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0058 Serindia : vol.1
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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Sung Yün's description of Indus route.

12   ACROSS SWAT AND MR   [Chap. I

accurate map of these regions, that for a mobile column of horsemen forcing its way from Badakhshan to Kashmir, the route leading through the Bashgol Valley, Dir, Talash, Swat, Bunér, Agrior, and up the Jhelum Valley would form at the present day, too, the most direct and practicable line of invasion.44

In his narrative Sung Yün mentions also an alternative route to Wu-ch`ang or Udyana, which

led through Po-lu-le   )   ,, and describes its formidable difficulties. Iron chains there served
for bridges, and suspended across the void formed a passage ; below, the bottom was not visible ; there was no support by the sides ; in an instant the traveller's body might be precipitated to a depth of 8o,000 feet. On this account Sung Yün and Hui-shêng, realizing from afar the nature of these places, refrained from taking this route.45 The Pei-shih's corresponding, though briefer, account of this route, places it distinctly to the east. This fact, together with the verbal approximation of Sung Yün's Po-lu-le and Hsüan-tsang's Po-lu-lo, above Darél,46 makes it certain that the route is meant which led through Yasin and Darél down to the gorges of the Indus Valley, and which, as we saw, was followed by Fa-hsien47

Sung Ytin, who spent the whole winter and part of the spring of A. D. 5 20 in Wu-ch`ang

t , has left a full and enthusiastic description of the country where he found Buddhism still highly flourishing.43 He makes its territory touch the Ts`ung-ling Mountains to the north, and India to the south. The climate was temperate, and the people and natural products abundant and strong. The local customs conformed to pious traditions of old. The king conducted himself with strict adherence to Buddhist rules, observed a vegetable diet and abstinence, and worshipped Buddha at daybreak and nightfall. The gracious reception he accorded to Sung Yün is related at length, as well as the polite desire he expressed at its end to be re-born in the ' Celestial Kingdom '.

People guilty of mortal crimes were not executed, but banished to desert mountains where they were left the care of their own maintenance.49 In doubtful cases justice was administered by ordeal based on the use of drugs. The soil is described as fertile and excellent, and the people and products as flourishing. All kinds of cereals were grown and the different fruits ripened in abundance. During the night the sound of the temple bells filled the whole country. There was

44 Marco Polo in Book r, Chap. xxx, estimates Keshimur' or Kashmir at only seven days' journey from Pashai to the south-east, and the shortness of this estimate has perplexed even Yule ; see id., Marco Polo, i. p. 166. But the route above indicated permits an explanation. Starting from some point like Arnawai on the Künar River which certainly would be well within ' Pashai ', lightly equipped horsemen could by that route easily reach the border of Agror on the Indus within seven days. Speaking from personal knowledge of almost the whole of the ground I should be prepared to do the ride myself by the following stages : Dir, Warai, Sado, Chakdara, Kinkargalai, Bajkatta, Kai or Darband on the Indus. It must be borne in mind that, as Yule rightly recognized, Marco Polo is merely reproducing information derived from a Mongol source and based on Nigndar's raid ; and further that Hazâra and the valley of the Jhelum were probably then still dependent on the Kashmir kingdom, as they were certainly in Kalhana's time, only a century earlier. As to the rate at which Mongols were accustomed to travel on ' Dak', cf. Yule, Marco Polo, i. pp. 434 sqq.

48 See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, pp. 28 sqq.; for the note in the Pei-skih, see ibid., p. 28, note 3.

16 For Hsüan-tsang's Po-lu-lo ,1;+,1   j, cf. Ancient
Khotan, i. p. 6, note 5. As Hsüan-tsang places Po-lu-lo Soo li to the east of Darél up the Indus it must strictly be identified with Baltistân. Between Sung Yün's Po-lu-le, which evidently represents Yasin, and Po-lu-lo there is the same relation as between the ' Little Po-1U' and the ' Great P`o-la' of the T'ang Annals, the former representing Yasin with Gilgit, the latter Baltistân ; cf. Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 5 sqq.

47 See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Yun, p. z8, note 7 ; above, p. 7.

46 See Chavannes, loc. cit., pp. 29 sqq. I extract from this translation only the essential features of the general description.

49 Colonel Deane in Notes on Udyâna, JR.A.S., 18g6, p. 662, has rightly called attention to the fact that out-casting is the sole punishment for murder also among the Kafir tribes; see Robertson, The Kafirs of the Hindu-kush, pp. 440 sqq•

Sung Yün's account of Udyâna.