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Title: Western Himalaya and Tibet - A Narrative of a Journey Through the Mountains of Northern India During the Years 1847-8
Author: Thomson, Thomas
Language: English
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[Illustration: ISKARDO.
_From the South._

_Pl. I._

J. W. del. W. L. Walton, Lithog.
Printed by Hullmandel & Walton.]


A Narrative of a Journey Through the Mountains of Northern India,
During the Years 1847-8.



Assistant Surgeon Bengal Army.

Reeve and Co., Henrietta Street, Covent Garden.

Printed by
John Edward Taylor, Little Queen Street,
Lincoln's Inn Fields.


On the termination of my journey in Tibet, I submitted to the Indian
Government a detailed report of my observations in that country. It
was my original intention to request the permission of the Court of
Directors to publish this report in the form in which it was drawn up;
but after my return to England, this plan was, at the suggestion of
friends, abandoned for that now followed.

At the time of my appointment to the Tibet Mission, my attention had
not been specially directed to the Himalaya, but I have since had many
opportunities of studying that chain of mountains. My first definite
impressions of Himalayan geography were received from my
fellow-travellers, Major Cunningham and Captain Henry Strachey. The
latter gentleman had just completed one of the most adventurous
journeys ever made in the Himalaya; and Major Cunningham's knowledge
of the geography of Northern India is so accurate and extensive, that
the delay in the publication of his map, although caused by the
devotion of his leisure time to other branches of research, is a
subject of deep regret to all who know its value. More recently I have
had the good fortune to travel in the Eastern Himalaya with Dr.
Hooker, and it was a source of great gratification to me, when we met,
to find that in studying these mountains at opposite extremities of
the chain, the results at which we had arrived were almost identical.

My botanical collections, which were very extensive, have as yet been
only roughly assorted, and the names of plants given in the present
work are chiefly derived from a careful comparison of specimens with
the Hookerian Herbarium at Kew,--a collection which, as is well known
to Botanists, both from its extent and from the liberality with which
it is thrown open to students of that science, occupies in this
country the place of a national collection.

The heights of places given in the work have been derived from very
various sources. Those in the earlier part are chiefly from the
extremely accurate observations of the Gerards; for others I have to
thank my fellow-travellers; but the greater number are calculated from
my own observations of the boiling-point of water, and do not
therefore pretend to great accuracy. Still the thermometer which I
used (by Dollond) was a very good one, and comparisons with barometric
observations, or with known heights, have given such results as
satisfy me that at considerable elevations it may be depended upon to
within three or four hundred feet as an extreme error.

The orthography of oriental proper names is a question of great
difficulty, and grave objections may be urged against any system which
has been proposed. If each European nation represents the sound of the
vowels and variable consonants after the mode which prevails in its
own language, then proper names must be translated, as it were, when
rendered from one of these languages into another; whereas, if the
mode of spelling the names remain fixed, then the value of the letters
must be different in the majority of the languages from that which
usually prevails. For purely popular purposes the former method would
probably be the most judicious; and the English language has peculiar
facilities for rendering oriental sounds, in consequence of its
possessing the open sound of _u_, as in _but_, which is wanting in
other European languages, though so common in Arabic, Persian, and
Hindee, and all cognate tongues.

A uniform mode of spelling, however, has so many advantages, that I
have been induced to give it a preference; but it will be seen that in
a few instances, where the popular mode of spelling has become
familiar, and as it were a portion of the English language, as in the
words Punjab, Jumna, Sutlej, Kussowlee, and a few others, I have not
had courage to carry out the rule.

For the plates which accompany the work I have to thank Mr.
Winterbottom, who very kindly permitted me to select from a series of
sketches those which I thought most suitable. This was not an easy
task; but in the two views of the neighbourhood of Iskardo I found so
faithful a representation of the extremely rugged scenery of the
Tibetan mountains, contrasted with the level plain of Iskardo, and the
lacustrine strata of the neighbourhood, that no more desirable
illustrations for a journey in Tibet could be conceived. The little
vignette, too, though it does not represent any part of the country
through which I travelled, is precisely similar to many ravines in
Rondu, and serves to show that the Gilgit valley is quite the same in
general appearance with that district. I was more particularly
desirous of introducing this sketch, from the very faithful
representation it contains of the alluvial platforms which skirt the
streams in every part of Tibet.

The map is founded principally upon Mr. Arrowsmith's large map, and
his name is its best guarantee. The districts round the Pangong lake
are taken from a sketch given to me by Captain H. Strachey, and the
whole of the eastern part has been revised by him. A great part of the
course of the Shayuk has been laid in by Mr. Arrowsmith from my own
rough survey, while the little-known district between Jamu and
Zanskar, which I was not competent to survey, has been rendered as
nearly as possible from the notes which I had made of the length and
direction of my marches.

The sketch of the district between Nubra and the Karakoram pass, which
will, I hope, be found useful as an illustration of that part of my
journey, has been prepared for me by Dr. Hooker, from a rough draft of
my survey, assisted by verbal explanations.

In conclusion, I have to add, that for the correction of the press,
during which process many asperities by which the manuscript was
disfigured have disappeared, I have to thank my kind friends, Dr. and
Mrs. Hooker.




     Appointment to a Mission about to proceed to Tibet -- Leave
     Firozpur for Simla -- Approach to the Mountains -- Appearance
     of Himalaya from Plains of India -- Kalka -- Ascent to
     Kussowlee -- Vegetation of Plainward Face -- Origin of
     Kussowlee Ridge -- Climate and Vegetation of Kussowlee --
     Aspect of inner ranges -- Road from Kussowlee to Simla --
     Sabathu -- Cross Gambar River -- Haripur -- Tropical Vegetation
     of Basin of Gambar -- Steep Ascent to Simla -- its extent and
     situation -- its Vegetation -- Oak-forest -- Pines -- Flora of
     Spring Months -- of Rainy Season -- View from Peak of Jako --
     Structure of Mountain Ranges                                    1


     Leave Simla -- Mahasu Ridge -- Pine Forest -- Summit of Mahasu
     -- Vegetation of Northern Slope -- Fagu -- Theog -- Mattiana --
     Cultivated Valley -- Nagkanda -- Ascent of Hattu -- Forest of
     Pine and Oak -- Vegetation of Summit -- View from top of
     Mountain -- Plainward slopes bare of forest, while those facing
     the interior are well wooded -- Cultivation at 9500 feet --
     Descent from Nagkanda towards Sutlej -- Damp shady Ravine
     densely wooded -- Kotgarh -- Cultivation -- Rapid Descent --
     Change of Climate -- Tropical Vegetation -- Rampur --
     Swing-bridge -- Diurnal fluctuations in level of River -- Gaora
     -- Serahan -- Tranda -- Western boundary of Kunawar            29


     Sildang river -- Fine grove of Deodars -- Nachar -- Fruit-trees
     -- Vine seen for first time -- Boundaries of Kulu and Kunawar
     -- Cross Sutlej at Wangtu bridge -- Vegetation of bare rocky
     valley -- Waterfall -- Chegaon -- _Pinus Gerardiana_ -- Miru --
     Absence of rain -- Alteration of vegetation -- _Quercus Ilex_
     -- Rogi -- Willow and Poplar -- Chini -- Cultivated Plain --
     Kashbir -- Pangi -- Camp at upper level of trees -- Junipers --
     Werang Pass -- Alpine Vegetation -- Birch and _Rhododendron_ --
     Granite Boulders -- Lipa -- Alluvial Deposits -- Encamp at
     12,500 feet -- Runang Pass -- Vegetation very scanty -- Stunted
     Forest -- Sungnam                                              63


     Hangarang ridge separates Kunawar from Piti -- Ascent to
     Hangarang Pass -- Alluvial deposit -- Steep ascent -- View of
     valley -- Limestone rocks -- _Caragana versicolor_, or _Dama_
     -- Camp at 14,000 feet -- Top of pass -- View from pass --
     Vegetation of summit -- Descent to Hango -- Cultivation round
     the village -- Luxuriant wild plants -- Road to Lio -- _Crambe_
     -- Ravine of Piti river -- Lio -- Bridge over Piti river --
     Ascent to Nako -- Nako -- Cultivation of the village --
     Buddhist temple -- Transported blocks -- Chango -- Changar --
     Stopped by villagers on Chinese frontier -- Natural bridge --
     Kyuri -- Alluvium -- Clay deposit with shells -- Lari --
     Ramifications of mountain ranges -- Alluvial platforms -- Pok
     -- Dankar -- Lara -- Rangrig -- Upper part of Piti -- Climate
     -- Saline exudations                                           96


     Leave valley of Piti river -- Kibar -- Cultivation above 14,000
     feet -- Vegetation of mountains -- Rocky gorge -- Encampment at
     17,000 feet -- Parang Pass -- Snow-bed and glacier -- First
     plants at 16,500 feet -- Parang valley -- Gorge leading to
     Chumoreri Lake -- Kiang, or wild horse -- Chumurti --
     Remarkable grassy plain -- Lanak Pass -- Granite boulders --
     Plants above 18,000 feet -- Undulating hilly country -- Hanle
     plain -- Vegetation -- Monastery of Hanle                     130


     Descend Hanle river -- Unsettled weather -- Encamp on banks of
     Indus -- Upper course of Indus -- Pugha ravine -- Forest of
     Myricaria trees -- Borax plain -- Hot springs -- Borax lakes of
     Eastern Tibet -- Sulphur mine -- Pulokanka Pass -- Salt lake --
     Lacustrine clays with shells -- Ancient water-mark -- Rupchu --
     Tunglung Pass -- Fall of snow -- Alluvial conglomerate -- Giah
     -- Narrow ravine -- Miru -- Upshi -- Indus valley -- Marsilang
     -- Richly cultivated plain of Chashut -- Bridge over Indus --
     Le -- Buddhist edifices                                       155


     Departure from Le -- Sabu valley -- Pass between Le and Nubra
     -- Snow -- Encamp at 15,500 feet -- Digar -- Valley of Shayuk
     -- Alluvium -- _Populus Euphratica_ -- Tsatti -- Nubra river --
     District of Nubra -- Villages -- Irrigation -- Saline soil --
     Isolated rocks -- Chirasa -- Panamik -- Lower Nubra --
     Platforms of Alluvium -- Traces of a great flood -- Unmaru --
     Kuru -- Great contraction of valley -- Mountain pass of Waris
     -- Boghdan ravine -- Chorbat -- Mahommedan population --
     Villages -- Outburst of granite -- Siksa -- Khapalu -- Open
     plain of Khapalu -- Junction of Shayuk and Indus -- Nar --
     Iskardo plain -- Description of Iskardo -- Aqueduct -- Fort --
     Lacustrine clay formation -- Vegetation                       187


     Leave Iskardo in the direction of Kashmir -- First march
     through snow to Turgu -- Lacustrine clay -- it extends into
     narrow valleys beyond Nar -- Gol -- Junction of Indus and
     Shayuk -- Parkuta -- Tolti -- Kartash -- Extensive lacustrine
     deposits -- Tarkata -- Road turns up the Dras river -- Ulding
     Thung -- Fall of snow -- Hardas -- Karbu -- Continued snow --
     Dras -- Find pass in front shut by deep snow -- Obliged to
     return to Iskardo -- Rafts and rope-bridges on Indus --
     _Elæagnus_ and Apricot apparently wild -- Winter at Iskardo   223


     Leave Iskardo for Rondu -- Insurrection in Gilgit -- Koardu --
     Kamar -- Enter narrow part of Indus valley -- Difficult road --
     Range of mountains south of Indus -- Description of Rondu --
     Thawar -- Avalanches -- Alluvium -- Swing-bridge -- Villages --
     Juniper -- _Pinus excelsa_ -- Rocks -- Vegetation -- Return to
     Iskardo -- Agriculture of Balti -- Game of Chaugan -- Chakor
     hunting -- Shigar valley -- Journey towards Kashmir -- Dras
     valley -- Karbu -- Dras fort -- Maten -- Cross pass into
     Kashmir -- Baltal -- Valley of Sind river -- Sonamarg --
     Gagangir -- Gond -- Gangan -- Ganderbal -- Enter main valley of
     Kashmir -- Town of Kashmir -- Description of Kashmir --
     Lacustrine formation -- Trap hills -- Lake -- Climate --
     Vegetation                                                    248


     Environs of Kashmir -- City lake -- Gardens of Shalimar and
     Dilawer Khan -- Pampur -- Avantipura -- Platforms of lacustrine
     clay -- Mountain of Wasterwan -- Ancient city -- Clay, with
     shells and fragments of pottery -- Ancient temple imbedded in
     clay -- Lakes caused by subsidence -- Islamabad -- Shahabad --
     Vegetation -- Vernag -- Banahal Pass -- Valley of Banahal --
     Tropical vegetation -- Pass above Chenab Valley -- Nasmon --
     _Jhula_, or Swing-bridge -- Balota -- Ladhe ke Dhar -- Katti --
     Fort of Landar -- Mir -- Kirmichi -- Tertiary sandstones --
     Dhuns -- Seda -- Jamu                                         285


     Leave Jamu to return to Tibet -- Lake of Sirohi Sar --
     Vegetation of lower hills -- _Dodonæa_ -- Ramnagar -- Garta --
     Dadu, on a tributary of the Chenab -- Camp at 10,000 feet --
     Badarwar -- Padri pass -- Descend a tributary of the Ravi --
     and ascend another towards the north -- Sach _Joth_, or pass --
     Snow-beds -- Camp in Chenab valley                            315


     Marked change in the Vegetation -- Bridge over Chenab --
     Pargwal -- Description of Chenab valley -- Asdhari --
     Chatargarh -- Road turns up valley of Butna -- Vegetation of
     Chenab valley -- Chishot -- Snow-beds -- Camp at 10,500 feet --
     Ancient moraines -- Glacier -- Camp at 11,500 feet -- Rapid
     ascent along glacier -- Camp on moraine, at 14,600 feet --
     Change of weather -- Ascent towards pass over glacier -- Cross
     Umasi La -- Descent -- Immense glacier -- Encamp in Tibet, at
     13,800 feet -- Open valley of Zanskar -- Padum -- Great change
     of climate -- and in vegetation                               342


     Rope bridge across Zanskar river -- Tongde -- Zangla -- Road
     leaves Zanskar river -- Takti La -- Nira -- Bridge over Zanskar
     river -- Singhi La -- Phutaksha -- Wandla -- Lama Yuru -- Cross
     Indus river -- Kalatze -- Nurla -- Saspola -- Nimo -- Le --
     Pass north of Le -- Small glacier -- Kardong -- Kalsar --
     Vegetation -- Diskit -- Passage of Shayuk river -- Upper Nubra
     -- Vegetation of Nubra -- Hot spring at Panamik               367


     Start for Karakoram -- Steep ascent out of Nubra valley -- Meet
     a party of Merchants from Yarkand -- View from summit of pass
     -- Rapid torrent -- Large glacier -- Steep moraines -- Alpine
     vegetation -- Numerous glaciers -- Lakes -- Glacier on crest of
     Sassar pass -- Sassar -- Cross Shayuk river -- Murgai --
     Limestone rocks -- Ascend Murgai Valley to 16,800 feet --
     Singular limestone formation -- Open plain above 17,000 feet --
     Re-cross Shayuk river -- Karakoram pass -- Return to Sassar --
     Glaciers of Sassar -- Return to Le -- Start for Kashmir --
     Lamayuru -- Phatu pass -- Kanji river -- Namika pass -- Molbil
     -- Pashkyum -- Kargil -- Dras -- Zoji pass -- Kashmir -- Lahore
     -- Completion of journey                                      408


     General description of Tibet -- Systems of mountains --
     Trans-Sutlej Himalaya -- Cis-Sutlej Himalaya -- Kouenlun --
     Four passes across Kouenlun -- Boundaries of Western Tibet --
     Height of its mountain ranges and passes -- Climate of Tibet --
     Clouds -- Winds -- Snow-fall -- Glaciers -- their former
     greater extension -- Elevation to which they descend --
     Snow-level -- Geology -- Lacustrine clay and alluvium         456

  [Illustration: MAP of the MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN INDIA. _to illustrate_
   Dr. Thomson's Travels in Western Himalaya _and_ Tibet.

   _Dr. Thomson's Route is coloured Red._
   Drawn & Engraved by John Arrowsmith.]





     Appointment to a Mission about to proceed to Tibet -- Leave
     Firozpur for Simla -- Approach to the Mountains -- Appearance
     of Himalaya from Plains of India -- Kalka -- Ascent to
     Kussowlee -- Vegetation of Plainward Face -- Origin of
     Kussowlee Ridge -- Climate and Vegetation of Kussowlee --
     Aspect of inner ranges -- Road from Kussowlee to Simla --
     Sabathu -- Cross Gambar River -- Haripur -- Tropical Vegetation
     of Basin of Gambar -- Steep Ascent to Simla -- its extent and
     situation -- its Vegetation -- Oak-forest -- Pines -- Flora of
     Spring Months -- of Rainy Season -- View from Peak of Jako --
     Structure of Mountain Ranges.

In the month of May, 1847, while with my Regiment at Firozpur on the
south bank of the Sutlej, I received intimation that Lord Hardinge, at
that time Governor-General of India, had appointed me a member of a
mission which he had determined to despatch across the Himalaya
Mountains into Tibet; and I was directed to proceed without delay to
Simla, from which place the mission was to start, as soon as the
necessary arrangements could be completed.

I left Firozpur on the evening of the 20th of May, and travelling only
at night, on account of the extreme heat, I arrived at the foot of
the hills, on the morning of the 24th. The greater part of the road
was through a perfectly level country, and nearly parallel to the
Sutlej, but without following its sinuosities. During a part of the
last night's journey, I travelled among low hills, partly composed of
loose sand and boulders, partly of clay and sandstone. The road enters
this tract by an open valley, bounded on both sides by hills, which on
the left are low and rounded. On the right they are scarped towards
the plains, as well as towards the valley up which I travelled, and
the strata of which they are composed, dip towards the Himalaya. The
valley is traversed by a little stream descending from the mountains,
one of the tributaries of the Gagar or Markanda, that remarkable
river, which runs in a south-west direction, as if about to join the
Indus, but ultimately loses itself in the sands of the Bikanir desert.

     _May, 1847._]

When viewed from the plains of India, at a distance sufficient to
enable the spectator to see the most elevated part of the chain, the
Himalaya appear to form several distinct parallel ranges on the
horizon, rising in succession one behind another. The most distant of
these is covered with perpetual snow, while the other two, usually
called the middle and outer ranges, have the usual blue-grey tint of
distant mountains. From very great distances in the plains, the most
remote of these three apparent ranges is alone visible; and as the
traveller advances towards the base of the mountains, the others rise
in succession above the horizon.

The optical deception, in consequence of which, masses of mountains of
every configuration resolve themselves into ranges perpendicular to
the line of sight, as soon as the eye is so far removed that the
outline of the different parts becomes indistinct, has given to our
maps many mountain-chains, which a nearer inspection proves to have no
existence. As a good instance of this, I may mention the Suliman
range, west of the Indus, which, though laid down in all our maps as a
mountain belt, parallel to and skirting the plain country, behind
which no mountains at all are represented, evidently consists of a
series of ranges, almost perpendicular to the Indus, and separated
from one another by considerable rivers. The sources of these rivers
lie far back, and the north and south axis from which they spring,
separates all the tributaries of the Indus from a succession of
streams, which run in a south-westerly direction, and appear to
terminate, without reaching the sea, in the low and flat country of
Seistan and western Beluchistan.

At distances of between sixty and thirty miles from the base of the
Himalaya, the three parallel chains are well seen. On a nearer
approach, the lower and outer mountains by degrees become more
distinct, and subtend a greater angle, so as at last to conceal the
more distant portions of the chain. At the same time, the uniformity
of outline by which they had been characterized, insensibly
disappears. Ridges become visible in the face presented to the eye,
which, as the traveller continues to advance, become developed into
projecting spurs, separated from the general mass by wide valleys,
previously quite undistinguishable. On a still nearer approach, the
elevation continuing to increase, the extent of range embraced by the
eye is gradually lessened, till at last, when we arrive at the base of
the mountains, a single valley with its bounding ranges of low hills
is alone visible, the giant masses, so conspicuous from a greater
distance, being no longer to be seen.

The low sandy or sandstone hills, which form the outskirts of the
Himalaya, are not, on the road from Firozpur to Simla, anywhere of
greater elevation than a few hundred feet. A few miles beyond the
entrance, the valley, which has a considerable slope, widens as it
approaches the more lofty mountains, and the sandstone cliffs are
replaced by rounded hills, probably of a more ancient rock, covered
with soil and vegetation.

    [Sidenote: KALKA.
     _May, 1847._]

At the very base of the steep mountains is situated the village of
Kalka, at which, as it is the termination of palankin travelling,
travellers in general stop, to arrange for the continuance of their
journey. Situated close to the source of the little stream which I had
been following since I had entered the hilly country, and surrounded
on all sides by low hills, Kalka has an elevation of perhaps 2000 feet
above the level of the sea, or 1000 feet above the plain on the
outside of the sandstone hills.

The general aspect of the low hills around Kalka is barren and
uninviting; it was especially so at the season of my visit, when the
great heat had scorched the herbaceous vegetation, and all nature had
a burnt-up appearance. The subtropical valleys are not here, as
farther to the east along the base of the mountains, filled with dense
forest. They are in general bare, a few scattered trees only appearing
here and there. In the level part of the valley, at the very entrance,
where the soil was still of some depth, _Acacia Arabica_ and _Butea
frondosa_, the most prevailing trees of the plains beyond, were
frequent; but the stony water-courses contained little but a bamboo,
and the hill-sides were covered with scattered bushes of the more
ordinary shrubs of the plains of Northern India, and presented few
features of interest.

     _May, 1847._]

Immediately on leaving Kalka, a long and steep ascent commenced,
continuing for about ten miles, to the military post of Kussowlee,
which occupies the crest of the ridge overlooking the Kalka valley,
and can be seen throughout the greater part of the ascent, overhanging
the winding road, which has been constructed along the side of the
mountain. The elevation of Kussowlee is about 6500 feet, an altitude
at which the climate in the Himalaya is perfectly temperate, so that
during the ascent a traveller from the plains of India meets with a
complete change of climate, a change, too, which in the month of May,
the period of my visit, is particularly grateful, the heat below being
most oppressive and disagreeable.

As the elevation increases, the view from the road becomes more
extensive. The low ranges of hills to the south and west, which had
obstructed the view, are by degrees overtopped, and the plains beyond
become visible. Soon after leaving Kalka the road crosses a low ridge,
and enters a receding bay, or steeply sloping valley beyond, at the
upper extremity of which, all along the crest, are seen the houses of
Kussowlee. Winding round this valley, and continuing to rise, the
stream in its centre is crossed about midway, and the ascent
continues on the spur which forms its western boundary. This ridge is
crossed close to the point where it is given off by the main range,
and the road, winding round its most projecting part, enters a
fir-wood, and, turning back very abruptly in an opposite direction,
proceeds eastward along the northern face of the Kussowlee range.

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _May, 1847._]

The plainward face of this range, along which the road from Kalka
ascends, is quite devoid of forest. The lower part is covered with
scattered jungle, to use a most expressive Indian word, of small
shrubs, almost all of forms common in the plains. _Carissa_ and
_Adhatoda_ are the most common, with _Rottlera tinctoria_, a plant
which does not extend far into the plains, and a scandent leguminous
shrub, apparently a species of _Mucuna_. Around the few houses which
occur on the ascent, the bamboo occurs planted, as well as the mango,
and other common cultivated trees of the Indian plains. At an
elevation of about 4000 feet, an alteration in the vegetation begins
to be perceptible. The thin jungle of plain shrubs disappears, the few
shrubs which still occur, are generally scattered bushes of
_Hamiltonia_, _Nyctanthes_, _Prinsepia_, _Scutellaria_, and _Rubus_,
but the slopes are usually bare and grassy. Ferns and mosses appear in
the crevices of the rocks, and the first individuals of those species
which predominate in the temperate zone, are found in shady spots
where they are sheltered from the sun. At the same elevation
_Euphorbia pentagona_ makes its appearance. This tree, which is
confined to the hottest and driest slopes of the Himalaya, is
remarkable for its peculiar shape, its thick fleshy five-angled
branches, and its milky juice. It is nowhere to be met with in the
plains of Upper India, but is common throughout the subtropical belt
of the Himalaya from Kamaon westward.

     _May, 1847._]

A glance at the map will serve to show that the great Himalayan
mountain range, dividing the waters of the Sutlej from those of the
Jumna, holds a nearly due east and west course in its middle part, but
that at its western extremity it bends round to the south, and
terminates in the Indian plain, not far from the town of Nahan, and
that (among many others) the Kussowlee ridge is a branch from it,
running in a north-westerly direction, and separating the waters of
the more western branch of the Gambar, from the small tributaries of
the Gagar, which find their way to the plains on the left hand.

The ridge upon which the station of Kussowlee is built, nowhere
attains an elevation exceeding 7000 feet. It is very narrow, and often
rocky and precipitous immediately below the crest on the plainward
face, which dips very suddenly. The inner slope is somewhat less
abrupt, and is covered from the summit to perhaps 1000 feet below it,
with an open forest of a species of fir (_Pinus longifolia_), which,
in general appearance and mode of growth, much resembles the Scotch
fir, but is distinguished by the very great length of its leaves. The
barracks for the troops and the houses of the residents are scattered
over the northern slope, or perched on the narrow summit of the ridge.

The shrubby and herbaceous vegetation which occurs scattered among the
fir-wood, is so markedly different from that which prevails at the
base of the mountains, and during the greater part of the ascent, that
the traveller appears suddenly transported into a new world. Instead
of those tribes of the vegetable kingdom which abound in the torrid
zone, all the forms which now meet the eye are characteristic of a
temperate climate. The moderate elevation of the range, and its
proximity to the plains, tend to lessen the rapidity of the diminution
of temperature; and as the greater part of the ascent lies on a bare
sunny slope, the tropical flora extends towards the summit, much
farther than it does on ranges which rise higher, and are clothed with
shady forest. During the ascent, therefore, the traveller, though
often struck with the appearance of new forms, is still accompanied by
many species familiar to him as natives of tropical jungles, but on
passing to the northern face of the spur, the temperate region is at
once entered, and most of the tropical forms disappear.

     _May, 1847._]

As soon as the crest of the first slope of the Himalaya has been
gained, the eye is naturally directed towards the mountains beyond, in
order to ascertain their appearance and position, when viewed at a
diminished distance and from so much more considerable an elevation
than had previously been the case. Nor will the view from Kussowlee in
favourable weather disappoint the traveller who is desirous of meeting
with beautiful scenery. Immediately to the north lies a deep ravine,
and beyond a single ridge is the wide valley of the Gambar, with
numerous mountain spurs, which, from their comparatively lower level,
are not prominently brought into view. To the south-east the main
range dips abruptly to a level, nearly 1000 feet below what it attains
in the station of Kussowlee itself, but again rises into the finely
wooded hill on which has recently been built the Lawrence Asylum.
Still further to the south are deep dells, with bare and rugged slaty
mountains, scarcely at all wooded. In the months of May and June, when
the atmosphere is generally extremely hazy, the prospect is limited to
the ranges more immediately in the vicinity; but occasionally even in
these months, as well as in the dry intervals of the rainy season, and
during the delightful autumn weather which follows the termination of
the rains, a much more distant prospect is opened, stretching far up
the valley of the Sutlej, to the snow-clad peaks which, on either
hand, hem in that river.

In the direction of the plains of India, the view is also very
remarkable. The Kussowlee ridge so completely overtops the hills which
intervene between it and the level country, that from its summit they
interfere very little with the commanding view of the interminable
flat which, like the ocean, stretches as far as vision extends. In the
usual state of the atmosphere, especially in the hot season, a dense
haze overhangs the plains, and entirely obscures their more distant
parts; but in the cold season, as well as at day-break in summer, and
especially after heavy rains, the misty vapours are entirely
dissipated, and distant objects are defined with extreme precision.

Perhaps the most striking, because the most unexpected part of the
view of the inner Himalaya, from Kussowlee, lies in the great depth of
the valleys in the interior, and the distance of the next elevated
range, of which the appearance of the mountains from the plains of
India affords no indication. The extreme narrowness of the ridge, and
the suddenness of the descent on both sides, is also very remarkable,
and has, as already remarked, a very sensible effect on the climate,
the heat of the lower mass being conveyed upwards, while the small
extent of the knife-edge-like ridge, which rises above 6000 feet,
exposes a minimum surface to the refrigerating influences of a
rarefied atmosphere.

    [Sidenote: ROAD TO SIMLA.
     _May, 1847._]

The distance from Kussowlee to Simla is by the road about thirty
miles, though in a direct line the two places are not much more than
half that distance apart. The road descends from Kussowlee almost to
the level of the plains, crossing the Gambar at an elevation of a
little less than 3000 feet, and ascends to Simla by following the
ridge which runs parallel to that river on its right bank, the source
of the Gambar being immediately below Simla. It would indeed be
possible to reach Simla, by following the crest of the ridge, without
descending at all into the valley of the river; but for this purpose
it would be necessary to follow the Kussowlee ridge so far to the
southward, in order to reach its junction with the main range, that
the length of the journey would be very much greater than that now
followed. The road, therefore, only keeps the ridge for a very short
distance, or as far as the "col," or lower part immediately north of
Kussowlee, which is quite bare of trees. It then turns abruptly to the
left, descending on the north face of a spur, at first in a winding
manner, afterwards for a short distance along a shady ravine, and
finally through a good deal of cultivation, at an elevation of between
4000 and 5000 feet, to a considerable stream which runs towards the
north to join the Gambar. The greatest part of the descent is bare of
trees, except along the banks of the little stream, which are covered
with a belt of wood. The cultivated lands are extensive, occupying a
flattish terraced slope, such as is of very general occurrence in the
mountains, the fields being adapted for the growth of rain crops,
principally of rice, with a few fields of ginger and cardamoms.

    [Sidenote: SABATHU.
     _May, 1847._]

After reaching the stream just mentioned, which is crossed by a ford,
a suspension bridge, for which the piers are partly built, having
never been erected, the road continues to descend parallel to it
towards the north, passing under the military station of Sabathu,
which, at the elevation of 4200 feet, occupies the crest of the ridge
immediately to the east of the little river, a very short distance
before its junction with the Gambar.

After passing Sabathu the road turns to the right, round the
projecting ridge of the range, and descends rapidly to the valley of
the Gambar river, which is crossed by a good suspension bridge at an
elevation of 2700 feet above the level of the sea. It then ascends by
a steep and laborious path to Haripur, a small village about 500 feet
above the bed of the river. The Gambar river, where the road crosses
it, flows through a narrow rocky ravine, somewhat picturesque, but
quite devoid of trees. This, however, is not the general character of
the river-bed, which is frequently wide, with a broad gravelly
channel, and sloping though often rather steep mountains on either
side. There is occasionally even a strip of flat land, capable of
cultivation along the banks; and where such is the case, the water of
the river is carried off in artificial channels, for the purpose of

After attaining the crest of the ridge, and passing through the
village of Haripur, the road follows the ridge parallel to the river
Gambar, nearly all the way to Simla, not always on the very crest or
top, which would entail a great many unnecessary ascents and descents,
but generally a little on one side or other of the hill, as
circumstances may render most convenient; at one time ascending rather
steeply, but more generally rather gently as far as Sairi, the last
stage on the way to Simla, beyond which the road is pretty level,
nearly to the bottom of the mountain on which Simla stands.

The valley of the river Gambar may be regarded as an excellent
specimen of a smaller Himalayan river, draining a large extent of
country, and discharging its waters independently into the plains,
though not, like the first-class rivers, deriving its origin from the
snowy mountains. The southern border of the basin of the Gambar, is of
course the main chain of the South Sutlej Himalaya; and the whole of
the country between the Jutog spur, which leaves that chain at Simla,
and the Kussowlee ridge, the origin of which I have already detailed,
is drained by the Gambar and its tributaries. This includes an extent
of country of not less than 1000 square miles, the bounding ranges of
which have, throughout the greater part of their extent, an elevation
varying from 8000 to about 6000 feet. Both the Kussowlee and Jutog
ranges dip at last rather abruptly, so that it is only during a very
short distance that they are below the last-mentioned elevation. This
elevation, which is quite temperate, is however by no means that of
the whole superficies of the basin, the bed of the river having, at
its _débouchure_ into the Sutlej, an elevation of not more than 2000
feet, and rising very gently till near its source immediately below
Simla. The lateral ridges, which traverse the basin in every
direction, are in general less elevated; not exceeding 5000 feet in
their upper part, and sinking to 3000 or even lower, so that the mean
elevation of the whole basin cannot be estimated, I should think,
higher than 3500 feet.

    [Sidenote: BASIN OF GAMBAR
     _May, 1847._]

Such being the case, it is not surprising that the general appearance
of the vegetation should be tropical, and closely approximate to that
of the low hills on the very exterior of the Himalaya. This is in
general the case. The hills, which are generally grassy, and, though
steep and frequently stony, rarely rocky or precipitous, are quite
devoid of forest, or even brushwood, except in a few shady nooks with
a northern exposure, and favourably situated with respect to moisture;
the shrubby vegetation being thin and scattered. This total want of
forest, is unquestionably caused by the dryness of the climate during
the greater part of the year, which is to a certain degree increased
beyond what it would otherwise be, by the proximity of the surrounding
mountain ranges, to which a large proportion of the rain-clouds are no
doubt attracted.

In the shady ravines north of Kussowlee, where there is the greatest
approach to forest, a species of laurel is the most conspicuous tree.
On the more exposed hills, _Falconeria insignis_ and _Euphorbia
pentagona_ occur, scattered as small trees, and one small wood of
_Ægle marmelos_ is passed close to the village of Haripur. The most
common shrubs are _Adhatoda Vasica_, _Carissa_, and _Zizyphus
Jujuba_, species universal in the plains of upper India; _Colebrookea
oppositifolia_, _Grislea_, _Bergera_, _Roylea_ and _Boehmeria
nivea_, all species which are throughout the north-west Himalaya,
characteristic of the lower and drier parts of the outer ranges. Two
Labiate shrubs, _Plectranthus rugosus_ and _Meriandra strobilifera_,
are particularly abundant on the slopes between Haripur and Sairi, and
strongly mark the aridity of the climate.

The herbaceous vegetation, being principally of annual growth,
approaches still more closely to the plains types. At the season of my
journey in May, the extreme drought had dried up almost all the
smaller plants, but during, and immediately after the rainy season the
herbage is very luxuriant. The steep slopes are then covered with a
uniform herbage of tall grasses, which is in many places cut and
preserved for hay, by the inhabitants of the scattered villages in the
valleys. The most prevailing grasses are a tall sweet-scented
_Cymbopogon_ and _Heteropogon contortus_. A species of _Kalanchoë_, a
large and conspicuous plant, with thick fleshy leaves, is very common,
and the superb _Gloriosa_ or _Methonica_ is by no means rare.

On the highest ridges in the valley, at elevations of 5000 feet and
upwards, there are frequent approaches to the temperate flora, the
shady slopes on northern exposures being frequently covered with small
patches of brushwood, containing species of _Berberis_, _Rubus_,
_Spiræa_, etc., and numerous herbaceous species, of forms common at
Simla. These, however, are quite exceptional, though no doubt with a
very little more humidity the shrubby vegetation would rapidly extend,
and under its shelter many small plants would be able to grow, which
are now, when they attempt to vegetate, destroyed by the scorching
heat of the sun.

It must also not be forgotten, that notwithstanding the general
tendency to a tropical flora, the natural result of the low elevation
and great aridity of these hills, a portion of the vegetation even at
the lowest levels consists of plants of European forms, such as
characterize the temperate vegetation of the Himalaya. I do not here
refer to what may be called the cold-weather vegetation of the plains
of north-western India, at which season, the temperature of the air
approaching to that of the summer of the temperate zone, a
considerable number of European plants make their appearance in
corn-fields and along the banks of water-courses; as, for example,
_Veronica Anagallis_ and _agrestis_, _Anagallis_, _Medicago_,
_Melilotus_, _Potentilla supina_, _Juncus bufonius_, _Arenaria
serpyllifolia_, _Heliotropium Europæum_, and many others. These
naturally occur at the same season, in the low valleys among the
hills, in similar situations. The circumstance to which I desire to
advert, is the occurrence at very low levels among the mountains,
during the hot and rainy seasons, of species belonging to genera
characteristic of temperate climates, and which therefore are the
prevailing forms at considerable elevations on the Himalaya. As
instances, I may adduce the occurrence in the valley of the Gambar, at
elevations not exceeding 3000 feet, of species of _Thalictrum_,
_Fragaria_, _Rosa_, _Rubus_, _Berberis_, &c., &c. This remarkable fact
has been ascribed by Jacquemont[1] to the obscure influence of the
mountains; and as the genera just enumerated never occur in the
plains of Upper India, it appears evident that the mountainous nature
of the country must be viewed as an essential element in the reasons
for their descent. These, with some others which also occur at low
levels in the Himalaya, appear to be in all parts of the continent of
India those genera of temperate climates, which descend to the lowest
altitudes. Some of them were found by Dr. Hooker on Parasnâth, a hill
in upper Behar, the elevation of which does not exceed 4000 feet; and
they are all natives of moderate elevations on the Nilgherries and in
Ceylon, as well as on the Khasya mountains in eastern Bengal.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TO SIMLA.
     _May, 1847._]

    [Sidenote: SIMLA.
     _May, 1847._]

The ridge which runs from Haripur to Sairi, parallel to the river
Gambar, is a branch from the Jutog spur, nearly north of Simla, a
ridge which is given off by the main South Sutlej chain in Simla
itself, and which runs directly north to the Sutlej river. The road,
after following this ridge till within a few miles of Simla, leaves it
on the left hand, to descend into a small stony ravine; after crossing
which it mounts abruptly a very steep spur, ascending at least 1500
feet to gain the crest of the ridge, and enter Simla at its
north-western extremity.

The hill station of Simla, which was originally selected as a
sanatarium, or suitable residence for the servants of Government, or
other Europeans, whose health had been impaired by disease, or by too
long residence in a tropical climate, has of late years, in
consequence of the political state of north-western India, and of the
increasing number of retired officers, and of gentlemen unconnected
with the public service, who have made it their residence, become a
place of great importance. Besides an extensive bazaar or collection
of shops, which may now almost be designated a small native town,
Simla contains nearly 400 houses, scattered along the crest of
different mountain ranges. Its situation is a most favourable one, on
the main range of mountains south of the Sutlej river, at a point
where a massive peak rises to a height of 8100 feet, and on the
nearest part of the ridge to the plains of India, which is
sufficiently elevated, well wooded, and situated favourably with
regard to water. The greater part of the station is built on the main
range, partly surrounding the peak of Jako, and partly on the ridge
running north from it, at an elevation of about 7000 feet, as far as a
smaller culminating point of the range, which is by the inhabitants
named Prospect Point. At this point the main range turns sharply to
the west, and the station is continued for nearly a mile on a spur
which runs towards the north, passing through the station of Jutog.
From the scattered position of the houses, the extent of Simla is much
more considerable than the bare statement of the number of houses
might lead one to suppose. The northern ridge extends almost four
miles, and the circuit of Jako, by the principal road, which is from
500 to 1000 feet below the summit, measures five miles.

In consequence of the sudden elevation of the mountain range at the
place where Simla has been built, there is a most complete and
surprising change in the vegetation and general appearance of the
scenery. During the last ascent on the road from the plains this is
sufficiently perceptible, although from the great ravages which the
proximity of so large a population has made in the oak woods, only a
few stunted bushes are now left on the southern exposure. Between the
plains and Simla the hills are totally devoid of trees, but
immediately on gaining the top of the ridge on which the station is
built, we enter a fine forest, which covers all the broader parts of
the range, especially the slopes which have a northern aspect,
stretching down on these in many places to the bottom of the valleys,
fully 2000 feet.

    [Sidenote: OAK FOREST.
     _May, 1847._]

    [Sidenote: PINES OF SIMLA.
     _May, 1847._]

The nature of the forest varies a good deal with the exposure and with
the quality of the soil. By far the greater part consists of an oak
and a rhododendron, both small evergreen trees, rarely exceeding
thirty or forty feet, with wide-spreading arms and rugged twisted
branches. A species of _Andromeda_ is also very common, and a holly,
an _Euonymus_, _Rhamnus_, and _Benthamia_, are the other more common
trees, if we except the _Coniferæ_, of which four species occur. Of
these, _Pinus longifolia_ is common at the western or lower extremity
of the station, and prevails, to the exclusion of any other tree, on
the dry sunny spurs which run towards the south, at elevations from
7000 to 5000 feet. This species is, of all the Indian pines known to
me (except its near ally _P. Khasyana_), that which is capable of
enduring the most heat, and at the same time the greatest variation in
amount of moisture; as it is found at elevations of not more than 1000
feet above the level of the sea, equally in the hot humid valleys of
Sikkim, where it enjoys a perpetual vapour-bath, and on the dry
sandstone hills of the upper Punjab, on which rain hardly ever falls.
It is only, however, at low elevations, where the mean temperature is
high, that it is capable of supporting a great amount of humidity,
for in the damp climates of the Himalaya it is entirely wanting,
except in the deepest valleys; and even in the drier districts it is
always observed to select the sunnier, and therefore warmer exposures.
Its upper limit is usually about 7000 feet above the level of the sea,
though on Jako at Simla a few stunted trees rise as high as 7700 feet.

_Pinus excelsa_ is also a very common species at Simla, particularly
on the southern face of Mount Jako, which is the highest part of the
ridge. _Abies Smithiana_, the third coniferous tree, is exceedingly
rare, a few trees only occurring in a shady ravine facing the west;
while the deodar, the fourth species, is common on the southern and
western slopes of Jako, above 7000 feet; and again in shady groves at
the bottom of the valleys on both sides of the ridge, as low as 5000
feet. This beautiful tree, the cedar of the Indian mountains, seems
limited to the western half of the Himalayan range, extending from the
most westerly part of Nipal, as far as the mountains of Affghanistan.
It was first described by Roxburgh from specimens sent to him from
Kamaon, at a time when the western Himalaya was almost inaccessible to
Europeans, under the name by which it is known to the inhabitants of
that province, as well as in Kashmir. It is, however, singularly
enough, not known by that name in the Simla hills, where it is called
_Kélu_; another conifer, _Cupressus torulosa_, a rare tree in the
district, having usurped the name, as well as the sacred character, of

In the thick woods of Simla, a large white monkey, the _Langúr_ of the
natives, is very common. These animals move about in large flocks, in
which may be seen individuals of all sizes and ages, and seldom remain
more than a few hours in one place. They are in constant motion,
leaping from bough to bough and from tree to tree, chattering
constantly; and, notwithstanding their great size, are in general
harmless, though ready enough to defend themselves if assailed.

The forest extends in parts close up to the peak of Jako, which has an
elevation of 8130 feet. The very summit, however, which is a short
flat ridge, and a considerable part of the east and south face, are
bare and grassy, or covered with scattered shrubs. The more common
shrubby forms of the vegetation of the temperate zone, are _Salix_,
_Rosa_, _Rubus_, _Lonicera_, _Viburnum_, _Berberis_, _Indigofera_, and
_Prinsepia_, all, except the two last, quite European. _Indigofera_
forms a remarkable exception, and one well worthy of note, as the
genus is a very tropical one, although its shrubby species are
particularly abundant throughout the whole of the western Himalaya.
These shrubby species, however, constitute a particular section of the
genus, very distinct in habit, and in the large size and bright colour
of the flower, from the more ordinary forms, and they are confined to
the drier parts of the mountains, being quite wanting in the humid
climate of Darjeeling and Khasya, and almost entirely so in the
mountains of the Peninsula.

     _May, 1847._]

The herbaceous vegetation of the spring months quite corresponds, in
the temperate nature of its forms, with what has been found to be the
case with the trees and shrubs; but during the rainy season, as has
been well pointed out by Dr. Royle in his valuable essay on the
distribution of Himalayan plants, this is much less markedly the case.
At the commencement of spring, in April (for March is still too cold
for much vegetation), the weather being generally bright, though with
occasional heavy showers, the earliest flowers are species of _Viola_,
_Fragaria_, _Geranium_, _Veronica_, _Valeriana_, and dandelion. From
April, as summer advances, the temperature gradually rises, till
towards the end of June, when the rainy season commences. These months
are generally dry, and if no rain falls the heat is sometimes
considerable, the thermometer rising as high as 80° in the shade.
Still the flora is almost entirely temperate, the early spring plants
being succeeded by many others of European families, principally
_Ranunculaceæ_, _Rosaceæ_, _Labiatæ_, _Stellatæ_, _Polygonaceæ_,
_Epilobiaceæ_, _Primulaceæ_, etc. I can scarcely enumerate a single
spring flowering plant which does not belong to an European family,
unless _Arum_ be an exception, which it can hardly be considered, the
flowers only being displayed during May and June, while the leaves do
not make their appearance until after the rainy season has commenced.
Few species are, however, identical with those of Europe, except
_Stellaria media_, _Cerastium vulgatum_, _Taraxacum officinale_,
_Verbascum Thapsus_, _Thymus Serpyllum_, and _Poa annua_.

     _July, 1847._]

    [Sidenote: PEAK OF JAKO.
     _July, 1847._]

The rainy season generally commences about the 20th of June, or
between that date and the end of the month, and continues till the
middle or end of September, with occasional intermissions, rarely
exceeding a week at a time. During the rains the atmosphere is
exceedingly moist, dense fogs usually prevailing when rain does not
fall. The rain-fall is probably more considerable at Simla than in
the lower ranges, which are nearer the plains, for it has been
observed that ranges of 7-8000 feet (which are generally for this
reason well wooded), attract much moisture, and the peak of Jako and
other parts of Simla are frequently observed from the stations of
Sabathu and Kussowlee, to be covered with dense clouds or mist, at
times when at the latter places the weather is bright and clear.

The commencement of the rainy season is the signal in the mountains,
as it is very universally throughout India, wherever that season is
well marked, for the appearance of a very vigorous and luxuriant
growth of plants of annual growth, the seeds (or rootstocks) of which
had been lying dormant in the soil awaiting the access of heavy rain.
At Simla, as elsewhere in the temperate region of the Himalaya, we
find at this season numerous species of Balsams, _Acanthaceæ_,
_Orchideæ_, and _Labiatæ_, several Gentians and _Cichoraceæ_, a great
many grasses and _Cyperaceæ_, and species of _Parnassia_, _Drosera_,
_Pedicularis_, _Roscoea_, _Dipsacus_, _Thalictrum_, _Urtica_, etc.,
etc. Some of these are quite European genera, while others, as
_Roscoea_, are interesting as belonging to orders whose maxima occur
in very humid climates. The _Labiatæ_ of the rainy season are mostly
species of _Plectranthus_ and _Elsholtzia_, both quite Indian genera,
and very extensively distributed in mountainous districts. Balsams are
quite an Indian order, and they seem everywhere, as has already been
remarked by Dr. Royle and by Dr. Wight, to abound in humid shady
places, either in dense forest or on the stony banks of mountain
streams, in the drier districts only during the rainy season, but in
more humid countries more or less throughout the year. The _Orchideæ_
of Simla are entirely terrestrial, the dryness and cold of the winter
months being greater than are compatible with the occurrence of
epiphytical species of this natural order, and for the same reason, I
presume, _Melastomaceæ_, so abundant in the Eastern Himalaya, are
quite wanting.

Among the many advantages of situation by which Simla is
characterized, one of the most fortunate is its position on a part of
the mountain range which lies transversely to the ordinary direction
of the chain, so that the view towards the plains of India, as well as
up the Sutlej valley, is very much more extensive than would be
obtained, had the station been situated in a less favourable position.
This advantage is further enhanced by the sudden rise in elevation of
the chain, which enables a resident at Simla to overlook in the
direction of the plains the continuation of the range which would
otherwise obstruct the view. Towards the interior of the mountains,
this advantage is not possessed by Simla; for the ridge of Mahasu,
which rises 1000 feet higher than the peak of Jako, obscures at least
half of the snowy range, the view being limited in that direction to
the course of the valley of the Sutlej, and to the mountains north of
that river.

    [Sidenote: VIEW FROM THE
     _July, 1847._]

With all these advantages of situation, the view from the peak of Jako
is one of the most agreeable and diversified, which occur in any part
of the Himalaya; although, from the rather too level top of the
mountain, and the intrusion of the forest almost to the very summit,
the whole panorama cannot be embraced at once. Immediately under the
eye are the numerous spurs and ridges covered with scattered houses,
and the deep ravines which terminate the steep slopes below the
station; towards the plains, the whole valley of the Gambar is seen,
with the stations of Sabathu and Kussowlee, the church and esplanade
of the former appearing low down almost within a stone's throw, while
the brilliant white of the houses of Kussowlee, more nearly on a level
with the eye, sparkle in the sunbeams. The ridge of Kussowlee in one
place excludes the view of the plains, but to the right they may be
seen stretching away in the distance, and only recognizable at last by
the track of the Sutlej river, which, from the very remarkable curve
close to its exit from the mountains, may be traced as far as vision
can extend, a distance of 116 miles[2]. To the north a valley
stretches from Simla as far as the Sutlej river, distant about fifteen
miles, so direct that the greater part of it is seen, though the river
itself is concealed. East of north a long partially wooded ridge,
about four miles distant at its nearest point, running parallel to the
valley just mentioned, excludes the view of the nearer part of the
Sutlej valley; but the lofty ranges north of that river, covered with
dense forest, and backed by masses of brilliant snow, close in the
view in that direction. Due east lies the Mahasu ridge, covered on the
Simla slopes with a dense forest of deodar; and to the south, across
the valley of the Giri, towards which numerous rugged ridges run, is
the mountain called the Chor, the highest peak of the range which
separates the Giri from the Tons, the crest of which is upwards of
12,000 feet in height.

From the peak of Jako, the serpentine course of the range, which
prevails universally throughout the Himalaya, may be well traced, as
the eye of the spectator, following the direct course of the ridge,
can observe numerous turns in its course, each of which, from the
great foreshortening, appears much more abrupt than it really is. At
each curve the range rises into a peak, while the intermediate
portions are lower and excavated into "cols" or passes. In the
concavity of each bend of the range is situated the head of a valley,
numerous small spurs dividing the different ravines which unite to
form it; while on the convex side, from the high portion of the ridge,
is given off a branch of the range, forming a separation between two
adjacent valleys, each of which occupies a concavity in the main range
of mountain.

On my arrival at Simla on the 25th of May, I found that Major A.
Cunningham, of the Bengal Engineers, and Captain Henry Strachey, of
the 66th Regiment N.I., were to be my fellow-travellers, the former
having been appointed the head of the mission. As Captain Strachey had
to travel from Dinapore, it was evident that some time would elapse
before he would arrive at Simla, nor was it till the beginning of
August that the completion of the necessary preliminaries rendered it
possible for us to commence our journey. I took advantage of this
delay to make myself as far as possible acquainted with the physical
features and vegetation of the surrounding country, though the
necessary preparations for the approaching journey occupied a good
deal of time, and the commencement of the rainy season rendered
travelling difficult, and even out-of-door exercise unpleasant. I have
already attempted to convey an idea of the general physical aspect of
the scenery, which, after a short residence has made one familiar with
the structure of the ridges, appears very simple. Situated on the
dividing range, by which the waters of the Giri, a tributary of the
Jumna, on the left, are separated from those of the tributaries of the
Sutlej on the right, the spectator looks into two of the immense
basins into which the Himalaya is divided by transverse ranges running
parallel to the great rivers; and after a short time he finds that the
chaos of mountains, which at first perplexed the eye and confused the
mind, gradually resolves itself into a definite shape, each ridge
being capable of being referred to its parent, and that in its turn to
a branch of the main chain. From his commanding position he can also
see that the main range is generally more elevated than its branches,
and that each chain, by a succession of sudden sinkings, diminishes in
elevation, each peak being lower than its predecessor. Nowhere in the
wide tract of country visible is there the least approach to a system
of parallel ridges, such as is indicated by the distant view of these
mountains. On the contrary, it is seen that the great ranges are,
though very irregularly, perpendicular to the general direction of the
mountain mass, and that it is only the shorter spurs which have a
general uniformity of direction.

    [Sidenote: STRUCTURE OF THE
     _July, 1847._]

Nor could I find in the structure of the mountains around Simla any
confirmation of the view entertained by Humboldt of the sudden
elevation of the Himalaya out of a vast fissure in the external crust
of the earth. However plausible such a view might appear when the
Himalaya is contemplated as a whole (on a map), without any portion of
its extent being under the eye, I found it, on the spot, quite
impossible to conceive in what way, after such a sudden elevation, any
power in the least analogous to existing forces could have excavated
out of the solid rock those numerous valleys, so various in direction,
so rugged in outline, and so vast in dimensions, which now furrow the
mountain mass.

On the contrary, the conclusion has been forced upon me that these
mountains have emerged extremely gradually from an ocean, of the
existence of which, at very various levels, the most evident traces
are, I think, discoverable. The present configuration of the surface
must, I do not doubt, have been given to it during periods of rest, or
of very slow elevation, the action of the sea upon submerged rocks
being so very superficial that no denudation takes place at any great
depth. During the period of emergence of the Himalaya, from the great
length of the present valleys, which extend between parallel ranges
far into the interior, the coast must have borne a strong resemblance
to that of Norway at the present day, numerous promontories projecting
far into the sea, and separated from one another by narrow and deep

    [Sidenote: GEOLOGY.]

The geological structure of the Himalaya between Simla and the plains
is not easily discovered by the cursory observer. The general basis of
the mountains is clay-slate, occasionally very micaceous, passing
into a coarse sandstone, but here and there limestone occurs
interstratified. The dip is extremely variable, and the rocks,
whatever their age, are evidently highly metamorphosed. The tertiary
formations, so well illustrated by Falconer and Cautley, extend all
along the base of the mountains, and penetrate in some places far into
the valleys, for certain rocks in the neighbourhood of Sabathu have
been indicated by Major Vicary, which appear to be of the same age, or
perhaps of a still older tertiary epoch.


[1] Voyage, etc., vol. ii. p. 6.

[2] In this I allow 800 feet for the height of Loodiana above the
level of the sea.


     Leave Simla -- Mahasu Ridge -- Pine Forest -- Summit of Mahasu
     -- Vegetation of Northern Slope -- Fagu -- Theog -- Mattiana --
     Cultivated Valley -- Nagkanda -- Ascent of Hattu -- Forest of
     Pine and Oak -- Vegetation of Summit -- View from top of
     Mountain -- Plainward slopes bare of forest, while those facing
     the interior are well wooded -- Cultivation at 9500 feet --
     Descent from Nagkanda towards Sutlej -- Damp shady Ravine
     densely wooded -- Kotgarh -- Cultivation -- Rapid Descent --
     Change of Climate -- Tropical Vegetation -- Rampur --
     Swing-bridge -- Diurnal fluctuations in level of River -- Gaora
     -- Serahan -- Tranda -- Western boundary of Kunawar.

On the 2nd of August, 1847, every necessary preparation having been
completed, and the officers of the mission having received the
instructions of the Governor-General to proceed to Ladakh, and thence
to take severally such direction as they should consider most
conducive to the increase of our knowledge of these countries, Major
Cunningham, Captain Strachey, and myself left Simla.

     _August, 1847._]

The route selected as most eligible, in order to reach Hangarang and
Piti, to which we had been instructed in the first place to proceed,
lay up the course of the Sutlej river, through Kunawar. The advanced
period of the season, at which almost constant rain might be
expected, rendered the river route, on which at most stages tolerable
shelter is obtainable, preferable to that by the Pabar valley, and the
Bruang (or Borendo) pass, which otherwise we should have preferred,
from its passing through a more elevated tract of country.

From Simla the first day's journey towards the interior of the
mountains is usually to Fagu, a distance of fourteen miles. Here, and
for several stages farther, as far as the road lies through British
territory, there are houses (bungalows, as they are termed in India)
provided by Government for the accommodation of travellers, upon the
payment of a small fixed sum per diem. Though often in bad repair, and
therefore very uncomfortable in rainy weather, these houses (which
occur also between Simla and the plains) are a very great convenience,
as they enable tourists to dispense with the carriage of tents.

The difficulty of making a start, from the small number of porters
procurable for our baggage, was so great that it was some time after
dark before I reached the Fagu bungalow, in the midst of an extremely
heavy fall of rain, which had commenced about sunset, after a fair
though lowering day. The road from Simla to Fagu follows throughout
the course of the main range, not always on the very crest of the
ridge, but seldom at any great distance from it. After passing round
the peak of Jako, it turns northward, and descends abruptly about 500
feet, to a low part of the ridge, elevated about 6800 feet, and quite
bare of trees, the micaceous slaty rock being in many places exposed.
The ridge continues in a direction for nearly four miles, varying
very little in level, only one short and rather steep ascent
occurring to a peak where a spur branches off to the south, beyond
which the road again slightly descends. About half-a-mile to the north
of this little ridge, on the slope of the hill below the road, there
is a small cluster of trees of _Cupressus torulosa_, a species of
cypress, one of the rarer conifers of the Himalaya; the most favourite
situation of which seems to be on very steep mountains in the
interior, at elevations of from seven to nine thousand feet. It was
found abundantly by Major Madden[3] on Shali, a peak twenty miles east
of Simla, and it appears to extend thence west as far as Simla, where
it occurs in several places on hot, dry, and very bare rocky hills, as
low as six thousand feet.

About four miles from Simla, a sudden increase in the elevation of the
range takes place, and at the same time it turns abruptly towards the
south-east. The road ascends the steep face of the ridge, in a series
of zigzags, rather steeply, with a deep ravine on either hand, that to
the right bare, while on the left there is first a thicket of rose and
willow bushes, and further on an oak-wood, of a species (_Quercus
floribunda_ of Wallich) different from that common at Simla, and
indicative of greater elevation, though here growing with
_Rhododendron_ and _Andromeda_, common Simla trees. When near the top
of the ascent, the road bends rapidly to the right, keeping on the
south face of the ridge, and passing under but close to a small house,
built on the very crest of the ridge, at an elevation of about 8000
feet. Close to this bungalow, which occupies a most excellent site,
forest commences, and the road runs for a mile through fine trees of
deodar and spruce (_Abies Smithiana_), generally on the very crest of
the ridge, looking down towards the east into a deep and broad valley.
Right across this valley, north-east, rises the remarkable peak of
Shali, a bold rocky mass sloping gently to the south, while to the
north, which seems to overhang the Sutlej valley, it is cut off very
abruptly. This highly beautiful mountain, the termination of a
northerly spur, given off close to Mattiana, is hardly visible from
Simla, its top only being seen from some of the more northerly houses.

    [Sidenote: MAHASU RIDGE.
     _August, 1847._]

From an elevation of about 8000 feet at its north-west end, the Mahasu
ridge rises, at first gradually, to at least 9000 feet, and as it is
throughout well wooded, the road along it is extremely beautiful. On
the earlier part of the ridge, the forest consists chiefly of pine,
_P. excelsa_ and _Abies Smithiana_ being abundant, and more especially
the deodar, which, on the slope facing the west, may be seen in the
greatest profusion, thousands of young trees springing up in dense
masses, on the slopes which have been bared by the axe, or still more
destructively by the fires of the hill-men.

After about five miles of what, in the Himalaya, may be called
tolerably level road, another sudden ascent follows, the road
inclining rather to the northern slope of the mountain, and entering a
dense forest of large massive pines, intermixed with two species of
sycamore, and a fine cherry, which relieve the otherwise too gloomy
foliage of the coniferous trees. A magnificent climbing vine, which
attaches itself to the tallest trees, rising in light green coils
round their trunks, and falling in graceful festoons from the
branches high over head, adds much to the elegance of the scene, and
renders it, in the expressive words of Griffith, who was familiar with
the rich vegetation of the humid forests of the Eastern Himalaya, the
only true Himalayan forest of the western mountains.

    [Sidenote: SUMMIT OF MAHASU.
     _August, 1847._]

On this ascent the road rises to about 9000 feet, the crest of the
Mahasu ridge being, according to Captain Herbert, 9200 feet. The large
size and dense shade of the trees, and the abundance of _Abies
Smithiana_, of the sycamore, and of the gigantic vine, give the forest
a totally different appearance from that of Simla, and the undergrowth
presents also a considerable amount of novelty; a species of currant,
a fine _Spiræa_, _Indigofera atropurpurea_, and fine species of _Rosa_
and _Rubus_, forming thickets under the tall trees. This forest,
indeed, from its dense shade, and great humidity, exhibits a much
greater contrast to the ordinary temperate vegetation of the Himalaya,
than is usually observed below 9000 feet, at which elevation the upper
temperate, or subalpine vegetation, begins fairly to predominate over
that which is prevalent from 5000 to 9000 feet.

On reaching the summit of the steep ascent, the road again gains the
crest of the ridge, which consists of a succession of rounded knolls,
covered with grass, and quite bare of trees, the forest rising almost,
but not quite, to the top. On the very summit of one of the first of
these knolls, is a small wooden shrine or temple, of a form common in
the hills; the top of a mountain, or the summit of any very steep
ascent, being usually selected as a proper spot for the erection of a
sacred building by Indian mountaineers, in whose superstition every
hill and grove is tenanted by supernatural beings.

     _August, 1847._]

The steep ascent on the northern shoulder of Mahasu, from 8000 feet,
and even lower, to above 9000 feet, is the great seat of the potato
cultivation in the neighbourhood of Simla. The steepest slopes seem to
be preferred for this purpose, if they have only a sufficiency of
soil, which is very light, loose, and stony. The undergrowth of shrubs
is cleared away entirely on the spot where potatoes are planted, but
the pine forest is only partially thinned, the tall straight trunks
allowing of a free circulation of air below, while the thick branches
above afford the amount of shade requisite for the crop. The potatoes
are planted in rows in May; and, early in June, when the plants have
attained a height of a few inches, the soil is earthed up round their
stems in low ridges. The rains commence in the latter part of June,
and during their continuance nothing is done to the crop, beyond
keeping it clear of weeds. The steepness of the slope seems to afford
a sufficient drainage to prevent any injury from the great rain-fall
and constant humidity. The growth of the plants is exceedingly
luxuriant, the foliage being tall and bushy. By the middle of October,
or after the close of the rains, the potatoes are dug and ready for
market, supplying not only the station of Simla, but being despatched
in great quantities to the plains of India, where the potato is only
cultivated as a winter crop, and where, therefore, during the cold
months, none are otherwise procurable.

On the very summit of the Mahasu ridge, there are a few trees of
_Quercus semicarpifolia_, the alpine oak of the western Himalaya, an
European-looking and partially deciduous species, and of _Picea
Webbiana_, or _Pindrow_, the silver fir of the Indian mountains, a
dark sombre-looking pine, abundant in the forests of the interior.
These trees may be adopted as the characteristics of the subalpine
zone, in every part of which, from 9000 to about 12,000 feet, which is
the highest limit of tree vegetation in the Western Himalaya, they
abound. On Mahasu they are entirely confined to the crest of the
ridge, and form no part of the forest below.

    [Sidenote: FAGU.
     _August, 1847._]

The descent from the top of Mahasu to the Fagu bungalow, is at first
abrupt, the road leaving the ridge to enter the forest on the northern
face, and winding down, after a few hundred yards of bare stony slope,
among dense forest, among which it continues for a couple of miles,
rising at last rather steeply to the crest of the ridge at the point
where it resumes a northerly direction. Here the bungalow of Fagu has
been built, at an elevation of 8200 feet, at the very base of the
steep mountain ridge behind, which rises abruptly, to a height of six
or seven hundred feet. The bungalow faces the north-east, and commands
a most superb view of the snowy range beyond the Sutlej, with
occasional glimpses of the Jumno-Gangetic snows on the right hand.

On my arrival at Fagu, in the midst of a pelting fall of rain, I found
the bungalow already occupied by my fellow-travellers, and before a
bright and comfortable fire I soon forgot the discomfort of my wet
ride, which indeed was not to be complained of, as it was only what
might fairly have been expected in the middle of the rainy season.
The confusion among our baggage, however, was so great, from its
arriving irregularly and being set down hurriedly by the drenched
porters, anxious to escape as soon as possible to shelter, that it was
not without difficulty I procured the necessary change of clothing.

The morning of the 3rd of August was densely foggy, but without rain,
and it was unanimously decided that it would be advisable to push on
to the next stage, Mattiana, a distance of fifteen miles. Our
anticipations of fair weather were unfortunately disappointed, for it
began to rain heavily before ten o'clock, and continued to do so with
little intermission till nearly two, when it cleared, and the
remainder of the day was fine.

    [Sidenote: GIRI VALLEY.
     _August, 1847._]

The whole day's journey lay along the ridge, which scarcely fell below
7500 feet, and nowhere rose above 9000 feet. Fagu is situated
immediately above the valley of the river Giri, a large mountain
stream, the most western tributary of the Jumna. A road across the
Jumnetic valleys to Massuri descends abruptly towards that river,
descending more than 5000 feet in little more than five miles, and
crossing the river by a bridge at an elevation of 3000 feet. The
mountains to the right, which dip into the valley of the Giri, are
bare of forest, with a good deal of cultivation in small terraced
fields on the steep sunny slopes, while scattered houses, scarcely
collected into villages, are seen here and there among the fields. On
the left hand, again, the deep valley which runs towards the Sutlej is
full of forest, not rising however to the ridge, which is bare, or
lined only with scattered jungle of _Indigofera_, _Desmodium_,
_Spiræa_, roses, and brambles. It seems to be a constant rule that
the depressions of the ridges are bare and open, while the more
elevated portions are covered with forest. Probably the cause of this
is the greater humidity of the higher slopes, which attract the
rain-clouds, while the lower ranges are dry. The currents of air which
sweep up the valleys may also in part be the cause of the bareness of
the ridges opposite their summits.

    [Sidenote: THEOG.
     _August, 1847._]

At Theog, nearly eight miles from Fagu, there is a fort belonging to a
Rana, or hill chieftain, and a small village, with a good many fields.
The cultivation at this great elevation, for the fields reach to at
least 8000 feet, is principally of barley, which is sown in early
spring, and reaped in the beginning or middle of June, according to
the season. Beyond Theog the road rises a little, and is covered with
brushwood on the left hand, but bare on the right. The highest part of
the road is about two miles beyond Theog, and has an elevation of
about 9000 feet. The northern face of this hill is prettily wooded
with the holly-leaved oak, and covered with numerous large angular
boulders, whose origin is rather difficult to explain. After passing
this little hill the ridge sweeps round to the left in a semicircle,
ascending very gradually and gently to a low ridge, from the crest of
which the bungalow of Mattiana comes into sight, at a distance of
nearly two miles, the whole of which is a gentle descent. The latter
part of the road has a direction nearly due north, and the bungalow is
situated in a very commanding position on the top of a little
eminence, a quarter of a mile from the village, which occupies the
slope of the hill facing the south-east, at a considerably lower
level. The hills on both sides of the bungalow, which has an
elevation of 8200 feet, are extremely steep, and descend at least 2000
feet. The valley on the left, tributary to the Sutlej, is well wooded,
but that on the right is rather bare, with only a little wood here and
there in the ravines, and on the more shady exposures.

    [Sidenote: MATTIANA.
     _August, 1847._]

The slopes below Mattiana are covered with numerous scattered houses
and a good deal of cultivation. A little rice is grown during the
rains, but the principal crops are barley and some wheat, sown in
spring and reaped before the commencement of the rains. The opium
poppy, also a spring crop, is cultivated to some extent in the lower
part of the valley. It is sown in early spring, and the opium is
gathered in June.

On the morning of the 4th of August we resumed our journey, proceeding
as far as Nagkanda, about thirteen miles. Nagkanda, like Mattiana and
Fagu, lies exactly on the crest of the main range, south of the
Sutlej, and it is possible to proceed to it by a footpath along the
ridge. The ascent, however, immediately north of Mattiana, where the
ridge rises suddenly to nearly 10,000 feet, is so steep, rocky, and
difficult, that it is quite impassable for horses, and so nearly for
loaded men, that a more easy, though somewhat longer road is always
preferred. I have more than once walked from Nagkanda to Mattiana by
the upper road, and found it quite easy on foot, and so very beautiful
as to be well worth a visit. The ascent from Mattiana is exceedingly
steep, and facing nearly due south, very bare, stony, and barren; but
when the higher portion of the ridge has been gained, the remainder of
the road lies through beautiful forest, with much fine scenery--the
earlier part steep and rocky, the remainder nearly level, till the
last descent, and generally on the north face of the range.

     _August, 1847._]

On our present journey, however, we took the usual road, which
descends from Mattiana to the valley immediately on the east, crosses
it, and passes over a long spur on its eastern side, into another
valley, the head of which is immediately below Nagkanda, to which
place the road ascends, at last very steeply. The ravine immediately
below Mattiana is crossed at an elevation probably a little above 6000
feet, as the trees of the temperate region, such as the holly-leaved
and woolly oak, _Andromeda_, and _Rhododendron_, continue to the very
bottom of the descent; and _Pinus excelsa_ is common on the eastern
slope, a little way above the stream, which descends very abruptly,
like all the hill torrents near their sources, along a rocky channel,
filled with large boulders. On the banks of the little stream there
were a few trees of an _Acacia_, common in the lower forests, which
Mr. Bentham considers a hairy variety of the _Albizzia Julibrissin_ of
western Asia. I observed also a Laurel, an Olive, _Rhus_, and the
common Toon (_Cedrela Toona_), all indicative of the commencement of a
subtropical vegetation, which no doubt must be abundant on its banks a
very few miles further down. Few of the plants observed in the valley
were different from those common around Simla; a species of
_Caragana_, a Leguminous genus abundant in Siberia, and in the
interior and more dry parts of the Himalaya, was perhaps the most

The ascent from the ravine was well wooded in its lower part with oak
and pine. A few trees of a very handsome poplar (_P. ciliata_), a tall
widely-branching large-leaved tree, occurred in its lower part, as did
also _Benthamia fragifera_, and a yew, apparently undistinguishable
from the common European species. The upper part of the ascent was
bare and grassy. The spur is a steep one, descending rapidly from the
main range, and the road winding round its shoulder does not ascend
beyond 7000 feet, but as soon as it has gained the eastern face
continues nearly level, gradually approaching the centre of the
valley, and winding along the hill-sides among numerous villages. The
slopes are generally bare; here and there in the hollows or recesses
along the lateral streamlets there is some very fine forest.

     _August, 1847._]

The appearance of this valley is considerably different from that of
any of those nearer to the plains. The population is considerable, and
collected into villages, some of which occupy the lower part of the
valley, and are surrounded by a good deal of cultivation and numerous
walnut and apricot trees, the latter of which are said, in autumn,
frequently to tempt the bears from the forest, to indulge in what to
them is a grateful feast. The ripening of the apricot in a valley,
among forest, at an elevation of 7000 feet, indicates an undoubted
diminution of the rain-fall. Very little change, however, is
observable in the wild vegetation till the upper part of the last
steep ascent, when a number of species make their appearance which are
strangers to the more external ranges. A species of hazel, as a tree,
and _Lappa_, _Achillea_, _Leonurus_, _Cheiranthus_, and _Rumex
acetosa_, as herbaceous plants, may be mentioned as instances, as
also a lax-paniculate _Polygonum_, with elegant panicles of white
honey-scented flowers.

    [Sidenote: NAGKANDA.
     _August, 1847._]

Nagkanda bungalow, elevated 9300 feet above the level of the sea, is
situated on a depression of the main range, where it has a direction
from west to east. The ridge to the west, towards Mattiana, is
elevated little more than 10,000 feet, while to the east rises the
peak of Hattu to a height of 10,674 feet, by the determination of the
trigonometrical survey. Here the range has approached nearer to the
Sutlej, now distant only about twelve miles, than at any point since
leaving Simla. The valley of the Sutlej being only 3000 feet above the
level of the sea, while the mountains directly opposite rise to 12,000
feet, the scenery is of the grandest description. The river itself is
nowhere visible, the descent being so abrupt at the bottom that the
intervening spurs entirely conceal it.

The northern slope of the ridge on which Nagkanda stands, is occupied
by a very deep valley, bounded by two long spurs, which run towards
the Sutlej. The whole of this valley is occupied by dense forest, a
great part of which is pine, especially on the upper part of the deep
receding bay which runs up nearly to the top of Hattu, the sides of
which are covered with a dense sombre forest of _Picea Webbiana_

    [Sidenote: ASCENT OF HATTU.
     _August, 1847._]

On the 5th of August, a portion of our baggage, which had been left at
Fagu two days before, from a deficiency of porters, not having arrived
at Nagkanda, it became necessary to halt, in order to give it a chance
of reaching us. The day was fortunately fine, and we availed ourselves
of the opportunity to ascend Hattu, Captain Strachey taking with him
his barometers, to verify their accuracy by the trigonometrically
determined height of this mountain, which was one of the stations of
the Himalayan survey by Captain Herbert. As the top of the mountain is
only about 1500 feet above the Nagkanda bungalow, and the distance is
nearly five miles, the ascent is an easy one. The first mile is nearly
level, and bare of wood on the ridge, though the forest on both sides
rises within a few feet of the crest, which is bordered by brushwood.
As soon as the ascent commences, the ridge becomes covered with
forest, at first principally pine, spruce and silver fir (_Picea_)
being the principal species. Yew is also very common, forming a fine
tall tree, and the few non-coniferous trees are chiefly the alpine
oak, sycamore, and cherry. The road, which at first ascends a western
spur, by degrees winds round to the face of the mountain, and finally
ascends to the summit from the east. The wood on the upper part is
entirely oak, and more open than the pine forest lower down. The top
of the mountain is steep and bare towards the east, for about five
hundred feet, with precipitous rocks thirty or forty feet high towards
the west, below which the slope is exceedingly steep and rocky in that

The continuation of the main range towards the east is at first lower
than the peak of Hattu some 600 or 700 feet, but rises again to
another peak within a mile. A long spur or ridge to the south-west is,
however, for nearly two miles, within a few feet of the same height as
the summit of Hattu, and rises at about that distance into a point,
which probably rather exceeds it. It then sinks rapidly towards the
Giri river, the most easterly branch of which has its source in the
ravine on the eastern face.

    [Sidenote: TOP OF HATTU.
     _August, 1847._]

On the top of Hattu there are the remains of a square building, with
very thick walls, I believe of native origin, and intended as a sort
of fort, which, however, from the want of water, must have been quite
untenable. It is now in ruins, its interior being filled with a
wilderness of hemp, nettles, _Galium Aparine_, dock and other coarse
plants. The grassy slopes of the summit are covered with a luxuriant
herbage of _Potentillæ_, _Labiatæ_, _Gentianaceæ_, _Epilobium_,
_Polygonum_, and _Anemone_, while a few stunted bushes of _Quercus
semicarpifolia_, a simple-leaved _Pyrus_, and a willow, are the only
shrubby vegetation. The forest, however, rises close to the base of
the cliffs on the western face, and contains all the species common on
the ascent of the mountain, the vegetation of the summit being in no
respect peculiar, not even in early spring exhibiting any truly alpine
plant. The mountain bamboo, a graceful small species of _Arundinaria_,
which is extremely abundant in the woods of the upper temperate and
subalpine zones, adorns the rocky hollows close to the summit.

    [Sidenote: VIEW FROM HATTU.
     _August, 1847._]

In every direction except south, and along the ridge to the east, the
view from the top of Hattu is very extensive, as it overlooks all the
peaks in the immediate vicinity. To the north the mountains of Kulu,
which separate the valley of the Sutlej from that of the Beas, and
from the upper Chenab, are most beautifully seen, their peaks rising
above one another from west to east, till they enter the region of
perpetual snow. Towards the plains, in clear weather, the view must
be superb; but in that direction there is so generally a hazy state of
the atmosphere, that though I have ascended Hattu four times, I have
never been fortunate enough to obtain a favourable day.

In looking back from the summit of Hattu towards Simla and the plains,
it may be observed that the country is well wooded, though when viewed
from Simla or the heights of Mahasu the same mountains had appeared
almost bare. This diversity in the aspect of the country, according to
the direction from which it is seen, is due to the ridges being well
wooded on one face, and bare of trees on the other. The plainward face
is never, except under very exceptional circumstances, at all wooded,
while the northern and eastern slopes are generally covered with
forest. Probably the more direct influence of the sun, and the action
of the strong winds which generally blow up the valleys towards the
interior of the mountains, act in concurrence in drying the
atmosphere, and checking the growth of trees on the southern and
western faces of the ridges.

The shrubby and herbaceous vegetation of Hattu is exceedingly
luxuriant. The more open glades of the forest are filled with an
undergrowth of tall balsams, annual-stemmed _Acanthaceæ_, _Dipsacus_,
_Compositæ_ (among which the beautiful _Calimeris_ is very abundant),
while in the drier pine-forest a graceful little bamboo occurs, often
to the exclusion of every other plant. It grows in dense tufts, eight
or ten or even twelve feet high, the diameter of the stem not
exceeding a quarter of an inch. The currant of the Mahasu ridge is
also common, with many of the same shrubs which are there abundant.
The ridge close to Nagkanda is much drier, and has fewer peculiar
plants; the resemblance to the Simla flora being there very

    [Sidenote: CULTIVATION.
     _August, 1847._]

On the southern slopes of this ridge, at elevations equal to that of
Nagkanda bungalow, and even higher, in some places as high as 9500
feet, there are considerable patches of cultivation. Barley is
probably the spring crop, but during the rains a good deal of
buckwheat is cultivated. This plant will not thrive in the very humid
regions, and is therefore indicative of a drier climate than that of
Simla; indeed, even the occurrence of cultivation at such an
elevation, during the rainy season, satisfactorily proves the
existence of a more moderate rain-fall and greater warmth than on the
peaks nearer the plains, as for instance on the Mahasu ridge, on
which, except the potato, no cultivation whatever is attempted during
the rains, though there are a few fields of wheat or barley in one
spot as high as 8000 feet.

     _August, 1847._]

    [Sidenote: SHADY RAVINE.
     _August, 1847._]

Our missing loads having arrived at Nagkanda on the evening of the 5th
of August, we resumed our journey on the morning of the 6th, marching
to Kotgarh, ten miles. At Nagkanda we finally left the main range, and
began to descend towards the valley of the Sutlej, following, at the
commencement of our journey, a spur which runs from immediately west
of the bungalow directly towards the river. After about four miles we
quitted this spur to descend into the valley on the right, after
crossing which we ascended to Kotgarh, situated on a long spur
descending from the peak of Hattu. The early part of the descent was
very abrupt, through a forest of large pines, principally _P.
excelsa_ and spruce (_Abies Smithiana_). Some trees of the latter
measured upwards of seventeen feet in circumference. Sycamore and
cherry were also common in the forest, and a good many trees of
_Corylus lacera_, the hazel of the north-west Himalaya, were observed.
The trees were festooned with the gigantic vine already noticed in the
Mahasu forest. After the first two hundred feet of descent, the forest
was less dense, and chiefly pine. _Rhododendron arboreum_ commenced
about 1000 feet below Nagkanda, and was soon followed by the
holly-leaved oak, and a little lower by _Q. incana_, the common hoary
oak of Simla; and by the time we had got down to 7000 feet, the
vegetation was quite similar to that of Simla. At a little below this
elevation, the road leaves the crest of the ridge, which may be seen
to continue in a northerly direction, partly bare and partly
pine-clad, and descends rapidly to the bottom of the deep ravine on
the right. Soon after leaving the ridge we entered thick forest, and
at the bottom of the ravine two considerable streams are crossed
within a very short distance of one another, at an elevation of about
5500 feet, the lowest level to which we descended during the day's
journey. Along the banks of these streams, which have a considerable
inclination of bed, the forest is very dense and shady. Few of the
trees are coniferous, nor do oaks in this part of the Himalaya select
such moist localities. _Lauraceæ_ of several kinds, the horse-chesnut,
alder, and hornbeam (_Carpinus viminea_), with Toon and _Celtis_, are
the prevailing trees.

The streams which the road here crosses descend from different parts
of the ridge of Nagkanda. They occupy the bottom of deep ravines, and
are in their whole course densely wooded. These ravines are, in their
upper part especially, extremely steep and rocky, often with
precipitous walls, and scarcely practicable even on foot. The
denseness of the forest is principally due to their northern exposure,
and to the consequent more equable temperature and greater humidity.
They contain many trees not previously observed on the journey from
Simla, though all of them, I believe even the horse-chesnut, occur in
the very similar steep rocky ravines below Fagu. The alder is a common
tree at 4-5000 feet in the north-western Himalaya, always in valleys
and on the banks of streams.

In this shady forest I collected a considerable number of plants which
do not occur at Simla. A scandent _Hydrangea_, the loosely-adhering
bark of which separates in long rolls like that of the birch, and is
used as a substitute for paper, was seen twining round the trunks of
trees. I observed also a fine _Calanthe_, and abundance of
_Adenocaulon_, a remarkable genus of _Compositæ_, which, till Mr.
Edgeworth discovered a species in the Himalaya, was only known as a
native of South America. In the thickest part of the forest in this
ravine, I was also fortunate enough to meet with a few specimens of
_Balanophora_, which here probably attains its western limit. All
these plants are abundant forms in the most humid parts of Nepal and
Sikkim, and their presence may, I think, be regarded as indicative of
a more equable temperature throughout the year than prevails in the
more open parts of the Sutlej Himalaya. The range of mountains on
which Nagkanda stands certainly intercepts a great deal of moisture
during the rainy season, and therefore makes the valleys on its
northern aspect less humid at that period of the year. This would
appear to be more than counterbalanced by the effect of the dense
forest in keeping up moisture and preventing radiation during winter,
for the cold and dryness of that season seem to have a much greater
effect in determining the cessation of the forms characteristic of the
eastern Himalaya, than the diminished rain-fall during the three
months of the rainy season.

    [Sidenote: KOTGARH.
     _August, 1847._]

After crossing the stream at the bottom of the valley, the road
advances in a northerly direction, at first gradually ascending
through fine shady woods, but afterwards, turning to the right,
mounting rapidly by very abrupt zigzags, up a bare dry hill-side, to
the Kotgarh ridge. Here we took up our quarters for the night, in a
house the property of Captain P. Gerard, a little above the village of
Kotgarh, at an elevation of about 7000 feet, in a fine grove of _Pinus

Kotgarh, a large village, and the seat of an establishment of
missionaries, was at one time a military post, and is interesting to
the Himalayan traveller, from the fact of the detachment here
stationed having been long commanded by one of the brothers Gerard,
whose labours in these mountains, geographical and meteorological, are
so well known. It has, however, long been abandoned as a military
station, the peaceable state of the hill population rendering it
unnecessary to keep a garrison in these mountains.

    [Sidenote: CULTIVATION.
     _August, 1847._]

Captain Gerard's house, in which we spent the night, is elevated
several hundred feet above the upper part of the village of Kotgarh,
which occupies the steep face of the ridge directly overlooking the
valley of the Sutlej. One reach of the river is visible from the front
of the house, and the deep roar of the rapid stream was distinctly
audible, notwithstanding that we were still 4000 feet above it. On the
morning of the 7th of August we resumed our journey, descending
abruptly through the village of Kotgarh to the Sutlej. At first the
pine-forest which surrounded our night quarters, accompanied us down
the steep hill-side. It was intermixed with a few scattered deodars;
and the shrubby and herbaceous vegetation was in all its features
identical with that of Simla. Soon, however, the descent was on a bare
hill-side, and after reaching the village, the road, inclining to the
right or east, kept nearly level for about a mile, passing through
much cultivation, in terraced fields on the slopes. The crops were
_Kodon_ (_Eleusine Coracana_) and a cylindrical-headed _Panicum_, both
grains commonly cultivated in the plains of India. There were also
many fields of _Amaranthus_ and _Chenopodium_. The first of these is
occasionally cultivated in all parts of the hills, its bright red
inflorescence, in autumn, tinging with flame the bare mountain slopes.
The _Chenopodium_ was new to me as a cultivated grain, and is
particularly interesting from its analogy with the Quinoa of South
America. It is entirely a rain crop, and grows very luxuriantly,
rising to a height of six or eight feet, with a perfectly straight
stout very succulent green stem, and large deltoid leaves, either pale
green or of a reddish tinge, and covered with grey mealiness. The
seeds, which are extremely small, are produced in great abundance on
all the upper part of the plant, and are ripe in September.

     _August, 1847._]

For about a mile after leaving the village of Kotgarh, the descent was
trifling, but the remainder of the road to the Sutlej was very steep,
so that the change in the vegetation was sudden, commencing just at
the point where _Quercus incana_ disappeared; before which few plants
indicating heat occurred. The want of wood, no doubt, assisted the
rapidity of the change, for the heat soon became considerable. In the
course of the descent, I noted all the new forms as they occurred; but
the exact order in which each individual species makes its appearance,
depends so much upon accidental and unimportant circumstances, and is
so likely to be affected by errors of observation, unless many series
are obtained in different aspects of the same slope, that it would
lead to no advantage to enumerate the species as they were met with.
Nearly 1000 feet above the bed of the river, or at an elevation of
about 4000 feet, the vegetation had become quite subtropical, species
of _Mollugo_, _Polanisia_, _Corchorus_, _Leucas_, _Euphorbia_,
_Microrhynchus_, and the ordinary grasses and _Cyperaceæ_ of the
plains, being the common weeds. The descent continued very abrupt, the
heat increasing rapidly, till the road reached the bank of the Sutlej,
at the village of Kepu, which occupies a flat piece of land
overhanging the river.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF THE SUTLEJ.
     _August, 1847._]

Having commenced our day's journey before daybreak, in order to
complete the march before the extreme heat had commenced, we stopped
here to breakfast, under the shade of a fine mango-tree. The
neighbourhood of the village was well cultivated, with extensive
rice-fields and a fine grove of tropical trees--mango, _Ficus Indica_
and _religiosa_, _Melia Azedarach_ and _Azadirachta_, _Grewia_,
oranges, and plantains. Our late residence in a cool climate made us
feel the heat much, though the temperature at nine in the morning was
not much more than 80°. After breakfast, we continued our journey up
the valley, to Nirt or Nirat, a distance of six or seven miles, and
next day we reached Rampur, the capital of Basehir, twelve miles
further, and still in the Sutlej valley.

The district of Basehir is an independent hill state, governed by a
rajah, whose dominion also extends over Kunawar; it commences a very
little north of Kotgarh, and occupies the south side of the river
Sutlej and the mountain slopes above it, as far east as the confines
of Kunawar. The valley of the Sutlej, in the western part of Basehir,
from Rampur downwards, has an elevation of little more than 3000 feet,
Rampur (140 feet above the bed of the river) being 3400 feet above the
level of the sea[4]. The river, at the season of our journey, which
was the height of the rains, at which time it is at its largest, is an
impetuous torrent, of great size, but very variable in breadth,
foaming along over a stony bed, with generally very precipitous rocky
banks, and filled with large boulders. During the rainy season it is
extremely muddy, almost milky, and deposits in tranquil parts of its
course a considerable amount of white mud. The valley is generally
very narrow, with steep bare hills on either side, quite devoid of
trees and covered only with a few scattered bushes and long coarse
grass. In the bays or recesses on the mountain-sides, between the
terminations of the rocky spurs which descend to the river, the valley
is often filled with a hard conglomerate rock, the cement of which is
calcareous, evidently (geologically) of very recent origin. These
patches of conglomerate are flat-topped, and often scarped towards the
river, and are frequently 200 feet and more in thickness. They differ
in degree of consolidation only from ordinary alluvial deposit, so
that they appear to owe their preservation from the denuding effects
of river action, to the calcareous matter, which has cemented the
pebbles and sand into a solid rock.

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _August, 1847._]

The road follows throughout the course of the river, rising sometimes
200-300 feet, to pass over rocky spurs; at other times it lies on the
surface of the boulder conglomerate, and more rarely close to the
river. Here and there is a small village, with a few rice-fields, but
the greater part of the valley is utterly sterile. Like the valleys of
the outer Himalaya, that of the Sutlej here exhibits a curious mixture
of the ordinary vegetation of the plains, with forms which point out
the mountainous nature of the country. The whole flora is strongly
characteristic of a dry soil and an arid climate. The mountain ranges
to the west and south, no doubt, intercept a good deal of rain; and
the lofty mountains, 10-12,000 feet in height, which, on the right and
left, rise rapidly from the river, appropriate to themselves a great
part of the moisture which reaches the valley. We may, therefore, in
the absence of direct meteorological observations, infer, from the
physical structure of the valley, and from the nature of its
vegetation, that its climate is drier than that of the valleys at the
base of the Himalaya.

The Sutlej valley cannot, of course, be properly compared with the
base of the mountains farther east, where luxuriant forest covers all
the slopes; but when contrasted with the Pinjor valley, or the low
hills above Kalka, it is only on a careful comparison that a
difference is to be observed, and then, perhaps, more by the absence
of forms abundant in them than by any marked addition of new ones. The
ordinary shrubs of the Sutlej, at 3000 feet, are _Adhatoda Vasica_,
_Carissa edulis_, _Colebrookea_, _Rottlera tinctoria_, and some
species of _Boehmeria_, all characteristic of the outer hills, and
the two first common plains plants. The remarkable _Euphorbia
pentagona_ is also common. _Butea_, _Ægle_, and _Moringa_ do not
occur, nor are there any bamboos. _Flacourtia sepiaria_, _Capparis
sepiaria_, and _Calotropis_, which are three of the commonest plants
of the plains, were also not observed. A large white-flowered caper
(_Capparis obovata_, Royle) and a glabrous _Zizyphus_ were the most
remarkable new forms. The herbaceous vegetation differed scarcely at
all from that of the plains, consisting chiefly of species which,
during the rainy season, spring up in the lightest and driest soils.

Mountain plants were only occasional, and mostly such as at Simla
descend on the dry grassy slopes into the valleys: a berberry and
bramble (_Rubus flavus_), _Plectranthus rugosus_, which is a grey and
dusty-looking shrub, _Melissa umbrosa_, _Micromeria biflora_, a little
_Geranium_, _Ajuga parviflora_, a _Galium_, _Senecio_, _Aplotaxis
candicans_, and one or two _Umbelliferæ_. They did not, however,
amount to a twentieth part of the whole vegetation, and the aspect of
the flora was quite subtropical. A little _Eriophorum_, which is
everywhere common in arid places at the base of the Himalaya, from
Assam to the Indus, was frequent in the crevices of the rocks. Ferns
were very scarce, only two or three being observed.

    [Sidenote: RAMPUR.
     _August, 1847._]

The town of Rampur is a considerable place, on a small level tract of
ground, about a hundred feet above the bed of the river Sutlej, which
it overhangs. The houses are substantially built, in the form of a
square, with an open space in the centre; they are mostly one-storied,
and have steeply-sloping slated roofs. The town has a good deal of
trade with Tibet, principally in shawl wool, and is the seat of a
small manufacture of white soft shawl-cloths. The river is here
crossed by a rope suspension-bridge, of a kind very common in the
lower valleys, which has often been described. It consists of nine
stout ropes, which are stretched from one side of the river to the
other. The width of the Sutlej at the bridge, according to Captain
Gerard, by whom it was measured, is 211 feet.

During our stay at Rampur, Major Cunningham directed my attention to
the alteration of the level of the river at different periods of the
day, from the variable amount of solar action on the snows by which it
is fed. This effect he had noticed on his former visit to the
mountains, and we had frequent opportunities of observing it during
our journey. At Rampur the diurnal variation was not less than three
or four feet, the maximum being, I believe, during the night or early
in the morning. In the immediate vicinity of snow, the streams are
highest in the afternoon, but as the distance increases the period of
greatest height becomes by degrees later and later.

Except on our two first days' journey, we had been extremely fortunate
in weather since leaving Simla. The day of the 8th was very cloudy and
oppressive, and the 9th, on which we remained stationary at Rampur to
make arrangements with the Rajah for our further progress through
Basehir and Kunawar, was rainy throughout. The rain, however, was
light, and did not prevent the Rajah from visiting us in the
afternoon, impelled, I suppose, by a desire to see our apparatus and
arrangements for travelling. We were lodged in an excellent
upper-roomed house of his, overhanging the Sutlej, and not far from
his own residence, which lies at the east end of the town, and
externally is quite without beauty, presenting to view nothing but a
mass of dead walls. The Rajah seldom remains during the hot season at
Rampur, as he has a second residence at Serahan, twenty miles up the
river, and 7000 feet above the level of the sea, in which he usually
spends the summer, though during 1847, for some reason or other, he
remained during the greater part of the year at Rampur.

     _August, 1847._]

On the morning of the 18th of August we resumed our journey. Our
direction still lay up the valley of the Sutlej, and for the first
three miles the road kept parallel to the river, ascending
occasionally a few hundred feet to cross spurs, when the immediate
margin of the Sutlej was too rocky and precipitous to allow of a
passage. This was not unfrequently the case, and after a few miles
the river-bank became so rugged and difficult, that the road left it,
to ascend a long ridge, descending from the mountain range to the
south. The early part of the road, from the many views of the river
rushing over its rocky bed, often among immense boulders, and from the
general boldness of the mountain scenery, was, though bare of forest,
very striking. Frequently the road overhung the river, which ran
through a narrow rocky ravine many hundred feet below. At other times,
it lay over the surface of the flat platforms which occupied the
valley, and in several places curious excavations were noticed on the
rocky surface, as if the river had formerly flowed over higher levels.
One of these ancient channels was so very remarkable, that it could
not be overlooked. The rocky banks on either side were at least a
hundred feet apart, and the large water-worn boulders, with occasional
rugged pointed rocks which filled the bed, conveyed unmistakeably the
conviction that we were walking over an ancient river-bed, though the
elevation could not be less than 150 feet above the present level of
the river.

