« PreviousContinue »
of various shades of grey and of very fine grain. It resembles the stone of the hill of Saren except in not being iron-shot.
From Dakrighat I went rather more than four miles to Singhaul," a village in Nawada. Before entering it I found some broken images on the ground. One differed from that called Vasudeva or Narayon by having two small figures on each side, in place of one. The other seemed to have been the throne of some idol, and containing a Buddh sitting above the head of a male figure, with two arms and standing.
From Singhaul I followed a very grand old road attributed to the infidel Jarasandha, and on that account called the Asuren. It has run in a perfect straight line, and is about 150 feet wide, rising from the sides with a very gentle ascent to the middle, which may have been about 12 feet perpendicular above the level of the plain, which is very low land. The people imagine that it was a reservoir intended to collect the rain water and convey it to Rajagrilo, and then this water was to be raised to the flower garden, which the prince chose to lure on the top of the hill. That it served for a reservoir I have no doubt, as it does so to this day, and during the whole rainy season the space between it and the hills forms a lake, but in the dry season the water disappears, and the bottom of the lake is cultivated. The object of the work, I have no doubt, was for a road, as it extends over this low plain only for about four miles, and ends about a mile before it reaches Rajagrihi where the land rises, so that it never could have conveyed water to that place. The road was a noble approach to the residence of the prince, and may have extended to (Patana) the royal city, although it can not only be traced where it formed a very elevated bank. Originally perhaps it was not so wide and much higher, as the natural operation of so many rainy seasons would be to reduce the height and spread the breadth. The water
(1) Appendix, No. 9.
collected in the lake has broken down the bank in several places, so that as a road it has become perfectly useless, for the small banks with which the gaps have been filled up to preserve the work as a reservoir will with difficulty admit loaded oxen to pass.
19th January.-At Rajagriho are two ancient forts, one occupying the south-west corner of the other is attributed to Sheer Shah, the external one I presume is the Rajahgriho or abode of Jarasandha. I went round this on an elephant in 48 minutes, keeping on the outside of the rampart and inside of the ditch, which may in most places be traced, being lower than the adjacent fields, quite level, and cultivated entirely with winter crops, which are watered. It is however most entire on the south side where, the land sloping down with some declivity from the bottom of the hills, it has been probably deeper. It would appear to have been above 100 feet wide and, so far as I can judge, the original rampart has consisted entirely of the earth thrown out from the ditch, and has contained neither bricks nor stones. Several gaps are formed in the rampart, but whether or not they were originally gates would be difficult to say, the position being quite irregular and some being evidently too large. I can observe no traces of outworks nor flanking defences in this original rampart, which is indeed reduced to a mere mound of earth with some small fragments of stone from the adjacent hills, perhaps originally intermixed with the soil. The present town of Rajahgriho occupy. ing the north-west corner of the fort and the adjacent plain has occasioned considerable deficiencies there, which owing to the narrowness of the lanes I could not trace, but I suspect (that) at that corner which is the lowest, there have been two or three lines of defence, and some irregularities in the contour. The general form is very irregular, extending about 1,200 yards each way.
The fort attributed by tradition to Sheer Shah occupies the south-west corner of the above for about 600 yards square. The west and south faces are evidently continuations of the original rampart, but have been much strengthened. Their surface is everywhere covered with bricks, which perhaps have proceeded from a parapet of that material, but no traces of it remain except these fragments. These however are quite superficial, and the mass of the rampart, above 60 feet wide and 30 high, consists of earth. Where gaps have been formed in the rampart, a new one has been built up entirely of large rude blocks of stone from the adjacent hills. This rampart is about 16 feet wide, and exceedingly broken down. All along the old earthen rampart it would appear that there has been laid a platform of these stones some feet high, which probably served for the foundation of the brick parapet, and this has been strengthened at short distances by semi-circular projections constructed of stone. The eastern and northern faces have had no ditch, and the eastern one has consisted entirely of rude masses of stone, with many semi-circular projections and about 18 feet thick. The eastern half of the northern face has been built in the same manner, but the western end has been constructed of brick.
