Léon Hervey de Saint-Denys (marquis d').

The adventures of a lady in Tartary, Thibet, China & Kashmir: with an ... online

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I fell fast asleep before I had undressed or dined.
We are now at the foot of the Sin-Thun
Punjal, and I hope to reach Noboog, which is about
nine coss distant, before evening, asitis not much
past six a.m. now. The water was bitterly cold this
morning, and as all the Degchies'^ had gone on, I
could get no warm water, and the ice bath nearly
benumbed me.


Distance seven coss.

Sfh JunCy 1851. Sunday. — I was too much
fatigued to reach Noboog yesterday, and as fever
came on in the evening, I was forced to halt here«
I found this a terrible march, and, to my sorrow,
had a shocking set of Coolies. They were ten
* Cooking-pots of tiimed copper.

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hours carrymg me five coss, though there were
sixteen men to my Kght dhoolie. They must
have been " Moorduhs,"* not men, surely, I
became so weary of their slow progress, and so
faint from fasting, that I actually left the dhoolie,
amd walked the last three miles. The great
fatigue and exposure to cold, altogether made me
really ill, but I am pretty well again, and I will
describe the march.

About a nule of the way was a gentle wooded
ascent, the ground covered with grass, red and
white clover, and many wild flowers, such as
bloom in England. The pretty blue and lilac
violets were scentless, even at this early hour.
Many varieties of forget-me-nots covered the
MIIb, and white and purple anemones were richly
intermingled. Little imagining that I had such a
fetiguing day before me, I walked this mile,
gathering the flowers as I proceeded. My walk
waa arrested by a vast bed of snow, and I took to
my dhoolie. The torrent we had crossed the
night before was again to be re-crossed ; but the
only bridge which spanned it, one of frozen snow,
was broken in the centre, and the Eapid was not
SBcrfe to ford. So we were forced to go higher up,
by a difficult and precipitous track, scarcely

♦ Corpses.

I 3

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marked at all, and after the delay of an hour ot
more, we found a dangerous spot to go across. A
hugd log of wood, half submerged, and some large
slippery stones, formed tiie uncertain ferry. A
man carried me over, a second Puhariya helping
him to tread stealthily on the sKppery flooring
beneath his feet. It is not pleasant to be carried
by any of this race, on account of the tendency to
hydrophobia before adverted to I

The rest of the way to the crest of the Pass of
the Sin-Thu[n Pu[njal, was (after the first two or
three hundred yards), across pathless wastes of
snow and ice. There is far more snow on this
mountain now, than on the Bara Lacha Pass three
weeks later, though the elevation of the latter is
one third greater. The height of the Sin-Thun
Pass cannot exceed eleven thousand five hundred
feet, judging from the forest-line, which is not
five hundred feet below the summit of the moun-
tain. But the snow is deep and unbroken, wd
extends on every side in vast and dreary fields of
icy whiteness- Fir and birch trees thickly stud
the snow, and this mixture of verdure in the
wintry landscape, has a very pretty effect The
last trees are a few straggling, stunted birches^
the white bark suiting the snowy ground,

The last quarter of a mile is very steep, and

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DDosni. 179

the Coolies wexe upwards of an hour in getting
over this portion. My eyes were very sore from
the reflection of the snow when the sun shone
brightly on it, and I suffered on the whole con-
sid^ably. It was past two o'clock p.m., when
the dhoolie reached the summit of the pass, and
beyond a cup of lea before starting, I had not
broken my fast. Ghaussie brought me a few
dried Ladak fruit, which I ate very gladly. It
was very cold, and as I got out of the dhoolie to
look on the prospect around me, I threw a red
Kashmir shawl over my shoulders. The siUy
Coolies prayed me not to do this; why, I could not
exactly understand, but it had something to do
with the shawl beiog red, and some " Purrees,'**
who sported invisibly on the spot, and were inimi-
cal to the colour. This is a hazy account of the
superstition, but I am not learned in the heathen
tongue used in these wild regions.

From the crest of the pass I saw the white

* Fairies. These ethereal bdbgs are supposed by the natives
to be generally inimical to the human race. There is a house
at Landour (one of our own hill stations,) which the natives
declare is ftill of " Purrees," and every one who lives there,
European or native, comes to an untimely end without faiL
The actual death of each successive occupant, has strangely
verified the native superstition.

