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hill, three in another, but the name “Satgurba," commonly understood to mean “seven chambers," is applied to two only, which subject I shall treat of further on.
I shall first of all state that the hills called Burabur, are isolated rocks of sienitic granite rising abruptly from the plain about 15 miles north of the city of Gyah, by the left bank of the Phulgo or Mahanudda ; the cluster is remarkable for its picturesque appearance, and for the noble masses of rock piled, as it were, one above another, with hardly any soil, consequently little vegetation, and rising to various heights, from 100 to 3 or 400 feet.
Although Burabur is that by which the cluster is commonly known, each hill has a name of its own. The highest being called “ Burabur," also “Sidheswur," from a temple to Mahadeva that once crowned the highest, and of which I shall speak presently.
The next in height is the “ Kowa Dol,” which is detached from the rest by near a mile to the south-west.
A third is called “Nag-arjuni," and is the eastern-most of the great cluster.
A fourth, and the smallest, called Durhawut, is at the northern extremity; others have names also, but as the above alone contain objects of notice I shall rest content with giving them only.
The Kowa Dol being first met with, on coming from the Dak bungalow of Belah on the Patna road, from which it is distant full six miles, I shall take it first. It is an almost entirely bare rock, having nearly a perpendicular scarp on its northern face, and sloping at an angle of 45°, more or less, on the opposite or southern side : east and west, it is disjointed and inaccessible ; huge stratified masses are piled one over the other, decreasing in length at each end, the whole is surmounted by single blocks like pillars ; the centre one of which towers above the rest and is conical. It is said that formerly there was a huge block balanced on the top of this cone, which from its being moved by birds alighting on it obtained the name of “Kowa Dol” or crowmoved, or the crow-swing; about a century or less back, this rockingstone fell down, where it may still be seen.
This hill seems to have been surrounded by a large town ; there is an artificial mound continuous round the north and east faces, filled with broken pottery, bricks and blocks of hewn stone ; there are two names
given, “Sarain” and “Summunpoor; on the portion called by the latter name there is an extensive Muhammadan cemetery ; there are none but paltry monuments with fragments of some ancient Budhist temple built into them.
In the hollow or recess on the east side are the remains of a once splendid Budhist temple, of which many pillars are still standing, also a gigantic idol of Budha, seated, with no other inscription than the usual pious sentence of the Budhists. The dimensions of this figure, which is beautifully executed, are as follow :
Ft. in. From seat to crown of the head...,
8 0 Across the shoulders
4 0 From knee to knee
6 0 Round the wrist...
6 Do. the neck
3 8 Do. head ..
5 8 Across the forehead
1 4 Length of thigh
3 6 Do. of shin ..
3 6 Do. of upper arm
2 6 Do. lower Do.
2 0 Round the arm
2 8 Do. the wrist
1 6 2-6 | Length of hand 1-4 breadth of Do. 8-0 Do. of face.
1-6 | Do. of foot.... 1-6 breadth of Do. 8} These measurements will convey some idea of the proportions of this fine piece of sculpture.
The Sinhasun or throne, is very handsome; there are the usual supporters, the Sinhas or lions rampant, trampling on elephants couchant, and ridden by amazons armed with shields and swords. The stone is the grey chlorite or pot stone ; of such almost all the idols in this district as well as of Orissa are made ; from the style of the carving, and the alphabet of the inscription I can assign no very remote date to these works ; not more than 8 or 900 years, if so much.
Leaving this Budhist relic we find some 60 or 80 figures of brahminical idols rudely cut in the huge detached masses of rock at the foot of the hill. Of these Durga slaying "Mahésh-Asúr," is the principal,
and most often repeated ; the next is the Lingam, and again the Gouri Sunkur, or Mahadeva, caressing Parbutti, who is seated on his knee, with the bull, “Nandi” at his feet, and the “Sinha" or lion at her's. There is one block hewn into the shape of a small temple, with niches and images on the four sides. It has formed part of a small Dehgope to the memory of some departed devotee of heretical sect, the great Budha temple is likewise a funeral monument, as I shall, I hope, establish hereafter in a treatise on the subject of the Dehgopes or Chaityas for which I have collected much matter.
The sculptures on the detached blocks are in a very rude style, but this
may be attributable in some measure to the extreme coarseness, and hardness of the material, as well as inequality in the grain. The weather was so windy and cold that I could not make proper drawings of these sculptures, but the accompanying rough sketch will convey some idea of their position, particularly of those to the arrangement of which I would call attention, as follows :
First niche, from proper right, male figure erect with a spear ; 2nd, female figure "Pudmavati" or "Maya Davee;" 3rd, Budha seated ; 4th, Mahadeva and Parbutti, commonly called “Gouri Sunkur ;” Parbutti seated on Mahadeva's knee with the bull Nandi at his feet, and the Sinha or lion at her's; 5th, male figure erect with four arms; No. 6, male figure riding on the shoulders of another;7th, the Lingum and Yoni; 8th, male half figure “ Aruna ?” 9th, Mahadeva and Parbutti repeated ; 10th, male figure erect holding a lotus in each hand, probably “Surya ;" 11th, Gunesha; 12th, female figure with four arms, attended by Nandi and Sinha, perhaps meant for “Durga,” 13th, male figure standing on a prostrate figure. After these, nine niches have, what appears to me to be, Durga slaying Mahésh Asúr, with her trident; she has one foot on the buffaloe's neck and holds it by the hind leg. This subject is repeated on many detached rocks. The Linga is of as frequent occur
There is one very large four-faced Linga called the Choumurti Mahadeva, such as may be seen in the caves of Ellora ; it is of common occurrence in this district. This subject of the Linga I shall reserve also for a future paper, and here take leave of the Kowa Dol.
