Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/141

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hundred and fifty-four feet above the level of the sea, which cost the lives of four British officers in its capture during the Ghoorka war. The fall of these brave men is commemorated by a lofty obelisk, which marks their graves, dug on the bank of a spacious tank in the very centre of the town of Nahun; a scene full of melancholy interest to those who, in their wanderings, come suddenly upon the remote resting-place of men who wrested these hills from the frightful tyranny of their previous conquerors.

Nahun is situated in latitude 20° 33′ north, longitude 77° 16′ east, forty-six miles north-by-west of Saharunpore. There is a tolerably good road from this place to Subathoo, the ostensible residence of the political agent, and there are bungalows upon this road for the accommodation of travellers. Nahun is considered to be healthy, but it is rather inconveniently warm, notwithstanding its elevated position, upwards of three thousand feet above the level of the sea; it is also exposed to the influence of the hot winds, and during one period of the year the jungles in the neighbourhood are impregnated with malaria.

Subathoo, which is the most northerly European settlement in India, excepting Khotgur, is situated at the distance of four marches from Nahun, near the banks of the Sutlej river; and our party were induced to pay a visit to the fair at Rampore, so often mentioned in the preceding pages. Rampore is the capital of the country of Bussahir, which lies for the most part within the Himalaya, and is exceedingly rugged and mountainous; the town occupies a narrow stripe of land on the left bank of the Sutlej. This place consists chiefly of one broad street, containing about a hundred and fifty houses, and forming a crescent, the palace of the rajah, a substantial but gloomy-looking building, standing in a commanding position. Rampore boasts four temples, dedicated to Mahadeo and Kalee, the deities chiefly worshipped throughout these mountains, though under different appellations. On account of its confined situation, this oddly placed city only receives the sun during six hours of the day, a circumstance which occasions great variation of temperature. There is a considerable manufacture of blankets and woollen cloths carried on at Rampore, and, strange to say, the men use the spindle, sitting comfortably at home employed in their easy task, while the women not only perform all the household drudgery, but labour also in the fields.

The breadth of the Sutlej at Rampore is two hundred and eleven feet, and during the summer months is crossed by a jhoola, or swing bridge, which is erected in May, and employed until the early part of September. The river begins to swell in March, and during June, July, and August the stream reaches its height, and, rendered turbid by the dissolution of vast fields of snow in the Himalaya, rolls along in a dark flood. A gradual commencement of the subsiding of the waters takes place by the end of September, and the stream is low and clear until the close of February. There is no bridge during these months, but the passage across the river is effected upon the hide of a buffalo or bullock, inflated with air, on which a single person, together with the ferryman, can be conveyed. The latter throws himself on his breast athwart the skin, and directs its course by the rapid action of his feet in the water, assisted by a paddle three feet in length, which he holds in his right hand. He thus crosses the stream with ease, but it is sometimes necessary to launch two or three skins together, in order more effectually to stem the force of the current. The passenger sits astride, across the back of the ferryman, resting his legs on the skin, and, the tail and legs of the bullock being left entire, serve to support and prevent him from being wetted. There is some danger of the bursting of the skin, in which event the passenger would be in a disagreeable