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0084 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 84 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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Deodar, all black with the smoke of ages. The ornamentation chiefly consisted of a diaper of four-petalled flowers, closely resembling in style those familiar to me from the ancient wood-carvings of the Niya Site and from Gandhara relievos. The work was somewhat rough in execution, but much stronger in line and contrast than the floral design and tracery met with in the modern carvings of Chitral. The square pillars supported large corbels ending in elaborate volutes, and recalled those I subsequently found among the ruins of the Lop-nor Site.4 The volutes in particular were declared to be characteristic of ` old Kafir' work. The opening in the centre of the roof (called aiwân or kumal in Khowar), which alone admits light and air, showed the typical construction. It consists of successive overlapping courses of massive beams gradually reducing the square opening, and will be found illustrated in the photograph secured of such an ` Aiwan' at Miragram.5 It has its exact counterpart in the stone-constructed ceiling still intact in several Kashmir temples, like that at Pandréthan.G Owing to the dim light at the time prevailing in this ancient abode, no photograph could be taken. The owner of the house was a Mullah, practising also as a carpenter. The manifest pride with which he claimed the original ` Kafir ' builder of it a fellow craftsman, seemed to me like the conscious expression of an unbroken living tradition in this local art.

Far less instructive were the remains found above Jughor village, about one and a half miles below the bridge which spans the river opposite the modern fort. On the last offshoot of the spur which flanks the Jughor-gul gorge on the north are the remains of ancient walls known as Mochiândeh, the blacksmiths' village '. They appeared to have been constructed of large uncut stones which were now being quarried by the villagers, and to have formed an oblong of over forty yards in length and about seventeen yards across. There were traces left of dividing walls. I noticed no other remains on the surface of the narrow knoll and its slopes. But Waffadar Khan, the observant Diwan-bégi, who accompanied me, asserted that in his youth arrow-heads, beads, and small débris of superior pottery used to turn up here. The archaeological indications were equally vague at Uchust, a village situated about two miles to the south of the Agency on the hill-side above Lomari. There, most of the houses were said to have been built with stones taken from walls going back to ` Kafir ' or ` Kalash ' times. My visit to the place showed massive walls evidently of earlier date, now used as foundations of houses and as supports of terraces occupying the edge of a small plateau ; but I was not able to discover any carved stones or other structural indications.

More interesting, actually, than these scanty remains were the rides which took me to visit them. They showed me how fertile and open the ground is for some miles above and below castle and Agency. One hamlet with its orchards and avenues almost touches the other, and all receive ample irrigation from a convergence of lively side-streams. The whole forms a closely cultivated and relatively large oasis such as the configuration of the main valley nowhere else allows space for. Hence Chitral must have been at all times, independent of political conditions, in economic respects the most important place of the Kashkar State.

I had no time to visit the remains of two other ` forts of the Kafir time ' which were mentioned to me at Noghorghi, near Chumarkhon, and at Gankorini, near Blach, both in the vicinity of Chitral and on the left and right bank of the river respectively. The loss was scarcely great, since at either site the ruins were described as consisting of mere walls of unhewn stones. But fortunately, opportunities for more interesting archaeological observations offered on the three marches which between May 9 and II took me up to Mastaj along the Upper Chitral River, or, as it is here called, the

' Cf. Fig. 99.

See below, Fig. x6.

6 Cf. Foucher, L'Arl du Gandhdra, i. pp. 143 sqq., with Fig. 57.

Remains of old forts.

Importance of Chitral capital.

Route along Chitral River.