Изображения страниц
PDF

Adnath Subba, Indur Subba, Pursaram Subba, Dooma Leyna, J unwassa or the place of nuptials, Ghana, N eelkunt, Mahadeo, Rameshwar, Kylas (Kailasa, or the paradise of Mahadeo), Dus Outar, Teen Tal, Bhurt Chutturghun, Biskurma or Viswakarma ka Jompree (the Carpenter’s hovel), and Dehr Warra. Of these, Kylas, or the paradise of Mahadeo, stands preeminent, both in extent and beauty. The approach to it is handsome, and it consists of a pagoda a hundred feet high, of a sugar-loaf form, surrounded by five chapels, being nearly miniatures of the grand temple. The extreme depth of the excavation in the rock is 401 feet, the extreme breadth 185 feet, which will make an area of about two acres. The whole of this immense body is supported on the backs of elephants, intermixed with animals resembling tigers and griffins, and exhibits one vast and extraordinary mass of sculpture of most exquisite workmanship.

The space occupied by what Major Seely has correctly denominated the “ wonders of Ellora,” embraces many miles, the whole hewn out of the solid rock, and sculptured into so vast and rich a pantheon of gods, demi-gods, and heroes, with architectural ornaments of every description, exhibited in temples, chapels, halls, vestibules, galleries, &c., as would require a volume of no small size to describe them with appropriate justice.

The temples of the south are not less worthy of notice than those of the more northern and central provinces of India. The beautiful temple of Cirangam, or Ciringapatam, is described by Bartolomeo as a real masterpiece of Indian architecture. It is situated in the kingdom of Tanjore, on the island of Ciranga, which lies in the river Colura or Colram.

“ This temple (he says) is surrounded by seven walls, each of a square form, which together inclose the whole edifice. They are entirely constructed of hewn stone, are twenty-five feet in height, and each is 350 feet distant from the other in a parallel direction. Each wall has four gates, and over each gate is a gobura, or high tower, which rests on the middle of the wall, and is at an equal distance from both ends. These gates and towers, which stand exactly opposite to each other, looking towards the four cardinal points, are ornamented with columns thirty-five feet in length and five in thickness. In the centre of this temple, that is the sanctuary, stands the image of Vishnu, to whom it is dedicated. On the gates, towers, and walls may be seen various figures of men and animals, which all have a symbolical meaning. This temple is, at least, * two thousand years old, and serves to shew how far advanced the ancient Indians were in the arts of architecture and sculpture.”

I am induced to extend this article, to notice the much-resorted-to temple of Tripetty, in the kingdom of Tanjore. The following account will, in a general sense, be found a tolerably correct description of the measures commonly adopted by the Brahmans to impose upon the minds of their superstitious and ignorant followers. This celebrated temple, which it has been said was not built by mortal hands, is situated in the Carnatic, about eighty miles from Madras, and is resorted to by pilgrims from every part of India. It is dedicated to Vishnu as Ballaji, whose image, seven feet in height, with four arms, and having in three of his hands the chultra, the chank, and the lotus, is here worshipped with those of Lakshmi and the serpent Sesha. It is built of stone and covered with plates of gilt copper, and stands in a valley in the centre of a range of hills, which are impervious alike to the Christian and the Mussulman. The very sight of the hills,- though at the distance of many leagues, is so gratifying to the Hindu devotees, that upon first catching a glimpse of these sacred rocks they fall prostrate, calling upon the idol’s name.

A lively correspondent in the Asiatic Journal thus farther describes it, and its ceremonies: “ The early history of the Pagoda is involved in the obscurity of Indian mythology and fable. Its antiquity is undoubted, and the Brahmans assert that it was erected at the commencement of the Kaliyug, of which, Ibelieve, 4,930 years have expired. This temple is distinguished by the oblations which are offered to its god, by Vishnu's votaries from all parts of the Indian world. Princes send their vakeels or ambassadors to present their offerings to the shrine ; whilst the poorer peasant, who may have less to offer, wraps up some petty oblation in a piece of waxcloth : a handful of rice stained with manjal makes it look a larger packet.

* This supposition, like many others respecting the architecture and sculpture of‘ India, may not be correct.

[graphic]

“ The cause of these offerings is as follows: The idol, smitten with love for the blooming Judmavuttee, daughter of the Rajah Akasha, determined to espouse her : but wanting coin for the matrimonial expenses, he raised the wind by the aid of Kuvera, the Indian Plutus. This god, however, directed that the money thus lent should be repaid annually to the sovereign of the countries lying between the Palaur and Soonoomookei rivers; and the votaries at the shrine pour in, in great numbers, during the Brumhantsaween, or nine days’ celebration of the nuptials ; and, annually, at this period, two-thirds of the usual collections are made.

