In the travelogue penned by Baron Charles Hugel of his tortuous, circuitous and labyrinthine route ascending the activities and descending the declivities in a hot and humid and elsewhere extremely cold climate has been poignantly and painstakingly narrated as follows:
Shujanpoor is seen at a great distance, and is remarkable for the 'six date-trees in its cemetery, where I took up my quarters. I ordered my bed to be put into a mosque most conveniently near, while my dinner was being cooked in another. This caused a violent altercation, for it turned out that the spot we had chosen belonged to the fakir of the town, one of those mendicants who subsist on the bounty of the simple natives. He had just made preparation to feed ‘his falcons on some tame fowls, and was looking forward to the gratification of witnessing the ease with which his birds of prey would kill and tear the poor fowls, when he caught sight of my people kindling a fire with his wood, which the coldness of the evening compelled us to have recourse to. Backed by a number of the inhabitants, who had armed themselves with spears and sticks, the fakir assailed my servants with a volley of imprecations, and soon put them all to flight. I had the greatest difficulty to make myself heard amid this uproar. At length, the fakir came up to me, and complained bitterly of the depredation committed on the store of wood he had Jaid up for the winter’s consumption. I told him that we could not possibly remain there all night without a fire, but that he should be amply repaid for what we had consumed. ‘To this arrangement, however, he would not accede, but said he wanted his wood, and remained immovable in his purpose to keep his property to himself; at length, seeing that words were unavailing, I directed the men to follow me, and proceeded without further to do, to the stack of contested fuel; the fakir standing by and uttering not a word, while we were helping ourselves to the quantity we stood in need of the dilemma in which the traveller often finds himself in India, under similar circumstances, would perhaps demand a larger charity than some might be disposed to allow for this mode of procedure.
We could get nothing to eat until night, and then partook of our Christmas dinner dismally enough; the cold in the mosque was most intense. For ten days past we had subsisted on rice, mutton, and occasionally a fowl; all other provisions, including wine, being entirely expended.
Saturday, December 26.-The complete subjection of the Mohammedans‘in this country may be readily inferred. from the circumstance of an unbeliever like myself being suffered to sleep in one mosque and use another as a kitchen. Not that I once closed my eyes in reality, for the dreadful howlings of the village dogs altogether prevented my getting a wink of sleep. In Mohammedan countries these animals have no owner; neither have they in the Panjaéb. Superstition, therefore, has nothing to do with their preservation; but it would be thought very cruel to injure these inoffensive, watchful brutes; no native could be persuaded to kill one; he would merely content himself with taking up a stone, or possibly stooping in a menacing attitude, when the animal approached too near him. These dogs never become attached to any person or house, however young they may be taken, but associate themselves in a wonderful manner to each other. Woe to the stranger who should attempt to obtrude into the village compact of this species.
With the wolves and jackals, they live on a footing of toleration; but the former usually abide in deserted villages or solitary ruins, while the latter prefer the old tenements of inhabited places. The instinct peculiar to dogs which are the companions and friends of men, distinguishes them in every respect from these treacherous and dastardly animals, who can neither defend themselves nor their young; the only quality they possess in common with the domestic dog, is that of watchfulness. As soon as a traveller arrives in a village, half a dozen of them will seat themselves a little way off, and keep up an incessant howl from their mangy wasted skeletons, the prototype of famine and desolation.
The distance from Shujanpoor to Atok is reckoned five kos. We broke up early to gain time enough to visit the latter place and return before nightfall. The plain of Shush (for so they call the plain of the Atok here) is intersected by some small streams, one of which has been better known since the battle between Ranjit Singh’s general, Mokham Chand, and Fatih Khan. By following its course, the Sikhs were enabled to recruit themselves constantly throughout the heat of the day, by which great advantage the contest was decided in their favour, © As we drew nearer to the Indus, we met with large blocks of granite, thrown up and left on the plain by the waters, at the period of its inundations. I longed to behold this great stream, and looked out impatiently from the jampan in which 1 had remained, in order to have my sextants and other instruments ready for observation, pressing the bearers now and then to hurry on, that I might reach it before noon. One mile and a half from the city we came to the height on which Atok is situated, and soon after to a small valley, where the Hindis usually burn they are dead. According to Hindu law, this person are not permitted to reside beyond the Atok, but many Hindu families, nevertheless, are to be found residing both in Peshawur and Kabil, and there can be no doubt of the existence, in former times, of a great Hindé empire on the western shore of the Atok.
There is a remarkable Mohammedan mausoleum with a lofty dome about a mile west of the city, where I took my last observation with the sextant. The map taken by the English officers in Mr. Elphinstone’s suite is complete as far as Atok; I was delighted to put away my own chart, which occupied me two hours every evening, besides much time spent on it on the journey itself.
The suburbs of the city extend as far as this building, though recent wars have laid everything waste to the very walls of the fort. The Indus at this spot is a clear, rapid, but unimportant stream, seven-eighths of its sandy bed being quite dry at this season of the year. Both banks are steep; on the north, they soon become nearly level, but on the southern side, on the contrary, they increase in steepness, and lofty hills arise, to all appearance, from the river itself.
At the distance of half a mile north the point is visible where the L&nder, or Kabdl river, flows into the Atok, in the plain of Shush; while, on the left shore of the Lander, another plain stretches towards the west, where the fort is situated; the bed of the river is strictly confined between mountains of black clay-slate, and at a little distance beyond the fort is the bridge of boats, formed of nineteen immense vessels, built singularly enough, with fine carved work both fore and aft, in imitation of what we might fancy the ships of the Argonauts to have been when they sailed towards Colchis.
I was greatly surprised indeed at the scene which presented itself, In order to enjoy the view more leisurely, I had mounted the stony bank, raised against the wall of the fortress, where some Sikh soldiers had drawn up respectfully to make room for me. My attention was at first more particularly attracted by the fantastic richly-ornamented entrance to the fort, where I stood for some time, waiting for permission to enter. I was stepping forward to get a better idea of the whole, when the officer on duty advanced towards me, and requested I would not attempt to go further; “And why not?” I inquired. “Because Ranjit Singh has given the Diwan orders to introduce you with all due ceremony to the interior.” I was therefore content to look leisurely around me.
Very near the fort was a ruin on some high ground; it was a Serai built by Akbar the Great, which Elphinstone calls a fort; a broad paved road, for cattle, leads down to the Indus between this and the fort, which was also the work of that emperor. From its position on precipitous rocks, it commands a view of the river below; the rapidity of the stream has polished the surface of these rocks like marble. The clear stream itself, its broad bed, with the two huge masses of rock called Jellalia and Kerhellia, now standing up dry, and presenting all their dangers, which render the passage of the Indus so perilous when the waters are high, on account of the terrible whirlpools about them; the bridge of boats; the small plain on the right shore, on which stands the fort of Kairabad; the mountains forming a half-circle beyond, with their watch-towers on the highest summits; and finally, the strange medley of Hindi and Persian costume and features of the various parties bathing, the very lowest degree of Hinddé wretchedness, to the highly polished and richly dressed Persian horsemen with their long lances; composed altogether a very animated and striking scene. But I wished to get down to the brink of this holy stream, the limit of my journey, as it is of many a Hindu pilgrim.
Well, here was I, the first European who had hitherto wandered through this vast empire, from its most southern point at Cape Comorin, to its northern boundary at Atok. I was at the farthest extremity of India, and yet at the nearest point to my own land, had I been but blessed with the wings of a bird to direct my flight thither. Arrived on the shore of the Indus, I looked across to the mountains in the west, and thought of the country hidden beyond them, and of the dangers which attended my homeward return. This feeling of despondency, however, soon left me, and gave place to my customary equanimity as to coming events, the tears which had started unconsciously to my eyes, were dried up, and [ hastily crossed the river. The banks, which rise abruptly on both sides from the sandy bed, are about eighty feet high above the level of the water. The bridge and the river in its present state, may be from forty to forty-five fathoms across, and the stream in the middle about three deep, but the breadth between the two shores must be at least 300. . During the rainy season, this river is filled up from bank to bank, the waters at this time rise as much as fifty feet, when the bridge, which is admirably contrived, and made of the very best timber, is taken to pieces, the boats being employed in navigating the stream; the lower classes sometimes make use of the distended ox-hides, which I have already mentioned, but not frequently, because the passage from one shore to the other in the regular boats costs nothing. They have ropes formed out of leaves of some species of the palm-tree, unknown to me, twisted together. They told me that this palm grows near Atok. I took away one leaf with me, promising five rupees to anyone who would bring me a flower or some of the seeds. Mr. Vigne had taken his post and was sketching on the Kabil side of the Indus, when presently we both saw a showy troop of horsemen ride down the opposite shore, cross the bridge, and approach the spot where we stood. It was Khan Singh, who was deputed by Ranjit Singh; he came with the Thanadar, in the name of Kashmir Singh, Ranjit’s’ son, who was then governor, to request me to visit the fort. He had ridden forth in another direction in search of me. I accepted the invitation, and quitted Afghanistan, where I had been some five minutes only, and with Mr. Vigne returned to India. The fortress is built on the declivity of a mountain, and is very spacious, forming a parallelogram, or rather a polygon, on most uneven ground, in some places reduced to a rectilinear shape, one side of it stretching along the river from north to south. The principal gate is on the north; the walls are high and strong, and surmounted with battlements, but there are no advanced works. In the interior, a third part is rendered habitable for four thousand people, and contains a bazar.
