« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
sala, and in the Kangra valley and its neighbourhood. The cultivation of tea does not seem to get on in the Himálaya above the height of 6000 feet, and it flourishes from that height down to about 2000 feet, or perhaps lower. Some people are very fond of Indian tea, and declare it to be equal, if not superior, to that of the Middle Kingdom ; but I do not agree with them at all. When my supplies ran out in High Asia, tea was for some time my only artificial beverage, though that, too, failed me at last, and I was obliged to have recourse to roasted barley, from which really very fair coffee can be made, and coffee quite as good as the liquid to be had under that name in half the cafés of Europe. It is in such circumstances that one can really test tea, when we are so dependent on it for its refreshing and invigorating effects; and I found that none of the Indian tea which I had with me—not even that of Kangra, which is the best of all—was to be compared for a moment, either in its effects or in the pleasantness of its taste, with the tea of two small packages from Canton, which were given me by a friend just as I was starting from Simla. The latter, as compared with the Himálayan tea, was as sparkling hock to home-brewed ale, and yet it was only a fair specimen of the ordinary better-class teas of the Pearl river.
PEAKS THE ABODE OF THE GODS-ROAD TO SIMLA-APPEAR-
Looking from Rajpur at the foot of the hills up to Masúri, that settlement has a very curious appearance. Many of its houses are distinctly visible along the ridges; but they are so very high up, and so immediately above one, as to suggest that we are in for something like the labours and the experience of Jack on the bean-stalk. In the bazaar at Rajpur, I was reminded of the Alps by noticing several cases of goître: and I afterwards saw instances of this disease at Masúri; at Kalka, at the foot of the Simla hills; at Simla; at Nirth, a very hot place near Rampúr in the Sutlej valley; at Lippe, a cool place, above 9000 feet high, in Upper Kanáwur, with abundance of good water; at Kaelang in Lahaul, a similar. place, but still higher; at the Ringdom Monastery in Zanskar, about 12,000 feet high ; in the great open valley of Kashmír; and at Pesháwar in the low-lying trans-Indus plain. These cases do not all fit into any particular theory which has been advanced regarding the cause of this
hideous disease; and Dr Bramley has mentioned in the Transactions of the Medical Society of Calcutta, that in Nepal he found goître was more prevalent on the crests of high mountains than in the valleys. The steep ride to Masúri up the vast masses of mountain, which formed only the first and comparatively insignificant spurs of the Himalaya, gave a slight foretaste of what is to be experienced among their giant central ranges.
Masúri, though striking enough, is by no means a picturesque place. It wants the magnificent deodar and other trees of the Simla ridge, and, except from the extreme end of the settlement, it has no view of the Snowy Mountains, though it affords a splendid outlook over the Dehra Doon, the Sewaliks, and the Indian plains beyond. The “Himalayan Hotel” there is the best hotel I have met with in India ; and there are also a club-house and a good subscription readingroom and library. Not a few of its English inhabitants live there all the year round, in houses many of which are placed in little shelves scooped out of the precipitous sides of the mountain. The ridges on which it rests afford only about five miles of riding-paths in all, and no table-land. Its height is about 7000 feetalmost all the houses being between 6400 and 7200 feet above the level of the sea. But this insures a European climate; for on the southern face of the Himalaya the average yearly temperature of London is found at a height of about 8000 feet. The chief recommendation of Masúri is its equality of temperature, both from summer to winter and from day to night; and in most other respects its disadvantages are rather glaring. In April I found the thermometer
in a shaded place in the open air ranged from 60° Fahr. at daybreak, to 71° between two and three o'clock in the afternoon; and the rise and fall of the mercury were very gradual and regular indeed, though there was a good deal of rain. The coldest month is January, which has a mean temperature of about 42° 45'; and the hottest is July, which has 67° 35'. The transition to the rainy season appears to make very little difference; but while the months of October and November are delightful, with a clear and serene sky, and an average temperature of 54', the rainy season must be horrible, exposed as Masúri is, without an intervening rock or tree, to the full force of the Indian south-west
The Baron Carl Hügel mentions that when he was there in 1835, the rain lasted for eighty-five days, with an intermission of only a few hours. It cannot always be so bad as that at Masúri in summer, but still the place must be exceedingly wet, cold, and disagreeable during the period of the monsoon ; and it is no wonder that, at such a season, the residents of the Dehra Doon much prefer their warmer and more protected little valley below.
Notwithstanding the attractions of the “Himálayan Hotel,” I would recommend the visitors to Masúri to get out of it as soon as possible, and to follow the example of the American who said to me after fortyeight hours he could stand it no longer, and that he wanted “ to hear them panthers growling about my tent." The two great excursions from this place are to the Jumnotri and the Gangotri peaks, where the sacred rivers, Jumna and Ganges, may be said to take their rise respectively. These journeys involve tent-life, and the usual concomitants of Himalayan travel, but they are well worth making; for the southern side of the sunny Himálaya in this neighbourhood is grand indeed. It is only fifteen marches from Masúri to the glacier from which the Ganges is said to issue, though, in reality, a branch of it descends from much further up among the mountains; and these marches are quite easy except for nine miles near to the glacier, where there is “ a very bad road over ladders, scaffolds, &c.”
a It is of importance to the tourist to bear in mind that, in order to pursue his pleasure in the Himalaya, it is not necessary for hin
for him to descend from Masúri to the burning plains. The hill-road to Simla I have already spoken of. There is also a direct route from Masúri to Wangtú Bridge, in the Sutlej valley, over the Burand Pass, which is 15,180 feet high, and involving only two marches on which there are no villages to afford supplies. This route to Wangtú Bridge is only fourteen marches, and that place is so near to Chini and the Indian Kailas that the tourist might visit these latter in a few days from it, thus seeing some of the finest scenery in the snowy Himálaya; and he could afterwards proceed to Simla from Wangtú in eleven marches along the cut portion of the Hindústhan and Tibet road. There is another and still more interesting route from Masúri to the valley of the Sutlej over the Nila or Nilung Pass, and then down the wild Buspa valley; but that pass is an exceedingly difficult one, and is somewhere about 18,000 feet high, so no one should attempt it without some previous experience of the high Himálaya; and it is quite impassable when the monsoon is raging, as indeed the Burand Pass may be said to be also. The neophyte may also do well to remember that tigers go up to the snow on the south