William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) online

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

Gardner, from whom it passed into the hands of his agent, the late
Raja Dflsukh Rai. The public buildings include a municipal hall,
dispensary, police station, ta/isi/i, post-ofiice, good school, and munsifi.
Brisk and increasing trade in cotton, sugar, glii, indigo seed, and
country produce. Increasing population ; large business in grain and

Kashmir and Jamu (Cashmere and Jummod). — Native State, politi-
cally subordinate to the Government of India, constituting the territories
of the Maharaja of Kashmir; extending from 32 17' to 36 58' n. lat.,
and from 73 26' to 8o° 30' e. long. Area, 80,900 square miles, with
a population returned in 1873 at 1,534,972 persons. No later Census
has up to the present date (1885) been carried out in Kashmir. The
State is bounded on the north by some petty semi-independent hill
chiefships, mostly subordinate to Kashmir, and by the Karakoram
mountains ; on the east by Chinese Tibet ; on the south and west
by the Punjab Districts and the Hazara country. The State comprises,
in addition to the Districts of Kashmir Proper, Jamu, and Punch : —
the Governorships of Ladakh and Gilghit, including the Districts
of Dardistan, Baltistan, Leh, Tilail, Suru, Zanskar, Riipshu, and
others. The Provinces of Kashmir and Jamu form the more
important part of the State in a general view, and are here chiefly
dwelt upon.

History. — The history of Kashmir is a task beyond the limits of this
work. Valuable light has been thrown on its early periods by the
records of the Chinese pilgrims in the Si-yu-ki. Like other outlying
Provinces of India, its annals divide themselves into four eras : — (1) Pre-
Buddhistic; (2) Buddhistic; (3) Hindu ; and (4) Muhammadan. First
comes an age of pre-historic monsters, probably representing the non-


Aryan races, Nagas, and others. Tradition relates that the Kashmir
valley was at first altogether a lake, inhabited by a monster, Yaldeo,
who was driven out by a Rishi. The holy man gave his name to the
country left by the subsidence of the waters upon the removal of
Yaldeo. According to this account, the first inhabitants were Indo-
Aryans, and the object of their worship, the Sun -God. Buddhism
found in Kashmir an asylum, from which its influence radiated north,
south, east, and west. Tartar devastations and invasions occupy a long
period of its history. Mahmiid of Ghazni entered the valley in the
eleventh century; the Dardistan chiefs and Tibetan kings made
incursions, and forcibly married its Hindu princesses ; Tiirkistan sent
down its hordes. The old Hindu raj found its final catastrophe in
the death of the Queen of the last sovereign, who upbraided the
Muhammadan usurper, and stabbed herself.

Muhammadanism was introduced into Kashmir in the 14th century
a.d., during the reign of Shams-ud-din. In 1586, the country was con-
quered by Akbar, and became an integral part of the Mughal Empire.
In 1752 it was subjugated by the Afghan, Ahmad Shah, the founder of
the Durani dynasty ; and it remained under Afghan sway until 1819,
when it was conquered by the Sikhs. From that time it was ruled by a
governor appointed by the Maharaja of the Punjab, until the Sikh war
in 1845. Ghulab Singh, who had begun life as a horseman under the
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, but by distinguished conduct had raised himself
to independent command, was presented with the principality of
Jamu, whence, nominally on behalf of the Lahore State, he soon
extended his authority over his Rajput neighbours, and eventually into
Ladakh and Baltistan. In the revolution which preceded the outbreak of
the Sikh war, he was elected Minister of the Khalsa, and he took an
important part in the negotiations which followed the battle of Sobraon.
The results were, that he was enabled to secure his power by a separate
treaty with the English at Amritsar (Umritsar) in March 1846, by which,
on payment of 75 lakhs of rupees, or ^750,000, he was confirmed in
possession of the territory which he had held as feudatory of the Sikhs,
and also obtained the Province of Kashmir.

