An Account of An Embassy To The Court of The Teshoo Lama In Tibet: Containing A Narrative Of A Journey Through Bootan, And Part Of Tibet
First published in 1800, this volume gives us a well- documented insight into all aspects of both Bhutan and Tibet at that time. From our modern perspective, we are in a position to reflect on the nature of current life in both Bhutan and Tibet. It is the changes over the last two hundred years that make this book so interesting today.
In some respects, life in modern Bhutan is not so different from that described in this early transcript. In fact it is only in the last five to ten years that any serious modernization has occurred in Bhutan. Tourism is a recent phenomenon and television has only been allowed in the country in the last few years. This is not to say that Bhutan is mediaeval or backward; it has merely been fiercely determined to preserve many of its traditions and cultural themes. Today a benign fear of outside influence still pervades the ruling echelons of society. A certain internal conflict exists today between traditionalists and modernizers.
Profound changes have occurred in Tibet though. When the Dalai Lama departed and the Chinese communists invaded, the country changed dramatically, perhaps forever. Gone were the traditions, the power of the monk body, the colourful festivities, mediaeval ideas and, sadly, most of the defining culture that made Tibet such a magnet for all things mystical and spiritual. A fascinating culture now replaced by the cold modernizing atheism of the misguided red clique. More than fifty years since the Chinese invasion, the country now sits uneasily. Some of the welcomed modernizing aspects have singularly failed to bring a peaceful co-existence. These so-called improvements have failed to overcome the aspiration for independence amongst the Tibetans, Who still cling with a strong affinity to their old structures, religion and cultural tenets.
The Author travels across Bhutan, an isolated sparsely populated country unknown by the outside world in his time. He describes the vegetation, the wildlife and the people he meets. He visits both the villages and the great dzongs (Fortified Palaces and forts). His party crosses a high pass into Tibet and stays with the lama of Phari, a route not possible for foreigners even to this day. Much of Turner's time in Tibet is spent at the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama in Shigatse. Here he describes his observations on a political level as well as his physical surroundings. His primary task was to observe the political relationships, particularly with regard to Chinese influence, and to seek out the trading possibilities. In subsequent years the British sought to open trade links with Tibet, but invariably a deep reticence and mistrust on the part of the Lhasa rulers thwarted these expectations.
On a lighter note, some charming anecdotes appear throughout the book. On his return journey the author has time for a spot of ice-skating, for winter is approaching fast. We can only imagine the scene, the aloof sahib and the curious local onlookers.
Captain Samuel Turner writes vividly about his experiences, clarifying for us so many aspects of life, be it mixing with the heads of society or travelling in great discomfort amongst the peasants. His style of writing has a certain charm commensurate with the era and reflects the endearing stiff upper lip of the British Raj.
Included also is a delightful introductory resume of the book written by Hugh Richardson in 1970. He was one of the last official visitors to the old Tibet as it existed before 1959.
Back of the Book
"They chatted together in great good humour, and frequently joined in loud bursts of laughter. The disposition was contagious, nor could we view such honest mirth without a smile." Samuel Turner describes one of many encounters with a largely surprised local population during his journey behind the Himalayas.
Although Samuel Turner's visit to Bhutan and Tibet in 1783 was primarily motivated by both political and commercial interests, his narrative covering his travels is much more entertaining than would first be supposed.
Bhutan, as it is to a large part even now, was a reclusive country, little known outside its mountainous borders. Like Tibet it has intrigued explorers, adventure seekers, religious scholars and those in search of its mystical qualities since its fame first spread.
Both Bhutan and Tibet have remained relatively mysterious places even to this day. After more than two hundred years, this book has a place in history, a jewel set in prose to recall an era long past, but not distant or alien to our modern viewpoint.
