TRAVEL TO KASHMIR THROUGH PANJAB UNDER THE COMPLETE SUZERAINITY OF MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH.
In the travelogue penned by Baron Charles Hugel of his tortuous, circuitous and labyrinthine route ascending the eclivities and descending the declivities in a hot and humid and elsewhere extremely cold climate has been poignantly and painstakingly narrated as follows:
We were put on the shore near a picturesque temple, where I took leave of the great men, whom the Raja of Bilaspoor had sent as an escort of honour with me. We were now in the Panjab, the dominions of Ranjit Singh, the Maha Raja of Lahore, a vast plain bounded on the north by the Himalaya, and lying between the Indus or Atok, and the Setlej, called in this part, after receiving the waters of the Beas, the Ghara. The other three rivers which water the country, Panjab meaning five waters, Panj being the Persian for five, and Ab water, are the Ravee, the Chinab, and the Jelum. The Setlej or Ghara falls into the Indus, which is called also the Sind, and the Atok; into these five large rivers flow several of less importance, of which the Beas is perhaps the most full.
Each of the districts of the Panjab which lies between two rivers is called Doab, from Do, two, and Ab, water, and of these there are five, viz.: the Jalander Doab, between the Setlej and the Beas; the Baree Doab, between the Ghara and the Ravee; the Rukna Doab, between the Ravee and the Chinab; the Jeteh Doab, between the Chinab and the Jelum; the Doab-i-Sindi Sagur, between the Jelum and the Indus.
The three first are by far the most fertile districts; the others being hilly, with many deep ravines throughout. The natives, too, are generally inferior in intellect to those in the more fruitful country. The Doab-i-Sindi Sagur is of much greater extent than the others.
The natural advantages of Panjab are very great. Large productive plains, watered by the never-failing springs of the Himalaya, which swell into noble streams, capable of bearing the largest vessels, and favoured with a delightful climate, what has nature not done to make it and all its people are contented and happy! I need hardly remind the antiquary, that in the days of Alexander the Jelum was known as the Hydaspes, the Chinab as the Acesines, and the Ravee as the Hydraotes. To give some idea of the various names under which the same place' is known in India, I may cite the Setlej, which in the mountains is called by its Sanscrit name Satudra; higher up the country, it receives the various names of Zangti, Naksang, Langzhing, and Samudrung; and nearer the Panjab, it is called Ghara. The Beah is called in Sanscrit Vipdsat; and in different places by the natives, Beas, Veah, and Béya. The Sanscrit name of the Ravee is Atravadi, and it is known also as the Rhoas. The Chinab, in Sanscrit Chandrabhdéga, a river of the Moon, is called by the natives Sandabhaga, Jenab, Jenal, Ghenal, and Ghenab. The Jelum, in Sanscrit Vitasta, is known also as the Behat; and the Indus is Atok in Sanscrit, Sind in the native dialect, and high up the country, Chu, Sechu, and Lingti.
JOURNEY TO KASHMIR.
It was early in the morning of the 16th October, when my short passage across the Setlej brought me into the dominions of Ranjit Singh. My mind was engrossed with the future, which Jay before me sad and solitary. Fatigues and dangers seemed to point out the road I had to travel. Though in the midst of a crowd, I was nevertheless a solitary being; in descent and colour, in education and religion, in dress and manners, and more than all these, in mind and heart, in every thought and feeling, I was absolutely alone.
Oppressed with these melancholy thoughts, I seated myself under the shade of a large Indian-fig tree before the temple of Jelakatel, and as my attendants wandered about in the distance, I keenly felt my own isolated state, without one near or dear to me, not one soul to sympathize with me in sadness, or to participate in any emotions awakened by the sight of nature’s grandest scenes; not an individual to bear my last wishes to my distant friends, was I forbidden ever to see them more.
Although now in the territories of Ranjit Singh, had not entirely quitted the Raja of Bilaspoor’s country, for he is partly under the protection of the Company, and partly under the dominion of the Maha Raja. To facilitate my observations in travelling through a country so little known, I had begun a small map on the other side of the Setlej, although I was under some apprehension that Mirza, who I hardly doubted had been sent by Ranjit Singh to act as a spy on my movements, would inform his master of my occupation, and receive instructions to stop any further continuance of it.
As far as the line to which English protection extends, the road is very tolerable for an Indian one, but when the Setlej is crossed, it is hardly possible to conceive that one can be in a country where any communication whatever is carried on. For a mile or more, the only road is over large stones lying loose in the path, which a few workmen might clear away in a day or two, but which are left there as preliminary torture. On the height of Ladhera, it is alternately up and down slippery black rocks, where at one moment the traveller finds himself precipitated into a deep hollow, at the next, scrambling up the steep sides of the rocks, assisted only here and there by some steps three or four feet high, hollowed out of the stone. The ghunts, or little ponies of the Himalaya, were here in their element, while the mules and horses belonging to Ranjit Singh’s officers were sorely distressed, and repeatedly fell down the precipices.
