William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) online

. (page 41 of 64)
Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 41 of 64)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the Punjab towns and neighbouring Hill State, buy up the opium,


while the tobacco is exported both into Lahul and Spiti, and into the
Simla States. Rice, wheat, and barley are also bartered for salt, with
the Tibetans who come down to Patseo in Lahul. Honey and tea are
exported to the plains. Sheep are annually sold in large numbers
to traders from Simla, at an average price of 7s. or 8s. per head.
It is not, however, solely with this object that they are bred. The
flesh is freely eaten by the people, and the wool is woven into cloth
and blankets in every village, the blankets of Seoraj and Waziri Riipi
being of superior excellence, and sold at prices ranging from 4s. to 10s.
each. The imports consist of borax from Ladakh ; brass and copper
utensils from the Punjab plains ; salt and iron from Mandi. Horses,
silk, and charas (an intoxicating preparation of hemp) are also largely

Roads, etc. — Two roads lead from Kangra to Sultanpur, and another
connects the same place with Simla. Wooden bridges cross the prin-
cipal rivers, and the Beas is spanned by a steel-rope suspension bridge
at Shamsi. The main route to Leh and Yarkand follows the right
bank of the Beas, crosses the Rohtang Pass, pursues the valley of the
Bhaga to Bara Lacha Pass, and thence descends into Ladakh. A
post-office has been established at Sultanpur, with a daily mail from
Palampur. Education remains at a very low ebb, but Government
schools exist at the two principal villages. Sultanpur also possesses a
Government charitable dispensary.

Medical Aspects. — The average annual rainfall of the valley may be
put at from 45 to 50 inches. The mean temperature for the month
of August amounts to 7 8° F. ; that of November to 55°. The climate
cannot be considered favourable to health. Intermittent fevers and
bowel complaints prevail in an endemic form, while epidemics of
virulent contagious fever and cholera break out from time to time.
Goitre and cretinism also occur, as in other confined valleys. Much
of the mortality might probably be prevented by cleanliness and better
sanitary arrangements ; but the rank vegetation, damp soil, and hot
sun will always prove prejudicial to the public health, in the opinion
of the settlement officer. [For further information regarding Kiilu, see
the Gazetteer of Kangra District, compiled and published under the
authority of the Punjab Government, Part ii. Kiilu, Lahul, and Spiti.
Also the Report of the Land Revenue Settlement of Kangra District,
1865-72, by Mr. J. B. Lyall, C.S. ; together with the Punjab Census
Report of 1881.]

Kulutzai. — Village in the Ladakh Division of Kashmir State,
Northern India ; perched upon an elevated site above the right bank
of the Indus. Lat. 34 19' n., long. 7 6° 58' e. A wooden bridge
crosses the river, which is here about 25 yards in width. The population
consists chiefly of Buddhists.


Kumalgarh— Fort in the Native State of Udaipur, 1

Built by Rana Kumbhu in the 15th century, on the site 1 I
ancient fortress, of which mountaineers long held possession,
ascribes it to Sumprit, a Jain prince in the 2nd century; and ai
Jain temples appear to confirm the tradition. The fortress i
near the village of Kailwara on a steep and craggy mountain, risil
the height of 3568 feet above sea-level, and about 700 feet above the
pass below, which it commands. The massive wall, with numerous
towers and pierced battlements, encloses a space of some miles in
extent below, while tier above tier of ramparts rise to the summit of
the hill, which is crowned with the Badal Mahal, or cloud-pal; <
the Ranas, whence the eye ranges far to the west over the sandy
deserts of Marwar and the chaotic mountain group of the Aravallis.
Besides the Arail Pol, or barrier, thrown across the first narrow a
about a mile from Kailwara, there is a second gate, called the
Hulla Pol, intermediate to the Hanuman Pol, the exterior
the fortress, between which and the summit there are four more

Kumaon. — Division and District in the Xorth-Western Provinces.—
See Kumaun.

Kumar (also called Pangdsi). — River of the Gangetic Delta, B
An offshoot of the Matabhanga, leaving the main stream near Alam-
danga, and flowing a tortuous easterly and south-easterly cours
for a few miles through Nadiya District, and afterwards through
Jessor, till it forms a connection with the Garai (Gorai). The h<
the river is closed during summer by a bar of sand, and silting is
rapidly going on in its upper reaches. In Jessor, the river de
into a beautiful stream of clear water, navigable by large boats all the
year round.

Kumar. — River in Faridpur District, Bengal; a brand
Chandna, taking off from that river near Madhukhali, a few
of Faridpur town, and, flowing a tortuous course generally from
west to south-east, falls into the Arial Khan at Madaripur, in lal
10' n., and long. 90 15' 45" e. Navigable for small boats throw
the year.

