The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.
We had an easy and pleasant march of 11 miles from Champithang to Yatung where we are staying partly in the British Trade Agent's Bungalow (Gould, Neame, and Chapman) and partly in the Dak Bungalow (Nepean and Dagg).
The march started in drizzling rain along a very muddy more or less level track, until a mile above Kargyu Gompa we went very steeply downhill. Everywhere masses of lovely wild flowers abounded, the most noticeable being a red wild, rose and a lovely small azalea covered with white or creamy blossom.
At Kargyu we had an official reception by the Lamas, and drank tea with the Head Lama. There was a wonderful band of half a dozen youngsters (budding lamas one presumes) with drums trumpets and gong. We went over the halls and shrines of the Gompa and took photos. The Head Lama or abbot is a most venerable and affable old man with a marvellous headdress of interwoven rope strands, or so it looked like.
On leaving, Kargyu we were met by Captain Salomons, 2/7th Rajput Regiment, Officer Commanding Escort at Gyantse, and a number of local officials. We walked down the steep hillsides to the floor of the main Chumbi Valley, where runs the Amu Chu, which would make an ideal trout stream. Some local village headmen met us on the way. Everywhere scarves of silk or muslin are presented to Mr. Gould, they are really used as honorific visiting cards in Tibet, Sikkim, etc.
We mounted our ponies at the bottom and trotted and cantered the 5 miles to Yatung, where arches of welcome were erected, a guard of the 2/7th Rajputs paraded, and school children all equipped with Union Jacks were drawn up. We then proceeded to the British Trade Agent's bungalow a most delightful house in a terraced garden of grass lawns bright with flowers. To one side of this lies the escort lines, the Post Office and hospital and across the river is the Dak Bungalow.
The Chumbi Valley here is narrow with cultivated fields in the bottom, a fast narrow river now flowing with turgid glacier water, and steep hills running up into the clouds and covered with pine jungle.
The track in the bottom of the valley is good but from Champithang down to Kargyu it is, in places very boggy, slippery, narrow and uneven, and involving some care with laden pack animals.
We change transport here, our Sikkim mules and coolies being sent home, and Tibetan ponies, etc., being taken on.
Author: Philip Neame [see handwritten annotations in Diary by Hugh Richardson in MS. Or. Richardson 2, Bodleian Libary, Department of Oriental Collections, University of Oxford]
Page Reference: Pt I p.2