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KERIYA

 
 

Keriya is a major oasis city on the southern edge of the Takla Makan Desert and on the Keriya river between its emergence from the Kun-lun mountains to the south and eventual disappearance in the desert. Stein visited the city and used it as a major base for his explorations. During his first expedition in 1900-01 Stein visited briefly between excavations at Endere and Kara-dong. He mentions these visits in Ancient Khotan. On 3 and 4 March the two days there sufficed for Stein to obtain additional labor, camels and supplies thanks to the gracious assistance of the Amban, Huang-Daloi. After completing work at Kara dong on March 30 Stein set his main party under conrol of Lal Singh on to Khotan while he went back to Keriya for the courtesy of proper leave-taking of the Amban. This he accomplished on 1 April with Huang-Daloi. Stein made sure to heap high praise on his Darogha, Ibrahim Akhun, which secured the latter recognition and a promotion. Stein started back to Khotan on 2 April observing along the way the extent of the spring flood.

 
  Stein returned to Keriya and used it as a base more extensively during his second expedition in 1906-08 He described these activities in Ruins of Desert Cathay
- To Keriya and the Niya River
Stein's move to Keriya began on 6 October. Rather than take the well trod main road over which he had passed in 1901, he again moved through the desert to the northern side. Along the way he was again impressed by the new agricultural activity in areas reclaimed from the desert. At Keriya Stein was again treated to welcome lunch by the new Amban, Ho Ta-lao-ye, who also provided much important assistance for the coming winter expedition. Despite the Amban's orders the local camel owners sought to force Stein into bad bargains for these animals, but in the end Stein was able to purchase excellent camels that served admirably for the following years. Stein also comments on the Chinese administration's political methods in appointing and frequently changing local Begs. An interesting financial transaction was the method by which Stein obtained 2550 Taels of silver cash from the Keriya Ya-men against a similar amount deposited by Mr. Macartney ( the British consul) in Kashgar to the Keriya account. This convenience saved Stein the trouble of carrying such a weight of silver for months from Kashgar and at the same time relieved the Keriya Amban from having to send dues to Kashgar.
On October 13th Stein departed again for Niya, a two day march. There Rai Ram Singh, the Surveyor, also arrived having completed his extensive survey across the mountains south of Keriya and Niya. Stein had no difficulty recruiting an ample number of laborers due to rembrance of his previous visit and Ibrahim Beg's return. Thus Stein was able to set out again into the desert on 16 October with a large work party and enough food and water for a month's work. He again stopped for a moment at Padshahim Iman Ja'far Sadik shrine on the 18th.

 
 

Stein returned to Keriya after completing his extensive expedition along the southern route to Tun-huang, then as far as Kan-chou and the mountains south of Su-chou, and then continuing back north and west along the northern edge of the Takla-Makan and foothills of the T'ien Shan mountains. This time in January 1907 he braved the desert by moving south from Shahyar into the void to find the northern end of the Keriya River. All this is described in Ruins of Desert Cathay and Serindia. Upon reaching the Keriya River he again excavated at Kara dong. Then he passed Keriya again going west to Khotan. In March he stopped at Keriya to make arragements for hihs expedition into the mountains. Finally, he passed by Keriya again in July going east to move around the Kun-lun foothills to reach the high plateau on his way to India.

 
{short description of image} This map sheet 32 in center of a group of maps along the southern border of Takla Mahan and northern edge of Kun-lun mountains. It shows the upper Keriya River and others flowing north from the southern edge. Keriya town is at 81 degrees 42' E - 36 degrees 51' N near the northern edge of the map - the road from Khotan is at the NW corner near Domoko.  
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This is one of Stein's general maps of the Takla Makan and surrounding mountains - Keriya is at the southern end of the eastern of the two rivers shown crossing the desert - the Keriya River.

 
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A larger view of the map of Chinese Turkestan and Kansu

 
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Keriya is at the south-west corner of this map. The central section of Stein's map of the Takla Makan shows his routes east from Keriya to Charchan and west from Hami to Kuchar and his route south from Kuchar across the desert back to Keriya. - The map also shows the Charchan River flowing east out of the foothills of the Kun-lun on the south side of the desert meeting the Tarim River flowing east from the Pamirs and T'ien-shan on the north side of the desert. They eventually dry up at the Lop-nor salt flat.

 
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Keriya is on the right edge of this map. It is a section of Stein's map showing the narrow area from Khotan to Keriya within the strip of cultivated land between mountains to south and desert to north - Aksipil and Rawak are north of Khotan and Domodo is west of Keriya

 
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The section of Stein's map showing the area north of Keriya - along the Keriya river -Dandan-uiliq and the smaller Rawak are at center north side - But the larger Rawak-Vihara is north of Aksipil - north of Khotan - on the west site - Domoko is a bit west of Keriya

 
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