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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

The door of this Ziarat was to the south of the building


Another

smaller Ziarat partly ruined was to be found south of the one we had inspected, the tomb itself being of less gigantic proportions, and now almost entirely buried in sand. The two end pillars, however, remained standing upright, the northern one being, nevertheless, broken in half. The door of this Ziarat was to the south of the building, and had a window above it. The walls had a stone foundation, some 2 feet high, above which the remainder of the wall was entirely of mud, with a perforated window to the west. The tomb itself was 8 feet long by 4 feet wide. A small square receptacle was cut in the northern wall.

We had now come to the Kuk fort above the city of Kala-i-Kakaha on the south of the mountain. With the exception of a large round tower, 40 feet in diameter at the base, there remained very little to be seen of this strong-hold. Sections of other minor towers and a wall existed, but all was a confused mass of debris, sand and mud.

From this point a splendid view was obtained of the city of Kala-i-Kakaha just below, of which a photograph from this bird's eye aspect will be found facing p. 246 of this volume. There was an extensive courtyard in the centre enclosed by a high wall, and having a tower in the centre of each of the two sides of the quadrangle. A belt of buildings was enclosed between this high wall and a second wall, which had two towers, one at each angle looking north towards the cliff of

the mountain from which we observed. Outside this wall two rows of what, from our high point of vantage, appeared to be graves could be seen, while to the east were other buildings and cliff dwellings extending almost to the bottom of the hill, where a tower marked the limit of the city.

From this point a tortuous track could be seen along the gorge winding its way to the city gate, the only opening in the high third wall, most irregularly built along the precipice of the ravine. At the foot of the mountain this wall turned a sharp corner, and describing roughly a semicircle protected the city also to the west.

At the most north-westerly point there seemed to be the principal gate of the city, with a massive high tower and with a road encased between two high walls leading to it. The semicircle formed by the mountain behind, which was of a most precipitous nature, was enclosed at its mouth by a fourth outer wall, with an inner ditch, making the fortress of Kala-i-Kakaha practically impregnable.

The legend about Kala-i-Kakaha city furnished me by the Sar-tip, through Gul Khan, was very interesting.

In ancient days there was in that city a deep well, the abode of certain godly virgins, to whom people went from far and near for blessings. Visitors used to stand listening near the well, and if their prayers were accepted the virgins laughed heartily, whereby the city gained the name of Kaka-ha (roar of laughter). Silence on the part of the sanctimonious maidens was a sign that the prayers were not granted.

The Sistan historical authorities seem to think this origin of the name plausible. There were, however, other amusing, if less reliable legends, such as the one our friend Mahommed Azin gave me, which is too quaint to be omitted.

"In the time of Alexander the Great," he told us, "Aristotles the famous had produced an animal which he had placed in _a_ fort" (_which_ fort Mahommed Azin seemed rather vague about). "Whoever gazed upon the animal was seized with such convulsions of laughter that he could not stop until he died.


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