Skip to main content

Full text of "The roof of the world: being a narrative of a journey over the high plateau of Tibet to the Russian frontier and the Oxus sources on Pamir"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 




PrinUd fyX.^X. Clark 




















Lieutenant-Colonel T. E. GORDON, C.S.I. 





[AUR igkttrgsifvtd,^ 



I HAVE avoided in this narrative going into detail concerning 
those countries which have already been fully described by 
modem European travellersi and accordingly little is said about 
the well-known route from Leh to Yarkand, and thence to 
Kashghar. I offer my sketches so far, more to illustrate the 
works and writings of Thompson, Shaw, Ha3rward, Henderson, 
and Bellew, than my short account of it and its scenes. Where 
we left the old trodden paths, as in the Tian Shan and Pamir 
highlands, I have attempted a more minute account of what we 
saw and heard in those new fields of exploration and research. 

My book, however, makes no pretension to be in any way a 
record of scientific exploration: it merely relates what fell 
under " every-day " observation, with the addition of occasional 
information gathered here and there as we travelled. The idea 
of my writing it was suggested by my sketches forming such a 
complete series " from the Indus to the Oxus " as to merit pub- 
lication simply on the ground of representing to a very great 
extent life and scenery never before pictured. In considering 
the form of descriptive text to accompany the sketches, I decided 
on that of a narrative as better calculated to give interest to the 

The whole of the Illustrations (with the exception of the 
four coloured plates) are facsimile copies of my sketches made 



on the spot, being reproductions under the litho-photographic 
process, executed by Messrs. George Waterston and Son of 
Hanover Street, Edinburgh. I trust that the authenticity of 
these sketches, made from nature in localities most of which 
are entirely new to us in illustration, will compensate in some 
degree for occasional roughness and want of pictorial effect. 
The four coloured plates are faithful copies of my original 
water-colour drawings. 

I desire to thank my travelling companions. Captains Bid- 
dulph and Trotter, for kind assistance in the subject matter of 
this book. Captain Biddulph, besides furnishing that which I 
have acknowledged in the text, helped me in the account of 
the form of Budhism now obtaining in Tibet, to which Captain 
MoUoy, British Joint Commissioner at Leh, also obligingly 
contributed. The Map and all the notes of elevation above sea- 
level are by Captain Trotter, and in my account of our journey 
to Chadir Kul on the Tian Shan plateau I have borrowed from 
his letter published in the proceedings of the Eoyal Geo- 
graphical Society of 15th June 1874. 

Fergan, the latest Eussian territorial acquisition in Central 
Asia, extends the frontier of that Power down towards the 
scene of our Pamir exploration ; and, influenced as the adjoining 
small States must necessarily be by their strong neighbour, the 
opportunity will doubtlessly soon be given for a complete ex- 
amination of the interesting regions near the head waters of the 
Oxus which remain yet imexplored. m -p POTfDON 

2 EoYAL Parade, 
Cheltenham, 1st May 1876. 



Arrival at Leh, on the Indus — Preparations for the onward Journey — Hemis 
Monastery — Masquerade and Burlesque by the Llamas — Budhist 
Priesthood — Polo — ^Dancing Men and Women — Cordial Co-operation 
of Kashmir Authorities — ^Departure from Leh — Baggage and Eiding 
Yaks — ^European Governors of Ladak — Characteristics of the Tartars 
— Shyok and Nubra Valleys — ^Pack-horses on Karakoram Journey — 
Dras and Kurgil Ponies — ^Yaks and "Zos" — ^Potato Cultivation in 
Shyok Valley ..... Pages 1-14 


Susser Pass — Shyok Stream — Winter and Summer Eoutes — Kumdan and 
, ^^ ' Eemu Glaciers — Mountain Hares — Tartar Porters — Mortality among 
Traders' Pack-horses — ^Wolves and Eavens — Karakoram Pass — Suget 
Pass — Karakash Valley — ^Yarkand Officials and Frontier — Captain 
Biddulph's Party joins — Chang-Chemno and Khoten Eoutes — Pangong 
Lake navigated — Load-carrying Sheep . . . 16-28 


Halt at Shahidulla — Yakub Khan, Kashghar Envoy — Special Couriers — 
Annual Yarkand Caravans — Party proceeds to Sanju — ^Klirghiz and 
Yaks — Sanju Pass — Bullock Carriage — Mirza Bahaudin — ^Abu-Bakr's 
Fort — ^Kilian Kirghiz — ^Mission and Envoy reach Sanju — Kargalik — 
Yarkand — ^Visit to the Governor: to the City — Dress and Appearance 
of the People — Streets and Bazaars — ^Market Day — Hunting-Eagles 
— ^Beggars — ^Population — Mission Quarters — Soldiers — Carts . 29-45 



Departure for Kashghar — Post Houses — Commandant of Yangi-Hissar Fort 
— Guns carried by all OflScials — Yangi-Hissar — Kashghar — ^Reception 
by the Atalik — City — Cotton Manufactures — Export Trade — Silk — 
Wool — Chinese and Tunganis — Domestic Slaves — Skating — ^Mechanics 
and Artisans ..... Pages 46-56 


Departure for the Tian Shan — Artush Valley and Stream — Russian Merchants 
— ^Toyan Valley and Stream — Forts of the Chakmak Defile — Caravan 
Route — Old Volcano — (his Poll and Black Ibex — Russian Kazaks 
and Kara Kirghiz — Herds of Ponies — Manner of Hunting Ovis Poli — 
Kirghiz Soldiers and Sportsmen — Chadir Kul Lake — ^Watershed — 
Tian Shan Range — Severe Cold — Captain Trotter*s Work — Strict 
Church Discipline — ^Excavated Rooms at Artush . .57-67 


Captain Biddulph's Departure for Maralbashi — His Account of Journey and 
Country — Forest — ^Wild Camels — Gazelle — Hawking Pheasants and 
Hares — ^Maralbashi Town and Fort — Dolan People — Soldier's Story 
— ^Tigers — ^Trained Hunting-Eagles — Ancient City — Stages to Aksu 
— Return to Kashghar — Presents of Game — Ovis Poli — ^Black Ibex — 
Gazelle — Frozen Drawing Studies — ^Maral — Wild Boar Hunting — 
Mr. Forsyth's Visit to Artush — ^Dr. Stoliczka and Captain Trotter's 
Explorations — Turkish Protectorate of Kashghar — ^Yangi Shahr 68-88 


The Army — Artillery — Jemadar Dadkhwah — Infantry — Taifurchis — 
Chinese Corps at Drill — Army System — Kashgharis — Food Supply — 
Transport — Annual Visit of Governors to the Capital — Khoten 
Revenue — Jade — China Tea Trade — Political System — Severity of 
the Laws — Sheep and Cattle Stealing — The Amir's Personal Govern- 
ment — ^Mission leaves Kashghar — Arrives at Yangi Hissar — ^Yakub, 
the Polish Deserter . . . . . 89-102 



Departure for Sirikol — Chinese Fort — ^Kirghiz — Severe Winter Weather — 
" Strike " of Kashghari Attendants — Kirghiz Yuzbashi — Elaskasu 
Pass — Chihil Gumbaz — ^Torut Pass — ^Tangi Tar — Chichiklik Pass — 
Reach Sirikol Valley — ^Tashkurgan — Extent of Valley — Capture of 
Sirikol — Deportation and Return of Inhabitants — Origin of the 
People — Old Tashkurgan — Cultivation — Animals, Domestic and Wild 
— Climate — Source and Names of River — Taghdungbash Pamir and 
Kirghiz — ^Road to Kunjut — Slave's Story — ^Atalik*s Fort — ^Tagharma 
and Kizil Art Plains — Great and Little Karakul Lakes — ^Meaning of 
"Sirikol" ..... Pages 103-120 


Roof of the World — ^Previous Knowledge of Pamir Topography — Departure 
for Wakhan — Neza Tash — Rich Grass — Aktash Valley — Little 
Pamir: its Lake and Stream — Watershed — Sarhadd Stream — 
Extent of Little Pamir — Reach Sarhadd — Met by the " Mirzada " — 
Ibex-Hounds — Reach Kila Panja on the Oxus — Welcomed by the 
Mir : visit him in his Fort — Present State of Peace and Security — 
Tribute paid to Kabul — Population — Condition of the People — Ani- 
mals—Crops—Through Trade— State Debt paid oflf . 121-137 


Wakhan — ^Friendly Relations with Kunjut — People of Kunjut — Shighnan 
friendly with Wakhan — My Messenger to Shighnan — Short Account 
of Country — Murghab (Great Karakul) River — Ruby Mines — Shiah 
Sect — Kafir Forts — Mir Wali supposed Murderer of Mr. Hayward — 
Yassin—Alif Beg of Sirikol— Slavery . . . 138-149 


Severe Weather — Supplies — Snow on Great Pamir — Signs of Spring — ^De- 
parture for Great Pamir — Captain Biddulph goes to the Little Pamir 
— ^Ali Murdan Shah's Signet Ring — Kirghiz of Great Pamir — ^Road 
— ^Wood's Victoria Lake — Great Pamir Watershed — ^Deep Snow — 
Pamir Paths — Captain Biddulph rejoins — ^Alichor and Siriz Pamirs — 
Rang Kul — ^Tashkurgan on Siriz Pamir — Wild Animals — Gigantic 


Pair of Ovis Poll Horns — Sarefaction of the Air — Local Name of 
Lake Victoria — General Description of the Pamir Plateau — ^Meaning 
of "Pamir"— Hot Springs— "Bolor"—Aktash— Short Supplies- 
Difficult Defile— Eetum to Sirikol . . Pages 150-165 


Betum towards Yarkand — Sudden Change from Winter to Summer — Yarkand 
— Crops — Summer Dress of People — ^Leave Yarkand for Leh — ^Kogiar 
Boute — Snow-Melting Floods — ^Yangi-Dawan Pass — ^Return of Winter 
— Karakoram Pass — Death of Dr. Stoliczka — Letter and Presents 
to Mir Futteh Ali Shah of Wakhan — His Death, and Succession of 
AUMurdanShah 166-172 


1. Lower Kuicdan Glacier, on the bed of the Shyok 

Stkkam. (to face page 17) .... Frontispiece. 


2. Hemis Budhist Monastery, Ladak . . .2 

3. End of the Upper Kubidan Glacier, on the Shyok 

oTREAM . • • • « • •lo 

4. The Bemu Glacier, Upper Shyok — looking N.W. — ^before 

the snow-storm . • . • . .19 

5. The Remu Glacier, Upper Shyok — ^looking W. — Outline of 

the high range and peaks obscured by a snow-storm . 20 

6. The Karakoram Peak, fix)m the Southern side of the Pass of 

that name — Elevation of the spot from which the view 

taken, about 17,500 feet . .... 22 

7. View from the Summtt of the Karakoram Pass, looking 

N.K; elevation 18,550 feet A rough stone pillar erected 
in honour of the " G^nii of the Mountain," similar to what is 
seen on most Himmalayan passes, shows on the left of the 
foreground ...... 23 

8. BiDiNO Yaks, mounted for the ascent of the Sanju Pass . 32 

9. Street Scene, Yarkand ..... 42 

10. Taifurchis of the Yarkand Governor's Guard, "Field 

Practice" WTTH the Taifu .... 44 

11. View in the Toyan Valley, near Chung Terek, Tian 

Shan — ^looking South ..... 60 



12. Panorabhc View of the Chadir Kul Lake on the Tun 

Shan Plateau, Russian frontier; wild sheep in the foreground 65 

13. The Trained Hunting Golden Eagle of Eastern Tur- 

KISTAN ....... 78 

U. Chinese Taifurchis, Kashghar Army . . . 93 

15. Road Scene, Kashghar ..... 96 

16. The Yangi Shahr, Kashghar, Fort Residence of the Amir, 

from the roof of the Embassy Quarters — the Kizil Art 
Mountains in the distance, and Kirghiz Felt Tent in the 
court-yard of the " Elchi-Khana " in the foreground . . 99 

17. The Muztagh (Tagharma Peak, 25,500 feet), from Tash- 

kurgan, Sirikol — ^looking North; part of the old Fort of 
Yarshidi on the left ; and Kirghiz, Akoi, and Yaks in the 
foreground ...... 119 

18. The Aktash Yalley— looking North-West . . .125 

19. The Little Pamir — looking West from near Onkul, about 20 

miles east of Gazkul (the Little Pamir Lake) ; wild sheep in 

thd foreground . . . . . . 127 

20. KiLA Panja on the Oxus — looking East ; showing the Forts 

and the approaches to the Great and Little Pamirs . . 131 

21. Family Party, iNHABrrANTS of Patur, Wakhan . . 135 

22. YicroRiA Lake, Great Pamir — looking West . . 155 

23. The Aktash Yalley — looking South-East — showing the 

Aktash rock from which the valley takes its name; ice 
breaking up on the Aksu in the foreground . . 157 

24. Large Ovis Poli Horns, from the Great Pamir . . 160 

25. Map ....... 172 


Baqgagb Yak .... 
Masqueradino Monks, Lamas at Hemis 
Polo Play in Tibet 
Tibetan Ballet-dancers and Vocalists 
RmiNO Yak .... 
Upper Part of Lower Kumdan Glacier 
Karakoram Brangsa . 


Kirghiz Youth .... 

Kirghiz Young Woman 

Kirghiz Old Woman (Grandmother) . 

Yarkandi Official 

Yarkandi Woman, in Out-door Winter Dress 

Yarkandi Woman „ „ 

A Woman of Sanju .... 

Khul Muhammad, Commandant at Yangi Hissar 

Bai Baba, a Khokandi Officer at Yangi Hissar 

Kassim Akhun, auas Chawli^ng Khwaitang 

Usher of the White Rod at Yangi Hissar . 

Black Ibex of the Tun Shan Mountains . 

Kirghiz Soldiers and Ponies, Tian Shan 

The Djeran (Gazelle) of Eastern Turkistan 

Head of the Maral (Stag) of Eastern Turkistan 









Hunting Eagle seizing a Fox. 

JiGiT Soldier, Kashghar Army 

JiGiT Soldier, Kashghar Army 

Kalmak Archer, Kashghar Army 

Kalmak Archer, Kashghar Army 

Kirghiz in Winter Dress 

SnuKOL Valley— LOOKING South 

Kirghiz Ak-oi (White House) . 

Little Pamir Lake, Eastern End 

Little Pamir Lake, Western End 

SiRiKOLi Attendant of Alif Beg's 

Kafir Fort near Hissar-Wakhan 

Wakhi Falconer with Young Hawk 

YoL Mazar (Roadside Shrine) on the 
OF THE Oxus 



Great Pamir (Victoria) Lake— Eastern End 
Double-humped Camel of Eastern Turkistan 
Double-humped Camel of Eastern Turkistan 
Ladies' Summer Fashions, Yarkand . 
Laden Yaks on the March . 








The return Mission from the 
Viceroy of India to the Amir of 
Kashghar, reached Leh, on the 
Indus^ the capital of Western 
Tibet, on the 20th of Septem- 
ber 1873. An advanced party, 
under the leadership of Captain 
Biddulph, had previously passed 
on, taking the eastern route by the Pangong Lake, and over the 
Lingzi Thang plains, with instructions to join the Mission head- 
quarters at Shahidulla, on the frontier of Yarkand. 

The final arrangements for the long journey to the almost 
unknown land of Eastern Turkistan were made at Leh. Here 
the camp-followers were again inspected, and the horses, ponies, 
and travelling equipments finally examined as to fitness for 
continued severe work and exposure. The departure of the 
Mission had been unavoidably delayed considerably beyond the 
favourable time originally fixed, and provision had to be made 

for meeting the greater cold of the later season. Full-length 
^''* B 



sheep-skin coats, with felt stockings and coverlets, were issued 
to every man, to supplement the liberal supply of warm 
clothing previously given, and extra felt-lined blankets were 
also prepared for the riding and baggage-train animals. The 
result proved the sound economy of these careful precautions, 
the Mission reaching Yarkand with its establishment and 
baggage-train in perfect working order. Great extremes of heat 
and cold were felt during the journey, the thermometer in 
the course of three months ranging from over 100° in tents at 
Eawal Pindi, in the Punjab, where the camp was formed in 
July, to 25° below zero, as experienced by Captain Biddulph's 
party in October, shortly before reaching ShahiduUa. 

Captain Trotter and Dr. Stoliczka accompanied Captain 
Biddulph in advance; while Dr. Bellew, C.S.L, Captain Chapman, 
and myself, proceeded with the Envoy, Mr. (now Sir) Douglas 
Forsyth, C.B * 

Eight days were occupied at Leh in making the necessary 
further preparations for the journey across the Karakoram. 
Advantage was taken of the halt to visit the Budhist Monas- 
tery of Hemis, which enjoys a high reputation in Ladak for it8 
wealth and sanctity. Hemis is twenty-five miles from lich, on 
the south bank of the Indus. This monastery was first built in 
1635 by Takchan Ealpha, a Lama, brother of the Ladak Eaja 
Singa Namgyel, and was enlarged by Galtais Lama in 1793. 
During the first invasion and conquest of Ladak by Zorawur 
Sing in 1834-35, the monasteries escaped plunder. After the 
destruction of Zorawur Sing's army by the Chinese, in 1841, 

* Two very able native officers, Resaidor Muhammad Afzul ELhan of the 
11th Bengal Cavalry, and Inspector Muhammad Ibrahim Khan of the Punjab 
Police, were also attached to the Mission. 


the Ladakis for a short time entertained the hope of entirely 
shaking oflf the Dogra yoke. This hope was quickly extin- 
guished by the advance into Ladak of a fresh army under 
Dewan Hurrf Chund and Wuzlr Lakpat Rai, on which occa- 
sion the monasteries were less fortunate. Hemis alone escaped 
being plundered, in consequence of the Head Lama tendering 
early submission to HurrI Chund, and promising to feed the 
whole Dogra army for six months. The agreement was faith- 
fully carried out ; and, though the other monasteries have never 
recovered the losses they then experienced, Hemis has been able 
to retain some of its ancient glories and reputation. 

The form of Budhism now obtaining in Tibet has altered 
somewhat since its first introduction, and differs considerably 
from what may be regarded as the purer form practised in 
Ceylon and Burma. Budhism was first introduced into Tibet 
in the third century B.C., by Sakya Thubba, who inculcated 
merely a mystical belief in the Supreme Budha. Lamaism, 
with its monasteries and prayer-wheels, was founded later by 
Urgyan Padma, a successor of Sakya Thubba, when considerable 
changes were made in the importance attached to forms and 
ceremonies, and the superior sanctity of Lamas. Later on, a 
reformer known as Tson Khappa appeared, who founded the 
sect of Gelukpa " the virtuous," and strove to bring back Bud- 
hism to its purer and simpler form. In course of time it was 
found that the precepts enjoined were too rigorous for frail 
humanity, and the sect of Kahguitpa, " believers in the succes- 
sion of precepts," was founded. These now form the two 
sects into which Lamas are divided, but have many minor sub- 
divisions that take their names from some celebrated monastery, 
retaining the distinctions of dress and tenets of the great sects 


from which they spring. Both sects wear a red dress, but the 
Gelukpas are distinguished by a yellow cap, and follow the 
tenets laid down in the book " Do," " the Aphorisms," which is 
amplified and assisted by thirty-three minor volumes. They 
are more puritanical in their religious observances than the 
Kahguitpas, and strictly abstain from meat, spirituous liquors^ 
and marriage. The Dalai Lama of Lhassa belongs to the 
Gelukpa sect, which owns the Gahldang, Despung, Sera, and 
Tashi-Lhunpo subdivisions. The Kahguitpas wear a red cap, 
and practise the tenets laid down in the book Gnall or Gyuit, 
which is amplified in twenty minor volumes. They do not 
observe such strict abstinence as the Gelukpas, and, though the 
practice is not common, are allowed to marry. A married 
monk is obliged, however, to leave the monastery, and cease 
exercising his functions as a priest. The Lamas of Hemis 
belong to the sect of Kahguitpa, which owns the Dukpa, Sekya, 
Birgonpa, Taklung, and Sarboo subdivisions. 

The resemblance between these religious subdivisions and 
the many monastic orders of the Boman Catholic Church is 
curious. It is not to be wondered at that the first Jesuit 
missionaries who visited Tibet, studied its system of monas* 
teries, clerical celibacy, worship of a Trinity, and acknowledgment 
of a spiritual head on earth, and watched the religious services ac- 
companied by incense-burning, music, and chanting, should have 
imagined that they had at last found the home of Antichrist. 

Lhassa, the Bome of Budhism, is stiU regarded with vene- 
ration, and a great annual fair, called Shishu, is held at Hemis 
on the same day that similar ones are held at the Dachan- 
chunga and Sungasooling monasteries in Lhassa, which belong 
to the same order. 


Hemis is chiefly known to modem travellers on account of 
a masque performed by the monks for a small gratuity. The 
dresses, which are extremely grotesque, as a glance at the accom* 
panying sketch will show, are all brought from Lhassa, The 
origin of the pantomime is unknown, but it is doubtless of great 
antiquity, possibly dating from times before the introduction of 
Budhism, to which it has no apparent afl&nity. I am not 
aware of any similar ceremony mentioned by travellers in 
countries where Budhism prevails. Through the kindness of 
Mr, Johnson, the Wuzlr of Ladak, we were treated to a full-dresa 


performance, at which the Lamas of three neighbouring monas- 
teries assisted. The play seemed to be a pantomimic burlesque 
of the pomp and pleasures of a royal court. First came a band 
of courtiers sweeping the way for the approach of the King, then 
a party of musicians with children's rattles, followed by a 
masquerade of devils, blue, red, and white, monsters, fairies, 
fools and philosophers, all dancing to the loud-sounding pipe, 
drum, and cymbal, before the King, who came and reposed 
under a great canopy, looking silly and contemptuous. Our 


breakfast^ sent on ahead^ had gone astray ; but the Lamas, on 
hearing of it, provided us with a capital repast of fowls, bread, 
and eggs, with tea served in coarse china. 

The following account of polo played at Leh, and of the 
Tartar ballet, is by Captain Biddulph : — 

" The game of Polo, which promises to become nationalised 
in England,, has been played in Ladak for centuries. Every 
village of any pretensions has its polo (pronounced Pooloo) 
ground attached, consisting of a smooth space of greensward or 
shingle, from 200 to 300 yards long and 80 yards broad. Low 
parallel walls about eight or ten inches high mark the sides of 
the ground, the ends being left open. Cunningham, writing of 
Ladak more than twenty years ago, gives the following excellent 
description of the game : — 

" ' The favourite amusement of the Botis, both of Ladak and 
of Balti, is polo, in which all parties from the highest to the 
lowest can take a part. I saw the game played at Mulbil, in a 
field 400 yards long and 80 yards broad, which was waUed 
round for the purpose with a stone dyke. There were twenty 
players on each side, all mounted on ponies and armed with 
sticks about four feet long, and bent at the lower end. One 
player took the ball and advanced alone into the middle of the 
field, where he threw up the ball, and as it fell, struck it towards 
one of the goals. The goals were formed of two upright stones 
placed about twenty-five or thirty feet apart. When the ball 
was driven through a goal, one of the successful party was 
obliged to dismount and pick it up ; for if the opposite party- 
should have driven it back before it was picked up, the goal did 
not count. The game consisted in winning a certain number of 
goals, either five, seven, or nine. Numerous musicians were in 


attendance, who made a most lively din whenever a goal was won, 
and the noise was increased by the cheers of the successful party. 
" ' The game is a very spirited one, and well calculated for 
the display of bold and active horsemanship. Accidental blows 
occur frequently, but the poor ponies are the principal suflferers. 
The game was once common in India under the name of 
Chaogan, but it is now completely forgotten. The old Chaogan- 
grounds still exist in every large town in the Punjab hilla — in 
Bilaspur, Nadaon, Shujanpur, Kangra, Haripur, and Chamba, 
where the goal-stones are still standing. The game is re- 
peatedly mentioned by Baber, but after his time it gradually 
became obsolete. It was introduced by the Mussulman con- 
querors, and the very first king, Kutb-ud-din Aibak, was killed 
by a fall from his horse when playing at Chaogan in a.d. 1210. 
The Pathan kings of India still continued to join in the game 
down to the time of Sikander Lodi in a.d. 1498, when* one day, 
while the king and his court were playing at Chaogan, the bat 
of Haibat Khan Shirwani by accident came in contact with the 
head of Suliman, the son of Darya Khan Lodi, who received a 
severe blow. This was resented on the spot by Khizir Khan, 
the brother of Suliman, who, galloping up to Haibat Khan, 
struck him violently over the skull. In a few minutes both 
sides joined in the quarrel, and the field was in uproar and 
confusion. Mahmud Khan Lodi and Khan Khanan Lodi inter- 
posing, endeavoured to pacify Haibat Khan, and succeeded in 
persuading him to go home quietly with them. The King, 
apprehensive of a conspiracy, retired immediately to the palace ; 
but nothing more transpiring, he made another party at the 
same game a few days after.* 

* Brigga's Ferishta. 


" The main street of Leh is an old polo-ground, round which 
houses have been built, and many a good game is still played 
there. During our halt at Leh, preparing ourselves to face the 
Karakoram, some of our party wishing for a game, the Wuzlr, 
Mr. Johnson, sent the requisite notice to the villages round, 

" The next afternoon, at the appointed time, players, leading 
their shaggy little ponies, appeared from Sabu, Chushot, 
and other places; some having come ten or twelve miles 
for a game, and riding home the same evening. The street 
had been carefully swept and watered, and none but the 
players were allowed in it, except the town band, which was 
placed on one side half-way between the two goals. The flat 
roofe of the houses lining the ground were covered with 
lookers-on, who watched the game with unflagging interest. 


*' Sides were chosen by all the polo sticks being thrown on 
the ground and divided into pairs. The two choosers of sides 
then took a stick from each pair; sticks were reclaimed by 
their owners, and the game began. Pipe and drum struck up 
a monotonous tune, which warmed up for a few discordant 
moments each time a goal was taken. The players formed a 
picturesque group with their streaming pig-tails, urging on 


their rough little ponies with the short Tartar whip, spurs 
being unknown. The pace was good, and there was plenty of 
hard hitting. The back-handed hitting on the near side was 
especially good, and the length of reach greater than is usually 
seen among English players. From the narrowness of a Tartar 
polo-ground, goals are frequent, but the interest of the game 
does not appear to be diminished in consequence. The picking 
up of liie ball after a goal is hit is a curious feature : if before 
this can be done one of the other side can hit the ball out 
again between the markers, which here were eighteen feet apart, 
the game goes on, and no goal is reckoned. After nearly two 
hours' play, everybody had had enough, and the proceedings 
terminated by a dance in the street. The performers were pro- 
fessional dancers, men and women. The latter were very robust 


damsels, dressed in gay colours, with a red and green cloak 

hanging from their shoulders ; the men were not dressed in any 

distinctive costume, with the exception of a flat overhanging 

cap and very long sleeves to their coats. The dance itself was 

very monotonous, the performers following one another in a 

circle with a slow short step and very grave faces. They would 



not, perhaps, have been thought remarkable for grace or beauty 
at Her Majesty's Theatre, but at Leh it was looked on as a 
wonderful display of elegance.'* 

When travelling up the valley of the Indus, a great gather- 
ing of Tartars took place on the 12th of September to play polo 
before us, and the same band of dancers described by Captain 
Biddulph performed for our amusement at Leh. I was thus 
enabled to make the accompanying sketches, illustrative of 
both, from the life. 

The most liberal arrangements were made by the Maharajah 
of Kashmir for the provisioning and transport of the Mission to 
his frontier across the Karakoram, where we were to be met 
by the Kashghar authorities. Food for men and animals, with 
a sufficient supply of firewood, was placed under a guard at 
every stage in the mountain wilderness beyond Changlung (the 
green pasture), in Nubra, the last inhabited spot on the Kara- 
koram route. Mr. Johnson, the Governor of Ladak, carried 
out the Maharajah's orders in the most complete manner, so that 
in the icy desert of High Tartary we travelled with a degree of 
comfort almost equal to what we had in the Lower Himma- 
layas. But while the head-quarter party thus fared well, that 
in advance, travelling by the easterly or Chang-Chemno route, 
had to face difficulties and hardships, which, however, were met 
cheerfully and overcome successfully. They proceeded for a 
short distance together, and then separated to follow different 
tracks, and thus examine thoroughly the country to the east of 
the Karakoram pass. They met with greater cold, and crossed 
loftier heights than we did, and they experienced many dis- 
comforts to which we were strangers. 

We left Leh on the 29th of September. Snow had com- 


menced to fall on the surrounding hills, and the first day we 
had the thermometer at 15° by 9 p.m. We started with 
entirely yak transport, and kept it till the long and difficult 
Susser pass was left behind. The Khardung pass (17,229 feet), 
cussed the following day, took us to the valley of the Shyok, 
down which we travelled for two days, and then turned up the 
Nubra stream, making three marches to Changlung. Two 
hundred and fifty baggage ponies were here provided, to be taken 
into use after crossing the Susser. Heavy snow was now falling 
daily on the heights, and a severe journey was expected ; but, 
fortunately for us, the snow ceased the day before we ascended 
from Changlung ; and, so far from suffering, we benefited by 
what had fallen, as it filled up the spaces between the boulders 
and rocks, and in many places almost smoothed our path. A 
number of laden yaks had passed ahead and trodden down the 
new fall before we arrived. The yak is admirably fitted for 
this work, the shortness of its legs keeping it from sinking to 
any great depth, and instinct teaching it to avoid soft drifts 
where footing is difficult to find. 

We used yaks for riding purposes on three occasions only : 
when crossing the Khardung and Sanju passes, and ascending 
the first rise from the Nubra valley towards the Susser. 
Becooiae was had to yaks then, chiefly on account of the deep 
snow at the two first-mentioned places, and to spare our horses 
at the third, where the ascent is unusually long and steep. 
But horses can be ridden up all, as was done by many of our 
people. Throughout the whole of the journey to Eussian 
Turkistan beyond Kashghar, and over the Pamir to the Oxus, I 
always found the paths perfectly practicable for a horse or pony. 

Ladak has had the advantage, imusual in a native state^ of 



being for several years past under a European governor, Mr, 
Drew was Wuzlr there for a considerable time, and on his 
departure, Mr. Johnson, the first successful traveller of modem 
times in Eastern Turkistan, was appointed to the charge. The 
Tartars there appreciated so thoroughly the rule of an English- 
man, that when left under a 
native governor for a short 
time after Mr. Drew's de- 
parture, a number of them 
are said to have gone to 
Srinuggur to complain in 
person to the Maharajah. 
The Tartars throughout 
Ladak are under "Kar- 
dars " (Headmen) of their 
own class, whom the 
Maharajah appoints. Foreigners (Hindus and others) were 
tried in this capacity, but the people would not accept 
them. They are said to suffer to any extent under a 
Tartar Kardar without complaining, but in no way can be 
made contented under a stranger so placed over them. The 
explanation probably is that they are as a rule well treated by 
the one, and not by the other. They are peaceftd, patient, and 
hardy ; and if to their quality of extraordinary power of endur- 
ance were added that of courage, they would be invaluable as 
soldiers in those regions. But the Tartars of Ladak are more 
inclined to arms than their neighbours, and the Maharajah of 
Kashmir has made a beginning towards utilising them in a 
military capacity. There is now a Ladaki' corps, numbering 
over 100 men, stationed at Leh, and employed in the surround- 



ing district. The men are obtained by conscription, and are 
tolerably well paid. They are said to take quickly to the use 
of arms, and to give promise of being faithful and brave under a 
leader whom they believe in. This corps furnished the men 
who protected the supplies laid out for our Mission on the 
uninhabited part of the Karakoram road between Leh and 
the Yarkand frontier. 

