Sec. Hi] HISTORICAL SITES OF SARÎKOL 39
Gumbaz and Tughlân-shahr, and known as Bazar-dasht, still retains the remains of shops built in rows and of sun-dried bricks, showing that the spot was once occupied by a Bazar.
In connexion with the reminiscences of Persian lore just mentioned, it may be pointed out that the name Varshadeh, used as an old designation of Tash-kurghan by the inhabitants speaking Sarikoli, also clearly bears the stamp of Iranian origin.
Apart from the capital we find two more localities specified in Hsüan-tsang's account of Sarikol. One of these, ` a great rocky scarp ' with two rock chambers, in each of which an Arhat was shown plunged in complete ecstasy, yet with his body undecayed in spite of long
centuries, cannot be identified. It is described as situated some 300 li to the south-east of
the city, and may, therefore, be looked for among the high ranges which are drained by the Vacha river, the nearest affluent of the Tash-kurghan river from the south-east.
The other locality was a hospice for travellers, or PunyakVii, which the pilgrim reached after leaving the capital towards the north-east and marching for 200 li across mountains and along precipices Is. It is described as being situated in a space comprising some hundred ch`ing. (thousand Chinese acres), in the midst of the four mountains belonging to the eastern chain of the Ts`ung-ling mountains '. ` In this, both during summer and winter, there fall down piles of snow ; the cold winds and icy storms rage. The ground, impregnated with salt, produces no crops, there are no trees, and nothing but scrubby underwood. Even at the time of the great heat the wind and the snow continue. Scarcely have travellers entered this region when they find themselves surrounded by vapour from the snow 19. Merchant caravans, in coming and going, suffer severely in these difficult and dangerous spots.'
Hsüan-tsang then relates ` an old story ' how once a great troop of merchants, with thousands of followers and camels, perished here by wind and snow. An Arhat of Chieh-p`an-t`o, having failed to rescue them in time, collected all the precious objects left behind by the caravan and constructed a house, in which he accumulated ample stores. He also bought land in the neighbouring territories, and with its proceeds provided houses in the bordering towns for the accommodation of travellers.
Taking into account the direction of the pilgrim's route after leaving Tash-kurghan and the distance indicated, it is clear that the position of the hospice must be identified with the Chichiklik plateau, a broad elevated valley, which the main route from Sarikol towards Kashgar and Yarkand crosses at a distance of two marches from Tash-kurghan. Chichiklik is the point which all travellers in the above direction must traverse by whatever passes (Yangi-Dawan, Yambulak, or Chichiklik-Dawân) they may surmount the second of the great mountain ranges which radiate southwards from Murtagh-Ata. A reference to the detailed account of this much-frequented route given by Sir D. Forsyth's Mission 20, or to Lord Curzon's Map of the Pamirs, will illustrate this remark.
The important position of Chichiklik, as the natural halting-place between the passes leading over the first and second of those ranges, and its high elevation, explain the provision of a hospice at this point. Though I have not been able to trace any exact observation as to the height of Chichiklik, it may safely be concluded from Colonel Trotter's description and the elevations ascertained for the passes by which it is approached on either side (Kök-moinak Pass, 15,670 feet, to south-west, and the almost imperceptible watershed to the north-east, 14,48o feet) 21, that the