By this treaty he bound himself to acknowledge the supremacy of the
British Government, to refer all disputes with neighbouring States to its
arbitration, to assist British troops when required, and never to take or
retain in his service any British subject or the subject of any European
or American State, except with the consent of the British Government.
The Maharaja sent a contingent of troops and artillery to co-operate
with the British forces against Delhi during the Mutiny of 1857.
Ghulab Singh died in August 1857, and was succeeded by his eldest
son, Maharaja Ranbhir Singh, G.C.S.I., who is by caste a Dogra
Rajput, and was born about 1832. The Maharaja of Kashmir is


entitled to a personal salute of 21 guns, and has received a sanai
giving adoptive rights. As a token of the supremacy of the British
Government, he pays an annual tribute of 1 horse, 25 lbs. of pashm
and fine wool, and 3 pairs of shawls. The military force of the
State consists of about 19,000 men, including 5000 irregular troops,
with 16 batteries of artillery, two of which are horsed; the cavalry,
which is used principally for escort duties, consists of 2 regiments,
mostly stationed near Jamu. The Maharaja was recently presented by
the British Government with a mountain battery ; and on the occasion
of the Delhi Darba> in January 1877, he was gazetted a general in the
British Army, and created a Counsellor of the Empress. Maharaja
Ranbhir Singh died 12th September 1885, and was succeeded by his
son, Pertab Singh, at whose court a British Resident will be stationed.

Physical Aspects. — The general aspect of the valley of Kashmir
is that of a basin, encircled on every side by lofty mountains.
In the middle is an extensive alluvial tract intersected by the Jehlam
(Jhelum) and its numerous tributaries, which flow down from the
mountains and find their way by the sole channel of the Jehlam
through the Baramula Pass to the plains of the Punjab. The elevation
of this valley is about 5200 feet above the sea.

Besides the low alluvial tract extending along the banks of the
Jehlam, there occur extensive plateaux of slight elevation, stretching
from the mountains at various distances into the plains. These
plateaux are known as karewas or wudars. Their soil for the most
part is a loam or loamy clay, containing remains of fresh-water fishes
and molluscs, which indicate a lacustrine or fluvial origin. They
are divided from each other by ravines of from 100 to 300 feet in
depth. Occasionally they are entirely surrounded by lower ground,
but more generally they connect with some of the mountains that
bound the valley. Over the surface of the karewas^ water has some-
times been brought for irrigation, and then a fertile tract is the result ;
but more commonly the cultivation depends on rain alone, and in
that case the yield is precarious. The slopes of the hills between
the flat ground and the limit of forest are a mixture of cultivation,
good grazing grounds, and forests of cedars, pines, firs, etc. The
lowest of the beds forming the karewas have been considered to be of
the same geological age as the topmost Siwaliks, while the higher beds
are of more modern origin. The portion of the valley unoccupied by
the karewas is covered with a more modern alluvium, often containing
objects of human workmanship. The southern and more inhabited
portion of Kashmir includes the lower half of the Kishen Ganga valley
and the whole District south of the snowy range that separates the
drainage of the Indus from that of the Jehlam and Chenab. In this
region the hills are covered with pine forests interspersed with pastures;


the banks of the streams are green with cultivation ; villages are
connected with each other by roads ; while the principal valley is
crowded with objects of interest, and is fertile and beautiful in a high

Mountains. — The lofty mountains which surround Kashmir include
in some places large glaciers between their spurs, and are covered
with snow for nearly eight months in the year. The glacier of Biafo
on the north-west border is 35 miles long. The highest ascertained
peaks in the Pansal range are Miili, 14,952 feet, and Ahertatopa,
13,042 feet; and in the north of Kashmir, Haramiik, 16,015 feet.
Captain Montgomerie, R.E., in his account of the Survey, states : ' On
the Pfr Panjal peaks, the electricity was so troublesome, even when
there was no storm, that it was found necessary to carry a portable
lightning conductor for the protection of the theodolite.' Beyond
the limits of Kashmir, the isolated peak of Nanga Parbat, or Dayarmur
— in lat. 35 14' 21" n. and long. 74 37' 52" e., 26,629 feet above the
sea — forms a noble object. Its other name is Daiarmur ; and it stands
midway between the Kashmir valley and the river Indus. Other
remarkable peaks close by are the Ser and Mer, the former 23,410 feet
high, and the latter 23,250 feet. The range enclosing the Kashmir
valley bears different names in different parts — the snowy Pansal on
the east, the Fateh Pansal and Pansal of Banihal on the south, the Pir
Panjal on the west, the Drawar mountains on the north, and Haramiik
and Sonamarg mountains on the north-east. The soft and beautiful
scenery of the valley is on the southern side, where the mountains
slope gently. On the north the country is wild and sublime, the moun-
tains rising in rugged precipices of stupendous height, down the bare
sides of which the numerous streams leap in prolonged cataracts.
Here are found some of the largest glaciers and highest peaks on the
surface of the globe ; long flat valleys, the lowest as high as the
Faulhorn in Switzerland ; and many habitable spots at an elevation as
great nearly as that of Mont Blanc. The average height of this
northern mountain barrier is from twenty to twenty-six thousand feet.
One peak stands 28,250 feet out of the Karakoram range.

The beauties of the Kashmir valley have been so often celebrated in
prose and verse, that further allusion to them here would be out ot place.
Moore, Vigne, Jacquemont, and flocks of annual visitors to Srinagar
have rendered its scenery as well known as the most picturesque spots
of Switzerland or Scotland. The Pir Panjal range is said to have been
the home of a Pir or Saint, who gave benediction to travellers passing
northwards over the mountains. The belief is still current among
Muhammadans in Kashmir that the Pir resides on one of the summits,
and the whole range is thus invested with peculiar sanctity. The
general direction of the range is from north-west to south-east. The

6 4


highest part is of basaltic formation, consisting of upheaved amygdaloidal
trap, transition rocks appearing on its borders. Quartz, slate, and
other primary formations are observable on the northern side. The
lowest parts of the table-lands of Rukshu are 15,000 feet above the level
of the sea. The snow -line here recedes as high as 20,000 feet,
attributed to the great radiation of heat from the high table-lands about.
The plains of Deosai, which embrace a portion of Baltistan, are of
immense extent, bordering the river Indus, and are shut in by snowy
ranges penetrated by valleys of great depth.

The principal passes from the mountains into the Kashmir valley
are the following : —



Elevation in Feet.

From what Place.

North . . .



Gurais, Skardo.


Pir Panjal



1 1 , 4OO

Kistawar, Chamba.

Tamu, Sialkot.

Bhimbar, Rajaori, Gujrat.

East .


1 1 , 600

Mara, Ward wan, Suru.



Dras, Ladakh.

West .

Tosha Maidan


Punch, Jehlam.




Murree, Abbottabad, Punch.



Karnas, Muzaffarabad, Ab-


The margs or mountain downs, which are numerous on the tops of
the range of hills immediately below the Pir Panjal, and also upon the
northern slopes of those mountains which enclose the north-eastern
side of the valley, are a peculiar feature of the country. They are
covered with rich grass, and afford pasturage during the summer
months to large herds of ponies, cattle, sheep, and goats. Sonamarg
(or golden meadow) is a favourite refuge in the malarious months of
July and August, both for Europeans and natives of high rank.

Rivers. — The principal river of Kashmir is the Jehlam (Jhelum),
which nearly intersects the valley. Formed by the junction of three
streams — the Arpat, the Bring, and the Sandaram — which rise at the
south-east end of the valley, it receives in its course numerous
tributaries. Among those which join it on the right bank are the
Liddar from the north-east, near Islamabad ; the Sind from the east,
opposite Shadipur ; and the Pohrii, which flows into it near Soptir.
On its left bank it is joined by the combined waters of the Veshan and
Rembiara near Murhama ; by the Ramchiiat Karkarpur and the Dudh
Ganga at Srinagar.

The Kishen Ganga, or river of Krishna, which has its sources on
the edges of the Deosai plain and in the Tilail valley, is also a con-


siderable stream. It flows in a north-north-westerly direction till near
Shardi, when it turns to the south-west and joins the Jehlam just
below the town of Muzaffarabad. The Maru Wardwan river, which
drains the Wardwan valley, flows southward, joining the Chenab
above Kistawar. The latter river traverses Kistawar and Badrawar,
flowing into the plains some miles to the west of Jamu. Of these
rivers, the Jehlam alone is navigable, from the neighbourhood of
Islamabad to Baramula, a distance of about 60 miles.

The Jehlam is spanned by 13 bridges in its course through the
valley of Kashmir. These bridges, which are of peculiar construction, are
called kadals. They are all made of deodar wood, and are constructed
in the following manner : — A space either triangular with the apex up
stream, or more commonly hexagonal, having a triangular apex at each
end, facing up as well as down stream, is formed in the bed of the
river by strong stakes, which are well driven down and covered with
planks on the outside to a height of about 8 feet. This space is then
filled with heavy stones, to form the foundation of a pier. Each pier
consists of alternate layers of deodar trunks, which are placed about
a foot apart, every succeeding layer being broader than the previous
one, and laid at right angles to it. The trunks are fastened together
at their ends by strong wooden pegs. The piers are united by long
and very stout deodar trunks, which stretch across from one to the
other, and are laid about 2 feet apart. The platform consists of rough
planks or slender poles, which are closely laid across the trunks that
connect the piers, and are fastened at each end by wooden pegs. In
some cases there is a coating of grass and earth over the platform, and
a railing on each side.