The Shyok and Nubra valleys show signs of increasing 
prosperity, the result, I believe, of the fostering care bestowed 
upon Ladak by Messrs. Drew and Johnson, at the instance of 
His Highness Rumbhir Sing, the present Maharajah of Kashmir, 
whose state expenditure in that province considerably exceeds the 
income. The inhabitants of these valleys benefit considerably by 
the Yarkand trade, in selling flour, grain, and forage for the 
" kafilas'' of pack horses passing and repassing. All the jungle 
and grass lands near the villages are carefully enclosed with 
strong thorn fences for grazing purposes, a charge being made 
for the horses when turned in. Lucerne grass is extensively 
grown, and similarly enclosed for grazing. The traders feed 
their horses well before entering upon the severe portion of 
the Karakoram journey, which extends for eleven stages from 
the Nubra valley to the Karakash river near ShahiduUa, over a 
wild, desolate, and elevated country destitute of grass. While 
passing over this distance, a few pounds of barley only form 
the daily food of the trader's pack horse, which generally carries 
a load of 240 lbs., inclusive of the saddle. Grass is neither 
good nor plentiful at Shahidulla, and forage, such as a horse 
requires after the Karakoram journey, is not obtainable till 
Sanju, six stages farther on, with the difficult pass of that name 
intervening, is reached. Accordingly the fodder and supplies 


of the Nubra and Shyok valleys are in great demand in the 
'* kafila ^ coming and going seasons, to prepare for and recover 
from the effects of this killing work. The stages there are 
very short, and the traders move leisurely along, halting and 
marching according to the condition of their horses. The 250 
ponies which I have mentioned as joining our camp to relieve 
the baggage yaks, were sent on to these pastures to pick up 
their last grass before conmiencing the toilsome journey beyond. 
These ponies were strong hardy animals from Dras and Kurgil, 
districts lying between Ladak and Kashmir. Ponies are exten- 
sively bred at these places, and the Kashmir state can always 
depend upon obtaining a great number there, when transport 
on a large scale is wanted. Ladak can similarly furnish very 
many yaks, but they are of no use lower than Leh, being only 
capable of work at high altitudes. The yak is a slow beast of 
burden, becoming footsore if driven fast or far. It is invalu- 
able when time is no object, canying as it does a very heavy 
load, and finding its own food in the most unlikely and impos- 
sible looking places. The " zo," which appears to be the link • 
between the cow and the yak, is found below Leh, and is much 
used for carriage purposes. In connection with the Shyok 
and Nubra valleys it may be interesting to know that Mr. 
Johnson, has introduced the potato there, and with success, as 
proved by an excellent crop grown in 1873 at the village of 
Deskit, near the junction of the Shyok and Nubra streams. 
It is considered probable that the Tartars will now carry on 
the cultivation. 



The cold steadily increased as we progressed. We left the 
Nubra valley on the 6th of October, and encamped that night 
at the foot of the Susser pass, the most difl&cult in the whole 
journey. The thermometer marked ll**. The pass was crossed 
the following day without any mishap, notwithstanding the 
great extent of snow and ice, which, especially at the last part 
of the ascent, caused much scrambling and struggling among 
men and horses. The state of the numerous huge glaciers 
clinging to the sides of the .overhanging mountains, and 
presenting the appearance of being merely temporarily checked 
in their downward course, points to the probability of this pass 
being choked up at no very distant date, and obstructed for trafiBc, 
similarly as that which leads from near the head of the Kufe- 
lung source of the Yarkand river into the Nubra valley is said 
to have been. This latter was in ancient times on the main 
route by which the hosts of mounted invaders crossed into 
Little Tibet, but now it is only passable by men on foot. At 
present, the only travellers by it, are the hardy inhabitants of 


Baltistan, to whom it makes a great saving of time and distance 
when communicating with their brethren who have settled in 
Yarkand. A colony of Baltis has long existed at Yarkand, 
chiefly engaged in agriculture, and a journey to and fro is 
made every year. The thermometer marked 18° at 3 p.m. on 
the summit of the Susser pass (17,800 feet), and it sank during 
the night to 6° below zero. 

On descending the pass we again came upon the Shyok, 
which we had crossed and left a few days before. The Shyok 
is the principal mountain tributary of the Indus, and rises in 
the Karakoram mountains to the south-east of that pass. It 
flows south-east to as far south as Leh, when it turns abruptly 
to the north-west, and continues in that direction tiU the Indus 
is reached at Keris. Its upper course is rushing and turbulent 
down a narrow glen, but its middle course is either broad or rapid, 
or divided into numerous branches; in the lower part it is 
generally a furious rapid, confined between precipitous cliff's. 
In the depth of winter, when completely frozen, the stream is 
followed for a great part of the Karakoram journey, thus 
avoiding the troublesome Susser pass, and the long road over 
the high Dipsang plain, both of which come in the summer 
route. The precipitous nature of its banks and the adjoining 
mountains prevent any passage along it when the ice breaks 
up. Mr. Johnson arranged to return by the river route on his 
way back after parting with us at the frontier, to examine the 
locality, with the view of bringing engineering skill to bear on 
its difficulties; but I believe that the necessary operations to 
open a road were found to be too extensive to be undertaken 
at present. Considering the extraordinary and extreme diffi- 
culties of climate and want of grass always to be met with in 


this direction, it would, I think, be far more profitable for our 
commerce to seek out a new trade route to Eastern Turkistan 
by which the severe and barren elevated wastes of the Kara- 
koram may be avoided. 

Winter having set in severely when we reached the Shyok 
again on the 9th of October, the partially frozen and low state 
of the stream admitted of our passing up it towards its source. 
The supplies, however, having been laid out on the summer 
route over the Dipsang plain, in anticipation of our earlier 
journey as expected, the main portion of the camp was sent 
that way, while we proceeded by the winter path. We took a 
few yaks to carry the supplies, and the rest were sent back, the 
ponies furnished in Nubra being taken into use. We passed 
the lower Kumdan glacier the first day. It comes from the 
high peaks to the north-west, and continues down the right 
bank of the stream for over two miles, forming a perfect wall 
of ice rising from the water about 120 feet, and showing a 
surface covered with countless pinnacles and points. Portions 
of it yet stand at several places on the opposite bank, where the 
original mass was forced against the great up-rising red clifis, 
and blocked up the stream, thus forming a lake, which at last 
burst this ice barrier by the increasing pressure of its collected 

We encamped that night at Kumdan under a high cliflF 
on the deep shingly bed of the old lake formed in the 
manner just described. I remained behind the party sketching 
the various remarkable parts of the glacier, and often in 
making my way through the stream got into the line of 
baggage yaks, which, moving in their usual leisurely manner, 
appeared to me to run the chance of being caught in the 



forming ice. The cold was excessive, aa shown by the mass of 
icicles on the long-haired yaks and rough-coated ponies when 


they emerged from the stream. The doubtful nature of the 
narrow fords, and the painful prospect of a possible accidental 
dip in the stream in such a low state of temperature, checked 
all attempt to hasten forward by leaving the line of cautious 
deliberative yaks. The great peaks from which the lower 
Kumdan glacier springs, had their " snow banners " in full dis- 
play as we passed up, these being the continuous b'ght clouds of 
powdery snow blown off the surface, similar to what is seen in 
the Alps. 

On the 10th we continued in the same general northerly 
direction, and passed the upper Kumdan glacier, which shoots 
down from a lateral valley to the north-west, and almost 
touches the opposite side of the main valley. It probably, at 
one time, formed the barrier for a long and extensive shallow 
lake above. We encamped that night at Gipshun, in a ravine 
close to the broad pebbly bed of the Shyok. A little scattered 


































and scanty grass appears in the soft hollows about here, mak- 
ing the neighbourhood, as we were told, an occasional haunt of 
the huge wild yak, and the graceful Tibetan antelope» I 
went up towards the great Remu glacier to the north-west, in 
quest of wild yaks, the fresh marks of which I had noticed ; but 
I saw no game except a couple of moimtain hares, which are 
found in small numbers all over this wild country. On the 
return journey the following year, the two ibex-hounds we brought 
&om Wakhan coursed them to no purpose, on the Karakoram, at 
an elevation of over 17,000 feet. There the hares had by far the 
advantage of the dogs, which soon came to a stand-still, pant- 
ing and breathless &om the extreme rarefaction of the air. 
The hares, on the contrary, held on their way without any 
apparent inconvenience. I foimd the Bemu glacier too distant 
to allow of reaching and returning before nightfall, so I had to 
make my way back to camp, from a point about two miles short 
of it. The thermometer marked 2** below zero that night, and 
the danger of being benighted in such a climate was too great 
a risk to run. 

The following day we passed up the Daolat-Beg-uldi stream 
bed to the east of north, and as we crossed the great gravelly 
flat at its junction with the Shyok, we had a very fine view of 
the north-western portion of the Remu glacier, which showed 
right down in the main valley, with an even surface, wonder- 
fully sea-like. After proceeding farther, and looking back, a 
truly magnificent sight appeared — a great glacier from the 
valley to the west, joined by several from its lateral ravines, 
and uniting in the plain below with that from the north-west 
to form one extended sea of ice. Above them rose stupendous 
peaks, whose outline was lost in the snow-storm clouds which 


hung about them. As fax as the personal observation of European 
travellers has noted, this great Kemu glacier stands unrivalled 
in its grandeur of extent and close resemblance to a frozen sea. 

The glaciers of the Western Himmalayas are twice as exten- 
sive aa those of the Alps, and are probably the largest in the 
world, or, at all events, larger than any others out of the Polar 
regions. One in the Muztagh range is believed to be 34 
miles long, with fifteen distinct moraines ; while in its 
immediate vicinity is another 31 miles in length, which 
may be said to join with it in making 65 miles of con- 
tinuous ice. The Eemu glacier, shown in the accompanying 
sketches, rises amongst peaks and ridges from 19,000 to 24,000 
feet high. It is about 21 miles in length, and from 1 to If mile 
broad, terminating at an elevation of 15,800 feet above the sea 
with a width of about 3 miles of gigantic cliffs of ice fully 250 
feet high. This glacier, owing to the action of the river Shyok, 
comes to an end at a much greater altitude than glaciers in that 
part of the Himmalayan system generally do. The river, cut- 
ting away successive blocks of ice, usually prevents farther 
extension. The glacier, however, has been known on several 
occasions to protrude right across the valley of the Shyok, so as to 
dam up the stream and form a large lake, ending in a cataclysm 
when the water fiaially bursts through the ice and rushes down 
the valley in a mighty and destructive flood wave, similarly as 
has been observed of the Kumdan glaciers lower down. 

The whole country around is singularly desolate-looking. 
It was believed for some time that the disastrous inundation 
of the Indus in 1841 was caused by the damming up of the 
Shyok by these glaciers; but the later opinion of some well 
acquainted with Ladak, who went closely into the qu^stion^ 



inclines to the belief that that mighty flood-wave resulted 
from a huge landslip blocking up the main river somewhere in 
the unknown portion of its course lying in Dilail and Chilas, 
near the Punjab frontier, where it is said to be unusually con- 
fined and shut in by precipitous cliffs and high steep mountains. 
We met our camp again at Daolat-Beg-uldi, which place it 
reached in three stages of 43 miles in all, from the Shyok, while 
the route we followed made the distance about 30 miles, a great 
saving in such an inhospitable waste. 

The elevation of Daolat-Beg-uldi is 16,700 feet. It lies on 
the verge of the Dipsang plateau, about 17,500 feet high, which 
we crossed on our return journey. The distress in man and 
beast produced by rarefaction of the air, which had troubled us 
on the Khardung pass, lasted for a very short time, as the 
descent there led down to comparatively low ground, but the 
Susser landed us on the high undulating bleak plateau which 
extends for about 100 miles from that pass on the south to the 
Suget on the north, and our party suffered continuously more or 
less during the seven days occupied in marching over it. 

An energetic Hindu trader arrived at Daolat-Beg-uldi the 
same day a^ ourselves, pushing on with his goods for the Yar- 
kand market. The anxiety of the Maharajah of Kashmir to 
provide against all possible mishap was such that double the 
amount of supplies required for our camp was laid out over 
the Karakoram, and accordingly the local carriage, generally 
available for traders, was fully engaged in this service. The 
great demand for transport having raised the charges to one 
rupee (about two shillings) per load of 80 lbs. per stage, the 
Ladaki porters undertook the carriage of goods at these remune- 
rative rates, and Kan Chand, the trader I have referred to, wa3 


on his way over with eighty porters, each carrying a load of nearly 
80 lbs. weight. The fact that these men, so laden, made an 
average daily journey of fourteen miles for eleven days, over the 
high desert regions of Tibet, under peculiarly distressing condi- 
tions of climate, proves the great endurance of the Ladakis 
previously noticed. 

The skeletons of horses lie in numbers round the halting- 
places and along the mountain desert road. The extreme dry- 
ness of the air in this rainless region, and the intense cold, kill 
all putrid tendencies, and there is no smeU of decaying matter. 
Eavens appeared to follow our camp the whole way over, on 
the outlook for the usual casualties among the pack animals. 
Wolves are also said to frequent the route with the same object, 
but I did not hear or see any during the journey. Both ravens 
and wolves were disappointed of their usual feast when following 
our " kafila," as the excellence and liberality of the transport 
arrangements prevented any horses or ponies being worked to 
death, though, as might be expected with such a large number, 
a few died from other causes. 

We crossed the Karakoram pass (18,550 feet) on the 12th 
of October. Starting from our high camp at Daolat-Beg-uldi, 
and halting that night at Karakoram Brangsa on the other side, 
at an elevation of 17,030 feet, we found the ascent and descent 
comparatively easy, but the "head troubles" from the great 
altitude increased in many of the party to a disagreeable extent. 
I hesitated long on the summit of the pass before I could make 
up my mind to sit down and sketch. While I was at work 
with my pencil, two wagtails hopped about me, quite at home 
apparently there, 18,550 feet above the sea. 

The whole of the country in this high-lying mountain desert 































is singularly wild and desolate looking. There is nothing 
strikingly grand in the scenery, excepting the glaciers : the 
mountains^ rising as they do from such an elevated level, appear 
mere hills. This was particularly noticeable in the view from 
the top of the pass. There is a great absence of rock and 
precipice, and gravel spreads far and wide over the slopes and 
flats. The capped peak shown in the sketch of the southern side 
of the pass is called Karakoram (black gravel), from the dark 
gravel which crumbles from the rock at its summit. This is the 
peak which gives its name to the range. 


Snow commenced to fall in the evening, at our camp at 
Karakoram Brangsa, and continued throughout the night, and 
the following morning found the whole country deeply covered 
with it. We made a long march of 26 miles to Aktagh, to 
escape from it, and after one day's halt there crossed the Suget 
pass (17,618 feet), and reached the Karakash valley in a day's 
journey of 28 miles. We were glad to escape from the heights, 
where the cold at our last camp reached to 15^ below zero. Cap* 


tain Trotter and Dr. Stoliczka joined ns from the eastern route 
the day after we crossed the Karakoram. We came upon grass 
and wood at Suget, four miles fix)m Shahidulla, and halted there 
a day, to give our tired cattle a rest. We were there met by 
some of the Yarkand oflScials, who came from Shahidulla to 
receive and entertain us with the usual profuse hospitality of 
the country, in the form of a " dastar-khwan " (table-cloth) of 
soups, stews, sweets, bread, fruit, and tea. The place, with its 
bushes, grass, and running water, appeared charming to us after 
the barren frozen wastes of the Karakoram. The air, notwith- 
standing 7° of frost at night, felt soft and mild in comparison to 
what we had just left. 

We moved to Shahidulla on the l7tL Here we were re- 
' ceived by the Yarkand authorities, those of Kashmir having 

H accompanied us, and arranged for our progress so far. The 

i former had a number of Kirghiz yaks ready to relieve our 

I b^g^g^ ponies. Very tired did the ponies look after their 

I hard march and heavy work in the rarefied air of the Kara- 

koram heights. Mr. Johnson gave a feast of many sheep to 
the Ladak, Kurgil, and Dras men, previous to the return journey 
with him to Nubra and Leh. 

Captain Biddulph joined on the 18th, and then, for the 
first time, the whole of the oflScers of the mission were assembled 
together in camp. Captain Biddulph's party brought very 
complete reports of the Chang-Chenmo route. Notwithstand- 
ing the easier nature of the country there, and the belief which 
at one time prevailed, that the traders were anxious to adopt it 
in preference to the Karakoram road, the latter continues to be 
used by them to the total exclusion of the former. The old 
road offers to them the advantages of a considerable saving in 


distance on the whole journey, and less ground to pass over, 
where carriage of food for man and beast is absolutely neces- 
sary ,^ — ^advantages which, in their experience, outbalance the 
toil and risks of a rougher route and the severe Susser pass. 

Khoten is the most flourishing, and in point of productive 
industry the most important of the provinces of Kashghar. It 
has no direct trade with India, though it is very advantageously 
situated for such. The desire is to keep Khoten secluded on 
account of its gold fields, which contribute largely to the state 
treasury. An easy route from Leh leads over the less elevated 
plains to the east of the Lingzi Thang, by the Pangong lake 
and the vicinity of Eudok, to Polu, the frontier village of 
Khoten in that direction. The great superiority of this route 
consists in fuel being abundant, and a good supply of grass 
procurable throughout ; it is, moreover, said to be quite practi- 
cable for the hardy Bactrian camel, which is extensively bred 
and used in KJiot^n. But a great portion of it lies in Chinese 
territory; and while the "pushm" (shawl wool) merchants of the 
adjoining districts under British and Kashmir rule are permitted 
to frequent the Eudok district markets, the national obstructive 
policy is opposed to any through traffic. 

Captain Trotter carried on his journey an indiarubber 

boat, by means of which he and Captain Biddulph navigated 

for the first time the waters of the Pangong lake, lying at the 

great elevation of 13,900 feet above the sea. The party was 

accompanied by a flock of the load-carrying sheep of Tibet, 

laden with flour and grain, a description of which is given in 

Moorcroft's Travels and Cunningham's Ladak. The following is 

Captain Biddulph's account of this novel transport train with 

which he joined our camp at Shahidulla : — 



** I left Tankse on ISth September, taking with me thirty 
sheep carrying loads of grain and flour. Wishing merely to 
test their marching capabilities, I looked upon the supplies they 
carried as extra, and their loads remained intact till within four 
marches of ShahidooUa, when I was forced to commence using 

"The Tartars usually make their sheep carry a load of 
32 lbs., and march seven or eight miles a day only, making 
frequent halts ; as, however, I expected to be marching hard at 
times, I put only a load of 20 lbs. on each sheep. Beyond this 
I took no care of them, and they simply took their chance. 

"A great part of the route was over rough and stony 
ground, but only one sheep broke down, though many of them 
showed signs of footsoreness at times. 

" The loads, secured by breast and breech ropes, ride well, 
sinking into the fleece, and not being liable to shift. 

" On fair ground, where they travelled with a broad front, 
they marched at the rate of one and three-quarter mile an 
hour ; a large number would no doubt travel slower, and much 
must depend on the breadth of the road. 

"The greatest diflficulty they had to contend with was 
crossing streams, and while marching in the Karakash valley 
they were sometimes obliged to cross the river three or four 
times in a day. Not only were their loads liable to become 
damaged, but the weight of water hanging in their fleeces, and 
on several occasions freezing, greatly impeded progress. 

'* On the days on which they had no grass, they had literally 
nothing to eat, as they refused grain, not being accustomed to it. 

" One man was sufficient to manage the lot, and two men, 
I should say, could easily drive and manage a hundred. 



'* On arrival in camp they were unloaded, and turned out 
to shift for themselves till dark, when they were herded for the 

''The fact that a flock of sheep carrying 20 lbs. loads 
should be able to march 330 miles in a month with only one 
casualty, through a country in which forage is always scanty, 
and at a very inclement season of the year, is remarkable. 
After the first march the elevation was never less than 11,000 
feet, and the thermometer at night sank to 15*" and 16** below 
zero. The sheep, however, apparently did not feel either cold 
or elevation. Future exploring parties on the Karakoram will, 
I feel certain, find a flock of sheep a most useful addition to 
their camp. Not only are they very easily looked after, but 
they can feed themselves as they go along, which ponies cannot 
do, and can pick up a subsistence on the scanty pasture grounds 
and among the rocks where horses would starve. Besides this, 
when their loads are disposed of, they can themselves be eaten. 





" The accompanying Table will show the particulars of the 
marches they made. I was accompanied the whole time by a 
Survey Pundit, who paced the distance each day. 

'' Table showing Mahches. taken by a flock of thirty Sheep 
carrying loads of 20 lbs. 






Tankae to Tchur-ka-talab 

18th Sept 



19th „ 


Chagra . 

2l8t „ 


Rimdi . 

22d „ 


Cross Lonkar La, 18,400 feet 

Pamzal . 

23d ., 


Gogra . 

24th „ 


Shommal Langpa . 

26th „ 


Camp near Niachn 

27th Sept 


No grass. Cross Changlung La, 19,800 

„ on Lingzi Thung 

•28th „ 


No grass. 

Camp . 

29th „ 


No grass. 

Sumnal • 

80th „ 


Cross Kizzil Dawan, 17,600 feet; did 
not arrive in camp till dark. 


Ifit Oct 


Chnng Tash 

7th „ 


Grass very scarce ; did not arrive till 
after dark. 


9th ,. 


Camp . 

10th „ 


Grass very scarce. 

ff • • 

nth ., 


No grass. 

If • 

12th .. 


No grass. One sheep broke down on 

Sorah . 

18th „ 


Camp . 

14th „ 



15th ., 


Supplies not began to be used till this 

ff • 

16th „ 



17th .. 



18th „ 


Total 8804 miles. The last eleven 

marches being down the valley of 
the Karakash/' 




The Mission was under orders to halt on the frontier till 
joined by Yakub Khan Tora, the . Kashghar Envoy to the Vice- 
roy of India. Yakub Khan, after completing the preliminaries 
of the commercial treaty which he was sent to negotiate, pro- 
ceeded to Constantinople, where it was arranged with the 
Sultan's government to declare Kashghar a protected state of 
Turkey, with Muhammad Yakub Khan (known as the Atalik 
Ghazi) as ruler, under the title of Amir. The Envoy found 
the formalities of the Sultan's court sadly against quick de- 
spatch. of business, and his departure for the return journey was 
delayed considerably beyond his calculations and our plans. 
The progress of the camp from Rawal Pindi, where it was 
organised, was slow; the halts were long, pending definite 
orders, which depended entirely on the return of the Kashghar 
envoy. Our feeling of suspense during all that time of doubt 
was painful, and our delight was great when we were secured 
against bitter disappointment; for had the envoy not come 


back when he did, we would probably have lost for a time the 
opportunity of visiting Eastern Turkistan and exploring the 
Pamirs. Yakub Khan succeeded, however, by dint of good 
arrangements and hard travelling, in reaching ShahiduUa on the 
23d of October. We were overtaken on the 3d, at Tagar, in 
the Nubra valley, by Mulla Artuk, the envoy's special messenger 
to the Atalik, who also brought a letter from the same to Mr. 
Forsyth. The Mulla had travelled so far from Egypt in twenty- 
eight days, and reached Shahidulla, a distance of 177 miles 
farther on, over the high Susser, Karakoram, and Suget passes, 
on the 9th, six days later. 

The distances done by these special couriers, riding the 
same horses day after day, is remarkable. Mulla Artuk, above 
mentioned, reached Shahidulla with the same horses that he 
took from our camp in Nubra. Haji Mehmet, another similar 
messenger, overtook me on the 24th, 36 miles beyond Shahi- 
dulla, riding direct from Aktagh, which he left the previous 
day, travelling 62 miles in twenty-nine hours, and crossing the 
high Suget and Sanju passes. He was despatched by Yakub 
Khan to announce to the Atalik his arrival at the frontier. 
The rate of travelling is of course greatly increased in the open 
country, and on the roads between the large towns, where 
posting-stations are established for rapid communication. The 
horses are urged to the utmost by the riders, whose exertions 
are largely stimulated by hope of reward and fear of punish- 
ment. A rapid journey is invariably rewarded, and delay k 
immediately noticed in a converse manner, no excuse being 
allowed. No feeling of "kismut" influences the messenger 
as he struggles hard, and spares neither himself nor horse in 
the endeavour to out-gallop all others and get a higher reward. 



though he acknowledges the "inevitable'' in the issue if dis- 

The annual caravans from Yarkand to Leh and India began 
to reach Shahidulla as we arrived, and we soon found that the 
pasture there was not sufficient to subsist our horses as well as 
theirs, nor was the food supply enough for the whole party to 
keep together till the Kashghar envoy should join. It was 
therefore arranged that a great portion of our camp should pro- 
ceed to Sanju, five days' journey on in the inhabited country, 
where supplies were plentiful; and Captains Biddulph and 
Trotter, Dr. StoUczka, and myself, accordingly left for that place 
on the 21st of October. Our Indian servants had at once occa- 
sion to regret the change from Tartar to Kirghiz, the former 

being patient and obliging 

to a degree, ever ready to 

do anything and every- 

> ^ Cfete^rf WHb:. thing for them, while 

m /^ W ^^ ly^*^ ^ ^ ^^ latter smilingly de- 

^B / ^'WM ti B li/M^^Sk ^^^^ *^ assist in any 

^^V 1'^'" \\^^ ^ m^l^ ^^m ^^1 beyond preparing the 

m^ r^s^^^'JBK^^ yaks, regulating their 

\ ,^^0^^S^^^^i<^:J^^t^^ l^ads, and driving the 

animals when laden. We 
rly1r / Jg? /^«!P' JtmlKm crossed the Sanju pass 

(16,650 feet) 
on the 23d. It 
was deep with 
fresh snow, and 

here, for the third and last time during my journey, riding yaks 
were used. The yaks furnished on this occasion by the Kir- 



ghiz appeared better movers than the Ladaki animalfl previously 
ridden. They were subject in a greater degree to control and 
guidance by the single rope attached to the nose ring, and were 
capable of being managed and urged by the rider with less 
difficulty than the similar Ladaki steeds which consents to carry 
its burden only under loud protest, and after much pulling and 
pushing at head and tail. After halting a day at the foot of 
the pass, to exchange the yak for bullock carriage, sent from 
the low country to meet us, we proceeded towards Sanju, 
and reached on the 27tL We met several caravans at 
the foot of the pass, all checked by the late heavy snow, 
which completely closed the way to them, unassisted by 
the Kirghiz and their yaks. These Kirghiz are the nomadic 
inhabitants of the Balian hills, in the viciiiity of Sanju, 
and came originally from the Sirikol district. The drivers 
with the new (bullock) transport were very diflferent from 
the indolent independent Kirghiz. Though speaking Turki, 
a language utterly unknown to our camp servants, they 
contrived, in their extreme willingness to help, to understand 
how to make themselves useful in many ways ; and the dis- 
couraging eflfect on our attendants of their first experience of 
the temper of the new people they were to be thrown among 
was thus soon removed. 

After crossing the Sanju pass my party was joined by 
Mirza Bahaudin, from Shahidulla. He was one of the first 
officials sent from Tarkand to meet the Mission, and write the 
reports for Kashghar. He was, as far as I could gather, a 
secretary appointed direct by the Atalik to reside at Yarkand 
and keep him acquainted with all occurrences, in the manner 
practised in eastern goverimients from the earliest times. He 








was a wise and discreet " mirza/' full of information on many 

subjects, but very chary of imparting it. In part return for 

many complimentary attentions and civilities on his part, I 

made a flattering likeness of him in my sketch-book (which he 

was always examining with the utmost curiosity), which, while 

pretending indifference to for some time, he afterwards showed 

his decided approval of, by speaking of it in such a manner as 

to cause his admirers to come often and look at it. 

The low state of the Sanju stream permitted us to pass 

down along it the whole way instead of taking the " Chu-chu " 

circuitous route, which is followed in summer when the stream 

is high. Winter had quite set in when we reached Turkistan, 

and the country was everywhere " burnt up," as the expression 

there is, with frost The ruins of a stone fort and barrier wall 

are seen at the junction of the Chu-chu road with the main one. 

The story told in connection with the place is, that between 

three and four hundred years ago, Abu-Bakr, a ruler of Yarkand, 

when driven out by a successful rival, built this fort, and levied 

contributions from all passers by. He gave such trouble, and 

so defied all attempts to capture him or his fort, that at 

last a large reward was offered for his head, and his death was 

effected through the treachery of one of his adherents. His 

head was taken to Yarkand, and the body was buried on 

the banks of the Earakash, near the northern approach to 

the Sanju pass. We saw the "akoi'' (white house) felt 

tents of the Kirghiz here and there 'in sheltered spots 

by the Sanju stream before reaching the cultivated and 

inhabited country lower down. A small present at a hamlet 

of these enabled me to obtain several " studies " for my 

sketch-book. When the first disinclination to "sit" was 




overcome, and the suspicion at the unusual request was dissi- 
pated by seeing the work of the pencil, the head of the 

**Kosh" (families) hurried oflf the 
youngest and prettiest woman 
among the onlookers, re-ap- 
peaiH^d with her dressed in a 
gaudy flowered robe, with a 
baby in her arms, and in- 
troduced her as worthy of 
special notice. As a 
head-dress the Kirghiz 
women wear a white cloth 
rolled evenly, fold on 
fold, over a 
close - fitting 
red or other 


coloured cap with ear lappets, the whole finished oflf by passing 
the end of the turban over the ear-lappets and under the chin. 
The robes are of white and coloured cotton cloth, quilted with 
raw cotton for winter wear. The old Kirghiz grandmother 
wore a silver bangle on her right arm, and a silver " shawl-pin '' 
to confine the inner robe close to the throat. This was the only 
occasion on which I observed jewellery worn by women in 
Eastern Turkistan. I found the whole party of women engaged 
in making felt The dress of the Kirghiz men diflTers in no 
material manner from that of the settled inhabitants. 

The head-quarters of the Mission, accompanied by the 
Kashghar envoy, reached Sanju on the 30th. A halt of two 
days was made to allow of Yakub Khan's heavy baggage 
coining up, especially the two mountain battery rifled guns 




presented to the Atalik by the Khedive of Egypt, for the 
conveyance of which and other heavy cases several Bactrian 


(double-humped) camels were waiting. We all left on the 2d 
of November, and reached the flourishing town of Kargalik on 
the 5th. Here we found such well-built, spacious, and comfort- 
able quarters prepared for us, our followers, and horses, that 
in our extreme anxiety to proceed we feared these elaborate 
arrangements to mean detention and a lengthened stay. The 
carpeted rooms and cheery fires, in fireplaces with smokeless 
chimneys, were otherwise very enjoyable after our cold journey 
from Leh, Kargalik is situated on the main road from Yar- 
kand to Guma and Khoten, and is the meeting point of the 
roads from Leh by the Sanju, Kilian, and Yangi Dawan passes, 
and from Tashkurgan, Sirikol, by the Tong route. The 
Chinese recognised the strategic importance of Kargalik, and 



had a fort there, now in ruins. The Hakim of Guma visited 
the Mission as it passed through a portion of his district be- 
tween Sanju and Kargalik. In a present of game sent by 
him we saw for the first time the *' Shaw " pheasant, which to 
the ordinary eye looks exactly like our own home bu:d. We 
heard of ibex on the heights above Sanju, but were unable to go 
out after them. 