From these heights, the Setlej, winding in its deep rocky bed through the mountain passes, had a most romantic appearance, and the country is interspersed with groups of buildings, before which the fields are formed into terraces carefully constructed and kept perfectly level. At each turn, the traveller hopes to find himself at an opening into the fine plain which seems so near him, until the continual ravines and steep ascents, the wearisome difficulties of his way, teach him how to bear disappointments. Near Mansala the road improves. Here I found a crowd assembled round a Bairagi, one of those classes of penitents which admit members of all ranks and castes. There are many such throughout India, but the particular rules to which these subject themselves, render them more remarkable than some others. Their disciples, carefully chosen for their natural talent, are subjected to a novitiate of several years, and poverty is the first vow they take. Then alone, and barely covered, with nothing but one small vessel, in which they cook the pittance of rice charitably bestowed on them by the way, they wander about from one part of Asia to another. The one I saw here was in the prime of life. His hair was strewed with ashes, over which a crown of wildflowers had been negligently placed; and another fresh garland hung low from his shoulders. His only garment was a piece of coarse stuff fastened to a rope girt round his loins, and his body was already almost grey from the ashes constantly rubbed on it. On seeing me draw near, the Bairag! beckoned to the crowd to stand back and advanced to meet me. My attendants all saluted him with the deepest veneration, and 4 Ram Ram Shahif, The blessing of God on thee, my lord, and the bearers stood still, expecting me also to shew the like respect. The penitent took the crown of flowers from his head and would have sent it to me, but as no one offered to take it from his hand, he moved forward himself. I had never seen before, even in the presence of an Indian Bairagi, such an exhibition of religious fanaticism. After he had held the crown outstretched towards me for some time, he replaced it on his own head, and took the garland from his shoulders, waiting for someone to convey that to me; however, not a soul stirred afoot, and I, therefore, invited him to crown. He did this after a little delay, and, as I remarked, with a certain repugnance and haughty bearing, as though he were doing something to which his pride could hardly condescend. On inquiring who he was, he answered, “My name was Tamia, and I was the Wazir of the Raja of Naddun. Now I serve a higher master, and my name is Tamu Shah.”
These Bairagis are philosophers who neither refuse the necessaries of life nor assume the manners of a Diogenes. They are of independent habits compared with most other classes, and the traveller who can overcome the first impression of a suspicious sanctity, caused by the strangeness of their appearance, will receive more information from them in one interview, than if he travelled from one court to another throughout the whole of India.
Just before we reached the next village, Dukolee, the country suddenly opened on a plain which seemed to extend between the Tayuni and Panauli mountains, as far as the snowy hills in the north-west, and the Bondelah mountain behind Bilaspoor in the south-west. The view over this plain is remarkably fine. In the foreground lies a forest of splendid Indian-fig trees, under whose shadows hundreds of men and beasts might rest, and whose branches are alive with the feathered creation. The high hills are, in many places, crowned with villages, and the eye ranges over an immense variety of plants, the rich natives of Indian land. Another easy ascent, and then a gentle declivity, and we reached Kumagaheti, the first day’s halt, where my little tent was pitched already in the plain. Gaheti means a Serai or lodging, where the traveller finds what he needs to cook his meals; viz., rice, spices, butter, fruits, peas, beans, and fodder for his beasts, and besides these, some charades, or beds, are provided. These beds are made of cords stretched tightly over a frame of wood, and resting on four low feet; but woe to the unlucky traveller who reckons on a night’, rest on one of them; it requires the thick skin of an Indian, op long habit, to support the attack of the bosts of vermin which swarm in every crevice. The distance from Bilaspoor to Kumagaheti I, reckoned at eight cosses, I calculate it at fifteen miles, which took mg five hours to travel, the heat being most oppressive among the black rocks.
Saturday, October 17th, at six in the morning, the thermometer being at 59° Fahrenheit, there was lightning in the north-west. This day's journey to Meyri was nine cosses, about eighteen miles; a cold morning was succeeded by a day, which, by contrast, seemed warm in the extreme. The thermometer, however, at one o'clock, was not higher than 81° and remained stationary until five. The country was more open than yesterday, but the ascents and descents endless, An invisible stream which rushed through a little forest of pines until it formed a foaming waterfall, seemed, to my fancy, much more romantic than the reality might have shown it to be. The high chain of hills, called Mori, with its everlasting snows, was not intercepted from my view by any intermediate-high ground, but at times, the clouds, which hung over it, announced that rain, perhaps a heavy storm, was visiting that region. The highest point of the mountains is called by the natives Champa.
