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Title: Himalayan Journals — Volume 1
 - Or, Notes of a Naturalist in Bengal, the Sikkim and Nepal Himalayas, the Khasia Mountains, etc.
Author: Hooker, Joseph Dalton
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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 - Or, Notes of a Naturalist in Bengal, the Sikkim and Nepal Himalayas, the Khasia Mountains, etc." ***

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Volume I

First published 1854

These volumes are dedicated,
by his affectionate friend,
Kew, Jan. 12th, 1854



HAVING accompanied Sir James Boss on his voyage of discovery to the
Antarctic regions, where botany was my chief pursuit, on my return I
earnestly desired to add to my acquaintance with the natural history
of the temperate zones, more knowledge of that of the tropics than I
bad hitherto had the opportunity of acquiring. My choice lay between
India and the Andes, and I decided upon the former, being principally
influenced by Dr. Falconer, who promised me every assistance which
his position as Superintendent of the H.E.I.C. Botanic Garden at
Calcutta, would enable hum to give. He also drew my attention to the
fact that we were ignorant even of the geography of the central and
eastern parts of these mountains, while all to the north was involved
in a mystery equally attractive to the traveller and the naturalist.

On hearing of the kind interest taken by Baron Humboldt in my
proposed travels, and at the request of my father (Sir William
Hooker), the Earl of Carlisle (then Chief Commissioner of Woods and
Forests) undertook to represent to Her Majesty's Government the
expediency of securing my collections for the Royal Gardens at Kew;
and owing to the generous exertions of that nobleman, and of the late
Earl of Auckland (then First Lord of the Admiralty), my journey
assumed the character of a Government mission, £400 per annum being
granted by the Treasury for two years.

I did not contemplate proceeding beyond the Himalaya and Tibet, when
Lord Auckland desired that I should afterwards visit Borneo, for the
purpose of reporting on the capabilities of Labuan, with reference to
the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, sugar, indigo, spices,
guttapercha, etc. To this end a commission in the navy (to which
service I was already attached) was given me, such instructions were
drawn up as might facilitate my movements in the East, and a suitable
sum of money was placed at my disposal.

Soon after leaving England, my plans became, from various causes,
altered. The Earl of Auckland* [It is with a melancholy satisfaction
that I here record the intentions of that enlightened nobleman.
The idea of turning to public account what was intended as a
scientific voyage, occurred to his lordship when considering my
application for official leave to proceed to India; and from the hour
of my accepting the Borneo commission with which he honoured me, he
displayed the most active zeal in promoting its fulfilment.
He communicated to me his views as to the direction in which I should
pursue my researches, furnished me with official and other
information, and provided me with introductions of the most essential
use.] was dead; the interest in Borneo had in a great measure
subsided; H.M.S. "Maeander," to which I had been attached for service
in Labuan, had left the Archipelago; reports of the unhealthy nature
of the coast had excited alarm; and the results of my researches in
the Himalaya had proved of more interest and advantage than had been
anticipated. It was hence thought expedient to cancel the Borneo
appointment, and to prolong my services for a third year in India;
for which purpose a grant of £300 (originally intended for defraying
the expense of collecting only, in Borneo) was transferred as salary
for the additional year to be spent in the Himalaya.

The portion of the Himalaya best worth exploring, was selected for me
both by Lord Auckland and Dr. Falconer, who independently recommended
Sikkim, as being ground untrodden by traveller or naturalist.
Its ruler was, moreover, all but a dependant of the British
government, and it was supposed, would therefore be glad to
facilitate my researches.

No part of the snowy Himalaya eastward of the northwest extremity of
the British possessions had been visited since Turner's embassy to
Tibet in 1789; and hence it was highly important to explore
scientifically a part of the chain which, from its central position,
might be presumed to be typical of the whole range. The possibility
of visiting Tibet, and of ascertaining particulars respecting the
great mountain Chumulari,* [My earliest recollections in reading are
of "Turner's Travels in Tibet," and of "Cook's Voyages." The account
of Lama worship and of Chumulari in the one, and of Kerguelen's Land
in the other, always took a strong hold on my fancy. It is,
therefore, singular that Kerguelen's Land should have been the first
strange country I ever visited (now fourteen years ago), and that in
the first King's ship which has touched there since Cook's voyage,
and whilst following the track of that illustrious navigator in south
polar discovery. At a later period I have been nearly the first
European who has approached Chumulari since Turner's embassy.] which
was only known from Turner's account, were additional inducements to
a student of physical geography; but it was not then known that
Kinchinjunga, the loftiest known mountain on the globe, was situated
on my route, and formed a principal feature in the physical geography
of Sikkim.

My passage to Egypt was provided by the Admiralty in H.M.
steam-vessel "Sidon," destined to convey the Marquis of Dalhousie,
Governor-General of India, thus far on his way. On his arrival in
Egypt, his Lordship did me the honour of desiring me to consider
myself in the position of one of his suite, for the remainder of the
voyage, which was performed in the "Moozuffer," a steam frigate
belonging to the Indian Navy. My obligations to this nobleman had
commenced before leaving England, by his promising me every facility
he could command; and he thus took the earliest opportunity of
affording it, by giving me such a position near himself as ensured me
the best reception everywhere; no other introduction being needed.
His Lordship procured my admission into Sikkim, and honoured me
throughout my travels with the kindest encouragement.

During the passage out, some days were spent in Egypt, at Aden,
Ceylon, and Madras. I have not thought it necessary to give here the
observations made in those well-known countries; they are detailed in
a series of letters published in the "London Journal of Botany," as
written for my private friends. Arriving at Calcutta in January, I
passed the remainder of the cold season in making myself acquainted
with the vegetation of the plains and hills of Western Bengal, south
of the Ganges, by a journey across the mountains of Birbhoom and
Behar to the Soane valley, and thence over the Vindhya range to the
Ganges, at Mirzapore, whence I descended that stream to Bhaugulpore;
and leaving my boat, struck north to the Sikkim Himalaya. This
excursion is detailed in the "London Journal of Botany," and the
Asiatic Society of Bengal honoured me by printing the meteorological
observations made during its progress.

During the two years' residence in Sikkim which succeeded, I was laid
under obligations of no ordinary nature to Brian H. Hodgson, Esq.,
B.C.S., for many years Resident at the Nepal Court; whose guest I
became for several months. Mr. Hodgson's high position as a man of
science requires no mention here; but the difficulties he overcame,
and the sacrifices he made, in attaining that position, are known to
few. He entered the wilds of Nepal when very young, and in
indifferent health; and finding time to spare, cast about for the
best method of employing it: he had no one to recommend or direct a
pursuit, no example to follow, no rival to equal or surpass; he had
never been acquainted with a scientific man, and knew nothing of
science except the name. The natural history of men and animals, in
its most comprehensive sense, attracted his attention; he sent to
Europe for books, and commenced the study of ethnology and zoology.
His labours have now extended over upwards of twenty-five years'
residence in the Himalaya. During this period he has seldom had a
staff of less than from ten to twenty persons (often many more), of
various tongues and races, employed as translators and collectors,
artists, shooters, and stuffers. By unceasing exertions and a
princely liberality, Mr. Hodgson has unveiled the mysteries of the
Boodhist religion, chronicled the affinities, languages, customs, and
faiths of the Himalayan tribes; and completed a natural history of
the animals and birds of these regions. His collections of specimens
are immense, and are illustrated by drawings and descriptions taken
from life, with remarks on the anatomy,* [In this department he
availed himself of the services of Dr. Campbell, who was also
attached to the Residency at Nepal, as surgeon and assistant
political agent.] habits, and localities of the animals themselves.
Twenty volumes of the Journals, and the Museum of the Asiatic Society
of Bengal, teem with the proofs of his indefatigable zeal; and
throughout the cabinets of the bird and quadruped departments of our
national museum, Mr. Hodgson's name stands pre-eminent. A seat in the
Institute of France, and the cross of the Legion of Honour, prove the
estimation in which his Boodhist studies are held on the continent of
Europe. To be welcomed to the Himalaya by such a person, and to be
allowed the most unreserved intercourse, and the advantage of all his
information and library, exercised a material influence on the
progress I made in my studies, and on my travels. When I add that
many of the subjects treated of in these volumes were discussed
between us, it will be evident that it is impossible for me to divest
much of the information thus insensibly obtained, of the appearance
of being the fruits of my own research.

Dr. Campbell, the Superintendent of Dorjiling, is likewise the
Governor-General's agent, or medium of communication between the
British Government and the Sikkim Rajah; and as such, invested with
many discretionary powers. In the course of this narrative, I shall
give a sketch of the rise, progress, and prospects of the Sanatarium,
or Health-station of Dorjiling, and of the anomalous position held by
the Sikkim Rajah. The latter circumstance led indirectly to the
detention of Dr. Campbell (who joined me in one of my journeys) and
myself, by a faction of the Sikkim court, for the purpose of
obtaining from the Indian Government a more favourable treaty than
that then existing. This mode of enforcing a request by _douce
violence_ and detention, is common with the turbulent tribes east
of Nepal, but was in this instance aggravated by violence towards my
fellow-prisoner, through the ill will of the persons who executed the
orders of their superiors, and who had been punished by Dr. Campbell
for crimes committed against both the British and Nepalese
governments. The circumstances of this outrage were misunderstood at
the time; its instigators were supposed to be Chinese; its
perpetrators Tibetans; and we the offenders were assumed to have
thrust ourselves into the country, without authority from our own
government, and contrary to the will of the Sikkim Rajah; who was
imagined to be a tributary of China, and protected by that nation,
and to be under no obligation to the East Indian government.

With regard to the obligations I owe to Dr. Campbell, I confine
myself to saying that his whole aim was to promote my comfort, and to
secure my success, in all possible ways. Every object I had in view
was as sedulously cared for by him as by myself: I am indebted to his
influence with Jung Bahadoor* [It was in Nepal that Dr. Campbell
gained the friendship of Jung Bahadoor, the most remarkable proof of
which is the acceding to his request, and granting me leave to visit
the eastern parts of his dominions; no European that I am aware of,
having been allowed, either before or since, to travel anywhere
except to and from the plains of India and valley of Katmandu, in
which the capital city and British residency are situated.] for the
permission to traverse his dominions, and to visit the Tibetan passes
of Nepal. His prudence and patience in negotiating with the Sikkim
court, enabled me to pursue my investigations in that country. My
journal is largely indebted to his varied and extensive knowledge of
the people and productions of these regions.

In all numerical calculations connected with my observations, I
received most essential aid from John Muller, Esq., Accountant of the
Calcutta Mint, and from his brother, Charles Muller, Esq., of Patna,
both ardent amateurs in scientific pursuits, and who employed
themselves in making meteorological observations at Dorjiling, where
they were recruiting constitutions impaired by the performance of
arduous duties in the climate of the plains. I cannot sufficiently
thank these gentlemen for the handsome manner in which they
volunteered me their assistance in these laborious operations.
Mr. J. Muller resided at Dorjiling during eighteen months of my stay
in Sikkim, over the whole of which period his generous zeal in my
service never relaxed; he assisted me in the reduction of many
hundreds of my observations for latitude, time, and elevation,
besides adjusting and rating my instruments; and I can recall no more
pleasant days than those thus spent with these hospitable friends.

Thanks to Dr. Falconer's indefatigable exertions, such of my
collections as reached Calcutta were forwarded to England in
excellent order; and they were temporarily deposited in Kew Gardens
until their destination should be determined. On my return home, my
scientific friends interested themselves in procuring from the
Government such aid as might enable me to devote the necessary time
to the arrangement, naming, and distributing of my collections, the
publication of my manuscripts, etc. I am in this most deeply indebted
to the disinterested and generous exertions of Mr. L. Horner, Sir
Charles Lyell, Dr. Lindley, Professor E. Forbes, and many others; and
most especially to the Presidents of the Royal Society (the Earl of
Rosse), of the Linnean (Mr. R. Brown), and Geological (Mr. Hopkins),
who in their official capacities memorialized in person the Chief
Commissioner of Woods and Forests on this subject; Sir William Hooker
at the same time bringing it under the notice of the First Lord of
the Treasury. The result was a grant of £400 annually for three years.

Dr. T. Thomson joined me in Dorjiling in the end of 1849, after the
completion of his arduous journeys in the North-West Himalaya and
Tibet, and we spent the year 1850 in travelling and collecting,
returning to England together in 1851. Having obtained permission
from the Indian Government to distribute his botanical collections,
which equal my own in extent and value, we were advised by all our
botanical friends to incorporate, and thus to distribute them. The
whole constitute an Herbarium of from 6000 to 7000 species of Indian
plants, including an immense number of duplicates; and it is now in
process of being arranged and named, by Dr. Thomson and myself,
preparatory to its distribution amongst sixty of the principal public
and private herbaria in Europe, India, and the United States
of America.

For the information of future travellers, I may state that the total
expense of my Indian journey, including outfit, three years and a
half travelling, and the sending of my collections to Calcutta, was
under £2000 (of which £1200 were defrayed by government), but would
have come to much more, had I not enjoyed the great advantages I have
detailed. This sum does not include the purchase of books and
instruments, with which I supplied myself, and which cost about £200,
nor the freight of the collections to England, which was paid by
Government. Owing to the kind services of Mr. J. C. Melvill,
Secretary of the India House, many small parcels of seeds, etc., were
conveyed to England, free of cost; and I have to record my great
obligations and sincere thanks to the Peninsular and Oriental Steam
Navigation Company, for conveying, without charge, all small parcels
of books, instruments and specimens, addressed to or by myself.

It remains to say something of the illustrations of this work.
The maps are from surveys of my own, made chiefly with my own
instruments, but partly with some valuable ones for the use of which
I am indebted to my friend Captain H. Thuillier, Deputy
Surveyor-General of India, who placed at my disposal the resources of
the magnificent establishment under his control, and to whose
innumerable good offices I am very greatly beholden.

The landscapes, etc. have been prepared chiefly from my own drawings,
and will, I hope, be found to be tolerably faithful representations
of the scenes. I have always endeavoured to overcome that tendency to
exaggerate heights, and increase the angle of slopes, which is I
believe the besetting sin, not of amateurs only, but of our most
accomplished artists. As, however, I did not use instruments in
projecting the outlines, I do not pretend to have wholly avoided this
snare; nor, I regret to say; has the lithographer, in all cases, been
content to abide by his copy. My drawings will be considered tame
compared with most mountain landscapes, though the subjects comprise
some of the grandest scenes in nature. Considering how conventional
the treatment of such subjects is, and how unanimous artists seem to
be as to the propriety of exaggerating those features which should
predominate in the landscape, it may fairly be doubted whether the
total effect of steepness and elevation, especially in a mountain
view, can, on a small scale, be conveyed by a strict adherence to
truth. I need hardly add, that if such is attainable, it is only by
those who have a power of colouring that few pretend to. In the list
of plates and woodcuts I have mentioned the obligations I am under to
several friends for the use of drawings, etc.

With regard to the spelling of native names, after much anxious
discussion I have adopted that which assimilates most to the English
pronunciation. For great assistance in this, for a careful revision
of the sheets as they passed through the press, and for numerous
valuable suggestions throughout, I am indebted to my
fellow-traveller, Dr. Thomas Thomson.



Sunderbunds vegetation -- Calcutta Botanic Garden -- Leave for
Burdwan -- Rajah's gardens and menagerie -- Coal-beds, geology, and
plants of -- Lac insect and plant -- Camels -- Kunker -- Cowage --
Effloresced soda on soil -- Glass, manufacture of -- Atmospheric
vapours -- Temperature, etc. -- Mahowa oil and spirits -- Maddaobund
-- Jains -- Ascent of Paras-nath -- Vegetation of that mountain.


Doomree -- Vegetation of table-land -- Lieutenant Beadle -- Birds --
Hot springs of Soorujkoond -- Plants near them -- Shells in them --
Cholera-tree -- Olibanum -- Palms, form of -- Dunwah pass -- Trees,
native and planted  -- Wild peacock -- Poppy fields -- Geography and
geology of Behar and Central India -- Toddy-palm -- Ground,
temperature of -- Baroon -- Temperature of plants -- Lizard -- Cross
the Soane -- Sand, ripple-marks on -- Kymore hills -- Ground,
temperature of -- Limestone -- Rotas fort and palace -- Nitrate of
lime -- Change of climate -- Lime stalagmites, enclosing leaves --
Fall of Soane -- Spiders, etc. -- Scenery and natural history of
upper Soane valley -- _Hardwickia binata_ -- Bhel fruit --
Dust-storm --  Alligator -- Catechu -- _Cochlospermum_ --
Leaf-bellows -- Scorpions -- Tortoises -- Florican -- Limestone
spheres -- Coles -- Tiger-hunt -- Robbery.


Ek-powa Ghat -- Sandstones -- Shahgunj -- Table-land, elevation, etc.
-- Gum-arabic -- Mango -- Fair -- Aquatic plants -- Rujubbund --
Storm -- False sunset and sunrise -- Bind hills -- Mirzapore --
Manufactures, imports, etc. -- Climate -- Thuggee -- Chunar --
Benares -- Mosque -- Observatory -- Sar-nath --  Ghazeepore --
Rose-gardens -- Manufactory of attar -- Lord Cornwallis' tomb --
Ganges, scenery and natural history of -- Pelicans -- Vegetation --
Insects -- Dinapore -- Patna -- Opium godowns and manufacture --
Mudar, white and purple -- Monghyr islets -- Hot springs of
Seetakoond -- Alluvium of Ganges -- Rocks of Sultun-gunj --
Bhaugulpore -- Temples of Mt. Manden -- Coles and native tribes --
Bhaugulpore rangers -- Horticultural gardens.


Leave Bhaugulpore -- Kunker -- Colgong -- Himalaya, distant view of
-- Cosi, mouth of -- Difficult navigation -- Sand-storms --
Caragola-Ghat -- Purnea -- Ortolans -- Mahanuddy, transport of
pebbles, etc. -- Betel-pepper, cultivation of -- Titalya -- Siligoree
-- View of outer Himalaya -- Terai -- Mechis -- Punkabaree -- Foot of
mountains -- Ascent to Dorjiling -- Cicadas -- Leeches -- Animals --
Kursiong, spring vegetation of -- Pacheem -- Arrive at Dorjiling --
Dorjiling, origin and settlement of -- Grant of land from Rajah --
Dr. Campbell appointed superintendent -- Dewan, late and present --
Aggressive conduct of the latter -- Increase of the station -- Trade
-- Titalya fair -- Healthy climate for Europeans and children --
Invalids, diseases prejudicial to.


View from Mr. Hodgson's of range of snowy mountains -- Their extent
and elevation -- Delusive appearance of elevation -- Sinchul, view
from and vegetation of -- Chumulari -- Magnolias, white and purple --
_Rhododendron Dalhousiae, arboreum_ and _argentium_ -- Natives of
Dorjiling -- Lepchas, origin, tradition of flood, morals, dress,
arms, ornaments, diet -- Cups, origin and value -- Marriages --
Diseases -- Burial -- Worship and religion -- Bijooas -- Kumpa Rong,
or Arrat -- Limboos, origin, habits, language, etc. -- Moormis --
Magras -- Mechis -- Comparison of customs with those of the natives
of Assam, Khasia, etc.


Excursion from Dorjiling to Great Rungeet -- Zones of vegetation --
Tree-ferns -- Palms, upper limit of -- Leebong, tea plantations --
Ging -- Boodhist remains -- Tropical vegetation -- Pines -- Lepcha
clearances -- Forest fires -- Boodhist monuments -- Fig --
Cane-bridge and raft over Rungeet -- Sago-palm -- India-rubber -- Yel
Pote -- Butterflies and other insects -- Snakes -- Camp --
Temperature and humidity of atmosphere -- Junction of Teesta and
Rungeet -- Return to Dorjiling -- Tonglo, excursion to -- Bamboo,
flowering -- Oaks -- _Gordonia_ -- Maize, hermaphrodite flowered
-- Figs -- Nettles -- Peepsa -- Simonbong, cultivation at -- European
fruits at Dorjiling-Plains of India.


Continue the ascent of Tonglo -- Trees -- Lepcha construction of hut
-- Simsibong -- Climbing-trees -- Frogs -- Magnolias, etc. -- Ticks
-- Leeches -- Cattle, murrain amongst -- Summit of Tonglo --
Rhododendrons -- _Skimmia_ -- Yew -- Rose -- Aconite -- Bikh
poison -- English genera of plants -- Ascent of tropical orders --
Comparison with south temperate zone -- Heavy rain -- Temperature,
etc. -- Descent -- Simonbong temple -- Furniture therein --
Praying-cylinder -- Thigh-bone trumpet -- Morning orisons -- Present
of Murwa beer, etc.


Difficulty in procuring leave to enter Sikkim -- Obtain permission to
travel in East Nepal -- Arrangements -- Coolies -- Stores -- Servants
-- Personal equipment -- Mode of travelling -- Leave Dorjiling --
Goong ridge -- Behaviour of Bhotan coolies -- Nepal frontier -- Myong
valley -- Ilam -- Sikkim massacre -- Cultivation -- Nettles -- Camp
at Nanki on Tonglo -- Bhotan coolies run away -- View of Chumulari --
Nepal peaks to west -- Sakkiazong -- _Buceros_ -- Road to
Wallanchoon -- Oaks -- Scarcity of water -- Singular view of
mountain-valleys -- Encampment -- My tent and its furniture --
Evening occupations -- Dunkotah-Cross ridge of Sakkiazong -- Yews --
Silver-firs-View of Tambur valley -- Pemmi river -- Pebbly terraces
-- Geology -- Holy springs -- Enormous trees -- _Luculia
gratissima_ -- Khawa river, rocks of -- Arrive at Tambur --
Shingle and gravel terraces -- Natives, indolence of -- Canoe ferry
-- Votive offerings -- Bad road -- Temperature, etc. -- Chingtam
village, view from -- Mywa river and Guola -- House -- Boulders --
Chain-bridge -- Meepo, arrival of -- Fevers.


Leave Mywa -- Suspension bridge -- Landslips -- Vegetation -- Slope
of river-bed -- Bees' nests -- Glacial phenomena -- Tibetans,
clothing, ornaments, amulets, salutation, children, dogs -- Last
Limboo village, Taptiatok -- Beautiful scenery -- Tibet village of
Lelyp -- _Opuntia -- Edgeworthia -- Crab-apple_ -- Chameleon and
porcupine -- Praying-machine -- _Abies Brunoniana_ -- European
plants -- Grand scenery -- Arrive at Wallanchoon -- Scenery around --
Trees -- Tibet houses -- Manis and Mendongs -- Tibet household --
Food -- Tea-soup -- Hospitality -- Yaks and Zobo, uses and habits of
-- Bhoteeas -- Yak-hair tents -- Guobah of Walloong -- Jatamansi --
Obstacles to proceeding-Climate and weather -- Proceed --
Rhododendrons, etc. -- Lichens -- _Poa annua_ and Shepherd's
purse -- Tibet camp -- Tuquoroma -- Scenery of pass -- Glaciers and
snow -- Summit -- Plants, woolly, etc.


Return from Wallanchoon pass -- Procure a bazaar at village -- Dance
of Lamas -- Blackening face, Tibetan custom of -- Temple and convent
-- Leave for Kanglachem pass -- Send part of party back to Dorjiling
-- Yangma Guola -- Drunken Tibetans -- Guobah of Wallanchoon -- Camp
at foot of Great Moraine -- View from top -- Geological speculations
-- Height of moraines -- Cross dry lake-bed -- Glaciers -- More
moraines -- Terraces -- Yangma temples -- Jos, books and furniture --
Peak of Nango -- Lake -- Arrive at village -- Cultivation -- Scenery
-- Potatos -- State of my provisions -- Pass through village --
Gigantic boulders -- Terraces -- Wild sheep -- Lake-beds -- Sun's
power -- Piles of gravel and detritus -- Glaciers and moraines --
Pabuk, elevation of -- Moonlight scene -- Return to Yangma --
Temperature, etc. -- Geological causes of phenomena in valley --
Scenery of valley on descent.


Ascend to Nango mountain -- Moraines -- Glaciers -- Vegetation --
_Rhododendron Hodgsoni_ -- Rocks -- Honey-combed surface of snow
-- Perpetual snow -- Top of pass -- View -- Elevation -- Geology --
Distance of sound -- Plants -- Temperature -- Scenery -- Cliffs of
granite and hurled boulders -- Camp -- Descent -- Pheasants -- Larch
-- Himalayan pines -- Distribution of Deodar, note on --
Tassichooding temples -- Kambachen village -- Cultivation -- Moraines
in valley, distribution of -- Picturesque lake-beds, and their
vegetation -- Tibetan sheep and goats -- _Cryptogramma crispa_
-- Ascent to Choonjerma pass -- View of Junnoo -- Rocks of its summit
-- Misty ocean -- Nepal peaks -- Top of pass -- Temperature, and
observations -- Gorgeous sunset -- Descent to Yalloong valley --
Loose path -- Night scenes -- Musk deer.


Yalloong valley -- Find Kanglanamo pass closed -- Change route for
the southward -- _Picrorhiza_ -- View of Kubra --
_Rhododendron Falconeri_ -- Yalloong river -- Junction of gneiss
and clay-slate -- Cross Yalloong range -- Yiew -- Descent -- Yew --
Vegetation -- Misty weather -- Tongdam village -- Khabang -- Tropical
vegetation -- Sidingbah mountain -- View of Kinchinjunga --
Yangyading village -- Slopes of hills, and courses of rivers --
Khabili valley -- Ghorkha Havildar's bad conduct -- Ascend Singalelah
-- Plague of ticks -- Short commons -- Cross Islumbo pass -- Boundary
of Sikkim -- Kulhait valley -- Lingcham -- Reception by Kajee -- Hear
of Dr. Campbell's going to meet Rajah -- Views in valley -- Leave for
Teesta river -- Tipsy Kajee -- Hospitality -- Murwa beer -- Temples
-- _Acorus Calamus_ -- Long Mendong -- Burning of dead --
Superstitions -- Cross Great Rungeet -- Boulders, origin of --
Purchase of a dog -- Marshes -- Lamas -- Dismiss Ghorkhas -- Bhoteea
house -- Murwa beer.


Raklang pass -- Uses of nettles -- Edible plants -- Lepcha war --
Do-mani stone -- Neongong -- Teesta valley -- Pony, saddle, etc. --
Meet Campbell -- Vegetation and scenery -- Presents -- Visit of Dewan
-- Characters of Rajah and Dewan -- Accounts of Tibet -- Lhassa --
Siling -- Tricks of Dewan -- Walk up Teesta -- Audience of Rajah --
Lamas -- Kajees -- Tchebu Lama, his character and position -- Effects
of interview -- Heir-apparent -- Dewan's house -- Guitar -- Weather
-- Fall of river -- Tibet officers -- Gigantic trees -- Neongong lake
-- Mainom, ascent of -- Vegetation -- Camp on snow -- Silver-firs --
View from top -- Kinchin, etc. -- Geology -- Vapours -- Sunset effect
-- Elevation -- Temperature, etc. -- Lamas of Neongong -- Temples --
Religious festival Bamboo, flowering -- Recross pass of Raklang --
Numerous temples, villages, etc. -- Domestic animals -- Descent to
Great Rungeet.


Tassiding, view of and from -- Funereal cypress -- Camp at Sunnook --
Hot vapours -- Lama's house -- Temples, decorations, altars, idols,
general effect -- Chaits -- Date of erection -- Plundered by Ghorkas
-- Cross Ratong -- Ascend to Pemiongehi -- Relation of river-beds to
strike of rocks -- Slopes of ravines -- Pemiongehi, view of --
Vegetation -- Elevation -- Temple, decorations, etc. -- Former
capital of Sikkim -- History of Sikkim -- Nightingales -- Campbell
departs -- Tchonpong -- _Edgeworthia_ -- Cross Rungbee and
Ratong -- Hoar-frost on plantains -- Yoksun -- Walnuts -- View --
Funereal cypresses -- Doobdi -- Gigantic cypresses -- Temples --
Snow-fall -- Sikkim, etc. -- Toys.


Leave Yoksun for Kinchinjunga -- Ascend Ratong valley --
Salt-smuggling over Ratong -- Landslips -- Plants -- Buckeem --
Blocks of gneiss -- Mon Lepcha -- View -- Weather -- View from Gubroo
-- Kinchinjunga, tops of -- Pundimcliff -- Nursing -- Vegetation of
Himalaya -- Coup d'oeil of Jongri -- Route to Yalloong -- Arduous
route of salt-traders from Tibet -- Kinchin, ascent of -- Lichens --
Surfaces sculptured by snow and ice -- Weather at Jongri -- Snow --
Shades for eyes.


Ratong river below Mon Lepcha -- Ferns -- Vegetation of Yoksun,
tropical -- _Araliaceae_, fodder for cattle -- Rice-paper plant
-- Geology of Yoksun -- Lake -- Old temples -- Funereal cypresses --
Gigantic chart -- Altars -- Songboom -- Weather -- Catsuperri --
Velocity of Ratong -- Worship at Catsuperri lake -- Scenery -- Willow
-- Lamas and ecclesiastical establishments of Sikkim -- Tengling --
Changachelling temples and monks -- Portrait of myself on walls --
Block of mica-schist -- Lingcham Kajee asks for spectacles --
Hee-hill -- Arrive at Little Rungeet -- At Dorjiling -- Its deserted
and wintry appearance.


Dispatch collections -- Acorns -- Heat -- Punkabaree -- Bees --
Vegetation -- Haze -- Titalya -- Earthquake -- Proceed to Nepal
frontier -- Terai, geology of -- Physical features of Himalayan
valleys -- Elephants, purchase of, etc. -- River-beds -- Mechi river
-- Return to Titalya -- Leave for Teesta -- Climate of plains --
Jeelpigoree -- Cooches -- Alteration in the appearance of country by
fires, etc. -- Grasses -- Bamboos -- Cottages -- Rajah of Cooch Behar
-- Condition of people -- Hooli festival -- Ascend Teesta -- Canoes
-- Cranes -- Forest -- Baikant-pore -- Rummai -- Religion -- Plants
at foot of mountains -- Exit of Teesta -- Canoe voyage down to
Rangamally -- English genera of plants -- Birds -- Beautiful scenery
-- Botanizing on elephants -- Willow -- Siligoree -- Cross Terai --
Geology -- Iron -- Lohar-ghur -- Coal and sandstone beds -- Mechi
fisherman -- Hailstorm -- Ascent to Kursiong -- To Dorjiling --
Vegetation -- Geology -- Folded quartz-beds -- Spheres of feldspar --
Lime deposits.



Fig. I. The Dhak, _Butea frondosa,_ and _Cochlospermum
gossypium,_ with the Kymore Hills in the background. p.53
Fig. II. View of Kinchinjunga from Mr. Hodgson's bungalow at
Dorjiling, from a sketch by W. Tayler, Esq., B.C.S. Frontispiece.
Fig. III. From Chingtam, looking up the Tambur Valley. p.196
Fig. VI. Nango mountain, from the summit of the great moraine in
Yangma Valley, looking eastward. p.232
Fig. V. Junnoo mountain from the Choonjerma Pass. p.264


Fig. 1. Old tamarind trees. p.17
Fig. 2. Crossing the Soane River above Tura, with the Kymore Hills in
the background. p.47
Fig. 3. Equatorial sun-dial, Benares Observatory. p.74
Fig. 4. Equinoctial sun-dial, Benares Observatory. p.75
Fig. 5. Azimuth circle, Benares Observatory. p.76
Fig. 6. Monghyr on the Ganges. p.88
Fig. 7. Punkabaree, Sikkim Terai, and Balasun River. The trees in the
foreground are _Araliaceae._ p.105
Fig. 8. Lepcha girl and Boodhist priest. From a sketch by Miss
Colvile. p.129
Fig. 9. _Pinus longifolia,_ in the great Rungeet Valley. p.148
Fig. 10. Construction of a cane suspension-bridge. p.149
Fig. 11. Lepcha boy carrying a bamboo water-vessel. From a sketch by
Miss Colvile. p.156
Fig. 12. Amulet usually worn by Lepchas. p.161
Fig. 13. Trunk-like root of _Wightia gigantea,_ ascending a
tree, which its stout rootlets clasp. p.164
Fig. 14. Interior of Boodhist temple at Simonbong. p.172
Fig. 15. Trumpet made of a human thigh-bone. p.173
Fig. 16. Tibetan amulet set with turquoises. p.176
Fig. 17. Head of Tibet Mastiff. From a sketch taken in the zoological
gardens by C. Jenyns, Esq. p.203
Fig. 18. View on the Tambur River, with _Ambies brunoniana_.
Fig. 19. Wallanchoon village, East Nepal. p.210
Fig. 20. Head of a Tibetan demon. From a model in the possession of
Captain H. Strachey. p.226
Fig. 21. Ancient moraines surrounding the lower lake-bed in the
Yangma valley (looking west). p.234
Fig. 22. Second lake-bed in the Yangma valley, with Nango mountain,
(looking east). p.237
Fig. 23. Diagram of the terraces and glacial boulders, etc., at the
fork of the Yangma valley (looking north-west up the valley). The
terraces are represented as much too level and angular, and the
boulders too large, the woodcut being intended as a diagram rather
than as a view. p.242
Fig. 24. View of the head of the Yangma valley, and ancient moraines
of debris, which rise in confused hills several hundred feet above
the floor of the valley below the Kanglachem pass (elevation 16,000
feet). p.245
Fig. 25. Skulls of _Ovis ammon._ Sketched by J. E. Winterbottom,
Esq. p.249
Fig. 26. Ancient moraines, in which small lake-beds occur, in the
Kambachen valley (elevation 11,400 feet). p.260
Fig. 21. Brass box to contain amulets, from Tibet. p.270
Fig. 23. Pemiongchi goompa (or temple) with Chaits in the foreground.
Fig. 29. Costumes of Sikkim lamas and monks, with the bell, mani,
dobje, and trident. p.291
Fig. 30. The Do-mani stone, with gigantic Tibetan characters. p.294
Fig. 31. Implements of worship in the Sikkim temples. p.314
Fig. 32. Chaits at Tassiding, with decayed funereal cypresses. p.316
Fig. 33. Vestibule of temple at Tassiding. p.319
Fig. 34. Southern temple, at Tassiding. p.320
Fig. 35. Middle temple, at Tassiding, with mounted yaks. p.321
Fig. 36. Chair, altar, and images in the great temple at Tassiding.
Fig. 37. Ground-plan of southern temple at Tassiding. p.323
Fig. 38. Interior of temple at Pemiongchi, the walls covered with
allegorical paintings. p.329
Fig. 39. Doobdi temple, with young and old funereal cypress. p.337
Fig. 40. Summit of Kinchinjunga, with Pundim on the right; its black
cliff traversed by white granite veins. p.347
Fig. 41. Image of Maitrya, the coming Boodh. p.357
Fig. 42. Stone altar, and erection for burning juniper ashes. p.361
Fig. 43. Facsimile of the vermilion seal of the Dhurma Rajah of
Bhotan, head of the Dookpa sect of Boodhists. Opposite p.372
Fig. 44. A Mech, native of the Sikkim Terai. Sketched by Miss
Colvile. p.406
Fig. 45. Mech pocket-comb (of wood). p.408



Sunderbunds vegetation -- Calcutta Botanic Garden -- Leave for
Burdwan -- Rajah's gardens and menagerie -- Coal-beds, geology, and
plants of -- Lac insect and plant -- Camels -- Kunker -- Cowage --
Effloresced soda on soil -- Glass, manufacture of -- Atmospheric
vapours -- Temperature, etc. -- Mahowa oil and spirits -- Maddaobund
-- Jains -- Ascent of Paras-nath -- Vegetation of that mountain.

I left England on the 11th of November, 1847, and performed the
voyage to India under circumstances which have been detailed in the
Introduction. On the 12th of January, 1848, the "Moozuffer" was
steaming amongst the low swampy islands of the Sunderbunds.
These exhibit no tropical luxuriance, and are, in this respect,
exceedingly disappointing. A low vegetation covers them, chiefly made
up of a dwarf-palm (_Phoenix paludosa_) and small mangroves, with a
few scattered trees on the higher bank that runs along the water's
edge, consisting of fan-palm, toddy-palm, and _Terminalia._ Every now
and then, the paddles of the steamer tossed up the large fruits of
_Nipa fruticans,_ a low stemless palm that grows in the tidal waters
of the Indian ocean, and bears a large head of nuts. It is a plant of
no interest to the common observer, but of much to the geologist, from
the nuts of a similar plant abounding in the tertiary formations at
the mouth of the Thames, and having floated about there in as great
profusion as here, till buried deep in the silt and mud that now forms
the island of Sheppey.* [Bowerbank "On the Fossil Fruits and Seeds of
the Isle of Sheppey," and Lyell's "Elements of Geology," 3rd ed. p.

Higher up, the river Hoogly is entered, and large trees, with
villages and cultivation, replace the sandy spits and marshy jungles
of the great Gangetic delta. A few miles below Calcutta, the scenery
becomes beautiful, beginning with the Botanic Garden, once the
residence of Roxburgh and Wallich, and now of Falconer,--classical
ground to the naturalist. Opposite are the gardens of Sir Lawrence
Peel; unrivalled in India for their beauty and cultivation, and
fairly entitled to be called the Chatsworth of Bengal. A little
higher up, Calcutta opened out, with the batteries of Fort William in
the foreground, thundering forth a salute, and in a few minutes more
all other thoughts were absorbed in watching the splendour of the
arrangements made for the reception of the Governor-General of India.

During my short stay in Calcutta, I was principally occupied in
preparing for an excursion with Mr. Williams of the Geological
Survey, who was about to move his camp from the Damooda valley
coal-fields, near Burdwan, to Beejaghur on the banks of the Soane,
where coal was reported to exist, in the immediate vicinity of
water-carriage, the great desideratum of the Burdwan fields.

My time was spent partly at Government-House, and partly at Sir
Lawrence Peel's residence. The former I was kindly invited to
consider as my Indian home, an honour which I appreciate the more
highly, as the invitation was accompanied with the assurance that I
should have entire freedom to follow my own pursuits; and the
advantages which such a position afforded me, were, I need not say,
of no ordinary kind.

At the Botanic Gardens I received every assistance from Dr.
McLelland,* [Dr. Falconer's _locum tenens,_ then in temporary
charge of the establishment.] who was very busy, superintending the
publication of the botanical papers and drawings of his friend, the
late Dr. Griffith, for which native artists were preparing copies on
lithographic paper.

Of the Gardens themselves it is exceedingly difficult to speak; the
changes had been so very great, and from a state with which I had no
acquaintance. There had been a great want of judgment in the
alterations made since Dr. Wallich's time, when they were celebrated
as the most beautiful gardens in the east, and were the great object
of attraction to strangers and townspeople. I found instead an
unsightly wilderness, without shade (the first requirement of every
tropical garden) or other beauties than some isolated grand trees,
which had survived the indiscriminate destruction of the useful and
ornamental which had attended the well-meant but ill-judged attempt
to render a garden a botanical class-book. It is impossible to praise
too highly Dr. Griffith's abilities and acquirements as a botanist,
his perseverance and success as a traveller, or his matchless
industry in the field and in the closet; and it is not wonderful,
that, with so many and varied talents, he should have wanted the eye
of a landscape-gardener, or the education of a horticulturist.
I should, however, be wanting in my duty to his predecessor, and to
his no less illustrious successor, were these remarks withheld,
proceeding, as they do, from an unbiassed observer, who had the
honour of standing in an equally friendly relation to all parties.
Before leaving India, I saw great improvements, but many years must
elapse before the gardens can resume their once proud pre-eminence.

I was surprised to find the Botanical Gardens looked upon by many of
the Indian public, and even by some of the better informed official
men, as rather an extravagant establishment, more ornamental than
useful. These persons seemed astonished to learn that its name was
renowned throughout Europe, and that during the first twenty years
especially of Dr. Wallich's superintendence, it had contributed more
useful and ornamental tropical plants to the public and private
gardens of the world than any other establishment before or since.*
[As an illustration of this, I may refer to a Report presented to the
government of Bengal, from which it appears that between January,
1836, and December, 1840, 189,932 plants were distributed gratis to
nearly 2000 different gardens.] I speak from a personal knowledge of
the contents of our English gardens, and our colonial ones at the
Cape, and in Australia, and from an inspection of the ponderous
volumes of distribution lists, to which Dr. Falconer is daily adding.
The botanical public of Europe and India is no less indebted than the
horticultural to the liberality of the Hon. East India Company, and
to the energy of the several eminent men who have carried their views
into execution.* [I here allude to the great Indian herbarium,
chiefly formed by the staff of the Botanic Gardens under the
direction of Dr. Wallich, and distributed in 1829 to the principal
museums of Europe. This is the most valuable contribution of the kind
ever made to science, and it is a lasting memorial: of the princely
liberality of the enlightened men who ruled the counsels of India in
those days. No botanical work of importance has been published since
1829, without recording its sense of the obligation, and I was once
commissioned by a foreign government, to purchase for its national
museum, at whatever cost, one set of these collections, which was
brought to the hammer on the death of its possessor. I have heard it
remarked that the expense attending the distribution was enormous,
and I have reason to know that this erroneous impression has had an
unfavourable influence upon the destination of scarcely less valuable
collections, which have for years been lying untouched in the cellars
of the India House. I may add that officers who have exposed their
lives and impaired their health in forming similar ones at the orders
and expense of the Indian government, are at home, and thrown upon
their own resources, or the assistance of their scientific brethren,
for the means of publishing and distributing the fruits of their
labours.] The Indian government, itself, has already profited largely
by these gardens, directly and indirectly, and might have done so
still more, had its efforts been better seconded either by the
European or native population of the country. Amongst its greatest
triumphs may be considered the introduction of the tea-plant from
China, a fact I allude to, as many of my English readers may not be
aware that the establishment of the tea-trade in the Himalaya and
Assam is almost entirely the work of the superintendents of the
gardens of Calcutta and Seharunpore.

From no one did I receive more kindness than from Sir James Colvile,
President of the Asiatic Society, who not only took care that I
should be provided with every comfort, but presented me with a
completely equipped palkee, which, for strength and excellence of
construction, was everything that a traveller could desire.
Often _en route_ did I mentally thank him when I saw other
palkees breaking down, and travellers bewailing the loss of those
forgotten necessaries, with which his kind attention had
furnished me.

I left Calcutta to join Mr. Williams' camp on the 28th of January,
driving to Hoogly on the river of that name, and thence following the
grand trunk-road westward towards Burdwan. The novelty of
palkee-travelling at first renders it pleasant; the neatness with
which every thing is packed, the good-humour of the bearers, their
merry pace, and the many more comforts enjoyed than could be expected
in a conveyance _horsed by men_, the warmth when the sliding
doors are shut, and the breeze when they are open, are all fully
appreciated on first starting, but soon the novelty wears off, and
the discomforts are so numerous, that it is pronounced, at best, a
barbarous conveyance. The greedy cry and gestures of the bearers,
when, on changing, they break a fitful sleep by poking a torch in
your face, and vociferating "Bucksheesh, Sahib;" their discontent at
the most liberal largesse, and the sluggishness of the next set who
want bribes, put the traveller out of patience with the natives.
The dust when the slides are open, and the stifling heat when shut
during a shower, are conclusive against the vehicle, and on getting
out with aching bones and giddy head at the journey's end, I shook
the dust from my person, and wished never to see a palkee again.

On the following morning I was passing through the straggling
villages close to Burdwan, consisting of native hovels by the road
side, with mangos and figs planted near them, and palms waving over
their roofs. Crossing the nearly dry bed of the Damooda, I was set
down at Mr. M'Intosh's (the magistrate of the district), and never
more thoroughly enjoyed a hearty welcome and a breakfast.

In the evening we visited the Rajah of Burdwan's palace and
pleasure-grounds, where I had the first glimpse of oriental
gardening: the roads were generally raised, running through rice
fields, now dry and hard, and bordered with trees of Jack, Bamboo,
_Melia, Casuarina,_ etc. Tanks were the prominent features:
chains of them, full of Indian water-lilies, being fringed with rows
of the fan-palm, and occasionally the Indian date. Close to the house
was a rather good menagerie, where I saw, amongst other animals, a
pair of kangaroos in high health and condition, the female with young
in her pouch. Before dark I was again in my palkee, and hurrying
onwards. The night was cool and clear, very different from the damp
and foggy atmosphere I had left at Calcutta. On the following morning
I was travelling over a flat and apparently rising country, along an
excellent road, with groves of bamboos and stunted trees on either
hand, few villages or palms, a sterile soil, with stunted grass and
but little cultivation; altogether a country as unlike what I had
expected to find in India as well might be. All around was a dead
flat or table-land, out of which a few conical hills rose in the
west, about 1000 feet high, covered with a low forest of dusky green
or yellow, from the prevalence of bamboo. The lark was singing
merrily at sunrise, and the accessories of a fresh air and dewy grass
more reminded me of some moorland in the north of England than of the
torrid regions of the east.

At 10 p.m. I arrived at Mr. Williams' camp, at Taldangah, a dawk
station near the western limit of the coal basin of the Damooda
valley. His operations being finished, he was prepared to start,
having kindly waited a couple of days for my arrival.

Early on the morning of the last day of January, a motley group of
natives were busy striking the tents, and loading the bullocks,
bullock-carts and elephants: these proceeded on the march, occupying
in straggling groups nearly three miles of road, whilst we remained
to breakfast with Mr. F. Watkins, Superintendent of the East India
Coal and Coke Company, who were working the seams.

The coal crops out at the surface; but the shafts worked are sunk
through thick beds of alluvium. The age of these coal-fields is quite
unknown, and I regret to say that my examination of their fossil
plants throws no material light on the subject. Upwards of thirty
species of fossil plants have been procured from them, and of these
the majority are referred by Dr. McLelland* [Reports of the
Geological Survey of India. Calcutta, 1850.] to the inferior oolite
epoch of England, from the prevalence of species of _Zamia,
Glossopteris,_ and _Taeniopteris._ Some of these genera,
together with _Vertebraria_ (a very remarkable Indian fossil),
are also recognised in the coal-fields of Sind and of Australia.
I cannot, however, think that botanical evidence of such a nature is
sufficient to warrant a satisfactory reference of these Indian
coal-fields to the same epoch as those of England or of Australia; in
the first place the outlines of the fronds of ferns and their
nervation are frail characters if employed alone for the
determination of existing genera, and much more so of fossil
fragments: in the second place recent ferns are so widely
distributed, that an inspection of the majority affords little clue
to the region or locality they come from: and in the third place,
considering the wide difference in latitude and longitude of
Yorkshire, India, and Australia, the natural conclusion is that they
could not have supported a similar vegetation at the same epoch.
In fact, finding similar fossil plants at places widely different in
latitude, and hence in climate, is, in the present state of our
knowledge, rather an argument against than for their having existed
cotemporaneously. The _Cycadeae,_ especially, whose fossil
remains afford so much ground for geological speculations, are far
from yielding such precise data as is supposed. Species of the order
are found in Mexico, South Africa, Australia, and India, some
inhabiting the hottest and dampest, and others the driest climates on
the surface of the globe; and it appears to me rash to argue much
from the presence of the order in the coal of Yorkshire and India,
when we reflect that the geologist of some future epoch may find as
good reasons for referring the present Cape, Australian, or Mexican
Flora to the same period as that of the Lias and Oolites, when the
_Cycadeae_ now living in the former countries shall
be fossilised.

Specific identity of their contained fossils may be considered as
fair evidence of the cotemporaneous origin of beds, but amongst the
many collections of fossil plants that I have examined, there is
hardly a specimen, belonging to any epoch, sufficiently perfect to
warrant the assumption that the species to which it belonged can be
again recognised. The botanical evidences which geologists too often
accept as proofs of specific identity are such as no botanist would
attach any importance to in the investigation of existing plants.
The faintest traces assumed to be of vegetable origin are habitually
made into genera and species by naturalists ignorant of the
structure, affinities and distribution of living plants, and of such
materials the bulk of so-called systems of fossil plants is composed.

A number of women were here employed in making gunpowder, grinding
the usual materials on a stone, with the addition of water from the
Hookah; a custom for which they have an obstinate prejudice.
The charcoal here used is made from an _Acacia_: the Seiks, I
believe, employ _Justicia Adhatoda,_ which is also in use all
over India: at Aden the Arabs prefer the _Calotropis_, probably
because it is most easily procured. The grain of all these plants is
open, whereas in England, closer-grained and more woody trees,
especially willows, are preferred.

The jungle I found to consist chiefly of thorny bushes, Jujube of two
species, an _Acacia_ and _Butea frondosa,_ the twigs of the
latter often covered with lurid red tears of Lac, which is here
collected in abundance. As it occurs on the plants and is collected
by the natives it is called Stick-lac, but after preparation
Shell-lac. In Mirzapore, a species of _Celtis_ yields it, and
the Peepul very commonly in various parts of India. The elaboration
of this dye, whether by the same species of insect, or by many from
plants so widely different in habit and characters, is a very curious
fact; since none have red juice, but some have milky and
others limpid.

After breakfast, Mr. Williams and I started on an elephant, following
the camp to Gyra, twelve miles distant. The docility of these animals
is an old story, but it loses so much in the telling, that their
gentleness, obedience, and sagacity seemed as strange to me as if I
had never heard or read of these attributes. The swinging motion,
under a hot sun, is very oppressive, but compensated for by being so
high above the dust. The Mahout, or driver, guides by poking his
great toes under either ear, enforcing obedience with an iron goad,
with which he hammers the animal's head with quite as much force as
would break a cocoa-nut, or drives it through his thick skin down to
the quick. A most disagreeable sight it is, to see the blood and
yellow fat oozing out in the broiling sun from these great punctures!
Our elephant was an excellent one, when he did not take obstinate
fits, and so docile as to pick up pieces of stone when desired, and
with a jerk of the trunk throw them over his head for the rider to
catch, thus saving the trouble of dismounting to geologise!

Of sights on the road, unfrequented though this noble line is, there
were plenty for a stranger; chiefly pilgrims to Juggernath, most on
foot, and a few in carts or pony gigs of rude construction.
The vehicles from the upper country are distinguished by a far
superior build, their horses are caparisoned with jingling bells, and
the wheels and other parts are bound with brass. The kindness of the
people towards animals, and in some cases towards their suffering
relations, is very remarkable, and may in part have given origin to
the prevalent idea that they are less cruel and stern than the
majority of mankind; but that the "mild" Hindoo, however gentle on
occasion, is cruel and vindictive to his brother man and to animals,
when his indolent temper is roused or his avarice stimulated, no one
can doubt who reads the accounts of Thuggee, Dacoitee, and poisoning,
and witnesses the cruelty with which beasts of burthen are treated.
A child carrying a bird, kid, or lamb, is not an uncommon sight, and
a woman with a dog in her arms is still more frequently seen.
Occasionally too, a group will bear an old man to see Juggernath
before he dies, or a poor creature with elephantiasis, who hopes to
be allowed to hurry himself to his paradise, in preference to
lingering in helpless inactivity, and at last crawling up to the
second heaven only. The costumes are as various as the religious
castes, and the many countries to which the travellers belong.
Next in wealth to the merchants, the most thriving-looking wanderer
is the bearer of Ganges' holy water, who drives a profitable trade,
his gains increasing as his load lightens, for the further he wanders
from the sacred stream, the more he gets for the contents of his jar.

Of merchandise we passed very little, the Ganges being still the high
road between north-west India and Bengal. Occasionally a string of
camels was seen, but, owing to the damp climate, these are rare, and
unknown east of the meridian of Calcutta. A little cotton, clumsily
packed in ragged bags, dirty, and deteriorating every day, even at
this dry season, proves in how bad a state it must arrive at the
market during the rains, when the low wagons are dragged through
the streams.

The roads here are all mended with a curious stone, called Kunker,
which is a nodular concretionary deposit of limestone, abundantly
imbedded in the alluvial soil of a great part of India.* [Often
occurring in strata, like flints.] It resembles a coarse gravel, each
pebble being often as large as a walnut, and tuberculated on the
surface: it binds admirably, and forms excellent roads, but
pulverises into a most disagreeable impalpable dust.

A few miles beyond Taldangah we passed from the sandstone, in which
the coal lies, to a very barren country of gneiss and granite rocks,
upon which the former rests; the country still rising, more hills
appear, and towering far above all is Paras-nath, the culminant
point, and a mountain whose botany I was most anxious to explore.

The vegetation of this part of the country is very poor, no
good-sized trees are to be seen, all is a low stunted jungle.
The grasses were few, and dried up, except in the beds of the
rivulets. On the low jungly hills the same plants appear, with a few
figs, bamboo in great abundance, several handsome _Acanthaceae_; a
few _Asclepiadeae_ climbing up the bushes; and the Cowage plant, now
with over-ripe pods, by shaking which, in passing, there often falls
such a shower of its irritating microscopic hairs, as to make the
skin tingle for an hour.

On the 1st of February, we moved on to Gyra, another insignificant
village. The air was cool, and the atmosphere clear. The temperature,
at three in the morning, was 65 degrees, with no dew, the grass only
61 degrees°. As the sun rose, Parasnath appeared against the clear
grey sky, in the form of a beautiful broad cone, with a rugged peak,
of a deeper grey than the sky. It is a remarkably handsome mountain,
sufficiently lofty to be imposing, rising out of an elevated country,
the slope of which, upward to the base of the mountain, though
imperceptible, is really considerable; and it is surrounded by lesser
hills of just sufficient elevation to set it off. The atmosphere,
too, of these regions is peculiarly favourable for views: it is very
dry at this season; but still the hills are clearly defined, without
the harsh outlines so characteristic of a moist air. The skies are
bright, the sun powerful; and there is an almost imperceptible haze
that seems to soften the landscape, and keep every object in
true perspective.

Our route led towards the picturesque hills and values in front.
The rocks were all hornblende and micaceous schist, cut through by
trap-dykes, while great crumbling masses (or bosses) of quartz
protruded through the soil. The stratified rocks were often exposed,
pitched up at various inclinations: they were frequently white with
effloresced salts, which entering largely into the composition tended
to hasten their decomposition, and being obnoxious to vegetation,
rendered the sterile soil more hungry still. There was little
cultivation, and that little of the most wretched kind; even
rice-fields were few and scattered; there was no corn, or gram
(_Ervum Lens_), no Castor-oil, no Poppy, Cotton, Safflower, or other
crops of the richer soils that flank the Ganges and Hoogly; a very
little Sugar-cane, Dhal (_Cajana_), Mustard, Linseed, and Rape, the
latter three cultivated for their oil. Hardly a Palm was to be seen;
and it was seldom that the cottages could boast of a Banana,
Tamarind, Orange, Cocoa-nut or Date. The Mahowa (_Bassia latifolia_)
and Mango were the commonest trees. There being no Kunker in the soil
here, the roads were mended with angular quartz, much to the
elephants' annoyance.

We dismounted where some very micaceous stratified rock cropped out,
powdered with a saline efflorescence.* [An impure carbonate of soda.
This earth is thrown into clay vessels with water, which after
dissolving the soda, is allowed to evaporate, when the remainder is
collected, and found to contain so much silica, as to be capable of
being fused into glass. Dr. Boyle mentions this curious fact (Essay
on the Arts and Manufactures of India, read before the Society of
Arts, February 18, 1852), in illustration of the probably early epoch
at which the natives of British India were acquainted with the art of
making glass. More complicated processes are employed, and have been
from a very early period, in other parts of the continent.] Jujubes
(_Zizyphus_) prevailed, with the _Carissa carandas_ (in fruit), a
shrub belonging to the usually poisonous family of Dog-banes
(_Apocyneae_); its berries make good tarts, and the plant itself
forms tolerable hedges.

The country around Fitcoree is rather pretty, the hills covered with
bamboo and brushwood, and as usual, rising rather suddenly from the
elevated plains. The jungle affords shelter to a few bears and
tigers, jackals in abundance, and occasionally foxes; the birds seen
are chiefly pigeons. Insects are very scarce; those of the locust
tribe being most prevalent, indicative of a dry climate.

The temperature at 3 a.m.. was 65 degrees; at 3 p.m. 82 degrees; and
at 10 p.m., 68 degrees, from which there was no great variation
during the whole time we spent at these elevations. The clouds were
rare, and always light and high, except a little fleecy spot of
vapour condensed close to the summit of Paras-nath. Though the nights
were clear and starlight, no dew was deposited, owing to the great
dryness of the air. On one occasion, this drought was so great during
the passage of a hot wind, that at night I observed the wet-bulb
thermometer to stand 20.5 degrees below the temperature of the air,
which was 66 degrees; this indicated a dew-point of 11.5 degrees, or
54.5 degrees below the air, and a saturation-point of 0.146; there
being only 0.102 grains of vapour per cubic foot of air, which latter
was loaded with dust. The little moisture suspended in the atmosphere
is often seen to be condensed in a thin belt of vapour, at a
considerable distance above the dry surface of the earth, thus
intercepting the radiation of heat from the latter to the clear sky
above. Such strata may be observed, crossing the hills in ribbonlike
masses, though not so clearly on this elevated region as on the
plains bounding the lower course of the Soane, where the vapour is
more dense, the hills more scattered, and the whole atmosphere more
humid. During the ten days I spent amongst the hills I saw but one
cloudy sunrise, whereas below, whether at Calcutta, or on the banks
of the Soane, the sun always rose behind a dense fog-bank.

At 9.30 a.m. the black-bulb thermometer rose in the sun to 130
degrees. The morning observation before 10 or 11 a..m. always gives a
higher result than at noon, though the sun's declination is so
considerably less, and in the hottest part of the day it is lower
still (3.30 p.m. 109 degrees), an effect no doubt due to the vapours
raised by the sun, and which equally interfere with the photometer
observations. The N.W. winds invariably rise at about 9 a.m. and blow
with increasing strength till sunset; they are due to the rarefaction
of the air over the heated ground, and being loaded with dust, the
temperature of the atmosphere is hence raised by the heated
particles. The increased temperature of the afternoon is therefore
not so much due to the accumulation of caloric from the sun's rays,
as to the passage of a heated current of air derived from the much
hotter regions to the westward. It would be interesting to know how
far this N.W. diurnal tide extends; also the rate at which it gathers
moisture in its progress over the damp regions of the Sunderbunds.
Its excessive dryness in N.W. India approaches that of the African
and Australian deserts; and I shall give an abstract of my own
observations, both in the vallies of the Soane and Ganges, and on the
elevated plateaus of Behar and of Mirzapore.* [See Appendix A.]

On the 2nd of February we proceeded to Tofe-Choney, the hills
increasing in height to nearly 1000 feet, and the country becoming
more picturesque. We passed some tanks covered with _Villarsia_, and
frequented by flocks of white egrets. The existence of artificial
tanks so near a lofty mountain, from whose sides innumerable
water-courses descend, indicates the great natural dryness of the
country during one season of the year. The hills and vallies were
richer than I expected, though far from luxuriant. A fine _Nauclea_
is a common shady tree, and _Bignonia indica_, now leafless, but with
immense pods hanging from the branches. _Acanthaceae_ is the
prevalent natural order, consisting of gay-flowered _Eranthemums,
Ruellias, Barlerias,_ and such hothouse favourites.* [Other plants
gathered here, and very typical of the Flora of this dry region, were
_Linum trigynum, Feronia elephantum, Aegle marmelos, Helicteres
Asoca, Abrus precatorius, Flemingia_; various _Desmodia, Rhynchosiae,
Glycine,_ and _Grislea tomentosa_ very abundant, _Conocarpus
latifoliusa, Loranthus longiflorus,_ and another species;
_Phyllanthus Emblica,_ various _Convolvuli, Cuscuta,_ and several
herbaceous _Compositae._]

This being the most convenient station whence to ascend Paras-nath,
we started at 6 a.m. for the village of Maddaobund, at the north base
of the mountain, or opposite side from that on which the grand
trunk-road runs. After following the latter for a few miles to the
west, we took a path through beautifully wooded plains, with
scattered trees of the Mahowa (_Bassia latifolia_), resembling
good oaks: the natives distil a kind of arrack from its fleshy
flowers, which are also eaten raw. The seeds, too, yield a concrete
oil, by expression, which is used for lamps and occasionally
for frying.

Some villages at the west base of the mountain occupy a better soil,
and are surrounded with richer cultivation; palms, mangos, and the
tamarind, the first and last rare features in this part of Bengal,
appeared to be common, with fields of rice and broad acres of flax
and rape, through the latter of which the blue _Orobanche indica_
swarmed. The short route to Maddaobund, through narrow rocky vallies,
was impracticable for the elephants, and we had to make a very
considerable detour, only reaching that village at 2 p.m. All the
hill people we observed were a fine-looking athletic race; they
disclaimed the tiger being a neighbour, which every palkee-bearer
along the road declares to carry off the torch-bearers, torch and
all. Bears they said were scarce, and all other wild animals, but a
natural jealousy of Europeans often leads the natives to deny the
existence of what they know to be an attraction to the proverbially
sporting Englishman.

Illustration - OLD TAMARIND TREES.

The site of Maddaobund, elevated 1230 feet, in a clearance of the
forest, and the appearance of the snow-white domes and bannerets of
its temples through the fine trees by which it is surrounded, are
very beautiful. Though several hundred feet above any point we had
hitherto reached, the situation is so sheltered that the tamarind,
peepul, and banyan trees are superb. A fine specimen of the latter
stands at the entrance to the village, not a broadheaded tree, as is
usual in the prime of its existence, but a mass of trunks irregularly
throwing out immense branches in a most picturesque manner; the
original trunk is apparently gone, and the principal mass of root
stems is fenced in. This, with two magnificent tamarinds, forms a
grand clump. The ascent of the mountain is immediately from the
village up a pathway worn by the feet of many a pilgrim from the most
remote parts of India.

Paras-nath is a mountain of peculiar sanctity, to which circumstance
is to be attributed the flourishing state of Maddaobund. The name is
that of the twenty-third incarnation of Jinna (Sanscrit "Conqueror"),
who was born at Benares, lived one hundred years, and was buried on
this mountain, which is the eastern metropolis of Jain worship, as
Mount Aboo is the western (where are their libraries and most
splendid temples). The origin of the Jain sect is obscure, though its
rise appears to correspond with the wreck of Boodhism throughout
India in the eleventh century. The Jains form in some sort a
transition-sect between Boodhists and Hindoos, differing from the
former in acknowledging castes, and from both in their worship of
Paras-nath's foot, instead of that of Munja-gosha of the Boodhs, or
Vishnoo's of the Hindoos. As a sect of Boodhists their religion is
considered pure, and free from the obscenities so conspicuous in
Hindoo worship; whilst, in fact, perhaps the reverse is the case;
but the symbols are fewer, and indeed almost confined to the feet of
Paras-nath, and the priests jealously conceal their esoteric

The temples, though small, are well built, and carefully kept.
No persuasion could induce the Brahmins to allow us to proceed beyond
the vestibule without taking off our shoes, to which we were not
inclined to consent. The bazaar was for so small a village large, and
crowded to excess with natives of all castes, colours, and provinces
of India, very many from the extreme W. and N.W., Rajpootana, the
Madras Presidency, and Central India. Numbers had come in good cars,
well attended, and appeared men of wealth and consequence; while the
quantities of conveyances of all sorts standing about, rather
reminded me of an election, than of anything I had seen in India.

The natives of the place were a more Negro-looking race than the
Bengalees to whom I had previously been accustomed; and the curiosity
and astonishment they displayed at seeing (probably many of them for
the first time) a party of Englishmen, were sufficiently amusing.
Our coolies with provisions not having come up, and it being two
o'clock in the afternoon, I having had no breakfast, and being
ignorant of the exclusively Jain population of the village, sent my
servant to the bazaar, for some fowls and eggs; but he was mobbed for
asking for these articles, and parched rice, beaten flat, with some
coarse sugar, was all I could obtain; together with sweetmeats so
odiously flavoured with various herbs, and sullied with such
impurities, that we quickly made them over to the elephants.

Not being able to ascend the mountain and return in one day,
Mr. Williams and his party went back to the road, leaving Mr. Haddon
and myself, who took up our quarters under a tamarind-tree.

In the evening a very gaudy poojah was performed. The car, filled
with idols, was covered with gilding and silk, and drawn by noble
bulls, festooned and garlanded. A procession was formed in front; and
it opened into an avenue, up and down which gaily dressed
dancing-boys paced or danced, shaking castanets, the attendant
worshippers singing in discordant voices, beating tom-toms, cymbals,
etc. Images (of Boodh apparently) abounded on the car, in front of
which a child was placed. The throng of natives was very great and
perfectly orderly, indeed, sufficiently apathetic: they were
remarkably civil in explaining what they understood of their
own worship.

At 2 p.m., the thermometer was only 65 degrees, though the day was
fine, a strong haze obstructing the sun's rays; at 6 p.m., 58
degrees; at 9 p.m., 56 degrees, and the grass cooled to 49 degrees.
Still there was no dew, though the night was starlight.

Having provided doolies, or little bamboo chairs slung on four men's
shoulders, in which I put my papers and boxes, we next morning
commenced the ascent; at first through woods of the common trees,
with large clumps of bamboo, over slaty rocks of gneiss, much
inclined and sloping away from the mountain. The view from a ridge
500 feet high was superb, of the village, and its white domes half
buried in the forest below, the latter of which continued in sight
for many miles to the northward. Descending to a valley some ferns
were met with, and a more luxuriant vegetation, especially of
_Urticeae._ Wild bananas formed a beautiful, and to me novel
feature in the woods.

The conical hills of the white ants were very abundant. The structure
appears to me not an independent one, but the debris of clumps of
bamboos, or of the trunks of large trees, which these insects have
destroyed. As they work up a tree from the ground, they coat the bark
with particles of sand glued together, carrying up this artificial
sheath or covered way as they ascend. A clump of bamboos is thus
speedily killed; when the dead stems fall away, leaving the mass of
stumps coated with sand, which the action of the weather soon
fashions into a cone of earthy matter.

Ascending again, the path strikes up the hill, through a thick forest
of Sal (_Vateria robusta_) and other trees, spanned with cables
of scandent _Bauhinia_ stems. At about 3000 feet above the sea,
the vegetation becomes more luxuriant, and by a little stream I
collected five species of ferns and some mosses,--all in a dry state,
however. Still higher, _Clematis, Thalictrum,_ and an increased
number of grasses are seen; with bushes of _Verbenaceae_ and
_Compositae._ The white ant apparently does not enter this
cooler region. At 3500 feet the vegetation again changes, the trees
all become gnarled and scattered; and as the dampness also increases,
more mosses and ferns appear. We emerged from the forest at the foot
of the great ridge of rocky peaks, stretching E. and W. three or four
miles. Abundance of a species of berberry and an _Osbeckia_
marked the change in the vegetation most decidedly, and were frequent
over the whole summit, with coarse grasses, and various bushes.

At noon we reached the saddle of the crest (alt. 4230 feet), where
was a small temple, one of five or six which occupy various
prominences of the ridge. The wind, N.W., was cold, the temp. 56
degrees. The view was beautiful, but the atmosphere too hazy: to the
north were ranges of low wooded hills, and the course of the Barakah
and Adji rivers; to the south lay a flatter country, with lower
ranges, and the Damooda river, its all but waterless bed snowy-white
from the exposed granite blocks with which its course is strewn.
East and west the several sharp ridges of the mountain itself are
seen; the western considerably the highest. Immediately below, the
mountain flanks appear clothed with impenetrable forest, here and
there interrupted by rocky eminences; while to the north the grand
trunk road shoots across the plains, like a white thread, as straight
as an arrow, spanning here and there the beds of the mountain

On the south side the vegetation was more luxuriant than on the
north, though, from the heat of the sun, the reverse might have been
expected. This is owing partly to the curve taken by the ridge being
open to the south, and partly to the winds from that quarter being
the moist ones. Accordingly, trees which I had left 3000 feet below
in the north ascent, here ascended to near the summit, such as figs
and bananas. A short-stemmed palm (_Phoenix_) was tolerably
abundant, and a small tree (_Pterospermum_) on which a species
of grass grew epiphytically; forming a curious feature in the

The situation of the principal temple is very fine, below the saddle
in a hollow facing the south, surrounded by jungles of plantain and
banyan. It is small, and contains little worthy of notice but the
sculptured feet of Paras-nath, and some marble Boodh idols;
cross-legged figures with crisp hair and the Brahminical cord.
These, a leper covered with ashes in the vestibule, and an
officiating priest, were all we saw. Pilgrims were seen on various
parts of the mountain in very considerable numbers, passing from one
temple to another, and generally leaving a few grains of dry rice at
each; the rich and lame were carried in chairs, the poorer walked.

The culminant rocks are very dry, but in the rains may possess many
curious plants; a fine _Kalanchoe_ was common, with the berberry, a
beautiful _Indigofera,_ and various other shrubs; a _Bolbophyllum_
grew on the rocks, with a small _Begonia,_ and some ferns. There were
no birds, and very few insects, a beautiful small _Pontia_ being the
only butterfly. The striped squirrel was very busy amongst the rocks;
and I saw a few mice, and the traces of bears.

At 3 p.m., the temperature was 54 degrees, and the air deliciously
cool and pleasant. I tried to reach the western peak (perhaps 300
feet above the saddle), by keeping along the ridge, but was cut off
by precipices, and ere I could retrace my steps it was time to
descend. This I was glad to do in a doolie, and I was carried to the
bottom, with only one short rest, in an hour and three quarters.
The descent was very steep the whole way, partly down steps of sharp
rock, where one of the men cut his foot severely. The pathway at the
bottom was lined for nearly a quarter of a mile with sick, halt,
maimed, lame, and blind beggars, awaiting our descent. It was truly a
fearful sight, especially the lepers, and numerous unhappy victims
to elephantiasis.

Though the botany of Paras-nath proved interesting, its elevation was
not accompanied by such a change from the flora of its base as I had
expected. This is no doubt due to its dry climate and sterile soil;
characters which it shares with the extensive elevated area of which
it forms a part, and upon which I could not detect above 300 species
of plants during my journey. Yet, that the atmosphere at the summit
is more damp as well as cooler than at the base, is proved as well by
the observations as by the vegetation;* [Of plants eminently typical
of a moister atmosphere, I may mention the genera _Bolbophyllum,
Begonia, Aeginetia, Disporum, Roxburghia, Panax, Eugenia, Myrsine,
Shorea, Millettia,_ ferns, mosses, and foliaceous lichens; which
appeared in strange association with such dry-climate genera as
_Kalanchoe, Pterospermum,_ and the dwarf-palm, _Phoenix._ Add to this
list the _Berberis asiatica, Clematis nutans, Thalictrum
glyphocarpum,_ 27 grasses, _Cardamine,_ etc., and the mountain top
presents a mixture of the plants of a damp hot, a dry hot, and of a
temperate climate, in fairly balanced proportions. The prime elements
of a tropical flora were however wholly wanting on Paras-nath, where
are neither Peppers, _Pothos, Arum,_ tall or climbing palms,
tree-ferns, _Guttiferae,_ vines, or laurels.] and in some respects,
as the increased proportion of ferns, additional epiphytal orchideous
plants, _Begonias,_ and other species showed, its top supported a
more tropical flora than its base.


Doomree -- Vegetation of table-land -- Lieutenant Beadle -- Birds --
Hot springs of Soorujkoond -- Plants near them -- Shells in them --
Cholera-tree -- Olibanum -- Palms, form of -- Dunwah Pass -- Trees,
native and planted -- Wild peacock -- Poppy fields -- Geography and
geology of Behar and Central India -- Toddy-palm -- Ground,
temperature of -- Barroon -- Temperature of plants -- Lizard -- Cross
the Soane -- Sand, ripple marks on -- Kymore hills -- Ground,
temperature of -- Limestone -- Rotas fort and palace -- Nitrate of
lime -- Change of climate -- Lime stalagmites, enclosing leaves --
Fall of Soane -- Spiders, etc. -- Scenery and natural history of
upper Soane valley -- _Hardwickia binata_ -- Bhel fruit --
Dust-storm -- Alligator -- Catechu -- _Cochlospermum_ --
Leaf-bellows -- Scorpions -- Tortoises -- Florican -- Limestone
spheres -- Coles -- Tiger-hunt -- Robbery.

In the evening we returned to our tamarind tree, and the next morning
regained the trunk road, following it to the dawk bungalow of
Doomree. On the way I found the _Caesalpinia paniculuta,_ a
magnificent climber, festooning the trues with its dark glossy
foliage and gorgeous racemes of orange blossoms. Receding from the
mountain, the country again became barren: at Doomree the hills were
of crystalline rocks, chiefly quartz and gneiss; no palms or large
trees of any kind appeared. The spear-grass abounded, and a
detestable nuisance it was, its long awns and husked seed working
through trowsers and stockings.

_Balanites_ was not uncommon, forming a low thorny bush, with
_Aegle marmelos_ and _Feronia elephantum._ Having rested
the tired elephant, we pushed on in the evening to the next stage,
Baghoda, arriving there at 3 a.m., and after a few hours' rest, I
walked to the bungalow of Lieutenant Beadle, the surveyor of roads,
sixteen miles further.

The country around Baghoda is still very barren, but improves
considerably in going westward, the ground becoming hilly, and the
road winding through prettily wooded vallies, and rising gradually to
1446 feet. _Nauclea cordifolia,_ a tree resembling a young
sycamore, is very common; with the Semul (_Bombax_), a very
striking tree from its buttressed trunk and gaudy scarlet flowers,
swarming with birds, which feed from its honeyed blossoms.

At 10 a.m. the sun became uncomfortably hot, the thermometer being
77 degrees, and the black-bulb thermometer 137 degrees. I had lost my
hat, and possessed no substitute but a silken nightcap; so I had to
tie a handkerchief over my head, to the astonishment of the
passers-by. Holding my head down, I had little source of amusement
but reading the foot-marks on the road; and these were strangely
diversified to an English eye. Those of the elephant, camel, buffalo
and bullock, horse, ass, pony, dog, goat, sheep and kid, lizard,
wild-cat and pigeon, with men, women, and children's feet, naked and
shod, were all recognisable.

It was noon ere I arrived at Lieutenant Beadle's, at Belcuppee (alt.
1219 feet), glad enough of the hearty welcome I received, being very
hot, dusty, and hungry. The country about his bungalow is very
pretty, from the number of wooded hills and large trees, especially
of banyan and peepul, noble oak-like Mahowa (_Bassia_), _Nauclea,_
Mango, and _Ficus infectoria._ These are all scattered, however, and
do not form forest, such as in a stunted form clothes the hills,
consisting of _Diospyros, Terminalia, Gmelina, Nauclea parvifolia,
Buchanania,_ etc. The rocks are still hornblende-schist and granite,
with a covering of alluvium, full of quartz pebbles. Insects and
birds are numerous, the latter consisting of jays, crows, doves,
sparrows, and maina (_Pastor_); also the _Phoenicophaus tristis_
("Mahoka" of the natives), with a note like that of the English
cuckoo, as heard late in the season.

I remained two days with Lieutenant Beadle, enjoying in his society
several excursions to the hot springs, etc. These springs (called
Soorujkoond) are situated close to the road, near the mouth of a
valley, in a remarkably pretty spot. They are, of course, objects of
worship; and a ruined temple stands close behind them, with three
very conspicuous trees--a peepul, a banyan, and a white,
thick-stemmed, leafless _Sterculia,_ whose branches bore dense
clusters of greenish foetid flowers. The hot springs are four in
number, and rise in as many ruined brick tanks about two yards
across. Another tank, fed by a cold spring, about twice that size,
flows between two of the hot, only two or three paces distant from
one of the latter on either hand. All burst through the gneiss rocks,
meet in one stream after a few yards, and are conducted by bricked
canals to a pool of cold water, about eighty yards off.

The temperatures of the hot springs were respectively 169 degrees,
170 degrees, 173 degrees, and 190 degrees; of the cold, 84 degrees at
4 p.m., and 75 degrees at 7 a.m. the following morning. The hottest
is the middle of the five. The water of the cold spring is sweet but
not good, and emits gaseous bubbles; it was covered with a green
floating _Conferva._ Of the four hot springs, the most copious
is about three feet deep, bubbles constantly, boils eggs, and though
brilliantly clear, has an exceedingly nauseous taste. This and the
other warm ones cover the bricks and surrounding rocks with a thick
incrustation of salts.

_Confervae_ abound in the warm stream from the springs, and two
species, one ochreous brown, and the other green, occur on the
margins of the tanks themselves, and in the hottest water; the brown
is the best Salamander, and forms a belt in deeper water than the
green; both appear in broad luxuriant strata, wherever the temp. is
cooled down to 168 degrees, and as low as 90 degrees. Of flowering
plants, three showed in an eminent degree a constitution capable of
resisting the heat, if not a predilection for it; these were all
_Cyperaceae,_ a _Cyperus_ and an _Eleocharis,_ having their roots in
water of 100 degrees, and where they are probably exposed to greater
heat, and a _Fimbristylis_ at 98 degrees; all were very luxuriant.
From the edges of the four hot springs I gathered sixteen species of
flowering plants, and from the cold tank five, which did not grow in
the hot. A water-beetle, _Colymbetes_(?) and _Notonecta,_ abounded in
water at 112 degrees, with quantities of dead shells; frogs were very
lively, with live shells, at 90 degrees, and with various other water
beetles. Having no means of detecting the salts of this water, I
bottled some for future analysis.* [For an account of the
_Confervae,_ and of the mineral constituents of the waters, etc. see
Appendix B.]

On the following day I botanized in the neighbourhood, with but poor
success. An oblique-leaved fig climbs the other trees, and generally
strangles them: two epiphytal _Orchideae_ also occur on the latter,
_Vanda Roxburghii_ and an _Oberonia._ Dodders (_Cuscuta_) of two
species, and _Cassytha,_ swarm over and conceal the bushes with their
yellow thread-like stems.

I left Belcuppee on the 8th of February, following Mr. Williams'
camp. The morning was clear and cold, the temperature only 56
degrees. We crossed the nearly dry broad bed of the Burkutta river, a
noble stream during the rains, carrying along huge boulders of
granite and gneiss. Near this I passed the Cholera-tree, a famous
peepul by the road side, so called from a detachment of infantry
having been attacked and decimated at the spot by that fell disease;
it is covered with inscriptions and votive tokens in the shape of
rags, etc. We continued to ascend to 1360 feet, where I came upon a
small forest of the Indian Olibanum (_Boswellia thurifera_),
conspicuous from its pale bark, and spreading curved branches, leafy
at their tips; its general appearance is a good deal like that of the
mountain ash. The gum, celebrated throughout the East, was flowing
abundantly from the trunk, very fragrant and transparent. The ground
was dry, sterile, and rocky; kunker, the curious formation mentioned
at Chapter 1, appears in the alluvium, which I had not elsewhere seen
at this elevation.

Descending to the village of Burshoot, we lost sight of the
_Boswellia,_ and came upon a magnificent tope of mango, banyan,
and peepul, so far superior to anything hitherto met with, that we
were glad to choose such a pleasant halting-place for breakfast.
There are a few lofty fan-palms here too, great rarities in this soil
and elevation: one, about eighty feet high, towered above some
wretched hovels, displaying the curious proportions of this tribe of
palms: first, a short cone, tapering to one-third the height of the
stem, the trunk then swelling to two-thirds, and again tapering to
the crown. Beyond this, the country again ascends to Burree (alt.
1169 feet), another dawk bungalow, a barren place, which we left on
the following morning.

So little was there to observe, that I again amused myself by
watching footsteps, the precision of which in the sandy soil was
curious. Looking down from the elephant, I was interested by seeing
them all in _relief,_ instead of _depressed,_ the slanting
rays of the sun in front producing this kind of mirage. Before us
rose no more of those wooded hills that had been our companions for
the last 120 miles, the absence of which was a sign of the nearly
approaching termination of the great hilly plateau we had been
traversing for that distance.