We reached the city of Yarkand on the 8th of November, 
and were remarkably well received by the people as well as by 
the officials. Yakub Khan, as the successful ambassador to 
India and Constantinople, received a warm welcome, and was 
made much of. We were met by the Governor's son at the 
head of a mounted guard, and by crowds of the townspeople 
mounted and dressed in holiday bright-coloured garments. Our 
escort of cavalry and infantry of the Punjab Guide Corps (num- 
bering twenty-two) attracted attention by their neat appear- 
ance. The horses of the troopers had been well cared for on 
the journey over the Karakoram, and showed in good condition. 
We " mounted " the infantry soldiers from the first, and, looking 
after their own ponies, each man came to smarten his animal 
and riding equipment as carefully as if he had belonged to the 
cavalry branch of the service. 

We visited Muhammad Yunas, the Dadkhwah (Governor, 
lit. "demander of justice'*) of Yarkand, the day after our 
arrival. Serjeant Rhind (our camp serjeant, who belonged to 
the 92d Highlanders) created a sensation by appearing in the 
full Highland costume of his kilted uniform. The Dadkhwah 
was courteous and kindly in his manner, and expressed much 
pleasure at again welcoming Mr. Forsyth to Yarkand. He 
seemed pleased with the presents given to him, among which 
was a large musical box, brought in playing " Come where my 



love lies dreaming." We found our robes of honour, signifying 
high favour, awaiting us on return to the Mission residence, a 
delicate piece of attention and consideration on the part of the 
Dadkhwah. These robes are always of startling " thunder-and- 


lightning" patterns; and had the custom been followed of 
giving them at the time of our visit, and throwing them over 



our shoulders as usual on sucli occasions, to be worn and exhi- 
bited in public on the way back, we would have presented an 
amusing if not absurd appearance, dressed in uniform as we 


We were allowed to visit the city and go about the country 
as we chose, the only condition being that we should always be 
accompanied by one of the Governor's officials. This was perfectly 
reasonable, and was easily explained as necessary for several rea- 
sons, without mentioning the real object. We rode through the 
town and its bazaars on the day following our visit to the Gover- 
nor. No restrictions 
had been placed on 
the appearance of 
females in the streets, 
as was done at the time 
of Mr. Forsyth's first 
mission in 1870; and 
in their eager curiosity 
to see us, we had many 
opportunities of study- 
ing ladies' " winter 
fashions " in Yarkand. 
I say "winter fashions," 
because on our return 
from the Oxus in May, 
we found a thorough 
revolution in ladies' 
dress, extending to 
hats and shoes. In 
winter the head covering consists of an exaggerated "rink" 
fur cap, generally made of black lamb's wool, with a top trim- 



ming of otter for, and a crown of coloured silk or cotton cloth. 
This is worn over a large square of white muslin which hangs 
down the back, and is sometimes brought over the 
shoulders and tied in front. I have seen it held by the 
teeth to act as a pretence for a veil. The hair is generally 
plaited in two long tails, but is at times worn loose in ringlets. 
The robes are long and ample, and cut straight ; the outer one 
showing by the chevrons across the chest whether the wearer 
is married or not, the chevrons being the distinguishing mark of 
a wife. Long leather or embroidered coloured cloth boots, with 
high heels, complete the costume. The outer robes are made of 
thick strong cotton cloth, wadded with the raw material, and of 
all colours and patterns, from the brightest to the quietest. The 
chevrons are always of a colour to contrast with that of the 
robe. The colours most in vogue with the mass are grey, 
chocolate, dark green, and blue. The inner robes are generally 
white, with red chevrons. On holiday occasions they show in 
dresses of Khoten and Andijani silk, with large Chinese-like 
patterns on bright grounds, and conspicuous borders and 
linings, with embroidered cloth boots, neatly trimmed with floss 
silk rosettes, all in good keeping with the prevailing colour. 
The inner robes on such occasions are also of bright colours. 
The children have similar attention and taste displayed in their 
dress on f&te days, and some were seen with coloured silk bows 
and bands, and equally neat shoes. The superior class wear 
fur-lined silk robes, and caps made entirely of the valuable 
Siberian otter fur, a skin of which sells there at nine " tillas," 
equivalent to £5. No jewellery appears to be worn. 

The "height of fashion" is to connect the eyebrows 
straight across, increase the hair plaits to the utmost that can 



possibly be thought natural (when the wearer has not abundant 
locks), and give colour to the cheeks by artificial means. 

The hom-shaped head-dress mentioned by Shaw is occasion- 
ally seen. The tunic, of light muslin, sometimes thrown over 
it, is simply a light summer dress worn with it as a wrapper. 
The veil is worn, but is seldom used. It is thrown coquettishly 
back over the cap, or put up under it. The custom used to be 

for the women to go about un- 
veiled, but under the Atalik's 
severe application of Muham- 
madan law this is now forbid- 
den, and on the approach of 
the "Kazi" (religious magis- 
trate) on his rounds, there is 
always a general rush among 
the women in the streets to 
escape from his observation, 
or to get out and pull down 
their veils. At first when we 
used to ride through the city, 
the Yuzbashi or other attend- 
ant official would ride ahead, 

»i^^^ ■J^^^^^Hr ^^^ c^ to t^^ women to veil 

njffiW before the strangers, but lat- 

terly they ceased this, and our 
approach caused no alarm or 
hurried escape. 

The ordinary dress of the men is a close-fitting cap lined 
with lamb's wool or fur, turned up all round at the bottom, the 
same style of robe as the women, but confined at the waist by a 
cotton girdle, and long plain leather riding boots, with felt 



stockmgs. The better class wear the high ^ tilpak " cap, lined 
with otter or other expensive fur, and fur-lined robes. Turbans 
are also worn with or without the fur cap, but they are an 
article of luxury not often within the reach of the lower class. 
For the latter, sheepskin, with the wool attached, is the uni- 
versal warm material for winter caps and coats, and it, with 
felt and cotton coverlets^ forms the bedding of all classes. 

Fair complexions wid black hair prevail In figure both 
men and women are middle sized, strong, and robust The 
women are often rather handsome, with fresh-coloured pleasant 
faces, and neat small feet As a people they are of a merry, 
happy disposition, fond of amusement, music, and dancing, but 
under the present priestly rule they are considerably restricted 
in these pleasures. 

The streets of Yarkand city present a busy, cheerful appear- 
ance. Everjrthing is well ordered and arranged. Separate 
bazaars, some of them covered, are appointed for the sale of 
different kinds of merchandise and manufactures; and loud- 
voiced hawkers, with trays of small wares, pie-men with 
barrows, and market gardeners carrying baskets in the Indian 
" banghy '^ fashion, suspended from a supple pole laid over the 
shoulders, go about from place to place. Water-carriers also 
cany water buckets in the same ** banghy " fashion, as well as 
in one long deep bucket with a pole passed through the handles, 
resting on the shoulders of two men. Whenever we stopped at 
a shop to purchase, or make inquiry as to cost, the moderate 
prices asked of the native buyers were at once raised extra- 
vagantly high, and a crowd immediately collected to see the 
" Firangi." This was the term by which we were known and 
spoken of by the people at first, but it was not used in an 
oJBTensive sense as is sometimes supposed to be the case in India> 



All Europeans are known in Turkistan as "FirangL" In 
Waklian, where we were in high favour with all the people, an 
old man who remembered Wood, the famous traveller, spoke of 
him in the most respectful manner after he was informed of his 
being a countryman of ours, as " Firangi." We always found 
the crowds, through which we had to press our way on horse- 
back, respectful and good humoured to a degree. 

Every town has its one weekly market day, when the 
people of the surrounding country flock in to buy and selL 
Yarkand is crowded to excess on its market day. Our first visit 
to this weekly gathering drew a great following of inquisitive 
villagers wherever we appeared. On such days the shops do a 
brisk trade, and the cries of rival vendors in praise of their 
goods are deafening and unceasing. The Chinese cooks shput 
out the delights of their " made " dishes, ready to be served up 
hot and steaming in pottery bowls at the clean well-scrubbed 
tables inside their tidy restaurants. Horses and cattle, sheep 
and goats, are there sold in their different market places outside 
the city walls. The gallows, described by Mr. Shaw as occupy- 
ing a very conspicuous place in the city when he made his first 
adventurous visit in 1868, now stands in a comer of the sheep 
market. Women are to be seen riding to market in " cavalier '* 
fashion, and making their purchases in a thoroughly business- 
like manner. The sez holds a much more honourable position 
in the household in Turkistan than in India. 

We saw the "burgut*' (mentioned by Marco Polo and 
Atkinson), hunting golden eagle, at Yarkand for the first time. 
A gazelle, killed by trained eagles, was sent to us, and on our 
expressing a desire to see some sport with these birds, seven 
were sent out to meet us at some likely ground beyond the city. 
We were not fortunate enough to find any large game, and two 








** flights" at heron proved unsuccessful. Captain Biddulph, 
however, had some sport with them during a trip he made from 
Eashghar to Marulbashi, which I shall mention farther on in 
my narrative, and illustrate with drawings made from the life 
on the occasion now noted, and Captain Biddulph's personal 
description of the manner in which the bird strikes and seizes 
its prey. On returning from our morning's ride with the 
eagles, we fell in with a large party of the town's people playing 
at " oghlak," the game on horseback so well described in Shaw's 
Yarkand, Some of us joined in it with the attendant officials, 
who rode well, and greatly enjoyed the fast and furious fun. 

Beggars are a recognised and regular institution in Yar- 
kand, forming quite a professional body. Beggars marry there, 
and the children grow up to follow their parents' example. 
Beggars ride in their travels through the country with bells 
attached to the horses' necks, to draw attention to the profes- 
sion of the rider, and the fact that alms are expected. This 
privileged class do not beg in the usual manner, but loudly 
demand charity in the name of " Allah," as a religious obliga- 
tion due to them, addressing the passers-by with cries of " Hakk, 
hakk," meaning " the rights, the dues," and giving thanks by 
the usual stroking of the beard with both hands, and the 
" Alla-ho-akbar." It is amusing to see the female beggars 
gravely making the same beard-stroking gesture. But while 
the characteristic religious government of the " Atalik Ghazi " 
thus tolerates mendicants as a professional body, the able-bodied 
find no place in it, and a "sturdy beggar" is never seen. 
Various causes combine to remove such to an active and useful 
life, as soldiers or servants. Vagrancy is not permitted; all 
vagabonds and men unable to give a good account of themselves, 
are, if capable of service, pressed into the ranks of the army. 


The city walk of Yarkand are well kept up, and small guards 
hold its gateways. The space enclosed by the walls is great, a 
fact which appears hitherto to have had a misleading effect in 
calculating the number of inhabitants. The accounts previously 
given of the population were based on the supposition that 
there was little open space or garden ground within the city wall, 
but this is now known to be incorrect. We estimated the 
population at 40,000. 

During our stay we occupied the quarters which were 
assigned to Mr. Forsyth on his first visit in 1870. These were 
situated within the " Yangi-Shahr," or fortified cantonment 
outside the city, where the Grovemor and his officials reside. 
The Dadkhwah, Muhammad Yunas, is the second dignitary in 
the kingdom, and keeps up considerable state* His guards 
were the first of the regular troops we saw. They are composed 
of a great mixture of classes and nationalities. A party of five 
sent to us to be " pictured " consisted of two Tashkendis, one 
Khokandi, one Kashgari, and one Yarkandi. His artillery 
guard were the only soldiers with whom uniform was attempted. 
They serve odd pieces of ordnance parked near the Governor's 
" urda " (palace), besides long wall pieces called " taifu," which 
they also carry and use in the field. 

On the 25th of November the cases and packages contain- 
ing the presents for the Amir, and our heavy baggage, were 
despatched to Kashghar in the excellent light carts of the 
country. These carts are said to have been introduced by the 
Chinese; they carry about 16 cwt., and are dragged by four 
horses, of which one is in the shafts and three in front. Only 
the wheeler and near leader have driving-reins, the others in 
front being connected with the latter by coupling-reins. The 
leaders^ traces run from their collars to the body of the cart 

























underneath^ and are supported by wooden hoops suspended to 
both ends of the shafts. These carts are of great breadth 
between the wheels, and remarkably easy of draught. The 
usual trayelling complement of horses is four, harnessed as 
already mentioned, but for ordinary work or short distances 
they are often used with one horse, and sometimes with two in 
tandem fashion. I have even seen four leaders to one in the 
shafts, but the extra horse appeared to be undergoing training 
with steady companions. The field artillery guns at Kashghar 
are harnessed with three horses unicorn fashion. 




We were entertained by the Dadkhwah on the 27th with a 
wonderful eflfort of cookery in countless dishes, prepared in the 
Chinese fashion, after which we said good-bye to our kind host, 
and took our departure for Kashghar the following day. We 
travelled by the same road that Messrs. Shaw and Hayward 
went by in 1868, and which has been fully described by them. 
Pheasants and gazelles were seen on the way, but our daily 
journeys were too long to allow of sport. We made five stages 
to Kashghar, of 25, 30, 32, 22, and 15 miles respectively, halt- 
ing two days at Tangi-Hissar. The staging houses along the 
road had been prepared for our reception, and we found in the 
blue, red, and white " posts " comfortable accommodation, very 
diflferent from what we would have had in our tents in the 
severe cold then prevailing. Robat is the Turki for posthouse, 
and on the Tarkand-Kashghar road, Kok, Ak, and Kizil Robat 
are met with ; — ^the blue, white, and red " posts," so called from 
local peculiarities. 

Khul Muhammad, Fansad-Bashi (head of 500), Command- 
ant of the Tangi-Hissar fort, met the Mission half-way from 



Tarkand, and conducted ns to Ak-Robat, a posting stage 
in the desert, where we were welcomed with a hot break- 
fast. The Commandant was accompanied by a well-mounted 
and equipped guard of nineteen men, armed with percussion- 
lock rifles, manufactured in Kashghar after an obsolete Euro- 


pean army pattern. The men were uniformly dressed in 
yellow tanned leather long coats and wide trousers, edged with 
fur. They waited on us at breakfast, as all such guards and 
attendants do, spreading the " dastar-khwan " cloth, and 
handing in the dishes in a noiseless and ready manner. 
Khul Muhammad, Bai Baba, a strikingly good-looking, fair- 
haired Khokandi officer with him, and the "Usher of the 



white rod,'' in attendance on the Mission during the stay at 
Yangi-Hissar, all gave me opportunities of sketching them in 


my pocket-book. A peeled willow wand is the mark of special 
duty, and is often seen carried by mounted couriers as well as 
by subordinate officials on ceremonial occasions. Every 


o£Glcial who bears arms, &om the highest to the lowest, carries 
a gun or rifle, and never moves out on important duty or 
public business without it. Yakub Khan, the Atalik's nephew, 
and Kashghar envoy, who returned with us, was the only 
exception I observed to this rule; and though he appeared 
without the usual gun, he carried at his belt, in the prevailing 
fashion, powder and ball bags and " priming " horn, with numer- 
ous other gun appliances and appendages. I saw Beg-Kuli- 
Beg, the Amir's eldest son, ride past the Mission residence at 
Kashghar, with Niaz Beg, the governor of Klioten, both canying 
guns slung over their shoulders in the ordinary manner, and 
Nubbi Buksh, the principal military commander, who showed 
the troops to us there, bore a double-barrelled rifle. 

The view on approaching Yangi-Hissar is very pretty. The 
town was crowded with people assembled to see us pass. It 
has a long covered bazaar with numerous busy shops, and looks 
as if it were the centre of a thriving local trade. A lofty 
gallows fitted for three occupies a conspicuous place at one end 
of the town. The fort is built on the usual Chinese rectangular 
plan with projecting towers, and ditch and glacis ; it appears 
comparatively new, and is said to be well garrisoned and 

We reached Kashghar on the 4th of December. Mirza 
Ahmed Kush-Begi, formerly governor of Tashkend irnder the 
ELhokand government, and now holding high rank at the 
Atalik's court, met the Mission some distance ofi* for the 
usual " istikbal *' (honourable reception), and conducted us to the 
** Elchi Kiana,'' a very conmiodious set of quarters opposite the 
entrance to the Atalik's fortified palace (the Yangi-Shahr or 
military cantonment of Kashghar). Here was found comfort- 


able accommodation for the whole party, including the escort, 
servants, and followers. Good stabling was provided for the 
riding horses, and the pack animals were well sheltered behind 
the high protecting walls of the enclosmre. Ihrar Khan Tora, 
who had visited India some years before as envoy from Kash- 
ghar, was appointed Mihmandar (in charge of guests), 
with the royal instructions to see that the "king's guests'* 
should want for nothing. We were summoned by the Atalik to 
pay him a private visit on the day of our arrival A large crowd 
had assembled to see us come, and remained all day about the 
place to see us again when we issued to make our visit. We were 
received by the Atalik in the most friendly manner, indicative 
at once of the perfect honour and safety in which our stay 
there was made throughout the winter, and as long as we were 
in Kashghar territory. Nothing else was to be expected con- 
sidering the high auspices under which we proceeded there, 
and the uniformly kindly disposition which the Atalik Ghazi 
has always shown towards Europeans. 

Etiquette forbade our visiting the city till our formal reception 
by the Atalik, and the presentation of her Majesty the Queen's 
and the Viceroy's letters had taken place. The Atalik's absence 
on a short pilgrimage to a saintly shrine in the neighbourhood 
delayed this till the 11th, when all was done with the utmost 
ceremony and display. We went to the city on the 12th, and 
the inhabitants then saw Europeans for the first time within its 
walls. Alish Beg, the Dadkhwah of Kashghar, entertained us 
at a bewildering banquet of over one hundred dishes, and for 
the more convenient attention to which he had caused tables 
and chairs to be made for our especial use. We had also found 
tables and chairs in our well-carpeted rooms in the Elchi 


Khana, showing how all our wants and ways had been con- 
sidered and provided for. A guard of Tunganis with " taifu *' 
wall pieces held the city gate by which we entered. 

The city of Kashghar is not so large as that of Tarkand, 
being three miles in circumference, while the latter is three and 
a half. Both are surroimded by mud walls of great thickness, 
with many projecting square towers. Both towns are built 
entirely of mud, and have no pretensions whatever to anything 
remarkable in architecture. Two branches of the " Kizil Su," or 
Kashghar river, flow past the city, the one on the north and the 
other on the south, meeting at a short distance below. Both 
of these branches are crossed by well-constructed wooden 
bridges. Kashghar is the terminus of a considerable trade with 
the Russian possessions extending from Tashkend to Kuldja. 

The manufactures of the country are confined chiefly to 
silk and cotton, both of which are abundantly produced in it. 
The silk mainly comes from Khoten, where it is worked up by 
itself, and also mixed with cotton, into a variety of fabrics for 
home use and foreign export. The stout cotton cloths of 
Eastern Turkistan are well known for their durability in the 
markets of Badakhshan and Eussian Turkistan beyond the 
Tian Shan ; and there is a steady export trade in them from 
Kashghar, Yarkand, and Khoten. The only foreign cotton 
goods that find a sale in Eastern Turkistan are the fine kinds, 
and muslin, chintzes, and prints, the manufacture of which is 
not yet understood, but the demand for these is limited by 
being beyond the means of the mass of the population. This 
fact should, I think, settle the question of any important 
market in that part of Central Asia for Manchester goods. 

The raw silk of Khoten is coarse and inferior, simply from 


want of skill and care in its preparation. The absence of a 
better market than the country itself affords is against any 
change at present, but the opening of a direct trade with India 
by the easy route I have mentioned would soon correct this, and 
bring about an improvement, similar to what is now being 
effected with Kashmir silk, which promises fair to equal yet the 
good produce of other countries. This trade between Khoten 
and India could be carried on by an extension of the operations 
of the present shawl wool traders who visit the Rudok districts 
annually, with flocks of load-canying sheep, taking rice, flour, 
coarse cloths, and other articles to barter for the *' pushm '' of 
the shawl goat. The silk of Khokand is superior' to that of 
Khoten, and it again is excelled by that of Bokhara, which 
commands the highest price in the Indian market With 
direct routes and more freedom of action to merchants in Eastern 
Turkistan, India might compete with China in silk as she is now 
doing in tea. The Khokand trade, of course, would be subject 
to Russian influence. 

Felt and carpets are the only woollen fabrics made in Eastern 
Turkistan, except in the remote comer of Sirikol, where a rough 
*' homespun *' is produced for domestic use. Foreign cloths are 
imported to Eastern Turkistan, and sold at a high price princi- 
pally to the upper class. There is a vast consumption of sheep 
in the country by its great meat-eating population, and the 
skins, with wool attached, are worked up into coats, caps, and 
bedding, as I have already told. In winter the sheepskin forms 
the covering of the labouring people night and day. Khoten 
and Kogiar, to the south of Yarkand, are famous for their 
superior felts. 

Mention has been made of the inhabitants of the country 



about Lop Nor wearing " clothes made of the bark of trees/' I 
observed one of the Kashghari officials who accompanied me to 
the Tian Shan wearing a robe made of something very like 
linen duck, or fine canvas, and on asking concerning it, he said 
that he got the cloth at Aksu, and that it came from Lop, where 
it was made and used by the people. This would seem to point 

to flax plants being the 
"trees" spoken of as 
furnishing in their bark 
material for clothes, 

A considerable num- 
ber of pure Chinese are 
to be seen at Kashghar 
and Tarkand. Almost 
all| with the exception 
of those serving in the 
army, are in poor cir- 
cumstances, as artizans 
and menial servants, 
or as street 
^ hawkers, 
the last re- 
"^^^^'^ source of 
the old and 
worn out. 
The late 


hammadan risings, which ended in the firm establishment of the 


present sovereignty, reduced the Chinese, who saved their lives 
by embracing the faith of the conquerors, to poverty and 
slavery. All these proselytes had to abandon their Chinese 
names and take the Muhammadan ones given by the triumphant 
Mullas. One of them, a small shopkeeper in Yarkand, used to 
frequent our quarters there with Chinese curiosities for sale. He 
spoke sorrowftdly of the change by which he lost his old name 
of Chawliang Khwaitang, and his pigtail, when told that he was 
thenceforth Kassim Akhun, a true believer. Seeing a chance of 
profitable sale for old china, he offered to show a very rare piece, 
but explained that secrecy was absolutely necessary in the 
transaction, in order to conceal his possession of such a costly 
article as it was. The simple fellow made his appearance the 
following evening, and produced most cautiously from imder his 
capacious robe a coarse European earthenware figure of a sheep, 
with a movable top, such as is seen as an ornament on a cottage 
mantelpiece. The original price was probably one shilling, but 
the owner valued it at about two pounds sterling. We left him 
in undisturbed possession of his treasure, which he firmly 
believed in, regarding our account of its Western manufacture 
as an invention with the object of depreciating its value. Tim- 
ganis are also seen in the position of slaves, probably captives 
brought by returning warriors from the Eastern campaigns 
about Turfan, and permitted to be kept as household servants. 
Under the Atalik, slavery is forbidden by law, but this practi- 
cally only extends to public traffic. Slavery in the modified 
form of domestic bondage still exists, but only as a foreign 
institution, in which the mass of the population have no share 
or interest. 

Several of our party had come provided with skates, and 


these were soon put in requisition, to the surprise and astonish- 
ment of the people, who had never seen the like before. Skating 
is known, though not practised, in Khokand. It has probably 
been seen by many of the inhabitants in the neighbouring Russian 
cantonments. It was a very popular amusement with us, and 
one which some of our escort tried hard to learn how to enjoy. 
The most perfect imitations of our skates were produced for us in 
the Atalik's workshops, and an attempt was made to induce the 
courtiers to take to the amusement. Two were found willing to 
try, but the awkward contortions and struggles of a beginner 
were too much in opposition to the solemn and serious deport- 
ment of the court, and after the first attempt the exercise was 
condemned as " undignified and ridiculous." We continued to 
indulge in it, however, to our own thorough enjoyment, and the 
amusement of the spectators, who sometimes regarded an 
occasional rare good fall at full-power speed as a part of the 
exercise, and loudly expressed their admiration of the per- 
Many of the mechanics and artizans employed in the Atalik's 
workshops are said to be Hindustanis and foreigners. Among 
the presents to the Atalik were sewing machines, one of which, 
a highly ornamental one, was broken in transit, and on inquiry 
as to the possibility of repair at Kashghar, a Khokandi was sent, 
who not only did all that was required, but also showed perfect 
acquaintance with the working of the machine. He told me 
that he gained his knowledge at Tashkend. We took up steam 
and other useful models, which, however, did not excite much 
interest. The electric telegraph, which I erected and worked 
with Captain Biddulph, attracted little or no attention, and the 
proposal to extend the wire into the Atalik's palace was not 



received in a manner to encourage its taking a practical form. 
The galvanic battery and wheel of life, as usual, proved most 






^^—— ^^^ -^^^^^^^^^^^ The Envoy, Mr. 
■ j^^^ v\ ^I^^^^^H Fors3rth, having ob- 

m ^f 'l^^^^^^K tained permission 

% <^S^&3t^^^^^H^^^^ ^^m ^^^ *^® Amir for 

a party from the 

Mission to visit the 

Chadir-Kul lake, 

on the Tian Shan 

plateau, lying to 

the north of Kash- 

ghar. Dr. Stoliezka, 

Captain Trotter, 

and myself, leiFt for 

that place on the 31st of December. We were asked by the 

local authorities to trust entirely to their hospitality for tents, 

food, and baggage animals, and accordingly as "guests" were 

obliged to accommodate ourselves to their arrangements. We 

thus found our roving propensities considerably restricted. The 



official appointed to accompany us did not share our anticipations 
of pleaaure in visiting the Tian Shan highlands, and could not un- 
derstand our desire to leave the comfortable quarters in Kashghar 
and travel in the moimtains in the severe Arctic cold then pre- 
vailing there. Our intention, at starting, was to visit both the 
Torugat and Terekty passes over the southern crest of the Tian 
Shan, but we were obliged to content ourselves with the trip to Cha- 
dir-Kul over the former, and return, leaving the latter unvisited. 
Our first day's journey was to Bezakh, twenty-six mQes 
from Yangi-Shahr, Kashghar, a viUage in the upper Artush 
district The road lay in a northerly direction past the city of 
Kashghar, and through about four miles of gardens and fields to 
an open stony plain, leading by a gentle rising slope to a small 
spur from a low range of hills running from west to east, and 
through a gap in which the river Artush has forced its way. 
The road passes along the river bed through the range, and 
crosses to the north bank, there reaching the valley of Artush, 
a broad and far-extending fertile plain, studded with villages 
and hamlets, showing signs of thriving population and careful 
farming. This well-irrigated and closely-cultivated valley is 
well watered by never-failing streams from the Tian Shan and 
Terek ranges, and produces wonderfully rich and abundant 
harvests. We passed here two large camel caravans coming 
from Vemoe (Almati) to Kashghar with Russian goods, of which 
cast-iron cooking pots formed a considerable portion. These 
Russian iron vessels are in general use throughout Eastern 
Turkistan, and among the Kirghiz. The caravans take back the 
thick durable cotton cloths which form the staple article of the 
Kashghar export trade. We were accommodated for the night 
in the house of the Bai (head) of the village, who, imfortunately 


for us, was absent, otherwise we would probably not have 
suffered from a short supply of food as we did that night, owing 
to hasty arrangements, and possibly the desire of our attendant 
official to magnify difficulties and discomforts, so as to induce 
compliance with his wish for early return. 

We continued our journey the following day in a westerly 
direction for three miles across the Artush valley to the mouth 
of the Toyan valley and stream, up which we proceeded to 
Chung Terek (big poplars), a distance of twenty miles. The 
Toyan stream, which flows from the Torugat pass, divides into 
two branches where it debouches into the plains in the Artush 
valley ; the upper one flows nearly due east, and is the principal 
source of irrigation in this fertile plain. The south or main 
branch flows south-east into the river Artush, which is said to 
rise in the Terek mountains on the road to Khokand. 

On entering the Toyan valley, here about two miles wide, 
we may be said to have fairly entered the Tian Shan moun- 
tains. The ridge we had crossed on the previous day's journey 
(and which at its highest point is only a few hundred feet above 
the plain) is rather an isolated ridge than a portion of the main 
range. In marching up this open valley we had in view the 
rough serrated edges of the Ming-yol hill, a prominent object in 
the panoramic view from the roof of the Embassy buildings in 
Kashghar, from which it has the appearance of a large isolated 
hill. On going partially round it, however, it appeared to be 
only the end of a long ridge of nearly uniform height, running 
in a direction a little north of west, towards the angle formed by 
the junction of the Tian Shan with the Alai range. 

In continuing our march up the valley, we saw in front, at 
a distance however of only a few miles, some snowy peaks, the 


same that are visible from B^ligliar, behind the Artush range, 
and which thence appear to be peaks of the main range running 
Boath of the Chadir-Kul. They are not so, however, but form a 
lower range of hills running nearly parallel to the main range, 
i.e. from west to east. At six miles from the Artush is the 
Khitai (Chinese) or Tessik-tash Karawal (guard-house), a little 
square fort used as a customs post, and now held by a small 
party of Kashghar troops. This was the most advanced post in 
this direction held by the Chinese during their occupation of 
the country. 

Chung Terek is a most picturesque spot, and in summer the 
scenery there must be singularly beautiful. The river banks at 
some places below Chung Terek have a height of fully 200 
feet, and are cut by rivulets into remarkably regular-looking 
pillars and turrets, presenting the appearance of imitation by 
nature of human art. We saw Kirghiz scattered over the whole 
valley, located wherever grazing was available for their flocks 
and herds. Many of their '* akoi " hamlets show signs of settled 
habitation in patches of irrigated and cultivated ground, which 
are probably attended by the family elders when the annual 
summer move to the high pasture lands takes place. 

Leaving Chung Terek on the third day, we reached the 
Chakmak forts, twenty-one miles up the Toyan, over a gentle 
but regular ascent the whole way. About two miles above Chung 
Terek the valley suddenly narrows, and continues confined 
between precipitous hills for about twenty miles. At ten miles 
from the commencement of this defile is the fort of Mirza Terek, 
a carefully constructed work which could give a great deal of 
trouble to an enemy advancing from the north ; both here and 
at Chakmak, nine miles farther up the stream, the overhanging 
















heights are so precipitous and inaccessible that it would be 
almost impossible for the enemy to eflFect a lodgment in them. 
The fort itself sweeps the whole of the approach, in addition to 
which an extended curtain wall, secured against view and 
enfilade, affords a strong fiank defence. The Chakmak fort is 
a place of remarkable strength, its natural advantages having 
been greatly increased by skilfully placed works, and well 
selected lines of defence. These fortifications are said to have 
been designed and built four years ago by Beg-Kuli-Beg, the 
eldest son of the Atalik. Mahmud Beg, the "Toksabai" (Lord 
of the Standard) in command, welcomed us kindly and treated 
us most hospitably, accommodating us in comfortable quarters 
inside the fort, a pleasant change from the small, tattered 
Kirghiz felt tent, admitting a distressing amount of cold, in 
which we had passed the previous night. 

