صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

form distinct houses, most of which are uninjured by time; they consist in general of a room fifteen feet square, forming a kind of open veranda, with an interior chamber of the same dimensions, to which you gain admittance by a door; there are niches for lamps in many, and a place built up and covered in, apparently intended to hold grain. Most of them had once been plastered with clay, and in a few, when the form of the rock allowed of its being done, the interior apartment is lighted by small windows. The houses at the summit of the cliffs are now inaccessible, from the narrow precipitous paths by which they were approached having been worn away; and those at the base appear to have been occupied by the poorer class of inhabitants, for many of them are merely irregular shaped holes, with a rudely constructed door. The rock in which these excavations have been made, is what I believe is called by geologists Conglomerate, being composed of a mass of rounded stones of almost every variety of rock, embedded in hard clay; it contains a large quantity of salt (I think natron), which is seen in a thin film on the walls of all the chambers, and at two or three spots in the upper part of the ravine, where water drops from the overhanging crags.

It would be singular if such a place as Shuhr Roghan existed amongst a people so superstitious as the Noomrees without a legend of some kind being attached to it, and they accordingly relate the following story: In the reign of Solomon the excavated city was governed by a king celebrated all over the East for his wisdom, and the great beauty of his only daughter Buddul Tumaul; she was beloved by seven young men, who from the great friendship existing among them, were called by way of distinction "the seven friends,” but they perished one after the other in defending the object of their adoration from the designs of half a dozen demons, who, attracted by her surpassing beauty, made repeated attempts to carry her off. At this interesting period of her history Syful Mullik, son of the king of Egypt, arrived at Shuhr Roghan, who being the handsomest man of his time, and as brave as he was handsome, had been dispatched by his father on his travels, in the hope that by the way he might conquer a few kingdoms for himself. The princess, as a matter of course, fell in love with him; the demon lovers were in despair, and made a desperate effort to carry her off when at her devotions, but were all slain in the attempt by the prince. The father of the fair princess rewarded him for his gallantry with the hand of his daughter, and the happy couple lived to reign for many years in peace and security over the excavated city. Such was the tale related to me by my attendants, which forms the groundwork of a story written in the Persian

language, entitled, "The Adventures of Syful Mullik with the Fairy Buddul Tumaul." I obtained a copy of the work at Kurachee.

A short distance above the entrance of the city, the broken precipilous ravine in which it is situated decreases in width to ten or twelve yards, and forms a deep natural channel in the rock. For about half a mile the cliffs are excavated on both sides to a considerable height, and taking the remains of houses into account, I think there cannot be less altogether than 1500. In one place a row of seven, in very good preservation, was pointed out by the guides as the residence of" the seven friends," and further on we came to the grandest of all, the palace of Buddul Tumaul. At this part, the hill, by the abrupt turning of the ravine, juts out in a narrow point, and towards the extremity forms a natural wall of rock about 300 feet high, and twenty feet thick; half way up it had been cut through, and a chamber constructed, about twenty feet square, with the two opposite sides open; it is entered by a passage leading through a mass of rock partly overhanging the ravine, and on the other side of the apartment two doors give admittance to two spacious rooms; the whole had once been plastered over, and from its situation must have formed a safe, commodious retreat. At the summit of the hill near it there is another building, which my attendants said was the mosque where the princess was rescued by Syful Mullik, when the demons attempted to carry her off. Having seen every thing worthy of notice in this troglodytic city, we quitted it, and returned to Beylah.

On the 21st the letter and presents for Government having been delivered to me by Ularacky, I left Beylah late in the afternoon, and on the evening of the 24th arrived at Soonmemy. On the road we met a party of fakeers proceeding to Hinglaj: they presented a most grotesque appearance, their faces besmeared with paint, and their ragged garments decorated with tufts of feathers, and a variety of irregular ornaments. Their agwa, or chief, who was a portly, welldressed personage, marched at their head, and carried a long white wand as the badge of his office. These poor wretches had collected from all parts of India, and as we approached them they set up a loud shout, exclaiming "Hurrah for the holy saint of Hinglaj-we are going to visit our good grandmother-praises to Kalee, the holy goddess! hurrah, hurrah."

Hinglaj, the shrine to which they were proceeding, is situated. about a day's journey from the sea-coast, at the extremity of the range of mountains dividing Lus from Mukran, and is said to be of great antiquity. The temple is merely a small building erected on one of the mountain peaks, and is held in great veneration by both

Hindoos and Mussulmen. It is dedicated to Kalee, the goddess of fate, and there is a large circular tank or well near it, which the natives say has been sounded to a very great depth, without bottom having been obtained; they relate that one of the priests employed himself for a whole year in twisting a rope for the purpose, but it was not long enough. Those who can swim, jump into the tank from an overhanging rock, and proceed through a subterranean passage to another part of the mountain, which is believed to purify them from their sins. There is also a species of divination practised by throwing a cocoanut forcibly into the water, and according as the bubbles rise in a larger or less quantity, the individual will be happy or miserable. This account of the place, which is celebrated all over India, was furnished by people who had been there several times.

Memoir on the Province of Lus.