Chorparun, at the top of the Dunwah pass, is situated on an extended
barren flat, 1320 feet above the sea, and from it the descent from
the table-land to the level of the Soane valley, a little above that
of the Ganges at Patna, is very sudden. The road is carried zizgag
down a rugged hill of gneiss, with a descent of nearly 1000 feet in
six miles, of which 600 are exceedingly steep. The pass is well
wooded, with abundance of bamboo, _Bombax, Cassia, Acacia,_ and
_Butea,_ with _Calotropis,_ the purple Mudar, a very handsome
road-side plant, which I had not seen before, but which, with the
_Argemone Mexicana,_ was to be a companion for hundreds of miles
farther. All the views in the pass are very picturesque, though
wanting in good foliage, such as _Ficus_ would afford, of which I did
not see one tree. Indeed the rarity of the genus (except
_F. infectoria_) in the native woods of these hills, is very
remarkable. The banyan and peepul always appear to be planted, as do
the tamarind and mango.

Dunwah, at the foot of the pass, is 620 feet above the sea, and
nearly 1000 below the mean level of the highland I had been
traversing. Every thing bears here a better aspect; the woods at
the foot of the hills afforded many plants; the bamboo
(_B. stricta_) is green instead of yellow and white; a little
castor-oil is cultivated, and the Indian date (low and stunted)
appears about the cottages.

In the woods I heard and saw the wild peacock for the first time.
Its voice is not to be distinguished from that of the tame bird in
England, a curious instance of the perpetuation of character under
widely different circumstances, for the crow of the wild jungle-fowl
does not rival that of the farm-yard cock.

In the evening we left Dunwah for Barah (alt. 480 feet), passing over
very barren soil, covered with low jungle, the original woods having
apparently been cut for fuel. Our elephant, a timid animal, came on a
drove of camels in the dark by the road-side, and in his alarm
insisted on doing battle, tearing through the thorny jungle,
regardless of the mahout, and still more of me: the uproar raised by
the camel-drivers was ridiculous, and the danger to my barometer

We proceeded on the 11th of February to Sheergotty, where Mr.
Williams and his camp were awaiting our arrival. Wherever cultivation
appeared the crops were tolerably luxuriant, but a great deal of the
country yielded scarcely half-a-dozen kinds of plants to any ten
square yards of ground. The most prevalent were _Carissa carandas,
Olax scandens,_ two _Zizyphi,_ and the ever-present _Acacia
Catechu._ The climate is, however, warmer and much moister, for I
here observed dew to be formed, which I afterwards found to be usual
on the low grounds. That its presence is due to the increased amount
of vapour in the atmosphere I shall prove: the amount of radiation,
as shown by the cooling of the earth and vegetation, being the same
in the elevated plain and lower levels.* [See Appendix C.]

The good soil was very richly cultivated with poppy (which I had not
seen before), sugar-cane, wheat, barley, mustard, rape, and flax.
At a distance a field of poppies looks like a green lake, studded
with white water-lilies. The houses, too, are better, and have tiled
roofs; while, in such situations, the road is lined with trees.

A retrospect of the ground passed over is unsatisfactory, as far as
botany is concerned, except as showing how potent are the effects of
a dry soil and climate during one season of the year upon a
vegetation which has no desert types. During the rains probably many
more species would be obtained, for of annuals I scarcely found
twenty. At that season, however, the jungles of Behar and Birbhoom,
though far from tropically luxuriant, are singularly unhealthy.

In a geographical point of view the range of hills between Burdwan
and the Soave is interesting, as being the north-east continuation of
a chain which crosses the broadest part of the peninsula of India,
from the Gulf of Cambay to the junction of the Ganges and Hoogly at
Rajmahal. This range runs south of the Soane and Kymore, which it
meets I believe at Omerkuntuk;* [A lofty mountain said to be
7000-8000 feet high.] the granite of this and the sandstone of the
other, being there both overlaid with trap. Further west again, the
ranges separate, the southern still betraying a nucleus of granite,
forming the Satpur range, which divides the valley of the Taptee from
that of the Nerbudda. The Paras-nath range is, though the most
difficult of definition, the longer of the two parallel ranges;
the Vindhya continued as the Kymore, terminating abruptly at the Fort
of Chunar on the Ganges. The general and geological features of the
two, especially along their eastern course, are very different.
This consists of metamorphic gneiss, in various highly inclined beds,
through which granite hills protrude, the loftiest of which is
Paras-nath. The north-east Vindhya (called Kymore), on the other
hand, consists of nearly horizontal beds of sandstone, overlying
inclined beds of non-fossiliferous limestone. Between the latter and
the Paras-nath gneiss, come (in order of superposition) shivered and
undulating strata of metamorphic quartz, hornstone, hornstone-
porphyry, jaspers, etc. These are thrown up, by greenstone I believe,
along the north and north-west boundary of the gneiss range, and are
to be recognised as forming the rocks of Colgong, of Sultangunj, and
of Monghyr, on the Ganges, as also various detached hills near Gyah,
and along the upper course of the Soane. From these are derived the
beautiful agates and cornelians, so famous under the name of Soane
pebbles, and they are equally common on the Curruckpore range, as on
the south bank of the Soane, so much so in the former position as to
have been used in the decoration of the walls of the now ruined
palaces near Bhagulpore.

In the route I had taken, I had crossed the eastern extremity alone
of the range, commencing with a very gradual ascent, over the
alluvial plains of the west bank of the Hoogly, then over laterite,
succeeded by sandstone of the Indian coal era, which is succeeded by
the granite table-land, properly so called. A little beyond the coal
fields, the table-land reaches an average height of 1130 feet, which
is continued for upwards of 100 miles, to the Dunwah pass. Here the
descent is sudden to plains, which, continuous with those of the
Ganges, run up the Soane till beyond Rotasghur. Except for the
occasional ridges of metamorphic rocks mentioned above, and some
hills of intruded greenstone, the lower plain is stoneless, its
subjacent rocks being covered with a thicker stratum of the same
alluvium which is thinly spread over the higher table-land above.
This range is of great interest from its being the source of many
important rivers,* [The chief rivers from this, the great watershed
of western Bengal, flow north-west and south-east; a few
comparatively insignificant streams running north to the Ganges.
Amongst the former are the Rheru, the Kunner, and the Coyle, which
contribute to the Soane; amongst the latter, the Dammooda, Adji, and
Barakah, flow into the Hoogly, and the Subunrika, Braminee, and
Mahanuddee into the Bay of Bengal.] and of all those which water the
country between the Soane, Hoogly, and Ganges, as well as from its
deflecting the course of the latter river, which washes its base at
Rajmahal, and forcing it to take a sinuous course to the sea. In its
climate and botany it differs equally from the Gangetic plains to the
north, and from the hot, damp, and exuberant forests of Orissa to the
south. Nor are its geological features less different, or its
concomitant and in part resultant characters of agriculture and
native population. Still further west, the great rivers of the
peninsula have their origin, the Nerbudda and Taptee flowing west to
the gulf of Cambay, the Cane to the Jumna, the Soane to the Ganges,
and the northern feeders of the Godavery to the Bay of Bengal.

On the 12th of February, we left Sheergotty (alt. 463 feet), crossing
some small streams, which, like all else seen since leaving the
Dunwah Pass, flow N. to the Ganges. Between Sheergotty and the Soane,
occur many of the isolated hills of greenstone, mentioned above,
better known to the traveller from having been telegraphic stations.
Some are much impregnated with iron, and whether for their colour,
the curious outlines of many, or their position, form quaint, and in
some cases picturesque features in the otherwise tame landscape.

The road being highly cultivated, and the Date-palm becoming more
abundant, we encamped in a grove of these trees. All were curiously
distorted; the trunks growing zigzag, from the practice of yearly
tapping the alternate sides for toddy. The incision is just below the
crown, and slopes upwards and inwards: a vessel is hung below the
wound, and the juice conducted into it by a little piece of bamboo.
This operation spoils the fruit, which, though eaten, is small, and
much inferior to the African date.

At Mudunpore (alt. 440 feet) a thermometer, sunk 3 feet 4 inches in
the soil, maintained a constant temperature of 71.5 degrees, that of
the air varying from 77.5 degrees, at 3 p.m., to 62 at daylight the
following morning; when we moved on to Nourunga (alt. 340 feet),
where I bored to 3 feet 8 inches with a heavy iron jumper through an
alluvium of such excessive tenacity, that eight natives were employed
for four hours in the operation. In both this and another hole,
4 feet 8 inches, the temperature was 72 degrees at 10 p.m.; and on
the following morning 71.5 degrees in the deepest hole, and
70 degrees in the shallower: that of the external air varied from
71 degrees at 3 p.m., to 57 degrees at daylight on the following
morning. At the latter time I took the temperature of the earth near
the surface, which showed, surface 53 degrees, 1 inch 57 degrees,
2 inches 58 degrees, 4 inches 62 degrees, 7 inches 64 degrees.

The following day we marched to Baroon (alt. 345 feet) on the
alluvial banks of the Soane, crossing a deep stream by a pretty
suspension bridge, of which the piers were visible two miles off, so
level is the road. The Soane is here three miles wide, its nearly dry
bed being a desert of sand, resembling a vast arm of the sea when the
tide is out: the banks are very barren, with no trees near, and but
very few in the distance. The houses were scarcely visible on the
opposite side, behind which the Kymore mountains rise. The Soane is a
classical river, being now satisfactorily identified with the
Eranoboas of the ancients.* [The etymology of Eranoboas is
undoubtedly _Hierrinia Vahu_ (Sanskrit), the golden-armed.
Sons is also the Sanskrit for gold. The stream is celebrated for its
agates (Soane pebbles), which are common, but gold is not now
obtained from it.]

The alluvium is here cut into a cliff, ten or twelve feet above the
bed of the river, and against it the sand is blown in naked
_dunes._ At 2 p.m., the surface-sand was heated to 110 degrees
where sheltered from the wind, and 104 degrees in the open bed of the
river. To compare the rapidity and depth to which the heat is
communicated by pure sand, and by the tough alluvium, I took the
temperature at some inches depth in both. That the alluvium absorbs
the heat better, and retains it longer, would appear from the
following, the only observations I could make, owing to the tenacity
of the soil.

2 p.m.
Surface           104 degrees
22.5 inches        93 degrees
5 inches           88 degrees
Sand at this depth 78 degrees.
5 a.m.
Surface            51 degrees
28 inches          68 degrees

Finding the fresh milky juice of _Calotropis_ to be only
72 degrees, I was curious to ascertain at what depth this
temperature was to be obtained in the sand of the river-bed, where
the plant grew.

Surface    104.5 degrees,
1 inch     102 degrees,
2 inches    94 degrees,
2.5 inches  90 degrees,
3.5 inches  85 degrees (Compact),
8 inches    73 degrees (Wet),
15 inches   72 degrees (Wet).

The power this plant exercises of maintaining a low temperature of 72
degrees, though the main portion which is subterraneous is surrounded
by a soil heated to between 90 degrees and 104 degrees, is very
remarkable, and no doubt proximately due to the rapidity of
evaporation from the foliage, and consequent activity in the
circulation. Its exposed leaves maintained a temperature of 80
degrees, nearly 25 degrees cooler than the similarly exposed sand and
alluvium. On the same night the leaves were cooled down to 54
degrees, when the sand had cooled to 51 degrees. Before daylight the
following morning the sand had cooled to 43 degrees, and the leaves
of the _Calotropis_ to 45.5 degrees. I omitted to observe the
temperature of the sap at the latter time; but the sand at the same
depth (15 inches) as that at which its temperature and that of the
plant agreed at mid-day, was 68 degrees. And assuming this to be the
heat of the plant, we find that the leaves are heated by solar
radiation during the day 8 degrees, and cooled by nocturnal
radiation, 22.5 degrees.

Mr. Theobald (my companion in this and many other rambles) pulled a
lizard from a hole in the bank. Its throat was mottled with scales of
brown and yellow. Three ticks had fastened on it, each of a size
covering three or four scales: the first was yellow, corresponding
with the yellow colour of the animal's belly, where it lodged, the
second brown, from the lizard's head; but the third, which was
clinging to the parti-coloured scales of the neck, had its body
parti-coloured, the hues corresponding with the individual scales
which they covered. The adaptation of the two first specimens in
colour to the parts to which they adhered, is sufficiently
remarkable; but the third case was most extraordinary.

During the night of the 14th of February, I observed a beautiful
display, apparently of the Aurora borealis, an account of which will
be found in the Appendix.

_February_ 15.--Our passage through the Soane sands was very
tedious, though accomplished in excellent style, the elephants
pushing forward the heavy waggons of mining tools with their
foreheads. The wheels were sometimes buried to the axles in sand, and
the draught bullocks were rather in the way than otherwise.

The body of water over which we ferried, was not above 80 yards wide.
In the rains, when the whole space of three miles is one rapid flood,
10 or 12 feet deep, charged with yellow sand, this river must present
an imposing spectacle. I walked across the dry portion, observing the
sand-waves, all ranged in one direction, perpendicular to that of the
prevailing wind, accurately representing the undulations of the
ocean, as seen from a mast-head or high cliff. As the sand was finer
or coarser, so did the surface resemble a gentle ripple, or an
ocean-swell. The progressive motion of the waves was curious, and
caused by the lighter particles being blown over the ridges, and
filling up the hollows to leeward. There were a few islets in the
sand, a kind of oases of mud and clay, in laminae no thicker than
paper, and these were at once denizened by various weeds. Some large
spots were green with wheat and barley-crops, both suffering
from smut.

We encamped close to the western shore, at the village of Dearee
(alt. 330 feet); it marks the termination of the Kymore Hills, along
whose S.E. bases our course now lay, as we here quitted the grand
trunk road for a rarely visited country.

On the 16th we marched south up the river to Tilotho (alt. 395 feet),
through a rich and highly cultivated country, covered with indigo,
cotton, sugar-cane, safflower, castor-oil, poppy, and various grains.
Dodders (_Cuscuta_) covered even tall trees with a golden web,
and the _Capparis acuminata_ was in full flower along the road
side. Tilotho, a beautiful village, is situated in a superb grove of
Mango, Banyan, Peepul, Tamarind, and _Bassia._ The Date or
toddy-palm and fan-palm are very abundant and tall: each had a pot
hung under the crown. The natives climb these trunks with a hoop or
cord round the body and both ancles, and a bottle-gourd or other
vessel hanging round the neck to receive the juice from the
stock-bottle, in this aerial wine-cellar. These palms were so lofty
that the climbers, as they paused in their ascent to gaze with wonder
at our large retinue, resembled monkeys rather than men. Both trees
yield a toddy, but in this district they stated that that from the
_Phoenix_ (Date) alone ferments, and is distilled; while in
other parts of India, the _Borassus_ (fan-palm) is chiefly
employed. I walked to the hills, over a level cultivated country
interspersed with occasional belts of low wood; in which the pensile
nests of the weaver-bird were abundant, but generally hanging out of
reach, in prickly _Acacias._

The hills here present a straight precipitous wall of horizontally
stratified sandstone, very like the rocks at the Cape of Good Hope,
with occasionally a shallow valley, and a slope of debris at the
base, densely clothed with dry jungle. The cliffs are about 1000 feet
high, and the plants similar to those at the foot of Paras-nath, but
stunted: I climbed to the top, the latter part by steps or ledges of
sandstone. The summit was clothed with long grass, trees of
_Diospyros_ and _Terminalia,_ and here and there the
_Boswellia._ On the precipitous rocks the curious white-barked
_Sterculia foetida_ "flung its arms abroad," leafless, and
looking as if blasted by lightning.

A hole was sunk here again for the thermometers, and, as usual, with
great labour; the temperatures obtained were--
9 p.m.    64.5 degrees
5.30 a.m. 58.5 degrees
4 feet 6 inches, under good shade of trees
9 p.m.    77 degrees
11 p.m.   76 degrees
5.30 a.m. 76 degrees

This is a very great rise (of 4 degrees) above any of those
previously obtained, and certainly indicates a much higher mean
temperature of the locality. I can only suppose it due to the
radiation of heat from the long range of sandstone cliff, exposed to
the south, which overlooks the flat whereon we were encamped, and
which, though four or five miles off, forms a very important feature.
The differences of temperature in the shade taken on this and the
other side of the river are 2.75 degrees higher on this side.

On the 17th we marched to Akbarpore (alt. 400. feet), a village
overhung by the rocky precipice of Rotasghur, a spur of the Kymore,
standing abruptly forward.

The range, in proceeding up the Soane valley, gradually approaches
the river, and beds of non-fossiliferous limestone are seen
protruding below the sandstone and occasionally rising into rounded
hills, the paths upon which appear as white as do those through the
chalk districts of England. The overlying beds of sandstone are
nearly horizontal, or with a dip to the N.W.; the subjacent ones of
limestone dip at a greater angle. Passing between the river and a
detached conical hill of limestone, capped with a flat mass of
sandstone, the spur of Rotas broke suddenly on the view, and very
grand it was, quite realising my anticipations of the position of
these eyrie-like hill-forts of India. To the left of the spur winds
the valley of the Soane, with low-wooded hills on its opposite bank,
and a higher range, connected with that of Behar, in the distance.
To the right, the hills sweep round, forming an immense and
beautifully wooded amphitheatre, about four miles deep, bounded with
a continuation of the escarpment. At the foot of the crowned spur is
the village of Akbarpore, where we encamped in a Mango tope;* [On the
24th of June, 1848, the Soane rose to an unprecedented height, and
laid this grove of Mangos three feet under water.] it occupies some
pretty undulating limestone hills, amongst which several streams flow
from the amphitheatre to the Soane.

During our two days' stay here, I had the advantage of the society of
Mr. C. E. Davis, who was our guide during some rambles in the
neighbourhood, and to whose experience, founded on the best habits of
observation, I am indebted for much information. At noon we started
to ascend to the palace, on the top of the spur. On the way we passed
a beautiful well, sixty feet deep, and with a fine flight of steps to
the bottom. Now neglected and overgrown with flowering weeds and
creepers, it afforded me many of the plants I had only previously
obtained in a withered state; it was curious to observe there some of
the species of the hill-tops, whose seeds doubtless are scattered
abundantly over the surrounding plains, and only vegetate where they
find a coolness and moisture resembling that of the altitude they
elsewhere affect. A fine fig-tree growing out of the stone-work
spread its leafy green branches over the well mouth, which was about
twelve feet square; its roots assumed a singular form, enveloping two
sides of the walls with a beautiful net-work, which at _high-water
mark_ (rainy season), abruptly divides into thousands of little
brushes, dipping into the water which they fringe. It was a pretty
cool place to descend to, from a temperature of 80 degrees above, to
74 degrees at the bottom, where the water was 60 degrees; and most
refreshing to look, either up the shaft to the green fig shadowing
the deep profound, or along the sloping steps through a vista of
flowering herbs and climbing plants, to the blue heaven of a
burning sky.

The ascent to Rotas is over the dry hills of limestone, covered with
a scrubby brushwood, to a crest where are the first rude and ruined
defences. The limestone is succeeded by the sandstone cliff cut into
steps, which led from ledge to ledge and gap to gap, well guarded
with walls and an archway of solid masonry. Through this we passed on
to the flat summit of the Kymore hills, covered with grass and
forest, intersected by paths in all directions. The ascent is about
1200 feet--a long pull in the blazing sun of February. The turf
consists chiefly of spear-grass and _Andropogon muricatus,_ the
kus-kus, which yields a favourite fragrant oil, used as a medicine in
India. The trees are of the kinds mentioned before. A pretty
octagonal summer-house, with its roof supported by pillars, occupies
one of the highest points of the plateau, and commands a superb view
of the scenery before described. From this a walk of three miles
leads through the woods to the palace. The buildings are very
extensive, and though now ruinous, bear evidence of great beauty in
the architecture: light galleries, supported by slender columns, long
cool arcades, screened squares and terraced walks, are the principal
features. The rooms open out upon flat roofs, commanding views of the
long endless table-land to the west, and a sheer precipice of 1000
feet on the other side, with the Soane, the amphitheatre of hills,
and the village of Akbarpore below.

This and Beejaghur, higher up the Soane, were amongst the most
recently reduced forts, and this was further the last of those
wrested from Baber in 1542. Some of the rooms are still habitable,
but the greater part are ruinous, and covered with climbers, both of
wild flowers and of the naturalised garden plants of the adjoining
shrubbery; the _Arbor-tristis,_ with _Hibiscus, Abutilon,_
etc., and above all, the little yellow-flowered _Linaria
ramosissima,_ crawling over every ruined wall, as we see the
walls of our old English castles clothed with its congener
_L. Cymbalaria._

In the old dark stables I observed the soil to be covered with a
copious evanescent efflorescence of nitrate of lime, like soap-suds
scattered about.

I made Rotas Palace 1490 feet above the sea, so that this table-land
is here only fifty feet higher than that I had crossed on the grand
trunk road, before descending at the Dunwah pass. Its mean
temperature is of course considerably (4 degrees) below that of the
valley, but though so cool, agues prevail after the rains.
The extremes of temperature are less marked than in the valley, which
becomes excessively heated, and where hot winds sometimes last for a
week, blowing in furious gusts.

The climate of the whole neighbourhood has of late changed
materially; and the fall of rain has much diminished, consequent on
felling the forests; even within six years the hail-storms have been
far less frequent and violent. The air on the hills is highly
electrical, owing, no doubt, to the dryness of the atmosphere, and to
this the frequent recurrence of hail-storms may be due.

The zoology of these regions is tolerably copious, but little is
known of the natural history of a great part of the plateau; a native
tribe, prone to human sacrifices, is talked of. Tigers are common,
and bears are numerous; they have, besides, the leopard, panther,
viverine cat, and civet; and of the dog tribe the pariah, jackal,
fox, and wild dog, called Koa. Deer are very numerous, of six or
seven kinds. A small alligator inhabits the hill streams, said to be
a very different animal from either of the Soane species.

During our descent we examined several instances of ripple-mark
(fossil waves' footsteps) in the sandstone; they resembled the
fluting of the _Sigillaria_ stems, in the coal-measures, and
occurring as they did here, in sandstone, a little above great beds
of limestone, had been taken for such, and as indications of coal.

On the following day we visited Rajghat, a steep ghat or pass leading
up the cliff to Rotas Palace, a little higher up the river. We took
the elephants to the mouth of the glen, where we dismounted, and
whence we followed a stream abounding in small fish and aquatic
insects (_Dytisci_ and _Gyrini_), through a close jungle,
to the foot of the cliffs, where there are indications of coal.
The woods were full of monkeys, and amongst other plants I observed
_Murraya exotica,_ but it was scarce. Though the jungle was so
dense, the woods were very dry, containing no Palm, _Adroideae,_
Peppers, _Orchideae_ or Ferns. Here, at the foot of the red
cliffs, which towered imposingly above, as seen through the tree
tops, are several small seams of coaly matter in the sandstone, with
abundance of pyrites, sulphur, and copious efflorescences of salts of
iron; but no coal. The springs from the cliffs above are charged with
lime, of which enormous tuff beds are deposited on the sandstone,
full of impressions of the leaves and stems of the surrounding trees,
which, however, I found it very difficult to recognize, and could not
help contrasting this circumstance with the fact that geologists,
unskilled in botany, see no difficulty in referring equally imperfect
remains of extinct vegetables to existing genera. In some parts of
their course the streams take up quantities of the efflorescence,
which they scatter over the sandstones in a singular manner.

At Akbarpore I had sunk two thermometers, one 4 feet 6 inches, the
other 5 feet 6 inches; both invariably indicated 76 degrees, the air
varying from 56 degrees to 79.5 degrees. Dew had formed every night
since leaving Dunwah, the grass being here cooled 12 degrees below
the air.

On the 19th of February we marched up the Soane to Tura, passing some
low hills of limestone, between the cliffs of the Kymore and the
river. On the shaded riverbanks grew abundance of English genera--
_Cynoglossum, Veronica, Potentilla, Ranunculus sceleratus, Rumex,_
several herbaceous _Compositae_ and _Labiatae_; _Tamarix_ formed a
small bush in rocky hillocks in the bed of the river, and in pools
were several aquatic plants, _Zannichellia, Chara,_ a pretty little
_Vallisneria,_ and _Potamogeton._ The Brahminee goose was common
here, and we usually saw in the morning immense flocks of wild geese
overhead, migrating northward.

Here I tried again the effect of solar and nocturnal radiation on the
sand, at different depths, not being able to do so on the alluvium.

Temperature of air 87 degrees
Surface      110 degrees
1 inch       102 degrees
2 inches      93.5 degrees
4 inches      84 degrees
8 inches      77 degrees (sand wet)
16 inches     76 degrees (sand wet)
Daylight of following morning:
Surface       52 degrees
1 inch        55 degrees
2 inches      58 degrees
4 inches      67 degrees
8 inches      73 degrees (sand wet)
16 inches     74 degrees (sand wet)

From Tura our little army again crossed the Soane, the scarped cliffs
of the Kymore approaching close to the river on the west side.
The bed is very sandy, and about one mile and a half across.

The elephants were employed again, as at Baroon, to push the cart:
one of them had a bump in consequence, as large as a child's head,
just above the trunk, and bleeding much; but the brave beast
disregarded this, when the word of command was given by his driver.

The stream was very narrow, but deep and rapid, obstructed with beds
of coarse agate, jasper, cornelian and chalcedony pebbles. A clumsy
boat took us across to the village of Soanepore, a wretched
collection of hovels. The crops were thin and poor, and I saw no
palms or good trees. Squirrels however abounded, and were busy laying
up their stores; descending from the trees they scoured across a road
to a field of tares, mounted the hedge, took an observation, foraged
and returned up the tree with their booty, quickly descended, and
repeated the operation of reconnoitering and plundering.

The bed of the river is here considerably above that at Dearee, where
the mean of the observations with those of Baroon, made it about 300
feet. The mean of those taken here and on the opposite side, at Tura,
gives about 400 feet, indicating a fall of 100 feet in only 40 miles.

Near this the sandy banks of the Soane were full of martins' nests,
each one containing a pair of eggs. The deserted ones were literally
crammed full of long-legged spiders (_Opilio_), which could be
raked out with a stick, when they came pouring down the cliff like
corn from a sack; the quantities are quite inconceivable. I did not
observe the martin feed on them.

The entomology here resembled that of Europe, more than I had
expected in a tropical country, where predaceous beetles, at least
_Carabideae_ and _Staphylinideae,_ are generally considered
rare. The latter tribes swarmed under the clods, of many species but
all small, and so singularly active that I could not give the time to
collect many. In the banks again, the round egg-like earthy chrysalis
of the _Sphynx Atropos_ (?) and the many-celled nidus of the
leaf-cutter bee, were very common.

A large columnar _Euphorbia_ (_E. ligulata_) is common all along the
Soane, and I observed it to be used everywhere for fencing. I had not
remarked the _E. neriifolia_; and the _E. tereticaulis_ had been very
rarely seen since leaving Calcutta. The _Cactus_ is nowhere found; it
is abundant in many parts of Bengal, but certainly not indigenous.


From this place onwards up the Soane, there was no road of any kind,
and we were compelled to be our own road engineers. The sameness of
the vegetation and lateness of the season made me regret this the
less, for I was disappointed in my anticipations of finding
luxuriance and novelty in these wilds. Before us the valley narrowed
considerably, the forest became denser, the country on the south side
was broken with rounded hills, and on the north the noble cliffs of
the Kymore dipped down to the river. The villages were smaller, more
scattered and poverty-stricken, with the Mahowa and Mango as the
usual trees; the banyan, peepul, and tamarind being rare. The native,
are of an aboriginal jungle race; and are tall, athletic, erect, much
less indolent and more spirited than the listless natives of
the plains.

_February_ 21.--Started at daylight: but so slow and difficult
was our progress through fields and woods, and across deep gorges
from the hills, that we only advanced five miles in the day; the
elephant's head too was aching too badly to let him push, and the
cattle would not proceed when the draught was not equal. What was
worse, it was impossible to get them to pull together up the inclined
planes we cut, except by placing a man at the head of each of the
six, eight, or ten in a team, and simultaneously screwing round their
tails; when one tortured animal sometimes capsizes the vehicle.
The small carts got on better, though it was most nervous to see them
rushing down the steeps, especially those with our fragile
instruments, etc.

Kosdera, where we halted, is a pretty place, elevated 440 feet, with
a broad stream front the hills flowing past it. These hills are of
limestone, and rounded, resting upon others of hornstone and jasper.
Following up the stream I came to some rapids, where the stream is
crossed by large beds of hornstone and porphyry rocks, excessively
hard, and pitched up at right angles, or with a bold dip to the
north. The number of strata was very great, and only a few inches or
even lines thick: they presented all varieties of jasper, hornstone,
and quartz of numerous colours, with occasional seams of porphyry or
breccia. The racks were elegantly fringed with a fern I had not
hitherto seen, _Polypodium proliferum,_ which is the only
species the Soane valley presents at this season.

Returning over the hills, I found _Hardwickia binata,_ a most
elegant leguminous tree, tall, erect, with an elongated coma, and the
branches pendulous. These trees grew in a shallow bed of alluvium,
enclosing abundance of agate pebbles and kunker, the former derived
from the quartzy strata above noticed.

On the 23rd and 24th we continued to follow up the Soane, first to
Panchadurma (alt. 490 feet), and thence to Pepura (alt. 587 feet),
the country becoming densely wooded, very wild, and picturesque, the
woods being full of monkeys, parrots, peacocks, hornbills, and wild
animals. _Strychnos potatorum,_ whose berries are used to purify
water, forms a dense foliaged tree, 30 to 60 feet high, some
individuals pale yellow, others deep green, both in apparent health.
_Feronia Elephantum_ and _Aegle marmelos_* [The Bhel fruit, lately
introduced into English medical practice, as an astringent of great
effect, in cases of diarrhoea and dysentery.] were very abundant,
with _Sterculia,_ and the dwarf date-palm.

One of my carts was here hopelessly broken down; advancing on the
spokes instead of the tire of the wheels. By the banks of a deep
gully here the rocks are well exposed: they consist of soft clay
shales resting on the limestone, which is nearly horizontal; and this
again, unconformably on the quartz and hornstone rocks, which are
confused, and tilted up at all angles.

A spur of the Kymore, like that of Rotas, here projects to the bed of
the river, and was blazing at night with the beacon-like fires of the
natives, lighted to scare the tigers and bears from the spots where
they cut wood and bamboo; they afforded a splendid spectacle, the
flames in some places leaping zig-zag from hill to hill in front of
us, and looking as if a gigantic letter W were written in fire.

The night was bright and clear, with much lightning, the latter
attracted to the spur, and darting down as it were to mingle its fire
with that of the forest; so many flashes appeared to strike on the
flames, that it is probable the heated air in their neighbourhood
attracted them. We were awakened between 3 and 4 a.m., by a violent
dust-storm, which threatened to carry away the tents. Our position at
the mouth of the gulley formed by the opposite hills, no doubt
accounted for it. The gusts were so furious that it was impossible to
observe the barometer, which I returned to its case on ascertaining
that any indications of a rise or fall in the column must have been
quite trifling. The night had been oppressively hot, with many
insects flying about; amongst which I noticed earwigs, a genus
erroneously supposed rarely to take to the wing in Britain.

At 8.30 a.m. it suddenly fell calm, and we proceeded to Chanchee
(alt. 500 feet), the native carts breaking down in their passage over
the projecting beds of flinty rocks, or as they burned down the
inclined planes we cut through the precipitous clay banks of the
streams. Near Chanchee we passed an alligator, just killed by two
men, a foul beast, about nine feet long, of the mugger kind.
More absorbing than its natural history was the circumstance of its
having swallowed a child, that was playing in the water as its mother
was washing her utensils in the river. The brute was hardly dead,
much distended by the prey, and the mother was standing beside it.
A very touching group was this: the parent with her hands clasped in
agony, unable to withdraw her eyes from the cursed reptile, which
still clung to life with that tenacity for which its tribe are so
conspicuous; beside these the two athletes leaned on the bloody
bamboo staffs, with which they had all but despatched the animal.

This poor woman earned a scanty maintenance by making catechu:
inhabiting a little cottage, and having no property but two cattle to
bring wood from the hills, and a very few household chattels; and how
few of these they only know who have seen the meagre furniture of
Danga hovels. Her husband cut the trees in the forest and dragged
them to the hut, but at this time he was sick, and her only boy, her
future stay, it was, whom the beast had devoured.

This province is famous for the quantity of catechu its dry forests
yield. The plant (_Acacia_) is a little thorny tree, erect, and
bearing a rounded head of well remembered prickly branches. Its wood
is yellow, with a dark brick-red heart, most profitable in January
and useless in June (for yielding the extract).


The _Butea frondosa_ was abundantly in flower here, and a gorgeous
sight. In mass the inflorescence resembles sheets of flame, and
individually the flowers are eminently beautiful, the bright
orange-red petals contrasting brilliantly against the jet-black
velvety calyx. The nest of the _Megachile_ (leaf-cutter bee) was in
thousands in the cliffs, with Mayflies, Caddis-worms, spiders, and
many predaceous beetles. Lamellicorn beetles were very rare, even
_Aphodius,_ and of _Cetoniae_ I did not see one.

We marched on the 28th to Kota, at the junction of the river of that
name with the Soane, over hills of flinty rock, which projected
everywhere, to the utter ruin of the elephants' feet, and then over
undulating hills of limestone; on the latter I found trees of
_Cochlospermum,_ whose curious thick branches spread out
somewhat awkwardly, each tipped with a cluster of golden yellow
flowers, as large as the palm of the hand, and very beautiful: it is
a tropical Gum-Cistus in the appearance and texture of the petals,
and their frail nature. The bark abounds in a transparent gum, of
which the white ants seem fond, for they had killed many trees.
Of the leaves the curious rude leaf-bellows are made, with which the
natives of these hills smelt iron. Scorpions appeared very common
here, of a small kind, 1.5 inch long; several were captured, and one
of our party was stung on the finger; the smart was burning for an
hour or two, and then ceased.

At Kota we were nearly opposite the cliffs at Beejaghur, where coal
is reported to exist; and here we again crossed the Soane, and for
the last time. The ford is three miles up the river, and we marched
to it through deep sand. The bed of the river is here 500 feet above
the sea, and about three-quarters of a mile broad, the rapid stream
being 50 or 60 yards wide, and breast deep. The sand is firm and
siliceous, with no mica; nodules of coal are said to be washed down
thus far from the coal-beds of Burdee, a good deal higher up, but we
saw none.

The cliffs come close to the river on the opposite side, their bases
clothed with woods which teemed with birds. The soil is richer, and
individual trees, especially of _Bombax, Terminalia_ and _Mahowa,_
very fine; one tree of the _Hardwickia,_ about 120 feet high, was as
handsome a monarch of the forest as I ever saw, and it is not often
that one sees trees in the tropics, which for a combination of beauty
in outline, harmony of colour, and arrangement of branches and
foliage, would form so striking an addition to an English park.

There is a large break in the Kymore hills here, beyond the village
of Kunch, through which our route lay to Beejaghur, and the Ganges at
Mirzapore; the cliff's leaving the river and trending to the north in
a continuous escarpment flanked with low ranges of rounded hills, and
terminating in an abrupt spur (Mungeesa Peak) whose summit was
covered with a ragged forest. At Kunch we saw four alligators
sleeping in the river, looking at a distance like logs of wood, all
of the short-nosed or mugger kind, dreaded by man and beast; I saw
none of the sharp-shouted (or garial), so common on the Ganges, where
their long bills, with a garniture of teeth and prominent eyes
peeping out of the water, remind one of geological lectures and
visions of _Ichthyosauri._ Tortoises were frequent in the river,
basking on the rocks, and popping into the water when approached.

On the 1st of March we left the Soane, and struck inland over a rough
hilly country, covered with forest, fully 1000 feet below the top of
the Kymore table-land, which here recedes from the river and
surrounds an undulating plain, some ten miles either way, facing the
south. The roads, or rather pathways, were very bad, and quite
impassable for the carts without much engineering, cutting through
forest, smoothing down the banks of the watercourses to be crossed,
and clearing away the rocks as we best might. We traversed the empty
bed of a mountain torrent, with perpendicular banks of alluvium 30
feet high, and thence plunged into a dense forest. Our course was
directed towards Mungeesa Peak, the remarkable projecting spur,
between which and a conical hill the path led. Whether on the
elephants or on foot, the thorny jujubes, _Acacias,_ etc. were
most troublesome, and all our previous scratchings were nothing to
this. Peacocks and jungle-fowl were very frequent, the squabbling of
the former and the hooting of the monkeys constantly grating on the
ear. There were innumerable pigeons and a few Floricans (a kind of
bustard--considered the best eating game--bird in India). From the
defile we emerged on an open flat, halting at Sulkun, a scattered
village (alt. 684 feet), peopled by a bold-looking race (Coles)* [The
Coles, like the Danghas of the Rajmahal and Behar hills, and the
natives of the mountains of the peninsula, form one of the aboriginal
tribes of British India, and are widely different people from either
the Hindoos or Mussulmen.] who habitually carry the spear and shield.
We had here the pleasure of meeting Mr. Felle, an English gentleman
employed in the Revenue department; this being one of the roads along
which the natives transport their salt, sugar, etc., from one
province to another.

In the afternoon, I examined the conical hill, which, like that near
Rotas, is of stratified beds of limestone, capped with sandstone.
A stream runs round its base, cutting through the alluvium to the
subjacent rock, which is exposed, and contains flattened spheres of
limestone. These spheres are from the size of a fist to a child's
head, or even much larger; they are excessively hard, and neither
laminated nor formed of concentric layers. At the top of the hill the
sandstone cap was perpendicular on all sides, and its dry top covered
with small trees, especially of _Cochlospermum._ A few larger
trees of _Fici_ clung to the edge of the rocks, and by forcing
their roots into the interstices detached enormous masses, affording
good dens for bears and other wild animals. From the top, the view of
rock, river, forest, and plain, was very fine, the eye ranging over a
broad flat, girt by precipitous hills;--West, the Kymore or Vindhya
range rose again in rugged elevations; South, flowed the Soane,
backed by ranges of wooded hills, smoking like volcanos with the
fires of the natives;--below, lay the bed of the stream we had left
at the foot of the hills, cutting its way through the alluvium, and
following a deep gorge to the Soane, which was there hidden by the
rugged heights we had crossed, on which the greater part of our camp
might be seen still straggling onwards;--east, and close above us,
the bold spur of Mungeesa shot up, terminating a continuous stretch
of red precipices, clothed with forest along their bases, and over
their horizontal tops.

From Sulkun the view of the famed fort and palace of Beejaghur is
very singular, planted on the summit of an isolated hill of
sandstone, about ten miles off. A large tree by the palace marks its
site; for, at this distance, the buildings are themselves

There are many tigers on these hills; and as one was close by, and
had killed several cattle, Mr. Felle kindly offered us a chance of
slaying him. Bullocks are tethered out, over-night, in the places
likely to be visited by the brute; he kills one of them, and is from
the spot tracked to his haunt by natives, who visit the stations
early in the morning, and report the whereabouts of his lair.
The sportsman then goes to the attack mounted on an elephant, or
having a roost fixed in a tree, on the trail of the tiger, and he
employs some hundred natives to drive the animal past the

On the present occasion, the locale of the tiger was doubtful; but it
was thought that by beating over several miles of country he (or at
any rate, some other game) might be driven past a certain spot.
Thither, accordingly, the natives were sent, who built machans
(stages) in the trees, high out of danger's reach; Mr. Theobald and
myself occupied one of these perches in a _Hardwickia_ tree, and
Mr. Felle another, close by, both on the slope of a steep hill,
surrounded by jungly valleys. We were also well thatched in with
leafy boughs, to prevent the wary beast from espying the ambush, and
had a whole stand of shall arms ready for his reception.

When roosted aloft, and duly charged to keep profound silence (which
I obeyed to the letter, by falling sound asleep), the word was passed
to the beaters, who surrounded our post on the plain-side, extending
some miles in line, and full two or three distant from us.
They entered the jungle, beating tom-toms, singing and shouting as
they advanced, and converging towards our position. In the noonday
solitude of these vast forests, our situation was romantic enough:
there was not a breath of wind, an insect or bird stirring; and the
wild cries of the men, and the hollow sound of the drums broke upon
the ear from a great distance, gradually swelling and falling, as the
natives ascended the heights or crossed the valleys. After about an
hour and a half, the beaters emerged from the jungle under our
retreat; one by one, two by two, but preceded by no single living
thing, either mouse, bird, deer, or bear, and much less tiger.
The beaters received about a penny a-piece for the day's work; a rich
guerdon for these poor wretches, whom necessity sometimes drives to
feed on rats and offal.

We were detained three days at Sulkun, from inability to get on with
the carts; and as the pass over the Kymore to the north (on the way
to Mirzapore) was to be still worse, I took advantage of Mr. Felle's
kind offer of camels and elephants to make the best of my way
forward, accompanying that gentleman, _en route,_ to his
residence at Shahgunj, on the table-land.

Both the climate and natural history of this flat on which Sulkun
stands, are similar to those of the banks of the Soane; the crops are
wretched. At this season the dryness of the atmosphere is excessive:
our nails cracked, and skins peeled, whilst all articles of wood,
tortoiseshell, etc., broke on the slightest blow. The air, too, was
always highly electrical, and the dew-point was frequently 40 degrees
below the temperature of the air.

The natives are far from honest: they robbed one of the tents placed
between two others, wherein a light was burning. One gentleman in it
was awake, and on turning saw five men at his bedside, who escaped
with a bag of booty, in the shape of clothes, and a tempting strong
brass-bound box, containing private letters. The clothes they dropped
outside, but the box of letters was carried off. There were about a
hundred people asleep outside the tents, between whose many fires the
rogues must have passed, eluding also the guard, who were, or ought
to have been, awake.


Ek-powa Ghat -- Sandstones -- Shahgunj -- Table-land, elevation, etc.
-- Gum-arabic -- Mango -- Fair -- Aquatic plants -- Rujubbund --
Storm -- False sunset and sunrise -- Bind hills -- Mirzapore --
Manufactures, imports, etc. -- Climate of -- Thuggee -- Chunar --
Benares -- Mosque -- Observatory -- Sar-nath -- Ghazeepore --
Rose-gardens -- Manufactory of Attar -- Lord Cornwallis' tomb --
Ganges, scenery and natural history of -- Pelicans -- Vegetation --
Insects -- Dinapore -- Patna -- Opium godowns and manufacture --
Mudar, white and purple -- Monghyr islets -- Hot Springs of Setakoond
-- Alluvium of Ganges -- Rocks of Sultun-gunj -- Bhaugulpore --
Temples of Mt. Manden -- Coles and native tribes -- Bhaugulpore
rangers -- Horticultural gardens.

On the 3rd of March I bade farewell to Mr. Williams and his kind
party, and rode over a plain to the village of Markunda, at the foot
of the Ghat. There the country becomes very rocky and wooded, and a
stream is crossed, which runs over a flat bed of limestone, cracked
into the appearance of a tesselated pavement. For many miles there is
no pass over the Kymore range, except this, significantly called
"Ek-powa-Ghat" (one-foot Ghat). It is evidently a _fault,_ or
shifting of the rocks, producing so broken a cliff as to admit of a
path winding over the shattered crags. On either side, the precipices
are extremely steep, of horizontally stratified rocks, continued in
an unbroken line, and the views across the plain and Soane valley,
over which the sun was now setting, were superb. At the summit we
entered on a dead flat plain or table-land, with no hills, except
along the brim of the broad valley we had left, where are some
curious broad pyramids, formed of slabs of sandstone arranged in
steps. By dark we reached the village of Roump (alt. 1090 feet),
beyond the top of the pass.

On the next day I proceeded on a small, fast, and wofully
high-trotting elephant, to Shahgunj, where I enjoyed Mr. Felle's
hospitality for a few days. The country here, though elevated, is,
from the nature of the soil and formation, much more fertile than
what I had left. Water is abundant, both in tanks and wells, and
rice-fields, broad and productive, cover the ground; while groves of
tamarinds and mangos, now loaded with blossoms, occur at
every village.

It is very singular that the elevation of this table-land (1100 feet
at Shahgunj) should coincide with that of the granite range of Upper
Bengal, where crossed by the grand trunk road, though they have no
feature but the presence of alluvium in common. Scarce a hillock
varies the surface here, and the agricultural produce of the two is
widely different. Here the flat ledges of sandstone retain the
moisture, and give rise to none of those impetuous torrents which
sweep it off the inclined beds of gneiss, or splintered quartz.
Nor is there here any of the effloresced salts so forbidding to
vegetation where they occur. Wherever the alluvium is deep on these
hills, neither _Catechu, Olibanum, Butea, Terminalia, Diospyros,_
dwarf-palm, or any of those plants are to be met with, which abound
wherever the rock is superficial, and irrespectively of its
mineral characters.

The gum-arabic _Acacia_ is abundant here, though not seen below,
and very rare to the eastward of this meridian, for I saw but little
of it in Behar. It is a plant partial to a dry climate, and rather
prefers a good soil. In its distribution it in some degree follows
the range of the camel, which is its constant companion over
thousands of leagues. In the valley of the Ganges I was told that
neither the animal nor plant flourish east of the Soane, where I
experienced a marked change in the humidity of the atmosphere on my
passage down the Ganges. It was a circumstance I was interested in,
having first met with the camel at Teneriffe and the Cape Verd
Islands, the westernmost limit of its distribution; imported thither,
however, as it now is into Australia, where, though there is no
_Acacia Arabica,_ four hundred other species of the genus
are known.

The mango, which is certainly _the_ fruit of India, (as the
pine-apple is of the Eastern Islands, and the orange of the West,)
was now blossoming, and a superb sight. The young leaves are
purplish-green, and form a curious contrast to the deep lurid hue of
the older foliage; especially when the tree is (which often occurs)
dimidiate, one half the green, and the other the red shades of
colours; when in full blossom, all forms a mass of yellow, diffusing
a fragrance rather too strong and peculiar to be pleasant.

We passed a village where a large fair was being held, and singularly
familiar its arrangements were to my early associations. The women
and children are the prime customers; for the latter
whirl-you-go-rounds, toys, and sweetmeats were destined; to tempt the
former, little booths of gay ornaments, patches for the forehead,
ear-rings of quaint shapes, bugles and beads. Here as at home, I
remarked that the vendors of these superfluities occupy the
approaches to this Vanity-Fair. As, throughout the East, the trades
are congregated into particular quarters of the cities, so here the
itinerants grouped themselves into little bazaars for each class of
commodity. Whilst I was engaged in purchasing a few articles of
native workmanship, my elephant made an attack on a sweetmeat stall,
demolishing a magnificent erection of barley-sugar, before his
proceedings could be put a stop to.

Mr. Felle's bungalow (whose garden smiled with roses in this
wilderness) was surrounded by a moat (fed by a spring), which was
full of aquatic plants, _Nymphaea, Damasonium, Villarsia cristata,
Aponogeton,_ three species of _Potamogeton,_ two of _Naias, Chara_
and _Zannichellia_ (the two latter indifferently, and often together,
used in the refinement of sugar). In a large tank hard by, wholly fed
by rain water, I observed only the _Villarsia Indica,_ no
_Aponogeton, Nymphaea,_ or _Dammonium,_ nor did these occur in any of
the other tanks I examined, which were otherwise well peopled with
plants. This may not be owing to the quality of the water so much as
to its varying quantity in the tank.

All around here, as at Roump, is a dead flat, except towards the
crest of the ghats which overhang the valley of the Soane, and there
the sandstone rock rises by steps into low hills. During a ride to a
natural tank amongst these rocky elevations, I passed from the
alluvium to the sandstone, and at once met with all the prevailing
plants of the granite, gneiss, limestone and hornstone rocks
previously examined, and which I have enumerated too often to require
recapitulation; a convincing proof that the mechanical properties and
not the chemical constitution of the rocks regulate the distribution
of these plants.

Rujubbund (the pleasant spot), is a small tarn, or more properly the
expanded bed of a stream, art having aided nature in its formation:
it is edged by rocks and cliffs fringed with the usual trees of the
neighbourhood; it is a wild and pretty spot, not unlike some
birch-bordered pool in the mountains of Wales or Scotland,
sequestered and picturesque. It was dark before I got back, with
heavy clouds and vivid lightning approaching from the south-west.
The day had been very hot (3 p.m., 90 degrees), and the evening the
same; but the barometer did not foretell the coming tempest, which
broke with fury at 7 p.m., blowing open the doors, and accompanied
with vivid lightning and heavy thunder, close by and all round,
though no rain fell.

In the clear dry mornings of these regions, a curious optical
phenomena may be observed, of a _sunrise_ in the _west,_ and _sunset_
in the _east._ In either case, bright and well-defined beams rise to
the zenith, often crossing to the opposite horizon. It is a beautiful
feature in the firmament, and equally visible whether the horizon be
cloudy or clear, the white beams being projected indifferently
against a dark vapour or the blue serene. The zodiacal light shines
from an hour or two after sunset till midnight, with singular
brightness, almost equalling the milky way.

_March_ 7.-Left Shahgunj for Mirzapore, following the road to
Goorawal, over a dead alluvial flat without a feature to remark.
Turning north from that village, the country undulates, exposing the
rocky nucleus, and presenting the usual concomitant vegetation.
Occasionally park-like views occurred, which, where diversified by
the rocky valleys, resemble much the noble scenery of the Forest of
Dean on the borders of Wales; the _Mahowa_ especially
representing the oak, with its spreading and often gnarled branches.
Many of the exposed slabs of sandstone are beautifully waved on the
surface with the _ripple-mark_ impression.

Amowee, where I arrived at 9 p.m., is on an open grassy flat, about
fifteen miles from the Ganges, which is seen from the neighbourhood,
flowing among trees, with the white houses, domes, and temples of
Mirzapore scattered around, and high above which the dust-clouds were
coursing along the horizon.

Mr. Money, the magistrate of Mirzapore, kindly sent a mounted
messenger to meet me here, who had vast trouble in getting bearers
for my palkee. In it I proceeded the next day to Mirzapore,
descending a steep ghat of the Bind hills by an excellent road, to
the level plains of the Ganges. Unlike the Dunwah pass, this is
wholly barren. At the foot the sun was intensely hot, the roads
alternately rocky and dusty, the villages thronged with a widely
different looking race from those of the hills, and the whole air of
the outskirts, on a sultry afternoon, far from agreeable.

Mirzapore is a straggling town, said to contain 100,000 inhabitants.
It flanks the river, and is built on an undulating alluvial bank,
full of kunker, elevated 360 feet above the sea, and from 50 to 80
above the present level of the river. The vicinity of the Ganges and
its green bank, and the numbers of fine trees around, render it a
pleasing, though not a fine town. It presents the usual Asiatic
contrast of squalor and gaudiness; consisting of large squares and
broad streets, interspersed with acres of low huts and groves of
trees. It is celebrated for its manufactory of carpets, which are
admirable in appearance, and, save in durability, equal to the
English. Indigo seed from Bundelkund is also a most extensive article
of commerce, the best coming from the Doab. For cotton, lac, sugar,
and saltpetre, it is one of the greatest marts in India. The articles
of native manufacture are brass washing and cooking utensils, and
stone deities worked out of the sandstone.

There is little native vegetation, the country being covered with
cultivation and extensive groves of mango, and occasionally of guava.
English vegetables are abundant and excellent, and the strawberries,
which ripen in March, rival the European fruit in size, but hardly
in flavour.

During the few days spent at Mirzapore with my kind friend, Mr. C.
Hamilton, I was surprised to find the temperature of the day cooler
by nearly 4 degrees than that of the hills above, or of the upper
part of the Soane valley; while on the other hand the nights were
decidedly warmer. The dewpoint again was even lower in proportion,
(72 degrees) and the climate consequently drier. The atmosphere was
extremely dry and electrical, the hair constantly crackling when
combed. Further west, where the climate becomes still drier, the
electricity of the air is even greater. Mr. Griffith mentions in his
journal that in filling barometer tubes in Affghanistan, he
constantly experienced a shock.

Here I had the pleasure of meeting Lieutenant Ward, one of the
suppressors of Thuggee (_Thuggee,_ in Hindostan, signifies a
deceiver; fraud, not open force, being employed). This gentleman
kindly showed me the approvers or king's evidence of his
establishment, belonging to those three classes of human scourges,
the Thug, Dakoit, and Poisoner. Of these the first was the Thug, a
mild-looking man, who had been born and bred to the profession: he
had committed many murders, saw no harm in them, and felt neither
shame nor remorse. His organs of observation and destructiveness were
large, and the cerebellum small. He explained to me how the gang
waylay the unwary traveller, enter into conversation with him, and
have him suddenly seized, when the superior throws his own linen
girdle round the victim's neck and strangles him, pressing the
knuckles against the spine. Taking off his own, he passed it round my
arm, and showed me the turn as coolly as a sailor once taught me the
_hangman's knot._ The Thug is of any caste, and from any part
of India. The profession have particular stations, which they
generally select for murder, throwing the body of their victim into
a well.

The Dakoit (_dakhee,_ a robber) belongs to a class who rob in
gangs, but never commit murder--arson and housebreaking also forming
part of their profession. These are all high-class Rajpoots,
originally from Guzerat; who, on being conquered, vowed vengeance on
mankind. They speak both Hindostanee and the otherwise extinct
Guzerat language; this is guttural in the extreme, and very singular
in sound. They are a very remarkable people, found throughout India,
and called by various names; their women dress peculiarly, and are
utterly devoid of modesty. The man I examined was a short, square,
but far from powerful Nepalese, with high arched eyebrows, and no
organs of observation. These people are great cowards.

The Poisoners all belong to one caste, of Pasie, or dealers in toddy:
they go singly or in gangs, haunting the travellers' resting-places,
where they drop half a rupee weight of pounded or whole _Datura_
seeds into his food, producing a twenty-hours' intoxication, during
which he is robbed, and left to recover or sink under the stupifying
effects of the narcotic. He told me that the _Datura_ seed is
gathered without ceremony, and at any time, place, or age of the
plant. He was a dirty, ill-conditioned looking fellow, with no bumps
behind his ears, or prominence of eyebrow region, but a remarkable

Though now all but extinct (except in Cuttack), through ten or
fifteen years of unceasing vigilance on the part of Government, and
incredible activity and acuteness in the officers employed, the Thugs
were formerly a wonderfully numerous body, who abstained from their
vocation solely in the immediate neighbourhood of their own villages;
which, however, were not exempt from the visits of other Thugs; so
that, as Major Sleeman says,--"The annually returning tide of murder
swept unsparingly over the whole face of India, from the Sutlej to
the sea-coast, and from the Himalaya to Cape Comorin. One narrow
district alone was free, the Concan, beyond the ghats, whither they
never penetrated." In Bengal, river Thugs replace the travelling
practitioner. Candeish and Rohilkund alone harboured no Thugs as
residents, but they were nevertheless haunted by the gangs.

Their origin is uncertain, but supposed to be very ancient, soon
after the Mahommedan conquest. They now claim a divine original, and
are supposed to have supernatural powers, and to be the emissaries of
the divinity, like the wolf, the tiger, and the bear. It is only
lately that they have swarmed so prodigiously,--seven original gangs
having migrated from Delhi to the Gangetic provinces about 200 years
ago, and from these all the rest have sprung. Many belong to the most
amiable, intelligent, and respectable classes of the lower and even
middle ranks: they love their profession, regard murder as sport, and
are never haunted with dreams, or troubled with pangs of conscience
during hours of solitude, or in the last moments of life. The victim
is an acceptable sacrifice to the goddess Davee, who by some classes
is supposed to eat the lifeless body, and thus save her votaries the
necessity of concealing it.

They are extremely superstitious, always consulting omens, such as
the direction in which a hare or jackall crosses the road; and even
far more trivial circumstances will determine the fate of a dozen of
people, and perhaps of an immense treasure. All worship the pickaxe,
which is symbolical of their profession, and an oath sworn on it
binds closer than on the Koran. The consecration of this weapon is a
most elaborate ceremony, and takes place only under certain trees.
They rise through various grades: the lowest are scouts; the second,
sextons; the third are holders of the victims' hands; the highest,

Though all agree in never practising cruelty, or robbing previous to
murder, never allowing any but infants to escape (and these are
trained to Thuggee), and never leaving a trace of such goods as may
be identified, there are several variations in their mode of
conducting operations; some tribes spare certain castes, others none:
murder of woman is against all rules; but the practice crept into
certain gangs, and this it is which led to their discountenance by
the goddess Davee, and the consequent downfall of the system.
Davee, they say, allowed the British to punish them, because a
certain gang had murdered the mothers to obtain their daughters to be
sold to prostitution.

Major Sleeman has constructed a map demonstrating the number of
"Bails," or regular stations for committing murder, in the kingdom of
Oude alone, which is 170 miles long by 100 broad, and in which are
274, which are regarded by the Thug with as much satisfaction and
interest as a game preserve is in England: nor are these "bails" less
numerous in other parts of India. Of twenty assassins who were
examined, one frankly confessed to having been engaged in 931
murders, and the least guilty of the number to 24. Sometimes 150
persons collected into one gang, and their profits have often been
immense, the murder of six persons on one occasion yielding 82,000
rupees; upwards of 8000 pounds.

Of the various facilities for keeping up the system, the most
prominent are, the practice amongst the natives of travelling before
dawn, of travellers mixing freely together, and taking their meals by
the way-side instead of in villages; in the very Bails, in fact, to
which they are inveigled by the Thug in the shape of a
fellow-traveller; money remittances are also usually made by
disguised travellers, whose treasure is exposed at the custom-houses,
and, worst of all, the bankers will never own to the losses they
sustain, which, as a visitation of God, would, if avenged, lead, they
think, to future, and perhaps heavier punishment. Had the Thugs
destroyed Englishmen, they would quickly have been put down; but the
system being invariably practised on a class of people acknowledging
the finger of the Deity in its execution, its glaring enormities were
long in rousing the attention of the Indian Government.

A few examples of the activity exercised by the suppressors may be
interesting. They act wholly through the information given by
approvers, who are simply king's evidences. Of 600 Thugs engaged in
the murder of 64 people, and the plunder of nearly 20,000 pounds, all
except seventy were captured in ten years, though separated into six
gangs, and their operations continued from 1826 to 1830:
the last party was taken in 1836. And again, between the years 1826
and 1835, 1562 Thugs were seized, of whom 382 were hanged, and 909
transported; so that now it is but seldom these wretches are ever
heard of.

To show the extent of their operations I shall quote an anecdote from
Sleeman's Reports (to which I am indebted for most of the above
information). He states that he was for three years in charge of a
district on the Nerbudda, and considered himself acquainted with
every circumstance that occurred in the neighbourhood; yet, during
that time, 100 people were murdered and buried within less than a
quarter of a mile of his own residence!

Two hundred and fifty boats full of river Thugs, in crews of fifteen,
infested the Ganges between Benares and Calcutta, during five months
of every year, under pretence of conveying pilgrims. Travellers along
the banks were tracked, and offered a passage, which if refused in
the first boat was probably accepted in some other. At a given signal
the crews rushed in, doubled up the decoyed victim, broke his back,
and threw him into the river, where floating corpses are too numerous
to elicit even an exclamation.

At Mirzapore I engaged a boat to carry me down the river to
Bhagulpore, whence I was to proceed to the Sikkim-Himalaya.
The vessel, which, though slow and very shabby, had the advantage of
being cooler and more commodious than the handsomer craft.
Its appearance was not unlike that of a floating haystack, or
thatched cottage: its length was forty feet, and breadth fifteen, and
it drew a foot and a half of water: the deck, on which a kind of
house, neatly framed of matting, was erected, was but a little above
the water's edge. My portion of this floating residence was lined
with a kind of reed-work formed of long culms of _Saccharum._
The crew and captain consisted of six naked Hindoos, one of whom
steered by the huge rudder, sitting on a bamboo-stage astern; the
others pulled four oars in the very bows opposite my door, or tracked
the boat along the riverbank.

In my room (for cabin I cannot call it) stood my palkee, fitted as a
bed, with mosquito curtains; a chair and table. On one side were
placed all my papers and plants, under arrangement to go home; on the
other, my provisions, rice, sugar, curry-powder, a preserved ham, and
cheese, etc. Around hung telescope, botanical box, dark lantern,
barometer, and thermometer, etc., etc. Our position was often
_ashore,_ and, Hindoo-like, on the lee-shore, going bump, bump,
bump, so that I could hardly write. I considered myself fortunate in
having to take this slow conveyance down, it enabling me to write and
arrange all day long.

I left on the 15th of March, and in the afternoon of the same day
passed Chunar.* [The first station at which Henry Martyn laboured in
India.] This is a tabular mass of sandstone, projecting into the
river, and the eastern termination of the Kymore range. There is not
a rock between this and the Himalaya, and barely a stone all the way
down the Ganges, till the granite and gneiss rocks of the Behar range
are again met with. The current of the Ganges is here very strong,
and its breadth much lessened: the river runs between high banks of
alluvium, containing much kunker. At Benares it expands into a broad
stream, with a current which during the rains is said to flow eight
miles an hour, when the waters rise 43 feet. The fall hence is 300
feet to its junction with the Hooghly, viz., one foot to every mile.
My observations made that from Mirzapore to Benares considerably

Benares is the Athens of India. The variety of buildings along the
bank is incredible. There are temples of every shape in all stages of
completion and dilapidation, and at all angles of inclination; for
the banks give way so much that many of these edifices are fearfully
out of the perpendicular.

The famed mosque, built by Aurungzebe on the site of a Hindoo temple,
is remarkable for its two octagonal minarets, 232 feet above the
Ganges. The view from it over the town, especially of the European
Resident's quarter, is fine; but the building itself is deficient in
beauty or ornament: it commands the muddy river with its thousands of
boats, its waters peopled with swimmers and bathers, who spring in
from the many temples, water-terraces, and ghats on the city side:
opposite is a great sandy plain. The town below looks a mass of poor,
square, flat-roofed houses, of which 12,000 are brick, and 16,000 mud
and thatch, through the crowd of which, and of small temples, the eye
wanders in vain for some attractive feature or evidence of the
wealth, the devotion, the science, or the grandeur of a city
celebrated throughout the East for all these attributes. Green
parrots and pigeons people the air.

The general appearance of an oriental town is always more or less
ruinous; and here the eye is fatigued with bricks and crumbling
edifices, and the ear with prayer-bells. The bright meadows and green
trees which adorn the European Resident's dwelling, some four miles
back from the river, alone relieve the monotony of the scene.
The streets are so narrow that it is difficult to ride a horse
through them; and the houses are often six stories high, with
galleries crossing above from house to house. These tall, gaunt
edifices sometimes give place to clumps of cottages, and a mass of
dusty ruins, the unsavoury retreats of vermin and filth, where the
_Calotropis arborea_ generally spreads its white branches and
glaucous leaves--a dusty plant. Here, too, enormous spiders' webs
hang from the crumbling walls, choked also with dust, and resembling
curtains of coarse muslin, being often some yards across, and not
arranged in radii and arcs, but spun like weaver's woofs.
Paintings, remarkable only for their hideous proportions and want of
perspective, are daubed in vermilion, ochre, and indigo.
The elephant, camel, and porpoise of the Ganges, dog, shepherd,
peacock, and horse, are especially frequent, and so is a running
pattern of a hand spread open, with a blood-red spot on the palm.
A still less elegant but frequent object is the fuel, which is
composed of the manure collected on the roads of the city, moulded
into flat cakes, and stuck by the women on the walls to dry,
retaining the sign-manual of the artist in the impressed form of her
outspread hand. The cognizance of the Rajah, two fish chained
together, appears over the gates of public buildings.

The hundreds of temples and shrines throughout the city are its most
remarkable feature: sacred bulls, and lingams of all sizes, strewed
with flowers and grains of rice meet the eye at every turn; and the
city's boast is the possession of one million idols, which, of one
kind and another, I can well believe. The great Hindoo festival of
the _Holi_ was now celebrating, and the city more than
ordinarily crowded; throwing red powder (lac and flour), with
rose-water, is the great diversion at a festival more childish by far
than a carnival.

Through the kindness of Mr. Reade (the Commissioner), I obtained
admission to the Bishishar-Kumardil, the "holiest of holies." It was
a small, low, stone building, daubed with red inside, and swarming
with stone images of Brahminee bulls, and various disgusting emblems.
A fat old Brahmin, naked to the waist, took me in, but allowed no
followers; and what with my ignorance of his phraseology, the clang
of bells and din of voices, I gained but little information.
Some fine bells from Nepal were evidently the lion of the temple.
I emerged, adorned with a chaplet of magnolia flowers, and with my
hands full of _Calotropis_ and _Nyctanthes_ blossoms.
It was a horrid place for noise, smell, and sights. Thence I went to
a holy well, rendered sacred because Siva, when stepping from the
Himalaya to Ceylon, accidentally let a medicine chest fall into it.
The natives frequent it with little basins or baskets of rice, sugar,
etc., dropping in a little of each while they mutter prayers.


The observatory at Benares, and those at Delhi, Matra on the Jumna,
and Oujein, were built by Jey-Sing, Rajah of Jayanagar, upwards of
200 years ago; his skill in mathematical science was so well known,
that the Emperor Mahommed Shah employed him to reform the calendar.
Mr. Hunter, in the "Asiatic Researches," gives a translation of the
lucubrations of this really enlightened man, as contained in the
introduction to his own almanac.


Of the more important instruments I took sketches; No. 1, is the
Naree-wila, or Equatorial dial; No. 2, the Semrat-yunta, or
Equinoctial dial; No. 3, an Equatorial,  probably a Kranti-urit, or
Azimuth circle.* [Hunter, in As Soc. Researches, 177 (Calcutta); Sir
R. Barker in Phil. Trans., lxvii. 608 (1777); J. L. Williams, Phil.
Trans., lxxxiii. 45 (1793).] Jey-Sing's genius and love of science
seem, according to Hunter, to have descended to some of his family,
who died early in this century, when "Urania fled before the
brazen-fronted Mars, and the best of the observatories, that of
Oujein, was turned into an arsenal and cannon foundry."


The observatory is still the most interesting object in Benares,
though it is now dirty and ruinous, and the great stone instruments
are rapidly crumbling away. The building is square, with a central
court and flat roof, round which the astrolabes, etc. are arranged.
A half naked Astronomer-Royal, with a large sore on his stomach, took
me round--he was a pitiful object, and told me he was very hungry.
The observatory is nominally supported by the Rajah of Jeypore, who
doles out a too scanty pittance to his scientific corps.

In the afternoon Mr. Reade drove me to the Sar-nath, a singular
Boodhist temple, a cylindrical mass of brickwork, faced with stone,
the scrolls on which were very beautiful, and as sharp as if freshly
cut: it is surmounted by a tall dome, and is altogether about seventy
or a hundred feet high. Of the Boodh figures only one remains, the
others having been used by a recent magistrate of Benares in
repairing a bridge over the Goomtee! From this place the Boodhist
monuments, Hindoo temple, Mussulman mosque, and English church, were
all embraced in one _coup d'oeil._ On our return, we drove past
many enormous mounds of earth and brick-work, the vestiges of Old
Benares, but whether once continued to the present city or not is
unknown. Remains are abundant, eighteen feet below the site of the
present city.

Benares is the Mecca of the Hindoos, and the number of pilgrims who
visit it is incalculable. Casi (its ancient name, signifying
splendid), is alleged to be no part of this world, which rests on
eternity, whereas Benares is perched on a prong of Siva's trident,
and is hence beyond the reach of earthquakes.* [Probably an allusion
to the infrequency of these phenomena in this meridian; they being
common both in Eastern Bengal, and in Western India beyond the
Ganges.] Originally built of gold, the sins of the inhabitants were
punished by its transmutation into stone, and latterly into mud and
thatch: whoever enters it, and especially visits its principal idol
(Siva fossilised) is secure of heaven.

On the 18th I left Benares for Ghazepore, a pretty town situated on
the north bank of the river, celebrated for its manufacture of
rose-water, the tomb of Lord Cornwallis, and a site of the Company's
stud. The Rose gardens surround the town: they are fields, with low
bushes of the plant grown in rows, red with blossoms in the morning,
all of which are, however, plucked long before midday. The petals are
put into clay stills, with twice their weight of water, and the
produce exposed to the fresh air, for a night, in open vessels.
The unskimmed water affords the best, and it is often twice and even
oftener distilled; but the fluid deteriorates by too much
distillation. The Attar is skimmed from the exposed pans, and sells
at 10 pounds the rupee weight, to make which 20,000 flowers are
required. It is frequently adulterated with sandal-wood oil.

Lord Cornwallis' mausoleum is a handsome building, modelled by
Flaxman after the Sybil's Temple. The allegorical designs of Hindoos
and sorrowing soldiers with reversed arms, which decorate two sides
of the enclosed tomb, though perhaps as good as can be, are under any
treatment unclassical and uncouth. The simple laurel and oak-leaf
chaplets on the alternating faces are far more suitable
and suggestive.

_March_ 21.--I left Ghazepore and dropped down the Ganges; the
general features of which are soon described. A strong current four
or five miles broad, of muddy water, flows between a precipitous bank
of alluvium or sand on one side, and a flat shelving one of sand or
more rarely mud, on the other. Sand-banks are frequent in the river,
especially where the great affluents debouche; and there generally
are formed vast expanses of sand, small "Saharas," studded with
stalking pillars of sand, raised seventy or eighty feet high by gusts
of wind, erect, stately, grave-looking columns, all shaft, with
neither basement nor capital, the genii of the "Arabian Nights."
The river is always dotted with boats of all shapes, mine being
perhaps of the most common description; the great square, Yankee-like
steamers, towing their accommodation-boats (as the passengers'
floating hotels are called), are the rarest. Trees are few on the
banks, except near villages, and there is hardly a palm to be seen
above Patna. Towns are unfrequent, such as there are being mere
collections of huts, with the ghat and boats at the bottom of the
bank; and at a respectful distance from the bazaar, stand the neat
bungalows of the European residents, with their smiling gardens,
hedgings and fencings, and loitering servants at the door. A rotting
charpoy (or bedstead) on the banks is a common sight, the "_sola
reliquia_" of some poor Hindoo, who departs this life by the side
of the stream, to which his body is afterwards committed.

Shoals of small goggled-eyed fish are seen, that spring clear out of
the water; and are preyed upon by terns and other birds; a few
insects skim the surface; turtle and porpoises tumble along, all
forming a very busy contrast to the lazy alligator, sunning his green
and scaly back near the shore, with his ichthyosaurian snout raised
high above the water. Birds are numerous, especially early and late
in the day. Along the silent shore the hungry Pariah dog may be seen
tearing his meal from some stranded corpse, whilst the adjutant-bird,
with his head sunk on his body and one leg tucked up, patiently
awaits his turn. At night the beautiful Brahminee geese alight, one
by one, and seek total solitude; ever since having disturbed a god in
his slumbers, these birds are fated to pass the night in single
blessedness. The gulls and terns, again, roost in flocks, as do the
wild geese and pelicans,--the latter, however, not till after making
a hearty and very noisy supper. These birds congregate by the sides
of pools, and beat the water with violence, so as to scare the fish,
which thus become an easy prey; a fact which was, I believe, first
indicated by Pallas, during his residence on the banks of the Caspian
Sea. Shells are scarce, and consist of a few small bivalves; their
comparative absence is probably due to the paucity of limestone in
the mountains whence the many feeders flow. The sand is pure white
and small-grained, with fragments of hornblende and mica, the latter
varying in abundance as a feeder is near or far away. Pink sand* [I
have seen the same garnet sand covering the bottom of the Himalayan
torrents, where it is the produce of disintegrated gneiss, and whence
it is transported to the Ganges.] of garnets is very common, and
deposited in layers interstratified with the white quartz sand.
Worm-marks, ripple-marks, and the footsteps of alligators, birds and
beasts, abound in the wet sand. The vegetation of the banks consists
of annuals which find no permanent resting-place. Along the sandy
shores the ever-present plants are mostly English, as Dock, a
_Nasturtium, Ranunculus sceleratus, Fumitory, Juncus bufonius,_,
Common Vervain, _Gnaphalium luteo-album,_ and very frequently
_Veronica Anagallise._ On the alluvium grow the same, mixed with
Tamarisk, _Acacia Arabica,_ and a few other bushes.

Withered grass abounds; and wheat, dhal (_Cajanus_) and gram
(_Cicer arietinum_), _Carthamus,_ vetches, and rice are the
staple products of the country. Bushes are few, except the
universally prevalent Adhatoda and _Calotropis._ Trees, also,
are rare, and of stunted growth; Figs, the _Artocarpus_ and some
_Leguminosa_ prevail most. I saw but two kinds of palm, the
fan-palm, and _Phoenix_: the latter is characteristic of the
driest locality. Then, for the animal creation, men, women, and
children abound, both on the banks, and plying up and down the
Ganges. The humped cow (of which the ox is used for draught) is
common. Camels I occasionally observed, and more rarely the elephant;
poneys, goats, and dogs muster strong. Porpoises and alligators
infest the river, even above Benares. Flies and mosquitos are
terrible pests; and so are the odious flying-bugs,* [Large
Hemipterlus insects, of the genus _Derecteryx._] which insinuate
themselves between one's skin and clothes, diffusing a dreadful
odour, which is increased by any attempt to touch or remove them.
In the evening it was impossible to keep insects out of the boat, or
to hinder their putting the lights out; and of these the most
intolerable was the abovementioned flying-bug. Saucy crickets, too,
swarm, and spring up at one's face, whilst mosquitos maintain a
constant guerilla warfare, trying to the patience no less than to the
nerves. Thick webs of the gossamer spider float across the river
during the heat of the day, as coarse as fine thread, and being
inhaled keep tickling the nose and lips.

On the 18th, the morning commenced with a dust-storm, the horizon was
about 20 yards off, and ashy white with clouds of sand; the trees
were scarcely visible, and everything in my boat was covered with a
fine coat of impalpable powder, collected from the boundless alluvial
plains through which the Ganges flows. Trees were scarcely
discernible, and so dry was the wind that drops of water vanished
like magic. Neither ferns, mosses, nor lichens grow along the banks
of the Ganges, they cannot survive the transition from parching like
this to the three months' floods at midsummer, when the country is
for miles under water.

_March_ 23.--Passed the mouth of the Soane, a vast expanse of
sand dotted with droves of camels; and soon after, the wide-spread
spits of sand along the north bank announced the mouth of the Gogra,
one of the vastest of the many Himalayan affluents of the Ganges.

On the 25th of March I reached Dinapore, a large military station,
sufficiently insalubrious, particularly for European troops, the
barracks being so misplaced that the inmates are suffocated: the
buildings run east and west instead of north and south, and therefore
lose all the breeze in the hottest weather. From this place I sent
the boat down to Patna, and proceeded thither by land to the house of
Dr. Irvine, an old acquaintance and botanist, from whom I received a
most kind welcome. On the road, Bengal forms of vegetation, to which
I had been for three months a stranger, reappeared; likewise groves
of fan and toddy palms, which are both very rare higher up the river;
clumps of large bamboo, orange, _Acacia Sissoo, Melia, Guatteria
longifolia, Spondias mangifera, Odina, Euphorbia pentagona,
neriifolia_ and _trigona,_ were common road-side plants.
In the gardens, Papaw, _Croton, Jatropha, Buddleia, Cookia,_
Loquat, Litchi, Longan, all kinds of the orange tribe, and the
cocoa-nut, some from their presence, and many from their profusion,
indicated a decided change of climate, a receding from the desert
north-west of India, and its dry winds, and an approach to the damper
regions of the many-mouthed Ganges.

My main object at Patna being to see the opium Godowns (stores), I
waited on Dr. Corbett, the Assistant-Agent, who kindly explained
everything to me, and to whose obliging attentions I am much indebted.

The E.I. Company grant licences for the cultivation of the poppy, and
contract for all the produce at certain rates, varying with the
quality. No opium can be grown without this licence, and an advance
equal to about two-thirds of the value of the produce is made to the
grower. This produce is made over to district collectors, who
approximately fix the worth of the contents of each jar, and forward
it to Patna, where rewards are given for the best samples, and the
worst are condemned without payment; but all is turned to some
account in the reduction of the drug to a state fit for market.

The poppy flowers in the end of January and beginning of February,
and the capsules are sliced in February and March with a little
instrument like a saw, made of three iron plates with jagged edges,
tied together. The cultivation is very carefully conducted, nor are
there any very apparent means of improving this branch of commerce
and revenue. During the N.W., or dry winds, the best opium is
procured, the worst during the moist, or E. and N.E., when the drug
imbibes moisture, and a watery bad solution of opium collects in
cavities of its substance, and is called Passewa, according to the
absence of which the opium is generally prized.

At the end of March the opium jars arrive at the stores by water and
by land, and continue accumulating for some weeks. Every jar is
labelled and stowed in a proper place, separately tested with extreme
accuracy, and valued. When the whole quantity has been received, the
contents of all the jars are thrown into great vats, occupying a very
large building, whence the mass is distributed, to be made up into
balls for the markets. This operation is carried on in a long paved
room, where every man is ticketed, and many overseers are stationed
to see that the work is properly conducted. Each workman sits on a
stool, with a double stage and a tray before him. On the top stage is
a tin basin, containing opium sufficient for three balls; in the
lower another basin, holding water: in the tray stands a brass
hemispherical cup, in which the ball is worked. To the man's right
hand is another tray, with two compartments, one containing thin
pancakes of poppy petals pressed together, the other a cupful of
sticky opium-water, made from refuse opium. The man takes the brass
cup, and places a pancake at the bottom, smears it with opium-water,
and with many plies of the pancakes makes a coat for the opium. Of
this he takes about one-third of the mass before him, puts it inside
the petals, and agglutinates many other coats over it: the balls are
then again weighed, and reduced or increased to a certain weight if
necessary. At the day's end, each man takes his work to a rack with
numbered compartments, and deposits it in that which answers to his
own number, thence the balls (each being put in a clay cup) are
carried to an enormous drying-room, where they are exposed in tiers,
and constantly examined and turned, to prevent their being attacked
by weevils, which are very prevalent during moist winds, little boys
creeping along the racks all day long for this purpose. When dry, the
balls are packed in two layers of six each in chests, with the
stalks, dried leaves, and capsules of the plant, and sent down to
Calcutta. A little opium is prepared of very fine quality for the
Government Hospitals, and some for general sale in India; but the
proportion is trifling, and such is made up into square cakes. A good
workman will prepare from thirty to fifty balls a day, the total
produce being 10,000 to 12,000 a day; during one working season
1,353,000 balls are manufactured for the Chinese market alone.

The poppy-petal _pancakes,_ each about a foot radius, are made
in the fields by women, by the simple operation of pressing the fresh
petals together. They are brought in large baskets, and purchased at
the commencement of the season. The liquor with which the pancakes
are agglutinated together by the ball-maker, and worked into the
ball, is merely inspissated opium-water, the opium for which is
derived from the condemned opium, (Passewa,) the washing of the
utensils, and of the workmen, every one of whom is nightly laved
before he leaves the establishment, and the water is inspissated.
Thus not a particle of opium is lost. To encourage the farmers, the
refuse stalks, leaves, and heads are bought up, to pack the balls
with; but this is far from an economical plan, for it is difficult to
keep the refuse from damp and insects.

A powerful smell of opium pervaded these vast buildings, which Dr.
Corbett* [I am greatly indebted to Mr. Oldfield, the Opium Agent, and
to Dr. Corbett, for a complete set of specimens, implements, and
drawings, illustrating the cultivation and manufacture of Opium.
They are exhibited in the Kew Museum of Economic Botany.] assured me
did not affect himself or the assistants. The men work ten hours a
day, becoming sleepy in the afternoon; but this is only natural in
the hot season: they are rather liable to eruptive diseases, possibly
engendered by the nature of their occupation.

