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Snowy Range From Landour , Tyne or Marma

May 9, 1836
Mohammed Abdulkarim
Scenery and Places
Akbar shah II


The above image is found from the book The Indian Empire Illustrated, The London Printing and Publishing Company Limited.

The Himalaya Mountains, signifying by name f *the abode of snow,” form the tremendous harrier which, stretching from the Indus on the north-west, to the Brama- pootra on the south-east, divides the plains of Hindooatan. from the wilds of Thibet and Tartary. Tins chain of mountains comprises numerous ranges, extending in different directions west of the Indus. One of its ramifications, running in a still more westerly direction, is known to the Afghans by the name of the Hindoo-Koosh, the whole stupendous range being merely broken by the Indus. From the north-east point of Cashmere it takes a south-eastern course, stretching along the sources of all the Punjab rivers, except the Sutlej, where it separates the hilly portion of the Lahore province from those tracts which have been designated, in modern geography. Little Thibet. 

Still pursuing the same direction, it crosses the heads of the Ganges and Jumna, and forces their currents towards a southward channel. Farther east, the chain is supposed to be less continuous, it being the generally received opinion that it is penetrated by the Gunduck, the Arun, the Cosi, and the Teesta rivers. Beyond the limits of Bootan, the course of the chain extending into an unexplored country, it can be traced no longer; but the supposition is in favour of its running to the Chinese sea, skirting the northern frontier ol the provinces of Qnangsi and Quantong, and lessening in height as it approaches the east. The portion of this extensive chain which borders Hindoostan, rises to an elevation far exceeding that of any other mountains in the world, in some places forming an impassable barrier to the countries beyond, and rendering their extent a matter of conjecture only. The breadth of the snowy chain varies in different parts between the Sutlej and the Ganges; but it has been estimated at about eighty miles from the plains of Iiindoostan to those of Thibet. The heights of this splendid barrier are ^insurmountable by man; but in some places, the beds of rivers which intersect it afford access to its wild and gloomy fastnesses; and as a few have succeeded in penetrating the gigantic mass, there is a possibility that the efforts of science and daring combined, may yet force a passage through the rocks and snows of these desert wastes. The ranges of hills, extending in a southerly direction from the Himalaya, are divided into numerous principalities to the eastward of the Sutlej—Sir moor, Gurhwal, Kumaon, Nepatil; and many others are to be found, several of which were unknown to the European inhabitants of India previous to the Goorka wars of 1815.

The plains of India may with justice be deemed one vast prison, in which the sun, aided at one period of the year by the hot winds, acts the part of gaoler. It is only during a brief interval in the morning and evening, that exercise can be taken with impunity, except during the cold season; and even then a carriage or a horse is required. Emancipation, therefore* from these restraints—a feeling of power to wander at will in the open air, and the invigorating influence of a bracing atmosphere, combine to render individuals, on their arrival at Mussooree, like captives newly liberated from a dungeon, or schoolboys breaking loose from their forms*

From Mussooree a road has been cut at the elevation of 7,000 feet above the sea level, that completely encircles the height chosen for the sanitarium of Landour; per¬ mitting the residents to make an easy excursion of about four miles, either on horseback or on foot; every step of the way being fraught with objects of beauty and interest.

In no place can the snowy range of the Himalaya be seen to more advantage than from the western side of Landour; the distance being about thirty miles. From this point it rises with a majesty and distinctness which is in some measure lost when the traveller, at a nearer approach, becomes shut in as it were amid lofty peaks, which circum¬ scribe bis view; and where, in consequence of the extraordinary purity of the atmos¬ phere, they, especially soon after sunrise, appear to the eye much nearer than they really are. The intermediate country is then veiled in mist, spreading like a lake; and the snowy eminences beyond, rising from its margin, when lighted up by the slanting rays of the sun, seem as if they could be gained by an easy effort: it is not until those silvery mists have cleared away, and the sun shines out with broader splendour, revealing the true state of the case, that the illusion is dispelled. Dhawallaghiri (the white mo tin Tam), in which the river Gunduck has its source, is considered to be the most lofty of these peaks: its height has not been exactly determined; but accounts that arc esteemed accurate, render it 27,400 feet above the level of the sea. Jumnoutri and Gummutri, whence the Jumna and the Ganges have their birth, are next in proportion, both exceed¬ ing 24,000 feet; but the last-named is the most highly honoured by the natives, some of whom affirm, that on its topmost summit Mahadeo has erected his throne; while others reverence the whole mountain as the god.

Villages are to be found at an elevation of 14,000 feet; but dwelling at this altitude is not healthy, and the inhabitants have a wretched and attenuated appearance. Culti¬ vation has been carried, in some places, 500 feet higher; and vegetation does not totally cease until stopped, at the height of 16,000 feet, by that eternal barrier of snow which asserts supreme dominion over the sullen wastes above.

From another point of Landour the eye embraces the splendid range of mountains through which the sacred river forces its impetuous course—now fretting along a narrow Channel, which it has worn amid the rocks; and now flinging itself down in'glittering volumes from ridge to ridge; until at length, emerging from the hills, it is seen winding and wandering along the. level country in curves of beauty, which the eye may trace until they are lost in distance.

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


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