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An Account of the Temple of Triveni near Hugli, by D. MONEY, Esq.
Bengal Civil Service.
As in architecture the superstructure depends upon the foundation, so in examination of ruins that time has made and spared, and in the attempt to elicit something of their earlier origin and history, how dependent are our conclusions upon the data that present themselves, and how difficult where these are slight and imperfect to form a satis
The Temple of Trivení is shrouded in mystery, which legendary tale in the absence of historical fact cannot solve. Of its early date we know nothing. It is perhaps the most interesting ruin in Bengal, whether with reference to its present appearance or its past associations. About five miles from Hugli it stands on the most elevated spot in the neighbourhood, commanding a view of the river, which winds at a little distance beneath it. The temple originally must have occupied a large space and consisted of 3 or 4 Courts. On ascending two or three broken steps to the first Court you perceive on your right a part of the original temple, consisting of two rooms, of which there remain
walls that enclose them and the doors by which you
enter. You are struck at once with the solidity of the masonry, which but for Mahomedan aggression and Mahomedan sacrilege would have
No. V. NEW SERIES.
defied till now the ravages of time. There is something Egyptian in the appearance of the doors, the sides inclining a little inwards towards the top, but this has been caused I think by a displacement of the stone-work. Each side is formed of one stone about 9 feet high, with a serpentine anaglyph running down the centre. From the first room a window looks out towards the river, on the outside of which there is a little ornamental engraving very light and chaste. A Mahomedan tomb desecrates one of the rooms, the inscription on which presents a passage in the history of the temple. Separated from the Court at a little distance is another Ruin of the original Temple of a different character. Here as in the other the hand of the invader and destroyer has been at work, and the demolition and displacement of the original masonry, the subsequent patchwork, and the superadded dome, are evidences of the ruthless and fanatical spirit, which marked in every clime and through every era, ere the power of the Crescent waned, its desolating course. The original Peelpye pillars in this temple are standing, and some of the stones in the outer walls have the appearance of an earlier date. On one of them is an inscription in Devanagree, which could not be decyphered. Mr. Marshman thinks this temple was built about 300 years ago by a Rajá of Orissá, Mukund Deb. It is with great diffidence I would venture to dissent from so good an authority, but there are facts which go far to show, as well as the appearance of the ruins, that its erection must have been at a much anterior date. I have alluded to an inscription upon a Mahomedan tomb. In this tomb was buried Zafir Khan, called by the Hindus Darap Khan, and the inscription which I annex with the translation, gives the date Hijeerah 713, or A. D. 1297.
بامر الخان الاجل الكريم المجد الجزيل العطاء الجميل النا نصير الاسلام اظهر الانام شهاب الحق والدين معين الملوك والسلاطين مربي ارباب اليقين خان محمد ظفرخان اظفره الله على اعدایه و عطف اوليايه في غره المحرم المضاف الى سنه ثلث عشر سبعمايه :
By the order of the titled, beneficent, most worthy, bestowing good rewards, the protector of the Mahomedan faith, the most famous among men,
a bright star of justice and religion, the defender of Kings and Princes, the protector of the faithful, Khan Mahamud Zafir Khan. God grant him victory against his enemies and bless his Race on the 1st Mohurum seven hundred and thirteen Hijeerah."
The following is a translation of the Khurseenamah preserved by the Khadems attached to the tomb, two of whom are appointed as Mutawulees by the Court of the Sudder Nizamut Adawlut and hold Rentfree lands in Nuddea and Hugli. “Shah Zafir Khan Gauzee, accompanied by his nephew (sister's side) Shah Soofee, leaving his connections at Mundgaun, Pergunnah Konwar Portup, Chaklah Muksoosabad, came to Bengal for the purpose of converting infidels to the Mahomedan faith. Having made a proselyte of Raja Man Nriputi, he was killed in a battle fought with Raja Bhoodev at Hugli. His head was left on the field and his body was buried at Trivení. Ugwhan Khan, son of the aforesaid Shah Zafir Khan Ghazee, having marched against the Raja of Hugli in Sircar Satgram, conquered him, converted the infidels to Mahomedanism, and married his daughter. After some time Ugwhan Khan also died at Trivení. The descendants of the Khanzadeh are still in existence. The title of Khan was conferred by Feroze Shah." At Pundooa there is a mosque or monument of Shah Soofee, who was nephew of Feroze Shah of Delhi, and the Aymadars claim the Rent-free Kúsbah as descendants. They hold a document from which it appears that their title has existed for 500 years. This corresponds with the date of the inscription on Zafir Khan's tomb and is good evidence that Zafir Khan and Shah Soofee were contemporaries. History is silent as to the professed object of the visit of these two connections of the royal family of Delhi to this part of Bengal, and the chasm is not supplied by the following legend. A Mahomedan subject of a Hindu Raja on a certain festival in honor of his son used cow's flesh. The Raja slew the son. The father resorted to the Court of Delhi and told his tale to Feroze Shah, who immediately sent an army to Bengal against the Raja, commanded by Zafir Khan and his nephew Shah Soofee. The Raja's name was Bhoodev Nriputi, with whom a battle was fought at a place called Mahanud near Satgram, about 8 miles west of Trivení, where Zafir Khan's army was victorious. There is another curious legend connected with Zafir Khan. He was in spite of his hostility to the Hindoos and the destruction of their Raj
looked upon as a Boozoorg, or a man of divine inspiration, and is said to have worshipped Gunga She smiled on the apostate devotee, and on one occasion so wrapt was he in devotion, that she rose from her liquid bed like
"Another Venus breathing fresh and fair
A goddess sparkling in her wavy dress,"
This is a
and overpowered him by fascination of her charms. Such was the effect of her influence over his spirit that he forgot the Koran for the Shásters, and in the ecstacy of the beatific vision the full tide of his aspirations rolled in Sanscrit shlokes instead of Persian verse. remarkable but melancholy instance of the weakness of faith against the potency of love. The champion of a fanatical creed, with sword in hand, is caught like the God of war in the net work of beauty. The Sanscrit shlokes he composed are remembered and repeated to this day. They are called the shlokes of Durap Khan, and there is scarcely a clever pundit in India who does not know them. The following is selected as a specimen.
सुरधुनि मुनिकन्ये तारयेः पुण्यवन्तं स तरति निजपुण्यै स्तत्र किन्ते महत्त्वं । यदि च गतिविहीनं तारयेः पापिनं मां तदपि तव महत्त्वं तन्महत्त्वं महत्त्वं ॥
"Oh! Suradhuní Gunga, the daughter of Janhoo Muní, what will be thy greatness if thou wilt bestow salvation on the virtuous, who are saved by their own merits!-If thou bestowest salvation on me, who am a helpless wretch, I would then proclaim thy glory to the highest extremity."
This religious metamorphoses in Zafir Khan must have had an effect on his son Ugwhan Khan, for he married the Raja of Hugli's daughter. She was buried within the precincts of the temple, where her tomb is still standing. It has crumbled to the ground, and there is no inscription to point it out. But a curious custom marks the spot. Hindoo votive offerings are presented there on Mahomedan festivals.
The date of the Arabic inscription on Zafir Khan's tomb, the Khurseenamah of the Khadems, and the statement of the Aymadars of Shah Soofee's tomb at Pundooa, correspond nearly with the following