MORE FROM Dr SMITH'S DIARIES...

MORE FROM Dr SMITH'S DIARIES...

He objected to the fact that every month, five Europeans were moving to Coorg, each with 150 acres and already 20,000 acres of forest had been taken over by coffee!  He felt that this was happening to Bangalore too, and spends 10 pages of his diary regretting the destruction of the forests around Bangalore. As he notes in 1849 “it is the opinion of the Superintendent of Nuggur that clearance of trees diminishes the quantity of rain”, and expresses concern that the groundwater springs that feed the tanks and lakes of Bangalore, and could be found as shallow as 50 feet below the surface, and exist among the rocks at a height, seemed to depend on the thick forests around NandiDroog and would be affected by the depletion of tree cover. 

He toured the countryside extensively, with Mark Cubbon in 1839, 1840 and 1849. They travelled long distances on horseback and elephant, between 300-700 miles each time, over several weeks, but with a large retinue.

On one trip the party is affected by cholera, and several die; while on n another one he is accompanied by his wife and child, and goes all the way to the top of Doddabetta. He describes the various temples and small villages of ‘great beauty’ and on yet another is awed by the carvings at Bailur (Belur). The Malnad comes in for special comment as it is seen to be extremely beautiful, with lots of parrots and birds, and well stocked with game (good shooting!), and they are even ‘surprised by a tiger’. 

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