Page images

the same time it will not answer the purpose of its publi. cation, as the conclusions are too loose, and as we have presumed to argue, are in many instances too inaccurate, to entitle it to become a safe, and sure guide, in matters of Hindu law. The utility of the work is also much impaired by the utter want of arrangement which prevails throughout, and for which the learned judge, pleads in extenuation the haste with which the work was put together, as we have cited his apologies to prove: but what occasion was there for so much precipitancy: why could not the materials have been taken home, and digested by the learned Judge, in the otium cum dignitate, he is about to enjoy. We might then have had a work worthy of his known powers and long experience, and which would have entitled Sir F. Macnaghten, to the permanent gratitude of the profession, and of the public.

A short notice of the remains of some Ancient Temples

at Wone, in Nemaur. The ancient town of Wone is situated in the val. ley of Nemaur, in N. lat. 21° 42' and E. Jong. 75° 27' and nearly eleven miles westward of Kergúnd, its modern capital.

The province of Nemaur is that narrow valley, through which the Nurbuddah takes its course, between the Vindya and Sathpúrah ranges of mountains ; its western limits being that part of Rath, where these two ranges meet, merely giving vent to the river between, and its castern boundary being formed by the similar hilly tract of Gondwana and Bhagwana. The Nurbuddah nearly bisects equally this valley, at an average distance of about twenty or twenty-five miles from each mountain range, and throughout the greater part, the country is undulating, or diversified near the banks of the river, by low hills, or small ridges. The soil is a rich vegetable mould, of great fertility, and affording superior pasturage, to which the acknow

ledged superiority of its black cattle, and more especie ally its milch cows,' is mainly attributed. It is at present much overspread with low jungle, the growth, and result of the last twenty-five years of anarchy, and de population in Central India. But it formerly contained numerous large towns, and flourishing villages, sci es of many of which now alone remain, and being watered throughout by small rivers, and streams, tributary to the Nurbuddah, its agricultural products were originally rich, and varied, and these are now rapidly reviving: . Since the total desertion, about fifty years ago, of the ancient capital Bíjagerh, a large hill fort and town situated in the midst of the Sathpurah, Kergúnd had become the principal city of southern Nemaur; but this has in common with its neighbours, suffered almost total depopulation during the late period of war and extermination ; twenty years ago it contained upwards of 5000 houses; at present there are about 800 inhabited, ainidst heaps of ruins. It is surrounded by a wall, commenced with stone and carelessly finished with mud. It contains also a small citadel, the residence of the Ameldar, or Officer in charge of the district. From this city to Wone, there is a good cart road through an open level, but almost entirely uncultivated plain.

Wone is situated in a slight hollow.-It formerly contained above 2000 houses, at present there are but 70 inhabited. This town is at present but a heap of ruins, occupying an area of about 3 furlongs long and one broad. But the temple remains, which constitute its only interest, are generally about three furlongs distant, with the exception of two in the town itself.. The number of the Temples is stated as having originally been ninety-nine, with a similar number of reservoirs of water. But of the former there now remain in tolerable preservation, but eight large and four small, with sufficient traces of about as many more. Of the latter only seven can be distinctly traced.

[ocr errors]

Of these edifices,--the builders,--reigning prince, or period of erection, no authentic written memorials have been discovered; butoral tradition bas handed down, to the few wretched surviving inhabitants, a fable res. pecting their origin and age, which may serve as a spe. cimen of Hindoo tale, and which is somewhat curiousas containing the name of a prince mentioned by El Edrisi, as of the Budhist sect, and as reigning about the period here assigned. And as the name of this Rajah Bala hara occurs in an inscription hereafter noticed in one of the smaller temples, if such be not rather a title than a specific name, it will afford u singu' lar coincidence worthy of further research.

