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'ROUTES IN PERSIA. SECTION III' [‎279r] (562/739)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (367 folios). It was created in 1898. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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The main caravan route from Tehran runs by Jajirud, Sultanabad, Firuz Kuh, Do-aB^
olurga, etc., to Mashad-i-Sar, vide Routs (1), that from Samnan joins the above at Firuz-
From Firuzkuh the lateral road to Astrabad, via Fulhad Maialla, Chabardeh, Ziarat, is
^he one dealt with in these notes.
North-east of Fimzkuh, the road rises to a height of some 6,500 feet and passes over a
series of plateaux to Khing, generally maintaining itself at the same mean elevation. A fair
amount of grazing is found, and the Iliats make their summer quarters on these uplands.
Little is procurable in the way of supplies, except such as may be found in the nomad camp.
viz., sheep, goats, milk, and these only from March till November. Water is fairly plentiful.
From Khing the road falls to 5,400 feet at Fulhad M ah alia, a village situate in a wide
Basin, where water is of poor quality and very scarce (a mule track leads from here to
panigban), thence to Chashma-i-Ali over a desert track where water is procurable at long
intervals only, and very limited in quantity. At Chashma-i-Ali a good supply is again
to be had ; here a.mule track leads to Damghan much used by caravans proceeding to Masbad-
i-Sar by Chahardeh and Chaman-i-Sawar.
Between Chashma-i-Ali and Ghahardeh water becomes more plentiful. Chahardeh itself
consists of a fine cluster of villages which, however, have never entirely recovered the loss
sustained during the great famine. Like Firuzkuh, Chahardeh is of importance as form
ing an oasis in the surrounding wilderness and as lying on the caravan route from Dam
ghan to Bandar-Gaz, which conveys nearly the whole of the cotton grown as far east as
Sabzawar to Bandar-Gaz during the summer months. This road runs thus: Damghan,
Chahardeh, Chaman-i-Sawar, Bandar-Gaz, The Shahrud Kuzluk Pass road to Astrabad is
comparatively little used except in winter as an alternative route to the Chaman-Sawar when
the latter may be closed for short periods by snow.
Continuing from Chahardeh mountains covered with grass, juniper, etc., take the places-
of the desolate hillsides hjtherto met with. Between the 11th and 16th mile the road passes-
through a short mountain george, twenty or thirty yards broad only, with precipitous
rocks on either side, and at the 19th mile a branch valley opens into the main route
(Chaman-i-Sawar) which running north-east takes the higher ground to Ziarat. This north
eastern valley is about half mile wide, enclosed by bold crags, and is ascended by a long
narrow ridge to the plateau of Turk Maidan, another summer pasture of the Iliats. Six miles
from Turk Maidan the edge of the plateau is reached and below lie stretched the plains of
JVlazandaran and Astrabad.
Ziarat lies in thick forest about half-way down the mountain side and is reached: by a
circuitous course of five miles and a descent of some 3,740 feet, which, though very steep, is
over good soil and easily traversable by mules in fine weather. In wet these might find
difficulty owing to the clayey nature of the soil.
From Ziarat to Astrabad the road offers some difficulty for 8 miles, passing as it does>
through forest, and generally in the rocky bed of a river; but afterwards for the last 4 miles-
on a level and open country.
It will be seen from the foregoing that the lateral road from Firuzknh to Astrabad is of
importance in so far as it connects the two chief caravan routes, viz., the Tehran, Sultanabad,
Firuz Kuh, Shirgeh, Mashad-i-Sar route with its two branches (Samnan, Do-ab, Mashad-i-Sar)
Samnan, Firuz Kuh, Mashad-i-Sar and the Damghan, Chahardeh, Ghaman-i-Sawar, Bandai-
Gaz route, which taps the country as fai east as Sabzawar.
As regards its physical aspect, the track offers no difficulties to mules, except possibly in
wet weather at the descent to Ziarat, and could be readily traversed by Infantry, Cavalry and;
Mountain Guns.
During years of ordinary rainfall water is sufficient with the exceptions noted.
Fair grazing is available, and during the summer, standing crops could afford fodder for;-
horses in case of necessity.
From a military point of view the plateaux would be at the mercy of any troops having
forced their way southwards as far as Chahardeh. To hold the plateaux, the Damghan, Bandar-
Gaz road would have to be defended north-of Chahardeh, the defile 12-18 miles serving as a
good position for such defence, or even others further north whence, I am told, the descent
towards Bandar-Gaz is more abrupt than from the plateau of Turk Maidan to Ziarat.
The road by Chaman-l-Sawar is described by Morier as the most difficult he ever traversed^
In some places deep in mud, in others over slippery rock, and that it is impossible to conceive
a- country more easily defended against an invading enemy.

About this item


The volume is a Government of India official publication entitled Routes in Persia. Section III. Compiled in the Intelligence Branch of the Quarter Master General's Department in India (Simla: printed at the Government Central Printing Office, 1898).

The volume contains details of all land routes (numbered 1-247) in Persia starting from Russian territory and extending south as far as a line drawn from Karmanshah [Kermānshāh] south-eastwards through Burujird [Borūjerd], Isfahan [Eşfahān] and Yazd to Karman [Kermān], and thence north-east to Khabis [Khabīş] and Neh to Lash Juwain [Lāsh-e Juwayn].

The information given for each route comprises:

  • number of route;
  • place names forming starting point and destination of route;
  • authority and date;
  • number of stage;
  • names of stages;
  • distance in miles (intermediate and total);
  • remarks (including precise details of the route, general geographical information, and information on smaller settlements, local peoples, agriculture, condition of roads, access to water, supplies of wood, and other routes).

An appendix within the volume (folios 356-359) and two separately-stored sets of loose sheets (containing routes numbers 77 (a) and 140-A, folios 363-369) give information too late for incorporation in the body of the work.

The volume also contains pockets attached to the front and back inside covers for maps. These consist of an index map showing the limits of each of the three sections of Routes in Persia (folio 2) and an index map to the routes in Section III (folio 361). There is also a fold-out map of the route from Seistan [Sīstān] to Mashad on folio 232.

An ink stamp on the front cover records the confidential nature of the publication and that it was being transmitted for the information of His Excellency the Viceroy (Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin and 16th Earl of Kincardine) only.

Extent and format
1 volume (367 folios)

The volume contains an alphabetical cross index (folios 6-17), and an alphabetical index to names of places (folios 18-25).

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the front cover and terminates on the last page of the loose supplementary sheets (found in the small grey folder within the main folder); these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Pagination: the volume also contains a printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'ROUTES IN PERSIA. SECTION III' [‎279r] (562/739), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F111/371, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 August 2019]

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