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Lieut Kittoe's Journey through the Forests of Orissa. 477
all the eye
must have the road through them likewise, for it to be line; there was more in this sapient remark than meets of the meaning is this,-that if he were to have the nuisance
him, he thought that the Lehra and Keunjur Rajas should
share il likewise.
deal of money to some of Mr. Babington's people and to my own, to ensure their good services in dissuading me from adopting this line.
The Raja when about to leave, let me know through the medium of his "Spreach sprucher" that he had a very urgent request to make. I requested him to speak out, when he told me a long story about some Mussulman Saudagurs from Cuttack who were sitting Dhurna* at his gate, wishing to insist on his paying them some debts of old standing, with compound interest thereon, and that he wished me to interfere in his behalf, as he was about to proceed himself Cuttack to wed a daughter of the old ex-Raní of Sumbulpúr; having no power to interfere I declined doing so, further than recommending the merchants to have patience; I accordingly directed their attendance in the evening, took leave of the Raja, and proceeded immediately to see the falls, where I was told that there were many "Assura ka hār" or giant's bones, a denomination generally applied to fossils; so that I proceeded with all haste, expecting a fine harvest. It was becoming dark just as I reached the lowermost basin of the falls, in a beautiful woody recess, the rocks towering several hundred feet above. I never saw a more enchanting spot, the mango and other trees growing to an incredible height. There are five falls and as many basins formed by them; the height of each may be about seventy or eighty feet; the volume of water is considerable. I climbed to the second basin, and there waited till torches were procured to enable me to see the "giant's bones," but, lo! what was my disappointment when I found that these said bones were nothing more than large masses of stalactite in which were fantastic caves. The inhabitants make lime with it, as an ingredient for their paun and betel nut, and their method of burning it is rather singular; some hold a slab of stone with a heap of lighted charcoal against the roofs of the caves; the parts affected by the heat drop off into the fire, which is then extinguished, and the particles of lime separated from the coal. Another
Sitting Dhurna is a common practice with natives who wish to attain any particular object; the custom is, to sit at the door or gate of a person without taking food or drink until the party entreated yields, and should the petitioner die, the curse of his blood is supposed to rest on the latter.
method is this, a few small pieces of the rock are put into a wisp of damp rice straw along with some lighted charcoal, the wisp is then wound up into a ball as tight as possible and tied to a string, by which it is kept swung smartly round until the lime is ready, this the burners know by the state in which the wisp appears. This practice I have observed elsewhere in use in burning the limestone nodules (Kunkur) for the same purpose. But to return to the falls-I could not see much
by torch-light though I had several, the glare of which added to the magical appearance of this truly romantic spot; a cold breeze blows down from the upper falls, which the guides assured me never ceased all the year round. There are several fabulous stories connected with the spot, and a large serpent is said to inhabit one of the caverns, which is not however improbable.*
I felt very much inclined to halt and pass a day here, but the rains having commenced, it would have been dangerous to prolong my stay in jungles, I therefore returned to camp where I found the merchants in attendance together with the Raja's people; the former seemed little inclined to listen to any terms short of payment in full of their exorbitant demands; the latter urged the inability of their master to pay more than 250 Rupees out of 3,000 with an I. O. U. for the balance when he should return from Cuttack with his bride, and, what to him was perhaps more valuable, her dowry.
I should here observe that there are many Mussulman and other merchants who come from Benares and Cuttack with indifferent horses and inferior, merchandize of kinds, which they pawn upon the ignorant grandees of these outlandish places; they give long credit on promise of interest, and consider themselves lucky if some few years afterwards they realize the amount of purchase money, which from its exorbitant nature, renders ample remuneration for the trouble and delay they are subjected to, sometimes having to wait for several months together, being put off with repeated promises of payment, and as many plausible excuses for non-payment, till at last an order is given them upon the farmers of one or more villages who may be in arrears to their lord; from these the merchants screw as much as they can, the amount of which, of course, very much depends on their power and temper, and
* Mr. Motte in his Narrative describes an enormous serpent called Nagbunse, which is worshipped some where near Sumbulpúr, see p. 82, Asiatic Annual Register, Vol. 1. I have been told that this reptile is still in existence, and that the diamond washers make offerings, if they neglect which, they suppose their search will be fruitless.
serious frays are not uncommonly the consequence. Formerly the commissioners and political officers used to interfere and enforce payment to the merchants, but I believe this bad practice has been discontinued, I think that if a few merchants were licensed to proceed into the Gurbjat, previously manifesting their goods, and paying a light tax to cover the expense of a registry of them, and of their fair market value, upon an understanding that the settlement of any unadjusted claims on any Zemindar would be insisted on to the extent of a reasonable profit, much good might accrue, and a great deal more merchandize, both European and country, would find a ready sale with advantage to both parties.
The merchants seemed to agree to the terms proposed, when the motley group retired and left me to enjoy as much rest as the steaming heat and stunning noise of frogs and chicadas would allow of.
