See also:Asia . Through-out 500 M. of its length, from its roots in the Pamir regions till it fades into the Koh-i-Baba to the west of
See also:Kabul, this
See also:great range forms the
See also:divide between the Kabul and the
See also:Oxus basins, and, for the first 200 m. reckoning westwards, the
See also:southern boundary of
See also:Afghanistan . It may be said to
See also:spring from the
See also:head of the Taghdumbash Pamir, where it unites with the great meridional
See also:system of Sarikol stretching northwards, and the yet more impressive
See also:mountain barrier of Murtagh, the
See also:base of which separates
See also:China from the semi-
See also:independent territory of Pamir into the
See also:sources of the
See also:Hunza, almost marks the trijunction of the three great chains of mountains . As the
See also:Hindu Kush strikes westwards, after first rounding the head of an Oxus tributary (the Ab-i-Panja, which Curzon considers to be the true source of the Oxus), it closely overlooks the trough of that glacier-fed stream under its northern spurs, its crest at the nearest point being separated from the river by a distance which cannot much exceed ro m . As the river is here the northern boundary of Afghanistan, and the crest of the Hindu Kush the southern boundary, this distance represents the width of the Afghan
See also:kingdom at that point . Physiography.—For the first
See also:loo m. of its length the Hindu Kush is a comparatively
See also:flat-backed range of considerable width, permitting the formation of small lakes on the crest, and possessing no considerable peaks . It is crossed by many passes, varying in height from I2,500 ft. to 17,500 ft., the lowest and the easiest being the well-known
See also:group about Baroghil, which has from
See also:time immemorial offered a
See also:line of approach from High Asia to
See also:Chitral and
See also:Jalalabad . As the Hindu Kush gradually recedes from the Ab-i-Panja and turns south-westwards it gains in altitude, and we find prominent peaks on the crest which measure more than 24,000 ft. above
See also:sea-level . Even here, however, the
See also:main central water-divide, or
See also:axis of the chain, is apparently not the line of highest peaks, which must be looked for to the south, where the great square-headed
See also:giant called Tirach Mir dominates Chitral from a southern
See also:spur . For some 40 or 5o m. of this south-
See also:bend, bearing away from the Oxus, where the Hindu Kush overlooks the mountain
See also:wilderness of
See also:Badakshan to the west, the crest is intersected by many passes, of which the most important is the Dorah group (including the Minjan and the Mandal), which rise to about 15,000 ft., and which are, under favourable conditions, practicable links between the Oxus and Chitral basins . From the Dorah to the Khawak pass (or group of passes, for it is seldom that one line of approach only is to be found across the Hindu Kush), which is between 11,000 and 12,000 ft. in Kafirlstan altitude, the water-divide overlooks
See also:Kafiristan and afirlst Badakshan . Here its exact position is
See also:matter of
See also:con- jecture .
It lies amidst a
See also:wild, inaccessible region of
See also:snow-bound crests, and is certainly nowhere less than 15,000 ft. above sea-level . There is a tradition that Timur attempted the passage of the Hindu Kush by one of the. unmapped passes hereabouts, and that, having failed, he
See also:left a record of his failure engraved on a
See also:rock in the pass . The Khawak, at the head of the Panjshir tributary of the Kabul river, leading straight from Badakshan to Charikar and the city of Kabul, is now an excellent kafila route, the road having been engineered under the amir Abdur Rahman's direction, Passes' and it is said to be available for
See also:traffic throughout the
See also:year . From the Khawak to the head of the Ghorband (a river of the Hindu Kush which, rising to the
See also:north-west of Kabul, flows north-east to meet the Panjshir near Charikar, whence they run
See also:united into the plains of
See also:Kohistan) the Hindu Kush is intersected by passes at intervals, all of which were surveyed, and several utilized, during the return of the Russo-Afghan boundary commission from the Oxus to Kabul in 1886 . Those utilized were the Kaoshan (the " Hindu Kush " pass
See also:par excellence), 14,340 ft.; the Chahardar (13,900 ft.), which Is a
See also:link in one of the amir of Afghanistan's high roads to Turkestan; and the Shibar (9800 ft.), which is merely a diversion into the upper Ghorband of that group of passes between
See also:Bamian and the Kabul plains which are represented by the
See also:Irak, Hajigak, Unai, &c . About this point it is geographically correct to place the southern extremity of the Hindu Kush, for here commences the Koh-i-Baba system into which the Hindu Kush is merged . The general conformation of the Hindu Kush system south of the Khawak, no less than such fragmentary evidence of its rock composition as at
See also:present exists to the north, points to t3eneral its construction under the same conditions of upheaval conformaand subsequent denudation as are
See also:common to the western don .