We continued in the same general north-west direction on 
the fourth day, passing the Suyiik Karawal, eight miles up the 
Toyan, where the Suyuk stream joins, flowing from the pass 
of the same name. The Suyuk pass, distant thence about two 
days' journey, is little more than a footpath, and is not fit for 
horses ; but the road from the Torugat pass, about thirty miles to 
the north, is used by laden camels, and is open throughout the 
year. The Torugat is the most used caravan route from the 
north to eastern Turkistan. The road is good all the way, and 
the only difficulties are where it crosses the stream. In winter the 
stream is, as we found it, partially frozen over for almost its 
entire length. The slope from the Artush valley, height about 
5300 feet, to the Torugat pass, 12,760 feet, a distance of eighty 
miles, is tolerably uniform throughout, and gives therefore 
a regular rise of about 100 feet per mile. 

On leaving Chakmak our conductor tried to deter us from 


going on by warnings about the cold, and only took us a 
distance* of ten miles that day, to Gulja-bashi, a spot in a 
sheltered valley with abundant pasturage and bush fuel. Our 
party was there joined by three Yuzbashis and a Kirghiz 
guard from the Chakmak garrison. The following day we made 
a march of fifteen miles to Torugat-bela, an interesting road, as 
after passing through volcanic rocks we came to a place where 
the banks, rising to many hundreds of feet in perpendicular 
height, bore unmistakable signs of being the crater of an 
extinct volcano. Our geologist. Dr. Stoliczka, who had pre- 
viously expressed his belief in the existence of an old volcano in 
this quarter, was of course delighted. Sir Henry Rawlinson, 
the President of the Royal Geographical Society of England, 
in addressing the meeting of the 15th June 1874, said with 
reference to this that the discovery of an extinct crater on the 
outer skirts of the Tian Shan was a most important addition 
to our knowledge of the physical geography of the region, 
confirming, as it did, what the great Himiboldt always main- 
tained with regard to the Tian Shan, but what the Russian 
geographers have recently disputed. 

We saw on this day's journey, for the first time, the " Ovis 
poll" hitherto regarded as a half mythical animal. On leaving 
the road and wandering over the grass-covered undulating .hills 
and long sloping flats to the west, we saw several large flocks 
of this gigantic wild sheep, but were not fortunate enough to 
shoot any. One of our party, in his intense eagerness to be the 
envied " first " to bag a specimen, undertook a long and slow 
stalk round the summit of a ridge about 14,000 feet high, and 
was frost-bitten on the fingers from the cold contact of the rifle 
barrel before he got the chance of the shot, which he missed. 
The thermometer marked 26° below zero that night outside, 


and 8^° below zero inside our felt tent, pitched in the sheltered 
ground of Torugat-bela some distance below. The Tonigat-bela 
pastures were occupied by Kara Borghiz and Kazaks from the 
Narin valley, who come over every year from the Russian side 
with about 5000 ponies, for winter grazing on the southern 
slopes of the pass, and pay revenue while there to Kashghar. 
We saw great numbers of their stout well-made ponies all about. 
Both they and the men look enduring and active, and they 
must be hardy to a degree to stand as they do the chilling 
bitter wind of these heights in mid- winter. 

The camp halted at the foot of the pass on the 5th January, 
and we went about twelve miles towards the west to look out for 
Ovis poliy of which we saw several large flocks, one numbering as 
many as eighty-five. We found them on open ground on the flat- 
topped spurs and rounded hills, but when alarmed they took to 
precipitous rocks as easily and confidently as ibex. I saw a 
black ibex, which I stalked tiU I was nearly frozen, but without 
getting a shot. Previous to this, not wishing to return empty- 
handed to camp, I had sent off* two of my attendant mounted 
Kirghiz to try for Ovis poll, and they rejoined me on my way 
back with a fine ram. Finding that I had been unsuccessful, 
they pressed me hard to allow them to say that the " kill " was 
mine! Late in the evening another party of our Kirghiz 
escort returned with two Ovis poli, a female and a young male. 
We obtained in these an excellent supply of meat for our camp. 
This '* mountain mutton*' was good and pleasant to the taste, 
with a slight flavour of venison. 

The nature of the country admits of the Ovis poli and the 
ibex even, when they come down to feed on the low ground as 
I saw, being stalked, followed, or met by the sportsman riding 
mounted on a trusty pony. With rifle slung, and accompanied 


by a couple of mounted Kirghiz, lie wanders along, always 
.approaching a ridge very carefully and peering cautiously over 
the edge. If game be Been the guides are consulted, and an 
understanding as to the course to be followed is arrived at. 
If the ground is very open it wiU probably be necessary to dis- 
moimt and stalk in the ordinary manner, with all the science 
and care requisite on such occasions. If, however, as is often 
the case, in going along a broad open valley, a flock is seen to 
disappear behind a ridge perhaps a mile off, as hard a pace as 
the ground will admit of in the ponies carries up to a stalking 
point selected by the Kirghiz. The advantage of this sport lies 
in the excitement of the gallop, and the stalk as well, and the 
great extent of ground that can be covered in a day. 

A number of the soldiers in the Chakmak command are 
Kipchaks, and Chirik, Alai, and Andijani Kirghiz. Mounted 
on the sturdy ponies for which the country is famous, good 
shots, and knowing thoroughly the surrounding country, they 
are admirably fitted for " scouting'' and mounted infantry pur- 
poses. In the present time of peace they keep their ponies, 
hands, and eyes, in capital training, in hunting the Ovispoli and 
the ibex. We heard of about one himdred Ovis poU and ibex 
shot by the Kirghiz soldiers of the neighbouring parts, having 
been distributed on one occasion by the Atalik amongst the 
poor of the city of Kashghar during our stay there ; and we 
were shown in the Chakmak fort the frozen carcases of about 
fifty Ovis poll and black ibex stored as part of the winter food 
supply for the garrison, all shot by the Kirghiz belonging to it. 

On the 6th we went to the Chadir-Kul lake tod back to camp, 
a ride of about thirty-two miles. Starting early in the morn- 
ing, with the thermometer several degrees below zero, we rode 
about thirteen miles to the pass, a gentle ascent up the valley till 



within a mile of the crest, when the rise, though still very easy, 
is somewhat steeper (about 400 feet in the last mile). We had 
a lovely day for the trip, and Captain Trotter was able to 
carry on his work right up to the pass, which he made to be 
12,760 feet. On reaching the pass we did not come at once, as 
we had expected, into view of the lake, but had to go along a 
spur for about three miles in a northerly direction, when we 
burst suddenly into full view of the lake, and a perfect forest 
of peaks beyond eztending from west to east. We were here 
about thirty-two miles from the Russian fort of Narin, by the 
Taah Robat pass, which lay immediately opposite us. . 

The lake lies east and west, and according to Russian 
accounts its elevation is 11,050 feet above sea-level, the length 
14 miles, average breadth 6, depth inconsiderable, and water 
brackish. It has no outlet: it rises with the melting of the 
snow, and falls in the dry season. The plateau in which it lies 
extends towards the east into the Aksai table-land, where the 
Aksai stream rises, and flowing eastward, joins the Kashghar 
river below Aksu. The opening to the west leads towards the 
source of the Arpa, which finds its way into the Jaxartes (Sir). 
When we saw it, the lake was frozen and covered with snow, 
which made it difficult to distinguish between it and the nearly 
level plain by which it is surroimded, and which was covered 
with a white saline efflorescence. 

Looking from our elevated position above the lake, there 
appeared to be two ranges of mountains, — ^the Torugat, on a spur 
of which we were standing, and the Tashrobat, on the opposite 
side of the lake. Both are portions of the Tian Shan range, 
which westward, like the Karakoram eastward, seems to lose 
its identity, and merges into several comparatively unimportant 




minor chains, of which it is impossible to say which is the main 
one. Hence there is some difficulty in defining the watershed, 
and consequently the boundary between Russia and Kashghar. 
The general run of the Torugat range is from west to east ; the 
peaks also decrease in height as the range approaches the pass : 
the highest within a few miles of it being about 15,000 feet ; 
others, away to the west, being apparently 2000 feet or more 
higher. East of the pass, again, the hills are still lower, but it 
was impossible to judge of their general direction, though, from 
the Russian maps, it would appear to be south-east. We had 
hoped to cross the high undulating lands eastward to the Terekty 
pass, thirty or thirty-five miles distant, but the officials seemed 
to think we had seen enough, and we had to return to Kashghar. 

Notwithstanding the intensity of the cold, Captain Trotter 
carried on his special work successfully throughout the journey. 
He had to take star observations, with the thermometer standing 
at lO"* below zero, a bitter wind blowing, and no shelter available. 
To Captain Trotter belongs the distinction of being the first to 
carry the scientific survey of England across that of Russia in 
the East; the road from Kashghar to the crest of the Tian 
Shan being a link in the chain across Asia which is now common 
to both. 

Many of the Kashghari servants slept out in the open by 
the horses, and appeared none the worse of the exposure. We 
were particularly struck with the excellent church discipline 
kept up by our Muhammadan hosts, who regularly intoned the 
call to prayers, and assembled outside the tents in obedience to 
it, at break of day, in a temperature of 25° below zero. Our 
Indian Muhammadan servants made no pretence of such extreme 
piety in that severe climate. 


On the return journey we saw Kirghiz near Chakmak loading 
camek with blocks of ice cut in the Toyan, for transport up a 
side valley, where they were located with their flocks, their 
supply of water being thus obtained till the approach of warm 
weather releases the frost-bound springs. In leaving the Artush 
valley, we observed high up in the vertical face of the ridge, 
where the stream cuts its way through towards the Kashghar 
plain, three excavated chambers, each with an inner apartment 
behind. The only history of these excavations I could obtain 
was, that some eighty years ago the Chinese Amban (Governor), 
of Kashghar had a daughter so surpassingly lovely that all his 
friends and neighbours wished to marry her, and his enemies 
strove to steal her. The Amban idolised his daughter, and 
fearing to lose her had these chambers made and sumptuously 
fitted for her reception. An enemy desiring to do him the 
utmost injury tried to poison the food which used to be let down 
to her from the summit of the precipice ; and the Amban after 
that, in suspicion of all prepared food, subsisted her on grapes. 
A wasp concealed in the grapes stung the beauty in the throat, 
and caused her death. 




MARALBASHI (the stag's haunt), lying avray to the east towards 
Aksn, vras visited by Captain Biddulph while we were away in 
the Tian Shan. Captain Biddulph is the first European tra- 
veller in that direction, and the following is his description of 
the country and journey : — 

" The Ameer's permission for my going to Maralbashi hav- 
ing been granted, I left Yengi Shahr, Kashghar, on 31st De- 
cember, accompanied by Mirza Sufee, a Punjabashi, who had 
orders to look after me and make all necessary arrangements. 

" I reached Maralbashi in seven marches, the distance from 
Kashghar being about 120 miles. The road runs for the entire 
distance along the course of the Eizzil Su or Kashghar river, 
which it crosses about sixty-six miles from Yengi Shahr. 

"Passing the villages of Barin, Randomar, Arowah, and 
Yandomel, we crossed by bridges two considerable streams, the 
Terbuchek and the Chokanak, flowing from the south into the 
Kizzil, about three miles apart, and darkness having come on 
we halted for the night in the village of Sang. 


" The Punjabafihi knocked at the door of the first house we 
came to, and demanded quarters for the night. No difficulty 
waa made, though of course we were unexpected guests, and I 
do not suppose any European had ever been seen in Sang, I 
was shown into the principal room, where they were preparing 
for the evening meal before retiring to rest. The family teapot 
and soup kettle were on the fire, and a quarter of mutton hang- 
ing up showed they were well ofi* for eatables. The room was 
clean and neat, affording a great contrast to a house of like 
pretensions in an Indian village. The walls were truly made, 
with neat niches to serve as cupboards, and in front of the 
fireplace was a wooden block, sunk level with the ground, to 
chop wood upon. A seat was made for me by the fire, and 
while the master of the house went ofi* with the Punjabashi to 
get ready another room, his wife produced melons and invited 
me to partake, and without any awkwardness or shyness kept 
her place by the fire, trying to keep up as much conversation 
as my limited knowledge of Toorkee would permit. My smaU 
dog, which sat up and begged, seemed to afford her great 
amusement, and she pulled a small boy out of bed to look at it 

*' Leaving Sang early next morning we marched to Fyzabad, 
a large market town, which gives its name to the flourishing 
district around. At two miles from Sang we crossed the Fyzabad 
stream, flowing from the south into the Eizzil. This and the 
two streams crossed the previous day are united into one 
stream, called the Yamanyar, at no great distance from where 
I crossed them. Farther on we passed the villages of Kazan 
Kul and Shaptul ; a weekly market is held at the latter. 

"Beyond Fyzabad habitations became scarcer, and ceased 
altogether at YengiAwat, forty-six miles from ELashghar. Beyond 


Yengi Awat the country is covered with low bush jungle and 
sand-hills, gradually changing to forest, which becomes con- 
tinuous shortly after crossing the Kizzil Su. Between Yengi 
Awat and Maralbashi the only habitations met with are robats or 
post-houses, at intervals of about fifteen miles, which are erected 
for the use of tratvellers. These are all of inferior construction, 
with little accommodation, one of them only consisting of a 
single room. As I took no tents with me, I used the post- 
houses during the whole time of my absence from Kashghar. 

" The forest, though apparently of great extent, contains no 
fine timber, the only tree being the poplar (tograk) of stunted 
growth; the undergrowth consists of a bush growing to a 
height of about eight feet, a thorny bramble, and camel thorn, but 
there is no grass. The soil is very dry, alluvial, and covered 
with a thin hard crust of soda, which crackles under foot at 
every step, and in which horses sink up to their fetlocks. The 
forest abounds with gazelles (Antilopa gutturosa) and hares, 
but is otherwise singularly wanting in animal life. For a space 
of about three-quarters of a mile on each side of the river there 
are no trees, but in their stead a belt of thick high grass, like 
what is known in Indian jungles as nurkut, growing to a height of 
from eight to twelve feet. In this are tigers, wolves, the large 
deer called by the natives " bugha " or " maral," gazelles, foxes, 
and pheasants. This treeless belt is doubtless caused by periodical 
changes of the river-bed, of which there are many evidences. 
The fall of the country to the eastward is little over 500 feet in 
100 miles, according to aneroid readings taken daily. The 
river makes frequent turns and windings, and is level with its 
banks, so that a very slight flush of water would cause an over- 
flow. The current is not rapid, and the river is frozen so hard 


in winter that loaded carts cross it without difficulty. It is 
crossed in summer by a bridge, which, however, I did not see, 
as I was able to save several miles by taking a short cut and 
crossing on the ice in another place. It varies from 70 to 100 
feet in width. 

"At one of the robats I had an interesting conversation 
with a traveller who was also putting up there for the night. 
He was. an Aksu oflScial, and had lately come from there with a 
presentation horse for the Ameer, and having delivered it was 
on his way to Khoten, where his brother was a Cazee. He told 
me there was a direct road from Aksu to Khoten, lying through 
jungle the whole way. He had visited Turfan, and said he had 
himself seen wild camels two marches to the east of it, and spoke 
of them as not being very wary, but smaller than domestic ones. 
I questioned him as to the existence of wild horses or asses 
in the desert eastward, but he said he had never heard of any. 

" At Togha Sulook, between 40 and 50 miles from Maral- 
bashi, I stopped for a day's shooting. The only game I got was 

one very good specimen of the gazelle, or, as the people there 
call it, djeran. The buck measures 27^ inches at the shoulder, 
and greatly resembles the common Indian gazelle, except that 


the horns are rather longer and curve outwards, the tips being 
turned sharply inwards towards one another, making a very 
handsome head. 

" The next day on the march I was met by a Yuzbashi, who 
had been sent out to meet me. He had brought a pair of 
trained hawks with him, and as we marched we beat along, 
keeping a few yards off the road, and took several hares with 
them. The hawks seemed to have no trouble in holding a full- 
grown one, and the hare was often taken within 30 or 40 yards 
of where he was put up, even among the brambles and bushes. 
The trembling of the hares when taken from the hawk was very 
curious ; they seemed quite paralysed with terror, in a way I 
never saw before in animals of the kind ; otherwise they were 
quite uninjured. Just as we got to our halting-place for the 
nighty one hawk was flown at a cock pheasant, which, after a 
flight of 150 yards through the high trees, dropped in some 
thick brushwood ; the hawk at once took perch above him, and 
we put up the pheasant again. In this way we had three 
fliights, the pheasant escaping at last in a large extent of 
brambles, out of which we could not put him. This was in 
thick forest, but the men said if both hawks had been flown 
they would have killed. It was curious to see the hawk each 
time perching guard over the places where the pheasant had 
dropped, waiting for us, and watching every movement while 
we beat. The flight of the pheasant, when once fairly on the 
wing, though short, is so rapid that the hawk has no chance of 
striking him, but by perching high above him when down he is 
generally able to strike him as he rises a second time. 

" Within four miles of Maralbashi the forest ceases, and the 
country is covered with long grass, varied by occasional patches 


of scrub and swamp, mucli resembling the Rohilcund Terai. In 
this are dotted about small villages, with patches of cultivation 
round them. The grass jimgle extends over a great extent of 
country, as well as I could gather, to the north-cast, south- 
west, and eastward, being doubtless formed by the overflows 
and changes of course of the Kizzil and Yarkund rivers. The 
latter, I was informed, flows close to Aksakmaral, about 32 
mUes south-west of Maralbashi. 

** Maralbashi, which is also known as Burchuk and Lai 
Musjid, contains about 1500 inhabitants, and is at the junction 
of the road from Yarkund with the Kashghar and Aksu road. 
It contains a fort and small garrison of about 200 men ; it 
could, however, from its position, be easily and quickly rein- 
forced from Aksu, Kashghar, or Yarkund, if necessary. In the 
time of the Chinese occupation it was no doubt an important 
point, as they had internal rather than external troubles to 
guard against. 

" The fort is of the same kind as others we have seen in the 
country, with earthen rampart about 30 feet thick and 25 feet 
high, a low parapet forming a kind of covered way, and ditch. 
It forms a square of about 170 yards, with projecting circular 
bastions at the angles, three of them having square towers on 
them : also a circular bastion in the centre of each face. 

"The river Kizzil flows under the walls of the fort, and 
during the late rebellion against the Chinese was made use of 
by being dammed up and turned on to the fort to break down 
the rampart. Where I crossed it on the road from Kashghar 
it is 100 feet wide, level with the bank, but flows here in a 
greatly diminished stream about 25 feet wide between high 
banks, 20 feet below the level of the surrounding country. Its 



character was so altered that it was only after repeated assur- 
ances from the people that I satisfied myself as to its being the 
same stream. 

"Close outside the fort is a palace lately built by the 
Ameer, who often stays here on his way to and from Aksu. 

" The natives of the district are called Dolans ; they have a 
more Tartar-like cast of countenance than Yarkundees and 
Kashgharees, and are said to be distinguished by their fondness 
for music and singing. They are said to be descended from 
prisoners brought in the fourth century of the Hejra by Haroun 
Bugra Khan from Transoxiana, and forcibly settled in the 
country between Maralbashi and Kuchar. In the jungle vil- 
lages they excavate houses out of the ground, making grass 
roofs level with the surface. The term Dolan is, I believe, 
applied generally to people of mixed parentage. 

" The present Hakim Beg of Maralbashi, Ata Bai, has the 
title of Mirakhor. He is an Aoidijani, about thirty-five years 
of age, with especially pleasant address, and seems much liked 
by the people, who all speak well of him. He was not in 
Maralbashi when I first arrived, having been away for ten 
months with the troops at Orumchee and Manass. Four days 
after my arrival he returned with about 120 men. I was told that 
during the recent campaign under the Ameer's son, a great number 
of desertions had occurred in the army; upwards of 400 men, it 
was said, had deserted into Russian territory. Of the contingent 
from Maralbashi four had been killed and twenty had deserted. 

** In Ata Bai's absence I was received by the deputy 
governor, MooUa Samsakh, who showed me every attention. 
The whole of the public robat was placed at my disposal, and 
all supplies I stood in need of were furnished. 


" On one occasion a man forced his way into my room and 
rather rudely demanded in Persian a turban as a present, similar 
to one I had given another man the day before. He told me 
that he was the MooUa Aloyar, and a Cazee, and reiterated his 
demand for the tnrban in a very impudent way, I told him 
that I was not in the habit of giving turbans to people who 
asked for them, and he went away as abruptly as he had 
entered, I sent for the Punjabashi, and told him that I did not 
like people coming into my room without invitation, and would 
never give anything if I was asked for it. He said it should 
not happen again, and half-an-hour afterwards I received a 
message from the Moolla Samsakh, saying that I should not be 
troubled again, and that the Cazee had been severely beaten 
for his insolence. I was told afterwards that the punishment 
had given great satisfaction in the bazaar, where Moolla Aloyar 
was disliked on account of bis constantly asking people far 
things which they dared not refuse, 

" At Maralbashi I found a Punjabee, named Gholam Khadir, 
serving as a soldier. His son, a sharp lad of thirteen years of 
age, was sent over to stay in the robat to interpret for my 
servants. I told him I should like to see his father, who accord- 
ingly came over the same evening, I had a long and interest- 
ing conversation with him, in which he told me his history as 
follows : — ' Two years ago I left Sealkote with six ponies laden 
with merchandise to sell at Leh. When I arrived there I found 
no sale for my goods> so I resolved to come on to Yarkund, 
being advised to do so by Mr, Shaw, In crossing the Suget 
pass all my ponies perished, much snow having fallen, and I 
lost everything. There was only my son, the boy you have 
seen, with me, and a servant who went mad with the troubles 


of the journey. Another trader helped me on to Sanju, and 
from there the Hakim forwarded me on to Yarkund. I was 
taken before the Dadkhwah, who was very good to me, and 
gave me two hundred tangas and some clothes, and told me I 
should go back to the Punjab in the spring. When I again 
went before him in the spring, he told me I ought to be married, 
that everybody in the country was married. I protested that I 
had a wife in Sealkote, but he said that did not matter, and 
sent for a Moollah, who was ordered to find me a wife, and I 
was married. When all my money was gone, I went again to 
the Dadkhwah, who sent me to Kashghar, where I was recog- 
nised by Mirza Shadee, who had seen me in Sealkote. I used 
to make medicines, and give them to people at Sealkote, and 
gave some to Mirza Shadee when he was there. I once gave 
some to Ata Bai, the Hakim here, and cured him. He gave 
me a robe and eight tangas for it. I was taken before the 
Atdlik, who asked me what I could do. I answered that I 
doctored people, and I was sent off to this place with my son. 
Guns were put into our hands, and we have been here ever 
since. Four months after my arrival my wife was sent to me 
here from Yarkund. My son and I get each a robe once a year, 
enough to eat, and one hundred tangas between us. All 
soldiers get about the same, a few get eighty to an hundred 
tangas yearly. A Punjabashi gets three hundred tangas and 
two robes, a Yuzbashi three hundred tangas and three robes. 
Zemindars are never taken to be soldiers, but all men who can 
give no account of themselves are made to serve in the ranks. 
The Chinese used to take zemindars for soldiers. Two hundred 
men went from here with Ata Bai to Orumchee, where there 
has been much fighting. About 300 Chinese prisoners w^re 


sent from there some months ago, and forced to become 
Mussuhnans. Ata Bai is a good man, so is the Yarkmid 
Dadkhwah. There is much petty theft here, but no burglary ; 
robbers are not daring as they are in India. The first time a 
man is caught stealing he is led all round the bazaar and beaten, 
the second time he has one ear cut off, the third time his right 
hand. I have never heard of a man being hanged for stealing. 
I once saw a man's throat cut in the bazaar, but that was for 
murder. I have never seen a man hanged. The gallows is 
put up to frighten people. The punishment of death is only 
inflicted for murder. I remember two murders while I was in 
Yarkund. Everybody is married, even all the soldiers : when 
one dies, his wife is given to another. All marriages are 
arranged by the MooUahs. When a man wishes to get rid of 
his wife, he turns her out of his house, and has by the Sharyat 
to pay her ten tangas, and give her clothes. At the end of 
three months she may marry again. The women here are very 
bad, they have no shame. All eatables, except mutton, are 
very cheap. A great deal of beef and horse flesh is eaten. 
Taxes on produce are paid in kind to the extent of 4 per cent. 
People are constantly saying that there used to be much fun 
and wine-drinking in the time of the Chinese, now there is 
none. The women especially are continually lamenting this. 
When people were very poor they used to sell their children to 
the Chinese for a yamboo (£17). K at the end of a year they 
could repay the yamboo, the children were returned to them. 
When you arrived in Yarkund, it was rumoured that 700 or 800 
sahibs had come: that you had come in consequence of the 
visit of the Eussian Embassy last year. I was in Eashghar 
then and saw them. The Ameer is much pleased at your 



coming. When Mr, Shaw first came he was placed in * nuz- 
zurbundee' (under surveillance) ; so was the sahib who came 
afterwards to Yarkund : now the Ameer knows you better, and 
you are allowed to go where you like/ 

" From Maralbashi I went to Charwagh, a village of about 
250 inhabitants, 14 miles on the Aksu road. I was especially 
anxious to shoot a tiger, of which there were many about, but 
was imsuccessful in the sea of high grass with which the 
country is covered From footprints and skins, and judging 
by what I was told, there is no doubt that the tiger here is 
altogether a smaller animal than the Indian one. He seems 
also to differ considerably in his habits, prowling round villages 
at night, killing dogs and sheep, and behaving more like an 
Indian panther than a tiger. The people spoke of men being 
killed by tigers occasionally, but it does not appear to be a 
common occurrence. 

" I had, however, good sport shooting gazelles and pheasants 
which abounded, and I also saw the burgoots* or trained 
eagles kill gazelles and foxes. I was not fortunate enough to 
see them kill a wolf, though they were twice flown, but the 
animals on both occasions being in thick bush jungle, and at a 
great distance, the birds did not sight them. Their owners, 
however, spoke of it as an ordinary occurrence. When the 
jungle is not too high, they sight their prey at a great distance, 
and sweep up to it without any apparent effort, however fast it 
may be going. Turning suddenly when over its head, they 
strike it with unerring aim. If a fox they grasp its throat with 
the powerful talon and seize it round the muzzle with the other, 
keeping the jaws closed with an iron grasp, so that the animal is 

* The bearcoot of Atkinson. 



























powerless. From the great ease with which an eagle disposes of 
a full-grown fox, I could see that a wolf would have no better 
chance. Gazelles are seized in the same way, except those with 
horns, in which case the eagle first fastens on to the loins of the 
animal, and watching his opportunity transfers his grasp to the 
throat, avoiding the horns. The burgoot, however, is not very 
easy to manage, and requires the whole of one man's care. Its 
dash and courage are great, but if flown unsuccessfully once or 
twice, it will often sulk for the rest of the day. When it kills 
it is always allowed to tear at its game for a little time ; the 
men told me that if prevented doing so while its blood was up, 
it would very probably attack our horses. 

" I was enabled by sextant observations to fix the latitude of 
Maralbashi at 39" 46' 25^ N. 

" Nine miles to north-east of the Maralbashi is a huge 
black rock, apparently basaltic, with a treble peak, rising to a 
height of some 2500 feet above the plain. It is very rugged 
and quite inaccessible, and forms a conspicuous landmark. It is 
called * Pir Shereh Kuddum Moortaza Ali Tagh,' * the Prophet 
Ali's footstep.' At its foot on the north side is a Mazar of 
great sanctity. The Aksu road runs within a mile of it, and 
travellers on catching sight of the shrine dismount and say a 

"From Charwagh I was asked to come on to Tumchuk, 
some miles farther on the Aksu road. As nothing had been 
said about it before leaving Kashghar, I decided not to do so, and 
had reason to repent my decision. On returning to Kashghar I 
was told that at Tumchuk are the ruins of a very ancient stone 
city. It happened that, on one occasion while shooting, I came 
upon a hewn stone looking like part of an hexagonal pillar, but 


though I made several inquiries of the men with me, none of 
them said a word about the ruined city. I also noticed that 
the jungles contained many signs showing that at one time 
there had been considerable cultivation. 

" The country round Maralbashi is well watered, and the 
soil rich, and seems only to want population. 

"The stages beyond Charwagh on the Aksu road were 
given me as follows by the Moolla Samsakh, who told me that 
there was a robat at each stage : — 

1. Chadyrkul. 

2. Yakakuduk. 

3. Zoidu. 

4. Chilan. 

5. Ckulkuduk. 

6. Soi LangrL 

7. Oikul. 

8. Kumbash. 

9. Aksu. 

"I returned to Kashghar on the 23d January in five 
marches from Maralbashi. The day before I left I paid a visit 
to Ata Bai in the fort, and thanked him for all the civility I had 
experienced, presenting him at the same time with a pair of 
binoculars and a pound of English powder. He presented me 
in return with a pony, and the next morning a man overtook 
me on the march with a trained hawk, also sent me as a present. 

" No attempt was made at any time in any way to control 
or direct my movements. I received whatever supplies I was 
in need of, and was treated by all officials with the greatest 

Besides the daily present of bread, fruit, and sweets, sent 
from the Atalik's table to mark the steady continuance of the 
high favour in which we stood, a weekly one, on an extensive 
scale, was always brought by our noble "Mihmandar" Ihrar 
Khan Tora, when sent by the Atalik to inquire, in the most 


formal and complimentary manner, after the health of the envoy 
and the oflBcers of the Mission* This weekly present used to 
consist of game, large and small, chests of pears all the way from 
Kuchar, in the far east, famous for that fruit, bags of frozen 
butter, loaves of Moscow sugar, and trays of Eussian " motto " 
bon-bons. Of game there were Ovis poli and black ibex, the 
" Jerun" gazelle, the pheasant (Shaw) of the plains, and the 
snow species of the hills, " chikor " or lull partridge, hares, and 
many kinds of wild fowl. 

The Ovis poli was the gem of our collection of new and rare 
animals. The following is the description of it given by Dr. 
Stoliczka, the naturalist to the Mission, to accompany a sketch 
made by me, and sent by the Envoy to the London Zoological 
Society, from Kashghar, in February 1874. 

'* Ovis PoLi, Blyth. 

