28 AUGUST 1875, Page 16

JUMMOO AND CASHMERE.* [FIRST NOTICE.] TEE Maharaja of Cashmere, as

Englishmen call him, rules over one of the most beautiful countries in the world. His full title is Maharaja of Jummoo and Cashmere, and the district which has more poetry associated with its name than all Hindostan besides is a comparatively small portion of his territory. Its limits include the two districts named in the title of his Highness, with Ladakh, Baltistan, and Gilgit in addition, and it is situated on the edge of the great plain of India, which sweeps unbroken from the mouths of the Ganges to the western part of the Puujab, con- tinuously skirted on the north by the Himalaya range. "It is the last strip of the Main and the wide mass of the mountains on the north of the Punjab that make up the territory," and through all the sinuosities of this plain, and all the defiles, over all the heights of these mountains, Mr. Drew taked the reader of his most interesting and valuable work ; among the strange peoples, and the grand aspects of nature, in that vast area of 68,000 square miles, which encloses a bewildering variety of subjects for study and admiration, and yet holds only a small place in the immensity of India.

It has rarely been our good-fortune to read so lucidly planned a book as Mr. Drew's ; to feel that we have so clear a notion of the position and the physiognomy of any totally strange land, before beginning to examine it piecemeal. This is due to the author's sketch of "the vertical geography" of the whole area ; of the strip of plain on the south-west, continuous with the great level plain of the Punjab, 1,000 feet above the level of the sea; of the strongly defined mountain-line, with a rugged tract behind the first ridge, with parallel loftier ridges and long narrow valleys ; the whole forming what Mr. Drew calls " the region of the Outer Hills." To this succeeds a tract which he calls "the Middle Mountains," occupied by hills from 8,000 to 10,000 feet high, covered with forest or with pasture, and exquisitely beautiful.

• The Jammu and Kashmir Territories: a Geographical Account. By Frederick Drew, F.R.G.S.,F.U.S. London: Edward Stanford.

These are not set in parallel lines, but they ramify, as do the lovely valleys. Then comes a statement, out of which one makes a marvellous picture as one reads

" We now come to more lofty mountain ranges, which rise first to rocky heights, and then to the region of perpetual snow. A great chain of snowy mountains, running south-east and north-west, has summits varying from 27,000 to 15,000 feet ; in one part of it peaks of 20,000 are not uncommon. Branches from this enclose the valley or plain of Kashmir with hills, of which many are 14,000 to 15,000 feet high, the valley encircled by them being 5,000 and 6,000. . . . . . Beyond that great range is the north-western part of Tibet; Ladakh and Baltistan are divisions of it, and Gilgit may be said to belong to it. Here the mountain ranges are of heights of from 17,000 up to 22,000 feet and more, one peak (yet unnamed, though the second highest known in the world) has an altitude of 28,000 feet. The valleys of this region vary much in character; in the south-eastern part they are flat and high- level, but as one goes north-westward their height descends, the space narrows, lofty mountains always bounding them, ultimately to as low as 5,000 feet above the sea. In a few places are table-lands, too wide to be called valleys. There are nlateaus ; one, the Deosai, is 13,000, and another, the Lingzkithing, 17.000 feet above the sea."

It must be a marvellous pleasure to journey through the Valley of Cashmere, with the sense of immense space, but the continuous, majestic, and awful presence of the ultimate-bounding mountains always with one. There the gentlest and most delicately beautiful of the animal and the flower and plant world are in the way of one's footsteps, and the sublimest phenomena of nature, the things whereon weak man may hardly look and live, are on the right hand and the left ; the unnamed mountain—of which the traveller who had seen its supreme grandeur would surely think always as the Mountain of the Shadow of God—and the great depths, from which the hills are like the tremendous waves of the sea seen from the trough between them. In this country the temperature ranges from the more than tropical heat of the Punjab summer to such intensity of cold as keeps perpetual snow on the mountains, whose awful solitudes no puny, presumptuous human life has ever invaded. In the inhabited places the variation is such that " in the lower parts the fashion of the poor of India of going almost unclad is followed ; in the higher, sheepskin coats are wanted for protection against the cold, and people are confined to their houses by snow seven months in the year." In this country there is a district where periodical rains prevail ; a district where they do not reach, but there is rainfall enough for all crops but rice without irrigation ; a district where no crops can be raised without irrigation, but forests grow upon the mountain slopes ; and a nearly rainless tract, where the whole face of the earth is treeless and pastureless, and where no crops can be raised without irrigation, so that the inhabitants of it divide among them the easiest and almost the hardest conditions of human life. We must go to the Lapps or the Esquimaux to find a sterner face turned to her children than that which mother- earth puts on for the people of Ladakh, Baltistan, and Gilgit; and if we want to paint her portrait as the Valley of Cashmere possesses it, we must ask the Eastern poets for the colours of flower and gem, for the smile of the golden sunbeams and the message that came in them.

When the physical features of the country, with all their immense variety of form and character, have been studied, it will be found that the populations are little less various. We, who live in a small country where we never lose the sense of people, cannot but fancy that population must seem trivially accidental in such a land as that. Mr. Drew divides the tribes which dot the lower hills and shelter in the valleys, so far as separation and description of them are possible, into five races of the Aryan family, and three (under the general. head of " Tibetan") of the Turanian. Of each of these races he gives a minute description, in their actual condition, and their history from the earliest ascer- tained period. The completeness of his work is in this respect greater than the reader is led to anticipate from the title-page and the introduction, and from the author's early disclaimer of ethno- logical science. The work is, in fact, a narrative of travel over the whole of the territory under the rule of the Maha- raja of Jummoo and Cashmere, in the course of which Mr. Drew, who was in the service of his Highness as a "geolo- gical investigator," penetrated, in his search for minerals, into corners many of which have not only never been visited by Europeans, but never been seen by any native of any of those countries. It follows the plan of the vertical survey with which it opens, and includes a very interesting history of the dynasty which ruled Jummoo for—ithe natives say-5,030 years, of the famous parvenu Rajah Gulab Singh, under whose single rule countries separated by so many mountain chains, and races so widely different, came to be united ; and of the series of events which have led to the result which the author puts in the following words :—

"Politically, this tract is a Government tributary of the Queen, with relations defined by certain treaties, whose effect is that the ruler is obliged to govern his foreign politics according to the Government of India, while in domestic administration he is nearly independent.'

With the writer, we enter, from the British territory of the Punjab, the region of the Outer Hills—crossing the ravine-riven plain in front of them, where jungle-grass flourishes, and the antelopes so abound that they spread into the cultivated parts, and herd with the cattle—and come, noting every physical feature of the country, its climate, its vegetation, and its people, the Dogma and Chibhalis, to the city of Jummoo, the capital of the Maharaja's country,—which has at last been left almost at the edge of the territory, the additions to the original principality of Jummoo having been made in every direction but that of the Punjab. Jummoo is a curious city, at whose gates travelling on wheels comes to an end, whence onward carriage is performed by camels, pack-horses, elephants, and coolies ; bounded on two sides by a steep cliff overhanging the river-bed, with the palace and buildings perched at the edge of the most precipitous part ; and streets which are a maze of low, single-storied houses—one over- tops them when one rides by on an elephant—narrow shops, many temples—one of them golden-domed, built in memory of Golab Singh—whose tall spires and gilt pinnacles catch the eye from far away on the plain. The forest, full of pig, spotted deer, and neelguy, comes up to the skirts of the town. A chapter is devoted to the daily life of the Maharaja's Court and the public durbar,where the Maharaja sits on a cushion under an arch of the arcade of one of the buildings in the Mundee, a great, irregular square, where all public business is done in the open air, looking down on the crowd of petitioners a few feet below him, and administers justice in person. Here is the picture of the square, which is the centre of the life of the town during the hours of the durbar, when it is thronged by numbers of people of such a variety of races as is not often seen even in India :— Here are men from all parts of the dominion ; some from the higher countries, come to find work at Jummoo when thoir own homes are deep- covered with snow ; others aro here to prosecute a suit, for which purpose they are ready, and sometimes find it necessary, to give up months of their winter. There are Kashmir's and Baltis by scores, Palmas (the men of the Middle Mountains) of various castes, Laclaki3is occasionally ; some recognisable at ones by the cast of their features, others by a characteristic way of keeping the hair; the stalwart, heavy frame of the practised Kashmir' porter, too, is unmistakable. Then from beyond the territories come occasional travellers, as Yarkandi merchants, or pilgrims to Mecca, from farther off still ; while from the west there is a succession of Kabul's and other Pathans or Afghans. Horse merchants from Kabul are always finding their way to Jummoo to sell their animals to the Government, while wild fellows out of the villages of that country or of the neighbouring Yilzufzar come eagerly to take service among the irregulars of the Maharaja's army."

Until noon the place swarms like an ant-hill ; then the offices close, the guard is dismissed, every one goes to dinner and siesta, and the square is deserted for three hours, at the end of which out comes the Maharaja for a ride ; his elephants and horses have been waiting at the palace-gate. If he mounts an elephant one of the Ministers will be by his side, if he rides a horse they will all follow him closely, and some of his orderlies will run on to clear the way, others will run by his side holding on to his saddle- trappings. So the three or four miles' ride will be accomplished, a new building or a temple visited, a hawk flown, or perhaps the Maharaja will pay his respects to his spiritual adviser—whose house is the only one ho ever enters—and the time is filled until the evening durbar, at which conversation alternates with work, the ruler sees people from all parts, and hears what is going on in the world. Things are done in grand style on special durbar days, when the nazars, or presents, are offered (these amount to what is equivalent to a 3-per-cent. income-tax levied on Government servants), and there is a march-past by the three thousand troops. Then the Maharaja and his Court come in procession from the palace to a raised platform at the edge of the parade-ground, where the durbar is held under an awning; their elephants are covered with long velvet cloths, embroidered deep with gold, on which the tray-shaped howdahs, with upright sides, and room for three people to sit cross-legged in each, are mounted ; the horses are caparisoned with velvet and gold saddle-cloths and jewelled head-stalls, and the Maharaja is arrayed in yellow and silver. The author gives a fascinating account of the great festivals, especially of the Dusserah, when the victory of Rama is celebrated, and the variegated colours of the dresses—for it is held at the beginning of the cold weather, and plain white calico and muslin have been discarded—add to the brilliancy of the scene.

A sojourn in this thoroughly Hindu capital, which gives us the idea of extraordinary seclusion even in the vast remoteness of India, must make a European understand the life of the East, in

a way not to be got at on the mixed and modified external side of the Outer Mountains. Within a couple of marches are the

ruins of three Hindu temples, of undefinable antiquity, which, though clearly devoted to the worship of this actual time, for Ganesba, the elephant-god, is prominent among the figures, are quite neglected by the people. We linger willingly with the writer over the scenes which have such charms for the fancy,—the pilgrimages, the royal hunts, the curious festivals in which the deepest philosophy finds the most childish expression ; but he gives the word for the Middle Mountains, and takes us to their lower slopes, to the forests of Himalayan oak, with rhododendron and horse-chestnut among it, and, higher up, of deodar, of silver fir and pine, to the sloping glades of fresh grass dotted with trees, like an English shrubbery; to hill-surrounded plateaus, shaded by superb walnut-trees, with a foaming river and beautiful cascades far below, until, leaving the summer, we rise to altitudes where it is winter, and come to a camp pitched on the north aide of a valley at an altitude of 9,500 feet, and are bidden to look across at a snow-clad slope of 4,000 feet, surmounted by a rock- mountain 13,500 feet high. Surely, to those who see this with their bodily eyes it must seem to be the end of the world, the ultimate shutting-out of all things. Every stage of the march from Jummoo to Cashmere is full of interest,

furnished by the places and the people ; the story of Kishtwar is a chronicle of stubborn fight, and the description of the plain,

enclosed by high mountains, enamelled with gorgeous flowers on close green grass, set with beautiful villages shaded by huge plane-trees, and divided by hedge-rows of red, yellow, and white roses, and commanding a view of a wonderful waterfall, whose spray-shrouded volume leaps from a cliff 3,000 feet high, is quite entrancing. Indeed, the entire journey through the Middle Mountain region is so, and not without its thrilling suggestions of danger ; the rope-bridges, with roaring torrents beneath them, which sway in the always high wind, are rather fearful to think of. The people of Pedal., their history, the deodar forests, the great temple of Rtigiori ; the Ratan Peer, or Pass (an appella- tion which the author ingeniously accounts for in a note to page 157), the gradual descent of thousands of feet to Heerpoor, partly through woodland paths where violets, strawberries, forget-me- nots, and buttercups abound, occupy us delightfully, until the writer tells us how, between what, as compared with the moun- tains, are mere banks, he enjoyed his first view of the long- looked-for country of Cashmere.