound 
of the men's and ponies' feet in the soft sand, and the 
occasional cry of the ram chikore, or snow pheasant. By 
and by we came to a grassy plateau on which several 
parties of Changpas were settled; these nomads live in 



80 WESTERN TIBET 

yaks' hair-cloth tents in the winter, but do not seem to 
think it worth while to put up any kind of shelter at this 
season, though the thermometer goes down below freezing 
point at night; they contrive to raise scanty crops of 
barley at an elevation of 15,000 feet. 

I was told that people as a rule begin to suffer from 
breathlessness, headache, and mountain sickness at an 
elevation of 15,000 feet, though many have all these 
symptoms at a very much lower level, and that at Zindral, 
.16,400 feet, nobody can sleep. Therefore I decided that if 
I had great discomfort there I would not attempt to cross 
the Chang La, which is over 1000 feet higher, but turn 
back to Leh. When we got to Zindral, however, I was 
so sleepy that I could hardly keep my eyes open while I 
was having lunch ; indeed, I sat with them shut part of 
the time, and immediately I had finished lay down and 
had a refreshing nap, and slept soundly at night too. I 
walked about a little in the afternoon to test my breathing, 
but did not find it more difficult than at Leh, 5000 feet 
lower, so I had no further fear of the pass. 



CHAPTEE VIII. 

THE CHANG LA AND THE PANGKONG TSO. 

On Monday, June 27th, I got up at 4 a.m. and breakfasted 
outside as usual, while my tent was being taken down. 
There was a thin coating of ice on the pools of water 
among the stones, and my fingers were so numb that I 
could hardly use them. The servants were blue with cold, 
and had muffled up their necks, which orientals seem to 
think the most important part to keep warm. For the 
three or four miles of ascent from Zindral the way is 
among boulders, over which my pony had to make such 
jumps that Subhana walked beside me to steady me in the 
saddle, and catch me if I fell out of it. This man marched 
for twenty-three miles that day, and I never once heard 
him breathe audibly. The pony panted a good deal, and 
had to stop pretty often to take breath, but it was rather 
fat, and Aziz Khan's, which was thinner, did better. I 
read in the guide-books that if climbers take very light 
meals while at a great height, they do not feel much the 
Tarity of the air, so I took the hint and only had a cup 
of cocoa and a piece of toast for breakfast, and I found 
that afternoon that my three servants had had no food at 
all before starting, as the firewood had run short, and 
they had none to cook with. None of them suffered 
except Habibullah, who said he had a little headache, 



82 WESTERN TIBET 

but as he was always inclined to think it rather interesting 
to be ill, I did not think much of his complaint. One 
of the coolies panted a good deal, but a chlorate of potash 
tabloid gave him instant relief. At seven o'clock we 
reached the summit, and for a mile or so crossed a level 
tract of crisp snow a couple of inches deep. By this 
time the sun had risen well over the mountain tops 
near us and warmed the air, and it was beautiful to see 
his beams lighting up one rocky pinnacle after another, 
and shining on the snowy range on the other side of 
the Indus far behind. At the summit there was a hla-tho 
or god's stone, where the spirit of the pass dwells. This 
is a cairn, surmounted by a prayer-flag and branches of 
willow or poplar, and with ibex and sheep's horns stuck 
in the sides. Although there was a little snow on the 
level, which was in shadow, the mountain sides were 
mostly clear of it for at least 500 feet up; and still 
higher up, though they reached to 20,000 feet above 
the sea, it only lay in streaks and patches, except where 
they faced the north; there was a solid field of it 
there. 

At sea-level the pressure of the air on the square inch 
is 1522 pounds; at 18,000 feet, a little higher than the 
Chang La, it is 7 - 66 pounds, and this reduction brings on 
headache, dizziness, and bleeding at the nose and ears 
in many cases, while if the heart is at all weak the 
consequences may be very serious. Even hill ponies some- 
times spin round and drop down dead (there was the 
skeleton of one lying near the hla-tho); but in my own 
case I felt the air so exhilarating that I could have 
laughed and sung from pure joy if there had been any- 
one to keep me in countenance, and I was in the saddle 
for seven and a half hours continuously that day without 




Thk Chang La, 17,671 feet, showing Hla-tho, or God's Stone. 

Photographed at 7 30 a.m. 




Yak Caravan. 



To face page 82. 



CHANG LA AND THE PANGKONG TSO 83 

feeling tired. The kardar at Chimrey had told Aziz 
Khan he had never seen a lady go over this pass before, 
and he did not think I should attempt it ; but Aziz Khan 
said I was a strong traveller, and he thought I could 
do it. As it turned out, he was justified in his belief, 
and he did not tell me of this conversation till many 
months afterwards. 

I gave this account of crossing the Chang La to a 
literary friend to read, and his criticism was that I did 
not harp sufficiently on the agonies of the journey; but 
as I did not suffer any agonies, I do not quite see how 
the harping is to be done. At the time it seemed through- 
out an easy, common-place affair which anybody could 
have accomplished, and I have no gift of fine writing 
to cast a glamour over it and make it appear the 
tremendous achievement it was not. Moorcroft, who was 
the first Englishman to cross the Chang La, says in his 
Travels, that when he did so on the 31st of October, 
1821, there was deep snow on the ground, but he does 
not mention any other discomfort to himself or his party. 
He had been entreated by the native governor of the 
district to propitiate the spirits of the pass and prevent 
some awful catastrophe by making an offering at the 
hla-tho. This he did with one leg of a pair of worn-out 
nankin trousers, and the novelty if not the value of the 
gift seems to have appeased the deities. I might have 
hung an old skirt as a sacrifice on the horns which be- 
decked the shrine, but no one suggested it, and I did 
not think of it at the time. Moorcroft's companion, 
Trebeck, remarks that in crossing the Chang La in 
December of the same year, several of his people com- 
plained of pain in the head and chest, and would have 
stopped in despair, had not threats and entreaties been 



84 WESTERN TIBET 

liberally administered, yet women and girls were traversing 
the path without fear or apparent fatigue. Perhaps 
women are better adapted than men to very high levels. 
In my case, season, weather, temperature, all conspired 
to make it quite an unsensational business, and I can 
only regret the feebleness of my imagination which 
refuses to rise into heroics over it. Between early June 
and late September, 1904, I crossed eight passes varying 
in height from 14,000 to 18,000 feet, besides the Zoji La, 
11,300 feet (which was by far the most fatiguing of all), 
and also the Deosai plains with an average of 13,000 feet, 
without having a touch of headache or mountain sickness. 1 
The only unpleasant symptoms I had on very high ground 
were not being able to lie comfortably on my left side, 
and a disinclination to eat; but this last was on the 
whole a beneficent provision of Nature, as the food was 
not tempting or nourishing, consisting of skinny mutton 
and stringy chicken day after day. I often wished I 
had provided Aziz Khan with a gun, as an occasional 
meal off a pheasant, partridge, wild duck, or pigeon 
would have been a pleasant variety, and there were 
plenty of these birds about in various places, but the 
gun would have had to be kept out of Habibullah's 
way. 

I did not mean to make the double march of 23 miles 
from Zindral to Durgo that day, but this part of the 
country was new to my servants, and the ponymen 

1 The intense sufferings endured by the members of the Lhasa Expedition 
were probably greatly aggravated by the moistness of the climate in that 
part of Tibet, which is very much greater than in the western districts 
of the country. The combined rain and snowfall at Leh is five or six 
inches annually, while Colonel Waddell computes the rainfall in Lhasa 
and Gyantse at thirty inches during the summer and early autumn alone. 
(See his Lhasa and its Mysteries, p. 467). 



CHANG LA AND THE PANGKONG TSO 85 

took us past the camping-ground at Tsullak (nine miles 
from Zindral, where I intended to stop) without our 
noticing it, as we were looking for a village, and it 
turned out there was none. The east side of the pass is 
not nearly so steep as the west side, but there were 
miles of boulders to skip over, which my pony did 
gallantly with hardly a stumble. At the foot of the 
pass we came upon a small frozen lake, buried deep in 
snow, then one of open water, then another like the 
first, but with a river running through it, the snow 
standing in cliffs about a dozen feet high; after this 
the road was easy till we had a mile or more of loose 
shale to cross, and then, as we had been five hours on 
the way, I asked where we were being taken to, as we 
were more than due at Tsullak, the intended camping- 
place. When the ponymen replied "Durgo," and added 
that it was about three miles further on, I gave the 
order to proceed Durgo proved to be six miles off, 
through a most desolate region and over a long stretch 
of sand, but at last from the top of a sandhill I saw it 
far below, an oasis in the wilderness. 

Just when we had begun to descend from the top of 
the pass, a young Englishman, an officer of Hussars, 
overtook us, who was on his way, via the Changchengmo 
Valley, to Great Tibet ; he had heard at Leh that I was 
on the road before him, for in this country the roads 
are like telephones, and everybody knows about everybody 
else, where they have come from, where they are going, 
and what sport they have had. This was the only 
European I had seen since leaving Himis a week before, 
and it would most likely be a good deal longer before 
he saw one again, as he intended to spend two months 
over the border, shooting yak, forbidden game in Kashmir, 



86 WESTERN TIBET 

for the cow is a sacred animal to the Hindu. He was 
taking quite a farm-yard with him, eight goats to supply 
him with milk, four or five sheep, and a dozen chickens. 
He told me his dog had run after a bird on the top of 
the pass, and then began to spin round, a fatal sign, 
so he picked it up and put it in its basket, where it 
soon recovered. Most sportsmen take a dog into these 
wilds for the sake of company and of talking in English 
to understanding ears, though the response is only in 
dumb looks and signs of affection. A basket is provided, 
and a coolie to carry it, for the use of the dog in case 
it becomes ill or foot-sore on the march. A fox-terrier 
is almost always chosen for these journeys — a creature 
that flourishes in any climate, from the damp, tropical 
heat of low-lying Burma, where one or two are to be 
seen at every landing-place on the Irrawaddy, to the 
dry cold and extreme altitudes of Tibet. 

As my fellow-traveller was doing double marches we 
parted at Durgo where there was a nice little bagh on a 
terrace overlooking the river with a picturesque bridge and 
a farmhouse, surrounded by fresh green fields of barley. 
My tent was pitched under the shade of some willows, 
and immediately tiffin was served — soup, prepared so 
hastily that the fat had not been skimmed off, a very 
dry cold chicken, a piece of butterless bread, and a tapioca 
pudding with some milk poured over it out of a Wor- 
cester sauce bottle to which the flavour still clung — a 
meal I thoroughly enjoyed, which showed I was not out 
of harmony with my surroundings. 

The milk, cows' and sheep's mixed together, was bad 
here; Aziz Khan had four supplies brought in succes- 
sion, each curdling as soon as it was made hot, till at 
last he emptied the pan over the lumbardar's head with 



CHANG LA AND THE PANGKONG TSO 87 

happy results for the pudding, for the next supply was 
milked into a clean dish of mine and was quite sweet. 
In places such as this where no European woman has 
been seen before the villagers are occasionally inclined 
to act as if a mem sahib were of small account; but 
Aziz Khan has methods of his own for speedily curing 
them of that delusion, as in this and other instances 
which will be disclosed hereafter. 

On the 28th of June we left Durgo a little after 
■8 a.m., as we had only a short and easy march of seven 
miles on level ground before us, at 13,000 feet, to 
Tanktse, where we had to get supplies for several days. 
The scenery was of the usual character — bare, precipitous 
cliffs backed by gloomy mountains, with snow peaks 
showing behind them here and there, a small stream 
running through the valley and directed into irrigation 
channels where possible, with now and then stretches of 
sand; the population was of the smallest, hardly a 
creature to be seen. It does not sound interesting, but 
there is an extraordinary fascination which everyone 
feels in riding day after day through this country, and 
after only two days' rest at Himis every member of the 
party there expressed satisfaction at the thought of 
being on the road again. The clear, bracing air, brilliant 
-sunshine, and constant movement are part of the charm, 
no doubt; but there is something beyond that which 
cannot be denned, and which nils the heart with an 
almost intoxicating joie de vivre. My sympathies are 
now entirely with gipsies, tinkers, travelling showmen, 
canal-boat people, and all "gangrel bodies" who loathe 
in their very souls the idea of being tied down to a 
stationary habitation. 

At Tanktse I came upon the Hussar again, as he 



88 WESTERN TIBET 

had some trouble in getting ponies, and had not yet 
started on his next march. He had sent a message to 
the lumbardar the day before that he wanted twelve 
ponies, and although that number was produced, half of 
them were so weak and ill as to be unfit for work* 
which was a serious matter when they were required 
for two months' use. Here I felt the benefit of the 
perwanah which the tehsildar gave me at Himis at 
Captain Patterson's request, authorising me to take the 
ponies I had to Pangkong Tso if I could not get others, 
as good, though the rule is that fresh ones are hired, 
for each march unless the ponymen are willing to pro- 
ceed, which they are very glad to do when the route 
happens to lead to their own homes. There were no 
ponies left after the Hussar had been supplied, as they 
were very scarce at Tanktse owing to what had happened 
two or three years before when two men came up here 
to do some surveying; they had a perwanah from the 
Indian Government authorising them to demand what 
transport and supplies they required, so they took all 
the ponies there were at this village; the half of them 
were killed on the journey, and the villagers had not 
yet got any compensation. 1 My ponymen would fain 
have returned, but Aziz Khan would not allow it, and 
of course they were not paid till they got back to- 
Chimrey. The little beast I rode, which I hired at, 
Himis when Makhti was sent back to Leh, was capital 
over rough ground, and I was very glad to keep him. 

It was quite a busy scene at the camping-ground as 
the ponies which the Hussar had hired were brought 

X A few weeks later their claims for compensation were brought 
before the British Joint-Commissioner at Leh, and proved to be very- 
moderate. 



CHANG LA AND THE PANGKONG TSO 89 

up to have their backs looked at, to be pushed to test 
their strength, and lastly to be trotted past to see that 
their legs were all right. At last they were loaded and 
set off, though it was feared they might have to be 
changed further on for yaks, which are much slower, 
only doing about two miles an hour, but better for 
ground that is difficult and affords scant pasturage. I 
heard long afterwards that the sportsman had travelled 
for 300 miles within Great Tibet without any trouble, 
having kept away from villages; he lived on what he 
shot when his own meat supply was finished, as he could 
not go near any houses there, each lumbardar being 
forbidden by the Lamas at Lhasa on pain of death to 
allow a foreigner to pass through his village. It was 
of course out of the question for me to attempt to cross 
the border in such circumstances. 

Immediately after leaving Tanktse on Tuesday morning 
we passed a gompa perched on a shelf of rock on the 
face of a cliff; it had formerly been a fort, but was 
stormed and destroyed (by Dogras probably), and then 
taken possession of by Lamas, who repaired and rebuilt 
it, and very picturesque it looks. A narrow passage 
between two rocks, looking like an entrance into Hades, 
led into a scene of utter desolation, and after a short 
ascent we looked down into a valley with a stream 
running through it and with a little sparse vegetation, 
but showing no attempt at cultivation, though any spot 
of ground that can be irrigated is invaluable here. The 
phenomenon was explained by the fact that a great 
part of this valley is covered with patches of salt, it 
having once been the bed of one of those salt lakes 
which are so numerous in Central Asia, and the stream 
is brackish. On the bare mountain side above it two 



90 WESTERN TIBET 

or three small trees grew near a rill coming down from 
the snows, and a Lama had chosen this place for his 
seven years' retreat from the world, of which one and 
a half had passed. A man goes occasionally with 
supplies of barley flour for him, and, as one of my 
servants remarked, he had nothing to do all day and 
all night but drink tea and do " pooja " (worship), 
which consists principally in turning a prayer-wheel and 
muttering over and over again the ejaculation to Buddha, 
for prayer in our sense of the word it cannot be called, 
" Om mani padmi hong." It was the same kind of stern, 
dreary place that the early Christian hermits fled to 
from the temptations of the world, as indeed hermits 
of all religions have done. 

On leaving this valley the road entered a wider one 
where there was some herbage for a flock of pack-sheep 
to feed on — large strong creatures with remarkably small 
heads and a great quantity of very long wool hanging 
about their hind legs. A little further on their owners 
were sitting round a fire, sheltered from the wind by a 
neatly built low wall made of the packs they had taken 
off the sheep. The packs consisted of pairs of small 
brown striped canvas bags fastened together, each bag 
holding 20 lbs. of salt, which the Changpas collect from 
the salt-beds and send down to Leh and Kashmir. Each 
sheep carries a pair of the sacks thrown across its back. 
I was fortunate as soon as I reached the next camping- 
place, Maglib, in being able to take a picture of a 
caravan of laden yaks — shaggy black creatures with huge 
horns, some of them having a white stripe along the 
spine and a long thick white tail. 

The camping-ground at Maglib did not look inviting, 
no trees, no shelter, hardly any cultivation, and only 



CHANG LA AND THE PANGKONG TSO 91 

some ruinous-looking stone huts by way of a village; 
but there are always some unlooked-for beauties in what 
are, at first sight, most unpromising places if one stays 
long enough to find them out. While strolling up and 
down this evening I saw the most exquisite moon-rise 
that I have ever beheld. The light of the moon caught 
the mountain tops nearly an hour before she herself was 
visible over the shoulder of the hill, and as the silvery 
light crept slowly down, it gave them a mystical, far-off 
look as if they were floating away from their deeply 
shadowed bases. When one side of the valley was at 
last brightly illumined the other side was only touched 
in parts by the moonbeams, and the effects of light and 
shade were lovelier than can be imagined. 

After Maglib the valley became quite awful in its 
desolation, the only signs of life for many miles being 
two eagles circling high over-head and casting their great 
shadows on the ground, and a few tiny lizards scamper- 
ing over the hot stones. The intense silence was not 
even broken by the sound of running water, for the 
stream whose course we followed glided noiselessly here 
over sand instead of brawling over stones, as it did lower 
down, and we went on mile after mile without a word 
spoken. The colouring of the hills was exquisite in the 
great slopes of warm yellow sand, the deeper tones in 
the crevices of the rocks, and the violet cloud shadows 
which floated over them. There was a tiny lake on which 
numbers of wild duck were swimming, about nine miles 
from Maglib, and a man came over and told us we ought 
to camp here as there was no good water beyond, but it 
was so far away from Lake Pangkong, which I was making 
ten marches specially to see, that I gave the word to go 
on to Lukong, a mile and a half from the lake. The people 



92 WESTERN TIBET 

at Maglib told Aziz Khan that the lake was only one dak, 
meaning about four or five miles, from there, and that I 
could easily go over for the day without troubling to take 
the camp, but my two guide-books say it is 13 miles from 
Maglib to Lukong and I would not trust to any native 
estimate of the distance. As it turned out it was not till 
after four hours' riding that we caught the first glimpse 
of the sapphire blue waters of the lake, and it took another 
hour to reach Lukong, which we did soon after twelve. 
We were now within twenty miles, as the crow flies, of 
the frontier of Great Tibet. 

Two hours after my arrival at the camping-ground, as 
there was no appearance of the pack-ponies, Aziz Khan 
went to look for them, and presently arrived with the 
news that Habibullah, who was in charge of them as 
usual, had been riding a bare-backed pony without even 
a halter, and it had stumbled and thrown him, and he 
had broken his collar-bone. He soon arrived on a bag- 
gage pony, and to my great relief I was told there was 
a Changpa hakim (or doctor) in the village who could 
set the bone. The village, like all those on this side of 
the Chang La, consisted of three or four scattered houses, 
and seemed an unlikely place to find surgical aid in. 
The hakim came immediately, an old man in a dingy 
white woollen robe and a dark-coloured tam-o'-shanter 
shaped cap, and set to work. Habibullah was seated on 
the ground with his arm stretched out across the knees 
of a man beside him; the hakim measured out three 
spoonfuls of powdered cedar-wood in a small brass spoon,, 
mixed it with a little water, and painted the shoulder 
with it, then pulled the arm straight out with all his 
might. Next, a piece of pagri, several yards long, was 
produced and wrung out of cold water (Habibullah 



CHANG LA AND THE PANGKONG TSO 93 

whimpering "garum pani," hot water, but that was 
refused), and rolled tightly into a rope with which the 
shoulder was bandaged. The patient seemed to suffer 
very little during the setting, and the hakim said he 
would be able to use the arm in four days, which I 
doubted, as it had not even been put in a sling, and 
nothing had been done to remedy the depression of the 
shoulder caused by the fracture of the collar-bone, and 
I doubted still more when I heard a few hours later 
that Habibullah was using the arm. I made a remark 
about the absence of a pad under the arm-pit, which 
must have been repeated to the hakim, for the next day 
the patient was going about with a stone wrapped up in 
a piece of paper and fastened on his chest by way of 
supplying the want! 

After tiffin I rode down to Lake Pangkong, which is 
nearly three miles from Lukong; it is one of a chain 
of lakes 90 miles in length, and is itself 40 miles long; 
about a dozen miles of its south-eastern shores are in 
Great Tibet. It is from two to four miles broad, and 
is a mere ribbon of deep and exquisite blue between 
the mountains bounding it on both sides. The water is 
very salt and bitter to the taste, something like that of 
the Dead Sea. There were clouds of mist blowing 
about the mountains and skimming across the surface 
of the water, and the wind was cold, with occasional 
showers of sleet; but that was not surprising even at 
this season, the very beginning of July, at an elevation 
of 14,000 feet. I should have liked very much to see 
the other end of the lake which is much more beautiful 
than this; but one of my guide-books, Duke's Kashmir 
Handbook, gives hardly any information about this 
route, while the other, Neve's Tourist's Guide to Kashmir, 



94 WESTERN TIBET 

says that the only camping-places near this end are in 
sandhills, that there are no villages, consequently no 
supplies, and as my men did not know the district it 
was hardly safe to venture without at least being sure 
where we could find drinkable water. The natives have no 
idea of distance, so one cannot trust to their directions. 
I found out afterwards that we ought to have gone not 
to Lukong, but to Spangmik on the south shore (where 
there are two houses, and milk and fuel are to be had), 
and continued along the lake-side past several tiny 
hamlets, to Shushol (50 miles), a considerable village. 
Thence there is a track over an easy pass to Maya on 
the Indus, where the road to Leh is joined. This route 
would have taken nearly a week longer, but would have 
been preferable to retracing my steps for 100 miles and 
crossing the Chang La twice. 

Supplies are difficult to obtain in this part of the 
country. Nothing was to be had at Maglib and Lukong,, 
and we took mutton and milk from Tanktse, while the 
only fuel was boortsia, a bush rather like furze that 
grows in the sand. From Maglib to Lukong the route 
is along the level bottom of valleys, which were once 
the beds of lakes, now shrunken to narrow streams. 
Their former beaches, the elevated alluvial plateaux known 
as karewahs in Kashmir, which project from the lofty 
mountain sides, stand like low shelves from 100 to 20O 
feet high on each side of the valleys alternately ; it 
rarely happens here that there are two karewahs opposite 
each other. 



CHAPTER IX. 
FROM PANGKONG TSO BACK TO LEH. 

As it seemed advisable to take Habibullah to the hospital 
at Leh as soon as possible, we only stayed for one night 
at Lukong, and started on the return journey at 7.30 a.m. 
on the 2nd of July, a cold, bright, windy morning on 
which the lake looked lovely ; by the middle of the day 
the weather was quite hot. 

On the desert one of the men picked up a dead jungle 
dog to show me. It looked as if the flesh had been 
dried up and mummified inside the skin by the heat of 
the sun and of the sand combined. Jungle dogs are very 
like jackals, except that their tails are not bushy, and 
here they kill and feed on bharal (mountain sheep), which 
are found on the hills. They even attack and kill ponies ; 
two of them had been prowling round the camp the 
previous night, and had to be chased away. 

I camped again at Maglib where I saw the beautiful 
moon-rise a few nights before, and after having had 
some lunch and fed the chickens, which rode on one of 
the pack-ponies, and had dwindled down from five to 
two, I sat in front of my tent enjoying the sunshine 
and the ripple of the water running past within a yard 
of me. The chickens were tied together by the leg 
with a string about a yard long, so that while they both 



96 WESTERN TIBET 

kept still they did not feel the restraint; but one might 
be comfortably settled for a nap when the other began 
pecketting about and upsetting its companion's quiet, 
in a way that reminded one of the bond of holy 
matrimony. 

Three women passed, one spinning, one turning a 
prayer-wheel, and one driving a donkey, and I ran after 
them with my camera while the men shouted to them 
to stop. I photographed the group, only the donkey, 
donkey-like, wandered out of the picture. The Ladakhi 
women nearly always put their hands over their mouths 
when they are being photographed, as they did now. 
I had seen plenty of spinning, but no weaving, and 
asked Aziz Khan who did it. "The ladies," he replied, 
and added that his "lady" at his home had woven the 
pashmina pagri he was wearing, and embroidered the 
pattern across the end of it, and that it was "awful 
nice, awful warm." 

A knowledge of botany would have added greatly to 
the interest of this part of my journey in particular, 
and I deeply regret my lack of it. There were quantities 
of celandine, or a flower very like it, at Maglib, on the 
patches of grass by the stream ; and at Zindral, 16,400 
feet up, there were clumps of flowers like grape hyacinths 
set in clusters of woolly lancet-shaped leaves. Small 
purple vetches grow at 14,000 feet; but I did not see 
any of the dwarf irises which abound on the other side 
of the Chang La in every watercourse, though from 
here to the foot of the pass the elevation is only about 
13,000 feet, and though they grow freely at that height at 
Himis, as does the wild rose, which is also conspicuous 
by its absence here. The wind rushing through these 
gorges is cold even at midsummer, and always blows 



PANGKONG TSO TO LEH 97 

strongly in the afternoon or evening: it must check 
vegetation more than the height alone would do. General 
Cunningham notes that the wind goes round the compass 
once in 24 hours in Ladakh, being south about mid- 
day and north during the night. 

When Aziz Khan brought me my dinner he said the 
broken ends of Habibullah's collar-bone were half an 
inch apart, so I told him he must help me to set it as 
soon as I had made a pad to go under the arm. The 
rung of a chair with a pair of socks rolled into a hard 
ball at the end of it made quite a decent pad, and I 
took it over to the servants' tent from which three men 
emerged, though it is only about six feet square and 
the patient's charpoy took up more than half the space ; 
but these creatures can fold themselves up like grass- 
hoppers and tuck themselves away in any odd corner. 
Habibullah was lying with his shaven head covered with 
a skull-cap close to the entrance, so I had only to put 
my hands inside and, with Subhana's help, I fastened 
the pad securely and put the arm in a sling, giving 
instructions to Aziz Khan that they were not to be moved, 
and that he was on no account to attempt to put that 
arm in a sleeve. 

Next morning a pitiful voice said, " Good morning, 
Miss Sahib," and there was Habibullah with both arms in 
his sleeves! Imagine my wrath, but I promptly came to 
the conclusion that no man with a broken collar-bone 
could wriggle in and out of his clothes as he did, and 
I determined not to worry myself any more about him. 
He moaned at every breath he drew when I was within 
earshot, gazing at me with great pathetic eyes, till at 
last I said, " What a baby you are, Habibullah ! " " I 
not ba-ba, Miss Sahib," almost weeping. " Yes," I said, 



98 WESTERN TIBET 

" you are — a great big ba-ba." Aziz Khan got tired of his 
moans and ordered him to stop them, which he did when 
he found they gained no sympathy. The Kashmiri are 
the most unmanly race on the face of the earth, I do 
believe. 

It was very cold all the way from Maglib to Tanktse ; 
in the night sleet was pattering on my tent, and there 
was a fresh fall of snow on the near mountains, but 
by noon it was very hot. We came through most dismal 
scenery amid quantities of fallen boulders, walls of stones 
as if they had been piled up by man's hands, rocks and 
cliffs blackened as if by fire, with a ruined watch-tower 
on a peak, as if this desolation were worth guarding 
or attacking. On turning a corner we suddenly came 
on Tanktse, with its trees and emerald fields and cottages ; 
the lumbardar and two or three villagers came to meet 
us with smiles as if we were old friends, and indeed it 
seemed like coming home at each place where we had 
camped before. 

The next day when we were passing a small hamlet 
between Tanktse and Durgo two women came forward, 
one carrying a brass bowl of barley flour and the other 
one of chang, and offered my ponyman refreshment. He 
took a small bowl out of his coat into which some flour 
was poured and some chang on the top of it, which he 
drank, and this was repeated till I began to be rather 
alarmed, as he had taken so much of this mixture the 
previous night that he forgot to give the pony any water. 
Aziz Khan says the people often take two seers (4 lbs.) 
a day of it, and it is their only food. At last when the 
man had had enough, he mixed what was left into a 
kind of dough with a grimy forefinger and put it, in 
the bowl, back into his coat for future use. As there 



PANGKONG TSO TO LEH 99 

was no sign of any payment I asked if it was a gift, 
and was told that "all man here brother," and they give 
each other food when travelling. A mile or two further 
on another meal was offered, which the ponyman declined, 
but on being pressed drank a little chang. The day after 
the same thing happened, but this time the hospitality 
was extended to me in the shape of a bowl of milk, 
which I was afraid to accept, as it would have been 
risky to drink it unboiled considering the habits of the 
Tibetans. The men wear long (once) cream-coloured 
woollen chogas or coats, black across the shoulders with 
grease from their pigtails and dust from the packs they 
carry; and dark-coloured woollen caps lined with black 
sheepskin, occasionally ornamented with a strip of scarlet 
cloth across the crown. Their clothes are often full of 
holes which allow glimpses of a cleaner garment under- 
neath, bearing out the theory that they put on their 
new clothes, when they get any, underneath the old ones. 
However dirty and ragged they are they always wear 
a pair of brightly shining brass bangles, and earrings 
of silver wire about an inch and a half in diameter, 
with pieces of turquoise and cornelian strung on them. 
They have rather Mongolian faces, with beautiful teeth, 
which they show a good deal, as they are often smiling 
and laughing. 

A tiny solitary tent on the desert was the shop of a 
man from Leh, who sells tea and sugar, and moves slowly 
through the country, stopping a couple of months in a 
place where it looks as if he might have three or four 
customers, but he always fixes his quarters on the line 
of route for caravans from up country. He was going 
to Lukong, which we had just left. 

After a halt of one night at Durgo, where we had 



100 WESTERN TIBET 

camped after crossing the Chang La, we ascended quickly 
to that pass by a different way from the one we had 
made the descent by, easier and more of a thoroughfare; 
though even here, when we were, going down into the 
depths of a gorge which crossed our path, my feet were 
on a level with the pony's ears. At the top of an 
ascent there was a hla-tho with prayer-flags and antelope's 
horns, like the one on the summit of the Chang La, 
and our ponymen as they marched did pooja in a loud, 
short chant to the spirit inhabiting it. I am indebted 
to the Rev. A. H. Francke for the following explanation : 

" When the Ladakhis cross a path they say Lhala sollo, 
lhala Tnchoddo (given to the gods, offered to the gods). 
It is a pre-Buddhist invocation, and refers to a stone 
which they add to the hla-tho, or to a new prayer-flag, 
or any little thank-offering." 

The camping-ground was by the side of a lake at the 
foot of the pass, and as we did not get there till nearly 
two, and I had not dismounted since starting, seven hours 
before, I was rather tired. It was cold and windy, with 
gloomy clouds hanging about the mountains, foreboding 
bad weather for the pass on the morrow. While waiting 
for the pack-ponies I chose the most comfortable-looking 
stone I could find, and tried to imagine it was an easy- 
chair in which a nap could be taken, but it would not 
do. At last a little before five, twelve hours after I had 
got up in the morning, the ponies appeared, and in another 
hour the tent was put up, I had had some tea, and was 
lying down snugly covered up in my nice little camp- 
bed, only leaving it for half an hour while I dined. In 
the night I heard sleet pattering on the roof, and when I 
finally awoke in the morning all sorts of terrors started up 
before my imagination — had I miscalculated the distance 



PANGKONG TSO TO LEH 101 

and camped at the wrong place, would the cold wind on 
the top of the pass make me faint or perhaps stop the 
beating of my heart altogether, would the snow be so 
deep that I should be obliged to walk gasping for breath 
at every step ? etc., etc. To each phantom I sternly re- 
marked, "It has to be done: there is no wood and no 
food to be had here, and we must move on." Aziz Khan 
came soon after seven, very much wrapped up, and said 
it was too cold to start before half-past eight, but he 
had sent his kitchen things off and arranged that I 
should have a more comfortable arrival than the previous 
day's. Habibullah had been in charge and must have 
loitered on the way, for though he said the reason of 
the delay was that the ponies were bad and not properly 
shod, yet this day they came in quite in good time. I 
had told him that if this happened again I would cut 
his pay, and there is nothing that brings an Indian or 
Kashmiri up to the mark so quickly as a threat of that 
kind. In a household when a thing is lost, the assurance 
from the master or mistress that no wages will be paid 
till it is found always ends in its being produced. 

Well, I got up and dressed in my warmest clothes, had 
a light breakfast, and set off feeling quite rested and 
fresh, all the morning's terrors having vanished. It was 
not very cold, the wind had fallen and the track was 
rideable all the way, though there was a good deal 
more snow on it than when we crossed a week before. 
A heavy shower of sleet fell for half an hour, and the 
mountain tops were lost in mist and gloom, but after 
passing the summit we left all that behind. When things 
looked their blackest there was a sparrow hopping about. 
None of my party showed the slightest symptom of 
distress, and I felt none myself. I had calculated that 



102 WESTERN TIBET 

it would take at the shortest four and a half hours to 
go over the pass if I had not mistaken the distance ; but 
it only took three and a half, and soon after twelve I 
was sitting on a sunny, grassy bank by the side of a 
clear stream wimpling over grey granite, with a herd 
of yak browsing on a stony hill-side opposite, though 
there was quite good grass about fifty feet below them : 
they lick the lichens off the rocks, and can pick up a 
subsistence where there is no food but this for them. 
A number of the Changpas they belonged to were 
grouped round a fire on the meadow near, with the 
brown-striped packs built up neatly as a sheltering wall. 
Presently three Lamas, one carrying a prayer-wheel and 
another a flag, with two pack-sheep following them, came 
round a corner and crossed the stepping-stones — a most 
picturesque group, which I wanted to photograph, and 
I called to Subhana to give me my camera, quick ! but 
they came so suddenly on the scene that I had not time. 
Subhana asked them to wait, but, when they saw what 
it was for, they waved their hands in dissent and passed 
on. I followed them, and Subhana called out that the 
mem-sahib would give them backshish; but they took 
no heed, and as this is a country one cannot hurry in 
without paying the penalty of headache and palpitation, 
I had to let them go. I rested for nearly two hours, 
having the satisfaction of seeing the pack-ponies pass on 
their way to Chimrey, and when I got to the camping- 
ground they had just arrived, though I came the last 
part of the road very quickly. My easy canvas chair 
was quickly unpacked and set up, and I read Henry IV. 
while the tent was being pitched. The ponymen had 
come from here, and while one of them was busy 
hammering in tent-pegs a little child came toddling in 



PANGKONG TSO TO LEH 103 

to greet him. I went to ask if it was his, and what 
its name was. It was a boy and was called Lama, and 
was going to be a monk, which was why it was dressed 
in a red frock. It was a funny-looking, beady- eyed little 
thing ; and oh, its nose ! It was in the same state that 
a Japanese child's nose is generally in, and most people 
know from books, if not from sight, what that is. 

When we were on this road before I had seen on the 
manis some nice thin slate-stones with inscriptions carved 
on them, much more portable than the sandstone boulders 
which are used for this purpose as a rule, so I carried 
off a small one, and hope the giver of it will not get 
into trouble in consequence with the recording angel, 
who will pass through the land at the last day, writing 
down the names of those who have contributed to the 
manis, and punishing those who have not done so. The 
people employ the Lamas to carve the stones for them. 

The evening I arrived at Chimrey, Habibullah, looking 
more melancholy than ever, came to say he would like 
to go to the hospital at Leh next morning. As I was 
going to stay two nights at Chimrey, and make a couple 
of marches of the thirty miles to Leh, I ordered a pony 
for him and sent him off. I had already taken the pad 
and sling from him, as he had got them all out of place, 
and I thought if the arm were not tied up, he would 
forget, and use it, as he forgot his limp ; but instead 
of that he went about with it in an imaginary sling, 
and made feeble attempts to do things with his left 
hand, calling for Subhana's help. It was amusing to see 
how Aziz Khan ordered Habibullah, and Habibullah 
ordered Subhana, and Subhana ordered the ponymen. 

I paid off the ponymen at Chimrey, where I had hired 
them for the journey to Pangkong Tso. For doing ten 



104 WESTERN TIBET 

marches, one of 22 miles and several of 17 miles, and 
crossing the Chang La twice with seven ponies, in- 
cluding two for riding, the charge was only 32 rupees 
(£2 2s. 8d.). 

The valley below Chimrey looked quite richly cultivated 
after the barren country we had been in lately, with its 
long strip of green fields, comfortable farm-houses set 
among trees, baghs full of willows and poplars, masses 
of wild roses, and actually a group of elms ! It is farmed 
by the Himis Lamas, and its look of prosperity does 
them credit. While riding along we passed three women 
who were sitting in a field spinning, and Aziz Khan 
called to one of them to come and let me see how she 
did it. She put a small earthenware cup on the ground 
and the end of her spindle in it, and drew from a lump 
of very soft wool in her left hand a beautifully fine and 
even thread. Her clothes hung in tatters, but she had 
some turquoises in her head-dress, and wore a pair of 
bracelets, which at first I took to be linen cuffs, about 
two inches broad; they were the lips of conch-shells, and 
cost two or three rupees a pair. Little girls wear small 
ones, which are sawn off when they become too tight, 
and are replaced by larger ones. There is hardly a 
woman to be seen without them, and it is curious that 
this fashion should prevail so many weeks' journey from 
the sea. When the poor spinner was handed a small 
backshish she bowed down to the ground thrice, clanking 
her bracelets together each time. We soon got into the 
valley of the Indus with Himis nullah just across the 
river, the hills opposite looking more than ever like 
skeleton ribs sticking up through the earth. I had tiffin 
in a small field, sitting on the ground with my back 
against a tree and my feet stretched out in front, when 



PANGKONG TSO TO LEH 105 

some kids came and stared at me with their yellow eyes, 
and sniffed at my boots, as if they fancied they might 
be some kind of food hitherto unknown to them. How 
the sheep and goats manage to live and grow and put 
flesh on their bones in the barren deserts they are turned 
into is a never-ending wonder, and .shows how well adapted 
they are to their surroundings. I had not been seated 
long when the pack-ponies passed with Subhana marching 
ahead and getting them along famously, and as soon as 
I had finished my meal, we set off once more. We 
overtook and passed two Lamas on ponies hung with 
bells, and a poor little foal toiling after them, looking 
like a piece of skin doubled and stuck on some crooked 
sticks. Foals always run after their mothers on a journey 
in this part of the world. 

We kept to the right bank of the Indus in returning 
to Leh from Chimrey, and camped, after a inarch of 
16 miles, at what might be called a small town — Tikhzey. 
The road is level all the way to Leh, and is described 
as hot; but that day it was quite chilly, the sky was 
overcast, and mists were hanging on the mountains after 
a night of pouring rain, with the wind rushing through 
the tree-tops. 

There is a large monastery near Tikhzey, climbing 
up a hill to the sky, in the usual manner of Tibetan 
monasteries ; the land below it belongs to the Lamas, and 
is well irrigated and cared for, and the farm-houses are 
in good repair. There was thus an air of high cultivation 
and prosperity about that district which was very striking 
after the cold, backward regions we had passed through, 
though in any other country the barren hills and miles 
of sand and stones bounding the fields even here would 
have attracted the attention more than the strips of 



106 WESTERN TIBET 

verdure. Some of the houses had pretty triple-arched 
wooden window-frames, each arch framing a red, white 
or blue chorten, standing inside. 

About two miles from Leh there is an enormously long 
mani, stretching 900 yards, and another close to it is 
nearly as long, the two together extending for about a 
mile; and all about them on the desert there are 
numerous rows of chortens which were built by former 
Gyalpos (rajahs) of Ladakh, and are in some cases burial- 
places. 



CHAPTER X. 
LEH. A FUNERAL, SHOPPING, AND A TAMASHA. 

On arriving at Leh on the 8th of July, I called on Dr. 
Shawe, the Moravian missionary in charge of the hospital, 
to see about Habibullah's collar-bone, which, as it turned 
out, was really broken, but so close to the shoulder and 
so imbedded in muscle as not to be easily detected by a 
non-professional person. The bone had been set, but the 
patient contrived to wriggle inside his bandages — in his 
sleep, he said. Since then he had been tied up tremend- 
ously tightly, but he thoroughly enjoyed the role of invalid, 
not having any pain, and it was quite superfluous to pity 
him. As he would not be able to use his arm for a month, 
and we could do quite well without him now that I had 
parted with the dandy, for which two men were required, 
I decided to send him home to Kashmir from Khalatse 
on the return journey, where the road to Baltistan diverges 
from that to Srinagar. 

My poor pony was in much worse case, for the lazy, 
stupid syce, whose god Makhti was to be, had allowed her 
to get into a dreadful state from a festering wither, and 
had never so much as groomed her during the fortnight I 
was away. An artillery officer who was camping near 
very kindly offered to come and look at the pony next 
day, and under his directions the poor animal improved 



108 WESTERN TIBET 

quickly, but would not be fit to be saddled for a month 
or two ; so she and her syce had to be sent back in Habi- 
bullah's charge, and I, to my sorrow, had to ride any 
country tat that I could find. 

One afternoon the whole Christian population of Leh 
was asked to tea and Badminton at the Residency: we 
numbered nine, including the Commissioner, Captain 
Patterson, five being missionaries. During my absence 
a party of five people, three of them ladies, had arrived 
from Srinagar and camped in another bagh, but two of 
the ladies and a sahib had gone that morning up the Indus 
for a few days' shooting. Considering that there were 
only three houses in the place — the Commissioner's and 
two belonging to missionaries — and two camps, including 
my own single tent, the hospitality was overwhelming; 
there were invitations to breakfast, tiffin, tea, or dinner 
every day, and sometimes two or three in a day. There 
had been a great tamasha, which I was a day late for, 
given by the Commissioner in honour of the large party 
which had just come up. Lamas had come from several 
monasteries in the neighbourhood to dance in fancy dress 
and masks, and all the townspeople were present in their 
best clothes and ornaments. 

I went for a walk one afternoon outside the town walls 
across the desert, and presently heard tom-tomming from a 
group of people a little way off the road, and went over 
to them to see what it meant. I had asked several people 
what a Tibetan funeral was like, but no one could tell me 
much about it, and now, behold, here was one before my 
eyes. Four Lamas and an acolyte dressed in curious hats 
and large silk tippets over their ordinary red gowns were 
sitting in a row on the ground, two playing brazen 
trumpets, one a large drum on a long handle, another a 



A FUNERAL AND A TAMASHA 109 

pair of cymbals, while a fifth struck a small drum at the 
same time ringing a little bell. One Lama chanted 
sentences from a book lying before him, and the others 
made responses. In front of them was a round stone oven 
or furnace about four feet high and the same in diameter, 
with an opening at the bottom into which a man pushed 
pieces of wood he was chopping up, and on the other side 
of it there was a box about four feet square, with two 
poles for carrying it on, tied up with rope, which the 
bearers were just then undoing ; this contained the body, 
which must have been in a sitting position. There were 
about 20 men present, but no women. The Lamas stopped 
their performances in a few minutes, took off their hats 
and tippets, and tied them up carefully in silk handker- 
chiefs, chatting and laughing as they did so. A piece of 
a cake covered with a thick layer of butter moulded into 
a pattern was then cut off by a Lama, who chanted as he 
poured chang or ghie over it out of a metal ladle exactly 
the same shape as the wooden ladles in ordinary use in 
Japan. He threw a piece of cake away on the sand, and 
an observant crow, which had been sitting watching the 
ceremony, flew to it and picked it up. This was repeated, 
and then a gruesome object, singed and raw-red, with what 
looked like distended, blackened, lidless eyes, which I could 
only glance at shudderingly, was cut in lumps and handed 
to the Lamas, who folded the pieces up in squares of cloth 
and tucked them away in the front of their robes. Perhaps 
the grisly thing was only a sheep's head after all, but it 
looked ghastly enough for anything. After this they got 
up and walked towards the town, and most of the spectators 
also went away, only about half a dozen men remaining. 
An Indian, who with his servant had like myself been 
watching curiously what went on, asked a man if that 



110 WESTERN TIBET 

was the end, but he said no, the Lamas had gone for the 
lumbardar; as I thought it might be a long time before 
they came back, I returned to the rest-house and saw the 
Lamas sitting about in the bazaar as I passed through. 
From what I was told afterwards the body must have 
been burnt immediately after I left, only four or five men, 
none of them members of the family of the dead person, 
remaining while that is being done. It was unlucky that 
I had not taken Aziz Khan with me, as he would have 
got to know all about the ceremony and would have 
explained it to me; but I had wandered out alone, not 
intending to go far. Dr. Shawe had only seen one entire 
native funeral in the six years he had been here, and his 
wife had only seen as much as I did, so I was fortunate, 
and perhaps it was as well I did not see the actual burning, 
especially as Tibetan women never attend funerals. 

The body is entirely consumed, and one or more bones 
(according to the wealth or consequence of the deceased) 
are ground down, mixed with clay, and made into small 
chortens. General Cunningham says : " In the lofty 
districts of Rukchu (Rupshu) and Chang Thang, where 
no wood is procurable and where burning with the 
Tibetan furze would be a tedious operation, the bodies 
of the dead are always exposed on the hills to be eaten 
by vultures and wild dogs.'' The intense heat of the 
sun above and of the rocks on which the bodies are 
laid produce a kind of cremation. "In Great Tibet the 
bodies of the dead are cut into small pieces by pro- 
fessional corpse-butchers or pinkers and given to the 
dogs. . . . The bones, after being bruised in a mortar 
with parched corn, are made into balls and thrown to 
the dogs and vultures." 

The photograph of a funeral on the desert, which was 



*.* 







A FUNERAL IN THE DRSERT. 



■*■■ .-•.-, a 

Photographed by the Rov. H. B. Marx. 




View from Gyalpo's Palace, Leh, 

SHOWING MANIS AND ChORTENS OUTSIDE THE TOWN. 



To face page 110. 



A FUNERAL AND A TAMASHA 111 

taken by the Rev. H. B. Marx, one of the Moravian 
missionaries stationed at Leh, shows one Lama in his 
robes and mitre pouring ghie over the offering which 
another Lama, in his ordinary dress, holds out to him 
on a plate. This operation was repeated at intervals 
about twenty times. The burning-place in this instance 
seems to be merely some stones roughly piled up; but 
the one I saw resembled a chorten in shape of a 
burning-place which stands by the road-side at Khalatse, 
only the latter is square instead of round as the one at 
Leh was. I was told that each family has its own 
burning-place, and the style of building probably varies 
according to the means of its possessors. 

I was told a most extraordinary story by a lady I 
met in a hotel at Amritsar in December, 1904. She 
said that when she was at Simla three years before, a 
German who was there gave it out that he had been a 
Lama in Lhasa for sixteen years, and had attained to 
the fifth circle; he was a married man but had left his 
wife, and when it was discovered, on the news of her 
death arriving at the gompa, that he was not a celibate 
he was expelled from the country. He had brought a 
quantity of things away with him, amongst others the 
belt which Lamas of the fifth circle wear — a very hand- 
some article of silver set with turquoises and with a 
large pendant in front; this belt goes half way round, 
and is hooked at each side to a large ring in a leather 
band which completely encircles the waist. He showed 
a photograph of himself in Lama dress and with his 
head shaved. He was continually renewing his stock 
of curios, and said he had an agent in Lhasa, which was 
perhaps an alias for Germany. His account of the dis- 
posal of dead Lamas was the most revolting of all: he 



112 WESTERN TIBET 

said that the flesh was cut off and eaten by the Lamas, 
and the bones were ground down and made into chortens. 
He is responsible for the story, which may or may not 
be true, that the skulls made into drums used in the 
gompas belonged to persons of either sex who had com- 
mitted a breach of the seventh commandment, and were 
stoned to death. This man was lately at Cawnpore. 

