Sec. i] ALEXANDER'S ALTARS 3
Ayûb Khan, whose experienced and ever-willing help in topographical and other practical work had kindly been made available to me by the Surveyor General of India with the sanction of the Indian Government. Careful preceding study of the excellent 1-inch-to-the-mile maps produced by the Survey of India (Sheets 44. M. 3-6, 9; 43. P. 12) had already familiarized me with the characteristic features of the riverine ground along the present course of the Beds; but actual travel along its western bank would make them still more instructive.
The flood bed of the river is divided almost throughout into a network of channels. Though most of these are dry for a great part of the year, the width of the flood bed—as much as 3 miles in places—sufficiently indicates the volume carried by the river in the late spring and summer, when it is swollen by the melting of the snows in the mountains and by the rains in their season. Of the erosive power then exercised by its waters and the direction in which this asserts itself, striking evidence is afforded by the steepness of the banks overlooking the flood bed from the west. From above the junction with the Sutlej they rise all the way from about 30 to fully 100 feet in height, marking the edge of the elevated plateau-like ground which here divides the drainage of the Beas from that of the Ravi. It is over this divide that the branches of the great Bari Doab canal taking off from the Ravi are carried to spread fertility over the districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Lahore, &c., between the two rivers. Incidentally I may mention that the Sobraon branch of this great canal system which runs almost the whole way parallel to the Beds and at no great distances from it, by the good roads leading along it and its distributaries, materially facilitated rapid inspection of the whole ground.
The line of Inspection Bungalows along the main canal provided convenient bases for long daily rides. These enabled us to visit the greatest portion of the right bank of the Beds all along the present course of the river from the village of Munda in the Taran Taran Tahsil to the vicinity of Harchowdl in the Tahsil of Batala. Thence towards Gurdaspur in the north the present main bed of the river turns away from the well-marked right bank so far followed. Farther on there intervenes a belt of low ground, largely marshy, right up to the great bend of the river in the vicinity of Mirthal, which was the northern limit of our survey. Within this belt it was easy to recognize depressions marking more westerly beds which the river had followed at one time or another within a comparatively recent period. One of these is seen in the wide Kahnuwdn marsh stretching for a distance of about 10 miles. The tendency of the Beds to shift its bed westwards was clearly attested elsewhere also by the evidence which both ocular inspection and the details in the map afforded.
Among the general topographical features observed on this tour none