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0052 Serindia : vol.1
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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Fa-hsien's To-ti or Darél.

Hsiiantsang's route from Swat to Darél.

Fa-hsien's route from the Pamirs to Darél.

6   ACROSS SWAT AND D Ï R   [Chap. I

There can be no doubt that the travellers' route lay across the Pamirs which the Chinese have known from the time of the Han dynasty as the ' Onion Mountains ' or Ts`ung-ling.4 It is equally certain that the territory of roll here mentioned by Fa-hsien is identical with Hsiian-tsang's ' Valley of Ta-li-lo' which was long ago located by General Cunningham in the present Darél on the right bank of the Indus, opposite Childs.° The identity of To-li and Ta-li-lo is established by the mention which both pilgrims make of a certain miraculous wooden image of Maitreya there worshipped.° The Chinese Ta-li-lo is an exact transcription of the name of Darél.

The indications point unmistakably also to this hill tract in Hsiian-tsang's description of the route followed from Mêng-chieh-li, the capital of Udyana, which corresponds to the present Manglaur on the Swat River. ' North-east from Mêng-chieh-li over hills and across galleys, ascending the Indus by hazardous paths through gloomy gorges, crossing bridges of ropes or iron chains, across bridges spanning precipices or climbing by means of pegs for steps, a journey of above i,000 li brings you to the Ta-li-lo valley, the old seat of government of Udyana.'7 Reference to the Transfrontier Survey sheets shows plainly that the route is meant which leads from Manglaur, still the chief place in Upper Swat, north-eastwards through the hills of Ghûrband and Kanda to the Indus and then along its tortuous narrow gorge up to Darél. The greater part of this route through what is known as the Indus Kôhistan has never been properly surveyed, the tribal territory being wholly closed to Europeans. But information gained through native sources makes it abundantly clear that the description given by Hsiian-tsang, and in still fuller detail by Fa-hsien (see below), is borne out by the great natural difficulties of the route. The estimate given by Hsiian-tsang of the length of the journey also agrees well with the evidence of the sketch-maps which are all that is available.°

Though Darél itself is still inaccessible to Europeans, the information obtained about it through native channels indicates that this valley is extremely fertile and well-populated 1.° The community of Shina-speaking hill-men which inhabits it, counting some 3,000 fighting-men, until quite recently retained the status of a small republic like others in the Indus Kôhistan. But close relations with the chiefs ruling Yasin and Punyal across the mountains northward are attested in the past. The same topographical facts which explain these relations indicate also the route which Fa-hsien is likely to have followed on his descent to Darél from the Pamirs. A number of relatively easy mountain routes connect Darél on the north with the valley of the upper Gilgit River between Gakuch and Ghizar.10 The shortest and most direct of these routes crossing the Dodargali Pass leads straight to Gûpis at the mouth of the Yasin valley, and once in the latter we are on what was

' See Stein, Ancient Khotan, i. p. 27.

° See Ancient Geography of India, p. 82 ; Stein, Ancient Khotan, i. p. 6, note 4.

6 For Hsiian-tsang cf. Julien, Illemoires, i. p. 149 ; Beal, Si yu-ki, i, p. 134 ; Watters, Yuan Chwang, i. p. 289.

' See Watters, Yuan Chwang, i. p. 239. I have substituted the correct transcription of Hsiian-tsang's name of the Udyana capital for the fanciful restoration ' Mangkil '. For the identification with the modern Manglaur, see below,

P. 13.

8 Measured on the Northern Transfrontier' sheets of the Survey of India the aggregate distance of the route from Mankiàl, the chief place of Darél, along the Indus to Beshan and thence via Ghilrband to Manglaur amounts to about 84o miles. Considering the exceptionally difficult ground, it

is certain that this must be increased by at least one-third in order to arrive at an approximately correct estimate. If Hstian-tsang did not personally visit Ta-li-lo, as the wording of his Life seems to imply (see Julien, Vie, p. 88 ; Watters, Yuan Chwang, i. p. 239), he must have secured his information from a very trustworthy guide.

For an account of the Indus Kôhistan and the succession of gorges in which the Indus cuts its way down through the mountains after its great bend near Sazin, see Biddulph, Hindoo Koosh, pp. 3 sqq. On p. 7 the ' good road, much frequented by traders, [which] leads from Ghorbund into the Swat Valley ' is specially referred to.

9 Cf. Biddulph, Hindoo Koosh, pp. 83 sq.

10 See ' Northern Transfrontier' Sheets, Survey of India; Nos. z S.W. and 3 N.W., 4 miles to I inch.