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nature of the offence and the circumstances of the offending parties, these fines though nominally amounting to a certain number of rupees are always levied in goods.
Thus when the village of Junggee in Kunawur neglected to furnish me with coolies to carry my baggage, the Rajah ordered a fine of one hundred rupees to be levied on the inhabitants, which was to be realised in anything they had to give. The same punishment would have been inflicted on the Churriah who accompanied me to Spiti, had he refused to go. When the Rajah ordered him to prepare for the journey, he was on his way to Simla, to be present at his master's interview with the Governor General, and having already been in Spiti he felt no desire to return to it, consequently he declined going, and offered to pay a fine of five rupees if the Rajah would excuse him and appoint somebody else; but the Rajah turning to him said,— No, no, if you disobey my orders I shall not ask for five rupees, but make you pay one hundred. This was enough, for bad as was the prospect of a journey into the dreary district of Spiti, far worse for the Churriah would have been the infliction of such a fine, and he therefore departed without another word.
From Rampore to Gowra, the next stage is a long and fatiguing ascent all the way. The road winds up the side of a very steep hill, and is strewed with blocks of stone, so thickly in some places as to resemble the bed of a torrent rather than the high road between the Rajah's summer and winter residence.
The first part of the ascent is over a nearly bare hill, but the scenery improves farther on, and the way is cheered by the occurrence of a scattered forest of oaks, mulberries, rhododendron, and the "Pinus excelsa" or Cheel. From the crest of the ascent, a pretty view is obtained of the surrounding country; a small amphitheatre is spread beneath, the foreground consisting of gradually sloping hills shelving away towards the river, which winds along unseen below. This slope was studded over with the bright hue of the ripening crops, while round them rose thickly wooded hills, backed in their turn by the dazzling splendour of the snowy range.
From the brow of this hill the road dips suddenly down again into a thickly wooded dell, from whence it rises on the opposite side to the village of Gowra. Thinking to avoid this second ascent, I followed a bye path through the forest, and a precious scramble I had of it. The soil was so thoroughly impregnated with decomposing chlorite, that it was with some difficulty I could manage to keep upon my feet, from the greasy saponaceous nature of the rock; and when at last I
reached the stream at the bottom of the glen, from which the road again ascended, I found that the pugdundee I had chosen to follow led along the side of a hill which was daily yielding to the weather, and falling down in masses, which left a nearly perpendicular mural cliff to scramble up. Hands and knees were in some places necessary in order to avoid slipping back again, and this by the greatest exertion. We passed over some masses which the weather had detached, and which were actually tottering to their fall, and were hanging almost by nothing over the deep glen below. On my return to this place, two months and a half afterwards, in the rains, these masses had all been hurled down, and their fragments were scattered in the bed of the stream; yet another pathway had been made by the villagers to save a mile or two, and it is doubtless doomed, like its predecessors, to fall at no distance of time into the glen. This time I preferred the steepness of the road, to the wet and slippery pugdundee. We managed however to get over safe enough, and my people gave me Job's comfort, by telling me there were far worse roads ahead! Save me, thought I from bye paths in future, and I felt by no means inclined to exclaim with the courtier in Bombastes, “Short cut or long, to me is all the same!"
Gowra is a small village, and contains but few houses. It is situated far above the Sutledge, which winds along unseen in the depths below, and the hoarse roar of its turbid waters is even scarcely heard. Here were apples, apricots, mulberries, and citrons bearing fruit, and the barley was nearly all carried from the fields.
In the woods around the village plenty of game is found, such as the monal, college pheasant, black partridge, and chikore. At this place I halted on the 22nd of May, and the next morning after a walk of an hour and a half arrived at a small village called Mujowlee, where I again encamped, as the rest of the way to Sarahun, which is the proper march, was all up hill, and had I attempted it, my baggage and tent would not have arrived until night, and I should have got no dinner into the bargain, which to a traveller in such a country is by no means either pleasant or comfortable. The road from Gowra to Mujowlee is very good indeed, and vies in some places with those of Simla; it lies through very pretty woods of oak, firs, mulberry, and many others common to the lower hills; the wild dog-rose with its snowy flowers, spreading over the tops of the underwood or climbing high into some tall oak, was in abundance, and almost every villager had a thick roll or necklace of the flowers hung round his neck, or stuck in a bunch on one side of his bonnet.
From Mujowlee we descended into a steep khud or glen, at the bottom of which by a frail and ricketty sangho of twigs, which is continually carried away by the rise of the waters, we crossed a stream which runs down and joins the Sutledge about a mile or two lower. From this we toiled up a long and steep ascent on the side of a hill, very prettily wooded with oaks, firs, horse chesnuts, walnuts, peaches, apricots and bukkines, intermingled with the raspberry, blackberry, and white dog-rose. The number of fine mulberry trees which for the last few marches had every where occurred near villages, led me to inquire if the silk-worm was known to the people, and if so, why they did not import and cultivate it. Such an insect it seemed had been heard of, but nobody appeared to know what it was like, nor had any one ever thought of introducing it to the hills; and the reply was, "We are hill people, what do we know of silk-worms?"
