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0059 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 59 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Sec. in   CHI LAS AND ITS PAST   13

duly noted by our supposed geographer of, say, A. D. 3000 might for all his archaeological indications have taken place five hundred years after our own time. He would merely have confused, as is not infrequently done, post hoc with propter hoc.


At Childs four emissaries of Raja Pakhtiin Wall had awaited my arrival, and their presence gave welcome assurance that all arrangements had been made to facilitate our progress through the territory now held by their ruler that no European had previously explored. It had been a special stipulation on the Rdja's part that not a single man from the territory controlled by the Gilgit Political Agency was to accompany me beyond the border of his own, and he may well have intended, by sending ahead some particularly trusted henchmen, to make sure that this condition was not evaded ; for the relations between the ruler and his newly subdued subjects were evidently such as to invite intrigue on the lines traditional in these regions—if any one cared to follow them. On my side it was a great relief to find that a request communicated by me some time before my start from Kashmir had found acceptance with the chief. The interest of our intended survey work, quite as much as the wish to avoid the excessive summer heat of the Indus gorges, had made me ask that we might be taken to Darél by the mountains at the head of the Khanbari and Dudishdl valleys instead of the usual route which leads through the former, and this was agreed to.

The first march or two at the outset of this somewhat devious journey was to take us up the H ôdar valley to the north of the Indus, and for this we set out on the morning of August II th. The heat was great in the deep rocky defiles of the Indus, and the banks of the river below Childs were forbiddingly barren. So while the baggage was sent some ten miles down-stream by a track that was just practicable, to a point facing the mouth of the Hôdar Nullah, I was glad myself to effect the descent on a skin raft. With the tossing current of the river sweeping the frail-looking craft along at the rate of some fourteen miles an hour, it was an exciting journey, but at the same time refreshing and restful. For most of the distance the huge glacier-fed volume of water was compressed within a bed only 200 to 30o yards wide, closed in on either side by bare black rocks or flats strewn with large boulders. The raft, which consisted of six bullock skins, was protected by our crew of four ` Saniwdls ' from the violence of the whirling currents with a skill inherited through many generations. The snowy weather prevailing on the high glacier-clad ranges far away north and eastwards had caused the river to fall to some twenty-four feet below high-water level. Yet the flood volume was still large enough to allow us to sweep down in safety over what at other seasons is a succession of impassable rock ledges and rapids. It is only below Sazin that the Indus was said to become altogether impossible for this rapid mode of progress.

Opposite the spot where the Hôdar Nullah debouches the river bed somewhat widens, and here with the help of a skin-raft ferry our baggage was carried across (Fig. 2) ; in spite of its small quantity, the operation took nearly four hours. The Hôdar valley with its present population of only some eighty families forms a separate little republic, but has come under British influence since a garrison was established at Childs. At the very mouth of the valley I found visible evidences of the changes that had come over this ground within historical times. About a mile to the east of the spot where the small Hôdar stream falls into the Indus after watering the few sandy fields of Sari, there rises a detached rocky ridge to a height of about 30o feet (Fig. 5). Noticing the remains of walls I ascended to its top and found the whole of it covered with ruined dwellings built of rough but large and well-set stones. The area, closely packed with decayed walls, extends for about i6o yards from south-east to north-west and is about loo yards across. No enclosing

Raja Pakhtfin \Vâli's emissaries.

Descent on Indus.

Ruined dwellings of Kino-kbt.