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Title: Grand Moving Diorama of Hindostan - Displaying the Scenery of the Hoogly, the Bhagirathi, and - the Ganges, from Fort William, Bengal, to Gangoutri, in - the Himalaya
Author: Parks, Fanny
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                            Asiatic Gallery,


                        GRAND MOVING DIORAMA OF
                            IN THE HIMALAYA.



            _Visitors to the Diorama are allowed to inspect_
                              THE MUSEUM.

                         _Price One Shilling._

                      Entered at Stationers’ Hall.

                        THE DIORAMA OF HINDOSTĀN

                          Has been Painted by

                          Mr. PHILIP PHILLIPS;

              The FIGURES and ANIMALS by Mr. LOUIS HAGHE;

                       The SHIPPING by Mr. KNELL.

The whole of the Scenes of the Diorama have been arranged by Lieutenant
Colonel LUARD, from his own original and unpublished sketches, taken
during a residence of fourteen years in India; aided by the kindness of
friends, who have placed at his disposal the original sketches of

                  The late Sir CHARLES D’OYLY, Bart.,
                  The late JAMES PRINSEP, Esq.,
                  The late Captain PRINSEP,
                  The late Colonel EDWARD SMITH,
                  Major WHITE,
                  WILLIAM PRINSEP, Esq.,
                  GEORGE CHINNERY, Esq.,
                  WELBY JACKSON, Esq.,

and the Author of “Wanderings of a Pilgrim, during Four-and-Twenty
Years, in the East.”

                            LIST OF PLATES.

                  NO.                            PAGE

                    1 Fort William, Bengal          9

                    2 Prinsep’s Ghāt               11

                    3 The Fakīr                    16

                    4 Barrackpore                  24

                    5 The Elephant Establishment   27

                    6 Sīckrī-Galī                  32

                    7 The Foolish Fakīr            35

                    8 The Minarets                 42

                    9 The Satī                     58

                   10 Hurdwar                      62

                   11 Simla—The Conical Hill       65

                   12 Gangoutrī                    67


In the month of October, 1589, a body of English merchants addressed a
memorial to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth, requesting licence to equip
three ships for the purpose of trading to the East Indies: this request
appears to have been favourably received, and in 1591 the first English
commercial voyage was commenced in three vessels. It proved a disastrous
one; but considerable experience was obtained, and the ardour of the
English merchants was but little damped by the result.

In 1599 an association of merchant adventurers was formed in London,
with a capital of 30,000_l._, for the purpose of trading “_to the East
Indies and countries thereabout_;” and the royal assent was applied for
and obtained to this project, “_intended for the honour of their native
country, and the advancement of trade and merchandise within the realm
of England_.” The Charter was dated, 31st December, 1600. This
association, which may be looked upon as the foundation of the present
East India Company, led to a succession of voyages more or less
fortunate, which, before long, resulted in the Company obtaining
establishments at various places on the coast of the Peninsula, as well
as among the eastern islands. The Presidencies of Madras and Bombay were
first established; but that of Bengal, although the latest, was soon
rendered by circumstances the most important of the three, and is now
the seat of the supreme government of India.

On the 20th December, 1687, Mr. Job Charnock, the agent for the
Kossimbazār factory on the Hoogly, finding it no longer safe to remain
at that place, moved down to the village of Chuttanuttee, on the present
site of Calcutta, with all the ships, troops, and property, where they
commenced to intrench themselves. They were afterwards forced to move
down the river to Ingellee, in which pestilential climate the whole
force would have been carried off, had not the Emperor Aurungzebe made
overtures to Mr. Charnock and allowed him to return to Chuttanuttee. In
1691 they were allowed to form a settlement there: it increased rapidly,
and was permanently fixed upon as the head-quarters of the Company’s
establishments in Bengal.

Chuttanuttee occupied the site of the present native portion of the
city; Govindpoor stood where the new Fort William is erected; and the
European part of the city, including the site of the old Fort, is built
within the precincts of Kalleeghatta, hence originated the modern
appellation of Calcutta; and as the founder of that city, Mr. Job
Charnock’s name will probably be remembered as long as the British
Empire in India shall exist. He died in 1692, and was buried in the old
Cemetery, where his tomb is yet to be seen in the old burying-ground of
St. John’s Cathedral, being one of the few allowed to remain when that
building was erected.

In 1695, a rebellion having broken out in Bengal, the local government
applied to the Nawāb for permission to put their factories in a state of
defence, and on the request not being positively refused, they hastened
to erect walls of masonry, with bastions or flanking towers at the
angles, round their several factories, and thus originated the
fortifications of Calcutta. In 1699, Sir Charles Eyre was re-appointed
to the charge of Bengal, which was then for the first time raised to the
rank of a Presidency. Orders were issued that the fortifications should
be strengthened and rendered regular, so as to afford a safe retreat for
all their servants and property; and it was recommended to give the
outline of the buildings the form of a pentagon, if possible, that being
at the time considered the strongest figure of defence. In 1701–2, the
court issued orders that the Fort should be made a regular pentagon with
bastions, and the works be made extensive enough to accommodate all the
establishments of the out-factories. In the year 1707–8, the rival
interests of the “Old London” and the new “English Company” were merged
into “The United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies.”

In 1742, the Mahrattas devastated the whole province, and sacked the
town of Hoogly. On this occasion, the English applied for and obtained
permission to dig a ditch and throw up an intrenchment round their
settlement, which, if completed, would have extended more than seven
miles. When little more than three miles of the ditch were completed,
finding that the Mahrattas did not advance, the work was discontinued:
it was, however, always known afterwards as the Mahratta Ditch; some
traces of which still remain—hence the people of Calcutta are sometimes
called the Ditchers.

The Nawāb Sooraj-oo-Dowlah succeeded to the government of Bengal in
1756. He entertained the greatest dislike to the English, and
determined, if possible, to expel them from the country. In June, 1756,
he appeared before the factory at Kossimbazār, and the place not being
tenable, it surrendered. The Nawāb advanced with expedition and attacked
Calcutta, which surrendered on the 20th. Mr. Holwell, with a party
amounting to 146 persons, were thrown into the Black Hole—the history of
which is too well known to need repetition. The Nawāb having ransacked
Calcutta, changed its name to Alīnuggur, and flattering himself he had
for ever extirpated the English power, thought it unnecessary to follow
up the small party of refugees assembled at Fultah. In December, 1756,
an armament, under the command of Colonel Robert Clive, arrived at
Fultah, and recaptured Calcutta, where they found the greater part of
the merchandise that had been left there, it having been reserved for
the use of the Nawāb.

                         DIORAMA OF HINDOSTĀN.

The subject of the Diorama which we shall have the honour to explain, is
the course of the Ganges from its source to Fort William, Bengal:—its
picturesque scenery, the towns and temples on its banks, the religious
ceremonies, and the customs of the inhabitants, both Hindū and Musalmān,
will be pourtrayed. This noble river, considered the most sacred in
Hindostān, takes its rise at Gangoutrī, in the Himalaya, and issues from
the mountains upon the plains near Hurdwar. It passes within a few miles
of Meerut, flowing on to Furrackabad, Cawnpore, and Allahabad; at the
latter, it joins the Jumna, the first river of importance with which it
unites. Hence its course becomes more winding, its bed wider, and the
united streams flow past Mirzapūr, Chunar, Benares, and Ghazipūr. A
little above Chupra, the River Ghogra falls into the Ganges on the left
bank; and below Arrah, on the opposite bank, is its junction with the
Soane. At Hājīpūr, the Gunduk increases the powerful stream, which flows
on and passes Patna, Monghir, Bhagulpūr, Colgong, and Rajmahal, until it
reaches Gopalgunj, at which place a branch of the Ganges quits the main
stream, and flowing by Sooty and Moorshedabad is called the Bhāgīrathī,
until it reaches Nuddea. The main stream of the Ganges running to the
eastward, joins the Berhampootra, and after its union with that river,
falls into the Bay of Bengal. This, the main stream of the Ganges, is
not looked upon with equal veneration by the Hindūs as the branch
before-mentioned, which, flowing by Sooty and Moorshedabad, is called
the Bhāgīrathī, until it reaches Nuddea, at which place it is joined by
the Jellinghy, and the united currents flow on, passing Calcutta, to the
island of Sāgar, under the name of the Hoogly. Prior to the commencement
of the nineteenth century, the Ganges had been traced by Hindū pilgrims
from Hindostān into the snowy mountains that run in a direction
north-west to south-east on the frontiers of India. We will now ascend
the stream, stopping, as is the custom with pilgrims, at the junction of
rivers, and other sacred places, considered peculiarly holy by the
Hindūs, until we reach the last shrine, Gangoutrī, the source of the
Holy River.


                             FORT WILLIAM.

Fort William, the citadel of Calcutta, is situated on the left bank of
the Hoogly, about a quarter of a mile below the town; it is a European
fortification, and was called Fort William in honour of his majesty King
William the Third. This Citadel was commenced by Lord Clive soon after
the Battle of Plassey, which was fought in 1757; it is capable of
containing 15,000 men, and the works are so extensive, that 10,000 would
be required to defend them efficiently. The works do not make an
imposing appearance from without, nor are they perceptible until closely
approached: this excites great surprise in the natives coming from the
interior, who always connect the idea of great strength with great
elevation. It is of octagonal form; five of the faces are regular, while
the forms of the other three next the river are according to local

The Esplanade, Chowringhee, and the site of Fort William were, so late
as 1756, a complete jungle, interspersed with a few huts, and small
pieces of grazing and arable land.

The view now presented shows a part of the rampart of Fort William; the
Hoogly flows beneath, Calcutta appears in the distance, stretching from
Chandpaul Ghāt to Chowringhee Road; the situation of the Ghāt is marked
by the high chimney of the building, containing a steam engine for
raising water.

The next building in the back ground is the Bank of Bengal; the long
colonnade is in front of the Supreme Court of Judicature; and to the
right is the Cathedral of St. John, which stands partly on the site of
the old Cemetery. In clearing away the ground for its foundation, the
tomb of Mr. Job Charnock, the founder of Calcutta, was discovered: he
died in 1692. The tomb of Mr. Hamilton was also found, and is now placed
in the same building with that of Mr. Charnock. Mr. Hamilton was surgeon
to the embassy sent to the court of the Emperor Furrookhseer, and the
Company are indebted to him for having induced the Emperor to grant them
many privileges, and to confirm all former ones: he died in 1717. Mr.
Speke was also buried in the old Cemetery, and his tomb, with those
before-mentioned, is one of the few allowed to remain there on the
erection of St. John’s Cathedral, where they are still to be seen. The
first stone of St. John’s Cathedral, in Council House Street, was laid
on the 6th of April, 1781. On a plate of copper, graved in the stone, is
the following inscription:—“The first stone of this sacred building,
raised by the liberal and voluntary subscription of British subjects and
others, was laid, under the auspices of the Honourable Warren Hastings,
Esq., Governor-General of India, on the 6th day of April, 1784, and the
thirteenth year of his Government.”

The architect was Lieutenant James Agg, of the Engineer Corps. On the
24th of June, 1787, the Church was consecrated and dedicated to St.
John. Sir John Zoffani, the celebrated artist, bestowed the altar-piece,
representing the Last Supper.

The Town Hall, a fine building, is rendered conspicuous by its Doric
portico; it was erected by the inhabitants of Calcutta in 1804: the
Government Treasury succeeds it, and in the distance is the spire of St.
Andrew’s Church, in the Lall Bazār.

The Government House, the principal building in Calcutta, was erected
about the year 1804, during the administration of the Marquis Wellesley;
the architect was Captain Wyatt, of the Engineers. The entrances, or
great gateways, are each crowned by a lion, and are continually the
resting-places of the _Hargīla_, the gigantic crane, commonly called the

The Column on the right was erected to the memory of Major-General Sir
David Auchterlony, on account of his distinguished services. It is 160
feet in height, and stands on the Esplanade in front of the town.

_Hargīlas_ or Adjutants are numerous in the Fort, and so tame, that they
will allow men to pass very near them and show no signs of fear; they
stalk about the Esplanade, and rest in the most picturesque manner on
the highest buildings in the city.

The officer, with his bearer holding a _chatr_, or native umbrella, to
protect him from the sun, is watching some monkeys; and a _griffin_, as
a young cadet is called for the first year, is amusing himself with
teazing one.


                            PRINSEP’S GHĀT.

The audience are now requested to imagine they have embarked upon the
Hoogly, off Prinsep’s Ghāt, the first landing-place of importance that
is met with on approaching the City of Palaces. James Prinsep, Esq.,
died in 1840, and his fellow-citizens in Calcutta erected this ghāt to
his memory, as having been one of the leaders of science in India, the
promoter of every good work, a faithful and useful public servant, and a
warm and true friend. The building in the distance is St. Peter’s, the
garrison Church in the Fort, and the vessel passing up the river is
complimented by a salute from its battery. Beyond the flag-staff is the
Semaphore, or telegraph, a high tower from which intelligence is
conveyed by signals.

                            THE WATER GATE.

The Water Gate of Fort William is now before you, and the horsemen are
on the Esplanade,—a road extending by the river side, from Chandpaul
Ghāt, to Garden Reach. This is the favourite ride and drive, during the
early morning and in the cool of the evening, of all the inhabitants of
Calcutta. A _dinghī_, a native boat covered with matting, is going up
the river, filled with _gharas_, or jars of coarse, red earthenware,
used for holding water.

The Governor-General’s pleasure boat, called the _Sona makhī_, or golden
fly, is moored beyond; she has beautiful accommodations, and is
perfectly suited to the river and the climate. From this point is seen
the Government House: the edifice is a noble one, and particularly well
adapted in its plan and interior arrangements to the climate. The
external view is grand and imposing, and it is a fit and proper
residence for the supreme ruler of our Indian possessions. Its two
entrances or gateways are shown, and the line of houses, inhabited by
Europeans, in Esplanade Row, in front of which is the Auchterlony

The long line of vessels so closely moored off the bank, are boats,
called Budjerows; they are commanded by a native called a _Sarhang_ or
_Mānghī_, and carry 12, 14, 16, or 18 oars, and are generally used by
persons going to the upper provinces.

                               BĀBŪ GHĀT.

This building was erected by a wealthy native gentleman, and therefore
termed _Bābū_ Ghāt—the title _Bābū_, given by Hindūs, is equivalent to
Mr. or to Esq., and is now as common as the latter terms are among us.
Numerous small boats are crowding by the steps, and a _dinghī_ has just
put off. A ferry boat with passengers is crossing from the opposite side
of the river, in which a _chaukidār_, or native policeman, is
conspicuous, with his sword and shield. The Bengālīs generally carry
_chatrs_ (umbrellas) during the heat of the day, made of matting, or
covered with red calico.

The street now visible is Esplanade Row, which runs from Chandpaul Ghāt
by the Government House to Chowringhee Road; it is full of fine houses
belonging to Europeans.

                            CHANDPAUL GHĀT.

The people are seen crowding on Chandpaul Ghāt; and the low,
semicircular building at the summit, is the Police Station. The
octagonal building with its long chimney contains a steam-engine, used
for raising water from the river, for the supply of the town, watering
the roads, &c.; but the water used for drinking and culinary purposes,
is brought from the tanks by water-carriers. It is believed that this
was the first steam-engine set up in Bengal. The water passes from the
engine-well into a large brick-built reservoir, and from it into
aqueducts constructed on one side of the road. The Bank of Bengal is on
the other side of the road called the Strand, and the high pillars of
its verandahs face the Esplanade.

