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Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and The - Neighbouring Countries
by William Griffith
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Barometer at 1 P.M. 23.336, thermometer 91 degrees: new thermometric bar. 697.1, old 597.2. Latitude mean of three observations 33 degrees 24' 26" North.

21st.—Moved to Ghuznee, ten miles six furlongs. Cavalry in very regular columns on the left; infantry to the right, and the artillery in the centre; the park bringing up the rear: to the last moment we were not aware whether the place would hold out or not. The Commander-in-Chief and staff moved far in advance to reconnoitre until we entered a road between some gardens, at the exit of which we were almost within range of the town; here we halted; a fire was soon set up against us from gardens to our left, and somewhat in advance, but all the shots fell far short. On the arrival of the infantry, the light companies of the 16th, the 48th were sent to clear the gardens, which they easily did, although from being trenched vineyards, walled and treed, their defence might have been very obstinate. In the mean time the guns on the south face of the fortress opened on us, and our artillery forming line at about 800 yards range, opened their fire of spherical case and round shot in return; other guns in the fort then opened and a sharp fire was kept up on those in the gardens by jhinjals and pigadas, who when hard pressed took refuge in an outwork or round tower. The fire from the south-east extremity was soon silenced pro tempore, the shrapnel practice being very effective. The howitzer battery on the extreme left of the artillery line was too great a range, and with the exception of one gun, all the shells fell short. In the melee, the Zuburjur 48-pounder, was dismounted, and carried with it a considerable portion of the wall of the citadel where it is built upon a scarp in the east face. After some further firing, the troops were withdrawn almost without range, but sheltered by gardens and broken ground. From 9 A.M. the engineers with an escort reconnoitred the place, and having ascertained that the only practicable point of attack with our means was the Cabul gate, we were moved off, and marched to the new ground in the evening. Owing to the difficulty of crossing a river and several cuts which intercepted the way, and formed the worst road for camels and guns I have yet seen, much of the baggage was not up till twelve next (i.e. this) morning.

One European was killed, accompanying the escort. Graves severely, and Von Homrig slightly wounded, a golundauz lost his leg, and a few others were wounded. Their gun practise in the fortress improved much towards the end, and against the reconnoitring party, was said to be good.

22nd.—The ground we now occupy is the mouth of the valley, up which the Cabul road runs: our camp stretches obliquely across this; the Shah's camp taking a curve and resting by its left on the river. On our (i.e. the sappers) right, is a range of hills, from the extremity of which the town is commanded; between us and the range in question, the 4th brigade is stationed, and on the other side, the remainder of the infantry. We are it seems within reach of the long gun, which has been remounted, and occasionally directs its energies against the Shah's camp. The night was quiet, the troops completely knocked up by the fatigues of the day, the distance we came (to the right) was certainly six miles, and that by which the infantry moved to the left, was still more.

The gardens between us and the town are occupied by the enemy, but the village of Zenrot on the ridge, is not. Large numbers of cavalry are seen on the other boundary range of the valley, opposite our encampment, certainly 2,000; this is probably the other son of Dost Mahommud, who left the fort with the Gilzee cavalry on the night of our march to Ghuznee, for the purpose of attacking our baggage; they were easily driven from the ridge, which is now occupied by our horse.

23rd.—Ghuznee was taken this morning by a coup-de-main, the whole affair was over in half an hour from the time the gate was blown open; there was, however, a good deal of firing afterwards, and some of the inhabitants even held out throughout the day, and caused almost as much loss as that which occurred in the storm. The affair took place as follows: the guns moved into position between 12.5 and 2.5 P.M., and about 3 P.M. commenced firing at the defences over the gate: under cover of this fire the bags of powder, to the amount of 800 lbs. were placed against the gate by Captain Peat, the hose being fired by Lieut. Durand. In the mean time the road to the gate was occupied by the storming party, the advance of which was composed of the flank companies of all the European Regiments. The head of the advance was once driven back by a resolute party of Affghans, who fought desperately hand to hand, but a jam taking place, the check was only momentary. After clearing the gate, the enemy must have become paralysed, and both town and citadel were gained with an unprecedentedly trifling loss. None of the engineers, or of the party who placed the bags, were touched, although from the enemy burning blue lights they must have been seen distinctly: two, of a few Europeans who accompanied Capt. Peat were shot; one killed. During the day a great number of prisoners were taken, among whom was Dost Mahommud's son; a great number of horses also fell into our hands.

24th.—Ghuznee: by this morning at 9 o'clock every thing was quiet, and the last holders-out have been taken; strict watch is kept at the gate to prevent plunder, dead horses are now dragged out, and dead men buried: the place looks desolate, but the inhabitants are beginning to return. It appears to me a very strong, though very irregular place, the stronger for being so: the streets are very narrow, and dirty enough, houses poor, some said to be good inside, it is a place of considerable size, perhaps one-third less than Candahar. It is surrounded by a wet ditch, of no great width, the walls are tall and strong, weakest on the north-east angle immediately under the citadel; parapets, etc. are in good repair. The loop holes are however absurd, and even when large are carefully screened. The ditch is crossed at the Cabul gate by a stone bridge. The Zuburjur is a very large gun, but almost useless to Affghans, who are no soldiers. Every side of the town might have been stoutly defended.

The view from the citadel is extensive and fine, the mountains to the north and north-west extremely so, and seem crowded in the view, while the river and its cultivation add novelty to an Affghan landscape; many villages are visible in every direction, surrounded with gardens and orchards.

There is a good deal of cultivation all round the town, which is situated on a sloping mound, separated by the ditch from the ridge forming the northern boundary of the valley, up which the Cabul road runs; there is a small mosque on this ridge, and below it, within 400 yards of the ramparts, a small village, from which the attack was best seen. The gardens are as usual walled, and are all capable of irrigation, the plots being covered with fine grass or clover. Apples, apricots, pears, and plums much like the Orlean's plum, a sort of half greengage, bullace, Elaeagnus, and mulberries, are the principal fruit trees; of these the pear is the best, it is small but well flavoured; the others are indifferent. There are many vineyards dug into shallow trenches: the plum is allied to the egg-plum, but altogether there are four kinds.

The chief vegetation of the uncultivated ground is a small Salsola, Salsola luteola, this is mixed with Peganum, Santalaceae, Senecionoides glaucescens, Umbelliferoid bicornigera, Composita, having the decurrent part of the leaves dislocated and hanging down. Centaurea spinescens, Linaria, Joussa, and one or two Astragali.

The vegetation, with the exception of an Artemisia indicae similis, a Malvacea, and an Orobanche growing on Cucumis sp., is precisely the same as that met with from Mookhloor hither, Cichorium, Polygonum graminifolium natans, and two others, Rumex, Mentha, Epilobium micranthum, Dandelion, Plantago major, Panicum.

There are two kinds of willow trees; Thermopsis is not uncommon, Centaurea magnispina and Zygophyllum of Candahar are very common, Sisymbrium, Lophia, Hyoscyamus, Centaurea cyanea, Tauschia. Magpies, Hoopoes, Pastor roseus. Corvus corax, etc., along the water-cuts.

Some fine Poplars occur at a village, or rather a Fuqeer's residence; about one and a half mile to the south-west of the town on the road to Candahar, and about it, one or two Carduaceae, one a fine one, to be called C. zamufolia, Pomacea acerifolia, also in gardens: among the cultivated plants are maize, fennel, aniseed? Solarium, Bangun! Madder, the beautiful clover of Mookhloor, lucerne, melons, watermelons, cresses, L. sativum, radishes, onions, beetroot.

There are no ruins indicating a very extensive old city. About our camp are the remains of bunds and old mud walls; near us, and between us and the city, are two minars, with square tall pedestals, of burnt brick, about 100 feet high, and 600 paces apart: there is nothing striking about them, although they bear evidences of greater architectural skill than any thing I have seen in the country, excepting the interior of Ahmed Shah's tomb. The base is angular, fluted, and equals the capital, which is but little thicker towards its base. They are brick, and derive their beauty from the diversity in the situation of the bricks. The one nearest the city is the smaller, and appears perfect, it is likewise provided with a staircase: the larger one is broken at the top of the capital.

26th.—I went to see Mahmoud of Ghuznee's tomb, which is situated in a largish and better than ordinarily built village, about two miles from the Cabul gate, on the road to Cabul, at a portion of the valley densely occupied with gardens. The situation is bad, and the building which appears irregular, quite unworthy of notice; it is situated among the crowded houses of the village, and to be found, must be enquired for.

At the entrance of the obscure court-yard which leads to it, there is a fine rivulet that comes gushing from under some houses, shaded by fine mulberry trees; in this court are some remains of Hindoo sculpture in marble; the way there leads past an ordinary room under some narrow cloisters to the right, then turning to the left one enters another court, on the north side of which is the entrance to the tomb; there is no architectural ornament at all about it, either inside or out. The room is an ordinary one, occupied towards the centre by a common old looking tomb of white marble, overhung by lettered tapestry, and decorated with a tiger skin: over the entrance, hang three eggs of the ostrich, for which the natives have the very appropriate name of camel bird, and two shells, like the Hindoo conches, but smaller. The roof is in bad order, and appears to have been carved. The doors appear old; they are much carved, but the carvings are effaced; they are not remarkable for size, beauty, or mass; and appear to be cut from some fir wood, although the people say they are sandal wood. The tomb strikingly confirms the idea that the Putans became improved through their connection with Hindoostanees, rather than the reverse; the tomb is unworthy of a great conqueror.

I then ascended the ridge, and descended along it to the picquets on the flank of our camp. This ridge, like all the low ones from Mookhloor to this place, is rounded, very shingly, and generally on the northern face, is partly covered with rocks, apparently limestone. The vegetation presents nothing unusual, with the exception of a very large Cnicus, Cnicoideus zamiafolius, capitulis parvis, an Umbellifera, a Scutellaria, Dipsacus; otherwise they are thinly scattered with two or three Astragali, two or three Artemisiae, among which A. gossypifera is the most common, Labiata fragrans of Karabagh, Senecio glaucescens, Compositae, Eryngioides, Centaurea alia, magnispinae affinis, Santalacea, Leucades, Onosma major, et alia, foliis angustis, Echinops prima, Sedoides, Cerasus, Canus pygmaeus, Dianthoides alia.

