Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and The - Neighbouring Countries
by William Griffith
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

A new Iris occurs in abundance: near this in wettish parts of the valley a Vicia, Muscari, Hyacinthus and others as before. The chief cultivation is wheat, irrigated in plots: the soil when saturated with water, forming a clayish, adhesive, finely pulverulent mass, which cakes on drying. A watermill for flour, having a horizontal wheel acted on by the stream as in Bootan occurs; the grain drops in from a pyramidal cone fixed over the two horizontal stones, in the upper of which there is a hole. The apparatus is very rude.

The height attained by me on the eastern ridge being about 8,300 feet; that of the 2nd range, will be 9,300 feet at least, and the height of the peak or highest ridge, cannot be less than 11,000 feet.

30th.—Continue to halt. There is a good deal of cultivation about this place, but the crops will not be ripe before August: it is principally wheat; munjit is also cultivated on trenched ground: the young sprouts have a good salad-like flavour. The Suddozye Lora runs through the valley, about two miles from the town: it is a small stream, crowded here and there with bulrushes, sedges, etc. Towards its banks there is a good deal of Santonica, but elsewhere there is no good fodder, and wherever this is the case the camels eat Iris, and destroy themselves. The valley is sprinkled over with villages and orchards, and is picturesque enough. In one spot, where water runs over the surface, it is delightfully green and velvety, covered with short grass and trefoil, Carex, etc.

In cornfields in this direction, Berberidea ranunculiflora is very common, Muscari, Hyacinthus, Taraxacum, Plantago. Of animals the Jerboa, sent to Macleod by Mr. Mackenzie, of the Artillery, several specimens having been caught here: presenting affinities obviously with the hare, and analogies with the Kangaroo. Macleod has just given me, from his namesake of the 3rd Cavalry, a tadpole-like animal, very similar to one from the Khasiya Hills. I fear it is a tadpole, but I keep the specimen lest it should be a Lepidosiren.

The orchards here consist of cherry, and a pomaceous tree which also is cultivated at Shikarpore, and on the skirts occasionally of willows, which, were they unmutilated, would be handsome trees. The Punjabi name of the pomaceous one is Sai-oo, of the cherry or plum Aloochah.

Senecionoid glauca is extremely common towards the river, but is not eaten by camels. In the streams arising from springs a Myriophylloides is very common; as also in some places, Ranunculus aquaticus, Beccabunga, Mentha piperitioid, a Sicyoid, Juncus, Coniferae, and Cariceae, all small.

Along the banks of the river, there is a good deal of a small thorny shrub with white bark and fleshy clavato-spathulate leaves. Themopsis is extremely common, Crucifera glauca ditto, Peganum less so, Achilleoides is very common. In damp spots a Lotus (out of flower) occurs. The ground is covered in many places with an efflorescence of saltpetre.

Quettah.—The country was so disturbed throughout the greater part of the line, and attacks on followers so frequent, that I did not go out so much during the last few days as I otherwise would. The only plant that seems to a considerable extent local, is the larger Asphodel, which is however found occasionally towards Kuchlak. Within the last few days vegetation has rapidly progressed; the orchards bursting into leaf, and the whole plain, where uncultivated, is assuming a greenish tint. I have nothing to add respecting the botany, except having found Ceratophyllum and two species of Chara, one a very interesting species from having the joints furnished with semi-reflexed, very narrow leaves, it is apparently Dioeceous, there is also a Naiad, much like that found at Dadur. No Lemnae occur among the vegetation: there is some sort of pea cultivated: but the chief object is wheat, then next to it in extent is Lucerne, which is cultivated in plots; the ground being laid out as in wheat, so as to allow of irrigation.

The climate is variable; rain generally falls every four or five days, before this happens it becomes hot and hazy, afterwards it is very cold and clear: the alternations are hence very great. From the thermometer immersed in the fount of a spring gushing out from a Kabreeza, the mean temperature would appear to be 56 degrees. Water running in cuts close to it, was 66 degrees. A Tauschia occurs in abundance near the spot, and is remarkable for illustrating the nature of the leaves of the upper parts; it is curious that all such have a peculiar aspect. (For other plants of this neighbourhood, see Cat. and Icones.)

The town although the third in Khorassan, is a miserable place and has a deserted aspect, the houses are of the most temporary construction, and the hill is crowned by a poor half-ruined kucha fort; the gates of the town are ornamented with wild goats' horns and heads. There is no trade, and the place is stated to be plundered often by Caukers. Orchards—apricots of large size, and very large cherry trees, a pomaceous plant with the habit of poplar, occurs; the Ulmus of this place is one of the largest sized trees; no walnuts.

April 6th.—Left Quettah for Kuchlak. We traversed the sandy plain and then ascended the gravelly slope to the pass traversed before reaching Kuchlak, the ascent and descent were about equal, but the former was long and gradual, the latter rapid and short. The features of the country are precisely the same; the pass is short, the descent to the ravine, which in the rains is evidently a watercourse, short and steep, not 100 feet. The mountains forming the sides are steep; and those to the left, bold and romantic, with here and there a small tree. The plain of Kuchlak is like that of Quettah, well supplied with water-cuts and one small canal, but miserably cultivated, and with very few villages. The hills forming its west boundary are low, rugged, and curiously variegated with red and white. Tuckatoo forms part of its eastern boundary: no snow is visible on its face towards Kuchlak: a few low rounded hillocks occur in the centre of the valley. The chief vegetation round the camp, is Santonica. We encamped close to the western boundary of the valley, about two miles from the grand camp: total distance of the march thirteen and a half miles. The climate is very hot and variable; thermometer ranged to-day from 40 degrees to 86 degrees.

The chief vegetation of the gravelly slopes is as marked as ever, and differs entirely from that of the sandy tillable portion; it consists of Centaurea fruticosa, C. spinosa, Anthylloides or Ononoides, Astragalus spinosus, and Staticoides, another thorny Composita occurs, but is not common, the herbaceous plants are Cruciferae in large numbers, as well as Compositae; of Boragineae, a good many, some Labiatae, a large Salvia: towards the tillable lands or where gravelly places occur among these, Asphodelus is common with Cheiranthus; one or more fruticose Dianthi occur in these places, and a curious shrubby Polygonum.

In dry watercourses Cytisus is common, with a host of small Cruciferae, Boragineae, and Compositae; Papaveraceae are very common with Glaucium.

The novelties in the pass were Ficus, Lycium, some grasses, Onosma. (See Cat. from Nos. 411 to 430,) Marchantiaceae.

7th.—Proceeded to Hydozee, distance eight miles. The country is very barren, diversified by curious low hills, of a red, white, or yellowish colour, divided by small bits of plain, which in some cases were a good deal cut up by ravines. Passed immediately on starting, the Sudoozye Lora, here a sluggish muddy stream, knee-deep, twenty yards wide, and in addition to a bad dry cut, we passed likewise another little stream with a pebbly bottom and rapid current.

The crops composing the very little cultivation seen before arriving, were backward and scanty: so were those at Hydozee. The chief vegetation is Santonica; here and there are gravelly spots with Centaurea fruticosa, spinosa; Statice, Salvia, etc. re-occur. The commonest shrub along the watercourses is Lycium, with another Lycioid thorny plant.

The low hills were in some cases stratified, the strata in others and perhaps in most were indistinct: most were rounded, but the outlines at a distance were very diversified. The novelties today were a fine vesicular calyxed Astragalus, an Isatidea, tulip of red, orange, and yellow, indiscriminately mixed, Papaver Rheas, Cheiranthus lapidium, Asphodels both sorts, but the second and larger one is uncommon, Iris Stacyana very common in sandy places, Iris agrestis, most common about Suddozye, Adonis, and Ranunculus Anemoides occurs. Snow on north side of Tuckatoo mountain as heavy as on Chiltera; the valley of Pisheen is here a miserable place, narrower than that of Quettah.

9th.—Advanced to Hykulzyea, distance twelve miles to the town, about eleven through a similar country with that previously noted, and until the expanded part of the valley of Pisheen is entered the aspect is very barren; the road extends between low rounded hills. After crossing the valley of Hydozyea, three streams are passed, none of any size. Botanical features continue the same, Santonica being still the prevailing plant. The curious frutex pluvinatus of Sinab re-occurred, together with an additional subspiny Astragaloid shrub and a small Ruta. The hills are covered with distinct small shrubs, never coalescing into patches. Peganum continues in addition to the other plants: Glaucioides has aqueous juice, Papaver Rheas ditto, the other smooth-leaved one has it slightly milky.

