The descent over the northern face is not everywhere so gradual; on the contrary, there are but few places where it is at all feasible; and some of the rivers of the tableland between Jubbulpore and Mirzapore have a perpendicular fall of more than four hundred feet over these mural precipices of the northern face of the Vindhya range. A man, if he have good nerve, may hang over the summits, and suspend in his hand a plummet that shall reach the bottom.
I should mention that this tableland is not only intersected by ranges, but everywhere studded with isolated hills rising suddenly out of basins or valleys. These ranges and isolated hills are all of the same sandstone formation, and capped with basalt, more or less amygdaloidal. The valleys and cappings have often a substratum of very compact basalt, which must evidently have flowed into them after these islands were formed. The question is, how were these valleys and basins scooped out? ‘Time, time, time!’ says Mr. Scrope; ’grant me only time, and I can account for everything.’ I think, however, that I am right in considering the basaltic cappings of these ranges and isolated hills to have once formed part of continued flat beds of great lakes. The flat parallel planes of these cappings, corresponding with each other, however distantly separated the hills they cover may be, would seem to indicate that they could not all have been subject to the convulsions of nature by which the whole substrata were upheaved above the ocean. I am disposed to think that such islands and ranges of the sandstone were formed before the deposit of the basalt, and that the form of the surface is now returning to what it then was, by the gradual decomposition and wearing away of the latter rock. Much, however, may be said on both sides of this, as of every other question. After descending from the sandstone of the Vindhya range into Bundelkhand, we pass over basalt and basaltic soil, reposing immediately on syenitic granite, with here and there beds and veins of pure feldspar, hornblende, and quartz.
Takht Singh, the younger brother of Arjun Singh, the Raja of Shahgarh, came out several miles to meet me on his elephant. Finding me on horseback, he got off from his elephant, and mounted his horse, and we rode on till we met the Raja himself, about a mile from our tents. He was on horseback, with a large and splendidly dressed train of followers, all mounted on fine sleek horses, bred in the Raja’s own stables. He was mounted on a snow-white steed of his own breeding (and I have rarely seen a finer animal), and dressed in a light suit of silver brocade made to represent the scales of steel armour, surmounted by a gold turban. Takht Singh was more plainly dressed, but is a much finer and more intelligent-looking man. Having escorted us to our tents, they took their leave, and returned to their own, which were pitched on a rising ground on the other side of a small stream, half a mile distant. Takht Singh resides here in a very pretty fortified castle on an eminence. It is a square building, with a round bastion at each corner, and one on each face, rising into towers above the walls.