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0113 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 113 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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NONE of the early notices about Kâshgar, above reviewed, contains any definite indication as to the position of its capital. But the oldest Muhammadan description of Kashgar I can trace—and one exceptionally trustworthy from the intimate acquaintance of its author, Mirzâ Haidar, with this territory—clearly shows that the position of the city of Kâshgar early in the sixteenth century was the same as now 1. The absence of any evidence or tradition to the contrary would in itself suffice to justify this assumption ; but fortunately we possess direct proof of the antiquity of the site in antiquarian remains of undoubtedly pre-Muhammadan origin.

These consist of the large ruined mound of Kurghân- Tim , near the left bank of the Tu nen

I Mirzâ Haidar, Tarikh-i-Rashidi, p. 295, speaks of Kashgar as situated on the River Tinian, i.e. the present Tiimen, which, as the map shows, actually flows round the north-western and north-eastern faces of the city. He places the River Kara-Tâzghun (I in the dialect of Kashgar Tazghun means a river ') to the south of it, half way between Kashgar and Yangi-Hisar. This, again, is in perfect accordance with the actual position of Kashgar, the river in question (also known as Kara-su, by which name it is marked on my map) being still reckoned as midway between the two towns.

He further tells us that the Timan river ' flows between the ancient citadel of Kashgar which Mira. Aba Bakr destroyed, and the new one which he built on the banks of this river '. Mirzâ Baidar, who in 1514 helped to dethrone Mirzâ Aba Bakr, refers elsewhere to this citadel as having been built by that tyrant shortly before his overthrow, to hold one thousand horse and foot (ibid., p. 304). Considering that this stronghold is said to have been improvised within seven days, we can scarcely feel surprised at its having disappeared without leaving any trace in remains or tradition. It may be supposed to have stood somewhere between the north-western face of the present city wall and the right bank of the river. On the other hand, the name Kurghain, ` fort,' and the tradition of having once been a fortified position, still clings to this day to the suburb which lines the left river bank opposite that part of the city. It is from its proximity to this suburb that the ruined Stûpa described below has received its name Kurghân-Tim.

The account of Kashgar which Ritter (Asien, v. p. 4X2) quotes, through Klaproth's mediation, from the Jahàn-puma


of the Turkish geographer Hâji Khalfa (circ. 1640 A. D.) is manifestly a somewhat imperfect reproduction of the remarks of Mira. Haidar.

Mirzâ Haidar knew Kashgar well ; for much of his youth, when he served his kinsman Sultan Said Khan, Aba Bakr's successor, during the years 1514-30, must have been spent in that city. His general description of Kashgar and the surrounding territories, written long after he had Ieft that region to become virtual ruler of Kashmir, is tinged with the glow of happy personal recollections, and is withal true in its particulars. He would not have been a Moghul if he had failed to extol the abundance and excellence of the fruits of Kâshgar in the passage already quoted (see p. 69, note 33). But we recognize the impress of more individual feelings in the words in which he characterizes the life of the city. Those who have lived in Kashgar for any time can scarcely read them without being touched.

The inhabitants of towns who go there regard Kash-gar as a wild country, while the people of the steppes consider it a refined city. It is a sort of Purgatory between the Paradise of towns and the Hell of deserts.... In a word, it is free from the discord of men and the trampling of hoofs, and it is a safe retreat for the contented and the rich. Great blessings accrue to the pious now, from the blessed saints who lived there in time past. From two pious persons, out of many I have seen, I have heard that when people migrate from that country to some other they cannot find the same peace of mind, and they remember Kashgar [with regret]. This is the highest praise.' Târikh-iRashid, p. 303..


Site of ancient Kâshgar.