Even the best East Indian opium is inferior to the Turkish, and owing
to peculiarities of climate, will probably always be so. It never
yields more than five per cent. of morphia, whence its inferiority,
but is as good in other respects, and even richer in narcotine.

The care and attention devoted to every department of collecting,
testing, manipulating, and packing, is quite extraordinary; and the
result has been an impulse to the trade, beyond what was anticipated.
The natives have been quick at apprehending and supplying the wants
of the market, and now there are more demands for licences to grow
opium than can be granted. All the opium eaten in India is given out
with a permit to licensed dealers, and the drug is so adulterated
before it reaches the retailers in the bazaars, that it does not
contain one-thirtieth part of the intoxicating power that it did
when pure.

Patna is the stronghold of Mahommedanism, and from its central
position, its command of the Ganges, and its proximity to Nepal
(which latter has been aptly compared to a drawn dagger, pointed at
the heart of India), it is an important place. For this reason there
are always a European and several Native Regiments stationed there.
In the neighbourbood there is little to be seen, and the highly
cultivated flat country is unfavourable to native vegetation.

The _mudar_ plant (_Calotropis_) was abundant here, but I
found that its properties and nomenclature were far from settled
points. On the banks of the Ganges, the larger, white-flowered,
sub-arboreous species prevailed; in the interior, and along my whole
previous route, the smaller purple-flowered kind only was seen.
Mr. Davis, of Rotas, was in the habit of using the medicine
copiously, and vouched for the cure of eighty cases, chiefly of
leprosy, by the _white mudar,_ gathered on the Ganges, whilst
the purple of Rotas and the neighbourhood was quite inert:
Dr. Irvine, again, used the purple only, and found the white inert.
The European and native doctors, who knew the two plants, all gave
the preference to the white; except Dr. Irvine, whose experience over
various parts of India is entitled to great weight.

_March_ 29.--Dropped down the river, experiencing a succession
of east and north-east winds during the whole remainder of the
voyage. These winds are very prevalent throughout the month of March,
and they rendered the passage in my sluggish boat sufficiently
tedious. In other respects I had but little bad weather to complain
of: only one shower of rain occurred, and but few storms of thunder
and lightning. The stream is very strong, and its action on the
sand-banks conspicuous. All night I used to hear the falling cliffs
precipitated with a dull heavy splash into the water,--a pretty
spectacle in the day-time, when the whirling current is seen to carry
a cloud of white dust, like smoke, along its course.

The Curruckpore hills, the northern boundary of the gneiss and
granite range of Paras-nath, are seen first in the distance, and then
throwing out low loosely timbered spurs towards the river; but no
rock or hill comes close to the banks till near Monghyr, where two
islets of rock rise out of the bed of the river. They are of
stratified quartz, dipping, at a high angle, to the south-east; and,
as far as I could observe, quite barren, each crowned with a little
temple. The swarm of boats from below Patna to this place was
quite incredible.

_April_ 1.--Arrived at Monghyr, by far the prettiest town I had
seen on the river, backed by a long range of wooded hills,--detached
outliers of which rise in the very town. The banks are steep, and
they appear more so owing to the fortifications, which are extensive.
A number of large, white, two-storied houses, some very imposing, and
perched on rounded or conical hills, give a European aspect to
the place.

Monghyr is celebrated for its iron manufactures, especially of
muskets, in which respect it is the Birmingham of Bengal. Generally
speaking, these weapons are poor, though stamped with the first
English names. A native workman will, however, if time and sufficient
reward be given, turn out a first rate fowling-piece. The inhabitants
are reported to be sad drunkards, and the abundance of toddy-palms
was quite remarkable. The latter, (here the _Phoenix sylvestris,)
I never saw wild, but it is considered to be so in N.W. India; it is
still a doubtful point whether it is the same as the African species.
In the morning of the following day I went to the hot springs of
Seeta-koond (wells of Seeta), a few miles south of the town.


The hills are hornstone and quartz, stratified and dipping southerly
with a very high angle; they are very barren, and evidently identical
with those on the south bank of the Soane; skirting, in both cases,
the granite and gneiss range of Paras-nath. The alluvium on the banks
of the Ganges is obviously an aqueous deposit subsequent to the
elevation of these hills, and is perfectly plane up to their bases.
The river has its course through the alluvium, like the Soane.
The depth of the former is in many places upwards of 100 feet, and
the kunker pebbles it contains are often disposed in parallel
undulating bands. It nowhere contains sand pebbles or fossils;
concretions of lime (kunker) alone interrupting its uniform
consistence. It attains its greatest thickness in the valleys of the
Ganges and the Soane, gradually sloping up to the Himalaya and
Curruckpore hills on either flank. It is, however, well developed on
the Kymore and Paras-nath hills, 1200 to 1500 feet above the Ganges
valley, and I have no doubt was deposited in very deep water, when
the relative positions of these mountains to the Ganges and Soane
valleys were the same that they are now. Like every other part of the
surface of India, it has suffered much from denudation, especially on
the above-named mountains, and around their bases, where various
rocks protrude through it. Along the Ganges again, its surface is an
unbroken level between Chunar and the rocks of Monghyr. The origin of
its component mineral matter must be sought in the denudation of the
Himalayas within a very recent geological period. The contrast
between the fertility of the alluvium and the sterility of the
protruded quartzy rocks is very striking, cultivation running up to
these fields of stones, and suddenly stopping.

Unlike the Soorujkoond hot-springs, those of Seetakoond rise in a
plain, and were once covered by a handsome temple. All the water is
collected in a tank, some yards square, with steps leading down to
it. The water, which is clear and tasteless (temp. 104 degrees), is
so pure as to be exported copiously, and the Monghyr manufactory of
soda-water presents the anomaly of owing its purity to Seeta's

On my passage down the river I passed the picturesque rocks of
Sultangunj; they are similar to those of Monghyr, but very much
larger and loftier. One, a round-headed mass, stands on the bank,
capped with a triple-domed Mahommedan tomb, palms, and figs.
The other, which is far more striking, rises isolated in the bed of
the river, and is crowned with a Hindoo temple, its pyramidal cone
surmounted with a curious pile of weathercocks, and two little
banners. The current of the Ganges is here very strong, and runs in
deep black eddies between the rocks.

Though now perhaps eighty or a hundred yards from the shore, the
islet must have been recently a peninsula, for it retains a portion
of the once connecting bank of alluvium, in the form of a short
flat-topped cliff, about thirty feet above the water. Some curious
looking sculptures on the rocks are said to represent Naragur (or
Vishnu), Suree and Sirooj; but to me they were quite unintelligible.
The temple is dedicated to Naragur, and inhabited by Fakirs; it is
the most holy on the Ganges.

_April_ 5.--I arrived at Bhagulpore, and took up my quarters
with my friend Dr. Grant, till he should arrange my dawk for Sikkim.

The town has been supposed to be the much-sought Palibothra, and a
dirty stream hard by (the Chundum), the Eranoboas; but Mr. Ravenshaw
has now brought all existing proofs to bear on Patna and the Soane.
It is, like most hilly places in India, S. of the Himalaya, the seat
of much Jain worship; and the temples on Mount Manden,* [For the
following information about Bhagulpore and its neighbourhood, I am
indebted chiefly to Col. Francklin's essay in the Asiatic Researches;
and the late Major Napleton and Mr. Pontet.] a few miles off, are
said to have been 540 in number. At the assumed summer-palaces of the
kings of Palibothra the ground is covered with agates, brought from
the neighbouring hills, which were, in a rough state, let into the
walls of the buildings. These agates perfectly resemble the Soane
pebbles, and they assist in the identification of these flanking
hills with those of the latter river.

Again, near the hills, the features of interest are very numerous.
The neighbouring mountains of Curruckpore, which are a portion of the
Rajmahal and Paras-nath range, are peopled by tribes representing the
earliest races of India, prior to the invasion of young Rama, prince
of Oude, who, according to the legend, spread Brahminism with his
conquests, and won the hand of King Jannuk's daughter, Seeta, by
bending her father's bow. These people are called Coles, a
middle-sized, strong, very dark, and black-haired race, with thick
lips: they have no vocation but collecting iron from the soil, which
occurs abundantly in nodules. They eat flesh, whether that of animals
killed by themselves, or of those which have died a natural death,
and mix with Hindoos, but not with Mussulmen. There are other tribes,
vestiges of the Tamulian race, differing somewhat in their rites from
these, and approaching, in their habits, more to Hindoos; but all are
timorous and retiring.

The hill-rangers, or Bhagulpore-rangers, are all natives of the
Rajmahal hills, and form a local corps maintained by the Company for
the protection of the district. For many years these people were
engaged in predatory excursions, which, owing to the nature of the
country, were checked with great difficulty. The plan was therefore
conceived, by an active magistrate in the district, of embodying a
portion into a military force, for the protection of the country from
invasions of their own tribes; and this scheme has answered perfectly.

To me the most interesting object in Bhagulpore was the Horticultural
Gardens, whose origin and flourishing condition are due to the
activity and enterprise of the late Major Napleton, commander of the
hill-rangers. The site is good, consisting of fifteen acres, that
were, four years ago, an indigo field, but form now a smiling garden.
About fifty men are employed; and the number of seeds and vegetables
annually distributed is very great. Of trees the most conspicuous are
the tamarind, _Tecoma jasminoides, Erythrina, Adansonia,
Bombax,_ teak, banyan, peepul, _Sissoo, Casuarina, Terminalia,
Melia, Bauhinia._ Of introduced species English and Chinese flat
peaches (pruned to the centre to let the sun in), Mangos of various
sorts, _Eugenia Jambos,_ various Anonas, Litchi, Loquat and
Longan, oranges, _Sapodilla_; apple, pear, both succeeding
tolerably; various Cabool and Persian varieties of fruit-trees; figs,
grapes, guava, apricots, and jujube. The grapes looked extremely
well, but they require great skill and care in the management.
They form a long covered walk, with a row of plantains on the W.
side, to diminish the effects of the hot winds, but even with this
screen, the fruit on that side are inferior to that on the opposite
trellis. Easterly winds, again, being moist, blight these and other
plants, by favouring the abundant increase of insects, and causing
the leaves to curl and fall off; and against this evil there is no
remedy. With a clear sky the mischief is not great; under a cloudy
one the prevalence of such winds is fatal to the crop. The white ant
sometimes attacks the stems, and is best checked by washing the roots
with limewater, yellow arsenic, or tobacco-water. Numerous Cerealia,
and the varieties of cotton, sugar-cane, etc. all thrive extremely
well; so do many of our English vegetables. Cabbages, peas, and beans
are much injured by the caterpillars of a _Pontia,_ like our
English "White;" raspberries, currants, and gooseberries will not
grow at all.

The seeds were all deposited in bottles, and hung round the walls of
a large airy apartment; and for cleanliness and excellence of kind
they would bear comparison with the best seedsman's collection in
London. Of English garden vegetables, and varieties of the Indian
Cerealia, and leguminous plants, Indian corn, millets, rice, etc.,
the collections for distribution were extensive.

The manufacture of economic products is not neglected. Excellent
coffee is grown; and arrow-root, equal to the best West Indian, is
prepared, at 18s. 6d. per bottle of twenty-four ounces, about a
fourth of the price of that article in Calcutta.

In most respects the establishment is a model of what such
institutions ought to be in India; not only of real practical value,
in affording a good and cheap supply of the best culinary and other
vegetables that the climate can produce, but as showing to what
departments efforts are best directed. Such gardens diffuse a taste
for the most healthy employments, and offer an elegant resource for
the many unoccupied hours which the Englishman in India finds upon
his hands. They are also schools of gardening; and a simple
inspection of what has been done at Bhagulpore is a valuable lesson
to any person about to establish a private garden of his own.

I often heard complaints made of the seeds distributed from these
gardens not vegetating freely in other parts of India, and it is not
to be expected that they should retain their vitality unimpaired
through an Indian rainy season; but on the other hand I almost
invariably found that the planting and tending had been left to the
uncontrolled management of native gardeners, who with a certain
amount of skill in handicraft are, from habits and prejudices,
singularly unfit for the superintendence of a garden.


Leave Bhagulpore -- Kunker -- Colgong -- Himalaya, distant view of --
Cosi, mouth of -- Difficult navigation -- Sand storms --
Caragola-Ghat -- Purnea -- Ortolans -- Mahanuddee, transport of
pebbles, etc. -- Betel-pepper, cultivation of -- Titalya -- Siligoree
-- View of outer Himalaya -- Terai -- Mechis -- Punkabaree -- Foot of
mountains -- Ascent to Dorjiling -- Cicadas -- Leeches -- Animals --
Kursiong, spring vegetation of -- Pacheem -- Arrive at Dorjiling --
Dorjiling, origin and settlement of -- Grant of land from Rajah --
Dr. Campbell appointed superintendent -- Dewan, late and present --
Aggressive conduct of the latter -- Increase of the station -- Trade
-- Titalya fair -- Healtby climate for Europeans and children --
Invalids, diseases prejudicial to.

I took as it were, a new departure, on Saturday, April the 8th, my
dawk being laid on that day from Caragola-Ghat, about thirty miles
down the river, for the foot of the Himalaya range and Dorjiling.

Passing the pretty villa-like houses of the English residents, the
river-banks re-assumed their wonted features the hills receded from
the shore; and steep clay cliffs, twenty to fifty feet high, on one
side, opposed long sandy shelves on the other. Kunker was still most
abundant, especially in the lower bed of the banks, close to the (now
very low) water. The strata containing it were much undulated, but
not uniformly so; horizontal layers over or under-lying the disturbed
ones. At Colgong, conical hills appear, and two remarkable
sister-rocks start out of the river, the same in structure with those
of Sultangunj. A boisterous current swirls round them, strong even at
this season, and very dangerous in the rains, when the swollen river
is from twenty-eight to forty feet deeper than now. We landed
opposite the rocks, and proceeded to the residence of Mr. G. Barnes,
prettily situated on one of the conical elevations characteristic of
the geology of the district. The village we passed through had been
recently destroyed by fire; and nothing but the clay outer walls and
curious-looking partition walls remained, often white-washed and
daubed with figures in red of the palm of the hand, elephant,
peacock, and tiger,--a sort of rude fresco-painting. We did not
arrive till past mid-day, and the boat, with my palkee and servant,
not having been able to face the gale, I was detained till the middle
of the following day. Mr. Barnes and his brother proved most
agreeable companions,--very luckily for me, for it requires no
ordinary philosophy to bear being storm-stayed on a voyage, with the
prospect of paying a heavy demurrage for detaining the dawk, and the
worse one of finding the bearers given to another traveller when you
arrive at the rendezvous. The view from Mr. Barnes' house is very
fine: it commands the river and its rocks; the Rajmahal hills to the
east and south; broad acres of indigo and other crops below; long
lines of palm-trees, and groves of mango, banana, tamarind, and other
tropical trees, scattered close around and in the distance. In the
rainy season, and immediately after, the snowy Himalaya are
distinctly seen on the horizon, fully 170 miles off. Nearly opposite,
the Cosi river enters the Ganges, bearing (considering its short
course) an enormous volume of water, comprising the drainage of the
whole Himalaya between the two giant peaks of Kinchinjunga in Sikkim,
and Gossain-Than in Nepal. Even at this season, looking from Mr.
Barnes' eyrie over the bed of the Ganges, the enormous expanses of
sand, the numerous shifting islets, and the long spits of mud betray
the proximity of some very restless and resistless power. During the
rains, the scene must indeed be extraordinary, when the Cosi lays
many miles of land under water, and pours so vast a quantity of
detritus into the bed of the Ganges that long islets are heaped up
and swept away in a few hours; and the latter river becomes all but
unnavigable. Boats are caught in whirlpools, formed without a
moment's warning, and sunk ere they have spun round thrice in the
eddies; and no part of the inland navigation of India is so dreaded
or dangerous, as the Ganges at its junction with the Cosi.

Rain generally falls in partial showers at this season, and they are
essential to the well-being of the spring crops of indigo. The stormy
appearance of the sky, though it proved fallacious, was hailed by my
hosts as predicting a fall, which was much wanted. The wind however
seemed but to aggravate the drought, by the great body of sand it
lifted and swept up the valleys, obscuring the near horizon, and
especially concealing the whole delta of the Cosi, where the clouds
were so vast and dense, and ascended so high as to resemble
another element.

All night the gale blew on, accompanied with much thunder and
lightning, and it was not till noon of the 9th that I descried my
palkee-boat toiling down the stream. Then I again embarked, taking
the lagging boat in tow of my own. Passing the mouths of the Cosi,
the gale and currents were so adverse that we had to bring up on the
sand, when the quantity which drifted into the boat rendered the
delay as disagreeable as it was tedious. The particles penetrated
everywhere, up my nose and down my back, drying my eyelids, and
gritting between my teeth. The craft kept bumping on the banks, and
being both crazy and leaky, the little comfortless cabin became the
refuge of scared rats and cockroaches. In the evening I shared a meal
with these creatures, on some provisions my kind friends had put into
the boat, but the food was so sandy that I had to bolt my supper!

At night the storm lulled a little, and I proceeded to Caragola Ghat
and took up my dawk, which had been twenty-eight hours expecting me,
and was waiting, in despair of my arrival, for another traveller on
the opposite bank, who however could not cross the river.

Having accomplished thirty miles, I halted at 9 a..m. on the
following morning at Purnea, quitting it at noon for Kishengunj.
The whole country wore a greener garb than I had seen anywhere south
of the Ganges: the climate was evidently more humid, and had been
gradually becoming so from Mirzapore. The first decided change was a
few miles below the Soane mouth, at Dinapore and Patna; and the few
hygrometrical observations I took at Bhagulpore confirmed the
increase of moisture. The proximity to the sea and great Delta of the
Ganges sufficiently accounts for this; as does the approach to the
hills for the still greater dampness and brighter verdure of Purnea.
I was glad to feel myself within the influence of the long-looked-for
Himalaya; and I narrowly watched every change in the character of the
vegetation. A fern, growing by the roadside, was the first and most
tangible evidence of this; together with the rarity or total absence
of _Butea, Boswellia, Catechu, Grislea, Carissa,_ and all the
companions of my former excursion.

Purnea is a large station, and considered very unhealthy during and
after the rains. From it the road passed through some pretty lanes,
with groves of planted Guava and a rattan palm (_Calamus_), the first
I had seen. Though no hills are nearer than the Himalaya, from the
constant alteration of the river-beds, the road undulates remarkably
for this part of India, and a jungly vegetation ensues, consisting of
the above plants, with the yellow-flowered Cactus replacing the
Euphorbias, which were previously much more common. Though still 100
miles distant from the hills, mosses appeared on the banks, and more
ferns were just sprouting above ground.

The Bamboo was a very different species from any I had hitherto met
with, forming groves of straight trees fifteen to twenty feet high,
thin of foliage, and not unlike poplars.

Thirty-six miles from Purnea brought me to Kishengunj, when I found
that no arrangements whatever had been made for my dawk, and I was
fairly stranded. Luckily a thoughtful friend had provided me with
letters to the scattered residents along the road, and I proceeded
with one to Mr. Perry, the assistant magistrate of the district,--a
gentleman well known for his urbanity, and the many aids he affords
to travellers on this neglected line of road. Owing to this being
some festival or holiday, it was impossible to get palkee-bearers;
the natives were busy catching fish in all the muddy pools around.
Some of Mr. Perry's own family also were about to proceed to
Dorjiling, so that I had only to take patience, and be thankful for
having to exercise it in such pleasant quarters. The Mahanuddee, a
large stream from the hills, flows near this place, strewing the
surrounding neighbourhood with sand, and from the frequent
alterations in its course, causing endless disputes amongst the
landholders. A kind of lark called an Ortolan was abundant: this is
not, however, the European delicacy of that name, though a migratory
bird; the flocks are large, and the birds so fat, that they make
excellent table game. At this time they were rapidly disappearing; to
return from the north in September.

I had just got into bed at night, when the bearers arrived; so
bidding a hurried adieu to my kind host, I proceeded onwards.

_April_ 12.--I awoke at 4 a.m., and found my palkee on the ground,
and the bearers coolly smoking their hookahs under a tree (it was
raining hard): they had carried me the length of their stage, twelve
miles, and there were no others to take me on. I had paid twenty-four
pounds for my dawk, from Caragola to the hills, to which I had been
obliged to add a handsome douceur; so I lost all patience. After
waiting and entreating during several hours, I found the head-man of
a neighbouring village, and by a further disbursement induced six out
of the twelve bearers to carry the empty palkee, whilst I should walk
to the next stage; or till we should meet some others. They agreed,
and cutting the thick and spongy sheaths of the banana, used them for
shoulder-pads: they also wrapped them round the palkee-poles, to ease
their aching clavicles. Walking along I picked up a few plants, and
fourteen miles further on came again to the banks of the Mahanuddee,
whose bed was strewn with pebbles and small boulders, brought thus
far from the mountains (about thirty miles distant). Here, again, I
had to apply to the head-man of a village, and pay for bearers to
take me to Titalya, the next stage (fourteen miles). Some curious
long low sheds puzzled me very much, and on examining them they
proved to be for the growth of Pawn or Betel-pepper, another
indication of the moisture of the climate. These sheds are twenty to
fifty yards long, eight or twelve or so broad, and scarcely five
high; they are made of bamboo, wattled all round and over the top.
Slender rods are placed a few feet apart, inside, up which the Pepper
Vines climb, and quickly fill the place with their deep green glossy
foliage. The native enters every morning by a little door, and
carefully cleans the plants. Constant heat, damp, and moisture,
shelter from solar beams, from scorching heat, and from nocturnal
radiation, are thus all procured for the plant, which would certainly
not live twenty-four hours, if exposed to the climate of this
treeless district. Great attention is paid to the cultivation, which
is very profitable. Snakes frequently take up their quarters in these
hot-houses, and cause fatal accidents.

Titalya was once a military station of some importance, and from its
proximity to the hills has been selected by Dr. Campbell (the
Superintendent of Dorjiling) as the site for an annual fair, to which
the mountain tribes resort, as well as the people of the plains. The
Calcutta road to Dorjiling by Dinajpore meets, near here, that by
which I had come; and I found no difficulty in procuring bearers to
proceed to Siligoree, where I arrived at 6 a.m. on the 13th.
Hitherto I bad not seen the mountains, so uniformly had they been
shrouded by dense wreaths of vapour: here, however, when within eight
miles of their base, I caught a first glimpse of the outer
range--sombre masses, of far from picturesque outline, clothed
everywhere with a dusky forest.

Siligoree stands on the verge of the Terai, that low malarious belt
which skirts the base of the Himalaya, from the Sutlej to
Brahma-koond in Upper Assam. Every feature, botanical, geological,
and zoological, is new on entering this district. The change is
sudden and immediate: sea and shore are hardly more conspicuously
different, nor from the edge of the Terai to the limit of perpetual
snow is any botanical region more clearly marked than this, which is
the commencement of Himalayan vegetation. A sudden descent leads to
the Mahanuddee river, flowing in a shallow valley, over a pebbly
bottom: it is a rapid river, even at this season; its banks are
fringed with bushes, and it is as clear and sparkling as a trout
stream in Scotland. Beyond it the road winds through a thick
brushwood, choked with long grasses, and with but few trees, chiefly
of _Acacia, Dalbergia Sissoo,_ and a scarlet fruited _Sterculia._
The soil is a red, friable clay and gravel. At this season only a few
spring plants were in flower, amongst which a very sweet-scented
_Crinum,_ Asphodel, and a small _Curcuma,_ were in the greatest
profusion. Leaves of terrestrial Orchids appeared, with ferns and
weeds of hot damp regions. I crossed the beds of many small streams:
some were dry, and all very tortuous; their banks were richly clothed
with brushwood and climbers of Convolvulus, Vines, _Hiraea, Leea,
Menispermeae, Cucurbitaceae,_ and _Bignoniaceae._ Their pent-up
waters, percolating the gravel beds, and partly carried off by
evaporation through the stratum of ever-increasing vegetable mould,
must be one main agent in the production of the malarious vapours of
this pestilential region. Add to this, the detention of the same
amongst the jungly herbage, the amount of vapour in the humid
atmosphere above, checking the upward passage of that from the soil,
the sheltered nature of the locality at the immediate base of lofty
mountains; and there appear to me to be here all necessary elements,
which, combined, will produce stagnation and deterioration in an
atmosphere loaded with vapour. Fatal as this district is, and
especially to Europeans, a race inhabit it with impunity, who, if not
numerous, do not owe their paucity to any climatic causes. These are
the Mechis, often described as a squalid, unhealthy people, typical
of the region they frequent; but who are, in reality, more robust
than the Europeans in India, and whose disagreeably sallow complexion
is deceptive as indicating a sickly constitution. They are a mild,
inoffensive people, industrious for Orientals, living by annually
burning the Terai jungle and cultivating the cleared spots; and,
though so sequestered and isolated, they rather court than avoid
intercourse with those whites whom they know to be kindly disposed.

After proceeding some six miles along the gradually ascending path, I
came to a considerable stream, cutting its way through stratified
gravel, with cliffs on each side fifteen to twenty feet high, here
and there covered with ferns, the little _Oxalis sensitiva,_ and
other herbs. The road here suddenly ascends a steep gravelly hill,
and opens out on a short flat, or spur, from which the Himalaya rise
abruptly, clothed with forest from the base: the little bungalow of
Punkabaree, my immediate destination, nestled in the woods, crowning
a lateral knoll, above which, to east and west, as far as the eye
could reach, were range after range of wooded mountains, 6000 to 8000
feet high. I here met with the India-rubber tree (_Ficus elastica_);
it abounds in Assam, but this is its western limit.

From this steppe, the ascent to Punkabaree is sudden and steep, and
accompanied with a change in soil and vegetation. The mica slate and
clay slate protrude everywhere, the former full of garnets. A giant
forest replaces the stunted and bushy timber of the Terai Proper; of
which the _Duabanga_ and _Terminalias_ form the prevailing trees,
with _Cedrela_ and the _Gordonia Wallichii._ Smaller timber and
shrubs are innumerable; a succulent character pervades the bushes and
herbs, occasioned by the prevalence of _Urticeae._ Large bamboos
rather crest the hills than court the deeper shade, and of the latter
there is abundance, for the torrents cut a straight, deep, and steep
course down the hill flanks: the galleys they traverse are choked
with vegetation and bridged by fallen trees, whose trunks are richly
clothed with _Dendrobium Pierardi_ and other epiphytical Orchids,
with pendulous _Lycopodia_ and many ferns, _Hoya, Scitamineae,_ and
similar types of the hottest and dampest climates.

The bungalow at Punkabaree was good--which was well, as my
luggage-bearers were not come up, and there were no signs of them
along the Terai road, which I saw winding below me. My scanty stock
of paper being full of plants, I was reduced to the strait of
botanising, and throwing away my specimens. The forest was truly
magnificent along the steep mountain sides. The apparently large
proportion of deciduous trees was far more considerable than I had
expected; partly, probably, due to the abundance of the _Dillenia,
Cassia,_ and _Sterculia,_ whose copious fruit was all the more
conspicuous from the leafless condition of the plant. The white or
lilac blossoms of the convolvuluslike _Thunbergia,_ and other
_Acanthaceae_ were the predominant features of the shrubby
vegetation, and very handsome.

All around, the hills rise steeply five or six thousand feet, clothed
in a dense deep-green dripping forest. Torrents rush down the slopes,
their position indicated by the dipping of the forest into their
beds, or the occasional cloud of spray rising above some more
boisterous part of their course. From the road, at and a little above
Punkabaree, the view is really superb, and very instructive.
Behind (or north) the Himalaya rise in steep confused masses.
Below, the hill on which I stood, and the ranges as far as the eye
can reach east and west, throw spurs on to the plains of India.
These are very thickly wooded, and enclose broad, dead-flat, hot and
damp valleys, apparently covered with a dense forest. Secondary spurs
of clay and gravel, like that immediately below Punkabaree, rest on
the bases of the mountains, and seem to form an intermediate neutral
ground between flat and mountainous India. The Terai district forms a
very irregular belt, scantily clothed, and intersected by innumerable
rivulets from the hills, which unite and divide again on the flat,
till, emerging from the region of many trees, they enter the plains,
following devious courses, which glisten like silver threads.
The whole horizon is bounded by the sea-like expanse of the plains,
which stretch away into the region of sunshine and fine weather, in
one boundless flat.

In the distance, the courses of the Teesta and Cosi, the great
drainers of the snowy Himalayas, and the recipients of innumerable
smaller rills, are with difficulty traced at this, the dry season.
The ocean-like appearance of this southern view is even more
conspicuous in the heavens than on the land, the clouds arranging
themselves after a singularly sea-scape fashion. Endless strata run
in parallel ribbons over the extreme horizon; above these, scattered
cumuli, also in horizontal lines, are dotted against a clear grey
sky, which gradually, as the eye is lifted, passes into a deep
cloudless blue vault, continuously clear to the zenith; there the
cumuli, in white fleecy masses, again appear; till, in the northern
celestial hemisphere, they thicken and assume the leaden hue of
nimbi, discharging their moisture on the dark forest-clad hills
around. The breezes are south-easterly, bringing that vapour from the
Indian Ocean, which is rarefied and suspended aloft over the heated
plains, but condensed into a drizzle when it strikes the cooler
flanks of the hills, and into heavy rain when it meets their still
colder summits. Upon what a gigantic scale does nature here operate!
Vapours, raised from an ocean whose nearest shore is more than 400
miles distant, are safely transported without the loss of one drop of
water, to support the rank luxuriance of this far distant region.
This and other offices fulfilled, the waste waters are returned, by
the Cosi and Teesta, to the ocean, and again exhaled, exported,
expended, re-collected, and returned.


The soil and bushes everywhere swarmed with large and troublesome
ants, and enormous earthworms. In the evening, the noise of the great
_Cicadae_ in the trees was almost deafening. They burst suddenly into
full chorus, with a voice so harshly croaking, so dissonant, and so
unearthly, that in these solitary forests I could not help being
startled. In general character the note was very similar to that of
other _Cicadae._ They ceased as suddenly as they commenced. On the
following morning my baggage arrived, and, leaving my palkee, I
mounted a pony kindly sent for me by Mr. Hodgson, and commenced a
very steep ascent of about 3000 feet, winding along the face of a
steep, richly-wooded valley. The road zigzags extraordinarily in and
out of the innumerable lateral ravines, each with its water course,
dense jungle, and legion of leeches; the bite of these blood-suckers
gives no pain, but is followed by considerable effusion of blood.
They puncture through thick worsted stockings, and even trousers,
and, when full, roll in the form of a little soft ball into the
bottom of the shoe, where their presence is hardly felt in walking.

Not only are the roadsides rich in plants, but native paths, cutting
off all the zigzags, run in straight lines up the steepest
hill-faces, and thus double the available means for botanising; and
it is all but impossible to leave the paths of one kind or other,
except for a yard or two up the rocky ravines. Elephants, tigers, and
occasionally the rhinoceros, inhabit the foot of these hills, with
wild boars, leopards, etc.; but none are numerous. The elephant's
path is an excellent specimen of engineering--the opposite of the
native track, for it winds judiciously.

At about 1000 feet above Punkabaree, the vegetation is very rich, and
appears all the more so from the many turnings of the road, affording
glorious prospects of the foreshortened tropical forests.
The prevalent timber is gigantic, and scaled by climbing
_Leguminosae,_ as _Bauhinias_ and _Robinias,_ which sometimes sheath
the trunks, or span the forest with huge cables, joining tree to
tree. Their trunks are also clothed with parasitical Orchids, and
still more beautifully with Pothos (_Scindapsus_), Peppers, _Gnetum,_
Vines, Convolvulus, and _Bignoniae._ The beauty of the drapery of the
Pothos-leaves is pre-eminent, whether for the graceful folds the
foliage assumes, or for the liveliness of its colour. Of the more
conspicuous smaller trees, the wild banana is the most abundant, its
crown of very beautiful foliage contrasting with the smaller-leaved
plants amongst which it nestles; next comes a screw-pine (_Pandanus_)
with a straight stem and a tuft of leaves; each eight or ten feet
long, waving on all sides. _Araliaceae,_ with smooth or armed slender
trunks, and _Mappa_-like _Euphorbiaceae,_ spread their long petioles
horizontally forth, each terminated with an ample leaf some feet in
diameter. Bamboo abounds everywhere: its dense tufts of culms, 100
feet and upwards high, are as thick as a man's thigh at the base.
Twenty or thirty, species of ferns (including a tree-fern) were
luxuriant and handsome. Foliaceous lichens and a few mosses appeared
at 2000 feet. Such is the vegetation of the roads through the
tropical forests of the Outer-Himalaya.

At about 4000 feet the road crossed a saddle, and ran along the
narrow crest of a hill, the top of that facing the plains of India,
and over which is the way to the interior ranges, amongst which
Dorjiling is placed, still twenty-five miles off. A little below this
a great change had taken place in the vegetation, marked, first, by
the appearance of a very English-looking bramble, which, however, by
way of proving its foreign origin, bore a very good yellow fruit,
called here the "yellow raspberry." Scattered oaks, of a noble
species, with large lamellated cups and magnificent foliage,
succeeded; and along the ridge of the mountain to Kursiong (a dawk
bungalow at about 4800 feet), the change in the flora was complete.

The spring of this region and elevation most vividly recalled that of
England. The oak flowering, the birch bursting into leaf, the violet,
_Chrysosplenium, Stellaria_ and _Arum, Vaccinium,_ wild strawberry,
maple, geranium, bramble. A colder wind blew here: mosses and lichens
carpeted the banks and roadsides: the birds and insects were very
different from those below; and everything proclaimed the marked
change in elevation, and not only in this, but in season, for I had
left the winter of the tropics and here encountered the spring of the
temperate zone.

The flowers I have mentioned are so notoriously the harbingers of a
European spring that their presence carries one home at once; but, as
species, they differ from their European prototypes, and are
accompanied at this elevation (and for 2000 feet higher up) with
tree-fern, Pothos, bananas, palms, figs, pepper, numbers of epiphytal
Orchids, and similar genuine tropical genera. The uniform temperature
and humidity of the region here favour the extension of tropical
plants into a temperate region; exactly as the same conditions cause
similar forms to reach higher latitudes in the southern hemisphere
(as in New Zealand, Tasmania, South Chili, etc.) than they do in
the northern.

Along this ridge I met with the first tree-fern. This species seldom
reaches the height of forty feet; the black trunk is but three or
four in girth, and the feathery crown is ragged in comparison with
the species of many other countries: it is the _Alsophila gigantea,_
and ascends nearly to 7000 feet elevation.

Kursiong bungalow, where I stopped for a few hours, is superbly
placed, on a narrow mountain ridge. The west window looks down the
valley of the Balasun river, the east into that of the Mahanuddee:
both of these rise from the outer range, and flow in broad, deep, and
steep valleys (about 4000 feet deep) which give them their respective
names; and are richly wooded from the Terai to their tops.
Till reaching this spur, I had wound upwards along the western slope
of the Mahanuddee valley. The ascent from the spur at Kursiong, to
the top of the mountain (on the northern face of which Dorjiling is
situated), is along the eastern slope of the Balasun.

From Kursiong a very steep zigzag leads up the mountain, through a
magnificent forest of cbesnut, walnut, oaks, and laurels. It is
difficult to conceive a grander mass of vegetation: the straight
shafts of the timber-trees shooting aloft, some naked and clean, with
grey, pale, or brown bark; others literally clothed for yards with a
continuous garment of epiphytes, one mass of blossoms, especially the
white Orchids _Caelogynes,_ which bloom in a profuse manner,
whitening their trunks like snow. More bulky trunks were masses of
interlacing climbers, _Araliaceae, Leguminosae, Vines,_ and
_Menispermeae,_ Hydrangea, and Peppers, enclosing a hollow, once
filled by the now strangled supporting tree, which had long ago
decayed away. From the sides and summit of these, supple branches
hung forth, either leafy or naked; the latter resembling cables flung
from one tree to another, swinging in the breeze, their rocking
motion increased by the weight of great bunches of ferns or Orchids,
which were perched aloft in the loops. Perpetual moisture nourishes
this dripping forest: and pendulous mosses and lichens are met with
in profusion.

Two thousand feet higher up, near Mahaldiram (whence the last view of
the plains is gained), European plants appear,--Berberry, _Paris,_
etc.; but here, night gathered round, and I had still ten miles to go
to the nearest bungalow, that of Pacheem. The road still led along
the eastern slope of the Balasun valley, which was exceedingly steep,
and so cut up by ravines, that it winds in and out of gulleys almost
narrow enough to be jumped across.

It was very late before I arrived at Pacheem bungalow, the most
sinister-looking rest-house I ever saw, stuck on a little cleared
spur of the mountain, surrounded by dark forests, overhanging a
profound valley, and enveloped in mists and rain, and hideous in
architecture, being a miserable attempt to unite the Swiss cottage
with the suburban gothic; it combined a maximum of discomfort with a
minimum of good looks or good cheer. I was some time in finding the
dirty housekeeper, in an outhouse hard by, and then in waking him.
As he led me up the crazy verandah, and into a broad ghostly room,
without glass in the windows, or fire, or any one comfort, my mind
recurred to the stories told of the horrors of the Hartz forest, and
of the benighted traveller's situation therein. Cold sluggish beetles
hung to the damp walls,--and these I immediately secured. After due
exertions and perseverance with the damp wood, a fire smoked lustily,
and, by cajoling the gnome of a housekeeper, I procured the usual
roast fowl and potatos, with the accustomed sauce of a strong smoky
and singed flavour.* [Since writing the above a comfortable house has
been erected at Senadah, the name now given to what was called
Pacheem Bungalow.]

Pacheem stands at an elevation of nearly 7300 feet, and as I walked
out on the following morning I met with English looking plants in
abundance, but was too early in the season to get aught but the
foliage of most. _Chryosplenium,_ violet, _Lobelia,_ a small
geranium, strawberry, five or six kinds of bramble, _Arum, Paris,
Convallaria, Stellaria, Rubia, Vaccinium,_ and various _Gnaphalia._
Of small bushes, cornels, honeysuckles, and the ivy tribe
predominated, with _Symplocos_ and _Skimmia, Eurya,_ bushy brambles,
having simple or compound green or beautifully silky foliage;
_Hypericum,_ Berberry, Hydrangea, Wormwood, _Adamia cyanea,
Viburnum,_ Elder, dwarf bamboo, etc.

The climbing plants were still _Panax_ or _Aralia, Kadsura, Saurauja,
Hydrangea,_ Vines, _Smilax, Ampelopsis, Polygona,_ and, most
beautiful of all, _Stauntonia,_ with pendulous racemes of lilac
blossoms. Epiphytes were rarer, still I found white and purple
_Caeloynes,_ and other Orchids, and a most noble white Rhododendron,
whose truly enormous and delicious lemon-scented blossoms strewed the
ground. The trees were one half oaks, one quarter Magnolias, and
nearly another quarter laurels, amongst which grew Himalayan kinds of
birch, alder, maple, holly, bird-cherry, common cherry, and apple.
The absence of _Leguminosae was most remarkable, and the most
prominent botanical feature in the vegetation of this region: it is
too high for the tropical tribes of the warmer elevations, too low
for the Alpines, and probably too moist for those of temperate
regions; cool, equable, humid climates being generally unfavourable
to that order. Clematis was rare, and other _Ranunculaceae_ still
more so. _Cruciferae_ were absent, and, what was still more
remarkable, I found very few native species of grasses. Both _Poa
annua_ and white Dutch clover flourished where accidentally
disseminated, but only in artificially cleared spots. Of ferns I
collected about sixty species, chiefly of temperate genera.
The supremacy of this temperate region consists in the infinite
number of forest trees, in the absence (in the usual proportion, at
any rate) of such common orders as _Compositae, Leguminosae,
Cruciferae,_ and _Ranunculaceae,_ and of Grasses amongst
Monocotyledons, and in the predominance of the rarer and more local
families, as those of Rhododendron, Camellia, Magnolia, Ivy, Cornel,
Honeysuckle, Hydrangea, Begonia, and Epiphytic orchids.

From Pacheem, the road runs in a northerly direction to Dorjiling,
still along the Balasun valley, till the saddle of the great mountain
Sinchul is crossed. This is narrow, stretching east and west, and
from it a spur projects northwards for five or six miles, amongst the
many mountains still intervening between it and the snows.
This saddle (alt. 7400 feet) crossed, one is fairly amongst the
mountains: the plains behind are cut off by it; and in front, the
snows may be seen when the weather is propitious. The valleys on this
side of the mountain run northwards, and discharge their streams into
great rivers, which, coming from the snow, wind amongst the hills,
and debouche into the Teesta, to the east, where it divides Sikkim
from Bhotan.

Dorjiling station occupies a narrow ridge, which divides into two
spurs, descending steeply to the bed of the Great Rungeet river, up
whose course the eye is carried to the base of the great snowy
mountains. The ridge itself is very narrow at the top, along which
most of the houses are perched, while others occupy positions on its
flanks, where narrow locations on the east, and broader ones on the
west, are cleared from wood. The valleys on either side are at least
6000 feet deep, forest-clad to the bottom, with very few and small
level spots, and no absolute precipice; from their flanks project
innumerable little spurs, occupied by native clearings.

My route lay along the east flank, overhanging the valley of the
Rungmo river. Looking east, the amphitheatre of hills from the ridge
I had crossed was very fine; enclosing an area some four miles across
and 4000 feet deep, clothed throughout with an impenetrable, dark
forest: there was not one clear patch except near the very bottom,
where were some scattered hamlets of two or three huts each. The rock
is everywhere near the surface, and the road has been formed by
blasting at very many places. A wooded slope descends suddenly from
the edge of the road, while, on the other hand, a bank rises abruptly
to the top of the ridge, alternately mossy, rocky, and clayey, and
presenting a good geological section, all the way along, of the
nucleus of Dorjiling spur, exposing broken masses of gneiss. As I
descended, I came upon the upper limit of the chesnut, a tree second
in abundance to the oak; gigantic, tall, and straight in the trunk.

I arrived at Dorjiling on the 16th of April; a showery, cold month at
this elevation. I was so fortunate as to find Mr. Charles Barnes
(brother of my friend at Colgong), the sole tenant of a long,
cottage-like building, divided off into pairs of apartments, which
are hired by visitors. It is usual for Europeans to bring a full
establishment of servants (with bedding, etc.) to such stations, but
I had not done so, having been told that there was a furnished hotel
in Dorjiling; and I was, therefore, not a little indebted to Mr.
Barnes for his kind invitation to join his mess. As he was an active
mountaineer, we enjoyed many excursions together, in the two months
and a half during which we were companions.

Dr. Campbell procured me several active native (Lepcha) lads as
collectors, at wages varying from eight to twenty shillings a month;
these either accompanied me on my excursions, or went by themselves
into the jungles to collect plants, which I occupied myself in
drawing, dissecting, and ticketing: while the preserving of them fell
to the Lepchas, who, after a little training, became, with constant
superintendence, good plant-driers. Even at this season (four weeks
before the setting in of the rains) the weather was very uncertain,
so that the papers had generally to be dried by the fire.

The hill-station or Sanatarium of Dorjiling owes its origin (like
Simla, Mussooree, etc.) to the necessity that exists in India, of
providing places where the health of Europeans may be recruited by a
more temperate climate. Sikkim proved an eligible position for such
an establishment, owing to its proximity to Calcutta, which lies but
370 miles to the southward; whereas the north-west stations mentioned
above are upwards of a thousand miles from that city. Dorjiling ridge
varies in height from 6500 to 7500 feet above the level of the sea;
8000 feet being the elevation at which the mean temperature most
nearly coincides with that of London, viz., 50 degrees.

Sikkim was, further, the only available spot for a Sanatarium
throughout the whole range of the Himalaya, east of the extreme
western frontier of Nepal; being a protected state, and owing no
allegiance, except to the British government; which, after the Rajah
had been driven from the country by the Ghorkas, in 1817, replaced
him on his throne, and guaranteed him the sovereignty. Our main
object in doing this was to retain Sikkim as a fender between Nepal
and Bhotan: and but for this policy, the aggressive Nepalese would,
long ere this, have possessed themselves of Sikkim, Bhotan, and the
whole Himalaya, eastwards to the borders of Burmah.* [Of such being
their wish the Nepalese have never made any secret, and they are said
to have asked permission from the British to march an army across
Sikkim for the purpose of conquering Bhotan, offering to become more
peaceable neighbours to us than the Bhotanese are. Such they would
doubtless have proved, but the Nepal frontier is considered broad
enough already.]

From 1817 to 1828 no notice was taken of Sikkim, till a frontier
dispute occurred between the Lepchas and Nepalese, which was referred
(according to the terms of the treaty) to the British Government.
During the arrangement of this, Dorjiling was visited by a gentleman
of high scientific attainments, Mr. J. W. Grant, who pointed out its
eligibility as a site for a Sanatarium to Lord William Bentinck, then
Governor-General; dwelling especially upon its climate, proximity to
Calcutta, and accessibility; on its central position between Tibet,
Bhotan, Nepal, and British India; and on the good example a
peaceably-conducted and well-governed station would be to our
turbulent neighbours in that quarter. The suggestion was cordially
received, and Major Herbert (the late eminent Surveyor-General of
India) and Mr. Grant were employed to report further on the subject.

The next step taken was that of requesting the Rajah to cede a tract
of country which should include Dorjiling, for an equivalent in money
or land. His first demand was unreasonable; but on further
consideration he surrendered Dorjiling unconditionally, and a sum of
300 pounds per annum was granted to him as an equivalent for what was
then a worthless uninhabited mountain. In 1840 Dr. Campbell was
removed from Nepal as superintendent of the new station, and was
entrusted with the charge of the political relations between the
British and Sikkim government.

Once established, Dorjiling rapidly increased. Allotments of land
were purchased by Europeans for building dwelling-houses; barracks
and a bazaar were formed, with accommodation for invalid European
soldiers; a few official residents, civil and military, formed the
nucleus of a community, which was increased by retired officers and
their families, and by temporary visitors in search of health, or the
luxury of a cool climate and active exercise.

For the first few years matters went on smoothly with the Rajah,
whose minister (or Dewan) was upright and intelligent: but the
latter, on his death, was succeeded by the present Dewan, a Tibetan,
and a relative of the Ranee (or Rajah's wife); a man unsurpassed for
insolence and avarice, whose aim was to monopolise the trade of the
country, and to enrich himself at its expense. Every obstacle was
thrown by him in the way of a good understanding between Sikkim and
the British government. British subjects were rigorously excluded
from Sikkim; every liberal offer for free trade and intercourse was
rejected, generally with insolence; merchandise was taxed, and
notorious offenders, refugees from the British territories, were
harboured; despatches were detained; and the Vakeels, or Rajah's
representatives, were chosen for their insolence and incapacity.
The conduct of the Dewan throughout was Indo-Chinese; assuming,
insolent, aggressive, never perpetrating open violence, but by petty
insults effectually preventing all good understanding. He was met by
neglect or forbearance on the part of the Calcutta government; and by
patience and passive resistance at Dorjiling. Our inaction and
long-suffering were taken for weakness, and our concessions for
timidity. Such has been our policy in China, Siam, and Burmah, and in
each instance the result has been the same. Had it been insisted that
the terms of the treaty should be strictly kept, and had the first
act of insolence been noticed, we should have maintained the best
relations with Sikkim, whose people and rulers (with the exception of
the Dewan and his faction) have proved themselves friendly
throughout, and most anxious for unrestricted communication.

These political matters have not, however, prevented the rapid
increase of Dorjiling; the progress of which, during the two years I
spent in Sikkim, resembled that of an Australian colony, not only in
amount of building, but in the accession of native families from the
surrounding countries. There were not a hundred inhabitants under
British protection when the ground was transferred; there are now
four thousand. At the former period there was no trade whatever;
there is now a very considerable one, in musk, salt, gold-dust,
borax, soda, woollen cloths, and especially in poneys, of which the
Dewan in one year brought on his own account upwards of 50 into
Dorjiling.* [The Tibetan pony, though born and bred 10,000 to 14,000
feet above the sea, is one of the most active and useful animals in
the plains of Bengal, powerful and hardy, and when well trained
early, docile, although by nature vicious and obstinate.] The trade
has been greatly increased by the annual fair which Dr. Campbell has
established at the foot of the hills, to which many thousands of
natives flock from all quarters, and which exercises a most
beneficial influence throughout the neighbouring territories.
At this, prizes (in medals, money, and kind) are given for
agricultural implements and produce, stock, etc., by the originator
and a few friends; a measure attended with eminent success.

In estimating in a sanitory point of view the value of any
health-station, little reliance can be placed on the general
impressions of invalids, or even of residents; the opinion of each
varies with the nature and state of his complaint, if ill, or with
his idiosyncracy and disposition, if well. I have seen prejudiced
invalids rapidly recovering, in spite of themselves, and all the
while complaining in unmeasured terms of the climate of Dorjiling,
and abusing it as killing them. Others are known who languish under
the heat of the plains at one season, and the damp at another; and
who, though sickening and dying under its influence, yet consistently
praise a tropical climate to the last. The opinions of those who
resort to Dorjiling in health, differ equally; those of active minds
invariably thoroughly enjoy it, while the mere lounger or sportsman
mopes. The statistical tables afford conclusive proofs of the value
of the climate to Europeans suffering from acute diseases, and they
are corroborated by the returns of the medical officer in charge of
the station. With respect to its suitability to the European
constitution I feel satisfied, and that much saving of life, health,
and money would be effected were European troops drafted thither on
their arrival in Bengal, instead of being stationed in Calcutta,
exposed to disease, and temptation to those vices which prove fatal
to so many hundreds. This, I have been given to understand, was the
view originally taken by the Court of Directors, but it has never
been carried out.

I believe that children's faces afford as good an index as any to the
healthfulness of a climate, and in no part of the world is there a
more active, rosy, and bright young community, than at Dorjiling.
It is incredible what a few weeks of that mountain air does for the
India-born children of European parents: they are taken there sickly,
pallid or yellow, soft and flabby, to become transformed into models
of rude health and activity.

There are, however, disorders to which the climate (in common with
all damp ones) is not at all suited; such are especially dysentery,
bowel complaints, and liver complaints of long standing; which are
not benefited by a residence on these hills, though how much worse
they might have become in the plains is not shown. I cannot hear that
the climate aggravates, but it certainly does not remove them.
Whoever is suffering from the debilitating effects of any of the
multifarious acute maladies of the plains, finds instant relief, and
acquires a stock of health that enables him to resist fresh attacks,
under circumstances similar to those which before engendered them.

Natives of the low country, and especially Bengalees, are far from
enjoying the climate as Europeans do, being liable to sharp attacks
of fever and ague, from which the poorly clad natives are not exempt.
It is, however, difficult to estimate the effects of exposure upon
the Bengalees, who sleep on the bare and often damp ground, and
adhere, with characteristic prejudice, to the attire of a torrid
climate, and to a vegetable diet, under skies to which these are
least of all adapted.

It must not be supposed that Europeans who have resided in the plains
can, on their first arrival, expose themselves with impunity to the
cold of these elevations; this was shown in the winter of 1848 and
1849, when troops brought up to Dorjiling were cantoned in
newly-built dwellings, on a high exposed ridge 8000 feet above the
sea, and lay, insufficiently protected, on a floor of loosely laid
planks, exposed to the cold wind, when the ground without was covered
with snow. Rheumatisms, sharp febrile attacks, and dysenteries
ensued, which were attributed in the public prints to the unhealthy
nature of the climate of Dorjiling.

The following summary of hospital admissions affords the best test of
the healthiness of the climate, embracing, as the period does, the
three most fatal months to European troops in India. Out of a
detachment (105 strong) of H.M. 80th Regiment stationed at Dorjiling,
in the seven months from January to July inclusive, there were
sixty-four admissions to the hospital, or, on the average, 4-1/3 per
cent. per month; and only two deaths, both of dysentery. Many of
these men had suffered frequently in the plains from acute dysentery
and hepatic affections, and many others had aggravated these
complaints by excessive drinking, and two were cases of delirium
tremens. During the same period, the number of entries at Calcutta or
Dinapore would probably have more than trebled this.


View from Mr. Hodgson's of range of snowy mountains -- Their extent
and elevation -- Delusive appearance of elevation -- Sinchul, view
from and vegetation of -- Chumulari -- Magnolias, white and purple --
Rhododendron Dalhousiae, arboreum and argenteum -- Natives of
Dorjiling -- Lepchas, origin, tradition of flood, morals, dress,
arms, ornaments, diet -- cups, origin and value -- Marriages --
Diseases -- Burial -- Worship and religion -- Bijooas -- Kampa Rong,
or Arratt -- Limboos, origin, habits, language, etc. -- Moormis --
Magras -- Mechis  -- Comparison of customs with those of the natives
of Assam, Khasia, etc.

The summer, or rainy season of 1848, was passed at or near Dorjiling,
during which period I chiefly occupied myself in forming collections,
and in taking meteorological observations. I resided at Mr Hodgson's
for the greater part of the time, in consequence of his having given
me a hospitable invitation to consider his house my home. The view
from his windows is one quite unparalleled for the scenery it
embraces, commanding confessedly the grandest known landscape of
snowy mountains in the Himalaya, and hence in the world.* [For an
account of the geography of these regions, and the relation of the
Sikkim Himalaya to Tibet, etc., see Appendix.] Kinchinjunga
(forty-five miles distant) is the prominent object, rising 21,000
feet above the level of the observer out of a sea of intervening
wooded hills; whilst, on a line with its snows, the eye descends
below the horizon, to a narrow gulf 7000 feet deep in the mountains,
where the Great Rungeet, white with foam, threads a tropical forest
with a silver line.

To the north-west towards Nepal, the snowy peaks of Kubra and Junnoo
(respectively 24,005 feet and 25,312 feet) rise over the shoulder of
Singalelah; whilst eastward the snowy mountains appear to form an
unbroken range, trending north-east to the great mass of Donkia
(23,176 feet) and thence south-east by the fingered peaks of Tunkola
and the silver cone of Chola, (17,320 feet) gradually sinking into
the Bhotan mountains at Gipmoochi (14,509 feet).

The most eloquent descriptions I have read fail to convey to my
mind's eye the forms and colours of snowy mountains, or to my
imagination the sensations and impressions that rivet my attention to
these sublime phenomena when they are present in reality; and I shall
not therefore obtrude any attempt of the kind upon my reader.
The latter has probably seen the Swiss Alps, which, though barely
possessing half the sublimity, extent, or height of the Himalaya, are
yet far more beautiful. In either case he is struck with the
precision and sharpness of their outlines, and still more with the
wonderful play of colours on their snowy flanks, from the glowing
hues reflected in orange, gold and ruby, from clouds illumined by the
sinking or rising sun, to the ghastly pallor that succeeds with
twilight, when the red seems to give place to its complementary
colour green. Such dissolving-views elude all attempts at
description, they are far too aerial to be chained to the memory, and
fade from it so fast as to be gazed upon day after day, with
undiminished admiration and pleasure, long after the mountains
themselves have lost their sublimity and apparent height.

The actual extent of the snowy range seen from Mr. Hodgson's windows
is comprised within an arc of 80 degrees (from north 30 degrees west
to north 50 degrees east), or nearly a quarter of the horizon, along
which the perpetual snow forms an unbroken girdle or crest of frosted
silver; and in winter, when the mountains are covered down to 8000
feet, this white ridge stretches uninterruptedly for more than 160
degrees. No known view is to be compared with this in extent, when
the proximity and height of the mountains are considered; for within
the 80 degrees above mentioned more than twelve peaks rise above
20,000 feet, and there are none below 15,000 feet, while Kinchin is
28,178, and seven others above 22,000. The nearest perpetual snow is
on Nursing, a beautifully sharp conical peak 19,139 feet high, and
thirty-two miles distant; the most remote mountain seen is Donkia,
23,176 feet high, and seventy-three miles distant; whilst Kinchin,
which forms the principal mass both for height and bulk, is exactly
forty-five miles distant.

On first viewing this glorious panorama, the impression produced on
the imagination by their prodigious elevation is, that the peaks
tower in the air and pierce the clouds, and such are the terms
generally used in descriptions of similar alpine scenery; but the
observer, if he look again, will find that even the most stupendous
occupy a very low position on the horizon, the top of Kinchin itself
measuring only 4 degrees 31 minutes above the level of the observer!
Donkia again, which is 23,176 feet above the sea, or about 15,700
above Mr. Hodgson's, rises only 1 degrees 55 minutes above the
horizon; an angle which is quite inappreciable to the eye, when
unaided by instruments.* [These are the apparent angles which I took
from Mr. Hodgson's house (alt. 7300 feet) with an excellent
theodolite, no deduction being made for refraction.]

This view may be extended a little by ascending Sinchul, which rises
a thousand feet above the elevation of Mr. Hodgson's house, and is a
few miles south-east of Dorjiling: from its summit Chumulari (23,929
feet) is seen to the north-east, at eighty-four miles distance,
rearing its head as a great rounded mass over the snowy Chola range,
out of which it appears to rise, although in reality lying forty
miles beyond;--so deceptive is the perspective of snowy mountains.
To the north-west again, at upwards of 100 miles distance, a
beautiful group of snowy mountains rises above the black Singalelah
range, the chief being, perhaps, as high as Kinchinjunga, from which
it is fully eighty miles distant to the westward; and between them no
mountain of considerable altitude intervenes; the Nepalese Himalaya
in that direction sinking remarkably towards the Arun river, which
there enters Nepal from Tibet.

The top of Sinchul is a favourite excursion from Dorjiling, being
very easy of access, and the path abounding in rare and beautiful
plants, and passing through magnificent forests of oak, magnolia, and
rhododendron; while the summit, besides embracing this splendid view
of the snowy range over the Dorjiling spur in the foreground,
commands also the plains of India, with the courses of the Teesta,
Mahanuddee, Balasun and Mechi rivers. In the months of April and May,
when the magnolias and rhododendrons are in blossom, the gorgeous
vegetation is, in some respects, not to be surpassed by anything in
the tropics; but the effect is much marred by the prevailing gloom of
the weather. The white-flowered magnolia (_M. excelsa,_ Wall,) forms
a predominant tree at 7000 to 8000 feet; and in 1848 it blossomed so
profusely, that the forests on the broad flanks of Sinchul, and other
mountains of that elevation, appeared as if sprinkled with snow.
The purple-flowered kind again (_M. Campbellii_) hardly occurs below
8000 feet, and forms an immense, but very ugly, black-barked,
sparingly branched tree, leafless in winter and also during the
flowering season, when it puts forth from the ends of its branches
great rose-purple cup-shaped flowers, whose fleshy petals strew the
ground. On its branches, and on those of oaks and laurels,
_Rhododendron Dalhousiae_ grows epiphytically, a slender shrub,
bearing from three to six white lemon-scented bells, four and a half
inches long and as many broad, at the end of each branch. In the same
woods the scarlet rhododendron (_R. arboreum_) is very scarce, and is
outvied by the great _R. argenteum,_ which grows as a tree forty feet
high, with magnificent leaves twelve to fifteen inches long, deep
green, wrinkled above and silvery below, while the flowers are as
large as those of _R. Dalhousiae,_ and grow more in a cluster. I know
nothing of the kind that exceeds in beauty the flowering branch of
_R. argenteum,_ with its wide spreading foliage and glorious mass
of flowers.

Oaks, laurels, maples, birch, chesnut, hydrangea, a species of fig
(which is found on the very summit), and three Chinese and Japanese
genera, are the principal features of the forest; the common bushes
being _Aucuba, Skimmia,_ and the curious _Helwingia,_ which bears
little clusters of flowers on the centre of the leaf, like
butcher's-broom. In spring immense broad-leaved arums spring up, with
green or purple-striped hoods, that end in tail-like threads,
eighteen inches long, which lie along the ground; and there are
various kinds of _Convallaria, Paris, Begonia,_ and other beautiful
flowering herbs. Nearly thirty ferns may be gathered on this
excursion, including many of great beauty and rarity, but the
tree-fern does not ascend so high. Grasses are very rare in these
woods, excepting the dwarf bamboo, now cultivated in the open air
in England.

Before proceeding to narrate my different expeditions into Sikkim and
Nepal from Dorjiling, I shall give a sketch of the different peoples
and races composing the heterogeneous population of Sikkim and the
neighbouring mountains.

The Lepcha is the aboriginal inhabitant of Sikkim, and the prominent
character in Dorjiling, where he undertakes all sorts of out-door
employment. The race to which he belongs is a very singular one;
markedly Mongolian in features, and a good deal too, by imitation, in
habit; still he differs from his Tibetan prototype, though not so
decidedly as from the Nepalese and Bhotanese, between whom he is
hemmed into a narrow tract of mountain country, barely 60 miles in
breadth. The Lepchas possess a tradition of the flood, during which a
couple escaped to the top of a mountain (Tendong) near Dorjiling.
The earliest traditions which they have of their history date no
further back than some three hundred years, when they describe
themselves as having been long-haired, half-clad savages. At about
that period they were visited by Tibetans, who introduced Boodh
worship, the platting of their hair into pig-tails, and very many of
their own customs. Their physiognomy is however so Tibetan in its
character, that it cannot be supposed that this was their earliest
intercourse with the trans-nivean races: whether they may have
wandered from beyond the snows before the spread of Boodhism and its
civilisation, or whether they are a cross between the Tamulian of
India and the Tibetan, has not been decided. Their language, though
radically identical with Tibetan, differs from it in many important
particulars. They, or at least some of their tribes, call themselves
Rong, and Arratt, and their country Dijong: they once possessed a
great part of East Nepal, as far west as the Tambur river, and at a
still earlier period they penetrated as far west as the Arun river.

An attentive examination of the Lepcha in one respect entirely
contradicts our preconceived notions of a mountaineer, as he is
timid, peaceful, and no brawler; qualities which are all the more
remarkable from contrasting so strongly with those of his neighbours
to the east and west: of whom the Ghorkas are brave and warlike to a
proverb, and the Bhotanese quarrelsome, cowardly, and cruel. A group
of Lepchas is exceedingly picturesque. They are of short
stature--four feet eight inches to five feet--rather broad in the
chest, and with muscular arms, but small hands and slender wrists.*
[I have seldom been able to insert my own wrist (which is smaller
than the average) into the wooden guard which the Lepcha wears on his
left, as a protection against the bow-string: it is a curved ring of
wood with an opening at one side, through which, by a little
stretching, the wrist is inserted.] The face is broad, flat, and of
eminently Tartar character, flat-nosed and oblique-eyed, with no
beard, and little moustache; the complexion is sallow, or often a
clear olive; the hair is collected into an immense tail, plaited flat
or round. The lower limbs are powerfully developed, befitting genuine
mountaineers: the feet are small. Though never really handsome, and
very womanish in the cast of countenance, they have invariably a
mild, frank, and even engaging expression, which I have in vain
sought to analyse, and which is perhaps due more to the absence of
anything unpleasing, than to the presence of direct grace or beauty.
In like manner, the girls are often very engaging to look upon,
though without one good feature they are all smiles and good-nature;
and the children are frank, lively, laughing urchins. The old women
are thorough hags. Indolence, when left to themselves, is their
besetting sin; they detest any fixed employment, and their foulness
of person and garments renders them disagreeable inmates: in this
rainy climate they are supportable out of doors. Though fond of
bathing when they come to a stream in hot weather, and expert, even
admirable swimmers, these people never take to the water for the
purpose of ablution. In disposition they are amiable and obliging,
frank, humorous, and polite, without the servility of the Hindoos; and
their address is free and unrestrained. Their intercourse with one
another and with Europeans is scrupulously honest; a present is
divided equally amongst many, without a syllable of discontent or
grudging look or word: each, on receiving his share, coming up and
giving the donor a brusque bow and thanks. They have learnt to
overcharge already, and use extortion in dealing, as is the custom
with the people of the plains; but it is clumsily done, and never
accompanied with the grasping air and insufferable whine of the
latter. They are constantly armed with a long, heavy, straight knife,*
[It is called "Ban," and serves equally for plough, toothpick,
table-knife, hatchet, hammer, and sword.] but never draw it on one
another: family and political feuds are alike unheard of amongst them.


The Lepcha is in morals far superior to his Tibet and Bhotan
neighbours, polyandry being unknown, and polygamy rare. This is no
doubt greatly due to the conventual system not being carried to such
an excess as in Bhotan, where the ties of relationship even
are disregarded.

Like the New Zealander, Tasmanian, Fuegian, and natives of other
climates, which, though cold, are moist and equable, the Lepcha's
dress is very scanty, and when we are wearing woollen under-garments
and hose, he is content with one cotton vesture, which is loosely
thrown round the body, leaving one or both arms free; it reaches to
the knee, and is gathered round the waist: its fabric is close, the
ground colour white, ornamented with longitudinal blue stripes, two
or three fingers broad, prettily worked with red and white. When new
and clean, this garb is remarkably handsome and gay, but not showy.
In cold weather an upper garment with loose sleeves is added. A long
knife, with a common wooden handle, hangs by the side, stuck in a
sheath; he has often also a quiver of poisoned arrows and a bamboo*
[The bamboo, of which the quiver is made, is thin and light: it is
brought from Assam, and called Tulda, or Dulwa, by the Bengalees.]
bow across his back. On his right wrist is a curious wooden guard for
the bowstring; and a little pouch, containing aconite poison and a
few common implements, is suspended to his girdle. A hat he seldom
wears, and when he does, it is often extravagantly broad and
flat-brimmed, with a small hemispherical crown. It is made of leaves
of _Scitamineae,_ between two thin plates of bamboo-work, clumsy and
heavy; this is generally used in the rainy weather, while in the dry
a conical one is worn, also of platted slips of bamboo, with broad
flakes of talc between the layers, and a peacock's feather at the
side. The umbrella consists of a large hood, much like the ancient
boat called a coracle, which being placed over the head reaches to
the thighs behind. It is made of platted bamboo, enclosing broad
leaves of _Phrynium._ A group of Lepchas with these on, running along
in the pelting rain, are very droll figures; they look like snails
with their shells on their backs. All the Lepchas are fond of
ornaments, wearing silver hoops in their ears, necklaces made of
cornelian, amber, and turquoise, brought from Tibet, and pearls and
corals from the south, with curious silver and golden charm-boxes or
amulets attached to their necks or arms. These are of Tibetan
workmanship, and often of great value: they contain little idols,
charms and written prayers, or the bones, hair, or nail-parings of a
Lama: some are of great beauty, and highly ornamented. In these
decorations, and in their hair, they take some pride, the ladies
frequently dressing the latter for the gentlemen: thus one may often
see, the last thing at night, a damsel of discreet port, demurely go
behind a young man, unplait his pig-tail, teaze the hair, thin it of
some of its lively inmates, braid it up for him, and retire.
The women always wear two braided pig-tails, and it is by this they
are most readily distinguished from their effeminate-looking
partners, who wear only one.* [Ermann (Travels in Siberia, ii. p.
204) mentions the Buraet women as wearing two tails, and fillets with
jewels, and the men as having one queue only.] When in full dress,
the woman's costume is extremely ornamental and picturesque; besides
the shirt and petticoat she wears a small sleeveless woollen cloak,
of gay pattern, usually covered with crosses, and fastened in front
by a girdle of silver chains. Her neck is loaded with silver chains,
amber necklaces, etc., and her head adorned with a coronet of scarlet
cloth, studded with seed-pearls, jewels, glass beads, etc. The common
dress is a long robe of indi, a cloth of coarse silk, spun from the
cocoon of a large caterpillar that is found wild at the foot of the
hills, and is also cultivated: it feeds on many different leaves, Sal
(_Shorea_), castor-oil, etc.

In diet, they are gross feeders;* [Dr. Campbell's definition of the
Lepcha's _Flora cibaria,_ is, that he eats, or must have eaten,
everything soft enough to chew; for, as he knows whatever is
poisonous, he must have tried all; his knowledge being wholly
empirical.] rice, however, forming their chief sustenance; it is
grown without irrigation, and produces a large, flat, coarse grain,
which becomes gelatinous, and often pink, when cooked. Pork is a
staple dish: and they also eat elephant, and all kinds of animal
food. When travelling, they live on whatever they can find, whether
animal or vegetable. Fern-tops, roots of _Scitamineae,_ and their
flower-buds, various leaves (it is difficult to say what not), and
fungi, are chopped up, fried with a little oil, and eaten.
Their cooking is coarse and dirty. Salt is costly, but prized; pawn
(Betel pepper) is never eaten. Tobacco they are too poor to buy, and
too indolent to grow and cure. Spices, oil, etc. are relished.

They drink out of little wooden cups, turned from knots of maple, or
other woods; these are very curious on several accounts; they are
very pretty, often polished, and mounted with silver. Some are
supposed to be antidotes against poison, and hence fetch an enormous
price; they are of a peculiar wood, rarer and paler-coloured. I have
paid a guinea for one such, hardly different from the common sort,
which cost but 4d. or 6d. MM. Huc and Gabet graphically allude to
this circumstance, when wishing to purchase cups at Lhassa, where
their price is higher, as they are all imported from the Himalaya.
The knots from which they are formed, are produced on the roots of
oaks, maples, and other mountain forest trees, by a parasitical
plant, known to botanists, as _Balanophora_.

Their intoxicating drink, which seems more to excite than to debauch
the mind, is partially fermented. Murwa grain (_Eleusine Coracana_).
Spirits are rather too strong to be relished raw, and when a glass of
wine is given to one of a party, he sips it, and hands it round to
all the rest. A long bamboo flute, with four or six burnt holes far
below the month-hole, is the only musical instrument I have seen in
use among them. When travelling, and the fatigues of the day are
over, the Lepchas will sit for hours chatting, telling stories,
singing in a monotonous tone, or blowing this flute. I have often
listened with real pleasure to the simple music of this rude
instrument; its low and sweet tones are singularly Aeolian, as are
the airs usually played, which fall by octaves: it seems to harmonize
with the solitude of their primaeval forests, and he must have a dull
ear who cannot draw from it the indication of a contented mind,
whether he may relish its soft musical notes or not. Though always
equipped for the chase, I fancy the Lepcha is no great sportsman;
there is little to be pursued in this region, and he is not driven by
necessity to follow what there is.

Their marriages are contracted in childhood, and the wife purchased
by money, or by service rendered to the future father-in-law, the
parties being often united before the woman leaves her parents' roof,
in cases where the payment is not forthcoming, and the bridegroom
prefers giving his and his wife's labour to the father for a stated
period in lieu. On the time of service expiring, or the money being
paid up, the marriage is publicly celebrated by feasting and riot.
The females are generally chaste, and the marriage-tie is strictly
kept, its violation being heavily punished by divorce, beating,
slavery, etc. In cases of intermarriage with foreigners, the children
belong to the father's country. All the labours of the house, the
field, and march, devolve on the women and children, or slaves if
they have them.

Small-pox is dreaded, and infected persons often cruelly shunned: a
suspicion of this or of cholera frequently emptying a village or town
in a night. Vaccination has been introduced by Dr. Pearson, and it is
much practised by Dr. Campbell; it being eagerly sought. Cholera is
scarcely known at Dorjiling, and when it has been imported thither
has never spread. Disease is very rare amongst the Lepchas; and
ophthalmic, elephantiasis, and leprosy, the scourges of hot climates,
are rarely known. Goitre prevails,* [May not the use of the head
instead of the shoulder-strap in carrying loads be a predisposing
cause of goitre, by inducing congestion of the laryngeal vessels?
The Lepcha is certainly far more free from this disease than any of
the tribes of E. Nepal I have mixed with, and he is both more idle
and less addicted to the head-strap as a porter. I have seen it to be
almost universal in some villages of Bhoteeas, where the head-strap
alone is used in carrying in both summer and winter crops; as also
amongst the salt-traders, or rather those families who carry the salt
from the passes to the Nepalese villages, and who very frequently
have no shoulder-straps, but invariably head-bands. I am far from
attributing all goitre, even in the mountains, to this practice, but
I think it is proved, that the disease is most prevalent in the
mountainous regions of both the old and new world, and that in these
the practice of supporting enormous loads by the cervical muscles is
frequent. It is also found in the Himalayan sheep and goats which
accompany the salt-traders, and whose loads are supported in
ascending, by a band passing under the throat.] though not so
conspicuously as amongst. Bhoteeas, Bhotanese, and others. Rheumatism
is frequent, and intermittent fevers, with ague; also violent and
often fatal remittents, almost invariably induced by sleeping in the
hot valleys, especially at the beginning and end of the rains.
The European complaints of liver and bowel disease are all but
unknown. Death is regarded with horror. The dead are burnt or buried,
sometimes both; much depending on custom and position. Omens are
sought in the entrails of fowls, etc., and other vestiges of their
savage origin are still preserved, though now gradually disappearing.

The Lepchas profess no religion, though acknowledging the existence
of good and bad spirits. To the good they pay no heed; "Why should
we?" they say, "the good spirits do us no harm; the evil spirits, who
dwell in every rock, grove, and mountain, are constantly at mischief,
and to them we must pray, for they hurt us." Every tribe has a
priest-doctor; he neither knows nor attempts to practise the healing
art, but is a pure exorcist; all bodily ailments being deemed the
operations of devils, who are cast out by prayers and invocations.
Still they acknowledge the Lamas to be very holy men, and were the
latter only moderately active, they would soon convert all the
Lepchas. Their priests are called "Bijooas": they profess mendicancy,
and seem intermediate between the begging friars of Tibet, whose
dress and attributes they assume, and the exorcists of the aboriginal
Lepchas: they sing, dance (masked and draped like harlequins), beg,
bless, curse, and are merry mountebanks; those that affect more of
the Lama Boodhist carry the "Mani," or revolving praying machine, and
wear rosaries and amulets; others again are all tatters and rags.
They are often employed to carry messages, and to transact little
knaveries. The natives stand in some awe of them, and being besides
of a generous disposition, keep the wallet of the Bijooa always full.

Such are some of the prominent features of this people, who inhabit
the sub-Himalayas, between the Nepalese and Bhotan frontiers, at
elevations of 3000 to 6000 feet. In their relations with us, they are
conspicuous for their honesty, their power as carriers and
mountaineers, and their skill as woodsmen; for they build a
waterproof house with a thatch of banana leaves in the lower, or of
bamboo in the elevated regions, and equip it with a table and
bedsteads for three persons, in an hour, using no implement but their
heavy knife. Kindness and good humour soon attach them to your person
and service. A gloomy-tempered or morose master they avoid, an unkind
one they flee. If they serve a good hills-man like themselves, they
will follow him with alacrity, sleep on the cold, bleak mountain
exposed to the pitiless rain, without a murmur, lay down the heavy
burden to carry their master over a stream, or give him a helping
hand up a rock or precipice--do anything, in short, but encounter a
foe, for I believe the Lepcha to be a veritable coward.* [Yet, during
the Ghorka war, they displayed many instances of courage: when so
hard pressed, however, that there was little choice of evils.] It is
well, perhaps, he is so: for if a race, numerically so weak, were to
embroil itself by resenting the injuries of the warlike Ghorkas, or
dark Bhotanese, the folly would soon lead to destruction.

Before leaving the Lepchas, it may be worth mentioning that the
northern parts of the country, towards the Tibet frontier, are
inhabited by Sikkim Bhoteeas* [Bhote is the general name for Tibet
(not Bhotan), and Kumpa is a large province, or district, in that
country. The Bhotanese, natives of Bhotan, or of the Dhurma country,
are called Dhurma people, in allusion to their spiritual chief, the
Dhurma Rajah. They are a darker and more powerful race, rude,
turbulent, and Tibetan in language and religion, with the worst
features of those people exaggerated. The various races of Nepal are
too numerous to be alluded to here: they are all described in various
papers by Mr. Hodgson, in the "Journal of the Asiatic Society of
Bengal." The Dhurma people are numerous at Dorjiling; they are often
runaways, but invariably prove more industrious settlers than the
Lepchas. In the Himalaya the name Bhotan is unknown amongst the
Tibetans; it signifies literally (according to Mr. Hodgson) the end
of Bhote, or Tibet, being the eastern extreme of that country.
The Lepchas designate Bhotan as Ayeu, or Aieu, as do often the
Bhotanese themselves. Sikkim, again, is called Lhop, or Lho', by the
Lepchas and Bhotanese.] (or Kumpas), a mixed race calling themselves
Kumpa Rong, or Kumpa Lepchas; but they are emigrants from Tibet,
having come with the first rajah of Sikkim. These people are more
turbulent and bolder than the Lepchas, and retain much of their
Tibetan character, and even of that of the very province from which
they came; which is north-east of Lhassa, and inhabited by robbers.
All the accounts I have received of it agree with those given by
MM. Huc and Gabet.

Next to the Lepchas, the most numerous tribe in Sikkim is that of the
Limboos (called "Chung" by the Lepchas); they abound also in East
Nepal, which they once ruled, inhabiting elevations from 2000 feet to
5000 feet. They are Boodhists, and though not divided into castes,
belong to several tribes. All consider themselves as the earliest
inhabitants of the Tambur Valley, though they have a tradition of
having originally emigrated from Tibet, which their Tartar
countenance confirms. They are more slender and sinewy than the
Lepchas, and neither plait their hair nor wear ornaments; instead of
the ban they use the Nepal curved knife, called "cookree," while for
the striped kirtle of the Lepcha are substituted loose cotton
trousers and a tight jacket; a sash is worn round the middle, and on
the head a small cotton cap. When they ruled over East Nepal, their
system was feudal; and on their uniting against the Nepalese, they
were with difficulty dislodged from their strongholds. They are said
to be equally brave and cruel in battle, putting the old and weak to
the sword, carrying the younger to slavery, and killing on the march
such captives as are unable to proceed. Many enlist at Dorjiling,
which the Lepchas never do; and the rajah of Nepal employs them in
his army, where, however, they seldom obtain promotion, this being
reserved for soldiers of Hindoo tribes. Latterly Jung Bahadur levied
a force of 6000 of them, who were cantoned at Katmandoo, where the
cholera breaking out, carried off some hundreds, causing many
families who dreaded conscription to flock to Dorjiling. Their habits
are so similar to those of the Lepchas, that they constantly
intermarry. They mourn, burn, and bury their dead, raising a mound
over the corpse, erecting a headstone, and surrounding the grave with
a little paling of sticks; they then scatter eggs and pebbles over
the ground. In these offices the Bijooa of the Lepchas is employed,
but the Limboo has also priests of his own, called "Phedangbos," who
belong to rather a higher order than the Bijooas. They officiate at
marriages, when a cock is put into the bridegroom's hands, and a hen
into those of the bride; the Phedangbo then cuts off the birds'
heads, when the blood is caught on a plantain leaf, and runs into
pools from which omens are drawn. At death, guns are fired, to
announce to the gods the departure of the spirit; of these there are
many, having one supreme head, and to them offerings and sacrifices
are made. They do not believe in metempsychosis.

The Limboo language is totally different from the Lepcha; with less
of the _z_ in it, and more labials and palatals, hence more pleasing.
Its affinities I do not know; it has no peculiar written character,
the Lepcha or Nagri being used. Dr. Campbell, from whom I have,
derived most of my information respecting these people, was
informed,* [See "Dorjiling Guide," p. 89. Calcutta, 1845.] on good
authority, that they had once a written language, now lost; and that
it was compounded from many others by a sage of antiquity. The same
authority stated that their Lepcha name "Chung" is a corruption of
that of their place of residence; possibly the "Tsang" province
of Tibet.

The Moormis are the only other native tribe remaining in any numbers
in Sikkim, except the Tibetans of the loftier mountains (whom I shall
mention at a future period), and the Mechis of the pestilential
Terai, the forests of which they never leave. The Moormis are a
scattered people, respecting whom I have no information, except from
the authority quoted above. They are of Tibetan origin, and called
"Nishung," from being composed of two branches, respectively from the
districts of Nimo and Shung, both on the road between Sikkim and
Lhassa. They are now most frequent in central and eastern Nepal, and
are a pastoral and agricultural people, inhabiting elevations of 4000
to 6000 feet, and living in stone houses, thatched with grass.
They are a large, powerful, and active race, grave, very plain in
features, with little hair on the face. Both their language and
religion are purely Tibetan.

The Magras, a tribe now confined to Nepal west of the Arun, are
aborigines of Sikkim, whence they were driven by the Lepchas westward
into the country of the Limboos, and by these latter further west
still. They are said to have been savages, and not of Tibetan origin,
and are now converted to Hindooism. A somewhat mythical account of a
wild people still inhabiting the Sikkim mountains, will be alluded
to elsewhere.

It is curious to observe that these mountains do not appear to have
afforded refuge to the Tamulian* [The Tamulians are the Coles,
Dangas, etc., of the mountains of Central India and the peninsula,
who retired to mountain fastnesses, on the invasion of their country
by the Indo-Germanic conquerors, who are now represented by the
Hindoos.] aborigines of India proper; all the Himalayan tribes of
Sikkim being markedly Mongolian in origin. It does not, however,
follow that they are all of Tibetan extraction; perhaps, indeed, none
but the Moormis are so. The Mechi of the Terai is decidedly
Indo-Chinese, and of the same stock as the savage races of Assam, the
north-east and east frontier of Bengal, Arracan, Burmah, etc. Both
Lepchas and Limboos had, before the introduction of Lama Boodhism
from Tibet, many features in common with the natives of Arracan,
especially in their creed, sacrifices, faith in omens, worship of
many spirits, absence of idols, and of the doctrine of
metempsychosis. Some of their customs, too, are the same; the form of
their houses and of some of their implements, their striped garments,
their constant and, dexterous use of the bamboo for all utensils,
their practice of night-attacks in war, of using poisoned arrows only
in the chase, and that of planting "crow-feet" of sharp bamboo stakes
along the paths an enemy is expected to follow. Such are but a few
out of many points of resemblance, most of which struck me when
reading Lieutenant Phayre's account of Arracan,* ["Journal of the
Asiatic Society of Bengal."] and when travelling in the districts of
Khasia and Cachar.

The laws affecting the distribution of plants, and the lower animals,
materially influence the migrations of man also; and as the botany,
zoology, and climate of the Malayan and Siamese peninsula advance far
westwards into India, along the foot of the Himalaya, so do also the
varieties of the human race. These features are most conspicuously
displayed in the natives of Assam, on both sides of the Burrampooter,
as far as the great bend of that river, beyond which they gradually
disappear; and none of the Himalayan tribes east of that point
practise the bloody and brutal rites in war that prevail amongst the
Cookies, Khasias, Garrows, and other Indo-Chinese tribes of the
mountain forests of Assam, Eastern Bengal, and the Malay peninsula.

I have not alluded to that evidence of the extraction of the Sikkim
races, which is to be derived from their languages, and from which we
may hope for a clue to their origin; the subject is at present under
discussion, and involved in much obscurity.

That six or seven different tribes, without any feudal system or
coercive head, with different languages and customs, should dwell in
close proximity and in peace and unity, within the confined territory
of Sikkim, even for a limited period, is an anomaly; the more
especially when it is considered that except for a tincture of the
Boodhist religion among some few of the people, they are all but
savages, as low in the scale of intellect as the New Zealander or the
Tahitian, and beneath those races in ingenuity and skill as
craftsmen. Wars have been waged amongst them, but they were neither
sanguinary nor destructive, and the fact remains no less remarkable,
that at the period of our occupying Dorjiling, friendship and
unanimity existed amongst all these tribes; from the Tibetan at
14,000 feet, to the Mechi of the plains; under a sovereign whose
temporal power was wholly unsupported by even the semblance of arms,
and whose spiritual supremacy was acknowledged by very few.


Excursion from Dorjiling to Great Rungeet -- Zones of vegetation --
Tree-ferns -- Palms, upper limit of -- Leebong, tea plantations --
Ging -- Boodhist remains -- Tropical vegetation -- Pines -- Lepcha
clearances -- Forest fires -- Boodhist monuments -- Fig -- Cane
bridge and raft over Rungeet -- Sago-palm -- India-rubber -- Yel Pote
-- Butterflies and other insects -- Snakes -- Camp -- Temperature and
humidity of atmosphere -- Junction of Teesta and Rungeet -- Return to
Dorjiling -- Tonglo, excursion to -- Bamboo flowering -- Oaks --
Gordonia -- Maize, hermaphrodite flowered -- Figs -- Nettles --
Peepsa -- Simonbong, cultivation at -- European fruits at Dorjiling
-- Plains of India.

 A very favourite and interesting excursion from Dorjiling is to the
cane bridge over the Great Rungeet river, 6000 feet below the
station. To this an excellent road has been cut, by which the whole
descent of six miles, as the crow flies, is easily performed on
pony-back; the road distance being only eleven miles. The scenery is,
of course, of a totally different description from that of Sinchul,
or even of the foot of the hills, being that of a deep
mountain-valley. I several times made this trip; on the excursion
about to be described, and in which I was accompanied by Mr. Barnes,
I followed the Great Rungeet to the Teesta, into which it flows.

In descending from Dorjiling, the zones of vegetation are well marked
between 6000 and 7000 feet by--1. The oak, chesnut, and Magnolias,
the main features from 7000 to 10,000 feet.--2. Immediately below
6,500 feet, the tree-fern appears (_Alsophila gigantea,_ Wall.), a
widely-distributed plant, common to the Himalaya, from Nepal eastward
to the Malayan peninsula, Java, and Ceylon.--3. Of palms, a species
of _Calamus,_ and _Plectocomia,_ the "Rhenoul" of the Lepchas. The
latter, though not a very large plant, climbs lofty trees, and
extends about 40 yards through the forest; 6,500 feet is the upper
limit of palms in the Sikkim Himalaya, the Rhenoul alone attaining
this elevation.*--4. [Four other _Calami_ range between 1000 and 6000
feet on the outer hills, some of them being found forty miles distant
from the plains of India. The other palms of Sikkim are, "Simong"
(_Caryota urens_); it is rare, and ascends to nearly 5000 feet.
_Phoenix_ (probably _P. acaulis,_ Buch.), a small, stemless species,
which grows on the driest soil in the deep valleys; it is the
"Schaap" of the Lepchas, who eat the young seeds, and use the
feathery fronds as screens in hunting. _Wallichia oblongifolia,_ the
"Ooh" of the Lepchas, who make no use of it; Dr. Campbell and myself,
however, found that it is an admirable fodder for horses, who prefer
it to any other green food to be had in these mountains. _Areca
gracilis_ and _Licuala peltata_ are the only other palms in Sikkim;
but _Cycas pectinata,_ with the India-rubber fig, occurs in the
deepest and hottest valleys--the western limit of both these
interesting plants. Of _Pandanus_ there is a graceful species at
elevations of 1000 to 4000 feet ("Borr," Lepcha).] The fourth
striking feature is a wild plantain, which ascends to nearly the same
elevation ("Lukhlo," Lepcha). This is replaced by another, and rather
larger species, at lower elevations; both ripen austere and small
fruits, which are full of seeds, and quite uneatable; that commonly
grown in Sikkim is an introduced stock (nor have the wild species
ever been cultivated); it is very large, but poor in flavour, and
does not bear seeds. The zones of these conspicuous plants are very
clearly defined, and especially if the traveller, standing on one of
the innumerable spurs which project from the Dorjiling ridge, cast
his eyes up the gorges of green on either hand.

At 1000 feet below Dorjiling a fine wooded spur projects, called
Leebong. This beautiful spot is fully ten degrees warmer than Mr.
Hodgson's house, and enjoys considerably more sunshine; peaches and
English fruit-trees flourish extremely well, but do not ripen fruit.
The tea-plant succeeds here admirably, and might be cultivated to
great profit, and be of advantage in furthering a trade with Tibet.
It has been tried on a large scale by Dr. Campbell at his residence
(alt. 7000 feet), but the frosts and snow of that height injure it,
as do the hailstorms in spring.

Below Leebong is the village of Ging, surrounded by steeps,
cultivated with maize, rice, and millet. It is rendered very
picturesque by a long row of tall poles, each bearing a narrow,
vertically elongated banner, covered with Boodhist inscriptions, and
surmounted by coronet-like ornaments, or spear-heads, rudely cut out
of wood, or formed of basket-work, and adorned with cotton fringe.
Ging is peopled by Bhotan emigrants, and when one dies, if his
relations can afford to pay for them, two additional poles and flags
are set up by the Lamas in honour of his memory, and that of Sunga,
the third member of the Boodhist Trinity.

Below this the _Gordonia_ commences, with _Cedrela toona,_ and
various tropical genera, such as abound near Punkabaree. The heat and
hardness of the rocks cause the streams to dry up on these abrupt
hills, especially on the eastern slope, and the water is therefore
conveyed along the sides of the path, in conduits ingeniously made of
bamboo, either split in half, or, what is better, whole, except at
the septum, which is removed through a lateral hole. The oak and
chesnut of this level (3000 feet), are both different from those
which grow above, as are the brambles. The _Arums_ are replaced by
_Caladiums. Tree-ferns cease below 4000 feet, and the large bamboo

At about 2000 feet, and ten miles distant from Dorjiling, we arrived
at a low, long spur, dipping down to the bed of the Rungeet, at its
junction with the Rungmo. This is close to the boundary of the
British ground, and there is a guard-house, and a sepoy or two at it;
here we halted. It took the Lepchas about twenty minutes to construct
a table and two bedsteads within our tent; each was made of four
forked sticks, stuck in the ground, supporting as many side-pieces,
across which were laid flat split pieces of bamboo, bound tightly
together by strips of rattan palm-stem. The beds were afterwards
softened by many layers of bamboo-leaf, and if not very downy, they
were dry, and as firm as if put together with screws and joints.

This spur rises out of a deep valley, quite surrounded by lofty
mountains; it is narrow, and covered with red clay, which the natives
chew as a cure for goitre. North, it looks down into a gully, at the
bottom of which the Rungeet's foamy stream winds through a dense
forest. In the opposite direction, the Rungmo comes tearing down from
the top of Sinchul, 7000 feet above; and though its roar is heard,
and its course is visible throughout its length, the stream itself is
nowhere seen, so deep does it cut its channel. Except on this, and a
few similarly hard rocky hills around, the vegetation is a mass of
wood and jungle. At this spot it is rather scanty and dry, with
abundance of the _Pinus longifolia_ and Sal. The dwarf date-palm
(_Phoenix acaulis_) also, was very abundant.

The descent to the river was exceedingly steep, the banks presenting
an impenetrable jungle. The pines on the arid crests of the hills
around formed a remarkable feature: they grow like the Scotch fir,
the tall, red trunks springing from the steep and dry slopes. But
little resin exudes from the stem, which, like that of most pines, is
singularly free from lichens and mosses; its wood is excellent, and
the charcoal of the burnt leaves is used as a pigment. Being confined
to dry soil, this pine is local in Sikkim, and the elevation it
attains here is not above 3000 feet. In Bhotan, where there is more
dry country, its range is about the same, and in the north-west
Himalaya, from 2,500 to 7000 feet.

The Lepcha never inhabits one spot for more than three successive
years, after which an increased rent is demanded by the Rajah. He
therefore _squats_ in any place which he can render profitable for
that period, and then moves to another. His first operation, after
selecting a site, is to burn the jungle; then he clears away the
trees, and cultivates between the stumps. At this season, firing the
jungle is a frequent practice, and the effect by night is exceedingly
fine; a forest, so dry and full of bamboo, and extending over such
steep hills, affording grand blazing spectacles. Heavy clouds canopy
the mountains above, and, stretching across the valleys, shut out the
firmament; the air is a dead calm, as usual in these deep gorges, and
the fires, invisible by day, are seen raging all around, appearing to
an inexperienced eye in all but dangerous proximity. The voices of
birds and insects being hushed, nothing is audible but the harsh roar
of the rivers, and occasionally, rising far above it, that of the
forest fires. At night we were literally surrounded by them; some
smouldering, like the shale-heaps at a colliery, others fitfully
bursting forth, whilst others again stalked along with a steadily
increasing and enlarging flame, shooting out great tongues of fire,
which spared nothing as they advanced with irresistible might. Their
triumph is in reaching a great bamboo clump, when the noise of the
flames drowns that of the torrents, and as the great stem-joints,
burst, from the expansion of the confined air, the report is as that
of a salvo from a park of artillery. At Dorjiling the blaze is
visible, and the deadened reports of the bamboos bursting is heard
throughout the night; but in the valley, and within a mile of the
scene of destruction, the effect is the most grand, being heightened
by the glare reflected from the masses of mist which hover above.

On the following morning we pursued a path to the bed of the river;
passing a rude Booddhist monument, a pile of slate-rocks, with an
attempt at the mystical hemisphere at top. A few flags or banners,
and slabs of slate, were inscribed with "Om Mani Padmi om." Placed on
a jutting angle of the spur, backed with the pine-clad hills, and
flanked by a torrent on either hand, the spot was wild and
picturesque; and I could not but gaze with a feeling of deep interest
on these emblems of a religion which perhaps numbers more votaries
than any other on the face of the globe. Booddhism in some form is
the predominating creed, from Siberia and Kamschatka to Ceylon, from
the Caspian steppes to Japan, throughout China, Burmah, Ava, and a
part of the Malayan Archipelago. Its associations enter into every
book of travels over these vast regions, with Booddha, Dhurma, Sunga,
Jos, Fo, and praying-wheels. The mind is arrested by the names, the
imagination captivated by the symbols; and though I could not worship
in the grove, it was impossible to deny to the inscribed stones such
a tribute as is commanded by the first glimpse of objects which have
long been familiar to our minds, but not previously offered to our
senses. My head Lepcha went further: to a due observance of
demon-worship he united a deep reverence for the Lamas, and he
venerated their symbols rather as theirs than as those of their
religion. He walked round the pile of stones three times from left to
right repeating his "Om Mani," etc., then stood before it with his
head hung down and his long queue streaming behind, and concluded by
a votive offering of three pine-cones. When done, he looked round at
me, nodded, smirked, elevated the angles of his little turned-up
eyes, and seemed to think we were safe from all perils in the valleys
yet to be explored.


In the gorge of the Rungeet the heat was intolerable, though the
thermometer did not rise above 95 degrees. The mountains leave but a
narrow gorge between them, here and there bordered by a belt of
strong soil, supporting a towering crop of long cane-like grasses and
tall trees. The troubled river, about eighty yards across, rages
along over a gravelly bed. Crossing the Rungmo, where it falls into
the Rungeet, we came upon a group of natives drinking fermented Murwa
liquor, under a rock; I had a good deal of difficulty in getting my
people past, and more in inducing one of the topers to take the place
of a Ghorka (Nepalese) of our party who was ill with fever. Soon
afterwards, at a most wild and beautiful spot, I saw, for the first
time, one of the most characteristic of Himalayan objects of art, _a
cane bridge._ All the spurs, round the bases of which the river
flowed, were steep and rocky, their flanks clothed with the richest
tropical forest, their crests tipped with pines. On the river's edge,
the Banana, _Pandanus,_ and _Bauhinia,_ were frequent, and Figs
prevailed. One of the latter (of an exceedingly beautiful species)
projected over the stream, growing out of a mass of rock, its roots
interlaced and grasping at every available support, while its
branches, loaded with deep glossy foliage, hung over the water. This
tree formed one pier for the canes; that on the opposite bank, was
constructed of strong piles, propped with large stones; and between
them swung the bridge,* [A sketch of one of these bridges will be
found in Vol. ii.] about eighty yards long, ever rocking over the
torrent (forty feet below). The lightness and extreme simplicity of
its structure were very remarkable. Two parallel canes, on the same
horizontal plane, were stretched across the stream; from them others
hung in loops, and along the loops were laid one or two bamboo stems
for flooring; cross pieces below this flooring, hung from the two
upper canes, which they thus served to keep apart. The traveller
grasps one of the canes in either hand, and walks along the loose
bamboos laid on the swinging loops: the motion is great, and the
rattling of the loose dry bamboos is neither a musical sound, nor one
calculated to inspire confidence; the whole structure seeming as if
about to break down. With shoes it is not easy to walk; and even with
bare feet it is often difficult, there being frequently but one
bamboo, which, if the fastening is loose, tilts up, leaving the
pedestrian suspended over the torrent by the slender canes. When
properly and strongly made, with good fastenings, and a floor of
bamboos laid _transversely,_ these bridges are easy to cross. The
canes are procured from a species of _Calamus_; they are as thick as
the finger, and twenty, or thirty yards long, knotted together; and
the other pieces are fastened to them by strips of the same plant. A
Lepcha, carrying one hundred and forty pounds on his back, crosses
without hesitation, slowly but steadily, and with perfect confidence.

Illustration -- CANE BRIDGE.

A deep broad pool below the bridge was made available for a ferry:
the boat was a triangular raft of bamboo stems, with a stage on the
top, and it was secured on the opposite side of the stream, having a
cane reaching across to that on which we were. A stout Lepcha leapt
into the boiling flood, and boldly swam across, holding on by the
cane, without which he would have been carried away. He unfastened
the raft, and we drew it over by the cane, and, seated on the stage,
up to our knees in water, we were pulled across; the raft bobbing up
and down over the rippling stream.

We were beyond British ground, on the opposite bank, where any one
guiding Europeans is threatened with punishment: we had expected a
guide to follow us, but his non-appearance caused us to delay for
some hours; four roads, or rather forest paths, meeting here, all of
which were difficult to find. After a while, part of a
marriage-procession came up, headed by the bridegroom, a handsome
young Lepcha, leading a cow for the marriage feast; and after talking
to him a little, he volunteered to show us the path. On the flats by
the stream grew the Sago palm (_Cycas pectinata_), with a stem ten
feet high, and a beautiful crown of foliage; the contrast between
this and the Scotch-looking pine (both growing with oaks and palms)
was curious. Much of the forest had been burnt, and we traversed
large blackened patches, where the heat was intense, and increased by
the burning trunks of prostrate trees, which smoulder for months, and
leave a heap of white ashes. The larger timber being hollow in the
centre, a current of air is produced, which causes the interior to
burn rapidly, till the sides fall in, and all is consumed. I was
often startled, when walking in the forest, by the hot blast
proceeding from such, which I had approached without a suspicion of
their being other than cold dead trunks.

Leaving the forest, the path led along the river bank, and over the
great masses of rock which strewed its course. The beautiful
India-rubber fig was common, as was _Bassia butyracea,_ the "Yel
Pote" of the Lepchas, from the seeds of which they express a concrete
oil, which is received and hardens in bamboo vessels. On the
forest-skirts, _Hoya,_ parasitical _Orchideae,_ and Ferns, abounded;
the Chaulmoogra, whose fruit is used to intoxicate fish, was very
common; as was an immense mulberry tree, that yields a milky juice
and produces a long green sweet fruit. Large fish, chiefly Cyprinoid,
were abundant in the beautifully clear water of the river. But by far
the most striking feature consisted in the amazing quantity of superb
butterflies, large tropical swallow-tails, black, with scarlet or
yellow eyes on their wings. They were seen everywhere, sailing
majestically through the still hot air, or fluttering from one
scorching rock to another, and especially loving to settle on the
damp sand of the river-edge; where they sat by thousands, with erect
wings, balancing themselves with a rocking motion, as their heavy
sails inclined them to one side or the other; resembling a crowded
fleet of yachts on a calm day. Such an entomological display cannot
be surpassed. _Cicindelae_ were very numerous, and incredibly active,
as were _Grylli_; and the great _Cicadeae_ were everywhere lighting
on the ground, when they uttered a short sharp creaking sound, and
anon disappeared, as if by magic. Beautiful whip-snakes were gleaming
in the sun: they hold on by a few coils of the tail round a twig, the
greater part of their body stretched out horizontally, occasionally
retracting, and darting an unerring aim at some insect.
The narrowness of the gorge, and the excessive steepness of the
bounding hills, prevented any view, except of the opposite mountain
face, which was one dense forest, in which the wild Banana
was conspicuous.

Towards evening we arrived at another cane-bridge, still more
dilapidated than the former, but similar in structure. For a few
hundred yards before reaching it, we lost the path, and followed the
precipitous face of slate-rocks overhanging the stream, which dashed
with great violence below. Though we could not walk comfortably, even
with our shoes off, the Lepchas, bearing their enormous loads,
proceeded with perfect indifference.

Anxious to avoid sleeping at the bottom of the valley, we crawled,
very much fatigued, through burnt dry forest, up a very sharp ridge,
so narrow that the tent sat astride on it, the ropes being fastened
to the tops of small trees on either slope. The ground swarmed with
black ants, which got into our tea, sugar, etc., while it was so
covered with charcoal, that we were soon begrimed. Our Lepchas
preferred remaining on the river-bank, whence they had to bring up
water to us, in great bamboo "chungis," as they are called. The great
dryness of this face is owing to its southern exposure: the opposite
mountains, equally high and steep, being clothed in a rich green

At nine the next morning, the temperature was 78 degrees, but a fine
cool easterly wind blew. Descending to the bed of the river, the
temperature was 84 degrees. The difference in humidity of the two
stations (with about 300 feet difference in height) was more
remarkable; at the upper, the wet bulb thermometer was 67.5 degrees,
and consequently the saturation point, 0.713; at the lower, the wet
bulb was 68 degrees, and saturation, 0.599. The temperature of the
river was, at all hours of the preceding day, and this morning, 67.5
degrees.* [At this hour, the probable temperature at Dorjiling (6000
feet above this) would be 56 degrees, with a temperature of wet bulb
55 degrees, and the atmosphere loaded with vapour. At Calcutta,
again, the temperature was at the observatory 98.3 degrees, wet bulb,
81.8 degrees, and saturation=0.137. The dryness of the air, in the
damper-looking and luxuriant river-bed, was owing to the heated rocks
of its channel; while the humidity of the atmosphere over the
drier-looking hill where we encamped, was due to the moisture of the
wind then blowing.]

Our course down the river was by so rugged a path, that, giddy and
footsore with leaping from rock to rock, we at last attempted the
jungle, but it proved utterly impervious. On turning a bend of the
stream, the mountains of Bhotan suddenly presented themselves, with
the Teesta flowing at their base; and we emerged at the angle formed
by the junction of the Rungeet, which we had followed from the west,
of the Teesta, coming from the north, and of their united streams
flowing south.

We were not long before enjoying the water, when I was surprised to
find that of the Teesta singularly cold; its temperature being 7
degrees below that of the Rungeet.* [This is, no doubt, due partly to
the Teesta flowing south, and thus having less of the sun, and partly
to its draining snowy mountains throughout a much longer portion of
its course. The temperature of the one was 67.5 degrees, and that of
the other 60.5 degrees.] At the salient angle (a rocky peninsula) of
their junction, we could almost place one foot in the cold stream and
the other in the warmer. There is a no less marked difference in the
colour of the two rivers; the Teesta being sea-green and muddy, the
Great Rungeet dark green and very clear; and the waters, like those
of the Arve and Rhone at Geneva, preserve their colours for some
hundred yards; the line separating the two being most distinctly
drawn. The Teesta, or main stream, is much the broadest (about 80 or
100 yards wide at this season), the most rapid and deep. The rocks
which skirt its bank were covered with a silt or mud deposit, which I
nowhere observed along the Great Rungeet, and which, as well as its
colour and coldness, was owing to the vast number of then melting
glaciers drained by this river. The Rungeet, on the other hand,
though it rises amongst the glaciers of Kinchinjunga and its sister
peaks, is chiefly supplied by the rainfall of the outer ranges of
Sinchul and Singalelah, and hence its waters are clear, except during
the height of the rains.

From this place we returned to Dorjiling, arriving on the afternoon
of the following day.

The most interesting trip to be made from Dorjiling, is that to the
summit of Tonglo, a mountain on the Singalelah range, 10,079 feet
high, due west of the station, and twelve miles in a straight line,
but fully thirty by the path.* [A full account of the botanical
features noticed on this excursion (which I made in May, 1848, with
Mr. Barnes) has appeared in the "London Journal of Botany," and the
"Horticultural Society's Journal," and I shall, therefore,
recapitulate its leading incidents only.]

Leaving the station by a native path, the latter plunges at once into
a forest, and descends very rapidly, occasionally emerging on cleared
spurs, where are fine crops of various millets, with much maize and
rice. Of the latter grain as many as eight or ten varieties are
cultivated, but seldom irrigated, which, owing to the dampness of the
climate, is not necessary: the produce is often eighty-fold, but the
grain is large, coarse, reddish, and rather gelatinous when boiled.
After burning the timber, the top soil is very fertile for several
seasons, abounding in humus, below which is a stratum of stiff clay,
often of great thickness, produced by the disintegration of the
rocks;* [An analysis of the soil will be found in the Appendix.] the
clay makes excellent bricks, and often contains nearly 30 per cent.
of alumina.

At about 4000 feet the great bamboo ("Pao" Lepcha) abounds; it
flowers every year, which is not the case with all others of this
genus, most of which flower profusely over large tracts of country,
once in a great many years, and then die away; their place being
supplied by seedlings, which grow with immense rapidity.
This well-known fact is not due, as some suppose, to the life of the
species being of such a duration, but to favourable circumstances in
the season. The Pao attains a height of 40 to 60 feet, and the culms
average in thickness the human thigh; it is used for large
water-vessels, and its leaves form admirable thatch, in universal use
for European houses at Dorjiling. Besides this, the Lepchas are
acquainted with nearly a dozen kinds of bamboo; these occur at
various elevations below 12,000 feet, forming, even in the
pine-woods, and above their zone, in the skirts of the _Rhododendron_
scrub, a small and sometimes almost impervious jungle. In an
economical point of view they maybe classed as those which split
readily, and those which do not. The young shoots of several are
eaten, and the seeds of one are made into a fermented drink, and into
bread in times of scarcity; but it would take many pages to describe
the numerous purposes to which the various species are put.


Gordonia is their most common tree (_G. Wallichii_), much prized for
ploughshares and other purposes requiring a hard wood: it is the
"Sing-brang-kun" of the Lepchas, and ascends to 4000 feet. Oaks at
this elevation occur as solitary trees, of species different from
those of Dorjiling. There are three or four with a cup-shaped
involucre, and three with spinous involucres enclosing an eatable
sweet nut; these generally grow on a dry clayey soil.

Some low steep spurs were well cultivated, though the angle of the
field was upwards of 25 degrees; the crops, chiefly maize, were just
sprouting. This plant is occasionally hermaphrodite in Sikkim, the
flowers forming a large drooping panicle and ripening small grains;
it is, however, a rare occurrence, and the specimens are highly
valued by the people.

The general prevalence of figs,* [One species of this very tropical
genus ascends almost to 9000 feet on the outer ranges of Sikkim.] and
their allies, the nettles,* [Of two of these cloth is made, and of a
third, cordage. The tops of two are eaten, as are several species of
_Procris._ The "Poa" belongs to this order, yielding that kind of
grass cloth fibre, now abundantly imported into England from the
Malay Islands, and used extensively for shirting.] is a remarkable
feature in the botany of the Sikkim Himalaya, up to nearly 10,000
feet. Of the former there were here five species, some bearing
eatable and very palatable fruit of enormous size, others with the
fruit small and borne on prostrate, leafless branches, which spring
from the root and creep along the ground.

A troublesome, dipterous insect (the "Peepsa," a species of
_Siamulium_) swarms on the banks of the streams; it is very small and
black, floating like a speck before the eye; its bite leaves a spot
of extravasated blood under the cuticle, very irritating if
not opened.

Crossing the Little Rungeet river, we camped on the base of Tonglo.
The night was calm and clear, with faint cirrus, but no dew.
A thermometer sunk two feet in rich vegetable mould stood at 78
degrees two hours after it was lowered, and the same on the following
morning. This probably indicates the mean temperature of the month at
that spot, where, however, the dark colour of the exposed loose soil
must raise the temperature considerably.

_May 20th._--The temperature at sunrise was 67 degrees; the morning
bright, and clear over head, but the mountains looked threatening.
Dorjiling, perched on a ridge 5000 feet above us, had a singular
appearance. We ascended the Simonbong spur of Tonglo, so called from
a small village and Lama temple of that name on its summit; where we
arrived at noon, and passing some chaits* [The chait of Sikkim,
borrowed from Tibet, is a square pedestal, surmounted with a
hemisphere, the convex end downwards, and on it is placed a cone,
with a crescent on the top. These are erected as tombs to Lamas, and
as monuments to illustrious persons, and are venerated accordingly,
the people always passing them from left to right, often repeating
the invocation, "Ora Mani Padmi om."] gained the Lama's residence.

Two species of bamboo, the "Payong" and "Praong" of the Lepchas, here
replace the Pao of the lower regions. The former was flowering
abundantly, the whole of the culms (which were 20 feet high) being a
diffuse panicle of inflorescence. The "Praong" bears a round head of
flowers at the ends of the leafy branches. Wild strawberry, violet,
geranium, etc., announced our approach to the temperate zone.
Around the temple were potato crops and peach-trees, rice, millet,
yam, brinjal (egg-apple), fennel, hemp (for smoking its narcotic
leaves), and cummin, etc. The potato thrives extremely well as a
summer crop, at 7000 feet, in Sikkim, though I think the root (from
the Dorjiling stock) cultivated as a winter crop in the plains, is
superior both in size and flavour. Peaches never ripen in this part
of Sikkim, apparently from the want of sun; the tree grows well at
from 3000 to 7000 feet elevation, and flowers abundantly; the fruit
making the nearest approach to maturity (according to the elevation)
from July to October. At Dorjiling it follows the English seasons,
flowering in March and fruiting in September, when the scarce
reddened and still hard fruit falls from the tree. In the plains of
India, both this and the plum ripen in May, but the fruits are
very acid.

It is curious that throughout this temperate region, there is hardly
an eatable fruit except the native walnut, and some brambles, of
which the "yellow" and "ground raspberry" are the best, some insipid
figs, and a very austere crab-apple. The European apple will scarcely
ripen,* [This fruit, and several others, ripen at Katmandoo, in Nepal
(alt. 4000 feet), which place enjoys more sunshine than Sikkim.
I have, however, received very differedt accounts of the produce,
which, on the whole, appears to be inferior.] and the pear not at
all. Currants and gooseberries show no disposition to thrive, and
strawberries are the only fruits that ripen at all, which they do in
the greatest abundance. Vines, figs, pomegranates, plums, apricots,
etc., will not succeed even as trees. European vegetables again grow,
and thrive remarkably well throughout the summer of Dorjiling, and
the produce is very fair, sweet and good, but inferior in flavour to
the English.

Of tropical fruits cultivated below 4000 feet, oranges and
indifferent bananas alone are frequent, with lemons of various kinds.
The season for these is, however, very short; though that of the
plantain might with care be prolonged; oranges abound in winter, and
are excellent, but neither so large nor free of white pulp as those
of the Khasia hills, the West Indies, or the west coast of Africa.
Mangos are brought from the plains, for though wild in Sikkim, the
cultivated kinds do not thrive; I have seen the pine-apple plant, but
I never met with good fruit on it.

A singular and almost total absence of the light, and of the direct
rays of the sun in the ripening season, is the cause of this dearth
of fruit. Both the farmer and orchard gardener in England know full
well the value of a bright sky as well as of a warm autumnal
atmosphere. Without this corn does not ripen, and fruit-trees are
blighted. The winter of the plains of India being more analogous in
its distribution of moisture and heat to a European summer, such
fruits as the peach, vine, and even plum, fig, strawberry, etc., may
be brought to bear well in March, April, and May, if they are only
carefully tended through the previous hot and damp season, which is,
in respect to the functions of flowering and fruiting, their winter.

Hence it appears that, though some English fruits will turn the
winter solstice of Bengal (November to May) into summer, and then
flower and fruit, neither these nor others will thrive in the summer
of 7000 feet on the Sikkim Himalaya, (though its temperature so
nearly approaches that of England,) on account of its rain and fogs.
Further, they are often exposed to a winter's cold equal to the
average of that of London, the snow lying for a week on the ground,
and the thermometer descending to 25 degrees. It is true that in no
case is the extreme of cold so great here as in England, but it is
sufficient to check vegetation, and to prevent fruit-trees from
flowering till they are fruiting in the plains. There is in this
respect a great difference between the climate of the central and
eastern and western Himalaya, at equal elevations. In the western
(Kumaon, etc.) the winters are colder than in Sikkim--the summers
warmer and less humid. The rainy season is shorter, and the sun
shines so much more frequently between the heavy showers, that the
apple and other fruits are brought to a much better state. It is true
that the rain-gauge may show as great a fall there, but this is no
measure of the humidity of the atmosphere, and still less so of the
amount of the sun's direct light and heat intercepted by aqueous
vapour, for it takes no account of the quantity of moisture suspended
in the air, nor of the depositions from fogs, which are far more
fatal to the perfecting of fruits than the heaviest brief showers.

The Indian climate, which is marked by one season of excessive
humidity and the other of excessive drought, can never be favourable
to the production either of good European or tropical fruits.
Hence there is not one of the latter peculiar to the country, and
perhaps but one which arrives at full perfection; namely, the mango.
Tile plantains, oranges, and pine-apples are less abundant, of
inferior kinds, and remain a shorter season in perfection than they
do in South America, the West Indies, or Western Africa.

Illustration -- LEPCHA AMULET.


Continue the ascent of Tonglo -- Trees -- Lepcha construction of hut
-- Simsibong -- Climbing-trees -- Frogs -- Magnolias, etc. -- Ticks
-- Leeches -- -- Cattle, murrain amongst -- Summit of Tonglo --
Rhododendrons -- Skimmia -- Yew -- Rose -- Aconite -- Bikh poison --
English genera of plants -- Ascent of tropical orders -- Comparison
with south temperate zone -- Heavy rain -- Temperature, etc. --
Descent -- Simonbong temple -- Furniture therein -- Praying-cylinder
-- Thigh-bone trumpet -- Morning orisons -- Present of Murwa
beer, etc.

Continuing the ascent of Tonglo, we left cultivation and the poor
groves of peaches at 4000 to 5000 feet (and this on the eastern
exposure, which is by far the sunniest), the average height which
agriculture reaches in Sikkim.

Above Simonbong, the path up Tonglo is little frequented: it is one
of the many routes between Nepal and Sikkim, which cross the
Singalelah spur of Kinchinjunga at various elevations between 7000
and 15,000 feet. As usual, the track runs along ridges, wherever
these are to be found, very steep, and narrow at the top, through
deep humid forests of oaks and Magnolias, many laurels, both
_Tetranthera_ and _Cinnamomum,_ one species of the latter ascending
to 8,500 feet, and one of _Tetranthera_ to 9000. Chesnut and walnut
here appeared, with some leguminous trees, which however did not
ascend to 6000 feet. Scarlet flowers of _Vaccinium serpens,_ an
epiphytical species, were strewed about, and the great blossoms of
_Rhododendron Dalhousiae_ and of a Magnolia (_Talaunaa Hodgsoni_) lay
together on the ground. The latter forms a large tree, with very
dense foliage, and deep shining green leaves, a foot to eighteen
inches long. Most of its flowers drop unexpanded from the tree, and
diffuse a very aromatic smell; they are nearly as large as the fist,
the outer petals purple, the inner pure white.

Heavy rain came on at 3 p.m., obliging us to take insufficient
shelter under the trees, and finally to seek the nearest
camping-ground. For this purpose we ascended to a spring, called
Simsibong, at an elevation of 6000 feet. The narrowness of the ridge
prevented our pitching the tent, small as it was; but the Lepchas
rapidly constructed a house, and thatched it with bamboo and the
broad leaves of the wild plantain. A table was then raised in the
middle, of four posts and as many cross pieces of wood, lashed with
strips of bamboo. Across these, pieces of bamboo were laid,
ingeniously flattened, by selecting cylinders, crimping them all
round, and then slitting each down one side, so that it opens into a
flat slab. Similar but longer and lower erections, one on each side
the table, formed bed or chair; and in one hour, half a dozen men,
with only long knives and active hands, had provided us with a
tolerably water-tight furnished house. A thick flooring of hamboo
leaves kept the feet dry, and a screen of that and other foliage all
round rendered the habitation tolerably warm.

At this elevation we found great scandent trees twisting around the
trunks of others, and strangling them: the latter gradually decay,
leaving the sheath of climbers as one of the most remarkable
vegetable phenomena of these mountains. These climbers belong to
several orders, and may be roughly classified in two groups.--
(1.) Those whose sterns merely twine, and by constricting certain
parts of their support, induce death.--(2.) Those which form a
network round the trunk, by the coalescence of their lateral branches
and aerial roots, etc.: these wholly envelop and often conceal the
tree they enclose, whose branches appear rising far above those of
its destroyer. To the first of these groups belong many natural
orders, of which the most prominent are--_Leguminosae,_ ivies,
hydrangea, vines, _Pothos,_ etc. The inosculating ones are almost all
figs and _Wightia_: the latter is the most remarkable, and I add a
cut of its grasping roots, sketched at our encampment.


Except for the occasional hooting of an owl, the night was profoundly
still during several hours after dark--the cicadas at this season not
ascending so high on the mountain. A dense mist shrouded every thing,
and the rain pattered on the leaves of our hut. At midnight a
tree-frog ("Simook," Lepcha) broke the silence with his curious
metallic clack, and others quickly joined the chorus, keeping up
their strange music till morning. Like many Batrachians, this has a
voice singularly unlike that of any other organised creature.
The cries of beasts, birds, and insects are all explicable to our
senses, and we can recognise most of them as belonging to such or
such an order of animal; but the voices of many frogs are like
nothing else, and allied species utter totally dissimilar noises.
In some, as this, the sound is like the concussion of metals; in
others, of the vibration of wires or cords; anything but the natural
effects of lungs, larynx, and muscles.* [A very common Tasmanian
species utters a sound that appears to ring in an underground vaulted
chamber, beneath the feet.]

_May_ 21.--Early this morning we proceeded upwards, our prospect more
gloomy than ever. The path, which still lay up steep ridges, was very
slippery, owing to the rain upon the clayey soil, and was only
passable from the hold afforded by interlacing roots of trees.
At 8000 feet, some enormous detached masses of micaceous gneiss rose
abruptly from the ridge, they were covered with mosses and ferns, and
from their summit, 7000 feet, a good view of the surrounding
vegetation is obtained. The mast of the forest is formed of:--
(1) Three species of oak, of which _Q. annulata ?_ with immense
lamellated acorns, and leaves sixteen inches long, is the tallest and
the most abundant.--(2) Chesnut.--(3) _Laurineae_ of several species,
all beautiful forest-trees, straight-holed, and umbrageous
above.--(4) Magnolias.* [Other trees were _Pyrus, Saurauja_ (both an
erect and climbing species), _Olea,_ cherry, birch, alder, several
maples, _Hydrangea,_ one species of fig, holly, and several
_Araliaceous_ trees. Many species of _Magnoliaceae_ (including the
genera _Magnolia, Michelia,_ and _Talauma_) are found in Sikkim:
_Magnolia Campbellii,_ of 10,000 feet, is the most superb species
known. In books on botanical geography, the magnolias are considered
as most abounding in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains; but
this is a great mistake, the Indian mountains and islands being the
centre of this natural order.]--(5) Arborescent rhododendrons, which
commence here with the _R. arboreum._ At 8000 and 9000 feet, a
considerable change is found in the vegetation; the gigantic purple
_Magnolia Campbellii_ replacing the white; chesnut disappears, and
several laurels: other kinds of maple are seen, with _Rhododendron
argenteum,_ and _Stauntonia,_ a handsome climber, which has beautiful
pendent clusters of lilac blossoms.

At 9000 feet we arrived on a long flat covered with lofty trees,
chiefly purple magnolias, with a few oaks, great _Pyri_ and two
rhododendrons, thirty to forty feet high (_R. barbatum,_ and _R.
arboreum,_ var. _roseum_): _Skimmia_ and _Symplocos_ were the common
shrubs. A beautiful orchid with purple flowers (_Caelogyne
Wallichii_) grew on the trunks of all the great trees, attaining a
higher elevation than most other epiphytical species, for I have seen
it at 10,000 feet.

A large tick infests the small bamboo, and a more hateful insect I
never encountered. The traveller cannot avoid these insects coming on
his person (sometimes in great numbers) as he brushes through the
forest; they get inside his dress, and insert the proboscis deeply
without pain. Buried head and shoulders, and retained by a barbed
lancet, the tick is only to be extracted by force, which is very
painful. I have devised many tortures, mechanical and chemical, to
induce these disgusting intruders to withdraw the proboscis, but in
vain. Leeches* [I cannot but think that the extraordinary abundance
of these _Anelides_ in Sikkim may cause the death of many animals.
Some marked murrains have followed very wet seasons, when the leeches
appear in incredible numbers; and the disease in the cattle,
described to me by the Lepchas as in the stomach, in no way differs
from what leeches would produce. It is a well-known fact, that these
creatures have lived for days in the fauces, nares, and stomachs of
the human subject, causing dreadful sufferings, and death. I have
seen the cattle feeding in places where the leeches so abounded, that
fifty or sixty were frequently together on my ankles; and ponies are
almost maddened by their biting the fetlocks.] also swarm below 7000
feet; a small black species above 3000 feet, and a large yellow-brown
solitary one below that elevation.

Our ascent to the summit was by the bed of a watercourse, now a
roaring torrent, from the heavy and incessant rain. A small
_Anagallis_ (like _tenella_), and a beautiful purple primrose, grew
by its bank. The top of the mountain is another flat ridge, with
depressions and broad pools. The number of additional species of
plants found here was great, and all betokened a rapid approach to
the alpine region of the Himalaya. In order of prevalence the trees
were,--the scarlet _Rhododendron arboreum_ and _barbatum,_ as large
bushy trees, both loaded with beautiful flowers and luxuriant
foliage; _R. Falconeri,_ in point of foliage the most superb of all
the Himalayan species, with trunks thirty feet high, and branches
bearing at their ends only leaves eighteen inches long: these are
deep green above, and covered beneath with a rich brown down. Next in
abundance to these were shrubs of _Skimmia Laureola,_* [This plant
has been lately introduced into English gardens, from the north-west
Himalaya, and is greatly admired for its aromatic, evergreen foliage,
and clusters of scarlet berries. It is a curious fact, that this
plant never bears scarlet berries in Sikkim, apparently owing to the
want of sun; the fruit ripens, but is of a greenish-red or purplish
colour.] _Symplocos,_ and Hydrangea; and there were still a few
purple magnolias, very large _Pyri,_ like mountain ash, and the
common English yew, eighteen feet in circumference, the red bark of
which is used as a dye, and for staining the foreheads of Brahmins in
Nepal. An erect white-flowered rose (_R. sericea,_ the only species
occurring in Southern Sikkim) was very abundant: its numerous
inodorous flowers are pendent, apparent as a protection from the
rain; and it is remarkable as being the only species having four
petals instead of five.

A currant was common, always growing epiphytically on the trunks of
large trees. Two or three species of Berberry, a cherry, Andromeda,
_Daphne,_ and maple, nearly complete, I think, the list of woody
plants. Amongst the herbs were many of great interest, as a rhubarb,
and _Aconitum palmatum,_ which yields one of the celebrated "Bikh"
poisons.* ["Bikh" is yielded by various _Aconita._ All the Sikkim
kinds are called "gniong" by Lepchas and Bhoteeas, who do not
distinguish them. The _A. Napellus_ is abundant in the north-west
Himalaya, and is perhaps as virulent a Bikh as any species.]
Of European genera I found _Thalictrum, Anemone, Fumaria,_ violets,
_Stellaria, Hypericum,_ two geraniums, balsams, _Epilobium,
Potentilla, Paris_ and _Convallariae,_ one of the latter has
verticillate leaves, and its root also called "bikh," is considered a
very virulent poison.

Still, the absence or rarity at this elevation of several very large
natural families,* [_Ranunculaceae, Fumariae, Cruciferae, Alsineae,
Geranicae, Leguminosae, Potentilla, Epilobium, Crassulaceae,
Saxifrageae, Umbelliferae, Lonicera, Valerianeae, Dipsaceae,_ various
genera of _Compositae, Campanulaceae, Lobeliaceae, Gentianeae,
Boragineae, Scrophularineae, Primulaceae, Gramineae._] which have
numerous representatives at and much below the same level in the
inner ranges, and on the outer of the Western Himalaya, indicate a
certain peculiarity in Sikkim. On the other hand, certain tropical
genera are more abundant in the temperate zone of the Sikkim
mountains, and ascend much higher there than in the Western Himalaya:
of this fact I have cited conspicuous examples in the palms,
plantains, and tree-ferns. This ascent and prevalence of tropical
species is due to the humidity and equability of the climate in this
temperate zone, and is, perhaps, the direct consequence of these
conditions. An application of the same laws accounts for the
extension of similar features far beyond the tropical limit in the
Southern Ocean, where various natural orders, which do not cross the
30th and 40th parallels of N. latitude, are extended to the 55th of
S. latitude, and found in Tasmania, New Zealand, the so-called
Antarctic Islands south of that group, and at Cape Horn itself.

The rarity of Pines is perhaps the most curious feature in the botany
of Tonglo, and on the outer ranges of Sikkim; for, between the level
of 2,500 feet (the upper limit of _P. longifolia_) and 10,000 feet
(that of the _Taxus_), there is no coniferous tree whatever in
Southern Sikkim.

We encamped amongst Rhododendrons, on a spongy soil of black
vegetable matter, so oozy, that it was difficult to keep the feet
dry. The rain poured in torrents all the evening, and with the calm,
and the wetness of the wood, prevented our enjoying a fire. Except a
transient view into Nepal, a few miles west of us, nothing was to be
seen, the whole mountain being wrapped in dense masses of vapour.
Gusts of wind, not felt in the forest, whistled through the gnarled
and naked tree-tops; and though the temperature was 50 degrees, this
wind produced cold to the feelings. Our poor Lepchas were miserably
off, but always happy: under four posts and a bamboo-leaf thatch,
with no covering but a single thin cotton garment, they crouched on
the sodden turf, joking with the Hindoos of our party, who, though
supplied with good clothing and shelter, were doleful companions.

I made a shed for my instruments under a tree; Mr. Barnes, ever
active and ready, floored the tent with logs of wood, and I laid a
"corduroy road" of the same to my little observatory.

During the night the rain did not abate; and the tent-roof leaked in
such torrents, that we had to throw pieces of wax-cloth over our
shoulders as we lay in bed. There was no improvement whatever in the
weather on the following morning. Two of the Hindoos had crawled into
the tent during the night, attacked with fever and ague.* [It is a
remarkable fact, that both the natives of the plains, under many
circumstances, and the Lepchas when suffering from protracted cold
and wet, take fever and ague in sharp attacks. The disease is wholly
unknown amongst Europeans residing above 4000 feet, similar exposure
in whom brings on rheumatism and cold.] The tent being too sodden to
be carried, we had to remain where we were, and with abundance of
novelty in the botany around, I found no difficulty in getting
through the day. Observing the track of sheep, we sent two Lepchas to
follow them, who returned at night from some miles west in Nepal,
bringing two. The shepherds were Geroongs of Nepal, who were grazing
their flocks on a grassy mountain top, from which the woods had been
cleared, probably by fire. The mutton was a great boon to the
Lepchas, but the Hindoos would not touch it, and several more
sickening during the day, we had the tent most uncomfortably full.

During the whole of the 22nd, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., the thermometer
never varied 6.5 degrees, ranging from 47.5 in the morning to 54
degrees, its maximum, at 1 p.m., and 50.75 at night. At seven the
following morning it was the same. One, sunk two feet six inches in
mould and clay, stood constantly at 50.75. The dew-point was always
below the temperature, at which I was surprised, for more drenching
weather could not well be. The mean dew-point was 50.25, and
consequent humidity, 0.973.

These observations, and those of the barometer, were taken 60 feet
below the summit, to which I moved the instruments on the morning of
the 23rd. At a much more exposed spot the results would no doubt have
been different, for a thermometer, there sunk to the same depth as
that below, stood at 49.75 (or one degree colder than 60 feet lower
down). My barometrical observations, taken simultaneously with those
of Calcutta, give the height of Tonglo, 10,078.3 feet; Colonel
Waugh's, by trigonometry, 10,079.4 feet,--a remarkable and unusual

_May_ 23.--We spent a few hours of alternate fog and sunshine on the
top of the mountain, vainly hoping for the most modest view; our
inability to obtain it was extremely disappointing, for the mountain
commands a superb prospect, which I enjoyed fully in the following
November, from a spot a few miles further west. The air, which was
always foggy, was alternately cooled and heated, as it blew over the
trees, or the open space we occupied; sometimes varying 5 degrees and
6 degrees in a quarter of an hour.

Having partially dried the tent in the wind, we commenced the
descent, which owing to the late torrents of rain, was most fatiguing
and slippery; it again commenced to drizzle at noon, nor was it till
we had descended to 6000 feet that we emerged from the region of
clouds. By dark we arrived at Simonbong, having descended 5000 feet,
at the rate of 1000 feet an hour; and were kindly received by the
Lama, who gave us his temple for the accommodation of the whole
party. We were surprised at this, both because the Sikkim authorities
had represented the Lamas as very averse to Europeans, and because he
might well have hesitated before admitting a promiscuous horde of
thirty people into a sacred building, where the little valuables on
the altar, etc., were quite at our disposal. A better tribute could
not well have been paid to the honesty of my Lepcha followers. Our
host only begged us not to disturb his people, nor to allow the
Hindoos of our party to smoke inside.


Simonbong is one of the smallest and poorest Gumpas, or temples, in
Sikkim: unlike the better class, it is built of wood only.
It consisted of one large room, with small sliding shutter windows,
raised on a stone foundation, and roofed with shingles of wood;
opposite the door a wooden altar was placed, rudely chequered with
black, white, and red; to the right and left were shelves, with a few
Tibetan books, wrapped in silk; a model of Symbonath temple in Nepal,
a praying-cylinder,* [It consisted of a leathern cylinder placed
upright in a frame; a projecting piece of iron strikes a little bell
at each revolution, the revolution being caused by an elbowed axle
and string. Within the cylinder are deposited written prayers, and
whoever pulls the string properly is considered to have repeated his
prayers as often as the bell rings. Representations of these
implements will be found in other parts of these volumes.] and some
implements for common purposes, bags of juniper, English wine-bottles
and glasses, with tufts of _Abies Webbiana,_ rhododendron flowers,
and peacock's feathers, besides various trifles, clay ornaments and
offerings, and little Hindoo idols. On the altar were ranged seven
little brass cups, full of water; a large conch shell, carved with
the sacred lotus; a brass jug from Lhassa, of beautiful design, and a
human thigh-bone, hollow, and perforated through both condyles.* [To
these are often added a double-headed rattle, or small drum, formed
of two crowns of human skulls, cemented back to back; each face is
then covered with parchment, and encloses some pebbles. Sometimes
this instrument is provided with a handle.]


 Facing the altar was a bench and a chair, and on one side a huge
tambourine, with two curved iron drum-sticks. The bench was covered
with bells, handsomely carved with idols, and censers with
juniper-ashes; and on it lay the _dorge,_ or double-headed
thunderbolt, which the Lama holds in his hand during service. Of all
these articles, the human thigh-bone is by much the most curious; it
is very often that of a Lama, and is valuable in proportion to its
length.* [It is reported at Dorjiling, that one of the first
Europeans buried at this station, being a tall man, was disinterred
by the resurrectionist Bhoteeas for his _trumpet-bones.] As, however,
the Sikkim Lamas are burned, the relics are generally procured from
Tibet, where the  corpses are cut in pieces and thrown to the kites,
or into the water.

Two boys usually reside in the temple, and their beds were given up
to us, which being only rough planks laid on the floor, proved clean
in one sense, but contrasted badly with the springy couch of bamboo
the Lepcha makes, which renders carrying a mattress or aught but
blankets superfluous.

_May_ 24.--We were awakened at daylight by the discordant orisons of
the Lama; these commenced by the boys beating the great tambourine,
then blowing the conch-shells, and finally the trumpets and
thigh-bone. Shortly the Lama entered, clad in scarlet, shorn and
barefooted, wearing a small red silk mitre, a loose gown girt round
the middle, and an under-garment of questionable colour, possibly
once purple. He walked along, slowly muttering his prayers, to the
end of the apartment, whence he took a brass bell and dorge, and,
sitting down cross-legged, commenced matins, counting his beads, or
ringing the bell, and uttering most dismal prayers. After various
disposals of the cups, a larger bell was violently rung for some
minutes, himself snapping his fingers and uttering most unearthly
sounds. Finally, incense was brought, of charcoal with
juniper-sprigs; it was swung about, and concluded the morning service
to our great relief, for the noises were quite intolerable. Fervid as
the devotions appeared, to judge by their intonation, I fear the Lama
felt more curious about us than was proper under the circumstances;
and when I tried to sketch him, his excitement knew no bounds; he
fairly turned round on the settee, and, continuing his prayers and
bell-accompaniment, appeared to be exorcising me, or some spirit
within me.

After breakfast the Lama came to visit us, bringing rice, a few
vegetables, and a large bamboo-work bowl, thickly varnished with
india-rubber, and waterproof, containing half-fermented millet.
This mixture, called _Murwa,_ is invariably offered to the traveller,
either in the state of fermented grain, or more commonly in a bamboo
jug, filled quite up with warm water; when the fluid, sucked through
a reed, affords a refreshing drink. He gratefully accepted a few
rupees and trifles which we had to spare.

Leaving Simonbong, we descended to the Little Rungeet, where the heat
of the valley was very great; 80 degrees at noon, and that of the
stream 69 degrees; the latter was an agreeable temperature for the
coolies, who plunged, teeming with perspiration, into the water,
catching fish with their hands. We reached Dorjiling late in the
evening, again drenched with rain; our people, Hindoo and Lepcha,
imprudently remaining for the night in the valley. Owing probably as
much to the great exposure they had lately gone through, as to the
sudden transition from a mean temperature of 50 degrees in a bracing
wind, to a hot close jungly valley at 75 degrees, no less than seven
were laid up with fever and ague.

Few excursions can afford a better idea of the general features and
rich luxuriance of the Sikkim Himalaya than that to Tonglo. It is
always interesting to roam with an aboriginal, and especially a
mountain people, through their thinly inhabited valleys, over their
grand mountains, and to dwell alone with them in their gloomy and
forbidding forests, and no thinking man can do so without learning
much, however slender be the means at his command for communion.
A more interesting and attractive companion than the Lepcha I never
lived with: cheerful, kind, and patient with a master to whom he is
attached; rude but not savage, ignorant and yet intelligent; with the
simple resource of a plain knife he makes his house and furnishes
yours, with a speed, alacrity, and ingenuity that wile away that
well-known long hour when the weary pilgrim frets for his couch.
In all my dealings with these people, they proved scrupulously
honest. Except for drunkenness and carelessness, I never had to
complain of any of the merry troop; some of whom, bareheaded and
barelegged, possessing little or nothing save a cotton garment and a
long knife, followed me for many months on subsequent occasions, from
the scorching plains to the everlasting snows. Ever foremost in the
forest or on the bleak mountain, and ever ready to help, to carry, to
encamp, collect, or cook, they cheer on the traveller by their
unostentatious zeal in his service, and are spurs to his progress.

Illustration--TIBETAN AMULET.


Difficulty in procuring leave to enter Sikkim -- Obtain permission to
travel in East Nepal -- Arrangements -- Coolies -- Stores -- Servants
-- Personal equipment -- Mode of travelling -- Leave Dorjiling --
Goong ridge -- Behaviour of Bhotan coolies -- Nepal frontier -- Myong
valley -- Ilam -- Sikkim massacre -- Cultivation -- Nettles -- Camp
at Nanki on Tonglo -- Bhotan coolies run away -- View of Chumulari --
Nepal peaks to west -- Sakkiazung -- Buceros -- Road to Wallanchoon
-- Oaks -- Scarcity of water -- Singular view of mountain-valleys --
Encampment -- My tent and its furniture -- Evening occupations --
Dunkotah -- Crossridge of Sakkiazung -- Yews -- Silver-firs -- View
of Tambur valley -- Pemmi river -- Pebbly terraces -- Geology -- Holy
springs -- Enormous trees -- Luculia gratissima -- Khawa river, rocks
of -- Arrive at Tambur -- Shingle and gravel terraces -- Natives,
indolence of -- Canoe ferry -- Votive offerings -- Bad road --
Temperature, etc. -- Chingtam village, view from -- Mywa river and
Guola -- House -- Boulders -- Chain-bridge -- Meepo, arrival of --
Fevers.   Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of our relations with
the Sikkim authorities, to which I have elsewhere alluded, my
endeavours to procure leave to penetrate further beyond the Dorjiling
territory than Tonglo, were attended with some trouble and delay.

In the autumn of 1848, the Governor-General communicated with the
Rajah, desiring him to grant me honourable and safe escort through
his dominions; but this was at once met by a decided refusal,
apparently admitting of no compromise. Pending further negotiations,
which Dr. Campbell felt sure would terminate satisfactorily, though
perhaps too late for my purpose, he applied to the Nepal Rajah for
permission for me to visit the Tibetan passes, west of Kinchinjunga;
proposing in the meanwhile to arrange for my return through Sikkim.
Through the kindness of Col. Thoresby, the Resident at that Court,
and the influence of Jung Bahadoor, this request was promptly acceded
to, and a guard of six Nepalese soldiers and two officers was sent to
Dorjiling to conduct me to any part of the eastern districts of Nepal
which I might select. I decided upon following up the Tambur, a
branch of the Arun river, and exploring the two easternmost of the
Nepalese passes into Tibet (Wallanchoon and Kanglachem), which would
bring me as near to the central mass and loftiest part of the eastern
flank of Kinchinjunga as possible.

For this expedition (which occupied three months), all the
arrangements were undertaken for me by Dr. Campbell, who afforded me
every facility which in his government position he could command,
besides personally superintending the equipment and provisioning of
my party. Taking horses or loaded animals of any kind was not
expedient: the whole journey was to be performed on foot, and
everything carried on men's backs. As we were to march through wholly
unexplored countries, where food was only procurable at uncertain
intervals, it was necessary to engage a large body of porters, some
of whom should carry bags of rice for the coolies and themselves too.
The difficulty of selecting these carriers, of whom thirty were
required, was very great. The Lepchas, the best and most tractable,
and over whom Dr. Campbell had the most direct influence, disliked
employment out of Sikkim, especially in so warlike a country as
Nepal: and they were besides thought unfit for the snowy regions.
The Nepalese, of whom there were many residing as British subjects in
Dorjiling, were mostly run-aways from their own country, and afraid
of being claimed, should they return to it, by the lords of the soil.
To employ Limboos, Moormis, Hindoos, or other natives of low
elevations, was out of the question; and no course appeared advisable
but to engage some of the Bhotan run-aways domiciled in Dorjiling,
who are accustomed to travel at all elevations, and fear nothing but
a return to the country which they have abandoned as slaves, or as
culprits: they are immensely powerful, and though intractable to the
last degree, are generally glad to work and behave well for money.
The choice, as will hereafter be seen, was unfortunate, though at the
time unanimously approved.

My party mustered fifty-six persons. These consisted of myself, and
one personal servant, a Portuguese half-caste, who undertook all
offices, and spared me the usual train of Hindoo and Mahometan
servants. My tent and equipments (for which I was greatly indebted to
Mr. Hodgson), instruments, bed, box of clothes, books and papers,
required a man for each. Seven more carried my papers for drying
plants, and other scientific stores. The Nepalese guard had two
coolies of their own. My interpreter, the coolie Sirdar (or headman),
and my chief plant collector (a Lepcha), had a man each.
Mr. Hodgson's bird and animal shooter, collector, and stuffer, with
their ammunition and indispensables, had four more; there were
besides, three Lepcha lads to climb trees and change the
plant-papers, who had long been in my service in that capacity; and
the party was completed by fourteen Bhotan coolies laden with food,
consisting chiefly of rice with ghee, oil, capsicums, salt,
and flour.

I carried myself a small barometer, a large knife and digger for
plants, note-book, telescope, compass, and other instruments; whilst
two or three Lepcha lads who accompanied me as satellites, carried a
botanising box, thermometers, sextant and artificial horizon,
measuring-tape, azimuth compass and stand, geological hammer, bottles
and boxes for insects, sketch-book, etc., arranged in compartments of
strong canvass bags. The Nepal officer (of the rank of serjeant, I
believe) always kept near me with one of his men, rendering
innumerable little services. Other sepoys were distributed amongst
the remainder of the party; one went ahead to prepare camping-ground,
and one brought up the rear.

The course generally pursued by Himalayan travellers is to march
early in the morning, and arrive at the camping-ground before or by
noon, breakfasting before starting, or _en route._ I never followed
this plan, because it sacrificed the mornings, which were otherwise
profitably spent in collecting about camp; whereas, if I set off
early, I was generally too tired with the day's march to employ in
any active pursuit the rest of the daylight, which in November only
lasted till 6 p.m. The men breakfasted early in the morning, I
somewhat later, and all had started by 10 a.m., arriving between
4 and 6 p.m. at the next camping-ground. My tent was formed of
blankets, spread over cross pieces of wood and a ridge-pole,
enclosing an area of 6 to 8 feet by 4 to 6 feet. The bedstead, table,
and chair were always made by my Lepchas, as described in the Tonglo
excursion. The evenings I employed in writing up notes and journals,
plotting maps, and ticketing the plants collected during the
day's march.

I left Dorjiling at noon, on the 27th October, accompanied by Dr.
Campbell, who saw me fairly off, the coolies having preceded me.
Our direct route would have been over Tonglo, but the threats of the
Sikkim authorities rendered it advisable to make for Nepal at once;
we therefore kept west along the Goong ridge, a western prolongation
of Sinchul.

On overtaking the coolies, I proceeded for six or seven miles along a
zig-zag road, at about 7,500 feet elevation, through dense forests,
and halted at a little hut within sight of Dorjiling. Rain and mist
came on at nightfall, and though several parties of my servants
arrived, none of the Bhotan coolies made their appearance, and I
spent the night without food or bed, the weather being much too foggy
and dark to send back to meet the missing men. They joined me late on
the following day, complaining unreasonably of their loads, and
without their Sirdar, who, after starting his crew, had returned to
take leave of his wife and family. On the following day he appeared,
and after due admonishment we started, but four miles further on were
again obliged to halt for the Bhotan coolies, who were equally deaf
to threats and entreaties. As they did not come up till dusk, we were
obliged to encamp here, (alt. 7,400 feet) at the common source of the
Balasun, which flows to the plains, and the Little Rungeet, whose
course is north.

The contrast between the conduct of the Bhotan men and that of the
Lepchas and Nepalese was so marked, that I seriously debated in my
own mind the propriety of sending the former back to Dorjiling, but
yielded to the remonstrances of their Sirdar and the Nepal guard, who
represented the great difficulty we should have in replacing them,
and above all, the loss of time, at this season a matter of great
importance. We accordingly started again the following morning, and
still keeping in a western direction, crossed the posts in the forest
dividing Sikkim from Nepal, and descended into the Myong valley of
the latter country, through which flows the river of that name, a
tributary of the Tambur. The Myong valley is remarkably fine: it runs
south-west from Tonglo, and its open character and general fertility
contrast strongly with the bareness of the lower mountain spurs which
flank it, and with the dense, gloomy, steep, and forest-clad gorges
of Sikkim. At its lower end, about twenty miles from the frontier, is
the military fort of Ilam, a celebrated stockaded post and cantonment
of the Ghorkas: its position is marked by a conspicuous conical hill.
The inhabitants are chiefly Brahmins, but there are also some
Moormis, and a few Lepchas who escaped from Sikkim during the general
massacre in 1825. Among these is a man who had formerly much
influence in Sikkim; he still retains his title of Kazee,* [This
Mahometan title, by which the officers of state are known in Sikkim,
is there generally pronounced Kajee.] and has had large lands
assigned to him by the Nepalese Government: he sent the usual present
of a kid, fowls, and eggs, and begged me to express to Dr. Campbell
his desire to return to his native country, and settle at Dorjiling.

The scenery of this valley is the most beautiful I know of in the
lower Himalaya, and the Cheer Pine (_P. longifolia_) is abundant,
cresting the hills; which are loosely clothed with clumps of oaks and
other trees, bamboos, and bracken (_Pteris_). The slopes are covered
with red clay, and separate little ravines luxuriantly clothed with
tropical vegetation, amongst which flow pebbly streams of transparent
cool water. The villages, which are merely scattered collections of
huts, are surrounded with fields of rice, buckwheat, and Indian corn,
which latter the natives were now storing in little granaries,
mounted on four posts, men, women, and children being all equally
busy. The quantity of gigantic nettles (_Urtica heterophylla_) on the
skirts of these maize fields is quite wonderful: their long white
stings look most formidable, but though they sting virulently, the
pain only lasts half an hour or so. These, however, with leeches,
mosquitos, peepsas, and ticks, sometimes keep the traveller in a
constant state of irritation.

However civilised the Hindoo may be in comparison with the Lepcha, he
presents a far less attractive picture to the casual observer; he
comes to your camping-ground, sits down, and stares with all his
might, but offers no assistance; if he bring a present at all, he
expects a return on the spot, and goes on begging till satisfied.
I was amused by the cool way in which my Ghorka guard treated the
village lads, when they wanted help in my service, taking them by the
shoulder, pulling out their knives for them, placing them in their
bands, and setting them to cut down a tree, or to chop firewood,
which they seldom refused to do, when a little such douce violence
was applied.

My object being to reach the Tambur, north of the great east and west
mountain ridge of Sakkiazung, without crossing the innumerable
feeders of the Myong and their dividing spurs, we ascended the north
flank of the valley to a long spur from Tonglo, intending to follow
winding ridges of that mountain to the sources of the Pemmi at the
Phulloot mountains, and thence descend.

On the 3rd November I encamped on the flank of Tonglo (called Nanki
in Nepal), at 9,300 feet, about 700 feet below the western summit,
which is rocky, and connected by a long flat ridge with that which I
had visited in the previous May. The Bhotan coolies behaved worse
than ever; their conduct being in all respects typical of the
turbulent, mulish race to which they belong. They had been plundering
my provisions as they went along, and neither their Sirdar nor the
Ghorka soldiers had the smallest authority over them. I had hired
some Ghorka coolies to assist and eventually to replace them, and had
made up my mind to send back the worst from the more populous banks
of the Tambur, when I was relieved by their making off of their own
accord. The dilemma was however awkward, as it was impossible to
procure men on the top of a mountain 10,000 feet high, or to proceed
towards Phulloot. No course remained but to send to Dorjiling for
others, or to return to the Myong valley, and take a more circuitous
route over the west end of Sakkiazung, which led through villages
from which I could procure coolies day by day. I preferred the latter
plan, and sent one of the soldiers to the nearest village for
assistance to bring the loads down, halting a day for that purpose.

From the summit of Tonglo I enjoyed the view I had so long desired of
the Snowy Himalaya, from north-east to north-west; Sikkim being on
the right, Nepal on the left, and the plains of India to the
southward; and I procured a set of compass bearings, of the greatest
use in mapping the country. In the early morning the transparency of
the atmosphere renders this view one of astonishing grandeur.
Kinchinjunga bore nearly due north, a dazzling mass of snowy peaks,
intersected by blue glaciers, which gleamed in the slanting rays of
the rising sun, like aquamarines set in frosted silver. From this the
sweep of snowed mountains to the eastward was almost continuous as
far as Chola (bearing east-north-east), following a curve of 150
miles, and enclosing the whole of the northern part of Sikkim, which
appeared a billowy mass of forest-clad mountains. On the north-east
horizon rose the Donkia mountain (23,176 feet), and Chumulari
(23,929). Though both were much more distant than the snowy ranges,
being respectively eighty and ninety miles off, they raised their
gigantic heads above, seeming what they really were, by far the
loftiest peaks next to Kinchinjunga; and the perspective of snow is
so deceptive, that though 40 to 60 miles beyond, they appeared as
though almost in the same line with the ridges they overtopped.
Of these mountains, Chumulari presents many attractions to the
geographer, from its long disputed position, its sacred character,
and the interest attached to it since Turner's mission to Tibet in
1783. It was seen and recognised by Dr. Campbell, and measured by
Colonel Waugh, from Sinchul, and also from Tonglo, and was a
conspicuous object in my subsequent journey to Tibet. Beyond Junnoo,
one of the western peaks of Kinchinjunga, there was no continuous
snowy chain; the Himalaya seemed suddenly to decline into black and
rugged peaks, till in the far north-west it rose again in a white
mountain mass of stupendous elevation at 80 miles distance, called,
by my Nepal people, "Tsungau."* [This is probably the easternmost and
loftiest peak seen from Katmandoo, distant 78 miles, and estimated
elevation 20,117 feet by Col. Crawford's observations. See
"Hamilton's Nepal," p. 346, and plate 1.] From the bearings I took of
it from several positions, it is in about lat. 27 degrees 49 minutes
and long. 86 degrees 24 minutes, and is probably on the west flank of
the Arun valley and river, which latter, in its course from Tibet to
the plains of India, receives the waters from the west flank of
Kinchinjunga, and from the east flank of the mountain in question.
It is perhaps one which has been seen and measured from the Tirhoot
district by some of Colonel Waugh's party, and which has been
reported to be upwards of 28,000 feet in elevation; and it is the
only mountain of the first class in magnitude between Gosainthan
(north-east of Katmandoo) and Kinchinjunga.

To the west, the black ridge of Sakkiazung, bristling with pines,
(_Abies Webbiana_) cut off the view of Nepal; but south-west, the
Myong valley could be traced to its junction with the Tambur about
thirty miles off: beyond which to the south-west and south, low
hills belonging to the outer ranges of Nepal rose on the distant
horizon, seventy or eighty miles off; and of these the most
conspicuous were the Mahavarati which skirt the Nepal Terai. South
and south-east, Sinchul and the Goong range of Sikkim intercepted the
view of the plains of India, of which I had a distant peep to the
south-west only.

The west top of Tonglo is very open and grassy, with occasional
masses of gneiss of enormous size, but probably not in situ.
The whole of this flank, and for 1000 feet down the spur to the
south-west, had been cleared by fire for pasturage, and flocks of
black-faced sheep were grazing. During my stay on the mountain,
except in the early morning, the weather was bleak, gloomy, and very
cold, with a high south-west wind. The mean temperature was 41
degrees, extremes 53.2/26 degrees: the nights were very clear, with
sharp hoar-frost; the radiating thermometer sank to 21 degrees, the
temperature at 3.5 feet depth was 51.5 degrees.

A few of the Bhotan coolies having voluntarily returned, I left
Tonglo on the 5th, and descended its west flank to the Mai, a feeder
of the Myong. The descent was as abrupt as that on the east face, but
through less dense forest; the Sikkim side (that facing the east)
being much the dampest. I encamped at dark by a small village,
(Jummanoo) at 4,360 feet, having descended 5000 feet in five hours.
Hence we marched eastward to the village of Sakkiazung, which we
reached on the third day, crossing _en route_ several spurs 4000 to
6000 feet high, from the same ridge, and as many rivers, which all
fall into the Myong, and whose beds are elevated from 2,500 to
3000 feet.

Though rich and fertile, the country is scantily populated, and
coolies were procured with difficulty: I therefore sent back to
Dorjiling all but absolute indispensables, and on the 9th of November
started up the ridge in a northerly direction, taking the road from
Ilam to Wallanchoon. The ascent was gradual, through a fine forest,
full of horn-bills (_Buceros_), a bird resembling the Toucan
("Dhunass" Lepcha); at 7000 feet an oak (_Quercus semecarpifolia_),
"Khasrou" of the Nepalese, commences, a tree which is common as far
west as Kashmir, but which I never found in Sikkim, though it appears
again in Bhotan.* [This oak ascends in the N.W. Himalaya to the
highest limit of forest (12,000 feet). No oak in Sikkim attains a
greater elevation than 10,000.] It forms a broad-headed tree, and has
a very handsome appearance; its favourite locality is on grassy open
shoulders of the mountains. It was accompanied by an _Astragalus,
Geranium,_ and several other plants of the drier interior parts of
Sikkim. Water is very scarce along the ridge; we walked fully eight
miles without finding any, and were at length obliged to encamp at
8,350 feet by the only spring that we should be able to reach.
With respect to drought, this ridge differs materially from Sikkim,
where water abounds at all elevations; and the cause is obviously its
position to the westward of the great ridge of Singalelah (including
Tonglo) by which the S.W. currents are drained of their moisture.
Here again, the east flank was much the dampest and most
luxuriantly wooded.

While my men encamped on a very narrow ridge, I ascended a rocky
summit, composed of great blocks of gneiss, from which I obtained a
superb view to the westward. Immediately below a fearfully sudden
descent, ran the Daomy River, bounded on the opposite side by another
parallel ridge of Sakkiazung, enclosing, with that on which I stood,
a gulf from 6000 to 7000 feet deep, of wooded ridges, which, as it
were, radiated outwards as they ascended upwards in rocky spurs to
the pine-clad peaks around. To the south-west, in the extreme
distance, were the boundless plains of India, upwards of 100 miles
off, with the Cosi meandering through them like a silver thread.

The firmament appeared of a pale steel blue, and a broad low arch
spanned the horizon, bounded by a line of little fleecy clouds
(moutons); below this the sky was of a golden yellow, while in
successively deeper strata, many belts or ribbons of vapour appeared
to press upon the plains, the lowest of which was of a dark leaden
hue, the upper more purple, and vanishing into the pale yellow above.
Though well defined, there was no abrupt division between the belts,
and the lowest mingled imperceptibly with the hazy horizon.
Gradually the golden lines grew dim, and the blues and purples gained
depth of colour; till the sun set behind the dark-blue peaked
mountains in a flood of crimson and purple, sending broad beams of
grey shade and purple light up to the zenith, and all around.
As evening advanced, a sudden chill succeeded, and mists rapidly
formed immediately below me in little isolated clouds, which
coalesced and spread out like a heaving and rolling sea, leaving
nothing above their surface but the ridges and spurs of the adjacent
mountains. These rose like capes, promontories, and islands, of the
darkest leaden hue, bristling with pines, and advancing boldly into
the snowy white ocean, or starting from its bed in the strongest
relief. As darkness came on, and the stars arose, a light fog
gathered round me, and I quitted with reluctance one of the most
impressive and magic scenes I ever beheld.

Returning to my tent, I was interested in observing how well my
followers had accommodated themselves to their narrow circumstances.
Their fires gleamed everywhere amongst the trees, and the people,
broken up into groups of five, presented an interesting picture of
native, savage, and half-civilised life. I wandered amongst them in
the darkness, and watched unseen their operations; some were cooking,
with their rude bronzed faces lighted up by the ruddy glow, as they
peered into the pot, stirring the boiling rice with one hand, while
with the other they held back their long tangled hair. Others were
bringing water from the spring below, some gathering sprigs of
fragrant _Artemisia_ and other shrubs to form couches--some lopping
branches of larger trees to screen them from nocturnal radiation;
their only protection from the dew being such branches stuck in the
ground, and slanting over their procumbent forms. The Bhotanese were
rude and boisterous in their pursuits, constantly complaining to the
Sirdars, and wrangling over their meals. The Ghorkas were sprightly,
combing their raven hair, telling interminably long stories, of which
money was the burthen, or singing Hindoo songs through their noses in
chorus; and being neater and better dressed, and having a servant to
cook their food, they seemed quite the gentlemen of the party.
Still the Lepcha was the most attractive, the least restrained, and
the most natural in all his actions, the simplest in his wants and
appliances, with a bamboo as his water-jug, an earthen-pot as his
kettle, and all manner of herbs collected during the day's march to
flavour his food.

My tent was made of a blanket thrown over the limb of a tree; to this
others were attached, and the whole was supported on a frame like a
house. One half was occupied by my bedstead, beneath which was stowed
my box of clothes, while my books and writing materials were placed
under the table. The barometer hung in the most out-of-the-way
corner, and my other instruments all around. A small candle was
burning in a glass shade, to keep the draught and insects from the
light, and I had the comfort of seeing the knife, fork, and spoon
laid on a white napkin, as I entered my snug little house, and flung
myself on the elastic couch to ruminate on the proceedings of the
day, and speculate on those of the morrow, while waiting for my meal,
which usually consisted of stewed meat and rice, with biscuits and
tea. My thermometers (wet and dry bulb, and minimum) hung under a
temporary canopy made of thickly plaited bamboo and leaves close to
the tent, and the cooking was performed by my servant under a tree.

After dinner my occupations were to ticket and put away the plants
collected during the day, write up journals, plot maps, and take
observations till 10 p.m. As soon as I was in bed, one of the Nepal
soldiers was accustomed to enter, spread his blanket on the ground,
and sleep there as my guard. In the morning the collectors were set
to change the plant-papers, while I explored the neighbourhood, and
having taken observations and breakfasted, we were ready to start at
10 a.m.

Following the same ridge, after a few miles of ascent over much
broken gneiss rock, the Ghorkas led me aside to the top of a knoll,
9,300 feet high, covered with stunted bushes, and commanding a
splendid view to the west, of the broad, low, well cultivated valley
of the Tambur, and the extensive town of Dunkotah on its banks, about
twenty-five miles off; the capital of this part of Nepal, and famous
for its manufactory of paper from the bark of the _Daphne._ Hence too
I gained a fine view of the plains of India, including the course of
the Cosi river, which, receiving the Arun and Tambur, debouches into
the Ganges opposite Colgongl (see Chapter IV).

A little further on we crossed the main ridge of Sakkiazung, a long
flexuous chain stretching for miles to the westward from Phulloot on
Singalelah, and forming the most elevated and conspicuous transverse
range in this part of Nepal: its streams flow south to the Myong, and
north to feeders of the Tambur. Silver firs (_Abies Webbiana_) are
found on all the summits; but to my regret none occurred in our path,
which led just below their limit (10,000 feet), on the southern
Himalayan ranges. There were, however, a few yews, exactly like the
English. The view that opened on cresting this range was again
magnificent, of Kinchinjunga, the western snows of Nepal, and the
valley of the Tambur winding amongst wooded and cultivated hills to a
long line of black-peaked, rugged mountains, sparingly snowed, which
intervene between Kinchinjunga and the great Nepal mountain before
mentioned. The extremely varied colouring on the infinite number of
hill-slopes that everywhere intersected the Tambur valley was very
pleasing. For fully forty miles to the northward there were no lofty
forest-clad mountains, nor any apparently above 4000 to 5000 feet:
villages and hamlets appeared everywhere, with crops of golden
mustard and purple buckwheat in full flower; yellow rice and maize,
green hemp, pulse, radishes, and barley, and brown millet. Here and
there deep groves of oranges, the broad-leafed banana, and
sugar-cane, skirted the bottoms of the valleys, through which the
streams were occasionally seen, rushing in white foam over their
rocky beds. It was a goodly sight to one who had for his only
standard of comparison the view from Sinchul, of the gloomy
forest-clad ranges of 6000 to 10,000 feet, that intervene between
that mountain and the snowy girdle of Sikkim; though I question
whether a traveller from more favoured climes would see more in this,
than a thinly inhabited country, with irregular patches of poor
cultivation, a vast amount of ragged forest on low hills of rather
uniform height and contour, relieved by a dismal back-ground of
frowning black mountains, sprinkled with snow! Kinchinjunga was again
the most prominent object to the north-east, with its sister peaks of
Kubra (24,005 feet), and Junnoo (25,312 feet). All these presented
bare cliff's for several thousand feet below their summits, composed
of white rock with a faint pink tint:--on the other hand the lofty
Nepal mountain in the far west presented cliffs of black rocks. From
the summit two routes to the Tambur presented themselves; one, the
main road, led west and south along the ridge, and then turned north,
descending to the river; the other was shorter, leading abruptly down
to the Pemmi river, and thence along its banks, west to the Tambur.
I chose the latter.

