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0047 Innermost Asia : vol.1
Innermost Asia : vol.1 / Page 47 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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and Afrdz-gul, taking only the minimum of indispensable baggage, set out on August 2nd by the most direct route connecting Kashmir with Childs, our immediate goal. During one pleasant march it took us north-westwards through the fertile forest-girt Lalab, one of the most attractive of the many side valleys of Kashmir. Then striking almost due north we proceeded into the drainage area of the Kishangangd. Passing through its deep-cut gorges (Fig. i) and ascending the valley of Kél (Fig. 13), we crossed after six more marches the watershed towards the Indus by the Barai pass (14,25o ft. above sea-level). Here we reached the border of Childs territory, and two more days of hard marching, one leading across the snowy Fasat Pass (15,200 ft.), carried us down, through increasingly barren ravines (Fig. 3), to the fort and village of Childs by the Indus. Bad weather had pursued us from the time we first entered the mountains above the Laldb right up to the Indus watershed, and had added to the difficulties of tracks, in many parts of which the loads had to be man-handled to enable our baggage animals to pass.

The physical features of the route as far as the watershed do not call for a detailed description here ; for since the occupation of Childs in 1893 it has been fully surveyed, and some account of it may be found in various route books and gazetteers of Kashmir territory.2 But the ground has an antiquarian interest that rewarded me for the fatigues undergone and that deserves to be noted here. I have discussed at length, in Ancient Khotan, the interesting Chinese records of the military operations which led to the temporary occupation of ` Great and Little P`o-lü i. e. Gilgit and Yasin, by Chinese imperial forces during the first half of the seventh century A. D.3 I have there fully explained the significant fact, which we learn from a memorial addressed in A. D. 749 by the ruler of T`u-ho-lo or Tokhdristdn to the Imperial Court, that the Chinese

garrison placed in the territory of P`o-lü after Kao Hsien-chih's famous expedition of A. D. 747, completely depended for its maintenance upon food supplies imported from Kashmir. As I pointed out, ` the difficulties which the letter of the T`u-ho-lo ruler so graphically represents ... are exactly those with which the Kashmir rulers [in Sikh and Dôgrd times], and in more recent years the military authorities of the Indian Government, have had to contend in their occupation of Gilgit '.4

Now the direct occasion for the memorial of the Tokhdristdn prince was an attempt made by

the king of Chieh-shuai, a territory adjoining Tokhdristdn on the south-east, to cut off the route by which the Chinese in P`o-lü drew their supplies from Kashmir. The attempt was instigated by the Tibetans, who were then threatening the Chinese dominion in Eastern Turkestan, and the Chinese occupation of Yasin and Gilgit was especially designed to prevent the Tibetans from joining hands with the Arabs on the Oxus.5 As regards the name Chieh-shuai ti j gJJi, found also in other texts with slight variations as Chieh-shih A i4i or in the abbreviated form Chieh jf ,

Historical interest of route.

Attack from Chitrâl, A. D. 749.

2 For recent surveys of the ground traversed by this route, and by others leading farther west from the Kishangangâ and the Kunhiir to Chilàs that will be mentioned below, see Survey of India maps 43 E, F, t, J ; for revised accounts of routes, Major K. Mason's Routes in Western Himalaya, pp. 82-90.

3 See Ancient Khotan, i. pp. i r sqq. For the translations and notes by which M. Chavannes first rendered these important historical notices in the Tang Annals and other Chinese records fully accessible to research, cf. his Documents sur les Tou-kiue occidentaux, pp. 166 sq., 214 sq., 296.

4 Cf. Ancient Khotan, i. p. 12.

5 In the document reproduced by M. Chavannes from the Ts`ê fu yuan kuei, Turcs occid., p. 214, we are told that Chieh-shuai, relying on the protection of its high mountains, had allied itself with the Tibetans. Its chief ` knows that

the territory of P`o-lü is limited, its population dense ; that the cultivated area is small, and consequently when garrison troops are placed there, the supplies fail. It then becomes necessary to purchase salt and rice in Kashmir (Ku-shih-,ni), and it is thus that the difficulty is met. Now the traders' caravans must, on going and coming back, all pass by the kingdom of Chieh-shuai ; its king has therefore accepted the presents offered by the Tibetans, who claimed to establish a stronghold in his territory with a view to getting possession of the important route that leads into P`o-lü. Since Kao 1-Isien-chih opened up P`o-lü, there have been 3,000 more troops there, and P`o-lü has been crushed by this. The king of Chieh-shuai, in agreement with the Tibetans, has taken advantage of the exhausted condition of P`o-lü and decided to invade it..'

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