account of Kashkar(chitral) and panjkorah(Dir)

An Account 0f Upper Kash-kar, and Chitral or Lower Kash-Kar, together with the independent Afghan State of Panj-korah including TALASH

The Paper was written by Maj.H.G. Raverty, for the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in 1864. Materials for it were collected through a number of native informers, sometimes in 1850s or earlier, as evident from names and events reported in it. During the process of scanning and subsequent OCR conversion, many errors have occured in the text, which we have tried our best to correct. However it was not possible to remove all errors, especially those in the names of places and people---(Editor

Most modern travellers have either not mentioned the two first countries at all in their works, or have, from ignorance of oriental languages, or carelessness in writing names, so confounded them with a province of Chinese Turkistan, that their very existence has been called into question, and even totally denied, by many authors.

Mr. Elphinstone, in his excellent work — “The Kingdom of Caubul", remarks on this very subject in the following manner:— “The resemblance of the names led us into great mistakes when we first arrived in Peshawar. We bought tea, which we were told was brought from Kauskaur(Cashgar), and the first people whom we asked respecting the distance told us we might easily go to Kaushkaur, and return within a fortnight. In time, however, we obtained more precise information. These doubts and mistakes have been solely occasioned by not taking proper account of the mode of writing, and the pronunciation of the names of the two countries ; that of Chinese Tartary king written (Kash-ghar), whilst that of which I intend giving an account, is written (Kash-kar) a very different sound to that of the former.

In this mountainous range lies Kash-Kar, or Chitral, as the lower portion of the valley is also named; it is what has been sometimes called the country of Shah Kator. It is included in the valley of the upper sources of the river best known as the Kamah, and the Kunar.

Kash-kar (concerning which, probably, less is known than of any other part of Central Asia, not including even Kafiristan), is bounded on the north by the high land of Pamir ; south by the Laspur range of mountains, bounding the Afghan district of Panjkorah to the north ; north-east by the mountainous region to the west of the Yirkand river, known to the people of these regions as Bilauristan or the " Region of Crystal,"t from the quantity of that substance with which it abounds ; south-east by Gilgit and Little Tibet ; and west by the hills of Wakhan, bordering the left bank of the river Oxus, and separating Chitral, or Lower Kash-kar, from Badakhshan and the eastern frontier of Kafiristan, running parallel to the right or northern bank of the Chitral or Kash-kar river. It is a long valley into which a series of smaller valleys and defiles open out, which, in the northern part, act as water-courses to drain Pamir, It is oblong in form, and runs almost in a north-east and south-west direction. It resembles Kafiristan in physical appearance and coldness of climate.

It is divided into two states — Kash-kar-i-Bala, or Upper Kash-kar, and Kash-kar-i-Pa-in,* or Lower Kash-kar — both of which are ruled by separate and, entirely independent of each other; but, at the same time, on the most friendly terms.

The former principality is less known than the latter; hence the two have often been confused together, and called the country of Shah Kator. Both rulers are absolute over their subjects, and have the reputation of selling them into slavery without the slightest compunction. The people are designated among themselves by the general name of Chitrar.

Lower Kash-Kar

Lower Kash-kar, or Chitral, is the real country of Shah Kator, and the most westerly of the two states. It lies immediately under the southern slopes of the mountains of Hindu Kush, which separate it from Badakhshan; and through the centre of this state, as well as of Upper Kash-kar, the river, here named after the country fertilized by its waters, flows to the south-west, and joins the Kamah at Cheghinsarai.

The chief town or capital of Lower Kash-kar Drush, the residence of Tajammul Shah, the son and successor of Shah Kator, who appears to have been a good ruler, and deservedly popular. He was, however, a soldier of fortune originally, and dethroned the rightful sovereign, a grandson of whom Vigne met with, living under the protection of the kind-hearted and hospitable Ahmad Shah, the Gylfo or prince of Little Thibet. The town is situated in the centre of the valley on a rising ground, on the eastern, or left, or southern bank of the river previously referred to, and over which there is a large and well-built wooden bridge, considered by the natives a somewhat wonderful object. The town is said to contain about two thousand houses, and between nine and ten thousand inhabitants. All the chief men of the country have dwellings of considerable, size in the capital, where they are expected chiefly to reside. Persons engaged in trade to any extent, together with artisans and mechanics, also dwell almost exclusively at Drush.

The other considerable towns are, — Laspur (giving name to the mountains so called) to the east of Drush and north of Drdl ; Puritt to the north of Drush and south of Ashrit ; Ashrit north of Puritt and east of Drush ; Bedlurf to the northward of Drush and south of Hich-gun.

The country lying to the south of the capital is thinly peopled ; but towards the north-east and west, it is very populous. The inhabitants are Muhammadans professing the Shiah doctrine, the same as followed by the Persians of the present day.

All complaints of importance, and cases of litigation, are investigated and determined at Drush by the ruler himself ; indeed, all complainants residing within four days’ journey, are required to appear before the supreme authorities in all cases. Persons dwelling at a greater distance are permitted to appear before the subordinate chiefs, who are empowered to hear and decide matters of minor importance, subject to appeal to the Shah Tajammul Shah can collect, upon occacion, a force of 12,000 matchlock-men, who are not paid in money for their services, but in kind. The whole of the people are well provided with fire-arms with rests; indeed, there are few persons without arms. Those match-locks are long and heavy, similar to those of Turkistan (from whence, most likely, they are obtained) and carry a ball along distance. The Kash-karis are excellent marksmen; and powder and lead being exceedingly expensive, when they do discharge their pieces, it is generally with effect ; and no shots are thrown away.

