« السابقةمتابعة »
Of course this report, like every such report, was fabulous. All we saw on the hill, were a few Vishnooi ruins, temples, and broken statues; some of the latter however exquisitely carved. The supposed milk-maids we found to be a mutilated group of Dytes and Deotas churning the ocean, with mount Mundar and Vasooki.
The only temple at present in preservation, or hallowed, is a cave,- from the floor of which, a languid spring issues, filling a small square tank built about it. The water was muddy and not drinkable : but the fount, we were told, sometimes supplied a sweeter beverage,--the pilgrims who assemble here once or twice in the year using no other. Some of the sculptures of the cave, (now sacred to Sheo,) perhaps indicate that it had once been dedicated to Vishnoo,-a very common metamorphosis in South Malwa, seeming to prove the priority of the latter worship in these parts. The Kumbh was merely a large Jain statue at the foot of the hill.
At a village called Gundawul, about five coss from Belpan, there are several ruined Jain temples, two or three large Jain images, called here by the deceptive name of Kumbh, and a Ling mundir, in which stands an image of Gundrub Sein in his human shape, with an ass's head ; there too Vishnoo seems formerly to have reigned, from the sculptures of the Autars about the temple. These places are worth visiting, were it only for the fine bur trees which luxuriate in every village.
The sight of these was the more pleasing, in consequence of their scarcity in the higher ground about Mhow; whilst in this neighbourhood they are remarkable for their size and beauty. In the latter quality, one at Newri is said to bear the palm ; and another at Untralo near Ashta is very celebrated--but the largest forms the boast of Belpan; though very lofty it already covers a space of 400 paces, and will doubtless spread much further—for remarking that it had encroached on a field, we said to the owner, who was weeding, 'You must lop off some of the branches of this tree, or your khēt will be destroyed." "By no means," he replied, " "Tis a God, and walks where it lists."
In the villages of this neighbourhood, you meet with a great variety of Rajpoot tribes,-Bhattis, Seesodias, Solankes, &c.; a fact accounted for, by the matrimonial custom of a foreign bride being attend. ed by a few of her brethren, who follow her fortunes, and settle in the country of her husband. It is, to me, quite inexplicable, how in the confusion of names, the Rajpoot crime of incest can be avoided ; since (not to mention the Sachas) many of the minor branches even
the Otes and Awuts of the great families, are constantly confounded with their roots, and you will hardly ever get a list of the so-called 36, from a Bhat of this quarter, without his including in it the Chon. dawuts and Suktawuts, and increasing the number of names to 50, 60, or more. The most respectable of these classes themselves, petty rajas, potails, &c. are in the highest degree ignorant of their heraldry,--presenting in this respect a striking contrast to the purer Rajpoots of Mewar; a large proportion of whom have the gotra acharya at their finger ends; while many will repeat the names of their ancestors for
ages back, *
From Ashta to Sehore we found nothing deserving mention; but the antiquity ascribed by Tod to Bhopal, stimulated our zeal to search for Budh relics : and we began to indulge in visions of success, on finding a statue of that sect by the road side, half way between Sehore and Bhopal—and on being told, that the hills round the city abounded in caves, in some of which we should find inscriptions : yet, after all, our hopes were not realized. The inscriptions in the caves, which were all in modern Nagari, proved to be chiefly dates, names, and prenams, excepting a few of greater length; only one of which however was at all decypherable. The caves, mere cavities without carving, have a few of them been walled in and inhabited. In one near the old fort, a fakir lately made himself a very cosey dwelling place; but the superstitious women of the town so pestered him, that he fairly ran away from them.
The first impression of a stranger on visiting the city, will be by no means a favourable one. It is entered, either by a hard, uneven, rocky way (road it cannot be called) with considerable risk to one's horse's knees,- or through heavy sand and mud ; for the sandstone when once broken, soon crumbles to dust, and no one will take the trouble of making a firm road, from the trap and kankur which might be easily brought from the neighbourhood. Being built on a bill, there is hardly a public level space in the whole town, with the exception of a spot used as a manège, little bigger than a London riding school; and the narrow streets are choked with dirt.
* Some of the Jain heads of colleges have astonishing memories on these matters, and assisted by a Memoria Technica will repeat such long lists of names—of their acharyas for instance, or the minute divisions of the ginats—and such whole volumes of verse and prose, as to reconcile our faith to the almost incredible accounts of the oral preservation of their learning, by the Budhs, the Druids, and the Greeks.
† Inse: No. 2. It is hardly worth sending, but to shew the modern character.
The city however, especially if viewed from a height, has a remarkably lively and pleasing appearance : white terraced palaces, and the light domes and minarets of mosques and tombs, peer above the houses in every direction. The rock-bound lake washes the town, and little outworks from the fort, (which has perhaps more of beauty than of strength)* stretch to the water's brink, and add much to the picturesque of the scene. Nor must we forget to notice the gardens filled with fine trees, and the really splendid baolees, containing numerous shady apartments for the convenience of the traveller. Some of the mosques, &c. may in after times yield matter for the antiquary : for, the Mussulman, “non in aliâ re damnosior quam in ædificando”not content with mutilating the detested images, is every day using them as material for his buildings, turning the sculptured part within.t A few days before our arrival, a stone tablet from some old temple, in the neighbourhood, containing, it is said, a long inscription, was buried under the foundation of a splendid musjed which the Begum is erecting :# another slab was about to suffer a similar fate,the authors of the sacrilege being in this last instance Jains, but a copy of the inscription was taken before its consignment to earth. Captain Burt has I believe sent it you. § As Bhopal is encircled with ruined towns, thefts of this nature are committed very generally by all classes, stones being frequently brought from so great a distance as Bhojpoor.