|Leave Calcutta-proceed through Plassey to Moorshedabad-cross the Ganges near Bauleah-arrive at Rungpore-Calamatty.-Tuffoon, or treatmendous Hurricane. -Mungulhaut, respectable for its Manufactory.-Zeenkaubs.-First View of the Mountains of Bootan.-Cooch Bahar.-Bungalo-singular Custom in this District-extensive Woods-Practice of felling Timber-wild Elephants-Pine-apples, present Abundance of-first Introduction into India.- Inroad of the Moguls into Assam-Fate of the Invaders.|
|Chichacotta-Frontier of Bootan - Approach to Buxadewar-noxious quality of the Atmosphere beneath this Range of Mountains - its Effects on the Inhabitants -fatal to Captain Jones, and great Part of the Troops that served under him-Colonel Sir John Cuming another Instance of its injurious Consequence.- Tangun Horse, a Species peculiar to these Mountains.-Ascent and Entry into Buxadewar.-Chong, and Arra, the Spirit prepared from it.-Character of the People.- Visit the Soobah-Impediment to our Advance-Curiosity, and Urbareligious Ceremony-Description of the Ceremony-its Design.-Beautiful Scenery in the Vicinity of Buxadewar.-Skilful Archers.-Commencement of the gheer.-Short Stricture on the Manner and Character of the Soobah.-View of Buxadewar-Etymology of its Title.-Mode of travelling in Bootan.|
|Leave Buxadewar.-Ascend Peachukom Mountain-its prodigious Altitude.-Caution of the Booteeas.-Gigantic Creepers.-Bamboos, a peculiar Species.-Sheenshilla.-Pheadinchim.-Fatal Accident.-Gygoogoo.-Past of Communication.-Tehintchieu, Hatchieu, Patchieu River.-Snow upon the Summits of the Mountains.-Tangun Horses, their surprising Energy.-Pipes conducting Water for the Accommodation of Travellers.-Bridge and Cataract.-Sheenshilla.- Approach to Murichom-laborious Employment of the People, in which the female Sex bear a heavy Share-extensive Use of the Bamboo.-Village of Murichom-Advantage of Situation-Fertility of the adjacent Lands. - Teezpaut, a Species of Cinnamon.-Remarkable Instance of great Age.-Pestiferous Fly.- Tetim.- Terrible Disaster.-Baboosoo and Merifaka Mountains. -Peanjoo.-Minzapeezo, a most copious Waterfall.-Ingenious Method of constructing Roads along the Sides of Precipices.- Awful Scenery.-Dewta Tehuptehup.- Peculiar Way of passing deep Ravines.-Chain Bridge of Chuka-Castle of Chuka.-Change in the Face of the Country-Temperature of the Weather-Natural Productions.-Punugga.- Hatchieu.- Kepta.- Lomeela Mountains.- Selo-cha-zum.- Durbee.- Castle.- Mudwallahs for the Defence of Hill Fortresses.- Pauga.- Tehintchieu,- Velley of Tassisudon.|
|Tassisudon-My Arrival notified at the Palace-the Raja or Lama occupied in religious Ceremonies-strict Observance of all Duties appertaining to their Religion.-Message from the Daeb Raja- Interview-Zoompoon, Zoondonier, Zempi-Citadel-Audience Chamber-Ceremony of Introduction-Particulars of the Interview-Tea-local Observance-extensive Fashion-peculiar Mode of preparing it.-Polite Attention of the Raja-Dress, of the religious Order-Manner of our Reception.-Second Interview.-Silk Scarfs-their Use on all Occasions of Ceremony or Compliment.-Comparative View of Manners.- Natural Production.- Peculiar Sentiments of the Rajah- Variety of Expression - Art of Drawing- Mr. Daviss superior Skill.- Visit to the chief Officers under Government- Tasse-Zompoon, Zoondonier, Zempi-Outline of their Rank and authority.-I undertook to mediate the Peace of the Zeenkaubs, who are pardoned, and re-admitted into favour-Instance of implicit Obedience to the Will of their Chief.- General Design of the present Work.- A Bootan Repast. - Boora Soobha, or Toonso Pilo.-Bees.- Benevolent and humane Sentiment. - Order of Gylongs-Temperance-Cleanliness- General Appearance- endemial Disorder termed Gheig, or Aubi.|