About 10,000 Siah-posh Kafirs, of the Kamaz tribe, who inhabit the upper, or northern part of the valley of the Kash-kar or Chitral river, lying nearest to the valley of the Kok-cha river of Badakhshan, and north of the country held by the Kattar and Kampar tribes of Siah-posh, are subject to the Shah (Kator?), to whom they pay a small tribute. Their religion is not interfered with ; and they are, upon the whole, very obedient subjects, and are unlike the generality of mountain tribes, inasmuch as they do not rob. The Ashkun Kafirs, a great portion of whom have embraced Muhammadanism, as well as the Ashpins, are also subjects of the ruler of Lower Kash-kar, as already mentioned in my account of that people.

Upper Kash-Kar

This is the territory of Gauhar Aam Shah, sumamed Ch&l, son and successor of Malik Aman, the former ruler. The people are Muhammadans — that is to say, if a person should ask them what religion they profess, they will answer that they are Musalmans and Shiahs; but if he enquire of them what is meant by the word Shiah, they will probably say they do not know. In the other state of Chitral, or Lower Kash-kar, the people, as far as prayers, fasts, and other exterior observances go, are Muhammadans; but there are few signs of it in Upper Kash-Kar.

The chief town is Mis-toch, or Mas-toj, lying about three stages or 25 coss, or 37 to 38 miles each, N. N. W. from Gilgit, but it is a place of no great size, containing only four hundred houses, and about 2,000 inhabitants. It lies in the same valley as Lower Kash-kar ; and also stands on the right or western bank of the Chitral or Kash-kar river, but nearer its source. The town is protected by a small fortress ; and the main routes followed by the caravans of merchants from Peshawar, Badakhshan, and Yarkand, meet here. Gauhar Aman, the ruler, resided a good deal at Yasin, which is a still smaller place than Mas-tuch, but it is more conveniently situated, being nearer towards Dar-band, the fortified pass leading into the country, towards the west. There are numerous ancient ruins in this neighbourhood. Drush, the capital of Lower Kash-kar or Chitral, lies to the south-west of Mas-tuch. To the east of the latter place is Hieh-gdn, to the south of which again is Shotai.

The elevated plateau of Upper Kash-kar is inclosed by towering hills surrounding it on all sides, except towards the south-west, in which direction the K ash-kar or Chitral river, so often referred to, flows. At the same time, however, it must be remembered, that the whole of Kash-kar, both Upper and Lower, is crossed by several smaller ranges of hills, and by numerous narrow valleys, some of which are of considerable length.

Several passes lead into the two Kash-kars, the chief of which is the Kotal Lahori, or Lahori Pass leading into Panj-korah through the Laspur mountains, dividing the latter from the former state. By this route Maus-tuch may be reached from Drush, which is distant three manzils or stages, occupying two nights and a day, in the summer months. The Siah-posh Kafirs infest the Pass at times, and plunder travellers. The road is also somewhat difficult between Panj-korah and Drush ; but beyond, it is very good ; and the country is like a vast plain, gradually sloping upwards towards the high land of Pamir, to the north and east. The roads throughout Lower Kash-kar or Chitral, and Upper Kash-kar, are generally prood, and clear of much obstruction ; consequently, there would be no difficulty for the passing of light artillery.

The nearest road from Chitral or Lower Kash-kar to Badakhshan lies across the range of Hindu Kush — called the Badakhshan Ridge by Macartney — on the northern slope of which a small river rises, and after flowing about twenty-five miles, enters the Panj, or Upper branch of the Oxus, at Ishtarak in the latter country. The path lies along the banks of this stream, and is only practicable in the summer months, and then only Tor persons on foot, who can thus reach Chitral in three days.

Another route into Badakhshan, practicable for beasts of burden and that pursued by caravans of merchants and traders, is by the Mas-tagh Pass — so called from the town of that name — and by de- scending from thence, along the banks of another small stream, rising on the northern slope of the mountains bounding Lower ^ish-Vnr to the north-east, which falls into the Panj at Issar (His-ir?) in the region of Wakhan. This is the main road between Badakhshan and Gilgitt to Kashmir. The Yarkand road branches off from Issar to the north, through the darah or valley of lake Sir-i kol over the table land of Pamir.

Farther west there is another Pass into Badakhshan, called “Kotal-i- Nuqsan or the “Defile of Mischief”. This road winds along the face of tremendous precipices, and through frightful defiles, by which the hamlet of Gao-khanah (signifying " Cow-house" in Persian,) in a plain, may be reached in two or three days. Further north is Rabat, (' Robat' of Wood) on the Wardoj river. A route into Kafiristan joins the above road amongst the defiles of Hindu Kush, By which the districts held by the Kamuz, Ashkun, and Ashpin tribes of Si'ah-posh Kafirs may be reached in from three to four days, with-out much difficulty, in the summer months.

To the north-east of Upper Kash-kar (which some also term Shaghoan), is Sh^lgat, distant five manzil or stages. It is also called ^ash- Mr, I am informed ; but the people are different in their manners and customs, and are under a different ruler.

The river of Chitral or Kash-kar, also known as the Cheghan-sarie, fenu the small town of that name, near which it Mis into the Kunar or Kimar, as it flows south to join the river of Kabul, appears — as I We already pointed out at page 8 — to have been long confounded with the Kamah or Kunar, of which it is only a feeder. The Chitral river rises at the " Talab-i-Nfl," or " Cerulean Lake."! This lake must not be mistaken for lake Sir-i-kol, from which the Panj, or main branch of the Oxus takes its rise ; for the Talab-i-Nil lies much further to the south. The river of Kash-kar flows from it, and having passed Mastuch on the west, flows towards the south and south-west, through the two states of Kash-kar, and joins the Kamah or Kunar at Cheghdn-sarae, as before stated. The existence of this lake was mentioned to Lieut. Wood by natives of Badakhshan, and it is also corroborated by the account of Moorcroft and Trebeck, who call the lake by the name of Hamd-sar ; but which, if it is a Persian name, as it appears to be, would rather seem to refer to that of Sir-i-kol, the source of the Oxus, and then, interpreted, would signify the Head or Source of the Hamo," which latter word, in all probability, is more correctly Amu, the name by which the Oxus is known to the natives of these regions.