'^Mah, in winter dress. — General colour above hoary brown, 
distinctly rufescent.or fawn on the upper hind neck and above 
the shoulders, darker on the loins, with a dark line extending 
along the ridge of tail to the tip. Head above and at the sides 
a greyish-brown, darkest on the hind head, where the central 
hairs are from 4 to 5 inches long, while between the shoulders 
somewhat elongated hairs indicate a short mane. Middle of 
upper neck hoary white, generally tinged with fawn ; sides of 
body and the upper part of the limbs shading from brown to 
white, the hair becoming more and more tipped with the latter 
colour. Face, aU the lower parts, limbs, taU, and aU the hinder 
parts, extending .well above towards the loins, pure white. The 
hairs on the lower neck are very much lengthened, being from 
5 to 6 inches long. Ears hoary brown externally, almost white 



internally. Pits in front of the eye distinct, of moderate size 
and depth, and the hair round them generally somewhat darker 
brown than the rest of the sides of the head. The nose is 
slightly arched and the muzzle sloping. The hair is strong, 
wiry, and very thickly set, and at the base intermixed with 
scanty, very fine fleece ; the average length of the hairs on the 
back is from 2 to 2^ inches. The iris is brown. The horns are 
Bubtriangular, touching each other at the base, curving gradually 
with a long sweep backwards and outwards ; and after complet- 
ing a full circle, the compressed points again curve backwards and 
outwards; their surface is more or less closely transversely ridged. 
*' The following are measurements taken from a full-grown 
male, though not the largest in the Mission collection : — 

^ Total length from between the homs to tip of tail • 62 
Length of head ..... 13.25 

Tail (including the l^"" long hair at tip) . . 6'6 

Distance between snout and base of ear (the eye lies 

below this connecting line) . . . . 12*75 

Distance between base of ear and the eye . . 3*25 

Distance between snout and eye . . .8*5 

Distance from the contact of homs to snout . .12 

Breadth between the anterior angle of eyes . . 6 

Length of ear in front .... 4*75 

Height of shoulder (the hair being smoothed, beginning 

from the edge of the middle of the hoof at the side) 44 
Girth round the breast . . . . 51*5 

Length of one horn along the periphery . . 48 

Circumference of one horn at base . . .15 

Distance between the tips . . . .38 

"The colour of full-grown females does not differ essentially 
from that of the males, except that the former have much less 
white on the middle of the upper neck. The snout is sometimes 
brown, sometimes almost entii-ely white, the dark eye-pits 


becoming then particularly conspicuous. The dark ridge along 
the tail is also scarcely traceable. 

" In size, both sexes of Ovis poll appear to be very nearly 
equal ; but the head of the female is less massive, and the horns, 
as in allied species, are comparatively small : the length of horn 
of one of the largest females obtained is 14 inches along the 
periphery, the distance at the tips being 15 inches, and at the 
base a little more than 1 inch. The horns themselves are much 
compressed ; the upper anterior ridge is wanting on them ; they 
curve gradually backwards and outwards towards the tip, 
though they do not nearly complete even a semicircle. 

" In young males, the horns at first resemble in direction and 
slight curvature those of the female, but they are always thicker 
at the base and distinctly triangular. 

" The length of the biggest horn of male along the periphery 
of curve was 56 inches, and the greatest circumference of a horn 
of a male specimen at the base 18^ inches. 

" Mr. Blyth, the original describer of OvispoU, from its horns, 
was justified in expecting, from their enormous size, a corre- 
spondingly large-bodied animal ; but, in reality, such does not 
appear to exist. Although the distance between the tips of the 
horns seems to be generally about equal to the length of the 
body, and although the horns are very much larger, but not 
thicker or equally massive with those of the Ovis Amman of the 
Himalayas, the body of the latter seems to be comparatively 
higher. Still it is possible that the Ovis poll of the Pamir may 
stand higher than the specimens described, which were obtained 
from the Tian Shan range.* 

* The Tian Shan wild sheep has since been described as the Ovis Karelini, 
a species somewhat smaller than the true Ovis poK which frequents the 


" Large flocks of Ovis poll were observed on tlie undulating 
high plateau to the south of the Chadir-Kul, where grass vege- 
tation is abundant. At the time the oflScers of the Mission 
visited this ground, i.e. in the beginning of January, it was thiJ 
rutting season." 

The horns of wild animals are deposited at the shrines in 
Kashghar, similarly as at the temples and other places of mark 
in the Himmalayahs, and at a shrine in the Artush valley 
Mr. Forsyth saw a pair of 0vi8 poli horns which measured 61 
inches. In the course of this narrative I shall tell of a pair 
measuring 65^ inches, which I obtained on the Great Pamir, 
and had the pleasure of adding to the National collections in the 
British Museum. 

The Tian Shan ibex merely differs from the Himmalayan 
species in being darker in coat, — so dark, however, as to cause us 
to designate it the " black ibex." It appears to frequent the 
Tian Shan and Terek ranges. The same ibex are said to be 
found in the Kuen Luen to the south-east of Yarkand Those 
I saw on the Great Pamir were of the light-coloured Himmalayan 

The "Jerun" gazelle has been already noticed in Captain 
Biddulph's account of his Maralbashi journey. We had a tame 
one at Yarkand, of which I was enabled to make many draw- 
ings. The game often reached us at Kashghar in a frozen state, 
when by half thawing selected specimens, I was able to put 
them into position to be again frozen, and so fixed as studies for 
the sketch book. 

The "Maral," the stag of the Maralbashi and Eastern 
Turkistan, appears to the ordinary eye to be the same as the 
" Hungal " (stag) of Kashmir, and by all accounts it is similar 



to the Persian stag. Alish Beg, the governor of Kashghar, 
presented Mr. Forsyth with a full-grown maral which had been 
caught when young, and tamed to a certain extent. It stood 
14 hands high at 
the shoulder. Its 
horns were not of 
any great size ; 
but of two very 
fine pairs ob- 
tained in the city, 
I show the best 
in the sketch, the 
head being that 
of our maral. 
This stag was too 
riotous to permit 
of his being 
brought away with the other animals collected for despatch to 
India, and was returned to his original owner on our departure 
from Kashghar. Of two burgut (golden eagles) sent with this 
collection it was fortunate that one reached alive to confirm our 
accounts of the bird being trained for sport like the hawk, as my 
sketches of the hunting scenes in which they figure were some- 
times regarded suspiciously, as Atkinson's first description of 
the sport was. 

Wild hog of an unusually large size are found in the reed 
thickets on the banks of the Kashghar river, and the sporting 
propensities of the people are admirably shown in the spirited 
way in which they hunt the wild boar there. During the 
Envoy's tour in the Artush district, in the end of February, 



the villagers at one place assembled to show this sport. They 
were mounted on the strong active little horses of the country, 
and carried clubs bent at the end like hockey-sticks, with 
which they strike the animal on the head till he is stunned, 
when the death-blow is generally given with some other weapon. 
As we in India in hog-hunting ride for " first spear," so do 
these sportsmen ride for "first club." The trained eagle is 
used in this sport : it is " flown " at the hog on the first favour- 
able opportunity, and generally succeeds, by its sharp and 
powerful attack, in bringing it to bay, when the men close in 
with their clubs. On the occasion alluded to a splendid "tusker" 
was killed in this manner. But from all I heard I should say 
that the wild boar of these parts is not equal in fighting spirit 
to his brother of Bengal 

Mr. Forsyth and the main portion of the Mission oflBcers 
went out on the 14th of February for a tour in the Artush 
district. Captain Biddulph and myself remaining in Kashghar. 
The Envoy, with Dr. Bellew and Captain Chapman, returned 
on the 26th, leaving Dr. Stoliczka and Captain Trotter to 
pursue their explorations towards Uch Turfan, which they did 
most successfully, reaching as far as the Belosti pass. Captain 
Trotter in his " Notes on Recent Exploration in Central Asia," 
published in last September number of the Geographical Maga- 
zine^ says of this journey, that it led to the discovery that " that 
portion of the Tian Shan mountains lying to the north and 
north-east of Kashghar, marked on our maps as * the Syrt,' and 
hitherto represented as a high table-land rising immediately 
above the plains of Turkistan, in reality consists of a series of 
parallel mountain ranges, running as a rule from west to east, 
each range increasing gradually in height from the lowest ridge 


on the south to the main ridge on the north — each range also 
decreasing in height as it runs eastward. Between these ranges, 
and running parallel to them, are extensive level plains, at first 
very little higher than the plateau of Eastern Turkistan, but also 
successively rising higher and higher towards the north, while 
at the same time they slope down towards the east ; thus, the 
Tughamati plain, about 45 miles north of Kashghar, is higher 
by 2000 feet ; while the Jai Tupa plain, about the same dis- 
tance east of the Tughamati plain (of which in all probability 
it is the continuation) is only about 1000 feet higher than 
Kafihghar. These large plains have generally much grass and 
fuel, though but little water. At one of our camps, which was 
under snow, the Kirghiz who were encamped there told me that 
it was only in mid- winter they could keep their flocks at that 
particular place, as the snow then lying on the ground served 
as a substitute for water, which was not obtainable at any other 
season of the year." 

At the festival of the " Kurban " (the sacrifice) on the 28th 
of January, the Atalik publicly announced the Sultan's protecto- 
rate of Kashghar, and assumed the title of " Amir," conferred on 
him by that sovereign. The Sultan's name was ordered to be 
used for the future in the " Khutba " or prayer for the reigning 
sovereign at all the mosques, and coin was struck bearing the 
name of " Abdul Aziz Khan,'' and purporting to be issued from 
the mint of "the protected State of Kashghar." Gold tillas 
(value about eleven shillings) of the new coinage were dis- 
tributed in largesse that day by the Amir to his troops and 

The Yangi-Shuhr or fort residence of the Amir at Kashghar 
encloses quite a small town, besides accommodating a very 



large guard and a numerous body of attendants. The daily 
traffic between it and the city, five miles off, is considerable. 
Covered carts passed to and fro continually carrying passengers, 
and there was a regular " stand " of these vehicles near the gate. * 
Some of them were " reserved " for women, who appeared to go 
about and visit a great deal. The daily traffic and passing of 
people was an interesting scene, and I used to walk on the roof 
of the Elchi-khana, and take advantage of the opportunity to 
sketch whatever appeared remarkable. 




We had opportunities during our stay at Kashghar of seeing 
the " regular forces " there, which doubtlessly well represented 
the character and condition of the Amir's army distributed 
throughout his territory, to Khoten on the south and Turfan 
on the east. The army is divided into artUlery, Taifurchis, 
and infantry. There is no cavalry in our acceptation of the 
term; a great proportion of the infantry is mounted, but 
they dismoimt to use their arms, and the use of the sword on 
horseback is not understood or ever practised. On one occasion, 
during our stay at the capital, a display of " tent-pegging " and 
turnip slicing, with spear and sabre, by the expert troopers of 
our guide corps escort showed the Andijanis and Kashgaris how 
far behind their warlike neighbours they are in that respect. 

ArtUlery is little understood by the Uzbegs, though they 
have an inmiense respect for that arm. Hindustanis and 
Affghans are much sought after as artillerymen, some of those 
now serving having been in our Indian army, or that of the 
Maharajah of Kashmir, and made their way to Kashghar as a 
place that oflfered many advantages to adventurous spirits, and 




perhaps, in some instances, a refuge from that steadily pursuing 
punishment which year after year overtakes the notorious 
murderers of 1857. The chief artUlery officer is Nubbi Buksh, 

a native of Sealkote in the Punjab 
and a bookbinder by trade, who was 
trained as a jj^nner in the Sikh 
Durbar force^ndcr Sher Sing and 
Tej Sing. He was 
at Peshawur with 
Captain Bowie and 
the other British officers 
when the Punjab cam- 
paign of 1848-49 took 
place, and left India shortly after- 
wards to seek his fortune in Central 
Asia. He made his way through 
Kashmir and Ladak to the Yar- 
kand territory, entering it by 
the KHian pass, where he was de- 
tained for three months by the 
Chinese, then holding Eastern Turki- 
stan. Eventually he passed on 
^X^'^-'i^L^'^^^'^^'.Z^^^^'^'''^'' to Khokandj and took service 

JIGIT 80LDIEB, KASHGHAB ARMY. ^^1^ thc chlcf of that khaUatC, 

He served there for about ten years, and was present in the 
action with the Russians when his master. Alum Kul, the 
regent, was mortally wounded. While in Khokand he became 
acquainted with Muhammad Yakub Khan, the present ruler of 
Kashghar ; and after the fall of Tashkend in 1865, he made his 
way over the Terek pass with 4000 men and joined the Atalik's 

.w^;^:^^^ ^^^^^m^??T 



standard. Nubbi Buksli is lield in liigh esteem by the Amir as 
a successful commander who has served him faithfully and well. 
He is known as the " Jeniadar Dadkhwah/' and has the reputa- 
tion of being kind to 
his countrymen, and 
assisting them when 
in need. He is the 
"Affghan of gigantic 
stature " noticed by 
the Russian oflBcers composing 
the mission sent in 1872 to con- 
clude the existing treaty be- 
tween Russia and Kashghar, Tbo 
" Jemadar Dadkhwah's '* Bpeeial 
command consists of a regiment of 
comparatively well-armed infantry, 
with field guns dragged by horses 
harnessed unicorn-fashion, placed 
between the companies. He drilled 
all together before us ; the move- 
ments were made very slowly, and 
tolerably precisely on the < • 
pattern of thirty years ago 
then followed in the Sikh 
army. His words of com- 
mand were apparently intended for English, and every move- 
ment was accompanied by vigorous marching bugle music. 
Two other similar corps are drilled professedly after the 
Russian and Turkish systems. Nubbi Buksh showed us some 
fair shell-practice with a 12-pounder howitzer and a 10-inch 




mortar, at a distance of 1000 yards. He seemed glad to see us, 
and to talk of the English officers he had seen at Peshawur. 
He had almost forgotten the Hindustani language, and our con- 
versation with him was chiefly carried on in Persian, 

The infantry may be divided into two classes, viz. Jigits 
and Sarbaz, the proportion being about three-fourths of the 
former to one of the latter. The Jigits may be described as 
mounted infantry, every man having a horse which carries all 
his belongings. They are able to make long and rapid marches, 
and keep up a daily average of thirty miles for a great distance. 
In action they dismount to fire, their horses being disposed of 
in rear, but there is little drill or system among them. The 
Sarbaz have no horses ; as a rule they are better armed and 
drilled ; they are, moreover, kept together in regularly-appointed 
barracks, and thus subjected to superior discipline. The infantry 
is distributed in small corps numbering from 200 to 500 men, 
according to the estimation in which the commanders are held. 
The firearms are of every kind and bore; matchlocks, fitted 
with a forked rest projecting beyond the muzzle when closed, 
Kashmir-made guns, old European sporting guns and rifles, and 
well executed imitations manufactured in the workshops of 
Kashghar, Aksu, and Yarkand. The flint-lock is never seen 
either with gun or pistol. Some American " Spencer " 
repeating rifles were taken by the Amir's envoy from Con- 
stantinople in 1873, and these, I imagine, are the "breech- 
loading weapons" alluded to in a late rumour as forming 
the armament of a force despatched from Kashghar to aid 
in repelling the reported Chinese advance from Hami and 
Barkul. Target-shooting is much practised. Every town 
where there is a garrison has a number of musketry butts out- 



















side the gates; and during the whole time of our stay at 
Kashghar, target practice was going on four times a week ; it is 
not, however, conducted on any system, matchlocks, rifles, and 
double-barrelled guns being all used at the same range together. 
Lead, sulphur, and saltpetre are very plentiful; the powder 
made is good, and the dry nature of the climate is favourable to 
its preserving its quality long. 

The Taifurchis are men armed and drilled on Chinese mili- 
tary principles ; those in the Amir's service are mostly Chinese 
and Tunganis. The " Taifu " is a rude sort of wall-piece about 
six feet long, mounted with a stock ; some are used with a 
matchlock and trigger, others with a priming vent and the old 
portfire ''linstock" It carries a ball varying from one and a 
half to three ounces, and is managed by four men, two of whom 
support the stock and muzzle while being fired. They make 
good practice at 250 yards. 

The Chinese Taifurchi corps at Kashghar was paraded for our 
inspection. About 1200 men were present, divided into com- 
panies of ten "taifus" each, accompanied by Andijani standard 
and colour bearers. There was also a body of spearmen and 
Kalmak archers with about thirty swordsmen dressed up as 
tigers, who acted as skirmishers. The " tigers " had large gro- 
tesquely painted shields, with short matchlocks fastened across 
them inside. The movements of each company were directed 
by fuglemen, and they worked with great precision and 
rapidity, forming line and column, changing front, firing 
independently and in volleys, and finally ''marching past," 
the whole being directed by a Chinese commander (the Khu- 
Dalai) by means of flag signals and beat of drum, forming 
altogether an interesting sight, and showing an immense 



aptitude for- drill on the part of the men. The "tigers" went 
through their old Chinese drill of " terrifying appearances " by 
" tumbling " movements, rolling over and over, advancing firing 

from behind their shields, 
and forming themselves 
into tortoise-like masses 
to "receive cavalry." The 
Kalmaks had bows fully 
five feet long with arrows 
forty inches 
in length, thirty of which 
they carried in quivers 
slung on the back as 
shown in the sketch. 

The Amir keeps the 
management of the army 
entirely in his own hands. 
The decimal division of 
command is observed, 
the ranks being those of 
commanders of ten, fifty, 
^*- one hun- 
dred, and 
five hun- 


of "Ming-bashi" (head of 1000), though there is "Lashkar- 
bashi" (head of an army). A great mixture of nationalities is 
found amongst the soldiers, consisting of natives of the country, 
Andijanis, Kashmiris, Hindustanis, Affghans, Kunjutis, Wakhis, 




BadaMishis, pure Chinese, Tunganis, and Kalmaks. Kirghiz 
are extensively employed in the frontier militia. 

The Kashgharis (by whom I mean the inhabitants of the 
country extending south- 
east), though by nature 
hardy and remarkably 
able-bodied, are unwar- 
like, and much averse to 
military service. The 
Andijanis, in- 
cluding aU the natives o: 
Khokand, are of a war- 
like spirit, and form the 
dominant race in Kash- 
ghar. Kashmiris (those 
in the Amir's army are 
principally Hiadu apos- 
tates), Hindustanis, and 
Affghans are much valued 
as soldiers, and ai^e distri- 
buted in small par- ^ 
ties among the i 
various corps and 
garrisons. The ^-^ak akcheb. kashohab ahmt. 

Chinese, Tunganis, and Kalmaks, are chiefly prisoners of wax, 
who had their lives spared on consenting to become Muham- 
madans and serve in the ranks. The pay is small, but is in 
addition to food and clothing the State. Desertion 
is severely punished. 

Food is wonderfully plentiful and cheap throughout the 


country. At Aksu a sheep sells for two shillings, and at 
Yarkand for about four and sixpence. The sheep there are 
heavy and well fed, very unlike the small, spare animals sold at 
similarly low rates in India. Wheaten flour sells at eighty 
pounds for two shillings, and Indian com or maize at forty 
pounds for sixpence, while large tracts of fertile land lie uncul- 
tivated for want of population. 

Horses, camels, donkeys, and oxen exist in great numbers. 
The horses of the country are powerful, hardy, and enduring, 
averaging fourteen hands in height, and much resembling Welsh 
ponies in appearance. They carry a load of 250 pounds with 
ease ; the best are bred by the Kalmaks near Karashahr ; the 
average price at Kashghar is £4 : lOs. The camels are of the 
double-humped species, powerful animals, carrying a 480 pounds 
load, and capable of standing great extremes of heat and cold. 
Khoten produces the best and most of these useful animals. 
The donkeys of the country carry a load of 150 pounds, and are 
very extensively used in transport between the towns. Carts 
are also freely used in the traflBc of the country ; they are gene- 
rally drawn by four horses, carry 1800 pounds weight, and 
travel at a rate of three miles an hour on the unmetalled road. 
Beasts of burden abound to that extent that foot travellers are 
rarely seen ; every one rides on camel or horse, ox or ass. 

Indian com, chopped straw, and dry or green Lucerne grass, 
according to the season, form the food of all these animals. 
Lucerne grass grows most luxuriantly, three crops being 
obtained in one season oS the same field, and the same plants 
produce for three years. Altogether the food supply is so 
abundant that a starved animal is never seen. While noticing 
this, also I observed that a corpulent man was never seen. We 










must suppose that the uncertainties and worries of life under 
an absolute despojtism are against obesity. 

About the end of our stay at Kashghar the distant governors 
began to arrive, according to custom, with the annual imperial 
revenue and offerings from their provinces, which they always 
present in person when peace prevails. Hyder Beg, the Hakim 
of Guma, arrived first, and was followed by Niaz Beg of Khoten, 
who led in a caravan of 450 camels laden with carpets, silks, 
cottons, felts, tents, metal dishes, and other local manufactures ; 
two "arabas'* (carts) each carrying 1500 jings (equal to about 
1800 pounds) of gold and silver ; two similar cart-loads of " su- 
tash" (superior jade); 150 led horses, and 500 donkeys laden 
with copper coin other than that of Eioten, calculated to repre- 
sent about Es. 40,000 or £4000. 

The jade is taken by merchants to Kuldja, there to be 

bartered for tea, and it thence finds its way to China. The 

rebellion and revolution by which Eastern Turkistan was lost 

to China caused an entire stoppage of aU trade between the two 

countries, but latterly it has been revived by the Nogai and 

other Russian merchants trading from Almati as a centre with 

Kashghar and Kuldja (Hi). Thus jade is now supplied to meet 

the continued Chinese demand, and Kashghar gets cheap China 

black tea, which is largely consumed there. Shaw mentions the 

great increase in the price of China tea at Kashghar during his 

stay there in 1868-69, from what it was during the Chinese 

rule; but the price has fallen considerably since, and in the 

winter of 1873-74 China black tea from Kuldja was selling there 

at two shillings and twopence per pound. Indian tea was then 

for the first time introduced to the Kashghar market by a 

Hindustani, trader, but I did not hear with what result. The 



mass of the people require a cheap article, and now that the 
China market is made to supply them through Russian means, 
the Indian traders must be satisfied in the future with less great 
profit than they have been in the habit of getting. With a 
shorter and easier route than that now in use, they could yet 
successfully compete with the Almati merchants, by supplying 
good Indian black tea instead of the expensive green kind which 
they at present carry to the Yarkand market. 

The Hakim of Khoten was to be followed by the Dadkhwah 
of Yarkand, whose brother, Ishak Jan, preceded him with a 
preliminary present of nine (the lucky number) of everything ; 
but the approaching departure of our Mission in the direction of 
his province caused the visit to be postponed. 

I have already alluded to the Amir's Mirzas or secretaries 
appointed to reside at the local capitals and send direct to him 
reports of all occurrences and rumours. By means of these 
and the secret police the Amir keeps himself acquainted with 
all that is said or done, true or false, and is fully prepared for 
the discussion of local affairs with the governors, when they 
appear annually before him. There seems to be no system of 
accounts : the local administration pays its own expenses, civil 
and military, and contributes to the imperial treasury. Increase 
of this contribution is of course understood to carry with it rise 
in the royal favour, and continuance in power, if it comes 
unaccompanied by well-founded complaints of oppression or 
excessive taxation. The political system may be said to be that 
of ancient Persia, which is almost always followed in the East. 

Snow fell twice only, during our winter at Kashghar : once 
in the end of February, when it hardly covered the ground, 
and again on the 12th of March, when it lay to the depth of a 


















foot. Up to the latter time the atmosphere had never been 
quite clear all round : the haze peculiar to Eastern Turkistan 
always obstructed any complete view of the surrounding moun- 
tains. But after the second snowstorm the air was clear, and 
we had a glorious panoramic view, extending from the Tagharma 
peak in the south, round by the Kizil Art, Alai and Terek ranges 
towards the west, to the Tian Shan in the north, and dying 
away towards Uch Turfan in the far east. 

The stem application of severe law, doubtlessly very neces- 
sary to put down the violence and disorder which must have 
grown up in the country after years of internal war, has resulted 
in a security to life and property probably unequalled for ages 
past in a purely Eastern state. Crime accordingly is rare. We 
only heard of one execution during our stay at Kashghar — ^that 
of a man for the murder of a boy, whom he killed with the view 
of removing the evidence against him of the theft of a goat. 
Ordinary theft is no longer punished with the loss of a hand, 
but sheep and cattle stealing is still so punished, with the object 
of giving greater protection to property, the nature of which 
exposes it to increased risks. I heard of a case of horse-stealing 
at Kashghar, in which four men were punished with the loss of 
a hand each, for the theft of a horse ; one being the thief, the 
second and third the buyer and seller, proved to have been 
aware of the animal being stolen property, and the fourth, a 
witness convicted of perjury. The last-mentioned came at once 
to the Mission hospital (having heard of the very skilful surgeon 
there), carrying his severed hand, and asked to have it put on 
again ! Dr. Bellew was away from Kashghar at the time, and 
his Hindustani assistant reported the matter to me, and dressed 
the arm, after which the poor wretch went away taking the 


for that was this waifs name, showed again one day with a 
burgut (eagle) for sale, on which occasion I took his likeness^ 
On the day of our departure he was among the crowd at the 
gateway, and being in want of a man to ride one of the ponies 
in an ambulance for a sick trooper of the escort, he volunteered 
to accompany us for the work. He mounted and came away 
without any further preparation. While I was sketching at 
Yangi-Hissar on the 20th, he and others came about me, and 
when I had finished they asked me to show the other drawings 
in the book. I showed what I had done of 'KhxH Muhammad, 
to see if any would recognise him. Yakub, looking over my 
shoulder, read slowly what I had written under the sketch, ren- 
dering " the Pansad in command " as " Pansad komadan.'' I 
at once turned round, and said to him in English and Persian, 
" You axe English," on which he covered his face with both 
hands, saying laughingly in Turki, "No, no." He was again 
removed as before, but knowing that I was to leave for Wakhan 
the following day he contrived to show himself as I passed the 
tent of the Yuzbashi, who had taken him in charge, and made 
a signal of good-bye. 

Yakub stated that he was a Nogai Tartar, and spoke of 
wounds he had received in action, but gave no further account 
of himself. He lived on charity at a shrine in the neighbour- 
hood of Kashghar, and had a wife and family there. M. 
Berzenczey, the Hungarian traveller, who reached Kashghar 
from Almati and Narin after we left, told me at Leh, where we 
met some months after, that Yakub was a Polish deserter from 
the Kussian service. 



Dr. Stoliczka, Captains Biddulph and Trotter, and myself, left 
Yangi-Hissar for Sirikol and Wakhan on the 21st March. In- 
cluding ourselves, our party numbered forty-one, with fifty- 
eight riding and baggage horses. We vvrere accompanied by 
Yuzbashi Kustum and five Kashghari soldiers, vvrho, with our 
own five sepoys of the Punjab Frontier Guide Corps, formed 
our escort to Wakhan and back. We were preceded by Resai- 
dar Muhammad Afzal Khan, who left the previous day with a 
letter to Mir Futteh Ali Shah, the ruler of Wakhan, informing 
him of our proposed visit. Muhammad Afzal reached Bala 
Panja on the 2d April, and rendered admirable service in making 
preparations there for our arrival. 

Our first day's journey was to Egiz-yar, a large village on 
the verge of the plain, and the last in the inhabited country 
towards the hills. The road lay in a south-westerly direction, 
passing by several flourishing villages amidst extensive cultiva- 
tion. Six miles beyond Egiz-yar the road enters the hills along 



the course of a feeder of the Yangi-Hissar river. At this point 
the passage from Sirikol to the plains is defended by an old 
Chinese fort situated on the left bank of the stream, with high 
loopholed walls extending up the hills on both sides of the 
narrow valley mouth. The 
plain preserves its even surface 
right up to the high ranges 
and ridges which stand out 
and rise from it, without any 
undulating or broken ground 
intervening. The appearance 
thus presented is strikingly 
like that of high bold head- 
lands rising from the sea. A 
small fortified work, three 
miles farther up the stream, 
commands a path which there 
branches off to Kashghar, vid 
OpaL Small parties of troops 
axe stationed at both of these 

Earghiz compose the popu- 
lation (a very 
scanty one) be- 
tween the plains 
and Sirikol. They 
live almost en- 
|;irely by their flocks and herds, only attempting a little scattered 
cultivation in the lower valleys. They were kind and attentive 
to us throughout the journey. We always found their felt tents 



prepared for our accommodation at each halting-place, till within 
two days of Tashkurgan, when we entered the inhabited part 
of the Sirikol valley. The Khirgiz tents, having roof openings, 
admit of fires inside, and were thus infinitely more comfortable 
than our own in the severe cold then prevailing. 

The signs of approaching spring were showing when we left 
Yangi-Hissar, but we found ourselves back almost in the depth 
of mid- winter immediately we entered the hills. The streams 
were nearly all frozen, and snow lay everywhere, while fresh 
falls were frequent, the whole way to Wakhan and during our 
stay there. The snowfall in those regions generally takes place 
in February and March, and it lies till April and May. We 
started on our journey at almost the most unfavourable time of 
the year for exploration on the great Pamir highlands, but as it was 
a matter of no choice, and of the work being done then or pro- 
bably never by us, advantage was taken of the only opportunity 
offered. The Turki baggage drivers, whom we engaged at 
Kashghar for service with our transport train, objected strongly 
to a return to winter weather, and on the third day ** struck " 
work and refused to proceed. During all our journeys and stay 
in Eastern Turkistan, we were always treated and known as the 
Amfr's " guests," and an allusion made to the Yuzbashi regard- 
ing the inconvenience that would result to the " guests " from 
these men being allowed to leave, had the effect of bringing 
about an arrangement by which they were induced to remain. 
These same men, fourteen days afterwards, on reaching Sar- 
hadd, and finding the weather becoming worse instead of better 
as expected, left the baggage ponies and declared their de- 
termination to return with the Sirikolis, then going back to 
Tashkurgan ; but the Yuzbashi Kustum succeeded in impressing 


upon the leaders so forcibly the necessity of continuing with our 
party as long as he did, that we had no further trouble with 
them. It was very different with the natives of India who 
accompanied us throughout that trying journey. They bore 
the intense cold and hard work with remarkable endurance and 

We followed the Yangi-Hissar tributary stream by a fair 
road up to the Kaskasu pass (12,850 feet), which we crossed on 
the fourth day. Snow and ice made the crossing of it (which 
is otherwise easy) extremely difficult. Our baggage ponies 
managed to clamber laboriously up the icy ascent, but the deep 
fresh snow at the descent necessitated their relief by yaks, 
which were furnished by the friendly Kirghiz. Our party was 
joined here by Hyat Muhammad, a Kirghiz Yuzbashi, in mili- 
tary command of the Kirghiz in the Sirikol district, and in 
direct charge of the roads leading to Yarkand and Yangi-Hissar. 
He professed to be a true Kirghiz, but from his regular features 
and full beard, great height and muscular appearance, was very 
unlike one of that people. He more resembled the Kipchaks, 
who form the link between the nomad and non-nomad inhabit- 
ants of Turkistan. Hayat Muhammad gave much valuable 
information, which we had afterwards many opportunities of 
testing and confirming, by inquiring from Sirikolis, Wakhis, 
and Kirghiz. He accompanied us to Tashkurgan, and again 
joined us there on the return journey. 

For about thirty miles from the plains on the road to Sirikol 
the hills are bold and precipitous, rising abruptly from the 
valleys. Poplar and willow trees, and grass, grow by the 
streams, but the hill-sides are almost wholly devoid of vegeta- 
tion. Beyond that distance the hills become sloping and 


rounded, and in summer axe covered with excellent pasture, 
affording extensive grazing for the flocks of the roving Kirghiz. 

The descent from the Karkasu pass is to Chihil Gumbaz 
(forty domes), where we expected from the name to find some 
interesting ruins. We were also encouraged to expect this from 
the place being sometimes spoken of as Chihil Situn (forty pil- 
lars), and the combined mention of dome and pillar naturally 
led to the idea of a building more remarkable than any yet seen 
by us in Eastern Turkistan. We found, however, only one or 
two small clay-brick domed Kirghiz tombs in a ruined state, 
and learnt that the name of the place was derived from forty 
such having at one time existed there. A road branches off 
from this point to Yarkand, distant 110 miles, passing down the 
Charling valley and stream, and bearing about due east. In the 
time of the Chinese occupation this passage was watched by an 
outpost. The streams from the southern side of the Kaskasu 
pass and the eastern of the Torut unite here and form the Char- 
ling, which flows into the Yarkand river. 

