".....along with characteristics specially referable to the Tibetan and Mongol traditions of Udyana, the term Pashai, as Polo uses it, vaguely covers the whole tract from the southern boundary of Badakhshan to the Indus and the Kabul River."............https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_30#cite_note-note_1-1
" From Homurz to Kerman, passing Herat, Balkh, they arrived Badakhshan, where Marco Polo convalesced from an illness and stayed there for a year........in about the year 1280 AD Marco Polo went from Balkh in Afghanistan near the present day Mazari Sharif, crossed Badakhshan, ascended the Oxus or Amu Dariya River to the Wakhan Corridor......there is a possibility that this journey involved a detour to the south to Chitral..... "....http://www.silk-road.com/artl/marcopolo.shtml
Click on the map to enlarge
"Marco Polo’s ( 1254 – 1324 AD) journey with his father and uncle in China, bearing a message to the great Kublai Khan from the Head of the Catholic Church, Father Gregory X, began in 1271 AD (ended 1295). Their route passed through modern Akka (Israel) to the Persian Gulf, then to the north through Iran to Amu Darya, and on to Oksus (Aral sea) through the Pamir mountains to modern Sinkian (an Uigur area) and then finally through the Gobi Desert to Shangtu."....
Marco Polo & Balkh......"Despite the fact that the city was sacked by Jenghiz Khan in 1220, when the inhabitants were said to have been slaughtered and all buildings leveled, the traveler Marco Polo described Balkh a century later as a “noble city and great”. ....Balc is a noble city and a great, though it was much greater in former days. But the Tartars and other nations have greatly ravaged and destroyed it. There were formerly many fine palaces and buildings of marble, and the ruins of them still remain. The people of the city tell that it was here that Alexander took to wife the daughter of Darius.....Here, you should be told, is the end of the empire of the Tartar Lord of the Levant. And this city is also the limit of Persia in the direction between east and north-east.".....http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1928/
"...another characteristic which our Chinese Pilgrim noted concerning the people of this amazing Kingdom of Uddiyana. In what we take to be a disapproving tone, for Huen Tsiang viewed himself a scholar-monk of the pure Zen (Chan) tradition of Buddhism, he wrote, "They are addicted to the art of reciting charms."1 ..... In the thirteenth century Marco Polo wrote that, "The people of Pashai (i.e., Uddiyana) are Great Adepts in sorceries and the diabolic arts.".....http://www.dharmafellowship.org/library/essays/uddiyana.htm
Of the Province of Pashai......."You must know that ten days' journey to the south of Badashan there is a Province called PASHAI, the people of which have a peculiar language, and are Idolaters, of a brown complexion. "The men are brown and lean, but the women, taking them as brunettes, are very beautiful. The food of the people is flesh, and milk, and rice. The clime is finely tempered, being neither very hot nor very cold. There are numbers of towns and villages in the country, but also forests and desert tracts, and strong passes, so that the people have no fear of anybody, and keep their independence, with a king of their own to rule and do justice........There are in this country Eremites (after the fashion of those parts), who dwell in seclusion and practise great abstinence in eating and drinking. They observe strict chastity, and keep from all sins forbidden in their law, so that they are regarded by their own folk as very holy persons. They live to a very great age.......There are also a number of idolatrous abbeys and monasteries. [The people of the province do not kill animals nor spill blood; so if they want to eat meat they get the Saracens who dwell among them to play the butcher.] The coral which is carried from our parts of the world has a better sale there than in any other country.....They are great adepts in sorceries and the diabolic arts. ....Now let us proceed and speak of another country which is seven days' journey from this one towards the south-east, and the name of which is KESHIMUR.".....https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_30
