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Title: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, v. 2 of 3

Author: James Tod

Editor: William Crooke

Release date: July 5, 2018 [eBook #57375]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Emmanuel Ackerman, KD Weeks and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)


Transcriber’s Note:

The text is annotated with numerous footnotes, which were numbered sequentially on each page. On occasion, a footnote itself is annotated by a note, using an asterisk as the reference. This distinction is followed here. Those ‘notes on notes’ are given alphabetic sequence (A, B., etc.), and are positioned directly following the main note.

Since there are over 1500 notes in this volume, they have been gathered at each chapter’s end, and resequenced for each chapter. Links are provided to navigate from the reference to the note, and back.

The notes are a combination of those of the author, and of the editor of this edition. The latter are enclosed in square brackets.

Finally, the pagination of the original edition, published in the 1820’s, was preserved by Crooke for ease of reference by including those page numbers in the text, also enclosed in square brackets.

Crooke’s plan for the renovation of the Tod’s original text, including a discussion of the transliteration of Hindi words, is given in detail in the Preface. It should be noted that the use of the macron to guide pronunciation is very unevenly followed, and there was no intent here to regularize it.

There are a number of references to a map, sometimes referred to as appearing in Volume I. In this edition, the map appears at the end of Volume III.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Given the history of the text, it was thought best to leave all orthography as printed.

Please see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.

Any corrections are indicated using an underline highlight. Placing the cursor over the correction will produce the original text in a small popup.

Any corrections are indicated as hyperlinks, which will navigate the reader to the corresponding entry in the corrections table in the note at the end of the text.


(By permission of Lt.-Col. C. D. Blunt-Mackenzie, R.A.)


Lieut.-Col. JAMES TOD
HON. D.SC. OXON., B.A., F.R.A.I.