North of Mas-tuch all the streams take a northerly course towards the Oxus and the river of Yarkand ; whilst those south of Mas-tuch run towards the south, and are, ultimately, absorbed into the Indus.

From Upper Kashkar, the road to Gilgitt lies to the south, souths east; and that place is seven stages distant. From thence, pursuing a westerly route. Little Thibet is reached in another seven stages. The Kashmir route lies to the south of Thibet, and is distant about eight stages.

The dress of the people of Upper and Lower Ksh-kar, from the severe nature of the climate of the country, consists of a number of garments worn one over the other. They are made with immense sleeves ; and, when on, lie in a number of folds or rolls. The dresses of the women are made longer and more loose than those of the men, and assimilate, in some measure, to the dress worn by the females of Kashmir.

The men are tall and well made; and the females are remarkable for their beauty ,t which is said to surpass that of the Siah-posh women, who are much celebrated for their good looks. A great many are yearly sold into slavery; and a boy or a girl can, generally, be purchased for one hundred Rupees. The more comely of the females fistek high prices, Varying from five hundred to one thousand rupees. Two or three hundred slaves are sent annually into Turkistan, by the Darwin Pass of Badakhshin, and constitute one of the chief exports from that country.

The imports consist of salt, which is very expensive; chintzes and other piece-goods of low price and coarse texture from Yarkand, Peshawar, and Badakhshan, together with boots and shoes, metals, and a few pearls and precious stones from the latter country; tea, sugar, and horses from the former state ; sundries, consisting of needles, thread, scissors, knives, combs, etc , of rough workmanship, from Kashmir, and Peshawar; iron from Panjkorah; gur or coarse sugar, qneea, medicines, matchlocks, swords, ammunition, and copper cooking utensils.

The other exports besides slaves, are unbleached silk, the produce of the country, and known amongst the traders of Kabul and other parts of Central Asia, as kordh^ Jfdsh^fidrt; shawls also the peculiar manufacture of the country, the wool of which, termed (d^) pud, is sometimes of a coarse description of silk called pa(tf by the Kash-karis, and sometimes of cotton, and the warp called (jO) tdr, of pure silk. These are rather expensive, ranging in price from twenty rupees; but a cheaper description is manufactured, the woof of which is of wool, and the warp of cotton, and which can be procured as low as two rupees each ; ehofMhiy or cloaks with sleeves, the cloth of which is woven trcmpashmy a species of wool or fur, of three different colours, with which all animals, even dogs, are provided, in this cold region, but mare particularly goats. It is called shawl wooL These garments vary in price from one to twenty rupees.

The peculiar method of weaving these mantles or Kash-kari shawls brings to mind a passage in Pliny with regard to the fabric from which the Coan vests, so much esteemed by the Greeks and Romans, were made. Heeren in his Asiatic Nations, also refers to the subject in the following terms. The first Grecian author who has made mention of the silk-worm, and described its metamorphosis, is Aristotle in his Natural History. His account, however, does not tally with the silk-worm known in Europe ; and it is probable that he had another species in view, though his commentators ate by no means agreed on this point. He tells us that the web of this insect was wound off by women, and afterwards woven ; and names a certain Pamphyle, of Cos, as the inventress of this art. Whence then was the raw material derived ? The Grecian philosopher does not expressly inform us, but Pliny, who has translated his works, and perhaps had a more accurate copy before him than we possess, speaks of AssyriaUyt that is, Asiatic silk, and interprets in the manner the obscure expressions of Aristotle. The Grecian women, he says, unravel the silken stuffs imported from Asia, and then weave them anew ; whence that fine tissue, of which frequent mention is made by the Boman poets under the name of Coan vests.* A celebrated scholar understands this passage as implying that all the Asiatic garments, described as silken, were in fact only half composed of silk^ and supposes that the Grecian women separated the two materials of which they consisted, and that the cotton woof having been withdrawn, the texture was filled up with silk alone.

Kash-kar is, by no means, a poor country; in many places it is well sheltered; and the climate, on the whole, is temperate, but, in winter, it is severe. The soil is rich and fertile, producing much grain, including great quantities of rice. European fruits, such as apples, pears, apricots, plums, peaches, etc., are produced in great quantities, as well as excellent grapes, from which vast quantities of wine are made ; for the Kash-karis, although professing Muhammadanism, are, like their neighbours, the Siah-posh Kafirs, and the people of Gilgitt, notorious for their wine-bibbing propensities.

The herds and flocks, particularly the latter, constitute the chief wealth of the inhabitants of Kash-kar and the neighbouring petty states, and for which they have been celebrated from remote antiquity.

There is no fixed rate of taxation in either of the two states ; sometimes a fifth or a fourth of the produce is levied ; but, at times, as much as one half has been collected. Trade is chiefly carried on by means of barter, money being very rare.

The language of both Upper and Lower Kash-kar contains a great proportion of Persian words. This, however, is no matter of surprise, when we consider that these countries formed a portion of the extensive empire of the Persians. The people are said to express themselves with much circumlocution.

The Venetian traveller, Marco Polo, appears to have visited Kash-kar, which he thus briefly describes. At length you reach a place called Slish-l^iir. The province is extensive, and contains many towns and castles, of which jj^&ah-l^dr is the largest and most important. Besides the Muhammadans, there are amongst the inhabitants several Nestorian Christians. The matter of the Nestorians is a somewhat difficult one to solve. The Siah-posh tribes, inhabiting a portion of the valley of the Kash-kar river, may probably be the people he referred to ; and whom, differing widely in manners and customs from the Muhammadans of those parts, he, without due inquiry, and chiefly, if not solely, on native report, may have fondly concluded to be Christians.

