Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/160

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name of Rajpootana, is comprised of so many districts, that every variety of scenery is to be found in it; but though the valley of Oodipore and other equally beautiful portions are celebrated for the exquisite loveliness of the landscape, the general character is that of sterility. The country, therefore, represented in the plate, surrounding the fortress of Bowrie, must be considered as a favourable specimen: wood and water, which fail in many other tracts, are here abundant; the banian affords an umbrageous foliage to the scene, and the one delineated in the accompanying engraving will give the reader an accurate idea of the manner in which a whole grove is produced from the parent stem. Each of the pendent fibres, upon reaching the ground will take root, affording support to the branch whence it has descended, and enabling it to push out farther, and fling down other pillars, until at length a wide area all round is formed into avenues, some of these trees covering several acres. A native, who regards this beautiful product of nature with the greatest veneration, will never, with his own consent, permit a banian-tree to be cut down or mutilated; few, however, are allowed to spread themselves to their greatest extent, as the ground is in many places too valuable to be thus occupied. The small fig produced by the banian furnishes nutritious food to immense multitudes of animals—monkeys, squirrels, peacocks, and various other birds, living amid its branches; and, indeed, so great are the advantages to be derived from its shade, and from the protection it affords to the inferior classes of the animal creation, that it is not surprising that the Hindoos should look upon it as a natural temple, and be inclined to pay it divine honours.

There is a tree of this description on the banks of the Nerbudda, which, though exposed to the devastating influence of high floods which have washed a portion away, measured two thousand feet in circumference, the principal stems, three hundred and fifty in number, being only included. Travellers seek shelter in these magnificent pavilions, and the religious tribes of Hindoos are particularly fond of resting beneath their umbrageous canopy. Under many, a resident Brahmin is often to be found, and few are without their attendant priesthood in some shape or other—the Jogeis, Byragees, Gossaens, Sunyesses, or other denomination of Fakeers.


The Harbour of Bombay presents one of the most striking and beautiful views that ever delighted the eye of a painter. The splendour and sublimity of its scenery offer such numerous claims to admiration, that it is by many considered to bear the palm from the far-famed bay of Naples. During the best season of the year, the water is smooth, while the breeze blowing in from the sea through the greater part of the day, the very smallest boats are, with the assistance of the tide, enabled to voyage along the beautiful coast, or to the various islands which gem the scarcely ruffled wave, and to return with the returning flood, without experiencing any of the dangers which must be encountered in less secure places. Even during the monsoon, when many other places of the Indian coast are unapproachable, when the lofty and apparently interminable mountains which form the magnificent back-ground are capped with clouds, and the sea-birds that love the storm, skim between the foam-crowned billows, the fishing-boats breast the waves, and pursue their occupation uninterruptedly. At this season, although the reality of the danger is nothing to experienced sailors, the aspect of the harbour becomes wild, and even terrific—darkness envelopes the sky, and the woody promontories and bold romantic cliffs, rising above village, town, and cottage, are obscured by the dingy scud which