Page images
PDF

ternative is to quit the vicinity of the place where it occurs ; they do not attribute the recurrence to a relish for human flesh required from having once tasted it, but to the displeasure of the “ Laee” (Deity) of the place; they endeavour to deprecate his anger by offerings on the first occurrence, but on a second taking place, they conclude he is implacable, and take it as a warning to remove. The village in question is only waiting to collect in the crops now on the ground and flit. _

3rd—Mung-ya, two and a half hours. Passed a small nala on the Burmese side of the river, called Khywook-ma-Kywoong, at the mouth of which a number of people were employed washing the sand for gold. Was visited during the day by nearly the whole of the inhabitants, men, women and children, of the village, on the opposite side of the river ; who came, as they said, to see the wonder ! an European. Much cannot be said in favour of the modesty of the Kubos. I saw both this day and yesterday numbers both of men and women bathing at not ten paces distant from each other, with not so much covering even as a fig leaf. Unmarried girls observe, I am told, some little decorum in dress ; married women, none !

4th—-Helaoo five and a half hours. The current in one or two places somewhat more rapid than yesterda.y.——Passed three parties washing for gold, one at a place called Nan-yen-sneek on the Burmese side of the river, and two on the Manipur one, near Eng-da-baoong.

5th—Maloo, seven hours. Immediately below Helaoo the Ningthee is joined by a river of considerable size, called the M00, Nummoo, or Muwa, coming directly from the east and Neojeri hills. Gold is said to be more abundant in it than in the Ningthee, in this neighbourhood; but not equal to the quantity found in the more northern parts of the latter, in the Sing-Phos country. The Kubos say that gold is not sought for in the Ningthee itself, below Helaoo, but only in the different hill streams which fall into it on the eastern side. As usual, since I left Mulphoo, I was visited by numbers of the inhabitants from the different villages as I passed down : my communications with these people leave not a doubt on my mind but what they would be happy to change their masters: indeed many of them took opportunities of slily telling me so, and expressed disappointment at my not proceeding to the Neojeri hills to place thanas.

6th—-Brought to at a small nala called Khywook-kan-khywoong, six hours, no village. The current generally very slow, in some places almost still. Passed but one village during the day, and that on the opposite side of the river; it belongs to the knight of the “ branches and bamboos,” who passed down whilst I was at Knesung. At a short distance below this village is an extraordinary hill called Swe

ba-leng, the residence of a Ijaee or Deity. and by the Kubos’s account a most jealous one he is : on approaching it, my Kubo boatmen put on their dhoties, being previously literally naked! and warned my Manipurees against making use of improper or obscene language, or spitting in the river whilst passing the precincts of his godship’s resideuce. The infringement of these warnings they assured them might be attended with the most serious consequences to the whole party, and many were the instances of ship or rather boat wreck which they adduced to prove it. They also requested the Manipurees to give over a game, at which they were amusing themselves, as continuing it would doubtless be offensive. The Manipurees, who are not a jot less superstitious than the Kubos, implicitly followed the advice given, and put on the most serious countenances ; indeed the greater part of them had previously heard the fame of Swe-ba-leng. The hill, on which are several small temples, rises abruptly from the bed of the river, forming a natural wall of about three hundred feet perpendicular height, and is of a yellowish sand formation, based on rocks of hard grey sandstone : it appears the sudden commencement of a range, diEering from the other hills in its vicinity, being free of trees, with which the others are overgrown, and running in a succession of cones to the south-west, as far as the eye could reach. No continuance of any of a similar appearance to the south-east. The face of the hill turns the river suddenly from a southerly to a westerly direction, in which it does not continue for above two hundred or three hundred yards, when the hills cause it again suddenly to resume its former course. The river is here very narrow, and just previous to its resuming its course to the south, a tremendous block of rock juts nearly half across, which repels the stream backwards and causes in the rains a whirlpool, which the Kubos say may be heard roaring at some miles distance, and which they attribute to the pranks of the “ Laee ;" not the sudden checks which the current meets. In the rains the navigation past this spot must be very dangerous to any but a Kubo acquainted with its 10calities ; at the present season, however, it is a perfect mill pond. Some lime kilns were in the neighbourhood, but whether the lime-stone is procured from the Swe-ba-leng hill, or where, no person in the boat could inform me. I did not land to examine them, they being on the Barmese side of the river. N 0 visitors during to-day, which is owing no doubt to my having now entered Ningthee-Rakha’s jurisdiction. The village just above Swe-ha-leng is called Tan-beng-goong ; the chief of it is evidently very anxious to appear formidable in my eyes : he had hastily run up a loose fence of bamboos, plantain trees, and such like along the river front of his village, which he no doubt thought I would take for a strong stockade, he also made a tremendous hubbub with songs, trumpets, &c. whilst I was passing; the village is a good-sized one, containing about eighty houses.