BOOK IV—continued
Influence of the hierarchy in Rajputana—Emulation of its princes in grants to the priesthood—Analogy between the customs of the Hindus, in this respect, and those of the ancient people—Superstition of the lower orders—Secret influence of the Brahmans on the higher classes—Their frauds—Ecclesiastical dues from the land, etc.—The Saivas of Rajasthan—The worship and shrine of Eklinga—The Jains—Their numbers and extensive power—The temple of Nathdwara, and worship of Kanhaiya—The privilege of Sanctuary—Predominance of the doctrines of Kanhaiya beneficial to Rajput society 589
The origin of Kanhaiya or Krishna—Sources of a plurality of gods among the Hindus—Allegories respecting Krishna elucidated—Songs of Jayadeva celebrating the loves of Kanhaiya—The Rasmandal, a mystic dance—Govardhana—Krishna anciently worshipped in caves—His conquest of the ‘Black serpent’ allegorical of the contests between the Buddhists and Vaishnavas—Analogies between the legends of Krishna and Western mythology—Festivals of Krishna—Pilgrimage to Nathdwara—The seven gods of that temple—Its Pontiff 621
Appendix 644
Importance of mythological history—Aboriginal tribes of India—The Rajputs are conquerors—Solar year of the Hindus—Opened at the winter solstice—The Vasant, or spring festival—Birth of the Sun—Common origin assumed of the Rajputs and Getic tribe of Scandinavia—Surya, the sun-god of all nations, Thor, Syrus, Sol—Sun-worship—The Aheria, or spring-hunt, described—Boar-feast—Phalgun festival—The Rajput Saturnalia—Games on horseback—Rites to the Manes—Festival of Sitala as guardian of children—Rana’s birthday—Phuladola, the Rajput Floralia—Festival of Gauri—Compared with the Diana of Egypt—The Isis or Ertha of the Suevi—And the Phrygian Cybele—Anniversary of Rama—Fête of Kamdeva or Cupid—Little Ganggor—Inundation of the capital—Festival of Rambha or Venus—Rajput and Druidic rites—Their analogy—Serpent worship—Rakhi, or Festival of the bracelet 650
Festivals continued—Adoration of the sword: its Scythic origin—The Dasahra, or military festival: its Scythic origin—Torans or triumphal arcs—Ganesa of the Rajputs and Janus of the Romans—Worship of arms: of the magic brand of Mewar, compared with the enchanted sword, Tyrfing, of the Edda—Birth of Kumara, the Rajput Mars, compared with the Roman divinity—Birth of Ganga: her analogy to Pallas—Adoration of the moon—Worship of Lakshmi, or Fortune; of Yama, or Pluto—Diwali, or festival of lamps, in Arabia, in China, in Egypt, and in India—Annakuta and Jaljatra—Festivals sacred to the Ceres and Neptune of the Hindus—Festival of the autumnal equinox—Reflections on the universal worship of the elements, Fire, Light, Water—Festival sacred to Mithras or Vishnu, as the sun—The Phallus: its etymology—Rajput doctrine of the Triad—Symbols Vishnu, as the sun-god: his messenger Garuda, the eagle: his charioteer Aruna, or the dawn—Sons of Aruna—Fable analogous to that of Icarus—Rites of Vishnu on the vernal equinox and summer solstice—Dolayatra, or festival of the ark, compared with the ark of Osiris, and Argonautic expedition of the Greeks—Etymology of Argonaut—Ethiopia the Lanka of the Hindus—Their sea-king, Sagara—Rama, or Ramesa, chief of the Cushite races of India—Ramesa of the Rajputs and Rameses of Egypt compared—Reflections 679
viiThe nicer shades of character difficult to catch—Morals more obvious and less changeable than manners—Dissimilarity of manners in the various races of Rajasthan—Rajputs have deteriorated in manners as they declined in power—Regard and deference paid to women in Rajasthan—Seclusion of the Females no mark of their degradation—High spirit of the Rajput princesses—Their unbounded devotion to their husbands—Examples from the chronicles and bardic histories—Anecdotes in more recent times—Their magnanimity—Delicacy—Courage and presence of mind—Anecdote of Sadhu of Pugal and Karamdevi, daughter of the Mohil chief—The seclusion of the females increases their influence—Historical evidences of its extent 707
Origin of female immolation—The sacrifice of Sati, the wife of Iswara—The motive to it considered—Infanticide—Its causes among the Rajputs, the Rajkumars, and the Jarejas—The rite of Johar—Female captives in war enslaved—Summary of the Rajput character—Their familiar habits—The use of opium—Hunting—The use of weapons—Jethis, or wrestlers—Armouries—Music—Feats of dexterity—Maharaja Sheodan Singh—Literary qualifications of the princes—Household economy—Furniture—Dress, etc. 737
Valley of Udaipur—Departure for Marwar—Encamp on the heights of Tus—Resume the march—Distant view of Udaipur—Deopur—Zalim Singh—Reach Pallana—Ram Singh Mehta—Manikchand—Ex-raja of Narsinghgarh—False policy pursued by the British Government in 1817-18—Departure from Pallana—Aspect and geological character of the country—Nathdwara ridge—Arrival at the city of Nathdwara—Visit from the Mukhya of the temple—Departure for the village of Usarwas—Benighted—Elephant in a bog—Usarwas—A Sannyasi—March to Samecha—The Shera Nala—Locusts—Coolness of the air—Samecha—March to Kelwara, the capital—Elephant’s pool—Murcha—Kherli—Maharaja Daulat Singh—Kumbhalmer—Its architecture, remains, and history—March to the ‘Region of Death,’ or Marwar—The difficult nature of the country—A party of native horsemen—Bivouac in the glen 760