Smaller bridges of a single span are usually constructed in the
following manner : — On either side of the stream, abutments of
rubble masonry, laced with cross - beams of timber, are built up,
and into these are inserted stout beams, one over the other in
successively projecting tiers, the interstices between the latter being
filled up with cross-beams. The projecting poles increase in size as
they approach the upper platform, and have a slight incline upwards,
their shore ends being firmly braced into the stone- work. Between
the uppermost row of timbers, two or three long and very strong con-
necting trees are placed, and scantlings laid over them for the pathway ;
sometimes a railing is added for greater security. Such bridges are
frequently of considerable span, and, if well built, last from thirty to
forty years.

Next in importance come the rope suspension bridges, which
are often of great length ; of these there are two descriptions, called
respectively chika and jhola. The chika bridge consists simply of
six or eight stout ropes close together, stretched between rude piers



on either bank of the torrent. On them a ring of timber, formed of a
section of a tree about 2 feet long and 1 foot in diameter, slides, being
hauled backwards and forwards by a rope attached to it, and con-
nected with the suspension ropes at intervals of about 20 feet by stout
cane rings. To the slide a loop of ropes is secured, through which
the legs of the traveller are inserted, and he clasps his hands in
front of him round the ropes to preserve a sitting position. It looks
dangerous, but is in practice a perfectly safe, though tedious, operation.
Baggage is carried across in the same manner, each package being
lashed to the loop and hauled across separately ; and in like manner
sheep and goats, and sometimes cows, are conveyed across rivers and

A jhola bridge is formed of a stout rope of five or six distinct
strands, stretched between piers and securely fastened on either side
of the river. This forms the footway ; and about 3 feet above it on
either side is a guy-rope, which is grasped by the passenger to enable
him to retain his footing on the bridge. The guy-ropes are kept in
their places by being attached at intervals to the ends of forked
branches like the merry-thought of a chicken. Some of these bridges
swing a good deal with the weight of the traveller, and are trying to
the nerves of those unaccustomed to them. The ropes of which
they are constructed are made either of hemp, or willow, or birch
twigs, and are renewed annually, or as often as occasion may require.

The Srinagar tract is intersected with a labyrinth of canals. To
avoid the necessity of crossing the dangerous Wiilar Lake, through which
flows the main stream of the Jehlam, a navigable canal was constructed
in early times to connect Sopur with Srinagar. Irrigation canals are
very numerous ; of these the Shahkiil Canal in Khaurpara District, and
the Naindi and Ninnar Canals near Islamabad, are the most important.

The lakes of Kashmir are numerous, both in the valley itself, and
upon the mountains surrounding it. In the valley the principal lakes
are : — The Dal or 'city lake,' five miles long, which is situated north-
east of Srinagar, and is connected with the Jehlam by a canal called
the Tsont-i-kiil, or ' apple-tree canal,' which enters it opposite the palace.
The Anchar is situated to the north of Srinagar ; it is connected with
the Dal by means of the Nalamar, which flows into the Sind river near
Shadipur. The Manasbal, said to be the most beautiful lake in
Kashmir, is situated near the right bank of the Jehlam, and is 1 \ miles
long, J of a mile wide, and very deep. The Wiilar is the largest of all
the Kashmir lakes. Its extreme breadth from north to south is ih
miles, exclusive of the marshes on the south side; extreme length, 10
miles; circumference, nearly 30 miles; average depth, 12 feet; deepest
part, about 16 feet. The Jehlam flows into the Wiilar on its east side
near the middle of the lake, leaving it at its south-west corner in a fine


open stream about 200 yards wide. Like every other lake surrounded
by mountains, the Wiilar is liable to the action of sudden and furious
hurricanes that sweep over its surface. The chief mountain lakes are —
the Konsa Nag, situated on the top of the Pir Panjal range ; the Shi'sha
Nag, situated above the head of the Liddar valley ; the Gangabal
Nag and Sarbal Nag, situated on the top of Haramiik, which overlooks
the north-eastern shore of the Wiilar.

