Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/36

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.



In a tour of pleasure to the hills, made by a party from whose journals the following notes have been taken, the route pursued lay through the district of Saharunpore, a part of the province of Delhi, which at one period was said to have formed the granary of the upper country. Though portions of the land are still very fertile, its condition at the present time is not so flourishing; the devastating influence of the Ghoorka invasions having been very severely felt. A new era, however, is opening for India; and, as we surveyed the magnificent prospect around us, our hearts warmed with the hope that the lapse of a quarter of a century would add to their sublimity attractions of another kind—those which will arise from the skilful application of science in aid of the natural resources of the country.

The view of the Himalaya from a spot in the vicinity of Saharunpore, is of that dreamy, poetical description, which, though full of beauty, presents little that is definite. Two inferior belts, divided from each other by deep intersecting vales, appear tier above tier, the pyramidal snow-capped heights, which seem to lift themselves into another world, crowning the whole with almost awful majesty. From this site, the mountain ranges have all the indistinctness which belongs to the land of faërie, and which, leaving the imagination to luxuriate in its most fanciful creations, lends enchantment to the scene. The pure dazzling whiteness of the regions of eternal snow, give occasionally so cloud-like an appearance to the towering summits, as to induce the belief that they form a part of the heaven to which they aspire; while in other states of the atmosphere they stand out in bold relief, either catching the rays of the sun, and reflecting a golden tint, or rearing their lofty points, white with the unsullied snow of ages, against a darkened sky, shewing that while all else on earth is liable to change, they endure immutable and for ever.

The northern part of the district of Saharunpore lies within the influence of the hills, and rain occasionally falls throughout the year along the Sewalik range, at the distance of a few miles; but notwithstanding that it is traversed by streams which take their rise from springs in these hills, it suffers from want of water; and there is every reason to believe that Artesian wells might be formed with great success, and much advantage to the district.

The city of Saharunpore is of very ancient date, but possesses few or no remains of interest: a fortress strengthened for the purpose of resisting the incursions of the Ghoorkas, and a religious institution in the neighbourhood, being the only places worthy of a visit, with the exception of the botanical garden, which forms, indeed, its principal attraction. Though not so great a pet of the government as the Calcutta establishment, the garden at Saharunpore is kept in excellent order, the most being made of the comparatively small sum allowed for its maintenance. Common report states, that this useful and ornamental work owes its existence to the family of Zahita Khan, a former chief; but it must have undergone great changes since its early formation, being laid out in serpentine walks, which, with their flower-borders, and shrubs of foreign growth, render it truly English in its aspect. Divested of the formality which characterises native plantations, the garden at Saharunpore may be said to combine all the advantages of a highly embellished pleasure-ground with the interest of the nursery, and on this account to excel many of the most celebrated specimens of landscape-gardening at home. There are rides and drives through this beautiful enclosure, which, being secluded, and free from