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peaks of the "Bootan* Pimjal," rismg in unbroken
snow to the north of the Sin-Thun pass. "Boot&n,'*
"Bod," or "Bultist&n, are all names giren toThibet,
sol fancy liiis is the pass from Kashmir into Thibet

I never saw a more dreary and wintry scene
than was presented to the eye a few feet beforef
reaching the crest of the pass. Snowy mountains,
range beyond range, icy peaks of great elevation,
met the eye wherever it roved, and naught of life
seemed in these vast snowy solitudes. Nature was
so still, so imposing. How insignificant are all of
human kind in scenes such as these !

The descent was all snow for a couple of miles^
and beneath — ^many feet below our palii — was a
mountain torrent, J which did not escape from its
snowy bridge till we had gone a couple of mileSy
when it burst forth, and we were necessitated to
move to a rugged path along the right bank. The
mountains are richly wooded all around, the
higher hills being densely covered with fir and
birch trees^ the light and dark tints of their re-
spective foliage being prettily mingled. The

* I had a fine view of the valley of Kashmir from the summil
of the pass.

f This is the name I find given to the pass into Thibet, over
the Pambher and Murrooa hills.

•X In fact, our path was nothing more than a prolonged field
of snow, which completely bridged over the mountain torrent
tfxr a couple of miles.

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NOBOO0. 181

Coolies went so very slowly that I left the dhoolie
a little after four o'clock, and walked to this vil-
lage, the first after the " oojar," arriving quite
knocked up about sunset. I found my people
preparing to start on a search after me with my
dinner, thinking some accident must have delayed
me, breakfastless, so long.

Sending to-morrow's breakfast on to Noboog, I
have halted here. This is a small village at the
foot of the higher range, and encompassed by
other hills, so that not a glimpse of the valley
can be obtained. There is plenty of wood in
the neighbourhood, and the hills are covered with
dense forests. A good deal of cultivation surrounds
the village, and the country between these hills
and the next (and lower) ridge, is quite a valley.

Islamabad is eight coss distant, about twelve
miles; the path to it winds through the low hills,
along the narrow valleys, and lies to the left of the
Noboog road. Gohim is two coss distant to the
south. I hear that Goolab Singh has at last reached
his capital.

Distance three or four miles.
Same day^ two o^chcJc^ p.m. — Break&sted here.
The road from D6osir to Noboog is through a very

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pretty valley, green and cultivated, and studded
with many trees. We passed the large village of
L&nun to the left, and that is the road to Echebul.
This village is further on about a mile, and is on
the road to Wurdwun and Sooroo. This is a very
pretty village, beautifully wooded. The ground
is carpeted with rich grass and red and white
clover, and every thing in nattire looks fresh and
smiling. I observed niunberless rose-bushes,
covered with flowers in full bloom. Some of these
wild roses were of a rich scarlet hue, white and
pink beautifully mingling their luxuriant blossoms
with the deeper shades. I also observed a sort of
honey-suckle, but though otherwise very similar
to the cultivated species, it entirely lacked its

The Wurdwun mountains covered with deep
snow, are visible from this village, and lie to the
north-north-east. The valley of Kashmir, par
excellence, is still removed out of sight by a ridge
of low hills, which imiting a little to the south of
this village with the higher range of mountains,
forms a valley of the plain land in the middle.
Firs are very abundant all throughout these hills,
and are of magnificent size. I am now going on
as far as I can before dark, on my way to

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DUtcmcefive cessj or seven and a half miles.

Same day^ 8 <f clock 'p.m. — I halted here, (though
Eehebul is only a couple of coss distant,) as soon
as it became dark, as I wished to see this ex-
tremity of the valley properly by daylight. I am
told that this village is not on the direct road to
Eohebul; but I suppose it is the best, as the
Coolies brought me here^pf their own accord.

The road from Noboog winds along the foot of
low hiUs for a couple of miles, and the valley is
studded thickly wilii willows, most of them pol-
lards. Eice is widely cultivated along the valley,
and appears to be the principal grain grown, and
from its great abundance ought to be very cheap.

