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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Illustration Circular Ziarat With Stone


to Nushki along the route, Dalbandin--owing to its geographical situation, its ample supply of good water and good grazing--is probably the most important spot, and may one day become quite a big place. There is direct communication from this spot to Chagai (and Afghanistan), Robat, Ladis, Bampur, Kharan, the Arabian Sea, Charbar, Gwadur, Ormarah, Soumiani and Quetta. Even as things are now, Dalbandin is a somewhat more important place than any we had met on coming from Robat, with a very large _thana_ and a couple of well-provided shops. Captain Webb-Ware's large camp made it appear to us men of the desert quite a populous district. There was excellent water here and good grazing for camels, while on the hills close by ibex shooting was said to be good. Gazelles (_Chinkara_ and Persian gazelle), both called _ask_ in Beluch, are to be found in the neighbourhood of this place, and wild asses (_ghorkhar_) nearer Sahib Chah. _Katunga_ (sand grouse), _sisi_, _chickor_, a few small bustards (_habara_), and occasionally ducks are to be seen near the water, but taking things all round there is little on the road to repay the sportsman who is merely in search of game.

[Illustration: Circular Ziarat With Stone, Marble and Horn Offerings.]

[Illustration: Ziarat with Tomb showing Stone Vessels.]

The spacious rest-house at Dalbandin was quite palatial, with actual panes of glass in all

the windows, mats on the floor, folding chairs to sit upon, tables and Indian bedsteads. Thanks to the kind hospitality of Captain Webb-Ware, I had a most pleasant and instructive day's rest here, and nearly made myself sick by greedily eating irresistible Beluch dates, the most delicious it has ever been my luck to taste. These dates are very carefully prepared in earthen jars with honey, and they say that only one date--the best--is picked from each tree. No description could ever come up to their delicate flavour.

There is a famous Ziarat a couple of miles from Dalbandin which well repays a visit. The larger Ziarat itself is circular, 25 feet in diameter, with a mud and stone wall 4 feet high round it. It has a door to the east and a tomb to the west. A bundle of sticks is laid outside the wall, and another much larger, with red and white rags upon it, at the head of the tomb, the latter being covered as usual with pieces of white marble and round stones. At the head of the grave near the upright sticks was a large stone with holes in the centre, and also a number of wooden drinking cups, masses of horns, sticks, whips, ends of broken bottles, bits of rope, etc. These fragments of civilization hardly added to its picturesqueness. The tomb lay from north to south--a very curious fact, for, as a rule, the head of the tomb in other Ziarats was to the west. The tomb, however, lay in the western portion of the Ziarat circle. The enclosing wall was adorned with horns of sacrificed goats, and, in fact, outside to the south was the sacrificial spot with some large slabs of stone smeared with blood, and the usual upright sticks, but no rags appended to them. It had, nevertheless, some decoration of horns.

A second Ziarat was to be found on the top of the hill--generally these Ziarats go in couples, the principal one on the summit of a hill, the other at the foot, the latter for the convenience of travellers who have not the time or the energy to climb to the higher sacred spot,--and this Ziarat was 45 feet long also with a tomb--this time of black rounded stones--with an upright white slab of marble. The wall of black stones was 11/2 feet high. Below this, to the south, was a third smaller oval Ziarat, 20 feet long, 12 feet wide, with many offerings of horns perched on poles to the west, and a heap of fancy stones, together with some implements such as a mortar, pestle, and cups. A fourth Ziarat, very small, with a mud tomb on which two mill stones had been deposited, was a little further on and had a solitary rag flying.

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