The Afghan war of 1878-80; the Russo-Afghan Boundary Commission of 1884-1885; the occupation of Gilgit and Chitral; the extension of boundaries east and north of Afghanistan, and again, between Baluchistan and Persia - these, added to the opportunities afforded by the systematic survey of Baluchistan which has been steadily progressing since 1880 - combined to produce a series of geographical maps which extend from the Oxus to the Indus, and from the Indus to the Euphrates.
The Babusar Pass at the head of the Kagan valley marks the most direct approach to Chilas and Gilgit from the plains of India.
The northern tributaries of the Gilgit river, which joins the Indus near its south-westerly bend towards the Punjab, take their rise from a glacier system which is probably unequalled in the world for its extent and magnificent proportions.
This policy resulted in a British agency being established at Gilgit (Kashmir territory), with a subordinate agency in Chitral, the latter being usually stationed at Mastuj (65 m.
Nearer to Gilgit than the Chitral capital), and occasional visits being paid to the capital.
Chitral can be reached either by the long circuitous route from Gilgit, involving 200 M.
The other, which was the first to reach Chitral, was under Colonel Kelly, commanding the 32nd Pioneers, who was placed in command of all the troops in the Gilgit district, numbering about 600 all told, with two guns, and instructed to advance by the Shandur pass and Mastuj.
The family includes the group of Kafir languages spoken in Kafiristan, Khowar, spoken in the Chitral country, and the group of Shina languages, which includes the Shina of Gilgit, Kohistani, spoken in the Kohistans of the Indus and Swat rivers, and Kashmiri.
Dr Grierson has shown in his monograph on "The Pisaca Languages of North-Western India" (Royal Asiatic Society, 1906) that there is good reason for regarding various dialects of the north-western frontier (Kafiristan, Chitral, Gilgit, Dardistan) as a separate group descended from Aryan but independent of either Sanskrit or Iranian.
Long after Buddhism had spread to Chitral, Gilgit, Dir and Swat; whilst Ningrahar was still full of monasteries and temples, and the Peshawar valley was recognized as the seat of Buddhist learning, the Kafirs or Nysaeans held their own in Bajour and in the lower Kunar valley, where Buddhism apparently never prevailed.
It marks the commencement of the water-divide which primarily separates the Gilgit basin from that of the Yashkun, or Chitral, river, and subsequently divides the drainage of Swat and Bajour from that of the Chitral (or Kunar).
Other passes across this important water-divide are the Shandur (12,250 ft.), between Gilgit and Mastuj; the Lowarai (10,450 ft.), between the Panjkora and Chitral valleys; and farther south certain lower crossings which once formed part of the great highway between Kabul and India.
In the scientific use of the appellation, Dardistan comprises the whole of Chitral, Yasin, Panyal, the Gilgit valley, Hunza and Nagar, the Astor valley, the Indus valley from Bunji to Batera, the Kohistan-Malazai, i.e.
They have left their traces in the different dialects, Khoswar, Burishki and Shina, spoken in the Gilgit agency.
The musk-deer inhabits the forest districts in the Himalaya as far west as Gilgit, always, however, at great elevations - being rarely found in summer below 8000 ft.
About the same time in the extreme north the post of British resident in Gilgit was re-established, and the supremacy of Kashmir over the adjoining petty chiefships of Hunza-Nagar was enforced (1891-1892).