Both these ramparts, especially that of stone are much more decayed than one would expect from so short a period of time as has elapsed since the reign of Sheer Shah, and although in these ramparts, as well as in the external ones, there are several gaps which may have been gates, there is not the slightest trace of the buildings of a gate to be observed. This I confess staggers me with respect to any part of the building having been erected by Sheer Shah. It may be supposed that the two works are coeval, but besides the gaps filled up with stone I observe that at the north-west and south-east corners of the small fort a wide breach has been made in the earthen rampart to serve as a ditch ; but had the smaller fort been a citadel more strongly fortified than the town, we should have expected that the ditch would have been continued round it. Both areas contain many irregular heaps having very much the appearance of the
debris of building, but rising to very little height, either from the lapse of many ages or from removal of the materials. In some parts it would appear that there have been tanks surrounded by these eminences, and these are the only thing resembling ruins that retain any trace of symmetry. The heaps consist chiefly of earth, but contain many small stones and a few broken bricks. I have some doubts whether or not they may not be natural, or formed of earth thrown out from the tanks. By far the largest is in the outer fort, and if it has been a buildivg, as on the whole I think probable, it has been very large. Two conical mounds on its west side can scarce be natural eminences.
The Seruyak here assembled say that the fort was built by Rajah Senok or Srinik, and as being his residence was called Rajahgriho. The same person built Baragong, and was contemporary with Mahavira. He lived long after Jarasandha, who they think lived at Ayudiya. He lived 2,563 years ago. Senok's father and grandfather, Upasenok and Mahasenok, possessed the country. He was Nathbongs. The first family of kings was Akwakbongs, of whom was Rikub Deo of Ayudiya, Sombongs of Hustinapuri. Sriangs was one of these. An account of these families is contained in the Hori Bongs, Padma Puran, Adapura ; books belonging to the sect. Jara Sandhu was of the Judobongs and a Jain, as were also Rama and Krishna and Siva. They know nothing of the Buddhs. They claim the whole images, Siva, Ganese, Surjo, etc., and all the hot springs, which they call by the same names with the Brahmans. They say that their images are known by both hands being joined on their lap, but on the same stone here I find images with their hands in all positions. They know nothing of Hangsapuri. They say that some Seruyaks are Brahmans, some Kshatris, some Vaisiyas, no Sudras admitted, but any man may become a Seruyak. No one can be made a Jetti or Guru except of the three pure castes, and any man of pure birth, whether his ancestors were Jain or not, may become a Jetti. All the 81 castes are Vaisiyas. But in the south
there are Brahmans, and in the west many Kshatris. They pray to all the gods of the Brahmans.
The Brahmans of Rajagriho say that the road attributed to Jarasandha was made by some infidel, they know not whom. Rajahgriho belonged first to a Rajah called Chatorboj, and then Raja Bosu, who brought 14 gotras of Brahmans from Maharastra to worship the gods of the hills. He gave them the whole Parganah, which was taken from them by the Muhi. They say that Jarasandha lived at Geriyak. They say that Raja Senik was Raja of Ilansupurnagar, in the plain between the five hills. The only remains are a math called Moninag, and another called Nimulpuri, where the Serawak worship, but there are no tanks nor appearance of a fort or city. Bosu lived after Srinik, and Srinik after Jarasandha. The last was a Kshatri of the Asurimath, and derived his power from the worship of Jora Devi. The Ron Bhumi, where he was killed, is in the plain between the five bills, a little west from Sonbondar. He was burned on the field, which has made the earth red. The Brahmans give the same names to the five hills that the Jain do, but do not consider them as holy. Many images on all the hills, but most on the two northern. On that to the west of the gap above Brihmakund is shown a stone building, said to have been the place where Jarasandha was wont to sit after bathing. The old road very generally attributed to Jarasandha leading directly to the fort gives great room to suppose that the fort was the real abode of that prince, or rather perhaps the garrison to secure his various abodes in the vicinity. The whole space between the fort and hill is very irregular, and many eminences may be traced resembling the foundations of buildings. In one or two, indeed, frag- . ments of the foundation of large stones may be traced, but there are very few bricks. I suspect that a great part of all the buildings have been of stone, and that those of the more modern fort have been taken from the ruins. From the north face of the fort to the gap in the hills are traces of a double rampart with a road between.