Lycium and Tamarisk 4-fida is rather common: Hykulzyea is a far larger place than Quettah, but miserably defended. The houses are very inferior, consisting of thatch and mud. The cultivation of wheat is rather extensive around. Many villages are seen towards the hills to the north and NNE.; also one or two forts, but not a tree is to be seen in the valley which is comparatively very large and very level. The hills to the north have the ordinary appearance; those separating us from the valley of Hydozyea, more especially the lower ranges, are so confused that they look like a chopping sea, and present a red and white colour. The rock pigeon of Loodianah is common about Hydozyea. A few novelties occurred in the vegetation, the chief of which being a large Salvoid Labiata, a plant which is very common throughout Khorassan from Sinab in gravelly spots. Leguminosae, Boragineae, Compositae, Cruciferae, and Labiatae, are the prevailing plants; Salsola tertia not uncommon. Birds as before, Alauda cristata, and Sylvioides being the most common; no red legged crows were seen. Rock pigeons are abundant.

10th.—March to Berumby, distance thirteen miles, the road very bad in one or two places: the first difficulty being a rather deep ravine, the second a nullah, with water knee-deep, and very high precipitous banks, yet both these had to be passed. Much of the baggage was not up at the encampment until 5 P.M., although we started at 3 A.M., but the nullah was literally choked up with camels. No change in the vegetation has appeared, except in the occurrence of large tracts of Tamarisk, which tree reaches to nearly the same size as the Jhow. Very little cultivation is to be seen; the villages are tolerably numerous, especially near the hills forming the north boundary of the valley.

11th.—Entered the pass which is at first wide, with a gradual ascent, but which soon becomes narrowish, with a good though gradual and easy ascent: the mountains are of no height, and they are not generally precipitous: no limestone, but much clay slate occurs. The ravine up which we passed, or rather watercourse, was well stocked with Xanthoxylon, some of large size as to the diameter of trunk, but very stumpy: water is found not far from the entrance: some cultivation also occurs and one large walled village, Dera Abdoollah Khan, lay to our left. Not much change in the vegetation: Xanthoxylon is almost entirely confined to ravines, Cerasus common, and one or two other prickly shrubs, and a Ruta, Onosma, Linarea, coming into flower, are among the novelties.

We encamped where the pass becomes narrow, and the ascent steep, and where water is plentiful, but the stream being soon absorbed does not appear to run down the main ravine at this season.

12th.—Halted, to make the road where the main ascent commences about 400 yards from our camp, and which is about 300 feet high; thence there is a descent, and afterwards an ascent to about 600 feet above the camp, whence the low plains of Candahar are visible, as well as the range to the north of which Candahar stands. The road is good compared with places elsewhere to be seen, and for common traffic on camels may be easy enough; but for guns, it is steep and difficult. The way it has been made by the Engineers is admirable and rapid; three other passes without roads, and in their rude natural state are as yet to be crossed. The pass here is narrow, none of the hills rise more than 1,000 feet above it, they are easily accessible, and are composed chiefly of clay slate. Chikores are frequent. The cuckoo was heard to-day, as well as a beautifully melodious titmouse, with a black crown: a fine eagle, or falcon was seen.

The hills are as usual barren, all the shrubs are thorny, and all the plants unsocial, never coalescing into any thing like groups. The Xanthoxylon is found throughout in ravines up to nearly 7,000 feet, the utmost height of the pass. Fraxmus of Chiltera also occurs, Cerasus primus, in abundance, Cerasus alius, tertius, not uncommon, Berberis! here and there in ravines, Equisetoides, Caraganoides altera; the most common shrubs of any size are Cerasus primus. The other shrubs consist of the low customary Compositae, and Astragaleae, Umbelliferae are common, among which last the Nari, a species of Assafoetida occurs? A beautiful Iris is common, as well as tufts of Berberideae, Asphodelus major, and which is much eaten when cooked as a turkaree by our hungry followers, Eryngioides, Aconitoides, a Valeriana, three new small Veronicae, small Cruciferae, Silenaceae, Boragineae, and Labiatae, form the bulk of the herbaceous vegetation. An Arenarioid, Muscoid, Cruciferae, common at the head of the pass. A large Acanthoid leaved Umbellifera, a Rheoides papillis verrucosum, this is a true Rheum, and when cultivated becomes the Ruwash of the Affghanistans; it is very common on the Candahar face of the pass, particularly about Chokey, where it is in flower.

13th.—Proceeded to Chokey, not quite four miles. The top of the pass may be reached by three or four passes. I went by one to the right, which is easy enough, and the descent from which is much better adapted for camels than the made road, which is very steep, with two sharp turns, but soft. The descent thence is gradual, down one of the ordinary ravines, well clothed with the usual shrubs and Xanthoxylon: our camels were a good deal fagged, but more from the halt at the pass, where some cathartic plant abounds and weakens them very much, than fatigue. The view from the top of the pass is very extensive: the plains are seen to have nearly the same level, and are divided here and there very frequently to north-east and north, by the ordinary mountains.

14th.—Halt; water here is not abundant, and is obtained from driblets and pools; around these, the surface is covered with a rich sward, which affords fine fodder for a small number of horses. In the swampy spots, Beccabunga, Anagallis, Mentha, Carex, Glaux, apparently identical (so far as a memory of 7 years may be trusted,) with the English plant, the small variety of Leontodon, Medicaginoides, Phleum, and the very small Amaranthoid, Polygonea, occur.

The hills around Chokey, and below it are rounded, those towards the pass being more steep. They are covered with Centaurea fruticosa, and C. spinosa, a favourite food of camels when it has young shoots, Santonica, Statice, all of which grow precisely as before, Boragineae, Compositae, Labiatae, and Papilionaceae, are the predominant forms, and mostly of the same type: I observe a tendency among Boragineae to have cup-shaped nuts. Generally speaking, the plants are the same as those before found. Rheas, Papaver, Glaucium purpureum, especially the two last are common, Labiata salvoides, Iris persica, and crocifolia (rare), Trichonema, Gentiana, Alyssoides.

The novelties were Rheum, Silena fruticosa, Linaria, Ruta, Astragalina, 2 small Silenaceae, Iris, Glaucium aureo-croceum, a beautiful Boragineae with cup-shaped nut, Lotoides, an Hippophaoid looking shrub, Scrophularia sp. singulous, Malthioloids spiralis, Allium, Glaux, Nitella, etc. (See Catalogue 482 to 516.) Graminea very common, Rottboellia and Anthistiria, 2 curious forms, the other more northern, Umbelliferae common, Nari much less so than on the south face.

The vegetation of the summit which is nearly 7,000 feet, and of peaks which rise 600 to 700 feet above the pass, has no change, except the abundance of Cruciferae and Muscoides; Cerasus is the chief shrub; Thymelaeus frutex occurs at 6,500 feet. The prevailing rock is clay slate.

16th.—Marched to Dund-i-Golai, distance fifteen miles, we first descended gradually to the plain, and then traversed this until we skirted some low hills, about one and a half mile, from which a pool of water was situated, where we halted, and which was fed by a small cut coming from some distance. The road was very good throughout, the water- cuts although not unfrequent, being either shallow or skirting the left of the road. The vegetation continued the same as about Chokey, until the plains were reached, but the prickly shrub, habitu Berberidioides, became more common in the water-cuts below than I had seen it before, while Santonia, Centaurea spinosa, and the plants of Chokey, disappeared as we reached the plain, except some few herbaceous forms, which continued throughout. I was much indisposed during this march, and for the time we halted at Dund-i-Golai, a period of four days, was unable to go out, but Capt. Sanders and my people brought me many novelties, which I have not yet noted down. The chief vegetation of the plain is Salsola tertia, the surface is level and firm, clothed with scattered Salsola and a few stunted herbaceous plants, among which a yellow Centaureoid, a Crucifera siliquis junioribus clavati 4-gonis, were the most common, there was also a curious Thiscoid looking plant. A considerable change commenced about the low hills, a Thymelaeus shrub, some curious grasses, an Erodium, a Santonica, occupying the places of the former shrubs, and Dipsacus or Scabiosa becoming very common. The height of this place is about 4,040 feet, the climate most variable. Fahr. thermometer 48 degrees to 105 degrees in single roofed tents. No cultivation seen, a pool of water is situated near the hill, and a little is reported as situated half-way between this place and Chokey, this however I did not see. The country is much parched up, and bears every appearance of always having been so; no remains of tanks, villages, etc. visible. Painted partridges were seen; and the eggs of a large bird like a plover? The wind inclining to be hot, but it is cool up to 7.5 or 8 A.M.

Alaudo cristata? and an Alauda with the form of Sylvia.

Sunday, 21st.—Proceeded to Killa Pootoollah, a distance of ten miles. The road was good over an open, dry, level country, but intersected with small cuts: some cultivation was passed, but no villages. Some little improvement was observed close to the Garrah hills, which are of the usual description, and of no great height: a curious slip of the strata exhibited itself, in which the upper strata are cut away in the centre as if there had been a watercourse there. Vegetation continues the same. The Thymelaeous shrub and Iris, still occur in sandy spots, Allium and a second species; Centaureoides, yellow and pink, Thesioides, a curious sand-binding grass, Salsola tertia most common, and in some open firm places Joussa reappears as it did at Dund- i-Golai: Anthemis occurs, Rheas, Salvioides in stony places, otherwise few of the plants of the Pisheen side are seen; grapes abundant about old and new cultivation, Hordeum, Bromus several species, Triticoides, etc., in profusion. Passed a deep well of considerable diameter, which had an open communication with a widish and deep canal, the only place I have seen that would hold a good deal of water; it was cut throughout in shingle, and was perhaps fifty feet in its deepest part.