Colvin’s Buildings appear to great advantage; they are lofty and
spacious. Three merchant vessels are anchored off the Strand, and to
each of their chain cables a piece of wood is attached, in a manner that
prevents the water-rats from getting up them into the vessels. A native
fishing-boat with her immense net fixed upon two bamboos, is making for
the ghāt—perhaps bearing a freight of _Tapsi Mach_, or mango fish (so
called because they come in with the mango season); hence the Hindustanī
proverb, “Mangoes and fish meet of necessity.” They are the great luxury
of the Calcutta epicures, who make parties to Budge-budge down the river
to enjoy the mango fish, as those of London resort to Blackwall for

From the Bankshall a red boat (No. 7) is going out with a pilot to some
vessel in the river. Bankshall is said to be a Dutch name for the chief
landing-place, which was afterwards converted into the East India
Company’s marine and pilot depôt.

                            THE STEAM MILLS.

The fine buildings that now meet the eye are the Strand Mills, the
property of the late Mr. Smithson, who erected them for the purpose of
grinding corn by means of steam engines. It is said the speculation
proved a failure, because the natives will not send their wheat to be
ground in a mill in which it is mixed with the wheat of people of
another caste, and with that sent by Europeans. It is the custom in
Hindostan for each family to grind its own corn at home between two
circular stones called _chakkī_, and this work is usually performed by
the women. It was proposed to the King of Oude to erect steam mills for
grinding corn in his dominions; but he refused to comply with the
request, because it would throw the old women with their _chakkīs_ out
of work.

On the right is a _daunā_ or donī, a country vessel, a coaster and
trader, commanded by a _Sarhang_;—the crew are natives; the vessel is
short, thick, clumsy, and marvellously ugly.

                               THE MINT.

The _Taksāl_, or Mint, a fine edifice of the Doric order, was planned
and erected by Colonel Forbes, the present Mint master. The wide-ranging
buildings of the new Mint, with their tall chimneys, appear to great
advantage when viewed from the river. The Bengal Government set the
first example of introducing extensive machinery, in the erection of the
new Mint of Calcutta, which is filled with the best specimens of the
skill and genius of Messrs. Watt and Co.; and the politeness of the Mint
and Assay masters insures easy access to view the fine and ample

A Chinese junk on the right adds greatly to the picturesque beauty of
the river, on which Arab _grabs_, and vessels from all parts of the
world, are crowded together. An eye is painted on each side the bows of
the Chinese junk, to enable the spirit of the vessel to see her way
across the deep.

In the foreground is the hulk of a country ship under repair, beyond
which are three vessels from Malacca.

                        BENGAL COTTAGE SCENERY.

The scene now changes to the right bank, the opposite side of the river,
at sunset. On the landing-place are natives bathing, and every where the
margin of the water is studded with human beings. One man is filling his
_gharas_ (earthen water vessels), which he carries suspended by ropes
from a bamboo poised on his shoulder. Bengalī women are bringing empty
water jars to fill at the river side, and in the shade a woman is
returning from the holy stream on her way to some idol, bearing on her
hand a brass tray containing a small vessel filled with water, and oil,
and rice, and flowers for _pūjā_—that is, worship. A _Dhobī_ is washing
clothes by dipping them in the river, and beating them on a rough piece
of slanting board, the custom of the washermen in the East.

The shop of a _Modī_, a grain merchant and seller of fruit, is now
before you. Oranges, melons, limes, jackfruit, pummelos, pine-apples,
all that is offered for sale in such abundance and at so small a price
in this country are displayed at various seasons most invitingly. The
fruit-seller is a very pious man, if we may judge from the pictures of
the Hindū deities stuck on the wall of his shop, but which are too much
in the shade to be very distinct. On the bamboo support of his thatch is
a painting of Hūnūmān, the monkey god, in which he is represented
bearing off on his shoulders the god Rām, and Sīta the beloved, from
Ceylon: a fac-simile of this painting is in the Pilgrim’s Museum, being
one of 32 paintings of the gods purchased at the Great Fair at Allahabad
for one rupee!

The natives are particularly fond of pigeons: they roost during the day
on a frame-work, supported on a bamboo, as here pourtrayed; and the
great delight of the pigeon-fancier is to fly his flock against that of
another, making his birds wheel and turn, ascend and descend, and obey
his every wish, by directing their course with a long thin bamboo. You
continually see men and boys of an evening standing on the house-tops,
amusing themselves with flying their pigeons.


                               THE FAKĪR.

The group in the foreground represents a _Bābū_, a native gentleman,
awaiting the cool of the evening before he enters his palanquin; an
attendant is supporting a _chatr_, or native umbrella, over his head,
and the bearers with the palanquin are in attendance.

In front is a Muhammadan _Fakīr_ leading a white bull fancifully adorned
with peacocks’ feathers, cowrie shells, coloured worsted tassels, bits
of brightly-coloured cloth, and brass bells; the plume on the top of his
neck is the tail of the _yāk_, the cow of Tartary, much used in
Hindostān in the adornment of holy bulls and of horses. In the
back-ground is an Hindū temple, gilded by the rays of the setting sun.

The portico or entrance to the house of an opulent _Bābū_, a Bengalī
gentleman, now appears; it is of native architecture, singular and
handsome; the ornaments of some of the pillars are most elaborate, and
it is remarkable that each has a separate design.

                               THE NĀCH.

The scene now represents the interior of the building during the
celebration of the festival of the _Dūrga-pūjā_, or _Dasera_, held in
honour of the goddess Dūrga, and the performance of a _nāch_ by the
dancing-girls of Hindostān. During the _Dūrga-pūjā_ holidays, which last
eight or ten days, the Hindūs lay aside all kind of business, save what
necessity renders indispensable to pursue, and shops and offices are
shut up while that great religious ceremonial is in course of being

The house, as is generally the case, is a four-sided building, having an
area in the middle, on one side of which the image of the goddess is
raised on a throne, and some Brahmans are in attendance. The area is
open to the sky, and a temporary ceiling is formed by fastening ropes
across from wall to wall, over which a cotton carpet of native
manufacture, called _shatranjī_, is spread, thus forming a roof; the
floor is also covered with a gay cloth of the same manufacture, and a
Persian carpet.

The goddess Dūrga, in whose honour this festival is held, derives her
name from the giant Dūrgŭ, whom she is represented in the act of slaying
with a trident as he issues from the neck of a buffalo, whose head she
has cut off. The image is that of a yellow woman with ten arms, which
are stretched out and filled with instruments of war. This goddess has a
thousand names, and has assumed innumerable forms.

The bright half of the month _Aswina_, the first of the Hindū lunar
year, is peculiarly devoted to Dūrga. The first nine nights are allotted
to her decoration; on the sixth she is awakened; on the seventh she is
invited to a bower formed of the leaves of nine plants, of which the
_bilwa_ is the chief. The seventh, eighth, and ninth are the great days;
on the last, the victims which are immolated to her honour must be
killed with one blow only from a sharp sword or axe. The next day the
goddess is reverently dismissed, and her image is cast into the river,
which finishes the festival of the _Dasera_.

The black figure at the side of the goddess is that of Krishnŭ, one of
the most popular gods of the Hindū Pantheon; he is greatly worshipped in
Bengal, as well as in all parts of Hindostān, a great proportion of the
Hindū population being devoted to him, and he is especially beloved by
the women. A black marble figure of this popular deity stands in the
Pilgrim’s Museum, as well as a small brazen one of Dūrga; the latter is
very ancient. Immense sums are expended by wealthy Bengalīs during the

The _Bābū_ is conversing with his European guests, and offering flowers
to one of the ladies, who, seated on a sofa, is talking to those around
her, and witnessing the _nāch_. The dancing-girls wear a very full
petticoat of fine-coloured muslin, trimmed with deep borders of gold and
silver, full satin trowsers which all but cover their naked and jewelled
feet; and the _dopatta_, a large veil worn over the head, is highly
embroidered. Various ornaments of native jewellery adorn their persons;
their anklets are formed of numerous small brass bells that sound in
time with their steps in the measured dance, and rings adorn their toes.
In the thumb ring, which is about two inches in diameter, a bit of
looking-glass is inserted, in which the nāch-girl often looks to see if
her tresses are in order, and to adjust her flowing drapery. They dance,
or rather move in a circle, attitudinizing and making the small brass
bells fastened to their ankles sound in unison with their movements.
Several men, the musicians of the party, attend each set of nāch-girls;
they play on divers curiously-shaped native instruments.

In the hands of one of the native servants, standing near the steps, is
a silver tray containing a _gulab-dānī_ (a gold or silver vessel used in
sprinkling rose-water on departing guests), and the smaller vessel at
its side, of elegant form, contains the _’atr_ of roses, which is placed
on their hands at the same time.

Before the temples of Dūrga thousands of animals are annually
slaughtered and offered to her image. In the portico is represented the
sacrifice of a goat; the officiating Brahman, after bathing it, either
in the river or in the house, puts his left hand on its forehead, marks
its horns and forehead with red-lead, and repeats an invocation, in
which he offers it up to the goddess thus: “O goddess, I sacrifice this
goat to thee, that I may live in thy heaven to the end of ten years.” He
then reads an incantation in its ear, and puts flowers and sprinkles
water on its head. The instrument with which the animal is to be killed
is next consecrated; the goat’s head is then put into an upright post,
excavated at the top so as to admit the neck between its forks, the body
remaining on one side the post and the head on the other; after which
the executioner cuts off the head with one blow. After all the animals
have been thus killed, and some of the flesh and the heads carried
before the image, the officiating Brahman repeats certain prayers over
these offerings and presents them to the goddess.

The square pillars of the building are of pure Hindostānī architecture,
very singular, and elaborately carved.

                    OFFERING OF LIGHTS TO THE RIVER.

Having witnessed the _nāch_ and some of the ceremonies of the
_Dūrga-pūjā_ festival, we now quit the illuminated area, and pass into
the beautiful, the delicious moonlight of the East. Some Bengalī huts
are beneath the trees; a _chaukīdar_, or native watchman, is standing
before his hut, formed of straw and bamboo, on which his shield is hung;
and a native beyond is cooking his evening meal.

The soft moonlight falls upon the river, and upon its bank several
Bengalī women are sending off little paper boats, each containing a
lamp. With what earnestness they watch these little fire-fly boats, in
which they have adventured their happiness, as they float down the
stream! If at the moment the paper boat disappears in the distance the
lamp is still burning, the wish of the votary will be crowned with
success; but, if the lamp be extinguished, the hope for which the
offering was made will be doomed to disappointment. With what eagerness
does the mother watch the little light, to know if her child will or
will not recover from sickness! At times, the river is covered with
fleets of these little lamps, hurried along by the rapid stream. Even
when it is not in honour of any particular festival, natives may be seen
offering lamps to Ganga (the Ganges), the sacred river.

A _pataīla_ (a country vessel), and two _oolāks_ are now in view; the
natives always moor their vessels during the night, it being dangerous
to proceed on the river during the hours of darkness.

                            THE MURDA GHĀT.

We now cross to the opposite side, the left bank of the Hoogly, to a
_murda ghāt_, a spot where the funeral rites of the Hindūs are
performed. The nearest relative, as is the custom, is stirring up the
body, and pushing it into the flames with a long pole; much oil and
_ghī_ (clarified butter) is poured over the wood, to make it burn
fiercely: in all probability the son of the deceased is performing the
ceremony. We read of the Romans burning their dead, regard it in a
classical light, and think of it without disgust; but when we see the
ceremony really performed, it is very painful: nevertheless, a sort of
absurdity is mixed with it in the mind, as “Stir him up with the long
pole” flashes across the memory. On the conclusion of the ceremony, the
relatives bathe and return to their homes. The _charpāī_, or native bed,
on which the corpse is carried down to the river side, being reckoned
unclean, is generally thrown into the stream, or left on the bank. If a
large quantity of wood and _ghī_ be consumed, we may imagine the
deceased to have been a rich man; the relatives of the very poor
scarcely do more than scorch the body, and throw it into the river,
where it floats swollen and scorched—a horrible sight. The burning of
the body is one of the first ceremonies the Hindūs perform for the help
of the dead in a future state. If this ceremony have not been attended
to, the rites for the repose of the soul cannot be performed.

Perched on the house-top are three vultures, and an _hargīla_, or
adjutant, awaiting the time that they may pounce upon the remains of the
corpse, when it is consigned to the holy river. These insatiate birds of
prey perch upon the abutting walls, waiting their opportunity to
descend; whilst others, repulsed by the attendants of the funeral fires,
fly heavily across the river, passing across the native boats, through
the tattered sails of which you might almost mark their flight. It is a
sickening sight, rendered infinitely more sickening by the abominable
effluvium which issues from the bank of death, in spite of the scented
wood and other odoriferous substances, that are placed upon the funeral
pile of a rich Hindū, and burnt with the body. This custom illustrates
the text, “So shall they burn odours for thee.” (Jeremiah xxxiv. 5.) The
Hindūs believe, that persons for whom funeral rites have not been
performed, wander as ghosts, and find no rest.

An English gentleman travelling _dāk_ is standing on the bank; he has
just crossed over, and is watching the bearers who are getting his
palanquin out of the boat. _Dāk_ journeys are usually performed, during
the hot weather, by night, and the traveller rests at some house during
the day. Of a moonlight night a _dāk_ trip is far from being

                            THE PĪPAL TREE.

A Bengali village now appears beneath a group of cocoa-nut trees, beyond
which the _Pīpal_-tree (ficus religiosa) is seen, with its roots
exposed, the earth having been washed from them during the rains by the
rising of the river. This tree is particularly venerated by the Hindūs;
they believe its sacred branches to be the residence of the gods, and
will never cut a branch to the injury of the tree. In front, a Hindū is
sitting at worship by the side of the river; a _charpāī_, on which
probably a corpse has been brought to be burned, is near the spot, also
a skull and some bones: skulls are continually seen on the banks of the


The picturesque and singular group of Bengalī temples that now open on
our view are at Panhuttī—a spot well known to the English as the Grove;
it is about half way between Calcutta and Barrackpore.

The Budjerow which is coming down the stream is apparently tenanted by a
European gentleman; his _khidmutgar_ (a servant who waits at table) is
in the forepart of the vessel, and the cook-boat is astern—the sails of
the latter in the torn and worn-out state in which they are so
continually seen.

                       THE WELL, AND PALM TREES.

The bamboo stage is erected for the purpose of watering the land. The
river water is collected in a deep pool, between two brick walls, across
which a small stage is fixed, on which a man stands, and his business is
to empty the leathern skin which comes up full of water into the
reservoir above, prepared for its reception. A long bamboo, with a large
weight of earth attached to it at one end, is poised on a stage above,
on which a native stands and causes the end towards the river to sink by
the weight of his foot; when the skin below, which is attached to a thin
bamboo from above, is filled with water, he removes his foot, which
causes the water-bag to rise to the height of the reservoir, when the
man below empties it and lets it fall again. In some parts, instead of a
skin, a basket is used, which is rendered waterproof inside by a coating
of clay and mud. Water is thus conveyed to a very great distance from
the banks of a river. The fields in India are irrigated with as much
care as is bestowed upon a garden, and three harvests are often

The Bengalī _jantŭ_ for watering the land happily illustrates this
passage of Scripture, “Where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it
with thy foot, as a garden of herbs.” (Deut. xi. 10.)

