THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF NEPAL
so perfect, that were it possible by any means to block up that one pass through which the Baghmatti river flows towards the plains, not one drop of water could escape by any other channel, and, in the course of time, the accumulation of its pent-up waters would convert the valley again into a lake" (Oldfield).
In fulfilment of the traditional prophecy of Vipasyi Buddha, therefore, the lake has become "cultivated and populous," and the site it occupied is now the vital centre of Nepal. Here, within an area the size of the Isle of Wight—for the valley is but 20 miles long by 15 broad—all the principal interests of the State are concentrated. Here are the seat of the government, the palaces of the king and nobility, the temples and shrines, fishponds and gardens, rivers and burning-ghats, its ancient and modern capitals; here in this small hollow in the Himalayas, 4500 feet above the level of the sea, is all that appertains to the life, constitution, and history of this remarkable country.
Surrounded as it is by mountains, it is an easy task to scale one of the lower ranges,