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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
To a 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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 Hind Gsthan 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
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.
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
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:
- Navin Kumar Jaggi
- Gurmeet Singh Jaggi