".....there is nothing to lead us to suppose that the Traveller ever personally visited the countries of which these two chapters treat....... these countries are in my belief both regions famous in the legends of the Northern Buddhists, viz. UDYANA and KASHMIR.....Udyana lay to the north of Peshawar on the Swat River, but from the extent assigned to it by Hiuen Tsang, the name probably covered a large part of the whole hill-region south of the Hindu-Kush from Chitral to the Indus... as indeed it is represented in the Map of Vivien de St. Martin (Pelerins Bouddhistes, II.).".....https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_30#cite_note-note_1-1
"The doctrines of Sakya, as they prevailed in Udyana in old times, were probably strongly tinged with Sivaitic magic, and the Tibetans still regard that locality as the classic ground of sorcery and witchcraft........Hiuen Tsang says of the inhabitants: "The men are of a soft and pusillanimous character, naturally inclined to craft and trickery. They are fond of study, but pursue it with no ardour. The science of magical formulae is become a regular professional business with them. They generally wear clothes of white cotton, and rarely use any other stuff. Their spoken language, in spite of some differences, has a strong resemblance to that of India........These particulars suit well with the slight description in our text, and the Indian atmosphere that it suggests; and the direction and distance ascribed to Pashai suit well with Chitral, which may be taken as representing Udyana when approached from Badakhshan. For it would be quite practicable for a party to reach the town of Chitral in ten days from the position assigned to the old capital of Badakhshan. And from Chitral the road towards Kashmir would lie over the high Lahori pass to DIR, which from its mention in chapter xviii. we must consider an obligatory point. (Fah-hian, p. 26; Koeppen, I. 70; Pelerins Boud. II. 131-132.)".......https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_30#cite_note-note_1-1
"Tao-lin (a Buddhist monk like Hiuen Tsang) afterwards left the western regions and changed his road to go to Northern India; he made a pilgrimage to Kia-che-mi-louo (Kashmir), and then entered the country of U-ch'ang-na (Udyana)...." (Ed. Chavannes, I-tsing, p. 105.)--H. C.]...........https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_30#cite_note-note_1-1
"Ibn Batuta, after crossing the Hindu-Kush by one of the passes at the head of the Panjshir Valley, reaches the Mountain BASHAI (Pashai). In the same vicinity the Pashais are mentioned by Sidi 'Ali, in 1554. And it is still in the neighbourhood of Panjshir that the tribe is most numerous, though they have other settlements in the hill-country about Nijrao, and on the left bank of the Kabul River between Kabul and Jalalabad. Pasha and Pasha-gar is also named as one of the chief divisions of the Kafirs, and it seems a fair conjecture that it represents those of the Pashais who resisted or escaped conversion to Islam."............https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_30#cite_note-note_1-1
"Sir H. Rawlinson, in his Monograph on the Oxus, has indicated the probability that the name Pashai may have been originally connected with Aprasin or Paresin, the Zendavestian name for the Indian Caucasus, and which occurs in the Babylonian version of the Behistun Inscription as the equivalent of Gaddra in the Persian, i.e. Gandhara, there applied to the whole country between Bactria and the Indus. (See J. R. G. S. XLII. 502.) Some such traditional application of the term Pashai might have survived."...........https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_30#cite_note-note_1-1
"Badakhshan is one of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan, located in the farthest northeastern part of the country between Tajikistan and northern Pakistan.....According to Marco Polo, Badashan/ Badakshan was a province where Balas ruby could be found under the mountain "Syghinan" (Shighnan)......whose native rulers, the mirs of Shighnan, claimed descent from Alexander the Great....."