The view from this ridge is beautiful, it shows that three valleys enter the Karabagh one about Ghuznee, the largest to the eastward; then the Cabul one, then that of the Ghuznee river. The slope of this valley from the mountains to the river, presents a very undulated appearance. The cultivation is confined to the immediate banks of the river, which is thickly inhabited, and to most of the ravines of the mountains, shewing that water is generally plentiful. The river is to be traced a long way by means of the line of villages and orchards which follow its banks.

The mountains are very barren, much varied in the sculpture of their outlines, and are by no means so rugged as those of limestone in the Turnuk valley. The lofty one which presents the appearance of a wall near its ridge, and of snow, alluded to during the march hither on the 18th ultimo, is still visible. Considerable as is the cultivation, it bears a very small proportion to the great extent of waste, and probably untillable land, untillable from the extreme thinness of the soil and its superabundant stones. Cratoegus occurred near Mahmoud's tomb, also Centaurea cyanea.

29th.—Halted: nothing new; botany very poor; poorer than ordinary.

30th.—Moved to Shusgao, distance thirteen and three-quarter miles, direction still the same, or, to the north of the star Capella. The road extends over undulating ground, is cut up by ravines, but easily traversed, ascending and descending; then crossing a small valley, at the north-east corner of which the ghat is visible: the ascent to the mouth of this gorge equals apparently the height attained before descending into the valley. The pass is narrow, the sides steep but not precipitous; the hills are not very rugged, and they are generally thinly clothed with scattered tufted plants; the pass gradually widens, and has a ruin or remains of a small fort-like building as at the entrance. This ruin, or fort, looks down into a poorly inhabited, poorly cultivated, Khorassan valley: road good, with a gradual ascent for one and a half mile from the exit of the pass, where we encamped, about five miles on the Cabul side.

The Botany is rather interesting, the general features are the same as those of the hills round Ghuznee; the most common plants Senecionoides glaucus, Plectranthus of Mookhloor in profusion, a new densely tufted Statice very common, Verbascum, Thapsioides, Linaria, Artemisia very common, Cnici, two or three of large stature, Astragali, two or three, Asphodelus luteus, Labiata of Mookhloor, Santalacea, Dipsacus, Thymus, Lotoides, Staticoides major.

In the undulated ground before reaching the valley preceding the pass, a fine tall Cnicus occurs, also Plectranthus; Peganum is very common.

About our halting place the same small Artemisia and Composita dislocata occur in profusion; Cnicus zamiafolius, Dianthus aglaucine, Astragalus, a peculiar prim-looking species. Leguminosae, Muscoides two or three, very large Cnici, Plectranthus, Iris out of flower, Astragali alii, 2-3.

Cultivation consisting of mustard and very poor crops, of which wheat is the principal: a few ordinary villages are seen with good and abundant supplies of water; the country notwithstanding is inferior, as compared with that about Ghuznee. The soil coarse and gravelly, or pebbly. Thermometer 47 degrees at 5 A.M.

After descending from the gorge, the summit of which may be estimated at 400 to 500 feet, the ascent is considerable: barometer standing at 1.5 P.M. at 22.323; thermometer 86 degrees; so that the extreme ascent since leaving Ghuznee has certainly been between 1,100 to 1,200 feet.

The inhabitants are coming into camp with articles for sale, as lucerne, clover, coarse rugs, and sheep.

31st.—Proceeded to Huftasya, eight and a quarter miles, direction about the same, continuing down a narrow valley with a well marked and tolerable road, extending over undulating ground, having a slight descent throughout: the centre of the valley is cultivated, villages extend up the ravines of the northern side. We halted near several villages, with a good deal of cultivation around, consisting of beans and mustard. But few trees are seen about the villages, and there is no change in vegetation: water abundant from covered kahreezes or wells, which generally flow into small tanks.

The slope of the southern boundary is undulated, that of the northern though generally flat and uninteresting, yet near us becomes very bold and rugged, but its ravines and passes are easily accessible.

Shusgao—The plants found here about the cultivation, are Achillaeoides, Asteroides, Plantago major, Hyoscyamus, Tanacetoides, Artemisia, Trifolium, Taraxacum, Mentha, Phalaris, Rumex, the small swardy Carex of Chiltera, Astragalus, calycibus non-inflatis, tomentoso villoso, this last with Composita dislocata is common on shingly plains.

On slopes of hills Leucades, Cerasus canus, pygmaeus rare, Dianthoides, Plectranthus very common, Cnici 3 or 4, Labiata of Mookhloor, Senecionoides glaucescens common, Artemisia, sp. very common, Staticoides of Dhun-i-Shere, Anthylloides, Verbascum.

Hyoscyamus. The circumcision of the capsule of this genus is apparently in connection with the peculiar induration of the calyx of the fruit; its relations to the capsule is so obvious that its dehiscence is the only one compatible with the free dissemination of the seeds, the calyx remaining entire. Hence? the induration of the calyx should be the most permanent if it is the cause, but to obviate all doubts, both calyx, fructus induratus, and capsula circumscissa, should enter into the generic character; the unilaterality of capsules, and their invariable tendency to look downwards, or rather the inferior unilaterality, may likewise reasonably be considered connected with the same structure of calyx, as well as the expanded limb of the calyx.

The indurated calyx is the cause, because although circumscissa capsula is by no means uncommon, and in others has no relation to the calyx, yet in this genus it has such, and should have in every other similar case.

August 1st.—Hyderkhet, distance ten and a half miles down the same valley; the road is bad and after crossing the undulating terminations of the southern slope, very stony and bouldery; in several places it is narrow and uneven. The country is well inhabited, and very well cultivated, particularly towards the bed of the river, which is here and there ornamented with trees. Numbers of villagers are seen on the road as spectators. Beans very abundant, mustard less so, excellent crops of wheat; the fields are well tilled, and very cleanly kept: this portion of the valley, though small, is perhaps the best populated and cultivated place we have yet seen: the descent throughout is gradual: the boundary hills, at least lower ranges present a very barren character, covered with angular slaty fragments. Some tobacco cultivation.

2nd.—Shekhabad, nine miles and six furlongs, direction north-east by east. The road throughout is rather bad, particularly in places near the Schneesh river, which has a very rapid current. We left this on its turning abruptly through a narrow ravine to the south: towards this, the valley narrows much; we then ascended a rising ground, and descended as much or perhaps less until we reached the Logur, a river as large almost as the Arghandab, this we crossed by a bridge composed of stout timbers, laid on two piers composed of stones and bushes, and tied together by beams: the cavalry and artillery forded below, and above the bridge. Crossing the bed which is low and well cultivated, chiefly with rice, we ascended perhaps 100 feet, and encamped on undulating shingly ground; we then passed much cultivation on the road: villages are plentiful, and often placed in very narrow gorges unusually picturesque for Affghanistan; one scene was especially pretty, enclosed by the high barren mountains of the southern boundary, in the distance a village or two, and the Schneesh, with banks well wooded, and willows in the foreground.

The aspect of the hills, except some of the distant ranges, is however changed; quartz has become very common among the shingle, with reddish, generally micaceous, slate: the mountains are rounded, and easy of access: very poorly clothed with vegetation. The course of the Logur is nearly north and south.

There are some villages about this place, with lucerne, clover and bearded rice of small stature.

The elevation of the country is here about 100 feet below our camp, which is about half a mile from the river. Barometer 182, 23.362; thermometer 95 degrees; latitude 34 degrees 5' 30".

3rd.—Halted: the Logur river discharges much water; the whole of the tillable portions of adjacent banks are not under cultivation, the rocky sides to the south composed of micaceous slate, are very precipitous; these mountains were originally rounded, but are now formed into cliffs; willows and poplars are abundant along the river. But the vegetation of the cliffy sides scarcely presents any change, except in a Salvia, a Ruta, a small withered Leguminosa; the other plants are Polygonacea frutex uncommon, Senecionoides, Salvia Horminum common, Artemisia two: the usual one very common, Asphodelus, Mesembryanthoides, and luteus, several Compositae, two or three Cnicoidei, a Pulicaria, etc. of the same section, Cuscuta, Linaria angustifolia, Stipa, several withered grasses, Dianthoides, Scrophularia, Allium, Cerasus canus, pygmaeus uncommon, Sedoides, Boragineae, Boraginis facie common, Leucades, Astragali, three or four, Onosmae 2, angustifolia and majus, Scutellaria, Equisetoides, Ephedra.

Anthylloides, Plectranthus common, Peganum uncommon, Staticoides major, Compositae dislocata common.

In the swardy and wet spots along river, the usual plants occur; the novelty being a Hippuris out of flower, Plantago, Glaux, Chara, Alisma, Tamarisk, Salix, Trifolium fragiferum, Thermopsis, Cyperacea, Triglochim, Equisetum. The Nuthatch found in the cliffs, cultivation occurs.

To-day news arrived of the flight of Dost Mahommud to Bamean, with 3,000 Affghan Horse. Captain Outram sent in pursuit. The Shah joined us, attended by perhaps 2,000 Horse, and people are said to be flocking into our camp from Cabul.

4th.—Proceeded to Killa-Sir-i-Mahommud, distance ten and a half miles, direction north by east, the park of artillery, etc. remaining behind, the road for the first half extending over undulating ground to the head of the valley, then becoming level and good with some inferior cultivation: the valley is dry and barren. We encamped on stony ground forming a slight eminence under a beautiful peak, certainly 4,000 to 5,000 feet above the plain, and hence 12,000 to 13,000 feet above the sea. The valley at the base of the hills is occupied by a few villages, but generally speaking little population exists in these parts. No change in vegetation; at the level part of the march the Chenopodiaceae of Karabagh is very common.

The 2,000 Dooranees who joined the Shah yesterday dwindled down to 300 by the evening, and the camp was fired into at night. There is some cultivation about this, chiefly of mustard, carrots, millet and Panicum, Setaria.