The fifth day's journey took us over the Torut pass (13,330 
feet), which, with the hills all about, had an almost unbroken 
covering of deep snow. We saw a great many snow-pheasants 
on this pass. Willow and poplars are plentiful in the valleys 
below, and give an abundant supply of firewood. Cultivation 
on a small scale is carried on at Bas Robat, the halting-place 
between the Torut and Chichiklik passes. The streams from 
these unite at Bas Robat, and flow in a south-easterly direction 
into the Yarkand river. 

We proceeded on the sixth day to the foot of a great ele- 
vated slope leading to the Chichiklik pass, plain, and lake 
(14,480 feet). Two or three miles of this day's march lay 


through the " Tangi Tax '' (narrow way), over about the worst 
bit of road we met with throughout the journey. The Tangi Tar 
is a very narrow defile, with a stream rushing over boulders 
and fallen blocks of rock flowing through it, and occupying the 
roadway to such an extent that in many places its bed is the 
only available passage. Holes cut in the wall-like sides of the 
rocky banks, at one particularly confined part, show that in 
former times the passage was by means of a supported stage- 
way above the water. The attendant Kirghiz also mentioned 
this. There are several hot springs in this gorge, temperature 
about 116°, and there are many at the Yambulak (hot spring) 
pass in its immediate vicinity. Birch, willow, and gigantic 
juniper grow plentifully here. As the season advances, the 
Tangi Tar and Shindi defiles become impassable, by the streams 
which flow through them to the east and south from the Chi- 
chiklik slopes swelling from the melting of the snow, and then 
the road by the higher Yambulak and Kok Moniok passes is fol- 
lowed. Both of these passes lead down to the Chichiklik plain 
and small lake, which lie between them in a loop formed by the 
ranges which they traverse. 

The snow lay deep and heavy on the Chichiklik slope, and 
our horses, stiffened with their hard struggle the previous day 
over the sharp rocks and through the half-frozen torrent of the 
Tangi Tar, had a toilsome pull up it, followed by a very 
troublesome descent through the stony Shindi ravine leading to 
the Yarkand or Sirikol river, which we reached on the 28th. 
We here came upon the first Sirikoli village and cultivation. I 
had no difficulty in conversing with the people, all appearing to 
have a good knowledge of Persian, which was our medium of 
communication. From this we travelled twelve miles in a 


westerly direction up the open banks of the Sirikol river to the 
western descent from the Kok Moniok pass and the junction of 
the Tagharma stream, at which point the main river, flowing 
from tlie south, makes a sharp bend to the east. The open 
valley of Sirikol begins here, and extends south for a very con- 
siderable distance towards the Kunjut mountain range. We 
encamped on the 29th in the open valley, at a small military 
post about four miles from the fort (Tashkurgan), where we 
were met by some of the Kashghari governor's people, sent to 
welcome us in his name to Sirikol. We reached Tashkurgan 
the following day, the 30th, and were well received and hospi- 
tably entertained by the governor, Hussun Shah, who came out 
some distance to meet us. He was accompanied by a mounted 
guard, remarkably well appointed, and neatly dressed. Hussun 
Shah himself we remarked to be almost the best dressed and 
equipped officer we had seen in the Atalik's service. He has 
the title of Toksabai (Chief of the Standard). We estimated 
Tashkurgan to be 124 miles by road from Yangi-Hissar, in a 
general south-easterly direction. 

The Sirikol valley is 10,250 feet above the sea. It extends 
eight miles north of Tashkurgan, to the bend of the river east, 
and appears to stretch far away south. The average breadth is 
about three miles. Cultivation is confined chiefly to the western 
slopes, and is the work entirely of its Tajik inhabitants, who 
occupy a length of about 15 miles of the valley above and below 
the fort. The level part, through which the river flows, is used 
aa a pasture ground, and affords rich and abundant grazing. 
The houses are built of stone and mud, and are all collected in 
villages and hamlets, none being scattered over the cultivated 
land as in Kashghar and Yarkand, Most of the villages we 




saw were in a miserable state, the houses having fallen greatly 
to ruin after the late total deportation of the inhabitants to 

During the Chinese occupation of Eastern Turkistan, 
Sirikol was ruled by a hereditary chief of its own, who, how- 
ever, professed allegiance to that power. A visit was made to 
Yarkand every second or third year, to pay a nominal tribute 
and receive valuable presents, including gold and silver. The 
money thus given represented a yearly payment of fourteen 
"yambus " (a little over £200), which was regarded as a subsidy 
for the military protection of the frontier and the road towards 

The Atalik, in the early years of his rule, had too much in the 
way of more important conquest to occupy him in the east, to 
permit of attention being paid to minor matters in the west, and 
Sirikol, under its chief Alif Beg, escaped notice till 1868. Alif 
Beg succeeded his father Babash Beg in 1865. The eldest son, 


Abul-Assam, having some defect of speech and weakness of 
intellect, was set aside in the succession in favour of the second, 
Alif Beg. The Atalik, in ignorance of this, summoned the 
eldest son to make his submission and acknowledge fealty. 
Abul-Assam obeyed the command, and presented himself before 
the Atalik at Turfan. On the mistake being discovered, Alif 
Beg was summoned without the elder brother being permitted 
to return. The detention of his brother so alarmed Alif Beg, 
that he ignored the order and remained in Sirikol, fearing to trust 
himself in the hands of the then dreaded Atalik. In the end of 
1868 troops were sent to enforce the neglected summons, and 
Alif Beg, on their approach, fled to Wakhan without attempt- 
ing resistance. Abul-Assam was given rank and employment 
in the Atalik's army, and also a residence at Aksu, where 
he now lives. Alif Beg found an asylum with Futteh Ali Shah, 
the Mir of Wakhan, a hill chief of characteristic independence 
and generosity, who, to use his own words to me, considered it 
" shameful to refuse bread and shelter to the unfortimate who 
are driven into exile by cruel fate." 

The Sirikol people were said to be greatly attached to Alif 
Beg, and the Atalik, fearing insurrection from this cause, if not 
from hatred of the change to a Suni rule, they being Shiahs, 
deported the whole population to Kashghar in 1870. They 
were sent back to their native country after two years' exile. 
There are now about 600 families of them in the valley and the 
neighbouring Tagharma plain, representing about 2500 or 3000 
souls. They appear contented with the Kashghar rule, and 
appreciate thoroughly the peace and security they enjoy under 
it, and their immunity from the terrible " alaman " (raids) of the 
Kunjutis, Kirghiz, and Shignis, to which they were formerly 


much exposed. Notwithstanding fellowship of creed, the 
Kunjutis and Shignis appear to have had no scruples in carry- 
ing oflf and selling into slavery their Shiah brethren of Sirikol. 

The Sirikolis are Shiah Muhammadans. They say that they 
have been in the valley for seven generations as a distinct 
people, under a chief of their own, and are the descendants of 
wanderers who came from all quarters — from Badakhshan, 
Wakhan, Shighnan, Hindustan, Kungut, and Turkistan. Hence, 
as my informant, Dada Ali Shah, a Sirikol Mulla, said, " The 
language peculiar to us is a mixture of what is spoken in all 
these coimtries." Persian, however, is also spoken by them in 
common with the inhabitants of the other Shiah states adjacent 
to the head waters of the Oxus.* They diflfer in appearance 
from the Kirghiz, Uzbegs, and inliabitants of Eastern Turkistan, 
in having regular features and full beards. Their salutation of 
respect is made with the hand to the forehead, and not with the 
arms crossed in front as among the Turks. On inquiring for 
books or MSS., I was told that all had been lost long ago, 
carried oflf or destroyed in the repeated slave-hunting raids from 
which they had suflfered cruelly for many years. The Mulla 
said that he had been plimdered of all his books in these dread- 
ful " alamans," of which he had witnessed no less than twenty, 
but that now they were quite unknown since the establishment 
of the Atalik's strong rule. 

The ancient name of Tashkurgan is Varshidi. The ruins 
show it to have been of square or rectangular form, with pro- 

* The idea that they were a remnant of the Uigurs, the original inhabitants of 
Eastern Turkistan, must give way, I think, to the opinion that they are of Persian 
lineage, similar to the alien populations of the other small principalities in their 
neighbourhood, and like them spring from the west. 


jecting towers, and built of rough unhewn stone. It does not 
appear to have been of great antiquity, or very remarkable in 
any way. The lay Jesuit, Benedict Goes, who passed through 
Sirikol in 1602-3 on his way from Wakhan to Yarkand, was 
the first and only European traveller before us who had visited 
this place. Several accounts from other sources of information 
had described the fort as a building of hewn stone, and of very 
ancient date, going back even to the time of the legendary con- 
queror Afrasiab. The MuUa I have mentioned did not know 
of it as older than their own history as a distinct people. The 
construction of its walls appeared similar to that of the old 
stone towers still standing in most of the villages, which were 
built for refuge and defence in the man-stealing times to which 
I have already referred. 

The cultivation consists mainly of barley (huskless), beans, 
peas, carrots, and turnips. The domestic animals are camels, 
yaks, ponies, oxen, sheep, and goats. The yaks are smaller than 
the Tibetan species : they are used in the plough for agricul- 
tural purposes, but, objecting most obstinately to be driven, 
they can only be utilised by being led. A murrain carried oflf 
nearly all the oxen and cows a year ago, and fresh cattle were 
being obtained from the lower hills. Of wild animals there are 
the Ovis poli and the ibex, and wild fowl of several kinds. For 
clothing the universal sheepskin is used with a rough woollen 
cloth, spun and made up into cloaks and lower garments, 
similar to what are seen in Wakhon and the coimtries beyond. 
Sheepskin stockings with stout leather soles, a cotton or woollen 
girdle, and sheepskin cap, with a scanty cotton turban when 
obtainable, complete the ordinary dress of the people. Coarse 
cotton garments are worn at times by those who can afford the 



luxury, the material being obtained from Yarkand and its 
villages. For roofing and other purposes, poplar is the only 
timber procurable, and it is grown in sheltered spots near the 
villages. Stunted willow is abundant near the numerous 
watercourses in the valley flats. Tlie climate is severe. Hussun 
Shah, the present governor, who has had five years' experience of 
it, says that there only two seasons, summer and winter, the 
former lasting three months, the latter nine. 

The Sirikol river rises in the Taghdungbash Pamir and 
Kimjut range at a probable distance of eighty miles from Tash- 
kurgan. It is variously called Taghdungbash, from that Pamir ; 
Tashkurgan, from the fort; Sirikol, from the valley; Tisnaf, 
from a large village of the name at the foot of the valley ; and 
Yarkand, from the local belief that it is the main head stream 
of that river. It was of considerable size when we first crossed 
it, March 29th ; the perfect clearness of its waters, the steadi- 
ness of its flow (equality of volume day and night), and the 
severity of the cold, then showed it to be at the usual low 
winter ebb. It flows east after leaving the valley, and is said 
to be joined about fifty miles lower down by the Tong, a stream 
as large as itself, and also flowing from the Kunjut range. A road 
to Kargalik, with a branch to Yarkand, passes down the river. 
When we returned from Wakhan, we tried to arrange to pro- 
ceed by it, but were told that the " Tong " pass, over a moun- 
tain of that name, necessarily crossed on the way, was not 
practicable till the " apricots were ripe," meaning a month later. 
Alif Beg, the ex-ruler of Sirikol, told me of the diflScult 
nature of this road till the heavy snow of the " Tong " moun- 
tain clears ofi* in summer. The Sirikol valley, after extending 
south for some considerable distance, bends towards the west. 


and merges in the Taghdungbash Pamir, which appears to be 
merely a continuation of the valley at a higher elevation. This 
Pamir lies to the north of and nearly parallel to the Little Pamir, 
from which it is separated by a broad chain of hills joining with 
the Neza Tash mountains west of Sirikol, and forming one un- 
broken range. Kirghiz occupy it for pasture as far as the Kash- 
ghar boundary, said to be twenty '* tash " (about eighty miles) 
beyond the fort. The Taghdungbash Kirghiz were originally 
subject to Kimjut, but some seven or eight years ago, on being 
attacked and plundered by the Hunza people, they moved bodily 
to the Sirikol district and settled in Tagharma. On Sirikol 
falling under the Kashghar rule, the Taghdungbash Pamir was 
annexed, and its old nomad inhabitants now pasture their 
flocks there in perfect security. A daughter of Ghazan Khan, 
the present chief of Hunza Kunjut, is one of the many wives of 
the Atalik, and this connection, added to the wholesome dread in 
which the Amir is held, has had a good efiect in restraining to 
some extent the plundering and slave-stealing propensities of 
the cruel Kunjutis. Mir Futteh Ali Shah, of Wakhan, brother- 
in-law to the Hunza chief, also took credit to himself for this 
improved state of things. He told me that, at the Atalik's 
request, he used his influence with Ghazan Khan, and induced 
him to order tlie discontinuance of robbery by his people in 
Kashghar territory and on the Yarkand and Tibet road. 

The road between Sirikol and Hunza lies along the Tagh- 
dungbash Pamir to the descent on the southern side of the 
Muztagh range, and the distance is said to be a little over 100 
miles. The Taghdungbash Pamir slopes appear to lead 
gradually up to the mountain crest, judging from the account 
given to me by RusuUa, a native of Jummu, and formerly a 


soldier in the service of the Maharaja of Kashmir, who was 
taken prisoner in Kunjut and sold into slavery. I give the 
story of his capture and liberation in his own words : — "Nine 
or ten years ago I was one of about eighty of the Kashmir 
troops garrisoning the fort of Chabrot, in Hunza, Kunjut. 
There were numbers of Kunjutis in the fort also, and they 
in concert with others outside attacked us when unprepared 
for resistance, and made us prisoners. About four (three Hindus 
and one Musulman) were killed in the struggle. We were 
distributed among our captors and sold as slaves. I was given 
to a Taghdungbash Kirghiz, and remained with him in Tagh- 
duugbash and Sirikol for three years, after which he exchanged 
me with an Alai Kirghiz for a camel. I travelled with my new 
master to the Alai, by Tagharma and the Kizil Art, and was 
there employed in tending cattle and sheep. On becoming old 
and feeble, six years after, the Mir of the Alai Kirghiz, Timor, 
son of Ashnadir, gave me my liberty and sent me to Kashghar 
with some of his people. We went to the house of Abdul Rah- 
man, to whom Timor is related. He asked me to what country 
I belonged. I said Hindustan, on which he told me of the 
English being in Kashghar and Hindustanis with them. I went 
to them and got employment." Rusulla was afterwards sent to 
Aktagh, on the road between Yarkand and Karakoram, in 
charge of provisions placed there for use on the return journey, 
and on our party passing he accompanied the camp to Kashmir. 
The information he gave regarding the Taghdungbash Pamir 
corroborates that previously obtained by Mr. Shaw. 

The present fort held by the Atalik's troops is a stone and 
mud structure built on a commanding position among the ruins 
of the ancient Varshidi (Tashkurgan). It forms the residence 


of the governor of the district, Hussun Shah, an energetic, 
resolute-looking man, said to be a native of Karategin, He 
showed extreme jealousy of our entering his fort, and indicated 
in the plainest but most courteous manner his desire not to 
see any of us inside it. When he met us, on arrival, he con- 
ducted us with all ceremony to the camp of " akois " (felt tents), 
which he had prepared for us, a short distance beyond the 
fort, taking care, however, to lead us by a circuitous route, so as 
to avoid passing close under its walls. On his leaving, I 
expressed our wish to pay him a visit of respect that day, and 
asked what time would be most convenient, but he begged us 
not to take the trouble, saying that we as the guests were to be 
visited by him. I regarded this as a mere conventionality of 
speech, and sent up our attendant Yuzbashi in the afternoon, to 
say that if agreeable, we proposed to visit him then. This at 
once brought him down to our camp to pay us a visit. We halted 
there two days, and the day before departure I again sent the 
Yuzbashi to offer a visit from us, but with the same result as 
before ; he came to see us, and said he was ashamed to receive 
us in such a poor apartment as the best in the fort was, and 
begged us not to think of going, adding that we had already 
done him great honour in intimating our intention to visit him. 
This, with the objection that hod been made to any of our 
servants entering the fort, induced us to give up all attempt to 
obtain any view of the old ruins at a closer distance than a few 
hundred yards. We paflBed by the old walls on our way to 
Wakhan, and saw sufficient to enable us to form the opinion re- 
garding it already given. 

The Tagharma plain lies about three miles to the north-east 
of the Sirikol valley, and is of the same elevation. It is a fine 


open crescent-shaped flat, about twelve miles long by seven 
broad, extending from the south-west to the north-east, and is 
well watered by a stream which flows through it from the 
north-eastern end, and falls into the Sirikol river. There is an 
abundance of rich grass in it, and willows grow thickly by the 
streams. The numerous hot springs in many parts of the plain 
caused the vegetation in their close vicinity to be considerably 
in advance of the season. Besides its Sirikoli Shiah inhabitants, 
who cultivate and reside in villages on the slopes, 100 Taiyat 
Kirghiz families, under their chief, Krumchi Bi, pasture their 
flocks and herds on the plain. This plain is separated from that 
of the Kizil Art on the north by a low rounded ridge, formed by 
projecting spurs from the opposite mountain ranges — the Neza 
Tash to the west, and the Taghanna to the east. The ridge 
forms the watershed between the two plains, the drainage to the 
north passing into the Little Kai-akul lake, said to be about 
twenty miles distant thence, and that to the south into the 
Taghanna stream. The Bardish pass leads from the watershed 
over the Neza Tash range into the Aktash valley, which runs 
almost parallel to the Kizil Art. The Bardish pass leads out 
nearly opposite the eastern end of the Great Pamir, and about 
forty miles above Ak-Balik, the point of junction of the Great 
Karakul lake stream and the Aksu. 

According to the accounts given by the Kirghiz, and cor- 
roborated by Wakhis and others acquainted with the country, 
the Kizil Art plain extends in a northerly direction from the 
Taghanna to the Alai for about 130 miles. It is separated 
from the Alai by a mountain nmge, the pass over which is 
easy. The Kizil Art is of about the same elevation as the 
Tagharma, and is similar in character to it, being well 





















watered and abounding with grass and bush fuel. It is 

bordered on the east by the mountain range extending and 

sweeping round from the direction of the Khokand Terek pass 

and the Alai, and on the west by the Ncza Tash. The Little 

Karakul lake lies in the lower and the Great Karakul in the 

upper end of this plain. The former gives exit to tlie Gez or 

Yamanyar stream, which flows eastward through the Gez 

defile imder the lofty Muztagh (the Tagharma peak) into 

the Kashghar plain, and there joins some of the numerous 

branches or canals of the Kashghar river. This lake is said to 

be about fifteen or twenty miles in circumference, and very 

deep. The Great Karakul is stated to be between forty and 

fifty miles in circumference. It receives feeders from the Alai 

dividing range, and gives rise to the Murghab, which finds its 

way westward, and flows through Shighnan and Roshan into 

the Oxus. The Kizil Art is permanently occupied by 1000 

Kipchak and Kirghiz families, who emigrated from Khokand 

seven years ago, under their present chief, Abdul Rahman. 

We halted for two days at Tashkurgan, to make arrange- 
ments for our journey onwards to Wakhan. The winter was 
unusually late and severe, and we were warned to expect con- 
siderable diflBculty on the way over the Little Pamir from deep 
snow and intensely cold winds. The weather was bright and 
clear during our stay in the Sirikol valley, and we had a glori- 
ous view from our camp of the majestic Tagharma peak (known 
there as the Muztagh, " mountain of ice "), about forty miles to 
the north, towering to a height of 25,500 feet, as estimated by 
Captain Trotter. It looked a perfect mass of snow and ice, and 
glistened with numerous glaciers. 

The meaning of the name " Sirikol " has been made a subject 



of discussion and diflference among writers and geographers. Lat- 
teriy it has been generally accepted as signifying the " yellow 
valley," from the Turki " sank," yellow, and " kol," valley. Hus- 
sun Shah explained to me that he considered the name to be a 
corruption of the Persian " Sir-i-koh," from the place being at a 
great elevation. On finding the valley to be a continuation of 
the Taghdungbash Pamir, I looked upon the governor's ex- 
planation as very probable, from the fact of " Sir-i-koh " being 
the Persian literal translation of the Turki Taghdungbash, both 
meaning " head of the mountain." Nothing seems more likely 
than that the Persian-speaking Sirikolis should, on settling in 
the valley, give it a Persian name, literally interpreting its 
Turki one. 






We were now about to cross the famous " Bam-i-dunya," " The 
Roof of the World/' under which name the elevated region of 
the hitherto comparatively unknown Pamir tracts had long 
appeared in our maps. The first noteworthy travellers across 
the Pamirs were the Chinese pilgrims, Hwui Seng and Sun Yun, 
who passed in a.d. 518, and were followed in 644 by the more 
famous Hwen Tsang. Then came that grand old traveller Marco 
Polo, in 1272, and Benedict Goes in 1602. The accounts, how- 
ever, given by these were too vague and general to convey any 
correct idea of the true nature of the country. Wood, in 1838, 



was the first European traveller of modem times to visit the 
Great Pamir, and to trace the Oxus to one of its chief sources 
there. His accurate and full description of the route from Kila 
Panja to the western end of the Great Pamir lake, as we found 
on passing over the same ground, left little to be desired or 
done. Colonel Montgomery's native explorer, the "Mirza,'* 
crossed from Wakhan by the Little Pamir, and was the first; to 
** tie together the basins of the Oxus and Tarim by a chain of 
route measurements and compass bearings with several deter- 
minations of latitude." Faiz Buksh, in 1870, crossed by the 
Great Pamir to Sirikol and Yarkand, and furnished a very 
detailed and useful itinerary of the journey. There remained, 
however, several important doubtful points to be cleared up 
before the topography of the Pamir lands could be under- 
stood. The only available descriptions of the Great Pamir 
eastward of the lake were so meagre and misleading as still to 
encourage the idea of a far-extending "steppe" from Wood's 
lake to the Alai. The flow of the Aksu northward from the 
eastern end of the Little Pamir was considered improbable, by 
reason of the belief in the existence of this high plain at a 
greater elevation than the Little Pamir, and the report of a 
careftil observer like the " Mirza '' as to the continued flow east- 
ward of the Little Pamir stream, went far to confirm this im- 
pression. The geographical information, however, collected by 
the late Mr. Hayward, and furnished by Muhammad Amin and 
Faiz Buksh, indicated an indentation in this supposed plain, 
along which from Aktash a stream flowed north-west ** towards 
Darwaz." Colonel Yule showed in his introductory essay to 
Wood's Oxus that the question of the flow of this stream was a 
very important one for the adjustment of Pamir topography. 


The other doubtful points were the supposed double exit from 
the Pamir lakes and the Kizil Art Karakul, and the general 
character and height of the so-called Pamir steppe. The infor- 
mation we obtained from Kirghiz on the Tagharma plain, 
Wakhi guides (several of whom spoke to having taken part in 
former years in raids as far as the Alai), and others, determines, 
I think, the question of the direction of discharge from both 
Karakul lakes. Colonel Yule, in his essay, says on this point 
that most of the evidence up to that time tended to the Karakul 
discharging towards the west, and Mr. Shaw was the first to 
throw some light on the story of its double discharge, east and 
west, by telling of the eastern flow from the Little Karakul. 

We left Tashkurgan on the 2d of April, escorted by Hussun 
Shah, who accompanied us to the mouth of the Shindan defile 
leading out of the valley to the west, on the Badakhshan road. 
The Governor rode a very fine Turkoman horse, fitted with gold 
mounted trappings. This was the first and only horse of that 
breed which we saw in Turkistan. It was a grey, of light 
muscular body, thin neck, spare head, and firm flat legs of iron- 
like strength. Our first day's journey was to the foot of the 
Neza Tash pass, sixteen miles in a south-westerly direction up 
the Shindan stream, which flows through the defile of the same 
name and falls into the Sirikol river. The defile at several 
places is extremely narrow, and shut in closely by precipitous 
rocks and bold steep hills which rise high above it. The fallen 
stones and stream boulders make the road particularly bad for 
many mUes. Willow and thorn bushes grow plentifully at the 
head of the defile, and the hills there lose their bold character, 
and become roupded and sloping. Our camp was in snow, but 
large patches of grass free from it were found in the vicinity 



suflBcient for our horses, which ate it greedily, preferring it 
greatly to the chopped straw we carried for mixing with their 
grain. This grass was similar to what we found in many parts 
of the Pamirs, and in the Aktash valley, rich and sweet to the 
smell, resembling English meadow hay, and relished immensely 
by our animals. Judging from what we saw of it in the end of 
winter, it is easy to believe in its fattening properties in sunmier, 
as related by Marco Polo and other travellers, and also told us 
by the Wakhis. Neza Tash, meaning spear-stone, is named from 
a spear-like pointed rock near the place. 

On the second day we crossed the Neza Tash pass (14,920 
feet), leading over a high range running about north-west, and 
encamped at the mouth of the ravine leading down from it to 
the Aktash valley, travelling a distance of seventeen miles in a 
general westerly direction. Snow fell in the night time, and 
our journey for this and the following three days, covering a 
total distance of seventy-eight miles, was made mainly through 
snow. We found plenty of grass in scattered patches and brush- 
wood fuel at this day's camping place. We were here joined by 
a party of Sirikolis with yaks and ponies carrying supplies sent 
by Hussun Shah to accompany us to Wakhan. Nothing could 
exceed the Amir's hospitality and kindness to us throughout our 
long and difficult journey. We and our whole establishment 
were abundantly supplied with provisions; and on arrival at 
each day's halting place, even on the wild and desolate Pamir 
lands, notwithstanding snow and long travel, we were always 
welcomed with a repast of some sort, prepared by people sent 
ahead for the purpose. Orders were given for a strong escort, 
if desired to accompany us from Tashkurgan, but we considered 
ourselves safe enough with the small party we started with from 











■ i 




Yangi-Hissar, and passed on without adding to our numbers. 
I afterwards learnt that Rustum, our attendant Yuzbashi, was 
well provided with gold, and directed to use it in the purchase 
of supplies in Wakhan should necessity arise. 

On the third day we proceeded south up the Aktash valley 
to its head, where it merges into the Little Pamir, extending 
east and west, the appearance being that of the same valley 
making a sharp turn from south to east. The Aktash (white 
stone) valley takes its name from a high light-coloured rock 
near its head on the east, and the stream which flows through 
it towards the north is called Ak-su (the White Water). We 
followed up this stream into and through the Little Pamir, and 
traced its rise to the Gaz or Oi Kul (Goose Lake), in that Pamir. 
This is the stream that I pre^dously mentioned as an important 
one in determining the flow of Pamir drainage to the east. 
Colonel Montgomery's famous explorer, the "Mirza'* whom I have 
alluded to in connection with the Aksu, probably lost the stream 
in the deep snow which lay at the foot of the little Pamir and 
the head of the Aktash valley, when he passed in February 1869, 
and the low appearance of the hills at that point led him most 
likely to believe that the stream he had followed so far there 
made its way through the Neza Tash range and joined the 
Sirikol river. It must be borne in mind that the Mirza worked 
under great diflBculties, and had to make inquiries and take 
observations secretly, so as to avoid, as much as possible, the 
suspicion with which he was regarded. On the whole, we proved 
his information to be extremely accurate. 

We reached the Little Pamir lake on the fourth day from 
Tashkurgan, marching forty-five miles on that and the previous 
day, in a general westerly direction from the Aktash valley. 




The thermometer only marked 5° below zero, but we suffered 
more severely from the cold than we did on the Tian Shan in 
January, with fifty-eight degrees of frost. Then the air was still 
in the valleys, but here we were exposed to a strong steady wind 
from the west, which accordingly blew against us and could not 
be avoided when travelling. That, added to the sun-glare off 
the snow — for we had bright weather till the 9 th — cut our faces 
and inflamed our eyes in a very painful manner. On the first 
of these two days our difficulties were greatly increased by the 
track being lost in the extensive snow- beds at the head of the 
Aktash valley, by which our progress was much delayed. 

The Aktash valley atl&bout six miles from its head is 12,600 
feet above the sea. It runs in a northerly direction from the 
Little Pamir, across the eastern openings of the Great and 
Alichor Pamirs, and sweeps into the Siriz Pamir at Ak-balik, 
the junction of the Aksu with the Great Karakul Lake stream, 
the Murghab. Its length is said to be about sixty miles, and 
its average breadth, judging from the twenty miles extent of it 
over which we passed, is about three miles. It is thickly covered 
with grass, and is a pasture resort of the Kizil Art Kirghiz. 
Willow grows abundantly in it and the adjacent ravines where 
streams run. We left our last firewood at the mouth of the 
ravine leading from the Neza Tash pass into the Aktash valley. 
Up to that we had willow and myricaria, but from that on to 
Langar, west of the Little Pamir Lake, a distance of seventy- 
eight miles, nothing but a small prickly shrub six or eight inches 
high, resembling the lavender plant, is to be got for cooking 
purposes. No wood of any kind grows upon the Pamirs, but 
this wild lavender plant is found in abundance all over them, 
and by reason of its woody roots forms a good substitute for 













bush fuel. It is the same plant which grows all over the high- 
lands of Tibet, and furnishes the only bush fuel obtainable 



The Little Pamir is similar in character to the Aktash valley, 
and of about the same breadth. It has the same grassy downs, 
slopes, and flats. It is bounded on the south by the continuation 
of the Neza Taah range which separates it from the Taghdung- 
bash Pamir. That range appears to sink considerably in height 
when it turns to the west fix)m the Aktash valley. A broad 
chain of rounded hills extends on the north of the Little Pamir, 
and separates it from the Great Pamir. These hills are low 
towards the Aktash valley, and rise gradually as they approach 
the lake. The lake is three miles long, and a little under a 
mile broad. It is broad and deep at the western, and narrow 
and shallow at the eastern end. We found it and the stream 
from it frozen. I judged of the relative depth of the opposite 
ends by observing the surface of the ice towards the east to be 



undulating, while at the west it was perfectly level. The height 
of the lake is 13,100 feet. The hills on both sides rise about 
2000 feet higher, and those to the south were covered with deep 
snow. Extensive glaciers and snow-beds lie near the western 
end. The name " Barkat Yasin '' applied to the lake by some 
native travellers is properly that of a rocky ravine to the north 
at its head called " Burgut-Yursi," the "eagle's place or nest." 
The "r" in "Yursi" is dropped in the pronunciation, as is 
common in many Turki words, and this probably led to *' Yasin" 
being recorded. Looking due east from the lake, a very fine 
peak, apparently about 22,000 feet high, showing the glistening 
of a great glacier near its summit, was very prominent in the 
range in the far distance. 