Kumaradhari.— River in South Kanara District, Madi
dency; rises in lat. 13° 50' n, and long. 76° 5*' *> in the
on the boundary between Coorg and Hassan District of M)
the Pushpagiri or Subrahmanya range of the Western Ghite, and
westwards towards the Malabar coast. Near the village
it joins the Netravati river, and the combined stream, und
name, flows into the sea near Mangalore. In the lowei
course it is much used for navigation; small boats
above Uppinangadi.


Kumdrganj. — Village in Dinajpur District, Bengal ; situated on the
Atrai river. One of the principal seats of local trade.

Kumarganj. — Village and head-quarters of a police circle (thana)
in the head-quarters Sub-division of Rangpur District, Bengal ; situated
on the right bank of the Karatoya river.

Kumari. — Village on the headland forming the extreme southern-
most point of India. — See Comorin.

Kumarkhali (Comercolly). — Town, municipality, and head-quarters
of a police circle {thdnd) in the Kushtia Sub-division of Nadiya District,
Bengal; situated on the left bank of the Garai (Gorai) river. Lat. 23
51' 30" n., long. 89 17' 14" e. Population (1872) 5251 ; (1881) 6041,
namely, Hindus, 3676; Muhammadans, 2356; and 'others/ 9. Area
of town site, 640 acres. Municipal income (1876-77), ^215 ; (1881),
^353 ; incidence of taxation, is. i^d. per head. Station on the
Eastern Bengal Railway, 118 miles from Calcutta. During the mer-
cantile days of the East Indian Company, a commercial Resident was
stationed at Kumarkhali, and a large business in silk was carried on.
A few old tombs in a small cemetery, the earliest dating from 1790,
are all the existing remains marking the former existence of the Com-
pany's factory. The cemetery is now used as a burial-ground for
employes of the Eastern Bengal Railway.

Kumaun. — Division or Commissionership under the jurisdiction
of the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces. The
Division comprises the three British Districts of Kumaun, Garhwal,
and Tarai, all of which see separately. It is bounded on the north
by the Tibetan territory of Hundes ; on the east by the independent
kingdom of Nepal ; on the south by the Rohilkhand Districts
of Pilibhit, Bareli (Bareilly), Moradabad, and Bijnor, and by the
Native State of Rampur; and on the west by the District of Dehra
Dun and by Native Garhwal.

Area, 12,438 square miles; number of towns and villages, 9578;
number of houses, 153,605. Total population (1881) 1,046,263, namely,
males 545,124, and females 501,139. Average density of population,
84-1 persons per square mile, ranging from 220 in the submontane strip
which forms the Tarai District to 62*8 per square mile in the mountain-
ous region of Garhwal. Classified according to religion, there were, in
1881 — Hindus, 955,100, or 91-3 per cent.; Muhammadans, 88,320, or
8'4 per cent. ; Christians, 2646 ; Jains, 103; Buddhists, 87; and Parsis, 7.
Among the Hindus, the higher castes are unusually strongly repre-
sented, Brahmans numbering 204,994, and Rajputs 425,061, these
two classes numbering altogether upwards of two-thirds of the Hindu
population. The Muhammadans are almost without exception Sunnis.
The Christian population consists mainly of European troops cantoned
at the hill stations of Ranikhet, Almora, and Naini Tal. The villages,


especially in the hill Districts, are mere hamlets of a fen

of a total of 9578 villages and towns, 8462 contained Less thai
hundred inhabitants; 946 between two hundred and five hum
140 from five hundred to a thousand; 25 from one to five ;
and 5 upwards of five thousand inhabitants. Total male adult
culturists, 308,632, cultivating 506,752 acres, or an avera
per head. The population entirely dependent on the soil nun
8 33>573> or 797 P er cent - of the total population The cultii
bears but a small proportion to the total area, onh
being returned as under tillage in 1 881, of which 7 38 square
were assessed for Government revenue. The uncultivable
returned at 9223*5 square miles, and that still available fur tillaj
2422*5 square miles.