The palm trees next to the well are remarkably beautiful; they are
portraits. The one displaying the broad leaves is the fan-palm, from
which the large _pankhas_ are made—one leaf alone forms the _pankha_, or
fan, of which three specimens are to be seen in the Museum.

                            THE RATHJATTRA.

The scene represents the _Rathjattra_, or festival of the chariot, as it
took place near Serampore, on the right bank of the Hoogly; and in this
manner the ceremonies are performed in innumerable towns and villages in
Hindostān; but the place most celebrated for this worship is the Temple
of Jaganāth, in Orissa. In the scene representing a _nāch_, in the house
of a Bengalī _bābū_, you beheld the figure of “Krishnŭ the Beloved”
playing on a flute, standing by the side of the goddess Dūrga. At the
_Rathjattra_, Krishnŭ is worshipped as _Jaganāth_ or lord of the
universe. In some period of Hindū history he was accidentally killed by
a hunter, who left the body to rot under a tree where it fell. Some
pious person, however, collected the bones of Krishnŭ, and placed them
in a box, where they remained: a king who was performing religious
austerities, to obtain some favour of Vishnū, was directed by the latter
to form the image of Jaganāth and put inside these bones of Krishnŭ, by
which means he should obtain the fruit of his religious austerities. The
king inquired who should make this image, and was commanded to pray to
Vishnŭ-Kŭrmŭ, the architect of the gods. He did so, and obtained his
request; but the architect at the same time declared, that if any one
disturbed him while preparing the image, he would leave it in an
unfinished state. He then began, and in one night built a temple upon
the blue mountain in Orissa, and proceeded to prepare the image in the
temple; but the impatient king, after waiting fifteen days, went to the
spot; on which the architect of the gods desisted from his work, and
left the image without hands or feet. The king was very much
disconcerted; but on praying to Brŭmha, he promised to make the image
famous in its present shape. The king now invited all the gods to be
present at the setting up of this image: Brŭmha himself acted as high
priest, and gave eyes and soul to the god, which completely established
the fame of Jaganāth. In the Museum is a small fac-simile of this god,
which was brought from Pooree, in Orissa; and at its side is the seal
with which the Brahmans stamp the worshippers on the breast and arms,
and also a figure in black marble of Krishnŭ, highly ornamented. The
height of the _ruth_, or chariot, is forty-two feet, supported on
sixteen wheels, and the horses in front are of wood. Ropes are attached
to the bars below; and the car, with the monstrous idol within it, is
drawn by thousands of frantic devotees. Looking out from the top is seen
the head of Jaganāth. The Brahmans adorn him during the festivals with
silver or golden hands—an offering of a pair of golden ones is
considered an act of great devotion.

One of the Hindū poets, in answer to the question, “Why has Vishnŭ
assumed a wooden shape?” (alluding to the image of Jaganāth) says, “The
troubles of his family have turned Vishnŭ into wood: in the first place,
he has two wives, one of whom (the goddess of learning) is constantly
talking, and the other (the goddess of prosperity) never remains in one
place: to increase his troubles, he sits on a snake, his dwelling is in
the water, and he rides on a bird.” All the Hindūs acknowledge it is a
great misfortune for a man to have two wives, especially if both live in
one house.

After many ceremonies have been performed, the god is drawn forth in his
car, and at the expiration of eight days he is conveyed back to the
place whence he came. The natives dance before the car, and the
procession is accompanied with drums, tom-toms, horns, and all sorts of
discordant native music.

Dancing is considered a religious ceremony among the Hindūs. The
Brahmans consider it an act of devotion to the god.

                            WATER CARRIERS.

The natives of India carry water long distances in a couple of leathern
bags prepared for the purpose and hung across a bullock; the _behishtī_,
or water-carrier, by the side of the stream, is filling the skins from
his _mashk_, or water-bag, and another man is bringing up his leathern
bag for the same purpose.

An Hindū girl is taking down a large net to the fisherman in the river,
where he has just spread his own net. On the top of his head a small
basket is fixed, into which he puts whatever he may catch; and floating
on the water, attached to his waist by a long string, is a _gharā_, an
earthen vessel, also used as a depository for the fish.

The _oolāk_ is floating timber to Calcutta, secured to her by ropes over
the side. She is ornamented by a border of impressions of the human hand
in white paint on the side of the stern, and has also an eye painted on
each side of her bows; which the Hindūs, like the Chinese, consider
necessary, to enable the spirit of the vessel to see its way upon the



We now cross the Hoogly to Barrackpore, called by the natives
_Achánuck_, corrupted from Charnock, the founder of Calcutta, who lived
here. In the park is the country-house of the Governor-General; and the
military cantonment affords accommodation to six regiments of native
infantry. There is nothing remarkable about the Government House; it is
a plain edifice of one story in height, with lofty rooms; the aviary,
the menagerie, the garden, and a pleasant promenade, where the society
of the station assemble, are the most attractive features of the place.
The regiments here, with the Artillery at Dum-Dum (seven miles from
Calcutta), and the troops in Fort William, constitute the presidency
division of the army, which is commanded by a general officer, who
resides at Barrackpore.

The Governor-General having come up the river in his yacht, the
_Sona-makhī_, towed by a steamer, is represented as quitting the vessel
to land at Barrackpore. The troops are drawn out awaiting his arrival;
the elephants are ready to convey him to the house; the aid-de-camps are
in attendance; and each of their horses is held by a _sāīs_, or groom,
who carries in his hand a _chaurī_, to keep flies from the animal.

In the back-ground is a _shutur-sawār_, a man armed, and mounted on a
camel, for the purpose of carrying messages express. This animal, of a
much lighter description than the camel of burthen, can trot exceedingly
fast, and will go from sixty to eighty miles a day, without distress:
the pace is very rough, and the riders are not considered long lived.
The camel’s neck is ornamented with small brass bells—a common appendage
to couriers in many countries: it is also adorned with blue beads,
cowrie shells, and gaily-coloured cloth and tassels: a small piece of
wood is inserted in the animal’s nostrils, to which is attached a thin
cord, by which it is guided.

The Mausoleum in the Park, of the Corinthian order, to the left of the
Government House, was erected by Lord Minto, at his own cost, to
commemorate the names of the officers who fell at Java and the

                         THE TRAVELLER’S PALM.

Some cows and a buffalo are beneath a _pīpal_ tree in the park. On the
bank is the _sarput_, or _sirkī_, high jungle-grass that often rises to
the height of sixteen feet; the bloom waves gracefully, bending to the
wind, and elegantly recovers its position.

The next is the castor-oil plant (ricinus communis), much cultivated in
Bengal; the oil extracted from the seeds being used medicinally, as well
as for burning in lamps.

The tree with the broad and singular leaves is called the Traveller’s
Palm: if a knife is stuck into the stem a pure water gushes out. It
grows in the most sandy tracts where no water is to be found; hence it
is called the Traveller’s Palm. Dr. Wallich mentioned this circumstance,
and at the same time he struck his knife into the tree, of which the one
before you is a portrait.

The cart is the common _hackerī_ of the country, and the natives
belonging to it are asleep beneath it; a _chadda_, or cloth, is drawn
over their heads to protect them from the musquitoes, and their slippers
are laid on one side.

The Muhammadan Fakīr, a religious mendicant, in front of the group, is a
picturesque personage; he wanders over the country, and supports himself
on alms.


The high walls of the Nawāb’s hunting-house at Plassey are now before
you, and we cannot but regard the spot with feelings of the deepest
interest, as it is the house in which Colonel, afterwards Lord Clive
rested for a short time during the engagement. The famous battle of
Plassey, which may be said to have decided the fate of India, was fought
on the 23rd June, 1757, on the plains of Plassey, about thirty miles
south of Moorshedabad; near the spot selected for the Nawāb
Sooraj-oo-Dowlah’s entrenched camp, the river at that period made a
remarkable bend, in shape like a horse-shoe. In a mango _top_, or grove,
a little more than a mile from the enemy, Colonel Clive had taken up his
position: the trees were planted in regular rows, as is usual in the
country, and all around the _top_ was a bank of earth, which afforded a
good breast-work for the troops, and also a ditch beyond. One detachment
was stationed at Plassey House, which was made use of by Colonel Clive
during the conflict. About eight o’clock A.M. the battle commenced; and
at eleven, Colonel Clive held a conference with his officers at the
drum-head, when it was decided to maintain the cannonade during the day,
and at midnight to make an attack on the Nawāb’s camp. The fate of
Sooraj-oo-Dowlah was sealed by his flight towards the capital, mounted
on a fleet _sawārī_ camel, accompanied by about 2000 horsemen. By five
o’clock the English had taken possession of the whole intrenchment and
camp, with no other obstacle than was presented by the enormous mass of
baggage, stores, camp-equipage, and cattle, scattered around them.

The lofty stage of bamboos in the field is erected sufficiently high to
be a refuge from wild beasts; it is thatched, and the native farmer
places a servant there to keep watch, especially during the night, at
the time the corn is nearly ripe. When a buffalo, or wild hog, comes
into the field, the keeper takes a wisp of lighted straw in one hand,
and in the other a dried skin containing broken bricks, pots, &c., bound
up on all sides; and in this manner he approaches the animal, shaking
his lighted straw and making a loud noise, on which it immediately runs
away. “The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the
field doth devour it.” (Psalm lxxx. 13.) The wild hogs and buffaloes
make great havoc in the fields of the Hindūs.

Below the stage is a domestic buffalo and a group of Bengalī cows. The
buffalo is a very useful beast of burthen, yields a rich but strong
milk, which is generally made into _ghī_ (clarified butter). This animal
has no hump—a fact not universally known by those who have not visited
India; on the contrary, the buffalo is generally supposed to have the
hump. Those sold under the denomination of buffalo humps are from the
common bull or cow of Hindostan.


                      THE ELEPHANT ESTABLISHMENT.

Not far distant from Plassey is the Company’s _Fīl-khana_, or Elephant
establishment, whence the animals are coming down to the side of the
river. One of the elephants in the distance is raising his _mahout_, or
driver, with his trunk, to enable him to gain his seat on his neck:
another is drinking, taking up the water with his proboscis and pouring
it into his own mouth; a third is lying in the river enjoying the
coolness, whilst his attendants are scrubbing and cleaning him.

A group of natives, attendants on the elephants, are sitting round a
fire, baking the large cakes that form the repast of these animals,
added to a small dinner of half a _pīpul-tree_, or a hundred-weight of
grass! A _mahout_, or driver, is very fond of whispering to his elephant
some superstitious tale; which, if the animal does not understand, it is
amongst the few things this most wonderful of God’s creatures does not

                       MOSQUE NEAR MOORSHEDABAD.

A beautiful _Masjid_, or Mosque (a Muhammadan place of worship), which
is on the bank forms a picturesque object; beyond which is a _ghāt_ and
some houses, near Moorshedabad, as also a long range of buildings,
belonging to the palace of the Nawāb.

                        MOORSHEDABAD—THE PALACE.

Moorshedabad became the seat of the Bengal Government A.D. 1704. It was
transferred to this place from Dacca, by the Nawāb Jaffier Khan, who was
appointed Soubadar of Bengal by Aurungzebe. The City of Moorshedabad
continued to be the seat of the British Government until A.D. 1771, when
it was transferred to Calcutta. During the reign of Aliverdi Khan, a
palace was erected at Moorshedabad, which was ornamented with pillars of
black marble, brought from the ruins of Gour; this building is still in
existence. The new palace of the Nawāb erected by the government, is a
magnificent edifice, and reflects the highest honour on the architect,
General Macleod, C.B.: it was commenced in the time of Humaioon Jah, the
late _nizām_, who died in 1838, and was succeeded by his son, the
present Nawāb. This splendid building, which is in the European style,
and of dazzling whiteness, is a beautiful object from the river, of
which it commands a fine prospect, rendered peculiarly interesting by
the variety and elegance of the native vessels, so numerous at this

The _Mor-pankhī_, as the Nawāb’s state-barge is called, is used during
certain festivals at Moorshedabad: boats of this description are
numerous, and of different forms, some towering very high, displaying
all the colours of the peacock, and all are brilliantly painted and
highly gilt. A band of native musicians follow the state-barge in
another tastefully-decorated boat, and the scene on the river during the
festival is highly picturesque.

Here also are seen the snake-boats: they shoot past you with great
swiftness when rowed by twenty men, from their amazing length and
extreme narrowness.

Through the influence of Mr. Hamilton, surgeon to the Embassy sent by
the local government to the Emperor Furrookhseer, in the year 1713, the
use of the Mint at Moorshedabad was placed at the disposal of the
Government of India.

The great object of dread to the Nawāb Sooraj-oo-Dowlah, in 1757, was
the fire of the English vessels of war, of the effects of whose
broadsides he had received exaggerated accounts; and, in the excess of
his timidity, he conceived it possible that they might proceed up the
great branch of the Ganges, and then come down the Kossimbazar river to
Moorshedabad; to guard against which, he caused large piles to be sunk
across that stream, opposite to Sooty, about twenty miles above the
city. A toll is now levied at Jungipūr for keeping open the entrance of
the Bhagirathī, as this branch of the Ganges is called.

                               THE WRECK.

The scene now opens on the right bank of the Ganges. We quitted the
Bhagruttī (a branch of the sacred river) at Sooty, and have now entered
upon the main stream, at a point where it is of amazing breadth, the
view of it only terminating with the horizon: the waves roar, and roll,
and foam like those at sea; whilst a _tūfān_ (one of the heavy storms of
India) is blowing fiercely, accompanied by thunder, lightning, heavy
rain, and utter darkness. The impetuous stream, rushing with the force
of a torrent, undermines the banks of the river, and tears up forest
trees by their roots. A voyage at this time is particularly dangerous;
native vessels are swept along with amazing velocity, and when a _tūfān_
is encountered, like the one now blowing, they are frequently wrecked.

Three _dāndīs_ (native boatmen) have been swept by the violence of the
waves from the mast of their sinking vessel; they are striving to regain
their hold: the rest of the crew have sunk to rise no more. These men
are admirable swimmers; they may possibly be carried along by the
current and rescued on some turn of the river, unless from the violence
of the storm they are carried out into the middle of the stream, and
swept onwards, until, overcome by exhaustion, they sink beneath the

During some periods of the year, a voyage on the Ganges is attended with
great risk. The natives quote the Persian saying as a consolation under
misfortune, “‘What is the use of taking precautions, since what has been
ordained must happen.’ Truly saith the proverb, ‘If the diver were to
think of the jaws of the crocodile, he would never gather precious

                                A TŪFĀN.

The Budjerow is taking in her sails; and the _sahib_, or gentleman on
board, is likely to go without his dinner, as his cook-boat, with her
torn sails, will most likely be unable to come alongside, and hand it
over to the servants.