Independent Afghan States

The petty states at present held by the powerful and numerous Afghan tribe of Yusufzi, the most turbulent, and the most independent of the Afghans, who have reduced the original inhabitants of these countries to a state of vassalage since their exodus from Kabul in the reign of Mirza Ulagh Beg, grandson of Timur (the account of Herodotus and the ILucrvcs of the Peshawar oracle notwithstanding) in which they themselves reign in feudal turbulency — consist of Panjkorah, including that part of the *' 8ama^h* — above the junction of the Panj-korah river with the river of Suwat, called the district of Talash ; 8uw^ ; Buner ; and Chumlah ; the whole lying to the north of the British possessions, part of which includes the south-western portion of the Samali, lying nearest to the left bank of the Landay or Panj-korah river. I have given a description of the valley of Suwat, in a late number of the Journal. The other two districts are, comparatively, little known.


Panj-korah, a compound word, signifying “five houses or clans," from the Persian " panj” " five," and the Pushto, "kor" “a house, clan, tribe, etc.," is so called from the five clans of the Malizi subdivision of the great Afghan tribe of Yusuf-zi, which originally peopled it, after the conquest of those parts, north of the Kabul river, by the Afghans about the beginning of the sixteenth century. Those clans were, Paindah Khel, Poshah Khel, Sarandi Khel, Sultan Khel, and Pft'i Khel. At present there is a slight difference from the other clans having sprung up, during the course of so many years.

Panj-korah is the most important, and most considerable of these minor independent Afghan states, lying almost immediately under the southern slopes of Hindu Kush. It runs in a north-east and south-west direction ; is of oblong form, being about ninety-five miles in length, from north to south ; and forty-eight from east to west’ It is bounded, north by the two Kash-kars; south by Talash, and the Peshawar district; north-east by Bilauristan, Gilgitt and other little known principalities towards the upper sources of the Indus ; south-east by the Suwat valley; west by Kafiristan ; and south-west by Bajawar , a district belonging to the Tarkolani tribe of Afs^idmL. It is surrounded on all sides, and is crossed in various directions, by lofty hills, inclosing as many valleys throng which the principal rivers flow, fed by numerous smaller mountain streams. The hills are dotted with dense forests of fir, pine, oak, wild olive, and other trees indigenous to these alpine regions.

The principal rivers, that intersect Panj-korah like the ramification of a leaf, are, the Lahori, also called the Dir river (rising on the southern face of the Laspur mountains separating it from Kash-kar, and giving name to the pass leading into the latter country, the road winding along its banks) which flows nearly due south, passing the town of Dir, the residence of the ruler, for about twenty miles. It is then joined by the Tal from the north-east, which takes its rise in the hills bounding Yasin to the west. This stream has the. longest course, and its Pushto name, signifying " always”, “ever," " perpetually”, etc., may refer to the fact of its never becoming dry, as some of the smaller rivers are liable to become in the winter months.

The other streams in sacoeasio are, the Usheri, whose volume is the most considerable of the Panj-korah rivers, and the Ktoih, both of them in an almost parallel direction to the Tal, with intervals of from twelve to twenty miles from each other ; and the Birah-wol from the North-west, whose source is in the lofty hills held by the Panj-korah Esifizis, separating the valley of the Kash-kar or Cheghan-sarai river from the Panj-korah district. All these (except the Birawol) meet near the village of Rabat, and after flowing south for about another seventy miles, under the names of Panj-korah, Usheri, and Malizi river, receives the small rivets of Bib4 Darah, Jandwal and Bajiwir from, the north-west, which, alter watering the small valley bearing these names unite with the Birawol river before they fall into the main stream in the district of Talash. About twenty-six miles farther south, the Panj-korah river receives, near the village of Kkwadarzf, the river of Suwat — the supposed Suastus of the ancients -a stream of great rapidity in many places, and of considerable length and volume — from the north-east. It rises in the hills bounding Gilgit on the west, and runs, for some distance, nearly parallel to the other streams on the same side. The united waters now become a clear, deep, and rapid river, known as the Landay Sind, in Pushto signifying “The Little" or " Lesser River" (in reference to the Lidos, which is called the "Abasind" or “Father of Rivers," is this part of its course), which, lower down, near the village of Abisi, teparatea into several branches, which at Hasht-nagar, in the Doabah of the Peshawur district, again unite, and, at length, disembogues into the river of Kabul, near the village of Nowshahrah, about forty-five miles from its junction with the Suwat. The Panj-korah or Landey river is supposed to be the Guxsbus of the classical authors. Suwat is the most considerable river of these regions after the Kabul.

The Panj-korah district slopes down considerably from north to wath ; hence the rapidity of the rivers, the main streams of which, in the summer months, increase so much in volume and rapidity on the melting of the snows, as to become impassable altogether, except by means of rafts, and even then, with considerable difficulty and danger. The Lahori, or Dir, becomes dry in the winter months; and the other lesser rivers, or kwars as they are termed in the Afghan tongue, viz. the Birahwol, the Tal, the K^bah, and the baja-awir river and its feeders, are generally fordable at that season.

The whole of these streams give names to as many darahs — long, narrow, fertile, and pleasant valleys, inclosed by ranges of lofty hills running in a parallel direction to each other, which are again intersected, in opposite directions, by hills less lofty, and valleys still smaller, each of which has its own little stream, acting as a feeder to the larger ones, and generally its village or small hamlet.

In the winter months, the hills are covered with snow half way down their sides ; and in the valleys also, as far south as Dir, snow falls in considerable quantities, and lies on the ground for many days, and sometimes even, for weeks together. Lower down, they have copious showers of rain in the winter season.

The whole of these valleys, as well as the extensive level tract known as the “Samah," (except some parts of the latter, which approach the Merra or Desert) are fertile, and the land is carefully cultivated. It produces an abundance of grain, chiefly wheat and barley ; but juar (Holcus sorgum), an bajra (Holcus spicatus), are produced in smaller quantities.

