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Left Rinchingpoong at 9 A. M.; passed Soomtong at 9.30; and after two hours of steep descent reached the broad and rapid stream of the Kullait, close to where the Rongsong stream falls into it. Here we had a refreshing bathe and washed clothes. The Kullait is here divided into two streams. The first and smaller was crossed by a slender bridge made of bamboos, having a pendent roadway formed of a single bamboo. Across the second the fishermen have constructed a very ingenious weir of bamboos tied together with cane. During the night, when the fish descend the rapids, they are driven by the force of the water on to an open frame-work of bamboos where they are easily captured. The fishermen cooked some fish by baking or stewing them in a bamboo, a device which succeeded admirably and occupied only a few minutes. We boiled water and made murwa; and having scrambled across the second stream by the aid of the fisherman’s weir, by 1 1’. M. were wending our way up the very steep Pemionchee hill on the north side of the valley, and at 3.45 P. M. reached Gazing, and the coolies an hour later. WVe put up in the house of a villager, and were shortly afterwards treated to rnurwa and plantains by a sturdy Llama with a peculiar drooping eyelid. All our beds were placed in a row, and dinner was served up on an extempore table formed of a plank taken from the flooring. In front was a flaring fire, surrounded by a dozen people of all ages and both sexes, principally the members of our host’s family, besides some of our own coolies, including the cook and his deputy. All the members of the family had their heads shaved on account of the recent death of an old servant. After dinner we had singing, but it was not without some difficulty that we persuaded the Bhooteas to favour us. The Llama, who was in grief, sat apart in one corner of the spacious apartment constantly mumbling his prayers, but after partaking of two cups of tea and a cheroot, he was induced to join the social party
round the fire. A Dowager Llama was very seriously engaged in her I
devotions with a praying cylinder the whole time. On breaking up festivities we went to bed, exposed to the gaze of all the fair inmates, who after seeing us comfortably settled for the night modestly retired. But I may as well mention that we had by this time relinquished the vulgar fashion of undressing before retiring to rest. Our slumbers were frequently disturbed by the barking of dogs, squeaking of pigs, and squalling of children. The latter we found in the
morning were without clothing, which may account for their restlessness.
Breakfast over, and after attempting to eat some hard cakes made of crushed Indian corn, cemented with some farinaceous matter, we left for Pemionchee at 8 A. M. ; and after a steep ascent reached the Rajah of Sikkim’s unfinished durbar at 9 A. M. This durbar was only begun last year, and during the troubles in Sikkim remained untouched, and is now in abeyance until the Pemionchee Monastery is renovated. At present only two stories have been built. As far as it goes, it is a very substantially constructed mansion, 36 X 46 feet. The walls are 5 feet in thickness and of solid masonry, and the floor of the upper story is supported on massive beams and upright posts. It will be a fine building, when completed.
A further steep ascent of half an hour brought us to the Goompa. at Pemionchee. This once extensive monastery is now a mass of ruins. It was accidentally burnt in October last year. The full complement of Llamas is 108. Of this number only twelve were present. The remainder were absent in all parts of the country, collecting money and materials for the rebuilding of their temple. Some of the latter, such as pigments and brushes for the painting of the figures of their gods and embellishment of the walls, are to come from China, the artists from Thibet, and other materials from Calcutta. \Ve saw the villagers bringing in half wrought logs of wood from the surrounding forests.
It will take two years to rebuild, and probably as many more to embellish. The Llamas are very anxious to get it completed, as in its present state their occupation is gone. They complained that nobody visited them, a state of things very detrimental to their finances. Formerly they received a subsidy of Rs. 3000 annually fromthe Rajah of Sikkim, but since the Terai lands and the Darjeeling hills were annexed to British territory, this bounty has been discontinued. The Llamas are consequently poor, but like the monks of old are a fat and jovial race, their sleek faces indicating any thing but a poor larder. We put up in a house belonging to one of the absent Llamas. The head Llama, who is a perfect type of his holy order, treated us to murwa which was very refreshing. He and several other Llamas were sociable and talkative. They informed us that they had two days previously received instructions from the Dewan at Darjeeling to lay in a supply of rice for us, but had not been able to do so, as very little rice had been cultivated, in consequence of the flight across the Rungeet of the majority of the cultivators during the recent disturbances. They could only supply one maund of rice, and three or four of Indian corn. But I soon found out that this was not the case, and that plenty of rice was forthcoming on making money advances for it, which I accordingly did, and had it sent after us, some as far as Jongli, and some placed in Caches at intermediate stations.
From Pemionchee, which is 7000 feet high, a fine view of the snow
is obtained, also of the valley of the Ratong. The monastery of '
Chanacheeling is perched upon a high peak of the Pemionchee range to the westward, and at present is made the repository of all the books and other relics saved when the Pemionchee Goompa was burnt_ Sinchul and Darjeeling are visible over the Kulloo Mendong twenty miles in direct distance.