I was received by the prince’s Diwan, a Brahmin from Dehli, who came forth on an elephant, from which he dismounted when near to me and in the name of the Maha Raja proffered me a bag of rupees; in his own, a branch with honey from the wild bees. He was an old man, advanced in years, and could not stand upright without the assistance of two persons. I could not bring myself to give utterance to the usual salutation of “are you well,” it seemed so like mockery rather than any compliment. I requested permission to see the building more minutely, and the Diwan declared that he would conduct me wherever I wished to go, but as the day was much too short to admit of such a mode of observation, I begged him to resume his seat on the elephant, while I proceeded on foot.
The reservoir belonging to this fort is well worthy of remark. Its depth is from forty to fifty feet, its circumference about twenty-five feet, and the river fills it as it flows. On the side of the river, the walls are only eight feet above high water; at present they are as much as fifty-eight above the dry bed. I wished to see the largest guns of the place, as in all Mohamiiedan strong places they are of great beauty; those in position at present were of brass, cast in Lahor, and answering, as I should judge, to the French sixteen-pounders; they are without ornament, but their construction, and the carriages on which they are mounted, seem both very skilfully designed; they are kept under shelter, a necessary precaution where the heat of the sun would otherwise split the wood. I at last completed my survey of this now partly dismantled fort, and not without considerable fatigue. The day was drawing to a close, and Kashmir Singh had not yet returned, but resolving to pursue my original plan, I had declined the invitation of the Diwan to pass a day in Atok, or even to delay my journey for an hour, from the same impatience which had made me refuse the invitation of Ranjit Singh to go on as far as Peshawar.
There was a crush of men and beasts in the bazar, camels terrified, asses kicking, horses prancing, and all this in a place where the closely built stalls scarcely permitted three men to walk abreast. The first sight of the Diwan’s elephant put all the other animals to flight, and the boards on which the merchants had displayed their wares were all overset in the tumult; among them were many things which I particularly coveted, and ordered my people to buy for me. The bazar of Atok is excellently furnished with the productions of Peshawur, Kabul, and Persia, and those of India are to be had in great abundance. My Munshi, Thakir-das, a Brahmin from Dehli, found in the Diwan a countryman of the same sect as himself, and he requested my leave to eat with him. The longer I travelled in. India, the more I was conscious of the great advantage of having a high-caste Hinda in my suite. Almost every business and occupation in the service of the higher orders, being transacted by the agency of Brahmins, the stranger will succeed in whatever he wishes or requires much more readily, should the Munshi be a Brahmin, especially in all communications with other Brahmins, notwithstanding the difference of rank, than if the servant were of any other class.
I had scarcely passed the fort in my jampan, when a man rode up to tell me that Kashmir Singh was approaching, and we met near the field where the Hindus burn their dead to which I before alluded. He was a youth of fifteen or sixteen, with a very clever and animated expression; he was mounted on a white charger very richly caparisoned, and dressed in along ‘jacket’ of pink silk, with a belt, in which he carried a pair of English pistols, and a dagger; a loose robe wadded, and made also of pink silk, gave him an appearance of extreme comfort; his trousers were of blue and white, fitted tight to the leg; his shoes embroidered; his head dress was a low red turban. The complexion of this youth was olive, and the dark beard was just beginning to adorn his chin; a pink umbrella was carried over his head. “You would do well to remain here,” he said; I answered, that had I been aware of his presence in the city, I should have asked permission to come with all my people, and brought my tents. “They can be sent for; where are they?” “In Shujanpoor,” answered I, “and though grateful for the invitation to remain, I must proceed on my way. “I entreat you to stay, the Mah4 Raja has commanded me to do everything to make Atok agreeable to you, and I wish to be able to do it.” Still, I persisted. ‘“You should stay with me two days, then go to Peshawur, and make acquaintance with Avitabile Sahib; after that, the Maha Raja has written to me that you will certainly stop at Akora to visit Court Sahib, who is stationed there with the French legion, and if you do not like to go as far as Peshawur, you can travel easily to Akira and back in one day*.”
I exhausted myself in thanks but took my leave. Kashmir Singh is the only Indian I ever heard speak in short sentences, and he seems to possess more talent than it has hitherto been my good fortune to meet with.
I very soon alighted from my jampan, mounted my ghunt, and attended only by Mohan, galloped over the plain in order to reach Shujanpoor before night-fall. Unluckily, one village is here so exactly like another, that I missed my way, the six palms which distinguish Shujanpoor, being only discernible from this side when one is very near to them. The sun went down while we were crossing the plain, but I had far outridden Mohan, and not another human creature was to be seen. In the distance, some villages crowned the small eminences which rise from the level surface at intervals, and I decided on making for one of these and asking my way. While I was considering what I had best do, Mohan came up and assured me we were all right, but I felt equally sure to the contrary, we rode on a little way until the much-longed-for palms started up before our eyes. The darkness soon hid them from us, and we reached: Shujanpoor after every ray of light had disappeared. I waited three hours for Mr. Vigne before I began my supper. Just as I had commenced he came in dreadfully fatigued. He had stayed behind to sketch, and like me, had lost his way; after many attempts to set himself right, he had been obliged at last to take a guide from one of the villages, which occasioned this long delay.
The plain of Shush produces a species of the goat, which grows to a great size: they have long tails, which they carry horizontally, and no horns: they have a Roman nose, and eyes of an uncommon size: their hair is quite black. I purchased the largest male I could meet with, and amused myself, while waiting for Vigne, with watching the motions of this strange caricature of nature by torch light. An old donkey, belonging to the fakir, stood near him, but my goat over-topped him-by at least two hands, and the creature at length appeared in my sight like something mysterious. I fancied some Mephistopheles shining out of his great eyes, and turned round to my writing again, the labours of the Dauaides to me. For will it ever attain the object I desire? It is true, that is not the meanest design, which expects neither thanks nor reward, Too many, a labour of any kind is the creative and spiritual life working within them, or the light play of their fancy, assuming form and reality; to others, it is the dull heaving of the heart, in which fate has laid a painful burthen, but which still heaves on for mere existence, which is not infrequently laid down in this struggle. But after the grave and forgetfulness have long been our portion, when other people are ploughing the field under which we lie mouldering, if no remembrance of ourselves or our actions be left behind, yet will something remain of our labours, if they have been exercised on the realities of life. Such works, however unimportant, contribute to the formation of the minds which succeed their author. Under the most favourable circumstances, mine will repose in my chest, and no kindred spirit will learn a lesson from the sharp experience of these pages.
More than 2000 years ago, Alexander the Great crossed this plain with his splendid army, and will not this grand idea raise the mind and withdraw it from the every-day repetition of life’s toil? Surely it would, if any loftier thought than that of conquest had moved the heart of Alexander, if he had marched to spread benefit instead of ruining over his path. Even then it is not the will that ennobles the deed, but the accomplishment of that will; and what was the great result of Alexander’s campaign in India? The death of thousands, the misery of the inoffensive inhabitants, and in the place of tranquillity and order, the unmitigated calamities of war. To me, the idea that brave and adventurous men carried the productions of India over this plain to the west, long before Alexander lived, is far grander than all the brilliant victories of this conqueror of worlds. Their journeys bound nations together in amity, softened the rude manners of the west, and improved all things. Sad is it to think that this same plain has been for the last 800 years the territory where fanatical and furious barbarians, whose faith is a cloak for every crime, have held uncontrolled sway. But these days are now almost at an end, and we may look hopefully forward to the time when expeditions from the east to the west will finally subdue the remains of so baneful a power. To the Sikhs now stretching to the Indus, will succeed the hosts of England, who will unite this country to their enormous empire.
Sunday, December 27.-We started at eight in the morning. I was benumbed with the cold, which had kept me awake all night in an open mosque; and in spite of the fakir’s wood, I shivered in every limb. I expectéd. that he would demand some large compensation for his loss, but his pride was too great for this; I, therefore, told the people to give him five rupees, a sum which would have purchased for me either in London or Paris, a warmest and comfortable apartment.
I began by making use of my feet to bring some warmth into them; but yesterday’s journey had so fatigued me, that I soon had recourse to me ghunt, and cantered onward to Hussein Abdal, thinking the day’s march would never come ‘to an end. The road itself is altogether uninteresting, and I was obliged to stop in many places and wait for the guide, the path through the ravines being very difficult.
I had no sooner arrived at Hussein Abdal, but I set off at once to visit the ancient palace and garden built by Jehangir, which is one mile and a half from the town; it is called Wah, the Indian ery of astonishment, It was not a serai, but a regular palace, situated in the best part of the country around, and is now an extensive and imposing ruin. No doubt the great inducement to build a palace here arose from the presence of three beautiful springs, which gush out from the earth, and are encircled by slabs of stone: they spread into large sheets of water, which are full of fish of various kinds. I wandered long about these once splendid rooms, some adorned with specimens of the finest stones, others with rich carvings, but now abandoned to the most perfect solitude. The entrance is still worthy of the residence of an Emperor. At the bottom of the garden stands a little building, the use of which I could not understand; having a beautiful spring issuing from within, and flowing all round it. It is the most richly ornamented part of the grounds, but I looked in vain for some way to enter, and as usually happens, my imagination became vivid in proportion as it remained unsatisfied, I peered into the bushes which surrounded it, and even climbed to the height above, to look for the entrance, but neither door nor window, nor any aperture whatever was visible; and with curiosity ungratified, I was forced to retrace my steps. On my return, I was overjoyed to hear that the long-looked-for stock of provisions from Ludhianahadarrived: they had been sent round by Lahore, Jammu, Kashmir, and Mazafferabad. It was with no little pleasure that I received a supply of wine and brandy, after twelve days’ deprivation, replaced my wretched tea and sugar with something far better, and chapatis with a biscuit. Instead of the tallow candles of Kashmir, always covered with black grease, I welcomed some wax lights; even the preserved soups and meats had come safe to hand, allowing us a brief respite from the eternal mutton and fowl to which we were latterly restricted.