At Hablibeti, the station for the night, close by Meyri, I found neither wood nor any other provision, and was forced to send the Kotwal two miles, to obtain food for my people; at five o’clock the bearers came up with my baggage. This was a lesson to me to make my attendants always precede me in future, for I felt that my difficulties would probably increase as I proceeded and that I must make up my mind, either to travel very tediously or to dispense with my numerous suite. In the first case, I might certainly reach Kashmir, but it would not be before the next spring, for when once the snow falls in the mountain paths, all intercourse with India is at an end for many months.
Some persons may conclude, that after five years’ experience in travelling, distance and solitude, whether in India or New Holland, would cease to be painful. Habit, however, which can bring us to endure so much, has, nevertheless, its prescribed limits, and to some men, every day casts a stone more on the weight that oppresses the heart, until, at length, nature can bear no more. A tombstone, in some sequestered spot, eventually points out the place where the lonely traveller has taken up his last sad earthly rest.
Had I only followed the plans I had laid down for myself at Bilaspoor, I should have got on much faster; but now, I was encumbered with the Raja of Bilaspoor’s people, and it is always a matter of perfect indifference to these Orientals, whether a traveller is delayed a month more or less on his way on their account.
‘By night-fall, all my baggage was collected together, except the large tents; my people all cried out, that it was the Munshi’s fault, that the bearers would not set out until noon, because they were not sufficiently paid. I was obliged to promise, that I would set the matter right when he arrived. In the meanwhile, I strolled out to watch the sun than going down behind the hills. The scenery was peculiarly wild and romantic. In a deep hollow, a stream runs hurriedly along the plain, forming cataracts so closely hemmed in with rocks that it is impossible to approach them; the deep rushing sound betraying their existence long ere they are perceptible. A little further on the river widens; the rocks rising, as it were, into perpendicular walls, the spectator looks down on the water beneath into a deep abyss. Tropical plants wave on either bank, and all looks picturesque and mysterious, not forgetting some little villages reposing peacefully under lofty trees, It was the season of the rice harvest, and I was delighted to hear from a peasant, that it had been a. very abundant one. I learnt that in this part -five seers, about 124 Ibs., of rice cost from three to five farthings; this seemed to be little enough, but I said to my informant, carelessly, "I see you take me for a European, ignorant of your Indian prices, or you would not ask me so much.” The man smilingly replied, "You are perfectly right in your conclusion, I did so."
My little tent was set up between two citron trees, which were rather insufficient to protect me against the sun while it remained high in the heavens. Towards evening the thunder rolled in the distance, and the lightning was very vivid; I was afraid that a storm of rain was approaching to deluge our little encampment, but as the night advanced, the clouds gradually dispersed, and the air became most refreshing and delightful.
Sunday, October 18, thermometer, at six o’clock, 59° of Fahrenheit. There are certain days in one’s life when we seem to ourselves to feel as uncomfortable as a man can be until the issue shows us that our troubles in this world are at least one half of our own creating: such was the result of this day. The apprehension that I should be detained from Kashmir the whole winter irritated my mind; full of impatience, therefore, I was up before dawn, determined to be on my way early. Happily disappointed in my expectation, that the large tents would not be brought during the night, I did not suffer this to interrupt my preparations. In this, however, my followers did not second me, for the bearers and muleteers, mostly the subjects of the Raja of Bilaspoor, one and all flatly refused to accompany me. The latter threw the baggage on the ground, and attempted to drive away from the cattle; this I resisted, very uncertain at the same time how the affair would terminate, and very much afraid that, at least, I should have to pass the day where I was. The sixty-four bearers from Bilaspoor had received part of their wages in advance, in order to provide themselves with food; they now demanded the remainder before they quitted the station.
