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spot, a good view is to be had of the valley and of the pass and plains beyond, looking over Rajgriha nearly due north: to the east the valley grows narrower for a mile or so, and thence two valleys branch off, one leading under the Gidhona peak, so named from the vultures, which perch and build their nests there, the other to Tapobun where there are other hot wells; this place is also held sacred and a fair is held at the vernal equinox. Before reaching the bifurcation of the valley is a spot called the “ Panch-pandub” and “ Rungbhoomi” from the different tics take a colored earth with which they besmear their bodies. Turning to the east, the valley extends for six or seven miles, gradually narrowing to the “Guddehdwar” pass, which opens into the plains at the easternmost end of the cluster, of which more hereafter.
To the north-east is the hill called “ Rutna Girri,” up the acclivity of this runs a wall of loose stones in a zigzag shape, from the base of which and of the hill is seen an immense embankment called “ Nekpay,” extending across the widest part of the valley (above one mile) north and south, and from its southern end again a much more massive wall is continued to the summit of the high hill called “Udhaya Girri,” along the top of which the same is continued for a great distance, both east and west, whether these walls, which are not high, were intended as fortifications or fences, as said by some, to enclose a Shikargah or preserve, it would be difficult to decide, indeed there are so many curious remains, that one is completely at a loss,-the people ascribe all to enchantment and to demons.
A second high embankment stretches from the “ Nekpay” almost at right angles, till it reaches the Sona Girri hill, the lowest and eastern spur of which projects to about the middle of the valley.
Leaving the tumulus and proceeding southward to this cross bank or wall and passing through the same, the road winds at the foot of the Sona Girri close to a low ledge of laterite forming a terrace as even as if cut by masons; this place is called “Bheem Sen's Ukhara," or wrestling place. The many indentations and cavities, peculiar to such formations, are supposed by the ignorant, to be marks left by the wrestlers. Continuing to the southward towards Udhaya Girri, the road is formed by the bare rock in which occur many short inscriptions in the shell pattern, and other curious forms but much worn and some overgrown with moss and rubbish. I deem these to be great curiosities, and think that
if a clearance were made more (and perfect ones) would be discovered. I copied one or two which are represented (see plate). About a quarter of a mile further, is a tumulus overgrown with jungle and near to it remains of some extensive enclosure and buildings. This tumulus may be one of the “ towers" alluded to by Fa-Ilian; at this spot the road has wound to the south-west, and the valley forms a large amphi. theatre; continuing for half a mile in a more southerly direction, you arrive at a narrow rocky gorge and bed of a Nulla called “ Ban Gunga,” which empties itself into the plains just beyond, at the foot of the Udhaya Girri hill ; the great wall at this place is very thick and extends for a considerable distance to the south ; this spot is held sacred by the Hindoos who say that Bheem drove his “ban” or dart into the rock upon which water rose from “ patal,” [the depth of the earth ;] this is one of the spots visited during the triennial fair.
Having now described the valley, &c. we must return to Fa-Hian's narrative-he
says : “Chap. XXIX. Entering the valley and going beyond the mountains fifteen li S. E. you come to the peak of “Khi-tche.” At the distance of three li, from the summit of this mountain there is a cave facing the south. Foe sat there in meditation. At thirty paces to the N. E. there is a stone grotto; " A nan" (Ananda) sat there meditating. The demon of the Heaven, “ Phi siun" (1927), changed into a vulture, stopped before the cave and terrified A nan. Foé by his supernatural power opened the rock, seized A nan by the arm with his hand, and stayed his fear ; the traces of the bird and the hole where Foe put forth his hand exist to this day. It is thus that the hill came to be named “the hill of the cave of the vulture.” Before the hill is the throne of the four Buddhas. All the Arhans had also there every one his cave, where they sat to meditate. The number of these caves is several hundreds."
With reference to the foregoing, and the notes by M. Remusat and others, I first of all made every possible enquiry to little purpose, except that two caves existed about seven miles distant at the eastern gorge of the valley called the “Guddeh-dwar” or ass's gate before alluded to, I therefore determined to examine it: having no horse and it being impracticable for my palkee, I took guides and proceeded on foot at four P. M. and after two hours' good walking I reached the
“ Guddeh-dwar,” a narrow passage between scarped rocks which had in former times been enclosed by an immense wall of loose rubble ; this gorge opens out into the plain with high, barren, rocky hills, on either side, forming the easternmost of the Rajgriha cluster and range : the one to the left or north being that on which Jarasindha's tower stands with other ruins already described under the head of Girryeck.
The distance travelled will have been close upon “fifteen li” or about seven and a half miles as stated by our pilgrim : passing through the
gorge and about half way up the steep face of the north hill under Girryeck, two caverns appear facing the south, and over one is a curious cleft in the rock which would seem to answer Fa-Hian's description, except his distances, up to, and between the caves, nor are there other caves or grottos, nor the throne of the previous Buddhas. However, it is possible that these caves have a northern entrance ; for the largest which is alone accessible, has a passage apparently cut through the hill, which I was unable to penetrate, not only owing to fatigue and blistered feet, but it would be requisite to be provided with chloride of lime, torches and other precautions to enable a party to explore it. I think it would be found to open out opposite the highest peak south of Jarasindha's tower ; this peak is surmounted by either a terrace or the remains of a Dagope, which may be the very "throne" alluded to by Fa-Hian, as its distance from the path below would answer that given : I think then we may fairly decide that these caves are the identical ones described by him, there are small cavities here and there which may have been used by anchorites but not several hundreds. By “stone grottos," may be meant small habitations made of stones piled together ; indeed I think it more than probable, that the whole of these hills were inhabited by “rishis” or devotees, the name “Tupobun” itself implies it, being a corruption of “Tupissia” and “Vana” or forest of devotion.
There are some more hot springs beneath the southern side of these easternmost hills, and about five miles further south in the plains is a spot (a tank) still visited and held sacred by the Jains.
As to the name “Gridhra-kuta” the present one of “Guddeh dwar”
may be a corruption of " Gridha dwara :" vultures swarm alike on all the ragged peaks and particularly on these. Chap. XXXI.
“ Thence proceeding to the west four yeou yans you come to Kia-ye. This town also is completely deserted.”