Near Hussein Abdal stands the ruined Serai of Akbar, in one end of which a Sikh Guru has established himself. Hussein Abdal owes its name to the grave of a Pir or devotee, who lived in the eminence where the place now stands, and his tomb is still to be seen. This Pir was called Shekh Hussein Abdal; Abda/ means fanatic, and is applied toa particular tribe among the Afghans. This individual is a very celebrated person at Kandahar, where he was known as Baba Wali. He chose the place of his abode because a spring comes forth from its summit, and was the resort of pious pilgrims of many creeds. After his death, a fakir took up his place, as is usual, in the case of all the Mohammedan saints. Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, coming one day to the hill as a pilgrim, much heated and tired, requested some water of the fakir. The unbeliever’s demand was refused; and Nanak, laying his hand on the rock whence the spring issued, it ceased to flow, and on the very spot was a bas-relief of that hand in stone, which as soon as the Sikhs became lords of the country, was taken away from the mountain, and placed in the building erected in the middle of the Serai, and there raised as an object of veneration opposite the entrance. The Guru sings some passages out of the Granth, or holy volume of the Sikhs, every morning before it.
A tomb, now almost destroyed, stands near this Serai, overshadowed by two large cypresses which, as is frequently the case in Mohammedan countries, grow in a place quite surrounded with massive stone walls. Every account agrees that this is the last resting-place of the well-known Nar Jeh4n, the wife of Jehangir. The frame-work of the door retains some vestiges of former grandeur: it is of black marble, as was the door itself, which has been carried off.
Monday, December 28.-The nights were now extremely cold; the water froze in the bottles, and the ground was covered every morning With hard frost. At noon, however, we had our Indian sun. I had appointed the morning for my visit to the Sikh Guru, at which ceremony the whole: population of Hussein Abdal was present. When I came to the marble steps leading to his Durbar, which was held before the celebrated stone, and saw him there seated on carpets, I took off my shoes, a courtesy which gained for me the loud praises of all present. The Guru received me with every mark of dignity, and accepted q present, which was certainly well bestowed, if only for the sight of the stone, on which the above-named marvel still remains imprinted.
The great imperial route formerly leading from Hindusthan to Kabul passes from Hussein Abdal to Lahore, and Serais were built along with it at intervals of every six kos from each other. There were three between the former town and Rawalpindi, but I purposed making the journey in two days, and started at once therefore from the Guru’s Durbar. Near the first Serai is a small eminence, which has the advantage of a paved road, not remarkable in any way; indeed, why it is there at all is the only singularity, as there are many places where it would be far more useful than here. Perhaps it is owing to its being the only rocky hill between Atok and Lahor, that the honour of a paved road has been given to it; at all events, it is called Mulgala, and an inscription, not very intelligible, ascribes it to Akbar. Just previous to this, I saw a stone bridge in ruins, which is evidence of the changeableness of the soil in the Panjab. This bridge spans a rivulet, and is constructed against a hill from sixty to eighty feet high, the formation of which must have originated from the water beneath it. There is another bridge very close to this, which is also nearly destroyed; the traveller is now left to find his way through the ravines and the stream, as he best can. My camels, however, had not learned the secret, consequently, their burdens were all cast on the ground. Janikasang, where we halted, is a wretched place, nine kos from Hussein Abdal.
Tuesday, December 29.-The way continued through the plain, where there is very little cultivation, though the soil seems excellent, and must be of a most extraordinary depth, of which I could judge from several parts where it has been torn up by occasional wild torrents. The absence of cultivation is attributable perhaps to the very superiority of the soil; for in this part of Asia, where rain so seldom falls, agriculture depends almost exclusively on irrigation. The country is intersected throughout by numerous streams, which flow from the high mountains, and are so deeply embedded in the earth, that the water cannot be conducted along the plain; hence the country is in many parts a wilderness, producing nothing except stunted acacias and the Ziziphus. When the rainy season sets in, the numerous deep ravines must put a stop to all travelling. There is no bridge near at hand, and the water in many places stands sometimes from twenty to thirty feet deep, there is, therefore, no remedy that I know of but patiently to await a change of weather. The ravines being formed by the streams, many of them are well supplied with water in the very driest season.
Just before Rawalpindi, there is a river called Sawan, the Swan of the maps, whence a small plain extends to the town ‘itself. By this river I found the Thanadar, with the Stirnt, (Persian,) or Mithdi, (Hindusthani,) the present of welcome, consisting of twenty-one pots of sweetmeats, each enough for one man to carry, a basket of eggs, one of the fowls, two sheep, and a bag of rupees.
I went to look about me in the adjacent parts, and then to my tent, which was pitched by the only well in the town, and about a musket shot from the nearest houses. Rawalpindi is called a fort, but it has not even a wall of defence. The place is very populous, and has a large bazar. Not far from my tent stood a little building, the environs of which were ornamented with a few acacias, the only trees near. On one of these I observed a bird, which was quite new to me, sitting quietly; and sending for the huntsman, Jonki, I desired him to shoot it; but the natives would not permit it, because the house was the residence of the Guri. On hearing this, I ordered the people to get ready instantly to depart, not because, as I told them, my servants were not permitted to shoot, but because they had entered into a dispute with religious personages. As soon as these last heard my reasons, they came out in a body, and begged me to remain where I was, and shoot whatever I liked. I did remain, therefore, but prohibited the shooting.
The same evening I received a letter from General Ventura, and two baskets filled with choice European dainties, attention not to be forgotten. They were escorted by a Jemidar, who was directed to follow me. I had also to thank the General for some English powder, which he sent me by a Sowér, and for which I had written to him from Baramulla. The man had travelled on a dromedary ninety-six kos from Lahore in three days.
Wednesday, December 30.-It often happens that recent occurrences, however unimportant in themselves, will elucidate questions long put aside from history as something inexplicable. This has more particularly happened in modern days, and perhaps the most striking proof has been afforded by the discovery of the famed Damietta stone, which solved the long-existing enigma of hieroglyphics. Something similar may be found in the journeys of Europeans to the part of Asia where I now am, which have cleared up much difficulty concerning Alexander’s Indian expedition, and thrown a broad light on many shadowy paths of history.
It happened one day that an Englishman being in the bazar at Delhi, received in change some of the copper coin called pais, a circumstance only singular in this, that however small the purchase may be, a native always makes the bargain for these lords of India, and is usually paid in larger amounts. It was still more curious, that the Englishman took notice of these small coins, thinking there was something uncommon in their appearance; and I mention the circumstance without any idea of covertly reproving the indolence usually seen in India. Every new comer gazes with more or less curiosity, but always with curiosity, on objects which have all the charm of novelty to him; but this, at last, wears out, and generally long before the presidency of Bengal is quitted for the upper provinces. I can vouch for the truth of this sensation. Many things on which years ago I should have made an infinity of inquiries, have ceased to awaken the least interest in my mind, and if I, as a traveller, feel thus in matters of immediate inquiry, how much more those whose pursuit is the pleasure to be attained by their large income, or the readiest means of acquiring one. The little copper coins I have alluded to differed from those of India: instead of some legend, as on the Mohammedan; some idol, as on the Hind coins, they more resembled the money of the West, bearing a bust, a whole figure, and sometimes an inscription engraved round them. A superficial examination pointed them out as Greek coins, or as exact imitations; and a more rigid scrutiny proved them to be either Bactrian or something nearly related to that country. The discovery was no sooner made known than many Englishmen in Upper India hastened to collect as many of the coins as possible, and an immense number were brought in, and at the same time others of silver and gold: the fact was simply this; the workers in those metals had been hitherto in the habit of melting them down, they now kept them to sell to the English. In a short time these ancient coins were all classified, and divided into the ancient Hindu, or Buddhist; the Bactrian, which have been most valuable in illustrating the history of Central Asia; and the Indo-Scythian, which are as precious as the rarest documents. The last two might be subdivided into dynasties, showing that Alexander’s generals, who shared among them the mighty empire he had conquered, had retained possession of the country of the Indus much longer than history supposes, nay, that it is very possible that some of the dynasties survived to the appearance of the victorious Mohammedans. The last division, forming the transition from the Bactrian to the Hindu, is by far the most. remarkable. Like the coins of the West, which during the sway of the Christian Emperors of Constantinople, departed from the noble Greek form to assume the likeness of 80 many tasteless caricatures; so these degenerate still more, and the beautiful proportions of the original coin are lost in an unconnected jumble of points and lines. In the same way, we find, first the Greek Basileos, then the same with Sanscrit letters, then Basileos Raja, then the last only, until, finally, both name and title disappear. This part of India, before the invasion of the Mohammedans, like Italy in the middle ages, had survived all the beauty of the arts.
