페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

or 600 feet, forming the northern boundary of the great valley between Mercara and Nálkanádu. The valley is about 18 miles in length by 13 miles in breadth, and consists of a succession of low narrow ridges, with fertile valleys interposed. The lowest and central valley forms the bed of the river Kávéri. At the northwest angle of this valley there is a break in the line of ghatts, forming, what is called, the Sampáji valley, which leads by a gradual slope into the low country. An excellent road has been constructed on this line, by whieh Mercara and Mangalore are connected. The southern termination of the valley, however, becomes abrupt, a ridge in this direction rising suddenly to the height of about 1,000 feet; and on the west it plunges still more suddenly into Malabar, by a fall of between 4,000 and 5,000 feet. It is crowned by several peaks, the most remarkable of which is the Tadianda Mól, the highest point in Coorg. (Mál means hill, mountain.)

A continuation of the valley to the South-east leads into the talook of Kiggattnádu, which is of considerable extent, but much overgrown with jungle. Further to the south-east rise the Brahmagiri mountains, which form the boundary of the country in this direction. They are of great height, covered with forest trees, and abound with game. Like the other mountains of Coorg, their ridge on the top is very narrow.

The aspect of Coorg presents an entire forest. The long and narrow cultivated valleys enchased in it, serve but to render the vast woods more striking. The whole of the eastern boundary exhibits an almost uninterrupted and impervious forest form the Brahmagiri Hills to the banks of the Kávéri. This tract is wholly uninhabited. Advancing westward, the woods decrease in density as the country improves in cultivation, and become gradually thinner, till they reach the western ridges, the summits of which are partially bare of wood,

GEOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

and clothed with a luxuriant herbage. South of Vírarájéndrapett the jungles become less impenetrable, and the whole of Kigattnádu, with the exception of the Eastern parts, including the Brahmagiri mountains, is comparatively open, at least when contrasted with the deep forests of the contiguous districts. Approaching to the North, the thick umbrageous woods of the central parts give way to the date, sandal and other trees, and shrubs of a more meagre soil, leaving Yélusávirashímé an almost perfectly champaign country.

But a small portion of the summits of the ghatts is free from jungle. Their western face is covered with a continued forest of immense stature, partially subsiding at some distance from their base. Still wood is the unvaried feature of these regions. The general aspect of the country varies considerably in the different districts. In the vicinity of Sómavárapett the hills are gently rounded, alternating with sloping glades, interspersed with clumps of forest trees. Near Mercara the hills are closer together, and more abrupt, the ravines deeper and wilder, and the jungle in the hollows much thicker. South of Mercara the country, seen from a distance, appears covered with wood, the only naked spots being the rice fields of the valleys ; on descending into it, however, it is found to contain numerous open spaces, the woods being neither very dense nor very lofty. The scenery along the ridge of the ghatts to the westward is very beautiful, and may well compete with the Nílagiri ; it is bold and varied in a high degree, the vegetation of the richest description and the forest trees of magnificent growth. The valleys, though varying in extent and depth, having the same general direction, i. e. from North-west to South-east, with the prevailing winds, the temperature of the country is thereby considerably moderated and rendered equable.

· The waters of Coorg, as has been observed above, fall into the sea, washing both coasts of the Peninsula, the Kávéri with its tributaries flowing into the Bay of Bengal, while the rest, after a short and rapid course to the Western Coast, are lost in the Indian Ocean.

Coorg has, of course, no large river. Even the Kávéri has neither breadth nor depth during the dry seasons. Still they have generally an abundant and constant supply of water. Their sources being high up in the mountains, and the whole country almost consisting of steep declivities, the streams are impelled with rapidity. The minor streams intersecting Coorg, vary only in size, which depends upon the length of their course, their general characteristies being the same. They swell in the early part of June and flow with a violent and boisterous rapidity till October, when they gradually diminish and become placid. The Western monsoon carries into the Hills of Coorg such a flood of water, that during its prevalence small rills, out of which a thirsty horse in April does not stoop to drink, rise into streams impassable for days. Every rivulet roughens into a wild torrent. With the mon, soon all these rivers disappear and leave only small streams partially to occupy the immense chasms lately filled to the brim by the floods of the rainy season.

Of the rivers, that flow to the westward, the Bárpolle is the most considerable. It rises in Kiggattnádu, and through rocky ravines, in one of which it forms a superb cascade two or three hundred feet high, flows along the base of the hills, by the Heggana pass, where it is known as the Stoney River, and disembogues itself into the sea to the North of Cannanore.

The Kávéri, however, is the Queen of the Coorg waters. With its tributary the Kávéri drains nearly four fifths of the country. Its rises in the Brahmagiri range, near the top of a hill, on the very verge of the RIVERS OF COORG.

Western Ghatts. Two streams, indeed, rise together at Tala Kávéri, where there is a temple of great celebrity among the people of the Kodagu, the Taulava . and the Malayalam countries ; but the Kanake, after a short run, joins the Kávéri again at Bhagamandala, a confluence marked likewise by some renowned temples. The Kávéri, as will be seen from the legend to be given in the following pages, is the holiest of rivers. The Ganges itself, that is the divinity of it, resorts to the all purifying floods of the Kávéri once a year, in Tulámása (October November) to wash away the pollution contracted from the crowds of sinners, who bathe in her waters.

Descending through the great valley between Mercara and Nálkanádu, the Kávéri makes a sudden turn to the North, and flows for twenty dr thirty miles along the Eastern frontier, receiving in its course several large tributaries, the principal of which is the Svarnávati, which drains the northern part of the country, and enters the Kávéri between Fraserpett and RámaswamiKanave. Another large tributary of the Kávéri, is the Lákshmana-tírtha, which rises at the foot of the Brahmagiri, flows north east into Mysore and joins the Kávéri in the talook of Mysore, a few miles from a village, which bears the name of Lakshmana-tírtha-katte. Also the Hémávati, which is the Northern boundary of Coorg, is absorbed by the Kávéri, into which it falls in the Yedatore talook of Mysore near the village of Tippúr. The Kávéri is not rapid in any part of its course through Coorg. Its current, with the exception of a few passages, where it traverses beds of granite rock, is generally tranquil. In the dry season it is fordable at almost all points. But during the monsoon it runs by Fraserpett, for instance, in a stream two hundred and twenty feet wide, and from twenty to thirty feet deep.

THE LEGENDARY ACCOUNT OF COORG CONTAINED

IN THE KAVERI PURANA.

: It has been the policy of the Brahmans, the gods terrestrial, to lay claim to the whole Indian world. They have absorbed into their own system the ancient religions of the older inhabitants of the country, by the ingenious and easy process of turning the more primitive gods into Avatáras of Vishnu, or incorporating them as Demons with the host of Shiva. The whole continent of India is presented to them as a free gift by their great champion Parashuráma, after the defeat and the destruction of the rival Kshatrias. All the principal rivers have to take their origin in some way or other from Brahmanical Deities, and the great mountains are sanctified by being made the abodes of world-famed Rishis.

The Brahmanization of Coorg-tradition, however, presented no small difficulty, on account of the tough materials of the wild world of Coorg. These illiterate and untameable hunters seems to have ever had an instinctive antipathy to, and thorough contempt for the sanctities and pretensions of the smooth and crafty Brahman. The Lingaitism of the family, who obtained the sovereignty of Coorg about three centuries ago, by the help, no doubt, of Shivappanáyaka, the king of Nagara, with whom they were connected, formed an additional barrier against Brahmanical influences. Both Basava and the Brahmans, however, have been unable to make much of the mountain-race of Coorg. To the present day the Coorg manages to go through life, to be born, to get his name, to marry, to die, and to have his body buried or burned, without any assistance from Brahman or Jangama. With the exception of the re, ligious regard paid to the cow by all India, he appears to have learned nothing from the Hinduism of the

« 이전계속 »