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tached. Both. the walls and the temple were adorned with praying flags, and the former constituted the back walls of the cells of the monks. There were a number of images and pictures in the temple, one of which reminded me of the Chinese Queen of Heaven. I thought I had clearly impressed the characteristics of this monastery upon my mind ; but find now, after the lapse of time, that if I went into the subject I should be in great danger of developing it out of the depths of my

consciousness. The monks, of whom there were about thirty, were very agreeable, and made no objections to my entering the temple; but, after the snowstorm, and in the sort of country I was in, it would not have done to have halted for even a single day. The resemblances between Lamaism and Roman Catholicism have been pointed out by MM. Huc and Gabet and others. Koeppen defines Lamaism as a corrupted Búdhism, having the same relation to early Búdhism that the Romish Church has to primitive Christianity. The corrupting influence was the Sivaism of India, but some old Turanian superstitions appear to have been worked in also. The ruling idea of Lamaism appears to be that of a sovereign Church or ecclesiastical state, and nowhere else does the monastic system exist in such gigantic proportions as in the Tibetan and Mongolian countries.

The marches from Kokser in Lahaul to Súrú were as follows, taking the ordinary rate of progress of loaded hillmen:

Kokser to Sisu,
Sisu to Gundla,
Gundla to Kaelang,
Kaelang to Kulang,

Hours.

5 4 6 4

Hours. Kulang to Darcha,

4 Darcha to Dakmachen camping-ground,

6 Dakmachen to near Ramjakpúk camp,

8 Ramjakpúk to camp on Zanskar side of the Schinkal, 9 Camp on Schinkal to Kharjak,

8 Kharjak to Thesur,

9 Thesur to camp below Suley,

10 Suley to Muni,

8 Muni to Padam,

8 Padam to Seni Gonpa,

2 Seni to Phe,

8 Phe to first camp on Pense La,

10 First camp to second, over snow,

13 Second camp to Ringdom,

2 Ringdom to Gülmatongo,

8 Gúlmatongo to Súrú,

10 Súrú to Sankú,

9 Sankú to hamlet opposite Dras,

15 Dras to Mataan,

7 Mataan to Baltal camp,

8 Baltal to Sonamarg,

5 Sonamarg to Goond,

9 Goond to Kangan,

7 Kangan to Ganderbahl,

6 Ganderbahl to Srinagar,

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CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE OMBA PASS.

DIFFICULTY OF DESCENDING ON KASHMÍR-KARTSE-SANKÚ-OMBA

A BIG HILL-FUGITIVE COOLIES-SNOW BLINDNESS-HEIGHT OF
THE PASSA DILEMMA-A DOUBLE PASS-DARKNESS-ANOTHER
PONY-AN AWFUL GORGE.

ALMOST every one longs, and many hope, to see the beautiful Vale of Kashmír. Probably no region of the earth is so well known to the eye of imagination, or so readily suggests the idea of a terrestrial Paradise. So far from having been disappointed with the reality, or having experienced any cause for wishing that I had left Kashmir unvisited, I can most sincerely say that the beautiful reality excels the somewhat vague poetic vision which has been associated with the name. But Kashmír is rather a difficult country to get at, especially when you come down upon it from behind, by way of Zanskar and Súrú. According to tradition, it was formerly the Garden of Eden ; and one is very well disposed to accept that theory when trying to get into it from the north or north-west. Most people go up to it from the plains of India by one of the four authorised routes; but I have a habit of getting into places by some quite unusual way, and did so in this instance.

From Súrú to Kartse and Sankú, a day's journey, the road was not bad, except at one place, where I had to ride high up the mountains in order to find a path possible for ponies; and at another where the path was so narrow, running athwart precipices and nearly precipitous slopes of shingle, that a man whom I met leading his pony along it, had to take his steed back for more than a mile before the two ponies could pass each other. At Sankú there was a fine

grove

of trees for a camping-ground, giving promise of a more genial clime, though there was snow lying under the trees; and the way from Sankú to Onuba, up the valley of the Nakpo Chu, was tolerably easy; but after leaving Omba I did come upon some places which were “ a little difficult to get over.'

Unfortunately I had no proper map of that part of the country; and, starting early from Sankú, we reached the mountain village of Omba at half-past ten in the morning. That seemed rather a short day's journey, so I asked one of the coolies, who spoke a little Hindústhani, how far it was from Omba to Dras, and he said it was the same distance as we had come from Sankú to Omba, and farther illustrated his meaning by grasping my alpenstock by the middle, and indicating the two halfs of it as illustrations of the equal length of the two distances. When I afterwards

When I afterwards reproached this man for the difficulty into which he had led us, he answered, with true Kashmirían effrontery, that he had said nothing of the kind; that it was a Draswallah, a fellow from Dras, who, he alleged, had passed at the time, that had said so. But no one objected to our going on, and all the bigarrís showed a remarkable alacrity in starting. What on earth their motive was

I cannot say positively. Perhaps they really wished

. to get on to Dras that day, from fear of being cut off from their homes by a fall of snow; but it is more probable that they were afraid of going there, and proposed to give me the slip among the mountains; for about this time the envoy of the Yarkand ruler was expected to be coming up the Dras valley on his return from a visit to Constantinople, and immense numbers of Kashmír coolies were being impressed in order to take his European purchases up to Leh. At all events there must have been some secret motive for their hurrying me into the injurious task of undertaking in one day what ought properly to have been a three days' journey. I was ignorant of the fact when

among

those mountains; but find now, that in 1822, Moorcroft went over the same road, and he took three days to it, though it was July, and he started from above Sankú, and on the third day did not reach Dras, but only the hamlet opposite it, which I reached in one day from Sankú; so it can be understood how tremendous was the day's journey, and how great the mistake into which I was led.

So we started from Omba, and began to ascend a hill. I do not say " a hill ” sarcastically, because had I seen, soon after starting, what a mountain this hill was, I should immediately have turned back and camped at Omba ; but, though immense mountains rose before us, they did so in such a manner as to make it appear likely that a low pass ran between them. It was not until we had laboured up steadily for about a couple of hours that the horrible truth began to dawn upon my mind that there was no pass, and that it was up the face of one of those gigantic

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