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0031 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 31 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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regarding Kashmir contained in his itinerary have been fully discussed by me elsewhere 4. Wu-k`ung correctly described the kingdom of Kashmir as enclosed on all sides by mountains farming its natural ramparts. Only three roads had been opened through them, and these were secured by gates. The road in the east, leading to Tu-fan or Tibet, corresponds plainly to the present route over the ZOji-La to Ladak and thence to Tibet. By another road, which started from ` the western gate ' and went to Chien-t`o-lo or Gandhara, the route following the Jehlam river in its course to the west is clearly meant. The third road, in the north, is described as reaching into Vo-lu. Its identity with the route represented in its main direction by the present ` Gilgit Road ' was beyond all doubt, even before Professor Chavannes' lucid analysis of the original Chinese records had conclusively proved that the term P`o-lü or Pu-lu applied to modern Gilgit as well as to Baltistan.

Of the territory into which that route first takes us, one important historical fact can still be established from Kalhana's Chronicle. Several passages relating to events on this side of the Kashmir frontier show plainly that the hill tract formed by the drainage area of the Upper Kisangariga was occupied, in ancient times as now, by a population belonging to the Dard race 6. The tenacity with which the ethnographic watershed has been here maintained during long centuries creates a reasonable presumption that the occupation by Dard tribes of the mountain territories extending north-westwards of Kashmir up to Chitral and the Hindukush likewise dates back to a very early period.

We must attach the more value to this evidence because the indications which Sanskrit texts and the works of classical geographers have preserved for us as to the early seats of the Dards (Skr. Darad, Ddyada ; the Aapcc6pac of Ptolemy, Dardae of Pliny, &c.), are by no means as exact as we should wish. From the account given by Kalhana of events among the Dards of the Kisanganga Valley near his own time, it may be concluded that this hill tract then formed a small chiefship. The division of the territory inhabited by the Dards into a considerable number of more or less independent principalities has prevailed also during recent periods of their history, and is amply accounted for by geographical features. Mountain ranges of exceptional ruggedness, covered by eternal snows on their summit lines and culminating in some of the highest peaks of the world, render communication between the narrow valleys difficult even for the hardy hillmen who have succeeded during so many centuries in maintaining here their struggle with a harsh climate and a barren soil. Frequently the confined valleys themselves present almost equal difficulties, where they narrow to rock-bound gorges filled completely for considerable periods of the year by snow-fed rivers. The formidable nature of the mountain-barriers in this region is reflected in the notice which Ptolemy records of ` the Daradrai in whose country the mountains are of surpassing height' 6. Nor is there need to search far in the accounts of modern travellers in order to find ample illustration of the difficulties and dangers so graphically described by the old Chinese pilgrims who made their way along the precipitous rock walls of the Dard Valleys 7.

I have fully discussed elsewhere the results of that remarkable seclusion which Kashmir Kalhana's enjoyed during a long period of its history, owing to the natural strength of its mountain Daraddesa.

The Dards of the Kisangangâ Valley.

' See ` Notes on Ou-k`ong's account of Kasmir', in Proceedings of the Imperial Academy, Vienna, 1896, vol. cxxxv. pp. 22 sq.; also Raja., II. pp. 357 sq.

S Compare, regarding the Dards and their relations with Kashmir, my notes on Rajat. i. 312 ; vii. 911 ; also II.

PP. 431, 435.

e See Ptolemy, Geogr., VII. i. 42.

7 Compare Fâ-hien's Travels, translated by Voyage de Song Yun, transi. by Chavannes, p tsiang's Si yu-kz; transi. by Beal, i. p. 134 sq.

Legge, p. 26; . 28; Hsüan-

B 2