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0280 Innermost Asia : vol.2
Innermost Asia : vol.2 / Page 280 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000187
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Volume of Yangihissâr stream.

March to Bugur oasis.


About 45 yards to the south-east I found a low and shapeless mound marking a completely destroyed structure about 18 feet square which may possibly have been a Stûpa base. Some II yards farther off in the same direction and quite close to the edge of the terrace I traced the foundations of a larger structure. The walls, built of stamped clay, had on the east been partly carried off by the fall of the terrace edge. Two fairly large apartments could still be made out here. Some refuse outside containing reed-straw suggested that the place had served as quarters. At a distance of about 20 yards to the south and on the next lower terrace stood the remains of a rectangular structure showing walls 2 feet 8 inches thick and measuring 26 feet by 22 within. The walls, built of bricks of the same size, stood to a height of 4 or 5 feet only, and nothing remained inside the structure. A row of four low mounds, each about 12 feet across, standing in a row to the south and clearly representing the bases of little Stûpas that had been completely demolished, suggested that the rectangular structure had once served as a shrine. The position occupied by these ruins in relation to the canal head close by left no doubt in my mind that they were the remains of a Buddhist sanctuary which had served as a place of pilgrimage and worship at this su-bdshi of Yangi-hissdr, just like those at the heads of the main canals irrigating other oases from Khotan to Turfân.4 Unprotected by sand or heavy accumulation of debris and in close vicinity to the cultivated area, these modest ruins had evidently long ago been again and again burrowed into by treasure-seekers. Nothing was left here for the excavator, nor did our search of the surrounding area yield any datable relic.

Before leaving I descended over three more terraces to the stream below, which here washes the foot of vertical cliffs composed of layers of clay and rubble. The water from the mountains was said to have arrived only five or six days ago ; yet the stream already carried over 41 cubic feet of water per second, and a rapid increase was expected. The regular discharge of ak-su from this stream during the later spring and summer was variously estimated at io to 15 teish, which is more than enough to irrigate the present cultivated area. Before its arrival a sufficient amount of kara-su is available from springs situated in the bed of the Yangi-hissdr-akin and where smaller drainage beds debouch on either side of it, as well as from springs within the oasis itself to the south of the high road. Judging from the volume measured in the stream at a time when the melting of the snows on the higher portions of the range can scarcely have started, I am inclined to believe that the valleys which feed it with their drainage extend farther into the mountains than is indicated by Lai Singh's plane-table sketch reproduced in Map No. 20. A. 4.

From Ak-tam we turned to the west-south-west and having skirted the extreme north-western extension of Yangi-hissdr cultivation above the village of Mâlu made our way along the foot of the stony glacis of the hills. The plentiful scrub and jungle through which we passed from time to time or sighted to the south in the course of an eighteen miles' ride to the north-eastern corner of the Bugur oasis, showed plainly that moisture is also brought to this area by smaller drainage beds between the rivers of Yangi-hissdr and Bugur. From Târlak, the first village reached on the Bugur side, we turned to the south and had to cover some fifteen miles more before reaching the small town of Bugur, the head-quarters of the district. Almost the whole of the way lay through well-cultivated land. The Kizil river, to which this large and fertile oasis owes its existence, carried at the time only spring water, or kara-su, where we crossed it below Târlak. Such water as was coming down from the melting snows of the mountains was being caught higher up and turned into canals. The marshy and deep-cut bed was there over 30o yards wide, and the greater part of it was said to be filled when the ak-su from the snows arrived. The large volume then carried by the Kizil-daryâ of Bugur is proved by the wide extent of the Kök-chöl marshes, into which

4 See Anc. Khotan, i. p. 189 ; Serindia, iii. pp. i r5i sq., 1155, 1238 ; above, i. pp. 69, 167 ; ii. p. 751.