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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

The Ziarat was of an ovoid shape


mountains there were, entirely of white marble, and a great many beautifully tinted fragments of marble, as well as yellow alabaster, were strewn about abundantly upon the ground. We travelled among hillocks for about seven and a half miles, then emerged again into a plain with a hill range to our left, but nothing near us on the south. At the entrance of the valley on our left stood a curious high natural stone pillar.

By moonlight, but with clouds fast gathering and threatening rain, we eventually reached Mushki-Chah at about ten in the evening, having travelled some 36 miles. The distance by road from Sahib Chah would have been 28 miles 660 yards. Here we found the remainder of my caravan which had arrived some hours previously.


Mushki-Chah--A Ziarat--Beluch dwellings--The Beluch and the camera--Characteristics of Beluch--Three wells of good water at Kundi--The Kuh-i-Sultan and the "Spear of the Sultan"--A big Ziarat at Kundi--Nineteen hours on the saddle--Tretoh--Cold wind--Parallel rows of sand barchans--Startling effect of mirage--Chah Sandan--Brahui salutation--Belind Khan and his good points--A respected officer--Praying at the Ziarat.

Mushki-Chah (3,570 feet) is rather more interesting than other stations we had passed, because of the greater number

of Beluch one saw about. Here, too, however, one's sojourning had to be curtailed, for unluckily the water was not only brackish--to which one does not object so much--but had a sulphurous taste, with a sickening smell--not dissimilar from that of an old-fashioned hospital ward, when the windows have not been opened for several days. Otherwise it had no drawback.

There were four filthy pools from which water was obtainable and which reminded us of a previous experience at Girdi in Sistan. The water of one well had a nasty green coating on the surface; the second was of a deep yellow colour. The other two wells were slightly cleaner but they, too, were of a suspicious colour--that of strong tea. A cluster of a dozen palm trees or so had grown near this water, and a little way beyond on a sand and gravel bank was a Ziarat with a low surrounding wall of black stones.

The Ziarat was of an ovoid shape, it just missed being circular, about 18 feet long and 16 feet broad. An entrance had been made to the east and a sort of altar constructed to the west by north west--which is about the accurate direction of Mecca from this spot. A high pole on which flew red, white, and blue rags was fixed into the altar. The altar--if one may call it so--was a mass of blocks of beautifully coloured marble. Some pieces resembled the best Sienna marble, others were capriciously streaked in white and dark brown; other large pieces were quite transparent and resembled large blocks of camphor or ice. Others were more granular, like lumps of frozen snow. Then there were some lovely bits of a greenish yellow marble and some brown. These beautiful stones and pieces of marble were brought to these Ziarats from great distances by devotees. Stones reduced by nature into queer shapes, hollowed for instance by the action of sand or water, perfectly spherical, or strikingly coloured were favourite offerings.

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