Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/54

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The town of Deyrah, the station of the Ghoorka battalion of hill-rangers, has many advantages to recommend it, and is celebrated for a temple sacred to the memory of a Hindoo devotee who was its founder. The pagoda is constructed of stone, embellished with ornaments formed of a peculiar kind of chunam, made from the shells of cowries, and resembling variegated marble. The holy person who built this temple has also won for himself the gratitude of the people of the neighbourhood, by the construction of a handsome stone tank, which occupies an acre of ground, and forms an ornamental, as well as a most acceptable bequest.

The ascent from Deyrah to Rajpore is so gradual as to be scarcely perceptible, but at this point it becomes more abrupt, and is in some places exceedingly steep. Being provided with ghoonts, or hill-ponies, we left our less useful cattle below, and, mounting these rough but sure-footed animals, gave ourselves up to their guidance. Our road led us up the sides of precipices of the most romantic character, craggy with rocks, and richly clothed with trees, descending to the bottom of deep and almost unfathomable ravines, whence, however, the ear can detect the sound of murmuring streams pursuing their course through some unseen channel.

The summit of this ridge is elevated eight thousand feet above the level of the sea, and from its utmost height a glorious burst of view is obtained; the plains below stretching far and wide, and bounded on either side by the Jumna and the Ganges, which, at the distance of forty miles apart, pursue their tortuous career, until their silvery traces are lost in the meeting skies. After winding for several hundred miles in a south-easterly direction, these beautiful rivers unite, the Jumna throwing itself into the Ganges at Allahabad, thus enclosing a very extensive tract of country called the Doaab, and by their fertilizing waters rendering it one of the most productive districts in India.

Turning in another direction to the mountain scenery, the view is awe-inspiring; height rises above height, the intersecting valleys seem to be interminable, and the mind is almost overpowered with astonishment, which, as we survey the gigantic wonders of the scene, is not wholly unmixed with a sensation allied to fear. Mussooree, the site of a station which is now one of the chief resorts of the visitors from the plains, stands at an elevation of seven thousand five hundred feet above the level of the sea, and is situated on the southern face of the ridge, called the Landour range, and overlooking the village of that name, which has been chosen for the establishment of a military depot, or sanitorium for those officers and privates belonging to the Bengal army who have lost their health in the plains. The barracks are roomy and comfortable, and there are commodious bungalows for the residence of the officers upon duty. The neighbouring station, distinguished by the name of Mussooree, is daily increasing in size, in consequence of the great resort of invalids to this salubrious spot; but the houses differ very much in appearance, and are inferior in elegance to those at Simlah, the more fashionable hill-settlement. The dwellings erected by the European residents have been compared, not inaptly, to gull's nests on the side of a cliff. There is so little table-land—the level places, composed of a few square yards, being chiefly cut out of the rock—that the foundation of many of the cottages are built up with masonry at the edge of precipices, and there is scarcely an enclosed piece of ground round any dwelling. The roads are narrow, and in many places scooped out of the sides of steeps of the most fearful-looking nature, yet so speedily does