The descent was very abrupt on the first day, from 9,500 feet to 5000
feet, and on that following to the bed of the Pemmi, at 2000 feet;
and the road was infamously bad, generally consisting of a narrow,
winding, rocky path among tangled shrubs and large boulders,
brambles, nettles, and thorny bushes, often in the bed of the
torrent, or crossing spurs covered with forest, round whose bases it
flowed. A little cultivation was occasionally met with on the narrow
flat pebbly terraces which fringed the stream, usually of rice, and
sometimes of the small-leaved variety of hemp (_Cannabis_), grown as
a narcotic.

The rocks above 5000 feet were gneiss; below this, cliffs of very
micaceous schist were met with, having a north-west strike, and being
often vertical; the boulders again were always of gneiss. The streams
seemed rather to occupy faults, than to have eroded courses for
themselves; their beds were invariably rocky or pebbly, and the
waters white and muddy from the quantity of alumina. In one little
rocky dell the water gushed through a hole in a soft stratum in the
gneiss; a trifling circumstance which was not lost upon the crafty
Brahmins, who had cut a series of regular holes for the water,
ornamented the rocks with red paint, and a row of little iron
tridents of Siva, and dedicated the whole to Mahadeo.

In some spots the vegetation was exceedingly fine, and several large
trees occurred: I measured a Toon (_Cedrela_) thirty feet in girth at
five feet above the ground. The skirts of the forest were adorned
with numerous jungle flowers, rice crops, blue _Acanthaceae_ and
_Pavetta,_ wild cherry-trees covered with scarlet blossoms, and trees
of the purple and lilac _Bauhinia_; while _Thunbergia, Convolvulus,_
and other climbers, hung in graceful festoons from the boughs, and on
the dry micaceous rocks the _Luculia gratissima,_ one of our common
hot-house ornaments, grew in profusion, its gorgeous heads of
blossoms scenting the air.

At the junction of the Pemmi and Khawa rivers, there are high rocks
of mica-slate, and broad river-terraces of stratified sand and
pebbles, apparently alternating with deposits of shingle. On this
hot, open expanse, elevated 2250 feet, appeared many trees and plants
of the Terai and plains, as pomegranate, peepul, and sal; with
extensive fields of cotton, indigo, and irrigated rice.

We followed the north bank of the Khawa, which runs westerly through
a gorge, between high cliffs of chlorite, containing thick beds of
stratified quartz. At the angles of the river broad terraces are
formed, fifteen to thirty feet above its bed, similar to those just
mentioned, and planted with rows of _Acacia Serissa,_ or laid out in
rice fields, or sugar plantations.

I reached the east bank of the Tambur, on the 13th of November, at
its junction with the Khawa, in a deep gorge. It formed a grand
stream, larger than the Teesta, of a pale, sea-green, muddy colour,
and flowed rapidly with a strong ripple, but no foam; it rises six
feet in the rains, but ice never descends nearly so low; its breadth
was sixty to eighty yards, its temperature 55 degrees to 58 degrees.
The breadth of the foaming Khawa was twelve to fifteen yards, and its
temperature 56.5 degrees. The surrounding vegetation was entirely
tropical, consisting of scrubby sal trees, acacia, _Grislea, Emblica,
Hibiscus,_ etc.; the elevation being but 1300 feet, though the spot
was twenty-five miles in a straight line from the plains. I camped at
the fork of the rivers, on a fine terrace fifty feet above the water,
about seventy yards long, and one hundred broad, quite flat-topped,
and composed of shingle, gravel, etc., with enormous boulders of
gneiss, quartz, and hornstone, much water-worn; it was girt by
another broken terrace, twelve feet or so above the water, and
covered with long grass and bushes.

The main road from Ilam to Wallanchoon, which I quitted on
Sakkiazung, descends steeply on the opposite bank of the river, which
I crossed in a canoe formed of a hollow trunk (of Toon), thirty feet
long. There is considerable traffic along this road; and I was
visited by numbers of natives, all Hindoos, who coolly squatted
before my tent-door, and stared with their large black, vacant,
lustrous eyes: they appear singularly indolent, and great beggars.

The land seems highly favoured by nature, and the population, though
so scattered, is in reality considerable, the varied elevation giving
a large surface; but the natives care for no more than will satisfy
their immediate wants. The river swarms with fish, but they are too
lazy to catch them, and they have seldom anything better to give or
sell than sticks of sugar-cane, which when peeled form a refreshing
morsel in these scorching marches. They have few and poor oranges,
citrons, and lemons, very bad plantains, and but little else;--eggs,
fowls, and milk are all scarce. Horned cattle are of course never
killed by Hindoos, and it was but seldom that I could replenish my
larder with a kid. Potatos are unknown, but my Sepoys often brought
me large coarse radishes and legumes.

From the junction of the rivers the road led up the Tambur to Mywa
Guola; about sixteen miles by the river, but fully thirty-five, as we
wound, ascended, and descended, during three days' marches. We were
ferried across the stream in a canoe much ruder than that of the New
Zealander. I watched my party crossing by boat-loads of fifteen each;
the Bhotan men hung little scraps of rags on the bushes before
embarking, the votive offerings of a Booddhist throughout central
Asia;--the Lepcha, less civilised, scooped up a little water in the
palm of his hand, and scattered it about, invoking the river god of
his simple creed.

We always encamped upon gravelly terraces a few feet above the river,
which flows in a deep gorge; its banks are very steep for 600 feet
above the stream, though the mountains which flank it do not exceed
4000 to 5000 feet: this is a constant phenomenon in the Himalaya, and
the roads, when low and within a few hundred feet of the river, are
in consequence excessively steep and difficult; it would have been
impossible to have taken ponies along that we followed, which was
often not a foot broad, running along very steep cliffs, at a dizzy
height above the river, and engineered with much trouble and
ingenuity: often the bank was abandoned altogether, and we ascended
several thousand feet to descend again. Owing to the steepness of
these banks, and the reflected heat, the valley, even at this season,
was excessively hot and close during the day, even when the
temperature was below 70 degrees, and tempered by a brisk breeze
which rushes upwards from sunrise to sunset. The sun at this season
does not, in many places, reach the bottom of these valleys until 10
a.m., and is off again by 3 p.m.; and the radiation to a clear sky is
so powerful that dew frequently forms in the shade, throughout the
day, and it is common at 10 a.m. to find the thermometer sink from 70
degrees in a sheltered spot, dried by the sun, to 40 degrees in the
shade close by, where the sun has not yet penetrated. Snow never

The rocks throughout this part of the river-course are mica-schists
(strike north-west, dip south-west 70 degrees, but very variable in
inclination and direction); they are dry and grassy, and the
vegetation wholly tropical, as is the entomology, which consists
chiefly of large butterflies, _Mantis_ and _Diptera._ Snowy mountains
are rarely seen, and the beauty of the scenery is confined to the
wooded banks of the main stream, which flows at an average
inclination of fifty feet to the mile. Otters are found in the
stream, and my party shot two, but could not procure them.


In one place the road ascended for 2000 feet above the river, to the
village of Chingtam, situated on a lofty spur of the west bank,
whence I obtained a grand view of the upper course of the river,
flowing in a tremendous chasm, flanked by well-cultivated hills, and
emerging fifteen miles to the northward, from black mountains of
savage grandeur, whose rugged, precipitous faces were streaked with
snow, and the tops of the lower ones crowned with the
tabular-branched silver-fir, contrasting strongly with the tropical
luxuriance around. Chingtam is an extensive village, covering an area
of two miles, and surrounded with abundant cultivation; the houses,
which are built in clusters, are of wood, or wattle and mud, with
grass thatch. The villagers, though an indolent, staring race, are
quiet and respectable; the men are handsome, the women, though less
so, often good-looking. They have fine cattle, and excellent crops.

Immediately above Chingtam, the Tambur is joined by a large affluent
from the west, the Mywa, which is crossed by an excellent iron
bridge, formed of loops hanging from two parallel chains, along which
is laid a plank of sal timber. Passing through the village, we camped
on a broad terrace, from sixty to seventy feet above the junction of
the rivers, whose beds are 2100 feet above the sea.

Mywa Guola (or bazaar) is a large village and mart, frequented by
Nepalese and Tibetans, who bring salt, wool, gold, musk, and
blankets, to exchange for rice, coral, and other commodities; and a
custom-house officer is stationed there, with a few soldiers.
The houses are of wood, and well built: the public ones are large,
with verandahs, and galleries of carved wood; the workmanship is of
Chinese character, and inferior to that of Katmandoo; but in the same
style, and quite unlike anything I had previously seen.

The river-terrace is in all respects similar to that at the junction
of the Tambur and Khawa, but very extensive: the stones it contained
were of all sizes, from a nut to huge boulders upwards of fifteen
feet long, of which many strewed the surface, while others were in
the bed of the river: all were of gneiss, quartz, and granite, and
had doubtless been transported from great elevations, as the rocks
_in situ_--both here and for several thousand feet higher up the
river--were micaceous schists, dipping in various directions, and at
all angles, with, however, a general strike to the north-west.

I was here overtaken by a messenger with letters from Dr. Campbell,
announcing that the Sikkim Rajah had disavowed the refusal to the
Governor-General's letter, and authorising me to return through any
part of Sikkim I thought proper. The bearer was a Lepcha attached to
the court: his dress was that of a superior person, being a scarlet
jacket over a white cotton dress, the breadth of the blue stripes of
which generally denotes wealth; he was accompanied by a sort of
attache, who wore a magnificent pearl and gold ear-ring, and carried
his master's bow, as well as a basket on his back; while an attendant
coolie bore their utensils and food. Meepo, or Teshoo (in Tibetan,
Mr.), Meepo, as he was usually called, soon attached himself to me,
and proved an active, useful, and intelligent companion, guide, and
often collector, during many months afterwards.

The vegetation round Mywa Guola is still thoroughly tropical: the
banyan is planted, and thrives tolerably, the heat being great during
the day. Like the whole of the Tambur valley below 4000 feet, and
especially on these flats, the climate is very malarious before and
after the rains; and I was repeatedly applied to by natives suffering
under attacks of fever. During the two days I halted, the mean
temperature was 60 degrees (extremes, 80/41 degrees), that of the
Tambur, 53 degrees, and of the Mywa, 56 degrees; each varying a few
degrees (the smaller stream the most) between sunrise and 4 p.m.: the
sunk thermometer was 72 degrees.

As we should not easily be able to procure food further on, I laid in
a full stock here, and distributed blankets, etc., sufficient for
temporary use for all the people, dividing them into groups or messes.


Leave Mywa -- Suspension bridge -- Landslips -- Vegetation -- Slope
of riverbed -- Bees' nests -- Glacial phenomena -- Tibetans,
clothing, ornaments, amulets, salutation, children, dogs -- Last
Limboo village, Taptiatok -- Beautiful scenery -- Tibet village of
Lelyp -- _Opuntia_ -- _Edgeworthia_ -- Crab-apple -- Chameleon and
porcupine -- Praying machine -- _Abies Brunoniana_ -- European plants
-- Grand scenery -- Arrive at Wallanchoon -- Scenery around -- Trees
-- Tibet houses -- Manis and Mendongs -- Tibet household -- Food --
Tea-soup -- Hospitality -- Yaks and Zobo, uses and habits of --
Bhoteeas -- Yak-hair tents -- Guobah of Walloong -- Jhatamansi --
Obstacles to proceeding -- Climate and weather -- Proceed --
Rhododendrons, etc. -- Lichens -- _Poa annua_ and Shepherd's purse --
Tibet camp -- Tuquoroma -- Scenery of pass -- Glaciers and snow --
Summit -- Plants, woolly, etc.

On the 18th November, we left Mywa Guola, and continued up the river
to the village of Wallanchoon or Walloong, which was reached in six
marches. The snowy peak of Junnoo (alt. 25,312 feet.) forms a
magnificent feature from this point, seen up the narrow gorge of the
river, bearing N.N.E. about thirty miles. I crossed the Mewa, an
affluent from the north, by another excellent suspension bridge.
In these bridges, the principal chains are clamped to rocks on either
shore, and the suspended loops occur at intervals of eight to ten
feet; the single sal-plank laid on these loops swings terrifically,
and the handrails not being four feet high, the sense of insecurity
is very great.

The Wallanchoon road follows the west bank, but the bridge above
having been carried away, we crossed by a plank, and proceeded along
very steep banks of decomposed chlorite schist, much contorted, and
very soapy, affording an insecure footing, especially where great
landslips had occurred, which were numerous, exposing acres of a
reddish and white soil of felspathic clay, sloping at an angle of 30
degrees. Where the angle was less than 15 degrees, rice was
cultivated, and partially irrigated. The lateral streams (of a muddy
opal green) had cut beds 200 feet deep in the soft earth, and were
very troublesome to cross, from the crumbling cliffs on either side,
and their broad swampy channels.

Five or six miles above Mywa, the valley contracts much, and the
Tambur (whose bed is elevated about 3000 feet) becomes a turbulent
river, shooting along its course with immense velocity, torn into
foam as it lashes the spurs of rock that flank it, and the enormous
boulders with which its bed is strewn.* [In some places torrents of
stone were carried down by landslips, obstructing the rivers; when in
the beds of streams, they were often cemented by felspathic clay into
a hard breccia of angular quartz, gneiss, and felspar nodules.] From
this elevation to 9000 feet, its sinuous track extends about thirty
miles, which gives the mean fall of 200 feet to the mile, quadruple
of what it is for the lower part of its course. So long as its bed is
below 5000 feet, a tropical vegetation prevails in the gorge, and
along the terraces, consisting of tall bamboo, _Bauhinia, Acacia,
Melastoma,_ etc.; but the steep mountain sides above are either bare
and grassy, or cliffs with scattered shrubs and trees, and their
summits are of splintered slaty gneiss, bristling with pines: those
faces exposed to the south and east are invariably the driest and
most grassy; while the opposite are well wooded. _Rhododendron
arboreum_ becomes plentiful at 5000 to 6000 feet, forming a large
tree on dry clayey slopes; it is accompanied by _Indigofera,
Andromeda,_ _Spiraea,_ shrubby _Compositae,_ and very many plants
absent at similar elevations on the wet outer Dorjiling ranges.

In the contracted parts of the valley, the mountains often dip to the
river-bed, in precipices of gneiss, under the ledges of which wild
bees build pendulous nests, looking like huge bats suspended by their
wings; they are two or three feet long, and as broad at the top,
whence they taper downwards: the honey is much sought for, except in
spring, when it is said to be poisoned by Rhododendron flowers, just
as that, eaten by the soldiers in the retreat of the Ten Thousand,
was by the flowers of the _R. ponticum._

Above these gorges are enormous accumulations of rocks, especially at
the confluence of lateral valleys, where they rest upon little flats,
like the river-terraces of Mywa, but wholly formed of angular
shingle, flanked with beds of river-formed gravel: some of these
boulders were thirty or forty yards across, and split as if they had
fallen from a height; the path passing between the fragments.* [The
split fragments I was wholly unable to account for, till my attention
was directed by Mr. Darwin to the observations of Charpentier and
Agassiz, who refer similar ones met with in the Alps, to rocks which
have fallen through crevasses in glaciers.--See "Darwin on Glaciers
and Transported Boulders in North Wales." London, "Phil. Mag." xxi.
p. 180.] At first I imagined that they had been precipitated from the
mountains around; and I referred the shingle to land-shoots, which
during the rains descend several thousand feet in devastating
avalanches, damming up the rivers, and destroying houses, cattle, and
cultivation; but though I still refer the materials of many such
terraces to this cause, I consider those at the mouths of valleys to
be due to ancient glacial action, especially when laden with such
enormous blocks as are probably ice-transported.

A change in the population accompanies that in the natural features
of the country, Tibetans replacing the Limboos and Khass-tribes of
Nepal, who inhabit the lower region. We daily passed parties of ten
or a dozen Tibetans, on their way to Mywa Guola, laden with salt;
several families of these wild, black, and uncouth-looking people
generally travelling together. The men are middle-sized, often tall,
very square-built and muscular; they have no beard, moustache, or
whiskers, the few hairs on their faces being carefully removed with
tweezers. They are dressed in loose blanket robes, girt about the
waist with a leather belt, in which they place their iron or brass
pipes, and from which they suspend their long knives, chopsticks,
tobacco-pouch, tweezers, tinder-box, etc. The robe, boots, and cap
are grey, or striped with bright colours, and they wear skull-caps,
and the hair plaited into a pig-tail.

The women are dressed in long flannel petticoats and spencer, over
which is thrown a sleeveless, short, striped cloak, drawn round the
waist by a girdle of broad brass or silver links, to which hang their
knives, scissors, needlecases, etc., and with which they often strap
their children to their backs; the hair is plaited in two tails, and
the neck loaded with strings of coral and glass beads, and great
lumps of amber, glass, and agate. Both sexes wear silver rings and
ear-rings, set with turquoises, and square amulets upon their necks
and arms, which are boxes of gold or silver, containing small idols,
or the nail-parings, teeth, or other reliques of some sainted Lama,
accompanied with musk, written prayers, and other charms. All are
good-humoured and amiable-looking people, very square and Mongolian
in countenance, with broad mouths, high cheek-bones, narrow, upturned
eyes, broad, flat noses, and low foreheads. White is their natural
colour, and rosy cheeks are common amongst the younger women and
children, but all are begrimed with filth and smoke; added to which,
they become so weather-worn from exposure to the most rigorous
climate in the world, that their natural hues are rarely to be
recognised. Their customary mode of saluting one another is to hold
out the tongue, grin, nod, and scratch their ear; but this method
entails so much ridicule in the low countries, that they do not
practise it to Nepalese or strangers; most of them when meeting me,
on the contrary, raised their hands to their eyes, threw themselves
on the ground, and kotowed most decorously, bumping their foreheads
three times on the ground; even the women did this on several
occasions. On rising, they begged for a bucksheesh, which I gave in
tobacco or snuff, of which they are immoderately fond. Both men and
women constantly spin wool as they travel.

Illustration--TIBET MASTIFF.

These motley groups of Tibetans are singularly picturesque, from the
variety in their parti-coloured dresses, and their odd appearance.
First comes a middle-aged man or woman, driving a little silky black
yak, grunting under his load of 260 lb. of salt, besides pots, pans,
and kettles, stools, churn, and bamboo vessels, keeping up a constant
rattle, and perhaps, buried amongst all, a rosy-cheeked and lipped
baby, sucking a lump of cheese-curd. The main body follow in due
order, and you are soon entangled amidst sheep and goats, each with
its two little bags of salt: beside these, stalks the huge, grave,
bull-headed mastiff, loaded like the rest, his glorious bushy tail
thrown over his back in a majestic sweep, and a thick collar of
scarlet wool round his neck and shoulders, setting off his long silky
coat to the best advantage; he is decidedly the noblest-looking of
the party, especially if a fine and pure black one, for they are
often very ragged, dun-coloured, sorry beasts. He seems rather out of
place, neither guarding nor keeping the party together, but he knows
that neither yaks, sheep, nor goats, require his attention; all are
perfectly tame, so he takes his share of work as salt-carrier by day,
and watches by night as well. The children bring up the rear,
laughing and chatting together; they, too, have their loads, even to
the youngest that can walk alone.

The last village of the Limboos, Taptiatok, is large, and occupies a
remarkable amphitheatre, apparently a lake-bed, in the course of the
Tambur. After proceeding some way through a narrow gorge, along which
the river foamed and roared, the sudden opening out of this broad,
oval expanse, more than a mile long, was very striking: the mountains
rose bare and steep, the west flank terminating in shivered masses of
rock, while that on the right was more undulating, dry, and grassy:
the surface was a flat gravel-bed, through which meandered the
rippling stream, fringed with alder. It was a beautiful spot, the
clear, cool, murmuring river, with its rapids and shallows, forcibly
reminding me of trout-streams in the highlands of Scotland.

Beyond Taptiatok we again crossed the river, and ascended over dry,
grassy, or rocky spurs to Lelyp, the first Bhoteea village; it stands
on a hill fully 1000 feet above the river, and commands a splendid
view up the Yalloong and Kambachen valleys, which open immediately to
the east, and appear as stupendous chasms in the mountains leading to
the perpetual snows of Kinchin-junga. There were about fifty houses
in the village, of wood and thatch, neatly fenced in with wattle, the
ground between being carefully cultivated with radishes, buckwheat,
wheat, and millet. I was surprised to find in one enclosure a fine
healthy plant of _Opuntia,_ in flower, at this latitude and
elevation. A Lama, who is the head man of the place, came out to
greet us, with his family and a whole troop of villagers; they were
the same class of people as I have elsewhere described as Cis-nivean
Tibetans, or Bhoteeas; none had ever before seen an Englishman, and I
fear they formed no flattering opinion from the specimen now
presented to them, as they seemed infinitely amused at my appearance,
and one jolly dame clapped her hands to her sides, and laughed at my
spectacles, till the hills echoed.

_Elaeagnus_ was common here, with _Edgeworthia Gardneri,_* [A plant
allied to _Daphne,_ from whose bark the Nepal paper is manufactured.
It was named after the eminent Indian botanist, brother of the late
Miss Edgeworth.] a beautiful shrub, with globes of waxy,
cowslip-coloured, deliciously scented flowers; also a wild apple,
which bears a small austere fruit, like the Siberian crab. In the bed
of the river rice was still cultivated by Limboos, and subtropical
plants continued. I saw, too, a chameleon and a porcupine, indicating
much warmth, and seeming quite foreign to the heart of these
stupendous mountains. From 6000 to 7000 feet, plants of the temperate
regions blend with the tropical; such as rhododendron, oak, ivy,
geranium, berberry, clematis, and shrubby _Vaccinia,_ which all made
their appearance at Loongtoong, another Bhoteea village. Here, too, I
first saw a praying machine, turned by water; it was enclosed in a
little wooden house, and consisted of an upright cylinder containing
a prayer, and with the words, "Om mani padmi om," (Hail to him of the
Lotus and Jewel) painted on the circumference: it was placed over a
stream, and made to rotate on its axis by a spindle which passed
through the floor of the building into the water, and was terminated
by a wheel.

Above this the road followed the west bank of the river; the latter
was a furious torrent, flowing through a gorge, fringed with a sombre
vegetation, damp, and dripping with moisture, and covered with long
_Usnea_ and pendulous mosses. The road was very rocky and difficult,
sometimes leading along bluff faces of cliffs by wooden steps and
single rotten planks. At 8000 feet I met with pines, whose trunks I
had seen strewing the river for some miles lower down: the first that
occurred was _Abies Brunoniana,_ a beautiful species, which forms a
stately blunt pyramid, with branches spreading like the cedar, but
not so stiff, and drooping gracefully on all sides. It is unknown on
the outer ranges of Sikkim, and in the interior occupies a belt about
1000 feet lower than the silver fir (_A. Webbiana_). Many sub-alpine
plants occur here, as _Lecesteria, Thalictrum,_ rose, thistles,
alder, birch, ferns, berberry, holly, anemone, strawberry, raspberry,
_Gnaphalium, the alpine bamboo, and oaks. The scenery is as grand as
any pictured by Salvator Rosa; a river roaring in sheets of foam,
sombre woods, crags of gneiss, and tier upon tier of lofty mountains
flanked and crested with groves of black firs, terminating in
snow-sprinkled rocky peaks.


I now found the temperature getting rapidly cooler, both that of the
air, which here at 8,066 feet fell to 32 degrees in the night, and
that of the river, which was always below 40 degrees. It was in these
narrow valleys only, that I observed the return cold current rushing
down the river-courses during the nights, which were usually
brilliant and very cold, with copious dew: so powerful, indeed, was
the radiation, that the upper blanket of my bed became coated with
moisture, from the rapid abstraction of heat by the frozen tarpaulin
of my tent.

The rivers here are often fringed by flats of shingle, on which grow
magnificent yews and pines; some of the latter were from 120 to 150
feet high, and had been blown down, owing to their scanty hold on the
soil. I measured one, _Abies Brunoniana,_ twenty feet in girth.
Many alpine rhododendrons occur at 9000 feet, with _Astragalis_ and
creeping Tamarisk. Three miles below Wallanchoon the river forks,
being met by the Yangma from the north-east; they are impetuous
torrents of about equal volume; the Tambur especially (here called
the Walloong) is often broken into cascades, and cuts a deep
gorge-like channel.

I arrived at the village of Wallanchoon on the 23rd of November.
It is elevated 10,385 feet, and situated in a fine open part of the
Tambur valley, differing from any part lower down in all its natural
features; being broad, with a rapid but not turbulent stream, very
grassy, and both the base and sides of the flanking mountains covered
with luxuriant dense bushes of rhododendron, rose, berberry and
juniper. Red-legged crows, hawks, wild pigeons, and finches,
abounded. There was but little snow on the mountains around, which
are bare and craggy above, but sloping below. Bleak and forbidding as
the situation of any Himalayan village at 10,000 feet elevation must
be, that of Wallanchoon is rendered the more so from the
comparatively few trees; for though the silver fir and juniper are
both abundant higher up the valley, they have been felled here for
building materials, fuel, and export to Tibet. From the naked limbs
and tall gaunt black trunks of those that remain, stringy masses of
bleached lichen (_Usnea_) many feet long, stream in the wind.
Both men and women seemed fond of decorating their hair with wreaths
of this lichen, which they dye yellow with leaves of _Symplocos._


The village is very large, and occupies a flat on the east bank of
the river, covered with huge boulders: the ascent to it is extremely
steep, probably over an ancient moraine, though I did not recognise
it as such at the time. Cresting this, the valley at once opens, and
I was almost startled with the sudden change from a gloomy gorge to a
broad flat and a populous village of large and good painted wooden
houses, ornamented with hundreds of long poles and vertical flags,
looking like the fleet of some foreign port; while a swarm of
good-natured, intolerably dirty Tibetans, were kotowing to me as
I advanced.

The houses crept up the base of the mountain, on the flank of which
was a very large, long convent; two-storied, and painted scarlet,
with a low black roof, and backed by a grove of dark junipers; while
the hill-sides around were thickly studded with bushes of deep green
rhododendron, scarlet berberry, and withered yellow rose. The village
contained about one hundred houses, irregularly crowded together,
from twenty to forty feet high, and forty to eighty feet long; each
accommodating several families. All were built of upright strong
pine-planks, the interstices of which were filled with yak-dung; and
they sometimes rest on a low foundation wall: the door was generally
at the gable end; it opened with a latch and string; and turned on a
wooden pivot; the only window was a slit closed by a shutter; and the
roofs were very low-pitched, covered with shingles kept down by
stones. The paths were narrow and filthy; and the only public
buildings besides the convents were Manis and Mendongs; of these the
former are square-roofed temples, containing rows of praying-
cylinders placed close together, from four to six feet high,
and gaudily painted; some are turned by hand, and others by water:
the latter are walls ornamented with slabs of clay and mica slate,
with "Om Mani Padmi om" well carved on them in two characters, and
repeated _ad infinitum._

A Tibetan household is very slovenly; the family live higgledy-
piggledy in two or more apartments, the largest of which has an open
fire on the earth, or on a stone if the floor be of wood. The pots
and tea-pot are earthen and copper; and these, with the bamboo
churn for the brick tea, some wooden and metal spoons, bowls, and
platters, comprise all the kitchen utensils.

Every one carries in the breast of his robe a little wooden cup for
daily use; neatly turned from the knotted roots of maple (see Chapter
V). The Tibetan chiefly consumes barley, wheat, or buckwheat
meal--the latter is confined to the poorer classes--with milk,
butter, curd, and parched wheat; fowls, eggs, pork, and yak flesh
when he can afford it, and radishes, a few potatos, legumes, and
turnips in their short season. His drink is a sort of soup made from
brick tea, of which a handful of leaves is churned up with salt,
butter, and soda, then boiled and transferred to the tea-pot, whence
it is poured scalding hot into each cup, which the good woman of the
house keeps incessantly replenishing, and urging you to drain.
Sometimes, but more rarely, the Tibetans make a drink by pouring
boiling water over malt, as the Lepchas do over millet. A pipe of
yellow mild Chinese tobacco generally follows the meal; more often,
however, their tobacco is brought from the plains of India, when it
is of a very inferior description. The pipe carried in the girdle, is
of brass or iron, often with an agate, amber, or bamboo mouth-piece.

Many herds of fine yaks were grazing about Wallanchoon: there were a
few ponies, sheep, goats, fowls, and pigs, but very little
cultivation except turnips, radishes, and potatos. The yak is a very
tame, domestic animal, often handsome, and a true bison in
appearance; it is invaluable to these mountaineers from its strength
and hardiness, accomplishing, at a slow pace, twenty miles a day,
bearing either two bags of salt or rice, or four to six planks of
pinewood slung in pairs along either flank. Their ears are generally
pierced, and ornamented with a tuft of scarlet worsted; they have
large and beautiful eyes, spreading horns, long silky black hair, and
grand bushy tails: black is their prevailing colour, but red, dun,
parti-coloured, and white are common. In winter, the flocks graze
below 8000 feet, on account of the great quantity of snow above that
height; in summer they find pasturage as high as 17,000 feet,
consisting of grass and small tufted _Carices,_ on which they browse
with avidity.

The zobo, or cross between the yak and hill cow (much resembling the
English cow), is but rarely seen in these mountains, though common in
the North West Himalaya. The yak is used as a beast of burden; and
much of the wealth of the people consists in its rich milk and curd,
eaten either fresh or dried, or powdered into a kind of meal.
The hair is spun into ropes, and woven into a covering for their
tents, which is quite pervious to wind and rain;* [The latter is,
however, of little consequence in the dry climate of Tibet.] from the
same material are made the gauze shades for the eyes used in crossing
snowy passes. The bushy tail forms the well-known "chowry" or
fly-flapper of the plains of India; the bones and dung serve for
fuel. The female drops one calf in April; and the young yaks are very
full of gambols, tearing up and down the steep grassy and rocky
slopes: their flesh is delicious, much richer and more juicy than
common veal; that of the old yak is sliced and dried in the sun,
forming jerked meat, which is eaten raw, the scanty proportion of fat
preventing its becoming very rancid, so that I found it palatable
food: it is called _schat-tcheu_ (dried meat). I never observed the
yak to be annoyed by any insects; indeed at the elevation it
inhabits, there are no large diptera, bots, or gadflies to infest it.
It loves steep places, delighting to scramble among rocks, and to sun
its black hide perched on the glacial boulders which strew the
Wallanchoon flat, and on which these beasts always sleep. Their
average value is from two to three pounds, but the price varies with
the season. In autumn, when her calf is killed for food, the mother
will yield no milk, unless the herdsman gives it the calf's foot to
lick, or lays a stuffed skin before it, to fondle, which it does with
eagerness, expressing its satisfaction by short grunts, exactly like
those of a pig, a sound which replaces the low uttered by ordinary
cattle. The yak, though indifferent to ice and snow and to changes of
temperature, cannot endure hunger so long as the sheep, nor pick its
way so well upon stony ground. Neither can it bear damp heat, for
which reason it will not live in summer below 7000 feet, where liver
disease carries it off after a very few years.* [Nevertheless, the
yak seems to have survived the voyage to England. I find in Turner's
"Tibet" (p. 189), that a bull sent by that traveller to Mr. Hastings,
reached England alive, and after suffering from languor, so far
recovered its health and vigour as to become the father of many
calves. Turner does not state by what mother these calves were born,
an important omission, as he adds that all these died but one cow,
which bore a calf by an Indian bull. A painting of the yak (copied
into Turner's book) by Stubbs, the animal painter, may be seen in the
Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, London. The artist is
probably a little indebted to description for the appearance of its
hair in a native state, for it is represented much too even in
length, and reaching to too uniform a depth from the flanks.] Lastly,
the yak is ridden, especially by the fat Lamas, who find its shaggy
coat warm, and its paces easy; under these circumstances it is always
led. The wild yak or bison (D'hong) of central Asia, the superb
progenitor of this animal, is the largest native animal of Tibet, in
various parts of which country it is found; and the Tibetans say, in
reference to its size, that the liver is a load for a tame yak.
The Sikkim Dewan gave Dr. Campbell and myself an animated account of
the chase of this animal, which is hunted by large dogs, and shot
with a blunderbuss: it is untameable and horridly fierce, falling
upon you with horns and chest, and if he rasps you with his tongue,
it is so rough as to scrape the flesh from the bones. The horn is
used as a drinking-cup in marriage feasts, and on other grand
occasions. My readers are probably familiar with Messrs. Huc and
Gabet's account of a herd of these animals being frozen fast in the
head-waters of the Yangtsekiang river. There is a noble specimen in
the British Museum not yet set up, and another is preparing for
exhibition in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham.

The inhabitants of these frontier districts belong to two very
different tribes, but all are alike called Bhoteeas (from Bhote, the
proper name of Tibet), and have for many centuries been located in
what is--in climate and natural features--a neutral ground between
dry Tibet Proper, and the wet Himalayan gorges. They inhabit a
climate too cold for either the Lepcha or Nepalese, migrating between
6000 and 15,000 feet with the seasons, always accompanied by their
herds. In all respects of appearance, religion, manners, customs, and
language, they are Tibetans and Lama Booddhists, but they pay tax to
the Nepal and Sikkim Rajahs, to whom they render immense service by
keeping up and facilitating the trade in salt, wool, musk, etc.,
which could hardly be conducted without their co-operation. They levy
a small tax on all imports, and trade a little on their own account,
but are generally poor and very indolent. In their alpine summer
quarters they grow scanty crops of wheat, barley, turnips, and
radishes; and at their winter quarters, as at Loongtoong, the better
classes cultivate fine crops of buck-wheat, millet, spinach, etc.;
though seldom enough for their support, as in spring they are obliged
to buy rice from the inhabitants of the lower regions. Equally
dependent on Nepal and Tibet, they very naturally hold themselves
independent of both; and I found that my roving commission from the
Nepal Rajah was not respected, and the guard of Ghorkas held very

On my arrival at Wallanchoon, I was conducted to two tents, each
about eight feet long, of yak's hair, striped blue and white, which
had been pitched close to the village for my accommodation. Though
the best that could be provided, and larger than my own, they were
wretched in the extreme, being of so loose a texture that the wind
blew through them: each was formed of two cloths with a long slit
between them, that ran across the top, giving egress to the smoke,
and ingress to the weather: they were supported on two short poles,
kept to the ground by large stones, and fastened by yak's hair ropes.
A fire was smoking vigorously in the centre of one, and some planks
were laid at the end for my bed. A crowd of people soon came to stare
and loll out their tongues at me, my party, and travelling equipage;
though very civil, and only offensive in smell, they were
troublesome, from their eager curiosity to see and handle everything;
so that I had to place a circle of stones round the tents, whilst a
soldier stood by, on the alert to keep them off. A more idle people
are not to be found, except with regard to spinning, which is their
constant occupation, every man and woman carrying a bundle of wool in
the breast of their garments, which is spun by hand with a spindle,
and wound off on two cross-pieces at its lower end. Spinning,
smoking, and tea-drinking are their chief pursuits; and the women
take all the active duties of the dairy and house. They live very
happily together, fighting being almost unknown.

Soon after my arrival I was waited on by the Guobah (or head-man), a
tall, good-looking person, dressed in a purple woollen robe, with
good pearl and coral ear and finger-rings, and a broad ivory ring
over the left thumb,* [A broad ring of this material, agate, or
chalcedony, is a mark of rank here, as amongst the Man-choos, and
throughout Central Asia.] as a guard when using the bow; he wore a
neat thick white felt cap, with the border turned up, and a silk
tassel on the top; this he removed with both hands and held before
him, bowing three times on entering. He was followed by a crowd, some
of whom were his own people, and brought a present of a kid, fowls,
rice, and eggs, and some spikenard roots (_Nardostachys Jatamansi,_ a
species of valerian smelling strongly of patchouli), which is a very
favourite perfume. After paying some compliments, he showed me round
the village. During my walk, I found that I had a good many
objections to overrule before I could proceed to the Wallanchoon
pass, nearly two days' journey to the northward. In the first place,
the Guobah disputed the Nepal rajah's authority to pass me through
his dominions; and besides the natural jealousy of these people when
intruded upon, they have very good reasons for concealing the amount
of revenue they raise from their position, and for keeping up the
delusion that they alone can endure the excessive climate of these
regions, or undergo the hardships and toil of the salt trade. My
passport said nothing about the passes; my people, and especially the
Ghorkas, detested the keen, cold, and cutting wind; at Mywa Guola, I
had been persuaded by the Havildar to put off providing snow-boots
and blankets, on the assurance that I should easily get them at
Walloong, which I now found all but impossible, owing to there being
no bazaar. My provisions were running short, and for the same reason
I had no present hope of replenishing them. All my party had, I
found, reckoned with certainty that I should have had enough of this
elevation and weather by the time I reached Walloong. Some of them
fell sick; the Guobah swore that the passes were full of snow, and
had been impracticable since October; and the Ghorka Havildar
respectfully deposed that he had no orders relative to the pass.
Prompt measures were requisite, so I told all my people that I should
stop the next day at Walloong, and proceed on the following on a
three days' journey to the pass, with or without the Guobah's
permission. To the Ghorka soldiers I said that the present they would
receive, and the character they would take to their commandant,
depended on their carrying out this point, which had been fully
explained before starting. My servants I told that their pay and
reward also depended on their implicit obedience. I took the Guobah
aside and showed him troops of yaks (tethered by halters and toggles
to a long rope stretched between two rocks), which had that morning
arrived laden with salt from the north; I told him it was vain to try
and deceive me; that my passport was ample, and that I should expect
a guide, provisions, and snow-boots the next day; and that every
impediment and every facility should be reported to the rajah.

During my two days' stay at Walloong, the weather was bitterly cold:
as heretofore, the nights and mornings were cloudless, but by noon
the whole sky became murky, the highest temperature (50 degrees)
occurring at 10 a.m. At this season the prospect from this elevation
(10,385 feet), was dreary in the extreme; and the quantity of snow on
the mountains, which was continually increasing, held out a dismal
promise for my chance of exploring lofty uninhabited regions.
All annual and deciduous vegetation had long past, and the lofty
Himalayas are very poor in mosses and lichens, as compared with the
European Alps, and arctic regions in general. The temperature
fluctuated from 22 degrees at sunrise, to 50 degrees at 10 a.m.; the
mean being 35 degrees;* [This gives 1 degrees Fahr. for every 309
feet of elevation, using contemporaneous observations at Calcutta,
and correcting for latitude, etc.] one night it fell to 64 degrees.
Throughout the day, a south wind blew strong and cold up the valley,
and at sunset was replaced by a keen north blast, searching every
corner, and piercing through tent and blankets. Though the sun's rays
were hot for an hour or two in the morning, its genial influence was
never felt in the wind. The air was never very dry, the wet-bulb
thermometer standing during the day 3.75 degrees below the dry, thus
giving a mean dew-point of 30.25 degrees. A thermometer sunk two feet
stood at 44 degrees, fully 9 degrees above the mean temperature of
the air; one exposed to the clear sky, stood, during the day, several
degrees below the air in shade, and, at night, from 9 degrees to
14.75 degrees lower. The black-bulb thermometer, in the sun, rose to
65.75 degrees above the air, indicating upwards of 90 degrees
difference at nearly the warmest part of the day, between contiguous
shaded and sunny exposures. The sky, when cloudless, was generally a
cold blue or steel-grey colour, but at night the stars were large,
and twinkled gloriously. The black-glass photometer indicated 10.521
inches* [On three mornings the maxima occurred at between 9 and 10
a.m. They were, Nov. 24th, 10.509, Nov. 25th, 10.521. On the 25th, at
Tuquoroma, I recorded 10.510. The maximum effect observed at
Dorjiling (7340 feet) was 10.328, and on the plains of India 10.350.
The maximum I ever recorded was in Yangma valley (15,186 feet),
10.572 at 1 p.m.] as the maximum intensity of sunlight; the
temperature of the river close by fell to 32 degrees during the
night, and rose to 37 degrees in the day. In my tent, the temperature
fluctuated with the state of the fire, from 26 degrees at night to 58
degrees when the sun beat on it; but the only choice was between cold
and suffocating smoke.

After a good many conferences with the Guobah, some bullying, douce
violence, persuasions, and the prescribing of pills, prayers, and
charms in the shape of warm water, for the sick of the village,
whereby I gained some favour, I was, on the 25th Nov., grudgingly
prepared for the trip to Wallanchoon, with a guide, and some
snow-boots for those of my party whom I took with me.

The path lay north-west up the valley, which became thickly wooded
with silver-fir and juniper; we gradually ascended, crossing many
streams from lateral gulleys, and huge masses of boulders. Evergreen
rhododendrons soon replaced the firs, growing in inconceivable
profusion, especially on the slopes facing the south: east, and with
no other shrubs or tree-vegetation, but scattered bushes of rose,
_Spiraea,_ dwarf juniper, stunted birch, willow, honey-suckle,
berberry, and a mountain-ash (_Pyrus_). What surprised me more than
the prevalence of rhododendron bushes, was the number of species of
this genus, easily recognised by the shape of their capsules, the
form and woolly covering of the leaves; none were in flower, but I
reaped a rich harvest of seed. At 12,000 feet the valley was wild,
open, and broad, with sloping mountains clothed for 1000 feet with
dark-green rhododendron bushes; the river ran rapidly, and was broken
into falls here and there. Huge angular and detached masses of rock
were scattered about, and to the right and left snowy peaks towered
over the surrounding mountains, while amongst the latter narrow
gulleys led up to blue patches of glacial ice, with trickling streams
and shoots of stones. Dwarf rhododendrons with strongly-scented
leaves (_R. anthopogon_ and _setosum_), and abundance of a little
_Andromeda,_ exactly like ling, with woody stems and tufted branches,
gave a heathery appearance to the hill-sides. The prevalence of
lichens, common to this country and to Scotland (especially L.
geographicus_), which coloured the rocks, added an additional feature
to the resemblance to Scotch Highland scenery. Along the narrow path
I found the two commonest of all British weeds, a grass (_Poa
annua_), and the shepherd's purse! They had evidently been imported
by man and yaks, and as they do not occur in India, I could not but
regard these little wanderers from the north with the deepest

Such incidents as these give rise to trains of reflection in the mind
of the naturalist traveller; and the farther he may be from home and
friends, the more wild and desolate the country he is exploring, the
greater the difficulties and dangers under which he encounters these
subjects of his earliest studies in science; so much keener is the
delight with which he recognises them, and the more lasting is the
impression which they leave. At this moment these common weeds more
vividly recall to me that wild scene than does all my journal, and
remind me how I went on my way, taxing my memory for all it ever knew
of the geographical distribution of the shepherd's purse, and musing
on the probability of the plant having found its way thither over all
Central Asia, and the ages that may have been occupied in its march.

On reaching 13,000 feet, the ground was everywhere hard and frozen,
and I experienced the first symptoms of lassitude, headache, and
giddiness; which however, were but slight, and only came on with
severe exertion.

We encountered a group of Tibetans, encamped to leeward of an immense
boulder of gneiss, against which they had raised a shelter with their
salt-bags, removed from their herd of yaks, which were grazing close
by. They looked miserably cold and haggard, and their little upturned
eyes, much inflamed and bloodshot, testified to the hardships they
had endured in their march from the salt regions: they were crouched
round a small fire of juniper wood, smoking iron pipes with agate
mouthpieces. A resting-house was in sight across the stream--a loose
stone hut, to which we repaired. I wondered why these Tibetans had
not taken possession of it, not being aware of the value they attach
to a rock, on account of the great warmth which it imbibes from the
sun's rays during the day, and retains at night. This invaluable
property of otherwise inhospitable gneiss and granite I had
afterwards many opportunities of proving; and when driven for a
night's shelter to such as rude nature might afford on the bleak
mountain, I have had my blankets laid beneath "the shadow of a great
rock in a weary land."

The name of Dhamersala is applied, in the mountains as in the plains
of India, to a house provided for the accommodation of travellers,
whether it be one of the beautiful caravanserais built to gratify the
piety, ostentation, or benevolence of a rajah, or such a miserable
shieling of rough stone and plank as that of Tuquoroma, in which we
took up our quarters, at 13,000 feet elevation. A cheerful fire soon
blazed on the earthen floor, filling the room with the pungent odour
of juniper, which made our eyes smart and water. The Ghorkas withdrew
to one corner, and my Lepchas to a second, while one end was screened
off for my couch; unluckily, the wall faced the north-east, and in
that direction there was a gulley in the snowy mountains, down which
the wind swept with violence, penetrating to my bed. I had calculated
upon a good night's rest here, which I much needed, having been
worried and unwell at Wallanchoon, owing to the Guobah's obstinacy. I
had not then learnt how to treat such conduct, and just before
retiring to rest had further been informed by the Havildar that the
Guobah declared we should find no food on our return. To remain in
these mountains without a supply was impossible, and the delay, of
sending to Mywa Guola would not have answered; so I long lay awake,
occupied in arranging measures. The night was clear and very cold;
the thermometer falling to 19 degrees at 9 p.m., and to 12 degrees in
the night, and that by my bedside to 20 degrees.

On the following morning (Nov. 26th) I started with a small party to
visit the pass, continuing up the broad, grassy valley; much snow lay
on the ground at 13,500 feet, which had fallen the previous month;
and several glaciers were seen in lateral ravines at about the same
elevation. After a couple of miles, we left the broad valley, which
continued north-west, and struck northward up a narrow, stony, and
steep gorge, crossing an immense ancient moraine at its mouth. This
path, which we followed for seven or eight miles, led up to the pass,
winding considerably, and keeping along the south-east exposures,
which, being the most sunny, are the freest from snow. The morning
was splendid, the atmosphere over the dry rocks and earth, at 14,000
feet, vibrating from the power of the sun's rays, whilst vast masses
of blue glacier and fields of snow choked every galley, and were
spread over all shady places. Although, owing to the steepness and
narrowness of the gorge, no view was obtained, the scenery was wild
and very grand. Just below where perpetual snow descends to the path,
an ugly carved head of a demon, with blood-stained cheeks and
goggle-eyes, was placed in a niche of rock, and protected by a glass.

At 15,000 feet, the snow closed in on the path from all sides,
whether perpetual, glacial, or only the October fall, I could not
tell; the guide declared it to be perpetual henceforward, though now
deepened by the very heavy October fall; the path was cut some three
feet through it. Enormous boulders of gneiss cumbered the bottom of
the gorge, which gradually widened as we approached its summit; and
rugged masses of black and red gneiss and mica schist pierced the
snow, and stood out in dismal relief. For four miles continuously we
proceeded over snow; which was much honey-combed on the surface, and
treacherous from the icy streams it covered, into which we every now
and then stumbled; there was scarcely a trace of vegetation, and the
cold was excessive, except in the sun.

Towards the summit of the pass the snow lay very deep, and we
followed the course of a small stream which cut through it, the walls
of snow being breast-high on each side; the path was still frequented
by yaks, of which we overtook a small party going to Tibet, laden
with planks. All the party appeared alike overcome by lassitude,
shortness and difficulty of breathing, a sense of weight on the
stomach, giddiness and headache, with tightness across the temples.

Just below the summit was a complete bay of snow, girdled with two
sharp peaks of red baked schists and gneiss, strangely contorted, and
thrown up at all angles with no prevalent dip or strike, and
permeated with veins of granite. The top itself, or boundary between
Nepal and Tibet, is a low saddle between two rugged ridges of rock,
with a cairn built on it, adorned with bits of stick and rag covered
with Tibetan inscriptions. The view into Tibet was not at all
distant, and was entirely of snowy mountains, piled ridge over ridge;
three of these spurs must, it is said, be crossed before any descent
can be made to the Chomachoo river (as the Arun is called in Tibet),
on which is the frontier fort of the Tibetans, and which is reached
in two or three days. There is no plain or level ground of any kind
before reaching that river, of which the valley is said to be wide
and flat.

Starting at 10 a.m., we did not reach the top till 3.30 p.m.; we had
halted nowhere, but the last few miles had been most laborious, and
the three of us who gained the summit were utterly knocked up.
Fortunately I carried my own barometer; it indicated 16.206 inches,
giving by comparative observations with Calcutta 16,764 feet, and
with Dorjiling, 16,748 feet, as the height of the pass.
The thermometer stood at 18 degrees, and the sun being now hidden
behind rocks, the south-east wind was bitterly cold. Hitherto the sun
had appeared as a clearly defined sparkling globe, against a dark-
blue sky; but the depth of the azure blue was not so striking as I
had been led to suppose, by the accounts of previous travellers, in
very lofty regions. The plants gathered near the top of the pass were
species of _Compositae,_ grass, and _Arenaria_; the most curious was
_Saussurea gossypina,_ which forms great clubs of the softest white
wool, six inches to a foot high, its flowers and leaves seeming
uniformly clothed with the warmest fur that nature can devise.
Generally speaking, the alpine plants of the Himalaya are quite
unprovided with any special protection of this kind; it is the
prevalence and conspicuous nature of the exceptions that mislead, and
induce the careless observer to generalise hastily from solitary
instances; for the prevailing alpine genera of the Himalaya,
_Arenarias,_ primroses, saxifrages, fumitories, _Ranunculi,_
gentians, grasses, sedges, etc., have almost uniformly naked foliage.

We descended to the foot of the pass in about two hours, darkness
overtaking us by the way; the twilight, however, being prolonged by
the glare of the snow. Fearing the distance to Tuquoroma might be too
great to permit of our returning thither the same night; I had had a
few things brought hither during the day, and finding they had
arrived, we encamped under the shelter of some enormous boulders (at
13,500 feet), part of an ancient moraine, which extended some
distance along the bed of the narrow valley. Except an excruciating
headache, I felt no ill effects from my ascent; and after a supper of
tea and biscuit, I slept soundly.

On the following morning the temperature was 28 degrees at 6.30 a.m.,
and rose to 30 degrees when the sun appeared over the mountains at
8.15, at which time the black bulb thermometer suddenly mounted to
112 degrees, upwards of 80 degrees above the temperature of the air.
The sky was brilliantly clear, with a very dry, cold, north wind
blowing down the snowy valley of the pass.


Return from Wallanchoon pass -- Procure a bazaar at village -- Dance
of Lamas -- Blacking face, Tibetan custom of -- Temple and convent --
Leave for Kanglachem pass -- Send part of party back to Dorjiling --
Yangma Guola -- Drunken Tibetans -- Guobah of Wallanchoon -- Camp at
foot of Great Moraine -- View from top -- Geological speculations --
Height of moraines -- Cross dry lake-bed -- Glaciers -- More moraines
-- Terraces -- Yangma temples -- Jos, books and furniture -- Peak of
Nango -- Lake -- Arrive at village -- Cultivation -- Scenery --
Potatos -- State of my provisions -- Pass through village -- Gigantic
boulders Terraces -- Wild sheep -- Lake-beds -- Sun's power -- Piles
of gravel and detritus -- Glaciers and moraines -- Pabuk, elevation
of -- Moonlight scene -- Return to Yangma -- Temperature, etc. --
Geological causes of phenomena in valley -- Scenery of valley
on descent.

I returned to the village of Wallanchoon, after collecting all the
plants I could around my camp; amongst them a common-looking dock
abounded in the spots which the yaks had frequented.

The ground was covered, as with heather, with abundance of creeping
dwarf juniper, _Andromeda,_ and dwarf rhododendron. On arriving at
the village, I refused to receive the Guobah, unless he opened a
bazaar at daylight on the following morning, where my people might
purchase food; and threatened to bring charges against him before his
Rajah. At the same time I arranged for sending the main body of my
party down the Tambur, and so back to Sikkim, whilst I should, with
as few as possible, visit the Kanglachem (Tibetan) pass in the
adjacent valley to the eastward, and then, crossing the Nango,
Kambachen and Kanglanamo passes, reach Jongri in Sikkim, on the south
flank of Kinchinjunga.

Strolling out in the afternoon I saw a dance of Lamas; they were
disfigured with black paint* [I shall elsewhere have to refer to the
Tibetan custom of daubing the face with black pigment to protect the
skin from the excessive cold and dryness of these lofty regions; and
to the ludicrous imposition that was passed on the credulity of MM.
Huc and Gabet.] and covered with rags, feathers, and scarlet cloth,
and they carried long poles with bells and banners attached; thus
equipped, they marched through the village, every now and then
halting, when they danced and gesticulated to the rude music of
cymbals and horns, the bystanders applauding with shouts, crackers,
and alms.

I walked up to the convents, which were long ugly buildings, several
stories high, built of wood, and daubed with red and grey paint.
The priests were nowhere to be found, and an old withered nun, whom
I disturbed husking millet in a large wooden mortar, fled at my
approach. The temple stood close by the convent, and had a broad low
architrave: the walls sloped inwards, as did the lintels: the doors
were black, and almost covered with a gigantic and disproportioned
painting of a head, with bloody cheeks and huge teeth; it was
surrounded by myriads of goggle eyes, which seemed to follow one
about everywhere; and though in every respect rude, the effect was
somewhat imposing. The similarly proportioned gloomy portals of
Egyptian fanes naturally invite comparison; but the Tibetan temples
lack the sublimity of these; and the uncomfortable creeping sensation
produced by the many sleepless eyes of Boodh's numerous incarnations
is very different from the awe with which we contemplate the
outspread wings of the Egyptian symbol, and feel as in the presence
of the God who says, "I am Osiris the Great: no man hath dared to
lift my veil."

I had ascended behind the village, but returned down the "via sacra,"
a steep paved path flanked by mendongs or low stone dykes, into which
were let rows of stone slabs, inscribed with the sacred "Om Mani
Padmi om."--"Hail to him of the lotus and jewel"; an invocation of
Sakkya, who is usually represented holding a lotus flower with a
jewel in it.

On the following morning, a scanty supply of vcry dirty rice was
produced, at a very high price. I had, however, so divided my party
as not to require a great amount of food, intending to send most of
the people back by the Tambur to Dorjiling. I kept nineteen persons
in all, selecting the most willing, as it was evident the journey at
this season would be one of great hardship: we took seven days' food,
which was as much as they could carry. At noon, I left Wallanchoon,
and mustered my party at the junction of the Tambur and Yangma,
whence I dismissed the party for Dorjiling, with my collections of
plants, minerals, etc., and proceeded with the chosen ones to ascend
the Yangma river. The scenery was wild and very grand, our path lying
through a narrow gorge, choked with pine trees, down which the river
roared in a furious torrent; while the mountains on each side were
crested with castellated masses of rock, and sprinkled with snow.
The road was very bad, often up ladders, and along planks lashed to
the faces of precipices, and over-hanging the torrent, which it
crossed several times by plank bridges. By dark we arrived at Yangma
Guola, a collection of empty wood huts buried in the rocky
forest-clad valley, and took possession of a couple. They were well
built, raised on posts, with a stage and ladder at the gable end, and
consisted of one good-sized apartment. Around was abundance of dock,
together with three common English plants.* [_Cardamine hirsuta,
Limosella aquatica,_ and _Juncus bufonius._]

The night was calm, misty, and warm (Max. 41.5 degrees, Min. 29
degrees) for the elevation (9,300 feet). During the night, I was
startled out of my sleep by a blaze of light, and jumping up, found
myself in presence of a party of most sinister-looking, black, ragged
Tibetans, armed with huge torches of pine, that filled the room with
flame and pitchy smoke. I remembered their arriving just before dark,
and their weapons dispelled my fears, for they came armed with bamboo
jugs of Murwa beer, and were very drunk and very amiable: they
grinned, nodded, kotowed, lolled out their tongues, and scratched
their ears in the most seductive manner, then held out their jugs,
and besought me by words and gestures to drink and be happy too.
I awoke my servant (always a work of difficulty), and with some
trouble ejected the visitors, happily without setting the house on
fire. I heard them toppling head over heels down the stair, which I
afterwards had drawn up to prevent further intrusion, and in spite of
their drunken orgies, was soon lulled to sleep again by the music of
the roaring river.

On the 29th November, I continued my course north up the Yangma
valley, which after five miles opened considerably, the trees
disappearing, and the river flowing more tranquilly, and through a
broader valley, when above 11,000 feet elevation. The Guobah of
Wallanchoon overtook us on the road; on his way, he said, to collect
the revenues at Yangma village, but in reality to see what I was
about. He owns five considerable villages, and is said to pay a tax
of 6000 rupees (600 pounds) to the Rajah of Nepal: this is no doubt a
great exaggeration, but the revenues of such a position, near a pass
frequented almost throughout the year, must be considerable.
Every yak going and coming is said to pay 1s., and every horse 4s.;
cattle, sheep, ponies, land, and wool are all taxed; he exports also
quantities of timber to Tibet, and various articles from the plains
of India. He joined my party and halted where I did, had his little
Chinese rug spread, and squatted cross-legged on it, whilst his
servant prepared his brick tea with salt, butter, and soda, of which
he partook, snuffed, smoked, rose up, had all his traps repacked, and
was off again.

We encamped at a most remarkable place: the valley was broad, with
little vegetation but stunted tree-junipers: rocky snow-topped
mountains rose on either side, bleak, bare, and rugged; and in front,
close above my tent, was a gigantic wall of rocks, piled--as if by
the Titans--completely across the valley, for about three-quarters of
a mile. This striking phenomenon had excited all my curiosity on
first obtaining a view of it. The path, I found, led over it, close
under its west end, and wound amongst the enormous detached fragments
of which it was formed, and which were often eighty feet square: all
were of gneiss and schist, with abundance of granite in blocks and
veins. A superb view opened from the top, revealing its nature to be
a vast moraine, far below the influence of any existing glaciers, but
which at some antecedent period had been thrown across by a glacier
descending to 10,000 feet, from a lateral valley on the east flank.
Standing on the top, and looking south, was the Yangma valley (up
which I had come), gradually contracting to a defile, girdled by
snow-tipped mountains, whose rocky flanks mingled with the black pine
forest below. Eastward the moraine stretched south of the lateral
valley, above which towered the snowy peak of Nango, tinged rosy red,
and sparkling in the rays of the setting sun: blue glaciers peeped
from every gulley on its side, but these were 2000 to 3000 feet above
this moraine; they were small too, and their moraines were mere
gravel, compared with this. Many smaller consecutive moraines, also,
were evident along the bottom of that lateral valley, from this great
one up to the existing glaciers. Looking up the Yangma was a flat
grassy plain, hemmed in by mountains, and covered with other
stupendous moraines, which rose ridge behind ridge, and cut off the
view of all but the mountain tops to the north. The river meandered
through the grassy plain (which appeared a mile and a half broad at
the utmost, and perhaps as long), and cut through the great moraine
on its eastern side, just below the junction of the stream from the
glacial valley, which, at the lower part of its course, flowed over
a broad steep shingle bed.

NEPAL (Elevn. 11,000 ft.)

I descended to my camp, full of anxious anticipations for the morrow;
while the novelty of the scene, and its striking character, the
complexity of the phenomena, the lake-bed, the stupendous
ice-deposited moraine, and its remoteness from any existing ice, the
broad valley and open character of the country, were all marked out
as so many problems suddenly conjured up for my unaided solution, and
kept me awake for many hours. I had never seen a glacier or moraine
on land before, but being familiar with sea ice and berg transport,
from voyaging in the South Polar regions, I was strongly inclined to
attribute the formation of this moraine to a period when a glacial
ocean stood high on the Himalaya, made fiords of the valleys, and
floated bergs laden with blocks from the lateral gulleys, which the
winds and currents would deposit along certain lines. On the
following morning I carried a barometer to the top of the moraine,
which proved to be upwards of 700 feet above the floor of the valley,
and 400 above the dry lake-bed which it bounded, and to which we
descended on our route up the valley. The latter was grassy and
pebbly, perfectly level, and quite barren, except a very few pines at
the bases of the encircling mountains, and abundance of
rhododendrons, _Andromeda_ and juniper on the moraines. Isolated
moraines occurred along both flanks of the valley, some higher than
that I have described, and a very long one was thrown nearly across
from the upper end of another lateral gulley on the east side, also
leading up to the glaciers of Nango. This second moraine commenced a
mile and a half above the first, and abutting on the east flank of
the valley, stretched nearly across, and then curving round, ran down
it, parallel to and near the west flank, from which it was separated
by the Yangma river: it was abruptly terminated by a conical hill of
boulders, round whose base the river flowed, entering the dry
lake-bed from the west, and crossing it in a south-easterly direction
to the western extremity of the great moraine.

The road, on its ascent to the second moraine, passed over an immense
accumulation of glacial detritus at the mouth of the second lateral
valley, entirely formed of angular fragments of gneiss and granite,
loosely bound together by felspathic sand. The whole was disposed in
concentric ridges radiating from the mouth of the valley, and
descending to the flat; these were moraines _in petto,_ formed by the
action of winter snow and ice upon the loose debris. A stream flowed
over this debris, dividing into branches before reaching the
lake-bed, where its waters were collected, and whence it meandered
southward to fall into the Yangma.

From the top of the second moraine, a very curious scene opened up
the valley, of another but more stony and desolate level lake-bed,
through which the Yangma (here very rapid) rushed, cutting a channel
about sixty feet deep; the flanks of this second lake-bed were cut
most distinctly into two principal terraces, which were again
subdivided into others, so that the general appearance was that of
many raised beaches, but each so broken up, that, with the exception
of one on the banks of the river, none were continuous for any
distance. We descended 200 feet, and crossed the valley and river
obliquely in a north-west direction, to a small temple and convent
which stood on a broad flat terrace under the black, precipitous,
west flank: this gave me a good opportunity of examining the
structure of this part of the valley, which was filled with an
accumulation, probably 200 feet thick at the deepest part, of angular
gravel and enormous boulders, both imbedded in the gravel, and
strewed on the flat surfaces of the terraces. The latter were always
broadest opposite to the lateral valleys, perfectly horizontal for
the short distance that they were continuous; and very barren; there
were no traces of fossils, nor could I assure myself of
stratification. The accumulation was wholly glacial; and probably a
lake had supervened on the melting of the great glacier and its
recedence, which lake, confined by a frozen moraine, would
periodically lose its waters by sudden accessions of heat melting the
ice of the latter. Stratified silt, no doubt, once covered the lake
bottom, and the terraces have, in succession, been denuded of it by
rain and snow. These causes are now in operation amongst the
stupendous glaciers of north-east Sikkim, where valleys, dammed up by
moraines, exhibit lakes hemmed in between these, the base of the
glacier, and the flanks of the valleys.


Yangma convents stood at the mouth of a gorge which opened upon the
uppermost terrace; and the surface of the latter, here well covered
with grass, was furrowed into concentric radiating ridges, which were
very conspicuous from a distance. The buildings consisted of a
wretched collection of stone huts, painted red, enclosed by loose
stone dykes. Two shockingly dirty Lamas received me and conducted me
to the temple, which had very thick walls, but was undistinguishable
from the other buildings. A small door opened upon an apartment piled
full of old battered gongs, drums, scraps of silk hangings, red
cloth, broken praying-machines--relics much resembling those in the
lumber-room of a theatre. A ladder led from this dismal hole to the
upper story, which was entered by a handsomely carved and gilded
door: within, all was dark, except from a little lattice-window
covered with oil-paper. On one side was the library, a carved case,
with a hundred gilded pigeon-holes, each holding a real or sham book,
and each closed by a little square door, on which hung a bag full  of
amulets. In the centre of the book-case was a recess, containing a
genuine Jos or Fo, graced with his Chinese attribute of very long
pendulous moustaches and beard, and totally wanting that air of
contemplative repose which the Tibetan Lamas give to their idols.
Banners were suspended around, with paintings of Lhassa, Teshoo
Loombo, and various incarnations of Boodh. The books were of the
usual Tibetan form, oblong squares of separate block-printed leaves
of paper, made in Nepal or Bhotan from the bark of a _Daphne,_ bound
together by silk cords, and placed between ornamented wooden boards.
On our way up the valley, we had passed some mendongs and chaits, the
latter very pretty stone structures, consisting of a cube, pyramid,
hemisphere, and cone placed on the top of one another, forming
together the tasteful combination which appears on the cover of
these volumes.

Beyond the convents the valley again contracted, and on crossing a
third, but much lower, moraine, a lake opened to view, surrounded by
flat terraces, and a broad gravelly shore, part of the lake being
dry. To the west, the cliffs were high, black and steep: to the east
a large lateral valley, filled at about 1500 feet up with blue
glaciers, led (as did the other lateral valleys) to the gleaming
snows of Nango; the moraine, too, here abutted on the east flank of
the Yangma valley, below the mouth of the lateral one. Much snow
(from the October fall) lay on the ground, and the cold was pinching
in the shade; still I could not help attempting to sketch this
wonderfully grand scene, especially as lakes in the Himalaya are
extremely rare: the present one was about a mile long, very shallow,
but broad, and as smooth as glass: it reminded me of the tarn in
Glencoe. The reflected lofty peak of Nango appeared as if frozen deep
down in its glassy bed, every snowy crest and ridge being rendered
with perfect precision.


 Nango is about 18,000 feet high; it is the next lofty mountain of
the Kinchinjunga group to the west of Junnoo, and I doubt if any
equally high peak occurs again for some distance further west in
Nepal. Facing the Yangma valley, it presents a beautiful range of
precipices of black rock, capped with a thick crust of snow: below
the cliffs the snow again appears continuously and very steep, for
2000 to 3000 feet downwards, where it terminates in glaciers that
descend to 14,000 feet. The steepest snow-beds appear cut into
vertical ridges, whence the whole snowy face is--as it were--crimped
in perpendicular, closely-set, zigzag lines, doubtless caused by the
melting process, which furrows the surface of the snow into channels
by which the water is carried off: the effect is very beautiful, but
impossible to represent on paper, from the extreme delicacy of the
shadows, and at the same time the perfect definition and precision of
the outlines.

Towards the head of the lake, its bed was quite dry and gravelly, and
the river formed a broad delta over it: the terraces here were
perhaps 100 feet above its level, those at the lower end not nearly
so much. Beyond the lake, the river became again a violent torrent,
rushing in a deep chasm, till we arrived at the fork of the valley,
where we once more met with numerous dry lake-beds, with terraces
high up on the mountain sides.

In the afternoon we reached the village of Yangma, a miserable
collection of 200 to 300 stone huts, nestling under the steep
south-east flank of a lofty, flat-topped terrace, laden with gigantic
glacial boulders, and projecting southward from a snowy mountain
which divides the valley. We encamped on the flat under the village,
amongst some stone dykes, enclosing cultivated fields. One arm of the
valley runs hence N.N.E. amongst snowy mountains, and appeared quite
full of moraines; the other, or continuation of the Yangma, runs
W.N.W., and leads to the Kanglachem pass.

Near our camp (of which the elevation was 13,500 feet), radishes,
barley, wheat, potatos, and turnips, were cultivated as summer crops,
and we even saw some on the top of the terrace, 400 feet above our
camp, or nearly 14,000 feet above the sea; these were grown in small
fields cleared of stones, and protected by dykes.

The scenery, though dismal, (no juniper even attaining this
elevation,) was full of interest and grandeur, from the number and
variety of snowy peaks and glaciers all around the elevated horizon;
the ancient lake-beds, now green or brown with scanty vegetation, the
vast moraines, the ridges of glacial debris, the flat terraces,
marking, as it were with parallel roads, the bluff sides of the
mountains, the enormous boulders perched upon them, and strewed
everywhere around, the little Boodhist monuments of quaint,
picturesque shapes, decorated with poles and banners, the
many-coloured dresses of the people, the brilliant blue of the
cloudless heaven by day, the depth of its blackness by night,
heightened by the light of the stars, that blaze and twinkle with a
lustre unknown in less lofty regions: all these were subjects for
contemplation, rendered more impressive by the stillness of the
atmosphere, and the silence that reigned around. The village seemed
buried in repose throughout the day: the inhabitants had already
hybernated, their crops were stored, the curd made and dried, the
passes closed, the soil frozen, the winter's stock of fuel housed,
and the people had retired into the caverns of their half
subterranean houses, to sleep, spin wool, and think of Boodh, if of
anything at all, the dead, long winter through. The yaks alone can
find anything to do: so long as any vegetation remains they roam and
eat it, still yielding milk, which the women take morning and
evening, when their shrill whistle and cries are heard for a few
minutes, as they call the grunting animals. No other sounds, save the
harsh roar and hollow echo of the falling rock, glacier, or snow-bed,
disturbed the perfect silence of the day or night.* [Snow covers the
ground at Yangma from December till April, and the falls are said to
be very heavy, at times amounting to 12 feet in depth.]

I had taken three days' food to Yangma, and stayed there as long as
it lasted: the rest of my provisions I had left below the first
moraine, where a lateral valley leads east over the Nango pass to the
Kambachen valley, which lay on the route back to Sikkim.

I was premature in complaining of my Wallanchoon tents, those
provided for me at Yangma being infinitely worse, mere rags, around
which I piled sods as a defence from the insidious piercing
night-wind that descended from the northern glaciers in calm, but
most keen, breezes. There was no food to be procured in the village,
except a little watery milk, and a few small watery potatos.
The latter have only very recently been introduced amongst the
Tibetans, from the English garden at the Nepalese capital, I believe,
and their culture has not spread in these regions further east than
Kinchinjunga, but they will very soon penetrate into Tibet from
Dorjiling, or eastward from Nepal. My private stock of provisions
--consisting chiefly of preserved meats from my kind friend
Mr. Hodgson--had fallen very low; and I here found to my dismay that
of four remaining two-pound cases, provided as meat, three contained
prunes, and one _"dindon aux truffes!"_ Never did luxuries come more
inopportunely; however the greasy French viand served for many a
future meal as sauce to help me to bolt my rice, and according to the
theory of chemists, to supply animal heat in these frigid regions.
As for my people, they were not accustomed to much animal food; two
pounds of rice, with ghee and chilis, forming their common diet under
cold and fatigue. The poorer Tibetans, especially, who undergo great
privation and toil, live almost wholly on barley-meal, with tea, and
a very little butter and salt: this is not only the case with those
amongst whom I mixed so much, but is also mentioned by MM. Huc and
Gabet, as having been observed by them in other parts of Tibet.

On the 1st of December I visited the village and terrace, and
proceeded to the head of the Yangma valley, in order to ascend the
Kanglachem pass as far as practicable. The houses are low, built of
stone, of no particular shape, and are clustered in groups against
the steep face of the terrace; filthy lanes wind amongst them, so
narrow, that if you are not too tall, you look into the slits of
windows on either hand, by turning your head, and feel the noisome
warm air in whiffs against your face. Glacial boulders lie scattered
throughout the village, around and beneath the clusters of houses,
from which it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the native rock.
I entered one house by a narrow low door through walls four feet
thick, and found myself in an apartment full of wool, juniper-wood,
and dried dung for fuel: no one lived in the lower story, which was
quite dark, and as I stood in it my head was in the upper, to which I
ascended by a notched pole (like that in the picture of a Kamschatk
house in Cook's voyage), and went into a small low room. The inmates
looked half asleep, they were intolerably indolent and filthy, and
were employed in spinning wool and smoking. A hole in the wall of the
upper apartment led me on to the stone roof of the neighbouring
house, from which I passed to the top of a glacial boulder,
descending thence by rude steps to the narrow alley. Wishing to see
as much as I could, I was led on a winding course through, in and
out, and over the tops of the houses of the village, which
alternately reminded me of a stone quarry or gravel pit, and gipsies
living in old lime-kilns; and of all sorts of odd places that are
turned to account as human habitations.

From the village I ascended to the top of the terrace, which is a
perfectly level, sandy, triangular plain, pointing down the valley at
the fork of the latter, and abutting against the flank of a steep,
rocky, snow-topped mountain to the northward. Its length is probably
half a mile from north to south, but it runs for two miles westward up
the valley, gradually contracting. The surface, though level, is very
uneven, being worn into hollows, and presenting ridges and hillocks of
blown sand and gravel, with small black tufts of rhododendron.
Enormous boulders of gneiss and granite were scattered over the
surface; one of the ordinary size, which I measured, was seventy feet
in girth, and fifteen feet above the ground, into which it had partly
sunk. From the southern pointed end I took sketches of the opposite
flanks of the valleys east and west. The river was about 400 feet
below me, and flowed in a little flat lake-bed; other terraces skirted
it, cut out, as it were, from the side of that I was on. On the
opposite flank of the valley were several superimposed terraces, of
which the highest appeared to tally with the level I occupied, and the
lowest was raised very little above the river; none were continuous
for any distance, but the upper one in particular, could be most
conspicuously traced up and down the main valley, whilst, on looking
across to the eastern valley, a much higher, but less distinctly
marked one appeared on it. The road to the pass lay west-north-west up
the north bank of the Yangma river, on the great terrace; for two
miles it was nearly level along the gradually narrowing shelf, at
times dipping into the steep gulleys formed by lateral torrents from
the mountains; and as the terrace disappeared, or melted, as it were,
into the rising floor of the valley, the path descended upon the lower
and smaller shelf.


We came suddenly upon a flock of gigantic wild sheep, feeding on
scanty tufts of dried sedge and grass; there were twenty-five of
these enormous animals, of whose dimensions the term sheep gives no
idea: they are very long-legged, stand as high as a calf, and have
immense horns, so large that the fox is said to take up his abode in
their hollows, when detached and bleaching, on the barren mountains
of Tibet. Though very wild, I am sure I could easily have killed a
couple had I had my gun, but I had found it necessary to reduce my
party so uncompromisingly, that I could not afford a man both for my
gun and instruments, and had sent the former back to Dorjiling, with
Mr. Hodgson's bird-stuffers, who had broken one of theirs. Travelling
without fire-arms sounds strange in India, but in these regions
animal life is very rare, game is only procured with much hunting and
trouble, and to come within shot of a flock of wild sheep was a
contingency I never contemplated. Considering how very short we were
of any food, and quite out of animal diet, I could not but bitterly
regret the want of a gun, but consoled myself by reflecting that the
instruments were still more urgently required to enable me to survey
this extremely interesting valley. As it was, the great beasts
trotted off, and turned to tantalise me by grazing within an easy
stalking distance. We saw several other flocks, of thirty to forty,
during the day, but never, either on this or any future occasion,
within shot. The _Ovis Ammon_ of Pallas stands from four to five feet
high, and measures seven feet from nose to tail; it is quite a
Tibetan animal, and is seldom seen below 14,000 feet, except when
driven lower by snow; and I have seen it as high as 18,000 feet.
The same animal, I believe, is found in Siberia, and is allied to the
Big-horn of North America.

Soon after descending to the bed of the valley, which is broad and
open, we came on a second dry lake-bed, a mile long, with shelving
banks all round, heavily snowed on the shaded side; the river was
divided into many arms, and meandered over it, and a fine
glacier-bound valley opened into it from the south. There were no
boulders on its surface, which was pebbly, with tufts of grass and
creeping tamarisk. On the banks I observed much granite, with large
mica crystals, hornstone, tourmaline, and stratified quartz, with
granite veins parallel to the foliation or lamination.

A rather steep ascent of a mile, through a contracted part of the
valley, led to another and smaller lake-bed, a quarter of a mile long
and 100 yards broad, covered with patches of snow, and having no
lateral valley opening into it: it faced the now stupendous masses of
snow and ice which filled the upper part of the Yangma valley.
This lake-bed (elevation, 15,186 feet) was strewed with enormous
boulders; a rude stone hut stood near it, where we halted for a few
minutes at 1 p.m., when the temperature was 42.2 degrees, while the
dew-point was only 20.7 degrees.* [This indicates a very dry state of
the air, the saturation-point being 0.133 degrees; whereas, at the
same hour at Calcutta it was 0.559 degrees.] At the same time, the
black bulb thermometer, fully exposed on the snow, rose 54 degrees
above the air, and the photometer gave 10.572. Though the sun's power
was so great, there was, however, no appearance of the snow melting,
evaporation proceeding with too great rapidity.

Illustration--KANGLACHEM PASS.

Enormous piles of gravel and sand had descended upon the upper end of
this lake-bed, forming shelves, terraces, and curving ridges,
apparently consolidated by ice, and covered in many places with snow.
Following the stream, we soon came to an immense moraine, which
blocked up the valley, formed of angular boulders, some of which were
fifty feet high. Respiration had been difficult for some time, and
the guide we had taken from the village said we were some hours from
the top of the pass, and could get but a little way further; we
however proceeded, plunging through the snow, till on cresting the
moraine a stupendous scene presented itself. A gulf of moraines, and
enormous ridges of debris, lay at our feet, girdled by an
amphitheatre of towering, snow-clad peaks, rising to 17,000 and
18,000 feet all around. Black scarped precipices rose on every side;
deep snow-beds and blue glaciers rolled down every gulley, converging
in the hollow below, and from each transporting its own materials,
there ensued a complication of moraines, that presented no order to
the eye. In spite of their mutual interference, however, each had
raised a ridge of debris or moraine parallel to itself.

We descended with great difficulty through the soft snow that covered
the moraine, to the bed of this gulf of snow and glaciers; and halted
by an enormous stone, above the bed of a little lake, which was
snowed all over, but surrounded by two superimposed level terraces,
with sharply defined edges. The moraine formed a barrier to its now
frozen waters, and it appeared to receive the drainage of many
glaciers, which filtered through their gravelly ridges and moraines.

We could make no further progress; the pass lay at the distance of
several hours' march, up a valley to the north, down which the
glacier must have rolled that had deposited this great moraine; the
pass had been closed since October, it being very lofty, and the head
of this valley was far more snowy than that at Wallanchoon. We halted
in the snow from 3 to 4 p.m., during which time I again took angles
and observations; the height of this spot, called Pabuk, is 16,038
feet, whence the pass is probably considerably over 17,000 feet, for
there was a steep ascent beyond our position. The sun sank at 3 p.m.,
and the thermometer immediately fell from 35 degrees to 30.75
degrees.* [At 4 o'clock, to 29.5 degrees, the average dew-point was
16.3 degrees, and dryness 0.55; weight of vapour in a cubic foot,
1.33 grains.]

After fixing in my note and sketch books the principal features of
this sublime scene, we returned down the valley: the distance to our
camp being fully eight miles, night overtook us before we got
half-way, but a two days' old moon guided us perfectly, a remarkable
instance of the clearness of the atmosphere at these great
elevations. Lassitude, giddiness, and headache came on as our
exertions increased, and took away the pleasure I should otherwise
have felt in contemplating by moonlight the varied phenomena, which
seemed to crowd upon the restless imagination, in the different forms
of mountain, glacier, moraine, lake, boulder and terrace. Happily I
had noted everything on my way up, and left nothing intentionally to
be done on returning. In making such excursions as this, it is above
all things desirable to seize and book every object worth noticing on
the way out: I always carried my note-book and pencil tied to my
jacket pocket, and generally walked with them in my hand. It is
impossible to begin observing too soon, or to observe too much: if
the excursion is long, little is ever done on the way home; the
bodily powers being mechanically exerted, the mind seeks repose, and
being fevered through over-exertion, it can endure no train of
thought, or be brought to bear on a subject.

During my stay at Yangma, the thermometer never rose to 50 degrees,
it fell to 14.75 degrees at night; the ground was frozen for several
inches below the surface, but at two feet depth its temperature was
37.5 degrees. The black bulb thermometer rose on one occasion 84
degrees above the surrounding air. Before leaving, I measured by
angles and a base-line the elevations of the great village-terrace
above the river, and that of a loftier one, on the west flank of the
main valley; the former was about 400 and the latter 700 feet.

