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 the assaults of artillery. There is a large bazaar in the town, and the heights around are crowned with watch-towers, probably to give warning to the merchants of the approach of an enemy, that they may take refuge with their treasure and valuables m the fort. Om the approach from Jwala-Makhi stands 2 little temples, scarcely ten feet square, dedicated to Mah&édeo, which seems very ancient; several decorations on the exterior very much resembling those I had to seem on many of the little temples at Salsette, and Ellora, where the three heads, significant of the Hindu Triad, are found united over the entrance. The other ornaments are representations of sepulchres, significant of Buddhist worship. The Brahmin, who was throwing some of the sacred water of the Ganges over the ornaments within, informed me that the temple was three thousand years old, a date which, coming from one of his class, surprised me by its extreme moderation. Near it are some rocky walls covered with colossal images of the Hindu deities, cut out of sandstone, and evidently by hands unacquainted with sculpture. An incredible number of audacious monkeys abound in Haripoor. I had scarcely entered my tent, when a young Fakir presented himself and would have forced his way in, had not my Chaprdésis unceremoniously pushed him back. I was vexed to see them thus rudely thrusting him away, but they assured me that these Fakirs were the greatest thieves in the world. My strange visitant went away without uttering a syllable but had no sooner seated himself in the centre of a square than he commenced a series of noises, more like the cackling of a German duck than anything I can remember. The next moment he . was surrounded by monkeys, running from every quarter, in the hope of being fed. Finding themselves deceived in their expectation, three of the largest forthwith attacked the Fakir, who had the greatest difficulty in warding them off with his stick. He was now beset by the people, who began to abuse him for cheating their favourite monkeys and then maltreating them. Besides these creatures, the trees are covered with parrots; peacocks also without number parade about the Yown. The costume in these parts differs little from what I had observed elsewhere; the trousers are perhaps rather fuller, the turban hallway black, and the men invariably wear a long dark beard; the women, blue petticoat with a deep red border descending to the knee, and thy indispensable veil, which, instead of concealing the face, is worn behind the head, and is always pink. Their houses are clean, particularly the substitutes for inns, called Gaheti, where the traveller, foods the wherewithal to cook his meal and lie down; and before them is usually a little garden stocked with lilies, balsams, roses, jasmine, and other flowers. I saw beautiful China rose growing in the hedges, with the Jasminum Grandiflora, in all its native luxuriance.
Among the crowd of men and monkeys which pressed forward to stare at the stranger were some jugglers, whom I hired to while away an intensely hot hour or two; they exhibited to me their much-vaunted trick of making a shrub, three feet high, grow up in half an hour from the seed of a mango. They first put one into the earth, and in a few minutes show it sprouting up, and then again six inches high, always producing the roots; the last time it is a twig cut off, which they leave sticking in the ground; but the manner in which two men, two women, and two children, were all employed in trying to persuade me that the trick was really a truth, made me laugh very heartily, and that alone is a great matter for a solitary traveller to accomplish.
In the evening I strolled through the town, which consists of upwards of two hundred houses, and passing through an exceedingly rude gateway, covered over with huge figures of Hari and Hanuman, I found myself at the top of ninety broad steps, which lead down to a broad river, the banks, generally, of rock scarped perpendicularly. The fortress on this side had a very imposing and regular appearance, being in the form of a square. Figures, and even the holes of Fakirss aré hewn out of the rocks. On the opposite bank were similar steps and a gateway, and on the stream were several water-mills with horizontal wheels, but they could only be stationed where I saw them, during the dry season, for as both banks are perpendicular when the stream is full, the entire channel must be filled up.
The Kiladar, or commandant, invited me to inspect the fortress; this I declined, not feeling much interest in a strong post without a single gun. After this came to a deputation from the merchants, praying me to accept, from their goods, anything I might want; and on my declining this proffered kindness with many thanks, they insisted on supplying my people, which I was constrained to allow. The horrible noises made by the monkeys kept me awake till very late in the night.
Saturday, 24th.-Thermometer, morning, 60°; noon, 82°; evening, 76°. At the usual hour of four, I was stirring. The last two marches had been so short that I was now determined, if possible, to double them, particularly, as everyone in my suite had, by this time, become thoroughly initiated into the duties he had to perform, a knowledge which is acquired very slowly throughout India. In fact, what Europeans require from their personal attendants, their groom, their cook, and, in short, from every man about them, is very different from what a native master would expect. The groom, for instance, lifts an Indian into his saddle, and then, as he runs along, keeps fast hold of his master’s rein, while no European would suffer either the one service or the other, although he expects the attendant to be as swift as his horse. Again, the attendant on the person of a native has but to lay his master’s clothes before him, and to take away what he has done with; the cook prepares two dishes, the rice and its spicy sauce; the table servant takes care to furnish two leaves, one for the plate and the other, generally a banana leaf, for the dish, which is all. What is this compared with the services expected of these poor beings by our vanity, luxury, and fastidiousness?
After fording the river, and mounting the steps on the opposite bank, we found ourselves in a small plain, hemmed in by mountains; on it are three small villages, called Bilaspoor, and a temple shaded with fine fig-trees, designated Bilasa; five miles beyond this, is the lowest declivity of the Himalaya, which forms a forest-crowned height.
After passing the brook Koteli, we came once more on the plain, which appears to be divided from the great plain of India by an elevation near Jwali, not much more than sixty or eighty feet in height Several streams carry off the water from the Mori hills into the plain, and though most of them, owing to their great width, are fordable, during the dry season, they were now very full of water. It took me six hours to travel from Haripoor to Jwali, about eighteen miles.