The Panjab bearers rarely receive any remuneration in return for their services; on the contrary, they are compelled by the government, without whose permission nobody can travel, to perform their duty gratuitously; I had engaged, however, to give the poor fellows a sum, which, according to the low price of rice, their only food, would, in one day, have supplied their whole family for a month. I was now in a critical position. Earlier dangers had warned me, that if these men were at once paid up what they were hired for, they would, most probably, run away to amuse themselves with the money elsewhere, but as . my people all assured me, that as soon as they were paid, they would willingly take up their burthens, I, at last, gave in and desired the Munshi, who strongly opposed my resolution, to satisfy their demand at once. Scarcely was the money in their hands, than what I had anticipated came to pass; they decamped, and with them also the Raja’s soldiers. Perhaps there are few things more difficult than to know how to deal with ignorant men; last evening the Munshi had given these bearers an anna, and they had refused, on that plea, to move a step further; now that they were paid their whole wages they ran away. I ordered my Munshi to make a formal complaint to the Raja in my name and to insist on the punishment of the ‘soldiers who had abandoned their posts, but no good resulted from my application. At length, I found in the little village of Meyri, ten bearers willing to give their services, and with six who had stood to their posts, being, in fact, bound on a pilgrimage to Jwala-Mukhi, and an additional dozen pressed, with some difficulty, into the service from the country around, we managed to start. This unwillingness to labour only for one day, to earn subsistence for a month, so often found throughout the East, appears extraordinary. These men were all apparently in the most abject poverty, and yet nothing short of blows would make them industrious. Seeing now that all things were in the due train, I mounted my ghunt and desired that ten of the Jampan bearers would assist in carrying the luggage and follow me. Next came the turn of the five drivers, who refused to budge an inch with the cattle. The foremost, an old man, swore that we might break his head, but that nothing should make him quit Habliheti, and though my servants had tried the effects of blows on all the others, on this stubborn old fellow, being a servant of the Raja's, they dared not lay their hands. I remained, for a long time, a silent spectator of what was going on, but when they all proceeded to seat themselves on the baggage, and thus effectually prevent the packing being continued, I thought it high time to interfere, and seizing a very efficient bamboo, I very soundly thrashed the whole five, not even respecting the person of the Raja's servant. This argumentum ad hominem used very reluctantly, and for the first time in all my travels, immediately put every doubt to flight. I heard not a word more of complaint: the animals were soon in motion; but I observed, with many misgivings, that their strength was quite unequal to their task: in crossing a rivulet, the poor mule, bearing the heavy fly, or outer covering of my large tent, staggered and fell, and the load being made still heavier by the soaking it had received, it became perfectly unmanageable. In vain we essayed the backs of his fellows, not one of them was sufficiently strong; leaving one of my people, therefore, to look after the load, I spurred onward, thinking to find sufficient bearers at the next village; but I was not yet thoroughly acquainted with the Jalander Doab and its inhabitants. Not an individual would stir, out of a very populous village, until he received the orders of the Wazir. I showed them money and inquired whether they did not consider a rupee of far greater value than a Wazir’s order. They were deaf, notwithstanding, to my remonstrances, till at length the Chaprasis compelled two of them to carry the load. Again I had reason regret, that I had not hired these bearers by the month, as in some of my former travels.
All these petty annoyances detained me the whole morning, still, they could not entirely rob me of the enjoyment derived from the splendid view of the mountains which towered in majestic grandeur high over the plain we were now in. The country, gradually, became more open, and in this part consisted of spacious valleys or of plains, surrounded and skirted by hills, which were sufficiently steep, without costing such infinite fatigue to surmount them, nor were the streams which hitherto had rushed so furiously over their deep rocky beds, so frequently met with, From several points J caught a fine prospect of the snowy hills, which are connected with the Himélaya by a single mountain range. This chain of hills is known as the Mori.
Hamirpoor is about ten miles from Meyri. Here I found my tent pitched under a fig-tree, the aspect of vegetation is still tropical.
The magnificent foliage of the mango, fig, and Musa paradisaical plantain, is intermingled with that of the oak of Shimla, berberis aristata and bramble. Monkeys are not common in Bilaspoor, but parrots, the beautiful squirrel of the tropics, and many kinds of the dove and the turtle-dove, are abundant.
The water is very pure; in every village, and often in the midst of a wood, J found a spring walled about, generally in a small square, with steps leading down to it, and a paved space, the spring flowing from a niche cut out frequently to represent one of their deities, usually either Ganesha or Lachmi. At these springs the Hindu women are often burnt with the corpses of their husbands. The temperature at six o'clock, 4.M., was 59°; at three o’clock it marked 82°; at six o'clock, P.M. 74°. In the course of the evening upwards of a hundred men came to offer themselves as bearers; fifty were hired to go as far as Jwala-Mukhi, and twenty were sent back for my baggage to Meyri, and to the brook where the fly of my tent was still left.
Monday, Oct. 19th. - I was up before dawn, and ready to start, Jacquemont never said a truer word in his life than when he called Ranjit Singh’s soldiers the laziest, good-for-nothing rascals on earth. My tent was standing about three hundred paces from the door of the Gaheti, the caravanserai of this country, where Mirza had passed the night, and whence all my messages and commands could not extricate him. The coolies began to rebel also and refused to officiate any longer as bearers. I was once more therefore under the necessity of taking the law into my own hands, and entering the Gaheti, dragged Mirza very unceremoniously off his charpay, and sent bim to arrange with the mutineers. In customs, form, and dress, these people resemble the natives of upper Hindustan; but instead of the gentleness and willingness to oblige, invariably found there, the inhabitants of the Panjab are stubborn and disobliging to a degree I never met with in my life before. Neither entreaties nor threats can make them keep their promises, and this, not from any idea that they shall not be paid, but out of sheer sullenness and stupidity. In three days they can easily earn nine annas, sufficing to support their families for a month. At first, I inclined to the belief that they were afraid of the weight they had to carry until I say one of them refuse to bear a small chair and half of a table on his head, certainly not more than ten pounds’ weight altogether; and my only consolation, amid these scenes of alternate strife and forced sub. mission, was, that when they were hungry they would work.
