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Had I reached Badeswur at daylight, I should most probably have remained for the day, as there are several pieces of sculpture worth drawing; there is also an ancient temple on a rock in the Mahanuddí, which I was unable to examine on my former visit in 1836-37 in consequence of the river not being then fordable; an account of what I then saw is to be found at page 828, vol. vii, (second part) of the Journal of the Asiatic Society, where there is also a sketch of one of the temples; accompanying is a drawing of an elegantly executed image of PARBUTTI, at the same place, which I made on that occasion; like most of the more elegant and ancient idols, it is of black chlorite, and well polished.
On arriving at Bailpara I found my escort and other persons whom I had sent on to accompany me from Burmool onwards by water, but the river being more than usually shallow, I was compelled to abandon the intention.
I continued my journey early in the evening, that I might be able, if possible, to visit some caves said to be near a small temple on the high conical granite hills called Mooni Budra, about six miles beyond Bailpara, but on reaching the hills I found myself too much fatigued to warrant my running (perhaps) a wild goose chase after them, such as I was led to do, when at Balaisúr, to the Nilgurh hills; I therefore passed on, reaching Burmool about 9 P. M. and found to my sorrow that the Dangur bearers, who had been kindly sent for me from Sumbulpúr by Mr. C. L. Babington, after waiting three days had that very morning left to return homewards, and to "mend" matters, my Cuttack men refused to proceed. With the pleasant prospect of having to wait two or three days in this wild place, with no other shelter than was afforded by the shady forest trees and my palkee, also a very scanty supply of eatables, I fell asleep, having however previously sent on a couple of village Paiks to try and overtake the bearers and bring them back.
The following morning my guard having arrived and procured me some milk and eggs, I selected a shady spot on the immediate bank of the river, at the entrance of the pass, where I placed my palkee, from which I had a fine view of the river and the valley. Where there is no remedy, there is little use in fretting, so I determined to make the most of a bad job, and covered the palkee with green boughs to render it as cool as possible, it kept the temperature down to 98°. I took a walk along the banks and succeeded in shooting a number of fine mullet, which this river is famous for. I set to work to cook some of them, my chillumchee serving as a frying pan, and a village handee for a boiler. I made a good
meal and fell asleep. On waking, I found myself in better luck than I had expected, the Paiks having returned with fifteen of the twenty Dangurs who had left, as I before stated. I immediately proceeded, and reached the top of the pass about 8 P. M., resting for awhile at Puddum talawo, on the spot where I had encamped when with my regiment in June, 1837, I then continued my journey as far as the Bunjara halting place, near Gussungurh, in the Boad country, which I reached at midnight. At day-break I left the high road and went to the river side at a village called Korasingha; I made my palkee as snug as possible for the day. A very fine Mahaseer was caught and brought to me by a fisherman, so that I had no fear of starving.
The village was almost entirely deserted, which I was informed is the case for many miles from the Burmool pass (which is the boundary between the estates of Boad and Duspalla) to within a few miles of the town of Boad. The whole country has been almost laid waste since 1836; the Raja's followers lay the blame to the Kunds and their chief Nuncumkonwur, who inhabit the mountains running parallel with the river as far as Sohnpúr, at an average distance of four miles, and then recede in a southerly direction towards Gilleirí in Gúmsúr; the ryots, on the other hand, attribute the impoverished state of the country to the tyranny and misrule of the Boad Raja, and further assert that the Kunds were driven to aggression by his treachery and injustice.
I passed the day as well as the heat (at 115° with a fierce hot west wind) would permit of; I had not felt such since my quitting the North-western Provinces; it was an unpleasant contrast to the cool (south) sea-breeze prevailing on the other side of the mountains.
I resumed my travels in the early part of the evening, and reached Rumbagurh about 10 P. M. where I halted for several hours to allow the bearers rest; it is a miserable place, with indifferent mud walls and watch towers, but is deemed a gurh, or stronghold.
About 2 A. M. I continued my trip, intending to put up at Boad, but it being very late before I reached a small village two miles nearer, I thought it best to avail myself of the fine shelter afforded by a mango grove on the river side.
I suffered a great deal during the night from feverish symptoms, the effects of exposure, and so sudden a change of climate; I had little or no sleep, so that I had an opportunity of observing the country in the immediate vicinity of the road. There is much waste land, which appears to have been lately under cultivation, yet there is a far greater proportion of jungle and forest, having the same features as that of
other parts of Orissa. The stratum of soil is generally very thin, the gneiss and granite rocks protrude through it in all directions, in some places rising into small hillocks, in others, appearing in continuous and gently undulating pavements (as it were) for considerable extents. I neither saw nor heard bird nor beast, except the shrill and disagreeable note of a large species of Caprimulgus, which swarms throughout the forests. I was sadly annoyed during the day time, with the incessant, and distracting noise of an insect called "jhinkare," (the chicādā?)
The Mahanuddí at Korasingha was broad, with a sandy bed; at this place it is divided by numerous small islands, thickly wooded, the bed is rocky throughout; the navigation during the rains must be very dangerous. The rocks are apparently granite, and present a very curious appearance, for in many places the different kinds of which granite is composed are to be seen in serpentine strata distinct from each other, the tale adhering to the quartz and felspar in large masses—all the rocks are more or less in a decomposed state; garnet crystals are common, and very beautiful; garnets of a small size are found in the sand; of a number I had collected on a former occasion near Cuttack, some were pronounced by a native jeweller to be rubies. I was informed that poor people gain a livelihood by seeking for gems, and that rubies of some weight are occasionally found; the purchasers prove them by heating them to a red heat, and if when cooled they have retained their color, they are valued accordingly.