A voyage up the Ganges may be performed in boats, as various in shape as
in size: a Pinnace is a first-class vessel; the next is a Budjerow,
which draws very little water, and is divided into two commodious rooms,
which may be furnished according to the taste of the traveller: a
complete establishment consists of a horse-boat, a washerman’s-boat, and
a cook-boat; in this country the cooking is always performed in a
separate vessel.

The _dinghī_, or wherry, now making for the land, is generally manned by
two rowers and a steersman: these boats are of slight construction, with
a circular awning of bamboo-work and matting, under which a person can
sit, and though in general well managed, are by no means to be
considered safe conveyances.


The ruins of the palace of Rajmahal are on the bank. During the reign of
Akbar, about 1591, Raja Maun Singh fixed upon this city as the capital
of Bengal, and changed its name to Raja-Mahul—the Raja erected the
palace, and surrounded the town with a rampart of brick and other
fortifications. In 1608, the seat of government was removed hence to
Dacca, by Islam Khan; but in 1639, the Sultan Shah Shuja brought it back
again, and strengthened the fortifications, of which, however, few
traces are now to be seen.

Prior to 1638 this town was the residence of the Sultan Shah Shuja, the
brother of Aurunzebe; but few vestiges of its ancient magnificence now
remain. The ruins of his palace are still standing, but have been much
injured by the encroachments of the Ganges. Cows now ruminate quietly
beneath the black marble arches that overlook the river, or seek for
shelter in its empty halls, which still present images of their former
grandeur. The marble floor of the Mosque remains, and a fine old _bāolī_
(a large well). Around Rajmahal is a beautiful _jangal_ of magnificent
bamboos, fine clumps interspersed with date-palm trees overshadowing the
cottages, around which are a number of small cows and fowls of a
remarkably good breed: every thing has an air of comfort, and the walks
in all directions are cool and pleasant. The steamers from Calcutta take
in their coal a mile below, and therefore do not destroy the beauty of
the old ruins with their smoke, and noise, and Birmingham appearance.
The Rajmahal hills are distant about five miles inland.

Sooraj-oo-Dowlah, after his flight from Plassey, reached Rajmahal, and
took shelter in the buildings of a deserted garden, where he was
discovered by a _Fakīr_ named Dana Shah, whose nose and ears he had
ordered to be cut off thirteen months before. This man recognized him,
made the circumstance known, and the Nawāb was carried a prisoner back
to Moorshedabad, where he was murdered by order of Meerun, the son of
the new Nawāb Meer Jaffier Khan. His mangled remains were placed on an
elephant, exposed throughout the city, and finally interred. Thus
perished Sooraj-oo-Dowlah, in the twentieth year of his age, and the
fifteenth month of his reign; a prince whose short career was connected
in a most important manner with the British interests in India, both for
good and evil.



A country vessel is being towed by her crew round a rocky point; each
man has his own _gūn_, or track-rope, fastened to a short, thick piece
of bamboo, which he carries over his shoulder. A Pinnace, or budjerow,
tracks, with ten or twelve men, upon one rope only.

The Sīckrī-galī pass, during the Hindū and Muhammadan Governments, was
the commanding entrance from Bahar into Bengal, and was fortified with a
strong wall; however, in 1742, a Mahratta army of cavalry passed into
Bengal through the hills above Colgong. The village of Sīckrī-galī is
eighteen miles above Rajmahal at the base of a high rocky eminence,
commanding a fine view of two ranges of hills. There is here the tomb of
a celebrated Muhammadan Saint, Pīr Pointī, and a cave in limestone rock;
and higher up, at a place called Pīr Pointī, now a mass of ruins, is
another tomb of the saint.

This pass is close upon the Rajmahal hills, and the only European
inhabitant lives in the _Bangla_, commonly called Bungalow, the house at
the foot of the hill. Wild beasts sometimes come to this place at night,
and the footmarks of the tiger are often to be seen in the garden.
Jackals roam howling through the village; bears, tigers, rhinoceroses,
leopards, hogs, deer of all kinds, abound here, and feathered game in
the hills. Elephants are absolutely necessary to enable a man to enjoy
shooting amidst the high grass and thorny thickets. The place is so much
disturbed by the people who go into the hills for wood, that the game
retreat farther into the _jangal_. When a gentleman goes out shooting on
foot, the _dandīs_ accompany him with long poles, to beat the bushes. In
the marshy plains under the hills of this pass good shooting is to be
found, but on account of tigers it is dangerous.

                          THE RAJMAHAL HILLS.

Beyond the heavy rain which is pouring down, the hills of Rajmahal are
seen in the distance; they are beautifully wooded, and full of game of
every description. No scenes can be more picturesque than those in the
interior. The wild climbers hang from the forest trees in luxuriant
beauty, especially that magnificent one, the _cachnar_ (bauhinia
scandens)—a specimen of its leaves gathered in these hills is in the

The _dandīs_ from the boats that anchor at Sīckrī-galī go up the hills
in gangs to cut wood for firing, and bring it down in great quantities.

The _byā_ birds hang their long nests from the extreme end of the slight
branches of the delicate _bābul_-tree pendant over a pool or stream for
security. The Museum also contains nests of this little bird suspended
on the broad leaf of the fan-palm. The fable declares that the “Old
birds put a fire-fly into their nests every night to act as a lamp.” For
a further account of these interesting little creatures, see “Wanderings
of a Pilgrim,” (vol. I. 220, 221, and vol. II. 74). The marshes at the
foot of the hills are full of leeches the low-lands abound with wild
fowl, hares, and partridges of a peculiar sort, said to be found only at
Rajmahal, and one other station in India.

The hill-men are a most singular race of people; they are about five
feet high, very active, remarkable for lightness and suppleness of limb,
with the piercing and restless eye, said to be peculiar to savages. They
wear their hair drawn tight up in a knot on the very top of their head,
the ends fastened in with a wooden comb. They are good-natured,
gay-looking people. Their principal food is Indian corn, boiled and
mashed. They kill wild hogs with a poisoned arrow, taking the precaution
to cut out the flesh around the wound before they eat the animal. Their
bows and arrows are rough and wild-looking; the strips of feather on the
latter are from the wing of the vulture. They assert that they procure
the poison, into which they dip their arrows, from a remote hill-tribe,
and are ignorant of its nature: it appears to be a carefully guarded
secret. Three of these arrows are in the Museum. At the proper season
the hill-men descend into the plains to gather in the crops of uncut

A country boat filled with bales of cotton is floating down the stream;
and the crew of a Dacca _oolāk_, which is aground, are striving to shove
her into deeper water.

A native, sitting on the bank, is quietly watching the noisy scene, and
smoking his _nāriyal_, or cocoa-nut pipe, by the side of his _charpāī_,
or bed, which is on the bank. Native vessels are towed by the _dāndīs_,
or boatmen, most part of the way, except during the rains. These men
work from daylight till sunset in the most laborious way, frequently in
the water for hours, up to their middles, towing the vessel or shoving
it with their backs over sand banks: their labour does not cease until
the boats are _lugāo’d_ (moored) at night; then they cook on shore and
eat their daily meal of boiled rice and curry, or flour cakes, called
_chappatīs_. Occasionally, when a fair wind blows, they get some rest;
for then an immense square sail is hoisted, tacks, sheets, and
haul-yards are fast belayed: they all go to sleep except the steersman,
and the safety of the boat depends upon the rotten state of the cordage
and sails: frequently very strong and sudden squalls come on, and,
before a single rope is let go, every thing is blown to ribbons.


                           THE FOOLISH FAKĪR.

Beneath a group of beautiful palm-trees, a half-witted young _Fakīr_,
adorned with peacocks’ feathers, is sitting and talking to the men
around him, who regard as prophetic whatever his wandering and unsettled
mind induces him to utter, and look upon him as the favourite of
heaven—the natives treat persons thus afflicted with the greatest
kindness, and supply them with food. A leaf of the fan palm, here
represented, may be seen in the Museum. The whole group, as well as the
trees, are portraits.

On the sands below and close to the edge of the river, is an Hindū in
the last stage of illness. His friends have carried him down to the
sacred stream on a _charpāī_, (a rude native bed,) and are in the act of
making him drink the Ganges water, ere they half immerse his body in the
sacred stream. His wife, on the edge of the bed, is weeping, and her
_dopatta_ (or veil), is drawn over her face; the Brahman is offering the
prayers usual on this occasion.

The Hindūs are extremely anxious to die in sight of the Ganges, that
their sins may be washed away in their last moments. A person in his
last agonies is frequently carried on his bed, by his friends or
relatives, in the coldest or in the hottest weather, from whatever
distance, to the river-side, where he lies, if a poor man, without a
covering day and night, until he expires. With the pains of death upon
him, he is placed up to the middle in water and drenched with it; leaves
of the shrub goddess, the sacred _tulsī_ plant, are also put into his
mouth, the marks on the pebble god, the _Salagram_ are shown to him, and
his relations call upon him to repeat, and repeat for him, the names of
Rām, Hurī, Ganga, &c. In some cases the family priest repeats some
prayers, and makes an offering to Voitŭrŭnēē, the river over which, they
say, the soul is ferried, after leaving the body. The relations of the
dying man spread the sediment of the river on his forehead and breast,
and afterwards with the finger write on this sediment the name of some
deity. If a person should die in his house, and not by the river-side,
it is considered as a great misfortune, as he thereby loses the help of
the goddess in his last moments. If a person choose to die at home, his
memory becomes infamous.

If these unfortunate people recover, after having been exposed by their
relatives to die on the banks of the river, they take refuge in the
village of Chagdah on the left bank of the Matabangah, forty-six miles
from Calcutta, of which people who ought to be _corpses_, are the sole
inhabitants. They are considered to prefer a debased existence to a
righteous end, agreeing therein with the highest authorities. Pope’s
Homer makes Achilles in the Elysian fields say:—

            “Rather I’d choose laboriously to bear
            A weight of woes, and breathe the vital air,
            A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread,
            Than reign the scepter’d monarch of the dead.”

Solomon deems it better to be a live dog than a dead lion; and Job,
called by Byron “the Respectable,” says, “Why should a living man
complain?” to which Byron adds, “For no other reason that I can see,
except that a dead man cannot.” In the face of these grave authorities
the Hindostanī proverb is of a different opinion, which asserts “it is
better to die with honour, than live with infamy.”

The passage in the Psalms, “They shall be a portion for foxes,” appears
obscure; but give it the probable rendering, “they shall be a portion
for jackals;” and then the anathema becomes plain and striking to an
Hindū, in whose country the disgusting sight of jackals, devouring human
bodies, may be seen every day. The dying who are left by the side of the
Ganges, are sometimes devoured alive by these animals in the night.

_Lugāo’d_, or moored off a sand-bank, is a budjerow, her baggage, and
her cook-boat. The crews are cooking and eating their dinners on the
sand-bank, and will not recommence their voyage until daybreak, the
river being too dangerous to allow of their proceeding further during
the hours of darkness. On a clean dry bank in the centre of the Ganges,
covered with the finest and most sparkling sand, it is far more
agreeable to _lugāo_ your vessel for the night, than on the banks of the
river: it is cooler, and you are better defended against thieves;
nevertheless a look-out must be kept during the night.

“Shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the
sand,” &c., (Matt. vii. 26.) The fishermen in Bengal build their huts in
the dry season on the beds of sand, from which the river has retired.
When the rains set in, which they often do very suddenly, accompanied
with violent north-west winds, and the waters pour down in torrents from
the mountains, a fine illustration is given of our Lord’s parable: “the
rains descended, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that
house, and it fell.” In one night multitudes of these huts are
frequently swept away, and the place where they stood is, the next
morning, undiscoverable. On one of these occasions a Hindū child was
carried down the stream, seated on a part of the roof of a hut, and
rescued from destruction at Allahabad. The child could not tell whence
she had been carried away by the force of the torrent, nor could the
little creature remember the names of her parents.

In some parts of Bengal, whole villages are every now and then swept
away by the Ganges when it changes its course. This river frequently
runs over districts, from which, a few years before, it was several
miles distant. “A nation whose land the rivers have spoiled.” (Isa.
xvii. 2.)

The rocky islands of Colgong in the distance are singular and beautiful,
there are four of them, of unequal size. Rocks on rocks, covered with
fine foliage, they rise in the centre of the river which runs like a
mill-sluice, and is extremely broad. They say that no one lives upon
these rocks; that a _Fakīr_ formerly took up his abode there, but having
been eaten by a snake (an _ajgar_), one of enormous size, and an eater
of human flesh, the people became alarmed; and no holy or unholy person
has since taken up their residence on these rocky islands. Small boats
fish under the rocks, and snakes, they say, abound upon them: when a gun
is fired the echoes awaken and startle the myriads of birds that inhabit
them. The proverb says, “The hypocrites of Bhagulpur, the _Thags_ of
Kuhulgaon (Colgong), and the bankrupts of Patna are famous.”

                          SUNSET—A WILD SCENE.

The Ganges now presents an extraordinary picture, the expanse of water
is very great, interspersed with low sand-banks; the sun is going down,
and flocks of wild geese are passing to the other side the river. No
human habitations are to be seen, nothing but the expanse of the broad
river and its distant banks. After the heat of a day in India the
coolness of the evening is most refreshing: the traveller quits his
boats, and wanders on the banks of the Ganges, enjoying the wild, the
strange beauty, and the quietude of the scene around him, until his
attention is aroused by the yells of jackals, and the savage cry of
pariah dogs, contesting with vultures, who shriek and flap their heavy
wings, to scare the animals from their feast on some dead bullock.
Beasts of the forest and birds of prey

              “Hold o’er the dead their carnival:
              Gorging and growling o’er carcase and limb,
              They are too busy to look at him!”

they eye the traveller askance: they are too busy to look at him: but
when the shades of evening fall, and the friends have left the dead, it
may be the dying Hindū, on the banks of the river, trusting, that Ganga
will receive him to eternal beatitude, then, in that solitary, that
awful hour, the dying man may be awakened from his trance by the sharp
tooth of the jackal, and the fierce beak of the vulture! Such is the
power of superstition, that the Hindū might rejoice, even at this
fearful moment, to end his days by the side of the sacred river, and
escape the infamy of seeking refuge at the village of Chagdah.

           “On Ganga’s brink it is fearful to tread
           By the fest’ring side of the tombless dead,
           And see worms of the earth, and fowls of the air,
           Beasts of the forest all gathering there;
           All regarding man as their prey,
           All rejoicing in his decay.”

“Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles (or rather the
vultures) be gathered together.” (Luke xvii. 37.) The vulture is equally
ravenous after dead bodies as the jackal; and it is very remarkable how
suddenly these birds appear after the death of an animal in the open
field, though a single one may not have been seen on the spot a long
time before.

The jackal is considered an incarnation of Dūrga, when she carried the
child Krishna over the Jumna, in his flight from King Kansa. The
worshippers of the female deities adore the jackal as a form of this
goddess, and present offerings to him daily. Every worshipper lays the
offering on a clean place in his house, and calls the god to come and
partake of it. As this is done at the hour when jackals leave their
lurking places, one of these animals sometimes comes and eats the food.
In temples dedicated to Dūrga and other deities, a stone image of the
jackal is placed on a pedestal and daily worshipped. When a Hindū passes
a jackal, he must bow to it; and if it passes on the left hand, it is a
most lucky circumstance.