This morning the weather was again very fine ; the thermometer at sunrise stood 48° . Dr. Simpson photographed the snow, the Goompa and one of the Llama’s houses. Left Pemionchee at 8.45 A. M.; and aftera steep descent and rapid walk of 45 minutes reached the village of Chonpoong, consisting of about fifteen well built houses very pleasantly situated at the foot of a tree forest, on a rather flat terrace on a spur of the Pemionchee hill. It commands good views on three sides to the north. Eksum is seen in the foreground, looking very fiat and having a quantity of cultivation round it. The deep and thickly wooded valley of the Ratong is conspicuous winding to the west, across which are plainly visible the fine waterfalls of Lemgong, dashing headlong down perpendicular walls of gneiss rock, over which a near view of the Nursing and J unnoo mountains is obtained, but Kanchungingah is depressed behind the Baraborony hill. To the cast a high mountain in Sikkim is striking, and the monasteries of Baking and Tassiding, the latter perched upon a conical hill standing apart from all others. To the west, the distant view of the Singaleelah range, seen across the valley of the Ringbi, is very grand. Altogether the view from Chonpoong is striking and beautiful, but that of the snow is limited, and far less grand than that obtained from Darjeeling.
It was our intention to proceed direct to Eksum, which is the shortest road by several miles; but understanding from the villagers
that the bridges across the Ringbi and Ratong were broken, we were compelled to proceed by the long route viii Tingling. So after par_ taking of murwa presented to us by the mundul or headman, and having made purchases of rice, fowls, eggs and butter, at 10.30 A. M. we resumed our march in a westerly direction. Having crossed through the Liebong cultivation and clearance, and making a rapid and very steep descent, we crossed the Ringbi by a bamboo bridge thrown across a deep narrow gorge, through which the whole body of the stream rushed with impetuosity, rolling and boiling over large blocks of gneiss rock. The Ringbi at this spot is very narrow, confined between steep rocky sides, the bed of which is full of deep pools of clear water. The ridge was not mo1'e than twenty feet in length, and the view of the river from it very wild. _After a steep ascent and a slight descent we reached the Ringbi, here we bathed, washed clothes and had tiflin. Air 70° ; water 56°.
Left the river at % to 2 P. M. and after a steep ascent of 40 minutes reached our halting-place at Tingling, altogether a distance of about eight miles. We put up in the house of the headman of the village, who very politely oifered us his apartment on the floor of which our dinner was cooked. We turned in early, but what with the coughing and loud talking of our host’s family, some of us did not get to sleep until near morning. There was an illnatured our at this place, who several times snarled and snapped at our heels.
We had not been in bed very long before a rumbling noise, not unlike the devotional murmurings of a Llama, was heard, which shortly increased in earnestness and became louder and louder. At last it was indistinctly heard to say, “ that beast of a dog has got hold of my hand and won’t let go, he has bitten my hand right through now ;” and then the same voice was very distinctly heard to say, “ I’ll eat no more dinner, I was in a mortal funk, and could get no one to take the beast off, though I tried hard to do so.” This was our friend Kemble who had evidently partaken freely of dinner, and was labouring under the effects of nightmare. .
The Molee Goompa is immediately above Tingling on the summit of the Molee mountain. The Chanacheeling, Pemionchee, Tassiding, Rubolong, Gyratong, Doobdee and Kaichoopeenee Goompas are all visible from this place.
After having purchased some fowls and partaken of an early breakfast, we started at 8.30 A. M. and after fifteen minutes’ steep descent passed the small village of Kasuppyah, consisting of two houses and some clearance for cultivation. The headman was waiting for us with presents of sugar-cane, murwa, eggs, plantains and milk.
Another quarter of an hour of steep descent brought us to Linchoogong, a small village of three houses. At 9.30, after a very steep, stony and diflicult descent, we arrived at the Ratong, which is here a wild, foaming and boiling torrent, dashing over large’, blocks of gneiss rock. We halted till 11.30 bathed and washed clothes. The temperature of the water was 48°.
Dr. Simpson took two photographs of this wild spot, which unfortunately were afterwards destroyed. We crossed the torrent by a temporary bridge constructed by the inhabitants of the village of Labeeong, who also brought us presents of rice, murwa and eggs. After a steep scramble of a, quarter of an hour, we met the inhabitants of the village of Paranting, who brought us hot murwa, and had prepared a place to sit down. They were particularly polite; the W0men were highly decorated with coral, amber and silver ornaments ; both sexes wore flowers of a pretty blue hydrangea in their ears. Three of the women had jackets made of European long-cloth, dyed blue, but the children, as usual, were quite naked. After a. further steep ascent we reached our halting-place at Eksum at 1 P. M. This is the frontier village, prettily situated on a broad plateau surrounded by high commanding mountains, most of which have their summits capped with fir trees, and their slopes richly clothed with deep verdure and stately forest trees. A few hundred feet above the village, to the east, the monastery of Doobdee is seen perched on the summit and at the extremity of a separate spur, in a very picturesque position. It is probably of very ancient origin, built by the first Buddhist priests who settled in Sikkim. Eksum derives its name from Ek or Yeuk which means a “labourer” or “workman,” and “soom” three, from the first three Bhuddhist ministers who came into Sikkim from Thibet, having commenced their spiritual labours at this place. —
We put up for the night in the house of a villager, the female members of which, on their return from the toils of the field, seemed not at all pleased at finding their house in the possession of strang