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The surface of the top of the hill is about one mile long by 100 yards average breadth, and shews many bare spots, where the secondary sandstone, coming to the surface, checks vegetation; there are also large masses of felspar scattered in an unconnected manner over it.
The whole surface of the hill, both sides and top, is covered with jungle of Dhau and Soldhri, 15 to 25 feet high, and thickly studded with clumps of cactus. The jungle, when I visited the spot, was without leaves, and presented the appearance shewn in the sketch.
On arriving at the building which had principally excited my curiosity‘ from the plain below, I found it occupied a site about quarter distant from the south<westerly end of the top of the hill, and on the precipitous verge of the northern face. The guide and otficiating brfihmans informed me, that it may be distinctly seen from the hills round Jeypore, 35 coss S. E. from Sambre, 30 coss south at Midag, and when standing in relief against the dark background of a rainbow, it has frequently been seen from thence and Baudra, two villages or towns in the said territory, distant 45 coss N. E. by E. Such is the native account, whichl think is entitled to belief, as I have myself seen it from Taen, a distance of about 40 miles, at least I imagine so, without taking much trouble to find it out. It is a plain building, of a similar though plainer style of architecture, than the Mandirs of Bindraband, Mathura, &c. It is reported to have been built by SEO Swan, a Raja of Sikar, and great grandfather to the present Rajei, about the year 1718. Many of the stones composing its base are specimens of elaborate and elegant sculpture, the remains of buildings lying in confused heaps near it to the south-west.
These ruins, which are not visible from below, in their present unpretending state, on being discovered, entirely engross the attention ; the only remaining perfect parts of them consist of two rows of columns, of exceedingly beautiful proportions and workmanship, covered with exquisite sculpture, every line and harris of which is as finely preserved as if drawn on paper or executed in alabaster. They are 10 in number, (Plates xxix. fig. 1.) These are flanked on either side by square pillars, fig. 2, also beautifully carved, and are brought up through (I must say, for want of a more applicable expression) a. ledge, which protrudes 2 feet in towards the centre of the apartment, from each of its four sides being only broken by the two door-ways. I have no idea of the use of this ledge, as it forms no necessary part of the building, neither is it at all ornamental, unless it has been used for the reception of offerings made to the deity to whom the building has been dedicated, or for sacrificial purposes: but its presence is entirely conclusive of this compartment of the original building being still complete.
These columns and pillars support a stone roof composed of a first set of ribs, whose ends are supported by four columns, forming a square with a side of about 10 feet. Over the point of bisection of each of these sides, another set of ribs are disposed, so that the angles of a second and of course smaller square rest on the centres of the lower ribs. The interstices of these figures are covered in with slabs, forming between each four columns, a beautiful and simple figure, and taken as a whole a roof of the most primeval architecture.
In the northern face of this apartment, :1 door-way (relieved by an architrave of most elaborate sculpture, divided into twelve compartments, in -each of which a group from the Hindu Pantheon occupies a place,) communicates with an inner apartment, (the sanctum sanctorurn), around which, at a height of about five feet from the ground, are ranged 17 Jogies, about 33,- feet high, executed in bold demirelief, in a superior style of sculpture. They are in a very primitive state, as regards their habiliments, and placed in lascivious postures, belonging -to Dnvrv, who herself about six feet high occupies a corner. This figure has no connexion with the buildings, but merely recline: against one of the walls, and has probably been brought here in latter days, although from its style evidently coeval with the others.
In the centre of this room is a Jelahri, on which stands a Chaumana Mahzideo, worked in marble.
Near the entrance to the outer apartment lies a large slab of black stone, about 3% inches thick, and 3 feet square, in which is cut an in. scription in a fine clear character, in good preservation, of which I have forwarded a fac simile, taken with ink on paper from the stone.
About <10 yards in front of the entrance lies, or rather sits, NANDI, sculptured in a block of coarse white marble, with an ornamented collar, and bells hung round his dewlap, and the back of his hump, and another round his neck, about one-sixth larger than life. How this immense block of stone (in itself a curiosity) was ever brought to the top of this hill, considering the imperfect knowledge of machinery possessed by the natives of the present day, is a matter of asto. nishment to me.
