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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Under fairly high accumulations


Under

the immediate lee of the fortress and of the outer walls, similar depressions in the sand were found, and it is owing to these that some portion of the city was still uncovered by sand.

In the photograph facing page 214 it may be noticed that where the lee of the high fortress no longer protects the buildings from the drifting sand, the city gradually disappears, as it were, under fairly high accumulations.

We shall find later, on our journey to the Beluchistan frontier, how these sand accumulations, in their turn, forming themselves into barriers against the sands which came from the north, allowed further southerly portions of the city to escape unburied, which portions can be seen extending in and out of these transverse sand ridges as far south as Kala-i-Fath. North of the Zaidan fortress the sand, finding no high obstacles, has accumulated to a much greater height, only very lofty buildings remaining visible above the surface.

In the photograph facing page 206 this high cushion, as it were, of sand can plainly be seen over the north of the city beyond the tower of the castle; also a portion of the small canal at the foot of the tower, which some will have it was the Rud-i-Nasru.

In the distance towards the south-east, two quadrangular towers could be seen, which the Katkhuda of Zaidan village told us formed part of one of the former gates

of the city. These two towers can be seen in the background of the photograph facing page 212.

Some distance beyond the graveyard we came to a section of a tower, heptagonal in form, which had just been dug out to a depth of 4 feet by the natives of the village of Zaidan. The Katkhuda--who could have given points to an Irishman--told us that this was the tomb of the renowned legendary "Forty Saints of Zaidan," and added, that they numbered forty-four! On being asked why it was called the tomb of the forty saints if their number was forty-four, he did not lose his presence of mind, but explained that four had been added afterwards when this sacred spot had already received its legendary name.

[Illustration: East View of the Zaidan Citadel.]

For a very long time the Zaidan people had searched for this sacred spot, and they seemed very proud to have discovered it. It is called by them _Chil-pir_, or the "forty saints." As the tower is not large enough to contain them all, a number of them are said to be buried in the immediate neighbourhood to the south and west of the structure, and the Katkhuda, to prove his words, showed us some three graves, more elaborate than the rest. There were also others that were anxiously searched for, but had not been located yet.

The graves which I was shown were entirely of kiln-burnt bricks, and so was the wall of the tower itself, as can be seen by a portion of it showing in the illustration facing page 218, behind the marble inscription and columns.

Since its discovery the natives had made this into a _Ziarat_ or shrine, and on its western side (towards Mecca) had adorned it with a bundle of sticks, horns, and a number of rags, or pieces of ribbon, white, red or blue. Every Mussulman visiting it leaves an offering of a piece of cloth generally from his coat or turban, if a man, or from the chudder or other feminine wearing apparel if a woman.


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