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0206 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 206 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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128   FROM KHOTAN TO LOP   [Chap. IV

Beg-yailaki and Khâdalik in the east, have, together with the remains brought to light, been fully described in the reports on my former journeys.1 I have also discussed there at some length the peculiar physical conditions that affect the irrigation resources of Domoko and the neighbouring small oases. These largely account for the changes just referred to in the extent and position of their cultivated areas.

I may therefore conveniently note here a few observations that I made about the latest of such changes on my way to the newly reported remains of Kuduk-köl east of Domoko. When approaching Chira from the scrubby desert on the west I found the small cultivated area of Khalpat, which by 1908 had grown up around what in 1901 was a solitary ` Langar ' by the roadside, linked up by a continuous stretch of fields with the main oasis.2 This rapid extension is all the more noteworthy because the cultivation at Chira, as explained to me by Ibrahim Beg, my old retainer, for years Mirab Beg of Chira and thus a very competent informant, is entirely dependent on ak-su or the water brought down from the mountains by the spring and summer floods.

An equally striking change was observable eastwards. There the cultivated area of Gulakhma, the next oasis in the line stretching along the foot of the gravel glacis of the K`un-lun, was found to have extended since 1906 right up to that of Ponak.3 Old fields long abandoned to the desert had again been brought under cultivation, but low tamarisk-cones still remained to bear witness to the change. The village lands of Ponak, which in 1901 I had seen almost completely abandoned to the desert,4 were now said to support some two hundred households, though they were still far from being completely cleared of the scrub and drift-sand of the desert that had overrun them for centuries.

Irrigation in the area of Gulakhma, Ponak, and Domoko is supplied mainly by the springs in which the underground drainage from the mountains (kara-su) comes to the surface again at the foot of the gravel glacis south of the oases.5 It is therefore of interest to note that when passing on December 2 from Gulakhma through Ponak to Ak-köl, at the north-eastern edge of the Domoko oasis, I found the Ponak-akin carrying about 28 cubic feet of water per second and the Domokoyar stream, which farther down supplies water to the new and still expanding colony of Malakalagan,6 not less than about loo cubic feet per second.

My explorations of 1906 at and near the site of Khadalik and those of 1908 at Farhâd-Begyailaki had proved that remains of settlements dating from the Buddhist period were plentiful in the desert belt immediately to the north and north-east of the present oasis of Domoko. They had at the same time shown me that the peculiarly deceptive character of this desert ground, covered for the most part with close-set tamarisk-cones and scrubby jungle, made it extremely difficult to trace them all.' I was accordingly by no means surprised when I learned at Khotan of a find of manuscript leaves, evidently in Bràhmi, reported to have been made recently at some place close to Khadalik.' Through Mullah Khwaja, my old guide of 1906 to the last-named site, I secured at

Extended cultivation at Khalpat.

Increased cultivation of Gulakhnaa.

Irrigation supply from kara-su.

Finds at Kuduk-köl.

1 See Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 452-64, on Hsüan-tsang's P`i-mo and the sites of ` Old Domoko ', Uzun-tati, Uinghziârat ; Serindia, i. pp. 1j4-210, on the remains of Khadalik, Balawaste, Darabzan-dong, Mazar-toghrak ; ibid. iii. 1244-65, on the site of Farhâd-Beg-yailaki, Kara-yantak, &c.

2 Cf. Serindia, iii. p. 1264 ; compare Map No. 14. B. 2 with Serindia map Sheet No. 27. D. 4.

3 Compare Map No. 14. c. 2. with Serindia map Sheet No. 31. A. 4.

By an error in compilation the limit of cultivation (green) has in the s : Soo,000 map sheet been shown too far south. It should run from Hungatlik village straight east to the Ponakakin bed and thence to about a mile north of Ak-köl village.

4 See the Map showing portions of the territory of Khotan

attached to Ancient Khotan, i, for the ground abandoned to desert vegetation south of Lachin-atâ-mazar.

5 Cf. Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 96, 459, 467 sq. ; Serindia, iii. p. 1263.

6 See regarding the recent colony of Malak-alagan and the formation of the Domoko-yar to which it owed its origin, Ancient Khotan, i. p. 454 ; Serindia, i. pp. 203 sq. ; iii. p. 1246 ; Desert Cathay, i. p. 238.

7 Cf. Serindia, iii. p. 1245 ; also Ancient Khotan, i.

p. 453.

7a Frs. of POthi leaves, mainly in Sanskrit, were handed to me by Mullah Khwaja as brought from Kuduk-köl. They are marked Kuduk-köl. 031-48 in the inventory of Mr. Pargiter, App. E.