The other principal productions are, cotton to a small extent, sufficient for home consumption; tobacco, and sugar-cane, which are grown in the more southerly parts. Most agricultural produce is exceedingly cheap, and is calculated to be eight times more so than at Kabul. When at the dearest, eight Kabul sirs of wheat— equal to about 88 lbs. English — sell for one rupee or two shillings.

Many European fruits are also produced in considerable quantities and some wild, but of no great variety. The former consist, chiefly, of apples, pears, and a sort of plum. The hills and valleys, in many places, are also clothed with several sorts of wild flowers, indigenous to these northern climates.

The land, in the more elevated parts, depends solely on rain for moisture ; but in the valleys, the irrigation is artificial wherever the water of the numerous streams can be conducted. The chief harvest is the kharif or autumn ; and but little corn is sown m the spring months.

The northern part of Panj-korah, where the climate is severe, is somewhat thinly inhabited; but towards the south the country is densely populated.

The people, who depend chiefly upon tilling for subsistence, also pooD c o a numerous herds of cows and oxen, goats, and buffaloes. Sheep are met with in great numbers, and never reach a higher price than three rupees, or six shillings. Lately, I find, they have been brought to Peshawar for sale, in considerable numbers. A good buffalo can be purchased for from twelve to twenty rupees ; but cows constitute their chief wealth. Loads are mostly carried on the backs of oxen and asses. Notwithstanding that fodder is abundant, horses and mules are by no means common ; but some few of the former animals are kept for military purposes. Camels are seldom seen in the country.

One-tenth of the agricultural produce is received by the ruler. Cattle are not subject to any tax; but a capitation, or house tax is levied on each house at the yearly rate of three rupees.

The rupee in general currency throughout the country peopled by the Yusufzis, is the old Herat coin, worth about twenty-five per cent leas than the East India Company's rupee’ which is also in circulation since the annexation of the Panjab, to a limited extent.

From the bounds of the village of Panj-korah to that of ITshfrf, grain is sold by weight but beyond, a measure, called oo-gaH in Pushto, is used instead. The sir of Panj-korah is one-fifth less in weight than that of Kabul and the ao-gaH is equal to three quarters of the Panj-korah sir.

The present prices for articles of general consumption are at the following rates: — Wheat, seven Panj-korah sirs the rupee; barley eight sirs, shali or unhusked rice, eight sirs ; juar, seven sirs; salt, brought from Peshawar, six sirs ; roghun or clarified butter, one ^ ; ^v**) coarse sugar, brought from Peshawar and Jelilabad, one sir and quarter ; honey, one sir and a quarter ; cotton, five-eighths of a sir — about eighteen ounces English ; iron three sirs ; kadi—ie coarsest description of cotton cloth — eight Lam-ghan yards.

A few articles, the produce of Hindustan, are imported ; but the chief imports, which consist of articles of apparel and clothing of various descriptions, and a little indigo, are brought from Peshawar by the traders of that city and district, numbers of whom visit the country, and take back in exchange, iron, honey, and roghan or clarified butter.

There are a number of iron mines throughout Panj-korah, from which all the neighbouring countries are supplied. Some are situated in the Las-pur mountains, and in the neighbouring hills of Bira-wol, but the most extensive mines are in the U-shiri and lSJkni darah. In fact the whole of the Panj-korah district teems with iron and galena (called surmah or black antimony by the Afghans), and there is no doubt but that it contains other even more valuable minerals.

Great quantities of yellow soap are made from the fat of sheep and goats, at the village of GKina-tir, where all the houses, with but few exceptions, are provided with oil-presses and machines for boiling the soap, which sells at the rate of five sirs the rupee. This village supplies the whole of the surrounding hill countries with this necessary. It is held in great estimation as being free from adulteration with juar flour and the like ; and is pure £Kt and potash.

There is a considerable trade carried on between the districts to the south-east and west, as well as with Badakhshan, Kash-kar, Yarkand, and other places in Chinese Turkistan, by means of kafilas or caravans. The route to the latter countries is through the Lahori Pass, near the town of Dir, where the chief of Panj-korah resides; and where he imposes a small tax or transit duty on merchandize. Travelers and traders are treated with great kindness and hospitality throughout the Panj-korah district; and with the exception of the independent tribes of the Siah-posh Kafirs (who are not subject to the ruler of Lower Kash-kar) who, at times, infest the Lahori Pass. The roads are safe, and the honesty of the people is so great, that the trader may generally penetrate into the remotest valleys, and in the hilly tracts, without danger of being molested by thieves or robbers.

The darahs, or valleys to the east of the main stream of the Panj-korah river, which divides the district from north to south together with the names of the villages, clans occupying them, and names of their Kad-khtddt or head-men, are as follow:- Shakolact Darah.
Chieft or Head-men
Zardad Khan.
Deh Hardn,
Masesiim Khel
Hyder Kain
(7Attf/» iw Kead-mm.
SaaBd-ullah Khan, brother of the Chief of Panj-korah.
Aiyob Khan.
Timir kalah.
Sirdfc- Kh4n.
Ehdn Koh,
MohBan, and Ghafflir
Akhuind Khel
Naai^ud-Din Khel,
Muhammad Khan.
Sarwar Mi-dn.
MUn-mindah Sahib-zadahs, or descendants of some holy man.
Sun-H, Pa-indah Khel, Qui Khan.
Rabat, Nasr-ud-din Khel, Mahabbat Khel
Kinj-Iah, Mi-dn Khel, Aka S^ib.
Klw-Ni Darah.

This darah contains only one village, named Dilkhih, but there is a number of small hdn^aht or hamlets, some of which do not contain more than a few families. This valley contains altogether about a thousand houses. The people are Paindah Khels, and the headman for the whole is nominated by Ghazan Khan, the chief of Panj-korah.


This darah is held by people of different clans. The hamlets are very small, and the whole darah may contain about eleven hundred houses. TORMANG DARAH.

