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September ist to sth.-It was pouring in the afternoon of the ist of September when I left Darjeeling. Proceeding stage by stage, reached Phalut on the 4th. As this part of my route is well frequented, there is nothing specially noteworthy about it. The weather was certainly far from fine, and I had to content myself with imagining what views I would have had if it were otherwise. Got drenched every day. But that did absolutely no harm, though I discarded my waterproof, as I found it added to my encumbrance without adequately justifying its name.
Descending from Simana (a village just beyond Jorpokri, the first stage from Darjeeling) an immense development of well-bedded quartzites was found for a considerable distance. Such intercalation of quartzites in the Darjeeling gneiss was met with at various places.
Gneiss occurs at Tonglu; strike very inconstant. Inclusions of large rounded pebble-like fragments of quartzite occur in it, such as may be seen in the gneiss about Darjeeling. They bespeak the original sedimentary character of the gneiss.
The gneiss at some places is highly schorlaceous; and at some places, it contains garnets in abundance.
September 5th. Leave Phalut at 7 A.M., temperature 48o. There is a fine peak about a mile north of Phalut; it is called Singalela on map, though that should, strictly speaking, be the name of a pass some miles further north. The view from this peak must be grand. But, unfortunately, though I waited for some time for the weather to clear up, it did not do so; and I had to be content with a peep at the lower hills of Sikkim.
Just a little way beyond Singalela, the gneiss was found to dip rather easy, W. N. W. The dip is nowhere high, and the gneiss is not contorted as it is about Darjeeling. Huge blocks of the rock occur on the way. About half-way between Singalela and Chia Bhanjan, white, hard quartzites are largely developed. Near Chid Bhanjan, the gneiss is highly micaceous; strike N. E.-S. W.
Reach Chia Bhanjan at 2 P.M. The place is so marked on map, and, I believe, this is the name given to it by the Paharia (Nepalese) settlers in Sikkim. It is known as Singalela to my sirdar and other Darjeeling people. W. S. Sherwill calls it Tumbok, and Hooker, who entered Sikkim by this pass, designates it Islumbo.3 I questioned a number of Sikkimites. The last two names they had never heard of.
Chia Bhanjan is, perhaps, the most frequented pass between Sikkim and Nepal. Its height, as marked on map, is 10,320 feet. Leeches are present, but not very
For the benefit of future tourists, I may here mention the disposition of my coolies. I have thirteen, with one sirdar at their head. The coolies get 8 annas a day, and the sirdar a rupee. Three coolies carry my cot, bedding and trunk containing clothes, books, &c.; six take my stores, kitchen utensils, &c.; and the rest my Kabul pal, one servant's pal, and the sirdar's impedimenta. The coolies were all very lightly loaded, about 20 seers each on the average, as they had to carry, in addition, their own food for one fortnight.
' J. A. S. B., Vol. XXII, 1853, p. 561.
8“ Him. Journ.," Vol. I, p. 280. In the map accompanying Sir Richard Temple's paper on “ The Lake Region of Sikkim," (Proc. of Royal Geog. Soc., Vol. III, 1881, p. 321), the pass is named Islumbo. I am told that this is the name by which the pass is known to the Nepalese in Nepal.
plentiful. I have not been troubled with them since leaving Joopokri, where the ground about the bungalow is terribly infested by those blood-suckers.
Materials are being collected for a bungalow to be built here soon; it will be one stage nearer the snows.
September 6th.-Halt to meet Mr. J. C. White, Political Agent, Sikkim. He comes up in the afternoon.
On the Nepal side, just a little way below my camp, there is a dark-looking tarn, enclosed on all sides and surrounded by dense rhododendron and bamboo jungle. It appears to be fed by a spring close by.
September 7th.-As W. made a long march yesterday, the whole of his camp could not come up last night. While waiting, he offers me a drink of murwa, a most delicious beverage, which there is hardly any traveller in Sikkim who has not tasted and enjoyed. I have heard it praised even by rigid teetotallers. Amongst W's retinue is the Secretary of the Sikkim Council, called Dingpun, and an interpreter, named Nimdarji.
Started from Chia Bhanjan at 9 A.M. Proceed along the ridge which forms the boundary between Sikkim and Nepal. It is the continuation of the Gum-Phalut ridge, and is known as the Singalela ridge. It forms a well-marked watershed, the streams issuing from it on the west side forming tributaries of the Ganges, and those on the east side pouring their waters into the Tista, a tributary of the Brahmaputra.
Our route lies through a rhododendron forest; pass several sheep pastures. The footpath is fairly good, and could easily be made practicable for ponies.
The dip of the gneiss is usually low, seldom exceeding 30°. The direction of the dip is east-north-east to north-east. Highly foliated schist near a place called Nyatar, where we encamp on the Nepal side at an elevation of 11,000 feet.
With regard to the heights taken by us, I may say that they were all determined by W.'s aneroid, the error of which was satisfactorily found to be very small, and for which allowance has been made. My own aneroid is most unreliable. Its error has been increasing with the height, and that too most whimsically.
September 8th.-Early in the morning W. calls me up, and we have a very fine view of the Nepal snowy range. One fine peak with an armchair-shaped, crater-like hollow in front is very conspicuous.
Set off at 8 A.M. Walk through a rhododendron jungle as yesterday. Pass a small dirty pond on the way, which is called Parmu pond on map. Ascend a peak, called Lampheram on map; but the name is not known to the Sikkimites. One of them called it “Sagu,” which is the name used by W. S. Sherwill,? who passed this way. Passing Lampheram (Sagu), the dip of the gneiss is seen to be northwestern at places. The footpath passes along the crest of a ridge through scrubby swee:-scented rhododendron and stunted juniper. The view into the abysmal valleys on either side is superb. Ascend a peak higher than Sagu (over 13 000 feet), then descend, and go along the flanks of a ridge over much broken up gneiss Camp on a fine undulating grassy plain, at or near a place called Migu. Elevation 12,500 feet.
September 9th.-My sirdar, whom I engaged on the strength of his assertion that
"I cannot find out its name. W. S. Sherwill refers to it, op. cit., p. 615.
Op. cit., p. 570.
he was well acquainted with the route we had taken, has hitherto been acting as our guide. To-day he took us off the right track and up a ridge at a height of about 14,500 feet close to Negadachenphuk.
Pass some slaty-looking rocks. They are, in reality, very fine grained, thinly beded gneiss. Veins of quartz-rock and of a granitic looking rock are rather common. The dip of the gneiss is very low; it is almost horizontal at places. The direction of the dip is east-north-east to north-east.
Plenty of wild rhubarb. When thirsty, it is very refreshing, being pleasantly acid ; it also makes a very nice stew. Of the jungle produce, we have, besides rhubarb, mushroom and bamboo shoots. The Lepcha coolies have a very keen eye for mushrooms. They can easily tell which are edible and which not.
At a height of about 13,500 feet, the gigantic mountain rhubarb, of which a figure is given by W. S. Sherwill, and another huge thistle-like flower are met with. Ascending 14,500 feet we find the ridge to be very narrow, with precipitous sides; and our further progress is stopped by the absence of a track practicable for laden coolies. The sirdar and some others of our party go in different directions searching for a practicable path. The search, however, proves fruitless, and all come back, except the sirdar, who keeps away, convinced probably of his mistake. We retrace our steps, get down close to where we camped yesterday, and then come up on the right track which keeps to the valley of the Yungya (Changihap on map), and is rightly marked on the map. We are drenched as usual, and too tired to make much progress ; so we camp at a sheep clearance not very far from our last camp, and just at the foot of the hill which we got up in the morning The sirdar was howling like a raving maniac above us. He is called back and brought down to his proper level. Henceforth he is deposed from his position as guide.
September 10th.-Start at 7-30 A.M. Proceeding a short distance from our camp, the path, which is a sheep track, bifurcates: one, leading to Yampung, goes along the crest of the Singalela ridge, and the other keeps to the valley of the Yungya. We take the latter, and pass, as we did yesterday and the day before, over shivered blocks and fragments of slaty-looking gneiss; enormous masses of quartz-rock and of a granitic-looking rock are met with at places. The shivering of the gneiss has been effected by frost. There is no rock in situ for some distance on either side of our track so far as the eye can reach—and it cannot reach very far on account of the mist-all is a confused mass of more or less angular débris. Beneath us we occasionally hear the gurgling of a streamlet.
To our left the gorge of the Yungya (Changthap), thousands of feet deep, and several roaring silvery cascades, rushing down the steep slopes of the Kangrangla ridge, form a scene of weird, wild, but sublime magnificence.
We reach a small lake-one of a group of several about here. The lake is very shallow; its water beautifully pellucid. The floor of the lake is a kind of mosaic pavement made up of large and small angular flat pieces of rock with coarse sand in the interstices. At the lower end of the lake issues a stream which courses its way amongst large angular fragments of rock curiously packed in a wavy manner.
1 Op. cit., p. 618. Sherwill describes the plant as follows:-"It consists of a conical assem. blage of buff-coloured leaves of great beauty, elegantly crimped, and edged with pink, the whole growing up in a sub tanti al tem, upon which and hidden by the graceful leaves are bunches os Aowers and triangular seeds somewhat resembling mignonette; the plant measures 45 inches in diameter at the base of the cone and is about the same height."
From the small lake we proceed westward and clamber ip a steep track discernible only hy slabs of stone put up at places by shepherds, who are the only frequenters of these wild solitudes. In summer they take their sheep nearly up to the snows; and as the weather gets cooler, they come down to lower elevations. Pass a deep gorge with precipitous sides at the head of the Yungya, and reach a fine, large lake. It is called Timbu by a Gurung from a neighbouring sheep pasture. Last three days we were on the border of Nepal ; to-day we are right in it. Camp just by the lake on very sloppy ground at a height of 14,010 feet. The sweet-scented scrubby rhododendron, grass, a kind of thread-like white lichen, and moss, constitute the flora of this place. Fuel has to be brought up from a distance: we are above the limit of fuel. Weather very misty and wet. Thermometer at 5-30 P.M., 40° F. Boiled water at a temperature of 79o at 3 P.M. : Seplember uth.-Halt. 6 A.M., thermometer, 42°. Very few civilized people, if any, have ever visited this beautiful lake, not even, apparently, the gentleman who constructed the survey map. W. S. Sherwill saw it with his telescope from the top of the Singalela ridge.
The lake suns nearly E.-W., instead of N.-S. as represented on map, It is about a quarter of a mile in length. The western and northern banks are very: high and precipitous. On the south and east sides the banks are very low. At the south-eistern corner issues a small, but rushing torrent. On the south and east side (where the banks are low) there is a fringe of stones of all sizes laid flat, all more or less angular and packed close with fine micaceous sand in the interstices, just as in the small lake we passed yesterday morning. Along this fringe the lake is very shallow ; but beyond, it is deep; how deep I could not ascertain. . Along a portion of the south and the whole of the east side, the rock is massive and granitic-looking, with usually black crystals of hornblende. Over a portion of the south side, however, the slaty-looking gneiss which I have been encountering all the way from Migu is present. The gneiss is very fine-grained and thinly bedded. and passes, at places, into mica schist. Quartzite is interstratified with it; and it is capped by the granitic rock mentioned above. The latter has, in all probability, penetrated as a dyke. The dip of the gneiss is very low, nct exceeding 10° or 15°, and points S.-W.
