« السابقةمتابعة »
shrub to a length of about a cubit, he pointed one end, then two men squatting down, one held down the joint of bamboo with his toes and both of them spun the switch rapidly and constantly round between their hands, the pointed end being put into the hole in the joint the friction soon produced a blind heat which charred both pieces of wood, and eventually they took fire, the operation occupying about two minutes or less.
In the vallies, the soil is the same as that of the ghat. I was obliged to halt at this short distance on account of its having commenced raining. This is certainly a delightful country and climate, if I may judge from present observation the soil is capable of any cultivation, and I should think that the tea plant would thrive, also coffee and cotton.* The thermometer fell to seventy-five degrees last night and did not range above ninety-two degrees in the daytime; it cleared up at noon and there was a fine breeze which I was told is constant there, the thermometer was only ninety degrees at noon. I took my abode this day in a cow-shed, on the floor of which I had some fresh earth thrown and levelled, it was by no means an uncomfortable place, indeed the cattle sheds are the largest and best built huts to be found in the villages, and in the hot or in wet weather they are far more comfortable than a tent in every respect, and twice as cool.
On my arrival this morning I met Mr. Babington's jemadar, who was to have shewn me the road over the ghats, which he had represented as so superior to all others that had been examined; after a little conversation I soon discovered what degree of trust was to be put in his assertions, he was a very well informed man, and had travelled through every nook and corner in the Keunjur country in search of a better road than the present one, but like most natives he had but a very poor idea of a straight line, or of the points of the compass; hence much of the trouble which Captain Abbott had to complain of.
I resumed my march at four P. M. and proceeded down the Turma valley towards the great hill under which, on its eastern base, is situated the gurh and town of Keunjur. I was aware that the direction was altogether wrong, but I was at the mercy of my guides and of the jemadar above mentioned; they confessed that there was a better road in the direction I wished to proceed by, but that supplies had been prepared for me along the route they were leading me by, which had (they said) only one or two slight ghats.
I should think that no doubt could exist as to the favorable nature of the soil of these tracts for the cultivation of any kinds of superior cotton.-M. K.
After proceeding several miles down the valley, which inclines considerably to the southward, I entered a narrow glen with large forest trees, I here came upon the road Capt. Abbott had surveyed, very near to the village of Tillopussí, situated in another glen branching off to the westward, and leading to the Muttighat; I proceeded along this road towards the Byeturní river and valley, and reached the former long after dark, distance about six miles. Just as the evening was closing I fell in with a huge bear and her twohalf grown cubs, I had no fire arms loaded, therefore we hallooed and drove her off, the cubs clung to her back much in the same manner as young monkeys do, only that they rolled about and did not seem to hold so well. It was fortunate I had many people with me, otherwise she would most probably have attacked me; these brutes are far more mischievous and dangerous than tigers, for out of pure mischief they maul people in the most frightful manner, particularly in the mango season when they frequently take possession of a garden, and defy all attempts of the villagers to drive them out.
Just before reaching the Byeturní, I passed a rather large village called Colesale, inhabited by Coles, a number of whom have lately located themselves in these hills by the Raja's invitation, (it is said) with a view to employing these savages in ransacking Lehra whenever a fair opportunity may offer itself. I had some difficulty in procuring a guide from among these, for they refused to come, and seemed inclined to resist us, we succeeded in catching one surly creature, whom we with much difficulty compelled to shew us the way. Having crossed the Byeturní (the Styx of the Hindus, which is here nothing but an insignificant rivulet thirty yards wide, with scarcely any water) I resolved on encamping for the night, for I could not trust my Cole guide, whom I dismissed ;-we lighted fires in all directions and went to sleep.
I should here remark that the Byeturní takes its rise in the adjacent hills about eight or ten miles further south, and winds along under the hills in a northerly direction for many miles, entering Singhboom and then turning to the east for a short distance, when it finally flows towards the south through Keunjur and Dekkenal into the plains of Orissa; in Rennel's map it is erroneously made to take its rise to the north of Singh boom. The source of the Byeturní, as well as the river itself is held sacred; it is said to issue from a huge mass of rock the shape of a cow's head, and that water flows from one nostril and sand from the other; a large fair is held there once every year; there are moreover places of worship with idols at every five coss (ten to twelve miles) from the source down to the holy city of Jajipur in the plains.
May 31st. I resumed my march at twilight, and did not reach Kuddoogurh till past 11 A. M. On first starting, there was a gradual ascent from the river, the path passing through thin jungle along the base of some small hills to my left (north), the country to my right was open and undulating, with many villages and much cultivation; the high hill of Keunjur, called Baghtunga, was right in front; to the westward rose the beautiful range of hills I had just left ;-the landscape was truly beautiful. Some of the smaller hills are cultivated to their very top, apparently with cotton, which ought to thrive well in such soil.
Having reached a pretty village called Coomírí, midway up the northern edge of this beautiful village, I had to turn to the northward and descend into a deep glen, then to re-ascend a rather steep slope strewed with masses of iron clay and iron ore, from thence I passed through a thin forest over a succession of undulations and ascents, more or less steep and difficult, up the north-west face of the mountain. The path, which is very narrow, after winding round it descends for one and a half miles inclining first to the eastward, again to the northward of east; it is excellent for the whole descent, but it is only three feet wide, and is neither calculated for carriages nor cattle, nor for a dawk road, I was therefore at a loss to find a reason for Mr. Babington's servant having ever recommended it for the dawk to travel by ; on reaching my camp I was very angry with the man, which led to an attempt on his part to explain why I had been thus deceived and harassed,-suffice it to say that I discovered that there had been much chicanery on the part of the Raja's people as well as the postmaster's, it was this very ghat that poor Capt. Abbott had refused to travel over, and well he might.