I was overjoyed to see my Munshi return with the rest of my baggage from Meyri, and related to him all my grievances, desiring his interference to maintain order among my followers. In truth, it was very disagreeable to me to see the constant and yet perfectly useless ill-treatment practised by Mirza and the soldiers of the Maha Raja on these miserable Hindus. The Munshi walked away, took his seat under one of their sacred trees, and in the course of a short time had congregated round him a crowd of the villagers, engaged more men than we absolutely needed, besides cattle to carry the heavier loads; and I found myself most happily rid of the Raja of Bilaspoor’s useless drones, to whom I made amends, however, for the blows I had given them.
When we were fairly once more under weigh, and I was following the train through a forest of palms, I inquired of the Munshi how he had managed to make these idlers so compliant on a sudden; he answered that he had opened his dress and shown them his brahminical cord, reminding them that he was their master, and yet a servant of the great king, the Maha Raja, who was close by. ‘ And will you presume,” exclaimed he, to them, “to refuse to obey for one day, him whom I always serve,-you, who are cultivators, and I a Brahmin !”
This day's march was only ten miles; at first, the road led up a gentle ascent through a wood of pines; four or five miles further on, it opened suddenly on a temple, the outer walls of which were entirely concealed by some enormous fig-trees. This edifice is called Samnai, and commands an extensive and lovely prospect over the Kunyar, the jarge temple of Khagul, and on the other side a smiling country, interspersed with villages and watered by the Beas. Towards the south rises another hill, crowned with two strong forts; and to the north-west towers the snow-capped Mori, the highest peak better known as the Palam Kidar.
The Khagul temple, lying on the declivity, would be passed by without notice in the south of India, where the immense mass of buildings sometimes covers a space of not less than a quarter of a mile; but here, in this comparatively poor and desolate country, it is considered quite a curiosity. In the centre of the large court, which is surrounded by high walls, and paved with smooth stones, circular steps lead down to the tank, where a spring gushes forth from the mouth of a sculptured cow. The adjoining edifice is for priests, and for the reception of pilgrims.
The road continues along the right bank of the Kunyar, which flows calmly along, in a channel which seems about fifty fathoms in width, but when I saw it, it was not more than one-third filled, and in most places fordable, over the huge stones which form its bed. The road is 80 painful in many parts, owing to the steepness of the rocks, that I chose rather to ford the stream a second time than brave them: At Ril Thalted, taking up my quarters for the night in a deserted garden of the Chiri Raja. In the course of the afternoon some native women came to complain of the depredations committed by my people on their titron-trees, producing, in confirmation, a basket filled with the fruit; and despairing of my influence over the unruly bearers, I was obliged, for peace’ sake, to pay them the estimated value of the fruit on their trees, Which amounted to no more than two rupees; this settled, I suffered the men to finish the demolition of the crop, which was effected in a Very few minutes. I must add that this was the first complaint of the kind that I had heard, and that property, in general, is nowhere more strongly respected than in India. The thermometer, at six o'clock a.m, was at 62°, at noon at 82°, and at six o’clock p.m., at 80°.
Tuesday, Oct. 20th.-Thermometer in the morning 66°, at 6 p.m., 78°, Still along the Kunyar, by a hill called Jelalika Tiba, which forms an important object in the landscape; on its side are eight or nine groups of villages which are called Jelalis. The clay hills here, all broken and washed down by the rains, reminded me on a small scale of those deep defiles near Agra, where an army was once entangled and perished. By Jelali are standing detached masses of buildings like towers, which so much resemble those time-worn Dhagoba near, Anarayapoor in Ceylon, that until I approached quite close to them, imagined I should discover unquestionable traces of Buddhism.
Nadaun is four kos, about seven miles, from Ril; and is a place of some importance, with two hundred or two hundred and fifty houses, and a resident Raja. I chose my station under some fig. trees on the high bank of the Beas, to which was a handsome flight of stone steps. Informer. times, Nadaun was the residence of a Raja called Gangra, whose yearly revenue was no less than ten lacks of rupees; but Ranjit Singh very unceremoniously robbed him of the whole of his territory on the right bank of the Beas, and at his death his two sons divided the remainder, acknowledging the supremacy of Ranjit Singh, so that the present Raja Judibeer, a young man not more than twenty years of age, is not supposed to be worth more than forty thousand rupees a year. As soon as I arrived, one of his attendants was dispatched to request that I would cross the river. Naturally concluding that the Raja very politely wished to exchange my present station for a better one, I was on the point of ordering a move, when my Munshi whispered to me, that the other side of the river belonged to a different Prince. On hearing this, I desired him to go and clear up the matter; but Mirza hastily interfered, and bade me remember that he was the person charged by Ranjit Singh to manage everything relative to my journey. It was in vain to dispute with him, so turning to the poor messenger, -who humbly replied to all the impertinence of my people, ‘‘Such were the orders I received,” I merely intimated my intention of remaining where I was. I notice this as the first act of positive rudeness ever received from an Indian Raja, and I can hardly now persuade myself that it was so intended by the Raja of Nadaun. If it were, I have little doubt that my companion Mirza, knowing how fully: alive he must have been to the necessity of keeping his misbehaviour from the ears of Ranjit, made him pay dearly enough for his promised silence on the subject.
