Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/21

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This beautiful cluster of rocks occurs at about a day's sail below Janghera, on the river Ganges, amid exceedingly picturesque scenery of the loveliest kind, yet varied in character. In the rainy season the river runs roaring through these rocks with fearful turbulence, spreading its broad waters like an ocean, the projecting points of Colgong and Patergotta forming an extensive and beautiful bay, surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, from which it is difficult to fancy that a river has supplied the floods that reach from shore to shore.

These rocks are esteemed holy by Hindoo devotees, and have been sculptured in many places with the effigies of their gods; a variety of wild garlands, the luxuriant creepers of the soil, fling down their rich wreaths over the rugged masses of these crags, and tangled shrubs spring wherever a shallow bed of earth permits them to take root. In fact, the luxury of foliage cannot be seen to greater perfection than from the rocky islets of Colgong, which overlook the lovely woods spreading in all directions on the opposite shore; while beyond, the Rajmhal hills gleam with the purple glory of the amethyst.

These lovely crags are the haunt of numerous birds; pigeons nestle in the trees, and, at the slightest alarm, myriads of small water-fowl rush out in snowy flocks, adding, by their hurried flight, to the animation of the scene; while the numerous flotillas of native craft, of strange but highly picturesque construction, serve also to heighten the beauty of a landscape, which, in despite of their superior utility, we must regret should ever be disturbed by the smoke and paddles of steam-vessels.

Colgong forms the occasional habitation of a fakeer, but does not appear to be the settled residence of any recluse of great celebrity. There are no regular temples, although a rude shrine has been shaped out of one of the largest blocks of granite which crown the summit of the rock to the westward of the group. There are also caverns in these islands, and it is seldom that either a living or dead specimen of the religious mendicants, who are established in such places over the whole of India,