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GEOGRAPHICAL NOTES

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    WE last week referred to the important work done by Sir Andrew Scott Waugh in connection with the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, and from the recently issued Report of Colonel Walker, the present Superintendent of the Survey, it will be seen that the work is being carried on with unabated energy. The Report refers to 1876-77, and tells us that during that year an area of 5,019 square miles was covered by principal triangulation; under secondary triangulation 5,400 square miles have been covered with points for the topographical survey, 3,100 miles have been operated in pari passu with the principal triangulation, and in an area of 23,600 square miles, lying mostly in portions of the Himalayas which are inaccessible to Europeans, a number of points have been fixed which will be valuable for geographical rectifications. The topography of upwards of 5,000 square miles has been completed in scales varying from half an inch to two inches, while several important geodetic operations were accomplished. In these Reports there is generally some important geographical work to record, accomplished by one of the native officials of the Survey. During the year 1876, the Mullah, one of the Survey explorers, made a survey up the course of the Indus from the point where it enters the plains above Attok, to the point where it is joined by the river of Gilghit. This is the only portion of the Indus which had remained unexplored. Here the river traverses a distance of some 220 miles, descending from a height of about 5,000 feet to that of 1,200 feet above sea-level. Its way winds tortuously through great mountain ranges, whose peaks are rarely less than 15,000 feet in height, and culminate in the Nanga Parbat, the well-known mountain, whose height, 26,620 feet, is only exceeded by a very few of the great peaks of the Himalayas. The river in many places is hemmed in so closely by these great ranges that its valley is but a deep-cut, narrow gorge, and, as a rule, there is more of open space and culturable land in the lateral valleys, nestling between the spurs of the surrounding ranges, than in the principal valley itself. No European has ever penetrated this region, and the Mullah only managed it by travelling as a privileged trader. Very difficult of access from all quarters, it is inhabited by a number of hill tribes, independent and suspicious of each other, and protected from each other by natural barriers and fastnesses. Each community elects its own rulers, and has little intercourse with its neighbours, and with the outer world only by means of privileged traders.

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    DOI

    https://doi.org/10.1038/018180a0

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