“ About UICO years ago, “says the Fable.” BaJabara Rajah of the Carnatic was greatly afflicted by a painful distention of the abdomen, arising from a snake engendered there. Having in vain tried every proposed remedy, offering vows to the gods, and lar. gesses to boly men, he at length determined on resigning the government into the hands of his son, and on proceeding on a pilgrimage to Casi, (Benares) that he might either end his days in that boly place, or through its sanctity obtain a deliverance from bis enemy. Having seen his son in secure, and quiet possession of the throne, he commenced his journey, accompanied by his Queen, a large retinue, and a few select troops. Nothing of note occurred, during his pro. gress till his arrival at Wone, where he halled for the night at the small tank, near the Northern Pagoda now standing. The Queen kept awake at night by her anxiety for the Rajah, saw arise from the hole near which they slept, a large snake, which approaching His Majesty, addressed the snake, with which he was afflicted, ---and in the course of a long cnversation, in which an angry altercation arose, she heard though indistinct from the distances, the following: “ Is there” said the Wone snake, “no one near the Rajah, who has the 'sense to rid him of such an infliction as you, by giving him to drink a little fine chunam, and

water. « And is there” retorted the other, “no one to hint to him that by pouring hot oil in the hole you inha. bit, and thus destroying you, he may obtain possession of the enormous treasure lodged there.”

“ The following morning on the Nakara beating for the accustomed march, the Queen much perplexed by her doubts as to the reality of what she had overnight heard and witnessed, requested the Rajah to delay one day his further progress, in the hopes that the night might afford her an opportunity of clearing her present perplexity. At night, therefore, the Queen concealed herself near the Rajah’s couch, that should any conversation again arise she might distinctly hear it, whilst being kept actively awake by her anxious watch, she could not be again deceived by the supposition of its being but a dream. As the Queen had hoped, the snake as before made its appearance, and ap. proaching the King, a nearly similar conversation took place in which the former taunts were repeated and distinctly noticed by her majesty, who thenceforth determined on a trial of the remedy suggested by the same snake. When therefore the Nakara beat the ensuing morning, her majesty again requested another day's halt, and on the Rajah expressing his surprise and impatience at such a delay, feeling as he did the near approach of his dissolution which might, he feared, take place before he could reach Casi, the Queen obtained her request by relating the events of the two last nights, and begged he would make trial of the remedy. She then mixed some fine chunam and water and gave it to the Rajah, who experienced almost imme. ate relief, and by a repetition of the remedy got en. tirely rid of his troublesome inmate, and perfectly regained his health and strength.

“Recollecting then the remaining part of the conversation between the snakes, he caused hot oil to be poured in the hole which he readily discovered, and destroyed the snake, and on digging, found an immense treasure with which, increased by a large sum, as


a grateful acknowledgement to the gods for his restoration, he built there temples, and at each excavated a large Baoli. Having seen the completion of these works he returned to his own country.”.

Such is the Fable respecting these interesting remains which may now be concisely noticed, commencing with the most southern as perhaps most deserving notice, and which is situated on a slight eminence about three furlongs south of the town. This Pago. da, which in outward form differs little from that, which is so common to the Hindu erections of the present day, is built entirely of hewn stone without lime or cement of any kind, but strongly clamped together with iron, inserted every six inches or a foot apart across each joining of the stones, and secured by a cross at each extremity. The stone is chiefly a red, durable limestone, or secondary marble found in the neighbouring hills; but some pieces being carelessly selected of a slaty structure, or intersected by numerous veins, and subject to rapid decoin position, the state of preservation greatly varies in the sculptural ornaments, though where strength was of importance, the best materials have been apparently selected. The shafts of the columns which are 12 or 1+ feet high are of single blocks, as are also, the several beams thrown from one column to the other to support the roof, and which are of still greater length and proportions. The whole exterior of this Pagoda is covered with a great variety of sculptural ornaments; but without any apparently regular design, and wants ing that general effect which simplicity can alone bestow. The high pyramidal part of this as well as the other Pagodas to be noticed, is what has chiefJy suffered from evidently intentional dilapidation, said to have been made through the intolerant zeal of the Mohammedans, during the period of their sway in Cen. tral India-and the efforts which are to be traced in every quarter of this, and the neighbouring districts as well as in upper Malwa.

« PreviousContinue »