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with the creation, and the eternal frost with which they are encrusted appears to preclude the possibility of mortals ever attaining their summit.
In viewing this grand spectacle of nature, the traveller may easily yield his affent to, and pardon, the superstitious veneration of the Hindoo votary who, in the fervour of his imagination, assigns the summit of these icy regions as the abode of the great Mahadeo, or First Cause; where, seated on his throne of ice, he is supposed to receive the homage of the surrounding universe.
Hurdwar is a place of great sanctity, and rendered memorable for the pilgrimages made thither from a remote antiquity.
About the latter end of March, and beginning of April, the pilgrims from Punjab, Guzurat, and the lowest points of Bengal, assemble in prodigious numbers.
In 1794, not less than an hundred and fifty thousand persons were assembled, though four
. [A. D. 1795 teen days were still remaining before the pilgrimage would be completed.
Brima and Bishun, or the creating and preserving powers, are the principal objects of worship at Hurdwar. The temple, situate at the foot of the mountain, is called Brimhakood, or the reservoir of Brimha, Hither the pilgrims resort, and after purifying themselves in the Ganges, they cut off their hair and shave themselves. Those who die during the pilgrimage, are burnt on the banks of the Ganges, and their ashes thrown into the river.
The pilgrimage to Hurdwar is esteemed of fuch consequence, as to be equivalent to that of Cası (Benares), Puraug (Allahabad), or Chillumbrum, in the Carnatic; and a devotee who has visited this place may be excused from going to any other the remainder of his days. This pilgrimage never fails to benefit the inhabitants of Hurdwar and the neighbouring villages ; as out of the great number who resort there at the annual period, all persons are obliged to pay a dustoor, or tax, to the bra
. mins and chokeydars of the villages. This amounts to a large fum.
Exclusive of the profits before stated, the Mahrattas receive a tax upon horses and camels coming to the fair; the former paying eight annas per head, and the latter fix annas; one half of this impost is levied at the village Joalahpore, and the remainder at the Hurdwar. Hackerys, or wheel-carriages, pay a tax of eight annas, and the covered doolies for the women two annas. There is likewise a resoom (custom) upon the sale of horses and camels, on the former ten per cent. and the latter eight, which is paid equally between the vendor and purchaser. Another mode by which the inhabitants enrich themselves is, by raising the price of grain and articles of provision, though upon the balance this is not much against the visitors; who, bringing along with them the production of their respective countries, dispose of their goods to advantage at Hurdwar."
Hence this pilgrimage has been 'converted into a great fair, where all sorts of merchan
dize from fold.
various parts of Hindoftan are
To Hurdwar are brought horses, camels, mules, cloths from the Punjab, Mawls, fruit, saffron, musk, Cashmerian wool, brass, and tutinague; cherruss, an intoxicating drug, which bears an excessive price in Bengal ; fire-arms from Lahore, and excellent Persian scimi, tars. These several articles are bought, exchanged, and sold; and, from the assemblage of people composed of so many different nations, the place resembles a grand commercial emporium : added to this, those rajahs and petty chiefs, who visit Hurdwar from religious motives, being attended by their troops, and their respective suites, contribute to accumulate the general mass, so that all is hurry, bustle, noise, and confusion.
But to return to our narrative after this dis gression. The Mahratta chief afore-mentioned, having instigated the Ghosseins to attack Mr. Thomas in his camp, to encourage them, offered as a reward for their services, the sum of ten thousand rupees. These particulars were communicated to Mr. Thomas by his own vakeel, then resident with Appa. Incensed at the indignity offered him by a conduct so treacherous, he marched against the Ghosseins, whom he attacked and defeated with great lofs to them, and to himself but trifling. After the encounter, they fled towards Delhi; and not thinking themselves safe there, continued to retreat until they had crossed the Jumna.
On the retreat of the Ghofseins, Mr. Thomas expostulated with Appa on the treachery of his conduct. He told him that the late transaction was so shameful, that he could no longer remain in his service. Mr. Thomas particularly expatiated on the treatment sustained by a Mr. Taylor: whom, after unjustly depriving of his command, Appa had confined in the fort of Goalier, under the pretext of extorting money ; till finding the man was not either to be daunted by threats, or cajoled by promises, he had at length given him his liberty. “Such,” said Mr. Thomas with indignation, “ has been the fate of all who have served “ you with fidelity.”