The strip of country in which the gold and silver coins of Bactria are found is not extensive. It runs down from the bank of the Sawan at Rawalpindi as far as the Indus, and from the description, as given by the ancient Greek writers, I conclude that Rawalpindi may be built on, or near, the site of Taxila. The coins which form the link between the Bactrian and Hindu are found there, and in greater numbers still at Kanoj on the Ganges; the copper money is found from Delhi to Agra. I postpone the inquiry whether there was an IndoBactrian kingdom existing in the Panj4b and in a part of Northern India, or whether the coins discovered there were brought by the conquerors, and exchanged for gold and precious stones. I purchased a great many of the Bactrian coins while in Rawalpindi, which is called Sitaram Pais, from Sita and Rama, the first being the name of a goddess, the second that of her celestial lover.
The well-known truth that no place is more unpleasant to a European traveller than one of importance, was quite substantiated here. The bearers refused to go any further; those who carried the jampan left me, the camel drivers demanded their Raza, discharge, and I was all impatience to getaway. I sent therefore for the Thanadar to provide me with the means of proceeding on my journey, even should he have recourse to compulsory measures, menacing him with the anger of Ranjit Singh, if I found myself necessitated to pass another night in Rawalpindi. Happily, Ranjit has given European travellers prodigious power over his functionaries, from the governor of a province down to the village justice. Every man of them was obliged to send in a certificate of my satisfaction to the Maha Raja, and for this, if necessary, they would have given large presents. The consequence was visible in my preparations being completed to-day at 12 o'clock. I was in too great haste to wait for the whole party, and therefore left the Munshi behind to look after the baggage, while I myself journeyed on as far as a ruinous Serai, seven kos distant from Rawalpindi, where I halted to give the bearers time to join me before night. A good many travellers were already assembled there. Nothing is left of ancient splendour in this serai, except some portions of the outer walls; but in earlier times there were here, as in most other serais, shaded walks in which persons of the lower ranks found shelter, but the smallest of them, which still afforded some trifling protection against the cold, were all occupied. Although there was room enough to spread my tent in the inner court, the wind whistled round it in every direction, and the walls afforded no defence against the weather: the filthiness of the court-yard was disgusting. I, therefore, preferred occupying my small tent, which made its appearance towards evening, and pitched it before the entrance to the building, where it was screened from the strong north-west wind; while my servants all lodged near me, in the only unoccupied apartment.
The view from this point was very delightful. Before it lay a large Mohammedan mausoleum, surmounted by a lofty cupola, and surrounded on every side by a multitude of other tombs. The square in which they were erected contained also a mosque and an asylum for pilgrims, The large building was already falling to decay; the cupola admitted the light of heaven through many a rent, and the whole structure had a threatening aspect. Surrounded by rocks of remarkable form, some towering one above the other, some standing out singly and dark from the horizon, this funeral monument is the highest point in the vicinity. In the far distance,’ and over the lofty mountains, above all these objects, rose the snow-capped chain of which the PirPanjal is the monarch. The rocks are of sandstone; the direction N.W. and S.E., the strata vertical.
From this elevation, there is but one solitary mountain discernible in the south-west, the plain of the Panjab seeming to extend uninterruptedly in that direction. This appearance, however, is deceptive, for on & nearer examination the surface is found deeply intersected with ravines and water-courses. Before dinner, Vigne and J wandered about the neighbourhood, and soon came to a large tank, around which were some fragments of rock. Here we did our best to furnish ourselves with an extra dish, in the shape of some wild fowl, which were swimming about the water very temptingly. But we were unsuccessful, and on our return, I footing the Munshi had arrived, with information that my baggage had left Rawalpindi on the backs of coolies, in default of proper carriage; that he had seen the large tent poles, usually carried by four men, lying down on the road, and half a dozen other packages belonging to me also strewed about, the bearers having, of course, run away. I immediately dispatched people for the packages, but the tent poles were too far off and much too heavy for the men to fetch them this day; the bearers of the Panjab, like their fellows in Kashmir, being immoveable at any price after nightfall. The Shah had arrived also, and pitched his tent near mine.
As the sun went down, I saw symptoms in the sky which made me anticipate rain, although I hoped that it might prove only a passing shower. As a precautionary measure, however, I had those things most likely to be injured by wet, brought within the small tent where I was lodged. In the evening I visited the Shah, and seeing that his tent was pitched in a piece of low ground, I warned him of the likelihood of rain; but he did not think there would be much, and so left the tent where it was.
Thursday, December 31.-I had erred in my reckoning as to the time when I made sure of reaching Lahore. A violent sirocco came on last night, accompanied by storms of rain; the wind shifted, and my tent now suffered the fiercest attacks of the tempest. I heard the rain pouring down during the night, and when I left my bed after lying awake for hours, everything in my tent was swimming. My clothes were all saturated with water, and my only comfort in putting them on, in this state, arose from the feeling that it was only an anticipation of what they must be very shortly, at all events. I looked out upon a deluge. The whole country had become one interminable swamp, and the things which had been let outside the tent were scarcely distinguishable. A fire to make our breakfast seemed quite out of the question, and some change of situation absolutely requisite; but where were we to find a better? The ruinous old Serai was filled with a motley assemblage of travellers; and though in my capacity of White Lord, I might have turned them all out of their quarters, without the smallest apprehension that they, though many hundreds in number, would think of disputing my right to rob them of their shelter, backed as I should have been by the Munshi and Khan Singh’s authority, humanity prevailed with me, to waive any such method of bettering my own situation. Whereupon I sallied forth to look about me, and about a quarter of a mile in the direction of the cemetery, I found out a place where we could remain for a day defended from the weather, the ruins being surrounded by walls, and having several small vaulted niches, which are still in tolerable repair, the destructive fury of the Sikhs having exhausted itself on the larger tombs and the mosque. Into these niches, therefore, I had all my goods conveyed, and selected a corner cell for myself, very like a dungeon of the age of chivalry, without any window. The entrance was narrow, dark, and very hard to find. There I established myself for the day with my carpet, kanat, and a few immediate necessaries; it was so dark that candles were indispensable, but my greatest discomfort arose from the loss of an entire day, or perhaps many days while this rain lasted. In truth, I could not make sure that I might not be detained in this part of India so long as even to miss the steamer which left Bombay for Egypt, and in this case, it was a question not only of days but of months. So little had I thought of these rains, that I had announced to General Ventura my intention of being in Wazirabad on the 4th of January; an additional proof, if any were needed, of the extreme folly of laying down any definite plan for the future, particularly in a country like this, where a man travelling alone on horseback may get on well enough, but when obliged to have a number of people with him, he is dependent on a thousand contingencies.
After making my own arrangements, I sallied out again to look after my companions in misfortune. I found Vigne in bed, with water all about him, and rain pouring in on all sides. I could not help laughing at his philosophy, and with some trouble persuaded him to get up and share my strange lodging. As for the poor Shah, he was sitting amidst his twenty-five attendants, drenched through; he had lost all his energies, and declined even the trouble of moving when I invited him to share my dry prison-house.
And thus passed the last day of a year which I had purposed to spend on the broad sea. On looking back, I confess that more extraordinary to me than even the wondrous scenes of nature, was the great diversity existing in manners and habits among the various people with whom my travels had brought. me acquainted. The last day of the year 1834, I passed on my voyage from Manilla to Canton, upon the stormy waters of the Yellow Sea; and during the succeeding twelve months, how much had I been allowed to see! China and India; the most extensive empires in Asia, the most beautiful by nature, offering new shreds of evidence of the majesty of creation, and of the high refinement of an ancient civilization. From China in the East, where the vast ocean is the only boundary of this mighty continent, to China in the West, or Tibet, I travelled in a very wide and devious course. I had visited the flourishing settlement of Singapore; the Muluccds now declining; the rich island of Penang; Madras, the theatre of many a European contest; Calcutta, the famous city of palaces; the ancient Brahminical retreat. of Benares; Allahabad, Oude, Agra, Gwalior, and Delhi, still magnificent in its fallen greatness; the Himalaya, those giants of our earth; the beautiful but melancholy valley, not impossibly the cradle of the human race; finally, I had had a glimpse of Tibet, finishing with a toilsome journey to the ancient Taxila and the modern Atok. The whole year was fraught with events well-deserving my remembrance; and though I had at times experienced a deep sense of loneliness, I had many days to dream of, full of peace, tranquillity, and friendly intercourse; my strength of mind and of the body were unimpaired; yet fatigue and occupation generally silenced every half-suppressed wish for more comforts than I could procure.
And thus, also, ended my fortieth year, without a wish to live over again one of its days, or even hours; that year which, beginning with a storm, and ending in a tomb, presented a true image of our life on earth.
Friday, 1st January, 1836.-Floods of rain ushered in the first day of the New Year. I was left alone to welcome it; Vigne had gone early to bed, overcome with fatigue. Some future traveller will perhaps habit this same little nook, and should curiosity lead him to creep about it, he will wonder whether he has got into the den of a hyena or g wolf, or if serpents ever made it their abode. But when his researches pave led him from the narrow entrance to the dark round tower, and the light of his torch discovers to him the murky walls, and his own laboured preaching tells him of the heavy damp air within, he may with difficulty comprehend how it was possible for a European travelling with a large suite of natives, ever to dream of remaining in such a place for two whole days. The unfortunate conjuncture of circumstances, which brought my tent poles into the power of bearers who were pressed into my service without wages, contrary to my express orders; the folly of leaving them without any one to look after them, solves the riddle but too plainly of their flight and throwing down their burden at four miles distance.