"Of the Province of Keshimur......Keshimur also is a Province inhabited by a people who are Idolaters and have a language of their own. They have an astonishing acquaintance with the devilries of enchantment; insomuch that they make their idols to speak. They can also by their sorceries bring on changes of weather and produce darkness, and do a number of things so extraordinary that no one without seeing them would believe them. Indeed, this country is the very original source from which Idolatry has spread abroad........The Kashmirian conjurers had made a great impression on Marco Polo, who had seen them at the Court of the Great Kaan, and he recurs in a later chapter to their weather sorceries and other enchantments, when we shall make some remarks. Meanwhile let us cite a passage from Bernier, already quoted by M. Pauthier. When crossing the Pir Panjal (the mountain crossed on entering Kashmir from Lahore) with the camp of Aurangzib, he met with "an old Hermit who had dwelt upon the summit of the Pass since the days of Jehangir, and whose religion nobody knew, although it was said that he could work miracles, and used at his pleasure to produce extraordinary thunderstorms, as well as hail, snow, rain, and wind. There was something wild in his countenance, and in his long, spreading, and tangled hoary beard. He asked alms fiercely, allowing the travellers to drink from earthen cups that he had set out upon a great stone, but signing to them to go quickly by without stopping. He scolded those who made a noise, 'for,' said he to me (after I had entered his cave and smoothed him down with a half rupee which I put in his hand with all humility), 'noise here raises furious storms. Aurangzib has done well in taking my advice and prohibiting it. Shah Jehan always did the like. But Jehangir once chose to laugh at what I said, and made his drums and trumpets sound; the consequence was he nearly lost his life.'" (Bernier, Amst. ed. 1699, II. 290.) A successor of this hermit was found on the same spot by P. Desideri in 1713, and another by Vigne in 1837."......https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_31#cite_note-note_1-1
"...Kashmir twice in the history of Tibetan Buddhism played a most important part. It was in Kashmir that was gathered, under the patronage of the great King Kanishka, soon after our era, the Fourth Buddhistic Council, which marks the point of separation between Northern and Southern Buddhism. Numerous missionaries went forth from Kashmir to spread the doctrine in Tibet and in Central Asia. Many of the Pandits who laboured at the translation of the sacred books into Tibetan were Kashmiris, and it was even in Kashmir that several of the translations were made. But these were not the only circumstances that made Kashmir a holy land to the Northern Buddhists. In the end of the 9th century the religion was extirpated in Tibet by the Julian of the Lamas, the great persecutor Langdarma, and when it was restored, a century later, it was from Kashmir in particular that fresh missionaries were procured to reinstruct the people in the forgotten Law.".........https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_31#cite_note-note_1-1
"The women [of Kachemire] especially are very handsome; and it is from this country that nearly every individual, when first admitted to the court of the Great Mogul, selects wives or concubines, that his children may be whiter than the Indians, and pass for genuine Moguls. Unquestionably, there must be beautiful women among the higher classes, if we may judge by those of the lower orders seen in the streets and in the shops." ......Travels in the Mogul Empire, edited by Archibald Constable, 1891, p. 404.
"In the time of Hiuen Tsang, who spent two years studying in Kashmir in the first half of the 7th century, though there were many Brahmans in the country, Buddhism was in a flourishing state; there were 100 convents with about 5000 monks. In the end of the 11th century a King (Harshadeva, 1090-1102) is mentioned exceptionally as a protector of Buddhism. ......One of the thirty kingdoms subdued by the Mongols was "The kingdom of Fo (Buddha) called Kishimi. It lies to the N.W. of India. There are to be seen the men who are counted the successors of Shakia; their ancient and venerable air recalls the countenance of Bodi-dharma as one sees it in pictures. They abstain from wine, and content themselves with a gill of rice for their daily food, and are occupied only in reciting the prayers and litanies of Fo." (Rem. N. Mel. Asiat. I. 179.) Abu'l Fazl says that on his third visit with Akbar to Kashmir he discovered some old men of the religion of Buddha, but none of them were literati. The Rishis, of whom he speaks with high commendation as abstaining from meat and from female society, as charitable and unfettered by traditions, were perhaps a modified remnant of the Buddhist Eremites. Colonel Newall, in a paper on the Rishis of Kashmir, traces them to a number of Shiah Sayads, who fled to Kashmir in the time of Timur.".......https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_31#cite_note-note_1-1
"We see from the Dabistan that in the 17th century Kashmir continued to be a great resort of Magian mystics and sages of various sects, professing great abstinence and credited with preternatural powers. And indeed Vambery tells us that even in our own day the Kashmiri Dervishes are pre-eminent among their Mahomedan brethren for cunning, secret arts, skill in exorcisms, etc. (Dab. I. 113 seqq. II. 147-148; Vamb. Sk. of Cent. Asia, 9.)".........https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Travels_of_Marco_Polo/Book_1/Chapter_31#cite_note-note_1-1
The Panjshir Valley (also spelled Panjsheer or Panjsher; Persian: درهٔ پنجشير - Dare-ye Panjšēr; literally Valley of the Five Lions) is a valley in north-central Afghanistan, 150 kilometres (93 mi) north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush mountain range.....