Considering this latter as the upper terrace, and concluding that it
marks a water level, it is not very difficult to account for its
origin. There is every reason to suppose that the flanks of the
valley were once covered to the elevation of the upper terrace, with
an enormous accumulation of debris; though it does not follow that
the whole valley was filled by ice-action to the same depth; the
effect of glaciers being to deposit moraines between themselves and
the sides of the valley they fill; as also to push forward similar
accumulations. Glaciers from each valley, meeting at the fork, where
their depth would be 700 feet of ice, would both deposit the
necessary accumulation along the flanks of the great valley, and also
throw a barrier across it. The melting waters of such glaciers would
accumulate in lakes, confined by the frozen earth, between the
moraines and mountains. Such lakes, though on a small scale, are
found at the terminations and sides of existing glaciers, and are
surrounded by terraces of shingle and debris; these terraces being
laid bare by the sudden drainage of the lakes during seasons of
unusual warmth. To explain the phenomena of the Yangma valley, it may
be necessary to demand larger lakes and deeper accumulations of
debris than are now familiar to us, but the proofs of glaciers having
once descended to from 8000 to 10,000 feet in every Sikkim and east
Nepal valley communicating with mountains above 16,000 feet
elevation, are overwhelming, and the glaciers must, in some cases,
have been fully forty miles long, and 500 feet in depth. The absence
of any remains of a moraine, or of blocks of rock in the valley below
the fork, is I believe, the only apparent objection to this theory;
but, as I shall elsewhere have occasion to observe, the magnitude of
the moraines bears no fixed proportion to that of the glacier, and at
Pabuk, the steep ridges of debris, which were heaped up 200 feet
high, were far more striking than the more usual form of moraine.

On my way up to Yangma I had rudely plotted the valley, and selected
prominent positions for improving my plan on my return: these I now
made use of, taking bearings with the azimuth compass, and angles by
means of a pocket sextant. The result of my running-survey of the
whole valley, from 10,000 to 16,000 feet, I have given along with a
sketch-map of my routes in India, which accompanies this volume.



Ascend to Nango mountain -- Moraines -- Glaciers -- Vegetation --
_Rhododendron Hodgsoni_ -- Rocks -- Honey-combed surface of snow --
Perpetual snow -- Top of pass -- View -- Elevation -- Geology --
Distance of sound -- Plants -- Temperature -- Scenery -- Cliffs of
granite and hurled boulders -- Camp -- Descent -- Pheasants -- Larch
-- Himalayan pines -- Distribution of Deodar, note on --
Tassichooding temples -- Kambachen village -- Cultivation -- Moraines
in valley, distribution of -- Picturesque lake-beds, and their
vegetation -- Tibetan sheep and goats -- _Cryptogramma crispa_ --
Ascent to Choonjerma pass -- View of Junnoo -- Rocks of its summit --
Misty ocean -- Nepal peaks -- Top of pass -- Temperature, and
observations -- Gorgeous sunset -- Descent to Yalloong valley --
Loose path -- Night scenes -- Musk deer.

We passed the night a few miles below the great moraine, in a
pine-wood (alt. 11,000 feet) opposite the gorge which leads to the
Kambachen or Nango pass, over the south shoulder of the mountain of
that name: it is situated on a ridge dividing the Yangma river from
that of Kambachen, which latter falls into the Tambur opposite Lelyp.

The road crosses the Yangma (which is about fifteen feet wide), and
immediately ascends steeply to the south-east, over a rocky moraine,
clothed with a dense thicket of rhododendrons, mountain-ash, maples,
pine, birch, juniper, etc. The ground was covered with silvery flakes
of birch bark, and that of _Rhododendron Hodgsoni,_ which is as
delicate as tissue-paper, and of a pale flesh-colour. I had never
before met with this species, and was astonished at the beauty of its
foliage, which was of a beautiful bright green, with leaves sixteen
inches long.

Beyond the region of trees and large shrubs the alpine rhododendrons
filled the broken surface of the valley, growing with _Potentilla,_
Honeysuckle, _Polygonum,_ and dwarf juniper. The peak of Nango seemed
to tower over the gorge, rising behind some black, splintered, rocky
cliffs, sprinkled with snow, narrow defiles opened up through these
cliffs to blue glaciers, and their mouths were invariably closed by
beds of shingly moraines, curving outwards from either, flank in
concentric ridges.

Towards the base of the peak, at about 14,000 feet, the scenery is
very grand; a great moraine rises suddenly to the north-west, under
the principal mass of snow and ice, and barren slopes of gravel
descend from it; on either side are rugged precipices; the ground is
bare and stony, with patches of brown grass: and, on looking back,
the valley appears very steep to the first shrubby vegetation, of
dark green rhododendrons, bristling with ugly stunted pines.

We followed a valley to the south-east, so as to turn the flank of
the peak; the path lying over beds of October snow at 14,000 feet,
and over plashy ground, from its melting. Sometimes our way lay close
to the black precipices on our right, under which the snow was deep;
and we dragged ourselves along, grasping every prominence of the rock
with our numbed fingers. Granite appeared in large veins in the
crumpled gneiss at a great elevation, in its most beautiful and
loosely-crystallised form, of pearly white prisms of felspar, glassy
quartz, and milk-white flat plates of mica, with occasionally large
crystals of tourmaline. Garnets were very frequent in the gneiss near
the granite veins. Small rushes, grasses, and sedges formed the
remaining vegetation, amongst which were the withered stalks of
gentians, _Sedum, Arenaria, Silene,_ and many Composite plants.

At a little below 15,000 feet, we reached enormous flat beds of snow,
which were said to be perpetual, but covered deeply with the October
fall. They were continuous, and like all the snow I saw at this
season, the surface was honeycombed into thin plates, dipping north
at a high angle; the intervening fissures were about six inches deep.
A thick mist here overtook us, and this, with the great difficulty
of picking our way, rendered the ascent very fatiguing.
Being sanguine about obtaining a good view, I found it almost
impossible to keep my temper under the aggravations of pain in the
forehead, lassitude, oppression of breathing, a dense drizzling fog,
a keen cold wind, a slippery footing, where I was stumbling at every
few steps, and icy-cold wet feet, hands, and eyelids; the latter, odd
as it sounds, I found a very disagreeable accompaniment of continued
raw cold wind.

After an hour and a half's toilsome ascent, during which we made but
little progress, we reached the crest, crossing a broad shelf of snow
between two rocky eminences; the ridge was unsnowed a little way down
the east flank; this was, in a great measure, due to the eastern
exposure being the more sunny, to the prevalence of the warm and
melting south-east winds that blow up the deep Kambachen valley, and
to the fact that the great snow-beds on the west side are drifted
accumulations.* [Such enormous beds of snow in depressions, or on
gentle slopes, are generally adopted as indicating the lower limit of
perpetual snow. They are, however, winter accumulations, due mainly
to eddies of wind, of far more snow than can be melted in the
following summer, being hence perennial in the ordinary sense of the
word. They pass into the state of glacier ice, and, obeying the laws
that govern the motions of a viscous fluid, so admirably elucidated
by Forbes ("Travels in the Alps"), they flow downwards. A careful
examination of those great beds of snow in the Alps, from whose
position the mean lower level of perpetual snow, in that latitude, is
deduced, has convinced me that these are mainly due to accumulations
of this kind, and that the true limit of perpetual snow, or that
point where all that falls melts, is much higher than it is usually
supposed to be.]  The mist cleared off, and I had a partial, though
limited, view. To the north the blue ice-clad peak of Nango was still
2000 feet above us, its snowy mantle falling in great sweeps and
curves into glacier-bound valleys, over which the ice streamed out of
sight, bounded by black aiguilles of gneiss. The Yangma valley was
quite hidden, but to the eastward the view across the stupendous
gorge of the Kambachen, 5000 feet below, to the waste of snow, ice,
and rock, piled in confusion along the top of the range of Junnoo and
Choonjerma, parallel to this but higher, was very grand indeed: this
we were to cross in two days, and its appearance was such, that our
guide doubted the possibility of our doing it. A third and fourth
mountain mass (unseen) lay beyond this, between us and Sikkim,
divided by valleys as deep as those of Yangma and Kambachen.

Having hung up my instruments, I ascended a few hundred feet to some
naked rocks, to the northward; they were of much-crumpled and
dislocated gneiss, thrown up at a very high angle, and striking
north-west. Chlorite, schist, and quartz, in thin beds, alternated
with the gneiss, and veins of granite and quartz, were injected
through them.

It fell calm; when the distance to which the voice was carried was
very remarkable; I could distinctly hear every word spoken 300 to 400
yards off, and did not raise my voice when I asked one of the men to
bring me a hammer.

The few plants about were generally small tufted _Arenarias_ and
woolly _Compositae,_ with a thick-rooted Umbellifer that spread its
short, fleshy leaves and branches flat on the ground; the root was
very aromatic, but wedged close in the rock. The temperature at
4 p.m. was 23 degrees, and bitterly cold; the elevation, 15,770 feet;
dew-point, 16 degrees. The air was not very dry; saturation-point,
0.670°, whereas at Calcutta it was 0.498° at the same hour.

The descent was to a broad, open valley, into which the flank of
Nango dipped in tremendous precipices, which reared their heads in
splintered snowy peaks. At their bases were shoots of debris fully
700 feet high, sloping at a steep angle. Enormous masses of rock,
detached by the action of the frost and ice from the crags, were
scattered over the bottom of the valley; they had been precipitated
from above, and gaining impetus in their descent, bad been hurled to
almost inconceivable distances from the parent cliff. All were of a
very white, fine-grained crystallised granite, full of small veins of
the same rock still more finely crystallised. The weathered surface
of each block was black, and covered with moss and lichens; the
others beautifully white, with clean, sharp-fractured edges.
The material of which they were composed was so hard that I found it
difficult to detach a specimen.

Darkness had already come on, and the coolies being far behind, we
encamped by the light of the moon, shining through a thin fog, where
we first found dwarf-juniper for fuel, at 13,500 feet. A little sleet
fell during the night, which was tolerably fine, and not very cold;
the minimum thermometer indicating 14.5 degrees.

Having no tent-poles, I had some difficulty in getting my blankets
arranged as a shelter, which was done by making them slant from the
side of a boulder, on the top of which one end was kept by heavy
stones; under this roof I laid my bed, on a mass of rhododendron and
juniper-twigs. The men did the same against other boulders, and
lighting a huge fire opposite the mouth of my ground-nest, I sat
cross-legged on the bed to eat my supper; my face scorching, and my
back freezing. Rice, boiled with a few ounces of greasy _dindon aux
truffes_ was now my daily dinner, with chili-vinegar and tea, and I
used to relish it keenly: this finished, I smoked a cigar, and wrote
up my journal (in short intervals between warming myself) by the
light of the fire; took observations by means of a dark-lantern; and
when all this was accomplished, I went to roost.

_December_ 5.--On looking out this morning, it was with a feeling of
awe that I gazed at the stupendous ice-crowned precipices that shot
up to the summit of Nango, their flanks spotted white at the places
whence the gigantic masses with which I was surrounded had fallen;
thence my eye wandered down their black faces to the slope of debris
at the bottom, thus tracing the course which had probably been taken
by that rock under whose shelter I had passed the previous night.

Meepo, the Lepcha sent by the rajah, had snared a couple of beautiful
pheasants, one of which I skinned, and ate for breakfast; it is a
small bird, common above 12,000 feet, but very wild; the male has two
to five spurs on each of its legs, according to its age; the general
colour is greenish, with a broad scarlet patch surrounding the eye;
the Nepalese name is "Khalidge." The crop was distended with juniper
berries, of which the flesh tasted strongly, and it was the very
hardest, toughest bird I ever did eat.

We descended at first through rhododendron and juniper, then through
black silver-fir (_Abies Webbiana_), and below that, near the river,
we came to the Himalayan larch; a tree quite unknown, except from a
notice in the journals of Mr. Griffith, who found it in Bhotan. It is
a small tree, twenty to forty feet high, perfectly similar in general
characters to a European larch, but with larger cones, which are
erect upon the very long, pensile, whip-like branches; its
leaves,--now red--were falling, and covering the rocky ground on
which it grew, scattered amongst other trees. It is called "Saar" by
the Lepchas and Cis-himalayan Tibetans, and "Boarga-sella" by the
Nepalese, who say it is found as far west as the heads of the Cosi
river: it does not inhabit Central or West Nepal, nor the North-west
Himalaya. The distribution of the Himalayan pines is very remarkable.
The Deodar has not been seen east of Nepal, nor the _Pinus
Gerardiana, Cupressus torulosa,_ or _Juniperus communis._ On the
other hand, _Podocarpus_ is confined to the east of Katmandoo. _Abies
Brunoniana_ does not occur west of the Gogra, nor the larch west of
the Cosi, nor funereal cypress (an introduced plant, however) west of
the Teesta (in Sikkim). Of the twelve* [Juniper, 3; yew, _Abies
Webbiana, Brunoniana,_ and _Smithiana_: Larch, _Pinus excelsa,_ and
_longifolia,_ and _Podocarpus neriifolia._] Sikkim and Bhotan
_Coniferae_ (including yew, junipers, and _Podocarpus_) eight are
common to the North-west Himalaya (west of Nepal), and four* [Larch,
_Cupressus funebris, Podocarpus neriifolia, Abies Brunoniana._] are
not: of the thirteen natives of the north-west provinces, again, only
five* [A juniper (the European _communis_), Deodar (possibly only a
variety of the Cedar of Lebanon and of Mount Atlas), _Pinus
Gerardiana, P. excelsa,_ and _Crupressus torulosa._] are not found in
Sikkim, and I have given their names below, because they show how
European the absent ones are, either specifically or in affinity.
I have stated that the Deodar is possibly a variety of the Cedar of
Lebanon. This is now a prevalent opinion, which is strengthened by
the fact that so many more Himalayan plants are now ascertained to be
European than had been supposed before they were compared with
European specimens; such are the yew, _Juniperus communis, Berberis
vulgaris, Quercus Ballota, Populus alba_ and _Euphratica,_ etc.
The cones of the Deodar are identical with those of the Cedar of
Lebanon: the Deodar has, generally longer and more pale bluish leaves
and weeping branches,* [Since writing the above, I have seen, in the
magnificent Pinetum at Dropmore, noble cedars, with the length and
hue of leaf, and the pensile branches of the Deodar, and far more
beautiful than that is, and as unlike the common Lebanon Cedar as
possible. When it is considered from how very few wild trees (and
these said to be exactly alike) the many dissimilar varieties of the
_C. Libani_ have been derived; the probability of this, the Cedar of
Algiers, and of the Himalayas (Deodar) being all forms of one
species, is greatly increased. We cannot presume to judge from the
few cedars which still remain, what the habit and appearance of the
tree may have been, when it covered the slopes of Libanus, and seeing
how very variable _Coniferae_ are in habit, we may assume that its
surviving specimens give us no information on this head. Should all
three prove one, it will materially enlarge our ideas of the
distribution and variation of species. The botanist will insist that
the typical form of cedar is that which retains its characters best
over the greatest area, namely, the Deodar; in which case the
prejudice of the ignorant, and the preconceived ideas of the
naturalist, must yield to the fact that the old familiar Cedar of
Lebanon is an unusual variety of the Himalayan Deodar.] but these
characters seem to be unusually developed in our gardens; for several
gentlemen, well acquainted with the Deodar at Simla, when asked to
point it out in the Kew Gardens, have indicated the Cedar of Lebanon,
and when shown the Deodar, declare that they never saw that plant in
the Himalaya!

At the bottom of the valley we turned up the stream, and passing the
Tassichooding convents* [These were built by the Sikkim people, when
the eastern valleys of Nepal belonged to the Sikkim rajah.] and
temple, crossed the river--which was a furious torrent, about twelve
yards wide--to the village of Kambachen, on a flat terrace a few feet
above the stream. There were about a dozen houses of wood, plastered
with mud and dung, scattered over a grassy plain of a few acres,
fenced in, as were also a few fields, with stone dykes. The only
cultivation consists of radishes, potatos, and barley: no wheat is
grown, the climate being said to be too cold for it, by which is
probably meant that it is foggy,--the elevation (11,380 feet) being
2000 feet less than that of Yangma village, and the temperature
therefore 6 degrees to 7 degrees warmer; but of all the mountain
gorges I have ever visited, this is by far the wildest, grandest, and
most gloomy; and that man should hybernate here is indeed
extraordinary, for there is no route up the valley, and all
communication with Lelyp,* [Which I passed, on the Tambur, on the
21st Nov. See Chapter IX.] two marches down the river, is cut off in
winter, when the houses are buried in snow, and drifts fifteen feet
deep are said to be common. Standing on the little flat of Kambachen,
precipices, with inaccessible patches of pine wood, appeared to the
west, towering over head; while across the narrow valley wilder and
less wooded crags rose in broken ridges to the glaciers of Nango.
Up the valley, the view was cut off by bluff cliffs; whilst down it,
the scene was most remarkable: enormous black, round-backed moraines,
rose, tier above tier, from a flat lake-bed, apparently hemming in
the river between the lofty precipices on the east flank of the
valley. These had all been deposited at the mouth of a lateral
valley, opening just below the village, and descending from Junnoo, a
mountain of 25,312 feet elevation, and one of the grandest of the
Kinchinjunga group, whose top--though only five miles distant in a
straight line--rises 13,932 feet* [This is one of the most sudden
slopes in this part of the Himalaya, the angle between the top of
Junnoo and Kambachen being 2786 feet per mile, or 1 in 1.8. The slope
from the top of Mont Blanc to the Chamouni valley is 2464 feet per
mile, or 1 in 2.1. That from Monte Rosa top to Macugnaga greatly
exceeds either.] above the village. Few facts show more decidedly the
extraordinary steepness and depth of the Kambachen valley near the
village, which, though nearly 11,400 feet above the sea, lies between
two mountains only eight miles apart, the one 25,312 feet high, the
other (Nango), 19,000 feet.

The villagers received us very kindly, and furnished us with a guide
for the Choonjerma pass, leading to the Yalloong valley, the most
easterly in Nepal; but he recommended our not attempting any part of
the ascent till the morrow, as it was past 1 p.m., and we should find
no camping-ground for half the way up. The villagers gave us the leg
of a musk deer, and some red potatos, about as big as walnuts--all
they could spare from their winter-stock. With this scanty addition
to our stores we started down the valley, for a few miles alternately
along flat lake-beds and over moraines, till we crossed the stream
from the lateral valley, and ascending a little, camped on its bank,
at 11,400 feet elevation.

In the afternoon I botanized amongst the moraines, which were very
numerous, and had been thrown down at right-angles to the main
valley, which latter being here very narrow, and bounded by lofty
precipices, must have stopped the parent glaciers, and effected the
heaping of some of these moraines to at least 1000 feet above the
river. The general features were modifications of those seen in the
Yangma valley, but contracted into a much smaller space.

The moraines were all accumulated in a sort of delta, through which
the lateral river debouched into the Kambachen, and were all
deposited more or less parallel to the course of the lateral valley,
but curving outwards from its mouth. The village-flat, or terrace,
continued level to the first moraine, which had been thrown down on
the upper or north side of the lateral valley, on whose and curving
steep flanks it abutted, and curving outwards seemed to encircle the
village-flat on the south and west; where it dipped into the river.
This was crossed at the height of about 100 feet, by a stony path,
leading to the bed of the rapid torrent flowing through shingle and
boulders, beyond which was another moraine, 250 feet high, and
parallel to it a third gigantic one.

Ascending the great moraine at a place where it overhung the main
river, I had a good _coup-a'oeil_ of the whole. The view south-east
up the glacial valley--(represented in the accompanying cut)--to the
snowy peaks south of Junnoo, was particularly grand, and most
interesting from the precision with which one great distant existing
glacier was marked by two waving parallel lines of lateral moraines,
which formed, as it were, a vast raised gutter, or channel, ascending
from perhaps 16,000 feet elevation, till it was hidden behind a spur
in the valley. With a telescope I could descry many similar smaller
glaciers, with huge accumulations of shingle at their terminations;
but this great one was beautifully seen by the naked eye, and formed
a very curious feature in the landscape.


 Between the moraines, near my tent, the soil was perfectly level,
and consisted of little lake-beds strewn with gigantic boulders, and
covered with hard turf of grass and sedge, and little bushes of dwarf
rhododendron and prostrate juniper, as trim as if they had been
clipped. Altogether these formed the most picturesque little nooks it
was possible to conceive; and they exhibited the withered remains of
so many kinds of primrose, gentian, anemone, potentilla, orchis,
saxifrage, parnassia, campanula, and pedicularis, that in summer they
must be perfect gardens of wild flowers. Around each plot of a few
acres was the grand ice-transported girdle of stupendous rocks, many
from 50 to 100 feet long, crested with black tabular-branched silver
firs, conical deep green tree-junipers, and feathery larches; whilst
amongst the blocks grew a profusion of round masses of evergreen
rhododendron bushes. Beyond were stupendous frowning cliffs, beneath
which the river roared like thunder; and looking up the glacial
valley, the setting sun was bathing the expanse of snow in the most
delicate changing tints, pink, amber, and gold.

The boulders forming the moraine were so enormous and angular, that I
had great difficulty in ascending it. I saw some pheasants feeding on
the black berries of the juniper, but where the large rhododendrons
grew amongst the rocks I found it impossible to penetrate.
The largest of the moraines is piled to upwards of 1000 feet against
the south flank of the lateral valley, and stretched far up it beyond
my camp, which was in a grove of silver firs. A large flock of sheep
and goats, laden with salt, overtook us here on their route from
Wallanchoon to Yalloong. The sheep I observed to feed on the
_Rhododendron Thomsoni_ and _campylocarpum. On the roots of one of
the latter species a parasitical Broom-rape (_Orobanche_) grew
abundantly; and about the moraines were more mosses, lichens, etc.,
than I have elsewhere seen in the loftier Himalaya, encouraged no
doubt by the dampness of this grand mountain gorge, which is so
hemmed in that the sun never reaches it until four or five hours
after it has gilded the overhanging peaks.

_December_ 5.--The morning was bright and clear, and we left early
for the Choonjerma pass. I had hoped the route would be up the
magnificent glacier-girdled valley in which we had encamped; but it
lay up another, considerably south of it, and to which we crossed,
ascending the rocky moraine, in the clefts of which grew abundance of
a common Scotch fern, _Cryptogramma crispa_!

The clouds early commenced gathering, and it was curious to watch
their rapid formation in coalescing streaks, which became first
cirrhi, and then stratus, being apparently continually added to from
below by the moisture-bringing southerly wind. Ascending a lofty
spur, 1000 feet above the valley, against which the moraine was
banked, I found it to be a distinct anticlinal axis. The pass,
bearing north-west, and the valley we had descended on the previous
day, rose immediately over the curved strata of quartz, topped by the
glacier-crowned mountain of Nango, with four glaciers descending from
its perpetual snows. The stupendous cliffs on its flanks, under which
I had camped on the previous night, were very grand, but not more so
than those which dipped into the chasm of the Kambachen below.
Looking up the valley of the latter, was another wilderness of ice
full of enormous moraines, round the bases of which the river wound.

Ascending, we reached an open grassy valley, and overtook the
Tibetans who had preceded us, and who had halted here to feed their
sheep. A good-looking girl of the party came to ask me for medicine
for her husband's eyes, which had suffered from snow-blindness: she
brought me a present of snuff, and carried a little child, stark
naked, yet warm from the powerful rays of the sun, at nearly 14,000
feet elevation, in December! I prescribed for the man, and gave the
mother a bright farthing to hang round the child's neck, which
delighted the party. My watch was only wondered at; but a little
spring measuring-tape that rolled itself up, struck them dumb, and
when I threw it on the ground with the tape out, the mother shrieked
and ran away, while the little savage howled after her.

Above, the path up the ascent was blocked with snowbeds, and for
several miles we alternately scrambled among rocks and over slippery
slopes, to the top of the first ridge, there being two to cross.
The first consisted of a ridge of rocks running east and west from a
superb sweep of snowy mountains to the north-west, which presented a
chaotic scene of blue glacial ice and white snow, through which
splintered rocks and beetling crags thrust their black heads.
The view into the Kambachen gorge was magnificent, though it did not
reveal the very bottom of the valley and its moraines: the black
precipices of its opposite flank seemed to rise to the glaciers of
Nango, fore-shortened into snow-capped precipices 5000 feet high,
amongst which lay the Kambachen pass, bearing north-west by north.
Lower down the valley, appeared a broad flat, called Jubla, a
halting-place one stage below the village of Kambachen, on the road
to Lelyp on the Tambur: it must be a remarkable geological as well as
natural feature, fao it appeared to jut abruptly and quite
horizontally from the black cliffs of the valley.

Looking north, the conical head of Junnoo was just scattering the
mists from its snowy shoulders, and standing forth to view, the most
magnificent spectacle I ever beheld. It was quite close to me,
bearing north-east by east, and subtending an angle of 12 degrees 23,
and is much the steepest and most conical of all the peaks of these
regions. From whichever side it is viewed, it rises 9000 feet above
the general mountain mass of 16,000 feet elevation, towering like a
blunt cone, with a short saddle on one side, that dips in a steep
cliff: it appeared as if uniformly snowed, from its rocks above
20,000 feet (like those of Kinchinjunga) being of white granite, and
not contrasting with the snow. Whether the top is stratified or not,
I cannot tell, but waving parallel lines are very conspicuous near
it, as shown in the accompanying view.* [The appearance of Mont
Cervin, from the Riffelberg, much reminded me of that of Junnoo, from
the Choonjerma pass, the former bearing the same relation to Monte
Rosa that the latter does to Kinchinjunga. Junnoo, though
incomparably the more stupendous mass, not only rising 10,000 feat
higher above the sea, but towering 4000 feet higher above the ridge
on which it is supported, is not nearly so remarkable in outline, so
sharp, or so peaked as is Mount Cervin: it is a very much grander,
but far less picturesque object. The whiteness of the sides of Junnoo
adds also greatly to its apparent altitude; while the strong relief
in which the black cliffs of Mont Cervin protrude through its snowy
mantle greatly diminish both its apparent height and distance.]

Illustration--JUNNOO 24,000 FT. FROM CHOONJERMA PASS 16,000 FT. EAST

Looking south as evening drew on, another wonderful spectacle
presented itself, similar to that which I described at Sakkiazung,
but displayed here on an inconceivably grander scale, with all the
effects exaggerated. I saw a sea of mist floating 3000 feet beneath
me, just below the upper level of the black pines; the magnificent
spurs of the snowy range which I had crossed rising out of it in
rugged grandeur as promontories and peninsulas, between which the
misty ocean seemed to finger up like the fiords of Norway, or the
salt-water lochs of the west of Scotland; whilst islets tailed off
from the promontories, rising here and there out of the deceptive
elements. I was so high above this mist, that it had not the billowy
appearance I saw before, but was a calm unruffled ocean, boundless to
the south and west, where the horizon over-arched it. A little to the
north of west I discerned the most lofty group of mountains in Nepal*
[Called Tsungau by the Bhoteeas. Junnoo is called Kumbo Kurma by the
Hill-men of Nepal.] (mentioned at Chapter VIII), beyond Kinchinjurga,
which I believe are on the west flank of the great valley through
which the Arun river enters Nepal from Tibet: they were very distant,
and subtended so small an angle, that I could not measure them with
the sextant and artificial horizon their height, judging from the
quantity of snow, must be prodigious.

From 4 to 5 p.m. the temperature was 24 degrees, with a very cold
wind; the elevation by the barometer was 15,260 feet, and the
dew-point 10.5 degrees, giving the humidity 0.610, and the amount of
vapour 1.09 grains in a cubic foot of air; the same elements at
Calcutta, at the same hour, being thermometer 66.5 degrees, dew-point
60.5 degrees, humidity 0.840, and weight of vapour 5.9 grains.

I waited for an hour, examining the rocks about the pass, till the
coolies should come up, but saw nothing worthy of remark, the natural
history and geology being identical with those of Kambachen pass: I
then bade adieu to the sublime and majestic peak of Junnoo. Thence we
continued at nearly the same level for about four miles, dipping into
the broad head of a snowy valley, and ascending to the second pass,
which lay to the south-east.

On the left I passed a very curious isolated pillar of rock, amongst
the wild crags to the north-east, whose bases we skirted: it
resembles the Capuchin on the shoulder of Mont Blanc, as seen from
the Jardin. Evening overtook us while still on the snow near the last
ascent. As the sun declined, the snow at our feet reflected the most
exquisitely delicate peach-bloom hue; and looking west from the top
of the pass, the scenery was gorgeous beyond description, for the sun
was just plunging into a sea of mist, amongst some cirrhi and
stratus, all in a blaze of the ruddiest coppery hue. As it sank, the
Nepal, peaks to the right assumed more definite, darker, and gigantic
forms, and floods of light shot across the misty ocean, bathing the
landscape around me in the most wonderful and indescribable changing
tints. As the luminary was vanishing, the whole horizon glowed like
copper run from a smelting furnace, and when it had quite
disappeared, the little inequalities of the ragged edges of the mist
were lighted up and shone like a row of volcanos in the far distance.
I have never before or since seen anything, which for sublimity,
beauty, and marvellous effects, could compare with what I gazed on
that evening from Choonjerma pass. In some of Turner's pictures I
have recognized similar effects, caught and fixed by a marvellous
effort of genius; such are the fleeting hues over the ice, in his
"Whalers," and the ruddy fire in his "Wind, Steam, and Rain," which
one almost fears to touch. Dissolving views give some idea of the
magic creation and dispersion of the effects, but any combination of
science and art can no more recall the scene, than it can the
feelings of awe that crept over me, during the hour I spent in
solitude amongst these stupendous mountains.

The moon guided us on our descent, which was to the south, obliquely
into the Yalloong valley. I was very uneasy about the coolies, who
were far behind, and some of them had been frost-bitten in crossing
the Kambachen pass. Still I thought the best thing was to push on,
and light large fires at the first juniper we should reach.
The change, on passing from off the snow to the dark earth and rock,
was so bewildering, that I had great difficulty in picking my way.
Suddenly we came on a flat with a small tarn, whose waters gleamed
illusively in the pale moonlight: the opposite flanks of the valley
were so well reflected on its gloomy surface, that we were at once
brought to a stand-still on its banks: it looked like a chasm, and
whether to jump across it, or go down it, or along it, was the
question, so deceptive was the spectral landscape. Its true nature
was, however, soon discovered, and we proceeded round it, descending.
Of course there was no path, and after some perplexity amongst rocks
and ravines, we reached the upper limit of wood, and halted by some
bleached juniper-trees, which were soon converted into blazing fires.

I wandered away from my party to listen for the voices of the men who
had lingered behind, about whom I was still more anxious, from the
very great difficulty they would encounter if, as we did, they should
get off the path. The moon was shining clearly in the black heavens;
and its bright light, with the pale glare of the surrounding snow,
obscured the milky way, and all the smaller stars; whilst the planets
appeared to glow with broader orbs than elsewhere, and the great
stars flashed steadily and periodically.

Deep black chasms seemed to yawn below, and cliffs rose on all sides,
except down the valley, where looking across the Yalloong river, a
steep range of mountains rose, seamed with torrents that were just
visible like threads of silver coursing down broad landslips. It was
a dead calm, and nothing broke the awful silence but the low hoarse
murmur of many torrents, whose mingled voices rose and fell as if
with the pulsations of the atmosphere; the undulations of which
appeared thus to be marked by the ear alone. Sometimes it was the
faintest possible murmur, and then it rose swelling and filling the
air with sound: the effect was that of being raised from the earth's
surface, and again lowered to it; or that of waters advancing and
retiring. In such scenes and with such accompaniments, the mind
wanders from the real to the ideal, the larger and brighter lamps of
heaven lead us to imagine that we have risen from the surface of our
globe and are floating through the regions of space, and that the
ceaseless murmur of the waters is the Music of the Spheres.

Contemplation amid such soothing sounds and impressive scenes is very
seductive, and withal very dangerous, for the temperature was at
freezing-point, my feet and legs were wet through, and it was well
that I was soon roused from my reveries by the monosyllabic
exclamations of my coolies. They were quite knocked up, and came
along grunting, and halting every minute to rest, by supporting their
loads, still hanging to their backs, on their stout staves. I had
still one bottle of brandy left, with which to splice the main brace.
It had been repeatedly begged for in vain, and being no longer
expected, was received with unfeigned joy. Fortunately with these
people a little spirits goes a long way, and I kept half for
future emergencies.

We camped at 13,290 feet, the air was calm and mild to the feeling,
though the temperature fell to 22.75 degrees. On the following
morning we saw two musk-deer,* [There are two species of musk-deer in
the Himalaya, besides the Tibetan kind, which appears identical with
the Siberian animal originally described by Pallas.] called
"Kosturah" by the mountaineers. The musk, which hangs in a pouch near
the navel of the male, is the well-known object of traffic with
Bengal. This creature ranges between 8000 and 13,000 feet, on the
Himalaya, often scenting the air for many hundred yards. It is a
pretty grey animal, the size of a roebuck, and something resembling
it, with coarse fur, short horns, and two projecting teeth from the
upper jaw, said to be used in rooting up the aromatic herbs from
which the Bhoteeas believe that it derives the odour of musk. This I
much doubt, because the animal never frequents those very lofty
regions where the herbs supposed to provide the scent are found, nor
have I ever seen signs of any having been so rooted up.
The _Delphinium glaciale_ smells strongly and disagreeably of musk,
but it is one of the most alpine plants in the world, growing at an
elevation of 17,000 feet, far above the limits of the Kosturah.
The female and young male are very good eating, much better than any
Indian venison I ever tasted, being sweet and tender. Mr. Hodgson
once kept a female alive, but it was very wild, and continued so as
long as I knew it. Two of my Lepchas gave chase to these animals, and
fired many arrows in vain after them: these people are fond of
carrying a bow, but are very poor shots.

We descended 3000 feet to the deep valley of the Yalloong river which
runs west-by-south to the Tambur, from between Junnoo and Kubra: the
path was very bad, over quartz, granite, and gneiss, which cut the
shoes and feet severely. The bottom of the valley, which is elevated
10,450 feet, was filled with an immense accumulation of angular
gravel and debris of the above rocks, forming on both sides of the
river a terrace 400 feet above the stream, which flowed in a furious
torrent. The path led over this deposit for a good many miles, and
varied exceedingly in height, in some places being evidently
increased by landslips, and at others apparently by moraines.

Illustration--TIBETAN CHARM-BOX.


Yalloong valley -- Fiud Kanglanamo pass closed -- Change route for
the southward -- _Picrorhiza_ -- View of Kubra -- _Rhododendron
Falconeri_ -- Yalloong river -- Junction of gneiss and clay-slate --
Cross Yalloong range -- View -- Descent -- Yew -- Vegetation -- Misty
weather -- Tongdam village -- Khabang -- Tropical vegetation --
Sidingbah Mountain -- View of Kinchinjunga -- Yangyading village --
Slopes of hills, and courses of rivers -- Khabili valley -- (Ghorkha
Havildar's bad conduct -- Ascend Singalelah -- Plague of ticks --
Short commons -- Cross Islumbo pass -- Boundary of Sikkim -- Kulhait
valley -- Lingeham -- Reception by Kajee -- Hear of Dr. Campbell's
going to meet Rajah -- Views in valley -- Leave for Teesta river --
Tipsy Kajee -- Hospitality -- Murwa beer -- Temples -- _Acorus
Calamus_ -- Long Mendong -- Burning of dead -- Superstitions -- Cross
Great Rungeet -- Boulders, origin of -- Purchase of a dog -- Marshes
-- Lamas -- Dismiss Ghorkhas -- Bhoteea house -- Murwa beer.

On arriving at the bottom we found a party who were travelling with
sheep laden with salt; they told us that the Yalloong village, which
lay up the valley on the route to the Kanglanamo pass (leading over
the south shoulder of Kubra into Sikkim) was deserted, the
inhabitants having retired after the October fall of snow to
Yankutang, two marches down; also that the Kanglanamo pass was
impracticable, being always blocked up by the October fall. I was,
therefore, reluctantly obliged to abandon the plan of pursuing that
route to Sikkim, and to go south, following the west flank of
Singalelah to the first of the many passes over it which I might
find open.

These people were very civil, and gave me a handful of the root of
one of the many bitter herbs called in Bengal "Teeta," and used as a
febrifuge: the present was that of _Picrorhiza,_ a plant allied to
Speedwell, which grows at from 12,000 to 15,000 feet elevation, and
is a powerful bitter, called "Hoonling" by the Tibetans. They had
with them above 100 sheep, of a tall, long-legged, Roman-nosed breed.
Each carried upwards of forty pounds of salt, done up in two leather
bags, slung on either side, and secured by a band going over the
chest, and another round the loins, so that they cannot slip off,
when going up or down hill. These sheep are very tame, patient
creatures, travelling twelve miles a day with great ease, and being
indifferent to rocky or steep ground.

Looking east I had a splendid view of the broad snowy mass of Kubra,
blocking up, as it were, the head of the valley with a white screen.
Descending to about 10,000 feet, the _Abies Brunoniana_ appeared,
with fine trees of _Rhododendron Falconeri_ forty feet high, and with
leaves nineteen inches long! while the upper part of the valley was
full of _Abies Webbiana._

At the elevation of 9000 feet, we crossed to the east bank, and
passed the junction of the gneiss and mica slate: the latter crossed
the river, striking north-west, and the stream cut a dark chasm-like
channel through it, foaming and dashing the spray over the splintered
ridges, and the broad water-worn hog-backed masses that projected
from its bed. Immense veins of granite permeated the rocks, which
were crumpled in the strangest manner: isolated angular blocks of
schist had been taken up by the granite in a fluid state, and
remained imbedded in it.

The road made great ascents to avoid landslips, and to surmount the
enormous piles of debris which encumber this valley more than any
other. We encamped at 10,050 feet, on a little flat 1000 feet above
the bed of the  river, and on its east flank. A _Hydrangea_ was the
common small wood, but _Abies Webbiana_ formed the forest, with great
Rhododendrons. The weather was foggy, whence I judged that we were in
the sea of mist I saw beneath me from the passes; the temperature,
considering the elevation, was mild, 37 degrees and 38 degrees, which
was partly due to the evolution of heat that accompanies the
condensation of these vapours, the atmosphere being loaded with
moisture. The thermometer fell to 28 degrees during the night, and in
the morning the ground was thickly covered with hoar-frost.

_December 7.--We ascended the Yalloong ridge to a saddle 11,000 feet
elevation, whence the road dips south to the gloomy gorges of the
eastern feeders of the Tambur. Here we bade adieu to the grand alpine
scenery, and for several days our course lay in Nepal in a southerly
direction, parallel to Singalelah, and crossing every spur and river
sent off by that mighty range. The latter flow towards the Tambur,
and their beds, for forty or fifty miles are elevated about 3000 or
4000 feet. Few of the spurs are ascended above 5000 feet, but all of
them rise to 12,000 or 14,000 feet to the westward, where they join
the Singalelah range.

I clambered to the top of a lofty hummock, through a dense thicket of
interwoven Rhododendron bushes, the clayey soil under which was
slippery from the quantity of dead leaves. I had hoped for a view of
the top of Kinchinjunga, which bore north-east, but it was enveloped
in clouds, as were all the snows in that direction; to the
north-west, however, I obtained bearings of the principal peaks,
etc., of the Yangma and Kambachen valleys. To the south and
south-east, lofty, rugged and pine-clad mountains rose in confused
masses, and white sheets of  mist came driving up, clinging to the
mountain-tops, and shrouding the landscape with extreme rapidity.
The remarkable mountain of Sidingbah bore south-south-east, raising
its rounded head above the clouds. I could, however, procure no
other good bearing.

The descent from the Yalloong ridge to the Khabili feeders of the
Tambur was very steep, and in some places almost precipitous, first
through dense woods of silver fir, with _Rhod. Falconeri_ and
_Hodgsoni,_ then through _Abies Brunoniana,_ with yew (now covered
with red berries) to the region of Magnolias and _Rhod. arboreum_ and
_barbatum._ One bush of the former was in flower, making a gorgeous
show. Here also appeared the great oak with lamellated acorns, which
I had not seen in the drier valleys to the westward; with many other
Dorjiling trees and shrubs. A heavy mist clung to the rank luxuriant
foliage, tantalizing from its obscuring all the view. Mica schist
replaced the gneiss, and a thick slippery stratum of clay rendered it
very difficult to keep one's footing. After so many days of bright
sunshine and dry weather, I found this quiet, damp, foggy atmosphere
to have a most depressing effect: there was little to interest in the
meteorology, the atmospheric fluctuations being far too small;
geographical discovery was at an end, and we groped our way along
devious paths in wooded valleys, or ascended spurs and ridges, always
clouded before noon, and clothed with heavy forest.

At 6000 feet we emerged from the mist, and found ourselves clambering
down a deep gully, hemmed in by frightful rocky steeps, which exposed
a fine and tolerably continuous section of schistose rocks, striking
north-west, and dipping north-east, at a very high angle.

At the bottom three furious torrents met: we descended  the course of
one of them, over slanting precipices, or trees lashed to the rocks,
and after a most winding course our path conducted us to the village
of Tarbu, high above a feeder of the Khabili river, which flows west,
joining the Tambur three days' march lower down. Having no food, we
had made a very long and difficult march to this place, but finding
none here, proceeded on to Tonghem village on the Khabili, descending
through thickets of _Rhod. arboreum_ to the elevation of 5,560.

This village, or spur, called "Tonghem" by the Limboos, and
"Yankutang" by the Bhoteeas, is the winter resort of the inhabitants
of the upper Yalloong valley: they received us very kindly, sold us
two fowls, and rice enough to last for one or two days, which was all
they could spare, and gave me a good deal of information. I found
that the Kanglanamo pass had been disused since the Nepal war, that
it was very lofty, and always closed in October.

The night was fine, clear, and warm, but the radiation so powerful
that the grass was coated with ice the following morning, though the
thermometer did not fall below 33 degrees. The next day the sun rose
with great power, and the vegetation reeked and steamed with the
heat. Crossing the river, we first made a considerable descent, and
then ascended a ridge to 5,750 feet, through a thick jungle of
_Camellia, Eurya,_ and small oak: from the top I obtained bearings of
Yalloong and Choonjerma pass, and had also glimpses of the Kinchin
range through a tantalizing jungle; after which a very winding and
fatiguing up-and-down march southwards brought us to the village of
Khabang, in the magnificent valley of the Tawa, about 800 feet above
the river, and 5,500 feet above the sea.

I halted here for a day, to refresh the people, and if possible to
obtain some food. I hoped, too, to find a pass  into Sikkim, east
over Singalelah, but was disappointed: if there had ever been one, it
had been closed since the Nepal war; and there was none, for several
marches further south, which would conduct us to the Iwa branch of
the Khabili.

Khabang is a village of Geroongs, or shepherds, who pasture their
flocks on the hills and higher valleys during summer, and bring them
down to this elevation in winter: the ground was consequently
infested with a tick, equal in size to that so common in the bushes,
and quite as troublesome, but of a different species.

The temperature rose to 72 degrees, and the black-bulb thermometer to
140 degrees. Magnolias and various almost tropical trees were common,
and the herbaceous vegetation was that of low elevations.
Large sugar-cane (_Saccharum_), palm (_Wallichia_), and wild
plantains grew near the river, and _Rhod. arboreum_ was very common
on dry slopes of mica-slate rocks, with the gorgeous and
sweet-scented _Luculia gratissima._

Up the valley of the Tawa the view was very grand of a magnificent
rocky mountain called Sidingbah, bearing south-east by south, on a
spur of the Singalelah range that runs westerly, and forms the south
flank of the Tawa, and the north of the Khabili valleys.
This mountain is fully 12,000 feet high, crested with rock and ragged
black forest, which, on the north flank, extends to its base: to the
eastward, the bare ridges of Singalelah were patched with snow, below
which they too were clothed with black pines.

From the opposite side of the Tawa to Khabang (alt. 6,020 feet), I
was, during our march southwards, most fortunate in obtaining a
splendid view of Kinchinjunga (bearing north-east by north), with its
associates, rising over the dark mass of Singalelah, its flanks
showing like tier above tier of green glaciers: its distance was
fully  twenty-five miles, and as only about 7000 feet or 8000 feet
from its summit were visible, and Kubra was foreshortened against it,
its appearance was not grand; added to which, its top was round and
hummocky, not broken into peaks, as when seen from the south and
east. Villages and cultivation became more frequent as we proceeded
southward, and our daily marches were up ridges, and down into deep
valleys, with feeders from the flanks of Sidingbah to the Tambur.
We passed through the village of Tchonboong, and camped at Yangyading
(4,100 feet), sighted Yamroop, a large village and military post to
the west of our route, crossed the Pangwa river, and reached the
valley of the Khabili. During this part of the journey, I did not
once see the Tambur river, though I was day after day marching only
seven to ten miles distant from it, so uneven is the country.
The mountains around Taptiatok, Mywa Guola, and Chingtam, were
pointed out to me, but they presented no recognizable feature.

I often looked for some slope, or strike of the slopes of the spurs,
in any one valley, or that should prevail through several, but could
seldom trace any, except on one or two occasions, at low elevations.
Looking here across the valleys, there was a tendency in the gentle
slopes of the spurs to have plane faces dipping north-east, and to be
bounded by a line of cliffs striking north-west, and facing the
south-east. In such arrangements, the upheaved cliffs may be supposed
to represent parallel lines of faults, dislocation, or rupture, but I
could never trace any secondary valleys at right angles to these.
There is no such uniformity of strike as to give to the rivers a
zig-zag course of any regularity, or one having any apparent
dependence on a prevailing arrangement of the rocks; for, though the
strike of the chlorite and clay-slate at elevations below 6000 feet
along its course, is certainly north-west, with a dip to north-east,
the flexures of the river, as projected on the map, deviate very
widely from these directions.

The valley of the Khabili is very grand, broad, open, and intersected
by many streams and cultivated spurs: the road from Yamroop to
Sikkim, once well frequented, runs up its north flank, and though it
was long closed we determined to follow and clear it.

On the 11th of December we camped near the village of Sablakoo (4,680
feet), and procured five days' food, to last us as far as the first
Sikkim village. Thence we proceeded eastward up the valley, but
descending to the Iwa, an affluent of the Khabili, through a tropical
vegetation of _Pinus longifolia, Phyllanthus Emblica,_ dwarf
date-palm, etc.  Gneiss was here the prevailing rock, uniformly
dipping north-east 20 degrees, and striking north-west. The same rock
no doubt forms the mass Sidingbah, which reared its head 8000 feet
above the Iwa river, by whose bed we camped at 3,780 feet. Sand-flies
abounded, and were most troublesome: troops of large monkeys were
skipping about, and the whole scene was thoroughly tropical; still,
the thermometer fell to 38 degrees in the night, with heavy dew.

Though we passed numerous villages, I found unusual difficulty in
getting provision, and received none of the presents so uniformly
brought by the villagers to a stranger. I was not long in
discovering, to my great mortification, that these were appropriated
by the Ghorkha Havildar, who seemed to have profited by our many days
of short allowance, and diverted the current of hospitality from me
to himself. His coolies I saw groaning under heavy burdens, when
those of my people were light; and the truth only came out when he
had the impudence to attempt to impose a part of his coolies' loads
on mine, to enable the former to  carry more food, whilst he was
pretending that he used every exertion to procure me a scanty supply
of rice with my limited stock of money. I had treated this man and
his soldiers with the utmost kindness, even nursing them and clothing
them from my own stock of flannels, when sick and shivering amongst
the snows. Though a high caste Hindoo, and one who assumed Brahmin
rank, he had, I found, no objection to eat forbidden things in
secret; and now that we were travelling amongst Hindoos, his caste
obtained him everything, while money alone availed me. I took him
roundly to task for his treachery, which caused him secretly to throw
away a leg of mutton he had concealed; I also threatened to expose
the humbug of his pretension to caste, but it was then too late to
procure more food. Having hitherto much liked this man, and fully
trusted him, I was greatly pained by his conduct.

We proceeded east for three days, up the valley, through gloomy
forests of tropical trees below 5000 feet; and ascended to oaks and
magnolias at 6000 feet. The path was soon obstructed, and we had to
tear and cut our way, from 6000 to 10,000 feet, which took two days'
very hard work. Ticks swarmed in the small bamboo jungle, and my body
was covered with these loathsome insects, which got into my bed and
hair, and even attached themselves to my eyelids during the night,
when the constant annoyance and irritation completely banished sleep.
In the daytime they penetrated my trousers, piercing to my body in
many places, so that I repeatedly took off as many as twelve at one
time. It is indeed marvellous how so large an insect can painlessly
insert a stout barbed proboscis, which requires great force to
extract it, and causes severe smarting in the operation. What the
ticks feed upon in these humid forests is a perfect mystery to me,
for from  6000 to 9000 feet they literally swarmed, where there was
neither path nor animal life. They were, however, more tolerable than
a commoner species of parasite, which I found it impossible to escape
from, all classes of mountaineers being infested with it.

On the 14th, after an arduous ascent through the pathless jungle, we
camped at 9,300 feet on a narrow spur, in a dense forest, amongst
immense loose blocks of gneiss. The weather was foggy and rainy, and
the wind cold. I ate the last supply of animal food, a miserable
starved pullet, with rice and Chili vinegar; my tea, sugar, and all
other superfluities having been long before exhausted.

On the following morning, we crossed the Islumbo pass over Singalelah
into Sikkim, the elevation being 11,000 feet. Above our camp the
trees were few and stunted, and we quickly emerged from the forest on
a rocky and grassy ridge, covered with withered _Saxifrages,
Umbelliferae, Parnassia, Hypericum,_ etc. There were no pines on
either side of the pass; a very remarkable peculiarity of the damp
mountains of Sikkim, which I have elsewhere had occasion to notice:
we had left _Pinus longifolia_ (a far from common tree in these
valleys) at 3000 feet in the Tawa three days before, and ascended to
11,000 feet without passing a coniferous tree of any kind, except a
few yews, at 9000 feet, covered with red berries.

The top of the pass was broad, grassy, and bushy with dwarf Bamboo,
Rose, and Berberry, in great abundance, covered with mosses and
lichens: it had been raining hard all the morning, and the vegetation
was coated with ice: a dense fog obscured everything, and a violent
south-east wind blew over the pass in our teeth. I collected some
very curious and beautiful mosses, putting these frozen treasures
into my box, in the form of  exquisitely beautiful glass ornaments,
or mosses frosted with silver.

A few stones marked the boundary between Nepal and Sikkim, where I
halted for half an hour, and hung up my instruments: the temperature
was 32 degrees.

We descended rapidly, proceeding eastward down the broad valley of
the Kulhait river, an affluent of the Great Rungeet; and as it had
begun to sleet and snow hard, we continued until we reached 6,400
feet before camping.

On the following day we proceeded down the valley, and reached
habitations at 4000 feet: passing many villages and much cultivation,
we crossed the river, and ascended by 7 p.m., to the village of
Lingcham, just below the convent of Changachelling, very tired and
hungry. Bad weather had set in, and it was pitch dark and raining
hard when we arrived; but the Kajee, or head man, had sent out a
party with torches to conduct us, and he gave us a most hospitable
reception, honoured us with a salute of musketry, and brought
abundance of milk, eggs, fowls, plantains, and Murwa beer. Plenty of
news was awaiting me here, and a messenger with letters was three
marches further north, at Yoksun, waiting my expected return over the
Kanglanamo pass. Dr. Campbell, I was told, had left Dorjiling; and
was _en route_ to meet the Rajah at Bhomsong on the Teesta river,
where no European had ever yet been; and as the Sikkim authorities
had for sixteen years steadily rejected every overture for a friendly
interview, and even refused to allow the agent of the
Governor-General to enter their dominions, it was evident that grave
doings were pending. I knew that Dr. Campbell had long used every
exertion to bring the Sikkim Rajah to a friendly conference, without
having to force his way into the country for the purpose, but in
vain. It will hardly  be believed that though this chief's dominions
were redeemed by us from the Nepalese and given back to him; though
we had bound ourselves by a treaty to support him on his throne, and
to defend him against the Nepalese on the west, the Bhutan people on
the east, and the Tibetans on the north; and though the terms of the
treaty stipulated for free intercourse, mutual protection, and
friendship; the Sikkim authorities had hitherto been allowed to
obstruct all intercourse, and in every way to treat the
Governor-General's agent and the East India Company with contempt.
An affectation of timidity, mistrust, and ignorance was assumed for
the purpose of deception, and as a cloak for every insult and
resistance to the terms of our treaty, and it was quoted by the
Government in answer to every remonstrance on the part of their
resident agent at Dorjiling.

On the following morning the Kajee waited on me with a magnificent
present of a calf, a kid, fowls, eggs, rice, oranges, plantains,
egg-apples, Indian corn, yams, onions, tomatos, parsley, fennel,
turmeric, rancid butter, milk, and, lastly, a coolie-load of
fermenting millet-seeds, wherewith to make the favourite Murwa beer.
In the evening two lads arrived from Dorjiling, who had been sent a
week beforehand by my kind and thoughtful friend, Mr. Hodgson, with
provisions and money.

The valley of the Kulhait is one o£ the finest in Sikkim, and it is
accordingly the site of two of the oldest and richest conventual
establishments. Its length is sixteen miles, from the Islumbo pass to
the Great Rungeet, for ten of which it is inhabited, the villages
being invariably on long meridional spurs that project north and
south from either flank; they are about 2000 feet above the river,
and from 4,500 to 5000 feet above the sea. Except where these spurs
project, the flanks of the valley are very steep, the mountains
rising to 7000 or 8000 feet.

Looking from any spur, up or down the valley, five or six others
might be seen on each side of the river, at very nearly the same
average level, all presenting great uniformity of contour, namely, a
gentle slope towards the centre of the valley, and then an abrupt
descent to the river. They were about a quarter of a mile broad at
the widest, and often narrower, and a mile or so long; some parts of
their surfaces and sides were quite flat, and occasionally occupied
by marshes or ponds. Cultivation is almost confined to these spurs,
and is carried on both on their summits and steep flanks; between
every two is a very steep gulley and water-course. The timber has
long since been either wholly or partially cleared from the tops,
but, to a great extent, still clothes their flanks and the
intervening gorges. I have been particular in describing these spurs,
because it is impossible to survey them without ascribing their
comparative uniformity of level to the action of water. Similar ones
are characteristic features of the valleys of Sikkim between 2000 and
8000 feet, and are rendered conspicuous by being always sites for
villages and cultivation: the soil is a vegetable mould, over a deep
stratum of red clay.

I am far from supposing that any geologically recent action of the
sea has levelled these spurs; but as the great chain of the Himalaya
has risen from the ocean, and as every part of it has been subjected
to sea-action, it is quite conceivable that intervals of rest during
the periods of elevation or submergence would effect their levelling.
In a mountain mass so tumbled as is that of Sikkim, any level
surface, or approach to it, demands study; and when, as in the
Kulhait valley, we find several similar spurs with comparatively flat
tops, to occupy about the same level, it  is necessary to look for
some levelling cause. The action of denudation is still progressing
with astonishing rapidity, under an annual fall of from 100 to 150
inches of rain; but its tendency is to obliterate all such phenomena,
and to give sharp, rugged outlines to these spurs, in spite of the
conservative effects of vegetation.

The weather at Lingcham was gloomy, cold, and damp, with much rain
and fog, and the mean temperature (45.25 degrees) was cold for the
elevation (4,860 feet): 52.5 degrees was the highest temperature
observed, and 39 degrees the lowest.

A letter from Dr. Campbell reached me three days after my arrival,
begging me to cross the country to the Teesta river, and meet him at
Bhomsong, on its west bank, where he was awaiting my arrival.
I therefore left on the 20th of December, accompanied by my friend
the Kajee, who was going to pay his respects to the Rajah. He was
constantly followed by a lad, carrying a bamboo of Murwa beer slung
round his neck, with which he kept himself always groggy. His dress
was thoroughly Lepcha, and highly picturesque, consisting of a very
broad-brimmed round-crowned bamboo-platted hat, scarlet jacket, and
blue-striped cloth shirt, bare feet, long knife, bow and quiver,
rings and earrings, and a long pigtail. He spoke no Hindoostanee, but
was very communicative through my interpreters.

Leaving the Lingcham spur, we passed steep cliffs of mica and schist,
covered with brushwood and long grass, about 1000 feet above which
the Changachelling convent is perched. Crossing a torrent, we came to
the next village, on the spur of Kurziuk, where I was met by a
deputation of women, sent by the Lamas of Changachelling, bearing
enormous loads of oranges, rice, milk, butter, ghee, and the
everflowing Murwa beer.

The villagers had erected a shady bower for me to rest under, of
leaves and branches, and had fitted up a little bamboo stage, on
which to squat cross-legged as they do, or to hang my legs from, if I
preferred: after conducting me to this, the parties advanced and
piled their cumbrous presents on the ground, bowed, and retired; they
were succeeded by the beer-carrier, who plunged a clean drinking-tube
to the bottom of the steaming bamboo jug (described in Chapter VII),
and held it to my mouth, then placing it by my side, he bowed and
withdrew. Nothing can be more fascinating than the simple manners of
these kind people, who really love hospitality for its own sake, and
make the stranger feel himself welcome. Just now too, the Durbar had
ordered every attention to be paid me; and I hardly passed a village
however small, without receiving a present, or a cottage, where beer
was not offered. This I found a most grateful beverage; and of the
occasional rests under leafy screens during a hot day's march, and
sips at the bamboo jug, I shall ever retain a grateful remembrance.
Happily the liquor is very weak, and except by swilling, as my friend
the Kajee did, it would be impossible to get fuddled by it.

At Kurziuk I was met by a most respectable Lepcha, who, as a sort of
compliment, sent his son to escort us to the next village and spur of
Pemiongchi, to reach which we crossed another gorge, of which the
situation and features were quite similar to those of Kurziuk
and Lingcham.

The Pemiongchi and Changachelling convents and temples stand a few
miles apart, on the ridge forming the north flank of the Kulhait
valley; and as they will be described hereafter, I now only allude to
the village, which is fully 1000 feet below the convent, and large
and populous.

At Pemiongchi a superior Lama met me with another  overwhelming
present: he was a most jolly fat monk, shaven and girdled, and
dressed in a scarlet gown: my Lepchas kotowed to him, and he blessed
them by the laying on of hands.


There is a marsh on this spur, full of the common English _Acorus
Calamus,_ or sweet-flag, whose roots being very aromatic, are used in
griping disorders of men and cattle. Hence we descended suddenly to
the Great Rungeet, which we reached at its junction with the Kulhait:
the path was very steep and slippery, owing to micaceous rocks, and
led along the side of an enormous Mendong,* [This remarkable
structure, called the Kaysing Mendong, is 200 yards long, 10 feet
high, and 6 or 8 feet broad: it is built of flat, slaty stones, and
both faces are covered with inscribed slates, of which there are
upwards of 700, and the inscriptions, chiefly "Om Mani," etc., are in
both the Uchen and Lencha Ranja characters of Tibet. A tall stone,
nine feet high, covered also with inscriptions, terminates it at the
lower end.] which ran  down the hill for several hundred yards, and
had a large chait at each end, with several smaller ones at
intervals. Throughout its length were innumerable inscriptions of "Om
Mani Padmi om," with well carved figures of Boodh in his many
incarnations, besides Lamas, etc. At the lower end was a great flat
area, on which are burnt the bodies of Sikkim people of consequence:
the poorer people are buried, the richer burned, and their ashes
scattered or interred, but not in graves proper, of which there are
none. Nor are there any signs of Lepcha interment throughout Sikkim;
though chaits are erected to the memory of the departed, they have no
necessary connection with the remains, and generally none at all.
Corpses in Sikkim are never cut to pieces and thrown into lakes, or
exposed on hills for the kites and crows to devour, as is the case
in Tibet.

We passed some curious masses of crumpled chlorite slate, presenting
deep canals or furrows, along which a demon once drained all the
water from the Pemiongchi spur, to the great annoyance of the
villagers: the Lamas, however, on choosing this as a site for their
temples, easily confounded the machinations of the evil spirit, who,
in the eyes of the simple Lepchas, was answerable for all
the mischief.

I crossed the Great Rungeet at 1840 feet above the sea, where its bed
was twenty yards in width; a rude bridge, composed of two culms of
bamboo and a handrail, conducted me to the other side, where we
camped (on the east bank) in a thick tropical jungle. In the evening
 I walked down the banks of the river, which flowed in a deep gorge,
cumbered with enormous boulders of granite, clay-slate, and
mica-slate; the rocks _in situ_ were all of the latter description,
highly inclined, and much dislocated. Some of the boulders were fully
ten feet in diameter, permeated and altered very much by granite
veins which had evidently been injected when molten, and had taken up
angular masses of the chlorite which remained, as it were, suspended
in the veins.

It is not so easy to account for the present position of these blocks
of granite, a rock not common at elevations below 10,000 feet.
They have been transported from a considerable distance in the
interior of the lofty valley to the north, and have descended not
less than 8000 feet, and travelled fully fifteen miles in a straight
line, or perhaps forty along the river bed. It may be supposed that
moraines have transported them to 8000 feet (the lowest limit of
apparent moraines), and the power of river water carried them
further; if so, the rivers must have been of much greater volume
formerly than they are now.

Our camp was on a gravel flat, like those of the Nepal valleys, about
sixty feet above the river; its temperature was 52 degrees, which
felt cool when bathing.

From the river we proceeded west, following a steep and clayey ascent
up the end of a very long spur, from the lofty mountain range called
Mungbreu, dividing the Great Rungeet from the Teesta. We ascended by
a narrow path, accomplishing 2,500 feet in an hour and a quarter,
walking slowly but steadily, without resting; this I always found a
heavy pull in a hot climate.

At about 4000 feet above the sea, the spur became more open and flat,
like those of the Kulhait valley, with alternate slopes and
comparative flats: from this elevation the  view north, south, and
west, was very fine; below us flowed the river, and a few miles up it
was the conical wooded hill of Tassiding, rising abruptly from a fork
of the deep river gorge, crowned with its curious temples and
mendongs, and bristling with chaits: on it is the oldest monastery in
Sikkim, occupying a singularly picturesque and prominent position.
North of this spur, and similar to it, lay that of Raklang, with the
temple and monastery of the same name, at about this elevation.
In front, looking west, across the Great Rungeet, were the
monasteries of Changachelling and Pemiongchi, perched aloft; and
south of these were the flat-topped spurs of the Kulhait valley, with
their villages, and the great mendong which I had passed on the
previous day, running like a white line down the spur. To the north,
beyond Tassiding, were two other monasteries, Doobdee and Sunnook,
both apparently placed on the lower wooded flanks of Kinchinjunga;
whilst close by was Dholing, the seventh religious establishment now
in sight.

We halted at a good wooden house to refresh ourselves with Murwa
beer, where I saw a woman with cancer in the face, an uncommon
complaint in this country. I here bought a little black puppy, to be
my future companion in Sikkim: he was of a breed between the famous
Tibet mastiff and the common Sikkim hunting-dog, which is a variety
of the sorry race called Pariah in the plains. Being only a few weeks
old, he looked a mere bundle of black fur; and I carried him off, for
he could not walk.

We camped at the village of Lingdam (alt. 5,550 feet), occupying a
flat, and surrounded by extensive pools of water (for this country)
containing _Acorus, Potamogeton,_ and duckweed. Such ponds I have
often met with on these terraces, and they are very remarkable, not
being dammed in by any conspicuous barrier, but simply occupying
depressions in the surface, from which, as I have repeatedly
observed, the land dips rapidly to the valleys below.

This being the high-road from Tumloong or Sikkim Durbar (the capital,
and Rajah's residence) to the numerous monasteries which I had seen,
we passed many Lamas and monks on their way home from Tumloong, where
they had gone to be present at the marriage of the Tupgain Lama, the
eldest son of the Rajah. A dispensation having previously been
procured from Lhassa, this marriage had been effected by the Lamas,
in order to counteract the efforts of the Dewan, who sought to
exercise an undue influence over the Rajah and his family.
The Tupgain Lama having only spiritual authority, and being bound to
celibacy, the temporal authority devolved on the second son, who was
heir apparent of Sikkim; he, however, having died, an illegitimate
son of the Rajah was favoured by the Dewan as heir apparent.
The bride was brought from Tibet, and the marriage party were feasted
for eighteen days at the Rajah's expense. All the Lamas whom I met
were clad in red robes, with girdles, and were shaven, with bare feet
and heads, or mitred; they wore rosaries of onyx, turquoise, quartz,
lapis lazuli, coral, glass, amber, or wood, especially yellow
berberry and sandal-wood: some had staves, and one a trident like an
eel-fork, on a long staff, an emblem of the Hindoo Trinity, called
Trisool Mahadeo, which represents Brahma, Siva, and Vishnu, in
Hindoo; and Boodh, Dhurma, and Sunga, in Boodhist theology. All were
on foot, indeed ponies are seldom used in this country; the Lamas,
however, walked with becoming gravity and indifference to all
around them.

The Kajee waited upon me in the evening; full of importance, having
just received a letter from his Rajah, which he wished to communicate
to me in private; so I accompanied him to a house close by, where he
was a guest, when the  secret came out, that his highness was
dreadfully alarmed at my coming with the two Ghorka Sepoys, whom I
accordingly dismissed.

The house was of the usual Bhoteea form, of wood, well built on
posts, one-storied, containing a single apartment hung round with
bows, quivers, shields, baskets of rice, and cornucopias of Indian
corn, the handsomest and most generous looking of all the Cerealia.
The whole party were deep in a carouse on Murwa beer, and I saw the
operation of making it. The millet-seed is moistened, and ferments
for two days: sufficient for a day's allowance is then put into a
vessel of wicker-work, lined with India-rubber to make it
water-tight; and boiling water is poured on it with a ladle of gourd,
from a huge iron cauldron that stands all day over the fire.
The fluid, when quite fresh, tastes like negus of Cape sherry, rather
sour. At this season the whole population are swilling, whether at
home or travelling, and heaps of the red-brown husks are seen by the
side of all the paths.



Raklang pass -- Uses of nettles -- Edible plants -- Lepcha war --
Do-mani stone -- Neongong -- Teesta valley -- Pony, saddle, etc. --
Meet Campbell -- Vegetation and scenery -- Presents -- Visit of Dewan
-- Characters of Rajah and Dewan -- Accounts of Tibet -- Lhassa --
Siling -- Tricks of Dewan -- Walk up Teesta -- Audience of Rajah --
Lamas -- Kajees -- Tchebu Lama, his character and position -- Effects
of interview -- Heir-apparent -- Dewan's house -- Guitar -- Weather
-- Fall of river -- Tibet officers -- Gigantic trees -- Neongong lake
-- Mainom, ascent of -- Vegetation -- Camp on snow -- Silver fire --
View from top -- Kinchin, etc. -- Geology -- Vapours -- Sunset effect
-- Elevation -- Temperature, etc. -- Lamas of Neongong -- Temples --
Religious festival -- Bamboo, flowering -- Recross pass of Raklang --
Numerous temples, villages, etc. -- Domestic animals -- Descent to
Great Rungeet.

On the following morning, after receiving the usual presents from the
Lamas of Dholing, and from a large posse of women belonging to the
village of Barphiung, close by, we ascended the Raklang pass, which
crosses the range dividing the waters of the Teesta from those of the
Great Rungeet. The Kajee still kept beside me, and proved a lively
companion: seeing me continually plucking and noting plants, he gave
me much local information about them. He told me the uses made of the
fibres of the various nettles; some being twisted for bowstrings,
others as a thread for sewing and weaving; while many are eaten raw
and in soups, especially the numerous little succulent species.
The great yellow-flowered _Begonia_ was abundant, and he cut its
juicy stalks to make sauce (as we do apple-sauce) for some pork which
he expected to get at Bhomsong; the taste is acid and very pleasant.
The large succulent fern, called _Botrychium,_* [_Botrychium
Virginicum,_ Linn. This fern is eaten abundantly by the New
Zealanders: its distribution is most remarkable, being found very
rarely indeed in Europe, and in Norway only. It abounds in many parts
of the Southern United States, the Andes of Mexico, etc., in the
Himalaya mountains, Australia, and New Zealand.] grew here
plentifully; it is boiled and eaten, both here and in New Zealand.
Ferns are more commonly used for food than is supposed. In Calcutta
the Hindoos boil young tops of a _Polypodium_ with their shrimp
curries; and both in Sikkim and Nepal the watery tubers of an
_Aspidium_ are abundantly eaten. So also the pulp of one tree-fern
affords food, but only in times of scarcity, as does that of another
species in New Zealand (_Cyathea medullaris_): the pith of all is
composed of a coarse sago, that is to say, of cellular tissue with
starch granules.

A thick forest of Dorjiling vegetation covers the summit, which is
only 6,800 feet above the sea: it is a saddle, connecting the lofty
mountain of Mainom (alt. 11,000 feet) to the north, with Tendong
(alt. 8,663 feet) to the south. Both these mountains are on a range
which is continuous with Kinchinjunga, projecting from it down into
the very heart of Sikkim. A considerable stand was made here by the
Lepchas during the Nepal war in 1787; they defended the pass with
their arrows for some hours, and then retired towards the Teesta,
making a second stand lower down, at a place pointed out to me, where
rocks on either side gave them the same advantages. The Nepalese,
however, advanced to the Teesta, and then retired with little loss.

Unfortunately a thick mist and heavy rain cut off all view of the
Teesta valley, and the mountains of Chola to the eastward; which I
much regretted.

Descending by a very steep, slippery path, we came to a fine mass of
slaty gneiss, thirty feet long and thirteen feet high; not _in situ,_
but lying on the mountain side: on its sloping face was carved in
enormous characters, "Om Mani Padmi om"; of which letters the
top-strokes afford an uncertain footing to the enthusiast who is
willing to purchase a good metempsychosis by walking along the slope,
with his heels or toes in their cavities. A small inscription in one
corner is said to imply that this was the work of a pious monk of
Raklang; and the stone is called "Do-mani," literally, "stone of

Illustration--DO-MANI STONE.

The rocks and peaks of Mainom are said to overhang the descent here
with grandeur; but the continued rain hid everything but a curious
shivered peak, apparently of chlorite schist, which was close by, and
reflected a green colour it is of course reported to be of turquoise,
and inaccessible. Descending, the rocks became more micaceous, with
broad seams of pipe-clay, originating in decomposed beds of
felspathic gneiss: the natives used this to whitewash and mortar
their temples.

I passed the monastery of Neongong, the monks of which were building
a new temple; and came to bring me a large present. Below it is a
pretty little lake, about 100 yards across, fringed with brushwood.
We camped at the village of Nampok, 4,370 feet above the sea; all
thoroughly sodden with rain.

During the night much snow had fallen at and above 9000 feet, but the
weather cleared on the following morning, and disclosed the top of
Mainom, rising close above my camp, in a series of rugged shivered
peaks, crested with pines, which looked like statues of snow: to all
other quarters this mountain presents a very gently sloping outline.
Up the Teesta valley there was a pretty peep of snowy mountains,
bearing north 35 degrees east, of no great height.

I was met by a messenger from Dr. Campbell who told me he was waiting
breakfast; so I left my party, and, accompanied by the Kajee and
Meepo, hurried down to the valley of the Rungoon (which flows east to
the Teesta), through a fine forest of tropical trees; passing the
villages of Broom* [On the top of the ridge above Broom, a tall stone
is erected by the side of the path, covered with private marks,
indicating the height of various individuals who are accustomed to
measure themselves thus; there was but one mark above 5 feet 7
inches, and that was 6 inches higher. It turned out to be Campbell's,
who had passed a few days before, and was thus proved to top the
natives of Sikkim by a long way.] and Lingo, to the spur of that
name; where I was met by a servant of the Sikkim Dewan's, with a pony
for my use. I stared at the animal, and felt inclined to ask what he
had to do here, where it was difficult enough to walk up and down
slippery slopes, amongst boulders of rock, heavy forest, and foaming
torrents; but I was little aware of what these beasts could
accomplish. The Tartar saddle was imported from Tibet, and certainly
a curiosity; once--but a long time ago--it must have been very
handsome; it was high-peaked, covered with shagreen and silvered
ornaments, wretchedly girthed, and with great stirrups attached to
short leathers. The bridle and head-gear were much too complicated
for description; there were good leather, raw hide, hair-rope, and
scarlet worsted all brought into use; the bit was the ordinary
Asiatic one, jointed, and with two rings. I mounted on one side, and
at once rolled over, saddle and all, to the other; the pony standing
quite still. I preferred walking; but Dr. Campbell had begged of me
to use the pony, as the Dewan had procured and sent it at great
trouble: I, however, had it led till I was close to Bhomsong, when I
was hoisted into the saddle and balanced on it, with my toes in the
stirrups and my knees up to my breast; twice, on the steep descent to
the river, my saddle and I were thrown on the pony's neck; in these
awkward emergencies I was assisted by a man on each side, who
supported my weight on my elbows: they seemed well accustomed to
easing mounted ponies down hill without giving the rider the trouble
of dismounting. Thus I entered Dr. Campbell's camp at Bhomsong, to
the pride and delight of my attendants; and received a hearty welcome
from my old friend, who covered me with congratulations on the
successful issue of a journey which, at this season, and under such
difficulties and discouragements, he had hardly thought feasible.

Dr. Campbell's tent was pitched in an orange-grove, occupying a flat
on the west bank of the Teesta, close to a small enclosure of
pine-apples, with a pomegranate tree in the middle. The valley is
very narrow, and the vegetation wholly tropical, consisting of two
species of oak, several palms, rattan-cane (screw-pine), _Pandanus,_
tall grasses, and all the natives of dense hot jungles. The river is
a grand feature, broad, rocky, deep, swift, and broken by enormous
boulders of rock; its waters were of a pale opal green, probably from
the materials of the soft micaceous rocks through which it flows.

A cane bridge crosses it,* [Whence the name of Bhomsong Samdong, the
latter word meaning bridge.] but had been cut away (in feigned
distrust of us), and the long canes were streaming from their
attachments on either shore down the stream, and a triangular raft
of bamboo was plying instead, drawn to and fro by means of a
strong cane.

Soon after arriving I received a present from the Rajah, consisting
of a brick of Tibet tea, eighty pounds of rancid yak butter, in large
squares, done up in yak-hair cloth, three loads of rice, and one of
Murwa for beer; rolls of bread,* [These rolls, or rather, sticks of
bread, are made in Tibet, of fine wheaten flour, and keep for a long
time: they are sweet and good, but very dirtily prepared.] fowls,
eggs, dried plums, apricots, jujubes, currants, and Sultana raisins,
the latter fruits purchased at Lhassa, but imported thither from
western Tibet; also some trays of coarse milk-white crystallised
salt, as dug in Tibet.

In the evening we were visited by the Dewan, the head and front of
all our Sikkim difficulties, whose influence was paramount with the
Rajah, owing to the age and infirmities of the latter, and his
devotion to religion, which absorbed all his time and thoughts.
The Dewan was a good-looking Tibetan, very robust, fair, muscular and
well fleshed; he had a very broad Tartar face, quite free of hair; a
small and beautifully formed mouth and chin, very broad cheekbones,
and a low, contracted forehead: his manners were courteous and
polite, but evidently affected, in assumption of better breeding than
he could in reality lay claim to. The Rajah himself was a Tibetan of
just respectable extraction, a native of the Sokpo province, north of
Lhassa: his Dewan was related to one of his wives, and I believe a
Lhassan by birth as well as extraction, having probably also Kashmir
blood in him.* [The Tibetans court promiscuous intercourse between
their families and the Kashmir merchants who traverse their country.]
Though minister, he was neither financier nor politician, but a mere
plunderer of Sikkim, introducing his relations, and those whom he
calls so, into the best estates in the country, and trading in great
and small wares, from a Tibet pony to a tobacco pipe, wholesale and
retail. Neither he nor the Rajah are considered worthy of notice by
the best Tibet families or priests, or by the Chinese commissioners
settled in Lhassa and Jigatzi. The latter regard Sikkim as virtually
English, and are contented with knowing that its ruler has no army,
and with believing that its protectors, the English, could not march
an army across the Himalaya if they would.

The Dewan, trading in wares which we could supply better and cheaper,
naturally regarded us with repugnance, and did everything in his
power to thwart Dr. Campbell's attempts to open a friendly
communication between the Sikkim and English governments. The Rajah
owed everything to us, and was, I believe, really grateful; but he
was a mere cipher in the hands of his minister. The priests again,
while rejoicing in our proximity, were apathetic, and dreaded the
more active Dewan; and the people had long given evidence of their
confidence in the English. Under these circumstances it was in the
hope of gaining the Rajah's own ear, and representing to him the
advantages of promoting an intercourse with us, and the danger of
continuing to violate the terms of our treaty, that Dr. Campbell had
been authorised by government to seek an interview with His Highness.
At present our relations were singularly infelicitous. There was no
agent on the Sikkim Rajah's part to conduct business at Dorjiling,
and the Dewan insisted on sending a creature of his own, who had
before been dismissed for insolence. Malefactors who escaped into
Sikkim were protected, and our police interrupted in the discharge of
their duties; slavery was practised; and government communications
were detained for weeks and months under false pretences.

In his interviews with us the Dewan appeared to advantage: he was
fond of horses and shooting, and prided himself on his hospitality.
We gained much information from many conversations with him, during
which politics were never touched upon. Our queries naturally
referred to Tibet and its geography, especially its great feature the
Yarou Tsampoo river; this he assured us was the Burrampooter of
Assam, and that no one doubted it in that country. Lhassa he
described as a city in the bottom of a flat-floored valley,
surrounded by lofty snowy mountains: neither grapes, tea, silk, or
cotton are produced near it, but in the Tartchi province of Tibet,
one month's journey east of Lhassa, rice, and a coarse kind of tea
are both grown. Two months' journey north-east of Lhassa is Siling,
the well-known great commercial entrepot* [The entrepot is now
removed to Tang-Keou-Eul.--See Huc and Gabet.] in west China; and
there coarse silk is produced. All Tibet he described as mountainous,
and an inconceivably poor country: there are no plains, save flats in
the bottoms of the valleys, and the paths lead over lofty mountains.
Sometimes, when the inhabitants are obliged from famine to change
their habitations in winter, the old and feeble are frozen to death,
standing and resting their chins on their staves; remaining as
pillars of ice, to fall only when the thaw of the ensuing
spring commences.

We remained several days at Bhomsong, awaiting an interview with the
Rajah, whose movements the Dewan kept shrouded in mystery. On Dr.
Campbell's arrival at this river a week before, he found messengers
waiting to inform him that the Rajah would meet him here; this being
half way between Dorjiling and Tumloong. Thenceforward every
subterfuge was resorted to by the Dewan to frustrate the meeting; and
even after the arrival of the Rajah on the east bank, the Dewan
communicated with Dr. Campbell by shooting across the river arrows to
which were attached letters, containing every possible argument to
induce him to return to Dorjiling; such as that the Rajah was sick at
Tumloong, that he was gone to Tibet, that he had a religious fast and
rites to perform, etc. etc.

One day we walked up the Teesta to the Rumphiup river, a torrent from
Mainom mountain to the west; the path led amongst thick jungle of
_Wallichia_ palm, prickly rattan canes, and the _Pandanus,_ or
screw-pine, called "Borr," which has a straight, often forked,
palm-like trunk, and an immense crown of grassy saw-edged leaves four
feet long: it bears clusters of uneatable fruit as large as a man's
fist, and their similarity to the pine-apple has suggested the name
of "Borr" for the latter fruit also, which has for many years been
cultivated in Sikkim, and yields indifferent produce. Beautiful pink
balsams covered the ground, but at this season few other showy plants
were in flower: the rocks were chlorite, very soft and silvery, and
so curiously crumpled and contorted as to appear as though formed of
scaled of mica crushed together, and confusedly arranged in layers:
the strike was north-west, and dip north-east from 60 degrees to
70 degrees.