viiiThe Mers or Meras: their history and manners—The Barwatia of Gokulgarh—Forms of outlawry—Ajit Singh, the chief of Ghanerao—Plains of Marwar—Chief of Rupnagarh—Anecdote respecting Desuri—Contrast between the Sesodias of Mewar and the Rathors of Marwar—Traditional history of the Rajputs—Ghanerao—Kishandas, the Rana’s envoy—Local discrimination between Mewar and Marwar—Ancient feuds—The aonla and the bawal—Aspect of Marwar—Nadol—Superiority of the Chauhan race—Guga of Bhatinda—Lakha of Ajmer: his ancient fortress at Nadol—Jain relic there—The Hindu ancient arch or vault—Inscriptions—Antiquities at Nadol—Indara—Its villages—Pali, a commercial mart—Articles of commerce—The bards and genealogists the chief carriers—The ‘Hill of Virtue’—Khankhani—Affray between two caravans—Barbarous self-sacrifices of the Bhats—Jhalamand—March to Jodhpur—Reception en route by the Chiefs of Pokaran and Nimaj—Biography of these nobles—Sacrifice of Surthan of Nimaj—Encamp at the capital—Negotiation for the ceremonies of reception at the Court of Jodhpur 789
Jodhpur: town and castle—Reception by the Raja—Person and character of Raja Man Singh—Visits to the Raja—Events in his history—Death of Raja Bhim—Deonath, the high-priest of Marwar—His assassination—The acts which succeeded it—Intrigues against the Raja—Dhonkal Singh, a pretender to the gaddi—Real or affected derangement of the Raja—Associates his son in the government—Recalled to the direction of affairs—His deep and artful policy—Visit to Mandor, the ancient capital—Cenotaphs of the Rathors—Cyclopean architecture of Mandor—Nail-headed characters—The walls—Remains of the palace—Toran, or triumphal arch—Than of Thana Pir—Glen of Panchkunda—Statues carved from the rock—Gardens at Mandor—An ascetic—Entertainment at the palace—The Raja visits the envoy—Departure from Jodhpur 820
ixNandla—Bisalpur—Remains of the ancient city—Pachkalia, or Bichkalia—Inscription—Pipar—Inscription confirming the ancient chronicles of Mewar—Geological details—Legend of Lake Sampu—Lakha Phulani—Madreo—Bharunda—Badan Singh—His chivalrous fate—Altar to Partap—Indawar—Jat cultivators—Stratification of Indawar—Merta—Memory of Aurangzeb—Dhonkal Singh—Jaimall, the hero of the Rathors—Tributes to his bravery—Description of the city and plain of Merta—Cenotaphs—Raja Ajit—His assassination by his sons—The consequences of this deed the seeds of the Civil Wars of Marwar—Family of Ajit—Curious fact in the law of adoption amongst the Rathors—Ram Singh—His discourtesy towards his chiefs—Civil War—Defection of the Jarejas from Ram Singh—Battle between Ram Singh and Bakhta Singh—Defeat of the former, and the extirpation of the clan of the Mertias—The Mertia vassal of Mihtri—The field of battle described—Ram Singh invites the Mahrattas into his territory—Bakhta Singh becomes Raja of Marwar—His murder by the Prince of Jaipur—His son, Bijai Singh, succeeds—Jai Apa Sindhia and Ram Singh invade Marwar—They are opposed by Bijai Singh, who is defeated—He flies to Nagor, where he is invested—He cuts through the enemy’s camp—Solicits succour at Bikaner and Jaipur—Treachery of the Raja of Jaipur—Defeated by the chieftain of Rian—Assassination of Apa Sindhia 850
Mahadaji Sindhia succeeds Jai Apa—Union of the Rathors and Kachhwahas, joined by Ismail Beg and Hamdani, against the Mahrattas—Battle of Tonga—Sindhia defeated—Ajmer retaken, and tributary engagement annulled—Mahadaji Sindhia recruits his army, with the aid of De Boigne—The Rajputs meet him on the frontier of Jaipur—Jealousies of the allies—The Kachhwahas alienated by a scurrilous stanza—Battle of Patan—Effects of the Jaipureans’ treachery, in the defeat of the Rathors—Stanza of the Kachhwaha bard—Suggestion of Bijai Singh: his chiefs reject it, and the prince prepares for war—Treason of the Rathor chief of Kishangarh—The Mahrattas invade Marwar—Resolution of the chiefs of Awa and Asop to conquer or perish—Rathors encamp on the plains of Merta—Golden opportunity lost of destroying the Mahratta army—Fatal compliance of the chiefs with the orders of the civil minister—Rout of the camp—Heroism of the Rathor clans: their destruction—Treachery of the Singwi faction—The chief minister takes poison—Reflections on the Rajput character, with reference to the protective alliance of the British Government—Resumption of journey—Jarau—Cross the field of battle—Siyakot, or Mirage, compared with the Sarrab of Scripture—Desert of Sogdiana—Hissar—At sea—Description of Jarau—Cenotaph of Harakarna Das—Alniawas—Rian—The Mountain Mers—Their descent upon Rian—Slay its chief—Govindgarh—Chase of a hyaena—Lake of Pushkar: geological details—Description of the lake—Its legend—Ajaipal, the founder of Ajmer—Bisaldeva, the Chauhan king of Ajmer—Places of devotion on the ‘Serpent-rock’—Ajmer—View of Daru-l-Khair—Geological details—City of Ajmer—Its rising prosperity 875