     _August, 1847._]

Three miles from Rampur the road began to ascend a long spur in a
south-east direction. After we had ascended a few hundred feet, the
course of the river could be seen on the left among precipitous rocks,
quite impracticable. The ascent was through a well-cultivated tract,
the base of the hill and lower slopes being covered with fields of
rice, still only a few inches high. The road ascended rapidly, through
villages with numerous fruit-trees. At first, the vegetation continued
the same as in the valley, and the hills were bare, except close to
the village. Within a thousand feet of the base, the cultivation
ceased, and the road entered a wood of scattered firs, mixed after a
little with the common oak (_Q. incana_). At about 5000 feet the steep
lateral spur joined the ridge, and the road turned to the eastward,
and continued along the steep sides of the ridge, which overhang the
valley of the river 2000 feet below. The Sutlej was well seen, running
among bare rocky hills, the pine-wood being confined to the upper
parts of the steep slopes.

Had we continued our course along this ridge, it would in time have
conducted us to the crest of the main range south of the Sutlej, the
same which we had left at Nagkanda to descend into the Sutlej valley.
It would have been necessary for this purpose to ascend to a height of
between 12,000 and 13,000 feet, and to proceed to a considerable
distance south; our object, however, being to keep along the river as
nearly as possible, it would not have suited our purpose to ascend so
far, and the road only left the banks of the Sutlej on account of the
difficult nature of the ground in the bottom of the valley. We found,
therefore, after continuing a mile or two on the steep slope of the
ridge, that the road again began to descend, not exactly towards the
Sutlej, but to the bottom of the ravine or dell, by which the spur on
which we had ascended was separated from that next in succession to

    [Sidenote: GAORA.
     _August, 1847._]

As far as the beginning of the descent the hill-side had been bare, or
only clothed with scattered pine-wood, but as soon as the eastern
slope was gained, and the descent commenced, the slopes became well
wooded with _Rhododendron_ and Oak. The descent was probably not more
than 1000 feet, perhaps scarcely so much, as the ravine sloped very
abruptly to the Sutlej; on the lower part of the descent, and on the
bank of the stream, the wood was principally alder, and a few
subtropical grasses and _Cyperaceæ_ marked the commencement of the
vegetation of the lower region, while a valerian, a _Hieracium_, a
species of _Datisca_, and an _Arundo_ or allied grass, were the new
species of plants observed; of these, perhaps the _Datisca_ alone
markedly indicated an approach to the interior Himalaya. After
crossing the ravine the road ascended abruptly up a well-wooded slope,
on the northern face of a steep spur, to the village of Gaora, at
which, for the first time since leaving Simla, we encamped, no house
being available for our accommodation. The morning had been fair,
though dull, but soon after our arrival at Gaora it began to rain, and
continued to do so all the afternoon.

Gaora is situated, according to Captain Gerard, about 3000 feet above
Rampur; but from the appearance of the vegetation, and a comparison
with known heights on both hands, we estimated the elevation of our
encampment to be not more than 5500 feet, so that probably Captain
Gerard's observations refer to some more elevated point.

    [Sidenote: MANGLÂD VALLEY.
     _August, 1847._]

On resuming our journey on the morning of the 11th of August, we
continued the ascent of the spur on which the village of Gaora is
situated, which is well wooded with the ordinary trees of the
temperate zone of the Himalaya. There were a few rice-fields on the
hill-side on cleared places above 6000 feet, and some orange-trees in
the villages at about the same elevation; from both of which facts,
more sun-heat and less rain during summer may be inferred, than in
similar elevations on the outer Himalaya, where neither rice nor
oranges occur so high. A little way higher up, the forest changed its
character, the holly-leaved oak, the deodar, and the spruce, being the
common trees, among which the road continued for four or five miles,
without much change of level, when the forest ceased, and the road,
after continuing for a short time at about the same level, descended
abruptly to the ravine of the Manglâd river, a considerable stream,
now swollen into a furious torrent, which rushed with impetuosity down
its steep rocky bed. A great part of the descent was bare, over
crumbling mica-slate rocks.

The vegetation in the bottom of the glen showed, as on former
occasions, indications of a low elevation, but presented no novelty,
except in the occurrence of _Melia Azedarach_, apparently wild. I have
occasionally noticed this tree in the interior of the Himalaya, always
at an elevation of between 4000 and 5000 feet, and invariably in the
drier valleys of the mountains, but it is so commonly cultivated in
India, that its occurrence can scarcely be regarded as a proof of its
being indigenous, especially if we consider that it is a rare
circumstance to find it in even an apparently wild state. I do not,
however, know that it has a greater claim to be considered a native of
any part of the world.

    [Sidenote: SERAHAN.
     _August, 1847._]

The ascent on the east side was long, steep, and fatiguing, up
well-wooded slopes. At about 6000 feet, a single tree of _Hippophaë
conferta_, with nearly ripe fruit, was observed near a spring, and a
few hundred feet higher the road gained the ridge, and continued for a
mile and a half of very gentle ascent, on a broad, nearly level
mountain-side, to Serahan, through beautiful forest of oak and pine.
Serahan, the summer residence of the Basehir Rajah, is pleasantly
situated at an elevation of 7000 feet above the level of the sea, on
the northern slope of the mountain range, surrounded on all sides by
pine-forest. The village is small, and occupies the lower margin of an
open glade of considerable extent, on which there is a good deal of
cultivation, of the same plants as I have noted at Kotgarh. The latter
part of our march had been through heavy rain, which continued all the
evening, and the greater part of the night, but we were fortunate
enough to find an empty house, capable of sheltering our servants and
baggage, as well as ourselves.

Besides the _Hippophaë_, which I noted on the ascent from Manglâd,
several plants appeared on this day's journey, which served to
chronicle a gradual alteration in the flora, notwithstanding that the
forest-trees and general character continued generally the same. Of
these, the most interesting, by far, was a plant discovered by Mr.
Edgeworth, in the same tract of country, and by him described as
_Oxybaphus Himalayanus_, a species of a genus otherwise entirely South
American. It is a rank-growing, coarse, herbaceous plant, with tumid
joints, and a straggling dichotomous habit, and has small pink or
rose-coloured flowers, covered with a viscid exudation. It grows in
open pastures and in waste places near villages, and is an abundant
species throughout the Kunawar valley.

    [Sidenote: TRANDA.
     _August, 1847._]

On the morning of the 12th of August we marched to Tranda, along the
mountain-side, winding a little with its sinuations, and occasionally
descending to cross the little streamlets which furrow its side, and
separate the lateral ridges from one another. The road lay through
beautiful forest, and as the day was fine we obtained at intervals a
succession of superb views, of the deep and well-wooded valleys below,
and the rugged mountains north of the Sutlej. The forest-trees were
still the hoary and holly-leaved oak, with deodar and spruce, though
in the more shady woods along the streams, the horse-chesnut, and a
fine glaucous-leaved laurel, were common. The shrubby and herbaceous
vegetation was in general character the same as in the denser woods of
Simla, the new species being still quite exceptional.

It soon became necessary to descend, in order to gain a place on the
next range in succession to the eastward, so as not to leave the river
at too great a distance. Forest continued to the bottom of the
descent, which showed no signs of tropical vegetation, and was
therefore not to so low a level as those of previous days. The
remainder of the day's journey consisted of a succession of ascents
and descents, mostly long and fatiguing, with occasionally half a mile
nearly level. Many of the steeper parts were very rocky and rugged, so
difficult that artificial steps were required to make them
practicable, and even with their aid a horse could scarcely pass. The
greater part of the road lay through forest, and two considerable
streams were crossed besides the one on the early part of the march.
From the last of these a long and very laborious ascent led to the
crest of the Tranda ridge, on the very top of which we halted for the
night in a log hut, built for the accommodation of travellers, in the
midst of a fine forest of deodar-trees.

The Tranda ridge has, till near its termination, an elevation of
upwards of 8000 feet, and projects boldly forward towards the Sutlej,
dipping at last extremely abruptly to the river. The Sutlej is here
thrown to the north, in a sharp bend, and runs through a deep gloomy
ravine. This ridge, therefore, more lofty and abrupt than any farther
west, is considered as the commencement of Kunawar; and the valley to
the eastward, as far as the Wangtu bridge, is generally called Lower
Kunawar, to distinguish it from the upper and drier parts of that
district. The rise of the bed of the river is so gradual, that the
transition of climate takes place at first by almost insensible
gradations; but as soon as the spurs retain a height of 8000 feet till
close to the Sutlej, they exercise a powerful influence upon the
climate, and the vegetation and physical aspect of the country change
with great rapidity.


[3] Journal of Agr. Hort. Soc. Calc. vol. iv.

[4] Gerard's 'Koonawur,' Appendix, Table 3.


     Sildang river -- Fine grove of Deodars -- Nachar -- Fruit-trees
     -- Vine seen for first time -- Boundaries of Kulu and Kunawar
     -- Cross Sutlej at Wangtu bridge -- Vegetation of bare rocky
     valley -- Waterfall -- Chegaon -- _Pinus Gerardiana_ -- Miru --
     Absence of rain -- Alteration of vegetation -- _Quercus Ilex_
     -- Rogi -- Willow and Poplar -- Chini -- Cultivated Plain --
     Kashbir -- Pangi -- Camp at upper level of trees -- Junipers --
     Werang Pass -- Alpine Vegetation -- Birch and _Rhododendron_ --
     Granite Boulders -- Lipa -- Alluvial Deposits -- Encamp at
     12,500 feet -- Runang Pass -- Vegetation very scanty -- Stunted
     Forest -- Sungnam.

    [Sidenote: SILDANG VALLEY.
     _August, 1847._]

The night we spent at Tranda was stormy, with thunder and heavy
showers of rain, but the morning of the 13th was bright and beautiful,
enabling us to see from our elevated position on the ridge, a single
snow-peak, far to the eastward, in Kunawar. At the commencement of the
day's march, the road receded from the Sutlej into a deep mountain
bay, densely wooded with deodar and pine (_Pinus excelsa_). A few
trees only of spruce and horse-chesnut occurred. After a mile, passing
round a projecting spur, a fine view was obtained of the river Sutlej
at the bottom of a deep ravine, and of the mountain range north of the
river, now in several places covered with heavy snow. A little farther
on, the road descended very abruptly along the face of rugged and
precipitous rocks, to the valley of the Sildang river, a large stream
which was crossed in two branches by two very indifferent wooden
bridges. The Sildang valley, at the point where the road crosses it,
has been stated by Gerard to be elevated 5800 feet above the level of
the sea. It is a larger stream than any of those yet crossed since
leaving Rampur, and its ravine is beautifully wooded. The ascent to
the east was gentle, through woods of oak and pine, and after rising a
few hundred feet, the road continued nearly level for some miles, with
the Sutlej in sight below. A large village was passed on the latter
part of the march, with many temples evidently of old date, and
situated in a grove of very large deodar-trees, several of which were
upwards of twenty feet in circumference. One large tree with a
flattened trunk, as if formed by the union of two, measured, at five
feet from the base, thirty-five and a-half feet round. This grove was
evidently of great age, and probably consisted of old trees, at the
time the village was founded, and the temples were built under its
sacred shade.

Nachar, at which we took up our quarters for the night, is a very
large village, by far the most considerable yet passed, with many good
houses, much cultivated land, and great numbers of fine fruit-trees.
Walnuts, peaches, apricots, and mulberries, were all common; and I saw
one grape-vine, which bore a good many bunches of fruit. The crops
cultivated were chiefly millet and buckwheat, with a good many fields
of _Amaranthus_ and _Chenopodium_. The fruit-trees were evidently,
from their numbers and luxuriance, a very valuable part of the
possessions of the inhabitants; and it was very interesting to meet
with the vine, though only in small quantity, and evidently not yet in
a thoroughly suitable climate. The elevation of the village, which
occupied a great extent of the hill-side sloping down towards the
Sutlej, now close at hand, was nearly 7000 feet.

     _August, 1847._]

Nearly opposite Nachar, the district of Kunawar, which had hitherto
been confined to the south bank of the Sutlej, extends to both sides
of the river; the province of Kulu, which had hitherto occupied the
northern bank, being bounded on the east by the mountain-chain which
separates the waters of the Beas river from those of the Piti, a
tributary of the Sutlej. By this very lofty chain, the villages on the
north side of the Sutlej, to the east of the point now reached, are
entirely cut off from the valley of the Beas, and naturally become
connected with the district immediately opposite to them, with which
alone they have an easy communication. Kulu, till the campaign of
1846, had belonged to the Punjab; but one of the results of the Sikh
war, in that year, was the transfer of that district to British rule,
so that the Sutlej, in its lower course, no longer served as a
boundary between hostile states. In Kunawar, the north side of the
river is the most important, because it is more populous and fertile
than the south, not only from its more favourable exposure, but
because the chain to the south of the Sutlej continues to increase in
elevation as it proceeds eastward, while that on the north becomes
gradually lower as it advances towards the confluence of the Sutlej
and Piti rivers.

     _August, 1847._]

For this reason the main road or highway through Kunawar crosses to
the right bank of the Sutlej, a short way above Nachar. At starting,
therefore, on the morning of the 14th of August, we began to descend
towards the river. For about a mile and a half the descent was very
gentle, through a good deal of cultivation. There were many
fruit-trees, but very little natural wood; a few horse-chesnut trees
were observed, and occasionally a scattered deodar, spruce, or pine.
On the earlier part of the road the pines were _P. excelsa_, but lower
down that tree gave place to _P. longifolia_. After a mile and a half,
the descent became more rapid, over a rocky and bad road, which
continued to the bridge, distant three miles from Nachar. On the bare,
arid, and rocky hills between Nachar and the river, several very
striking novelties were observed in the vegetation; but as the road
had for several days been at a higher level, and generally among dense
forest, it is not improbable that many of these new plants may occur
on the lower parts of the hills, in the immediate vicinity of the
river, further to the westward. The new species were in all about six
in number, of which three--two species of _Daphne_ and an olive--were
very abundant, and therefore prominent features in the appearance of
the country.

    [Sidenote: WANGTU BRIDGE.
     _August, 1847._]

At the point where the bridge has been thrown across, the river Sutlej
has an elevation, by the determination of Captain Gerard, of 5200 feet
above the level of the sea. Its bed and the banks on both sides are
very rocky and bare, and the width of the stream not more than seventy
feet. The bridge is of that kind called by the mountaineers _sanga_,
which means a wooden bridge or bridge of planks, contrasted with
_jhula_, a rope-bridge. On the left bank the pier of the bridge is
formed by an isolated rock, separated from the rocky banks by an
ancient bed of the river, now quite dry, but worn smooth by the action
of the current. This former channel is stated by Gerard to have been
blocked up by a fall of rocks from above; previous to which
occurrence, the isolated rock must have stood as an island in the
centre of the stream. The construction of the bridge is singular, but
simple, and only adapted for very little traffic. Six stout trunks of
trees are laid alongside of one another on the pier, so that the end
towards the river is a little higher than the other; above these are
placed in succession two similar layers of trunks, each projecting
several feet beyond the one below it, and the whole of these are kept
in position by a substantial stone building, through which the roadway
runs. A similar structure on the opposite bank narrows the distance to
be spanned, at the same time that it affords support to the central
portion of the bridge, which consists of two strong pine-trees fifty
feet in length, placed about two feet apart, and supporting stout
cross planking. The whole forms a bridge quite strong enough to
support foot-passengers or lightly laden horses, the only purpose for
which it is required.

    [Sidenote: WATERFALL.
     _August, 1847._]

In spite of the considerable elevation which the Sutlej valley had now
acquired, a number of plants of tropical character occurred in the
neighbourhood of the Wangtu bridge. These were mostly common grasses
and _Cyperaceæ_, _Polycarpæa corymbosa_, _Achyranthes aspera_, and a
few other species, all common mountain-plants at low elevations, which
here, from the great heat caused by the lessened rain and the
concentration of the sun's rays, at the bottom of a deep bare valley,
surmounted on both sides by mountains 10,000 feet above its level,
enjoy a congenial climate. They are, however, confined to the most
exposed places, and to the lower levels only. A few rugged pine-trees
are scattered on the steep rocks, both _Pinus excelsa_, which does not
descend quite to the base of the hills, and _Pinus longifolia_, which
has here reached nearly its eastern limits, the elevation of the
river-bed soon becoming greater than that at which it will grow. Close
to the Wangtu bridge, on the right bank, a considerable stream joins
the Sutlej from the north, and is crossed by the road not far from its
junction with the great river. The lower part of this tributary
exhibits a succession of fine rapids and a waterfall, now much swollen
by the melting of the snow; and which, notwithstanding the want of
trees and consequent bareness of the accessories, formed a picture
such as often greets the eye of the traveller in the alpine districts
of Himalaya, but which no amount of repetition renders less grand and
magnificent. Captain Gerard has, in his little 'Tour in Kunawar,'
described this torrent in strong language, which showed that he felt
the beauty of the scene. For this he has been condemned by Jacquemont,
who sneeringly says that he describes it "comme si c'était le
Niagara," an expression which induced me to turn on the spot to
Gerard's book, so that I can testify to the accuracy and absence of
exaggeration of his description.

After crossing this stream, the road ascends the spur which runs
parallel to it, to an elevation of about 1000 feet above the Sutlej,
but only to descend again to its banks, the ascent being caused by
the impracticable nature of the rocky banks of the river. The spur was
bare of trees, but with scattered brushwood, in which the olive and
white _Daphne_, observed on the descent from Nachar, still abounded,
with several other novelties, among which a _Clematis_, _Silene_,
_Stellaria_, and _Selaginella_, all previously-described Kunawar
species, were the most remarkable. Several of the grasses of the
plains of India, such as a _Panicum_ (perhaps _P. paludosum_),
_Eleusine Indica_, and _Heteropogon contortus_, occurred on the hot
dry pastures among the rocks, up to above 6000 feet. The rock was
everywhere gneiss, but varied much in appearance and texture, and
contained many granite veins.

    [Sidenote: CHEGAON.
     _August, 1847._]

After regaining the river, the road ran along its bank, or on low
spurs not more than a few hundred feet above it, through a dry
treeless tract, till about two miles from the end of the day's
journey, when a long steep ascent led to Chegaon, a large village
situated on a stream with steep rocky banks, the houses as usual being
surrounded with fruit-trees. Here we encamped after a march of at
least fourteen miles, at an elevation of 7000 feet above the level of
the sea, or nearly 1800 feet above the valley of the Sutlej.

    [Sidenote: GERARD'S PINE.
     _August, 1847._]

Next day our journey was a short one, not more than five and a half
miles, to the village of Miru. It began by a rapid ascent for two
miles to the crest of the ridge, advancing all the time towards the
Sutlej, which wound round the base of the steep spur 2000 feet below.
The ascent was bare (as the slopes facing the west generally are), and
the hill-side almost precipitous; but as soon as the crest of the
ridge, at an elevation of about 8000 feet, had been gained, scattered
trees appeared of a species not previously seen. This was _P.
Gerardiana_, the pine of Kunawar and the other dry regions of the
Western Himalaya, from the back parts of Garhwal (where it has been
seen by Dr. Jameson) to the valleys of the Upper Chenab. The first
trees met with were small, and in appearance quite distinct from _P.
longifolia_ and _excelsa_, being more compact, with much shorter
leaves and a very peculiar bark, falling off in large patches, so as
to leave the trunk nearly smooth.

    [Sidenote: MIRU.
     _August, 1847._]

Beyond the crest of the ridge, from which the view into the Sutlej
valley, and towards the mountains across the river, was superb, the
road on the east slope again receded from the river, entering an
oak-wood, through which it continued nearly level for more than a
mile, but soon began to descend slightly towards the stream, which ran
at the bottom of a deep ravine, down to which the road plunged
abruptly, to ascend again as steeply on the other side; after which a
steep ascent of upwards of a mile led to Miru, a large village in
which we encamped, at an elevation of 8500 feet.

At this delightful elevation, in a climate where the periodical rains
of the Himalaya are scarcely felt, embosomed in extensive orchards of
luxuriant fruit-trees, and facing the south, so that it has the full
benefit of the sun's rays to mature its grain-crops, Miru is one of
the most delightful villages of Kunawar, being rivalled only by Rogi
and Chini, beyond which the climate becomes too arid for beauty. The
crops at Miru, both of grain and fruit, were most luxuriant, and the
vine thrives to perfection. The principal vineyards, however, are
lower down, at elevations of between 6000 and 7000 feet, at which
level the sun has more power in autumn to ripen the grape.

The scenery around Miru is indescribably beautiful, as it almost
overhangs the Sutlej 3000 feet below, while beyond the river the
mountain-slopes are densely wooded, yet often rocky and with every
variation of form. A single peak, still streaked with snow, but too
steep for much to lie, rises almost due opposite; behind which the
summits of the chain south of the Sutlej rise to an elevation of
upwards of 18,000 feet.

At Miru we found that we had completely left the rainy region of the
mountains, and henceforward the weather continued beautiful. The
change had been very gradual. At Serahan we had heavy rain; a rainy
night at Tranda was succeeded by a brilliant day, till the afternoon,
when it rained smartly for an hour. The next day was again fine, and
at Miru, though the afternoon was cloudy, and a heavy storm was
visible among the mountains across the Sutlej, only a few drops of
rain fell. The transition from a rainy to a dry climate had thus been
apparently very sudden, four days having brought us from Serahan,
where the periodical rains were falling heavily, to a place at which
there were only light showers. This was in part, of course, accident.
Fine weather may, perhaps, have set-in in the interval in all parts of
the mountains. In very rainy seasons, when the rain-fall in the outer
Himalaya is considerably above the mean, heavy showers extend into
Kunawar, at least as far as Chini; and careful meteorological
observations would probably show that the transition of climate is a
very gradual one, the snowy mountains and the great spurs which run
towards the Sutlej collecting and condensing, as they increase in
elevation, more and more of the moisture which is brought by the
south-east winds from the Bay of Bengal.

     _August, 1847._]

Jacquemont, in the valuable journal of his tour in India, which has
been published by the French Government, has observed that the passage
of the ridge between Chegaon and Miru may be considered as producing a
marked change in the vegetation. This change, as we have seen during
our journey up the Sutlej, had long been going on, though very
gradually and almost insensibly. Several circumstances combine to make
the transition appear at this point more sudden than a careful
calculation of the number of new species will prove to be the case. It
is the first wooded ridge on the north side of the Sutlej over which
the road passes, and it rises higher than any other part of the route
east of Nagkanda. A considerable effect is also produced by several
new arboreous or shrubby species making their appearance, as well as
by the fact that the new forms, which day by day have insensibly been
increasing in number, have at last begun to form a prominent feature
in the country.

I find among my notes a list of all the species of plants which came
under my observation during the walk from Chegaon to Miru. Their
number is rather above 150 species, of which number about 120 are
common Simla plants. Of the remaining thirty, eleven were quite new to
me, ten had occurred only the day before, and nine had been common
for some days past. These numbers convey a very different idea of the
amount of change from that produced at the time, but the latter must
be admitted to be very fallacious, the eye of the botanist being so
naturally attracted by novelty, to the utter disregard of what is
common, that it is difficult to preserve the degree of attention
requisite to observe properly.

    [Sidenote: QUERCUS ILEX.
     _August, 1847._]

_Pinus Gerardiana_ produces a very large cone, containing, like the
stone-pine of Europe, eatable nuts, of an elongated oblong form,
which, when roasted like chesnuts, are agreeable to the taste, though
with a little flavour of turpentine. This tree has been repeatedly
tried in the rainy districts of the Himalaya, but will not succeed, a
dry climate being essential to it. Besides Gerard's pine, a new
species of oak was the most conspicuous tree, forming a thick dry wood
on western exposures. This oak, the only species of the genus which
grows in the interior of Kunawar, is the _Quercus Ilex_. The specimens
which I collected quite agree with the European plant, and belong to
that form of the evergreen oak, which has been called _Q. Ballota_.
The same tree is common in some parts of Affghanistan, where it is
called _Balút_. A small graceful ash was also common, and species of
_Stellaria_, _Lychnis_, _Dianthus_, _Herniaria_, _Cruciferæ_,
_Senecio_, and _Valeriana_, which, with several _Chenopodiaceæ_ and
_Artemisiæ_, were the new species observed.

    [Sidenote: VIEW OF THE SUTLEJ.
     _August, 1847._]

On the morning of the 16th of August, we proceeded to Rogi, eight and
a half miles. On leaving Miru the road at first ascended gradually
through a pretty wood of deodar and Gerard's pine. The common
pear-tree of the Himalaya, and many of the more ordinary Simla
shrubs, species of _Desmodium_, _Indigofera_, _Spiræa_, _Buddleia_,
and _Plectranthus_, were common under the shade of the pine-forest. As
the elevation increased, the trees gradually diminished in number, and
the road continued to rise along the side of a rocky hill, with only a
few scattered deodars. A very pretty reach of the Sutlej now came into
sight. The river was broader than usual, and seemed to flow with a
gentle stream along an even bed, without interruption from rocks.
Opposite the junction of the Miru tributary, which was in sight at the
end of the reach, the Sutlej was particularly wide, and its channel
was divided into several branches, which enclosed a number of gravelly
islands, immediately beyond which the stream again contracted in
width, and resumed its usual rocky character.

From the top of the steep ascent, which must have exceeded 9000 feet
in elevation, the road continued along the side of the hill, without
much change of level. The slopes were nearly bare, a few trees of the
deodar and Gerard's pine only occurring occasionally. The latter tree
was more common, and larger than the day before. It is a compact small
tree, with much-twisted ascending branches, and a mottled grey bark,
quite smooth from the decortication of the outer layers. It bore
abundance of large pendulous cones, the size of a small pine-apple,
still quite green.

    [Sidenote: BURANG PASS.
     _August, 1847._]

A little more than two miles from Miru, the road descended to pass a
stream, which was crossed in two branches. Immediately afterwards
another long ascent commenced, at first steep and bare, with a western
exposure, then more gradual through an open wood of deodar and _Pinus
excelsa_. The highest elevation attained was almost 11,000 feet, and
close to the summit a most superb view was seen to the south. The
valley of the Sutlej was not in sight, but the whole course of the
Baspa, except its junction with the Sutlej, and a great extent of fine
snowy range beyond, were beautifully seen. The Burang or Borendo pass,
elevated 16,000 feet, which leads from the Baspa valley to the upper
part of the Pabar or Tons river, a branch of the Jumna, was very
conspicuous, with many large patches of grey dirty-looking snow on the
hills near it, but its summit seemingly bare. At the highest elevation
attained the face of the hill was a mass of precipitous rocks. A fine
peak, which had long been visible across the Sutlej, was now almost
opposite. This mountain, the termination of the range to the east of
the Baspa river, when viewed from the west and north-west, has the
appearance of a vast precipice, rocky and bare of trees, commencing
within little more than a thousand feet of the Sutlej. The north-east
face, which comes into view for the first time from the heights above
Miru, is covered throughout with magnificent forest, rising to an
elevation considerably higher than that at which I stood.

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _August, 1847._]

The elevation we had now attained was higher than any previous part of
our journey, being 200 feet above the peak of Hattu. A cold westerly
wind was blowing up the valley of the Sutlej, evidently bringing a
good deal of moisture along with it, for thin wreaths of mist were
occasionally condensed, for a few minutes obscuring the distant view,
and then melting again into transparent vapour. The vegetation was
less different from that below, than I had expected, and much more
luxuriant than I could have supposed, with nothing of an alpine
character. Many of the species were identical with those of Nagkanda
and the crest of Hattu; but there was no bamboo, nor any of the
_Acanthaceæ_, so common in the more shady and humid forest further
east. Balsams, however, were abundant and large, _Potentillæ_, _Salvia
nubicola_, and _Nepetæ_, _Polygona_, _Achilleæ_, _Gnaphalia_, and
several species of _Pedicularis_ and _Ophelia_, formed a thick and
rank growth. The most remarkable forms observed were Astragaline, of
which several species, one a spinous _Caragana_, were abundant. A
pretty little _Veronica_ and _Bupleurum_, and several new
_Cichoraceæ_, were also collected, as well as an _Orobanche_,
parasitical upon the roots of the common thyme (_Thymus Serpyllum_).

    [Sidenote: ROGI.
     _August, 1847._]

From the crest, the remainder of the road consists of a succession of
short ascents and descents, along the face of a very rocky hill, till
within a mile of Rogi, when it descends very abruptly down the side of
a rugged ravine to that village, which, though elevated 9000 feet,
lies low down on the mountain-side, and has the appearance of being in
a hollow. At Rogi we found the grapes quite ripe, and extremely
abundant, but all from vineyards at lower levels. The commonest grape
is globular, and of a deep, nearly black colour; but many varieties
are cultivated. The apricots were also ripe, and had been gathered
from the trees. The flat tops of the houses were now covered with
them, drying in the sun. They are split up the middle and dried, the
stones being taken out. In this state they keep well, and form a
considerable article of export to India. Peach and walnut trees are
also common at Rogi, and I saw a few apple-trees. A species of willow,
which, in shape of leaf and general appearance, closely resembles a
common English willow (_Salix alba_), is commonly planted along with a
glabrous poplar, a small, rather spreading tree, which is frequent
throughout Tibet, and seems to be the balsam poplar of Siberia and
North America. The English henbane (_Hyoscyamus niger_) abounds in
waste places. This also is a common Tibetan plant, and extends into
the drier valleys of the Himalaya, such as Kunawar and Kashmir, but
not into the outer mountains, where the periodical rains are heavy.

On the 17th of August we proceeded to Pangi, nine miles farther,
passing on the road the village of Chini, the largest inhabited place
and most fertile tract of Kunawar, of which it may therefore be
considered the capital. From Rogi we had to make a considerable ascent
to regain the road, that village lying lower than the direct route
from Miru. The ascent lay first through the cultivated lands of the
village, and afterwards through open wood. After regaining the road,
the ascent continued through a gloomy forest of large deodar-trees for
about a mile, terminating at about 10,000 feet of elevation, at which
height, turning round a corner on the crest of the ridge, we found
ourselves on the upper part of a precipitous cliff, which descends
sheer down to the Sutlej. Unfortunately the morning was very misty, a
dense fog, condensed from the steadily blowing west wind, enveloping
everything, till after ten o'clock, by which time we had long passed
the precipitous part of the road. We were told, however, that the
cliff was absolutely impracticable below, and, indeed, even where we
passed, no little engineering skill was displayed, as the road led
along the face of an absolute precipice, on ledges scarcely three feet
broad, or just as often over wooden planking, supported at intervals
by large upright pieces of timber, whose resting-places were invisible
in the dense mist by which we were surrounded.

    [Sidenote: CHINI.
     _August, 1847._]

As soon as this rocky projection was passed, the road descended
rapidly, but over good level ground for half a mile, through a forest
of deodar, in which some of the trees were of large size, one of them
measuring nineteen feet eight inches in circumference. At the bottom
of this descent, after passing a projecting rocky ridge, the village
of Chini came in sight, straggling along the side of a sloping hill.
Chini occupies the most level, and therefore the most fertile, valley
in Kunawar. The village is prettily situated among deodar-trees, while
below, and on either side of it, the slopes are disposed in a
succession of terraces, some of them of considerable extent, richly
cultivated with wheat, barley, and buckwheat. Through this fertile
tract, the road was quite level, winding among the stone enclosures of
the fields, and often bordered on both sides by grassy pastures, or
patches of beautiful green turf, where the little rills, which served
to irrigate the fields, had overflowed their banks, and converted the
flat land into swampy meadows. Near Chini, we passed a single vineyard
of small extent, at an elevation of 7000 feet, the fruit still quite
unripe, though for several days we had been plentifully supplied with
ripe grapes from the lower vineyards. The vines are supported by
erect poles, about four feet high, placed about three feet apart, and
connected by horizontal ones laid across them, on which the vines

    [Sidenote: KASHBIR.
     _August, 1847._]

A little further we passed the small village of Kashbir, consisting of
two or three houses only; beyond which a pleasant forest of deodar and
Gerard's pine was entered, quite dry, and almost devoid of
undergrowth; a few bushes of _Daphne_, occasionally a small ash-tree,
two or three stunted oaks, and quantities of withered grass and
dried-up _Artemisia_, being the only plants observed. Everything
looked arid, notwithstanding the eastern exposure, and showed
strikingly the rapid change of climate which was taking place. Some of
the trees of _Pinus Gerardiana_, which seemed to thrive more in this
arid wood than further west, were between fifty and sixty feet in
height, and one of the largest of them which I noticed was nearly
twelve feet in circumference. Through this forest the road continued
nearly level, till it reached a ravine, on the opposite bank of which
was situated the village of Pangi. A very steep descent of half a mile
brought us to the stream; and an ascent of more than a mile, in the
course of which we rose about 1000 feet vertically, terminated the
day's journey. Pangi is a large village, 9000 feet above the level of
the sea, with much cultivation and magnificent orchards of apricots,
peaches, and walnuts.

    [Sidenote: PANGI.
     _August, 1847._]

From Chegaon to Pangi we had passed through the finest and most
fertile part of Kunawar, which is, however, by no means confined to
the north bank of the Sutlej; many large villages having been seen on
the opposite side of the valley, with almost as much cultivation as
those through which we had passed. The communication across the Sutlej
is kept up by paths which lead through the lower cultivation and
vineyards to the bank of the river, which is spanned in several places
by rope-bridges, one of which only, we saw at a distance. During these
three days' journey, the weather was most beautiful, and we could
never sufficiently admire the ever-changing beauties of the scenery,
which, probably, for variety and magnificence, is nowhere surpassed.
The great peak of Raldang, a culminating point of the south Sutlej
Himalaya, lies nearly opposite to Chini, and, from a great part of the
Kunawar valley, is a prominent feature from almost every point of
view. It forms a rugged rocky mass, and the ravines on its slopes are
filled with large masses of snow, the lowest beds at this season of a
dirty grey colour, and evidently still rapidly receding under the
influence of the powerful autumn sun. No glaciers were anywhere in

We were now about to enter upon a very troublesome part of our
journey, the crossing of the various ridges which are given off by the
mountain range north of the Sutlej, at the great bend of that river
where it is joined by the almost equally large Piti river, from the
north. These long ranges, given off by an axis 18,000 feet in height,
slope at first gently towards these rivers, but at last dip extremely
abruptly into the enormous ravine, at the bottom of which the Piti and
Sutlej rivers run. Occasionally a rugged and difficult footpath may be
found to lead among these precipices, by frequent steep ascents and
descents, at no great distance above the river. These paths are always
most laborious, and often very dangerous, and the usual road into the
valley of the Piti river leads across the higher part of all these
ridges, where they are no longer precipitous, but slope at a gentle

    [Sidenote: ROCKS OF KUNAWAR.
     _August, 1847._]

During the journey from Simla, I had been able to acquire very little
information regarding the geology of the valley of the Sutlej; the
quantity of forest, and the rapidity with which we travelled, being
unfavourable to the determination of the nature of the rocks. In the
earlier part of our journey argillaceous schist, often highly
micaceous, predominated. In Kunawar, from Wangtu eastward, gneiss and
mica-schist were almost the only rocks which I observed. These
appeared to alternate again and again as we advanced, but I obtained
no certainty regarding their relative position. Veins of granite
occurred occasionally in the gneiss, especially at Wangtu, and
probably, from the number of boulders, the axis of the range north of
the Sutlej is composed of granite.

Behind Pangi is the Werang ridge, crossed by the pass of that name at
a point where its height is 13,200 feet above the sea. This ridge, as
will be seen by the map, separates the valley east of Pangi from that
of Lipa, the next in succession to the eastward, through which a large
tributary flows to join the Sutlej. From Pangi to Lipa, the distance,
though considerable, is not too much for an active man to accomplish
in one day. It would, however, have been a very long march, allowing
of no delay on the way, or on the top of the pass. We therefore
divided the distance into two days' journey, ascending on the 18th of
August to the upper limit of tree vegetation on the west side of the
ridge, and leaving the remainder of the ascent and the whole descent
for the next day.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TOWARDS
     _August, 1847._]

At daybreak we were on foot, preparing for the ascent. The morning
was, as usual for some days past, thickly foggy, and a heavy dew had
fallen during the night. At starting we ascended gently through a dry
pine-wood, towards the face of the mountain ridge of which Pangi
occupies the western slope. This ridge, like that above Rogi, on the
previous day's journey, is very precipitous towards the Sutlej; and
the road leads among rocks, and sometimes over planks of wood,
ascending gradually as we advanced. After about a mile and a half,
rounding the most projecting part of the ridge, we began to recede
from the Sutlej on the eastern slope of the range, along the western
side of a beautifully wooded open valley, at the bottom of which ran a
large rapid stream, evidently descending from snow. Without descending
at all, we continued to advance for a mile and a half through fine
forest, till we nearly met the stream, which we crossed after a slight
abrupt descent. Immediately after crossing, a steep fatiguing ascent
of not less than three miles commenced, continuing, with scarcely any
intermission, till we reached the spot selected for our encampment,
inclining all the way in the direction of the course of the stream,
and therefore towards the Sutlej; so that when we stopped, we almost
overlooked that river, and had a fine view of the peak of Raldang,
covered with a dazzling coat of fresh snow.

The forest at the base of this ascent was principally composed of
deodar and Gerard's pine. The former continued abundant till within a
quarter of a mile of the top, when it suddenly disappeared. _Pinus
Gerardiana_ gradually diminished in number during the ascent, and at
last disappeared about the same time as the deodar. _Pinus excelsa_
was not seen at the bottom, and was scarce on the earlier part of the
ascent, but became more abundant as we increased our elevation, and
was the only tree seen round our encampment. At this point the trees
were straggling and distant, but very tall and luxuriant, being well
sheltered by rocks. Above our encampment, which was, according to
Captain Strachey's barometer, 11,800 feet, there were only a very few
stunted trees on a rocky ridge behind. Excepting in the occurrence of
a few new species of _Astragalus_ and _Artemisia_, now quite typical
forms, the vegetation during the greater part of the ascent was the
same as on the higher levels east of Miru, and it was only above
11,000 feet that any considerable change was observed. Here three
species of juniper made their appearance, all stunted bushes, though
one of them was _J. excelsa_, which, in more favourable circumstances,
grows to a small tree. The second species was _J. squamosa_, a
depressed shrub, with rigid twisted branches, and the third was
undistinguishable from the common juniper of Europe. A thorny species
of _Ribes_, very like the common gooseberry, a strongly scented
Labiate, _Dictamnus Himalayanus_, several _Compositæ_, one of which
was a large-flowered thistle, and European-looking _Junci_ and
grasses, were all observed above 11,000 feet. A beautiful Rose (_R.
Webbiana_) was common all the way from the stream.

During the ascent, after crossing the ravine, the rock was throughout
gneiss, passing sometimes into a curious dark slaty rock. It was
often very fine-grained; and in one place a granite vein was observed,
entirely without stratification, and about a foot thick. Throughout
the ascent the surface was strewed with erratic blocks of granite,
evidently transported from a distance.

The slope below our camp, for several hundred feet, was cultivated
with barley, but the crops were indifferent. Lower down, the
mountain-side was too steep to admit of tillage. There were no houses,
the fields being the property of the inhabitants of a village a long
way below, to the east of Pangi.

The morning of the 19th, before sunrise, was a good deal clearer than
the two last had been, but mist began to collect soon after sunrise,
and did not entirely disappear for about two hours. Immediately after
starting, the last trees of _Pinus excelsa_ were left behind, and the
ascent to the crest of the pass was gentle, over rough stony ground,
covered with tufts of juniper, a shrubby _Artemisia_, and _Pteris
aquilina_. The pass, which has an elevation of 13,200 feet, occupies a
low part of the ridge, the slope to the left descending gently, but
rising again into a sharp rocky peak, five or six hundred feet higher.
The crest of the pass is a vast mass of loose rocks, and the slopes of
the hill on the right are likewise covered with a mass of fragments.
These angular boulders are all granite, none of which occurs _in
situ_; the rocks throughout the ascent, so far as I could observe,
being gneiss and mica-slate, the latter in one place containing large
crystals of cyanite in great abundance.

In the crevices of the loose stones which covered the pass, a very
luxuriant vegetation was found; the same plants grew on the hill to
the right, and were especially abundant among its rocky recesses. The
forms were, for the first time on our journey, quite alpine, very few
of the plants being even shrubby, while the great majority were small
herbs. A willow, a very small _Rhododendron_, and _Andromeda
fastigiata_, were almost the only shrubby plants, and the majority of
forms were those common on the Alps of Europe, and comprised species
of _Astragalus_, _Stellaria_, _Anemone_, _Ranunculus_, _Meconopsis_,
_Saxifraga_, _Sedum_, several _Umbelliferæ_, _Pedicularis_,
_Gentiana_, _Gnaphalium_, _Dolomiæa_, _Saussurea_, _Artemisia_,
_Ligularia_, _Morina_, _Galium_, _Valeriana_, and many others. I added
to my collection in all about thirty new species in a very short time.
I had, however, never before been at so great an elevation in the
Himalaya, so that almost every plant I met was new to me.

The view from the top of the pass was only remarkable for its
barrenness. In the direction we had ascended, the prospect was not
striking; and to the north-east, the valley in advance and hills
beyond were almost bare, scattered bushes and very little forest being
visible. The wind blew over the pass from the Indian side, and
continued throughout the day to blow on our backs strongly as we

    [Sidenote: DESCENT FROM
     _August, 1847._]

From the crest of the pass, the descent to Lipa was long and steep,
the distance being about five miles. At about 500 feet or rather more
(of perpendicular height) below the pass, the first tree, a large
birch, stood quite alone, with a stout erect trunk. A little further
down, a small grove of the same trees was passed, in which every
individual had its trunk bent in the direction of the slope, probably
by the weight of the winter's snow. No birches had been seen on the
south face of the pass, nor did the dwarf _Rhododendron_ and little
_Andromeda_ appear till the summit had been gained, though they were
abundant on the northern face. _Rhododendron campanulatum_ was the
next plant observed, forming bushes four or five feet in height, and
growing in large green patches, along with the willow, which I had
found on the top, and the same rose common on the southern side. About
1200 feet below the summit, that is, about 12,000 feet above the sea,
pine-trees commenced--_Pinus excelsa_ and _Picea_ making their
appearance together, the deodar not till a considerably lower level
had been reached. The trees of silver fir were small, with smaller and
shorter leaves than the common tree of the forests in the outer
Himalaya, and were therefore the true _Picea Webbiana_ of Royle, the
more common long-leaved form being the _Picea Pindrow_ of that

At an elevation of 11,000 feet, at a rough estimate, we passed the
first deodars, and at the same height cultivation commenced. The first
fields were wheat, now nearly ripe. With the cultivation many plants
of lower elevation began to appear, which had disappeared on the upper
part of the mountain, but many were missed which had been common, and
the general aspect of the vegetation was strikingly altered, the
diminution affecting at once the number, the abundance, and the
luxuriance of the plants. Juniper was frequent till some time after
the first corn-fields were passed, and Gerard's pine was common on the
lower part of the descent. Throughout the whole distance from the
crest to the Lipa stream, the road lay along a ravine, which was very
rough and uneven, and covered with numerous and often very large
boulders of granite[6] scattered irregularly over the surface of the
valley. Towards the end of the day's march, we reached the Lipa
stream, which was of large size; and we continued along its right
bank, through a dry fir-wood, till close to the village, when we
crossed by a substantial wooden bridge to enter Lipa, which is situate
on a flattish piece of ground on the left bank of the stream, and very
little above its level. It is a small village, with some cultivation,
and a rather odd-looking little temple, close to which are two fine
trees of _Juniperus excelsa_, the sacred juniper of the Kunawarees
and Tibetans. We were accommodated with a room close to the temple,
which afforded us sufficiently comfortable quarters.

At the back of the village a thick bank of alluvial clay was observed
resting on the rocks behind, and vast masses of the same extended up
the valley for a considerable distance. This was the first occurrence
of a very common feature of Tibetan valleys, so common as to be almost
universal; and as I shall have many opportunities of referring to it
again, and shall find it necessary to try to give some explanation, or
rather to attempt some conjectures as to its cause, I shall only here
pause to observe that the first time of its occurrence coincided with
the first entrance into an extremely dry climate; the passage of the
Werang ridge having effected a greater change in the aspect of the
country than had been seen during very many previous days--the change
from luxuriant forest, not indeed to treelessness, but to thin and
stunted woods.

    [Sidenote: LIPA.
     _August, 1847._]

In the valley of Lipa I met with a species of caper, apparently the
same which I had collected at Rampur on the Sutlej, on hot rocky
places close to the river, but which had not been met with in the
intermediate parts of the journey. This little prickly shrub I
afterwards found to be a common Tibetan plant, which (like most of its
tribe) prefers the hottest and driest exposures, expanding its large
white blossoms on dry stony ground, or among rocks where hardly any
other plant will vegetate.

Lipa is situated at no great distance from the Sutlej, at an elevation
of 8000 feet above the level of the sea. The next range to the
eastward is that of Runang, separating the Lipa valley from that of
the Ruskalan, on which is situated the village of Sungnam. As in the
former instance, we divided the passage into two days' journey,
encamping on the 20th of August at an elevation of 12,500 feet. The
road began to ascend as soon as we left Lipa. At first we took the
direction of the stream, gradually rising along the face of a rocky
hill composed of a dark clay-slate, which had now taken the place of
the gneiss of the lower part of the Sutlej; but turning to the left,
to ascend the ridge, as soon as its crest had been gained. The surface
was everywhere barren and dried up. A few scattered pine trees
occurred at intervals, but nothing approaching to forest, and the
parched stony ground was quite destitute of any covering of turf or of
herbaceous vegetation in sufficient quantity to attract the notice of
the general observer. The ascent on the ridge was steep and
uninterrupted; but as the general direction of the day's journey was
down the range, or towards the Sutlej, we had to pass from one ridge
to the next in succession, across the ravine by which the two were
separated. Here the road was nearly level, and took a long curve in
the receding hollow of the hill, turning round a belt of green which
occupied the middle of the hollow.

On the left hand, above the road, there was not a trace of verdure in
the ravine; but just below the road a small spring burst out from the
stony ground. For three or four yards the banks of the little
streamlet were quite bare, but at about that distance from its source
they were fringed with luxuriant marsh plants, _Veronica Beccabunga_
and _Anagallis_, rushes, and several kinds of grasses, which gradually
increased in abundance. Within a hundred yards of its origin a
thicket of willows bordered the stream, and a rich vegetation grew
under their shade. From this it would appear that the barrenness of
the country cannot be ascribed to any fault of temperature or of
altitude, but solely to the deficiency of moisture.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TOWARDS
     _August, 1847._]

On the next ridge beyond this little green spot, the ascent continued
steep, over loose shingly soil, among scattered trees of deodar, and
occasionally a fine tree of _Pinus Gerardiana_; a spinous
_Astragalus_, and several species of _Artemisia_, formed almost all
the scanty vegetation. Higher up there was, in one place, a good view
of the Sutlej to the south-east, with a very lofty snowy mountain
beyond. A little further on, the pines ceased to grow, and no tree but
juniper was seen, the vegetation becoming more and more wretched in
appearance, though the same _Astragalus_ and _Artemisiæ_ predominated.
Above 12,000 feet, two or three alpine species made their appearance;
these were a _Polygonum_, a _Mulgedium_, and a little shrubby
_Potentilla_. Except these, however, not one of the numerous alpine
forms observed on the Werang pass two days before were to be seen.

We encamped at an elevation of 12,500 feet on the north-east slope of
the ridge, overhanging a deep wide valley, in which there were several
patches of cultivation still green, at an elevation which I estimated
at about 1000 feet below the level of our tents. By this wide valley,
(in the lower part of which, on its east side, is the village of
Kanam,) we were still separated from the central range on which the
Runang pass is situated. The hills all round had a desolate aspect.
They were rounded in outline, and appeared quite smooth and destitute
of herbage, excepting large dark-green patches of juniper, by which
they were mottled. A single stunted tree of _Pinus excelsa_ stood
within a short distance of our encampment, and four or five hundred
feet lower was a small grove, apparently of birch. During the
afternoon a furious west wind blew without intermission. The morning
had been quite calm, but before noon the wind had begun to blow, and
gradually increased in violence till late in the afternoon; after dark
it became calm.

The next morning was clear, with scarcely any wind, but the mountains
above us were partly shrouded in mist. For the first time during our
journey we had _Zobos_ furnished for the conveyance of our tents.
These animals, which are mules between a Yak bull and Indian cow, are
intermediate between the two, having most of the peculiarities by
which the Yak is distinguished, though in a much less degree. Their
colour varies much,--black, white, and iron-grey being all common.
They have coarse long shaggy hair, much shorter than in the Yak, a
stout rounded body, and the tail has a small tuft at the end, quite
similar in miniature to that of the Yak. These mules are exceedingly
common in Upper Kunawar and Hangarang, and are much preferred as
beasts of burden to the Yak, being more docile, and less sensitive to
climatic influences.

    [Sidenote: THE RUNANG PASS.
     _August, 1847._]

The first half-mile of the ascent to the pass was very gentle, till we
passed round the hollow of the valley which lay below our encampment.
The hill-sides were covered with stones, among which grew a few tufts
of thyme, a large-leaved saxifrage, a yellow _Scorzonera_, a curious
_Polygonum_, and an _Oxyria_, the same in appearance with that of the
Alps of Europe. Two or three little rills of water trickled across the
road, but their margins had no trace of green. The remainder of the
ascent was more rapid, but nowhere fatiguing, and I reached the top
about 9 A.M. Nothing can be conceived more dreary and bare than the
aspect of the pass and the mountains all around. The hills, which at a
distance appeared smooth and rounded, were now seen to be covered with
loose stones piled upon one another, in the crevices of which a few
plants found an attachment for their roots. The elevation was about
14,500 feet, but there was no appearance of snow. To the north-east a
wide and straight valley ran from the crest, at the end of which, far
below and perhaps eight miles off, was seen the village of Sungnam,
beyond which another lofty range of equally rounded mountains,
apparently smooth, ran parallel to that on which I stood. On this
range, at a level, to the eye sensibly the same as that of the Runang
pass, an evident track indicated the pass of Hangarang, over which lay
the continuation of our journey.

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _August, 1847._]

I spent a considerable time on the top of the pass, and by close
searching, in the crevices of the stones, especially on the hill which
rose to the south-east, I succeeded in collecting a considerable
number of species of plants, though very much fewer than on the Werang
pass two days before. From our morning's camp to the top of the pass
the whole number of species which I met with was only forty-six, not
half of which were observed on the summit. The number gathered on the
former pass was nearly three times as great. It must not be
forgotten, however, in comparing the two ranges, that the Werang pass
is 1300 feet lower than that of Runang, and ought therefore,
independent of climate, to be more productive. The species which were
observed for the first time on the summit of the Runang pass were not
more than six, and were all forms which I have since found to be
abundant throughout the higher parts of Tibet. A little willow,
creeping among the stones, and scarcely more luxuriant than _Salix
herbacea_, was the only shrubby plant. The others were _Oxytropis
chiliophylla_, _Biebersteinia odora_, a _Draba_, _Lamium rhomboideum_
of Bentham, and a species of rhubarb, of which I found only a few
leaves and one or two panicles, from which the ripe fruit had nearly
fallen away.

The descent from the pass to Sungnam was even more barren and desolate
than the other side. The valley was open and almost straight, and the
slope gradual. Till nearly half-way not a drop of water occurred on
the road, and for miles almost the only vegetation on the hill-sides
was an erect branched _Polygonum_, never more than a foot in height.
At an elevation of about 10,000 feet, a few deodars occurred, all
miserably stunted in height, though often with trunks of considerable
diameter. Gerard's pine, and the ash of Tibet, also appeared a little
lower, but in very small numbers. During the greater part of the
descent, the white houses of Sungnam were in sight, to all appearance
at the end of the valley down which we were proceeding; but when near
the bottom, we discovered that we were still separated from them by a
wide and level plain, that of the Ruskalan river. On the opposite
side of this plain, on the side of a hill just sufficiently high to
terminate the vista down the valley by which we descended from the
pass, stands the town of Sungnam; while the cultivated lands, which
form a wide belt, scarcely higher than the level of the river, were
entirely out of sight till we arrived close to the precipitous bank
parallel to the river. Here the descent was abrupt to the bed of the
Ruskalan. The bank was alluvial, with enormous boulders, and was
covered with tufts of _Ephedra_, a remarkable leafless plant with
rod-like branches, which is abundant in every part of northern Tibet,
especially in the driest and hottest exposures. It extends also
occasionally into the partially rainy district, being found in Kunawar
nearly as far west as the bridge of Wangtu.

    [Sidenote: SUNGNAM.
     _August, 1847._]

Sungnam is one of the principal places of Kunawar, dividing with
Kanam, which we did not visit, the claim to be the principal seat in
the Sutlej valley of the Buddhist religion. It contains numerous
temples and monasteries, with also a considerable industrial
population. Cultivation occupies a great part of the valley, and
extends up the course of the stream to a considerable distance. The
level tract along the river has in many places a breadth of nearly a
quarter of a mile, and the town occupies a ridge on the mountain side,
to which a gently-sloping road leads from the bridge by which we
crossed the Ruskalan.

The elevation of Sungnam above the level of the sea is 9000 feet.
Still the vine thrives well, the steep slopes facing the river being
covered with vineyards: the grapes were not yet ripe. The principal
fruit-trees are apricots and apples. Willows and poplars are also
frequent in the village; a new species of the latter being for the
first time observed, with leaves white and downy underneath, which
appears in no way to differ from _Populus alba_, the common white
poplar of Europe.


[5] I have carefully compared, since my return to England, a great
many specimens of the Himalayan _Picea_, and am sorry to be obliged to
dissent from the opinion of their distinctness, which has been
expressed by many excellent observers. Great variations occur in
length of leaf, which is either green on both sides, or very glaucous
below. All have notched leaves, but the notch varies much in depth and
form. There are also differences in the form of the cones and the
shape of the scales. The long green-leaved state is that of the moist
Himalaya; in the driest regions the very short glaucous-leaved form
occurs. There are, however, among the specimens collected by Wallich,
Strachey, and myself, so many intermediate forms of leaf, that I feel
satisfied that all must be considered states of one species, varying,
like most _Coniferæ_, with climate and other accidental circumstances.

[6] I have now no doubt that the whole of this descent was over an
ancient glacier moraine, but I was not at the time familiar with
glaciers or their moraines by personal experience; and though on this
and other similar occasions my notes show that I was much puzzled by
the numerous transported blocks, the idea of this explanation did not
suggest itself to me till I had an opportunity of seeing the
connection of such phenomena with actual moraines.


     Hangarang ridge separates Kunawar from Piti -- Ascent to
     Hangarang Pass -- Alluvial deposit -- Steep ascent -- View of
     valley -- Limestone rocks -- _Caragana versicolor_, or _Dama_
     -- Camp at 14,000 feet -- Top of pass -- View from pass --
     Vegetation of summit -- Descent to Hango -- Cultivation round
     the village -- Luxuriant wild plants -- Road to Lio -- _Crambe_
     -- Ravine of Piti river -- Lio -- Bridge over Piti river --
     Ascent to Nako -- Nako -- Cultivation of the village --
     Buddhist temple -- Transported blocks -- Chango -- Changar --
     Stopped by villagers on Chinese frontier -- Natural bridge --
     Kyuri -- Alluvium -- Clay deposit with shells -- Lari --
     Ramifications of mountain ranges -- Alluvial platforms -- Pok
     -- Dankar -- Lara -- Rangrig -- Upper part of Piti -- Climate
     -- Saline exudations

The Hangarang ridge, as we may conveniently call that mountain range
on which the pass of Hangarang is situated, forms the boundary between
the districts of Kunawar and Hangarang. As this range terminates at or
close to the point where the Sutlej is joined by the Piti river, this
division is geographically convenient. It has also a marked physical
signification, forming the absolute limit of the deodar and Gerard's
pine; and indeed, if we except the juniper, of all tree vegetation.

On the 22nd of August, our party left Sungnam to ascend towards the
Hangarang pass, encamping, as on the two previous occasions, on the
upper part of the ascent, so as to get to the summit of the pass at
an early hour next day. Our road lay up a narrow ravine, through which
a small stream descended from the vicinity of the Hangarang pass, to
join the Ruskalan immediately below Sungnam. We followed for a long
time the course of this rivulet, so that the ascent was by no means
fatiguing. A very few stunted deodars, and a single tree of _Pinus
Gerardiana_, were the only trees met with. A little shrubby vegetation
was now and then seen, consisting of an ash, rose, _Colutea_,
_Lonicera_, and _Spiræa_. The banks of the ravine were everywhere
composed of a conglomerate of angular stones, in general imbedded in
soft clay, though the matrix was not unfrequently calcareous, and in
several places even composed of crystalline carbonate of lime.

     _August, 1847._]

The hard calcareous conglomerates are, I think, of different origin
from the clayey ones. Indeed, I was induced to believe from what I saw
in the neighbourhood of Sungnam, and occasionally in other districts
(as I shall have again occasion to notice), that the calcareous
conglomerates, which only occur in the neighbourhood of the limestone
formation, and therefore where calcareous springs are common, are
formed by the infiltration of water containing lime among beds of
loose shingle which have accumulated along the base of the steep
hills. These calcareous conglomerates are quite local, never very
extensive, and are often covered with an incrustation of lime, showing
the continued existence of the calcareous springs, by the action of
which I suppose them to have been formed.

     _August, 1847._]

The clay beds, on the other hand, are continuous and uniform in
appearance. They vary much in thickness, but are on the whole much
thicker and more remarkable in the upper part of the ravine, where (on
the east side) a mass of clay, not less than five or six hundred feet
in thickness, has accumulated, forming steep sloping or quite
perpendicular banks, which at the top are worn away into pinnacles,
and excavated into deep grooves and hollows, I presume by the action
of melting snow. The fragments of rock which it contained were all
angular, or at most a very little worn at the edges.

Five or six miles from Sungnam, the road left the course of the
ravine, and began rapidly to ascend the steep spur which bounded it on
the left. At first we followed a fissure in the clay conglomerate,
which still had a thickness of nearly two hundred feet. Above, the
ridge was rocky and very steep. When we had attained a sufficient
height to overlook the valley by which we had ascended from Sungnam, I
was able to estimate better than while in the ravine, the extent of
the clay deposit. It was now seen to occupy both sides of the valley,
and to be pretty equally diffused throughout, but certainly thicker on
the left or eastern side,--in the upper part at least, for low down,
just behind Sungnam, it capped a round sloping hill of considerable
elevation to the right of the little streamlet and of the road. The
valley did not narrow at the lower extremity, where it debouched into
that of the Ruskalan, so much as to give any reason for supposing that
it could have been closed by a barrier, so as to form a lake. Indeed,
the absolute elevation of the conglomerate was so great at the upper
end of the valley, that it would be necessary to suppose a barrier
several thousand feet above the bed of the Ruskalan to produce such an
effect. The greater thickness of the conglomerate in the upper part of
the ravine, and the almost complete angularity of the fragments, were
equally opposed to such a view. Nor was I able to form any probable
conjecture as to the mode in which these accumulations had been

    [Sidenote: ROCKS OF HANGARANG.
     _August, 1847._]

In the earlier part of the day's journey, the rock, where exposed, was
invariably clay-slate, not different in appearance from that which,
commencing at Lipa, had been observed on every part of the Runang
ridge. It dipped generally at a high angle, but was often much
contorted. In the upper part of the ravine, thick beds of a hard
cherty quartz rock alternated with the slate; and in the course of the
last steep ascent, at an elevation of about 13,500 feet, the first
limestone was observed. It was of a dark blue colour, very hard,
coarsely stratified, and much veined with white calcareous spar. It
seemed to dip at a high angle towards the north-east.

The ridge by which we ascended was quite bare of trees and exceedingly
barren, producing very little vegetation of any sort, and no novelty,
till we had almost attained an elevation of 14,000 feet. We then
observed bushes of a species of _Caragana_ (_C. versicolor_), the
_Dama_ of the Tibetans, a very curious stunted shrub, which is very
extensively distributed at elevations which no other woody plants
attain, and which, therefore, is much prized and extensively used as
fuel. I had not met with it before, nor does it appear to extend at
all into the wooded region of the Himalaya. We encamped on a flat
piece of ground at 14,000 feet. Notwithstanding the elevation, the
heat of the sun was very great during the day, but the evening and
night were extremely cold.

    [Sidenote: HANGARANG PASS.
     _August, 1847._]

Early next morning a short steep ascent of about 800 feet brought us
to the top of the pass, which has an elevation of 14,800 feet above
the sea. The _Dama_, in green patches from two to four feet in
diameter, was abundant till near the summit. The pass occupies a
hollow in the ridge, which rises considerably on both sides. To the
north-west, on the northern exposure, there was at a short distance
one small patch of snow, from which the pass and surrounding mountains
were otherwise quite free. No remarkable difficulty of breathing was
experienced by any of the party, except immediately after any
exertion. The ascent was latterly so steep, that it was necessary to
stop frequently to take breath, and the pulse was found to be very
considerably accelerated when counted immediately after walking. There
was, however, a great difference according to the individual; in one
case it rose as high as 136; but a few minutes' rest restored it
nearly to the usual standard.

At the crest of the pass, the rock was a hard bluish-grey limestone,
traversed in every direction by numerous crystalline veins. I ascended
the hill to the south-east, to an elevation of nearly 16,000 feet,
which was within a few hundred feet of the summit. At that height it
was composed of a mass of loose fragments of black slate, perfectly
moveable, and so steep, that it was difficult to progress in an upward
direction. Vegetation had almost disappeared; more, however, from the
moveable shingly soil than from the elevation attained, for wherever a
solid rock peeped out, straggling plants still lingered; the rhubarb,
_Biebersteinia_, a minute saxifrage, and a yellow lichen, were the
species which attained the greatest altitude.

The view from the summit of the pass, and the steep hill above it, was
extensive, but very desolate. In the direction of our previous
journey, the rounded outline of the Runang range bounded the view, but
in front a much wider and more diversified extent of country was
embraced. To the eastward, the lofty mountain of Porgyul was seen
almost to its base; its upper part a magnificent mass of snow, the
summit being upwards of 22,000 feet in height. To the north of
Porgyul, where the valley of the Piti river allowed the distant
mountains to be seen, a succession of ranges rose one beyond another,
the furthest evidently at a great distance, and covered with heavy

The vegetation at the summit of the ridge was even more scanty than on
the Runang pass. There was, however, more novelty in species than I
had met with there. A grass, several saxifrages, _Potentillæ_ and
_Seda_, a little _Thermopsis_, an _Anemone_, and a beautiful
_Delphinium_ (_D. Brunonianum_, Royle), were the new species observed;
and these, I believe, (as was indeed to be expected from the
minuteness with which the country had been investigated by Dr.
Royle's collectors,) were all previously described species.

    [Sidenote: HANGO.
     _August, 1847._]

From the pass the descent was pretty steep all the way to Hango, a
small village, elevated 11,500 feet. The road lay on the side of a
ravine, keeping the hills on the left hand, and the channel of the
stream on the right. The _Dama_, which had disappeared at the summit,
was again plentiful on the northern slope; and a shrubby species of
_Potentilla_, quite new to me, was exceedingly common. Otherwise,
little change was visible. The road was good, but the hills were dry
and stony.

The village of Hango, notwithstanding its great elevation, has a
considerable extent of cultivation, though I think the corn was less
luxuriant than at lower levels. The wheat was still green, and rather
scanty, a good deal of a wild oat (perhaps _Avena fatua_) being mixed
with it; but the barley was stronger and more productive. There was
also a number of fields of _Hordeum Ægiceras_, that curious awnless
monstrous barley, which seems peculiar to the higher regions of Tibet,
where it is very frequently cultivated. This grain was much further
advanced than the wheat, being nearly ripe. The arable lands of Hango
are nearly destitute of trees, a few willows being the only arboreous
vegetation. They are abundantly supplied with water, circulating in
copious rills among the different fields, which are disposed in
terraces one above another, faced by walls about three feet in height.
On the margins of the cultivation, stimulated by the moisture derived
from the irrigation, there was a very abundant growth of shrubs, and
of luxuriant herbaceous plants. The gooseberry, _Hippophaë_, and rose,
were the shrubs, and several large _Umbelliferæ_, one of which was
closely allied to the _Assafoetida_, a tall _Thalictrum_, a
yellow-flowered _Medicago_, _Verbascum Thapsus_, two species of
thistle, the common henbane, dock, mint, _Plantago_, and various
species of _Artemisia_, were the most common herbaceous plants.

    [Sidenote: HANGO VALLEY.
     _August, 1847._]

On the 24th of August we proceeded to Lio, a village on the right or
west bank of the Piti river. The road crosses the small stream which
runs past Hango, a little below the village, and gradually ascends the
slope of the hill on its left bank. Close to the stream there is a
bank of clayey alluvium, with stones, and traces of it may be seen at
intervals for some distance down the valley, but it is nowhere of any
great thickness. The hill along which the road lay was composed of a
cherty sandstone of a light-blue colour, often nearly white; in
fragments, and especially when pulverized, it was quite so; and being
extremely brittle, the slopes were covered with fine white dust, the
glare of which, in the bright sunshine, was very unpleasant. On this
gravelly ascent the vegetation was equally scanty, and much the same
in character as at moderate elevations on the two previous days; a
large thistle, species of _Artemisia_, _Chenopodiaceæ_, and a spinous
_Astragalus_, being the most abundant plants.

The road continued to ascend gently for about half a mile, rapidly
increasing its height above the stream, which had a considerable
slope. The next two miles were tolerably level, over a good but stony
road, at an elevation a little under 12,000 feet. A species of
_Crambe_, with a long fusiform root, smelling somewhat like a turnip,
was common along this part of the road. The young leaves of this
plant are used by the Tibetans as a pot-herb, and are said to be
well-flavoured. A species of currant (_R. glandulosum_), with viscid,
glandular, very aromatic-smelling leaves, was also met with; its
fruit, now ripe, had a sweetish taste, but no flavour. It is a common
Tibetan species, extending on the Indus as low down as 6500 feet.

    [Sidenote: THE PITI RIVER.
     _August, 1847._]

An abrupt descent followed, of not less than seven or eight hundred
feet, into a wide steeply-sloping valley, descending from the north to
join that of Hango. On the surface of this hollow, the road passed
among a multitude of large angular boulders of limestone, irregularly
scattered over the surface. This limestone was much like that of the
Hangarang pass, and as it nowhere occurred _in situ_ on the road, the
boulders must have come from the hills on the upper part of the
lateral ravine. A small spring of water and a solitary willow marked
the centre of the valley, beyond which the road again ascended
slightly, till on rounding a corner, the Piti river came into view, at
the bottom of a most remarkable rocky ravine. Full in front, just
beyond the river, was a scarped rock of great height; it was of a dark
grey colour, and was traversed in every direction by immense white
veins. Round this precipice, which seemed to project beyond the
general mass, the river swept in a deep curve, of which the convexity
was towards me.

The mountains on the right bank of the river, which formed the
termination of the range on which I stood, seemed not less steep than
those opposite, for the road, instead of passing round them without
change of level, rose rapidly as it turned to the left, till it had
attained an elevation of at least 12,000 feet, at which height it
wound among precipitous rocks of hard dark slate, covered with bushes
of _Ephedra_, and scattered trees of _Juniperus excelsa_. When fairly
round the rocky projecting range, the village of Lio was discovered
more than 2000 feet below, in a narrow ravine, on the bank of a small
stream descending from the north-west, and close to its junction with
the Piti river. The descent was very abrupt, in a rocky ravine among
large boulders, partly of slate, partly of granite. This rock occurred
in thick veins in the clay-slate, most abundantly on the lower part of
the precipices which rose on the left hand during the descent.

    [Sidenote: LIO.
     _August, 1847._]

Lio, at an elevation of 9600 feet above the sea, is a considerable
village, with a large tract of cultivation, disposed in terraces from
three to six feet above one another. The crops of wheat and barley had
been all cut, but there were many fields of buckwheat in full flower,
and of millet (_Panicum miliaceum_) still quite green. Numerous
apricot-trees, from which the fruit had long been gathered, were
interspersed among the cultivated lands. Surrounded on all sides by
very precipitous mountains, which reflect the sun's rays, Lio appears
to enjoy a great amount of heat, and the weeds which bordered the
corn-fields were rank and abundant, and included many species which
had not been seen at the higher villages. _Salvia glutinosa_, almost
the only remaining Simla plant, burdock, sow-thistle, lucerne, and
melilot, were the commonest weeds. A little _Cuscuta_ was common on
these latter. No tree of any kind occurred in the valley, nor on the
slopes on either side. Elevation could not be the cause of this, the
height being much lower than the line of upper limit of tree
vegetation in the outer Himalaya, and the temperature of the valley,
as was evident from the kinds of grain cultivated, very much greater
than it would have been at the same level, in the more rainy climates
nearer the plains of India.

The ravine through which the Lio stream runs is narrow and rocky, and
contains a great number of transported blocks of various sizes,
scattered irregularly over the surface. Close to the village there is
a curious isolated rock, separated by the stream from the mountain
mass with which it has evidently once been connected.

    [Sidenote: CROSS THE PITI RIVER.
     _August, 1847._]

On the 25th of August we crossed the Piti river, a little above Lio,
and ascended to the village of Nako, on a very steep ridge, which
descended from the great mountain Porgyul. After leaving the
cultivated lands of Lio, which extend for half a mile from the upper
part of the village, we ascended the right bank of the Piti river for
nearly a mile, to a bridge, by which it is crossed. The river ran here
in an extremely narrow ravine, precipitous mountains rising on either
side. Its banks were steep, and covered with loose shingle, the
_débris_ of the precipices above. The stream is of considerable size,
but much inferior to the Sutlej where we had last observed it close at
hand, though I believe it is nearly as large as that river, at the
point of junction of the two. The Piti runs in this part of its course
with great rapidity, and is probably of considerable depth.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TO NAKO.
     _August, 1847._]

The bridge was situated at a bend of the river, where the rocky banks
contract more than usual. It was similar in structure to that over the
Sutlej at Wangtu, but much smaller, and in so dilapidated a state,
that it could scarcely be expected to last another year. The ascent to
Nako was throughout steep, the difference of elevation being about
2500 feet, and the distance not more than two miles and a half. When
at a sufficient height above the narrow dell in which the Piti runs, a
good view was obtained of the mountains by which we were surrounded,
which rose on all sides in rugged precipices. The steepness of the
cliffs allowed their geological structure to be well seen. The
fundamental rock, wherever I saw it, appeared to be clay-slate,
sometimes passing into chert or quartzy sandstone. This basal rock was
everywhere traversed by innumerable veins of quartz and granite, which
exhibited no signs of parallelism, but ramified in every direction.
These veins were often of great thickness. Not unfrequently, indeed,
the mass of granite much exceeded the slaty beds between which it was
interposed; but its connection with other veins of more moderate size
rendered it evident that it had been injected into the slate.

Behind the village of Lio a thick deposit of alluvial clay was
discernible, which seemed to suggest the idea of the valley having
formerly been a lake; and at no place where I had seen these clayey
accumulations was this hypothesis so plausible, for the precipices
south of the junction of the Lio stream, rose almost perpendicularly
for more than 1000 feet above the Piti river, and approached so close
to one another, that their disruption was at least a possible

The slopes, as we ascended, were covered with boulders of granite in
countless profusion, and the vegetation was extremely scanty,
_Ephedra_ being the most abundant plant observed. On the upper part of
the ascent the road crossed a little streamlet, which was conducted in
an artificial channel to irrigate a few fields of wheat. The margins
of this little stream, and a belt a few feet in width on both sides,
where the ground was swampy, were covered with a dense thicket of
_Hippophaë_ and rose-bushes, among which grew thickly and luxuriantly
a scandent _Clematis_, and _Rubia cordifolia_, mint, dock, and
thistles. The number of species altogether was scarcely more than a
dozen, but the brilliant green formed so delightful a contrast with
the prevailing monotony, that what in a more fertile country would
have been passed as a mere thicket of thorns, to my eyes appeared a
most beautiful grove of graceful shrubs; and I lingered in the swampy
ground, till I had traversed it repeatedly in every direction, and
completely exhausted the flora.

    [Sidenote: NAKO.
     _August, 1847._]

Nako is a smaller village than Lio, and from its elevation (12,000
feet) has no fruit-trees; but at the base of the cultivation, which is
extensive, there was a copse of willows and poplars. The predominant
crop was barley, now quite ripe, and being cut; the species was the
common one, not _H. Ægiceras_, but the ears were very short, and the
return must, I should think, have been very small. There was abundance
of water, which ran in every direction through the fields. The little
streamlets had a narrow belt of green on their margins, consisting of
small grasses, several gentians, and _Potentillæ_, one of which I
could not distinguish from _P. anserina_, a _Polygonum_ very like _P.
viviparum_, and, most remarkable of all, a small orchideous plant,
which seemed to be a species of _Herminium_.

    [Sidenote: BUDDHIST TEMPLES.
     _August, 1847._]

At Nako, we had a most satisfactory proof of the little estimation in
which the lamas, or priests of the Buddhist religion, hold their
religious buildings, the apartments furnished to us in the village
being the different parts of the temple, surrounded with full-sized
figures of the different incarnations of Buddha, in sitting posture,
each with his hands in the position which is conventionally used to
indicate the individual. The remarkable forms and system of the
Buddhist religion, as practised in Kunawar and Ladak, have been so
often and accurately described, that it would be useless for me to
attempt to give any account of what I could, from want of previous
knowledge, very imperfectly understand, and from my other occupations
scarcely at all inquire into. The gradual transition, in ascending the
Sutlej, from Hinduism to Buddhism, is very remarkable, and not the
less so because it is accompanied by an equally gradual change in the
physical aspect of the inhabitants, the Hindus of the lower Sutlej
appearing to pass by insensible gradations as we advance from village
to village, till at last we arrive at a pure Tartar population. The
people of upper Piti have quite the Tartar physiognomy, the small
stature and stout build of the inhabitants of Ladak, to whom also they
closely approximate in dress. To what extent mere climatic influences
may cause these differences, and how far they depend on an
intermixture of races, I do not pretend to decide. It is impossible,
however, to avoid being struck by the coincidence between these
physical and moral changes in the human race, and the gradual
alteration in the forms of the vegetable world, which are observable
as we advance from a wet to a dry climate.

    [Sidenote: PORGYUL
     _August, 1847._]

From Nako we proceeded, on the 26th of August, nearly due north, to
Chango, about ten miles up the Piti valley. Nako is situated on the
shoulder of the great mountain Porgyul, which rises to a height of
10,000 feet above that village, and Chango is at the very extremity of
a long spur given off by that mountain further east: it is therefore
separated from the Nako spur by a valley of considerable size, which
descends abruptly towards the Piti river. Our road lay in a long sweep
round the deep bay formed by this valley, at an elevation not lower
than that of Nako, crossing in the most receding part a foaming
torrent which descends from the perpetual snows of the mountain
behind. Half a mile from Nako, and scarcely lower than that place, is
a patch of cultivation, watered, as I was surprised to find, by a
conduit brought more than a mile along the side of the hill from the
stream which occupies the mid-valley; the water of which was collected
into several ponds, one above another, in which it was kept in reserve
till required for irrigation. The crops cultivated were buckwheat and
a species of _Brassica_, both in flower. A number of poplars and
willows were planted along the stream, but no fruit-trees.

    [Sidenote: ANGULAR BOULDERS.
     _August, 1847._]

Beyond this cultivated tract, the road, till we reached Chango, was
entirely barren. For several miles we continued to pass through a most
extraordinary accumulation of transported blocks, scattered
irregularly on the gently sloping sides of the mountains. They
covered a very large area, and occurred in such almost incredible
profusion, that the road seemed to lie in a hollow among fragments of
rock on all sides. They were all angular; and at so considerable an
elevation as 12,000 feet, I have now no hesitation in referring them
to glacier action. The rock _in situ_ was clay-slate, with copious
granite veins, and the boulders were in general the same. In one
place, however, a dark mica-slate, with large crystals of cyanite, was
the predominating rock of the erratic blocks, which no doubt might
have been traced to its source in the ravine above, as I nowhere saw
it _in situ_ during the day.

After passing the torrent which occupies the centre of the valley, the
road very gradually approaches the Piti river, from which it had at
first receded considerably. We could now observe that the mountains
which overhung the river in this part of its course were much less
precipitous, and the valley wider and more open, than around Lio.
Alluvial beds of great thickness everywhere rested on the ancient
rocks, assuming the most diversified forms, but in general thicker and
higher on the sides of the hills, at some distance from the river,
than in the centre of the valley. About a mile and a half from Chango,
the road began to descend rather rapidly along a dry water-course
filled with huge boulders. It then crossed a stream, which had cut for
itself a very deep channel through the alluvial conglomerate, and
ascended slightly to the village of Chango. Close to the last stream
was a bed of very fine clay, which had a thickness of at least
twenty-five feet, and did not appear to contain any stones, pebbles,
or fragments of rock. This clay had quite a different appearance from
the alluvial conglomerate, which covered it, without appearing to pass
into it. It occurred extensively in several places in the
neighbourhood of Chango, and had entirely the appearance of having
been deposited in a very tranquil lake, while the alluvium which
rested upon it, and, therefore, was of more recent formation,
contained so many fragments of rock, all seemingly angular, that its
origin could scarcely be assigned to deposition under water, unless
under some very peculiar circumstances.

    [Sidenote: CHANGO.
     _August, 1847._]

Chango is situated in the middle of an open, nearly level tract of
considerable size, which slopes very gently towards the Piti river.
The cultivation is extensive, water being more than usually abundant,
so that much of the ground is swampy from its waste, and covered with
tufts of a small _Iris_ and a species of _Equisetum_. The barley had
been all cut, as well as the beans, which are here grown to some
extent. Buckwheat and rape-seed (a species of _Brassica_) were still
in flower, and the millet quite green. Apricot-trees were still
common, though the elevation of Chango is about 10,500 feet. The
village lies nearly opposite to Shialkar, but separated from it by the
Piti river, which, at the bridge of that place, is elevated exactly
10,000 feet above the level of the sea.

    [Sidenote: ZUNGSAM RIVER.
     _August, 1847._]

A little way above Shialkar and Chango, two very considerable rivers
unite to form the Piti river. The larger of these, descending from the
north-west, is known by the same name. The other, which flows from the
north-east, may be called the Parang river, by which name it is known
in the upper part of its course; lower down, it seems to be usually
called Zungsam. The direct road from Hangarang to the Indus lies up
this river, which unfortunately flows for several days' journey
through districts which are included within the Chinese frontier. It
was our wish to proceed by the most expeditious route, and at the same
time that nearest the line of boundary, to Hanle. It was, therefore,
our object to effect, if possible, a passage up the Zungsam river,
though, as we knew that Captain Gerard and M. Jacquemont had both been
stopped upon the frontier, we had no reason to anticipate any more
favourable result.

We therefore took, on leaving Chango, a north-easterly direction,
proceeding, on the 27th of August, to a village on the left bank of
the Parang or Zungsam river, called Changar, the same place which, by
Gerard and Jacquemont, is named Changrezing. Leaving the cultivated
lands of Chango, and crossing the stream which skirts the plain, we
immediately commenced a steep zigzag ascent over a barren shingly
road, to the heights which overhang the village to the north-east.
After a very fatiguing climb of not less than 1300 feet, we attained
the summit of the ridge, and advanced along it for some distance
without much change of level, but still gradually ascending among
low-topped gravelly hills. A very steep ascent followed to the summit
of the pass, which was called Changrang La[8], and could not be much
under 13,000 feet. The whole ascent was extremely barren, the arid
slopes producing a minimum of vegetation. A fleshy Cruciferous plant,
with a strong pungent taste not unlike horse-radish (_Christolea_ of
Decaisne in Jacquemont), a fine _Nepeta_ (_N. floccosa_, Benth.), and
a little _Stipa_, were the only novelties; and these, with the
_Ephedra_, a little _Lactuca_, an aromatic species of _Chenopodium_
(_C. Botrys_), the Tibetan _Euphorbia_, and a shrubby white-flowered
spinous _Astragalus_, were almost all the plants observed.

    [Sidenote: CHANGAR.
     _August, 1847._]

From the summit of the pass, the road descended abruptly into a deep
ravine, which originated in a snowy mountain to the south. At the
bottom of this ravine, between rocky precipitous banks, ran a
considerable torrent, which was crossed by a very frail wooden bridge.
Immediately after crossing, the road began to ascend rapidly, rising
to an elevation only a few hundred feet lower than the pass from which
we had descended, after which, half a mile of nearly level road
brought us to our camp at Changar, a small village on a stony hill, of
which only one house seemed habitable. A few fields of barley, not yet
ripe, separated our tents from the village; these were irrigated by a
small streamlet, whose source was a spring on the rocky hill-side a
few hundred yards off, shaded by a few rose-bushes and a small clump
of juniper-trees.

We remained one day stationary at Changar, to complete some
arrangements which were required previous to our leaving the district
of Hangarang; and on the 29th we proceeded to ascend the valley of the
Zungsam river, intending, if no obstacles were offered, to follow its
course and the regular road to Hanle; but in case of obstruction,
which there was every reason to apprehend, to adopt the plan which had
been already followed both by Gerard and Jacquemont, of crossing the
river, encamping on its north bank, and proceeding in a westerly
direction along the course of the Piti river to the Parang pass, in
which direction we could effect a passage to Hanle without the
necessity of entering on the territories under Chinese control.

    [Sidenote: BLACK CURRANT.
     _August, 1847._]

Our road, for about three miles, was undulating, with rather a
tendency to descend, but without any abrupt change of level. It lay
along the gently sloping side of the ridge, and crossed a good many
little ravines. To the right was the crest of the ridge; to the left,
the valley of the Zungsam river, which was nearly 2000 feet below, the
slope being very precipitous. In many of the ravines, where there was
a stream of water, there was a dense jungle of shrubs, which
contrasted strongly with the barrenness of the hills. A willow, rose,
_Lonicera_, a shrubby _Astragalus_, an _Artemisia_, a _Potentilla_ of
large size, and a black currant, closely resembling that of our
gardens, were the principal shrubs; and the herbaceous vegetation was
the same as in similar places since entering the Tibetan region. The
currant, which occurred here for the first time, was quite a new
species: its ripe fruit was quite black, and had the size and flavour
of the common black currant, with, however, a considerable degree of

About three miles from Changar, an abrupt descent led from the
platform on which we had been travelling, to the level of the banks of
the river, more than 1000 feet lower. The path by which we descended
was steep, rocky, and difficult. The rock was still clay-slate, with
granite veins. The granite in general very much exceeded in quantity
the rock into which it had been injected, as was well seen on several
precipitous cliffs along the course of the stream, in which the
stratification of the slaty rock and the ramifications of the granite
could be examined in detail. The banks of the river were adorned with
a species of _Myricaria_, a small tree, with very delicate graceful
foliage and beautiful rose-coloured flowers.

    [Sidenote: CHINESE FRONTIER.
     _August, 1847._]

On reaching the small streamlet which forms the frontier of the
Chinese dominions, we found, as indeed we expected, that there was no
intention of permitting us to proceed by the direct road to Hanle; and
all arguments to induce a compliance with our wish proving
ineffectual, we agreed to take the route up the Piti river by Dankar,
and were then permitted to proceed about a mile, to the village of
Kyuri, where we encamped for the day. I have now no doubt that if we
had resolutely advanced, no serious opposition to our progress would
have been made; but our instructions were so precise that we should
not have been justified in using the smallest degree of force, or
incurring any risk of a collision.

To reach Kyuri[9], we crossed the Zungsam river by a very remarkable
natural bridge, composed of an enormous block of granite, which has in
some way been placed across the stream, at a spot where it is much
contracted in width, flowing in a deep rocky fissure from fifteen to
twenty-five feet in width, evidently of great depth. At this point a
considerable number of boulders of large size are piled on both banks,
of which the one that spans the channel is eighty-five feet in length
and probably not less than forty in width and twenty in depth; it is
placed obliquely across the stream, its left or southern extremity
being lower, and inclined at so considerable an angle that the passage
is one of some difficulty for horses and loaded cattle, though for
men, with ordinary care, it is quite easy. The higher end is so much
elevated above the surface on which it rests, that a rudely
constructed stair of stones is necessary to enable travellers to

    [Sidenote: KYURI.
     _August, 1847._]

Our encamping ground at Kyuri was on a gently sloping barren plain,
seven or eight hundred feet above the valley of the Zungsam, and was
reached by a short steep ascent from the bridge. There was no
cultivation; but about a mile to the east, a long sloping tract of
alluvium interposed between the mountains and the river was covered
with green fields, though it had only two houses and not a single
tree. Alluvium abounded in every direction, forming steep sloping
banks, often much worn away by running water, and occasionally from
two to three hundred feet in thickness. The plain on which we were
encamped was also of recent origin; it consisted of a fine clay,
curiously worn into cliffs and narrow ridges. A few layers of fine
sand were included in the clay, and by a careful search I found three
or four small fresh-water shells in the clay, belonging to at least
two species--one a _Lymnæa_, the other a _Planorbis_. The shells were,
however, very scarce, and all found near one spot, nor did any other
portion of the deposit seem fossiliferous. The clay was in front of
and below our encampment, and was covered by coarse alluvial

    [Sidenote: THE ROAD REJOINS
     _August, 1847._]

The road up the valley of the Parang river being tabooed to us by the
jealousy of the Chinese Government, it became necessary to make a very
considerable _détour_, no practicable road being known in the
mountains north of Piti, between that which we were thus prevented
from following, and the Parang pass, to reach which we had to make
five or six marches up the Piti river before turning to the north. On
leaving Kyuri, on the 30th of August, we ascended gently on a bare
gravelly hill for several hundred feet, and then proceeded for two
miles to the westward, along the steep side of the mountain. The road
was rocky and very barren, the caper and an _Astragalus_ being almost
the only plants seen. We then descended rapidly, so as to reach the
bank of the Piti river, at the place where it makes its great bend and
assumes a southerly direction. Here it is joined by the Giu (Gumdo of
Jacquemont), a considerable stream, which has its source in the lofty
and inaccessible range to the north. This torrent had excavated a deep
channel in the alluvial beds, which were composed of alternations of
coarse incoherent conglomerate and fine clay. In this ravine, which
sheltered them from the bleak winds of the more exposed slopes, I
found a luxuriant growth of shrubs; of which the commonest forms were
the rose, ash, _Colutea_, _Rhamnus_, _Myricaria_, _Capparis_,
_Ephedra_, and _Artemisiæ_. As soon as the stream was passed, a steep
ascent commenced, but the luxuriant vegetation at once disappeared,
and the road was as barren, dusty, and stony as usual. We ascended
only to descend again, and encamped on a small level spot forty or
fifty feet above the Piti river, destitute of cultivation or
inhabitants, but known to the people of the district by the name of

On our next day's journey, the country at first presented the same
general character. The mountains along the road were lofty and rugged,
and sloped steeply to the river. A mass of alluvial deposit generally
rested on their bases, and the road lay at no great distance above the
river, rising a few hundred feet to pass over the spurs, and again
descending on their western sides. The steep slopes were in several
places covered with an incrustation of hard angular breccia, with a
calcareous matrix, the origin of which I conceive to have been the
same as that of the breccia noticed in the vicinity of Sungnam. Across
the river there was a considerable tract of level ground, covered with
cultivation surrounding a small village, with a few poplar and willow
trees; but the left bank, on which we travelled, was entirely barren.
Nearly opposite this village, the bank of the river becoming steep and
precipitous, we ascended about a thousand feet, and continued at that
elevation till the difficulty was passed, after which we returned to
the river-side. At this elevation two or three springs broke out on
the steep face of the hill, and, trickling down among the rocks below,
promoted the growth of a few willows and rose-bushes, and a small
thicket of _Hippophaë_. Round the springs the ground was covered with
a slight saline exudation.

    [Sidenote: LARI.
     _August, 1847._]

The village of Lari, at which we encamped, is elevated 11,200 feet. It
occupies a large extent of alluvial surface, sloping at a very small
angle from the base of the mountains to the river, at a place where a
stream issued from among the mountains. The cultivated lands are
extensive, but very bare of trees when compared with the villages in
Kunawar, or even in Hangarang. One apricot-tree only could be seen in
the village lands, but there were still a few willows and poplars. The
flora of the cultivated tracts had not altered. The little _Iris_,
first seen at Chango, was very common, and the gentians, _Potentillæ_,
_Astragali_, and other small plants, were the same as had been common
since crossing the Hangarang pass; the season, however, was so far
advanced, that much of the luxuriant vegetation had withered away. The
crops of wheat and barley were quite ripe, and had been partly cut;
but a few fields of millet were still green.

    [Sidenote: MOUNTAINS OF PITI.
     _August, 1847._]

In the neighbourhood of Lari, the Piti valley is considerably more
open than lower down. It had, indeed, been gradually expanding since
we joined it at Lio. The mountains now recede considerably from the
river, a long sloping surface of alluvium being interposed, which is
at one time largely developed on the north side of the river, in which
case the southern spur generally projects. A little further on, the
northern mountains send down a projecting spur, and an open tract is
seen to the south. The mountains behind the alluvial platforms rise
very abruptly, and present towards the plain, steep, almost
perpendicular slopes, which, from the peculiar nature of the rock, a
very fragile slate, are covered by a steeply-sloping mass of _débris_
almost to the top. This talus, indeed, on some of the cliffs behind
Lari, seems to rise to the very summit of the ridges.

It is not easy to convey an idea in words of the mode in which these
mountains are arranged, unless it is recollected that it is an
universal rule that all mountains are ramifications of an axis, giving
off branches on both sides, and that each branch is again divided in a
similar manner, till the ultimate divisions are arrived at. All
mountainous districts are in this respect similar to one another, and
differ principally in the proportion borne by the altitude to the
superficial extent of the ranges of which they are composed. An
examination of the map will show that the axis of the range which lies
north of the Piti valley, passes through the Parang pass, and in fact
occupies the midway between the Piti and Parang rivers, terminating in
the great bend of the latter, to the east of its junction with the
Piti. The whole of this range is of great altitude, and it seems to
rise in elevation to the eastward, no passage being known further east
than the Parang pass. The primary branches of this chain, descending
towards the Piti valley, are separated by considerable tributaries
which discharge themselves into that river. In general, these lateral
streams have, in the lower part of their course, very rugged rocky
channels, but they rise rapidly, and, at a distance of a few miles
from the main river, their ravines expand into open valleys, three or
four thousand feet above its level. The ramifications of the primary
branches are, as might be expected, in their upper part concealed
among the mountains, but those near their termination abut upon the
main valley, in a series of ridges separated by little streamlets. We
have, therefore, as we ascend the Piti river, not a wall of mountain,
parallel to its course, but a succession of ridges, more or less
perpendicular to it, all descending from a great elevation, and
rapidly diminishing in height. The result is necessarily a great
degree of irregularity, the width of the alluvial belt varying much,
while the direction of the ridges, and of the cliffs by which they are
bounded, is constantly changing.

     _September, 1847._]

Leaving Lari on the 1st of September, we continued our journey up the
Piti valley. The road lay partly on the platforms of alluvial
conglomerate, and partly over the steep shingly talus which rested on
the hills where they were not separated by alluvium from the river.
One alluvial plain, about two miles from Lari, was well cultivated
with the usual crops, the barley being quite ripe, the wheat very
nearly so, the oil-seed and buckwheat out of flower, and the millet,
of which there were only a few fields, still green. The platforms of
alluvium have, in general, an irregularly triangular form, the base
resting on the river, the apex at the termination of a mountain
ravine, down which a stream runs. This stream, instead of bisecting
the platform, usually runs in a hollow channel on one side or other
between the mountains and the alluvium, and is, where practicable,
carried off in small artificial conduits for the purposes of
irrigation. The platforms always slope gently from their apex to the
river, and they are generally cut off in a cliff at the lower end.
These cliffs always show marks of stratification, sensibly parallel to
the river, and the pebbles which the alluvium contains, are (and have
been for the last two days) usually rounded.

I ought not to omit to mention, that I use the word _alluvium_ merely
as a convenient mode of expression, without meaning to convey an idea
of the mode in which these beds originate. No equally suitable word
suggests itself, and the phenomena occur so frequently, that it is
necessary to have some short expression by which to describe them. The
origin of these alluvia is certainly very puzzling. At first sight, in
any particular spot, the most natural suggestion is, that they have
been deposited under water, and probably therefore in a lake. Their
occurrence day after day, notwithstanding the greatest changes of
altitude, their enormous thickness in many places, and the peculiar
position in which they occur, soon dispel this idea, and throw the
observer into a maze of doubt and difficulty, at last leading him to
the conclusion, that no one cause is sufficient to explain the highly
variable phenomena which he observes, and that a lengthened series of
patient observations will be necessary before the subject can be
understood. These observations have yet to be supplied, but I believe
I shall best serve future observers, by detailing as fully as possible
the points which attracted my attention, without attempting for the
present to speculate upon the causes of the phenomena. The suggestions
which I have to offer to the reader, will be best understood when I
have detailed all the facts upon which they are founded.