The sky cleared in the afternoon, and I desired them instantly to get ready for a move; the old Serai had not proved a very desirable residence for any of us, for there was no bazar for the natives, and no wood procurable; as for the bearers and camel drivers, they had all taken to flight. Luckily, six camels that my Munshi had picked up somewhere in Rawalpindi, arrived about noon; very suspiciously answering to the beasts that had been driven away, and wanting drivers into the bargain; I was anxious, if possible, to get on to Manikyéla to-day, to bring all our affairs into a due train once more, and give the natives the opportunity of thoroughly drying themselves; for this short journey, we had yet abundant time.
My first visit, on emerging from my cell, was to the Shah, whom I found in a miserable plight, shivering like a patient in an ague fit, while his servants were so completely soaked with the rain, that I looked forward to nothing else than their serious illness. I offered to administer some brandy to them all, but as staunch Mohammedans, they would not listen to such a proposal. The Shah was quite amazed at first When he heard of my intention to recommence our journey to-day, but he soon found himself able to follow my example and get ready, and this being done we started, and after a short progress through a flag country, reached the end of our day’s march, a grand monument of ancient times, called by the natives Manikydla Top, or Burj. According to Elphinstone, this Dhagoba* is 72 feet high, and 450 in circumference. While in Ceylon, where these Dhagobas are frequently seen, I took many pains to find some way of admission into them. They are always strongly built, the exterior being in the form of the cupola, but there is nothing else but this; the Dhagoba being, in fact, an edifice raised over some relic, a tooth, a lock of hair, &c., considered sacred, in the Buddhist faith. Near it is generally some Vihara or Temple, and in the neighbourhood of this ManikaylaDhagoba, I observed, towards the west, the foundation walls built in the form of a Jarge square, all that remained of a former Vihara. Compared with others which I have seen, this Dhagoba is the smallest in proportion-to its elevation that I have ever met with, and the drawing in Elphinstone’s work does not give any correct idea of its proportions. It is built of Kankar stone, which is the product of water, and the softest stone is known; the base is constructed of coarse sand-stone, and about six or eight feet high, ornamented with pilasters four feet high, and with decorative capitals. These pilasters are six feet apart. Above this, and about fourteen feet higher than the ground, runs a projecting cornice whence the cupola rises. The building was first opened by General Ventura. From the highest point which I reached, a well descends, twelve feet square and eighteen feet deep, but as the work of opening proceeded, this was soon filled up with stones, and another attempt to penetrate by the lower part of the building was found impracticable. He, therefore, ordered the workmen to begin at the upper part. In a short time, they arrived at the middle of the shaft, where they met large masses of stones; these were broken through, and near the foundation appeared a small vaulted recess containing a gold cylinder, with some fluid in it, arid some Buddhist coins. Mr. James Prinsep has given a description of these in the Asiatic Journal. According to the natives, 500 men worked for a whole month at the opening of this monument.
Whether owing to their increased weight by boing wet, or to the slipperiness of the ground, which always distresses these animals, the camels had carried the tents as far as Méniky4la with the utmost difficulty; they were still too damp to be pitched, and I was obliged to look out for a lodging in the wretched village. The Hindu and Sikh have always their temple to resort to, and the Mohammedan his mosque, the first had often been my refuge, the last but seldom, owing to my unwillingness to shock the Mohammedan prejudices, but on the present occasion, it happened that the mosque was the only place large enough to hold my bed. I was, therefore, obliged to take possession of it. Manikyadla is ten kos from R&walPindi, and two and a half kos from the Serai.
Saturday, January 2.-I purposed making the journey to Rotas, twenty-five kos, in two days, Tamak being about half-way. But the poor camels had arrived at Manikydla very much fatigued, and though J expected that the road would be somewhat drier to-day, yet I feared for the success of my plan. Tamak, therefore, was fixed upon for the end of this day’s journey, and after waiting at the 7p until my people had all departed, I followed. The first glance at the unfortunate camels, slipping along the ground, and tumbling down with their burdens, while nothing but heavy blows could induce them to rise or move at all, satisfied me that no baggage would reach Tamak that night, and that if I wanted to keep my people along with me, I must shorten the march. Bisentaur was therefore appointed as the night station, about three kos nearer than Tamék, but this new order only reached a small number of the suite.
About half-way to Bisent4ur stands a Serai of large dimensions. T have already said that these buildings were erected at certain distances, and served as lodging places for the Moghul Emperors when they travelled from Delhi to Kabaél. They are not always on the modern traveller’s route, nor must the reader even supposes, when I speak of aroad, that this is always a broad path kept in constant repair; it is, on the contrary, a mere beaten track, usually found with much trouble, altered by every accident of nature, and, in this part of the Panjab, constantly broken up by the ravines and hurried waters, and compelling the traveller, no longer invited to shelter himself in the Serai, to swerve very far from the original line. I never passed through a country so devoid of any pretension to beauty. The water has ploughed deep furrows in every direction, and probably owing to the summer droughts, the ground is left without cultivation. Our march was so toilsome that I almost despaired of seeing Bisentéur at all this night, the last hour being consumed in labouring through the deep sandy bed. of the Kahan, with precipitous banks on either side of us. Bisentéur lies on one of the highest points, but whether of the right or left bank I cannot say, for the now dry river winds in a thousand directions, and I was so entirely exhausted, that it was with difficulty that I climbed the bank which led us to the miserable dirty village, where the only decent house was the Zenana of the Thanadar. He offered to send his wives elsewhere if I would take up my quarters in it, but this felt bound to decline. It was in vain to think of waiting for my tent, and I was really at a loss where to go, for neither bearers nor servants were there to assist me. The wretched huts were full of vermin, the whole place seemed underwater, in the so-called street, the mud was over my feet; and without warm coverings, or cloak, to pass the night in the open air would have been death. At last, I found shelter in the Dharamsala, the house of the Sikh Guru, who, seeing me seat myself quite worn out at the threshold of one of the huts, invited me in, on the condition that none of my Musselman servants should enter; to this, however, I refused to accede, and the Brahmin, who joined me at the moment, was eminently useful to me, as the Sikhs hold them in great veneration. He told the Gurd that if he put up with the contamination of the unclean Musselman out of affection to me, a Sikh might safely do the same, and the other being reassured by his tone, opened his dwelling to me, which consisted of one apartment, inclosed on three sides, the other left open. I had neither bed nor chair, and was forced to lie on the ground, so weary and heartsick that life itself seemed a burden. Some of the servants arrived at eight in the evening. For the first time since our companionship, I left the care of providing food to Vigne, but neither khansaman nor bawarchi had arrived. Nazim Khan, Ahmed Shah's deputy from Iskardu, prepared for us a dish much eaten at Kabul, and which they called kubebi. It consisted of mutton cut into small pieces and roasted; Mohammed Shah sent us a mess of rewash, rhubarb, the Brahmin baked some chapatis, and when a bottle of Bordeaux was discovered, though I could not touch a morsel, Vigne’s hunger was quite satisfied. The night was cold and rainy, and as the bearers, who had the very things I wanted to protect myself against the weather, were still absent, it passed uncomfortably enough with me. The men who had come, pressed me to take whatever warm covering they had, but I could not deprive them of it, and only entreated to be left undisturbed. Trembling with cold, I watched through the greater | part of that wearisome night.
Sunday, January 3.-Long before daybreak I was awakened by the chanting of the Gur; and suffering from severe headache and cough, I wanted to start, but it was no easy matter to rouse up the poor tired creatures, and I felt how much it costs to put one’s self in motion. I had not the least idea what had become of the bearers, the camels, or two-thirds of my attendants. The Brahmin fulfilled his duty of presenting a handsome present to the Guri, on my part, which he acknowledged with the most profound gratitude, in words and gestures, blessing me in God’s name, and wishing me a happy journey. We were passing through the filthy streets, when the confidential servant of the Shah met us with the news that his master was very ill. I reproached myself for having quite forgotten him, since it was to be expected that the cold and damp together would be attended with ‘some injurious consequences to his health. I now dismounted quickly, and went on to see how he really was. I found him very feverish; and after giving him my usual prescription-calomel, advised him to wrap himself well up in his arm-chair, and keep as much warmth in him as possible, until we reached Makreli, eight kos from hence, which place I had fixed on as the station for the night. As soon as we were finally out of Bisentaur, we entered a country entirely composed of hills, running for a long time in every possible direction; and as if to put negative at once un the Guru's friendly wishes, s storm came rolling onwards from the southeast, the direction we were taking, and whence, for the last two days, we had heard occasional claps of loud thunder resounding. The hail storm now came on in good earnest, accompanied by repeated and terrific peals, which reverberating from bill to hill, made the noise quite deafening. Not a tree was visible, and my sedan being uncovered, 1 was wetted to the very skin. The bearers ran as fast as they could toa building at some distance, where the coolies had already taken refuge; but I did not allow them to remain there long, for the place was too small to admit my jampan, and I was consequently exposed all the time to the incessant rain. Our progress now became truly difficult, for the way was 80 slippery, that the bearers could scarcely keep on their feet; the ravines were all filled with water, foaming and tearing along, and there was not a spot on level ground. I: maybe guessed that we were by no means in a state to be envied, nor did the piercing wind and rain improve my cold or cough. At Length, the road became so bad, that I was obliged to get out and walk. The bearers had chosen to take a bye-way which shortened the distance by three kos, but which was only practicable for pedestrians and horses without any burden, and does not lead by Tamaki. Before we reached this place, it was necessary to descend into the bed of the Kahan; and after this, we found ourselves more than once in the midst of some swollen mountain torrent, and I was constantly slipping down the deep and insecure paths which skirted the banks. The formation of these is sandstone, of a light grey, very brittle, covered with a red ferruginous earth; the stratum of the sandstone is perpendicular; and on the summit of the hills insulated rocks projected in the most remarkable shapes, the intervening spaces being filled up with the earth above alluded to, which is frequently indurated to stone, and covered with another surface four or five inches thick. Pieces of chalcedony, measuring a quarter of an inch in thickness, are embedded in it; quartz in small crystals, and a whitish substance, unknown to me, is also found in the sandstone. Before we arrived at Makreli, we entered the bed of the Kahan, where the red, yellow, and grey formations towering above each other in masses, were most remarkable. The place is miserable, and very small. 1 was surprised to see the people and baggage coming in during the evening, but the poor camels were not to be driven so fast. I slept in my little tent, which they pitched in the Mohammedan cemetery, although it was not yet quite dry. For the first time for several days I enjoyed the genial warmth of a fire. Towards evening the Shah arrived: he was much better than when we parted, at least so he assured me; but I think his politeness to his physician carried him a little too far, for he still had a good deal of fever.