Total Government land revenue, including local rates and cesses levied
on land, ,£57,257, or an average of 2s. 4|d. per cultivated a< re |
rental paid by cultivators in the Tarai District, 4s. o}d per cult.
acre. In the hill Districts of Kumaun and Garhwal, a very largi
portion of the cultivators are also proprietors, and pay no rent 1
than the Government revenue demand. The head-quarters of the
Commissioner of the Division are at Almora in Kumaun District The
sanitarium of Naini Tal in the same District is the residence of the
Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces for several months
in the year, and the head-quarters of his Government. It is
a favourite summer retreat for Europeans during the hot -weather

Kumaun.— The principal District in the Division of the same name
in the North-Western Provinces, including the Sub -dr.
Almora or Kumaun Proper, Champawat, and the Bhabhar. I
between lat. 28 55' and 30 50' 30" N., and between lor.
and 8o° 56' 15" e. Area, 6000 square miles. Population in l
493,641 persons. The administrative head-quarters are at A;

Physical Aspects.— Kumaun District consists, first, of the
layan ranges ; and, secondly, of the bhabhar ox waterless !• »n st, ai
from 10 to 15 miles in breadth, which stretches between the mount*
and the Tarai. Of the entire area of the highlands, only 500 square
miles are returned as cultivated, and 100 square miles as cultn
No country exhibits more extraordinary diversities oi tempen
climate than Kumaun. The southern or bhabhar port
siderable elevation. It is distinguished by a total abs<
water, and is bounded on the south by a line of springs, 1 lus
consists of the loose detritus of the lower hills, rest::
hard clay. The moisture, instead of flowing o(i iron, the SI
downwards to the clay beneath, over which it percolates in


direction, and eventually comes to light in the Tarai. The rivers
descending from the lower hills, in the same manner lose a considerable
portion of their volume on entering the bhdbhar ; and in many in-
stances, during the hot and cold seasons, their beds are perfectly dry
for the space of 9 or 10 miles, after which they again fill with water,
and, reinforced by the numerous springs which gush out of the earth
on the border of the moist country, form the characteristic feature of
the Tarai.

Up to 1850, the bhdbhar was an almost impenetrable forest,
given up to wild animals ; but since then, the numerous clearings
have attracted a large population from the hills, who cultivate the
rich soil during the hot and cold seasons, returning home in the
rains. The bhdbhar is, however, still for the most part unreclaimed
jungle of the thickest and most luxuriant description; and what
changes have taken place in the appearance of this tract by clearing
and irrigation, have all been effected within the last twenty-five years,
under the personal superintendence of Sir Henry Ramsay, the late
Commissioner of Kumaun. With the exception of these low lands,
and a few similar tracts of small extent stretching along the great
rivers in the lower parts of their courses, Kumaun is a maze of
mountains, some of which are among the loftiest known. The ranges
run, as a rule, from east to west in groups, connected and intersected
by other ridges varying much in elevation, and gradually increasing
in height as they approach the north and north-east frontier, which
divides the drainage system of the Indus and Sutlej from that of the

The crest of the Nfti Pass is 16,570 feet above the sea; the Mana
Pass, 18,000 feet; the Juhar or Milam Pass, 17,270 feet. To the
west, on the boundary of Garhwal, is the Trisul Mountain, so called
from its peaks having the appearance of a trident, the most easterly of
which attains an elevation of 22,342 feet, the middle peak 23,092 feet,
and the western peak 23,382 feet. To the north-east of Trisul is
Nanda Devi, with an elevation of 25,661 feet; and Nandakot, the
katiya or couch of the great goddess Nanda, with a height of 22,538
feet. Farther east are the two highest of the Panchchula peaks, 22,673
and 21,114 f eet respectively. In fact, in a tract not more than 140
miles in length and 40 miles in breadth, there are over 30 peaks rising
to elevations exceeding 18,000 feet. South of the thirtieth parallel of
latitude no peaks attain the limit of perpetual snow, and few exceed
10,000 feet.

The rivers chiefly take their rise in the southern slope of the
Tibetan watershed to the north of the loftiest peaks, amongst which
they make their way down valleys of rapid declivity and extraordinary
depth. Enumerated from east to west, the principal rivers are — the


Kali, known as the Sarda where it debouches on the plains, and l
Gogra (Ghagra) farther south to its junction with the Ganj
borders of Bengal; and its affluents the eastern Dhauli, G
Goriganga, eastern Ramganga, and Sarju ; next come the Pil
Kailganga, whose waters join the Alaknanda. Inferior to 1
connected with them, are the drainage lines of the southern and
elevated table-lands. Of such the principal are the Ladhiya, 1
Bhakra, Bhaur, Kosi, and western Ramganga, which last takes i:
in Garhwal District; but ultimately all reach the Ganges. It is only
by the beds of these rivers that access is afforded to the 1 >istri< t from
the plains on the south and Hundes on the north.

