Aug 10, 2011

Views of Leh (Former Capital of Ladakh) from The Yarkand Mission of 1873-74

 View in Bazar, Leh

 Palace & Monastery, Leh

 Indus Valley, Leh

View in Bazar, Leh

Photographer: Edward Francis Chapman

The official purpose of the Yarkand mission was to conclude a commercial treaty with the Amir of Yarkand and Kashghar. The mission had a deeper purpose, it was also to gather sufficient intelligence about this largely unknown area so as to be a step ahead of the Russians in what came to be called the Great Game, the struggle between Great Britain and Russia for mastery over Central Asia. The Mission would obtain geographical and historical information on the area, as well as survey its natural resources, while pressing diplomatic relations on the principalities that they traversed via Kashmir through Tibet into Chinese Turkestan. The mission was under the command of Sir T. D. Forsyth of the Bengal Civil Service, who wrote an accompanying report, Forsyth, T.D., 'Report of a Mission to Yarkund in 1873' (Calcutta 1875). Situated at the crossroads of Asia in the high Himalayas, Leh is the capital of the cold desert region of Ladakh, in the eastern part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Source: British Library