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We were told that up near Sooring a tiger was killed within these few years by a pack of the wild dogs, here called Bhonsla ; our informant seemed to doubt the truth of the story. Of the boldness of these dogs, however, we had no doubt ; they are considered to be Bhugwan's* hounds, and no Shikaree ever thinks of shooting them.
Mr. Lushington, the Commissioner of Kumaoon, has a bungalow on the bank of the Surjoo opposite Bagesur ; a little above this, the mountains on that side recede in a deep bay, leaving a spacious tract of level ground, on which the fair is held in January, at which period the whole of the Bhoteeah pergunnahs are deserted by their inhabitants, who descend with their flocks to the central portion of the province for warmth and pasture. These people in mien, make, and features, bear a striking resemblance to the Chinese. It is a curious feature in the agricultural economy of Kumaoon that during the same season, almost the entire population of the mountains between Almorab and the plains, descend to the Tarai, where they have cleared very extensive tracts, which are carefully cultivated with wheat, barley, mustard, &c. irrigated with no mean skill and industry by cuts from the various torrents which there debouche on the plains ; while the forests swarm with their cows and buffaloes, which supply them with vast quantities of ghee, the sale of which greatly overbalances the occasional loss of their cattle by wild beasts. The presence of these herds in the forest may be said, to form a sort of safety-valve to the botanist or other explorer of its solitudes, the tigers seldom molesting man when he can obtain beef. The appearance of the young leaves on the Seesoo in April, is the signal for the mountaineers to ascend to their natural homes, where they arrive just in time to cut a second rubbee crop, sown in November; the only instance within my knowledge of the same farmer enjoying the advantage of two harvests in one season.
* If the mere English reader should ask " who is Bhugwan," he will not be more in the dark than was one of the Secretaries to a certain Board in 1824. Carriage and supplies were required for the troops in Arrakan, and a native dignitary in Bengal was required to suy how much would be forthcoming from his district. “As much as it pleases Bhugwan" was the reply. " Who is Bhugwan," writes the Secretary. “You will be leased to inform Bhugwan, that if he withholds the requisite aid, he will incur the censure of Government, and assuredly be put down."
remark here that the Gooya or Gweeya of Mr. Traill's Report, which he calls the Sweet Potato, is in fact the edible Arum or Colocasia.
September 13th.-To Kupkot, 14 or 15 miles. The river above, Bagesur bisects the open tract of ground before alluded to ; and then till within two or three miles of Kupkot, winds its impetuous way through a gigantic ravine rather than a valley, the entire floor being frequently occupied by its bed, now reduced to half the width it has below. This narrow channel is exceedingly deep, and in some places the waters flow more quietly for a space, in black pools, the whole not a little resembling the Findhorn in Morayshire. Over one of these, three or four miles from Bagesur, a single spar is thrown for a bridge, from which the passenger, at a depth of 30 or 40 feet below him, may see the water swarming with large Muhaseer.* The river flows in a channel of live rock, from which the mountains rise precipitously ; and in one place the road has to be carried for a hundred yards or more, along the face of the cliff ; in general however, the rise is that of the river, only interrupted by the many feeders from the mountains to the left; on which occasions, for some unknown reason, the Puharees always make a dip, involving a troublesome ascent on the other side. At three miles, we crossed one large affluent, and at about seven a second, the Kundilgurh nudee, a furious torrent, which a few days since carried away its bridge ; this was only replaced yesterday, which compelled a reluctant halt of one day at Bagesur, where Messrs. Hort and Powys, H. M. 61st Regiment, overtook us in the afternoon, from Almorah. We found the glen of the Surjoo here almost without habitation-wholly given up to jungle, luxuriant grass, deer, and tigers, the latter much dreaded. On the opposite bank, a little above the Spar Bridge, the river receives a large tributary, the Balee Gunga, and, two or three miles short of Kupkot, ceasing to rage through the narrow gorge which contracts it below, pursues its course along some open, but strong and uncultivated dells, covered with dwarf Zizyphus,
The presence of a large fish, apparently of the Shark kind, is well attested, in the Surjoo, from Bagesur downwurds; reported to grow 6 feet long, to be devoid of seales, and to have teeth like those of a dog.
+ The famous shrine of Budureenath derives its name from this shrub, the Buduree (now Ber) or Jujube, Vishuoo being there invoked, like an apothecary, as the “ Lord of Jujubes." All the synonymes, Budureesail, Budureebun, “ the
to these soon succeeds the beautiful glen of Kupkot, splendidly cultivated with rice, mundooa, &c. in the centre of which we halted at noon, in a grove of tall Silung trees, but had not time to pitch our tents, or put the camp kettle in trim for breakfast, when the exceedingly sultry forenoon was succeeded by a heavy storm of wind and rain, which poured down for two hours, and made us excessively uncomfortable, the ground being already swampy from the rice fields close by.When the clouds cleared off, we found ourselves in a most romantic little valley, the Bingen of the Surjoo, from one half to two miles long, and about half as wide, from 4,000 to 4,500 feet above the sea, enclosed by a belt of gently swelling and diversified mountains, covered with a beautiful vegetation, the Cheer Pine feathering the summits. The village is on its western edge, close under the sloping mountains, about 150 feet above the river and half a mile from it; several smaller hamlets are scattered over the plain, each with its groves of trees, among which the plantain is conspicuous, producing large and excellent fruit. The more solid supplies are also abundant; and the people, the most civil and obliging in the hills, instructed by the example of Chintamun, the old Putwaree, a more perfect gentleman than whom it would not be easy to find. The climate he represents greatly better than at Bagesur. A bold peak called Chirput, raises its head on the north side of the valley, on this bank of the Surjoo, and to the right of this, up the glen of that river, there is a near view of several snowy peaks the most prominent among them being the so-called Nunda Kot, east of Pindree. The Surjoo, now falling, was rather muddy. On our return though unfordable, its waters were clear as crystal, blue as sapphire, and sparkling in long reaches under a brilliant sun it seemed the most beautiful as it is one of the most sacred of Himalayan rivers.