5th.—To Maidan, distance eight miles? direction at first as before, but after crossing the river due north, we continued down the valley, passing some villages and cultivation consisting of beans, etc.; water being abundant about three miles from camp, forming a small brook, which falls into the Cabul river at the end of the valley. Before reaching this we crossed a low spur, and then descended into Maidan valley: which presented a beautiful view; much cultivation, and trees abundant along the Cabul river.

Crossing this which is a rapid current one foot deep, twenty yards wide, running south, or in the contrary direction to that which is given in Tassin's Map, we ascended an eminence on which a ruinous stone fort is built, we crossed this eminence between the fort and main ridge and descended into a valley again, keeping above the cultivation at the foot of the east boundary range, for about a mile, when we halted. The ruins of a stone bridge exist over the river, one arch remaining on the left bank.

The valley is the prettiest we have seen, the hills to the west and north being lofty and picturesque; one to the latter direction presenting an appearance exactly like that of snow on its ridge, quite white, but not changing even at noon, nor occupying such places, as it would do if it were snow. The mountains, except those to the west, are not boldly peaked, the valley is prettily diversified with wood, all of the usual sombre cypress-like appearance, from the trees, especially poplars, being clipped. Cultivation and water both plentiful: villages and small forts numerous, with very barren mountains. This was the place where Dost Mahommud was to have fought; he could not have selected a better, the ridge entering the valley, and the passage of the river, as well as that of the fort would have afforded good positions: a road however runs round the base of the eminence on the river side. By swamping the valley, or cutting a canal, and entrenching himself he might have caused great difficulties. Apples are abundant here, rosy and sweet.

Cultivation of the valley consists of wheat, barley, Cicer, not chunna, maize, rice, carrots, beans, peas.

The river side is well furnished with willows and poplars, Salix viminea also occurs; the villages are generally square, with a bastion at each corner, and loopholes. Cyprinus microsquamatus, {383} common.

6th.—Arghundee, distance eight miles, direction for the first fourth of the way NE., then considerably to the eastward, when we soon left the valley and commenced with an ascent over a low ridge by a vile stony road over undulating ground. On reaching the ridge a similar descent took place, where the road becomes less stony, but much intersected by ravines. We encamped about three miles from the ridge, in a rather barren narrow valley. Nothing of interest occurred on the road, except Dost Mahommud's guns, which are the best I have seen in the country. The hills to our north crowded closely together, the inner ranges are very high, with the appearance of snow.

Hindoo-koosh is dimly seen in the distance to the eastward. In some streams water birds, particularly the small kingfisher of India are seen. The Hoopoe is common, Merops, Pastor, and ravens. New plants a Boragineae floribus infundibuliformis, tubiformibus, loeta caeruleis, venosa roseis, melons. Snow on the Hindoo-koosh: rain in the afternoon, and at night a heavy thunderstorm to the north.

7th.—Kilah-i-Kajee, lies one mile to the eastward: distance of to-day's march, nine miles? one continued but gradual descent over a bad, frequently very stony road, not much water. Direction at first ENE., then on descending into the first valley, due east or even to the south of east, we encamped in the centre of a well-cultivated valley; near dense gardens, having good apples; apricots indifferent. Hindoo-koosh is here more distinctly visible with several ranges interposed; the outline is rugged, highest point presenting a fine conical irregular peak towards the south-east.

8th.—Halted: encamped close to gardens and rich cultivation. The fields are separated by rows of poplars, willows, and Elaeagnus; scenery pretty from abundance of trees with rice fields interspersed among woods; the umbrageous banks of the rocky river of Cabul, are quite of unusual beauty for Afghanistan: extensive fields of cultivation lie in this direction, as well as across the valley in the direction of Cabul, consisting of rice in great quantities, mixed with much of a Panicum stagninum, lucerne, carrots, peas, quantities of safflower, which appears to me to be of a different species, wheat and barley both cut, the rice is just in flower.

In orchards, hazel-nuts, apples, pears, etc. some of the fruit excellent, particularly pears, but generally they are coarse; apples beautiful to look at, but poor to the taste, excellent but too luscious plums, good grapes, excellent and fine sized peaches, melons as good as those of Candahar, water melons, cherries of very dark colour.

Some change is to be observed in the vegetation, see Catalogue, two or three Labiata, an Ononis, an Aconite, Tussilago? etc. among the most striking, Ammannia and Bergioides, remarkable as tropical forms, but it is now hot enough for any plant: rice fields crowded with Cyperaceae and Alisma.

Crataegus oxycantha, or one very like it. The poplar here grows like the Lombardy one, either from cropping or crowding; its leaves (when young) are much smaller! and at this stage it might easily be taken for another species.

Heliotropium canus common. The large poplar when young, or even when matured, has its younger branches with terminal leaves like the sycamore. The pomaceae-foliis palmatis subtus niveis of Quettah and Candahar are nothing but this poplar in its young state!! Nothing can exceed the difference between the two, both in shape and tomentum.

12th.—Halted since 10th at Baber's tomb, situated at some fine gardens, or rather groves very near the summer-house of Shah Zumaun, and to the right of the entrance into the town. It is a delightful residence, and for Afghanistan, a paradise. There are some tanks of small size, around one of which our tents are pitched under the shade of sycamores and fine poplars; the tank is fed by a fall from a cut above its level, and which skirts the range of hills at an elevation of fifty feet in some places from its base. The tomb of Baber is poor, as also is the so-called splendid mosque of Shah Jehan, a small ordinary open edifice of coarse white marble. In the gardens, one finds beautiful sycamores, and several fine poplars both round the tank and in avenues. Below them a Bauhinioid fruit was found, together with abundance of hawthorn, roses, and jasmines.

The view from this spot is beautiful, as fine as most woodland scenery. The view from Shah Zumaun's summer-house is also extensive, and not to be exceeded as a cultivated woodland scene; it is variegated with green swardy commons, presenting all sorts of cultivation; with water, villages, abundance of trees, willows, poplars, hedgerows, and by the grand but barren mountains surrounding it, the Pughman hills, which must be at least 13,000 feet above the sea.

The entrance to Cabul on this side, is through a gorge flanked by hills; these to the left are low, those to the right reaching 1,000 feet, through which the Maidan river, here called the Cabul river, runs; it may be 100 yards wide. The river is subdivided, and crossed by a ruined stone bridge of many arches, one parapet of which (the outer) is continuous with the wall before mentioned. The gorge is occupied by cultivation of several kinds, having the city wall at its termination, running irregularly across the valley. A village is situated between the entrance of the gorge and the wall. There are no defences to the city worth mentioning: one enters immediately into narrow dirty streets, with here and there a fever-breeding stagnant sewer; while the streets are narrow, the bazars are good, of good breadth, well covered in by flat ornamented roofs: the shops are clean, and well laid out. Shoemakers and leather-workers, and fruiterers, are the most common: there are armourers, blacksmiths, drapers and bakers. Hindoos and Mussulmen intermixed, form the population. There is great bustle and activity, everywhere profusion of fine fruit, especially melons, grapes, and apples are presented.

13th.—I ascended this morning the ridge above us, up which the wall runs; the ascent is, after surmounting the summer-house of Shah Zumaun, considerably steep, and very rugged. The highest position of the wall is 1,150 feet above the city. It is eight feet high, and six or seven thick, composed of slabs of the micaceous slaty stone of the place, cemented by mud, with a parapet of two feet, generally of kucha, or mud, with loopholes, and bad embrasures. It is furnished with bastions, but is now in a ruinous state. It is a work completely thrown away. To the south, the wall bends eastward, and is continuous with the outworks of the upper citadel; to the north it dips into the gorge, and re-ascends the hills on the opposite side.

From the peak, (which is not the highest point of the ridge, there being two higher to the south, on the nearest of which is a mound, and a small pillar) a beautiful view is obtained of Cabul, its valley, and its mountains, together with the far more beautiful valley in which the army is encamped.

The town itself presents an irregular outline, and is, with the exception of some gardens towards its northern side, some lucerne fields near its centre, and one or two open spots of small size, densely crowded with the usual terraced-roofed, kucha, or mud houses, which are so close, as to show no streets whatever.

There is not a single conspicuous building in it, with the exception of the lower Bala Hissar and a mosque of small size on the right bank of the river, occupying an open space near a garden, which alone renders it distinct.

The Bala Hissar occupies the eastern corner: its outworks are regular enough. It is surrounded by the remains of a wet ditch; its works have been lately improved. Excepting the part occupied by the Shah, etc. the space is crowded by houses exactly like the town. The fort to its south and commanding it completely, is the upper citadel, and is altogether out of repair; this continues the defence formed by the wall. The walls of the city themselves are not distinguishable, excepting those of the nearest quarter, occupied by Kuzzilbashes. The river intersects the town, it is crossed by two, three, or perhaps more small stone bridges, and runs nearly due east, and may be traced almost to the foot of the eastern boundary range. From near the mosque a fine straight road runs NNE. or thereabouts, with avenues of trees of small size near the town. Two other roads are visible on the east side; one is continuous with that which runs along the north face of the lower citadel, it runs due east; and the other slopes towards this, and meets it about two or three miles from the city at the end of a low range of hills.

The valley is not so well cultivated as ours, (i.e. the one in which the army is encamped) nor by any means so well wooded; it appears bare some way from the city, but this may arise from the stubble of the prevailing cultivation of wheat and barley. There is abundance of water, the only distinct Chummun is to the south of the citadel, it is now under water.

Some low isolated hills or ranges are interspersed in the valley; of these the largest is that running nearly parallel to the central road; the next is due north of the city, and midway between it and the salt- water lake which stretches several miles along the north of the valley, and which appears to be a large body of water.

The boundary hills are generally fine; to the east is a high scarped bold range, running nearly due north and south, its terminations being plainly visible; near its southern end commences the ridge that forms the oblique south boundary of the valley, and which runs up towards the south into a fine broadly conical peak, very conspicuous from Arghandab. To the north are the fine Pughman mountains; these run east and west: they are of great elevation, and of fine outline, presenting here and there appearances of snow. To the west is the walled ridge, not exceeding 1,300 feet in its highest point above the general level; this is interrupted by the Cabul river, and never reaches such elevations again; before ending to the north, it sends off a spur to the east.

Beyond the eastern boundary, glimpses of the Hindoo-koosh are obtainable.