There are several lakes in the Chhakhata pargand, the overft
which is used for providing the small canals of the bhdbhar with water
during the cold and hot seasons. In the Himalayan ranges, also,
are several unimportant natural reservoirs resembling lakes. The
principal lakes are — the Naini Tal, 4703 feet long by 15 18 feet broad,
with a maximum depth of 93 feet, and circumference of 2 J miles;
Bhim Tal, 5580 feet long by 1490 broad, with a maximum depth of S7
feet; Naukuchiya, 3120 feet long by 2270 broad, with a maximum
depth of 132 feet; Malwa Tal, 4480 feet long by 1S33 broad, with
a maximum depth of 127 feet. Although the successive steep 1
of Kumaun are only separated by narrow ravines instead of by true
valleys, yet, as compared with Garhwal and other cis-Sutlej western
Districts, it can boast of some extensive river plateaux and level
uplands, which give a peculiar character to its scenery. Of the former,
Sumeswar and " Hawalbagh on the Kosi, the Katyiir valley on the
Gaomati, and the whole centre tract of Pali watered by the ( I
western Ramganga are remarkable examples; of the latter, m
mentioned Charal in Kali Kumaun, and the neighbourhood
ghat and Pithoragarh.

The valuable timber of the yet uncleared forest tracts in Kumaun
is now under official supervision. The chief trees are th three-

leaved Himalayan pine, the cypress, fir, alder, sal or iron \
saindan. Sal, the most valuable of all, grows abundantly in the n
stretching down to the plains, and is strictly preserved by the I

Limestone, sandstone, slate, gneiss, and granite constitute I
cipal geological formations of the District. Mines « I
gypsum, lead, and asbestos exist ; but they are not thor«
and often their inaccessible position, combined with the abseil
coal, renders any profitable out-turn impossible.

The fauna and flora of Kumaun District are very j
only be described shortly. The wild animals include the leoj ,
hyaena, black and brown bear, jackal, monkey, fox, d


species, chamois, and yak or Himalayan ox. Elephants are found in
the bhdbhar, and in the forests bordering on the Siwalik Hills. They
are now protected by order of Government, and are captured, when
required, by means of khedas. Tigers are becoming scarcer every year.
Venomous snakes are numerous. The mora fly is very troublesome in
the months of April and May.

History.— -Of the early history of Kumaun very little is known. The
few facts on record tend to show that at a remote period these moun-
tains were the recognised home of the hero-gods of India, and an
object of veneration to all Hindus. In the travels of the Chinese
pilgrim Hiuen Tsiang in the 7th century, the kingdom of Govisana,
now identified with Kasipur in the Kumaun tardi, is mentioned as
adjacent to Brahmaputra within the hill territory, a seat of civilised
government. The earliest dynasty known to tradition is that of the
Katyura Deos, eventually supplanted by the Chand Rajas, the former
reigning at Baijnath in the Katyur valley, at which place, and also at
Dwara Hat, architectural remains are still extant. The Chand Rajas,
of whom the first, Som Chand, is said to have come from Jhusi, near
Allahabad, probably in the 10th century of our era, had their established
seat of Government at Champawat in Kali Kumaun.

In 1563 a.d., the Chands having obtained full authority over all the
petty chiefs, including the last descendant of the Katyiiras, the capital
was transferred to Almora by Raja Kalyan Chand. His son Riidra
Chand was a contemporary of Akbar, and made his obeisance to that
Emperor at Lahore in 1587. The Muhammadan rulers never obtained
a fixed footing in the hills; but in 1744, All Muhammad Khan sent
a force to invade Kumaun. The resistance of the Chand Raja was
weak and ineffectual. The Rohillas captured and plundered Almora.
Though their stay in Kumaun was short, its results to the Province are
bitterly remembered ; and its mischievous, though zealously religious,
character is still attested by the mutilated sculptures of some of the
Kumaun temples. The Rohillas remained in the hills for seven
months, when, disgusted with the climate and the hardships that they
were forced to suffer, they accepted a bribe of three lakhs of rupees (or
,£30,000), and returned to the plains. But All Muhammad Khan was
not satisfied with the conduct of his lieutenants ; and three months
after their retreat, at the commencement of 1745, the Rohillas returned.
They were defeated at the very entrance of the hills near Barakheri,
and made no further attempt on Kumaun. These were the first and
last Muhammadan invasions of the hills. The Delhi Emperors never
exercised any direct authority in Kumaun, although it was necessary
for the Raja to admit their nominal supremacy for the sake of his
possessions in the plains. These events were followed by disturbances
and revolutions in Kumaun itself; and within the next thirty years the


hill Rajas lost all the country which they had held in the plaii
the tract known as the bhdbhar.

