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compensate for the loss of personal liberty), that the natives are not usually cruel masters; on the contrary, their slaves live happily, and often become so attached, as to lose all wish to quit their owners.
5. Bischur is one of the primary states of this northern region: originally it was a small province, but by subsequent and gradual encroachments it has acquired its present importance. On one side it borders on China, and in other directions it is bounded by various states in an irregular and, for the most part, undivided line. It is divided into four districts, viz. Kunawur, the tract which includes the two chief towns of Rampore and Serān, and part of the valley of the Sutlej, the valley of the river Pabur, and the vallies of Nawur and Teekur.
The wild passes and hardy inhabitants of Kunawur constitute the chief strength of Bischur: the province is inhospitable and bleak in climate, barren and unproductive in soil. It produces but little grain, and the inhabitants exchange salt, wool, woollen-cloths, and other articles for corn, which they procure from more fertile districts. Many sheep and cattle are reared in Kunawur, particularly the yāk of Tartary, which is found in the remoter parts. The inhabitants are strongly marked with the Tartar physiognomy, and are remarkable for their integrity, which has thrown into their hands most of the commerce between Hindostan and Tartary, and between Tartary and Cashmere. Every person is safe in Kunawur, of whatever religion or sect he may be. Mr. Fraser has recorded the the following pleasing instance of the honest punctuality of a Kunawurree travelling merchant, which took place long after his tour was made.
“He was invited to make a trading voyage into Bootan and Yarkund, and a sum of money, very considerable in his estimation, was entrusted to him, to procure some of the produce of these parts, partly with a view of verifying his relation, and partly to judge of the value of the commodities in question, and of the possibility of procuring them. The man was with difficulty induced to take charge of the money, and with still greater difficulty prevailed on to promise to deliver the articles in the plains of Hindostan, at some distance from the hills, with his own hands. But he fulfilled his promise, and in a way that proved his honesty, for he hiinself brought, very nearly at the time he was expected to arrive, a quantity of the things ordered, which showed he had strictly adhered to his bargain of only making a profit on the articles of intermediate traffic, while the full value of the
money was restored to the lender, in goods of these countries at the cost there. It is delightful and refreshing to record a circumstance that marks a valuable trait of charaoter among the wretched features of depravity and savageness, which must be pourtrayed, in order to give a true delipeation of the people of the country under review." (P.264, 265.),
Though recognized as Hindoos by descent and general profession, the Kunawurrees generally follow the Lama religion, whose ministers or priests are dispersed over the country, and sell them small idols which they carry about their persons.
The other districts of the state of Bischur are, for the most part, exceedingly fertile; but their inhabitants are, by no means, characterized by the integrity and fidelity of the Kunaw urrees, being revengeful and treacherous, abandoned in morals, and vicious in their habits, particularly in the vallies of Nawur and Teekur. As a proof of the savage indifference with which they look
upon the life of another, Mr. Fraser relates that mere wantonness or joke will induce them to put a man to death, merely for the satisfaction of seeing the blood flow and marking the last struggles of their unhappy victim! Female chastity is here quite unknown, and murder, robbery, and outrage of every kind are regarded with indifference. We reluctantly pass over much curious information relative to the natural history, and political condition of the state of Bischur, in order to conduct our readers to
6. Gurwhāl, the chief scene of Hindoo mythology. This state is of great extent though of small comparative value : many of the large rivers of Upper India, and all those which form the origin of the Ganges, have their rise in its mountains, and hold their course through its territory. The divisions of Gurwhāl it is not easy to ascertain : its most valuable part is the very fertile valley of Deyrah-Dhoon, which extends from the Jumna to the Ganges, through a length of forty miles, and is from eight to eleven miles in breadth. Prior to the conquest of this state by the Ghoorkhas (which, though attempted in 1791, was not completed until 1803) the valley of DeyrahDhoon is said to have yielded to the government a lack of rupees yearly; but the Ghoorkhas, having devastated it greatly, never realized more than twenty thousand rupees per annum. The chief town or capital of Gurwhāl is Srenuggur: it was once comparatively populous and prosperous, being not only the residence of the court, but also a considerable entrepôt for the produce of the various countries in and on either side of the Snowy Mountains, which were exchanged by means of various ghauts or passes. At present, Srenuggur is falling rapidly to decay, partly from the oppression and tyranny of its conquerors, and partly also in consequence of a violent earthquake that took place in 1803, as well as from the annual encroachments of the river Alacknunda, on whose southern bank it is situated
As the principal scene of Hindoo mythology lies in this country, and is chiefly concentred about the sources of the rivers which flow from the recesses of the snow-clad Himālā; the temples and places of attraction to the devotees of Hindostan are comparatively numerous. Two of these are pre-eminently celebrated, viz. Jumnotree, or the source of the Jumna; and Gangotree, or the source of the Ganges.