|The Valley of Tassisudon.-Palace of the Chief-its extensive Accommodations containing all the Officers of State, a very numerous establishment of Gylongs, and a Temple of Worship.-Coldness of the Season-Buildings ill calculated to obviat its Effects.- The Rajah's Stud.- Ancient Site of Tassisudon- Palace of Lam' Chassatoo.- Mode of supplying the Valley with Water from the Surrounding Hills.- The sacred Sentence enclosed in Temples, inscribed on Tablets, on Flags, and on Rocks.- Brahmennee, or sacred Bull.- Artisans-Paper Manu- factory.- Season of the Rains moderate.-General Salubrity of our Situation.- Poshtee.- An Excursion.- Wandeechy.- Settlements of the Religious.-A Recluse.- Caution of the Daeb.- Mr. Saunders Taken ill-Incantations for his Recovery.|
|Commotions-excited by Wandipora Zoompoon and a degraded Chief.- Punukka Zoompoon arrives at the Capital to pay the customary Duty of Allegiance.- Popular Administration of the present Daeb Raja.- Ascribed Cause of the Rebellion-prudent Precautions-Subjects called upon for their Allegiance-weak Condition of the Capital- extreme Vigilance- general Alarm- Letter from the Rebel Leader- Insurgents gather Strength- Skirmishes between the contending parties-some Loyalists badly wounded with Arrows-their Dread of Poison-strong Position of the Rebels. - Invited to visit the Rajah- his compassionate concern for the deluded Mob, and confident Expectation the Tumults would soon be quelled.- Miserable Artillery-humane Motive for desiring to employ it - cautions Conduct of the Combatants - general Trait of these Warriors-the Rebels, after an obstinate Contest, totally defeated.- Military Character of the Booteas-not deficient in Courage-feeble Attack-want of Discipline-Accoutrements and Arms - Use of Poison.- Raja Mocum Narrain -His Vakeel.- Wandipore invested by Zoondonier and Punukka Zoompoon. -General Thanksgivings.- Reduction of the Castle.- Flight of the Rebels.- Plunder and Spoils.- The Raja meditates a Visit to Wandipore, to settle Affairs it the disturbed Districts- announces his Design-invites me to meet him.|
|The Raja proceeds to Wandipore-sends a Messenger- we prepare to follow- pass Symtoka-dreariness of the Way - meet a Party of the Daeb Raja's.- Improving Appearance of the Country.- A Procession.- Faculty of prolonging the Sound of wind Instruments-instanced also in Bengal.- Matchieu-Patchieu- Tahantchieu Rivers.- Bijnee-Berhampooter-Wandipore.-Liberal Supply of Refreshments from the Raja.- Miserable Quarters.- Lines of the Besiegers- Advantages of Position.- Castle of Wandipore-Tradition regarding it. - Bridge -Lightness and Beauty of its Structure.- Curious Effect of a strong Current of Wind.- Turbulent Situation of Wandipore.- Process of making Butter.- Departure from Wandipore.- Tame Elephant.- View of the Mountain of Ghassa- Snow-Hot Bath.- Palace of Punukka.- Matchieu-Patchieu Valley-Banks of the river-sheltered Situation. Expensive Decoration of the Palace.- Gardens- Variety of Fruits- advantageous Site for Horticulture.- Laborious Services imposed upon the Female Sex.-Zemrigatche.- Nymphaea Nilotica- its religious Estimation in Bootan as well as in Egypt.- Propitiatory Offerings to the Dewtas. - Narrainee, particular Account of. Leave Punukka;- Tela-gong.- Stupendous Mountains.- Hunnoowunt.-Muttura.-Madejee Sindia.-Jumna.-Ultimate Defeat of the Rebels.|
|Return to the Raju to Tassisudon - our Visit to him- Anxiety to hear our opinion of his favourite Seat-displeased that we were refused admittance- recital of what appeared peculiarly striking.- His marked approbation of Mr. Davis.- Buxa Soobah.- A Buffoon. Electrical Machine.- Mechanic turn of the Raja- medical Genius.- Ipecacuanha.-Wandeechy.- Fatal accident to our Camp Equipage.- Tibet Dogs. - Entertainment at the Villa.- Marvellous Stories of the Raja - of a Gigantic race of Men- of People with Tails - of Unicorns.- The Rajah's Pilgrimage to the sacred Shrine of Pootalah.- Temple of Wandeechy.- repast-Bull Fight.-Return of the Rajah to the Palace.- Messengers from Tibet.- Durga Pooja.- The great Autumnal Festival of the Hindoos.- Dussera.- Dewali.|