Here I felt the difficulty of filling in my map, without the assistance of some intelligent native guide. No sooner did the people catch, a glimpse of my convoy, than they all set off and hid amid the thickets of euphorbia and opuntia, from which my servants in vain attempted to draw them out. My tent was pitched on the other side of the Gardadf, in the garden of a Fakir at Jwali, and in the afternoon the Thanadar, a venerable old man, came to pay his respects, His rank did not allow of my offering him a seat. I received him, therefore, standing outside my tent, and left the chair within if he were disposed to take it.
He accompanied me to the hill before Jwali, which is ascended by a good paved road. Forty or fifty feet above the plain stands a little temple, with two Fakirs and two monkeys; and in a very small pond of crystal water, I saw fish of the same kind as I had seen at Aurangabad in the Dekhan. Here, as there, they are considered sacred, and no living man of the place can recollect having seen one swimming dead on the surface, a presumptive proof of the great age to which they live. They are in such numbers, that they actually appear to take up more space than the water in which they exist. Toa weary traveller the prejudice in their favour is extremely provoking; for it is too much, when languishing after better fare, to cast one’s eyes upon the very finest and most tempting-looking fish, and while anticipating a delicious repast, to be told that the creatures are sacred. But, in such a case, one resource is left; the palankeen bearers being generally expert anglers, you have only to order them to fish, without heeding the exclamations of horror uttered by the crowd, who not infrequently resist the sacrilege by every means short of actual violence.
In their distress, they rush to the white lord himself to complain of the outrage committed by his orders, and then, sufficient time has passed to enable the anglers to satisfy not only his appetite but their own, he commands them instantly to desist, and on no account to disobey his orders in future. Near Jwali stands a palace, in a dilapidated state, built by the Raja of Narpoor, which commands a very beautiful prospect of the mountains. At present, it is only tenanted by the wives of the late Raja, whom Ranjit Singh drove out of his patrimonial territories. The country around is as destitute of plants as the plains of the north of India generally. Birds, on the contrary, of the parrot, balbul, and maina kind, are exceedingly abundant. Wild beasts are also very numerous, but I have not yet been able to procure so much as one specimen, though several are of considerable size. One very much resembles our fox, and I pointed it out to my huntsman and sent him in pursuit. He was away so long, that I got out of my jampan, and, gun in hand, proceeded in the direction the little animal had taken. The bushes being high, I had stooped down, in the hope of getting a sight of him in his hiding-place. Presently, I heard a rustling sound, and was adjusting my gun to fire, when I saw the red turban of my servant; he, too, had heard me; unconscious, however, of this, he instantly lodged a volley of small shot in my clothes. The poor fellow no sooner saw what he had done than he was ready to swoon with terror, but I cheered his spirits and expressed my particular satisfaction that he had missed his game this once, at all events.
In the afternoon I wandered about the neighbourhood, which may be termed one vast wilderness. The soil seems good enough, but the feverish state of this part of India for some years past has almost depopulated this place and converted it into a desert.
Sunday, 25th October, thermometer 59°, 81°, 74°. Last night was no night of sweet repose for me. The Fakir kept a dog to guard his fruits and flowers against thieves, and the dog did his duty, barking with. out one moment’s intermission, in spite of the blows, he received from all quarters to bring him to reason. After this all the horses set up neighing, the wind rose and blew the leaves of the great fig-trees about my tent, and to finish all, a heavy shower pouring down on my packages, which had been left in the open air, convinced me that the best plan would be to start as soon as possible, The distance from Jwali to Narpoor is ten kos, I estimated it fifteen miles. The road leads into a valley, or rather into a part of that vast plain, which stretches away as far as the distant ocean. The country is pleasant, interspersed with villages here and there, while the immense Mori chain refreshes the eye towards the north-east; the plain is hence very far from being the same dead dull flat, unenlivened by verdure, that one travels over between Khanpoor and the Siwalik mountains; here, undulating hills rise gradually, and intersect each other, groups of trees also contributing to its beauty throughout. At the end of a few miles, we came to a pond covered with the nelumbium, and here I tasted the nut for the first time. When unripe it has the taste of a hazel-nut, when ripe, it is too hard to be eaten. That this plant might be much valued in Egypt on account of its majestic flower, as well as its delicate taste, is extremely probable; but we need not go out of our way to seek in the pictures on their walls for a meaning which is very seldom literal; in them, we certainly perceive boats filled with pleasure-hunters, enjoying themselves among the leaves of the nelumbium, which, together with the flower, float gracefully on the water, and with reference to this quality, convey a certain meaning in Hindu mythology. Notwithstanding in it is not to be concluded that it was planted as food for the people, like our peas and beans. It does not flourish like the nymphaea-cerulea both inflowing and still water but grows chiefly in tanks, and hence can be seen but rarely in Egypt, where the water has generally a brackish taste; but a weightier argument against ita general cultivation is the fact, that few flowers of this plant from Ceylon even to the mountains of Kashmir, produce any seed which germinates, From the tank which has caused this digression, the fort of Narpoor, on a neighbouring hill, from two to three hundred feet in height, has a very picturesque effect. To the Himalayan traveller, who is accustomed to seeing every mountain with a peaked summit, it is strange to meet with one like this, crowned with a tabular space one mile and a half in extent, on which the little town, with its bazaars and miserable streets and houses, is situated. I should reckon the population at six thousand souls, of whom two-thirds are Kashmfrians, who have been settled there for more than a generation. Whoever has once seen this race of men, will never fail to recognise them by their white skin, their clear though colourless complexion, their long, projecting, almost Jewish features, with dark brown or black hair and beard, which distinctly point them out. The dress of the common people merely consists of a white woollen shirt, open in front, with long sleeves; a cloth hanging down from the head behind, completes this ungraceful and generally very dirty costume. The rich have adopted the Indian dress. Among the crowd that soon beset me, were some pretty girls, still in the age of our childhood in Europe, and on my tent is pitched, the whole crowd followed the Thanadar who came to pay his homage. To -my no small astonishment I learnt from him, that the Chobdar appointed by Ranjit Singh to attend me to Kashmir had not arrived, yet so far from opposing my further progress on that account, he promised to give me two soldiers as a military escort in place of the two, who had, only received instructions to accompany me as far as Narpoor. I instantly decided on starting the very next day, without waiting for the arrival of the Chobdar, but had now to make up my mind, whether I went direct by the mountains, from Kishtiwar to Kashmir, a journey of ten days over a lofty chain, which my gardener implored me not to take, he had once travelled by that route, knew full well the impossibility of conveying horses or even asses through the paths; or the longer but better road by Jammu. On reconsideration, I chose the latter.