22nd.—Left Pootoollah for Mailmandah, and on our arrival found some of the troops and the cavalry had passed through and made a double march to the river Lora, a distance in all of twenty-four miles. There is a good deal of pure water at Mailmandah running in a cut by the side of that, which is in the rains a considerable stream, also one or two Kabreezes about two miles further on, producing excellent water. The road first led up a ravine of some width, and swardy, and then over low hills, until we surmounted these to descend into the valley in which part of the army halted. The country continues mostly the same; although if possible it is still more barren than before: the mountains generally are more rugged: the ridges frequently toothed, and the sides precipitous; not a tree to be seen except a willow near some water, and a small arbusculoid fig. After passing the halting place we re-ascended an inclined plane, entered a gorge, and again issued out of it: after a short time again we entered into another valley drained by an actual river, really containing water, and bounded to the west and north-west by curious red low hills, not unlike an embankment. The vegetation continues much the same: Salsola tertia very common in some sandy places, Centaurea spinosa, Statice, Santonia, etc. re-assuming their places on all gravelly slopes: some novelties occurred as (See Catalogue, Nos. 543 to 574 inclusive,) one or two new shrubs, Cytisus, etc. The heat continues great; 102 degrees Fahr. in tents in the middle of the day. We encamped on a flat ground about 200 yards from the river, which contains a good deal of water, and has a sluggish stream running to the north, surrounded by mountains, none of any height. Wheat cultivation, Arundo, Vitex, Prunus or Cerasus abundant in the pass to the river, and yet the former does not indicate water as it ought to do, Lycium, Tamarisk, Arundo on the banks of the river, and Tamarisk in profusion in its bed.

The cultivation on the opposite side of the river is remarkably clear of weeds, as compared with the cultivation at Quettah, etc. Achilleoides, Veronica, Iris crocifolia, Phalaris, Chenopodium, Rottboellioides, Hordeum vulgare, being the only or the chief plants cultivated.

Proceeded next to Dai Hap, thirteen miles, over a similar but even more barren country, the hills being destitute of all vegetation, except a few stunted small shrubs, such as Statice. The usual plants recur with shingle and in sand, the chief is a Santonica, {349} a few novelties occurred, among which is a curious plant, with large vesiculate petaloid connectiva. See Catalogue, No. 576, et sequent.

The hills continue with toothed ridges, near Dai Hap, where water is abundant, but not in the form of a river. Thymelaea occurs in abundance, with a Mimosea fruticosa humilis: a curious hairy-fruited Polygonum et Peganum, is among the most common plants.

25th.—To Khoshab, distance twelve miles, over a large level plain, either sandy, and then generally cultivated, or gravelly, and then uncultivated: road open: passed two dry beds of rivers: one must be of large size, but is very shallow. A new Tamarisk occurs along it; no trees are visible until we approach Candahar: vegetation continues much the same. Santonica, (see above) Centaurea spinosa, Astragalina (Ononoides recurs), Staticoid, Asphodelus, Mesembryanthoid, Peganum, are the chief plants, especially on gravel; most of the small Cruciferae have disappeared, Labiata-Salvioides continues; a curious subaphyllous Composita occurs, Iris persica is not uncommon; another Iris is found here and there in profusion, with Gnidia in sandy spots, Compositae, Monocotyledons of Abigoon are common in shingle. New rock pigeons. Fine madder cultivation in khets. Of birds the yellow hammer occurs. Villages numerous, poor, and though built of mud and straw yet present abundance of small domes.

In these dry hot plains the prevailing wind is westerly, blowing very strong in the heat of the day, and having a tendency to become hot: the thermometer is here 98 degrees. The cultivation of wheat is very general around our present encampment which is within four miles of Candahar, the wheat is fine; Lolioides occurs in it.

26th.—Halted: Candahar is hid from us by some low hills, on the surmounting of which a large straggling place is obscurely visible, interspersed with trees, the valley is much smaller than that in which we are now, which is very extensive. Munjit cultivation is conducted by deep trenches, it is a different species I think from that of the Himalayas. The bed of the Turnuk is now dry and very shallow: and the hills near us are extremely barren, the chief vegetation being Paederioides vestila and Staticoides cymosa, Cheiranthus continues. The vegetation is very poor as indeed it has been since leaving the Khojeb Amrah, nor is there any appearance to be seen of a better autumnal vegetation.

Candahar is visible at a distance of six miles, from some low hills to the north of our camp.

27th.—Moved to Candahar, skirting the low hills just mentioned and passed through two villages, a mile from Candahar in a fine open plain.

Candahar has rather a pleasing aspect; it is situated close to a picturesque range of hills, and is well diversified with trees, barley and wheat fields. The slope on which the town stands is a parallelogram; towers occur frequently along the wall, which is however, of mud, and not strong; it is surrounded by a ditch utterly insignificant on account of its narrowness and shelving banks, this ditch is crossed by an insignificant causeway. The gate at which I entered is oblique, and is defended by a tower: it leads into the main street which is rather wide and not very dirty: towards the centre of this you pass under a middling dome, a street branching off to the right and left; the continuation of the main street or bazar leads to the topekhanah, or artillery ground, a small space quite disorderly, containing eight or ten guns, most of them melted at the mouth; one Sheik 18-pounder of cast iron, another of English make, 140 years old. From the end of this space you pass over another similar ditch into the fort, the entrance to which is covered, affording two or three angles capable of good hand to hand defence. Passing thence through some spaces occupied by low buildings, you reach Khoondil Khan's house, an extremely rude looking place outside, but very different within. It consists of two houses, one looking into a small square with a delicious reservoir of water, and some fine and very green mulberry trees; the ground being laid out as a garden with sweet-william, etc.; the water is supplied by a small cut, and is seven or eight feet deep. The garden fronts of both houses are prettily ornamented, one has a tharkhanah, delightfully cool; generally the rooms are small, coated with a pretty sort of stucco. The remaining sides of the square are occupied by offices; small rooms opening into the garden by lattice work evidently denote a portion of the zenana. Altogether the Khan must be a man of taste.

The bazars of the city are well thronged, but the shops are by no means equal to those of Buhawulpoor, and the manufactures, except those of earthenware, are utterly insignificant.

Tobacco, atta, musallahs, dried fruits, aloo-bokhara, figs, apricots, raisins, salt, sugar, a green fruit something between a plum and greengage, meat, onions, salads, dhie, sherbets, kubabs, wicker- work, singing birds, are offered for sale: also abundance of Lucerne and some bhoosee. Altogether it is a busy place, but not so busy as the road near the gate, which is thronged by followers, and dismounted Europeans, who are forbidden access to the city without a pass. Tea from Khiva of good quality is procurable in small quantities. No women but old ones to be seen. The dress of the inhabitants very often, and in some cases very completely, approximates to that of the Chinese. The features too of most are evidently of Tartar cast, and some wear two tails of plaited hair. Blue seems to be a favourite colour of dress.

The chief trees about the city are mulberry, a few Khunjucks, which is the Xanthoxylon of Bootan and the Kojhlak passes, occur outside; willows are frequent, and generally appear to be cultivated, among these a weeping species here and there occurs.

May 3rd.—The resources of the city are evidently small, the only things indeed that appear plentiful are earthenware and milk: grain is excessively dear, but is reported to exist in considerable quantities. Khoondil Khan having ordered all those out of the city, who had not provided themselves with six months' provisions. Atta or flour is now selling at two seers a rupee, or 6d per pound, and every thing is proportionally dear: wood excessively so, the chief fuel is derived from the Santonia, which in some form or other appears to constitute a principal feature of the vegetation of Central Asia, and there is some other wood apparently derived from some tree I have not yet seen.

Some discontent prevails in the town owing to the high price of provisions, which is, no doubt, severely felt. The established price of grain is at the rate of eight seers the rupee, a rate established by the king, but on occasions like the present there can be no rule. Water is very abundant, it is to be found within four feet of the surface, and some regiments have already supplied themselves from this source by means of temporary wells. The water is excellent.

Asses, ponies, and horses are common, the former are excellent, 150 rupees is a good price for one; they carry heavy loads with the additional weight of an Affghan on their back; the ponies or tattoes are less valuable, but still they are strong.

The horses are indifferent; good, generally speaking, but heavy, and with little spirit. Excellent milch cows have been procured for twenty-five rupees, including the calf. Goats are not easily procurable. Sheep (Doombas) are common, and afford excellent mutton, they vary in price from two to three rupees.

Tea from Bokhara is procurable in small quantities; its quality is decent: it was originally eight rupees a seer but is now thirty. Coarse Russian cloths, and very inferior silks are also procurable.

