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0239 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 239 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Sec. i]   THE HILL OF GOSRIVGA   187

refer, this text states : ` In the territory of this kingdom there is Mount Cow's Head

(Go§irsa). A divine spirit from time to time comes to this mountain and resides there ; this

mountain has a jade river ; ordinarily the river brings down in its bed splendid jade. The

king of the territory collects these stones regularly and comes to offer them from afar to the

Eastern court.' This passage makes it quite clear that the ` montagne de la Tête de Boeuf',

which in an extract from the report of the Chinese mission of 938 A. D., reproduced by Rémusat

and quoted above, is placed at the point where the jade river reaches the confines of Yü-t`ien,

is no other than Hsüan-tsang's Mount Gosrnga 13.

A description of the hill of Kohmâri and its Ziârat will best show how closely their position Hill of

and character agree with all the indications furnished by the Chinese and Tibetan notices just Kohmâri.

reviewed. Opposite to the large village of Ujat, famous for its grapes, there rises immediately

above the eastern bank of the Kara-kâsh a bluff conglomerate ridge to a height of about 250

feet above the river-bed. It forms the last offshoot of a detritus-covered spur descending

towards the plain from the eroded range which separates the Kara-kâsh and Yurung-lash valleys

where they approach the Khotan oasis. The part of the ridge known as Kohmâri falls off

towards the river with an almost vertical cliff face. In order to reach its top I had first to

cross the gravel-filled bed of the Kara-kâsh, here about a mile broad, but dry at the time of

my visit except for a few small channels, in a south-easternly direction to just below the little

village of Nussia. Here the river face of the ridge is less steep, showing on its surface

mostly gravel and loose stones, and a rough road ascends its slope in the direction of Kohmâri.

From the top, where the precipitous portion of the ridge is reached, the track turns eastwards

for a short distance and then winds between dune-like hillocks of gravel back to the brink of

the cliff.

Close to the latter there lies, on a kind of saddle between two low hillocks of gravel, the Mazâr of

Mazar which is worshipped as the resting-place of a saint popularly known as ` Khôja Maheb Kohmâri.

Khbjam' 14. His supposed tomb is marked by a stone-heap about five feet high, enclosed by

a rough wooden fence and surmounted by the usual bundle of staffs with flags, pieces of cloth,

yak-tails, and similar ex-votos of the pious 15. The tomb is faced on the north by a low wooden

mosque with a verandah, built, I was told, in the reign of Yâqub Beg. A path descending the

west face of the cliff to about fifty feet below the top leads to a narrow terrace, which forms

the approach to the small cave held sacred as the supposed residence of the saint. The

terrace is partly artificial, resting on rough walls which have been built out with rubble taken

from the conglomerate. Most of the space thus gained is occupied by a low wooden structure

built against the cliff, which serves for the accommodation of the ` Shaikhs ' or hereditary

attendants of the shrine.

Immediately to the south of this structure lies the entrance to the cave. It is reached Sacred cave

by a rough wooden ladder, as seen in the photograph (Fig. 25). The cave, which may, hilKohman

perhaps, be due in part to artificial excavation, consists of two stories. The lower one runs

from north-west to south-east, with a total length of about 39 feet. It slopes slightly upwards

from the entrance and keeps an average height of from 8 to io feet, except in the

innermost recess, which is much lower, but has a funnel-like opening on the top to a total

height of io feet. The greatest width is about 14 feet. From this story a rough ladder leads

to a small upper chamber, which communicates with the story below by means of four holes

13 See Rémusat, Ville de Khotan, p. 112, and above P. 179.

14 Muhibb Khwâja is evidently the correct form of the

name intended.   'S See Fig. 24.

B b 2