1936 - 1937 Mission Diary

The official diary of the Gould mission to Lhasa sent by the British government. Read more about the mission diary.

Karponang Bungalow. Height 9, 500 ft.

see photographs below

10 mile march.

Five members of Mr. B. J. Gould's mission assembled at Gangtok and started their long trek to Gyantse and Lhasa on 31st July. They comprise Mr. B. J. Gould, Political Officer in Sikkim, and his private secretary Mr. F. Spencer Chapman, Brigadier P. Neame from Eastern Command Headquarters, and Lieuts. E. Y. Nepean and S. U. Dagg, Royal Signals. The Medi-cal Officer Captain W. S. Morgan, I.M.S. and Mr. H. E. Richardson the British Trade Agent, Gyantse, will join later at Gyantse.

An advanced guard has already been to Lhasa in the shape of Rai Bahadur Norbhu, a Tibetan from Kalimpong who is British Trade Agent, Yatung. We receive frequent cipher telegrams from him, and hope to, meet him in person somewhere between Phari and Gyantse. He reached Lhasa about a month ago to get in touch with the Tibetan Government, the Regent and the National Assembly, and has had some preliminary discussion with them regarding the tasks, of the Mission.

The organization and despatch of the transport has been a considerable task, involving amongst other things some 50 maunds or 25 pony loads of wireless and signal equipment, food stores for several months and tents baggage, etc., for half a dozen or so Europeans. Presents necessary for highly placed Tibetan officials are an important consideration, and amongst other things include radio telephone sets, and three cocker spaniel puppies which have to be carried on coolie back.

This first morning the backyard of the Residency at Gangtok (the capital of Sikkim) presented a scene of seething activity from an early hour. Finally some 50 ponies and mules, and a number of coolies were despatched up to time, ably marshalled by Rai Sahib Rhenok Kazi of Sikkim State, who made provision for the mules, etc., and assisted by Gyaltsen who is Gould's Personal Assistant.

The members of the Mission riding little sturdy grey Bhotia ponies, were seen off by the remaining three or four British Inhabitants of Gangtok. The march of 10 miles, an easy day for a start, took place under a steady downpour of rain nearly all the way. The local Lepcha of Sikkim would possibly have called it a passably fine day, because the rain was falling at less than an inch an hour. At any rate only one of the party kept dry on the road, and he only with several layers of waterproofs.

On arrival at Karponang, the scientists of' the party got to work with aneroid barometers, boiling point altimeters, maximum and minimum thermometers, and plant collecting also incidentally leeches, which are a dreadful pest at this time of year in Sikkim. One even gets them into ones boots walking along the track and off it in the grass and jungle they swarm.

Owing to the rain, cloud and mist we got no view of the precipitous jungle clad hills and ravines through which we assed. Dense jungle of mixed trees, often festooned with ferns and moss and interspersed with bamboo thickets cover all these hills. Down below there is an occasional rather squalid Lepcha village with patches of terraced cultivation.

Karponang Bungalow has a dining room and three bedrooms and like all the bungalows on this route is well equipped and comfortable.

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.1

Gyantse Dzong


Gyantse Dzong

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