xAjmer—Ancient Jain Temple—Its architecture analysed—Resemblances between it and the Gothic and Saracenic—Fortress of Ajmer—Its lakes—Source of the Luni River—Relics of the Chauhan kings—Quit Ajmer—Bhinai: its castle—Deolia—Dabla—Banera—Raja Bhim—Sketch of his family—His estate—Visit to the castle—Bhilwara—Visit of the merchants—Prosperity of the town—Mandal—Its lake—Arja, Pur—Mines of Dariba—Canton of the Purawats—Antiquity of Pur—The Babas, or infants of Mewar—Rasmi—Reception by the peasantry of Mewar—The Suhaila and Kalas—Trout of the Banas River—Merta—Visit to the source of the Berach—The Udai Sagar—Enter the valley—Appearance of the capital—Site of the ancient Ahar—Cenotaphs of the Rana’s ancestry—Traditions regarding Ahar—Destroyed by volcanic eruption—Remains of antiquity—Oilman’s Caravanserai—Oilman’s Bridge—Meeting with the Rana—Return to Udaipur 896
Appendix 914
The various etymons of Marwar—Authorities for its early history—Yati genealogical roll—The Rathor race, who inhabit it, descended from the Yavan kings of Parlipur—Second roll—Nain Pal—His date—Conquers Kanauj—Utility of Rajput genealogies—The Surya Prakas, or poetic chronicle of the bard Karnidhan—The Raj Rupak Akhyat, or chronicle of Ajit Singh’s minority and reign—The Bijai Vilas—The Khyat, a biographical treatise—Other sources—The Yavanas and Aswas, or Indo-Scythic tribes—The thirteen Rathor families, bearing the epithet Kamdhuj—Raja Jaichand, king of Kanauj—The extent and splendour of that State before the Muhammadan conquest of India—His immense array—Title of Mandalika—Divine honours paid to him—Rite of Swayamvara undertaken by Jaichand—Its failure and consequences—State of India at that period—The four great Hindu monarchies—Delhi—Kanauj—Mewar—Anhilwara—Shihabu-d-din, king of Ghor, invades India—Overcomes the Chauhan king of Delhi—Attacks Kanauj—Destruction of that monarchy after seven centuries’ duration—Death of Jaichand—Date of this event 929
xiEmigration of Siahji and Setram, grandsons of Jaichand—Their arrival in the Western Desert—Sketch of the tribes inhabiting the desert to the Indus at that epoch—Siahji offers his services to the chief of Kulumad—They are accepted—He attacks Lakha Phulani, the famed freebooter of Phulra, who is defeated—Setram killed—Siahji marries the Solanki’s daughter—Proceeds by Anhilwara on his route to Dwarka—Again encounters Lakha Phulani, whom he slays in single combat—Massacres the Dabhis of Mewa, and the Gohils of Kherdhar—Siahji establishes himself in ‘the land of Kher’—The Brahman community of Pali invoke the aid of Siahji against the mountaineers—Offer him lands—Accepted—Birth of a son—Siahji massacres the Brahmans, and usurps their lands—Death of Siahji—Leaves three sons—The elder, Asvathama, succeeds—The second, Soning, obtains Idar—Ajmall, the third, conquers Okhamandala, originates the Vadhel tribe of that region—Asvathama leaves eight sons, heads of clans—Duhar succeeds—Attempts to recover Kanauj—Failure—Attempts Mandor—Slain—Leaves seven sons—Raepal succeeds—Revenges his father’s death—His thirteen sons—Their issue spread over Maru—Rao Kanhal succeeds—Rao Jalhan—Rao Chhada—Rao Thida—Carry on wars with the Bhattis and other tribes—Conquest of Bhinmal—Rao Salkha—Rao Biramdeo, killed in battle with the Johyas—Clans, their issue—Rao Chonda—Conquers Mandor from the Parihar—Assaults and obtains Nagor from the Imperialists—Captures Nadol, capital of Godwar—Marries the Princess of Mandor—Fourteen sons and one daughter, who married Lakha Rana of Mewar—Result of this marriage—Feud between Aranyakanwal, fourth son of Chonda, and the Bhatti chieftain of Pugal—Chonda slain at Nagor—Rao Ranmall succeeds—Resides at Chitor—Conquers Ajmer for the Rana—Equalizes the weights and measures of Marwar, which he divides into departments—Rao Ranmall slain—Leaves twenty-four sons, whose issue constitute the present frerage of Marwar—Table of clans 940
xiiAccession of Rao Jodha—Transfers the seat of government from Mandor to the new capital Jodhpur—The cause—The Vanaprastha, or Druids of India—Their penances—The fourteen sons of Jodha—New settlements of Satalmer, Merta, Bikaner—Jodha dies—Anecdotes regarding him—His personal appearance—Rapid increase of the Rathor race—Names of tribes displaced thereby—Accession of Rao Suja—First conflict of the Rathors with the Imperialists—Rape of the Rathor virgins at Pipar—Gallantry of Suja—His death—Issue—Succeeded by his grandson Rao Ganga—His uncle Saga contests the throne—Obtains the aid of the Lodi Pathans—Civil War—Saga slain—Babur’s invasion of India—Rana Sanga generalissimo of the Rajputs—Rao Ganga sends his contingent under his grandson Raemall—Slain at Bayana—Death of Ganga—Accession of Rao Maldeo—Becomes the first amongst the princes of Rajputana—Reconquers Nagor and Ajmer from the Lodis, Jalor and Siwana from the Sandhals—Reduces the rebellious allodial vassals—Conquest from Jaisalmer—The Maldots—Takes Pokaran—Dismantles Satalmer—His numerous public works—Cantons belonging to Marwar enumerated—Maldeo resumes several of the great estates—Makes a scale of rank hereditary in the line of Jodha—Period favourable to Maldeo’s consolidation of his power—His inhospitality to the Emperor Humayun—Sher Shah invades Marwar—Maldeo meets him—Danger of the Imperial army—Saved by stratagem from destruction—Rathor army retreats—Devotion of the two chief clans—Their destruction—Akbar invades Marwar—Takes Merta and Nagor—Confers them on Rae Singh of Bikaner—Maldeo sends his second son to Akbar’s court—Refused to pay homage in person—The emperor gives the farman of Jodhpur to Rae Singh—Rao Maldeo besieged by Akbar—Defends Jodhpur—Sends his son Udai Singh to Akbar—His reception—Receives the title of Raja—Chandarsen maintains Rathor independence—Retires to Siwana—Besieged, and slain—His sons—Maldeo witnesses the subjection of his kingdom—His death—His twelve sons 947