The small province of Lus is about 100 miles long by 80 broad, and is bounded to the south by the sea, to the north by the Jahlawan hills, and to the east and west by ranges of high mountains, which descend from the great mass occupying Beloochistan, and separate it from Sinde and Mukran. Besides these, which terminate on the seacoast (one at Rus Mooaree, and the other 100 miles further to the westward, near Rus Arubah) there is another spur sent off from the Jahlawan hills, called Jebbal Hahro, which runs down the centre of the province nearly to the coast, and divides it into two unequal portions. These three ranges are all of the same formation, principally coarse sandstone, and of the same average altitude, each being about 3000 feet high.

The climate of Lus is subject to considerable variation; in the winter season it is delightful, the atmosphere being clear, dry, and cool, but in the summer months it is as disagreeable from the excessive heat. During my journey to Beylah, in the month of January, the thermometer stood at 35° for three mornings running, and it did not rise higher than 67° even in the hottest part of the day. Situated just without the limits of the south west monsoon, and nearly encircled by high mountains, which not only reflect the sun's rays, but exclude the wind, the heat in the summer season is intense; and although the atmosphere is occasionally cooled by refreshing showers, it is severely felt by the inhabitants.

The western division of the province, lying between the Hahro and Hinglaj mountains, is the smallest and least productive of the two.

The greater part is occupied by a mass of barren hills, with small valleys between them; and the remainder forms a level sandy district near the sea, which in most places is barren and almost destitute of inhabitants.

The eastern division of the province is watered by the Poorally and its numerous tributaries, and the only productive part of it is the valley or plain through which that river takes its course. From the sea to the Jahlawan hills it measures about sixty-five miles in length, and in width decreases gradually from thirty-five miles; its breadth on the coast as you approach its upper extremity, where it terminates in a semicircle of hills, is eight or nine miles across. With the exception of a belt of low broken hillocks on the sea coast, about eight miles broad, the whole face of the valley is perfectly flat, and it is to this circumstance the province owes its name of Lus, and which in the language of the country signifies a level plain. On looking down it from the upper extremity, where the ground rises slightly at the foot of the hills, the horizon appears of a misty blue color, and is as level and well defined as it is at sea: the only elevated spot I saw, was the rising ground on which Beylah is built, and that is not more than ten or twelve feet high. There is a tradition amongst the natives, that at a remote period the valley was an inlet of the sea, and from its extreme flatness, alluvial formation, and small elevation above the level of the ocean, there is reason for believing it was once the case.

The soil is every where alluvial, and is composed of a light loose clay mixed in a greater or less proportion with fine sand; in some places it preserves a hard smooth surface, and contains a portion of saline ingredients, but in others crumbles into fine dust, which is blown in clouds by the lightest breeze, and renders travelling very disagreeable; it is also in many parts encumbered with large rounded stones, and at the head of the valley above Beylah, where there are numerous streams and water courses, they are so thickly strewed over the surface, that the whole plain, from one range of hills to the other, appears like the bed of a large river. Near the coast there is scarcely a tree or a bush to


seen, and the country has a most barren and desolate aspect. A confused mass of undulating hillocks, 80 or 100 feet high, covered to some depth with loose sand and thinly overrun with creeping plants, extends about eight miles inland, and in the small hollows and plains between them, which are so low as to become saturated at high tide by the sea, the land produces nothing but saline shrubs or coarse reeds. Beyond the sand hills the level plains commence, and small patches of stunted tamarisk trees appear here and there; but as you approach Layaree they attain a greater height, and the jungle becomes dense.

From that village to Beylah the face of the country every where presents the same appearance in its general features, and in the vicinity of the different streams a large portion of the land is under cultivation; but beyond these spots it is either covered with saline bushes or thick tamarisk jungle, and from the poverty of the soil would not yield sufficient to repay the cultivator for his toil in clearing it. In some of the jungles the baubool (mimosa) is abundant, and in others the trees are withered and leafless for miles, and there is no sign of vegetation, save in the undergrowth beneath them. About and above Beylah the tamarisk and baubool almost entirely disappear, and are succeeded by a tree which from a short distance appears like a species of willow, and is so high and bushy, that at those places where it abounds it forms thick and extensive woods; game is every where plentiful, but particularly so on the eastern side of the valley; herds of antelopes and spotted deer are frequently seen in the open country, and the wild hog is sometimes found in the thickets; the jungles are full of hares and partridges, and the lakes and swamps swarm with water fowl of every description.

On the banks of the Poorally and its tributary streams a large portion of the land is under cultivation; and this is also the case along the eastern side of the valley, where there are several small lakes left by the waters of the inundation: at these spots the soil is a rich mould, and yields abundant crops of wheat, jowaree, oil seed, cotton, and esculent vegetables. In the dry season most of the fields are irrigated by cuts from the rivers, but some depend entirely upon the rains for a supply of water; -on the former a tax is levied of one-third, and on the latter of one-fifth of the produce.

The principal river of Lus is the Poorally, which rises to the northward amongst the Jahlawan mountains, and issues upon the valley through a deep ravine about nine miles to the N. W. of Beylah; on leaving the hills it flows in several rivulets along a bed 300 yards wide, but near Beylah it increases to nearly a mile in breadth, and the water spreading over a large extent of ground forms a succession of swamps; amongst these there are many small springs, and part of the land is turned to account in the cultivation of rice. Above Beylah the plain up to the foot of the hills is every where deeply scored with the beds of rivulets and water courses, but they are only filled during the inundation months, and then empty themselves into the Poorally. The first tributary stream of any size flows from the mountains to the N. E., and passing close along the elevated ground on which the capital is built, joins the river below the swamps; opposite the town it is 700 yards broad, and when I crossed

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