The path, after the first part of the way, leads
over grassy hiUs, prettily wooded ; the ascents and
descents gentle, till the village of Kahrpoor is
reached, two coss from this. I observed that
all the houses at Kahrpoor, and also Noboog,
were almost entirely constructed of wood^ liiough
two and three storiea high. Clumps of poplar
trees are found near this village, and pines grow
in dense forests on the hills skirting the path, or

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stud the surrounding vales and plains. I passed a
fine hawthorn tree in full flower : — ^how its fondly-
remembered fragrance brought back sadly the
thoughts of "days long past and gone," Sad
memories of "home, sweet home," crowded on
my heart, and the happy days of my careless
childhood rose vividly before me. How utterly
had the bright hopes of my sanguine girlhood
been blasted. How little seemed the eager anti-
cipations of that halcyon time to have been real-
ized. How mistaken were my foolish and childish
ideas of the world; — ^how blighted my hopes of the
life before me then. I thought sadly of the Ascjs
that were past, when everything was couleur de
rose to my young fancy, unacquainted with tha
W(yrld of even a school. Brought up at home, —
spoilt and wayward — alas! how little of joy had
the "world" given me when I did become ac-
quainted withits hypocritical friendships andhoUow
mirth ? In the world I have found " goodness a
name, and happiness a dream ; " and how differ-
ent were my anticipations of the vast theatre of
life, and the players who 'perform their part in
every scene and act. Would that I had never
survived the happy days of my childhood, I mourn-
fully murmured, as fond memories of " those hap-
pier hours too soon passed away, in the cold

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diflappointment of lifers stormy day," swept sadly
and chilly over my heart. I recalled the home of
my childhood and wayward youth, the merry
feces of the dear home circle, " who filled our
honse with glee " ; — ^and now, where are they all
scattered? — far and wide, and some sleep the
ong sleep of death. Two of my favourite brothers
no longer live to smile on me ; and how &r am I
from the beloved ones who still, thank God, are
spared. And the " world " I was so anxious to
enter, with all the impetuosity of a spoilt child, a
few years ago, does it bring sympathy or solace to
the many sorrows which, young as I am, have fallen
heavily on me? How contemptuously I think
and feel towards that same "world I " —

" I have not loved the world, nor the world me ;
I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bowed to its idola-
tries a patient knee,
Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles, — ^nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo ! In the crowd
They conld not deem me one of 9ueh;
I stood among them, bnt not of them, — ^in a shroud
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could,
Had I not filed my mind, which thus itself subdued/'

It is not the solitude that ever pains me of
travelling all alone in the wild moimtains, but a
something, however trifling in itself, that recals

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sweet " dreams of tlie past." These moumful
thoughts fill my heart, and a feeling of desolate
melancholy casts its dark shadow over the future,
objectless and hopeless in its dreary loneliness. I
know it is foolish to give way to mournful thoughts,
because a philosophical mind will ever remember
that —

" The Past is nothmff,—eJid at last
The Jutuie can hut he the Fast/"

Some such thoughts flashed across my mind,
while immersed in melancholy retrospections yes-
terday ; and I turned proudly from dark antici-
pations and sorrowful memories, to the many wild
excitements in the life of a solitary traveller.
Besides, I am not so silly •

'* as to regard men's frown and smile,
As loss or guerdon of a glorious lot ;
I stood and stand alone, — remember'd or forgot.*'

Qu^ import€j which? and with a delightful
versatility, I forgot, for the time, all the long
train of memories called into being at the well-
remembered fragrance of a favourite English
flower. When we entered the village of Kahr-
poor, I stifled all sadness, and hurried to see a
batch of ponies which the peasants were willing
to sell. I selected three of the best, after a long

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ECHEBiri. 187

delay in securing them, for they were wild colts
rushing about the meadows.*

The path from Kahrpoor to Shwangas is first an
ascent, up which I rode; then follows a long
wooded, and rather steep descent to the valley of
Kashmir. Two or three hundred yards farther on
is the village of Shwangas, surrounded by trees,
and of considerable size for villages in these parts.
It is so late now, I shall dine and sleep here, and
proceed early in the mormng to Echebul.


Distance two coss^ or three miles.

' 9th Junej 1851. Monday. — The path from
Shwangas to this village lies through a pretty
country, well wooded and extensively cultivated.
The road is a very gentle ascent, or a plain the
whole way. The valley narrows to scarcely a
mile in breadth, a little above Shwangas; and the
whole way to this village is scarcely five miles
broad at any part. A tongue of land, consisting
of a low ridge of hills, cuts this extremity of the
valley into two sections. This is the north-
eastern end of the vaUey of Kashmir.