Monday, January 4.-I feel as if I ought to be nearer home; for my late exposure to bad weather has given me such a catarrh as I never had before, and my health is evidently affected. A fine sunshiny morning succeeded the stormy weather of yesterday; and before starting, I sent to inquire after my patient, who came to thank me in person, and to assure me that he was quite cured. I was as much astonished as many other doctors are occasionally at the success of their own prescriptions, though I had not quite so many scruples in testifying my surprise.
Our road, in point of hillocks and ravines, was little better than that of yesterday. We had gone about three kos, when we fell in with two Sikh battalions marching towards Peshawar, fine well-dressed men, with long blue coats and turbans. They were irregular troops, and formed no part of the French legion. They marched in good order, and were followed by a body of camp-followers with their tents, also in the close column; but I did not think it at all agreeable nevertheless, to be stopped by half a hundred camels in this narrow pass, where it was quite impossible to get out of their way. It was really a pitiable thing to watch these poor beasts trembling with fatigue, toiling up the steep way with their heavy burdens, which threatened every instant to oversee them. About a dozen women followed the troops, and one group, consisting of a little woman riding a small pony, with a young girl in front, and a taller one behind her, struck me as quite original. The fort of Rotas, one of the most extensive in the north of India, is visible from a high point at four kos’ distance, and encircles, as it were, an isolated hill between 200 and 300 feet high. It is separated into two by a deep cleft in the rock. The fort has an imposing appearance at the end of a fruitful plain, one of the first seen in this part of the Panjab, with the further advantage of being able to protect the harvest; and it is bathed by the waters of the Kahan, which winds around Bisentaur and Makreli; that is, when it has any water. The Mohammedans have sunk deep wells to supply the plain during the summer season, when the river is always dry; one of these, about two kos on this side of Rota's, is really an immense work. The fortress has long been abandoned as too extensive, and is now all but in ruins, one large portion of the walls have fallen into the depths below. The house of a fakir near the river, was fixed on as my resting-place, but on one side it lay entirely exposed to the wind, which at this season is piercingly cold throughout the Panjab; I wished, moreover, to visit the fortress, and therefore desired to be conducted to the lodging which Khan Singh told me had been got ready for my accommodation within it. The walls rise in the most singular forms above the river; the entrance gate, 200 feet high, seems to be quite lifted up in the air, so gigantic are its proportions. Other divisions of these immense works, are on a scale equally vast. There are but three gates in the whole fortress: two are almost concealed from view by the ravines and steep eminences close to them. The way to the third is more open towards the river, but still well defended by large towers, which protect the chief entrance, formed. By two gates, one within the other. On the second, which is reached by a winding path 100 or 130 feet higher than the first, is an Arabic inscription, which makes known the year of the Hejira, and that of the builder, Shir Shah Lodi Patan, who for five years, until his death in 1545, sat on the defeated Humayun’s throne of Delhi. When Humayun fled to Afghanistan and Persia, in order to levy forces to recover his kingdom, Shir Shah raised this formidable obstacle in his way. The interior is highly interesting. The ruins of buildings are scattered in every direction. The angular pillars yet standing; the one window in each direction, still traced in the solitary fragment of the ruined palace, struck me forcibly. It seemed unaccountable how it could have survived the ravages which have laid all waste beside it.
But northern India is more fortunate in this respect than the southern parts, where nature soon destroys the most substantial edifices. Here the vegetation is feebler, and they have not the Ficusreligiosa in such luxuriance, as in the more tropical regions, where it frequently takes root in the crevices of the walls. I did, indeed, see one tree of this species growing in Roads, at the door of a fakir, near the bridge which leads over the ravine to the interior of the town, but this was among the earliest symptoms of my approach to India, and during the cold months of winter the tree is always sickly. The portion of the wall above noticed, now standing has been rendered really habitable. Where the deep chasm has parted the mountain in two, a gate and bridge have been erected, which connect the two divisions of the fortress; and on the southern side of the gate, a large Indian fig has flourished nearly long enough to overshadow the whole of the entrance in the most picturesque manner. Here the Jemidar deputed by General Ventura to provide for me, had prepared a very convenient little dwelling, and a stock of wood for our use; a necessary article which it occasioned us considerable time and trouble to procure at every station. As I was about stepping in, I was saluted by a puff of smoke, and presently saw three dirty girls squatting around the fire, and warming some bread by it The poor Thanadar, who was expecting a great many eulogiums on the excellent state of the house, was struck dumb on seeing the children, who had taken the liberty of appropriating to their own use both the wood and the house, calculating that I should not make my appearance for some days to come. He gave the first who came within his reach. a slap, which sent her squalling away in a moment, but the others who echoed her screams, did not attempt to move, or to desist from their occupation, in spite of all I could say or do. I really could not help laughing at their horrid noises, and this seemed to have more effect than scolding, for as soon as their bread was done. to their liking, they took themselves off.
According to the Thanadar, the detached building which I had been observing with so much interest, is called the palace; Raja Mehan Singh ka Mahal; the people called it Mali Taj or Mali Burj, the Gardener’s Tower, and ascribe its construction to Mehan Singh, ShirShah’s wazir. The Thanadar told me that the fortress, as it now stands, was built in three years, and cost 150 lakhs of rupees. I could believe the last account more easily than the first; but as Shir Shah did not occupy the throne of India more than five years, meeting his death at Kalingarh by the bursting of a bomb from one of his own guns, which rebounded from the walls of the fortress, it is not probable the construction of this great work could have taken a much longer time. It was not until the reign of the third prince in succession to Shir Shah that Humayun led an army into India to reconquer the throne of his father. The governor of this fortress, Tatai Khan, evacuated it without striking a blow, and gave Namayun a good opportunity of seeing to advantage what his enemies had done for him. This fortress has never been well defended. We read in Ferishta’s History of India, that there was at Rotas an impregnable fortress four centuries before the Christian era, a proof of the high antiquity of the place.
This day General Ventura sent me two packages, one containing some excellent claret, the other some beer, a kindness which I felt most gratefully, and which I quickly acknowledged; for I had caught a severe cold in the late hail-storm, and my poor Brahmin was worse than myself. For his fever, I recommended a strong dose of calomel, and I got to his lodging to see him, but no further; for I had no strength left me. In the room where I had to sleep there was no window, and the walls were blackened with smoke, so that as I looked at the bed, and the lights burning near it, the whole had a most funereal aspect.
Tuesday, January 5.-I was very glad when the night was fairly gone. In the morning several sick persons came to ask my advice and aid as usual; among these were two sepoys belonging to the corps we had met yesterday on their march. One who was borne along by two comrades was past all human help, and as my store of medicines was exhausted, I could do little or nothing for any of them, however compassionately disposed towards them. During my journey to Kashmir, I was so frequently called upon to act the part of a physician, that I had abundant opportunity of observing the benefits arising from the use of calomel, and in this country, I should consider it tho only medicine of any service. We passed through a variety of climates in our long marches; sometimes we travelled in companies of some hundreds of persons together, and scarcely a day passed without one or more cases of sickness, and yet, with two solitary exceptions, (where jaundice had preceded the attack of fever,) none of them lasted more than a single day, nor did I lose so much as one of my followers during the whole five months of my travels, neither was I obliged to leave any of them behind me. . The whole company now started for Wazirabad, where a vehicle and four horses, sent by Ventura, awaited my arrival. The distance is thirty-one kos, and we learnt from Ranjit Singh’s guides that it was not an easy matter to divide the journey; for, except near the Jelam, there was no house to be met within those parts, and if I had my tent pitched, it would be necessary to make very short marches. Every six kos there had been serais, and to these Khan Singh proposed to direct me, dividing the journey into five days. To this, however, I objected, determining to put up with any inconvenience rather than thus linger by the way; and for the same reason I declined to take the other but longer route by Jaldlpoor, though the country was much better peopled.
I was induced afterwards to let Khan Singh do as he pleased to-day; for I anticipated great delay at the Jelam. He assured me that we could only march six kos. Our first essay brought us into a deep ravine, ending in the bed of the Kahan, through the heavy sand of which we struggled for some considerable distance. After marching four miles, we turned our backs on the high lands, and the plain of India lay stretched before us, without the faintest perceptible swelling in that broad and interminable vista; while behind us lay the grand mountains of Kashmir.
