« ZurückWeiter »
disappointed. The first object which strikes the traveller is a gateway, having apartments over it, connected with the sides of the hill by two walls with coarse battlements, and apparently built across an old stone quarry; and above, and on each hand within the gateway, are seen a confused crowd of pagodas and obelisks, so that should a stranger view it from the outside, not being aware of the peculiarity of the work, he would wonder at the taste of thus burying so many buildings in so obscure a situation. But on approaching the wall and gate, you search in vain for the usual separation of stones in building, and the whole is found to be one mass of rock. This is however capable of being accomplished by manual labour, without any great exertion ; and it is only on entering the gateway, and passing into the immense area, two hundred and forty-seven feet long, one hundred and fifty broad, and one hundred feet high, and viewing the principal temple supported by stone elephants, and bearing in mind that this stupendous, yet elaborately worked mass, is formed of kindred material with the coarse perpendicular wall of stone which shuts you in on three sides, that the astonishment and admiration is felt, which, far from wearing off, I think, increases on reflection. On entering the gate, which has several rooms over it, the first object which presents itself, immediately opposite, is a colossal figure about ten feet higli, surrounded with sculpture, and two small elephants joining their trunks above his head. This important personage is in a sitting posture, and, by being daubed with red paint, is rendered, if possible, more hideous than when he started from his mother rock. The openings into the area are to the right and left. Facing these openings, in the bottom of the area, stand two stone elephants of the size of life, both more or less mutilated, and with no other decoration than two coarse ropes carved round their bodies. It is from the vicinity of these elephants that the eye and mind first explore and comprehend the whole of the exterior of the great pyramidical temple, ninety feet high, in the centre of the excavation. The minute and beautiful carving on the outside is very happily contrasted with the cliff around. From the elephants, about thirty feet further, are two beautiful obelisks, stated to be thirty-eight feet high, covered with carving, and not only light in appearance,
but much relieved by each compartment or story being variously and beautifully sculptured. These are very perfect. The main temple stands rather towards the further end, than in the middle of the area, and is connected with the apartment over the gate by a small temple, in which stands the bull Nundee, and beyond it, by a sort of bridge, directly over the figure seen on entering, and over the openings into the area opposite to . the elephants, all similarly cut out of the solid rock. The bull is not large, and rather disfigured. The centre temple has several smaller, and not so high, beyond it, which, from the neighbourhood of the elephants, appear attached to it, but are not so in reality, except by the floor of rock, which leaves the whole, as if supported by the statues of animals, projecting more or less from the solid mass, some with half their bodies protruded from it,
thers with only the heads and fore-quarters. The principal of these are elephants of the size of life, and lions larger than life, and some imaginary animals. For the sake of diversity, these statues are all in different attitudes ; several in fierce conflict with their neighbours, and all looking as if executed at the whim of the workmen. The feet, talons, ears, trunks, tusks, &c. have suffered much; it is supposed from the intemperate zeal of the Mahometans.
