Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/102

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of the river does not arise from any part of Bundurpooch, but from the range that runs off it to the westward. As we stand at Jumnootree, these small streams are perceptible before their junction into one fall, which loses itself under a mass of snow, whence it issues near the hot springs before mentioned.

The forest stretches at least fifteen hundred feet above the snowy bed of the Jumna, before vegetation is entirely forbidden by the frosts of the giant heights beyond. The geologist may make a very interesting collection at Jumnootree; beautiful specimens of garnet, shorl, and tourmaline crystals being to be found: there is a considerable quantity of talcose gneiss rock, but the greater proportion is a coarse gneiss, while the granite summits of the mountain peaks rise to the height of ten thousand feet above.

The brahmin who accompanied the party was a good-looking, intelligent man, who had made the pilgrimage very frequently before, in company with other European travellers, whose motives in performing the journey he can now pretty well comprehend; and the congratulations which he offered upon the accomplishment of our toilsome and perilous march, were of a different character to those bestowed upon the pious, who had the greater satisfaction of feeling that they had found the way to heaven.

After we had indulged in the gratification which the sublime prospects of this interesting place afforded, we proceeded to satisfy some of the cravings of appetite, which had very forcibly reminded us of our terrestrial nature. We might have caught and cooked our fish in the same stream, had we not been otherwise provided; but one of the first things which a native of India undertakes, at a halting place, is to kindle a fire, and commence the preparations of the meal. Some of the Hindoos, who had brought rice with them, boiled it over the hot springs, by enclosing the grain in a cloth which they tied to the end of a stick. In the vent of the principal spring, which issues with great force from a fissure in the rock, the temperature of the water is about 194°, which at that elevation is near the point at which water is converted into steam; and at the same time the mercury, when placed in the bed of the river, has been known to sink as low as 37°. The water itself is exceedingly pure, transparent, and tasteless, without any kind of sulphureous smell. There are several hot springs to be found along the course of the Jumna, for which, according to general belief, the traveller is indebted to an exceedingly pious person, favoured by the gods with the gift of causing hot water to flow whenever he found that of the river too cold for the comfortable performance of his ablutions.

After invigorating ourselves with a due proportion of food, we prepared to set forth upon our return. The prospect of the difficulties which it must be our fate to encounter, in getting back to Kursalee, were rather dispiriting, being most assuredly equal, and perchance still greater, than those which we had surmounted upon our approach. In the course of the day's journey we crossed the Jumna more than thirty times, and having to slide down the places which we had previously scrambled up, and to leap many gaps which had been more easily passable on the other side, it was necessary to summon all our energy to the task. The spots on which we occasionally rested offered, in their soft loveliness, a pleasing contrast to the rugged horrors of many portions of the scene—the beautiful mingling with the sublime. Sometimes we seated ourselves upon banks of violets of the richest blue, and surrounded by luxuriant vegetation of fruit and flowers, the strawberry spreading itself far and wide, and raspberry, blackberry, and black currant bushes forming a perfect garden. Another turn of an angle brought us almost in immediate contact with the snow, which in some places lies smooth and hard,