One afternoon a party of four of us rode up the very 
steep hill rising 1400 feet immediately above the town 
of Leh, with a large gompa on the very top. A little 
more than halfway up we got off and walked, for the 
path was so narrow and broken on the edge of the 
precipice that we none of us cared to trust ourselves 
even to those sure-footed hill ponies. We clambered 
up and up, up rough, irregular rock steps, and along 
narrow paths built out from the walls and jutting into 
space, where I had to walk with my face to the building, 
holding on to it and not daring to look down. Through 
a low narrow doorway we entered a nearly dark room 
in which, after our eyes had become accustomed to the 
gloom and a dim little lamp had been lighted, we could 
see frescoes of a Chinese type on the walls and ceiling, 
a huge statue of Buddha, seated with his head reaching 
through a hole in the ceiling to the outer air, and 
beside him figures of gods and goddesses apparently 
borrowed from the Hindu religion. After another steep 
climb we came to another gompa or temple, lighter and 
better kept than the other, but with the same style of 
decoration. In front of the Buddha the table of offerings 
held innumerable little brass bowls filled with ghie with 
some pink roses laid beside them, and a bunch of yellow 
ones in a dark blue vase. There were also some empty 
whisky bottles standing below the table, to be used 



A FUNERAL AND A TAMASHA 113 

for offerings of water, no doubt, but they looked rather 
incongruous in such a place. The view from the top 
was glorious, the sky a deep blue with some fleecy 
clouds, lovely shadows lying in the hollows of the snow- 
capped mountains on the other side of the Indus; the 
nearer hills shading into all manner of orange, yellow, 
and brown tints. Immediately below was an emerald 
patchwork of tiny fields of every conceivable shape, 
outlined by their little irrigation streams, and clumps 
of trees dotted over them — a monument of the industry 
and courage of man in his struggle with Nature in her 
barest and most arid aspect; for wherever there was not 
careful cultivation there was desert, rock and sand. The 
tiny canals were full that day and sparkling in the 
sunshine, for there had been a heavy fall of rain the 
previous night, amounting to a quarter of an inch, which 
was a tremendous and most welcome downpour in a 
land where the united rain and snowfall is some three 
inches in the year. If there had been much more there 
would not have been a whole roof left in Leh, for the 
roofs here, like those in Egypt, are made of mud. The 
missionaries had been telling us pityingly two days 
before that the Skushok Bakola had collected 200 rupees 
as an offering for rain to come, but the rain had come 
and would make the people believe more firmly than 
ever in the efficacy of their religion. Probably the 
Skushok was weather-wise and waited till he saw signs 
of rain coming before he made his collection. 

In coming through the bazaar one day I passed a 
boys' school, the scholars squatting on a veranda copying 
sentences out of a book on their slates, or chanting their 
lessons. I stopped to look at them, and their teacher, 
a,n Indian, bade them bring me some sentences in English 



114 WESTERN TIBET 

which they had written very nicely, and which they 
eagerly handed to me. The Moravian missionaries have 
about 40 children attending their school, who learn to 
read and write in Tibetan, Urdu, and English, and have 
lessons in geography, arithmetic, and, of course, the Bible. 
Dr. Shawe regrets that they have no one to teach them 
Persian, as that is a sine qua non for Government 
appointments in India and the Kashmir State. 

At last I paid a visit to the principal curiosity dealer, 
Nazir Ali Shah, who has shops in Kashgar, Yarkand, 
and Lhasa, as well as here. The one in Leh is a delightful, 
much too fascinating place — a long room with divans 
running down two sides and a carved open-arched screen 
along the third, with wide, sunny window-places, letting 
in floods of light and air. On a divan Nazir Ali Shah 
and one or two of his friends sat solemnly smoking 
hookahs and looking on while an assistant brought out 
all sorts of things, principally from Lhasa, for the sahibs 
to look at. The two gentlemen who had come with 
me and a lady so much given to buying that it was 
rumoured in the bazaars that she was related to the 
King, lit up their cigarettes, and helped us in a leisurely 
way to choose sets of turquoises from some heaps in 
handkerchiefs on the floor, which we poked amongst as 
we lay on the rug, much as one might pick out small 
shells from a sandy beach. The greatest treasures, such 
as jade and agate cups, were carefully wrapped in silk 
and locked up in lacquer boxes with huge and complicated 
Chinese padlocks. Lama belts, prayer- wheels, trumpets, tea- 
pots, and communion services; women's dresses, cloaks, 
pberaks, necklaces, and chatelaines are the principal things, 
and very handsome as well as quaint many of them are. 
The Tibetan communion service consists of a small tea- 




Teapots, Etc., from Lkh. 

1, 2. Lama Teapots. 3. Lama Tea-Cup. 4, 4. Buddhist Communion Service. 5. Lama 
Spoon. 6, 6. Miniature Chortens op Lama and Khalatse Villager. 




By Un- Author. 

Trumpets from Leh. Hookah from Khapallu. Prayer-Stone from Mani. 



To face page 114. 



A FUNERAL AND A TAMASHA 115 

pot-shaped flagon with a handle at the side, i.e. halfway 
round from the spout ; a tray for holding the wafer, and 
a stand for the tray in two pieces, which can be taken 
apart, and which are put with it in the flagon when 
not in use. The service shown in the photograph is 
made of copper ornamented with plaques of white metal. 

Some pieces of silk were shown as having come from 
Lhasa. " Don't buy any of those," said Nazir Ali Shah ; 
"they are made in England and sent to Lhasa to have 
a trade-mark put on them ! " 

There was one other curiosity shop in the town kept 
by an old man we called "the robber"; bargaining with 
him was apt to be prolonged for the sake of seeing hin? 
dance with excitement, while his wicked little eyes gleamed 
with rage over a proposed reduction of fourpence on a 
pound's worth of goods. He was the richest man in Leh, 
and seemed to own nearly all the shops in the town, 
for whatever one we went into in the hope of making 
a better bargain he was always sitting on the counter. 

The Accountant-General of Kashmir, an Englishman, 
arrived on an official visit with two ladies in his party, 
and the Wazir Wazarat, the native Governor of Ladakh 
and Baltistan, a charming Hindu gentleman, got up a 
tamasha in their honour one afternoon, and asked all of 
us Europeans to it. At half-past three we went to a 
house in the bazaar where the Wazir met us, with his 
hands pressed to his breast, then taking ours in both 
of his, shook them gently while he beamed upon us, 
the whole population of Leh standing round and gazing in 
awe at the Commissioner and his scarlet-liveried servants. 
We were taken up a stair, and then up a ladder, to the 
roof of the house, on which there was a sort of pavilion, 
with tea spread out in it, and a row of chairs on a 



116 WESTERN TIBET 

balcony which we just filled, there being a dozen of us 
altogether. The windows and verandas opposite, and 
both sides of the street were full of people, and there 
was an orchestra of five kettle-drums and four trumpets 
or pipes of sorts, giving forth curious wailings and tom- 
tommings. The proceedings began with a game of polo, 
four on a side, and the great enjoyment of it by the 
crowd was when the ball fell into a spectator's lap or 
hit a musician. Next, sixteen Ladakhi ladies danced 
high and composedly, with much waving of arms and 
turning of wrists, round a row of jars of chang in the 
middle of the road, and after them four Lamas, with 
hideous demon masks and gorgeous Chinese silk robes, 
whirled and stamped to the music of cymbals and drums, 
and of two enormously long trumpets held up by two 
boys, while the priests played them; this was the same 
on a very small scale as the Himis Devil-Dance. While 
this was going on a tiny child about four years old 
began an opposition dance, whirling a stick round his 
head and pirouetting in precocious imitation of them. 
Some schoolboys did gymnastic exercises on a horizontal 
bar held on the shoulders of four or five men, and three 
other boys did sword-dances, using scimitars, two of them 
going through a mock duel very cleverly. When it was 
all over and we came down into the street, the dancing 
women had got to the front of the crowd, and we stopped 
to admire their beautiful turquoise and silver ornaments 
which they wear in profusion, and then we passed through 
a lane of salaaming and smiling onlookers. One at least 
of our party thought of the solemn warnings she had 
received from home against going into Tibet, and of the 
hopes expressed that she was not then in that hostile 
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A FUNERAL AND A TAMASHA 117 

in Ladakh was that there were fewer caravans than 
usual from Lhasa ; and it did not seem as if the smashing 
of the Lhasa power would cause deep regret, for the 
monasteries here are strictly governed by the hierarchy 
there, and send heavy tribute to the Dalai Lama, and 
they would naturally rather keep their money to them- 
selves. A more kindly, good-natured set of people one 
could not be amongst, and going along the road it is 
" deo-le* " or " salaam " from every man, woman, and 
child one meets, down to the very infants who can hardly 
speak plain, but put their tiny hands to their foreheads 
by way of salute. There are only three policemen in 
all Ladakh (a territory of 30,000 square miles), one being 
stationed in Leh, whose only functions are walking before 
the Commissioner on state occasions, or taking a thievish 
Kashmiri to the lock-up. There is no crime, or if there 
is by chance a murder it is usually an arranged affair 
to get rid of some irreclaimable " badmash." The 
missionaries at Khalatse told me that the father of a 
servant of theirs had been murdered recently, and they 
went to condole with the widow and family, who remarked 
that he really was such a bad man it was the best 
thing that could have happened. 



CHAPTER XL 

SOME COKRESPONDENCK 

Aziz Khan had not heard of the Tibetan Expedition 
till I told him of it on the way up to Leh. He was 
keenly interested in the news, as he had been at one time 
servant to Colonel Younghusband, to whom he was 
devoted. He asked me to write for him to his former 
master offering to go to his help and take two Afghans 
with him, but as we were then at Lukong, a week's 
journey from a post-office, nothing more was said about 
it till we got to Leh, where he employed a bazaar letter- 
writer to do it for him. A Pathan is as fond of a fight 
as an Irishman. What was to become of me and my 
little expedition if Aziz Khan left me I did not enquire, 
knowing that it would be weeks if not months before 
he could get a reply, and that Colonel Younghusband 
would probably be on his way back to India by that 
time. The letter was shown to me, and I had just 
finished reading it when Habibullah approached with 
one in his hand and gave it to me. He is very fond 
of copying Aziz Khan, whom he looks upon as a great 
man. 

"Sir," — "Has Habibullah been writing to Colonel Young- 
husband too?" I exclaimed, for though a fine handsome 
man he has nothing of the warrior about him. "Oh 



SOME CORRESPONDENCE 119 

no, Miss Sahib, it is for you," replied Aziz Khan. So 
I read on : 

" Sir, 

I most humbly and respectfully beg. I hope 
you will kindly think of it — I am an afghan and Num- 
bardar's son and honourable man and obedient of every 
Europeans. I fully thought that you are pleased on me 
and kind to me, and did everything earnestly which you 
have, and mad no loss of you, you know I mad ready all 
things first than all the Travellers who with you in journey. 
I wish that I please you very much, but unfortunately I 
fell from the horse and hurt very much by which you 
are angry with me, beside this you support me much and 
satisfied me, and now I became better every day. Aziz 
Khan told me that your intention is to send me to 
Srinagar Kashmir, I am sorry what I can do there. If 
your fully intention to send me back, please kindly 
fix some wage till your returning to Srinager" [which 
might not be till October] " I wish that I live with you 
and please you much and go with you to India. But 
what I can do — I am unfortunate — you know first I 

was appointed in the service of Miss , and on 

your writting I came in your shadow and got rest," [as 
he is 6 foot 2 and I am 5 foot nothing, my shadow 
cannot be of much use to him]. 'I am your most 
obedient and you are kind to me, and you will not dis- 
miss me I will thank you much and pray for you I 
do not wish to write you this letter, but you do not 
understand me, therefore, I have written you this letter, 
please show me your fully intention. Yours obedient, 

Habibullah Khan, 

Dated 14th July, 1904. Afaghan. 

Leh." 



120 WESTERN TIBET 

The next day he came again, with Aziz Khan as inter- 
preter, to ask for a pony for the journey to Srinagar, 
but as the doctor had told me some days before that 
there was nothing in the world to prevent him walking, 
I declined, and as his requests had been many and 
various, from a watch to a waistcoat, I added that if he 
asked for anything more I would not employ him again. 
His grandfather, a century or two ago, was a Cabul man 
who came to Kashmir, but Kashmiri inter-marriages have 
taken all the grit out of the strain, and like the rest of 
his countrymen he is an inveterate beggar. 

Here is another letter written in the bazaar acknow- 
ledging a piece of Burmese silk for a turban, which I 
sent to a native of Udaipur, who made arrangements 
for me, and looked after me while I was there: 

"Dear Miss Jane E. Duncan, Udaipur, 20/3/1904. 

I have had the pleasure to receive your letter 
of the 2nd inst. on the 19th ins. 

I had gone at Nimbahera so I could not write you 
letter soon so please excuse me. Truly sensible of the 
honour conferred upon me and the gratitude with which 
it was attended. I accept your handsome gift with many 
thanks and shall always prize it as the gift of friend- 
ship. I regret, however, that you should put yourself to 
so much expense as a present of handsome favour would 
have equally acceptable and I should have considered 
myself as much obliged I was not able for this gratitude 
because I am not like your gift, as I am a poor and un- 
worthy man. Please give my salams to Purshotemdayal 
who was at Udaipur with you. My companions desires 
their best regards to you and Purshotemdayal. 

Hoping soon to have the pleasure of hearing from 
you. Yours very my, Gulamali." 



SOME CORRESPONDENCE 121 

This letter in native fashion had the postage stamp 
where the seal should be, on the flap of the envelope, a 
very sensible plan for preventing it being opened in the 
post, which the native post office people are fond of doing. 

Mr. Marx, the new Moravian missionary at Leh, went 
with me to see the castle of the Gyalpo or Rajah, but we 
were only shown the gompa, as the private apartments 
were locked up. The approach is under an archway from 
the bazaar, through narrow winding streets or lanes with 
ruinous walls, doors leading into emptiness, and dark 
cavernous openings suggestive of all manner of crime — 
though as a matter of fact the inhabitants are most 
peaceable — through what looks like an ancient city gate- 
way, then steps and more lanes with thin mangy dogs 
asleep in the sun, up, up, past chortens, one of them the 
Rajah's own, with a tall red finial surmounted by a gilt hti 
or umbrella. A fearfully rough lane mounted to some 
equally rough steps leading to the castle door- way, which is 
under a porch supported on clustered wooden pillars with 
three huge demon heads carved in wood and painted, 
grinning down at the visitor. Inside there is a long, 
villainously paved passage to dark broken stairs, more 
passages and ladders with steps sloping anyhow, so that 
the Rajah runs an excellent chance of breaking his neck 
every time he goes to his gompa to say his prayers, but he 
only lives in this palace for about a week each year. The 
first room shown us was the library, shelved all round and 
with parcels of books wrapped up in pieces of cloth ; across 
one end were the usual figures of Buddha and gods, with 
tables of offerings in front of them. There are two temples, 
both very dark and exactly like all the others I have seen 
in this country. On one wall there was a Wheel of Life, 
with a row of hands painted all round the rim, and a god 



122 WESTERN TIBET 

seated in front of it with tiers of heads diminishing in size 
towards the top. The ragged dirty Lama, who was our 
guide, gave an amusing instance of native vagueness as to 
numbers by telling us that there were ten thousand hands 
on the wheel and five hundred heads on the god, which was 
partly covered; but having seen similar images before I 
knew it had three tiers of three faces looking in different 
directions and two single ones above, so that eleven was 
the actual number, and the hands may be equally dis- 
counted ; he may, however, have been speaking in a 
figurative sense, and meant that they represented thousands 
and hundreds. There were quantities of tiny chortens 
made of the bones of defunct Lamas on a table, and a great 
boxful of them underneath. I asked the Lama if I might 
take one, to which he smilingly agreed, and Mr. Marx took 
one too. I gave him eight annas backshish, and I daresay 
we were welcome to the whole collection at that rate. On 
the way down to the town my fingers began to feel sticky, 
and on looking at the chorten I saw something red oozing 
out of it, which made me feel as if the dead were protesting 
against being carried away in this unceremonious fashion ; 
but I was assured that it was only some ghie that the 
image had been smeared with, not gore trickling out of it. 
I cleaned it carefully, wrapped it up in cotton wool and 
buried it in a cardboard box, and I hope no ghost will come 
to claim it. This is a funny country, though. One day I 
was salaamed to by a man more than 2000 years old, and 
he was plump and well-liking too, and did not look the 
antique he was believed to be. His house stands on the 
top of the isolated rock beside the Indus at Pitak. He 
was the Skushok Bakola (who collected the offering for 
rain), the re-incarnation of Bakola, a saint who lived about 
the same time as Buddha, 500 B.C., and though his body 




Photographed by the Hov. H. B. Marx, 

Porch of Palace, Lbh, Made op Walnut Wood, 



fo face page 123. 



SOME CORRESPONDENCE 123 

had been renewed repeatedly in the ages since then, his 
inward man was the same. He wore a bright red robe 
and a gold hat very much the shape of a cardinal's, only 
the crown was globular instead of flat ; he had it on when 
he rode, but was obliged to take it off as soon as he 
dismounted. He passed me once as I was going to the 
bungalow, and when I got there he was standing at the 
top of the steps, one of his attendants holding the hat with 
a yellow silk handkerchief thrown over it. In Western 
Tibet Skushok means re-incarnation and is applied only to 
a saint, but in Chinese Tibet the word is used as a term of 
respect like sahib in India, and Dr. Shawe said the Lhasa 
people called him Skushok when they spoke to him. 
Cunningham says that perpetual re-incarnation was devised 
as late as the 15th century a.d. by Gedim Tub-pa, "the 
Perfect Lama," a very astute personage, as a means of 
gaining increased importance for the hierarchy. 

Mr. Marx and his wife and another lady missionary, who 
had all just come to Leh from Germany, were having rather 
a hard time in learning languages. There are three forms 
of Tibetan, the classical, used in the sacred books; the 
honorific, used in addressing equals or superiors ; and the 
colloquial, all of which they had to master. Many Indians 
and Kashmiri come to Leh, and it is necessary for the 
missionaries to be able to speak to them in their own 
tongues, so that with English and German there were often 
five languages being spoken in the mission-house at one 
time. 



CHAPTER XII. 

SPORT. MISSIONARY WORK. 

When the large party which was encamped in the other 
bagh left Leh they required sixty ponies, and I put off my 
departure till they were well ahead, or there would have 
been no possibility of my obtaining transport. The 
three who had been out shooting came back empty- 
handed and very sad, for they had seen a herd of forty 
buck antelope in the nullah, but some jungle dogs had 
chased them away. Two of the shooters were ladies, 
and lady shooters are the cause of much strong language 
among sportsmen in this part of the world, and in the 
plains indignant remarks are made about globe-trotting 
women shooting animals that men, living all their lives 
in India, had never so much as seen. If they do not 
kill anything they are accused of shooting wild and 
disturbing the game to no purpose; if they get some 
heads the men are furiously jealous, and say the shikari 
has shot them, or imposed on them in some way. But 
the male sex are imposed on too sometimes. A sports- 
man shoots at a herd, say of ibex, which are always on 
difficult ground; his shikari says he has killed one, and 
advises him to give some of the nearest villagers five 
or ten rupees to go and look for it. In the meantime 
an old head, which has been brought up for the purpose, 



MISSIONARY WORK 125 

is steeped in water and dressed with the raw flesh of 
a sheep or goat, and in a few days is shown as the one 
found by the villagers, who, of course, have never been 
sent, the shikari pocketing the backshish and buying 
for a fraction of the sum a head as like the old one as 
possible from the first skinman he meets, and palming 
it off on the unsuspicious sahib as the trophy of his 
skill. Aziz Khan said he knew a Kashmir shikari who 
had been taking the same ibex head up country every 
year for six years, so that it was like a small annuity 
to him. Experienced sportsmen demand that the skin 
and meat of the animal slain shall be produced as well 
as the head. Horns are taken from the hla-thos by 
unscrupulous shikaris and palmed off upon ladies and 
subs and other guileless persons as the spoil of their 
own guns. Aziz Khan said he was going to buy two 
old bearskins in Srinagar when we got back there, and 
show them as what his Miss Sahib had shot. 

At a dinner at the Residency one of the guests said 
he had seen hundreds of kyang near the Pangkong 
Lake while shooting there, and that they have the ears 
and tail of the ass, but have always, both males and 
females, brown backs and white legs; he had only once 
seen a foal, and though he made many enquiries of the 
natives, he had never been able to ascertain where the 
foals go. He thought it surprising that no attempt has 
been made to tame these creatures in a country where 
riding and pack animals are in such universal use. One 
of the two subs who were at Himis had shot two kyang 
of different species, and had dissected one of them, which 
showed all the characteristics of the horse, including a 
bushy tail, though some naturalists maintain that the 
kyang is a wild ass. Drew, in his Jvt/moo and Kashmir 



126 WESTERN TIBET 

Territories, says he "caught a kyang colt of fifteen 
days or a little more, that his coat was thick, but soft, 
the mane short and curly, the tail short and bushy." 
Dr. Sven Hedin says: "On the whole the wild ass 
bears the closest resemblance to the mule; in other 
words, he comes intermediate between the horse and the 
ass, but is nearer to the latter than to the former. . . . 
The tail resembles that of an ass, and only has hairs 
at its lower end. The mane, too, which is black and 
thick, is like that of the ass, in that it is short (about 
four inches long) and stands stiff and upright." 1 The 
evidence is conflicting, and points either to two species 
of kyang or to differences in the appearance of the colt 
and of the full-grown animal. 

Since the introduction of the game-laws into Kashmir 
Territory the kyang have increased so much that they 
are eating up all the pasture in their neighbourhood, 
causing much hardship to the Changpas, who used to keep 
them down by shooting or trapping, and sometimes 
used them for food. 

One Sunday morning I went to the Tibetan service 
at the mission chapel, a whitewashed room comfortably 
carpeted, with a large stove in the middle and a bench 
against the wall for Europeans, the native congregation 
sitting on the floor. There were twenty converts, men, 
women, and boys; two Mohammedan women servants 
at the mission-house, who as such have to attend the 
service, sat by themselves and took no part in it. It 
was very short, and began with a translation of " Em' 
feste Burg" into Tibetan (sung to the familiar German 
tune), and finished with the Lord's prayer repeated by 
the congregation. About forty children attend the 
1 Through Asia, p. 1020. 



MISSIONARY WORK 127 

mission-school in the winter, but most of them were 
then out working in the fields. There were no girls in 
the chapel, only boys, all the native Christians here 
and at Khalatse having run to sons lately, so there will 
be a difficulty in finding wives for them. It is unthink- 
able for an oriental, unless he is a yogi or holy man, 
to be an old bachelor, and the missionaries say that some 
Christian girls will have to be imported from India to 
prevent a relapse into polyandry; and as marriages 
here are a matter of arrangement this is a natural solution 
of the problem. Some years ago the Christian children 
were all girls, and when they grew up and found no 
husbands available, some of them ran away with down- 
country men, Hindus or Mohammedans, who would all 
be married already. It is rather risky to interfere with 
the customs of a people, and gives rise to unexpected 
developments. 

It might be thought that the Roman Catholic ritual with 
the images, incense, vestments, lights and bells, to which 
the Tibetans are accustomed in their own services, would 
have some success among them, but there was at one time 
a Roman Catholic mission here which was a failure, and 
the last of their missionaries (if not the only one) is buried 
in the little cemetery near the Residency among Protestants. 
The following passage from the Leh Medical Mission 
Report for 1903 describes the religious ideas of the natives: 
" Few of the people know anything about Buddha's life 
or his teachings. Many of them think and say : * We pay 
our priests to do our religion; what's the use of our 
troubling ourselves about things of which we know 
nothing ? We are stupid ; we can turn our prayer- wheels 
and walk round the mani walls and repeat the om mani 
pad/mi hong; the priests must do the rest.'" Though the 



128 WESTERN TIBET 

professed conversions are few, yet the example of Christian 
life led by the missionaries has a deep and lasting effect, 
and there is little doubt that it is at least partly owing 
to their influence that polyandry has almost died out in 
Leh, where it is the exception for a woman to have more 
than one husband. Here as elsewhere the Christian 
example is of far greater value than conversions, which are 
very few here, and in India at least are generally merely 
nominal, but in that country a "new light" party has 
arisen during the last twenty years among the Mahom- 
medans, which is adopting our standards of conduct, and 
is correcting abuses, such as bribery amongst other things, 
which formerly passed unrebuked. 

Mrs. Bishop, in her remarks on Christian missions at 
Hamadan {Journeys in Persia, p. 164), expresses the 
feeling of many travellers and residents in the East; she 
says that among the many benefits which result from their 
establishment, such as the introduction of European medi- 
cine and surgery, and the bringing them within reach of 
the poorest of the people, there is " the gradually amelior- 
ating influence exercised by the exhibition of the religion 
of Jesus Christ in purity of life, in ceaseless benevolence, 
in truthfulness and loyalty to engagements, in kind and 
just dealing, in temperance and self-denial, and the many 
virtues which make up Christian discipleship, and the 
dissemination in the city and neighbourhood of a higher 
teaching on the duties of common life, illustrated by 
example,- not in fits and starts, but through years of loving 
and patient labour." The influence exercised in these 
directions by missionaries is without doubt the most 
important part of their work, and is indeed invaluable, 
and there is no cause for despondency on their part because 
their professed converts are not numerous. 



MISSIONARY WORK 129 

The Moravian mission at Leh is doing splendid work 
both in the hospital and on tour through the country; 
over a thousand patients, in-door and out-door, having 
been treated at the hospital annually, and many hundreds 
on tour. Two years ago there was a small-pox scare in 
Lower Ladakh, and great numbers of people came for 
vaccination to Dr. Shawe, who happened to be travelling 
through the country at the time ; he used all the lymph 
he had with him, and heard later that the people were 
still carrying on the vaccinations, taking the lymph from 
each other's arms. The doctor adds that the Tibetans are 
firm believers in vaccination, and have practised inocu- 
lation for a long time. 

People take immensely long journeys to the hospital 
to be operated on; one blind old man came forty-eight 
days' journey on purpose to have his cataracts removed, 
and a Buddhist nun, a long time ago, came from a village 
80 or 90 miles away for the same purpose, and was so 
well satisfied that she sent two of her relations for treat- 
ment, and from that time never a year has passed without 
one or more patients coming from that valley, where 
cataract seems to be particularly common. In the Leh 
Mission Report for 1904 it is remarked: " The operations 
of the Lhasa expedition practically did not affect us at 
all — indeed the district where they took place is nearly 
a thousand miles away. It becomes abundantly evident, 
however, that it is not the people of Tibet who are 
especially anxious to keep out foreigners. Time and 
again people from Chinese Tibet have said to us : ' If the 
British enter Lhasa, then you will be able to come over 
the border with your medicines. There are so many blind 
and sick people whom you might help.' Indeed we have 
several times during late years been urged to cross the 



130 WESTERN TIBET 

border in any case, the people assuring us that the guards 
would never interfere with a European who brought 
medicines and could open blind eyes. But as long as we 
are too short-handed to make tours in Ladakh, there is no 
hope of getting so far afield, even if permitted. That the 
Lamas of Ladakh and the surrounding districts have no 
special objection to coming to us for treatment is shown 
by the fact that, out of our 43 in-patients, at least six 
were Lamas, most of whom were friendly and talkative 
enough whilst in hospital." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

RETURNING DOWN THE INDUS VALLEY. 

I HAD many consultations with Aziz Khan as to the 
best route to take in returning to the Valley of Kashmir, 
which I did not wish to do till the middle of September, 
when the rains end and the mosquitoes have disappeared. 
He was very urgent that I should go to Skardo in 
Baltistan, and cross the Deosai Plains to Burzil Chowki 
on the Gilgit Road, and so down to Bandipura in the 
valley. This I in the end decided to do, although another 
of the Resident's guests at the dinner before-mentioned, 
on hearing that I was going to Skardo over the Chorbat 
La (16,700 feet), gave a most dismal account of the roads, 
and remarked that he would not say it would be the 
death of me, but that it might ; that he crossed the pass 
three years ago in July, when the ponies sank up to 
the girths in snow and had to be dug out ; that there 
is a nussick raft or zak (made of sticks on inflated goat- 
skins) to cross the Indus on, and the boatmen had to 
breathe into the skins as the zak went along, and if 
they did not breathe properly away the raft would be 
swept down by the current to destruction; and that I 
should have to gallop for miles on the Gilgit Road along- 
the face of a precipice, with a sheer drop of 1000 feet 
below me, so if the pony stumbled I should be dead. 



132 WESTERN TIBET 

This Job's comforter was of opinion that Baltistan was 
a country to be seen — through the window of a Pullman 
car, but that the idea of undergoing any hardships for 
it was preposterous, and he said that if he was ever 
restored to civilisation he would never go beyond the 
reach of the electric light. I had grown very wary as 
to how I credited fearsome histories of what was before 
me, and on making further enquiry I discovered that 
the author of these had crossed the Chorbat La in a 
year when there was an unusually large amount of snow, 
whereas in this, 1904, there was unusually little; that 
my route vid Shigar did not cross the Indus, and the 
nussick raft would not have to be used; and, finally, 
that I should not go near the part of the Gilgit Boad 
where I was to be killed, so all these bogeys were disposed 
of. Another man said, " Oh, as you have done the Chang 
La there is nothing left"; but that was an exaggeration 
in the opposite direction, for there are many more difficult 
and dangerous passes, though few higher, and the ability 
to bear the great altitude is a mere matter of con- 
stitution. 

On the 19th of July I left Leh on my way back to 
Khalatse (where the road into Baltistan, vid the Chorbat 
La, diverges from that to Srinagar), and camped at the 
picturesque village of Bazgo, which I had merely passed 
through before : here I climbed, on hands and knees part 
of the way, to the top of a very steep crag behind the 
village, to look at a gompa, then closed and empty, and 
a ruined fortress which crowned it. The fortress must 
have been an immense building, capable of receiving the 
entire population of the valley in times of trouble, for 
it consists of square and round towers on several spurs 
which jut out from the hill-side, and are connected by 



RETURNING DOWN THE INDUS VALLEY 133 

massive double curtain walls running along the tops of 
the knife-like ridges which extend from one tower to 
another. The narrow path winds steeply up among rocks 
worn into the most fantastic forms imaginable, looking 
in one part like an enchanted castle with its guardian 
goblins and demons turned into stone. The cliffs in some 
of the valleys are worn by the weather into the likeness 
of hideous grinning faces, with horns and huge protruding 
eyes and teeth, from which the Lamas must surely have 
copied their masks. The houses, too, look as if they 
had been built in imitation of the thick walls, and round 
and square towers into which the surrounding hills are 
worn so exactly that it is often almost impossible to 
tell which is man's handiwork and which is Nature's. 
Very often it is both, for in many cases advantage has 
been taken of the crannies and shelves on the face of 
a precipice to make, by means of putting in a bit of 
wall here or a scaffolding across a crevice there, a rocky 
dwelling-place which must have been almost impregnable 
when in good repair, for the puzzle is to know how 
the inhabitants found access to it from the valley below. 
This kind of habitation has been abandoned owing to 
the [peace and security, the freedom from raids and 
invasions by petty neighbouring rajahs on each other, 
which the country has enjoyed for half a century under 
the Maharajah's rule. But even the ordinary houses are 
not easily distinguishable from their surroundings, for 
walls, rocks, and hillsides match exactly in colour, unburnt 
bricks and huge, thick slabs of sun-dried clay being placed 
on a foundation of rough stones and boulders, both in 
old and modern buildings. 

At Saspola, my next camping-place, where I arrived 
on the 21st of July, vegetation had advanced greatly 



134 WESTERN TIBET 

since I passed through on the 15th of June. The barley- 
was now white to the harvest, though this valley is fully 
10,000 feet above the sea; but the heat in summer is 
very great, as the sun is nearly vertical and the air is 
very rare at this height. In Australia men can do field- 
work wearing only a tweed cap on their heads, with 
the thermometer at 140° or 150° in the sun ; but in this 
country it is only safe for Europeans to do without a 
pith helmet for two or three months in the middle of 
winter. 

From Saspola to Nurla was only eleven miles, but I 
had such a slow pony that in spite of whipping and 
expostulation it did scarcely nine miles in three and a 
half hours, so, in despair, Aziz Khan rode on in front 
and towed it along with its nose buried in his pony's 
tail. The path, barely four feet wide, wound up and 
down along the face of a perpendicular cliff, with the 
clay- coloured Indus rushing and roaring at the foot. 
Rocks jutted out here and there over it, and were hollowed 
to admit of the load of a pack-pony passing under 
them, but a rider had to stoop, or be knocked off. At 
one place the river was lapping over the path for a 
couple of yards, and in Wading through it one did not 
know what hole one might get into, as the water was 
too muddy to see through. One of the pack-ponies fell 
here, but was luckily rescued with very little damage 
to itself or its load. If it had got fairly into the current 
it would have been swept away and never seen again. 
My pony, which had an English saddle and bridle on 
for the first time, and had not the faintest idea what 
laying the reins on the side of its neck meant, would 
walk like all of its kind on the extreme outer edge of 
the path, sending pebbles rolling down the precipice from 



RETURNING DOWN THE INDUS VALLEY 135 

under its feet, while it went slithering down sandy steeps 
or scrambled up . over rocks, as it was dragged along 
much too hastily for its own taste. I grew hungry, as 
people do sometimes in rather exciting circumstances, and 
was in the act of eating a scone, at the same time holding 
up my umbrella and the reins with one hand, when we 
got into a very difficult place; but as going hungry 
into the next world or remaining with sunstroke in this 
world would not have improved matters, I finished the 
scone and clung to the sunshade, thinking that if the 
beast did go over with me it would be merely a moment 
of panic, a sudden shock, and that would be all; but in 
spite of these philosophical reflections I pulled my hardest 
to get it a few inches away from the edge, and sometimes 
almost succeeded. At last we reached a wide plain, where 
I drew out the bottle of milk which I always carried in 
my saddle-bag, and found it a good deal warmer than 
tepid, but quite sweet. It had been partly cooked by 
the heat of the sun, and it was not uncommon to find 
it churned into butter after a jolting ride. 

The first part of the road from Saspola to Khalatse, 
utterly lonely at other times, was that day quite lively 
with naib tehsildars (assistant district magistrates), 
-chuprassis, and other functionaries trotting past at 
intervals, intent on making arrangements for Prince 
Louis of Orleans on his way to Leh, and thence to 
Russia. After them came a string of pack-ponies and 
a number of coolies, and lastly the Prince and two 
attendants. After that the way was as solitary as 
before. 

There is no good camping-ground at Khalatse, and I 
put up at the dak bungalow, which is high above the 
river with a veranda looking down on terraced fields, 



136 WESTERN TIBET 

where masses of pink roses were in bloom when I was 
here before. The barley harvest was now going on 
(the wheat was still quite green), the crop being pulled 
up by the roots, and the field ploughed and re-sown 
at once with buck-wheat or vegetables, which have time 
to ripen before the winter. It is very remarkable that 
two crops can be obtained in a season at a height of 
10,000 feet. Two men and two women began to clear 
a small field one morning, and by seven o'clock next 
morning it had been ploughed and sown again, and its 
irrigation channels dotted with stones to obstruct the 
water and send it over the ground 

The walnut trees here are magnificent, and many of 
them of great age, but the nuts would not be ripe for 
another month. The fruit in the numerous apricot 
orchards was nearly ripe. When picked it is spread out 
on house-tops and rocks to dry. It is one of the principal 
food-stuffs of the country, and is a most valuable article 
of commerce. The inhabitants of Lower Ladakh and 
Baltistan take it in great quantities to the neighbourhood 
of the salt-beds near the Chinese frontier, where no 
fruit or vegetables grow, and exchange it for salt with 
the nomad tribes The salt is carried down to Leh and 
sold for money, which pays the Maharajah's taxes, payment 
in kind not being accepted for them. It is a most 
laborious way of obtaining coin, to have to travel for 
months through arid valleys and over mountain passes, 
where the ways are of the roughest, stopping on the 
road to pasture the ponies and donkeys wherever there 
happens to be a patch of verdure ; but the women do 
the field work, except for a day or two in harvest, and 
the men spend their whole time as carriers, either for 
themselves or for the sahibs who come for shooting, and 



RETURNING DOWN THE INDUS VALLEY 137 

who are extremely welcome on account of the money 
they bring into the country. 

A dog belonging to the missionaries gave me a joyful 
welcome when I arrived at the dak bungalow, and took 
up its abode with me for the whole of my stay. It was 
half European, half Tibetan, but was extremely fond of 
European people and hated the natives. It is curious 
how animals discriminate, for on the other hand Tibetan 
dogs are very suspicious of us. Aziz Khan bought two 
puppies, five and three months old, at Lukong to take 
home to Kashmir as watch-dogs, and it was weeks 
before they would take food out of my hand, while if 
I attempted to stroke them they snapped and ran away. 
It was like trying to tame birds. Batta, the bigger of 
the two, was like a heavily -built Scotch collie, black with 
a little tan on the face and legs, and white underneath 
like a rabbit's, his thick bushy tail curling over his back. 
His mother was as large as a donkey, and he had grown 
to be a very powerful animal at nine months old when 
I last saw him. The other one was slighter, and did 
not give promise of growing nearly so big. She was 
sent home from Khalatse, and after that Batta became 
very friendly with me. These dogs are used as sheep- 
dogs and watch-dogs in the gompas and farmhouses in 
Ladakh. They seem to be of the same breed as those 
which come down with the mule caravans to Bhamo on 
the Irrawaddy from the Shan States, and are noted for 
their ferocity. The owners, both Ladakhis and Shans, 
sit on their heads if they are not tied up when any 
Europeans pass them. All over Kashmir Territory it 
was very noticeable how delighted European dogs were 
to see white people, and how frightened the natives 
were when they came near, squatting on the ground to 



138 WESTERN TIBET 

cover their bare legs with their coats and avoid being 
bitten. 

A party of pilgrims, Yarkandi people on their way 
to Mecca, camped in the village; they were comfortably 
clothed men, riding good ponies, but those who come back 
are often a sorry spectacle on their return from their 
immense journey. Some of them die in or near Mecca, 
and others are so ill by the time they get back to Leh 
that they have to go into hospital there, their clothes are 
in rags and their ponies dead; but Mussulmans carry into 
practice the Christian theory that this life is merely a 
passage to the next world, and they believe that losing it 
in a pious or patriotic cause ensures immediate entry into 
Paradise. It is four hundred miles from Leh to Yarkand 
over six high passes, some of them very bad, and over 
dreadful roads, so the fatigue and hardships suffered by 
the pilgrims are ^severe on that part of their travels. In 
the following summer Leh was crowded with Turki 
pilgrims returning from Mecca, many who went from 
Kuchar, Imfan, etc. by way of Constantinople going back 
by this road, in consequence probably of the Russo- 
Japanese war. It was expected that 1000 or so would 
pass through Leh. Many had died on the road, and 
many more were quite destitute when they arrived 
there. 



CHAPTER XIV. 
THE FORT OF BALU-MKHAR, KHALATSE. 

I had heard that the Rev. A. H. Francke, the Moravian 
missionary at Khalatse, was an authority on Tibetan 
subjects, so I called on him immediately, as I was thirsting 
for information about many things I had seen and heard 
on my journey of which I could get no explanation, and 
to my joy found that I had come to the right quarter 
to have my craving satisfied. It was extremely tantalising 
to discover what a number of interesting places I had 
passed in ignorance of their existence, for want of some- 
one to point them out. Mr. Francke kindly acted as my 
guide on several occasions and began by taking me to 
see the old castle of Khalatse, perched on a very high 
peak a little way from the village. After a long and 
stiff climb the track became so bad, across a very steep 
incline of crumbling shale, that I could not face it. The 
next morning we made an early start, and by a round- 
about way were successful in reaching and entering the 
ruin, which consists of the usual collection of small rooms, 
built on different levels as the surface of the rock 
demands. There were no relics of antiquity to be seen 
in them, but no doubt, if they were cleared out, many 
interesting objects would be found. A visit to the Fort 
of Balu-mkhar, about three miles up the Indus on the 



140 WESTERN TIBET 

Leh road, was much more successful. It stands on a 
rock, precipitous on all sides, which rises on the very 
edge of the right bank of the river. 1 The road from 
Kashmir to Leh passes it at a distance of about 200 
yards, across a sandy plain; but the building and the 
rock match so exactly in colour, and are alike so rugged 
in outline, that many travellers pass it unobserved, 
particularly as the cliffs in this part of Ladakh often 
assume the appearance of hcftises, forts, and ramparts so 
closely, that it sometimes requires careful inspection to 
ascertain whether they are natural formations or not. 

High up on the rock of Balu-mkhar, so high as to 
be undecipherable by the naked eye, there are four inscrip- 
tions with two large chortens above them, and a group of 
smaller ones beside and below them, all engraved in deeply 
incised lines on a smooth face of a cliff. Mr. Francke had 
long wished to read these inscriptions, but had been unable 
to do so for want of a field-glass ; fortunately I was pro- 
vided with one, and by means of it the munshi Yeshes 
Rigdzin, who accompanied us in our explorations, was 
enabled to read and copy them, and they proved to be of 
very considerable antiquarian interest. The Munshi's 
copies and drawings from the carvings, with Mr. Francke's 
translations and comments are given here. 

In his " Notes on the English Translation of Inscription 

No. III." Mr. Francke says : " Although the inscription is 

without a date it is of a certain historical value. We learn 

from it that at the time of the inscription the fort was 

under Lamayuru ; probably the income at the custom- 

1 The full orthography of the name is probably sBalu-mkhar, signifying 
the "dwarf fort," from its construction on a comparatively low rock, 
contrary to the usual rule in Ladakh, where such buildings are generally 
placed on the top of high and almost inaccessible hills for the sake of 
security. 




Inscriptions at Balu-mkhar Fort. 









7*0 /recc P«j?e U0- 



ssSe&re 



Balu-mkhar Fort, showing Position of Inscriptions 
(on the Rock above thk Ponies). 




ROCK CARVINGS AT BALU-MKHAR 





No. I. 



J ^ -v- 

1 1— <J^CAT-*C 



No III. 



st ^.~? 







VESHC9 NIQOZIfl. DKL 

No. I. In the pig-year this cenotaph was erected. 

No. II. Written in the pig-year. 

No. III. 
[This cenotaph] was erected by Stag-ythsar-rlabs-cen himself, who is the chief 
son of Khri-shong-[srong ?] 'abum-rdugs, the master of the trade in the Lower 
Valley, born in the middle part of [the village of] mThing-brang. [This is] a 
good picture [of the cenotaph]. It was carved as a hand-print on this lasting 
and unchangeable fort which belongs [to the village of] Yung drung. 1 

No. IV. God, lit. the rarest and highest [being]. 

1 Lamayuru. 



142 WESTERN TIBET 

house went there, but whether a petty king or the monas- 
tery was the principal power at Lamayuru we cannot 
decide for certain, although the latter is the more probable. 
The inscription seems to date from the time when, according 
to the Ladvags rgyal rabs, Lower Ladakh was divided into 
a great number of petty kingdoms, that is, at the very 
beginning of Ladakhi historiography, otherwise the fort 
would have been under Leh. 

" The words ythsar, bthsan, and myi, which remind us 
of the Endere relics, 1 without doubt 1200 years old, also 
speak in favour of a very high antiquity of the inscription. 

"Like the Endere relics, the Balu-mkhar inscription is 
written in the dbu-can character and is probably later than 
the inscriptions in ancient dbu-med character, which are 
found round about the ruined fort near Saspola bridge, 2 
but the Endere relics make it probable that the Tibetan 
art of writing is very much older than is stated in the 
historical records of Tibet. 

"We see from the inscriptions that at the very dawn 
of Ladakhi historiography a lively trade was in existence 
in Lower Ladakh, which made it worth while to post 
a custom-house officer with the title mDo-ytsong-ytso at 
Balu-mkhar. The articles found on this spot seem to prove 
that as at the present day the trade between India and 
Yarkand was carried on through Ladakh. The fort 
guarded an ancient rope bridge across the Indus, the last 
fragments of the piers of which can still be seen. The tax 
was apparently levied in kind, i.e. in tea, beads, and perhaps 
cowries, because while not a single coin has as yet been 

i Discovered by Dr. Stein. 

2 A few of the ancient inscriptions near Saspola bridge were reproduced 
in the Indian Antiquary, for September, 1903, in a paper on " Some more 
rock-carvings from Lower Ladakh. " 



ROCK CARVINGS AT BALU-MKHAR 



S 




a 



VXAJULUJLJUUUUUUU 

From the Upper Terrace 




▼■•hii RtooztN. oec From a Cave, a quarter of a mile from the Fort 

No. V. 
Strong anger [the name of a guardian deity]. 



144 WESTERN TIBET 

found in the fort some of those articles have. The goods 
were probably carried across the bridge by men, the 
baggage animals having to swim through the river, being 
dragged across with ropes. But it is not impossible that 
the merchants had to change horses at every stage, and 
that a fresh supply was kept waiting for them on the other 
bank of the river. 

" There is still another reminiscence of the ancient custom- 
house in the neighbourhood. It is the name of a pass close 
to the fort on the north side, which is still called Shogam- 
la, the Customs pass. Across this pass lay the ancient 
trade route before the present road along the Indus had 
been cleared by the blasting of many rocks. The ancient 
road first took the traders to mThingmo-gang, thence to 
Hemis shugpacan and thence to Sikir. After Sikir the 
present road by Basgo and Nyemo to Leh is reached. 

" From the inscription we also learn that the masters of 
the country bore Tibetan Buddhist names which do not 
now occur, and knew Tibetan. This must, however, not 
induce us to believe that Lower Ladakh as a whole was 
Tibetan and Lamaist in those days. From other sources 
we know almost for certain that the greater part of the 
population of the time spoke the Dard dialects." 

The bridge which Balu-mkhar guarded was made, tradi- 
tion says, no doubt quite correctly, of willow ropes, bridges 
of that description being formerly universal in the Hima- 
layas over large streams, though now being gradually 
superseded on frequented routes by wooden ones, to the 
great relief of all European and many native travellers to 
whom passing across them is a terror. The willow bridge 
shown in the photograph is at Garhi in the Jhelum valley, 
near the road from Rawal Pindi to Srinagar, and is so 
strongly made that it can support as many as five or six 



THE FORT OF BALU-MKHAR, KHALATSE 145 

people at once. Needless to say this bridge has not to be 
used by visitors to Kashmir or there would be small 
occasion for hotels in the " Happy Valley." In arranging 
my routes with Aziz Khan I made it a strict condition that 
he was not to take me where there were willow bridges to 
cross. 

The Garhi bridge is made of three ropes, one three or 
four feet below the others, suspended from posts on the 
banks, the passenger walking forward on the lower one, 
and grasping the upper ones but not leaning too heavily on 
them on peril of tipping over and falling into the river. 
In a strong wind or when the water is so high that the 
lower rope dips in the swift-flowing river, the passage 
is dangerous even to natives who are quite accustomed to 
it. Ponies, cattle, sheep, and goats have their four feet tied 
together, are slung upside down on a rope stretching from 
bank to bank, and drawn across by another rope tied round 
their necks, the natives gravely asserting that they under- 
stand it and do not mind it. A sahib told me that some 
goats belonging to him suffered so much from this usage 
that they were of little or no use afterwards. 