Akhkrtoi, Pa-indah Khel, 8uyed Bahmin.
Biid-ba, „ „ Sher JEaU Khin.
There are also several other smaller villages or hamlets containing a few families. KXbt$ Darah.

This darah is inhabited chiefly by families descended from the original inhabitants of the country, who live in a state of vassalage to their Afghan conquerors. There are also a few Yusufzfs residing in it, belonging to the clans already mentioned.

Chiefs or Meai-mm.
Na-hIk Darah.
Pa-indah Khel,
Chirfigh Sbdb.
Gudaey Khel,
AUab Y& Kbfo.
Sultan Khel,
Suyed Amir.
IT-SHEBf Darah.
Sultan Khel,
K&s(, iQabd-ur-Babm6D.
Mi-fin Khel,
Saiyid Adam.
Pa-indah Khel,
Aabd-ullab Khan.
Zarif Khan. Tar-pah-tar,
Hajtim Khan.
BaE (UpPEE) U-Shiri Darah.
Bar U-sheri,
Pa-indah Khel,
Anwar Shah Khan.
Ahmad Khan.
Fazal Sh.
Mi-^ Khel, or de- Khair-nllah Mi-&i.
descendants of Karim Dad, a direct descendant of the celebrated Akhund Darwezah,andhisfamilj, author of the Makhaaa Pufl'bto.
Kor-koaey, .
N^ht-dmal, .
\ Mi-in Nazim. .
HaWbi. .
Kaman-gar, .
Nurab Khel, .
Haslb. .

This last mentioned village derives its name, signifying, in the Persian language, " Bow-maker," from the fact of the first inhabitants having been makers of that weapon, for which their descendants are still celebrated.

Zaeah-Khel Darah.

This valley contains a number of small hamlets having but few inhabitants. The head-man is appointed by Ghazan Khan, the chief.

DbIl Darah.

This valley is very secluded, being inclosed on all sides by lofty hills, and the hamlets are very small. The people pay a small tax to Ghazan Khan. The following darahs and villages are situated to the west of the Panj-korah river.

HiRAK0 Darah.

This valley contains a number of small hamlets, many of which are now in ruins and deserted. The ziarat or shrine of a saint, named Ghazi Sahib, is situated in this darah.

Sh^e Darah.

sides of the river, in this valley, the whole of which have numerous gardens and orchards. Ghazan Khan of Dir, the chief, appoints the head-man.

BahI Kabah Darah.

This valley contains small hamlets only. The people were formerly independent, and were under a chief or head-man of their own, named Aslam Khim ; but several years since it became dependent on Ghazan Khto, who appoints a head-man of his own.

Birahwol Darah.

The chief place in this valley is Birahwol, hence its name, and that of its river. It is the residence of a petty independent chief, named Mohammad Ali Khan, of the Afghan tribe of Tarkolani, which possesses Bijawur ; and, therefore, although included in Panj-korah, it can scarcely be deemed a dependency of it, as the chief pays no tribute to Ghazan khan. There are several iron mines in this valley, which have been worked for centuries past. There are also several hamlets, but they are small in size.

MaIdak Darah.

The only village of any size, contained in this darah is Khemah, inhabited by Shihi Khels, of whom Biran is the head-man. There are, however, numerous small hamlets. The people have the name of being the only robbers in the district of Panj-korah, which may be accounted for, in some measure, from the fact of this valley being the most difficult of access in the whole district.

Panj-korah Darah.

Bar (upper) Panj-korah, Sultan Khel, Sher ^ali.
Kuz (lower) Panj-korah, Pagul.
Vi^-iWj n „ Mardiln.

Dir, the residence of the chief.

Dir, the capital of the Panj-korah district, contains about two hundred houses, not including the citadel, and some twelve hundred inhabitants. It is protected by a considerable fortress or citadel, situated on a high mound or eminence, a spur from the Las-pur mountains. The walls, which are substantially built of mud and stone, are about four hundred yards long, three hundred in breadth, and twelve yards in height; and are flanked by four towers or bastions. Within the citadel, which is kept in excellent repair, there is a large mosque, besides several other buildings, including the residence of the chief Ghazan Khan, and his numerous family, together with his immediate followers, constituting his standing army, the whole of whom, with their families, amount to about two thousand five hundred people. There are, in this, as in the other valleys, numerous small hamlets.

SHAMds-GAB Darah.
Shamiir-gar, Pa-indah BIhel,
Khar, Allah Yar Khan.

The people are the descendants of the aboriginal Jabalak, inhabitants of the country, and called by the Yisufzi ruyat (vassals) and fakirs (villains).

The two smaller darahs of TAjaliSKi and Ddnsi are contiguous to this valley, and open into it. They contain a few hamlets. The other chief places in the Panj-korah Darah, are Quluundi, Chakya-tan, Arottah Sin, and Panah-kut.

The chief bazar, or market towns, or marts of trade in the district are, Dir, Birah-wol, Sam-khal, and LVarrt-khal.

There are three other darahs dependent on Dir, or the Panj-korah Darah, viz. IBlXsH-KiBf, so called from leading into Kash-kar by the Lahori Pass ; Do-Bando , by the other Pass through which Kash-kar may be reached in two stages ; and KahIb. They all three contain some small hamlets at considerable distances from each other.

From the Maidan Darah towards the west, there is a route leading into Bajawur ; and another from the Birah-wol Darah, in the same direction. There are also two principal routes into Suwat from the Panj-korah district ; one through the U-sheri, and the other through the Karu Darah. Proceeding south from the villages of Timir-kalah and Kat kalah, and passing through the small district of Talash (a short account of which will be found further on), the main road leads hy Hashtnagar to Peshawar. It is good, and clear of obstruction, and is the only one by which guns could be taken into Panj-korah. Sultan Muhammad Khan, Barakzi, the brother of Dost Muhammad Khan of Kabul (a person who is likely to cause us some trouble ere long, when the Dost shall have been gathered to his fathers), entered the Panj-korah district by this road, several times, whilst he was in possession of Peshawar.