It is especially necessary to distinguish between three forms of
alluvium, all of which have already occurred in Piti. These are,
first, the fine clay; secondly, the platforms, such as I have
described in the last paragraph; and thirdly, the enormous masses,
which are without any definite limits, and do not seem referable to
any present valley system.

    [Sidenote: POK.
     _September, 1847._]

We encamped at Pok, a large village nearly nine miles from Lari. Here
we found again an extensive alluvial platform, covered with much
cultivation; and on the mountain ravine above the village there was a
considerable grove of young juniper-trees. A week or two before, I
should have considered them as scattered trees; now they had quite the
appearance of a forest, so bare had the country been since crossing

West of Pok, our journey of the 2nd of September was over the alluvial
platform, which continued for two miles beyond the cultivation of the
village, gradually contracting in width by the encroachment of
successive spurs, which at last advanced close to the river. The road
now ascended by a short steep path on the mountain-side, to a higher
level. At the base of this ascent there were a great many angular
masses of limestone, evidently transported from the valleys behind.
These fragments were very numerous, and many of them of great size.
They continued abundant during a great part of the day, but no
limestone was seen _in situ_. I have not preserved any record of the
exact position of these angular fragments with regard to the valleys
behind, but I have little doubt that they will be found to be of
glacial origin, such being certainly the case in many other similar
instances. The limestone was very compact, of a blue or grey colour,
and many of the fragments were almost full of coralline remains. I
collected many fossiliferous specimens, which were afterwards
despatched from Hanle to Simla by a messenger, on whom we thought we
could rely, but they never reached their destination[10].

    [Sidenote: DANKAR.
     _September, 1847._]

We encamped at Dankar, after travelling ten miles. This place is the
principal village of the Piti valley, and is 13,000 feet above the
level of the sea. The valley of the Piti is here very wide, and
divided into numerous channels, which are separated by low gravelly
islands, the whole width of the river being not less than half a mile.
Here the alluvium is very highly developed, lying in patches on the
face of the steep hills. The village of Dankar, though 1000 feet above
the river, occupies both sides of a steep ridge entirely composed of
alluvium. Nor is this its utmost limit; for several hundred feet above
the houses, similar alluvial masses occur. These beds are not,
however, continuous from these great elevations, down to the level of
the river: they rest, on the contrary, on the ancient rocks, which are
here very steep, and the clay may be seen in isolated projecting
masses, capping the most prominent ridges[11].

    [Sidenote: RANGRIG.
     _September, 1847._]

The village of Dankar is built on arid barren soil, but the cultivated
lands stretch from about the level of the village almost to the river,
on a very steep slope. Thickets of _Hippophaë_ were scattered among
the cultivation, where the ground was swampy; and notwithstanding the
great altitude, the exposure being favourable, the crops seemed good,
and the wild plants were more luxuriant than usual. One of the new
species observed was a pretty gentian (_G. Moorcroftiana_, Wall.),
interesting as having been one of the few plants sent from the Tibetan
country by the unfortunate traveller whose name it bears. It is also a
common species in the valley of Dras, in which, perhaps, Mr.
Moorcroft's specimens were collected, unless, indeed, they were
obtained in Piti by Mr. Trebeck, during his journey to that valley
from Ladak.

Leaving Dankar on the morning of the 3rd of September, we ascended the
heights behind the village to the side of the main ridge behind, along
which we proceeded without change of level. The mountain was almost
precipitous, and extremely barren, but commanded a fine view of the
open flat plain of the Piti river, descending from the north-west; and
of the course of the Pin, a large tributary which descends from the
south-west, at the source of which there is a pass, by which it is
possible to descend upon the Sutlej at Wangtu. The mountain range
interposed between the Sutlej and Piti valleys was, from the elevation
at which we now stood, seen to great advantage. These mountains are,
indeed, in the terse words of Jacquemont, "d'une affreuse stérilité;"
yet, in their varied outline, massive forms, and snow-sprinkled
summits, there is no doubt a degree of grandeur, which produces a
powerful impression.

At about a mile and a half from Dankar, during which we had, with the
ridge, gradually approached the river, the road began to descend, and
we at last reached the bank of the river, close to which, and
sometimes even on its gravelly bed, we continued for several miles.
Where the banks were lowest, and the gravel was moist, there were
thickets of low shrubs, _Hippophaë_, _Myricaria_, _Ribes_, and willow;
elsewhere, the gravel was barren and unproductive. We encamped at
Lara, a village nine miles from Dankar, at which there were only two
poplar trees, and a very small extent of arable ground. The wheat was
ripe and very luxuriant, the ears being large and well filled.

On the 4th of September, we continued our progress up the Piti valley,
which had quite the same aspect as on the day before, encamping on the
left bank of the river, opposite to the village of Rangrig, on a
desert spot among limestone rocks, at an elevation of 12,300 feet.
Here we had attained our furthest limit in a north-westerly direction,
our road now turning to the right, and ascending a considerable valley
towards the Parang pass, in a direction which promised much novelty
and interest, as it had only been traversed by one traveller, the
unfortunate Trebeck, who, in the year 1822, travelled from Le to
Dankar by this route. The further course of the Piti river, which, as
we learn from Moorcroft's travels, was visited in 1822 by Captain
Mercer, was afterwards surveyed by Captain Broome. It communicates
with Lahul, which is the upper part of the valley of the Chandrabhaga
or Chenab river, by the Kulzum pass, a depression in that great branch
of the trans-Sutlej Himalaya, by which the waters of the Sutlej and
its tributaries on the east, are separated from those of the Chenab
and Beas.

During our journey through the district of Piti, the weather had been
almost uniformly dry and serene, though we were now in the very height
of the Indian rainy season. The only exception occurred while we were
encamped at Changar, on the lower part of the Parang river, about the
29th of August, when the sky was for two days very cloudy, and on one
night it rained gently for nearly half an hour. The clouds were,
however, high, and never dense, and the unsettled state of the
atmosphere was of very short continuance. While it lasted, it was
accompanied by violent wind, very irregular in direction.

     _September, 1847._]

In every part of Piti we found the margins of springs, and the grassy
turf which grew on low swampy spots along the river, covered with a
saline incrustation, in the form of a dry efflorescence, which
encrusted the blades of grass. It appeared to be confined to the
vicinity of water, the barren rocky tracts being destitute of it. This
saline matter, as elsewhere in Tibet, consists of sesquicarbonate of
soda, and, as a consequence of the abundance of that alkali,
soda-producing plants were common, especially _Chenopodiaceæ_, among
which the common _Salsola Kali_ was very abundant.

    [Sidenote: PITI.
     _September, 1847._]

The district of Piti, which was formerly almost independent, but paid
tribute to, or exchanged presents with, all the Tibetan countries in
its neighbourhood, namely, with Garu, Ladak, and Lahul, as well as
with Kunawar, followed in 1846 the fortunes of Lahul in being
transferred to British rule. It is a very thinly populated valley, the
villages being small and distant, and the arable tracts of no great
extent. The mountains on its southern border, by which it is separated
from Kunawar, are so very elevated that they entirely intercept all
access of humidity from the districts to the northward of them, and
render the climate entirely rainless. The houses are in consequence
very generally built of unburnt bricks, made of the fine lacustrine
clay so common in the valleys, and their flat roofs are thickly
covered with a layer of the same material.


[7] The distant snowy mountains seen from the top of the Hangarang
pass are probably those due north of Zungsam and east of the Parang
pass, which Major Cunningham, from some angles obtained on our
journey, estimated (I believe, but quote from memory) at nearly 24,000

[8] La, in Western Tibet, seems to mean always a _pass_. To the
eastward it is often translated _mountain_.

[9] Jacquemont writes this name _Khiri_. I follow the orthography
which I find in my notes made at the time.

[10] This limestone will, I believe, turn out to be the counterpart of
the limestones of Silurian age, which form one of the most interesting
results of the labours of Captain R. Strachey, in Kumaon and Garhwal.

[11] A very excellent sketch of the fort and village of Dankar, by Mr.
Trebeck, is given in Moorcroft's Travels, in which the appearance and
position of the alluvial masses is well represented.


     Leave Valley of Piti river -- Kibar -- Cultivation above 14,000
     feet -- Vegetation of mountains -- Rocky gorge -- Encampment at
     17,000 feet -- Parang Pass -- Snow-bed and glacier -- First
     plants at 16,500 feet -- Parang valley -- Gorge leading to
     Chumoreri Lake -- Kiang, or wild horse -- Chumurti --
     Remarkable grassy plain -- Lanak Pass -- Granite boulders --
     Plants above 18,000 feet -- Undulating hilly country -- Hanle
     plain -- Vegetation -- Monastery of Hanle.

Our last occupation in the valley of the Piti river was to make the
necessary arrangements for the transport of our baggage through the
deserts which were to be traversed before we should again arrive at
inhabited tracts. The principal part of our effects were carried by
men, but our party was so large that it was not easy to provide
porters for the necessary amount of food during a journey of a week in
an uninhabited country. A motley group of ponies, asses, and yaks
therefore formed part of the train which accompanied us into the
desert country between Piti and the Indus.

Three miles north-west of our encamping ground opposite Rangrig, we
left the Piti river on the morning of the 5th of September, turning up
the valley of a considerable stream which here joined the main river.
The platform of alluvium on which we had been travelling continued
for about half a mile up the lateral valley, and was covered with
large boulders of angular fragments. The rock was limestone, the same
as had occurred everywhere since leaving Lara. A little village called
Ki, and a large monastery, situated on a curious, seemingly isolated,
conical hill above the village, were passed on the right hand. Soon
after, the ascent became rapid on a steep ridge to the east of the
stream, and the Piti valley was completely shut out from view as we
got in among the mountains. The ridge by which we ascended was barren
and stony, and produced little vegetation. A curious broad-leaved
_Allium_ was the only novelty. We continued to ascend along the stream
till we reached the village of Kibar, at which we encamped, at an
elevation of 13,800 feet, in a narrow valley surrounded on all sides
by lofty mountains.

    [Sidenote: KIBAR.
     _September, 1847._]

Kibar is rather a pleasing-looking village, remarkable for its houses
being all built of stone, instead of the mud or unburnt brick so
commonly used in the valley of Piti. It is situated on the summit of a
limestone rock, on the right bank of the stream. Our tents were on a
patch of green-sward on the opposite bank, separated from the village
by a deep ravine. Crossing this on the morning of the 6th, we ascended
the slope of the hill above the village, among cultivation which rose
on the hill-side fully 300 feet higher. Except one field of oil-seed,
the crops were all barley, which was ripe, and partly cut: it was
apparently very poor, being thin and deficient in ear. After leaving
the cultivation, we continued to ascend on the ridge, till we attained
an elevation of nearly 15,000 feet, at which height the road wound
round the sides of hills, without any considerable change of level,
for two or three miles. It was still early morning, and the air was
very frosty. Every little rill was covered with a thick coating of
ice, and some small swamps which we passed were crisp with frost.

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _September, 1847._]

Notwithstanding the considerable elevation, I noticed but little in
the vegetation different from that common in Piti. The forms were by
no means so alpine as on the passes between Kunawar and Hangarang,
though the elevation was greater than on any of these. It was probably
owing to the aridity of the climate that the flora, at elevations of
15,000 feet, instead of being composed of delicate alpine plants, was
much the same as it had been 4000 feet lower. The rose, the common
_Rhamnus_ of Piti, a little shrubby _Potentilla_, a spinous
_Astragalus_, and several _Artemisiæ_, were the common shrubs, and two
species of rhubarb grew abundantly on the dry hills above Kibar. The
_Dama_, which shuns the level country, the _Allium_ first observed the
day before, and _Lamium rhomboideum_ of the Hangarang pass, were
almost the only striking plants observed; all the others were those of
the ordinary flora of the dry hills and gravelly plains of the Piti
valley. It is necessary, of course, in comparing this vegetation with
that of the passes, to recollect that we were here in a valley, on
slopes surrounded on all sides by lofty ridges, not on the summit of a
range overlooking everything around, or only surpassed a very little
by the continuation of the same ridge; so that the temperature of the
summer months must be considerably higher than on the more exposed
though less elevated passes.

    [Sidenote: ROCKY GORGE.
     _September, 1847._]

Further on, the road descended rapidly to the stream, which flowed in
a rocky gorge, through which we held our course for three miles. A few
willows, and stunted shrubs of _Myricaria_, occurred on the descent,
and the willow was found occasionally on the banks of the stream in
the gorge, which was enclosed by high and steep limestone rocks on
both sides. These gradually contracted as we advanced, but again
expanded at the point where we encamped, which was close to the bank
of the stream. The ravine being now more open, we could see the hills
to better advantage, and were struck with astonishment at the
desolation by which we were surrounded. We were, in truth, in a
wilderness of rocks, which to the south closed together, so as to shut
in the ravine by which we had ascended. High walls of cliffs rose on
either hand to an elevation of at least 1500 feet, displaying a
natural section of a multitude of strata, which seemed to be repeated
again and again in a succession of beds of limestone and slate. The
elevation of our encampment was 14,800 feet.

On the 7th of September, the wish of our guides and porters according
with our own, we did not cross the Parang pass, which was still five
miles distant, and nearly 4000 feet above us, but contented ourselves
by ascending to the highest water, perhaps 1500 feet below the summit.
We ascended on a steep shingly ridge to the right of the stream where
we had passed the night. Tufts of _Lamium rhomboideum_ grew among the
loose shingle, but no other plant seemed to vegetate in such an
ungenial soil. When we had passed from the shingle, which was confined
to the base of the ascent, the ridge was dry and gravelly, with tufts
of _Dama_ and of a species of nettle. Above 16,500 feet, the spur was
rocky and uneven, and some alpine vegetation was observed, for which I
conjecture that the melting of the snow had probably supplied
moisture, as lower down the sterility had been complete. About fifteen
species were collected, two _Potentillæ_, _Biebersteinia odora_, a
_Lychnis_, a little tufted saxifrage, and species of _Nepeta_,
_Artemisia_, _Gnaphalium_, _Saussurea_, _Allardia_, _Polygonum_,
_Rheum_, _Blitum_, one grass, and a fern. Three or four lichens grew
on the stones, and I obtained one specimen of a moss without
fructification. The _Allardia_, a pretty little rose-coloured flower,
with an agreeable smell, was the only new species; all the others were
already familiar to me. They grew in the crevices of the rocks, in
extremely small quantity, struggling as it were for existence against
the unfavourable circumstances to which they were exposed.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TOWARDS
     _September, 1847._]

A stony ravine, elevated about 17,000 feet, was the place selected for
our encampment. A small stream, supplied by a patch of snow a little
way above, trickled down under the angular gravel. The ascent had been
extremely fatiguing, because almost without intermission, and we were
glad of rest on reaching that elevation. During the day, however, I
ascended a ridge of rugged rocks, which rose above our tents to a
height of more than 500 feet, being desirous of ascertaining to what
elevation I should find vegetation. An _Alsine_ was common among the
gravel, with two small plants which were not in a determinable state;
and on the rocks, to the highest level to which I succeeded in
ascending (probably 17,600 feet), the little _Allardia_ continued to
occur occasionally. The ridge afforded a good view of the mountains
round. The range to the north, which we had still to cross, lay in a
semicircle behind; to the east was the continuation of the ridge by
which we ascended; and a deep hollow lay to the west. Rugged rock
everywhere met the view. The slates which alternated with the
limestone were so very brittle that they everywhere formed piles of
angular fragments, which filled all the hollows, and formed a sloping
talus against every precipice. The view was one not to be forgotten,
its desolation far surpassing any conception of waste and utter
barrenness which I could have formed.

During the whole day I was never free from a dull headache, evidently
caused by the great elevation. Rest relieved it, but the least
exertion brought it back again. It continued all evening, as long as I
was awake, and still remained in the morning of the 8th, when I rose
soon after daybreak to prepare for the journey. A few paces took us
beyond the shingly ravine in which we had been encamped, and the
remainder of the ascent was throughout over loose angular fragments,
the _débris_ of the cliffs on the right. Under the latter we passed,
winding round the side of the semicircular bay, till we got to about
its centre, when the ascent became excessively steep and toilsome. The
exertion of raising the body was very fatiguing, and the last few
hundred yards were only accomplished after many pauses. A few large
patches of snow lay in hollows along the road; but up to the very
crest of the pass there was no trace of perpetual snow, nor even any
continuous snow-bed.

    [Sidenote: THE PARANG PASS.
     _September, 1847._]

The summit of the Parang pass is a narrow ridge, covered with large
blocks of stone. To the north lay a large field of snow, sloping
downwards at a very gentle angle. In this direction the view was
limited within two miles by steep rugged mountains, which closed in on
both sides. To the right and left also, the pass was overlooked by
ridges close at hand. The only direction in which a distant view was
obtained was south, where the mountains beyond the Piti river were
beautifully seen: from the great elevation at which we stood, their
summits were everywhere in view; their elevation was surprisingly
uniform, and the whole range was capped with snow. The mountains close
at hand presented much the same appearance as I had seen from the
rocks above our encampment the day before.

    [Sidenote: GLACIER.
     _September, 1847._]

I reached the summit of the pass, which has an elevation of 18,500
feet, at a quarter before eight in the morning. At that time the
temperature was 28°; and a cold southerly wind blew with considerable
violence, making us seek the shelter of the blocks which lay around. A
small red lichen, (_Lecanora miniata_,) on the fragments of rock, was
the only vegetable production I observed. After an hour's rest, we
commenced the descent over the snow-bed, proceeding towards a gap
which was visible in the mountains. The snow was hard frozen, and
crisp under the feet. Descending steadily without any fatigue, we were
soon evidently on a snow-covered glacier. A few fissures were passed,
but mostly not above a few inches wide, and none that we could not
with ease step over, the widest not exceeding two feet. At a distance
of about a mile and a half from the crest, the mountains, which on
both sides surrounded the snow-bed in the form of a circle, had so
much approached to one another, that they formed a narrow valley,
down which the snowy mass continued in the form of a rugged glacier.
We now left the surface of the ice, and proceeded along the stony side
of the ravine, with the glacier on our left hand, and steep limestone
rocks on our right. Blocks of limestone strewed our path as we
descended, and numerous small fragments of the same rock covered the
edge of the glacier.

About three miles from the summit of the pass the glacier terminated
abruptly in a bluff precipice, the height of which was more than 100
feet. Little rills of water were, at the time we passed (9½ A.M.),
trickling from every part of the surface, and a small streamlet ran
along the edge of the glacier under an arch of ice. The structure was
here very evident: broad white bands, and narrower ones of a dirty
colour, from the earthy matter which they had absorbed, ran parallel
to the slope of the ravine, the arches or loops (so well explained by
Professor Forbes in his delightful work on the glaciers of the Alps)
being drawn out to a great length.

At the termination of the glacier, we descended from the steep
mountain-side, along which we had hitherto travelled, to the flat
plain, the continuation of the surface on which the glacier rested. On
this descent the first vegetation appeared at an elevation of about
16,500 feet. Two small grasses, _Biebersteinia odora_, a _Lychnis_,
and a little villous _Astragalus_, were the plants observed: they grew
in the crevices of the rock, and scarcely rose above the ground. None
of the species were different from those collected in the mountains of

    [Sidenote: THE PARANG VALLEY.
     _September, 1847._]

When we had reached the middle of the valley, so as to be exactly in
face of the glacier, we found that a large stream issued from a
vaulted cavity at its termination. For some hundred feet the stream
ran among large masses of ice, as if the glacier had very recently
extended further, and had melted away irregularly, leaving these
masses standing. Leaving the glacier, we still followed the valley,
which was confined on both sides by steep cliffs. We kept close to the
stream, walking over its gravelly bed, and I collected a few more
plants as I descended; none, however, new to me. A little _Nepeta_,
four species of _Potentilla_, a _Gnaphalium_, several grasses and
_Carices_, and a very small fern, were the species. About three miles
from the end of the glacier we found our tents pitched on a small
plain, connected with a lateral ravine, and covered with tufts of
_Dama_, and a little species of _Alsine_ in flat tufts, which was
quite new to me. The elevation of our encampment was 16,000 feet.

We followed the course of the valley into which we had thus descended,
for three days, without meeting with any inhabitants, and through so
uniform a country, that it is unnecessary to detail each day's
journey. Rugged and rocky mountains, of moderate elevation,
principally limestone, bounded the view on both sides. In front we
seldom saw more than a few miles; and behind, the view was in general
equally limited, though occasionally we could see, up a lateral
valley, the peak of a snowy mountain. The valley was almost invariably
wide and level, once or twice only interrupted by projecting ridges of
low rocks advancing to its centre. Low platforms of alluvium, like
those of Piti, occupied the wider parts, their upper angles resting
(as in Piti) on the opening of lateral ravines, while their bases were
cut into cliffs by the stream.

During these three days we descended from 16,000 to about 14,800 feet.
The surrounding mountains were quite barren and desolate. The gravelly
plains were covered with tufts of _Dama_ and of the curious tufted
_Alsine_, which formed dense flattened hassock-like masses, of
considerable size. The soil was very saline, and as we descended it
gradually became more so. In the earlier part of the descent, the
alpine forms were the same as those to the south of the Parang pass,
and the plants were few in number and much scattered. Lower down,
however, more novelty was met with. A little willow was the first
shrubby plant, and was followed by _Ephedra_, _Myricaria_, and
_Hippophaë_, all much stunted. Still lower there were large patches of
green-sward along the stream, generally swampy, and always covered
with a saline incrustation. _Artemisiæ_, _Astragali_, _Gentianæ_, and
_Potentillæ_, were the commonest forms, with a number of saline
plants, chiefly _Chenopodiaceæ_, which abounded on the lowest spots.

On the 11th, the last of these three days, the vegetation had quite
lost its alpine character, notwithstanding that the elevation was
still 15,000 feet. No _Biebersteinia_ was seen, and the little species
of _Potentilla_, _Alsine_, _Saxifraga_, _Cruciferæ_, and _Parnassia_,
were no longer met with. The large _Hyoscyamus_ of Piti (_Belenia_ of
Decaisne) had made its appearance, with tall _Artemisiæ_, a
_Clematis_, a rank-growing _Corydalis_, _Cicer Soongaricum_, and other
plants in no way alpine. I was much surprised to observe so complete
a change in so moderate a descent, and very much interested to find
that the alpine flora had so completely disappeared. I regret that I
am as yet unable to give my results in more perfect form, the
necessary comparison and determination of the species collected still
remaining to be done.

    [Sidenote: CHUMORERI.
     _September, 1847._]

During our descent we had gradually taken a more easterly course, and
on the 11th our direction was nearly due east. On this day we passed
the gorge in the mountains, up which the road turns to the Chumoreri
lake, by which Mr. Trebeck had travelled to and from Ladakh. This
would have been our most direct route to Le, but we were desirous of
visiting the more eastern districts, so as to reach the Indus as soon
as possible. The mountains in this gorge suddenly lowered; a wide
gravelly plain sloped gently up to a low ridge, which did not appear
to rise higher than two or three hundred feet above the level of the
Parang river. Beyond this ridge, on the assurance of our guides,
confirmed by Major Cunningham, who had on a former occasion travelled
along the Chumoreri lake as far as its southern extremity, lies the
lake, without any more considerable elevation separating it from the
Parang river.

It is much to be regretted that the late period of the season, and the
other important objects which we had to accomplish, should have
prevented us from crossing this narrow neck of land. It would probably
have thrown much light upon the question of the origin and nature of
the salt lakes, which are, as is well known, scattered over Tibet,
Central Asia, and Siberia. The Chumoreri lake has certainly no outlet,
but from the nature of the surrounding mountains, everywhere steep
and lofty, there can be no doubt that at one period its waters were
discharged at its south end by the narrow valley which we saw from the
south side of the Parang river[12]. An accurate determination of the
height of the separating ridge above the present surface of the lake,
a careful examination of the configuration of the surface at its
southern end, and an analysis of the water, which is described as
sufficiently brackish to be unpleasant though not absolutely
undrinkable, would certainly enable conclusions to be drawn as to the
nature of the cause which has lowered the level of the waters of the
lake, and so put an end to its discharge.

    [Sidenote: WILD HORSE.
     _September, 1847._]

In the plain which sloped gently upwards from the Parang river towards
the Chumoreri lake, we saw for the first time a Kiang, or wild horse,
but at too great a distance to enable his shape and appearance to be
distinctly made out; and the river, which was interposed between us,
prevented our approaching nearer. We afterwards frequently saw these
animals, but from their extreme wariness, and the open nature of the
country, we were never fortunate enough, notwithstanding repeated
trials, to get within gunshot distance of them. They appear to abound
at elevations between 14,000 and 16,000 feet, on the open undulating
tracts on the summits of the mountain ranges, and to avoid valleys and
rocky districts, where they would be liable to surprise.

    [Sidenote: THE PARANG VALLEY.
     _September, 1847._]

To the eastward of the former outlet of the lake, the valley of the
Parang river was more contracted than it had been in any previous part
of its course. Rocky hills, projecting from the southern mountains,
advanced so close to the river, that no passage was practicable along
their base, and the road several times ascended several hundred feet
to cross these ridges. This obstruction was, however, but temporary,
lasting only for a few miles, beyond which the valley expanded into a
very wide plain, extending for five or six miles in an easterly
direction, by about half that distance from north to south. The
borders of this wide expanse were very low platforms, almost
horizontal, and not more than from six to ten feet above the river.
The middle portion was a plain of gravel, scarcely higher than the
level of the stream, and evidently occasionally submerged. Here the
river bends rapidly round towards the south-east. The district at
which we had now arrived is called Chumurti, and about eight or ten
miles to the east of our encampment on the 11th of September, is a
village or assemblage of tents called Chumur, from which we obtained a
supply of porters, to relieve the party who had accompanied us from
Piti. Here also, in accordance with the instructions we had received
on leaving Simla, Captain Strachey left us, with the intention of
following the course of the Parang river, as far as he conveniently
could, and then turning to the left across one of the passes of the
great trans-Sutlej chain to the Indus. Major Cunningham and myself, on
the other hand, proposed to proceed by the direct, and equally
unknown, route to Hanle, and thence to visit the Indus, and proceed to

    [Sidenote: THE PARANG RIVER.
     _September, 1847._]

The Parang river, whose source is in the mountains immediately north
of the Parang pass, has, as we have seen, at first a northerly
direction, but gradually bends more and more to the eastward and
southward, and finally has a nearly south-west course, where it joins
the Piti river, nearly opposite Shialkar. Its source, as well as its
confluence with the Piti river, are within the British territory; but
the most important, because the most populous, part of its course lies
within the Chinese border. The boundary of the Chinese district runs
nearly from north-east to south-west, passing a little to the west of
Rodok, and crossing the Indus at the village of Chibra, where Mr.
Trebeck was stopped in his attempt to penetrate up the Indus; thence a
little south of Haule, and across the course of the Parang river. It
then bends more towards the south, and again crosses the Parang at the
point where we were stopped in the end of August, whence its direction
is nearly due south as far as Nilang, on the Jahnavi branch of the

The Parang river being a tributary of the Sutlej, by crossing the
great chain at the Parang pass we had not reached the Indus valley,
but had descended into a lateral valley still connected with the
drainage of the Sutlej. The great line of watershed between the Indus
and Sutlej lay still before us. This chain, which is the prolongation
of Kailas, must be called the trans-Sutlej Himalaya, unless the name
Himalaya be restricted to the chain south of the Sutlej, in which case
the mountains of Lahul, Kishtawar, and Kashmir, would lose their claim
to that appellation.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TOWARDS
     _September, 1847._]

Towards this chain, which we were to cross by the Lanak pass, we
commenced our journey on the morning of the 12th of September. Our
road lay across the Parang river, which flowed in several channels
among the wide expanse of gravel which here formed its bed. The
morning was bitterly cold, and the water almost icy, to the great
discomfort of our porters. The largest stream was perhaps twenty-five
feet wide and two and a half deep, with a moderately rapid current.
After crossing the river we took a northerly direction, leaving the
valley or plain of the Parang river, and ascending an open, almost
level valley, bounded by low hills. The mountains on the left, which
were interposed between our route and the Chumoreri lake, were the
most rugged in sight. In the centre of the plain was the channel of a
stream, very shingly, but without water, along which, or on alluvial
banks only a few feet higher, we gradually advanced. The level of our
camp on the Parang river had been 14,800 feet; and from this we were
now gradually but imperceptibly rising. The hills on either hand were
rounded and low, but increased in height as we receded from the Parang
river. The soil was very barren, and showed many indications of salt.
Scattered plants of _Salsola_ were common, with _Christolea_, a pretty
Cruciferous plant, with purple flowers and fleshy wedge-shaped leaves,
tasting strongly of horse-radish, which has been described by Decaisne
from specimens collected by Jacquemont in Piti. A little white
_Alyssum_, which I had not previously met with, was also very common.

Four miles from the Parang river we reached a flat grassy plain of
considerable extent, with deep black soil, in which meandered a very
slowly running stream, perhaps twelve feet wide, which seemed to have
an outlet by an open valley on our right, and to join the Parang some
miles to the east of where we left it. A great part of this plain was
swampy, the turf rising in little knolls, but round the edges and in
all the higher parts it was covered with a thick incrustation of white
efflorescent salt. To the north and east, low gently-sloping hills as
barren as ever rose from the edge of the green plain; and in the
north-east corner, close to the foot of the hills, a large fountain,
discharging copiously clear tasteless cold water, was evidently the
source of the stream which flowed over the plain. The grassy turf
produced a considerable number of plants, not a few of which were new
to me. An _Umbellifera_, an _Aster_ with large purple flowers, a
_Saussurea_, and two species of _Pedicularis_, one with white, the
other with yellow flowers, were very common, as were also a species of
_Triglochin_, a white _Juncus_, several _Carices_, and three or four
very beautiful grasses. In the shallow water of the pools scattered
over the plain, a species of alga was common, floating without
attachment. It was a broad foliaceous green plant, and has been
determined by the Rev. M. J. Berkeley to be a species of _Nostoc_,
closely allied to, if not identical with _N. commune_, a species which
occurs in all parts of the globe.

After crossing this plain, and stopping to rest by the fountain, we
began to ascend the long slopes of the hills, partly on a level ridge,
partly along the wide sloping valleys by which the low hills were
separated. Both hills and plain were frightfully arid, the aspect of
the country being of an uniform grey colour; and coarse gravel, with
scattered stones of larger size, everywhere covered the surface. The
ascent was very inconsiderable till towards the end of the day's
journey. The distance travelled was about ten miles, and we encamped
at about 15,800 feet, on the left bank of a small stream which
descended from the north, the borders of which were swampy and covered
with green turf, in which the common plants of the country occurred,
such as little gentians, _Ranunculi_, _Parnassia_, several _Polygona_
and _Potentillæ_, _Carices_, and grasses. On the west bank of the
stream was a low ridge of clay-slate rocks, while on the right and in
the valley was a heap of granite boulders; no doubt an ancient
moraine, for the fragments were piled on one another to a great
height, and rose far above the stream as well as the ordinary level of
the plain.

    [Sidenote: LANAK PASS.
     _September, 1847._]

On the 13th of September we crossed the Lanak pass, which lay before
us at a distance of about five miles. From our encampment the
mountains appeared easy of access and rounded in outline, and we
commenced the ascent by a nearly level walk across the gravelly plain.
After a mile and a half we rejoined the stream, and kept along it for
a little way. Its banks were green with a narrow belt of turf; and the
bed was often rocky, the rock being still clay-slate, notwithstanding
the granite boulders everywhere scattered about. The edges of the
stream were frozen, spiculæ of thin ice adhering to the herbage. The
vegetation was quite alpine, the elevation being certainly above
16,000 feet. A _Delphinium_, which seemed the same as the _D.
Brunonianum_ of the Hangarang pass, a little yellow saxifrage, and a
white-flowered species of the same genus, which I believe to be the
Scottish alpine _S. cernua_, an entire-leaved yellow _Ranunculus_, a
_Pedicularis_ with purple flowers, and some grasses, were the most
remarkable plants observed.

After a mile, we left the ravine and ascended to the open
gently-sloping ground on its left, still rising sensibly as we
advanced. The surface was, as usual, dry and gravelly, and _Oxytropis
chiliophylla_ and a little _Stipa_ were almost the only plants. We
continued nearly parallel to the ravine, and crossed it again a little
further on. It was now dry, and its steep stony banks were covered
with bushes of _Dama_. Still gradually ascending, we crossed the same
ravine a third time, where its bed was upwards of 17,000 feet. There
was again no water visible, but the ground was still moist, the
streamlet probably, as is very general in these arid regions,
trickling under the surface among the loose gravel. The little alpine
nettle, which I had first found on the northern spurs of Porgyul, near
Changar, and again on the southern face of the Parang pass, was here
common, as were two species of _Alsine_, which formed dense tufts. A
little saxifrage and the _Delphinium_ were also still observed, but
all the other plants had disappeared.

Leaving the ravine for the last time, we continued the ascent, which
became steeper as we advanced. A rounded ridge lay to our right hand,
and we rose nearer and nearer to its crest. Fragments of granite,
piled on one another in increasing numbers, covered the steep slopes.
Rock _in situ_ was only to be seen in one place; it was still
clay-slate, containing a good deal of mica. The top of the pass was
nearly level for several hundred yards, and covered with boulders,
principally of granite, but a few of quartz and of a trappean rock,
quite black and homogeneous. The outline of the mountains was
generally rounded, and they rose gradually in both directions above
the pass, which had an elevation of 18,100 feet. The view, both
towards the direction in which we had come and that in which we were
proceeding, was rather extensive, but from the prevailing uniformity
of outline and colour it was more striking than beautiful. There were
no trees or villages, no variation of surface greater than an
occasional grey rock, but everywhere the same dreary sterile
uniformity. Nothing could be seen of Lake Chumoreri, which lies at
least fifteen miles westward, and is surrounded by mountains,
everywhere (except in the direction of the former outlet) higher than
that on which we stood.

The occurrence of great accumulations of boulders, of a rock different
from that which occurs _in situ_ on the very summit of the pass, was
quite conformable to what I had observed on some of the passes between
Kunawar and Hangarang. It was not, however, on this account the less
puzzling, nor was it till I crossed the Sassar pass, in August, 1848,
that I could at all conceive in what way it was to be explained. On
this pass, as I shall afterwards relate in detail, a glacier occupies
the crest of the pass, descending from higher mountains to the north,
and presenting a bluff termination in two directions.

On the summit of the pass I collected specimens of three phenogamous
plants, probably nourished by a recently melted patch of snow; for
though there was none on the pass itself, nor on the descent on
either side, a steep mountain, half a mile to the right, in a due
northern exposure, was still covered with snow to at least five
hundred feet below the level of the pass. The small quantity of snow
seen in the distant view was very remarkable, and the more so as there
was no indication of diminished elevation; ridge rising beyond ridge,
and peak behind peak, to the utmost limits of view. The three plants
which were observed were a little _Arenaria_ or _Stellaria_, and two
Cruciferous plants, one of which only was in fruit. A red lichen, the
same as that seen on the Parang pass, covered the stones.

The descent from the Lanak pass was at first gentle, but very soon
became steep, to the bottom of a valley in which a small stream of
water was running, derived, I suppose, from some small snow-beds in a
lateral ravine out of sight, for it almost immediately disappeared
under the gravel. Soon after leaving the crest of the pass, we came
upon clay-slate rock finely laminated, and dipping south-south-west at
a high angle. The valley by which we descended gradually contracted
into a rocky ravine, at last very narrow, with high precipitous walls,
and full of large boulders. We encamped for the night at its junction
with a large stream descending in a rocky dell from the west. Around
our camp, on both sides of the stream, there was an outbreak of
greenstone, which had upheaved the clay-slate rocks.

On the 14th of September we proceeded along the stream close to which
we had encamped the day before. High mountains, whose summits could
not be seen from the bottom of the narrow ravine, rose on both sides.
The rock on both banks was clay-slate, much altered by heat, often
very hard, and with numerous quartz veins; no more greenstone was
observed. The stream, copious when we started, gradually disappeared
as the ravine widened, and water soon lay only in pools along the
gravelly bed. Boulders of granite were abundant all along. After three
miles the ravine opened into a wide gravelly plain, skirted by rounded
hills of considerable elevation, to which the alluvial platforms
sloped very gently on both sides. _Christolea_, a little shrubby
_Artemisia_, and a small _Stipa_, were the plants which grew among the

     _September, 1847._]

After about a mile and a half, the direction of the plain trending to
the south more than was suited to our purpose, we turned to the left,
to cross the ridge which ran parallel to it on the north-east. A long
gravelly plain, sloping almost imperceptibly upwards, led us to the
summit of the ridge, which was not more than two or three hundred feet
above the plain we had left. From this pass, for such it was, though
an insignificant one, an open valley, skirted on both sides by low
rounded hills, ran to the north-east for nearly five miles. The
appearance of the country was very remarkable. The hills were all very
gentle in slope, and quite rounded in outline, so that the surface was
almost undulating. It required reflection on the fact that we were
traversing a tract in which the bottoms of the valleys were from
15,000 to 15,500 feet above the level of the sea, to make us aware of
the very mountainous nature of the country we were passing through,
which was, if any part of Tibet (which I have seen) may be so called,
the _Table Land_ north of the Himalaya. The height of the mountains,
too, was in fact greater than we had at first been inclined to
believe, the gentleness of the slopes making us think the ridges
nearer than they really were, and therefore leading to a false
estimate of their height. In general they were from 1000 to 2000 feet
in height, and their summits therefore from 16,000 to 17,000 feet
above the level of the sea.

    [Sidenote: OPEN VALLEYS.
     _September, 1847._]

The open valley along which we now proceeded was remarkable in another
point of view. It was quite waterless, and seemed hemmed in on both
sides by hills, so that its drainage must take place in the direction
of its long axis; at least, no lateral depression could be perceived
on either side. About a mile from its eastern end, this plain was
lower than in any other part. We had been descending along it from
west to east, and we could see that beyond that point it rose gently
to the eastward. The surface of the lowest part was covered with a
hard shining white clay, without any of the fine gravel which abounded
elsewhere. A few tufts of an _Eurotia_ were the only plant which it
produced. It was evident that the winter snows which fall on this
isolated spot, when melted in summer, finding no exit, form a small
lake, till they completely disappear by evaporation.

    [Sidenote: HANLE PLAIN,
     _September, 1847._]

After crossing this low clayey tract, we ascended gently for nearly a
mile in an easterly direction, when the valley terminated very
abruptly and unexpectedly in a precipitous descent of four or five
hundred feet, the clay-slate rocks emerging suddenly from beneath the
gravel at the very edge of the precipice. The road descended in a
narrow gorge, which had apparently been worn by aqueous action in the
almost perpendicular cliff. On emerging from this gorge, we found
ourselves on the border of a very extensive perfectly level tract,
seemingly surrounded by hills, and approaching in shape to a circle,
though its outline, from projecting ranges of hills, was very
irregular. The margins of this plain were dry and gravelly; the
centre, as seen from a distance, was green, but in many places
encrusted with a saline efflorescence.

Skirting this plain, which lay on our right, while ranges of hills,
separated by wide gravelly valleys, occupied the left, we reached
Hanle, a Buddhist monastery inhabited by about twenty lamas, built on
the summit of a steep hill which rises abruptly out of the plain. We
encamped in a ravine at the foot of the hill on which the monastery is
built, in which the tents of the wandering population are erected when
they bring their flocks into this neighbourhood.

The plain of Hanle, which is not, I think, less than six or eight
miles in diameter, resembles very much that curious flat tract which
we passed on the 12th of September, on the south side of the Lanak
pass; it is, however, much larger in dimensions. Several streams, very
tortuous and sluggish, wind over its surface. These were frequently
three feet or more in depth, and contained multitudes of small fish,
usually about six inches in length, but growing to eight or ten inches
at least. They were a species of carp. We tried to eat them, but,
though sweet and well-tasted, the bones were so numerous and
troublesome that we relinquished the attempt. We were much interested
at the occurrence of fish at an elevation of 14,300 feet, a height at
which, _à priori_, it would scarcely have been expected that they
would have existed.

The surface of the plain was very saline, and, where not swampy,
covered with coarse grasses and _Cyperaceæ_. It was very uneven,
hummocks or knolls being scattered over the surface, which made
walking very difficult. These, I presume, were caused by the gradual
growth of plants, which, in process of time, formed heaps in spots not
covered by water during the melting of the snow in spring. In some
parts there were extensive patches of _Dama_. A species of _Elymus_
and a _Blysmus_ were very abundant. The ground in the vicinity of the
streams was swampy, and the coarse grasses of the drier parts were
replaced by little _Potentillæ_, _Glaux maritima_, _Taraxacum_,
_Aster_, and a number of Chenopodiaceous plants. In the running waters
a _Potamogeton_ and _Ranunculus aquatilis_ were plentiful. The
streams, which must, I believe, as in the case of the plain of the
12th, principally derive their supply from springs which break out on
the edge of the flat country, all converge to a point at the
north-east end of the plain, and, uniting into one, continue their
course down an open valley in a northerly direction towards the Indus.

As no section of the bed of this remarkable plain is anywhere to be
seen, it is not possible to form an estimate of the depth of its boggy
soil, or of the nature of the subjacent deposit. It can scarcely be
doubted that it has at one time been a lake, which has been gradually
silted up; but it is not easy to conjecture the length of time which
has elapsed since it became dry land, in the absence of any knowledge
of the nature and contents of the deposits which occur beneath the
surface. As an outlet for the waters of the plain exists to the
northward, we may infer that the waters of the lake were always fresh.

We remained two days at Hanle, to effect a change of porters, a matter
which cannot be accomplished in a hurry in an almost uninhabited
country, without unnecessary hardships on individuals. There is no
settled population except the monks or lamas; a few stone huts without
roofs, which were scattered about the foot of the rock, having no
tenants. To the east of the monastery, on the border of the plain,
watered by an artificial channel brought with considerable labour from
the river, we observed two or three small fields. The grain, which was
barley, had been cut and carried away, so that harvest at Hanle was
over. The view from the top of the monastery was extensive, as we
overlooked the whole plain to the south, and the valley of the Hanle
river on the east. The mountains were highest to the east, where a
very lofty, steep, and irregular range, with a good deal of snow in
some places, separated Hanle from the Indus. To the south and west,
the mountains, though high, were rounded.

The rock on which the monastery is built is wholly igneous, but varies
from a coarse-grained granite, rapidly decaying, to a dark-coloured
greenstone, with large crystals scattered through it. Close to the
foot of the hill, the clay-slate was in a few places visible,
considerably altered by igneous action, as was to be expected from its
proximity to the greenstone.


[12] I state these facts on the authority of Major Cunningham. Captain
H. Strachey visited this district in 1848, and will, I hope, soon make
public his observations. He has ascertained that the surface of the
lake is 15,200 feet above the level of the sea.


     Descend Hanle river -- Unsettled weather -- Encamp on banks of
     Indus -- Upper course of Indus -- Pugha ravine -- Forest of
     Myricaria-trees -- Borax plain -- Hot springs -- Borax lakes of
     Eastern Tibet -- Sulphur mine -- Pulokanka Pass -- Salt lake --
     Lacustrine clays with shells -- Ancient water-mark -- Rupchu --
     Tunglung Pass -- Fall of snow -- Alluvial conglomerate -- Giah
     -- Narrow ravine -- Miru -- Upshi -- Indus valley -- Marsilang
     -- Richly cultivated plain of Chashut -- Bridge over Indus --
     Le -- Buddhist edifices.

On the 17th of September we left Hanle, _en route_ to Le. Our road lay
down the left bank of the river by which the waters of the lake-plain
are discharged into the Indus. The valley through which it flowed was
open and level, and its slope imperceptible. On the left lay a low
range of hills, an irregular mass increasing much in width, as well as
in height, as we proceeded northwards, the Hanle extremity being the
termination where it slopes into the plain. On the right, a very lofty
range, some of the peaks of which were certainly not less than 21,000
feet in elevation, ran parallel to our course, separating the open
valley of the Hanle river from the Indus.

    [Sidenote: HANLE RIVER.
     _September, 1847._]

The width of the valley varied from one to three miles. The stream was
very winding, crossing from side to side, and often pressing the road
close to the spurs of the range on the left. The range on this side
was principally clay-slate, with occasional outbreaks of trap, which
had in many places converted the stratified rock into a hard red or
green jasper. From the immediate proximity of the igneous rock the
stratified masses were very much contorted, and no regular dip was

Saline efflorescence occurred everywhere in great quantity in the
vicinity of the stream; as a consequence, Chenopodiaceous plants were
more than usually abundant, and I collected at least three species of
that family which I had not previously observed. The banks of the
stream were everywhere bordered by a belt of green herbage, more or
less broad, in which the usual species of _Ranunculus_, _Gentiana_,
_Pedicularis_, _Juncus_, _Cyperaceæ_, and grasses were common. _Glaux
maritima_ also occurred abundantly. Two other European plants were
found in the swamps along the course of the river, which were very
interesting as a proof of the extremely European nature of the flora:
these were _Hippuris vulgaris_ and _Limosella lacustris_. Towards the
end of the day's journey, _Caragana versicolor_ (_Dama_) became very
common, covering a large extent of surface, and growing to a much
greater size than I had ever before seen, with an upright stem nearly
six feet in height. I could scarcely persuade myself that the species
was the same as the little depressed shrubs which grew on the passes
further south. Two species of _Myricaria_, both of which I had seen in
Piti, also reappeared during the day, so that we were evidently
approaching a lower level and more genial climate.

Banks of alluvial conglomerate occurred on the sides of the valley,
in the spaces between the projecting spurs of the range on the left
hand, on the latter part of the day. The beds were distinctly
stratified and very sandy, more or less full of rounded stones, and
often passing into pure sand, which was interstratified with the
coarser beds. The day was very cloudy and threatening, and a few drops
of rain fell for the first time since the 29th of August, the weather
during the whole of that interval having been brilliant and quite dry.
We encamped eleven miles from Hanle, on a gravelly plain close to the

Dining the night the weather did not improve, but continued very
cloudy, and on the morning of the 18th the mountains on the right side
of the valley were covered with snow, down to within 1500 feet of the
plain. The wind blew strongly from the northward, and the day, which
was still very cloudy, was bitterly cold, and, to our feelings,
extremely uncomfortable. We continued to follow the course of the
Hanle river, passing over long gravel flats, which alternated with
turfy saline meadows. Several low spurs from the mountains on the
left, which projected far into the plain, making the river bend much
to the right, were crossed as we proceeded. About ten miles from our
morning's camp, we left the course of the river, which turned to the
right and entered a rocky mountain gorge, while our road kept its
northerly direction. An open valley led us to the crest of a low ridge
of trap and slate, from which a very long stony monotonous valley
descended to an extensive plain covered with fine mud and saline
exudation, on which the only vegetation was a few tufts of _Suæda_ and
coarse grass. Crossing this plain, on which the dry clay was in many
places deeply cracked and fissured, as if it had till within a short
time been under water, or at least swampy, we encamped, at an
elevation of 13,800 feet, on the banks of the Indus, here a muddy
torpid stream, without any apparent current, about four feet deep and
twenty or twenty-five feet wide. There was, however, another channel,
separated from that on which we were encamped by a small island.

    [Sidenote: RIVER INDUS.
     _September, 1847._]

So sluggish was the stream at the point where we joined it, that we
were for a long time uncertain in which direction the current was
flowing; and though we were prepared to find the Indus at the end of
our day's journey, the river on whose banks we were encamped was so
much less than our anticipations, that we were very unwilling to be
convinced that we had really arrived at the great river, to which we
had so long looked forward as one of the most interesting objects of
our journey. The island in the centre of the channel was a bank of
very fine sand or mud, on which large flocks of wild-fowl were
resting; it was very little elevated above the surface of the water,
which must frequently, I should think, rise sufficiently to cover it.
The bank on which we were encamped, though rather higher, was not more
than four feet above the water; it was quite vertical, and composed of
fine clay, without any intermixture of stones or gravel.

     _September, 1847._]

The course of the river Indus, from its source to Le, has hitherto
been less known than any other part in Tibet; but as Captain Strachey,
a month or two after our visit, descended along it from the Chinese
frontier, as far as Le, the unknown portion is now very much reduced.
It rises in the mountains north of the lakes of Mansarawer and Rawan
Rhad, and runs in general towards the north-east. Moorcroft has
described its appearance at Garu or Gartop, where it is a very
insignificant stream; but the intervening country is so little known,
except by native report, that we can scarcely be said to have an exact
knowledge of the upper part of its course. There is in some maps an
eastern branch laid down, but of that we have no definite information.
From the arid and snowless nature of the country through which it must
flow, it is probably a very small stream, but its length may be

Immediately above the open plain in which we joined the Indus, it
would appear to have a very rocky and rugged channel. Such, at least,
was the description given to us by our guides of the lower course of
the Hanle river, which we left only a few miles before it joined the
Indus; and as the mountains to the south-west appeared to close in
very abruptly within a very short distance of our encampment, we could
not doubt that the open and level plain which we found in this portion
of the river's course was of limited extent, and quite an exceptional
feature in the character of the country through which the Indus flows.
From the great elevation and abrupt slope of the range which runs
parallel to the Hanle river on the east, there can be no doubt that
the spurs which it sends down on its north-east slope, towards the
Indus, must be bold and rocky; and though the hills on the left bank
of the Hanle river are much less elevated, yet they rise as they
advance to the eastward. The descent of this river too, though very
gentle in the upper part of its course, while its valley is broad, is
probably very abrupt in the last few miles, where its channel is rocky
and its ravine narrow. The elevation of its junction with the Indus
is, I believe, about 13,800 feet above the level of the sea.

    [Sidenote: INDUS VALLEY.
     _September, 1847._]

On the 19th of September our road lay in a westerly direction down the
Indus. The weather was still extremely unsettled, the sky being cloudy
and a violent north or north-west wind continuing to blow in frequent
gusts. No rain, however, fell. The plain gradually narrowed as we
advanced, and the mountains on the left approached by degrees close to
the river. Low grassy plains, covered with a saline incrustation,
quite dry, and without any brushwood or tall herbaceous vegetation,
skirted the river, the course of which we followed very closely.
Indeed, notwithstanding the considerable diminution of altitude, the
aspect of the valley of the Indus was more dreary and barren than we
had for some days been accustomed to. The rocky spurs were quite bare;
and even on the level tracts no vegetation was seen, excepting on the
very lowest banks, which were moistened by the river. This utter
sterility was no doubt due to the absence of lateral rivulets, the
hills which rose on our left hand being stony and steep, and not
rising to a sufficient elevation to be covered with perpetual snow, or
to accumulate and retain snow-beds in their ravines till a late period
of the year.

The rock on the left-hand mountains during the day was quite different
from any that had hitherto occurred, being a conglomerate, with
rounded stones of various sizes, many of them granite. The matrix was
of a very dark colour, and generally extremely hard; more rarely it
was a coarse sand, crumbling to pieces. This conglomerate was
everywhere stratified, the beds dipping to the south-west, at an angle
of about forty-five degrees. During the day the river varied much in
width, being seldom less than twenty-five yards, and sometimes as much
as eighty. The stream was generally very gentle, not exceeding two
miles an hour, except in a few rapids, and the river was in most
places fordable. We encamped on the left bank, in a place where it was
shallow and wide.

On the 20th of September we continued at first to follow the left bank
of the Indus, which gradually assumed a more northerly direction. The
mountains on both sides approached much more closely to the river than
they had done the day before, and those on the right continued
extremely lofty. The river now flowed more rapidly, and was often
wider and more shallow; one rapid was not less than 150 yards in
width. Banks of alluvial clayey conglomerate were usually interposed
between the mountains and the river, forming cliffs which attained not
unfrequently an elevation of fifty feet. These were separated by
projecting spurs, over which the road passed wherever they advanced so
close to the centre of the valley as to prevent a passage along the
level plain. Some small streamlets were crossed during the day, and in
consequence the vegetation was at times more varied, and at the same
time more luxuriant, than it had been the day before. A few bushes of
_Myricaria_ were seen on the bank of the river; and in the lateral
ravines the ordinary shrubs and herbaceous vegetation were common.
The only new plant was a species of _Labiatæ_, a coarse-growing
under-shrub, probably a species of _Ballota_.

    [Sidenote: PUGHA RAVINE.
     _September, 1847._]

The hard conglomerate of the day before did not again occur, various
forms of clay-slate being the prevailing rock. The steep slopes were,
however, very frequently covered with a talus of angular fragments,
which obscured the structure of the lower portions of the mountains,
at the same time that it revealed the nature of the higher strata,
which would otherwise have been inaccessible. Red and green jaspery
rocks, very hard and brittle, were abundant, with various forms of
greenstone, at times closely resembling syenite. These were evidently
the same rocks as had been met with in the neighbourhood of Hanle, and
along the river for some way below that town. Their recurrence here,
therefore, tended to confirm what had for some time appeared to me to
be the prevailing strike of these formations, namely, from S.S.E. to

After following the course of the Indus for about eight miles, we
turned abruptly to the left, ascending a narrow gorge, in which a
considerable stream flowed from the south-west. The slope was, from
the first, considerable, and the course of the ravine very winding.
Steep rocky cliffs rose precipitously on both sides, and generally
approached so close to one another that their tops could not be seen.
The channel of the stream was at first stony and quite bare, but after
a mile bushes of the _Myricaria_ became common, fringing the stream,
but nowhere growing at any distance from it. These gradually increased
in size and abundance, and at our camping place, three miles from the
commencement of the ravine, they were generally small trees, many of
them not less than fifteen feet in height, with stout erect trunks
five or six inches in diameter.

The morning of the 21st of September was bright and clear, and
intensely frosty, the unsettled weather which had continued since our
leaving Hanle having quite disappeared. Our road still lay up the
gorge, which had quite the same appearance as on the previous day.
High precipices, or very steep banks, hemmed in the stream on both
sides. Small trees of _Myricaria_ still continued abundant in the
immediate vicinity of the water; elsewhere, all was as desolate as
ever. Some of these trees were not less than a foot in diameter; the
trunk was generally very short, often branching within a foot of the
base. At intervals there was a good deal of alluvium, partly in the
shape of coarse conglomerate, partly a fine micaceous sand, filling up
the recesses at the bends of the ravine. After three miles, the ravine
suddenly expanded into a narrow plain, the surface of which was
irregularly undulating, and completely encrusted with salt. As this
plain was interesting in consequence of the production of borax, we
encamped on the bank of the little stream about a mile from the end of
the gorge, and remained stationary the next day in order to examine
the nature of the locality in which the borax is found.

    [Sidenote: HOT SPRINGS.
     _September, 1847._]

As the day's journey was a very short one, we arrived at the salt
plain by eight o'clock A.M. The air was still quite frosty. While our
tents were being pitched on a dry bank a little way above the stream,
we proceeded to its bank, and were not a little surprised to find the
water quite tepid, notwithstanding the extreme cold of the air. On
procuring a thermometer, it was found to have a temperature of 69°.
Advancing up the stream, we found that numerous hot springs rose on
its banks, and sometimes under the water. The hottest of these had a
temperature of 174°. From these springs gas was copiously evolved,
smelling strongly of sulphur; and in their immediate neighbourhood the
water of the little river had a faintly sulphurous taste, though
elsewhere it was quite pure and good. The stream, which was perhaps
twenty feet wide, was usually rather deep. Dense masses of aquatic
weeds, chiefly species of _Zannichellia_ and _Potamogeton_, grew in
the water, and along the margins their dead stems, mixed with mud,
formed immense banks, scarcely strong enough to bear the weight of a
man, and yet seemingly quite solid. A small crustaceous animal was
common among the weeds, but though I searched with care I could find
no shells. The stream was full of fish, which swarmed among the weeds,
and darted backwards and forwards in the tepid water in immense
shoals. They were generally about six inches in length, and appeared
to my inexperienced eye to belong to two or three species, all
different from those which had been seen at Hanle. In the hottest
water of the hot springs I collected three species of _Conferva_.

    [Sidenote: MYRICARIA TREES.
     _September, 1847._]

The existence of the tree _Myricaria_ in the gorges between Pugha and
the Indus, which had appeared to us at the time very remarkable, was
fully explained by the occurrence of the hot springs, and the
consequent high temperature of the water of the stream, and was
peculiarly interesting as an illustration of the influence of
temperature upon vegetation. It may fairly be considered, I think, as
a proof, that arboreous vegetation does not cease at great elevations
in consequence of the rarefaction of the air, but only on account of
the diminution of temperature which usually accompanies increased
elevation. The trees of _Myricaria_, it must be observed, came
abruptly to an end with the ravine, none occurring on the open plain.
We cannot suppose that the trifling increased elevation caused their
disappearance; it seems probable that the narrow walls of the gorge,
by concentrating the heat, prevented its escape, and that, therefore,
the temperature was more elevated than in the open plain, where the
action of winds and free radiation combined to lower it. The
occurrence of fish in the water of Pugha, at an elevation of nearly
15,500 feet above the level of the sea, is also very remarkable, and
still more strikingly demonstrative of the same fact, inasmuch as it
would certainly not have been very surprising that air at that
elevation should, from its rarity, be insufficient for the support of
life in animals breathing by gills.

At the gorge, where the narrow ravine expands into the lake plain of
Pugha, the rock is clay-slate, but the hills which skirt the open
plain are micaceous schist, varying much in appearance, often with
large crystals of garnet, and crumbling rapidly to decay. On the
surface of the plain lay many scattered boulders of a peculiar kind of
granite, evidently transported from a considerable distance along the
stream; and in all the central parts of the plain, a very remarkable
conglomerate in horizontal strata, consisting of angular fragments of
the surrounding rocks, cemented together by calcareous matter, was

    [Sidenote: BORAX PLAIN.
     _September, 1847._]

The whole of the plain is covered, to the depth of several feet at
least, with white salt, principally borax, which is obtained in a
tolerably pure state by digging, the superficial layer, which contains
a little mixture of other saline matters, being rejected. There is at
present little export of borax from Pugha, the demand for the salt in
Upper India being very limited, and the export to Europe almost at an

    [Sidenote: BORAX LAKES OF TIBET.
     _September, 1847._]

It has long been known that borax is produced naturally in different
parts of Tibet, and the salt imported thence into India was at one
time the principal source of supply of the European market. I am not
aware that any of the places in which the borax is met with had
previously been visited by any European traveller, but the nature of
the localities in which it occurs has been the subject of frequent
inquiry, and several more or less detailed accounts have been made
public. These differ considerably from one another, and no description
that I have met with accords with that of the Pugha valley. Mr.
Saunders[13] describes (from hearsay) the borax lake north of Jigatzi
as twenty miles in circumference, and says that the borax is dug from
its margins, the deeper and more central parts producing common salt.
From the account of Mr. Blane[14], who describes, from the information
of the natives, the borax district north of Lucknow, and, therefore,
in the more western part of the course of the Sanpu, it would appear
that the lake there contains boracic acid, and that the borax is
artificially prepared by saturating the sesquicarbonate of soda,
which is so universally produced on the surface of Tibet, with the
acid. At least, the statement that the production of borax is
dependent on the amount of soda, leads to this conclusion. The whole
description, however, (as is, indeed, to be expected in a native
account of a chemical process,) is very obscure, and not to be
depended upon. Mr. Saunders does not notice any hot springs in the
neighbourhood of the borax; but in the more western district described
by Mr. Blane, hot springs seem to accompany the borax lake as at

It is not impossible that the three districts in which the occurrence
of borax has been noticed, which are only a very small portion of
those which exist, may represent three stages of one and the same
phenomenon. The boracic acid lake may, by the gradual influx of soda,
be gradually converted into borax, which, from its great insolubility,
will be deposited as it is formed. On the drainage or drying-up of
such a lake, a borax plain, similar to that of Pugha, would be left

From Pugha, two roads towards Le were open to us. We might either
return to the Indus, and follow the valley of that river throughout,
or proceed by a more direct route across the mountains to join the
road from Lake Chumoreri to Le, by which Mr. Trebeck had travelled on
his way to Piti. As we knew that the Indus route would be surveyed by
Captain Strachey, who was desirous of following the course of the
river as far as practicable, we preferred the more mountainous road,
and, therefore, on leaving our encampment at Pugha, on the morning of
the 23rd of September, we continued to ascend the valley of the little
stream, on the banks of which we had been encamped. For the first two
miles the plain was nearly level, and similar in character to what has
just been described, hot springs being observed at intervals.

    [Sidenote: SULPHUR MINE.
     _September, 1847._]

Two miles from our encampment, we stopped and examined the spot whence
sulphur is obtained, at the base of the mountain slope on the north
side of the valley. Ascending a few feet over a loose talus of
shingle, which skirted the bottom of the hill, we found two narrow
caverns in the slaty rock, apparently natural, or only a little
widened by art, roughly circular, and less than three feet in diameter
at the mouth. One of these caverns continued a long way inwards,
nearly horizontally, but it contracted considerably in diameter, and
was so dark that we could not penetrate far. The rock was principally
gypsum, interstratified with very friable mica-slate. Sometimes the
gypsum was amorphous and powdery, at other times in needles two or
three inches long, perpendicular to the strata of slate. The sulphur
was in small quantities, scattered among the gypsum, and was more
abundant in the lower beds. It was frequently in very perfect
crystals, not, however, of any great size.

The air which issued from these funnel-shaped apertures was very
sensibly warm, and had a strongly sulphurous odour. Unfortunately, we
had not anticipated the necessity for observing the temperature, which
was not by any means oppressive, and was only remarkable in contrast
with the extreme cold of the external air.

In the neighbourhood of the sulphur-pits, the hot springs along the
course of the stream were very numerous, evolving much gas. A little
higher they ceased altogether, and the upper part of the plain was
without any springs, as was evident from the quantity of ice by which
it was covered. For more than a mile it was a dead level, and very
swampy; but afterwards the valley became gently sloping and gravelly,
the little stream being often hidden under the pebbles. Large boulders
of the same granite which we had observed the day before, were
scattered over the surface. The vegetation in this valley was
extremely scanty, a few scattered tufts of _Dama_, and some shrubby
_Artemisiæ_, were occasionally seen, but the herbaceous vegetation had
been almost entirely destroyed by the intense morning frosts, which
had for some time been of daily occurrence. On the latter part of the
day's journey the rock on the mountain-side changed from mica-slate to
gneiss, of which very lofty scarped cliffs rose abruptly on the right
hand. We encamped on a level spot, after ten miles of almost
imperceptible ascent.

Next morning we continued to ascend the valley, which was now very
rugged, from masses of boulders, which were heaped one on another to a
very great thickness. The stream had cut for itself a narrow channel,
nearly a hundred feet in depth, the walls of which were entirely
composed of huge incoherent masses of rock, all more or less angular.
A walk of three miles brought us to the crest of the pass, which was
nearly level and grassy for about a mile; its elevation was about
16,500 feet. The pass (Pulokanka La) is a very deep depression in the
axis of the chain, which runs parallel to the left bank of the Indus,
separating the waters tributary to that river from those which join
the Zanskar river, some of the feeders of the latter springing from
the valleys on the western slopes of these mountains. The hills right
and left of the pass rise very boldly into rugged masses, contrasting
strongly with the level plain which constitutes the pass, in which the
watershed is scarcely perceptible.

    [Sidenote: SALT LAKE.
     _September, 1847._]

From the pass the descent was considerably more abrupt than the ascent
had been. The valley to the right was bare and stony, watered by a
small streamlet, which had, as on the eastern face of the pass, cut a
deep channel for itself among boulders. On descending, we turned
gradually to the right, and a lake by degrees came in view, towards
the southern extremity of which the road advanced over undulating
hills of fine clay, full of fresh-water shells, almost entirely of one
species of _Lymnæa_, of which the specimens were extremely numerous.
This lake is the Thogji Chumo of Mr. Trebeck, who travelled along it
on his journey from Le to Piti.

     _September, 1847._]

I was much surprised, and not a little pleased, to find that the
clay-beds contained fossils; as, except on one occasion in Piti, where
I found one or two specimens of a small _Planorbis_, I had in vain
sought in the clayey beds for any trace of organized beings. Here,
however, shells were in prodigious abundance, and as the species was a
large one, they were very conspicuous. The clay formation was
horizontally stratified, and quite impalpable. The uppermost beds
were at least a hundred feet above the level of the lake; and as the
valley by which we descended was in its lower part almost horizontal,
the lacustrine beds extended to a considerable distance from the lake,
forming a slightly undulating surface, over which the road ran.

After reaching the banks of the lake, the road kept its eastern shore
throughout its whole length, which was about three miles, and we
encamped close to its north end, on the edge of a level salt plain.
Our elevation was about 15,500 feet. The margins of the lake, which
was intensely saline, were generally very shallow, and its banks often
swampy, and covered with saline plants, especially _Chenopodiaceæ_; a
species of _Suæda_, with cylindrical fleshy leaves, was especially
abundant, growing in the soft mud close to the banks of the lake. A
_Blysmus_, several grasses, and _Ranunculus Cymbalaria_ were also
common along the banks of the lake. No shells could be seen in the
water. The surrounding hills were not very lofty, but often rose
abruptly several hundred feet, and were in general rugged and rocky.
At the height of perhaps 150 feet above the lake, a weathered mark
could be traced on the face of the mountains, wherever they were
rocky, everywhere quite horizontal. This was most conspicuous from a
distance, and became indistinct on a near approach. It appeared to
indicate, as I shall hereafter show, the level of the surface of the
lake at some former period.

On the morning of the 25th of September, our day's journey commenced
by rounding the north end of the lake, keeping at some distance from
its margin to avoid swamp. For about two miles from the northern end,
the ground continued almost level, and contained great masses of the
lacustrine clay quite horizontally stratified, and very little higher
than the surface of the water, but here quite without shells. A wide
valley, rising gently towards the north, lay beyond this level plain;
but our road, passing across the end of the lake, ascended another
valley, which ran in a north-west direction from its north-west
corner. The slope of this valley was very gentle. It was bounded by
low undulating or rocky hills, on which, where the surface was
suitable, the same remarkable water-mark could be traced continuously,
and still, to all appearance, quite horizontal. The centre of the
valley was occupied by clay, at first non-fossiliferous, but a little
further on containing a great abundance of shells, the same as in the
bed seen the day before. A few specimens of a very small bivalve,
seemingly a species of _Cyclas_, were also met with; but they were so
very rare, that they bore an infinitesimally small proportion to the

    [Sidenote: ANCIENT WATER-MARK.
     _September, 1847._]

     _September, 1847._]

For several miles the ancient water-mark could be traced along the
sides of the hills, appearing to descend gradually, as the valley
slightly rose in elevation. Beds of clay continued to occupy the
middle of the valley nearly as long as the water-mark remained
visible. At last it disappeared where a depression on the left,
leading to the valley of Rukchin, seemed to indicate the former
drainage of the lake, at a time when its waters occupied a much higher
level, and contained in a living state the large mollusca of which the
shelly coverings still remain in such vast abundance in the clay. As
it was at the very edge of the lacustrine clay formation that the
shells were so abundant, while the masses of clay in the vicinity of
our encampment of the 25th, at the north-east extremity of the lake,
were without any, it would appear that the species was quite littoral,
while in the more central parts fine mud was deposited, without
shells. The outlet was indicated to me by Major Cunningham, who in a
previous journey had travelled along a part of the Rukchin valley in
descending from the Lachalang pass towards the salt lake. As it may
fairly be inferred that the lake was quite fresh at the time when it
was inhabited by _Lymnææ_ and _Cyclades_, it is satisfactory to know
that so very small an increase of the height of the surface of the
water, as about 150 feet, would be sufficient to admit of its
discharging its waters along the course of an open valley into one of
the tributaries of the Zanskar river.

Our road, after passing the ravine on the left, along which I suppose
the discharge of the lake at its original level to have been effected,
turned still more towards the north, and ascending an open valley to
the right, crossed a low _col_, or pass, and descended into a small
basin surrounded by hills, which was evidently at some former period
the bed of a small lake, for it was filled with pure fine clay, in
which, however, I could not observe any shells. From this plain we
passed into another open valley, up which we ascended in a northerly
direction for five or six miles, encamping where the mountains on both
sides began to close in a circle. Throughout the day we had been
gradually but very gently ascending, and the height of our encampment
was probably about 16,500 feet. We were about two miles from the
Tunglung pass, a depression in the range parallel to the Indus, the
same ridge which we had crossed before descending to the salt lake.
The axis of the range had been very near us on the right hand since we
had crossed it on the 24th, and had sent down a succession of spurs,
separated by wide valleys, along which we had been travelling. These
separating ridges appeared usually to rise to an elevation of from one
to two thousand feet above the nearly level valleys which lay at their
bases, and were, though often rocky, less remarkably so than in many
previous parts of our journey.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TOWARDS
     _September, 1847._]

The elevated country surrounding the sources of the Parang and Hanle
rivers, and those of the more eastern branches of the Zanskar, as well
as that encircling Lake Chumoreri, constitutes as near an approach to
what Humboldt has denominated a knot (_noeud_) of mountains, as any
part of the Himalaya which I have visited; not that I conceive there
is any reason to suppose that we have in this part of the chain an
intersection of two mountain masses of different ages, to which cause
the distinguished geographer is disposed to assign those aggregations
of mountains which he has so designated. There is, however, as
indicated by the origin of so many considerable streams in a confined
area, an extensive tract of highly elevated land, in which the valleys
have a very gentle slope, while the surrounding mountains are not much
elevated above them. The whole tract is nevertheless eminently
mountainous, if contrasted, not with the still more rugged districts
by which it is on every side surrounded, but with the hilly districts
of less alpine countries.

In the elevated district which we had been traversing since crossing
the Parang pass, there is little or no cultivation, a field or two at
Hanle and at the monastery on the banks of Lake Chumoreri (as I am
informed by Major Cunningham) being the only exceptions. The district,
however, is much frequented by a nomade population of shepherds, who,
living in tents, move about with their flocks as the abundance of food
or their own caprice may lead them. Clusters of black tents were now
and then seen by us at intervals, especially in Rupchu, by which name
the districts round the salt lake are known to the wandering

During the whole of the 25th of September, a furious north wind had
continued to blow, accompanied by a cloudy sky, and all the
indications of extremely unsettled weather, such as had been met with
in the neighbourhood of Hanle only a week before. It was evident that,
as winter approached, these periods of disturbance recurred more and
more frequently. This time the fury of the blast increased as the day
advanced, and after dark the cold in our tents was very severe. About
10 P.M. it began to snow slightly, and at daybreak on the 26th the
ground was covered with snow to a depth of between two and three
inches. As we had a prospect of arriving in milder regions by
diminishing our elevation during the day, we hastened our departure as
much as possible. A mile and a half of level ground brought us
directly under the pass, the ascent to which was at last very steep.
The road was very stony and rugged, but everything being covered with
snow a good deal deeper than on the open plain on which we had
encamped, we did not linger at the summit. The wind still blew
strongly from the north, driving in our faces the still falling snow,
and opposing our progress towards the crest, which was very rocky,
being composed of a mass of hard stratified quartz. The elevation of
the summit was about 17,500 feet.

    [Sidenote: TUNGLUNG PASS.
     _September, 1847._]

The descent from the pass was very rapid. After a few paces, we were
in a narrow and steep ravine, in which we continued to descend very
abruptly, without obtaining any view of the surrounding country. Three
miles from the summit, at perhaps 2000 feet lower level, snow ceased
to lie on the ground, but it continued to fall lightly till the
afternoon. Large rounded tufts of an Alsinaceous plant were common on
the upper part of the descent, conspicuous under the snow. Lower down,
the remains of species of _Corydalis_ and _Saussurea_ were
discoverable in crevices of the rocks, the only remains of the alpine
vegetation. The rock on both sides was clay-slate.

Continuing to descend rapidly, the ravine widened a little, and became
filled with a most extensive development of alluvial conglomerate,
forming thick masses, worn into pinnacles and fantastic shapes, like
the similar deposits above Sungnam in Kunawar. This was particularly
conspicuous where a lateral valley joined that along which we
descended, a flat-topped promontory of alluvium there projecting far
beyond the primitive rocks.

    [Sidenote: GIAH.
     _September, 1847._]

After a descent of about 4000 feet of perpendicular height, we arrived
at Giah, elevated 13,400 feet above the sea, not a little glad to be
among houses, in a more temperate region than it had been for some
time our lot to travel in. We took up our quarters in the upper room
of a two-storied house, which had been prepared for our reception,
and willingly agreed to halt a day in order to give time for
arrangements, for a change of porters, and a rest to our servants and
guides. Giah will be recollected, by those acquainted with Moorcroft's
travels, as the place where he entered the Tibetan country, and where
he was for some time kept in considerable uncertainty as to the nature
of the reception he would meet with. Since that time the supremacy of
the Sikhs has entirely changed the state of the country; and though
the king (Gylpo) of Giah still exists, he does not even exercise a
nominal sovereignty, but lives a pensioner on the Sikh government,
without power and with a very limited income.

The influence of the Sikhs has, however, produced little change in the
character of the people, as their occupation of the country, except in
Le itself, and at one or two military posts, is entirely nominal, and
only maintained by the moral influence of their known superiority in
resources and military skill. The gumpa, or monastery, as in
Moorcroft's time, crowns a rocky hill on the right bank of the Giah
stream, while the town, or more properly village, on the left bank, is
built on the steep alluvial banks high above the stream. There was a
considerable extent of cultivation round the village, barley and peas
being the chief crops; both had been cut, but were still lying in
small heaps in the fields. Notwithstanding the great elevation, a
number of poplar-trees, of the large cordate-leaved species (which
seems identical with _P. balsamifera_), occur in the village, several
of which attain a considerable size.

    [Sidenote: GIAH RAVINE.
     _September, 1847._]

On the morning of the 28th of September we resumed our journey
towards Le. By crossing the Tunglung pass, we had again gained the
eastern slope of the ridge dividing the waters of the Zanskar from
those of the Indus. The Giah stream flows towards the latter river
with a north-easterly course, and two marches of little more than
seven miles each, brought us to the banks of the Indus at a village
called Upshi. For the first mile after leaving Giah, the valley was
somewhat open, with steep banks of alluvial conglomerate; it then
contracted rather suddenly into a narrow ravine, with steep rocky
walls, composed of highly inclined strata of conglomerate and
sandstone. Owing to the diminished elevation, the vegetation was
considerably more recognizable than it had been for the last week, and
several shrubby plants were seen which had long been absent. _Ephedra_
was common in the crevices of the rocks, and the Tibetan rose and a
small shrubby _Lonicera_ grew on the gravelly banks of the little

    [Sidenote: REMARKABLE GORGE.
     _September, 1847._]

At Miru, a considerable village where we encamped, the valley expanded
into a little plain, filled as usual with alluvium, and covered with
cultivation. A few poplar-trees occurred in the village. The ravine
contracted immediately below this place, and was, if possible, more
narrow and rocky than the day before, as the little stream had to be
crossed not less than four or five times in as many miles, on small
wooden bridges of rough planks. A very beautiful Labiate shrub, a
species of _Perowskia_, with bright blue flowers, which I afterwards
found very abundant in the Indus valley from 12,000 to 8000 feet, was
here met with for the first time. Close to its junction with the
Indus, the ravine expanded into an open plain, well covered with
houses and enclosures, with scattered poplar and willow trees, as well
as a few apricots, and traversed by canals of irrigation conducted
from the little Giah rivulet. The Indus is here not more than forty
feet wide, flowing swiftly over large boulders, and quite unfordable.

Throughout the whole course of this very remarkable gorge by which we
descended from Giah, the rock continued to be conglomerate,
alternating with strata of sandstone and of a very friable slate. The
conglomerate was extremely hard, and generally of a dark brown colour.
The matrix, which had often a semi-vitrified appearance, was not less
hard than the enclosed stones, which were all rounded and very various
in size and composition, jasper rock, granite, and quartz being all
seen. The sandstone which accompanied the conglomerate varied much in
colour, various shades of red, brown, and green being predominant. It
was also extremely hard. These strata, which were highly inclined,
often nearly vertical, were in general well marked, in consequence of
the beds of hard sandstone and conglomerate being thrown out in relief
by the more rapid decay of the soft slates with which they alternated.
The dip was everywhere very variable, and several very distinct
sections were displayed, where it was evident that the strata were
curved and sinuated. The curves observed were convex below; the strike
of the strata was nearly perpendicular to the general direction of the
ravine, or from north-west to south-east.

    [Sidenote: INDUS VALLEY.
     _September, 1847._]

From Upshi, our course lay down the Indus valley in a direction west
of north. The width of the Indus, which was a rapid stream, varied
from thirty or forty to a hundred feet. Platforms of alluvium, almost
level-topped, and often attaining a thickness of a hundred feet, were
interposed between the river and the mountains, which, still composed
of highly inclined strata of conglomerate and its associated rocks,
advanced in a succession of spurs towards the centre of the valley.
These platforms were quite bare of vegetation, a few tufts of a
prickly _Echinops_ being the only plant worthy of note which I
observed. No villages were passed till we reached Marsilang, at which
we encamped after a journey of about ten miles. Here there was very
extensive cultivation on the surface of the platform, on both sides of
a deep ravine, cut in the alluvium by a considerable stream, which
descended from the west. The plantations of willow and poplar were
very luxuriant. The willows were planted in rows, and were frequently
pollarded, their twigs being in great demand for baskets and other
useful purposes in so treeless a country. When allowed to grow their
full size, they spread much, and attain a length of upwards of thirty
feet. The cultivated willows of Tibet are mostly European forms;
_Salix fragilis_ and _S. alba_ are the most common. The poplars are of
two sorts: one a spreading tree with large cordate leaves, which was
first seen in Upper Kunawar, and is common in all the Tibetan
villages, up to the highest limit of tree cultivation; it is quite
identical with _Populus balsamifera_, which I cannot distinguish in
the herbarium from _P. laurifolia_, of Ledebour. The other, which I
had not before seen in Tibet, was a tall, erect, and slender tree,
with much darker foliage and smaller leaves; it seems, so far as my
specimens enable me to decide, to be the common black poplar (_P.
nigra_) of Europe.

    [Sidenote: MARSILANG.
     _September, 1847._]

At Marsilang the Indus is crossed by a good wooden bridge, thirty-four
paces in length, which enables its inhabitants to communicate with the
large villages and extensive cultivated tracts on the east bank of the
river. As soon as we left the cultivated lands of Marsilang, on the
morning of the 1st of October, we found ourselves again on a platform
of alluvium; but after a few miles we reached another village, with
extensive cultivation, and on the latter part of the day's journey
passed through a succession of villages separated by gradually shorter
intervals of unprofitable and barren land. These cultivated tracts
were everywhere well irrigated; indeed, every spot, where irrigation
was easy of execution, seemed to be under cultivation. Each village
had its plantation of poplars and willows, not, however, so plentiful
as at Marsilang. The grain had everywhere been cut and housed, the
operations of harvest being seemingly quite at an end. The whole of
this richly-cultivated district is called Chashut.

Our journey of the 2nd of October was for about six miles through an
uninterrupted tract of cultivation, very little elevated above the
level of the river, the alluvial platforms being here of
inconsiderable thickness. The direction of the valley was also much
more westerly, and the mountains on both sides had receded
considerably from the river, leaving an open plain of five or six
miles in width. Numerous irrigation channels intersected the fields,
which gradually, as we proceeded, united one to another, till at last
they all combined into one large and deep canal, by which the
superfluous waters were conveyed to the Indus. Crossing this canal, we
reached the river, which we crossed by a bridge twenty-five paces in
length. A few houses, and a small patch of cultivation, lay on the
right bank of the river, immediately beyond the bridge, but no extent
of fertile country; low spurs of rocky hills descending from the
north, close down upon the Indus. After crossing the bridge we turned
up a wide and gravelly valley between two of these ridges, the course
of which we followed, ascending very gradually among large boulders,
strewed over the surface, for about three miles. We then turned
abruptly to the left, through a narrow ravine in the low granitic
hills by which the valley was on that side bounded. Emerging from
this, we entered a quite similar and parallel valley, and obtained our
first view of the town of Le, covering the top and slopes of a steep
hill by which the valley was apparently terminated, about two miles
beyond the point at which we entered it.

    [Sidenote: LE.
     _September, 1847._]

Le, the capital of the province of Ladak, and the most important
place, and only town, of Western Tibet, is situated about three miles
from the Indus, in the upper part of an open valley, which rises
gradually as it recedes from the river, so that the town is rather
more than 1200 feet above its level, or about 11,800 feet above the
sea. The town occupies the slope, and surrounds the base of a low
spur, on the left or east side of the valley, while the centre and
right side are occupied by extensive tracts of cultivation, the fields
rising in terraces one above another, and watered by little rills
drawn from a stream which descends in the centre of the valley. The
aspect of the town, which is very peculiar, is faithfully represented
in the frontispiece to the second volume of Moorcroft's Travels, from
a sketch by Mr. Trebeck.

In the neighbourhood of the town there are several small enclosures,
planted with poplar and willow trees, in one of which we pitched our
tents. These plantations were all young, a very fine garden of old
trees having been, it was said, destroyed at the time of the Sikh
invasion. The governor of Ladak, a deputy of Maharaja Gulab Singh, the
ruler of Kashmir, to whom the rule of Ladak has devolved as a
dependency of the latter country, resides in the town; but the
detachment of troops, amounting to about 150 men, who form the
military garrison of the place, occupy a small square fort on the west
side of the valley, about a mile from the town of Le.

The peculiarities of the Buddhist religion, as practised in Tibet,
which are everywhere conspicuous in all parts of Ladak, are especially
remarkable in the capital. The principal monasteries in the
neighbourhood of Le are at some distance from the town in the vicinity
of villages both up and down the Indus; but religious edifices, of the
many kinds which are everywhere so common in Tibet, are seen all round
Le in great numbers. Along the road by which we approached the town,
there is a very long building, of the kind called _Mané_, extending
for more than half a mile. It consists of two parallel walls, twelve
or fifteen feet apart, and nearly six feet high, the intervals between
which are filled up with stones and rubbish, and the whole covered
with a sloping roof, which rises at a gentle angle to the central
ridge, midway between the two walls. On the roof are laid large slabs
of slate, every one of which is covered with Tibetan letters, or more
rarely with a rude drawing of a temple. The words on these stones are
(I believe, invariably) a repetition of the mystical Buddhist prayer,
from one of the words of which these curious, and apparently useless,
erections take their name. The Mane seems one of the most
indispensable accompaniments of a Tibetan village, and they may
occasionally be seen even in desert tracts; so that the amount of
labour which has been expended in their construction must have been
very great, some of the largest containing many millions of
repetitions of the words _Om Mane Padme Hom_. In the smaller villages
they are often very inferior in size, sometimes not more than twenty
or thirty feet in length, and three feet high. Every traveller has
constant occasion to notice that in passing these walls the Tibetans
always leave them on the right hand, considering it both wrong and
unlucky to do otherwise; those proceeding in contrary directions
therefore take opposite sides.

     OF TIBET.
     _September, 1847._]

Equally conspicuous in the environs of Le are the urn-like buildings,
called Chokten or Chosten, which are, I believe, erected over the
ashes of Lamas, or priests, and are, therefore, in a country where a
third or fourth part of the male population adopt a monastic life,
particularly abundant. Long rows of these, consisting of twenty or
more urns of various sizes, may often be seen in conspicuous places
above the villages, forming, from the brilliant whitewash with which
they are covered when new, very prominent objects. Many of those near
Le are of large size, and ornamented with rude paintings of dragons
and other mythological animals of uncouth form.

The religion of Tibet, from the remarkable nature of its institutions
and ceremonies, has of late years attracted much attention; but as,
from the hurried nature of my journey, I had no opportunity of
acquiring any information regarding it which has not already been made
public, it is not necessary for me to dwell upon it at any length.
Throughout the whole of Western Tibet, the monasteries are very poor,
in comparison with those in the neighbourhood of Lassa, of which we
read such gorgeous descriptions; all their wealth in silver and gold
having been plundered by the Sikhs, during their short possession of
the country as far east as Garu and Taklakhar. Still the number of
Lamas does not seem to have much diminished, though they are more
dependent upon the cultivation of the soil than in Eastern Tibet,
where some of the monasteries are said to contain thousands of

    [Sidenote: LE.
     _September, 1847._]

The town of Le is said to contain about 3000 inhabitants. Many of the
houses are very high, the former residence of the king containing
seven stories. They are usually built of unburnt brick, formed from
the fine lacustrine clay of the neighbourhood. The Sikh Thannadar has
lately built for himself a house of stone, but he found it necessary
to bring lime from Nubra, a distance of nearly forty miles, none being
procurable so near in the valley of the Indus. The timber used in the
construction of the houses is all poplar or willow, both of which are
found to last a very long time in the arid climate of Tibet. The beams
are laid perhaps two feet apart, and covered sometimes with small
planking, but more generally with brushwood, over which is laid a
thick coating of clay, so as to form a flat roof, to which there is
usually access by a small stair or ladder.

The mountain ranges which bound the valley in which the town of Le is
situated, though not lofty, are very generally rocky and inaccessible.
They consist partly of distinctly stratified gneiss, but principally
of a fine white granite, which decays with great rapidity, and
contains many irregular nodules of an iron grey colour, much finer in
the grain than the rest. The width of the fertile plain of Chashut,
over which I made the last two marches down the Indus, had prevented
me from ascertaining the nature of the rocks on the mountains to the
left, so that I cannot fix the exact point where the granitic eruption
comes in contact with the slates and conglomerates of the Giah ravine.


[13] Turner's Tibet, p. 406.

[14] Phil. Tr. 1787, p. 297.

[15] I have made over all my specimens of the borax and other saline
products of Tibet to Dr. R. D. Thomson, of Glasgow, who is at present
engaged in examining them.


     Departure from Le -- Sabu Valley -- Pass between Le and Nubra
     -- Snow -- Encamp at 15,500 feet -- Digar -- Valley of Shayuk
     -- Alluvium -- _Populus Euphratica_ -- Tsatti -- Nubra river --
     District of Nubra -- Villages -- Irrigation -- Saline soil --
     Isolated rocks -- Chirasa -- Panamik -- Lower Nubra --
     Platforms of Alluvium -- Traces of a great flood -- Unmaru --
     Kuru -- Great contraction of valley -- Mountain pass of Waris
     -- Boghdan ravine -- Chorbat -- Mahommedan population --
     Villages -- Outburst of granite -- Siksa -- Khapalu -- Open
     plain of Khapalu -- Junction of Shayuk and Indus -- Nar --
     Iskardo plain -- Description of Iskardo -- Aqueduct -- Fort --
     Lacustrine clay formation -- Vegetation.

While we were at Le there was a good deal of unsettled weather, and
two very slight falls of snow. On the 9th of October we had an
opportunity of observing an eclipse of the sun, which was welcomed by
the inhabitants of the town with a most discordant beating of drums,
intended to frighten away the demons who had taken possession of the
sun. After a week's halt, Major Cunningham and myself started in
different directions; Major Cunningham following the course of the
Indus, and proceeding by Dras to Kashmir, while I crossed the range of
mountains to the north into the valley of the Shayuk, and descended
along that river to its junction with the Indus. The mountain range
which separates these two rivers barely rises into the region of
perpetual snow, a very few peaks only retaining any snow throughout
the year. It is therefore crossed by passes at the head of each
valley; but the pass nearest to Le having a small but very steep
glacier on its northern face, is difficult and dangerous in autumn,
after the snow has entirely melted from the surface of the ice. I was,
therefore, recommended to cross into Nubra, by a pass a few miles
further east, at the head of the valley of Sabu, which is separated
from that in which the town of Le lies, by a steep ridge of granite

    [Sidenote: SABU VALLEY.
     _October, 1847._]

I left Le on the morning of the 11th of October. The road to the Sabu
valley enters the granite range close to the town, ascending a narrow
stony valley in an easterly direction, and crossing by a short steep
ascent a depression in the ridge, to descend into a narrow ravine
which has a south-east course into the Sabu valley, up which the road
led. The hills were very stony and bare, or covered with the large
_Echinops_ of the Indus valley, of which the heads of fruit were
falling to pieces. I encamped for the night in the valley of Sabu,
which is very like that of Le, with pretty extensive cultivation, but
few trees.

    [Sidenote: LAZGUNG PASS.
     _October, 1847._]

Next day I crossed the pass. The ascent was very long and fatiguing,
and, from the lateness of the season, very uninteresting. A cold bleak
wind blew from the north in strong gusts, and the sky was overcast
with light clouds. The valley contracted into a rocky ravine before
the road left it to ascend rapidly the steep mountain-sides, which
were covered with masses of boulders, heaped together in great
confusion. The upper part of the ascent, which was very steep, was
covered with snow, which lay on the loose stones of the crest to the
depth of about a foot. It was late in the evening before I reached the
top of the pass, the distance being much greater than I had been led
to anticipate. The elevation of the summit, by the observations of
Captain Strachey, is about 18,300 feet.

On the north face of the pass snow lay thickly for two miles or rather
more, and more scantily for a mile further. As evening had begun to
close before I reached the summit, I hurried my descent as much as
possible. Fortunately, a great part of my baggage porters were in
advance, but it had been for some time quite dark before I reached a
spot sufficiently free of snow to be suitable for an encampment. The
night was intensely cold, the sky being clear; and next morning, at
half-past six o'clock, the thermometer stood at 15°. At the same time
I found that water boiled at 184°, indicating an elevation of upwards
of 15,500 feet.

In the morning I made a short march to the village of Digar, which I
ought to have reached the day before, had not the darkness prevented
me. The distance was not more than four miles, and the descent about
2500 feet, Digar being rather more than 13,000 feet above the level of
the sea. The general direction of the valley in which I was encamped
was north-east, and it was surrounded on all sides by extremely rugged
mountains, now much covered with snow, down to about 14,000 feet.
Throughout the descent, vast piles of boulders, heaped one on another,
and forming steep banks, evidently moraines, occupied the flanks of
the valley. The village of Digar, though small, and possessing only
two small trees, had a considerable extent of cultivation, and seemed
prosperous. It was situated on the left side of the valley, or rather
on the slope of the mountains on that side opposite a lateral ravine,
from which a stream of boulders had at one time descended. The centre
of the valley was much lower, being excavated out of the alluvium
which had once filled the whole.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF SHAYUK.
     _October, 1847._]

On the morning of the 14th of October, I descended to the valley of
the Shayuk, making a march of fifteen miles to the village of Tsatti,
on the right bank of that river. The road skirted the steep stony
hills on the left side of the valley, parallel to the Digar stream,
for about two miles, descending rapidly, but still high above the
bottom of the dell. The Digar ravine, before reaching the Shayuk,
joined a wider one which descends from the south-east, and the united
valley has a nearly due north direction. As the road turned by degrees
to the left, round a spur of the mountains, the Shayuk valley came in
sight, 1500 feet below. It was of considerable width, and very stony,
barren, and desolate. Mountains of black slate, very lofty and rugged,
in many places too steep for snow to lie, were seen to the north-east,
from among which the river appeared to issue into the more open tract
immediately below.

The road did not descend at once to the level of the river, but,
turning abruptly to the left, proceeded along a platform of alluvium,
at least a thousand feet in thickness, for more than a mile, before it
descended, which it did at last very abruptly down a steep sandy
slope. The mass of alluvium was, in many places, almost pure sand,
but in general many pebbles and boulders were mixed with it. Towards
the river it presented scarped cliffs, in which its composition was
well seen.

     _October, 1847._]

The Shayuk, where I descended to it, flowed through a wide gravelly
plain, varying in breadth from one to two miles, and quite destitute
of vegetation. Rocky spurs of black slate and conglomerate, with many
granite veins, projecting from the mountains on the south,
occasionally narrowed the valley, while the recesses were generally
filled with a mass of alluvium. The river was occasionally divided
into several branches. In some of the recesses small trees of a
peculiar species of poplar (_P. Euphratica_) were not uncommon,
growing in pure sand. This tree is remarkable for its extended
distribution. Originally discovered on the banks of the Euphrates, it
has been found by Griffith, and more recently by Dr. Stocks and
others, to be abundant on the banks of the Indus, in Sind and Multan.
It occurs also at intervals along the valley of the Indus, within the
mountains, but appears to be far from common, and to confine itself to
hot sandy places. In several parts of Nubra it is common enough, but
only, so far as I have observed, on the south side of the Shayuk. This
poplar is also remarkable for the very changeable shape of its leaves,
which vary from broadly deltoid and coarsely toothed, to narrow-linear
and quite entire. The leaves of the full-grown tree are generally
broad and much toothed, while young plants have very narrow leaves;
the shoots of pollarded plants, which are common, the tree being much
used for fuel, are also narrow.

After proceeding parallel to the river for six or seven miles, I
crossed to the right bank. The stream was undivided, and about a
hundred yards broad. It had a considerable velocity, and was about
three feet deep in the centre. Its bed was full of large waterworn
boulders and gravel, and the banks on both sides were, for a great
distance from the river, of similar structure, and so little elevated
above its surface, that a very slight rise of the water would have
been sufficient to submerge them.