Another kind of bridge has only one rope, from which a 
basket or a board four feet square is suspended by a cord 
from each corner, the passenger drawing himself across, or 
being drawn by someone standing on the bank. On a 
third type of bridge I have seen a man cross with extra- 
ordinary contortions, as he sat in a loop of rope which 
flew up and down while he dragged himself along by 
grasping the cord above him hand over hand. Quite 
a,n easy bridge exists at Chakoti, in the Jhelum Valley, 
with a hand-rail on each side and a foot-way suspended 
from them by ropes, the whole made of well-twisted willow 
twigs : this is the kind that used to exist at Balu-mkhar. 



146 WESTERN TIBET 

These bridges were often fortified; at Saspola there are 
the remains of a castle which formerly guarded one. 

The side of the rock of Balu-mkhar next the river is 
naturally divided into four terraces rising one above the 
other, and on these there are remains of masonry which 
tradition says are a part of the staircase formerly leading 
down to the bridge from the fort. (It may be well to 
mention here that in the absence of documentary evidence, 
much reliance may safely be placed on tradition among 
the Tibetans, who have a strong historic sense.) Unless 
the entrance to the fort on the landward side was very 
different when it was inhabited from what it is now, it 
must have been extremely hard work for laden coolies 
to gain access to the bridge ; the only means of getting 
inside the building (which apparently everyone had to 
pass through before crossing the river) being up a pre- 
cipitous fissure in the rock, about three feet wide, with 
a boulder here and there by way of a step, but far too 
steep ever to have made even a tolerable staircase. The 
Tibetans, however, can make their way quite easily up 
and along places which are only fit for a cat or a goat, 
according to European ideas, and they have inherited 
their skill from innumerable generations of climbing 
ancestors. 

The interior of the fort consists of single stories of 
many small rooms on the different levels of the rock, 
built of uncut boulders for the most part, plastered with 
mud in the ordinary manner of the country, though in 
the building just above the inscription squared stones 
have been used. In one of these rooms a stone anvil was 
found, bearing many traces of iron having been used on 
it which had left a very marked deposit, and pieces of 
charcoal and iron slag were lying near it. In the living 



THE FORT OF BALU-MKHAR, KHALATSE 147 

rock a splendid specimen of the Ladakhi stone mortar 
was discovered. On the top story carvings of chortens 
are incised on the rock inside the walls. The munshi 
told us that the villagers of Khalatse have long made 
a 'habit of searching in and around the fort for iron 
arrow-heads, which they melt down to make into imple- 
ments, as iron is extremely scarce and valuable in Western 
Tibet, so scarce that none of the ponies are shod. Beads 
are also found, which the natives value highly and are 
unwilling to part with, but a villager sold us two. 
One is a beautiful one made of a light brown and white 
agate, highly polished, barrel-shaped, three-quarters of 
an inch long, slightly thicker at one end than the other, 
and with both ends slanted a little so as to fit perfectly 
into the round of a necklace; the other bead is of black 
wood, roughly cut, and worn smooth with age and use. 

The ascent into the interior of the fort being only 
just possible for a European man, I occupied myself, 
while Mr. Francke and the munshi were making their 
inspection in it, in searching among the stones at the 
foot of the rock for relics of antiquity, and was fortunate 
in finding some potsherds, which seemed to belong to large 
vessels similar in shape to those at present in use in 
the country. Several of the pieces had a pattern 
in blood-red on a yellow ground. Modern Ladakhi 
pottery is never ornamented in this way, but in an 
ancient grave (presumably of Dards who died during 
the old Dard colonisation), opened at Leh in January 
of this year (1904), by Mr. Francke and Dr. Shawe, some 
whole dzamas or jars were found with the same colouring 
as on these fragments. Dr. Shawe sent me a photograph 
of two of them (p. 148), and the following description: 
"The jugs are 4£ inches high, and about the same 



148 WESTERN TIBET 

in diameter at the thickest part. Mouth 3 inches 
across. They are of clay of a drab-colour (when burnt), 
the pattern being painted in dark red. The same pattern 
is on both, though it only comes out well on one in the 
photo. Besides these there were similar clay vessels of 
ail sizes up to 18 inches diameter, along with the 
above in the grave." Entire skeletons were found in 
this grave, which showed it to belong to a period 
anterior to the conversion of Ladakh to Lamaism by the 
Tibetans, because under that rite the dead are burned, 
not buried. To this period presumably the fragments 
found in the fort belonged also. 

Another find was numerous pieces of granite mortars 
such as are used at the present day for grinding pepper, 
and for grinding walnuts and apricot kernels for oil, also 
for pounding dried apricots to be used in the form of 
cakes; similar implements are to be found at the present 
day in all cottages in Ladakh and Baltistan. Apricot 
oil extracted from the kernels is used for lighting in tiny 
stone lamps and small cups, with a piece of wick floating 
in it, as is walnut oil, which, however, is more expensive, 
and both are used for the hair. 

According to tradition the Balu-mkhar mortars were 
also used for grinding wheat and barley for flour, as at 
the time of the occupation of the fort water-mills for 
this purpose were not in use. 

The munshi found a very perfect stone axe-head, 
triangular in shape, four inches long, with a well-made 
round hole for the handle. Other articles picked up were 
a piece of stone with a carving of the shaft of a chorten, 
and some smooth oblong stones, possibly water-worn, used 
for pestles, for sharpening arrow-heads, and for throwing 
from slings. As the stone-age still flourishes in Western 



Photographed by tbe Rev Dr. Shane. 



Two Ancient Jars found at Leh. 










Granite Mortars found at Balu-mkhar. 



To face page 148. 



THE FORT OF BALU-MKHAR, KHALATSE 149 

Tibet, and, indeed, is likely to do for a long time, the use 
of these implements is not a mere matter of conjecture. 

While turning over stones and poking in the sand I was 
much struck with the complete absence of insect life. 
Not a living thing of any description could be seen among 
them, owing, no doubt, to the intense heat in summer 
and cold in winter, combined with the extreme dryness 
of the climate at all seasons. 

It was near noon when we finished our search, and as 
the study of archaeology on a sandy desert innocent of a 
single blade of green, with the thermometer at 150°, is 
thirsty work, we had brought a tea-basket; but the problem 
was where to find a level place in the shade — a problem 
that refused to be solved, so we finally perched ourselves 
out of the glare of the sun on the most accessible steps 
of the ruined staircase, the feet of one convive being higher 
up than the head of the other. The tea-basket was 
jammed firmly against the rock with the teapot inside, 
the spirit-lamp balanced itself precariously on two stones, 
two or three places were found sufficiently flat to hold a 
cup or a plate very much on the slope, and one of the 
servants had to be called up to stand with one foot on one 
step and the other on a lower one, holding as many things 
as his two hands would contain. Someone coughed or 
spoke, and away shot a plate ; a roll followed, which was 
snapped up by two observant dogs, but when the butter 
tin bounded down to within an inch of their noses, and 
they took it as a kind attention on our part, shrieks and 
yells were hurled at them to give them a hint of their 
mistake and keep them off till the living sideboard could 
be relieved of his burden and sent to the rescue. 

After this combined excitement and refreshment we 
went to examine some ancient chortens on the other side 



150 WESTERN TIBET 

of the road, and in crossing the desert the munshi called 
our attention to a little square of stones in the sand, which 
Khalatse tradition says are the remains of the throne on 
which the high Lama sat while on tour through the 
district, and that the soldiers of the garrison stationed in 
the fort came to him there for benediction. It is said 
that the chortens are the burial-place of officers of the 
garrison. There is no trace of any village near them that 
they could have belonged to. On a road which starts a 
very short distance away from the chortens and leads to 
Teya (a village three hours off up a side nullah), there is 
an ancient mani which is believed to have been also built 
by the garrison. 

On three subsequent visits to Balu-mkhar Mr. Francke 
found many interesting relics, not the least so being those 
which bear witness to a great change in the climate, such 
as stones of the stalkless wild cherry of Ladakh, of the 
wild plum, and of the peach, these trees having now almost 
entirely disappeared from the country. 1 A quantity of 
the charcoal and wood of the pencil cedar lying ready for 
burning beside an old hearth proves that at the date when 
the fort was occupied, say 600 years ago, this wood must 
have been common and easily procurable in the neighbour- 
hood of Khalatse, as it no doubt once was in every Ladakhi 
valley, though it has now disappeared from the eastern 
portion of the country and only thrives west of Kargil. 
From roots found here and there it is known that the tree 
at some remote period existed round Leh, though there is 
not a single one to be found there now, and all attempts 
to grow young trees, even some marches west of that town 

1 The Dards, according to their own tradition, introduced fruit-trees into 
Ladakh when they founded colonies there from Gilgit, where fruit is very- 
abundant. 





« o 



THE FORT OF BALU-MKHAR, KHALATSE 151 

at Himis-shugpacan where there is the "holy grove," 
consisting of fifty trees, have failed, so that it too will soon 
disappear. All these facts tend to show that the climate 
of Ladakh is gradually losing the moisture it once possessed. 
The results of this hasty and superficial examination 
at Balu-mkhar show what a rich field there is for thorough 
exploration in the forts dotted about in the valleys of 
Ladakh, of which it is a type. In November, 1905, Mr. 
Francke wrote as follows : " Lately we have been making 
wonderful discoveries here. Two inscriptions in non- 
Tibetan characters from Leh and Khalatse were examined 
by Dr. Vogel of Lahore, and declared to be, one Indian 
Brahmin of the first century a.d., and the other Karoshthi. 
Besides these we have discovered many ancient Tibetan 
inscriptions dating from c. 950 a.d. to 1000 a.d." These 
finds are no doubt merely the first-fruits of a harvest 
that may be gathered in the near future in this little- 
known region, which is now only beginning to excite 
the attention of European archaeologists. 



CHAPTER XV. 
TIBETAN MUSIC AND POETRY. 

I am indebted to Mr. Francke for permission to give 
the accompanying specimens of Tibetan music * and poetry 
from the large collections he has made. He wrote down 
and harmonised a great many airs sung by the Ladakhis- 
(using two as hymn tunes at the mission services) and 
their number and variety show the absurdity of the 
phrase, " The only tune known in the East," which one 
frequently hears. They appeared in an article on Tibetan 
music, with many specimens, contributed by him to the 
Jowrnal of the German Oriental Society. In 1905 he was 
engaged on a similar article for the French Dictionnai/re 
du Conservatoire. 

He has translated the Saga of Kesar, besides a collection 
of religious, court, wedding, hunting, dance, fairy-tale,, 
polo, harvest, love, and drinking songs, sung by the 
Ladakhis. He remarks that drinking songs, which are 
in use at weddings and feasts, are of a very different 
character from those we should call by that name ; they 
may indeed be called catechisms of the pre-Buddhist 
religion. The court poetry has no rhyme, but a certain 
rule of metre is strictly observed, and the language is 
as nearly as possible that of books; dance songs are in 
the dialect of the country where they are sung, and 
have rhyme of sentence or parallelism, and generally also> 

'Page 161. 



TIBETAN MUSIC AND POETRY 153 

a metre, which is not so strictly uniform as in the court 
songs. In the A.B.C. song (given below) the first letters 
of every line are arranged according to the order of the 
Tibetan alphabet; in another the first letters show the 
alphabet in inverted order. The notes are Mr. Francke's. 

THE A.B.C. SONG. 

1. The disposition of the teacher's soul 

2. Is clean like snow, his transient body 

3. Is beautiful, wherever you look at it. 

4. This my own soul, 

5. Though it agrees with religion as regards speech, 

6. May my behaviour also agree with my mind ! 

7. "When bringing the offerings of tea and beer, 

8. Give that I may take care of my soul ! 

9. When the clear light of the Dalai Lama's spirit 

10. Finally touches the soul, 

11. All that at present I perceive in my soul, 

12. Illness, old age, death become nothing. 

13. The great and powerful Sahya 

14. Is the hinderer of misery in the other world. 

15. Do not sleep like an ox ; 

16. Unchangingly, watch your soul ! 

17. (Fine) like a little artery or pore of perspiration 

18. Is the doctrine of the famous Lama. 

19. Friend ! Also your own soul 

20. Keep in clearness ! 

21. When the Lama, to whom I stick, as to my cap, 

22. Brings a spotless offering, 

23. Oh, to have this sight (perception) 

24. Is a wonderful spectacle for the soul ! 

25. "Oh, mankind, with hearts like the wind ! 

26. Oh, thou hero, who subduest even a pass-storm, 

27. Teach and at the same time explain (thy teaching) ! 

28. Fulfil quickly the path of perfection, 

29. The self-salvation of sPyanras gzigs ! ' 

30. Oh, mother rDorje Phagmo? 

31. Oh, great mother, thou and I, 

32. May we, without any separation, always remain united t 
J The Boddhtiatva'8 name means "Sees with a clear eye.'' 

2 The mother's name means "Sow thunderbolt." 



154 WESTERN TIBET 

In another vein is the song called 

THE TIBETAN FIDDLE. 

Do not think that my fiddle, called bkrashis dbang rgyal, 1 

Does not possess a great father ! 

If the divine wood of the pencil cedar 

Is not its great father, what else ? 

Do not think that my fiddle, called bkrashis dbang rgyal, 

Does not possess a little mother ! 

If the strings from the goat 

Are not its little mother, what else ? 

Do not think that my fiddle, called bkrashis dbang rgyal, 
Does not possess any brothers ! 
If the ten fingers of my hand 
Are not its brothers, what else 1 

Do not think that my fiddle, called bkrashis dbang rgyal, 

Does not possess any friends ! 

If the sweet sounds of its own mouth 

Are not its friends, what else ? 

Refrain • Shab shdb ma zhig shah shdb ma zhig. 
Thse sdng ma zhig sang mol. 

The next is a song of Kesar, "The deified Mongolian 
Emperor of Siberia/' 2 the national hero of Tibet (who 
appears to be an oriental Balder) whose festival is held 
in the spring at the re-awakening of the year. 

KESAR RETURNING TO ABRUGUMA, HIS WIFE. 

If she, taking the shape of a turquoise dove, 
Should go to soar in the highest skies, 
I, taking the shape of a white falcon, 
Will go to take her home again. 

If she, taking the shape of a turquoise dove, 
Should go to flee into the highest zenith, 

1 bkrashis dbang rgyal means "Happiness, powerful king." 

2 Col. Waddell's Lhasa and its Mysteries, p. 334. 



TIBETAN MUSIC AND POETRY 155 

1, taking the shape of a white falcon, 
Will go to follow after her. 

If she, taking the shape of the fish "gold-eye,'' 
Should go to float in the deepest ocean, 
I taking the shape of a white-breasted otter, 
Will go to take her home again. 

If she, taking the shape of the fish "gold-eye," 
Should go to flee into the widest ocean, 
I, taking the shape of the white-breasted otter, 
Will go to follow after her. 1 

THE POOR GIEL AND THE RICH GIRL. 

The poor girl laments : 

Oh, you rich child of a rich man, 

You have milk in china, 

I, the poor child of one who possesses nothing, 

I have buttermilk in a cup. 

Oh, you rich child of a rich man, 

Your silk dress touches the ground. 

I am the poor child of one who possesses nothing, 

And my rags touch the ground. 

The rich girl replies: 

Thinking I will drink some water 

I arrived at the bank of the river. 

The water however was frozen 

And I did not get drinking water. 

The fish was frozen in the ice 

And the hope of the duck was not fulfilled. 

The poor girl again complains : 

Oh, you daughter-in-law of a rich man, 
You carried a child on your lap. 
I, the poor child of one who possesses nothing, 
I carried a young cat in my lap. 

1 Kesar, after having taken the food and drink of forgetfulness, had 
forgotten 'aBruguma. Now that the birds, coming from the south, 
have brought him a message from her, he decides to win her again. 



156 WESTERN TIBET 

Oh, you daughter-in-law of a rich man, 
You stirred tea in the churn. 
I, the poor child of one who possesses nothing, 
Had to stir water in a churn. 

The rich girl says: 

Thinking it will become happy and fat, 
They sent the lamb to the meadow. 
The thought that the wolf would come, 
That thought did not enter their minds. 1 

As the Bunan pilgrims from Lahoul, foi merry a province 
of the Ladakhi kingdom, went on their way to sacred 
Triloknath, they beguiled the tedium of the stony road 
by singing with endless repetitions: 

Oh exalted one ! Let no illness come ! Render us salvation ! 
Mayest thou think of it ! Morning and evening we trust in thee ! 
Later on in life, whatever way I may find, 
Oh, mayest thou grant there something good ! O exalted one ! 

A song called " Preparations for a Dance " gives practical 
advice which shows the whole world kin : 

The girls of the lower villages are clever in dancing, 

Get up then for a dance, all you girls ! 

To improve your figure, put on a shawl ! 

To improve your complexion, smear your face three times with 

shoglo ! 2 
Having put on the shawl, come to the dance ! 
Having smeared your faces, come to the dance ! 

And if anyone wants to have further proof that the 
quaint, ugly, kindly Ladakhis possess a rich store of 
imagination and poetry, let him get a copy of Mr. 
Francke's Ladakhi Songs. 

1 The general idea is that apparent happiness is not always real. The 
parents, seeking their daughter's happiness had married her to a. rich 
man without ever thinking of the wolf (the mother-in-law?). 

2 A herb, the yellow juice of which is smeared over the face. 



TIBETAN MUSIC AND POETRY 157 

Mrs. Bishop, in her book Among the Tibetans, speaks 
in eloquent terms of the intellectual attainments of the 
Moravian missionaries she met with on her journey, and 
their successors at the present day maintain the standard 
of high thinking in the midst of the plainest of living 
for which they were remarkable in the remote Himalayan 
fastnesses where their lot was cast. In their solitude 
they keep themselves in touch with the outer world by 
means of the literature of the day, besides contributing 
in many instances to the instruction of mankind by their 
scholarship. In Khalatse the missionary and his wife 
and children are the only Europeans, and although 
during the summer an occasional sportsman may call 
to see them on his way up to Leh (a three days' journey), 
which at that season is, comparatively speaking, a gay 
metropolis, with perhaps, on a rare occasion, as many as 
half-a-dozen English visitors at a time, yet in the winter 
the isolation is complete, and when the sunlight does 
not reach the deep, narrow valley till eleven o'clock 
and leaves again at three, the spirits are apt to be much 
depressed. The high altitude tells greatly on the nerves 
after a few years' residence in it, many of the children 
of Europeans die before the age of two, and the holiday 
trip home comes at very much longer intervals than in 
the case of our British missionaries to foreign countries. 
In the midst of all these trials it is a brave sight to see 
men interesting themselves in their surroundings and 
keeping up their learning, instead of giving way to 
idleness and despondency. 

One day when I was walking towards the village 
at Khalatse with Mr. Francke and his wife and children, 
his two little boys ran on in front and then came to 
me to give me a miniature chorten which they had 



158 WESTERN TIBET 

taken out of a large funereal chorten standing by the 
roadside. 

" Oh, I don't think you should do that," said their 
father, "the people might not like it." Then turning 
to me he added, pointing to the miniature, " That was 
a Khalatse villager who died about a year ago; I used 
to have many a long talk with him." 

I put this relic carefully away along with the one of 
the Lama from Leh, and when I came home took them 
with me on several visits I paid, as interesting curiosities 
to show to my friends; but one or two of my hostesses 
confided to me afterwards that they were very much 
relieved when I took myself and my chortens away, as 
they did not like having dead men's bones in their 
houses. In vain I assured them that though the bones 
had lived under the same roof with me for months I 
had never seen any ghosts; it was hinted that they 
need not be brought again. The number and quality 
of these images depend on the wealth and standing of 
the deceased from whose ashes they are made, and judged 
by this rule this villager must have been rich or highly 
respected, or possibly both, for there were dozens of 
him beautifully moulded and ornamented with embossed 
rows of Buddhas, and having a tiny piece of stick on 
the top by way of a hti or umbrella ; but the poor Lama 
had evidently been of small account, for he was so 
badly kneaded that he soon came to bits, and had to 
be stuck together again with seccotine — a curious fate 
for a Tibetan monk. 

I greatly regretted not having the opportunity of 
seeing Mr. Francke's valuable library of Tibetan books 
and manuscripts, as it was packed up to be taken to 
Germany, whither he was going to accompany his wife, 



TIBETAN MUSIC AND POETRY 159 

whose health had so completely broken down from the 
effects of climate and overwork that she required several 
years' rest. He told me that the Tibetans use wooden 
blocks for printing some of their books, and that others, 
more valuable, are in manuscript. A newspaper in the 
Tibetan language is published in Leh, edited and partly 
written by the Moravian missionaries there and at 
Khalatse, which serves to guide and enlighten public 
opinion. 

The morning I left > Khalatse, Mr. Francke walked 
with me as far as the fort at the bridge over the 
Indus. Fort and bridge are both modern, replacing 
ancient structures, the latter being formerly of willow 
rope; near them he pointed out many incised rocks, 
some with inscriptions in characters dating from many 
centuries back, and others covered with hunting and 
battle scenes, ibex, yaks * horses, etc. The rocks, mostly 
granite, are blackened as if by fire and polished, and 
on being scratched the natural light colour appears, 
forming an admirable surface for drawing. There is 
one rock carved like a chess-board, but with many more 
squares than we use for chess, which was evidently used 
for some kind of game. Coming down the Indus valley 
I saw numerous inscriptions, old and new, passages from 
the sacred books of the Tibetans and the favourite Om 
rnani padmi hong, also the same scenes and animals 
as at Khalatse. There was one animal, not in profile 
as all the others were, but spread out flat with the fore- 
paws much feathered, which I think must have been 
meant for a flying fox, a creature that is found near 
Shigar in Baltistan. 

The Tibetans still practise this branch of art. On the 
face of a precipitous cliff rising sheer from the bed of 



160 WESTERN TIBET 

the Indus, where a path by the edge of the river has been 
blasted out of the rocks only within the last few years, 
there was a particularly fine specimen, a sacred emblem, 
circular in form and about three feet in diameter; un- 
fortunately it was impossible to photograph it owing to 
the narrowness of the path at this point. In most of the 
battle and hunting scenes the arms are bows and arrows, 
showing that they were executed before fire-arms were in 
use in the country, but guns are introduced in a few, and 
in one there are men armed with guns fighting with others 
armed with swords, one warrior being represented lying 
on the ground, dead or wounded. This is probably the 
record of an encounter between Ladakhis and Dogras 
during the invasion of the country in 1835. 

On saying good-bye to Mr. Francke he asked me to be 
on the watch for rock carvings, and also for Buddhist 
remains in Baltistan, now a Mohammedan country, where 
such relics would be for the most part carefully destroyed. 
My interest in them was now so keenly aroused that I made 
enquiry for them everywhere on my journey from Khalatse 
to Skardo, and I was fortunate enough, besides finding 
numerous small carvings, to discover a large and important 
one of Buddha, with three inscriptions, 1 a few miles from 
Skardo. These inscriptions date from about the year 1000 
A.D. and are interesting because at that time Buddhists 
and Hindus in these parts were experiencing the first 
effects of the invasion of the Mohammedan Mahmud of 
Ghazni, whose name has lately been found mentioned 
in a Sanskrit inscription in the Swat valley, made in 
the year of his death. 

'Page 297. 



TIBETAN MUSIC AND POETRY 



161 



SPECIMENS OF TIBETAN MUSIC. 
Written down and Harmonised by the Rev. A. H. Franokk. 



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CHAPTER XVI. 

SKIRBICHAN AND THE HANU NULLAH. 

The road from Khalatse down the Indus is very well 
made, but is sometimes so high up on the face of the 
cliff that on approaching a sharp turn it seemed as if 
the pony were going to step into space, which made me 
so giddy at first that I had to shut my eyes not to see 
what was going to happen ; but after one day's experience 
all such feelings of discomfort quite disappeared. 

I had now left the road which leads from Srinagar 
to Leh, and entered a region which no white woman 
had ever been in till this summer, and it may be many 
years before another passes through it. An -occasional 
sportsman, a Government official, or a missionary is the 
only European ever seen in these wilds. I stopped the 
first day at Dumkar, a large village beautifully situated,, 
but with no camping-ground; and as the travellers, few 
and far between as they are, who come this way never 
camp here, I was looked upon as a curiosity. My tent 
was put up in a little terraced field which had just 
been cleared of barley, and was surrounded by walnut 
and apricot trees. The latter were laden with ripe fruit 
which dropped all round me, even plump into my pudding 
dish as I sat at dinner. A boy and an old woman 
brought me baskets of apricots, and a little Lama's offering 



170 WESTERN TIBET 

"was peaches, with a bunch of blue, purple, and pink 
cornflowers in the middle. From Dumkar to Skirbichan 
the march next day was only six miles, which Makhti, 
my own pony, would have done comfortably in less 
than two hours, but since I had sent her back to Srinagar 
and had to hire ponies the rate of travel had been 
very slow. Coolies carried the baggage, and received 
two annas each for taking a load of sixty or seventy 
pounds weight all that distance, and were charmed with 
a backshish of a halfpenny each, chorussing "Deo U, deo 
U, mem sahib,'' when I gave it to them. The camping- 
ground at Skirbichan is in an orchard of splendid walnut, 
apricot, and apple trees, and when some red Lamas with 
yellow scarves stood about under them, with gompa- 
crowned cliffs rising in the background above them, the 
picture was a feast for an artist. What a pity it is the 
camera does not reproduce colour ! A photograph is a 
constant disappointment on that score. 

There is often a sound of voices far off in those deep 
valleys; it is the villagers talking to their friends who 
are ascending the paths zigzagging up the mountain 
sides, and the conversation can be carried on for a mile 
or two. 

On the dry sands of the Indus valley large cushions 
of the wild caper with white flowers, each measuring 
four or five inches across, were scattered, which must 
have immensely long roots to reach any moisture, for 
they were often a long way back from the river, and 
many feet above its level. Tamarisks are also met with, 
but are cut down so often that they never grow to be 
more than bushes; on the side of the hill opposite 
Khalatse, however, on a spot very difficult to get at, 
"where there is a spring, a little clump has by chance 



SKIRBICHAN AND THE HANU NULLAH 171 

been left to grow into tall trees, and now, although wood 
is so valuable there, the natives would not touch them 
on any account, as they believe a spirit has made them 
its dwelling-place. 

There is an old killa or fort on the top of a rock 
behind the village of Skirbichan which I was anxious 
to visit, and the lumbardar acted as guide, for it is often 
difficult to find any practicable way up the cliffs on which 
such buildings are perched. Aziz Khan went with me 
as interpreter, and the two men hoisted me up places 
which I could not manage to crawl up on hands and 
knees. The lumbardar was quite an old man, but in 
characteristic Tibetan fashion ran up places where I could 
barely stand. I was curious to know his age, but he 
declined to tell it for fear I should write it down ! When 
we got to the fort there was nothing to see in or around 
it except the fine view — no inscriptions or potsherds or 
worked stones of any description. It is simply a square 
tower of rough boulders, plastered inside and outside 
with clay — a watch-tower probably, for a much larger 
fort is on the lower level on another crest close to it. 
One corner is walled off, and is used as an infirmary for 
ponies ill of any infectious disease, but it must be nearly 
enough to kill the poor animals to drag them up to 
such a height. On the way down we went to the lower 
fort to see the gompa, which has been formed out of 
two or three of its rooms, and the one Lama, a young 
man who lives in it, took us over it. A new wooden 
door and porch had been put in an old wall, and gave 
admittance to a small landing-place at the foot of a 
pitch-dark stair of rough pieces of stone. Up this we 
stumbled, I holding my handkerchief tight over nose 
and mouth, and Aziz Khan with the end of his pagri 



172 WESTERN TIBET 

over his. The smell was so awful that I had a fit of 
nausea as soon as I entered, and "Oogh, oogh, oogh," 
said the old lumbardar pityingly, "oogh, oogh." Upstairs 
there was a room which was the priest's dwelling-plaee 
(how he escapes from being poisoned is a mystery) and 
above it another opening into a third, which was the 
temple. In the outer room there was a fresco of Buddha 
in contemplation; on one side of him the gods of the 
air, the earth, and the water, coloured white, red, and 
blue; and on the other, a goddess playing a lute with a 
long curved neck; above were various other mythological 
figures. There was a large Wheel of Life on a side-wall, 
supported by the hands and feet of a demon who grinned 
over the top, with a third eye in the middle of his 
forehead, and who wore a coronet of miniature skulls; 
some of the masks shown in the photographs of Lamas 
at Himis and Leh were likenesses of him. The gompa 
itself was so dark that at first nothing could be seen, 
the only light coming through the small doorway, but in 
a minute or two a figure of a many-headed, many-armed 
god standing twelve feet high revealed itself, with a table 
of offerings in front; but the lazy Lama, who, the 
lumbardar said, spent all his time in preparing and 
drinking chang, had not taken the trouble to put the 
customary dishes of ghie, water, and flowers on it. The 
god was like one at Leh which had eleven heads; but, 
as Aziz Khan remarked, this was " another fellow," for 
he had a great many more than that. There were several 
chortens of various sizes standing round the room, some 
containing the bones of Lamas and some partly made 
of them. We went downstairs more easily than we came 
up, and as all the doors had been opened wide the air 
was much fresher. On getting outside I gave the Lama 



SKIRBICHAN AND THE HANU NULLAH 173 

twopence and told him to clean the place, at which he 
smiled doubtfully, as if it would be quite an unnecessary 
exertion. If he were put in a tub himself and well 
scrubbed he would come out much lighter in colour, 
for his bare arms were literally caked with dirt. We 
scrambled down the hill again, the lumbardar on one 
side of me and my servant on the other, all the easiest 
places being carefully picked out, though crossing one 
that was specially recommended was like walking on a 
roof with the slates giving way. We stopped to look 
at two Lamas and a workman making chortens in a sort 
of gallery with a ladder leading up to it; there were 
three chortens, one newly finished, and I asked if they 
had mixed any bones with the clay, but no, these were 
simply monuments. 

The next morning the lumbardar took me to the larger 
gompa on the side of the hill behind the village, which 
has been formed out of the old castle, where, in the 
troublous times of yore, all the villagers lived for the 
sake of security. Now it is entirely in the possession of 
the Lamas, and consists of a cluster of tiny houses 
climbing up the face of the cliff to the gompa at the 
top. These houses have for the most part merely one 
room about twelve feet by eight, built of rough stones, 
the spaces between them plastered with mud, the flat 
roof of poplar poles covered with mud, a hole in it serving 
as a chimney ; inside, a platform about two feet high runs 
along the back of the room, having a rough oven or fire- 
place at one end, made of a few boulders. Some of these 
houses had doors padlocked, but many of them were 
merely shelters for animals. The very narrow lanes 
are winding and steep, with two or three steps here and 
there. The gompa consists as usual of several rooms on 



174 WESTERN TIBET 

different levels, and in one of them the head Lama and 
four or five others were going through a service, one 
chanting from a sacred book lying open on a low stand 
before him, and the others responding, with interludes 
of braying of trumpets, clashing of cymbals, and beating 
of drums, played by the officiating priests. The room 
was so small that four of them sitting in a row filled 
up one wall as far as the table of offerings which ran 
along the back of it. The performance stopped while I 
was looking in, and lasted a very few minutes after I 
left, for the head Lama came directly into another room 
where I was and demanded backshish, but was quite 
satisfied with four annas. This upper room was much 
larger than the one below, and had many frescoes of 
gods on the walls, and the usual images and offerings. 
Another room was the library, fitted up with shelves 
along a part of the walls, the vacant places being covered 
with frescoes ; the books were placed between two boards, 
and wrapped in pieces of cloth in the usual manner. The 
Lamas allowed me to take a photo of the interior, opening 
door and windows wide, and standing patiently for ten 
minutes while I took a time exposure, but the light was 
so bad that the result was a failure. I was rather sur- 
prised when I was given permission to do it, and still 
more when two or three Lamas stood in a group to let 
me take them. They and their flocks seem to vary a good 
deal in their ideas of what their religion allows them to do. 
Mr. Francke was astonished when he heard the Lama 
at Leh gompa had given me a miniature chorten, and when 
I asked him how I could get a prayer-flag, he said that 
the people would never give one, and the only way to 
do was to pick one up from the ground, as they are not 
put back in their place when once blown down. The 




IS 




SKIRBICHAN AND THE HANU NULLAH 175 

lumbardar at Skirbichan, however, got one made for me ; 
it had a picture of a horse in the middle, surrounded 
by sentences, and was printed from a block. It may be 
that the people are more ready to let a lay person than 
a missionary have objects connected with their worship. 

The last apartment visited was the kitchen, partly hewn 
out of the rock which formed the roof. There was a large 
and very heavy stone degche, or cooking pot, with a place 
for fire under it, two brass degches from India, and one 
earthenware teapot from Leh ; and, reared up in one corner, 
a wooden tea-churn about a yard long, in which tea, barley- 
flour, butter, and salt or soda are churned, after having 
been previously boiled together. The coolies often carried 
such churns on their backs to use on their journeys. 

It was very hot when I got back to my tent at noon, 
and I was glad to sit in the shade of a large walnut tree, 
one of many in the camping-ground. An old beggar pulled 
a capful of apricots from a tree quite near, which did not 
belong to him at all, brought them to me and then expected 
a backshish. He sat down, twirled his spindle, and tried to 
make conversation, but as I did not understand and could 
not respond, he tired of such dull company and soon went 
away. 

The lumbardar had an agate bead on his necklace very 
like the one I bought at Khalatse, but darker, and I asked 
him what he would sell it for, but he said the necklace was 
an old one which had belonged to his father, who had left 
it to him, and he did not care to part with it or any of the 
beads. I thought it nice of the old man, for he was very 
poor, and money is exceedingly scarce in this country. 

I left Skirbichan at 6.30 a.m. on the 31st of July by a 
road which had been described to me by several sportsmen 
as " poisonous " on account of the heat ; but the sky was 



176 WESTERN TIBET 

rather cloudy and a pleasant breeze met me, so that I found 
an hour's walk an agreeable variety from riding. The road 
is very good, never less than four feet wide, built on 
substantial retaining walls where the ground is inclined to 
crumble, and level from side to side, which is a great matter, 
for a road that slopes in the same direction as the (perhaps) 
shaly precipice it lies across is not pleasant. There are 
many carvings of hunting scenes on the rocks, and I 
photographed one in which there was quite a crowd of 
figures. In six hours we came to Hanu Nullah, which 
turns sharply to the right, leaving the Indus behind. This 
gorge is the wildest piece of scenery I have ever beheld, 
with huge slabs and corners of rock thrown down to the 
water's edge and strewing the mountain sides in chaotic 
confusion, and above, peaks rise thousands of feet straight 
up towards the sky. A stream of clear green water foams 
and tumbles to join the muddy Indus, and at the first turn 
we came upon poplars wherever they could gain a footing ; 
then, as the gorge widened, on patches of barley, wheat, and 
vetches surrounded by apricot and mulberry trees. The 
barley was not ripe here yet, but some of the rocks were 
covered with apricots drying in the sun. One or two 
women passed, quite different in type and dress from those 
•at Skirbichan only twenty miles away. Instead of the 
pberak they wear a square flat cap (the old-fashioned 
Ladakhi cap) projecting over the forehead and coming only 
to the nape of the neck, ornamented with rows of beads 
and gilt chains along one half, rows of darning needles and 
smaller needles along the other half and across the back 
and a bunch of brilliant-coloured flowers, marigolds or 
poppies generally, stuck coquettishly on one edge. A coat 
of dark cloth tied with a girdle and reaching to the knees 
and pyjamas complete the dress, the feet, remarkably 



SKIRBICHAN AND THE HANU NULLAH 177 

small and well-shaped, being bare, while quantities of brass 
necklaces, bangles, and rings are worn by the well-to-do. 
The faces of these people are Aryan, often small and 
delicately oval, unlike the broad, flat faces of the Mongo- 
lians of the Indus valley, and the skin is very much darker, 
partly " with Phoebus' amorous pinches black " and partly 
with something less poetical — dirt ; for they have actually 
great smudges of what looks like soot on cheeks and 
forehead. Drew 1 says they never wash, but burn twigs of 
pencil cedar and let the scent and smoke from it come over 
them inside their clothes, which they do by stepping to 
and fro over a fire on the ground. They do not resemble 
their neighbours the Ladakhis on one side or the Baltis on 
the other ; but in feature and dirt are very like some Astor 
men I afterwards saw on the Gilgit road ; their own 
tradition is that they came originally from Gilgit itself. 
They are a colony of Buddhist Dards, one of the Scythian 
tribes of Herodotus, which probably emigrated while Baltis- 
tan and the surrounding countries (forcibly converted to 
Mohammedanism four or five centuries ago) were Buddhists, 
and, bringing their religion with them, have been allowed 
to retain it by the Ladakhis, who profess the same creed. 
In an ancient hymnal 2 which is used at a triennial festival 
still celebrated at Dah (on the Indus, ten miles below the 
Hanu Nullah) and other villages of the Eastern Dards 
whose forefathers emigrated from Gilgit, founding colonies 
as they advanced into Ladakh, a list of place-names is 
contained which shows their route as they spread .south- 
eastwards up the Indus and Shayok valleys. All the 
villages mentioned in it are well known, such as Rangdum, 

1 See his Jummoo and Kashmir Territories. 

2 Translated into English by Mr. Francke. Some of his notes on it are 
here quoted. 

M 



178 WESTERN TIBET 

Shigar, Skardo, Parkuta, Kiris, and Hanu itself, and I 
passed through some of them on my journey from this 
point. 

The gompa at Hanu is under the control of that at 
Skirbichan; the people are polyandrous, the women having 
as many as five husbands, according to Drew. Aziz Khan 
told me that the people of the village of Das on the Gilgit 
Road, between Burzil and Astor, and of Rangdum in Suru 
(100 miles due east from Srinagar in the mountains) are 
like them in appearance, the " ladies " being the same both 
as regards dress and smudges. The Rangdum villagers are 
Buddhists and polyandrous, and they and the Hanus speak 
a kind of Tibetan differing a little from Ladakhi ; but the 
Das people's dialect resembles that of the Dards at Dras, 
they are polygamous and call themselves Shiahs (a Moham- 
medan sect) though Aziz Khan saw neither mosque, moulvie 
(priest), nor nimaz (religious service) at Das ; apparently 
their enforced conversion from their ancient religion has 
been merely nominal. 



CHAPTEK XVII. 

GOMA HANU. A LONELY VIGIL AND AN ATTACK 
ON THE CAMP. 

Theke are three villages in the Hanu nullah, and beyond 
the first one it closes in so completely that anyone not 
knowing there is a way out at the upper end would be 
inclined to turn back, but a narrow path cut through the 
rock leads into another and wider cultivated valley with 
a gorge turning out of it at right angles. The village 
and gompa of Hanu are at the foot of it. Here we 
expected to camp, and we were just going to cross the 
bridge to the bagh when two old men came hurrying 
to meet us and said this was not the proper place, that 
all the sahibs camp at a place about a dak further up, 
and that the lumbardar was there at the moment. I 
found out afterwards that the Accountant-General's party, 
the last to pass through, and who wished to get nearer 
the Chorbat La so as to save a march, had camped 
higher up, a sufficient reason for the natives to hurry 
everyone else on, whatever their plans might be. Miss 
Kendall, who was the first white woman to pass through 
this nullah and across the Chorbat La, had camped at 
this village, and if I had done so too I should have 
been saved from the experiences of the following day. 
At the time I was rather puzzled, for we had now ridden 



180 WESTERN TIBET 

the twenty miles which the guide-books say is the 
distance from Skirbichan, and a "dak," which may mean 
anything from three to eight miles, but is generally 
reckoned to be four or five (the distance each dak-runner 
carries the mail-bags on the way through the country) 
seemed to put the camping-place too far away. As native 
ideas of distance are of the haziest, I thought it might 
be only a mile or so after all and decided to go on, 
especially as Aziz Khan said that this did not look like 
a good bagh, but the road lengthened and lengthened 
out before us, till it became evident that the dak would 
be quite four miles. As we advanced vegetation in- 
creased, the hillsides had patches of greenery on them, 
and a great number and variety of wild flowers were 
to be seen, the trimmings of the people's caps showing 
that there were also cultivated flowers in this district. 
At last we came to a clear rushing side stream, where 
I sat down under a shady bank overgrown with what 
looked like a kind of furze-bush, which, with the 
quantities of forget-me-nots lining the edges of a tiny 
brook our path had led us up, made me feel at home. 
It was nearly three o'clock, and I had had only a scone 
and a bottle of milk since a six o'clock breakfast, so I 
was hungry and enjoyed the cold chicken and milk 
pudding set before me. Just as I had finished, a woman 
and a boy sat down beside me and looked smilingly at 
me. I wrapped up in a Japanese paper doyley a roll 
that was left and gave it to them, making signs that 
they were each to have half. The woman took her cap 
off and began to pick some of the flowers out for me, 
when I noticed rows of darning needles in it and asked 
her for one to fasten the flowers in my blouse. The boy 
made signs that they were used for mending clothes and 



ATTACK ON THE CAMP 181 

shoes; they were the same as some I had seen at 
Skirbichan, which were made there and were not dis- 
tinguishable from English needles, except that the eyes 
were not grooved. In exchange I gave the woman a 
safety pin and showed her how to use it. Just then 
a man came, and they showed him the roll, but when he 
said something, they handed it back to me. I asked 
Aziz Khan the meaning of this, and they told him their 
religion forbade them to eat my food. I told him to 
give Batta the roll when we got to camp, little thinking 
how glad I should be of it afterwards myself, and then 
mounted my pony and soon arrived at a field that was 
shown as the camping-ground; but it was so hot and 
dusty that it would not do, and we found another close 
to the river in the bottom of the valley. 

I sat down at the corner of a patch of vetches with 
beautiful dark purple blossoms, and as there were many 
wild flowers growing round, I began to stroll about to 
look at them, and immediately came upon a hollow place 
in the ground filled up with loose stones, and a great 
many flies hovering over it, which made me think there 
must be something horrid there. On stooping and peering 
among the stones, I saw a black hairy head and two 
dead, half-open eyes turned up towards me. It was 
startling, but after all it was only a cow that had died 
a natural death and been buried here; for in this land, 
where it is sacred, no animal of its kind is ever put to 
death, though in some places the people would have 
eaten it instead of burying it. I called Aziz Khan to 
look at it, and told him we could not put the tents up 
beside that. He looked very much disgusted, and set 
off to look for another resting-place, piloting me across 
a very rickety bridge. 



182 WESTERN TIBET 

Once more I sat down to wait, and a woman and two men, 
one with a spindle, came and, seating themselves within a 
yard of me, gazed with all their might, sometimes making 
remarks to each other. This sort of thing is embarrassing, 
and to distract the attention of these children of nature I 
began to show them some of my things. The man with 
the spindle had taken charge of my whip and umbrella ; 
I told him the whip came from Ladakh (the natives always 
call Leh Ladakh), and I opened the umbrella, which he 
held over his head with many chuckles. Next I pulled 
out a blue gauze veil and tinted spectacles, which he tried 
on, gazing at his friends through them, and he was just 
going to draw on one of my gloves when Aziz Khan 
appeared and sternly forbade him, on which he laughingly 
gave it back to me. A nice place had been found for the 
tent, and I was accompanied to it by my three acquaint- 
ances and two or three other people who had been following 
Aziz Khan about. A good part of the population seemed 
to have nothing to do but to watch what we did, which 
is perhaps not surprising, as I am only the fourth white 
woman who has ever passed this way, all having happened 
to come this year. 

Again I sat down, this time in a little walled 
enclosure in which numbers of wild flowers and many 
feathery grasses were growing. It was now five o'clock, 
and I began to long for my tea and wish the coolies would 
come, but the sun was shining and the air was delicious, 
and nothing else seemed to matter much. Three women 
looked at me over the wall, then climbed it and came and 
sat beside me and tried to talk, but it was no good. Six 
o'clock and still no coolies. Aziz Khan had sent a man 
at five to tell them to come here, but he returned now 
saying he had not seen them, and Aziz Khan set off himself 



ATTACK ON THE CAMP 183 

down the valley. After a while a man who spoke a little 
Hindustani told me the coolies were at the other bagh, 
and asked would I like to take the ponies and follow 
Aziz Khan there ? But I said no, I must stay where I 
was. The stone I was sitting on grew harder and harder, 
and I became hungrier and hungrier, and longed more 
and more for that tea. The man with the spindle sat 
down near me and twirled it and tried to look comfortingly 
at me. Seven o'clock, and I suddenly bethought me there 
might be something to eat in the tiffin basket, which I 
found after some searching, and in it half of the roll which 
the dog was to have had, and oh ! joy, half a chicken. 
(The chickens here are about as large as pigeons.) The 
Hindustani man found the water-bag and filled the tumbler, 
and after devouring the food and drinking the delicious 
cold water, I felt revived and fit for anything. Half a 
dozen men had been sitting under the wall outside the 
field, but most of them went away one by one while I was 
eating, and as I did not know how many hours I might 
have to wait, and did not want to be left alone for fear 
of animals prowling about, jungle cats and jungle dogs, 
if nothing worse, I asked the Hindustani man not to go 
away. Oh, no, he said, he was going to stay, and at once 
lighted a fire, folding himself up on his heels beside it, 
while I sat on a high stone near it with my feet on 
another. Eight o'clock, and it was quite dark. The scent 
of the flowers and herbs at my feet grew stronger, and 
the stars came out in such myriads that the heavens were 
paved with them; the Plough and each separate star in 
it looked twice as large as it does at home, and wondrous 
constellations hung in the south, such as I never remember 
to have seen before, all glittering and magnified, and 
showing geometrical figures in their light in a manner 



184 WESTERN TIBET 

visible only to very short-sighted eyes. When I look at 
the stars through a glass which reduces them to what 
people with good sight can see I am always disappointed 
in them, and rejoice that they appear so much more 
beautiful to me. Defects sometimes have valuable com- 
pensations. 

Another hour passed, and I reflected how strange it 
was to be sitting on that hillside without a shelter, 
with no food left, (and the food of the country quite 
impossible on account of the filthy habits of the people) 
ignorant of the language, and not knowing what had 
become of my servants. Suddenly, soon after nine, there 
was a shout in the distance, then one nearer, and in a 
few minutes Aziz Khan walked in and told me he had 
found Subhana, Ramzana, and the coolies all lying sound 
asleep in the first bagh we had passed, nearly four miles 
down. Their excuse was that the coolies had said it 
was the proper camping-place and had laid their loads 
down there, and that a man had told them I had said 
they were to wait there till I came (which was of course 
utterly untrue), and there the two servants would have 
waited till next day without taking the trouble to look 
for me, or to find out if I had gone further. Aziz Khan 
was furious, and told me he had given all the men, 
coolies and all, a tremendous beating with a stout khud- 
stick, nearly as tall as himself, which he held in his 
hand, and which I suspect he had taken in case of any 
such punishment being necessary. The coolies began to 
arrive, and set to work unpacking quite cheerfully, for 
these people take a beating as a matter of course. 

Another fire was lighted, and by its glare the tent 
was pitched and furnished; in the meantime my com- 
fortable canvas chair was put together, into which I 



ATTACK ON THE CAMP 185 

sank gratefully, tea was prepared and spread on the 
cook-house bake-board at my feet, with a candle to light 
the way to my mouth, and by half-past ten I was safely 
in bed, having left orders that I was not to be called 
in the morning. 

