Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/123

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VILLAGE OF KHANDOO.

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and faces, elongated to the most doleful length, expanded in the blaze, and became cheery again. Our meeting with this gentleman has been already mentioned, and an extract from the diary kept by him while wandering in Hungrung, a district bordering upon the Chinese territories, will shew how frequently Anglo-Indians encounter each other in these mountain tours. "Two days after our return to Nako, there arrived three officers of the——dragoons, the first Europeans we had seen for a long time; and as they were pleasant fellows, the meeting proved very agreeable. At Hango, on the 2d, we found Dr. W. and Capt. A., and in the Rurang pass, fourteen thousand feet high, we came upon the Rev. Mr. B, chaplain at——."

To proceed, however, with our own travels. We pursued our route to the south bank of the Tonse, opposite to the spot where the Rupin, (having come 10,000 feet, 350 feet per mile of descent, in less than thirty miles,) joins the larger stream. We crossed the Tonse at this place by a sangha, and commenced our descent down a tremendous precipice, which led to a gorge even more awful than any we had yet passed. Emerging, we obtained a noble view of a snowy mountain, and, climbing again, entered a forest of pines which led us along a high ridge overhanging the river, and afforded at every opening the most enchanting views possible, the mountains being wooded to their summits, and shewing every rich variety of foliage as they swept along in graceful undulations, now in dark shadow, and now glittering in sunshine. Some of our party were of opinion that this part of the country would be most desirable as the site of a new station, since it forms a kind of frontier, or neutral ground, between the tamer and the sublimer scenery, and commands every variety of prospect which either can yield; while, if the notion which they entertained concerning the capability of timber being floated down the Tonse and the Jumna could be realized, the proprietors would be speedily enriched by the speculation.


VILLAGE OF KHANDOO, ON THE ASCENT TO THE CHOOR.

During our travels we had frequently obtained glimpses of the Choor mountain, and we were now approaching it in earnest: it is the most lofty eminence belonging to the secondary Himalaya, running south of the great snowy range, and, from whatever point it may be seen, it forms a grand and prominent object, towering majestically amid a host of satellites. Marching from the south-east, we came to the village of Khandoo, which occupies ground about nine thousand feet above the level of the sea. The principal building in this village, a religious edifice, occupying the right in the accompanying engraving, differs little in character from the generality of temples dedicated to the numerous deities of the Himalaya. It is rather more lofty than the rest of the houses; the cornices are decorated with a fringe of wooden bobbins, and the timber employed in its construction is rather elaborately carved. Generally it is not difficult for European travellers in want of such accommodation to obtain a lodging in the outer vestibule of a temple, but in some places the villagers will not permit these holy shrines to be thus desecrated. The religious worship chiefly consists in offerings of flowers, sweetmeats, and grain upon the altars, with occasional dancing, when the gods are dragged forth for adoration.

We were now in the haunts of several species of deer, which are never found below six thousand feet, and generally range considerably higher; these agile and beautiful animals are often to be seen dashing at full speed down the sides of some steep precipice,