rock, forest of Ber," point to the same fact : but as no Zizyphus could exist in that climate (they scarce reach Almorah), the spiny tree, Hippophae salicifolia, may be intended : or the name has been altered from Bhudr ; “ Happiness, prosperity, Mt. Meroo." I once suggested these difficulties, with my own solutions, to a brahmun who had visited the spot. He honestly avowed, that so far from Ber trees growing there, there were, as far as he saw, no trees or bushes of any kind ; but with an orthodoxy worthy of a better cause, he insisted that the genuine Ber must be there, since the Poorans said so, to doubt which would be Nastikee (Atheism). The deceivers have merged into the deceived !
The rock between Bagesur and Kupkot is almost exclusively limestone, here as elsewhere, forming the most bold and varied scenery : and bearing a most exuberant forest, festooned with innumerable climbers. A gradual change may be perceived in the nature of the plants, and as we approached Kupkot, the Origanum and white thorn, Cratægus crenulata, “Geengaroo," indicated a less tropical climate. Lower down the dwarf date tree springs from every
cliff. The tejpat, Cinnamomum albiflorum, called kirkiria, abounds in the shady glens. The Didymocarpus macrophylla, Loxotis obliqua, &c. cover the dripping rocks; a flesh-colored Argyreia, and the Cucumis Hardwickii "air-aloo," climb over the bushes, with Tricosanthes palmata, “Indrayun," and its brilliant-red, but fetid fruit. Coix lacryma, “ Loochoosha," “ Job's Tears," grows by every stream, and in several places I observed the Æginetia indica. The pretty lilac Osbeckia angustifolia is very abundant amongst the grass, and Clerodendron serrata, ternifolia, and grata, amongst the thickets, as is the “ Poee,” Boehmeria tenacissima. The splendid Abelmoschus pungens, grows in abundance on the damp shaded slopes; it is called “Hou” or “ Kupusya ;" the fibres afford a good cordage. The more common trees are the Photinia and Quercus annulata, Kydia calycina, “ Puta," Ehretia serrata, "Poonya," Dalbergia Ougeinsis, “ Sanun,” Terminalia bellerica, “Byhura,” Grislea tomentosa, “Dhaee," Flemingia semi-alata, Wendlandia cinerea, Callicarpa macrophylla, “Ghiwalee," Saurauja Nepalensis, “ Gogunda,” Engelhardtia Colebrookiana, “Moua,” Bauhinia variegata, “Kweiral," and Bauhinia retusa, Roxb., Kandla,” this last being identical with B. emarginata of Royle. Lastly comes a most abundant shrub of the Euphorbiacæ, a species of Sapium apparently, called “Phootkia" by the natives, who occasionally employ the root as a cathartic, but describe its effect as dangerously violent. It grows from 4 to 10 feet high, with tender green foliage, which has, on being crushed, a disagreeably sour odour; like all or most of the plants just mentioned, it accompanied us to our highest point in the valley of the Surjoo. At Kupkot I first on our return) met the Silung tree in flower ; the trees quite covered with the small light yellow blossoms of the most exquisite fragrance, which is diffused (with the least wind) several hundred yards, the mountaineers say a kros. It grows to be a large umbrageous tree, and appears to be the Olea grata of Wallich. In this
province it is commonly found near the temples and on the mountain passes, called Benaiks, where a few stones are piled and rags
up in honor of the Deotahs. It is most likely the tree called Olea fragrans in the Darjeeling Guide : no notice of it occurs in Dr. Royle's illustrations.
Kupkot is the first village in the pergunnah of Danpoor, which includes the remainder of our route; as comprising Nunda Devee, the loftiest mountain on the globe hitherto accurately measured ; it would probably now have occupied the niche in the Temple of Fame filled by Santa Fe de Bogota, Popayan, &c. had Humboldt carried into effect his plan of investigating the Natural History and structure of the Himalaya. That his attention was diverted to the Andes must ever form the subject of regret to the Anglo-Indian.
September 14th.-To Sooring or Sring, 11 miles in 5 hours, including much delay in passing above and through a spot where a great landslip of white talcose calcareous slate, due to the late rains, had annihilated the road, and nearly obstructed any further advance. Except at this spot, the rock on this day's route consisted chiefly of the usual stratified limestone, forming many abrupt brows and lofty walls, and sometimes contracting the Surjoo to a few yards in breadth. The river is now reduced to a mere torrent, and from Sooring appears, at a profound depth, a narrow streak of foam. Its source is on the south face of a huge spur from the eastern precipitous shoulder of “ Nunda Kot;" this spur forks to south-west and south-east; the south-west range separating the valley of the Surjoo from that of the Pindur. At this fork there is not a vestige of snow in September and October.
Our path kept to the right bank of the river, with much more ascent and descent than heretofore. In one place a cliff is passed by scaffolding, with the Surjoo perpendicular beneath, altogether somewhat difficult for ponies (which are of little or no use beyond Sooring to a good pedestrian), and rather trying to nerves which have not been case-hardened in Kanawar and the Bhoteeah pergunnahs. Four streams large enough to require bridges, occur in to-day's march, besides an infinity of rivulets, often converting the road into a swamp, where the leeches were most numerous and voracious. I picked 16 off my feet at once, and found the bites not a little venomous ; it moreover