The next afternoon I was sitting in my tent when I 
heard a tremendous uproar arise suddenly at the entrance 
to the field just in front of the servants' tent, men fighting 
with sticks and throwing stones and shouting at the 
top of their voices, and some women, who watched the 
fray over a wall behind me, screaming dismally. At last 
all the men ran away except one, who was taken prisoner 
and dragged along to me for judgment by Aziz Khan, 
of whom I demanded an explanation of the scene. The 
man he had hold of was the lumbardar, who had been 
told on my arrival that I should want a sheep, chickens, 
eggs, milk, and wood, which he promised to bring at 
six the next morning, but at six o'clock he came to 
say they would not be brought till two, and at two that 
they would not be brought till four. At four o'clock 
he and the chowkidar and a dozen villagers or zemindars 
(farmers) came and said that I was not a shooting sahib 
and not a European (they seem to think a woman can't 
be a European), I was only a mem sahib with three men, 
and that they would not give me any supplies, and would 
beat my servants. Aziz Khan showed the lumbardar 
the perwanah which the Wazir Wazarat had sent me at 
Leh, giving orders that I was to have what supplies I 
required, and told him he must give them; but he and 
the other men said they did not care for the Wazir or 
his perwanah, whereupon Aziz Khan gave the lumbardar 
a slap in the face, and this was the signal for the fight 
to begin. " He is beating our lumbardar ! " they cried, 



186 WESTERN TIBET 

and five of them set on Aziz Khan, and ten on the other 
two servants. Ramzana, a true Kashmiri, did not attempt 
to defend himself, and when a big stone caught him in 
the back flung himself down on the ground crying out, 
"Oh, my mother, he has killed me!" "Be quiet, you 
swine," shouted Aziz Khan, who had just ducked to 
avoid a large stone aimed at his head, which would have 
killed him if it had struck him, and had seized a chunk 
of firewood with which he was hammering the nearest 
heads, while Subhana laid about him with a khud-stick, 
which in the end was broken to pieces. "You don't 
know what a Pathan is," roared Aziz Khan, "I'll kill 
the whole fifteen of you " ; and he would have done it 
too if he had seen cause, and enjoyed it. The men, no 
doubt, took fright at this, finding that they had tackled 
the wrong people, and drew off, uttering angry cries. The 
women watching had expected to see some fun, but 
shrieked in dismay when they saw the fun was on the 
wrong side. 

When I had heard the outlines of this story, of which 
I have been given some details since, Aziz Khan put the 
Wazir's perwanah into the lumbardar's hand, and made 
him look at it, so that he could not pretend he had not 
seen it, and I asked if he still refused to give me supplies ; 
he replied that he could not give them, so I told him 
I would report him, both to the Wazir Wazarat and to 
the Commissioner Sahib at Leh, and ordered him off. 
He looked very silly, and as if he would like to say 
something ; but I said again, " Jao " (a rather contemptuous 
word for "go away"), and waved my hand towards the 
entrance, and he went quailing beneath the power of 
the British eye and followed by Aziz Khan, who, as soon 
as he was out of my sight, gave him a good beating, 



ATTACK ON THE CAMP 187 

and tore half of his beard out ; he showed me afterwards 
with a bunch of withered grass what it looked like ! 
I slept in my clothes that night, for I did not know 
what threats the men might have uttered when they 
were being driven off and I wanted to be ready for all 
emergencies ; but I slept soundly, for I knew Batta would 
make a noise almost sufficient to wake the dead if any 
intruders came, and would nearly tear them to pieces, 
for he was a savage creature and had already bitten 
at least one person who he thought had no right to 
come into the camp. I was extremely surprised at this 
day's incident, for all the people I had seen and spoken 
to hitherto seemed to be very friendly and amiable, 
and gave me smiling greetings; it gave me a queer 
feeling to think I had been entirely alone among them 
for all those hours the previous evening, but I am sure 
their conduct this day was entirely due to ignorance 
of the position a European woman takes, for I am the 
first mem sahib to camp alone at this village. Miss 
Kendall passed through it without stopping, and the other 
two ladies who were here were the wife and sister of 
the Accountant-General of Kashmir, whom they were 
accompanying on his official tour through the country. 
The lumbardar of a neighbouring village supplied me 
with the food I wanted, besides two riding-ponies, three 
zhos, 1 and a number of coolies, when I left next morning 
to go to the camp at the foot of the Chorbat La. He 
had promised everything without looking at the perwanah, 
having heard of the combat and being only too glad to 
be rid of such a firebrand as the Pathan. A troop of 
coolies whom we did not require said they were going our 

1 A zho is a cross between a yak and a common cow, and is a good pack 
animal. 



188 WESTERN TIBET 

way and would accompany us, so we went off with flying 
colours and a strong escort of the very villagers who 
had attacked us, and who were as good as gold all the 
way to the next village, Puyan, three days' march off, 
where I dismissed them. The funny thing about many 
Asiatics is that directly you show fight when they try 
to impose on you they turn round and become your 
sworn friends instead of feeling any resentment. 

It would have been very awkward not to get supplies 
at Goma Hanu, for we had to take everything except 
wood and water to Puyan on the Shayok River, on the 
other side of the Chorbat La; but it gave such a dis- 
tinctly old-world flavour of adventure to my journey to 
have my camp attacked by that ancient people, the 
Scythians, that I am afraid I am rather proud of it. 



CHAPTEE XVIII. 

FKOM GOMA HANU TO KHAPALLU OVER THE 
CHORBAT LA. 

The change of scenery in the Hanu nullah was as sur- 
prising as the change in the dress and manners of the 
people, considering that we had only come about 23 
miles from Skirbichan. The bare and savage grandeur 
of the mountains in the Indus valley and the lower part 
of the Hanu gorge gradually gave way to softer 
scenes, the slopes were gentler and covered with patches 
of herbage in many places, wild rose-bushes were in 
abundance, still covered with deep red and pink blooms, 
though they were over long ago on lower ground, and 
the fields and water-courses were lined with the most 
exquisite wild flowers. I gathered fifteen different kinds 
in the space of a few square yards in the little bagh 
my tent was pitched in at Goma Hanu, while up close 
to the pass the mountain side, 13,000 or 14,000 feet 
above the sea, was covered with a great variety of them, 
many new to me ; but among those familiar were forget- 
me-nots of the richest blue, pink, and lilac asters, mauve 
crane's-bill, meadow orchis, star of Bethlehem, a small 
yellow ranunculus and a small edelweiss. 

The Hanu men wear dark cloth caps shaped like a 



190 WESTERN TIBET 

jelly-bag, but square instead of pointed, the flap hanging 
down to the nape of the neck, and they all pin bunches 
of brilliant-coloured flowers on the front or side of them, 
marigolds, the sacred flower of the Hindu, being the 
favourite adornment. My ponyman had three poppies 
neatly arranged on the front of his cap. When we 
were on the way up the nullah a woman came hurrying 
from some huts with a bowl of milk for him. She too 
had her cap trimmed with flowers, wore a necklace 
of coloured beads, and had large round brass ornaments, 
looking like Scotch highland brooches, fastening her cloak 
on the shoulders, and bunches of cowries hung from her 
waist. She was a picturesque figure, but looked rather 
comical with patches of soot on her face, to match the 
men, no doubt, who are just like her in that respect. 

In order to cross the Chorbat La early in the morning 
before the snow had melted, I camped close to it, 
making a short march of 10 miles from Goma Hanu, 
but the road was so steep and rough and the ponies 
were so slow that we took three and a half hours to do 
it. The two riding-ponies we took from Hanu to Puyan 
were very small and thin, and my saddle, though padded 
with two blankets, was too large for either of them; 
it was continually slipping when the pony jerked itself 
over high boulders, and twice I was hung up on the 
pommel and had to be lifted off. At last I exchanged 
with Aziz Khan and rode cross-saddle so comfortably 
that I felt I should never want to use a side-saddle 
again in going uphill on very rough ground. In going 
downhill, however, the latter is safer, as the pommel pre- 
vents one shooting over the pony's head, which I very 
nearly did once or twice on the following day. 

Less than a quarter of a mile from the camping-ground 




Hanu "Women. 



By Miss Christie. 




The Hanu Nullah. Men from the Village. 



To face 2>agc 190. 



FROM GOMA HANU TO KHAPALLU 191 

five nice-looking ponies were grazing on the road-side; 
they followed mine and had to be chased away, but 
still kept very near us. During the night one of them 
was killed and eaten by some wild animal, either a 
snow-leopard or a jungle-dog. My ponies and zhos had 
been tied up in an enclosed place beside the tents for 
safety. 

Though it was quite cold at this spot even in the 
afternoon on the 2nd of August, and the altitude was 
15,000 feet, the ground was covered with a profusion 
of wild flowers. 

The next morning when we started for the Pass at 6.30 
it was very fine and sunny, but the sky soon became over- 
cast and continued so, which was fortunate, as it prevented 
the snow melting. A few patches of it lay in sheltered 
hollows, and beside one high on the mountain side a herd 
of ibex was feeding ; they would return to still higher 
ground by eight o'clock. In the distance there was occa- 
sionally the roar of an avalanche of stones loosened by the 
wind. The first part of the way led by a very steep ascent 
up a low hill, the zhos, which had gone on in front, looking 
almost as if they were directly above my head as they 
stopped to take breath on the top ; from here a level but 
rough track led to the bottom of the pass. The Chorbat 
La is quite unlike the Zoji La and the Chang La, which 
have level valleys at the top; but here there is a wall of 
soft soil, several hundred feet high, between two mountains, 
which approach to within a quarter of a mile of each other. 
The wall forms a partition between the valley on the south 
side and that on the north; the path zigzags steeply up the 
crumbling southern face, the ponies having to stop every 
three yards to recover their breath, as the rarity of the air 
at this height, 16,696 feet, added greatly to their labour. 



192 WESTERN TIBET 

From the summit the ground falls away as quickly to the 
north, leaving only a level knife-like ridge running from one 
to the other of the two mountains it connects. I walked 
along it backwards and forwards for a few minutes, but it 
made me feel rather giddy and very thankful there was no 
wind just then, for there was not a rock or a stone on 
it to cling to for shelter or support, and one might easily be 
blown sheer down into the valley below. On the north 
side a snow-field began abruptly two feet below its edge, 
and extended far beyond and above it where the mountains 
rise on each side. The contrast between the summer aspect 
on one side of the pass and the look of winter on the other, 
where range after range of mountains, streaked and topped 
with snow, stretched as far as the eye could see, was 
very striking. 

Our road lay for only half a mile across the snow which 
was quite hard, thanks to the want of sunshine, except in 
one or two spots, where I sank up to the knees, and I 
walked over it in less than twenty minutes. It was a 
rough descent to the stream at the bottom of the valley, 
which was reached at 9.30, three hours after striking the 
tents. 

The worst part of the march began now, over boulders 
and across water for two hours, with only a few yards 
here and there of the semblance of a path, and when I got 
down at last and tried to walk, my knees were so stiff witli 
bracing myself in my stirrups that I floundered about as if 
I were tipsy. Once when the pony was going down a very 
bad bit, I was in the act of taking a header over his ears 
when Aziz Khan caught me and pulled me back in the 
saddle, and I verily believe if I had fallen it would have 
been the end of me, and then the Cassandra I met at Leh 
would have had a melancholy satisfaction, on hearing the 



FROM GOMA HANU TO KHAPALLU 193 

news, that the prophecy that this trip would probably be 
my death had come true. I was very glad at the end of 
five hours' travelling to reach the camping-ground at 
Changa, a level meadow beside the stream which had been 
brawling and obstructive on our course hitherto, but here 
flowed placidly by many channels among the little flat 
grassy islands into which it had cut the edges of its banks. 
A herd of black cattle was grazing near it, belonging to two 
well-dressed Baltis with blankets thrown round their 
shoulders over their coats, instead of the greasy goatskins 
which the Ladakhis wear ; their black glossy hair curled in 
a short fringe from under their neatly rolled pagris. There 
had been an outbreak of disease among the cattle of Bal* 
tistan, in which most of the animals died, and these men 
had been to Leh to buy fresh stock. 

The guide-books say it is twelve miles to Puyan from 
Changa and that it takes seven hours, so I thought the 
road must be frightfully bad and was surprised to find the 
first ten miles excellent. Some mending had been done 
when the Accountant- General was expected and I got the 
benefit of it, as I did when I followed the Commissioner up 
to Leh from Srinagar. " Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make his paths straight," is a thoroughly oriental injunc- 
tion, for it is not till some great personage is coming that 
repairs and improvements are made, and very often under 
native management all is allowed to go to wrack and ruin 
afterwards till the next distinguished man's visit is 
announced, 

The twelve miles lengthened out into fifteen, and the 
last five were very bad in parts, flights of steps forming the 
path in some places, very steep and rough, and trying 
to both pony and rider, and oh, horror ! landslips leaving a 
track only six inches wide in the sloping shale, and with a 



194 WESTERN TIBET 

foaming river far below. I made Aziz Khan walk in front 
of me over an awful bridge, while I clung to the waistband 
of his jacket so that I could not see anything but the poles 
under my feet. 

Puyan (or Paxfain, as it is spelt on some maps) is a 
comfortable-looking village on the Shayok river, at the 
point where the stream, coming down the Chorbat nullah, 
falls into it. The Shayok rises more than 200 miles off in 
the Karakoram (or Mustagh) Mountains, not far from the 
borders of Yarkand, and joins the Indus opposite Kiris, 
after a further course of between 60 and 70 miles. We 
left Ladakh and Buddhism on the other side of the 
Chorbat La, and were now in Mohammedan Baltistan, 
where the people are different looking, not at all Mongolian 
in face, and not dressed in the same way. The old 
lumbardar at Puyan was a quaint figure in a light-coloured 
woollen choga and a small felt cap ; long black ringlets fell 
on each side of his face, and a strip of his hair, from the 
forehead to the nape of the neck, was cut close to the skull, 
according to the fashion here. He received me at the 
bagh, having seen my approach from afar, promised all 
supplies (which were sent immediately) and brought me a 
basket of peaches, with a bunch of marigolds and sun- 
flowers stuck in the middle. Then a tiny girl brought a 
basket of apricots, and squatted down close to me awaiting 
events in the shape of "paisa" (coppers); she had no 
clothes on to speak of, but across the front of her cap a few 
beads were strung, with a silver two anna bit as centre 
ornament, the first beginning of her dowry, no doubt. A 
boy came with more apricots, very kindly meant but some- 
what unnecessary, as apricots were falling from the trees 
all round. A dish of mulberries was sent in the evening, 
larger than the Kashmir kind, but not so sweet. The 



FROM GOMA HANU TO KHAPALLU 195 

people here live greatly on fruit, and there were quantities 
of apricots drying on the rocks and the roofs of the houses. 
A large part of the male population came to the bagh to 
look at the new arrival, and I filled up the time till the 
baggage came in by taking photographs. Some of the 
men moved away when they saw the camera, but two, 
whom I asked to stand for me, did so very cheerfully as if 
they took it as an honour to be chosen. A little girl with a 
few tatters hanging about her, and a very small baby tied 
on her back, flew across the bagh, and there was something 
so attractive about the slender figure that I sent Aziz 
Khan, who had not noticed her, to bring her to be photo- 
graphed. "A lady?" he asked. "No, a little girl, very 
ragged, with a baby on her back." " Ladies here ten years 
old have children ; very bad, very bad," he said as he went 
away. In a few minutes he came back to say she would 
not come. This was probably a poor little victim of 
polygamy, and it seems to me that polyandry is a less evil, 
for the polyandrous woman does not marry till she attains 
years of maturity, and she has a good deal of control over 
her own destiny. The Baltis are much poorer than the 
Ladakhis ; the amount of land capable of cultivation by 
both races is limited by the means of irrigation, though in 
Baltistan, owing to a lower altitude and a slightly moister 
climate, it is rather greater than in Ladakh, but the 
Mohammedan religion encourages polygamy, and though 
the Baltis may be unable to afford to practise it as a rule, 
yet the very early age at which the girls are married tends 
to over-increase the population, while there is no monastic 
system to help to keep it down. One evidence of the 
difference between polyandry and polygamy is that while 
in Ladakh it is very rare to see a woman in rags, the 
reverse is the case in Baltistan, 



196 WESTERN TIBET 

It was very hot till the sun disappeared behind the 
mountains soon after five; what a change since the 
morning ! When I was breakfasting at six o'clock outside 
my tent the ground was white with hoar-frost, and my 
fingers were quite numb, and poor Ramzana, who sleeps on 
the ground under the outer fly, to ward off the visits of 
jungle-dogs, etc., was nearly frozen. The scenery had 
changed too and resumed all its former sternness. The 
Alpine plants, which were very numerous at Changa, 
gradually disappeared as we left the Chorbat La behind ; a 
lovely pink and white larkspur had enlivened a part of 
the way, but here the ground was as bare as in the 
Indus valley. 

I heard the grinding of a mill-wheel, and went to look at 
it, as I had never seen a mill at work, though I had passed 
many. The mill-house consisted of two tiny low-roofed 
rooms, the inner one being built on the top of the walled 
enclosure, in which the wheel was suspended, with the 
water running over it. In this inner room a basket 
narrowing towards the bottom, in which a spout was 
fastened, hung from the ceiling over the grindstone, which 
revolved horizontally close to the floor, and a woman 
regulated the flow of barley from the basket into the hole 
in the grindstone by putting her hand over the spout ; the 
flour spread out over the floor, and she swept it up into a 
dish. Four women were sitting in the outer room, one of 
them with a baby in her arms, which she was feeding with 
some of the raw flour, and then she got some water, mixed 
it with the flour and drank it. They don't trouble much 
about cooking in these parts. The women made room 
for me to sit down on the floor, and were very friendly. 

The next morning I went to look at what the guide- 
book calls a fortified mosque, and after a rough scramble 



FROM GOMA HANU TO KHAPALLU 197 

and walk across a nerve- shaking bridge, made of three 
poplar poles and some boulders, beheld merely a little 
square, new-looking building with a veranda in front on 
the top of a high rock, on which there were some frag- 
ments of the walls of an old fort. I was back by nine 
o'clock and even then it was very hot. Soon afterwards 
I was sitting outside the tent mending stockings (which 
suffer sadly on these rough roads), when two men 
jumped over the wall and squatted in front of me; one 
of them showed me some pimples on his cheek, and the 
other asked in Hindustani for some medicine for him. 
Cockle's pills seemed to be the most suitable remedy and 
I gave him two. He made signs to know if he was to rub 
the spots with them, but I opened my mouth wide and 
pointed to it, and then to the pills and to his mouth, and he 
swallowed them and went away. Another man immedi- 
ately took his place, an ear-patient this time, but whether 
the complaint was deafness or ear-ache I could not make 
out; bathing the ear with very hot water was what I 
advised, and I showed him with a stocking how to do 
it and told him to follow the prescription three times a 
day, at six o'clock, twelve o'clock, and again at six. 
" Twelve o'clock ? " he said, and pointed up to the sun, 
and as I thought it might be somewhere about noon I 
nodded, and he departed to his own house. I never knew 
the time exactly without a fatiguing amount of calculation, 
for I had an eccentric bracelet watch which I bought for 
ten rupees in Srinagar, as I did not want to bring my 
gold one on this trip. The new watch was guaranteed 
for two years, and for two weeks did excellently; but at 
the end of that time the long hand got loose, caught the 
short hand in its embraces and stopped it, leaving the 
seconds hand to whisk busily round, but this, though 



198 WESTERN TIBET 

useful in photography, does not give much help in telling 
the hour. By vigorous shaking, the long hand was 
induced to leave the short hand alone, and took refuge 
under the edge of the case, where it remained out of 
mischief ever after. The little knob for winding came 
off next, so I put it carefully in the inner pocket of my 
purse — and lost it. Now, I thought, the watch is done 
for, but not a bit of it; I had brought a watch-key 
which happened to fit the hole where the knob had been, 
so on it went merrily, but in the meantime it had con- 
tracted a habit of stopping for a rest and then going on 
in an hour or so, or else gaining as much in a day, 
which made me think my servant very unpunctual when 
I told him to call me at five and he didn't come till 
nearly six by it. One night I gave it its usual sixteen 
turns, and found the next morning that it had only gone 
for half an hour. I was sure I remembered winding it, 
but perhaps had not done it enough, so I turned and 
turned — a hundred and ten times without coming to the 
stop, and then tired of the business; this time it went 
for three hours. After that I wore the watch-key on a 
chain round my neck with my other keys, and every 
time I looked at the watch gave it a wind. Now that 
the knob was lost I could not set it, and it requires such 
a lot of calculation to know what o'clock it is, if you 
have to deduct four hours and twenty minutes from the 
right time, or to add three hours and ten minutes to it, 
and to remember whether it was yesterday or this 
morning that it was fast or slow, and I never was any 
good at arithmetic. But in this dear country, innocent 
of trains and engagements, the clock is a very unimportant 
piece of goods. 

A tamasha was got up for my benefit in the bagh, and 



FROM GOMA HANU TO KHAPALLU 199 

when all was ready I went out and sat in my arm-chair 
with a semicircle of a score of men sitting on their heels 
facing me ; the orchestra consisted of a clarinet, a pair 
of kettle-drums and a big drum, and to their music two 
or three men solemnly danced, the steps being principally 
standing on one foot and showing the sole of the other; 
no women admitted, but a row of them stood looking on 
over a wall. Soon afterwards we all adjourned to the 
polo ground, where I was conducted to a seat on the 
grand stand (the top of a wall), with a crowd of men on 
my left and of women on my right, all seated at a 
respectful distance. My fame as a medical practitioner 
had preceded me, for as soon as I took my place a boy 
asked for medicine for his mother; no symptoms were 
mentioned, but I thought it safer to have some idea of 
the complaint before prescribing. After enquiry, Aziz 
Khan told me it was eating eight pounds of apricots a 
day. I promised the anxious son something for the 
patient if he would come to the bagh afterwards, and 
advised him to give her barley boiled in milk in the 
meantime ; I suppose he thought that was the prescription 
for he did not appear again. The polo went on merrily, 
four on a side, much better played than at Leh ; the 
winners drew up their ponies in a row facing the orches- 
tra and bobbed their sticks up and down in time to the 
music, uttering cries of triumph ; they then wheeled round, 
galloped to where I was standing and dismounted, and 
I, through Aziz Khan, made them a little speech congra- 
tulating them. There was the usual cry for backshish, 
which was promised to them, and a demand for medicine 
from one of the competitors who had been thrown from 
his pony and exhibited his scratched and bleeding face. 
I told him to wash it well with warm water, such an 



200 WESTERN TIBET 

unheard-of application for the skin in this country that 
its very novelty made it at once acceptable. All the 
people then asked for medicine without describing any 
symptoms {they are of no consequence), and I heard 
Aziz Khan say that the Miss Sahib was not a doctor, 
and that they must go to the hospital at Skardo. 

The people here are Shiahs, a kind of unorthodox 
Mussulman sect, much despised by the stricter order, for 
Mohammedans rival Christians in their hatred of each 
other when they differ on religious matters. Aziz Khan 
told the women (who do not wear veils) that it was very 
bad of them, Mussulmans as they were, to come to the 
polo match, that in Astor, Gilgit, and Hunza if the ladies 
went to the bazaar or to polo "they would have their 
heads cut off, same as the Pathans." "But," I remon- 
strated, " you wouldn't cut your wife's head off if she went 
to the bazaar." "She doesn't go to the bazaar." "But 
if she did go, you wouldn't do it," I persisted. " Yes, I 
would," he said, looking very fierce. " But look at English 
mem-sahibs, they go to polo and to the bazaar." "Oh 
yes," he replied, " but they clean, they good clothes. That's 
another bandobast." This was not a convincing argument, 
for ladies of the zenana have often beautiful dresses and 
jewels, but it was merely a way of saying " autre pays, 
autres moeurs!' In Peshawur, Aziz Khan's native city, 
where women are kept in very strict seclusion, jealous 
husbands cut their wives' noses off to spoil their attractions. 
I saw two women there who had been mutilated in this 
way, and the American missionaries at Rawal Pindi told 
me they had four cases in their hospital at the time I was 
there. One of the mission ladies is very clever in making 
artificial noses, and to some extent can repair the damaged 
beauties. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

KHAPALLU. 

August 8th. It is two marches from Puyan to Khapallu, 
and as they were long and difficult and likely to be hot, 
I got up each morning at three o'clock and breakfasted 
under the stars, the moon in her last quarter shining 
brightly through the trees. In the fresh, cool air, when 
the sun gilded the mountain tops and the silvery light 
of dawn lay in the valleys, softening the harsh outlines 
and stony bareness, and giving an almost unearthly beauty 
to the scene, the morning rides were delightful beyond 
description. The road from Puyan followed the sands 
of the river at first, but soon climbed a cliff, and here and 
there was laid on poplar poles projecting from its face and 
forming an erection, called a parao, no worse to walk 
along when it is well built than a path cut out of the 
rock, but rather awe-inspiring when out of repair. The 
poles are sometimes allowed to reach the last stage of 
rottenness before being renewed, and one here or there 
might easily break under a little extra weight, letting the 
traveller drop into the river, generally hundreds of feet 
below. A Tibetan would jump like a cat to save himself 
as the path crumbled under his feet, but a European, not 
being to the manner born, might find it awkward. It is 
of course out of the question to ride along a parao, and 



202 WESTERN TIBET 

one was so bad, steep and narrow, about three feet wide, 
and ending in rough broken steps, that the riding ponies 
had to be steadied by two men to get them over safely, 
and required a good deal of urging to make them face it 
at all, accustomed as they are to bad roads. No laden 
ponies ever come this way, and the tents and baggage had 
to be carried by coolies. During the winter and on to 
April and early May the river Shayok, which we followed 
all the way from Puyan to Khapallu, is so much shrunken 
in its bed that there is plenty of space to march between 
it and the foot of the cliffs ; but this is not possible after 
the snows melt, and We had sometimes to climb up 1000 
to 2000 feet to avoid it, and get behind the precipices 
which hem it in. It was a pleasant variety to wind in 
and out through the shady orchards and barley fields of 
several large villages down near the river, each with its 
well-kept polo ground, for during those two days the road 
was the worst, on the whole, that I had yet travelled over. 
On the top of one very high place we heard the coolies 
chanting far below as they climbed, each carrying 60 or 
70 lbs. weight on their backs, though I was glad of the 
help of two men, one dragging me up at the end of a 
stick, and the other hoisting me by the arm. 

I intended to stop at Dau, the first stage from Puyan, 
but the little bagh there was so unbearably foul and 
evil-smelling that I pushed on to the next village, Lankha, 
much to the delight of the coolies who were coming on 
to Khapallu with me, as this made a much better division 
of the marches for them. At Lankha I camped in a nice 
clean little terraced field shaded with apricot trees, high 
above the river, and with a clear stream foaming past. 
The villagers hurried out to look at me, and lined the walls 
with heads ; Aziz Khan used always to chase them away, 



KHAPALLU 203 

but I told him that if it was any entertainment to them 
to watch the European woman eating her bit of mutton 
or drinking her tea they were welcome to it, and I was 
interested in seeing them. The usual presents of apricots 
were brought, but Batta had the most of them, as neither 
my men nor I could eat many with impunity. Some 
travellers eat as many as 200 in a day, picking them from 
the trees as they pass. 

The new road from Lankha to Khapallu avoids the 
village of Sirmu which the old route passed through, and 
crosses a high cultivated plateau behind it, cutting off a 
long corner ; here, some miles back from the river and a 
thousand feet or more above it, a great many boulders 
were scattered about with rounded water-worn holes in 
them, some the size of a tennis-ball, others large enough 
for a man to sit in : these holes were almost invariably 
in the sides of the stones, rarely on the top. In the 
cliffs of the Indus and Shayok they are seen in process 
of formation by the swirling of the current against them. 
There are many cairns on the rocks here and all along 
the Shayok, but the Baltis do not crown them with 
boughs and prayer-flags as the Ladakhis do, though 
they probably did so when they were Buddhists centuries 
ago. 

As we neared Khapallu the scenery became more and 
more magnificent, a wonderful range of needle peaks 
touched with snow came in sight, and a triple-pointed 
mountain, white as low as it could be seen, closed in the 
nullah (noted for its ibex), where the united Hushe and 
Saltor streams run down to the other side of the Shayok 
from the great Mustagh or Karakoram mountains. From 
the plateau there was an easy descent of three miles by 
a broad, sandy road to Khapallu, a cluster of villages 



204 WESTERN TIBET 

nestling in orchards, stretching along the riverside and 
up two nullahs, and scattered in hamlets on the opposite 
bank, and we soon reached the camping-place in a 
pretty bagh, clean, sweet, and shady. I was sitting wait- 
ing for the tents when I was told a sahib said salaam, 
and immediately he came and introduced himself. I 
had passed his camp at Lankha, and he had heard when 
he left Leh a week before that I was on the road in 
front of him. He was the only European I had seen 
since leaving Khalatse nearly a fortnight before. On 
comparing notes of the journey over the Chorbat La I 
told him of the fight at Goma Hanu, which surprised 
him very much, as it is unheard of in these parts to 
meet with incivility in the villages; but he said the 
Goma Hanu people are very jungly and notorious thieves, 
and that as I was the first woman to camp there alone 
they would not understand the situation. He said that 
my best plan would have been to write a letter describing 
all that had passed, give it to the pack coolies who were 
paid off there, and tell them it was a chit which they 
were to give to the first sahib they met on their way 
back to Skirbichan. He added that I must of course 
make- a complaint to the Commissioner and the Wazir 
Wazarat at Leh. He was on his way to the Hushe nullah 
and would have to cross the river on the zak or goatskin 
raft, which is the only ferry here. 

Courage, skill, and endurance are required by a sports- 
man in this country. If he wants to get his ibex he 
must first find out the place where they feed between 
4 and 8 a.m. ; then he must start at 2 a.m. next 
day to be above the ground before they arrive there, 
climbing among rocks on the sides of precipices and along 
the face of cliffs where he has to cling by his finger-tips 



KHAPALLU 205 

to any chance projection, or passing on goat tracks over 
treacherous slopes of shale, taking care not to let the 
game have sight or scent of him ; and he may have to 
repeat this for several days before having a chance of a 
shot. Think of it, ye gentlemen of England who live 
at home at ease, and perhaps go out at 10 o'clock to 
shoot a few hand-fed pheasants, which will hardly rise 
without having stones thrown at them, and you call that 
sport ! A real sportsman told me that, when on an expedi- 
tion high above the snow line (18,000 feet in this country), 
his shikari would not allow a fire to be lighted for three 
days for fear of frightening the game, and during that 
time he had no hot food, not even a cup of tea or cocoa ; 
the bread and biscuits had run out, and he had nothing 
but cold meat to live on. 

The day I arrived at Khapallu (pronounced Kup'-a-loo), 
a crowd of women gathered round the tent and seated 
themselves on some poplar logs to discuss in low tones 
what they saw ; many of them were very pretty, as may 
be judged from the photograph, which however does not 
do justice to the colouring of the group. The poorer 
wear dingy white woollen clothing, but the well-to-do 
have purple, blue, yellow, or green coats of cashmere 
reaching to the knees; silk or cotton pyjamas to the 
ankle, tight and wrinkled, of some other bright colour 
striped with white, and a veil or sheet (chuddah) con- 
trasting with both, thrown round the shoulders or folded 
on the head to protect it from the sun; in this clear air 
and brilliant light the mixture of colours looks gay, never 
gaudy. They set off their good looks with the wreaths 
and coronets and cluster of flowers they fasten on their 
little felt caps. The women dress their hair as the 
Kashmiris and Ladakhis do, parted down the middle and 



206 WESTERN TIBET 

plaited in a dozen or more tails lengthened with black 
worsted to reach nearly to the knees at the back, where 
they are caught together with a black worsted tassel 
sometimes ornamented with gilt cord. No bangles or 
anklets are worn; the bare feet are thrust into leather 
or embroidered slippers for outdoor wear only. Both 
men and women wear a good many silver rings set with 
a single turquoise or cornelian, and as often as not these 
are strung on a cord fastened on the breast of the coat, 
especially if the wearer is at , ( work. An embroidered 
purse is also fastened in this position by the women, 
who wear in addition silver amulet cases set with tur- 
quoises and cornelians sewn on the cap or hung round 
the neck, and necklaces made of lumps or beads of these 
stones. They often stain their nails and the palms of their 
hands with henna, which I never saw done in Ladakh. 

The men are dressed in white, with a piece of drapery 
under the right arm and thrown over the left shoulder, 
and white skull-caps, sometimes with a bunch of flowers 
tucked under the edge, their black hair hanging in waving 
locks. When they glided across the bagh among the 
golden sheaves, or sat in groups under the trees, it looked 
like a scene in an opera or a pastoral play. 

When my camera was produced a winsome young 
mother with her baby on her lap shut her eyes tight, 
calmly determined to face her fate, but unwilling to see 
what was going to happen. There may be the same 
fear of the evil eye here that there is in Bethlehem, 
where a native of that town told me it was believed 
that anyone who was photographed would go blind. He 
shared in the belief himself till he was compelled, to his 
great terror, to have his portrait taken at the Chicago 
Exhibition (where he was in charge of the Bethlehem 




Khapai lu Women. 



By the Anthnr. 




Sultan Bi ani> the Chowkidar. 



To face iMgv '1W\. 



KHAPALLU 207 

stall), and found that no evil effects followed. In Southern 
India a member of a shooting party photographed an old 
woman who came to the camp, and when she got home 
her goat had died. The villagers at once declared that 
it was a case of the evil eye, and would give no supplies 
to the shooters, who had to leave the place. 

But to return to Khapallu. A young woman tried to 
have a little conversation with me in Urdu, and I saw 
a good deal of her afterwards. She was an ayah of the 
little Rani's, Sultan Bi (Madam Sultan) by name. I gave 
her a very old, very much patched and mended, pair of 
riding-gloves, and showed her how to put them on. It 
was funny to see her glee as she waved her hands, 
bending her fingers as if she were playing castanets, and 
making signs that she would eat her dinner in them. 
She was pretty, and gaily dressed in green pyjamas, a 
dim purple coat with very long sleeves, wrinkled above 
the wrist and with an opening at the elbow to thrust 
the hands through when working or washing, leaving 
the spare piece to hang down; a bright yellow chuddah 
over her shoulders, and a felt skull-cap trimmed with 
poppies on her shining and neatly plaited black hair, 
with her keys tied to her hair tassel. She wore a small 
silver nose-ornament like a button, which she gave me 
in exchange for the gloves. She often used to come, 
carrying a two-year-old rajah in her arms, whom she 
taught to say " salaam, mem sahib " ; but he could only 
muster up courage to do so when my back was turned. 



CHAPTER XX. 

LIFE IN KHAPALLU. 

The camping-bagh at Khapallu, 200 yards long and 30 
yards wide, is one of a series of irrigated terraces stretch- 
ing from the hillside down to the river Shayok, a mile 
and a half off. It is bordered by poplars, and one half 
of it is laid out in grass, the other in barley, now nearly 
ripe. In the middle is an apricot orchard, and my tent 
was pitched in its shade. The road runs along one side 
a few feet above it on a terrace, and on the other side 
there is a footpath to a pretty house at the far end, 
where the "little Rani" lived, the junior wife of the 
Rajah Mohammed Sher Ali Khan, uncle, stepfather, and 
guardian of the ruling rajah — a Hamlet-like relationship. 

The relationships in this family are rather complicated, 
and it was a long time before I understood them — if I 
do so now. The late Rajah Hatim Khan (father of the 
present Rajah Nasir Ali Khan, a youth of eighteen) lived 
in Jammu for some years, and married there a woman 
of much inferior rank. By her he had two sons, Rajah 
Spindia and another, but they could not succeed to the 
family possessions as their mother was not of the rajah 
class. They were both elderly men when I saw them 
in Khapallu. When Hatim was very old he married a 
sister of the Rajah of Skardo, now known as the big 




By the Author. 

The Rajah Is a sir Ai.i Khan of Khapallu, Brothers and Attendants. 




The Rajah Mohammed Sher Alt Khan ok Khapallu. 



To face page 208. 



LIFE IN KHAPALLU 209 

Rani, and had a daughter and one son, the aforesaid 
Nasir Ali Khan. Hatim died when this boy was very 
young, and the principal men of Khapallu requested 
Mohammed Sher Ali Khan, brother of the late Rajah, to 
many the widow, the "big Rani," and thus qualify 
himself to act as guardian to his nephew. This he did 
a year after his brother's death, though he had married 
two years previously the daughter of the Rajah of Shigar, 
the "little Rani," who had now to sink into the place of 
second wife. She had one child, a very pretty boy two 
years old, Sultan Bi's nursling. The big Rani has had 
by this second marriage one daughter and three sons. 
They are the handsome boys with rather girlish faces 
standing in the photograph beside their step-brother, 
Rajah Nasir Ali Khan, who is not quite so refined-looking 
as they are. The Rajah Mohammed Sher Ali Khan was 
in Srinagar at this time on State business, and came to 
see me when I returned there in the following autumn. 
Poor man, his eyes filled at the sight of the photograph 
of his boys, whom he had not seen for two years, while 
the youngest of all, the little Rani's son, had been born 
since he left home, and I, most unfortunately, had not 
taken his portrait. 

Drew remarks that the Balti rajah and wazir class are 
better looking than the ordinary Baltis and have a different 
cast of face ; this is observable in the accompanying photo- 
graphs in which the rajahs may easily be distinguished from 
their attendants. They claim descent from Alexander the 
Great (called Sikander in the East). General Cunningham 
says that in 1830 the Rajah Daolut Ali Khan gave him 
the names of 67 of his ancestors who had succeeded each 
other down to that date. The Baltis value good blood 

and pay great respect to those who have it. 

o 



210 WESTERN TIBET 

The big Rani was not a favourite with the villagers, who 
said she was like a "bazaar lady," — the equivalent for 
" Billingsgate fishwoman " or " dame des Holies," but they 
spoke very highly of the little Rani. Neither of these 
ladies ever went outside her own door, in daylight at 
least, though it was whispered that they sometimes put on 
old clothes and slipped out to the village tamashas which 
were held at midnight twice a week in the summer. I was 
not admitted to see them, as their husband was in Srinagar, 
and no one else could give the necessary permission. I was 
told that the wives and married daughters of the rajahs in 
Baltistan are not allowed to see father, mother, brother, or 
sister, to whom they are practically dead as soon as they 
go to their new homes; a more strict seclusion than is 
practised among Mohammedans in India, where a woman 
may receive the members, male and female, of her own 
family, but may not eat with any man, not even her 
husband. 

The moulvie (Mohammedan priest or mullah, as he is called 
in India) went three times a day to recite prayers to the 
little Rani, whose only other occupation or amusement was 
smoking her hookah and doing beautiful embroidery, for 
which she drew her own patterns. The big Rani made her 
an allowance of food and clothes for herself and her child, 
2 lbs. of flour a day, two sheep and six chickens a month, 
and 100 rupees (£6 13s. 4d.) a year for dress. The young 
Rajah Nasir Ali Khan went to see her nearly every day, 
which his mother forbade, so as he had to pass my tent on 
his way he told her, while I was in the village, that he came 
to see me ! What excuse would he have after I went? 

On that first afternoon as I was talking to Sultan Bi 
I saw through the trees a crowd of white figures approaching 
along the road ; she said it was the Rajah coming to see me, 



LIFE IN KHAPALLU 211 

and she and the other women at once disappeared. The 
Eajah Nasir Ali Khan, accompanied by several brothers, 
old and young, a dozen servants and about thirty villagers, 
came to the tent, where he and I had chairs outside, all 
the others squatting round us on their heels with their 
knees up to their chins and long white sheets drawn round 
them, looking exactly like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves 
popping their heads up out of the jars. Before sitting 
down the Eajah held out his hand to me with five rupees 
in it. " What am I to do with this ? " said I to Aziz Khan. 
" Touch it and say salaam," he replied. It was the usual 
dali, or offering to a visitor, and is not intended to be 
accepted. 

This unenterprising young man had never been to 
Srinagar nor even to Skardo, less than 70 miles off, the 
capital of Baltistan, though a great many of his villagers 
had been in India ; he did get an Urdu newspaper and 
could tell me a little about the expedition to Lhasa, and 
had heard of the war between Russia and Japan. The 
Baltis are of Tibetan origin and speech, but they have been 
Mohammedans for centuries and care nothing about the 
Lamas. In reply to a question, he said there were no 
remains of Buddhism, the ancient religion of the country, 
near Khapallu, but when I showed him a photograph of 
the Chamba carved in the rock at Maulbek, he and his 
brother, the Rajah Spindia, both told me that there was one 
like it at Sadpor, a few miles from Skardo. This was 
important information, for there was no mention of any such 
thing in the guide-books, and Mr. Francke had not heard of 
it or he would have called my attention to it when he 
asked me to look out for Buddhist remains in Baltistan. 

The Rajah's hookah was brought to him while we were 
talking ; it was of local manufacture, the part containing 



212 WESTERN TIBET 

the water being a piece of a yak's horn, 8 inches long, 
mounted in brass beautifully chased ; the brass chillam or 
cup to hold the fire was handsomely wrought, and a number 
of small iron chains were laid on the embers to prevent 
them from falling out. After he had taken a few puffs it 
was offered to Aziz Khan, who, however, does not smoke, 
and then to the attendants. Before going away he asked 
me to go to a polo match to be played two days afterwards. 
The women, who had scattered when the Rajah came, 
soon returned after he had gone; they sat watching me 
write for some time, and then one of them came close 
to me, and coughing, with fingers pressed on her chest, 
signified that she wanted a cure. " Hot water," I said, 
bahut, bahut garv/m pani, and then there was a perfect 
chorus of coughs all round. I had not any medicine 
for coughs, as it happened, and had only brought a very 
small stock of drugs in case any of my servants should 
be ill. I stayed on for a month at Khapallu, unwilling 
to tear myself away from the delightful place with its 
fine air, good water, grand scenery, and pleasant people; 
but I greatly regretted that I had not a large and well- 
stocked medicine chest, and some skill in using it, for 
scores of patients came every day for relief, and what 
could one do with a small bottle of castor oil, one box 
of Cockle's pills, and a few quinine and phenacetine 
tabloids? The nearest doctor, a native, was at Skardo, 
nearly 70 miles off, over roads that are often no roads, 
merely beds of water-courses or goat tracks, or lying 
along giddy precipices, or on the sandy banks of the 
river, where every step is a toil; imagine sick people 
having to undertake such a journey !. Aziz Khan was 
very good at making poultices and prescribing such 
simple remedies as hot water inwardly and outwardly, 



LIFE IN KHAPALLU 213 

and tea for bathing the eyes; he put a gelatine poultice, 
a thing I had never heard of, on a woman's chest, and 
his skill surprised me till he said he had been servant 
to a doctor in Peshawur Hospital for three years, and 
had had some of the mild cases handed over to him for 
treatment. A good many people with sores came to the 
camp, but he never allowed any very bad ones to be 
shown to me. There were a good many cases of cataract 
and goitre, amongst the women especially, but the most 
numerous complaints were inflamed eyes from want of 
washing, and indigestion from eating too many apricots, 
the principal food at this season; hot water was pre- 
scribed for these so often that at last it came to be quite 
a joke with the villagers. It was a great joy to them 
when they were allowed to have a pill or a dose of 
castor oil, and envious were the looks of those not so 
favoured. 

A man came one day carrying his little daughter on 
his back; she had had small-pox the previous year and 
had gone blind. He was most unwilling to believe the 
case was hopeless, and came a second time to ask if 
nothing could be done, if I did not think the doctor at 
Srinagar could cure her sight; but I felt it was useless 
to encourage the idea, and he went away very sorrow- 
ful. A poor child of five had been suffering from infantile 
paralysis for three years and had never walked ; I advised 
the father to take him to Srinagar Hospital which had 
an excellent surgeon, Dr. Neve, at its head, but he said 
he could not, and considering that the distance is nearly 
300 miles to be done on foot or by pony his reply was 
not surprising. A medical mission is greatly wanted 
here; the population of Khapallu is 5000, and there 
are many villages beyond its borders but within easy 



214 WESTERN TIBET 

reach which are equally badly off, so there would be 
plenty of patients, and it is a charming place for a 
missionary to live in. 

On the afternoon that the polo match was fixed for, 
as I was sitting enjoying the sunshine and sweet air, 
and waiting for a message from the Rajah to summon 
me when he was ready to begin the game, I heard some 
merry shouts, and on looking through the snowy trunks 
of the poplars in the direction they came from, saw a 
group of figures dancing in a circle, treading out the 
golden barley. The whole scene, the grey-green foliage, 
the silvery haze, the soft blue sky, the dancing figures, 
were like a picture of Corot's. I was in Arcadia here 
in this beautiful bagh with its vista of trees, the shadows 
flickering on the grass, the continual murmur of falling 
water, the flower-bedecked people sitting about, with 
the little children in their quaint caps playing round 
them. The apricots dropped, tap, tap, on my roof when 
breezes shook the boughs, and offerings of flowers were 
sent to me every day. It was perfect staging for 
Shakspeare's comedies, which I now made my daily 
reading. 

About half-past four when the shadows were lengthen- 
ing a messenger came to take me to the polo ground, 
about half a mile off, along a narrow lane winding through 
the village and then amongst fields and orchards. The 
ground, which is 300 yards long by 40 wide, is grassy 
and well kept, surrounded by fine trees in a frame of 
mountains. A wall of boulders, four or five feet high 
and three feet thick, forming a convenient sitting-place 
for spectators, runs along one side and one end, the other 
side and end being surmounted by a terrace on which 
there is a pavilion or grand stand. A stone pillar on 



LIFE IN KHAPALLU 215 

the long wall marked the middle of the ground. 
The band — three big drums, three pairs of kettle-drums, 
three clarinets, and a huge brass trumpet — was in the 
middle of the ground and greeted me with a loud blast, 
afterwards taking up its position on the end terrace. 
I was then conducted to the pavilion up a rough flight 
of steps of the usual oriental type, and had to be dragged 
up the first boulder, in ignominious contrast with my 
stately reception. Chairs were placed for me and the 
Rajah; his little brothers squatted beside me, and thirty 
or forty attendants sat on their heels round us. The 
walls were covered with men and boys, but not a single 
woman was to be seen; at the polo at Puyan, where 
there was no rajah to overawe them into the proprieties, 
there were a great many. The scenery in front of me 
was magnificent, the sun throwing his nearly level rays 
on the peaks of the sierra which bounds the valley. 

The hookah was handed round, and then the Rajah 
mounted his pony and began the game by throwing the 
ball in the air and striking it with his stick while at 
full gallop. There were four players on each side, who 
all started from the same end, a plan that perhaps explains 
why fatal accidents at polo are almost unknown in 
Baltistan. The sticks were of the same shape as hockey 
sticks, about three and a half feet long, roughly finished, 
the shafts not even straight in some, a few having a 
strip of cloth round the butt to improve the grip. The 
ball was sometimes sent from one end of the ground 
to the other in two strokes, and never once in any of 
the games I watched did I see a pony struck by a stick 
though the pace was tremendous, and it seemed often 
as if nothing could save the animals from dashing them- 
selves against the wall; but a safety-valve was provided 



216 WESTERN TIBET 

at each end in the shape of a road at the corner, up 
which they were turned if they could not stop themselves 
in time. The ponies, from twelve to thirteen hands high, 
were excellent, and seemed to enjoy and understand the 
game as much as their masters. There were a good 
many loose stones lying about, and an irrigation channel 
crossed the ground awkwardly, but there was no 
stumbling. 

The band played at the beginning of each game, and 
at the end of the match (which lasted fully an hour 
without change of ponies), the winners drew up in front 
of it, as at Puyan, all dismounting except the Rajah, 
who was one of them, and a triumphal air was played 
in which the long trumpet, which is only used on special 
occasions, took a part. This trumpet telescopes for 
convenience of carriage. 