Eleven hours more brought me to Sunayachil. At this season the current is very trifling. On the eastern side sand-banks extend for four hundred yards into the bed of the river, offering favourable points for the crossing of troops, which at this season of the year might be effected on rafts, were boats not procurable. Both sides of the Ningthee are overgrown with dense forests, except on the sides of villages : the high road from Gendah to the present capitalof Sumpok runs to the east of the small range of hills, which skirts the Burmese bank of the Ningthee.

10th February—-Embarked in my dingy, accompanied by two others, to return up the Ningthee to Yuwa, where it is joined by the Maglung. I was rather confined for room ; indeed, regularly packed,

being unable to move hands or feet after once being seated in the boat.‘

Reached \Vegadza in six hours, where my people ran up a covering, for me to pass the night, of branches and leaves : a precaution rendered necessary as a protection against the heavy dew which soaks through every thing exposed to it. The fogs which continue till 9 A. M. are also so heavy as to render indistinct, objects at fifteen or twenty paces distance.

11th--Reached Yuwa in three hours, being in all nine hours from Sunayachil ; or only two hours more than it took the boat to go the same distance with the current. Two men were all that rowed the boat up. This will ‘give an idea of the slackness of the stream. After proceeding up the Maglung for three hours, put to for the night. The Maglung discharges itself with some force into the Ningthee, and as before observed, a boat or raft coming out of it would be carried without any exertion nearly to the opposite side of the latter, in which there is no perceptible current. After once getting fairly into the Maglung, the current is moderate, and the waters shoal, not more than two feet in depth ;its course during this day nearly from West to east. Put to for the night on the sand-bank and enjoyed a coal fire, of which mineral there was abundance lying about. The tracks of wild beasts of every description were numerous and recent in the sand.

12th—At day-light this morning, was roused by a loud but not very harmonious concert, the performers being elephants, tigers, bears, boars, and deer. About three hours after starting reached the site of a village named Yang-num, at which was formerly a Manipur thana ; near the site of the thana is a peepul tree, planted, the Kubos say, by the Manipurees, another proof that Kubo belong.

ed to them at a former period. I lauded for the purpose of examin. B

ing salt wells in this village : the springs are copious and in full play, sufliciently so to feed a small stream which flows from them into the Maglung ; the water in the centre of the well is nearly as salt as brine, and on the sides, where it has been exposed to the sun for any time, fully so : in the bed of the river, immediately opposite the village, are also salt springs, which rise in bubbles to the surface of the water. The village, though not inhabited for many years, is perfectly free of grass and jungle, the salt wells rendering it a favourite resort for wild animals. In two hours from the village, reached the site of the second Num-mo, where also are salt springs ; and in another hour, the junction of the Tadoi Khynong nala, where I put to for the night; from hence to where the road to Sunayachil crosses the Tadoi Khynong is five hours’ journey. The current during the day generally very slow. Passed three rapids, each of about thirty yards continuance, but the fall so trifling as not to render it necessary to unload the boats: some of my people were generally walking and amusing themselves in searching for turtles’ eggs, which are so abundant that the boat might have been almost loaded with them. In several places found an ore containing a light-coloured metal, of what nature I have not skill enough to determine, but have kept specimens (iron pyrites) ; coal also abundant. The Kubos say it is petrified charcoal of teak, in which opinion I am inclined to agree, as I saw several blocks of that wood, which were undergoing the change, parts of which were burnt and appeared the same as the coal: total time travelling this day six hours.