Having travelled compass in hand, making occasional sketches, I found that I had been led twenty-two miles, (from Bullera,) in a course which proved to be nearly semicircular, instead of a direct line; it was evident from my observations at Kuddoogurh that I should have continued nearly due east from Bullera, I should then have come direct upon one of the dawk stations called Kalleapal and have continued along the dawk road, the direction of which is very straight as far as Gorapursa in Mohurbhunj.
I had a fine view of the surrounding country from the top of the mountain, the Buddaum pahar (hill) of the Baumunghattí range (fifty miles east) was distinctly visible, the country between it and the Keunjur hills is tolerably level except to the north towards Katkarinjeh, where the old road used to run, there are numerous hills in that direction; it was quite evident that the road must be made direct
from the pass near Kalleapal to that to the southward of Buddaum pahar near Jushpur, in which case the present dawk road would be left entirely to the left (or north), and Keunjurgurh, where the Raja resides, would be left about eight miles to the southward, thereby all trouble to us, and annoyance to the Raja, would be at an end, for in verity, it appeared that the great desire to prevent the road passing through or near the gurh, was the great cause of all the mischief which had arisen; the Raja's dewan, who had come with a letter of compliments from his master, was overjoyed when I assured him that such was the
There being no hut available in the miserable hamlet of Kuddoogurh, I was obliged to take shelter under a small tree (for there were none of any size); the day was exceedingly hot, therefore I suffered a great deal. I felt very uneasy both for my own safety and that of my followers; we had the very worst of water, nearly putrid, and the cholera was sweeping away hundreds. The Raja had two days previously lost his mother, his eldest son, and a nephew by that dreadful scourge. We were all too much fatigued to be able to march again in the evening, so we passed the night where we were.
The Raja sent all kinds of supplies his town could afford, and insisted on my accepting all as my feast; I thought it prudent to humour him, for my offering payment would have been looked upon as unfriendly.
1st June. Having resolved on making a long march to the banks of the Byeturní, where I was sure of getting good water, I broke ground at 2 A. M. The road was good but very tortuous leading from village to village, sometimes to the north of the true line, at others to the south; the country is high and undulating, with many rocky eminences of grey granite which in many places protrudes through the surface, having the appearance of extensive pavements; there appears to be (generally) but a very thin stratum of soil for there are but few trees of any size, the most common is the pullas (butea frondosa) and a large shrub with a pretty white blossom, having an overpowering sweet odour which the natives are very fond of, they put it in their hair and through their ear-rings.
I travelled by many comfortable looking villages on my way; the proportion of jungle to cultivation is perhaps as five to one. The largest village I passed through was Phoolkonlaie,* about two miles before reaching camp. This place is a Sassun or Brahmun colony,
* It was from this place that I was driven back by sickness in January of the present year.
therefore the cultivation is extensive and superior, for the Brahmuns throughout Orissa possess the pick of the lands; there is much fine sugar-cane grown here.
Mungulpoor, where I encamped, is twenty-two miles from last ground by the road, it is a miserable hamlet belonging to weavers (Tauntís) it is on the banks of the river, which is here 300 feet wide.
I encamped in a mango grove and passed another hot day, and in the evening was prevented continuing my march owing to a violent storm of wind, hail, and rain, accompanied by the most fearful thunder and lightning I ever witnessed; it came on at 6 P. M. I had no shelter but my palkee, which I took the precaution of having placed on some high ground near the huts and raised on four large boulders brought from the bed of the river; many large trees were struck with lightning, and others blown down, it cleared up about half past eight P. M., when the Raja's vakeels came, and had a very long conversation about the road, and unpleasant matter connected with it; I was however convinced that the Raja was not so much to blame as my predecessor had imagined, indeed it was my firm conviction that he had just reason to complain himself.
About 11 P. M. the sentry warned me of the approach of another storm-I resolved on braving it where I was; it soon came on, and twice as severe as the first; nothing could be more frightful than the lightning, and the peals of thunder made the very ground vibrate, it was truly awful, the rain poured in torrents; I lighted a candle to relieve my eyes from the glare of the lightning, and made up my mind for the worst; I did not expect to see the light of another day; I wrote a short memorandum in the shape of a will, and then fell asleep; the storm did not clear off till 2 A. M.
At a very early hour my visitors from Keunjur returned, and intreated me in the most earnest manner to accept the presents their master (the Raja) had sent me; they had the previous evening sent me word by one of my servants (a Brahmin) that they were prepared to pay me handsomely if I would insure that the road should not pass through Keunjurgurh, or any where near it, and that if I would take it out of their district they would even give more ;-they alluded to this, and said that at any rate I must accept of what they had brought, otherwise the Raja would not think me sincere in my assurance; I however was determined on refusing, and reminded them of the orders of government, which they must be fully aware of. They still persevered, nor would they be satisfied till I promised to send a letter
The survey this year was closed here, after halting for five days on account of the incessant rain; every soul was seized with fever.