SECTION IV.-THE TOGA-DONG MOUNDS AND THE KERIYA—KHOTAN
Gulakhma, which counts over nine hundred homesteads in its several villages, and in its central part near the Keriya—Khotan route bears the look of a thriving small market town, might have tempted me to give to my caravan the rest which it badly needed. But time would not permit of more than a day's halt, which I myself used for the examination of some ancient mounds I had heard of as recently opened by people of Chira. Etiquette demanded that I should visit them under the guidance of the Beg of the latter oasis. So on March 29 I rode to Sarigh, the easternmost village of Chira, where the Beg's party joined me, and thence was taken again south-eastwards into the scrub-covered waste which stretches south of the high road connecting the two oases. After about three miles the sandy soil changed to gravel, and three miles beyond, at a point about equidistant from Gulakhma and Chira, we arrived at the mounds of Tüga-dong (` the Camel Hillocks ').
There, not far from the edge of the pebble ` Sai,' I found some seventeen roughly circular mounds scattered at irregular intervals, varying from • io to 6o yards, in the general direction from north to south. The largest measured about 79 ft. in diameter, with a height of r r ft., while the smallest was about 3o ft. across, rising to 5 ft. above the ground-level. They had all been dug into from the top in the centre, and cuttings had often been made from their sides ; but this work of destruction had evidently been carried on at different periods, as indicated by the varying states of decay of the interior materials thus exposed. There were indications of
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Halt at Gulakhma.