Altered conditions of the Princes of Marwar—Installation of Raja Udai Singh—Not acknowledged by the most powerful clans until the death of Chandarsen—Historical retrospect—The three chief epochs of Marwar history, from the conquest to its dependence on the empire—Order of succession changed, with change of capital, in Mewar, Amber, and Marwar—Branches to which the succession is confined—Dangers of mistaking these—Examples—Jodha regulates the fiefs—The eight great nobles of Marwar—These regulations maintained by Maldeo, who added to the secondary fiefs—Fiefs perpetuated in the elder branches—The brothers and sons of Jodha—Various descriptions of fiefs—Antiquity of the Rajput feudal system—Akbar maintains it—Paternity of the Rajput sovereigns not a fiction, as in Europe—The lowest Rajput claims kindred with the sovereign—The name Udai Singh fatal to Rajputana—Bestows his sister Jodh Bai on Akbar—Advantages to the Rathors of this marriage—Numerous progeny of Udai Singh—Establishes the fiefs of Govindgarh and Pisangan—Kishangarh and Ratlam—Remarkable death of Raja Udai Singh—Anecdotes—Issue of Udai Singh—Table of descent 960
xiiiAccession of Raja Sur—His military talents obtain him honours—Reduces Rao Surthan of Sirohi—Commands against the King of Gujarat—Battle of Dhanduka gained by the Raja—Wealth and honours acquired—Gifts to the bards—Commanded against Amra Balecha—Battle of the Rewa—Slays the Chauhan—Fresh honours—Raja Sur and his son Gaj Singh attend the court of Jahangir—The heir of Marwar invested with the sword by the Emperor’s own hands—Escalade of Jalor—Raja Gaj attends Prince Khurram against the Rana of Mewar—Death of Raja Sur—Maledictory pillar erected on the Nerbudda—The Rathor chiefs’ dissatisfaction at their long detention from their native land—Raja Sur embellishes Jodhpur—His issue—Accession of Raja Gaj—Invested with the Raj of Burhanpur—Made Viceroy of the Deccan—The compliment paid to his contingent—His various actions—Receives the title of Dalthaman, or ‘barrier of the host’—Causes of Rajput influence on the Imperial succession—The Sultans Parvez and Khurram, sons of Rajput Princesses—Intrigues of the Queens to secure the succession to their immediate offspring—Prince Khurram plots against his brother—Endeavours to gain Raja Gaj, but fails—The Prince causes the chief adviser of Raja Gaj to be assassinated—Raja Gaj quits the royal army—Prince Khurram assassinates his brother Parvez—Proceeds to depose his father Jahangir, who appeals to the fidelity of the Rajput Princes—They rally round the throne, and encounter the rebel army near Benares—The Emperor slights the Rathor Prince, which proves nearly fatal to his cause—The rebels defeated—Flight of Prince Khurram—Raja Gaj slain on the Gujarat frontier—His second son, Raja Jaswant, succeeds—Reasons for occasional departure from the rules of primogeniture amongst the Rajputs—Amra, the elder, excluded the succession—Sentence of banishment pronounced against him—Ceremony of Desvata, or ‘exile,’ described—Amra repairs to the Mogul court—Honours conferred upon him—His tragical death 969
xivRaja Jaswant mounts the gaddi of Marwar—His mother a princess of Mewar—He is a patron of science—His first service in Gondwana—Prince Dara appointed regent of the empire by his father, Shah Jahan—Appoints Jaswant viceroy in Malwa—Rebellion of Aurangzeb, who aspires to the crown—Jaswant appointed generalissimo of the army sent to oppose him—Battle of Fatehabad, a drawn battle—Jaswant retreats—Heroism of Rao Ratna of Ratlam—Aurangzeb proceeds towards Agra—Battle of Jajau—Rajputs overpowered—Shah Jahan deposed—Aurangzeb, now emperor, pardons Jaswant, and summons him to the presence—Commands him to join the army formed against Shuja—Battle of Kajwa—Conduct of Jaswant—Betrays Aurangzeb and plunders his camp—Forms a junction with Dara—This prince’s inactivity—Aurangzeb invades Marwar—Detaches Jaswant from Dara—Appointed viceroy of Gujarat—Sent to serve in the Deccan—Enters into Sivaji’s designs—Plans the death of Shaista Khan, the king’s lieutenant—Obtains this office—Superseded by the prince of Amber—Reappointed to the army of the Deccan—Stimulates Prince Muazzam to rebellion—Superseded by Dalir Khan—Jaswant tries to cut him off—Removed from the Deccan to Gujarat—Outwitted by the king—Ordered against the rebellious Afghans of Kabul—Jaswant leaves his son, Prithi Singh, in charge of Jodhpur—Prithi Singh commanded to court by Aurangzeb, who gives him a poisoned robe—His death—Character—The tidings reach Jaswant at Kabul, and cause his death—Character of Jaswant—Anecdotes illustrative of Rathor character—Nahar Khan—His exploits with the tiger, and against Surthan of Sirohi 979