To the west, there are no very high hills visible, excepting the western part of the Pughmans; those of our valley are not exceeding 2,000 feet in height, and are low to the south, in which direction the Maidan river flows into the valley. Beyond the highest point of the walled ridge, are several crowded high mountains.

The vegetation of the western hills is not peculiar, Echinops, a tallish Carduacea, Carduacea alia, Senecionoides, Astragali, Artemisiae 2, Statice of Dhuni pass.

Leucades, Labiata of Karabagh, Gramineae, several small Compositae, foliis dislocatis, Leguminosa, fructu echinatis, Santalacea, Asphodelus luteus, Ruta angustifolia, Umbellifera, foliis maximis of Chiltera, a very stout plant, with a very medicinal gum, a new Polanisioid, a Centaureoid, and a fine Carduacea are to be found in it.

A Marmot, the size of a large rat, is also found here, the large specimens are of a reddish tinge, the small ones of a blackish.

The bazars are crowded all day, and in the morning are obstructed from asses loaded with wood. Most things are procurable; the cloths seen are mostly the indifferent common kind of cloth related to the Seikh Puttoo; camel hair chogas, posteens or coarse blankets; these last indicating very cold winters: there are not many other things peculiar—long knives, and the shoes and boots are among the most so, and wretched silk handkerchiefs.

The most common grapes are the kismiss, a long coarse grape which answers for packing, a round, very sweet, purple grape, with large seeds, and small seedless ones intermixed, are all capable of being much improved by thinning, and a huge, tough-skinned, coarse, purple grape, of good flavour.

The best peaches have a green appearance, even when ripe; the ordinary ones are coarse, and not well-flavoured; but the Affghans are quite ignorant of the art of packing fruit, and hence most are bruised.

Two sorts of apples are common, both rosy; one very much so, but much inferior to the other.

Pears principally of two kinds, both allied to the common pear in shape; the large ones are very coarse, but well adapted for stewing.

Aloocha excellent for jellies, as also the cherries: most kinds of plums are now out of season.

The melons vary much in quality, the watermelons are generally better, and vary less: the muskmelons I have here seen, are ruined by inattention to the time of gathering; some are very fine, the pulp is never very deep coloured; it is very rarely green; some of the Kundah sort are very good; this and the turbooj are both excessively common. The usual Cucurbita is cultivated, as well as the other common cucumber, pumpkin, Luffa foetida, and L. acutangula.

Cabbages common, beet root ditto, bangun ditto, excellent spinage (Spinaceae).

All sorts of spices procurable, but they are generally old: sugar very good, is sold in flat candied cakes, one and a half inch thick; koorool in small cakes resembling chunam.



CHAPTER XVI.

From Cabul to Bamean—The Helmund, and Oxus rivers.

24th August, 1839.—Left Cabul for Bamean, and marched to Urghundee.

25th.—To the Cabul river, distance twelve and a half miles; diverged from the Cabul road at Urghundee Chokey, striking obliquely across a ravine that debouches into the main valley at this point. The course of the river ENE. or thereabouts, then we entered a ravine to the west side of the river, and commenced ascending the pass, which is not difficult, and although rather steep at first, subsequently it becomes merely undulated, the surrounding hills of the pass have the usual character, but are separated by mere ravines. Vegetation very scanty; Senecionoides very common, as also Joussa and Statice of Dund-i-sheer; here I noticed the Solora found in the wood at Kilatkajee. The Barometer at the summit of the pass, 22.148: thermometer 60 degrees. An extensive view is had from it, up the Cabul river, the valley of which is well cultivated, but presents nothing very striking in its neighbouring mountains. Great numbers of sheep passed us going towards Cabul, also numbers of Patans with their families, all on camels, than some of which last nothing could be finer. The women's dress consists of loose gowns, generally bluish, with short waists coming almost up under the arms, and leggings of folded cloths; they are a gipsy-like, sun-burnt, good looking people. Numbers of asses laden with grain were also passed. At the halting place indifferent apples only were to be had. Slight rain fell in the afternoon from east, then it became heavier from west.

26th.—Distance eight miles, the road lay along the Cabul river up a gentle ascent, over undulated ground; features of country the same, villages, etc., abundant. Heavy rain set in from the west after our arrival at the encamping ground at 4 P.M., with thunder. Night hazy, heavy dew.

27th.—To Sir-i-Chushme, distance ten miles, direction continues easterly up the Cabul river valley: features the same; road generally good, here and there stony, crossed a large tributary falling into the Cabul river, from the north at Juljaily, a large village, the largest in the valley, and very pretty. Poplars and willows in plenty along river. Near Sir-i-Chushme the valley becomes narrow; the river passing through a gorge, on the left side of which on rugged rocky ground, are the remains of a tower. The rocks here are mica slate, reposing at a considerable angle, occasionally nearly vertical. The surface is thinly vegetated, Silenacea, two or three Muscoides (981), Scrophulariae sp., common, etc. (see Catal. 971, etc.) Beyond, the valley again widens, presenting similar features to those just mentioned. To the right side of the valley there is a beautiful narrow ravine, bounded on the south with springs, to the north by a noble bleak rugged ridge, with much snow; it has the usual features, namely, a shingly inclined plane between huge hills. The village of Sir-i-Chushme is built on a rising ground or small spur, surrounded by numerous springs which supply the source of the Cabul river; the bed of which above them is nearly dry. The springs abound with the usual water plants, a Cinclidotoid moss in abundance, a Celtoid tree stands over one spring; Peganum continues. A shallow circular pool occurs at the foot of the hills, on which the village is built; it is crowded with the peculiar Cyprinidae of these parts, {390a} some of which attain three pounds in weight, as also a small loach. {390b}

The cultivation throughout this valley is good. The soil is however heavy, but in places it gives way to a brown mould: rice is cultivated up to Julraiz, but not beyond, millet (Setaria), Indian-corn, lucerne, mustard, beet root; beans and peas are very common.

Great pains are taken with watercuts, which are led off into each ravine that debouches into the valley, at elevations of sixty to eighty feet above the river; opposite each, the river where led off is bunded across. The watercuts or courses are in some places built up with stones. Apricot trees continue, also mulberries near Julraiz, but they are not productive.

Timber is cut in good quantities, and is floated down in the spring to Cabul. We continue to meet flocks of sheep and camels with Patans, Momums, and Ghilzees going to Cabul, thence to Julallabad; after selling their produce at Cabul, they return in the summer to the same pasturages.

The oxen used to tread out corn are muzzled: grain is winnowed as in Europe by throwing it up in the wind, the corn falls nearest the wind, the coarse chaff next, then the fine chaff. Sir-i-Chushme is about the same height as the pass into the valley of the Cabul river.

English Scrophularia were observed to-day at Julraiz. We obtained all provisions cheap at this place, but of very inferior quality compared to Cabul.

The most common plants are Senecionoides and Plectranthus; Artemisiae one or two, some Carduaceae. Very few novelties occur: hedges of Hippophae and roses, Salvia very common to-day; asses were seen laden with dried Ruwash leaves.

28th.—To Yonutt, twelve miles, continued for a short distance up the Sir-i-Chushme valley, then we diverged to the north-west, still following the principal streamlet up an easy defile; on reaching a beautiful kila, differently ornamented from the usual form, we diverged along the same ravine much more to the west. We continued doing so for five or six miles, passing a little cultivation in every possible spot capable of it, and four or five forts. The ascent then commenced to be steeper, still continuing up the watercourse which was very small; this we soon left, passing over five ridges of easy access, the third being the highest. Barometer 20.365: thermometer 80 degrees at 10.5 A.M.; after this we descended the 5th ridge or kotal, 200 or 300 feet, which is very steep, having a watercourse at its bottom; direction of stream lies to the north, thence ascending we again descended gradually over an open stony ridge, until we reached the fort of Yonutt, where we encamped near a green wet spot, visible for some distance.

The road here and there was bad owing to stones; except at the last kotal, or ascent, it was nowhere very steep, but difficult enough for camels, especially up the ascent of the 1st kotal. It lay up a ravine not unlike others we have seen, the ascent being considerable, but gradual, when we left the watercourse, however, we came on a different country, very elevated (1st kotal not under 10,000 feet), longly undulated, the mountains generally massive, rounded, here and there rising into peaks, especially to the south, near Yonutt, where there is a fine ridge not under 14,000 or 15,000 feet, rugged with spots of snow; the mountains to north of this are more rounded; slate and limestone abundant, but not a tree from the base of the 1st ascent. The ascent is very practicable, the road is made, or artificial in many places, soil soft and broken: there is water at seven miles from Sir-i-Chushme, and even at the foot of the 1st kotal, at least there are two or three of the usual villages; there is one with its wall demolished. Many granite blocks are strewed on the road. For ponies and horses, even laden, the road is very easy, but for draft it is difficult. We experienced a cold cutting west wind from 11 A.M. Grass is plentiful along all the moist spots, but it is useless as the camels prefer the Carduacea of this place, though a bad fodder for them.

[Sir-i-Chushme ridges: m392.jpg]

Not much change was observed in the vegetation for half-way up the 1st kotal or ascent; willows and poplars continue to nearly one mile from the last village. Here and there along the ravine or streamlet, Salvia is very common, Senecionoides, Bubonoides on rocky ground, Sinapis, Verbascum decurrens used in the Himalayas for German tinder, Statice of Dund-i-Shere, Muscoides of yesterday, Urtica of Cabul, Malva rotundifolia, Hyoscyamus 1-labiat., Polygonum prostratum of shingly spots, Composita dislocata, Leucades, Boraginea, Boraginis fasciae of before. About Kila Moostaffur Khan a coarse tufted grass, Centaurea oligantha common throughout, first found at Khilat-i-Gilzee; Onosma major, Cochlearia, Dianthoides. Chenopodium diclinum, villosa, Astragali 2-3, Cichorum, Linaria angustifolia, Euphorbia angustifolia, Marrabium, Hyoscyamus of Quettah, Testucoides annua appears about here, Epilobium minus, Rumex, Lactuca fol. cost. subtus spinosis, Melilotus, Silene angulata, Arenaria, calyce globoso inflato, Echinops of Cabul. The water plants are precisely the same as those of Cabul.