Crocodiles are very numerous in this part of the Ganges: they show
themselves continually, swimming low in the water, peering over the edge
of a sand-bank, or basking in the sun upon it. Near this place is a
village full of a caste of people who live on the flesh of the
crocodile; the _dāndīs_ say they understand it smells rank and is very
hard. In the evening you sometimes hear a shrill peculiar scream, which
the men declare is the cry of the crocodile. When fired at, they slink
quietly into the water. The long-nosed crocodile is not so formidable as
the snub-nosed alligator: it is said the latter will attack men, the
former avoids them if possible. Human bones and ornaments are sometimes
found in the interior of these animals. To disagree with a superior,
under whose command you may be, is, the natives assert, “To live in the
river and be at enmity with the crocodile.”

                           BENARES—RAJ GHĀT.

The appearance of Benares, from the Ganges, is very beautiful. It is
covered with buildings to the water’s edge: the architecture of some is
Hindū, of others Muhammadan; many of them are of imposing appearance and
great picturesque beauty. The magnificent flights of steps called
_Ghāts_, which descend deep into the river, are thronged at all times
with people; some fetching water, others washing, and most performing
their ablutions in the sacred stream. The view is surprisingly
picturesque, and so singular, that no city in Europe can convey an idea
of Benares.

For a detailed account of Benares or _Bunarus_, deriving its name from
two streams, the Burna and the Ussee, you may refer to a beautiful work
by the late James Prinsep, Esq., who states that the ancient
denomination of this city was _Kashi_, “The splendid,” whereof the
fabulous wonders are fully detailed in the _Kashi-Khund_, one of the
chapters of the _Skundu-Poorana_. According to this mythological
history, Kashi is a place of most profound antiquity, sanctity, and
splendour: it has survived in age a hundred lives of Brahma, each of
whose days is equal to 4,320,000,000 of years; it stands raised from the
ground, supported upon the _trisūl_ or trident of Mahadēo, and is never
shaken by earthquakes: the whole city was once of pure gold, but has
since degenerated into stone and brick.

Bunarus (Sanscrit, _Bàrànusee_) quasi _Burna-Ussee_, or from Raja Bunar,
who founded the town A.D. 1000. It contains about 600,000
souls—one-fourth Musalmans. The city stands on a high ridge of _kankar_
(nodules of lime stone), free from the floods which sometimes cover all
its suburbs. The houses are of stone, from two to six stories high, with
terraces on the summit, and open interior courts. The streets are very
narrow, from four and a half to nine feet wide, with low doors on each
side. The trade is in sugar, cotton, indigo, opium, _kimkhwab_, jewels,

No building in the town now standing can be traced to a higher antiquity
than the time of Man Singh, who was Rāja of Jypoor in the reign of
Akbar. Both the temple and the _man mundil_, or observatory, described
by Tavernier, were erected by him. The astronomical instruments were not
added until the time of Jy Singh, 1680, more than a century later.

The scene now before you on the left bank of the Ganges represents the
holy city commencing from Raj Ghāt, the place at which the steamers from
Calcutta are moored, as well as pinnaces and budjerows. The distance
from the latter place via the Bhagirathī is 696 miles, and by land or
_dāk_, 428. The civil and military station is about four miles inland.
Native merchants bring goods of all descriptions for sale to the
steamers and vessels anchored off this ghāt; jewellery, shawls,
portraits of the natives, &c. Provisions of all sorts, with wine and
beer, are procurable in the city.

The house situated above Raj Ghāt is the hotel that was so recently
destroyed, when the fleet of magazine boats containing gunpowder was
blown up, the vessels having been moored off this ghāt.

Bruhma Ghāt is ancient, and of irregular form; it derives its name from
a temple of Siva, under the title of Brumeswur, “the Lord of Brumha.”
The temple and ghāt were repaired (perhaps built) 200 years ago, by the
Marhattas, and again recently by the ex-Peshwa Baji Rāo. From the number
of Marhatta families residing in the neighbourhood, and the comparative
privacy of the spot, it is by courtesy set apart as a bathing-place for
their women. They resort hither in groups, with their children and
female servants. Their wet garments are shifted with dexterity under a
large wrapper, which is also worn over their silk dresses, in passing
through the streets. The Brahman of the ghāt is of course a privileged
person; he receives a small gratuity for taking care of the clothes, and
brass or silver water vessels; he also affixes the _tiluk_ (frontal
mark) and pronounces the _muntra_ or morning benediction upon his
spiritual daughters.

On this ghāt wood is collected in large piles for sale: “Our wood is
sold to us.” (Lamentations v. 4.) The poor Hindū, living in the country
never purchases wood for fuel. When such a person removes to a large
town, he speaks of it as a great hardship, that he is obliged to buy his
very fire-wood.

Benares is considered as the most holy city of India, and it is
certainly one of the most picturesque. “A little to eat and to live at
Bunarus” is the wish of a pious Hindū; but a residence at this place is
rather dangerous to any one inclined to violate the laws.

“Kala-Bhoirāva the Tremendous, is a naked Siva, smeared with ashes;
having three eyes, riding on a dog, holding in one hand a horn, and in
another a drum. In several places in Bengal this image is daily
worshipped. Siva, under this name, is regent of Kāshī (Bunarus). All
persons dying at Bunarus are entitled to a place in Siva’s heaven; but
if any one violate the laws of the shastrŭ during his residence there,
Kalŭ-Bhoirŭvŭ after death grinds him between two millstones.”

The dog carries Kalŭ-Bhoirŭvŭ, a form of Siva, and therefore receives
the worship of many Hindūs, whenever his master is worshipped; still he
is considered as an unclean animal: every offering which he approaches
is considered unacceptable to the gods, and every one who touches him
must purify himself by bathing.


                             THE MINARETS.

The Madhoray Ghāt and _musjid_ or mosque, are now before you—the mosque
was erected by Aurunzebe, on the site and with the materials of the
temple of Vishnū. The mosque has little architectural beauty to boast
of, but the _minars_ have been deservedly admired for their simplicity
and boldness of execution. They are only eight and a half feet in
diameter at the base, and the breadth decreases to seven and a half
feet, while they have an altitude of 147 feet 2 inches, from the
terraced floor of the _musjid_ to the _kalsā_ or pinnacle. The terrace
is elevated about eighty feet above the river at low water level.

The musjid and the minars were repaired by Mr. James Prinsep—a hazardous
undertaking as regarded the latter, for they were both found to incline
outwards fifteen inches from the perpendicular. One of them was struck
by lightning the very day the scaffolding was removed, but it escaped
with the displacement of a stone in the upper cornice. Several instances
have occurred of men throwing themselves from the top of the southern
minaret. One of them, a man who had gambled away his money and his wife
during the _Diwâlī_:—another, a sailor, who was killed on the
spot:—another, a _Fakīr_, who, falling through the tiles and mat-work of
a roof, scraping the flesh from his sides, alighted on the floor
beneath, with every bone safe. Such an escape was deemed miraculous; and
crowds attended to minister to one so favoured by heaven. The _Fakīr_
disappeared immediately on recovering from his bruises, and sundry solid
moveables of his host disappeared with him.

Men, women, and children bathe together, uniting the worship of the
Ganges or of the gods with their ablutions, washing their long hair with
mud, making clay images for _pūjā_, (worship), or pouring out libations
to their deceased ancestors, whilst the children gambol in the water, or
collect clay to assist in making the great image of Bhīm Singh the
giant, which is so frequently seen on the side of a ghāt, or that of
Hunumān the monkey god. The Hindūs pour out water to the sun, three
times a day; and to the moon at the time of worshipping her, which
illustrates a passage in Scripture, “To pour out drink-offerings to the
queen of heaven.” (Jer. xliv. 17.)

Ghoosla Ghāt unites great solidity with a graceful and appropriate
elevation: the double-arched door case in front of the gate has a very
rich effect under the strong shadows of midday, giving an artificial
magnitude to the entrance, in just proportion to the dimensions of the
front. The river rises above the top of the doorway, entering the
staircase, and affording a comfortable bath within, where there are
convenient recesses on the sides of the steps for the accommodation of

The ferry-boat is crossing the river laden with camels, buffaloes, and

                          RAJRAJESWURREE GHĀT.

On the sands in the foreground is the hut of a _Baniyā_, or grain
merchant, from whom the _dandīs_ procure _chabenī_, the parched grain of
Indian corn (maize), also flour for their _chappatīs_. A group of
pilgrims are seated on one side of the hut.

Rajrajeswurree Ghāt, which is seen in the distance, takes its name from
an ancient temple of _Devī_, under the appellation of _Rajrajeswurree_
(“queen of queens”). The title _Devī_, is usually applied to Bhawanī.
The façade of this building is a good specimen of the mixed style of
Hindū and Moresque architecture; the former is observable in the lower
half of the central compartment; while the projecting stone gallery,
with its parapet, _tukya mootukka_, and the domed octagonal _buruj_ at
the two corners, giving relief to the rectangular pavilion in the
centre, are seen to be essentially Moorish, from the character of the
pillar, and scalloped arch (_mehrab_).

The man in green is one of a very fine corps of men, called Gardner’s
Horse; they were raised by the late Colonel Win. Linnæus Gardner, a most
highly distinguished and gallant officer: they are such masters of their
horses and weapons, that it is said, single-handed, nothing can resist
them; and one of these men, well known in the up-country, was considered
to be the finest horseman in India. For an account of Colonel Gardner’s
romantic, adventurous, and distinguished life, we refer you to a work
lately published, the “Wanderings of a Pilgrim during Four and Twenty
Years in the East.”

The two men who next appear belong to Skinner’s Horse, a most efficient
irregular corps, taking its name from its gallant colonel, by whom it
was raised and stationed at Delhi. Skinner’s Horse rendered important
services in the Mahratta and Pindaree campaigns. They are well mounted
and appointed, and are an intelligent, fine body of men: with a lance of
great length, they are exceedingly expert, and excellent shots with the
matchlock, a most unwieldy fire-arm.

A native carriage, called a _bilī_, drawn by two bullocks, stands in the
rear: these decorated carriages are principally used by women in the
higher ranks of life; and within the curtains, which are closely drawn
and fastened down, a lady is completely protected from the profane gaze
of man.

In the distance you now behold the Dusaswumed Ghāt. The mythological
legends which give rise to the name of this ghāt and temple, are
connected with the story of Divadas’s usurpation of Siva’s kingly
authority in _Kashī_. Siva having sent from heaven the _yoginis_, or
heavenly nymphs, and tried various other stratagems in vain, to turn the
earthly monarch aside from virtue, next deputed Brumha himself, who
entered the place, disguised as an old Brahman, and obtaining access to
the king, received permission from him to perform ten (_dus_)
_aswumedha_, or horse sacrifices, upon the spot here represented. The
horse sacrifice, as described in the _purans_, is a very curious
ceremony. A horse having peculiar colours and qualities is selected, and
after a course of _pūja_ (worship), is turned loose upon the world,
followed by the sacrificing party, with an armed retinue: if stopped by
the sovereign of another country through which the animal may pass, war
must be declared, and the interrupter of the sacrifice subdued:—in this
way, after traversing the world, the horse returns, and is put to death
by suffocation.

                          THE SNAKE CHARMERS.

The group of natives seated on the ground are a particular cast of
Hindūs, who profess to charm serpents, to reduce them to subjection, and
to prevent their poison from proving fatal. They roam about the country,
carrying a boa constrictor in a basket, which they twine around their
necks and display to the passers by. They have also a number of the
cobra di capello, which, being placed on the ground, rear themselves up,
and, spreading out their hoods, sway themselves about in a fashion which
the men call dancing, accompanied by the noise of a little hand-drum.
The snake charmers strike the reptiles with their hands, and the snakes
bite them repeatedly on their hands as well as on their arms, bringing
blood at every bite: although the venomous fangs have been carefully
removed, the bite itself must be disagreeable; nevertheless the natives
appear not to mind it in the least. At the conclusion of the _tamāshā_
(fun), they catch the cobras and cram them all into _gharās_ (earthen
vessels), and carry the boas off in a basket. The snake charmers remind
us of the text, “They are like the deaf adder, that stoppeth her ear;
which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so
wisely.” (Psalm lviii. 4, 5.)

The two men on the left are pilgrims with holy water. In the cold season
of the year, Hindūs from all parts of Upper India, perform pilgrimages
to the sacred places on the Ganges: although the stream throughout is
considered holy, there are parts of peculiar sanctity, such as Hurdwar,
Benares, Allahabad, &c. The roads swarm with devotees; they proceed in
large groups, generally well dressed, carrying on their shoulders a
large bamboo, supporting at each end a covered basket, containing small
stumpy bottles of the thinnest green glass, having long necks: they are
filled with Ganges water at the sacred places, and sealed with the seal
of the Brahman. These people travel all over the country, selling the
sacred water at a high price at the distant stations. Some of the
bottles contain a quart; others are not above two inches high; they are
of all sizes, and the price varies accordingly. The salutation of these
people on passing is, “_Ram ram_,” or “_Bom bom Mahadēo_,”—a pilgrim of
this class is called a _Kanwar-wālā_. The men come for this water to
place it in their houses for religious and medicinal uses, and sometimes
perform a journey on the occasion of five or six months; it is also used
in the English courts of justice, in administering an oath to an Hindū.
The frames in which the baskets are carried are decorated with feathers
of the sacred peacock and small red flags; and every party appears to
have one amongst them more ornamented than the rest, with a large arched
cover, and numerous bells attached to it.

A _jumna-pār_ goat, so called because these goats are bred on the other
side the Junma, is lying on the ground—they are of enormous size, with
very broad, long, thin, and silky ears, as soft as velvet. These animals
are better adapted for marching than the small Bengalī goat; but unless
they can go into the _jangal_ and browse, they become thin and lose
their milk.

On the opposite side of the river is the Jellinghy flat and her steamer,
returning from Allahabad to Calcutta. The steamer herself is not the
vessel in which passengers live; but attached to, and towed by her, is a
vessel as large as the steamer herself, called a flat, built expressly
to convey passengers and government treasure. It is divided into cabins,
with one large cabin in the centre, in which the passengers dine
together. The deck is covered with an awning.

The view on the left of the native vessel exemplifies the structure of
the ghāts on the water’s edge. The continuity of the line of steps is
interrupted by hundreds of stone piers of various forms, which may be
classed under three distinct heads: some are merely intended to give
solidity to the masonry; others are built for the accommodation of the
_ghātiyās_ (ghāt attendants), and _gangā-putras_ (sons of the Ganges),
who enjoy hereditary possession of most of the ground between high and
low water mark, and whose ancestors have resided on the spot from time
immemorial in hereditary attendance upon pilgrims; the third sort
consists of _mut’hs_ or small temples, erected at the expense of
pilgrims and others: they generally have a flat roof, which serves the
_ghātiyā_ as a _chabūtāra_ or terrace to sit and converse upon. The
large _chatrs_, or umbrellas, so numerous on the ghāts, are fixtures, to
protect the people from the intense heat of the sun in India.

On the river’s edge are seen one or two _murhīs_—chambers into which the
sick are removed when at the point of death, that their sins, to the
last moment of existence, may be washed away by the holy stream.