• The distance from the sides of the temple to the face of the scarped rock is not more than forty feet on each side, and it is painful to look up for any length of time. The flights of steps, of which there are two, ascending to the floor, supported by the animals on which the temple is formed, are on each side, and rather beyond the smaller temple which contains the bull Nundee. Between the principal temple and the gateway, on the outside walls, there is much sculpture in nine rows of figures, about a foot long, of men fighting: some armed with bows, others with clubs and long straight swords. On the right side, among others, are some figures in cars, with two and four wheels, drawn by horses, and monkeys seem in every part to be very active, and by no means second-rate performers. This is supposed to allude to the conquest of Ceylon by Rama; but as I do not understand the Hindoo mythology, I shall not attempt to unravel the meaning of these carved records, as doubtless they are, but leave it to others who are versed in “mystic lore.” It may just be mentioned that the image of Hunomaun is represented in heaving rocks to form the bridge between the continent and Ceylon. The steps turn inwards about half their rise, and meet on an uncovered landing place, between the small temple containing the bull, and the great temple, about three or four feet below the level of the latter. The door, facing the west, twelve feet high by six broad, ornamented with colossal statues on each side, is now before you ; and on ascending, I believe, four steps, and passing between the gigantic porters, you arrive at the great chamber of the principal temple: though, for the first few minutes after you enter, the gloomy light does not permit you to see distinctly, which, added perhaps to the dead silence, the massy pillars, and the Goliah-like figures at the other end, but partially discerned, together with the feeling inspired in the area, tends to absorb the faculties; yet I gazed in mute admiration. The interior, from the door to the recess at the other end, is one hundred and three feet long, sixtyfive wide, and the height but seventeen; and I think the lowness of the roof adds materially to its effect. The size of the pillars, being in thickness out of proportion with their height, bespeak the weight above, and excite the peculiar sensation of a desire to crouch when inside. It was then I felt the real circumstances of the mighty work around me. Here had the perseverance of man ornamented a mass coeval with the world; and which, differing from all other temples on the face of the earth, had grown like a statue from an uncouth-block, under the hands of an artist : and my feelings did justice to the designer and workmen,
It is sus
tained by four rows of pillars, not above four being of the same workmanship, the shafts minutely carved, but the capitals quite plain; and the roof, between these supports, appears resting on an imitation of great beams, crossing and fastened on the capitals of the columns. The roof is plain, excepting the centre, which has a round medallion in basso relievo, 'representing a man between two female figures; though that on the left is almost destroyed, and appears, by accident or design, to have been detached from the roof and to have fallen, leaving a mark of what is the original colour of the stone, nearly the whole of the interior having been blackened by Aurungzebe, who, to show his contempt for the opinions of the Hindoos, filled it with fuel which he caused to be set on fire. It would, however, almost have bid defiance to his cannon; and, with the other caves in its vicinity, exists to this day, a wonder of the world, only equalled by the pyramids, and likely to stand to the end of time, as firmly as the neighbouring hills.'
These subterraneous temples much resemble what is related by the antients of the Cretan labyrinth, where also a bull was worshipped in the same manner as by the Egyptians. Some point of contact certainly has existed between the founders of Braminism and the founders of Egyptian and Phænician idolatry. Several writers would derive from Guzurat, or, as the present author spells the name of the Delta of the Indus, Goojerat, those colonies which may have ascended the Red Sea, and founded the superstitions in favour at Tyre and at Memphis: but we rather lean to the hypothesis that both the Hindoos and the Egyptians are indebted for their common traits of religion to a colony of priests from the north; and that in Babylon, Balkh, and Nineveh, are to be sought the earliest stations of this superstition. Fra Paolino, in his learned work, De Antiquitate et Affinitate Linguæ Zendicæ, Samscredamicæ, et Germanicæ, printed at Rome in 1798, has assisted to prove that the Sanskrit was vernacular in Media or Bactriana, and that in the contiguous districts are found the originally cognate dialects. Sanskrit was carried into Hindostan as a language of the learned, as a Latin of the East, in which the priesthood studied, wrote, and worshipped, but which was no where ever vernacular in the peninsula. Like the scholastic Latin of modern Europe, the Sanskrit has undergone for literary purposes certain extensions of analogies and introductions of conventional formularies, which would not be recognized in its birth-place, or by its original and primitive writers: but which contributed to adapt it for the use of colleges, that have now to teach sciences to which its early nomenclature was unequal. Fra Paolino gives thus the commencement of the pater-noster in Sanskrit. Paramandalè stidà ná Táda, (heavenly-placed is our father): Tava Námà pùdshidam bhavadu, (thy name hallowed be,) &c.; -- in which few words are several roots common to the Greek and Latin languages; as stida, nama, and du, corresponding with status, nomen, and tu: which would scarcely be, if this tongue had an origin very remote from Asia Minor. The Sanskrit has the a privative of the Greeks, akal, timeless; the ar or er of the personal substantive, Aligar, overseer, piter, father; the ta answering to the tas of the Latins, Dewta, deitas, mahatua, magnitudo; and it has a dual number. What we call prepositions are always postponed to nouns, and thus betray the origin of cases. The word Adima signifies first in Sanskrit, whence it might be conjectured that the history of Adam was conceived in that language.