For new plants see Catalogue 980, etc.

Summit of 1st kotal Statice of Dund-i-Shere, Statice grandiflora, Dianthoides, several Astragali, one with the pinnulae dentato serratis, petiola spinosa, a tufted Monocotyledonous plant with terete canaliculate subulate leaves, Salvia, Gramen alterum, Composita dislocata, Carduacea, this is the most common plant on the open rounded parts, while the others occupy the rocky sides of the hills. The vegetation is however very poor.

Cultivation various, as seen in different stages along the gorge up to the ascent. Thus, people are seen ploughing for the next year's crops amidst stubble fields, and lucerne; but above and throughout the ascent, no crops are cut, while the wheat and barley on the descent are in the ear: mustard very common. Several encampments of what are badly called black teal, and paths are to be seen very frequently over the hills in most directions, together with flocks of sheep. A large road leading off to the south-west from the summit is seen; from this our road is well- marked.

29th.—Halted: every tillable spot is made use of about Yonutt, where there is a fort with forty families. The crops are chiefly wheat and a four-awned barley, the grain is fine though scanty, and the plants are of stunted growth. Ravens the same, round-tailed eagle as at Urghundee, and Percnopterus, wagtails, three kinds of Conirostres, and an Alauda are found here, one or two Sylviae. The sward about this place is abundant, affords good pasturage for a few horses, and water is plentiful. This sward is chiefly occupied by a Leguminous Caraganoid shrub, rather thorny, and not unlike some species of Barberry in habit, this is abundant, and is first met with in the ravines beyond the Oonnoo pass, Cyperaceae, viz. 2-3, Carices, small grasses, Leontodon, Astragaloid caerulens, Trifolium album, Composita corona, Cnicus acaulis, and Gentiana pusilla, compose the sward chiefly; in the drier parts of it there is a very fine Carduacea, which appears very local.

The hills about are all either clay slate, pure slate, or micaceous slate, the strata generally vertical.

Descended the ravine which the rivulet passes down, to where it joins the Helmund, the hills bounding it are of no great height, but the slips are sometimes bold. The Helmund runs between rocky cliffs, its bed not much broader than the stream, the water is clear, rapid, and the column considerable.

This gorge is picturesque, the sides being generally precipitous.

The plants of these hills are, Umbelliferae very common, Statice 2, Carduacea, Ephedra, Labiatae of Karabagh vel similia, Arenarioid out of flower in the crevices, a large Mattheoloid, Leucades, Dianthoides foliis undulatis, Artemisiae two or three, one a peculiar one, No.—a shrubby Astragalus, stunted scraggy Polanisia of Cabul? Campanula of Karabagh in the bed of the stream, Cnicus of Kot-i-Ashruf, and Salvia are excessively common, Artemisia pyramidalis, two or three: mosses occur on the banks, and several Gramineae, see Catalogue 1,005, etc. Cnicus alius, Verbascum.

[Helmund gorge: m393.jpg]

30th.—We continued ascending gradually, crossing a low ridge covered with sward, and then descended to surmount another ridge, which appeared to me to be as high as the top of the Oonnoo. We thence descended, crossing several small ridges; and, at about the distance of five miles from the commencement of the day's journey, suddenly turned north, entering a gorge of the usual structure, drained by a small stream, and thence came on the Helmund, not much increased in size as compared with the point at which we had seen it first, but in a comparatively wide and partly cultivated ravine, containing three or four ruined forts. We continued a quarter of a mile down the Helmund, then ascended up a considerable stream through a similar gorge, until we reached an encamping spot, after performing thirteen and a half miles. The barometer at the Helmund stood at 21.206, thermometer 63 degrees in sun.

Kohi-Baba is first seen from the first ridge, but it is seen beautifully from the second, and still better from some distance beneath this; it is a noble three-peaked ridge, the eastern peak is the largest, and of angular, conical shape. The other two are rugged; the central one is perhaps the highest; the lower portions cliffy, evidently slaty.

The river up which we came after leaving the Helmund, is fully equal to that in size; it is very rapid: the ravine is very narrow, occasionally widening into swardy spots. We encamped nearly opposite Kohi-Baba, the conical peak of which here seems a huge rounded mass, with heavy patches of snow, particularly along the northern ridge: the second range to the south is very precipitous and cliffy: at this place a small streamlet falls into the river from the direction of Kohi-Baba.

No particular change in vegetation is observed: two or three Umbelliferae, a Scrophularia, Geranium, Ranunculus aquaticus, Herba immersa, foliis anguste loratis, Potentilla, Panserina, a new Graminea.

The most common plants are still Carduaceae and Salvia; Rosa occurs also, (Senecionoides ceased some time before) Statice, Scutellaria common, Verbascum, Euphorbia linearifolia, Linaria ditto, Mentha: no change in water plants, or in those of the sward, Chenopod. faemin. villos, coarse grass, No. 998, common; the chief new feature is Ruwash, the dead red leaves of which are abundant. Two villages were passed after leaving the Helmund, both ruined, yet all spots cultivated, several with Cicer. Watercourses as high up cliffs and hills as 100 feet above the river.

A dreadfully cutting dry wind blows down the ravine, and in our faces all the way. Limestone cliffs occurred, about which the vegetation became rich, more especially near a bridge consisting of trees thrown across a narrow portion of the river, at a point where the stream is very deep; near this are two willow trees of a different species. A fine Rosa, a new Epilobium, Aconitum, Salisburifolium, a small Crucifera, one or two Compositae, a curious Polygonum, a Rumex, a Dianthus, Silene, three or four Umbelliferae, among which is the yellow Ferula? of the Kojhuk pass, two or three new Leguminosae, Saponaria, Silenacea inflata, Cerastium may be found among them, or in the fields close by.

31st.—We ascended the high bank or cliff over the bridge, and continued up the ravine which lies over the river, but whose bed is too narrow for a road: we passed two or three villages, the road undulating over ground covered with granite boulders, or rather small masses, rounded only when exposed to weather; the bottom of each undulation is covered with sward and giving exit to a small stream; sometimes we came on the bed of the river. At six and a half miles we came on a fort, used as a custom house, and diverged again to the east up a ravine; the Arak road continuing along the river. We passed another fort, and then commenced the main ascent of Hajeeguk. In a ravine to the left, 100 feet above us, was a large mass of half frozen snow: barometer at the foot of main ascent 20.320, thermometer 80 degrees. The ascent is rather steep, but easy enough: barometer 19.755, thermometer 80 degrees. Thence the descent was steep for about 800 feet, and then gradual for four or five more, when we encamped on sward. From the top of the pass we had a beautiful view of the ridge of Kohi-Baba, running about WNW., presenting a succession of fine bold rugged peaks, the conical mass was not seen well, as there is heavy snow on it, and on some other parts of the ridge.

Water is plentiful in all ravines, the lower parts of which are covered with swardy grass. Cultivation is less advanced than at Yonutt, consisting chiefly of barley; every capable spot is made use of. Boulders of antimony, also a large mountain close to, and on the right of our camp composed of this ore, which is very heavy; a ruined fort on the hill near us, shewing again how some of these ridges become disintegrated. A cafila passed with huge loads of cloths of various sorts, carried on asses, going to Bamean: they paid toll I observed at Choky fort.

The vegetation in the snow ravine was rich, and varied in the swardy spots: Ranunculi 2, Swertia 2-3, Gentiana a fine one, Junci, Carices, Euphrasia, Triglochin, Veronica as before, Cardaminoides; near the snow in sward, a pretty Primula in flower; two other Pediculares. A Brynum on the dry parts of the ravine, two Astragali in flower 2-3, Cruciferae, Echinops, Carduaceae, Silene pusilla, Stellaria, Campanula odorata, Rutacea about springs, Parnassia? Astragali 3-4, in flower, long past this elsewhere, Thalictrioides, Secaloides.

See Catalogue Nos. —- of exposed face; Staticoides of Yonutt, Graminae 998, Carduaceae very common, Statice aliae rare.

The hill over which the pass runs, is chiefly covered with a herbaceous Carduacea out of flower in profusion, one or two Astragali, an Artemisioid, small Compositae, and the abundant Carduaceae of Yonutt, Astragaloid pinnulis on the west side, Koollah hujareel, Statice, Macrantha dentatis; a spinous leaved Carduacea, different from the Zamea leaved ones out of flower, Gramin. 998 common, Chenopodioid? Arenaria spinosa, Onosma, Carduacea alia, two or three Astragalus primus. Altogether the vegetation is different from that of Oonnoo, in the comparative absence of Statice, Dianthoid, and Astragali.

Similar swardy spots occur on the west of the pass, a large Swertia, Caraganoid, Carices, etc. as before, Gentiana of Yonutt, a new Potentilla, Salix fruticosa; here also occurs the first Orchidea I have seen in Khorassan: it belongs to the tribe Orchis, but is out of flower. On the 1st of Sept., I re-crossed Hajeeguk, directing my way again into the snow ravine from the top of the pass, and found a number of plants, for which see Catalogue. A Campanula abundant about springs at 12,400 feet. The vegetation of the ravine close by the little fort is rich, and would repay two or three days' halt, as it runs a long way up the antimony hill, Swertia in profusion, Geranium also, Stellaria, a fine Conyzoidia.

I had here an opportunity of observing the curious effect of a patch of snow in retarding vegetation, all the plants about, being as it were a spring flora, even such as at similar elevations elsewhere, were all past seed; such as Astragalus primus. Again, why do some plants flower sooner at such elevations than at other lower places? such as Cardamine, here past flower, but not commencing at Cabul; is it because this plant will flower in the winter in Cabul? so there may be a law requiring such plants to flower in wintery situations by a certain time? The idea is perhaps absurd, as their growth depends exclusively on the power of the sun.

