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it is occupied by Tongsa Pillo, on which occasion the Soobah retires
The cultivation is similar to that of the other valley, but the crops looked very unpromising. The soil is by no means rich, and the wind excessively bleak; wheat or barley are the only grains cultivated. The mountains which hem in this valley are not very lofty; to the north, in the back ground, perpetual snow was visible. To our west was the ridge which we were told we should have to cross, and which in its higher parts could not be less than 12,000 feet.
March 4th. We commenced ascending the above ridge almost immediately on starting; surmounting this, which is of an elevation at the part we crossed of 11,035 feet, we continued for sometime at the same level, through fine open woods of Pinus Smithiana: having descended rapidly afterwards to a small nullah, 9642 feet in elevation, we then reascended slightly to descend into the Jaisa valley. On the east side of the ridge, i. e. that which overlooks Byagur, we soon came on snow, but none was seen on its western face, notwithstanding the great elevation. The country was very beautiful, particularly in the higher elevations. taste exhibited in naming such objects after persons, with whom they I may here advert to the bad have no association whatever. As it is not possible for all travellers to be consecrated by genera, although this practice is daily becoming more common, we should connect their names with such trees as are
familiar to every European. As we have a Pinus Gerardiana and
Webbiana, so we
tiana, &c. By so
ought to have had Pinus Herbertiana and Moorcrof
doing, on meeting with fir trees among the snow-clad
Himalayas, we should not only have beautiful objects before us, but beautiful and exciting associations of able and enduring travellers. Of Capt. Herbert, the most accomplished historian of these magnificent mountains, there is nothing living to give him a
local habitation and
a name." It will be a duty to me to remedy this neglect; and if I have not a sufficiently fine fir tree hitherto undescribed in the Bootan collection, I shall change the name of the very finest hitherto found, and dignify it by the name Herbertiana. The prevailing tree was the Smithian pine. We saw scarcely any villages, and but very little cultivation. Jaisa is a good sized village; it was comparatively clean, and the houses were, I think, better than most we had hitherto seen. We were lodged in a sort of castle, consisting of a large building, with a spacious flagged court yard, surrounded by rows of offices. The part we occupied fronted the entrance, and its superior pretensions were attested by its having an upper story.
There is a good deal of wheat cultivation around the village, which is not the only occupant of the valley this is the highest we had yet seen, and is perhaps one of the highest inhabited vallies known, as it is 9410 feet above the sea; it is drained by a small stream, and is of less extent than either that of Byagur or Bhoomlungtung. The surrounding hills are covered with open fir woods, and are of no considerable height. Larks, magpies, and red-legged crows, continued plentiful, but on leaving this valley we lost them.
March 5th. We proceeded up the valley, keeping along the banks of the stream for sometime; we then commenced ascending a ridge, the top of which we reached about noon; its elevation was 10,930 feet. The descent from this was for about 2500 feet very steep and uninterrupted, until we reached a small torrent at an elevation of 8473 feet; from this we ascended slightly through thick woods of oak, &c. until we came on open grassy tracts, through which we now gradually descended at a great height above the stream, which we had left a short time before. We continued descending rather more rapidly until we came to a point almost immediately above Tongsa, by about 1000 feet; from this the descent was excessively steep. The distance was 13 miles. On the ascent snow was common from a height of 9000 feet upwards. The vegetation on this, or the eastern side, was in some places similar to that above Byagur. Beautiful fir woods formed the chief vegetation, until we came close to the summit, when it changed completely. Rhododendrons, Bogh puttah, and a species of birch, and bamboos, were common, mixed with a few black pines. The woods through which we descended, were in the higher elevations almost entirely of rhododendrons; and lower down chiefly of various species of oak and maple-the former being dry and very open, the latter humid and choked up with underwood. After coming on the open grassy country we did not revert to well wooded tracts.
No villages occurred, nor did we see any signs of cultivation after leaving the valley of Jaisa until we came near Tongsa, above which barley fields were not uncommon. Tongsa, although the second, or at any rate the third place in Bootan, is as miserable a place as any body would wish to see. It is wretchedly situated in a very narrow ravine, drained by a petty stream, on the tongue of land formed by its entrance into the large torrent Matçesum, which flows 1200 feet below where the castle stands. The village is 6250 feet in altitude: it consists of a few miserable houses, one of the worst of which was considerately lent to us. The castle is a large and rather imposing building, sufficiently straggling to be relieved from heaviness of appearance it is so overlooked, and indeed almost overhung by some
of the nearest mountains, that it might be knocked down by rolling rocks upon it. It is defended by an outwork about 400 feet above.
The surrounding country is uninteresting, the vegetation consisting of a few low shrubs and some grasses: of the former the most common are a species of barberry, and a hitherto undescribed genus of Hamamelide. No woods can be reached without ascending 12 or 1500 feet.
Barley was the chief cultivation we saw, but the crops alternated with rice, which is here cultivated, as high as 6800 feet. In the gardens attached to the cottages, or rather huts, we observed the almond and pear in full blossom: the only other trees were two or three weeping cypresses and willows, and a solitary poplar.
