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to the later Buddhistic faith, though it is now an object of worship for the Hindus of the neighbourhood, passing under the name of Dhongreśvari or Dhongra Devi.
Below this cave, on the same side of the hill, is a large level terrace about 225 feet square, which contains marks of foundations of buildings. On the same side of the hill, to the north and south of the terrace, are traces of some other ruins.
Ascending the hill from the cave for some distance, in a north-easterly direction, along a passage difficult of ascent, and then turning southwards, the top of the range is reached, on which are situated seven stupas. No. 1 is situated on the top of the precipice exactly above the cave or stone chamber. It is an octagonal mound about 26 feet in diameter, built of brick. Further south, 135 feet from this stupa is stupa No. 2. It is also built of brick, about 26 feet square, but is much mutilated. No. 3 is about 250 feet north-east of No. 1. It is octagonal, about 29 feet in diameter, built of brick with stones in the base. No. 4 is about 610 feet north of No. 3. It is round, 40 feet in diameter and in good preservation. No. 5 is of the same size, situated at about 505 feet north of No. 4. No. 6 is about 110 feet north of No. 5 and is 20 feet in diameter. It is made of brick, and is also in a state of good preservation. No. 7 is about 50 feet north of No. 6. It is a small mound about 18 feet in diameter, built of rough pieces of stone.
These mounds are now called by the villagers of the neighbourhood Dhuni, a word which means the place where the sacred fire of some Rishis or saints was burnt. This idea has probably preserved the mounds from destruction by the villagers; but as the present generation, partly from the growth of materialistic ideas, and partly from the force of necessity, is losing the reverence previously felt towards what tradition held sacred, there is much danger of the the mounds being opened by some inquisitive villager in the hope of finding treasure.
I am inclined to think that these mounds are the stupas erected by Asoka as related by Hwen Thsang, to signalise the spots up and down the hill, sacred to Buddha. As to the position of the stone chamber, Hwen Thsang says, "then Bodhisattva descended," (from some place on the summit of this range signalised by any one of the mounds mentioned above) "and half-way down the south-west slope he halted. There backed by the crag, and facing a torrent is a great stone chamber. Here he sat down cross-legged." Now, as the range lies extended from south-west to north-east, strictly speaking the range has no southwestern slope. The stone chamber, however, lies in a south-westerly direction, from many of the stupas now extant, and when Hwen Thsang visited the place, probably some path from stupas Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
J. 1. 5
to the cave was pointed out to him as the way Buddha descended, and so he noted the position of the cave as being half-way down the southwestern slope. The facts (1) that this stone chamber is in a soùthwesterly direction from the stupas, (2) that it is situated half-way down the slope of the range, (3) that it is backed by a crag, a high precipice of rock on which stands stupa No. 1, (4) that the cave faces the valley between the main range on which the stupa's stand and the projecting spur of hill, down which a stream would pour during the rains, (it is probable that Hwen Thsang visited the spot in the rainy season), and (5) that the cave is at a distance of about 14 or 15 li from the Bodhi tree, I think, prove conclusively that the stone chamber mentioned by the pilgrim is no other than the cave.
As to the question of these remains not having been visited by any antiquarian, I would quote below the description given on page 66 of the "List of Ancient Monuments in the Patna Division" revised and corrected up to 31st August 1895 :
"67.-Gaya-Mora Hill Cave.
"This cave is a natural fissure about half-way up the western slope "and facing the Phalgu River. It is shaped like a crescent, 37 feet in length and five and a half feet in width, with an entrance in the "middle of the convex face 3 feet 2 inches in width, and 4 feet 10 "inches in height. At the upper or north end there is another opening “4 feet broad, and 4 feet high, which gives light to the cave. At the "south end the fissure continues for a further distance of 24 feet, but "of such small dimensions that a man can only just crawl along it. "Its height is 2 feet 7 inches, but its width is only I foot 7 inches. "At the back or east side of the cavern, there is a ledge of rock "8 inches high, which probably served as a pedestal for the shadow of “Buddha which was figured in the rock. Every year, at the close of the "rainy season, the monks used to climb this hill to make their offerings "and to spend a night or two in the cavern.'
The above quotation shows that the cave now described by me was not intended, but some natural fissure in some other part of the hill.