The pregnant queen of Jaswant prevented from becoming Sati—Seven concubines and one Rani burn with him—The Chandravati Rani mounts the pyre at Mandor—General grief for the loss of Jaswant—Posthumous birth of Ajit—Jaswant’s family and contingent return from Kabul to Marwar—Intercepted by Aurangzeb, who demands the surrender of the infant Ajit—The chiefs destroy the females and defend themselves—Preservation of the infant prince—The Indhas take Mandor—Expelled—Aurangzeb invades Marwar, takes and plunders Jodhpur, and sacks all the large towns—Destroys the Hindu temples, and commands the conversion of the Rathor race—Impolicy of the measure—Establishes the Jizya, or tax on infidels—The Rathors and Sesodias unite against the king—Events of the war from the Chronicle—The Mertia clan oppose the entire royal army, but are cut to pieces—The combined Rajputs fight the Imperialists at Nadol—Bhim, the son of the Rana, slain—Prince Akbar disapproves the war against the Rajputs—Makes overtures—Coalition—The Rajputs declare Akbar emperor—Treachery and death of Tahawwur Khan—Akbar escapes, and claims protection from the Rajputs—Durga conducts Prince Akbar to the Deccan—Soning, brother of Durga, leads the Rathors—Conflict at Jodhpur—Affair at Sojat—The cholera morbus appears—Aurangzeb offers peace—The conditions accepted by Soning—Soning’s death—Aurangzeb annuls the treaty—Prince Azam left to carry on the war—Muslim garrisons throughout Marwar—The Rathors take post in the Aravalli hills—Numerous encounters—Affairs of Sojat—Charai—Jaitaran—Renpur—Pali—Immense sacrifice of lives—The Bhattis join the Rathors—The Mertia chief assassinated during a truce—Further encounters—Siwana assaulted—The Muslim garrison put to the sword—Nur Ali abducts the Asani damsels—Is pursued and killed—Muslim garrison of Sambhar destroyed—Jalor capitulates to the Rajputs 990
The clans petition to see the young Raja—Durjan Sal of Kotah joins the Rathor cause—They proceed to Abu—Are introduced to Ajit, who is conveyed to Awa, and makes a tour to all the chieftainships—Consternation of Aurangzeb—He sets up a pretender to Jodhpur—The Rathors and Haras drive the Imperialists from Marwar—They carry the war abroad—Storm of Pur Mandal—The Hara prince slain—Durgadas returns from the Deccan—Defeats Safi Khan, governor of Ajmer, who is disgraced by the king—Safi Khan attempts to circumvent Ajit by negotiation—His failure and disgrace—Rebellion in Mewar—The Rathors support the Rana—Aurangzeb negotiates for the daughter of Prince Akbar left in Marwar—Ajit again driven for refuge into the hills—Affair at Bijapur—Success of the Rathors—Aurangzeb’s apprehension for his granddaughter—The Rana sends the coco-nut to Ajit, who proceeds to Udaipur, and marries the Rana’s niece—Negotiations for peace renewed—Terminate—The surrender of the princess—Jodhpur restored—Magnanimity of Durgadas—Ajit takes possession—Ajit again driven from his capital—Afflictions of the Hindu race—A son born to Ajit, named Abhai Singh—His horoscope—Battle of Dunara—The viceroy of Lahore passes through Marwar to Gujarat—Death of Aurangzeb—Diffuses joy—Ajit attacks Jodhpur—Capitulation—Dispersion and massacre of the king’s troops—Ajit resumes his dominions—Azam, with the title of Bahadur Shah, mounts the throne—Battle of Agra—The king prepares to invade Marwar—Arrives at Ajmer—Proceeds to Bhavi Bilara—Sends an embassy to Ajit, who repairs to the imperial camp—Reception—Treacherous conduct of the emperor—Jodhpur surprised—Ajit forced to accompany the emperor to the Deccan—Discontent of the Rajas—They abandon the king, and join Rana Amra at Udaipur—Triple alliance—Ajit appears before Jodhpur, which capitulates on honourable terms—Ajit undertakes to replace Raja Jai Singh on the gaddi of Amber—Battle of Sambhar, Ajit victorious—Amber abandoned to Jai Singh—Ajit attacks Bikaner—Redeems Nagor—The Rajas threatened by the king—Again unite—The king repairs to Ajmer—The Rajas join him—Receive farmans for their dominions—Ajit makes a pilgrimage to Kurukshetra—Reflections on the thirty years’ war waged by the Rathors against the empire for independence—Eulogium on Durgadas 1007
xviAjit commanded to reduce Nahan and the rebels of the Siwalik mountains—The emperor dies—Civil wars—Ajit nominated viceroy of Gujarat—Ajit commanded to send his son to court—Daring attack on the chief of Nagor, who is slain—Retaliated—The king’s army invades Marwar—Jodhpur invested—Terms—Abhai Singh sent to court—Ajit proceeds to Delhi—Coalesces with the Sayyid ministry of the king—Gives a daughter in marriage to the emperor—Returns to Jodhpur—Repeal of the Jizya—Ajit proceeds to his viceroyalty of Gujarat—Settles the province—Worships at Dwarka—Returns to Jodhpur—The Sayyids summon him to court—The splendour of his train—Leagues with the Sayyids—The emperor visits Ajit—Portents—Husain Ali arrives from the Deccan—Consternation of the opponents of the Sayyids and Ajit—Ajit blockades the palace with his Rathors—The emperor put to death—Successors—Muhammad Shah—He marches against Amber—Its Raja claims sanctuary with Ajit—Obtains the grant of Ahmadabad—Returns to Jodhpur—Ajit unites his daughter to the prince of Amber—The Sayyids assassinated—Ajit warned of his danger—Seizes on Ajmer—Slays the governor—Destroys the mosques, and re-establishes the Hindu rites—Ajit declares his independence—Coins in his own name—Establishes weights and measures, and his own courts of