Messengers from the Dewan overtook us at the river to announce that
the Rajah was prepared and waiting to give us a reception; so we
returned, and I borrowed a coat from Dr. Campbell instead of my
tattered shooting-jacket; and we crossed the river on the
bamboo-raft. As it is the custom on these occasions to exchange
presents, I was officially supplied with some red cloth and beads:
these, as well as Dr. Campbell's present, should only have been
delivered during or after the audience; but our wily friend the Dewan
here played us a very shabby trick; for he managed that our presents
should be stealthily brought in before our appearance, thus giving to
the by-standers the impression of our being tributaries to
his Highness!

The audience chamber was a mere roofed shed of neat bamboo wattle,
about twenty feet long: two Bhoteeas in scarlet. jackets, and with
bows in their hands, stood on each side of the door, and our own
chairs were carried before us for our accommodation. Within was a
square wicker throne, six feet high, covered with purple silk,
brocaded with dragons in white and gold, and overhung by a canopy of
tattered blue silk, with which material part of the walls also was
covered. An oblong box (containing papers) with gilded dragons on it,
was placed on the stage or throne, and behind it was perched
cross-legged, an odd, black, insignificant looking old man, with
twinkling upturned eyes: he was swathed in yellow silk, and wore on
his head a pink silk hat with a flat broad crown, from all sides of
which hung floss silk. This was the Rajah, a genuine Tibetan, about
seventy years old. On some steps close by, and ranged down the
apartment, were his relations, all in brocaded silk robes reaching
from the throat to the ground, and girded about the waist; and
wearing caps similar to that of the Rajah. Kajees, counsellors, and
shaven mitred Lamas were there, to the number of twenty, all planted
with their backs to the wall, mute and motionless as statues. A few
spectators were huddled together at the lower end of the room, and a
monk waved about an incense pot containing burning juniper and other
odoriferous plants. Altogether the scene was solemn and impressive:
as Campbell well expressed it, the genius of Lamaism reigned supreme.

We saluted, but received no complimentary return; our chairs were
then placed, and we seated ourselves, when the Dewan came in, clad in
a superb purple silk robe, worked with circular gold figures, and
formally presented us. The Dewan then stood; and as the Rajah did not
understand Hindoostanee, our conversation was carried on through the
medium of a little bare-headed rosy-cheeked Lama, named "Tchebu,"
clad in a scarlet gown, who acted as interpreter. The conversation
was short and constrained: Tchebu was known as a devoted servant of
the Rajah and of the heir apparent; and in common with all the Lamas
he hates the Dewan, and desires a friendly intercourse between Sikkim
and Dorjiling. He is, further, the only servant of the Rajah capable
of conversing both in Hindoo and Tibetan, and the uneasy distrustful
look of the Dewan, who understands the latter language only, was very
evident. He was as anxious to hurry over the interview, as Dr.
Campbell and Tchebu were to protract it; it was clear, therefore,
that nothing satisfactory could be done under such auspices.

As a signal for departure white silk scarfs were thrown over our
shoulders, according to the established custom in Tibet, Sikkim, and
Bhotan; and presents were made to us of China silks, bricks of tea,
woollen cloths, yaks, ponies, and salt, with worked silk purses and
fans for Mrs. Campbell; after which we left. The whole scene was
novel and very curious. We had had no previous idea of the extreme
poverty of the Rajah, of his utter ignorance of the usages of
Oriental life, and of his not having anyone near to instruct him.
The neglect of our salutation, and the conversion of our presents
into tribute, did not arise from any ill-will: it was owing to the
craft of the Dewan in taking advantage of the Rajah's ignorance of
his own position and of good manners. Miserably poor, without any
retinue, taking no interest in what passes in his own kingdom,
subsisting on the plainest and coarsest food, passing his time in
effectually abstracting his mind from the consideration of earthly
things, and wrapt in contemplation, the Sikkim Rajah has arrived at
great sanctity, and is all but prepared for that absorption into the
essence of Boodh, which is the end and aim of all good Boodhists.
The mute conduct of his Court, who looked like attendants at an
inquisition, and the profound veneration expressed in every word and
gesture of those who did move and speak, recalled a Pekin reception.
His attendants treated him as a being of a very different nature from
themselves; and well might they do so, since they believe that he
will never die, but retire from the world only to re-appear under
some equally sainted form.

Though productive of no immediate good, our interview had a very
favourable effect on the Lamas and people, who had long wished it;
and the congratulations we received thereon during the remainder of
our stay in Sikkim were many and sincere. The Lamas we found
universally in high spirits; they having just effected the marriage
of the heir apparent, himself a Lama, said to possess much ability
and prudence, and hence being very obnoxious to the Dewan, who
vehemently opposed the marriage. As, however, the minister had
established his influence over the youngest, and estranged the Rajah
from his eldest son, and was moreover in a fair way for ruling Sikkim
himself, the Church rose in a body, procured a dispensation from
Lhassa for the marriage of a priest, and thus hoped to undermine the
influence of the violent and greedy stranger.

In the evening, we paid a farewell visit to the Dewan, whom we found
in a bamboo wicker-work hut, neatly hung with bows, arrows, and round
Lepcha shields of cane, each with a scarlet tuft of yak-hair in the
middle; there were also muskets, Tibetan arms, and much horse gear;
and at one end was a little altar, with cups, bells, pastiles, and
images. He was robed in a fawn-coloured silk gown, lined with the
softest of wool, that taken from unborn lambs: like most Tibetans, he
extracts all his beard with tweezers; an operation he civilly
recommended to me, accompanying the advice with the present of a neat
pair of steel forceps. He aspires to be considered a man of taste,
and plays the Tibetan guitar, on which he performed some airs for our
amusement: the instrument is round-bodied and long-armed, with six
strings placed in pairs, and probably comes from Kashmir: the Tibetan
airs were simple and quite pretty, with the time well marked.

During our stay at Bhomsong, the weather was cool, considering the
low elevation (1,500 feet), and very steady; the mean temperature was
52.25 degrees, the maximum 71.25 degrees, the minimum 42.75 degrees.
The sun set behind the lofty mountains at 3 p.m., and in the morning
a thick, wet, white, dripping fog settled in the bottom of the
valley, and extended to 800 or 1000 feet above the river-bed; this
was probably caused by the descent of cold currents into the humid
gorge: it was dissipated soon after sunrise, but formed again at
sunset for a few minutes, giving place to clear starlight nights.

A thermometer sunk two feet seven inches, stood at 64 degrees.
The temperature of the water was pretty constant at 51 degrees: from
here to the plains of India the river has a nearly uniform fall of
1000 feet in sixty-nine miles, or sixteen feet to a mile: were its
course straight for the same distance, the fall would be 1000 feet in
forty miles, or twenty-five feet to a mile.

Dr. Campbell's object being accomplished, he was anxious to make the
best use of the few days that remained before his return to
Dorjiling, and we therefore arranged to ascend Mainom, and visit the
principal convents in Sikkim together, after which he was to return
south, whilst I should proceed north to explore the south flank of
Kinchinjunga. For the first day our route was that by which I had
arrived. We left on Christmas-day, accompanied by two of the Rajah's,
or rather Dewan's officers, of the ranks of Dingpun and Soupun,
answering to those of captain and lieutenant; the titles were,
however, nominal, the Rajah having no soldiers, and these men being
profoundly ignorant of the mysteries of war or drill. They were
splendid specimens of Sikkim Bhoteeas (i.e. Tibetans, born in Sikkim,
sometimes called Arrhats), tall, powerful, and well built, but
insolent and bullying: the Dingpun wore the Lepcha knife, ornamented
with turquoises, together with Chinese chopsticks. Near Bhomsong,
Campbell pointed out a hot bath to me, which he had seen employed: it
consisted of a hollowed prostrate tree trunk, the water in which was
heated by throwing in hot stones with bamboo tongs. The temperature
is thus raised to 114 degrees, to which the patient submits at
repeated intervals for several days, never leaving till wholly
exhausted. These baths are called "Sa-choo," literally "hot-water,"
in Tibetan.

We stopped to measure some splendid trees in the valley, and found
the trunk of one to be forty-five feet round the buttresses, and
thirty feet above them, a large size for the Himalaya: they were a
species of _Terminalia (Pentaptera),_ and called by the Lepchas
"Sillok-Kun," "Kun" meaning tree.

We slept at Nampok, and the following morning commenced the ascent.
On the way we passed the temple and lake of Neongong; the latter is
about 400 yards round, and has no outlet. It contained two English
plants, the common duckweed (_Lemna minor_), and _Potamogeton
natans_: some coots were swimming in it, and having flushed a
woodcock, I sent for my gun, but the Lamas implored us not to shoot,
it being contrary to their creed to take life wantonly.

We left a great part of our baggage at Neongong, as we intended to
return there; and took up with us bedding, food, etc., for two days.
A path hence up the mountain is frequented once a year by the Lamas,
who make a pilgrimage to the top for worship. The ascent was very
gradual for 4000 feet. We met with snow at the level of Dorjiling
(7000 feet), indicating a colder climate than at that station, where
none had fallen; the vegetation was, however, similar, but not so
rich, and at 8000 feet trees common also to the top of Sinchul
appeared, with _R. Hodgsoni,_ and the beautiful little
winter-flowering primrose, _P. petiolaris,_ whose stemless flowers
spread like broad purple stars on the deep green foliage. Above, the
path runs along the ridge of the precipices facing the south-east,
and here we caught a glimpse of the great valley of the Ryott, beyond
the Teesta, with Tumloong, the Rajah's residence, on its north flank,
and the superb snowy peak of Chola at its head.

One of our coolies, loaded with crockery and various indispensables,
had here a severe fall, and was much bruised; he however recovered
himself, but not our goods.

The rocks were all of chlorite slate, which is not usual at this
elevation; the strike was north-west, and dip north-east. At 9000
feet various shrubby rhododendrons prevailed, with mountain-ash,
birch, and dwarf-bamboo; also _R. Falconeri,_ which grew from forty
to fifty feet high. The snow was deep and troublesome, so we encamped
at 9,800 feet, or 800 feet below the top, in a wood of _Pyrus,
Magnolia, Rhododendron,_ and bamboo. As the ground was deeply covered
with snow, we laid our beds on a thick layer of rhododendron twigs,
bamboo, and masses of a pendent moss.

We passed a very cold night, chiefly owing to damp, the temperature
falling to 24 degrees. On the following morning we scrambled through
the snow, reaching the summit after an hour's very laborious ascent,
and took up our quarters in a large wooden barn-like temple
(_goompa_), built on a stone platform. The summit was very broad, but
the depth of the snow prevented our exploring much, and the silver
firs (_Abies Webbiana_) were so tall, that no view could be obtained,
except from the temple. The great peak of Kinchinjunga is in part
hidden by those of Pundim and Nursing, but the panorama of snowy
mountains is very grand indeed. The effect is quite deceptive; the
mountains assuming the appearance of a continued chain, the distant
snowy peaks being seemingly at little further distance than the
nearer ones. The whole range (about twenty-two miles nearer than at
Dorjiling) appeared to rise uniformly and steeply out of black pine
forests, which were succeeded by the russet-brown of the rhododendron
shrubs, and that again by tremendous precipices and gulleys, into
which descended mighty glaciers and perpetual snows. This excessive
steepness is however only apparent, being due to foreshortening.

The upper 10,000 feet of Kinchin, and the tops of Pundim, Kubra, and
Junnoo, are evidently of granite, and are rounded in outline: the
lower peaks again, as those of Nursing, etc., present rugged
pinnacles of black and red stratified rocks, in many cases resting on
white granite, to which they present a remarkable contrast. The
general appearance was as if Kinchin and the whole mass of mountains
clustered around it, had been up-heaved by white granite, which still
forms the loftiest summits, and has raised the black stratified rocks
in some places to 20,000 feet in numerous peaks and ridges. One range
presented on every summit a cap of black stratified rocks of uniform
inclination and dip, striking north-west, with precipitous faces to
the south-west: this was clear to the naked eye, and more evident
with the telescope, the range in question being only fifteen miles
distant, running between Pundim and Nursing. The fact of the granite
forming the greatest elevation must not be hastily attributed to that
igneous rock having burst through the stratified, and been protruded
beyond the latter: it is much more probable that the upheaval of the
granite took place at a vast depth, and beneath an enormous pressure
of stratified rocks and perhaps of the ocean; since which period the
elevation of the whole mountain chain, and the denudation of the
stratified rocks, has been slowly proceeding.

To what extent denudation has thus lowered the peaks we dare scarcely
form a conjecture; but considering the number and variety of the beds
which in some places overlie the gneiss and granite, we may
reasonably conclude that many thousand feet have been removed.

It is further assumable that the stratified rocks originally took the
forms of great domes, or arches. The prevailing north-west strike
throughout the Himalaya vaguely indicates a general primary
arrangement of the curves into waves, whose crests run north-west and
south-cast; an arrangement which no minor or posterior forces have
wholly disturbed, though they have produced endless dislocations, and
especially a want of uniformity in the amount and direction of the
dip. Whether the loftiest waves were the result of one great
convulsion, or of a long-continued succession of small ones, the
effect would be the same, namely, that the strata over those points
at which the granite penetrated the highest, would be the most
dislocated, and the most exposed to wear during denudation.

We enjoyed the view of this superb scenery till noon, when the clouds
which had obscured Dorjiling since morning were borne towards us by
the southerly wind, rapidly closing in the landscape on all sides.
At sunset they again broke, retreating from the northward, and rising
from Sinchul and Dorjiling last of all, whilst a line of vapour,
thrown by perspective into one narrow band, seemed to belt the
Singalelah range with a white girdle, darkened to black where it
crossed the snowy mountains; and it was difficult to believe that
this belt did not really hang upon the ranges from twenty to thirty
miles off, against which it was projected; or that its true position
was comparatively close to the mountain on which we were standing,
and was due to condensation around its cool, broad, flat summit.

As usual from such elevations, sunset produced many beautiful
effects. The zenith was a deep blue, darkening opposite the setting
sun, and paling over it into a peach colour, and that again near the
horizon passing into a glowing orange-red, crossed by coppery streaks
of cirrhus. Broad beams of pale light shot from the sun to the
meridian, crossing the moon and the planet Venus. Far south, through
gaps in the mountains, the position of the plains of India, 10,000
feet below us, was indicated by a deep leaden haze, fading upwards in
gradually paler bands (of which I counted fifteen) to the clear
yellow of the sunset sky. As darkness came on, the mists collected
around the top of Mainom, accumulating on the windward side, and
thrown off in ragged masses from the opposite.

The second night we passed here was fine, and not very cold (the mean
temperature being 27 degrees) and we kept ourselves quite warm by
pine-wood fires. On the following morning the sun tinged the sky of a
lurid yellow-red: to the south-west, over the plains, the belts of
leaden vapour were fewer (twelve being distinguishable) and much
lower than on the previous evening, appearing as if depressed on the
visible horizon. Heavy masses of clouds nestled into all the valleys,
and filled up the larger ones, the mountain tops rising above them
like islands.

The height of our position I calculated to be 10,613 feet. Colonel
Waugh had determined that of the summit by trigonometry to be 10,702
feet, which probably includes the trees which cover it, or some rocky
peaks on the broad and comparatively level surface.

The mean temperature of the twenty-four hours was 32.7 degrees (max.
41.5 degrees/min. 27.2 degrees), mean dew-point 29.7, and saturation
0.82. The mercury suddenly fell below the freezing point at sunset;
and from early morning the radiation was so powerful, that a
thermometer exposed on snow sank to 21.2 degrees, and stood at 25.5
degrees, at 10 a.m. The black bulb thermometer rose to 132 degrees,
at 9 a.m. on the 27th, or 94.2 degrees above the temperature of the
air in the shade. I did not then observe that of radiation from snow;
but if, as we may assume, it was not less than on the following
morning (21.2 degrees), we shall have a difference of 148.6 degrees
Fahr., in contiguous spots; the one exposed to the full effects of
the sun, the other to that of radiation through a rarefied medium to
a cloudless sky. On the 28th the black bulb thermometer, freely
suspended over the snow and exposed to the sun, rose to 108 degrees,
or 78 degrees above that of the air in the shade (32 degrees); the
radiating surface of the same snow in the shade being 21.2 degrees,
or 86.8 degrees colder.

Having taken a complete set of angles and panoramic sketches from the
top of Mainom, with seventeen hourly observations, and collected much
information from our guides, we returned on the 28th to our tents
pitched by the temples at Neongong; descending 7000 feet, a very
severe shake along Lepcha paths. In the evening the Lamas visited us,
with presents of rice, fowls, eggs, etc., and begged subscriptions
for their temple which was then building, reminding Dr. Campbell that
he and the Governor-General had an ample share of their prayers, and
benefited in proportion. As for me, they said, I was bound to give
alms, as I surely needed praying for, seeing how I exposed myself;
besides my having been the first Englishman who had visited the snows
of Kinchinjunga, the holiest spot in Sikkim.

On the following morning we visited the unfinished temple. The outer
walls were of slabs of stone neatly chiselled, but badly mortared
with felspathic clay and pounded slate, instead of lime; the
partition walls were of clay, shaped in moulds of wood; parallel
planks, four feet asunder, being placed in the intended position of
the walls, and left open above, the composition was placed in these
boxes, a little at a time, and rammed down by the feet of many men,
who walked round and round the narrow enclosure, singing, and also
using rammers of heavy wood. The outer work was of good hard timber,
of Magnolia ("Pendre-kun" of the Lepchas) land oak ("Sokka").
The common "Ban," or Lepcha knife, supplied the place of axe, saw,
adze, and plane; and the graving work was executed with small tools,
chiefly on Toon (_Cedrela_), a very soft wood (the "Simal-kun" of
the Lepchas).

This being a festival day, when the natives were bringing offerings
to the altar, we also visited the old temple, a small wooden
building. Besides more substantial offerings, there were little cones
of rice with a round wafer of butter at the top, ranged on the altar
in order.* [The worshippers, on entering, walk straight up to the
altar, and before, or after, having deposited their gifts, they lift
both hands to the forehead, fall on their knees, and touch the ground
three times with both head and hands, raising the body a little
between each prostration. They then advance to the head Lama, kotow
similarly to him, and he blesses them, laying both hands on their
heads and repeating a short formula. Sometimes the dorje is used in
blessing, as the cross is in Europe, and when a mass of people
request a benediction, the Lama pronounces it from the door of the
temple with outstretched arms, the people all being prostrate, with
their foreheads touching the ground.] Six Lamas were at prayer,
psalms, and contemplation, sitting cross-legged on two small benches
that ran down the building: one was reading, with his hand and
fore-finger elevated, whilst the others listened; anon they all sang
hymns, repeated sacred or silly precepts to the bystanders, or joined
in a chorus with boys, who struck brass cymbals, and blew straight
copper trumpets six feet long, and conch-shells mounted with broad
silver wings, elegantly carved with dragons. There were besides
manis, or praying-cylinders, drums, gongs, books, and trumpets made
of human thigh-bones, plain or mounted in silver.

Throughout Sikkim, we were roused each morning at daybreak by this
wild music, the convents being so numerous that we were always within
hearing of it. To me it was always deeply impressive, sounding so
foreign, and awakening me so effectually to the strangeness of the
wild land in which I was wandering, and of the many new and striking
objects it contained. After sleep, too, during which the mind has
either been at rest, or carried away to more familiar subjects, the
feelings of loneliness and sometimes even of despondency, conjured
up, by this solemn music, were often almost oppressive.

Ascending from Neongong, we reached that pass from the Teesta to the
Great Rungeet, which I had crossed on the 22nd; and this time we had
a splendid view, down both the valleys, of the rivers, and the many
spars from the ridge communicating between Tendong and Mainom, with
many scattered villages and patches of cultivation. Near the top I
found a plant of "Praong," (a small bamboo), in full seed; this sends
up many flowering branches from the root, and but few leaf-bearing
ones; and after maturing its seed, and giving off suckers from the
root, the parent plant dies. The fruit is a dark, long grain, like
rice; it is boiled and made into cakes, or into beer, like Murwa.

Looking west from the summit, no fewer than ten monastic
establishments with their temples, villages and cultivation, were at
once visible, in the valley of the Great Rungeet, and in those of its
tributaries; namely, Changachelling, Raklang, Dholi, Molli,
Catsuperri, Dhoobdi, Sunnook, Powhungri, Pemiongchi and Tassiding,
all of considerable size, and more or less remarkable in their sites,
being perched on spurs or peaks at elevations varying from 3000 to
7000 feet, and commanding splendid prospects.

We encamped at Lingcham, where I had halted on the 21st, and the
weather being fine, I took bearings of all the convents and mountains
around. There is much cultivation here, and many comparatively rich
villages, all occupying flat-shouldered spurs from Mainom. The houses
are large, and the yards are full of animals familiar to the eye but
not to the ear. The cows of Sikkim, though generally resembling the
English in stature, form, and colour, have humps, and grunt rather
than low; and the cocks wake the morning with a prolonged howling
screech, instead of the shrill crow of chanticleer.

Hence we descended north-west to the Great Rungeet, opposite
Tassiding; which is one of the oldest monastic establishments in
Sikkim, and one we were very anxious to visit. The descent lay
through a forest of tropical trees, where small palms, vines,
peppers, _Pandanus,_ wild plantain, and _Pothos,_ were interlaced in
an impenetrable jungle, and air-plants clothed the trees.

Praying cylinder in stand (see Chapter VII); another to be carried in
the hand; cymbals; bell; brass cup; three trumpets; conch; dorje.


Tassiding, view of and from -- Funereal cypress -- Camp at Sunnook --
Hot vapours -- Lama's house -- Temples, decorations, altars, idols,
general effect -- Chaits -- Date of erection -- Plundered by Ghorkas
-- Cross Ratong -- Ascend to Pemiongchi -- Relation of river-beds to
strike of rocks -- Slopes of ravines -- Pemiongchi, view of --
Vegetation -- Elevation -- Temple, decorations, etc. -- Former
capital of Sikkim -- History of Sikkim -- Nightingales -- Campbell
departs -- Tchonpong -- Edgeworthia -- Cross Rungbee and Ratong --
Hoar-frost on plantains -- Yoksun -- Walnuts -- View -- Funereal
cypresses -- Doobdi -- Gigantic cypresses -- Temples -- Snow-fall --
Sikkim, etc. -- Toys.

Tassiding hill is the steep conical termination of a long spur from a
pine-clad shoulder of Kinchinjunga, called Powhungri: it divides the
Great Rungeet from its main feeder, the Ratong, which rises from the
south face of Kinchin. We crossed the former by a bridge formed of
two bamboo stems, slung by canes from two parallel arches of stout
branches lashed together.

The ascent for 2,800 feet was up a very steep, dry, zigzag path,
amongst mica slate rocks (strike north-east), on which grew many
tropical plants, especially the "Tukla," (_Rottlera tinctoria_), a
plant which yields a brown dye. The top was a flat, curving
north-west and south-east, covered with temples, chaits, and mendongs
of the most picturesque forms and in elegant groups, and fringed with
brushwood, wild plantains, small palms, and apple-trees. Here I saw
for the first time the funereal cypress, of which some very old trees
spread their weeping limbs and pensile  branchlets over the
buildings.* [I was not then aware of this tree having been introduced
into England by the intrepid Mr. Fortune from China; and as I was
unable to procure seeds, which are said not to ripen in Sikkim, it
was a great and unexpected pleasure, on my return home, to find it
alive and flourishing at Kew.] It is not wild in Sikkim, but imported
there and into Bhotan from Tibet: it does not thrive well above 6000
feet elevation. It is called "Tchenden" by the Lepchas, Bhoteeas,
and Tibetans, and its fragrant red wood is burnt in the temples.


The Lamas met us on the top of the hill, bringing a noble present of
fowls, vegetables and oranges, the latter most acceptable after our
long and hot march. The site is admirably chosen, in the very heart
of Sikkim, commanding a fine view, and having a considerable river on
either side,  with the power of retreating behind to the convents of
Sunnook and Powhungri, which are higher up on the same spur, and
surrounded by forest enough to conceal an army. Considering the
turbulent and warlike character of their neighbours, it is not
wonderful that the monks should have chosen commanding spots, and
good shelter for their indolent lives: for the same reason these
monasteries secured views of one another: thus from Tassiding the
great temple of Pemiongchi was seen towering 3000 feet over head,
whilst to the north-west, up the course of the river, the hill-sides
seemed sprinkled with monasteries.

We camped on a saddle near the village of Sunnook, at 4000 feet above
the sea; and on the last day of the year we visited this most
interesting monastic establishment: ascending from our camp along the
ridge by a narrow path, cut here and there into steps, and passing
many rocks covered with inscriptions, broken walls of mendongs, and
other remains of the _via sacra_ between the village and temple.
At one spot we found a fissure emitting hot vapour of the temperature
of 65.5 degrees, that of the air being about 50 degrees. It was
simply a hole amongst the rocks; and near the Rungeet a similar one
is said to occur, whose temperature fluctuates considerably with the
season. It is very remarkable that such an isolated spring should
exist on the top of a sharp ridge, 2,800 feet above the bottom of
this deep valley.

The general arrangement on the summit was, first the Lamas' houses
with small gardens, then three large temples raised on rudely paged
platforms, and beyond these, a square walled enclosure facing the
south, full of chaits and mendongs, looking like a crowded cemetery,
and planted with funereal cypress (_Cupressus funebris_).

The house of the principal Lama was an oblong square,  the lower
story of stone, and the upper of wood: we ascended a ladder to the
upper room, which was 24 feet by 8 wattled all round, with prettily
latticed windows opening upon a bamboo balcony used for drying grain,
under the eaves of the broad thatched roof. The ceiling (of neat
bamboo work) was hung with glorious bunches of maize, yellow, red,
and brown; an altar and closed wicker cage at one end of the room
held the Penates, and a few implements of worship. Chinese carpets
were laid on the floor for us, and the cans of Murwa brought round.

The Lama, though one of the red sect, was dressed in a yellow
flowered silk robe, but his mitre was red: he gave us much
information relative to the introduction of Boodhism into Sikkim.

The three temples stand about fifty yards apart, but are not parallel
to one another, although their general direction is east and west.*
[Timkowski, in his travels through Mongolia (i. p. 193), says,
"According to the rules of Tibetan architecture, temples should face
the south:" this is certainly not the rule in Sikkim, nor, so far as
I could learn, in Tibet either.] Each is oblong, and narrowed
upwards, with the door at one end; the middle (and smallest) faces
the west, the others the east: the doorways are all broad, low and
deep, protected by a projecting carved portico. The walls are
immensely thick, of well-masoned slaty stones; the outer surface of
each slopes upwards and inwards, the inner is perpendicular.
The roofs are low and thickly thatched, and project from eight to ten
feet all round, to keep off the rain, being sometimes supported by
long poles. There is a very low upper story, inhabited by the
attendant monks and servants, accessible by a ladder at one end of
the building. The main body of the temple is one large apartment,
entered through a small transverse vestibule, the breadth of the
temple, in which are tall cylindrical  praying-machines. The carving
round the doors is very beautiful, and they are gaudily painted
and gilded.


The northern temple is quite plain: the middle one is simply painted
red, and encircled with a row of black heads, with goggle eyes and
numerous teeth, on a white ground; it is said to have been originally
dedicated to the evil spirits of the Lepcha creed. The southern,
which contains the library, is the largest and best, and is of an
irregular square shape. The inside walls and floors are plastered
with clay, and painted with allegorical representations of Boodh,
etc. From the vestibule the principal apartment is entered by broad
folding-doors, studded with circular copper bosses, and turning on
iron hinges. It is lighted by latticed windows, sometimes protected
outside by a bamboo screen. Owing to the great thickness of the walls
 (three to four feet), a very feeble light is admitted. In the
principal temple, called "Dugang," six hexagonal wooden columns,
narrowed above, with peculiar broad transverse capitals, exquisitely
gilded and painted, support the cross-beams of the roof, which are
likewise beautifully ornamented. Sometimes a curly-maned gilt lion is
placed over a column, and it is always furnished with a black bushy
tail: squares, diamonds, dragons, and groups of flowers, vermilion,
green, gold, azure, and white, are dispersed with great artistic
taste over all the beams; the heavier masses of colour being
separated by fine white lines.

Illustration--SOUTHERN TEMPLE.

The altars and idols are placed at the opposite end; and two long
parallel benches, like cathedral stalls, run down the centre of the
building: on these the monks sit at  prayer and contemplation, the
head Lama occupying a stall (often of very tasteful design) near
the altar.

Illustration--MIDDLE TEMPLE.

The principal Boodh, or image, is placed behind the altar under a
canopy, or behind a silk screen: lesser gods, and gaily dressed and
painted effigies of sainted male or female persons are ranged on
either side, or placed in niches around the apartment, sometimes with
separate altars before them; whilst the walls are more or less
covered with paintings of monks in prayer or contemplation.
The principal Boodh (Sakya Sing) sits cross-legged, with the left
heel up: his left-hand always rests on his thigh, and holds the padmi
or lotus and jewel, which is often a mere cup; the right-hand is
either raised, with the two forefingers up, or holds the dorje, or
rests on the  calf of the upturned leg. Sakya has generally curled
hair, Lamas have mitres, females various head-dresses; most wear
immense ear-rings, and some rosaries. All are placed on rude
pediments, so painted as to convey the idea of their rising out of
the petals of the pink, purple, or white lotus. None are in any way
disagreeable; on the contrary most have a calm and pleasing
expression, suggestive of contemplation.

Illustration--ALTAR AND IMAGES.
Central figure Akshobya, the first of the Pancha Boodha.

The great or south temple contained a side altar of very elegant
shape, placed before an image encircled by a glory. Flowers, juniper,
peacock's feathers, pastiles, and rows of brass cups of water were
the chief ornaments of the altars,  besides the instruments I have
elsewhere enumerated. In this temple was the library, containing
several hundred books, in pigeon-holes, placed in recesses.* [For a
particular account of the images and decorations of these temples,
sea Dr. Campbell's paper in "Bengal Asiatic Society's Trans.," May,
1849. The principal object of veneration amongst the Ningma or red
sect of Boodhists in Sikkim and Bhotan is Gorucknath, who is always
represented sitting cross-legged, holding the dorje in one hand,
which is raised; whilst the left rests in the lap and holds a cup
with a jewel in it. The left arm supports a trident, whose staff
pierces three sculls (a symbol of Shiva), a rosary hangs round his
neck, and he wears a red mitre with a lunar crescent and sun
in front.]

A. entrance; B. four praying cylinders; C. altar, with seven brass
cups of water; D. four columns; E. and F. images; G. library.

The effect on entering these cold and gloomy temples is very
impressive; the Dugang in particular is exquisitely ornamented and
painted, and the vista from the vestibule to the principal idol, of
carved and coloured pillars and beams, is very picturesque.
Within, the general arrangement of the colours and gilding is felt to
be harmonious and pleasing, especially from the introduction of
slender white streaks between the contrasting masses of colour,  as
adopted in the Great Exhibition building of 1851. It is also well
worthy of remark that the brightest colours are often used in broad
masses, and when so, are always arranged chromatically, in the
sequence of the rainbow's hues, and are hence never displeasing to
the eye. The hues, though bright, are subdued by the imperfect light:
the countenances of the images are all calm, and their expression
solemn. Whichever way you turn, the eye is met by some beautiful
specimen of colouring or carving, or some object of veneration.
The effect is much heightened by the incense of juniper and
sweet-smelling herbs which the priests burn on entering, by their
grave and decorous conduct, and by the feeling of respect that is
demanded by a religion which theoretically inculcates and adores
virtue in the abstract, and those only amongst men who practise
virtue. To the idol itself the Boodhist attaches no real importance;
it is an object of reverence, not of worship, and no virtue or
attribute belong to it _per se_; it is a symbol of the creed, and the
adoration is paid to the holy man whom it represents.

Beyond the temples are the chaits and mendongs, scattered without
much order; and I counted nearly twenty-five chaits of the same
form,* [In Sikkim the form of the cube alone is always strictly
preserved; that of the pyramid and hemisphere being often much
modified. The cube stands on a flight of usually three steps, and is
surmounted by a low pyramid of five steps; on this is placed a
swelling, urn-shaped body, which represents the hemisphere, and is
surmounted by another cube. On the latter is a slender, round or
angled spire (represented by a pyramid in Burma), crowned with a
crescent and disc, or sun, in moon. Generally, the whole is of stone,
with the exception of the spire, which is of wood, painted red.]
between eight and thirty feet high. The largest is consecrated to the
memory of the Rajah's eldest son, who, however, is not buried here.
A group of these structures is, as I have often remarked, extremely
picturesque, and those at Tassiding, from their  number, variety, and
size, their commanding and romantic position, and their being
interspersed with weeping cypresses, are particularly so.

The Tassiding temples and convents were founded upwards of 300 years
ago, by the Lamas who accompanied the first Rajah to Sikkim; and they
have been continuously served by Lamas of great sanctity, many of
whom have been educated at Lhassa. They were formerly very wealthy,
but during the Nepal war they were plundered of all their treasures,
their silver gongs and bells, their best idols, dorjes, and manis,
and stripped of their ornaments; since which time Pemiongchi has been
more popular. In proof of their antiquity, it was pointed out that
most of the symbols and decorations were those of pure Lama Boodhism,
as practised in Tibet.

Although the elevation is but 4,840 feet, the weather was cold and
raw, with rain at noon, followed by thunder and lightning.
These electrical disturbances are frequent about midsummer and
midwinter, prevailing over many parts of India.

_January 1st_, 1849.--The morning of the new year was bright and
beautiful, though much snow had fallen on the mountains; and we left
Sunnook for Pemiongchi, situated on the summit of a lofty spur on the
opposite side of the Ratong. We descended very steeply to the bed of
the river (alt. 2,480 feet) which joins the Great Rungeet below the
convents. The rocks were micaceous, dipping west and north-west 45
degrees, and striking north and north-east, which direction prevailed
for 1000 feet or so up the opposite spur. I had observed the same dip
and stroke on the east flank of the Tassiding spur; but both the
Ratong on its west side, and the Great Rungeet on the east, flow in
channels that show no relation to either the dip or strike.  I have
generally remarked in Sikkim that the channels of the rivers when
cutting through or flowing at the base of bluff cliffs, are neither
parallel to nor at right angles to the strike of the rocks forming
the cliffs. I do not hence conclude that there is no original
connection between the directions of the rivers, and the lines of
fracture; but whatever may have once subsisted between the direction
of the fissures and that of the strike, it is in the Sikkim Himalaya
now wholly masked by shiftings, which accompanied subequent
elevations and depressions.

Mr. Hopkins has mathematically demonstrated that the continued
exertion of a force in raising superimposed strata would tend to
produce two classes of fractures in those strata; those of the first
order at right angles to the direction of the wave or ridge (or line
of strike); those of the second order parallel to the strike.
Supposing the force to be withdrawn after the formation of the two
fractures, the result would be a ridge, or mountain chain, with
diverging fissures from the summit, crossed by concentric fissures;
and the courses which the rivers would take in flowing down the
ridge, would successively be at right angles and parallel to the
strike of the strata. Now, in the Himalaya, a prevalent strike to the
north-west has been recognised in all parts of the chain, but it is
everywhere interfered with by mountains presenting every other
direction of strike, and by their dip never remaining constant either
in amount or direction. Consequently, as might be expected, the
directions of the river channels bear no apparent relation to the
general strike of the rocks.

We crossed the Ratong (twenty yards broad) by a cane bridge,
suspended between two rocks of green chlorite, full of veins of
granite. Ascending, we passed the village of Kameti on a spur, on the
face of which  were strewed some enormous detached blocks of white
and pink stratified quartz: the rocks _in situ_ were all
chlorite schist.

Looking across the valley to the flank of Mainom, the disposition of
the ridges and ravines on its sides was very evident; many of the
latter, throughout their westerly course, from their commencement at
10,000 feet, to their debouchure in the Great Rungeet at 2000, had a
bluff, cliffy, northern flank, and a sloping southern one. The dip of
the surfaces is, therefore, north-west, the exposure consequently of
the villages which occupy terraces on the south flanks of the lateral
valleys. The Tassiding spur presented exactly the same arrangement of
its ravines, and the dip of the rocks being north-west, it follows
that the planes of the sloping surfaces coincide in direction (though
not in amount of inclination) with that of the dip of the subjacent
strata, which is anything but a usual phenomenon in Sikkim.

The ascent to Pemiongchi continued very steep, through woods of oaks,
chesnuts, and magnolias, but no tree-fern, palms, _Pothos,_ or
plantain, which abound at this elevation on the moister outer ranges
of Sikkim. The temple (elev. 7,083 feet) is large, eighty feet long,
and in excellent order, built upon the lofty terminal point of the
great east and west spur that divides the Kulhait from the Ratong and
Rungbee rivers; and the great Changachelling temple and monastery
stand on another eminence of the same ridge, two miles further west.

The view of the snowy range from this temple is one of the finest in
Sikkim; the eye surveying at one glance the vegetation of the Tropics
and the Poles. Deep in the valleys the river-beds are but 3000 feet
above the sea, and are choked with fig-trees, plantains, and palms;
to  these succeed laurels and magnolias, and higher up still, oaks,
chesnuts, birches, etc.; there is, however, no marked line between
the limits of these two last forests, which form the prevailing
arboreous vegetation between 4000 and 10,000 feet, and give a lurid
line to the mountains. Pine forests succeed for 2000 feet higher,
when they give place to a skirting of rhododendron and berberry.
Among these appear black naked rocks, rising up in cliffs, between
which are gulleys, down which the snow now (on the 1st January)
descended to 12,000 feet. The mountain flanks are much more steep and
rocky than those at similar heights on the outer ranges, and
cataracts are very numerous, and of considerable height, though small
in volume.

Pemiongchi is at the same elevation as Dorjiling, and the contrast
between the shoulders of 8000 to 10,000 feet on Kinchinjunga, and
those of equal height on Tendong and Tonglo, is very remarkable:
looking at the latter mountains from Dorjiling, the observer sees no
rock, waterfall, or pine, throughout their whole height; whereas the
equally wooded flanks of these inner ranges are rocky, streaked with
thread-like waterfalls, and bristling with silver firs.

This temple, the most ancient in Sikkim, is said to be 400 years old;
it stands on a paved platform, and is of the same form and general
character as those of Tassiding. Inside, it is most beautifully
decorated, especially the beams, columns, capitals and architraves,
but the designs are coarser than those of Tassiding.* [Mr. Hodgson
informed me that many of the figures and emblems in this temple are
those of Tantrica Boodhism, including Shiva, Devi, and other deities
usually called Brahminical; Kakotak, or the snake king, a figure
terminating below in a snake, is also seen; with the tiger, elephant,
and curly-maned lion.] The square end of every beam in the roof is
ornamented either with a lotus flower or with a Tibetan character, in
endless diversity of colour and form, and the walls are completely
covered with allegorical paintings of Lamas and saints expounding or
in contemplation, with glories round their heads, mitred, and holding
the dole and jewel.


The principal image is a large and hideous figure of Sakya-thoba, in
a recess under a blue silk canopy, contrasting with a calm figure of
the late Rajah, wearing a cap and coronet.

Pemiongchi was once the capital of Sikkim, and called the Sikkim
Durbar: the Rajah's residence was on a curious flat to the south of
the temple, and a few hundred feet below it, where are the remains of
(for this country) extensive walls and buildings. During the Nepal
war, the Rajah was driven west across the Teesta, whilst the Ghorkas
plundered Tassiding, Pemiongchi, Changachelling, and all the temples
and convents to the east of that river. It was then that the famous
history of Sikkim,* [This remarkable and beautiful manuscript was
written on thick oblong sheets of Tibet paper, painted black to
resist decay, and the letters were yellow and gold. The Nepalese
soldiers wantonly employed the sheets to roof the sheds they erected,
as a protection from the weather.] compiled by the Lamas of
Pemiongchi, and kept at this temple, was destroyed, with the
exception of a few sheets, with one of which Dr. Campbell and myself
were each presented. We were told that the monks of Changachelling
and those of this establishmont had copied what remained, and were
busy compiling from oral information, etc.: whatever value the
original may have possessed, however, is irretrievably lost.
A magnificent copy of the Boodhist Scriptures was destroyed at the
same time; it consisted of 400 volumes, each containing several
hundred sheets of Daphne paper.

The ground about the temple was snowed; and we descended a few
hundred feet, to encamp in a most picturesque grove, among chaits and
inscribed stones, with  a peep of the temples above. Nightingales
warbled deliciously night and morning, which rather surprised us, as
the minimum thermometer fell to 27.8 degrees, and the ground next day
was covered with hoar-frost; the elevation being 6,580 feet.
These birds migrate hither in October and November, lingering in the
Himalayan valleys till the cold of early spring drives them further
south, to the plains of India, whence they return north in March
and April.

On the 2nd of January I parted from my friend, who was obliged to
hurry to the great annual fair at Titalya. I regretted much being
unable to accompany Dr. Campbell to this scene of his disinterested
labours, especially as the Nawab of Moorshedabad was to be present,
one of the few wealthy native princes of Bengal who still keep a
court worth seeing; but I was more anxious to continue my
explorations northward till the latest moment: I however accompanied
him for a short distance on his way towards Dorjiling. We passed the
old Durbar, called Phieungoong ("Bamboo-hill," so named from the
abundance of a small bamboo, "Phieung.") The buildings, now in ruins,
occupy a little marshy flat, hemmed in by slate rocks, and covered
with brambles and _Andromeda_ bushes. A wall, a bastion, and an
arched gateway, are the only traces of fortifications; they are
clothed with mosses, lichens, and ferns.

A steep zigzag path, descending amongst long grass and scarlet
rhododendrons, leads to the Kaysing Mendong.* [Described at Chapter
XII.] Here I bade adieu to Dr. Campbell, and toiled up the hill,
feeling very lonely. The zest with which he had entered into all my
pursuits, and the aid he had afforded me, together with the charm
that always attends companionship with one who enjoys every incident
of travel, had so attracted me to him that I found it difficult to
recover my spirits.  It is quite impossible for anyone who cannot
from experience realise the solitary wandering life I had been
leading for months, to appreciate the desolate feeling that follows
the parting from one who has heightened every enjoyment, and taken
far more than his share of every annoyance and discomfort: the few
days we had spent together appeared then, and still, as months.

On my return to Pemiongchi I spent the remainder of the day sketching
in the great temple, gossiping with the Lamas, and drinking salted
and buttered tea-soup, which I had begun to like, when the butter was
not rancid.

My route hence was to be along the south flank of Kinchinjunga, north
to Jongri, which lay about four or five marches off, on the road to
the long deserted pass of Kanglanamo, by which I had intended
entering Sikkim from Nepal, when I found the route up the Yalloong
valley impracticable. The village and ruined convents of Yoksun lay
near the route, and the temples of Doobdi, Catsuperri and Molli, on
the Ratong river.

I descended to the village of Tchonpong (alt. 4,980 feet), where I
was detained a day to obtain rice, of which I required ten days'
supply for twenty-five people. On the way I passed groves of the
paper-yielding _Edgeworthia Gardneri_: it bears round heads of
fragrant, beautiful, yellow flowers, and would be a valuable
acquisition to an English conservatory.

From Tchonpong we descended to the bed of the Rungbee (alt. 3,160
feet), an affluent of the Ratong, flowing in a deep galley with
precipitous sides of mica schist full of garnets, dipping west and
north-west 45 degrees: it was spanned by a bridge of two loose bamboo
culms, about fifteen yards long, laid across without handrails; after
wet sand had been thrown on it the bare-footed coolies crossed
easily enough, but I, having shoes on, required a hand to steady me.
From this point we crossed a lofty spur to the Ratong (alt. 3000
feet), where we encamped, the coolies being unable to proceed further
on such very bad roads. This river descends from the snows of
Kinchin, and consequently retains the low temperature 42 degrees,
being fully 7 degrees colder than the Rungbee, which at an elevation
of but 3000 feet appears very remarkable: it must however be observed
that scarcely anywhere does the sun penetrate to the bottom of
its valley.

We encamped on a gravelly flat, fifty feet above the river, strewn
with water-worn boulders, and so densely covered with tall
_Artemisiae,_ gigantic grasses, bamboo, plantain, fern, and acacia,
that we had to clear a space in the jungle, which exhaled a rank
heavy smell.

Hoar-frost formed copiously in the night, and though above the sun's
rays were very powerful, they did not reach this spot till 7.30 a.m.,
the frost remaining in the shade till nearly 9 a.m.; and this on
plantains, and other inhabitants of hot-houses in England.

Hence I ascended to Yoksun, one of the most curious and picturesque
spots in Sikkim, and the last inhabited place towards Kinchinjunga.
The path was excessively steep and rocky for the first mile or two,
and then alternately steep and flat. Mixed with many tropical trees,
were walnuts of the common English variety; a tree, which, though
planted here, is wild near Dorjiling, where it bears a full-sized
fruit, as hard as a hickory-nut: those I gathered in this place were
similar, whereas in Bhotan the cultivated nut is larger,
thin-shelled, and the kernel is easily removed. We ascended one
slope, of an angle of 36 degrees 30 minutes, which was covered with
light black mould, and had been recently cleared by fire: we found
millet  now cultivated on it. From the top the view of the Ratong
valley was very fine: to the north lay Yoksun, appearing from this
height to occupy a flat, two miles long and one broad, girdled by
steep mountains to the north and east, dipping very suddenly 2,200
feet to the Ratong on the west. To the right was a lofty hill,
crowned with the large temple and convents of Doobdi, shadowed by
beautiful weeping cypresses, and backed by lofty pine-clad mountains.
Northward, the gorge of the Ratong opened as a gloomy defile, above
which rose partially snowed mountains, which shut out Kinchinjunga.
To the west, massive pine-clad mountains rose steeply; while the
little hamlet of Lathiang occupied a remarkable shelf overhanging the
river, appearing inaccessible except by ropes from above. South-west,
the long spurs of Molli and Catsuperri, each crowned with convents or
temples, descended from Singalelah; and parallel to them on the
south; but much longer and more lofty, was the great mountain range
north of the Kulbait, with the temples and convents of Pemiongchi,
and Changachelling, towering in the air. The latter range dips
suddenly to the Great Rungeet, where Tassiding, with its chaits and
cypresses, closed the view. The day was half cloud, half sunshine;
and the various effects of light and shade, now bringing out one or
other of the villages and temples, now casting the deep valleys into
darker gloom, was wonderfully fine.

Yoksun was the earliest civilised corner of Sikkim, and derived its
name (which signifies in Lepcha "three chiefs") from having been the
residence of three Lamas of great influence, who were the means of
introducing the first Tibetan sovereign into the country. At present
it boasts of but little cultivation, and a scattered population,
inhabiting a few hamlets, 5,500 feet above the sea: beautiful lanes
and paths wind everywhere over the gentle slopes, and through the
copsewood that has replaced the timber-trees of a former period.
Mendongs and chaits are very numerous, some of great size; and there
are also the ruins of two very large temples, near which are some
magnificent weeping cypresses, eighty feet high. These fine trees are
landmarks from all parts of the flat; they form irregular cones of
pale bright green, with naked gnarled tops, the branches weep
gracefully, but not like the picture in Macartney's Embassy to China,
whence originated the famous willow-pattern of our crockery.
The ultimate branchlets are very slender and pendulous; my Lepcha
boys used to make elegant chaplets of them, binding the withes with
scarlet worsted. The trunk is quite erect, smooth, cylindrical, and
pine-like; it harbours no moss, but air-plants, Orchids, and ferns,
nestle on the limbs, and pendulous lichens, like our beard-moss, wave
from the branches.

In the evening I ascended to Doobdi. The path was broad, and
skilfully conducted up a very steep slope covered with forest: the
top, which is 6,470 feet above the sea, and nearly 1000 above Yoksun,
is a broad partially paved platform, on which stand two temples,
surrounded by beautiful cypresses: one of these trees (perhaps the
oldest in Sikkim) measured sixteen and a half feet in girth, at five
feet from the ground, and was apparently ninety feet high: it was not
pyramidal, the top branches being dead and broken, and the lower
limbs spreading; they were loaded with masses of white-flowered
Coelogynes, and Vacciniums. The younger trees were pyramidal.

I was received by a monk of low degree, who made many apologies for
the absence of his superior, who had  been ordered an eight years'
penance and seclusion from the world, of which only three had passed.
On inquiry, I learnt the reason for this; the holy father having
found himself surrounded by a family, to which there would have been
no objection, had he previously obtained a dispensation. As, however,
he had omitted this preliminary, and was able to atone by prayer and
payment, he had been condemned to do penance; probably at his own
suggestion, as the seclusion will give him sanctity, and eventually
lead to his promotion, when his error shall have been forgotten.


Both temples are remarkable for their heavily ornamented, two-storied
porticos, which occupy nearly the whole of one end. The interior
decorations are in a ruinous  condition, and evidently very old; they
have no Hindoo emblems.

The head Lama sent me a present of dried peaches, with a bag of
walnuts, called "Koal-kun" by the Lepchas, and "Taga-sching" by the
Bhoteeas; the two terminations alike signifying "tree."

The view of Yoksun from this height was very singular: it had the
appearance of an enormous deposit banked up against a spur to the
south, and mountains to the east, and apparently levelled by the
action of water: this deposit seemed as though, having once
completely filled the valley of the Ratong, that river had cut a
gorge 2000 feet deep between it and the opposite mountain.

Although the elevation is so low, snow falls abundantly at Doobdi in
winter; I was assured that it has been known of the depth of five
feet, a statement I consider doubtful; the quantity is, however,
certainly greater than at equal heights about Dorjiling, no doubt
owing to its proximity to Kinchinjunga.

I was amused here by watching a child playing with a popgun, made of
bamboo, similar to that of quill, with which most English children
are familiar, which propels pellets by means of a spring-trigger made
of the upper part of the quill. It is easy to conclude such
resemblances between the familiar toys of different countries to be
accidental, but I question their being really so. On the plains of
India, men may often be seen for hours together, flying what with us
are children's kites; and I procured a jews'-harp from Tibet.
These are not the toys of savages, but the amusements of people more
than half-civilised, and with whom we have had indirect communication
from the earliest ages. The Lepchas play at quoits, using slate for
the purpose, and at the Highland  games of "putting the stone" and
"drawing the stone." Chess, dice, draughts, Punch, hockey, and
battledore and shuttlecock, are all Indo-Chinese or Tartarian; and no
one familiar with the wonderful instances of similarity between the
monasteries, ritual, ceremonies, attributes, vestments, and other
paraphernalia of the eastern and western churches, can fail to
acknowledge the importance of recording even the most trifling
analogies or similarities between the manners and customs of the
young as well as of the old.


Leave Yoksun for Kinchinjunga -- Ascend Ratong valley --
Salt-smuggling over Ratong -- Landslips -- Plants -- Buckeem --
Blocks of gneiss -- Mon Lepcha -- View -- Weather -- View from Gubroo
-- Kinchinjunga, tops of -- Pundim cliff -- Nursing -- Vegetation of
Himalaya -- Coup d'oeil of Jongri -- Route to Yalloong -- Arduous
route of salt-traders from Tibet -- Kinchin, ascent of -- Lichens --
Surfaces sculptured by snow and ice -- Weather at Jongri -- Snow --
Shades for eyes.

I left Yoksun on an expedition to Kinchinjunga on the 7th of January.
It was evident that at this season I could not attain any height; but
I was most anxious to reach the lower limit of that mass of perpetual
snow which descends in one continuous sweep from 28,000 to 15,000
feet, and radiates from the summit of Kinchin, along every spur and
shoulder for ten to fifteen miles, towards each point of the compass.

The route lay for the first mile over the Yoksun flat, and then wound
along the almost precipitous east flank of the Ratong, 1000 feet
above its bed, leading through thick forest. It was often difficult,
crossing torrents by calms of bamboo, and leading up precipices by
notched poles and roots of trees. I wondered what could have induced
the frequenting of such a route to Nepal, when there were so many
better ones over Singalelah, till I found from my guide that he had
habitually smuggled salt over this pass to avoid the oppressive duty
levelled by the Dewan on all imports from Tibet by the eastern
passes: he further told  me that it took five days to reach Yalloong
in Nepal front Yoksun, on the third of which the Kanglanamo pass is
crossed, which is open from April to November, but is always heavily
snowed. Owing to this duty, and the remoteness of the eastern passes,
the people on the west side of the Great Rungeet were compelled to
pay an enormous sum for salt; and the Lamas of Changachelling and
Pemiongchi petitioned Dr. Campbell to use his influence with the
Nepal Court to have the Kanglanamo pass re-opened, and the power of
trading with the Tibetans of Wallanchoon, Yangma, and Kambachen,
restored to them: the pass having been closed since the Nepalese war,
to prevent the Sikkim people from kidnapping children and slaves, as
was alleged to be their custom.* [An accusation in which there was
probably some truth; for the Sikkim Dingpun, who guided Dr. Campbell
and myself to Mainom, Tassiding, etc., since kidnapped, or caused to
be abducted, a girl of Brahmin parents, from the Mai valley of Nepal,
a transaction which cost him some 300 rupees. The Nepal Durbar was
naturally furious, the more so as the Dingpun had no caste, and was
therefore abhorred by all Brahmins. Restitution was demanded through
Dr. Campbell, who caused the incensed Dingpun to give up his paramour
and her jewels. He vowed vengeance against Dr. Campbell, and found
means to gratify it, as I shall hereafter show.]

We passed some immense landslips, which had swept the forest into the
torrent, and exposed white banks of angular detritus of gneiss and
granite: we crossed one 200 yards long, by a narrow treacherous path,
on a slope of 35 degrees: the subjacent gneiss was nearly vertical,
striking north-east. We camped at 6,670 feet, amongst a vegetation I
little expected to find so close to the snows of Kinchin; it
consisted of oak, maple, birch, laurel, rhododendron, white
_Daphne,_ jessamine, _Arum, Begonia, Cyrtandraceae,_ pepper,
fig, _Menispermum,_ wild cinnamon, _Scitamineae,_ several epiphytic
orchids, vines, and ferns in great abundance.

On the following day, I proceeded north-west up the Ratong river,
here a furious torrent; which we crossed,  and then ascended a very
steep mountain called "Mon Lepcha." Immense detached masses of
gneiss, full of coarse garnets, lay on the slope, some of which were
curiously marked with a series of deep holes, large enough to put
one's fist in, and said to be the footprints of the sacred cow.
They appeared to me to have been caused by the roots of trees, which
spread over the rocks in these humid regions, and wear channels in
the hardest material, especially when they follow the direction of
its lamination or stratification.

I encamped at a place called Buckeem (alt. 8,650 ft.), in a forest of
_Abies Brunoniana_ and _Webbiana,_ yew, oak, various rhododendrons,
and small bamboo. Snow lay in patches at 8000 feet, and the night was
cold and clear. On the following morning I continued the ascent,
alternately up steeps and along perfectly level shelves, on which
were occasionally frozen pools, surrounded with dwarf juniper and
rhododendrons. Across one I observed the track of a yak in the snow;
it presented two ridges, probably from the long hair of this animal,
which trails on the ground, sweeping the snow from the centre of its
path. At 11,000 feet the snow lay deep and soft in the woods of
silver fir, and the coolies waded through it with difficulty.

Enormous fractured boulders of gneiss were frequent over the whole of
Mon Lepcha, from 7000 to 11,000 feet: they were of the same material
as the rock _in situ,_ and as unaccountable in their origin as the
loose blocks on Dorjiling and Sinchul spurs at similar elevations,
often cresting narrow ridges. I measured one angular detached block,
forty feet high, resting on a steep narrow shoulder of the spur, in a
position to which it was impossible it could have rolled; and it is
equally difficult to suppose that glacial ice deposited it 4000 feet
above the bottom of the gorge,  except we conclude the valley to have
been filled with ice to that depth. A glance at the map will show
that Mon Lepcha is remarkably situated, opposite the face of
Kinchinjunga, and at the great bend of the Ratong. Had that valley
ever been filled with water during a glacial period, Mon Lepcha would
have formed a promontory, and many floating bergs from Kinchin would
have been stranded on its flank: but I nowhere observed these rocks
to be of so fine a granite as I believe the upper rocks of Kinchin to
be, and I consequently cannot advance even that far-fetched solution
with much plausibility.

As I ascended, the rocks became more granitic, with large crystals of
mica. The summit was another broad bare flat, elevated 13,080 feet,
and fringed by a copse of rose, berberry, and very alpine
rhododendrons: the Himalayan heather (_Adromeda fastigiata_) grew
abundantly here, affording us good fuel.

The toilsome ascent through the soft snow and brushwood delayed the
coolies, who scarcely accomplished five miles in the day. Some of
them having come up by dark, I prepared to camp on the mountain-top,
strewing thick masses of _Andromeda_ and moss (which latter hung in
great tufts from the bushes) on the snow; my blankets bad not
arrived, but there was no prospect of a snow-storm.

The sun was powerful when I reached the summit, and I was so warm
that I walked about barefoot on the frozen snow without
inconvenience, preferring it to continuing in wet stockings: the
temperature at the time was 29.5 degrees, with a brisk south-east
moist wind, and the dew point 22.8 degrees.

The night was magnificent, brilliant starlight, with a pale mist over
the mountains: the thermometer fell to 15.5 degrees at 7.30 p.m., and
one laid upon wood with its bulb freely exposed, sank to 7.5 degrees:
the snow sparkled with broad  flakes of hoar-frost in the full moon,
which was so bright, that I recorded my observations by its light.
Owing to the extreme cold of radiation, I passed a very uncomfortable
night. The minimum thermometer fell to 1 degrees in shade.* [At
sunrise the temperature was 11.5 degrees; that of grass, cleared on
the previous day from snow, and exposed to the sky, 6.5 degrees; that
on wool, 2.2 degrees; and that on the surface of the snow, 0.7
degrees.]  The sky was clear; and every rock, leaf, twig, blade of
grass, and the snow itself, were covered with broad rhomboidal plates
of hoar-frost, nearly one-third of an inch across: while the metal
scale of the thermometer instantaneously blistered my tongue. As the
sun rose, the light reflected from these myriads of facets had a
splendid effect.

Before sunrise the atmosphere was still, and all but cloudless.
To the south-east were visible the plains of India, at least 140
miles distant; where, as usual, horizontal layers of leaden purple
vapour obscured the horizon: behind these the sun rose majestically,
instantly dispersing them, while a thin haze spread over all the
intervening mountains, from its slanting beams reaching me through
otherwise imperceptible vapours: these, as the sun mounted higher,
again became invisible, though still giving that transparency to the
atmosphere and brilliant definition of the distances, so
characteristic of a damp, yet clear day.

Mon Lepcha commands a most extensive view of Sikkim, southward to
Dorjiling. At my feet lay the great and profound valley of the
Ratong, a dark gulf of vegetation. Looking northward, the eye
followed that river to the summit of Kinchinjunga (distant eighteen
miles), which fronts the beholder as Mont Blanc does when seen from
the mountains on the opposite side of the valley of Chamouni. To the
east are the immense precipices and  glaciers of Pundim, and on the
west those of Kubra, forming great supporters to the stupendous
mountain between them. Mon Lepcha itself is a spur running south-east
from the Kubra shoulder: it is very open, and covered with rounded
hills for several miles further north, terminating in a conspicuous
conical black hummock* [This I have beau told is the true Kubra; and
the great snowy mountain behind it, which I here, in conformity with
the Dorjiling nomenclature, call Kubra, has no name, being considered
a part of Kinchin.] called Gubroo, of 15,000 feet elevation, which
presents a black cliff to the south.

Kinchinjunga rises in three heads, of nearly equal height,* [The
eastern and western tops, are respectively 27,826 and 28,177 feet
above the level of the sea.] which form a line running north-west.
It exposes many white or grey rocks, bare of snow, and disposed in
strata* [I am aware that the word strata is inappropriate here; the
appearance of stratification or bedding, if it indicate any structure
of the rock, being, I cannot doubt, due to that action which gives
parallel cleavage planes to granite in many parts of the world, and
to which the so-called lamination or foliation of slate and gneiss is
supposed by many geologists to be due. It is not usual to find this
structure so uniformly and conspicuously developed through large
masses of granite, as it appeared to me to be on the sides of
Kinchinjunga and on the top of Junnoo, as seen from the Choonjerma
pass (Chapter XI, plate); but it is sometimes very conspicuous, and
nowhere more than in the descent of the Grimsel towards Meyringen,
where the granite on the east flank of that magnificent gorge seems
cleft into parallel nearly vertical strata.] sloping to the west; the
colour of all which above 20,000 feet, and the rounded knobbed form
of the summit, suggest a granitic formation. Lofty snowed ridges
project from Kubra into the Ratong valley, presenting black
precipices of stratified rocks to the southward. Pundim has a very
grand appearance; being eight miles distant, and nearly 9000 feet
above Mon Lepcha, it subtends an angle of 12 degrees; while Kinchin
top, though 15,000 feet higher than Mon Lepcha, being eighteen miles
distant, rises only 9 degrees 30 minutes above the true horizon:
these angular heights are too small to give much grandeur and
apparent elevation to mountains, however lofty; nor would they do so
in this case, were it not that the Ratong valley which intervenes, is
seen to be several thousand feet lower, and many degrees below the
real horizon.


Pundim has a tremendous precipice to the south, which, to judge from
its bareness of snow, must be nearly perpendicular; and it presented
a superb geological section. The height of this precipice I found by
angles with a pocket sextant to be upwards of 3,400 feet, and that of
its top to be 21,300 above the sea, and consequently only 715 feet
less than that of the summit of Pundim itself (which is 22,015 feet).
This cliff is of black stratified rocks, sloping to the west, and
probably striking north-west; permeated from top to bottom by veins
of white granite, disposed in zigzag lines, which produce a
contortion of the gneiss, and give it a marbled appearance. The same
structure may be seen in miniature on the transported blocks which
abound in the Sikkim rivers; where veins of finely grained granite
are forced in  all directions through the gneiss, and form parallel
seams or beds between the laminae of that rock, united by transverse
seams, and crumpling up the gneiss itself, like the crushed leaves of
a book. The summit of Pundim itself is all of white rock, rounded in
shape, and forming a cap to the gneiss, which weathers into

A succession of ridges, 14,000 to 18,000 feet high, presented a line
of precipices running south from Pundim for several miles: immense
granite veins are exposed on their surfaces, and they are capped by
stratified rocks, sloping to the east, and apparently striking to the
north-west, which, being black, contrast strongly with the white
granite beneath them: these ridges, instead of being round-topped,
are broken into splintered crags, behind which rises the beautiful
conical peak of Nursing, 19,139 feet above the sea, eight miles
distant, and subtending an angle of 8 degrees 30 minutes.

At the foot of these precipices was a very conspicuous series of
lofty moraines, round whose bases the Ratong wound; these appeared of
much the same height, rising several hundred feet above the valley:
they were comparatively level-topped, and had steep shelving
rounded sides.

I have been thus particular in describing the upper Ratong valley,
because it drains the south face of the loftiest mountain on the
globe; and I have introduced angular heights, and been precise in my
details, because the vagueness with which all terms are usually
applied to the apparent altitude and steepness of mountains and
precipices, is apt to give false impressions. It is essential to
attend to such points where scenery of real interest and importance
is to be described. It is customary to speak of peaks as towering in
the air, which yet subtend an angle of very few degrees; of almost
precipitous ascents,  which, when measured, are found to be slopes of
18 degrees or 20 degrees; and of cliffs as steep and stupendous,
which are inclined at a very moderate angle.

The effect of perspective is as often to deceive in details as to
give truth to general impressions; and those accessories are
sometimes wanting in nature, which, when supplied by art, give truth
to the landscape. Thus, a streak of clouds adds height to a peak
which should appear lofty, but which scarcely rises above the true
horizon; and a belt of mist will sunder two snowy mountains which,
though at very different distances, for want of a play of light and
shade on their dazzling surfaces, and from the extreme transparency
of the air in lofty regions, appear to be at the same distance from
the observer.

The view to the southward from Mon Lepcha, including the country
between the sea-like plains of India and the loftiest mountain on the
globe, is very grand, and neither wanting in variety nor in beauty.
From the deep valleys choked with tropical luxuriance to the scanty
yak pasturage on the heights above, seems but a step at the first
_coup-d'oceil,_ but resolves itself on a closer inspection into five
belts: 1, palm and plantain; 2, oak and laurel; 3, pine;
4, rhododendron and grass; and 5, rock and snow. From the bed of the
Ratong, in which grow palms with screw-pine and plantain, it is only
seven miles in a direct line to the perpetual ice. From the plains of
India, or outer Himalaya, one may behold snowy peaks rise in the
distance behind a foreground of tropical forest; here, on the
contrary, all the intermediate phases of vegetation are seen at a
glance. Except in the Himalaya this is no common phenomenon, and is
owing to the very remarkable depth of the river-beds. That part of
the valley of the Ratong where tropical vegetation ceases, is but
4000  feet above the sea, and though fully fifty miles as the crow
flies (and perhaps 200 by the windings of the river) from the plains
of India, is only eight in a straight line (and forty by the
windings) from the snows which feed that river. In other words, the
descent is so rapid, that in eight miles the Ratong waters every
variety of vegetation, from the lichen of the poles to the palm of
the tropics; whilst throughout the remainder of its mountain course,
it falls from 4000 to 300 feet, flowing amongst tropical scenery,
through a valley whose flanks rise from 5000 to 12,000 feet above
its bed.

From Mon Lepcha we proceeded north-west towards Jongri, along a very
open rounded bare mountain, covered with enormous boulders of gneiss,
of which the subjacent rock is also composed. The soil is a thick
clay full of angular stones, everywhere scooped out into little
depressions which are the dry beds of pools, and are often strewed
with a thin layer of pebbles. Black tufts of alpine aromatic
rhododendrons of two kinds (_R. anthopogon_ and _setosum_), with
dwarf juniper, comprised all the conspicuous vegetation at
this season.

After a two hours' walk, keeping at 13,000 feet elevation, we sighted
Jongri.* [I am assured by Capt. Sherwill, who, in 1852, proceeded
along and surveyed the Nepal frontier beyond this point to Gubroo,
that this is not Jongri, but Yangpoong. The difficulty of getting
precise information, especially as to the names of seldom-visited
spots, is very great. I was often deceived myself, undesignedly, I am
sure, on the part of my informants; but in this case I have Dr.
Campbell's assurance, who has kindly investigated the subject, that
there is no mistake on my part. Captain Sherwill has also kindly
communicated to me a map of the head waters of the Rungbee, Yungya,
and Yalloong rivers, of which, being more correct than my own, I have
gladly availed myself for my map. Gubroo, he informs me, is 15,000
feet in altitude, and dips in a precipice 1000 feet high, facing
Kubra, which prevented his exploring further north.] There were two
stone huts on the bleak face of the spur, scarcely distinguishable at
the distance of half a mile from the great blocks around them.
To the north Gubroo rose in dismal grandeur, backed by the dazzling
snows of Kubra, which now seemed quite near, its lofty top (alt.
24,005 feet) being only eight miles distant. Much snow lay on the
ground in patches, and there were few remains of herbaceous
vegetation; those I recognised were chiefly of poppy, _Potentilla,_
gentian, geranium, fritillary, _Umbelliferae,_ grass, and sedges.

On our arrival at the huts the weather was still fine, with a strong
north-west wind, which meeting the warm moist current from the Ratong
valley, caused much precipitation of vapour. As I hoped to be able to
visit the surrounding glaciers from this spot, I made arrangements
for a stay of some days: giving up the only habitable hut to my
people, I spread my blankets in a slope from its roof to the ground,
building a little stone dyke round the skirts of my dwelling, and a
fire-place in front.

Hence to Yalloong in Nepal, by the Kanglanamo pass, is two days'
march: the route crosses the Singalelah range at an elevation of
about 15,000 feet, south of Kubra, and north of a mountain that forms
a conspicuous feature south-west from Jongri, as a crest of black
fingered peaks, tipped with snow.

It is difficult to conceive the amount of labour expended upon every
pound of salt imported into this part of Sikkim from Tibet, and as an
enumeration of the chief features of the routes it must follow, will
give some idea of what the circuit of the loftiest mountain in the
globe involves, I shall briefly allude to them; premising that the
circuit of Mont Blanc may be easily accomplished in four days.
The shortest route to Yoksun (the first village south of Kinchin)
from the nearest Tibetan village north of that mountain, involves a
detour of one-third of the  circumference of Kinchin. It is evident
that the most direct way must be that nearest the mountain-top, and
therefore that which reaches the highest accessible elevation on its
shoulders, and which, at the same time, dips into the shallowest
valleys between those shoulders. The actual distance in a straight
line is about fifty miles, from Yoksun to the mart at or near

The marches between them are as follows:--
  1. To Yalloong two days; crossing Kanglanamo pass, 15,000 feet high.
  3. To foot of Choonjerma pass, descending to 10,000 feet.
  4. Cross Choonjerma pass, 15,260 feet, and proceed to Kambachen,
     11,400 feet.
  5. Cross Nango pass, 15,770, and camp on Yangma river, 11,000 feet.
  6. Ascend to foot of Kanglachem pass, and camp at 15,000 feet.
  7. Cross Kanglachem pass, probably 16,500 feet; and
  8-10. It is said to be three marches hence to the Tibetan
        custom-house, and that two more snowy passes are crossed.

This allows no day of rest, and gives only five miles--as the crow
flies--to be accomplished each day, but I assume fully fourteen of
road distance; the labour spent in which would accomplish fully
thirty over good roads. Four snowed passes at least are crossed, all
above 15,000 feet, and after the first day the path does not descend
below 10,000 feet. By this route about one-third of the circuit of
Kinchinjunga is accomplished. Supposing the circuit were to be
completed by the shortest practicable route, that is, keeping as near
the summit as possible, the average time required for a man with his
load would be upwards of a month.

To reach Tashirukpa by the eastern route from Yoksun, being a journey
of about twenty-five days, requires a long detour to the southward
and eastward, and afterwards the ascent of the Teesta valley, to
Kongra Lama, and so north to the Tibetan Arun.

My first operation after encamping and arranging my instruments, was
to sink the ground thermometer; but the earth being frozen for
sixteen inches, it took four men several hours' work with hammer and
chisel, to penetrate so deep. There was much vegetable matter for the
first eight or ten inches, and below that a fine red clay. I spent
the afternoon, which was fine, in botanising. When the sun shone, the
smell of the two rhododendrons was oppressive, especially as a little
exertion at this elevation brings on headache. There were few mosses;
but crustaceous lichens were numerous, and nearly all of them of
Scotch, Alpine, European, and Arctic kinds. The names of these, given
by the classical Linnaeus and Wahlenberg, tell in some cases of their
birth-places, in others of their hardihood, their lurid colours and
weather-beaten aspects; such as _tristis, gelida, glacialis, arctica,
alpina, saxatilis, polaris, frigida,_ and numerous others equally
familiar to the Scotch botanist. I recognised many as natives of the
wild mountains of Cape Horn, and the rocks of the stormy Antarctic
ocean; since visiting which regions I had not gathered them.
The lichen called _geographicus_ was most abundant, and is found to
indicate a certain degree of cold in every latitude; descending to
the level of the sea in latitude 52 degrees north, and 50 degrees
south, but in lower latitudes only to be seen on mountains.
It flourishes at 10,000 feet on the Himalaya, ascending thence to
18,000 feet. Its name, however, was not intended to indicate its wide
range, but the curious  maplike patterns which its yellow crust forms
on the rocks.

Of the blocks of gneiss scattered over the Jongri spur, many are
twenty feet in diameter. The ridge slopes gently south-west to the
Choroong river, and more steeply north-east to the Ratong, facing
Kinchin: it rises so very gradually to a peaked mountain between
Jongri and Kubra, that it is not possible to account for the
transport and deposit of these boulders by glaciers of the ordinary
form, viz., by a stream of ice following the course of a valley; and
we are forced to speculate upon the possibility of ice having capped
the whole spur, and moved downwards, transporting blocks from the
prominences on various parts of the spur.

The cutting up of the whole surface of this rounded mountain into
little pools, now dry, of all sizes, from ten to about one hundred
yards in circumference, is a very striking phenomenon. The streams
flow in shallow transverse valleys, each passing through a succession
of such pools, accompanying a step-like character of the general
surface. The beds are stony, becoming more so where they enter the
pools, upon several of the larger of which I observed curving ridges
of large stones, radiating outwards on to their beds from either
margin of the entering stream: more generally large stones were
deposited opposite every embouchure.

This superficial sculpturing must have been a very recent operation;
and the transport of the heavy stones opposite the entrance of the
streams has been effected by ice, and perhaps by snow; just as the
arctic ice strews the shores of the Polar ocean with rocks.

The weather had been threatening all day, northern and westerly
currents contending aloft with the south-east  trade-wind of Sikkim,
and meeting in strife over the great upper valley of the Ratong.
Stately masses of white cumuli wheeled round that gulf of glaciers,
partially dissipating in an occasional snow-storm, but on the whole
gradually accumulating.

On my arrival the thermometer was 32 degrees, with a powerful sun
shining, and it fell to 28 degrees at 4 p.m., when the north wind set
in. At sunset the moon rose through angry masses of woolly cirrus;
its broad full orb threw a flood of yellow light over the serried
tops south of Pundim; thence advancing obliquely towards Nursing, "it
stood tip-toe" for a few minutes on that beautiful pyramid of snow,
whence it seemed to take flight and mount majestically into mid-air,
illuminating Kinchin, Pundim, and Kubra.

I sat at the entrance of my gipsy-like hut, anxiously watching the
weather, and absorbed in admiration of the moonrise, from which my
thoughts were soon diverted by its fading light as it entered a dense
mass of mare's-tail cirrus. It was very cold, and the stillness was
oppressive. I had been urged not to attempt such an ascent in
January, my provisions were scanty, firewood only to be obtained from
some distance, the open undulating surface of Jongri was particularly
exposed to heavy snow-drifts, and the path was, at the best, a
scarcely perceptible track. I followed every change of the wind,
every fluctuation of the barometer and thermometer, each accession of
humidity, and the courses of the clouds aloft. At 7 p.m., the wind
suddenly shifted to the west, and the thermometer instantly rose from
20 degrees to 30 degrees. After 8 p.m., the temperature fell again,
and the wind drew round from west by south to north-east, when the
fog cleared off. The barometer rose no more than it usually does
towards 10 p.m., and though it clouded again, with the temperature at
17 degrees, the wind  seemed steady, and I went to bed with a
relieved mind.

_Jan._ 10.--During the night the temperature fell to 11.2 degrees,
and at 6 a.m. was 19.8 degrees, falling again to 17 degrees soon
after. Though clouds were rapidly coming up from the west and
south-west, the wind remained northerly till 8 a.m., when it shifted
to south-west, and the temperature rose to 25 degrees. As it
continued fine, with the barometer high, I ventured on a walk towards
Gubroo, carefully taking bearings of my position. I found a good many
plants in a rocky valley close to that mountain, which I in vain
attempted to ascend. The air was 30 degrees, with a strong and damp
south-west wind, and the cold was so piercing, that two lads who were
with me, although walking fast, became benumbed, and could not return
without assistance. At 11 a.m., a thick fog obliged us to retrace our
steps: it was followed by snow in soft round pellets like sago, that
swept across the hard ground. During the afternoon it snowed
unceasingly, the wind repeatedly veering round the compass, always
from west to east by south, and so by north to west again. The flakes
were large, soft, and moist with the south wind, and small, hard, and
dry with the north. Glimpses of blue sky were constantly seen to the
south, under the gloomy canopy above, but they augured no change.
As darkness came on, the temperature fell to 15 degrees, and it
snowed very hard; at 6 p.m., it was 11 degrees, but rose afterwards
to 18 degrees.

The night was very cold and wintry: I sat for some hours behind a
blanket screen (which had to be shifted every few minutes) at my
tent-door, keeping up a sulky fire, and peering through the snow for
signs of improvement, but in vain. The clouds were not dense, for the
moon's light was distinct, shining on the glittering snow-flakes
that fell relentlessly: my anxiety was great, and I could not help
censuring myself severely for exposing a party to so great danger at
such a season. I found comfort in the belief that no idle curiosity
had prompted me, and that with a good motive and a strong prestige of
success, one can surmount a host of difficulties. Still the snow
fell; and my heart sank, as my fire declined, and the flakes
sputtered on the blackening embers; my little puppy, who had
gambolled all day amongst the drifting white pellets, now whined, and
crouched under my thick woollen cloak; the inconstant searching wind
drifted the snow into the tent, whose roof so bagged in with the
accumulation that I had to support it with sticks, and dreaded being
smothered, if the weight should cause it to sink upon my bed during
my sleep. The increasing cold drove me, however, to my blankets, and
taking the precaution of stretching a tripod stand over my head, so
as to leave a breathing hole, by supporting the roof if it fell in, I
slept soundly, with my dog at my feet.

At sunrise the following morning the sky was clear, with a light
north wind; about two feet of snow had fallen, the drifts were deep,
and all trace of the path obliterated. The minimum thermometer had
fallen to 3.7 degrees, the temperature rose to 27 degrees at 9 a.m.,
after which the wind fell, and with it the thermometer to 18 degrees.
Soon, however, southerly breezes set in, bringing up heavy masses
of clouds.

My light-hearted companions cheerfully prepared to leave the ground;
they took their appointed loads without a murmur, and sought
protection for their eyes from the glare of the newly fallen snow,
some with as much of my crape veil as I could spare, others with
shades of brown paper, or of hair from the yaks' tails, whilst a few
had spectacle-shades of woven hair; and the Lepchas loosened their
pigtails, and combed their long hair over their eyes and faces. It is
from fresh-fallen snow alone that much inconvenience is felt; owing,
I suppose, to the light reflected from the myriads of facets which
the crystals of snow present. I have never suffered inconvenience in
crossing beds of old snow, or glaciers with weathered surfaces, which
absorb a great deal of light, and reflect comparatively little, and
that little coloured green or blue.

The descent was very laborious, especially through the several miles
of bush and rock which lie below the summit: so that, although we
started at 10 a.m., it was dark by the time we reached Buckeem, where
we found two lame coolies, whom we had left on our way up, and who
were keeping up a glorious fire for our reception.



Ratong river below Mon Lepcha -- Ferns -- Vegetation of Yoksun,
tropical -- _Araliaceae,_ fodder for cattle -- Rice-paper plant --
Geology of Yoksun -- Lake -- Old temples -- Funereal cypresses --
Gigantic chait -- Altars -- Songboom -- Weather -- Catsuperri --
Velocity of Ratong -- Worship at Catsuperri lake -- Scenery -- Willow
-- Lamas and ecclesiastical establishments of Sikkim -- Tengling --
Changachelling temples and monks -- Portrait of myself on walls --
Block of mica-schist -- Lingcham Kajee asks for spectacles --
Hee-hill -- Arrive at Little Rungeet -- At Dorjiling -- Its deserted
and wintry appearance.