The Timbu lake and the one we passed yesterday morning do not appear to be of glacial origin. No moraines occur anywhere; rock in situ forms the bank on all sides. At this elevation (14,000 feet) the water of the lakes must be frozen up in winter, and with it the frost-shivered rock debris. On the melting of the ice, the latter are probably laid down on the floor of the lakes in the manner described above.
September 12th.—6 A, M., thermometer, 40°. Leaving Timbu and retracing our steps we get back to the little lake we encountered day before yesterday, and walk northward. Pass a number of such shallow lakelets on the way. Several sections occur in which the granitic rocks mentioned above are found to all appearance interbedded with the low dipping, fine-grained, thinly bedded, slaty-looking gneiss. They may be intrusive sheets. Two varieties of the granitic rock were met with, one containing abundant nests of white mica, and the other with plenty of hornblende. The thickness of the granitic rock varies from a few inches to 15 or 20 feet.
Cross over to the Sikkim side by a good pass. Here the path bifurcates, one branch going to Yampung, and the other to Jongri. We take the latter, and proceed in a general northerly direction.
A short way beyond the pass, the fine-grained gneiss is entirely lost sight of. We have massive crystalline rocks instead. They are very largely developed; huge masses of bare white rock towering above us present a most picturesque appearance. The crystalline rocks are of two types-one with hornblende, and the other without it. The latter is composed of felspar, quartz, and black mica; a sort of foliated arrangement is discernible in it; it is, in fact, a granitoid gneiss, or gneissose granite. These crystalline rocks are in all probability of intrusive origin. Their presence strengthens the suspicion that the similar granitic rocks found apparently interbedded with the fine-grained gneiss about Timbu and other places are intrusive sheets.
We descend down a deep gorge along a roaring streamlet (a feeder of the Yangsap); and following a track not indicated on the map descend down to the level of firs (about 12,500 feet). Here we encamp at a place called Gamothang, by the side of a rushing torrent. It is a sheep-grazing station. There is a shed here, with stone walls and a roof of fir planks.
The view from here in all directions is lovely. The deep, dark gorge we have left behind, the bare white granitic peaks rising majestically above us, the roaring waterfalls, the fir forests, and the deafening noise of the stream we have camped on, all combine to produce a most pleasing effect.
September 13th.—The weather all along has been very misty and wet. It cleared up a little this morning at 6, but turned misty soon after. Crossing the stream by our camp over two logs thrown across, we pass through a jungle of rhododendron, rose, cherry, fir, &c., and climb to a place called Bokto (height 13,350 feet). It is a yak-grazing station, a fine, large, open bit of land. The bulls are fine animals, with long bushy tails. As it is raining, we enter the shed of the yak-graziers to rest awhile; and W. orders a yak to be got ready for riding. The shed is of the same description as the one we left behind at our last camping-place. It is 24' x 12'. The calves, women and children, all herd together in it. . The people not having any ideas of sanitation or of esthetics, our senses of smell and sight are sorely taxed; in fact, the place is a veritable den of filth. The male keepers being away, we find only women and children in it. The inmates are very healthy-looking; and a buxom young lady is the prototype of the proverbial milk-maid of Bengal. They are doing very brisk business with the coolies, selling butter, curd, &c., &c. They protest there is no yak fit for riding. Some attempt, however, is made to saddle one, but he plays all sorts of antics to the great amusement of the coolies, and the attempt is given up as fruitless. There is a pass leading into Nepal from Bokto.
Leaving the shed, we get up a little higher, and then descend into the valley of the Yangsap. Elevation 12,400 feet. We then get up a saddle, 13,800 feet in height. Reach the valley of the Kamzar at 3 P.M. Elevation, 13,050 feet.
The rock all the way is massive coarse gneiss. Foliation is more or less distinctly observable everywhere. The strike was observed at one place to be N. W.S. E. The fine-grained, thin-bedded gneiss is nowhere met with.
'The place marked as such on the map is not known by that name.