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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

At a place called the Band i Sistan


too, am of Bellew's opinion about these points. The several inscriptions I found at Zaidan, photographs of which I have given in this book, were, as we have seen, in Arabic; the ornamentations of which I took tracings were Arabic in character.

Bellew reckons the great extent of the Peshawaran section of the ruins as covering an area of about six miles by eight. He states that they were the outgrowths of successive cities rising on the ruins of their predecessors upon the same spot, and, like the other few travellers who have intelligently examined the ruins, came to the conclusion that in point of architecture and age the whole length from Lash Yuwain to the north to Kala-i-Fath to the south, and including Peshawaran, Zaidan and Kali-i-Fath were absolutely identical.

Goldsmid supplies information similar to Bellew's regarding the Peshawaran ruins, and he writes that on his march north to Lash Yuwain he had to go three or four miles to the west on account of the ruins. He speaks of seeing a place of worship with a _mihrab_, and, curiously enough, on the wall above it he found "the masonic star of five points surrounded by a circle and with a round cup between each of the points and another in the centre." He also saw the tomb of Saiyid Ikbal, also mentioned by another traveller, Christie.

Eight miles west by north-west from the ruins rises a flat-topped plateau-like hill, called

the Kuh-i-Kuchah, not dissimilar in shape to the Kuh-i-Kwajah to the south-west of Sher-i-Nasrya. Four villages are found near it. To the east of it is found the Farah Rud, and to its west the Harut Rud,--two rivers losing themselves (when they have any water in them) into the lagoon. The Harut is not always flowing. To the south is the Naizar lagoon forming part of the Hamun-Halmund. (This lagoon was mostly dry when I went through.) It has formed a huge lake at various epochs, but now only the northern portion, skirting the southern edge of the Peshawaran ruins, has any permanent water in it, and is principally fed by the delta of canals and by the overflow of the Halmund, over the Band, a kind of barrage.

Some explanation is necessary to make things clear.

On the present Afghan-Perso boundary, at a place called the "Band-i-Sistan," is the great dam across the Halmund, completely turning the waters of the stream, by means of semi-artificial canals, for the irrigation of Sistan. Hence the fertility of that district. The dam, "the Band," as it is called by the natives, is a barrier slightly over 700 feet long, constructed of upright wooden stakes holding in position horizontal fascines of tamarisk interwoven, strengthened by stones and plastered with mud to form a semi-solid wall. In olden days the Band was so feebly constructed that it was generally carried away every year at the spring floods, but now greater attention is given to its construction and it is kept in fairly good repair, although portions of it usually collapse or are carried away by the force of the current during the floods. The height of the Band is not more than eighteen or twenty feet. Practically the actual river course comes to an end at this Band, and from this point its waters are spread into a delta of canals, large and small, subdivided into hundreds other tortuous channels. The Hussein Ki Canal is one of the most important, and feeds Zaidan, Iskil, Bunjar and Sher-i-Nasrya, Husseinabad, and other places, and is subdivided into minor channels during its course. It flows roughly in a north-west direction.

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