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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

And the six roomed thana some little distance below


Near Mirui one found one's self among strange-looking mountains, some like huge waves of sand, debris, and shale; one to the left, a huge flat-topped mass in horizontal well-marked strata, while further on was a third, a most perfect cone. Behind this to the south lay a mass of lower pointed conical sand hills.

Mirui being one of the more important stages on the road, a most comfortable large bungalow has been erected here, like the one at Robat, with four rooms and four bath rooms, kitchens, etc. The water is very good at this place; there is a shop with the usual supplies for caravans, and a staff consisting of a _jemadar_, a _duffadar_, one postal moonshee, seven _sawars_, four _hasildars_, one _havildar_. The bungalow at Mirui is most picturesquely situated among the quaint mountains, and the six-roomed _thana_ some little distance below, against the mountain side, looks quite formidable. It not only has high towers at the corners of the wall, but possesses an additional watch tower erected on the top of the mountain, commanding a fine view of the country around. Before it, surrounded by hills, spreads a valley from north to south, which the track crosses in a south-south-west direction among palms and plentiful high tamarisks.

The bungalow stood at an altitude of 3,500 feet, the valley where the _thana_ was situated was one hundred feet lower (3,400 feet), and the steep although not high pass by which we left the valley 3,550 feet.

A short zig-zag led us into a second valley with a sand bank barring our way directly in front to the south-east (125 deg. b.m.), the direction of the track. For a change we had high precipitous cliffs on the north and a low range of sand hills extending from north-north-east to south-south-west. Two very lofty isolated peaks broke the monotony of the horizon line to the north-east (to 70 deg. and 80 deg. respectively). Having crossed a third and a fourth plain, two barren, the other at the foot of a sandbank with plenty of tamarisk, the track, which for a short distance went east, turned suddenly to the north-east (70 deg. b.m.).

We had now a great expanse of open country before us with abundant tamarisk, palm trees, and _eshwark_, which made capital grazing for camels. Three high red mounds stood respectively to the south-east, south, and south-west, while almost north (350 deg.) the two high pointed conical peaks we had observed on the previous march were again visible. On the south-east there was quite a high mountain range.

This was a region of sand banks, all facing north, only one out of the lot spreading in a south-south-west direction, and of semi-spherical sand hills which were also numerous.

On getting near Sotag the sandy ground was so covered with gypsum that for some distance it looked just as if it had snowed. The photograph reproduced in the illustration gives a good idea of the scenery in that part.

Some three and a half miles from Sotag a gap in the hills afforded a view of an extensive plain to the south, with innumerable reddish-yellow sand hills, and a range of high mountains far away beyond. From this point the track rises gently over an undulation about 88 feet higher than the plain, and on the other side undulations continue, and nothing whatever is to be seen except the same range of hills to the south, with its peaks assuming pyramidical shapes toward the eastern portion.


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