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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

Illustration Old Beluch Mud Fort near Nushki


At

Karodak (3,220 feet) there was a small _thana_ surrounded by sand hills, with high tamarisks and good grazing for camels, but the water of the wells was salt.

We trotted along in a terrific wind storm, with yellowish dust obscuring everything like a fog, and went over numerous big stretches of mud and salt, cracked by the sun in semicircles like the scales of a fish. Low hills could now be perceived to north, south and east, when the wind slightly abated and the dust settled down.

After crossing a sand ridge extending from north to south, we still going east-north-east (70 deg. b.m.), another large salt plain disclosed itself before us. The old track went from this point towards the south, but the new one was in a perfectly straight line. For the first time since entering Beluchistan one began to see some little vegetation on the hill sides, and a few high tamarisks could be noticed in the plain itself.

At Yadgar (altitude 3,100 feet) we found a four-towered _thana_, with one _duffadar_, four sepoys, five _mari_ camels, and three wells of good water, as well as a new bungalow, but I only remained just a few minutes to change my belongings from Captain Webb-Ware's camel to mine, which was waiting here for me, and speedily proceeded for Padag where, in a terrible wind which had risen again after sunset, I arrived at eight o'clock in the evening.

At

Padag (3,080 feet) a number of semi-spherical Beluch huts, 4 to 5 feet high, with domes thatched with tamarisk and palm leaves, were to be seen. Most dwellings were in couples, enclosed in a circular wall for protection against the wind as well as from the observation of intruders. Although a cold wind was blowing fiercely at the time, and the thermometer was only four degrees above freezing point, there were some twenty children playing about perfectly naked, and they seemed quite happy and comfortable.

From Padag we went across another plain of salt and mud, with _sorag_ grass and _drog_, two plants much cherished by camels. To the north of our track was an extensive surface of salt deposits, extending from west to east, which looked just as if the country were covered by snow. Quantities of _eshwerk_--very pretty to look at when in flower, but most poisonous--were now found, and _brug_, good for horses. There were three parallel ranges of broken-up mountains on our south, and lots of tamarisks on the south edge of the salt deposits. It was rather curious that to the north of our track the vegetation consisted entirely of _drog_ grass, whereas to the south there was only _eshwerk_.

A few yards from the track to the south we came upon a graveyard (a Kabistan) with some fifteen or twenty graves. Water we had seen flowing in two or three channels from the mountain to supply villages and forming pools here and there. We passed between two mountains into another plain with dried up _karankosh_ bushes, much liked by camels. Good grazing for horses was to be found north, and extended as far as the foot of the mountains.

[Illustration: Kuchaki Chah Rest House.]

[Illustration: Old Beluch Mud Fort near Nushki.]

Kuchaki Chah, an unroofed rest-house a few feet square--a photograph of which can be seen in the illustration here appended--lies between two high ranges of rocky mountains with high accumulations of sand to the south-west and north-east respectively. The rugged mountains to the south were called Bajin. Another shrub, _trat_, also much cherished by camels, was plentiful here. Black precipitous rocks in vertical strata, splitting into long slabs and blocks, were to be seen along the mountain range to the South.


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