The thermometer this day did not rise above 110°, I consequently had some little rest, and continued my journey early in the evening, reaching Boad before sunset. I was detained some time on account of the guides not coming; this was designed on the part of the Raja, who is very uncourteous to any Europeans from whom he may have no chance of gaining anything; I had sent to him in the morning to announce my arrival near his capital, but he did not even deign to send an answer or a single Paik to attend upon me; his conduct was very different when our troops were parading the country the previous year. The impudence and haughtiness of these semi-barbarians is proverbial; they were treated with much less ceremony by their Marhatta rulers than by the British Government; forbearance on our part is considered weakness by them, but at the slightest shew of resentment they are ready to cringe at your feet. I had to wait upwards of half an hour, during which period I was pestered with complaints from oppressed ryots and bunjara merchants. Among the latter was an old man who had been in camp with us in 1836-37, to beg of the Commissioner to espouse his cause, and make the Raja, and Nuncumkonwur (the Kund
chief) restore his cattle and the value of his merchandize, which had been plundered from him near Gussungurh in 1835.
I made particular inquiries touching the practice of human sacrifice since we had rescued all their Merriahs;* I was assured that there had been no "Merria pooja" this year, but I have reason to doubt the truth of the assertion.
On my way out of Boad I remarked several old temples on which, as I have been since informed, are inscriptions; had I known of this at the time, I should certainly have stopped and transcribed them.
My bearers having informed me that there was a bye-path across country, by which eight or ten miles would be saved, I preferred going by it to following the course of the river viâ Sohnpúr to Sumbulpúr along the right bank; therefore upon reaching a large village called Sugliah, I crossed over, and resting for a couple of hours travelled on till 7 A. M. and encamped in a miserable mango tope by a village called Mirlipullí, the Zemindar of which would neither come to me nor afford supplies, till at last the Dangurs got hold of him and brought him to me, begging I would keep him in durance until his Paiks should have brought what little was required. I had been obliged to leave my escort to follow after me, so that I was nearly helpless, I however followed the advice of the Dangurs and kept the fellow by me till every thing was forthcoming, and subsequently paid for.
This part of the Sohnpúr territory appears tolerably fertile, the country is undulating and rocky, but the water is very near the surface; there are numerous small wells about the villages, the water of which is drained by the Dhankuli, or tilt-pole. The soil has a very curious appearance from the great quantities of snow-white quartz and talcite; I picked up some fine specimens of tale by the mouth of a well; the people told me that it is to be found in very large pieces at some depth below the surface.
I experienced another hot day. Having to travel over some bad ground, I resumed my march at an early hour, and reached a large village at 10 P. M. I rested several hours, and then went on to Keuntapullí, a short distance before reaching which, I had to cross a tolerably steep ghat over the chain of low hills, which commencing near Sumbulpur, run for many miles nearly due north and south, parallel to the river, and no great distance from it.
I encamped as usual under some fine tamarind trees by the river side. Having reached my ground at an early hour, I had plenty
of time to look about me.
The river for upwards of a mile is ex
* Children intended for sacrifice.
ceedingly still and deep, it being confined between a line of rocks the strata of which incline at an angle of 45° and have a most singular appearance. The village is chiefly inhabited by fishermen, as its name implies, "Keunta" or Kewat" meaning "fisherman,” and "pulli" a village," anglice, the "fisherman's hamlet." The Keunts of this place appear to be a very idle race, they angle all day and cast nets and spear fish at night. This latter operation is performed by the following means-one or more torches are burnt at the stem of a canoe, where a man stands waiting with spear or grange in hand, the canoe is either pushed or paddled along with the least possible noise by a boy at the stern, the fish are attracted by the glare of the torches, swim about near the surface, and become an easy prey to the expertness with which the grange is handled.
During those months in which the river is navigable, the Keunts have ample employment in transporting merchandize to and from Sumbulpúr, Kontillú, and Cuttack.
There is nothing remarkable in the appearance of the country about Keuntapulli; on the right bank there is much low jungle and a few small hills at some distance; on the left, the range of hills before mentioned are about a mile distant, the land intervening having a gradual slope towards the river; there is much more jungle than cultivation, for there are numerous water-courses and ravines intersecting it.
I resumed my march an hour before sunset, and reached Dhama about 9 P. M. I did not stop, having met a relay of bearers who had been sent out from Sumbulpúr, which place I reached at 3 A. M. the next morning, the 4th May, none the better for such constant fatigue and severe exposure, however I considered myself fortunate in having done so well.
I remained at Sumbulpúr until the 23rd of the month, for I was unable to carry on the survey in consequence of the sickly state of the establishment, every follower of the late Capt. Abbott having suffered more or less from the deadly climate of Keunjur; his Bengallee writer, a sepahee, and another servant, died, shortly after their arrival at Sumbulpúr; there were several others in a dangerous state who subsequently died on their way home. From this I learnt a lesson for my future guidance, not to employ more Up-country servants than could possibly be avoided; it is absolutely necessary to have a few trustworthy men to serve as a check upon the Ooreya portion, who, if not closely looked after, would lend themselves to the roguery and schemes of their kindred.
The town Sumbulpúr is thrice the size of any I have seen in any of the other states; it extends for upwards of two miles along the proper