Sec. iii) FROM DOMOKO TO KHOTAN 1265
to be found either of its age or of its purpose. Whatever ground near by had not as yet been
brought under cultivation showed far-advanced wind-erosion, with the usual small pottery frag-
ments marking former occupation. About 1 miles to the north-west, amidst old tamarisk-cones
now completely bared of their bushes and roots for the sake of supplying Chira with fuel, I was Relievo
shown an area about a quarter of a mile square thickly covered with ancient looking pottery débris. frs. from
From the soft loess dust of the ground numerous tiny fragments of stucco relievos were picked up, Maira-rak:
of which those shown in the List below are specimens. These fragments were all in hard white
stucco, and must have belonged to the wall decoration of a Buddhist shrine completely destroyed
long ago and probably dating from Tang times.
From Chira I moved on March 24 westwards to regain the extreme edge of the Khotan district Extended
at Lop. I had followed this main caravan route between Keriya and Khotan before, and could cultivation
therefore appreciate the change which the ground immediately to the west of Chira had undergone Chira. through extended cultivation. The few straggling fields of Kankal seen in 1901 had grown since then into a compact stretch of cultivation joined up with the kône yer, or ' old land ', of Chira, and extending it two miles further. Beyond this again the new little oasis of Khalpat had grown up around what was before a solitary Langar by the roadside, and now stretched its fields and young avenues of poplars for a distance of about 2 miles. I need not insist on the lesson which such observations contain for the student of the past of this region. It was interesting, too, to learn, after Projected passing Yailaghan-langar (Map No. 27. c. 4), of the project which the people of the Sampula canton nfewrom canal were fondly discussing at the time. It was planned to bring a new canal from the Yurung-kâsh to Yurungthe great plain of loess and fine gravel which stretches level but utterly barren on both sides of the kâsh River. road west of Yailaghan-langar. A subsequent survey of the proposed canal line, which at the request of the Sampula Begs I had carried out by R. B. Lal Singh, showed that the project as far as levels were concerned was well within local resources, provided a big /ugh, or dyke, like that on the Domoko-yar were maintained to carry the water diverted from the huge summer floods of the Yurung-kash across the dry bed coming from the hills above Achchik. It was but one among many illustrations of the big changes which increasing population and an efficient administration might bring about In the Khotan region, independent of climatic variations.
From Lop-bazar I proceeded northward in order to examine the remains which Mahmûd, one Ruined
of my Taklamakanchis ', had come upon on a desert crossing from Imam `Asim's Mazar to the Stûp
shrine of Sultan Waiskaram (Map No. 27. B. 4). The route to the latter place beyond the northern mazâr. edge of the fertile Hanguya canton followed a marshy stream bed which receives the overflow waters of the easternmost canals from the Yurung-kash in addition to kara-su from numerous springs. This bed, running to the north-east, was said to find its continuation in a belt of reed-beds and jungle visited by shepherds for a distance of two to three days' journey beyond Sultan Waiskaram. As water in wells can be found further on, too, in the direction of Dandan-oilik, this belt of vegetation provides the most direct and convenient approach to that ruined site from the side of Khotan, and deserves to be surveyed by some future traveller. Two old mounds, known also to the ' Shaikhs' of Sultan Waiskaram-mazar and both situated amidst tamarisk-cones to the west of it, proved to be those of completely ruined Stûpas. One within about a mile's distance had a much-decayed base, about 21 feet square, rising to a height of 7-8 feet. Its sun-dried bricks measured 18" x lo" x 3". Of the second mound, about two furlongs further west, only 3 feet or so emerged above the drift-sand. On clearing this to the ground-level there came to light the lowest base of a Stûpa, about 23 feet square and 3 feet high, still retaining in places mouldings in white stucco. What remained of the upper bases, to a height of some 7 feet more, was too badly decayed to permit of any reconstruction.