When the music ceased the polo players came to the 
grand stand to be congratulated, and on my taking leave 
Aziz Khan gave the orchestra backshish, and told the 
Rajah I would send him a pagri from India, which I 
was afraid might not be taken in good part, though 
my servant assured me it was the proper thing to do. 
I need not have feared, for that evening the Rajah 
sent to ask for backshish for the polo teams, he him- 
self and his two elder brothers being amongst them ! 
Two messengers had come in succession; Aziz Khan 
dismissed the first one, but when the second appeared 
he came to me very angry, saving they were such jungly 
people, and that if I gave any money I should not send 
the pagri. The oriental mind is unfathomable to the 
European. Fancy an English gentleman getting up a 
cricket-match in honour of a foreign lady, and then asking 
her for a tip ! 



LIFE IN KHAPALLU 217 

Drew, in his Jwavmoo and Kashmir, p. 381, gives a 
long and minute account of polo, the national game of 
the Baltis, and its introduction by them into neighbouring 
states. In India it was played in the time of the Mogul 
Empire, but died out there, and survived only in Baltistan 
and Manipur; from the last-named country Englishmen 
in Calcutta first got the game and adopted the sticks 
used in it; they have modified it a good deal, not for 
the better in every respect, some people think. It is 
funny to hear Englishmen say, "But the natives play 
polo so queerly," quite ignoring the fact that the natives 
invented it centuries ago. Drew gives the translation 
by an anonymous correspondent of the Times, 12th June, 
1874, of a Latin description of polo in the History of the 
Reign of the Emperor Manuel Comnenus, which shows 
that it was played at Constantinople in the middle of 
the twelfth century, and was even then considered an old 
game, and was practised by the emperors themselves. 
The stick used is described as "terminating suddenly in 
a rounded space, the middle of which is filled up with 
catgut strings, fastened together in the manner of a net " ; 
it must have been something like the racquet used in 
lacrosse. 

There are three mosques in this part of Khapallu, 
with carved door and window frames and panels; the 
geometrical designs are fairly good, but the floral ones 
are poor, though they are carved in such bold relief 
that the general effect is handsome. One morning the 
lumbardar took me to a mosque, and as soon as I produced 
my drawing materials a crowd gathered in the narrow 
lane and squatted down as if they intended to spend 
the day there. It was rather distracting; the lumbardar 
officiously held my paper and counted the patterns for 



218 WESTERN TIBET 

me, babies squalled, a boy close behind me sniffed vigorously 
every five seconds, a hen as large as a pigeon cackled 
loud and persistently, out of all proportion to its size; 
now and then there was a yawn of portentous weariness 
as the minutes and quarters and half hours passed with- 
out any sign of the mem sahib stopping. At last the 
lumbardar tired of holding my paper, and went to the 
edge of the veranda to crack jokes with the people, 
and as he was the great man of the village they laughed 
at every remark; when he had finished his stock he 
came back to me. At the end of two hours I was 
going away when the usual demand — backshish — was 
made. I opened my wallet and two or three inquisitive 
noses were immediately poked into it, so I turned my 
back, determined that the poverty of the contents should 
not be seen — a handkerchief, a note-book, and a two 
anna piece which refused to be found at first, and when 
it was at last fished out and handed to the moulvie he 
looked as disgusted as I felt. Another day when the 
usual demand was made I said to the lumbardar, "If 
you will pay me five rupees for the medicine I have 
given the people I will give you backshish for the 
mosque." He must have thought that this would be a 
losing business for him, for it was never mentioned 
again. 

The mosques in Baltistan are like those in Kashmir, 
without dome or minaret, the sloping roof surmounted 
by a structure resembling a belfry. They are entered 
from a veranda, usually raised a few steps above the 
road; the veranda and walls are often decorated with 
carved panels. The Great Mosque at Khapallu has a 
gallery across one end for women, one half of it purdah 
or screened, so that the occupants may not be seen. The 



-^g? yOv v ^sv 



~^B^ /b\^^> / 




<^^\^ v " ^^^~ 



<53>\ 



y <<^& 



Panel of Veranda Cabved in Walnut "Wood. 





Window Frames Cabved in Walnut Wood. 
In a Mosque at Khapallu, Baltistan. 



Brawn by tlte Author. 



220 WESTERN TIBET 

recess towards Mecca is lined with carved wood, with 
the remains of colour on it, and a staircase in a corner 
leads to the roof whence the call to prayer is made 
morning, noon, and evening. The spandrils of the arches 
in the veranda, and the spaces above them, are filled 
in with what is known in Kashmir as panjiar or cage- 
work, made of short strips of wood. 

There is an old killa on the top of a high and steep 
hill just behind the polo ground, which I went to see 
with Aziz Khan and the lumbardar; it took two hours 
slow but steady climbing to go up, and half an hour to 
come down. The killa had been so completely destroyed 
that hardly a vestige of the walls remained, and the 
rough stones of all sizes and shapes, of which they had 
been built, were thrown in a sort of cascade down the 
precipitous cliffs; over these we had to clamber while 
they shook and slipped under our feet, and care was 
required in clinging to the rocks, for some were so brittle 
that I could break off flakes of them with my fingers. 
Near the top we had to proceed along an ardte of stones 
with a sheer drop of 1200 or 1400 feet on each side. 
With practice my head had become much stronger for 
great heights, and certainly, a fortnight before, this climb 
would have been impossible for me. 

Just below the very top pinnacle a small level space 
has been cleared and a little mosque built on it; a room 
belonging to it contained a rock mortar, the only relic 
of antiquity to be seen. There are remains of eight or 
nine rooms on the highest peak of the rock, but the 
tiers of houses which once covered the hillside have been 
thoroughly demolished. The whole of the population 
used to be compelled to live inside the walls of these 
Tibetan castles, and it is only within the last forty or 



zxzxzx 




y^y^v^v^ ^v^s^^ 




Walnut "Wood Panel in the Veranda of a Mosque at Khapallu. 



Drawn by tke Autfwr, 



222 WESTERN TIBET 

fifty years, since internecine fighting between the petty 
States has ceased, under the rule of the Maharajah of 
Kashmir, that the people have been allowed to build them- 
selves houses in the valleys on a level with their fields. 

The view from the killa was a reward for the climb; 
the nearer mountains form an amphitheatre a mile and 
a half wide, and ending in two rocky headlands a few 
miles apart, villages, fields, and orchards spread out on 
its floor, while on the opposite side of the river the 
endless ranges of the Mustagh close in the scene. The 
flat roofs of the houses were now covered with apricots, 
peaches, and mulberries drying in the sun, and the 
harvest- work was going on busily, men and boys, donkeys 
and zhos treading out the corn, while the women winnowed 
the barley on wooden shovels without handles. The 
barley is pulled up by the roots here as at Khalatse, but 
it is bound up in sheaves and left standing in the fields, 
as a second crop is not raised, though the elevation 
(8000 feet) is about 2000 feet less than it is there, but 
there is much more snow here, as well as rain. There were 
slight showers every day or night for a week or more 
during this month, and the moisture made the air soft 
and pleasant to the skin, and prevented it from roughening 
and cracking, as it does in the extremely dry air of 
Ladakh. This was said to be a very cold and wet 
summer, but the rain was not sufficient to wet the foot- 
paths, and the heat in the middle of the day made it a 
little uncomfortable for walking. 

Tamashas were held two or three times a week, 
beginning at 10 p.m. and ending soon after midnight; 
hundreds of people came in from neighbouring villages 
to attend them, and marched from one bagh to another, 
tom-tomming and cheering as they went. 



LIFE IN KHAPALLU 223 

A few days after my arrival a many-coloured row of 
figures came along the road, raising the knees high so 
as to bring the feet to the ground with an emphatic 
stamp : it was the boys' school headed by their little 
Indian master, coming to show off their accomplishments 
before me. They were drawn up in a row, thirty of 
them, according to their size, a grown man at one end, 
a child of five at the other; they went through some 
simple drill, and then called out their numbers in Urdu 
first and afterwards in English, but they could not get 
further than three in the latter language, so number four 
had to begin at one again, even this proving too much 
for one boy, who called out "three," missing out two, 
and got a cuff from the master in consequence. They 
were dressed in their best, some in blue or crimson velvet 
coats trimmed with gold lace, their caps and pagris 
adorned with bunches and fringes of flowers. It was 
hinted to me that they expected to be photographed, so 
I took them. One tiny rajah had on an immense red 
velvet waistcoat coming down to his knees, which I saw 
one of the polo players wearing afterwards ; it was a 
hot day and the poor child looked melted in it. A bigger 
rajah boy came to the camp nearly every day with some 
companions on his way home from school, brought me 
flowers, and then went to watch my tiffin being cooked. 
We could only exchange a very few words, and one day 
when conversation languished I drew his portrait and 
Sultan Bi's — not the least like them in the face, but 
as buttons and ornaments were put in right they were 
delighted. 

Patients continued to come in shoals; a crowd from 
another village arrived one morning before I was up, and 
Aziz Khan felt pulses and looked at tongues, but could do 



224 WESTERN TIBET 

little or nothing for the sick, some of whom were seriously 
ill. A good many had goitre and cataract, which are 
rather common complaints in Baltistan. One day I was 
taking Batta out for a walk, and had not gone far when a 
woman stopped me to show me her child's eyes, which were 
in a fearful state of inflammation from sheer want of clean- 
liness. I took her back to the camp, and bathed the eyes 
with warm water. It took a quarter of an hour to make 
them even tolerably clean, but the poor infant, who could 
not bear the light on them before, was evidently relieved 
even by this small amount of treatment. I then washed 
her well with soap and water all over, and told the mother 
that that was to be done every day till the baby was 
married. She listened to the prescription with great 
gravity, and promised to attend to it. She complained 
of her own eyes being weak, so I washed her face too, 
scrubbing it with sunlight soap as if I were scrubbing a 
floor, to the huge delight of the crowd looking on, for of 
course all these operations were done in the open, and my 
camp was a sort of Earl's Court for the district, where the 
ways and wigwams of strange tribes could be studied. I 
told the woman to wash her own hands (she held them out 
helplessly for me to do), and she had enjoyed the face 
washing so much that she did it all over again, amid much 
laughter from the spectators. 

An elder brother of the Rajah's had been suffering for 
two years from skin disease, and came to consult me about 
it ; I advised him to go to Skardo Hospital, but he showed 
the same reluctance to do so that others had done. I found 
afterwards that the doctor there was a native Kashmiri or 
Indian, and on that account the people distrusted him 
though he had had a proper medical training, but they 
would rather go to a European who had none. An English 



LIFE IN KHAPALLU 225 

doctor told me he had been in the hospital one morning 
while on a visit to Skardo, and only three or four patients 
were there, but on looking at the book of cases in the 
afternoon he saw that all sorts of fictitious names had been 
filled in, so it seems as if the people's want of confidence 
was well founded. In India and Kashmir the natives are 
so prone to dishonesty and extortion that they can rarely 
be trusted to do work of any kind without constant 
European supervision. The Baltis, on the other hand, are 
very honest, and although I often left pencils, knives, 
scissors, etc., lying on my table outside the tent when I 
went for a walk, nothing was ever taken. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE INDUSTEIES OF KHAPALLU. 

I sent a coolie to Skardo, the nearest post-office, on the 8th 
of August for my letters, and it took him just a week to 
walk there and back, 135 miles. He brought a pile of 
papers, — Times, Spectator, Punch, etc., which were sent to 
me every week during my travels, and as the news in the 
letters from home was good I decided to stay a fortnight 
longer at Khapallu, to be present at a great festival which 
is only held once in 36 years, and is attended by all 
the people for many miles round. After many consulta- 
tions with the headmen of the neighbouring villages as to 
when they could come and bring their polo ponies to take 
part in the processions and games, the Rajah fixed on the 
3rd of September as a convenient date for all. It was a 
piece of great good fortune for me to be in Khapallu at the 
time, as no European had ever seen this tamasha, and it 
was the crowning inducement of many to prolong my visit 
to this charming valley. The summer climate is perfect, 
rather cold at night and not overpoweringly hot in the day, 
when a cool breeze, a real zephyr, gently stirs the leaves ,' 
beautiful walks, endless wood-carvings to draw from, the 
village people a constant source of interest and amusement, 
nearly 70 miles from a post-office (to which, however, I could 
send letters almost every day by people who were going to 



THE INDUSTRIES OF KHAPALLU 227 

Skardo), about 350 miles from a railway station, no cares, 
no worries, and a few good books to read; what more can 
mortal woman wish for, and would she not be very foolish 
to leave such an earthly paradise sooner than she need do ? 
Even without the prospect of the tamasha, the temptation 
to an indolent person like me to rest where I was, was 
great. Besides all this the food was good; delicious 
peaches and apricots dropped round my head, the mutton 
was excellent, the vegetables were plentiful and good, 
the chickens less stringy than usual, and my cook made 
the best of them all. The little Rajah who haunted the 
kitchen tent sent a humble petition that the Miss Sahib 
would stay for three months, so there was another reason 
for not going away. The servants were pleased too, which 
was a great matter, and one evening when I was walking 
out and stopped to look at the view, Subhana, who was in 
attendance, remarked, " Miss Sahib, Khapallu good place." 
That evening the setting sun had left a rosy flush in 
the sky, when the young crescent moon rose softly from 
behind the hill, two zhos wound their way homewards 
across the bagh, the light from the camp fire showed dusky 
outlines of figures in pagris; the sound of prayers being 
chanted in a neighbouring mosque, and the fainter echo of 
them from another in the distance, chimed in with the 
rush and tinkle of the streams flowing down to join the 
river. 

It is intensely hot at Skardo in August, and the 
mosquitoes there and on the Deosai Plains, which it takes 
three days to cross, are maddening, while here there was 
a remarkable absence of insect life — only a few small flies 
that did not touch the food, some extremely long-legged 
and clean-looking spiders, and a handsome winged beetle 
with fans on his head, who came droning into the candle- 



228 WESTERN TIBET 

light at dinner-time and caught his claws in the table-cloth. 
I felt that I could never be so happy in my life again, 
and that the charm of solitude in these regions, which 
several men I have met out here have succumbed to, had 
laid its spell on me also. It is quite safe to sing the praises 
of Khapallu, for even when balloons come into ordinary 
use for travelling, the high passes which must be crossed 
to reach it will be an effectual barrier against its being 
over-run with trippers. 

The villagers are busy in their fields all summer, the 
men, unlike the Ladakhis, taking their share of the labour, 
and in the winter they employ themselves in brass and 
copper work and wood carving. At this season of the 
year there is no opportunity of seeing them following 
these arts, but I was shown some of the tools they use 
in metal work. The bellows are two goatskins, each with 
a short thick wooden pipe inserted in the neck and tied 
firmly, an iron nozzle protruding from it; at the other 
end of the skin there is an opening 18 inches long, with 
a stick fastened along each edge, a loop for the thumb on 
one stick and a loop for the fingers on the other, so that 
each skin can be worked by opening and closing one hand. 
A shallow hole was made in the ground, and a jar like 
a little flower-pot laid on its side with its small end to 
the hole, in which some charcoal was put; a low mound 
of earth was built over the flower-pot and a heavy stone 
put on the top, with a smaller one at each side to keep 
it in position ; the nozzle of the bellows was pushed into 
the flower-pot, and a boy sat down and worked the goat- 
skins with each hand alternately. A chisel was put in 
the glowing charcoal, made red-hot, and hammered on a 
stone which served as an anvil. The only other tool was 
a pair of strong pincers, but judging from the fineness 



THE INDUSTRIES OF KHAPALLU 229 

of the chasing the men do, they must have some very 
much smaller ones. I bought the only specimen of their 
work that they had — a very handsome water-vessel for 
a hookah through which the smoke is drawn ; it was made 
of copper in the shape of a yak's horn, eight inches high 
and ten inches in circumference, with broad bands of 
beautifully chased brass round each edge. 1 When I took 
it to Srinagar I found that no one there had ever seen 
one the same, hookahs which were sent there from up- 
country having the vessel of yak-horn instead of copper. 
At my usual morning levee of patients I always 
impressed upon them the necessity of cleanliness, and 
pointed out to them that I had not had a single case of 
a man suffering from bad eyes. It is a religious duty 
enjoined in the Koran on the men to wash before going 
to daily prayers at the mosque, and though the Baltis 
are not very scrupulous in observing it, they do not entirely 
ignore it. The Prophet was a wise man in many of his 
regulations, but he would have been wiser if he had 
included women in this particular, and would have saved 
an immense amount of suffering; they are commanded 
to say prayers in their own house, but are not required 
to wash before doing so, and until the boys are of an age 
to go to the mosque, and the girls to take some pride in 
their appearance, they are allowed to neglect cleanliness 
altogether. The Rajah Mehemet Ali Khan, aged two, had 
his face washed for the polo match which I attended when 
I first came here, but afterwards he grew dirtier and 
dirtier every day, till at the end of ten days, when I was 
washing the eye-baby's face, which now looked quite fresh 
and rosy, I showed the ayah, who was watching the 
process, the difference between it and her little Rajah 
'See photograph, p. 114. 



230 WESTERN TIBET 

Sahib's. I told her that children in England have a bath 
every day (this boy had two ayahs and never a bath at 
all), and that people there think a rajah a great person, but 
that I was going to tell them what dirty faces the Khapallu 
rajahs had. She was very much amused, not being 
civilised enough to feel it a disgrace, and when I added, 
" Maila (dirty) ayah, maila Rajah," she went into peals 
of laughter, but the next day the poor maila Rajah came 
with his face partly clean. The Rajah Nasir Ali Khan 
asked me to have tea with him at his house after it had 
been cleaned, but a fortnight passed without it having been 
done, and Aziz Khan, who was in it one day, said he had 
to hold the end of his pagri over his nose all the time, 
for it was as bad as that awful gompa at Skirbichan 
where I was so overcome. I decided that if the invitation 
to tea ever came (which it did not, fortunately), I should 
have another engagement, though it would have been 
difficult to invent one here. A shooting sahib once went 
into the Rajah's house and afterwards wrote to him telling 
him how dirty it was, but even this delicate hint had no 
effect. I should have liked very much to see a house such 
as the lumbardar's (the poorer ones are mere hovels), but 
after this description of the Rajah's it did not seem advis- 
able. The tea itself, too, might not have been an unqualified 
delight, though it was Lhasa tea costing 10s. a pound. 
What is sent here is moulded in the shape of a cheese ; 
a small piece is cut off and boiled for half an hour with 
a quantity of sugar, some salt, barley-flour, and doubtful 
butter, and then churned. The Rajah once offered to send 
me a cup of this stuff, but Aziz Khan tactfully told him 
I was not a great tea-drinker, that it was generally cocoa 
I asked for, and I felt grateful to him for getting me out 
of a difficulty even at the expense of perfect accuracy. 



THE INDUSTRIES OF KHAPALLU 231 

Although the Rajah's house was so unsavoury inside, 
the village lanes and roads are very well kept, as indeed 
they are all over Baltistan and Ladakh. The system of 
sanitation in these countries is far in advance of that in 
many places on the continent of Europe, and might he 
adopted with advantage by them where at present much 
that is offensive is encountered during the course of a 
walk. There are no pigs in Western Tibet, as there are 
in Lhasa, to fill the office of scavengers. 

Aziz Khan, being a strict Mussulman, was shocked 
with the way the unorthodox Shiahs of Khapallu neglected 
the precepts of the Koran as to secluding the women and 
clothing them properly. He often told the men that they 
did not know how to manage their " ladies,'' because they 
allowed them to go to the tamashas and did not give 
them any new clothes though they themselves were 
comfortably clad. They replied that they knew it was 
not good to let them go to the tamashas, but as for the 
good clothes they worked in the fields all day and never 
went to other villages, so they did not require any. 
I thought I had seen the worst possible rags at Puyan, 
but some were as bad here. One of my eye patients, a 
buddh, the name for a person who is immensely old, 60 
or 65, had some tatters hanging about her such as I 
never saw the like of, the upper portion very ddeolletd, 
(which is not the fashion in Asia, everybody being 
covered up to the throat), no cloth left below the arms, 
and the pyjamas in bits two inches square, each hanging 
by one corner to its nearest neighbour. She was a 
widow whose only son went to India and died there, so 
I told Aziz Khan to arrange with a tailor to make her 
a suit of clothes. "Well, Miss Sahib, if you do that, 
hundred men will come for clothes." "Never mind," I 



232 WESTERN TIBET 

said, "they can be told that they must work for them." 
The next day she did not come to have her eyes done, 
— she was sitting at home watching the tailor at work. 
When I passed through the village in the evening some- 
one called out and touched me on the arm, and there 
was the old lady smiling and salaaming, the centre of 
an admiring group, resplendent in a white coat and red 
and white striped pyjamas with a strip of apple green 
let in down the seams — this magnificence costing the 
sum of two rupees. The tailor's bill came afterwards — 4 
annas. Next morning when she came she proudly showed 
off her garments to the other women and offered me a dali 
of half a dozen eggs and a basket of apples, but as she was 
so wretchedly poor I merely touched them and thanked 
her for them; she was not to be denied and pressed 
them on me and then on Aziz Khan, who did as I had 
done, patting her kindly on the shoulder as he spoke, 
and it ended in my taking them and giving her a back- 
shish. I had a shoal of applicants for clothes afterwards, 
of course ; just as I was going out one day, a man asked 
me for a hat, one hat, for the tamasha. " Oh no," I 
said, "you must work for it," and walked away leaving 
him gazing after me, and when I looked round he was 
still gazing in stupefaction that his considerateness in 
asking for one hat only should be so disregarded. 

Such glimpses of the life of the people as a passing 
stranger can obtain show a curious state of matters in 
many respects. The zemins (or farms) are very small, 
the largest consisting of 100 kunals (there are 8 kunals 
to the acre; therefore a kunal is half a rood), for which 
the rent is 50 rupees (£3 6s. 8d.). Wheat and tares (sown 
together), barley and turnips are the principal crops, and 
tomatoes, marrows, spinach, carrots, and some other vege- 



THE INDUSTRIES OF KHAPALLU 233 

tables that I do not know the English names of, are 
grown. The people are very poor owing to the size of 
their families; Aziz Khan said that a couple who had a 
farm of one kunal had ten children, — "Very bad bando- 
bast!" 

The Balti men go to Simla and other places in the 
frontier provinces in great numbers in search of work, 
and being cheerful and industrious are much liked 
wherever they go. There were 400 men from Khapallu 
in India in 1904, and most of those who were then at 
home had been there and could read and write Urdu. 
They send much of their hard-earned wages home to 
their families, and the Maharajah's munshi, who has an 
office here, said that 5000 rupees in money orders had 
come into the village in 1903. The post-office is a great 
institution in all the countries ruled by the Indian 
Government (India, Burma, Ceylon, and Western Tibet), 
the cheapness of the rates for postage making it possible 
for the natives to use it freely. Return post-cards cost 
a halfpenny, i.e. a farthing for each half, letters under a 
certain weight are a halfpenny, and the system of money- 
orders is perfectly safe, the money being paid into the 
post-office and the payee advised of it without a form 
being enclosed. Millions of men from the countries 
named are at work far from their families (many being 
even in South Africa), and send money home regularly 
for their support. I was asked to write to the authori- 
ties in Srinagar petitioning for a post-office in Khapallu, 
one of many requests, such as to write to the Viceroy 
for a grant of land in the Punjaub; to the Wazir 
Wazarat for an increase of salary for the little school- 
master who received 15 rupees (£1) a month and had 40 
pupils, while his predecessor had 20 rupees and only 25 



234 WESTERN TIBET 

scholars; to the Kodak Co. for a camera for the Rajah, 
with instructions in Urdu, etc., but I could not always 
see my way to consenting. The natives seem to think 
that a British man or woman can do anything and com- 
mand anything — a great compliment to the nation, but 
somewhat embarrassing to the individual. 

The lumbardar (Balti, trampa) is paid 50 rupees a year 
by the Maharajah ; the chowkidar does not get any salary, 
but the zemindars make him an allowance of barley, vege- 
tables, and fruit. The lumbardar is elected by the drabs, 
village council (or Panchayat, as it is called in India, from 
the number of councilmen, panch, 5), which regulates the 
affairs of the community, and decides amongst other things 
how long the water-supply is to be turned on daily, a 
frequent cause of dispute. It also decides how much each 
man must contribute towards any fine which may be 
levied on the village by the Government for a breach of 
the law, such as murder, theft, or revolt. The lumbardar 
is officially responsible for all trade arrangements, but the 
settlement of disputes among the villagers is a private 
matter. The councils sometimes met near my tent, the 
men sitting on the ground in a circle, and as they all 
talked at once in their loudest tones and nobody seemed to 
listen it was surprising that any business was done at all. 

The rajahs, and possibly the lumbardar, are the only 
people who have any bedding, the rest of the population 
following the general practice in Baltistan and Ladakh of 
sleeping in a kneeling position on the floor, the knees 
drawn tightly up under the body, the hands palm down- 
wards on the ground, with an inch or two of space between 
them to accommodate the nose. The floors are earthen, 
with a little dry grass sprinkled over them. The people 
crowd, a great many together, in one small room without a 



THE INDUSTRIES OF KHAPALLU 235 

window and with the door closed, and this arrangement 
along with the very small proportion of their bodies that 
requires covering in the position described, is certainly an 
economy in bedding, which they say they are too poor 
to afford. One cannot imagine anything less restful, but 
custom, and especially the custom of generations, makes 
what is extremely painful to one nation quite comfortable 
to another, as witness the Japanese mode of sitting which 
no European can endure for more than two or three 
minutes. The Tibetans always sleep, even when in hospital, 
in the clothes they wear during the day, according to the 
custom of the East. Is it not written in the 22nd chapter 
of the book of Exodus, " If thou at all take thy neighbour's 
garment to pledge, thou shalt restore it unto him by that the 
sun goeth down: for that is his only covering, it is his 
garment for his skin : wherein shall he sleep ? " 



CHAPTER XXII. 

HAKVEST AT KHAPALLU. CHAKCHANG MOSQUE. 

I attended one of the frequent midnight tamashas which 
were held in a large terraced field, with another above 
it on which the spectators sat. The chowkidar took me to 
a good place for seeing, and cleared a space for my chair 
by pushing bundles about which opened and disclosed 
a face; the bundles were women wrapped up in their 
chuddahs as the night was chilly. Sultan Bi, her pretty 
pleasant countenance set off by a fringe of flowers hanging 
from under her white felt cap, was next me, and beyond her 
the little schoolmaster in a pale blue overcoat lined with 
white lambskin worn over a red suit, a pink handkerchief 
tied cornerwise over his head making a quaint frame for 
his long hooked nose and soft sprouting beard. A dance 
was going on, a number of men in white with the lumbardar 
leading, going round the circle waving gaily painted wooden 
scimitars. A great many people were seated on the ground 
round the dancers, others standing and moving about 
behind ; a large fire of wood in a brasier on a high tripod 
lighted the scene on one side, and two oil [torches did so 
dimly on the opposite side, one motionless torch-holder 
in white standing out like a marble statue against the 
surrounding blackness of the mountains. The moon had 
just sunk behind the overhanging peaks, but her rays, 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 287 

reaching upwards, made the floating cloud islands near her 
look like burnished silver against the dark blue of the sky. 
The fire flared up now and then making visible a sea 
of faces, and then sank again so that the dancers were 
hardly distinguishable. The chowkidar made wild rushes 
at the people, calling out " Ya-la-la-la-la," as fast as his 
tongue could utter it, holding a stick straight out in front 
of him as if he were going to poke someone in the eye, and 
then a cheer ran round : this was the claque, an organized 
institution in this country. The lumbardar clapped his 
hands in time to the music as a signal to the people to do 
so too; the applause all seemed to be arranged. The 
orchestra was as usual a collection of drums and clarinets, 
and a huge brass trumpet was sounded occasionally, the 
same that blares when a great personage (like me, for 
instance) enters the polo ground. After a while another 
band from a neighbouring village came marching in, play- 
ing a tune independently of ours, and then a second arrived; 
but they all settled down together, and when the massed 
bands began to play I felt as if the drumsticks were being 
beaten on the drums of my ears, but as I was told that the 
tamasha was veiy big on my account I had to appear 
to enjoy it. Another cresset was lighted, so that the 
illumination was now quite brilliant. A man came and 
said something to Sultan Bi, who began to wriggle violently 
inside her chuddah and at last handed out a garment, which 
he took away; a second time he came, and after more 
wriggling another garment was parted with, and as she 
only wore two or at the very most three, it seemed as if 
there could not be much left, and indeed she signified as 
much. A man was to be dressed as a " lady " (no woman 
takes part in the dances), and presently the pink pyjamas I 
knew so well appeared amid much laughter. Two boys 



238 WESTERN TIBET 

wore green and pink bodices and white skirts reaching to 
the ground, and, at the end of each figure, whirled round 
and made "cheeses." A soloist gained great applause, 
though to the uninitiated his performance seemed to consist 
principally in standing still. Now and then the chowkidar 
came to see how I was getting on, pushing the bundles 
about if he thought they were too near, and beaming upon 
me; he has been perfectly "sweet" ever since he got a 
beating from Aziz Khan for bringing bad wood. It sounds 
rather brutal, but really a beating to these people is like a 
dose of castor-oil to a naughty child — they are as good as 
gold after it, and as the beatings are merely one or two 
taps on the arm with a stick as a hint of what might 
happen, they are not taken very seriously. The chowkidar 
was promised another for bringing a quantity of watered milk 
(watered milk in Arcadia !), but was let off on condition that 
he brought some good enough to make butter of next day. 

The Baltis being Mohammedans are water-drinkers, so 
there were no jars of chang handed round as in Ladakh, the 
only refreshment being the hookahs which the Rajah and 
the lumbardar had brought with them, and which were 
re-lighted at intervals with burning embers tossed on to 
the clear space of ground at our feet, and picked up by 
boys, who ran with them to the smokers. The tamasha 
went on till two, when I heard the revellers laughing 
and singing as they passed my tent on their way home. 
It is a most innocent form of entertainment, with none 
of the objectionable features of the Indian or Egyptian 
nautch. 

At a village about a mile and a half from Khapallu 
there is a large Shiah mosque, the Chakchang, which I 
went to see, accompanied by Aziz Khan and the lum- 
bardar. It is beautifully situated on a high rock, with 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 239 

lanes and cottages at its foot. The villagers had seen 
us coming, and we were soon surrounded by a crowd, 
many of them asking for medicine. On getting to the 
door of the mosque a moulvie barred the way, refusing 
to allow me to enter. Aziz Khan harangued him to no 
purpose, till at last he told him that I had been in many 
large mosques in India and Srinagar, and that he was a 
very jungly man, and that I would report him at Skardo. 
While the dispute was going on I let the people look 
through my field-glasses — a sure way of making friends 
in the East — and very soon another moulvie came up, 
and on hearing Aziz Khan's threat said I was to be 
admitted. At the top of the steps I took off my chaplies, 
but as I had leather socks on over my stockings the 
dirty floor of the veranda had no terrors for me. Between 
the pillars of the veranda there were some beautiful 
specimens of panjiar work, but so high up that it was 
impossible to photograph them. The outer walls of the 
mosque were almost covered with walnut panels, finely 
carved in a great variety of patterns. When I remarked 
how beautiful they were, some of the men in the crowd 
which had followed me, said they were very old, 200 
years old; but one cannot trust the dates given here. 
Some of the panels had been restored, but the new work 
was as deeply and carefully cut as the old which it 
copied Many of the same patterns 1 are seen in all the 
mosques I visited in Khapallu, but the variety was the 
greatest at Chakchang. The moulvie said that the mosque 
was built about 400 years ago on the site of a Buddhist 
temple which had been destroyed by the Mohammedans, 
and that a brass plate over the door covered a document 
stating the age of the building. There was an inscription 

^ee p. 219. 



240 WESTERN TIBET 

on a beam in the veranda, which he said referred to its 
history, but I doubted if he could read it though he 
seemed to do so. It would be interesting to have a trans- 
lation of it by some person knowing Arabic (the language, 
I believe, in which it is written) who could be relied 
upon, for it might throw some light on the question as 
to when Mohammedanism was introduced into the country. 

The moulvie objected to my going inside the mosque, 
and a ragged old crone seated herself on the very middle 
of the doorstep to show that if I entered it would be 
over her body. However, the windows being low and 
wide open, I could see everything there was to see, which 
was nothing but some handsome walnut pillars, one lying 
on the ground broken in two, just where it had fallen, 
apparently. I felt rather relieved that I need not walk 
over the dusty, earthen floor strewn with dry grass, the 
haunt, no doubt, of much insect life of a kind that one 
cannot always avoid in this country. 

From the wide veranda, whose floor was partly covered 
with fruit laid out to dry, is seen a stretch of the Shayok 
river and its gorge, bounded by the lofty sierra, which 
is such a striking feature in the scenery here. 

Early next morning I took my camera over to Chak- 
chang, but the people had got over the shock of seeing 
a European woman in their village for the first time, 
and were quite friendly, allowing me to clamber up and 
down the stairs of their flat-roofed houses while I looked 
for a good point of view for a photograph of the mosque. 
When they found that my motive was admiration, not 
desecration, they were pleased and interested in my 
photos and drawings. 

A few days afterwards the bagh was all in a bustle 
owing to the arrival of the camp of Major Wigram, the 





o M 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 241 

Secretary of the Kashmir Game Preservation Department, 
who was passing through the country on an official tour, 
and it was only then that I realised what an interesting 
and exciting affair it is to the natives when anyone, 
especially a Government official, camps here. They had 
got used to me now, and there were no longer the 
equivalents to cheap trippers and special excursionists 
coming from the neighbouring villages and sitting round, 
dressed in their best, gazing wide-eyed and making 
whispered remarks about the strange phenomenon which 
had suddenly dropped into their midst. Major Wigram 
rode into the bagh surrounded (rather to his disgust, I 
fancy, for he gets a surfeit of this sort of thing) by 
drummers and trumpeters, who afterwards adjourned to 
a large walnut tree close by, and under its shade three 
or four men solemnly "cooried" (Scottice - , crouching in a 
sitting position) round to the music in honour of the 
new arrival. The walls of the bagh were lined with 
people absorbed in watching the cooking and washing 
and comings and goings in the rather large camp, for 
there were munshis and chuprassis and shikaris besides 
the ordinary servants. It was the first time I had heard 
my own language, except in Aziz Khan's broken English, 
for three weeks, and I was interested in having some 
news of the outside world more recent than a month 
old, the most interesting item being that our troops had 
reached Lhasa at last. There had been a rumour in the 
village that a Lama had gone from Lhasa to Simla, and 
that a Chinese regiment had been sent to take part in 
the expedition, but there was no confirmation of this. 

On asking what was the day of the month I was told 
that it was at least the 23rd, if not the 24th (of August), 
Major Wigram himself not being quite sure without looking 



242 WESTERN TIBET 

at his papers, so I had lost one day if not two in 
my reckoning. I forgot to ask what o'clock it was, 
not that it would have been of any use as far as my 
watch was concerned, but Aziz Khan's guided the camp, 
and I fancied it must be an hour or two slow, for it 
seemed to get dark so uncommonly early, and I was 
deadly sleepy by nine o'clock. 

The other camp was struck at five o'clock in the morning, 
and the bagh soon subsided into its ordinary quiet. How 
still it was that evening; the moonlight lay in silvery 
pools and splashes among the black shadows of the 
trees, the breeze whispered in the poplar leaves, a large 
moth flitted up and down over the little rippling stream, 
hawking for its food and flashing when it came into 
the light; the villagers must be asleep, resting before 
the midnight tamasha. Now a child passes along the 
road singing a dance tune, stops to cough, and hopelessly 
loses the key ; then there is the distant tap of a drum, 
and a clarinet plays a lively air, the first few notes 
being like the skirl of the bagpipes before breaking 
into a reel or strathspey, and immediately the whole 
place is astir with the sound of laughter and chatter. 

Once a week a "nimaz," Mohammedan service, is held 
during a great part of the night in this bagh for the 
benefit of the Rani ; one night it went on so vigorously 
that the servants thought it would keep me awake; but 
as I happened to sleep for ten hours and never heard 
it, it must have had a soothing effect. It was according 
to the Shiah rites, in which prayers are used that are 
not in the Koran, and part of it is merely slapping 
each shoulder alternately with the opposite hand and 
ejaculating, " Hussain, Hosein," the names of two of 
Mahomet's grandsons who were murdered and are rever- 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 243 

enced as martyrs, though they were only the sons of 
a "girl" (daughter) of his. The Shiahs hold that Ali, 
Mahomet's son, is greater than the Prophet himself ; 
they don't need to wash their faces before prayer, only 
their hands, and during nimaz their arms hang by their 
sides instead of being folded properly across their breasts ; 
their "ladies" are not veiled, and are allowed to go to 
tamashas and to polo matches in villages where there 
is no rajah to overawe them. There are a few of the 
Nur Baksh sect here who are more orthodox, using the 
Koran prayers only, with their arms in the proper 
position, and Mahomet is their prophet; they, as well 
as the Shiahs, follow the orthodox rules as to food, but 
the freedom they allow to the women, and the circumstance 
that the moulvies go to the tamashas, for which they 
would get their heads broken in Aziz Khan's country 
he declares, makes them looked down on by strict 
Mussulmans. My servant would not go to the mosques 
of either sect, but spread his carpet on the grass at 
5.30 every morning and recited his prayers before I 
was up, for his moulvie says that if he is away saying 
them when his sahib may want him it is not good 
nimaz, and he is absolved from going to the mosque 
while acting as servant, unless it is convenient to his 
employer to let him do so. It would make it almost 
impossible for a Christian to employ a Mussulman if he 
were obliged to attend five daily services. Another 
cause of offence with the people here is that they have 
prayers an hour or an hour and a half later than is 
prescribed by the Prophet — on such trifles does orthodoxy 
depend ! 

One night I stood outside a Shiah mosque watching 
a service being held on the veranda, which was dimly 



244 WESTERN TIBET 

lighted by a tiny oil-lamp of stone hung against the 
wall; Aziz Khan kept saying, "Look that, Miss Sahib, 
look that; that not right," as the various, attitudes were 
assumed, and when the prayers were ended he began a 
lively argument through the door with the moulvie and 
the small congregation, which they took part in while 
still on their knees. 

Harvesting went on for some days in this bagh, in 
the patch of barley mixed with vetch, 30 yards by 25, 
quite a good-sized field in these parts. The crop, after 
being pulled up, was left lying on the ground for several 
weeks, then piled in a rough stack, and the gleaners 
set to work; when they had finished, a piece of the 
ground was cleaned, water turned on it from an irrigation 
stream close by and spread over it with a wide, toothless 
rake, and then beaten down with a wooden spade, so 
that next morning it presented a hard smooth surface 
on which a sackful of broken straw was spread. A 
post was driven in in the middle, and the barley thrown 
down round it; three ponies were tied abreast with a 
rope which was fastened to a willow ring slipped over 
the post, and they were trotted round and round, treading 
out the grain, a fourth pony grazing at hand to take 
the place of one of those at work, so that they all got 
a rest in turn. By the afternoon the heap was finished, 
and the very much broken straw was tossed in the air 
with a fork made of five prongs of ibex horn fastened 
to a wooden handle, letting the chaff fly away in the 
wind; most of the straw was tied up in bundles and 
stored for winter fodder, the remainder at the bottom 
of the heap, which had the grain mixed with it, being 
tossed again and again till at last a fairly clean heap 
of grain was left, which was carefully winnowed in a 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 245 

wooden (tray with three upstanding edges. The women 
who winnowed were very deft in separating the barley 
corns from the soil and bits of straw. Two men sitting 
on the ground beat the remaining heap of straw with 
sticks (not jointed like flails) to empty any heads that 
had been left. These processes occupied the most part 
of five or six days, three or four men and women being 
at work and half a dozen sitting looking on, the hookah 
passing round at intervals (a draw of it only lasts two 
or three seconds, so it is no great interruption), and the 
result of all this labour seemed remarkably small. 

Ramzana started for Skardo on the 21st to get my 
letters and buy stamps and medicine, and fetch a small 
parcel of stores which was to come by post from Srinagar. 
He returned on the 28th but without the stamps (after 
walking 135 miles !) though I had written a note to 
the postmaster telling him how many to send, and I 
was left with only one, which I saved carefully to let 
my home people know that I was still alive, but that 
they must not expect to hear from me till I got to 
Skardo. Ramzana brought some medicines, but the 
stores had not arrived, and never did, so I had to use 
butter of sheep's milk (quite good as Aziz Khan made 
it), and drink brick tea from Lhasa at 5s. 4d. a pound, 
which had to be boiled for five minutes, and was also 
good, but had a peculiar, somewhat metallic flavour 
which one soon gets accustomed to. It is the very oppo- 
site of Japanese tea, which must be made with water 
that is only tepid or it is undrinkable. Through linger- 
ing so much on the journey the stores were giving out, 
and Aziz Khan had to turn his hand to many things, 
making jam and ink among them. The Delhi and Paisley 
self-raising flour had to be saved for cakes and scones, and 



246 WESTERN TIBET 

the bread was made of the country wheat flour which 
is dark-coloured and rather rough, but quite good here 
when sifted through muslin. In Ladakh it is very 
gritty. 

When Ramzana went to Skardo the people here knew 
we had hardly any medicine left, and they stopped 
coming for it. The eye-patients had dwindled down to 
three — Macheth's witches — aged crones who always came 
together, sat down under a tree in front of the tent, 
and nodded their old heads at each other as they chatted, 
but alas! I had an accident and a sad disappointment 
for them; the eye-bath got broken, and they could not 
have any more of the washings in it with borax and 
water which they had such faith in. One of the women 
was almost cured of inflammation, another had cataract 
on both eyes, so the treatment did her no good, though 
it was no use telling her so, and these two received the 
news placidly enough that they must do the bathing 
themselves at home; but the third and poorest was most 
indignant at the idea of having to do anything for 
herself, so it had to be explained to her that if she went 
to a doctor he would only give her instructions which 
she would have to follow. The old women are the 
raggedest and most neglected-looking of any of the 
people, and do not seem to be taken much care of — even 
Aziz Khan, who is a kind man as a rule, saying, when 
I told him to ask one what was the matter with her, 
"Oh, she too old, she ought to be dead!" And the 
too old may be sixty ! Of course she did not know 
what he said, as he spoke in English. I told him that 
the old ladies in England were taken more care of than 
the young ones, but from the expression of his face that 
seemed to him absurd bandobast. 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 247 

The fruit harvest was over by the end of August, and 
I was no longer waked at five by the voices of boys 
and girls as they shook the trees and picked up the 
fallen peaches and apricots. The walnuts were being 
gathered and were delicious, much too tempting indeed. 
There was a fine walnut tree beside the mosque at the 
other end of the bagh, 16 feet in girth at 5 feet from the 
ground, which was a meeting-place for the villagers, who 
sat under its shade in the middle of the day smoking 
the hookah, with sometimes the tailor joining in the 
chat as he went on with his work. Another walnut 
on the way to the polo ground measures 24 feet at 
the same height, and its hollow trunk would make 
a comfortable hermitage, if there were hermits in 
Baltistan. 

Occasionally I went into the Rani's garden to gather 
flowers; it was a wilderness with a beauty of its own, 
everything growing in unordered luxuriance, tall sun- 
flowers, poppies, corn-cockles, marguerites, asters, nas- 
turtiums, marigolds, and a handsome umbelliferous plant 
with blossoms six inches in diameter, but no footpaths 
except where a way had been trodden among the plants 
which one had to push through; a row of tall poplars 
.all round outside the low stone wall gave a little shade. 
One morning a nanny-goat lay among the flowers chewing 
the cud, her yellow-eyed kid standing unsteadily on its 
mother's side as it heaved with her breathing. An ayah 
pulled up a parsnip, washed it, and sat down to eat it. 
The garden door was fastened and the head-servant was 
sent for to open it; the lock is a wooden bolt, square 
at the end, with two small holes in it containing two 
little wooden pegs, which drop into a box on the door- 
post and prevent the bolt being withdrawn without the 



248 WESTERN TIBET 

help of the key — a flat piece of wood shaped to fit, and 
which is worked about till it pushes the pegs up. The 
house-door is strongly barred inside with the trunk of a 
tree, stripped of its bark, extending across it, and when 
not in use pushed back into the hole in the wall from 
which it projects. On the outside the door, which is 
two-leaved, has a chain fastened to each half near the 
top and padlocked on a hasp on the lintel above, the 
usual mode in Baltistan and Ladakh. The metal chains 
and hasps are of local manufacture. The frames of 
both front and back doors are handsomely carved; there 
was no possibility of getting complete photographs of 
either of them in detail, and the camera had to be 
greatly tilted to get a view of the top of the front door 
showing the hasp and a cross fleury above it. One 
of the patterns on the back door has a superficial resem- 
blance to the Greek key pattern, but is really a series of 
repetitions of the swasti, or mystic cross, "a mono- 
grammatic sign formed of the letters su and t i. The 
combination suti is the Pali form of the Sanskrit 
swasti, which is compounded of " su," well, and " asti," it 
is. The emblem means resignation under all circum- 
stances, and is often met with in the wood-carvings of 
Baltistan. The faith of the Swastika, or followers of 
the swasti, was founded in India about the beginning 
of the sixth century B.C., being contemporary with Buddha, 
accordingHo the Chinese, and was widely spread; there 
are traces [of it in Arrakan on the sea-board of Burma 
in the east, and on the English coast in the west, the 
"Three Legs of Man" in the coat-of-arms of that island 
being, according to some authorities, a modified form 
of the swasti. Lamayuru in Ladakh is still called Yung- 
drung-gompa, the Monastery of the Mystic Cross, perhaps. 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 249 

because that was the name it bore before the establishment 
of Buddhism. 

Another link between East and West was the sight 
of a little girl playing the game known as chucks in 
Scotland (chuckie = pebble) and as knuckle-bones in 
England ; she used seven stones instead of our five, threw 
them all in the air, and caught three on the back of her 
hand, then threw these three and caught them in her palm; 
she did not know any other variety, so I showed her the 
Scotch game with its " climb the ladder," " sweep the floor," 
"churn the milk," etc. It is a very ancient and widely 
spread game, which has amused the girls of many lands 
and many eras ; it was played by the Romans, and there is 
a representation of it in a Pompeian fresco. 

Some superstitions are also widely spread. One evening- 
Aziz Khan came suddenly upon me while I was busily 
engaged in performing an ancient rite, which I always 
make a point of observing when I have the opportunity. 
I felt rather caught, but would not let him suspect it for 
the world, so I gravely remarked, " That is what we do in 
England, Aziz Khan, when we see the new moon ; we bow 
to it nine times, and then turn the money in our pockets; 
so that we may have some more given to us before the 
month is out." (As he had all mine in his charge at the 
time I had to omit the latter part of the ceremony.) " Do 
you do anything of that kind in your country ? " I asked. 
He looked rather sheepish. " When we see the new moon 
we look at gold," he said, gazing at the ring on his finger, 
"and then we get some before the next new moon." 

Sultan Bi had a pack of European cards in her hand one 
day, and at my request she and three men showed me two 
of the games played in Baltistan, which are of the simplest 
description. The cards were dealt round against the sun,. 