In the evening I strolled out into the plain, which, from the shores of the Beas, surrounds the little town for about two miles. I soon found myself an object of great curiosity to some armed riders, who had probably heard Mirza speak of the great white lord who was the friend of the East India Company and had sallied forth to see me. That I must be this lord my complexion told them; but that I should be walking alone, or walking at all, seemed rather stagger their belief in the story, and after staring in my face, they hurried away, I dare say, to relate the incredible tale to the Raja. As I returned, I found the whole town in the commotion and waiting for me with curiosity strongly depicted on their faces, and as everyone after staring at me followed my steps, I was accompanied back to my tent by the whole population of the place, my servants all rushing out in the opposite direction, to know what could possibly have happened.
Throughout all seasons, the Beas, here called Beyah, is full of very pure and rapidly-flowing water. Before the entrance to my tent, I found a mendicant, who made his petitions in a song, and on my: orders being given that he should receive no money, he seated himself on the ground, and gave me to understand that there he should remain during the night. This was no sooner said than done, and his screams were much louder than before. I was beyond measure annoyed with the fellow’s obstinacy, and aware from experience that I must give way, or expect something even worse, I gave him a trifle, on receiving which, he immediately sprang on his feet and danced out of sight.
The stone steps leading down to their rivers, is the best place for a stranger to observe the manners of the natives of India; fo, as every Hindi, male or female, must wash three times in the day it is here that they come, and present to the eye of a stranger a scene of variety which well deserves a more particular description.
Wednesday, October 21st.-Before dawn, I was on the other Beas, of the Beas, in the Baree Doab, the immediate territory of Ranjit Singh. The river winds here in so many different directions, that it is scarcely possible to trace its course: with any accuracy. The right bank is level, but the left is very hilly, the Josun and Khola mountains sinking in these parts gradually into the plain of the Panjab. The far-famed Jwala-Mukhi, the resort of so many fanatical devotees, is near this, and long ere it is reached, temples, tanks, and Fakirs are seen, sure evidence of the neighbourhood of some holy shrine. Before I settled myself in my tent, which was pitched at a little distance from the village, I paid a visit to this remarkable temple. Jwala-Mukhi is of considerable extent, containing at least five or six hundred houses, and a very large population, among whom a great proportion are Gosains, Bairagis, Yogis, Jats, and penitents of all sorts. To all who die here, a grave is set apart, with a lingam on it, signifying a worshipper of Siva, and an incredible number of these occupy almost every vacant space. In the midst of a spacious square, shaded with lofty fig-trees, are set the tents of pilgrims of higher rank, and I was rejoiced to find that my attendants had chosen another spot, as the bazaar was close by; the noise and dust on the one hand, and the certainty of losing sight of most, if not of all of them in the passages of this ever irresistible attraction on the other; would have been disagreeable enough. The collection of image chaplets and amulets in the shops seemed quite countless.
The temple stands about one hundred feet up the plain. Two Brahmins, stationed at the door, demanded whether I had received permission to enter, and being answered by Mirza in the affirmative they escorted me through an outer and high building to the stone bridge leading to the entrance gate. It is true I should have walked much quicker and more comfortably into the bargain if they had taken me over the straight broad path usually followed; but then I should not have had the honour of hearing the great drums beat in the first building, which. are said to be distinctly audible ten miles over the plain. Once through the great gate, the spectator beholds a vast number of little temples scattered over the rocky height, and with the large one enclosed by a high wall. They are one and all of stone, very solidly constructed, many, indeed, are hewn out of a single stone. The cupola of the principal temple is richly gilt; and before the door stands another tiny edifice, in which I only saw two sculptured tigers lying, richly gilt, but horrible in their appearance. This door only admits one person at a time; and the priests would not permit me to pass through, in spite of the remonstrances of Mirza, who persisted that he had been commanded to take me in. I sided, however, with the priests, to their manifest delight, having attentively surveyed the interior from the entrance.