In the midst of hundreds and hundreds of temples and ghāts, piled one
above another on the high cliff, or rising out of the Ganges, the mind
is perfectly bewildered: it turns from beauty to beauty, anxious to
preserve the memory of each; and the sketcher throws down the pencil in
despair. Each ghāt presents a study: the intricate architecture, the
elaborate workmanship, the elegance and lightness of form, and the
picturesque groups of natives that crowd to their devotions, form as
fine a subject for a picture as an artist could select.

How soon Benares, or rather the glory of Benares—its picturesque
beauty—will be no more! Since the year 1836 many ghāts and temples have
sunk, undermined by the rapid stream which now sets full upon the most
beautiful cluster of the temples on its banks: some have been engulphed,
some are falling; and ere long, if the Ganges encroach at an equal rate,
but little will remain of the glory of the most holy of the Hindū

In the rains, some of the temples are submerged to the cornice; many
Hindūs, notwithstanding, are bold enough to swim through an impetuous
current, and to dive under the porch and doorway, for the honour of
continuing their customary worship despite of perils and personal

                              JULSYN GHĀT.

Julsyn _Ghāt_ and Raj Bulubh Shīwala are now before you. On the terrace
of the latter is a brahmanī bull: these animals walk about the buildings
with seeming indifference, ascending the steps, mixing with the crowd,
and constantly attending for their food. They are seldom disturbed; but
when molested they are vicious, and will use their horns. The rice and
flowers offered to the idols are swept up, and for the greater part
eaten by the brahmanī bulls. The proverb says:—“At Benares you should be
on guard against the women, the sacred bulls, the steps, and the

The principal Hindū temples in Benares are crowded with people of both
sexes and of all ages, who daily assemble to pay their devotions to the
deity of the place, from the hour of eight in the morning until nearly
four in the afternoon. The form of worship is very simple: the votary
enters the temple and prostrates himself, praying aloud; he then rises
and strikes a bell suspended over a form of _Mahadēo_, thrice repeating
the word _bom_, or hail, at each stroke; then putting a few grains of
boiled rice, and a small quantity of milk or oil, or Ganges water, on
the Mahadēo, he strews a few flowers over it, and, repeating the same,
sometimes adorns the head of the idol with a chaplet of flowers. This
ceremony being over, the votary lays down a few cowries, and retires to
make room for others. The women generally enter with their garments
quite wet, after having performed their ablutions in the Ganges. The
quantity of milk, oil, water, and flowers, thrown about the place,
renders it dirty and wet until the evening, when, the crowd retiring,
the Brahmans clean the temple for the next day.

The music and bells of a hundred temples strike the ear amidst the buzz
of human voices; at the same time the eye rests on the vivid colours of
different groups of male and female bathers, with their sparkling brass
vessels, or follows the holy bulls as they wander in the crowds munching
the chaplets of flowers liberally presented to them. Then, as night
steals on, the scene changes, and the twinkling of lamps along the
water’s edge, and the funeral fires and white curling smoke, and the
stone buildings lit up by the moon, present features of variety and
blended images of animation, which it is out of the artist’s power to

The large building that now appears is on Oomraogir’s _pushta_ or
_ghāt_. On the exterior of the building is a _mut’h_, an Hindu temple,
dedicated to Ganesh, the god of wisdom, and the patron of literature. In
_pūja_ this idol is invoked ere any other god is worshipped. Ere a pious
Hindū commence any sort of writing he makes the sign of Ganesh at the
top of the page. With the simplicity of the child he unites the wisdom
of the elephant: his writing is beautiful, “Behold! he writes like
Ganesh!” Who can say more? He is called two mothered, uniting the
elephant’s head to his natural body, therefore having a second mother in
the elephant. The worshippers pour oil and the holy Ganges water over
the head of this god, who is thus bathed daily; and offerings of boiled
rice and flowers are made at the time of prayer. Around the idol are
placed the vessels used in _pūja_, brass bells, the conch shell, the
holy spoons, flowers, &c. In the Museum is a solid white marble image of
Ganesh, which weighs 3¼ cwt. For a further account of this idol, see the
frontispiece, and the Introduction to the “Wanderings of a Pilgrim
during Four and Twenty Years in the East.”

The Fākir seated on the ghāt is one in the highest stage of exaltation,
in which clothing is almost dispensed with, and his only _garment_ is a
_chatr_, an umbrella made of basket work: his long hair and his beard,
matted with cow-dung and ashes, hang in stiff straight locks to his
waist, his body is smeared with ashes; he always remains on the same
spot, and when suffering from illness, a bit of tattered blanket is
thrown over him. Passers by throw cowries and grains of boiled rice at
his feet, he remains speechless, disregards all visible objects, asks
for nothing, but subsists on alms. He will not answer any question
addressed to him, which elucidates the proverb: “Talking to a man in
ecstasy (of a religious nature) is like beating curds with a pestle.”
Persons in this state affirm that their minds do not wander after
worldly things, that they live in a state of pleasure, abstraction, and
joy, and that they have attained to that state of perfection required by
the _shastrs_. His red flag is displayed from a bamboo, below which is a
small lantern made of coloured _ubruk_ or talc; sometimes the lamp is
formed of clay, pierced through with fret-work in remarkably pretty
patterns. The Hindūs suspend lamps in the air on bamboos in honour of
the gods during a particular month, and in obedience to the _shastrs_.
The offering of lamps to particular gods is an act of merit, so this
offering to all the gods, during the auspicious month, is supposed to
secure many benefits to the giver. Lamps suspended from bamboos are also
indicative of the ceremony in honour of Ananta, the great serpent.

On another bamboo is displayed the _trisūl_ or trident of Mahadēo, and a
small double-headed hand-drum, shaped like an hour-glass, called
_damaru_, used by _Fakīrs_; and in front by the side of the Devotee, is
an altar, or pillar, hollowed at the top, containing the sacred _tulsī_
plant (ocimum sanctum) purple stalked basil. This plant is worshipped in
honour of a religious female who requested Vishnu to allow her to become
his wife. Lukshmī, the goddess of beauty, and wife of Vishnu, cursed the
woman on account of the pious request she had preferred to her lord, and
changed her into a _tulsī_ plant. Vishnu, in consideration of the
religious austerities long practised by the enamoured devotee, made her
a promise that he would assume the form of the _shalgram_, and always
continue with her. If one of these sacred plants die, it is committed in
due form to _Ganga-jee_: and when a person is brought to die by the side
of the sacred river, a branch of the _tulsī_, the shrub-goddess, is
planted near the dying man’s head, and the marks upon the _shalgram_ are
shown to him. This pebble god is a small heavy black circular stone,
rather flattened on one side, with the _cornu ammonis_ strongly marked
upon it. Devotees walk round the sacred plant, pour water upon it, and
make _salām_. Of an evening a little _chirāgh_, a small lamp, is burned
before it. In the courts of justice the Hindū swears by the Ganges water
on which is placed a branch of the _tulsī_.

                           MANIKURNĪKA GHĀT.

A brahmanī bull is going up to the idol Ganesh, expecting a share of the
flowers that are offered to the image. In the distance a band of
pilgrims are coming down to fill their baskets with holy water; and in
the foreground is a picturesque figure, also a carrier of holy water,
which is put into small sealed bottles placed in baskets suspended from
a bamboo poised on his shoulder, over which is a covering of red cloth.

A tank of peculiar sanctity is now before you, on the steps of which men
are ascending and descending: it is called the _Chakra kunda_, and its
history is as follows:—“After one of the periodical destructions and
renovations of the world, Siva and his bride were alone in the
_ananda-vana_, or happy forest, occupying the present site of
Munikarniká, they found, as man and wife may sometimes do, that their
tête á tête was growing dull, and to vary the party, Siva created
Vishnu. After a while, the married pair wished again for privacy and
withdrew into the forest, desiring Vishnu to amuse himself by doing what
was fit and proper; which, after some consideration, he judged to be a
supply of water for the irrigation of the trees, and with his _chakra_,
or discus, he dug a hole, which he filled with the ambrosial
perspiration from his body, induced by his hard work; and the pool so
dug and filled, has remained a spot of peculiar sanctity, termed, from
the _chakra_, or discus, _chakra kunda_, or _chakra puskkarnī_,
discus-pond. When Siva returned and saw what Vishnu had done, he nodded
his head in approbation so energetically, that the jewel (_mani_) of one
of his ear-rings (_karniká_) fell off, and the place was thenceforth
called _Manikarnika_.” (See _Kasi Khand_, Part I. chap. 26).

A Brahman sitting beneath a porch is reading aloud, with his book on his
knees, and bending his body backwards and forwards as he reads.

Beneath the shade of a fine _pīpal_ tree (ficus religiosa) is a
four-headed and holy piece of sculpture, with the bull (_nandī_)
reposing before it; also another singularly sculptured stone
representing two heads, their bodies formed of snakes entwined. The
_pīpal_ is universally sacred: the Hindūs are seen in the early morning
putting flowers in _pūja_ at the foot of the tree, and pouring water on
its roots. They worship the idols placed beneath it in a similar manner,
and they believe that a god resides in every leaf, who delights in the
music of their rustling, and their tremulous motion.

Near this place is the spot on which the dead are burned; it is
dedicated to Vishnu, as _Jalsāī_, or “sleeper on the waters;” and there,
many a Hindu widow has devoted herself to the flames with the corpse of
her husband. In the Museum is a brazen image of _Jalsāī_ floating on
Anantā, the great serpent.

                           THE HINDŪ SCHOOL.

In the Bengalī schools a boy learns his letters by writing them, never
by pronouncing the alphabet, as in Europe; he first writes them on the
ground with a stick, or his fingers; next with an iron style, or a reed,
on a palm-leaf; and next on a green plantain-leaf. The Bengalī
schoolmasters punish with a cane, or a rod made of the branch of a tree;
sometimes a truant is compelled to stand on one leg, holding up a brick
in each hand, or to have his arms stretched out, until he is completely
tired. Almost all the villages contain common schools. The allowance to
the schoolmasters is very small: for the first year’s education, about a
penny a month, and a day’s provisions; when a boy writes on the
palm-leaf, twopence a month; after this, as the boy advances in
learning, as much as fourpence or eightpence a month is given. There are
no schools for girls among the Hindūs. “Jesus stooped down, and with his
finger wrote upon the ground.” (John viii. 6). Schools for children are
frequently held under trees in Bengal, and the children who are
beginning to learn, write the letters of the alphabet in the dust. This
saves pens, ink, and paper. “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of
iron.” (Jeremiah xvii. 1). The letters are formed by making incisions on
the palm-leaf: these books are very durable.

The scene now represents the _gyan-bapī_, or the well of knowledge,
which is regarded as peculiarly sacred by the Hindūs, and it is related
that it was dug by Isana with his _trisūl_, or trident, when he was
wandering about Kashī. One of the officiating Brahmans is seen receiving
the offerings of rice, &c. from a party of pilgrims, just about to
commence the circuit of the temples. If a rich Hindū present any thing
to an inferior, the latter, as a mark of respect, puts it on his head.
An offering of cloth, for instance, received at a temple, the receiver
not only places on his head, but binds it there. The rice and flowers
were formerly thrown into the well; but they rendered the water so
putrid, that a defence of planks has been since put up to prevent it.
The man near the _gyan-bapī_ carrying a staff, is a _dŭndī fakīr_. This
name is given because these devotees receive a staff (_dŭndŭ_) when they
first enter this order. The Brahmans, on meeting one, prostrate
themselves before him. The _dŭndī_ shaves his head and beard every four
months. He travels with a staff in one hand, and an alms-dish in the
other; he does not beg or cook his food, but is a guest at the houses of
the Brahmans. The ceremonies to which this order attend, are, repeating
the names of Vishnŭ, bathing once a day, and, with closed eyes,
meditating on the attributes of the god by the side of the river. When
about to bathe, they besmear themselves all over with the mud of the
Ganges. The _dŭndīs_ do not burn, but bury their dead, repeating certain
forms of prayer.

                          THE BALANCING GOAT.

In front of a beautiful Muhammadan Mosque a group is assembled around an
Hindostanī juggler, with his goat, two monkeys, and several bits of
wood, made in the shape of an hour-glass. The first piece he places on
the ground, the goat ascends it, and balances herself on the top: the
man by degrees places another bit of wood on the edge of the former; the
goat ascends and retains her balance: a third piece, in like manner, is
placed on the top of the former two pieces; the goat ascends from the
two former, a monkey is placed on her back, and she still preserves her
balance. The man keeps time with a sort of musical instrument, which he
holds in his right hand, and sings a wild song to aid the goat: without
the song and the measured time, they say the goat could not perform the
balance. A grass-cutter is looking on: he has just returned from cutting
a bundle of _dūb_-grass: every horse in India has his _sāīs_, or groom,
and his grass-cutter. When a beautiful _begam_ (a native princess) is
suffering from the pangs of jealousy, she often exclaims, “I wish I were
married to a grass-cutter!” because a man of that class is too poor to
be able to keep two wives.

The man on the right is a religious mendicant, a disciple of Siva. When
this portrait was taken, his long black hair, matted with cow-dung, was
twisted like a turban round his head: he was dreadfully lean, almost a
skeleton. His left arm had been held erect so long, that the flesh had
withered, and the skin clung round the bones most frightfully; the nails
of the hand, which had been kept immoveably clenched, had pierced
through the palm, and grew out at the back of the hand, like the long
claws of a bird of prey. His skeleton arm was encircled by a twisted
stick, the stem perhaps of a thick creeper, the end of which was cut
into the shape of the head of the cobra di capello, with its hood
displayed; and the twisted withy looked like the body of the reptile
wreathed around his horrible arm. His only garment was the skin of a
tiger, thrown over his shoulders, and a bit of rag and rope. He was of a
dirty ashen colour from mud and paint; perhaps in imitation of Siva,
who, when he appeared on earth as a naked mendicant of an ashy colour,
was recognized as Mahadēo, the great god. This man was considered a very
holy person. His right hand contained an empty gourd and a small rosary,
and two long rosaries were around his neck of the rough beads called
_mundrāsī_. Acts of severity towards the body, practised by religious
mendicants, are not done as penances for sin, but as works of
extraordinary merit, promising large rewards in a future state. The
_Byragī_ is not a penitent, but a proud ascetic.

A very small and beautifully-formed _ginī_ (a dwarf cow) was with him.
She was decorated with crimson cloth, embroidered with cowrie shells,
and a plume of peacocks’ feathers as a _jika_, rose from the top of her
head. A brass bell was on her neck, and around her legs were anklets of
the same metal. Many _Fakīrs_ lead these little dwarf cows about the
country, they are fat and sleek, and considered so holy that they will
not sell them.

A barber sitting on a ghāt, is shaving an Hindū, he makes use of water,
but not of soap, while he shaves all round the head, leaving a tuft of
hair in the middle of the back of the head, which is commonly tied in a
knot. Shaving is usually done under a small shed or a tree, very often
in the street or road.

We have now given as many views of Benares as it is possible to
introduce within the limits of our Diorama, and we take leave of the
holy city with regret. The _Vedas_ and _Shastrs_ all testify that
“Viswaswara is the first of _Devas_, _Kashī_ (Benares) the first of
cities, _Gangā_ the first of rivers, and charity the first of virtues.”
Vishveshvur, “Lord of the Universe,” is one of the most exalted titles
of Siva.