A crowd of persons of both sexes and all ages surrounded my tent, resolved not to move away, until I had shown myself to them, which at length I was absolutely compelled to do, giving directions to the Chaprasis to drive them off by force as soon as they had received this mark of favour. The fort of Narpoor, like that of Haripoor, is completely commanded by a neighbouring height forming the lowest ridge of the Mori, which terminates to the north of the town. Here another commences. At a short distance from my tent I saw several persons praying in a little mosque situated between two tanks; and to judge from such instances, there is neither a superabundance of money or piety among the Mohammedans of Narpoor, for it is generally peculiar to the professors of their faith to adorn their mosques and tombs ag richly as their means will permit, though in this instance both were con, conspicuously mean. They have also the custom of lighting many of the tombs in their cemeteries, which I would gladly see in Europe since thig constant remembrance of death and the dead is calculated to bring many important truths to mind.
Monday, 26th. My tent requiring some repairs, the tailors, all Kashmirians, began this morning, but could not complete their work before the evening closed. Thus I was forced to rest, whether I would or not. But I had learned to submit to such trifling vexations in that great school, the world, where experience soon teaches a man patience, and the useful lesson, that very few have the good, or rather bad, fortune, to succeed in the attainment of all the wishes and intentions they had entertained.
One of my Shikaris brought me several very pretty birds, but nothing new; among them was a diminutive species of hornbill; on opening its crop I found nothing but vegetable food, contrary to the opinion of naturalists, who have always conjectured its large bill to be formed for the greater facility of catching lizards, on which it was supposed to subsist.
About noon the Chobdar’s servant, whom the Maha Raja had appointed to attend me from Lahor, made his appearance; he brought me a letter from Ranjit, and a bill for 101 rupees, which, together with four others sent, according to his information, to meet me at Jwala-Mukhi, Hamirpoor, Haripoor, and Jamba, made up the customary token of welcome appointed by Ranjit Singh to travellers, of 505 rupees. I had fully made up my mind not to accept any present whatever in money, unless presented by Ranjit, or his Viceroy in Kashmir, in his name, when I should have expended it in their native shawls; but as there was no means of declining this bill, without giving great offence, I put it in my portfolio as a curiosity.
The man protested to me that his master was following in a very few hours: in the afternoon, however, he admitted that it would probably be four or five days before I saw him; as the day closed in he confessed that no master was coming at all; this is a very fair specimen not only of the veracity of the natives of the Panjab but of their manner of bringing out a disagreeable piece of intelligence. Why Ranjit’s agent did not make his appearance, I was not to know: meanwhile, Mirza expressed so anxious a desire to proceed with me, that I determined to take him. Since I had been in the territories of the Maha Raja, he had on many occasions proved himself very useful to me. Were their labourers to be pressed into the service, he was always at hand with money and fair words, and perfectly understood the valuable art of getting rid of the most troublesome of my visitors.
More than twenty of the dancing girls persisted in hovering about my tent, and at last, I agreed to admit a party of four only within, to exhibit their skill in the dance. They were all Mohammedans, and could not sing a word of Persian; to make amends for this, they were very richly dressed, and had each, besides a ring passing through the left nostril, another at the tip of the nose, suspending a bright, round, golden ornament exactly before the mouth. All with one exception were tolerably fair and had beautifully white teeth. At the expiration of an hour, I was very glad to send them away, for they sung worse even than in India, though they managed their voices rather better.
I had already enjoyed a ramble on the nearest hill, on the road to Kangra, which is twenty-six kos distant. They have a peculiar manner of grinding the clods that the plough encounters here. For which purpose, after the plough, which is made of two pieces of wood of the simplest structure, and without any iron share, has performed its part, four oxen or buffaloes are attached to a board, on which two men stand to steady it, and drive about the field in every direction. There is a considerable quantity of steel manufactured at Narpoor and a number of forges, but I did not observe anything remarkable; I was more pleased with the beauty of a young Hindu female, who was walking on the flat roof of one of the houses, wrapped in a splendid gold-embroidered veil, and glittering with the golden ornaments in her ears and on her arms. Her black hair, according to the fashion of the country, was perfectly plain, but arranged in a knot behind, and confined to the forehead by a small ornament of gold.
