SECOND EXPEDITION, 1906-08 19
examine ruined sites near Ara-tam and Lapchuk was utilized by Làl Singh for a rapid survey :of the southern slopes of the Karlik-tagh, the easternmost portion of the Tien-shanrange, :rising to snowy peaks between 13,000 and 14,000 feet. 50
The same plan was followed during the three weeks spent in the Turfan depression.
While visits to its numerous and important ruins and excavations at an unexplored desert site in its south-eastern corner kept me busy, Làl Singh rapidly surveyed the ground over which the principal
eases of the district are scattered. He also mapped portions of the southern slopes of the snowy Tien-shan which overlooks this basin, so interesting to the geographer. 61 On resuming my journey to Kara-shahr on December 1st, I sent Lai Singh southwards for independent survey work among the low desert ranges of the Kuruk-tâgh. He .accomplished his task successfully by first reaching Singer, the only .permanently .occupied spot in a vast region of crumbling rock, bare gravel or salt-encrusted ground, and thence carried his survey westwards through wholly unexplored hills to Korla at the extreme north-east corner of the Tarim basin proper. 62 The local experience gained on this journey proved of very great help to Lai . Singh on his far more extensive explorations in the Kuruk-tagh during 1914-15.
I myself after gaining the Kara-shahr valley by rapid marches on the caravan route
from Turfan was busily occupied by excavations at the large site of
ruined Buddhist temples north of Shôrchuk. Lai Singh having
rejoined me by Christmas, we moved up the valley to the ruins of
Khôra whence we reached Korla by New Year's day, 1908. Reports received there about sand-buried ' old towns ' drew me then into the unsurveyed desert belt between the Inchike and Charehak river beds to the south-west. 54 When our surveys there had proved these reports to be based on mere folklore beliefs, current all along the Taklamakan, we took separate routes to Kuehl. I struck across the scrubby desert to the north of those river beds and after reaching Bugur followed the ancient road along the foot of the Tien-shan westwards, while Lal Singh mapped the unsurveyed course of the Inchike-daryes to Shahyâr, rejoining me at Kucha. 55
After rapid visits to ancient remains on the outskirts of this large and important
oasis I started towards the close of January, 1908, to the south of the great desert for the exploration of ruined sites in the Taklamakan. In order to reach them by a ' short cut' we followed the line indicated
by Dr. Hedin's pioneer journey of 1896 and leading from Shahyar due south through the .desert of large dunes to where the Keriya river loses itself in the sands. This desert tramp of fifteen days from the Tarim to the point where we first reached the water, or rather ice, of the dying Keriya river proved beset with serious difficulties and risks. 56 Yet it also was attended by plenty of interesting topographical observations regarding the ancient dead delta of the river; the high ridges of dunes (dawân) which here as in the Lop desert usually keep parallel to ancient river beds, however long ago they may have been dried up and smothered, and other typical features. 57 When at last we had reached the ever errant river it was found to have formed a new bed at a considerable distance to the west of the one where Hedin had seen it.
After fresh excavations at the Kara-dong site ( Sheet No. 13. D. 3) we moved by a new route to the desert belt north of the Domoko oasis. While I was
Explorations in g engaged there in exploring an extensive but much scattered series of
desert E. of Khotan. engaged p b
ruins, Lai Single carried out useful supplementary surveys both to the
Surveys in, and S. of, Turfan basin.
so See Sheet Nos. 34. D. 2, 3 ; 37. A. 2, 3; Desert ,Cathay, ii. pp. 345 sqq.
61 See Sheet No. 28, d. 2, 3, D. 3; Desert Cathay, ii. pp. 353 sqq.
52 See Sheets Nos: 28, B. 4; 29. B. 1, 2; 26. A.1, B. 2, C. 1, 2, D. 1; 21. D. 1.
55 See Sheet No. 25. A. 1; Desert Cathay, ii. pp. 864 sqq. For the route from Turfän, see Sheet
No. 28. A. 3, 4, B-C. 3; 24. A.D. 4.
60 See Sheet No. 21. C. 1, 2, D. 2 ; Desert Cathay, H. pp. 374 sqq.
" See Sheets Nos. 21. A, 13.1.2; 17. B.D. 1,2. 55 See Sheets Nos. 17. A. 3, 4; 18. A. 1-3; cf Desert Cathay, ii. pp. 882 sqq.
57 Cf. Serindia, pp. 1239 sq.