|Take leaves of the Daeb Raja, and the principal Officers of his Durbar.- Depart from Tassisudon- Ascend the lofty Mountain of Pomaela-pass Phajudee, famed for the Birth of the present Lam' Rimbochay.- Extensive Monastery.- Religious Association, their obvious Tendency on Population.- Cross the Summit of Pomaela - descend to Paimaitong.- Tibetian Custom of taking Tea- Appendages of Dress- gross Superstitions of these Mountaineers.- Paibesa.- Picturesque view from Dalai-jeung-hospitable Entertainment of its Keeper- Review of the Way.- Paro.- Patchieu.- Paro Pilo, his Extent of Jurisdiction.- Seccum Raja. - Castle of Paro, Parogong, or Rinjipo.- The Valley-its Extent. - Mookhy- temporary Edifices- Exercise of Archery.- Market- Manufactures- Mechanics - Thrashing. - Market-place of Paro.- Zeenkaub, Attention of his Friends.- Brood of Tangun Houses.- Fortress of Dukka-Jeung.- Snow-Harvest - romantic Scenery.- Sana- last Post in Bootan-Guard-house-Patchieu Bridge.- The Yak of Tartary, particular Description of.- Gloomy Wilds.- rude Region of the Frontier. Of Bridges in Bootan.- Vast Difference between the muscular Form of the Bootea and Tibetian.- Social Groupes of Mountaineers. - Ghassa.- Lama of Phari. Dhy, Kummuz of the Tartars.- Tartar Herdsmen. - Dukba.-Elevation and bleak Site of Soomoonang.|
|Small Banners, the Boundaries between Bootan and Tibet.-Plain of Phari-low Mount dedicated to funeral Rites.-Fortress.-Chassa Goomba, Station of the Lama of Phari-his Jurisdiction.- La, or Musk Deer.- Ghouz- Severity of the Cold- Range of Snowy Mountains. - Chumularee.- Hindoo Superstition- Tongla- Tartar Tents.- Goorkhaw, Homage to Chumularee. - Superior Elevation of this Part of Tibet- deduced from the sources of Rivers, the cold Temperature of the Air, and the Mountains clothed perpetually with Snow.- Teuna- feeble Vegetation.- numerous Herds- dreary Aspect.- Tempestuous Character of the Frontier.- Mineral Springs- fosil Alkali- Natron.- Dochai.- Lake Ramtchieu-vast Resort of water-fowl.-Encampment.- Sedjy mutti. - Sublime Scenery-a Tibet Village.- Farther Traits of Superstition.- Dogs of Tibet- their Ferocity. Comparison between Bootan and Tibet.|
|Deserted Villages- fatal Effects of the Small-pox- Ignorance of its Treatment- a serious Calamity- Occasion of the Removal of the Seat of Government and Monastery from Teshoo Loomboo to Chamnamning.- Gangamaar.- hot Bath- Surface of the Ground adjacent- Labourers in the Fields- rude Expression of Surprise.- Place of Fragments - huge Idol- Mahamoonie-a religious Rite.- Shoohoo.- Nainee- improving Appearance of the Country.- Tehukku.- Jhansu- jeung.- Valley of Jhansu.- Woolen Manufactory- Economy in Dress.- Monastery of Jhansu.- Beggars.- Dukque.- Corricle.- Castle of Painom- Bridge- Town.- Keesoo.- Tsondue. - Distant view of Teshoo Loomboo- Enter the Monastery.|
|Messages of Compliment and Congratulation from the Regent and Soopoon Choomboo- Custom of presenting a white Scarf- favourable Tokens of a friendly Disposition.- Preparations for our Reception - Hall of audience- Lama's Throne - Introduction to the Regent- The Regent's assurance of the Identity of the Lama-his Friendship for the Governor General in his pre-existent State- Attention and respect paid his at the Court of China-his Regeneration acknowledged by the Emperor- Satisfaction derived from the Receipt of the Governor General's Dispatches. - Projected Removal of the Lama to Terpaling -the Monastery prepared for his Reception - Tea- Dismission.- Sketch of the Person- Manner- Dress of the Regent.