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Page:Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal Vol 19.djvu/80

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64 Descriptive notice of the District of Jhilum. [J AN.

salt stream to supply the lake; the only rivulet which runs into it worth mentioning being a small stream, which comes from about three miles distance and is fresh at its source; and the salt quality of the lake, therefore, must be supplied from beneath. The salt mines of Choya and Varcha, are situated on the southern side of the range of hills, which border on the Sone district.

The salt lake extends in length from W. by S. to E. by N. On the N. side it touches the hills, which on the S. are 2% kos ofi“, and on the W. about 1 kos. On the brink of the lake are the villages of Chitta and U’gali. To the west of the lake commences the ascent of the Sikesar hill, a peak rising up out of the other hills to a great height. The path to the summit is very rough, steep and difficult, but on account of the respect in which the hill is held, from the belief that the Péndavas resided there in their time of trouble, it is looked upon as a place of pilgrimage. The higher parts are not unfrequently covered with snow in the cold weather, and the level places near the top in which water collects during the rains, abound in shrubs and flowers not found beneath, and which would probably well repay botanical research.

An immense stone fabled to have been placed there by the Pandavas, is the point at which the April festival is held. The extreme summit is crowned by a small house now in ruins, built by a bairagi. This point is called the Singhasan or royal seat.

From Sikesar, the Attock and Jhilum rivers are easily discerned, and it is said that the Chenab is also visible in a clear day. The sur- rounding country lies stretched out like a map beneath. The direc- tions of the chief places seen are as follows: Namal N. W. % N. Nau- sherah, E. % N. Khubakki, E. N. E. Chukrala, N. N. W. % N. The salt lake or Samudra as it is called by the natives, E. by W. Wah-i-kaila south of the salt range, 8., &c.

From Sikesar the hills of the Putial range extend in a series of ridges to a distance of 9 or 10 miles in an unbroken line, without a. single village intervening. It is in this hitherto unknown region that copper is supposed to exist, and it is much to be desired, that these hills should be examined by a scientific observer, and their geological and botanical capabilities be made known.

Wherever the kos is mentioned in the above statement, it is assumed to be a mile and a half, which experience has shown to be about the average of the Panjabi kos on the further side of the Chenab.