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0142 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 142 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Hsiüatitsang's route.


M. Chavannes has already recognized that, judging by the distances indicated, Chih-chih-man corresponds to Hsüan-tsang's Chê-chü-chia, and has thus to be looked for in the vicinity of the present Karghalik. This identification is supported by the measurement of 56o li subsequently given for the total distance between Chih-chih-man and Kashgar, and by the mention of the ` Bitter Springs ' and the ` Yellow Canal'. to the north-west of the former place. By the ` Bitter Springs ' might be meant the extensive spring-fed marsh which is passed near the left bank of the Tiznaf river, on the road from Karghalik to Posgam, while in the Yellow Canal ' we probably have a reference to one or other of the large canals which carry the water of the Yarkand river through the oases of Posgâm and Yarkand. Nothing definite can be suggested as to the identity of P`o-hai and the river I-kuan, since their distances from Khotan are not mentioned in the itinerary. We are less in the dark as regards the ` Wei passage ', which, judging from its situation, 50 li to the west of the Khotan capital, and the term kuan,' frontier pass, guard-house ', used for its designation, was manifestly a fortified station on the main road westwards near the edge of the Khotan oasis. We probably have its modern representative in the fort of Zawa-Kurghan, which was erected for a similar purpose during the short reign of the rebel Habibullah, near the point where the road from Karghalik enters the oasis 11.

Turning to Hsüan-tsang's account, we learn from both the Hsi yü-chi and the ` Life ' that the journey from Chê-chü-chia to Ch`ü-sa-tan-na, or Khotan, took the pilgrim Boo li or eight marches eastwards 12. The Hsiyü-chi adds that the road was ` skirting along the high mountain passes and traversing valleys '. We have seen already that Hsüan-tsang's kingdom of Chê-chüchia corresponds to the present district of Karghalik, and that its capital, from which the above measurement is in all probability taken, may be looked for in the vicinity of the town of Karghalik. The indicated length of the journey, eight days, agrees with the assumption that Hsüan-tsang travelled by the line of the present high road ; for marching with heavy baggage on camels, as I did in October, 1900, I learned from practical experience that the distance of about 155 miles (by the map) between Karghalik and Khotan could not easily be covered in less than eight days. The caravan of the pious traveller, loaded as we know it to have been with plentiful collections of MSS. and sacred objects, would certainly have needed that time for the journey.

An approximate gauge as to his rate of travel is afforded by the fact that he places the spot where the sacred rats were worshipped by all wayfarers, and which, as we shall see below, is undoubtedly marked by the modern shrine of Kumrabat-Padshâhim, on the present KarghalikKhotan route, at 150-16o li to the west of the Khotan capital13. The distance from this spot to Yôtkan, the site of the old capital, is 24 miles by the route as shown on my map, and as the road is quite easy, except for the 4 or 5 miles of drift sand to the east of Kumrabat-Padshâhim, this cannot possibly represent more than 3o miles of actual walking distance. A second locality on the route, the town of P`o-ch`ieh-i (Po-kia-i), which Hsüan-tsang places at 300 li to the west of the Khotan capital, and which he reached after crossing the western frontier of the kingdom, probably corresponds to the oasis of Piâlma, approximately 56 miles by road from Yôtkan 14.



" Julien, J. as., 1846, viii. p. 245, renders Wei-kuan by `barrière des roseaux '. If this rendering is justified, could we recognize in the ` Gate of reeds' an allusion to the wide reed-covered expanse through which the Yawa-Üstang flows just after passing Zawa-Kurghân ?

The term kuan and the position indicated recall to my mind the part which the Dviiras or fortified frontier watch-stations have played in ancient Kashmir; see my translation

of the Ràjalaraingini, i. 122 note, and II. p. 391.

12 See Mémoires, transi. Julien, ii. p. 223; transi. Beal, ii. p. 308 ; Vie, p. 278.

13 See Mémoires, ii. p. 232 ; transi. Beal, ii. p. 315; comp. below, sec. v.

14 See Mémoires, ii. p. 23o; transi. Beal, ii. p. 314 ; comp. below, p. sec. v.