We could not visit all these ruins; so we preferred passing by Shumsgur, from which the two bijeks above alluded to were brought, and which as the nearest to the city, has been the common quarry for ages. We set out in high hopes, for a village, (of which the name has escaped me,) about eleven miles off; which was fabled to possess a marble stone,-Heaven knows, how many yards square,- covered all over with writing. On arriving at the place, the stone was not to be found; and though we teased every soul in the village with questions,
* Both the fort and citadel are contemptible as fortifications, spite of the famous siege. † A common practice, J.A.S. 3; 618. Mrs. Meer Hussun, 2; 138, &c.
A buniah who had seen it, consoled us by the assurance that it was about 6 or 700 years old, and related to some Raja or town named Bid (?). That he could read it at all -proves that it was modern.
A fragment (No. 3.) that you may verify it is forwarded. We delayed taking a facsimile till our return from Saugor, in the interim a piece which had been chipped off one corner, was lost. We can make no sense of it, though the letters seem plain enough.
no one had ever heard of such a thing. Bhojpoor, four miles further on, was, according to Tod, an ancient Policity; the present name must therefore be modern, and is probably derived, -not from the more an. cient Bhoj, of whom the old song tells
Rajah Bhojho bari
Vedya Jan to sari”but from his scarcely less celebrated namesake-the historical puzzle—the father of Udayaditya.* In support of this supposition, we have the following traditionary fragment-here in every one's mouthwhich at least proves, that the only building of consequence at Bhojpoor, was erected at about the period of this later Bhoj, and not improbably to his honor, by his son Udayaditya. It sounds like broken verse, but we could never get the couplet completed.
Muchalpoor ka baolee our Bhojpore ka kumbh,
Now for the architect of the temple of Udayapur, we have, as will be presently seen, the certain date of A. D. 1049, and there is in the buildings themselves (in the two at least which I have seen) a certain conformity in boldness and grandeur of design, justifying the tradition, which attributes them to one master mind.
The temple of Bhojpoor would be admired in any country. In the centre of a lofty chamber, about thirty-five or forty feet square, whose light and elegant dome is supported on the four far famed kumbhas, and on a handsome pedestal, stands Deus Loci, a Ling.
It is the peculiar excellence of this building that though the whole is of massive form and material, the parts have been so nicely propor. tioned and blended together, that it presents an admirable appearance of combined solidity and airiness. Thus for instance, the platform of the Ling is 214 feet square, and about ten feet high-a bulk, which if solid, would be out of all proportion to the size of the temple; but the architect has escaped this reproach, by simply giving it a light and elegant shape. The sketch, though from memory, will serve to explain the plan of it: the lower table is formed of four stones, so neatly fitted together without cement, that it is a point of faith in the neighbour
* We postpone our remarks on this riddle, till we shall reach Udayapur, where there is a long inscription bearing upon the question-but not deciding it. Since writing this, the inscription has been noticed, J. A. S. 7: 1056. I cannot at this place refer to the original to redeem my pledge.
† Some of my pencil notes of this place are effaced, the doubtful measurements are therefore put in italics, the others in figures.
hood to believe them one huge slab. The two upper stories, (if they may be so called,) are similarly composed, and are but little, if at all, less in size ; but I need hardly point out, how much the rounding of the edges, and the consequent cushion-like appearance, and even the ornaments at the corners of the upper table, relieve the heaviness, which would seem inseparable from such large blocks of stone. The idol is reached by steps, which being on one side, and half concealed by one of the pillars as you enter, do not detract from the effect of the coup d'æil; and this noble and seemingly insulated throne of rock, crowned by a Ling 7 feet high and 17 feet 8 inches in circumference, so well accords with the dark pillars which bound it, that it can hardly fail to impose on the approaching worshipper a mixed feeling of awe and admiration. The art of the architect is again displayed in the pillars. It was desirable to adapt them, in some measure, to the necessarily confined boundary of walls, without detracting from their solid grandeur. This has been effected in an ingenious manner. The shaft, (which, if I remember rightly,) rises from a base six feet square, is divided into three nearly equal sections. Of these the lower is an octagon, each of whose sides measures 21 feet; the sides of the second, also an octagon, are somewhat narrower, or about 21 feet; the third has 24 sides, of a little less than 2 feet; so that the pillars have the appearance of tapering, while in reality they are nearly of the same thickness throughout. Even after this, the pillars would have but a gloomy look, were it not for the door-way, which, unlike the usual entrance to a temple, occupies nearly the whole of one of the sides of the square. This entrance, it is true, seems to have been enlarged by violence, but it was evidently from the first, lofty and spacious.
The simplicity,—which has been religiously preserved in the walls of hewn stone, in the unornamented pillars, and the plain pedestal of the Ling,-was exchanged in the upper part of the temple for rich and ela. borate carving. The dome seems to have been one mass of ornament. I say seems, for alas the barbarian has not spared this beautiful structure, and all that remains of the roof are the sculptured edges. Under the shelter of this fragment, a mere narrow rim, and clustering on the projecting cornices, numerous families of bees have taken up their abode, whose never-silent humming, re-echoed from the hollows, struck me as in melancholy unison with the solemn ruin. We counted no less than fifty-two of their black nests. Never robbed of their honey, and accustomed to the crowds, who at certain seasons assemble to pay their devotions to Bhojeswar, these insects are not the least alarmed or irritated by the noise of strangers, nor even by smoke, to which bees