The great drawbacks are the want of wood, and above all want of inhabitants; from what I have seen of the cultivation, the soil appears to be very capable, and well adapted to barley and wheat; rice might also be raised as a summer crop. With regard to water, if there is a scarcity of this element, it is due to the indolence of the people. I have not yet seen any vestiges of buildings, topes, etc. to indicate that Candahar has ever been a very populous place, the want of trees considering the ease with which they may be cultivated, is a strong evidence of the extreme laziness of the Affghans, who appear to me remarkably low in the scale of civilization; and in personal habits, very generally inexpressibly filthy.

Poplars, mulberries, and willows are the principal trees: the poplar is very much akin to the Sofaida of the Sutledge, it is a handsome tree, with a fine roundish crown. The fruit trees generally appear small in gardens; lettuces and onions are commonly cultivated, especially the latter, fields of Lucerne are very abundant, and I believe clover also; a pony load of the former now costs five annas, but it is sufficient for a day's consumption of two or three horses. The pomegranate attains the ordinary size. In gardens two or three Ranunculaceae, Jasminum, pinks, sweet-williams, marigolds, stocks, and wall-flowers, are common, with a broad-leaved species of flag, the flowers of which I have not seen.

The crops vary according to the mode in which they have been watered; if this has been properly done, they are rich. Some of the fields are tolerably clean, others filled with weeds, among which a Dipsacea, and one or two Centaureae are very common.

The villages are not generally defended: each house has its own straggling direction, is built of mud, and the roof is generally dome- shaped, and it has its own enclosure within a mud-wall. The houses are very low, and indicate poverty, and want of ingenuity. The better order appear always with arched roofs, and none are without picturesque ribs and recesses.

The vineries here are so well enclosed, that there is no way of access except by scaling the mud-wall: the vines are planted in trenches; a row on each side, and allowed to run over the elevated spaces between the trenches. In one garden pomegranates, a pomaceous tree, and mulberries, whose fruit is now ripe but quite devoid of flavour, occurred. A Zygophyllum, a beautiful Capparis, an Anthemis, Marrubium, Centaureoides 2, occurred as weeds, with Plantago, Phalaris, Cichorium.

For an excellent register of the thermometer at this place, I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Henderson; the range in the open air is from 60 degrees to 110 degrees!!!

The variations in the wet bulb are due to the currents of air, which beginning about 11 A.M., pass into a rather constant strongish west wind about 11.5 or 2 P.M., and even almost become hot. The climate is excessively dry, as indicated by the effects it has on furniture, etc.

The difference of temperature between a tent, even with two flies or double roof, and the open air in free situations, is by no means great; thus when the thermometer was 105 degrees in part of my tent, it was scarcely 110 degrees in the sun; in Capt. Thomson's large tent 102 degrees; placed against the outer kunnat, it rose to 105 degrees. Hanging free with black cloth round the bulb, 112 degrees. But to shew the great heating powers of the sun, the thermometer with the bulb, placed on the ground and covered with the loose sand of the surface of the soil, rose to 141 degrees.

Black partridges occur in the cornfields here, but in no great numbers. Much of the cultivation of barley, wheat, and rye, is very luxuriant, but the proportion of waste, to cultivated land is too considerable to argue either a large population or active agricultural habits. Pastor roseus occurs in flocks; it is evidently nearly allied to the mina. The capabilities of this valley are considerable, more particularly when the extreme readiness with which water is obtained in wells is considered, as well as the nature of the soil, which is well adapted to husbandry. Candahar, viewed from about a mile to the west of our camp, backed by the picturesque hills (one bluff one in particular), the numbers and verdure of the trees, the break in the mountains on the Herat road, presents a pretty scene.

8th.—The installation of the Shah, which took place to-day on the plain to the north of the city, was a spectacle worth seeing on account of the grand display of troops; but there were very few of the inhabitants of Candahar or surrounding villages present. Mulberries and apricots are now ripening. Rats, a Viverra with a long body and short legs, tawny with brown patches, face broad, blackish-brown, white band across the forehead, and white margins to the ears which are large; storks were seen when alarmed. Pastor roseus occurs in flocks; magpies, swallows, swifts, and starlings. There is a garden with some religious buildings, to which an avenue of young trees leads in a north-east direction from one of the Cabul gates, for there are two on this face. The buildings are not remarkable; nor are the trees, which are small; a few planes (Platanus) occur, the most common is the Benowsh, a species of ash, (Fraxinus) of no great size or beauty. The elegant palmate leaved Pomacea likewise occurs, with the mulberry: the marigold is a great favourite.

The fields are now ripening, this being the harvest-moon. Wild oats occur commonly, although they are not made any use of; the seed is large, and ripens sooner than any of the others; from the size of the uncultivated specimens, I am sure that oats would form an excellent crop.

In the fields Cichorium is very common, and Carduacea, Centaurea cyanea, Dipsaceae, and in certain low places an Arundo, are the most common weeds; two or three Silenaceae, and Umbelliferae also occur. In the ditches Typha, Butomus, watercresses, Alomioides, Ceratophyllum, Lemna gibba? Confervae, Gramineae two or three, Ranunculus, Potamogeton, one species immersa; Mentha, Sium.

On the Chummuns, which are of no extent, but which are pleasing from their verdure and soft sward chiefly consisting of Carex, Trifolium, Juncus rigidus, Santalacea, and Gentiana likewise prevail.

The fields of Lucerne are luxuriant, but require much water, the price of which is very dear; one ass-load costs eight annas!!

Iris crocifolia is common in old cultivations.

The city is situated at the termination of one of the shingly slopes, which are universal between the bases of the hills, and the cultivated portion of the valley. The ditch is hence shingly, whereas an equal depth in the cultivated parts would meet nothing but a sandy, light, easily pulverizable brownish-yellow soil, tenacious, and very slippery when wet. The tobacco crop is excellent.


Candahar to Cabul.

The good old Moolla of a mosque, to which we resort daily, gives me the following information about the vegetable products of this country, from which it would seem, that every thing not producing food, is looked upon with contempt. The fruit trees, are—

1. Sha-aloo, Aloo-bookhara, (damson), which has ripe fruit in August, the same time as figs; Zurd-aloo, (apricot), Aloocha—apricot, Shuft-aloo, another kind of apricot; Unar, (pomegranate); Ungoor, (grapes); Unjeer, (guava); Bihee, (figs); Umroot, Toot, (mulberry); Aloogoordaigoo, Shuft-aloo, all these Aloos being Pomaceous.

The Elaeagnus is called Sinjit: it produces a small red fruit, used in medicine as an astringent, it ripens in August, and sells at eight or nine seers the rupee; it is exported in small quantities; but the plant is not much esteemed.

The Munjit is an article of much consequence; it is exported chiefly to China and Bombay, some goes to Persia; the roots are occasionally dug up after two years, but the better practise is to allow them five to seven: the price is six Hindostanee maunds for a rupee. The herb is used for camel fodder. The Affghan name is Dlwurrung.

The common Artemisia of this place is called Turk; the camels are not so fond of it, as they were of the Sinab and Quettah sort; perhaps this is due to their preferring Joussa, which is found in abundance.

The carrot is called Zurduk; it is dug in the cold months, and sown in July; three seers are sold for a pice: both men and cattle use it.

Turbooj, (watermelon,) ripens in June; it is not watered after springing up; four seers are sold for a pice. But I have not seen much of this fruit.

The wheat is watered according to the quality of the soil, the better the soil the less water is required, and this varies from four to eight repetitions of water. Jhow requires two waterings less. Wheat is considered dear if less than one maund is sold for the rupee. One year ago, three maunds of barley, and four of wheat were sold for a rupee.

Iris odora, Soosumbur; (the two kinds, and Datura has the same name) is indigenous.

The timber trees, or rather trees not producing fruit, and which the Moolla thinks very lightly of, are the Chenar, (plane), Pudda, (Poplar?), Baid, Sofaida.

The fig trees are often planted in rows, they are very umbrageous, and look very healthy. These, and the mulberry, are the most common; next are the bullace and damson. Neither are worth introducing to India, nor have I seen any thing yet in the country that is so.

It is certainly the interest of the inhabitants to keep the army here as long as our commissariat places so many rupees in their hands. It may indeed be questionable whether with an overpowering army, the rates paid for grain and other supplies for the troops should not be established by authority rather than advancing money for grain at exorbitant rates, when the crops are entirely within the command of foraging parties. Atta now sells at two and three-quarter seers the rupee, a mere nominal fall, for the dealers will only give fifteen annas for a Company's rupee.

There is a curious hazy appearance of the atmosphere over the city in the evening, occasioned by fine dusty particles from cattle, suspended in air; which, from their fineness, are long in subsiding.

This curious hazy weather increases daily, yesterday evening was very cloudy, and this morning the wind rather strong and southerly up to 8 A.M.: and at 5.5 P.M. the sun is either quite obscured, or the light so diminished, that the eye rests without inconvenience on his image. In the morning the wind strengthens as the sun attains height and power.