Our reception was by no means agreeable. I was roared to most insolently to dismount while descending to the castle; our followers were constantly annoyed by the great man's retainers; and, in fact, we got no peace until we had an interview with the Pillo on the 15th. Before the arrival of this personage, who had just succeeded to office, great efforts were made to bring about an interview with the ex-Pillo, and a stoppage of supplies was actually threatened in case of refusal. The firmness of Capt. Pemberton was however proof against all this. It had been previously arranged that the former Pillo, the uncle of the present one, should be admitted at this interview on terms of equality; this kindness on the part of the nephew being prompted probably by the hopes of securing his uncle's presents afterwards. We were received with a good deal of state, but the apartment in which the meeting took place was by no means imposing, or even well ornamented. The attendants were very numerous, and mostly welldressed, but the effect of this was lessened by the admission of an in
We were not admitted however into the presence
without undergoing the ordeals which many orientals impose on those who wish for access to them.
We were most struck with the difference in appearance between the old and new Pillos: the former was certainly the most aristocratic personage we saw in Bootan; the latter, a mean looking, bull-necked A novel part of the ceremony consisted in the stirring can of tea, and the general recital of prayers over it,
up of a large
after which a ladleful was handed to the Pillos, who dipped their forefinger in it, and so tasted it.
The meeting passed off well; and afterwards several less ceremore friendly meetings took place. We took leave
on the 22nd. This interview was chiefly occupied in considering the list of presents, which the Pillo requested the British Government would do themselves the favour of sending him. He begged most
unconscionably, and I thought that the list would never come to an end; and he was obliging enough to say, that any thing he might think of subsequently would be announced in writing. He was very facetious, and evidently rejoiced at the idea of securing so many good things at such trifling expense as he had incurred in merely asking for them. Nothing could well exceed the discomfort we had to undergo during our tedious stay at this place. Our difficulties were increased subsequently to our arrival by the occurrence of unsettled weather, during which we had ample proofs that Bootan houses are not always water-proof; we were besides incessantly annoyed with a profusion of rats, bugs, and fleas; nor was there a single thing to counterbalance all these inconveniences, and we consequently left the place without the shadow of a feeling of regret.
On the 23rd of March we resumed our journey; and having traversed the court yard of the castle, we struck down at once to the river Mateesum by a very steep path. Having crossed this by a bridge, we gradually ascended, winding round the various ridges on the right flank of the ravine of this river. We left it when it turned to the southward, in which direction Bagoa-Dooar was visible, and continued ascending gradually until we reached Taseeling, seven miles from Tongsa, and 7230 feet above the sea.
Taseeling consists of a large house, principally used as a haltingplace for chiefs going to and from Punukka and Tongsa. The surrounding mountains are rather bare, as indeed is the country between it and Tongsa. There is some cultivation to be seen around it, and several villages. As we approached Taseeling open oak and rhododendron woods recurred. The vegetation near the Mateesum was subtropical; the road was good, and in one place was built in zigzag up the face of a cliff.
March 24th. To Tchinjipjee. We commenced by ascending until we had surmounted a ridge about 800 feet above Taseeling; during the remainder of the march we traversed undulating ground at nearly the same altitude, at first through an open country, afterward through beautiful oak and magnolia woods, until we came on the torrent above which we had been ascending since leaving the Mateesum; a little farther on we came on the finest temple we had seen, and situated in a most romantic spot. It stood on a fine patch of sward, in a gorge of the ravine, the sides of which were covered with beautiful cedar-looking pines; the back ground was formed by lofty mountains covered with heavy snow.
Following the river upwards for about a mile and a half, we reached Tchinjipjee, which is situated on the right bank of the torrent.
The march was throughout beautiful, particularly through the forest, which abounded in picturesque glades. No villages or cultivation
Tchinjipjee is perhaps the prettiest place we saw in Bootan; our halting place stood on fine sward, well ornamented with (Quercus seme carpifolia?) very picturesque oaks, and two fine specimens of weeping cypress. The surrounding hills are low, either almost entirely bare or clothed with pines. The village is of ordinary size, and is the only one visible in any direction; its elevation is 786 feet. There is some cultivation about it, chiefly of barley, mixed with radishes.
March 27th. We continued following the river upwards, the path running generally at a small height above its bed. Having crossed it by a rude wooden bridge, we diverged up a tributary stream, until we reached a small village; we thence continued ascending over easy grassy slopes, here and there prettily wooded, until we reached the base of the chief ascent, which is not steep, but long, the path running along the margin of a rhododendron and juniper wood: the height of its summit is 10,873 feet. Thence to Rydang was an uninterrupted and steep descent, the path traversing very beautiful woods of rhododendrons, oaks, yews, &c. Snow was still seen lingering in sheltered places above 10,000 feet. The march throughout was beautiful. In the higher elevations the Bogh Pat was very com
Besides the village mentioned, two temporary ones were seen near the base of the great ascent, built for the accommodation of the Yaks and their herdsmen: of this curious animal two herds were seen at some distance.
Rydang is prettily situated towards the bottom of a steep ravine: its elevation is 6963 feet. A few villages occur about it, with some barley and wheat cultivation.
March 28th. We descended directly to the river Gnee, which drains the ravine, and continued down it sometime, crossing it once; then diverging up a small nullah we commenced an ascent, which did not cease until we had reached an elevation of 8374 feet. Continuing for sometime at this elevation we traversed picturesque oak and rhododendron woods, with occasionally swardy spots; subsequently descending for a long time until we reached Santagong.
Oak and rhododendron woods continued common until we approached Santagong, in the direction of which the trees became stunted, and the country presented a barren aspect. Several villages were however seen in various directions, surrounded with cultivation.