September 1st.—After re-crossing Hajeeguk we continued our march to Sohkta, five and a half miles. The road continued along a considerable descent throughout, at first down the valley in which we had halted to the west, thence down the large Kulloo valley in a northerly direction; towards the mouth of first ravine or valley it is bad, passing across a land slip, then it crosses the bed of a huge torrent falling at a great rate, and obstructed with boulders; the right bank, a high almost precipitous mountain, the left a high aggregate of granitic and other boulders. Water abundant, divided into three streams or so: this torrent comes direct from the nearest portion of Kohi-Baba, which appears of easy descent, presenting beautiful peaks. The road then keeps along left bank, undulating over the ravines, down which water flows from the hills on the eastern side; some of these are very steep, and the road itself is infamous, as may be supposed, crowded with boulders, and impracticable for wheeled carriages: one precipitous ravine we passed through, the rocks consisted of blackish, curiously laminated, and metallic looking stone. On descending one steep ravine, we then came on the road leading up to the Kulloo mountain, where we halted.

A good many villages, with forts, as usual were passed; the cultivation more advanced than at our last halt, crops consisting chiefly of barley. One good fort was observed close to our halting place opposite the direction of the small Kulloo ravine; across the valley a well marked road is seen running up a part of Kulloo ridge, at a lower elevation than that which we crossed.

Poplars and willows occur in the large valley, particularly towards Sohkta, a small orchard of stunted mulberry trees. Cultivation consisting of peas; barley of fine grain, resembling wheat when freed from the husk.

The plants of the valley of Kulloo were badly observed, as I was greatly tired and fatigued. Polygonum fruticosum re-occurs, Silene, Clematis erecta, Tragogopon, Salvia but less common, a curious Cruciferous plant, Lactucacea purpurea of Cabul, Chenopodium villosum faemin. Dianthus, Saponaria, Lychnis inflata, oats common in fields, the common thistle, Urtica, Caragana abundant along the bed of the river, Papaver. On rocks about camp, 2 Salsolae, Glaucum, Umbelliferae of the Yonutt ravine, Artemisiae, Rosa Ribes! Scrophularia alia.

The valley is very narrow at camp, the river running between precipices, in some parts passable without wetting the feet.

2nd.—From Sohkta Kullar-Rood to Topehee, eight and a half miles. The road lay in a northerly direction for a quarter of a mile, then turning up a steep ravine, with an ascent for 800 feet; then small descent, then levellish, until we came to a black cliff, over which another steeper but longer ascent extended, then it became levellish for some distance; two other moderate, extended, longish ascents, led us to the summit, which is 500 feet higher than that of Hajeeguk. The descent continued steep and most tedious on reaching the precipitous ravine of Topehee, the road wound over small spurs, until we came to a grove of willows near the village. The road although steep is not bad, the soil being soft, that of the upper parts and of the descent, even annoying from the sand, both might with little trouble be made easy, but especially the descent.

The mercury of the Barometer on the summit at 11 A.M., stood at 19.513, at 11.5 A.M., 19.506, Thermometer 66 degrees.

The camels all came up but one, though very slowly; to them as to us, the descent was more tiring than the ascent.

From the summit a fine view of Kohi-Baba was obtained, running to NW. by N. To the NE., another high range, but not so marked as Kohi-Baba, was seen running in a similar direction; on this, two considerable peaks present themselves, but only visible when lower down.

A splendid view of the Bamean valley is here obtained. We have now obviously passed the highest ranges: to west where the country is low and flat; to the north, the mountains indistinctly visible, are beautifully varied, presenting rugged outlines 10,000 feet above Bamean, also a view of an unearthly looking mountain, most variedly sculptured, is obtained, with here and there rich ravines and columnar sided valleys, presenting tints very varied; in those of the lower ranges, rich rosy tints are predominant; also niches in which gigantic idols are plainly seen: also a view of Goolghoolla, looking as it is in reality, a ruined city: a fine gorge apparently beyond the Bamean river, and a large ravine due north, by which I expect the Bamean river reaches the Oxus; not a tree is to be seen, except a few about Bamean. The whole view is indescribably volcanic, barren yet rich, requiring much colouring to convey an idea of it.

[Bamean Idols: p398.jpg]

To the top of the pass it is three and a half miles; the character of Kulloo mountain is different from that above described, it is rounded, and composed of a curious compact slate, towards the summit well covered with plants, large tufts of Statice, two or three kinds, two undescribed; immense quantities of Artemisia, coarse tufted grasses, Onosma, Carduacea herbacea of Hajeeguk, uncommon; Triticoides 998, not common; Alium fusco purpurea common. A few exposed rocks occur on the summit. The ravines are all dry, there being no water or very little in them, and no cultivation; thus the contrast visible on both sides of the Kulloo river which runs round the foot of the mountain, is remarkable. Vegetation being distinct on either side.

Yet the ravine of Topehee shows, that when exposed to the action of water, this rock becomes very precipitous, cliffy, easily dislocated: the latter part of the road winds over a portion of this. Chakor, Ptarmigan a fine bird, voice somewhat like that of a vulture, to which it is perhaps anologous.

About Sohkta or in ravines, Euphorbia linearifolia, Ephedra, Asteroides, Rosa Ribes, Composita dislocata, Artemisiae, Aster pyramidalis, Chenopodium villosum faem., Senecionoides.

Scutellaria, Scrophularia, Santonicoides, Polygonum fruticosum, Salvia, Artemisia linearifolia, Centaurea angustifolia, Cochlearia, Umbelliferae of Yonutt, Stellaria, Glaucium, Labiata nova, Hyoscyamus minor, Lactucacea, Linaria, Salsola elegans, Marrubium, common thistle, Rumex, Potentilla anserina, Sinapis of Siah-Sung ravine, Berberis, Secaloides, Statice, Marmots, Statice glauca pedunculata, Stipha of Nakhood, Aconiti sp., Ferula? Spiraea facie frutex, Ribes, Muscoides.

First ridge Dianthoides, Statice three to two glaucous species, one sessile the other pedunculate, Ferula, Scutellaria, Labiata trumpet-shaped calyces, Astragali, Diacanthus, Stipa, Ribes, Arenaria spinosa, Triticum carneo pubescens, Pulmonaria corolla trumpet-shaped, Salvia sparingly, Pommereulla, Artemisia in profusion, Spiraeoides, Chenopodium villos., faemin. parvus, Leguminosae two or three, Ruwash sparingly.

Not much change beyond 12,000 feet, at that height Glaucium in abundance, with a few Hyoscyamus parvus, Borago.

Labiatifol, inciso dentatis occurs throughout, Sinapis of Siah-Sung straggles to 12,000 feet.

[Topehee cliffs and ravine: m399.jpg]

The same vegetation continues down to Topehee; on the red hills over its ravine, the plants are different. Portulacea cana, several pretty Salsolae, a Polanisia occurs, with Statice two or three, a straggling Astragalus, Ferula, Peganum re-appears! Cerasus canus, Carduacea Frutex of Mailmandah, fructibus combretiformibus, Muscoides which is a Sedum, Polygon. fruticosum common, the usual plants of cultivation, etc. etc.

3rd.—We proceeded from Topehee to Bamean, a distance of twelve miles, for two and a half miles down Topehee ravine. The road is a decent descent, although steepish: from thence turning abruptly at the Bamean valley, we cross the river, which is of considerable size, but fordable, although rapid. The road then extends along the left bank, not in the valley which is occupied by cultivation, but winding over and round the bases of low hills and cliffs, forming a northern boundary; throughout this part the road is villainous, often impeded by huge blocks. After a distance of about ten miles it improves, the valley expanding into a cultivated plain.

Topehee valley narrows towards its mouth or exit, which is walled in by high, red, raviny cliffs; above, in its upper parts it is well cultivated with beans, barley, wheat, and oats, and contains two villages: it opens into the Bamean valley at a village also called Topehee, there the Bamean valley is well cultivated, with oats intermixed with barley or wheat, trefoil, etc., it then narrows, forming the bed of a ravine occupied by Hippophae, Tamarisk, etc., then it widens again.

The structure of the hills is curious, and generally exhibiting the appearance of having been much acted on by water. They are often cliffy, composed either of limestone or a soil of red clay, with which salt occurs in abundance, conspicuous from the white appearance, or springs. Crystals of carbonate of lime are frequent, limestone, or coarse conglomerate with large rounded stones, occurs; together with a curious laminated clayey rock, with white and ochraceous layers intermixed. The tints most various, as well as the sculpture of the mountains: here ravines representing tracery occur: there, columnar curiously carved cliffs, exhibiting all sorts of fantastic forms: here, as it were, a hill thrown down with numberless blocks into the stream, scattered in every direction; and here, but this is rare, very red horizontal strata, colours various, generally rosy, especially the clayey cliffs: here and there the colour of the rock is ochraceous, at one place its structure is slaty. The curious intermixture of these colours owing to the weather, is striking.

From the head of two of the ravines by which considerable torrents flow into Bamean river, beautiful views are obtained of the Kohi-Baba, whose peaks according to native authority, stretch sixty miles to the westward of Bamean, without much diminution in height. The scenery, however, is less beautiful after emerging into the widened part of the valley, where the hills are less varied both in form and tints, than they are in lower parts: fine views however of Kohi-Baba are occasionally had.

Salsolae are the prevailing plants of the rocky sides of the valley, Clematis erecta common, here and there a small Statice.

Caves occur throughout the wide portion of the valley, but chiefly on the northern side; they also extend a little way into the narrow portion, where they seem to be excavated into clayey-looking, red, earthy limestone, or more commonly conglomerate, of coarse grey, or reddish colour.

The caves are most common in two cliffs composed of conglomerate mixed with transverse strata of the same rock, 3,400 feet high, presenting a rugged outline; and between the two, which are 800 yards apart, large idols are carved. These cliffs in some places have suffered little from the action of the elements, as testified by the perfect nature of the opening of the caves, and the corners, etc. of the niches enclosing idols; in others they are furrowed by the action of water; in others again slips have taken place to such extent in some, as to cause the fall of all their caves, or of their greater portion, thus exposing the galleries, etc.

The base of the cliffs is irregular, formed of the same conglomerate and clay, but covered more or less by boulders, evidently brought down by the river; by these many caves are choked up, so that originally the cliff might have been perpendicular to the edge of the base, and if so, the caves in the cliffs, and the idols, are of later date than those of the rugged base. But more probably the cliffs, and the caves, are much as they were originally, the boulders having been a subsequent deposit.

The western corner of the cliff beyond the large idol, is much destroyed; on this, the force of the current would have acted: a breakwater occurring along the returning face.

