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The banks and bed of the river are thickly strewed with rolled and water-worn fragments of every size, from the pebble to the mass of many pounds in weight, and seemingly brought down from great distances, as many of them evidently belong to formations which do not occur in these lower parts.
Boulders of quartz of gypsum, hornblende and mica slates, porphyritic gneiss, sienite and sand stones, are heaped together in confusion along the river's course, while here and there above the stream are vast beds of the same rolled stones embedded in clay and debris. These are situated solely at the lower part of the valley, commencing a little above Rampore, and increasing in magnitude from thence downwards; they are chiefly, if not altogether, situated at those places where the river takes a rapid turn, and have evidently been thrown up or deposited in the back current or still waters of the deep floods, which must have brought down the sediment and stones of which they are composed. These vast deposits of alluvial matter are horizontal, or rather preserve the line of level of the river, and upon their wide and flattened surface the traveller is pleased to see a rich and smiling cultivation. These beds are sometimes far from each other, at other places they extend along both banks of the river, by the action of whose current they have evidently been severed. Upon such are the villages of Neert, Dutnuggur, Kaypoo, and many others on both banks built, and surrounded by a beautiful and luxuriant vegetation.
Rivers of the present day are known to accumulate and deposit large beds of sand and other debris in the eddies or back waters which they make when winding through rocks or strata of unequal hardness, but these deposits of the Sutledge are not the gradual accumulations of months and years, but from their massiveness and the enormous blocks or boulders which they contain, must evidently owe their origin to a larger body of water than is now supplied even in the rainy season; they must owe their origin to some vast and perhaps oftrepeated floods from the upper parts of the district, such as the sudden outpouring or bursting of some extensive lake, which has brought down and deposited vast fragments of rocks, whose true site is situated many miles from the deposits which now contain them, and which tower up for two and even four hundred feet above the river's present level.
To state here the causes from which these beds have sprung would be to anticipate, and we shall see as we travel onwards into Spiti, that a solution is presented in the appearances which that valley exhibits. Towards evening, the clouds began to gather thick and heavily, and
thunder growled nearer and nearer, preceded by a gale of wind that nearly tore my tent away. The rain came drifting up the valley, and curiously, but very civilly, kept the opposite bank of the river to where I was encamped, shrouding the mountains from my sight as it passed along, without even giving me a sprinkling.
The harvest had commenced at Dutnuggur as also at Kotgurh, and the sickle was in the field. In some instances the reaper and the plough were at work on the same ground, the one preparing the soil for the second crop, almost as soon as the other could gather in the first one. The first crop here consists, as in all these lower parts, of barley, wheat, poppies, and some minor grains, which are ripe in the months of May and June, when the fields are again made ready and sown with the autumn crop.
On the morning of the 21st, I resumed my pilgrimage by a good broad road along the left bank of the river, and a walk of nine miles brought me to Rampore, the capital of Bussaher.
After leaving Dutnuggur, there is scarcely any cultivation on the left bank of the Sutledge, owing to the rocks rising more abruptly from the stream, between which and their own base there is sometimes little more breadth than what is occupied by the road; at Rampore, although the town stands upon a broad flat at a turn of the river, there is no cultivation, except a few gardens in which the burgut again appears.
This place is therefore strictly speaking a manufacturing town, where those of its inhabitants who are not engaged in travelling with grain into Ludak and Chinese Tartary, are employed in the manufacture of pushmeena chuddurs, which are made from the under wool of the Tartar goats, called by the people "pushm" whence the word "pushmeena". These chudders or shawls are sold according to their quality and texture at from fourteen to twenty-five rupees each.
Rampore is also the winter residence of the Rajah, and is selected on account of the mildness of its climate at that season. To avoid the great heat which it experiences in summer, he usually repairs with his court to Sarahun, which from its greater elevation is free from such intense heat as is felt at Rampore, whose elevation is only 3,400 feet above the sea, while Sarahun is rather more than 7,000 feet, or about the height of Simla.
It is here that in the beginning of November the great fair is held, which draws together the people from the upper hills to barter the produce of those elevated tracts for that of the lower hills and plains. Here may be seen commingled in one grotesque assemblage the Tar
tars of Hungrung, of Spiti, of Ludak and Chinese Tartary, with the inhabitants of Kunawur, of the lower hills and plains, and sometimes also with those of Europe.
Among these different tribes little or perhaps no money is exchanged, but the dealer in tobacco or grain offers to the seller of wool or woollen cloths an equivalent quantity of merchandise for that which he requires, and thus in a very short time the produce of either country or district has changed masters.
The greatest good humour and mirth prevails at this periodical "gathering of the clans," and few quarrels occur. Should two dealers however happen to fall out, or, as sometimes occurs, should the wine cup have been used too freely and broken heads ensue, the Rajah levies on the disturbers of the peace a fine according to the circumstances of the delinquents, which is paid in anything they may possess, whether money, sheep, or merchandise.
At this season the articles brought into the market from the upper hills, are blankets and sooklat from Lubrung, Khanum, Soongnum, and other places in upper Kunawur ;-raisins, neozas, cummin seed, sheep, goats, and ghee from the lower parts;-chowrees, birmore, pushm wool, byangee wool, silver and gold dust in small quantities, borax and salt, numdahs, &c., from Ludak and different parts of Tartary.