In the middle of the 18th century, the Gurkha tribe, under their ( Kief
Prithwi Narayan, had made themselves masters of the m
part of the present kingdom of Nepal. His sua es
1790, to attack Kumaun. The Gurkha forces crossed the Ka
advanced upon Almora through Gangoli and Kali Kumaun.
titular Raja of Kumaun fled to the plains, and the whole of his territory
was annexed to the other conquests of the Gurkhas. Th<
rule lasted twenty-four years, and was of a cruel and oppressive < bar
In the early part of the present century, the Gurkhas had been m
numerous raids in the British possessions lying at the foot of the 1 1
layas. All remonstrance was unavailing; and in Decernbei
was finally resolved to wrest Kumaun from the Gurkhas, and annex it
to the British possessions, as no legitimate claimant on the part of the
Chands was then in existence. Harakdeo Joshi, the minister of the
last legitimate Raja of Kumaun, warmly espoused the British side. At
the end of January 1815, everything was ready for the attack on Kumaun.
The whole force consisted of 4500 men with two 6-pounder ,^uns.

The first successful event on the British side during this war was
the capture of Almora by Colonel Nicholls, on 26th April 1815.
the same day, Chandra Bahadur Sah, one of the principal Gurkha
chiefs, sent a flag of truce to Colonel Nicholls, requesting a susp<
of hostilities, and offering to treat for the evacuation of Kumaun.
Lieutenant-Colonel Gardner was deputed to hold a personal conference
with Bam Sah, the Nepalese commander at Almora ; and on the follow-
ing day the negotiation was brought to a close by the conclusion of .1
convention, under which the Gurkhas agreed to evacuate tin
and all its fortified places. It was stipulated that they should be all
to retire across the Kali with their military stores and private property,
the British providing the necessary supplies and carriage. As a •
for the due fulfilment of the conditions, the fort of Lalmandi (not
Moira) was the same day surrendered to the British tro
Hearsey, who had been taken and imprisoned at Almora. v,
at the same time. The Gurkhas were escorted across the K.i'.i I
troops, and the British took possession of Kumaun and Gar! w

The Hon. E. Gardner was the first Commissioner of Kumau
in August 1817 he was succeeded by his assistant, Mr. Traill. 1 1
followed in 1835 by Colonel Gowan and Mr. S. T. Lushington,
the latter of whom Mr. J. H. Batten carried out the first regular
ment of the Province, and in 1848 succeeded Mr. Lush:
missioner. In 1856, Captain (now Major-General Sir IK,,
was appointed Commissioner, and until 1883 managed the


Mr. P. Whalley, in his Report on the non-Regulation Provinces,
states that the administrative history of Kumaun divides itself naturally
into three periods— under Traill, under Batten, and under Ramsay.
The regime in the first period was essentially despotic and personal, in
contrast with the centralizing tendencies which the policy of the Govern-
ment had developed. It was at the same time just and eminently
progressive. Mr. Traill's incumbency terminated in 1835, and then
followed an interval of uncertainty. Traill left the Province orderly,
prosperous, and comparatively civilised ; but his machinery was not
easily worked by another hand. There was no law, and the lawgiver
had been withdrawn. The Board of Commissioners and the Government
found it necessary to re-assert their control, and to lay down specific
rules in matters that had hitherto been left to the judgment of the

Mr. Batten was then only Assistant Commissioner of Garhwal, but
he was a man eminently qualified both by training and disposition
to second the action of Government, and to assist in the inaugu-
ration of the new era. His talents had already been recognised,
and from this period he was consulted in every step ; and it was his
influence, more than that of any single officer, which gave its stamp
and character to the period (1836-56) distinguished by his name. It
was marked in its earlier stage by an introduction of codes and rules and
the predominance of official supervision, which gradually diminished as
Mr. Batten gained influence, position, and experience. Thus the second
period glided insensibly into the third, which, nevertheless, has a dis-
tinctive character of its own. In General Ramsay's administration we
see the personal sway and unhampered autocracy of the first era
happily blending with the orderly procedure and observance of fixed
rules and principles, which formed the chief feature of the second


Population, etc — The population of Kumaun in 1872, on an area
corresponding with the present District, was returned at 433,3 14. The
Census of 1881 returned the population at 493,641, showing an increase
of 60,327, or 13-9 per cent, in the nine years. The results of the
Census of 1881 may be summarized as follows: — Area, 6000 square
miles ; number of towns and villages, 5151 ; number of houses, 72,964.
Total population, 493,641, namely, males 261,054, and females 232,587;

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 41 of 64)