From the village of Tsatti, at which I encamped on the 14th of
October, I followed the course of the Shayuk to its junction with a
large stream descending from the north, which, from the name of the
district in which the junction is situated, is commonly called the
Nubra river. Thence I ascended the latter stream for about twenty
miles, with the intention of making an attempt to penetrate to the
north-east, across the mountains to the Nubra Chu of Vigne; but the
lateness of the season, and especially the occurrence of several falls
of snow, which extended down the mountain slopes almost as far as the
plain, induced me to place reliance on the assurances of the people of
the valley, that the difficulties of the road would be quite

    [Sidenote: DISTRICT OF NUBRA.
     _October, 1847._]

The district of Nubra includes the whole course of the Shayuk river,
from its great bend to the eastward of the point where I joined it
below Digar, till it again contracts nine or ten miles below the
village of Unmaru; and also the lower part of the valley of the Nubra
river, as far up, indeed, as population and cultivation extend. The
place of junction of the two rivers is elevated, according to my
observation of the boiling-point of water, about 10,600 feet above
the level of the sea. This may be considered as the mean elevation of
the whole district; for the cultivated tracts nowhere rise to any
height above the bed of the rivers, which have everywhere a very
gentle and apparently uniform inclination.

     _October, 1847._]

The valley of the Shayuk is widest at the point of its junction with
the Nubra river. At this place the level plain, including the gently
sloping alluvium on each side, has a breadth of about six miles. The
width of the valley gradually diminishes as we recede from the centre,
the mountains encroaching more and more, till at last they hem in the
river, leaving no space for villages or cultivation, and the valley
ceases to be inhabited. The centre of the plain is uniformly occupied
by a flat gravelly expanse, one to three miles in width, scarcely
raised above the surface of the river, which, when flooded, covers a
great part of it. On both sides of this gravelly bed, low platforms of
alluvium, in the form of triangles, with their apices resting on the
mountain ravines, slope very gently towards the base of mountains,
which rise abruptly and precipitously on both sides of the valley, to
a height of three or four thousand feet. Some of the more projecting
spurs, even where the width of the valley is greatest, advance so far
into the open plain as to abut upon the river and compel the traveller
to ascend their slopes, in order to cross them in travelling from
village to village.

The gravelly plain over which the Shayuk flows, is usually quite
devoid of vegetation. A few scattered bushes of _Tamarix_ and
_Myricaria_ appear, indeed, near its junction with the Nubra river,
but further up the gravel is absolutely bare: in this it contrasts
strongly with similar portions in the valley of the Nubra river, which
are densely wooded. The cause of this difference seems to lie in the
frequent floods which have, at different periods, devastated the whole
course of the Shayuk valley, from the glaciers of Sassar. These
floods, which appear to be due to the blocking-up of the upper course
of the river by the ice, have been most destructive to the prosperity
of the valley.

    [Sidenote: VILLAGES.
     _October, 1847._]

Throughout Nubra, the villages, with scarcely an exception, occupy the
surface of the low platforms of alluvium which fill up the
funnel-shaped terminations of the ravines. In Tibet the size of the
villages, and the extent of cultivation by which they are surrounded,
entirely depend on the supply of water and on the facility with which
it can be diverted from its bed for purposes of irrigation; and as, in
this district, the width and horizontality of the alluvial tracts are
very favourable to the industry of man, the villages are in general
large and surrounded with much cultivation. Indeed, a super-abundance
of water is in general indicated by the swampy banks of the irrigation
canals, as the water, oozing through the loose gravel of the
platforms, produces a dense jungle of _Hippophaë_ scrub, which makes
the cultivated tracts conspicuous, even in winter, when the trees are
bare of leaves and the fields of crops.

This copious supply of water no doubt depends on the great elevation
of the surrounding mountains, which everywhere rise, if not above, yet
almost to the level of perpetual snow, which is about 18,000 feet, so
that at the head of each little stream there is either a glacier, or
a snow-bed which does not entirely melt till the latter end of autumn,
affording therefore a nearly perennial supply of water. Even in the
hottest months slight falls of snow are of occasional occurrence at
all elevations above 16,000 feet; and as every range rises much above
that height, a small addition to the supply is thus obtained.

The villages have generally a few fruit-trees, as well as a good many
poplars and willows, which yield almost the only timber the
inhabitants can command. The walnut and _Elæagnus_, both of which
trees find their upper limit in Nubra, are so extremely scarce that
they are not available for such purposes.

In most parts of Nubra the soil is very generally saline, the dry
grassy plains which are common on the banks of the streams being
generally covered with a copious efflorescence of carbonate of soda;
while the abundance of _Salsolæ_ and other Chenopodiaceous plants on
the dry alluvial plains, and even on the rocky hills, seems to prove
that the saline matter is not confined to the immediate vicinity of
water, or to the lowest levels, but is very generally diffused over
the surface.

     _October, 1847._]

The valley of the Nubra river, for upwards of twenty miles, is very
similar in general character to that of the Shayuk. The same wide
gravelly expanse occupies its centre, forming a plain of one or two
miles in width, through which the river runs in many branches. A great
part of this gravelly plain, particularly on the right side of the
valley, is covered by a dense thicket of _Hippophaë_, extending
continuously for four or five miles, usually impervious, except in
certain beaten tracts, and tenanted by vast numbers of hares. The
gravel on which this jungle grows is almost on a level with the river,
so that it is very generally swampy, and traversed here and there by
little streamlets of water. The _Hippophaë_ is here a small tree,
attaining a height of fifteen feet, with a short thick trunk and stiff
crooked spinous branches.

    [Sidenote: CHIRASA.
     _October, 1847._]

In several parts of the course of the Nubra river, low hills rise in
the valley, isolated, or nearly so, from the mountain ranges behind,
and forming, therefore, a remarkable feature. On one of these, on the
right bank of the river, is situated the little fort and village of
Chirasa, a considerable mass of houses, of a class a little better
than those usual in the district, and conspicuous from their elevated
position. The rock on which they stand is composed of a hard porphyry,
which has been injected from below, and has displaced the black slate,
which is the more usual rock in the lower part of this valley.

In the lower part of the ravine behind the town of Chirasa, the
alluvium is more extensively developed than usual in this valley,
where aqueous action seems in a great measure to have removed the
accumulation of detritus, which once, no doubt, occupied the whole
valley. Beds of gravelly conglomerate, at times passing into fine
clay, may here be seen, at a height of perhaps 1000 feet, on the
mountain-sides in isolated patches, generally faced by cliffs, in
which a tendency to horizontal stratification is observable.

    [Sidenote: NUBRA VALLEY.
     _October, 1847._]

The lower part of the Nubra valley is very fertile, and on the east
side cultivation extends, with little interruption, from Tirit as far
as Panamik, in a belt varying in width from a few hundred feet to
nearly a mile. The villages are large, and seem populous. Many of the
houses are very substantially built, and the long sacred walls, called
Mané, are numerous, and of great length and size. Several
watercourses, which are carried along the sides of the hills at an
elevation of several hundred feet above the cultivation, and are
easily recognizable by the fringe of _Hippophaë_ bushes, which forms
an impenetrable belt along their margins, indicate a degree of
industry and energy very unusual in Tibet, where, however, the amount
of cultivable land is seldom sufficient to promise much reward to any
extensive and elaborate system of irrigation.

As the advanced period of the year rendered exploration at great
elevations scarcely practicable, and made it desirable to reach a
lower level as soon as possible, I did not remain more than a week in
Nubra. On the 22nd of October I started from Lyakjung, at the mouth of
the Nubra river, towards Iskardo, following the course of the Shayuk
river. The district of Nubra extends about thirty miles below the
junction of the river of that name with the Shayuk; but I found the
level valley gradually to diminish in width as I descended. On the
22nd of October I encamped at Hundar; on the 23rd, at Tertse; and on
the 24th at Unmaru, beyond which village there is no cultivation, and
the valley becomes extremely narrow. On the 25th of October I reached
an encamping ground called Kuru, at the termination of the Nubra
district, where the mountains, which for three days had gradually been
encroaching on the valley, completely closed in, and the river
entered a deep gorge, walled in on both sides by lofty and almost
perpendicular cliffs of black slate.

    [Sidenote: LOWER NUBRA.
     _October, 1847._]

     _October, 1847._]

The general aspect of the lower part of Nubra requires no particular
description, as it presents much the same features as the other parts
of the district. The mountains on both sides of the valley are not
less steep, barren, and inaccessible than elsewhere in Tibet. The
alluvial platforms, which were everywhere present, increased
remarkably in thickness as they diminished in size. Widely spread out
in the broadest parts of the valley, they were not more than from
twenty to forty feet thick where cut across by the river, and sloped
very gently. In the narrower parts of the valley they were often not
less than a hundred feet high along the river. In structure these
platforms varied much. The greater part certainly consisted of gravel
and clay, quite unstratified, but the lower beds were very frequently
fine clay, or fine sand, or alternations of these two. The
superposition of the coarse beds to the fine was nearly uniformly
observed, though occasionally, above the fine clays, alternations of
gravel with thin beds of sand or clay were met with. In one place, on
the north side of the river, nearly opposite to the village of Tertse,
I found these beds to contain fresh-water shells. The fossiliferous
bed was elevated very little above the present level of the river, and
was composed of a fine somewhat sandy clay, stratified horizontally,
and covered with upwards of fifty feet of coarse conglomerate. The
shells, which were all small, were species of _Planorbis_ and
_Lymnæa_, apparently identical with those afterwards found in the
neighbourhood of Iskardo, but quite different from those of the salt
lake of Thogji.

The villages of Lower Nubra are not numerous, but some of them possess
very extensive cultivation. Hundar in particular, at the mouth of a
large ravine, by which a considerable tributary stream descends from
the south (at the source of which there is a pass across the range
into the valley of the Indus), is a very large village (probably the
most populous in Nubra), with very fine orchards of apricot-trees.
Walnut, mulberry, and _Elæagnus_ became common at Unmaru, on the north
bank of the river. Perhaps the gradual narrowing of the valley may
have a considerable effect in modifying the climate, for the
diminution of elevation is very inconsiderable, the river at Kuru
being nearly 10,300 feet above the sea, or not more than 300 feet
lower than the junction of the Shayuk and Nubra rivers.

In this part of its course, and at this advanced season, when the
great summer floods are over, the Shayuk appears to be everywhere
fordable. It is, however, a noble stream, with a rapid current; and is
usually divided into many channels. Above Hundar, where I forded it,
one branch was not less than 300 feet wide, and was from one to two
feet deep. Opposite Tertse, again, I found the stream running in seven
branches, of which three were from 100 to 150 feet wide, and had an
average depth of about two feet, increased in the centre to about
three. The other branches were, however, much smaller.

     _October, 1847._]

In several places between Hundar and Tertse, on the gravelly plain
which skirted the river, I observed manifest traces of a flood,
consisting of such rejectamenta as are usually seen deposited by
swollen streams, fragments of wood and twigs, straw, sheep's dung, and
other light materials, forming a bed two or three feet wide,
continuous in many places for hundreds of yards, at a distance of not
less than half a mile from the river. To my inquiries as to the nature
of the flood which had deposited these reliquiæ, the invariable reply
was, that a great flood had taken place five years before, by the
bursting of a lake called Khundan Chu, at which time the whole course
of the river was devastated, and much destruction of property,
sometimes even life, ensued, particularly in the narrower parts of the
valley. In most parts of the world the preservation of such
insignificant vestiges of a flood for so long a period would have been
impossible; but here, where rain is almost unknown, and where the
winter falls of snow seldom exceed one or two inches, there are no
disturbing causes which could prevent them from remaining till carried
away or altered in position by another similar flood. I should,
therefore, have had no difficulty in attaching credence to the
testimony of the inhabitants of the country, even had I not, in my
journey down the river, received the most abundant proofs that the
flood was everywhere well known, at least as far as Iskardo.

The vegetation of Lower Nubra had so entirely disappeared, that I
could form scarcely any idea of its character; but, as the general
aspect of the country was unaltered, I had no reason to look for any
change. In the gravelly bed of the river, bushes of _Myricaria_ and
_Tamarix_ were common; thickets of _Hippophaë_, loaded with very acid
yellow berries, lined the watercourses, forming an impenetrable
barrier. Little bushes of _Artemisia_, _Lycium_, _Perowskia_, and
_Ephedra_, were also occasionally seen on the rocks, but the
herbaceous vegetation had quite withered away. In the villages, the
cultivated trees were also rapidly shedding their leaves; constant
night frosts, and frequent falls of snow on the mountain-sides, having
so far reduced the temperature that winter was evidently at hand.

    [Sidenote: NARROW GORGE.
     _October, 1847._]

Below the village of Unmaru, the width of the valley had so much
diminished that many of the lateral spurs advanced close to the river.
Several of these prominent spurs consisted of trap rocks, various
forms of basalt and greenstone occurring, with not unfrequently veins
of coarse serpentine. Stratified rocks, however, still continued, but
the hard black slate was often with difficulty distinguishable from
the basalt.

My encamping ground at Kuru was on the north side of the river, and
close to the gorge into which the Shayuk disappeared among rocks of
black slate, which rise almost perpendicularly from the river. A small
tributary, descending from the north, ran parallel and close to the
rugged mountain spur which formed the barrier of the valley; and
immediately above, a deep bay or recess in the mountains was entirely
filled with beds of loose sand, resting on the alluvial clay
formation. The appearance of the place was altogether most singular.
Much of the light sandy beds were evidently of very recent origin,
probably referable to the great flood five years before, at which time
the waters, suddenly checked at the gorge, after having spread out _ad
libitum_ in the open valley of Nubra, rose to a height of not less
than fifty feet above their usual level, and required several days to
subside. The beds of clay under the loose sand were all stratified,
and were, no doubt, referable to the same lacustrine formation as the
fossiliferous beds observed higher up the valley of the Shayuk.

    [Sidenote: WARIS RAVINE.
     _October, 1847._]

From Kuru there is no road along the bank of the river, the rocks
being on both sides too precipitous to permit of a passage, and the
river too deep to be forded. In winter, when the river is frozen,
travellers are able to continue their course along its bed by
proceeding on the ice in those places where the steepness of the rocks
obstructs the passage; but at other seasons it is necessary to make a
long _détour_, and to ascend a lateral ravine for eight miles before a
point is reached where the steep ridge is capable of being crossed.
Leaving Kuru on the morning of the 26th of October, I encamped at the
village of Waris, elevated 12,400 feet, among a few fields from which
the crops had long been cleared. The few huts which formed the village
contained no inhabitants, being abandoned, as soon as the harvest has
been reaped and housed, for the more temperate climate of the river

The ravine by which I ascended from Kuru was very narrow and rugged.
The road generally lay at a considerable height on the steep slopes of
the hills, but three times crossed the stream; once by a natural
bridge composed of a huge mass of rock lying across a very narrow part
of the stream, where it had worn out in the solid rock a channel not
more than from three to twelve feet wide. The steep sloping banks of
the ravine were usually shingly and devoid of vegetation; but on the
margin of the little stream there were a good many shrubs, principally
willows, and occasionally the cordate-leaved poplar so commonly
cultivated in the Tibetan villages, which here appeared quite

The geological structure of this rocky ravine was very intricate, from
the great mass of igneous rock, granite, greenstone, and amygdaloid,
which everywhere occurred. A very hard conglomerate, similar in
character to that of the upper Indus and of the Giah ravine, was also
observed at intervals, alternating with very highly metamorphic
slates. After about five miles, the road left the main ravine to
ascend into a lateral branch, much more steep than the former. Here
masses of alluvial conglomerate of great thickness rested on the sides
of the mountains, many hundred feet above the bed of the stream.
During the day the weather had been very cloudy and threatening, and a
little snow fell in the afternoon at my encamping ground at Waris.

    [Sidenote: PASS ABOVE WARIS.
     _October, 1847._]

During the night more snow fell, and on the morning of the 27th it was
four or five inches deep. From my camp I ascended at once, very
steeply, to the crest of the ridge on the left, which I then followed
in a succession of undulations in a westerly direction. As soon as I
had gained the summit, a reach of the Shayuk was seen, distant perhaps
a mile and a half, flowing among steep black rocks, with here and
there banks of gravel at the bends. The view from the ridge was very
striking, the dark colour of the rocks below contrasting strongly with
the snowy whiteness of the upper parts of the mountains, which, on
the south side of the Shayuk, rise very abruptly to a height of
perhaps 18,000 feet.

The summit of the ridge was not less than 14,700 feet above the sea.
At this elevation, the snow, on southern exposures, had, by eleven
A.M., quite melted, under the influence of a bright sun. Along the
ridge, tufts of a prickly _Statice_, still displaying the remains of
flowers, were very common, and a few stunted trees of juniper occurred
at intervals. The descent from the ridge was exceedingly abrupt (three
thousand feet in less than a mile), into a narrow valley, in which I
encamped among the fields of a summer village named Boghdan, now, like
the one I had left in the morning, deserted by its inhabitants, who
had gone for the winter to the village of Chulungka, nine miles
distant, on the banks of the Shayuk. I was now in the district of
Chorbat, the ridge which I had just crossed being the boundary of
Nubra on the west.

    [Sidenote: BOGHDAN RAVINE.
     _October, 1847._]

The Boghdan ravine, though very narrow and tortuous, is well wooded
with small trees of poplar and willow, and with shrubs, chiefly of
_Hippophaë_ and _Myricaria_. These plants are entirely confined to the
level bottom of the ravine, forming a belt, ten or twenty feet wide,
on each side of the little stream. After a descent of three miles, I
again joined the Shayuk, along which a journey of four days brought me
to Siksa, the principal village of Chorbat, encamping on the way at
the villages of Chulungka, Turtuk, and Pranu.

     _October, 1847._]

The district of Chorbat is a dependency of the government of Iskardo,
which, like that of Le, is subject to Kashmir. The desert country by
which Nubra and Chorbat are separated has, for the present, acted as
a barrier to the further extension eastward of the Mahommedan
religion, which is now universally that of the people of the whole of
the Iskardo (or Balti) district, as well as of Dras. On the Indus, and
in the valleys south of it, there is no uninhabited tract between the
two, so that the Mahommedan and Buddhist population are in direct
contact. The result is, that Mahommedanism is in that part gradually,
though very slowly, extending to the eastward.

In this part of its course the Shayuk river is in general very rapid,
and is hemmed in so closely by the mountains on both sides, that
little space is left for the accumulation of alluvium, except where
considerable lateral streams join the main river. The barrier by which
Chorbat is separated from Nubra is the most contracted part of the
valley, and the general ruggedness by degrees becomes less marked as
we continue to descend the river. The mountains, everywhere steep,
rocky, and inaccessible, close in general to within a quarter of a
mile of one another, and their projecting spurs, at short intervals,
advance quite to the centre of the valley, forming deep bays, either
filled with sand or occasionally occupied by platforms of
conglomerate, on the top of which, where water is procurable, there is
generally a village. The river, winding from one side of its channel
to the other, washes the foot of each rocky spur, so that the road
frequently quits the level of the river to ascend abruptly the rocky
hills, which are often so steep as to be only accessible by means of
scaffoldings of wood, propped up against the face of the perpendicular
cliffs by trunks of trees. Once or twice the road lay at a great
height above the river for several miles, without descending at all to
its level.

    [Sidenote: BRIDGES.
     _October, 1847._]

The channel of the Shayuk is generally formed of coarse gravel or
large rolled stones, and immense boulders are everywhere scattered on
the level banks. The stream is rapid and deep, and the fall much more
considerable than in Nubra, Siksa being only about 9000 feet above the
sea. It is nowhere in the whole distance fordable; and as the villages
lie alternately on opposite sides of the river, I had occasion to
cross it three times before reaching Siksa. In every case a narrow and
rapid part of the river is selected, the bridges being composed of
poplar trunks, stretching from bank to bank, with a light and rude
hand-rail of hurdles to give support. Opposite Turtuk, the bridge,
which rests upon piers projecting on each side eight feet into the
river, measures twenty-five paces, so that the river is not more than
eighty feet wide.

Where platforms of alluvium occupy the lateral ravines, they attain a
very great thickness, seldom less than two hundred feet, and
occasionally at least twice as much. They are generally cut off in
steep cliffs by the river, beautifully showing the structure of the
alluvium. In the sections of these masses of boulders and clay, I
several times observed that the strata, instead of being horizontal,
were highest in the middle and sloped gently downwards on either side.
This would indicate, I think, a local origin of these deposits, which
probably commenced under water, close to a ravine on the
mountain-side, and gradually extended, by the addition of successive
layers, till they met similar accumulations, derived from the opposite
side of the valley.

    [Sidenote: VILLAGES.
     _October, 1847._]

In the upper part of the district of Chorbat, the villages are few and
very insignificant, but lower down several are of great extent.
Chulungka, the highest village, consists of three or four houses, on a
small platform about fifty feet above the river. This village stood
formerly on the low ground close to the Shayuk, but the cultivable
soil at the lower level was entirely swept away by the flood of 1842,
so that the inhabitants were obliged to change the position of their
houses. The first considerable village is Turtuk, on the south side of
the river. Pranu, on the north side, is remarkable for the great
extent of its cultivation, and for several isolated rocks, behind
which the alluvium has accumulated to a thickness of at least six or
seven hundred feet.

All the villages are surrounded by fine orchards of apricot-trees.
Walnut and mulberry trees are also common; and at Turtuk I saw a few
vines; these latter are, however, by no means generally cultivated in
the district. Willows are less frequent than in Nubra, but there are
plenty of poplars. The black poplar is the common species, but a white
downy-leaved species (_P. alba_), which is cultivated also in Kunawar,
and which seems to be indigenous in some of the Himalayan valleys
south of Kashmir, occurs for the first time at Turtuk. The fields are
everywhere terraced, and water seems to be very abundant.

    [Sidenote: ROCKS OF CHORBAT.
     _October, 1847._]

A very remarkable outburst of granite commences at the junction of the
Boghdan ravine with the Shayuk, and continues as far as Siksa,
altering the secondary rocks so that they can scarcely be recognized.
The granite is frequently in great mass, and usually occupies the
lowest part of the valley, sending out gigantic veins or branches into
the overlying slates, which are often transformed into a coarse
serpentine. The hard conglomerate which is associated with the slate,
seems the same as occurs in Lower Nubra, so that probably the slates
are also a continuation of the same series, and the whole may even be
connected with the conglomerates and slates of the Giah valley and of
the Indus below Le, the strike of which to the N.W. or N.N.W. would
carry them nearly in the direction of Chorbat. Here the intrusion of
the granite renders both dip and strike obscure, the beds being
frequently quite vertical.

From Siksa, close to which there is a small fort or castle on an
isolated rock, a road leads across the Hanu pass into the valley of
the Indus. By this route Mr. Vigne proceeded when he abandoned his
intention of penetrating by the Shayuk to Nubra, and it has since been
crossed by several travellers at different times. It is, indeed, a
route very commonly adopted in travelling from Iskardo to Le, as the
lower part of the Shayuk is more open and practicable than the Indus
below the junction of the river of Dras.

    [Sidenote: PLAIN OF KHAPALU.
     _October, 1847._]

Below Siksa, the valley of the Shayuk continues narrow for eight or
ten miles. It then begins again to expand, and its width continues to
increase as far as Khapalu, which is situated near the centre of a
wide plain similar to that of Nubra, and, like that, coincident with
the junction of a large river from the north. It is certainly worthy
of note, that it is always at the point of junction of large
tributaries that the valley of the Shayuk is widest, and that the
evidences of the former existence of lakes are most evident, while in
the intermediate parts of its course the valley is narrow and rugged,
and shows no certain indications of having been at any period

    [Sidenote: MACHULU RIVER.
     _November, 1847._]

The great axis of the plain of Khapalu is from south-east to
north-west, in the direction of the river Machulu, which runs through
a very open and wide gravelly plain, apparently for a considerable
distance. This stream, which is probably at least as large as the
Nubra river, has its source in heavily-snowed mountains to the north.
The general surface of the plain is gravelly, and its appearance on
the whole is so similar to that of Nubra that no detailed description
is necessary. The river divides in the open gravelly plain into
numerous branches, which separate to a considerable distance from one
another, and ramify very irregularly. There is not much alluvial
accumulation in this plain, except in the immediate vicinity of
Khapalu, where a very curious isolated rock of black slate rises
abruptly in the middle of the plain, its base being washed by one
branch of the Shayuk, now (after its junction with the Machulu) too
deep to be forded. Behind this rock there is an accumulation of
alluvium, forming a steep ridge six or seven hundred feet in height;
which it is necessary to cross in travelling from Surmu to Khapalu, as
the abruptness with which the clay-slate rock rises out of the water,
completely prevents a passage along the margin of the river.

On the 2nd of November I forded the Shayuk a little below the village
of Abadan, where it runs in two branches, each about a hundred yards
wide, and with an average depth of about two feet. A little further
down it is joined by the Machulu, and it does not appear to be
anywhere fordable in its further course, even in winter, so that
probably the influx of water brought by that stream is very
considerable. I did not, however, see the junction, which is situated
on the north side of the plain, quite out of the direct road towards
the town of Khapalu.

Where the valley is widest, the mountain ranges on both sides of the
river are well seen. The range south of the Shayuk rises close at hand
into a very steep mountain mass, now much snowed. A pass which leads
from Khapalu to Kartash was (I was informed) already shut up by snow,
and impracticable for travellers. To the north, up the wide valley of
the Machulu, the mountains are more distant, and the main chain of the
Muztagh is evidently fully in sight; the absence of hills close at
hand allowing a considerable extent of it to be seen; it was very
heavily snowed. The nearest, and apparently loftiest peak, bore N. 13
W. (Magn.) from Surmu.

    [Sidenote: KHAPALU.
     _November, 1847._]

The principal villages of this open tract are Surmu and Khapalu, both
on the south side of the Shayuk, and separated from one another by a
high alluvial ridge, which rests on a bold scarped rock rising
immediately out of the river. Surmu has a very long and narrow tract
of cultivation, skirting the gravelly river-bed. It occupies the
slopes of a projecting platform of alluvium of no great height. In
this village many fields, on a level with the river, have evidently
been destroyed by the flood of 1842, as fruit-trees were still
standing among the gravel and shingle of the river-beds. Khapalu, on
the other hand, which is situated at the point of junction of a
considerable stream, occupies the surface of a thick bed of alluvium
of great extent, sloping very steeply from the apex of the triangle in
a recess among the mountains to its base, which is formed by the
Shayuk. The fort of Khapalu is perched at a great height on a
remarkable projecting scarped rock, just at the mouth of the ravine
behind the village. The cultivation has a width of not less than two
miles, and, as it abounds in fruit-trees, it must in summer, when the
fields are green and the trees are in leaf, be a place (for Tibet) of
considerable beauty. From the abruptness of the slope of the alluvial
platform, the terrace-walls of the fields are very high, often as much
as six feet. The fruit-trees are the same as those commonly cultivated
in Nubra and Chorbat; the elm and _Elæagnus_ of Nubra are also common,
as well as the white poplar. At Khapalu there are also a few
plane-trees, which do not extend further east.

The _Lycium_ of Nubra, which had entirely disappeared in the narrow
and rocky parts of the Shayuk, reappeared as soon as the valley spread
out into a gravelly plain, being common at Abadan, and abundant at
Surmu and Khapalu. A species of berberry, a genus wanting in the
higher parts of the Shayuk (except in the mountains, where a small
alpine species is occasionally seen), was found in Surmu. The species
was apparently identical with the common berberry of Europe, which
extends even into the drier valleys of the Himalaya. I also recognized
a few other new plants--a small, almost herbaceous _Sophora_ was one
of these, and, still more remarkable, _Peganum Harmala_, a species
which extends from the Mediterranean flora as far east as the Punjab,
and which indicates a very considerable amount of summer heat.

The shrubby _Hippophaë_ is still very plentiful, but, either from more
careful cultivation, or because the nature of the slopes prevents the
formation of swampy margins to the little irrigation streams, it does
not spread to so great an extent over the cultivated tracts, which,
therefore, in the winter season look considerably more bare than those
around the villages of Nubra.

The height of the bed of the Shayuk at Khapalu may be roughly
estimated at about 8000 feet, as the determination of the
boiling-point of water at my tent, which was high up in the village,
gave an elevation of 8300 feet. I arrived at Khapalu from Surmu on the
3rd of November, and remained there during the 4th. The weather, which
for some days had been very unsettled and disagreeable, suddenly
cleared up on the 2nd of November, and continued for nearly a week
very fine, the days being uniformly bright and sunny, with a gentle
wind blowing up the valley of the Shayuk. The temperature in the sun
was extremely agreeable, though the shade maximum was never much
higher than 50°. The nights were clear and cold, the thermometer
falling at Khapalu more than 14° below the freezing-point.

A little below Khapalu I found a number of people washing the sand of
the Indus for gold; but the produce seemed to be very trifling, and
the work is only carried on during winter, when labour is of no value
for other purposes. I purchased for a rupee (paying, I believe, a good
deal more than the value) the produce in gold-dust of one man's
labour for three weeks. I suppose, however, he only worked

    [Sidenote: BRAGHAR.
     _November, 1847._]

Below Khapalu the valley of the Shayuk again begins to contract, but
the open plain may be considered to extend for some way below the
village of Braghar, where a large tributary joins from the north, and
to which place there is a great deal of cultivation, especially on the
right bank. Immediately below Braghar, there is a remarkable saline
grassy plain, very swampy, and traversed by numerous small streamlets,
in which a _Chara_ and a linear-leaved _Potamogeton_ were abundant.
Below this plain the mountain spurs close in upon the river,
contracting its channel very much, and frequently preventing all
passage along the bank. The narrow portion of the river extends within
a few miles of Iskardo, or for at least thirty miles of river
distance. Throughout this tract the valley is very similar to that
between Nubra and Chorbat. Villages are numerous, occupying very
elevated platforms, on which there is frequently luxuriant
cultivation. In many of the narrowest and most rugged places there is
no passage along the river, and the road crosses spurs of considerable

Between Kunes and Kuru the narrowness of the river is probably at its
maximum, as the road lies altogether along a ridge, elevated perhaps a
thousand feet, to which the ascents and descents are extremely abrupt.
Many parts of this ridge are capped with alluvium, which occurs in
many places along this part of the course of the Shayuk in very great
quantity. The largest village on this part of the river is Kiris,
situated just above the junction of the Shayuk and Indus, on a nearly
level alluvial platform of large size. Round Kiris there is a very
extensive deposit of lacustrine clay, very fine, and horizontally
stratified. Good sections of this, sometimes at least fifty feet in
thickness, are exposed east of Kiris, not far from the Shayuk. I did
not observe any fossils; but in so cursory an inspection as I was able
to make, it is very probable that I may have overlooked them.

     _November, 1847._]

The junction of the Shayuk and Indus rivers takes place a little way
below Kiris. The Shayuk is considerably wider and more rapid than the
Indus, but much less deep, so that neither river so decidedly
preponderates over the other as to enable their relative size to be
determined at a glance. Probably the discharge of the two will be
found nearly equal. The direction of the united streams is the same as
that of the Shayuk, which the Indus joins nearly at a right angle.

The granitic and slate rocks of the district of Chorbat are continued
unaltered as far as the junction of the Indus and Shayuk. In many
places the granite so predominates as to form almost the whole mass of
the mountains, but more generally there is also a good deal of slate.
The schists are of very various appearance; a very hard black slate is
the most common, but in contact with and near the granite many
portions of the slaty mass are quite undistinguishable from gneiss.
The direction and inclination of the dip vary extremely. In general
the granitic veins appear to be parallel to the strata of schist, but
instances are not unfrequent where vertical strata of schist are cut
through by horizontal veins of granite.

    [Sidenote: NAR.
     _November, 1847._]

On the 9th of November I encamped at Kiris, and next day I passed the
junction of the Indus and Shayuk. The direction of the united streams
soon becomes nearly due north, and it flows for many miles through a
very narrow ravine, along which the road is of a most difficult
nature, partly high on the mountains, partly on platforms of alluvium,
and occasionally over angular blocks of rock, which are piled in
enormous heaps along the banks of the river. At the most northerly
point of the river, where the ravine is narrowest, I passed through
the cultivated lands of the village of Nar, which extend for more than
two miles on the surface of an alluvial platform many hundred feet
above the bottom of the valley. Leaving this village, I continued to
ascend, and entirely lost sight of the Indus, which flowed to the
south-west, while the road kept winding among rocky hills, gradually
ascending to the crest of a low pass, among rocks of black slate,
which entirely prevented me from seeing the nature of the surrounding
country. From the summit of the ascent I descended gradually down a
narrow valley, and emerging at last rather suddenly on an open plain,
I found myself in sight of the valley of Iskardo, which presented to
the eye an expanse of level ground much greater than I had seen since
leaving Khapalu, to which and to Nubra the district round Iskardo
bears a very close resemblance.

When the road entered the open country, at the north-east corner of
the plain of Iskardo, it lay for miles over loose sand, utterly
barren, forming low undulating hills, which rested upon a deposit of
pure white clay. Three miles from Iskardo, a spur from the northern
mountains advances close to the river, and the road skirting the
latter is for a short distance rocky and uneven. Soon, however, it
again enters a tract of bare sand, which extends as far as the ferry
immediately above the town of Iskardo. The river, being here
unfordable, is crossed by means of a flat-bottomed boat.

    [Sidenote: ISKARDO.
     _November, 1847._]

The plain of Iskardo, which surrounds the junction of the Shigar river
with the Indus, is nearly twenty miles in length, and has an average
breadth of about five miles. It is elevated about 7200 feet above the
level of the sea. In its very centre, on the south bank of the Indus,
and opposite to the junction of the Shigar river, an isolated rock of
black slate rises to the height of nearly a thousand feet, directly
overhanging the Indus, parallel to which it stretches for nearly a
mile. It is faced on all sides by perpendicular cliffs, inaccessible
except at the west end, where a steep and difficult path leads to the
summit, which is a long narrow ridge.

The name Iskardo is a Mahommedan corruption of a Tibetan name Skardo,
or Kardo, as it is very commonly pronounced; but as the
first-mentioned name is most familiar to foreigners, and is likely to
become universal, as well from the inhabitants of the district being
all Mahommedans, as from the country being now subject to Kashmir, it
is better, I think, to retain it, than to attempt to substitute the
more pure Tibetan pronunciation.

  [Illustration: ISKARDO
   _From South-east of the Valley._

   _Pl. II._

   J. W. del. W. L. Walton, Lithog.
   Printed by Hullmandel & Walton.]

The mountains which surround the Iskardo plain rise at once with great
abruptness, and are very steep and bare. Those on the south side,
derived from the range which separates the Indus from the table-land
of Deotsu, the axis of which is not more than ten or fifteen
miles distant, rise very abruptly in rocky pinnacles, covered, at the
time I reached the valley, with much snow. Two spurs from this range
run forward to the Indus, one five miles east of Iskardo, the other
about three miles to the west of it, dividing the whole south side of
the valley into three deep bays, each watered by a considerable
stream, whose source is in the southern mountains. The mountains on
the north side, the terminal spurs of two great branches of the
Kuenlun or Muztagh, which flank the Shigar river, are considerably
lower, but equally barren and desolate.

The river Indus traverses the open valley in an extremely winding
course. At one time it washes the base of the cliffs which terminate
the projecting mountain spurs; at another it flows between high banks
of alluvial conglomerate or of fine clay. Not unfrequently these
clayey cliffs recede to a considerable distance from the river, in
which case the intervening space is generally sandy. A small branch of
the stream, at times little more than a chain of pools, often runs
close to the cliffs, indicating a former channel of the river; and
when this is the case, the low ground between the two channels is
often swampy and grassy.

The bed of the Indus in this part of its course is very little
inclined, the stream flowing in general very gently over a sandy bed,
its surface quite smooth and tranquil, occasionally only a little
rippled in turning round a projecting rocky spur, where its bottom is
gravelly and the inclination perhaps a little greater. Opposite
Iskardo the Indus is even in the depth of winter a noble stream,
often more than 500 feet wide, and nine or ten feet deep in the

Iskardo occupies a nearly level plain of fine alluvial clay elevated
fifty or sixty feet above the river, and extending from the isolated
rock which overhangs the Indus towards the mountains on the south side
of the valley. To the right and left of the rocky hill, two small
streams have excavated for themselves out of the soft clay deep and
wide ravines, which are covered with coarse gravel, and are faced by
more or less steep banks of clay or sand. The surface of the platform
on which all the cultivated ground lies is watered by means of
artificial canals, brought from a distance of nearly two miles, from
the point where the streams issue from among the hills.

The neighbourhood of the rock of Iskardo was doubtless selected as the
site of the principal town of the kingdom of Balti, from the
advantages which it afforded as a place of defence; and in the days of
the independence of the country a fortified palace occupied its
eastern extremity, while the western and more accessible end was
apparently protected by a series of rude works. The principal
buildings of the palace seem to have been at the very base of the
rock. A mass of ruins, showing large blocks of well-hewn stone,
fragments of marble fountains, and some solid walls supporting
terraces, which appear at one time to have been gardens, alone remain
to show the former magnificence of the place. A mausoleum, raised to
the memory of the last independent king, Ahmed Shah, perched on a rock
perhaps 300 feet above the plain, is still untouched and uninjured.

An aqueduct or canal extends in a direct line from the palace towards
the mountains, a distance of at least a mile. It is an exceedingly
massive work, consisting of two walls raised perhaps fifteen feet
above the level of the plain, and built of very large blocks of hewn
stone. The intervening space is filled with earth. At present, a small
conduit, a foot or so wide, brings all the water which is required for
the use of the inhabitants of Iskardo; but a very large quantity might
be conveyed along the aqueduct, and the work is so strong and
substantial that very little repair would be requisite to restore it
to its original condition.

The fortified post of the present rulers of the country is built on
the margin of the platform of alluvium, on the right bank of the
little stream which joins the Indus to the east of the rock of
Iskardo, and is separated by a hollow from the palace and the
principal part of the village. It is built of unburnt brick, and is
extremely irregular in shape, with rounded bastions at the angles.

The houses of Iskardo are very much scattered over a large extent of
surface, so that there is no appearance of a town; nor is the
population in the immediate neighbourhood of the rock so extensive as
that of some of the more remote villages in the valley, and especially
of those on the banks of the Shigar river, which are very richly
cultivated. Many of the Iskardo houses, however, are very good, being
often of two stories, and built of unburnt bricks in a framework of
wood. Latticed windows, covered with paper or small plates of mica,
are also common. The roofs are all flat, and covered with mud beaten

    [Sidenote: LACUSTRINE CLAY.
     _November, 1847._]

The lacustrine clay formation occurs in great quantity throughout the
valley of Iskardo, and is nowhere seen in greater perfection than in
the immediate neighbourhood of the town, where the cliffs facing the
Indus, and those along the little lateral streams which descend from
the south, exhibit an abundance of sections of these beds. The height
of the cliffs is very variable; but it is seldom less than thirty
feet, and to the east of the town is as much as a hundred feet. The
clay formation varies much in appearance, being most commonly a very
fine unctuous cream-coloured clay, stratified quite horizontally, but
occasionally gritty and mixed with numerous particles of mica. Now and
then thin beds of sand and of small waterworn pebbles alternate with
the finer clays. In many places near the rock of Iskardo, the beds are
very irregular, undulating a good deal, and at times exhibiting very
remarkable flexures, as if the isolated rocky mass (which must have
once been under water) had formed eddies in the lake, and prevented
that regularity of deposition which is elsewhere so universal.

Fossils are very rare in these clays, but occurred in several
different localities. Close to Iskardo I once found a very few small
specimens of a _Lymnæa_ and _Planorbis_, but after repeatedly
searching carefully did not succeed in obtaining any more. I was more
fortunate in two places east of Iskardo, where fresh-water shells are
sufficiently common in one or two thin seams of very fine clay, mixed
with a good deal of apparently vegetable matter. The great mass of the
clay is, however, quite non-fossiliferous.

The surface of the clay formation round Iskardo is very undulating,
and is often covered with masses of large boulders. Opposite two of
the ravines which penetrate the mountains on the southern side of the
valley, two very remarkable banks of boulders project forward into the
valley. They consist of very large fragments of rock, angular or more
or less rounded, piled on one another to a height of forty or fifty
feet. They terminate abruptly, and are, I think, evidently moraines.

On the very top of the isolated rock, in the middle of the Iskardo
plain, horizontal beds of coarse sandstone rest upon the hard
clay-slate of which the rock is composed. This sandstone crumbles with
great ease in the hand, the particles of which it is composed being
very slightly coherent. These beds, in which I could find no traces of
shells or of vegetable remains, are elevated at least 800 or 1000 feet
above the level of the Indus. The sandstone seems to cap the whole
hill, but is exposed only in a few places, being in a great measure
covered by the loose drift or alluvium which has been deposited above

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _November, 1847._]

The vegetation of Iskardo had so entirely disappeared, that I was able
to form very little idea of its nature. A few shrubby species, and
some withered fragments of autumn flowering plants, alone remained. On
the whole, I was struck with the similarity of the few plants which I
recognized with those of Nubra and Le. _Artemisiæ_ and _Chenopodiaceæ_
were still abundant. _Hippophaë_ was the universal shrub along all the
streamlets, and _Lycium_ was common in sandy places; a berberry (the
same already seen at Khapalu) was also frequent. The few novelties
were Kashmir plants. _Lycopsis arvensis_, _Prunella vulgaris_, a
thistle, a species of _Sium_, some gentians, and _Ranunculus
aquatilis_, were the most Indian forms which I met with. From the
mountains I procured specimens of a juniper (_J. excelsa_), and of the
alpine birch of the Himalaya, which skirts the southern borders of the
Tibetan region, without extending into the driest parts of that


     Leave Iskardo in the direction of Kashmir -- First march
     through snow to Turgu -- Lacustrine clay -- it extends into
     narrow valleys beyond Nar -- Gol -- Junction of Indus and
     Shayuk -- Parkuta -- Tolti -- Kartash -- Extensive lacustrine
     deposits -- Tarkata -- Road turns up the Dras river -- Ulding
     Thung -- Fall of snow -- Hardas -- Karbu -- Continued snow --
     Dras -- Find pass in front shut by deep snow -- Obliged to
     return to Iskardo -- Rafts and rope-bridges on Indus --
     _Elæagnus_ and Apricot apparently wild -- Winter at Iskardo.

     _December, 1847._]

On the 2nd of December I left Iskardo, in the direction of Kashmir, by
way of Dras, all other routes being shut with snow. My first march was
to Turgu, seven miles. The ground was all the way covered with snow
which had fallen during the night, but it thawed a good deal during
the day, making the journey rather unpleasant. The road lay along the
south bank of the river, at first over the level platform of
lacustrine clay, among large boulders, which were scattered over its
surface, but soon descending by a narrow and steep footpath, on the
face of the clayey cliff, to the level of the river, to cross a deep
bay, from which the clay formation has been entirely removed, to a
large village three miles from Iskardo, through the cultivation of
which the road ascended gradually, and proceeded on the barren stony
slopes behind. About five miles from Iskardo, a spur, from the
mountain range on the south, which abuts in a scarped cliff upon the
river, has been taken advantage of by the inhabitants to build a small
gateway, through which the road is made to run. The extreme steepness
of the mountain mass which lies to the south and east, makes it
scarcely possible to approach Iskardo along the south bank of the
river from these directions, without passing through this gateway,
and, therefore, a small party of soldiers is kept on this rocky pass
by the Sikh rulers of the country. A species of _Daphne_ was very
common on the rocky hills about this pass, apparently an evergreen, as
it was in full leaf in the midst of the snow. From the higher parts of
the road, and from the rocky pass which overhangs the river, there is
an extensive view over the barren sandy waste on the north bank of the
river. The lacustrine clay is, at this end of the valley, very thick
and but little excavated, forming cliffs which rise close to the
river, which has, as it were, worn for itself a narrow channel in the
clay formation. The banks or cliffs are of very different heights, and
many of them consist of alluvial gravel and boulders, overlying and
quite obscuring the clays. Behind Turgu, and in many places on the
last part of the march, there are great masses of angular fragments of
rock piled into a steeply sloping mass, as if they had fallen from the
mountains behind, but so mixed with smaller fragments and with gravel,
that it seems probable that they were accumulated under water.

    [Sidenote: WATERWORN ROCKS.
     _December, 1847._]

The next day's march, from Turgu to Gol, round the great bend of the
Indus, was entirely barren. On the western side of the curve several
rocky spurs were crossed, but after the road turns to the south it
runs generally on the surface of very elevated platforms of coarse
alluvial debris, covered in many places with enormous boulders, partly
derived, in all probability, from the fall of masses of rock from the
cliffs above, but in more than one place so curiously arranged, at the
apertures of lateral ravines, as to be, I think, almost certainly of
glacial origin. Many of the large boulders which occurred in the
alluvium were observed to be much waterworn, spherical cavities being
worn out in them. Similar waterworn rocks were also seen _in situ_ at
great heights above the river, in places to which no water has at
present access, and where it is difficult to understand in what way
the effect was produced. Behind the alluvial platforms, which are
generally one or two hundred feet above the level of the river, the
mountains rise precipitously, in cliffs of granite, which has now
replaced the slate rocks of Iskardo.

     _December, 1847._]

At the point where the river changes its direction from north to
south-west, the mountains on the southern bank advance quite to the
river, and on the north side also they approach very near. It would
therefore, at first sight, appear that the lake, in which the clay
formation of Iskardo has been deposited, had here terminated to the
eastward, no clay being seen in the narrow ravine above Nar, or near
the river anywhere between Nar and Gol. I had at first no doubt that I
had reached the eastern extremity of the lake; but some time after
passing the most northerly point of the ravine I observed a patch of
very fine cream-coloured clay, quite similar to the finest portions of
the Iskardo formation, clinging in a remarkable position on the flank
of a very steep rocky cliff, not less than 1000 or 1200 feet above the
river. Several other patches came into sight soon after, all high up
on the mountain-sides; one above the village of Golochu, and others at
intervals all the way to the junction of the Indus and Shayuk. I
cannot, therefore, doubt that the lake in which the clay beds of Kiris
were deposited, was the same as that which occupied the Iskardo basin;
nor does it seem easy to fix its exact boundaries. The great height of
the patches of clay, in the narrow channel above Nar, show that the
depth of the lake had been very considerable; and if we assume a depth
of 1500 feet, which seems necessary, and at the same time admit the
arrangement of the ancient rocks to have been the same as at present,
we must either suppose some great barrier to have existed in the
narrow passage below Khapalu, or must admit that the Khapalu lake was
also continuous with that of Iskardo. I did not, however, observe any
beds of fine clay higher up than Kuru, in the narrow part of the
ravine of the Shayuk, which would warrant the drawing such a
conclusion; although vast masses of alluvium certainly abound there,
piled at great heights above the river. Is it possible that these may
at one time have been continuous, and have blocked up the whole
valley, and that the portions now seen capping ridges, whose origin is
otherwise inexplicable, are the last remnants of a continuous mass
which occupied the whole interspace? and if so, to what are we to
ascribe the deposition of such an enormous mass of alluvium-like

     _December, 1847._]

To the eastward of the village of Gol the valley of the Indus again
becomes a little wider, an open sandy plain extending round the
junction of the two rivers. The cultivation round Gol is on a high
platform of alluvium; but the road descends, soon after leaving the
village, nearly to the level of the river, and continues over the low
ground, skirting the mountains of the southern bank, till it reaches
the junction of the two rivers, where it turns abruptly to the south,
ascending the left bank of the Indus, which runs nearly due north in a
narrow rocky ravine. A bluff projecting ridge of granite, sixty or
eighty feet high, polished on the surface by aqueous action, and of a
brilliantly brown-black colour, so that the nature of the rock is only
discoverable by breaking it, here advances close to the river, and is
crossed by a steep sinuous path, eked out by flights of steps, with
wooden supports, where it would otherwise be impracticable. The Indus
is here very narrow and deep, and runs with an extremely rapid
current. The path, after crossing this ridge, again descends to the
level of the river. Even in this narrow ravine I was surprised to find
the fine cream-coloured clay of the lacustrine formation, similar to
many of the beds of the same deposit round Iskardo. It was here quite
on a level with the river.

    [Sidenote: INDUS VALLEY.
     _December, 1847._]

The mountains rise on both sides of the Indus very abruptly, being
almost always precipitous. From the narrowness of the valley the great
elevation of these is not seen, and the lesser height of those on the
right bank of the Indus, which form the termination of the chain
separating that river from the Shayuk, is not brought prominently to
notice. For more than two miles, the ravine continues very narrow,
and several steep spurs are crossed. It then becomes gradually a
little wider, narrow platforms of conglomerate skirting the stream,
and changes its direction from nearly due south to south-east. The
right bank is stony and unproductive the whole way, but on the left
there is one small village, three miles from the junction of the
Shayuk, and thence after three miles of desert, a succession of small
villages continuing with little intermission on the surface of
alluvial platforms as far as Parkuta, at which I encamped. In one of
the villages a good many small juniper-trees were seen.

The lacustrine clay formation, though not continuous throughout the
whole of this day's march, may be traced in patches, with so little
interval that its former continuity cannot be doubted. The spots in
which I observed its presence in the narrow ravine were all close to
the river, the low level of the road not permitting an extended view
of the higher slopes of the mountains. Further up, however, patches
were in my subsequent April journey seen at considerable elevations,
but in December the slopes were covered with snow to within a thousand
feet of the river. In several places the clay formed cliffs, which
rose perpendicularly from the Indus, and could be seen to be covered
with modern alluvium deposited during floods, just as the ancient
rocks are in other places. The clay appeared everywhere extremely
fine, without any intermixture of sand or micaceous grains. I saw no
appearance of fossils, which I think never occur in the very fine
cream-coloured clays, but seem always to accompany more sandy, or at
least gritty varieties, as if the influx of a small stream, and
probably the proximity of land, were requisite to the existence of
testaceous mollusks; while the central part of the lake, in which the
very finest clays were deposited, was quite devoid of them.

    [Sidenote: PARKUTA.
     _December, 1847._]

Parkuta is a very large village, three or four hundred feet above the
river, occupying both slopes of a deep ravine cut in the thick mass of
alluvium by a large stream from the south. The alluvium is scarped
towards the Indus, and a low granitic hill, the cause of its
accumulation to such a height, just rises above the general surface of
the platform. This is covered with a mass of buildings, formerly the
residence of the Rajah of Parkuta, a branch of the same family who
ruled at Iskardo, and dependent on them while that state remained
independent; he has, however, been removed by the Sikhs, and his house
is at present untenanted. The village is large, with extensive
cultivation, and many fine fruit-trees. Vines are plentiful, climbing
over the poplars.

    [Sidenote: TOLTI.
     _December, 1847._]

On the 5th of December my day's journey carried me to Tolti, a
distance of twelve miles. The valley continued narrow, and the
mountains rose precipitously on both sides. On the early part of the
march there were many villages, and much cultivation on the left bank.
The village of Urdi, three or four miles from Parkuta, seemed very
populous, and extended for a great distance along the river. It was
remarkable for an aqueduct supported on pillars of stone, which
crossed a ravine immediately above the village. At this spot the
cultivation terminated abruptly, and the alluvial platform was for
more than a mile, during which space it gradually narrowed by the
encroachments of the cliffs, covered with an accumulation of very
large granitic boulders, which seemed to have fallen on it from the
mountains behind.

    [Sidenote: KARTASH.
     _December, 1847._]

As I approached Tolti the valley of the Indus became much more rugged
and narrow. A long gentle ascent to a ridge more than a thousand feet
above the bottom of the valley, but which dipped abruptly to the
river, occupied the latter part of the march. At Tolti the belt of
cultivation is very narrow, just skirting the river on very narrow
platforms of alluvium, which are irrigated by artificial canals
carried with considerable labour between the fields and the mountains.
Tolti was the most gloomy village which I had yet seen, the
precipitous mountains forming a circle all round it, and almost
shutting out the light of day. The bird's-nest fort in the ravine
behind the village, perched on the top of a rock (in a most untenable
position, though probably well suited for defence against sudden
attack), accorded well with the gloomy aspect of the place. The
temperature was here considerably lower than in the more open valley,
as large patches of snow lay still unmelted in the fields, though four
days had elapsed since its fall. At Gol, two days before, it had quite
melted. On a bank a mile or two below Tolti, I saw a few trees of
_Populus Euphratica_, just recognizable by a few withered leaves which
still remained on the tree.

From Tolti, I made three marches to Tarkata, a small village on the
Indus, six miles below its junction with the river of Dras. The
general aspect of the valley of the Indus was but little changed in
this distance, notwithstanding a very long and remarkable bend of the
river above Kartash, in which its direction is to the eastward of
north. From Tolti, the easiest road in an upward direction crosses the
Indus, and proceeds on the right bank; but to avoid the labour of
crossing, I suppose, my guides conducted me by a road on the left
bank. On this side, the lower part of the valley is so steep as to be
impracticable; and I found it necessary to ascend at once from Tolti
on a stony ridge, almost directly away from the river. The ascent was
long and fatiguing; the ridge being capped, in the same manner as that
above Kunes on the Shayuk, with masses of alluvium. The ridge was more
than 1500 feet above the river, and its upper part was covered with
snow, through which the path lay for four or five miles, after which
it descended very abruptly to the river, which had been in sight
almost all the way, generally running among precipitous rocks, but
with a few villages scattered at intervals on the northern bank. After
regaining the bank of the river, the road was for five or six miles
nearly level, passing opposite the village of Kartash, with a fort on
a hill. Here still resides the Rajah Ali Sher Khan, the most
intelligent of the princes of Balti; though now past the prime of
life, he still retains the intelligence and kind hospitality for which
he is so deservedly praised by Vigne.

    [Sidenote: INDUS VALLEY.
     _December, 1847._]

Kartash being situated at the northern or lower end of the great bend
of the Indus, and in an extremely narrow part of the ravine, is a most
sombre-looking place. It is possible, however, that in summer, when
the villages are green with cultivation and fruit-trees, the
appearance of this and other places may be less gloomy, and that, from
having only seen this part of Tibet in the depth of winter, I may be
disposed to regard it in too unfavourable a point of view. The abrupt
and precipitous rise of the mountains on all sides must undoubtedly
tend strongly to modify the summer temperature, which, from the want
of rain, and the reflection from masses of bare rock, would otherwise
be oppressive. The fort seems to have some good buildings, and to be
kept in excellent order, and the village looked extensive and

All along the narrow ravine, from Tolti nearly as far as Tarkata,
deposits of alluvium were very extensively developed, not only in the
valley of the river, but at considerable heights on the ridges. There
was, however, I believe, none of the lacustrine clay, as
contradistinguished from the coarser alluvium. I speak here with
considerable hesitation, as I find with regret that I have not in my
notes attended with sufficient care to the distinction between the
two, not having at the time sufficiently adverted to their probably
different origin. I am now disposed to think that in the narrow ravine
above Tolti was situated the barrier which bounded on the east the
lake basin of Iskardo, a vast inland sea, which must have extended
thence in a north-westerly direction as far as Rondu. This barrier, if
my supposition be correct, must have consisted of a mass of coarse
drift or alluvium, entirely blocking up the narrow ravine to a height
of three thousand feet or more above the present level of the Indus.

The mountains all along this ravine are extremely elevated, the peaks
above Kartash (from which a pass leads to Khapalu on the Shayuk)
being, I should think, not less than 18,000 feet. The bareness and
desolation of their sides exceeded anything I had seen since leaving
Iskardo, and quite equalled the most rugged parts of Tibet which I had
yet visited. They consisted of large masses of rock, split and
fractured in every direction, often very precipitous, without a
vestige of soil, and with scarcely the slightest traces of vegetation.
Immense tracts, both along the river and on the slopes of the ravines
descending from the mountains, were covered with boulders or with
angular fragments of rock, strewed irregularly on the surface, or
piled in masses one on another. Granite formed the great mass of the
mountains, mixed with stratified rocks, which were always highly
metamorphic, but extremely variable in appearance, sometimes, though
rarely, having the appearance of ordinary gneiss. A singular
porphyritic rock appeared (as boulders) along the river in one place

About two miles west of Tarkata, the Indus resumes its more usual
direction, and, at the same time, its valley becomes somewhat more
open, the mountains, without any diminution of elevation, receding
considerably from the river. Their lower slopes present a very
different aspect from those in other parts of the Indus, being
composed not of primitive rock, but of a soft and almost incoherent
sandstone, alternating irregularly and without any definite order with
boulder conglomerate, and fine clay. These beds, which are very
extensively developed on both sides of the river, around the village
of Tarkata, for some distance in both directions, attain a thickness
of at least six or seven hundred feet. They are, however, very
irregular, forming a succession of ridges separated by deep ravines or
gullies, on the sides of which fine sections of the strata are
generally exposed, showing them to be uniformly horizontal, and to
consist of a great many alternations of sand, clay, and drift. Above
Tarkata, very fine clays were abundant.

     _December, 1847._]

The sandstone, of which a greater part of these curious deposits
consists, is formed principally of coarse grains of quartz, which only
cohere very slightly, and easily crumble under pressure. It is quite
similar in appearance to the sandstone which occurs on the summit of
the rock of Iskardo, differing only in being very much more
extensively developed than that is, and in being associated and
alternating with the very fine clays resembling those which occupy the
lower levels of the valley of Iskardo. The sandstones of Tarkata did
not appear to be fossiliferous, nor did I, in the slight examination I
was able to give them, discover any shells in the fine clays in this
neighbourhood. The general similarity, however, of these deposits to
the lacustrine clays of the Iskardo valley, makes it nearly certain
that their origin is similar, while the association of the sandstones
and the fine clays in the neighbourhood of Tarkata, renders it
probable that I am right in assuming the arenaceous beds of the summit
of the rock of Iskardo to be lacustrine.

    [Sidenote: FLOATING ICE.
     _December, 1847._]

Ever since leaving Iskardo, the weather had been very unsettled, but
no more snow had fallen. The sky had been pretty generally overcast
with light clouds, and during the day the wind had almost invariably
blown down the river, generally with great violence, and, especially
in the narrowest parts of the valley, in furious gusts, against which
it was most laborious to make any progress. The mornings had been
always frosty, but the temperature rose in the middle of the day
several degrees above 32°. On the 8th of December, a sudden increase
of cold seemed to take place, the temperature not rising above the
freezing-point. Large cakes of ice, which appeared early on the
morning of that day, floating down the river, indicated an evident
commencement of very severe weather in the upper part of its course,
and the descent of such masses of ice, in cakes of from one to ten
feet in diameter, tended very much to lower the temperature of all
parts of the river to which they extended. The elevation of Tarkata I
found to be 7800 feet above the sea.

The road from Iskardo to Kashmir leaves the valley of the Indus at the
junction of the river of Dras, and follows the course of that river
almost to its source. The lower part of the valley of Dras is a deep
and narrow rocky ravine, bordered by precipices of granite, which are
so steep that the bottom of the valley is quite inaccessible. In
passing from the Indus into the valley of Dras, the road crosses the
granitic spur which separates the two rivers, at an elevation of about
2000 feet above the Indus, ascending to this height very rapidly along
a steep spur, which recedes almost in a perpendicular direction from
that river. From the shoulder of this ridge, which was elevated
probably about 10,000 feet, the course of the Indus was visible for
some distance above the junction of the river of Dras. It appeared to
be hemmed in very closely by rocky mountain spurs. A good many patches
of fine lacustrine clay were in sight, on both banks.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF DRAS.
     _December, 1847._]

From the same ridge, the view up the Dras valley was very remarkable.
The river of that name, which formed many deep pools and was partially
frozen, ran at the bottom of a deep gorge. On the right bank opposite
to where I stood, a sheer precipice rose nearly to a level with my
eye. Between the ridge on which I stood and the next in succession up
the Dras valley, an open and shallow valley, everywhere strewed with
enormous blocks of granite, sloped gently till it approached the brink
of the almost perpendicular cliffs which overhang the Dras river.
Crossing this open valley, and the low spur beyond it, I encamped at a
small village called Ulding Thung, situated at the point of junction
of the Dras river, with a considerable tributary descending from the

This little village occupies the gentle slope of a hill-side, but I
encamped at the lowest part of it, which was a small level plain
surrounded by a number of giant boulders, resting on the upper edge of
a very steep slope, and evidently, I think, of glacial origin. They
were quite angular, and not less than from twenty to thirty feet in

On the slope of the hill above my encampment at Ulding, the lacustrine
clay formation again occurred in great quantity. It was a very fine
impalpable clay, without fossils, and was here (as is not uncommon
elsewhere) dug out by the inhabitants for the purpose of extracting
its salt, which is obtained in a state of brine by simply washing the
clay with water. The elevation of this clay formation was probably a
good deal more than 8500 feet, but not greater than that of many of
the hills and patches of similar deposit around Tarkata in the valley
of the Indus.

At daybreak on the morning of the 18th of December I found that
between three and four inches of snow had fallen during the night. It
had ceased snowing at that time; and during the day, which was stormy
and often very cloudy, no more fell. There was a good deal of thaw
during the day, and towards evening the snow, except in sheltered
spots, was nearly melted. My day's journey was about ten miles, to the
village of Hardas, on the left bank of the Dras river; passing about
two miles before the end of the march the river of Kargyl or Pashkyum,
a very large stream which descends from the south-east. During the
earlier part of this day, the road was extremely bad. It descended
from Ulding abruptly to the level of the Dras river, to cross at its
point of junction a large tributary whose source is in the eastern
slopes of Deotsu. A succession of steep ascents and descents followed
for four or five miles, throughout which distance the ravine through
which the river ran was narrow and precipitous and quite without
villages. Further up, the valley widened a little, the mountains rose
less steeply, and left narrow strips of level ground along the margin
of the stream.

    [Sidenote: SNOW STORM.
     _December, 1847._]

Very early on the morning of the 11th of December, it began again to
snow, and continued with little intermission throughout the day. I
marched ten miles to Karbu, crossing the river three miles above
Hardas, and keeping on the right bank during the remainder of the day.
I could see that the valley was wider than the day before, but the
incessant snow made the appearance of the country undistinguishable.
The margins of the stream were occasionally fringed with bushes of
poplar and willow. Karbu is a village high up a steep lateral valley,
with scattered groves of juniper on the sides of the hills above the
cultivation. By evening the depth of snow was about fifteen inches.

On the 12th of December, after marching five miles through a heavy
fall of snow to the village of Tashgang, crossing the river by a
wooden bridge close to the village, a violent storm of wind and
snow-drift, blowing directly down the valley, compelled me to halt for
the night. The snow-storm continued till about eight P.M., when the
weather cleared, and the night was clear and starlight. Next morning,
the weather continuing fine, I was able to proceed to Dras. The depth
of snow had increased to about two feet; and the labour of progressing
through this depth of untrodden snow was much increased by the
shortness of the steps of the porters, treading exactly after one
another, so as to form pits in the snow, not more than a foot apart,
and alternately on the right and left.

    [Sidenote: DRAS.
     _December, 1847._]

I reached the Sikh fort at Dras, which was distant eleven miles, about
two o'clock; the road was pretty level and the valley open, with low
hills on either hand. The depth of snow increased as I advanced, and
was three feet in the plain round the fort. Here I was greeted by the
most unwelcome tidings, that my advance so far was fruitless, the pass
in front being blocked up with snow. For this I was quite unprepared,
having been led to believe that the road to Kashmir in this direction
was always open, and no hint having been given me at Iskardo that my
delay there might in the least prevent my reaching Kashmir. The heavy
snow-fall of the last three or four days seemed to have been something
quite unusual; and it had accumulated, as I was told, on the pass to a
depth which quite precluded all possibility of a passage for many days
to come.

Notwithstanding all these assurances, I should certainly have tried to
advance at least as far as Maten, had I not found at Dras one of the
principal inhabitants of Kargyl, who had returned the day before from
that place, after attempting in the morning to advance towards the
pass, which is ten miles further on, and being stopped by finding the
snow ten and twelve feet deep, and quite soft. After the assurances of
this traveller, I should not have been justified in taking so many
porters across the pass, supposing them to have acceded to my wishes
to make the attempt; I therefore very reluctantly gave up the idea of

It then became a question what I should do. It might and would
probably be many weeks before the pass would be practicable for loaded
men. To have remained at Dras so long would have been impossible. The
demands of my party for fuel were found very difficult to supply, even
for a day, the faggots of brushwood, which alone are there available,
being soon consumed, and, therefore, unwillingly parted with; I
therefore resolved to return to Iskardo, and remain there till the
return of spring should enable me to resume my travels, and to visit
the district further down the Indus, before crossing into Kashmir.

     _December, 1847._]

My return journey, being from a severe to a milder climate, was
sufficiently agreeable. At first a succession of bright and clear days
reduced the temperature very much. The thermometer fell to zero in the
mornings, and the frost throughout the day was intense. I was no
longer able to inhabit my tent, which I had continued to occupy up to
the period of my arrival at Dras, where, in the Sikh fort, I found,
rather to my surprise, a room, with a fire-place and chimney, allotted
for my accommodation by the kindness of the commandant. In descending
again towards the Indus, I took shelter in the villages, occupying, if
possible, a cow-house in preference to one used by the inhabitants.
The houses are generally built of waterworn stones, without cement,
but plastered with mud outside and inside. The roofs are flat; the
rafters are unsawn trees or branches of poplar, covered with willow
twigs, over which is laid a thick coating of mud. A hole in the centre
of the roof serves for a chimney, the fire being made in the centre of
the floor. In some of the poorer villages the houses were less
elaborate, consisting merely of wattle-work of willow twigs, covered
with a thin coating of clay.

     _December, 1847._]

In the open plain below Dras I observed many withered stems of
_Prangos_, the celebrated Umbelliferous plant so much valued by the
inhabitants of Dras as a food for their sheep, still bearing ripe
seeds. Juniper, too, was common, even along the bank of the stream.
As I descended the river, I found that a very few days had made a
great change in the temperature. The river was everywhere hard frozen,
and all the little streams which ran down the mountain-sides were
coated with a thick shell of ice. More than once I saw a waterfall
with a covering, perhaps a yard in thickness, of clear blue ice, under
which the little streamlet could be distinctly seen. At Ulding, though
the cold was severe, I found the ground partially free of snow, so
that the amount of fall, at that distance from the central chain of
mountains, had been quite insignificant.

On the 19th of December, on which day I regained the valley of the
Indus, it was again snowing heavily, after an interval of exactly
seven days. The river was now entirely frozen over, and so solid, that
one of my servants, a native of India, losing his way in the
snow-storm, instead of turning to the left on arriving at the Indus,
walked across the river to a village on the right bank, without being
aware that he had quitted the proper road.

Instead of keeping the left bank of the river, as I had done in my
upward course, I crossed it on the ice about three or four miles above
the village of Kartash, or Karmang, as it is also called, and kept on
the north side till within a mile of Tolti. About two miles below
Kartash, there are a succession of rapids in the stream, which extend,
without much intermission, considerably more than a mile, and must
produce a very considerable change in the elevation of its bed. The
river was nowhere frozen between Kartash and Tolti, the stream being
too rapid to freeze readily. In crossing to the left bank I made use
of a raft of skins, which consisted of a light frame-work of willow
rods, six feet square, resting on about a dozen inflated sheep or goat
skins. This flimsy contrivance just floated on the water when loaded
with three or four people.

    [Sidenote: ROPE BRIDGES.
     _December, 1847._]

At Tolti and at Karmang are the only rope-bridges which I saw on the
Indus, above Iskardo. The cables used in their construction are here
made of willow twigs, twisted into a thick rope. Seven such ropes on
each side are combined to form the parallel lateral cables, about a
yard apart, from which the road way of the bridge is suspended. These
bridges are perfectly safe, though, from their open structure, rather
formidable to those who are not accustomed to use them. The principle
on which they are made is the same as one which is in use in all the
hill provinces of India, from the Khasya mountains and Butan, as far
west as the Indus; but the material differs with each particular
locality, cane being used in the most eastern parts, rope (often of
grass or _Eriophorum_) in the Western Himalaya; and in Tibet, where
even that material is not available, willow twigs are employed as a

In many parts of the Indus valley, even in the most rugged and
desolate spots, I noticed, occasionally, trees of the _Elæagnus_ and
of apricot, growing in rocky places along the river, where it was very
evident that they had never been planted. The _Elæagnus_ is always
conspicuous, even in mid-winter, in consequence of the withered leaves
remaining attached to the tree instead of falling at the end of
autumn. Occasionally, no doubt, the occurrence of these trees was due
to the former existence of villages in the vicinity of the places in
which they were observed, but they also seemed sometimes to occur in
places where no cultivation could ever have existed. Their occurrence,
however, must, I think, be considered purely accidental: they were too
few in number to be regarded as really indigenous; nor is it
surprising that these trees, which are so extensively cultivated round
all the villages of Baltistan, and so universally used as food by the
inhabitants, should occasionally vegetate at a great distance from
their usual place of growth.

    [Sidenote: WINTER AT ISKARDO.
     _December, 1847._]

I reached Iskardo on the evening of the 25th of December, and
succeeded, without difficulty, in hiring a house sufficiently large to
accommodate all my party. As I remained stationary at this place for
two months, I was able to make some observations of the thermometer,
and to watch the state of the weather during the whole of that period.
The elevation of Iskardo above the level of the sea is about 7200
feet. Winter may be said to have commenced on the 28th of November, on
which day the first snow fell. From that date, falls of snow recurred
constantly at intervals, which varied from two or three days to a
week. The earlier falls were very slight, not more than an inch or two
in depth, but the quantity gradually increased, until each fall was
from four to six inches. The entire depth of the snow in the middle of
February, beyond which time the fresh falls were insignificant, was
from fifteen to eighteen inches.

After each fall of snow, the weather usually became bright and calm,
with a serene cloudless sky. The sun shone out brightly, and was
agreeably warm to the feel, while the temperature of the air rose
nearly to, or a little above, the freezing-point. In the earlier part
of the winter, the snow melted rapidly, and the ground in the open
valley was generally nearly free of it before the next fall. After the
beginning of January, however, the cold increased, and the snow lay
permanently, except on the most sunny slopes. The sun seemed to have
much less power, and little thaw took place except on rocks and beaten
paths. The diminution in the quantity of snow by evaporation was often

The greatest cold which was registered at Iskardo was at daybreak on
the 8th of February, when Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at half a
degree above zero. The mean temperature at sunrise during the whole
winter was 19½°, and that at two P.M. 33¾°. The mean temperature
during the period from the 28th of December to the 31st of January was
27½°, and from the 1st to the 24th of February 25¾°. The increase of
cold was principally by the depression of the night temperature, the
mean highest temperature being within a fraction of a degree the same
during both periods.

On the first or second day of clear weather after a fall of snow, the
temperature in the morning was often very low, with abundant
hoar-frost, which, except at such times, was not seen at all. The
surface of the plain was covered with a dense fog, which remained till
nearly noon before the sun was able to dispel it. On the second or
third day the sky would become hazy, the sun being partly obscured by
a thin stratum of cloud at a great elevation. During the continuance
of this haze, the temperature was always more elevated than when the
sky was clear. The hazy weather was once or twice dissipated by
violent winds, without any fall of snow on the open plain; but more
generally it increased gradually, till the sky was completely and
densely overcast, and snow began again to fall, perhaps most
frequently during the night.

During the greater part of the winter the snow was invariably in
extremely minute grains. It was not till the latter part of February,
when spring was rapidly approaching, that large flakes fell. I more
than once observed the phenomenon of small quantities of extremely
fine-grained snow falling when the sky was quite clear, and the air at
the surface of the earth quite motionless. During clear weather very
little thaw took place, the cold produced by radiation appearing to
counteract the sun's action; at the same time the snow diminished
rapidly by evaporation, which was not the case when the sky was

The fall of snow was evidently much less considerable in the open
plain than on the mountains round Iskardo. During the heavier falls,
the snow on the steep mountain slopes often slipped downwards. It was
but rarely that these avalanches were visible, but the noise of the
snow in motion was heard like distant thunder, often many times a day,
and the bare spots which it had left could be seen after the
snow-storm had ceased. When the weather was settled, the wind was in
general very gentle, and blew up the valley of the Indus; during
snow-storms it was usually violent, and very irregular in direction.
The storms came mostly from the south-west, a moisture-bringing upper
current of air from that direction being condensed by the dry and cold
north wind.

My collections had accumulated to such an extent, and got into such
confusion, during five months of almost incessant travelling, that I
was very glad to have an opportunity of devoting some time to their
arrangement, and found, without difficulty, occupation for all my time
during two months of rest. The snow was never so deep as to prevent me
from taking regular exercise, so that I was soon familiar with all the
roads in the neighbourhood of the town, and examined the cliffs of
clay in every direction in search of fossils, without discovering (as
I had some hopes of doing) any mammalian remains. The communication
with Le was open all winter; I was therefore able to correspond with
Captain Strachey, who, after examining the course of the Indus from
the Chinese boundary downwards, was spending the winter there. By his
assistance I succeeded in replenishing my store of tea and sugar, both
of which were exhausted. The sugar which I procured from Le was very
good, and the brick tea, though not superexcellent in quality, was, in
the absence of better, quite good enough for use. Other supplies I had
no difficulty in procuring at Iskardo, sheep and flour being abundant.
The wood supplied for fuel was almost entirely _Elæagnus_, no wild
timber occurring in the country.

The Thannadar of Iskardo, who is the deputy of Maharajah Gulab Singh
of Kashmir, is the governor of all Balti, but he rules by means of
native Mahommedan chiefs or rajahs. In some instances, where no
opposition was made to the Sikh invasion, the former ruler was
allowed to retain his position; in other cases a change was made. At
Iskardo, Mahommed Shah, the present Rajah, had been an exile in
Kashmir, from being on bad terms with his father. He is a feeble and
sickly young man, without the energy of his father, M. Vigne's host in
Iskardo. The inhabitants of Balti, though Tibetan in language and
appearance, are all Mahommedans, and differ from the more eastern
Tibetans of Le (who call themselves Bhotias, or inhabitants of Bhot)
by being taller and less stoutly made. Their language, I am told,
differs considerably from that of Le, but only as one dialect differs
from another.


     Leave Iskardo for Rondu -- Insurrection in Gilgit -- Koardu --
     Kamar -- Enter narrow part of Indus valley -- Difficult road --
     Range of mountains south of Indus -- Description of Rondu --
     Thawar -- Avalanches -- Alluvium -- Swing bridge -- Villages --
     Juniper -- _Pinus excelsa_ -- Rocks -- Vegetation -- Return to
     Iskardo -- Agriculture of Balti -- Game of Chaugan -- Chakor
     hunting -- Shigar valley -- Journey towards Kashmir -- Dras
     valley -- Karbu -- Dras fort -- Maten -- Cross pass into
     Kashmir -- Baltal -- Valley of Sind river -- Sonamarg --
     Gagangir -- Gond -- Gangan -- Ganderbal -- Enter main valley of
     Kashmir -- Town of Kashmir -- Description of Kashmir --
     Lacustrine formation -- Trap hills -- Lake -- Climate --

It was not till the 25th of February that the approach of spring was
sufficiently decided to permit me to make a move with any chance of
fair weather. On that day I started from Iskardo, with the intention
of making eight or ten days' journey down the Indus in the direction
of Rondu. The district of Rondu may be understood to comprise the
whole of the narrow part of the Indus valley, from the western end of
the Iskardo plain to the great bend of that river, where it assumes a
southerly direction. It is only during the winter season that the
route along the valley of the Indus is much frequented, as it is quite
impracticable for horses, and so very bad even for travellers on foot,
that the road over the passes towards Hasora is always preferred in
summer. At the season of my journey I had no option, the passes being
still covered with heavy snow.

    [Sidenote: KOARDU.
     _February, 1848._]

Unfortunately for my objects, the inhabitants of Gilgit had since the
beginning of winter been in a state of open insurrection, and had
besieged the garrison placed by Gulab Singh in one of the forts of the
valley. Attempts had been made by the Thannadar of Iskardo to send a
force to their relief, but the garrison of that place was too weak to
enable him to detach more than a very small portion of it; and the
forced levies of Balti men, collected in all the districts of the
country, had evidently no desire to fight against the more active
inhabitants of Gilgit and the robber tribes of the higher valleys of
Hunza and Nagyr. Large parties of fifty and a hundred were continually
arriving during the winter at Iskardo, and were as soon as possible
despatched towards the disturbed country; but the greater number of
them, I was told, managed to desert, and to return to their villages,
or to hiding-places elsewhere, long before the detachment arrived at
the end of its journey.

Crossing the Indus in the ferry-boat, a little below the rock of
Iskardo, my road lay along the north bank of the river, through
extensive tracts of cultivation. There was much less snow on the
surface of the fields in the village of Koardu, the first through
which I passed on the north bank, than in the town of Iskardo, owing
to the more favourable exposure. The villagers were busy sprinkling a
thin layer of earth over the snow to hasten its melting. This village,
which is about five miles distant from Iskardo, is backed by very high
masses of clay conglomerate and clay, forming very irregular, often
precipitous banks, resting on the ancient rocks behind. From Iskardo
these beds are very conspicuous, but in the village itself only a very
small portion can be seen at a time.

    [Sidenote: KAMAR.
     _February, 1848._]

West of Koardu, a ridge of mica-slate, containing abundance of
garnets, advances close to the river, which here runs on the northern
side of the valley. The road up the valley skirts the base of this
projecting spur, and then passes over level platforms for about four
miles. The level tracts were still covered with snow, but in rocky
places, and on all slopes facing the south, the ground was quite bare.
Four miles from Koardu I passed the very large village of Kamar, the
fields rising in terraces one behind another on a steeply sloping
platform, which skirts the plain for nearly two miles. Behind the
village, the same system of conglomerate and clay-beds, as at Koardu,
rises in steep banks.

About a mile beyond Kamar, which is the last village on the north side
of the Iskardo plain, the valley of the Indus contracts very suddenly,
the mountains closing in upon the river. The beds of lacustrine clay
extend without any diminution to the end of the open valley, and are
covered, when close to the mountains, by numerous boulders of all
sizes, many of which are of great dimensions. The fine clay at the
termination of the open plain appears to underlie a great mass of
boulder conglomerate, which is continued into the narrow part of the
river valley.

    [Sidenote: ENTRANCE OF RONDU.
     _February, 1848._]

Where the river passes from the open plain into the narrow ravine, the
inclination of its bed seems increased, and the rapidity of its
motion becomes much greater. This result is quite in accordance with
what has been observed in the Nubra and Khapalu plains. Indeed, narrow
valleys are so generally steeply sloping, and wide valleys so
generally nearly level, that it can scarcely be doubted that the
inclination of the surface is in some way connected with the width or
amount of excavation of the valley.

For a mile or two beyond the end of the Iskardo plain, the mountains
are sufficiently far apart to allow of the interposition of a narrow
platform of conglomerate, over which the road runs. Soon, however,
even this disappears, and thenceforward, as far as I went, the Indus
runs through a narrow ravine of very uniform character. The mountains
on both sides of the river are extremely steep, and, so far as I could
judge at so early a season, almost uniformly rocky and precipitous. At
distant intervals a small platform of alluvium is interposed between
the cliffs and the river, but much more frequently precipices directly
overhang the stream, or steep bare rocks, only not absolutely
precipitous, rise from its margin. It is but seldom that the stony bed
of the river or the alluvial platforms overhanging it, afford a level
road for a few hundred yards at a time. In general the path
continually ascends and descends over each successive ridge; the
elevation to which it is required to ascend to find a practicable
passage, varying from a few hundred to several thousand feet above the
bottom of the valley. In at least eight or ten places between Iskardo
and Rondu, the path ascends or descends by means of ladders placed
against the face of a perpendicular wall of rock, or crosses fissures
in the cliffs by planks laid horizontally over them. This road is
therefore quite impracticable for beasts of burden or horses, and is
never used except in winter, when no other route is open to the

    [Sidenote: INDUS VALLEY.
     _February, 1848._]

As the road lies altogether on the north or right bank of the Indus,
the elevation and appearance of the mountains on that side cannot well
be seen. This range separates the Indus valley from that of Shigar,
which is in no part of Rondu more than twenty-five miles distant, and
is crossed in several places by passes at the head of the larger
ravines. These passes being still blocked up with snow, I could not
cross them, nor ascertain their elevation, which is perhaps nowhere
less than fourteen or fifteen thousand feet, except at the very
eastern extremity of the ridge.

From the higher parts of the road, where it attained an elevation of
eight and nine thousand feet, the mountain ranges on the south of the
Indus could be well seen. They were covered with snow from base to
summit, and in general rose so very abruptly, that the nearer spurs
completely concealed from view the main range, except when a more open
valley than usual permitted the view to extend backwards. Occasionally
very lofty peaks were seen, which appeared to attain a height of at
least eighteen or twenty thousand feet; but, as the whole landscape
was covered with snow, distances could not be estimated with any
accuracy. As the ridge to the south of the Indus keeps very close to
the river, it is probable that the highest summits seen in that
direction were situated beyond the valley of Hasora.

    [Sidenote: VILLAGES OF RONDU.
     _February, 1848._]

The villages of Rondu are not numerous, and are of very small extent;
still every available spot seems to be occupied by a small patch of
cultivation. The platforms are generally high above the river. In the
lower part of the district, where the lateral ravines are of greater
length, they open out above the very steep slope, by which they
debouche into the Indus, into gently sloping open valleys. The
villages of Thawar and Murdu, being situated in these open valleys,
are much more extensive than any of those close to the Indus. The fort
of Rondu is on the left bank of the river, on a platform perhaps two
hundred feet above its level, nearly opposite the end of the Thawar
valley, and not far from the termination of a valley which descends
from the southern mountains, along which there is a road across a pass
to Hasora.

From Iskardo to Thawar, a large village in a lateral ravine on the
north side of the Indus, almost opposite to the fort of Rondu, the
road distance is about forty miles. As five days were employed in
traversing this distance, the average day's journey was only eight
miles; and yet, from the difficult nature of the road, all the marches
appeared long, and were felt to be very fatiguing. A great part of the
road being at an elevation much more considerable than that the
Iskardo plain, I met with much snow on all the higher parts of the
mountains. In the valley of the Indus thaw made rapid progress, and by
the beginning of March, in favourable exposures, there was no snow
below 8000 feet.

    [Sidenote: AVALANCHES.
     _March, 1848._]

The progress of the thaw occasioned constant avalanches, the snow
slipping from the steep sides of the ravines, and when once in
motion, advancing with constantly increasing momentum till it reached
the lowest level. All day long the mountains echoed with the sound of
falling snow; the avalanches were not often visible, as they took
place in the ravines, but now and then (where the ravines terminated
in precipices) they were seen pouring in cataracts of snow over the
face of the cliffs. In each large ravine which joined the Indus I
found one of these gigantic avalanches, and was enabled to see that
they were composed of a congeries of balls of snow, varying in
diameter from one to six feet, and often containing fragments of rock
in their centre. Many of these snow-streams were not less than forty
or fifty feet thick. At the level of the Indus they were now very
soft, and evidently thawing rapidly.

In many parts of Rondu are to be seen very distinct indications of the
boulder conglomerate, by which the ravine was _perhaps_ at one period
entirely filled; though from the very steep slopes of the mountains in
most places, there is not often a resting-place for it. The platforms
on which the villages are built are all formed of this alluvium, and
are often covered with transported blocks of vast size. Between Siri
and Baicha I saw several which were not less than sixty feet in
length. In the upper part of the valley of Thawar, which is more level
than the ravines higher up the Indus, a great accumulation of clay and
boulders is seen attaining a height of at least 8000 feet above the
level of the sea, as it forms hills a thousand feet above the village,
which is at least as much above the Indus.

The valley in which the village of Thawar is situated slopes gently
towards the Indus till near its termination, when it descends
extremely abruptly down a very steep inclined bank of boulders, which
appears to block up the whole of the end of the valley. The slope of
this steep bank was so great that it was only possible to descend by a
very devious route. Between the lower part of the cultivation and the
commencement of the steep slope, the valley was very irregular, and
filled with heaps of boulders, forming long low hills. The appearance
of the mass of debris in this valley was very remarkable, and had much
the appearance of an old moraine deposited by a glacier, which had
extended as far as the end of the present cultivation, and had shot
forward the boulders by which it had been covered into the abyss

    [Sidenote: BRIDGE OF RONDU.
     _March, 1848._]

The Indus is crossed by a swing-bridge of willow twigs, which leads
from the villages on the north bank to the fort of Rondu. From Thawar
I descended to this bridge, in order to ascertain the boiling-point of
water, so as to get an approximation to the elevation of the bed of
the river. It is thrown across a remarkably contracted part of the
river, where it flows between perpendicular rocks rising several
hundred feet out of the water, and the path by which the bridge is
reached from Thawar descends the scarped face of the precipice by a
succession of ladders.

From the boiling-point of water I estimated the elevation of the
bridge, which was more than a hundred feet above the river, at 6200
feet. This would indicate a fall of about 1000 feet since leaving
Iskardo, or, as the river flows very tranquilly till it leaves the
Iskardo plain, from the commencement of Rondu, a distance by the road
of twenty-nine miles, but not, I should think, more than twenty along
the course of the river, as the road winds very much in crossing
ridges. This is equivalent to a fall of about fifty feet per mile,
which, for a stream discharging so vast a volume of water, is very
considerable indeed, but not more than is indicated by the general
turbulent course of the river.

    [Sidenote: CULTIVATED TREES.
     _March, 1848._]

The villages of Rondu, though mostly small, have abundance of
fruit-trees. The apricot is still the commonest of these; but there
are also many fine walnuts, and plenty of vines climbing up the trees,
and remarkable for the great size of their trunks. Willows are very
common, and two kinds of poplar, and now and then there occurs a
plane-tree of enormous girth and stature, which must, no doubt, afford
a most welcome shade from the rays of the too-powerful sun of summer,
the heat of which, in so deep and rocky a ravine, must be very
oppressive. The willow and poplar had already begun to show signs of
vitality, the flower-buds being almost ready to expand; the other
trees seemed still quite inert.

All over the hills of Rondu the juniper[16] is rather common, and
seemingly quite at home both on the higher ridges, and in the bottom
of the ravine close to the river. It forms generally a low bush, but
occasionally I saw small trees, and once, in a level tract close to
the river and near a village, a considerable tree perhaps forty feet
high. The young plants had made considerable shoots, and were covered
with longish acicular patent leaves, very different from the short
adpressed scaly leaves of the adult plant.

    [Sidenote: PINE TREES.
     _March, 1848._]

Rondu is remarkable for producing another Coniferous tree, indeed a
true pine, namely, _Pinus excelsa_, which occurs in small groves in
several places on the south side of the river, at elevations from
eight to ten thousand feet above the sea. It was first observed
opposite the village of Siri, but is more plentiful above the fort of
Rondu. One or two trees occur close to the river, and on the north
side, so that I was enabled to get specimens and ascertain the
species. The occurrence of this tree must be considered to indicate a
greater degree of humidity than exists in the upper parts of the Indus
valley, so that Rondu is the place of transition between the Tibetan
climate and that of the eastern Punjab, into which the Indus passes at
its point of exit from the mountains.

The mountains of Rondu contain much granite, which occurs in great
mass at the bridge opposite the fort. In this place the granite
occupies the lower part of the ravine, close to the river, while the
higher parts of the mountains are composed of gneiss or clay-slate,
sometimes passing into sandstone, or of a highly crystalline magnesian
rock. The granite consists chiefly of quartz and mica, the former, as
well as the felspar, white, the mica black and highly crystalline.
The stratified rocks are always highly metamorphic, and are shattered
and dislocated by the intrusion of the granite to a very great extent.

    [Sidenote: LOWER PART OF RONDU.
     _March, 1848._]

Below Thawar and the fort of Rondu, the valley of the Indus continues
extremely narrow and difficult, and ceases to be inhabited at the
village and fortified post of Tok, at which place a few soldiers are
stationed, to keep up the communication with Gilgit, and to give
notice of any incursions from that side. Thence, as far as the
mountain range which bounds the Gilgit valley on the east, the valley
is said to be quite desert. The disturbed state of Gilgit had made me
abandon my original intention of continuing my journey in that
direction; I therefore made only one march to the westward of Thawar,
and found the ravine, along which the river flowed, so barren and
uninteresting, that I did not consider it necessary to visit Tok, but
retraced my steps towards Iskardo, which I reached on the 11th of

     _March, 1848._]

I should have been glad to have had an opportunity of observing the
nature of the vegetation of the valley of Rondu, but the season of the
year was unfortunately not favourable for that purpose. The cultivated
plants were not different from those of Iskardo, and much of the
shrubby vegetation was the same as that common higher up the Indus. An
ash, of which the flowers were just expanded, but which was still
quite leafless, appeared a novelty; but it was probably the same
species which I had already collected in Kunawar and Piti. The only
subtropical plants of which I saw any traces, were _Linaria_
_ramosissima_, a shrubby _Plectranthus_, now leafless, but which I
guessed to be _P. rugosus_, and some withered stems of tall reedy
grasses, species of _Saccharum_ and _Erianthus_. In summer, no doubt,
many more would have occurred, and a complete list of the plants of
Rondu would be of very great interest, as illustrative of the
connection between the alpine flora of Ladak, which passes into that
of Siberia, and the vegetation of the mountains of Affghanistan, the
plants of which are in a great measure the same as those of Persia and
Asia Minor. There is also a transition through this country, down the
valley of the Indus, to a third flora, that of the hot dry plains of
the Punjab and of Sind, which extends with little variation along the
littoral districts of Beluchistan and Persia, into Arabia and Egypt.

On my return to Iskardo, I found the plain almost free from snow, a
little only remaining on banks facing the north. The mountains on the
south side of the valley were, however, still snow-clad to the very
base, and the fruit-trees had scarcely begun to show any signs of
vegetation. Along the watercourses there was more appearance of
spring; a little gentian and _Hutchinsia_ were already in flower, and
most of the spring plants had begun to grow rapidly.

     _March, 1848._]

The return of spring set the whole population of the district to work
in their fields; and both in Rondu and in the neighbourhood of
Iskardo, I had an opportunity of seeing the mode in which the
processes of agriculture are carried on. As soon as the ground is
clear of snow, the manure, which has been accumulated during the
preceding year, consisting of the contents of the cowhouse and
stable, mixed with every sort of refuse, is carried in small baskets
to the fields, on which it is deposited in small heaps. It is then
spread uniformly over the surface by hand. Occasionally the field has
had a previous ploughing, but it is more usually just in the state in
which it had been left after the harvesting of the previous crop.

After the manure has been spread, it is ploughed into the land. The
plough is usually drawn by a pair of bullocks, and is formed entirely
of wood, the front part being blunted and hollow. The ploughshare, a
sharp and hard piece of wood, is passed through the hollow, beyond
which it projects several inches. This moveable piece of wood does the
principal work, and is easily replaced when it has sustained injury.
After the ploughing, the seed is sown broadcast, and the field is then
harrowed. The harrow is a frame-work of wood, weighted with stones,
but without spikes; or a heavy board, weighted; or occasionally only a
thorny bush, with several large stones laid upon it. It is generally
drawn by one man, who assists its action by breaking with his feet the
clods which would otherwise be too bulky to be crushed by it. The
harrowing is repeated till the soil is reduced to a sufficient
fineness, an operation which is much facilitated by the dryness of the
atmosphere. The field is then laid out into small square beds, for
convenience of irrigation, and water is supplied to it at intervals
throughout the summer.

About the middle of March, an assembly of all the principal
inhabitants of the district took place at Iskardo, on some occasion of
ceremony or festivity, the nature of which I have forgotten. I was
thus fortunate enough to be a witness of the national game of the
Chaugan, which is derived from Persia, and has been described by Mr.
Vigne as hockey on horseback, a definition so exact, as to render a
further detail unnecessary. Large quadrangular enclosed meadows for
this game may be seen in all the larger villages of Balti, often
surrounded by rows of beautiful willow and poplar trees.

    [Sidenote: CHAKOR HUNTING.
     _March, 1848._]

About the same time, I was invited by the Thannadar of Iskardo to be
present at a hunting party, which he had arranged for the capture of
the _chakor_, or painted partridge, by surrounding a spot of ground,
in which these birds are numerous, with a ring of men, who,
approaching from all directions, gradually form a dense circle of
perhaps a hundred yards in diameter. When the partridges are disturbed
by a horseman in this enclosure, they naturally fly towards the living
wall by which they are surrounded. Loud shouts, and the beating of
drums and waving of caps and cloaks, turn them back, and they are
driven from side to side, till at last, exhausted with fatigue, and
stupid from the noise and confusion, they sink to the ground, and
allow themselves to be caught by hand. The scene was a very striking
one. The spot selected was a deep dell, full of rocks, but without
trees. The sport, however, did not seem so successful as usual, six or
eight birds only being captured. The chakor is an extremely common
bird in all parts of the valley of the Indus, and indeed throughout
Tibet. In winter, when the hills are covered with snow, they are to be
found in great numbers close to the river, even in the immediate
neighbourhood of the villages; and in general, when approached, they
lie very close among the crevices of the stones.