On the following day we marched to Yoksun: the weather was fair,
though it was evidently snowing on the mountains above. I halted at
the Ratong river, at the foot of Mon Lepcha, where I found its
elevation to be 7,150 feet; its edges were frozen, and the
temperature of the water 36 degrees; it is here a furious torrent
flowing between gneiss rocks which dip south-south-east, and is
flanked by flat-topped beds of boulders, gravel and sand, twelve to
fourteen feet thick. Its vegetation resembles that of Dorjiling, but
is more alpine, owing no doubt to the proximity of Kinchinjunga.
The magnificent _Rhododendron argenteum_ was growing on its banks.
On the other hand, I was surprised to see a beautiful fern (a
_Trichomanes,_ very like the Irish one) which is not found at
Dorjiling. The same day, at about the same elevation, I gathered
sixty species of fern, many of very tropical forms.* [They consisted
of the above-mentioned _Trichomanes,_ three _Hymenophyllae, Vittaria,
Pleopeltis,_ and _Marattia,_ together with several _Selaginellas._]
No doubt the range of such genera is extended in proportion to the
extreme damp and equable climate, here, as about Dorjiling.
Tree-ferns are however absent, and neither plantains, epiphytical
_Orchideae,_ nor palms, are so abundant, or ascend so high as on the
outer ranges. About Yoksun itself, which occupies a very warm
sheltered flat, many tropical genera occur, such as tall bamboos of
two kinds, grasses allied to the sugar-cane, scarlet _Erythrina,_ and
various _Araliaceae,_ amongst which was one species whose pith was of
so curious a structure, that I had no hesitation in considering the
then unknown Chinese substance called rice-paper to belong to a
closely allied plant.* [The Chinese rice-paper has long been known to
be cut from cylinders of pith which has always a central hollow
chamber, divided into compartments by septa or excessively thin
plates. It is only within the last few months that my supposition has
been confirmed, by my father's receiving from China, after many years
of correspondence, specimens of the rice-paper plant itself, which
very closely resemble, in botanical characters, as well as in outward
appearance of size and habit, the Sikkim plant.]

The natives collect the leaves of many Aralias as fodder for cattle,
for which purpose they are of the greatest service in a country where
grass for pasture is so scarce; this is the more remarkable, since
they belong to the natural family of ivy, which is usually poisonous;
the use of this food, however, gives a peculiar taste to the butter.
In other parts of Sikkim, fig-leaves are used for the same purpose,
and branches of a bird-cherry (_Prunus_), a plant also of a very
poisonous family, abounding in prussic acid.

We were received with great kindness by the villagers of Yoksun, who
had awaited our return with some anxiety, and on hearing of our
approach had collected large supplies of food; amongst other things
were tares (called by the Lepchas "Kullai"), yams ("Book"), and a
bread made by bruising together damp maize and rice into tough thin
cakes ("Ketch-ung tapha"). The Lamas of Doobdi were especially civil,
having a favour to ask, which was that I would intercede with
Dr. Campbell to procure the permission of the Nepalese to reopen the
Kanglanamo pass, and thus give some occupation to their herds of
yaks, which were now wandering idly about.

I botanized for two days on the Yoksun flat, searching for evidence
of lacustrine strata or moraines, being more than ever convinced by
the views I had obtained of this place from Mon Lepcha, that its
uniformity of surface was due to water action. It is certainly the
most level area of its size that I know of in Sikkim, though situated
in one of the deepest valleys, and surrounded on almost all sides by
very steep mountains; and it is far above the flat gravel terraces of
the present river-beds. I searched the surface of the flat for gravel
beds in vain, for though it abounds in depressions that must have
formerly been lake-beds, and are now marshes in the rainy season,
these were all floored with clay. Along the western edge, where the
descent is very steep for 1800 feet to the Ratong, I found no traces
of stratified deposits, though the spurs which projected from it were
often flattened at top. The only existing lake has sloping clay
banks, covered with spongy vegetable mould; it has no permanent
affluent or outlet, its present drainage being subterranean, or more
probably by evaporation; but there is an old water-channel several
feet above its level. It is eighty to a hundred yards across, and
nearly circular; its depth three or four feet, increased to fifteen
or sixteen in the rains; like all similar pools in Sikkim, it
contains little or no animal life at this season, and I searched in
vain for shells, insects, or frogs. All around were great blocks of
gneiss, some fully twelve feet square.

The situation of this lake is very romantic, buried in a tall forest
of oaks and laurels, and fringed by wild camellia shrubs; the latter
are not the leafy, deep green, large-blossomed plants of our
greenhouses, but twiggy bushes with small scattered leaves, and
little yellowish flowers like those of the tea-plant. The massive
walls of a ruined temple rise close to the water, which looks like
the still moat of a castle: beside it are some grand old funereal
cypresses, with ragged scattered branches below, where they struggle
for light in the dense forest, but raising their heads aloft as
bright green pyramids.


After some difficulty I found the remains of a broad path that
divided into two; one of them led to a second ruined temple, fully a
mile off, and the other I followed to a grove, in which was a
gigantic chait; it was a beautiful lane throughout, bordered with
bamboo, brambles, gay-flowered _Melastomaceae_ like hedge-roses, and
scarlet _Erythrina_: there were many old mendongs and chaits on the
way, which I was always careful to leave on the right hand in
passing, such being the rule among Boodhists, the same which ordains
that the praying-cylinder or "Mani" be made to revolve in a direction
against the sun's motion.

This great chait is the largest in Sikkim; it is called "Nirbogong,"
and appears to be fully forty feet high; facing it is a stone altar
about fifteen feet long and four broad, and behind this again is a
very curious erection called "Song-boom," used for burning juniper as
incense; it resembles a small smelting furnace, and consists of an
elongated conical stone building eight feet high, raised on a single
block; it is hollow, and divided into three stories or chambers; in
the lower of which is a door, by which fuel is placed inside, and the
smoke ascending through holes in the upper slabs, escapes by lateral
openings from the top compartment. These structures are said to be
common in Tibet, but I saw no other in Sikkim.

During my stay at Yoksun, the weather was very cold, especially at
night, considering the elevation (5,600 feet): the mean temperature
was 39 degrees, the extremes being 19.2 degrees and 60 degrees; and
even at 8 a.m. the thermometer, laid on the frosty grass, stood at 20
degrees; temperatures which are rare at Dorjiling, 1500 feet higher.
I could not but regard with surprise such half tropical genera as
perennial-leaved vines, _Saccharum, Erythrina,_ large bamboos,
_Osbeckia_ and cultivated millet, resisting such low temperatures.*
[This is no doubt due to the temperature of the soil being always
high: I did not sink a thermometer at Yoksun, but from observations
taken at similar elevations, the temperature of the earth, at three
feet depth, may be assumed to be 55 degrees.]

On the 14th January I left Yoksun for the lake and temples of
Catsuperri, the former of which is by much the largest in Sikkim.
After a steep descent of 1800 feet, we reached the Ratong, where its
bed is only 3,790 feet above the sea; it is here a turbulent stream,
twelve yards across, with the usual features of gravel terraces, huge
boulders of gneiss and some of the same rock _in situ,_ striking
north-east. Some idea of its velocity may be formed from the descent
it makes from the foot of Mon Lepcha, where the elevation of its bed
was 7,150 feet, giving a fall of 3,350 feet in only ten miles.

Hence I ascended a very steep spur, through tropical vegetation, now
become so familiar to me that I used to count the number of species
belonging to the different large natural orders, as I went along.
I gathered only thirty-five ferns at these low elevations, in the
same space as produces from fifty to sixty in the more equable and
humid regions of 6000 feet; grasses on the other hand were much more
numerous. The view of the flat of Yoksun from Lungschung village,
opposite to it, and on about the same level, is curious; as is that
of the hamlet of Lathiang on the same side, which I have before
noticed as being placed on a very singular flat shelf above the
Ratong, and is overhung by rocks.

Ascending very steeply for several thousand feet, we reached a hollow
on the Catsuperri spur, beyond which the lake lies buried in a deep
forest. A Lama from the adjacent temple accompanied us, and I found
my people affecting great solemnity as they approached its sacred
bounds; they incessantly muttered "Om mani," etc., kotowed to trees
and stones, and hung bits of rag on the bushes. A pretence of
opposing our progress was made by the priest, who of course wanted
money; this I did not appear to notice, and after a steep descent, we
were soon on the shores of what is, for Sikkim, a grand sheet of
water, (6,040 feet above the sea), without any apparent outlet: it
may be from three to five hundred yards across in the rains, but was
much less now, and was bordered by a broad marsh of bog moss
(_Sphagnum_), in which were abundance of _Azolla,_ colouring the
waters red, and sedges. Along the banks were bushes of _Rhododendron
barbatum_ and _Berberis insignis,_* [This magnificent new species has
not been introduced into England; it forms a large bush, with
deep-green leaves seven inches long, and bunches of yellow flowers.]
but the mass of the vegetation was similar to that of Dorjiling.

We crossed the marsh to the edge of the lake by a rude paved way of
decaying logs, through which we often plunged up to our knees.
The Lama had come provided with a piece of bark, shaped like a boat,
some juniper incense and a match-box, with which he made a fire, and
put it in the boat, which he then launched on the lake as a votive
offering to the presiding deity. It was a dead calm, but the impetus
he gave to the bark shot it far across the lake, whose surface was
soon covered with a thick cloud of white smoke. Taking a rupee from
me, the priest then waved his arm aloft, and pretended to throw the
money into the water, singing snatches of prayers in Tibetan, and at
times shrieking at the top of his voice to the Dryad who claims these
woods and waters as his own. There was neither bird, beast, nor
insect to be seen, and the scenery was as impressive to me, as the
effect of the simple service was upon my people, who prayed with
redoubled fervour, and hung more rags on the bushes.

I need hardly say that this invocation of the gods of the woods and
waters forms no part of Lama worship; but the Lepchas are but half
Boodhists; in their hearts they dread the demons of the grove, the
lake, the snowy mountain and the torrent, and the crafty Lama takes
advantage of this, modifies his practices to suit their requirements,
and is content with the formal recognition of the spiritual supremacy
of the church. This is most remarkably shown in their acknowledgment
of the day on which offerings had been made from time immemorial by
the pagan Lepchas to the genius of Kinchinjunga, by holding it as a
festival of the church throughout Sikkim.* [On that occasion an
invocation to the mountain is chanted by priests and people in
chorus. Like the Lama's address to the genius of Catsuperri lake, its
meaning, if it ever had any, is not now apparent. It runs thus:--
            "Kanchin-jinga, Pemi Kadup
             Gnetche Tangla, Dursha tember
             Zu jinga Pemsum Serkiem
             Dischze Kubra Kanchin tong."
This was written for me by Dr. Campbell, who, like myself, has vainly
sought its solution; it is probably a mixture of Tibetan and Lepcha,
both as much corrupted as the celebrated "Om mani padmi boom," which
is universally pronounced by Lepchas "Menny pemmy boom." This reminds
me that I never got a solution of this sentence from a Lama, of
whatever rank or learning; and it was only after incessant inquiry,
during a residence of many years in Nepal, that Mr. Hodgson at last
procured the interpretation, or rather paraphrase: "Hail to him
(Sakya) of the lotus and the jewel," which is very much the same as
M. Klaproth and other authorities have given.]

The two Catsuperri temples occupy a spur 445 feet above the lake, and
6,485 feet above the sea; they are poor, and only remarkable for a
miserable weeping-willow tree planted near them, said to have been
brought from Lhassa. The monks were very civil to me, and offered
amongst other things a present of excellent honey. One was an
intelligent man, and gave me much information: he told me that there
were upwards of twenty religious establishments in Sikkim, containing
more than 1000 priests. These have various claims upon the devout:
thus, Tassiding, Doobdi, Changachelling, and Pemiongchi, are
celebrated for their antiquity, and the latter also for being the
residence of the head Lama; Catsuperri for its lake; Raklang for its
size, etc. All are under one spiritual head, who is the Tupgain Lama,
or eldest son of the Rajah; and who resides at the Phadong convent,
near Tumloong: the Lama of Pemiongchi is, however, the most highly
respected, on account of his age, position, and sanctity. Advancement
in the hierarchy is dependent chiefly on interest, but indirectly on
works also; pilgrimages to Lhassa and Teshoo Loombo are the highest
of these, and it is clearly the interest of the supreme pontiffs of
those ecclesiastical capitals to encourage such, and to intimate to
the Sikkim authorities, the claims those who perform them have for
preferment. Dispensations for petty offences are granted to Lamas of
low degree and monks, by those of higher station, but crimes against
the church are invariably referred to Tibet, and decided there.

The election to the Sikkim Lamaseries is generally conducted on the
principle of self-government, but Pemiongchi and some others are
often served by Lamas appointed from Tibet, or ordained there, at
some of the great convents. I never heard of an instance of any
Sikkim Lama arriving at such sanctity as to be considered immortal,
and to reappear after death in another individual, nor is there any
election of infants. All are of the Ningma, Dookpa, or Shammar sect,
and are distinguished by their red mitres; they were once dominant
throughout Tibet, but after many wars* [The following account of the
early war between the red and the yellow-mitred Lamas was given me by
Tchebu Lama:--For twenty-five generations the red-cape (Dookpa or
Ningma) prevailed in Tibet, when they split into two sects, who
contended for supreme power; the Lama of Phado, who headed the
dissenters, and adopted a yellow mitre, being favoured by the Emperor
of China, to whom reference was made. A persecution of the red Lamas
followed, who were caught by the yellow-caps, and their mitres
plunged into dyeing vats kept always ready at the Lamaseries.
The Dookpa, however, still held Teshoo Loombo, and applied to the
Sokpo (North Tibet) Lamas for aid, who bringing horses and camels,
easily prevailed over the Gelookpa or yellow sect, but afterwards
treacherously went over to them, and joined them in an attack on
Teshoo Loombo, which was plundered and occupied by the Gelookpas.
The Dookpa thereafter took refuge in Sikkim and Bhotan, whence the
Bhotan Rajah became their spiritual chief under the name of Dhurma
Rajah, and is now the representative of that creed. Goorucknath is
still the Dookpa's favourite spiritual deity of the older creed,
which is, however, no longer in the ascendant. The Dalai Lama of
Teshoo Loombo is a Gelookpa, as is the Rimbochay Lama, and the Potala
Lama of Lhassa, according to Tchebu Lama, but Turner ("Travels in
Tibet," p. 315) says the contrary; the Gelookpa consider Sakya Thoba
(or Tsongkaba) alias Mahamouni, as their great avatar.] with the
yellow-caps, they were driven from that country, and took refuge
principally in the Himalaya. The Bhotan or Dhurma* [Bhotan is
generally known as the Dhurma country. See note, Chapter V.] Rajah
became the spiritual head of this sect, and, as is well known,
disputes the temporal government also of his country with the Deva
Rajah, who is the hereditary temporal monarch, and never claims
spiritual jurisdiction. I am indebted to Dr. Campbell for a copy and
translation of the Dhurma Rajah's great seal, containing the
attributes of his spirituality, a copy of which I have appended to
the end of this chapter.

The internal organisation of the different monastic establishments is
very simple. The head or Teshoo Lama* [I have been informed by
letters from Dr. Campbell that the Pemiongchi Lama is about to remove
the religious capital of Sikkim to Dorjiling, and build there a grand
temple and monastery; this will be attractive to visitors, and afford
the means of extending our knowledge of East Tibet.] rules supreme;
then come the monks and various orders of priests, and then those who
are candidates for orders, and dependents, both lay-brothers and
slaves: there are a few nunneries in Sikkim, and the nuns are all
relatives or connections of the Rajah, his sister is amongst them.
During the greater part of the year, all lead a more or less idle
life; the dependents being the most occupied in carrying wood and
water, cultivating the land, etc.

The lay-brothers are often skilful workmen, and are sometimes lent or
hired out as labourers, especially as housebuilders and decorators.
No tax of any kind is levied on the church, which is frequently very
rich in land, flocks, and herds, and in contributions from the
people: land is sometimes granted by the Rajah, but is oftener
purchased by the priests, or willed, or given by the proprietor.
The services, to which I have already alluded, are very irregularly
performed; in most temples only on festival days, which correspond to
the Tibetan ones so admirably described in MM. Huc and Gabet's
narrative; in a few, however, service is performed daily, especially
in such as stand near frequented roads, and hence reap the
richest harvest.

Like all the natives of Tibet and Sikkim, the priests are intolerably
filthy; in some cases so far carrying out their doctrines as not even
to kill the vermin with which they swarm. All are nominally bound to
chastity, but exemptions in favour of Lamas of wealth, rank, or
power, are granted by the supreme pontiffs, both in Tibet and Sikkim.
I constantly found swarms of children about the Lamaseries, who were
invariably called nephews and nieces.

Descending from the Catsuperri temples, I encamped at the village of
Tengling (elevation 5,257 feet), where I was waited upon by a bevy of
forty women, Lepchas and Sikkim Bhoteeas, accompanied by their
children, and bringing presents of fowls, rice and vegetables, and
apologising for the absence of their male relatives, who were gone to
carry tribute to the Rajah. Thence I marched to Changachelling, first
descending to the Tengling river, which divides the Catsuperri from
the Molli ridge, and which I crossed.

Tree-ferns here advance further north than in any other part of
Sikkim. I did not visit the Molli temples, but crossed the spur of
that name, to the Rungbee river, whose bed is 3,300 feet above the
sea; thence I ascended upwards of 3,500 feet to the Changachelling
temples, passing Tchongpong village. The ridge on which both
Pemiongchi and Changachelling are built, is excessively narrow at
top; it is traversed by a "via Sacra," connecting these two
establishments; this is a pretty wooded walk, passing mendongs and
chaits hoary with lichens and mosses; to the north the snows of
Kinchinjunga are seen glimmering between the trunks of oaks, laurels,
and rhododendrons, while to the south the Sinchul and Dorjiling spurs
shut out the view of the plains of India.

Changachelling temples and chaits crown a beautiful rocky eminence on
the ridge, their roofs, cones and spires peeping through groves of
bamboo, rhododendrons, and arbutus; the ascent is by broad flights of
steps cut in the mica-slate rocks, up which shaven and girdled monks,
with rosaries and long red gowns, were dragging loads of bamboo
stems, that produced a curious rattling noise. At the summit there is
a fine temple, with the ruins of several others, and of many houses:
the greater part of the principal temple, which is two-storied and
divided into several compartments, is occupied by families. The monks
were busy repairing the part devoted to worship, which consists of a
large chamber and vestibule of the usual form: the outside walls are
daubed red, with a pigment of burnt felspathic clay, which is dug
hard by. Some were painting the vestibule with colours brought from
Lhassa, where they had been trained to the art. Amongst other figures
was one playing on a guitar, a very common symbol in the vestibules
of Sikkim temples: I also saw an angel playing on the flute, and a
snake-king offering fruit to a figure in the water, who was grasping
a serpent. Amongst the figures I was struck by that of an Englishman,
whom, to my amusement, and the limner's great delight, I recognised
as myself. I was depicted in a flowered silk coat instead of a tartan
shooting jacket, my shoes were turned up at the toes, and I had on
spectacles and a tartar cap, and was writing notes in a book. On one
side a snake-king was politely handing me fruit, and on the other a
horrible demon was writhing.

A crowd had collected to see whether I should recognise myself, and
when I did so, the merriment was extreme. They begged me to send them
a supply of vermilion, goldleaf, and brushes; our so called
camel's-hair pencils being much superior to theirs, which are made of
marmot's hair.

I was then conducted to a house, where I found salted and buttered
tea and Murwa beer smoking in hospitable preparation. As usual, the
house was of wood, and the inhabited apartments above the low
basement story were approached by an outside ladder, like a Swiss
cottage: within were two rooms floored with earth; the inner was
small, and opened on a verandah that faced Kinchinjunga, whence the
keen wind whistled through the apartment.

The head Lama, my jolly fat friend of the 20th of December, came to
breakfast with me, followed by several children, nephews and nieces
he said; but they were uncommonly like him for such a distant
relationship, and he seemed extremely fond of them, and much pleased
when I stuffed them with sugar.

Changachelling hill is remarkable for having on its summit an immense
tabular mass of chlorite slate, resting apparently horizontally on
variously inclined rocks of the same: it is quite flat-topped, ten to
twelve yards each way, and the sides are squared by art; the country
people attribute its presence here to a miracle.

The view of the Kinchin range from this spot being one of the finest
in Sikkim, and the place itself being visible from Dorjiling, I took
a very careful series of bearings, which, with those obtained at
Pemiongchi, were of the utmost use in improving my map, which was
gradually progressing. To my disappointment I found that neither
priest nor people knew the name of a single snowy mountain. I also
asked in vain for some interpretation of the lines I have quoted at
earlier; they said they were Lepcha worship, and that they only used
them for the gratification of the people, on the day of the great
festival of Kinchinjunga.

Hence I descended to the Kulhait river, on my route back to
Dorjiling, visiting my very hospitable tippling friend, the Kajee of
Lingcham, on the way down: he humbly begged me to get him a pair of
spectacles, for no other object than to look wise, as he had the eyes
of a hawk; he told me that mine drew down universal respect in
Sikkim, and that I had been drawn with them on, in the temple at
Changachelling; and that a pair would not only wonderfully become
him, but afford him the most pleasing recollections of myself.
Happily I had the means of gratifying him, and have since been told
that he wears them on state occasions.

I encamped by the river, 3,160 feet above the sea, amongst figs and
plantains, on a broad terrace of pebbles, boulders and sand, ten feet
above the stream; the rocks in the latter were covered with a red
conferva. The sand on the banks was disposed in layers, alternately
white and red, the white being quartz, and the red pulverised
garnets. The arranging of these sand-bands by the water must be due
to the different specific gravities of the garnet and quartz; the
former being lighter, is lifted by the current on to the surface of
the quartz, and left there when the waters retire.

On the next day I ascended Hee hill, crossed it at an elevation of
7,290 feet, and camped on the opposite side at 6,680 feet, in a dense
forest. The next march was still southward to the little Rungeet
guard-house, below Dorjiling spur, which I reached after a fatiguing
walk amidst torrents of rain. The banks of the little Rungeet river,
which is only 1,670 feet above the sea, are very flat and low, with
broad terraces of pebbles and shingle, upon which are huge gneiss
boulders, fully 200 feet above the stream.

On the 19th of January, I ascended the Tukvor spur to Dorjiling, and
received a most hospitable welcome from my friend Mr. Muller, now
almost the only European inhabitant of the place; Mr. Hodgson having
gone down on a shooting excursion in the Terai, and Dr. Campbell
being on duty on the Bhotan frontier. The place looked what it really
was--wholly deserted. The rain I had experienced in the valley, had
here been snow, and the appearance of the broad snowed patches clear
of trees, and of the many houses without smoke or inhabitant, and the
tall scattered trees with black bark and all but naked branches, was
dismal in the extreme. The effect was heightened by an occasional
Hindoo, who flitted here and there along the road, crouching and
shivering, with white cotton garments and bare legs.

The delight of my Lepcha attendants at finding themselves safely at
home again, knew no bounds; and their parents waited on me with
presents, and other tokens of their goodwill and gratitude. I had no
lack of volunteers for a similar excursion in the following season,
though with their usual fickleness, more than half failed me, long
before the time arrived for putting their zeal to the proof.


I am indebted to Dr. Campbell for the accompanying impression and
description of the seal of the Dhurma Rajah, or sovereign pontiff of
Bhotan, and spiritual head of the whole sect of the Dookpa, or
red-mitred Lama Boodhists. The translations were made by Aden Tchehu
Lama, who accompanied us into Sikkim in 1849, and I believe they are
quite correct. The Tibetan characters run from left to right.

The seal of the Dhurma Rajah is divided into a centre portion and
sixteen rays. In the centre is the word Dookyin, which means "The
Dookpa Creed"; around the "Dookyin" are sixteen similar letters,
meaning "I," or "I am." The sixteen radial compartments contain his
titles and attributes, thus, commencing from the centre erect one,
and passing round from left to right:--

1. I am the Spiritual and Temporal Chief of the Realm.
2. The Defender of the Faith.
3. Equal to Saruswati in learning.
4. Chief of all the Boodhs.
5. Head expounder of the Shasters.
6. Caster out of devils.
7. The most learned in the Holy Laws.
8. An Avatar of God (or, by God's will).
9. Absolver of sins.
10. I am above all the Lamas of the Dookpa Creed.
11. I am of the best of all Religions--the Dookpa.
12. The punisher of unbelievers.
18. Unequalled in expounding the Shasters.
14. Unequalled in holiness and wisdom.
15. The head (or fountain) of all Religious Knowledge.
16. The Enemy of all false Avatars.



Dispatch collections -- Acorns -- Heat -- Punkabaree -- Bees --
Vegetation -- Haze -- Titalya -- Earthquake -- Proceed to Nepal
frontier -- Terai, geology of -- Physical features of Himalayan
valleys -- Elephants, purchase of, etc. -- Riverbeds -- Mechi river
-- Return to Titalya -- Leave for Teesta -- Climate of plains --
Jeelpigoree -- Cooches -- Alteration in the appearance of country by
fires, etc. -- Grasses -- Bamboos -- Cottages -- Rajah of Cooch Behar
-- Condition of people -- Hooli festival -- Ascend Teesta -- Canoes
-- Cranes -- Forest -- Baikant-pore -- Rummai -- Religion -- Plants
at foot of mountains -- Exit of Teesta -- Canoe voyage down to
Rangamally -- English genera of plants -- Birds -- Beautiful Scenery
-- Botanizing on elephants -- Willow -- Siligoree -- Cross Terai --
Geology -- Iron -- Lohar-ghur -- Coal and sandstone beds -- Mechi
fisherman -- Hailstorm -- Ascent to Khersiong -- To Dorjiling --
Vegetation -- Geology -- Folded quartz-beds -- Spheres of feldspar --
Lime deposits.

Having arranged the collections (amounting to eighty loads) made
during 1848, they were conveyed by coolies to the foot of the hills,
where carts were provided to carry them five days' journey to the
Mahanuddy river, which flows into the Ganges, whence they were
transported by water to Calcutta.

On the 27th of February, I left Dorjiling to join Mr. Hodgson, at
Titalya on the plains. The weather was raw, cold, and threatening:
snow lay here and there at 7000 feet, and all vegetation was very
backward, and wore a wintry garb. The laurels, maples, and
deciduous-leaved oaks, hydrangea and cherry, were leafless, but the
abundance of chesnuts and evergreen oaks, rhododendrons, _Aucuba,
Linonia,_ and other shrubs, kept the forest well clothed. The oaks
had borne a very unusual number of acorns during  the last season,
which were now falling, and strewing the road in some places so
abundantly, that it was hardly safe to ride down hill.

The plains of Bengal were all but obscured by a dense haze, partly
owing to a peculiar state of the atmosphere that prevails in the dry
months, and partly to the fires raging in the Terai forest, from
which white wreaths of smoke ascended, stretching obliquely for miles
to the eastward, and filling the air with black particles of
grass-stems, carried 4000 feet aloft by the heated ascending currents
that impinge against the flanks of the mountains.

In the tropical region the air was scented with the white blossoms of
the _Vitex Agnus-castus,_ which grew in profusion by the road-side;
but the forest, which had looked so gigantic on my arrival at the
mountains the previous year, appeared small after the far more lofty
and bulky oaks and pines of the upper regions of the Himalaya.

The evening was sultry and close, the heated surface of the earth
seemed to load the surrounding atmosphere with warm vapours, and the
sensation, as compared with the cool pure air of Dorjiling, was that
of entering a confined tropical harbour after a long sea-voyage.

I slept in the little bungalow of Punkabaree, and was wakened next
morning by sounds to which I had long been a stranger, the voices of
innumerable birds, and the humming of great bees that bore large
holes for their dwellings in the beams and rafters of houses: never
before had I been so forcibly struck with the absence of animal life
in the regions of the upper Himalaya.

Breakfasting early, I pursued my way in the so-called cool of the
morning, but this was neither bright nor fresh; the night having been
hazy, there had been no terrestrial radiation, and the earth was
dusty and parched; while the  sun rose through a murky yellowish
atmosphere with ill-defined orb. Thick clouds of smoke pressed upon
the plains, and the faint easterly wind wafted large flakes of grass
charcoal sluggishly through the air.

Vegetation was in great beauty, though past its winter prime. The
tropical forest of India has two flowering seasons; one in summer, of
the majority of plants; and the other in winter, of _Acanthaceae,
Bauhinia, Dillenia, Bombax,_ etc. Of these the former are abundant,
and render the jungle gay with large and delicate white, red, and
purple blossoms. Coarse, ill-favoured vultures wheeled through the
air, languid Bengalees had replaced the active mountaineers,
jackal-like curs of low degree teemed at every village, and ran
howling away from the onslaught of my mountain dog; and the tropics,
with all their beauty of flower and genial warmth, looked as forbidding
and unwholesome as they felt oppressive to a frame that had so long
breathed the fresh mountain air.

Mounted on a stout pony, I enjoyed my scamper of sixteen miles over
the wooded plains and undulating gravelly slopes of the Terai,
intervening between the foot of the mountains and Siligoree bungalow,
where I rested for an hour. In the afternoon I rode on leisurely to
Titalya, sixteen miles further, along the banks of the Mahanuddy, the
atmosphere being so densely hazy, that objects a few miles off were
invisible, and the sun quite concealed, though its light was so
powerful that no part of the sky could be steadily gazed upon.
This state of the air is very curious, and has met with various
attempts at explanation,* [Dr. M'Lelland ("Calcutta Journal of
Natural History," vol. i, p. 52), attributes the haze of the
atmosphere during the north-west winds of this season, wholly to
suspended earthy particles. But the haze is present even in the
calmest weather, and extreme dryness is in all parts of the world
usually accompanied by an obscure horizon. Captain Campbell
("Calcutta Journal of Natural History," vol. ii, p. 44.) also objects
to Dr. M'Clelland's theory, citing those parts of Southern India
which are least likely to be visited by dust-storms, as possessing an
equally hazy atmosphere; and further denies its being influenced by
the hygrometric state of the atmosphere.]  all unsatisfactory to me:
it accompanies great heat, dryness, and elasticity of the suspended
vapours, and is not affected by wind. During the afternoon the latter
blew with violence, but being hot and dry, brought no relief to my
still unacclimated frame. My pony alone enjoyed the freedom of the
boundless plains, and the gallop or trot being fatiguing in the heat,
I tried in vain to keep him at a walk; his spirits did not last long,
however, for he flagged after a few days' tropical heat. My little
dog had run thirty miles the day before, exclusive of all the detours
he had made for his own enjoyment, and he flagged so much after
twenty more this day, that I had to take him on my saddle-bow, where,
after licking his hot swollen feet, he fell fast asleep, in spite of
the motion.

After leaving the wooded Terai at Siligoree, trees became scarce, and
clumps of bamboos were the prevalent features; these, with an
occasional banyan, peepul, or betel-nut palm near the villages, were
the only breaks on the distant horizon. A powerfully scented
_Clerodendron,_ and an _0sbeckia_ gay with blossoms like dog-roses,
were abundant; the former especially under trees, where the seeds are
dropped by birds.

At Titalya bungalow, I received a hearty welcome from Mr. Hodgson,
and congratulations on the success of my Nepal journey, which
afforded a theme for many conversations.

In the evening we had three sharp jerking shocks of an earthquake in
quick succession, at 9.8 p.m., appearing to come up from the
southward: they were accompanied by a hollow rumbling sound like that
of a waggon passing over a wooden bridge. The shock was felt strongly
at Dorjiling, and registered by Mr. Muller at 9.10 p.m.: we had
accurately adjusted our watches (chronometers) the previous morning,
and the motion may therefore fairly be assumed to have been
transmitted northwards through the intervening distance of forty
miles, in two minutes. Both Mr. Muller and Mr. Hodgson had noted a
much more severe shock at 6.10 p.m. the previous evening, which I,
who was walking down the mountain, did not experience; this caused a
good deal of damage at Dorjiling, in cracking well-built walls.
Earthquakes are frequent all along the Himalaya, and are felt far in
Tibet; they are, however, most common towards the eastern and western
extremities of India; owing in the former case to the proximity of
the volcanic forces in the bay of Bengal. Cutch and Scinde, as is
well known, have suffered severely on many occasions, and in several
of them the motion has been propagated through Affghanistan and
Little Tibet, to the heart of Central Asia.* [See "Wood's Travels to
the Oxus."]

On the morning of the 1st of March, Dr. Campbell arrived at the
bungalow, from his tour of inspection along the frontier of Bhotan
and the Rungpore district; and we accompanied him hence along the
British and Sikkim frontier, as far west as the Mechi river, which
bounds Nepal on the east.

Terai is a name loosely applied to a tract of country at the very
foot of the Himalaya: it is Persian, and signifies damp. Politically,
the Terai generally belongs to the hill-states beyond it;
geographically, it should appertain to the plains of India; and
geologically, it is a sort of neutral country, being composed neither
of the alluvium of the plains, nor of the rocks of the hills, but for
the most part of alternating beds of sand, gravel, and boulders
brought from the mountains. Botanically it is readily defined as the
region of forest-trees; amongst which the Sal, the most valuable
of Indian timber, is conspicuous in most parts, though not now in
Sikkim, where it has been destroyed. The Terai soil is generally
light, dry, and gravelly (such as the Sal always prefers), and varies
in breadth, from ten miles, along the Sikkim frontier, to thirty and
more on the Nepalese. In the latter country it is called the Morung,
and supplies Sal and Sissoo timber for the Calcutta market, the logs
being floated down the Konki and Cosi rivers to the Ganges.
The gravel-beds extend uninterruptedly upon the plains for fully
twenty miles south of the Sikkim mountains, the gravel becoming
smaller as the distance increases, and large blocks of stone not
being found beyond a few miles from the rocks of the Himalaya itself,
even in the beds of rivers, however large and rapid. Throughout its
breadth this formation is conspicuously cut into flat-topped
terraces, flanking the spurs of the mountains, at elevations varying
from 250 to nearly 1000 feet above the sea. These terraces are of
various breadth and length, the smallest lying uppermost, and the
broadest flanking the rivers below. The isolated hills beyond are
also flat-topped and terraced. This deposit contains no fossils; and
its general appearance and mineral constituents are the only evidence
of its origin, which is no doubt due to a retiring ocean that washed
the base of the Sikkim Himalaya, received the contents of its rivers,
and, wearing away its bluff spurs, spread a talus upwards of 1000
feet thick along its shores. It is not at first sight evident whether
the terracing is due to periodic retirements of the ocean, or to the
levelling effects of rivers that have cut channels through the
deposit. In many places, especially along the banks of the great
streams, the gravel is smaller, obscurely interstratified with sand,
and the flattened pebbles over-lap rudely, in a manner characteristic
of the effects of running water; but such is  not the case with the
main body of the deposit, which is unstratified, and much coarser.

The alluvium of the Gangetic valley is both interstratified with the
gravel, and passes into it, and was no doubt deposited in deep water,
whilst the coarser matter* [This, too, is non-fossiliferous, and is
of unknown depth, except at Calcutta, where the sand and clay beds
have been bored through, to the depth of 120 feet, below which the
first pebbles were met with. Whence these pebbles were derived is a
curious problem. The great Himalayan rivers convey pebbles but a very
few miles from the mountains on to the plains of India; and there is
no rock _in situ_ above the surface, within many miles of Calcutta,
in any direction.] was accumulating at the foot of the mountains.

This view is self-evident, and has occurred, I believe, to almost
every observer, at whatever part of the base of the Himalaya he may
have studied this deposit. Its position, above the sandstones of the
Sewalik range in the north-west Himalaya, and those of Sikkim, which
appear to be modern fossiliferous rocks, indicates its being
geologically of recent formation; but it still remains a subject of
the utmost importance to discover the extent and nature of the ocean
to whose agency it is referred. I have elsewhere remarked that the
alluvium of the Gangetic valley may to a great degree be the measure
of the denudation which the Himalaya has suffered along its Indian
watershed. It was, no doubt, during the gradual rise of that chain
from the ocean, that the gravel and alluvium were deposited; and in
the terraces and alternation of these, there is evidence that there
have been many subsidences and elevations of the coast-line, during
which the gravel has suffered greatly from denudation.

I have never looked at the Sikkim Himalaya from the plains without
comparing its bold spurs enclosing sinuous river gorges, to the
weather-beaten front of a mountainous coast; and in following any of
its great rivers, the scenery  of its deep valleys no less strikingly
resembles that of such narrow arms of the sea (or fiords) as
characterize every mountainous coast, of whatever geological
formation: such as the west coast of Scotland and Norway, of South
Chili and Fuegia, of New Zealand and Tasmania. There are too in these
Himalayan valleys, at all elevations below 600 feet, terraced
pebble-beds, rising in some cases eighty feet above the rivers, which
I believe could only have been deposited by them when they debouched
into deep water; and both these, and the beds of the rivers, are
strewed, down to 1000 feet, with masses of rock. Such accumulations
and transported blocks are seen on the raised beaches of our narrow
Scottish salt water lochs, exposed by the rising of the land, and
they are yet forming of immense thickness on many coasts by the joint
action of tides and streams.

I have described meeting with ancient moraines in every Himalayan
valley I ascended, at or about 7000 or 8000 feet elevation, proving,
that at one period, the glaciers descended fully so much below the
position they now occupy: this can only be explained by a change of
climate,* [Such a change of temperature, without any depression or
elevation of the mountains, has been thought by Capt. R. Strachey
("Journal of Geological Society"), an able Himalayan observer, to be
the necessary consequence of an ocean at the foot of these mountains;
for the amount of perpetual snow, and consequent descent of the
glaciers, increasing indirectly in proportion to the humidity of the
climate, and the snow-fall, he conjectured that the proximity of the
ocean would prodigiously increase such a deposition of snow.--To me,
this argument appears inconclusive; for the first effect of such a
vast body of water would be to raise the temperature of winter; and
as it is the rain, rather than the sun of summer, which removes the
Sikkim snow, so would an increase of this rain elevate, rather than
depress, the level of perpetual snow.] or by a depression of the
mountain mass equal to 8000 feet, since the formation of these

The country about Titalya looks desert, from that want of trees and
cultivation, so characteristic of the upper level throughout this
part of the plains, which is covered with  short, poor pasture-grass.
The bungalow stands close to the Mahanuddy, on a low hill, cut into
an escarpment twenty feet high, which exposes a section of river-laid
sand and gravel, alternating with thick beds of rounded pebbles.

Shortly after Dr. Campbell's arrival, the meadows about the bungalow
presented a singular appearance, being dotted over with elephants,
brought for purchase by Government. It was curious to watch the
arrival of these enormous animals, which were visible nearly two
miles across the flat plains; nor less interesting was it to observe
the wonderful docility of these giants of the animal kingdom, often
only guided by naked boys, perched on their necks, scolding,
swearing, and enforcing their orders with the iron goad.
There appeared as many tricks in elephant-dealers as in
horse-jockeys, and of many animals brought, but few were purchased.
Government limits the price to about 75 pounds, and the height to the
shoulder must not be under seven feet, which, incredible as it
appears, may be estimated within a fraction as being three times the
circumference of the forefoot. The pedigree is closely inquired into,
the hoofs are examined for cracks, the teeth for age, and many other
points attended to.

The Sikkim frontier, from the Mahanuddy westward to the Mechi, is
marked out by a row of tall posts. The country is undulating; and
though fully 400 miles from the ocean, and not sixty from the top of
the loftiest mountain on the globe, its average level is not 300 feet
above that of the sea. The upper levels are gravelly, and loosely
covered with scattered thorny jujube bushes, occasionally tenanted by
the _Florican,_ which scours these downs like a bustard. Sometimes a
solitary fig, or a thorny acacia, breaks the horizon, and there are a
few gnarled trees of the scarlet _Butea frondosa._

On our route I had a good opportunity of examining the line of
junction between the alluvial plains that stretch south to the
Ganges, and the gravel deposit flanking the hills. The rivers always
cut broad channels with scarped terraced sides, and their low banks
are very fertile, from the mud annually spread by the ever-shifting
streams that meander within their limits; there are, however, few
shrubs and no trees. The houses, which are very few and scattered,
are built on the gravelly soil above, the lower level being
very malarious.

Thirty miles south of the mountains, numerous isolated flat-topped
hills, formed of stratified gravel and sand with large water-worn
pebbles, rise from 80 to 200 feet above the mean level, which is
about 250 feet above the sea; these, too, have always scarped sides,
and the channels of small streams completely encircle them.

At this season few insects but grasshoppers are to be seen, even
mosquitos being rare. Birds, however, abound, and we noticed the
common sparrow, hoopoe, water-wagtail, skylark, osprey, and
several egrets.

We arrived on the third day at the Mechi river, to the west of which
the Nepal Terai (or Morung) begins, whose belt of Sal forest loomed
on the horizon, so raised by refraction as to be visible as a dark
line, from the distance of many miles. It is, however, very poor, all
the large trees having been removed. We rode for several miles into
it, and found the soil dry and hard, but supporting a prodigious
undergrowth of gigantic harsh grasses that reached to our heads,
though we were mounted on elephants. Besides Sal there was abundance
of _Butea, Diospyros, Terminalia,_ and _Symplocos,_ with the dwarf
_Phoenix_ palm, and occasionally _Cycas._ Tigers, wild elephants, and
the rhinoceros, are said to be found here; but we saw none.

The old and new Mechi rivers are several miles apart, but flow in the
same depression, a low swamp many miles broad, which is grazed at
this season, and cultivated during the rains. The grass is very rich,
partly owing to the moisture of the climate, and partly to the
retiring waters of the rivers; both circumstances being the effects
of proximity to the Himalaya. Hence cattle (buffalos and the common
humped cow of India) are driven from the banks of the Ganges 300
miles to these feeding grounds, for the use of which a trifling tax
is levied on each animal. The cattle are very carelessly herded, and
many are carried off by tigers.

Having returned to Titalya, Mr. Hodgson and I set off in an eastern
direction for the Teesta river, whose embouchure from the mountains
to the plains I was anxious to visit. Though the weather is hot, and
oppressively so in the middle of the day, there are few climates more
delicious than that of these grassy savannahs from December to March.
We always started soon after daybreak on ponies, and enjoyed a twelve
to sixteen miles' gallop in the cool of the morning before breakfast,
which we found prepared on our arrival at a tent sent on ahead the
night before. The road led across an open country, or followed paths
through interminable rice-fields, now dry and dusty. On poor soil a
white-flowered _Leucas_ monopolized the space, like our charlock and
poppy: it was apparently a pest to the agriculturist, covering the
surface in some places like a sprinkling of snow. Sometimes the
river-beds exposed fourteen feet of pure stratified sand, with only
an inch of vegetable soil above.

At this season the mornings are very hazy, with the thermometer at
sunrise 60 degrees; one laid on grass during the night falling 7
degrees below that temperature: dew forms,  but never copiously: by
10 a.m. the temperature has risen to 75 degrees, and the faint
easterly morning breezes die away; the haze thickens, and covers the
sky with a white veil, the thermometer rising to 82 degrees at noon,
and the west wind succeeding in parching tornados and furious gusts,
increasing with the temperature, which attains its maximum in the
afternoon, and falling again with its decline at sunset. The evenings
are calm; but the earth is so heated, that the thermometer stands at
10 p.m. at 66 degrees, and the minimum at night is not below 55
degrees: great drought accompanies the heat at this season, but not
to such a degree as in North-west India, or other parts of this
meridian further removed from the hills. In the month of March, and
during the prevalence of west winds, the mean temperature was 79
degrees, and the dew-point 22 degrees lower, indicating great
drought. The temperature at Calcutta was 7 degrees warmer, and the
atmosphere very much damper.

On the second day we arrived at Jeelpigoree, a large straggling
village near the banks of the Teesta, a good way south of the forest:
here we were detained for several days, waiting for elephants with
which to proceed northwards. The natives are Cooches, a Mogul
(Mongolian) race, who inhabit the open country of this district,
replacing the Mechis of the Terai forest. They are a fine athletic
people, not very dark, and formed the once-powerful house of Cooch
Behar. Latterly the upper classes have adopted the religion of the
Brahmins, and have had caste conferred upon them; while the lower
orders have turned Mahomedans: these, chiefly agriculturists, are a
timid, oppressed class, who everywhere fled before us, and were with
difficulty prevailed upon even to direct us along our road. A rude
police is established by the British Government all over the country,
and to it the traveller applies  for guides and assistance; but the
Conches were so shy and difficult to deal with, that we were
generally left to our own resources.

Grass is the prevailing feature of the country, as there are few
shrubs, and still fewer trees. Goats and the common Indian cow are
plentiful; but it is not swampy enough for the buffalo; and sheep are
scarce, on account of the heat of the climate. This uniformity of
feature over so immense an area is, however, due to the agency of
man, and is of recent introduction; as all concur in affirming, that
within the last hundred years the face of the country was covered
with the same long jungle-grasses which abound in the Terai forest;
and the troops cantoned at Titalya (a central position in these
plains) from 1816 to 1828, confirm this statement as far as their
immediate neighbourhood is concerned.

These gigantic _Gramineae_ seem to be destroyed by fire with
remarkable facility at one season of the year; and it is well that
this is the case; for, whether as a retainer of miasma, a shelter for
wild beasts, both carnivorous and herbivorous, alike dangerous to
man, or from their liability to ignite, and spread destruction far
and wide, the grass-jungles are most serious obstacles to
civilization. Next to the rapidity with which it can be cleared, the
adaptation of a great part of the soil to irrigation during the
rains, has greatly aided the bringing of it under cultivation.

By far the greater proportion of this universal short turf grass is
formed of _Andropogon acicularis, Cynodon Dactylon,_* [Called "Dhob."
This is the best pasture grass in the plains of India, and the only
one to be found over many thousands of square miles.] and in sandy
places, _Imperata cylindrica_;  where the soil is wetter, _Ameletia
Indica_ is abundant, giving a heather-like colour to the turf, with
its pale purple flowers: wherever there is standing water, its
surface is reddened by the _Azolla,_ and _Salvinia_ is also common.

At Jeelpigoree we were waited upon by the Dewan, who governs the
district for the Rajah, a boy about ten years old, whose estates are
locked up during the trial of an interminable suit for the
succession, that has been instituted against him by a natural son of
the late Rajah: we found the Dewan to be a man of intelligence, who
promised us elephants as soon as the great Hooli festival, now
commenced, should be over.

The large village, at the time of our visit, was gay with holiday
dresses. It is surrounded by trees, chiefly of banyan, jack, mango,
peepul, and tamarind: interminable rice-fields extend on all sides,
and except bananas, slender betel-nut palms, and sometimes pawn, or
betel-pepper, there is little other extensive cultivation.
The rose-apple, orange, and pine-apple are rare, as are cocoa-nuts:
there are few date or fan-palms, and only occasionally poor crops of
castor-oil and sugar-cane. In the gardens I noticed jasmine,
_Justicia Adhatoda, Hibiscus,_ and others of the very commonest
Indian ornamental plants; while for food were cultivated
_Chenopodium,_ yams, sweet potatos, and more rarely peas, beans, and
gourds. Bamboos were planted round the little properties and smaller
clusters of houses, in oblong squares, the ridge on which the plants
grew being usually bounded by a shallow ditch. The species selected
was not the most graceful of its family; the stems, or culms, being
densely crowded, erect, as thick at the base as the arm, copiously
branching, and very feathery throughout their whole length of
sixty feet.

A gay-flowered _Osbeckia_ was common along the roadsides,  and, with
a _Clerodendron,_* [_Clerodendron_ leaves, bruised, are used to kill
vermin, fly-blows, etc., in cattle; and the twigs form toothpicks.
The flowers are presented to Mahadeo, as a god of peace; milk, honey,
flowers, fruit, amrit (ambrosia), etc., being offered to the pacific
gods, as Vishnu, Krishna, etc.; while Mudar (_Asclepias_), Bhang
(_Cannabis sativa_), _Datura,_ flesh, blood, and spirituous liquors,
are offered to Siva, Doorga, Kali, and other demoniacal deities.]
whose strong, sweet odour was borne far through the air, formed a low
undershrub beneath every tree, generally intermixed with three ferns
(a _Polypodium, Pteris,_ and _Goniopteris_).

The cottages are remarkable, and have a very neat appearance,
presenting nothing but a low white-washed platform of clay, and an
enormous high, narrow, black, neatly thatched roof, so arched along
the ridge, that its eaves nearly touch the ground at each gable; and
looking at a distance like a gigantic round-backed elephant.
The walls are of neatly-platted bamboo: each window (of which there
are two) is crossed by slips of bamboo, and wants only glass to make
it look European; they have besides shutters of wattle, that open
upwards, projecting during the day like the port-hatches of a ship,
and let down at night. Within, the rooms are airy and clean: one end
contains the machans (bedsteads), the others some raised clay
benches, the fire, frequently an enormous Hookah, round wattled
stools, and various implements. The inhabitants appeared more than
ordinarily well-dressed; the men in loose flowing robes of fine
cotton or muslin, the women in the usual garb of a simple thick
cotton cloth, drawn tight immediately above the breast, and thence
falling perpendicularly to the knee; the colour of this is a bright
blue in stripes, bordered above and below with red.

I anticipated some novelty from a visit to a Durbar (court) so
distant from European influence as that of the Rajah of Jeelpigoree.
All Eastern courts, subject to the Company, are, however, now shorn
of much of their glory;  and the condition of the upper classes is
greatly changed. Under the Mogul rule, the country was farmed out to
Zemindars, some of whom assumed the title of Rajah: they collected
the revenue for the Sovereign, retaining by law ten per cent. on all
that was realized: there was no intermediate class, the peasant
paying directly to the Zemindar, and he into the royal treasury.
Latterly the Zemindars have become farmers under the Company's rule;
and in the adjudication of their claims, Lord Cornwallis (then
Governor-General) made great sacrifices in their favour, levying only
a small tribute in proportion to their often great revenues, in the
hope that they would be induced to devote their energies, and some of
their means, to the improvement of the condition of the peasantry.
This expectation was not realized: the younger Zemindars especially,
subject to no restraint (except from aggressions on their
neighbours), fell into slothful habits, and the collecting of the
revenue became a trading speculation, entrusted to "middle men."
The Zemindar selects a number, who again are at liberty to collect
through the medium of several sub-renting classes. Hence the peasant
suffers, and except a generally futile appeal to the Rajah, he has no
redress. The law secures him tenure as long as he can pay his rent,
and to do this he has recourse to the usurer; borrowing in spring (at
50, and oftener 100 per cent.) the seed, plough, and bullocks: he
reaps in autumn, and what is then not required for his own use, is
sold to pay off part of his original debt, the rest standing over
till the next season; and thus it continues to accumulate, till,
overwhelmed with difficulties, he is ejected, or flees to a
neighbouring district. The Zemindar enjoys the same right of tenure
as the peasant: the amount of impost laid on his property  was fixed
for perpetuity; whatever his revenue be, he must pay so much to the
Company, or he forfeits his estates, and they are put up for auction.

One evening we visited the young Rajah at his residence, which has
rather a good appearance at a distance, its white walls gleaming
through a dark tope of mango, betel, and cocoa-nut. A short rude
avenue leads to the entrance gate, under the trees of which a large
bazaar was being held; stocked with cloths, simple utensils,
ornaments, sweetmeats, five species of fish from the Teesta, and the

We entered through a guard-house, where were some of the Rajah's
Sepoys in the European costume, and a few of the Company's troops,
lent to the Rajah as a security against some of the turbulent
pretenders to his title. Within was a large court-yard, flanked by a
range of buildings, some of good stone-work, some of wattle, in all
stages of disrepair. A great crowd of people occupied one end of the
court, and at the other we were received by the Dewan, and seated on
chairs under a canopy supported by slender silvered columns.
Some slovenly Natch-girls were dancing before us, kicking up clouds
of dust, and singing or rather bawling through their noses, the usual
indelicate hymns in honour of the Hooli festival; there were also
fiddlers, cutting uncouth capers in rhythm with the dancers.
Anything more deplorable than the music, dancing, and accompaniments,
cannot well be imagined; yet the people seemed vastly pleased, and
extolled the performers.

The arrival of the Rajah and his brothers was announced by a crash of
tom-toms and trumpets, while over their heads were carried great gilt
canopies. With them came a troop of relations, of all ages; and
amongst them a poor little black girl, dressed in honour of us in an
old-fashioned  English chintz frock and muslin cap, in which she cut
the drollest figure imaginable; she was carried about for our
admiration, like a huge Dutch doll, crying lustily all the time.

The festivities of the evening commenced by handing round trays full
of pith-balls, the size of a nutmeg, filled with a mixture of flour,
sand, and red lac-powder; with these each pelted his neighbour, the
thin covering bursting as it struck any object, and powdering it
copiously with red dust. A more childish and disagreeable sport
cannot well be conceived; and when the balls were expended, the dust
itself was resorted to, not only fresh, but that which had already
been used was gathered up, with whatever dirt it might have become
mixed. One rude fellow, with his hand full, sought to entrap his
victims into talking, when he would stuff the nasty mixture into
their mouths.

At the end attar of roses was brought, into which little pieces of
cotton, fixed on slips of bamboo, were dipped, and given to each
person. The heat, dust, stench of the unwashed multitude, noise, and
increasing familiarity of the lower orders, warned us to retire, and
we effected our retreat with precipitancy.

The Rajah and his brother were very fine boys, lively, frank,
unaffected, and well disposed: they have evidently a good guide in
the old Dewan; but it is melancholy to think how surely, should they
grow up in possession of their present rank, they will lapse into
slothful habits, and take their place amongst the imbeciles who now
represent the once powerful Rajahs of Bengal.

We rode back to our tents by a bright moonlight, very dusty and
tired, and heartily glad to breathe the cool fresh air, after the
stifling ordeal we had undergone.

On the following evening the elephants were again in waiting to
conduct us to the Rajah. He and his relations  were assembled outside
the gates, mounted upon elephants, amid a vast concourse of people.
The children and Dewan were seated in a sort of cradle; the rest were
some in howdahs, and some astride on elephants' backs, six or eight
together. All the idols were paraded before them, and powdered with
red dust; the people howling, shouting, and sometimes quarrelling.
Our elephants took their places amongst those of the Rajah; and when
the mob had sufficiently pelted one another with balls and dirty red
powder, a torchlight procession was formed, the idols leading the
way, to a very large tank, bounded by a high rampart, within which
was a broad esplanade round the water.

The effect of the whole was very striking, the glittering cars and
barbaric gaud of the idols showing best by torchlight; while the
white robes and turbans of the undulating sea of people, and the
great black elephants picking their way with matchless care and
consideration, contrasted strongly with the quiet moonbeams sleeping
on the still broad waters of the tank.

Thence the procession moved to a field, where the idols were placed
on the ground, and all dismounted: the Dewan then took the children
by the hand, and each worshipped his tutelary deity in a short prayer
dictated by the attendant Brahmin, and threw a handful of red dust in
its face. After another ordeal of powder, singing, dancing, and
suffocation, our share in the Hooli ended; and having been promised
elephants for the following morning, we bade a cordial farewell to
our engaging little hosts and their staid old governor.

On the 10th of March we were awakened at an early hour by a heavy
thunder-storm from the south-west. The sunrise was very fine, through
an arch 10 degrees high of bright blue sky, above which the whole
firmament was mottled with cirrus. It continued cloudy, with light
winds,  througbout the day, but clear on the horizon. From this tinge
such storms became frequent, ushering in the equinox; and the less
hazy sky and rising hygrometer predicted an accession of moisture in
the atmosphere.

We left for Rangamally, a village eight miles distant in a northerly
direction, our course lying along the west bank of the Teesta.

The river is here navigated by canoes, thirty to forty feet long,
some being rudely cut out of a solid log of Sal, while others are
built, the planks, of which there are but few, being sewed together,
or clamped with iron, and the seams caulked with the fibres of the
root of Dhak (_Butea frondosa_), and afterwards smeared with the
gluten of _Diospyros embryopteris._ The bed of the river is here
threequarters of a mile across, of which the stream does not occupy
one-third; its banks are sand-cliffs, fourteen feet in height. A few
small fish and water-snakes swarm in the pools.

The whole country improved in fertility as we advanced towards the
mountains: the grass became greener, and more trees, shrubs, herbs,
and birds appeared. In front, the dark boundary-line of the Sal
forest loomed on the horizon, and to the east rose the low hills of
Bhotan, both backed by the outer ranges of the Himalaya.

Flocks of cranes were abundant over-head, flying in wedges, or
breaking up into "open order," preparing for their migration
northwards, which takes place in April, their return occurring in
October; a small quail was also common on the ground. Tamarisk
("Jhow") grew in the sandy bed of the river; its flexible young
branches are used in various parts of India for wattling and

In the evening we walked to the skirts of the Sal forest.  The great
trunks of the trees were often scored by tigers' claws, this animal
indulging in the cat-like propensity of rising and stretching itself
against such objects. Two species of _Dillenia_ were common in the
forest, with long grass, _Symplocos, Emblica,_ and _Cassia Fistula,_
now covered with long pods. Several parasitical air-plants grew on
the dry trees, as _Oberonia, Vanda,_ and _Aerides._

At Rangamally, the height of the sandy banks of the Teesta varies
from fifteen to twenty feet. The bed is a mile across, and all sand;*
[Now covered with _Anthistiria_ grass, fifteen feet high, a little
_Sissoo,_ and _Bombax._] the current much divided, and opaque green,
from the glacial origin of most of its head-streams. The west bank
was covered with a small Sal forest, mixed with _Acacia Catechu,_ and
brushwood, growing in a poor vegetable loam, over very dry sand.

The opposite (or Bhotan) bank is much lower, and always flooded
during the rains, which is not the case on the western side, where
the water rises to ten feet below the top of the bank, or from seven
to ten feet above its height in the dry season, and it then fills its
whole bed. This information we had from a police Jemadar, who has
resided many years on this unhealthy spot, and annually suffers from
fever. The Sal forest has been encroached upon from the south, for
many miles, within the memory of man, by clearing in patches, and by
indiscriminate felling.

About ten miles north of Rangamally, we came to an extensive flat,
occupying a recess in the high west bank, the site of the old capital
(Bai-kant-pore) of the Jeelpigoree Rajah. Hemmed in as it is on three
sides by a dense forest, and on all by many miles of malarious Terai,
it appears sufficiently secure from ordinary enemies, during a great
part of the year. The soil is sandy, overlying gravel,  and covered
with a thick stratum of fine mud or silt, which is only deposited on
these low flats; on it grew many naturalized plants, as hemp,
tobacco, jack, mango, plantain, and orange.

About eight miles on, we left the river-bed, and struck westerly
through a dense forest, to a swampy clearance occupied by the village
of Rummai, which appeared thoroughly malarious; and we pitched the
tent on a narrow, low ridge, above the level of the plain.

It was now cool and pleasant, partly due, no doubt, to a difference
in the vegetation, and the proximity of swamp and forest, and partly
also to a change in the weather, which was cloudy and threatening;
much rain, too, had fallen here on the preceding day.

Brahmins and priests of all kinds are few in this miserable country:
near the villages, and under the large trees, are, every here and
there, a few immature thatched cottages, four to six feet high, in
which the tutelary deities of the place are kept; they are idols of
the very rudest description, of Vishnu as an ascetic (Bai-kant Nath),
a wooden doll, gilt and painted, standing, with the hands raised as
if in exhortation, and one leg crossed over the other. Again, Kartik,
the god of war, is represented sitting astride on a peacock, with the
right hand elevated and holding a small flat cup.

Some fine muscular Cooches were here brought for Mr. Hodgson's
examination, but we found them unable or unwilling to converse, in
the Cooch tongue, which appears to be fast giving place to Bengalee.

We walked to a stream, which flows at the base of the retiring
sand-cliffs, and nourishes a dense and richly-varied jungle,
producing many plants, as beautiful _Acanthaceae,_ Indian
horse-chesnut, loaded with white racemes of flowers,  gay
_Convolvuli,_ laurels, terrestrial and parasitic _Orchideae,
Dillenia,_ casting its enormous flowers as big as two fists, pepper,
figs, and, in strange association with these, a hawthorn, and the
yellow-flowered Indian strawberry, which ascends 7,500 feet on the
mountains, and _Hodgsonia,_ a new _Cucurbitaceous_ genus, clinging in
profusion to the trees, and also found 5000 feet high on the

In the evening we rode into the forest (which was dry and very
unproductive), and thence along the river-banks, through _Acacia
Catechu,_ belted by _Sissoo,_ which often fringes the stream, always
occupying the lowest flats. The foliage at this season is brilliantly
green; and as the evening advanced, a yellow convolvulus burst into
flower like magic, adorning the bushes over which it climbed.

It rained on the following morning; after which we left for the exit
of the Teesta, proceeding northwards, sometimes through a dense
forest of Sal timber, sometimes dipping into marshy depressions, or
riding through grassy savannahs, breast-high. The coolness of the
atmosphere was delicious, and the beauty of the jungle seemed to
increase the further we penetrated these primaeval forests.

Eight miles from Rummai we came on a small river from the mountains,
with a Cooch village close by, inhabited during the dry season by
timber-cutters from Jeelpigoree it is situated upon a very rich black
soil, covered with _Saccharum_ and various gigantic grasses, but no
bamboo. These long grasses replace the Sal, of which we did not see
one good tree.

We here mounted the elephants, and proceeded several miles through
the prairie, till we again struck upon the high Sal forest-bank,
continuous with that of Rummai and Rangamally, but much loftier: it
formed one of many terraces which stretch along the foot of the
hills, from  Punkabaree to the Teesta, but of which none are said to
occur for eight miles eastwards along the Bhotan Dooars: if true,
this is probably due in part to the alteration of the course of the
Teesta, which is gradually working to the westward, and cutting away
these lofty banks.

The elephant-drivers appeared to have taken us by mistake to the exit
of the Chawa, a small stream which joins the Teesta further to the
eastward. The descent to the bed of this rivulet, round the first
spur of rock we met with, was fully eighty feet, through a very
irregular depression, probably the old bed of the stream; it runs
southwards from the hills, and was covered from top to bottom with
slate-pebbles. We followed the river to its junction with the Teesta,
along a flat, broad gulley, bounded by densely-wooded, steep banks of
clay slate on the north, and the lofty bank on the south: between
these the bed was strewed with great boulders of gneiss and other
rocks, luxuriantly clothed with long grass, and trees of wild
plantain, _Erythrina_ and _Bauhinia,_ the latter gorgeously
in flower.

The Sal bank formed a very fine object: it was quite perpendicular,
and beautifully stratified with various coloured sands and gravel: it
tailed off abruptly at the junction of the rivers, and then trended
away south-west, forming the west bank of the Teesta. The latter
river is at its outlet a broad and rapid, but hardly impetuous
stream, now fifty yards across, gushing from between two low,
forest-clad spurs: it appeared about five feet deep, and was
beautifully fringed on both sides with green _Sissoo._

Some canoes were here waiting for us, formed of hollowed trunks of
trees, thirty feet long: two were lashed together with bamboos, and
the boatmen sat one at the head and one at the stern of each: we lay
along the  bottom of the vessels, and in a second we were darting
down the river, at the rate of at least ten or fifteen miles an hour,
the bright waters leaping up on all sides, and bounding in
_jets-d'eau_ between prows and sterns of the coupled vessels.
Sometimes we glided along without perceptible motion, and at others
jolted down bubbling rapids, the steersmen straining every nerve to
keep their bark's head to the current, as she impatiently swerved
from side to side in the eddies. To our jaded and parched frames,
after the hot forenoon's ride on the elephants, the effect was
delicious: the fresh breeze blew on our heated foreheads and down our
open throats and chests; we dipped our hands into the clear, cool
stream, and there was "music in the waters" to our ears.
Fresh verdure on the banks, clear pebbles, soft sand, long English
river-reaches, forest glades, and deep jungles, followed in rapid
succession; and as often as we rounded a bend or shot a rapid, the
scene changed from bright to brighter still; so continuing until
dusk, when we were slowly paddling along the then torpid current
opposite Rangamally.* [The following temperatures of the waters of
the Teesta were taken at intervals during our passage from its exit
to Rangamally, a distance of fifteen linear miles, and thirty miles
following the bends:--

                    Water.            Air.
Exit 2h. 30m. p.m.    62 degrees
     3                62.2 degrees     74 degrees
     3.30             63.2 degrees
     4                64 degrees
     4.30             65 degrees
     5                65.4 degrees     72.5 degrees opposite Rummai
     5.30             66 degrees
     6                66 degrees       71.7 degrees opposite Baikant]

The absence of large stones or boulders of rock in the bed of the
Teesta is very remarkable, considering the great volume and rapidity
of the current, and that it shoots directly from the rocky hills to
the gravelly plains. At the  _embouchure_ there are boulders as big
as the head, and in the stream, four miles below the exit, the
boatmen pointed out a stone as large as the body as quite a marvel.

They assured us that the average rise at the mouth of the river, in
the rains, was not more than five feet: the mean breadth of the
stream is from seventy to ninety yards. From the point where it
leaves the mountains, to its junction with the Megna, is at this
season thirteen days' voyage, the return occupying from twenty to
twenty-five days, with the boats unladen. The name "Teesta" signifies
"quiet," this river being so in comparison with other Himalayan
torrents further west, the Cosi, Konki, etc., which are devastators
of all that bounds their course.

We passed but two crossing-places: at one the river is divided by an
island, covered with the rude chaits and flags of the Boodhists.
We also saw some Cooch fishermen, who throw the net much as we do:
a fine "Mahaser" (a very large carp) was the best fish they had.
Of cultivation there was very little, and the only habitations were a
few grass-huts of the boatmen or buffalo herdsmen, a rare Cooch
village of Catechu and Sal cutters, or the shelter of
timber-floaters, who seem to pass the night in nests of long
dry grass.

Our servants not having returned with the elephants from Rummai, we
spent the following day at Rangamally shooting and botanizing.
I collected about 100 species in a couple of hours, and observed
perhaps twice that number: the more common I have repeatedly alluded
to, and excepting some small terrestrial _Orchids,_ I added nothing
of particular interest to my collection.* [The following is a list of
the principal genera, most of which are English:--_Polygonum,
Quercus, Sonchus, Gnaphalium, Cratagus, Lobelia, Lactuca,
Hydrocotyle, Saponaria, Campanula, Bidens, Rubus, Oxalis, Artemisia,
Fragaria, Clematis, Dioscorea, Potamogeton, Chara, Veronica,
Viola, Smilax._]

On the 14th of March we proceeded west to Siligoree, along the skirts
of the ragged Sal forest. Birds are certainly the most conspicuous
branch of the natural history of this country, and we saw many
species, interesting either from their habits, beauty, or extensive
distribution. We noticed no less than sixteen kinds of swimming
birds, several of which are migratory and English. The Shoveller,
white-eyed and common wild ducks; Merganser, Brahminee, and Indian
goose (_Anser Indica_); common and Gargany teal; two kinds of gull;
one of Shearwater (_Rhynchops ablacus_); three of tern, and one of
cormorant. Besides these there were three egrets, the large crane,
stork, green heron, and the demoiselle; the English sand-martin,
kingfisher, peregrine-falcon, sparrow-hawk, kestrel, and the European
vulture: the wild peacock, and jungle-fowl. There were at least 100
peculiarly Indian birds in addition, of which the more remarkable
were several kinds of mina, of starling, vulture, kingfisher, magpie,
quail, and lapwing.

The country gradually became quite beautiful, much undulated and
diversified by bright green meadows, sloping lawns, and deeply wooded
nullahs, which lead from the Sal forest and meander through this
varied landscape. More beautiful sites for fine mansions could not
well be, and it is difficult to suppose so lovely a country should be
so malarious as it is before and after the rains, excessive heat
probably diffusing widely the miasma from small stagnant surfaces.
We noticed a wild hog, absolutely the first wild beast of any size I
sawon the plains, except the hispid hare (_Lepus hispidus_) and the
barking deer (_Stylocerus ratna_). The hare we found to be the best
game of this part of India, except the teal. The pheasants of
Dorjiling are poor, the deer all but uneatable, and the florican,
however dressed, I considered a far from excellent bird.

A good many plants grow along the streams, the sandy beds of which
are everywhere covered with the marks of tigers' feet. The only safe
way of botanizing is by pushing through the jungle on elephants; an
uncomfortable method, from the quantity of ants and insects which
drop from the foliage above, and from the risk of disturbing
pendulous bees' and ants' nests.

A peculiar species of willow (_Salix tetrasperma_) is common here;
which is a singular fact, as the genus is characteristic of cold and
arctic latitudes; and no species is found below 5000 feet elevation
on the Sikkim mountain, where it grows on the inner Himalaya only,
some kinds ascending to 16,000 feet.

East of Siligoree the plains are unvaried by tree or shrub, and are
barren wastes of short turf or sterile sand, with the dwarf-palm
(_Phoenix acaulis_), a sure sign of a most hungry soil.

The latter part of the journey I performed on elephants during the
heat of the day, and a more uncomfortable mode of conveyance surely
never was adopted; the camel's pace is more fatiguing, but that of
the elephant is extremely trying after a few miles, and is so
injurious to the human frame that the Mahouts (drivers) never reach
an advanced age, and often succumb young to spine-diseases, brought
on by the incessant motion of the vertebral column. The broiling heat
of the elephant's black back, and the odour of its oily driver, are
disagreeable accompaniments, as are its habits of snorting water from
its trunk over its parched skin, and the consequences of the great
bulk of green food which it consumes.

From Siligoree I made a careful examination of the  gravel beds that
occur on the road north to the foot of the hills, and thence over the
tertiary sandstone to Punkabaree. At the Rukti river, which flows
south-west, the road suddenly rises, and crosses the first
considerable hill, about two miles south of any rock _in situ._
This river cuts a cliff from 60 to 100 feet high, composed of
stratified sand and water-worn gravel: further south, the spur
declines into the plains, its course marked by the Sal that thrives
on its gravelly soil. The road then runs north-west over a plain to
an isolated hill about 200 feet high, also formed of sand and gravel.
We ascended to the top of this, and found it covered with blocks of
gneiss, and much angular detritus. Hence the road gradually ascends,
and becomes clayey. Argillaceous rocks, and a little ochreous
sandstone appeared in highly-inclined strata, dipping north, and
covered with great water-worn blocks of gneiss. Above, a flat
terrace, flanked to the eastward by a low wooded hill, and another
rise of sandstone, lead on to the great Baisarbatti terrace.

_Bombax, Erythrina,_ and _Duabanga_ (_Lagaerstraemia grandiflora_),
were in full flower, and with the profusion of _Bauhinia,_ rendered
the tree-jungle gay: the two former are leafless when flowering.
The Duabanga is the pride of these forests. Its trunk, from eight to
fifteen feet in girth, is generally forked from the base, and the
long pendulous branches which clothe the trunk for 100 feet, are
thickly leafy, and terminated by racemes of immense white flowers,
which, especially when in bud, smell most disagreeably of
assafoetida. The magnificent Apocyneous climber, _Beaumontia,_ was in
full bloom, ascending the loftiest trees, and clothing their trunks
with its splendid foliage and festoons of enormous funnel-shaped
white flowers.

The report of a bed of iron-stone eight or ten miles west  of
Punkabaree determined our visiting the spot; and the locality being
in a dense jungle, the elephants were sent on ahead.

We descended to the terraces flanking the Balasun river, and struck
west along jungle-paths to a loosely-timbered flat. A sudden descent
of 150 feet landed us on a second terrace. Further on, a third dip of
about twenty feet (in some places obliterated) flanks the bed of the
Balasun; the river itself being split into many channels at this
season. The west bank, which is forty feet high, is of stratified
sand and gravel, with vast slightly-worn blocks of gneiss: from the
top of this we proceeded south-west for three miles to some Mechi
villages, the inhabitants of which flocked to meet us, bringing milk
and refreshments.

The Lohar-ghur, or "iron hill," lies in a dense dry forest.
Its plain-ward flanks are very steep, and covered with scattered
weather-worn masses of ochreous and black iron-stone, many of which
are several yards long: it fractures with faint metallic lustre, and
is very earthy in parts: it does not affect the compass. There are no
pebbles of iron-stone, nor water-worn rocks of any kind found
with it.

The sandstones, close by, cropped out in thick beds (dip north 70
degrees): they are very soft, and beds of laminated clay, and of a
slaty rock, are intercalated with them; also an excessively tough
conglomerate, formed of an indurated blue or grey paste, with nodules
of harder clay. There are no traces of metal in the rock, and the
lumps of ore are wholly superficial.

Below Punkabaree the Baisarbatti stream cuts through banks of gravel
overlying the sandstone (dip north 65 degrees). The sandstone is
gritty and micaceous, intercalated with beds of indurated shale and
clay; in which I found the shaft (apparently) of a bone; there were
also beds of the  same clay conglomerate which I had seen at
Lohar-ghur, and thin seams of brown lignite; with a rhomboidal
cleavage. In the bed of the stream were carbonaceous shales, with
obscure impressions of fern leaves, of _Trizygia,_ and _Vertebraria_:
both fossils characteristic of the Burdwan coal-fields (see Chapter
I), but too imperfect to justify any conclusion as to the relation
between these formations.* [These traces of fossils are not
sufficient to identify the formation with that of the sewalik hills
of North-west India; but its contents, together with its strike, dip,
and position relatively to the mountains, and its mineralogical
character, incline me to suppose it may be similar. Its appearance in
such small quantities in Sikkim (where it rises but a few hundred
feet above the level of the sea, whereas in Kumaon it reaches 4000
feet), may be attributed to the greater amount of wearing which it
must have undergone; the plains from which it rises being 1000 feet
lower than those of Kumaon, and the sea having consequently retired
later, exposing the Sikkim sandstone to the effects of denudation for
a much longer period. Hitherto no traces of this rock, or of any
belonging to a similar geological epoch, have been found in the
valleys of Sikkim; but when the narrowness of these is considered, it
will not appear strange that such may have been removed from their
surfaces: first, by the action of a tidal ocean; and afterwards, by
that of tropical rains.]

Ascending the stream, these shales are seen _in situ,_ overlain by
the metamorphic clay-slate of the mountains, and dipping inwards
(northwards) like them. This is at the foot of the Punkabaree spur,
and close to the bungalow, where a stream and land-slip expose good
sections. The carbonaceous beds dip north 60 degrees and 70 degrees,
and run east and west; much quartz rock is intercalated with them,
and soft white and pink micaceous sandstones. The coal-seams are few
in number, six to twelve inches thick, very confused and distorted,
and full of elliptic nodules, or spheroids of quartzy slate, covered
with concentric scaly layers of coal: they overlie the sandstones
mentioned above. These scanty notices of superposition being
collected in a country clothed with the densest tropical forest,
where a geologist pursues his fatiguing investigations under
disadvantages that can hardly be realized in England, will I fear
long remain unconfirmed.  I may mention, however, that the appearance
of inversion of the strata at the foot of great mountain-masses has
been observed in the Alleghany chain, and I believe in the Alps.*
[Dr. M'Lelland informs me that in the Curruckpore hills, south of the
Ganges, the clay-slates are overlain by beds of mica-slate, gneiss,
and granite, which pass into one another.]


A poor Mech was fishing in the stream, with a basket curiously formed
of a cylinder of bamboo, cleft all round in innumerable strips, held
together by the joints above and below; these strips being stretched
out as a balloon in the  middle, and kept apart by a hoop: a small
hole is cut in the cage, and a mouse-trap entrance formed: the cage
is placed in the current with the open end upwards, where the fish
get in, and though little bigger than minnows, cannot find their
way out.

On the 20th we had a change in the weather: a violent storm from the
south-west occurred at noon, with hail of a strange form, the stones
being sections of hollow spheres, half an inch across and upwards,
formed of cones with truncated apices and convex bases; these cones
were aggregated together with their bases outwards. The large masses
were followed by a shower of the separate conical pieces, and that by
heavy rain. On the mountains this storm was most severe: the stones
lay at Dorjiling for seven days, congealed into masses of ice several
feet long and a foot thick in sheltered places: at Purneah, fifty
miles south, stones one and two inches across fell, probably as
whole spheres.

Ascending to Khersiong, I found the vegetation very backward by the
road-sides. The rain had cleared the atmosphere, and the view over
the plains was brilliant. On the top of the Khersiong spur a
tremendous gale set in with a cold west wind: the storm cleared off
at night, which at 10 p.m. was beautiful, with forked and sheet
lightning over the plains far below us. The equinoctial gales had now
fairly set in, with violent south-east gales, heavy thunder,
lightning, and rain.

Whilst at Khersiong I took advantage of the very fair section
afforded by the road from Punkabaree, to examine the structure of the
spur, which seems to be composed of very highly inclined contorted
beds (dip north) of metamorphic rocks, gneiss, mica-slate,
clay-slate, and quartz; the foliation of which beds is parallel to
the dip of the strata. Over all reposes a bed of clay, capped with a
layer of  vegetable mould, nowhere so thick and rich as in the more
humid regions of 7000 feet elevation. The rocks appeared in the
following succession in descending. Along the top are found great
blocks of very compact gneiss buried in clay. Half a mile lower the
same rock appears, dipping north-north-east 50 degrees. Below this,
beds of saccharine quartz, with seams of mica, dip north-north-west
20 degrees. Some of these quartz beds are folded on themselves, and
look like flattened trunks of trees, being composed of concentric
layers, each from two to four inches thick: we exposed twenty-seven
feet of one fold running along the side of the road, which was cut
parallel to the strike. Each layer of quartz was separated from its
fellows, by one of mica scales; and was broken up into cubical
fragments, whose surfaces are no doubt cleavage and jointing places.
I had previously seen, but not understood, such flexures produced by
metamorphic action on masses of quartz when in a pasty state, in the
Falkland Islands, where they have been perfectly well described by
Mr. Darwin;* [Journal of Geological Society for 1846, p. 267, and
"Voyage of the Beagle".] in whose views of the formation of these
rocks I entirely concur.

The flexures of the gneiss are incomparably more irregular and
confused than those of the quartz, and often contain flattened
spheres of highly crystalline felspar, that cleave perpendicularly to
the shorter axis. These spheres are disposed in layers parallel to
the foliation of the gneiss: and are the result of a metamorphic
action of great intensity, effecting a complete rearrangement and
crystallization of the quartz and mica in parallel planes, whilst the
felspar is aggregated in spheres; just as in the rearrangement of the
mineral constituents of mica-schists, the alumina is crystallized in
the garnets, and in the clay-slates the iron into pyrites.

The quartz below this dips north-north-west 45 degrees to 50 degrees,
and alternates with a very hard slaty schist, dipping north-west 45
degrees, and still lower is a blue-grey clay-slate, dipping
north-north-west 30 degrees. These rest on beds of slate, folded like
the quartz mentioned above, but with cleavage-planes, forming lines
radiating from the axis of each flexure, and running through all the
concentric folds. Below this are the plumbago and clay slates of
Punkabaree, which alternate with beds of mica-schist with garnets,
and appear to repose immediately upon the carboniferous strata and
sandstone; but there is much disturbance at the junction.

On re-ascending from Punkabaree, the rocks gradually appear more and
more dislocated, the clay-slate less so than the quartz and
mica-schist, and that again far less than the gneiss, which is so
shattered and bent, that it is impossible to say what is _in situ,_
and what not. Vast blocks lie superficially on the ridges; and the
tops of all the outer mountains, as of Khersiong spur, of Tonglo,
Sinchul, and Dorjiling, appear a pile of such masses. Injected veins
of quartz are rare in the lower beds of schist and clay-slate, whilst
the gneiss is often full of them; and on the inner and loftier
ranges, these quartz veins are replaced by granite with tourmaline.

Lime is only known as a stalactitic deposit from various streams, at
elevations from 1000 to 7000 feet; one such stream occurs above
Punkabaree, which I have not seen; another within the Sinchul range,
on the great Rungeet river, above the exit of the Rummai; a third
wholly in the great central Himalayan range, flowing into the Lachen
river. The total absence of any calcareous rock in Sikkim, and the
appearance of the deposit in isolated streams at such distant
localities, probably indicates a very remote origin of the
lime-charged waters.

From Khersiong to Dorjiling, gneiss is the only rock, and is often
decomposed into clay-beds, 20 feet deep, in which the narrow, often
zigzag folia of quartz remain quite entire and undisturbed, whilst
every trace of the foliation of the softer mineral is lost.

At Pacheem, Dorjiling weather, with fog and drizzle, commenced, and
continued for two days: we, reached Dorjiling on the 24th of March,
and found that the hail which had fallen on the 20th was still lying
in great masses of crumbling ice in sheltered spots. The fall had
done great damage to the gardens, and Dr. Campbell's tea-plants were
cut to pieces.



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