The same ideas of profanation do not exist in the Sikh as in the Hindu faith, and they admit Europeans into the interior of their temples; thus, although Jwala-Mukhi is a Hindu place of worship and pilgrimage, the commands of Ranjit Singh often compel the Brahmins to be silent, and facilitate the intrusion of Christians. The interior of this great temple is divided in the middle by a stone wall; in the centre of the fore-court is hollowed out a pit, like our graves, having seats at either end, on which the Fakirs place themselves, A perpetual flame arises from this pit, and I observed, where I stood, that from two places in the smooth rock similar flames were bursting to a height of about eight inches or less. The worshippers, on entering the sanctuary, deliver their gifts, consisting usually of flowers, into the hands of the Fakirs, who first hold them over the flame, and then cast them into the body of the temple. There I perceived, also, several jars filled with ghee, or melted butter, which I imagined to have been brought by some pious devotee; but I had afterwards good reason to believe this was a little artifice on the part of my friends, the Brahmins. I entered afterwards, without any hindrance, the little temple of Gogranath, dedicated to the patron deity of the Gorkhas. a circumstance which convinced me that formerly, at least, it Must haye been a place devoted to the Buddhist worship, which recognises no distinction of castes. The name of Gogranath, one of the thousands of appellations of Buddha, confirmed my first impressions and | have little doubt that it was once applicable to the whole of the temples enclosed within these walls. I was about. to say, that on descending a good many steps I saw flames issuing from two places in the perpendicular wall; and, on examining more attentively, I perceived, where the fire was burning, little cavities in the smooth stones, with just the same appearance as when a burning-glass is made to consume wood, the flame issuing, not from any aperture, but from these minute cavities, emits a scent like alcohol burning with an aromatic and most agreeable mixture, which I could by no means identify. Under each of these flames stood a pot of water, of the same temperature as the atmosphere, the condensed residue of the gas thus deposited, takes fire on the application of light, and burns for more than a minute. The surface of this water I found in continual motion, as though in a state of ebullition, but it is almost tasteless. The fire is of a reddish hue and gives out very little heat. Altogether this is one of the most extraordinary phenomena I ever recollect to have witnessed; and, no doubt, in distant ages was one of the spots most thronged by fire-worshippers. The sight of this flame rising out of the earth, perhaps long before any building was near it, would doubtless add much to the influence of their superstition on the minds of the attendant worshippers; for this still seems to be the case, although much of the marvellous is lost by confining the flame within the walls of a temple. In different parts of the building are seated Fakirs of most extraordinary appearance, clothed with the attributes of their deities, and condemned by themselves to pass their whole life motionless as statues. One of them represented Gogranath himself, but, instead of the folded hands of Buddha, his left arm was outstretched and resting on a silver pedestal, so cleverly managed that it never can fall off; another was covered with ashes and looked exactly as though chiselled out of stone, but as he gazed about him with a fearful stare, it seemed to me that his fanaticism had already, or soon would rob him of his reason.
That this temple was originally dedicated to the Buddhist worship think admits of no question; its proportions within; the four square pillars which support the roof; the fact that no images are to be seen within or without; and that no difference of castes is observed within its walls; the name Gogranath; and, finally, the graves around it, sufficiently evince to whose honour it was first erected. Very different are they all from the towers of the temple of Jaggernath, in the desert of Orissa, whose great idol is carried about once a year, on the anniversary of its dedication, on an immense car, drawn by willing thousands; and before whose wheels hundreds fling themselves, firmly believing that such a meritorious death must ensure their eternal happiness.
Female dancers are very numerous about the temple of Jwala-Mukhi, and they are rather fairer and prettier than usual. More than twenty, decked out with lilies, made their appearance before my tent door in the afternoon, but I was ungallant enough to send them away unrewarded, in spite of their tender ditties and the bells they sounded so invitingly on the tips of their fingers.
In the evening I paid another visit to the temple. The golden roof of both the large and small buildings are most tastefully and richly executed, and was the gift of Ranjit Singh, in the testimony of his gratitude to the Devi, goddess, to whom he ascribed his recovery from a dangerous illness twelve years ago. They were both executed in Jwala-Mukhi. The temple measures eighteen feet square, and under the dome is about twelve feet high. The term Jwala signifies flame, to which they affix either Mukhi, mouth, or spirit, or the syllable jf, sir, lord; hence, the place is called indifferently Jwalé-Mukhi or Jwalaji. The whole is built like a fort, and enclosed by a wall about twenty feet high. In the streets of the town itself, many Fakirs have grave-like narrow niches erected, in which they live and die, and when dead, these holes are walled up, and the dwelling of the living fanatic becomes his tomb. I did not see a single old man among them; several have fretty houses and gardens about the place, not acquired, however, by their begging profession, for this barely produces enough to build their tombs; and they may be characterized as a class of men who prefer living either by begging or on their previous resources, to occupying themselves with the concerns of their country; moreover, as an Indian Raja never permits a subject to decline more than one offered Post, this pretence of serving God is often but an. excuse for refusing 4 serve the prince. Some go about nearly naked, others wear an orange-coloured habit, while a third sect may be seen with long strings of berries about the throat, according to as they are bound by nature o¢ their tenets or vows, and many travels from Kashmir to the Indus, from Persia to the Ganges, from the Himalaya to Ceylon, covered wit, ashes, and beggars in the strictest sense of the word. I shall speak, hereafter of another sect which is richly paid, and constrained to habit, of the greatest luxury, in order to show the world how beneficent that, Supporters are.
