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0084 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 84 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Villages of Samagial.

Poguch and its shrines.

Ziarat of Shàha-khél Baba.


On August 18th I proceeded from Gumâre-kat on my way down the main DarEl valley. Before crossing the river to the left bank, where most of the cultivated area in this part is situated,

I paid a visit to the mouth of the Nullah known as Gime-gah. There above the decayed walls of a village site called Mazar-kôt I was shown a spot which, according to the tradition of the Samagial

tract, was held sacred in pre-Muhammadan times and is known by the name of Gime-deo. A rough stone slab standing upright to about four feet from the ground was said to have been an object of worship. Close by to the north was a confused heap of rocks, evidently brought down by a landslip ; we were told that it had destroyed in its fall two large earthen images of ` Buts' which are believed to have somehow survived until a few generations ago.

Moving south from here we passed a great deal of ground with abandoned cultivation terraces. On the top of a plateau said to have been irrigated until some fifty years ago I found the remains

of a walled enclosure of the usual type, known as Duké-kat. A fine view was obtained from this

plateau over the rich village lands of Samagial southward. But above them on the left bank of the river it also included extensive terraced slopes which irrigation no longer reaches. Nothing

was remembered of the canals which once had carried water to them. But that their abandonment could scarcely be ascribed to want of water became clear when we crossed the river by a bridge below Gumâre-kat ; for its volume, as measured here, proved over a thousand cubic feet per second.

While following the canal that irrigates the main portion of the Samagial lands (carrying about twenty cubic feet of water per second), I had occasion to note the remarkably solid con-

struction of the embankment that carries it. The sight of the fine trees planted along it carried

the mind back to Europe, and their size testified to the antiquity of the canal alignment. Samagial was found to contain two populous and compact villages, Bira-kat and Dodô-kat, situated about

a mile from each other. The second, near which also stands a large fort constructed about the

same time as the new circumvallation of Raji-kôt, presented, with its closely packed houses (Fig. 36) and several places of worship (Fig. 28), the appearance of a small town. The estimate of 540

households given to me for Samagial could scarcely have been much exaggerated.' At a fine Ziarat situated in a shady grove by the river below Dodô-kat I was particularly struck by the presence in the bold wood-carving of ancient decorative motifs with which I was already familiar from Graeco-Buddhist relievos, including the acanthus leaf, lotus, Stûpa and what I took to be a derivative of the ` Buddhist rail '.

Below Dodô-kat the valley contracts, and no cultivation is met with until the rich terraced fields of Poguch are reached, some two miles lower down. The luxuriance of the fruit trees and vines

among which its homesteads are scattered, bore witness to its fertility and sheltered climate in

contrast to the barrenness of the lower hill slopes around. But what interested me specially at Poguch were its shrines, the most renowned throughout Darél. Passing down between shady

orchards to the left bank of the river I visited first the Ziarat known as Moyubaike, where a large grove of old trees shelters the graves of six brothers of Shàha-khél Baba, who is the chief object of worship at Poguch. All I could learn about them was that the brothers were holy men who shared in the martyrdom of Shàha-khél Baba.

The sanctuary of the saint himself lies at the mouth of a stony Nullah on the other side of the deep-cut river and about 200 feet above it. Apart from several structures serving as places

   1 The other figures relating to the number of households   510; Poguch, 140 ; Gayal, Soo. The total number of families

   communicated to me by Mehtarjao Shah tAlam for Darcl   then in permanent occupation of land in the valleys of

   were as follows : Mankial including Rashmal and Chaturkand,   Dudishal and Khanbariwas believed to be less than a hundred.

Site of Mazar-lait.

Abandoned cultivation terraces.