♦ I paid seventy rupees for the three, and bought them
piincipally to carry burthens.

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Two high Peaks of perpetual snow, to the^p^rth
of Shwangas, were pointed out to me as^the
mountains of Amur-Nath, where the famous (^ve
of Gypsum is. The road is through too much
snow to be practicable for a month or six weeks
yet, so I fear I must give up all idea of seeing the
cavern, as I fully intended to have done.

This part of the valley is adorned by fine trees,
the chenar, walnut, and willow, principally.
Apples and pears are still unripe, and we passed
numbers of trees laden with the fruit. I observed
many pretty flowers, resembling those that bloom
in English gardens, and culled a large number
for my Herbal.

As we descended the gentle slope to this
place, the whole vale lay before us, and there was
a peacefdl beauty in the landscape peculiar to
Kashmir. A light veil of mist hung over the
still vaUey, and dimly in the distance I could
trace the snowy outline of Kashmir's lofty
boimdary to the west and far north.

I found all my servants here, and though with-
out my restraining presence for a fortnight, rume
had made their escape to the plains. I was de-
lighted to get good tea in plenty once more, and
as much as I wished of wine and ale.

After aU, I am not quite alone I Some of my

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ECHEBUL. ' 189

servants were unaflfeotedly glad to see me ; and,

above all, my pet dog, young "Squire," could

not sufficiently express his delight, nor would he,

for a good hour, desist his desperate caresses of


" 'Tifl sweet to hear the watch-dog's honest bark,
Bay deep-mouthed welcome as we draw near home."

And it is pleasant to find oneself remembered and
loved by a noble dog. I must mention that my
pet is no lap-dog codling, but a fine large hullrdogy
who is to replace that little prince of pets, my
poor tiny Princey. At this moment "Squire"
imconditionajly declines to let me write, so I
must close my diary for to-day.

lOfA June^ 1851. Tuesday. — ^It is past nine
o'clock, a.m., but I am detained here on account
of the delay in getting coolies for the rear portion
of my baggage. I bribed the Moonshee* with a
present, but I only succeeded in getting twenty
men. This Moonshee is a sad person for bribes,
and I am told I shall never get off unless I try
the effect of a second douceur, which I fancy I
shall be obliged to do.

* Bribe. This man was a servant of Geolab Singh's, and
was supposed to provide Coolies.

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There is a BS,gli, or garden here, close to
the house I am occupying ; and though now
weehrdn* shows traces of departed beauty; the
turf is soft aad rich, and many fine trees give
their grateful shade from the noon-day sun. This
garden stretches along the base of a hill, and at
one extremity are two " nags," or springs. The
water bubbles up with considerable vehemence
from the ground, something lite (in appearance)
to the boiling springs of Munnie Kam, inKooloo.
A stone reservoir has been built round each
"nag," and an aqueduct conveys the water all
through the grounds in a considerable volume,
subsequently watering the whole adjacent
country. These springs are close together, and
never dry up. The remains of a ruined Baruh
Durrie, close by, are still visible ; and the garden
and its buUdings are all said to be the work of the
great Emperor Akbar.

Goolab Singh is building a tiny Baruh Durrie

in the centre of a small tank, formed by the

waters of the springs, and constructed of stone.

Hummams, or large baths, are built at another

extremity of the garden, and though now disused

and fast going to ruin, exhibit the active spirit of

♦ Deserted, or a desert, used to express wildness and
ruins. " WeehrdrC^ is a Persian word.

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lirUTTHUN. 191

the great Akbar, in the solidity of the construe-*
lion and its great extent.

The name of this spot, and also the adjoining
village, is, properly speaking, " tJcchha-Bul," the
first Tvord signifying good^ and the latter water.
The name has been corrupted into "Echebul,"
and " XJchebul," which are now generally used.

Distance J two and a half cobs ^ about five miles.

Same day^ four p.m. — ^Arrived here to a late
breakfast. The first two miles of the way lay
through ceaseless rice fields, and we had to cross
two considerable streams. A log of wood was
thrown across each, but my pony could not be
taken over such frail bridges. I dismoimted,
sending the animal by my syce* lower down, where
the water was shallow. The wretched man either
mistook me, or disliked the water, so he brought
the pony on the log before I could stop him from
the opposite bank, and in another minute the poor
little nag was in the water, and swimming as hard
as he could. Being unable to get up the bank I
was standing on, he bravely swam back, and I had
the felicity of seeing my saddle soaked, and the
♦ Groom.