The old Moolla says that this weather commences in Khorassan with the setting in of the periodical rains in the north-western provinces of India, and continues with them. From the direction of the wind it is probably connected with the commencement of the south-west monsoon at Bombay, for the rains at Delhi do not commence before June.

The haze is so strong at times that hills within three to five miles are quite obscured; it tends to diminish the temperature considerably, especially between seven and eight of a morning; curious gusts of hot winds are observed, even when the general nature of the wind is cool.

21st.—A fine and clear cold morning; thermometer 56 degrees at 7 A.M. in the tent. Air fresh; thermometer 75 degrees at 9 P.M. A few drops of rain at 12; cloudy generally.

22nd.—Thermometer 48 degrees at 5 A.M. Similar weather, clear and elastic: south winds continue but of less strength.

Easterly wind prevails in the morning up to 9 A.M., after which hour the westerly hot wind, variable in strength, sets in: the range of the thermometer is then somewhat increased, although in the house it does not rise above 90 degrees.

The Moolla tells me, that snow is of rare occurrence at Candahar; he mentions one fall in about four or five years. The rains last for three months, and happen in winter. During the winter all occupations out of doors are suspended, and people wrap themselves up, and sit over fires.

Clouds are of very rare occurrence, and then only partial.

The clouds, if resulting from the south-west monsoon, ought to be intercepted by the Paropamisus and Hindoo Koosh, and rain ought to fall along these and about Ghuznee at this time. In the evening a cool wind sets in, indicating a fall of rain somewhere.

Rarity of dews in Khorassan: as dews depend on a certain amount of moisture either in the soil or atmosphere, it follows that in a very dry climate no dews will occur. The occurrence of the dews here at this period, is another proof that rain must have fallen somewhere (to the southward), to which the coolness of the weather is attributable. Yesterday and to-day, the thermometer at 5 A.M. stood at 48 degrees, 49 degrees; at 8 P.M. 75 degrees, 72 degrees, the daily range in the mosque is from 70 degrees to 80 degrees. Capt. Thomson suggests that the dews observed here are either confined to, or much greater in the Chummuns, in which the water is very close to the surface, as indicated inter alia by the green turf.

The kinds of grapes are numerous; those earliest ripe are the black, and a small red kind called Roucha; which will be ripe in the latter end of this moon. Kismiss another sort, comes in July. The Tahibee is the best kind produced here, and the dearest.

Tobacco is cultivated chiefly along the Arghandab; it is planted about this season, and gathered in two or three months, and requires to be watered ten or twelve times.

The barley is now fully ripe, and is generally cut and thrashed in some places. Pears in gardens are now ripe.

Candahar valley is of great extent to the westward, or south-west and SSW.

The wasps, with large femora, I observe build their mud nests in houses. The rarity of Lepidoptera, except perhaps some nocturnal moths, is curious; Coleoptera are more common, but inconspicuous. Ants are abundant in the mud walls. A small gnat with large noiseless wings, is very annoying, and the bite very painful and irritating. Doves, and wild pigeons are tolerably common, as also crested larks, and swifts. Abundance of lizards; a venomous snake of brown colour, having an abruptly attenuated tail.

Every thing that happens shows how credulous, and how unenquiring we are; and in all cases out of our particular sphere, how extremely apt most are to give excessive credit, where a moderate only is due. It is a generous failing which it is difficult to condemn, particularly with regard to our travellers in this direction. Instance Connolly, and certainly Gerard whose acquaintance with Burnes and its results demands attention. It is singular that his name scarcely occurs in Burnes' book, although his scientific knowledge and MSS. submitted to Government, entitle him to be considered an observant, and well-informed traveller. Pottinger is another instance of what I have said above.

The general opinion is, and it is one which I have not discarded entirely, that he threw himself into Herat, that he was throughout the siege daily employed in the front of the garrison, and that it is owing to his personal exertions that Herat was saved. I hear however on good authority that he was at Herat accidentally, and wished to leave it when the besiegers appeared, but was prevented by want of funds. So anxious was he however to get away, as his leave of absence had expired, that he was obliged to discover himself to Yar Mahommed, and request loans to enable him to rejoin India. The Vizier at once secured him, took him to Kamran, and hindered him from leaving, forcing him indeed to the dangerous elevation of British Agent at Herat. His merits, if this be true, rest on very different grounds from those generally supposed; his courage however has been proved of a high moral cast.

The Joussa, the Moolla tells me, is the Kan Shootur or Shootur Kan. Burnes' account of the Turunjbeen or manna is correct, except perhaps in the limits he assigns to its production. It is at any rate produced here and sold in the bazar, its production while the plant is in flower is curious, and worthy of examination; it may however be deposited by an insect, in which case the probable period of its production would be that of inflorescence.

There is some cultivation of Indian corn here, the plants have now attained one-third of their growth.

Except in the immediate vicinity of the town, nothing can exceed the sterility of the valley, or rather its desolation: scarcely a plant, beyond the Peganum and Joussa, is to be found.

Khaisee, an excellent smooth skinned apricot, is now ripe, and is of light yellowish colour, sometimes faintly spotted; it is a product from grafts, the seeds are useless, as they do not continue the good qualities of the fruit: it is here grafted on zurd-aloo, thulk, Potentilla quinquefolia.

Melons and grapes are now coming in; the former, at least those I have seen, have pale pulp, and are not superior. The grapes first ripe are the ordinary black sort: we tasted yesterday some very good ones in the Moolla's garden. The Kismiss are especially delicate, and another large sort of very fine rich flavour, both were rather unripe. Those for packing are still unripe. The trenches in this garden are very deep: the vines are planted on the northern face only.

Gardens are very common to the south-west of the town. The valley of the Arghandab is the most fertile part of Khorassan I have yet seen. A strip of cultivation extends along the banks of the river, and from these last not being high, the stream is easily diverted into channels for irrigation. Seen from any of the neighbouring hills, the valley presents one uniform belt of verdure, almost as far as the eye can reach, and the view up and down is of some extent. The chief cultivation is wheat, barley, and lucerne; Chummuns also occur. Gardens abound, together with fine groves of mulberry trees, the former are walled in, and are verdant to a degree.

There is a bluff mountain to the north of Candahar, the disintegration of which is so rapid, that it is evident from the slope of the debris, it will in time bury the original structures.

The hills forming the ridge separating Arghandab from Candahar, as well as all those rugged looking ones about Candahar, are of limestone, they are much worn by the weather, and full of holes. They are very barren, the only shrubby vegetation of any size being Ficus, which may be the stock of the Ungoor, as it resembles it a good deal, Centaurea spinosa, Paederiae 2, Echinops, Pommereulla, one to two, other Graminae, lemon- grass, Dianthus, Peganum, Cheiranthus as before, Sedum rosaceum, Gnaphalium, Hyoceyamus, Didymocarpeae, Gnidia, etc.

The Arghandab is a good sized river, with channel subdivided: its stream is rapid and fordable; no large boulders occur in its bed; the temperature of its water is moderate.

The fish are a Cyprinus and a Barbus, or Oreinus with small scales, thick leathery mouth, and cirrhi; a Loach of largish size, flat head, reddish, with conspicuous brownish mottlings, and a Silurus.

The hills forming the northern boundary of the valley are picturesque, and of several series, and perhaps the subordinate valleys are not so large and fruitful in this direction.

Between Arghandab and Candahar, two ranges occur; one interrupted: the other nearer Candahar has first to be surmounted at a low pass; the pass is short, rugged and impassable for guns. The inner ridge is much closer to the cultivated part of the valley than the northern range.

Between it and the Arghandab, at least six cuts occur: these are met with generally in threes, and are at different elevations; the inner one being close at the foot of the hills; great labour must have been required to make them. Numerous villages, some with flat roofed houses occur.

Arundo, Salsola, Plantago, P. coronopoid, Cnicus, Juncus, Veronica exallata, Santalacea, Mentha, Lactucoides, Chenopod. 2-3, Panicum, Samolus, Ceratophyllum; Salix occurs near the river; apricots, apples, pomegranates, damsons or plums, bullaces, pears, mulberries and raspberries in the gardens.

The shingle found about all the hills in Khorassan, can scarcely be derived from any source but disintegration, it slopes too gradually and uniformly for upheavement. If my idea is correct, the mountains will at some period be buried in their own debris, of course inspection of the shingle will at once point out whether this is true or not, more especially in all those places where the rocks are of uniform structure. There is a curious desert to the south and southwest of Candahar, elevated a good deal above the valley, quite bare, and stretching a long way to the westward: it is seen for forty miles along the Girishk road.

Curious reflection.—Observed in ghee used as lamp-oil, a bubble ascending from the surface of the water on which it floated, met by another descending; the deception of this is perfect. That it is due to reflection, is apparent from the variation of the length of the descent, according to the angle under which it is viewed. When viewed from beneath at a very oblique angle, the descent is complete, but if viewed parallel to the surface, no appearance of the sort occurs. The reflection is due to the surface of the ghee which appears to be more dense than the rest, probably more oily; this mathematical reflection may suggest others of a moral nature, touching our liability to mistaken views of things, from observing only one side.