    [Sidenote: SHIGAR VALLEY.
     _March, 1848._]

Before finally leaving Iskardo, I devoted three days to a visit to the
valley of Shigar, which is watered by a very large tributary which
joins the Indus opposite the rock of Iskardo. The terminal ridges of
the mountain ranges on both sides of the Shigar river, advance close
to the centre of the valley where the stream enters the Indus. The
road to Shigar from Iskardo, therefore, crosses low hills of dark
schistose rocks, winding among dry valleys which are occupied by great
masses of alluvium. A coarse sandstone, horizontally stratified,
formed beds of fifty feet thick, alternating with and capped by beds
of clay conglomerate containing numerous angular fragments. The
sandstone was very similar to that which I had previously seen on the
top of the rock of Iskardo, and rested upon thinner strata of a
bluish-grey indurated clay, quite non-fossiliferous, and different in
appearance from any deposit which I had seen in Tibet. These
lacustrine strata occupied both sides of the valley along which the
road lay. From the summit of the low range of hills, the road
descended rapidly to the level of the cultivation of the Shigar plain.
The Shigar river flows through a wide gravelly channel in many
branches; and low, grassy, and swampy tracts skirt the stream. Fifty
feet above these are the platforms of alluvium, which extend along the
left bank of the river uninterruptedly for five or six miles, and vary
in width from a quarter of a mile to a mile or more. They are almost
entirely covered with arable land, formed into terraces which rise
gradually one above another, and a succession of small villages are
scattered among the fields. Numerous little streams descend from the
mountains, and irrigation canals ramify in every direction. Ploughing
was the universal occupation of the villagers; and the yellow flowers
of _Tussilago Farfara_ were everywhere seen expanding on the clayey
banks of the rivulets.

The fort of Shigar is close to the mountains on the east side of the
valley, where a considerable stream makes its exit from them. By this
stream, Mr. Vigne ascended to a pass on the high range to the
eastward, and descended upon the Shayuk at the village of Braghar.
Where it terminates in the Shigar plain, this valley is for a few
hundred yards very narrow; but a little above its entrance it widens
considerably, and the flanks of the mountains are covered with a great
accumulation of the alluvial deposits, clinging to the face of the
rocks on both sides, certainly as high as a thousand feet above the
stream. The beds were sometimes, but rarely, stratified, and were very
variable in appearance. Coarse conglomerates, at one time with angular
boulders, at others, with rounded stones, alternated with coarse and
fine sand and finely laminated clays. No fossils of any kind were

In summer, the discharge of the Shigar river, which descends from the
snowy masses of the Muztagh or Kouen-lun, must be immense, as
prodigious glaciers descend very low among the valleys of its
different branches. Up one of the streams a practicable road exists
towards Yarkand over an enormous glacier. I met with one or two people
at Iskardo who had traversed it; but it is now not at all frequented,
being very unsafe, in consequence of the marauding propensities of the
wild Mahommedan tribes who inhabited the Hunza valley. It was
described to me as an exceedingly difficult road, lying for several
days over the surface of the glacier.

     _April, 1848._]

On the 31st of March, I left Iskardo for the last time. It was
expected that the pass between Dras and Kashmir would be easily
accessible by the time I should reach it. My road as far as Dras was
the same as that along which I had twice travelled in December, and,
except from the indications of returning spring, was much the same as
it had then been. The crops of wheat and barley in the fields in the
Iskardo plain were an inch or two high, the buds of the apricot were
just beginning to swell, and the willows had almost expanded their

At Gol and Nar, where the valley is narrow and the heat therefore more
concentrated, the corn was considerably further advanced, and in some
of the apricot flowers the petals had begun to expand. Wild flowers
had also begun to vegetate: a violet was in flower on the banks of
streamlets, as well as a _Primula_ and an _Androsace_. Above Parkuta,
again, the season was more backward. Large snow-banks, which had
descended in avalanches, still remained in all the larger furrows on
the mountain-sides. The river had been discoloured since the day I
left Iskardo, and on the 4th of April, the day I reached Kartash, it
became very much so, and was said to be rising rapidly.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF DRAS.
     _April, 1848._]

On the 6th of April, I entered the Dras valley, and encamped at
Ulding Thung, where there were still a few patches of snow. On the
7th, I marched to Hardas, ten miles. Here, at about 9000 feet, spring
had scarcely commenced. The fruit-trees showed no signs of vitality;
and though the fields had been ploughed, the grain had not yet begun
to vegetate. The valley of the Dras river begins to expand at the
village of Bilergu, four or five miles above Ulding. As soon as there
is enough of level space, beds of conglomerate, and more rarely of
fine clay, appear along the river. Round the village of Bilergu, the
poplars, willows, and apricots are as numerous as in the valley of the
Indus; but beyond it, the inclination of the valley is considerable,
and at Hardas there were but few trees. Above Bilergu the quantity of
snow increased considerably, and the contrast between the sides of the
valley was very striking: at Hardas, the shady slope was quite white,
while that facing the south had only a few patches of snow.

On the 8th of April, I marched to Karbu, eight miles. As I advanced, I
found much more snow; but the road was in general free, except in the
ravines where snow-slips had descended. On the latter part of the day,
these were universal in all the ravines, and were frequently of great
depth, and so soft as to be difficult to cross: on the least deviation
from the beaten path, I sank to the middle at every step. These
avalanches were cut off abruptly by the river, forming cliffs of snow
fifteen or twenty feet high, in which the structure and development of
the mass by successive slips, alternating with falls of snow, could be
distinctly made out. One or two of them still crossed the river, which
flowed below the bridge of ice. Three miles below Karbu, the granite,
which had been the rock ever since entering Dras, was replaced by a
peculiar slate, apparently magnesian, and perhaps hornblende slate,
passing into or containing beds of a coarse sandstone.

At Karbu, where I was detained a day, the Thannadar not having
expected me so soon, and my porters not being ready, the weather was
very unsettled, and in the evening, and during the nights of the 8th
and 9th of April, there was a good deal of rain, especially on the
9th. The wind during the storm was very irregular in direction. The
ground was still covered to the depth of more than a foot with snow.
The morning of the 10th was gloomy, but as the day advanced the clouds
broke, and the afternoon was bright and beautiful, with a gentle air
down the valley.

    [Sidenote: FORT OF DRAS.
     _April, 1848._]

On the 11th of April I reached the fort of Dras. For the last ten
miles the snow lay continuously, and two or three feet deep, but there
was always a clear path. The temperature being much above the
freezing-point, the thaw proceeded rapidly. A good deal of _Prangos_,
which is evidently a common wild plant (as it is also in many parts of
Kashmir), was seen; the withered inflorescence projecting through the
snow. I observed it also very abundantly in the hay, which is
preserved in the villages, and seems to consist of all the plants of
the meadows cut indiscriminately, and not of _Prangos_ alone, as I had
erroneously imagined.

    [Sidenote: MATEN.
     _April, 1848._]

My former journey having terminated at Dras, the road in advance was
new to me; but the whole country being still covered with snow, I
could see little of the nature of the surface. The fort of Dras is
about 10,000 feet above the sea: it is situated in an open, nearly
level plain of some width, skirted by low hills. The higher mountains,
which are several miles distant on both sides, are very steep. Several
villages are scattered over the plain, at some distance from the fort,
which stands alone, on the bank of a little stream, just before it
joins the Dras river. Beyond Dras, the road to the pass having
scarcely been used, there was no beaten path. In the morning the snow
was hard and firm, and even in the afternoon, notwithstanding the
warmth of the midday sun, the foot did not sink more than three or
four inches. The depth of snow increased rapidly as I advanced. Two
miles above the fort the plain contracts into a narrow valley, and the
channel of the river becomes very rocky; the stream is also very
rapid, and the slope of its bed evidently considerable. The valley
again expands around the village of Pain Dras. Immediately beyond this
I crossed the river on a bridge of snow, at least forty feet thick,
which covered the river for more than a hundred yards. This snow-bed,
which was continuous with the general level of the surface, was to all
appearance quite solid. After a march of ten miles I encamped at
Maten, the last village of Dras, a small group of stone huts half a
mile from the river on its eastern bank, and immediately at the base
of a very steep scarped mountain, which rises in precipices several
thousand feet above the village. Maten I estimated, from the
boiling-point of water, to be 10,700 feet above the sea.

    [Sidenote: ZOJI PASS.
     _April, 1848._]

On the 13th of April I crossed the pass into Kashmir, starting, as
the distance was said to be considerable, at about half-past two
o'clock in the morning. The evening before had been dull, with
irregular squalls of wind, so that the weather did not promise very
favourably. It was very dark and quite calm at two A.M., and when I
started it snowed slightly, but not enough to induce me to stop, as I
hoped it would cease with daylight. Unfortunately, on the contrary, it
increased rapidly, and by four o'clock was snowing heavily, and
continued to do so till the afternoon. There was no wind, and the air
was very mild, so that I suffered no inconvenience from cold. The
surface of the snow, even in the morning, was a little soft, the
cloudy night having prevented it from freezing. After four o'clock it
snowed so heavily that the accumulation of fresh snow soon amounted to
several feet, and we sank above the knee at every step. There was
scarcely any slope, the road appearing quite horizontal. Before
daylight my guides managed to lose their way, and we wandered for more
than half an hour puzzled by our own footsteps. The compass was of no
use, as I did not know the direction in which we ought to proceed, nor
was it till after dawn that we recovered the road.

     _April, 1848._]

After daylight there was no improvement in any respect, as the heavy
snow completely obscured the view. The leaders of the party, however,
seemed to recognize the outlines of the hills, as they held their
course without hesitation. The valley was quite full of snow, which
completely covered all irregularities of surface. The river was often
quite covered by the mass of snow for distances of more than a furlong
without interruption. Our path often crossed it; and, latterly, for
several miles before gaining the crest of the pass, the stream was
completely concealed.

About noon the snow fell more lightly, and we could see around. The
width of the valley was from half a mile to a mile, and steep
mountains rose on both sides to a considerable height, the peaks
being, I should think, at least 16,000 feet. Patches of willow and
juniper were seen on the sides of the hills. Still the road was to
appearance quite level. The valley made several bends, and we turned
finally to the right, before gaining the crest of the pass, to which
there was a barely perceptible rise.

The descent was at first gradual, but soon became very steep, down a
bank of snow, which filled the whole of a narrow ravine. The rocky
walls on either side were at first bare, but soon became sprinkled
with birch and pine. For two thousand feet below the summit of the
pass the descent was uninterrupted, till I reached the banks of the
Sind river, which flows through the northernmost valley of Kashmir,
and is separated from the main valley by a lofty range of mountains.
Here, on a level space separated by a little stream from pine-forest,
I found a log-hut buried up to the roof in snow, which was heaped up
round the building, probably from having been thrown off the roof. The
snow at Baltal--for so this first halting-place on the Kashmir side of
the Zoji pass is called--was not deep, probably little more than what
had fallen during the day.

     _April, 1848._]

My whole party took possession of the log-hut; but not liking the
smoke which, in an instant, filled it, so that there was no seeing
across its width, I had a space cleared for my tent. It rained smartly
in the evening, but soon after dark it again began to snow, and long
before morning I was awoke by the cracking of the ridge-pole of my
tent, which had given way under the pressure of a foot and a half of
snow. Had it fallen at once I should probably have been buried till
morning, as I was too distant to make myself heard, and had to rise to
summon assistance, to move my bed into the log-hut.

All day on the 14th it snowed unceasingly, and my people would not
continue the journey; but on the 15th it was fair, and I gladly made a
move, as the log-hut of Baltal was a most uncomfortable resting-place.
The road lay along the Sind river, which ran to the south-west,
through a deep but rather open valley, only partially wooded. The
forest consists partly of pines, partly of deciduous-leaved trees. Of
these I could recognize birch, poplar, and willow, which formed the
mass of the woods, but there were no doubt many others. The pines were
principally _Pinus excelsa_; silver fir and spruce also occurred, but
I saw no deodar nor Gerard's pine. The trees grew in well defined
masses of forest, separated by much open ground, in the level plain
which skirted the river on the south side of the valley; on this side
they also rose high on the mountains, but the slopes on the north side
were bare.

    [Sidenote: SONAMARG.
     _April, 1848._]

Seven or eight miles from Baltal, I found an uninhabited house, at a
place called Sonamarg[17], where a bridge crosses the Sind river. Snow
had been continuous all the way, diminishing in depth as we descended
the river. A mile or two before reaching Sonamarg, the stream
approaches close to the mountains on the north side of the valley,
barely leaving a passage for the road, which for some distance skirted
the base of steep cliffs. In one of the ravines which here furrowed
the mountain slopes, I had an opportunity of seeing the descent of an
avalanche. While crossing the ravine I was warned by the sound that a
snow-slip was approaching, but had abundance of time to retreat to a
place of safety before it came near. When the avalanche came into
sight, the ravine, which was narrow and deep, was completely filled by
balls of snow of various dimensions, which continued to flow past for
several minutes. The snow-slip terminated in the river, which was
speedily blocked up for two-thirds of its width with an immense
accumulation of snow.

At Sonamarg the Sind river bends abruptly towards the south, and
enters a rocky gorge, down which its stream advances with great
rapidity, over a steeply inclined bed, very rocky and much interrupted
by rapids. Leaving Sonamarg on the morning of the 16th of April, I
crossed the river, and after a mile and a half of level ground bare of
trees, still covered with snow, I entered a thin forest of pine and
silver fir, which continued to the entrance of the gorge. The silver
fir (_Picea Webbiana_) was a fine straight tree, with short horizontal
or drooping branches, and its leaves were very variable in length.

When I had fairly entered the narrow gorge of the river, I found that
it was in many places still blocked up with snow, which had descended
in avalanches down the narrow ravines, and had accumulated in the bed
of the stream. We crossed the river three times on snow-beds. From the
rapidity of the descent, however, the climate changed rapidly. After
four or five miles there was no snow, except in ravines, where it had
accumulated in avalanches, and at last even these had almost entirely
melted away. Still snow lay in patches on the right bank of the river,
in the village of Gagangir, at which I halted for the day; and on the
left bank, which faced the north, and was therefore in shade, snow
still covered the whole surface down to the bank of the river.

    [Sidenote: GAGANGIR.
     _April, 1848._]

At the village of Gagangir the Sind river resumes its south-westerly
direction, and its valley becomes more open, and the descent of its
bed less abrupt. The elevation of the village is about 7900 feet above
the level of the sea, so that the descent from Sonamarg is probably
not less than a thousand feet in a distance of nine miles--a very
considerable fall. On the latter part of the day's journey, a very
considerable change was observable in the aspect of the vegetation.
Birch and willow continued common throughout, but were mixed latterly
with many other trees and shrubs, all of which were beginning to show
symptoms of vitality. The hazel (_Corylus lacera_) and a species of
_Viburnum_ were in full flower, both still devoid of leaves; a few
herbaceous plants were also in flower in open places, the most
abundant of which were a species of _Colchicum_, remarkable for its
bright orange-coloured flowers, and a pretty little rose-purple
_Corydalis_, very closely allied to, if not the same as, a species of
eastern Europe. Still the general aspect of the country was very
wintry, as there were few pines, and the forest was therefore quite
bare of leaves, while the signs of progress, though evident on a near
inspection, did not attract attention in the general view.

    [Sidenote: SIND VALLEY.
     _April, 1848._]

At Gagangir, which is the first village of Kashmir by the route along
which I was travelling, I was enabled to relieve my Dras porters, who
had accompanied me so far. The discharge and payment of these men
occupied me a great part of the 17th of April; and as the day was
rainy I did not leave Gagangir till the 18th, when I marched to Gond,
seven miles. The road still followed the course of the Sind river,
which I crossed twice during the day. The width of the valley was
considerable all along, with much arable land, and a good many
villages in ruins on both sides. The mountains on the right hand were
uniformly bare of trees, and often rocky; on the left they were well
wooded to the summit, the forest being most dense above. Early in the
day several of the ravines were still full of snow; and on the shady
side a good deal lay in patches. Further on, the snow in the valley
had quite disappeared, but on the mountain slopes there was still
plenty. As I advanced the cultivated land increased in extent, and the
appearance of the valley became exceedingly picturesque, the centre
being occupied by a broad belt of fields and orchards, while the hills
on both sides rose abruptly to a great elevation. The fruit-trees were
principally walnuts, apples, and apricots. Groves of poplar occurred
occasionally along the river, but I saw no birch during the day. Many
more spring plants were in flower than on the previous day;
_Cruciferæ_ were the prevailing family, but I also collected species
of _Nepeta_ and _Gagea_, and a pretty little tulip. On the latter part
of the march, a small shrubby species of _Amygdalus_ was very
abundant; and _Fothergilla involucrata_ of Falconer, a plant of the
natural order _Hamamelideæ_, which was just bursting into flower,
formed a dense coppice on the hills on the north bank of the river.
Though the greater part of the plants was new to me, still I
recognized a number of species which occur in the valley of the Indus.
_Juniperus excelsa_ was common in rocky places, and the _Ribes_ and
rose were the same as those common at Iskardo.

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _April, 1848._]

On the 19th, the road still followed the course of the Sind river, now
a rapid torrent, much swollen by the heavy rains, flowing through an
open valley. A good deal of level ground was interposed between the
mountains and the stream, and was laid out in terraced fields
evidently adapted for rice cultivation, but now quite bare. I met with
many very interesting plants. _Tussilago Farfara_ was abundant,
growing in gravelly places along the river. In shady woods a species
of _Hepatica_, with a small white flower, first discovered by Dr.
Falconer, was common. In more sunny places a _Primula_ and _Androsace_
were in full flower. On open sandy soil a species of the curious
Siberian genus _Ceratocephalus_ was a very striking novelty. On the
higher hills there was still dense forest of _Pinus excelsa_, spruce,
silver fir, and deodar, mixed with yew and _Juniperus excelsa_, and
with many deciduous-leaved trees, few of which were recognizable.
After travelling twelve miles I encamped at Gangan, which is elevated
about 6000 feet.

Next day I remained stationary; but on the 21st I continued my journey
to Ganderbal, nine miles further and close to the point where the Sind
valley expands into the open plain of Kashmir. As I advanced, the
valley gradually widened, and turned more to the south. There were
several platforms, or steppes, as it were, of nearly level arable
land, one above another, and below them the river flowed through a
wide stony plain. The mountains on the right, high and snow-topped,
receded to a considerable distance; those on the left gradually
diminished in elevation, became less covered with forest, and at last
terminated in low ranges of hills covered only with brush-wood. The
road was extremely pretty. At first it lay along the right bank of the
river, through fine underwood, and among beautiful meadows, which
skirted the bank of the stream; it then crossed to the left bank, and,
ascending the lower hills, entered a fine wood, in which apricot,
pear, and cherry trees, all bursting into flower, were common, and to
all appearance wild, though they had probably spread into these woods
from the neighbouring villages. Latterly we emerged upon a somewhat
elevated platform sloping to the south, covered with bushes and many
fruit-trees, with here and there a village, and a great deal of
cultivated ground. Where the Sind valley joined the plain of Kashmir,
it was several miles in width, and evidently richly cultivated. The
expanse of the plain of Kashmir was much greater than I had
anticipated; the mountains on its south side, which were still covered
with snow, were in sight, but at a considerable distance.

Above Gond the valley of the Sind river is very poorly inhabited, and
deserted villages and abandoned cultivation showed that the population
is diminishing. The lower part of the valley, however, is very
populous. The villages are numerous and large, and the houses good:
they are usually built entirely or partially of wood, with high
sloping roofs, which are either thatched or covered with wood. The
cultivated lands all rest upon platforms or banks of alluvium, which
are probably analogous to those of the Tibetan valleys, though, as
they are generally faced by sloping banks covered with bush-jungle,
their structure is not so easily determined as that of the platforms
of that more barren country.

    [Sidenote: PLAIN OF KASHMIR.
     _April, 1848._]

On the morning of the 22nd of April, after following the base of the
low hills for half a mile, till the last projecting point had been
rounded, I entered the valley of Kashmir. This "celebrated valley" did
not at all come up to the expectations which I had formed from
previous descriptions, and from the appearance of the termination of
the valley of the Sind river. The first impression was one of
considerable disappointment. It was by no means well wooded, and the
centre of the valley along the river, being very low, had an
unpleasant swampy appearance. The road to the town, which is about ten
miles from Ganderbal, led over an elevated platform. There were
several villages, and plane, willow, and fruit trees were scattered
here and there, though far from abundantly. The platform was in
general covered with a carpet of green, now spangled with myriads of
dandelions and other spring flowers. The mountains on the left, which
at first were very low, gradually rose in elevation, and were
throughout rugged and bare. As I approached the town I mounted an
elephant, which formed a part of the _cortège_ sent, according to the
usual oriental etiquette, to receive an expected visitor; and I
consequently saw the town to much better advantage than I should have
done had I ridden through it on my little Ladak pony. Passing
completely through the city, I was conducted to the Sheikh Bagh, a
garden on the banks of the Jelam, at its eastern extremity, in a
pavilion in the centre of which I took up my quarters.

    [Sidenote: CITY OF KASHMIR.
     _April, 1848._]

The town of Kashmir is apparently of great extent, and seems very
densely populated. Its length is much greater than its width, as it is
hemmed in between the Jelam on the south and a lake on the north. The
principal part of the town is on the north side of the Jelam, but a
large suburb occupies the opposite bank, surrounding the Sher-Garhi,
or fortified palace of the ruler of the country. The streets are in
general so narrow, that there are but few through which an elephant
can pass; and the houses, which have mostly several stories, are built
with a wooden frame-work, the lower story of stone and those above of
brick. There are no buildings of any great note; and the elaborate
account of Moorcroft renders it unnecessary to enter into any detail.
The river is crossed by many bridges, all built of deodar-wood.

    [Sidenote: PLAIN OF KASHMIR.
     _April, 1848._]

The province or country of Kashmir consists of an extensive plain,
surrounded on all sides by lofty mountains. It is the valley of the
river Behat, or Jelam, which is separated from that of the Chenab on
the south, by rugged and often snowy ranges, and from the basin of the
Indus on the north, by the main axis of the Western Himalaya, which,
originating in the peaks of Kailas, separates the basins of the
Sutlej and the Chenab from that of the Indus. The mountains which
surround the plain of Kashmir are very lofty. Those on the north are
for the most part bare and rugged on their southern face, while those
which lie to the south appear from the plain to be magnificently
wooded with forests of pines and deciduous-leaved trees, descending
almost to their base. On both sides of the valley the mountains rise
above the level of perpetual snow, but those on the north side are
considerably more lofty than the others. Numerous transverse valleys
penetrate into these mountains, which are well cultivated in their
lower parts, and, higher up, present superb mountain scenery. On the
south side of the valley, many passes, varying in elevation from
10,000 to 14,000 feet, lead across the main chain to the Chenab valley
and the plains of India. To the north there are only two frequented
routes, that by the Garys pass towards Hasora and Deotsu, and that by
the valley of the Sind river towards Dras. At the eastern end of the
valley a high pass leads across the mountains to the valley of
Wardwan, from which travellers can reach Kargil and the Indus on the
left, and Kishtwar in the valley of the Chenab on the right.

The flat country or alluvial plain of Kashmir, which is 5300 feet
above the sea, is about fifty miles in length, and not more than ten
or twelve miles wide. It commences close to Islamabad, where the last
spurs of the mountains at the east end of the valley disappear; and
terminates at Baramula, where the ranges, branches of the opposite
mountain chains, again advance close to the bank of the river. It is
traversed in its whole length by the river Jelam, which rises at the
east end of the valley, and winds from one side of the plain to the
other, at one time washing the base of the northern hills, at another
receding to a considerable distance from them. The Jelam flows with a
tranquil stream, and, being navigable throughout the whole of the
level country as far up as Islamabad, for boats of considerable
burden, is the great highway for the traffic of the country, in which,
notwithstanding its being perfectly level, wheel-carriages are
unknown. At Islamabad it is a very small stream, but it gradually
enlarges, by additions from both sides, as it descends. Near the town
of Kashmir it is from fifty to a hundred yards wide, often very deep,
and in few places fordable, even at the driest season.

     _April, 1848._]

The plain of Kashmir has evidently at one time been the bed of a lake,
a deposit of fine clayey and sandy strata, more rarely partially
indurated into a soft sandstone rock, occupying a great part of the
surface. Soft pebbly conglomerate is also occasionally met with, and
an indurated conglomerate, containing water-worn pebbles, occurs in
many places in the lower course of the Sind river. This lacustrine
formation forms elevated platforms, which are from fifty to one
hundred and fifty feet or more above the level of the river. In many
places, both on the Jelam and along the lateral streams which descend
from the mountains to join it, the beds of clay have been removed by
aqueous action. In such places the plain has a lower level, often very
little above the surface of the river, and is covered with rice-fields
or with marshy lands, undrained and not under cultivation.

    [Sidenote: LAKE OF KASHMIR.
     _April, 1848._]

The platforms of lacustrine clay are called, in Kashmir, "_karewah_."
They are often quite dry, and generally uncultivated, but where water
is procurable they are highly cultivated, yielding luxuriant crops of
wheat and barley. A proper application of artificial irrigation would,
I believe, make the whole of these more elevated parts of the plain
fertile, as the soil is everywhere well adapted for the growth of
corn. These karewahs generally run parallel to the lateral streams
which join the Jelam, and extend from the base of the mountains till
they are cut off by the river. There are, however, in the upper part
of the valley, several isolated patches, all horizontally stratified,
from which I infer that they had originally been continuous. One of
these, near Bijbeara, forms a table-topped hill of considerable
extent, surrounded on all sides by low land. Several low hills near
Islamabad, also, are evidently outlying patches of the same formation.
The sands and sandy clays of these platforms are usually quite
non-fossiliferous; but I determined the lacustrine nature of the
strata by finding, on the flanks of Takht-i-Suleiman, a hill near the
town of Kashmir, and close to the city lake, but at least thirty feet
above its level, a bed of clay, which contained, abundantly, shells of
the genera _Lymnæa_ and _Paludina_.

The main chain of the Himalaya, north of Kashmir, consists, where I
crossed it, by the Zoji pass north of Baltal, of metamorphic schist;
and all its branches, which descend towards the plain of Kashmir, seem
to be formed of the same rock. Along the north side of the valley,
however, a series of hills of trap rise, almost isolated, out of the
plain. Ahathung, near the Wulur lake, is, I believe, the most westerly
of these, but I did not visit it, and only infer its structure from
its conical shape and from its similarity in appearance to those
further east. Near the town of Kashmir there are two of these isolated
hills, composed of an amygdaloidal trap: these are Hari-Parbat, which
is fortified, and Takht-i-Suleiman, which rises about eight hundred
feet above the plain. The former lies to the north-west, and the
latter on the north-east side of the town.

The lake or _Dal_ of Kashmir lies to the north of the town, stretching
from the base of these two hills to the more lofty mountain range
which bounds the valley on the north. It is nearly circular and four
or five miles in diameter, but is only open in its northern half, the
end nearest the town being occupied by large islands, with narrow
channels between them, in some of which there is a good deal of
current. Its waters are discharged into the Jelam by a considerable
stream, which, flowing from its south-east corner, runs to the
westward in a course nearly parallel to the southern margin of the
lake for nearly a mile, when it turns abruptly south to enter the
Jelam in the middle of the town of Kashmir. This stream is evidently
an artificial canal, and the embankment by which it is separated from
the lake appears to have been constructed in order to keep the surface
of the latter higher than it would naturally be. The stream at its
point of exit from the lake flows through a narrow canal of masonry,
and has, when the Jelam is low, a fall of several feet. A pair of
flood-gates prevent the return of the stream in times of flood, when
the waters of the river are higher than those of the lake.

The Wulur lake, below the junction of the Sind river with the Jelam,
appears to be similar in appearance to that close to the town, and,
like it, to owe its extent in part to artificial means. Its dimensions
are, however, much greater. There are several large marshy tracts in
different parts of the plain, which, by a little engineering, might
also be converted into lakes: one in particular, near Avantipura, is
quite under water in spring, though in summer and autumn it is only a

    [Sidenote: CLIMATE OF KASHMIR.
     _April, 1848._]

The climate of Kashmir is the same as that of the interior valleys of
the Himalaya, but modified by its extreme western position, which
brings it within the influence of the spring rains which prevail in
Affghanistan and the countries on the lower mountain course of the
Indus. There are at least four months of winter; and in general a good
deal of snow falls. March and April are very rainy; the summer months
mostly dry and fine. The periodical rains of India cannot be said to
extend into Kashmir; but in July and August showers and thunder-storms
are said to be frequent. The spring and autumn are unhealthy seasons.
In the former, the cold rainy weather affects those who have already
suffered from the malaria produced by the action of a powerful sun on
neglected swamps. The abandonment of cultivation, in consequence of
the long oppression of the country under a foreign government, has
been the cause of the increase of marshy ground. The river in seasons
of flood rises higher than the level of the lowest portion of the
alluvial land, and is only excluded (as in Holland) by means of
artificial works along the course of the river. By the omission to
repair these _bunds_, or dykes, a large extent of country which might
be under cultivation is left in a state of swamp.

     _April, 1848._]

There is no natural forest on any part of the open plain of Kashmir,
and the cultivated trees are not numerous; the plane, poplar, and
willow are all common, with numerous fruit-trees, chiefly walnuts,
apples, apricots, cherries, and quinces. A mulberry is also common,
the dried specimens of which are in no way distinguishable from those
of the common white mulberry of Europe, with which I have compared it.
The vines are trained up the poplar-trees, rising to their very tops,
and hanging down from their summits. A species of _Celtis_, which is
commonly planted around the town, is, I think, the most tropical of
all the Kashmirian trees, being common in the warmer valleys of the
outer Himalayas; it is, however, I think, _Celtis australis_, L., a
species which is a native of western Asia and eastern Europe, and
appears to find its eastern limit in the Himalaya.

At the time of my arrival in Kashmir, the fruit-trees were in full
blossom; the wild vegetation had, however, made very little progress,
only the earliest plants being in flower. The spring flora was
eminently European in character; not only the genera, but many of the
species, being identical with those of our own island. _Cruciferæ_
were the most abundant natural order; and, among many others, I
collected _Draba verna_, _Capsella_, _Erysimum_, _Alliaria_, _Turritis
glabra_, and European species of _Lepidium_, _Thlaspi_, _Alyssum_, and
_Sisymbrium_. Other common forms were _Lycopsis arvensis_,
_Lithospermum arvense_, _Myosotis collina_, _Scandix Pecten_,
_Ranunculus Philonotis_, _Anagallis arvensis_, _Euphorbia
Helioscopia_, and several species of _Veronica_. None of the annual
plants were Indian forms, though a few of them were such as occur
commonly in the plains in the cold season. The shrubby vegetation was
very limited: a Juniper (_J. communis_), a _Cotoneaster_, _Rubus_,
_Rosa Webbiana_, _Zizyphus_, _Elæagnus_, _Daphne_, and two species of
_Berberis_, were the most common. A few straggling trees of _Pinus
excelsa_, which grew on the northern face of the low hill called
Solomon's Throne, were the only pines which I saw in any part of the
open valley.


[16] This juniper has a very extended range in altitude, being common
in the drier parts of the Himalaya at elevations of 12-13,000 feet,
and in some parts of Tibet, where it meets with a higher summer
temperature, even as high as 14-15,000 feet. It is the _Juniperus
excelsa_ of Wallich, and, so far as the point can be decided by dried
specimens, seems identical with specimens in the Hookerian Herbarium,
collected in Karabagh and Sakitschiwan by Szowitz, and communicated to
Sir W. J. Hooker by Fischer. The Taurian specimens of _J. excelsa_
from Bieberstein are, however, a good deal different, and are perhaps
only a form of _J. Sabina_.

[17] In Moorcroft's time, this place was a small village.


     Environs of Kashmir -- City lake -- Gardens of Shalimar and
     Dilawer Khan -- Pampur -- Avantipura -- Platforms of lacustrine
     clay -- Mountain of Wasterwan -- Ancient city -- Clay, with
     shells and fragments of pottery -- Ancient temple imbedded in
     clay -- Lakes caused by subsidence -- Islamabad -- Shahabad --
     Vegetation -- Vernag -- Banahal Pass -- Valley of Banahal --
     Tropical vegetation -- Pass above Chenab Valley -- Nasmon --
     _Jhula_, or Swing-bridge -- Balota -- Ladhe ke Dhar -- Katti --
     Fort of Landar -- Mir -- Kirmichi -- Tertiary sandstones --
     Dhuns -- Seda -- Jamu.

During my stay in Kashmir, besides the necessary ceremonial of
complimentary visits, my chief occupation was visiting the principal
places in the vicinity. From my residence in the Sheikh Bagh I had
easy access to the river, as well as to the canal by which it
communicates with the lake. A broad road, three-quarters of a mile in
length, shaded on both sides by very fine poplar-trees, runs from the
eastern end of the town, parallel to this canal, as far as the hill
called the Takht, at the foot of which is situated the passage by
which the lake discharges its waters into the canal. The weather was
very favourable, the spring rains having terminated a day or two
before my arrival. The Kashmiris are accomplished boatmen, a great
part of the population living upon the water; and as most of the
conspicuous objects around the town are only accessible by water, I
gave pretty constant employment to a boat's crew whom I hired during
my stay.

    [Sidenote: LAKE OF KASHMIR.
     _April, 1848._]

My first visit was to the lake, and to the celebrated gardens on its
northern shore, which were the delight of the emperors who made
Kashmir their retreat from the heat and cares of Delhi and Lahore. The
southern part of the lake is very shallow, and I sailed along narrow
channels, which separated large patches of tall reeds, among which a
very narrow-leaved _Typha_ and an _Arundo_ were the commonest plants.
Three or four species of _Potamogeton_ were abundant in the lake, just
coming into flower, but most of the water-plants were only beginning
to vegetate. I saw three or four flowers of a water-lily (_Nymphæa
alba_), and could just recognize _Villarsia nymphæoides_, _Menyanthes
trifoliata_, and _Trapa_, all of which had been recorded by previous
travellers as natives of Kashmir. I looked anxiously for _Nelumbium_,
but saw no signs of it, except the withered capsules of the previous
year, many of which I observed floating on the lake.

    [Sidenote: GARDENS OF KASHMIR.
     _April, 1848._]

The gardens of Shalimar and of Dilawer Khan rise in a succession of
terraces from the margin of the lake. They are laid out in a stiff
formal style, straight walks crossing one another at right angles, and
are irrigated by means of straight water-courses, branching from a
long canal which passes down the centre, through a succession of ponds
well built in masonry, and provided with artificial fountains, which
are made to play on festivals and holidays. Pavilions of fine marble
occupy the intersections of the principal walks. Magnificent
plane-trees form the chief ornament of these gardens, which are now
much neglected; straggling bushes and a wilderness of weeds occupying
all the less conspicuous parts, while the main avenues alone are kept
a little neat.

Although the chief beauty of the valley of Kashmir is undoubtedly the
magnificent girdle of snowy mountains by which it is surrounded, the
orchards and gardens, which are still numerous in the neighbourhood of
the capital, are charming spots, and the more so from the contrast
which they present with the barrenness of the surrounding country, and
the absolute ugliness of the swamps in the centre of the valley. Nor
should it be forgotten, when we compare the accounts given by early
travellers with the impressions made upon us by the present appearance
of the valley, that Kashmir is no longer in the same state as it was
in the days of the emperors; a long continuance of misrule, under a
succession of governors, whose only interest it has been to extract as
much revenue as possible from the unfortunate inhabitants, having
produced the only conceivable result, in abandoned cultivation, a
diminished revenue, and an impoverished people.

On the 2nd of May I left the town of Kashmir, taking the route by the
Banahal pass, towards Jamu and the plains of India. As my road lay for
several days' journey along the course of the Jelam (or Behat, as it
is always called in Kashmir), I engaged boats for the transport of my
servants and baggage as far as Islamabad, travelling myself, however,
generally by land and on foot, in order to see the country. My first
halting-place was Pampur, seven miles from the town of Kashmir. After
traversing the magnificent avenue of poplars, which runs north-west
from the town, the road winds round the base of the Takht, the eastern
face of which is only separated from the Jelam by a low swampy tract,
a few hundred yards in breadth. East of the Takht a succession of
rugged trap hills skirt the road, but beyond these the more distant
mountains are evidently stratified. The road was grassy and quite
level, and passed through much cultivation, the young wheat and barley
being dripping with a heavy dew which had fallen during the night. A
scarlet poppy and _Adonis_ were common weeds among the corn.

    [Sidenote: AVANTIPURA.
     _May, 1848._]

Next day I travelled to Avantipura, seven miles further. The
lacustrine formations, which had made their appearance on the bank of
the river a little west of Pampur, continued to occur more or less
constantly as we proceeded eastward, and the road traversed for some
miles an elevated plain, quite bare of trees, and only partially
cultivated, while the remainder was covered with grass. The surface of
this plain was eroded by wide transverse valleys, formed by little
streams which ran towards the Jelam: these were flat, and well
cultivated, some of the wheat being already in ear. On the highest
parts of the platform the cultivation of saffron is carried on, in
beds four or five feet square, separated by deep ditches or furrows
from one another. The plant, which flowers in autumn, was now in full

     _May, 1848._]

Behind Avantipura lies a high mountain, called Wasterwan, rising to a
height of 10,000 feet above the sea by the determination of
Jacquemont, or 4700 feet above the plain. It projects forward in an
almost isolated manner, though it is connected by a narrow ridge
behind with the general mass of the range on the north side of the
valley. On the 4th of May I ascended to the summit of this mountain,
which I found to be entirely formed of trap, partly homogeneous, and
partly amygdaloidal. Several gigantic _Umbelliferæ_, already in full
flower, were abundant in the lower parts of the open valley by which I
ascended. One of these was _Prangos pabularia_, which formed dense
thickets four or five feet high. From this open valley I got upon a
sharp ridge, grassy below but very rocky above, along which I
proceeded almost to the top; but being stopped by a precipice, I was
obliged to enter a narrow rocky ravine, by ascending which I managed
to gain the summit, which was grassy and rounded, and covered with a
few patches of snow. On the northern face of the hill snow still lay
in great quantity. The view from the top was very fine, the day being
in every respect favourable: the greater part of the valley of Kashmir
was seen spread out far below, and a complete circle of snowy
mountains bounded the horizon. The mountains to the north were seen to
be distinctly stratified.

The commonest plants on the ascent were a beautiful rose-coloured
_Oxytropis_, and a tulip (_T. stellata_), the flowers of which, when
fully expanded, spread out like a star. A few trees of _Pinus excelsa_
were seen on the upper part of the ridge; and in a hollow close to the
top there were about a dozen yew-trees. On the summit, though the
vegetation was not generally alpine, most of the plants of the middle
zone extending to the very top, there were many pretty little spring
flowers, which did not extend far down. A _Primula_, _Pedicularis_,
_Gentiana_, _Leontopodium_, _Corydalis_, and _Callianthemum_, were all
in flower. On the northern slope of the mountain, a wood of deciduous
trees, still bare of leaves, commenced a few yards below the summit.
At first the trees were all birch, but lower down a cherry and maple
were mixed with it; the former with young leaves, and just-formed
racemes; the latter only recognizable by the last year's leaves, which
strewed the ground. A few horse-chesnut trees were also seen near the

     _May, 1848._]

The neighbourhood of the village of Avantipura is one of the most
interesting places in which the lacustrine strata of the Kashmir
valley can be studied, as there is distinct evidence of the existence
in that place of deposits much more recent than those which extend
over the whole plain, and which were therefore formed when the valley
was occupied by a large lake. Avantipura was formerly the site of a
very large town, the capital, I believe, of the kingdom; built in the
shape of an amphitheatre in a deep semicircular bay, enclosed by two
low spurs, which project from the mountain Wasterwan, which rises
immediately behind.

The ruins of the ancient town are still visible, consisting of heaps
of stones, some of immense size, indicative of large buildings, but
none of them showing the slightest traces by which the shape or
structure of the edifices could be determined. These ruins extend all
round the deep recess in the mountains, and terminate below quite
abruptly, without any apparent cause, in a perfectly horizontal line
along the mountain-side. The mountain behind is an isolated peak,
furrowed by numerous ravines, which are dry except immediately after
rain. The place would therefore appear singularly inappropriate as the
site of a large city, were there not, I think, sufficient evidence
that a lake existed in front of the town, the surface of which was on
a level with the horizontal line by which the ruins are abruptly

     _May, 1848._]

The ruins of the ancient city stand upon the lacustrine clay of the
Kashmir plain, and are therefore posterior in age to the period when
the valley was occupied by one large lake. Immediately in front of the
ancient ruins, between them and the small modern village of
Avantipura, which is situated on the banks of the Jelam, there occur
beds of fine brown-coloured clay, containing in great quantity
fragments of pottery, with here and there small pieces of charcoal and
bone. In one place on the bank of a small ravine, which then probably
carried a streamlet into the lake, I found the clay to contain, mixed
with the broken pottery, numerous shells, some fresh-water and some
land species, and all the same as are common at the present day in the
river Jelam, or on the grassy hill-sides in the valley. The place
where these shells occur is fifty or sixty feet above the river.

The appearance of this evidently very modern deposit is exactly that
which would no doubt be exhibited, were the present lake close to the
city of Kashmir dried up, and a section of its bed exposed. This lake
contains abundance of shells, and in the neighbourhood of the town it
is made the receptacle of refuse of every kind, broken pottery being
particularly plentiful. In shallow places in the river, close to the
town of Bijbehara, a similar deposit is accumulating, valves of a
_Cyrena_ being found to some depth in the fine mud, mixed with broken
pots, charcoal, bones, and other refuse.

    [Sidenote: TEMPLE IMBEDDED.
     _May, 1848._]

The most remarkable fact connected with this very recent lacustrine
deposit is, that the ruins of an ancient temple exist on the plain
above the Jelam, a little west of the modern village, partially buried
in the clay. The upper parts of two temples, resembling in all
respects the ruins on the elevated platform at Martand, near
Islamabad, stand on the open plain, not far from the river, but
perhaps twenty feet above its level, and certainly far below the level
to which the clay containing pottery rises on the hill-sides. One of
the temples is quite in ruins, the immense blocks of which it is built
being piled confusedly on one another. The beautiful colonnade
(exactly like that at Martand) by which it is surrounded, is evidently
quite uninjured in any way; but it is entirely buried under the
lacustrine clay, except a very small portion, consisting of three
pillars, which were exposed by Major Cunningham in 1847. These three
pillars may be seen in a cavity under the level of the present surface
of the ground, and the clay in which they were imbedded contains
fragments of pottery in profusion.

If these temples (the date of which I believe is approximately known
to antiquarians) were contemporaneous with the ancient town, they must
have been buried in the lacustrine silt at some period not very long
subsequent to their erection, if I am right in supposing a lake to
have existed at the same time with the town. Probably, therefore,
they are anterior in age to the town, as they are imbedded in such
masses of pottery as could only have been accumulated in the
neighbourhood of a very dense population. Their present appearance, I
think, helps to explain the nature and origin of the many lakes or
marshy depressions which occur in all parts of the valley. It appears
evident that at Avantipura, at some period subsequent to the building
of the temples, a subsidence of the ground must have taken place
during one of the many earthquakes which are well known to have
convulsed the Kashmir valley. This subsidence, which must have been
partial, and not co-extensive with the valley, converted the ground on
which the temples stood into a lake. A fresh subsidence, or the
gradual wearing away of the incoherent clay strata lower down the
river, must at last have drained the little lake, and left the country
round Avantipura in the state in which we now see it. Even now a marsh
partly under water during the spring months extends from Avantipura
for several miles up the river.

The occurrence of repeated partial subsidences in various parts of the
Kashmir plain appears to me the only way in which the general
appearance of the country can be explained. The abrupt, broad, and
shallow depressions between the different platforms are seemingly much
too extensive to have been formed by the trifling streamlets which now
run along them, without the assistance of volcanic action. The lakes,
too, are deeper than the present level of the river, a circumstance
only explicable in an alluvial country on some such supposition; and
as it is well known that violent earthquakes have at intervals
convulsed this valley for many centuries, this mode of explaining the
phenomena becomes highly probable.

    [Sidenote: BIJBEHARA.
     _May, 1848._]

    [Sidenote: ISLAMABAD.
     _May, 1848._]

On the 5th of May I continued my journey to Islamabad, which is about
eleven miles from Avantipura. The peak of Wasterwan is the termination
of a long mountain ridge, which separates two large valleys from one
another. Immediately to the eastward, therefore, the mountains recede
from the river, and the road traverses a marshy tract, a great part of
which, from the late heavy rains, was still under water, while the
remainder was laid out in fields, prepared for the cultivation of
rice. Further on, cliffs of lacustrine clay again rose perpendicularly
from the river. Several streams joined the Jelam from both sides, some
of them deep and sluggish, with straight banks like canals, while
others were almost as large as the main stream, and broad and shallow,
with a sandy bed and gently flowing current. Near Bijbehara, a
considerable village, with many timber-built houses and a substantial
bridge of deodar, the banks are beautifully wooded with shady trees.
Above this village the Jelam is much smaller, often shallow, and the
banks lower, though still eight or ten feet above the water, and not
swampy, but either fringed with willow and mulberry trees, or bare and
covered with fields of green corn, or of rape now in full flower. The
bridge of Islamabad, which is the limit of navigation, is nearly a
mile from the town, which is a considerable place, the next in
importance to the capital, though very much smaller. It lies on low
ground close by the river, but immediately behind it a long
promontory of the lacustrine formation stretches back for several
miles, rising abruptly out of the finely cultivated and well-wooded
valley on the left, in steep, rugged cliffs, which are worn into
irregular ravines by the action of rain. These formations attain here
a thickness of at least 150 feet, and well deserve the particular
attention of the geologist. The ancient temple of Martand, the most
perfect of its class of ruins in the valley, is built on the upper and
back part of this platform.

Leaving Islamabad, I crossed immediately one branch of the Jelam,
which descends from the west. It had already lost the tranquil
character of the stream lower down. There were pebbles in its bed, and
it had a more rapid current. After crossing this stream, the country
was for some distance quite flat, and entirely covered with
rice-fields, now bare; some of them had been ploughed, but most were
still just as they had been left after harvest. They were traversed by
numerous ditches or canals for irrigation, in all of which a
proportion of fresh-water shells, chiefly _Lymnææ_, were seen. Further
on, the appearance of the country began to change: there were still
plenty of rice-fields, but they rose in steps one above another, and
the water in the irrigation canals flowed rapidly over pebbly beds.
Crossing another branch of the Jelam, which had a broad channel full
of large boulders, but shallow and easily fordable, the road began
gradually to ascend a low range of hills covered with grass and bushes
where it was dry, but still laid out in rice-fields wherever water was
procurable. These hills, which are the termination of a long range
which descends from the snow-clad mountains at the east end of the
valley, are composed of a very hard limestone, the strata of which are
much bent, sinuated, and fractured. On the south side of this ridge is
the valley of Shahabad, which is watered by the principal branch of
the Jelam. It contains numerous villages, surrounded with fine
orchards, and its rice-fields are arranged in terraces. Water being
plentiful, the whole valley is cultivated with rice, and the district
appears to be one of the richest in Kashmir.

    [Sidenote: SHAHABAD.
     _May, 1848._]

The general character of the vegetation continues the same as further
west, and the more advanced season enabled me to recognize a few
common Himalayan plants. The scandent white rose (_R. Brunonis_) was
one of these, also _Lonicera diversifolia_ and a shrubby _Indigofera_.
I also observed _Viola serpens_, _Thymus Serpyllum_, _Lactuca
dissecta_, and _Fragaria Indica_. Among the rice-fields several plains
plants occurred, such as _Potentilla supina_, _Convolvulus arvensis_,
_Mazus rugosus_, _Salvia plebeia_, and _Marsilea quadrifolia_. Nor
were the plants of a Tibetan climate altogether wanting, for _Rosa
Webbiana_ was everywhere common, and a species of _Myricaria_ grew
plentifully among the boulders on the banks of all the streams.

    [Sidenote: FOUNTAIN OF VERNAG.
     _May, 1848._]

From Shahabad I made, on the 7th, a short march to Vernag, a
celebrated fountain near the bottom of the Banahal pass. Crossing the
river, the road lay up the open valley of the Jelam, still among
rice-fields, rising step by step behind one another, as the valley
sloped upwards. Vernag lies close to the mouth of a little lateral
valley, up which our further course lay. The fountain, which is built
of marble, is large, contains many fish, and supplies a considerable
stream. It is the reputed source of the Behat or Jelam, but the main
branch of that river descends from the mountains a good way further to
the south-west. The hills on both sides of the Shahabad valley are of
limestone, the strike of which seemed to be west-south-west, or nearly
in the direction of the valley. It is very much indurated, and its
colour is bluish-grey; it has all the appearance of having been much
altered by heat. The dip appeared different on the opposite sides of
the valley: on the north it was east of north, on the other side
southerly; the inclination of the beds varied much, and they were
often very much distorted. I did not see any eruption of igneous rock
on any part of the day's journey.

On the hills above Vernag there was a good deal of brushwood,
consisting chiefly of _Fothergilla involucrata_, two species of
_Viburnum_, _Cotoneaster_, _Lonicera_, and a few trees of _Pinus
excelsa_, yew, and deodar. The opposite hills were bare and grassy. In
the forests of Kashmir (as was first pointed out by Dr. Falconer) we
do not find the oak, _Andromeda_, and _Rhododendron_, which are so
abundant at similar elevations in the outer Himalaya. The appearance
of the woods is, therefore, remarkably different, as these trees,
which, in the temperate zone of the mountains near the plains,
constitute almost all the forest, give the woods there a peculiar

    [Sidenote: BANAHAL PASS.
     _May, 1848._]

On the 8th of May I passed from the valley of Kashmir into the basin
of the Chenab, crossing the Banahal pass, the summit of which is not
more than 10,000 feet above the sea: it is a very narrow ridge,
separating two deep valleys. Starting through rice-fields, and
passing at the upper limit of cultivation a few fields of barley and
rape, I soon entered brushwood, the same as on the hills above Vernag.
In the ravines on the left hand, snow descended below 7000 feet.
Ascending rapidly on a ridge, the brushwood gave place to a fine wood
of maple, horse-chesnut, cherry, hazel, and elm, all just bursting
into leaf. The dip of the limestone rocks was exceedingly variable, at
one time southerly, at another northerly, but the strike was, I
believe, the same as the day before. The ascent continuing rapid, the
shady side of the ridge was soon covered with snow; but the road kept
on the southern exposure, which was sometimes bare of forest. Birch at
last appeared among the other trees, and, as the elevation increased,
it began to predominate. About the same time, the limestone gave place
to a slaty rock, which was almost immediately followed by an
amygdaloid, which continued to the summit. Both the slate and the
limestone appeared to have been upheaved by the igneous rock, and I
thought the slate seemed inferior to the limestone.

On the upper part of the ascent the birch gradually became more and
more stunted; it was here almost the only tree, with the exception of
a few specimens of _Picea Webbiana_, at the limit of forest a little
below the summit. Here the hills were bare and rocky; but the forest
did not cease on account of elevation, because on the opposite hill,
which had a northern exposure, a shady wood, chiefly consisting of
pines, rose to a level considerably higher than that of the pass,
which was a depression in the ridge, considerably overtopped by the
hills on both sides. The crest of the pass was undulating, and
covered with green-sward, among which a few spring plants were in
flower; these were a _Corydalis_, an _Anemone_, and _Primula
denticulata_. A large patch of snow occupied the northern slope, just
below the top.

The view from the summit would have been magnificent had the day been
more favourable; but a thick haze rested over the more distant parts
of the valley of Kashmir, as well as over the southern mountains in
the direction of the plains of India. The southern slope of the range
on which I stood was bare, scarcely even a bush being visible; and the
Banahal valley, nearly four thousand feet below, appeared as a
perfectly level plain, covered with rice-fields and scattered
villages, marked by groves of trees. On the descent I followed a very
steep rocky ridge. About half-way down, the amygdaloid was replaced by
metamorphic slate, and for the remainder of the descent the rocks were
alternations of slate, very hard conglomerate, and quartz rock. The
dip of these strata was very variable, and on the face of several
spurs, at a little distance, sections were exposed, exhibiting
enormous flexures. I saw no limestone on the southern face of the
pass, except in the valley of Banahal, where there was a good deal of
a horizontally stratified limestone, very different in appearance from
that on the other side, which, as it was confined to the bottom of the
valley, and was there very local, appeared to be of much more recent

    [Sidenote: BANAHAL VALLEY.
     _May, 1848._]

After joining the Banahal river, the descent became more gradual. At
first, the valley was almost level and quite covered with rice-fields,
all under water. The villagers were busy ploughing, both bullocks and
men knee-deep in soft mud. Further on, the valley contracted, and
cultivation only occurred at intervals. In the narrower parts, the
stream was fringed with trees, but the hill-sides were still quite
bare. Round the villages there were very fine trees, chiefly walnut,
horse-chesnut, and elms, with the ordinary fruit-trees; but the plane
and black poplar do not occur, nor are any vines cultivated in the
valley. The winter is said to be quite as severe as in Kashmir; and
the elevation, so far as I could determine it by the boiling-point of
water, is a little greater, the lower villages (in one of which I
encamped) being about 5500 feet, while the highest fields are about
6000 feet. In the woods, _Fothergilla_, cherry, sycamore, and
horse-chesnut were common, just as in Kashmir. The season was much
further advanced than on the north side of the pass, all these trees
being fully in leaf, and the horse-chesnut in flower. The greater part
of the vegetation was identical with that of Kashmir, but I saw many
more species, probably only from the more advanced state of the
season. The _Zizyphus_ and rose (_R. Webbiana_) of Kashmir were still
common, and the white poplar was wild along the banks of the stream. I
did not, however, see _Daphne_ or _Myricaria_. In shady lateral
ravines an oak was frequent, the more interesting as I had seen none
in Kashmir; it was _Q. floribunda_, a species of the middle zone of
the outer Himalaya, which usually occurs at higher levels than _Q.
incana_, and lower than _Q. semecarpifolia_.

Though the river of Banahal is a tributary of the Chenab, yet the
district has always been considered as a dependency of Kashmir, from
which it is only a short day's journey distant, while for several
days in descending towards the Chenab, the country is almost
uninhabited. Halting one day at Banahal to change my porters, I made
three marches to Nasmon, on the right bank of the Chenab, following
the course of the Banahal river during the first and part of the
second march, but afterwards leaving it, on account of its increasing
ruggedness, to cross the range on the left hand by a pass about 8000
feet above the sea, which overhangs the valley of the Chenab. The
bounding spurs which hem in the Banahal valley descend almost
perpendicularly upon the Chenab, and dip at last very abruptly to that
river. At first, large masses of snow were visible at the sources of
all the lateral valleys, but lower down the elevation was not
sufficient, and the hills were bare. After leaving the last village of
Banahal, the bottom of the valley was for some time level and covered
with fine forest, consisting chiefly of magnificent trees of _Celtis_,
elm, and alder; the others were two species of Acer, _Fraxinus_,
_Morus_, _Populus ciliata_, and a willow. _Fothergilla_ now grew to a
small tree, and _Marlea_ made its appearance, the first indication of
an approach to a hot climate. Soon, the banks of the river became
rocky, and left no passage, so that the road ascended on the right
bank, and lay at a considerable elevation on the hill-sides, looking
down upon a richly wooded and often rocky glen. The hills were steep
and generally bare, but the ravines were often well wooded. _Pinus
excelsa_ occurred occasionally; _Quercus floribunda_ was common, and
_Q. lanata_ made its appearance.

Before leaving the Banahal river, I had got down to about 4000 feet,
meeting latterly with some familiar plants of the warmer zone: _Pinus
longifolia_ formed dry woods, _Cedrela Toona_, a fig, _Albizzia
mollis_, and last of all, _Dalbergia Sissoo_. Still, most of the
plants of the upper part of the valley accompanied me throughout; even
the hoary oak had not disappeared, and the general appearance of the
vegetation was very different from what it would have been at the same
elevation further east, the plants of a hot climate being chiefly such
as delight in a dry heat, and are capable of enduring a considerable
amount of winter cold, provided the summer temperature be sufficiently
elevated. It was evident that the temperature was considerably lower
than it would have been at the same height in the Sutlej valley, and I
drew the same inference with regard to the humidity, from the
appearance of a number of dry-climate plants; for instance, a yellow
spinous _Astragalus_, a _Dianthus_, and _Eremurus_, an Asphodeleous
genus common in Kunawar, and other dry valleys of the Himalaya.

    [Sidenote: PASS ABOVE NASMON.
     _May, 1848._]

In the ascent of the lateral ravine, towards the pass above Nasmon, I
encountered, for the first time, _Rhododendron arboreum_ and
_Andromeda ovalifolia_, the two trees which, with the hoary oak, form
the mass of the Simla woods. The forest was now very fine, as I was on
the northern slope of the range. On the upper part of the ridge by
which I ascended, there was a grove of fine deodar-trees, and in the
bottom of the dell a shady wood of horse-chesnut and sycamore. I had
now entered a zone in which the flora was quite similar to that of
Simla; _Fothergilla_ being the only tree I observed, which is not
common in that district. And it was curious that it was on the
northern and most shady, as well as most humid exposure, that this
identity of flora became first remarkable, and that the same trees
which at Simla form the forests of the drier slopes and more exposed
situations, grew in this valley low down on the hill-sides, in the
most sheltered spots.

    [Sidenote: VEGETATION.
     _May, 1848._]

The ascent towards the ridge was latterly steep, with a good deal of
silver fir and deodar. The trees rose to the very top of the northern
slope, but, as usual, the summit was bare and grassy, though the tops
of the trees were actually higher than the crest of the ridge, and
obscured the view to the north. As the elevation was only 8000 feet,
there was no peculiarity of vegetation, all the plants being those of
the middle zone, except the silver fir, which descended to a lower
level than it usually does in the Simla hills. There was some
cultivation of wheat and barley within a very short distance of the
summit, which overlooked the valley of the Chenab; and as the day was
fortunately clear, there was a very fine view. The ravine through
which the river flowed appeared everywhere rugged, more especially
towards the plains, where a succession of steep rocky hills were seen,
the nearest of which surrounded the mouth of the Banahal river. Across
the Chenab, a high range, beautifully wooded, ran parallel to the
river, rising into a snowy peak nearly opposite to me. This peak,
which concealed all view of the plains beyond, lay on my road to Jamu,
and was about 9000 feet in height.

     _May, 1848._]

The descent to Nasmon, which is only 2700 feet above the level of the
sea, was very steep. At first it led along the face of a bare hill,
but soon entered a shady ravine, filled with alder, oak, walnut, and
_Celtis_, but without any of the superb horse-chesnuts which had been
so abundant in the humid valleys on the northern face of the range;
nor was there any _Rhododendron_. Crossing a considerable stream, the
road ascended through fine forest to the crest of a ridge, beyond
which there was a long and steep descent of at least 1500 feet, to the
village of Nasmon, on which tropical vegetation made its appearance
very abruptly. _Pinus longifolia_ grew scattered along the sides of
this hill, and _Daphne_, pomegranate, the olive of the Sutlej valley,
_Vitex Negundo_, _Colebrookea_, _Rottlera_, _Sissoo_, _Adhatoda
Vasica_, a thorny _Celastrus_, _Acacia modesta_ and _Lebbek_, and
_Bauhinia variegata_, made their appearance in succession, in the
order in which I have named them. Most of these are the same as the
shrubby forms common in the Sutlej valley at Rampur; but the
_Celastrus_ and _Acacia modesta_ are plants of the plains of the
western Punjab, and do not extend so far west as that river. The range
parallel to the Chenab on the north, which I had just crossed, has
probably a granitic axis, for boulders of granite were common on the
upper part of the ascent on both sides of the pass, though I did not
anywhere see that rock _in situ_. On both sides the first rock exposed
was a fine-grained gneiss, with large crystals of felspar. Lower down,
on the north face, I observed mica-slate, with garnets; and in the bed
of the Banahal river ordinary clay-slate occurred.

    [Sidenote: NASMON.
     _May, 1848._]

Nasmon is a very large but scattered village, with much cultivation.
It lies on a high platform of alluvium, considerably above the bed of
the river. Plane, orange, apricot, and pear trees grew in the
gardens, with _Melia Azedarach_, and a few trees of the European
cypress (_C. sempervirens_), bearing apparently ripe fruit. The day
was oppressively warm, the thermometer rising above 85° in the shade.

On the 13th of May, I crossed the Chenab by a bridge about a mile
above Nasmon. The descent to the bank of the river was gradual, and
very bare. Rocks of a black clay-slate and of conglomerate, in nearly
vertical strata, formed the bed of the river, which was as large as
the Sutlej at Rampur, and very much swollen and muddy. The bridge is
the simplest form of _jhula_, a single set of ropes, from which a
wooden seat is suspended, which is pulled from side to side by means
of a rope, worked from the rocks on either side of the river. The
banks of the river were adorned with a profusion of bushes of _Nerium
odorum_, in full flower, and highly ornamental. The vegetation along
the river exhibited the same curious contrast of tropical and
temperate forms, which I have already described as characteristic of
the dry valleys of the interior of the Himalaya, at elevations between
two and four thousand feet; and the tropical plants were so similar to
those which I observed on the Sutlej, that I need not particularize
them. There was no forest in any part of the valley near the river,
but a few trees of _Pinus longifolia_ grew scattered on the bank; and
on the stony ground which skirted the stream, there was a low jungle
of the same tropical shrubs as had occurred on the lower part of the
descent the day before. I saw also _Zizyphus nummularia_, a shrub
which is eminently characteristic of a dry climate, being common in
the most desert and rainless districts of the Punjab. The shrubby
temperate forms were not numerous, being chiefly _Rosa Brunonis_, and
the Himalayan pear, _Lonicera diversifolia_, _Myrsine bifaria_, and
_Jasminum revolutum_, all plants which have a very wide range in the

     _May, 1848._]

Passing through the bush jungle which skirted the river, I entered a
large tract of almost level cultivated land, covered with fields of
barley, ripe and partly cut. One or two plantain-trees, and some
buffaloes, were signs that we were still in a very hot region.
Crossing a considerable stream, the road began to ascend rapidly on a
narrow ridge. Passing some farm-houses, surrounded by fields, I
entered a scattered wood of wild olive-trees (_Olea cuspidata_), mixed
with _Zizyphus_ and wild pomegranate. The young shoots and panicles of
the olive were abundantly covered with a white floccose glutinous
matter, the source of which I could not exactly determine; but I could
see no trace of any insects by which it could have been formed, so
that it was perhaps a natural exudation from the tree. Small woods of
_Pinus longifolia_ occurred at intervals, almost alone, for few plants
seem to thrive under its shade. At 4000 feet, while the olive and
pomegranate were still abundant, _Quercus lanata_ appeared. At 4500
feet, which was about the upper limit of the olive, I re-entered a
cultivated district, disposed in terraces on the slopes of the hills.
The barley was quite ripe, and being cut, but the wheat, though in
full ear, was still green. There were also a few fields of the opium
poppy in full flower, and of safflower (_Carthamus tinctorius_), which
was not nearly so far advanced.

I encamped at the village of Balota, elevated 5000 feet. Round the
village were some very fine table-topped deodars, perhaps the relics
of a former forest, though more likely planted by the villagers. The
hills on all sides were richly cultivated, as far up as 6000 feet,
above which elevation fine forest commenced; and the snowy top of the
mountain behind, which I had seen from the pass of the 12th, was
visible rising behind the forest. During the whole of the ascent from
the Chenab, the rock was a coarse-grained sandstone, in highly
inclined strata, generally of a reddish-brown colour, the surface of
which rapidly passes into a state of decay.

    [Sidenote: LADHE KE DHAR.
     _May, 1848._]

The range of mountains to the south of the Chenab, by which that river
is separated from the basin of the Tawi or river of Jamu, still lay
between me and the plains of India. On the 14th of May, I crossed a
spur from this range, descending into a valley watered by a tributary
of the Chenab. This ridge, which is called Ladhe ke Dhar, rises a
little above 9000 feet, that being the elevation at which the road
crosses it. After leaving the cultivated lands of Balota, the ascent,
which was steady, lay through fine brushwood and stunted oaks. On the
banks of the stream, which occupied the centre of the valley by which
I ascended, sycamore, horse-chesnut, and cherry, were abundant. On the
slopes there were a few trees of _Pinus excelsa_ and _Picea_, but the
forest was not dense. About 7000 feet, on the north-western face of a
spur, there was much cultivation of wheat and barley, hardly yet in
ear. Here there was a fine view in the direction of the upper valley
of the Chenab, of rugged mountains, scarcely wooded on the slope
exposed to view, rising behind one another, the more distant still
heavily snowed. Higher up, the forest was chiefly formed of the
holly-leaved oak, but the latter part of the ascent was through a dark
forest of silver fir, intermixed with a few fine yews. The underwood
here was chiefly _Viburnum nervosum_, still in flower, though its
leaves were almost fully developed. On emerging from this gloomy
forest, in the upper part of which there was a thin sprinkling of
snow, I found myself on the crest of the range, which was bare and
rounded. Snow lay in large patches, and had evidently been till very
recently continuous over the whole top, as vegetation was just
commencing, and few plants were in flower. _Primula denticulata_ was
common, as well as a little gentian, which extended on both sides at
least 2000 feet lower; the only alpine plant was the little
_Callianthemum_ which I had found some days before on the summit of
Wasterwan in Kashmir. The distant view was unfortunately quite
obscured by haze, so that I could not see, as I had expected, the
plains of India.

    [Sidenote: KATTI.
     _May, 1848._]

In descending the southern face of this mountain, the road at once
entered a forest of silver fir, in the upper part of which I saw one
tree of _Quercus semecarpifolia_, a species which I had not met with
on the Kashmir passes, or anywhere since leaving the Sutlej. About
8000 feet, the pines were replaced by the holly-leaved oak, forming
open woods, in the glades of which patches of cultivation soon
occurred; I encamped at about 7000 feet, at the village of Katti.
During the day the sandstone rock occurred uninterruptedly, partly, as
the day before, of a reddish-brown colour, partly grey, or nearly
white. On the descent large angular fragments of this rock were
everywhere scattered over the surface, almost always more or less
imbedded in the soil: these had somewhat the appearance of a former
moraine, but the surface was so much covered with wood, and the
boulders were so much buried, that I could not trace their arrangement
in a satisfactory manner.

    [Sidenote: LANDAR.
     _May, 1848._]

Next morning I continued the descent, which was rapid, so that I soon
arrived at tropical vegetation. There was but little forest, except in
ravines, and the heat soon became very great. About three miles from
Katti I passed the fort of Landar, built on an almost isolated cliff,
overhanging the ravine; and a little further on I descended abruptly
to a small stream, running towards the Chenab, the elevation of whose
bed was about 3000 feet. The descent, which was almost precipitous,
led down the face of a mass of clay, in some respects like the
alluvial deposits so common in Tibet. Similar masses of alluvium, all
table-topped, and very steep, and much worn by ravines, had occurred
throughout the whole of the descent from Katti. A few pines grew on
this steep bank, and all the shrubs which I had found on the banks of
the Chenab at Nasmon were again met with. After crossing this stream,
the bed of which was filled with large water-worn boulders, I again
ascended to about 5000 feet, chiefly among cultivation, and encamped
at _Mir_, a small village close to the crest of the main range south
of the Chenab, the elevation of which was now very inconsiderable.

     _May, 1848._]

Next day, a gentle ascent of half an hour brought me to the crest of
this range. The mountain slopes were bare and grassy, but in the
ravines there was now and then some brushwood. _Andromeda ovalifolia_
and _Rhododendron arboreum_ were both noticed; and, much to my
surprise, I observed at intervals a few trees of _Fothergilla_, for I
had not expected to find this Kashmir tree so close to the plains, and
in a district the flora of which was so completely that of the Simla
hills. On the summit of the pass, which was not more than 6000 feet, I
found a beautiful gentian (_G. Kurroo_ of Royle) and a yellow spinous
_Astragalus_, seemingly the same species which I had found at Nasmon,
on the Chenab. It was curious to find a representative of the
spiny-petioled group of this genus in so hot a climate and so near the
plains; for in the rainy parts of the mountains, and in the more humid
parts of the Indian plain, the genus is almost wanting, and this
particular section entirely so.

From the summit I descended at once through a pine-wood to the bottom
of a valley, the course of which I followed throughout the day in a
southerly direction. It gradually widened as I advanced; villages
became frequent, and were surrounded by extensive cultivation, and all
temperate vegetation disappeared. I encamped at the village of
Kirmichi, where the valley which I was following appeared to expand
into an open plain of some width. Here oranges and mulberries were
cultivated in gardens, and the toon and mango, pipal and banyan
(_Ficus religiosa_ and _Indica_) were planted in groves round the

On the 17th of May, I continued my journey towards the plains of the
Punjab. An open, somewhat undulating valley lay before me, appearing
to stretch from east to west, and to be bounded by two ranges of
hills which had the same direction. Trikota Debi, a curious
three-peaked hill, the last culminating point of the range separating
the Chenab from the Tawi, rose some miles to the westward. To the
eastward the valley of the Tawi was open as far as Ramnagar, which was
distant about twenty miles. In crossing this open plain, or _dhun_, I
nearly followed the course of a little stream which had excavated for
itself a deep channel in the soft sandstone of which the plain was
composed. This rock was very different in appearance from the red or
grey sandstone which had accompanied us from Balota; it was pure
white, and almost horizontally stratified, while that was always
highly inclined. During the latter part of my journey of the 10th I
nowhere saw rock _in situ_, so that I had no opportunity of
ascertaining the contact of these two formations, which are probably
of very different epochs, the sandstone of the open plain being
certainly the Sewalik tertiary formation, while the red sandstone of
the higher mountains, which in the total absence of all organic
remains is as yet of uncertain age, is perhaps the same as the
gypsiferous and saliferous sandstones which skirt a great part of the
western Himalaya.

One or two pine-trees, and some bushes of _Euphorbia pentagona_, were
almost the only features in the vegetation which distinguished this
open valley from the plains of India. On shady rocks along the stream
three or four ferns were common; the oleander also grew near water; a
dwarf date-palm occupied drier spots; and I saw a few trees of _Cassia
fistula_. Crossing a broad shallow river which flowed to the eastward
at the southern boundary of this _dhun_, in a depression faced by
cliffs of sandstone, I entered among low hills covered with scattered
trees of _Pinus longifolia_. This plant appears to grow luxuriantly on
hot dry hills; the trees did not attain a great size, but appeared
vigorous and healthy, with thick trunks and gnarled branches, exactly
like the Scotch fir, except in the great length of the leaves, which
are pendulous from the ends of the branches.

    [Sidenote: SANDSTONE RANGES.
     _May, 1848._]

On the 18th, I crossed a sandstone range, in which the strata
exhibited an anticlinal axis, dipping towards the plain on both sides.
The ascent was easy, and the summit was not above the limit of
tropical vegetation, as a banyan-tree grew on the top. The descent was
much steeper and considerably longer, the valley to the south being a
good deal lower. The road was good, being in the steeper parts paved
with large flat stones, while in the more rocky parts the sandstone
was cut into steps. A flat and well cultivated valley lay to the south
of this range, in the centre of which flowed a river, in a wide
channel several hundred feet below the level of the plain: it was very
shallow, and was crossed by stepping-stones. Another hilly tract
followed, covered with straggling bush jungle, and on the upper part
with pine-forest: this was also of sandstone, very soft, and excavated
by the various little streams which traversed it, into narrow and deep
ravines. Even foot-paths, by constant use, were sunk four or five feet
deep in the soft rock. The dip of this range was gentle, towards the
plains of India.

    [Sidenote: JAMU.
     _May, 1848._]

I encamped on the 18th at Seda, under the shade of a superb
banyan-tree, in a hollow in this sandstone range, and next day
continued my journey to Jamu. Emerging from the hills after a mile or
two, I entered a third valley, and followed the course of the little
stream by which it was watered, to its junction with the Tawi, along
which I travelled about four miles; to the town of Jamu, which is
built on the outermost range of hills, at the point where the river
Tawi finally quits the mountains. These hills rise very gently from
the plains, their southern slope forming a long inclined plane,
densely covered with a jungle of low thorny trees. The same sort of
jungle usually skirts their base to a distance of two or three miles,
or as far as the alluvial soil of the level country which lies beyond
is covered with stones and shingle. It is principally composed of
_Acacia modesta_ and _Catechu_, and of two species of _Zizyphus_. The
northern or inner face of this range of hills is very steep, often
quite precipitous; and where they overhang the Tawi, they terminate
abruptly in a line of cliffs facing the river. A similar range, but a
good deal lower, descends from the eastward towards Jamu, and, like
the other, presents a series of vertical cliffs covered with brushwood
towards the river. The town occupies the gentle slope which faces the
plains; it is a straggling and dirty place, but with some very good
houses. The principal building is the residence of Maharaja Gulab
Sing; at the time of my visit occupied by his eldest son. It is
situated on the edge of the cliff, overhanging the river, and commands
a fine view of the open valley of the Tawi below, and of the mountain
ranges to the north and east, the more distant of which were still
tipped with snow.

The outermost range of hills, which does not rise to any great
elevation, consists entirely of loose conglomerate coarsely
stratified, the beds dipping very gently towards the plains. The
boulders of which it is composed are waterworn, and very various in
composition, but all referable to the interior ranges; a few thin beds
of sand and of a clay resembling pipe-clay, are interposed between the
strata of conglomerate.

The very curious country through which I had been travelling since the
16th, had so much the appearance of a succession of valleys parallel
to the plains, and separated by long ranges of hills, that it was
difficult to avoid taking up that impression, which, notwithstanding,
I believe to be an erroneous one. The gentle slope of the different
tributaries which join the Tawi from the right and left, tends to keep
out of sight the longitudinal ranges parallel to that river, from
which the lateral ramifications proceed. When we obtain a detailed
survey of the district, it will be found that the lateral valleys on
each side of the Tawi do not correspond in direction, and are not
quite opposite to one another, and that the apparent uniformity is
caused by the great width of their valleys, when compared with the
elevation of the bounding ranges. The Sewalik sandstone here attains a
width of at least thirty miles, which is very much more than is found
further west.


     Leave Jamu to return to Tibet -- Lake of Sirohi Sar --
     Vegetation of lower hills -- _Dodonæa_ -- Ramnagar -- Garta --
     Dadu, on a tributary of the Chenab -- Camp at 10,000 feet --
     Badarwar -- Padri pass -- Descend a tributary of the Ravi --
     and ascend another towards the north -- Sach _Joth_, or pass --
     Snow-beds -- Camp in Chenab valley.

On my arrival in Kashmir, I had forwarded an application to the Indian
Government, requesting permission to return to Tibet, for the purpose
of visiting the mountains north of Nubra, which, from the advanced
state of the season, I had been unable to do the previous year. Soon
after reaching Jamu, I received intimation that the Governor-General,
Lord Dalhousie, had been pleased to accede to my request. I had
already determined, if permitted to return to Le, to take the route by
Zanskar, which, though much frequented by the natives of the country,
was quite unknown to European travellers; but as the season was far
advanced, I chose a road through the higher hills, instead of taking
that leading directly to Chamba, which would have obliged me to travel
for at least a week through the hot valleys of the outer ranges.

    [Sidenote: LAKE OF SIROHI SAR.
     _May, 1848._]

I left Jamu on the morning of the 23rd of May. After crossing the
Tawi by a ferry immediately below the town, my road lay for three
miles up the left bank of that river, along an open sandy plain, only
very partially cultivated. I then turned to the right, and entered the
low hills which skirted the plain on that side. The road generally
followed the course of the ravines, which have been excavated out of
the soft sandstone by the numerous tributaries which descend to join
the Tawi. These streams are all of small size, with gravelly or sandy
beds, and are separated by low ridges of some breadth, faced generally
by perpendicular cliffs. An undulating country of this nature occupies
the whole of the space which intervenes between the outer range of
hills and that next to it, a distance, by the road along which I
travelled, of about twelve miles. This second range is a branch given
off by an axis, whose direction is nearly east and west. The road
ascended to it by a very steep rocky path, after surmounting which I
found myself on a considerable tract of nearly level ground, partly
occupied by a pretty little lake, with grassy banks. On the banks of
this lake, which is called Sirohi Sar, and is rather less than half a
mile in length, I encamped on the 24th of May, in a grove of very fine
mango-trees. The depth of the lake did not appear great, its margins
being for a considerable distance very shallow, and producing an
abundance of reeds and water-plants, among which the sacred
_Nelumbium_, with its gay flowers, was conspicuous. The elevation of
the lake, as deduced from the boiling-point of water, I found to be
2200 feet. It occupies a depression in the top of the ridge, being
surmounted on both sides by low ranges of hills, rising only to the
height of a few hundred feet. At the east end, a low flat plain,
interrupted only by a few regular rocky knolls, seemed to indicate
that the size of the lake had formerly been more considerable than at

     _May, 1848._]

The vegetation of the country between Jamu and Sirohi Sar was entirely
of a tropical character. The rocky hills were in many places covered
with thinly scattered pines, all of small size, and generally with
much-contorted trunks, but apparently healthy and vigorous. In the
cultivated grounds the plants were identical with those of the plains,
but, as is usual in all hilly countries, the barren tracts produced a
flora of a different character. _Nerium odorum_ was abundant on the
banks of streams, and I met with _Cassia fistula_, _Punica_, species
of _Rhus_ and _Casearia_, as well as the curious _Euphorbia
pentagona_, and now and then the beautiful _Bauhinia Vahlii_. _Acacia
modesta_ and a _Zizyphus_ were the most common trees. The lake
produced a great variety of water-plants, but except an _Alisma_ and
_Dysophylla_, both of which were new to me, the species seemed all
natives of the plains.

On the 25th of May, I proceeded along the side of the ridge in an
easterly direction, passing several small flat-bottomed depressions,
apparently the sites at a former period of small lakes, similar to
that from which I had commenced my march. The road was rocky and
rugged, and gradually rose several hundred feet to the crest of the
ridge. Pine-trees were generally plentiful. On reaching the top,
shortly after daybreak, a fine wide undulating valley was seen below,
bounded on the north at the distance of about ten miles by a third
range of mountains, and traversed by several streams, which had
excavated for themselves deep perpendicular-sided ravines in the
sandstone strata. All these streams had a westerly course to join the
Tawi, which, issuing from a deep valley behind the third range,
crossed the open plain in a south-west direction.

    [Sidenote: SANDSTONE RANGES.
     _May, 1848._]

Leaving the ridge, the road descended gradually to the plain, and
after crossing a deep ravine, with precipitous walls, continued
through a fine level country to the village of Thalaura, about a mile
from the third range of hills. The sandstone frequently contained a
few waterworn pebbles scattered through it; and a bed of coarse
conglomerate, with an indurated matrix, capped the cliff above this
ravine. Some strata of indurated clay and soft slate also alternated,
but rarely, with the sandstone. The plain was well cultivated, being
chiefly laid out in rice-fields; and the people were all busy
ploughing, sowing rice, and harrowing with a log of wood, drawn by
bullocks and kept down by the weight of a man.

On the earlier rocky part of the road, the vegetation was much the
same as the day before. _Dodonæa_ was common, as it is in most parts
of this hilly tract, never, however, rising out of the tropical belt.
I do not know how far to the eastward of Jamu this plant extends; but
as it does not seem to occur to the east of the Sutlej, and probably
stops much sooner[18], it appears to prefer a rather dry climate, and
will, I think, be found limited to the drier portion of the Peninsula,
from which it probably extends through Central India, and along the
hilly country west of Sind. On the open plain the pines entirely
disappeared, and the aspect of the vegetation was entirely that of the
plains of India.

From Thalaura I marched, on the 26th of May, to Ramnagar, crossing the
third range of hills, the ascent of which was at first very steep and
rocky, over a made road, paved with large stones, in many places much
out of repair. This range was also sandstone, dipping to the north at
a gentle angle; some strata of indurated clay occurred between the
beds of sandstone. These hills were precipitous to the south, and
sloped gently towards the north, in the direction of the dip. The tree
_Euphorbia_, which, with its stiff fleshy branches springing in
verticils of five from the stem, forms a striking feature in the
vegetation of the lower hills, was common on the ascent, and the
yellow spinous _Astragalus_, which I had observed between the Chenab
and Jamu a fortnight before, was frequent on both sides of this ridge;
but even at the top, except one species of _Indigofera_, no plants
indicating elevation were met with: on this account I omitted to
determine the height of the range by the boiling-point of water, but
comparing its elevation with that of Ramnagar, which was in sight, I
estimated that it might be about 3600 feet. To the north lay another
valley, considerably more rugged than that crossed the day before, and
evidently much more highly inclined, as its eastern termination was
not far distant. This valley was traversed by the principal branch of
the Tawi, the source of which is in the mountains east of Ramnagar.

    [Sidenote: RAMNAGAR.
     _May, 1848._]

The descent from this range was very gradual, the road running
obliquely to the eastward, among scattered pine-trees, over bare
sandstone rocks, till it reached the bank of a small stream separated
from the Tawi by a low range of hills. During the descent, a number of
plants of Himalayan forms made their appearance, which had not
occurred before: these were a berberry, _Rubus flavus_, and _Myrsine
bifaria_. _Olea cuspidata_ was seen lower down, and a species of alder
grew in shady ravines along the edge of the stream. In the bottom of
the valley, the mixture of the forms of the middle and lower zones was
curious and interesting. _Pinus longifolia_ occurred with _Phoenix
sylvestris_, alder with _Rondeletia_ and _Rottlera_, pear with
_Sissoo_, and _Fragaria Indica_ and _Micromeria_ with _Trichodesma_
and _Solanum Jacquini_. At the same time, it was evident that in this
dry stony valley the tropical species, which formed the majority, were
more at home than the stragglers which had descended from above.

After ascending for a short distance along the banks of the little
stream, the road crossed it, and after a short steep ascent from the
right bank, the remainder of the day's journey was nearly level, along
the sides of hills, or over a high table-land to Ramnagar, a small
town and fort, formerly the residence of Rajah Suchet Sing, since
whose death the place has been rapidly falling to decay, most of the
shops of its well-built bazaar being now empty. There were in the
neighbourhood one or two large gardens, in which the trees and plants
were nearly all Indian, _Sissoo_ and _Melia Azedarach_ being the most
common. A single plane-tree was scarcely an exception; for though
undoubtedly more at home at greater elevations, the plane (like the
poplar and many of the fruit-trees of temperate climes) does not
refuse to grow even in the plains, as is proved by the occurrence of a
number of trees of it of considerable size and apparently healthy in
gardens at Lahore.

    [Sidenote: GARTA.
     _May, 1848._]

Leaving Ramnagar on the morning of the 27th, I continued to ascend the
valley of the Tawi for about three miles, the road running along the
sides of the hills among rich cultivation at a considerable height
above the stream. It then descended somewhat abruptly to the river,
and soon crossed to the right bank, from which a steep ascent
commenced at once, and continued, with one or two interruptions of
level cultivated ground, to the end of the day's journey. The ascent
had throughout a southern exposure, and was in consequence generally
bare of trees, and dry and grassy. Much cultivated land was met with,
wherever the ground was sufficiently level to admit of it. I encamped
at a small village, or rather cluster of farmhouses, called Garta, at
a height of about 5800 feet. From the bare grassy nature of the ascent
and its hot sunny exposure, the number of species of plants which
occurred was very limited, and the change of vegetation much less
marked than in better-wooded regions of these mountains. A few oaks
(_Q. lanata_) made their appearance about half-way up, or perhaps at
4500 feet.

During this day's journey, I believe that I passed the point of
contact of the tertiary sandstone with the more ancient rock, for on
the ascent after crossing the river, the strata were very highly
inclined, and often bent into large curves. The rock was also more
indurated, and different in colour and appearance from that of the
outer hills. I did not, however, observe the place where the change
took place.

    [Sidenote: PATA.
     _May, 1848._]

Next day, the ascent continued equally steep and bare as the day
before, and there was still much cultivation, wherever the surface was
sufficiently level for the purpose, or could be made so by means of
terracing. During the preceding day's march, the fields of wheat and
barley had been for some time cut, but here, though generally ripe,
they were still standing. On attaining an elevation of about 7000
feet, the steep spur which I had been ascending joined the main ridge,
and the road, turning to the east, entered a thick forest of small
oak-trees (_Q. lanata_) through which it continued, alternately
descending and ascending a little, as it entered the recesses or
advanced along the projecting ridges. The greatest height attained may
have been about 8000 feet, and the summit of the range, which was
frequently visible, did not seem to be above 1000 feet higher. After
about three miles of forest, the hills again became bare, and
continued so till the end of the march, which terminated by an abrupt
descent of 600 or 700 feet to a ravine, and an equally steep ascent to
the village of Pata, which was elevated about 7500 feet. Throughout
the day, the vegetation, both in the forest and on the open tracts,
was identical with that of the Simla hills. The forest consisted of
oak, _Rhododendron_, and _Andromeda_. Pines were visible at the very
top of the ridge, but did not cross to the southern exposure: they
appeared to be _Picea Webbiana_ (_Pindrow_). The village at which I
encamped was of considerable size, with extensive wheat cultivation,
very luxuriant and in full ear, but still quite green. Many trees of
the glabrous holly-leaved oak were scattered among the fields, which,
from the lateral branches having been lopped off by the villagers,
rose to a great height with an erect poplar-like trunk, bearing only a
small tuft of branches at the top, in a manner very foreign to the
usual habit of the tree.

On the 29th of May I crossed the range along which I had travelled the
previous day, and descended into a valley watered by a tributary of
the Chenab, running towards the north-west. The ascent, which was bare
and grassy, amounted only to about 1000 feet in perpendicular height.
Close to the top, a few trees of _Picea_ made their appearance, while
I was still on the south face of the ridge, and on gaining the crest
of the pass, I found that the northern slope was occupied by a fine
forest of the same tree. As the range was not sufficiently elevated to
produce any really alpine plants, the vegetation presented little
worthy of note. _Viburnum nervosum_ was the commonest shrub, and an
_Anemone_, a _Ranunculus_, the common _Gypsophila_ and _Trifolium
repens_ were the herbs which predominated at the top.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF DADU.
     _May, 1848._]

The road descended rapidly through fine forest. The sombre silver fir
was, after a short descent, mixed with plenty of horse-chesnut and
sycamore, and of the glabrous-leaved oak. Lower down, deodar and
_Abies Smithiana_ also appeared, and on arriving in the valley, the
forest gave place to cultivated fields, with only a few oak-trees
scattered among them. The road now ascended the valley, which was
tolerably open and well cultivated. The stream ran through a deep
ravine, with steep, well-wooded, often rocky banks, far below the
level of the cultivation. I encamped at an elevation of about 6800
feet, at a village called Dadu, or Doda, situated on the edge of a
small open plain, covered with luxuriant crops of wheat.

Near the village, and along the edges of the cultivation, were
numerous apricot-trees of large size; and a willow, apparently the
same which occurs in Kashmir (_S. alba_) was commonly planted. The
general appearance of the place was very much that of the villages in
lower Kunawar; and I was much interested to find that although the
greater part of the vegetation was the same as is common in the outer
ranges of the mountains, a few plants indicative of a drier climate
were to be seen. I was particularly surprised to find that _Quercus
lanata_, _Rhododendron arboreum_, and _Andromeda ovalifolia_, three
trees which are everywhere most abundant in the outer ranges of the
Himalaya in the temperate zone, had entirely disappeared. The Kashmir
_Fothergilla_ was not uncommon, and I noted at least four or five
herbaceous plants, which I had first met with in that valley or in

On the northern face of this range, between Pata and Dadu, the
sandstone, which had continued since I left the valley of the Tawi,
was replaced by a succession of metamorphic slates, sometimes very
micaceous. In the valley of Dadu, boulders of gneiss, with crystals of
felspar from one to three inches in length, were common, but the rock
did not occur _in situ_.

The range of mountains bounding the valley on the south, did not
appear to rise anywhere to a greater height than between 9000 and
10,000 feet, and where I crossed it, was not, I should think, higher
than 8500. Immediately to the east of this low pass, however, it began
to rise rapidly, and at the head of the valley lay a high snowy
mountain, evidently a projecting peak of a long range descending from
the north-east, and forming the boundary between the basins of the
Chenab and the Ravi. This range, which in most places must be upwards
of 11,000 feet, and which in some probably rises to 14,000, must, I
think, to some extent check the progress of the masses of clouds
during the monsoon, and therefore tend to diminish the quantity of
rain, particularly as the rain-clouds come from the eastward, on which
account the lower altitude of the ridge to the south-west is of less

Halting at Dadu on the 30th of May, my road on the 31st lay up the
valley towards the snowy range to the eastward. Cultivation did not
continue beyond the village; and after a steep, somewhat rocky ascent
and descent over a bare spur, I followed the course of the stream as
nearly as the precipitous nature of its banks would permit, through a
forest of sycamore, walnut, alder, horse-chesnut, and holly-leaved
oak. Pines also were abundant, of the four common species: namely,
deodar, spruce, silver fir, and _Pinus excelsa_. After following the
course of the river for about a mile, the road crossed a large lateral
tributary descending from the right, and ascended a steep bare spur
between it and the main stream for perhaps 500 feet, after which it
ran for some distance through fields of wheat still green, at first at
a considerable distance above the stream, the bed of which, however,
rose so rapidly that a very short descent brought me again to its
banks. I then re-entered a beautiful forest, principally pine, in
which the _Pindrow_ was now the most common tree, bearing in abundance
its erect purple cones. As the road rose rapidly, the vegetation soon
began to change: _Syringa Emodi_, a currant, and other plants of the
sub-alpine zone, making their appearance. The most common shrubby
plants were _Viburnum nervosum_ and _Spiræa Lindleyana_, both of which
occurred in vast quantity. For perhaps a mile and a half, the valley
was extremely beautiful; the torrent being rocky and rapid, and the
forest very fine. The road then crossed the stream by a good wooden
bridge, and a steep ascent commenced. As the forest was confined to
the bottom of the valley, I soon emerged on dry grassy slopes. The
precipitous nature of the banks rendered it necessary to ascend nearly
1000 feet, after which the road was again level along the dry mountain
slope facing the south. The bed of the stream rose very rapidly, so
that the road soon re-approached it; and when nearly on a level with
it, I again entered forest, in which _Quercus semecarpifolia_, the
alpine oak of Himalaya, was the prevailing tree. After about a mile,
having attained an elevation of 10,000 feet, I encamped on an open
grassy spot in the forest. The ravines facing the north had for some
time been full of snow, but I had got close to camp before any
appeared in those on the right bank, along which the road lay. A
snowy peak, the upper part of which was high above the level of trees,
lay to the south-east.

     _May, 1848._]

In the lower part of the ascent, the rock was clay-slate; but near my
camp it was succeeded by the same gneiss, with large crystals of
felspar, which I had found (in boulders) around Dadu. In general
appearance, this gneiss was very similar to that observed on the
mountains north of Nasmon, on the Chenab; and as these two places have
nearly the same relative position as the usual line of strike in the
north-western Himalaya, it is very probable that the rock is the same
in both.

On the morning of the 1st of June, I continued to follow the course of
the stream, ascending now very gently. The valley was open, and the
road lay over undulating grassy ground, the forest having receded to
some distance on both sides. Round my camp I had noticed very little
in the vegetation different from what was common one or two thousand
feet lower; but almost immediately after starting, I found myself
among numerous bushes of _Rhododendron campanulatum_ in full flower,
and many other alpine plants appeared very shortly afterwards: of
these, perhaps the most lovely was the elegant _Primula rosea_, which
was extremely plentiful in hollow marshy spots from which snow had
recently melted.

     _June, 1848._]

The ascent continued exceedingly gentle till close to the end, when,
turning suddenly to the left into a pine-clad ravine, a few steps
brought me to the crest of the ridge over which my road ran,--a
lateral spur from the great snowy mass, which (as is often the case)
was a good deal lower where it branched off than at a greater
distance from the main range. After gaining the crest of the ridge, I
followed it for a few hundred yards previous to commencing the
descent. I had unfortunately somewhat rashly concluded, the day
before, that the ascent during the day would be very trifling, and
therefore did not carry with me the means of ascertaining the
elevation of the pass; I believe, however, that it a little exceeded
11,000 feet. It was still in the forest zone. The trees were mostly
the alpine oak, with a few scattered individuals of _Pinus excelsa_.
At a short distance, on the more shady slope, and still higher than
the pass, _Picea_ was plentiful. The highest level of trees only rose
a few hundred feet above me, and the lofty snowy peak which lay to the
southward, attaining a height of probably little under 14,000 feet,
was quite bare.

    [Sidenote: BADARWAR.
     _June, 1848._]

I reached the summit of the ridge between nine and ten A.M., at which
time a dense mass of heavy clouds filled the whole of the valley
below, while the sky above was perfectly clear. Vivid flashes of
lightning were seen, accompanied by loud thunder, and the clouds were
in violent commotion, being driven about by violent gusts of wind; but
in less than half an hour they had entirely disappeared, disclosing a
most magnificent view, bounded only by the grand snowy range beyond
the Chenab, stretching in both directions as far as the eye could
reach. Much nearer lay a second range of snowy mountains, evidently
that which runs parallel to the Chenab on the south. Still nearer were
other ranges of mountains, which, from the elevation at which I
stood, looked like gently undulating hills. Immediately below, lay
the rich and fertile valley of Badarwar, to which the descent was
extremely rapid, down the face of a projecting spur, densely covered
for the upper half of the way with forest. At the top of the pass,
there were here and there, on slopes facing the north, large patches
of snow, especially under the shade of trees, but on the descent it
appeared only in the most shady ravines. As the elevation diminished,
the same change in the forest was observed as during the ascent. The
alpine oak and spruce gave place to horse-chesnut, sycamore, and
holly-leaved oak, with deodar and spruce. Lower down, cultivation
appeared, and the road, lying on the southern slope of the spin, was
generally bare and grassy, with only a few scattered deodar-trees of
small size. At the base of the descent, clay-slate rocks replaced the

The town of Badarwar is of considerable size, containing, I should
think, not less than from three to four hundred houses, all, however,
small and without any indication of wealth. It lies at the elevation
of 5800 feet, in the upper part of a valley watered by a tributary of
the Chenab, from which it is distant, according to Vigne, twelve or
fourteen miles. Round the town the valley is two or three miles in
width, and completely covered with fields, rising in terraces one
above another. Some rice is cultivated, but millet and Indian corn,
neither of which were yet sown, are, I was informed, the principal

The vegetation of the valley of Badarwar was hardly at all different
from that of the one which I had just left, and the few new forms
which occurred were for the most part Kashmir species. _Quercus
lanata_, and the trees usually associated with it, did not occur; but
_Fothergilla_ was plentiful in the woods on the hill-sides, and in
open exposed sunny places a Kashmir _Daphne_ and _Zizyphus_ were
common: both of these species, however, are natives of the Sutlej
valley. In the shady ravines a species of _Philadelphus_, and the
_Nima_ of Hamilton, were met with. Vines were cultivated near the
town, as well as a few trees of _Populus nigra_, and a rough
small-leaved elm, which grew to a gigantic size.

