862 ACROSS THE PAMIRS [Chap. XXV
Routes from Where the route from the Khargôsh Pamir joins in, one reaches the well-made Russian bridle-
Khargôsh path connecting Langar-kisht along Lkisht with the cart-road alon the Alichur Pamir. The debouchure of
passes. the Khargôsh valley marks the boundary between Kirghiz and Wakhi grazing grounds on the
right bank of the river, and there, at an elevation of some 12,7w feet, I learned of oats having been recently sown and reaped. On the level terrace of Paiga-tala a couple of miles lower down I noticed the remains of what looked like a ruined Obo, built of rough stones and about 15 feet long. Its E.—W. bearing precluded its being taken for a Muhammadan tomb. Old cultivation terraces were met with at Yol-mazar at an elevation of about 12,500 feet. About three miles lower we passed on the left bank the mouth of a wide grassy valley, known as Issik-bulak from a hot spring. From it a much-frequented track leads to the Sarighaz pass, the only one of the Wakhan range by which laden animals can be taken from the Pamir river to the Ab-i-Panja.21
After passing on the third march the narrow Mats valley (Fig. 401), up which a convenient route leads to Shughnan, we came again and again upon old fields and canals abandoned within living memory, situated on terraces of the steadily widening valley. But from about 10 miles above Langar-kisht onwards stretches of actual cultivation become more and more frequent, on terraced slopes conveniently reached by irrigation, while small hamlets nestled among trees in sheltered nooks lower down. The road throughout commanded a grand view to the south, towards the snowy rampart of the Hindukush, guarded by needle-like ice peaks (Fig. 392). It afforded impressive assurance that the watershed towards the Indus was near, and nearer still the great fosse of the Ab-i-Panja valley below it which comprises Wakhan.
On the evening of August 3oth I reached Langar-kisht, some three miles above the junction of the Pamir river with the Ab-i-Panja, and received a very kind welcome at the small Cossack post guarding the Russian portion of Wakhan. The close ethnic and political relations which at all times must have linked the uppermost Oxus valley with the Hindukush territories to the south was strikingly brought home to me by the fact that Sarbuland Khan, the Ming-bashi of Russian Wakhan, who had ridden ahead to receive me, was a younger brother of `Ali Mardan Shah, the old ruler of Wakhan, now for many years past established at Ashkûman, and was well acquainted with Raja Pakhtûn Wali of Darél and Tangir. It was one of his sons living at Ashkûman who with his party of Wakhis had two years before so valiantly helped me across the Chillinji pass 22
21 The application in the maps of the name Sarighaz to the valley itself, which does not drain from the pass, seems to be
due to some misapprehension. 22 See above, i. pp. 5o sq.