Old Candahar is about three miles to west of the new town; it is immediately under a steep limestone range, running about southwest, and not exceeding 500 feet in height. It bears marks of having been fortified, and at either extremity remains of forts are still visible. The fort of forty steps is at the north end of the range. The town is in complete ruins; indeed none of the edifices are visible except those that occupy the mound of stones, (with which they are partly built) probably the site of the citadel. On three sides, the town is fenced by two respectable ditches, the outer one about 50 yards wide; both are now, especially the outer, beds of marshes; they were supplied by cuts from the Arghandab river. Wells exist however. There is one white mosque in good preservation. The works were strong, and much better than the very indifferent ones of new Candahar; and the walls of the town were prolonged up the face of the hills.

About Candahar, conical houses occur, probably for granaries. A curious mosque cut out of the rock in situ, is seen on the Girishk road, with a flight of steps leading to it, cut in like manner out of the rock. There is also in the same quarter the fort of Chuhulzeenat, or forty steps; a work not of very considerable extent; and as in other Asiatic countries I have visited, troughs are cut in rocks for separating grain from the husk. But there is no work to be seen indicating vast labour or any genius.

Some remains of good pottery may be picked up; and the earth of which the works, etc. were made, is filled with remains of coarse pottery.

27th.—Moved four miles to Shorundab, the country is very barren: not much Joussa: the water is brackish at our present encampment, which is within sight of Babawallee.

28th.—Proceeded to Kileeyazim, ten and a quarter miles, marched at 2 P.M. and reached the place at 6 P.M., the camels arriving one hour afterwards: the ground is generally good, throughout stony, difficult in places and undulated, particularly in two situations occasioned from cuts. There is a square fort, situated at the halting place with a tower at each corner, and on north face two; as well as towers at the gate: but without windows. Joussa is abundant, as also grass along the cuts. Salsola rotundifolia, a Chenopodia, and a curious prickly, leafless Composita and Joussa occur, the latter most common, Artemisiae sp. Also rock pigeons and the raven. Halted one mile to the east of the fort.

29th.—Proceeded to the Turnuk, near Khet-i-Ahkoond, distance fifteen and a half miles. The country continues the same, no cultivation to be seen before reaching the Turnuk. The road tolerable, over gravelly or shingly ground: it was at first level, until we reached a mountain gorge, when it became undulated. Passed the dry beds of two streams, the second the larger: its banks were clothed with Vitex instead of Tamarisk. At the entrance of gorge a fort similar to that of yesterday was passed. Scarcely any change in vegetation. Artemisiae one or two, Centaurea spinosa, Salsola cordifolia and aphylla? are the most common plants, Euonymus and Malpighiacea? Polygonoides, occurred along the nullah, a pretty species of the plant, Antheris globosis petaloideo-terminalis, in profusion in some places, literally colouring the ground: close to it another very distinct species, foliis connatis, floribus albis, a Rubiaceous crystalline looking plant, another novelty; all the plants about the hills at Candahar continue: Dianthoid, Statice, Paederia villosa. Cultivation along the Turnuk, melons in small trenches, the crops are now cut, Jhow or gaz along the bank: but there is not much water. The hills around are apparently of limestone, very picturesque, and presenting very fine cliffs. The valley of the Turnuk is here very narrow, and the country very arid looking, completely burnt up. Joussa rather scarce, doob grass occurs along the river, the water of which is discoloured.

30th.—Proceeded to Shair-i-Suffa, ten miles and six furlongs. The country continues the same. The road extending along the right bank of the Turnuk, over undulating ground for one and a half or two miles, is bad, very narrow, and overhanging the steep bank of the river, scarcely passable for wheel carriages without preparation. Vegetation continues precisely the same: little verdure to be seen even along the Turnuk: the hills desperately barren; a high mound occurs in middle of the valley near our halting place, well adapted for a fort, but unoccupied. Small fields of cultivation are now seen. A small species of mullet occurs in the river: thermometer 101 degrees at 1 P.M. in the tent.

Nothing can exceed the barren aspect of this valley, which is near Khet-i- Ahkoond, but at several miles distance, a few trees are visible in nooks: the only green along the banks of the river, is occasioned apparently by Tamarisk: the hills are picturesque, rugged, varied with bold cliffs, the valleys are changed in structure, being now occupied by rounded undulated ground, instead of hollow basins.

[River Turnuk banks: m363.jpg]

July 1st.—Proceeded ten miles, and halted on the Turnuk within one mile of the tower of Tirandaz. The country continues precisely the same: the road at first is bad, owing to the inhabitants having tried to flood it. At a distance of six miles we ascended a small defile without any difficulty; the remainder of the march being over undulating stony ground: the valley then becomes narrow, and we again enter into the arable part, which is especially narrow. The hills present the same aspect. Joussa very abundant, and also Artemisia, and a Salsoloides flore ochroleuco. No villages are visible. We are unable to judge of the extent of cultivation, because the country, which seems uniformly dried up, is rugged and bouldery: on the right is the old bed of the river, consisting of dry sand. We crossed one small nullah, when an old fort became visible on a hill, in the centre of the valley.

2nd.—Proceeded to Toot, a distance of eleven miles, through a similar country; the road dividing at the low hills approaching the river and forming its banks, which are in places precipitous; the greater part of the difficulties were avoided by taking the lower route, that along the hills being impassable for guns owing to the large rocks scattered in every direction, and detached from conglomerate hills. Two or three nullahs were passed, one with a little water. The ground was besides a good deal cut up towards the centre of the valley, and a water-cut was crossed several times. Owing to the delay in making the road, the troops did not reach the encamping ground before 8 or 8.5 P.M., the camels in some instances not before 12 P.M. An attack is reported to have been made on the baggage at the river where the road ascends the cliff: it was prevented by a party of the 13th, who shot two of the marauders. Joussa is plentiful, and Mentha in flower.

The Turnuk river is 20 feet broad, the current rapid, and the water discoloured; the banks are sandy, 15 feet high: coarse grass, Clematis scandens fol. ternatisectis pinnatis. Jhow is abundant.

3rd.—From Toot to ——, nine miles and four furlongs. Road decent, over the usual sort of ground, except in one place, where the bank approaches the river; this defile is much shorter and much easier than that at Tirandaz or rather Jillongeer: a small river with a little water is crossed: here the road for a very short distance bends suddenly to a little west of north, but having crossed a narrow and deep ravine-like cut, resumes its original direction. The country continues precisely the same, the valley however becomes narrow and more undulating, while the peculiar limestone ranges appear to be fewer. Reached the encamping ground in very good time, the vegetation almost precisely the same as before, but with some willow trees. Many of the ravines are however, actually covered with thickets, apparently of the prickly yellow flowered Dioica shrub of Chummun; trees and these shrubs occupied by thousands of a hymenopterous insect or fly. Joussa very abundant: a village, the lights of one were visible en route. The water of the Turnuk is still very much discoloured, its bed shingly, and the ground near it much cut up: a mill was passed on the river; the valley here not being 500 yards wide: the climate is more agreeable, though still very hot in the middle of the day; in the shade, the air continues pleasant up to 10 A.M. Thunder not heavy, was succeeded by a squall from the ENE.; little rain fell, but there were clouds of dust.

4th.—Reached Khilat-i-Gilzee, distance thirteen and a half miles, from our last encampment, direction NE. by E. as before: the aspect of the country is unchanged, the road became somewhat difficult about one and a half mile from camp, where a defile exists along the hills forming the bank of the river; it was however much easier than that of Botee. Thence we continued over undulating ground, leaving the Turnuk river to the right, but reverting to it beyond the fort. Half-way the deep and steep channel of a river presented a serious obstacle; the country gradually rises until Khilat-i-Gilzee fort is passed, from thence it descends somewhat. At this place there is a considerable expanse of irregular valleys; and to south curious low undulated ground occurs: to the south- east is a patch of table land, which is not an uncommon form in these parts; some cultivation here exists along the Turnuk, which runs half a mile below the fort, which is in ruins, occupying a hill not commanded by any near ones. This is of no great height, and has two ramifications, and in the centre the remains of a tower.

In the valley extending NNE. two villages with castles occur, together with a good many low trees. Vegetation the same: a curious Antirrhinoid plant occurs out of flower, Echinops, Carduacea, and a curious Centaurea. Wet places abound in Rumex and Tamarisk along the river. Horsemen were seen after passing the fort: two or three willow trees about the villages. Jhow or barley is selling for ten seers the rupee, atta or flour at eight.