From Badarwar two roads were open to me, by either of which I could
reach Chatargarh on the Chenab, from which place there is a road into
Zanskar. One of these follows the course of the Badarwar valley to its
junction with the Chenab, and ascends that river by Kishtwar; the
other crosses the mountains to the eastward, so as to get into the
valley of the Ravi, and to join the road which leads from Chamba to
Zanskar. Of these I selected the latter, which appeared to present the
advantages of being less known, of leading through a more elevated
country, and also (as I was led to believe) of saving several days.

    [Sidenote: PADRI PASS.
     _June, 1848._]

I started from Badarwar on the morning of the 3rd of June, and
proceeded up the valley in a south-easterly direction, towards the
Padri pass, a depression in the range which separates the districts
drained by the Chenab from those whose waters run towards the Ravi. At
first the road lay through cultivation. The fields of barley were
ripe, those of wheat still green, and considerably more backward than
at the same height in valleys more distant from the snow. The
elevation of the valley increased gently but steadily, and its
breadth gradually diminished as I advanced, the fields becoming
reduced to a narrow strip along the bank of the stream, and then
ceasing altogether. The road lay on the right bank, and was generally
open, but the opposite slopes and ravines were often prettily wooded.
After three miles the road began to ascend the hill-sides on the north
of the valley, for about a mile gently, but afterwards more steeply.
The hill-sides were bare, but on the opposite side of the valley there
was a fine forest; and as soon as the road had attained the crest of
the ridge or spur, the same dense forest was observed to cover the
whole of its steep northern face, stopping abruptly at the top. As the
elevation increased, the trees and herbaceous vegetation exhibited the
same gradual change which I had noted on the ascent two days before,
and I met with very few species which I had not collected at that
time. In the shady woods on the northern slope of the ridge, I found
the little Kashmir _Hepatica_, another instance of the extension to
the eastward of plants characteristic of that valley. Near the top
_Thermopsis barbata_ was plentiful, in full flower, on open stony
banks. The ascent continued steep to the top of the pass, the height
of which was 10,000 feet. The top was nearly level for some distance,
and was covered with large patches of snow. The continuation of the
range to the north was undulating and grassy, and the hills of very
moderate elevation above the level of the pass. To the southward they
rose abruptly to a considerable height, and the ravines were filled
with forest. I encamped on a grassy plain close to the top. The
morning had been cloudy, and after eleven A.M. it rained smartly till
evening; the temperature at sunset was 47½°.

    [Sidenote: LANGERA.
     _June, 1848._]

Next morning, before commencing the descent, I ascended a ridge on the
mountains to the south, to the height of about 1000 feet above the
pass. The snow had evidently only just melted from the greater part of
the surface; it still lay in large patches under the trees, and the
spring plants were just bursting into flower. The forest, as is
usually the case at that height, was principally the alpine oak. A
rose, willow, currant, cherry, _Lonicera_, and _Viburnum nervosum_
were bursting into leaf, and _Rhododendron campanulatum_ was abundant
and in full flower. The greater part of the herbaceous vegetation
consisted of _Primula denticulata_, a yellow _Corydalis_, and species
of _Thermopsis_, _Anemone_, _Caltha_, _Onosma_, _Potentilla_,
_Valeriana_, _Trillium_, and _Gentiana_. I continued to ascend to the
limit of herbaceous vegetation, stopping only where the ground was
uninterruptedly covered with snow. The uppermost level of trees was
still at least 500 feet above me. In descending I followed the course
of a ravine full of snow, the sides of which were covered by a dense
forest of silver fir.

After reaching the direct road from the pass, which I had quitted to
ascend the hills in the morning, there was a short ascent over a low
spur, and then a long and very steep descent, to the bottom of a deep
rocky ravine, so narrow and sheltered from the sun's rays, that the
stream was still covered with a great thickness of snow. Over this I
crossed to the north side of the valley, down which the road ran for
the remainder of the march, descending at first with great rapidity,
but on the latter half much more gently. There was plenty of fine
forest, but, as usual, it was for the most part confined to the south
side of the valley. The road lay along grassy slopes, sometimes steep
and rocky, at other times, where there was any extent of tolerably
level ground, covered knee-deep with a rank herbage of dock,
_Polygona_, thistles, and a variety of other plants not yet in flower.
It was in general at a considerable height above the bottom of the
valley, which was deep and gloomy, and filled with snow during a great
part of the way. I encamped at a village called Langera, at the height
of about 7600 feet, and was surprised to observe large patches of snow
still lying on the banks of the stream, at least three hundred feet
below me.

    [Sidenote: DEGHI.
     _June, 1848._]

On the 5th of June, my road again lay on the left side of the valley,
and usually along the hill-sides at some height above the stream, to
which it descended only once or twice. The valley was very pretty,
being generally deep and more or less rocky, and on the south side
well wooded. For the first three miles, large patches of snow were
seen now and then in the most shady parts, more than once covering
over the stream. The forest presented a good deal of variety. Except
_Picea_, all the common pines occurred, as well as horse-chesnut,
cherry, elm, _Celtis_, _Populus ciliata_, and holly-leaved oak.
_Fothergilla_ was very common all along, and on the latter half of the
march _Quercus lanata_ and _Andromeda ovalifolia_ made their
appearance. The occurrence of these trees I regarded as a sure
indication that the rains were somewhat more heavy than on the west
side of the pass, and as a confirmation of the view I had taken when
in Badarwar, that the climate of that valley was considerably
modified by the occurrence of a high and partially snowy range to the
eastward. Throughout the day's journey there was a good deal of
cultivation, always considerably above the stream; and at the village
of Deghi, at which I encamped, at about 5800 feet, the fields of wheat
were being cut, clearly showing that the climate was much milder on
the east side of the pass than at the same elevation in Badarwar,
where they had been still quite green two days before.

On the 6th of June, I again followed the course of the valley, at a
considerable height on the steep but well-cultivated hill-sides
overlooking a deep and pretty glen. The slopes along which the road
ran were bare, or covered with scattered brushwood, trees only
occurring in ravines, but the opposite bank was usually well wooded. I
encamped at a small village called Buju (just below 5000 feet),
considerably higher than the bottom of the valley. The vegetation was
in most respects (except the occurrence of _Fothergilla_, which was
plentiful) what is usual in the neighbourhood of Simla, at similar
elevations. Several species of the sub-tropical belt occurred, mixed
with the ordinary plants of the middle zone, such as _Marlea_,
_Albizzia mollis_, _Olea cuspidata_, _Xanthoxylon_, and others, and in
the neighbourhood of Buju _Pinus longifolia_ was common on the south
side of the valley.

From Badarwar to the summit of the Padri pass, and throughout the
descent, clay-slate had been the prevailing rock. It varied much in
appearance, and latterly it alternated with a conglomerate, and was
often very fragile, splitting into thin shaly layers. Near the
village of Dewar, a hard bluish limestone occurred in considerable
quantity, close to the river.

    [Sidenote: DISTRICT OF CHAMBA.
     _June, 1848._]

The general direction of my journey, while descending this valley, had
been south-east, the elevation of the mountains on my left hand having
been too great to permit me to turn to the north. On this march,
however, about three miles from its termination, at a village called
Dewar, I left the road to Chamba, which there crosses the stream and
proceeds direct over low hills to the Ravi, while the valley (and my
road) turned suddenly to the north-east. A little below my camp at
Buju, the river resumed its former direction, and, uniting itself with
a large stream descending from the northward, took a southerly course,
to join the Ravi.

     _June, 1848._]

Along the valley, which descended from the north, ran the road from
Chamba to Chatargarh on the Chenab, and on the 7th I proceeded in that
direction. The two streams, at their junction, flowed through an
extremely deep rocky ravine, so that I had several fatiguing ascents
and descents before I succeeded in passing into the valley which I
wished to ascend. I was, however, gratified, at the highest part of
the road, where I turned for the first time fairly towards the north,
by a superb view of the snowy range, towards which I was now
travelling. On the 8th and 10th of June (having halted on the 9th) I
continued to ascend the valley, encamping on the latter day at 8000
feet. During both days, many parts of the road were very rocky and
difficult, with frequent steep ascents. At other times, when it was
more level, very long detours were necessary, to pass deep lateral
ravines. The valley was in general open, and the hill-sides only
sparingly wooded, though at intervals along the stream there was a
fine and dense forest of oaks, horse-chesnut, laurels, and _Celtis_.
The ranges of mountains on both sides were tipped with snow, and from
my camp of the 10th the snowy range in front appeared so close, that I
could scarcely give credence to the assurances of my guides that I was
still a good day's journey from its base.

Since I had left Jamu, the weather had been very uniform. The mornings
were generally fine, with a cloudless sky and little or no wind;
towards the afternoon, or if not then, certainly in the evening or
during the night, clouds collected, and it rained heavily. This was of
daily occurrence; sometimes the rain lasted for several hours, but
before morning the sky was always serene. The atmosphere was hazy, as
is usually the case in the Himalaya during the dry season, before the
accession of the rains.

     _June, 1848._]

On the 11th, I continued to ascend the valley. At the commencement of
the march, the hills were bare and open, and the vegetation was still
entirely that of the middle zone. There was a good deal of
cultivation, and the wheat was still green. After crossing several
ravines, the road began to ascend rapidly through a wood of small
trees of holly-leaved oak, interspersed with numerous small patches of
cultivation. Among the corn, _Adonis æstivalis_, and a number of other
common Kashmir weeds, were abundant, and apricot-trees were commonly
planted. By degrees, other trees were mingled with the oaks, and the
forest became very dense, with luxuriant undergrowth of _Indigoferæ_,
_Spiræa Lindleyana_, and _Philadelphus_, and a vine was common,
climbing up the trunks of the trees. Numerous open glades, covered
with a luxuriant herbaceous vegetation of dock and other rank plants,
were met with in the forest, which, though not so beautiful, a good
deal resembled that of Mahasu, near Simla. On the opposite and shady
side of the valley, the forest seemed to be chiefly composed of pines.
As the elevation increased, silver fir and alpine oak began to appear,
and soon became the only trees in the forest. The ravines were now all
full of snow, the oaks were still in flower, and there was little or
no vegetation under their shade, except in swampy places, where a
bright yellow _Caltha_ and a pink _Dentaria_ were in full flower. I
encamped at 10,600 feet, on an open grassy spot overlooking a deep
ravine full of snow, which lay between me and the snowy range in

On emerging from the forest, which extended close to my camp, I found
myself surrounded by a truly alpine vegetation. _Rhododendron
campanulatum_, which is certainly, when _en masse_ and in full flower,
the pride of our northern Indian mountains in early spring, was in
vast abundance and great beauty. The hills around were covered with
birch; _Rhododendron lepidotum_, _Gaultheria trichocarpa_, _Deutzia
corymbosa_, willows, and many other alpine shrubs, covered the rocks,
and the moist grassy sward of the open spots was adorned with the
brilliant flowers of _Primula denticulata_, _Corydalis Govaniana_,
_Gagea_, _Caltha_, and other plants. The sky was brilliantly clear,
the very heavy rain of the preceding day having, for the time, quite
removed the usual haze, and the view from my tent was superb. The last
village in the valley was many miles behind, and no cultivation was
anywhere in sight. The opposite spurs, which rose, like that on which
my tent was pitched, abruptly from the snowy ravine, were beautifully
wooded, up to the limit of forest, while all above was covered with

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TOWARDS
     _June, 1848._]

On the 12th of June, I crossed the snowy range into the valley of the
Chenab. At starting, the road lay through forest, which covered the
precipitous face of the rocky hill overhanging the deep ravine above
which I had encamped. After crossing the ravine, which was full of
snow, the road ascended a bare steep slope, which was swampy and
covered with _Caltha_ and _Primulæ_. Every other part of the face of
the hill was occupied by a dense jungle of shrubs, almost impenetrable
from the prostrate position which their branches had taken from the
pressure of the winter's snow. Very stunted bushes of _Quercus
semecarpifolia_ constituted the greater part of this shrubby jungle.
With it grew _Rhododendron campanulatum_, a cherry, and a birch, whose
silvery trunks rose conspicuous above all the others. This dense
covering of shrubs being confined to the lower part of the slope, the
road soon rose above its level, and continued obliquely along the face
of the bare grassy hill, rising very gently, and by degrees
approaching the line of snow. I observed that the line of the highest
level of trees varied much according to the exposure, being more
elevated on the shady side than on slopes exposed to the sun. The snow
level, as might have been expected, was extremely indefinite, varying
with the degree of inclination of the surface, with the absence or
presence of trees, and especially with the exposure. On the slope
facing the south, it was about 12,000 feet, while on that opposite it
descended among the trees several hundred feet lower. Close to the
snow, among rocks and in swampy places, the alpine vegetation was
extremely luxuriant and beautiful.

After skirting the snow for perhaps half a mile, I descended a little
to cross a ravine, and immediately after began to ascend rapidly over
snow, which was hard and firm, so that it was traversed without
difficulty. Throughout the whole ascent, there were at intervals steep
slopes and masses of rock bare of snow, and even on the smallest of
these spots vegetation was making rapid progress, under the
encouragement of a powerful sun and abundant moisture. The plants
observed were all alpine: among the number were several _Primulæ_, and
species of _Draba_, _Potentilla_, _Sibbaldia_, _Ranunculus_, and
_Pedicularis_. The ascent continued steady to the top of the pass,
which was a mass of bare rock, quite free of snow, and elevated 14,800
feet. The pass (the name of which is _Sach Joth_) was a deep
depression in the crest of the range, which rose on both sides to a
considerable height. The ridge was a mass of black slate rock, in
highly inclined strata, on which no snow lay, and which absorbed so
much heat from the sun, that a number of minute plants were not only
vegetating but in full flower. _Primula minutissima_ and a yellow
_Draba_ were common, and a little _Ranunculus_ and _Potentilla_, with
one moss and a species of lichen, also occurred more sparingly. The
view from the pass was extensive to the southward, but to the north
entirely intercepted by lofty precipitous ridges, distant not more
than a mile. The morning had been beautiful, but before I reached the
summit, a high wind had sprung up from the south, drifting heavy
watery clouds over the crest, from which there were slight showers of

    [Sidenote: DESCENT INTO THE
     _June, 1848._]

The descent on the north side was over snow, commencing a few feet
from the rocky crest of the pass. After the first few hundred yards,
the snow-bed was very steep, and perhaps covered a small glacier.
Further on, the mountains on both sides closed in so as to form a
narrow valley, the course of which I followed for many miles, before I
could find a bare spot upon which to encamp. The valley was bounded on
both sides by exceedingly steep rocky mountains, sometimes quite
precipitous, which soon became bare of snow. After descending rapidly
for a considerable time, patches of juniper appeared on the
hill-sides, succeeded by birch, and soon after by a few pines, which,
from their shape, were, I believe, silver fir. A little lower, pines
became frequent wherever the mountain-sides were not absolutely
precipitous; _Picea_ and _Pinus_ excelsa were first recognized, and a
little lower down _Abies Smithiana_; deodar did not appear till I had
nearly reached the end of the day's journey. I encamped at 8500 feet,
on the first available bare spot, among a few pine-trees.

From the summit of the pass till within a few hundred yards of my
encampment, snow was continuous in the valley along which I descended,
covering the stream and the whole of the level portion of the valley
for many miles after it had melted from the steep sloping hills on
both sides, on which vegetation was already making rapid progress.
This snow-bed was not in the least icy, but consisted of pure snow,
much compressed and often dirty. Its slope followed that of the
valley, and its surface was quite smooth till close to its
termination, where it was broken up into fragments by the fall of
portions into the stream below. The greater permanence of snow in
valleys and ravines than on mountain slopes seems to be due to its
accumulation there during the winter to a great depth by avalanches
from both sides.


[18] I have been told by Dr. Jameson that he has met with it in the
Kangra hills, but that he has never seen it in Mandi.


     Marked change in the Vegetation -- Bridge over Chenab --
     Pargwal -- Description of Chenab valley -- Asdhari --
     Chatargarh -- Road turns up valley of Butna -- Vegetation of
     Chenab valley -- Chishot -- Snow-beds -- Camp at 10,500 feet --
     Ancient moraines -- Glacier -- Camp at 11,500 feet -- Rapid
     ascent along glacier -- Camp on moraine, at 14,600 feet --
     Change of weather -- Ascent towards pass over glacier -- Cross
     Umasi La -- Descent -- Immense glacier -- Encamp in Tibet, at
     13,800 feet -- Open valley of Zanskar -- Padum -- Great change
     of climate -- and in vegetation.

As a great part of my baggage and some of my servants did not reach
camp till after dark, in the evening of the 12th of May, I halted on
the 13th. I was encamped in a very narrow valley, on both sides of
which lofty mountains rose very abruptly. The spurs which projected
into this ravine were all of very peculiar configuration, their
northern face being uniformly quite precipitous, while to the south,
though still steep, they were green and sloping. I ascended on the
southern slope of the spur, nearest to my tent, to a height of perhaps
1500 feet, without obtaining any extensive view of the valley of the
Chenab, though I afterwards found that I was not more than two miles
in a direct line from that river, but that the rocky mountains right
and left, retaining their elevation till they were close to it,
completely interrupted the view in every direction, except directly
down the ravine, where a small portion of the snow-topped mountains
beyond the river was visible.

     _June, 1848._]

From the great elevation of the mountains which I had just crossed, I
was prepared to find a marked change in the aspect of the vegetation,
and I was not disappointed. The steep slopes were covered with a most
luxuriant herbage, above two feet in height. A tall panicled _Rheum_
was very common, and numerous _Umbelliferæ_, _Silene inflata_,
_Geranium_, and _Pteris aquilina_ were abundant. The most remarkable
plant, however, from the extreme quantity in which it occurred, was an
Asphodelaceous plant (_Eremurus_, Bieb.), the long scapes of which,
from four to five feet in height, covered the hill-sides in countless
myriads. These scapes were clothed, for nearly half their length, with
a profusion of elegant white flowers, very slightly tinged with a pale
yellowish green. I met, during the day, with most of the
characteristic plants of the Kunawar flora; as instances, I may
mention _Ephedra_, _Dictamnus_, _Rosa Webbiana_, _Dianthus_, and
_Scutellaria orientalis_. The arboreous vegetation was much the same
as on the other side of the pass. The right side of the ravine was
well clothed with pines, of all the four ordinary species; the left
side was usually bare, the northern faces of the spurs, which are
generally wooded, being too precipitous, but in the hollows there were
a few small clumps of trees, principally pine, walnut, and sycamore.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF CHENAB
     _June, 1848._]

On the 14th of June I resumed my journey. The ravine in front was
pronounced by my guides impracticable, and, as I afterwards saw, not
without reason, as it gained the Chenab by running down an almost
precipitous rocky slope between 1200 and 1500 feet in height. The road
ascended the steep hills to the right rather abruptly, inclining to
the north at the same time, till it gradually wound round the northern
angle of the mountain range which formed the side of the ravine, when
I found myself looking down on the valley of the Chenab from a height
of about 3000 feet above the bed of the river. Unfortunately the day
was foggy, with a light drizzling rain, or no doubt the view would
have been magnificent. After rounding this rocky angle, the road ran
parallel to the Chenab, but in a direction contrary to its course, and
continued to rise very gently among shady forests, with scattered
patches of snow. I conjectured at the time that an immediate descent
was prevented by precipices below; and I afterwards ascertained from
the opposite side of the river that such was the case. After about a
mile and a half an extremely abrupt descent commenced, at first
through dense forest, but afterwards among numerous fields and
scattered houses, constituting a large village between 8000 and 9000
feet in elevation. Fruit-trees were abundant, principally walnut, of
which there were many magnificent trees. The crops of wheat were not
yet in ear.

    [Sidenote: PARGWAL
     _June, 1848._]

Below the village lands the road entered a forest of deodar, and
continued to descend rapidly. The deodars continued nearly to the
river, a few hundred feet only at the lowest part being covered with
high brushwood, principally consisting of _Fothergilla_. The Chenab
(or Chandrabhaga, as it is always called in the mountains) is a
noble-looking, rapid stream, running through a deep rocky channel. It
is crossed at a considerable height above the water by a good and
substantial wooden bridge, from which the course of the valley could
be seen both up and down, to a considerable distance; and in both
directions the river flows between lofty ranges of mountains,
generally very rocky and precipitous, and often finely wooded. I did
not determine the elevation of the bed of the river, but believe that
it may safely be stated to be about 7000 feet. After crossing the
Chenab the road ascended very abruptly to the village of Pargwal, in
which I encamped, at an elevation of about 8500 feet. On the lower
part of the ascent the forest was much more luxuriant than on the
opposite side, and than it usually is on slopes facing the south: this
was caused by the great depth and narrowness of the ravine through
which the river flowed.

This day's march was rendered unpleasant by rain, which commenced
about seven A.M., and continued to fall steadily till near sunset; the
sky being completely overcast, and the day nearly calm. It was,
however, very gentle, so that the quantity which fell during the day
was beyond a doubt much less than would have fallen with constant rain
for an equal length of time in the outer ranges of mountains, where no
snowy range is interposed to stop the rain-clouds. It did not rain
again while I continued in the valley; still one day's experience
would of itself be quite insufficient to warrant any conclusion, were
it not that the inhabitants describe the climate as tolerably dry.
Their account is, that the rains continue lightly at intervals for
about a month from the middle of June, after which they cease
entirely. I have already pointed out that the climate of lower Kunawar
is precisely the same in character, and these two valleys are equally
similar in situation with respect to the mountain ranges.

    [Sidenote: DESCRIPTION OF
     _June, 1848._]

I had reached the Chenab at a point a good deal higher up than
Chatargarh, from which place the most frequented road into the Zanskar
valley turns to the north. There is, I believe, another pass a good
deal more to the eastward, the road to which leaves the Chenab not far
from the place where I crossed it; but I was informed that it is at
all times extremely difficult, and that the season was still too early
to attempt it. I therefore proceeded, on the 15th and 16th of June,
down the right bank of the Chenab, through an exceedingly mountainous
country, and generally at a great height above the stream, but with
frequent descents to cross lateral torrents. The mountains to the
north were generally crested with snow, and dipped very abruptly to
the river. The north-west face of each ridge was invariably
precipitous, so that all the descents along the road were abrupt,
rocky, and difficult. Many villages were met with in the valley, and
much cultivation usually high up on the sides of the mountains.
Poplars (_P. nigra_ and _alba_) and apricots were commonly planted,
but the favourite fruit-tree seemed to be the walnut. I did not see
any vines cultivated. On both days the scenery was extremely fine,
varying with every turn of the valley; at times the view from the top
of the scarped precipices, which were frequent, was of the grandest
possible description. The south side of the valley, where not
absolutely precipitous, was covered with forest, most frequently of
pine; and on the north side, on which the road lay, though the upper
parts were often bare and grassy, or only covered with brushwood, yet
the banks of the river were usually well wooded, and all the ravines,
which were deep and shady, were filled with a dense forest of deodar,
horse-chesnut, hazel, sycamore, birch, and _Fothergilla_, with many
other trees. _Pinus Gerardiana_, which may be looked upon as more
characteristic of a moderately dry climate than any other tree,
inasmuch as it will not flourish where the rains are at all heavy, was
extremely common. On the 16th a great part of the road lay through an
extensive wood, of a species of oak (_Q. Ilex_), which I had only
before seen in Kunawar, where it is not uncommon.

On the 15th I encamped at the village of Asdhari, at an elevation of
8800 feet, and nearly 2000 feet above the river. On the 16th my
halting-place was Shol, a large village close to the Chenab, with an
extensive tract of cultivation, quite bare of trees, except a few
cherries. The elevation of my tent was here about 6900 feet: it was
not more than fifty feet above the river. Opposite the village, on the
south bank of the river, under a cliff which screened it from the rays
of the sun, there was a very large patch of snow.

    [Sidenote: CHATARGARH.
     _June, 1848._]

The early part of my march of the 17th was still along the Chenab,
through fine shady forest, for about three miles, rising to the height
of about 1000 feet, and again descending close to the water's edge.
The road then continued nearly on a level with the stream, and became
very rocky and difficult, planks of wood or rough bridges being laid
in some places from rock to rock to effect a passage. Below this
narrow rocky part of the channel the valley widened out on the north
side into an open sandy plain, watered by a large tributary stream,
descending from the north. Close to this stream lay the small fort of
Chatargarh, the residence of the Thannadar of the valley, and of a
small garrison of soldiers. The Butna, which here joins the Chenab,
and up which my road lay, is a large impetuous stream. I crossed it a
short way above the fort, by a good bridge, and, following its right
bank for about two miles through oak forest, encamped at the village
of Liundi.

The flora of the valley of the Chenab, as far as my road lay along it,
continued to agree in most respects with that of Kunawar. As I
descended the river, there were some indications of an approach to the
vegetation of the outer Himalaya; but the number of species belonging
to that flora which appeared was not great. A _Zizyphus_ common in the
lower Sutlej and in Kashmir, the common pomegranate, and a shrubby
_Desmodium_, were those noted. This gradual transition in the
character of the vegetation occurs equally in Kunawar; and as both the
Sutlej and the Chenab commence their course in an arid climate, and
enter the plains under the full influence of the rains, it is quite in
accordance with what might be expected to happen. The change is in
both valleys extremely gradual, and appears to be directly
proportional to the diminished elevation of the mountains which run
parallel to the rivers on the south.[19]

    [Sidenote: BUTNA VALLEY.
     _June, 1848._]

On the 18th of June my road again lay up the valley of the Butna,
usually close to the stream, partly through bare country, with
scattered bushes of _Zizyphus_ and _Daphne_, but mostly through very
beautiful forest of oak, alder, horse-chesnut, and ash. The river
varied much in character; but for the most part it flowed with great
rapidity over a rocky channel, and in one place formed a cataract of
some size. More than once, however, and always above the most rapid
parts, it was tranquil, though still swift, and flowed between
gravelly islands. The hills on both sides were steep and lofty, and
after the first two miles, patches of snow occurred in every ravine. I
passed several villages and a good deal of cultivation, and encamped
at Chishot, at about 8200 feet above the level of the sea.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT OF
     _June, 1848._]

Next day, at starting, the road lay through pine-forests for about two
miles, the elevation rapidly increasing. At about that distance, there
was a very long rapid or cataract, with a fall of several hundred feet
within a space of 150 or 200 yards. At the lower end of the rapid, the
river disappeared under a snow-bed, which formed an arch across it
from bank to bank. Above, the stream was wide and tranquil, and the
pine-forest ceasing, the road entered an open valley, with much
cultivation around the village of Himor. Along the water-courses by
which the lands of this village were irrigated, there was a good deal
of swampy ground, in which grew _Parnassia_, _Polygonum viviparum_, an
_Orchis_ not unlike _O. latifolia_, a _Triglochin_, and some
_Carices_, all Kunawar species. Beyond the village, the valley
continued open and bare, but was very rocky, and covered with large
boulders. There was no wood, except in the ravines, which were
occupied by groves of poplar (_P. ciliata_) and walnut; a few trees of
the same and of birch being scattered over the hill-sides. No oak or
Gerard's pine was seen during the day. The herbaceous vegetation on
the open sunny banks was very luxuriant, and the species were mostly
the same as I have recorded in a similar situation, and at the same
elevation, on the 13th, after descending from the Sach pass. I must
except the _Eremurus_, then so abundant, which was here entirely
wanting. There were also a few novelties. Large tracts were covered
with a tall fern (_Pteris aquilina_?). After passing through the
cultivated lands of a second village, and crossing some snow-beds, the
road entered a wood of stunted deodars, and, turning to the left,
proceeded up the more northerly of two ravines, into which the valley
here divided. That to the south, which in direction was a continuation
of the valley, was filled with forest, but the one up which the road
turned was steep and stony, and contained only a few scattered trees
of birch, hazel, and poplar. After a march of about eight miles, I
encamped on an open level spot, where there were a few fields, and one
or two huts, at present uninhabited, at an elevation of 10,500 feet.

    [Sidenote: VIEW OF THE GLACIER.
     _June, 1848._]

On the 20th, I proceeded further up the same valley, ascending gently
but steadily. The valley was open and bounded on both sides by steep
rocky mountains, those on the right partially wooded with birch, on
the other side quite bare. Behind, beyond the point from which I had
the day before turned abruptly to the left, rose a lofty snowy peak,
very steep and rocky; in front, only a very small portion of the snowy
range which I was rapidly approaching could be seen. The stream was
for the most part covered with snow, and the road crossed numerous
snow-beds. At first, the hill-sides were rounded and covered with
vegetation, but very soon the road became rocky, and was covered as
yesterday with enormous boulders, evidently indicative of a former
glacier. These were all gneiss, which rock also occurred _in situ_, as
had been the case ever since I had left Chatargarh, where it replaced
the clay-slate, which had been common on the banks of the Chenab.
After walking for about two miles among these huge masses of rock, I
suddenly emerged into open country, and, after descending a few feet,
entered a level plain, nearly two miles in length and at least half a
mile in width, partly covered with snow stretching down from the
ravines on each side. This plain appeared to have been at one time the
bed of a small lake; and as its lower end was crossed by an evident
moraine, it seems probable that a glacier had at some former period
crossed the valley and dammed up the channel of the stream. Small
groves of willow of two distinct species, one twelve to fifteen feet
high, the other not above two or three, were scattered over this
plain. The surface, where free from snow, was usually grassy, and near
the lower end very swampy. The snow had evidently very recently
covered the whole surface, as few plants were yet in flower, except a
bright blue gentian in the marshy parts, and a viscid _Cerastium_ on
the gravel. A species of rhubarb was abundant on the banks surrounding
this plain, and its acid leaf-stalks were eagerly eaten by the men who
carried my luggage. The road traversed the whole length of this level
tract, and, at its upper end, crossed two low ridges of boulders,
evidently moraines. Beyond these lay another plain, much more barren
and desolate-looking than the previous one, the greater part being
still covered with snow. Those parts from which the snow had melted
were gravelly, with scarce a vestige of vegetation. I encamped on the
last bare spot of this plain, close to extensive snow-beds, from below
which the stream flowed, and about a mile from the end of a large
glacier which filled up the end of the valley, but was cut off
abruptly at the commencement of the open plain. The elevation of my
tent was 11,400 feet. The plain on which I was encamped was surrounded
on all sides by lofty mountains, all extremely steep and rugged. Those
to the south and east were covered with snow to the very base, but to
the north little or no snow was visible, the hills close at hand
rising so abruptly that they entirely excluded the view of the ranges
behind. The southern slopes from the base to the height of about 1000
feet were covered with birch-trees, still quite leafless, except a few
on the edge of the plain, which were beginning to throw out buds, the
snow having melted round their roots.

On the 21st of June I continued my journey over the snow-bed close to
which I had encamped, in the direction of the end of the glacier.
While still several hundred yards distant from it, the road turned
abruptly to the left, ascending a very steep stony hill, which formed
the side of a lateral ravine descending from the north. When I had
ascended a few hundred feet, I obtained an excellent view of the
glacier which occupied the valley below. Its surface, from the great
slope of the valley, was extremely irregular, and to all appearance
quite impassable, from the numerous fissures which traversed it in
every direction, and the irregular pinnacles of ice which rose above
its surface. It was terminated abruptly by a perpendicular cliff,
which projected more in the centre than on the sides, and was much and
deeply fissured both horizontally and perpendicularly. The glacier was
in parts covered with masses of boulders and gravel, on which lay a
sprinkling of snow in small patches. The lateral moraines were well
marked, being much higher than the surface of the glacier, and
separated by a deep fissure from the rocky wall of the valley.
Immediately in front of the termination of the glacier, the surface of
the plain was free from snow; numerous boulders of large size were
scattered over it, and large masses of ice, evidently fragments of the
glacier, lay among them.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT TOWARDS
     _June, 1848._]

The ascent of the lateral ravine continued steep, sometimes over rock,
often over what appeared to be an ancient moraine, and now and then
over grassy sward, adorned with numerous alpine plants in full flower.
Among these was a little _Iris_, which I had seen the day before in
fruit, _Podophyllum_, _Fritillaria_, and a pretty rose-coloured
_Pedicularis_. There were a few stunted bushes of birch on the first
part of the ascent, but they were soon left behind. After ascending
about 1500 feet, I passed a singular-looking little circular plain,
perhaps half a mile in diameter, still covered with snow. The road lay
on the left of this plain over a hill of boulders. It now ascended
very rapidly, and soon reached another glacier, the termination of
which was extremely oblique, being prolonged much further on the right
or south-east side of the ravine than on the other. The slope of the
valley was so extremely abrupt, that the surface of the glacier was
fissured in a most extraordinary manner; and it was still partially
covered with snow. The road ascended over the moraine which lay
between the glacier and the wall of the valley, generally at a great
height above the level of the ice. In the crevices of the stones one
or two plants still lingered: _Primula minutissima_ was in flower, and
a little _Sedum_ and a dwarf willow (_S. repens_, L.) were beginning
to expand their buds. My day's march amounted to about five miles, and
I encamped upon the moraine on a level piece of ground just large
enough to hold my tent, and close to the glacier. The temperature of
boiling water indicated an elevation of about 14,600 feet. All around
was snow and ice, except one steep sloping bank facing the south, on
the most sheltered corner of which my baggage porters established
themselves. On this bank vegetation had already made considerable
progress: at least a dozen species were in flower, of which the most
abundant were a rose-coloured _Polygonum_, a _Potentilla_, and
_Ranunculus_, and, most abundant of all, a beautiful blue

The surface of the glacier opposite to my tent was much covered with
debris, and many large boulders were imbedded in the ice, which was
very much fissured, rising into sharp pinnacles. As the day advanced,
it was traversed by numerous rills of water, and the sound of falling
stones was heard in every direction.

I had hitherto been extremely fortunate in weather, considering the
season; but just at sunset, a few light clouds having first appeared
in the south horizon, the sky became suddenly overcast, and light snow
began to fall. Very little fell during the night, but at daybreak on
the 22nd of June, just as I was preparing to start, it began to snow
rather heavily. I had unfortunately no choice but to proceed. The
place in which I was encamped was not at all adapted for a
resting-place during a heavy fall of snow; and arrangements had
already been made for the relief of the baggage porters who had come
with me, by a party of Zanskaries at the top of the pass on this day.

    [Sidenote: LARGE GLACIER.
     _June, 1848._]

The first part of the ascent lay up the moraine parallel to the
glacier, and was extremely steep for nearly 1000 feet of perpendicular
elevation, up to the top of the very abrupt ravine in which I had been
encamped. Beyond this, the valley widened considerably; and as its
slope was now very gentle, the glacier was quite smooth, and the path
lay over its surface, which was covered by a considerable layer (five
or six inches) of last winter's snow, as well as by a sprinkling of
that which had fallen during the night. The ice was a good deal
fissured, but in general the fissures were not more than a few inches
in width; a few only were as much as two feet. The road continued for
two or three miles over the surface of the glacier, which gradually
widened out as I advanced. Its upper part was expanded into an icy
plain of great width, bounded by a semicircular arch of precipitous
rocks, except where three ravines descended into it, down which three
narrow glaciers flowed to contribute a supply of ice to the vast mass
in the bay. On the smooth ice below, central moraines were very
visible, and could be distinctly traced to the rocks by which the
three smaller glaciers were separated. A great part of these central
moraines were covered with snow; but now and then an immense detached
boulder of gneiss was seen, supported by a column of clear blue ice,
veined with horizontal white bands, by which it was raised high above
the surface of the glacier, and the snow which covered it.

    [Sidenote: SUMMIT OF PASS.
     _June, 1848._]

The three branches which united to form this grand sea of ice were
very steep, and consequently much fissured and fractured. The road lay
up that to the right, ascending by the moraine to the left of the
glacier, the surface of the ice being quite impracticable. This
ascent, which I estimated at the time to amount to at least 1000 feet,
was exceedingly steep and laborious, as beneath a thin layer of fresh
snow it was covered with hard frozen snow, on which the footing was
quite insecure. On attaining the summit of this steep ascent, I found
the surface of the glacier much more smooth, the inclination of the
bed of the ravine having suddenly changed; it was now, however,
covered with a layer of snow several feet thick, which probably tended
to render small inequalities of surface unobservable. I was now in a
wide valley or basin, the rocky hills on both sides rising
precipitously to a height of from 200 to 1000 feet above the level of
the snow. After perhaps two miles of gradual ascent, these rocky walls
gradually closing in united in a semicircle in front, and the road
passed through a gorge or fissure in the ridge, to the crest of which
the snow-bed had gradually sloped up. This fissure, which was not more
than two feet in width, was the pass, but when I reached it, snow was
falling so thickly that I could not see ten yards in any direction. I
therefore remained only long enough to ascertain that the
boiling-point of water was 180·3°, indicating an elevation of at least
18,000 feet.

The commencement of the descent was very rapid down a narrow gorge,
into which the fissure at the top widened by degrees. The fresh snow,
which had fallen to the depth of at least a foot, was quite soft and
yielding, so that great caution was required. After four or five
hundred yards, the slope became more gradual and the ravine
considerably wider. The road was now evidently over the surface of a
glacier. The mountains on both sides were extremely rocky, rugged, and
precipitous. Each lateral ravine brought an additional stream of ice
to swell that in the central one; and on each lateral glacier there
was a moraine which had to be crossed. Further on, the slope again
increasing, the road left the surface of the glacier, and ascended the
moraine by its side. This was at first covered with deep snow, both
old and fresh; but as I advanced I found the old snow only in patches,
but covered with a layer of new. At last I reached a point at which
the snow melted as it fell, and not long after the glacier stopped
abruptly, a considerable stream issuing from beneath the
perpendicular wall by which it terminated.

    [Sidenote: IMMENSE GLACIER.
     _June, 1848._]

Beyond the end of the glacier the valley continued very steep. It was
several hundred feet across, and covered with loose stones of various
sizes, over which the stream ran in a wide shallow channel. Lower
down, the bed of the rivulet became contracted and rocky, and I
crossed to its right bank over a natural bridge consisting of one
large stone, ten or twelve feet long, which had fallen so as to lie
across the rocky channel. Advancing a few paces beyond this bridge, I
suddenly found myself at the end of the ravine, and overlooking a wide
valley many hundred feet below, filled by an enormous glacier
descending from the left. This glacier was completely covered with a
mass of debris, which entirely concealed the ice, and from its
enormous dimensions must have had a very distant source. I had no
means at the time of determining with accuracy either its width or
depth, nor do I find any estimate of it (except in superlatives) in my
notes made on the spot; I cannot, therefore, at this distance of time,
venture to give any exact dimensions: I can only say that it much
exceeded in size any that I have before or since had an opportunity of

It was just at the termination of the upper ravine that the first
traces of vegetation were observed: till reaching this point the rocks
and gravel had been quite bare. The first plant observed was _Primula
minutissima_; the only other in flower was a large purple-coloured
_Crucifera_ (a species of _Parrya_), but leaves of several others were
beginning to expand.

    [Sidenote: ZANSKAR.
     _June, 1848._]

The road did not descend at once into the large valley, but, turning
abruptly to the right, ran parallel to the glacier but high above it
on the rocky mountain-side, for nearly a mile, gradually descending so
as to reach the bottom of the valley just as the glacier ended. The
valley beyond its termination was wide and stony, and I encamped among
a number of very large boulders about half a mile further on. The
elevation of my camp was 13,800 feet, so that I had descended upwards
of 4000 feet from the top of the pass. I found that the inhabitants on
the two sides of the pass knew it by different names, those of Padar,
on the south, calling it the Bardar pass, while to the Zanskaries it
is known as Umasi La.

The morning of the 23rd of June was bright and clear, but intensely
frosty. The valley in which I was encamped was enclosed by lofty
mountains covered with much snow, though on the level ground there
were only a few patches. The road lay down the valley, which soon
became narrow and stony, and the descent somewhat rapid. The ground
was at first quite bare, and devoid of any sort of vegetation, except
here and there on the bank of the stream, where, close to the water's
edge, a small patch of green was occasionally to be seen. The
narrowest parts of the ravine were occupied by large snow-beds,
entirely covering the rivulet, but at intervals the valley widened out
into a gravelly plain. After about a mile, some vegetation began to
appear, and after four or five miles it became plentiful. The banks of
the stream, in the wide and gravelly parts, were fringed with dwarf
willows just bursting into leaf. _Primula minutissima_ was plentiful
in the crevices of the stones, and I met with many plants scattered
about, of which none but the very earliest were yet in flower. Two or
three species only could be identified with the plants of the Indian
side of the pass; the majority were quite different. _Lithospermum
Euchromon_ of Royle, and the _Parrya_ first seen the day before, were
among the commonest species; several other _Cruciferæ_ were also seen,
as well as a _Gentiana_, one or two _Astragali_, a species of
_Meconopsis_, a small _Gagea_, _Ephedra_, and _Nepeta glutinosa_.
Species of _Artemisia_, _Cynoglossum_ and other _Boragineæ_, of
_Polygonum_ and _Rheum_, though not in flower, were recognizable, but
the greater number of plants were only beginning to vegetate. As I
descended, a few shrubs of _Lonicera hispida_ and of _Rosa Webbiana_
(the Tibet rose) were met with, but all very stunted.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF ZANSKAR.
     _June, 1848._]

The valley continued to descend, and the snow soon receded to some
distance up the mountain-sides. At last I came to a single habitation,
a little monastery inhabited by one Lama, and built under the
precipitous rocks on the left side of the valley. A very small patch
of cultivation lay on the bank of the stream just below it; the corn
was not more than two or three inches high. A little further on, the
road suddenly turned into a much larger and more open valley, watered
by a considerable stream, which ran through a wide, open, gravelly
channel, from which long and very slightly inclined gravelly slopes
extended on both sides to the base of the mountains. The stream proved
to be the western branch of the Zanskar river. To the north-westward
of the point where I entered its valley, its upward course was visible
for eight or ten miles, all the way through an open gravelly plain.
Several villages and a good deal of cultivation were seen in that
direction, on the slopes descending from the mountains.

My road lay to the eastward down the valley, partly through cultivated
lands, partly over barren gravelly or stony plains, and often over
grassy meadows on the banks of the river. Wheat, barley, and peas were
the crops cultivated, all only a few inches in height. Round the
fields and on the banks of the water-courses a luxuriant herbage was
beginning to spring up, which contrasted strongly with the sterility
of the stony plains. The fields were quite flat and generally
unenclosed, the valley being too level to require terracing; small
canals conducted water for irrigation to every field. The villages
were all small and bare, and during the day I saw only a single
tree--a small poplar--in a garden or enclosure at one of the last
villages through which I passed, before halting for the day. I
encamped, after a march of at least twelve miles, near the village of
Markim, on a fine grassy plain close to the river, the banks of which
were lined by a few bushes of _Myricaria_ and _Hippophaë_. The
elevation of my tent was 12,100 feet.

In the valley of the Chenab the prevailing rock had everywhere been
clay-slate, but where I turned up the valley of the Butna it was
replaced by gneiss, which continued to form the whole mountain-mass on
both sides of the Umasi pass, so far as I could infer the nature of
their structure from the boulders brought down by glaciers. On the
earlier part of this day's journey, the gneiss gave place again to
mica-slate and clay-slate; but in the wide valley, where no rock was
seen _in situ_, the boulders were all composed of gneiss, and had
probably, therefore, been transported from the upper part of the

    [Sidenote: PADUM.
     _June, 1848._]

On the 24th of June I continued my journey to Padum, which is
considered the capital of Zanskar. My road lay still east, down a
wide, open plain. The mountains on the north side of the valley were
not to appearance very lofty, and were merely tipped with snow; those
to the south were much higher and had a great deal of snow, which,
however, did not come within perhaps 1500 feet of the plain. There was
no snow in the plain itself, which had a width of from two to four
miles. Cultivated tracts were frequent, occurring wherever water was
easily procurable for irrigation, but the greater part of the surface
was dry, barren, and stony, producing scarcely any herbage. The river
ran through a wide, gravelly bed, and was divided into numerous
channels. It was often fringed with low jungle of _Myricaria_ and
_Hippophaë_, two shrubs which, though not entirely confined to Tibet,
are most abundant in every part of that country up to nearly 14,000
feet, in the gravelly beds of streams. In some places the banks of the
stream were very low and swampy, and covered with turf. About half-way
down the plain the different branches of the river united into one,
which ran with a swift impetuous current over the boulders which
formed its bed, the melting of the snow on the mountains having
brought down a very large body of water. At this point it was crossed
by a rope-bridge, leading to a large village on the left bank. A
little further on I passed through a considerable village, with
extensive cultivated lands, and a large well-built monastery, in
which, I believe, Csoma de Körös resided while in Zanskar. The road
then made a considerable detour to the south, to the base of the
mountains, to reach a bridge over a lateral stream now so much swollen
as to be unfordable. After crossing this stream by a good wooden
bridge, the road entered an open grassy plain sloping imperceptibly
from the mountains towards the river, at the south-east angle of which
lay the town or village of Padum.

Padum, which was at one time the principal place in Zanskar, is,
though now much decayed, still considered as such, probably both from
its central situation and from the garrison of Gulab Singh's troops
being established near it. It is built on a low hill lying at the
south-east corner of a wide open plain which surrounds the junction of
two large streams which here unite to form the Zanskar river. Of
these, one descending from the south runs through a rocky and barren
country, which contains, I was informed, but few and small villages.
It is that to which Moorcroft, who crossed it near its source, has
given the name of Zanskar; and as it appears to the eye the larger
stream of the two, it will probably be found entitled to retain the
name, although the district watered by the western branch, which runs
gently through an open country, is much more fertile and populous. The
junction of these two streams takes place four or five miles north of
Padum. The plain is partly low and partly a platform nearly a hundred
feet above the level of the rivers.

    [Sidenote: CLIMATE OF ZANSKAR.
     _June, 1848._]

Entirely secluded by lofty ranges of snowy mountains from the approach
of any moisture-bringing winds, the valley of Zanskar has an
absolutely Tibetan climate. Tree vegetation is entirely wanting, and
the mountains and plains are dry, barren, and desolate. At the same
time, from the dryness of the summer, the powerful influence of the
sun induces here, as elsewhere in Tibet, a much milder climate than
prevails at an equal elevation within the influence of the periodical
rains, for in no part of the Indian portion of the mountains does any
cultivated valley exist at an elevation of 12,000 feet above the level
of the sea. The extent of open country is more considerable in this
portion of the Zanskar valley than elsewhere in the basin of the
Indus. Villages also are frequent, particularly in the lower part, and
the cultivated lands of many of them are extensive. The alluvial
platforms are of great extent, and so nearly level, that no terracing
is required for purposes of irrigation. On this account, and from the
total want of fences, the appearance of the plain is remarkable, and
very different from that usual around Tibetan villages. At the period
of my visit, the crops were only a few inches in height, and the whole
population were busy in the fields, irrigating them and keeping out
straggling cattle. The inhabitants, in appearance, manners, and mode
of life, are the same as those of Ladak; their language and religion
too are the same, as far as I could learn.

     _June, 1848._]

The change of climate was, as a matter of course, accompanied by an
almost total change of vegetation, which had assumed entirely the
Tibetan character. Scarcely more than a fourth, on a rough estimate,
of the species observed, were the same as grew on the Indian side of
the pass. Of these, a very few were cosmopolitan or widely-diffused
plants. Such were _Thymus Serpyllum_, _Plantago Asiatica_,
_Taraxacum_, _Veronica biloba_, _Medicago lupulina_, and _Polygonum
aviculare_ or a closely-allied species. The greater number were
species of the dry climate, which, from being capable of bearing a
certain quantity of moisture, vegetate also in the first valleys on
the opposite side of the pass, though quite incapable of living under
the full influence of the rains: as instances, I may mention _Rosa
Webbiana_, _Myricaria_, _Hippophaë_, _Ephedra_, _Aquilegia
Moorcroftiana_, and several _Astragali_.

Excluding both these classes, more than two-thirds of the plants were
entirely different from those which flourish on the Indian side. The
season was early spring, so that a great part of the vegetation was
still dormant, but it was making rapid strides under the influence of
a powerful sun, particularly in the neighbourhood of the town of
Padum, which appeared to be the warmest nook in the valley. The dry,
barren tracts, which constitute the greater part of the surface,
produced numerous, generally dwarf species of _Boragineæ_ and
_Cruciferæ_. Three _Potentillæ_ were common, one of them _P.
anserina_. Near the river there was a more luxuriant vegetation. Rank
species of _Heracleum_, _Astragalus_, _Scrophularia_, _Matthiola_, and
_Eurotia_ were coming into flower under the shelter of walls and
bushes. In richer soil a species of _Hyoscyamus_, with pale yellow
trumpet-shaped flowers (_Belenia_ of Decaisne), was common, while
around the fields grew species of _Geranium_, _Cynoglossum_, _Nepeta_,
and _Astragalus_. Except a little _Poa_, no grasses were yet in
flower, but several small _Cyperaceæ_ formed dense patches of turf.
The meadows close to the edge of the river were invariably swampy, and
had a peculiar vegetation of their own, consisting of two species of
_Triglochin_, a white-flowered _Taraxacum_, a little _Primula_,
_Ranunculus Cymbalaria_, and _Glaux_, with _Hippuris_ and
_Utricularia_ in the pools of water.


[19] A species of vine was very common in the forests, climbing to a
great height on the trees, which very closely resembled the common
cultivated vine, from which it is not, I think, specifically distinct.
At the same time, my specimens are scarcely distinguishable from
_Vitis Indica_, L., a species of the plains of India, not uncommon in
hot jungles, even at a considerable distance from the foot of the


     Rope bridge across Zanskar river -- Tongde -- Zangla -- Road
     leaves Zanskar river -- Takti La -- Nira -- Bridge over Zanskar
     river -- Singhi La -- Phutaksha -- Wandla -- Lama Yuru -- Cross
     Indus river -- Kalatze -- Nurla -- Saspola -- Nimo -- Le --
     Pass north of Le -- Small glacier -- Kardong -- Kalsar --
     Vegetation -- Diskit -- Passage of Shayuk river -- Upper Nubra
     -- Vegetation of Nubra -- Hot spring at Panamik.

    [Sidenote: TONGDE.
     _June, 1848._]

I remained at Padum two days, to make inquiries as to the road and
arrangements for porters and supplies. On the 27th of June, I
commenced my journey towards the Indus. The road lay down the valley
of Zanskar, crossing the eastern branch of that river opposite the
town of Padum, by a rather insecure-looking rope-bridge, high above
the stream, which was deep, rapid, and muddy. The rope, as is usual in
Tibet, was formed of willow twigs. After crossing this bridge, I
followed the right bank of the stream in a north-easterly direction,
principally over dry, desert, stony plains, considerably elevated
above the river. These high banks were composed of fine clay, which
was occasionally quite pure, but more frequently contained numerous
fragments of a black slate rock. These were especially abundant where
lateral ravines descended from the mountains, while in the
intervening spaces the clay was comparatively free of them. The same
black slate cropped out _in situ_ in several places along the bank of
the river; and from the numerous boulders everywhere scattered over
the surface of the platform, it appeared to be the prevailing rock in
the mountains on the right. The platforms usually terminated abruptly,
being either scarped or sloping very steeply towards the river. A
strip of low, wet, grassy ground, which was more or less covered with
_Hippophaë_ jungle, was generally interposed between the cliffs and
the river. When this was absent, the steep slopes were barren till
close to the water's edge. On the left bank of the river, after the
first two miles, the table-land sank, an extensive low plain forming a
tongue of land between the two branches. On this low land, close to
the eastern river, and about two miles from the town of Padum, lay the
fort occupied by the military force of the valley: a small square,
with four round bastions. After marching nine or ten miles, I encamped
at a small village called Tongde, among undulating clay hills, by
which the view of the river and valley was excluded. Nearly opposite,
a mile or two below the junction of the two rivers, was Karsha, at
present the largest town in Zanskar: it lies in a ravine at a
considerable distance from the river, and, from the steepness of the
slope on which it is built, presents rather an imposing appearance.
The level tract intervening between the town and the river was covered
with cultivation.

    [Sidenote: ZANGLA.
     _June, 1848._]

On the 28th, I continued along the valley, but in a more northerly
direction than the day before. The lofty snowy range to the south-west
was now finely seen, forming a semicircle of rocky peaks behind
Padum. The road lay again over dry plains, partly stony, partly hard
clay; even the banks of the river were dry and stony, without a
vestige of turf. The only species worthy of note which occurred during
the day, in addition to the plants common on these barren tracts, was
_Oxytropis chiliophylla_: it was very scarce at the beginning of the
march, but before I had reached half-way it had become so abundant
that at a distance the ground appeared of a bright red colour, from
the immense abundance of its flowers. Several villages were passed on
the road, and two considerable streams, both of which had excavated
deep ravines in the loose conglomerate of which the plateau was
formed. On the latter part of the march, the mountains which formed
the right side of the valley approached close to the river, leaving no
passage along the bank, so that the road made a short steep ascent
over loose shingly debris and rocky ground, and continued for more
than a mile along the face of the ridge. After that distance, it
descended to a grassy, saline, very swampy plain, close to the river.
I encamped at the village of Zangla, which lies at the base of the
mountains, on the upper part of a steep stony slope, extending down to
the river.

The alluvial platforms during this day's journey were generally of
great thickness. This was especially the case around Tongde, where the
clay formation formed considerable hills; and on the latter part of
the march, where the mountains advanced nearly to the stream. Here
high banks of clay were accumulated on the ridges, and were
frequently, as in many other parts of Tibet, worn into fantastic
shapes by the melting of the snow. Near Zangla, too, detached masses
were seen clinging to the sides of the mountains, at considerable
heights, in positions which indicated great denudation.

    [Sidenote: THE ROAD LEAVES
     _June, 1848._]

The result of my inquiries at Padum had been, that the lower part of
the course of the Zanskar river (which I had hoped I might be able to
follow to its junction with the Indus) was so rocky and difficult as
to be impracticable, and that at the present season, when the torrents
were all swollen by the melting snow, the only practicable road to the
Indus lay through the mountains, at a distance from the river. I was
now approaching the point where the road entered the mountains, and
could already see that the fine open valley through which I had been
travelling was soon to have an end. At Zangla it had become sensibly
narrower, and the mountains on both sides, still tipped with snow,
were extremely rocky and rugged.

The earlier part of the march of the 29th of June was still parallel
to the river, partly over table-land, at other times through a dense
jungle of _Hippophaë_, which covered its low banks, as well as several
islands in its channel. After about four miles, the road turned
suddenly to the right, and, leaving the valley altogether, commenced a
rapid ascent on the steep slope of the mountain. From the point at
which the road turned off, the Zanskar valley ahead could be seen to
narrow rapidly, by the closing-in of the mountains. A turn in its
direction, at the distance of four or five miles, hid the further
course of the river from view, but the steep scarped mountains, which
seemed to rise almost perpendicularly from its bed, left no doubt of
the difficult nature of the country through which it ran.

The first part of the ascent was very steep and bare. A prickly
_Statice_, in dense round tufts, made its appearance after the first
few hundred feet, accompanied by another very common Tibetan plant,
which had not been met with in the open plain, a species of _Cicer_,
described by Bentham as _C. microphyllum_, if indeed the Siberian _C.
Soongaricum_ be not the same species. This plant is remarkable, not
only for a very viscid exudation, but also for its peculiar strong
aromatic and pungent odour, which, except that it is very much more
powerful, a good deal resembles that of its cultivated congener _C.
arietinum_, the well-known _gram_ of Upper India. It also recalls to
mind the smell of the common black currant, which, however, is more
aromatic and less pungent and acidulous. On the lower part of the
ascent the prevailing rock was limestone, of a dark bluish-grey
colour, extremely hard, containing many white veins and crystals of
calcareous spar; it closely resembled the limestone of the Hangarang
pass, and, like it, alternated with hornstone and cherty quartz rock,
and with finely laminated slates.

     _June, 1848._]

On leaving the bare slope, the road entered a narrow ravine, and
continued to ascend rapidly along the bank of the streamlet which
trickled down it. The ravine was full of loose angular stones, and had
on both sides high rocky precipices of limestone and slate. Close to
the little rivulet, a willow, a _Lonicera_, and a rose grew in great
plenty among the loose stones, forming a dense bushy mass of green,
six or eight feet high, which contrasted strongly with the barrenness
of the shingle remote from the water, and of the rocky walls on either
side. The ascent was rapid, and ere long, as the elevation increased,
the shrubby vegetation disappeared, and the only plants which grew
among the loose fragments of slate were a few small alpine species:
_Anemone_, _Corydalis_, _Thermopsis_, and _Androsace_, were the genera
to which these hardy plants belonged. In the crevices of the rocks, a
large fleshy-leaved saxifrage, of the subgenus _Bergenia_, was common:
it was a different species from either of the two hitherto described
from India, as well as from _S. crassifolia_ of Siberia, and was
particularly interesting as a connecting link between these two
floras. Further on, the ascent became more gentle; a few small patches
of snow were passed, and soon after, the road ascended a very steep
and shingly slope after the north side of the ravine, to the crest of
a ridge, the elevation of which I estimated at about 15,500 feet.

The top of the ridge was rounded, and had more soil, and, as a
consequence, more vegetation, than the stony dell below. Several
plants of the valley reappeared, particularly _Lithospermum Euchromon_
and a species of _Cynoglossum_, both of which seem to have a wide
range in altitude. A few new species of _Cruciferæ_ and _Astragalus_
were obtained on the ridge. There was a very good and extensive view
to the north, of mountain behind mountain, all bare and desolate; but
in every other direction ridges close at hand intercepted the view.
The most distant ridge had much snow on it, and appeared very
elevated: I supposed it to be that between the Zanskar river and the
Indus. After leaving the ridge, the road gradually descended towards
the north, down a ravine full of fragments of slate: the hills on both
sides were low and rounded. On the descent, _Caragana versicolor_, the
_Dama_ of the Tibetans, occurred very plentifully; it is, however, in
general, much less common in the north-west parts of Tibet than
further to the south, where it is very luxuriant. Following the course
of the ravine, after a considerable distance, I observed bushes of
willow and _Lonicera_ to appear in the dry channel, and almost
immediately afterwards a little water was found trickling down it, so
that I was enabled to encamp, after rather a fatiguing march, at an
elevation of about 13,700 feet.

    [Sidenote: NARROW RAVINE.
     _June, 1848._]

Next day I continued to descend the ravine. The hills were now
considerably higher and more rugged than in the upper part, and were
faced by cliffs of a clayey conglomerate, partly soft, but often
indurated. A rapidly decaying yellowish slate, in highly inclined
strata, was seen occasionally in the bed of the river. The stream was,
as usual, fringed by willow and _Lonicera_; and a species of poplar,
forming a small tree, occurred frequently. There was scarcely a single
vestige of vegetation on the mountain-sides. After descending about
two miles, I reached a large ravine, the slope of which was much more
gradual. The banks were still composed of clay conglomerate, which
rose in lofty precipices on both sides; after about three miles,
however, this disappeared, and the ravine became very narrow and
rocky. The road was now very rugged, ascending high on the
mountain-side, and then descending to cross the stream. The limestone
cliffs, which here approached within ten or twelve feet of one
another, were marked with horizontal undulating grooves, perhaps
indicative of the former existence of a glacier in this spot. As I
advanced, after crossing to the right bank of the stream, the road
became still more rocky and difficult, till at last the ravine in
front became quite impracticable. I now turned suddenly to the right,
and entered a narrow passage with perpendicular walls of rock, down
which ran a very small streamlet. In this dark shady dell, which was
so narrow that the light of the sun could not possibly reach the
bottom, there were several large patches of snow. The ascent was at
first rapid, but after a mile and a half the slope became more gradual
and the ravine considerably wider. The usual shrubs then appeared on
the water's edge, close to which I encamped, after a march of perhaps
nine miles, at about 13,600 feet, very nearly the same elevation as
the place from which I had started in the morning, and in an equally
desert situation. The whole march was exceedingly barren, and without
any cultivation or village. A few small bushes of juniper (_J.
excelsa_) were met with about half-way, for the first time during my
present journey.

    [Sidenote: TAKTI PASS.
     _June, 1848._]

On the 1st of July, I continued the ascent of the ravine, which was
still extremely barren and stony, except in the immediate vicinity of
the stream, where the usual vegetation of willow and _Lonicera_
continued plentiful. A few birch-trees were seen on the road-side.
After following the ravine for nearly two miles, I reached a point at
which it divided into two branches. The luggage porters took that to
the right, which was said to be easier, but longer, while my guide led
me to the left, up a steep ravine, which, after a few hundred yards,
contracted to a mere fissure three to six feet in width, with very
lofty rocky walls, and full of loose shingle. In several places, large
masses of hard smooth ice had to be passed, which, from the steepness
of the slope, proved no easy task, and would certainly have been
almost an impossibility for loaded men. After passing through this
fissure, which, as usual, opened out in its upper part, the road
turned to the left up a long steep shingly hill-side, to the top of
the ridge, which was rounded. While in the ravine I saw no plants; but
on the shingly ascent a number of alpine species made their
appearance. One of the first was an _Anemone_, but by far the most
abundant was a yellow species of _Thermopsis_, which was in full
flower, and seemed to thrive best among loose stones. A small
_Veronica_, with bright blue flowers, occurred several times on the

The pass over this ridge is called Takti La. Its elevation was,
according to my observation of the boiling-point of water, 16,360
feet. The mountains to the right and left, rising perhaps 1500 feet
higher than the pass, obstructed all view. Behind, the landscape was
shut in by a lofty snowy mountain, not a mile off; and in front, part
of the same snowy range which I had observed from the ridge two days
before, was visible. There was a good deal of vegetation at the top,
which was in part swampy round a small spring, where probably the snow
had only recently melted. The plants were all alpine: _Biebersteinia
odora_, a well-known North Asiatic form, was very common, with
several _Ranunculaceæ_ and _Cruciferæ_, and one or two species of

    [Sidenote: NIRA.
     _July, 1848._]

On the steep shingly ascent which faced the south, I had met with no
snow till close to the top, when I saw a few very small patches. On
leaving the top of the pass, the road continued to run along the side
of the mountain on the left hand, nearly level for about a mile. As I
got more fully on the north face, I found snow lying in large patches,
which were melting rapidly; and when fairly on the northern slope, I
found that, though very steep, it was covered by a continuous bed of
snow from the very crest down to about 15,500 feet, as near as I could
guess. The view to the north, which, from the pass itself, had been
very limited, was now extensive. The range in front was everywhere
tipped with snow, and the road up to its crest, with the pass by which
I was to cross it, were distinctly visible. Between this range and
that on which I stood was interposed the deep ravine of the Zanskar
river, the course of which could be traced for a long way, though from
the precipitous rocks through which it ran, the stream itself could
not be seen.

I find it extremely difficult to describe in an adequate manner the
extreme desolation of the most barren parts of Tibet, where no
luxuriant forest or bright green herbage softens the nakedness of the
mountains, but everywhere the same precipices, heaps of rocks, and
barren monotonous deserts meet the eye. The prospect now before me was
certainly most wonderful. I had nowhere before seen a country so
utterly waste. At the great elevation on which I stood I completely
overlooked the valley, and the two or three villages which I
afterwards found to exist were either seen as mere spots, or concealed
by ranges of hills. Directly in front, across the Zanskar river, a
rocky precipice, worn and furrowed in every direction, and broken into
sharp pinnacles, rose to the height of at least 2000 feet, overhanging
a deep ravine, while to the right and left mountain was heaped upon
mountain in inextricable confusion, large patches of snow crowning the
highest parts.

From the edge of the snow I descended rapidly to the village of Nira.
On the earlier part of the descent, the ground was soft and miry from
the recent melting of the snow, which still lay in the more shady
parts in large patches. A bright yellow _Ranunculus_, with numerous
petals, and the pretty _Lloydia serotina_ were plentiful close to the
snow. Further down, the road was extremely stony, and the descent very
abrupt, but towards the end I followed the course of a small
streamlet, the margins of which were skirted by a belt not more than a
foot in width of vividly green turf. The village of Nira, in which I
encamped, was 12,900 feet above the level of the sea: its cultivated
lands were extensive, and both in the village and on the hills around,
juniper-trees of considerable size were common.

     _July, 1848._]

    [Sidenote: YULCHUNG.
     _July, 1848._]

On the 2nd of July I crossed the Zanskar river to the village of
Yulchung (13,700 feet). At Nira, besides the usual crops of barley,
there was a good deal of buckwheat, which was just above ground. The
fields were bordered, as usual, by a rank vegetation. A _Nepeta_, very
like _N. Sibthorpiana_, was quite new to me, and a tall erect
_Wahlenbergia_, with very large pale greenish-blue flowers, and
coarse, somewhat fetid leaves, was very abundant, just coming into
flower; the rest of the plants observed were the same as in the upper
part of Zanskar. The stream which ran by the village had in some
places spread out into a marshy meadow, in which a large pink-flowered
_Cardamine_ or _Dentaria_ occurred plentifully, with _Orchis
latifolia_? a white _Juncus_, and many common plants.

Below the village the descent was bare and stony, and extremely abrupt
the whole way down to the river; the Tibetan rose was in full flower
on the road-side. The river did not come into sight till it was close
at hand, the bottom of the ravine through which it flowed being narrow
and rocky. A common wooden bridge, without side-rails, forty or fifty
feet above the surface of the water, was thrown over at the narrowest
part, where the stream was hemmed in by high rocky walls, and was, I
think, not more than forty feet broad. The current was rapid, and the
water much discoloured. The course of the river at the bridge was
easterly, but below, after a slight bend to the south of east, the
valley seemed to take a more northerly direction, and above the bridge
it came from the south-west. The banks of the river did not seem to be
at all practicable, and I was informed that it was only when the river
was frozen that travellers could proceed down it to Le. Accounts
differed much as to the length of time required for the journey, and I
could not discover that any of my party had ever travelled it, so that
I presume the route is not very much frequented.

Immediately after crossing the river, a long, steep, utterly barren
ascent commenced over stones and shingle. A deep ravine, with a small
stream at the bottom, lay to the right of the road, beyond which were
the lofty rugged precipices which had been so conspicuous from the
heights the day before. At about 13,000 feet I gained the summit of a
projecting ridge, which rose, a little to the right, into a rocky
peak, and then sank abruptly down to the ravine. The road then dipped
into a hollow filled with large boulders and fragments of rock,
perhaps of glacial origin, and rose again more gradually to a second
ridge, in the hollow beyond which lay the village at which I had
determined to encamp, its lowest houses overhanging the deep ravine on
the right. The elevation not being materially different from that of
Nira, the plants of the cultivated grounds were the same. _Potentilla
anserina_ was very plentiful, and remarkably luxuriant.

The rocks during the ascent were chiefly a very hard but very brittle
quartz or schist, alternating with loose crumbly slates, and a little
limestone. I diverged a little from the direct road, to visit an iron
mine, and to see the process of smelting. The ore was yellow ochre,
occurring in a breccia-looking conglomerate situated on the flanks of
a steep narrow ravine. There were two smelting furnaces, built of
stone, of a conical shape, three feet in height, and about six inches
in diameter at the top. The fuel employed was charcoal, and no flux
was mixed with the ore.

    [Sidenote: SINGHI PASS.
     _July, 1848._]

On the 3rd of July, I crossed Singhi La, the pass which I had seen so
distinctly on the 1st. The ascent commenced at once from the village
of Yulchung, over dry rounded hills, at the same time receding
considerably from the deep ravine on the right. No rock _in situ_ was
visible on the earlier part of the ascent, the hills being entirely
covered with coarse gravel and small stones, among which a spinous
_Astragalus_ and a species of _Polygonum_ were the predominant plants;
a glabrous _Artemisia_, a little _Euphorbia_, and the prickly
_Statice_, were also frequent. After about 1000 feet of ascent, plants
of the alpine zone began to appear. Afterwards the ascent was more
gentle, over similar ground, till I attained an elevation of about
15,000 feet; at which height the road was for some distance nearly
level, winding round a deep bay or hollow in the mountains, with high
hills rising on the left hand, and the deep ravine still on the right.
Several small streams were crossed, and many alpine plants seen, all
familiar to me, except a species of rhubarb, which grew among the
shingle in considerable quantity, and which is probably an undescribed

After completing the circuit of the deep bay, the ascent recommenced,
but was not at all rapid, till within a few hundred yards of the top,
when a short steep pull occurred. On the latter part of the ascent,
from the loose, stony nature of the soil, vegetation was very scanty;
and at the top, which was rounded, there was absolutely none. The
elevation was 16,500 feet. Several large patches of snow occurred on
the south side when close to the top, but not continuously. The view
was extensive to the south, embracing a considerable portion of the
great snowy range north of the Chenab, which, from the great elevation
of the spot on which I stood, as well as of the intermediate ranges,
and from the much smaller quantity of snow on its northern face,
looked much less imposing than it does when viewed from the Indian
side. Right and left were huge rocky peaks, and in front the view was
obstructed by mountains close at hand, except to the north-west, in
which direction a long gently-sloping valley was visible, running
between two steep ridges, along which, I was informed, the next day's
journey lay. From the top of the pass I attempted to form an estimate
of the height of the neighbouring ranges, taking the quantity of snow
as a guide, and it appeared to me that they were in general between 19
and 20,000 feet, a few isolated peaks only exceeding that altitude.
Such guesses, however, are necessarily extremely vague.

Quartzy rock, slate, and limestone, alternated during the ascent; and
near the summit of the pass the limestone evidently contained organic
remains, perhaps coralline, though the traces were not sufficiently
distinct to enable me to decide the point. The fossils were not
observed _in situ_, but the angular fragments in which they occurred
did not appear to have been transported from any distance.

On the north side of the pass a snow-bed commenced at the very crest,
down which the descent was very steep for a few hundred yards. The
snow was very soft, and was rapidly melting, but it possibly covered a
permanent mass of ice, as it terminated abruptly, and the valley at
its base was wide and but little inclined, with only a few patches of
snow. The ground near the snow was swampy, owing to the rapid thaw.
Here a little sweet-scented _Primula_ was abundant, with one or two
more alpine plants. The road followed the course of a wide arid
valley, descending very gently. Two species of rhubarb were common,
and a dwarf willow fringed the margins of the stream.

    [Sidenote: PHUTAKSHA.
     _July, 1848._]

As I advanced, the valley gradually narrowed, and on the right high
precipitous rocks ere long overhung the stream, so that I crossed to
the left bank, and, instead of keeping on the bottom of the valley,
proceeded horizontally along the hill-sides. A little further on, the
stream, which had hitherto had a north-west course, turned suddenly to
the north, and entered an extremely narrow rocky ravine, which to all
appearance was quite impassable. Here the road turned abruptly to the
left, and ascended to cross a low ridge. On attaining the summit an
open valley was seen 1000 feet below, which at its lower extremity
contracted into a fissure precisely similar to that just described;
and as the two ravines were only separated by a narrow rocky ridge,
which rose to the north into a high cliff, there can be no doubt that
the two streams joined a mile or two below. Descending gradually into
the valley, I encamped at the village of Phutaksha, at an elevation of
about 14,300 feet.

    [Sidenote: LACUSTRINE CLAY.
     _July, 1848._]

Notwithstanding its great elevation, the valley of Phutaksha was
partially cultivated. The fields formed a narrow belt parallel to the
stream, along which they extended almost up to 15,000 feet, but the
crops were scanty. The wild plants of the borders of the cultivated
land were the same as those common in Zanskar, and grew with great
luxuriance along the margins of the irrigation streamlets. Alluvial
boulder clay was common in the valley; and I saw also a great deal of
the fine cream-coloured clay, which I have elsewhere noticed as being
probably of lacustrine origin. The occurrence of this clay at an
elevation of upwards of 14,000 feet is rather uncommon, and here, as
well as elsewhere, appears to be accompanied by such a conformation of
the mountains as to render the former existence of a small lake
probable. Below Phutaksha, as I have already observed, the ravine of
the little stream is exceedingly narrow and rocky, and as likely as
any other part of Tibet to have been blocked up by alluvial deposits
so as to form a lake.

On the 4th of July my road lay up the valley. The banks of the little
stream were lined with most beautiful green turf, producing all the
characteristic plants already mentioned. I took the right-hand branch
of two which here united, and, on looking up the other, observed that
the snow-line on the northern slope of the mountains, at its head, was
very considerably above the level at which I stood; its height, where
lowest, seemed to be about 16,000 feet. In one small side-ravine there
was an incipient glacier. After leaving the cultivated lands the
valley became extremely stony and barren, fragments of a brittle
limestone rock being everywhere scattered about. The vegetation
changing to that of the alpine zone, several new species of
_Astragalus_ and _Phaca_ were collected. Following the streamlet
almost to its source, the road afterwards ascended to the top of a
steep ridge, elevated probably a little more than 16,000 feet; this
ridge was rocky, or covered with shingle of a dark slate, which had
succeeded to the limestone. The yellow _Thermopsis_ was almost the
only plant which grew on the summit, from which I had a fine view of
the pass crossed the day before, and of the range of mountains I had
left; but to the north there was no distant view, the valley bending
abruptly to the right.

    [Sidenote: HANUPATA.
     _July, 1848._]

From the top of the pass I descended rapidly along a deep valley,
generally at some height above the stream, to the village of Hanupata,
elevated 13,100 feet. This valley was throughout barren and stony, and
became very narrow in the lower part. _Dama_ was very plentiful, but
otherwise there was little novelty in the vegetation, except along the
bank of the stream in its upper part, where I made a rich collection
of small alpine species. A large-flowered _Aster_, a white
_Pyrethrum_, and a little _Pedicularis_, were the new species
obtained. In the lower part of the valley willow and _Lonicera_ as
usual appeared; and when close to Hanupata, I met with a shrubby
species of _Labiatæ_ (perhaps a _Ballota_) which is an extremely
common plant in the valley of the Indus from 7000 to 14,000 feet, but
seems never to occur far from that river.

    [Sidenote: WANDLA RAVINE.
     _July, 1848._]

On the 5th of July I proceeded down the same valley to Wandla, a
distance of about eleven miles. The fields of Hanupata occupied only a
narrow strip along the bank of the stream, the sides of the valley
being steep and rocky. The crops were much further advanced than any I
had hitherto seen; the barley in particular was very luxuriant, and
one field was already in ear. Along the margins of the field there was
the same rank herbage as usually occurs in similar situations. Lucerne
and melilot, both seemingly the common European species, were very
plentiful. Poplars and willows were cultivated; and I observed some
large juniper-trees. Beyond the cultivation the valley became very
narrow. The bed and banks of the stream were gravelly, and on the
latter grew a dense thicket of _Myricaria_, _Hippophaë_, willow, and
rose. After two or three miles there was not left space even for
these, the mountains coming so close together that in many places
there was not room to pass between them and the water. The current was
too rapid for fording, so that it repeatedly became necessary to
ascend to a considerable height in order to effect a passage. One of
these ascents was not much less than 1000 feet perpendicular, up a
narrow lateral ravine, and then over a very steep bank of loose
shingle, descending again with great abruptness to the water's edge.
The road also crossed the stream several times.

In one place I observed a very remarkable natural tunnel, where the
stream flowed below a solid mass of conglomerate rock, which formed an
arch obliquely across it. The conglomerate was exceedingly hard, and
rested on both sides on very soft friable slate, by the excavation of
which, by the action of the stream, the tunnel appeared to have been
formed. The original channel of the stream was still visible six or
eight feet higher than its present level a little to the right. The
ravine continued narrow and rocky for nearly seven miles, but during
the last two of these the road lay high upon the mountain-side, and
was tolerably level and good. Near the end the valley became wider,
and several small patches of cultivation appeared, with a few
apricot-trees; and a double yellow rose was planted near some of the
houses. The last mile of the day's journey was entirely through very
rich and luxuriant cultivation, which was further advanced than any I
had yet seen.

    [Sidenote: WANDLA.
     _July, 1848._]

The elevation of Wandla is only 11,000 feet, and the heat of the sun
was very oppressive. On the latter part of the march, many plants of
the Indus valley which were familiar to me from my journey of the year
before, but which I had not seen during my present visit to Tibet,
made their appearance. _Echinops_ and _Nepeta floccosa_, _Mulgedium
Tataricum_, a large and handsome yellow _Corydalis_, _Capparis_, and
numerous _Chenopodiaceæ_ were abundant. The leaves of _Tussilago
Farfara_ were common along the water-courses; in the corn-fields a
little viscid _Cerastium_ (_Lepyrodiclis_) was only too plentiful. By
far the most conspicuous plant was the rose (_R. Webbiana_), which, in
the rich and well-watered soil of the cultivated plain, grew most
luxuriantly, forming dense almost spherical bushes, many of which were
at least fifteen feet high, as much in diameter, and bushy down to the
ground. They were now in full bloom, and the foliage was almost
entirely concealed by the profusion of bright red flowers.

I was obliged to remain a day at Wandla, owing to the serious illness
of one of my servants, who, though a native of a mountainous country,
had suffered much more on the high passes than any of the inhabitants
of the plains of India, and was now so much exhausted as to be unable
to move. On the 7th, however, I proceeded towards the Indus, not a
little glad to be at last within a day's journey of that river, as I
was considerably later than I had originally calculated, not having
made allowance for the very rugged nature of the country between
Zanskar and Le.

    [Sidenote: LAMAYURU.
     _July, 1848._]

The valley of Wandla, I was informed, contracted again into a rocky
ravine a very little way below the village. This ravine was not quite
impracticable, but the stream had to be forded very frequently; and as
it was at least four feet deep, I was recommended to follow another
route, a little more circuitous, but free of difficulty. For the first
mile I proceeded up an open valley, which joined at a right angle from
the west that which I had descended on the 5th. I then turned to the
right up a very sterile ravine, with much saline efflorescence; in a
few places a small streamlet trickled among the stones, but for the
first part the channel was quite dry, the water filtering underneath
the gravel. The sides of the ravine were bare and shingly and without
vegetation, except at the entrance, where a _Corydalis_, thistle, and
one or two other plants occurred sparingly. On the most stony parts
_Güldenstädtia cuneata_, Benth., was common, and here and there in the
gravelly channel was a bush of _Myricaria_ (not _M. elegans_, but a
smaller and much less handsome species). After a gentle ascent of
about two miles, I gained the head of the ravine, and crossing a stony
ridge not high enough for alpine plants, descended another valley on
its north side, which, though at first if possible more barren than
the ascent, soon became somewhat green with willow-bushes and the
ordinary plants. After descending perhaps a thousand feet, I reached
an extensive tract of cultivation, just above which, in another
ravine, lay the village and monastery of Lamayuru, of which a
circumstantial account has been given by Moorcroft[20]. At this place,
I joined the road from Kashmir by Dras to Ladak, which has been
repeatedly traversed by European travellers, and is particularly
described in Moorcroft's Travels.

    [Sidenote: INDUS VALLEY.
     _July, 1848._]

    [Sidenote: KALATZE.
     _July, 1848._]

Below this village the valley contracted, and was for some distance
full of immense masses of lacustrine clay; lower down it became a
narrow rocky ravine. The road descended with great rapidity till I
reached the Wandla stream, which I had left in the morning; it was
afterwards less steep, following the banks of that river through a
winding rocky valley to its junction with the Indus, which was not
seen till close at hand. The valley of the Indus, where I entered it,
was very barren, with bare rugged mountains on both sides. A stony
platform of alluvial conglomerate usually intervened between the
mountains and the river, over which my road lay for about three miles
up the river, to a good wooden bridge, defended on the north side by a
small, very indifferent fort. By this bridge I crossed to the right
side of the river, and a mile further on reached the village of
Kalatze (or Kalsi, as it is commonly pronounced), at which I encamped.

In the lower part of the Wandla ravine, the clay-slate rock became
much indurated, and alternated with a very hard conglomerate, the
matrix of which had a semi-fused appearance, while the pebbles which
it contained were all rounded. This rock is very similar to, and
probably identical with, that of the Giah ravine north of the Tunglung
pass, and of the upper Indus. A modern conglomerate, with an indurated
sandy and calcareous matrix, in horizontal beds, rested unconformably
upon the more ancient rock, but afforded no indications by which I
could form an opinion of its exact age.

     _July, 1848._]

The elevation of my tent at Kalatze I made to be 10,400 feet; but I
was encamped at the highest part of the village, and the bed of the
river was not much above 10,000 feet. The cultivated lands, which are
very extensive, lie on the top of a thick platform of alluvium,
through which the river has excavated a deep broad channel. The lands
of the village slope gradually from the base of the mountain to the
edge of the cliff overhanging the river, and the fields are made into
level terraces by walls of stones from three to six feet in height.
Numerous streams of water are conducted through the fields for
irrigation, upon which cultivation in Tibet entirely depends. The
crops had an appearance of great luxuriance: they consisted of wheat
and barley (both in full ear, the latter even beginning to turn
yellow), buckwheat, peas, and oil-seed (_Brassica Napus_). Fruit-trees
were abundant, chiefly apricots; but there was no deficiency of
apples, pears, walnuts, and mulberries. Along the water-courses and on
the edges of the fields grew plenty of wild plants, many the same as
occur everywhere in Tibet, but, from the diminished elevation,
numerous novelties were observed. A _Clematis_, with dingy
brownish-orange flowers, straggled over bushes; a shrubby _Ballota_
and a _Perowskia_ covered the walls; _Iris_, _Capsella_, _Veronica
biloba_ and _agrestis_, _Lamium amplexicaule_, _Mentha_, _Potentillæ_,
_Plantago Asiatica_, _Thalictrum_, and numerous other plants grew
along the water-courses; while in the fields among the corn the weeds
were much the same as are common in Europe and in the plains of India
in the cold season; _Vaccaria_, _Silene conoidea_, _Stellaria media_,
_Malva rotundifolia_, and _Convolvulus arvensis_ being plentiful.

    [Sidenote: NURLA.
     _July, 1848._]

On the 8th of July, I marched to Nurla[21], about eight miles up the
valley of the Indus. After leaving Kalatze, the whole day's journey
was quite barren, the road usually lying on the top of an alluvial
platform. Just beyond Kalatze, a large stream had cut a deep ravine
through the platform, showing it to be composed of large incoherent
water-worn stones, mixed with gravel and clay. The mountains on both
sides were steep, rocky, and bare. The vegetation on these platforms
was scanty: _Boragineæ_ and _Chenopodiaceæ_ were the two prominent
orders; _Nepeta floccosa_, a little _Hyoscyamus_, _Güldenstädtia_, a
large and handsome _Corydalis_, a _Matthiola_, and several
_Astragali_, _Cruciferæ_, and _Artemisiæ_, were also prevalent. Of
grasses, _Stipa_ was the most common, but several sub-tropical forms
were observed, which were interesting and somewhat unexpected. A
species of _Cymbopogon_, and an _Andropogon_ allied to _A. Ischæmum_,
grew among rocks close to the river. In similar places I met with two
species of _Vincetoxicum_, one a twiner, and the other erect;
_Tribulus_, too, was common on the most barren spots. At Nurla, the
cultivated lands are very extensive: the crops and fruit-trees as at
Kalatze; some of the barley was nearly ripe. The common bean seemed a
good deal cultivated, usually intermixed with wheat; _Lathyrus
sativus_ was also a common crop[22].

Behind the village of Kalatze, rounded hills of moderate elevation
were capped with incoherent beds of sand and boulders of considerable
thickness, horizontally stratified; similar beds, sometimes indurated
into a soft sandstone rock, occurred at intervals throughout the day.
Boulders of granite were abundant in the alluvium and on the surface
of the platforms, derived, I believe, from the axis of the chain
separating the Indus from the Shayuk. These transported masses of
granite were not observed anywhere between lower Zanskar and the
Indus; it may therefore, I think, be inferred that the superficial
alluvium (which, where the two occur together, generally covers the
lacustrine clays) has been deposited since the present river system
was in full operation, and is not, as I at one time conjectured,
analogous to the drifts of Europe. The ancient rocks between Kalatze
and Nurla were alternations of friable slate with indurated
conglomerate and grey sandstone.

    [Sidenote: SASPOLA.
     _July, 1848._]

Between Nurla and Saspola, to which place (eleven miles) I marched on
the 9th, the valley of the Indus was narrower than before, as well as
more rocky. The rock was chiefly grey sandstone. The road frequently
ascended to some height in places where the banks of the river were
too rugged to permit a passage. On the 10th of June I proceeded to
Nimo, ten miles further. At Saspola the road leaves the banks of the
Indus, to ascend a barren valley, among hills of loose conglomerate.
At first, the banks of the little stream were green and turfy; but
after about a mile I entered a dry stony ravine, along the bed of
which the road gradually ascended. The rocks were clay-slate,
conglomerate, and sandstone, and all the hills were capped with modern
alluvial clay conglomerate. Granite boulders occurred abundantly, and
marks of the action of water were seen on the rocks far above the
reach of the present streams. At the summit, which must have been
nearly 1000 feet above the Indus, I emerged suddenly upon a wide and
open gravelly plain. To the right, a number of low hills concealed the
course of the Indus; to the left, the mountain range had receded to
some distance, and could be seen to be here and there tipped with
snow. The road lay for several miles over this barren plain, which was
entirely alluvial, descending afterwards very abruptly into a deep
flat-bottomed hollow, excavated out of the soft conglomerate by a
considerable stream. In this hollow, quite concealed till close at
hand, was the village of Bazgo, with a long narrow strip of
cultivation along the margin of its stream. Following the course of
this valley till near the Indus, I then ascended its left bank, and
emerged upon another extensive alluvial platform, high above the
river, but parallel to it. At the east end of this platform was the
village of Nimo, the termination of my day's journey.

    [Sidenote: NIMO.
     _July, 1848._]

From this place my journey of the 12th brought me to Le, about twelve
miles. About a mile above Nimo the Indus is joined by the Zanskar
river. The valley where the two rivers unite is very rocky and
precipitous, and bends a long way to the south. The road to Le does
not follow the river, but ascends among gravelly ravines behind the
village, and emerges on a wide open plain, which, as on the previous
march, is interposed between the northern range of mountains and the
present channel of the Indus. The height of this plain above the river
was at least 1000 feet; it was lowest in the centre, sloping up not
only towards the mountains to the north, but to a range of
round-topped hills of moderate elevation, which overhung the valley of
the Indus, sinking on their south face very abruptly down to the
river. The higher mountains were chiefly granite, with a few
interposed beds of slate dipping at a high angle. The granite
exhibited the usual tendency of that rock to decay in spheres, or
rather in irregular-shaped masses with rounded angles.

In proceeding along this plain, the road at first rose almost
imperceptibly, but after two miles I reached the highest part of it,
from which it sloped down towards the east. From this point the course
of the Indus in front of Le, and to the south-east for many miles, was
finely seen. The river runs through a wide valley, but the range of
mountains to the north sends down many rugged spurs, which, in the
shape of low rocky hills, advance close to the river. On the south or
left bank, on the contrary, a wide, open, gently-sloping plain extends
to a considerable distance. From the highest level of the plain a long
gradual descent brought me to the Indus, to which it was necessary to
descend in order to get round one of the spurs just referred to. It is
here a tranquil but somewhat rapid stream, divided into several
branches by gravelly islands, generally swampy, and covered with low
_Hippophaë_ scrub. The size of the river was very much less than it
had been below the junction of the river of Zanskar, the latter
appearing to contribute considerably more than half the amount of
water. At the point of the low spur lay the village of Pitak, on an
isolated hill, surrounded by extensive deposits of cream-coloured
lacustrine clay. From this village there is a gradual ascent of about
four miles to the town of Le, which is built on a low hill at the
upper corner of a wide open valley.

    [Sidenote: PITAK.
     _July, 1848._]

The bed of the Indus at Pitak, below Le, has an elevation of about
10,500 feet above the level of the sea, but the town is at least 1300
feet higher. Its sheltered situation, in a hollow surrounded by hills,
and facing the south, compensates to a certain extent for this
increase of elevation; still the crops are very much inferior to those
on the banks of the Indus. There are but few trees, the apricot being
the only fruit-tree cultivated, and it does not seem to thrive. Water
is plentiful in the valley, and is conveyed through the cultivated
lands in deeply-cut canals or trenches, faced with walls of stone.
Natural meadows of tall grasses, intermixed with luxuriant lucerne and
melilot, are common along the banks of the river, especially above the

    [Sidenote: LE.
     _July, 1848._]

The vegetation in the vicinity of Le scarcely differed from that of
the Indus at Kalatze. The most abundant families of plants were
_Chenopodiaceæ_, _Labiatæ_, and _Artemisiæ_, which covered the barren
and stony tracts; the _Boragineæ_, so abundant throughout Tibet in
early spring, had already quite dried up and disappeared. In the
meadows tall species of _Thalictrum_, _Silene_, and _Heracleum_, were
coming into flower, and in swamps _Veronica Beccabunga_ and
_Anagallis_, _Limosella_, and a yellow _Pedicularis_, were the most
abundant plants.

At Le I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Strachey, who had spent
the winter there, and had returned shortly before my arrival, from an
exploring journey to the eastward. After a week's stay I set out for
Nubra on the 19th of July, crossing the lofty chain separating the two
rivers by the pass directly north of Le, which, during the summer
months, presents no difficulty, and is therefore preferred as being
the most direct. The pass is distinctly visible from the town of Le,
to which it appears very close, though the distance is at least ten or
twelve miles. I did not attempt to cross it the first day, but
encamped as far up on the southern face as I conveniently could, so as
to reach the top early in the morning. At starting, the road lay for
about three miles through an open valley, partly cultivated, and with
a good deal of swampy ground. Higher up, the valley contracted into a
barren ravine, with a narrow strip of green along the margin of the
stream. About half-way, the road left the bottom of the valley, and
for the remainder of the march I proceeded along the bare side of the
mountain, ascending very rapidly. There was a striking change in the
vegetation as the height increased. On the lower slopes _Cicer_ and
_Statice_ were abundant, with several _Astragali_; on the latter part
of the ascent many alpine plants were observed, belonging to the
genera _Corydalis_, _Elsholtzia_, _Potentilla_, and _Draba_. A very
small violet was extremely plentiful in the crevices of the rocks, and
among stones, after I had reached 15,000 feet. I encamped at about
15,700 feet, on a level piece of ground, a few hundred feet above the
bottom of the valley.

    [Sidenote: PASS NORTH OF LE.
     _July, 1848._]

On the 20th I crossed the pass, starting about sunrise. The morning
was intensely frosty, and the stones and vegetation near the water
were encrusted with ice. The path lay close to the stream, ascending
somewhat rapidly among the green turf which grew along its margin, in
which I found many little alpine plants, among which, a large-flowered
_Aster_ and a small poppy with still unexpanded flowers were the most
conspicuous. The last part of the ascent was extremely steep, among
immense angular granite boulders, with here and there a little snow in
the crevices. Here a most elegant sweet-scented species of _Primula_
was common, so firmly fixed in the frozen mud, that I could with
difficulty procure a specimen. Except in very small patches, there was
no snow till within two hundred yards of the top of the ascent, for
which distance it was continuous, but very soft, and evidently melting
rapidly. The crest of the pass was a narrow ridge of large spheres of
granite, seemingly quite detached from one another, but which had
probably been formed on the spot they now occupied by the peculiar
decay characteristic of that rock.

The continuation of the ridge on both sides was for some distance
very little more elevated than the pass itself, the height of which
was 17,700 feet. To the south, the view was very extensive, embracing
a great extent of snowy mountains, with numerous lofty peaks, as well
as a part of the Indus valley, and the town of Le, immediately below;
to the north it was much more limited, as hills close at hand
completely excluded all distant view, except directly in front, where
one snowy peak could be seen a long way off, evidently beyond the

On the north side of the pass snow commenced at the very top, and
continued for at least 1200 feet of perpendicular height. The descent
for this distance was extremely steep, over a snow-bed, which appeared
to cover an incipient glacier. About 1200 feet below the top I came to
a small oval-shaped lake, completely frozen over; a little higher up I
had passed a small bare piece of rock projecting through the snow, and
perhaps thirty feet long, on which the beautiful blue-flowered _Nepeta
multibracteata_, Benth., had already put forth its flowers. Beyond the
frozen lake the descent became at once much more gentle, and was
partially free of snow. The path lay over a vast accumulation of
angular stones, which appeared to have fallen from the rocks above.
Many parts of the valley were swampy, evidently from recently melted
snow, and in such places the _Primula_, noticed on the ascent,
occurred in great abundance, its scapes rising to the height of six to
eight inches, and bearing large globes of deep rose-coloured flowers.
Among the loose stones _Nepeta multibracteata_ was common. About three
miles from the top I passed the end of an exceedingly well-marked
moraine, which must have been deposited by a glacier at a time when,
from increased cold, these masses of ice stretched down much further
than they do at present. The remainder of the descent was again more
abrupt, but very bare, stony, and uninteresting. A single tree of
_Juniperus excelsa_ grew in one of the ravines, and below 14,000 feet
a species of berberry, with very small leaves, was common on dry stony
ground. I encamped at the small village of Kardong, at 13,500 feet.
The cultivation round this village was on a level plain without any

  [Illustration: Metamorphic rocks. Alluvium. Stream. Alluvium.
   Metamorphic rocks.]