The temple of Jwala-Mukhi lies on the right bank of a little stream, over which a slender bridge is thrown. Before the building through which they led me to hear the drums, is a spring in the form of a waterfall, and a tank for those pilgrims who desire to bathe. A wish to improve the little design I had made of the whole, led me to follow the open canal which supplies the waterfall when I unexpectedly came into a charming valley between the mountain heights. A Fakir followed me in my walk, though at first, I heeded him not, until seeing that he had no intention of departing, I turned sharply round and desired to know what he wanted; to my surprise, he answered, that he was a Naik, or corporal in the Company’s military service, and had obtained six months’ leave of absence from his corps in Lididna, which he meant to pass as a Fakir at Jwala-Mukhi. The very thought of such a penitent made me smile and then wonder at the singular character of the people of this country. This day chanced to be one of their great annual festivals, and the whole place, not excepting the holes of the Fakirs, was illuminated; from the mountain on which I loitered until late in the evening, I saw all that was going on; lamps hung in festoons on, and before the temple, guns were fired, bells were rung, and fireworks discharged in the air. I found the descent from the mountain rather arduous, but I reached my tent without any accident, and had the gratification of finding every one of my attendants, except Mohan Bir the Gorkha boy and Jwala the Chaprasi, gone into the town; indeed, the occasion was one, on which it would have been too much to expect them to refrain from amusing themselves; and having no objection to solitude, I gave these two leave to sally forth also, and amuse themselves amid the din and tumult of the place. Mohan Bir soon returned, ostensibly to know whether I did not want something; but as on receiving my negative he still loitered about, I asked him whether he had anything to say to me; after a little hesitation, he said that he should much like to know, why I was so earnest, even to the danger of my life, about things which could not give me any happiness in. this world, or any reward in the next. I confess that the boy’s question staggered me, particularly as coming from a Hindu; I felt that his wonder was very natural, and not wishing to evade his inquiry or leave matters unexplained, I replied, that in the mingled web of a European’s life, it was not easy to say what might or might not have important consequences; that I might perhaps have cause to envy the simplicity of mind of himself and his countrymen, but that in his present station, whenever he saw anything hard to be understood in our characters, he might comfort himself with the reflection, that if we were richer and more learned, we were not for all that a whit the happier. He entreated me then, very earnestly, to go into the town and see the beautiful illuminations, and the hundreds of dancing women accompanying their steps with songs and bells; but although he was evidently grieved, that I alone should be in solitude while everything without was so splendid and joyous, I was immovable, and he was obliged to return to more congenial scenes and leave me to myself.
Thursday, 22nd.-Thermometer, six A.M., 65°; noon, 81°; six P.M., 78°. Before sunrise this morning we were on our way. The people of Jwala-Mukhi have such an opinion of the importance attached to their town, on account of the presence of the temple, that they conclude the East India Company must be solicitous to gain possession of it, and the Fakirs begged of me the sum of one rupee and four annas, for which they promised to pray the Devi goddess to prosper the English in their wishes; others were rather more presumptuous in their demands; "Give me,” they cried; ‘‘it is the same ag giving it to God himself.” This day’s journey was through a country tolerably open; for although two lines of hills bounded the valley through which we marched, they were so low as to offer but slight impediments to our view, and none to our progress over them. We were approaching the Mori mountains very perceptibly; in the evening we halted at Kabli, one mile from the fort of Mongir; before the village is a small jungle. In my walkthrough Kabli, I was amused to see the pheasants running about the cottage doors like domestic fowls, and seemingly quite unconcerned at the loud barking of the dogs. It was dreadfully hot during the day, a scorching wind blew from the west, and reminded me of the intolerable heat I suffered between Lucknow and Agra. With the setting sun, it moderated a little, and the view of the beams of the departing orb, reflected on the snowy mountains before us, induced me, from its beauty, to attempt to carry away the remembrance in my sketch-book.
Friday, 23rd.-Thermometer, six A.M., 54°; noon, 80°; six P.M., 68°. This morning was bitterly cold, less owing to the temperature without, than to the situation of my tent, which was pitched by a brook in a hollow. Our road led by several villages, which were so closely overhung with trees, that they were not visible until we entered them. This was not the greatest difficulty I met within the construction of my map; for several villages, belonging to the same Pergannah, and yet several miles apart, bear the same name, while those belonging to others are so intermixed with them, that one can hardly guess where the boundary lines terminate. The country was generally hilly, wild, and overgrown with jungle; but the road is pretty good, though extremely narrow, barely admitting a man with his load. Haripoor lies in a mountain defile and is a place of some importance. On a hill, which rises from the valley, stands a fort, but the mountain being much higher behind it, makes it useless as a place of strength, though it might defend the town, except against t