Ghazan Khan of Panj-korah is the most powerful chief amongst the whole of the Yusufzis, whether Ytkuf or Mandar ; and by his great abilities and foresight, has rendered himself, for many years past, respected by all the other princes and chieftains of these parts. He is on friendly terms with the chief of Bajawur ; and is in alliance with the rulers of Chitral and Upper Kash-kar. He is the son of Kasim Khan, mentioned by Elphinstone in his account of the kingdom of Kabul, son of Zafar Khan, son of Ghulam Khan, son of Akhund Ilyas ; and belongs to, and is the chief of, the Pa-indah Khel branch of the Yusufzi tribe, which is also known as the "Akhund JSTor", lignifying, in the Pushto language, " The Teacher's family or house. At the time these notes were made, three years since, Ghazan Khan was about seventy years of age, and has since probably died ; but I have not heard of his decease.

The following tradition concerning the foundation of the family of Akhund Ilyas, who lived in the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, is related by the people of those parts : — Akhund Ilyas, a Darwesh and God-fearing man, was blessed with two sons — Aiyub and Ismaeil. The former who was the elder brother, had- occasion, one day, to give some admonition to the younger, which the latter was not inclined to listen to in future, so he left the paternal roof in disgust, and proceeded to Kabul ; and although of tender years only, he succeeded in obtaining service with the Governor of that province. Here his cleverness and great talents attracted his master's notice ; and he was advanced from one post to another, until, such was the confidence placed in him, he was admitted within the Haram-sara, — the most private apartments.

One day, the Governor, who appears to have been, himself, under petticoat-government, had a dispute with his wife, which ended in her beating the ruler of the province with one of her slippers. Aiyub happened to be present on that occasion ; and it tended, in no small degree, to add to the shame of his master, consequent on such an exposure. In order to comfort the Governor, if possible, and soothe his irritated feelings, Aiyub remarked, that the women of all countries are naturally violent in temper, as well as tyrannical in disposition; and, that in his own country they were more violent still, and had even been known to take the lives of their husbands. He therefore begged his master to take no further notice of his wife's behaviour, but to serve her after the same fashion in future, should she indulge in such fits of violence.

After this untoward occurrence, however, the Governor, fearing, no doubt, lest the matter might leak out, and that he should, consequently, become a laughing-stock amongst the people, took care to treat Aiyub with great consideration, and never to be angry with him ; in fact, he let him have his own way entirely. He accordingly rose in his master's favour more than ever, particularly when, after inquiries, he found that Aiyub had faithfully kept his secret.

Aiyub at length became desirous of revisiting his home and friends ; and he was dismissed by the Governor of Kabul, with great honour, and loaded with presents, both in money and goods.

There being no mechanics or artizans in his own country, Aiyub obtained permission from the Governor to take along with him from Kabul, a carpenter, a mason, a goldsmith, and a huntsman, together with their families, who settled in Panj-korah. Their children followed the occupations of their fathers, and their descendants are now a considerable community, much respected in the country. These people are known as fakirs, a name also home by the aboriginals of those parts, subject to the Yusufzi Afghans.

Aiyub was also attended by a number of other followers; and shortly after he reached home, Akhund Ilyas, his father, who was still alive, called his two sons into his presence and said unto them : “Out of the goods of this world, I have but two things to bequeath — my sword, and my kachkol (a wooden bowl, or a gourd, in which a Darwesh receives alms) : take your choice of them." Ismael, the elder brother, chose the kachkol, and Aiyub the sword; and soon after, Akhund llyas, who had attained a great age, was gathered to his fathers. The children of Ismael practise austerity ; and are seekers after " the truth" unto this day. They have the credit of being very learned. Aiyub, who kept up a small number of soldiers, at length, obtained the title of Khan amongst his countrymen, and acquired considerable power, which increased from generation to generation, up to the time of Kasim Khan, father of Ghazan Khan, the present chief, whose rule extended over twelve thousand families of the Yusufzi tribe.

Kasim Khan was the father of three sons — Azad, Ghazan, and SasBd-ullah — by three several Yusufzi mothers, each of different clans. As the eldest, by some untoward and unfortunate chance, became the slayer of his father ; and some time subsequently, was, in like manner, slain by the youngest brother Sased-ullah, in retaliation. These events occurred during the short and stormy reign of Shah Mahmad, (son of Timar Shah, and consequently brother of the unfortunates, Shah-i-Zaman and Shah Shuja-ul-mulk), over the kingdom of Kabul, about the commencement of the present century.

Ghazan Khan was possessed of prudence and foresight in no small degree. He also had great wealth; and succeeded, by degrees, in gaining over the people to his side ; and with the support and assistance of the late Shah Kator of Chitral, or Lower Kash-kar, he was acknowledged as the chief of his tribe, and ruler of the whole country of Panj-korah. The former friendship with the late, has been continued with the present, ruler of Chitral — Tajammul Shah son of Shah Kator. Ghazan Khan, however, is at enmity with his younger brother Sased-ullah, who still continues at the head of some four thousand families. In the month of Muharram in the year 1839, during our occupation of Afghanistan, some cause of dispute having arisen between them, they assembled their followers, and Ghazan Khan advanced against his brother; but the forces separated after a slight skirmish, in which from twenty to thirty of their people were killed and wounded.

The Panj-korah chieftain was on friendly terms with the late Government of Lahore, during the time of Maharaja Ranjit and Maharaja Sher Singh ; and they were in the frequent habit of sending presents to each other. In 1839, when it was the policy of the late Ranjt Singh to conciliate the Panj-korah chief, he sent him amongst other valuable presents, a fine elephant ; in return for which Ghazan Khan sent the Maharaja several fine Kohistani horses, and some other rarities, through Sultan Muhammad Khan, Barikzi, who then held Peshawar of the Sikh ruler. During the time that the Neapolitan Avitabile was Governor of Peshawar for the Lahore Government, the chief of Panj-korah used to send him Chitral slave-girls for his seraglio, besides male slaves, from the hill countries in his neighbourhood.