    [Sidenote: KARDONG.
     _July, 1848._]

     _July, 1848._]

On the 21st I proceeded to Karsar, a village on the bank of the Shayuk
river, distant about nine miles. A few hundred feet above the village
of Kardong the alluvial boulder clay had begun to occur in the valley,
and around the village, which occupied the end of a lateral ravine, it
was already very thick. From Kardong to the Shayuk this alluvium
continued in great quantity, forming elevated platforms, sloping very
gently from the mountains, and faced by steep, often quite
perpendicular cliffs. Where lateral ravines joined the main valley
the alluvium was deeply excavated by the little streams which
traversed them, and the road descended abruptly by steep and curiously
winding paths down the cliffs of clay, and among piles of boulders, to
re-ascend to the platform beyond the stream. Such a ravine, of great
depth, occurred just below Kardong. After crossing it the road lay
over the surface of the clay platform, which was nearly level, and
consequently at an increasing height above the bottom of the Kardong
valley, which rapidly diminished in elevation. This platform was
extremely barren, and quite devoid of water. Here and there isolated
rocky masses rose up through the alluvium. The rock was peculiar,
being very hard, and, as it were, porphyritic, with a black,
basaltic-looking matrix, quite homogeneous, in which numerous white
specks were diffused. In hand specimens and boulders, and even on a
near view of the hills, this rock appeared quite an igneous rock, but
when an extensive section was exposed, it could be seen to be
distinctly stratified.

    [Sidenote: KARSAR.
     _July, 1848._]

When within a short distance of the Shayuk valley, though still high
above it, the road turned to the left, and, leaving the alluvial
platform, proceeded among rugged rocky hills, in a direction parallel
to that river, at the same time descending somewhat rapidly to a
platform of modern lacustrine clay and conglomerate, which filled up
the whole of a deep recess in the mountains facing the Shayuk, to a
thickness of at least 1000 feet. The village of Karsar, at which I
encamped, lies in a deep ravine, excavated out of the clay formation
by a considerable stream, on both sides of which, for nearly a mile,
there is a belt of cultivation, very narrow where the stream issues
from the mountains, but gradually widening as it descends. Owing to
the sheltered situation, from the great height of the cliffs of clay
on both sides, the crops were exceedingly luxuriant, and fruit-trees
were plentiful, principally apples and apricots. Some very fine
walnut-trees also occurred.

From the same cause the herbaceous vegetation was particularly rich,
and I met with many species which were new to me. The banks of the
stream, from the point where it issued from among the mountains, were
everywhere bordered by large bushes of _Myricaria elegans_, now
adorned with masses of sweet-scented rose-coloured flowers. In the
lower part of the village-lands there were shady plantations of poplar
and willow, which seemed to be occasionally irrigated, in order that
they might produce a rich natural pasture. In these groves _Euphrasia
officinalis_, species of _Gentiana_, _Ranunculus_, _Potentilla_, and
_Carum_ grew most luxuriantly; a tall but very small-flowered
_Pedicularis_ was also very common. No less than three species of
_Orchideæ_ occurred, a family which more than any other dislikes
dryness: these were _Orchis latifolia_, an _Epipactis_, and an
_Herminium_. Many of the weeds of the cultivated fields were also new
and interesting: a _Hypecoum_, an _Elsholtzia_, and some species of
_Polygonum_, were those I particularly noted.

     _July, 1848._]

The lacustrine formation of Karsar consists mostly of very pure white
clay, horizontally stratified; but at the lower end of the ravine,
where it is about to expand into the open plain of the Shayuk, a
tolerably solid but still very friable sandstone, the strata of which
were also quite horizontal, occurred under the clay. I saw no
fossils, but when the clay is examined with care, they will probably
be occasionally detected. At all events, as this clay formation is at
least a thousand feet thick, if we take into consideration the open
nature of the whole valley of Nubra, there can be no doubt that it
must have been deposited from the same waters with the very similar
clay which I found at Tertse, in lower Nubra, in October, 1847, and
that it is therefore lacustrine. If this be admitted, it seems
impossible to escape from the conclusion, that the deposits in the
Kardong valley, (of which I have given an imaginary section in page
398,) though different in appearance, belong to the same lake. Now,
these attain an elevation of 13,500 feet and upwards, as they commence
above Kardong: the level of the surface of the Nubra lake can
therefore hardly have been less than 14,000 feet; so that it must have
extended up the Tanktse valley, almost as far as the low pass by which
that district is separated from the Pangong lake.

    [Sidenote: DISKIT.
     _July, 1848._]

From Karsar, I marched on the 25th of July, down the valley of the
Shayuk, to Diskit. The earlier part of the road, after ascending
abruptly out of the Karsar ravine, lay over the clay platform, which
was perfectly flat; but after about four miles, it descended nearly to
the level of the river, whose wide gravelly plain now extended on the
south side to the very foot of the mountains, the lacustrine beds
having been entirely removed. The plain was traversed by several small
streamlets, apparently derived in a great measure from the river, the
water of which seemed to sink among the gravel and sand of its bed,
and to spring up again at a distance from the main channel. One of
these streams ran at the extreme edge of the plain, close under the
cliffs, which here rose almost precipitously to a great height. Its
banks were very saline, and in the neighbourhood of Diskit a great
part of the plain was encrusted with soda.

The cultivated lands of the village, which is of considerable size,
lie on a sloping bank, rising rather steeply out of the plain. Many
apricot-trees grow among the houses, some of which were large enough
to afford a shade under which a tent could be pitched. The vegetation
was in general the same as at Karsar, but a white-flowered _Allium_
was new, as well as a species of _Chloris_, which was abundant in the
pastures. A very small _Cyperus_, which grew in the water-courses,
appeared to be a dwarf state of a species common in the plains of
India, and, with the _Chloris_, which is a tropical grass, was
interesting as an indication of the considerable heat of the summer
climate in the valley of the Shayuk, notwithstanding its great

     _July, 1848._]

The village of Diskit is almost exactly opposite the place where the
Nubra river joins the Shayuk from the northward. In October, 1847, I
had crossed the Shayuk five or six miles above Karsar, and descended
along its right bank, but during the hot months this route is not
practicable, as there are no bridges, and the river is too deep to be
forded anywhere except just at its junction with that of Nubra, where
the wide gravelly plain of the Shayuk expands to its greatest
diameter, and the river is divided into numerous branches.

The greater part of the 26th of July was occupied by the passage of
the Shayuk, which was both tedious and difficult, the river being now
nearly at its greatest height. The first branch was nearly two miles
from Diskit, the intervening gravelly plain being partly swampy, with
a few bushes of _Hippophaë_, _Tamarix_, and _Myricaria_. There were
four large branches to be crossed, besides several of smaller size.
Nearly a mile of sand separated the last large branch from the
remainder, and the ford was a most intricate one, each branch being
crossed obliquely and at a different point from the adjacent ones. The
united breadth of all the streams could not, I think, have been less
than half a mile. The velocity of the water was so great, that though
the depth nowhere, I think, exceeded three and a half feet, and was
more usually about two and a half, people on foot appeared to have the
utmost difficulty in retaining their footing, and the loaded men had
to be supported by one or two without loads on each side. In the more
difficult parts, two men placed themselves on each side of my horse's
head, to guide him in the proper road, and two more at each stirrup to
give him support in case of need. When in the centre of the current,
where, from the necessity of keeping my eye on the horse's motions, I
had to look at the water, I found it impossible to avoid a feeling of
giddiness, and an impression that horse and rider were being hurried
upwards with extreme velocity in a direction contrary to the stream.
These very rapid portions, however, were never more than ten or twenty
yards broad; the remainder was more moderate and shallower.

    [Sidenote: LYAKJUNG.
     _July, 1848._]

After safely effecting the passage with all my party and baggage, I
proceeded about a mile over loose sand, and encamped at the village of
Lyakjung, situated at the border of the low plain of the river, at the
point of union of the two valleys. The Shayuk valley is visible from
this place as far as the large village of Hundar, about ten miles, the
river running throughout that distance through a wide gravelly plain,
but with high rocky mountains on both sides.

    [Sidenote: VALLEY OF NUBRA.
     _July, 1848._]

From the 27th of July till the 9th of August, I remained in the valley
of Nubra, the necessary preparations for my further journey, which was
to be entirely through an uninhabited country, requiring considerable
time. During this interval, I moved from place to place in the valley,
which is well inhabited and rather pretty. The river is in the hot
months very large and rapid, and has its origin, no doubt, in the
great snowy mountains to the north. I crossed it twice a little above
the town of Chirasa, and found its current quite as strong as that of
the Shayuk, and in many places as deep, but its breadth was
considerably less. In one of the channels, a lad, carrying a light
bundle, was carried away by the stream, and rolled over repeatedly in
the water, after being separated from his load, before he was picked
up by a number of men who hastened to his assistance. The difficulty
of crossing was much increased by numerous quicksands, which made it
necessary to proceed by a tortuous path, and which were evidently very
liable to shift, as the guides proceeded very cautiously, and more
than once abandoned a ford on finding the footing insecure.

The general appearance of the valley of Nubra is very agreeable, and
superior to that of any other part of Tibet at the same elevation. The
villages are well wooded, with orchards of apricot-trees, and with
poplars and willows, which are either planted in rows, or scattered
irregularly in meadows on the skirts of the cultivated lands: the
willows, when not pollarded, attain a large size, and afford an ample
shade. The fields are carefully enclosed with walls, or hedges of
_Hippophaë_, or with a fence of the dead branches of that plant. Green
and shady lanes, bordered by high _Hippophaë_ hedges, full of
_Clematis_ and rose-bushes, lead through the village lands. The crops
are chiefly wheat and barley, with a few fields of millet (_Panicum
miliaceum_), buckwheat, and rape. There is also much pasture,
particularly along the little streams, and in fields near the river,
which are often swampy.

The beauty of the cultivated tracts is much enhanced by the utter
sterility of the drier parts of the plain, which are either gravelly
or stony, and utterly barren, except that occasionally from some
peculiarity of soil or position there is a considerable extent of
clayey soil not low enough to be swampy, but not remote from water,
covered with short turf much encrusted with soda. These grassy plains
are more common in the upper part of the district, and are perhaps
connected with springs containing carbonate of soda in solution[23].

     _August, 1848._]

Except from the more advanced period of the season, the flora of
Nubra differed but little from that of Le. Species of _Artemisia_,
_Labiatæ_, and _Chenopodiaceæ_, were now in full flower on the more
desert and stony tracts, in which a shrubby _Lycium_ (which is not
found on the Indus) was also common. _Chenopodiaceæ_ had become
extremely plentiful, and belonged to many different genera: shrubby
species of _Eurotia_ and _Caroxylon_ were common, but the greater
number were herbaceous, and belonged to the genera _Chenopodium_,
_Ambrina_, _Salsola_, _Echinopsilon_, and Corispermum. A species of
thistle grew on barren soil, particularly where the ground was saline;
on the salt soil, _Glaux_, a little _Crucifera_, and a _Polygonum_
were the most abundant plants. _Mulgedium Tataricum_, a _Galium_ (very
like _G. Aparine_), and a scandent species of _Vincetoxicum_, were
frequent in hedges; and species of _Mentha_, _Erodium_, _Epilobium_,
_Lepidium_, and _Matthiola_, all common plants at Le, being now in
full flower, attracted notice more than at an earlier period. A very
tall species of grass (_Melica?_) in large and elegant tufts, often
six feet high, was one of the most ornamental plants in the valley;
while as uncommon forms I may enumerate a prickly _Sophora_,
_Orobanche_, _Parietaria_, and in ponds a little _Utricularia_,
closely resembling a European species.

A small-leaved elm, which is common near Tagar, is apparently
wild,--at least it is not acknowledged by the inhabitants as a
cultivated tree. I have not observed this tree elsewhere in Tibet, but
Mr. Vigne mentions that he met with an elm in the mountains between
Shigar and Khapalu. It appears to be the same with a species common in
the forests of the lower valleys of Kashmir.

    [Sidenote: HOT SPRINGS.
     _August, 1848._]

About a mile from the large village of Panamik are the hot springs
formerly visited by Moorcroft. They are two in number, and spring from
the rocky mountain-side, about a hundred yards from the edge of the
plain. The temperature of the water in the spring which I tried was
170·5°. It was faintly sulphurous both in taste and smell, but not
perceptibly saline, and deposited a thick calcareous incrustation on
everything within its reach.

To the south of Panamik the rocks of Nubra are chiefly black slate,
but transported blocks of granite are everywhere common, and at that
village the latter rock descends to the level of the river, and
continues to form the whole mass of the mountains on the left side of
the valley as far as I continued along it. On the right side there
were indications of stratification on the steep sides of the
mountains, and, from the colour, the rock there appeared to be partly
granite and partly metamorphic slate.


[20] Travels, vol. ii. p. 11.

[21] Written, I believe, _Snurla_, as Le is written _Sle_, and Nimo,
_Snimo_, the initial letter being in all three mute. Many similar
instances might be given, silent initial letters occurring very
commonly in the written language of Tibet. It admits of much doubt
whether the best mode of spelling be according to the pronunciation,
or as the words are written: I have preferred the former, as less
likely to mislead.

[22] I do not know whether or not to attribute to this plant a
remarkable disease which, on my return down the Indus in September, I
found in the village of Saspola. At least thirty people in that
village, of all ages from a full-grown man to an infant, and of both
sexes indifferently, had been attacked with paralysis within the last
two years. The palsy was confined to the lower extremities, and
differed much in degree. The sufferers were in other respects the most
healthy and good-looking portion of the inhabitants. The people
themselves were quite at a loss to assign a cause for this
extraordinary affection, and, except in some article of diet, I was
unable to think of any.

[23] This view has been suggested to me by Dr. R. D. Thomson, who has
paid much attention to the chemical contents of springs, and is at
present engaged in examining the saline matters which I brought with
me from Tibet.


     Start for Karakoram -- Steep ascent out of Nubra valley -- Meet
     a party of Merchants from Yarkand -- View from summit of pass
     -- Rapid torrent -- Large glacier -- Steep moraines -- Alpine
     vegetation -- Numerous glaciers -- Lakes -- Glacier on crest of
     Sassar pass -- Sassar -- Cross Shayuk river -- Murgai --
     Limestone rocks -- Ascend Murgai Valley to 16,800 feet --
     Singular limestone formation -- Open plain above 17,000 feet --
     Re-cross Shayuk river -- Karakoram pass -- Return to Sassar --
     Glaciers of Sassar -- Return to Le -- Start for Kashmir --
     Lamayura -- Phatu pass -- Kanji river -- Namika pass -- Molbil
     Pashkyum -- Kargil -- Dras -- Zoji pass -- Kashmir -- Lahore --
     Completion of journey.

Having at last completed the preparations necessary for a journey of
twenty days through uninhabited regions, I started on the 9th of
August from the village of Taksha. My first day's journey lay up the
Nubra valley, which continued wide, though the alluvial platforms were
destitute of cultivation, and quite barren. In several places (always
opposite to ravines) they were covered with enormous boulders, which
had all the appearance of having been brought to the position they
occupied by glaciers. Two small villages were seen, both on the west
bank of the river. Four miles from Taksha I crossed, by a good wooden
bridge, a large stream which descended from the mountains on my right
hand through an exceedingly rocky gorge. After seven miles and
a half, I found that I had reached the point at which the road
followed by the merchants in travelling from Le to Yarkand leaves the
valley of Nubra. It was too late in the day to attempt the ascent of
the ridge to the right; I therefore encamped in a grove of willows,
which formed a belt along the margin of a stream whose bed was now
quite dry, its scanty supply of water having been diverted into an
artificial channel for the irrigation of a couple of fields of
indifferent barley not far off.

  [Illustration: SKETCH MAP of Route from =NUBRA TO KARAKORAM=.
   _by Dr. T. Thomson._]

In the valley of Nubra, beyond this encamping ground, which is known
by the name of Changlung, there are, I believe, only three small
villages, the most distant of which appeared to be not more than five
or six miles off. In the direction of the valley, which was still
north-north-west, very lofty mountains were visible at no great
distance, all with snowy tops, and generally with heavy snow-beds and
glaciers in their hollows; and according to the statement of my
guides, the river at the distance of less than two days' journey
issues from beneath a glacier, by which all passage is stopped[24].

     _August, 1848._]

On the 10th of August I started at daybreak, immediately commencing
the ascent of the mountain range which enclosed the valley on the
east. The mountain was exceedingly steep, indeed almost precipitous,
and the road proceeded in a zigzag direction over bare granite rock,
with scarce a vestige of vegetation. During the ascent I had a good
view of the valley, and of the mountain range which bounded it on the
south-west; large patches of snow lay on its peaks, and here and there
I saw a small glacier in its ravines. The upper part of the valleys by
which these mountains were furrowed had a very moderate slope, but
from about 14,000 feet down to the bottom they were extremely abrupt.

     _August, 1848._]

After about 3500 feet of extremely laborious climbing, I arrived at a
small level plain, perhaps two hundred yards long and forty or fifty
wide, evidently much frequented as a resting-place by travellers, a
small pool of water being the inducement. I here met a party of
merchants on their way from Yarkand to Le. Their goods were conveyed
by ponies, apparently much exhausted by their long journey through
desert country. I had noticed, on the way up the mountain, that the
road was lined by numerous skeletons and scattered bones of horses; I
had also seen one or two of the same animals recently dead, and the
appearance of these loaded ponies enabled me to understand the cause
of the great mortality. Many of the unfortunate animals appeared
scarcely to have strength to accomplish the few miles of descent which
still intervened between them and plenty of food. The main reliance of
the merchants for the support of their horses is on corn carried with
them, to which there must be a limit, otherwise they would carry
nothing but their own food.

    [Sidenote: SUMMIT OF PASS.
     _August, 1848._]

From this halting-place the remainder of the ascent was less abrupt,
though still steep and extremely stony. There was, however, a little
more vegetation than on the lower part, where the barren rocks, except
at the very base, produced scarcely anything but _Ephedra_, a dwarf
species of _Rhamnus_, and tufts of the hardy _Statice_. Higher up,
several species of _Astragalus_ and _Artemisia_ were plentiful, with
_Lithospermum euchromon_, _Dracocephalum heterophyllum_, and several
_Chenopodiaceæ_ and grasses. The top of the ridge had an elevation of
15,300 feet, but from its extreme aridity and rockiness, and its
consequent elevated temperature, no alpine plants occurred. On
reaching the top I was able to see something of the road before me,
regarding which I had previously had little information, except in
accounts of its extreme difficulty. These I had been inclined to
consider exaggerated, but the prospect before me was undoubtedly far
from tempting. Immediately below lay a narrow stony valley, to which,
from the spot on which I stood, the descent was almost perpendicular.
Opposite to me there was a range of mountains higher than that on
which I stood, with here and there a patch of snow. The valley below
me was partly occupied by a mass of loose alluvial conglomerate,
through which the stream had excavated a deep ravine; its direction
was south-south-west, and there could be no doubt that the stream
which I had crossed the day before, about half-way, was that which
drained the valley upon which I now looked down. On the top of the
alluvial platform, on the opposite side, there was a narrow strip of
green, indicating a small patch of cultivation, without, however, any
habitation, the crop being apparently left to its fate till ready for
the reaper. In every other direction, stones and snow were alone

    [Sidenote: BARREN VALLEY.
     _August, 1848._]

I descended obliquely into the valley, so as to reach it about a mile
and a half higher up than the spot from which it was first visible.
The descent was very laborious, a great part of it being covered with
loose gravel or coarse sand, produced by the disintegration of the
granite rocks. There was rather more vegetation than on the opposite
face, and I collected a number of plants which I had not recently met
with; a _Nepeta_, _Scrophularia_, _Cicer_, and _Heracleum_, and two
shrubby _Potentillæ_, were the commonest species. One of the species
of _Potentilla_ (_P. discolor_ of Jacquemont) was remarkable for
exciting violent sneezing when touched or shaken; this curious
property seemed to be owing to a very fine dust which covered the
under surface of the leaves.

After reaching the surface of the alluvial platform overhanging the
stream, about half a mile of gentle ascent among large stones brought
me, after a journey of ten miles, to my encamping ground. This was a
level spot, close to a lateral torrent, which had its source in a
snow-bed in the mountains on the left, and was rushing in a most
impetuous milk-white torrent over immense boulders, to unite itself to
the main stream. The elevation of my camp was about 14,000 feet.

On the morning of the 11th, at starting, I crossed the torrent close
to camp. Although much less considerable than it had been the previous
afternoon, still, from its great rapidity and the number of boulders
in its bed, the crossing was not accomplished without difficulty by
the laden animals, who carried the greater part of my baggage. I
crossed it myself by leaping from boulder to boulder, which would have
been quite impossible in the afternoon of the previous day, when it
was swollen by the action of the sun upon the snow. The road lay up
the valley parallel to the river, among a most extraordinary
accumulation of granite boulders of all sizes, from one to ten feet in
diameter, piled upon one another in vast heaps, and evidently
transported by a former glacier. After about half a mile, I crossed
the river by a wooden bridge of two or three beams, which must have
been brought from Nubra for the purpose, as no timber of any sort
grows in the valley. The stream was very rapid and muddy. A mile
further, a torrent descending from the mountains on the right was
crossed, and soon after I got upon the bank of the main stream, now
more tranquil and fordable. The road for the remainder of the march
lay along its left bank, over boulders and gravel, ascending now and
then a little way on steep sloping banks, entirely composed of
transported materials. I encamped on a level, somewhat grassy spot of
ground, which was evidently commonly used as a halting-place, having
travelled only four and a half miles, an unnecessarily short day's
work. I had throughout my journey had considerable difficulty in
fixing the marches at proper lengths, the inhabitants having no
measure of distance but the day's journey. In the present instance, my
tent was pitched, and most of the party had commenced to cook, or were
dispersed to collect fuel, long before my arrival, so that I was
obliged to rest content for the day.

    [Sidenote: GLACIER.
     _August, 1848._]

The course travelled during the day had been north-north-east, but I
had evidently arrived nearly as far as was practicable in that
direction, for about half a mile in front was the bluff end of a very
large glacier, filling up the continuation of the valley. This
glacier, which was nearly half a mile wide, was covered almost
entirely with stones and earth, very little of its surface being
visible, and the dirty black colour of its terminating cliff showing
how much soil had been mixed up with it in its progress. The elevation
of my tent was about 14,500 feet, and the termination of the glacier
may have been 250 feet higher. All around the mountains were very
lofty, their tops covered with snow, which nowhere came within 2000
feet at least of the valley, even on northern exposures. Granite was
everywhere the prevailing rock, but on the higher mountain slopes,
which were often precipitous, it was much intermixed with a dark rock,
probably clay-slate.

    [Sidenote: ALPINE NETTLE.
     _August, 1848._]

During the day I had scarcely seen any vegetation, except when close
to the edge of the stream. Among the boulders and on the bare stony
ground there was frequently not a vestige of herbage. Near one of the
ravines I found the white shrubby _Potentilla_, along with an
exceedingly pretty prostrate plant, with bright rose-coloured flowers,
belonging to the order of _Compositæ_: it was a species of the genus
_Allardia_, described by M. Decaisne from the collections of
Jacquemont, by whom it was found in Piti. One of the very few alpine
plants which I saw during the day was a little gentian, common among
the turf close to my tent. Round camp a species of nettle was
plentiful, seemingly, like others of the genus, attracted by the
nitrogenous nature of the soil of an encamping ground much frequented
by shepherds with their flocks. The sting of this nettle, though
rather faint, was quite perceptible. It was decidedly an alpine plant,
which is rather uncommon, not only in the genus, but the order to
which it belongs.

The journey of the 12th of August commenced by a steep ascent into a
lateral valley descending from the eastward. The hill-side up which I
climbed (apparently the bluff termination of an ancient moraine) was
very stony and dry. When a sufficient elevation above my encampment
had been gained, I obtained a commanding view of the glacier which
occupied the continuation of the main valley. It was nearly straight,
and, as I believe, at least five or six miles long; distances,
however, are so difficult to estimate on snow, that this must be
regarded as a mere guess. The inclination of its surface was
considerable; but, while the distance remained doubtful, no just
estimate of the height of the ridge from which it descended could be
made. On each side, two or three lateral glaciers, descending from the
mountains by which it was enclosed, contributed to increase its size,
all loaded with heaps of stones, which had at the lower end of the
central glacier so accumulated as completely to cover its whole

    [Sidenote: MORAINES.
     _August, 1848._]

After 800 or 1000 feet of ascent I found that I had attained the level
of the lateral valley, along which the road ran, and that the
remainder of the way was much more gentle, but exceedingly fatiguing,
from its excessive roughness, and from the great elevation, which made
the slightest exertion difficult. On both sides were high ranges of
mountains, which had much snow on their summits, and in one or two
ravines there was a small snow-bed or incipient glacier, but the
distance from the crest of the ridge not being great, no glacier of
any length was formed. On the left hand, the mountains were steeper
and higher than those on the right, and several bulky glaciers on
very steep slopes occupied their ravines. None of these entered the
valley along which my road lay, but their moraines often projected to
its very centre, forming immense piles of angular fragments of rocks,
which attained, in more than one place, a height of several hundred
feet, and indicated that the glaciers had at some former period
advanced much further than they now do. The main valley was itself
everywhere covered with boulders; in some places large blocks, ten to
twenty feet in diameter, were arranged at moderate distances from one
another, but more frequently the fragments were all small.

    [Sidenote: SASSAR PASS.
     _August, 1848._]

After the first steep ascent, the slope of the valley was uniformly
gentle, except when a steep-sided moraine had to be passed. Latterly a
few small patches of snow occurred in the valley. I encamped at 16,600
feet, on a level grassy spot of ground close to a small circular plain
resembling the bed of a lake, and still partially covered with snow.
The snow level on the mountains to the south had approached within
less than one hundred feet of the level of the plain. Though the
distance travelled during the day was only six miles, I felt a good
deal fatigued, and suffered much from headache, caused by the
rarefaction of the air.

From the great quantity of snow on the mountains all around, there had
been throughout the day an abundance of moisture, and vegetation was
in consequence much more plentiful than usual. The plants were all
alpine, and being mostly diminutive, had to be sought in the crevices
of rocks, and among the stones which everywhere abounded. The banks of
the stream were frequently grassy, and there was a great deal of
marshy ground. Most of the plants obtained were in full flower, and
the colours were in general very bright, and sufficiently varied. By
far the greater part belonged to the same genera which prevail on
European mountains, such as _Draba_, _Saxifraga_, _Sibbaldia_,
_Potentilla_, _Ranunculus_, _Papaver_, _Pedicularis_, _Cerastium_,
_Leontopodium_, and _Saussurea_. The most remarkable forms were three
species of _Allardia_, several _Astragali_, a one-flowered _Lychnis_,
_Delphinium Brunonianum_, and a _Ligularia_. The alpine nettle was
common on many parts of the road, chiefly near places frequented by
the shepherds as halting-places.

Next day at starting I proceeded along the edge of the small plain
close to which I had been encamped. On the right hand was an ancient
moraine, which prevented me from seeing the road in advance. At the
upper end of the plain I found a small streamlet running parallel to
the moraine; and about a mile from camp I reached the end of a small
glacier, from which the streamlet had its origin. Crossing the latter,
which was still partially frozen, I ascended in a deep hollow between
the left side of the glacier and the moraine. The icy mass had not yet
begun to thaw, the temperature being still below freezing. After half
a mile I ascended on the surface of the ice, and as soon as I did so,
was enabled to see that the glacier had its origin in a ravine on the
south, and entered the main valley almost opposite to me. The great
body of the ice took a westerly direction, forming the glacier along
which I had been travelling; but a portion formed a cliff to the
eastward, which dipped abruptly into a small, apparently deep lake. At
the distance of perhaps five hundred yards there was another glacier,
which descended from a valley in the northern range of mountains, and,
like the one on which I stood, presented a perpendicular wall to the
little lake. Right and left of the lake were enormous piles of
boulders, occupying the interval between its margin and the mountains,
or rather filling up a portion of the space which it would otherwise
have occupied. Into this very singular hollow I descended, on a steep
icy slope, and passing along the northern margin of the lake, ascended
on the glacier beyond; as before, between the ice and moraine.

On reaching the surface of the second glacier, I found that a similar
but smaller depression lay beyond it to the east, in which also there
was a small lake, with another mass of ice beyond it. This third
glacier also came from the north, and was a much more formidable mass
than those which had already been crossed. It was very steep, and was
covered with snow, which was beginning to thaw more than was
convenient. When at the highest part, I found that though apparently
nearly level, it sloped downwards sensibly, though very slightly for
nearly half a mile, in an easterly direction. It was evident that I
had now reached the highest part of the ascent, and that the crest of
the pass was covered by this glacier. I did not make any observation
to determine its altitude, but the ascent from camp was very moderate,
not, I think, exceeding a thousand feet. Assuming this estimate to be
correct, the height of the pass would be about 17,600 feet, which I
believe will prove not far from the truth.

On so icy an ascent vegetation could not be expected to be plentiful;
still, even in the depressions between the glaciers, the crevices
among the boulders produced a few plants, mostly the same as those
observed the day before, but three species of _Saussurea_ were the
most common of all. Before arriving at the first glacier, the
beautiful _Primula_ collected on the pass above Le was met with in
great abundance.

    [Sidenote: SASSAR.
     _August, 1848._]

For about half a mile, as I have said, the slope of the glacier was
just perceptible; beyond that distance the descent was abrupt. On
reaching the end of the level portion, I obtained an excellent view to
the eastward, in which direction a wide valley was seen at a distance
of several miles. Through this valley, from left to right, ran a
considerable river, which proved to be the Shayuk. Beyond the river,
rocky mountains were seen, apparently nearly as high as those near at
hand, and perfectly barren. In descending from the pass, I soon left
the surface of the ice, which, as soon as the slope became abrupt, was
too rugged to be walked over. I then got upon the moraine; about
half-way down, the glacier, which had latterly been almost entirely
covered with debris, came to an end, but a moraine continued a long
way down, and the remainder of the descent was very stony. I encamped
at about 15,400 feet on a dry gravelly plain, close to the broad
valley of the Shayuk, but at least 500 feet above it. To the right, in
a very deep ravine, was a small stream, on the banks of which were
patches of snow. The name of the ground on which I encamped, which is
a usual halting-place, was Sassar, and the Turki merchants call the
pass also by the same name.

     _August, 1848._]

From Sassar not more than three or four miles of the upward course of
the river were visible, but within that distance three glaciers were
in sight. Two of these stopped short of the valley, while the third,
which was at the most distant point visible, appeared to descend to
the river. An enormous precipice, which must have been at least 3000
feet in height, rose on the opposite side of the valley beyond the
glaciers. Downward the valley of the Shayuk was seen for nearly ten
miles, as a wide gravelly plain, with high rugged mountains on both

On the morning after my arrival at Sassar, it was snowing slightly at
daybreak, and continued to do so till near noon. The snow melted
almost immediately on the level ground, but on the mountain-sides it
lay all day, down as low as the level of my tent. The afternoon was
dull and stormy, but no more snow fell. This unfavourable weather was
of less consequence, because I had determined to halt in order to make
fresh arrangements for my baggage, being advised not to take any
cattle beyond Sassar, the roads in advance being very bad. I
afterwards found that they were gravelly, which is more injurious than
even rock to the unprotected feet of the Tibetan bullock.

The gravelly sloping hills round my encampment were covered with
abundance of vegetation, but few of the species were alpine, and
almost all were familiar to me. A species of _Allium_, with purple
flowers and broad strap-shaped leaves, was the most plentiful of all.
_Thermopsis_ was frequent, in fruit; other common plants were species
of _Artemisia_, _Cynoglossum_, _Cicer_, and _Dracocephalum_. The only
new species were a very handsome dark purple _Nepeta_, which grew in
large tufts among loose shingle, and a tall _Saussurea_, by far the
largest species of the genus which I had found in Tibet, but I believe
one of those described from Jacquemont's collections. A species of
_Rheum_ occurred occasionally on dry stony places, but it was the same
which I had found several times before.

On the 15th of August I resumed my journey. The morning was misty,
with a few flakes of snow at intervals, and the sky remained overcast
all day, with high squalls of wind. My road lay across the Shayuk, but
I found it necessary to ascend about half a mile on the high bank
before I reached a place where it was possible to descend to its
gravelly plain, which was more than half a mile wide, and quite
destitute of any kind of vegetation. The river was running in several
channels, with an average depth of about a foot and a half; in one
place only it was as much as two feet. The current ran with
considerable rapidity.

On the opposite side of the plain of the Shayuk, I entered an
extremely narrow ravine, bounded by precipices of black slate, down
which ran a small stream, which crossed at every turn of the ravine
from one side to the other, generally close to the rocky wall, and had
to be forded a great number of times. After a mile and a half, the
road, suddenly quitting the ravine, turned to the right, and ascended
by a steep pathway to a wide, very gently rising plain, bounded on
both sides by snowy mountains. This plain was partly grassy, but
mostly composed of hard dry clay. In a few spots where snow appeared
recently to have lain, the clay was soft and treacherous, sinking
under the feet. About a mile's walk over this plain brought me to the
highest part of it, beyond which it began to slope to the eastward, at
first very gently but afterwards more rapidly. Many large isolated
boulders were observed on its surface. It was curious to observe that
the gravel produced by the disintegration of the mountains (chiefly, I
suppose, by snow-slips in winter) differed in colour on the two sides
of the valley, and that the line of demarcation followed very closely
the centre of the valley. The northern mountains, being granitic,
produced a hard quartzy gravel, while those to the south, which were
schistose, contributed a dark-coloured gravel of sharp slaty
fragments. On the lower part of the descent, a small rivulet made its
appearance in the centre of the plain, and I encamped, after nine and
a half miles, close to an open valley of considerable size, whose
course seemed to be south-east.

    [Sidenote: MURGAI.
     _August, 1848._]

This encamping-ground is called by the Turki merchants Murgai, by the
Tibetans, Murgo-Chumik; the former name being probably a corruption of
the latter. It was the last place at which I was to expect a
sufficiency of fuel, or even, with rare exceptions, of grass for my
horse, which, though not often used, I was unwilling to leave behind,
lest I should by any accident be disabled from walking. The
temperature of boiling water here indicated an elevation of about
15,100 feet, but as the weather was stormy and threatening, this was
probably several hundred feet more than the truth. A number of springs
appeared to break out of the ground close to my tent, where there was
a considerable extent of boggy pasture, much greener than is usual at
so great an elevation. A few bushes of _Myricaria elegans_ were the
only shrubs, but tufts of _Artemisia_ and _Eurotia_ were sufficiently
plentiful to produce an abundance of fuel. In the boggy meadow, a
pretty little species of _Primula_ was very abundant; the other plants
observed were a white _Pedicularis_, two species of _Triglochin_, and
some _Carices_ and grasses.

The morning of the 16th of August was bright and beautiful, the clouds
having been entirely dissipated during the night. The wide valley near
which I was encamped descended, as I was informed, to the Shayuk,
which it was said to join through a rocky gorge eight or ten miles
lower down than Sassar. Along its course the merchants are in the
habit of ascending at the season when the valley of the Shayuk is
followed all the way from Nubra, which is only practicable in early
spring and late in the autumn, at which times that river is fordable
throughout. It is a fortunate circumstance for the trade that there is
thus a choice of routes, for at these seasons the Sassar pass must be
in a great measure blocked up with snow.

    [Sidenote: ASCENT OF
     _August, 1848._]

On my arrival at Murgai, I had observed that the mountains to the
north were very precipitous, and had been puzzled to decide what
direction the road might take. On starting, however, I found that it
lay along the upward course of the stream which watered the valley
before me, and which here issued from the mountains through a very
narrow ravine with high precipices on both sides. At first I ascended
to the top of a platform of conglomerate which lay at the base of the
mountains. The ground was strewed with fragments of limestone,
evidently derived from the mountains above; and about half a mile from
camp I passed a calcareous spring which had deposited large quantities
of tufa throughout the whole of the space between its source and the
face of the precipice which overhung the river: the thickness of the
incrustation was, in front of the cliff, from six to eight feet. A
little further on, the road descended abruptly to the stream, and,
after crossing it several times within a few hundred yards, ascended
equally abruptly the steep stony slopes on its left bank, at a point
where its course, which had previously been nearly north, turned
rather suddenly to the eastward. On emerging from the ravine, two
small glaciers came in sight almost directly opposite, in branches of
a narrow and very deep gorge, which descended from the mountains to
the north nearly in the original direction of the ravine. The road
ascended to the height of at least 1000 feet, and then proceeded along
the steep slopes, alternately ascending and descending over very stony
ground, occasionally covered with loose limestone shingle. The stream
was visible below, running through a narrow rocky fissure.

After about a mile and a half, the road again descended to the river,
now a little wider, with a gravelly channel. Here I found that there
were two roads. One of these, for loaded animals, ascended steeply on
the north side, to the height of nearly 1000 feet, and again descended
very abruptly. The other was in the bed of the stream, which was
partially filled up with huge blocks of rock. The stream being almost
dry, I took the lower road, which for pedestrians was only
objectionable from its great roughness, and because it was necessary
to cross the rivulet occasionally. After about a quarter of a mile,
the ravine suddenly opened out into a gravelly plain nearly half a
mile in width, traversed by numerous branches of the little stream:
these were now almost dry, owing to the cloudy weather of the last few
days having in a great measure stopped the melting of the glaciers by
which they were supplied. Along this open plain I continued for nearly
five miles. In one place only it contracted again for a few hundred
yards into a gorge full of huge rocky masses heaped one on another, by
which it was apparently quite blocked up; this however was avoided by
a slight ascent among angular limestone fragments. On descending into
the plain again, I observed a very small patch of grassy ground on a
bank a few feet above the level of the stream, the only herbage seen
during the day. About a mile further on I encamped, after a march of
nine miles, on the south side of the plain, on a dry bank elevated
four or five feet above its gravelly bed. There was a sudden change in
the direction of the valley just at my encamping-ground, its further
course being in a direction west of north. The elevation of my tent
was very nearly 16,000 feet.

High, rugged, precipitous mountains, with snowy tops, rose on both
sides of the road during the whole of this day's journey. The rock
throughout the day was limestone, a few thin layers of slate excepted.
It varied much in colour, but was generally very dark and highly
crystalline, and often contained large masses of white calcareous
spar. It was distinctly stratified, and occasionally exhibited
obscure traces of what might be fossils, but which were too indistinct
to be relied upon. The principal mass of snow seen was nearly due
south of my encampment, but this was probably owing to the northerly
exposure of the mountains on that side. The vegetation observed during
the day was scanty in the extreme; _Eurotia_, a _Saussurea_ with very
viscid leaves, _Oxytropis chiliophylla_, and _Biebersteinia odora_
being almost the only plants on the stony slopes and shingle during
the first half of the way. On the gravelly plain there was no
vegetation at all, but on its margins a few scattered plants were
occasionally to be found, a _Pyrethrum_ and two or three _Cruciferæ_
being the species noted. The most remarkable plant observed during the
day was a species of _Alsine_ in dense hemispherical tufts, a foot or
more in diameter. This plant (the moss of Moorcroft's visit to Garu,
and of other travellers in and on the borders of Tibet) is a common
Tibetan plant at very great elevations, 16,000 feet being perhaps not
far from its lowest level[25].

On the 17th my road lay entirely along the gravelly plain in a
direction always considerably to the west of north. The plain
gradually narrowed as I advanced, and came to an end by contracting
into a rocky ravine, just as I halted for the day. The mountains on
the left were still very lofty; one glacier was seen on that side. On
the right the mountains were lower and quite without snow, but
extremely rugged and rocky. The slope of the valley was scarcely
perceptible, but I found at the end of my day's journey, which
amounted to twelve miles, that I had risen above 700 feet, the height
of my encampment being a little more than 16,700 feet. The day was
bright and sunny, and the stream, which, in the morning was quite
insignificant, not three feet wide and scarcely ankle-deep, had
increased much by the afternoon, and had become of a dirty red colour.
It was twenty feet wide, and a foot and a half deep, where I crossed
it just before halting. The vegetation was still more scanty than the
day before, though most of the plants then noted were again seen
occasionally. Small tufts of a little _Stipa_ were not uncommon,
constituting almost the only food for cattle, as patches of green
grass, a few feet in diameter, were only seen twice during the day.
Two very small _Saussureæ_ formed dense tufted masses on the surface
of the ground, and a little rose-coloured _Astragalus_ spread itself
prostrate over the gravel; indeed, this mode of growth seemed to be
characteristic either of the climate or soil, as I found, though
rarely, a species of _Myricaria_, with short thick wiry branches lying
flat on the ground and spreading into patches a yard in diameter.

     _August, 1848._]

Not far from the point where the direction of the valley changed so
suddenly, the blue or greyish massive but brittle limestone of the
higher mountains gave place to a rock of a very different appearance.
This was also a limestone, perfectly white, or with a very faint
yellowish or greyish tinge, and either quite amorphous, with a
saccharine texture, and often honeycombed, or composed of a congeries
of very minute crystals. Occasionally, but rarely, rolled pebbles
were seen in it. No traces of stratification were anywhere
discoverable, in which respect it differed very strikingly from the
limestone of the previous day, in which lines of stratification, much
contorted, were well seen in many sections exposed at different
heights. This remarkable limestone formed the rock on both sides of
the gravelly plain during the greater part of the day's journey. In
one place only metamorphic slate was seen below it, dipping at a high
angle to the north-east. The limestone was extremely brittle, and the
cliffs terminated above in sharp pinnacles of the most fantastic
shapes, while at the base they were covered with heaps of angular
debris[26]. A coarse conglomerate replaced the limestone during the
last mile previous to my encamping.

     _August, 1848._]

On the 18th of August, after following for a few hundred yards the
course of the stream through a narrow rocky gorge, the road turned
abruptly to the right, up a dry stony ravine, ascending rather
rapidly. The coarse conglomerate of the lower part of this ravine was
succeeded by a coarse sandstone, and that again by an incoherent
alluvial conglomerate with a clayey matrix. After a short distance,
the ravine widened out into a narrow, gravelly, moderately steep
valley, with low rounded hills on either side. By degrees, as I
increased my elevation, superb snowy mountains came in sight to the
south-west, and on attaining the top of the ascent an open, gravelly,
somewhat undulating plain lay before me, while behind a grand snowy
range was seen in perfection, forming apparently a continuous chain,
with a direction from south-east to north-west. The snow was to the
eye perfectly continuous in both directions as far as the mountains
were visible, and appeared everywhere to lie on the mountain-sides to
three and four thousand feet below their tops. As I had passed through
this apparent chain of mountains without rising above 16,000 feet, the
continuity of the snowy mass was of course a deception. Many very
lofty peaks rose above the others at intervals. The height of the more
distant ones I could not venture to estimate, but I felt at the time
fully convinced that a very high peak, just opposite to me, and
distant, according to bearings taken afterwards, about ten miles (in a
direct line) from the edge of the plain, was 6000 or 7000 feet higher
than the ground on which I stood, or at least 24,000 feet above the
level of the sea. I do not wish that any great degree of confidence
should be placed on this estimate, but I think it right that I should
state my impression at the time, formed without any wish to

The stream along which I had ascended during the two last days lay in
a deep ravine far below the level of the plain. Its source was
evidently not far distant, and it issued no doubt from a large glacier
at the head of the gorge, though the slight upward slope of the plain
to the west prevented me from seeing its precise origin. In a
northerly direction the plain appeared to extend for six or seven
miles, and beyond it lay several ranges of mountains running from east
to west, but only very moderately patched with snow. Eastward the
plain diminished slightly in elevation for four or five miles, at
which distance there was a low range of hills, and immediately at
their foot a small stream apparently running to the northward. Beyond
these low hills were a number of lofty black peaks to the northward of
the great mass of snow, on the further side of which the country
probably dips to the eastward in the direction of Khoten. Every one of
my guides positively denied the existence of any road in that
direction; afraid, perhaps, that I might attempt to proceed by it; for
I learned afterwards, on my return to Le, from a merchant of Yarkand,
that there was an unfrequented path by which Khoten might be reached,
if the Chinese authorities were willing to permit it to be used.

My road lay across the open plain in a direction very little west of
north. The surface of the ground was covered with a few boulders and
many small pebbles, for the most part rolled, and very various in
composition; granite, greenstones of many sorts, amygdaloid,
limestone, and different-coloured slates, being all seen. Many of
these were encrusted with a calcareous concretion, and the whole plain
had the appearance of having formerly been the bed of a lake.
Skeletons and scattered bones of horses indicated with great exactness
the road across this arid tract, which seemed to be almost destitute
of either animal life or vegetation. The only living beings seen were
a few ravens, a hoopoe, and a small bird somewhat like a sparrow.
Tufts of the moss-like _Alsine_, referred to on the 17th, were the
only vegetation, except in the bed of a little rivulet near the middle
of the plain, which produced a few specimens of _Saussurea_ and
_Sibbaldia_. This streamlet rose in a large patch of snow about half
a mile to the westward, and ran towards the east, turning afterwards
nearly due north along the foot of a low range of hills mentioned
above. The elevation of its bed, which was the lowest part of the
table-land in the direction in which I crossed it, was 17,300 feet,
and the lowest part of the plain was immediately under the low hills
to the eastward, where it probably was about 17,000 feet.

There was no snow on the plain, except one patch close to its highest
part, in which the little rivulet had its source, and a very few
remnants on the shady side of a low undulating ridge, which crosses it
near its northern border. After about five miles, having been
ascending very gradually since leaving the banks of the stream, I
passed through an opening between two low gravelly hills, and found
myself looking down upon a wide valley, into which I descended very
gradually along a dry ravine. Passing a small patch of swampy, grassy
ground, at which I left my horse with a servant till my return, as
there was no food for him further on, I arrived, about two miles from
the point at which the valley just came in sight, at a small river
about thirty feet wide and ankle-deep, running from east to west.
According to the information of my guides, this was the river which
runs past Sassar,--in fact, the Shayuk. None of them had followed its
course, but they assured me that there was no doubt of the accuracy of
their statement, which indeed is confirmed by the fact (which I
mention on the authority of Yarkand merchants) that formerly
travellers used to ascend the Shayuk from Sassar, in order to reach
the Karakoram pass, instead of pursuing the circuitous route by which
I travelled; but that about ten or twelve years ago the glaciers above
Sassar descended so low as entirely to prevent any one passing in that
direction, for which reason it became necessary to adopt a new

    [Sidenote: SHAYUK RIVER.
     _August, 1848._]

The course of the Shayuk was visible for several miles, running nearly
due west. Beyond that distance, it disappeared among rocky hills.
Fording the river, I ascended a steep bank, to get upon a stony
platform, over which I proceeded in a northerly direction, gradually
approaching a small stream which came from the north to join the
Shayuk. Passing a low rounded hill to the right, I descended after
about two miles into the ravine excavated by this little stream, and,
crossing it, encamped under low limestone rocks on its right bank
after a march of twelve miles. I did not ascertain the elevation of
this halting-ground, but, from the result of an experiment made at a
place which appeared nearly midway (in point of elevation) between it
and the bed of the Shayuk, where I got a boiling-point, indicating an
elevation of 17,000 feet, I estimate the bed of the river at 16,800
feet, and my encamping-ground of the 18th at 17,200 feet. The plain
all round seemed destitute of vegetation, so that, as on the two last
days, there was a great scarcity of fuel, which had to be collected
from a distance of many miles; and consisted only of the roots of a
small bushy _Artemisia_ or _Tanacetum_, which rose three or four
inches above the ground. During these three days, I suffered very
considerably from the effects of the rarefaction of the air, being
never free from a dull headache, which was increased on the slightest

    [Sidenote: KARAKORAM PASS.
     _August, 1848._]

On the 19th of August, leaving my tent standing, I started to visit
the Karakoram pass, the limit of my journey to the northward. The
country round my halting-place was open, except to the north, where a
stream descended through a narrow valley from a range of hills, the
highest part of which was apparently about 3000 feet above me. All the
rivers had formed for themselves depressions in the platform of gravel
which was spread over the plain. At first I kept on the south bank of
the river close to which I had halted, but about a mile from camp I
crossed a large tributary which descended from the south-west, and
soon after, turning round the rocky termination of a low range of
hills, entered a narrow valley which came from a little west of
north-west. At the foot of the rocky point of the range were three
very small huts, built against the rock as a place of shelter for
travellers, in case of stormy or snowy weather; and bones of horses
were here scattered about the plain in greater profusion than usual.

     _August, 1848._]

I ascended this valley for about six miles: its width varied from 200
yards to about half a mile, gradually widening as I ascended. The
slope was throughout gentle. An accumulation of alluvium frequently
formed broad and gently sloping banks, which were cut into cliffs by
the river. Now and then large tracts covered with glacial boulders
were passed over; and several small streams were crossed, descending
from the northern mountains through narrow ravines. About eight miles
from my starting-point the road left the bank of the stream, and began
to ascend obliquely and gradually on the sides of the hills. The
course of the valley beyond where I left it continued unaltered,
sloping gently up to a large snow-bed, which covered the side of a
long sloping ridge four or five miles off. After a mile, I turned
suddenly to the right, and, ascending very steeply over fragments of
rock for four or five hundred yards, I found myself on the top of the
Karakoram pass--a rounded ridge connecting two hills which rose
somewhat abruptly to the height of perhaps 1000 feet above me. The
height of the pass was 18,200 feet, the boiling-point of water being
180·8°, and the temperature of the air about 50°. Towards the north,
much to my disappointment, there was no distant view. On that side the
descent was steep for about 500 yards, beyond which distance a small
streamlet occupied the middle of a very gently sloping valley, which
curved gradually to the left, and disappeared behind a stony ridge at
the distance of half a mile. The hills opposite to me were very
abrupt, and rose a little higher than the pass; they were quite
without snow, nor was there any on the pass itself, though large
patches lay on the shoulder of the hill to the right. To the south, on
the opposite side of the valley which I had ascended, the mountains,
which were sufficiently high to exclude entirely all view of the lofty
snowy mountain seen the day before, were round-topped and covered with
snow. Vegetation was entirely wanting on the top of the pass, but the
loose shingle with which it was covered was unfavourable to the growth
of plants, otherwise, no doubt, lichens at least would have been
seen. Large ravens were circling about overhead, apparently quite
unaffected by the rarity of the atmosphere, as they seemed to fly with
just as much ease as at the level of the sea.

The great extent of the modern alluvial deposit concealed in a great
measure the ancient rocks. At my encampment a ridge of very hard
limestone, dipping at a high angle, skirted the stream. Further up the
valley a hard slate occurred, and in another place a dark blue slate,
containing much iron pyrites, and crumbling rapidly when exposed to
the atmosphere. Fragments of this rock were scattered over the plain
in all states of decay. On the crest of the pass the rock _in situ_
was limestone, showing obscure traces of fossils, but too indistinct
to be determined; the shingle, which was scattered over the ridge, was
chiefly a brittle black clay-slate.

On my return no plants were met with till I had almost reached the
bank of the stream. The first species which occurred was a small
purple-flowered _Crucifera_ (_Parrya exscapa_ of Meyer). Throughout
the day the number of flowering plants observed was seventeen, of
which three were grasses, three _Saussureæ_, and two _Cruciferæ_;
there was also one species of each of the following genera, _Aster_,
_Nepeta_, _Gymnandra_, _Sedum_, _Lychnis_, _Potentilla_, and _Phaca_;
the dense-tufted _Alsine_, and a shrubby _Artemisia_ with yellow
flowers, complete the number. The only animals seen, besides ravens,
were a bird about the size of a sparrow, a bright metallic-coloured
carrion-fly, and a small dusky butterfly. Returning by the same road,
I arrived at my tent a little after sunset, the distance from the top
of the pass being about ten miles.

    [Sidenote: MURGAI RIVER.
     _August, 1848._]

While travelling at these great elevations the weather was uniformly
serene and beautiful. There was but little wind, and the sky was
bright and cloudless. At night the cold was severe, and the edges of
the streams were in the morning always frozen. On my return towards
Sassar I found that the bright sunny weather which had continued since
the 16th, had made a great alteration in the state of the stream in
the wide gravelly valley along which the road ran. It was now
impetuous and muddy, increasing considerably towards the afternoon,
when it ran in several channels, which were not always easily
fordable. In some places the gravel was throughout the whole width of
the plain saturated with water, and gave way under the feet, so that
it became necessary to ascend on the stony sloping banks on one side
or other, instead of following the centre of the valley. At Murgai, on
the evening of the 23rd of August, just after sunset, I felt three
slight shocks of an earthquake. On that day the weather again became
dull, and on the morning of the 24th there was a slight fall of snow
for about an hour.

The remarkable open plain to the south of the Karakoram pass occupies
a deep concavity in the great chain of the Kouenlun, which there
appears to form a curve, the convexity of which looks northward. The
main range to the eastward was distinctly visible, forming a range of
snowless, but certainly very lofty, black peaks beyond the sources of
the most eastern branch of the Shayuk; while the heavily-snowed
mountains, the summits of which were seen further east, were probably
also a part of the axis of the chain, which apparently bends round the
sources of the river of Khoten, or of some stream draining the
northern flanks of the Kouenlun. To the westward, no peaks rose behind
the snowy ridge which terminated the western branch of the Shayuk a
little west of the Karakoram pass, beyond which the surface probably
dips, while the axis of the Kouenlun bends to the southward, towards
the glaciers of the Nubra river.

    [Sidenote: SNOW LEVEL.
     _August, 1848._]

In crossing the open plain on my return towards Sassar, I had the
splendid snowy peaks to the south-west always in view, and was able to
form a tolerable estimate of their appearance and elevation. The range
was very heavily snowed, and from the lateness of the season but
little additional thaw could be expected. What seemed the highest peak
was very near, and its position could be determined by bearings with
little risk of error. It rose abruptly in the midst of a great mass of
snow, which filled the hollows and slopes of the range all around. The
surface of the plain over which I was travelling sloped very gently up
to the westward, and partly concealed the lower edge of the perpetual
snow on the mountains behind, the limit of which was, I think, between
17,500 and 18,000 feet. To the northward and eastward the snow-line
was certainly much higher. Here and there, where there was shade,
there were patches below 18,000 feet, but even up to 20,000 feet there
was no continuous snow. As the source of the snow-fall on these
mountains is no doubt the Indian Ocean to the south-west, the gradual
rise of the snow-level in advancing north-east, and the occurrence of
the highest peaks, and of the greatest mass of snow on branches of
the chain, and not on its main axis, are quite in accordance with what
is usually the case throughout every part of the Himalaya.

The occurrence of a nearly level plain, six or eight miles in
diameter, with a mean elevation of not less than 17,300 feet, is
certainly very remarkable. The ridge or watershed of the plain
appeared to me parallel to the deep ravine, excavated by the stream
along which I had travelled on the 17th of August, and at no great
distance from it, as the descent was abrupt. All the northern and
western part of this level tract was composed of loosely cohering
matters, and was possibly of lacustrine origin; but a much more
accurate acquaintance with the outline, structure, and elevation of
the plain will be necessary before any certain conclusion can be drawn
as to its age or origin.

    [Sidenote: GLACIERS OF SASSAR.
     _August, 1848._]

Before leaving Sassar, I visited the glaciers which descend into the
valley of the Shayuk, a little to the north of that place. The path at
first lay along the high platform on which I was encamped, which was
precipitous towards the Shayuk; it afterwards descended to the level
of the river, close to which I travelled for some distance over
enormous boulders. The bluff ends of two glaciers were seen high above
at the top of the precipitous alluvial bank, and after a walk of
upwards of three miles, I arrived at a most superb glacier, which,
descending a broad and deep valley in the mountains, and latterly in
the alluvial platform, entered the bed of the Shayuk at the bottom of
a deep bend, and fairly crossed the river, which flowed out below the
ice. On the opposite side of the river, the mountains were
precipitous a few hundred feet from the water's edge, but the stream
of ice did not extend to the foot of the precipice, but stopped a very
few feet up the opposite bank. I could of course only see the position
of the ice at the edge of the glacier: how far it extended in the
centre I could not tell.

The glacier was extremely rugged, being covered with huge sharp
pinnacles of ice, and I was obliged to ascend a long way parallel to
its side before I could find a place where it could be crossed. Near
its lower extremity it rose high above the surface of the plain, and
sloped rapidly down to the river: its sides were there scarped and
inaccessible, but higher up it lay in a deep hollow in the alluvial
conglomerate. A moment's reflection showed how impossible it was for
clay and boulders to resist the friction of such an enormous mass;
still I was much pleased to observe the glacier buried, as it were, in
a groove of its own forming, from the light which was thereby thrown
on the origin of the many broad, shallow, flat-bottomed valleys which
occasionally occur in the modern alluvial and lacustrine formations in
all parts of Tibet, as for instance at Karsar in Nubra, and at Bazgo
below Le. An ancient moraine, deposited at a period when the glacier
must have been much more bulky than it now is, skirted the edge of the
high bank of alluvium, and prevented the ice from being seen till
close at hand, and then only by mounting on the top of the pile of
boulders. Down this moraine, which on the face towards the glacier was
extremely steep and perhaps sixty feet high, I descended to the
surface of the present moraine. The descent required great caution,
many of the blocks being loose and easily displaced. When I had
reached the surface of the glacier, the passage was not difficult.
About a quarter of its width on each side was occupied by blocks of
stone; the centre was almost entirely ice, extremely irregular, and
here and there a little fissured. The pathway, which was only marked
by the footsteps of two men whom I had sent the day before to select a
place for crossing, at one time ascended to the top of a ridge of ice,
at another descended into a deep hollow. At the time I crossed (about
eleven A.M.) numerous streams of water had begun to flow in furrows on
the surface of the ice. The whole width was close upon half a mile,
and on the north side I ascended a steep moraine similar to that which
I had previously descended.

From the top of the bank on which the moraine rested, a second glacier
came in sight at the distance of a mile. My exploring party reported
that they had been unable to find a point at which this glacier could
be crossed, and as from the appearance of the mountains behind I felt
certain that after crossing it I should only arrive at a third, I did
not long persevere in trying to find a passage, but descended to its
extremity in order to see whether or not I could walk round it, as it
did not appear to enter the water. At the bottom of the valley it
spread out in a fan-shaped manner to the width of at least a mile;
perhaps indeed much more, for as I failed in getting round it, I was
unable to ascertain precisely. At its south-east corner, where it was
nearly a hundred yards from the river, a considerable stream, white
with suspended mud, was rushing out from beneath an arched vault of
ice, even before sunrise. To avoid fording this icy stream, the
margins of which were thickly frozen, I crossed with a good deal of
difficulty an angle of the end of the glacier. On its surface I found
several small moraines, which had sunk down into grooves ten or
fifteen feet deep, and had therefore been invisible from outside.
Further progress on the ice was stopped by cliffs which were not
accessible without ladders, so that I had to descend to the bank of
the Shayuk. I walked along between the ice and the river, till my
advance was stopped by the glacier fairly projecting into the water in
such a manner that I could not see anything of what lay beyond. The
icy wall being quite inaccessible, I could not get upon the surface of
the glacier to attempt to advance in that way, nor could I ford the
river, which was very deep.

The terminal cliff of the glacier varied in height from fifteen to
thirty feet, and a talus of large stones lay in front, evidently
deposited by it. Indeed, while I was there I saw several small stones
which projected from the face of the cliff, drop out by the melting of
the ice in which they were imbedded. Many cavities were seen in the
ice, from which large stones must have dropped out no longer ago than
the day before, and the stones which corresponded in size to them were
seen lying close at hand. Before I left the front of the glacier, the
heat of the sun having become considerable, rapid thaw had commenced;
rills of water trickled down its face in every direction, and the
sound of falling stones was to be heard on all sides. Now and then a
report as loud as that of a cannon was heard, caused, as I supposed,
by the fall of a very large boulder from one of the smaller glaciers,
which stopped abruptly at the top of the high cliff of alluvium.

Before quitting finally these magnificent glaciers, I ascended to a
height on the mountain-side in order to see whether or not there was
any lake in sight corresponding to that laid down, from information,
by Mr. Vigne as Nubra or Khundan Chu. The mountains were very steep
and stony, and were covered above 16,000 feet with snow, which had
fallen in a storm a few days before; I did not, therefore, get up to
any great elevation, probably not beyond 16,500 feet, but at that
height I could see nothing of the river beyond the second glacier,
though its course through the mountains could be traced distinctly
enough. It is, however, highly improbable that any permanent lake
exists. Such could, I think, only be formed by the stoppage of the
river by a glacier, an obstruction which could only be temporary, and
would inevitably be followed by a terrific inundation, such as is
known repeatedly to have devastated the valley of the Shayuk.

    [Sidenote: RETURN TO LE.
     _August, 1848._]

It had been my original intention, on my return from Karakoram, to
follow the course of the Shayuk all the way from Sassar to Nubra, but
on my return to the former place after visiting the pass, I found that
there was no probability of the road along the river being practicable
for at least three weeks, the depth of the stream, which requires
frequently to be forded, being still much too great; I was therefore
reluctantly compelled to return by the same route as that by which I
had reached Sassar. Early in September, I found the crops in Nubra
ripe, the barley being mostly cut; buckwheat and a few fields of
millet, however, were still quite green. The Shayuk had very
considerably diminished in size: one branch which in July had been
three feet deep was quite dry on the 6th of September. On the 11th of
that month I crossed the pass above Le, the state of which was a good
deal altered. The little lake, which on the 20th of July was still
frozen over, was now free of ice, nor was there any snow, except a
very few small patches, below the steep snow-bank on the northern
side. The snow, which had covered this steep descent, had melted away,
exposing a mass of ice, which was not crossed without a good deal of
difficulty and some little risk. Loaded cattle were unable to get to
the top of the pass till the afternoon. The snow on the south face had
almost entirely gone.

I reached Le just in time to escape some very unsettled weather,
during which snow fell on the mountains down to about 13,000 feet.
This was ushered in by very high wind, blowing in gusts from all
points of the compass. Heavy clouds formed, but always high: on the
14th there was a good deal of thunder, and during the following night
a smart shower of rain, which lasted about an hour.

The inhabitants were busy with the operations of harvest. A coarse
knife or rude sickle was employed to cut the wheat and barley as close
to the ground as possible; they were then tied into large bundles,
each sufficient for one load, which were carried (usually by women) to
the threshing-floors, not without considerable loss, from the ripeness
of the ears and the great bulk of the loads, which were rubbed against
every obstacle, particularly the narrow walls of the pathways between
the fields. The grain was trodden out of the ear by cattle and asses,
all muzzled, on small threshing-floors made of clay beaten hard. It
was then winnowed, by being gently shaken out of flat vessels held as
high as possible above the ground.

On the 15th of September I left Le for Kashmir. For five days my route
was the same as that by which I had travelled in July. On the fourth
day I reached Kalatze on the Indus, and on the 19th of September I
encamped at the village of Lama-Yuru, close to which the road from
Zanskar joins that along which I proposed to travel towards Dras. In
the valley of the Indus a great part of the vegetation was already
destroyed by the night frosts; _Chenopodiaceæ_ were now the most
numerous family, and these were rapidly ripening their seeds. In the
narrow ravine of the Wandla river, on the ascent to Lama-Yuru, I found
a few plants indicative of lower and hotter regions than those in
which I had lately been travelling: a little wiry _Lactuca_ with
decurrent leaves, a spathulate-leaved _Statice_, and a small
_Hyoscyamus_, all plants of the neighbourhood of Iskardo, were those
which I noted.

    [Sidenote: PHATU PASS.
     _September, 1848._]

On the 20th of September I crossed the Phatu pass, stated by Moorcroft
to be 14,000 feet above the sea, but which Major Cunningham has
ascertained to be only about 13,500 feet. The discrepancy is probably
owing to some error in Moorcroft's manuscripts, from which the
elevations given in his work were calculated by Professor Wilson. In
the neighbourhood of Lama-Yuru lacustrine clay occurs in great
abundance, and the ascent to the summit of this pass was gentle, up a
gravelly valley, which was full of alluvium, almost to the very
summit. The pass did not nearly attain the elevation requisite for
alpine vegetation, still the flora was a good deal altered; two
large-flowered thistles, _Caragana versicolor_, and several species of
_Umbelliferæ_ were observed, none of which had occurred in the hills
to the north of the Indus; the prickly _Statice_ was also common, but
the _Chenopodiaceæ_ of the Indus valley had entirely disappeared. The
descent along the Kanji river to Karbu, at which I encamped, was long
and gradual, down a wide valley skirted by gently sloping hills,
which, at some distance on the left, rose into high mountains, but on
the right attained only a moderate elevation, the Indus being at no
great distance. Alluvium occurred throughout the descent, latterly
indurated into a coarse conglomerate.

    [Sidenote: NAMIKA PASS.
     _September, 1848._]

From Karbu I marched on the 21st to Molbil, crossing the Namika pass.
The previous night had been very threatening, with violent wind, and
at daybreak all the hills around were covered with snow; it was still
snowing slightly, but none lay in the valley, and before nine o'clock
it cleared, and the remainder of the forenoon was tolerably fine. For
two miles I followed the banks of the Kanji river; afterwards the road
turned to the left to ascend a clayey valley, to the rounded summit of
a ridge separating that river from the Pashkyum on the left. The pass
has been determined by Major Cunningham, who crossed it in October,
1847, to be 12,900 feet above the sea. The descent was long, but not
rapid after the first mile. The upper part was desert, but lower down
villages were frequent and cultivation extensive. At first the rocks
were clay-slate, but these were replaced in the lower part by a hard
limestone; alluvium was everywhere plentiful, forming, near Molbil,
table-topped platforms of indurated conglomerate, horizontally
stratified, and faced towards the stream by scarped cliffs. The
afternoon was again stormy, and a good deal of rain fell during the

    [Sidenote: PASHKYUM.
     _September, 1848._]

Next day I made a long march to Pashkyum, following the course of the
river of that name. The descent was very gradual, and the road varied
much in character, the valley being sometimes open, at other times
narrow and rocky. The villages increased in numbers as the elevation
diminished, and latterly for several miles cultivation was continuous.
Pashkyum is not more than 8600 feet above the sea, and accordingly the
season was much less advanced than it had been three and four thousand
feet higher, the weather being much milder, and the summer heat no
doubt much more considerable than in the neighbourhood of Le. The
crops had long been cut, except the buckwheat, the fields of which
were however quite ripe; the plants were being plucked up by the roots
and laid down separately in the fields to dry, previous to removal to
the threshing-floor.

A remarkable change had taken place in the appearance of the country
during this day's journey. The banks of the river were frequently
shaded with immense willows, and the trees of the cultivated lands
were numerous and of great size. Many new forms of plants were also
seen, though the general character of the flora was unaltered. Shrubby
_Artemisiæ_ were extremely plentiful, and the _Perowskia_, _Ballota_,
_Echinops_, and _Iris_ of the Indus valley were very abundant. The new
plants were all species of Kashmir or Iskardo, such as _Verbascum
Thapsus_, _Lappa_, _Valeriana_, _Swertia_, and _Gentiana
Moorcroftiana_. _Trifolium repens_ and _fragiferum_ grew in the
pastures close to the river, and tropical species of _Setaria_ and
_Amaranthus_ were common weeds in the corn-fields.

     _September, 1848._]

In the immediate neighbourhood of Pashkyum the rocks consist of
coarse-grained grey or white sandstones, often containing small
water-worn pebbles, and alternating with dark crumbling pyritiferous
shales. These rocks, which dip to the east or south-east, at an angle
of not more than 15°, rise on the north side of the valley to the
summit of a long sloping ridge, which appears to overhang the Indus.
As these sandstones and shales contained, so far as I could observe,
no fossils, their age is a matter of complete uncertainty. They were
quite independent of the modern lacustrine formation, patches of
which, perfectly horizontally stratified, and therefore unconformable
to the other, were seen in several places resting on the sandstone.
These sandstones perhaps reach as far as the Indus, but I was not able
to determine how far they extended to the southward, in which
direction high and rugged mountains, now covered with snow, skirted
the valley at a distance of a few miles.

    [Sidenote: KARGIL.
     _September, 1848._]

On the 23rd of September, I followed the Pashkyum river to its
junction with that of Dras. Crossing, at starting, to the left bank of
the river, the road lay for a mile through cultivated lands; it then
ascended to a platform of alluvium, which blocked up the valley, while
the river disappeared in a narrow ravine far to the right. Five miles
from Pashkyum, I descended very abruptly from this elevated plain, to
the village of Kargil, where the Pashkyum river is joined by a large
stream from Suru, called by Moorcroft the Kartse; which I crossed by a
good wooden bridge, close to a small fort, occupied by a Thannadar
with a small party of soldiers. The cultivated lands of Kargil, which
is elevated about 8300 feet, are extensive and well wooded; but
immediately below, the valley becomes narrow and rocky, and continues
so for more than a mile, till the stream joins the Dras river. Nearly
due south of Kargil the stratified rocks of the mountains are replaced
by igneous rocks, and the point of contact of the two is well marked
on the precipitous face of a lofty peak. At first the igneous rock was
dark and resembling greenstone, but it soon changed to granite, which,
as I had observed in April, occurs everywhere in the valley of Dras,
below Karbu.

I encamped on the right bank of the Dras river, about a mile above the
village of Hardas. Henceforward my route was the same as I had
travelled in April. On the 24th I travelled to Tashgong, and on the
25th I arrived at Dras. In most parts of the valley I found a great
deal of alluvium, but I saw none of the fine clay which is
characteristic of the purely lacustrine strata above the village of
Bilergu, where I had observed it in April. Gravelly conglomerate was
everywhere the prevailing form,--sometimes indurated, but generally
soft and shingly. Most of these deposits were unstratified, but
distinct stratification was far from uncommon. The alluvium often
capped low hills in the open valley many hundred feet above the bed of
the river, and it was observed at frequent intervals in every part of
the valley, from the junction of the Pashkyum river to Dras itself.

    [Sidenote: ALLUVIUM OF DRAS.
     _September, 1848._]

The great extent and remarkable forms of alluvium which I had seen in
the district through which I had travelled, between Kalatze and Dras,
induced me to note with care the position and composition of the
alluvial beds of the Dras valley. The known low elevation of the Zoji
pass, between Dras and Kashmir, which is only 11,300 feet above the
sea, made the great extent and continuity of these deposits very
remarkable, and with difficulty explicable, unless on the supposition
of the existence of a series of lakes separated from one another by
extensive accumulations of alluvium, now to a great extent removed by
denudation. The lacustrine clays of lower Dras, about Ulding, appear
continuous with those of the Indus valley about Tarkata, but the clays
of Pashkyum, which are separated from them by a very thick mass of
alluvium, which occupies that part of the Dras and Pashkyum rivers
immediately above the junction of the two, may have been deposited in
an isolated lake. Further east again, at Lamayuru, there are beds of
pure clay as high as the summit of the Zoji pass, so that the alluvial
beds of the upper part of the Phatu ridge must have separated the lake
in which these were deposited from the more western waters, which (it
may be conjectured) at the same time covered the whole of the valley
of Molbil and Pashkyum.

The vegetation of Dras was still very Tibetan, but transitional forms
were becoming frequent. The _Chenopodiaceæ_ (except _Eurotia_) had all
disappeared, but _Artemisiæ_ and _Umbelliferæ_ were very abundant. The
new forms were all Kashmirian, and indicated a considerable increase
of humidity: a small white-flowered balsam was observed not far from
Hardas, and _Prunella_, _Thymus Serpyllum_, an _Achillea_, _Senecio_,
_Galium_, and _Silene inflata_ were all seen below the fort of Dras.
At that place the harvest was but just over; indeed, a field or two of
wheat were still uncut.

    [Sidenote: MATEN.
     _September, 1848._]

On the 26th of September, I marched to Maten, along a road which, in
April, had been entirely covered with deep snow. Part of the road was
rocky, but in general the valley was open. During this day's journey,
a very great change took place in the vegetation. Hitherto, Kashmirian
plants had been the exception, the greater part of the species being
Tibetan; to-day the reverse was the case, most of the plants seen
being those common in the comparatively moist climate of Kunawar, or
species new to me, but belonging to families or genera which inhabit a
more humid climate than Tibet. Groves of dwarf willows lined the banks
of the stream, and nearly sixty species of plants not observed in
Tibet were collected during the day. _Vitis_, _Aconitum_, _Hypericum_,
_Vernonia_, a prickly juniper, _Convallaria_, and _Tulipa_, may be
selected as illustrative of the greatness of the change, which was
particularly interesting from its suddenness. Numerous Tibetan forms
no doubt still lingered, but principally such as extend into Kashmir.
At Maten the barley was still uncut, notwithstanding that it is
upwards of a thousand feet lower than Le, at which place harvest was
nearly over at the time of my departure.

    [Sidenote: ZOJI PASS.
     _September, 1848._]

There can be no doubt that the sudden alteration in the character of
the vegetation is due to the great depression in the chain separating
Tibet from Kashmir, at the Zoji pass, which is far below the usual
level of the lowest parts of these mountains. The access of a great
amount of humidity, which would have been condensed if the
moisture-bringing winds had been obliged to pass over a lofty chain,
makes the autumn partially rainy, and frequently cloudy, thereby
diminishing the action of the sun's rays, and lowering the mean
temperature of the summer.

On the 27th of September, I crossed the pass of Zoji La, which had now
a very different aspect from that which it had presented in April.
From Maten the road lay up a wide open valley with a scarcely
perceptible ascent, generally along the edge of a small stream, but
occasionally on the slope of the hill-sides. The valley was flat and
often swampy; but the mountains on both sides, more particularly on
the left, were high and abrupt, not unfrequently precipitous. On that
side there were in most of the ravines large patches of snow, and in
one there was a fine glacier, which stopped abruptly within a hundred
yards of the main valley. Latterly a few patches of snow lay even in
the open valley. The vegetation was almost entirely Kashmirian, not
more than six or seven out of about 110 species being otherwise; the
hill-sides were covered with brushwood, at first of willow and prickly
juniper, but latterly principally of birch.

Five or six miles from Maten, the main branch of the stream was found
to descend from a narrow ravine on the left, at the head of which
there was perhaps a glacier. In the valley along which the road lay,
there was scarcely any water in the bed of the stream, and about a
mile further on, without any increase in the inclination, I came to a
large patch of dirty snow, beyond which there was a very evident slope
to the southward. The boiling-point of water here indicated an
elevation of 11,300 feet. A few hundred yards further, I arrived at a
large pond (it could hardly be called a lake), into which a very small
rill of water was trickling from the north, while from the opposite
end a stream ran towards the south. This little lake was not, as I had
expected, on the crest of the pass, but undoubtedly on the Kashmirian
side of it.

    [Sidenote: BALTAL.
     _September, 1848._]

Beyond the lake, the descent became steep, and the valley contracted
into a rocky ravine, full of snow, under which the little stream
disappeared. The road was at first on the left side of the valley, but
crossed on the snow at the commencement of the contracted part, and
ascended rather abruptly a steep hill on the right through a very
pretty grove of birch. The top of this steep ascent is usually
considered by travellers as the pass, and is the place to which the
name Zoji La properly belongs. The point of separation of the waters
must of course, for geographical purposes, be considered as the actual
pass, but this ridge, which, if not actually higher, is at all events
on a level with it, and has in addition a steep ascent on both sides,
has not unnaturally had that honour assigned to it. On reaching the
shoulder of the ridge, the valley of Baltal came in sight, presenting,
in the words of Moorcroft, "as if by magic, a striking contrast in its
brown mountains and dark forests of tall pines to the bare rocks and
few stunted willows to which we had so long been accustomed." The
sight of a forest is certainly a great source of gratification to a
traveller who has been long in Tibet; but the pleasing effect of the
view from the Zoji pass is not owing merely to contrast; as the
traveller looks down upon the bed of Sind river, more than 2000 feet
below, and the forest in the valley is not too dense, but interspersed
with open glades, while beyond rise high mountains tipped with snow. I
do not think that I have anywhere in the Himalaya seen a more
beautiful scene than that which then lay before me; but the effect was
enhanced by the recollection of the appearance of the same spot in
April, when the whole landscape was covered with snow, and I descended
from the summit of the pass on a snow-bank which filled up the now
inaccessible ravine, on account of which I was obliged to make a long
detour. The descent was extremely abrupt, through a pretty wood, down
to a log hut built for the accommodation of travellers a few hundred
yards from the river, at an elevation of 9,200 feet.

The flora of the Sind valley at Baltal was very rich: the forest
consisted chiefly of pine, poplar (_P. ciliata_), birch, and sycamore,
intermixed with underwood of _Ribes_, _Berberis_, _Viburnum_,
_Lonicera_, and _Salix_. The herbaceous vegetation had all that
excessive luxuriance which characterizes the subalpine forests of the
Himalaya at the end of the rainy season. Gigantic _Compositæ_,
_Labiatæ_, _Ranunculaceæ_, and _Umbelliferæ_ were the prevailing
forms. There were several large patches of snow in the bed of the
lateral torrent which descended from Zoji La, as low down as the log
hut; and it was not a little curious to observe, that in spots from
which the snow had only recently melted, the willows were just
beginning to expand their buds, and the cherry, rhubarb, _Thalictrum_,
_Anemone_, _Fragaria_, and other plants of early spring, were in full

    [Sidenote: KASHMIR.
     _October, 1848._]

In descending the Sind valley towards Kashmir, my route was the same
by which I had travelled in April. The mountains on the left were
extremely precipitous and heavily snowed, and in a ravine a little
below Sonamarg a glacier descended almost to 9000 feet. The lower part
of the valley was one sheet of cultivation, chiefly of rice, which was
almost ripe. In the neighbourhood of Kashmir, where I arrived on the
5th of October, the season of vegetation was almost at an end; species
of _Nepeta_, _Eryngium_, _Daucus_, _Centaurea_, _Carpesium_, and
several _Artemisiæ_ being the most remarkable of the herbaceous plants
remaining. In the lake there were vast groves of _Nelumbium_ leaves,
but the flowers and fruit were both past; _Salvinia_ was everywhere
floating in great abundance; while the other aquatic plants were
species of _Bidens_, _Stachys_, _Mentha_, _Scutellaria_, _Hippuris_,
and _Typha_, all European or closely resembling European forms.

Besides rice, which constitutes the staple crop of the valley, the
principal grains cultivated in autumn appeared to be different kinds
of millet, and a good deal of maize; Indian species of _Phaseolus_
also were common, now nearly ripe. The wheat and barley, which are
much earlier, were already above ground. I saw a few fields of
_Sesamum_ (the _Til_ of India), and in drier spots a good deal of
cotton, which was being picked by hand, but appeared a poor stunted
crop, much neglected.

On the high platforms between Pampur and Avantipura the saffron was in
flower, and its young leaves were just shooting up. This crop seems a
very remunerative one to the Raja, who retains the monopoly in his own
hands, compelling the cultivators to sell the produce to him at a
fixed price. The bulbs are allowed to remain in the ground throughout
the year, and continue in vigour for eight or ten years, after which
the produce diminishes so much in quantity that the beds are broken
up, and the bulbs separated and replanted. The flowers are picked
towards the end of October, and carried into the town of Kashmir,
where the stigmas are extracted.

Another very important product of Kashmir is hemp, which grows
spontaneously along the banks of the river, forming dense thickets
often twelve and fifteen feet in height, and almost impenetrable. It
is only used in the manufacture of an intoxicating drink, and for
smoking; and the plant is preserved entire, in store-houses, in the
town of Kashmir, till required for consumption.

From Kashmir I proceeded towards the plains of the Punjab by the same
route by which I had travelled in May. During my absence in Tibet, the
second Sikh war had broken out, and as it was then at its height, it
was not easy to reach the British territories. I was therefore
detained a good while, first in Kashmir, and afterwards at Jamu, and
did not reach Lahore till the 16th of December.


[24] Two months later, Captain Strachey ascended the Nubra valley till
stopped by this glacier, which appears to be on a still more gigantic
scale than those of the Shayuk to the eastward.

[25] Excellent specimens of this singular alpine plant, each tuft of
which must, I think, represent the growth of centuries, may be seen in
the Museum of the Royal Gardens at Kew, collected by Dr. Hooker in
Eastern Tibet.

[26] I have no conjecture to offer regarding the age or nature of this
very remarkable rock.

[27] The itinerary of Mir Izzet Ullah shows that at the time of his
journey from Le to Yarkand the direct road up the Shayuk was still


     General description of Tibet -- Systems of mountains --
     Trans-Sutlej Himalaya -- Cis-Sutlej Himalaya -- Kouenlun -- Four
     Passes across Kouenlun -- Boundaries of Western Tibet -- Height
     of its mountain ranges and passes -- Climate of Tibet -- Clouds
     -- Winds -- Snow-fall -- Glaciers -- Their former greater
     extension -- Elevation to which they descend -- Snow-level --
     Geology -- Lacustrine clay and alluvium.

The elevated country of Central Asia, situated to the north of the
lofty snowy mountains which encircle India from Kashmir to Assam, is
familiarly known to Europeans by the name of Thibet or Tubet,--most
properly, I believe, Tibet. This name is also commonly employed by the
Mohammedan nations to the north and west to designate the same
country, but is not, so far as I am aware, known in the language of
the Tibetans themselves, among whom different portions of the country
are usually known by different names.

    [Sidenote: BOUNDARIES OF TIBET.]

The whole of Tibet (as far as our present very limited knowledge of
the south-east portion enables an opinion to be formed) appears to be
characterized by great uniformity of climate and productions, and
perhaps also of natural features, on which account it appears
convenient to retain the name for the whole country, although, as has
already been pointed out by Baron Humboldt[28], it is naturally
separable into two grand divisions. One of these, the waters of which
collect to join the Sanpu, which in India becomes the Brahmaputra, is
still scarcely known; the other, drained principally by the Indus and
its tributaries, has been repeatedly visited by European travellers.
The line of separation between these two portions lies a little to the
east of the great lakes[29], from the neighbourhood of which the
country must gradually slope in both directions towards the sea.

If the whole of western Tibet formed (as it does, according to the
popular opinion on the subject of the countries to the north of the
Himalaya) an extensive plain bounded on the south by the great chain
of the Himalaya, and on the north by the lofty mountains of Kouenlun,
it would be an easy task to define its limits. This is, however, so
far from being the case, that the greater part of the surface of the
country is traversed in all directions by ranges of mountains in every
respect similar to the Himalaya, of which in fact those south of the
Indus are ramifications, while those on the north are branches of the
snowy chain of Kouenlun.

If, again, the Himalaya formed an uninterrupted chain along the
southern border of Tibet, broken only by the passage of the Indus at
one extremity and by that of the Brahmaputra at the other, the
mountainous nature of the interior would be no obstacle to the
existence of a clear and distinct boundary. Unfortunately, however,
for simplicity of definition, no such chain exists. A line of high
snowy peaks may doubtless be traced in a direction nearly parallel to
the plains of India, but these are separated from one another by deep
ravines, along which flow large and rapid rivers, and therefore afford
no tangible line of demarcation between the two countries.


Between the river Indus and the plains of north-west India is
interposed a mountain tract which has a breadth of about 150 miles in
linear distance. This tract is everywhere (with one exception)
extremely rugged and mountainous, nor is it at all an easy task to
convey an idea of the extreme complication of the ramifications of the
numerous ranges of which it consists. No wide plain (Kashmir alone
excepted) is interposed between these ranges, so that the only
feasible mode of division which appears to be applicable to them is
afforded by the course of the different rivers which traverse them in
various directions. If these be taken as a guide, the mountains will
be found to resolve themselves into two great systems connected to the
eastward, but otherwise independent of, though nearly parallel to, one

From the sources of the west branch of the Chenab or Chandrabhaga
river, a range of very great elevation runs in a north-west direction
as far as Kashmir, and, after reaching the north-east corner of that
valley, assumes a more westerly direction so as to encircle the whole
of its north side, bending at the same time gradually towards the
south. This chain forms the line of separation between the waters of
the Indus and those of the Chenab and Jelam. To the eastward of the
Baralacha Pass it ramifies to a considerable extent, its different
branches including between them several depressions quite unconnected
with the general drainage of the country, and surrounded on all sides
by ranges of hills which prevent any exit of their waters. The
principal of these depressions is that of lake Chumoreri; another is
occupied by the little salt lake first visited by Trebeck, and called
by him Thogji[30].

    [Sidenote: SALT LAKES.]

All these depressions, though at present unconnected with any of the
river systems, have evidently at some former period been so.
Chumoreri, as I am informed by Major Cunningham, is even now very
slightly saline, though scarcely perceptibly so to the taste. It has
evidently had an outlet at its southern extremity, where it is only
separated from the valley of the Parang river by a very low range of
hills which was crossed in 1846 by Mr. Agnew, and more recently by
Captain H. Strachey. The outlet of the little salt lake of Thogji has
evidently been near its north end, and its waters, previous to the
change in the state of the country which interrupted their exit, in
all probability flowed into that tributary of the Zanskar river which
runs to the eastward of the Lachalang pass, and which is marked in the
map accompanying Moorcroft's Travels as the Sumghiel. Major
Cunningham, who travelled in 1846 by the same route as that previously
followed by Moorcroft, informs me that no obstacle intervenes to
prevent the waters of the lake taking that direction in case of their
being raised in the lake itself to a height of two or three hundred
feet above their present level.

If we consider the basins of these two lakes to be referable to the
systems of drainage to which they appear to have formerly belonged,
though now separated from them by accidental alterations of level, the
course of the mountain chain which I am endeavouring to trace must be
considered to run between the two. This is in fact the position of the
loftiest part of the chain, which, skirting the north and east sides
of Chumoreri, is thence continued in a south-east direction, forming
that lofty but little-known range which separates the valley of the
Sutlej from that of the Indus. This chain was crossed by Moorcroft on
his visit to Garu, and appears to extend uninterruptedly as far as
Kailas to the north of lake Manasarawar.

The mountain chain which lies to the south of the river Sutlej may
also be considered to have its origin in the lofty country adjoining
the lakes, but a little to the south and east of them. This chain,
which separates the valley of the Sutlej from that of the Ganges and
its tributaries (including the Jumna), sinks at last into the plains
of India a little to the south of the town of Nahan.

    [Sidenote: CIS-SUTLEJ HIMALAYA.]

The course of this chain has been admirably described by Captain
Herbert in his Geological Report of the Himalaya[31], a paper which
contains exceedingly accurate general views of the mountains between
the Sutlej and Jumna. He was quite unacquainted with the details of
the mountains north of the former river, and therefore could not form
any idea of their arrangement. Captain Herbert calls the chain south
of the Sutlej the Indo-Gangetic chain, a very inappropriate name, for
which, however, it is difficult to substitute a better. Perhaps the
name of Cis-Sutlej Himalaya, though not exactly classical, is the best
that can be devised, and if so, the chain which, commencing in Kailas,
separates the waters of the Sutlej from those of the Indus, may not
improperly be designated the Trans-Sutlej Himalaya[32].

To these two great chains the whole of the mountains between the Indus
and the plains may be referred. Both are of very great elevation, in
the eastern half of their course more especially, but that north of
the Sutlej is much less covered with snow than the other. This is
owing to the moisture-bringing winds, which are entirely derived from
the Indian side, being stopped by the chain to the south; and in fact,
as soon as the elevation of the latter is so far diminished that it
ceases to be covered with perpetual snow, the more northerly chain,
without any increase of elevation, becomes much more snowy, so as to
merit the appellation of great snowy range, a term which, more to the
eastward, is applied to the mountains south of the Sutlej. As several
of the principal ramifications of the northern chain attain an
elevation not at all inferior to that of the axis from which they are
derived, they produce a similar effect upon the climate of the ranges
to the north of them, being themselves covered with vast masses of
snow, while the mountains which they shelter are in a great measure

    [Sidenote: KOUENLUN.]

The northern boundary of Tibet is formed by the great chain north of
the Indus, to which Humboldt, following Chinese geographers, has given
the name of Kouenlun. Our knowledge of the appearance and course of
this chain of mountains, by which Tibet is separated from Yarkand and
Khoten, is so extremely limited that, except as to its general
direction, very little can be said regarding it. The only conclusion
which can be drawn from the scanty notices of it by travellers is,
that it must be of extreme height and covered with perpetual snow.
Many of the principal ramifications which it sends down towards the
Indus are very elevated, and immense glaciers descend in their
valleys, so that, except in a very few places, the main chain cannot
be seen from the valley of the Shayuk, the mountains in the immediate
vicinity of that river in general obstructing the view.


I am not aware of more than four places in which passes exist across
the Kouenlun. The most westerly of these, called in Balti the pass of
the Muztagh, lies at the source of the right branch of the Shigar
river, a stream which joins the Indus opposite the town of Iskardo.
The road over this pass to Yarkand was formerly frequented by
merchants, but has for many years been disused, the reason assigned
being the danger of plunder by the hordes of robbers beyond. As
described to me by persons who had crossed it, the snow is reached
after ten days' journey from Iskardo, and continues during three
marches. It is said to be quite impracticable for horses, from which
it may, I think, be inferred that there are numerous glaciers.

The second pass is that marked in Vigne's map as the Alibransa pass,
at the head of a considerable tributary which joins the Shayuk river
opposite Khapalu. The enormous glacier over which this road runs, by
which, in conjunction with the lateness of the season, Mr. Vigne's
attempts to cross the pass were frustrated, has been well described by
that traveller[33]. I did not, while in Tibet, meet with any one who
had crossed it, and I was assured by the inhabitants of Nubra that
they were not acquainted with any road from the upper part of their
valley, either towards Khapalu or towards Yarkand.

The third pass, and the only one now frequented, is that of the
Karakoram, an extremely easy though very elevated one. The most
easterly pass of which I find any notice occurs on the road between
Ruduk and Khoten; it is mentioned by Moorcroft[34], but without any
account of the nature of the road, or the elevation of the mountains.

To the westward of Karakoram, the direction of the Kouenlun is
seemingly as nearly as possible parallel to the Indus, but to the east
of that pass nothing certain is known regarding it. In Humboldt's map
it is laid down as running nearly from west to east, on the authority
of Chinese geographical works. Its course is unquestionably to the
north of the Pangong lake, but till it has been explored by European
travellers its direction must, I think, be regarded as involved in
much doubt. Another lofty range, however, unquestionably runs parallel
to the Indus from south-east to north-west. This range, which is
continuous with that by which the Indus and Shayuk rivers are
separated, terminates (or more properly originates) in the still
almost unknown mass of mountains which lies to the north of lake
Manasarawar. Between this chain and the Kouenlun is situated a tract
of country of unknown extent, which seems to be made up of a number of
isolated lake-basins quite unconnected, not only with one another, but
with the general drainage of the country by which they are surrounded.

    [Sidenote: PANGONG LAKE.]

If we except the basin of the Pangong lake, into which Moorcroft and
Trebeck descended after crossing the range of mountains parallel to
the Indus, every part of this country must be viewed as a _terra
incognita_. It cannot, I think, be doubted, from the description of
the Pangong lake given by Moorcroft and Trebeck, that the basin in
which it rests had originally an outlet at its north-west extremity,
discharging itself along the valley of Tanktse into the Shayuk. The
country to the eastward is so totally unknown, that it is impossible
to conjecture whether the little lake-basins of which it is said to
consist, discharge themselves towards the Pangong lake, or southward
into the Indus.

    [Sidenote: BOUNDARIES OF TIBET.]

Western Tibet, then, is a highly mountainous country, lying on both
sides of the river Indus, with its longer axis directed like that
river from south-east to north-west. It is bounded on the north-east
by the Kouenlun chain of mountains, by which it is separated from the
basin of Yarkand. On the south-east its boundary is formed by the
ridge which separates the waters of the Indus from those of the Sanpu.
To the north-west and south-west its boundaries are somewhat
arbitrary, unless the political division of the country be had
recourse to, which, depending on accidental circumstances entirely
unconnected with physical geography or natural productions, is so
liable to change, that its adoption would be extremely inconvenient.
The best mode of drawing a line of separation between India and Tibet,
in those parts where mountain chains are not available for the
purpose, appears to consist in regarding the latter to commence only
at the point where the aridity of the climate is too great to support
forests of trees, or any coniferous tree except juniper.

As limited by these boundaries, West Tibet includes the whole of the
valley of the Indus and its tributaries, down to about 6000 feet above
the level of the sea, a considerable portion of the upper course of
the Sutlej down to between 9000 and 10,000 feet, and small portions of
the upper course of the Chenab, of the Ganges (Jahnavi), and of the

    [Sidenote: MOUNTAIN RANGES.]

