Major Henry George Raverty’s brief work with the title, ‘An account of Upper and Lower Suwat, and the Kohistan, to the source of the Suwat River; with an account of the tribes inhabiting those valleys’ was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Volume XXXI, No.I. To V. 1862) Calcutta in the year 1862. That work of Major Raverty is produced here on this website for the interest of the readers and research scholars. Raverty wrote: (PART 14)
On the 26th August we set out from Saiydugan, by ascending the kotal or Pass of Shameli, which lies to the north-eastward of the village of Mingawarah, and nearer to the river. This village contains a great number of Hindu inhabitants; so I went there to see whether I could secure any ancient coins. I saw several, but they were not such as I required.
After proceeding a further distance of about three miles, we reached the village of Manglawar, which is situated at the entrance of a small valley, of the same name, running to the N. E. At this point also, the river has approached very near to the spur from the mountains, over which lies the Shameli Pass, just referred to, so much so, that there is no passage into the central part of the Suwat valley in the hot months, when the river is at its height, by any other road; but in winter there is a practicable road along the river’s bank. I examined all the Pushto books in this village which I could get hold of, but they were all on divinity, and not one with which you are not acquainted; such as Makhzan-ul-Islam, Fawa’id-ush-sharri’ah, Jannat-i-Fardous, Durr-i-Majalis, &c. At this place also there are some ruins on the mountains to the east, but they are few, and can only be distinctly traced on ascending the mountains; but there are no houses or walls standing.
Manglawar, also, is very pleasantly situated, with streams from the mountains running past it, together with a great number of umbrageous plane trees like those at Tarrwah. Here also I obtained a copper coin, which I bought. Proceeding onwards we reached the village of Chhar-bagh, and made inquiry after the principal books I had come purposely to seek, in the houses of the Mians or Saiyids; but those i sought were not forthcoming. Continuing our journey for about four and half miles, in a direction between north and west from Chhar-bagh, on the river’s bank, we reached the Kabul-gram, about four and half miles further on, and thence onwards, passing several small banddas or hamlets, we reached Khuzah Khel, where we stayed the night; and I again made inquiries about Pushto books, but could obtain nothing new. The air at this place was very chilly; and the valley began to contract very considerably. There were no Hindus in the village; and the Paranchas were the only tradespeople and shop keepers to be found so far towards the upper part of the valley. Here the rice fields, too, ceased; for the banks of the river began to get very high and steep. The land on which this village stands, as well as others on the left bank, facing the north, is high. Some are situated on a spur from the hills, and others on more level ground, or on small plains, at the very skirt of the hills ; but the ground is not level until the river’s banks are reached ; for the land resembles the back of a fish. The banks of the river, on both sides, sometimes slope down to the water’s edge, sometimes are steep and scarped like a wall almost, but not often. Where steep, the height of the banks is about eighteen or twenty feet from the water; but the ground, on which the villages generally are situated, is about half a mile or so from the banks, and is generally from one hundred to one hundred and fifty feet about the level of the water, but sloping gradually downwards.
On the morning of the 27th August, we again set out up the valley; and passing the villages of Sherrn-i-bala and Sherrn-i-pa’in, and Khunah, we reached Petaey and Binwarri. At Petaey we found it so excessively cold, that one could not drink the water with any degree of comfort. I ventured to enter the river for a few paces, but soon had to come out; and was glad to stand in the sun, on the rocks, to get warmth into my feet again. The people were sitting in the sun for warmth ; and all slept inside at night, it being too cold to sleep outside, although this was the month of August, the hottest in the Peshawar valley. I saw snow on the mountains about ten or twelve miles off.
At this village I also, for the first time, met some of the people of the mountain districts to the north of Suwat, together with some of the Gilgitt people also, who had come here to purchase salt. They were all clothed in thick woollen garments, coats, trowsers, caps and all, but wore sandals on their feet. They were, in appearance, something like the people of Badakhshan; and although, to look at, not very powerfully built, yet they carry loads equal to that of an ox of this country (Peshawar and the Panjab). I could not understand any of the words of their language, (In footnote it is mentioned that,”The writer is well versed in Urdu and Pushto, and Persian is his native language) save that they called salt lun which is Sanskrit .The salt is brought here by the Khattaks from their own country, for sale ; and the people of the Kohistan, to the north, near which Petaey is situated, come down as far as this place to purchase it.
Reference (Source Details):
‘An account of Upper and Lower Suwat, and the Kohistan, to the source of the Suwat River; with an account of the tribes inhabiting those valleys’ was published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Volume XXXI, No.I. To V. 1862) Calcutta, pages 247-249
TO BE CONTINUED...