There is another work of Fra Paolino, De Latini Sermonis · Origine, et cum Orientalibus Linguis Connexione, printed at Rome in 1802; and all these writings of so profound an orientalist should be collected and reprinted in this country: they are too little known among our eastern colonies, and would correct errors which are now repeated.
In the thirteenth chapter, the author gives a narrative of the operations of the army of the Dekhun, carried on to the signature of a treaty with Holkar. Chapters xiv-xix. resume the personal adventures and contemplations of the traveller ; with whom nothing escapes attention, either the little that might be deemed beneath it, or the great which might be deemed beyond it.-— The following anecdote does honour to the beneficent spirit of British sway. Having stated that the Persian governor of Khandahar, named Ali Murdan Khan, amassed a fortune so immense that it was supposed he possessed the philosopher's stone, Col. F. presumes that his wealth was accumulated by the formation of a canal, not for navigation, but for irrigating a sterile tract of ground between Paniput and Delhi.
· This noble canal was about 100 miles from north to south; the water which flowed through it being taken from the Jumna, ninety miles above Delhi, and rejoining that river nine miles below the city. The natives call it Nehur Behisht, or the river of paradise ; sometimes the sea of fertility. The revenue of the country through which it flowed was fourteen lacs, but having been neglected and choked up for 100 years, by the political convulsions so prevalent in this region, after the death of Aurungzebc, it does not now amount to more than one lac. Beyond its effects in agriculture, it was of extraordinary consequence to the health of the inhabitants of Delhi. The water of the Jumna, and of the wells, which they are now obliged to drink, is so much impregnated with natron, otherwise called soda, as to prove at times very injurious,
The point of the river from which the canal is taken is a great distance from that portion of the country in which the natron is so abundant, and there was a cut made from it to supply the city with wholesome water. There could not therefore be an act of more true beneficence than the restoration of this canal; and so it appeared to the present governor-general, who decided on the undertaking: and the work is now in actual operation, under the superintendence and direction of Lieutenant Rodney Blane, of the Bengal engineers, whom Lord Hastings selected for this duty, on account of the character he had acquired in the scientific pursuits of his profession. There is a fair prospect that the expence of this work will be compensated many fold, not only by the general improvement, but by the tolls taken for water which passes by sluices in the banks of the canal into innumerable channels to water the country on both sides, which will bring back the population, and restore fertility to considerably above a million of acres.
The author inclines to the opinion that guns were in early use among the Hindoos, and he quotes Ferishta (p. 254.) in proof of some such fire-weapon having been employed in 1008: adding that, in the reign of Humaioon, the Mohammedans understood the use of artillery, and even of shells; that the Portuguese found fire-arms in the hands of the natives; and that at Delhi some very antient cannon are preserved, formed, like cooper's work, of wedges of iron hooped together. Bullocks are employed as draught-cattle in the native armies : but this practice, in case of defeat, obliges them to leave their guns behind, since oxen cannot be made to keep pace with a retreating soldiery.
Some suggestions, apparently judicious and important, as to the proportion of British officers who ought to be attached to a battalion of Sepoys, occur at p. 263.; and a satisfactory statement is given of the diminishing prejudices both of the Braminical and the military classes, relative to substances and circumstances which detile other things and persons. Surely it would now be practicable to hold a council of Bramins; and to procure a repeal, by general consent, of those forms of ritual which principally interfere with the usages of Europeans. Soap, as well as clarified butter, might be voted to have detergent qualities, and to put an end to the desecration of having touched a boot or a beef-steak.
The twentieth and twenty-first chapters contain an account of events at Poonah, which will be valuable to the future historian, but cannot conveniently be detached from the thread of chronicle to which they are appended. In the twenty-third chapter, the author has reached Bombay, where he was to embark in a Company's cruiser for Cossier. The