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place being prohibited, as the Booteas, although long before informed of our approach and intentions, were not quite certain of our designs.
On the following day, after some fuss, we were allowed to ascend to the village, in which a pucka house had been appropriated for our accommodation.
Dewangari, the temples of which are visible from the plains of Assam, is situated on a ridge, elevated about 2100 feet above the level of the sea, and 1950 above that of the plains. The village extends some distance along the ridge, as well as a little way down its northern face. The houses, which are in most cases mere huts, amount to about 100; they are distributed in three or four scattered groups; amongst these a few pucka or stone-built houses of the ordinary size and construction occur; the only decent one being that occupied by the Soobah, who is of inferior rank.
Along the ridge three or four temples of the ordinary Boodhistical form occur ; they are surrounded with banners bearing inscriptions, fixed longitudinally to bamboos. Attached to some of these temples are monumental walls of poor construction, the faces of which bear slabs of slate, on which sacred sentences are well carved.*
The village abounds in filth. The centre of the ridge is kept as a sort of arena for manly exercises ; about this space there occur some picturesque simool trees, and a few fig trees, among which is the banyan.
There is no water course or spring near the village; the supply is brought from a considerable distance by aqueducts formed of the hollowed-out trunks of small trees. In one place this aqueduct is carried across a slip, but otherwise there is nothing tending to shew that difficulties existed, or that much skill would have been exerted had such really occurred.
During our long stay at this place we had many opportunities of forming acquaintance with the Soobah, as well as with the immediately adjoining part of his district. We found this almost uncultivated, and overran with jungle. No large paths were seen to point out that there are many villages near Dewangari; in fact the only two which bear marks of frequent communication, are that by which we ascended, and one which runs eastward to a picturesque village about half a mile distant, and which also leads to the plains.
The Soobah we found to be a gentlemanly unassuming man; he received us in a very friendly manner and with some state; the room
* Both to the east and west of Dewangari there is a picturesque religious edifice, with ornamented windows. Their effect is much heightened by the presence of the weeping Cypress, which situated as it was here, gave me an idea of extreme beauty.
sacred, although after the first distrust had worn off, the Soobah did not object to my fishing. We passed a Sam Gooroo* engaged in building a wooden bridge ; he was the only instance I met with of a Bootea priest making himself useful. He inquired of Capt. Pemberton, with much condescension, of the welfare of the 'Goombhanee' and his lordship the Governor General.
24th. Left for Khegumpa. The march was almost entirely an uninterrupted ascent, at least until we had reached 7000 feet, so that the actual height ascended amounted nearly to 5000 feet. It commenced at first over sparingly wooded grassy hills, until an elevation of about 4000 feet was attained, when the vegetation commenced to change; rhododendrons, and some other plants of the same natural family making their appearance. Having reached the elevation of 7000 feet by steep and rugged paths, we continued along ridges well clothed with trees, literally covered with pendulous mosses and lichens, the whole vegetation being extra tropical. At one time we wound round a huge eminence, the bluff and bare head of which towered several hundred feet above us, by a narrow rocky path or ledge overhanging deep precipices; and thence we proceeded nearly at the same level along beautiful paths, through fine oak woods, until we reached Khegumpa. The distance to which, although only eleven miles, took us the whole day to perform.
This march was a beautiful, as well as an interesting one, owing to the changes that occurred in the vegetation. It was likewise so varied, that although at a most unfavourable season of the year, I gathered no fewer than 130 species in flower or fruit. Rhododendrons of other species than that previously mentioned, oaks, chesnuts, maples, violets, primroses, &c., &c. occurred. We did not pass any villages, nor did we meet with any signs of habitation, excepting a few pilgrims proceeding to Hazoo.
Khegumpa itself is a small village on an exposed site; it does not contain more than twelve houses, and the only large one, which as usual belonged to a Sam Gooroo, appeared to be in a ruinous state. The elevation is nearly 7000 feet. The whole place bore a wintery aspect, the vegetation being entirely northern, and almost all the trees having lost their leaves. The cold was considerable, although the thermometer did not fall below 46°. The scarlet tree rhododendron was common, and the first fir tree occurred in the form of a solitary spe. cimen of Pinus excelsa. In the small gardens attached to some of the
So are they called from their peculiar sanctity. Sam is a priest, and Gooroo also a priest; each priest is therefore twice a priest./
sheltered place, and elevated to 6800 feet above the sea. The surrounding mountains are very barren on their southern faces, while on the northern, or sheltered side, very fine oak woods occur. The houses were of a better order than those at Sasee, and altogether superior to those of Khegumpa. They are covered in with split bamboos, which are secured by rattans, a precaution rendered necessary by the great violence of the winds, which at this season blow from the south or south-east. Bulphai is a bitterly cold place in the winter, and there is scarcely any mode of escaping from its searching winds. The vegetation is altogether northern, the woods consisting principally of a picturesque oak, scarcely ever found under an elevation of 6000 feet. There is one small patch of cultivation, thinly occupied by abortive turnips or radishes, and miserable barley. It was at this place that we first heard the very peculiar crow of true Bootan cocks, most of which are afflicted with enormous corns.
On the 31st we resumed our journey, ascending at first a ridge to the N. E. of Bulphai, until we reached a pagoda, the elevation of which proved to be nearly 8000 feet; and still above this rose to the height of about 10,000 feet a bold rounded summit, covered with brown and low grass. Skirting this at about the same level as the pagoda, we came on open downs, on which small dells, tenanted by well defined oak woods were scattered. After crossing these downs, which were of inconsiderable extent, we commenced to descend, and continued doing so until we came to Roongdoong. About a third of the way down we passed a village containing about twenty houses, with the usual appendage of Sam Gooroo's residence; and still lower we came upon a picturesque temple, over which a beautiful weeping cypress hung its branches. We likewise passed below this a large temple raised on a square terraced basement. From this the descent is very steep, until a small stream is reached, from which we ascended very slightly to the castle of Roongdoong, in the loftiest part of which we took up our quarters. From the time that we descended after crossing the downs, the country had rather an improved aspect, some cultivation being visible here and there. We met a good many Kampas, pilgrims, and one chowry tailed cow, laden with rock salt, which appears to be the most frequent burden.
There was more cultivation about Roongdoong than any other place we had yet seen, although even here it was scanty enough. It would appear that they grow rice in the summer, and barley or wheat during the winter; and this would seem to be the case in all those places of sufficient altitude where the fields were terraced. The elevation of the place is 5175 feet, yet a few orange trees appeared to flourish;