The regular paid troops of Ghazan Khan do not exceed two hundred men; but the Ulusi or militia, or feudal retainers, amount to above ten thousand matchlock men, and they can be assembled on very short warning.

The chief subordinates of Ghazan Khan, or his ministers as they are termed, are, his son Rahmat-ullah Khan, Suyed M(r ^alim, '^ixi ^abd-m'-Bahman, of the Pa-indah Khel, and Abud-ul-Kidir, who was formerly a slave, but has now become the Nazir of income and expenditure.

It now remains to say a few words respecting the BcumfoU or Fakirs, who are much more numerous than the Yusufzis themselves. The greater part of them are the descendants of the aboriginal inhabitants whom the Afghans found there when they conquered those parts at the end of the and beginning of the fifteenth century. They are also called Suwatis, and Dcg^s ; and are, with the Shalmanis and other tribes, such as Hindkis, Awins, Parachahs and others, the original people of these parts. It is strange that those who say so much about Herodotus, and the Hoictvcs, who they contend are the Afghans, do not first provide for these people, who were in those countries when the Afghans conquered them, and had been there centuries previously. As I said before, the greater part of those people. now to be found in the country held by the Yiisufzis, are called Suwatis, and are the descendants of those who remained in their cduntry, after it was conquered ; a goodly number of Degans ; some Hindkis, who have emigrated from the Panjab; a few Kashmiris, and Hindus, who are attracted by the desire of gain ; and some members of other Afghan tribes who have been obliged to fly from their own people, and who thereby have become degraded to the rank of the Fakirs and Rayuts, The Fakirs cannot hold land, and are not considered equal to their conquerors, who live like Spartans among Helots ; and they are not allowed to be present at Jirgahs or assemblies of the clans. They are subject to the person on whose land they dwell, who is styled the Khawind or master. They pay him a small tax and are obliged to work for him gratis, for certain periods, like the villains in our own country in days gone by. The master can beat, or even take the life of his Rayots or Fakirs, without being questioned for it. But, at the same time, they are sure of every protection from their Khawind, who would not, at the risk of his life, permit any other person to injure them. They may pursue any trade, work as labourers for their own advantage, or rent Land as a Bazaar, and their master would have no demand upon them but for the fixed rent, a few taxes, and a certain share of their labour, as already mentioned ; and, altogether, they are mildly treated. The Khawind is deterred from ill-treating his Fakirs from the disgrace attached to oppression by the Yusufzis, as well as the other Aghhan tribes ; and, moreover, a Fakir or Rayat, if oppressed can remove to the lands of another Afghan, who would gladly receive, and give him protection, for there is a great competition for them. The number of clans and independent communities among the Afghans are a great protection to these people; and should one of them receive any deadly injury requiring retaliation, he could revenge himself on his oppressor, and afterwards fly to another clan, or independent community, and demand protection, which would always be freely granted.

The Khawind is not permitted to extort money from his Fakir ; but he is allowed to levy a few fines, such as, on the settlement of a Fakir upon his land, on a marriage among them, and on account of crimes, both of minor and more serious consequence. The amount of these fines are fixed by custom, and any attempt to extort more would be considered gross oppression. They are not forbidden to carry arms, but rarely do so.

Most of these people work as husbandmen, but some feed herds of cattle on the mountains, and some amass money by the profits of their labours as artizans ; for an Afghan considers any handicraft trade a disgrace.


Before bringing this paper to a close, I must give some account of the small district of Talash, which is also held by the Yusufzis, and is considered as a part of Panj-korah, of which it forms the southern portion. It consists of the oblong strip of land through which the river of Panj-korah flows, after its junction with the river of Bajawir, as far as its junction with the Suwat. It is consequently bounded on the west by Bajawir) and to the south by the hills held by the Utman Khel, an independent tribe of Afghan. Talash is well watered, and is, therefore, exceedingly fruitful, well cultivated, and very populous for its extent. It exports a good deal of grain to Peshawar, the main road between which, and Panj-korah, Badakhshan, and the two Kash-kars, lies through it.

The chief towns, or large villages of Talash, with the names of the clans to which their inhabitants belong, and their head-men, are as follow.
Village or Town……. Clan……….. Chief or Head-man.
B%h, Shahl Khel, Ghulam Shah.
Shamsi Khan, „ „ Afzal Khan.
Kambatta'f, „ „ „ „
Amluk Darah, Ryats or Fakirs,
Mucho, Ntirah Khel, Ghazan Khan.
BAiord, S.,;hi Khel and Sher Sh«i, and I Narah Khel, Afzal Khan.

The village of Kaman-gar, the people of which are bow-makers by trade — hence the name of their village — is, sometimes, considered as belonging to the Talash district, but it is, properly speaking, in the U-sheri Darah of Panj-korah. It has been, therefore, mentioned among the villages of the Bar (upper) U-sheri Darah, already noticed.

There are numerous small hamlets in Talash, inhabited by people of the Narah Khel, who constitute the most considerable number of its inhabitants.

The district of Talash is very rich in monuments of antiquity, consisting of domes or cupolas, on the face of one of which, I am informed, there are several tablets, half a yard long, and inscribed in an unknown character, said to be Yiin or Greek, but probably Pali. If Greek, the examination of these ancient monuments would, no doubt, throw an extensive, and clearer, light on the proceedings of the Greeks in these quarters, which are so mixed up with nonsensical fables, as to furnish ready tools in the hands of those ignorant of the antecedents of the Afghan nation, for working out their own theories.

A Website on the Culture, History and Languages of Chitral.