Minerals. — Iron abounds, but Vigne states that the ore of Kashmir
is not considered good ; and Moorcroft remarks that, though iron is
found in considerable quantities, the metal used in the fabrication
of gun-barrels requires to be imported from the Punjab. Near the
village of Harpatnar, at the northern extremity of the Kutihar District,
a copper mine is said to have been worked within late years.
Plumbago abounds in the Pir Panjal mountains, and it has lately
been found of inferior quality on the east side of the Maru Wardwan
valley. Sulphur springs are common, but the mineral has nowhere
been found in a solid state. Sulphide of lead (surma) is found in
the Jamu hills, and samples of coal from the same locality have been
exhibited in the Lahore Exhibition. The rocks in the immediate
vicinity of Daudela are thin carbonaceous shales and grits with earthy
ferruginous limestones ; among them is a seam of coal or anthracite,
varying in thickness from 1 inch to nearly 2 feet, undulating in
chambers or bunches more than in a continuous seam. The general
character of the coal is that of a hard anthracite. During the progress
of the Kashmir Survey, Captain Montgomerie, R.E., found gold dust in
the bed of the Shigar or Shingo river, a tributary of the Dras, but the
quantity to be obtained was very small. Gold-washing is also carried
on to a very trifling extent on the banks of the Jehlam, in the neigh-
bourhood of Tangrot.

Sulphurous springs burst forth in many parts of the valley of
Kashmir, and earthquakes are of not uncommon occurrence. In
June 1828, the city of Srinagar was shaken by an earthquake which
destroyed about 1200 houses and 1000 persons. For more than two
months afterwards, lesser shocks were daily experienced. Abu Fazl,
in describing the country about two centuries previously, mentions
the frequent occurrence of earthquakes at that period. Some years
ago at Sogam, near the north-western extremity of the valley, the
ground became so hot that sand is said to have been fused.

The most terrible visitation on record of earthquake in Kashmir
occurred in June and July of the present year (1S85). An enormous
quantity of private and Government property was destroyed, and many
thousand lives were lost. Throughout large tracts almost the whole
population was rendered homeless, and for a time depended upon
State relief for subsistence.


Wild Animals. — Bears are found in all parts of Kashmir State,
and, although far less numerous than formerly, are still very common.
Though formidable animals, they do not usually molest man unless
previously attacked. Of the brown or red species, which is between
six and seven feet long, there are two varieties, viz. the Ursus
isabellinus, inhabiting the lower ranges, and the Ursus arctus, found
higher up the mountains. The black bear (Ursus tibetanus), though
smaller than the brown, is far more dangerous, and is usually found
lower down. Both species are chiefly herbivorous, but also partly
carnivorous. Leopards are found all round the Kashmir valley,
but they infest the grazing grounds, where they sometimes commit
great havoc amongst the cattle. The ounce, or snow leopard,
has been seen in Tilail. The bardsingha, or large stag, is found
throughout the Pansal range generally, except where it slopes
towards the plains. It is not, however, usually met with until
the middle of September, though occasionally seen in the middle
of August with fully developed horns. Both Hindus and Muham-
madans eat the flesh of the stag. The gural, or Himalayan chamois,
is found on the Pansal range, and in Kistawar. The ibex is
found in the northern parts of Kashmir. It is stated to be larger
than the European ibex ; the horns, too, are longer, more curved, and
more tapering. The khdkar, or barking deer, is usually found only
upon the southern and western slopes of the Pansal range. The
markhor, or serpent-eater, is a species of gigantic goat ; it is migratory,
and is found all over the Pir Panjal beyond the Baramula Pass, and
upon the mountains between the Jehlam and Kishen Ganga rivers.
The musk deer is found in birch woods in all parts of Kashmir at a
certain elevation. The sarrau or baz-i-kohi (mountain goat) and the
thar (another species of mountain goat) are found upon the Pansal

Wolves are numerous on the mountains of Kashmir, and often do
great injury to the flocks of sheep. They are not often seen in the
valley. Monkeys are common in the lower portion of the Kishen
Ganga valley. Foxes and jackals are numerous ; the former is not the
little grey species of Hindustan, but large and full brushed, like an
English fox. A species of marmot, called drum or J>ua, is found amid
the rocks at high elevation ; it is as large as a fox, of a dull yellowish
colour, with tawny belly, the head, back, and tail being marked with a
darker stripe, distinguishable at a considerable distance. It is stated

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