The caves are very numerous, but are confined chiefly towards the base of the cliffs, not scattered over them as I believe Burnes represents. These are of no size, finish, or elegance, and it is only their number, and the extreme obscurity of their history, that makes them interesting; the roofs are usually arched, and the walls are often supplied with niches, and covered with a coating of tar of some thickness, and intense blackness. The galleries are low, arched, and admit one person at a time, or a line of persons with ease; they often form the ascent to the upper caves now inhabited, but originally they were enclosed in the rock, they are defended in such cases by a parapet.

The largest caves are those about the idols, but I see none of any size. They are often domed, the spring of the dome is ornamented with a projecting frieze, some of these are parallelogramic, in one instance with an ornamented border thus.

[Part of a frieze in caves near Bamean: m402.jpg]

Some of the caves are situated as high as, or even above the tops of the idols; all parts within the rock are lighted by small apertures.

Access to the large idol is destroyed; the smaller one is gained by a spiral staircase of rude construction, and by galleries. The floor of the galleries is rugged, the steps and the cement of the conglomerate having worn out from between the masses of rock. The images all occupy niches in the face of the hill: two are gigantic, the rest not very large. They are generally in the usual sitting posture, and rather high up, while the larger ones are erect, and reach the base of the cliffy portion of the rock. They are all male, and all obviously Boodhistical; witness the breadth, proportion, and shape of the head, and the drapery; both are damaged, but the smaller is the more perfect, the face of the large one being removed above the lower lip; the arms are broken off, showing they were occupied by galleries. The drapery is composed of plaster, and was fixed on by bolts which have fallen out, leaving the holes. The arms in the smaller one are supported by the falling drapery. The height of the large image in the niche is 135 feet.

The pictures are much damaged, the plaster on which they were painted being mostly very deficient, all the faces are damaged by bullets or other missiles: their execution is indifferent, not superior to modern Burmese paintings; the colours however are good, the figures are either grouped or single, and one is in the style of the time of Henry VIII, with a hat and plume, others represent groups flying—one a golden bird, another a man with a hemispherical helmet, all are much damaged. The hair in some is dressed as in the modern Burmese top-knot, often surrounded by a circle.

Otherwise the niches are not ornamented, except in one instance, as above alluded to; the head of the smaller figure was formerly covered by the roof, as evident from holes or troughs for timbers in the gallery. These holes are now inhabited by pigeons, and the lower ones by cows, donkeys, fowls, kids, dogs; some are filthy apertures blocked up by stone and mud walls; the doors irregular, and guarded between two giants.

An old tope occurs near some small figures, it is composed of stones very much disintegrated, with curious blocks of kucha work, and large Babylonish bricks; the smaller figures are much destroyed, some completely; all are in alto-relievo.

The plants about Topehee valley, are Cichorium, Centaurea lutea, Berberis common, Salvia, Cicer cultivated, Lucerne, Centaurea angustifolia, Cnicus of Koti-Ashruf, ditto of Karabagh hills, Triticum, Asteroides, Avena, Centaurea glauca, the common thistle, Ephedra, Mentha, Rumex, Melilotus, Medicago, Artemisia pyramidalis, Lychnis inflata, Saponaria, Bromus, Verbascum, Cerasus canus, Ferula, Statice, Salsola, Astragalus, Polygonum fruticosum, Composita dislocata, Clematis erecta, Clematis alia, Echinops, Leucades, Pulicaria fragrans, Hyoscyamus parvus, rare; Geranium, Rosa, Fabago of Maidan, fructi echinatis, Arundo, Hippophae.

Halted at Bamean till the 6th, and inspected Ghoolghoola or Bheiran, which presents extensive ruins: those of the city are almost destroyed; but those of the citadel are more perfect, and situated on a mound 300 feet high, which still stands with steep banks or fortifications, apparently of Kafir origin, generally kucha, with bases formed of boulders. Three lines of defences remain on the valley side; and the remains of a ditch 50 feet broad at the mound on the east side. Pucka, or burnt bricks are common among the debris, also pottery, but this is of the ordinary sort: I observed but few pucka bricks in the fortification on the west side. Great masses of rocks have been thrown about near the building of the fort, and some of the lower bastions were built on these masses. The mound is chiefly occupied by Salsolaceae, some of which exist in profusion. Nothing seems to be known about the history of the place, except that it was built by Julal, to whom the Mahommedans fix Ud-deen.

Quails are abundant in the fields about Bamean; it is a curious thing that in many of these fields oats far preponderate over other grain; yet they are not cut, although all the seeds have fallen out of the ear! Can it be cultivated solely for the straw?

Fine groves of poplars occur about certain portions of the valley; from beyond this to the south, a beautiful view is obtained, embodying the cliffs with the large image, and the back hills whose varied surface and tints it is impossible to describe, so as to convey a correct idea of their fine effect. The poplar grove contains some ordinary Mahomedan tombs. The trees are the P. heterophylla, but the leaves are much smaller and more silvery underneath than usual; a beautiful poplar of large size and unencumbered growth, of the same sort occurs in the ravine beyond the small image. Abundance of wild sheep's heads are preserved about all the sanctified buildings, together with a few of those of the ibex, and fewer of the wild goat. The plants of Bamean require no specification, the hills are very barren, chiefly occupied by Salsoleae, of which 6 or 7 species occur.

The water plants continue the same as at Cabul; Hippurus and Triglochin, Mentha, Cochlearia, Naiad? Potamogeton of Siah-Sung, Polypogon.

The other plants are those found in cultivation, and present no change, Anchusoides alba, abundant. Choughs very abundant; wild pigeons, ravens, Laurus; the nuthatch, a noisy but not unmusical bird, Chakor, together with small partridges, but these are rare; several Conirostres.

The greatest curiosity is a genuine trout, {404} this appears rare, the spots are very bright, the largest caught was only six pounds in weight. I could not take any even with the fly; but I caught with this, Schizothorax, or one of the universal Khorassan Cyprins.

The range of the thermometer is great; before sunrise it varies from 28 degrees to 30 degrees! in the sun in midday it is 100 degrees! when there is no wind, and the mornings are delightful.

One of the long-tailed clumsy Brachypodiums occurs in the fields: bears also are found here.

Joussa, Mentha, Tanacetoid, Polypogonum, Cichorium, Plantago, common thistle, Potamogeton longifolium, Labiata arvensis of Yonutt, Centaurea lutea, Cyanea angustifolia, Cochlearia, Hippuris, Ranunculus, Potamogeton pectinata, Triglochin, Convolvulus arvensis, acaulis, Glaux, Capparis of Arghandab, Centranthera pinnatifida, Malva rotundifolia, Asteroides, Lactuca purpurea.

Salt is obtained in some places from the red earth, as also alum an earthy substance of a whitish or brown colour, and irregular surface, sent in quantities to Mindosh, called Zak.

6th.—To Zohawk, down the valley two miles beyond the mouth of Topehee ravine, or embouchure of the Kulloo-Rood. The angle is occupied by a Kafir fort called Kojhuk, of very large size, situated on a precipitous dusky-red and very high rock, facing towards both rivers; the defences reach down the eastern face of rock to the Kulloo bed, and are in good preservation, more ornamented than the modern fort, and better proportioned. A pretty grass sward occurs here, with Tamarisk.

The fort must have been of great size, and is chiefly weak, i.e. to a native army, from depending on the river for supplies of water, for it is commanded from the opposite sides of either ravine. The bed of the river under the east face, presents the remains of outworks to protect the supply of water, which is perhaps a sign of its being a recent structure?

The works are good, much better than those of the Affghans, the view of the fort from half a mile down the Bamean river, with the sun gilding the ruined battlements, while the precipice contrasts with it its dusky-red colour, is beautiful.

The Bamean river, especially after receiving the Kulloo-Rood, is of considerable size, but fordable at the head of most of the rapids, its course is rapid, and its waters greyish, while those of the Kulloo are quite colourless; its bed is of some width, presenting a capital road over green sward, with plenty of willows, Lycium, Hippophae, Berberis, and Tamarisk.

About one mile east of our camp, its ravine turns to the south. Wild ducks, quails, chakor, and trout occur whose haunts are in holes, and taking the worm are easily caught.

This fort of Kojhuk is as well worth examining as any place we have seen, the dusky-red rocks are coarse conglomerate. A violent wind prevails up the ravine, commencing about 2 P.M. A curious staircase situated at the corner towards Bamean, ascends through rock, the bottom of which is defended by a bastion and round wall; near, or close to this a slip has occurred, destroying part of the wall and blocking up one exit.

Ascended the cliff by the gateway of the Kulloo valley, and found the line of fortifications, with good loop-holes and parapets extend two and a half miles up, a few houses likewise occur. The path leads through the face of the solid rock: abundant defences, with arched buildings occur above: this cliff is almost totally separated from the upper citadel by a ravine: the citadel has four lines of defences surmounting a steep ridge with outworks on the Kulloo river, the bed of which is 60 yards broad.

7th.—Proceeded to Erak, six miles. We crossed the Kulloo-Rood, and immediately ascended its right bank, 100 feet high; then descended into the ravine up which we continued, then leaving it we struck over the spur of a high mountain; the ascent being about 1,000 feet, thence we commenced a steep descent, of 5,600 feet into the Erak valley, up which we proceeded for two miles distance and encamped. From the top of the pass, a fine view is obtained of Kojhuk, and the valley of the Bamean river, presenting a rich and varied surface beyond description, with beautifully sculptured rocks, of purplish-red colour, which are seen up the Kulloo, close to Kojhuk.

The hills and ravines are however very barren, nothing but Salsola occurs. At the top of the pass a section is partly laid open, shewing a mass of conglomerate, twenty to thirty feet thick, resting on red clay. This conglomerate being less acted on by water than the clay, the rocks often assume curious shapes, and are occasionally even fungiform.

[Sculptured rocks near Kojhuk: m406.jpg]

We observed here a new partridge, at least one to which we were not accustomed; it is almost the size of chakor, black on the back, with a grey neck, and very shy; chakors abundant here in coveys. The valley of the Erak is very narrow, but well cultivated, and with a good many villages.