It was quite dark as I returned dispirited and alone towards my tent, with my gun over my shoulder. Something suddenly flew past me over the roofs of the houses, and being just in that sort of humour, when the chance of killing anything is satisfactory to the feelings, I took good aim, and the next instant, a vampire or large bat fell on the ground at my feet. The report of my gun had brought all the people out of their houses, and on seeing the creature, which was just able to crawl along, they set up a piercing cry. These animals, as I well knew, are considered holy by the native Indians, and I expected that their fanaticism would break out in some terrible vengeance on the slayer. Such an act of sacrilege has cost many a European his life, and I confess that the howlings set up on this disaster seemed to predict a similar fate for me. The tragical dénouement of an affair very similar to this, which had taken place recently at Matra, came to my mind. Two officers were attacked there by an old monkey, and instead of conforming to the custom of the country and driving the disgusting creature away with stones, they shot it without the least repugnance. The people instantly pressed on them, in spite of the interference of the magistrate, who protected them until they were enabled to mount the back of their elephant, and pursued them, hurling stones which wounded them so sorely, that, as the only means of saving their lives, they ordered the Mahit to drive their elephant into the Jamna and let it swim across. He did so, but the waters were then at their very highest, and elephant and riders were drowned together. By an equal gad death, two of my friends, Colonel Combes and Black, had given a convincing proof how dangerous it is to rouse the fanatical fury of an Indian mob. The same destiny seemed very likely to be mine within an hour; but the traveller, who wanders in strange countries among stranger people, is habituated to look death steadily in the face in all its forms. As for these things, I had resigned myself, on leaving Europe, to the very probable chance of never seeing it again: at this critical moment, I did not feel even a sensation of surprise. They hemmed me closely round, one holding up the wounded creature, whose unearthly cry accompanied the chorus of angry voices, till I gradually gained the shelter of a house, which protected me from assailants in the rear, my gun keeping off the foremost of my complainants. There I remained for nearly a quarter of an hour until some of the Thanadar’s people were seen approaching, as I trusted, to rescue me. Whether, however, they thought their force not sufficient for this purpose, or, that after hearing the crime I had been guilty of, their superstition overcame all compassion, they soon turned their backs on the scene, and left me to my fate.
The noise then became louder, the threats grew more alarming. Fortunately, there were no stones to be found, but the task of forcing back my assailants with the gun became more and more fatiguing until the light of day wholly disappeared. It was then that, quickly availing myself of the known inconstancy of feeling in the Indian character, and of the circumstance of darkness concealing the form of my sacred victim, I harangued the multitude with such happy effect on my sorrow for this mishap, and the precautions I would take in future, that their hearts were gradually softened, and to my infinite relief, I was permitted to find my way back to my tent, with life and liberty.
Tuesday, 27th, thermometer 55°, 80°, 61°. The road led down the hill I had climbed yesterday. There were little gardens on both sides, principally belonging to Fakirs, and now blooming with flowers. At the end of the paved road is a toll-house, where the poor Indian traveller is taxed for his baggage; the European passes free. We came next to the small river Behobon, which has hollowed out q deep bed between the mountains and sweeps in a semicircle around Narpoor. The stream not being fordable, the traveller winds along with it, sometimes on a level with the bed, sometimes on the mountain path above. At length, after a wearisome journey of ten miles, we fairly descended into the plain, where my experience was again increased, One of my people shot an eagle. As my bearers were already heavily loaded, I offered a trifling present to a peasant who was working in the field, if he would carry the bird to the next village; but he refused because his caste forbade him to do it. Upon which, one of the bearers exclaimed, “ Thy caste forbid thee to touch the bird, but it does not forbid the bird to touch thee;” and so saying, put the bird on his back, which of course was sprinkled with the blood; his scruples, however, had been overcome by the logic of_my bearer, and he walked along without any further demur. Four miles after we had lost sight of the river we reached Patankota, a stronger fort than any I had before seen, and yet, strange to say, the only one in ruins. It is in the plain, with regular ditches and a glacis, built of brick, and commanding an extensive view; the citadel within is remarkably strong.
The heat was dreadful, and although the thermometer was not so high as yesterday, I was far more inconvenienced. In the summer, Narpoor, from its position, must be one of the hottest places in India.
The women of the Panjab are celebrated, and not undeservedly, for the beauty of their shape, their feet, and their teeth. To-day, when I came to the place where my tent should have been already pitched, I found nothing done, and on looking narrowly about for the Kalasi, on whom the superintendence properly devolves, I spied him, in some bushes near, engaged in very animated discourse with one of these fair ones, The man's good taste was as conspicuous as his negligence, for she most fully bore out the renown of her countrywomen. for personal beauty, but I was sorry to be under the necessity of disturbing a conference which appeared to be mutually interesting.
The fortress of Patankota was built by Shah Jehan when he made war on Narpoor. This last place, now so insignificant, belonged then to the ancestors of Bir Singh, who considered it worthwhile to overawe it by the construction of the strong post of Patankota. Their successor, driven out of his territory by Ranjit Singh, now lives ten kos from hence, in Katawar, in indigence, his only remaining possession, as far as I could learn, consisting of a lovely garden on the way to Narpoor, called Srikagur.
In the evening I obtained the Thanadar’s permission to inspect the fort, but on drawing near, the Sirdar positively refused to admit me, and the Thanadar seeing the dispute between us, very coolly ran away; for which he received one of my Mianshi’s choicest reproofs. A European should never believe one of these people, even on their oath, and precaution not more necessary than disagreeable. After all, I believe my loss was not very great, for it is now a defenceless ruin, and weeds and rank grass is invading every part of it. But the position was admirably chosen, and it lies in an open locality, where not a spot of ground commands it from above.
Wednesday, 28th, thermometer 55°, 79°, 74°. The immense plain of India on the left, and stupendous snow-capped mountains to the right, made this day’s march a real treat to a lover of nature, nor was the scene we had left behind less delightful. High thick date-trees over “shadowed the spot where my tent was pitched; behind this stood the fort, and through the dawn of a lovely morning, the majestic form of the mountain chain gradually stood out in bold but uncertain relief, the outline gradually growing sharper as the rays of the yet hidden sun-beamed forth and gave new animation to the scenery. All nature wag soon awake, day displacing night in a moment of time, contrasted with our long northern twilight. First was heard the sweet greeting offered by the bulbul to the fair morn; then the mango bird set up his piteous lament, and the variegated maina with his lively chatter, the screaming parrots, and noisy monkeys swinging from bough to bough, all with one consent filling the air with their joyous cries, were speedily up and alive to the announcement of the day. In the surrounding groves the blue thrush warbled in companies; peacocks strutted about the fields, and skylarks soared melodiously over the head, mounting aloft to greet the glorious messenger of light before earth’s inhabitants.
