Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/165

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drives along. When, however, the monsoon has expended its utmost fury, and fine settled weather and clear skies return, the harbour is to be seen in all its luxuriance and beauty.

Bombay is situated in the latitude 18° 56′ north, and consists of a small island, not more than twenty miles in circumference, that gives its name to the British presidency, which now comprehends within its jurisdiction many provinces of Western India. Though not distinguished for the splendour of its buildings, the favourable nature of the site gives to many an imposing effect; while the fortifications, and the wharfs stretching down unto the water, form exceedingly picturesque objects, and add greatly to the striking nature of the whole scene. We owe the establishment of a European colony at Bombay to the Portuguese, who, on account of the great excellence of its harbour, established a small community upon the island, their principal settlement, and the seat of their government being at Goa. From the earliest times it was a very considerable emporium for the commerce of the interior, and it is now the great mart for cotton and many other articles connected with the China trade. The island itself, originally consisting of isolated ranges of rocks covered with a forest of cocoa-nuts, is partly artificial, being now connected by causeways, while large pools of stagnant water, being filled up, are brought under cultivation. Great numbers of cocoa-trees have been cut down, but still sufficient remain to give a character to the groves. The whole of the adjacent continent and the neighbouring islands present rich masses of wood, every kind of timber common to the clime flourishing in a soil blessed with the richest fertility. Here the majestic banian spreads its sylvan temple; here the prolific mango sheds its golden fruitage; and the gardens teem with limes, citrons, tamarinds, grapes, plantains, bananas, custard-apples, and all the varieties of nuts yielded by the palm.

Bombay is furnished with an abundant supply of vegetables from the neighbouring island of Salsette, with which it is connected by means of a causeway; those of European origin grow freely, and it is particularly celebrated for the potato, and for the finest onions to be found throughout the whole peninsula. The sea is equally productive with the land; the inhabitants of many villages scattered along the harbour and its numerous islands, subsisting entirely from the profits of their nets. In addition to the pomfret and the sable, which, with other varieties of the fishy tribe belonging to Indian seas, are found in many parts of its shores, Bombay is visited by a fish peculiar to this coast, called the bumbalo, a species of sand-eel, which is of a very nutritive quality. It is eaten in large quantities when fresh, and is by many considered a great delicacy, while others only regard it as a mass of flavourless jelly. Immense numbers, dried in the sun, form an article for exportation, and furnish the principal part of the food eaten by the lascars. Shell-fish also abound, and turtle are sometimes caught.


The most remote and secluded places in India frequently display to the astonished eyes of the European traveller scenes of beauty and of splendour, which, if situated in any other country, would attract crowds of tourists to the spot. Imagine the surprise of a party journeying through a tract of country of no great celebrity, when suddenly coming upon a scene like this which is represented in the engraving. There splendid ghauts, shrines, and temples arise at the confluence of two inconsiderable streams; a circumstance which in the eyes of the Hindoos always invests the spot in which it occurs with peculiar