justice—Fixes the gradations of rank amongst his chiefs—The Imperialists invade Marwar—Abhai Singh heads thirty thousand Rathors to oppose them—The king’s forces decline battle—The Rathors ravage the Imperial provinces—Abhai Singh obtains the surname of Dhonkal, or exterminator—Returns to Jodhpur—Battle of Sambhar—Ajit gives sanctuary to Churaman Jat, founder of Bharatpur—The emperor puts himself at the head of all his forces to avenge the defeat of Sambhar—Ajmer invested—Its defence—Ajit agrees to surrender Ajmer—Abhai Singh proceeds to the Imperial camp—His reception—His arrogant bearing—Murder of Ajit by his son—Infidelity of the bard—Blank leaf of the Raj Rupaka, indicative of this event—Extract from that chronicle—Funereal rites—Six queens and fifty-eight concubines determine to become Satis—Expostulations of the Nazir, bards, and purohits—They fail—Procession—Rite concluded—Reflections on Ajit’s life and history 1020
xviiThe parricidal murder of Ajit, the cause of the destruction of Marwar—The parricide, Abhai Singh, invested as Raja by the emperor’s own hand—He returns from court to Jodhpur—His reception—He distributes gifts to the bards and priests—The bards of Rajputana—Karna, the poetic historian of Marwar—Studies requisite to form a Bardai—Abhai Singh reduces Nagor—Bestows it in appanage upon his brother Bakhta—Reduces the turbulent allodialists—Commanded to court—Makes a tour of his domain—Seized by the small-pox—Reaches the court—Rebellion of the viceroy of Gujarat, and of Prince Jangali in the Deccan—Picture of the Mogul court at this time—The bira of foreign service against the rebels described—Refused by the assembled nobles—Accepted by the Rathor prince—He visits Ajmer, which he garrisons—Meeting at Pushkar with the Raja of Amber—Plan the destruction of the empire—At Merta is joined by his brother Bakhta Singh—Reaches Jodhpur—The Kher, or feudal levies of Marwar, assemble—Consecration of the guns—The Minas carry off the cattle of the train—Rajput contingents enumerated—Abhai reduces the Mina strongholds in Sirohi—The Sirohi prince submits, and gives a daughter in marriage as a peace-offering—The Sirohi contingent joins Abhai Singh—Proceeds against Ahmadabad—Summons the viceroy to surrender—Rajput council of war—Bakhta claims to lead the van—The Rathor prince sprinkles his chiefs with saffron water—Sarbuland’s plan of defence—His guns manned by Europeans—His bodyguard of European musketeers—The storm—Victory gained by the Rajputs—Surrender of Sarbuland—He is sent prisoner to the emperor—Abhai Singh governs Gujarat—Rajput contingents enumerated—Conclusion of the chronicles, the Raj Rupaka and Surya Prakas—Abhai Singh returns to Jodhpur—The spoils conveyed from Gujarat 1035
Mutual jealousies of the brothers—Abhai Singh dreads the military fame of Bakhta—His policy—Prompted by the bard Karna, who deserts Jodhpur for Nagor—Scheme laid by Bakhta to thwart his brother—Attack on Bikaner by Abhai Singh—Singular conduct of his chiefs, who afford supplies to the besieged—Bakhta’s scheme to embroil the Amber prince with his brother—His overture and advice to attack Jodhpur in the absence of his brother—Jai Singh of Amber—His reception of this advice, which is discussed and rejected in a full council of the nobles of Amber—The envoy of Bakhta obtains an audience of the prince of Amber—Attains his object—His insulting letter to Raja Abhai Singh—The latter’s laconic reply—Jai Singh calls out the Kher, or feudal army of Amber—Obtains foreign allies—One hundred thousand men muster under the walls of his capital—March to the Marwar frontier—Abhai Singh raises the siege of Bikaner—Bakhta’s strange conduct—Swears his vassals—Marches with his personal retainers only to combat the host of Amber—Battle of Gangwana—Desperate onset of Bakhta Singh—Destruction of his band—With sixty men charges the Amber prince, who avoids him—Eulogy of Bakhta by the Amber bards—Karna the bard prevents a third charge—Bakhta’s distress at the loss of his men—The Rana mediates a peace—Bakhta loses his tutelary divinity—Restored by the Amber prince—Death of Abhai Singh—Anecdotes illustrating his character 1047
xviiiCHAPTER 12
Ram Singh succeeds—His impetuosity of temper—His uncle, Bakhta Singh, absents himself from the rite of inauguration—Sends his nurse as proxy—Construed by Ram Singh as an insult—He resents it, and resumes the fief of Jalor—Confidant of Ram Singh—The latter insults the chief of the Champawats, who withdraws from the court—His interview with the chief bard—Joins Bakhta Singh—The chief bard gives his suffrage to Bakhta—Civil war—Battle of Merta—Ram Singh defeated—Bakhta Singh assumes the sovereignty—The Bagri chieftain girds him with the sword—Fidelity of the Purohit to the ex-prince, Ram Singh—He proceeds to the Deccan to obtain aid of the Mahrattas—Poetical correspondence between Raja Bakhta and the Purohit—Qualities, mental and personal, of Bakhta—The Mahrattas threaten Marwar—All the clans unite round Bakhta—He advances to give battle—Refused by the Mahrattas—He takes post at the pass of Ajmer—Poisoned by the queen of Amber—Bakhta’s character—Reflections on the Rajput character—Contrasted with that of the European nobles in the dark ages—Judgment of the bards on crimes—Improvised stanza on the princes of Jodhpur and Amber—Anathema of the Sati, wife of Ajit—Its fulfilment—Opinions of the Rajput on such inspirations 1054