5th.—Khilat-i-Gilzee is a very uninteresting place, with little appearance of cultivation. The vegetation of the undulated ground continues the same, Asphodelus, Mesembryanthemoides, remains of Tauschia, and the former Cruciferae. The Turnuk discharges a good deal of water much discoloured, and forming a series of constant rapids. The most common plants are Artemisiae two or three species, Centaurea spinosa, Salsola luteiflora, Almond groves, Iris crocifolia? vel sp. affinis, Asphodelus, Mesemb., Salvioides, Thermopsis, Cichorium, Joussa, and Mentha recur, the two last in abundance. The new plants are a Chenopodium, Polygonum, Lotoides, Triticum, Astragalus, Scirpus, Caesalpinioides, Centaurea micrantha, and Eryngioides: a spring occurs in the old fort of Khilat-i-Gilzee.

Indian-corn is just sprouting up, barley and other crops ripe. Latitude of Khilat-i-Gilzee 32 degrees 7' 30"; altitude, Bar. 24.740: the climate is disagreeable from the violent sudden extremes to which it is exposed. West winds during day, and east winds of a morning.

6th.—Proceeded to Sir Tasp, ten miles, north-east, road good over an open undulating country, the only difficulty in the way arising from a cut with deep holes in it. Vegetation continues precisely the same: limestone hills less frequent, or at any rate much less rugged, and the country assumes a much more open character. Artemisia most abundant, of large size, Caesalpinia, Euonymus dioica, Centaurea spinosa, Echinops, new plants two Linariae, Eryngium, Verbascum. Altitude 24.505, latitude 32 degrees 12' 22" north. Atta has risen in price to seven seers a rupee.

7th.—Arrived at Nooroock after a march of nine miles; still extending up the valley in a direction north-east—direct on the star Capella. The country is undulated; vegetation still the same. Artemisia most abundant and of a larger size; road good: no fodder for horses, except along the river: the valley open, distant hills on either side with a fine range to the north of the camp, apparently composed of limestone, with abundance of junipers, and the Iris of Dund-i-Golai very common. Hares, rock pigeons, Alauda. Myriads of Cicada, and the Jerboa rat. The Turnuk river is again occasionally in sight, valley apparently little cultivated. Stipa very common, as well as Iris, Festuca vivipara, Astragali sp., and Artemisia. Cloudy evening, followed by a stormy night; wind southerly.

8th.—Reached Tazee, eight miles seven furlongs from Nooroock: direction still the same, no change: the road good, extending over an undulated country, except one or two small nullahs with rather steep banks. A range of mountains seen to the north, called Kohi-Soork, continue forming a long line, the southern boundary of which is broken: we are encamped opposite a valley running east, presenting much cultivation: several villages indicated by distant smoke: some trees are seen here and there: the face of the valley is rather green, indicating more water than usual. Vegetation is precisely the same; no Joussa or other fodder for camels than Artemisia and spinous Compositae. Morning very cloudy and cold at 12 P.M. The plants met with are Chara, Naiad, Polygoni 3, Malva fl. amplis lilacinis, on banks of river.

9th.—Shuftul, five miles: the direction lay towards the star Capella: road bad, requiring to be made over three difficult ravines, all forming beds of torrents descending from the Koh-i-Soork. The country otherwise presents the same features. The Turnuk runs close under the southern boundary of the valley, and is here a pretty stream of considerable body. Joussa grows abundantly on its immediate banks, together with excellent grass and some clover, one or two new Compositae, one of them a Matthiola, otherwise Artemisiae, Stipa, Centaurea spinaceis herb. Astragalus, and Peganum, are the most common; Muscoides, Plantaginacea reoccur, a curious leaved Composita?

10th.—Halted yesterday, and went out along the banks of the Turnuk: where I found twenty-six species not obtained before. Some cultivation was observed, but as usual weedy, abounding with two species of Centaurea. In ditches two species of Epilobium, Sparganium, Mentha, Polygonum natans, Ranunculus aquaticus, Lotus, Carex, Astragaloid on swards, on the sandy moist banks of the Turnuk: Epilobium, two Veronicae, several Cyperaceae, 2 or 3 Junci, Cyperus fuscus. Alisma abundant in swamps: small partridges: no chakor: hares, swifts, rock-pigeons. Springs of beautiful clear water: temperature not changeable, 59 degrees; two small platiceroid fishes in it; tadpoles. Temperature of the river 78 degrees. The fish of this river are the same as those of the Arghandab, the large Cyprinus takes Cicada greedily. The vegetation of the hills is the same: Cerasus pygmaeus and canus, common; the novelties were a fine Composita, Plectranthus, Ephedra in fruit, Artemisia, and Astragal., formed the chief bulk; Joussa is common on the river sides.

This place is 150 feet above the last, yet the increased elevation is not appreciable to the sight: the tents of the army at the Tazee encampment are distinctly visible. Atta sold, at eight seers yesterday, barley sixteen seers for the rupee. Where the sellers come from I know not. Atta was fifteen seers, but it was soon made eight by the approach of the army, and to-day it has risen to four and a half.

11th.—Proceeded to Chushm-i-Shadee, ten miles six furlongs, direction the same: road good, not requiring any repairs; it continues up the valley but at a greater distance from the river than before; the valley is enclosed in hills on both sides. Koh-i-Soork, the northern one, is not very high, but bold and cliffy, with very little cultivation: the country is less undulated. Chushm-i-Shadee is a beautiful spring, not deep, but extending some distance under ground; large-sized fish are found in it: apparently Ophiocephali, but only parts of their bodies can be seen. Indian-corn and madder are cultivated: a new Asteraceous flower was found. Passed a small eminence in the centre of the valley, about three miles from Chushm-i-Shadee. Joussa very abundant. Temperature of spring 59 degrees.

12th.—Reached Chushm-i-Pinjup, six and a half miles, direction more northerly; keeping Capella a little to the right: the country is precisely the same, the road good, one or two easy ravines; one with water in it.

The valley is rather wider, soil much less shingly, and capable of cultivation; several patches of trees are visible in many directions, indicating villages. We encamped opposite the entrance or gap between the mountains forming hitherto the southern boundary, and a more lofty range is seen running parallel with them, about east and west. This range is of considerable height; presenting a peculiar slope rising almost half-way up, and very conspicuous: four forts are seen in this direction; together with several patches of trees, and a good deal of cultivation, but nothing to what might exist. Artemisia is the chief shrub; several good springs occur: clover, and good grass are both abundant for a small party; Joussa in cultivation. The mountain range to the north is very fine, and apparently of different formation from the others; here and there whitish patches occur. There is a very evident slope, which is very gradual from the northern range to the peculiar slope of the southern.

Several springs of fine water occur: the temperature of which is 60 degrees. Fish are abundant about the mouths of these springs, which are like caves; their waters form one of the heads of the Turnuk, along them Mentha, Gramineae 2, Plantago major, Centaurea magnispina, Compositae, Trifolium. In the spring Polygonum natans, and P. graminifol., Chara, Cyperacae.

[Peculiar slope: m368.jpg]

13th.—Gojhan, the distance to this place is 12 miles 6 furlongs: it is not within sight of the Turnuk, though still up the valley of that river, with the same boundaries: a few ravines were crossed but they were not difficult: the road, otherwise level, turning most of them, and capable of easy transit. One small stream was passed, when we encamped on a small cut with excellent water: the banks as usual clovery and grassy; opposite this are two villages on either side of a gorge in the northern boundary, both apparently fortified; the one to the north of the gorge is of large size. The country is not shingly, but the soil is mixed with small pebbles; to our right is a bold hill; vegetation the same. Bicornigera planta is very common, and a good deal of madder cultivation occurs; wheat and barley all cut and thrashed or trodden out: atta selling eight and a half seers the rupee. Thermometer at day break 49 degrees, the west winds continue strong: they arise about 11 A.M. and continue till sunset, sometimes even a little later; they are not hot.

This place, and its environs, is one of the most promising looking I have seen; the whole face of the country being perhaps capable of cultivation. No Joussa seen except perhaps among the cultivated fields; grass is plentiful enough for a small force, and Boosee likewise.

Quails were seen on the march at some distance: it seems to be a great country for potash, and perhaps for camphor, which is evidently abundant in one species of Artemisia.

14th.—Proceeded to Mookhloor or Chushm-i-Turnuk, twelve and a half miles; direction about NNE. The country is the same, but the road is more raviny: certain passes occur about three miles from Gojhan, presenting a fine defile, and some smaller ones afterwards. Vegetation continues the same. Artemisiae, Astragali, and Peganum, are most common; observed a new Astragalus. The valley is much wider after passing Gojhan; the southern boundary is not so distinct, owing to the haze: there is not much cultivation, which appears to be confined to the slopes under the hills. Mookhloor is situated under a fine limestone cliff; and an excellent stream of water occurs here, and abundance of fine grass along the humid banks: along this water villages are abundant, they are all fortified. Trees are plentiful, indeed after Candahar and Arghandab, this is the best looking place we have seen: the view is not distinct however, owing to the haze above alluded to: beyond the water, lies a vast and barren plain. Fish are abundant in the stream, and vegetation luxuriant along its margins. This stream divides into two or three branches, which are all soon choked up with sedges, etc., a cut carries off the greater part of the water, the slope is to the south, or a little to the west of south.