                        THE FORTRESS OF CHUNAR.

The scene now represents Chunar, a fortress of considerable natural
strength, situated on an insulated rock, about 150 feet high, forming
the extremity of a low range of hills, on the right bank of the Ganges,
about eighteen miles from Benares. In December, 1765, the Company’s
troops, commanded by Major Pemble, stormed the place, and were repulsed
with severe loss. The defences were irregular, following the outline of
the eminence on which they were erected: several heavy batteries were
mounted on the ramparts; but the native garrison trusted more to the
inaccessible nature of the approach, and to the facilities it possessed
for rolling down stones upon any assailants,—of which missiles, a large
supply was always held in readiness on the ramparts. The fortress was
again invested, and on the 8th of February, 1765, the _Killadar_ of the
Fort surrendered the keys to Major Stibbert. It is an invalid station,
although not reckoned a healthy spot, owing to the great heat arising
from the stone: it completely commands the river, and is used as a place
of confinement for state-prisoners. Snakes are numerous, and boys bring
the cobra di capello for sale to boats. In the Magazine is a large black
slab, on which the deity of the Fort is said to be ever present, with
the exception of from daybreak until the hour of nine A.M., during which
time he is at Benares. Tradition asserts, that the Fort would never have
been taken by the English, but for the absence of their god Burtreenath.

A little above the Fort is a temple: tradition states it to contain a
chest, which cannot be opened, unless the party opening it lose his
hand—four thieves having so suffered once in an attempt upon it. It is
also recorded, that the deified giant Bhīm Singh, built the fortress of
Chunar in one day, and rendered it impregnable.

A native has just succeeded in crossing the river on a bundle of reeds;
his clothes placed on the top of his head are safe from wet, and with
one hand he paddles along. On the outskirts of the village is seen a
remarkably ancient Banyan-tree, the Ficus Indica.

In front of the tomb of a _Pīr_ (a Muhammadan saint), three followers of
the prophet are at their devotions. A _Shāmiyāna_, or awning, screens
the tomb from the sun and rain: the standards of Hussan and Hussein are
displayed, and daily coloured lanterns are suspended from the top of
high bamboos.

                           THE PERSIAN WHEEL.

A woman is sticking cakes of cow-dung on the wall to dry for fuel. This
article, called _oplā_, is generally used by the poorer classes; 1280
cakes are sold for a rupee: when well prepared and dried it blazes like
wood. On the right is a fine Persian wheel: the water is brought up in
_gharas_, red earthen vessels fastened round its circumference; it is
worked by two bullocks, and gives an abundant supply. A wheel of this
sort is perhaps superior to any other method of drawing water.


Mirzapūr is a military cantonment, famous for its beautiful ghāts, and
noted for its carpet manufactory and cotton mart. Some remarkably
picturesque Hindū temples are on the _ghāts_, with fine trees in the
back ground. The cliff is abrupt, and the river is always crowded with
vessels full of merchandise: steamers having plenty of cargo to land are
generally detained here four or five hours. Mirzapūr is from Calcutta,
_via_ Bhagirathī, 748 miles, and by dāk route, 455.

The scene before you is very singular; it represents the finale of the
_Kalī-pūjā_ festival: the goddess is seen on a platform in the boat in
the foreground, covered by an awning, and adorned with flags: on the
steps of the _ghāt_, a similar image is being put into a boat, and from
every part of the city the worshippers are bringing forth the idols. One
of the boats is towed by a _dinghī_, in which they are firing a _feu de
joie_ from a matchlock.

In the house of the Bengalī _babū_ you beheld a _nāch_, and the worship
of the goddess Dūrga, a yellow woman, with ten arms. You have now before
you another form of the same Hindū deity, under the name of Kalī, the
black, the terrific. When this goddess is worshipped in the month of
May, it is called the _Phuluharī_ festival, on account of the quantity
of fruits and flowers offered to the idol at this particular season:
animals are sacrificed in her honour, and jack fruit and mangoes are
presented to her in that particular month.

The day after the worship, the people carry the goddess in state to the
river, and place the image on a platform, between two boats; the
worshippers, attended by the discordant music of tom-toms (native drums)
and horns, row the image out into the stream, and sink her in the deep
waters: the women weep and utter lamentations on parting with the idol.

This goddess is represented as a black woman, with four arms: in one
hand she carries a scimitar, one is bestowing a blessing, another
forbids fear, and the fourth holds the head of the giant whom she slew.

She wears a necklace of skulls, her tongue hangs out of her mouth, her
jet-black hair falls to her heels. Having drunk the blood of the giants
she slew, her eyebrows are bloody, and the blood is falling in a stream
down her breast: her eyes are red, like those of a drunkard: she stands
trampling on her husband Siva. Kālī had a contest with the giant Ravŭna,
which lasted ten years: having conquered him, she became mad with joy,
and her dancing shook the earth to its centre. To restore the peace of
the world, Siva, her husband, threw himself amongst the dead bodies at
her feet. She continued her dancing, and trampled upon him. When she
discovered her husband, she stood still, horror-struck and ashamed, and
threw out her tongue to an uncommon length; by this means Siva stopped
her frantic dancing, and saved the universe. “The Philistine cursed
David by his gods.” A Hindū sometimes in a fit of anger, says to his
enemy, “The goddess Kalī shall devour thee; may Dūrga destroy thee!”

                            THE TIMBER RAFT.

The picturesque _ghāt_ of Sirsya is in the distance, in front of which
is an enormous boat, called a _Kutcher_, or _Kutchuā_; the bows and the
stern are both square. A vessel of this description has frequently two
rudders, like the one before you. It is laden with bales of cotton,
which extend, supported on bamboos, far beyond each side of the boat.
The next vessel is a large _patailī_, called a _ghor-daul_, or
_ghora-wal_, because the bows are ornamented with a horse’s head. She is
laden with salt.

In the foreground is a timber raft, one of the most picturesque objects
to be seen on the Ganges. The men who accompany the raft have a
strangely wild appearance; fresh from the _jangal_, they come down with
the floating timber for scarcely any payment, just enough to feed them.
They are small in stature, their skins are very dark, they shave the
head completely, and their bodies are all but naked. They direct the
course of the raft with long bamboos; a small thatch is erected upon
her, under which they creep, and there they sleep. A picture in itself
is the wild, strange-looking timber raft, which is generally decorated
with two or three small red flags, and is always accompanied by a very
small, narrow canoe, hollowed out of the trunk of a tree.


The fortress of Allahabad was built by Akbar Shah in 1581. On the 11th
February, 1765, the governor of the fort, Alī Beg Khan, surrendered it
to the Company’s troops, under the command of Major Fletcher, and
marched out with his garrison, under safe conduct. Thus in one week
Chunar and Allahabad, the two most important fortresses in
Shuja-oo-Dowlah’s possession, fell without loss into the hands of the

The fortress is erected upon a point of land, stretching out into the
waters at the junction of the sacred rivers. One of the holiest places
on the Ganges is pointed out by numerous flags at the spot where it
joins the Jumna, just below the fort. The Saraswati is supposed to unite
with them _underground_, whence the junction is called _Trivenī_, or
_Tribenī_. This spot is so holy, that a person dying there is certain of
immediate _moskh_, or beatitude, without risk of further transmigration.
The blue waters of the Jumna contrast strongly at the junction with the
muddy hue of the waters of the Ganges. On the sands below the fort, the
_Bura Mela_, or great fair, is held annually; it lasts about two months,
and attracts devotees and merchants from all parts of India. At that
period, also, _lākhs_ and _lākhs_ of natives come to Prag; they make
_pūja_, shave, give money to the _Fakīrs_, and bathe at the sacred
junction. Suicide committed at the _Benī_ is meritorious in persons of a
certain caste, but a _sin_ for a Brahman! The ancient city of Prag,
acquired the name of Allahabad from the Musalmān conquerors of India.

The buildings occupied by Shah Allum when he resided in the fort, still
retain traces of their former grandeur, and some of the apartments
command a fine view of the Jumna that flows beneath. An enormous pillar,
formerly prostrate near the gateway in the fort, has been set up on a
pedestal, under the superintendence of the late Colonel Edward Smith.
The natives call it _Bhīm Singh ké lāt_, that is, Bhīm Singh’s
walking-stick: some of the inscriptions on the _lāt_ are in unknown
characters—those of the mighty dead, who have disappeared from the
earth, leaving records imperishable, but incomprehensible.

The steam vessels and tugs which navigate the Ganges from Calcutta
terminate their voyage at Allahabad.


                               THE SATĪ.

The scene now before you represents a _Satī_, the burning of a Hindū
widow with the corpse of her husband. The event here represented took
place on the 7th November, 1828, near Raj ghāt, under the Mahratta
_bund_ (an embankment raised to prevent the encroachment of the Ganges).
The woman was the wife of a rich _buniyā_ (a corn-chandler), and she
determined to burn on his funeral-pile. The magistrate sent for her,
used every argument to dissuade her, and offered her money. Her only
answer was, dashing her head against the floor, and saying, “If you will
not let me burn with my husband, I will hang myself in your court of
justice.” If a widow touch either food or water from the time her
husband expires until she ascend the pile, she cannot, by Hindū law, be
burned with the body; therefore the magistrate kept the corpse
_forty-eight_ hours, in the hope that hunger would compel the woman to
eat. Guards were set over her; but she never touched any thing. A
procession of people accompanied the widow from her dwelling to the
river-side; she walked in the midst, dressed in a red garment, and the
corpse, placed on a charpaī, fixed on long bamboos, was carried on men’s
shoulders. About 5000 people were collected together on the banks of the
Ganges: the pile was built, and the putrid body placed upon it.

After having bathed in the river, the widow lighted a brand, walked
round the pile, set it on fire, and then mounted cheerfully: the flame
caught and blazed up instantly; she sat down, placing the head of the
corpse on her lap, and repeated several times the usual form, “_Ram,
Ram, sātī; Ram, Ram, sātī_;” _i.e._ “God, God, I am chaste.” As the wind
drove the fierce fire upon her, she shook her arms and limbs as if in
agony; at length she started up, and approached the side to escape. An
Hindū—one of the police who had been placed near the pile to see that
she had fair play, and should not be burned by force—raised his sword to
strike her, and the poor wretch shrank back into the flames. The
magistrate seized and committed him to prison. The woman again
approached the side of the blazing pile, sprang fairly out, and ran into
the Ganges, which was within a few yards. When the crowd and the
brothers of the dead man saw this, they called out, “Cut her down! knock
her on the head with a bamboo! tie her hands and feet, and throw her in
again!” They rushed down to execute their murderous intentions, when
some English gentlemen and the police drove them back. The woman drank
some water, and having extinguished the fire on her red garment, said
she would mount the pile again and be burned. The magistrate placed his
hand upon her shoulder (which rendered her impure), and said, “By your
own law, having once quitted the pile, you cannot ascend again; I forbid
it.” He sent her in a palanquin, under a guard, to the hospital. The
crowd made way, shrinking from her with signs of horror, but returned
peacefully to their homes; the Hindūs annoyed at her escape, the
Musalmāns, saying, “It was better that she should escape, but it was a
pity we should have lost the _tamāshā_ (amusement) of seeing her burnt
to death.” The woman said, “I have transmigrated six times, and have
been burned six times with six different husbands; if I do not burn the
seventh time, it will prove unlucky for me!” “What good will burning do
you?” asked a bystander: she replied, “The women of my husband’s family
have all been _satīs_: why should I bring disgrace upon them? I shall go
to heaven, and afterwards re-appear on earth, and be married to a very
rich man.”

The woman was about 25 years of age, and possessed some property: had
she performed _satī_, her relatives would have raised a little cenotaph,
or a mound of earth, by the side of the river; and every Hindū who
passed the place returning from bathing, would have made _salām_ to it—a
high honour to the family. The _shastrs_ say, “There is no greater
virtue than a chaste woman burning herself with her husband.” Mothers
collect the cowries, strewn by a satī as she walks round the pile, ere
she fires it, and hang them round the necks of their sick children, as a
cure for disease.

The woman became an outcast: her own and her husband’s family would lose
caste, if they were to speak to her; no Hindū will eat with her, enter
her house, or give her assistance; and when she appears, they will point
at her, and give her abuse. Many years after this event took place, the
woman regained caste by giving large feasts and donations to the

In the Museum are five _kalsas_, or crowns of unglazed pottery, some of
which formerly decorated the _satī_ mounds in Alopee Bagh, near
Allahabad, and the rest were brought from Ghazipūr. There are also two
black stones, apparently very ancient, on which figures are carved,
brought from the _satī_ mound of the widow of a Brahman, at Barrah.

About two years after this event at Allahabad, the practice of _satī_
was abolished, by order of government.

The fine building here represented is a _dhrum-sala_, or place to
distribute alms, at Benī Māhadēo Ghāt; it is dedicated to a form of
Māhadēo, which stands in the _shiwālā_, or little temple above. Under
the arches in the lower part, by the side of the Ganges, is an enormous
figure of Ganesh; the worshippers pour oil and Ganges water over the
image, with rice and flowers, and hang chaplets of flowers around its
neck: the idol is generally dripping with oil. The red flag, at the end
of a long bamboo displayed from the _pīpul_ tree, denotes the residence
of a _Fakīr_. The temple is very picturesque, and the foliage adds to
the beauty of the scene.

                       SULTAN KHUSRŪ’S MAUSOLEUM.

The _sarā’e_, or caravansary, at Allahabad, built by Sultan Khusrū, is a
noble one, and the gateway through which you pass to the _bāghīcha_, or
garden bearing his name, is very fine. The garden is a large space of
ground, enclosed by a high wall, containing three tombs and a
_baithakhāna_, or pavilion. These palace-like tombs, amongst which is
that of Sultan Khusrū’s, are splendid mausoleums. Tho first and largest
monument is that of the Sultan, in which he is buried; it is a handsome
building, and within it is deposited a beautifully-illuminated kurān.
Sultan Khusrū married a daughter of the Wuzeer Azim Khan; he was the son
of Jehāngīr, and his mother was the daughter of the Rajpūt Prince
Bagwandas, of Amber. The other monuments are those of Noorjahān and the
Jodh Bā’ī; the fourth building is a pavilion, in which visitors are
allowed to live for a short time, during a visit to the garden. Around
the tombs are some of the finest and most beautiful tamarind-trees.
These trees, called by the natives _imlī_, are generally found around or
sheltering the tombs of revered or sacred characters. The natives are
impressed with a notion that it is dangerous to sleep under the
tamarind-tree, especially during the night.

Just beyond the gates of the _sarā’e_, is a _bāolī_, a magnificent well,
with underground apartments; it is a most remarkable and curious place,
and the well is a noble one.

A company of pilgrims, carriers of holy water, are _en route_ to the
junction, to fill their bottles at the _benī_, or bathing-place. They
are passing some of the tombs of the faithful.

In the foreground are some aloes. In India the hedges are full of this
plant, and it flowers annually.

                           THE GRAM GRINDER.

In front of a native village a woman is spinning, and on the right is
another Hindū woman, a gram grinder. Gram (_chāna_, _cicer arietinum_,
chick pea) is used for the food of horses in India. It is ground in a
_chakkī_, or mill, which is formed of two flat circular stones, the
lower of which is generally fixed in the earth, and from its centre a
peg passes through a hole in the upper stone, and forms a pivot on which
the upper stone works. The gram is put in through this hole in the upper
stone, and the flour works out at the edges between the two stones. When
there is much work to be done, two women will sit on the ground and
grind the same mill, which is placed between their legs. This is the
sort of mill spoken of in Scripture: “Two women were grinding at the
mill, the one shall be taken and the other left.” Matt. xxiv. 41.

Two children are playing with some meal in a basket; one of them is
adorned with a number of charms, fastened on a string. The _ta’wīz_, or
charm, is an armlet, to ward off evil spirits, and all misfortune. The
native beds, resting against the wall on the right, serve as beds by
night, and as resting-places by day.



Hurdwar, on the right bank of the Ganges, a place of great sanctity, is
celebrated as the resort of Hindū pilgrims, in amazing numbers. Hurdwar,
or _Hurīdwar_, (the gate of Hurī, or Vishnū,) is also called
_Gangū-dwāra_—as at this place the Ganges, having traversed 150 miles
from its secluded mountain birth-place, and having forced a passage
through the last barrier or gate (_dwāra_), emerges in a broad clear
stream upon the plains. Hurdwar contains many fine buildings parallel
with the course of the river, some of which have their foundations in
the sacred waters. They are generally of brick, but many are of very
fine white freestone. The bed of the river is intersected with low woody
islands, and is a full mile broad in the rainy season.

A fair takes place annually at Hurdwar, in the month of April, lasting
nearly a fortnight; that being the period chosen by pilgrims, who flock
from all parts of India to perform their ablutions in the Ganges: it is
held in the bed of the river, which at that period is nearly dry. Two or
three hundred thousand people are attracted to this fair, and every
twelfth year, it is supposed a million of people assemble at this place.
The scene is interesting in the highest degree. Merchants from Calcutta
meet with others from Osbeck Tartary, and Cabul; and thousands of Seiks
attend the fair. Horse merchants from Bokhara and Cabul occupy the
central parts of the dry bed of the river; those from Tūrkistān encamp
at the back of the town. Elephant dealers traverse the roads of the fair
with their animals, morning and evening; and the place is crowded with
camels, mules, and shawl and jewel merchants; in fact, merchandise of
every description is collected at the fair from every part of the
Eastern world, and it is difficult to convey even a faint idea of the
swarms of living creatures, men and beasts of every description, which
occupy every foot of ground during the fair.

The Hindūs receive from the Brahmans a certificate of having performed
the pilgrimage; and carriers of holy water attend in great numbers to
bring away the sacred stream in bottles, carefully sealed and stamped.

                           THE BATHING GHĀT.

The principal bathing ghāt has been lately rebuilt in a most splendid
manner by the Government of Bengal, under the superintendence of an
officer of engineers; it is now both elegant and commodious, and will
prevent the destruction of so many human beings, which so often occurred
by the sudden rush of the devotees through the old and narrow ghāt to
reach the water at the propitious moment, which was often at midnight.
The auspicious moment is calculated by the Brahmans, who aver that a
great increase in the efficacy of the rite is derivable from its
performance, when Jupiter is in Aquarius, which happens every twelfth
year, or when the sun enters Aries.

A wandering mendicant in the foreground is playing on an _ektara_, a
one-stringed instrument, formed of a gourd, surmounted by peacocks’
feathers—the Paganini of the East!


The scene before you represents the encampment of the Commander-in-chief
at Barh, at the foot of the hills, distant about thirty miles from
Simla. Here the baggage elephants, and camels, deposit their loads, a
part of which are carried up the mountains by the hill men; the
remainder, with the carriages, palanquins, and tents, are either sent
back to the plains, or placed in _godowns_ belonging to a Simla firm at
Barh. The ladies of the party are sitting in _jampāns_, ready to ascend
“The Hills,” as these mountains are called, from being at the foot of
the Himalaya. The _jampān_ is a sort of arm-chair, with a top and
curtains to it, to afford shelter from the sun or rain; long poles are
affixed to it, and it is carried by four _Paharīs_, singular-looking
little black, hill fellows, harnessed between the poles after their
fashion. A group of them are sitting near the _jampāns_. They are little
fellows, with flat ugly faces, like the Tartar race, dressed in black
woollen coarse trowsers, a blanket of the same over their shoulders, and
a rope round their waists; a black greasy round leather cap on their
heads, sometimes decorated all round the face with bunches of freshly
gathered hill flowers. They are very honest, and very idle; moreover,
most exceedingly dirty. The women are good-looking and strong. Polyandry
is a common institution. Gentlemen ascend the hills either in a _jampān_
or on a _gūnth_, a hill-poncy, a most sure-footed, sagacious animal, who
will carry you safely round the most dangerous places, where you have a
wall of rock on the one side, and a precipice on the other. A
_jumna-par_ goat, with its long silky ears, is lying on the ground near
a shawl goat from Cashmere. Some men of a corps of irregular horse are
in attendance on the Commander-in-Chief, and the _tom-tom wālā_, with
his drum, is seated on his blanket, on which the people throw cowries,
and sometimes _paisā_, small copper coins: a _tom-tom wālā_ is a
constant attendant on every camp.


                        SIMLA—THE CONICAL HILL.

The view now before you represents the conical hill at Simla; it was
taken by Lieutenant-Colonel Luard from his house, called The Craigs.
Simla is about 7000 feet above the level of the sea; it is not many
miles from Rampore, the chief town in the valley of the Sutledge, and is
one of the favourite places of resort of Europeans during the hot

As the chosen retreat of Governors-General and Commanders-in-Chief, from
the burning plains of India, the place has enjoyed for some years past
many considerable advantages. A great number of residences have been
built on the hills; the roads are good; there is a church, a school, an
observatory, an amateur theatre, &c. You have a glimpse of the snowy
ranges in the distance. The conical hill is crowned by Stirling Castle;
and the house below it was then inhabited by Colonel Birch, the Judge
Advocate General. The flag-staff points out the residence of his
Excellency the Commander-in-Chief, and the houses below, on the left,
are those occupied by the Aid-de-camps. Two hill men are in the
foreground, with the baskets in which they carry provisions on their


The view is a continuation of Simla; and one of the residences now
before you is that of Mr. Gubbins, of the Bengal Civil Service.

The hills are covered with the finest vegetation, and the views are
beautiful. The evergreen oak flourishes in magnificence, the deodar fir
rises to enormous height, and the bright crimson-flowered rhododendron
is a _forest tree_, not a shrub, as you have it in England. Violets are
under every rock, the wild notes of the hill birds are heard in every
direction, and health, strength, and spirits are imparted by the pure,
delicious, and bracing mountain air.


On the Hill of Fagoo, here represented, is a Traveller’s Bungalow,
constructed of wood. A group of _Paharīs_, or hill men, are on the
right, and in the distance are the snowy ranges of the Himalaya. Water
is procured from the _khuds_, as the deep narrow valleys between the
hills are called, where it is found in little rills.

                              THE GANGES.

This mountainous and picturesque scene represents the force with which
the holy river rushes downwards from the deep recesses in the mountains,
until it passes the last barrier of rocks, and emerges on the plains
near Hurdwar.

The _dēodar_, Pinus dēodara, rises to a magnificent height in these
regions, sometimes measuring 100 feet: its oil, called _dēodar_, is used
by the natives as a powerful remedy in rheumatic attacks. Leopards and
bears inhabit the forests, and the musk deer is sometimes, though but
rarely found. The black and the golden eagles of the Himalaya swoop over
the precipices, and a great variety of remarkably beautiful pheasants
are found here. Specimens of all these birds may be seen in the Museum.

                           THE SNOWY REGIONS.

As you approach Gangoutrī, you enter on the snowy regions; and in the
scene before you, the hill men, with baskets of provisions, are toiling
up the steep ascent, for which their stout and sinewy limbs are well
adapted; and pilgrims are ascending the mountain. An English gentleman,
seated beneath a small tent, is resting, refreshing himself, and
enjoying the warmth of the fire his attendants have kindled, ere he
re-commences the toilsome ascent of the snowy mountains.



Gangoutrī, the source of the most sacred river in Hindostan, is now
before you. The pious Hindū believes, that in this awful solitude
Mahadēo sits enthroned in clouds and mist, amid rocks that defy the
approach of living thing, and snows that make desolation more awful.
Surrounded by gigantic peaks entirely cased in snow, and almost beyond
the regions of animal and vegetable life, an awful silence prevails,
except when broken by the thundering peals of falling avalanches. Cold,
wild, and stupendous, the dazzling brilliancy of the snow is rendered
more striking by its contrast with the dark blue colour of the sky; and
at night the stars shine with a lustre they have not in a denser
atmosphere. Gangoutrī (_Gangā avatārī_), marked 10,319 feet above the
sea, is the celebrated place of pilgrimage, near to which the Ganges
issues: its course has not been traced beyond Gangoutrī; for the stream,
a little farther, is entirely concealed under a glacier or iceberg, and
is supposed to be inaccessible. The _mandap_, or Hindū temple, built by
a Ghoorka chief, is of stone, and contains small statues of Bhāgīrath,
Gangā, and other local deities. It stands on a piece of rock about
twenty feet higher than the bed of the Ganges; and at a little distance
there is a rough wooden building to shelter travellers. The last day of
his journey the pilgrim fasts, and on his arrival at the sacred spot, he
has his whole body shaved; after which he bathes, performs funeral
obsequies in honour of his deceased ancestors, and makes presents to the

To perish by cold in the mountains during a pilgrimage, forms one of the
methods by which the Hindūs may meritoriously put a period to their
existence; it is also one of the Hindū atonements for great offences.
The pilgrim must remain seven days at Gangoutrī: when he is about to
return, he obtains some of the offerings which have been presented to
the idol or idols, and brings them home to give to his friends; these
consist of sweet-meats, _tulsī_ leaves, the ashes of cow-dung, &c. To
obtain its full benefit, the pilgrimage must be performed on foot. A
trifle is paid to the Brahman for the privilege of taking the water,
which the Hindūs believe is so pure as neither to evaporate nor become
corrupted by being kept and transported to distant places.
Notwithstanding the great efficacy attributed to this pilgrimage,
Gangoutrī is but little frequented, owing to the hardships to be
endured, and the great difficulties that are met with on the route; the
accomplishment of it is supposed to redeem the performer from many
troubles in this world, and ensure a happy transit through all the
stages of transmigration he may have to undergo.

The snowy peaks of Gangoutrī rise in glittering whiteness high above the
clouds. Look on those mountains of eternal snow,—the rose tints linger
on them, the white clouds roll below, and their peaks are sharply set
upon a sky of the brightest, clearest, and deepest blue. Who may
describe the solitary loveliness, the speaking quietude that wraps these
forest scenes? Who can look unmoved on the coronets of snow that crown
the eternal Himalaya?

“Our fathers worshipped in this mountain.” (John iv. 20.) In these awful
solitudes, where eternity is throned in “icy halls of cold sublimity,”
the Hindūs think “men ought to worship.” The pilgrim gazes with delight
on the aërial mountains that pour down Gangā and Yamunā from their
snow-formed caves, and enjoys those solemn feelings of natural piety
with which the spirit of solitude imbues the soul.

We have now traced the course of the Ganges, from the branch called the
Hoogly, which flows past Fort William, Bengal, to Gangoutrï, its source
in the Himalaya. The Diorama is concluded, and we trust that
satisfaction and pleasure have been experienced by the audience who have
accompanied us on the pilgrimage.

                               THE MUSEUM

is open for the inspection of those who have honoured with their

                                THE END.




                           ST. JOHN’S SQUARE.


    In the Spring of 1852 will be published, in One Vol., royal 8vo,
                       handsomely bound in cloth,

                               A HISTORY

                                 OF THE

                     DRESS OF THE BRITISH SOLDIER,


                    Illustrated with Fifty Drawings.


                       LIEUT.-COLONEL JOHN LUARD.

     _Price_           30_s._ 0_d._ _To Subscribers_, 25_s._ 0_d._
     _On India Paper_, 32_s._ 6_d._ _To Subscribers_, 27_s._ 6_d._

The object of this work is to describe the numerous changes, which have
taken place in the Dress of Military Men; first, during the time when
armour was worn, but more particularly since it has been left off; with
a view, by accurately delineating the various changes, to induce British
Officers to reflect without prejudice on this important subject, and to
form a just estimate of what is useful, desirable, and ornamental for a
soldier’s equipment, at the smallest expense, both for officers and
privates,—taking into consideration the best mode of ensuring freedom of
action for the different arms of the service, and for health and
comfort, while enduring the various climates of our colonies.

                         Opinions of the Press.

                        WANDERINGS OF A PILGRIM,

 During Four-and-Twenty Years in the East; with Revelations of Life in
                              the Zenana.



                          THE ENGLISH REVIEW.

“The tone of bold and careless frankness in which this interesting and
instructive work is written, is singularly attractive. ‘Les Indoos
peints par eux-mêmes’ might be its title.”


“But we must here take leave of a work in which we have felt a more than
ordinary interest; the spirit with which the various events of a
prolonged residence in the East are delineated, the beautiful
illustrations, and the graphic descriptions of scenery, will ensure for
the book a favourable reception from every reader.”

                      NAVAL AND MILITARY GAZETTE.

“If we admire the book much for its external beauty, we admire it still
more for its internal merit—for the infinite variety, curiosity, and
interest of its contents.”

                           THE COURT JOURNAL.

“To the authoress of the twenty-four years’ ‘Wanderings’ has been
reserved the honour of superseding the vivacious correspondent of
Alexander Pope, and of taking the first rank as the chronicler of the
scenes of the Zenana. Nothing of the kind can rival the portraiture of
the ‘Pilgrim.’ It is fresh, intelligent, and minutely interesting.”

                      BLACKWOOD’S LADY’S MAGAZINE.

“We affirm, without fear of contradiction, that so graphic, picturesque,
and thoroughly _real_ a delineation of India as a country, and its
inhabitants as a people, has never before appeared.”


“This, in all its phases, is a very splendid, very attractive work, and
amply meriting the exceeding favour with which it has been received;
exciting and achieving, as it assuredly has, an extended interest and
popularity throughout the reading communities of Europe and Asia; the
while, receiving Her Majesty of England’s gracious patronage, along with
that, _to its fullest extent_, of those mighty Kings of the East, the
Directors of the East India Company.”


“Now, the great charm and recommendation of the ‘Wanderings’ is their
clear and perfect _truth_.”

                            THE WEEKLY NEWS.

“She has gone forth with a determination of purpose which none of the
perils of Life in India could shake, and in a zealous pursuit of the
truth which no sophistry could check; and grasping alike at the loftiest
and minutest objects, has contrived to accumulate a mass of information
never before comprehended in a single work.”



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. P. 24, changed “each side her bows” to “each side of her bows”.
 2. P. 44, changed “one side the hut” to “one side of the hut”.
 3. Silently corrected typographical errors and variations in spelling.
 4. Retained anachronistic, non-standard, and uncertain spellings as
 5. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Grand Moving Diorama of Hindostan - Displaying the Scenery of the Hoogly, the Bhagirathi, and - the Ganges, from Fort William, Bengal, to Gangoutri, in - the Himalaya" ***

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