The lofty passes of the ToseMaidan and PirPanjal glistened and towered upward, like so many giant forms, their snowy mantles contrasting with the dark mountains in the vicinity of the plain. While the eye of the weary traveller rests with satisfaction on this play, the surface seeming to threaten no further impediment to his onward course, he glances with some surprise in the direction he has just been following, and sees none of those obstacles which made the latter part of his journey so tedious. Scarcely an eminence diversifies the uniformity of the general surface. The salt hills, which occupy much of the distance between this and the Atok, are here lost to the eye towards the south-west, the place where the mineral is found in the greatest abundance. -DadanPindi Khan is about six kos distant, the natives saying that no salt is found further east. The last hilly ground in this direction is a detached group south-west of Rotas, which is not visible for any distance on the other side of the Jelam.
The town called Jelam is five kos from Rotas, and there we quitted the Doab-i-SindiSagur, which lies between the rivers Atok and Jelam, and is here about ninety kos, or from 135 to 140 miles in breadth: a few words on this country in its earlier days before I leave it. Arrian and Strabo call the region between these two rivers;-Taxila, the chief town of which bore the same name. This capital might have been where Rawalpindi now stands, in a fruitful plain, no other town being met with further east until we come to Rotds, nor further west until we reach the plain of Atok. Maniky4la, with its vast ruins, which will be more fully dwelt on elsewhere, was fixed on by Burnes as the site of Taxila, but this lies in a poorly watered and unproductive country; whereas the Sawan, which flows by Rawalpindi, has some water, even in the driest season. After all, it is not very easy to decide where the course of a river may have been two thousand years ago, in a country where everything shows such amazing changes to have taken place in the soil. But the variety of ruins found in the neighbourhood of Rawalpindi is an evidence of the former existence of some large city in its vicinity. In the time of Alexander, Taxiles was the sovereign of Taxila, and when the conqueror passed the Indus, he sent an embassy consisting-of 700 persons, all horsemen, to meet him, and attend him to his city, which he surrendered at once, Alexander loading this peacelovingHindG monarch with presents and favours. Above Taxila in the mountains, Arrian places the kingdom of Abisarus, but whether this stretched to Kashmir we know not. From the accounts given us of Alexander’s march, we should believe that he penetrated further into the mountains calledEmoda, since we read that, having passed the Jelam, he bad the trees of the pine forests cut down to supply the river with shipping: these forests never extended to the plains. His fleet was composed, in part of the vessels which he had transported from the Indus, in part of those ships built at that city which he founded on either side of the Hydaspes or Jelam, and called Bucephalia, after his horse, and Naikia (victory), from his victory over Porus. Burnes believed Jal4lpoor to be the most probable site of these cities.
At least, there is no doubt of one fact, that when Alexander was in this country of Taxila, the people belonged neither to the Brahminical nor to the Buddhist faith; for the priests ate at his table, and did not burn their dead, giving them to be devoured by vultures: who would not at once decide from this to what religious community they belonged? I purpose resuming the subject when I have traversed the whole country of Alexander's conquest.
Jelam is a town of some importance, and the streets are clean, though narrow. At the entrance stands a group of trees and a fakir’s dwelling. The whole reminded me of the Delta of the Nile, the Phoenix farinosa, which grows as tall here as the date palms, and the acacias, being of the same species as in Egypt. The boiling point was 21] (2094 = 1620 feet above the level of the sea). The inhabitants met me in a body, with an invitation to take up my abode there for the night, while the shopkeepers requested that I would take everything that I wanted, without thinking of any payment. But for no consideration would I have prolonged my stay in the Panjab for a single day longer than was necessary.
Twenty large boats, excellently built and managed, convey travellers gratis across the river. ‘This river is much wider than the Atok by its town of the same name, but less deep and rapid. The right bank is rather high, the left is flat, and in the rainy season, no doubt, the water overflows it to a considerable extent. One kos from the Jelam lies the ruinous Serai called Narangabad, the outer walls of which are yet standing, and within them a population of filthy people in still filthier huts, I could not find any place to put up, and though the Guru of the Dharamsdla was ready to receive me, his house was so small, that there was no standing room for my bed. I had, therefore, to choose, my tent being too wet to be put up, whether I would sleep in the open air, or on the ground. On account of the season, I preferred the latter; but the loss of my tent entailed on me so much inconvenience, that I ordered the people, even at the risk of tearing it, to spread it out somewhere, that it might dry the sooner.
The Guru and his wife reminded me of Philemon and Baucis. They could not have numbered much less than two hundred years between them, and their feebleness prevented either of them from standing on their feet. I confess that envied the man, not the length of life, for a long life, is not always a happy one, but that, having witnessed the humiliation of his countrymen, he now lived to see them amply revenged.
The authorities of Jelam came to request that they might be allowed to supply my people with everything needful, to which I most willingly agreed, well assured that there was frothing to be purchased for any money in the Sarai.
Wednesday, January 6.-Having risen from my comfortless sleeping place, and reached the open square, where I had ordered my tent to be spread out, the first thing I saw was my unfortunate tent lying on the ground, and the Kalashis all fast asleep. It was evident that their laziness had lost me another night’s rest, besides increasing the chances that the tent would be entirely spoiled; and more vexed at their neglect of my orders than I ought to have been in reason, I desired them instantly to get up, pitch the tent properly in my presence, and then wait until the heat of the sun had thoroughly dried it, after which they were to pack it properly and follow me. This naturally caused so much delay that I knew I must not expect to be able to sleep under it this night;.but it was, at all events, quite useless to me while so wet. Besides, 1 did not think it was likely that I should have any occasion to pitch the tents again after to-night, and felt anxious to take a farewell: look at them as companions with whom I had passed many solitary hours. Although Khawés Khan is not more than twelve miles, we had a Jong march, and some ravines which I had not at all expected. The country is indifferently cultivated, but it seems to support a vast number of horned cattle. The flocks of sheep and goats also were numerous, the last growing to an enormous size. We can now perfectly understand a remark of Ctesias, that the Indian goats are as large as asses, an assertion which is quite correct, taken in the sense of Strabo, who by the term India means the Panjab. The SeraiKhawas Khan, which we did not reach till nightfall, was surrounded by high walls smeared with up, or cow dung, which also is the only fuel used by the natives. The town on the plain is built in the form of a fort. It is populous, but has a singular appearance, all the walls and roofs of the houses being covered with upla drying in the sun: stores of the same are also heaped up in the open square in large quantities.
The only resting-place to be found, was an open mosque; and with much difficulty, I had obtained a supply of fuel, which I knew would be indispensable during the long cold night. For a rupee each, I had also hired two men to keep it alive while I slept. The cold, however, soon awoke me; nor was I much surprised to find the fire all but out, and the men fast asleep. This would not have happened had they been Hind&s. I made them get up, went with them to the nearest houses in search of more wood, got a small supply, and again kindled a fire, by which I remained sitting all the rest of the night, finding it impossible to keep myself warm.
Thursday, January 7.-From SeraiKhawas Khan to Wazirabad is twelve kos, through an open, level country, with a fertile though little cultivated soil. Gujrat, a town enclosed by mud walls, in about halfway, and is a place of importance to the family of Ranjit Singh. His father, Maha Singh, whose fortune it was to lay the foundation of that power, which his son afterwards extended over the whole Panjab, was, in his twenty-seventh year, engaged in an attempt to gain possession of this Gujrat, being at the time in the neighbouring and opulent city of Sohdera. Ranjit Singh possessed himself of it in a manner which I shall refer to elsewhere, but certainly not much to the increase of his honour. Indeed, it was always the policy of this wily chief to press his demand on those who had no power to resist his claims; the helpless, the orphan, and the widow, have ever been the objects he has more peculiarly oppressed.
Between the Jelam and Chendb, is the JinhatDofb, twenty-six kos broad in the direction I took across it. The Chenab is shallow and rather sluggish, but nowhere fordable; the low bank is no obstacle to its overflowing, and at present, it is a good half-mile broad, though the waters are not at their usual level. From the left bank, it is about an hour's march to Wazirabad; and shortly before our arrival at that place, the authorities made their appearance, with a party of horse sent by Ranjit Singh, and with a carriage and four, for which I was indebted to the kindness of General Ventura. I felt infinitely happy to think that I was at the end of a tedious journey, which requires at this season more strength than I could boast; and had I halted even for one day, so excited was my nervous system, that I doubt not I should have been quite laid up. It seemed like a dream when I found myself really seated in this vehicle, and drawn by four horses to Wazirabad. There the Mah& Raja has built a palace in the midst of a lovely garden, which is a singular edifice, both in its exterior form and its internal decorations. It has two stories, and in the centre is a sort of tower which divides the wings, while the outside walls, as well as the apartments within, are adorned with fresco paintings illustrative of the religion of the Sikhs. Among them are the portraits of the ten Gurfs from Nanak the first to Govind the last, the size of life; the chief painter of Ranjit’s court is certainly not a Raphael. I preferred taking up my quarters for the night in a small pavilion, containing one large and four small rooms, which appeared to me more comfortable than the stately palace. We had to wait for our dinner a long while, for the bearers, who were far in. the rear, had all the cooking apparatus and provisions with them. In truth, the distance was too great for them; henceforward, as I had little need of their services, they travelled as leisurely as they pleased.