As the range extends for several miles and contains many natural fissures along its slopes, different guides may take travellers in
1 [This description is a literal quotation from Vol. iii, p. 106 of Canningham's Reports. I have no doubt that Cunningham referred to the very cave described by the Babu in this paper, as the position of his cave agrees with the site of the Babu's cave, but the account given by the late General is very inaccurate. There is, e. g., no 'opening 4 feet broad and 4 feet high' at the upper or north end of the cave, and it is very unlikely that such an entrance existed 30 years ago, whẹn Cunningham visited the place. T. Bloch.]
search of Buddha's cave to different natural fissures. The correct bearing, however, from the town of Gaya, and from Bodh-Gaya, is as follows. On crossing the river the cave Phalgu (which is on the east of the town of Gaya) by the wooden bridge, the road passes due south for about a mile to a bridge near village Bhusanda. Up to this place the road is metalled. After this, it is unmetalled and takes a south-easterly direction. Proceeding along the road, further for about 4 miles, the village Ganjās is reached on the north side of the road. Passing beyond this village a short way off, the road has to be left, and the foot of the hills skirted in a south-westerly direction. Travellers on horseback or palki may leave the road near the village Manjhowli and reach the cave through village Sahaipur. The above description will be a sufficient guide to any one wishing to visit the cavern. The cave is, however, not visible from the foot of the hill even immediately beneath it, as already explained, but a tamarind tree-the only one there-marks the site.
The Murāns.-By MAJOR P. R. T. GURDON, Superintendent of Ethno
graphy in Assam.
[Read June, 1903.]
Mr. Gait in the Census Report of 1891 stated that it is evident that the Morāns belong to the great Bodo group; at the time of that Census I made a collection of a few Moran words which I forwarded to the Census Superintendent, who was of opinion that Moran is only a variety of Bodo or Kachāri. That this diagnosis was right there will be little doubt if the vocabulary attached to this note is examined. It will be seen that I have given the English with its Moran, Kachari (modern), Dimāsā or Hills Kachāri, and Hodgson's Bodo, (which is probably Mech), equivalents. At once the very strong affinity between the four languages will be evident. Take the numerals. "One" is the same in all four languages, e. g., Sề, Se or Sāi, Siand Che. The word nè (two), in Morān and Kachāri becomes gini in Dimāsā and gni in Mech. Sam (three) in Morān becomes Tham in Kachāri, gatham in Dimāsā, and tham in Mech. The word for six is the same in all four languages. The word for fish, nã, which is identical in the first three languages becomes gna in Hodgson's Bodo, and compare the Burmese gnapi and the Garo nathu. The word for “Egg" in all four languages is Daodi, and what is still more remarkable, each of the four languages expresses the word for egg in exactly the same manner, dao meaning fowl and di water, dao-di therefore signifies fowl's water. With reference to dao, it may be noted that it is a generic word, daokha meaning a crow, being evidently an onomatopoeic sound, daokha signifying the "caw-caw" bird.
There seems to have been a considerable amount of confusion regarding the Morāns. In the Census Report of 1881 it was stated that the meaning of the word Moran is not very clear, but that the name Morān was applied to the upper portion of the Matak country and is now used to designate the extensive tract of waste land to the East and North-East of
Dibrugarh. The Morāns are mentioned in an Assamese Buranji as having been subdued by the Ahom invader in 1251 A. D. Robinson says that the word Morān signifies "inhabitant of the jungle". In the 1891 Census Report Mr. Gait wrote as follows: "There has been a good deal of confusion between, the terms 'Morān, Matak, and Moamaria."" The Morāns have already been referred to as having been the first tribe to be conquered by the Ahoms when they entered Assam from over the Patkai. They were employed by the Ahom Kings as carriers of firewood and were known as Hābungiās, an Ahom or rather an Assamese Corruption, of the Moran word habóng (mán). A writer in the Jonaki Magazine of April 1891 is of opinion that the "Morāns are the autoch. thons of the Assam Valley," a conclusion which I think is not unlikely to prove correct. The strong similarities of the different languages of the Bodo group I have detailed below, need no further demonstration than the lists will show; and it appears that the Moran language certainly belongs to the Bodo or Kachāri group. Before concluding I may mention that there seems to be also some connection between the languages of the Bodo group and Deori-Chutiyā, which is now like Moran practically a dead language, originally spoken by the priestly or Levite class among the Chutiyās (Introduction to Brown's DeoriChutiyā Grammar). Take the following words which I have picked out from Brown's Vocabulary :
If the equivalents in Hodgson's Bodo or Mech, and Dimāsā are studied, great similarity will be found. No doubt it would be possible to trace similarities between words in Garo, for the Garo language belongs to the Bodo group also.
I think, in conclusion, that strong linguistic affinity has been proved between the Moran, Kachāri, Dimāsā (Hills Kachari), and Hodgson's Bodo or Mech; it now remains to discuss whether or not there are similarities between these tribes from an Ethnographical point of view, but this must form the subject of another paper.