The sun shone forth brightly, soon after I had quitted Patankota, and an immense pyramidal mass of mountains soon made their appearance and in the north-west, while the country was richly cultivated and more populous than I had seen it for a long time. The people appeared to be chiefly Kashmirians, occupied as tailors and weavers, or in agriculture: it is not possible to exceed them in filth, whether they were poor or not, I really could not decide. They seem well fed, look healthy, and are not wanting in ornaments on their dress. They are very ready to serve as bearers too, but this may be caused either by poverty or the love of gain. The country is amply supplied with rivers and tanks, and the vegetation grows to an enormous size. My evening was passed at Kotoa, where they pitched my tent before the Mohammedan cemetery, under the impervious shade of mango and figtrees.
Thursday, 29th, thermometer 55°, 80°, 74°. The Fakirs in the Panjab are quite intolerable; great athletic fellows, and, without exception, the most impudent beggars in the world. This morning one came to my tent with two tam-tams or drums; he was accompanied by three men, each provided with a sort of oboe; I thought they would have distracted me outright. In vain I commanded the man to desist and take himself off; he was shameless enough to keep his ground until absolutely driven from it by the blows of my servants.
The road to Jesrod is unvaried, winding among gigantic grasses, which brush the traveller’s face as he makes his way through them.
The height may be surmised, from the fact that an elephant may be concealed from view in this grass, and each stem is as thick as an ordinary finger*; nor is it easy to escape from this forest with a whole skin. The tiger takes up his abode here, roaming even as far north as Tibet. The path is formed of large stones also, not that the soil is bad, but that the rich earth is carried away for the cultivated grounds. The day’s march, however, did not lead me through any region so well cultivated as I saw. yesterday. Swamps were frequent, and during the rains, I should suppose the whole country must be completely underwater.
The palace of the Raja of Jesrod is built on a hill, and the distance from Kotoa about eight crosses. The Uts, a rapid stream, flows through the place. Not far from it is a chalybeate spring having a disagreeable taste of iron. At seven in the morning, its temperature was 80°, while that of the air was only 56°. The situation of Jesrod is much more romantic than the place itself: the hill on which the Raja’s house is situated is also ornamented with four little towers. The last prince was robbed of his territory by Ranjit Singh, and his son, a child, is now at Lahore. A huge irregular arch leads to the paltry Bazar and to the Raja’s residence.
The Bai‘Dewa, called in the plain Ramnagar, a single lofty snowy mountain, is distinctly visible from hence, although at least thirty miles distant: the shortest way from Narpoor to Kashmir is over this mountain.
I had imagined that time would have allowed me to do many things during my solitary wanderings, for which now I felt every day much too short. First, the journey itself occupied too many hours; then, there was the difficulty of finding a good guide when I arrived in a strange place; and lastly, the hours necessarily employed in preparing my map, in enriching and arranging my different collections, to say nothing of certain cares for the supply of the necessaries of life, occupied much valuable time. As a consolation to me amidst this never-ceasing anxiety, this restless movement, an ever-changing scene, unconscious what adventures and dangers the next day might bring forth, I had in it all a sufficient antidote against those fancies with which solitude, and separation from all who are dear to him, are too apt to fill the traveller’s mind.
Friday, 30th, thermometer, with rain in the morning, 70°, noon 82°, evening 74°, A very ominous rattling on my tent woke me this morning; it was the rain, which the oppressive heat of yesterday, and the veil around the Bal Dewa during the day, had given me a reason to expect. My people were therefore not taken by surprise, and everything was undercover. It did not last long, though it prevented us from decamping as early as usual. The road to Aleh is easily missed, and the difficulty we found in following it at all, rendered it more wearisome than nature had made it. A dozen times we got out of the regular track: low jungles like those of the Dekhan, solitary trees of the Butea frondosa, and the most thorny of the Ziziphus species, the Jujube, were among those well-known objects, much more familiar than love. From the mountains of Kashmir to Cape Comorin, the Jujube tree and the turtle dove, the Butea frondosa, and the Maina, the mango and the parrot, with here and their immense fig and cotton trees, are the surest sign to a traveller that he is in India. The land in this-locality is not fertile and is moreover but poorly cultivated. The people are diminutive, whether from actual want or from the insalubrity of the climate 1 cannot tell; but it often happens that where jungles extend over the low grounds under a high chain of hills, the country is commonly subject to low fevers and usually unhealthy. The natives dread such a climate more than the Europeans, for, strange to say, they are more liable to catch intermittent fevers than foreigners, and the reason may very possibly be, that the nourishment they can afford to take is not strong enough to ward off its attacks. Frequently it issues in death within four days from the first attack: and if the physician cannot cure the third paroxysm, the patient's case is given up as hopeless; he expires generally without pain, from sheer debility.
Aleh is a small fort surrounded with mud walls and has an inner inclosure of stone: the whole seems now, just strong enough to ensure the safety of a Thanadar. It is the present residence of a Diwan, or minister of the Maha Raja, who paid me a visit of the ceremony: he was a fine-looking man, in spite of the loss of one of his eyes, I accepted the guidance of a Brahmin in my evening’s walk, in order to learn from him the names of the different villages visible from the adjacent hill; but the man refused to name one of them, asserting that he should be severely punished by the Diwan if he did so since strangers had in other times visited their country and inquired the names of all their towns and villages, of which they had on a second visit taken forcible possession. It needed all my persuasion to satisfy the poor man that I had no design on his fatherland. The mountains had been dimly hidden throughout the day by thick rain-clouds, and in the evening presented a truly magnificent spectacle. The snow on the Mori had considerably deepened: it now stood dazzlingly forward in its whitest garb, confronting the Bal Dewa. Both mountains described horizontal lines ending in a perpendicular fall, each resembling an immense colossus, while between them the Sénsh mountain projected with its countless peaks, covered as far as the eye could follow it, with a complete veil of snow, a proof that it must be higher than either of the others. The greater facility of tracing its outline confirmed me in my former opinion that it stands quite apart from the Mori and the Bal Dewa, but very near to both. My tent was pitched under fig-trees in a newly-ploughed field, very near the Diwan's garden, which consists of long alleys of citron and pomegranate trees, having traces of former beauty, but not a flower was to be seen; the whole place seems encompassed with mountains ranging in every direction without any apparent connection.