“ These offerings are made generally from interested motives, and are of every diversity of articles conceivable: gold and silver lamps, coins of all sorts, bags of rupees, copper money, spices, assafoatida, the hair cut off the head, frequently vowed from infancy, and given up by some beautiful virgin in compliance with her parent’s oath. A man who is lame presents a silver leg; if blind, a gold or silver eye. In fact, there would be no end, were I to enumerate the various ways in which Hindu superstition develops itself on this occasion. The jewels which a woman has worn with pride from infancy are voluntarily left before the idol. She appears with a shabby cloth before the stone god, and presents a splendid one which has never been worn: she tears the bangles from her infant’s legs, and fondly hopes that the god whom she

‘ Sees in the clouds and bears in the wind,’

will shower down his blessings on her and her’s. She has, haply, travelled hundreds of miles, and accomplished her object; and perhaps, before a journey which to her might have been one of terror, never left her village and the bosom of her own family.

“ The birth of a son, reconciliation with enemies, success against the foe, safe determination of a journey, the marriage of a son or a daughter, prosperity in trade, enjoyment of health, and the reverse of these, are among the reasons which lead together, in the direction of Tripetty, the wise as well as ignorant heathens. The offerings are not always presented by the interested party: they may be sent by relations, friends, or vakeels; but they are frequently forwarded by goseynes. A goseyne is a servant of the temples; there are a considerable number of them. A few months before the Brumhantsaween they set out in different directions, and reaching the country they intend to commence their operations in, they unfurl the sacred flag of the god with which each is entrusted. Round this idolatrous banner the Hindus gather, and either trust their offerings to its bearer, or carry the counukee themselves to the foot of the idol. A sufficient mass being congregated, the blind leader of the blind strikes the standard and returns whither he came, in time for the nuptial anniversary.

“The following are ceremonies for which the superstitious devotee or inquisitive visitor must pay amply, before they are indulged with a sight of :

“ 1st Abbeesheykoom. Every Friday throughout the year the idol is anointed with civet, musk, camphire, &c., and washed clean again with milk. So important a spectacle cannot be seen for love, and the devotee, desirous of viewing the operation, pays what he chooses during therest of the year, but at the Brumhantsaween pays through the nose, in a sum formerly more, but now reduced to fifty rupees. This ceremony of rubbing, scrubbing, and causing the god to smell sweet, and visd versd, is stiled Poolkaub.

“ 2d. Porlungee Seeva, or enrobing his excellency the god in a flowered garment. This ceremony takes place every Thursday. During the festival sixty rupees are paid for seeing the business.

“ 3d. Soomanlah Seeva. Twelve rupees are paid under this head by all who delight in seeing the idol decorated with a necklace of flowers; and

the pleasure may, for this daily payment, be enjoyed for three hundred and sixty-five days of the year.

“ 4th. Sahasranamaschana. This term signifies the diurnal worship of the god under his thousand names. Five rupees is the price of this peice of devotion.

“ 5th. Mansoon Seeva is an imposing ceremony, and yeilds forth twelve rupees, for seeing the mighty object of his worship rocked to sleep.

“ There remains now to describe Wahamtm, or processions of the idols. They are twelve in number, and each has a reference to different parts of

Hindu mythology, as connected with the adoration of Vishnu. The idol exhibited on these occasions is a gilded representation, made of metal, of the stone fellow in the temple, who is too lazy to turn out himself. Kulpavaroocha Wahanum is a procession of the idol placed under a gilt wooden tree. Andolecka Wahanum is a procession attending his excellency in a palankeen. Sesha Wahanum is the god carried forth on a gilt serpent. Sooroah Boopaulah Wahanum signifies the carrying the idol on a gilt throne. Surya Prabah Wahanum is a procession of the idol attended by the sun. Addarrah is a trip of the gentleman to a room surrounded by looking-glasses, adjusted to reflect him several times. Andulum Wahanum is another kind of palankeen procession. For all the above, the votary who gives the idol the trouble of coming out is forty rupees less than he was before. Girda Wahanum is the procession in which the idol is mounted on a gilt parrot. Chandra Prabah is a procession of the idol accompanied by a gilt moon. Hanamuntrum Wahanum is a procession of the idol mounted upon a gilt figure like an elephant (quere monkey) something in representation of Hanuman, the Indian Pan. Sinha Wahanum is a procession in which the idol rides a gilt lion. Balasesha Wahanum is the last procession of the idol sitting again upon a gilt serpent.”

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »