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0070 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 70 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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bank of the main stream, a small cemetery belonging to Darél people, who every summer come up to this region to graze their cattle and cultivate the land. On the wooden enclosures of the graves there was much good carving, with decorative motifs clearly derived from GraecoBuddhist art, recalling those I had seen among the ruins of the far-away Niya Site and elsewhere. Nothing like it had previously met my eyes at the rudely marked resting-places of the dead or in the dwellings of the living, in the course of this or of my former journey from Kashmir. As I camped that night at the little village of Gabar, the highest regular summer settlement of Darél, about 7,30o feet above the sea, I had the distinct impression of having reached ground where traces of an earlier and more developed civilization might yet be looked for.


Before I proceed to record the observations I was able to make during my passage down the main valley of Darél, it will be convenient to review those early notices of the territory which invest it with a special antiquarian interest. We owe them entirely to the record of the travels of those two famous Chinese pilgrims Fa-hsien and Hsüan-tsang. I have already had occasion to examine these notices, on account of their topographical bearing, when discussing the information furnished by Chinese sources about ancient ` Udyana' or Swat,' and I may therefore here treat them briefly.

Fa-hsien's narrative describing his passage about A. D. 403 from the side of Chieh-ch`a

tg   or Kashgar 2 to Wu-ch`ang AA or Swat tells us : 3 ` From this [the travellers] went
westwards towards North India, and after being on the way for a month, they succeeded in getting across and through the range of the Onion mountains. The snow rests on them both winter and summer.' After a reference to the dangers there besetting travellers from ` venomous dragons ', in the manner familiar from other Chinese accounts of the Ts`ung-ling or the Pamirs, Fa-hsien continues : ` The people of the country call the range by the name of the " Snow Mountains ". When the travellers had got through them, they were in North India, and immediately on entering its borders, found themselves in a small kingdom called T`o-leih (T`o-li), where also there were many monks, all students of the Hina-yana.

` In this kingdom there was formerly an Arhan, who by his supernatural power took a clever artificer up to the Tushita heaven to see the height, complexion, and appearance of Maitreya Bodhisattva, and then return and make an image of him in wood. First and last, this was done three times, and then the image was completed, eighty cubits in height, and eight cubits at the base from knee to knee of the crossed legs. On fast-days it emits an effulgent light. The kings of the [surrounding] countries vie with one another in presenting offerings to it. Here it is,—to be seen now as of old.'

The narrative next proceeds to tell how ` the travellers went on to the south-west for fifteen days ' through the gorges of the Indus until they arrived in Wu-chtang or Swat. The graphic description given of this trying route, with its dangerous ` paths chiselled along the rocks ', its

1 Cf. Serindia, i. pp. 5 sqq. If I continue to use the form Udyana as the Skr. designation of the territory now known as Swat, it is merely because long-continued practice has made it convenient to do so. I fully believe, in view of the convincing arguments set forth by Prof. Sylvain Lévi, in his important paper Le catalogue géographique des Yaksa, J. As., 1915, janvier-février, pp. 105 sqq., that the Skr. form Udyana, attested mainly by a note of Hsüan-tsang, is an idolum libri resting on a scientific ` popular etymology ',

and that the ancient Indian name of the Swat valley which it was intended to render, was in realityOddiyana or Uddiyâna. But the ` Panditized ' form Udyana may be of much earlier origin than the time of I-Isüan-tsang,—and anyhow offers the practical advantage of simplicity.

2 The identification of this starting-point, which had puzzled all previous interpreters, as Kashgar is due to M. Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, p. S4, note 3.

3 See Legge, Fa'-hien, pp. 24 sqq.

Fa-hsic n's passage through T `o-li .

Fa-hsien's route down the Indus gorges.