The site of the main building, if we may judge from the remains of an octagonal chaubutra, round the whole base of which are an immense number of elephants, executed in demi-relievo, about a foot high, and each one placed in a different attitude, some of them in the act of destroying a human being, others assisting the Mahaiit to mount, others again destroying monsters; and from what remain, I
have no doubt, the ingenuity of the artist must have been exhausted in typifying the sagacity, and different uses to which this wonderful animal may be put. This base is about 30 yards south-west of the part described, and bears every appearance of having belonged to a noble building, of which Nos. 1 and 2 (Plate xxx.) are specimens, being the crowns or upper courses of domes, which have rested on gradually expanding courses, with the carving and style of architecture of which I am convinced a most intimate connexion in the buildings surrounding the court in which the Delhi town pillar stands, might be traced. I will by the first opportunity send you a specimen brought thence, and which will give a good idea of the quality of the stone, and although much mutilated, of the finish of the carving.
The whole of these remains have been worked in freestone of excellent quality, which is no where procurable in the neighbourhood; neither have I met with it any where, but in the buildings before mentioned, at the Kuttab, which are formed of the same sort of stone, but of inferior quality; and the finish of the sculpture will not bear comparison. The natives could give me no account of whence it had been brought.
Lying on the extreme edge of the precipice on which these ruins and temples stand, are 15 or 20 figures, male and female, about one third larger than life, and although exposed to the weather, in very good preservation. The numerous (I had almost said numberless) groups, in some of which there are from 20 to 30 figures, consist of processions, dancers, male and female, and musicians. (The instruments used by the latter are generally the sitara, fife or flute, and drum.) These fragments of sculpture are scattered over a space of two or three acres; besides what from accident or design have fallen over the precipice, as well as others built in the modern structure: and I should think that the whole of the Hindu Pantheon must have been here represented in a style, the pecuniary ability to follow which has, I fear, gradually passed away with the genius which was capable of designing and executing such a work of art.
Not the very slightest tradition concerning these interesting ruins is in possession of the resident brahmans (three in number), attached to the temples of Siva Baijmith generally, but in particular to that portion of the ancient one now remaining perfect. They say that it is possible that they were contemporary with the palace of the Hunsnn Muaonmn Réjzi, the site of which is still known, and which is now level with the surface of the earth, but to the existence of which, other than as ruins, no date can be affixed. The elk, leopard, hog, and nyl-gao, are found in, and in the neighbourhood of, this hill.
This plate is_ intended-_to give an idea of the topographical‘ formation of the
hill, including thegeneral direction of the ascent by the causeway, and the posiItionsof the different buildings described ‘in the accompanying paper.‘ '
Theprincipal objects are distinguished as below: " "» K: ' "If causeway.‘
c temple (fig. l of Plate xxviii.) The site of building from that from
d Binsing Mandir (fig. 5 of ditto). the ascent, or No. 3, is an enclosure
e site of the SIVA BAIJNA'TH temple. made of pillars and other fragments
f salt lake or Jheel. rot‘ the original building, built up by
g cultivated land. the ofilciating bréhmans.
[The names of many villages are mentioned in the annexed translation of the Harsha inscription, by Dr. MILL, of which it, is desirable to find the locality. On reference to Mr. DEAN, we find that an accurate, though rapid, survey of the whole district was executed, during the late‘ campaign, by thescveral engineer
engaged in putting the several divisions together, to form a complete‘ map of Shektiwat. Should we find, when we have an opportunity of inspecting this valuable addition to our -geography of Upper India, that it will ehicidate the subject of the inscription, we will hereafter furnish a map of the vicinity of Unchafipahar. Of the geological features of the country, Mr. DEAN has collected numerous specimens, now on their way to the Society’s museum ; he describes the volcanic field as very rich in fine minerals. Of the copper_ mines of Singhana, we have been also favored with specimens from himself and from Captain BOILEAU.—_-ED.] ' Reference to Pi. XX VIII. ' .»
Fig. 1, represents the temple dedicated to Devi, described in the map as about one-third downwards from the top of the hill. '
NOTE--—Th6 dark rectangular spots shewn in the interior are the positions, -or nearly so, of Nos. 2, 3, and 4. _ - ' _
Nos. 2, 3, 4. Symbols carved in freestone, and built in the wall opposite the ' entrance.
N o. 5. The Binsing Mandir, dedicated to Gmvns, situated within a few yards from the top of the causeway, as marked in the plan.
Remarks. This sheet and the plan of the hill are mere sketches, with the measurements guessed at and set down on the spot, so if they are a trifle out, I must plead want of time to be the accurate chronicler of these remains which I would have been, had I had a little of the spare time others had, and with ten times my ability for the ofiice, in the camp. I hope this short notice may serve to point some one’s attention to the spot, who could devote a month to the pursuit of tracing the various groups alone: I am sure they would find ample employment. '
§ Note on PI. XXIX.
Figures 1 and 2, called domes in the plate, represent the upper or key-stones.
of ceilings of a very ancient style of Hindu architecture, used before the art__ of _