SfIRl4N DISTRICT 85
base-line drawn north-east from the Gogra to the Gandak constitutes
the western boundary with Gorakhpur.
Saran is a beautifully wooded plain, highly cultivated and densely
populated, without a hill and hardly any elevations except those
which mark the site of some old fortress or deserted
village. It is very fertile, and is intersected by physical
numerous water-channels which flow in a south-
easterly direction. The GANGEs, GANDAK, and GOGRA are described
elsewhere. The Daha or Sandi, Gandaki, Dhanai, and Ghangri
were originally spill-channels from the Gandak, with which, however,
their connexion has been severed by the Gandak embankment;
they form the system known as the Saran Canals. Similar streams
are the Khanua, Jharahi, and Khatsa, which ultimately fall into the
Gogra or Ganges. The channels of the Ganges, Gandak, and Gogra
are perpetually oscillating; and sandbanks form in the beds of the
rivers one year, only to be swept away the next, so that frequent changes
in jurisdiction are necessary.
The soil consists of alluvial deposits, the basis of which belongs to
an older alluvial formation composed of massive argillaceous beds,
disseminated throughout which occur kankar and pisolitic ferruginous
concretions. These clay soils, locally known as MR, are exposed in
marshy depressions called chaurs, which are scattered over the District.
Elsewhere they are overlaid with more recent sandy deposits known as,
Though the District contains no forests, it is well timbered, the most
conspicuous trees being the sissu (Dalbergia Sissoo), red cotton-tree
(Bombax malabaricum), and tamarind. The village sites are embedded
in groves of the palmyra palm (Borassus labellifer), the date palm
(Phoenix sylvestris), and other semi-spontaneous and more or less useful
species. The groves of mango-trees planted in beautifully regular lines
are a marked feature of the landscape. The surface is highly cultivated;
but the banks of streams and patches of waste land are covered by a dry
scrub jungle of shrubs of the order of Euphorbiaceae, Butea and other
leguminous trees, and species of Ficus, Schleichera, Wendlandia, and
Nilgai and wild hog are common in the low scrub jungle which is
met with on the alluvial islands, and are very destructive to crops.
Wolves carry off a considerable number of infants, snakes are very
numerous, and crocodiles infest the large rivers.
The winter months are delightfully cool, but the dry heat is intense
in May and June. The mean temperature varies from 6z° in January
to 8q° in May, and the maximum from 73° in January to ioo° in April
and May, while the mean minimum ranges from so° in January to 79'
in June to August. Saran is one of the driest Districts in Bengal, the