See also:Himalaya and the whole of the trans-
See also:Indus borderland . Its upheaval above the great sea which submerged all the north-west of the
See also:Indian peninsula long after the Himalaya had massed itself as a formidable mountain chain, belongs to a comparatively
See also:recent geologic
See also:period, and the same thrust upwards'of vast masses of cretaceous
See also:limestone has disturbed the overlying recent beds of shale and
See also:clays with very similar results to those which have left so marked an impress on the Baluch frontier . Successive flexures or ridges are ranged in more or less parallel lines, and from between the bands of hard, unyielding rock of older formation the soft beds of recent shale have been washed out, to be carried through the enclosing ridges by rifts which break across their axes . The Hindu Kush is, in fact, but the
See also:face of a great upheaved mass of
See also:land lying beyond it northwards, just as the Himalaya forms the southern face of the great central table-land of
See also:Tibet, and its general physiography, exhibiting long, narrow, lateral valleys and transverse lines of " antecedent " drainage, is XII !. 17 II similar .
There are few passes across the southernsection of the Hindu Kush (and this section is, from the politico-
See also:geographical point of view, more important to India than the whole Himalayan system) which have not to surmount a succession of crests or ridges as they
See also:cross from Afghan Turkestan to Afghanistan . The exceptions are, of course, notable, and have played an important
See also:part in the military
See also:history of Asia from time immemorial . From a little ice-bound lake called Gaz Kul, or Karambar, which lies on the crest of the Hindu Kush near its northern origin at the head of the Taghdumbash Pamir, two very important river systems (those of Chitral and Hunza) are believed to originate . The lake really lies on the
See also:watershed between the two, and is probably a glacial relic . Its contribution to either
See also:infant stream appears to depend on conditions of overflow determined by the blocking of ice masses towards one end . It marks the commencement of the water-divide which primarily separates the
See also:basin from that of the Yashkun, or Chitral, river, and subsequently divides the drainage of
See also:Swat and
See also:Bajour from that of the Chitral (or
See also:Kunar) . The Yashkun-Chitral-Kunar river (it is called by all three names) is the longest affluent of the Kabul, and it is in many respects a more important river than the Kabul . Throughout its length it is closely flanked on its left
See also:bank by this main water-divide, which is called Moshabar or Shandur in its northern sections, and owns a great variety of names where it divides Bajour from the Kunar valley . It is this range, crowned by peaks of 22,000 ft. altitude and maintaining an
See also:elevation of some Io,000 ft. throughout its length of 250 m., that is the real barrier of the north—not the Hindu Kush itself . Across it, at its head, are the glacial passes which lead to the
See also:foot of the Baroghil . Of these Darkot, with a glacial
See also:staircase on each side, is typical . (See GILGIT.) Those passes (the Kilikand Mintaka) from the Pamir regions, which lead into the rocky gorges and defiles of the upper affluents of the Hunza to the east of the Darkot, belong rather to the Murtagh system than to the Hindu Kush .
Other passes across this important water-divide are the Shandur (12,250 ft.), between Gilgit and Mastuj; the Lowarai (10,450 ft.), between the Panjkora and Chitral valleys; and farther south certain
See also:lower crossings which once formed part of the great
See also:highway between Kabul and India . Deep down in the trough of the Chitral river, about midway between its source and its junction with the Kabul at Jalalabad, is Chitral the
See also:village and fort of Chitral (q.v.) . Facing Chitral, on the right bank of the river, and extending for some 7o m. from the Hindu Kush, is the lofty snow-clad spur of the Hindu Kush known as Shawal, across which one or two difficult passes lead into the Bashgol valley of Kafiristan . This spur carries the boundary of Afghanistan southwards to Arnawai (some 5o m. below Chitral), where it crosses the river to the long Shandur watershed . South of Arnawai the Kunar valley becomes a part of Afghanistan (see KUNAR) . The value of Chitral as an outpost of
See also:British India may be best gauged by its geographical position . It is about Too m . (
See also:direct map measurement) from the outpost of Russia at Langar Kisht on the river Panja, with the Dorah pass across the Hindu Kush intervening . The Dorah may be said to be about
See also:half-way between the two outposts, and the mountain tracks leading to it on either side are rough and difficult . The Dorah, however, is not the only pass which leads into the Chitral valley from the Oxus . The Mandal pass, a few
See also:miles south of the Dorah, is the connecting link between the Oxus and the Bashgol valley of Kafiristan; and the Bashgol valley leads directly to the Chitral valley at Arnawai, about 50 m. below Chitral . Nor must we overlook the connexion between north and south of the Hindu Kush which is afforded by the long narrow valley of the Chitral (or Yashkun) itself, leading up to the Baroghil pass .
This route was once made use of by the
See also:Chinese for purposes of pilgrimage, if not for invasion .
See also:Access to Chitral from the north is therefore but a matter of practicable tracks, or passes, in two or three directions, and the measure of practicability under any given conditions can best be reckoned from Chitral itself . By most authorities the possibility of an advance in force from the north, even under the most favourable conditions, is considered to be exceedingly small; but the tracks and passes of the Hindu Kush are only impracticable so long as they are left as nature has made them .
See also:Historical Notices.—Hindu Kush is the
See also:Caucasus of
See also:Alexander's historians . It is also included in the
See also:Paropamisus, though the latter
See also:term embraces more, Caucasus being apparently used only when the alpine barrier is in question . Whether the name was given in mere vanity to the barrier which Alexander passed (as
See also:Arrian and others repeatedly allege), or was founded also on some verbal confusion, cannot be stated . It was no doubt regarded (and perhaps not altogether untruly) as a part of a great alpine zone believed to
See also:traverse Asia from west to east, whether called
See also:Taurus, Caucasus or Imaus . Arrian himself applies Caucasus distinctly to the Himalaya also . The application of the name Tanais to the Syr seems to indicate a real con-
See also:fusion with Colchian Caucasus . Alexander, after
See also:building en Alexandria at its foot (probably at Hupian near Charikor),crossed into
See also:Bactria, first reaching Drapsaca, or Adrapsa . This has been interpreted as Anderab, in which case he probably crossed the Khawak Pass, but the identity is uncertain . The
See also:ancient Zend name is, according to
See also:Rawlinson, Paresina, the essential part of Paropamisus; this accounts for the great Asiastic
See also:Parnassus of Aristotle, and the Pho-lo-sin-a of Hsiian Tsang .
The name Hindu Kush is used by
See also:Ibn Batuta, who crossed (c . 1332) from Anderab, and he gives the explanation of the name which, however doubtful, is still popular, as (Pers.) Hindu-Killer, " because of the number of Indian slaves who perished in passing" its snows .
See also:Baber always calls the range Hindu Kush, and the way in which he speaks of it shows clearly that it was a range that was meant, not a solitary pass or
See also:peak (according to
See also:local use, as alleged by Elphinstone and
See also:Burnes) . Probably, however, the title was confined to the section from Khawak to Koh-i-Baba . The name has by some later
See also:Oriental writers been modified intc Hindu Koh (mountain), but this is factitious, and throws no more
See also:light on the origin of the title . The name seems to have become known to
See also:European geographers by the Oriental
See also:translations of the two Petis de la Croix, and was taken up by Delisle and D'
See also:Anville .
See also:Rennell and Elphinstone familiarized it . Burnes first crossed the range (1832) . A British force was stationed at Bamian beyond it in 1840, with an outpost at Saighan . The Hindu Kush, formidable as it seems, and often as it has been the limit between
See also:petty states, has hardly ever been the boundary of a considerable power . Greeks,
See also:Huns, Samanidae of
See also:Bokhara, Ghaznevides,
See also:Mongols, Timur and Timuridae, down to Saddozais and Barakzais, have ruled both sides of this great alpine chain . AuTHoltrrIas.—Information about the Hindu Kush and Chitral is now comparatively exact .
The Russo-Afghan Boundary Commission of 1884 and the Chitral expedition of 1895 opened up a vast
See also:area for geographical investigation, and the information collected is to be found in the reports and gazetteers of the Indian
See also:government . The following are the chief recent authorities:
See also:Report of the Russo-Afghan Boundary Commission (1886); Report of
See also:Mission (1886); . Report of Asmar Boundary Commission (1895); Report of Pamir Boundary Commission (1896); J . Biddulph, Tribes of the Hindu Kush (
See also:Calcutta, 1880); W . M'Nair, " Visit to Kafiristan," vol. vi . R.G.S . Proc., 1884; F . Younghusband, " Journeys on the
See also:Pamirs, &c.," vol. xiv . R.G.S . Proc., 1892; Colonel
See also:Durand, Making a Frontier (
See also:London, 1899) ;
See also:Sir G .
See also:Robertson, Chitral (London, 1899) . (T .
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