"In the 13th century, Afghanistan was part of a state called the Khwarazmian Empire. ...Khwarezm has been known also as Chorasmia, Khwarezmia, Khwarizm, Khwarazm, Khorezm, Khoresm, Khorasam.....C.E. Bosworth however, believes the Persian name to be made up of xor (خور "the sun") and zam (زم "earth, land"), designating "the land from which the sun rises", although the same etymology is also given for Khurasan."
"The Benedetto edition of the Description of the World is the only one that gives evidence about the languages spoken by Marco (Polo, 1928, sec. XVI, 2-5; 1938, I, p. 16). Linguistic evidence allows us to assume that Marco Polo knew Persian and Mongol, which he was also able to read in the Arabic-Persian and Uighur scripts. He probably used a Persian translator for Chinese, and it is possible that he was able to read the ʾpʿags-pa scripts that were adopted by the Mongols (note of Cardona in Polo, 1975, pp. 650-51)."......http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/polo-marco
"....Polo here refers, interestingly, to fire-worship, which was introduced, according to him, by the Magi themselves (Polo, 1975, sec. 31; 1999, pp. 130-31; 2001, pp. 152-53). Fire temples are described by Marco Polo in other regions such as Yazd and Isfahan, and in a village near Kāšān called Cala Ataperistan (Pers. Qalʿa-ye āteš-parastān) “The castle of the fire worshipers” (Jackson, 1905)."........http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/polo-marco
"In what is now Afghanistan, Marco Polo describes Sapurgan/Sopurgan/Supunga/Sipurgan/Espurgam, identified by Benedetto (Polo, 1928, sec. XLIV; 1938, I, pp. 133-34; 1975, sec. 43; 1999, p. 140; 2003, p. 1) as Šeberḡān, north of Mazar-e Sharif, as a country full of trees and delicious melons. He observed the destruction wrought by the Mongols in Balc/Balac/Baldach (Balkh) and noted that the people of this town lived in fortresses in the mountains. It was in Balkh that Alexander had married the daughter of Darius ..."............http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/polo-marco
"Pascian/Bastian (Pasciai in Polo, 1928, sec. XXXVI, 35; XLVIII, 1; 1999, p. 143; 2003, p. 6) is variously interpreted. It seems to be the Pashai, south of the Hindukush (Lentz, 1933, pp. 16-17). Here, the population, which spoke its own language (pašayī, see Morgenstierne, 1967, pp. 1-4), was of dark complexion and were idolaters. In their ears they wore gold and silver earrings set with precious stones. This land was near Kashmir (Chesciemur/Chesmir/Chesimun/Thesimur/Kesimur), another land of idolaters (Polo, 1928, sec. XLIX; 1938, I, pp. 139-49; 1975, sec. 48; 1999, 144; 2003, p. 7). The Lord of Badakhshān also governed the Vocan (Wakhan) in the Pamirs, which was inhabited by Muslims who spoke their own language (for the wakhi language see Pakhalina, 1966, pp. 398-418). Marco Polo claimed that the mountain here was the highest in the world, alluding to one of the peaks of the Pamirs. Here there was a great and beautiful river and good pastures. As Cardona noted (in Polo, 1975, pp. 753-54) the description of this valley appears similar to that given by Edrīsī (1987, II, p. 204; also Lentz, 1933, pp. 17-20)."............http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/polo-marco
John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico