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THE HIMALAYAN DISTRICTS OF KOOLOO, LAHOUL, AND SPITI

     

     CHAPTER I -  INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

    In September 1869, I addressed Mr. Thornton, Secretary to Punjab Government, as to the advisability of my furnishing a Report on Kooloo, and in reply I was informed, that a " full report on Kooloo would be thankfully received, and probably printed at Government expense; " and Colonel Coxe, the Commissioner of the Division, in his letter of 8th October 1869, to address of the Deputy Commissioner of' Kangra suggested that I should throw, what he was good enough to consider, the "interesting matter " contained in my diaries as Assistant-Commissioner of Kooloo, into the form of a report, that " might be submitted officially to Government."
     I have, therefore, during the last year of my term of office in Kooloo, been diligently engaged in collecting facts of more general interest regarding the people and country, which have been so immediately under my care for now nearly two years. It mas at first my intention to merely collate such information as I could acquire into the form of a report, but I found the work grew in my hands, and I became convinced that no mere report could do justice to the subject matter, which daily increased in volume. It may be, and probably will be, urged that there surely cannot be much to tell of a country like Kooloo, known to few, and occupying such a very insignificant place in the geography or history of India; but it is to be recollected, that within the subdivision is comprised an area of over 6,000 square miles; that the district now known as Kooloo mas once the territory of an independent line of sovereigns, some eighty of whom sat on the throne, many of them holding sway over every ruler in their vicinity; that three distinct races, at least, reside in its present limits ; that the climate, scenery, the country, and the people are unlike what are to be found anywhere else in India; and, finally, that this large extent of British dominion has not to this day, I believe, been ever reported on in its entirety by any one of the officers who have had charge of the subdivision. 

    I am fully aware that, while I may consider Kooloo a very interesting land, and that no pains can be too great in eliciting everything concerning it, there may be not a few who will fail to see the necessity of entering so fully into what they may deem to be, comparatively speaking, petty details; but whether or not my time has been wasted in compiling these papers, I must leave to my readers to decide. I have endeavoured to make this account of Kooloo as succinct as possible ; and I have purposely desisted from writing more amply on the history of the country, and various other points that might, perhaps, have been legitimately dilated upon, but it was necessary to draw the line somewhere, and I have been obliged to content myself with what, after all, is but a bare outline of the more important, or more interesting, matters that have come under my observation. 
    It was, at one time, my desire to have first written the history of Kooloo, the rough notes of which I hare for a long time had by me; but there were difficulties regarding dates, which I have not yet been able to clear up, and as I had not timed this year * to do both the History and the General Account of the subdivision, I have elected to postpone the former till a more fitting opportunity may occur. Much might have been added to the chapters on religions, languages, &c., and an account of the legendary tales and peculiar customs existing in parts of the district would alone almost make up a respectable volume; but often, when on the point of entering more fully on these particulars, I have held my hand, fearing that my readers' patience might, perhaps, have been already too unduly taxed. Doubtless it will be remarked that there is hardly any notice taken in these pages of the Central Asian trade, but this omission has been intentional.
    I could have told but little that the public are not aware of already, and, although the commerce that finds a passage between the Punjab and East Turkestan certainly takes the route vid Kooloo, yet the subject can hardly be deemed a local one and its due consideration will always remain more fittingly with the officer deputed as British agent to Ladakh. But my main reason for keeping silence on the trade question is that this subject is not one that can be dismissed in a few paragraphs, nor can it be deemed altogether germane to a report, intended more particularly to set forth the social customs and manners of the people in this subdivision. 
    I have, in fact, had to make a selection as to the points on which I could write with the clearest knowledge; and, in choosing those that I believed to be of greater general interest, I have necessarily had to leave out much that might, with propriety, have been treated upon. It is with extreme regret that I shall resign, on my approaching departure for England, the charge of Kooloo, a tract of country which, taking it all in all, is not, I believe, equalled out of Europe ; but I shall not have been there nor shall I have written in vain, if these papers may haply serve to draw fuller attention to its matchless scenery and fine climate, which have not, as yet, been nearly so fully appreciated as they deserve to be. My acknowledgments to the various gentlemen to whom I am indebted for information have been recorded, I believe, in each instance, and I can only again repeat here my thanks for the assistance I have derived from their works. 

    CHAPTER II. The situation of Kooloo, its subdivisions, Area of Kooloo and of each of its subdivisions, with cultivated area, revenue, and population

    The outlying district of Kooloo, comprising the minor subdivisions of Kooloo proper, or the Upper Bess valley, Wuzeeri-Rupi, Seoraj (Seraj), Lahoul, and Spiti, forms a portion of the Deputy-Commissionership of Kangra, than which, however, it is nearly three times as large, and from which it is distant some eighty miles. Considering this tract of country as one compact whole, it may be said to lie between 31" 20' and 32" 55' lat. and 76" 60' and 78" 35' longitude. being bounded on the north by Ladakh, on the east by Chinese Tartary, on the south by Bussahir and the small states of Kotghur(Kotgarh), Komharsen(Kumarsain), and Shangri, the river Sutlej being the dividing line; Suket, Mundee (Mandi ), Bara Bunghal (an almost inaccessible offshoot of the Kangra district), and Chumba following each other in succession up its western side. 
    The total area of Kooloo is 6,025 square miles, and the tables annexed will serve to show how this area is distributed, with the revenue derivable from the subdivision, and such other statistics as may properly be here recorded ; * the whole country being divided off into what in local parlance are termed " kothees," which vary in size and in the amount of revenue they respectively pay in to the State. In the Upper Beas valley there are seventeen " kothees," in Wuzeeri-Rupi six, in Seoraj twenty-five, in Lahoul fourteen, and in Spiti five; each of which has its own headman with assistants, whose separate powers and functions will be treated on hereafter.
    A glance at the map will at once portray how completely on the north, north-west, east, and south-east, the entire district here referred to is enclosed by mountains. Commencing with Lahoul, we find that to the west a lofty range separates that country from Chumba, there being but one break, through which flows the Chundra Bagha; the mountains sweeping round to the southeast constituting the boundary-line between Kooloo and Lahoul, and in an irregular line trending down still to the south-east, where they flank the southern shore of the river Chundra. 
    Reverting again to the northern frontier, we find the Bara Lacha range, which to the north stretches in gentle slopes to the rivers Ling-ti and Tserap, and then in a series of loft; peaks, falls away to the south, skirting the left bank of the river Chundra, and sending its spurs to meet those that splay off from the direction of the Rohtung  Pass. The line of mountains that hem in Spiti to the north, and separate it from Ladakh,is a continuation of the Bara Lacha range, that in rude angles pierces' upwards to the north, and then falls again to the south-east, and, under the name of the Parung range, leads towards the Sutledj. 
    This river, however, never impinges on Spiti, the southern boundary of which is the huge Manirung chain, that divides it from Bussahir. Between these two ranges flows the Spiti river. Running up between Spiti on one side, and Seoraj, Wuzeeri-Rupi, and Kooloo on the other, rises a line of heights, which, commencing at the south-westernmost point in Spiti, bears to the north-west till the Rohtung range is touched, just above the village of Juggutsookh, in the Upper Beas valley. Commencing from the snowy peak M (20,356 feet), which may be considered nearly the most northern point of this portion of the subdivision, the Rohtung chain penetrates upwards for two miles, and then to the south-west for four more; and as it passes onward to the north-east, to form the boundary-line between Bara Bunghal and Lahoul, it throws off a line of mountains that, with many lofty peaks, run south by east, dividing Bara Bunghal, Chota Bunghal, and Mundee from Kooloo proper ; becoming much reduced in size, is regards their altitude, as they press further south, till, at peak Madanpur (9,149 feet), they wind off altogether into the Mundee state. From Madanpur, the boundary of Mundee runs due east by Bajoura, on the bank of the Beas, that river forming the territorial limit of Kooloo (Wuzeeri-Rupi), down to Larjee, where it is joined by the Tirthan from the south-east ; and along this, and its tributary the Bah, the frontier line running due south, continues till it is cut across by the Jalouri range, twenty-five miles as the crow flies, from the point of contact with the Beas at Bajoura. Mundee, still conterminous with Kooloo, remains so for six miles more to the south, following the course of a branch of the Bisna, which at Baito village flows into Sookhaet territory, and shortly after joins the Sutledj bdween Fareenoo and Bang. 
    The boundary-line now runs up the right bank of the Sutledj, that comes down from the north-east, until, after thirty miles, the Kunrad joins the latter from the north, forming the frontier between Kooloo and Bussahir. To the north of this, Spiti runs side by side with Seoraj, the mountains attaining a more imposing height rather to the south-east of the Rohtung range. Kooloo proper consists of the whole of the north-west part of the country, the limits of which have just been given; the Malauna (Malana) and Parbuttee (Parvati) streams separating the Upper Beas valley from Wuzeeri-Rupi, that includes the upper portion of the Parbuttee valley, and all to the south of the Parbuttee river and east of the Beas, up to the Larjee torrent, which falls into the Beas at Larjee  Seoraj forming the southern extremity of the subdivision, a species of rough triangle closed in on its southern face by the Sutledj. The whole of Lahoul may not inaptly be termed a network of mountains, which intersect it in every direction; and the numerous glaciers, no less than twenty-three in number, form a fair index as to the heights of the ranges that encircle them. 
    On the western side, however, the mountains attain to no great altitude, there being but one peak (Ghasa black cone) over 19,000 feet above the sea-level. In the Bara Lacha range there are many lofty peaks over 18,000 feet in height, and two that are upwards of 20,000 feet. The Rohtang range will be considered as part, of Kooloo proper, and I may therefore pass on to notice the mass of mountains that fill up the space between the Bhaga and Chandra rivers. 

    This area is one great icebed, broken here and there by lofty heights of impassable rock and snow, that tower to a greater altitude than is elsewhere to be found in Lahoul. At the western shore of the Chandra rises one peak 21,415 feet above the sea-level, to the south of which stretches avast glacier, twelve miles in length, that is met by another of even greater dimensions more to the south, the Shigri heights ascend, in several instances, to over 20,000 feet; and following the right bank of the Chandra, we find that river flanked on its northern side by a tier of peaks, the loftiest of which, " Snowy-cone Gaphan," stands 19,212 feet above sea-level. 
    In Spiti, the mountains attain a higher elevation than they do in the sister valley, the Parung range containing one peak, the loftiest in the entire subdivision, marked in the map at 23,064 feet in height, and many in its vicinity are upwards of 20,000 feet above sea-level. It would but weary the reader to refer to every cluster of such peaks; they are to be found interspersed through Spiti; two on its western side are over 21,000 feet in altitude, and the range that bounds it to the south forms but another the gigantic barrier that culminates at Manirung snowy peak, 21,646 feet in height. 
    And yet, extraordinary to say, although Spiti is so crowded with a chain on a chain of tremendous mountains, there is in the whole country but one glacier, and that a small one, lying to the north of the Manirung Pass. Kooloo is nearly as much shut in by hills as are Lahoul and Spiti. The Rohtang range to the north has one peak (M) 20,356 feet in height; Deotiba, to the east, is 20,417 feet ; and the line of the watershed between Kooloo and Spiti, to the east, has some very noticeable altitudes, which were referred to more ' particularly when Spiti was under discussion. 
    On the west, the mountains, after leaving the Rohtang range, gradually diminish in height, leaving the south-west portion of the district comparatively open. In the interior, the spurs of the encircling mountains splay out into the lower parts of the valley, subsiding into lengthened sweeps of arable land as they approach the Beas ; but the eastern portion of Wuzeeri-Rupi is almost to the full as rugged as is Spiti, or Lahoul; and in Seoraj the offshoots of the snowy range stretch, in two distinct though somewhat broken chains, to the western limits of that tract. 
    The river Chandra rises in the Bara Lacha Pass, in Lahoul, at 16,221 feet above sea level, and, after a south-easterly course of over, thirty miles, turns towards the northwest, being joined by the Bagha at Tandi, eighty miles from its source, the fall up to this point being sixty-five feet per mile. From Tandi, under the name of the Chandra Bagha, it flows on for twelve miles more through Lahoul, passing into Chumba at Jolang, through a break in the range between Chumba and Lahoul, joining the Indus at Mithancote; its "length from source to junction," says Cunningham, " being 950 miles." From a huge bed of snow on the south-eastern slopes of the Bara Lacha Pass, springs the Chundra, which from its commencement is a stream of some size, and quite unfordable a mile from its source. 
    Flowing in a south-easterly direction, it passes through a wild and barren land, where there are no signs of life, the solemn mountains, capped with eternal snow, lying on either side; and thus ushered into existence under such awe-inspiring auspices, it dashes its foaming waters by glacial banks of snow, vast reaches of gravel and decomposed rock, and here stretching into a mighty flood, again subsides into a more stealthy strength, as its icy tide flows onward through a country famed but for sterility and that colossal grandeur that can only be imparted by vast mountains. No villages adorn its banks, no attempt at cultivation is to be seen, and nothing meets the eye but the never-ending and monotonous cliffs that sweep down in contorted masses to the seething stream, which laps in fierce anger against the banks, and tears them in its wrath as it rushes on. Fram either side come to it tributaries of a character like its own, and, after a course of thirty miles, it suddenly turns sharply to the west, here being overhung by the glittering Shigri peaks; and now its bed attains its greatest width, and the valley through which the river rolls are on its southern shore moderately level; but still, on the right hand and on the left, rise up the everlasting snows, cresting a disintegrated rock lying below, that ever and anon crumbles from the mass, and crushes with a dull roar into the desert underneath, but to add to the debris that is ever crowding over to the river's edge. 

    In several channels the waters flow on till they reach what has been termed the Shigri glacier, though Shigri is the local term for any glacier; and here it is said that, in 1 836, the vast accretions of ice bursting forth from the mountains on the left bank of the stream, flung themselves across the river, damming it up for months. The barrier was, however, eventually, burst, and the accumulated waters poured onwards, carrying destruction in their rush. Cunningham does not, in his " Ladakh," altitude to the cataclysm of 'the Chandra and I have not been able to obtain any certain information on this interesting event. There can be little doubt, judging from the quantity of ice collected on the flanks of the mountains that bound the river, that at any day such a disaster may spin occur, but no power on earth could avert the catastrophe. 
    The Shigri glacier is, to outward appearance, a mere mass of earth anil rock; but, on the side towards the river, it presents a wall of solid ice, and, as its surface is traversed, glittering depths of green ice are occasionally to be met with. In the early morning, when the sun has had little power to melt the ice, the passage of the glacier is comparatively easy, though I doubt whether it would be ever possible to ride over it, for every step has to be conned over, and, as I counted 3,648 of these when I walked over it in August 1860, it might be safe to put the width of the Shigri at nearly two miles. The glacier is steadily subsiding, and every year is getting lower and lower. Further down, and on the same bank of the stream, are the remains of another glacier, which, from the accounts of the Spiti people, broke across the Chundra some eighty years ago; and it is an asserted fact that the road into Kooloo by the left bank of the Chandra has more than once had to be given up in consequence of the track being completely obliterated by glaciers. 
    Now turning to the north-west, the Chandra, shortly after leaving Shigri, passes Koksur, an offshoot of the larger village twelve miles below, two wretched huts, inhabited in the summer only, being the first signs of human life to be met with a small extent of birch forest growing halfway up the mountain-side to the south. Three miles above the real village of Koksur is a resthouse and out-offices, and now the river enters on a less uninviting country, for in its passage onward the valley widens considerably in several places, and there is a good deal of cultivated ground on the right bank, while on the left, there are a few scattered trees, and near the junction with the Bagha, opposite Tandee, these clumps collect together near the village of Muling into a tolerably extensive forest. The greater portion of the entire valley of the Chandra is a desert, in which nothing but grass can grow, and in some of the upper reaches, numerous flocks of sheep and goats are annually fed. Some twenty-five miles from its source, the river passes a lake on its left bank, called Chandra-dul, a refreshing sheet of placid green water, about a mile long and as much broad, to the north of which is a plain of fairly good grass. 
    This little oasis, sheltered from the bitter winds and rejoicing, from its position, in an almost tolerable climate, is a favorite halting-place for shepherds, who bring up large herds from Kangra and Kooloo. * As Gondola is approached, the country opens; and hereabouts is a good deal of ' cultivation, while the hamlets are larger, and the houses, too, are better built, and are, besides, hemmed in by trees, the people and the willow both growing to some size. On the north side of the valley, the mountains take a gentler slope than they do towards Koksur; but on the left bank of the river they rise in almost perpendicular blocks, their peaks, unless where the snow still clings, showing gaunt and specter-like. The scenery now becomes very striking, the heights opposite to Gondla ascending to over 20,000 feet in altitude; and between the tremendous hollows in the chasms are masses of snow, which lies piled up heap on heap, from out of which tear cascades that are lost in the gorges underneath. 

    Almost exactly in front of the encamping-ground is one lofty peak, its summit crested with eternal snow, which, in the deeper recesses, has clotted together into an ice-field which impends over the vale, threatening at any moment to sweep over the beetling crags on to the grassy slopes below. Lower down than this, as Cunningham happily puts it, "the bed of the Chandra becomes exceedingly narrow, and the mountains are bare, bleak, and wild, and blasted as if freshly risen from the innermost and fiery depths of the earth," the limestone strata on the left bank being colored and contorted in the most extraordinary manner. The Bagha rises on the north-west side of the Bara Lacha Pass, and flowing in a north-westerly direction, join the Chundra near Tandee, after a course of forty-five miles, with a fall of about 125 feet per mile. A mile from its source, it enters the Suraj-dul, a lake about a mile and a half in circumference, 16,000 feet above sea-level, and escaping through this, flows, for ten or eleven miles, to rather below Zingzingbar, a barren encamping-ground on the road to Leh from Lahoul, and then turning round to the southwest passes Darcha, the last inhabited spot in Lahoul, where it is joined by the Zanskar river (the Kado Tokpo of the map) from the west; and here the Bagha increases in size and its bed is of great breadth, but it again narrows near Keylong, below which the stream takes a westerly course prior to its junction with the Chandra at Tandee. 
    The lower part of the Bagha valley, towards the villages of Rielung, Kardung, and Baelung, is rich in cultivation, large tracts of level arable land lying between the mountains, and reaching to the river, which, in the latter, a portion of its course, is confined between steep banks of siliceous rock, through which it pours with great velocity. At Darcha, the most northerly village in the entire subdivision, cultivation becomes more scanty, and beyond this point dies away altogether, while the growth of pencil-cedar, willow, people, and kyle,* to be met with below, now ceases entirely, and, to quote from Cunningham, the mountains on the left bank of the Bagha " look barren and hideous and scathed as with fire, with bare and frightful precipices, so steep that even the snow cannot rest upon them;" but above rising snowy peaks of great beauty, which relieves the landscape, if not from its sterility, at any rate from its drear monotony. 
    The Lingti river, considered by Cashmere as the boundary between Lahoul and Ladakh, rises considerably to the north-west of the Bara Lacha Pass, and has a south-eastern course till joined by the Yunam, when it turns to the north; the Sarchu, which, as does the Yunam, springs from the northern slopes of this pass, meeting it a little further on, the combined waters passing the encampment of Lingti (14,213 feet), and falling into the Tserap a few miles to the north. The Tserap rises to the north-west of the Taklingla (pass), in Spiti, and is not, strictly speaking, in our territory; but it receives, on its north-westerly course, several large tributaries; and after its junction with the Lingti, turns to the north, and passes away into Ladakh. The country watered by these latter rivers is utterly waste, and contains no inhabitants. The Zanskar rises in the extreme north of Lahoul, a little to the north-west of the Singo-la (pass), and with a south-easterly flow of over twenty miles, falls into the Bagha at Darcha. 
    There are no signs of human habitation throughout its entire course. There are other minor streams in Lahoul, which need no special notice, such as the Milang, that joins the Bagha below Darcha from the south-east., and the Baelung, with a great flow of water in the rainy season, that enters the same river at Baelung, a few miles above the junction of the Bagha and the Chandra. The Sutlej can hardly be called one of the rivers of Kooloo, for it merely runs along the southern boundary of the subdivision for a distance of some thirty miles. It rises in Lake Manasorawa, about lat. 30" 35' and long. 81" 35'. Up to its confluence with the Spiti river, Cunningham gives its length at 280 miles, with a fall of 33.8 feet per mile. Passing into the native state of Belaspore(Bilaspur), it reaches Ropar, 560 miles from its source, when, taking an easterly direction for 120 miles, it flows a broad and mighty river by Loodiana(Ludhiana) and Philor, being joined by the Beas at Hari-ka-Patan, beyond which, says Cunningham, its the course is to the south-west for 400 miles to its junction with the Chenab opposite. The whole length of the Sutlej is 1,080 miles, or 130 miles more than that of the Chenab. c6 On the 10th of November, 1762, the shoulder of a vast mountain near Seoni fell into the river," to quote again from Cunningham, " and for forty days the stream was dammed-up completely. People were stationed on the banks to give notice of the breaking of the barrier, which took place on the 19th of December of the same year. 
    No lives were lost on this occasion, but a great deal of property was destroyed." The one principal stream in Spiti is the river of the same name, which rises in the the northern extremity of the district, at the foot of a snowy peak (K III.), 20,073 feet in height, and after a south-easterly course of ten miles is joined from the south-west by the Lichu, that drains the mountains on either side of the Kunzum Pass. The Spiti then turns to the east, and, in a very broad bed, the stream flowing in many channels continue in the same direction for thirteen miles, receiving some considerable additions en route, when at this point it is joined by the Lagudarsi from the north, and turning to the south-east, with but one slight deflection to the west, approaches Mani, the distance of eighty-eight miles more when it loses its broad bed and with several twists, winds to the north-east, then again to the south-east, and close to Lari, the last village in Spiti takes an easterly course into Bussahir, turning finally to the south, about five miles after quitting Spiti, and entering the Sutlej opposite the village of Khab; its complete length from source to the mouth being estimated, in round numbers, at upwards of 120 miles, with a fall of over sixty feet per mile. 

    The length of the Spiti valley, from Losur village, where it first affords habitation for man, to Mani village, at the foot of the Manirung Pass is about fifty miles, and there are other valleys, such as the Peen, the Parung, and the Lingti, which, with the continuation of the Spiti valley to the east, are all inhabited, though only in the parbs which approach the main river. Besides these, there are several other valleys, which, From their elevation and the rigorous climate therein prevailing could never be made available for human residence. Spiti, except at its most southern extremity is entirely destitute of timber, though near Losur there is a photo stunted and a scattered tree or so in a few of the villages; but the country is much wider and more open than in Lahoul; and the mountains ascend from the plain in gentle slopes. 

    The landscape is, in truth, exceedingly striking, and the scenery in parts is very grand. From Kaxeh to Dhunkur, for instance, the road, turning to the left, runs under some enormous clay pillars, the river sweeping onward in many a curve till lost to view behind projecting promontories; hills rise gradually to the left, and in hard and rugged outline to the right of the stream, and in the background lies a range of splendid snow-clad peaks, through which runs the Manirung Pass leading into Bussahir. Further down, a soil of clay and bold rock has to be traversed, from out of which uprise rough monumental like masses that are not a little peculiar in appearance, for they are crenelated and honeycombed all over with deep holes and apertures, as if scooped out by art, supporting on their summits great boulders of stone, which, in all probability, have kept the masses underneath from wearing altogether away. " Along the course of the Spiti river " (to quote from a journal by Mr. Theobald, junior, published in the " Asiatic Society's Journal " for 1862) " are seen old river-terraces or deposits of shingle and sand, coarse and feebly stratified, and reaching a height of some 400 feet above the present river level. Behind these regular deposits, and both from beneath and also encroaching over them, rise almost mountainous accumulations of debris, precipitated by the frost from the abruptly scarped limestone cliffs bounding the valley. 

    The height of this gravelly mass mainly depends on that of the cliff at whose base it has accumulated, but not uncommonly reaches to 1,500 or 2,000 feet above the river." The most curious feature regarding the Spiti river is the extreme width of its bed, which, in places is nearly one mile in breadth, the stream itself, for the most part of its course, being both narrow and very shallow, and perfectly destitute of the boulders which, in the other rivers of the subdivision, are so numerous. "The bed of the Spiti river," says Captain Hay, " is so deep as to prevent its waters being any assistance to the people in cultivating; they depend entirely upon the small streams from the mountains feeding their ' kools.' " * He also makes allusion to "the immense beds of debris forming plateaus of sometimes two miles in length, and from half to one mile in breadth, on which a quantity of calcareous deposit has been formed." The tributaries of the Spiti are numerous, and of some size; but they flow, for the most part, through desolate tracts of country. From the north, the Kibjuna, the Tanmu, the Lagudarsi (the last rising in the Takling-la Pass), the Parung (from the Parung-la Pass), the Shilla, and the Lingti (over thirty miles in length, with a bed eighty yards in width), fall into the Spiti on its left shore ; while from the south come the Gyundi (over twenty miles in length), that rises at the foot of a snowy peak 21,772 feet in height; the Rohtang, longer than the last, and one or two smaller streams, which all join the parent river in the upper portion of its course, and which perhaps might more appropriately be termed torrents. " Some of their beds are very remarkable, from 300 to 500 yards wide, quite straight and parallel, like the banks of a canal, and the debris, in some instances, from 200 to 300 feet above the water level." --(Hay.) 

    The most important tributary of the Spiti is the Peen river, that rises in the most south-western point of Spiti, at the foot of what is marked on the map as "Snowy Peak No. 1," flowing in a north-easterly direction for nearly twenty miles, when it turns to the north, receiving many smaller rivulets on either side. For twenty-five miles more its the course is north by east, receiving near Sungnum, ten miles from its mouth, the Parakio, or Parakees, which has had a line nearly parallel to its own, and which conveys about an equal volume of water. The width of the Peen, near its mouth, varies from 300 to 800 yards, and its length, from source to the junction with the Spiti, above Dhunkur, is over forty-five miles. Nearly the whole course of the Peen and its tributaries are through a vast waste, where human foot has never trod. The Beas rises at the crest of the Rohtang, 13,325 feet above the sea, and in its descent dom tho Kooloo side of the pass it is joined by other streams, and, with a course nearly due south, flows to Larjee, a distance in all of sixty-three miles, its fall up to this being 125.3 feet per mile. At Larjee it leaves Kooloo, and, turning to the south-west, enters Mundee, eventually joining the Sutlej at Hari-ka-Patan, near Ferozepur. 

    Just below Bajoura, the Beas forms the boundary-line, for thirteen miles from this point to Larjee, between Mundee and Wuzeeri-rupi. The entire length of the Beas is 350 miles. This noble river springs into existence from out a block of mica-slate on the summit of the Rohtang Pass, and from its very source forms a notable contrast to the Chandra, for almost from its infancy, its course is marked by beauties of no mean order. Winding in a narrow rivulet over the pass which gives it birth, it is first brought prominently to notice as it plashes its puny stream over the rocky wall that runs athwart the line of the ascent of the Rohtang, and collecting more strength as it advances, it bears towards the foot of the pass, leaping over the boulders in it,s path, and is for a time lost to sight as it penetrates a line of cliffs that, thickly adorned with birch, hide it from view, till, in a thundering cascade above Ralla, it hurls itself, with a fall of over forty feet, into the narrow channel beneath. Forest's of pine now engirt its banks, and, with many a turn and bend, it flows to the south towards a point between Ralla and Pulchan, where a sufficiently curious the spectacle presents itself; for here the river plunges into a vast chasm, enclosed on either side by a precipitous barrier of rock not twenty feet apart, and often almost touching. 

    It is with no small sensations of dread that one stands on the tottering rafters which connect the two shores; below roars the chafing stream, at a depth of upwards of 100 feet; the further one peers down, the more intense being the darkness, till faintly the surging foam of the fretting waters is to be perceived, as they dash with fury against the walls of the confining rock, and hasten away, in clashing tumult, to be lost as it wherein the very bowels of the earth. For some 300 yards the Beas races through this almost subterranean passage, when it again bounds into the sunlight, its exit on the further side being most strikingly beautiful, seen as it is through a dense growth of woodland, that clings to either lofty cliff, and hangs over the river in a connecting arch. The Beas has now entered into the Kooloo, or Upper Beas valley, to which the noble the stream has fittingly given its name. Descending lower, the Beas, confined in a compact bed is encompassed on either side by scarped rocks, that appear as if they had been riven apart by some vast force of nature, at a period when the now petty rivulet was the mighty river, bearing everything before it. 

    In every nook where there is space, stand tier on tier of pines of every description common to these hills; while rising behind the opposite bank to the south is a line of cedars, which break the lower depths of the wooded mountains to the rear. Two miles below, another river, larger than the Beas join it with an impetuous roar. This is the Serahi of the maps and the Beas Khund of the natives; for the Serahi is, in fact, but a small tributary of the latter. From this point of junction to close on Sooltanpore, a distance of about twenty-three miles, the Beas-its volume added to on either side by several feeders--presents the spectacle of beauty which can hardly be excelled; the river and the valley are in perfect harmony. Sweeping down, in grand lines, comes the mountains, covered almost to their summits with dense forests of deodar, tosh, mc, kyle,* walnut, and plane, their sides are broken by beetling cliff and rushing waterfall while interspersed here and there are to be seen the homesteads of the peasantry, embowered in groves of mighty pine-trees, the Swiss-like architectural details of the houses bringing to one's mind scenes very far remote from the East. 

    Most of the available ground for cultivation is laid out in fields, which rise in terraces, one over the other; but the monotony of these is relieved by the luxuriant vegetation, that breaks the hard lines of uniformity, and renders the waving crops but an additional feature in the landscape. Towering far over the hills which guard the valley, rise the mountains of the Snowy Range. To the north, over the Rohtang Pass can be seen the jagged twin peaks of Gaphan, in Lahoul; to the north-east, across the Humta Pass, leading into Spiti, is the Humta spurs; and to the west lie the Bara Banghal heights, some of which are never throughout the year entirely divested of snow. Below, through the center of the valley, sweeps the Beas, with a never-ceasing roar. Bounding over rock and boulder, and separating here to tear round some pretty the sylvan island, it joins its waters again on the further side, and rolling, tumbling, and .frothing, with many an eddy, whirlpool, and rapid, it fights its way past Sooltanpore, where for the first time it begins to moderate its force. 

    Journeying up the river, the road is hemmed in nearly the whole way by large trees that grow in great luxuriance, now and again occurring open, lawn-like plots, carpeted with the richest green grass. Looking down the valley from Menalee, the rich prospect of hill and dale stretches out ; and turn where one may, a series of most enchanting views are to be met with. Mountains rise over mountains, the great army of cedars becoming more and more scattered as the higher altitudes are approached, till there they disappear, and snowy ridges break the sky-line; nearer are thick forests of pine and cedar, which holds their own with a tenacious grasp on every knoll and coign of vantage, descending in serried phalanxes into the vales below, broken, or rather relieved, by masses of rock or more pleasantly by picturesque villages, hiding, like coy beauties, in the woodland that veils and yet enhances their charms. Range succeeds range, all alike lavishly endowed by the unsparing hand of nature, that has, in truth, appeared to have swept all the most winning aspects from the surrounding districts, .but to lavish them with an abundant care upon the Upper Beas valley, where forest, waterfall, and river are all blended together by the soft, purply haze which hangs lightly over the lower reaches. At Sooltanpore the Beas is a noble stream, and it gradually increases in width till it nears Bajoura, when it again narrows, and threads the vale that winds between Wuzeeri-Rupi on its left, and Mundee on its right bank. 

    The aspect of the scenery now changes; the mountains crowd up in ascend-' ing precipices, that run down to the river's edge, many hundred feet below the road ; and while, on the Mundee side, there are villages and a sprinkling of the forest, on the other shores there is naught for the eye to rest on but steep grassy ascents, almost inaccessible to man or beast, and between Bajoura and Larjee, Dulashnee is the only village. The Parbuttee, the largest affluent of the Beas, rises at the foot of Snowy Peak N (20,515 feet), and in the first part of its, the course runs in a north-westerly direction till joined by a stream of nearly equal dimensions from the north-east, when it sweeps round to the west, and, passing Manikurn, is joined, just below this, by the Malauna torrent, also from the north-east; and now turning to the south-west, it enters the Beas near Tia, halfway between Sooltanpore and Bajoura. 

    The Parbuttee, in its earlier stages, winds through a country which is the counterpart of that traversed by the Peen in Spiti, there being no signs of cultivation anywhere; but as Manikurn, fifty miles from its source, is approached, scattered villages appear, and the mountains become well wooded; and from this to its mouth, a distance of forty miles more, every available plot of ground is brought under the plough, while the forests become very extensive. The scenery is wilder and in some places more striking, than that in the Upper Beas valley, the snowy ranges to the east and south forming magnificent backgrounds to the beautiful glens that stretch upwards from the river-side; but although there are numerous forests, and the valley maybe considered well timbered, yet there occur occasionally very large spaces that are either destitute of trees or cultivation, or are terraced with fields right down to the river, which again is mt girt in so heavily with the alder and the deodar as is the Beas in Kooloo proper. 

    The crops in this valley are particularly fine, and it is, for its area, well-populated. The Saraburi rises below " Snowy Peak 15,108," and flows in a south-easterly direction for thirty miles, past Kuronw resthouse, to Sooltanpore, entering the Beas immediately to the south of that town. It is so far a noticeable stream, as it runs along the Main Trade Line down the Bubboo (Bhubu)Pass. ' The Surburi valley is very much shut-in, the enclosing mountains rising to a considerable altitude on either side, the range on the left bank being sparsely clothed with timber, which, however, is sufficiently plentiful on the opposite shore.

    There are not many villages in the valley, which in several places present some fine points of scenery. The Hotel rises in the lower spurs of the range that divides Spiti from Wuzeeri-Rupi, and with a south-westerly course of thirty-five miles, enters the Beas just opposite Bajoran. The features of the valley through which this stream flows are much the same as those of the Parbuttee valley. The river Larjee descends from the western flank of Snowy Peak No. I., from which the Peen, in Spiti, takes its rise on the other side. This is a considerable stream, nearly as large as the Parbuttee, and has a course in an easterly direction of nearly seventy-five miles, joining the Beas at Larjee, twenty-three miles to the south of Sooltanpore. The . Larjee is met by several smaller torrents, the one that falls into it near Tagwarcha village from the north-west, twenty miles from its junction with the Beas, being of some size. It forms the boundary between Wuzeeri-Rupi and Seoraj. 

    The Larjee valley has many features in common with that of the Parbuttee, but it is narrower and less thickly populated. The Tirthan rises to the south-west of Snowy Peak No. 1, between Spiti and Seoraj, and for the first thirty-two miles flows to the south-west, when, being met by a considerable tributary at Bundul village, it bears away to the north-west, and, passing Plach, after an entire course of sixty-two mil&, enters the La jee stream at Larjee for the last eighteen miles, or from Munglor to Larjee, forming the boundary between Mundee a.nd Seoraj. Near Plach it is joined by the Chata from the south-east, and at Munglor by the Bah, which has each a the course of over twenty miles, the latter stream being the continuation of the frontier line between Seoraj and Mundee. For the first twenty-five miles the Tirthan passes through a sterile country, but then the valley lowers, and villages become numerous, but the scenery throughout is nowhere equal to that found in the line of the Beas or the Parbuttee. 

    There are, however, some considerable ranges of the forest, and this part of Seoraj is densely inhabited. From Plach to Larjee the Tirthan passes through a very narrow vale, and, as Larjee is neared, the villages are far between and high up above the roadway, while the forests disappear altogether, giving place to bare stretches of grass. The Arni river rises in the southern spurs of the Jalouri range, in Seoraj, and, after a south-westerly course of nearly thirty miles, joins the Bisna, close to Tumun village. The scenery of the country watered by the Arni deserves no special comment. There are many considerable forests, and villages are numerous, but the landscape has not many features of interest. The Bisna, in Seoraj, rises to the south of the Jalouri range, immediately opposite the Bah, that runs into the Tirthan at Munglor, and, flowing south, forms, for ten miles, the boundary-line between Seoraj and Mundee, and, for the remaining fourteen of its course, between the former and Sookhet, it is joined by the Arni, which has a larger volume than its own, at Tumun, and enters the river Sutlej between the villages of Fareenoo and Banoo. The Kurpan is a considerable stream, forty miles in length, which, rising to the south of the Jalouri range flows almost due south, joining the Sutlej opposite Datnagar, in Eussahir. The scenery of the Kurpan valley closely resembles that of the Arni, but there are fewer forests, and perhaps less cultivation. 

    The Kunrad is an unimportant stream; but, in its south-easterly course of fifteen miles, it forms the boundary-line between Seoraj and Bussahir, entering the Sutlej opposite the hamlet of Sha, in Bussahir. The Solung, or Beash Khund, rises at the foot of the peak " M" (20,356 feet), on the Rohtang range, and has a southeasterly course of about thirteen miles, joining its waters with those of the Beas at Pulchan. In the Solung valley, there is ,/ but one village, famous for its deodar-tree, ', said to be the largest in India. The scenery in this valley exceeds in grandeur anything that can be found elsewhere in Kooloo. The river in a swift current courses between mountains clad in impenetrable forests, from the midst of which jut out vast headlands of perpendicular rock; and, about three miles above Pulchan, a series of similar gigantic cliffs, over 600 feet in height, rise up sheer from the river, and line its course for a considerable di~tance. Approached through beautiful glades of ancient pines and horse-chestnuts, the valley comes at last into view, bowered with forests on either shore, while to the rear stand forth, in indescribable majesty, the tremendous heights of the Snowy Range, which here mount to upwards of 20,000 feet above sea level. The landscape in the Solung valley is, in my opinion, unsurpassable, and certainly unmatched by anything in the rest of the subdivision. 

    CHAPTER III.  Communications -Rivers, Passes, Roads, Bridges, Ferries, Bungalows, Rest-houses


    The track through Kooloo and Lahoul has been used for a lengthened period by traders between the Punjab and Ladakh, but no particular attention was devoted to this line until Mr. Davies, then secretary to the Punjab Government, in 1862 issued his Trade Report, and drew attention to the advantages that might accrue from fostering this commerce. Subsequently the mainline was, to a certain extent, improved, and by 1863 a better pathway had been lait1 over the Robtung Pass, a sungha bridge being thrown over the Chandra in Lahoul, at a spot where previously there had only been a jhulan or rope bridge. For some time afterward, there were apparently but few efforts made to improve the existing communications; but in 1865, Mr. Forsyth, Commissioner of the Jullundur division reported favorably on the advisability of extending the existing road, and, since 1866, various sums have been allowed from the Imperial revenue for this undertaking. It is worthy of record, too, that the Rajah of IIundee presented the munificent donation of $10,000, with a view to have that part of the line which passes through Mundae (between Kangra and Kooloo) brought into working order. A new route map projected over the Bubboo (Bhubu Pass) Pass into Kooloo, and the communications in Lahoul were also taken in hand, rest-houses and serais being erected as far as funds would allow. For 1870-1871 the sum of 5,000 rupees has been allowed for the Lahoul road, and 5,000 rupees for the works on the Rohtang Pass road, and these operations, carried on under the able superintendence of Mr. Theodore, are fast approaching to completion. 

    The arrangements for the labor-supply were as follows. Willing workmen could not be had, and, pursuing the precedent of 1863, each kothee in Kooloo had to give so many men, amounting in all to 400, who worked for fifteen days, and received for that period two rupees per man. Some of the zemindars had to come from long distances, but it has so happened that those who lived furthest off, and whose services have been utilized by the State, are hardly ever called upon to do the Begar,* which falls heavily on the kothees in the Upper Beas valley; and therefore the burden on all has been more equal than might have been expected; nor is it, in my opinion, a bad political measure to now and then exact from the zemindars something that will suffice to show there is a paramount power, whose will must be obeyed. 

    All the works on this line cannot be completed this season. The new Rohtang Pass the road is now ready, but the new sungha, opposite Koksur village, cannot be commenced this year, for some time must bc allowed for the drying of the timbers, whicl~ have, in addition, to be dragged from Kooloo over the pass to the point selected for the bridge. This year also, certain settlement operations have necessitated the presence of each zemindar at his homestead until the autumn was far advanced, and it thus became impracticable to attempt the transport of the trees to the point selected for the . bridge. For the transit of the logs nearly 2,000 porters will be required, and, with the late heavy pressure there has been on the people, I think this work must stand over till next season. Nor do I consider that it is absolutely necessary to have another bridge at Koksur: the new road over the pass is connected with the older line, ant1 though the distance from Koksur, in Lahoul, to Ralla, in Kooloo, by the former, is greater than by the latter, yet in point of time there mould be saving, in consequence of the greater facilities for getting quickly over the ground.


    The Lahoul road has been pressed on, but there are many obstacles to the speedy advance to completion of this work. The population is scanty, and the line of the country through which the communications pass is very difficult, nor are the laborers that can be procured worth much. Fair progress has, however, been made, and all the credit for this is entirely and solely due to Mr. Theodore, whose unremitting attention to his duties in a country so desolate and so bitterly cold as is Lahoul, will not, I trust, be forgotten. Literally, for weeks at a time, has Mr. Theodore been living almost at the top of the Rohtang, over 13,000 feet in height, and, undaunted either by the desertion of his servants, the disobedience and the impertinence of the workmen, and the rigors of the climate, he has, on a salary of 200 rupees a month, do the work that could not have been better performed by a Government engineer on double the salary. The expenditure for the year, on the roads in Lahoul and near the Rohtang, will be furnished in a separate paper.

     I now proceed to treat the principal lines of communication in this subdivision. The Main Trade Line, commencing at the crest of the Bubboo passes Kuronw and Sooltanpore, and winds by the left bank of the Beas up to Menalee (Manali )  shortly after crossing the Solung it ascends to Ralla, and, traversing the Rohtang, descends by the new road to a spot opposite to Koksur village. It then turns up the left bank of the Chandra, and near Koksur rest-house passes to the right shore, following the course of the river till it is joined by the Bagha. The path now lies over this last stream, and along its right bank past Kielung, Kolung, and Darcha to Putseo, where it changes to the left side of the river; and just beyond Zingzingbar, the last encampment at the foot of the Bara Lacha, again leads back to the right bank, and so ascends the pass, from thence proceeding into Ladakh by Lingtee. 

    A11 throughout Kooloo this road is in excellent order for mule traffic; the gradients are easy, and the pathway from ten to twelve feet wide; and both over the Rohtang and for various portions of the line through Lahoul, it is easily traversable by baggage animals; but, as it nears the Bara Lacha, the path becomes lost in boulders and speedy locomotion is impossible. 
    The larger and better bridges, all sunghas, are the following:- One at Sooltanpore, over the Surburi torrent, that descends from the Bubboo Pass. A smaller one than the above, near Katrain village, over a hill stream that joins the Reas lower down.
     One of similar size, north of Menalee (Manali) , over the Menalee stream. This was carried bodily away in July, but was replaced the following month, the new bridge being sixty-four feet in width. 
    One near Pulchan, five miles from Menalee, over the Solung river. This is a large bridge, and spans two separate portions of the stream. 
    The Kootlee bridge (between the foot of the Rohtang Pass and Koksur rest-house) over the Chandra is ninety-eight feet in span: the upper scantlings have to be removed every winter. At the villages of Koksur, Gondla, and Tandee, in Lahoul, there are jhula or rope bridges, which connect the mainline with tracks on the opposite shore. 
    One over the Bagha, opposite Tandee, in  Lahoul, at its junction with the Chandra. One over the Bagha, at Keilung (Keylong) , connecting the latter village with Kardung, on the left bank of the river. The Zanskar bridge, over the Zanskar river, that joins the Bagha just below Darcha. This was swept away this year (1870), but has been replaced. The Putseo bridge of beams, with slates for the roadway, close to Putseo encampment, on the left bank of the Bagha. The bridge over the Tserap river, the boundary between Cashmere and British territory.
    There is a poor rest-house and a wooden serai at Kuronw, on the Kooloo side of the Bubboo : both these, though built but a few months ago, are in very bad order. At Sooltanpore there is a good rest-house, that has been recently done up, and a serai of some size was completed in January, 1870. There is no rest-house at Menalee, but a * serai of three small rooms was erected early in the present year. At Pulchan and Ralla there are small resthouses, but no serais, and halfway up the Rohtang Pass, at Murree, there is a small shieling, built by Lehna Sing, the Sikh, and still called after him  this last structure is almost a ruin. 
    Koksur, on the Lahoul side of the Rohtang pass boasted once of an excellent rest-house, with out-offices, but, exposed as the building is to the depredations of traders, it is now in bad order, having been denuded of all ironwork, and the windows of their panes of glass. 

    At Darcha there is only a serai. Serais are to be erected at the villages of Koksur, Sissoo, Gondla, Keylong, and Kolung, in Lahoul, and at the encampment of Putseo and Zingzingbar; but there are great difficulties in the way of getting these buildings prepared, in a country where labor is so difficult to procure and timber so scarce, and often so very far distant from the point where it is required. 
    The line next in importance is the one which proceeds from Sooltanpore to Simla. This passes down the right bank of the Beas to below Bajoura, and then crosses to the another side of the river, and enters WuzeeriRupi. At Larji the Beas turns off to the south-west; the road then follows the Tirthan for twelve or thirteen miles, through Mundee and Suraj, and leaving that stream just below Plach, ascends the Jalori Pass, and, turning in a southerly direction, reached Dalash, the last Kooloo village, is seven or eight miles from the Sutlej, Simla being five and a half marches from this point. This may be termed a capital road throughout, with the exception of a small portion that passes through Mundee, the gradients in which are badly laid out, and the last final dip to the Sutlej from Dulash, where the track is susceptible to improvement, and is always much injured in the rains. 

    The Bajoura bridge is now in course of construction, the river Beas being, at the point of crossing, 180 feet in breadth. For the present, a ferry connects the two shores. The Larji bridge is of some size and spans a formidable stream that separates Larji, in Seraj, from Wuzeeri-Rupi. There is another considerable bridge over the Tirthan river, three miles beyond Larji, which connects the Mundee and Kooloo Seraj . The Munglor bridge, close to Munglor the village, is of some size, though only over a hill stream; on either shore are the Mundee and Kooloo Seoraj's. 

    The Sutlej bridge is between 'Dulash, in Kooloo, and Kotghur ; it is 200 feet in span, and has only this year (1870) been again rebuilt. There are, throughout the entire road to Simla, no serais, with the exception of the one at Sooltanpore, before alluded to. At Bajoura, ten miles to the south of Sooltanpore, there is a comfortable resthouse. Larjee, fourteen miles below Bajoura, is provided with a double-roomed native building, which serves as a shelter to travelers; it is a very poor structure, and, when funds are available, a proper rest-house should be erected. At Jibhi, on the Kooloo side of the Jalouri Pass, there is a small rest-house. Additional rest-houses are required at Larjee, Munglor, and Dalash ; they could be run up at an expenditure of 5!,0 rupees apiece. Besides the mainline in the Upper Beas valley, there is another that is equally good along the left bank of the Beas. 

    This adheres to the mainline as far as Dobee (eleven miles from Sooltanpore), and then crosses to the other side of the river, passing Nuggur and Jugutsookh en route, joining the mainline again at Manali. An excellent sungha bridge, with a span of upwards of ninety feet, crossed the Beas just opposite Dobee, but on the 31st July last it was carried away in an unprecedented rise of the river, which brought down an accumulation of timber that completely destroyed one of the piers, and resulted in the destruction of the fabric. This bridge should be rebuilt lower down the river. For the present, the Nuggur bridge, three miles higher up, with a span of 110 feet, is the main means of communication between the two shores. This bridge was also much damaged by the flood, but it stood the shock, and is now perfectly safe. The Dwangan bridge is between Nuggur and Jugutsookh, and close to the latter the village it crosses a very furious torrent. The Manali bridge, over the Beas, is between Jugutsookh and Menalee, and is seventy-eight feet in span. 


    Between Nuggur and Manali there is also, the Kelat bridge over the Beas, which gives a means of passage from the "Main Trade Line " to either Nuggur or Jugutsookh. This bridge is very old, and should be renewed. There are no serais or rest-houses on this line. From Sooltanpore there are two roads up the Parbuttee valley. The first crosses the Beas, ascends the Bijli-Mahdeo hill, and, passing by Tipri village turns up the left bank of the Parbuttee to Jhirree and Manikurn ; the second line going south from Sooltanpore to Shumshee village, and, the Beas being passed, joining the other near Jhirree. There is a large bridge over the Beas at Sooltanpore, between the latter place and the village of Dart. Tipri bridge is over the Parbuttee, between Tipri and Jhirree. The Kushole bridge over the Parbuttee is between Kushole and Manikurn.

    There is a ferry over the Beas near Shumshee, which leads to the village of Buin, on the right bank of the Parbuttee, on to the opposite shore, from whence the road goes to Jhirree. The main Spiti line commences at Losur, on the right bank of the Spiti river, and, crossing the stream at Khiotto, turns up over a low pass, and touches at Khibur, from which, again descending, it continues along the same side to Dhunkur, a distance of about forty-five miles; the entire road being very good, except where it traverses the bed of the Spiti river, and betweeen Khibur and Kazeh, where it has been injured by landslips.

     At Losar, the Spiti is crossed by a jhula bridge over fifty feet in span. Near Khiotto there is a jhula bridge over the Spiti. This is off the main road. Almost opposite Rangri there is a sungha ; this is over the Spiti, off the main road, lying between Khibur and Kazeh. The Dhunkur sungha is seventy feet in span, crosses the Spiti river two miles to tlie north of Dhunkur, and leads to tlie Peen valley and the Babeh Pass. 

    A small rest-house has been this year erected at Losar, and a room in the fort at Dhunkur is usually placed at the disposal of travelers in the valley. The road from Plach to Nirmand, in Seraj, is a fairly good one but is little used by Europeans; it leaves Plach just off the main Simla line, near Munglor, and minds over the Busloh Pass to Nirmand, close to the river Sutlej. In distance, it is forty-five miles. The Lower Beas valley road is connected with Sooltanpore by the bridge over the Beas, near the town, and, proceeding south; winds below the Bijli-Mahadeo hill to Buin  here it crosses the Parbuttee and continues along the left bank of the Beas till the Jhirree ferry, on the main Simla line, is reached.

     In length, it is about twenty-two miles. The Jheea sungha bridge is over the Parbuttee, and close to the junction of that river with the Beas, between Buin and Jheea. The Malauna Pass road leads from Manikurn, in the Parbuttee valley, along the right bank of the Parbuttee, and at Chulaul village ascends the Kundee Pass, touches at Malauna, and then crosses the Malauna Pass, emerging at Nuggur, in the Upper Beas valley. There is a good sungha bridge over the Malauna stream, just before the village of the same name is reached. The road from Kooloo to Spiti leaves Jugutsookh, on the left bank of the Beas, and; passing the village of Prini, commences the ascent of the Humta Pass, up the Raini torrent, and, surmounting that pass, enters on the Chundravalley, the encamping-grounds of Chaitroo, Futtehrooneh, and Karchee following each other in succession. From the latter the line crosses the Kunzum Pass, and leads to Losar, in Spiti, a distance in all of some sixty miles. 

    There are no rivers along this route, but many of the hill streams are most furious torrents, which can hardly be forded after the sun has melted the ice-beds by which they are supplied. The line passes over the Shigri glacier, between Futtehrooneh and Karchee. The Upper Chandra valley line leaves the Bara Lacha Pass at the point where the Chandra first comes into notice and follows the course of the stream along its left bank for four marches, to a high pass, from the crest of which commences the boundary of Spiti. Below the pass runs the Lichee stream, which is fordable, and from this Lasur is six miles distant. The length of this most execrable road is over fifty miles. The Chandra Bagha line leaves the " Main The line" at the bridge over the Bagha, near the junction of the latter with the Chandra, and, keeping to the right bank of the united streams for fifteen miles enters Chumba territory, between the villages of Jolung and Tirot. 
    The Manirung Pass line leaves Dhunkur, and, descending south, crosses the Spiti river eight miles below, and, touching Mani the village, on the right bank of the stream, ascends to the crest of the Manirung Pass, a distance of twenty miles more. This road is a mere track. At Mani village, there is usually a jhula the bridge was annually thrown over the Spiti. The Peen valley road commences at Dhunkur, and, crossing the Spiti river, keeps to the left bank of the Peen, a tributary of the latter, for about eighteen miles, when it takes the right side of the stream as far as Buldun encamping-ground; it then turns due south and follows the upward course of a hill stream to Lursa encamping-ground, at the foot of the Babeh, and so passes into Bussahir. The length of this road is about sixty-five miles. The bridge that connects the Peen valley with Dhunkur has been alluded to before. 

    The Kwagnr Pass road leaves Dhunkur by the path to the Manirung Pass, but quits it again at the Spiti, along the left bank of which river it continues for fourteen miles, till at Lari, the last village in Spit:: it crosses the stream, and leads over the Kwagur Pass into Shealkur, in Bussahir. The road is simply a track, but it is the one most used by travelers from Simla into Spiti. At Lari village, there is generally to be found a jhula over the Spiti. 

    The road over the Parang-la to Ladakh leaves the main Spiti line between Ichiotto and Khiebar, and crosses the Parang-la almost immediately after. The Solung valley road leaves the " Main Trade Line " at Pulchan, in the Upper Beas valley, and turns up the right bank of the Solung river, until all further progress is stopped by the mountains. Before proceeding to give an account of' the passes in the subdivision, it may not be out of place to shortly describe the shungha. and jhula bridges. A sungha bridge is formed as follows:- On either side the river piers of rubble masonry, laced with cross-beams of timber, 
    are built up, and into these are inserted stout pol&, one over the other in successively projecting tiers, the interstices between the latter being filled up with cross-beams. The projecting poles increase in size as they approach the upper platform, and have a slight incline upwards, their shore ends being firmly braced into the stonework.

     Between the uppermost row of timbers, two or three long and very strong connecting trees are placed, and scantlings are laid over them for the pathway, in some cases a railing being added for greater security.  A jhula bridge is fashioned with ropes of birch or willow twigs. " The supports are two stout cables, each composed of some twelve or fifteen small ropes stretched over rude piers on either bank at about five feet apart, and finally secured by being buried deeply beneath the stones forming the piers. Between the main cables, and about two feet below them, a third of smaller dimensions is stretched, and supported by tight ropes passed over the side cables."-(Theobald.) Jhula bridges are not usually allowed to remain all the year-round, and are mostly only put up for the convenience of villages separated by some river. 
    When new, they are quite safe, as between the main cables and the footway there is a rough rope lacing, but they soon get worn, and then, to anyone who has not much nerve, they are exceedingly dangerous; and Cunningham mentions that he has seen Ladakh women sit down in the middle of one of these structures, and actually scream with terror! The Bara Lacha Pass, variously estimated at from 16,221 to 16,500 feet above sea-level, is in Lahoul, lying between Zingzingbar and Lingti encamping-grounds, and across it runs the "Main Trade Line " to Ladakh. It is generally open for traffic by the beginning or middle of June and remains so till October, although it can be, and constantly is, crossed in May, and even in   

    December; but from the latter month to the end of April it is hermetically sealed. The ascent of this pass from the Lahoul side is almost imperceptible, and where the road good, the gradient is so easy that wheeled conveyances might be drawn over it. The last halting-place, Zingzingbar, is nearly 14,000 feet above sea-level, so that the rise to the crest of the pass is by no means great. The road goes up the course of the Bagha, skirts the Seoraj-dul, a clear sheet of water about three-quarters of a mile in circumference, and then winds over the summit, descending by an easy slope to the plains on the other side. In July, August, and September the Bara Lacha is almost entirely divested of snow. From the crest, another path turns to the south towards the head of the Chandra valley; but this is a mere track, and one, too, which, without a guide, it is not safe to traverse. It winds for about three miles between lofty peaks of dazzling snow, and then commences to dip down towards the Chundra

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      Kolakham is in the fringe areas of Neora Valley National Park Forests. It is far removed from urban life. A trip can be greatly rewarding with a visit to this peaceful and tranquil village in the lap of nature.

      Nature is at its best here in Kolakham. Travelling a few meters inside the forest the environment completely removed from what ever we experience near the village. Chirping birds, dense coniferous pine trees and the exotic rhododendron flowers transfer you to solitude which is also referred to as silent valley.

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