- Bells, a Summons to Devotion. - Visit to Soopoon Choomboo.- Emperor of China-his Influence-a votary of the Tibet Faith.- Umbas- Jasoos- Gesub Rimbochay- Dalai Lama - Soopoon Choomboo, Sadeek - honoured by the distinguished Attention and Favour of the late Lama - promoted by the Emperor-his Character held in high Estimation- important Period in the Annals of Tibet.- first public Tribute of Acknowledgment and Allegiance to the regenerated Lama- Preparations for his Removal from Kylee to Terpaling - Offer to attend the Ceremony.- Party proceeds to escort the Lama-Homage paid by his Votaries on the Way- Entry into Terpaling- Return of the Regent- Cavalcade- Bonfires- Chinese.- Correspondence with Dalai Lama.- Hostile Disposition of Gesub Rimbochay.|
|Permission from the Regent to view the Interior of the Monastery.- gorgeous Temples.- Solemn and mysterious Ceremonies.- Numerous Assembly of the Gylongs.- Periods for Devotion.- Loud Vociferation.- Clamorous Noise attending the Performance of their religious Rites.- Serious Attention to the Duties of their Faith.- Profound Respect for their sovereign Lama.- Visit the Mausoleum dedicated to the Memory of the late Teshoo Lama.- Cursory View of this highly venerated Structure.|
|The Regent.- Soopoon Choomboo.- Countries contiguous to Tibet- Bengal endeared to the Tibetians by religious Prejudices.- Gunga Sagur-the confluence of the Ganges with the Sea.- Jagarnaut.- Performance of Pilgrimage by Proxy.- A Devotee - Geography - astronomy. - Pranpooree- his extraordinary course of Mortifications.- Russia-the Czarina.- Taranaut Lama. - Kharka. - Intercourse between Russia and chin.- Pilgrims from Khumbak.- Gallery of Idols- Means by which the cabinet is occasionally augmented.- Teshoo Loomboo famed for the Manufacture of Images. - Lama of Luddauk. -War between England - America and France.- commerce - of the English Nation.- Spirit of Inquiry and Research. - Siberia- Baikal. - wandering Tartars.- No Tradition extant of an ancient People inhabiting towards the North.- General Belief of the Origin of Learning. - Inference drawn from the Similarity of the Sanscrit and Tibet Alphabet. - Character in which their sacred Writings are preserved and printed-that of Correspondence and Business.- Regent notifies his Design of leaving the Monastery- commends me to the Care o Soopoon Choomboo and the Lama of Luddauk.- Science of Palmistry.- Attar, Pawn.|
|Departure of the Regent-is Desire to travel unobserved.- Egypt - Eunani- Singhi.-Use of the Symbol of the Lion in Tibet and Egypt - superstitious Regard for celestial Phaenomena - Skill in Science-Bigotry - Court of China- Spectacles for the entertainment of the Lama - Soomeroo.- Coincidence with the Hindoos in scientific Knowledge.- Benares esteemed the sacred Seat of all human Learning. -Teshoo Loomboo- Geographic Site - particular Description of. - Plain of Teshoo Loomboo - Shigatzee-jeung- Luddauk- Cashmeer- Nipal- China-Russia-Siberia.- Abruptness of the Hills- local Effect. Vortexes of Wind.- Rock behind Teshoo Loomboo- View from hence.-Berhampooter- Megna - Pudda- Sundrabunds- Pirates - Maunserore - Rise - Course of the Ganges and Berhampooter.- Seasons in Tibet.- Meat preserved by the Action of Intense Cold.- Use of undressed Meat.- Sheep, their Value for Food, Raiment, and Use.- Dryness of the Atmosphere in Tibet- Precautions used against it.|
|Local Appellation of Tibet - Stricture on the Religion - Use of musical Instruments in their sacred Services - Comparison with the Hindoos - Assemble in Temples for the Performance of religious Duties- Lama, the sacred Superior- Gradations in the sacerdotal class- Gylong- Tohba-Tuppa-Establishment of the Monastery- Interdictions of the religious Order-Noise and Pomp of their religious Ceremonies-Kugopea-Habit of the Priests-Yellow, the distinguishing Colour, worn by the Sect Gyllookpa-of which the Superiors are Dalai Lama- Teshoo Lama- Tarranaut Lama - Red, by the Shamar.- Lam' Rim- bochay- Lam's Sobroo Nawangnamghi- Lam' Ghassatoo-Their Contentions- Prevalence of the former.-Humane Trait in the Character of the Tibetian.- Tribute of respect paid to the Dead- Festival in Honour of the Dead - super-stitious Practices- sanctioned and performed by the Class devoted to Religion.- Omens. - Calendar of Time - Cycle of twelve Years.- Art of Printing.|
|Return of the Regent-Time appointed for my Departure- rapid Advance of winter- Audience of Leave- Soopoon Choomboo-farewell Visits from numerous Friends- prepare to leave Teshoo Loomboo - previous Observance of some superstitious Ceremonies.- Beggars- Mohammedans - Hindoos. - Benevolence displayed at Teshoo Loomboo.- Tsondue. - Skating. - Terpaling.- Interview with Teshoo Lama- Manner and Conduct of the Lama- his Age- Parents- Gyeung-her splendid Dress- Gyap- Invitation to an Entertainment - Officers of the Lama's Household- Impression of profound Respect.- Veneration entertained for the Memory of the late Lama-his humane, intelligent, conciliating Character. - Amiable Manners of Mr. Bogle. - Parents of the Lama- Pavilion - Entertainment.- Gyap- his Delight in manly Sports- his superior Skill-polite Offer to instruct me in the Arts he practised. - Repast-raw Meat - Gyeung, Particularly abstemious. - Music- Vocal- Instrumental. Conciusion of the Entertainment.- Wait upon the Lama- Votaries of the Lama- Calmuc Tartars- liberal Offerings.- Last Visit to the Teshoo Lama, and his Parents.|
|Quit the Monastery of Terpaling, on my Return towards Bengal- Annee Goomba- Annees, Nuns- Gylongs, Monks.- Cursory View of the interdicted Orders. - Polyandry - Influence on the Manners of the People - Tendency to check the too great Increase of Population - and prevent the inhuman Practice known to prevail in China - Marriage Ceremonies.- Bleak and dreary Aspect of the Country - Rigour of the Winter- extreme Purity of the Atmosphere. - Precautions to secure the Surface of the soil, and at the same Time enrich the Lands. - Course of the Seasons.- Dukque. - Lake Ramtchieu- Skating - Solidity of the Ice- intense Severity of the Frost.- Shawl Goats.- Soomoonang- Punukka - Buxadewar- Rungpore.|
|Report delivered to the Hon. Warren Hastings, Esq. Governor General of Bengal, upon the Result of my Mission to the Court of Teshoo Loomboo.||361|
|A List of the Usual Articles of commerce between Tibet and the surrounding Countries.||381|
|Some Account of the Vegetable and Mineral Productions of Bootan and Tibet.||387|
|Letter addressed to the Hon. Hohn Macpherson, Esq. Governor General of Bengal, containing some Particulars relating to the Journey of Poorungheer to Teshoo Loomboo, the Inauguration of Teshoo Lama; and the State of Tibet from 1783 to 178.5|
|Some Account of the Situation of Affairs in Tibet, from 1785 to 1793||437|
|No. I. Translation of a Letter from Kienlong, Emperor of China, to Dalai Lama, the Grand Lama of Tibet||443|
|No. II. Translation of a Letter from Changoo Cooshoo Punjun Irtinnee Neimo-heim, Regent of Teshoo Loomboo, to Warren Hastings, Esq. Governor General, &c. Received the 12th of February, 1782.||449|
|No. III. Translation of a Letter from Soopoon Choomboo, Mirkin Chassa Lama, Minister to the late Teshoo Lama, to Warren Hastings, Esq. Governor General, &c. &c. Received the 12th February, 1982.||454|
Item Code: IDI639 Author: Captain Samuel Turner Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2005 Publisher: Pilgrims Publishing, Varanasi ISBN: 8177693131 Language: English Size: 11"X 8.5 Pages: 501 (Black & White Illus: 12) Other Details: weight of the book: 1570 gms
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