Saturday 31st, thermometer 56°, 79°, 68°. This is the temperature as I found it in my tent; but in the morning while it marked 56° within, it was 10° higher in the open air, which I accounted for by the situation of the tent in a newly-ploughed field: thereby absorbing the heat and causing the diffusion of a greater degree of warmth than could penetrate the little protected residence fixed over one nook of its surface.
The road to Samba was the worst and most disagreeable I had yet met within India, constantly leading through the fatal high grass, and sometimes passing over heaps of stone, at others tending downwards into the soft crumbling soil. The villages, too, with the exception of Thakerdoras, were nothing but miserable huts. I reckon this tedious and distressing day’s march at twelve miles; the snow on the mountains was as distinct as yesterday; Trikota, a high hill, about forty kos from Aleh, and a place of pilgrimage, seemed to serve as a guide to our destination; and, at a greater distance, peaks covered with snow lifted up their countless heads.
Meanwhile, the Sansh mountain was gradually shut out, and we were rapidly approaching the chain before us. I had a very good view of its majestic form. Tanks became more frequent in our path; but though the rain had fallen so lately, they were almost dry. Near one of them, they had pitched the tent for the night, several female forms were peering within; they had been engaged in bathing, an amusement in which large parties appeared to partake together, in this not over the pure element, without any inconvenient sense of modesty. With one exception too, they were all particularly ill-favoured in appearance.
I now became eager to turn my back on the plain, and this I trusted to accomplish on the next day but one: that is, provided I should be able to go as far as from Jami to Rajdor. The difference between the climate of the morning and of the middle of the day is here so great, that it has a decidedly injurious effect on the health: what a terrible calamity would an illness in such a country as this be to my earthly pilgrimage? My lodging chanced to be near a fakir’s house, where they were unloading a dozen camels, the property of Gulab Singh, the Raja of Jammu, laden with the bark of the Deobasa tree, an article used by the Indian women to redden their gums. This bark is collected not far from Samba, on the mountains; and is carried to Persia and Multan, as well as the roots of a species of Scutellaria, and the seeds of a plant of which I could learn neither the name nor use the camel drivers could only tell me, that it belonged to the Persian merchants; who bought it up eagerly in Kabul.
Sunday, November 1.-Half a mile from Samba is an uninhabited palace belonging to Suchet Singh, Gulab Singh's brother. As we proceeded on our way, the roads led over the partially dry bed of the Desentri, where we completely lost the right road. In vain had I repeatedly desired, that a guide should be hired every day, to show us the best and shortest route; for, at this time ‘of year, the men are engaged constantly in the fields; and, in their agricultural avocations, make so free with the usual paths taken by travellers, that it is most difficult to trace them by the ordinary marks. During the day, it is no easy matter to repair the neglect of the morning; for unless the villagers are actually in want of the reward promised them for guiding us, those who know the road refuse to show it so that one is compelled to carry them along by force. Such a scene took place to-day, near a mill on the Desentri; the man’s cries of resistance soon brought out a crowd of forty or fifty from the mill and the huts adjoining, who, armed with bamboo sticks, planted themselves on the banks of the stream. But Mirza and the Chaprasis were in no way daunted by this bravado; and, in spite of their warlike front, they conveyed their friend safely over to the other side. But, alas! the captive escaped from us and succeeded in rejoining the Knights of the bamboo at last. Then ensued a scene of mutual recrimination. My people cast the sand on their enemies, who retaliated with sticks, and others began to advance with spears. As there was no place where my people could fight under shelter, I now judged it high time to retreat. At the next village, we were more fortunate, engaging a guide on the promise of a good reward for his services. But this did not make our further efforts more successful; and the reason may be, that these poor men have often been decoyed away from their homes, under similar pretexts, and then made to bear heavy burdens, without receiving the smallest payment in return for such service. The people have been rendered mistrustful; and I much fear that Jacquemont, who travelled at Ranjit Singh’s expense, through his territories, did not give them any higher opinion of European honour than he himself had concerning the Sikh character; we learnt, we must confess, that he took a long time to consider the propriety of paying his native bearers.
The road to-day was really terrible; through a thick jungle; neither mountain nor plain, neither forest nor open field; it is a toilsome, dreary journey, over masses of stones, a zig-zag line from one wretched hamlet to another; little or no cultivation is visible, and what they call fields in tillage are scarce to be distinguished from heaps of stones. The distance to Ishmaelpoor, a miserable village, is reckoned to be nine long kos; in a straight line, I should think it ten or eleven miles, but we must have made it at least fifteen. As they pitched my tent close to a tank, I had again an opportunity of seeing a large assemblage of females taking their baths. Their costume here differs from that of the women in the Sikh districts on the left shores of the Setlej; the younger ones all wear blue trousers, which fit very close to the leg below the knee, while from the calf to the ankle they fall in numerous folds; over this, they wear an ample petticoat, and above, 8 white cloth hangs down behind, fluttering in the wind.
