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pedestal, which figure increases and decreases in size with the increasing and waning moon, and at the conjunction entirely vanishes. It is customary, therefore, to visit the cave only about the full moon. The course of the Panch-tarang is not exactly known, but it is believed to pass into Ladakh, near Kartse. Persons in the cave of Amaranath assert that they can hear the barking of the dogs in Tibet. To proceed, however, with the countries on the north, it appears that those which lie along the foot of the Karakoram mountains, and which are included in Tibet, are Kartakshe, Kafalun, Kiris, Kardo, Shigar, Rundu, Hasora, Nil or Nagar, and Hounz: of these, all except the two last, which are independent, are properly part of the principality of Balti, or Baltistan. They have, however, chiefs of their own, whose subordination to the prince of Kardo, or Iskardo, which is usually regarded as the capital of Balti, depends upon his ability to enforce their allegiance. The capital of Balti, or Baltistan, commonly termed Skardo, Iskardo, or Kardo, is more usually called in the country Sargarkhoad. There are some vague traditions also of its being named Iskandaria, and that it was one of the cities founded by Alexander. In the course of my correspondence with Ahmed Shah, the ruler of Balti, I inquired if any vestiges of Greek colonists were to be met with, but it did not appear that any were discoverable. Skardo is situated on the left bank of the Indus, and consists of a fort, and about one hundred and fifty houses, scattered over a considerable tract on the south of the river. The fort stands on the top of a high rock, washed by the river, and is accessible on one face only. The river is about three hundred yards broad, and very deep, running with considerable velocity. The valley is about two miles broad, and is more fertile than any part of Ladakh. It is well supplied with wood, and orchards are abundant: grapes, melons, plums, apples, pears, mulberries, flourish, and the apricots, as already observed, are of peculiar excellence, and when dried are exported. The grains cultivated are wheat and barley. Horses and ponies of a serviceable description are bred. The people are industrious and hardy, and the Raja enjoys more political power than any of the chiefs of Little Tibet. The people of Balti are all Shiah Mohammedans. The main roads from Ladakh and Kashmir to Skardo, lead over an extensive and elevated steppe, or plain, called by the Kashmirians, Deosu, the plain of the gods. It is bare of trees, but covered with coarse grass and Tartaric furze. It is surrounded by mountains, or rather appears to be a sunken table-land, uniting the different ranges from which various streams are formed, and cross the plain in different directions. One as large as the Dras river runs to the north-west, and joins the Indus on the west of Kardo, and another flows westward, into the river of Hasora. Two others, the Marpo and Nakpo, or red and black rivers, flow to the south-east, and meet to form the Shingo river, which falls into the Dras river, shortly before the latter enters the Indus. These streams are partly fed by the plain itself, as snow lies upon it the greater part of the year, melting entirely not more than two months at the end of the summer. Upon the eastern edge of the Deosu are the villages of Shigar and Shingo, subject to Kardo, and comprehending not more than thirty-five or forty houses. There is another Shigar, a fort, and large village in a different position, lying, it is said, ten kos north-west from Kardo. On the western border of the steppe lies Tsungaru, or Hasora, the country of which is contiguous to Garets, a district sometimes comprehended in Kashmir. The town of Hasora consists of about three hundred houses, defended by a fort, and stands in the middle of a plain. The country, though mountainous, is fertile, and the grapes are* celebrated. Some trade from Gilgit and Yarkand passes through Hasora, and many Kashmiri weavers have settled there and manufacture coarse shawls and shawl-cloth. The people are Shiahs, but are Tibetans, and speak the language of Tibet. The Raja is nominally subject to Ahmed Shah, and assisted him, not long before, to repel a predatory attack of the Afghans. A river rising on the edge of the Deosu runs past Hasora, and then turns south to join that of Muzeffarabad. The united stream flows into the Behut. Kafalun is a province west of Nobra, on the left bank of the Shayuk: it formerly belonged to Ladakh, but was taken possession of by Ahmed Shah. The same was the case with Kartakshe immediately south of Kafalun, along the northward arm of the Sinhkha-bab. This is also called Kara-tag, Blackmountain, from the dark colour of its hills. The chief village consists of about a hundred houses, and a fort situated on a conical rock close to the right bank of the river, which is crossed by a swinging bridge. Kiris is a small state on the road between Kafalun and Balti, on the right bank of the Shayuk river. Nagar, or Burshal, is a small state lying on the road from Skardo to Gilgit, and consists chiefly of a valley of about three days'journey in length, and six or eight miles broad. It is watered by a river which joins the river of Gilgit, and on the banks of which stands the town, with a fort as usual upon a hill. Much snow falls and fuel is scarce. The grains reared are wheat and barley; grapes and melons are plentiful and excellent. Gold is found in the river. The people are called Dungars, and the Raja is independent. Beyond Nagar, and nearer to the Pamer mountains, is the district of Hounz, also inhabited

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