In his progress to Jumnotree, our author witnessed a curious solemnity at a village called Cursalee.
“ It is large, tolerably ncat, and probably populous; but at present it is full of the inhabitants of all the neighbouring villages, who have brought the images of their gods to bathe. The Seāna, with the Pundit, and Brahmins of Jumnotree, attended by a great number of both sexes, came out to meet 'us. The Pundit, a mean and dirty looking fellow, clad like the rest in coarse blankets, came forward, and insisted .on marking my forehead with the sacred yellow; a ceremony which I submitted to with a good grace as to a high compliment, and which was eagerly sought for by the Hindoo attendants, who, as well as the Seāna, and most of the villagers, received this blessing after me! We then proceeded to our quarters, which were very tolerable, clean and dry. - As for coolness of situation, it is not here much required.
“ The annual ceremony of carrying the images of their gods to wash in the sacred stream of the Jumna is it appears) one of much solemnity among the inhabitants of the neighbourhood; and the concourse of people here assembled has been busily engaged, and continues to be fully occupied in doing honour to it. They dance to the sound of strange music, and intoxicate themselves with a sort of vile spirit, brewed here from grain and particular roots, sometimes, it is said, sharpened by pepper. The dance is most grotesque and savage: a multitude of men taking hands, sometimes in a circle, sometimes in line, beating time with their feet, bend with one accord, first nearly to the earth with their faces, then backwards, and then sidewise, with various wild contortions. These, and their uncouth dress of black and gray blankets, give a peculiar air of brutal ferocity to the assemblage. The men dance all day, and in the evening they are joined by the women, who mix indiscriminately with them, and keep up dancing and intoxication till the night is far advanced. They continue this frantic kind of worship for several days; and, in truth, it is much in unison with their general manners and habits,-savage and inconsistent. At a place so sacred, the residence of so many holy Brahmins, and the resort of so many pious pilgrims, we might expect to find a strict attention to the forms of religion, and a scrupulous observance of the privations and austerities enjoined by it. So far, however, is this from the truth, that much is met with, shocking even to those Hindoos who are least bigotted." (P. 422.)
The celebrated spot which obtains the name of Jumnotree is thus described. “ It is
very little below the place where the various small streams formed on the mountain brow, by the melting of many masses of snow,
unite in one, and fall into a basin below. To this basin, however, there is no
access, for immediately above this spot, the rocks again close over the stream, and, though not so lofty as those below, they interpose a complete bar to further progress in the bed of the torrent: a mass of snow too had fallen from above at the farther extremity of this pass, under which the river runs. Between the two banks, the view is closed by the breast of the mountain, which is of vivid green from perpetual moisture, and is furrowed by time and the torrents into numberless ravines; and down these ravines are seen trickling the numerous sources of this branch of the Jumna. Above this green bank, rugged, bare, and dark, rocky cliffs arise, and the deep calm beds and cliffs of snow, towering above all, finish the picture. Noble rocks of varied hues and forms, crowned with luxuriant dark foliage, and the stream foaming from rock to rock, forms a foreground not unworthy of it.
