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THE NORTHERN PART OF INDIA,
INTO RUSSIA, BY THE CASPIAN-SEA.
PRINTED FOR R. FAULDER, NEW BOND-STREET,
L ETTER XIII.
It is now necessary to call your attention, already burthened, I fear, with no very pleasant matter, to the subject of Kashmire, and endeavour to describe the natural beauties of a valley, which perhaps, stands unparalleled for its air, foil, and a picturesque variety of landscape.
The northern path of the Bannaul hill, mentioned in my last letter, is about one mile and a half shorter, than that of the southern side, not that this difference arises from the level of the low lands of Bannaul and Kashmire, but from the greater deVol. II.
clivity of the southern face of the hill. Yet it is evident, from the precipitated current of the rivers of this quarter of India, that the valley of Kashmire is considerably more elevated than the Punjab plains. This height of situation, surrounded also by mountains, whose lofty summits are covered with snow, during a great part of the year, imparts a coldness to the air of Kashmire, which its immediate line of latitude would not otherwise possess.
Veere Naug was the first village we halted at, within the valley, where our party was strictly examined, but from the respect shewn by all classes of people to Zulphucar Khan, we were permitted to pass untaxed and unmolested. A rare usage at a Kashmirian custom-house ! It should have been before noticed, that our patron, from the lameness of his hand and a general infirm state of body, was obliged to travel in a litter ; a species of carriage different from any seen in the southern quarters of India. The frame of four sight pieces of wood, is about four feet and a half long, and three in breadth, with a bottom of cotton lacing or split canes interwoven. Two stout bamboo poles, project three feet, from the end of the frame and are fastened to its outward sides, by iron rings. The extremities of these bamboos are loosely connected by folds of cords, into which is fixed, by closely twisting and binding at the centre, a thick pole, three feet long; and by these central poles, the litter, or as it is here called, the Sampan, is supported on the shoulders of four men. This conveyance you will see affords no shelter against any inclemency