27th May. I rose at a very early hour, when having dismissed half the guard of the Ramgurh Battalion and that of the 19th N. I. and the Political Agent's Mooktar, whom I had yesterday directed to return to their stations viâ Sumbulpúr by the Baghlot ghat and the road which had been hidden from me, I proceeded on my journey. I walked several miles through a thick but low jungle, along a very good road, to a place called Sonamoonda, where I rested a little to allow the stragglers to come up; thus far my course was a little to the northward of west, having the hills at a short distance to the left, the path then began to wind considerably more than any obstacles rendered it necessary, and upon the whole in a southerly direction. The forest is very thin, with no underwood, and the ground undulates considerably; there are several large nullahs and a great many small water-courses, almost all of which would require bridging. The next place I reached was a large village of Guallas, called Korapeeta, situated on an elevated spot in the centre of an extensive plain, on to which the Deogurh valley opens; from hence the ground (still undulating) has a perceptible fall towards the Brahmení river, on the banks of which, at a place called Barsing, I encamped for the day. I took up my quarters in one of several large huts which Major W- 's Mooktar and the guard of the Ramgurh Battalion had had constructed while awaiting the arrival of my predecessor. I have learnt sufficient regarding the oppressive conduct of these knaves to satisfactorily account for the Mooktar's anxiety to prevent my travelling by this route; it appeared that he had passed himself off with the credulous Zemindars here, as the Political Agent's assistant and friend!!—and used to have dāllis, &c. &c. sent
him daily. I felt the better pleased at having dismissed this worthy at Deogurh, for he was more a hindrance than otherwise to my operations.
Barsing has been a large place, but famine, misrule, and cholera have reduced the number of inhabitants to one-half, so that many of the huts are in ruins. The river flows under the village; though its span here is very great the water is shallow, and wends its way in small rills between numerous rocks and islets which every where stretch across the bed; the banks are not more than eighteen or twenty feet high, and are seldom overflowed, so that the river can never rise sufficiently to admit of boats navigating it with safety; this alone would be a sufficient reason to seek for a more favorable spot for the road to pass, which might be found five or six miles either above or below this point, where the banks are steep and rocky, and the water confined to deep and narrow channels, equally well adapted for ferries or suspension bridges; the latter would, for many reasons, be very desirable both on this and other rivers.
I passed this day with more comfort than usual; the hut I occupied was under a cluster of noble mango and tamarind trees, and facing a beautiful shady tope; it was a paradise contrasted with what I had hitherto met with; I could not help reflecting on the truth of an admirable saying of Demetrius, quoted by Addison in the chapter treating of the Providence of God, that "nothing would be more unhappy than a man who had never known affliction ;"—a truth deeply impressed on my mind, to which I would add, a similar maxim which called it to mind, "that he who has never experienced discomfort and privation, cannot appreciate real comfort, or know the virtue of contentment." I cannot here refrain from acknowledging the consolation I felt, and the hope of conquering all my difficulties, the frequent perusal of the beautiful chapter above mentioned inspired me with during the severe trials I had lately suffered; many were the times when nearly driven to distraction and despair, its perusal made me happy in my misfortune. Reader, pardon this digression. To return to my narrative. About 4 P. M. a very severe north-wester came on, followed by a very heavy fall of rain and hail, which lasted until 6 P. M.; it cleared before sunset, so that I was able to observe and sketch the features of the country, but could not resume my march, for there was every indication of bad weather. I began to feel uneasy at the prospect of the evil effects of the rain, and I resolved passing the night here, and to push on at all hazards at day-break.
(To be continued.)
ART. IV.-Notice of a Grant engraved on Copper, found at Kumbhi in the Saugor Territory.—By the Editors.
We present our readers with another Tamba Patra in the original, and with a translation which we have made. DR. SPILSBURY has obligingly presented this valuable relic of antiquity to the Asiatic Society. He writes, that "the two Copper plates joined by a ring seal were 'dug up at Kumbhi, on the right bank of the Herun river, thirty-five "miles north-east of Jabalpoor, and were forwarded by Major Low, Magistrate of this district. The letters engraved on the plates are "in great preservation, and from their date upwards of 900 years old, "corresponding nearly with inscriptions in stone in the same character (facsimiles of which were forwarded by the late Major FRANKLIN to the Society). "Something may be gleaned of the period when a large "city existed, only six miles west of Jabalpoor, now to be traced by "little more than mounds of bricks and cut stones."
The skill and kindness of Lieut. KITTOE, has enabled us to prepare a plate exhibiting facsimiles of the seal and specimen of the letters, together with a table which shews the alphabet of the plates in juxtaposition with the modern Nagri alphabet. The character of the plates approaches that of the Rajgarh slab, of which we published the inscription in our March number by oversight.
Lieut. KITTOE's neat engraving was published in our May number; to which we refer our readers. The Seal is that of SRI-MAT VIJAYA SINGHA DEVA. The Legend is DURGA in her form MAHA LAXMI supported by two Elephants. At the foot is the Bull of SIVA.
The grant gives us eight generations of the Kula-Churi dynasty, beginning with YUVA RAJA Deva, who was a descendant of the renowned KARTTA VIRYYA of the race of BHARAT.