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additional pleasure of waiting aa hour iu the sun,
while everything was put to rights. There was
no use to scold, so I saved myself the trouble, and
sat down philosophically under a neighbouring tree.

There are several villages passed on and near
the road along this part of the valley, but the
" road" is quite a misnomer, there being nothing
approaching to one for the first two miles, and I
know it was my deplorable fate to go via rice-fields
and deep waters.

The beginning of the third mile brought us to
the low ridge of hills, which (as I mentioned
before) divide the north-eastern extremity of the
valley into two distinct sections. I had a good
opportunity of observing the length, breadth, and
height of this ridge, as the village is situated on
the other side, fi-om TJchebuL

I should say that these low hills extend along
four or five miles, regularly dividing this end of
Kashmir* The height of the ridge is not 300 feet
above the plain land around, and the summit is
a fine expanse of nearly table-land,, terminating
in an eminence (one or two hundred feet
above the rest of the ridge,) which rises rather
abruptly above the valley below. The length of
this table-land may be three or four miles, the
breadth about two. There are no villages near,

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and very little cultivatioii. Plenty of rich grass,
low shrubs, and a few trees. The &mous ruins
of Korau Fandau^ stand on this table-land, not&r
from the path I rode along. I was late for break-
fest, and did not halt to go over them, but th^y
had a striking effect in the distance. I mean to
pay the spot a visit to-morrow or next day.

I cantered along very fast across the table-land,
leaving my servants far behind. The descent to
this village is cut up by ravines.

Mutthim is situated at the foot of the low hills
I have described, so I had a good view of ^e
second section of the north-eastern extremity of
the valley. The rice-fields give a curious effect
to the landscape. The plain-land resembles a vast
marsh studded with trees and houses. I do not
like the iiGe-khits (fields).

Mutthim, or Mattan, is a large village and a
place of ''Tirth " or pilgrimage for Hindoos. The
windows of the roomy abode I am located in, look
out on the Sacred Tanks, one small and one large,
adjoining each other. The spring which supplies
the water issues from the ground beneath the
smaller tank, or from some subterranean issue in
the rocks and mountains close above. A small
temple is at the head of the reservoirs of water.
♦ Also called " Khairwan Pwduw^/* ai^d "i^toaPandoo."

VOL. n. K

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Myriads on myriads of fishes, large and small, and
of various hues, from pale green to black, sport in
the water, and are held sacred by the inhabitants.
Goolab Singh allows one maund (82 lbs.) a day of
rice for their food ; and these sacred fishes are never
taken out of the water on any pretext. I am not
sufficiently acquainted with lothyology to say what
species of fish these may be; I have not, in fact,
the ghost of an idea.

Mutthun is called " Bhowan'^* by the Mussul-
men portion of the inhabitants. The village is in
the Pergunnah of Martund, and consists of some
two hundred houses. The place swarms with
Brahmins, who levy toll on all Hindoo visitors,
(and many Christian ones too). They wheedled
three rupees out of me, I know.

There are some caves famed of old, close by,
and I am now going to see them.

I had some conversation with the Kardar about
Gilgit. He says the country and its inhabitants
are very " oMAa.^f Se declares that it is a very
unprofitable district, and scarcely yields 10,000

♦ I fancy this is the village called " Bhnvan" in Moorcroff s
work. I do not know what he could mean by saying that it
is " half a mile from Mattan," when it is only another name
for the latter village. I could hear of no village called
" Bhuvan," any where near Mattan.

t Bad. Good for nothing.

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rupees of revenue, while the expense of keeping
it up exceeds that amount. Between Chul&s and
Gilgit, a thousand sepoys of the Maha Eajah have
been murdered by the people, and Chulas has now
imconditionally declined paying a sous of revenue.
So Goolab Singh is going to send a large force up
there at once, and in a few days proceeds to
Sopore to arrange aU about the coming war.

Chulas* is a country situated to the south-west
of Gilgit, and inhabitedby a race of people called
Dards, the same as in Gilgit. The capital of
Chulas is on the left bank of the Gilgit river, and
consists of seven or eight hundred houses. The
Gilgit river waters the vaUey of Chulas, which is
skirted by low, wooded hills. Wheat is almost
the only grain grown, and the poorer classes live

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