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Mutiny on the Bounty. On its summit, it is said, is a Hindoo shrine, at which cocoanuts are offered. The pass by which the mountains are first entered, on the way to Cashmere, is about four miles beyond Rihursi. It has an elevation of only a thousand feet above the plain; on the other side the road descends to the Chunab river, across which the traveller and his party were drawn upon a rope bridge, the horses being forced to swim.
The country rapidly became more wild and broken; the precipitous ascents and descents made the road very fatiguing, and there were fre. Vigne attempted to sketch three women whom he met; but no sooner had he commenced than they ran away, climbed some trees with the activity of monkeys, and could not be induced to come down again.
He gives the following description of the native villages: "They are clusters of flat-roofed huts, the poorer kinds looking very dirty, with smoke marks on the walls, and cakes of cow-dung sticking to them, for the purpose of being dried and used as fuel. The better kind of hut is distinguished by its new and clean mud walls; the ends of the rafters project neatly from the sides of the building, and the roof itself is free from holes, except the one used as a chimney.
The windows of these huts are mere chinks in the walls, and the doors are not above five feet high; while the chief man's house is recognized by the doorway being of greater height, the windows larger and more numerous, and it sometimes boasts of an up-stairs room, from which he can see over the whole village. Children amuse themselves with quarrelling and grovelling in the dust, in company with dogs and poultry. The best-dressed man in the village is usually the shopkeeper, who may be seen sitting on his shop-board, with his bowl of copper and cowries for small change, and.
On the plain, at a short distance from the village, will be seen the carcase of a horse or cow, and some ten or twenty vultures sitting on and around it, and keeping other animals at a respectful distance. Monkeys chatter, doves coo, jackdaws caw, and kites scream as they whirl about incessantly in search of offal; while half-starved cattle remain in groups near the well, under the banyan and mango trees. There the itinerant merchant cooks his supper, places a guard over his merchandise, and lies down to rest; and the sepoy on leave, the robber by profession, and the Thug disguised as best suits his purpose for the morrow, are soon in a state of repose.
The pious follower of Mahomet is seen bending and bowing at his evening prayers, rising from them more probably a better Mussulman than a better man; the Brahmin, distinguished by the string which is a sign of his caste, mutters his prayers as he performs his ablutions; and the Hindoo fakeer, with his person plastered over with mud, and the wild and ferocious expression of his countenance rendered more sinister by the use of hasheesh and opium, is often to be seen for days together in the same place near the well, because he is aware that the sanctity of his character and appearance will secure him alms, or a supply of food, from those who must resort to it.
The next place Mr. Vigne reached was Rajawur, where he was very well received by the Rajah, a strongly-made, intelligent man, who had six toes on each:ifoot. He had been eating of some raw roots while we were waiting in the garden. I found him nearly senseless, and to all appearance dying, while the good Rajah and a number of people were standing near his bed.
I immediately uncorked the cholera medicine that I had brought with me from Bombay, and was proceeding to administer it, when somebody uttered the word'wine.
Asia, Central -- Description and travel
I declared that it was not wine-nor was it only it contained a large proportion ot brandy ; he then swallowed it, opened his eyes almost instantly, and said that now he could recognize me. In short, I soon got him round, and the next day he was walking about as if nothing had happened, rather pleased than otherwise at having been an object of so much interest.
The Rajah and the others returned to their rest, talking loudly in praise of the wonderful medicine. Here there is a large caravanserai for travellers, built of red brick, and the work of the Mogul Emperors. The houses of the town are curiously crowded together in tiers, on every available spot, on a precipice overhanging a river, and shaded by walnut and mulberry trees. Every pathway was a gutter, containing running water.
The inhabitants are Cashmerians, who gain a subsistence by spinning and weaving. The place is 5, feet above the sea, yet early in the morning, on the I3th of July, the mercury stood at seventy-four degrees in the shade. After leaving Thana, the ascent of the first range soon begins, and the traveller and his path are hidden in the recesses of the jungle. To continue Mr. Vigne's narrative: "The first object I remarked was a well, with some old equestrian reliefs on the stonework around it; then, upon turning a corner, I saw some old and tattered garments by the wayside, and a human foot, the remnant of a body that had been devoured by jackals, vultures and hyenas.
I found afterwards that not a day passed while I was on the way to Cashmere, and even when travelling in the valley, that I did not see the bleached remains of some. The khan of Thana was seen as a speck at the foot of the ascent, and the ranges I had passed through were visible as far as the plains.
But I only glanced at a view that was comparatively tame, and turned to the prospect of the Panjal range, and the vast depths that were yet to be passed on this side of it. The peak of Tata Koti, reported by the natives to be composed of crystal, rose conspicuously among a line of others, rearing themselves with a grandeur of elevation that, to an eye unaccustomed to mountain scenery, would seem to defy all ascent.
I halted to sketch the view, and then commenced the descent to Barumgulu, the'defile of rains,'-rejoicing in the sight of snow, which was now so near me, and invigorated by the mere reflection that I should cross the Panjal on the third day afterwards. A lofty forest of pines and deodars covered the whole face of the mountains in the foreground. The horse-chestnut tree was also very numerous, and the bark upon its long straight stem was split into flakes, and curled so as to bear a strong resemblance to that of the hickory in the American forests.
It is. Three of them were to be repaired for me, by order of the Rajah. The last was not ready when I arrived, and I sat quietly on the bank with my people, while the villagers of Barumgulu cut down trees of sufficient length for the purpose; and one of these, which was upraised and allowed to fall to the opposite bank, was made a bridge to one of the party, who crossed upon it and then adjusted a second tree, pushed across by means of the first.
Branches were then placed upon them, and made sufficiently secure even for the footing of a horse. It lies considerably beneath the limit of forest, but there are very few trees near it. The green slope on the side of which it is built, and the summit of which is seven or eight hundred feet above it, affords a pasturage for sheep and goats; but cultivation is almost entirely confined to turnips.
It is customary, for those who can afford it, to sacrifice a sheep or goat before ascending to the Panjal summit, and the head is carried to the fakeer, who lives in a stone hut close to the tower, during the summer months. I complied with the custom, at the request of the Mahometan part of my retinue; the priest said a prayer for a safe ascent on the morrow, and the goat was im. The path was in very good condition, and I was able to ride nearly the whole distance. An hour's travel from Poshiana brought me to the edge of the lowest snow, which was arched and hardened over a small stream of its own creation.
The forest began to be much thinned, but vegetation was still profuse, and roses and many other wild flowers were in full bloom. The hill, near the summit, is bare of trees, but a fine turf is visible where the snow has melted. Another final ascent, and I suddenly found myself on the summit of the Pir Panjal. He thankfully accepted my offering of the sheep's head, and was still better pleased with a little money which I gave him.
He was a good-humored looking person, short and shaven, with a chubby face, but little intellect in his countenance, and a twinkling expression of cunning in his eye. This is doubtless a fragment of the remembrance which they have of the fabulous history of Prometheus, which, according to the fictions of the poets, belonged to the Caucasus. Whatever may be indicated by the play of the lightning, and the presence of the vultures,-' On Imaiis bred, Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Dislodging from a region scarce of prey, To gorge the flesh of lambs or yearling kids, On hills where flocks are fed, flies towards the springs Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams'the little fakeer, whom I saw on the Panjal, was certainly not a person who looked as if he could act the part of Prometheus.
The different ranges which I had crossed on the way, and even the points where I had crossed them, were visible in the distance. I looked down on the roofs of Poshiana, where I had slept, and could. Indistinctness pervaded every part of the gray-colored expanse of the plains, and I vainly tried, with my telescope, to detect the minarets of imperial Lahore, which may be perceived with the naked eye in very clear weather, though about miles distant.
The summit of the Panjal Pass is about feet above the limit of forest; my thermometer gave me about 12, feet; so that I am justified in laying down its height at II,8oo feet, or thereabouts. Birches and firs seemed to contend for the highest place; the birch has the best of it generally. Above this, the only plant that I remember in the shape of a tree is the dwarf juniper, and this is to be seen at different altitudes, up to I2, feet, on the mountains around Cashmere and in Tibet.
The descent from the Panjal towards the Vale of Cashmere, which is very gentle, commences immediately, and the snow-capped mountain tops are divided by an inclined and verdant plain, on which bloomed numerous varieties ot flowers. Amongst them I joyfully noticed many that were common in England; and as I trod the green carpet beneath me, I found myself refreshed by inhaling the cool breeze richly burdened with all the perfume of an English clover-field.
The valley of the stream suddenly sinks below the level of the path, and I looked down upon a beautiful meadow, from which the precipitous slopes of the Panjal suddenly rose with all their majesty, and clothed with a firforest to the very bed of the stream that rushed along their bases. Finally, after crossing the stream by a wooden bridge, I found myself at the small village of Huripore, where the steepness ot the descent ceases.
The next morning, after proceeding for two or three miles through the woods, the plains of Cashmere came full in sight. The lofty mountains on the other side of the valley, distant from thirty to thirty-five miles, were shrouded in clouds, and a part only of the snowy ridge, with a few isolated peaks, were to be seen here and there at intervals.
This mosque is of the same pattern as that which I afterwards found to be common throughout the valley. It partakes of the aspect and architecture of the pagodas of China, but the slope of the roof is straight instead of being concave. Its basement, ten to twenty yards square, is of stone or wood, raised a few feet from the ground, and supporting eight or ten pillars deeply grooved, with bases and capitals formed of.
The interior is also square, and is generally a beautiful specimen of wood-work. The windows and doors are Saracenic, with rich lattice-worked panels instead of glass. Its dwellings, now chiefly in ruins, are but the remains of what once were houses, of two or three c: four stories in Leight, with gable ends and sloping roofs of wood. Large sheets of birch-bark, which is nearly impervious to moisture, are laid over the rafters, and upon them is spread a layer of earth, which is often planted with flowers.
The walls are of brick, burnt or sun-dried, and secured in a frame of wood, as a prevention against the effects of earthquakes. The windows are rectangular, numerous, and disposed in rows, as in Europe. Exquisitely finished trellis-work, displaying a great variety of Moorish patterns, usurps the place of a window-frame; the thin paper of the country is pasted over it and does duty for glass, so that warmth is thus obtained at the expense of light. Some of the rooms have fire-places, but the smoke is always allowed to escape through a hole in the wall above them.
The houses are usually separate, with small gardens between them. There are also orchards of standard fruit-trees, and mulberries, apples, pears, peaches, apricots and roses, are to be had in abundance, in their proper season. I thence enjoyed a first and excellent view of the valley, which was hardly broken throughout its whole length of ninety miles, and entirely surrounded by snowy mountains.
Far to the left, over the extreme north-western end of the valley, rose the snow-peaks of Durawur; the two or three small hills, breaking the level surface of the valley, were distinguished with difficulty; and the whole of the intervening slopes of the Pir Panjal, from the snow downward into the valley, are covered with a magnificent forest of pines, thirty miles in length and from three to seven miles in width.
The valley,,of Cashmere is generally a verdant plain, ninety nfi-es in length aud twenty-five miles in its greatest width, at the southern end, between the cataract of Arabul and the ruius of the great temple of Martund; surrounded on every side by snowy mountains, into which there are numerous inlets, forming glens on a level with the plain, but each with a lofty pass at its upper extremity. There are many elevated points of view from which this extraordinary hollow gave me, at first sight, an idea of its having been originally formed by the falling in of an exhausted volcanic region.
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It has not, however,. The trees, it is true, in many instances, may differ from those of Europe; but with the exception of occasional beautiful masses of deodars, the aspect of the forest, at a little distance, is wholly European. Looking from the hill of Shupeyon, innumerable villages were scattered over the plains in every direction, distinguishable in the extreme distance by the trees that surrounded them: all was soft and verdant, even up to the snow on the mountain-top; and I gazed in surprise, excited by the vast extent and admirably defined limits of the valley, and the almost perfect proportions of height to distance, by which its scenery appeared to be universally characterized.
VIGNE is a confused and somewhat perplexing narrator. The thread of his journey is constantly lost amid a multitude of small geographical details, and interwoven with the accounts of other journeys, made in other seasons, in the same region. We shall, therefore, endeavor to select those passages which possess the most interest and value, concerning the Vale of Cashmere, and resume the direct narrative when we find the traveller compelled, by the nature of his subject, to confine himself to it. In passing onward through the valley, Mr. Vigne encountered scenes of ruin and desolation, in striking contrast with its natural beauty and fertility.
Earthquake, cholera, famine, and the invasions of Runjeet Sing had terribly devastated the once thickly peopled country.
Many of the houses were tenantless and deserted; the fruit was dropping unheeded from the trees; the orchards were overgrown with a profusion of wild hemp and wild indigo; but the graveyards were still covered with. Enough remained, however, to show how neat and comfortable the villages had once been. There was always a clear, rapid brook at hand, with green turf on its banks, shaded by fine walnut-trees, and the bryn, resembling the English elm.
Around the base of the gigantic chunar-trees, there was always a raised bench of wood or stone, for the village gossips, a few of whom still lingered in their half-deserted homes,-some sleeping, and others praying, or smoking. The city of Shahbad, the largest place in the southern part of the valley, was a ruin, and there was scarcely anything to be seen of the ancient palace of the Moguls.
Its environs were overgrown with nettles and wild hemp. The orchards ot Shahbad, however, still produced the best apples, and the wheat grown there is considered the finest in Cashmere. The people, also, are very fond of bread made of buckwheat flour. A few miles from the city is the celebrated fountain of Vernag, a favorite place of the Mogul Emperors. Vigne, "is now a ruin with scarcely any of the beauties of a ruin, and the country is overgrown with weeds and jungle.
But neither time nor tyranny can make any change in the magnificent spring of Vernag. Its waters are received into a basin partly made by the Emperor Jehangir: the circumference is about The water is beautifully clear, 25 feet deep, and swarming with Himalaya trout. Its date is found in the sentence,Palace of the Fountain of Vernag. Over the entrance is written:'This fountain has come from the springs of Paradise!
Vigne, apropos of a description of some of the other mountain passes. This is the great fall which usually closes the passes for the winter. It frequently happens that a casual fall takes place a month or three weeks earlier: this remains on the ground for three or four days, and then disappears before the sun.
I am now speaking of the snow upon the plains of Cashmere. It occasionally falls on the mountains as early as September, and the cold blasts which it produces do great injury to the later rice-crops. When the new snow falls, one person will try to deceive another into holding a little in his hand; and accordingly he will present it to him making some remark by way of a blind at the same time concealed in a piece of cloth, or a stick, or an apple, folded in the leaves of a book, or wrapped up in a letter.
If the person inadvertently takes what is thus presented to him, the other has a right to show him the snow he has thus received, and to rub it in his face, or to pelt him with it, accompanied by the remark:' New snow is innocent! The most extreme caution, is, of course, used by every one upon that day. Ahmed Shah, of Little Tibet, told me that some one once attempted to deceive him by presenting him with a new gun-barrel, and pretending that he wished for his opinion about it; but that he instantly detected the snow in the barrel, and had the man paraded through the neighborhood on a donkey, with his face turned towards the tail.
It is now but a shadow of its former self. It contains but six or seven hundred houses: many of them are ornamented with most elegant trellis and lattice-work, but their present ruined and neglected appearance is placed in wretched contrast with their once gay and happy. From its foot flows the holy fountain of Anat Nag, the first waters of which are received into tanks whose sides are built up with stone, embellished with a wooden pavilion, and overshadowed with large chunartrees. Around them are numerous idlers, Cashmerians, Sikh soldiers, Hindoo fakeers, and dogs, reposing in the enjoyment of a cool air and delicious shade.
In the evening two or three aged Pundits were to be seen making their way to the place near which the spring issues from the rock, and afterwards kneeling over the water, and mumbling their prayers as their fathers had done before them, by the glare of lighted pieces of split pine. It is said that, after the valley was dried, small hills and caves appeared, and that Kashef Rishi, a holy sage, walked about in the greatest delight; that he accidentally found an egg shining most brilliantly, which he picked up.
It broke in his hand, and from it flowed the springs of Maha-Martund, -'The great God of the. Sun,' sacred to Vishnu. Houses and Hindoos surround the small tank which is formed near it, and which swarms with Himalaya trout; but the superstitious Pundits objected to my catching one with my hand,-which would not have been difficult, on account of the number, and the eagerness with which they are fed. Every old building, of whose origin the poorer classes of Hindoos, in general, have no information, is believed to have been the work of the Pandoos. As an isolated ruin, this deserves, on account of its solitary and massive grandeur, to be ranked, not only as the first ruin of the kind in Cashmere, but as one of the noblest among the architectural relics of antiquity which are to be seen in any country.
Its noble and exposed situation at the foot of the hills reminded me of that of the Escurial: it has no forest of corktrees and evergreen oaks before it, nor is it to be compared in point of size to that stupendous building; but it is visible from as great a distance, and the Spanish Sierras cannot for a moment be placed in competition with the verdant magnificence of the mountain scenery of Cashmere.
Harut and Marut, so say the Mussulmans, were two angels who represented to the Almighty that the inhabitants of the earth were plunged in wickedness, and were then sent downwards for the purpose of improving them; but, having descended accidentally upon the house of a courtesan, they were surprised into an unhallowed liking for her society, and neglected the work of reformation to which they were appointed.
They were, therefore, punished by being shut up in a well; and the Cashmerians say that this is the place of their imprisonment. The length of the outer side of the wall, which is blank, is about go yards; that of the front is about The remains of three gateways opening into the court are now standing; the principal of these fronts due east towards Islamabad. It is also rectangular in its details, and built with enormous blocks of limestone six or eight feet in length, and one of nine, all of proportionate solidity, and cemented with an excellent mortar.
There are, I think, about twenty of the pillars of the colonnade, along the inside of the wall, now remaining, out of more than double the number. The height of the shaft of each pillar is six feet, of the capital. Between each two pillars are trefoiled niches in the walls. The height of the wall, when the building was perfect, must have been about fifteen feet, and that of the doorway eight feet. The capitals of the larger pillars are ornamented with dentils; the shaft, which is grooved rather than fluted, is surmounted by an ornamented neck of beads.
The bases are so disfigured by time that I can scarcely conjecture what they may have been. The form of the arch is trefoil, with the bust of a female figure as an ornament over the top. A bank of stones and rubbish occupies the place where there was originally a flight of steps leading to the doorway. Though not a vestige of them remains, there can be no doubt of the fact, as many of the other old temples in the valley are constructed more or less on the same plan as that of Martund, and have steps, or the remains of steps, in front of them.
The whole of the interior is covered with stones that have been shaken down from' the roof, and I was informed that there was a spring in the corner of the inner building, which is now blocked up by them. It was once apparently two stories high; and at all events, if I am to judge from other ruins, particularly that of.
Its height, now about forty feet, has been diminished by earthquakes, even within the memory of man. It needs no living evidence to persuade any one that this was the case, a great part of the quadrangle being strewed with enormous blocks of limestone, of which the building is entirely composed. The pyramidal top would remind us of Egypt and the fire altar. The flying buttress, by which I suppose the wings to have been connected witlh the centre buildings, would savor of the Gothic.
The horizontal entablature, supported by the columns in the peristyle, would, as Professor Whewell has obligingly remarked to me, have a resemblance to the Grecian; and also, that, as the columns of the gate rise above the pillars of the wall, without bearing any definite relation to them, that part of the building may be Egyptian, Hindoo, or anything but Grecian.
The style of architecture used in the religious buildings in Europe for the first thousand years of the Christian period is the Romanesque; and much of the description of it by Prof. Whewell appears to me to apply generally. Few of these ruins, I should say, if any, were Buddhist; those in or upon the edge of the water were rather, I should suppose, referable to the worship of the Nagas, or snake-gods.
It is, however, a curious fact that in Abyssinia, the ancient Ethiopia, which was also called Kush, the ancient Christian churches, as I am informed by Mr. Wolff, are not unlike those of Cashmere. I, at least, know of nothing exactly like it in Hindustan, nor anything resembling it in any country to the westward of the Indus. In situation it is far superior to either. Palmyra is surrounded by an ocean of sand, and Persepolis overlooks a marsh; but the Temple of the Sun, or Martund, is built on a natural platform at the foot of some of the noblest mountains, and beneath its ken lies what is undoubtedly the finest and most picturesque valley in the known world.
The prospect from the green slope behind it is seen to the greatest advantage upon the approach of evening, when the whole landscape is yet in sunshine, but about to undergo a change; when the broad daylight still rests upon the snowy peaks of the Panjal, but commences a retreat before their widening shadows in the valley beneath them. The luminous and yellow spot in which we recognize the foliage of the distant chunar-tree is suddenly extinguished; village after village becomes wrapped in comparative obscurity; and the last brilliant beams of an Asiatic setting sun repose for a while upon the gray walls that seem to have been raised on purpose to receive them, and display the ruins of their own temple in the boldest and most beautiful relief.
With the exception of the fakeer's dwelling, there is not a vestige of human habitation upon the green waste. A solitary. T HE town of Islamabad is situated on the river Jelum, which rises within the valley of Cashmere, and a boat, with good rowers, will descend to the famous city of Srinagur, the capital, in twelve hours. The traveller, however, sees little except mud-banks of ten to twenty feet in height, which effectually shut out any prospect, except that of the mountain-tops. Vigne, "it will be best to notice the centre of the valley.
Its general features are rice-fields, irrigated in plateaux, open meadows, cornfields, and villages embosomed in trees; elevated alluvial plains, that, either from position, or from being protected by a rocky base, have escaped being washed away by the large and numerous streams that descend from the slopes of the Panjal to a junction with the Jelum, and have furrowed and divided them, more or less, throughout the whole length of the course of the river. The height of the cliff, or terrace, which they form, varies from sixty to a hundred and twenty feet.
It is divided from the mountains by a wide ravine, from which opens a view of the city lake, and through which is constantly blowing a breeze that must tend to prevent stagnation of its waters. This singular hill is called by the Hindoos Sir-i-Shur, or Siva's head, in contradistinction to Huri-purbut, the Hill of Huri, or Vishnu, on the opposite side of the city. The interior has been plastered over and whitewashed by the Sikhs, and it is said that beneath it there is an ancient inscription; there is also one in Persian, which informs us that a fakeer resided there, who called himself the water-carrier of King Solomon, and was in the habit of descending every day to the lake, for the purpose of drawing water.
A foot-path leads up the ascent from the city side; wh-ile, from the other, a good hill-pony can carry its rider to the summit. I knew the foot-path well, as, for almost every day during a month, I used to go up in order to complete a panoramic drawing of the valley. Softness, mantling over the sublime, is the pre. It presents an innumerable assemblage of house-gables, interspersed with the pointed and metallic tops of mosques, melongrounds, sedgy inlets from the lake, and narrow canals, fringed with rows of willows and poplars.
The surface of the lake itself is perfectly tranquil,. At one glance we have before us the whole of the local pictures described in Lalla Rookh. Among them sparkles the white pavilion on the isle of Chunars, or Silver Island, and another green spot is the Golden Island. The large platform of a ruined building is seen on the southern shore, and on the northern are the terraces of two other gardens, neglected and in ruins.
Numerous villages on the edge of the water, surrounded with walnuts and chunars, are taken into the view; a green causeway which extends across it is an object of attraction; but we look on the famed floating gardens of Cashmere without being able to distinguish them from the green and richly cultivated grounds upon that edge of the water which borders the city. There it ceases, and a part of the great range which surrounds the Vale of Cashmere lifts its snowy peaks near at hand.
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Terraces, cornfields, rice-grounds, meadows and morasses occupy the centre of the valley; they are all brightly tinted in the foreground, but in the distance recede into one uniform blue. Several isolated hills and innumerable villages are scattered over the landscape. The line of beauty was never more faithfully drawn in landscape than by the broad and beautiful Jelum, the fabulosus Hydaspes of the Augustan age.
Its banks are fringed with willows, among which is a summer-house, with a white cupola, built by the Sikh governor. An avenue of poplars, nearly a mile in length, runs through the cornfields parallel to it, from the foot of the Throne to the Amir's bridge, close to which is the city fort, or residence of the governor, at the entrance of the city, where the stream narrows to about eighty yards. Beyond the bridge we trace it to the. The hoary range of the Panjal, in front, is joined with the mountains of Kishtawar on the south, and on the north-west is continued into the still loftier snow-peaks of Durawar, on the left bank of the Indus, so as to form but one vast mural cordillera, and a fitting boundary for the noblest valley in the world.
The canal is exceedingly pretty; the water is very clear, and numerous fish play among the long reeds that wave upon its edges. One of the governors had it in contemplation to unite the trees on either bank, by a kind of suspended trellis-work, and then to have planted vines, whose fruit and branches would have been thus supported over the midst of the stream. The largest consists of two platforms raised one above another, one of twenty. The height of this enormous mass of stone work, which no doubt once supported a temple of proportionate size, is now about twenty-four feet.
The Hindoo temples must have been exceedingly numerous; the foundation of the houses in the city, closing the side of the river, are often formed of large blocks which have been drawn from them. A capital turned upside down, a broken shaft or an injured pedestal, may frequently be observed imbedded in the wall, performing the office of ordinary building stone. The river, in passing through the city, has thus been narrowed to a width of about eighty yards; an immovable barrier is opposed to its expansion, and its stream is consequently more rapid and deeper than in any other part of the valley.
In spite of the more authentic story of her birth, the Cashmerians would have us believe that she was a native of the valley. The new mosque in the city was built by her, and is, in fact, the only edifice of the kind that can vie in general aspect and finish with the splendor of the pearl mosque, at Agra. The interior of the building is about sixty-four yards in length, and of proportionate breadth, the roof being supported by two rows of massive square piers, running through the entire length of the building, the circular compartments.
When I was in Cashmere, it was used as a granary or storehouse for rice. His story, as believed by the Mussulmans, is as follows:-Tamerlane was one night wandering in disguise about the streets of his capital Samarkand , and overheard an old man and his wife talking over their prospects of starvation; upon which he took off an armlet, threw it to them, and departed unseen. A pretended Syud, or descendant of the prophet, asked them how they came by the armlet, and accused them of having stolen it. The matter was. He then displayed it in his own possession, and ordered the accuser to undergo the ordeal of hot iron, which he refused, and was put to death in consequence.
Tamerlane, moreover, put to death all the other pretended Syuds in the country. One named Shah Hamadan, who really was a descendant of the prophet, accused Tamerlane of impiety, told him that he would not remain in his country, and by virtue of his sanctity was able to transport himself through the air to Cashmere.
He descended where the mosque now stands, and told the Hindoo fakeer, who had possession of the spot, to depart. The latter refused, whereupon Shah Hamadan said that if he would bring-him news. The fakeer, who had the care of numerous idols, immediately dispatched one of them towards heaven, upon which Shah Hamadan kicked his slipper after it with such force that the idol fell to the ground. He then asked the fakeer how he became so great a man. The latter replied, by doing charitable actions, and thereupon Shah Hamadan thought him worthy of being made a convert to Islam. Its narrowness, for it does not exceed thirty feet in width, its walls of massive stone, its heavy single-arch bridges and landing-places of the same material, the gloomy passages leading down upon it, betoken the greatest antiquity; while the lofty and many-storied houses that rise directly from the water, supported only by thin trunks of deodar, seem ready to fall down upon the boat with every gust of wind.
It could not but remind me of the old canals in Venice, and although far inferior in architectural beauty, is, perhaps, of equal singularity. These, however, are very un-Lalla Rookish in appearance, not being distinguishable from beds of reeds and rushes. Their construction is extremely simple, and they are made long and narrow, that they may be the more easily taken in. A floating garden ten yards long by two or three in width, may be purchased for a rupee 50 cents.
Moorcroft has well described the manner in which these gardens are made. The weeds at the bottom, cut by means of a scythe, rise and float on the surface; these are matted together, secured, and strewed with soil and manure; a protecting fence of rushes is allowed to spring up around them,-and upon this platform a number of conical mounds or heaps of weeds are constructed, about two feet in height.