Page images

never did poor animal show such attachment to its native village. It could only be managed for some days by a long stick which was fastened to its collar, as it did not do to let it come into close contact with us because of its teeth. In this vile durance, and even after it had got accustomed to us, and could be led by a chain, it was continually sighing, whining, howling, growling, and looking piteously in the direction in which it supposed its birthplace to be. Even when we were hundreds of miles away from Nako, it no sooner found its chain loose than it immediately turned on its footsteps and made along the path we had just traversed, being apparently under the impression that it was only a day's journey from its beloved village. It had the utmost dread of running water, and had to be carried or forced across all bridges and fords. No dog, of whatever size, could stand against it in fight, for our Chinese friend had peculiar tactics of its own which took its opponents completely by surprise. When it saw another dog, and was unchained, it immediately rushed straight at the other dog, butted it over and seized it by the throat or some equally tender place before the enemy could gather itself together. Yet Nako became a most affectionate animal, and was an admirable watch. It never uttered a sound at night when any stranger came near it, but quietly pinned him by the calf of the leg, and held on there in silence until some one it could trust came to the relief. The Nakowallah was a most curious mixture of simplicity, ferocity, and affectionateness. I left him with a lady at Pesháwar, to whose little girls he took at once, in a gentle and playful manner; but when I said “Good-bye, Nako,” he divined at once that I was going to desert him; he leaped on his chain and howled and wailed. I should not at all wonder if a good many dogs were to be met with in heaven, while as many human beings were made to reappear as pariahs on the plains of India.

Above Nako there is a small Lama monastery, and all the way up to it—a height of about 600 feet-there are terraced fields in which are grown wheat, barley, a kind of turnip, and pulse. Thus the cultivation rises here to almost 13,000 feet, and the crops are said to be very good indeed. There is some nearly level pasture-ground about the place, and yaks and ponies are bred in it for the trade into Chinese Tibet. The people are all Tibetans, and distinctly Tartar in feature. They are called Dúkpas, and seem to be of rather a religious turn. Accordingly they had recently been favoured by the incarnation, in a boy of their village, of the Teshú Lama, who resides at Teshú Lambu, the capital of Western Tibet, and who, in the Lama hierarchy, is second only to the Dalai or Grand Lama, and a similar event seems to have occurred in the same village more than half a century ago.

At Nako I bade farewell to my kind friend Mr Pagell, to whom I had been so much indebted. On all the rest of my journey I was accompanied only by my native servants and by porters of the country, and only twice, shortly after parting with the Moravian, did I meet European travellers. These were two Indian officers who were crossing from Ladak to the Sutlej valley; and another officer, a captain from Gwalior, who had gone into Spiti by the Babeh route, and whom I passed a few hours after parting with Mr Pagell. My first day's journey to Chango was easy, over tolerably level ground, which seldom required me to dismount from my zo-po, and on a gentle level, descending about 2000 feet to Chango. That place has a large extent of cultivated nearly level ground, and it may be called the capital of Hangrang, a province which formerly belonged to China, and of which the other large villages are Nako, Hango, and Lío. The whole population of this little province numbers only about 3000 souls, and they seem to be terribly hard worked in autumn; but then during long months of the year they have little to do except to enjoy themselves.

In the afternoon two bands of wandering Spiti minstrels made their appearance, and performed before my tent. The attraction of the larger of them was a handsome woman (two of whose husbands were among the minstrels—there being more at home) who danced and sang after the manner of Indian nautch girls, but with more vigour and less impropriety. The senior husband of this lady ingeniously remarked that I could not think of giving him less than a rupee, as he was going to sing my praise over the whole countryside.

Chango was the last village I saw in the dominions of the Rajah of Bussahir, which include upper and lower Kunáwar and the Tartar province of Hangrang. Everywhere there, except to a slight extent at Chango, the people had been exceedingly civil and pleasant, and had readily furnished me with all the carriage I required, though they must often have done so at great inconvenience to themselves, owing to the harvest operations which were going on. In lower Kunawar they seemed to be a gentle and rather timid people, speaking an Aryan language ; and though the Tartars of the upper portion of Bussahir were of rougher and stronger character, yet they were quiet and friendly enough.

As to the roads of these provinces, they are exactly in the same state as when Gerard traversed them, and I prefer to quote here his account of them rather than to give any more descriptions of my own. “ The roads in general,” he says, “consist of narrow footpaths skirting precipices, with often here and there rocks, that would seem to come down with a puff of wind, projecting over the head ; to avoid which it is necessary sometimes to bend yourself double. The way often leads over smooth stones steeply inclined to a frightful abyss, with small niches cut or worn, barely sufficient to admit the point of the foot; or it lies upon heaps of gigantic angular fragments of granite or gneiss, almost piercing the shoes, and piled upon one another in the most horrid disorder. Where the rocks are constantly hurled from above there is not the slightest trace of a path, and cairns of stones are erected within sight of each other, to guide the traveller. There are often deep chasms between the rocks, and it requires a considerable degree of agility to clear them, and no small degree of caution to avoid overturning the stones, which now and then shake under you.

The most difficult part I saw was where ropes were used to raise and lower the baggage; and this did not arise from the path having given way. Now and then flights of stone steps occur, notched trees and spars from rock to rock, rude scaffolding along the perpendicular face of a mountain, formed of horizontal stakes driven into the crevices, with boards above, and the outer ends resting on trees or slanting posts projecting from the clefts of the rock below. The most extraordinary one of this kind I ever saw was in the valley of Teedong. It is called Rapua, and the scaffolding continued for 150 feet. It was constructed like the other, with this difference, that six posts were driven horizontally into the cracks of the rocks, and secured by a great many wedges; there was no support on the outer side, and the river, which undermined it, rushed with incredible fury and a clamorous uproar beneath. The shaking of the scaffolding, together with the stupefying noise of the torrent, combined to give the traveller an uncertain idea of his safety.”* To this it may be added, that though several bridgessang-pa such as the one beneath Pú, which I have already described —have been built of late in Bussahir, almost every part of that province is crossed by unbridged mountain torrents, which are by no means easy to pass in summer during the day, when they are swollen by the melting snows and glaciers above. Bungalows for Europeans are to be found only on the Hindústhan and Tibet road ; and as the people, being affected by Hindú caste notions, will not allow a European to occupy their houses, a tént is necessary for making much acquaintance with this most mountainous and formidable country. Bussahir is only one of a large number of Hill

a States which acknowledge Great Britain as their paramount power; and the following information regarding these States, which has been kindly placed at my disposal by the Indian Foreign Office, will be acceptable to the statistical reader :



* Account of Koonawur, &c., &c., by the late Capt. Alexander Gerard. Edited by George Lloyd. London, 1841.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »