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siders the Sutlej as the largest river within the Himalaya range, between the Indus and the Brahmapootra. From its origin to its junction with the Beyah, it runs about 500 miles ; and the united streams flow for more than 300 miles, before they contribute to form the Punjnud. The union of all the five rivers into one, before they reach the Indus, was a point in geography maintained by Ptolemy; but, owing to the obscurity of modern accounts, promoted by the splittings of the Indus, and the frequent approximation of streams running in parallel courses, the accuracy of his information had been called in question. Recent and minute inquiries, however, are now supposed to have re-established this disputed point, and with it, the credit of the ancient geographer. *
THE Ganges, although not the largest, is the most highly venerated, as well as the most useful of all the Indian rivers. Its sources are found within the recesses of the Himalaya mountains, where so many mighty rivers have their origin. Among those which claim attention from their magnitude, are, the Sutlej, the Pabur, the Jumna, the Billung, the Girree, the Touse, the Caligunga, the Bhagiruttee, and the Alaknunda. It is the latter three which, by their union, form the mighty Ganga. The Pabur and Touse unite, and, with the Girree, fall into the Jumna. The Alaknunda (or Alacananda) has its rise in a snowy mountain close to the celebrated Hindoo temple of Buddrinaath, in the province of
ration that takes place after the first confluence of the Beyah and Setlege, I apprehend, that so many names are given to the latter by modern as well as ancient authors."--RENNELL, p. 102.
* Malte Brun, vol, iii. p. 18.);
Serinagur. A very short distance to the north of that place, the breadth of its stream does not exceed 18 or 20 feet; it is shallow and moderately rapid. Further
the stream is concealed under the accu. mulated masses of snow; and beyond this point, no traveller has ventured, or been able to penetrate. It flows in a direction nearly S.W. to Rooderpråg, where it forms a junction with the Caligunga. The latter, rising at Kedarnauth, another celebrated temple in the Kedar snowy mountain, runs nearly S.S.W. to Rooderpràg. From this point, the Alaknunda holds a more westerly course to Deoprág, where it is joined by the Bhagiruttee.
The course of the Bhagiruttee, the reputed Ganges, has been traced by Mr. Fraser to the place called Gungotree or Gangoutri, one of the holiest shrines of Hindoo worship within these mountains. Here, however, the stream is already “large and rapid,” although not greater, perhaps," Mr. Fraser thinks, “ than may be accounted for by the large mass of snow that supplies it." It appears to be formed by a collection of the numerous torrents that run from the melted snow, uniting in a deep ravine formed by their violence. The actual source is concealed by the sharp peaks which close upon the inaccessible glen or ravine through which the river rushes down, so that its fountains have never been seen. Admitting, indeed, that the Roodroo Himala contains the most elevated source of the Ganges, it may not be the most distant. A gun-shot below Gungotree, the KedarGunga, a rapid and considerable stream, joins the Bhagiruttee; and lower down, the J'hannevie, a river of a size fully equal, joins it from the north-east. This river is said to have its origin in a very lofty mountain, called Ree-kee-soor-stan, fifteen days' jour
ney north-eastward in the Chinese territory; and, notwithstanding the preference given by superstition to Gungotree and the Bhagiruttee, the real origin of the Ganges remains to be sought for in a more remote and less consecrated region.*
The Bhagiruttee flows at first for several miles, nearly from E. to W.; then to S.W., and afterwards to S.S.E. At Deopràg, where it is joined by the Alaknunda, it takes the name of the Gunga or Ganges. It enters the plains of Hindostan at Hurdwar, t in the province of Delhi, in lat. 29° 57', long. 78° 2'. Its course is nearly straight to its conflux with the Jumna at Allahabad, in lat. 25° 27', long. 81° 50'; and its bed is from a mile to a mile and a quarter in width. Below this junction it becomes more winding, and flows in a deeper and broader channel. After receiv. ing the Goggrah, the Sona, and the Gunduk, besides many smaller streams, it attains its utmost breadth ; and, where no islands intervene, is, in some places, three miles wide. It afterwards narrows to half a mile. When at the lowest, the principal channel varies from 400 yards to a mile and a quarter in width, but is generally about three fourths of a mile across. It is fordable in some parts above its conflux with the Jumna, but the boat navigation is never interrupted ; and at 500 miles from the sea to its mouth, the channel is thirty feet deep, when the river is lowest.
About 200 miles from the sea (300 by the windings
See Fraser's Himala mountains, pp. 464—74. This Writer questions whether the moonshee sent to explore Gungotree by Messrs. Webb and Raper in 1808, really reached the spot. The J'hannevie is, perhaps, the Jahni Ganga. The Dauli or Sati, which joins the Alaknunda at Vishnuprayaga, has also a more remote source.
† Properly Hari-dwara, the Gate of Hari or Vishnoo. It is also called Ganga-dward,
of the river) commences the Gangetic delta. The two westernmost branches, the Cossimbazar and Jellinghy rivers, unite and form what is called the Hooghly; the only branch that is commonly navigated by ships, forming the port of Calcutta. The Cossim. bazar river is almost dry from October to May, and the Jellinghy is, in some years, scarcely navigable during the driest months ; so that the only subordinate branch that is at all times navigable by boats, is the Chanduah river, which separates at Moddapoor, and terminates in the Hooringotta river. The easternmost branch of the Ganges is joined by the mighty Brahmapootra below Luckipoor, where these rivers have formed a gulf interspersed with mud islands. The delta, which has nearly 200 miles of coast, consists of a labyrinth of rivers and creeks, all of which are salt, except those which communicate immediately with the principal arm of the Ganges. This dreary tract of country bears the name of the Sunderbunds. The navigation through these intricate passages or natural canals, is effected chiefly by means of the tides, and extends more than 200 miles through the thick forest that covers the numberless islands formed by the different channels. These are so various in point of width, that a vessel has at one time her masts entangled among the trees, and, at another time, sails on a broad river skirted with woods. There are two distinct passages; the southern or Sunderbund passage, and the Balliaghaut passage.
* From Sanderi-vana, a wood of Sundery-trees. Some derive it from Soonder, beautiful, and bon, forest; while others again contend, that the proper name is Shunderbund, the tract being comprehended in the ancient zemindary of Shunderdeep. In 1784, the Sunderbunds, together with Cooch Bahar and Rangamutty, all nearly waste, contained, according to Major Rennell, 37,549 square miles. The Sunderbunds are equal in extent to the principality of Wales. -RENNELL, p. 339. HAMILTON'S Gaz.
The former is the longest, but leads through the widest and deepest channels, and opens into the Hooghly or Calcutta river. The latter opens into a lake on the eastern side of the city. The whole forest of the Sunderbunds is abandoned to the wild beasts, except that here and there may be seen a solitary fakeer. During the dry season, the lower shores are visited by the salt-makers and wood-cutters, who exercise their trade at the constant peril of their lives; for tigers of the most enormous size not only appear on the margin, but fre. quently swim off to the boats that lie at anchor in the rivers. The waters also swarm with alligators. *
The mean rate of motion of the Ganges is less than three miles an hour in the dry months. In the wet season, and while the waters are draining off from the inundated lands, the current runs from five to six miles, and in particular situations, even eight miles an hour. The descent of the river, taking its wind. ings into calculation, is estimated by Mr. Rennell at less than four inches per mile.t Owing to the looseness of the soil composing its banks, the Ganges has, in the lapse of years, considerably shifted its course. In tracing the coast of the delta, there are no fewer than eight openings, each of which appears to have
! * The existence of this forest has always been considered as of political importance, as it presents a strong natural barrier along the southern frontier of Bengal. Nor is it practicable to bring into culture these salt marshy lands, which are for the most part overflowed by the tide. Excellent salt, in quantities equal to the whole consumption of Bengal and its dependencies, is here made, and transported with equal facility; and the woods present an inexhaustible supply of timber for boat-building and other purposes.
† An instance is mentioned, as coming within Major Rennell's own knowledge, of a boat that was carried fifty-six miles in eight hours, against a wind so strong as to prevent any progressive motion independent of the current, See RENNELL’s Memoir, p. 340..