In a large fig-tree near this tank, dwelt a colony of those large bats or Vampyres I before alluded to. One of my Shikaris took the liberty of shooting one of them; but as the misdeed occurred some way from the village, its consequences were not so serious as they had nearly proved to me at Narpoor. The fakir, who lived under the tree, took up the animal, however, and refused at any price to restore it to them. He was, therefore, brought into my presence, and there complained of the death of the creature which belonged to him. I begged to know, whether he could be so silly as to pass his life in looking after Vampyres; and he, in return, asked me whether I considered myself doing any better, by permitting my servants to kill one of God’s innocent creatures? As I could not give any satisfactory answer to this charge, I solemnly promised him, that neither he nor his dear Vampyres should ever be molested again.
Monday, Nov. 2.-Thermometer, morning 60°, noon, 80°, evening, 70°. This day, although provided with a guide, it was difficult to get through the thorny bushes which beset us on every side. Happily, we could almost see Jami from Ishmaelpoor, so that we were in no danger of losing ourselves. Our course lay over the plain, which is one place I found suddenly invaded by the deep bed of a stream, whence a hill rises almost imperceptibly, on the summit of which GGlab Singh has lately built the fort of Bala. It does not speak very favourably of his military judgment, for, however handsome its ornamented walls may look, rising as it were, out of the river, from his palace on the other side of the Tohi at Jami; as a strong place, it is quite untenable, being overlooked by other heights most easy of access. Gulab Singh’s palace is a pretty white edifice, built like the whole of Jammu, about 150 feet above the river Tohi, which flows with rapidity, and clear as crystal, over its stony bed, in a deep channel encompassed with waving hills. It is foldable, though not very easily, as no bridge crosses it, men, women, and children must pass from one side to the other by this means, if at all. From Bala, a spacious flight of steps leads down to the river, and another takes the passenger up to Jami, where, in every direction, the sight of falling ruins and decaying edifices bespeaks its former greatness and present poverty; while the indispensable bazar fills up a large vacant space between the palace and a mass of dilapidated buildings. I sought my tent for some time in vain, and at length discovered it under some acacia trees, in a very filthy neighbourhood of Kashmirian huts. The Thanadar visited me as usual and promised me impossibilities, but I contented myself with telling him that the station was very badly chosen, and requested him to accompany me to the Raja's garden, which is reached through the once celebrated towm The prosperity of James was at its height under Ranjit Deo, whose mild government extended equal protection to Hindi and Mahommedan, while the Panjab was overrun with the horrors of war; but no sooner were his eyes closed by death, in 1781, than Mahé Singh, the father of Ranjit Singh, invaded the territories of his feeble son and successor, Brij Raj Deo, and plundered his town; peace was soon restored, but no part of the territories.
The Raja's garden is situated on the bank of the Tohi, at the foot of a hill; it is prettily laid out in the Indian taste, with a pavilion in the centre, where a variety of animals are kept in separate cages, some on account of their rarity, others for the purpose of being reared. I saw there some enormously fat sheep, and what is almost unheard of among Hindfis, some overgrown geese likewise. In this charming garden I was worse off than when close to the wretched hovels; for I had to wait there all day in vain for my large tent and furniture. I had neither table, chair, nor writing materials; and in an attempt to catch a butterfly, for want of something better to do, was seized with a violent pain in my head, occasioned by the burning heat. At last, after eight hours’ impatient waiting, two of my servants, who were also seeking me, gave me the pleasing information that the tent was pitched a full mile lower down the river. On my asking them who had ordered it to be put there, they answered with considerable hesitation, that Khair Singh, one of my chaprasis, was the delinquent. How often I look back to those trifling grievances, which really make ep the sum of the traveller's existence, for dangers or misfortunes in our transit through a strange country, are far less hard to bear that these daily recurring vexatious annoyances. A wretched repast terminated the events of this day of troubles.
Tuesday, 3rd.-Thermometer, 63°, 82°, 70°. The situation of my tent was much better in appearance than in reality. The fig-tree gave shade certainly, but no coolness and the heat was more intense than I had felt it fora long time. In the river, a troop of females, chiefly Kashmirians, were refreshing themselves by bathing; they are much fairer and more finely formed than the natives of Jammu. A certain amount of trouble attends the arrival of every traveller in India. In the first place, the servants are impatient to hurry out to the bazar and sit gossipping there, and though I considered myself peculiarly fortunate in the character and behaviour of mine, yet in this respect, everyone was a true Indian; what is still worse than this, it is absolutely necessary to pass much of one’s time in the different towns, in order to hire men and animals, which can only be taken from one place to another, unless the traveller engages his suite by the month, a precaution which I continually regretted not having taken myself.
In the afternoon the Thanadar came to offer me a present, in the name of the Raja, which I refused. Mirza, who had been in the town, returned presently with the tidings that a European traveller had just arrived at Jammu, and, after some trouble, I found that the stranger was on his way from Kashmir to Lahore, and was merely resting one day at Jammu to provide himself with necessaries.
I thought this could be no other than Mr Vigne, an English gentleman, then travelling in India, and as Mirza inclined to the same opinion, I immediately wrote a short note, offering to share my stock, such as it was, with a traveller from Europe, and to pay him any attention in my power. With this note, I dispatched Mohan, who soon came back and told me that, instead of an Englishman he had found a Persian, who could neither read nor write. I mention this unimportant circumstance to show how cautious travellers should be in trusting to the opinions of the natives of the north of India. Mirza knew perfectly well that this stranger was not a European, but as soon as he observed that I heartily wished it might prove to be a countryman of my own, he framed his measures, not according to the truth, but according to what he fancied would best please me to hear. In this instance, though he knew I should soon discover my error, he did not attempt to undeceive me, and by this, my readers will judge how little, those people deprecate falsehood, when the case may be really serious, and the truth more difficult to find out.