250 WESTERN TIBET 

not with it as in Europe; the players followed the suit 
of the first card thrown down, the highest card taking 
the trick, and whoever had most cards at the end won the 
game. The second game was the same, except that the 
cards were piled in the middle instead of being dealt, each 
player drawing one to decide who was to begin, and then 
pushing them back into the pack, after which each drew 
one in turn and played as in the other game. Sultan Bi 
saw my packs of patience cards, and asked to be allowed to 
show them to the Rani, and came back with the request 
that I would give her one for the maila Rajah, so I offered 
her two specimen cards, but oh no ! she wanted the whole 
of them. I was having tiffin, and Aziz Khan, who was 
waiting, was indignant, and told Sultan Bi that the Miss 
Sahib used them herself every night when she had no man 
to talk to (and he might have added, no woman either). 
She hung about as if she could hardly believe in the 
refusal, but I was firm. My precious little patience cards ! 
The very suggestion of parting with them was a shock, and 
I spent the afternoon in washing their faces, just to feel 
that they were still in my possession. But that poor Rani, 
I was sorry for her, a close prisoner, never allowed to go 
downstairs even in her own house except when she went by 
stealth in disguise to a midnight tamasha, never a walk or 
a ride in the light of the blessed sun. Sometimes when 
going into her garden I passed through the house, as there 
are doors at both ends of the passage, its floors sprinkled 
with withered grass, and having the appearance of a badly 
kept cow-house ; it felt like passing through a prison or a 
place where a corpse was lying, the stillness was so deadly. 
One day Sultan Bi pointed up to a carved wooden casement 
which was standing open, and said the Rani was there ; a 
curtain waved, but no one could be seen. I asked to see 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 251 

some of her embroidery, but she could not let me do 
so without the Rajah's permission, and he was playing 
polo. 

"Little Mary" is inclined to be rampageous in this 
country, and no wonder, for the food largely consists of 
uncooked dough and unripe fruit ; the harvesters' mid-day 
meal is of barley -flour merely mixed with water, and once 
when the maila Rajah (who was waiting for the big 
tamasha the following week to have his face washed) was 
brought by Sultan Bi to pay me his morning visit, he had a 
large piece of raw cucumber in one hand and a green apple 
in the other, gnawing each alternately. Fuel is scarce, and 
very little cooking is done, apricots, fresh or dried, forming 
a large part of the diet. The camp remedy for indigestion, 
hot water, is not always appreciated; on one occasion 
when Aziz Khan gave a man a tumblerful, the patient 
objected that he had plenty of that at home, on which his 
medical adviser told him that if he did not drink it he 
would give him a beating, so down it had to go. Aziz 
Khan, holding his head very high, marched about giving 
his orders to the people, who were considerably in awe 
of him, crediting him with rather more power than he 
possessed and calling him "Sirdar," a title that sounds 
quite grand to British ears, on account of the distinguished 
soldiers who have borne it, but which only means head- 
man. 

The Baltis are remarkably polite ; if they overtook me on 
the road they remained behind, and if they were coming 
down a side path ahead they always waited till I had 
passed. At first I felt slightly alarmed when I was in a 
lonely place and men hurried after me or waited for me, 
and then walked along close to me, but as they smiled and 
salaamed and tried to talk I soon ceased to have any fear. 



252 WESTERN TIBET 

When I walked far out among the fields the people often 
stopped me, smiling and salaaming, to ask " Thik" (all 
right), " mem sahib ? " and I assured them that I was thik ; 
if they thought I was taking the wrong turning among the 
irrigation channels, they were eager to show me the way ; 
the children ran after me calling " Salaam, mem sahib," and 
went into shrieks of laughter at their own daring, and 
when I turned round and pretended to shoot them with my 
umbrella, they scampered off and met me at another corner 
to be shot again. 

One night there was a very long service at the mosque 
near the bagh, lasting nearly two hours, the voices rising 
and falling in a kind of wail. Usually the moulvie chants 
the prayers, the congregation following in silence and 
assuming the attitudes of standing, kneeling, and touching 
the ground with the forehead as occasion requires, but 
this time all those present joined aloud in the rota or 
lamentation for the murder of Hussain and Hosein 1200 
years ago, beating their shoulders, and even their faces, 
so violently as to make them bleed. Self-inflicted bodily 
injury is a common sign of deep grief in India, Kashmir, 
Baltistan, and perhaps other parts of the East; I have 
been told that a man on hearing of the death of his father 
beat himself on the head and left a scar for life, having 
to be prevented by force from killing himself; a mother 
on seeing her only son laid in his coffin tore her flesh and 
ultimately committed suicide; the servant of one British 
sahib with whom he had been for twenty years shot 
himself at his death ; the servant of another for five years 
attended his master in hospital during his last illness and 
died of grief a fortnight after, unable to bear the daily 
sight of the now unused horse and sword and gun. It 
is curious and very touching to us of the governing race 



HARVEST AT KHAPALLU 253 

to know that this sorrow is rarely or never shown on the 
death of a native master, though not unusual in the case 
of a British one, the reason given by an Indian being that 
the natives treat their servants like dogs, beat them 
constantly and severely, use bad language to them, and 
when they are ill never provide for their relief or comfort 
in any way, while a British sahib will send doctor and 
medicine and come every day himself to enquire after 
the invalid. The bad British masters are very few and 
far between, and the strong appreciation by the natives 
of the many good ones is a hopeful augury for the future. 
I have heard it remarked by my countrymen that it is 
wonderful how the word of a sahib is accepted as final 
in India, and the Resident in a city in the Punjaub told 
me that often, when he was on his rounds in the country, 
natives engaged in a lawsuit would come to him and beg 
him, for heaven's sake, to try the case himself or get 
another sahib to do it, so entire is their trust in the truth 
and honesty of their rulers. It is very humiliating to see, 
on returning to London (and it is often remarked by those 
who have lived long abroad), how undeserved this faith is 
in the case of many of our race at home, and to reflect that 
the strongest oath a Moor can take — that a thing is "as 
true as the word of an Englishman," is too often mere 
satire. When Englishmen are abroad in positions of trust 
they do, however, live up to what is on the whole the 
national character. 

One morning, while I was writing, the little schoolmaster 
came and stood by my table, but as he often did so I took 
no further notice beyond the usual salaam ; in a few 
minutes he startled me by saying in staccato tones, " What 
— are — you — doing ? " for beyond the phrase, " May I go 
now, sir ? " with which he always took leave, he did not 



254 WESTERN TIBET 

seem to know any English. I complimented him on his 
improvement in the language, and with the help of a 
dictionary we had quite a brisk conversation, and he told 
me many things I wanted to know or to confirm, for Aziz 
Khan's English is limited, and he often misunderstands 
my questions, so that it requires an immense amount of 
hammering to get at the meaning of things, and even then 
I am never quite sure that the information is correct. 
However, it was pleasant to find that on the whole it was 
fairly accurate. I took the schoolmaster down into the 
fields and got him to tell me the Indian names of plants 
I did not know and then looked them up in the dictionary. 
Two have no English equivalent — kangri, a tall reed 
grown also in India, with small white flowers developing 
into a head of small seeds, which are used to make a kind 
of porridge; trambah, grown in Baltistan, Ladakh, and 
Kashmir, but not in India, also having a white flower ; 
the seeds are ground for making chupattis, a kind of 
unleavened bread. A good deal of tobacco is cultivated, 
but is inferior to that of Kashmir and India. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 
THE BIG TAMASHA AT KHAPALLU. 

The big tamasha for which I had waited for several weeks 
was held on the 4th of September, and we had the pre- 
lude to it on the previous day when at noon the throbbing 
of drums began. A little pink rajah aged six had just 
come to pay me a visit on his way home from school, 
and as he answered my questions with solemn nods as 
to whether we should go and see what it was all about, we 
went along the bagh and, just outside, found a company 
in a circle watching two men dancing; a fire of straw 
and green grass was burning in front of the musicians 
to keep the hookah going. The "ladies" looking on 
had made up for the shabbiness of their clothing by 
the brilliant decoration of their heads with marigolds 
and corn cockles. After several dances of the usual 
kind I came away to tiffin, and soon afterwards there 
was more drumming in another direction and a great 
scurrying of people along the path before my tent to 
the piece of green in front of the Rani's house, so I 
followed. Opposite the front door of the house there 
is a broad flight of steps leading up to the road which 
runs along the top of the terraced wall of this bagh, 
and down these a crowd of people was pouring who 
seated themselves in a large circle on the ground, with 



256 WESTERN TIBET 

the musicians on one side ; then eighteen men with drawn 
swords filed down and danced round, the sword in one 
hand, and in the other the end of a scarf fastened round 
the shoulder or waist. The swords are old family posses- 
sions, but two or three men who had none had to use 
wooden substitutes. The dancers are gaily dressed in 
scarlet, blue, purple, and green coats; scarves, white or 
of some bright colour, and pagris mostly white, all trimmed 
with bunches or fringes of flowers; the foot-gear was 
various, top-boots, rusty-looking Wellingtons, dating from 
the beginning of last century apparently, untanned leather, 
and coloured cloth, while some performers had none at 
all. I sat in the middle of the orchestra surrounded by 
six pairs of kettle-drums, five big drums, two pairs of 
cymbals, four clarinets with bagpipe tones, and two big 
brass trumpets four feet long which were blown occa- 
sionally, and placed on their mouths on the grass when 
not in use. Presently there were sounds of a second 
band approaching, and soon through the trees lining the 
roads more brilliant colours appeared in procession, swords 
flashing in the air, and gaily caparisoned ponies caracoling 
along, — another village come to join in the tamasha. The 
first set of dancers sat in two circles, leaving the floor 
clear for half a dozen new-comers who came down the steps 
sword in hand. There was a terrific drumming of wel- 
come from our band to the other, which immediately 
reinforced it. One of the new dancers was dressed in 
a long black velvet coat with deep full pink ruffles hang- 
ing from the cuffs, brown pyjamas, green putties, and a 
yellow pagri with pink flowers; another wore a black 
and gold brocade coat and immense piratical-looking 
boots. The carved window places of the Rani's house 
were full of heads, the roof was covered with people, 



THE BIG TAMASHA AT KHAPALLU 257 

rows of them sat on the grass and more rows stood behind, 
the men in white with graceful drapery thrown over 
the shoulder, all decked with flowers; the ponies fidgeted 
on the terrace, drummers nourished their sticks in great 
style, the trumpeters blew until their cheeks were like 
to burst — the whole scene beggared description, and could 
only be done justice to on the stage of Covent Garden 
or the Empire Theatre. The dances seem to have some 
ceremonial meaning; one was very slow to very plaintive 
music, the sword hanging from the fingers of one hand, the 
end of a scarf in the other, — then the sword was held 
behind the back and the right hand raised as if in invoca- 
tion; in another the swords were laid on the grass point 
to hilt, the dancers moving round in a sitting attitude, 
so low as almost to touch the ground, and making as if 
they were going to pick up each sword as they came to 
it, but turning away from it with graceful gestures of 
head and hands till they reached their own, when they 
grasped it, stood up, and raised it towards the sky. The 
measure then changed to a very lively one and the swords 
were flourished round their heads. The Rajah Spindia 
said it was a kind of pujah or worship, and the men 
went through it without shoes, as is customary in a 
religious ceremony in the East. One man looked a born 
actor, and it could be seen from his movements and ex- 
pression as he danced that he was looking for a hidden 
enemy. Now and then there was measured clapping 
of hands and a curious wavering cheer from the spectators. 
My neighbours looked at me sometimes to see how I 
liked it all, and laughed gleefully when I expressed my 
delight. Then the dancers streamed up the steps, mounted 
their ponies and came a few yards along the road opposite 
to where four men stood who fired a A T olley from old but 



258 WESTERN TIBET 

well-kept matchlock guns, handsomely mounted with brass 
and mother-of-pearl. A piece of thick cord was wound 
round the stock, the end ravelled out a little and lighted ; 
it was fixed in a clip which moved it forward when the 
trigger was drawn, and lowered it into the powder pan 
fixed on the side of the gun. The light was obtained in 
the usual way in Tibet (where matches are a foreign luxury 
rarely seen), by flint and steel, the tinder being a bunch of 
dry grass. The steel projects like a blade from the 
lower edge of a small leather bag, called a chakmak, 
ornamented with brass, in which the flint is carried, the 
bag being suspended from the girdle. This slow method 
of firing a gun causes dangerous and even fatal accidents 
in shooting, when there is not time to load before a wild 
beast attacks. Subhana's father was killed by a leopard 
in Kashmir owing to this cause. 

After the firing, the crowd started off up the hill to 
another village to serve as escort to the temporary rajah, 
or "lord of misrule," a zemindar (farmer) who would 
on the following day take the place of the real Rajah, 
wear his clothes and ride his pony. Soon I heard the 
music, which had never completely died away, coming 
very near, and on looking round saw, to my astonishment, 
a lady walk into the bagh accompanied by the band 
and followed by an immense crowd. I was having tea 
and sent Aziz Khan to give my salaam and ask if she 
would join me; she came at once, and proved to be a 
countrywoman of my own on her way from Leh to 
Skardo. In coming down the hill she had fallen in with 
the procession, in which she was immediately made the 
leading figure and was immensely surprised, amused and, 
delighted with her own dramatic entrance into Khapallu, 
and had no idea till I told her what it all meant. A 



THE BIG TAMASHA AT KHAPALLU 259 

great number of people sat watching us over our tea 
and talk, and very soon the Rajah came to call, and there 
were more "thieves" than ever squatting round. My 
new acquaintance, Miss Christie, was at once charmed 
with this village, and congratulated herself on getting 
here at such an unusually interesting time. She too had 
camped at Goma Hanu and had had some trouble; the 
lumbardar refused to sell her any supplies, and the coolies 
would not carry her baggage over the Chorbat La, and 
she had to employ women to take their place. It was 
bitterly cold, and snowed all the time as she crossed the 
pass. There had been a considerable amount of rain at 
Khapallu, principally in the night, and that meant snow 
on the mountains. We agreed as to the joy there is in 
travelling alone, and being at liberty to stop or go on 
as fancy dictates, she, like me, never having had a dull 
moment on the journey. She had met only two travellers 
on the road from Srinagar to Leh, and from Leh here, 
400 miles in all. 

On the second and great day of the tamasha music 
was heard in the distance soon after one o'clock, and 
rows of people were to be seen following each other 
along the irrigation channels on the mountain side as 
they made their way down to the polo ground. After 
snatching a hurried meal I set off and came upon Miss 
Christie photographing the zemindar rajah, who was 
dressed in the real Rajah's clothes and rode his pony. 
I hastened on through narrow lanes lined with people, 
bands of music, men armed with drawn swords, others 
with matchlock guns or bows exactly the shape of 
Cupid's bow, relics of the old fighting days. When I 
got to the polo ground the Rajah, Nasir Ali Khan, had 
already taken his seat on the grand stand to watch the 



260 WESTERN TIBET 

arrival of his substitute, and was dressed like one of his 
own villagers; the walls and terraces were crowded with 
hundreds and hundreds of men, women, and children, 
looking out for the zemindar rajah, who soon came, 
escorted by about fifty men on ponies and a large number 
on foot, all armed, and some carrying flags. Instead of 
entering the ground from the road, the horsemen galloped 
along the top of the terrace and down a steep, rough 
sloping passage ending in two steps, which most of the 
ponies took at a rush. Miss Christie and I did not go 
into the grand stand, as we wished to be where we could 
use our cameras to advantage, and when the last pony 
had passed, we followed to the end of the course where 
the rajah and all the riders had dismounted. The crowd 
closed round us, for we were looked upon as a part of 
the show by the many of those present who had never 
seen a European woman before. They quickly formed 
a lane, and we found that the rajah was being posed 
for a picture, looking majestic in a long crimson robe 
trimmed with gold embroidery, a voluminous white pagri 
with a bunch of flowers tucked in its folds, a handsome 
Indian shield on his arm, and a drawn sword over his 
shoulder; his prime minister or general, robed like him, 
stood on his left hand, and the band was drawn up at 
the side with the long brass trumpets raised on high, 
the chowkidar fussing about to get everybody in the 
best position. When the photograph was taken the rajah 
was conducted to a carpet spread just below the grand 
stand, and here he sat cross-legged, gravely watching the 
proceedings, the prime minister beside him, the yak-horn 
hookah being brought at intervals. The first dance was 
the dedication of swords, which I had seen the day 
before; the next was a solo, called a natti, by an Astor 



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THE BIG TAMASHA AT KHAPALLU 261 

man, very quick and unlike the slow Balti and Ladakhi 
performances ; then came two or three more sword dances 
by six or eight men, like those I have already described, 
and after them scarf dances, and two of the usual Balti 
dances. The comic element was supplied by a man with 
his arms coloured black to the elbow and red to the 
shoulder, and wearing a large white goatskin wig, who 
skipped about and caused great laughter by stopping 
in front of us, pulling a note-book and pencil out of his 
wallet, and pretending to draw our portraits, afterwards 
doing the same to the zemindar rajah on his carpet. The 
leader of the claque was very busy, using his horse-whip 
as a hint to any who were not attending to their work. 
All the principal dancers were wazirs or lumbardars from 
this and other villages, tall strong men (most of whom 
had been in India), utterly unlike the short, ugly Ladakhis, 
though also of Tibetan origin, but intermarriages with 
their neighbours the Dards, who are often of great height 
and Jewish in feature, have changed and improved their 
looks and physique. The number of beautiful girl-faces 
amongst the crowd was very striking. 

After these dances what looked like a table with five 
veiled figures on it, one in the middle and one at each 
corner, representing Gilgit ladies, came into the circle 
and waltzed round; the figure in the middle was a man 
who did the waltzing, but a handsome red Kashmir 
shawl, which served as a table-cover, hid his feet, and 
without being told one could not distinguish him from 
the dummies; a clown representing a hobby-horse and 
the man in the goatskin wig capered about near it. It 
was very curious, but no one could explain it. 

After this the ground was cleared, the fifty horsemen 
arrived with swords, guns, bows and arrows, mounted, 



262 WESTERN TIBET 

and galloped backwards and forwards in a body, then 
played a game of polo, which was more a m&le'e than 
anything else, owing to the immense number. Now 
and then they drew their ponies up close to the band, 
raised their sticks in the air, and danced up and down 
in their saddles, cheering the while. When this was over 
sixteen players, the Rajah Nasir Ali Khan among them, 
played a game of polo in a manner which greatly surprised 
Miss Christie, as it had done me when I first saw it. 
The game went on for an hour; then there was a 
pause for a quarter of an hour, during which the Rajah, 
sitting on his carpet, drank some water and smoked his 
hookah, and at the end of that time the game was resumed 
and lasted for another hour with the same ponies, which 
had been worked all that day and for days before, and 
though they looked tired when standing, yet when they 
started again they tore along, as eager as their riders. 

Early in the afternoon a huge cake, 5 feet long and 
2 feet broad, made of barley flour with a layer of butter 
in an ornamental pattern on the top, was carried in on 
a board supported on poles, and laid on the ground 
near the zemindar rajah; some time afterwards it was 
taken away, cut in pieces, and divided amongst the 
givers of gifts to the real Rajah. 

The Astor man who danced the solo spread a cotton 
pocket-handkerchief (with a reminiscence of Manchester 
about it) on the ground before the zemindar rajah, skipped 
away, then returned and spread one in front of us. What 
did it mean ? Backshish, of course. We put in a rupee 
between us, wondering if we were very shabby, and 
watched what the rajah gave — two annas, which the 
poor dancer dropped amid the jeers of the multitude, 
and could not find again. 




Polo Players at Khapallu. 




To face page 2fi'2. 



The Claque at the Big Tamasha, Khapallu. 



By Miks Christie 



THE BIG TAMASHA AT KHAPALLU 263 

The Rajah Spindia remembered the tamasha 36 years 
before, and said that this was exactly the same, except 
that masks of animals were worn at it, which seems to 
indicate that it had a common origin with the Lama 
dances, and that it probably dates from the time when 
Buddhism was the religion of Baltistan. The man who 
made the masks for the last tamasha here (in 1868) is 
since dead, and the art is lost so far as Khapallu is 
concerned. 

I have described this festival in full detail because 
we are the only Europeans who have seen it, and it 
will not be held again till 1940. 

The day after the tamasha Miss Christie left Khapallu 
for Skardo, and I followed next day, true to our principle 
of travelling alone. 

There is nothing so queer as folk. The afternoon 
before I started the Rajah Nasir Ali Khan came to say 
good-bye, accompanied by the little schoolmaster, who 
is an Indian, be it noted. After a short conversation the 
Rajah asked me for — a chit! Not so very long ago I 
imagined a rajah to be a gorgeous and quite unapproach- 
able individual in a gold coat wreathed with pearls, 
with a diamond aigrette a foot high in his cap, and to 
think that I should live to be asked by one for a chit ! 
I was requested to say that the bandobast was good 
and the polo was good, which I did, adding that I had 
spent a very happy month in Khapallu. The next 
demand was for a sheet of paper and an envelope to 
write to some official ; I gave him them, he looked them 
over, and — handed them back; they were not good 
enough. After this he had a long conversation with 
Aziz Khan about the Miss Sahib, which seemed as if it 
was not going to be explained to me, so I asked what 



264 WESTERN TIBET 

it was about. The importunate Rani had sent another 
message through him that she wanted my patience cards I 
As she had cards of her own I had no compunction in 
declining to give them, though if she had had none I 
might have taken pity on her and given her one pack, 
contenting myself with playing that tiresome little 
" Demon " which I cannot endure, but which is the only 
single game I know. The Rajah had hardly gone when 
Sultan Bi appeared and asked, for the fifth time, for 
the cards. I was intensely amused, but Aziz Khan was 
most indignant, and said these jungly Rajahs and Ranis 
did not know anything, and the little schoolmaster giggled, 
with the end of his pagri in his mouth as usual. I 
inquired if the Rajahs of Skardo and Shigar would 
ask for things like that. "Oh, no, certainly not; they 
are big Rajahs." The little schoolmaster had never even 
hinted at a backshish, and after the Rajah had gone I 
gave him a copy of The Pilgrim's Progress as a mark 
of my appreciation. He reads English quite well, and 
the story of the pilgrim may interest him, and is suitable 
for people of any religion. We all have to resist 
Apollyon, and try to avoid falling into the Slough of 
Despond. 

About a month afterwards a letter came to me 
addressed : 

"To Sir 

Miss E. Duncan esquire 

P.O. Skardo." 

It was from the little schoolmaster. 

"Sir, 

"I most humbly and respectfully beg to state 
that you write a letter how are you and how is Aziz 
Khan — and where are you, I will be much obliged to 



THE BIG TAMASHA AT KHAPALLU 265 

you. And I beg kindly you send me a picture of my 
school. 

Your's servant 

Sayed Mohamad Mobarik Ali 
Headmaster Khaplu." 

What a grand name for such a wee man ! So I did 
write a letter and sent him a picture of the school, and 
there have been more requests for correspondence. The 
last I heard was that he was going to India. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 
PROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO. 

I left Khapallu at eight o'clock on the morning of the 
6th of September. 

"Joy have I had, and going hence 
I take with me my recompense. 
In scenes like these it is we prize 
Our memory, feel that she hath eyes.'' 

The lumbardar and chowkidar walked down to the 
river with me to see me off on the zak or goatskin raft, 
for as the road on this side was reported to be very 
bad I decided, notwithstanding the terrifying accounts I 
had heard of this kind of ferry, to venture across on it. 
I had gone down one day to see a zak start, and found 
that it was not so bad as it was painted. The river was 
low, the current only about six miles an hour, and I was 
assured that there are never any accidents; but this is 
not quite correct, for in the early summer when the 
snows are melting and the swollen river rushes furiously 
along, zaks are sometimes upset, cargoes lost, and men 
drowned. Even since my arrival here in the beginning 
of August there had been such a heavy fall of snow and 
rain in the mountains that the Shayok rose to a height 
which made the use of zaks unsafe; but it had fallen 
again, and by the end of October it would have shrunk 




Zak Ferry on the Ssayok. 




To face page i!6(i. 



The 2ak Afloat 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 267 

so much that a temporary bridge would be thrown 
across it at Khapallu to be used till the spring. It is 
always necessary when travelling off the beaten track to 
be particular to ask what time of year any information 
given applies to, for through want of consideration of 
this point endless mistakes are made and totally wrong 
impressions formed, resulting sometimes in much hardship 
and suffering to the traveller. 

At the edge of the river two rafts were being pre- 
pared, each barely nine feet square and made of poplar 
poles, few of them so much as two inches in diameter. 
Twenty inflated skins of goats and small zhos are 
fastened to each raft, not very carefully, some of them 
being merely pushed under a cord that happens to be 
stretched across ; all the openings in them are tied up 
firmly, except one leg through which the men blow with 
their mouths, then put a bit of feeble-looking woollen 
string round it once and tie it once, so that it may be 
easily undone when the thing collapses, which it does 
every few minutes; the dry skins were well splashed 
and then the raft was turned with them downwards in 
the water. The ends of the two rafts were tied together, 
and on this frail structure, eighteen feet by nine, ten 
men embarked, five of them being coolies, whose united 
loads amounted to 300 lbs. Batta went with them to 
separate him from another dog, as there was hardly 
room for a fight on board. The coolies landed on an 
island of sand half a mile down, put their loads on their 
heads and walked through the other arm of the river 
with the water breast-high, the current being so strong 
that Subhana had to be helped by two men to keep his 
feet. All went through with their clothes on, trusting 
to the sun to dry them afterwards. The rafts were 



268 WESTERN TIBET 

untied and carried through the shallows on the far side 
to a spot a little above where I was waiting, then 
launched and were swept by the current 200 yards 
lower down the bank, and carried back along the road 
by three men to the starting-point. The rafts were tied 
together again, and this time the cargo was seven coolies 
and their loads of over 400 lbs., three zakmen, two 
ponymen, Ramzana, and a dog; in addition to all this 
two ponies were towed behind. Oh! I did not know 
whether to laugh or to shudder. Four more ponies were 
pushed into the water to find their own way across, 
their owners on the banks shouting and throwing stones 
at them if they showed any disposition to shirk ; but as 
soon as they got into the current they could not help 
themselves, and before long they found the bottom and 
walked to land. My turn came next; a single raft was 
brought, seven or eight skins that had gone flat were 
blown up again and a few added, and a bundle of grass 
with a piece of sacking over it for a seat was put in 
the middle. Aziz Khan had proposed taking a chair for 
me, but that would never have done, for the legs would 
have gone through the skins, and then — as someone said, 
if you have an accident on land there you are, but if you 
have one in the water, where are you ? Well, I sat on the 
bundle quite comfortably, with Aziz Khan and four other 
men round me, and reflected that really it is surprising that 
after hundreds, indeed probably thousands, of years of navi- 
gating this river the methods should still be so primitive. 
On getting into the current where the water was deep 
the men rowed with their poles which have not the 
faintest semblance of a blade ; on the contrary they held 
the thick ends in their hands and rowed with the thin 
ends. We soon got into a backwater which became very 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 269 

shallow, and we grounded at some distance from the 
island ; one of the coolies took Aziz Khan, a fairly heavy 
man, on his back, but the load being rather too great for 
him he floundered about so much that two other coolies 
rushed and each seized one of Aziz Khan's ankles by way 
of helping, with the result that his bearer came plump 
down on hands and knees, and Aziz Khan would have 
shot over his head if the others had not been hanging on 
tightly. I laughed till the raft shook so that it was like 
to get afloat, which would have been highly inconvenient, 
for I was alone on it and without a pole. We had a 
long walk across sand and shingle to the other side of 
the island, where we again went on the raft, but by this 
time nearly all the skins had gone flat and had to be 
blown up again. While we were crossing, Aziz Khan 
remarked, " Not good bandobast, this," which, considering 
that the skins were collapsing under our very eyes, was 
a mild way of putting it. 

When we first arrived at the river at nine o'clock there 
was a light puff of wind and a cloud of sand blowing 
far down on the opposite bank ; but soon this stopped, 
the wind changed to the opposite quarter and the sun 
came out. Before I started, however, the wind had gone 
back to where it was, but was still very light, and I 
was a good deal surprised and rather disappointed to be 
then told that there was too much wind for it to be 
safe to sail all the way to Dowani, our next camping- 
place, twelve miles down, and that we must just cross 
over and ride the rest of the way. After this little 
experience of the raft, however, I was glad Aziz Khan 
had arranged to have ponies (the two that were towed 
over) waiting on the opposite bank in case of need. We 
had only ridden half a mile when a high wind arose, 



270 WESTERN TIBET 

and a dust-storm completely blotted out the opposite 
shore, some 200 yards off, so the zakmen had rightly 
judged the signs of the weather. It was eleven o'clock 
when we mounted the ponies, the ferrying having occupied 
two hours, but I would not have missed it on any account. 
The charge for it all was one rupee. 

This kind of zak is luxury compared with that of 
sixty years ago, when the passenger sat on a zho skin 
with its legs in the air, and held on by one of them, 
putting an arm round the neck of the ferryman, who 
was in the water and held on by another of the legs as 
he half -swam, half -rowed with a paddle while he pushed 
the skin along. Things do progress on the Shayok after 
all, as they are doing in other parts of the "unchanging 
East," as witness the motor-cars in which the native 
shopkeepers of Delhi speed home at the end of their 
day's work. 

The road to Dowani is capital, principally along the 
river shore, though there are some nights of steps here 
and there, but they were quite rideable on the two 
good polo ponies which we were taking home after the 
tamasha. They were tired, poor beasts, and no wonder, 
and we travelled very slowly. At Dowani there is a 
perfectly level plain (a most unusual thing in these parts), 
several miles in length and about half a mile in width, 
lying between the mountains and the Shayok, beautifully 
cultivated and wooded, some apricot trees being so large 
that they looked like gnarled old oaks. A shady, grassy 
lane wound along through borders of white flowering 
trambah surrounding fields of kangri with heads as large 
as bulrushes, corn-coloured and quite ripe here, though 
green at Khapallu only nine miles off; but this village 
faces the south, and is completely sheltered from the 




By Alias Christie 

A Good Pakao, or Platform Road, in the Shayok Valley, 







^^ 


r 


" 


-^ll^^gBH _ 


"Nil !; 




By Mini Christie 



Tn ftoiw matt* 97(\. 



The Bed of the Shayok River. 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 271 

north and east, and vines grow luxuriantly, twisting 
themselves up among the trees. A large basket of 
delicious grapes was brought to the camping-ground as 
soon as I arrived. They are grown only for eating, as 
no wine is made in this Mohammedan country. 

There is a fine nullah behind the village, up which a 
road leads to Shigar in three marches over the Thalle 
La, 16,000 feet, a pass rather easier than the Chorbat La, 
and from there it is only one march from Shigar to 
Skardo, while by the route I took, following the river, 
it is five to Skardo. I made a special journey from 
Skardo to Shigar and back, thus retracing my steps for 
some distance and making seven marches as against 
four by the other way; but as fresh snow falls in 
September on the Thalle La, and two of the marches 
are very long, nine, and ten and a half hours, with no 
villages, consequently no supplies, it seemed better not 
to risk it so late in the season. I was in no hurry, and 
wanted to see the country, and should have missed some 
pretty villages and a second and charming voyage on a 
zak had I taken the shorter road. 

September 8th. Dowani is in its own way quite as 
beautiful as Khapallu, and the contrast of the bare 
mountains, with their rich changing colours showing 
through luxuriant foliage, is finer than if their sides 
were covered with a monotony of green. On leaving the 
village the path led through white trambah looking like 
fields of snow, and across a marsh, the first I had seen 
since leaving Kashmir. The ponies, very poor ones, which 
were hired here, floundered and boggled in it; but, 
fortunately, the two we had ridden from Khapallu were 
grazing in the marsh, and the owners were speedily 
found, saddles changed, and we proceeded comfortably. 



272 WESTERN TIBET 

Soon we reached the sandy river bed, which we left 
again to cross a rocky neck, and descended on the other 
side to the village of Kuness, where there was a scene 
of desolation, a great mass of water having rushed down 
the nullah behind, during the wet weather a few weeks 
before, swept away trees and fields, and destroyed many 
houses. The place belongs to the Rajah of Kiris, but 
the people said he would not do anything to help them 
in their trouble. From here to Kuru the road is very 
steep, winding up a high cliff with many flights of steps 
and a parao occasionally. There were great masses of 
blackened granite like the rocks in the Indus valley 
which have carvings on them, but I had never seen one 
carving since entering the Hanu nullah, though its in- 
habitants are Buddhists; but they are Dards, an illiterate 
race, never having been capable, apparently, of recording 
their hunting or fighting exploits in pictures as their 
Ladakhi neighbours do. It is against the Moslem religion 
to make an image or drawing of any creature, and when 
Baltistan adopted Mohammedanism no doubt all monu- 
ments and carvings connected with Buddhism were 
destroyed. I did not see a trace of a gompa, mani, or 
chorten in the country, though I made enquiries all 
along the route. On the road from Dowani to Kuru the 
ponymen were again asked if they had ever seen any 
rock carvings, and again said no. Five minutes after- 
wards I saw one, jumped off the pony, ran round the 
rock and found the other side covered with them. The 
sky had been thick with clouds, but at that moment the 
sun shone out most opportunely, and I took a photograph. 
A very little way further on there was another carved 
rock, with a picture of a chorten, a dog on a chain, several 
ibexes, and an inscription in Arabic. This was also 




Rock Carvings in the Indus Valley. 
"Om mani padmi hong" repeated many TIMES. 




Rock Carvings in the Shayok Valley. 
Inscription in Modern Tibetan, submerged during the summer. 

To face pnjje 272. 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 273 

photographed. The ponymen seemed amused by my 
eagerness, and said that these carvings were done by 
the little shepherd boys who spend the winter on the 
hills, which shows that there are memories and customs 
of the ancient religion of the country still lingering among 
the people. Near Kuru on this road, which was made 
about fifteen years ago, there were a few more carvings, 
almost entirely of hands, whole rocks being covered with 
them, but all here are very roughly done compared with 
those in Ladakh. From Kuru to Kiris the road lay a 
part of the time along the bed of the Shayok, which is 
dry from the end of August till the middle of May, and 
here there were two carved rocks, one with pictures of 
hands and two or three ibexes, the other having two 
pictures of chortens, badly done and a good deal worn, 
but unmistakable, and one inscription in modern Tibetan 
script. As these two rocks are covered with water when 
most travellers come this way, it is not likely they have 
been observed before. Cunningham 1 says : " In the middle 
of the fourteenth century appeared the great Lama Tsong 
Khapa" (who originated the sect of the yellow Lamas). 
•" Pictures of him are hung up in all the temples, and the 
holy impressions of his hands and feet are said to be 
preserved in butter in the western chamber of the Potala 
Monastery. 'The prints of the Grand Lama's hands 
were eagerly sought for by the people' (Turner's Tibet, 
p. 459)." It is doubtless these that are represented on 
the rocks. The outspread hands are a favourite emblem 
in the East. They are seen on the lintels of Jews' houses 
in Palestine and Syria, and also in Calcutta, and among 
the Mohammedans they mean the hands of Fatma, the 
daughter of the Prophet. Cunningham 2 adds: "I have a 
1 Ladak, pp. 368-9. *LadaJc, p. 369. 



274 WESTERN TIBET 

scmad or grant by the Emperor Akbar, which bore on 
the back the print of his royal hand." 

In the rock carvings here and in the Indus valley sports- 
men are represented as armed with bows and arrows and 
guns. The bodies of the horses are sometimes formed of 
two triangles, the horns of the ibex are greatly exaggerated, 
while in the pictures of the snow leopard the artists always 
cleverly suggest the cat-like drawing out of its body when 
stalking its prey, and the immense length of its tail, which, 
reaches to the tip of its nose when turned over its back. 
This animal is shown just under the pot in the photograph 
facing this page. 

The month spent at Khapallu was good bandobast, for in 
addition to the immense interest and enjoyment it afforded, 
the journey to Skardo was easier and pleasanter than it 
would have been at the beginning of August ; the road was 
described to me as unbearably hot, but during this month, 
except in the middle of the day, it was quite cool, and there 
was a gentle, refreshing breeze from the north. The river 
had shrunk so much that for many miles one could travel 
along its bed instead of having to climb up and along the 
face of the cliff by a very rough path, over several paraos 
and across beds of shale. For some distance, however, where 
we had to leave the river bed the road was very bad, and 
in one place had been broken away by a landslip ; a parao 
here was much the worst I have seen, only two feet wide, 
and on the poles thin flat stones were laid which tilted 
when stepped on, giving glimpses of the river hundreds of 
feet below at the foot of the precipice. Any of the poles 
may have been rotten, as they are never renewed till they 
break, and it is only a Tibetan who could manage to skip 
out of danger when his footing gives way under him in a 
place like this. Of course I walked, and equally, of course, 




Rock Carvings in the Shayok Valley. 




Rock Carvings in the Shayok Valley. 



To face page 2T4 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 275 

in the place of honour, first in the row, with the first 
chance of popping down through a broken pole, Aziz Khan 
behind grasping my arm, for there was no room for him 
beside me. The ponies must have been on the extreme 
edge with their bodies rubbing against the cliffs ; as for 
the coolies, with loads projecting beyond their shoulders, 
they would have to go sideways. When we descended 
again the road was very easy, and entered Kiris through a 
poplar avenue nearly a mile long. The following month 
the river would be so low that zaks would no longer be 
used for crossing, as it could be waded ; it would only 
occupy a few yards of its channel, which is a mile wide in 
places and covered with water in the summer, and people 
would sail down by zak all the way from Kiris to Skardo, 
30 miles in six hours. 

I had hoped to arrive at Kiris on the 7th by doing 
a double march from Dowani of 25 miles, but the march to 
Kuru from Dowani turned out to be 19 miles instead of 16 
according to the guide-books, and the going was so slow 
that though a start was made at 7.30 a.m. we did not get to 
the camping-ground till 3.30 p.m.; Kiris is described as 
being nine miles further, but is really twelve. Double 
marches which lengthen out in that way are not to be 
attempted. I intended to keep on the right bank of the 
river and camp at Narh, but the news at Kiris was that the 
direct road to Shigar was very bad and partly under water 
owing to a flood in a side nullah, so we had to go to 
Skardo first with another experience of a zak, but a much 
larger and better one than that at Khapallu, as I was assured 
beforehand. 

Kiris is another lovely village where a month could be 
spent most agreeably, there being even a small rajah to 
entertain one with his jungly ways. Fruit is plentiful, and 



276 WESTERN TIBET 

two large bunches of grapes and some apples were given 
to me by the chowkidar. The air is full of the chattering 
of sparrows, and there are many magpies and rooks ; there 
is evidence of abundance of bird-life in the scarecrows 
fluttering in the fields. It is curious how many birds there 
are in one village and how few in another only a few miles 
off, and with seemingly the same food in both. I did not 
notice a single sparrow in Khapallu ; two or three magpies, 
and a pair of hoopoes with two young ones were the only 
birds that came to the bagh. The soft call of the hoopoe, 
" hoopoe-poe-poe," is only heard in the late spring in this 
country, to which it is a summer visitor. 

Round the Rajah's house there are many acres of golden 
kangri, with patches of white trambah, unfenced and 
unterraced, and the broad expanse of waving grain is a 
pleasant variety from the tiny fields common to the country. 
Some of the houses have an upper story of basket-work for 
living in in warm weather ; one house hid it in yellow and 
brown exactly like the fancy baskets at home. In the 
middle of the village there is a curious erection of stone, 
plastered or cemented over, 9 feet long, 8 feet high, and 15 
inches thick, flat on both sides and rounded at the top; it is 
a target which the Rajah, Wazir and other principal men of 
Kiris use for archery practice. 

When I came out of my tent for breakfast at seven 
o'clock on the 9th, the air was crisp and almost startlingly 
clear ; every rock, every pebble stood out sharply in the sun- 
shine on the mountain side. The road to the landing-place 
for the zak led for three miles through the village and 
along the side of a cliff, high above the river, which divides 
into two where the mountains recede, and encircles a large 
island of sand which for three months in the summer 
is covered with water. It must then look very like one of 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 277 

our smaller Scottish lakes, being nearly a mile wide and 
surrounded by lofty hills. We got down to the river bank 
by a good winding path made about a year before, and 
waited for the zak just opposite to where the Indus comes 
down a gloomy gorge to join the Shayok, the rivers being 
about the same in volume here. The telegraph wires con- 
necting Srinagar and Kargil with Skardo accompany the 
Indus on part of its course, and their appearance here gave 
a commonplace air to the rest of the journey till they were 
left behind again at Skardo. The last time I had seen 
them was at Khalatse on their way from Srinagar to Leh, 
and they were met with again at Burzil Chowki on the 
Gilgit road on their way from Gilgit and Astor to Srinagar. 
The zak which was described as being so large and 
good, measured 12 feet by 9, and the skins certainly 
looked better than those on the Khapallu one, but in 
every other respect it was exactly the same. The 
servants and coolies with their loads crossed first; and 
then I went with Aziz Khan and four men, who all 
rowed with oars that would have made quite decent 
window-poles and had as much blade. One or two of 
the skins had to be blown up as we sailed. When we 
got into the current we glided smoothly along at the 
rate of seven or eight miles an hour for four miles, to 
near Gol on the opposite bank, and it was delicious in 
the midst of that grand scenery, the brilliant sunshine 
being tempered by a light northerly breeze which met 
us, and having the low thunder of the rapids in our 
ears. At that season these rapids prevented our sailing 
all the way to Skardo. Our good polo ponies, which 
we had brought from Khapallu, were sent back from 
the river-side when we went on board the raft, and we 
had a walk of three miles, at first through avenues of 



278 WESTERN TIBET 

willows and then along shady field paths, from the 
landing-place to the camping-ground at Gol, a beautiful 
bagh looking down on fields of grain, some of them in 
flower, with clumps of poplar standing tall and slim 
around them. The villages on the Shayok are nearly all 
charming, particularly now in the richness of approach- 
ing harvest, and each has its own peculiar feature, so 
that it is easy to keep them distinct in the memory. 
Those on the Indus are not nearly so pretty, and the 
scenery is more sombre, while this place, Gol, though 
rather attractive, has the disadvantage of being in a 
narrow part of the valley where it runs north and 
south, so that the sun comes late and leaves early. 

I got to Gol at noon and might have gone on to 
Gomba Thurgon, four and a half hours further, but the 
lumbardar said all the ponies were out in the jungle 
and could not be brought in at once, and that if we 
would wait till next morning he would provide us with 
good ones. When next morning came he said there were 
none even in the jungle, to Aziz Khan's wrath, for this 
village is well supplied with them. Aziz Khan ferreted 
out a pony belonging to the moulvie, which he got for 
me, and he walked himself, and as it was an eight hours' 
march to Skardo, a good deal of it over burning sand, 
he was very tired, though he would not acknowledge it. 

From Gol the road lay all the way along a flat, sandy 
space between the mountains and the river, the prevail- 
ing brownness of the scenery, unrelieved by variety of 
colour in the rocks, giving an impression of gloom even 
under a fierce sun. On the opposite bank lay the village 
of Narh, a long narrow belt of greenery on the hillside, 
most refreshing to the eye. Some men had crossed from 
there and brought a basket of grapes to me. Aziz Khan 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 279 

bought several pounds for one anna, and he and the 
other servants made a meal of them. From Khalatse 
onwards a great deal of their food had consisted of fruit, 
which is very cheap in the villages, so that they could 
«asily live on their rassad of two rupees a month. 

We next passed some coolies carrying four very good 
ibex heads, followed by the sportsman, a young English- 
man, who had been shooting in a nullah high above 
Narh. According to the etiquette of the country I stopped 
to ask for news, and congratulated him on his good 
sport. It had been bitterly cold at 15,000 feet where 
he camped, and there was a good deal of fresh snow, 
and yet here in the valley at 7000 feet it felt as hot in 
the middle of the day as it did at Leh when the thermo- 
meter was at 150°- Poor Batta felt it very much, being 
so close to the burning sand, and trotted on ahead till 
he found a rock to shelter under till we came up; when 
there was no rock large enough he scraped a hole beside 
the biggest stone he could see, and lay down in it to 
get as much shade as possible. Just at noon we got to 
Gomba Thurgon, prettily situated in the midst of fields 
in a wide part of the valley, 14 miles from Gol; and 
rested for two hours under some willows. There are 
miles of avenues of these trees near this village, and it 
is wonderful what good shade they give. Walnut trees 
are very poor in this respect, and one with a trunk 
fifteen feet in circumference throws no more shadow 
than a willow or even a poplar of three feet. Many 
of the large old walnuts here are pollarded, and the 
young branches look very flourishing on trunks which are 
quite hollow and decayed. 

On the road we overtook three men carrying loads 
of pottery on their backs in netted string bags. The 



280 WESTERN TIBET 

pottery, which was to be sold in Skardo bazaar, con- 
sisted of jars and bowls, large and small, and was 
made at Parkuta, a village on the Indus above its 
junction with the Shayok. Four of the pieces had 
patterns of this description rudely inscribed 
on them — OOO, all the rest of the three 
dozen being plain. 

A few miles above Skardo there is an old fort which 
the road passes through; ten years ago three or four of 
the Maharajah's soldiers were posted in it as a guard, 
where formerly there was a much larger force, but the 
country is so secure now under British protection that 
they are not required. 

Near this place we passed a young English couple 
on horse-back, apparently man and wife, the lady astride 
in riding breeches, looking very comfortably and suit- 
ably attired. Aziz Khan remarked that he had been 
eight times in Baltistan without seeing a single mem 
sahib, and this was the sixth this summer. The country 
is overrun with us ! 

Up to this point in the Indus valley, as far as I have 
seen it, the scenery is much less pleasing than on the 
Shayok ; the forms of the mountains are not so grand, and 
the arid barrenness impresses itself more deeply on the 
mind, even the patches of cultivation on the narrow shelves 
of rock near the villages emphasising the extreme effort 
required to make anything grow. Just above Skardo 
however, the scenery becomes finer, the valley widens out 
into a level plain, with the river winding through it, and 
with what looks like an exaggerated Bass Rock in a sea of 
sand standing up boldly 1000 feet in the middle, the 
mountains, some of them snow-streaked, forming a guard 
all round it. The well-irrigated and grassy plain, twenty 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 281 

miles long and five or six broad, was once a lake, and near 
the upper end of it is the great rock before mentioned, with 
an ancient killa part of the way up, and another on its- 
very topmost pinnacle, standing guard over the villages of 
Skardo, which are scattered over the old shore of the 
lake, a plateau 150 feet above the Indus, and 7500 
above the sea. The foot of the plateau is approached 
across the plain by a poplar avenue a mile or more in 
length, ending in a steep path which winds up and enters- 
another avenue on the top as long as the first, passing the 
camping-ground to the post and telegraph office, hospital, 
and bazaar. The Rajah's house, the polo ground, and a 
Dogra fort are close by. 

It is hot at Skardo in the summer, and in the end of" 
August the shade temperature still rises to 80°, but it is 
cool at night. In the middle of September it was pleasantly 
warm. The fruit here is particularly good, but now the 
melons, peaches, and apricots were over, and there were 
only grapes left, which were delicious. In winter, though 
it is cold, there is less snow than in Kashmir, and the Indus 
seldom freezes. Dr. Thomson, who spent the winter of 
1847-8 here, says in his Travels in the Western Himalayas 
and Tibet, that the first snow fell November 28th; the 
depth in February was 15 to 18 inches; the greatest cold 
was half a degree above zero on the 8th of February ; and 
that during the whole winter the mean temperature at 
2 p.m. was 33f °. 

Near Skardo there were large clumps of trees high up on 
the mountain sides, though lower down there was not a 
particle of verdure on them. The trees were so high up 
that their autumn foliage made them look like patches of 
lichen on the rocks at first sight, and it was only on looking 
at them through a field-glass that I discovered what they 



282 WESTERN TIBET 

were. It seems necessary as a rule to get to a height of 
15,000 or 16,000 feet in this country before natural 
vegetation is met with. 

