1902 Encyclopedia > Khelat, Baluchistan


KHELAT, the capital of Baluchistan, and tlte residence of the reigning khan, is situated, at an elevation of 6800 feet above the sea, in 29° N. lat, and 06° 40' E. long., in a narrow valley, which is bounded to the east by the mountain ranges extending to the province of Cutch Gundava ; to the west is the Sha Mirdan, on the northern slope of which hill the town is built; to the south the valley is closed by low hills, while to the north it is of sufficient breadth to allow space for two or three small villages. Through the centre of this valley runs a mountain torrent, which is generally dry, but after heavy rain pours down a considerable body of water. The town is surrounded by a mud wall about 30 feet in height, which is pierced by three gateways. The houses are built of mud, and number from three to four hundred; the streets are narrow and tortuous; it possesses a tolerably well supplied bazaar. A miri or citadel, hiving an imposing appearance, dominates the town, and contains within its walls the palace of the khan, It was in an upper room of this residence that Merab Khan, then ruler of Baluchistan, was killed during the storming of the town and citadel by the British troops at the close of the first Afghan war in 1839. The suburbs of Khelat are comparatively extensive, and contain from 10,000 to 12,000 inhabitants, which number, however, fluctuates according to the season, as well as with the political events passing in the country. There are to be found both in th.3 town and suburbs residents representing many of the countries of Asia, viz., Hindus, Brahoes, Dehwars, Babt5, Afghans, Persians, and Baluchis. The Hindu community forms the principal trading class, a fair proportion of which, however, includes the Babe tribe, while agriculture is almost entirely in the hands of the Dehwar ttibe. The town is well supplied with excellent water, principally from a spring situated in the eastern side of the valley ; this water is also used for irrigating the numerous enclosed gardens studded about, in which are grown most of the fruit trees to be found in European climates, including the vine, apricot, apple, and mulberry ; vegetables of all descriptions thrive to perfection. The climate of Khelat is peculiarly dry and pure, nor is there heat during the summer months that can be called oppres-sive. The citadel, although offering an imposing appe tr-ance, has in reality no military value, and could offer no resistance to the artillery in use at the present day. It i3 quite impossible to give an idea of the period of the building of Khelat, though there can be no doubt that it is of very ancient origin, long prior to the Mohammedan era ; but, as political events have now brought England into close friendly relations with the Balttch state, we may look forward to the unravelling of many traditions which now surround and obscure the history of Baluchistan and its capital.

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