Typha angustifolia occurs in profusion, Mentha, Cochlearia, Epilobiae 2, Calamus abundant, Cyperaceae in profusion, Ranuncul. aquatic, Alisma ditto. The vegetation of the plain where we are encamped is chiefly Artemisia.

15th.—Halted: and I here ascended the hills overhanging the heads of Turnuk where many villages are visible along its branches, fifty may be counted, but it is not known how many of these are in ruins, the villages occur at little distances from each other; the valley is very broad. These hills, which are of conglomerate limestone, except about the upper one-third, which is simple limestone, have no peculiar vegetation. Ficus is the only moderate sized shrub, Asphodelus, Lameoides, Salvia alia, which must be a beautiful species, Labiatae caespitosa, Baehmerioides, Pommereulla, and several grasses, Compositae, Linaria, Senecionoides glaucescens of Quettah, Dianthoides frutex alius congener, Staticoides alia, Composita Eryngifolia, Eryngium, Astragali 2, Umbelliferae 2-3, Hibiscus vel Althaei, Rutae sp.; Frutex pistacioides, Sedoides rosaceus, Onosma, Verbascum, Dipsacea, Cerasus pygmaeus, canus, Scrophularia tertia, Compositae, Labiatae, and grasses, are all the most common plants.

The novelties along the water are a pretty species of Astragalus, in turf a Triglochin and Typha in flower, Potamogetons 3-4, and Ecratophyllum occur: barley is now selling at sixteen seers, wheat at eight seers for a rupee.

16th.—Reached Oba-kahreeze, the distance of which from the last encampment being fourteen miles. The country is open, but very uninteresting; the boundary hills are scarcely discernible owing to haze: the road is good, and a few small hills occur here and there. Vegetation is comparatively scanty; Astragalus novus, common; the chief plants, however, is another Artemisia of much more medicated qualities than those previously met with, that is, less fragrant, Peganum common. Water is plentiful enough, but fodder is scarce, and scarcely any Joussa occurs; but a good deal of cultivation was passed, consisting of madder, barley, and wheat. A few trees were observed here and there marking the sites of villages. The country is much poorer than that at Mookhloor, but almost the whole expanse of plain is capable of good cultivation: soil pebbly. Fowls a good many are procurable. Apricots are also brought for sale, but very inferior: a striking boundary hill to the north presents a rugged, lofty aspect, not less in the peaks than 4,000 above the plain; several ranges occur, but those to the south are low, rounded, and small; rounded clumps of Astragali are seen.

17th.—Proceeded to Jumrat, 12 miles and 2 furlongs, our direction lying to the north of the star Capella. The country continues to present a similar aspect: valley expanded, road tolerable, several ravines and beds of dry watercourses, with sandy bottoms; indeed as compared with yesterday, the soil is much more sandy and less pebbly. Vegetation is the same, no more dense aggregations of Artemisia fruticosa are seen, but the plants consisting of scattered Artemisia of yesterday, barely suffruticose, Peganum, Astragalus, Astragaloid Muscoideus, and Senecio glaucescens. A good deal of cultivation occurs on both sides of the slope towards the southern boundary, which is here lofty, presenting the usual limestone characters. Many villages are seen, all fortified, and about Jumrat there is the appearance of much population. Jerboas, ravens, rock pigeons, and wild pigeons, are common; hares are uncommon. Very few trees are to be seen, but there is abundance of good water and grass along the margins of the cut. Sheep are also to be had, but they are small, and goats for one rupee each, large sheep two rupees: dhal, atta, barley procurable; and Herat rugs.

To-day the native troops were put on short rations of twelve chatacs; servants, etc. on eight. Horsemen to the number of 100? came to meet the Shah, all mounted on decent ponies, but quite incapable of coping with our irregular horse. Barometer 23.305, thermometer 87 degrees, Wooll. new thermometrical barometer 697.6, old 595.8.

From 11 P.M. to 12 P.M. heavy rain; very heavy for about twenty minutes, with a threatening aspect in the horizon at 7 A.M. to south by east, from which direction the rain came: thunder and lightning; latter very frequent.

18th.—Entered the district of Karabagh, distance to our present place of encampment from that we had left eight and a half miles. The road decent, traversing several watercuts, one or two ravines, and a small stream, indeed water becomes more abundant to-day than in almost any other march: our direction lay the same as before, but as we approached the low hills, separating us from Ghuznee plain, we proceeded more east in order to turn them. The features of the country are the same, together with the vegetation, the only novelty being a genuine Statice and a Cruciferous plant, which I observed at Mookhloor, and a Composita, Echinops spinis radiantibus continued. The medicated suffruticose Artemisia: Joussa in old cultivation, and Peganum are the most common plants.

Grass abundant along the cuts and streamlets, mixed with a pretty new Astragalus, and the Astragalus of Mookhloor, Composita depressa, etc.

The valley narrowing, we halted at the foot of low hills, which we are yet to traverse; the ground about our camp stony and barren, producing Astragalus, thorny Staticoides, Centaurea spinosa, Verbascum, and Thapsus.

The soil of the plain good and deep, as instanced by ravines, and the deep beds of streamlets. Cultivation is abundant, villages numerous, and, as usual, all walled; their form generally square, with a bastion at each corner, and often two at each face, in which there is a gate. The people are very confident of their own security in these parts, crowding to our camp with merchandise. The country continues bare of trees, except about some of the villages; northern boundary hills lofty; a curious snow-like appearance is occasionally produced from denudation of land slips, like a long wall running along one of the ridges: southern hills distant, presenting limestone characters.

The articles sold in camp yesterday, were atta (wheat) eight seers, barley sixteen chenna, sugar three to four seers. Lucerne abundant, at one rupee four annas a bullock load, soorais, kismiss, three to four seers, zurd-aloo twelve seers, dried toot or mulberry one and a half seers for a rupee, but these are insipid, very sweet, but also very dirty, pistacio nuts one seer: crops not yet cut, but ripe.

Kupra, cloth of common quality, as well as a black kind called soosee.

Barometer, mean of three observations (12 P.M., 1 P.M., 2 P.M.) 23.433, thermometer 85 degrees 6'. Wooll. new therm. bar. mean of two observations, 699.1, old, 597.5. Lichens abundant on black limestone? rocks. On hills about camp, Labiata nova, and a curious tomentose plant were the only novelties.

19th.—Proceeded to Argutto, distance nine miles, direction easterly, the country continues unchanged until we ascended gradually the end of the low ridge between us and Ghuznee. The slope was very gradual: the road towards the foot generally sandy, and in some places very bouldery: on surmounting the ridge, which was not 300 feet above the plain, we descended a trifle, and encamped in an open space with hills to the north; this place slopes to the south into the valley up which we have come for some marches. The valley in this upper portion is not so fertile as the lower parts we have seen lately, still there are a good many forts, and some cultivation: one or two cuts were passed, and water is abundant at our halting place in cuts, or Kahrezes, as well as in a small torrent with a shallow bed. Several forts were seen on the north side, situated in the small ravines of the hills, they are however, mostly ruined. No change in the vegetation. Jerboas not uncommon. An Accipitrine bird, the same as that obtained at Shair-i-Suffer.

Horsemen, about thirty, were seen on the hills; they descended thence and skirted the base in number; when they were pursued by our cavalry, but escaped through a ravine which Sturt says, leads into a fine plain with many forts. The 4th brigade joined with the Shah's force. I observed to- day a curious monstrosity of an Umbelliferous plant, in which the rays of the umbellules are soldered together; forming an involucre round the immersed central solitary female, the male flowers forming the extreme teeth of the involucre.

Detached thermometer 83 degrees 3', attached ditto 83 degrees 3'; barometer 23.262, mean of three observations: old therm. bar. 597.2, new ditto 696.9. Abundance of villages throughout the part of the valley running east, and then north, and many trees.

[Ghuznee: p373.jpg]

20th.—Proceeded to Nanee, distance eight to ten miles, bearing north- east; after descending slightly from the ground we encamped on, and turning the east extremity of its slope, the road is good, sandy and shingly, running close to low undulated hills. No change in vegetation. Encamped on undulated shingly ground formed from low hills to the north, about half a mile off: Ghuznee is thence visible, situated close under a range of hills, the walls high, having many bastions, and one angle on the south face. Abundance of villages and topes or groves about the valley closing up with irregular barren mountains. Picquets were seen about five miles from our camp, but no appearance of an army about Ghuznee.

The valley up which we have come since leaving Mookhloor, runs opposite this place, from nearly east to north, and apparently, terminates beyond Ghuznee; it is highly capable, is well inhabited and much cultivated. So are all the valleys that we have seen on surmounting the boundary ridges: the villages occupy each indentation of the valley, as well as its general level.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14     Next Part
Home - Random Browse