Late on the same day I received a letter, very well written, from an Englishman in the service of the Raja, desiring to speak with me, to which, of course, I immediately acceded, and presently a very fine young man, richly attired, made his appearance in my tent. As soon as the servants were out of hearing, without uttering a word, he flung himself at my feet and burst into a passionate flood of tears. In vain I requested him to be seated, and to feel assured that I would do all in my power to alleviate any distress he might be suffering from; fora long time, I could not draw from him any explanation whatever of this strange conduct, although the sight of a European, after so long an interval, and his evident sorrow, filled me with the deepest interest and pity, to say nothing of the natural curiosity which I felt to know the cause which must have brought a man of his appearance into such a situation, He could hardly be an adventurer, and his emotion did not seem the result of any disappointment; besides, he wanted some aid from me-and this aid, to judge from his dress, arms, and jewels, could not be gold. What but the consciousness of guilt could prostrate one man so abjectly before another? This, however, was no place or time to reproach a supplicant with what might be neither crime nor error on his part. Desirous of hearing something in explanation of his visit, I again addressed him, saying- Speak, whatever you have to say, I promise you my best assistance and pity. How long have you been in Jamé ?”-“ Many years.”- “Are you poor?"-“ No, my circumstances are good." ‘Then, what brought you to this remote and lonely land ?” “Pity me,” he exclaimed, seizing my hand convulsively, ‘J am miserable, I am guilty, I need forgiveness.” I must insist on your speaking out more plainly,” I said, somewhat impatiently, “how otherwise can I either guess what you may stand in need of, or assist you in any way, as I have engaged, should it be in my power?” Wringing his clasped hands with evident expressions of terror, he suddenly cast a hurried glance at me, exclaiming mournfully, “ I cannot, I cannot explain!” and so saying rushed out of the tent.
I asked my people whether they had ever heard anything of this European before, they all denied any knowledge of him; and, as I did not like to excite the curiosity of the Thanadar by making any particular inquiries about him, I remained without hearing anything further of this unhappy person.
Wednesday, Nov. 4.-Thermometer, morning 59°, noon 82°, even in 66°. When I wrote the date of this day in my tablets, I remembered for the first time, that it was a season when, for many years, I had been used to receive testimonies from my friends and family of their love and regard. It is on such days that we think most fondly of those far away; the day was no joyful one for me, and a long toilsome march of twelve kos, accompanied by divers petty annoyances, contributed to depress my spirits. Strange to say, I seem now to be better acquainted with the character of the Indians than my servants, though part of the same nation. I repented more than ever that I had not bought horses, and hired servants at Shimla, as the price I had to pay for these necessaries here was preposterous-I was forced to pay down: five rupees for each bearer, and ten rupees fora horse for thirteen days’ service, beforehand; I had directed the Munshi on no account to let the old bearers depart until he had made quite sure of obtaining others, but in the morning, trusting to their promises, he had paid those who, under the pressure of want, had hired themselves at Nadaun for five rupees a-month, they now required addition of at least one-and-a-half; greatly chagrined I ordered them all to be dismissed, as he had procured substitutes. At 4 o'clock I was prepared to start, but not a single thing was in readiness, and after waiting until 7, I mounted my Ghunt and ordered the Munshi to follow with the rest as soon as possible. About two, I arrived at Agnur, resolved to bear the long fast I anticipated with becoming patience, for there was no means of providing for the wants of appetite at that place.
The road traversed a highly fruitful and well-cultivated country, and several clear soft streams meandered through the fields. Jacquemont speaks of the utter destitution of the people and maintains that in the Panjab we may best judge of the great happiness enjoyed by the natives of HindGsthan under British dominion confess I saw no such signs of misery. When a stranger can only get bearers at a high price and is forced to pay down the money in advance; when he sees the natives well clothed, and evidently well fed, nay, more independent, even proud in their bearing, how can he conclude that they are so wretched? On the journey, I observed that, instead of carrying the produce of their fields on-their heads, as usual, they had horses with them, which were well laden into the bargain.
Agnur has a petty Raja, who is in the service of Gulab Singh, It lies on the right bank of the Chenab, which is here a strong clear stream, with water of icy coldness, and is protected by a stately fort, although probably more picturesque than useful. It was built thirty. three years ago by Alum Singh, and plundered by Ranjit Singh, who does not approve of strong places in the territories of his vassals, The palace is in ruins, but the Raja has built a new and charming house behind it. Agnur itself is a place of no importance. The Trikota mountain rises in stately grandeur near it, and a place of pilgrimage lies about half-way up its northern side, with a temple, much celebrated for its beauty and sanctity. It has also a spring, from which the water rises in jerks and falls into a basin; for nine months of the year this water is cold, but during December, January, and part of February, it is too hot to bear touching without pain. This appears to me to be explained by the fact, that, so long as the snow lies on the Trikota, no water can penetrate the protected spring, which, therefore, keeps its own natural high temperature. Trikota Devi is eighteen kos or twenty-seven miles from Jammu, and I would fain have visited it, but my time was strictly limited. A new snowy mountain here came in view to the south-west, in the direction of the plains of India. Bimber is eighteen kos from hence, and twenty from Jammu. Our march this day was above eighteen miles. The following is the distance in kos from Shimla to Jammu, and the names of the stations-the kos of Punjab is about one mile and 4 half:
Sari …… 7 Habli …… 5
Kunyar …… 7 Haripoor …… 6
Sahikoti …… 8 Jwali …… 10
Bayun …… 8 Narpoor …… 10
Bilaspoor ……7 Patankota …… 10
Kumagaheti …… 8 Katoa …… 8
Meyrigaheti …… 9 Jesrod …… 8
Hamirpoor …… 6 Aleh …… 8
Raili …… 5 Samba …… 8
Nadaun …… 5 Ishmaelpoor …… 9
Jwalamukhi …… 5 Jammu …… 7
Author: Navin Kumar Jaggi
Co-Author: Gurmeet Singh Jaggi