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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Are the most extensive in Sistan


Under

the Safavi dynasty Sistan seems to have been vested in the Kayani Maliks, who are believed to be descendants of the royal house of Kai. (I came across a village chief claiming to be the descendant of these Kayani rulers.)

To return to the Zaidan ruins, as seen to-day from the highest point of the citadel wall, the ruined city stretches in a curve from north to south-east. It is to the south-east that the ruins are less covered with sand and in better preservation, the citadel standing about half way between its former north and southern termini. There is every evidence to show that the present extensive ruins of Peshawaran to the north, Pulki, Deshtak (Doshak described by Bellew) and Nad-i-Ali were at one epoch merely a continuation of Zaidan the great city, just as Westminster, South Kensington, Hammersmith, &c., are the continuation of London, and make it to-day the largest conglomeration of houses in the world. It was evidently necessary to subdivide such an enormous place into districts.

[Illustration: Transfer of Inscription dated 1282, found in the "Tomb of Forty Saints," Zaidan.]

[Illustration: Transfer of Ornament above four lines of Koran on Grave Stone.]

[Illustration: Transfer of Ornamentations on Marble Grave.]

[Illustration: Presumed Summits of Towers buried in Sand, Zaidan.

justify;">Notice top of Castellated Wall behind.]

Bellew, who visited the ruins in 1872, speaks of Zaidan as "extending as far as the eye can reach to the north-east, and said to be continuous with the ruins of Doshak (Deshtak), about nine miles from the Helmund. These ruins, with those of Pulki, Nadali and Peshawaran, are the most extensive in Sistan, and mark the sites of populous cities, the like of which are not to be found at this present day in all this region between the Indus and the Tigris."

Doshak or Deshtak is situated about fourteen miles south by south-east of Sher-i-Nasrya, on the right bank of the main canal which extended from the Halmund towards the west. It was a large walled town, with towers and a square fort in the centre. Deshtak is said to have been the residence and capital of the first member of the Safavi dynasty in Sistan, which, like all other cities of Sistan, was pillaged and razed to the ground by the terrible Taimur Lang. On its ruins rose the smaller city of some 500 houses which we have mentioned--also called Jalalabad--and which eventually became the seat of Bahram Khan, the last of the Kayani chiefs. The city was built by him for his son Jalaludin, after whom it was named. Jalaludin, however, was expelled from the throne, and from that date the Kayani family ceased to reign in Sistan.

Pulki was also located on this main canal, east of Deshtak, and Peshawaran was situated due north of Zaidan. They consist of an immense extent of ruins. Both Sir F. Goldsmid and Bellew, who travelled in that part testify to the whole country between Jalalabad, Buri-i-Afghan and Peshawaran being covered with ruins.


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