Miss Christie arrived at Skardo a few hours after me, 
though she left Khapallu the day before I did, but her 
journey had been a most adventurous one. She had gone 
down to the river intending to cross on the zak, but there 
were great numbers of people from the tamasha going 
home by it, who crowded on it till they had to be driven 
back by main force. After sitting watching it for two 
hours and seeing it sink twice, Miss Christie preferred to 
■do the next stage by the route described as via Kurphak 
in the latest guide-book (Duke's). I had intended to go 
this way too, but the Khapallu people had never heard of a 
place called Kurphak, and it and the road to it marked on 
the map seem to be equally non-existent. The people said so 
much about the badness of the track on their side of the river 
that I decided not to attempt it, and very much obliged I 
am to them for dissuading me; for Miss Christie found 
it difficult and dangerous, a mere goat-track three or four 
inches wide in places, across steep banks of soft, shifting 
sand, sloping to the river far below, alternating with bands 
of clay in which notches had to be cut to give foothold. 
The coolies were extremely unwilling to go on after 
reaching the first village, as the rest of the track was no 
better, and wished to return to Khapallu, but that would 
not have improved matters, for it was equally dangerous to 
go back. She therefore pushed on, and arrived at a miser- 
able camping-ground beside a miserable village nearly 
opposite Kiris, so worn out that she had to rest there a day 
before proceeding further. No European woman, and very 
few sahibs had ever used this route, and the villagers came 
in crowds to look at her. She despatched a note by coolie 



FROM KHAPALLU TO SKARDO 283 

to Kiris asking for the rait to be sent to take her to Gol, 
and this most fortunately came when I was there, for other- 
wise her message might not have been understood, not a 
creature in the place knowing English. After my voyage 
was over the zak went for her, and notwithstanding all her 
previous tremors she thoroughly enjoyed the seven or eight 
miles' voyage on it, and was only sorry she had not taken to 
it at first, and so avoided that frightful piece of road. The 
Rajah of Kiris wanted to see her as she passed his house, 
which overhangs the river, and the raft was steered close 
under his balcony, where he stood salaaming profusely. 
The Gol lumbardar had been as rude to her as to me, 
refusing to give her ponies also, and she had to walk 
almost all the way to Skardo. At Aziz Khan's sugges- 
tion I sent a note to the Tehsildar here, reporting this 
misconduct. 

There was neither lumbardar nor chowkidar at the 
camping-ground at Skardo on my arrival soon after five 
o'clock, and it was not till nine that one of them was found. 
This was strange in an important place like the capital of 
Baltistan. It is a point that many sportsmen make for, 
but it was getting late in the year for them, and we two 
mem sahibs were the only Europeans here. Our tents 
were pitched near each other, but beyond range for talking, 
so we enjoyed our beloved silence while contriving to 
have an air of sociability. 



CHAPTEE XXV. 

SKAEDO AND SHIGAR. 

On my arrival at Skardo the postmaster soon came to see 
me to explain why he had not sent a registered letter to 
Khapallu which was lying in the post-office when my 
coolie messenger called, and why he had not sent me any 
stamps by Ramzana. He was an old man and looked 
quite imposing, dressed in his best, coat, pyjamas, shoes 
and voluminous pagri, though he did official business in 
the post-office in his night-garb. He begged me not to 
report him for overlooking the registered letter, as it would 
cause him to lose his pension after thirteen years' service. 
In gratitude to me for letting him off, he arranged with a 
dealer in the bazaar to cash a cheque of mine on the 
Srinagar Bank at two per cent, instead of five, which was 
the rate demanded at first. An Indian shopkeeper who 
happened to pass through Khapallu when I was there 
offered to cash one for one per cent. Great is the confidence 
in sahibs! 

One afternoon I was sitting writing when I heard a 
peculiar little cry, and on looking up saw three falconers 
winding through the trees and along the path which passed 
close to my tent, each with a hawk on his wrist; the 
Rajah, all in white and surrounded by several attendants, 
rode behind. I wanted to run after them to see the hawk- 



SKARDO AND SHIGAR 285 

ing, but they were going a long way up a nullah after 
chikor — too far for me to follow them. I had not even 
time to photograph the picturesque group with its back- 
ground of cultivated valley bounded by the lofty Mustagh 
mountains, which melted out of sight in the golden 
distance. 

It is the proper thing for sahibs to call on the Rajah ; 
this was quite inadmissible for us two women, so we sent 
to ask if we might call on the Rani; but owing to the 
recent death of her sister she did not receive visitors, and 
was living in a strict seclusion which would last for a year. 
The Rajah sent his " biggest salaams " to the Miss Sahibs, 
and said he would have polo for them next day, requesting 
that I would not go to Sadpor then, as Aziz Khan told 
him I had arranged to do, to see the Buddha rock which 
I had been told about at Khapallu. As it happened, the 
morning was quite unsuitable for the intended trip, the air 
being full of mist and dust after a windy night, making 
photography impossible, so I put off going till we returned 
from a visit to Shigar which Miss Christie and I had 
actually planned to take together. 

We paid a visit to the lower of the two old killas, which 
was partly destroyed by the Dogras when they conquered 
the country in 1840, but which has been restored; it is 
built on two shelves of a projecting spur of the great rock 
in the middle of the valley, and is approached by a wonder- 
fully easy modern road, very unlike the paths up to any 
other such places I have seen. At the foot of the rock 
there are a few ruins which Dr. Thomson describes as 
■exhibiting in 1847 the remains of former magnificence, 
including a part of a marble fountain, but of this we saw 
nothing; they are probably the ruins of the palace of 
Ahmed Shah, the last independent Rajah of Skardo, who 



286 WESTERN TIBET 

set fire to it on the approach of the Dogra army before 
retreating into the stronghold which towered above it. 
In the courtyard of the killa there is a dilapidated mosque, 
the ziarat or shrine of this Rajah, and on a terrace above 
it stands the lower killa itself, which is entered through 
a large guard-house containing a dozen little old cannon 
of Kashmir manufacture; one had a wooden butt like a 
rifle, and all the others were simply tubes thicker at one 
end than the other, with a pentagonal or hexagonal bore, 
and were fixed on rests with screws for raising and lowering 
them. Guns of the latter pattern were used on boats in 
Kashmir formerly for duck-shooting. The sentry was 
armed with a silver-handled scimitar. The walls are very 
thick, and there are piles of stones laid on the parapets, 
but the place does not look strong. The highest peak of 
the rock, about 1200 or 1400 feet above the valley, is 
precipitous on all sides ; in the small upper killa perched 
on the top of it the Rajah Ahmed Shah took refuge during 
the Dogra siege, having laid in a stock of provisions to 
last for three years. For some time he defied his enemies, 
who could not find any way of getting at him till, according 
to local tradition, a faithless subject betrayed him for a 
bribe and showed the pathway. There is a picturesque 
modern Dogra fort below the killa, and on the way to it 
we were shown a low-roofed cell in a wall on the roadside 
in which prisoners used to be shut up and starved to 
death. Near the fort are barracks, where a part of a 
regiment of the Maharajah's soldiers is stationed. 

That afternoon we went to the polo match, in which 
the Rajah of Skardo and the Rajah of Shigar (who was 
visiting him) both joined ; but the play was not good, the 
ball being often missed, and the players, eight on a 
side, getting into knots. A dust-storm was going on 




Ferry Boat on the Indus. 




Ahmad Shah's ruined Ziarat at the Fort, Skardo. 



To face page 286. 



SKARDO AND SHIGAR 287 

at the time, blotting out the scenery like a November 
fog. 

The next day we marched to Shigar, a collection of 
villages eleven miles off on the Shigar river, and had to 
cross the Indus just above Skardo, where there was a ferry 
boat, flat-bottomed and square-ended like a Thames punt, 
which held twenty coolies and two ponies and myself and 
servant quite comfortably. This is a very ancient type 
of boat ; it is built like the Kashmir cargo-boats with the 
planks fastened together with strong clamps on the outside, 
exactly the same as one which figures in a carving on a 
pillar at the Great Tope at Sanchi in India, which dates 
from 200 B.C. Every time it crossed it was carried down 
by the current past the best place for landing and had to 
be towed back in the slack water by a couple of men, who 
waded close under the bank, but we were all on the other 
side in less than half an hour. 

The Indus here begins to be called the Attak (or Attock), 
the name by which it is known to the Indians ; the ancient 
route to the plains of India followed its course, but was so 
frightfully bad that it has been abandoned in recent years 
in favour of that by Kargil and the Zoji La, or of the 
Deosai plains, since the good roads from Leh and Gilgit to 
the Vale of Kashmir, and thence by the Jhelum valley to 
Rawal Pindi have been made. Fa-hian, the Chinese traveller 
who journeyed down the river in the beginning of the fifth 
century on his way to Afghanistan from K'uch-ch'a (pro- 
bably Skardo), describes the route in much the same terms 
as those used by Dr. Thomson and other 19th century 
travellers. Fa-hian says: "The way was difficult and 
rugged, running along a bank exceedingly precipitous which 
rose up there, a hill-like wall of rock, 10,000 cubits from 
the base. When one approached the edge of it his eyes 



288 WESTERN TIBET 

became unsteady, and if he wished to go forward in the 
same direction there was no place in which he could place 
his foot, and beneath were the waters of the Indus. In 
former times men had chiselled paths along the rocks and 
distributed ladders on the face of them, to the number 
altogether of 700, at the bottom of which there was a 
suspension bridge of ropes by which the river was crossed, 
its banks being there 80 paces apart." Dr. Thomson relates 
in his Travels that, in 1840, he went for some distance 
down the river from Skardo, and had encountered forty of 
these ladders when he was obliged to turn back on account 
of the badness of the way. In Colonel Waddell's Among 
the Himalayas there is a photograph of some ladders on 
the face of a precipice ending in a bridge which gives a 
vivid idea of these nightmare-like structures. A rope- 
bridge is bad enough in itself, but when it has to be 
approached by such ladders it is not surprising that even 
coolies have sometimes to be blindfolded and carried across. 
A sportsman told me that he had crossed one, and the 
thought of having to re-cross it had kept him awake the 
whole night long. I carefully avoided all willow bridges. 

Poor Fa-hian had a bad time altogether, for his terrors 
were added to by the dragons which he believed inhabited 
the mountains, and " which when provoked spit forth 
poisonous winds and cause showers of snow and storms of 
sand and gravel. Not one in ten thousand of those who 
encounter these dangers escapes with his life." These 
storms of gravel are the avalanches of stones and rocks 
which occur after a high wind, and the roar of whose fall 
is a familiar sound in the Himalayas. 

After crossing the ferry we rode along the river sands to 
where a little stream came down among the rocks, nourish- 
ing a grass plot and a few trees, and here we halted for an hour. 



SKARDO AND SHIGAR 289 

A flock of sheep and goats came to drink, and Batta gratified 
Ms hereditary instincts by doing a little amateur shepherd- 
ing, rounding in any of them he thought had gone too far, 
and having a stone sent after him sometimes for his pains. 
After passing through a rather steep and rough gorge we 
caught sight of Shigar nestling among its orchards, and 
we soon entered one of the long avenues of willows and 
poplars which usually form the approach to villages in this 
part of Baltistan. In the avenue there were some apricot 
trees with enormous vines twisting themselves in great 
loops as they climbed to their tops. In a field a goat was 
feeding which had horns exactly the same as those of an 
ibex, a very unusual circumstance. 

We camped on the polo ground (nice for the polo !) as 
there would be no play for several days owing to the 
Rajah's absence. The ground is the largest in Baltistan, 
365 yards long by 50 in width, and is covered with good 
grass; the goals, which are 25 to 30 yards from the ends of 
the ground, are marked by a row of three or four white 
stones the size and shape of half a bowl for playing bowls. 
At one side there is an enormous walnut tree, which must 
be several centuries old, and at one end a white poplar over 
100 feet high with a great hollow in the trunk. Near it 
there is a huge chenar or plane-tree like those which are 
the glory of Kashmir, where it is quite common to see them 
with trunks 15 to 20 feet in girth. 

There is an old killa on a rock, which, of course, had to 
be visited. For a part of the way up the path was quite 
good, but it ended in a precipice up which I was dragged 
by the kotwal and another man, both barefooted, and the 
way they walked up a smooth, almost perpendicular cliff, at 
the same time pulling me along, was perfectly marvellous. 
I interested myself deeply in watching their feet and 



290 WESTERN TIBET 

looking out for crevices in which to put my toes, as looking 
at the view or thinking how I was to get down again did 
not tend to either equilibrium or equanimity. When we 
reached the last shelf but one, I was told that if I went to 
the very top it would be very bad coming down over 
a quantity of loose stones, and I therefore paused here 
to gaze at the magnificent scenery. Immediately below 
was the wide fertile valley of the Shigar which falls into 
the Indus opposite Skardo, and to the north and east were 
the snowy ranges of the far-reaching Karakorams, where 
those immense glaciers lie which have been explored and 
described by Sir Martin Conway and other distinguished 
travellers, among them Mrs. Bullock Workman, the only 
woman who has entered that great ice-world. 

There was nothing to be seen in the ruinous killa, but in 
the rock close to the buildings there are two deep fissures. 
each open towards the country, into which prisoners were 
lowered and left to starve, with fields and farms and 
orchards and the shining river and their f ellowmen in full 
view far below them, while they sat watching them in 
helpless agony. 

There are a great many bright green stones called 
zahar mohra, looking like a species of inferior jade, lying 
about on the ground at Shigar, which the inhabitants 
make into pipes, cups, dishes, knives, spoons, and cooking 
utensils, all articles of every-day use, for here the stone 
age is still in existence. I went to a cottage to see a 
man at work on these things; in the floor there was a 
small square opening, across which was a bar with a drill 
fixed on the end of it, and with it a cup was being 
scooped out. The bar was turned by means of a treadle 
worked by a woman who sat on the floor with her 
feet down in the hole in which it was placed, the man 



SKARDO AND SHIGAR 291 

pressing the cup against the drill. The stones are collected 
in the autumn, before the snow comes, and are manu- 
factured for the most part in the winter, so this was not 
a good time to see specimens of the work, and the few 
shown me were rough and imperfect. 

Near the polo ground there is a large and very- 
handsome mosque in a walled enclosure, shaded by some 
fine old chenar trees; a broad flight of steps leads to a 
spacious veranda, in which I lingered long, gazing with 
delight at the rich carving on door-posts and window- 
frames, the designs in most cases being the same as 
those at Khapallu, but much more finely executed. The 
moulvie, a handsome, well-dressed man who was delighted 
to show off the beauties of his mosque, said that a 
round brass plate over the lintel of the door covers a 
document giving the age of the building, which he stated 
to be a thousand years ! In the interior four tall walnut 
pillars, tapering towards the top in the natural lines of 
the tree-trunks from which they were made, support 
the cross beams of the roof; the bases and bracketed 
capitals are carved in bands of different patterns, the 
chevron being conspicuous among them. The woodwork 
of the ceiling is partly coloured. Near this mosque are 
two small ones also beautifully decorated, with horse- 
shoe shaped arches in the veranda of one of them, now 
disused and fallen into decay, from which we would 
fain have carried some pieces of exquisite carving lying 
scattered on the ground, but feared it might be looked 
upon as sacrilege or theft, or something equally scandalous 
that would bring discredit on the British name. 

In the village there are three butts for archery, none 
so large as the one at Dowani, but all ornamented — one 
with a pattern scratched in the plaster, and the other 



292 WESTERN TIBET 

two with designs painted in colour, the fleur-de-lys, 
which is often seen in carved wood in Baltistan, having 
a prominent place. A hole in the middle of the butt 
represents the bull's-eye, and when shooting is going on 
a piece of paper is laid round it for the other marks, 
inners, etc. Here, too, the Kajah and leading men in 
the place practise archery as at Dowani. 

At Shigar there are no midnight tamashas, and no 
flowers are worn in either men's or women's caps there 
or at Skardo. On a certain day in the spring the Shigar 
people light a fire in their fields and bake a cake on it 
of flour and oil, as an offering, that their crops may be 
good; the cake is then given to the poor. In the 
Punjaub, at the same season, the zemindars kill one or 
two sheep or a chicken, according to their means, cook 
them in the house, and take them out and eat them at 
midnight in the fields, where they sleep the rest of the 
night. This ceremony is not prescribed in the Koran. 
Fires are made on graves here, probably a survival of 
the Buddhist custom of burning the dead. Rosaries are 
used both by Buddhists and Mohammedans in Western 
Tibet, and so are amulets made of silver or cloth, containing 
prayers or texts from the Koran, which are worn on 
the cap, round the neck, and round the right arm, or 
sewn on the coat — a very ancient custom in the East 
which the Israelites were commanded to follow. Great 
faith is put in amulets. Aziz Khan told me that at 
Himis he did not feel well, and a Lama gave him a 
prayer written on paper which he fastened inside his 
coat, and he had been quite well ever since; at Skardo. 
he showed me with great pride a prayer for his safety 
and welfare which a "very big moulvie" at his village 
had written, and his wife had just sent him; he had 



SKARDO AND SHIGAR 293 

tied it in the end of his pagri. Some people call wearing 
amulets of this kind idolatry, but it seems to me to be 
rather a reminder of divine protection which no one 
can be the worse for. In some cases they do take the 
form of witchcraft, however, as once when a sahib of 
Aziz Khan's, who was on a shooting expedition, was 
quite determined to go by a very bad road, Aziz Khan 
. put a prayer charm under the covering at the foot of 
the sahib's bed, which had the desired effect of making 
him change his mind before morning and go by a 
safer way. 

I was drawing a carving on the outside of the mosque 
door when it opened suddenly and a youth came out 
who was as much startled as I was at first, but stayed 
to see what I was doing and was quite interested, pointing 
out my place if I paused for a moment. He went away, 
but returned in a few minutes, and gave me to understand 
that I must stop, and as I then happened to be taking 
a rubbing (very unsuccessfully) with a spoon and a piece 
of paper, I thought he might be an official who objected 
to my touching the building, so the spoon was laid 
down and the pencil taken up; but he put his henna- 
stained fingers over the place I was looking at, and as 
that did not stop me he hung the end of his pagri 
against it. Some women sitting on the edge of the 
veranda seemed amused by the persistence shown on 
both sides, and laughed when I turned to look at them; 
as women are always the worst when there is a show 
of fanaticism. I was sure I was doing no harm, and 
looked upon the affair as a kind of joke; it ceased to 
be a joke, however, when the boy took hold of my 
pencil and paper, not roughly, but determinedly. So I 
said to him (in English), " How dare you do that ? 



294 WESTERN TIBET 

I'll report you to the Maharajah, and the Rajah, and 
the Wazir Wazarat, and the Commissioner at Leh, and 
I'll go now and bring the chowkidar ! " I was gathering 
up my things to go when one of the women said, 
"Mem sahib," and waved her hand towards the carving 
in sign that I was to go on. " Is this not a moulvie ? " 
I asked. "No, he is not." "Son" (go away) I said, 
standing two steps above him, flourishing my pencil in 
his face and enjoying turning the tables on him immensely. 
"Son! I will report you to the Rajah." He was off 
like a shot and out of sight in a moment. Another woman 
joined the group, and there was an animated conversation 
in which the word " report " was repeated several times. 
It is a blessed word, "report," the open sesame of this 
part of the world. Aziz Khan complained of the rude 
boy to the moulvie, who came and sat on the steps himself 
to ensure that I was not disturbed. 

The northern districts of Baltistan used to be much 
oppressed by the neighbouring Kanjutis, the men of 
Hunza and Nagar, who came down from their fastnesses 
robbing caravans and killing and harrying villagers. 
The Kashmir Government was helpless or indifferent 
during the fifty years that had elapsed since the con- 
quest of the country by the Dogra Gulab Singh, the 
first Maharajah, but in 1903 our Government sent the 
expedition against Hunza and Nagar, under Colonel 
Durand, to put an end to an intolerable state of matters. 
The following passage from Where Three Empires Meet 
(p. 231) gives a graphic account of the troubles of the 
Baltis : 

"These poor Baltis, robbed by the tax-farmers of their 
conquerors, hunted by Kanjuti robbers to be sold as 
slaves in Central Asia, dragged from their homes to do 



SKARDO AND SHIGAR 295 

forced labour on the Gilgit Road, and murdered by 
their Suni neighbours, have hitherto dragged on but 
an insecure and harassed existence among their wild 
hills and valleys. 

" But in every respect a better time is now coming 
for the Baltis, as they are already beginning to 
realise; and for this they have to thank our interference 
in the affairs of the Kashmir State. The Kanjutis who 
sold them as slaves will do so no longer, since Colonel 
Durand's successful expedition ; the position we have 
taken up at Gilgit has put a stop to the raids of the 
Indus Valley tribes ; an organised transport corps will now 
do away with the evils of the Gilgit Road begar; 1 and 
when our Settlement Officer has extended his work to this 
portion of the Maharajah's dominions, it is to be hoped 
that the poor persecuted Baltis will become the happy 
and prosperous people they deserve to be. For this is 
a blameless and innocent race of men. Europeans who 
have travelled through their country always speak well 
of, and remember with kindly feelings, these honest, 
simple, cheerful, and good-natured creatures, in whose 
character there is much that is pathetically attractive." 

The remarkable change for the better prophesied in 
these words has already come to pass in the ten years 
which have elapsed since they were written, and now, 
instead of meeting an official with lanterns in daylight 
to show him their misery distinctly, as it is recorded 
that the villagers did in one instance, they greet 
him with music and dances. The prosperity visible in 
the country compared with the picture given of its 
former state might be a lesson to those people at 
home who accept their own peace and security as a 
1 Forced labour. 



296 WESTERN TIBET 

mere matter of course, but utter cries of protest against 
a Government which proceeds to extend these benefits 
to others who are under its protection. Can there be 
a nobler mission for a great nation than to rescue the 
oppressed, to prevent slavery, and to give the peaceably- 
disposed liberty to go about their daily work unmolested ? 
Recent history records that tribes and states (Ladakh 
among others) have asked to be taken under British 
protection when they saw the benefits resulting from it, 
though some have been refused, and I myself, when I 
was in Syria a few years ago, heard the natives say how 
they wished their country could be as Egypt is. But 
nothing will convince some stay-at-home Britons, who 
always know so much better than those who go abroad 
and see things for themselves. 



CHAPTEE XXVI. 

THE BUDDHA ROCK AND ANCIENT BARRAGE 
AT SADPOR. 

We returned to Skardo on the 16th of September, and 
next morning I went to Sadpor in search of the carved 
rock which the Rajah Spindia at Khapallu had told me 
about, and also of the door with a border of figures of 
Buddha, which Aziz Khan had seen twelve years before 
and had frequently spoken of after he knew I was on the 
watch for Buddhist remains in Baltistan. The morning 
was fine and sunny, and as we rode along we passed 
two men sitting on a mat under the trees by the road- 
side, each rolling a goat-skin backwards and forwards; 
the skins were full of milk, and butter was being made 
of it in the Balti fashion. 

Three miles and a half from Skardo, and a few yards 
off the road to Sadpor, we came to the rock, which 
proved to be a large and important relic of antiquity. 
It is of granite, 18 or 20 feet high, and nearly as wide, 
and is covered with carvings in low relief ; its face is 
slightly concave, has been carefully smoothed and is of a 
pale buff colour, in strong contrast with the dark boulders 
surrounding it. In the centre there is a large Buddha 
seated on a lotus in the attitude of renunciation; around 
him also seated on lotuses are twenty smaller Buddhas 



298 WESTERN TIBET 

each 21 inches high, forming a square, five on a side, 
and on each side of the square there is a colossal stand- 
ing Buddha. The faces and figures of these two last 
are full front, but the feet are in profile, one behind the 
other (as in Egyptian sculpture), each foot being 21 
inches long. Below the middle of the square there is 
carved a jar containing a lotus-flower and two leaves, 
with a long inscription on each side; the letters are 
about an inch long, deeply sunk, and coloured with a 
red pigment which makes them very distinct, except in 
places where they have been purposely chipped away. 
At the top of the rock above the Buddha's head there 
is a square hole, which the chowkidar, who acted as 
my guide, said was used for holding a light, and the 
stone round it looks smoke-blackened. At the right- 
hand end of the rock, slightly angled to the front, low 
down, and overshadowed by a projecting part, there is 
a, third inscription equally long with the other two, 
which has also been partly defaced. At the left end 
of the rock, which is here about 12 feet high, at a 
right angle with the front, there is an incised carving 
of a seated Buddha with a standing Buddha on each 
side of him, but this part of the rock is so black in 
places and overgrown with lichen that they are not 
easily seen. 

I made copies of the inscriptions, and on my return 
home the following year submitted them to several 
Buddhist scholars in London and Paris, none of whom 
however could give a rendering satisfactory to themselves 
on account of the many blanks left where the letters on 
the rock were entirely obliterated, and where others were 
so much defaced that I, ignorant of the Tibetan characters, 
did not attempt to take them down. I wrote to Mr. 



ANCIENT BARRAGE AT SADPOR 299 

Francke telling him of my difficulty in getting a good 
translation, and he immediately sent a competent Tibetan 
from Khalatse to Sadpor to make new copies (of which 
photographs are here given), and this man was able 

No. I. 






to fill up many of my blank spaces, as he recognized 
numerous letters which had been partly destroyed. He 
had a long and fatiguing journey to Sadpor and back, 
having to walk 320 miles over rough tracks, up and 
down the beds of streams and along paraos, and to cross 
-and re-cross the Chorbat La, a pass nearly 17,000 feet 
high. His charge for travelling expenses for several 



300 WESTERN TIBET 

weeks and his trouble in making the copies amounted to 
the modest sum of 12 rupees (16s.). 

The inscriptions, judging from the orthography employed, 
are, Mr. Francke says, "as old as those at Balu-mkhar, 
dating from not later than 1000 a.d., and, imperfect as 
they are, are of great philological and antiquarian interest; 
they all seem to refer to the sculptures on the rock." 
Line No. 8 in the third of them seems to indicate that the 
sculptures of Buddha are much older than the inscriptions 
themselves. Mr. Francke's readings of them and notes 
on them are as follows: 

Number I. 

1. Of the offering . . . this secret collection (Buddha's religion) 

2. as it will be taught for a long time . . . decaying ; as 

3. many are lost through death, all men should, 

4. showing devotion, offer very many prayers ; 

5. henceforth for ever the faithful ones [should] 

6. from time to time [make] the colours 1 [of the sculptures] 

bright, 

7. and make a cleaning [or, and clean] the place of offering that 

it may not decay. 

Number II. 

1. Preaching perfection with body, speech 2 and mind, 

2. on this firm medallion 3 here . . . 

3. the five [Buddhas] in the middle (surrounded by?) . . . 

4. through mercy it originated from 

5. me [called] Great-hand . . . 

6. the very good Samantabhadra . . . 

7. (row?) 

8. (mother?) (earth?) to cut . . . 

1 These sculptures were all coloured, and the letters of the inscriptions 
are still red. 

''ysum instead of ysung is a mistake. 

3 An arrangement of Buddha in the middle surrounded by other 
Buddhas is called a medallion. 



No. II. 






No. III. 






3rc» aic ■ • ' 



302 WESTERN TIBET 

Number III. 

1. Salutation to the three gods ! 

2. offering ; children (or riches ?) of men, and . . . 

3. of the teaching which is firmer than anything . . . 

4. body (or statue) . . . 

5. of the magnified . . . 

6. it was looked for by him with trouble 

7. outsiders or insiders (Buddhists or Non-buddhists) . . . 

8. from this medallion, 1 which has been shown since a long time, 

is . . . 

9. very long (?)... 

The evangelist of the Moravian mission at Khalatse, a 
native Christian who was formerly a Buddhist Lama at 
Tashi Lhunpo, the celebrated monastery at Shigatse in 
Great Tibet, gives the following explanation of the figures 
in the medallion: "The two standing are Maitreya (the 
future Buddha) : the one seated in the centre is the his- 
torical (or present) Buddha, Sakya Muni; 2 all the small 
ones round him are the Buddhas of previous Kalpas, 3 and 
the one over the head of the central figure is the Buddha 
of the last Kalpa before the present one." 4 

The rock is on the top of the steep left bank of the 
Sadpor River (at this season an insignificant stream 
flowing through several channels), and so near the edge 

1,1 This medallion" is the sculpture shown in the photograph. 

2 An Indian prince, born c. 600 B.C. 

S A Kalpas is a vague era, popularly looked upon as 100,000 years. 

4 According to the belief of his followers the present Buddha, or 
" The Enlightened," is one of a long series of Buddhas. The Tibetans 
say that the next one, the Buddha Maitreya, or Buddha of Mercy, 
will be a white man ; when he is represented seated it is in the 
European fashion, not cross-legged like aD Oriental. This belief is 
very curious in the light of recent events in Lhasa. It should be 
borne in mind that Buddha is revered as the Great Teacher of his 
religion and not as a god, except by the very ignorant who worship 
his image amongst their other idols. 



ANCIENT BARRAGE AT SADPOR 303 

that it is impossible to take a complete view of it in a 
photograph. Although, on approaching it, it is quite 
conspicuous from the opposite bank when once the 
attention has been directed to it, yet it might be easily 
passed without notice by the two or three European 
sportsmen who may go up the Sadpor nullah in a 
season, as the path runs behind it, where it looks just 
like the rest of the boulders scattered round it except 
that it is larger. Aziz Khan, who has excellent sight 
and is very observant, had passed it eight times when 
he was up here with shooting sahibs without seeing it, 
and I did not meet anyone, not even Dr. Neve of 
Srinagar, the author of The Tov/rists' Guide to Kashmir, 
who had ever heard of it, till after my return to 
Srinagar in the following November, when a mining 
engineer who had been at Skardo on a prospecting tour 
a few weeks after I left told me he had been dragged 
most unwillingly to look at it, because "all the sahibs 
go to see it, and photograph it," a truly native way of 
exaggerating a thing that has been done once. 

Behind the Buddha rock there is a smaller rock with 
a chorten three feet high incised on it, the only other 
carving I saw. 

It is surprising that in the midst of a purely Moham- 
medan population these monuments have been allowed 
to remain intact except for the partial defacement of 
the inscriptions, while over the rest of the country 
every trace of its ancient religion appears to have been 
destroyed. 

We next proceeded to Sadpor Tso to see the door with 
the Buddhas, and instead of following the Sadpor river, 
which issues from the lake, turned to the right and took 
a shorter route, crossed a low pass and reached the lake 



304 WESTERN TIBET 

in 4£ miles. From the top of the pass we had a view of 
its southern end, where there is a village, the only one 
on its banks, and from it a short but rough road leads 
to the Deosai plain, up the Sadpor nullah. The lake is 
a beautiful little sheet of deep blue water, a few miles 
long and about a mile wide, with a narrow strip of 
verdure all round, between it and the bare mountains 
which tower above it; there is an island in the middle 
on which some trees and shrubs grow, near the shore. 
On coming down to the river my surprise was great to 
see a miniature of the barrage at Assouan, which I visited 
the year before it was finished, and to realise that it 
had been anticipated centuries ago by Tibetan engineers. 
This barrage crosses the river just where it leaves the 
lake, is about 14 feet high and 6 feet thick, and has two 
tiers of doors, six in each tier, each door 5 feet by 2 feet 
9 inches, with deep, smoothly cut, semicircular grooves 
to receive the rounded edges of the dressed granite slabs, 
now lying in the water below, which were used to close 
them. The lower tier of doors is blocked and half buried 
on the side next the lake by stones washed against it 
by the stream, which has made a new channel for itself 
round the end of the barrage. A few yards lower down 
a moraine, the ancient shore of the lake, stretches right 
across the valley, and the river has cut its way through 
it, leaving a cliff 30 feet high on its eastern bank. The 
moraine stands up like a knife and is perfectly level along 
the top; on the west side, which is much further from 
the mountains than the other, it is gradually lost in the 
rise of the ground, but on the east, at a distance of about 
50 yards from the stream, there is another cleavage, 
20 feet high, which may have been formed by a branch 
of the river. 




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ANCIENT BARRAGE AT SADPOR 305 

At the end of the moraine, next the river, a buttress 

of masonry partly formed of square stones is built against 

it, and was the pier of a pair of sluice-gates to further 

regulate the flow of water. The corresponding masonry 

on the western bank has been used as a quarry by the 

Skardo people, and not a trace of it remains beyond a 

few boulders at that end of the moraine. The difficulty 

of getting to the eastern side across the stream has 

prevented entire destruction here. There are two doors 

in the pier of the sluice-gates the same size as those in 

the barrage, the lower one partly blocked, and it was 

round the upper one that there were small figures of 

Buddha when Aziz Khan was here twelve years ago ; but 

these have disappeared, and he was as much disappointed 

as I was not to see them. At that time the Rajah, 

Shah Abbas of Skardo (who died in 1898), told him that 

a Gurkha regiment of the Maharajah's then stationed at 

Skardo had one day's leave in the week to go and do 

pujah (worship) at Sadpor to the figures on the rock 

and round the door, and the chowkidar now informed 

me that when the regiment left the district two years 

afterwards, the men took all these little images away 

with them to worship ; he added that it was a good thing 

they could not carry away the Buddha rock, or it would 

have gone too. The opening at the other end of the 

passage through the buttress, to which this door gives 

access, is covered with a quantity of earth and stones 

fallen from above, and as it was in the same condition 

twelve years ago, before the Gurkhas committed their 

depredations, it is probable that if excavated it would be 

found with its border of figures complete. At a little 

distance there are two nearly perfect slabs of grey granite 

lying on the bank which would fit these two openings, 

V 



306 WESTERN TIBET 

and a third has been built into the wall, perhaps 
because it was rejected as imperfect when the sluice was 
made. 

High up on the buttress wall, facing the river, there 
is an oblong slab of slate-coloured stone, the middle part 
sunk, leaving a sharply cut raised edge, two inches wide, 
which looks as if it had been a memorial tablet, but there 
is no trace of lettering on it, and the edges are so perfect 
that it does not look as if it had been defaced. Can it 
have had a stone or metal plate let in, bearing an in- 
scription, or covering one, as in the case of the old 
mosque at Shigar? 

The Rajah, Shah Abbas of Skardo, told Aziz Khan, 
when he was here some years before, that many centuries 
ago there was a village beside the Buddha rock which 
was destroyed by a flood caused by the rising of the 
Sadpor river, and that the last Buddhist Rajah of Skardo 
built the barrage and sluice-gates to prevent such 
occurrences. The river is the principal water supply for 
the town. This Rajah was killed in the killa at Skardo 
by Mongolian invaders, according to local tradition. 

A few yards above the barrage there is a roughly 
made dam of unhewn stones broken away in the middle 
(shown in the photograph, p. 304), which was built by 
Ahmad Shah, the last independent Rajah of Skardo, who 
was taken prisoner by the Dogras, and after many 
adventures died near Lhasa. 

I have not discovered any account of these ancient 
and interesting monuments, the barrage and the Buddha 
rock, in the books describing this part of the country. 
Even Dr. Thomson, who spent a whole winter in Skardo, 
and got to know all the roads in the neighbourhood while 
geologising, makes no allusion to them in his Travels 








H 9 



ANCIENT BARRAGE AT SADPOR 307 

which he would surely have done if he had seen 
them. 

The Private Secretary to the Maharajah of Kashmir, 
who has been the prime mover in having an archaeological 
department formed in connection with the State, had 
not heard of their existence till I told him of them in 
December, 1904. 

The age of the Sadpor barrage is uncertain, as it is not 
known at what date the Baltis were converted to Moham- 
medanism. General Cunningham conjectures that probably 
the bigoted King of Kashmir, Sikander Butshikan (the 
idol-breaker), who died a.d. 1410, sent armed bands into the 
country to propagate the Mohammedan religion. Several 
of the Balti rajahs trace their ancestry to about that period, 
and are perhaps descendants of victorious generals who 
deposed or killed the rulers of petty states, and established 
themselves in their stead. It may have been that the 
Buddhist builder of the barrage met his death very early 
in the 15th century at the hands of one of these Kashmir 
invaders. It is all the more to be regretted that there are 
no remains of an inscription on the pier of the sluice-gates, 
as it would probably have cast some much-needed light on 
the history of Baltistan. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 
THE TEHSILDAR OF SKARDO. 

On my way back from the lake I stopped at the Buddha 
rock to copy the inscription on it, sending Aziz Khan on to 
the camp, and when I got in an hour or two afterwards I 
found him stammering with rage and excitement, and Miss 
Christie very indignant ; they could get no supplies, though 
two messages had been sent to the Tehsildar, and only one 
sheep had been brought, for which its owner asked four 
rupees. " Look this, Miss Sahib," said Aziz Khan, seizing 
the struggling animal by its feet and holding it up, " only 
fifteen pounds, and they say four rupees ! " Preposterous ! 
The proper price was one rupee, eight annas, or two rupees, 
but a somewhat rude letter sent to Miss Christie in reply to 
one of her messages to the Tehsildar said she was to pay 
four rupees, or six, or whatever was asked, although there 
is always a fixed scale of charges which should be shown to 
travellers on demand by the lumbardar. It is necessary to 
lay in supplies for the four days' journey from Skardo to 
Burzil Chowki on the Gilgit Road, across the Deosai Plains, 
a desolate plateau with an average height of 13,000 feet, 
inhabited only by marmots, and subject to blizzards even in 
August, with not a roof of any description on it, the only 
erections being what look like very small sheepf olds with 
walls three feet high, where shelter can be obtained by 



THE TEHSILDAR OF SKARDO 309 

crouching behind them. It is only sahibs who use tents on 
the Deosai plains, and native travellers, ponymen, and 
coolies spend the night in these shelters, where two or three 
stones form the fire-place. Everything but water has to be 
carried, neither wood nor food of any description being 
obtainable. The situation was so serious that Aziz Khan 
asked me to telegraph at once to the Commissioner at Leh, 
and to write to the Tehsildar telling him I was doing so, 
and as we could not be worse, I thought I would try if 
bullying would do any good, so I wrote as follows : 
"To the Tehsildar of Skardo. 

" On my return from Sadpor at seven o'clock this 
evening, I was told that you had refused to give supplies 
to me and Miss Christie, and I have telegraphed to the 
Commissioner at Leh reporting you. You will be heavily 
fined and dismissed. In the meantime give orders to the 
lumbardar that my servant is to have everything he 
requires — wood, sheep, chickens, milk, and eggs." 

It was an outrageous piece of bluff to threaten fine and 
dismissal, but this kind of bluff terrifies the native, who 
cannot bear to part with his money. Aziz Khan was 
despatched with note and telegram, and about an hour 
later, just after I had got into bed, I heard a good deal of 
talking outside my tent, and was told next morning that it 
was the Tehsildar's munshi who had come to say that I 
should have everything, everything I wanted, but would I 
not send that telegram ! As the telegraph office was closed 
when Aziz Khan got to it, he promised, but next morning 
Miss Christie, who saw him after I had left on another 
visit to Sadpor, told him he must send it, for she could not 
do with a man who said one thing one day and another 
thing the next. It went, but she had to start on her 
journey that day without anything but a few chickens, and 



310 WESTERN TIBET 

an assurance that she would find a supply of wood awaiting 
her at the next village, which she did ; but it was wet, and 
had to be thrown away very soon. 

I went off early on my second visit to Sadpor, and when 
I came back at noon everything had been procured. In the 
afternoon the Tehsildar, a Hindu, but of a very different 
type from the kindly and well-bred Wazir Wazarat, was 
announced, come to say salaam to the Miss Sahib. My 
arm-chair was placed at one side of the table, and the small 
one that is always in danger of collapsing on the other side 
for the Tehsildar, the postmaster, not in his night clothes 
this time, standing at one end as his interpreter, and Aziz 
Khan at the other end as mine ; his tail of men and my 
servants, about a dozen people in all, stood round. He was 
dressed in a European suit of tweed, with riding breeches, a 
double watch-chain festooned across his chest, and a neatly 
rolled white pagri on his head, and looked quite imposing 
until unfortunately he marred the effect by some primitive 
habits which were in laughable contrast with his preten- 
tious air. 

After salaams we seated ourselves, and I proceeded to 
take him to task for his misdemeanours. How my people 
at home would have laughed if they could have seen me 
alone in the centre of Asia sitting in judgment on the 
district magistrate ! I began by saying I could not under- 
stand why he had refused supplies the day before, to which 
he replied that he had given the lumbardar orders to send 
me everything. " Yes," I said, " but it was under a threat. 
It was not until I had told you I was telegraphing to the 
Commissioner Sahib." He said he had told the lumbardar 
before, but he had not obeyed his orders. On my asking 
which was the lumbardar he was pointed out, a tall, gloomy- 
looking man, with his arms folded in his white draperies. 



THE TEHSILDAR OF SKARDO 311 

" And does this ignorant man imagine," I exclaimed, waving 
an indignant hand towards him, " that two English mem 
sahibs are to be treated in this way ? I'll report you to 
the Wazir Wazarat ! " " Why would you do that ? " asked 
the postmaster. " The Wazir Wazarat would only report 
him to the Tehsildar, and he is going to fine him five 
rupees. And is the Miss Sahib satisfied? Has she got 
everything ? " " Yes, / have got everything, but why had 
Miss Christie to go without anything this morning on such 
a journey as that across the Deosai Plains?" A great 
clamour arose, half a dozen men speaking at once. " And 
why was there no chowkidar here when I arrived ? At 
all other places from Leh down to the smallest village 
the lumbardar or chowkidar always received me and sent 
supplies at once, while here I had to wait for four hours 
before anyone came.'' " The Government does not supply a 
chowkidar here, and of course the Tehsildar can't pay for 
one out of his own pocket." " And what about that letter 
that was sent telling Miss Christie she was to pay anything 
she was asked ? She is going to show it to the Resident 
Sahib." The Tehsildar denied having written it, and the 
postmaster said the signature would show who had done 
so. " Who dares to write in such a way from your house 
in your name ? I hold you responsible for the conduct 
of your servants, and the lumbardar ought to be dismissed 
at once." The Tehsildar smiled superciliously at this, and 
I was asked once more if I had got everything I wanted, 
and if I would write at once to the Commissioner Sahib 
telling him that I had, and that the lumbardar would be 
fined — and the postmaster in his eagerness put pen and 
ink before me. " I'll write presently," I said, and then 
seeing that he looked doubtful I added, " Indeed, I must 
write this evening to the Commissioner Sahib to explain, 



312 WESTERN TIBET 

after haying telegraphed to him." Consternation ! " You 
telegraphed to him? When?" "This morning." The 
Tehsildar, looking straight before him, gave an order in a 
low voice, and Aziz Khan stooped and said softly, " That 
is the lumbardar being taken to prison." I looked round 
and there he was being marched off on the spot. The 
Tehsildar then said that in future there should always be 
a chowkidar in readiness (I was told two minutes before 
that this was impossible), who would see that all sahibs 
got supplies — " And mem sahibs," I interposed — " and mem 
sahibs got the supplies they wanted ; and did not the Miss 
Sahib want to bring a complaint against the lumbardar 
at Gol who refused to give her and the other Miss Sahib 
ponies ? " I had forgotten all about this, but said " Yes, 
I did," and was asked to write a formal complaint to the 
Tehsildar, who would have the man brought to Skardo 
to be dealt with. These rather ludicrous tokens of terror 
were received on my part with inward mirth, but outwardly 
with dignified condescension, as being in some measure a 
reparation for the annoyance and inconvenience the Miss 
Sahibs had suffered. There is always an air of comic 
opera about natives in their sudden changes from insolence 
to abjectness, when they find they are getting the worst 
of it. Next morning when I was on the point of starting 
the Tehsildar appeared once more to say salaam before I 
left ; his politeness seemed overpowering, but was explained 
after he had gone by Aziz Khan asking me to write out 
a telegram to the Commissioner saying the lumbardar 
had been fined and imprisoned. The Tehsildar had given 
him a rupee to pay for it ; it would take a week for my 
letter to go to Leh, and he was afraid he might be fined 
in the meantime. My piece of bluff had answered beauti- 
fully, and the best of the joke was that Captain Patterson 



THE TEHSILDAR OF SKARDO 313 

wired to me that he had nothing to do with Skardo and 
had reported the matter to the Wazir Wazarat. But a 
native who has jurisdiction is nowhere at all compared 
with a British Commissioner who has none. 

A week or two afterwards a telegram was handed to 
me from the Wazir Wazarat, the duplicate of one he had 
sent to the Tehsildar, asking for an explanation of his 
conduct and directing him to show the Miss Sahibs the 
price list and give them all the supplies they required 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

PASSES AND PLAINS. 

When I got up on the morning of the 19th of September, 
the weather looked so unsettled that it did not seem 
quite prudent to go by the Deosai Plains, though I was 
told that two hundred men were going from Skardo 
that day, and that they would be a protection to my 
party, which perhaps meant that if we were caught in 
a snow-storm we had a chance of rescue, but as it 
happened we never saw them. After deciding to go by 
the Indus valley and Kargil (which involved retracing 
my steps almost the whole way to Srinagar), the sky 
had cleared so much by the time for starting that it 
seemed a pity to take that long roundabout road, so I 
changed my mind once more and gave the order for the 
route by the Plains, to the evident amusement of the 
ponymen, who, however, were well pleased to take the 
shorter journey. They were Kashmiris who had brought 
goods to Skardo, and I engaged them to take us to 
Bandipura on the Wular Lake, in the Vale of Kashmir, 
where the Gilgit Road begins. 

After passing over some miles of stony plain in the 
outskirts of Skardo and up a narrow gorge the scenery 
changed, the valley widened, and as we ascended vegetation 
appeared in patches on the mountain sides. We camped 



PASSES AND PLAINS 315 

at Pindobal, 11,400 feet, in a sheltered nook near the 
foot of the Burji La, and as I walked about to keep 
myself warm voices were echoing far down the nullah 
opening into the Indus valley, which we had left behind 
us for the last time. Up above there was a vision in 
the sky of a calm silver sea, rocky islands rising out of 
it with bays and headlands, a stretch of white sandy 
beach curving along the foot of the hills, round whose 
heads filmy vapours floated, and in front a range of 
peaks powdered with snow. Slowly the scene melted 
away. Were those real mountains climbing towards the 
heavens ? 

Soon after three o'clock the sun had disappeared behind 
the hill immediately above the camp, but was still shining 
on the upper part of the valley, enhancing the glorious 
colours — rich yellow, delicate green, varied with splashes 
of crimson — of the trees which climbed far up among 
the rocks. Lower down were clumps of yew, wild rose, 
and barberry, gay with plum-coloured and scarlet fruit; 
the ground was covered with grass, and the keen mountain 
air brought the sound of the rush of distant waters. 
There is no irrigation here, the vegetation is all natural. 
How different from the hot stony tracks I had been 
passing through, which nevertheless have a beauty of 
their own! A clematis trailed itself up the yew trees, 
waving grey heads like dandelion "clocks," and a dwarf 
shrub with a scaly stem grew in profusion, looking like 
withered bracken. In this nullah and in the Hanu nullah, 
and also in approaching the Chang La, it is very notice- 
able how vegetation increases as the ground rises, owing 
to the mists which hang about the mountains giving 
some slight moisture to the soil. 