These are exchanged for opium, celestial barley and wheat, tobacco, iron, butter, ghee, treacle or ghoor, linen cloths, brass pots, &c. all of which meet with a ready and profitable sale in the upper parts of the country.
Within the last three or four years, the traders from Ludak have purchased opium, which they did not take previously. Ghee is not purchased for Ludak or Tartary, but butter is taken instead, and forms a great ingredient in the mess, which they make of tea and flour, and which forms their food, as the chupattee or bannock does that of the low country people. It is purchased at Rampore at about eight seers for the rupee, and sells again in Tartary at four and five seers, so that cent per cent is no uncommon profit on this one article. Tobacco is also in great demand, and always brings a good profit to the trader.
Of the different articles manufactured in the upper parts, I shall again have occasion to revert in speaking of the several places where they are made, and I shall therefore pass on to the Rajah and his court, ere I take leave of the capital, and plunge into the woods and forests of Runawur. The Rajah is an ugly, common looking fellow, of about thirty years of age, and is of the Chuttree caste of Hindoos.
He is married, but has no legitimate offspring to succeed him, although he has a son and a daughter by some mistress or frail damsel, who doubtless, like a highland lassie of the olden time, would have thought it a crime to refuse the laird anything in her power to bestow. Should he die and leave no legitimate heir to succeed him, his territories will fall to the British Government.
He has three chief vuzeers who manage the affairs of his territories, and who in time of war would take command of his forces, as it is contrary to the custom of the country for the Rajah to do so in person. These three are equal in rank, and their office is hereditary.
Below them are several inferior officers also called vuzeers, whose office is not hereditary, but who are elected or rather nominated by the Rajah annually, and they seem to be thannadars of different pergunnahs; among this class is Puttee Kaur, Dr. Gerard's friend, who has lately been appointed vuzeer of Hungrung. The personal attendants or immediate household of the Rajah, consists of two sets of men called Churriahs, and Hazrees.
The Churriah derives his name from part of his duty being to carry the Churree, or silver stick, on occasions of ceremony before the Rajah. His duties are chiefly those of a Chupprassee, and he is sent into different pergunnahs to collect the revenue, to report any misconduct, and to see that the people are equitably assessed, that is, to point out who may be taxed more heavily, and who should be excused,—and in fact, to ferret out and report to the Rajah the conduct and circumstances of all his subjects.
Those who are smart, and acquit themselves to the satisfaction of their chief in this system of espionage, are usually high in favour, and receive occasional substantial presents in token of his approbation, while those who are lukewarm, lazy, or who are wanting in tact, get nothing but their trouble, for the Rajah gives no pay to his servants, their services on the contrary being compulsory.
The Churriahs form a body of from sixty to eighty men, never exceeding the one or falling short of the other number; they have three officers who, in the language of the country, are called "Pulsur," "Buttoonggee," and "Naigee," answering to Soobadar, Jemedar, and Burkundauze. They are exempt from military service, and remain with the Rajah. They are drawn from the district of Kunawur, and are compelled to obey summons, unless it graciously pleases his Highness to excuse them, in which case however he takes good care to exact a fine for their non-attendance.
Some wisdom is shown in the selection of this body, as none are
taken but men in easy circumstances, who possess either lands or flocks, the Rajah rightly thinking that those who are well off, will be more likely to keep a sharp eye on the discontented or troublesome characters, than those who have all to gain, and nothing to lose. He has also the satisfaction of reflecting that in case of misconduct they possess the means of paying a heavy fine.
The Hazrees are a larger body of men than the Churriahs, and they sometimes perform the same duties, but in general they act as Chowkeydars or guards to the Rajah, being distributed round his camp or his palace by night, in a chain of sentries. They consist of one hundred and forty men, and have one officer called a "Gooldar"
Of their number, however, no more than forty or fifty of the smartest are required to be in attendance; the others are suffered to remain at home. They are fighting men, and in time of war would join the forces.
There is no standing army or any regular soldiery since the British Government extended its protection to Bussaher, and even before that time it resembled an half-armed mob, rather than a military force, having no uniform, and each man being armed according to circumstances, some with matchlocks, some with swords, and others who possessed neither, arming themselves with sticks and branches of
This rabble was commanded by the three vuzeers if the enemy was in force, or by two or one according to the exigency or trifling nature of the disturbance.
The Rajah pays a tribute of 15,000 rupees annually to the British Government, which is levied in coin on the inhabitants according to their circumstances, some paying two annas, others four annas, and onwards to ten rupees, which is not exceeded except by the three vuzeers who pay twelve rupees each annually.
The amount of private revenue which the Rajah himself derives from Bussaher is very uncertain, and cannot be fully ascertained as it is paid in kind, consisting of lambs and kids, blankets, and other manufactures, wool, neozas, raisins, and rice from Chooara, across the Burenda pass, which is I believe the only grain he receives. If the season be bad and the flocks are sickly, or the young ones die, that portion of the revenue is excused for that year, and so likewise if the fruits or crops fail, so that his revenue varies according to the goodness or unfavourableness of the seasons. It may perhaps be roughly computed at from fifty to fifty-five thousand rupees annually.
For crimes and misdemeanours, fines are levied according to the