Available, an officer high in Ranjit Singh’s favour, and now commanding in Peshawar under Shir Singh, was for some time Governor of Wazirabad; while he resided here he almost rebuilt the town in the European style, and pulled down the old bazar, making the streets wide enough to admit a carriage and four horses, to the astonishment of the natives, the streets being so excessively narrow in most Indian towns, that a pedestrian can hardly force his way through the bazar. The people are enraptured with the present beauty of the bazar of Wazirabad, and its charms were boastingly represented to me long before I gawk it.
Friday, January 8.-I was so apprehensive of coming clouds, that yesterday I took the direction of the mountains with the magnetic needle, for the proper completion of my map. There is no place on the plain whence the form and position of the mountains can be so well ascertained as this; the snow which covered a large portion of them, rendered the task of fixing their relative heights much easier; this, together with my knowledge of the distances between each of the most prominent, combined to make the present a very interesting attempt. My fears concerning the weather proved groundless, the mountains standing forth in all their majesty to-day, though not appearing to the eye so towering as by the twilight of last evening. The prospect from the terrace around the pavilion is a very lovely one. Below lies a soft meadow, covered with the verdant green of the early year; the Chenab winds along the plain to an immense distance, bathing the feet of the mountain chain, which, with the gentle undulations of the nearest ridge, softened by distance, now forms the misty limits of the plain. From there, the eye is attracted to the mountains rising high behind each other, covered with snow, and seemingly very much nearer than in reality. The plain, without tree or village on that side, stretches out to an interminable extent, contrasting very powerfully with the diversity of form so remarkable in these mountains. I could plainly recognise the double pyramid called Mer and Ser, which is further off than the valley of Kashmir, and could even discern by the distinction of colour, that in that region no snow had fallen very recently.
I had determined on taking only a small number of attendants to Lahor, and sending on the greater part direct to Ludhiana; for at Wazirabad the road branches off to both places, the way to Ludhiana by Lahore being one-third longer than the direct road. This plan required a division of the baggage, a most disagreeable occupation for the whole morning. Indian servants are utterly useless, except as machines; literally obeying their master’s orders, without exercising a particle of their own intellect. I, therefore, imposed on myself the penance of packing those objects which had cost me much money and trouble, and which their negligence might have entirely spoiled.
The servants had taken their departure at eleven o'clock, I strolled, for the last time, ere I went my way, into the grounds which surround the pavilion;.and after my last month’s experience of a wild and uncultivated country, I cannot express the delight I felt at seeing this Indian garden, with its regular little flower-beds and fountains. There is something very tranquillizing in these scenes, where the desire of embellishing life is displayed so tastefully; whereas the love for the darker and more terrible in nature, whether occupied by the beasts of the forest, or men scarcely less savage, is one of those unreasonable fancies indulged mostly by persons who have never experienced the dreariness of regions unimproved by industry and civilization. When one gazes from some eminence on such a country, and beholds nothing but forests, unrelieved by field or human habitation, it is then ouly that a correct idea can be formed of an Indian wilderness. It may be very pleasant to dream of wild countries and simple people, in a well-furnished house or a beautiful garden, surrounded by pleasures, and comforts, and friends: but the reality is. very different. For myself, who have seen enough of solitude, sublimity, and the more terrific beauties of nature, I admit that the lot of a Euroveanlabourer seems to be more enviable than that of the greatest among Indian princes; and a small garden laid out and ornamented by the owner's taste, more charming than the gigantic scenery of the Himalaya, or the finest view in Ceylon. Perhaps, nevertheless, I may think otherwise, after enjoying for some time the safety and peace to be found in the everyday life of Europe.
In the neighbourhood of Kashmir, I had found the Linumtrigynum in the ravines where waters were flowing; in this garden, the same plant grew: as a beautiful shrub four or five feet high, of a spherical form, and covered with a profusion of flowers.
We soon get used to luxury; and in this delightful English carriage, I could fancy myself, if not in Europe, at least very near it, and forget that I had ever travelled by a less comfortable conveyance. The distance to Guseraoli is reckoned twelve kos, about twenty miles: the country is poorly cultivated. This is one of the possessions of Hari Singh Nalwa, commander-in-chief of all the Maha Raja's troops, the French legion alone excepted. Originally it was the property of Ranjit’s family, which can be traced no further back than to his grandfather, Charat Singh, the descendant of a common ‘trooper, or Dharwari. Hari Singh Nalwa has a palace and garden in Guseraoli, which are protected by a mud fort. As we drew near the town, a troop of horse was deputed to escort me; and presently the Diwan rode up, mounted on an elephant. The splendour of the rooms in the palace did not excite my admiration nearly so much as the garden, which was the most beautiful and best kept I had seen in India. The trees were loaded with oranges, of the same kind known in China as Mandarin oranges, but much larger and finer, here called the Santreh orange; Hari Singh has also transported the plane-tree from Kashmir, which seems to flourish exceedingly well in its new locality. An odour almost overwhelming ascended from the jonquils, which were in immense abundance, and of an incredibly large size. Nothing, in fact, could be more carefully adorned with lovely flowers and plants of various kinds, than this garden, which evidently formed one of the chief delights, and sometimes the occupation of its owner: it reminded me of my own at home. As I approached the terrace, where I saw luxurious carpets spread, Hari Singh came to meet me, with a present, consisting of twenty-five plates of sweetmeats, and a dozen baskets of fruit, &c. I tasted some of the former, and found them very good. He then conducted me over the palace, every room of which was hung and covered with the richest carpets of Kashmir and Kabul, a sight promising comfort and repose, and most inviting in this cool season. When I mentioned the coldness of the last few days, he immediately ordered two portable stoves to be taken to my apartments. Hari Singh’s manner and conversation are very frank and affable; and having acquainted me beforehand with the history of this most distinguished member of Ranjit’s court, I surprised him by my knowledge whence he had gained the appellation of Nalwa, and of his having cloven the head of a tiger who had already seized him as its prey. He told the Diwan to bring some drawings, and gave me his portrait, in the act of killing the beast. Hari Singh Nalwa was the person sent. by Ranjit to invite LordWilliam Bentinck to confer with the Maha Raja at Shimla; and as 1 happened to know most of the persons he had met there, our conversation was very different from the majority of such interviews in India, and really consisted of a due exchange of ideas, and of references to events which had actually taken place. His questions proved him to pave thought and reasoned justly: he is well informed on the statistics of many of the European States, and on the policy of the East India Company, and, what is very rare among the Sikhs, he can both read and write the Persian language.
As my stores had not arrived at Guseraoli, I was very glad to accept Hari Singh’s offer of providing us with a dinner, which both Vigne and myself dispatched with an excellent appetite.
Saturday, January 9.-The warmth of the rooms procured me the great comfort of rest last night, and for the first time for a very long period, I would willingly have indulged myself with more sleep. While the carriage was being packed, I strolled out into a part of the garden which I had not yet visited, and wondered at the variety of little buildings scattered about it; one of these, called San Padre, is in the form of a square with one side open, and a fountain in the middle, which falls into a broad thick sheet of water. In the three walls, I observed several niches made for lamps.
I wished to take leave of Hari Singh, and thank him for his kind reception of us; and on inquiring for him, was conducted to the terrace, where he was seated in the sun, having caught a cold and slight fever. He was able, notwithstanding, to keep up a very lively conversation, and put a variety of questions. He had all my answers taken down on paper. On my departure, he presented me with a beautiful Khilat, accepting in return some trifles as a remembrance of me. He was pleased greatly to magnify their value. Our station for tonight was only six kos from Guserdoli; I had, therefore, time enough to see the garden and house which was formerly the residence of Ranjit Singh, but it contains nothing remarkable; except a small build. ing erected over the spot, where the remains of his father Maha Singh were burnt, and another over the ashes of his mother.
Not far from Guserdoli, I was met by Jini Lai, the same Brahmin from Delhi who had accompanied Burnes, and was now sent to me by the Maha Raja; two elephants, with rich housings and silver howdahs, and thirty men on horseback, attended him. On my approach, they saluted me with military honours, and two trumpeters struck up, “God save the king.” The large tent of General Ventura was pitched at a small place called Kamutki. It was a singular-looking Beehoba, (a tent fixed without tent-poles,) which is peculiar to the Panjab. The servants and baggage all arrived in due time, and we got our dinner before nightfall, which had not been the case very frequently of late.
Sunday, January 10.-The country still remains but poorly cultivated. To-day we had a short march of seven or eight kos to Nangel, where another tent belonging to this General was pitched: this had three separate divisions. We had for several miles enjoyed the view of the lofty mountain chain, and behind the snowy range and the Baldewa, at an immense distance, the Mer and Ser were seen proudly rising.
I can hardly describe how delightful the present mode of travelling seemed to me. Everything appeared to go on with so little trouble, the only drawback being, that I did not come into contact so frequently with the natives, nor learn so much about the country through which I was passing. My present experience taught me how it happens that so few Englishmen know anything of the manners or customs of that part of India which they have perhaps travelled over the best part of their lives. The truth is, they move from place to place, without giving themselves any concern, and generally by night, unlearning whatever correct ideas they may have brought out with them from their own country respecting India, and in their solitary tents kill time, which with them passes so slowly, by inventing sundry theories, which a just examination of things as they are, would speedily dispel from their minds.
Navin Kumar Jaggi
Gurmeet Singh Jaggi