Trains of pack-ponies passed the camp on their way 



316 WESTERN TIBET 

from Kashmir down to Skardo. Their drivers gave a 
favourable report of the road, and we started in good 
spirits next morning at 7.45, and got to the snow at 10.45. 
Clouds began to roll up and soon obscured the sky, parting 
now and then to let a gleam of sunshine come through 
or a range of peaks show itself, but the Mustagh range 
on the other side of the Indus was completely hidden. 
There were some showers of hail, and when we got to 
the snow the wind blew it in little powdery clouds 
along the surface, which was firm enough to ride over, 
and only extended for half a mile. The snow-field stopped 
short just at the foot of the knife-like ridge at the 
summit, and as I wished to walk up the few remaining 
yards to the top I dismounted, but had only taken half 
a dozen steps when I sank down completely spent, and 
could not get into the saddle again till I had drunk 
some brandy from the flask which Aziz Khan had 
thoughtfully put in the saddle-bag. He afterwards gave 
me the cheerful information that one winter he had come 
upon five men lying dead at that very spot who had 
been overcome by the cold. I did not feel it at all 
severely cold, but was very heavily clad, and the exertion 
of walking up-hill in the wind at an elevation of 15,900 
feet tries the heart, already strained by the rarity of 
the air. At the summit I turned to take a last look, 
and through the mists caught a glimpse of Shigar, 8000 
feet below. In clear weather there is a magnificent view 
of the Mustagh mountains forty or fifty miles off, which 
rise to a height of from 20,000 to 25,700 feet. 

The descent from the Burji La to the Deosai Plains 
is only 500 feet down a steep slope of gravel and sand, 
and the further descent of 2000 feet to the camping 
ground at Ali Malik Mar is so gradual that one is hardly 




Camp at Shigar. 




Deosai Plains. 



P li o to pm plied by Alias Christie 



To face page 31 1>. 



PASSES AND PLAINS 317 

conscious of it. The plateau is surrounded by low un- 
interesting-looking hills, only some 17,000 or 18,000 feet 
high, dimensions which sound quite respectable, just a 
little higher than Mont Blanc, but that "bald awful sovran" 
himself would not show to much advantage in a situation 
like this with the plain reaching up to his shoulders. 
There was no snow on the low ground except a few 
patches in sheltered corners, and the sun shone fitfully, 
making us feel as if we had got into a mild climate; I 
sat down under the lee of a rock which kept my back 
warm, and had tiffin, beginning with soup and ending with 
boiling hot coffee, and afterwards fell into a comfortable 
half dose with a small shower of hailstones pattering on my 
helmet. After that the weather improved and the night 
was fine, the moon shining as bright as day and the air 
perfectly still — a great blessing here where the wind is 
bitter when it does sweep along, and there is no shelter 
from it. It was quite a surprise in the morning to find that 
a tumblerful of water standing on the table beside me 
was a solid mass of ice, for the tent was very comfort- 
able. There had been a slight fall of snow, and the 
ground was white as I sat outside taking breakfast, but 
the sun soon made it disappear. 

This day's ride was very pleasant, over grass for the 
most 'part, and across several rivers easily forded in their 
autumn shallowness : one of them is called Kala Pani 
(black water), and runs through peaty-looking soil. Here I 
could have believed myself to be on a wide Scottish moor 
with storm-clouds sweeping across the hills before the 
fresh, bracing wind ; there were breadths of a plant looking 
like burnt heather at a little distance to add to the resem- 
blance. The upper part of the plain which we had crossed 
the day before was now white with snow, and it was 



318 WESTERN TIBET 

evident there was a storm raging behind us and that 
we had only just crossed the Burji La in time to escape it. 
We camped in a slight hollow at Sekbachan, 18 miles from 
Malik Mar, the night as still as the previous one and the 
temperature the same; it seemed as if the Deosai Plains 
were not going to be so formidable as they had been 
described ; but the third day a storm of hail, sleet, and snow 
alternately came on at noon when we began to ascend the 
Sari Sangar Pass, 14,200 feet (which terminates the plains 
in this direction), and continued with only a few minutes' 
intermission till four o'clock. The top of the pass is a 
fairly level valley containing two lakes, their shores formed 
of boulders which it looked impossible to ride over. The 
men slid and stumbled so much that I would not let anyone 
lead my pony for fear of pulling him over ; he was old and 
slow and far from distinguishing himself on easy ground, 
but was perfectly splendid here, and picked his way among 
the rocks without a falter. At the summit there is a cairn 
on which each man threw a stone, and here it is customary 
to give backshish to the coolies. After this there is a very 
steep but well-made ' path winding down to a river which 
has to be forded, then more boulders, then a grassy valley 
rising so gradually to the Stakpi La, 12,800 feet, that it is 
difficult to recognise the pass till it is crossed, when one 
begins to go rather sharply down hill among stones and 
water. The storm, which had made the latter part of the 
ride very uncomfortable and fatiguing, now ceased, and the 
road led among birch-trees in their golden autumn foliage 
down to the Rest-house at Burzil Ohowki, which was 
reached at 4.30. And it was a house of rest ! I had 
walked the last two miles, or rather limped, for one knee 
was so stiff with cold and having to cling tightly to the 
saddle that I could hardly use it, and the comfort of getting 



PASSES AND PLAINS 319 

within stone walls, perfectly bare as the room was, and 
having some hot tea beside a glowing fire was intense. 
Damp clothes were hung to dry on all the chairs. I lay 
down and had an hour's sleep before dinner and another of 
ten hours after it, and next morning after a hot bath 
(which I had had to do without while crossing the plains) 
felt quite brisk and ready for the road. The chowkidar 
here was the most ludicrously dirty man I have ever seen 
— a chimney-sweep would not have been in it with him, 
for with the chimney-sweep one feels that the black is 
accidental, but this creature looked as if neither he nor his 
clothes had ever been washed since their creation. He was 
very tall and slender, with small head and face and very 
small jaws — a refined type and utterly unlike either the 
Baltis or Ladakhis. He was a Dard, and as Herodotus 
remarks that in his time they never washed but smoked 
themselves instead, the dirt was very anciently hereditary. 
One of my ponymen, also a Dard, might have been own 
brother to the chowkidar, sootiness and all. 

The Skardo Tehsildar had sent the chowkidar an order 
to let me have everything I wanted, including goods from 
the Government store in connection with the Rest-house. 
I was much surprised by the attention, and remarked on 
it to Aziz Khan, who explained as follows: "I said to 
Tehsildar, ' You big man, you not come say salaam to Miss 
Sahib ! ' He say he too busy in his office writing, writing 
all day. I say ' Governor of Kashmir come five times say 
salaam to Miss Sahib; Wazir Wazarat come every day; 
Maharajah give Miss Sahib pony. You big man, you not 
come say salaam.' " And the conscience-stricken Tehsildar 
was trying to atone for past neglect and to behave like a 
big man too. Aziz Khan may not always stick to what 
has been called the bald literality of fact, but he is a grand 



320 WESTERN TIBET 

trumpeter, and does not fail to add a few flourishes of 
his own to the original tune. 

An Englishman I met in Srinagar some months after 
this remarked what an extremely civil man the Tehsildar 
of Skardo was, sending him immediately on his arrival 
a dali of fruit, and offering to come himself and guide 
him through the town; this was odd, because Major 
Wigram had had the lumbardar, who takes his cue from 
the Tehsildar, fined for inattention to a visitor a few weeks 
before I was there. That telegram I sent to the Com- 
missioner would ensure good behaviour among the officials 
for some time. Aziz Khan remembered the Tehsildar 
getting a tremendous drubbing from a sahib ten years 
before, but a drubbing to these people is like vaccination, 
the effect wears off after a while and it has to be renewed. 

Miss Christie had arrived at the bungalow at Burzil 
Chowki the previous evening quite exhausted ; her marches 
had not been well divided, so that she did not get in till 
nine, and the last two or three hours down a very rough 
descent after nightfall when a stream had to be forded 
repeatedly would have been very dangerous had it not 
fortunately happened to be moonlight. The weather had 
been giving signs of breaking for some days before we 
left Skardo, and she was anxious to cross the Deosai Plains 
(which are supposed to be closed after the 15th of Sep- 
tember) before it became really bad, but after all she had 
it a good deal worse than I had. On my first visit to 
Sadpor the Buddha Rock was already in shadow at ten 
o'clock in the morning, and it was necessary to be at it 
before eight to photograph it ; this I felt I must not omit 
to do, even if the delay of a day obliged me to retrace my 
steps up the Indus and take the long round back by 
Kargil and the Zoji La to Kashmir. I was spared this 



PASSES AND PLAINS 321 

disappointment, however. In spite of fatigue, Miss Christie 
had only stayed one night at Burzil Chowki, and we did 
not meet till I got to Bandipura. 

At Burzil Chowki we got on to the Gilgit Koad, a road 
fraught with tragic memories of death and suffering in the 
making of it. Coolies were formerly impressed to work on 
it, and so great was the dread of the dangers and privations 
involved that many of them paid heavy bribes to escape. 
Forced labour has been abolished, thanks to our Govern- 
ment, and when the Maharajah now gives an order for so 
many thousand coolies to be put on any piece of work, they 
are paid the ordinary wages of labourers. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

DOWN THE GILGIT EOAD TO THE VALE OF 
KASHMIR. 

We had now entered the Dard country where the ant-gold 
was found which is mentioned by several ancient writers, 
Herodotus among them, who has been laughed at for 
centuries for writing about ants "smaller than dogs but 
larger than foxes"; a very good description of marmots, 
which to this day throw out sand from their burrows with 
particles of gold mixed in it. Aziz Khan told me he had 
seen this himself at Chillum Chowki (one march from 
Burzil Chowki on the way to Gilgit) ; this place is on the 
banks of a stream which flows into the Indus. He said 
that the natives collect the gold, make it into ingots, and 
sell it in the bazaar at Gilgit, where he has bought it. 
Many things at the present time are called by names given 
to them long ago on account of their origin, real or sup- 
posed, which do not now correctly describe them, and it 
may be the same in this case, or perhaps the translators of 
Herodotus have got the wrong name for the animals, for he 
says, " These ants then make their dwelling under ground, 
and carry up the sand just in the same manner as the ants 
found in the land of the Hellenes, which they themselves also 
very much resemble in form, " (Book iii. 102). Greek ants 
not having any resemblance to foxes lie must have meant 



THE VALE OF KASHMIR 323 

something else. 1 Like many other stories of his which 
were long considered ridiculous, such as that of birds 
picking leeches out of the jaws of alligators, now an 
established fact, his account of how the so-called ant- 
gold was obtained turns out to be quite correct. An 
extract from General Cunningham's Laxlak (pp. 232-234) 
shows that recent research reveals more and more the 
trustworthiness of his statements. " The sands of the 
Indus have long been celebrated for the production of gold 
(Pliny, Lib. vi. c. 19 ' Fertilissimi sunt auri Dardae'), 
and this is the case even to the present day, for the sands 
of the Indus in the Dard country are said to be more pro- 
lific than those of any other part of the river. But the 
gold of the Indus was known at a still earlier date, for 
Megasthenes relates that the Indian ants dug gold out of 
the earth, not for the sake of the metal, but in making 
burrows for themselves (Arrian, Indica, xv.). These 
Indian ants are no doubt the marmots (Arctomys), and rat- 
hares (Lagomys) of Tibet, which in making burrows 
'throw up the earth wherein the ore is contained, from 

1 An accomplished Greek scholar gave me the following as a possible 
explanation of this passage : " I do not think he had in mind any idea of 
the insect ant when he was writing the passage, but used a word employed 
in his day — infrequently perhaps in that sense — to indicate a class of 
burrowing animals which had a representative in the European fauna." 
With reference to the passage (Book iii. 105) in which Herodotus 
describes the ants as being ' ' superior to any other creature in swiftness, 
so that unless the Indians " (who, he was told, gather the sand containing 
the gold in bags, and then ride off on very swift camels) "got a start in 
their course, while the ants were gathering together, not one of them 
would escape," my correspondent remarks: "The story seems to have 
been embellished by those who told it to Herodotus, by attributing to the 
burrowing animals a ferocity and swiftness which they do not possess.'' 
Marmots are in fact very timid creatures, disappearing into their holes on 
the approach of human beings. I got within a few yards of one once on 
the Chorbat La, which was of a tawny colour, and looked like a very large 
cat, much larger and lighter in colour than those commonly seen. 



324 WESTERN TIBET 

which the Indians extract gold' {Journal Roy. As. Soc. 
vii. p. 143). On the plains along the banks of the Indus 
and Shayok the marmots still throw up the earth mixed 
with gold-dust, from which the Indians of Balti occasionally 
extract a few grains of gold. Megasthenes confesses that 
he had not seen the animals themselves, but only their 
skins, which had been brought by the Macedonian soldiers 
into Alexander's camp. The skin of the marmot is the 
commonest of all the furs now brought to India. Its 
Tibetan name is phyi-pa or chipa (or chupa), which was 
probably confounded by Alexander's soldiers with the 
Indian chunta, the name of the large ant; or phyi-pa may 
have been confounded with pippilaka, the Sanscrit and 
Bengali name of the large ant. 

" The same story of the ants as big as foxes is told by 
Herodotus, 1 and Professor H. H. Wilson (Journal Roy. As. 
Soc. vii. p. 143) has aptly illustrated it by a passage from 
the Mahabharata, which relates that ' the people who dwell 
under the pleasant shade of the Kichaka-venus (a kind of 
willow), and along the Sailveta river, between the Meru 
and Mandura mountains, . . . brought to Yndisthira 
lumps of gold, a drona (64 lbs.) in weight, of the sort called 
paippilika, ' or ant gold,' which was so called because it was 
exfodiated by the pippilaka, or common large ant.' This 
belief, however erroneous, as the learned Professor observes, 
was neither extravagant nor irrational. A yet earlier 
mention of the gold of Alpine India is that of Ctesias, but 
he distinctly states that it was not obtained by washing as 
in the river Pactolus (Fragments of Ctesias by Lion. 
Indica, xii.)." 

The love of the marvellous of Herodotus has long been 
a subject of jesting, but the title of " Father of Lies " has 
1 Book iii. 102. 



THE VALE OF KASHMIR 325 

really been given to him through the sheer ignorance of 
moderns unaware of the natural history of the countries 
which he describes from accounts supplied to him by natives, 
or by travellers who had visited those countries. Amidst 
inaccuracies or misunderstandings, quite comprehensible 
when we consider how often our own ideas are confused 
when we have to trust to the descriptions of others for 
facts, there is generally a substratum of truth even in 
the most marvellous of his stories. For example, he says 
that in India trees which grow wild produce wool sur- 
passing in beauty and excellence that of the sheep, and 
that the Indians wear clothing obtained from these trees. 
This of course means cotton. 

Again, he says that a camel has two thigh-bones and 
two knee-joints in each hind-leg, but anyone who has 
ridden that beast will admit that when it kneels or rises 
his sensations would seem to account for that number, 
for the four sickening lurches that accompany these 
movements are caused by the creature bending two joints 
in each leg, the front ones and hind ones successively. 
Herodotus reports that in his time some of the Scythians 
lived on the fruit of the Pontic tree, the fruit being the 
size of a bean with a stone in it, and that they made 
cakes of the pulp of it, which is what the Ladakhis and 
Baltis do to this day with the apricot. He also reports 
that certain of the tribes used the skulls, of parents in 
some cases, of enemies in others, as drinking cups, gilding 
them or covering them with leather according to their 
means, and it is perhaps a survival of this ancient custom 
which exists still in the use of silver skull-shaped cups 
by the Lamas, and of drums made of criminals' skulls, 
which they rattle during their festivals. The references 
made by the old historian to the aspect of the mountainous 



326 WESTERN TIBET 

parts of Scythia, its stony deserts, its want of trees, its 
gold-bearing sands, and to the snow "like wool" falling 
so thickly as to blot out the landscape, all show that 
the information given to him was in the main that of 
eye-witnesses which he faithfully records. Where he has 
no such evidence he frequently guards himself in his 
statements, as when he says that he does not "accept 
the tale that there is a river flowing into the sea towards 
the North Wind whence it is said that amber comes; 
nor do I know of the existence of 'Tin islands' from 
which tin comes to us. . . . I am not able to hear from 
anyone who has been an eye-witness, though I took pains 
to discover this, that there is a sea on the other side of 
Europe. However that may be, tin and amber certainly 
come to us from the extremity of Europe." 1 How laugh- 
able his scepticism seems to us when he writes thus of the 
rivers of the Baltic, of the Atlantic Ocean, and of our own 
beloved land, now bulking so large in the eyes of the world, 
and yet this very caution makes his history worthy of 
more trust than it has sometimes received on points where 
our own information is still incomplete. Now that I have 
seen not only the Dards, who smoke themselves instead 
of washing, and the marmots which produce ant-gold, 
but also a piece of sculpture at Gwalior in Central India 
of a hippopotamus with a mane which he said it possessed, 
and which shows that he was not singular in his belief, 
I wish to add my humble testimony to the truthfulness, 
as far as my own observation goes, of him who bears 
the venerable name of "Father of History," and to 
the general correctness of his records of strange facts 
in countries unknown to him except through the medium 
of "travellers' tales," which in these days of widespread 
^ook iii. 115. 



THE VALE OF KASHMIR 327 

information are not received, however wonderful, with 
the scorn which used to be heaped on them in the dark- 
ness of former centuries. 

The Gilgit Road, which was made for military pur- 
poses, Gilgit being one of the most important fortified 
posts on the boundary between Kashmir and Russia, is 
ten feet wide, and so smooth and well-made and with so 
easy a gradient that a light cart could be driven 
along the whole portion of it which I travelled over, 
66 miles, from Burzil Chowki to Bandipura. A Cana- 
dian horse would simply dash along it with a caliche, 
the two-wheeled springless chaise hung on leather straps 
which is used in the Province of Quebec. After the 
paraos and beds of streams and goat-tracks of Ladakh 
and Baltistan this road seemed monotonously, even tire- 
somely good, there not being a single bad place in it to 
give excitement and variety, but it certainly left plenty 
of opportunity for looking at the scenery instead of 
watching the pony's steps. What a lovely morning it was 
on that 23rd of September, and what a lovely scene 
when we left the bungalow, which, in the winter, is 
completely covered with snow. The sky was of the 
deepest blue, the hills with a fresh powdering of snow 
had a scarf of white fleecy mist along their shoulders, 
and little puffs of it were drawn up by the warmth of 
the sun in delicate feathers to crown their crests; the 
silver-stemmed birches, with leaves like patens of gold, 
stood in groups by themselves or mingled with the dark 
green pines that clothed the mountains, melting drops 
fell sparkling from the shrubs, and a burn rushed down 
to join the Burzil River in the glen below. The air, 
crystal clear, was like champagne, and the contrast with 
the storm and gloom of the previous day made it seem 



328 WESTERN TIBET 

like another world. The gorge is narrow, and one side 
is almost entirely bare while the other is clothed with 
dense forest to the very top, a peculiarity in some of 
these glens. Mountains, pines, birches, bracken, and 
grassy slopes recall Scotland at its finest, and nothing can 
excel best Scotch, as everybody knows. A few miles- 
down we passed Minimarg, a grassy meadow much below 
the level of the road, where there are a few huts and 
a telegraph station, the highest in Indian territory, 9700 
feet; on this fine morning it looked very pretty with 
sheep and goats feeding and stacks of grass dotted over 
it, a kite whistling cheerily as it floated along, but it i& 
fearfully lonely when the passes are closed. 

The march that day was only 11 miles to Pechwara 
bungalow, which we reached at two o'clock — a relief, as 
the fatigue of the previous day began to make itself felt 
again. From Pechwara to Gurez, the next stage, fourteen 
miles, the scenery was the same as before, till the valley 
opened out about two miles above Gurez bungalow, 
leaving space for farms and brown log-built farmhouses. 
Harvesting operations were going on in the fields of 
barley, trumbah, and hay, while patches of deep crimson 
ganza, a plant like " red-hot poker," gave brilliance to the 
scene. The head of the valley is blocked by a mountain 
of limestone 14,000 feet high, on one side of which the 
Tilel stream comes down and the Burzil on the other j 
immediately below it, the two unite and form the 
Kishenganga, a river held very sacred by the Hindus. 

It was so warm here that instead of occupying the 
bungalow I had my tent pitched in a field on the river- 
bank, whence there was a full view of the comings and 
goings on the road, which we had left by a suspension 
bridge made to bear " 1 camel, 2 ponies or mules, 6 men,'" 



THE VALE OF KASHMIR 329 

as a notice-board announced, and soon after a caravan of 
camels passed down. I had dinner by moonlight, candles 
being superfluous, and the air was quite balmy. The 
next morning was spent in wandering about the village, 
which is quaint and unlike a Balti one in the way the 
houses are built. As wood is plentiful here they are 
made in logs like an American backwoodsman's hut, a 
notch being cut near the end of each log to allow the 
upper one to sink in, leaving but little space to fill up, 
which is done with clay and small pieces of wood. In 
the shelters for cattle, the spaces are left open. There 
is a flight of steps or a ladder up to the lower rooms, 
and as there are two stories the houses look large, but 
have no appearance of comfort or neatness. Their in- 
habitants, who are of mingled Dard and Kashmir descent, 
are dirty, ill-clad, and poor-looking. In the village, beside 
a stream there was a length of a large tree lying on 
the ground with a hollow cut in it to serve as the 
general wash-tub, and some women were tramping clothes 
in it just as they do blankets in a tub in Scotland. This 
is a Kashmiri custom, the pure Dards never washing 
either clothes or person. 

The valley of Gurez is about ten miles long and from a 
mile to a mile and a half wide, and the hills rise almost 
perpendicularly from one side of the river to a height of 
from 2500 to 3000 feet above its level. On the other 
side they are not so steep. It is cultivated for the 
most part, and at the lower end the wooding is very 
fine; in fact, the ride through it and for some distance 
further down the Kishenganga yields some of the most 
charming views in Kashmir. At one end of the suspension 
bridge there is a hillock with what is called the Fort on 
it, a picturesque little building occupied by the naib 



330 WESTERN TIBET 

tehsildar. There are some heaps of stones on each bank, 
said to be remains of killas, which perhaps guarded a 
wooden bridge at one time. Lower down there is a 
country bridge of timber and stones of the ordinary 
Kashmiri type. 

After leaving Gurez and its trees and villages, the road 
became bare and solitary, and continued so all the way to 
Gorai, the next halting-place; but after that there were 
forests of birch and silver fir to near the beginning of the 
Eajdiangan Pass, 11,900 feet, the last pass to be crossed 
before entering the vale of Kashmir. There were many 
Gujars here, herdsmen who live in huts on the hills, their 
cattle being principally water buffalo, huge creatures with 
horns taking many different curves, and with a resemblance 
to hippopotami in their skins and unwieldiness. These 
animals are common in Ceylon and Burma, where they are 
very much given to attacking Europeans, but here they are 
quite harmless. 

The Rajdiangan Pass, with its well-made road and 
smooth grassy summit, seemed very easy after past ex- 
periences, but it is very much exposed, and storms of wind 
and snow in the winter have caused much loss of life; 
three shelters, which have been put up within the last few 
years, have proved to be a great protection, both to 
telegraph working parties and to travellers and mule 
drivers. There are some white rocks near the summit 
where a large party of men and ponies were overcome by a 
storm in 1890, and they are buried there. 

I reached the top of the pass at noon in brilliant 
weather ; the valley of Kashmir was spread out like a map 
below, with range after range of snow-topped mountains 
closing it in, the wedge-shaped Haramukh, nearly ] 7,000 
feet, towering aloft immediately opposite, and behind, a 



THE VALE OF KASHMIR 331 

hundred miles to the north, was the peak of Nanga Parbat, 
26,690 feet, exceeded in height by only three mountains in 
the world — Mount Everest, Mount Godwin Austen (in 
Baltistan), and Kinchinjunga. The lower slopes of Hara- 
mukh were covered with a growth almost the colour of 
heather, from which sprang forests of pines and yellowing 
birches. After sitting for some time drinking in the 
beauties of the scene, the very easy, shady descent to 
Tragbal was begun and finished in less than two hours. 
Tragbal is a lovely place in the midst of forest scenery, 
with charming glades for camping in, and a truly pastoral 
air was given to it by the herds of Gujar cattle and hill 
ponies grazing and strolling near it. 

The next day's march was a long zigzag down a bare 
hill-side exposed to the sun, to Bandipura at the head of 
the Wular Lake, and here Habibullah met me, all smiles, 
with a nice little Yarkandi piebald of Aziz Khan's, called 
Bulbul, and a good little syce aged twelve, who made the 
pony's coat shine like satin. Habibullah had quite re- 
covered from his accident, and took the place of Ramzana, 
the incorrigible, who was now dismissed. Miss Christie 
had arrived the day before, and after meeting and com- 
paring notes, we said good-bye once more, and went our 
separate ways through the side valleys of Kashmir, which, 
let me whisper, seemed very tame and uninteresting to both 
of us at first after the wilds of Tibet. 



APPENDIX A. 

THE INSCRIPTIONS AT BALU-MKHAR, 
BY THE REV. A. H. FRANCKE. 

NO. I. 

ROMAN TRANSLITERATION. 
Phaggi lola dkrib mal bzhangsso. 

CLASSICAL ORTHOGRAPHY. 
Phaggi lola grib mal bzhangsso. 

Note. 

dkrib is an ancient perfect tense of the verb agribpa, to* 
diminish, fade, become obscure. Here it is used in the sense- 
of 'wither' or 'die.' 

No. II. 
ROMAN TRANSLITERATION. 
Phagi lo briso ba. 

CLASSICAL ORTHOGRAPHY. 
Phaggi lo [la] brisso [ba /]. 

No. HI. 

ROMAN TRANSLITERATION. 

mthing brang yzhungslas khrungspai mdo ytsong 
rtso khri shong 'abum rdugs khwng sras stag 
ythsar rlabs cen nyidkyis bzo 



APPENDIX 333 

bgyis dpel legs ta; yun 

ta myi gyur yytmg drung brtan 

bai mkhar 'adila 

la par stsogbao. 

CLASSICAL ORTHOGRAPHY. 
mthing brang yzhunglas khrungspai mdo thsong 
ytso khri shong 'ahum ydugs [kyi] khungs sras stag 
thsar rlabscan nyidkyis bzo 
bgyis dpe legste yun 
te mi gyur yyungdrung [la] brten 
pai mkhar 'adila 
la[g] par stsogpao. 

NOTES ON THE TIBETAN TEXT. 

Mthing brang means ' house of the lapis lazuli.' It is probably 
the old name of the village, mThingmo-gang( = full of lapis 
lazuli). The village may have taken its name from an ancient 
treasure-house of the local chief. Mdo, Lower Valley, so called 
because the Indus valley is below the village of yYung-drung 
(generally called Lamayuru), to which the fort belonged. 

ytsong ; although in the present dictionaries only the word 
thsong can be found, such dialectical words, as for instance 
shabtsongpa, show plainly that a verb, btsongpa (perfect tense), 
must once have existed ; ytsong would be the present tense 
of the same verb, meaning 'trading;' rtso would correspond 
to the present dialectical pronunciation of the word ytso\bo~\. 
That in very ancient times y or b prefixes were pronounced 
like 8 or r is proved by the Endere sgraffiti discovered by 
Dr. Stein. mDo-ytsong-ytso was the title of the custom-house 
officer stationed at Balu-mkhar. 

Khri-shong-'abum-ydugs (pronounced rdugs) is the proper name 
of the custom-house officer. The last part of the name means 
' 100,000 umbrellas ' (the umbrella being a Buddhist symbol). 
The first part is not quite plain ; it may have been given after 
the ancient king Khri-srong-bde-btsan. 

khung-sras, instead of khungs sras. The s of the first 



334 WESTERN TIBET 

syllable was lost in the s of the second. It means 'lineage- 
son,' i.e. the son in whom the lineage is preserved. 

stag-ythsar-rlabs-cen ( = can?) is the name of the son of the 
last-named. It probably means 'the complete tiger, the ocean 
(having billows).' The word ythsar is the most remarkable 
in the name, because here a tenuis aspirata is furnished with 
a prefix, which combination is never met with nowadays. 
However, the Endere relics contain many examples of tenues 
aspiratae with prefixes. Besides the word ythsar, we find, in 
Inscription No. V. below, another case of a tenuis aspirata 
furnished with a b prefix, in the word bthsan, which corresponds 
to the modern btsan. In the same way the word ythsar would 
correspond to ytsar, had such forms been preserved. Such a 
verb as ytsar I would take to be a parallel to thsar, just as 
we find ytsong and btsong parallel to thsong above. 

dpel legs; the I of the second syllable was pronounced with 
the first syllable. It means 'good likeness,' and refers to the 
carving of the cenotaph, which was a good picture of the real 
sfflpa. 

ta; that the ta in the word legsta is instead of te is 
proved by the fact that it is followed by a shad. I presume 
that the ta in yunta also stands for te. 

myi gyur, unchangeable, can also be translated with refer- 
ence to the faithfulness of the inhabitants of the fort; it may 
also refer to Lamayuru (yYung-drung) ; myi instead of mi is 
another instance of very ancient orthography which has its 
parallels in the Endere inscriptions. 

yYung drung, svastika, is the full name of the village of 
Yuru, generally called Lamayuru. The rig as a final is often 
dropped, especially in the Rong dialect, but also elsewhere. 
The disappearance of the d in drung is due to "Ladakht 
Laws of Sound, No. 2." 

brtanba (pa) is the ancient form of the verb brtenpa, lean 
against, belong to ; par is nowadays used for ' print ' ; but 
at the time of the inscription printing was hardly known in 
Tibet. At that time it may have meant ' writing, script.' 



APPENDIX 335 

stsogbao (pao). The word stsogces or rtsogces, to carve on 
the rock, is a dialectical Ladakhl word which is still in frequent 
use at the present day. It is also used for 'vaccination.' 

No. IV. 

ROMAN TRANSLITERATION. 

dkon mchog. 

No. V. 

ROMAN TRANSLITERATION. 

bihsan khro. 

CLASSICAL ORTHOGRAPHY. 
btsan khro. 



POSTSCRIPT. 

In a letter dated February 8th, 1906, Mr. Francke tells me 
that 'instead of "under (belongs to) Lamayuru," we may 
translate "adheres to the Bon religion," (yuru or yimgdrwng 
being an emblem of the Bon religion). Practically it comes 
to about the same, as popular tradition makes Lamayuru the 
foremost place of the Bon religion, and in those days the 
religion of the subjects was always in conformity with that of 
the masters.' 



APPENDIX B. 

TIBETAN SONGS RENDERED INTO ENGLISH VERSE, 
BY HAYWARD PORTER. 

THE TIBETAN FIDDLE. 

My fiddle, 'Royal Joy,' 

Deem not she has no sire. 
The noble cedar, he: 

None else would she desire. 

My fiddle, 'Eoyal Joy,' 

Is not without a mother. 
The tendons of the goat 

Are she : why seek another ? 

My fiddle, 'Royal Joy,' 

Has brothers half a score. 
My loving fingers they : 

Behold, she asks no more. 

My fiddle, 'Royal Joy,' 
Is she of friends possessed ? 

The sounds herself gives forth 
Are of all friends the best. 

THE POOR CHILD AND THE RICH CHILD. 

Poor Child. Thou rich child of a wealthy man, 
Drink'st milk from china cup : 
I, poor one, from a common can, 
'Tis buttermilk I sup. 



APPENDIX 337 

Thou rich child of a wealthy man, 

Thy silk gown trails around : 
My poor skirt, by at least a span, 

It fails to reach the ground. 

Rich Child. Fresh water I sought 

By the bank of the river : 
Ice turned it to nought, 

I staid but to shiver: 
Fish froze on the brink ; 
The ducks could not drink. 

Poor Child. Thou rich child of a wealthy man, 

Hast a baby at thy breast : 
I, poor one, fare as best I can 

With a kitten to me pressed; 
And in a churn you stir good tea, 
That only water churns for me. 

Rich Child. As the lamb they led 

To the field, they said, 
' Grow fat and take thy fling ' : 

No thought had they 

For the wolf that lay 
Lurking, and ready to spring. 

CHANT OF LADAKHI PILGRIMS. 

Oh, Thou Exalted One, grant that no evil come, save us, we 

pray. 
Mayest thou think of it, morning and evening, show us our way. 
And later on in life, whatever may betide, be Thou our stay. 
Grant, Oh Exalted One, some good to us may come, from day 

to day. 



INDEX 



Apricots, in commerce, 136 ; as food, 

203. 
Attak, or Attock, 287. 
Aziz Khan, 4 ; as a fighter, 186, 187. 

Balti women, 205, 206. 

Baltistan or Balti, 2, 131, 132 ; Budd- 
hist remains in, 160, 211 ; mosques 
in, 218 ; persecution of natives of, 
294, 295 ; Mohammedanism in, 
307. 

Balu-mkhar, 139 seq. ; fortified custom 
house, 142 ; rope bridge at, 142 ; 
relics at, 146-151 ; pottery, 147, 
148 ; Tibetan inscriptions.Appendix 
A. 

Bandipura, 314, 331. 

Barrage, ancient, 304, 306, 307. 

Bazgo, 132, 133. 

Birds, at Kargil, 31 ; at Kiris, 276. 

Bishop, Mrs. , on polyandry, 35 ; on 
missions, 128 ; on Moravian mis- 
sionaries in Tibet, 157. 

Brick tea, 61, 230, 245. 

British Residents, 3. 

Buddha rock, 160, 211-213; inscrip- 
tions on, 298-302. 

Buddha ; present, Sakya Muni, 37, 
302 ; future, 37 ; as white man, 
302 ; previous Buddhas, 302. 

Buddhism in Tibet, 75. 

Buddhist and Christian rituals, 42, 43. 

Buddhist remains in Baltistan, 160, 
211, 297 seq. 

Burji La, 315, 316. 

Burzil Chowki, 318-321. 

Chamba, the future Buddha, 37, 302. 

Chang (barley beer), 39, 73. 

Chang La, 53, 80 ; crossing the, 81, 

84; re-crossing, 101, 102. 
Changpas, 79 ; Changpa hakim, 92. 



Chimrey, 76-79 ; lumbardar at, 77-79. 

" Chomo," or " The Ladies," 28. 

Chorbat La, 131, 132; first white 
woman to cross, 179 ; crossing, 190 ; 
marmots, 322-324. 

Chortens, 32; made of bones, 33, 60, 
158 ; decorated, 56, 106 ; made of 
Lamas' bones, 122, 158 ; ancient, 
at Balu-mkhar, 150 ; carving of at 
Skardo, 303. 

Christie, Miss, 258, 263, 282, 285, 
308, 309, 320, 331. 

Climate, 29, 31, 49, 50, 134; in 
Ladakh, 149, 150 ; at Khapallu, 
226; in Shayok valley, 279; at 
Skardo, 281. 

Colonies, Dard, 37, 177, 178 ; Balti, 
37. 

Cuckoo, how it deposits its egg ; teach- 
ing its young, 23 note. 

Cunningham, General, 28, 32,307,323. 

Dak bungalows or rest-houses, 8, 46, 

47, 135, 318. 
Dances, 40 ; resemblance to dance of 

pigmies, 40 note ; 63-65, 72, 73, 

116, 199, 236-238, 255-257, 260-262. 
Dard colonies, 37, 177, 178 ; hymnal, 

177 ; intermarriage with Tibetans, 

261 ; illiteracy, 272 ; Dards at 

Burzil Chowki, 319 ; intermarriage 

with Kashmiris, 329. 
Deosai Plains, 131, 308, 309, 314-318. 
Devil Dance, 1, 61 ; skull-shaped 

silver cup, 63 ; masks at, 63, 64 ; 

high jinks at, 65. 
Doctoring servants, 56. 
Dogra invasion of Ladakh, 34 ; of 

Skardo, 286. 
Domestic troubles, 26, 27. 
Dowani, 269-272, 275. 
Dras, river, 24 ; village, 24, 25, 26. 



INDEX 



339 



Dresses, Ladakhi women's, 36 ; Lad- 
akhi men's, 99; Balti men's, 193, 
194, 206, 256, 260 ; Balti women's, 
205, 207. 

Duke's Kashmir Handbook, 93. 

Bndere relics, 142 ; Appendix. 

Fa-hian, 67, 287, 288. 

Fottu La, 41. 

Francke, Rev. A. H., as archaeologist, 

139 seq. ; Tibetan music, 152, 161 

seq. ; Tibetan poetry, 152-156 ; 

Appendix B ; Tibetan books, 158 ; 

translations of inscriptions, 140-144, 

300-302 ; Appendix A. 

Game and game-laws, 2, 51, 125, 126, 
204, 205. 

Gilgit, 3. 

Gilgit Road, 277, 308, 321, 327. 

Gol, 278 ; lumbardar at, 283, 312. 

Gompas, 32, 42; at Shergol, 34 
Maulbek Chamba, 34 ; Lamayuru 
41, 42, 140; Himis, 57, 59 seq. 
HanlcS, 67; Tikhzey, 105 ; Leh, 112 
in Gyalpo's palace, Leh, 121, 122 
Skirbichan, 171-175; Hanu, 178, 
179. 

Gulab Bagh, 55. 

Gunderbal, 14. 

Gurez, 328-330 ; natives of, 329. 

Gyalpo's (rajahs) palace, Leh, 49, 
121. 

Habibullah, 5 ; accident to, 92, 93, 
97, 107. 

Hanu, the people, 176, 177, 189, 190 ; 
waiting for tents, 180-184 ; attack 
on camp, 185-188 ; vegetation, 189, 
191. 

Herodotus : Scythians or Dards, 177, 
319; " ant-gold," 322-324 ; natural 
history, 324-327. 

Himis, 56, 57 ; devil dance at, 3, 53 
note ; dinner party at, 57 ; gompa, 
59 ; founders of gompa, 59, 60 ; head 
Lama "in retreat," 60; musical in- 
struments at, 61, 63 ; treasury of 
gompa, 66 ; treasury opened in 
presence of B. J. C, 66 ; stores in 
treasury, 67 ; consecration of ani- 
mals, 67 ; Durbar present to gompa, 
68 ; rosary and comb, 68 ; beads, 
68 ; dorje, 69 ; Lama's cup, em- 
blems on, 70 note; commissioner's 



tamasha at, 72; villagers' forced 

labour, 74. 
Hla-tho, 82, 83, 100. 
Hunza, 3, 294. 

Indusvalley, 55,169,170; rope bridges, 
142, 145, 159, 288 ; inscribed rocks, 
159, 160 ; route down, 287 ; Fa-hian's 
journey down, 287, 288 ; leaving the 
valley, 315 ; gold in, 322-324. 

Inscribed rocks, Indus valley, 159, 
160 ; Shayok valley, 272-274. 

Inscriptions : Kashmirian Takri, 28 ; 
ancient Tibetan, 140-144, 160; 
Indian Brahmin, 151 ; Karoshthi, 
151 ; Sanskrit, 160. 

Irrigation canal, 35. 

Iskardo ; see Skardo. 

Jhelum (Hydaspes), 1, 14, 15. 

Journey : clothing, 6, 1 1 ; expenses, 
6, 7, 12, 26, 104 ; transport, 7 ; food, 
9, 10 ; medicines, 9 ; cooking, 10 ; 
water, 10 ; books, 12 ; weapons, 12. 

Karakorams, see Mustagh. 

Karewas, 94. 

Kargil, 30. 

Kashmir, 1 ; recent history, 2 ; 
Maharajah of, 2 ; Vale of, 15, 330. 

Khalatse or Khalsi, 43, 44 ; Moravian 
mission at, 44, 132, 133 seq. ; stone 
age at, 148. 

Khapallu, 203 seq. ; Rajahs of, 208, 
209, 211, 212, 263; Ranis of , 210, 
250; patients at, 212, 213, 223, 
224, 225, 229, 246; killa at, 220, 
221; harvest at, 222, 244, 245; 
midnight tamashas, 222, 236, 238 ; 
boys' school at, 223 ; great tamasha, 
once in thirty-six years, 226, 255 
seq. ; farms (zemins), 232; villagers, 
as coolies inlndia, 233; lumbardars, 
234 ; mode of sleeping, 234, 235 ; 
Rani's house and garden, 247, 248 ; 
games at, 249, 250 ; schoolmaster's 
letter, 264. 

Kharbu, 29, 30. 

Kharbu Bhot, 37; wedding at, 38; 
wedding catechism, 38 ; Nyopas, 38, 
39 

Kiris, 275, 276, 277 ; birds at, 276 ; 
archery target at, 276 ; junction of 
Indus and Shayok at, 277. 

Knight, Mr. E. F., Where Three 
Empires Meet, 1, 294, 295. 

Kyang, 125, 126. 



340 



LNDEX 



Ladakh, history of, 2, 142 ; crime in, 
117; ancient inscriptions, 140-144, 
151, 160. 

" Ladakhi songs," Ribbach, Shawe, 
and A. H. Francke, 38, 39 ; Ap- 
pendix B. 

Lady visitors to Leh, 51. 

Lamaism, 60. 

Lamas, masked, 1, 63, 64 ; as agri- 
culturists, 42 ; as money-lenders, 
74; "in retreat, "60, 90. 

Lamayuru, cave dwellings at, 41 ; 
visit to gompa, 41 ; Red Lamas 
at, 41 ; naksha or map-room at, 
42 ; Buddhist library at, 42 ; Red 
nuns at, 42 ; Lamas as agriculturists 
at, 42 ; Balu-mkhar, under, 141. 

Lawrence, Sir Walter, 2. 

Leh, 1 ; view of, 48, 49 ; vegetation 
iu, 51 ; Manchester goods, 54 ; 
funeral, 108, 111 ; gompa at, 112, 
113; schools, 113, 114; curiosity 
shop, 114, 115; Wazir's tamasha, 
115-117 ; castle of Gyalpo, 121, 122. 

Lhasa, 3 ; caravans from, 53, 54 ; 
British expedition to, 53 ; as a 
trade centre, 61 ; Lama from, 62, 
65, 75 ; women from, 62 ; Lamas 
and women from, at Delhi, 68 ; 
photography of, 70 ; women's orna- 
ments, 70 ; expedition to, approved 
of at Leh, 75, 116, 117 ; story of 
German Lama, 111, 112. 

Lukong, 91-94. 

Lumbardar, 7 ; at Chimrey, 77 ; his 
house, 77-79 ; at Skirbichan, 171- 
175; atHanu, 185-187; at Buyan, 
194 ; at Khapallu, 217-218 ; at Gol, 
278, 283, 312; at Skardo, 310, 312. 

Manis, 32, 56, 106. 

Marmots, 322-324; on Chorbat La, 

323 note. 
Marx, Rev. H. B., letter from, 50, 

121-123. 
Matchlock guns, 258. 
Maulbek Chamba, 31, 37. 
Missionaries : Moravian, 123, 126, 

127, 128-130, 157, 159; Roman 

Catholic, 127 ; Mrs. Bishop on, 

128. 
Mohammedans : Shiahs, 200 ; Shiah 

service, 242-244, 252 ; Nur Baksh, 

sect of, 243. 
Moorcroft's Travels, climate of 

Ladakh, 55 ; Chang La, 83. 
Mosques, at Khapallu, 217-221 ; at 



Chakchang, 238-240; at Skardo, 

286 ; at Shigar, 291, 293. 
Mount God win- Austen, 41. 
Mountain sickness, etc. , 80-84. 
Musical instruments at Himis, 61, 

63 ; at Khapallu, 215, 237, 256. 
Mustagh or Karakoram Mountains : 

Mount Godwin-Austen, 41 ; seen 

from Khapallu, 203 ; from Shigar, 

290 ; from Burji La, 316. 

Nagar, 3, 294. 

Namika La, 37. 

Native correspondence, 118-121. 

Neve, Dr. , 1 ; Guide to Kashmir, 

53, 93, 303. 
Nyemo or Nimu, 45-47. 

Offerings in gompas, 42, 63, 121, 174. 
" Om mani padmi hong," 32, 41. 
Ornaments, women's, 36, 70, 104, 206. 

Pack sheep, 54, 90. 

Pangkong Lake or Tso, 4, 53, 91, 93. 

Paraos, 201, 274, 275. 

Pashmina goats and wool, 59. 

Patients, in Puyan, 197 ; in Khapallu, 

212, 213, 223-225. 
Patterson, Captain, British Joint- 
Commissioner, 44, 49, 57, 68, 72, 

76, 108, 309-312. 
Pberaks, 35. 
Polo : at Puyan, 199 ; at Khapallu, 

214-216, 262 ; in general, 217 ; at 

Skardo, 286. 
Polyandry and polygamy, 35, 78, 128, 

178, 195. 
Preparations, see Journey. 
Prayer-flags, 33. 
Prayer-wheels, 33 ; in Japan, Miss 

Gordon-dimming, 33 note, 41, 62, 

63, 79. 
Puyan (Paxfain), 194 ; flour mill at, 

196; patients, 197, 199; polo, 199. 

Rajdiangan Pass, 330. 
Rope bridges, 142, 144-146. 

Sadpor, 297 ; Sadpor river, 302-306 ; 

Sadpor Tso, or lake, 303, 304; 

ancient barrage at, 304, 306, 307 ; 

Gurkhas at, 305. 
Sari Sangar Pass, 318. 
Saspola, 44 ; rest-house at, 44, 46, 

133; fort at, 142; inscriptions at, 

142. 
Scarf as an emblem of peace, 57, 65. 



INDEX 



341 



Schools, Leh, 113, 114; Khapallu, 
223. 

Scythians (Dards), 177 ; camp at- 
tacked by, 188. 

Shawe, Rev. Dr., letter from, 50 ; 
description of pottery, 147, 148. 

Shayok valley, 194, 202, 274, 275. 

Shigar, 287, 289 ; trees at, 289 ; polo 
ground at, 289 ; killa at, 289, 290 ; 
stone age at, 290 ; mosques at, 291, 
293, 294; archery butts, 291, 292; 
customs of people, 292. 

Shushot, 55. 

Sind valley, 8, 16. 

Skardo or Iskardo, 2 ; Buddha rock 
at, 160; march to, 271, 280, 281 ; 
fruit at, 281 ; Miss Christie's march 
to, 282, 283 ; post-master at, 284 ; 
hawking at, 284 ; killas at, 285, 
286 ; ancient cannon at, 286 ; Dogra 
siege of, 286 ; polo at, 286 ; ferry 
boat at, 287 ; Rajah Shah Abbas, 

305, 306; last Buddhist Rajah of, 

306, 307 ; Tehsildar of, 308 aeq. 
Skirbichan, 170 ; fort at, 171 ; gompas 

at, 171-175. 
Skushok Bakola, the, 48, 113, 120, 

121. 
Sluice gates and moraine (Sadpor), 

304-307 ; carvings of Buddha on, 

305 ; stone for inscription (?), 306. 
Sonamarg, 18, 19. 
Sportswomen, 18, 124. 
Srinagar, 1, 14. 
Stakpi La, 318. 



Sultan Bi, 207, 236, 237, 249-251, 264. 
Swasti, 57, 66, 248. 

Tea-churn, 175. 

Tehsildar of Skardo, 308 aeq., 319, 

320. 
Tents, 8, 9. 
Thomson, Dr., Travels in Western 

Himalayas, 281, 285, 287, 288, 306. 
Tibet, 2; recent history, 2; Great 

Tibet, 3 ; sport in, 85, 89, 102 ; 

Western or Little, 2. 
Tibetan music, 152, 161-168 ; poetry, 

39, 152-158, 177 ; Appendix B. 

Vegetation at Leh, 51 ; near Chang 
La, 96 ; at Khalatse, 136 ; in Hauu 
Nullah, 189 ; near Burji La, 315. 

Water-worn stones, 203. 

Wheel of life, 42, 121, 172. 
Where Three Empires Meet, by E. F. 
Knight, 1, 294, 295. 

Wigram, Major, camping at Kha- 
pallu, 240-242. 

Yak, caravans, 54, 90 ; shooting, in 

Great Tibet, 85, 89, 102. 
Yarkand, caravans from, 53 ; pilgrims 

from, 138; trade, 142. 

Zahar Mohra (or jade), 290, 291. 
Zak, 131, 266, 267, 270, 277. 
Zoji La, 3, 20-23; crossing, 20-22; 
storms on, 25. 



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