Village of the Shai by James Baillie Fraser - 1820

This coloured aquatint was made by Robert Havell and Son from plate 16 of JB Fraser's 'Views in the Himala Mountains'. A mixture of tall temples and small houses made up the architecture of the village of Shai. Fraser wrote in his journal: "The village is poor and chiefly in ruins, but its situation is not unpleasant." In this area, he observed that the villages were inhabited by Brahmins (members of the highest Hindu caste), who he described as "a race that take that exceeding good care of themselves, which is generally observed of the priesthood in all countries where superstition holds sway".

Shai is near Chur mountain. It was here that the Fraser brothers received the news that the Gurkha general Kirti Rana, and some of Gurkha leader Amar Singh's men, had surrendered to the British.

Source: British Library