Nevertheless I see no reason why the insect should not thrive well in these villages along the Sutledge, where the summer enjoys a warmth unknown to Europe, and where the winter is certainly not so severe as in our native land. Food for the insect is in abundance, and is at present useless. At Simla, in the summer of 1837, I saw many caterpillars of a species of silk-worm feeding on a mulberry tree, in a garden there, which shows that very little care would cause it to become an useful article of trade in the lower hills. It is indeed very probable that the insect does already occur in the places I have alluded to, although it is at present unknown to the inhabitants, who are too busily employed in the cultivation of their fields to bestow a thought on "Entomology!"
Were the insect introduced, and the people instructed in its management, which could be easily done by sending skilful hands from the plains, I have no doubt, from conversations which I held with them on the subject, that they would gladly give their attention to its cultivation; but the introduction of it must be made by those who are in some authority, as the people themselves are far too poor to run the risk of expense which any experiment might entail upon them.
After gaining the summit of the ascent from Mujowlee we leave the pergunnah of Dussow, and drop over the frontier ridge of the district of Kunawur, arriving by a short and gradual descent at the town of Sarahun.
This is the usual summer residence of the Bussaher Rajah, who flies from the heat of his capital in the month of May, and returns again in time for the annual fair of November.
The elevation of Sarahun is about 7,300 feet above the sea, and it
is situated in a beautifully wooded recess or amphitheatre formed by the hills advancing round it in a semicircle behind; while in front they slope down in the direction of the Sutledge, from which again on the opposite bank rise the dark and usually barren hills of Kooloo.
The heights all round were in the month of May still deeply covered with snow, which however does not remain, but melts away as the rainy season sets in.
The village of Sarahun, for it cannot be called a town, has a shabby and ruinous appearance, and except at the season when the Rajah honors it with his presence, is nearly deserted. It boasts of no manufactures. At the time of my arrival the Rajah had gone to Simla to wait upon the Governor General, and having on this occasion drawn around him his retainers, the place was left with scarcely an inhabitant, except a few old women and children.
Journeying onwards from Sarahun, the road was at first tolerably level and easy, but after a mile or two it changed to a steep ascent over stones of all sizes, and sometimes overhanging the khud at places where the weight of snows had caused the whole to slip down, and where a plank or the trunk of a tree had been thrown across the gap to supply the deficiency.
The whole way was however very pretty and well wooded, and we crossed two or three streams which came rushing down from the snows on the heights, to join the Sutledge below us. One of these streams at eleven A. M. had a temperature of 45°, while the air at the same time was at 89°. From the ridge of the hill we descended for some way through a beautiful forest, in which at last, after a walk of eight good miles, we encamped at noon, surrounded by oaks, rhododendra, walnuts, horse chesnuts, apricots and mulberries; many of the horse chesnuts were magnificent trees, and covered with their conical bunches of flowers, which with the scarlet blossoms of the rhododendron arboreum, gave a pleasing effect to the surrounding scenery. In one part of the forest we found vast beds of a large flag iris in full bloom, and quite distinct from the small species which I saw on my way to the Burrenda pass in 1836. It is not perhaps generally known that the fruit of the horse chesnut produces a beautiful and permanent dye, and as it may be procured in some abundance in the hills, the following recipe, taken from the Saturday Magazine, may not be unacceptable to those who residing in the hills, may wish to avail themselves of the produce of the country.
The whole fruit of the horse chesnut cut in pieces when about the size of a small gooseberry, and steeped in cold soft water, with as much
soap as will tinge the water of a whitish colour, produces a dye like anotta; the husks only, in the same manner with cold water and soap, produce a dye more or less bright according to the age of the husk. Both are permanent and will dye silk or cotton, as much of the liquor as will run clear being poured off when sufficiently dark." During the past night at Sarahun we experienced some heavy showers of rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning which cooled the air, and gave us a delightful day to travel in. Many of the heights which before had begun to look black from the melting of the snows, were now again completely covered with a sheet of dazzling whiteness. The day continued cloudy with some heavy showers in the afternoon, and snow appeared to be falling heavily over all the neighbouring peaks.
Several flocks of sheep and goats passed our encampment during the day, on their way from Rampore to the upper parts of Kunawur; each animal was laden with flour, which is carried in small bags thrown across their backs and confined there by a crupper and band across the chest, with another under the belly, answering the purpose of a girth. Each carries according to its strength from six to twenty seers in weight, and they form the chief beasts of burthen throughout the country, travelling ten and twelve miles daily with ease and safety over rocky parts where mules and horses could not obtain a footing.
From this encampment we continued our march, still through the forest, to the village of Tranda; the road in many places was very precipitous and rocky, and numerous rudely constructed flights of steps occurred at those places where the ascent was too abrupt and rocky to cut a road. Before climbing the last steep hill to Tranda we came to a deep glen, with a roaring torrent hurling itself along towards the Sutledge with headlong fury; over this had once been a goodly sangho bridge, composed of three trees thrown across from rock to rock, with planks of wood nailed transversely across them, but the weight of the winter snows had thrown the bridge all on one side with an awkward slope to the gulph below, and had torn half the planks away, leaving wide intervals at which there was nothing left to walk on but the round trunk of a single tree; and the dazzling foam of the waters seen beneath as the torrent rushed along, imparted to the passenger the feeling, that the crazy bridge was gliding from beneath his feet, and made it dangerous to attempt the passage. Two only of my people crossed it, and they were laughed at for their folly.
A secr is 2 lbs.