We now proceed eastward for half a mile or more, then skirting the southern base of the main cluster for a mile, an embankment is met with connecting one spur of the hill with the other, which together
forms a kind of amphitheatre or recess; the ground is strewed with bricks and potsherds, denoting the existence in former times of a large town. The first object the visiter is led to is a strong spring of clear water murmuring through the fissures of the rock at the base of the northern ridge and disappearing under ground beyond a basin or small reservoir of modern construction. This water is called the “ Patal Gunga,” the Ganges flowing beneath the earth. I need not state the absurd stories connected with this natural curiosity; a fair is held here yearly in the month of August.
We are next led up the steep and slippery face of a bare mass of sienite for more than an hundred feet, when the remains of a rudely constructed wall (connecting the masses of rock) appear; passing these for a short distance, and sliding down a block, worn smooth by the process, we find ourselves beside the first cave (See plate VIII. fig. 4) called “ Viswa Mitra.” The first apartment is square or rather pyramidal like Egyptian works.
The dimensions being 7'9" at top and 8' 9" at the base; the height 6'8" outside, 6' 7"' at the inner end, in the centre of which is a doorway likewise narrow at top and wide at the base, (a feature common to all the caves, this leads into an unfinished chamber of an irregular oval form : on the east side of the first room, is the inscription marked as fig. 13 pl. IX. There are four sockets about 6 inches in length by 2 inches wide, two on each side on the floor of the outer chamber, apparently to receive some kind of frame work. There is a precisely similar arrangement at the Aswastema terrace over the great inscription of Dhowlee in Cuttack.
Leaving this cave we pass under the mass of rock in which it is seated, in an easterly direction between huge detached masses, here and there connected with rude walls or piles of stone ; some fallen pillars and hewn blocks are the only remains of what was once a gate-way, beneath which are the traces of a flight of rude steps, and a causeway leading down into the amphitheatre first described ; a few yards further west bring you into the elevated valley or basin : on the south side are the two ridges of rock out of which the three great caves are excavated. The length of this table-land may be three furlongs or more, and greatest breadth one and half. The whole space except where there are the remains of tanks, is strewed with bricks and potsherds, and
there are traces of numerous foundations apparent in every direction ; to the north is the peak called Sidheswar and Burabur, immediately under which, and of a second not so high, are the remains of a fine gateway and a massive wall connecting the two, and the immense blocks which appear to have served as bastions: this passage leads down into another and extensive level, surrounded with hills, which likewise appear formerly to have been connected by walls and embankments, to have had large reservoirs and been covered with habitations ; indeed, this is not confined to the two spots now described, but has been continued further eastward, connecting the Nag-arjuni hillocks until the river Phulgo or Mahanudda was reached ; one low hill has been evidently used as a grand bastion, it is called absurdly Sher Shah's Bungalow; a causeway leads to it; it may have been appropriated by the early Muhammadans, but it is undoubtedly part of these most ancient Indian works, the name even of which is lost to us, unless the place be that mentioned in the inscription of the Nag-arjuni cave, to the description of the locality of which it answers.
I must now return to the great caves. The first of these is the “Kurun Chowpar,”and faces the north ; it is entered through a narrow Egyptian doorway, as already described, the room is placed east and west, and has a segmental roof, as have all except the Viswa Mitra ; the ends are at right angles and plain, on the western there is an altar or throne as shown in the plate ;* the whole surface except the floor is wonderfully polished; the echo is very beautiful in all these caves. The dimensions of the room are 33'-6"X14', and 10-9" to the crown of the arch, the side wall or faces being 6-2" to the springing line. The labour of cutting and excavating such a chamber in the hardest of rocks must have been great indeed, but that of polishing such a surface almost incredible ; we are struck with amazement and rivetted to the spot : from the quantity of chips of hæmatite strewed about, I am inclined to think this mineral was used in polishing. My servants having delayed on the road and arriving late, I was obliged to pass the night in this chamber with a bundle of rice straw for my bedding and covering, and although the wind was very high and cold, the temperature within was not so unbearable as to prevent my enjoying a good night's rest; the bears having been graciously pleased to forego their visits, as I kept a candle
* This throne appears to be the "Srí Asanam" mentioned in the Páli Annals.--M. K.