l3th—-Roused by a concert similar to that of yesterday morning; a bear, which had been growling nearly the whole night on the opposite side of the river, came in the morning to have a. look at us. Before I could get my gun ready to salute him, he walked of. Three hours after leaving yesterday's halting place, reached a rapid called Khyuk-taeeng, where the boats were obliged to be unloaded; and after about three hours more, a second, where a like precaution was necessary. Neither of these rapids is of a greater length than 40 yards: the last which is named Chum-ka-te, is the worst, being, as far as I could judge, a fall of about 10 feet; its difliculties are increased by large and loose rocks, over which it rushes: The obstacles offered to the navigation of the Maglung by these rapids might I conceive be overcome by digging small canals, for which there is sufiicient room : even as it is, however, the river is perfectly practicable for dingees, such as the one I am embarked on, and would be more so were the rocks in the bed removed, which I understand the raja intends doing: the only precaution necessary is to unload and carry the loads for about 40 yards. Immediately above and below the rapids the river is as still nearly as a

pond. A short distance above the last rapid, reached the site of a village called Chum-ka-te, and put to for the night: here also are salt springs. Total time moving this day, eight hours.

l4th—-Reached the junction of the Kumbut and Maglung rivers without meeting any impediment from rapids ; the point where the above rivers unite is about eight miles east of Wetup, and in the Kubo valley. The village of Mo, from whence is the ascent of the pass leading to Pa-tche-ne, across the Angoching, is distant from hence about one and a half mile. East at the last-named village are most extensive salt springs, which supply the whole of the southern division of Kubo, and Nga villages to the west of it, with salt. Total time moving this day, seven and half hours.

N. B.-—The general width of the valley of the Maglung is about two miles, that of the river about 120 yards : its course upwards nearly east and west, except where it rounds the bases of the different ranges of hills, which it does by turning for a short distance to the north ; in places throughout its course it is confined by a steep or abrupt face of rock. The hills from both sides terminate at, and slope gradually down to, its bed, leaving a gap for its egress to the Ningthee*. I have no doubt a road might be made through the valley : it must necessarily, however, be very circuitous, and the river crossed frequently; drawbacks which would more than counterbalance the advantages to be derived from it. That the river might, with great advantage, be made available for transporting grain and other stores by boats from the Kubo valley to the Ningthee, my trip up it places beyonda doubt. The shore on either side is covered to the water's edge with a forest of teak, saul, kefi, cotton, (semul,) wood oil, (gurjun,) and other noble trees, similar to those of the Kubo valley, and actually swarms with wild beasts, of the descriptions already mentioned in this journal; throughout the whole course of the river through the Angoching hills, there is not a space of ten yards free of paths made by them down to the water, which gives the idea of a crowded population. In the neighbourhood of the Ningthee, fish are most abundant; the Manipurees (inordinate fish-eaters), who accompanied me, were regularly satiated with it: amongst others,

_ I recognized the roo muchlee, c_utla., mirga, kulbause, poontea, large

and small, bowali, soli, mullet, pufta, gurri, and various others of which I know not the names ; but all of which my Bengalee servants recognised as similar to those found in the Surma at Sylhet. I had also prawns of an immense size brought me, and porpoises were amusing themselves in the Ningthee.

* It is to be regretted that the course of the Maglung was not given in the sketch map from which Plate VII. is lithograpl1ed.—ED.

« PreviousContinue »