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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Crosses the Kerman Shiraz route at Saidabad


When I left, he accompanied me part of the way, some few hundred yards, and he took with him his Martini and a belt full of cartridges; his servant who followed him was also similarly armed. On inquiring of him why master and servant loaded themselves with arms and ammunition to go such a short distance, he replied that it was not safe for him to go unarmed even one yard out of his house. One of his friends had been murdered only a few days before, and one never knows in Persia when one's turn will come next. In out-of-the-way places in Persia private revenge is extremely common, which generally takes the form of shooting one's adversary in the back.

There seemed to be abundance of water at Kushkuhyeh, and the fields were properly irrigated. Cultivation seemed prosperous, and vast cotton plantations were to be seen all round. When we passed, hundreds of men, women and children were busy taking in the cotton, and scores of camels, donkeys, sheep and goats grazing were dotting the green patch in the landscape. This gay scene of active life and verdure was all the more refreshing after the many miles of sand and gravel and barren hills of which we had grown so weary since leaving Yezd.

Two hours were wasted for lunch, and off we went again. On leaving behind Kushkuhyeh we also left behind vegetation, and again we sank in sand. A few tamarisk shrubs were scattered here and there on the large plain we were traversing, bounded on all sides by distant mountains.

Three and a half farsakhs (about 13 miles) saw us at Hemmatawat, a large walled enclosure.

At 6.30 p.m. we entered the small town of Barawamad (Bahramabad)--altitude 5,150 feet--or Rafsenju as it is called now by its new name. This is a fast-growing place of quite modern origin, and it owes most of its prosperity to the extensive cultivation of cotton, exported from here direct to the Persian Gulf and India.

Besides the route on which we are travelling there are several other tracks leading out of Barawamad. A minor one runs in a north-easterly direction, over the Dehring Mountains to the Seroenan district, where many villages are to be found, and then turns sharply south-east _via_ Zerend to Kerman. It is also possible, when once one has crossed into Seroenan, to continue to Lawah (Rawar) and then, across the Salt Desert, to Meshed or to Birjand.

To the Persian Gulf there are three tracks. One south-west by west to Sher-i-balek, from which place the traveller has the option to travel to Bushire (_via_ Shiraz) or to Lingah or to Bandar Abbas _via_ Forg. Two different tracks, to Reshitabad and Bidu, join at Melekabad (south-west) and these eventually enter the Kerman-Shiraz-Bushire track; while another track, the most in use, goes almost due south, direct to Bidu, skirting the Pariz Mountains on their westerly slopes. This track, too, crosses the Kerman-Shiraz route at Saidabad, and proceeds due south to Bandar Abbas.

The few Hindoo merchants of Kerman come here during the cotton season to make their purchases and send their goods direct to Bandar Abbas for shipment to India. Pottery of an inferior kind is manufactured at Rafsenju.

We left the Chappar khana at midnight in a terrific cold wind, and this time on shockingly bad horses. They were tired and lame, the cold wind probably intensifying the rheumatic pains from which most of them were suffering. The country was undulating and we gradually rose to 5,700 feet. The horses gave us no end of trouble and we had to walk the greater portion of the night.


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