Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Oxus Explorer John Wood & the Village of Sambala (1839 AD)

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John Wood (1812 – 1871) was a Scottish naval officer, surveyor, cartographer and explorer, principally remembered for his exploration of central Asia…..In 1835, aged twenty-two, he commanded the first steamboat to paddle up the Indus River and surveyed the river as he went. Four years later, he led an expedition that found one of the River Oxus' sources in central Asia. ….'Narrative of a Journey to the Source of the River Oxus', London: John Murray, 1841.

John Wood (1839)…."….Late in the evening we arrived, very weary and somewhat disheartened, at the bottom of a deep valley, along which was scattered a village named Sambala. "Its male inhabitants, armed to the teeth….kept hovering about the encampment…..we were early astir next morning, and anxious to quit what was rightly considered a dangerous neighborhood…..None of the villagers were stirring….we moved slowly forward, winding along the sides of the mountain…until we reached a shallow ravine….on the opposite bank stood a tower commanding ascent on that side…we were soon surrounded by armed men….an old woman stepped forward to the edge of the ravine and stayed the hand of her highly offended countrymen….the shrill piercing voice of the woman rose high above the rest….Her garments hung in tatters, and her manners and gesticulations were fierce and wild…her eloquence was successful and we were permitted to move on….we emerged a short time after sunset, into the Parwan Valley, at the village of I-angheran."

"Sambala… a village in Afghanistan, situated on a cross-road between the valleys of Ghorband and Parwan Dara….It is scattered along the bottom of a deep dell……near village of I-Angheran ( Ahan-gharån…Iron Mines)….Sir-i-lung…..Koh adman(Koh Daman Valley)….near Charikar (Charkh)…..(John Wood 1839 Exploration of the Source of the Oxus River...page 188)

Ghorband Valley…50 km from Kabul….The Ghorband is a river of Afghanistan, flowing through Parwan Province. It is a tributary of the Panjshir River, then a sub-tributary of the Indus River, then the Kabul River….The Ghorband runs entirely in Parwan province, where it gave its name to the Ghorband District. It is born in the eastern Shibar Pass (which connects the provinces of Parwan and Bamyan, or watersheds of the Ghorband and Kunduz River) and passes in an eastbound direction which it maintains hroughout most of its course. It runs along the south and the imposing central range of the Hindu Kush, receiving meltwater in the Shibar Pass area of Salang. It flows from this in a long valley between the high range of the Hindu Kush (north) and Koh-i-Baba in the south. It then converges with the Panjchir, on its right bank, 10 kilometers east of Charikar. ...

Village in the Ghorband valley between Kabul and Bamiyan

Ciarakår, Charikar …Parwan province. capital ….which Yule identifies with IBN BATUTA'S Charkh, and Cordier with Chårikår, in Afghanistan, at the mouth of the Ghorband Valley, about forty miles from Kabul.

"The Panjshir River flows through the Panjshir Valley in northeastern Afghanistan, 150km from Kabul. It flows southward through the Hindu Kush and adjoins the Kabul River near Sarobi. At this junction, a dam was built in the 1950s to supply water from the Panjshir River to the Kabul River (ancient River Sita).

"The Salang Tunnel (Persian: تونل سالنگ‎ Tūnel-e Sālang) is a 2.6 kilometres (1.6 mi) long tunnel located at the Salang Pass in the Hindu Kush mountains, between the Parwan and Baghlan provinces of Afghanistan. It was completed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s and has been used to connect the northern Afghan cities with the capital of Kabul. ….Salang road, initially via the historic Salang Pass route….Khenjan is a village in Baghlan Province in north eastern Afghanistan.…Salang road north :: Khenjan, , Baghlan, Afghanistan"

"Ghorband District (ولسوالی غوربند) is a district of Parwan Province, Afghanistan. Ghorband is located in the southern foothills of Hindu Kush and forms the western boundary of the ancient valley of Koh Daman. It is located 50 km from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The capital lies at Syahgerd, also known as Seya Gerd. It is the largest district of the province, covering an area of 899 square kilometres with a population of 74,123 as of 2003. The Ghorband River flows through the district. It contains 58 Community Development Councils and 109 villages…..Historically the Ghorband valley was connected with Bactria as far back as Alexander the Great times. The ancient Koh Daman valley is an important archaeological site….Main crops grown are almond, apples, apricot, walnut, mulbery, grape, peach, pear etc….

Parwan (Persian/Pashto: پروان), also spelled Parvān, is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It has a population of about 631,600, which is multi-ethnic and mostly a rural society. Charikar serves as the provincial capital. Located north of Kabul Province and south of Baghlan Province, it was once the name of an ancient town in the Hindu Kush mountains…In 329 BC, Alexander the Great founded the settlement of Parwan as his Alexandria of the Caucasus. It was conquered by Arab Muslims in 792 AD. In 1221, the province was the site of the battle between the invading Mongols and the Khwarezmian Empire led by Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, where the Mongols were defeated. The famous Moroccan traveler and scholar, Ibn Battuta, visiting the area in 1333 writes:…."We halted next at a place called Banj Hir (Panjshir), which means "Five Mountains," where there was once a fine and populous city built on a great river with blue water like the sea. This country was devastated by Tinkiz, the king of the Tatars, and has not been inhabited since. …Notable towns and villages…..Gulbahar, (golbahar) Afghanistan…..Parwan province. capital Charikar, city, Afghanistan.

Bamiyan province looking towards the snows of the Hindu Kush

John Wood….Narrative of a Journey to the Source of the River Oxus, London: John Murray, 1841…..A Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Source of the River Oxus: By the Route of the Indus, Kabul, and Badakhshan, Performed Under the Sanction of the Supreme Government of India, in the Years 1836, 1837, and 183,…..

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