Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/59

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shines out with broader splendour, revealing the true state of the case, that the illusion is dispelled. Dhawallaghiri, the white mountain, in which the river Ghunduck has its source, is considered to be the most lofty of these peaks, its height has not been exactly determined, but those accounts which are esteemed to be the most accurate, render it twenty-seven thousand four hundred feet above the level of the sea. Jumnoutri and Gungoutri, whence the Jumna and Ganges have their birth, are next in succession, both exceeding twenty-four thousand feet, and the latter-named is the most highly honoured by the natives, who affirm that on its topmost summit Mahadeo has erected his throne; while others reverence the whole mountain as a god.

Villages are to be found at an elevation of fourteen thousand feet, but a site of this altitude is not healthy, and the inhabitants have a very wretched appearance: cultivation has been carried five hundred feet farther, and vegetation does not totally cease until stopped, at sixteen thousand feet, by that eternal barrier of snow which asserts supreme dominion over the sublime wastes above. From another point the eye embraces that splendid range of mountains, through which the sacred river forces its impetuous course, now fretting along a narrow channel which it has worn amid the rocks, and now flinging itself down in glittering volumes from height to height, until, at length emerging to the view, it is seen winding and wandering along the level country, a thread of silver which the eye follows till it is lost in the distance.

Dazzled by the attempt to distinguish minute and distant objects, we turn with delight to the rich yet sober tints of the surrounding hills, their splendid purples and browns, with here and there the sun bringing out some brighter foliage, while below the landscape assumes a different style of beauty. A series of undulations, diversified with plain and valley, thickly wooded, and shewing in its patches of cultivation, its towns, villages, and isolated buildings, that man holds empire o'er the soil. Here we may trace the windings of many roads, and the courses of those fertilizing streams which go gently murmuring along in every direction.

From the crest of the Sowa Khola ridge, at a short distance from this place, the whole valley of Deyrah Dhoon, the small Sewalik range which encloses it to the south, and the dim plains of Saharunpore still farther in the distance, bursts upon the delighted gaze; the snowy mountains forming the magnificent back-ground, and the monarch of the secondary belt, the sublime Choor, standing out beyond the rest; while in the vast expanse of plain, the silver lines of the Ganges and Jumna come shining through the haze.

In our eagerness to reach Mussooree, we had neglected the beauties of Rajpore, which is really an exceedingly pretty village, sufficiently elevated to admit of a clear and unobstructed view of the ever-beautiful Dhoon: beyond it there are some natural objects worth visiting, one being the dripping rock of Shansa Dhare. From a precipitous height of overhanging rock, a stream descends in continual showers, each drop producing a petrifaction. The cliff being worn away by the perpetual action of the water, has assumed a cavernous appearance, formed entirely of spar, here and there presenting basins for the reception of the element, which is cool, clear, and agreeable to the taste. A brahmin has of course established himself in a place which may be called a natural temple, and it is accordingly dedicated to Mahadeo. Opposite, in another direction, we come to a spring containing sulphureous particles, rising out of a mass of limestone, which tinges