Our farther journey lay west past the lake. At less than 
half-a-mUe from its head a watercourse choked up with ice and 
snow appeared, leading west down the valley. Between the 
lake and this point the rise is very small indeed, and it might 
almost be supposed that the accumulated debris from the ava- 
lanches, and melting snow torrents of succeeding years, had at 
last banked up a barrier at the narrow valley head there, and 
driven the lake outlet to the east, where the shores are low and 
the valley is unconfined. Six miles west of the lake we came 
upon the ruins of Kirghiz mud and stone huts, and a burial- 
ground. A stream from the eastern Taghdungbash Pamir joins 
here. A road leads up this stream to Kunjut over the Khijrui 
pass. The valley closes in at a distance of ten miles below the 
lake, and the Little Pamir towards the west may be said to 
terminate there. This gives that Pamir a length of fifty-eight 
miles east and west, estimated from the southern extremity of 
the Aktash valley. The stream (the Little Pamir affluent of the 


Oxus, known afterwards as the Sarhadd stream) then runs in a 
deep set course between high banks rising up to the long 
mountain slopes, along which, by the right bank, the road leads to 
Langar, twenty-five miles from the lake. A deserted village and 
traces of cultivation were observed here, and numerous yaks and 
cattle were seen grazing on the opposite side of the valley. A 
stream of considerable size also joins at Langar, flowing from the 
south-east, and a road goes by it to Kunjut, over the Kura pass. 

From Langar the road continues in a general westerly direc- 
tion along the banks of the stream to Sarhadd. In the depth 
of winter the frozen surface of the river makes passage up and 
down easy. We found the ice beginning to break up here and 
there, and our path had to be sought across and back over the 
rocky bed, and up and down the high steep banks, making the 
journey tedious and severe to a degree. In summer the swell- 
ing of the stream makes this road extremely difficult, and it is 
then that the Great Pamir route is followed in preference. 
Twenty-five miles below the lake, birch, willow, and gigantic 
juniper appear in thick clumps, and firewood is plentiful from that 
the whole way to Wakhan and Badakhshan. The valley opens 
out a mile above Sarhadd, and remains more or less wide to 
Elila Panja and beyond. Habitation and cultivation commence 
at Sarhadd and continue down the valley, with large tracts of 
dense thorn and willow jungle and pasture flats intervening 
between the villages. 

A letter of welcome from Futteh Ali Shah, the Mfr of 

Wakhan, was received at Langar, and we were met at Sarhadd 

by his eldest son, the " Mirzada " Ali Murdan Shah, who was 

sent to escort us to his father's fort residence at Kila Panja 

on the Oxus. The son is a young man of about twenty-five 



years of age, with fair hair and blue eyes, and pleasing manners. 
Like all the Wakhis he is very fond of field sports, and spoke 
much of their summer hunting excursions on the Pamirs and 
the neighbouring hills in pursuit of large game, chiefly the Ovis 
poll and ibex. He was accompanied by a number of men with 
hawks and dogs. Among the dogs were a pair of ibex hounds, 
two spaniels from Kolab, and a terrier nondescript from Chitral, 
but looking uncommonly like an importation from the British 
infantry quarter of Peshawur. The ibex hounds appeared to 
me to be merely the Persian greyhound, with a longer and 
thicker coat from being bom and bred in the colder country of 
Wakhan. They are used in the chase merely as an aid to the 
hunter. When ibex are found near precipitous clijBFs, the 
passage from which can be so occupied by a few men as to pre- 
vent escape, the dogs are let loose and the ibex generally take 
to the rocks, where, ascending to the farthest points, they 
become almost paralysed with alarm, and fall an easy prey to 
the matchlockmen, who follow them up till within easy shot. 
Dogs are similarly used for ibex-shooting in Upper Chitral, as 
observed by Mr. Hay ward in 1869, and also in the Ward wan 
district of Kashmir. Ali Murdan Shah told me that his ibex 
hounds had no chance with Ovis poll, which always escape from 
them with ease if not wounded. The hawks are used against 
the " chikor '' (hill partridge) which is found throughout the 
lower valleys. This bird is met with from the lower Hima- 
layahs adjoining the plains of Hindustan, to the southern 
slopes of the Tian Shan range. An old man among the 
attendants of the " Mirzada " remembered Wood the traveller 
well, having been at Langar Kisht when he passed through 
on his way to the Great Pamir in 1838. 
















We reached Sarhadd at the seventh day from Sirikol, and 
Kila Panja on the twelfth. The extreme severity of the 
weather compelled us to make short journeys the first three 
days from Sarhadd. A violent and blinding snowstorm met us 
each day on the march, accompanied by a wind so intense in its 
coldness as to freeze the driven snowflakes on our faces. On 
the fourth day we encamped at Zong, a large village on the 
right bank of the Oxus, immediately below the junction of the 
Great and Little Pamir streams. We reached Eala Panja on 
the following day, the 13th of April. Mir Futteh Ali Shah 
rode out to meet us, and conducted us to our camp, which was 
pitched on an open plain in the close vicinity of his fort. The 
Mir was an old man of tall form and good face, but feeble from 
age and infirmity. He welcomed us to Wakhan, and expressed 
himself in the usual Oriental complimentary terms as happy to 
see us at Eila Panja. 

Kila Panja is on the left bank of the Oxus (or the Panja as 
it is there called), about five miles below the junction of the 
two Pamir streams. The place is so called from five forts 
which stand together there. Only two, however, can properly 
be styled forts even according to local notions, the other three 
being merely towers planted on high upstanding rocks in their 
vicinity. The principal fort is occupied by the Mir ; it is an 
irregular building of stone and mud, with high walls and many 
towers, situated on an eminence close to the river. We found 
the river about sixty yards broad and easily fordable ; when in 
flood it is crossed by means of inflated skin rafts. 

We visited the Mir in his fort in the evening. We were 
received in a centre room with a roof opening to act as both 
chimney and windbw, and spaced on the four sides, exactly 


similar in style to the village houses, but larger and higher. 
The entrance was, as with them, through the stables. The Mir 
received us attended by many of the " Aksakals " (elders) of 
the people. There was no attempt at display of any kind, the 
chief being dressed in the plainest manner possible, his people 
likewise, and the room comfortless in the extreme. Everjrthing 
was rough except manners, which were good to a degree. We 
observed what we had seen before with the Mirzada, respect 
paid by kissing the hand ; the people kissing the Mir's hand on 
arrival, on departure, and on receiving an order. 

Futteh Ali Shah* was a yoimger brother of Muham- 
mad Rahim, who was Mir when Wood visited Wakhan. 
The family claims descent from Alexander of Macedon ; and 
Futteh Ali Shah said that the ruling families of Chitral, Shigh- 
nan, and other neighbouring states spring from his ; but this, I 
imagine, is what each says of all the others who similarly trace 
their ancestry to the great Sikandar. Muhammad Rahim was 
succeeded by a cousin who only ruled one year, when Futteh 
Ali Shah seized the Mirship, which he has held ever since, a 
period of thirty-five years. He was full of information, and 
told us much during our frequent meetings at Kila Panja. He 
appeared to have much influence over his people, and to be 
regarded by them with great deference and respect. He was 
believed by them to be a magician, and one of the first questions 
he asked about us was if we could do anything wonderful in 
magic. He was on excellent terms with the rulers of Shighnan 
and Kunjut, and this caused the peace to be kept by their 
subjects towards each other, while the Atalik's reputation for 

* Mir Futteh Ali Shah died about nine months after our visit 


swift and severe repression of all attempts at disorder checks 
very eflfectually any inclination among his people to return to 
the old chronic state of robbery and violence. We had a proof 
dming our visit to the Pamirs of the Atalik's promptness to 
restrain and punish even the wild Kirghiz lately settled on the 
Kizil Art, in the following instance : — 

About the time of our arrival at Sarhadd, nineteen yaks 
were stolen fix)m the Wakhi pasture lands near Langar by two 
Kirghiz. Mir Futteh Ali Shah wrote to Hussun Shah, the 
governor of Sirikol, about the case, and mentioned that the 
thieves were believed to be Kirghiz fix)m his district. On our 
departure for Tashkurgan, the Mir asked me to press the 
matter with Hussun Shah, saying that it was the first robbery 
which had been committed on the Pamir for many years, and 
his people were alarmed lest it might lead to a return of the old 
state of insecurity and lawlessness which had happily ceased 
long ago. He hinted at reprisal by his people, and asked 
whether such would be advisable in order to deter the Kirghiz. 
I told him that he could not do better than leave all to the 
well-known sharp and decisive justice of the Atalik, and I 
promised to speak to Hussun Shah about it. On mentioning 
the matter to Hussun Shah at Tashkurgan, he told me that the 
thieves had been apprehended, and were awaiting the Atalik's 
orders for punishment ; that they were BLizil Art Kirghiz imder 
Abdul Rahman, and that restitution of the stolen property would 
be made. I mentioned this in a letter to Futteh Ali Shah 
which I sent from Sirikol. 

Wakhan has always been a dependency of Badakhshan. 
Mir Futteh Ali Shah went to Faizabad, the capital, in September- 
October 1873, to give his tribute to the A£fghans on Hafizula 



Khan assuming the deputy-governorship. The tribute con- 
sisted of two camels, twelve horses, twelve cows, and twelve 
blankets, and this has been fixed as the yearly due from Wakhan. 
The Mir said to me " No money is asked, for the country has 
none/' He spoke bitterly of the cruel exactions made by the 
Badakhshi Mirs, and said that he greatly preferred the Affghans 
as masters. 

Mir Futteh Ali Shah took part with the Atalik and Buzurg 
Khan in the siege of Kashghar, and was engaged in the battle 
of Kanarik in 1865. He commanded a Wakhi force which, with 
a Badakhshi contingent, crossed the Great Pamir in the summer 
of that year, and proceeded to Kashghar by the Tagharma plain 
and Bas Robat route. A' Tungani flag, taken at Kanarik, was 
shown to us at Kila Panja as a trophy of that battle. 

The number of inhabitants in Wakhan is said to have greatly 
decreased during latter years. One thousand families were 
spoken of as its former population, but now there are not more 
than five hundred, giving a total of about three thousand souls. 
There is a large colony of Wakhis in the Sanju district of 
Yarkand, and fifty families are said to have emigrated to the 
Sirikol valley during the reign of Mir Futteh Ali Shah. The 
people, as a rule, are very poor, but they have the reputation of 
being avaricious and particularly fond of money. They resemble 
the Sirikolis in appearance, and like them believe themselves to 
be descended from wanderers who assembled and settled in 
Wakhan, from many quarters. They are Shiah Muhammadans, 
and acknowledge Aga Khan of Bombay as their spiritual head, 
to whom they annually send offerings of one-tenth of all produce 
of their flocks and lands. This payment is also made by the 
people of the neighbouring states and districts of Shighnan, 
Roshan, Chitral, Munjan, and Sanglig. 















The snow-storms which prevailed during our first five days 
in Wakhan compelled us sometimes to seek shelter in the houses 
of the villagers, where we had several opportunities of observing 
their domestic life. The houses are flat-roofed and built of 
stone and mud. The outer enclosed rooms are used as stables 
for horses and cattle. The family occupy one large centre room, 
which has an opening immediately above an oven-like fireplace 
sunk in the middle of the floor. On the four sides round this 
room are raised platform sleeping places, one of which is partly 
enclosed, and allotted to the women and children. The men 
are warlike, hardy, and enduring ; they are all given to field 
sports, and appear fond of arms. Every house showed the arms 
of its male occupants slung on the walls. The principal arm is 
the long rifled matchlock with the forked rest, in general use 
throughout Turkistan. The women are delicate-looking, con- 
sidering the wild mountain country in which they live ; they do 
not veil, and appear to have more control in the household than 
is usual in the East. We observed the same, in this respect, 
among the Kirghiz. Whenever a present was given in return 
for shelter and hospitality, the female head of the house was 
generally called to receive it. The men do all the field work, 
the women being left to manage all about the house. The 
Wakhis as a people are good looking, and many faces of extreme 
regularity of feature were seen. Fair hair and blue eyes are not 
uncommon. They all speak Persian, besides their own peculiar 
dialect. Their dress is somewhat similar to that of the Sirikolis, 
the men wearing long robes of home-spun woollen stuffs, and 
sheepskin coats, and the women having white cotton garments, 
with a narrow piece of cotton rolled flat round the head. The 
men who can afford the luxury affect the pointed Affghan 
coloured cap with the usual blue and white checked turban. 



The majority of the inhabitants move with their flocks and 
herds in summer to grazing grounds on the heights in their 
neighbourhood. A few people remain in each village to attend 
to the growing crops, which are harvested on the return from 
the summer pasture lands. The flocks and herds consist of 
sheep and goats, cattle and yaks. The horses of the country 
are small, hardy, and well bred. Wheat, huskless barley, beans 
and peas, are the principal crops in Wakhan. Melons and 
apricots ripen at Zong, near Kila Panja. The climate of the 
Sarhadd district, for thirty-five miles down from the first 
village at the head of the valley, is too cold for wheat. The 
only timber grown is the white poplar, and that, by reason of 
the violent winds of the country, requires a sheltered position. 
Stunted red willow and other hardy bush woods are plentiful in 
the sandy stretches' along the river banks. There appears to be 
no mineral wealth in Wakhan. Salt of a very inferior quality 
and iron are procured from Badakhshan. We found great 
diflBculty in getting horse-shoes or iron to make them, and it was 
only by working up some iron tent-pegs, a ploughshare, and a 
cooking pot, that we were able to complete the number required 
for our return journey over the Great Pamir. 

The present trade between Eastern and Western Turkistan 
is small. It consists chiefly of " churrus " (intoxicating drug) 
and cotton cloth of Khoten and Yarkand manufacture from the 
former, and of horses, indigo, kincob, and sundries from the 
latter. The indigo and kincob are obtained from India. The 
Mir of Wakhan levies transit-dues at a uniform rate of one 
Muhammad-shahi rupee (equal to about two shillings and four- 
pence) per horse load, irrespective of value. No dues are levied 
for Kashghar at Sirikol, this being done on the goods reaching 



their destination. The Badakhshan currency is the coin of 
Wakhan, but there is very little of it in the country, and almost 
all trade transactions are eflfected by barter. We found the Mir 
at the time of our arrival in great straits for the means to 
satisfy a merciless creditor, who had come from Badakhshan to 
press a claim for a sum equivalent to about £45. Payment in 
the form of the precious metals was wanted, and we were in need 
of provisions to a considerable extent daily, as well as a stock for 
our farther journey, and the use of a large number of horses to 
carry it ; so in return for all, our gold was given at this opportune 
time to relieve Wakhan of its state debt. 





FuTTEH Ali Shah was closely connected with Ghazan Khan, 
the chief of Hunza, to whose sister he had long been married, 
and to whom he lately gave one of his own daughters in 
marriage. Ali Mnrdan Shah, the eldest son, was said to be the 
nephew of the Kunjut chie£ He always appeared with a 
following of Kunjutis, and told me that he made a yearly visit 
to Hunza, generally staying there several months. The journey 
from Kila Panja occupies from eight to ten days, and the paths 
and passes are described as rough and difficult. The best road 
leads up the stream which joins the Little Pamir one at Langar, 
and crosses by the Kura pass, which, however, is closed by 


snow for three months in winter. The road which branches off 
from the Little Pamir one higher up is open throughout the 
year, but is not passable by horses. The Kunjutis are Shiah 
Muhammadans, but they are little trammelled by their religious 
obligations, as shown by their free indulgence in wine, music, 
and dancing. Wine is made from the grape and mulberry, 
which grow luxuriantly in the deep warm sheltered ravines of 
Kunjut They send no offerings to their spiritual chief, Aga 
Khan, as their co-religionists in the neighbourhood do. The 
country of Kunjut is divided between the two small states of 
Hunza and Nagar, both of which have latterly been, more 
or less, in a state of hostility to each other. The people are 
alike in character and religion. They have an evil reputa- 
tion with their neighbours as robbers and mannstealers, treacher- 
ous, cruel, and cowardly. 

The relations between Wakhan and Shighnan are of the 
most friendly nature, and have been so for a long time. Futteh 
Ali Shah mentioned having visited the Shah of Shighnan five 
times during past years. Desiring to obtain further knowledge 
of the course of the Oxus, advantage was taken of the friendship 
existing between these chiefs to send Captain Trotter s intelli- 
gent assistant surveyor, under Futteh Ali Shah's protection, with 
a complimentary letter and present to Eusuf Ali Khan of Shigh- 
nan. This explorer proceeded as far as Wamur, passing along 
about 100 miles of the unknown portion of the river northwards 
from Ishkashim. He was well received by Eusuf Ali at Wamur, 
and the following information about the country in that 
direction is taken from his account. The ruler of Shighnan 
claims the title of Shah. The present Shah, Eusuf Ali, rules 
over both Shighnan and Eoshan. One of his sisters is inarried 



to the Amir of Kashghar, another to Muhammad Alum Khan, 
the Affghan governor of Balkh and Badakhshan, and a third to 
Khodayar Khan of Khokand (the ruler lately driven out by an 
insurrection of the people). The country of Shighnan and 
£oshan is sometimes called Zujan (two-lived), its climate and 
water being considered so good that a man on entering it is said 
to have come into the possession of two lives. Bar Panja, the 
capital of Shighnan, containing about 1500 houses, stands on 
the left bank, and Wamur, the capital of Eoshan, on the right 
bank of the Oxus; but the greater portion of both countries 
is on the right bank. The Murghab, also known as the Bartang 
river, joins the Panja at Wamur, and is there larger in volunae 
and more rapid in current than the latter. The united 
streams retain the name of Panja carried from Wakhan, till 
Kolab is reached, after which it is known as the Amu or Hamu. 
The Murghab may, however, be considered the largest and 
longest of all the affluents of the Oxus. The Suchan, formed 
by two large streams, the Shakh-Darrah and the Ghimd, joins 
the Panja from the east nearly opposite Bar Panja. The men 
are great sportsmen, and all, even to the Shah, play on horse- 
back at " chaugan" (the polo of that part), but with larger horses 
and longer sticks than are used in Ladak. The baU, moreover, 
is a soft leather one. Among the game animals are the Ovis poll, 
ibex, and a small antelope. Much wine is made and drunk in the 
country. It is a red sweet liquor produced from the cherry. 
There are now about 4700 houses or families in Shighnan and 
Roshan together, but the population is said to have been much 
greater in former times. Shighnan and Roshan used to receive 
from the Chinese, during their occupation of Eastern Turkistan, 
a yearly payment similar to that made to Sirikol, Kunjut, and 


Wakhan, for the protection of the frontier and the trade routes. 
The ruby mines of Gharan are now being worked under the 
orders of Sher Ali, the Amir of E^bul It was said that one 
large ruby the size of a pigeon's egg, as well as some smaller 
ones, were found lately and sent to the Amir. The working 
of these mines appears to be attended with considerable risk 
and great hardship. 

According to Shighni accounts, the family of the Shah of 
Shighnan originally came from Persia, and the first arrival from 
that country (said to have been between 500 and 700 years 
ago) was the Shah-i-Khamosh, who was a Syud and a Fakir. 
The country was at that time in the hands of the Zardushtis 
(ancient Guebers — ^fire-worshippers), a powerful and learned 
race. The Shah-i-Khamosh commenced to teach these people 
the Koran. There were already at this time Musulmans 
in the neighbouring country of Darwaz, and many of them 
flocked into Shighnan as followers of the Shah-i-Khamosh. 
In about ten years he had converted large numbers of the 
people, and a religious war commenced, which ended in this 
leader wresting the kingdom from Kahakah, the ruler of 
Shighnan and Boshan under the Zardushtis, the seat of whose 
government was then at Balkh. After this the teaching of the 
people continued, and in ten years more all had been converted 
to the Shiah form of the Muhammadan faith. 

If this be true it is probable that proselytising expeditions 
were sent into Wakhan and the neighbouring hill countries, and 
extended their operations even to Sirikol and Kunjut, gaining 
all over to the Shiah faith which they now profess. The ruins of 
three forts, said by the natives to have been erected by the " Atash- 
parastan " (fire-worshippers), still exist in Wakhan : one called 



"Kahkaha" in the Isbtrak district; another named "Maichun ' 
in the vicinity of Khandut ; and the third, Kila Sangibar, close 
to the hamlet of Hissar. The first was the residence of the rule] 
of the Zardushtis, and is said to bear signs of having been bette: 
built than the others. It consisted of a single square building 
of stone and lime, situated close to the Panja and on its righi 
bank The **Maichim" ruins show stone waUs rising sue 
cessively one above the other, with a space of about 200 yardi 
between them. These walls are made of rough stone and lime 
A stone causeway, still in good preservation, leads to the uppe: 
fort from the bank of the Panja. The lower wall is entirely ii 
ruins, but all the others are in good condition ; the facing o 
the walls is bound with lime. Within the upper fort is an oval 
shaped space of level ground, about 150 paces long and 75 wide 
originally containing houses, of which no vestige now remains 
The fort at Hissar is built on a solitary rock standing out higl 
on the plain, near the junction of the two Pamir streams, and i 
said to be of very ancient date. We examined the ruins, an^ 
found them to show no signs of greater antiquity or of havinj 
been more remarkable than the Tashkurgan (stone-fort) o 
Sirikol. The mud used as cement in the waUs indicated n 
great age. No hewn stones were seen in the whole place, an< 
neither in it nor the other ruins are inscriptions of any sort t 
be found. 

fiesaidar Muhammad Afzul Khan, who was sent on t 
Wakhan to prepare for our arrival there, found the Mir at fire 
reluctant to receive us. A report had gone abroad that tb 
real object of our visit was to seize and carry off Mir Wali Khai 
the alleged murderer of Mr. Hayward, who was then residing s 
Kila Panja. Mr. Hayward, the bold and adventurous travellei 


who penetrated to Kashghar in 1868 at the same time as Mr. 
Shaw, was disappointed in his design of passing thence to the 
Pamir, and on his return to Kashmir determined to make the 
attempt by the Gilgit and Yassin (Upper Chitral) route. He 
visited Yassin in the spring of 1870, and formed the acquaint- 
ance of Wali Khan, the Mir of the place. He found the 
Darkote pass leading over the Hindu Kush range to Wakhan and 
the basin of the Oxus closed with snow, and went back to India, 
after arranging with Mir Wisdi, the chief, to return in summier, 
and cross to Wakhan with his assistance. He came back agidti 
in July of the same year, and was brutally murdered by Mir 
Wali, acting under the Chitral chief's orders, in Yassin territory, 
at the foot of the Darkote pass, about twenty miles fix)m Sarhadd, 
Wakhan. All Mr. Hayward's servants and followers were 
murdered at the same time as their master, with the exception of ^ 
his Munshi (writer), who was spared to be made use of, but was 
afterwards put to death, at Chitral it is said. Poor Mr. Hay ward 
was believed to be in possession of a considerable amount of gold 
and valuable presents for the chiefs beyond Yassin, and the 
desire to obtain these, as well as the Chitral ruler's wish to take 
the traveller's life, appears to have induced Mir Wali to commit 
this infamous act. Aman-ul-Mulk, the Chitral ruler and 
father-in-law of Mir Wali, on hearing of the indignation the 
crime had caused, promptly expressed his intention to slay his 
son-in-law, uid despatched a force to seize him. Mir Wali fled 
to Wakhan, where he obtained protection from Mir Futteh Ali 
Shah. His Mirship was confiscated and conferred on his cousin 
Pahlvan Khan, a nephew of Aman-ul-Mulk. Mir Wali, after a 
short stay in Wakhan, went to Chitral, and presenting himself 
before his father-in-law, begged for his life for his wife's sake. 



He remained with Aman-ul-Mulk for about two years, when 
having rendered him the hideous service of murdering an 
obnoxious nephew, he was rewarded by reinstatement as Mir of 
Yassin, displacing Pahlvan Khan, who about the same time had 
been similarly engaged in ridding himself of his half-brother, 
Ghazi Khan, whom he suspected of intriguing to supplant 

Mir Wali ruled in Yassin after this but a little over a year, 
when Pahlvan Khan was restored to favour, and was a second 
time sent by Aman-ul-Mulk with a force to capture and kill 
Mir Wali, who, however, as before, received timely information 
and escaped to Wakhan. Mir Wali on this occasion was 
accompanied in his flight by a great number of Yassini families^ 
numbering about one thousand souls, who feared the return of 
Pahlvan Khan, and preferred exile with their hereditary chief. 
These people were distributed in the villages of Wakhan, and 
continue to reside there. Aman-ul-Mulk has several times 
demanded the surrender of these Yassinis, but Futteh Ali Shah 
declined to give them up, leaving the matter of return to their 
own choice. They, however, dread and dislike the Chitralis 
too much to desire to go back. 

Mir Wali succeeded his father thirteen years ago. About 
three years previously the father of Aman-ul-Mulk made an 
attempt to subjugate Yassin, and invaded the country with a 
force, but was repulsed by Mir Wall's father. The Chitral 
ruler died shortly after, and was succeeded by his son now in 
power. Friendship was re-established between Yassin and 
Chitral, but on the death of Mir Wall's father Aman-ul-Mulk 
advanced with a force and renewed the old claim to Mastuch 
and Yassin. Mir Wali submitted without a struggle, and was 


permitted to retain the Mirship on agreeing to the Chitral 
terms. His dependence was further secured by receiving in 
marriage a daughter of Aman-ul-Mulk. Pahlvan Khem was 
appointed Mir of Mastuch. 

Mir Futteh Ali Shah asserted that Aman-ul-Mulk ordered 
Mir Wali to murder Mr. Hay^ard, threatening him with death 
in case of disobedience, and on this ground he regarded Mir 
Wali as comparatively guiltless. He held that Mir Wali, as 
the vassal, was exonerated by the order of his feudal lord, and 
that the latter is alone to blame. He therefore pitied, he said, 
Mir Wali in his misfortune, and gave him and his people 
"shelter and bread" when they asked of him. He added that 
Aman-ul-Mulk took the plunder and burdened Mir Wali with 
the shame. We have other evidence also of the Chitral ruler's 
possession of the ill-fated traveller's property. 

Mr. Hay ward 8 rifles were breech-loaders, and we gathered 

from what we saw and heard at Panja, that these, in being 

handled and shown as curiosities in firearms by his murderers, 

had caused two serious and fatal accidents. The old Mir asked 

to see our weapons, and on my offering to put a breech-loading 

rifle into his hands and to show him how to open the breech and 

load, he drew back with alarm, saying that they in Wakhan did 

not understand such "gims,'' that in their hands they were 

dangerous even to one's friends ; and he then mentioned that 

such another gun, on being shown at Panja some time before, 

had exploded and severely wounded a man, and that the same 

thing had happened under similar circumstances at Zebak, the 

gun again exploding there and killing the brother of the man 

who held it, besides woimding another so badly that he died 

shortly after. Other matters also conduced to the belief that 




the only breech-loading arms previously seen at Panja were poor 
Hajrward's, taken by Mir Wali on his flight from Yassin and 
subsequent journey to Chitral vid Zebak, when they passed into 
the possession of his father-in-law Aman-ul-Mulk. 

Mir Wali was at Kila Panja while we journeyed over, and 
we heard at Sirikol that he regarded our expected visit with 
considerable anxiety, and we afterwards found that Mir Futteh 
Ali Shah had shared this anxiety, believing that evil might 
result to himself for having given an asylum to him who was 
the instrument of the murder of one of our countrymen. He 
stated his fears in public, saying, " I have incurred the displeasure 
of the Atalik for sheltering Alif Beg of Sirikol, and now I am 
threatened with the anger of the English for giving protection to 
Mir WaU." This was repeated to Mir Wali, who, after proving 
his innocence, according to their notions of rude feudalism, 
by showing the order under which he acted in murdering Mr. 
Hay ward, left for Faizabad, Badakhshan, before our arrival. 

Alif Beg, the ex-ruler of Sirikol, was residing with the 
Mir of Wakhan during our stay at Kila Panja, and paid me a 
visit two days previous to our departure. A report had been 
spread that the Kashgharis in our camp intended with our 
assistance to take him by force to Sirikol, and he had accord- 
ingly been in a state of alarm for some days after our arrival. 
On the conviction becoming general that the rumours concern- 
ing us were false, he determined to make our acquaintance. 
He carried out his intention, however, in a manner which 
showed that he had not entirely set aside all fear and suspicion. 
He came to my tent without giving any notice, and entering 
abruptly, shook hands, informing me, in reply to my question, 
that he was Alif Beg. He sat all the time of his visit with his 


hand resting on a pistol in his belt, while one of his followers 
stood guard at the tent door with a gun on his shoulder. He 
conversed with me for a long time about Sirikol and the neigh- 
bouring countries. He had lately returned from a visit to some 
of the garrison towns of Eussian Turkistan, and he talked much 
of what he had seen there. His sister, who was a widow of the 
late ruler of Shighnan and Eoshan, is married to AU Murdan 
Shah of Wakhan. 

Slavery still continues to be the curse of many of the Shiah 
states round about Badakhshan. Notwithstanding its prohibi- 
tion by the Amir of Kabul, the disgraceful trade in human 
beings, with all its attendant crime and cruelty, still flourishes. 
A man has about the same value as a woman, and the selling- 
price of a slave is from £12 to £18, or ten to fifteen bullocks, 
five to eight yaks, or two Kirghiz guns. The open slave- 
market certainly is closed, but beyond that nothing seemingly 
is done to suppress the shameful and horrible traffic, which is 
otherwise carried on as briskly as ever. The Afighan occupa- 
tion of Badakhshan has had the good effect of abolishing the 
tribute in slaves which used to be demanded and enforced by 
the ruling Suni Mirs from their feudatories with subjects pro- 
fessing the heretical Shiah creed. Futteh AJi Shah of Wakhan 
told me that the tribute he paid in September 1873 was the 
first ever given of which slaves did not form a part. Muhammad 
Klian, the late ruler of Shighnan, is said to have sold great 
numbers of his subjects into slavery during his short reign of 
four years. He died in 1869, and was succeeded by the present 
Shah, Eusuf Ali, who not only discontinued the enslaving of 
the people, but also refused to give any aa slaves in the tribute 
to Badakhshan. The tribute is now paid in horses. It was 


reported that during the absence of Mir Wali many of the 
inhabitants of Yassin and Mastuch had been sold into slavery by 
order of Aman-nl-Mulk, the ruler of Chitral, and that one mer- 
chant alone had lately taken away nearly a hundred slaves. 
When Mir Wali was in Balkh during our visit to Wakhan, he 
told the governor of Badakhshan that many of his subjects 
were being brought into the country as slaves, and obtained 
permission to attack the slave-merchants for the purpose of 
rescuing them. Mir Wali fell upon a slave party at Zebak in 
the end of May, and recovered many of his people. 

Both the Great and Little Pamirs have remained unvisited 
for simimer pasture by Kirghiz or Wakhis for a long time now, 
solely on account of the feuds, raids, and reprisals caused by the 
slave traffic. Kidnapping Kunjutis and Kirghiz, Shignis and 
Wakhis, attacked and harried one another to that extent that the 
open country was abandoned, and each kept to their own 
confined valleys. Avarice and greed urged Shiah even to steal 
Shiah, for sale to the Suni, who considers the enslaving of the 
"accursed Rafizi'' a meritorious act, giving the heretic an 
opportunity of benefiting by example, and being rescued from 
perdition by conversion to the orthodox faith. In those days 
traders could only cross the Pamirs in numerous well-armed 
bands, but all that violent state of things has since changed to 
one of peace and security. Merchants now pass and repass at 
all seasons in small parties without molestation, and the neigh- 
bouring states do their utmost to prevent any return to the old 
condition of violence and lawlessness. I have already mentioned 
an instance of the readiness with which international complaints 
between subjects of Wakhan and Ka^hghar are listened to, and 
wrongs redressed. The Atalik's reputation for prompt and 



severe action in all cases of disorder and disturbance by his own 
subjects or his neighbours' has done much to bring about this 
improvement, and shows the great good ahready proceeding from 
the establishment of his strong government among rude 
unsettled small states unable or unwilling of themselves to con- 
trol their subjects to the satisfaction of others. 





