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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Illustration Dead Houses and Ziarat on Kuh i Kwajah


[Illustration:

Sketch Map of Summit of Kuh-i-Kwajah

by A. Henry Savage Landor.]

In the centre of this city was a large and high quadrangular wall like a citadel, and it had houses all round it, as can be seen by the bird's-eye view photograph I took of it from the fort above, a view from which high point of vantage will be described at the end of this chapter.

We went along the outer wall of the city on a level with the plain at the hill's base, but we abandoned it as this wall went up the mountain side to the north. Some high columns could be seen, which appeared to have formed part of a high tower. The sides of the hill on which the city was built were very precipitous, but a steep tortuous track existed, leading to the city on the east side, the two gates of the city being situated--one north-east, the other north-west--in the rear of the city, and, as it were, facing the mountain side behind. On the south-west side high accumulations of sand formed an extensive tongue projecting very far out into the plain.

The rocky upper portion of the Kuh-i-Kwajah mountain was black towards the east, but getting yellowish in the southern part, where there were high sand accumulations up to about three-quarters of the height of the mountain, with deep channels cut into them by water.

We came to a narrow gorge which divides the mountain

in two, and by which along a very stony path between high vertical rocks the summit of the table mountain could be reached. We left our horses in charge of a lancer and Mahommed Azin, the head village man of Deh-i-Husena--a man who said he was a descendant of the Kayani family, and who professed to know everything about everything,--Gul Khan and I gradually climbed to the higher part of the mountain. I say "gradually" because there was a great deal to interest and puzzle one on the way up.

This path to the summit had been formerly strongly fortified. Shortly after entering the gorge, where we had dismounted, was a strange wall cut in the hard, flint-like rock by a very sharp, pointed instrument. One could still distinctly see the narrow grooves made by it. Then there were curious heads of the same rock with side hollows that looked as if caused by the constant friction or some horizontal wooden or stone implement. I was much puzzled by these and could not come to a definite conclusion of what could have been their use. Even our guide's universal knowledge ran short; he offered no explanation beyond telling me that they had been made by man, which I had long before discovered for myself.

A small reservoir for rain-water was found near this spot, and nearly at the top of the hillock a ditch had been excavated near the easiest point of access, and another ditch could be seen all round. The low land round the mountain has most certainly been inundated at various epochs, forming a shallow, temporary swamp, but not a permanent lake as has been asserted by some, and from what one saw one was tempted to believe that the plain around Kuh-i-Kwajah must have been dryer in the days of its glory than it has been in this century.

[Illustration: Dead Houses and Ziarat on Kuh-i-Kwajah.]


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