1900 WORLD WIDE MAGAZINE: A Cycle Tour in Kashmir

From Banikal I made my way to Ramband, some thirty miles farther on. The road itself is good, but somewhat trying on the nerves, being only 5ft or 6ft wide in places, with sheer precipices on the outer side going down thousands of feet to the far-away river.

The path was not only narrow, but it twisted and turned and rose and fell in a most appalling fashion. At first I did not even like the idea of walking along it, but by-and-by, when I got in a measure used to it, and could look with something approaching indifference into the depths below, I mounted my machine, and rode warily along at a steady pace. Once, in going round a nasty corner, I had actually to lean against the side of the cliff and dismount as best I could.

Whilst drinking my afternoon tea near this place I was suddenly startled to see a number of large stones come hurtling past my head and plunge into the river beyond. The coolie and I promptly got behind the rocks, from which safe retreat I shouted to the coolie to tell the idiots up aloft to stop hurling boulders about. By way of reply he pointed upwards, and I saw on the crest of the hill above us a troop of monkeys going along in Indian file. It was the passage of these beasts which had dislodged the rocks.

Just outside the ‘dak’ bungalow at Ramband I met a sort of local headman, a person of great dignity, who asked me to write my name in a book he carried. He honoured me with his company as far as the bungalow, talking volubly in a gibberish which I quite failed to understand. The man irritated me, and I asked the attendant who he was. “He is the road mender baboo,” was the startling reply, “ and he desires you to ask the superintendent engineer sahib to increase his pay!”

The Wide World Magazine; article by R.H. Morton, 1900