We remained tliirteen days at Kila Panja. The weather was 
very severe most of that time. Snow fell on six days, and an 
intensely cold wind blew regularly till within three days of our 
departure. Wood speaks in his Journey to the Source of the 
Oxus of the withering blast of the " bad-i-Wakhan '' (wind of 
Wakhan), blowing down the valley. This wind prevailed dur- 
ing a great part of our stay at Panja, and only ceased occaaion- 


ally, to be followed by an equally chilling wind from the opposite 
direction, Badakhshan. These winds swept across the open 
plain on which we were encamped with a cutting violence which 
made our tent life there rather miserable at times. 

Our party was a large one, amounting, with our Sepoy guard 
of five men of the Guide Corps, and a similar number of Kash- 
gharis, to forty-eight men, with seventy-two horses. We had 
arrived at the most unfavourable time of the year for supplies, 
most of the excess above the wants of the inhabitants being sold 
in the end of summer and during the autumn to the merchants 
who pass with their " kafilas " about that time. The matter 
of our daily supplies, and a sufficiency to take us back over the 
Pamir, was one of considerable difficulty. 

We had been told that the Great Pamir, on account of snow, 
is rarely passable till the end of June, and were assured that it 
would be impossible for a large party like ours to succeed in 
any attempt to cross it earlier. On the 15th April I despatched 
a Sepoy of the Guides with two of the Mir's men towards the 
Great Pamir lake to report on the depth of snow, so that we 
might take advantage of any possible chance of passage that 
way. They returned in eight days, bringing such an account 
of the road as induced us to determine on trying it. They 
found the snow deep and heavy in the drifts and hollows, but 
the fact of their having been able to reach the lake made us 
regard the journey as less difficult than had been previously 
represented. The Mir visited us the day after the return of the 
guides, and referring to their report, said that he would give all 
assistance in his power to gratify our desire to see the Great 
Pamir lake, and go back by a different route from that by which 
we came. Our baggage horses had not recovered from the 



severe effects of the journey over, but the Mir gave us the use 
of several fresh animals, to allow of occasional relief to those 
which had suffered most. The Mir also made arrangements for 
the provision and carriage of eight days' supply of food and 
grain for men and horses on the return journey. 

Ploughing and flooding of the fields to facilitate the break- 
ing up of the ground in preparation for sowing were commenced 
during our stay at Kila Panja. The streams of the side ravines 
issuing from the glaciers and deep snow-beds of the high ranges 
which rise from the valley here, principally the Hindu Rush 
on the southern side, give an abundant water-supply for 
irrigation purposes throughout the summer, which, with the 
extreme regularity of the season in this country of scanty rain- 
fall, enables the inhabitants to reckon very confidently on an 
unfailing harvest. On the 25th the weather changed suddenly 
from cold to mild, and a faU of rain that night, succeeded by a 
warm day without wind, gave sure sign of coming spring. 

On* the 26th we paid a farewell visit to the Mir, and 
left Kila Panja; Dr. Stoliczka, Captain Trotter, and my- 
self, for the Great Pamir, and Captain Biddulph, accompanied 
by Resaidar Muhammad Afzal Khan, for the Little Pamir, a 
spot in the Aktash valley being appointed as our rendezvous 
on the 4th of May. 

We (the Great Pamir party) halted the first day at Langar 
Kisht, a considerable village on the right bank of the Great 
Pamir stream, and about two miles above its junction with that 
of the Little Pamir. It is the last village in the valley leading 
to the lake. The Mirs son, Ali Murdan Shah, visited us in the 
evening to say good-bye, and present a pair of ibex-hounds, 
which were evidently considered a valuable gift. The sporting 


tastes of the Wakhis lead them not to regard the dog as a mean 

animal as other Muhammadans do. Wood mentions how 

a man slave was exchanged for a dog, and the Mir, when we 

took leave of him, said that he would be always glad to see our 

countrymen, and that even a dog of theirs would be welcomed, 

and he would himself rise in the night time to see food cooked 

for it On asking Ali Murdan Shah at parting what he wished 

particularly to be sent from India as a memento of our visit, he 

requested a signet ring, similar to my own, with the following 

couplet engraved on it in the Persian character : — 

Ba fazl-i-an Khudawiud-i-nigahban 
Ali Murdan ghulam-i-Shah-i-Murdan. 

By the grace of the Protecting Lord, 

Ali Murdan, the servant of the King of Men. 

The excellence of the Delhi engravers' work is well known 
beyond our Indian frontier, and the Mirzada was gladdened in 
due course by the receipt of a perfect specimen of their handicraft 
in the manner he desired. 

The ring was included in the presents sent to the Mir on 
om* return to India, and was used by the son in his reply to my 
letter which accompanied it. 

From Langar Kisht our road lay in a general north-easterly 
direction, at some height along the slopes of the mountains on 
the right bank of the stream. The mountains on each side rise 
in a very gradual incline from the deep rocky gorge in which 
the stream flows. The Zerzamin and Mutz streams join from 
the north at eight and nineteen miles from Langar Kisht. The 
upper or summer road to Shighnan leads along the latter. Bar 
Panja, the capital, is said to be reached in eight days by it, and 
Shakh-Darrah in three. Shakh-Darrah was at one time a small 



independent Mirship, but it is now absorbed in Shighnan. The 
Kirghiz who formerly occupied the winter villages, the ruins of 
which we saw in sheltered spots towards the western end of the 
Great Pamir, are now located in Shakh-Darrah, and make the 
Alichor Pamir their summer pasture resort According to the 
Wakhis, the Mutz stream has a course of about twenty-five 
miles, rising near the crest of the mountain range to the north 
which forms the boundary between Wakhan and Shighnan. 

The Great Pamir appears to begin twenty-five miles above 
Langar Kisht. The valley is narrow up to that point, with the 
base of the mountains touching the bed of the stream, but it 
there opens out, and the hills show low and rounded. Thence 
the road lay in the same general north-easterly direction, over 
flats and long easy slopes the whole way to the lake. Birch 
and willow are plentiful to within twenty-five miles of the lake, 
and from that on, the never-failing wild lavender plant affords 
a sufficient supply of fuel. Excellent grass, similar to that 
of the Little Pamir and the Aktash and Sirikol valleys, is 
found throughout. The partially frozen and extremely low 
state of the stream facilitated our journey, by allowing us to 
pass over its surface, and along its bed at places where later in 
the season the increased flow of water necessitates a higher 
path being followed. We saw snow pheasants and hares 
west of the lake, and wild fowl all along the stream up to 
its source. The lake stream in the first sixteen miles of its 
course flows between high gravelly banks, which rise to far- 
extending downs, dying away in the long and easy mountain 
slopes. We were remarkably fortunate in meeting with com- 
paratively little snow as far as the lake. There was a consider- 
able fall on the night of the 29th at our camp, twenty-five 
miles below the lake. 





We reached the Great Pamir or Wood's Lake on 1st May. 
It was entirely frozen over, and covered with a thin coating of 
snow. Its water is perfectly fresh, judging from what we used 
for two days high up from the stream which flows out of it 
It extends east and west, and is about ten miles long by three 
broad. The water-marks on the shores, however, indicated a 
considerable enlargement in summer. The southern shore is 
even, the northern broken and irregular. Many signs of con- 
siderable depth were observed. At three miles from the foot 
a high promontory runs out from the northern shore and 
approaches the southern side to within less than a mile. The 
hills to the south slope very gradually from the edge of the 
lake, and the peaks rise to a height of four or five thousand feet 
above it. Broad plains and low undulations for about three 
miles lie between it and the hills to the north, which appear 
much lower than those to the south. Captain Trotter made the 
lake to be 13,900 feet above the sea. 


The valley closes in at the head of the lake, and continues 
narrow for about eight miles, when it again opens out with a 
steady fall to the east. Captain Trotter, by close examination, 
made the watershed to be at this point 14,300 feet. Two small 
frozen lakes were observed near the head of the lake, under the 
high snowy mountains wliich close in there from the south. 
They presented the appearance of ice accumulations, and pro- 
bably, after furnishing feeders to the lake for a short time, 
finally disappear in summer. A valley at the head of the lake 
leads to the Wmm pass over the southern range, by wliich the 
Little Pamir, Langar, and Sarhadd are reached in one and two 
days respectively. 

There was a great deal of snow about the lake, and it lay so 
deep on the high ground at its head, and in the valley leading 
down east from the watershed, that the easy regular road 
that way could not be followed. We were accordingly forced 
to seek a path along the low hills to the north, and had con- 
siderable difficulty in forcing our way through the heavy snow- 
drifts. The snow ceased about eighteen miles from the lake. 
The eastern stream from the watershed is there joined by one 
from Shash-Darrah (six valleys) in the range between the 
Great and Little Pamirs. Several paths lead from this point to 
the Little Pamir and the Aktash valley. We followed the 
united stream, here called the Isligh, down to the Aktash valley^ 
a distance of fifty-eight miles, over a gentle fall the whole way. 
The hills right and left there are low and rounded, with great 
openings and depressions appearing everywhere. We were 
accompanied by a large party of Wakhis, acting as guides, 
and in charge of the horses carrying our supplies. On one of 
the guides being asked if paths lay in the direction of certain 

H'i '■•■^ 

I [li i^ ft m 













openings pointed out, the answer was, " Yes, there are paths all 
over the Pamir; it has a thousand roads; with a guide you 
can go in all directions." We reckoned the length of the Great 
Pamir from its western limit to the Aktash valley to be 108 
miles, with an average breadth of about three miles. We 
travelled eighteen miles south-east up the Aktash valley, to the 
halting - place which had been agreed upon with Captain 
Biddulph as the place of meeting on 4th May. Both parties 
reached punctually on that date, we marching thirty-seven 
miles to keep the engagement The ice was then breaking up 
on the Aksu, and we had some difficulty in finding a safe cross- 
ing-place on its frozen surface. 

Captain Biddulph succeeded in his lovely journey by the 
Little Pamir route, and made valuable additions to the results 
of our exploration work. The snow, which lay deep when we 
all passed over to Wakhan, had almost entirely disappeared by 
the time he returned, and the lake outlet, with the flow of its 
stream, the Aksu, was again carefully examined and noted. 

The Alichor Pamir runs east and west, almost parallel to 
the Great and Little Pamirs. According to Wakhi accounts, it 
is similar in character to them, broad at the eastern and narrow 
at the western end. It is connected with the Great Pamir by 
the " Dasht-i-Kiargoshi," a desert flat twenty miles long, which 
extends across from a point about twenty miles west of Wood's 
Lake. A road passes along it and branches from the Alichor 
to Shighnan and Kiokand. A stagnant lake called " Tuz " and 
** Sussik Kul " (salt putrid lake) lies near the western end of 
the Alichor. The water of it was described to me as being salt 
to the taste. The native traveller, Abdul Mejid, noticed this 




lake as at the first stage from Khargoshi on his way to Kho- 
kand, but some lingering doubts concerning it led to the idea 
that possibly Wood's Lake was meant, and that its water was 
brackish. Our evidence, however, confirms the accuracy of 
Colonel Yule's opinion, that it was *' diflScult to conceive that a 
lake with so copious an effluent as it (Wood's lake) should have 
salt waters." East of the Sussik Kul a fresh- water stream rises 
aiid flows into the Yeshil Kul (green lake), lower down in the 
Alichor, from which another stream issues and joins the Murg- 
hab, below its junction with the Aksu. The Kashgharis who 
fled with the Kiojas in the last century, before the Chinese 
when they took possession of Eastern Turkistan, passed up the 
Alichor Pamir in their flight to Badakhshan. They were over- 
taken by a pursuing Chinese force near the Yeshil Kul, and are 
said to have driven their women and children, mounted on 
camels and horses, into the lake, to meet their death by drown- 
ing rather than they should fall into the hands of the enemy. 
The Kirghiz have a legend that the sounds of lamentation, and 
of people and animals in terror of death, are often heard near 
the lake. 

I have already mentioned the Siriz Pamir when speaking of 
the Aktash valley. This Pamir appears to be a continuation of 
the Aktash valley, similarly as the Little Pamir is, and as the 
Taghdungbash is of the Sirikol valley. It seems to run fix>m 
Ak-Balik in the east to Bartang in the west. Bartang is the 
beginning of inhabited and cultivated Shighnan in that direc- 
tion. It is described as abounding with fruit-bearing trees, and 
must therefore be much lower than Kila Panja, with a very 
different climate. It is easy to believe this, when the long 
course of the Aksu-Murghab, with a steady fall, is considered. 


The Kirghiz spoke of the Rang (Ibex) Kul, a large lake 
about one day's journey from Ak-Balik, and situated in the 
Siriz Pamir. This probably is the Rang Kul of Pamir KJiurd, 
mentioned in Colonel Yule's Essay on the Geography of the 
Oxus, the Aktash valley being there regarded as the Little 
Pamir, of which it is but the continuation, as I have already 
explained. By the Kirghiz accounts, the Great Karakul is four 
days', the Little Karakul three, the Rang Kul one, the Yeshil 
Kul two and a half, and Bartang four days' journey from Ak- 
Balik. I estimate the day's journey in these accounts at fifteen 
miles in a direct line. The Tagharma Kirghiz told me of the 
ruins of an old " Tashkurgan " (stone fort) near Ak-Balik similar 
to that in the Sirikol valley. 

The animals of the Pamirs are the Ovis poliy ibex, brown 
bear, leopard, lynx, wolf, fox, marmot, and hare. These remain 
throughout the year. Wild fowl swarm on the lakes in simimer. 
The wild yak is not known on or near the Pamirs. We were 
not fortunate in pm-suit of game. We s^w a great many Ovis 
poliy but on the way over to Wakhan the snow lay too deep to 
permit of sport, and on the journey back our limited supplies 
would not admit of a halt for the purpose. The only Ovis poll 
obtained was one shot by Captain Trotter on a long march of 
thirty-seven miles. That same day I had my " stalk " of some 
fine males spoilt by a wolf, which was similarly engaged in 
approaching them. The horns of the Ovis poll and the ibex lie 
in great numbers (especially the former) at many places on the 
Pamirs. These animals sufier heavily from the leopards and 
wolves, which prey almost entirely on them. A murrain is also 
said to have made great havoc among both some years ago. I 
brought from the vicinity of the Great Pamir Lake a gigantic 


pair of Ovispoli horns, measuring sixty-five and a half inches 
in length round the curve, fifty-three inches in a straight line 
from tip to tip, and sixteen inches round the base. I presented 
this magnificent head to the British Museum, where it is now to 
be seen. This large head was exhibited at a meeting of the 
Zoological Society in London on the 15th of June last by Mr. 
Edwin Ward, F.Z.S., of Wigmore Street, to whose care I had 
sent it from India. There was read on that occasion a paper by 
Sir Victor Brooke on the wild sheep of the Tian Shan and other 
Asiatic Argali, and reference was made in it to certain points of 
distinction between the large wild sheep of the Tian Shan and 
the Pamirs, observed by Captain Biddulph, and also to the state- 
ments of the Kussian naturalist and traveller, M. Severtzoflf, 
from which it appeared that the Tian Shan species is, in every 
respect, smaller than that which frequents the Pamirs. The 
ibex are similar to the Himmalayan species, and accord- 
ingly differ from those we saw in the Tian Shan range, 
which were of the black kind, also found in the Kuen Luen. 
I had the hounds presented by Ali Murdan Shah tried after 
ibex on the Great Pamir, but though they went eagerly and 
well after the game, they failed to drive them to the selected 
rocks, and no opportunity of a shot was given. 

We experienced none of the symptoms of great height, viz. 
headache and diflSculty of respiration, on the Pamirs, in the 
exaggerated degi-ee that native travellers have described. None 
of our camp followers or people suffered in any unusual way, 
beyond becoming breathless when exertion was made. All were 
free from severe headache except our mess butler, who was quite 
like a mountain barometer in indicating a height of 12,000 
feet, as he invariably then became a victim. There was perfect 



' I 


health among our party throughout the journey. One of the 
Wakhis who accompanied us with the supplies over the Great 
Pamir died suddenly from heart disease, on the last march to 
Aktash, and this was the only casualty or sickness evei;i among 
the numbers of men who were attached to our camp, when 
crossing and recrossing the Pamirs. All the natives of India 
with us worked well and cheerfully through this intensely cold 
journey, and suffered no bad effects from the severe exposure. 

The Pamir plateau may be described as a great, broad, 
rounded ridge, extending north and south, and crossed by thick 
mountain chains between which lie elevated valleys, open and 
gently sloping towards the east, but narrow and confined, with 
a rapid fall, towards the west. The waters which run in all, 
with the exception of the eastern flow from the Taghdungbash, 
collect in the Oxus; the Aksu, from the Little Pamir lake, 
receiving the eastern drainage which finds an outlet in the 
Aktash valley, and joining the Murghab, which obtains that 
from the Alichor and Siriz Pamirs. As the eastern Taghdung- 
bash stream finds its way into the Sirikol and Yarkand rivers, 
and the Great and Little Karakuls send their waters to the 
Oxus and the Kashghar river respectively, the Neza Tash 
range and Kizil Ajrt plain must be regarded as forming the 
watershed between Eastern and Western Turkistan. 

I have explained how the name of a place was mistaken for 
that of the Little Pamir lake. A similar mistake appears to 
have been made in the name "Sirikol" given to the lake of 
Great Pamir. When speaking of and arranging for our journey 
up to the lake, we were told of halting-places called "Bun, 
Bekh, and Payan-i-Kul " (base, root, foot of the lake), " Miyan 
and Barabar-i-Kul " (middle, half-way up the lake), and "Bala 



and Sir-i-kul " (above and head of the lake). " Sir-i-kul " was 
most frequently mentioned, being the usual caravan stage, and 
it was said in such a way as to lead easily to the idea of its 
being the name of the lake. When the guides were asked 
pointedly as to the real name of the lake, they answered, " It is 
called * Kul-i-Kalan ' (the great lake), because there is no other 
lake here equal to it in size." The name " Kul-i-Sikandar *' 
(Alexander lake), mentioned by a late native traveller, was not 
recognised by the guides, with whom I used to converse con- 
cerning these local details day after day while travelling. 
Therefore the name " Victoria " given by Wood to the Great 
Pamir lake displaces no distinctive local one, and may well be 
introduced into our maps without any risk of causing that 
geographical confusion, the fear of which made him hesitate to 
apply it. 

Eegarding the name " Pamir " the meaning appears to be 
wilderness, a waste or place abandoned, yet capable of habita- 
tion. In answer to my questions as to its application (we were 
then below the western end of the great lake) one of the guides 
said, " In former days, when this part was inhabited by Kirghiz, 
as is shown by the ruins of their villages, the valley was not all 
called Pamir as it is now. It was then known by its village 
names, as is the country beyond Sirikol, which being now 
occupied by Kirghiz, is not known by one name but partly as 
Charling, Bas Eobat, etc. If deserted it would be Pamir." 
The term appears to be a generic one applied to extensive pasture 
flats and plains as distinguished from mountain grazing groimds 
resorted to only in summer. The Shewa plain to the north-east 
of Faizabad, Badakhshan, celebrated for its summer delights, is 
also known as the ** Shewa Pamir." 


We saw a hot sulphurous spring on the bank of the Little 
Pamir stream at Patur, thirty-five miles below Sarhadd, tem- 
perature 130°. Its waters are conducted into several roughly- 
built stone baths, which are used for rheumatic and other com- 
plaints. An equally hot spring in the immediate vicinity 
disappeared two years ago on the stream-bed extending over it. 
We also visited the mineral spring near Hissar mentioned by 
Wood. We found extensive hot springs at Isligh, between the 
Great Pamir lake and the Aktash valley. The thick grass grow- 
ing close within their warming influence had been made a 
resting-place by bears the night before our visit, judging by the 
quite fresh traces seen all about. 

We made repeated inquiries from Kirghiz and Wakhis and 
from Mir Futteh Ali Shah regarding " Bolor " as a name for any 
mountain, country, town, river, or place, but all professed perfect 
ignorance of it. Colonel Yule had previously expressed his 
opinion with reference to the apocryphal topography of the 
Oxus regions in which " Bolor " occupied a prominent position, 
that there was no real evidence for the existence of such a place 
on the western side of Pamir, and urged its exclusion from 
geography for the future. 

We reached Aktash on the 4th of May, having travelled 
157 miles from Kila Panja. Our appointed place of meeting 
with Captain Biddulph was about three miles beyond the 
ravine by which the road to Sirikol passes, and allowing for 
this, we made the Great Pamir route from that place to Eala 
Panja to be almost exactly the same in distance as that of the 
Little Pamir, about 185 miles. We were fortunate in finding 
two days' supplies for our camp awaiting our arrival at Aktash, 
where they had been sent from Tashkurgan by the Governor 


according to my request. I had reason to anticipate some 
difficulty in obtaining a sufficient quantity to subsist the whole 
party as far as Tashkurgan, and as a provision against failure 
sent a messenger from Wakhan some days previous to our 
departure, with a letter to Hussun Shah, asking the assistance 
which we met at the Aktash frontier as desired. I imderstood 
enough of a conversation in the Wakhi dialect that took place 
in my tent at Langar Kisht between the " Mirzada '* and the 
Aksakal of that village, to make me suspect a deficiency in the 
amount of food and grain contracted for, and took steps to 
secure a proper supply ; but after the first march I foimd that 
through the cupidity and cunning of those entrusted with the 
Mir's orders to provide, sufficient for five days only instead of 
eight had been furnished. I at once communicated with the 
Mir himself on the subject, and received a letter from him the 
following day, saying how annoyed he was at the dishonesty 
that had been practised towards us and himself, and promising 
extra supplies, which reached our camp in good time. We had 
no fear of being absolutely starved, for seeing horseflesh in 
common use for food in Kashghar, where, as it is there con- 
sidered a delicacy, we doubtlessly often ate it in the numerous 
made dishes at the many feasts we were entertained with, we had 
learnt to look upon our horses as a last resource always in case 
of extreme necessity. We halted a day at Aktash to rest our 
tired animals, and to arrange for the return of the Wakhis to 
Panja. Fifty of them with fifty- two horses accompanied us on 
the journey, and rendered us excellent service. We rewarded 
them liberally, and sent them back with a letter of thanks to 
their Mir, and a sum of money for the family of " Naoroz," the 
poor Wakhi who died the previous day. His companions 



started, carrying the dead body with them for burial at Zong, the 
deceased's native village. 

From Aktash we retraced our steps to Tashkurgan by the 
same road that we travelled before. The snow had almost 
entirely disappeared from the Neza Tash pass, and no ice re- 
mained in the Shindan defile. But this, which facilitated the 
journey over the former to the laden horses, increased their 
difficulties immensely in passage through the latter, as many of 
the stream crossings which were easy before, over snow and ice, 
were now hazardous and dangerous, through a wild torrent and 
over sharp shifting rocks. Some of the baggage animals, 
weakened by continuous fatiguing work, seemed to succumb 
under fear, and had to be left in the defile till the following 
day, to recover from the paralysing numbness which seized 
upon them. We were again most kindly received and enter- 
tained at Tashkurgan by the governor, Hussim Shah, 






After three days' halt and rest at Tashkurgan we proceeded on 
our return journey towards Yarkand, accompanied again by our 
old companion, Hyat Muhammad, the Kirghiz Yuzbashi, whose 
tents and people we visited on the way some days after. We 
travelled the first day to the foot of the Kok Moinok pass, 
taking a long round by the Tagharma plain, where we enjoyed 
the hospitality of Krumchi Bi, the chief of the Eorghiz located 
there. We had a long and interesting conversation with hirn 
and his Kirghiz about the neighbouring Kizil Art plain and its 
lakes and streams. This plain, with numerous camels, horses, 
yaks, sheep, and goats grazing on its fine pasture grounds, was 


a very pleasant sight to us after the extended wilderness and 
wastes of the Pamirs. Like the yak, the camel, besides being 
useful as a beast of burden, also yields raw material for the 
manufacture of blankets in its long hair and the soft thick 
undergrowth of down which it gets in winter in common with 
all animals exposed to the severe cold of these elevated mountain 
lands. The camel's winter coat is cut in spring, bushy shags 
being left on the head, neck, humps, and shoulders, as shown in 
my sketch. Eastern Turkistan is the home of the double- 
humped camel, whose original stock, in a wild state, is said to 
be found still in the east, towards Turfan. The domestic species 
is less in size than the ordinary camel seen in India, and the 
wild animal is said to be still smaller. 

We saw at Tagharma, for the first time, the yak yoked to the 
plough, but he was led, as he would not be driven, at work. 
We crossed the Kok Moinok pass (15,800 feet) the following 
day, and joined the road by which we had travelled up at the 
little lake on the high Chichiklik plain. 

We had a fall of snow at Chihil Gumbaz on the night of the 
14th of May, and cold weather till the 18th, when we were at 
once plunged into extreme heat at Egiz Yar, on^ the Eastern 
Turkistan plain. This place was quite "burnt up" with the 
winter's fix)sts when we passed through it less than two months 
before, and now we found it in fall summer foliage and verdure. 
The walnut and apricot trees, which were leafless then, were now 
bearing fruit as large as marbles, and the crops were up about 
two feet ; vegetation was being rapidly forced by copious irriga- 
tion and an atmosphere heated even throughout the night. 
The water everywhere was thick and brown with a fertilising 
fine soil, and our drinking supply was obtained by melting 




lumps of ice, of which every village stores large quantities in 
deep pits, for the preservation of fruit, and for general use in the 
hot summer months. From Egiz Yar we struck across country 
to Kizil Robat, the first stage on the road from Yangi-Hissar to 

We reached Yarkand on the 21st May, and halted there a 
week to rest our tired horses, dispose of those unfit for the 
severe Karakoram journey still before us, and purchase and 
hire others to complete our train. The Dadkhwah and his 
officials were kind and hospitable to the utmost, and we con- 
tinued to be treated as "honoured guests" to the last, till the 
frontier at Aktagh (twenty-six miles from the Karakoram pass) 
was reached. 

Yarkand was farther advanced in summer than the Yangi- 
Hissar neighbourhood ; the wheat was higher, and barley was 
beginning to show in ear, while the fruits were larger, and 
mulberries were actually ripe. The Lucerne grass was at its full 

ladies' summee fashions, tarkand. 

height, and being cut for cattle and horses. In the dress of the 
people a great change had also taken place — stout white cotton 


being worn in place of sheepskin and quilt. For the men the 
same shaped gannents as seen in winter remained, but for the 
other sex " fashion" produced small, close-fitting, and large dome- 
like caps and hats of every colour, with flowers stuck coquettishly 
behind the ears, showing to the front, or fixed to the side of the 
hat, white robes with scarlet chevrons on the right breast, wide 
white trousers with scarlet braiding, and embroidered high-heeled 
shoes with floss-silk rosettes. Coloured gauze wrappers and 
scarlet garments with white braiding were also worn. The 
ladies' summer and winter "fashions" of Eastern Turkistan differ 
most essentially from those of more civilised countries in never 
changing their style. 

We left Yarkand on the 28th May, and the next day reached 
Kargalik, travelling so far on the same road as that by which 
we came the previous year. Thence we proceeded by the 
Kogiar and Yangi-Dawan route to the Yarkand river, up which 
we passed to Aktagh, where the old road was again joined and 
followed to Leh, which was reached on the 29th of June 1874. 
The Kogiar and Yangi-Dawan route avoids the dijfficult Sanju, 
and the long Suget passes, but is only practicable for caravans in 
winter when the upper parts of the Tiznaf and Yarkand streams 
are in a low and frozen state. 

We encountered great difficulties along this road from the 
melting snow torrents which made the main streams impass- 
able every day for a certain length of time. By the end of 
a sunmier's day the sun's heat has reached well into the 
glacier or snow-bed, and drawn out a stream, which continues 
running, till in a similar manner the night's cold penetrates 
to the same depth and shuts up the flowing springs. The 
duration and extent of the floods and torrents thus produced 


are aflfected of course by the state of the day, whether 
cloudy or bright, and the time of the summer season as 
regards its degree of heat. Travelling up the streams as we did 
towards their sources, we met the floods earlier each evening, 
and were able accordingly to commence our journey sooner each 
morning. The twisting and turning of the rivers in the narrow 
valleys and close ravines through which the route passes necessi- 
tated innumerable crossings, which in the swollen and turbulent 
state of the waters became each one more difl&cult than the 
other, from the alarm of the horses and mules, and their reluc- 
tance to face the tumbling, furious torrent ; every crossing was a 
scene of wild uproar and struggle, and many a load was thrown 
or dragged under water. The ammunition of the escort was 
carried in small iron-bound cases, two forming a load, and these 
being always under the direct care of a guard were generally 
supposed to contain treasure. One of the ponies so loaded was 
swept down the stream into a deep pool, where in getting it 
ashore one of the boxes slipped and was lost in the depths. 
The Yarkandis seemed to take particular notice of the spot, and 
doubtlessly the place was disappointedly visited with the object 
of recovering the lost treasure when the stream fell low enough 
to admit of search for it. 

A heavy fall of snow on the night of the 8th of June 
enabled us to cross the Yangi-Dawan pass (16,000 feet), and 
traverse the deep rocky gorge leading from it down to the 
Yarkand river, with comparative ease. The gorge was filled 
with masses of ice, broken up by the action of the summer 
torrents; and the head-quarter party of the Mission, which 
preceded us, had made this passage with much difficulty and 
labour. The greater cold and the gloom following upon the 


previous night's snowfall kept the stream down, and we worked 
our way over the ice blocks and fissures without the fear of 
troubling torrents as usual. We were fortunate in this respect 
with falls of snow on the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 16th June, as 
we pursued our journey over the Karakoram towards Leh. The 
return of cold weather checked the flow of the streams long 
enough to allow us to pass easily, and we met with no diffi- 
culties from floods in that part of the road as experienced by 
Mr. Forsyth's party which had passed before us. 

Three days after crossing the Karakoram pass, while jour- 
neying by the elevated Dipsang route mentioned at page 21, we 
suffered the deep affliction of losing by death one of our party. 
Dr. Stoliczka, a highly valued friend and talented companion. 
This sad event has deprived the scientific world of much of the 
great store of knowledge which Dr. Stoliczka laid up in Tibet 
and Turkistan ; for although his notes and papers on the special 
subjects of his research were preserved, and the result of his 
labpurs is to be given to it under most competent guidance, still 
it is not to be expected that the work can be produced in the 
perfect form that it would have assumed had the gifted author 
been spared to complete it. He was buried at Leh, where a 
handsome memorial tablet has been erected over his tomb by 
the Government of India. 

Mir Futteh Ali Shah of Wakhan died in the early part of 
this year, and was succeeded by his son, Ali Murdan Shah, It 
was a matter of great satisfaction to us that the old Mir, 
who, as I mentioned, was feeble and infirm from age, lived 
long enough to receive the letter and valuable presents 
which the Viceroy of India caused to be sent to him on 
our return, in acknowledgment of his kind hospitality, aid, 



and protection to us. The letter and presents were safely 
delivered by a trusty native oflficer, who proceeded with them 
from Peshawur ; and replies were received from both father 
and son, expressing great pleasure at being remembered by their 
English friends. 

^^:r£ cm'uUf^ 

I * 


* ^