“At the place where it is customary to perform ablution, the rock on the north-east side of the river is very steep. This seems to be of the same nature as that which has been noticed at Usureegurh, apparently quartzose, and chiefly white, but exhibiting different shades and colours. The structure also is laminous, and from between these laminæ run several small streams of warm water, forming, together, a considerable quantity: There are several other sources, and one in particular, from which springs a column of very considerable size, is situate in the bed of the river between two large stones, and over it falls a stream of the river water. This water is much hotter than that already noticed: the hand cannot bear to be kept a moment in it, and it emits much vapour. I could not detect the least acidity by the taste, nor any sulphureous or other smell in the water; it was exceedingly pure, transparent, and tasteless. A great quantity of red crust, apparently deposited by the water, which seemed to be formed of an iron oxide, and some gritty earth, covered all the stones around and under the stream. This, on exposure to the air, hardened into a perfect but very porous stone, whilst below the water it was frequently mixed with a slimy substance of a very peculiar character, of a dull yellowish colour, somewhat like isinglass, certainly a production of the water, as well as the above crust, for it covered the stones over which the stream ran, and was very abundant.
“The violence and inequality of the stream frequently changes the bed of the river. Formerly it lay on the side opposite to this rock, and the numerous sources of this warm water were then very perceptible, many of them springing from the rock and gravel to some height in the air; but several of these are now lost in the present course of the stream. These warm springs are of great sanctity, and the spot for bathing is at that point before mentioned, where one of a considerable size rises in a pool of the cold river water, and renders it milk
This jet is both heard and seen, as it plays far under the surface of the pool. These springs have all particular names, such as Goureecound, Tubutcound, &c.; and, as usual, a superstitious tale is related concerning their origin. Thus it is said that the spirits of the Kikees, or twelve holy men who followed Maha Deo from Lunka (after the usurpation of the tyrant Rawen), to Himālā, inhabit this rock, and continually worship him. But why this operation should produce
springs of hot water in this place is not so clear. Here, however, all the people bathed, while the Pundit said prayers, and received his dues ; and here also I bathed, was prayed over, and submitted to be marked by the sacred mud of the hot springs in the forehead like the rest, and of course was obliged to make my present to the priest for his ministry.
“I complied with the custom of approaching the spot with bare feet. The whole of the people had put off their shoes a long way below. We looked around in vain for a situation where to pass the night under cover; and, as the weather was too cold to keep the people exposed to it, with the imminent appearance of rain, I agreed, though unwillingly, to return.” (F. 428, 429.)
Several very interesting geological observations on the Himālā mountains terminate the account of Jumnotree, for which we have not room; we shall, therefore, extract only a few
pașsages, descriptive of the author's journey to Gangotree or Gungotree, near the source of the Bhagiruttee (the principal fount of the Ganges), in the centre of the range of the Himālā mountains, called Rodroo Himālā. In ascending to this stupendous height, Mr. Fraser and his party experienced that difficulty of breathing which is felt on reaching an elevation beyond the region of vegetation. The natives who attended him, notwithstanding that circumstance, attributed it to the serān or poison in the air arising from the perfume of flowers.
« I had no idea that height of situation could have so severely affected the strength and chest, and yet it must have been this alone, for severe as was the ascent, and bad as the road was, we had met with fully as bad days' journeys before; and though the people asserted that the air was poisoned by the scent of flowers, and though there really was a profusion of them through the whole of the first part of the march, yet the principal part of them had no smell, nor could I perceive any thing in the air except a cold and somewhat raw wind. Besides which, the chief distress was experienced after we reached the lofty gorge of Bamsooroo, which was beyond the region of vegetation, and consequently could not be easily affected by the perfume of flowers. After reaching that place no one was proof against this influence. It was ludicrous to see those who had laughed at others, yielding, some to lassitude, and others to sickness, yet endeavouring to conceal it from the rest. I believe I held out longer than any one; yet after passing this gorge every few paces of ascent seemed an insuperable labour, and even in passing along the most level places my knees trembled under me, and at times even sickness at stomach was experienced. The symptoms it produced were various: some were affected with violent headache ; others had severe pains in the chest, with oppression ; others sickness at the stomach and vomiting; many were overcome with heaviness, and fell asleep even while walking along. But what proved the fact that all this was the effect of our great elevation, was, that as we lowered our situation, and reached the region of vegetation and wood, all these violent symptoms and pains gradually lessened and vanished.