Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet

Author: William Henry Knight


With the fullest sense of the responsibility incurred by the addition of another volume to the countless numbers already existing, and daily appearing in the world, the following Diary has been committed to the press, trusting that, as it was not written WITH INTENT to publication, the unpremeditated nature of the offence may be its extenuation, and that as a faithful picture of travel in regions where excursion trains are still unknown, and Travellers’ Guides unpublished, the book may not be found altogether devoid of interest or amusement. Its object is simply to bring before the reader’s imagination those scenes and incidents of travel which have already been a source of enjoyment to the writer, and to impart, perhaps, by their description, some portion of the gratification which has been derived from their reality. With this view, the original Diary has undergone as little alteration of form or matter as possible, and is laid before the reader as it was sketched and written during the leisure moments of a wandering life, hoping that faithfulness of detail may atone in it for faults and failings in a literary and artistic point of view.

Although the journey it describes was written without the advantages of a previous acquaintance with the writings of those who had already gone over the same ground, subsequent research has added much to the interest of the narrative, and information thus obtained has been added either in the form of Notes or Appendix. Under the latter head, acknowledgment is principally due to an able and interesting essay on the architecture of Cashmere, by Capt. Cunningham, and also to a paper by M. Klaproth, both of whom appear to have treated more fully than any other writers the subjects to which they refer.

As differences will be found to occur in the names of places, &c. between the parts thus added and the remainder of the book, it may be well to explain that in the former only are they spelt according to the usually received method of rendering words of Eastern origin in the Roman character. By this system the letters A, E, I, O, and U, are given the sounds of the corresponding Italian vowels; I and U are pronounced as in "hit" and "put;" and the letter A is made to represent the short U in the word "cut." In this way it is that Cashmere, correctly pronounced Cushmere, comes to be written Kashmir, and Mutun, pronounced as the English word "mutton,"[1] is written Matan, both of which, to the initiated, represent the true sound of the words. Those who have adopted the system, however, have not always employed it throughout, nor given with it the key by which it alone becomes intelligible; and the result has been that in many ways, but principally from the un-English use made of the letter A, it has tended quite as much to mislead and confuse, as to direct.

In the narrative, therefore, wherever custom has not already established a particular form of spelling, the explanation of the sound has been attempted in the manner which seemed least liable to misconception, and, except as regards the letters A and U no particular system has been followed. These have been invariably given the sounds they possess in the words "path" and "cut" respectively, a circumflex being placed over the latter to denote the short U in the word "put."

Such names, therefore, as Cushmere, Tibbut, Muhummud, Hijra, &c. have been left as custom has ruled them, and will appear in their more well-known costume of Cashmere, Thibet, Mahomet, and Hegira.

The concluding sketch was originally intended to accompany a series of brightly-coloured Cashmerian designs illustrative of the life of "Krishna;" and the reproduction of these, in their integrity, not having been found feasible, the sketch itself may appear DE TROP.

It has, however, been retained on the possibility of the translations which occur in it being of interest to those who may not be acquainted with the style of Eastern religious literature; while the outline it presents of some of the religions of the East, bare and simple as it is, may be acceptable to such as are not inclined to search out and study for themselves the necessarily voluminous and complicated details.


"Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere, With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave, Its temples, and grottoes, and fountains as clear As the love-lighted eyes that hang over their wave?"


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Chicago: William Henry Knight, "Preface," Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet, ed. Iles, George, 1852-1942 and trans. Whiston, William, 1667-1752 in Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet (New York: Doubleday, Page, 1909), Original Sources, accessed April 14, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=K6YMTLD7KL9SI18.

MLA: Knight, William Henry. "Preface." Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet, edited by Iles, George, 1852-1942, and translated by Whiston, William, 1667-1752, in Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet, Vol. 36, New York, Doubleday, Page, 1909, Original Sources. 14 Apr. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=K6YMTLD7KL9SI18.

Harvard: Knight, WH, 'Preface' in Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet, ed. and trans. . cited in 1909, Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet, Doubleday, Page, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 14 April 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=K6YMTLD7KL9SI18.