Every part of Tibet is traversed by ranges of mountains which have
their origin either in the Kouenlun on the north, or in the
trans-Sutlej Himalaya on the south. These mountain ranges are
generally extremely rocky and rugged, but as a general rule it may be
said that they are less so in the upper part of the course of the
different rivers, than in their lower parts. This rule applies not
only to the Indus and to the Sutlej, but with scarcely an exception to
all the tributaries of these rivers. There are no extensive open
plains in any part of the country, the only level portions being in
the valleys of the rivers, the width of which is usually not more than
one or two miles, and very seldom exceeds five miles.

To this general description of the surface of the country I have met
with no exception in those parts of Tibet which I have had an
opportunity of examining. I have not, however, had an opportunity of
seeing the extreme south-west portion, my knowledge of the course of
the Indus not extending further up than Hanle[35].

The height of the mountain ranges which traverse West Tibet is in all
parts pretty much the same, and, as a consequence, the depth of the
valleys in the lower portion of the course of the Indus and of all its
tributaries is very much greater than near the sources of these
rivers. In the higher valleys therefore the mountains are apparently
much less lofty; they are also frequently rounded and sloping, or at
all events less rocky and precipitous than lower down, though to this
there are many exceptions.

    [Sidenote: ELEVATION OF PASSES.]

The elevation of the passes in a mountainous region represents in
general the height of the lowest part of the chain. In the mountain
ranges of Tibet the average height of the ridges does not exceed from
1000 to 2000 feet above the passes, many of which indeed are scarcely
at all lower than the highest crest of the ridge in which they are
situated. I believe that in estimating the principal ranges of
mountains at 19,000 feet, and the minor ranges at from 17,000 to
18,000 feet, I approximate very closely to the truth. This estimate
applies to all parts of the country, the height of the ranges being
remarkably uniform; but peaks occur at intervals in every one of the
principal mountain ranges, which considerably exceed the elevation
just stated, rising very generally (so far as can be judged by the eye
from known heights of 17,000 and 18,000 feet) to twenty-one or
twenty-two thousand feet; some peaks appearing to exceed even this.

It is generally supposed that the great peaks of the Himalaya on the
southern border of Tibet are much more lofty than the mountains of the
interior of that country. I do not think, however, that the facts of
the case are such as to warrant this assumption. West of the Sutlej,
in which district only the mountains of Tibet may be said to be at all
known, many peaks of the interior of that country are probably much
more lofty than any of those near the plains of India, and if
inaccessibility is to be any criterion, the chain of the Kouenlun is
beyond a doubt a much more elevated mass than any part of the Western
Himalaya. Of Tibet east of the Sutlej little is known, except that
between Ruduk and Lassa no road into the interior of Asia appears to

    [Sidenote: CLIMATE.]

The climate of Tibet is in every part extremely arid, because it is
surrounded almost entirely by ranges of mountains so elevated that the
rarefied air which passes over them can contain only a very small
proportion of aqueous vapour. Along the Indus, indeed, no mountain
chains are interposed to obstruct the passage of moist air, but the
lower course of that river lies entirely in a comparatively dry
climate, so that the winds which blow over the plains of Sind and the
lower mountains of Eastern Affghanistan cannot convey any excess of
moisture to lower Tibet. In the few Tibetan valleys which, like that
of the Sutlej, are traversed by rivers debouching on the plains of
India in a rainy climate, the quantity of moist air which they can
receive being limited to that which proceeds directly up the valley,
the upward current, even when saturated with moisture at the
commencement, being gradually rarefied by the increasing elevation of
the river-bed, and meeting with descending currents of cold air in its
course, it very early deposits its moisture, first in the form of
light showers, afterwards of fog and mist, and in its further progress
is just as dry as the air in the more interior parts of the country.

    [Sidenote: RAIN-FALL.]

It will probably be long before lengthened registers of meteorological
phenomena will be obtained from all the different stages between India
and the central parts of Tibet, so as satisfactorily to establish the
gradual transition of climate. Till such shall be the case, the best
evidence from which to deduce the fact of the alteration of climate,
is afforded by the gradual change in the vegetation of the country as
one advances towards the interior. Direct observation will probably at
some future period fix the point in the outer Himalaya, at which the
quantity of rain--always greater, _cæteris paribus_, among mountains
than in level countries--is a maximum. I believe that in the Western
Himalaya the greatest quantity of rain will be found to fall on
mountains elevated from seven to nine thousand feet. Ranges of
mountains which attain an elevation of from ten to eleven thousand
feet have already (in the Western Himalaya) a very sensible effect in
diminishing the quantity of moisture, as indicated by the vegetation;
and when the mountain chains became sufficiently elevated to be capped
by perpetual snow, they condense a very great proportion of the
moisture of the air-currents which pass over them.

To a traveller who penetrates directly to the Tibetan interior from
the plains of India, the change of climate is perceptible to the
senses; most markedly so of course if his journey occurs during the
Indian rainy season. Even during the rains, however, the
irregularities which everywhere occur in the fall of rain prevent the
gradations of climate from being ascertained during a journey with the
precision which a lengthened series of observations would permit; but
the phenomena of vegetable life, which are dependent on the average
seasons, are not affected by accidental irregularities, and therefore
form an unerring guide.

    [Sidenote: CLOUDS.]

Though the climate of the whole of Western Tibet may, in general, be
characterized as extremely dry, it is by no means cloudless. The
winter months in particular are often very cloudy, and a good deal of
snow falls. During the summer the sky is either bright and clear, or
overcast with very light clouds. These clouds, usually cirrhi, are in
general elevated and extremely thin. The cirrhus, when it remains for
any length of time, changes or increases into a uniform hazy stratum,
which covers the whole sky; more rarely, and perhaps only by an
optical deception, it is seen under the form of stratus. Cumuli are
very uncommon. After several dull days the clouds generally
accumulate, descend lower in the atmosphere, and rest on the mountain;
as a few drops of rain fall in the valleys, the clouds disappear, and
the highest peaks are seen to have received a slight sprinkling of
snow, which is soon melted by the rays of the sun. It is only very
rarely that the quantity of rain exceeds a few drops, or merits the
appellation of a shower. The few occasions on which I have observed
any fall of rain, at all deserving of being called by that name, have
mostly been in early spring or in the latter part of autumn.

    [Sidenote: TEMPERATURE.]

When the sky is clear, the sun, in all parts of Tibet, even at great
elevations, but especially in the valleys at and below ten and eleven
thousand feet, is extremely powerful. The shade temperature depends,
of course, in a great measure on the elevation above the level of the
sea, but also on the situation, exposure, and many other accidental
circumstances. In the lower part of the Indus valley, at elevations of
seven and eight thousand feet, it is said to be frequently very
high[36], the clear dry atmosphere allowing the full influence of the
sun to be exerted on the bare, often black rocks. Even as far up as
11,000 feet, in narrow valleys, the heat is often great in the middle
of the day, but the more open plains are generally very temperate in
the shade, and the nights and mornings are always cool.

On the tops of the lower passes, and in the alpine valleys, the
temperature of the nights and mornings is, in clear weather, very much
depressed by radiation, so that the mornings, except when the sky is
overcast, are intensely frosty, at elevations of 15,000 and 16,000
feet, or far below the level of perpetual snow. This is the case even
in the month of August, which is the hottest of the year. The shade
temperature at these high elevations rarely rises very high, even when
the heat of the sun is oppressive, as it is moderated by the action of
the violent winds which so generally prevail.

The periods of cloudy sky, which now and then alternate with the
bright sunshine, which is the prevailing weather, are in the alpine
regions extremely cold. The stratum of cloud, at first high in the
atmosphere, gradually lowers itself, and the traveller is enveloped in
a frozen mist, followed most commonly during the night by a fall of
snow. The quantity of snow which falls is very small, seldom, so far
as I have seen, more than an inch or two in depth, and it speedily
disappears as soon as the clouds have been dissipated and the sky
resumes its usual serenity.

    [Sidenote: WINDS.]

The whole of Western Tibet is subject to extremely violent winds, the
course and direction of which could only be satisfactorily studied by
a resident. From the great depth of the valleys, the wind in general
follows their course, blowing at one time up them, at other times
down. In unsettled weather the direction is extremely variable, often
changing repeatedly in the course of the day, but in clear settled
weather the direction of the wind is, during the day at least, more
frequently up the valleys than in the contrary direction. I have not
observed any constancy in the course of the wind on the passes, on
which it would be principally important to be acquainted with it, but
it probably varies in direction according to the period of the day, so
that a traveller, whose time does not permit him to delay to register
the changes as they occur, is not likely to be able to discover any
general law.

The Tibetan wind, in the ordinary state of the atmosphere, commences
after the sun has nearly attained the meridian, the mornings being in
general quite calm. It increases in violence during the afternoon,
sometimes till after sunset, ceasing to blow after dark, or at all
events before midnight. This wind seems to be pretty constant over the
whole country, from the upper Sutlej as far west as Rondu; and as a
very similar wind blows in the valleys of Affghanistan, which have an
identical summer climate in respect of moisture, it must, I presume,
be caused by the influence of the sun, in heating the barren rocky
plains and hills.

During periods of cloud, and throughout the winter, the wind is much
less regular in its direction, as well as in the periods during which
it blows. It frequently changes its direction very abruptly. About the
equinoxes, or at the commencement and end of winter, at which times
there seems to be generally a good deal of unsettled weather, it blows
for some days with extreme violence. In March, 1848, at Iskardo, for
several nights the wind almost amounted to a hurricane; its direction
was from the south, or directly across the mountains. This was very
commonly the case at Iskardo, in unsettled weather, during the winter,
but never when the days were bright and cloudless.

    [Sidenote: SNOW-FALL.]

The amount of snow-fall varies much, diminishing as we advance into
the interior of the country, but being always much greater on the
mountains than in the valleys at their feet. In the outer Himalaya,
the amount at equal distances from the plains diminishes as we advance
westward, but in the Kouenlun, where the source of moisture lies to
the westward, the snow-fall diminishes rapidly from west to east. The
same is the case in the valley of the Indus, where the amount of
winter's snow, except in the most westerly parts, is quite

It is probably owing to the absence of cumular clouds, and to the
general uniform expansion of the condensed vapours over the whole sky,
that the outward manifestations of electricity--thunderstorms--are of
very rare occurrence in Tibet. I find only one instance of a
thunderstorm recorded as having been observed while I was in a Tibetan
climate. This was at Le, in September, 1848, at which time there was a
good deal of cloudy weather for several days. From the extreme dryness
of the air, electricity is evolved with great facility by friction:
all articles of woollen clothing, blankets, and even the hair, emit
sparks when rubbed in the dark. I have even observed this to be the
case at the elevation of 15,500 feet, in cloudy weather, when snow was

    [Sidenote: GLACIERS.]

In every part of the Himalaya, and of Western Tibet, wherever the
mountains attain a sufficient elevation to be covered with perpetual
snow, glaciers are to be found. The occurrence of glacial ice is a
sufficient indication of the existence of snow of more than one year's
duration, and (setting aside trifling cases of masses of ice in deep
and sunless ravines, which, indeed, are not an exception, as they have
no motion,) it may be laid down as a general law, that every glacier
has its origin in perpetual snow.

The converse of this proposition does not seem to be so universal. We
have the high authority of Humboldt for the fact, that no glaciers
occur in the Andes of tropical America, from the equator to 19° north
latitude. Nor is it, I think, possible that the existence of glaciers
should have escaped his notice, did they occur of such dimensions as
would be indicated by the solitary and doubtful instance mentioned by
M. Boussingault, to which Humboldt refers[37], which is stated to have
been seen at the same elevation as the town of Quito, or more than
5500 feet below the level of perpetual snow in that region of the
Andes. The cause of the non-existence of masses of moving ice, in
connection with the perpetual snow of the American tropics, must
apparently be sought in the extreme uniformity of the seasons, and in
the small quantity of snow which falls at any time of the year.

In every region of the earth, so far as is known to me, where the mean
temperatures of summer and winter are very different, or where the
climate is what is called excessive, perpetual snow produces glaciers.
These rivers of ice, as they have most appropriately been called, vary
very much in size and appearance. In the lofty chains of the cis- and
trans-Sutlej Himalaya, and of the Kouenlun, whose peaks rise to a very
great height, and collect in winter enormous depths of snow, they are
of great length. In the central parts of Tibet, which are often lower,
and even in their loftiest parts are less snowy than the bounding
chains, the glaciers are of inferior dimensions, often of that kind
which I have called incipient, where the snow-bed is at once cut off
abruptly in an ice cliff, which can hardly be said to be in motion, or
rather whose motion must be almost entirely from above downwards.

The general appearance of an Indian glacier seems in every respect to
accord with those of Switzerland and of other parts of the temperate
zone. It is only of late years, indeed, that they have been generally
recognized in the Himalaya; but it must not be forgotten that it is
only recently that the researches of modern investigators, and in
particular the delightful work of Forbes, have familiarized the
untravelled world with their appearance, and more especially with the
fact and cause of their motion. It has also, singularly enough, long
been the custom to look upon the Himalaya as a tropical range of
mountains, in which it was, as a matter of course, regarded as
impossible that glaciers could exist[38].

The upper end or origin of a glacier seems commonly to be in an
enormous snow-bed, occupying the whole space included by an
amphitheatre of snowy peaks. The snow-slips and accumulations by which
the snow-bed is added to during winter, must to a great extent remain
concealed from human eyes; and in summer, when these icy fields are
accessible, they are generally, I believe I may say always, covered by
a thick layer of snow, which assists at the same time that it conceals
the process by which the snow is converted into ice.

I have never measured the dimensions of any of the great glaciers of
the Himalaya, nor is it easy to ascertain the length of any of them
even approximately, as they are seldom traversed by roads, and are
usually bent so that only a small part of their course can be seen.
Many of them must considerably exceed ten miles in length; I have seen
several which were more than half a mile broad; and the depth of the
icy mass frequently amounts to hundreds of feet.

The appearance of the surface of a glacier seems to depend almost
entirely on the inclination of its bed. Where the slope is gentle the
surface is nearly uniformly smooth, or at most only slightly fissured.
I have not had occasion to observe any fissures of more than a foot
or two in width, so that, though often very deep, they are crossed
without difficulty. In describing the icy surface as smooth, it is
necessary to mention that such is only the case in the upper part of
the glacier, where the moraines are small or only lateral. Whenever
the surface supports rocky fragments in great quantity, it is
extremely unequal till such time as the whole superficies becomes
covered with stones, when the melting being uniform, the surface again
becomes tolerably even.

On steeply inclined planes the glacier is traversed in every direction
by enormous fissures, between which the surface is very irregular,
rising into sharp icy pinnacles of the most fantastic shape and
appearance. More than once I have seen extremely steeply sloping
glaciers, which were terminated abruptly by a lofty precipice, at the
bottom of which huge piles of boulders and occasional icy fragments
sufficiently indicated the forward motion of the ice; at other times,
the slope of the valley in which the glacier lies again becoming
gentle, the ice ceases to be fissured and rugged, and is capable of
being walked on without difficulty.

Moraines, which, on the larger glaciers and among mountains of easily
decaying rocks, are of astonishing dimensions, form the margins of
each glacier, and also occur longitudinally on different parts of
their surface, increasing in number as the glacier advances, till at
last the different series whose origin can long be traced to the
different ramifications of the glacier, become blended into one. The
nature, origin, and aspect of the moraines, the mode of melting of the
ice beneath them, and the isolated pinnacles of ice which support
large solitary boulders, agree so entirely with descriptions of
glaciers in other parts of the world, that it is unnecessary to dwell
upon them. The large glaciers are often a good deal lower in their
central parts than where they are covered by a bulky moraine; and a
curious ravine-like hollow, between the moraine and the bare ice,
which makes the former appear as if entirely disconnected from the
glacier, is of very common occurrence. There is, however, also very
often an ancient moraine, not now resting on ice, which runs parallel
to the glacier, and seems to indicate its former greater extent.

    [Sidenote: FORMER GREATER

In every part of the Tibetan mountains, and in very many parts of the
Indian Himalaya, I have thought that I could recognize unmistakeable
proofs of all the valleys having been formerly occupied by glaciers at
much lower levels than at present. At first sight it seems rather
improbable, that in sub-tropical latitudes the present extension of
perpetual snow should at any former period have been exceeded; but it
would not be difficult to show that the mean temperature, and
particularly the mean summer temperature, is very much higher in the
Western Himalaya and Tibet than it might fairly be expected to be in
such a latitude. In fact, in the more humid climate of Eastern Bengal,
though at least four degrees nearer to the equator, the mean summer
temperature at equal elevations in the mountains is probably
considerably lower than in the mountains of North-west India, and the
snow-level is certainly lower. It is fair, therefore, to conclude,
looking back to a period when the sea washed the base of the Himalaya
in the upper part of the Punjab, that at that period a very different
state of atmospheric circumstances prevailed from that which we find
at the present time.

Wherever I have seen glaciers in Tibet or the mountains of India, I
have been able to trace their moraines to a level very considerably
lower than their present termination; and when I find in those ranges
of the Himalaya which do not at present attain a sufficient elevation
to be covered with perpetual snow, series of angular blocks, evidently
transported, because different from the rocks which occur _in situ_,
and, so far as I can judge, exactly analogous in position to the
moraines of present glaciers, I feel myself warranted in concluding
that they are of glacial origin, and find it necessary to look about
for causes which should render it probable that the snow-level should
have formerly been lower than it is at present. In the rainy districts
of the Himalaya, where forest covers the slopes of the hills, it is
difficult to fix the lowest limits at which evident moraines occur,
but in many places I have seen them at least three thousand feet lower
than the terminations of the present glaciers. In the valley of the
Indus, accumulations of boulders, which I believe to be moraines,
occur in Rondu as low as 6000 feet.

Glaciers, as is well known, terminate inferiorly at the point where
the waste by melting in any given time begins to exceed in amount the
mass of solid ice which is in the same space of time pushed forward by
the _vis à tergo_. In the mountains of Tibet the elevation of this
point is very different in different places. It seems to depend
principally on the mass of the glacier, as large glaciers invariably
descend much lower than those of smaller size; the inclination of the
bed has perhaps also some influence in determining the matter.

In comparing the glaciers of the Tibetan Himalaya with those on the
Indian face of the same mountains, it will be found that, _cæteris
paribus_, glaciers descend much lower on the Indian side, or in a
moist climate, than in the dry and arid Tibetan climate. It is indeed
impossible to ascertain with certainty that any two glaciers are of
equal size, but it appears to me sufficiently accurate to compare the
main glaciers on the opposite sides of the same pass. In the Umasi
pass, which is situated in the main chain of the trans-Sutlej
Himalaya, all the circumstances seem favourable for comparison. On the
south side of this pass the principal glacier terminates at about
11,500 feet, while on the north side a much more massive glacier comes
to an end abruptly at 14,000 feet. The difference then, on opposite
sides of the same pass, where the pass coincides with the line of
transition of climate, amounts to 2500 feet.

That I am justified in ascribing the cause of this difference to the
change of climate appears from the fact, that in the interior of
Tibet, where no such change is observed in crossing even very lofty
passes, there is frequently a glacier on the north declivity when none
exists on the south. This is the case, for instance, on the Parang
pass, and on the pass immediately north of Le. It may therefore be
inferred, that when glaciers occur on both sides of a pass, that on
the northern exposure will, unless there be a marked alteration of
climate, invariably descend lower than that on the south side. I have
not had an opportunity of seeing glaciers on both sides of any pass
in the most external ranges of the Himalaya, but I have been informed
that in the range south of the Chenab river, glaciers frequently occur
on the north sides of the passes, while none exist towards the south.
If this were to be found universally the case, it would be an
additional proof that the lower descent of glaciers on the south or
Indian side of the mountain chain is an exceptional occurrence.


The glaciers of the southern slope of the Kouenlun appear, from the
descriptions of travellers, to be on a still more gigantic scale than
those of the Himalaya. Five mountain ranges of great height, separated
from one another by rivers of great size, descend from the axis of
that chain towards the Indus and Shayuk, and attain so great an
elevation, that, with scarcely an exception, there is no passage from
one of these lateral valleys to another. All these ranges rise far
above the line of perpetual snow, and in their valleys enormous
glaciers descend to a level which is gradually lower as we advance
westward in the direction of the source of the rain- and snow-fall.
The range east of the Shayuk has comparatively few and small glaciers,
but to the west of that river the glaciers of Sassar terminate at
about 15,000 feet. A little further west, a glacier, overhanging the
valley of Nubra, terminates at 14,700 feet, and the great glacier of
Nubra was found, by Captain Strachey, to terminate at 13,000 feet. In
the range between Nubra and the Machulu again there are vast glaciers,
but their height has not been determined, nor do we know precisely to
what level those of the Shigar valley descend; though it is evident,
from their proximity to the main valley, and their small distance
from Shigar, which is not more than 7200 feet above the level of the
sea, that they must descend very low, perhaps to 10,000 feet. In the
valley of Gilgit, I am informed by Mr. Winterbottom, the glaciers
descend as low as 8000 feet.

    [Sidenote: LEVEL OF

In the mountains further east than the Shayuk it would appear that the
snow-fall is so very small that the level of perpetual snow recedes to
an enormous height. This has been found to be the case on the passes
north of the Pangong lake, many of which were crossed by Captain H.
Strachey. The great height of the mountains without snow, east of the
Karakoram pass, confirms the fact; and it is probable, so rapidly does
the snow-level rise in advancing eastward, that if we could penetrate
a very short distance beyond the eastern extremity of the Pangong
lake, an absolutely dry country might be reached, in which rain or
snow never falls.

So much error has unfortunately taken place regarding the height above
which the mountains of North-west India are covered with perpetual
snow, that it appears necessary that travellers should put upon record
the results of their observations, however limited. It is for this
reason, and not because I expect to throw much additional light on the
subject, that the following remarks are hazarded. The recent paper of
Captain R. Strachey[39] has furnished facts which had hitherto been
wanting, while the theoretical considerations which have been laid
down by Humboldt are so accurate and comprehensive, that the
undoubted mistake into which he has fallen is the more to be

The Indian and Tibetan Himalaya, west of Nipal, lies entirely within
the temperate zone, and from that circumstance has its year divided
into summer and winter. The periodical rains, which it is well known
are principally confined to the outermost parts of the mountains,
being derived from the Bay of Bengal, are excessive in the easternmost
part of the chain, and gradually diminish as we advance westward;
there is no reason, however, to believe that the winter monsoon, which
is particularly dwelt upon by Captain Strachey in the valuable paper
to which I have had occasion to refer, is so. Probably indeed it is
the reverse, though I have no detailed observations to refer to in
corroboration of this opinion; I may however recall to mind, that the
winter is the season of heavy snow, and the spring of heavy rain,
throughout the north of Affghanistan, and that in the Punjab frequent
cloudy weather and rain occurs during the cold season, while in the
plains of India the weather seems to become at that period less
unsettled as we advance eastward.

The quantity of rain which falls during the summer in the outer
Himalaya has necessarily a very material influence on the sun's action
during the time in which he has most power, and therefore on the mean
temperature of the summer months, which at corresponding elevations,
notwithstanding the northing of the chain as we advance from east to
west, must be higher to the westward. In the interior or Tibetan
portion of the Himalaya, this difference is not observed, the climate
being the same, or nearly so, from east to west of the region under


In the most western part of the Himalaya, in Kashmir and Balti, the
winter's fall of snow commences about the beginning of December, and
continues on the highest ranges nearly to the beginning of May. The
supply of moisture from which the snow is condensed is evidently
derived from the Indian seas, and I suppose principally from the
south-west, that being the general direction from which I observed
snow-storms to arrive at Iskardo. The fall of snow must therefore,
equally with that of rain in the rainy season, be greatest in the
outermost (snowy) ranges, and very much less in all those in the
interior. In the lower parts of Tibet on the Indus the snow-fall
during winter is very considerable, though during summer the climate
is as dry as elsewhere in Tibet. This difference seems to be explained
by the westerly point from which the winter's wind blows, and by the
much greater moisture of the atmosphere at that season over
Affghanistan and Sind, so that the south-west wind advances loaded
with vapour up the valley of the Indus. The increase of elevation in
the bed of that river of course causes all the excess of moisture to
be deposited without penetrating to any great distance, so that the
more eastern parts of the country are not affected by this cause.

The snowy season in the highest mountains is probably in every part of
the range very much the same. On the low outer ranges, which do not
attain the height of perpetual snow, it is gradually lessened in
duration as the elevation diminishes, ceasing entirely, in average
years, at about 4000 feet. When the winter is at an end, the
influence of a powerful sun and gradually increasing temperature is at
once brought to bear on the mass of snow which has fallen; on the
inner ranges where the summer is dry, this action proceeds
uninterruptedly till the commencement of the next winter, but on the
outermost snowy ranges it is modified by the access of the rainy


On the outer ranges of the Himalaya, the crests of which rise to
between five and ten thousand feet, the powerful sun soon dissipates
all snow. It is in the inner ranges, which rise nearly to the height
of perpetual snow, and where the river-beds are from six to eight
thousand feet above the level of the sea, that the snow remains for a
great length of time. When the valleys are open, the plain on the
banks of the stream becomes first of all bare of snow, then the banks
which face the south, and lastly the northern slopes. It is not so,
however, in the deep narrow valleys and ravines through which the
Himalayan rivers generally flow. In these the bottom of the glen is so
much sheltered from the sun that a dense mass of snow, the result of
accumulation from the avalanches of the winter, remains for a very
long time after both slopes are quite bare of snow. These _snow-beds_
have nothing of the nature of a glacier in them, but are simply firm,
hard snow. I have, in the month of June, descended along one of them
from 13,000 feet (above which height there was perhaps a glacier
beneath), to 8500 feet, a distance of seven miles without a break. It
was entirely confined to the bottom of the ravine, both banks being
throughout all that distance free of snow, and often covered with a
most luxuriant herbage.

    [Sidenote: SNOW-BEDS IN RAVINES.]

Similar snow-beds are to be seen in every ravine which is not too wide
to be choked up by snow in winter. Their occurrence so universally is
probably in a great measure the reason why glaciers were not
recognized in our Indian mountains till so recent a period. These beds
being so clearly transitory in existence, it was assumed that all
masses of snow and ice were equally so. A visit to one of the great
glaciers at the end of autumn would of course at once have indicated
the dissimilarity.

In many narrow ravines remains of these snow-beds may be seen at
surprisingly low elevations throughout the year, their permanence
depending much more on the amount of the winter's fall of snow, and of
the accumulation in that particular locality, than upon the mean or
summer temperature of the place. At Baltal, in the upper part of the
Sind valley in Kashmir, the little stream which descends from the Zoji
pass was still arched over by a bed of snow several feet thick, in the
end of September, at an elevation of not more than 9500 feet. This was
not, as might have been expected, in a very shady spot, but fully
exposed to the action of the sun; it was, however, in a place where
the fall of snow during winter is very great.

The causes which are enumerated by Baron Humboldt as affecting the
snow-level are numerous, but several are of only local effect. Two in
addition to the latitude seem more important than the others, namely,
the amount of fall during winter, and the amount of solar heat during
summer. Captain R. Strachey regards the diminished amount of the
winter's fall of snow as the main cause of the greater height of the
snow-line in the interior of the Himalaya, but I feel disposed to
believe that both causes co-operate equally to produce the effect.


Captain R. Strachey has estimated (from the mean of several
observations) the snow-level on the southern slope of the cis-Sutlej
Himalaya at 15,500 feet. This elevation is, no doubt, as near as
possible correct. Captain Herbert, in his geological report, had fixed
upon 15,000 feet, which is a little too low even in the district of
Basehir, to which his estimate, I believe, refers. In the trans-Sutlej
Himalaya, from the diminished amount of summer cloudy weather, the
snow-level is probably a little higher, but we are not yet in
possession of any accurate determinations of heights in that range in
those parts which are in close contact with the plains of India. Two
of its ramifications are extremely well adapted for determining the
height of perpetual snow. First, the Chumba range, which, as has been
pointed out to me by Major Cunningham, is barely snow-tipped
throughout the year; and second, the Pir Panjal range south of
Kashmir, the northern slopes of which have perpetual snow and
glaciers, while on the south side the snow has entirely melted before
the end of summer. The elevation of the Pir Panjal has not been
determined with accuracy, the heights given by Baron Hügel and by Mr.
Vigne being estimated from their measurement of the pass over which
they crossed[40].

    [Sidenote: SNOW-LEVEL IN TIBET.]

In the interior of north-west Tibet every principal range attains the
elevation of perpetual snow, but only a few peaks rise much above it.
There is therefore no very great mass of snow during the summer months
to lower the temperature of the air, and consequently circumstances
are the most favourable possible for the elevation of the snow-line to
an extreme degree; a dry, stony, desert, treeless country, violent
winds, clear sky, and powerful sun, being all combined. In the most
central part of the country, the Lanak pass, near Hanle, and the Sabu
pass, near Le, both elevated as nearly as possible 18,000 feet, are
without perpetual snow, but the Parang pass, between 18,400 and 18,600
feet, has a glacier on its north face, and therefore exceeds in
elevation the snow-line. The snow-level in central Tibet must
therefore be sought between these heights, but nearer that of the
Parang pass, which has no perpetual snow towards the south: it is,
therefore, certainly not below 18,000 feet.

In the Kouenlun, on the northern border of Tibet, where the mountains
are again much more elevated, the snow-level descends no lower. Even
on the 19th and 20th of August, the mass of snow, which was on the
northern face of its highest peaks continuous down from 20,000 feet
and upwards, did not descend below 17,500 feet, and the open level
plain of the upper Shayuk had at that height only trifling patches of
snow. On the Karakoram pass (18,200 feet) there were only large
patches of snow, the south face of the ridge being quite bare for some
distance in both directions.


The _vexata quæstio_ of the difference of the level at which snow lies
on the north and south slopes of the Himalaya, affords a singular
instance of misconception. Enunciated originally in an obscure and
somewhat incorrect form, when little was known of the structure of the
inner part of the chain, the fact has been repeatedly contradicted by
those who thought they found it contrary to their experience. Both
parties were to a certain extent right. On each individual range the
snow-level will at all times be found lower on the north face than on
the south, except when the range which we are crossing happens to
coincide with a very marked and abrupt change of climate, which will
only be the case when it is extremely elevated. When this is the case,
the proposition, otherwise true of the mountains _en masse_, or the
inner ranges compared with the outer, becomes applicable to a
particular range. This is probably the case in the very pass in Kamaon
(I know not which it was) from which the law was first inferred. It is
certainly so in the great passes north of the Chenab, where, on the
Indian face, I found in June snow at 11,500 feet, while on the north
side, only twenty miles distant, it had already receded beyond 15,000

From the rapid nature of my journey, and the great number of objects
to which I was obliged to devote my attention, the geological
observations which I was enabled to make were much more imperfect than
I could have wished. It appeared, however, desirable, hurried as they
were, to enumerate them, for the purpose of drawing the attention of
future travellers to the subject; and for the same reason I shall here
recapitulate the general conclusions which appear to result from the
facts observed.

    [Sidenote: GEOLOGY OF TIBET.]

The greater part of Tibet consists of plutonic and metamorphic rocks;
and from the gigantic scale on which the sections are exposed, and the
general bareness of the mountains, which enables their structure to be
seen, that country probably presents the finest field in which these
classes of rocks could be studied. Granite occurs in great abundance,
sending immense veins in all directions into the metamorphic rocks,
which are seen to be everywhere upheaved and dislocated by the
injected mass. In the immediate vicinity of the plutonic masses, all
traces of the direction of the strata of the superposed rocks are
lost; but elsewhere, with every variety of dip, it is very generally
found that the stratified rocks strike in a direction which varies
between north-west and south-east, and north-north-west and
south-south-east. As all my observations were made roughly and
unconnectedly, and without my discovering this identity till after my
return to India, the strike is probably very uniform throughout a
great extent of country.

It is not a little remarkable that a belt twenty miles wide, in the
direction of this line of strike, drawn from Iskardo to the Niti pass,
would cover every place south of the Indus in which limestone has been
observed in Tibet. It would pass through Molbil on the Pashkyum river,
the limestone districts of Zanskar, and the Lachalang pass, where
limestone was found by Gerard. It would also cover Piti, Hangarang,
and Bekhar, all well-known limestone tracts. Of course the limestones
of Nubra and the Karakoram on the one hand, and of Kashmir on the
other, cannot in any way be connected with this line.

The sandstones, slates, and conglomerates, which so closely resemble
in appearance those rocks which in Europe are chiefly members of the
old red sandstone and greywacke series, appear to assume also the same
direction. I bring forward these coincidences of direction only as a
remarkable fact, worthy of investigation, without attaching any great
weight to them, as more careful observation may show that they are
merely accidental, and that rocks of very different ages exist among
the limestones and associated rocks of the northern Himalaya.


The great extent and development of a very modern alluvium-like
formation, composed of great masses of clay with boulders, and
occasionally of very fine laminated clay, constitutes one of the most
remarkable and striking features of Western Tibet. In every part
through which I have travelled, and at all elevations, except on the
highest passes, I have found these deposits in greater or less
quantity. In their most common state they consist of loose earthy or
clayey unstratified masses, containing boulders either angular or
rounded. Very fine clay, distinctly and horizontally stratified, is
also common; sandstone and hardened conglomerate are more rare, but
also occur occasionally.

That some of these beds are of lacustrine origin, the occurrence of
fresh-water shells appears to prove very clearly; and though here and
there small portions may be terrestrial and of glacial origin, it
cannot, I think, be doubted that the great mass of the boulder clay
was deposited under water.

In the structure of Scotland at the present day we have a state of
circumstances which appears to me capable of throwing much light on
the nature of these deposits. We find there a series of narrow arms of
the sea, stretching far into the land, and separated by rugged and
generally steep ranges of metamorphic or plutonic rocks. They are all
more or less silted up by sedimentary matter, and near their mouths,
especially where, as is often the case, they are much contracted, we
generally find a bar, shallower than the remainder. At various
elevations above the sea-level again there is a series of fresh-water
lakes, differing little in aspect from the arms of the sea. We find
also in many parts of the Highlands of Scotland long valleys, nearly
level, which are filled with incoherent sedimentary deposits, and
bounded like the lochs by steep mountains. If these were formerly arms
of the sea, which by the elevation of the land have been converted
into dry land, then the fresh-water lakes probably occupy those parts
of the narrow channels which were originally deepest, or which, being
wider than the rest, have remained unoccupied by sedimentary matter at
the time of the elevation. In conformity with this view we find that
at the lower end of these lakes the mountains generally approach very
close to one another.

If we were to suppose the gradual elevation of Scotland to continue
till the mountains attained an elevation equal to that of the
Himalaya, it is evident that a continued series of marine sedimentary
deposits would extend from the summit to the sea-level, unless removed
by the action of streams or other ordinary causes. Some of the
valleys would be of considerable width, and would contain marine
fossils in great abundance; but in the narrower mountain valleys the
gravel and boulders would be quite destitute of fossils. Here and
there fresh-water formations of partial extent would occur, but they
would be separated from one another by large tracts filled with marine
beds. The gradual elevation of the land would bring to bear upon these
incoherent strata the powerful action of running water, which would
remove portion after portion, till at last deep valleys would be
excavated, and small patches only of the gravel and clay would remain
where the action of the streams was least powerful. Such I conceive to
be the present state of Tibet, but a much more detailed investigation
of that remarkable country would be necessary, before this view can be
regarded in any other light than an hypothesis.

The causes by which the metamorphic rocks, which must have been
brought into their present remarkable state at a great depth in the
interior of the globe, acquired their present configuration of
mountain and valley, form a question on which I am not now prepared to
enter. One continued process of elevation seems inadequate to produce
the observed effects; but however numerous the alternations of
elevation and depression may have been, it is evident that the
alluvial deposits at present existing must all be referable to the
last period of elevation, as such incoherent strata could not
withstand the continued action of the sea.


[28] Asie Centrale, vol. i. p. 14.

[29] Manasarawar and Rawan Rhad.

[30] Moorcroft's Travels, vol. ii. pp. 47-50.

[31] Journal of the Asiatic Society of Calcutta, 1842, No. 126.
Captain Herbert, who had travelled a great deal in the Himalaya, was
the first to point out the impropriety of regarding these mountains as
a single chain parallel to the plains of India. Jacquemont also
arrived at the same conclusion, as will be seen from the following
extract from his journal:--"Le langage de la géographie descriptive
est théorique; c'est une grande faute si les théories qu'il rappelle
sans cesse sont dénuées de fondement. Ainsi l'on dit que le Setludje
_coupe_ la chaîne centrale de l'Himalaya, que sa vallée est creusée au
travers, etc., etc., et l'on donne à penser par là que cette chaîne
auparavant etait continue et que c'est par un effort des eaux que s'y
est faite cette large trouée, comme si les montagnes avaient dû se
former primitivement avec une continuité non interrompue" (vol. ii. p.
201); and again (at p. 269), "Le Setludje coule donc non au nord de
l'Himalaya, mais entre deux chaînes à peu près également élevées."

[32] Captain R. Strachey, in his paper on the snow-level, proposes to
call the more western part of the Cis-Sutlej Himalaya the Busehir
range, a name which, though exceedingly appropriate to the portion to
which he applies it, is not adapted for extension to the more eastern

[33] Travels in Kashmir, etc., vol. ii. p. 382.

[34] Travels, vol. i. p. 361.

[35] That Tibet is not an extensive plain, according to the usual
idea, has already been pointed out by Humboldt (Asie Centrale, vol. i.
p. 12). Chinese geographers, according to him, describe all parts of
Tibet as more or less mountainous; the eastern portion of West Tibet
(Gnari) as least so. Captain H. Strachey, in his account of his visit
to lake Manasarawar, says expressly that "the surface of Gnari is for
the most part extremely mountainous." In the lower Tibetan course of
the Sutlej, the recent discoveries of Captain Strachey show that an
alluvial table-land of considerable extent exists, intersected by deep

[36] See some observations of the thermometer recorded by Mr. Vigne,
at Iskardo, Khapalu, etc.

[37] Asie Centrale, vol. iii. p. 22.

[38] In the Map No. 65 of the Survey of the Western Himalaya, by
Captains Hodgson and Herbert, the glacier of Gangutri is marked "Great
snow-bed _or glacier_;" but whether this indication of a knowledge of
the true nature of the mass is due to the surveyors or to the maker of
the map in England, I have no means at present of ascertaining.

[39] On the Snow-level in the Himalaya, in the Journal of the Asiatic
Society of Calcutta.

[40] The thermometric results obtained by these two travellers do not
agree with one another. M. Hügel's thermometer indicated 6300 feet for
the elevation of Kashmir, a result which is known from the barometric
observations of Jacquemont to be 1000 feet in excess. Mr. Vigne's
thermometer, when tested by Moorcroft's barometric results at Le, errs
considerably in the opposite direction. In neither case do I know the
mode of calculation employed, the results only being given.


     Abadan, 209.

     Adenocaulon Himalaicum, 47.

     Agricultural processes at Iskardo, 259.

           "          "        Le, 443.

     Alibransa pass, 463.

     Alluvial deposits of Chango, 112.

        "         "    Chorbat, 206.

        "         "    Dankar, 125.

        "         "    Dras valley, 448.

        "         "    Indus below Le, 391.

        "         "    Karakoram, 433, 438.

        "         "    Kardong, 398.

        "         "    Kyuri, 117.

        "         "    Landar valley, 309.

        "         "    Lio, 107.

        "         "    Molbil, 446.

        "         "    Nubra, 196.

        "         "    Phatu pass, 445.

        "         "    Phutaksha, 382.

        "         "    Piti valley, 122.

        "         "    Rondu, 254.

        "         "    Shayuk valley, 190.

        "         "    Shigar valley, 262.

        "         "    Sungnam, 97.

        "         "    Tibet, 491.

        "         "    Tolti, 232.

        "         "    Zanskar, 369.

     Alsine, tufted, 426.

     Asdhari, 347.

     Avalanches in Dras, 265.

         "      "  Kashmir, 271.

         "      "  Rondu, 253.

     Badarwar, 329.

     Balanophora, 47.

     Ballota, 306.

     Baltal, 269, 452.

     Banahal pass, 297.

        "    valley, 299.

     Bardar pass, 355.

     Basehir, 51.

     Baspa river, 75.

     Berberry of Tibet, 211.

     Bijbehara, 294.

     Bilergu, 265.

     Boghdan, 204.

     Borax plain of Pugha, 166.

     Borendo pass, 75.

     Braghar, 213.

     Buddhist edifices at Le, 183.

        "     temple at Nako, 109.

     Buju, 334.

     Burang pass, 75.

     Butna river, 348.

     Caper, wild, of Sutlej valley, 88.

     Caragana versicolor, 99, 156.

     Cedrus Deodara, 19.

     Celtis, 282.

     Chakor, or painted partridge, 261.

     Chamba, 335.

     Changlung, 409.

     Changar, 113.

     Chango, 112.

     Changrang pass, 113.

     Changrezing, 113.

     Chashut, 181.

     Chatargarh, 348.

         "       district, 346.

     Chegaon, 69.

     Chenab valley, 301, 345.

     Chinese frontier, direction of, 143.

        "       "      stoppage on, 116.

     Chini, 78.

     Chirasa, 196.

     Chishot, 349.

     Chloris, species of, in Nubra, 402.

     Chorbat, 204.

     Christolea, 114, 144.

     Chulungka, 207.

     Chumoreri, 140, 459.

     Cicer microphyllum, 371.

     Climate of Dras, 450.

        "       Chatargarh, 345.

        "       Iskardo in winter, 243.

        "       Kashmir, 282.

        "       Kunawar, 71.

        "       Le in September, 443.

        "       Pashkyum, 446.

        "       Piti, 128.

        "       Simla, 21.

        "       Tibet, 468.

        "       Zanskar, 363.

     Confervæ in Pugha hot-springs, 164.

     Crambe, 103.

     Cupressus torulosa, 31.

     Currant, black, 115.

        "     Tibetan, 104.

     Cyanite, 84, 111.

     Cyclas, fossil, 172.

     Cyperus, a species, in Nubra, 402.

     Cyrena, 292.

     Dadu, 324.

     Dama, 99.

     Dankar, 125.

     Datisca, 58.

     Deghi, 334.

     Deodar, 19.

     Dewar, 335.

     Digar, 189.

     Diskit, 401.

     Doda, 324.

     Dodonæa, 318.

     Dras valley, 234, 264, 449.

       "  village and fort, 238, 267.

     Elæagnus, 195, 242.

     Elm of Nubra, 406.

     Ephedra, 94.

     Eremurus, 343.

     Euphorbia pentagona, 6.

     Fagu, 35.

     Fish in Hanle lake, 152.

       "     Pugha stream, 164.

     Floods of Shayuk, 200.

     Fothergilla involucrata, 274.

     Gagangir, 272.

     Gagar river, 2.

     Gambar river, 11, 12.

     Ganderbal, 275.

     Gangan, 274.

     Gaora, 58.

     Garta, 321.

     Garys pass, 278.

     Gentiana Moorcroftiana, 126.

     Geology of Tibet, 490.

     Gerard's pine, 70, 73, 74.

     Giah, 176.

     Giri river, 36.

     Giu river, 118.

     Glacier of Butna valley, 352.

        "       Nubra mountains, 413.

        "       Parang pass, 136.

        "       pass north of Le, 397.

        "       Sassar, 438.

        "       Sassar pass, 417.

        "       Umasi pass, north face, 357.

        "            "      south face, 354.

        "       Zoji pass, 451.

     Glaciers of Himalaya, 474.

        "        Kouenlun, 481.

     Gol, 224.

     Gold-washing in Khapalu, 212.

     Gond, 273.

     Granite in Chorbat, 207.

     Greenstone near Hanle, 149.

     Hangarang district, 96.

         "     pass, 100.

     Hango, 102.

     Hanle, 152.

     Hanle river, 155.

     Hanu pass, 208.

     Hanupata, 384.

     Hardas, 237, 265.

     Haripur, 12.

     Harvest at Le, 443.

     Hattu, ascent of, 41.

     Hemp in Kashmir, 455.

     Himalaya, appearance of, from plains, 2.

         "     arrangement of ranges of, 458.

         "     Cis-Sutlej, 459.

         "     Trans-Sutlej, 458.

     Himor, 349.

     Hippophaë conferta, 59.

         "     forest of Nubra, 195.

         "     of Tibet, 212.

     Hordeum Ægiceras, 102.

     Hot-springs of Panamik, 407.

          "         Pugha, 164.

     Huling, 119.

     Hundar, 199.

     Hydrangea, scandent, 47.

     Hyoscyamus niger, 77.

     Indus river, at Iskardo, 217.

          "       at Upshi, 178.

          "       frozen over, 241.

          "       junction with Shayuk, 214.

          "       north of Hanle, 158.

     Iron-mine in Zanskar, 379.

     Iskardo, 216.

        "     winter at, 243.

     Islamabad, 294.

     Jako, 17.

       "   view from, 23.

     Jamu, 313.

     Junipers of Kunawar, 83.

     Juniperus excelsa, 254.

     Kalatze, 388.

     Kalka, 4.

     Kamar, 250.

     Kanam, 94.

     Kanji river, 445.

     Karakoram pass, 433.

         "     plain, 428, 436.

     Karbu, in Dras, 238, 266.

       "    in Pashkyum, 445.

     Kardong, 398.

     Kargil, 448.

     Karsar, 399.

     Karsha, 368.

     Kartash, 231.

     Kartse river, 448.

     Kashbir, 79.

     Kashmir, 277, 454.

     Katti, 308.

     Kepu, 50.

     Khapalu, 211.

        "     plain of, 209.

     Khoten, road to, from Karakoram, 430.

     Khundan Chu, 442.

     Ki, 131.

     Kiang or wild horse, 141.

     Kibar, 131.

     Kiris, 213.

     Kirmichi, 310.

     Koardu, 249.

     Kotgarh, 48.

     Kouenlun, 436, 462.

     Kulzum pass, 127.

     Kunawar, 62.

     Kunes, 213.

     Kuru, in Balti, 213.

       "   in Nubra, 201.

     Kussowlee, 5.

     Kyuri, 117.

     Lacustrine clay of Avantipura, 290.

         "       "      Chango, 111.

         "       "      Gol, 225.

         "       "      Iskardo, 220, 223.

         "       "      Kamar, 250.

         "       "      Karsar, 400.

         "       "      Kashmir, 279.

         "       "      Kiris, 214.

         "       "      Kuru, in Nubra, 201.

         "       "      Kyuri, 117.

         "       "      Lipa, 88.

         "       "      lower Dras, 236.

         "       "      lower Nubra, 198.

         "       "      Phutaksha, 382.

         "       "      Thogji lake, 170.

         "       "      Zanskar, 367.

     Ladhe ke Dhar, 307.

     Lake of Kashmir, 281.

       "  salt, of Thogji, 170.

     Lakes, glacial, of Sassar pass, 417.

     Lamayuru, 387, 444.

     Lanak pass, 146.

     Landar, 309.

     Langera, 333.

     Lara, 127.

     Lari, 119.

     Lazgung pass, 188.

     Le, 182, 393, 443.

     Lecanora miniata, 136.

     Limestone of Hangarang, 100.

         "        Karakoram, 427.

         "            "      pass, 435.

         "        Murgai, 425.

         "        Piti, 124.

         "        Shahabad, 297.

         "        Zanskar, 371.

     Lio, 105.

     Lipa, 87.

     Liundi, 348.

     Lyakjung, 197, 404.

     Lycium, 211.

     Lymnæa, fossil, at Iskardo, 220.

        "       "    at Thogji lake, 170.

        "       "    in Nubra, 198.

        "       "    in Piti, 117.

     Machulu river, 209.

     Mahasu ridge, 31.

     Markanda river, 2.

     Markim, 361.

     Marsilang, 181.

     Maten, 267, 450.

     Mattiana, 36.

     Melia Azedarach, 59.

     Mir, 309.

     Miru, in Kunawar, 70.

       "      Tibet, 178.

     Molbil, 445.

     Murgai, 422.

       "     river, ascent of, 423.

     Muztagh pass, 462.

     Myricaria trees, 162.

     Nachar, 64.

     Nagkanda, 41.

     Nako, 108.

     Namika pass, 445.

     Nar, 215.

     Nasmon, 304.

     Natural bridge in Piti, 116.

     Natural tunnel, 385.

     Nettle, alpine, 414.

     Nimo, 392.

     Nira, 377.

     Nirt, 51.

     Nostoc, 145.

     Nubra, 192, 404.

       "    Chu, 442.

       "    lower, 198.

     Nurla, 390.

     Oak, evergreen, 73.

     Olive, wild, 306.

     Orchideæ of Nubra, 400.

     Oxybaphus Himalayanus, 60.

     Oxytropis chiliophylla, 369.

     Padri pass, 330.

     Padum, 363.

     Pain Dras, 267.

     Pampur, 288.

     Panamik, 407.

        "     hot-springs, 407.

     Pangi, 79.

     Pangong lake, 464.

     Paralysis, curious cases of, 391.

     Parang pass, 135.

       "    river, lower course of, 113.

       "      "    upper course of, 138.

     Pargwal, 345.

     Parkuta, 229.

     Partridge, painted, 261.

     Pashkyum, 446.

     Pass above Changlung in Nubra, 410.

          "     Dadu, 327.

          "     Mir, 309.

          "     Nasmon, 302.

          "     Pata, 323.

     Pass north of Le, 395, 443.

       "    "   Ruduk, 463.

     Passes across Kouenlun, 462.

       "    of Tibet, elevation of, 467.

     Pata, 322.

     Peganum Harmala, 212.

     Perowskia, 178.

     Perpetual snow, 482.

            "        in outer Himalaya, 487.

            "        in Tibet, 488.

            "        on opposite sides of passes, 489.

     Phatu pass, 444.

     Phutaksha, 382.

     Picea Webbiana, 86.

     Pin river, 126.

     Pindrow, 86.

     Pinus excelsa in Rondu, 257.

       "   Gerardiana, 70, 73, 74.

       "   longifolia, 18.

     Pitak, 394.

     Piti, 128.

       "   river, 106.

     Planorbis, fossil, 117, 170, 198, 220.

     Pok, 124.

     Poplars of Indus valley, 180.

     Populus alba, 95, 207.

        "    balsamifera, 177.

        "    Euphratica, 191.

     Porgyul, 101, 110.

     Potato cultivation, 34.

     Potentilla discolor, 412.

     Prangos, 240, 266.

     Pranu, 207.

     Pugha, borax plain, 166.

       "    hot springs, 164.

       "    ravine, 162.

       "    sulphur-mine, 168.

     Pulokanka pass, 170.

     Quercus Ilex, 73, 347.

     Quinoa, 49.

     Raldang, 80.

     Ramnagar, 320.

     Rampur, 54.

     Rangrig, 127.

     Ribes glandulosum, 104.

     Rocks of Banahal pass, 298.

       "      Butna valley, 361.

       "      Chorbat, 207.

       "      Dadu, 324.

       "      Giah ravine, 179.

       "      Hangarang, 100.

       "      Karakoram pass, 435.

       "          "     plain, 427.

       "      Kargil, 448.

       "      Kashmir, 280, 297.

       "      Kunawar, 81.

       "      lower Shayuk, 214.

       "      Murgai valley, 425.

       "      Nubra, 407.

       "      Pashkyum, 447.

       "      Pugha, 165.

       "      Rondu, 257.

       "      Simla, 27.

       "      Singhi pass, 381.

       "      Sungnam, 99.

       "      Tawi valley, 311.

       "      Umasi pass, 361.

       "      Wandla ravine, 388.

       "      Waris ravine, 203.

       "      Zanskar, 361, 371.

     Rogi, 73.

     Rondu, 248.

     Rope-bridge of Kartash, 242.

          "         Nasmon, 305.

          "         Padum, 367.

          "         Rampur, 54.

          "         Rondu, 255.

     Rosa Webbiana, 386.

     Rose, yellow, 385.

     Rukchin valley, 172.

     Runang pass, 92.

     Ruskalan river, 94.

     Sabathu, 11.

     Sabu, 188.

     Sach pass, 338.

     Saffron cultivation, 288, 455.

     Sairi, 16.

     Salt lake of Thogji, 170.

     Sandstone, modern, of Iskardo, 221.

         "        "        Karsar, 400.

         "        "        Tarkata, 234.

         "      of Pashkyum, 447.

         "      tertiary of Jamu hills, 311, 312.

     Saspola, 391.

     Sassar, 420.

     Sassar pass, 417.

     Seda, 312.

     Serahan, 60.

     Shahabad, 296.

     Shali, 31, 32.

     Shalimar, 286.

     Shayuk river, in Chorbat, 205.

       "      "       Karakoram, 431.

       "      "       Khapalu, 209.

       "      "       Nubra, 193, 403.

       "      "       Sassar, 419.

       "      "    its junction with Indus, 214.

     Shialkar, 112.

     Shigar valley, 262.

     Shol, 347.

     Siksa, 204.

     Sildang river, 64.

     Simla, 16.

     Sind river, 270.

     Singhi pass, 379.

     Sirohi Sar, 316.

     Snow-fall in Tibet, 473.

     Soda, efflorescence, in Nubra, 195.

       "         "           Piti, 128.

     Sonamarg, 271.

     Statice, prickly, 204.

     Suliman range, 3.

     Sulphur-mine of Pugha, 168.

     Sungnam, 94.

     Surmu, 210.

     Suru, 448.

     Sutlej river at Rampur, 51.

       "      "      Wangtu, 66.

       "      "   its diurnal fluctuations, 54.

     Taksha, 408.

     Takti pass, 375.

     Tarkata, 233.

     Tawi river, 313.

     Temple buried in lacustrine clay, 292.

     Tertse, 197.

     Thalaura, 318.

     Thawar, 254.

     Theog, 37.

     Thogji lake, 170, 459.

     Tibet, general description of, 456.

     Tirit, 197.

     Tolti, 230.

     Tongde, 368.

     Tranda, 61.

     Trikota Debi, 310.

     Tsatti, 192.

     Tunglung pass, 175.

     Turgu, 223.

     Turtuk, 207.

     Tussilago Farfara, 263.

     Ulding Thung, 236.

     Umasi pass, 355.

     Unmaru, 197.

     Upshi, 179.

     Urdi, 229.

     Vegetation of Badarwar, 329.

          "        Baltal, 453.

          "        Banahal, 301.

          "        Chatargarh, 348.

          "        Chenab valley, 304, 342.

          "        Dadu, 324.

          "        Dras, 449.

          "        Gambar valley, 13.

          "        Hangarang pass, 101.

          "        Hattu, 43.

          "        Indus valley below Le, 390.

          "        Jamu hills, 317.

          "        Kalka, 4.

          "        Karakoram, 435.

          "        Karsar in Nubra, 400.

          "        Kashmir, 283, 296, 454.

          "        Kotgarh, 47, 50.

          "        Kunawar, 72, 76.

          "        Kussowlee, 6, 7.

          "        Le, 395.

          "        Mahasu, 31.

          "        Nubra, 406.

          "        Pashkyum, 446.

          "        Phatu pass, 445.

          "        Ramnagar valley, 320.

          "        Rondu, 258.

          "        Runang pass, 92.

          "        Sassar, 420.

          "        Sassar pass, 416.

          "        Simla, 18.

          "        Sind valley, 272.

          "        Sutlej valley at Rampur, 53.

          "          "       "      Wangtu, 67.

          "        Werang pass, 85.

          "        Zanskar, alpine, 359.

          "           "     northern passes, 375, 377, 380.

          "           "     valley, 365, 371.

          "        Zoji pass, 451.

     Vernag, 296.

     Vines of Parkuta, 229.

       "      Turtuk, 207.

       "      wild, of Butna valley, 348.

     Vineyards of Kunawar, 78.

         "        Sungnam, 94.

     Wandla, 386.

     Wangtu Bridge, 66.

     Waris, 202.

     Wasterwan, 288.

     Waterfall at Wangtu, 68.

         "     frozen, in Dras, 241.

     Werang pass, 84.

     Willows of Tibet, 180.

     Winds of Tibet, 472.

     Winter at Iskardo, 243.

     Wulur lake, 282.

     Yarkand merchants, 410.

        "    road to, from Iskardo, 263.

     Yulchung, 379.

     Zangla, 369.

     Zannichellia, 164.

     Zanskar, 358, 363.

     Zobo, 91.

     Zoji pass, 267, 451.

     Zungsam river, 113.



     Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the _Rhododendrons_
     recently discovered in the Province of Sikkim, on the Eastern
     Himalaya Mountains.


     Imp. folio. Thirty Plates. £3 16_s._ coloured.

     "In this work we have the first results of Dr. Hooker's botanical
     mission to India. The announcement is calculated to startle some of
     our readers when they know that it was only last January twelvemonths
     that the Doctor arrived in Calcutta. That he should have ascended the
     Himalaya, discovered a number of plants, and that they should be
     published in England in an almost UNEQUALLED STYLE OF MAGNIFICENT
     ILLUSTRATION, in less than eighteen months, is one of the marvels of
     our time."--_Athenæum._

     "A most beautiful example of fine drawing and skilful colouring, while
     the letter-press furnished by the talented author possesses very high
     interest. Of the species of _Rhododendron_ which he has found in his
     adventurous journey, some are quite unrivalled in magnificence of
     appearance. We recommend the district to the nurseryman. Whoever could
     bring home plenty of seeds of these plants would require no better
     foundation for a little fortune."--_Gardeners' Chronicle._

     _Also, by the same Author_,


     Parts I., II., and III. Twenty Plates. Price 21_s._ plain; £1 11_s._
     6_d._ coloured. To be completed in Five Parts.


     Two Hundred Plates. 2 vols, royal 4to, cloth. £7 10_s._ plain; £10
     15_s._ coloured.





     THE VICTORIA REGIA. By Sir W. J. HOOKER, F.R.S. In elephant
     folio. Illustrated on a large scale by W. Fitch. 31_s._ 6_d._

     The work on the Royal Water Lily contains four plates of very
     large size, expensively coloured, illustrative of the different
     stages of flowering and fruiting, with analyses of structure,
     as follows:--

     1. A view of the entire plant, flower, fruit, and leaves, on
     the water.

     2. A flower _of the natural size_ in progress of expanding,
     together with as much of the enormous foliage as the broad
     dimensions of the paper will admit.

     3. A fully expanded flower _of the natural size_, with foliage,

     4. A vertical section of the fully developed flower, with
     various dissections and analyses.

     "Although many works have been devoted to the illustration and
     description of the _Victoria regia_, it seemed still to want
     one which, whilst it gave an accurate botanical description of
     the plant, should at the same time show the natural size of its
     gigantic flowers. This object has been aimed at by the combined
     labours of Sir W. Hooker and Mr. Fitch, and with distinguished
     success. The illustrations are everything that could be desired
     in the shape of botanical drawings. They are accurate, and they
     are beautiful."--_Athenæum._

     descriptions made on the spot. By J. D. HOOKER, M.D., F.R.S.
     Edited by Sir W. J. HOOKER, D.C.L., F.R.S. In handsome imperial
     folio, with thirty coloured plates. Price 3_l._ 11_s._

     "In this work we have the first results of Dr. Hooker's
     botanical mission to India. The announcement is calculated to
     startle some of our readers when they know that it was only
     last January twelvemonths that the Doctor arrived in Calcutta.
     That he should have ascended the Himalaya, discovered a number
     of plants, and that they should be published in England in an
     than eighteen months--is one of the marvels of our

     "A most beautiful example of fine drawing and skilful
     colouring, while the letter-press furnished by the talented
     author possesses very high interest. Of the species of
     Rhododendron which he has found in his adventurous journey,
     some are quite unrivalled in magnificence of
     appearance."--_Gardeners' Chronicle._

     plates. 8vo. 5_s._

     "Mr. Assheton Smith's place at Tedworth has long possessed a
     great English reputation for the excellence of its fruit and
     vegetables: one is continually hearing in society of the
     extraordinary abundance and perfection of its produce at
     seasons when common gardens are empty, and the great world
     seems to have arrived at the conclusion that the kitchen
     gardening and forcing there are nowhere excelled. We have,
     therefore, examined with no common interest the work before us,
     for it will be strange indeed, if a man who can act so
     skilfully as Mr. Sanders should be unable to offer advice of
     corresponding value. We have not been disappointed. Mr.
     Sanders's directions are as plain as words can make them; and,
     we will add, as judicious as his long experience had led us to
     expect. After a careful perusal of his little treatise, we find
     nothing to object to, and much to praise."--_Gardeners'

     "A clever, well-written, and nicely illustrated horticultural
     pamphlet, telling us all we want to know on the

     PHYCOLOGIA BRITANNICA; or, History of the British Sea-weeds;
     containing coloured figures, and descriptions, of all the
     species of Algæ inhabiting the shores of the British Islands.
     By WILLIAM HENRY HARVEY, M.D., M.R.I.A., Keeper of the
     Herbarium of the University of Dublin, and Professor of Botany
     to the Dublin Society. The price of the work, complete,
     strongly bound in cloth, is as follows:-

     In three vols, royal 8vo, arranged in the       } £7  12  6
       order of publication                          }

     In four vols, royal 8vo, arranged systematically} £7  17  6
       according to the Synopsis                     }

     _A few Copies have been printed on large paper._

     "The 'History of British Sea-weeds' we can most faithfully
     recommend for its scientific, its pictorial, and its popular
     value; the professed botanist will find it a work of the
     highest character, whilst those who desire merely to know the
     names and history of the lovely plants which they gather on the
     sea-shore, will find in it the faithful portraiture of every
     one of them."--_Annals and Magazine of Natural History._

     "The drawings are beautifully executed by the author himself on
     stone, the dissections carefully prepared, and the whole
     account of the species drawn up in such a way as cannot fail to
     be instructive, even to those who are well acquainted with the
     subject. The greater part of our more common Algæ have never
     been illustrated in a manner agreeable to the present state of
     Algology."--_Gardeners' Chronicle._

     POPULAR HISTORY OF BRITISH SEA-WEEDS, comprising all the Marine
     Plants. By the Rev. DAVID LANDSBOROUGH, A.L.S., Member of the
     Wernerian Society of Edinburgh. With twenty coloured plates by
     Fitch. _Second Edition._ Royal 16mo. 10_s._ 6_d._

     "The book is as well executed as it is well timed. The
     descriptions are scientific as well as popular, and the plates
     are clear and explicit. Not only the forms, but the uses of
     Algæ, are minutely described. It is a worthy SEA-SIDE
     COMPANION--a handbook for every occasional or permanent
     resident on the sea-shore."--_Economist._

     "Those who wish to make themselves acquainted with British
     Sea-weeds, cannot do better than begin with this elegantly
     illustrated manual."--_Globe._

     "This elegant work, though intended for beginners, is well
     worthy the perusal of those advanced in the science."--_Morning

     A CENTURY OF ORCHIDACEOUS PLANTS, selected from those most
     worthy of cultivation figured in Curtis's Botanical Magazine,
     with coloured figures and dissections, chiefly executed by Mr.
     FITCH; the descriptions (entirely re-written) by Sir WILLIAM J.
     HOOKER, F.R.S. With an introduction on the culture of
     Orchidaceæ generally, and on the treatment of each genus; by
     JOHN C. LYONS, Esq. Royal 4to, containing one hundred coloured
     plates. Price _Five Guineas_.

     "In the exquisite illustrations to this splendid volume full
     justice has been rendered to the oddly formed and often
     brilliantly coloured flowers of this curious and interesting
     tribe of plants."--_Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review._

     "A very acceptable addition to our knowledge of the Orchis
     tribe. The plates are beautifully executed, and have been
     selected with great care. Each species has a brief character
     attached, and to each genus botanical and practical
     observations, from the pen of Sir William Hooker, are prefixed.
     The work is enriched with a prefatory memoir by Mr. Lyons, full
     of sound judgment and experience, on the most approved method
     of growing Orchids."--_Literary Gazette._

     POPULAR HISTORY OF BRITISH FERNS, comprising all the Species.
     By THOMAS MOORE. With twenty coloured plates by Fitch. Royal
     16mo, cloth. 10_s._ 6_d._

     "Mr. Moore's 'Popular History of British Ferns' forms one of
     the numerous elegant and instructive books by which Messrs.
     Reeve and Co. have endeavoured to popularize the study of
     Natural History. In the volume before us, Mr. Moore gives a
     clear account of the British Ferns, with directions for their
     cultivation; accompanied by numerous coloured plates neatly
     illustrated, and preceded by a general introduction on the
     natural character of this graceful class of

     "We have rarely, if ever, seen a publication relating to plants
     where the object aimed at is more fully accomplished than in
     this elegant volume."--_Hooker's Journal._

     "A prettily got-up book, and fit for a drawing-room
     table."--_The Friend._

     THE BRITISH DESMIDIEÆ; or, Fresh-Water Algæ. By JOHN RALFS,
     M.R.C.S., Honorary Member of the Penzance Nat. Hist. Society.
     The Drawings by EDWARD JENNER, A.L.S. Royal 8vo, thirty-five
     coloured plates. Price 36_s._ cloth.

     NEREIS AUSTRALIS; or, Illustrations of the Algæ of the Southern
     Ocean. By Professor HARVEY, M.D., M.R.I.A. To be completed in
     Four Parts, each containing twenty-five coloured plates, imp.
     8vo. Price 1_l._ 1_s._ Parts I. and II. recently published.

     "Of this most important contribution to our knowledge of exotic
     Algæ, we know not if we can pay it a higher compliment than by
     saying it is worthy of the author. It should be observed that
     the work is not a selection of certain species, but an arranged
     system of all that is known of Australian Algæ, accompanied by
     figures of the new and rare ones, especially of those most
     remarkable for beauty of form and colour."--_London Journal of

     CURTIS'S BOTANICAL MAGAZINE (commenced in 1786); Continued by
     Sir WILLIAM JACKSON HOOKER, K.H., D.C.L., &c., Director of the
     Royal Gardens of Kew.

     *** Published in monthly numbers, each containing six plates,
     price 3_s._ 6_d._ coloured; and in annual volumes, price 42_s._


     This Botanical Journal, in addition to original papers by
     Eminent Botanists, contains the Botanical News of the month,
     Communications from Botanical Travellers, Notices of New Books,

     *** In monthly numbers, with a plate, price 2_s._

     ICONES PLANTARUM; or, Figures, with brief descriptive
     characters and remarks, of new and rare Plants. Published
     monthly, with eight plates. Price 2_s._ 6_d._

     (_Under the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of the

     FLORA ANTARCTICA; or, Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M.
     Discovery Ships _Erebus_ and _Terror_, during the years
     1839-1843, under the command of Capt. Sir James Clark Ross,
     R.N., F.R.S. By JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER, M.D., R.N., F.R.S., &c.,
     Botanist to the Expedition. In two vols. royal 4to, cloth,
     containing 200 plates. Price 10_l._ 15_s._ coloured; 7_l._
     10_s._ plain.

     "The descriptions of the plants in this work are carefully
     drawn up, and much interesting matter, critical, explanatory,
     and historical, is added in the form of notes. The drawings of
     the plants are admirably executed by Mr. Fitch; and we know of
     no productions from his pencil, or, in fact, any botanical
     illustrations at all, that are superior in faithful
     representation and botanical correctness."--_Athenæum._

     CRYPTOGAMIA ANTARCTICA; or, Cryptogamic Botany of the Antarctic
     Voyage of H. M. Ships _Erebus_ and _Terror_. By JOSEPH DALTON
     HOOKER, M.D., F.R.S., &c. Royal 4to, cloth, containing 74
     plates. Price 4_l._ 4_s._ coloured; 2_l._ 17_s._ plain.

     THE ESCULENT FUNGUSES OF ENGLAND; a treatise on their History,
     Uses, Structure, Nutritious Properties, Mode of Cooking,
     Preserving, &c. By the Rev. Dr. BADHAM. Super-royal 8vo, cloth,
     coloured plates. 21_s._

     "The English are not a fungus-eating nation; and though we do
     not eat frogs like our neighbours, we are rather celebrated for
     our love of another of the reptilian family--turtle. There is
     no reason why we should eschew frogs and relish turtle; still
     less is there for our eating one or two of the numerous edible
     funguses which our island produces, and condemning all the
     rest. To draw attention to this fact, and to supply an accurate
     account, with a correct delineation, of the esculent species of
     this family in Great Britain, are the objects of the book
     before us. Such a work was a desideratum in this country, and
     it has been well supplied by Dr. Badham; with his beautiful
     drawings of the various edible fungi in his hand the collector
     can scarcely make a mistake. The majority of those which grow
     in our meadows, and in the decaying wood of our orchards and
     forests, are unfit for food; and the value of Dr. Badham's book
     consists in the fact, that it enables us to distinguish from
     these such as may be eaten with impunity."--_Athenæum._

     ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH MYCOLOGY; containing Figures and
     Descriptions of the Funguses of interest and novelty indigenous
     to Britain. _First Series._ By Mrs. HUSSEY. 4to, cloth gilt,
     with ninety beautifully coloured drawings. Price 7_l._ 12_s._

     "This talented lady and her sister were in the first instance
     induced to draw some of the more striking Fungi, merely as
     picturesque objects. Their collection of drawings at length
     became important from their number and accuracy, and a long
     continued study of the nutritive properties of Fungi has
     induced the former to lay the results of her investigations
     before the public, under the form of illustrations of the more
     useful and interesting species. The figures are so faithful
     that there can be no difficulty in at once determining with
     certainty the objects they are intended to represent; and the
     observations will be found of much interest to the general
     reader."--_Gardeners' Chronicle._

     "This is an elegant and interesting book: it would be an
     ornament to the drawing-room table; but it must not, therefore,
     be supposed that the value of the work is not intrinsic, for a
     great deal of new and valuable matter accompanies the plates,
     which are not fancy sketches, but so individualized and
     life-like, that to mistake any species seems impossible. The
     accessories of each are significant of site, soil, and season
     of growth, so that the botanist may study with advantage what
     the artist may inspect with admiration."--_Morning Post._

     ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH MYCOLOGY; containing Figures and
     Descriptions of the Funguses of interest and novelty indigenous
     to Britain. _Second Series._ By Mrs. HUSSEY. Publishing in
     Monthly Parts, coloured drawings, price 5_s._

     VOICES FROM THE WOODLANDS; or, History of Forest Trees,
     Lichens, Mosses, and Ferns. By MARY ROBERTS. Elegantly bound.
     With twenty coloured Plates of Forest Scenery, by FITCH. Royal
     16mo. 10_s._ 6_d._

     "This work includes a wide range of genera, from the lichen to
     the oak, and by way of giving variety to a subject so
     commonplace, the several plants are supposed to tell their own
     stories, and describe their own family

     "The fair authoress of this pretty volume has shown more than
     the usual good taste of her sex in the selection of her mode of
     conveying to the young interesting instruction upon pleasing
     topics. She bids them join in a ramble through the sylvan
     wilds, and at her command the fragile lichen, the gnarled oak,
     the towering beech, the graceful chestnut, and the waving
     poplar discourse eloquently, and tell their respective
     histories and uses."--_Britannia._

     POPULAR FIELD BOTANY; containing a familiar and technical
     description of the plants most common to the British Isles,
     adapted to the study of either the Artificial or Natural
     Systems. By AGNES CATLOW. _Second Edition._ Arranged in twelve
     chapters, each being the Botanical lesson for the month.
     Containing twenty coloured plates of figures. Royal 16mo.
     10_s._ 6_d._

     "The design of this work is to furnish young persons with a
     Self-instructor in Botany, enabling them with little difficulty
     to discover the scientific names of the common plants they may
     find in their country rambles, to which are appended a few
     facts respecting their uses, habits, &c. The plants are classed
     in months, the illustrations are nicely coloured, and the book
     is altogether an elegant, as well as useful
     present."--_Illustrated London News._

     THE TOURIST'S FLORA. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Flowering
     Plants and Ferns of the British Islands, France, Germany,
     Switzerland, and Italy. By JOSEPH WOODS, F.A.S, F.L.S, F.G.S.
     8vo. 18_s._

     "The appearance of this book has been long expected by us; and
     we can justly state that it has quite fulfilled all our
     expectations, and will support the high reputation of its
     author. Mr. Woods is known to have spent many years in
     collecting and arranging the materials for the present work,
     with a view to which he has, we believe, visited all the most
     interesting localities mentioned in it. This amount of labour,
     combined with extensive botanical knowledge, has enabled him to
     produce a volume such as few, if any other, botanists were
     capable of writing."--_Annals of Natural History._


     (_Under the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty._)

     ADAMS, F.L.S, Assistant-Surgeon, R.N, attached to the

     VERTEBRATA. By _John Edward Gray_, F.R.S., Keeper of the
     Zoological Department of the British Museum.


     MOLLUSCA. By the EDITOR and LOVELL REEVE, F.L.S. Including the
     anatomy of the _Spirula_, by Prof. OWEN, F.R.S.


     *** Complete in one handsome royal 4to volume,
     containing 55 plates. Price, strongly bound in cloth, 3_l._

     the Natural History and Philosophical Society of Belfast. Vol.
     I., price 16_s._ cloth. Vol. II, price 12_s._ Vol. III., price
     16_s._, 8vo, cloth.

     "Our readers, if once they get hold of this work, will not
     readily lay it down; for while habits are dwelt upon in a
     manner so amusing that we have known extracts to be read aloud
     to a delighted circle of children, it contains the precise
     information which the ornithologist demands, and brings forward
     topics both of popular and scientific interest, such as the
     geographical distribution of species, the causes which seem to
     operate on their increase and decrease, their migrations, their
     uses to man, the occasional injuries they inflict, and the
     important benefits they confer. It is a STANDARD WORK, and will
     rank with those of our first ornithologists."--_Dublin
     Quarterly Journal of Medical Science._

     F.R.S.E., F.L.S., &c.

     The "CONTRIBUTIONS" are devoted to the various departments of
     Ornithology. They are published at intervals in Parts, and form
     an annual Volume, illustrated by numerous coloured and
     uncoloured Plates, Woodcuts, &c.

     The Series for 1848, containing ten Plates, price 9_s._

     The Series for 1849, containing twenty-four Plates, price 21_s._

     The Series for 1850, containing twenty-one Plates, Vignettes, and
     Woodcuts, price 21_s._

     The Series for 1851, containing fourteen Plates, price 18_s._

     THE DODO AND ITS KINDRED; or, the History, Affinities, and
     Osteology of the DODO, SOLITAIRE, and other extinct birds of
     the islands Mauritius, Rodriguez, and Bourbon. By H. E.
     STRICKLAND, Esq., M.A., F.R.G.S., F.G.S., President of the
     Ashmolean Society, and A. G. MELVILLE, M.D., M.R.C.S. Royal
     quarto, with eighteen plates and numerous wood-illustrations.
     Price 21_s._

     "The labour expended on this book, and the beautiful manner in
     which it is got up, render it a work of great interest to the
     naturalist. * * It is a model of how such subjects should be
     treated. We know of few more elaborate and careful pieces of
     comparative anatomy than is given of the head and foot by Dr.
     Melville. The dissection is accompanied by lithographic plates,
     creditable alike to the Artist and the Printer."--_Athenæum._

     POPULAR BRITISH ORNITHOLOGY; comprising a familiar and
     technical description of the Birds of the British Isles. By P.
     H. Gosse, Author of 'The Ocean,' 'The Birds of Jamaica,' &c. In
     twelve chapters, each being the Ornithological lesson for the
     month. In one vol. royal 16mo, with twenty plates of figures.
     Price 10_s._ 6_d._ coloured.

     "To render the subject of ornithology clear, and its study
     attractive, has been the great aim of the author of this
     beautiful little volume.... It is embellished by upwards of 70
     figures of British birds beautifully coloured."--_Morning

     "This was a book much wanted, and will prove a boon of no
     common value, containing, as it does, the names, descriptions,
     and habits of all the British birds. It is handsomely got

     CONCHOLOGIA ICONICA; or, Figures and Descriptions of the Shells
     of Molluscous Animals, with critical remarks on their synonyms,
     affinities, and circumstances of habitation. By LOVELL REEVE,

     *** Demy 4to. Published monthly, in Parts, each containing
     eight plates. Price 10_s._


                   £ _s._ _d._
     Achatina      1   9  0
     Achatinella   0   8  0
     Arca          1   1  6
     Artemis       0  13  0
     Buccinum      0  18  0
     Bulimus       5  12  0
     Bullia        0   5  6
     Cardita       0  11  6
     Cardium       1   8  0
     Cassidaria    0   1  6
     Cassis        0  15  6
     Chama         0  11  6
     Chiton        2   2  0
     Chitonellus   0   1  6
     Conus         3   0  0
     Corbula       0   6  6
     Crassatella   0   4  0
     Cypræa        1  14  0
     Cypricardia   0   3  0
     Delphinula    0   6  6
     Dolium        0  10  6
     Eburna        0   1  6
     Fasciolaria   0   9  0
     Ficula        0   1  6
     Fissurella    1   0  6
     Fusus         1   6  6
     Glauconome    0   1  6
     Haliotis      1   1  0
     Harpa         0   5  6
     Hemipecten    0   1  6
     Ianthina      0   3  0
     Isocardia     0   1  6
     Lucina        0  14  0
     Mangelia      0  10  6
     Eglisia}      0   1  6
     Mitra         2  10  0
     Monoceros     0   5  6
     Murex         2   5  6
     Myadora       0   1  6
     Oliva         1  18  0
     Oniscia       0   1  6
     Paludomus     0   4  0
     Partula       0   5  6
     Pectunculus   0  11  6
     Phorus        0   4  0
     Pleurotoma    2  10  6
     Pterocera     0   8  0
     Purpura       0  17  0
     Pyrula        0  11  6
     Ranella       0  10  6
     Ricinula      0   8  0
     Rostellaria   0   4  6
     Strombus      1   4  6
     Struthiolaria 0   1  6
     Turbinella    0  17  0
     Triton        1   5  6
     Turbo         0  17  0
     Turritella    0  14  6
     Voluta        1   8  0

     _The genus_ HELIX _is in course of publication._


     VOL. I. CONUS

     [_122 Plates, price 7l. 16s. 6d. half-bound._]


     [_114 Plates, price 7l. 6s. 6d. half-bound._]


     [_129 Plates, price 8l. 5s. 6d. half-bound._]


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     [_129 Plates, price 8l. 5s. 6d. half-bound._]

     The figures are drawn and lithographed by Mr. G. B. SOWERBY,
     Junr., of the _natural size_, from specimens chiefly in the
     collection of Mr. Cuming.

     "This great work is intended to embrace a complete description
     and illustration of the shells of molluscous animals, and, so
     far as we have seen, it is not such as to disappoint the large
     expectations that have been formed respecting it. The figures
     of the shells are all of full size; in the descriptions a
     careful analysis is given of the labours of others; and the
     author has apparently spared no pains to make the work a
     standard authority on the subject of which it

     CONCHOLOGIA SYSTEMATICA; or, Complete System of Conchology,
     illustrated with 300 plates of upwards of 1500 figures of
     Shells. By LOVELL REEVE, F.L.S.

     "The text is both interesting and instructive; many of the
     plates have appeared before in Mr. Sowerby's works, but from
     the great expense of collecting them, and the miscellaneous
     manner of their publication, many persons will no doubt gladly
     avail themselves of this select and classified portion, which
     also contains many original figures."--_Athenæum._

     *** In two quarto volumes, cloth. Price 10_l._ coloured; 6_l._

     ELEMENTS OF CONCHOLOGY; or, Introduction to the Natural History
     of Shells and their animals. By LOVELL REEVE, F.L.S. Parts I.
     to X., price 3_s._ 6_d._ each.

     "The work before us is designed to promote a more philosophical
     spirit of inquiry into the nature and origin of
     Shells."--_Ecclesiastical Review._

     CONCHOLOGIST'S NOMENCLATOR; or, Catalogue of recent species of
     Shells, with their authorities, synonyms, and references to
     works where figured or described. By AGNES CATLOW, assisted by

     *** In sheets for labels, 20_s._ Cloth, 21_s._ Half-bound,
     interleaved, 25_s._

     of the British Isles, systematically arranged. By WILLIAM
     TURTON, M.D. Reprinted verbatim from the original edition. The
     illustrations, printed from the original copper-plates, are
     distinguished for their accurate detail. Twenty coloured
     plates. Price 2_l._ 10_s._

     POPULAR HISTORY OF MOLLUSCA; or, Shells and their Animal
     Inhabitants. By MARY ROBERTS. Royal 16mo, with twenty coloured
     plates by Wing. Price 10_s._ 6_d._

     "This little volume forms another of the excellent series of
     illustrated works on various departments of Natural History,
     for which the public is indebted to Mr. Reeve.... When we add,
     that the plates contain no fewer than ninety figures of shells,
     with their animal inhabitants, all of them well, and several
     admirably, executed, and that the text is written throughout in
     a readable and even elegant style, with such digression in
     poetry and prose as serve to relieve its scientific details, we
     think that we have said enough to justify the favourable
     opinion we have expressed."--_British and Foreign
     Medico-Chirurgical Review._

     CURTIS'S BRITISH ENTOMOLOGY, being Illustrations and
     Descriptions of the Genera of Insects found in Great Britain
     and Ireland, comprising coloured figures, from nature, of the
     most rare and beautiful species, and, in many instances, of the
     plants upon which they are found. By JOHN CURTIS, F.L.S.

     The 'British Entomology' was originally brought out in Monthly
     Numbers, size royal 8vo, at 4_s._ 6_d._, each containing four
     coloured plates with text. It was commenced in 1824, and
     completed in 1840, in 193 Numbers, forming 16 volumes, price
     £43 16_s._

     The work is now offered new, and in the best condition:--

     Price to Subscribers for complete copies in sixteen volumes £21.
     Price of the new issue, and of odd Numbers     3_s._ 6_d._ per No.

     *** Vols. I. and II. of the New Issue are now ready for

     Illustrated with plates. Price 25_s._

     EPISODES OF INSECT LIFE. Three vols., crown 8vo, with 108
     illustrations. Price 2_l._ 8_s._, elegantly bound in fancy
     cloth. Coloured and bound extra, gilt back, sides, and edges,
     3_l._ 3_s._

     *** Each volume, containing thirty-six illustrations, is
     complete in itself, and sold separately. Price 16_s._ plain,
     21_s._ coloured.

     "The book includes solid instruction as well as genial and
     captivating mirth. The scientific knowledge of the writer is
     thoroughly reliable."--_Examiner._

     "The letterpress is interspersed with vignettes clearly and
     cleverly engraved on stone: and the whole pile of Natural
     History--fable, poetry, theory, and fact--is stuck over with
     quaint apophthegms and shrewd maxims, deduced for the benefit
     of man from the contemplation of such tiny monitors as gnats
     and moths. Altogether the book is a curious and interesting
     one--quaint and clever, genial and well-informed."--_Morning

     POPULAR BRITISH ENTOMOLOGY, comprising a familiar and technical
     description of the Insects most common to the British Isles. By
     MARIA E. CATLOW. In twelve chapters, each being the
     Entomological lesson for the month. In one vol. royal 16mo,
     with sixteen coloured plates of figures. Price 10_s._ 6_d._

     "Judiciously executed, with excellent figures of the commoner
     species, for the use of young beginners."--_Annual Address of
     the President of the Entomological Society._

     "Miss Catlow's 'Popular British Entomology' contains an
     introductory chapter or two on classification, which are
     followed by brief generic and specific descriptions in English
     of above 200 of the commoner British species, together with
     accurate figures of about 70 of those described; and will be
     quite a treasure to anyone just commencing the study of this
     fascinating science."--_Westminster and Foreign Quarterly

     in the Zoological Department of the British Museum. With
     sixteen coloured Plates of Quadrupeds, &c. by B. WATERHOUSE
     HAWKINS, F.L.S. Royal 16mo. 10_s._ 6_d._

     "The present increase of our stores of anecdotal matter
     respecting every kind of animal has been used with much tact by
     Mr. White, who has a terse chatty way of putting down his
     reflections, mingled with that easy familiarity which every one
     accustomed daily to zoological pursuits is sure to attain. The
     book is profusely illustrated."--_Atlas._

     THE BRITISH PALÆOZOIC FOSSILS, added by Professor Sedgwick to
     the Woodwardian Museum. By Professor M'COY. In royal 4to, with
     numerous Plates.

     Part I., containing the Radiata and Articulata, is now ready. 16_s._

     Part II., containing the Lower Palæozoic Mollusca, is in the press.

     THOUGHTS ON A PEBBLE; or, a First Lesson in Geology. By Dr.
     MANTELL, F.R.S. _Eighth Edition_, considerably enlarged. With
     four coloured plates, twenty-seven woodcuts, and a Portrait of
     the Author. Square 12mo. 5_s._

     "I have just procured a little work for my young pupils, a most
     delightful introduction, entitled 'Thoughts on a Pebble, or a
     First Lesson in Geology,' by Dr. Mantell, and I must request
     you to read it; for although it does not consist of more than
     thirty pages [increased in the present edition to upwards of a
     hundred] it will expand to your view a new world that will
     astonish and delight you."--_Philosophy in Sport._


     ELEMENTARY PHYSICS; an Introduction to the Study of Natural
     Philosophy. By ROBERT HUNT, Professor of Mechanical Science at
     the Government School of Mines, Author of 'Poetry of Science,'
     'Researches on Light,' and 'Handbook to the Great Exhibition.'
     Illustrated with a coloured frontispiece, and 217 vignettes and
     wood engravings. Fcap. 8vo, cloth. 10_s._ 6_d._


     Chapter I. General Properties of Ponderable Matter.
        "   II. General Laws of Motion.
        "  III. Laws of Slightly Elastic Fluids.
        "   IV. Laws of Elastic Fluids.
     Chapter V. Sonorous Movement of Bodies.
        "   VI. Primary Phenomena of Electricity.
        "  VII. Heat, or Caloric.
        " VIII. Light and Actinism.

     "As a really elementary treatise on the whole work of Physical
     Science, we know none to compare with it, and it is, therefore,
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     interest by those who have long mastered the general truths it
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     of these which it contains."--_British and Foreign
     Medico-Chirurgical Review._

     POPULAR MINERALOGY; a Familiar account of Minerals and their
     Uses. By HENRY SOWERBY. Royal 16mo, with plates of figures.
     10_s._ 6_d._

     "Mr. Sowerby has endeavoured to throw around his subject every
     attraction. His work is fully and carefully illustrated with
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     Poetry of Science.' One vol. 8vo, cloth. 10_s._ 6_d._

     "A work of very peculiar character, in which Philosophy and
     Poetry are finely blended, and where great truths and noble
     sentiments are expressed in language full of beauty and
     eloquence."--_North British Review._

     "Ample opportunities are afforded for conveying scientific
     information in a popular form, and these have been liberally
     and well embraced by the author."--_Athenæum._

     "There is, throughout, the closeness of matter and eloquence of
     style which distinguished the 'Poetry of

     THE POETRY OF SCIENCE; or, Studies of the Physical Phenomena of
     Nature. By ROBERT HUNT, Author of 'Panthea,' and 'Researches on
     Light.' _Second Edition._ Revised. With an Index. One vol. 8vo,
     cloth. 12_s._

     "A truly scientific work, which has the character of poetry
     only in so far as truth is poetical, and may be regarded as a
     popular treatise on Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and Geology,
     similar in its nature and object to the 'Kosmos' of
     Humboldt."--_North British Review._

     manifested in Nature. By H. EDWARDS, LL.D. Cloth, 2_s._ 6_d._

     "A little excursion in the track of Paley and the broad road of
     the Bridgewater Treatises. Animals, Atmosphere, Organic Matter,
     Light, and Electricity are the natural elements out of which
     the author deduces his pious lessons, leading to a First Cause
     in wonder, admiration, and worship."--_Literary Gazette._

     DROPS OF WATER; their marvellous and beautiful Inhabitants
     displayed by the Microscope. By AGNES CATLOW. Square 12mo, with
     coloured plates. 7_s._ 6_d._

     "In this little book, illustrated with plates scarcely inferior
     to those of the well-known Ehrenberg, we have the wonders of
     the microscope revealed in the history of a drop of water. Miss
     Catlow's pleasing works on botany, &c., are all well known, and
     we can assure our readers that in this little history of
     infusorial animals and plants of a drop of water she has added
     much to her well-deserved reputation. The style in which it is
     got up renders it worthy of companionship with the choicest
     ornaments of the library table."--_Liverpool Standard._

     "A pleasant introduction to microscopic studies, having
     reference in particular to the animalcules or infusoria, as
     they are now more commonly called, which inhabit water and
     other liquids. The little volume before us contains a goodly
     body of information touching the infusorial world, with some
     clearly and sensibly written information as to the species of
     water, and the seasons, in which certain varieties are to be

     "'Drops of Water' is an introduction to one of Nature's
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     very efficient and satisfactory manner.... As a specimen of
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     indicative of no small degree of artistic skill as well as

     "An elegant little book, both in the getting up and its
     literature.... The text is accompanied by coloured plates, that
     exhibit the most remarkable creatures of the watery

     "Of the manner in which this work is executed, we can say that,
     like Miss Catlow's previous productions on Natural History, it
     displays an accurate acquaintance with the subject, and a keen
     delight in the contemplation of the objects to which it is
     devoted. As far as the living beings which inhabit 'Drops of
     Water' are concerned, we know of no better introduction to the
     use of the microscope than the present volume."--_Athenæum._

     'Electro-Biology.' One vol. 8vo. With coloured Plates by Wing,
     and Woodcuts. 18_s._

     "Mr. Smee's facts are extremely valuable. His work, moreover,
     is one of the most vivid interest. Entertainment and
     instruction are here combined in a very high degree; and the
     coloured plates add essentially to its value."--_Britannia._

     "Mr. Smee is the inventor of a convenient and elegant voltaic
     battery, and his experiments on the physical process of nervous
     excitation are curious and ingenious. We give the author credit
     for his powers of patient observation, and ingeniously devised

     "Mr. Smee has done good service to the cause of rational

     (_Under the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty._)

     1843-46. By Capt. Sir EDWARD BELCHER, C.B, F.R.A.S. and G.S,
     Commander of the Expedition, With a Popular Summary of the
     Natural History of the islands visited, by ARTHUR ADAMS, F.L.S.
     In two vols. 8vo, with thirty-five charts, coloured plates, and
     etchings. Price 36_s._ cloth.

     "These volumes give the official and authorized account of the
     surveying voyage of the Samarang in the Eastern Archipelago and
     Northern Seas of China and Japan. Besides much geographical and
     practical information, Capt. Belcher's Narrative contains a
     close and mature view of the ministers and monarchs of those
     distant regions. Quelpart and the Korean Archipelago are new

     TRAVELS IN THE INTERIOR OF BRAZIL; principally through the
     Northern Provinces and the Gold and Diamond Districts, during
     the years 1836-41. By the late GEORGE GARDNER, M.D, F.L.S,
     Superintendent of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Ceylon. _Second
     and cheaper Edition._ With a Map of the Author's Route and View
     of the Organ Mountains. Price 12_s._ cloth; 18_s._ bound.

     "When camping out on the mountain-top or in the wilderness;
     roughing it in his long journeys through the interior;
     observing the very singular mode of life there presented to his
     notice; describing the curious characters that fell under his
     observation, the arts or substitutes for arts of the people,
     and the natural productions of the country--these Travels are
     full of attraction. The book, like the country it describes, is
     full of new matter."--_Spectator._

     The narrative of his varied adventures forms not only to the
     enthusiastic botanist, but to the general reader, an
     exceedingly entertaining and also instructive book, from the
     new view which it gives of the society of Brazil--particularly
     in its less known provinces."--_Tait's Edinburgh Magazine._

     "This volume is from the pen of an able naturalist, whose heart
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     his observations derive value from the novelty of the matter to
     which they relate."--_Athenæum._

     "Mr. Gardner's volume, bearing the inimitable impress of
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     science than interesting to the general
     reader."--_Ecclesiastical Review._

     fifty astronomical Diagrams and Maps of the Circumpolar
     Constellations. Fcap. cloth. 5_s._

     "A brief abstract of the discoveries of Newton, clearly
     explained and elegantly illustrated."--_Westminster and Foreign
     Quarterly Review._




     1. PARKS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS; or, Practical Notes on Country
     Residences, Villas, Public Parks, and Gardens. By CHARLES J. H.
     SMITH, Landscape Gardener.

     2. TALPA; or, THE CHRONICLE OF A CLAY FARM: an Agricultural
     Fragment. By C. W. H. With Illustrations by GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.

     LANDSBOROUGH. With Coloured Plates.

     4. POPULAR SCRIPTURE ZOOLOGY; or, History of the Animals mentioned
     in the Bible. By MARIA CATLOW. With Coloured Plates.

     5. WESTERN HIMALAYA AND TIBET; the Narrative of a Journey through
     the Mountains of Northern India, during the Years 1847-8. By

     6. FLORA OF NEW ZEALAND. By Dr. J. D. HOOKER, F.R.S. With Coloured

     7. FLORA OF WESTERN ESKIMAUX-LAND, including the Sound to Point
     Barrow, and the adjacent Islands. By BERTHOLD SEEMANN. With

     [_Now ready, price 10s._]

Printed by J. E. Taylor, Little Queen-street, Lincoln's-inn-fields.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  On page 30, text appears to be missing from the phrase: "the ridge
  continues in a * direction".

  On page 342, 12th of May is probably a typo for 12th of June.

  On page 393, the phrase "was finely seen" should perhaps be "was
  finally seen".

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Western Himalaya and Tibet - A Narrative of a Journey Through the Mountains of Northern India During the Years 1847-8" ***

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