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The City and Fortress of Nahun

May 23, 1836
Mohammed Abdulkarim
Scenery and Places
Bahadur Shah II


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

The city of Nahun is situated forty-six miles north-west of Saliarunpoor, and is the capital of the small province or raj of Sirmoor. The place, though small, is considered one of the best designed and handsomely built cities in India, and is approached through a very picturesque, well-watered, aud finely-wooded valley, "which the city, from its position on the summit of a rock, commands. The country round about is intersected with valleys and ravines, clothed in the richest luxuriance of foliage and verdure; the Deyrah Dhoon stretching out in the distance to the south-east, and the comparatively low belts of hills in the neighbourhood affording very pleasing specimens of mountain scenery. The road leading to the town is exceedingly steep and narrow, and is cut in a precipitous ascent, which, however, is surmountable by elephants, even when encumbered by baggage. On entering the place, the streets have the semblance of stairs, so numerous arc the steps occasioned by the unevenness of the reckon which they range) yet the inhabitants of the place may he seen riding about on horseback, and mounted on elephants, as if the place were a perfect level. Within view of the city is the fortress of Tytock, 4,854 feet above the level of the sea; which cost the lives of four British officers in its capture during the Goorka war. The fall of those brave men is com¬ memorated by a lofty obelisk, which marks their graves, and presents an object of melancholy interest to wanderers who come suddenly upon the remote resting-places of their countrymen. Nahun is considered to he healthy, though rather inconveni¬ ently warm, notwithstanding its elevated position at upwards of 3,000 feet above the sea-level.

The late rajah of Nahun was rather proud of his Hilar , or fortress, which is of imposing appearance, and contiguous to the city, and he seldom omitted to invite Euro¬ pean strangers that might be in the vicinity, to pay him a visit and inspect his troops, the latter being neither very numerous or highly disciplined) their uusoldierlike appear¬ ance readily accounting for the facility with which the more martial Sikhs and Goorkas possessed themselves of the territory of their chief. This rajah, who was indebted to British aid for the rescue of his dominions from the Goorkas, was always exceedingly polite and attentive to Europeans, and readily afforded them every assistance while within his territory.

Lew things could he more absurd than the interviews which occasionally took place between the small native potentates of India and the civil or military European travellers, that by chance found themselves passing through a remote rajahship. The tourists, when pounced upon for a visit of ceremony, were usually in the deplorable state of dishabille natural to travellers among the wild scenery of the hill districts, and might consider themselves supremely fortunate if they possessed a decent coat at hand to exhibit upon the occasion. A long journey had, in all probability, sadly deteriorated the appearance of the cattle and the followers; and the traveller might feel perfectly willing, and even desirous, to relinquish the honour about to be conferred upon him; but he could have no choice. The rajah, on the other hand, was anxious to exhibit as a personage of importance; and having given due notice of his intended visit, would pay his respects to the fugitive representative of Great Britain, with all the pomp and circumstance he could command. The cavalcades on such occa¬ sions were sometimes exceedingly picturesque, and afforded a striking display of elephants handsomely caparisoned, ornamented howdabs and litters, gaudily-dressed troopers, and crowds of men on foot, brandishing swords, silver maces, and rusty matchlocks; while the deep and rapid sounds of the kettle-drums, and the shrill blasts of the silver trumpets, came upon the ear in wild and warlike melody. It was indispensably neces¬ sary, notwithstanding the numerous discrepancies appearing in the make-up of the reception by the multitude of ragged followers, and the consciousness of the unfitness of well-worn travelling costume as accessories to a visit of state, that the much-honoured stranger should preserve a steady countenance, since any indulgence of the risible faculty would, upon such an occasion, have given mortal offence; and by no effort at explanation, would levity of manner be attributed to other than intentional insult. The sensitiveness of the rajah of Nahun might possibly have been increased by the fact of his impoverished condition, the territories of which he was chief consisting merely of the thinly-peopled and scantily-cultivated mountainous regions between Deyrah and Pinjore, and his revenues being, consequently, of very inadequate amount on which to support the state of an independent chieftain

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


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