All the mountains in this direction have rounded shapes or outlines, the precipices variously curved, the surfaces are thus formed by the action of water on the outer strata; when this is once exposed, the changes appear often rapid, as may be imagined in a country of such low winter temperature. Caves occur in the Erak valley, chiefly situated in a dirty white conglomerate.

[Erak ravine: m407.jpg]

8th.—Halted and encamped eight miles up the Erak ravine on a swardy spot: the road easy, ascent bad in some places, but generally good, particularly for the latter part of the march: the rocks in some places rising in abrupt rugged cliffs, generally rounded, slaty. We passed one mass of snow about two miles from camp, botany good, especially about the snow; so much so, that it employed me all day.

Caragana appears at about 10,000 feet, a Tamerioid of large stature in abundance, Asphodelus, not as I thought a Mesembryanthemum, but a beautiful and very distinct species; see Catalogue for other plants.

Our camp is within one and a half mile of the head of the Erak ravine, where snow occurs in two large masses; patches of snow also occur on the ridge or a little below it; these ridges rise about 1,200 to 1,500 feet above us.

Unsettled evening, snow during night on all the ridges about us with frozen sleet in camp. Thermometer at 6 A.M. 31 degrees.

Large round-tailed eagle seen.

Barometer 20.164, thermometer 61 degrees; boiling point of Wollast. new thermometer; barometer 650, old ditto 555.3.

Swardy plants. Parnassia, Swertia, Gentiana, Carices, Composita coronata, Primula, Labiata, Menthoides, Caprifoliacea! Pedicularis, Umbelliferae.

Plants of hill sides Asphodelus, Leguminosae alter, a Nakhood Moschata, Nakhood Labaria violacea, Mulgedioid, Euphorbia, Astragalus prior, alter., Pedicularis, Onosma versicolor, Boraginea, stamens exserted.

9th.—Proceeded to Kurzar, eight miles up a ravine to the left or eastward, about one and a half mile, then the steep ascent of the pass; thence the descent was as steep for 800 feet, then gradually down a swardy ravine until we came to the Kurzar ravine, which we followed till we reached the Choky. The road good; the ascent for 1,000 feet is very steep, the soil good, hills rounded, here and there slate rocks outcropping. No change in vegetation. Passed a mass of snow: abundance of snow on the summit where the mercury in the Bar. stood at 19.200; thermometer 58 degrees; boiling point of Wollast. new thermometer; Bar. 648.5, old 539.1, this being the highest spot we have visited.

The vegetation of the summit presents no change from that of the rocks and hill sides 1,500 feet below. There is a good deal of vegetation, Carduaceae, Statices, Astragali, a few tufted grasses forming the great bulk, Nakhood rare on the Kurzar side, 500 feet down, Statice becomes most abundant, it is curious that on the sward of this side, neither Fumariaceae, nor Campanula were observed, Silene fimbriata one species.

Caragana all about, even at Kurzar in ravines; Primula abundant, also Swertiae, generally all four plants are found at the Hajeeguk snow ravine, and may be found between this and Erak, with some interesting novelties. The distance to Bamean by both routes is within two miles of the same, the Kulloo-Rood being the shorter, but Hajeeguk the best road. That of the Kulloo river is followed to Zohawk. The weather unsettled with showers of hail, clouds and sunshine: and heavy gusts of wind occasionally from Kohi-Baba, whose eastern extremity comes in sight after entering the Kurzar ravine. No view from the summit of the pass.

[Pass between Erak and Kurzar: m408.jpg]

Pedicularis, Campanula, Rubiaceae, Hippuris in flower, Phleum, Carduacea of Yonutt, Cnicus of Koti-Ashruf, Pulmonaria, corolla tubiform. Euphorbia linearifolia, Composita dislocata, Cardamina lutea.

10th.—Proceeded to the Helmund, thirteen and a half miles; the only novelty met with is a curious spring about half-way between Siah-Sung halting place, and the Helmund consisting of limpid water emitting a copious ebullition of gas, not water, as the overflow is very small; a copious deposition of fine red earth is formed all round, which looks especially bright in the springs themselves. The water possesses a peculiar acid taste.

Quails abundant, especially about this place, the water of the Helmund is very clear and affords excellent fishing with worms which are greedily taken, and also with the fly, particularly towards evening, by a species of Gonorhynchus.

11th.—Returned to the foot of the ascent of the Oonnoo, nine miles: nothing new having been met with, except that Kohi-Baba is seen to great advantage, from the higher ridges of this pass. On going to Bamean we saw it for the first time from the ridges beyond Yonutt, badly from the first, but beautifully from the second ridge. The weather continues as usual threatening in the evening, clearing up after sunset: there is less snow on Kohi-Baba now than when we went.

12th.—Proceeded to Sir-i-Chushme, eight miles, which was one continued descent. Passed Killa Moostaffur Khan, built by a Kuzzilbash; it is the prettiest fort in the country. The common Carduacea disappears below 9,500 feet, Cnicus of Koti-Ashruf commences here.

Temperature of the spring at Sir-i-Chushme, 55 degrees (1.5 P.M.); that at Kallo, on the other side of Hajeeguk, 45 degrees.

All crops are cut, and the ground ploughed or preparing; in one place the young wheat is springing up; but the country generally looks very brown, and the hills small. Abundance of black teal. Plectranthus reappears at the foot of Oonnoo, Verbascum rare, if any, on the Tartary side of the Hindoo-koosh. Abundance of Loaches or Balitora in the streamlets arising from the springs.

13th.—Proceeded to Julraiz, eight and a half miles, having passed a waterfall, as well as abundance of people going to Jallalabad. Bar. 22.760 at noon; Ther. 75 degrees.

14th.—Proceeded to Koti-Ashruf, where there is excellent fishing with worms, the fish however did not take a fly, though they often appeared at the surface: a large headed Silurus occurs, but I was unable to procure a specimen.

15th.—Proceeded to Arghundee, where we met the Bamean force.

16th.—Proceeded to Topehee Bashee.

17th.—Returned to Cabul. Eryngium is rare between the foot of Oonnoo and Moostaffur Khan's fort.



CHAPTER XVII.

From Cabul to Jallalabad and Peshawur.

October 7th.—Proceeded to Bhootkhak, nine and a half miles from Cabul, and seven from our camp: the direction lay easterly. A canal and a river were both crossed by bridges, the latter of stone, but much needing repairs: the country generally marshy: the marshes were crossed by a causeway of stones, rough and broken here and there. The road is one apparent continued slope to this, but the Barometer gives no indication of any difference of level. The march proving uninteresting, and the country an uniform brown and barren tract.

8th.—Proceeded to Koord Cabul valley, the distance of which from the place we left being eleven miles: first having rounded a spur extending from the south boundary of Cabul valley, we then entered a narrow ravine, chiefly occupied by a small stream, which we crossed several times. The mountains being chiefly of limestone, then becoming slaty, very precipitous, rugged, and barren; on emerging from this very tedious ravine, we entered on some sward with plenty of Tamarisk, and Salix vimenea. Koord Cabul valley is a frightfully barren, and very stony place; the chief vegetation of the valley, as also of the ravine, being Artemisiae, in which there is abundance of Carduacea subspicata from Baber's tomb.

The road throughout is indifferent, but only so from the stones, the largest of which would require removal, and there are not more than two or three difficult rocks in the way, these however might be avoided by keeping in the bed of the stream. There are two ruined stone walls thrown across the ravine, the remains merely of the very few villages of Koord Cabul. A high truncated mountain stands to the south, on which some patches of snow are visible.

The mountain forming the east wall of the ravine is the subconical one, seen to such advantage from Arghundee, it is of limestone, quite precipitous, with a few large bushes of, I do not know what; none of them being within reach,—Ilex, and Cupressus.

9th.—To Tazeen, the road for seven miles extends over somewhat undulated ground, generally good; but here and there stony, with a gradual but almost imperceptible ascent, until the top of the pass is reached; from this, the view of Tazeen valley, and the summit of the Sofaid-Koh is good.

Thence the road extends over ascents and descents, three of which have considerable, and stony inclinations, then it enters the ravine drained by a small stream, and continues down it until we enter Tazeen valley.

Two streams are passed in the ascent; the first, near the former halting place, flowing, where it is crossed, between slaty cliffs of no height; the second one, small, frozen, and not sufficient to supply a large party: there is however a spring a short way below the summit, although very small. Temperature 58 degrees. The rocks forming the narrow ravine are very rough and slaty: limestones presenting the usual characters.

This march has been said to present a very bad road, but it is not the case, at least in comparison with many of the Affghan roads, distance twelve and a half miles, the time it takes for camels to perform the journey is six hours. The road, where not stony, is very well beaten.

No change is observed in the features of the country until the opposite side of Tazeen valley is seen, and the summit of the Sofaid-Koh: here, wonderful to relate! are abundance of firs extending down and along the ridge to some distance, but not forming forests.

Otherwise the vegetation consists of Senecionoides, Astragali, Rosa, Statice 2-3, Artemisiae, and Plectranthus, which last is very common in the ravine leading to Tazeen valley, which is drained by a small stream. Here also Carduacea, and Onosmoid angustifolia occur!

In this ravine, Xanthoxylon of Kojhuk, a willow, Rosa, and a distinct Ilex, occur, forming chiefly a shrubby vegetation. Ilex is also, so far as can be judged from appearance, the bushy thing seen on the limestone hill at our last halt, also Cupressus, a fine specimen of which I found on limestone at about the height of the top of the pass, (22.76 Bar.) Ther. 60 degrees, with a very small Spiraea.

The large-winged vultures of Arghundee are common here. Some ruined villages were passed, a mosque stood near one of these, two and a half miles from last halt, little cultivation in the Tazeen valley, and in the centre of this, two villages with orchards are visible.

[Pass between Koord Cabul and Tazeen: m411.jpg]

9th.—Tried to get to the firs, but failed.

The lower hills, and indeed the range between the valley and the fir range, are conglomerate, easily disintegrated, then limestone, which often occurs quite vertical. Some of the hills are red, others brown, in one instance the coloured substance is interposed between strata of limestone, which last have alone withstood the effects of climate, this range is as high as the Koord Cabul pass.

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