« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
CLIMATE AND SOIL,
three parts lie on the slope of the Indian Andes, from the elevation of five thousand feet up to the limit of perpetual snow. It is alleged to contain from forty-three thousand to fifty thousand square miles, and to have two million inhabitants. It may be called the Switzerland of India ; but its area is equal to that of three Switzerlands, while the amount of its population is no more than one third part as great.
The superior part of the soil consists of an indistinct mixture of light mould, sand and gravel, supported by a deep black unctuous earth, which the cultivators spread over their rice-fields in the manner of manure. The lands of Nepaul, under which denomination are comprehended, not only those of Nepaul proper and of Goorkha, but of such conquered districts as have been thoroughly settled, may be arranged into Crown lands, the Birtha or Brehmoter lands, the Kohrya and Bari lands and the Kaith lands. The Crown lands, or the Rajah's immediate estates, are situated chiefly in the Goorkha territory ; some of them are
cultivated by husbandmen, with whom the Prince divides their produce; others are managed immediately by his agents, and tilled by the neighbouring husbandmen, and others farmed out.
The Birtha or Brehmoter lands are two kinds, viz., the Kaos-Birtha, and the SoonaBirtha. The former are rarely bestowed excepting on Brahmins; and the latter tenure is that by which certain Newars, and other natives of different countries, subjected by the Goorkhalis, continue to hold their ancient possessions under the government of their conquerors. Those lands, although rent free, saleable and habitable, like the first named, are not enjoyed on terms equally easy, as they must be renewed on similar terms under every succeeding prince. The Kohrya and Bari lands are destitute of springs, and have no streams passing through them. A Bari is properly an enclosed fruit or kitchen garden, unsupported with spring or running water. Kohyra land is often comprehended in Jagheers, but it is not productive
CLIMATE AND SOIL.
to the Jagheerdar, as it requires considerable labour, and yields after all no very profitable grains. The Kaith or plantation lands are of the first quality, being well watered by springs and rivulets. They have a rich soil, and yield, with moderate labour, all the superior kinds of grain. They are principally situated in the valleys, the lowest of which are, generally speaking, the most fertile; but they are not uncommon even in the higher lands, some of which are abundantly supplied with water.
The principal rivers which traverse the Nepaul territory, are the Bhagmutty, Bukkia, Jumni, Billye or Billarie, Sukkati or Sukti, Kurroo, Rapti, Boori, Gunduck, Zillaive, Baharanuddee, Dohar, Gadh, or Gadhi, Sunghirja, Nagrote, Becheacori, and some smaller streams. Those in and about the valley of Nepaul, are the Bishenmuttee, Dhobeekola, Munohia, Hummunta, and the Kushni Kushen.
CLIMATE AND PRODUCTION OF NEPAUL.
The height of Nepaul above the level of the sea is about four thousand feet. The thermometer, notwithstanding this height, ranges to 87 degrees. Its usual height, about noon, varies from 81° to 84o. A little after sunrise, it stands between 50° and 54°, but it is occasionally as low as 47o. At nine in the morning, it fluctuates from 62° to 66o.
The mean temperature in March is 67o.
The seasons of Nepaul are pretty nearly the same as those of Upper Hindostan. The rains ommence a little earlier, say in the month
of May, and set in from the S.E. quarter; they are usually very abundant, and break up towards the middle of October.
In describing the climate of Nepaul, we ought not to confine ourselves to the valley, since by a journey of three or four days one may actually exchange a heat equal to that of Bengal for the cold of Russia, by barely moving from Nyakote to Khuroo, or over to Rancha. Few would seek a finer climate in winter than that of Chittlong, or in summer, a more elastic and sharper air than is to be breathed on the tops of the summit of Chandragheery. Not only are the tops of the surrounding mountains sprinkled with snow for several days together during the winter, but it even sometimes falls in the valley below. A hoar frost too, at this season very commonly covers the ground; but though the cold is occasionally for three or four months severe enough to congeal the tanks and pools of standing water, yet the rivers are never frozen. With respect to the salubrity of the non-elevated vallies and situations, it would