xixAccession of Bijai Singh—Receives at Merta the homage of his chiefs—Proceeds to the capital—The ex-prince Ram Singh forms a treaty with the Mahrattas and the Kachhwahas—Junction of the confederates—Bijai Singh assembles the clans on the plains of Merta—Summoned to surrender the gaddi—His reply—Battle—Bijai Singh defeated—Destruction of the Rathor Cuirassiers—Ruse de guerre—Bijai Singh left alone—His flight—Eulogies of the bard—Fortresses surrender to Ram Singh—Assassination of the Mahratta commander—Compensation for the murder—Ajmer surrendered—Tribute or Chauth established—Mahrattas abandon the cause of Ram Singh—Couplet commemorative of this event—Cenotaph to Jai Apa—Ram Singh dies—His character—Anarchy reigns in Marwar—The Rathor oligarchy—Laws of adoption in the case of Pokaran fief—Insolence of its chief to his prince, who entertains mercenaries—This innovation accelerates the decay of feudal principles—The Raja plans the diminution of the aristocracy—The nobles confederate—Gordhan Khichi—His advice to the prince—Humiliating treaty between the Raja and his vassals—Mercenaries disbanded—Death of the prince’s Guru or priest—His prophetic words—Kiryakarma or funeral rites, made the expedient to entrap the chiefs, who are condemned to death—Intrepid conduct of Devi Singh of Pokaran—His last words—Reflections on their defective system of government—Sacrifice of the law of primogeniture—Its consequences—Sabhal Singh arms to avenge his father’s death—Is slain—Power of the nobles checked—They are led against the robbers of the desert—Umarkot seized from Sind—Godwar taken from Mewar—Marwar and Jaipur unite against the Mahrattas, who are defeated at Tonga—De Boigne’s first appearance—Ajmer recovered by the Rathors—Battles of Patan and Merta—Ajmer surrenders—Suicide of the governor—Bijai Singh’s concubine adopts Man Singh—Her insolence alienates the nobles, who plan the deposal of the Raja—Murder of the concubine—Bijai Singh dies 1060
xxRaja Bhim seizes upon the gaddi—Discomfiture of his competitor, Zalim Singh—Bhim destroys all the other claimants to succession, excepting Man Singh—Blockaded in Jalor—Sallies from the garrison for supplies—Prince Man heads one of them—Incurs the risk of capture—Is preserved by the Ahor chief; Raja Bhim offends his nobles—They abandon Marwar—The fief of Nimaj attacked—Jalor reduced to the point of surrender—Sudden and critical death of Raja Bhim—Its probable cause—The Vaidyas, or ‘cunning-men,’ who surround the prince—Accession of Raja Man—Rebellion of Sawai Singh of Pokaran—Conspiracy of Chopasni—Declaration of the pregnancy of a queen of Raja Bhim—Convention with Raja Man—Posthumous births—Their evil consequences in Rajwara—A child born—Sent off by stealth to Pokaran, and its birth kept a secret—Named Dhonkal—Raja Man evinces indiscreet partialities—Alienates the Champawats—Birth of the posthumous son of Raja Bhim promulgated—The chiefs call on Raja Man to fulfil the terms of the convention—The mother disclaims the child—The Pokaran chief sends the infant Dhonkal to the sanctuary of Abhai Singh of Khetri—Sawai opens his underplot—Embroils Raja Man with the courts of Amber and Mewar—He carries the pretender Dhonkal to Jaipur—Acknowledged and proclaimed as Raja of Marwar—The majority of the chiefs support the pretender—The Bikaner prince espouses his cause—Armies called in the field—Baseness of Holkar, who deserts Raja Man—The armies approach—Raja Man’s chiefs abandon him—He attempts suicide—Is persuaded to fly—He gains Jodhpur—Prepares for defence—Becomes suspicious of all his kin—Refuses them the honour of defending the castle—They join the allies, who invest Jodhpur—The city taken and plundered—Distress of the besiegers—Amir Khan’s conduct causes a division—His flight from Marwar—Pursued by the Jaipur commander—Battle—Jaipur force destroyed, and the city invested—Dismay of the Raja—Breaks up the siege of Jodhpur—Pays £200,000 for a safe passage to Jaipur—The spoils of Jodhpur intercepted by the Rathors, and wrested from the Kachhwahas—Amir Khan formally accepts service with Raja Man, and repairs to Jodhpur with the four Rathor chiefs 1077
Amir Khan’s reception at Jodhpur—Engages to extirpate Sawai’s faction—Interchanges turbans with the Raja—The Khan repairs to Nagor—Interview with Sawai—Swears to support the Pretender—Massacre of the Rajput chiefs—Pretender flies—The Khan plunders Nagor—Receives £100,000 from Raja Man—Jaipur overrun—Bikaner attacked—Amir Khan obtains the ascendancy in Marwar—Garrisons Nagor with his Pathans—Partitions lands amongst his chiefs—Commands the salt lakes of Nawa and Sambhar—The minister Induraj and high priest Deonath assassinated—Raja Man’s reason affected—His seclusion—Abdication in favour of his son Chhattar Singh—He falls the victim of illicit pursuits—Madness of Raja Man increased—Its causes—Suspicions of the Raja having sacrificed Induraj—The oligarchy, headed by Salim Singh of Pokaran, son of Sawai, assumes the charge of the government—Epoch of British universal supremacy—Treaty with Marwar framed during the regency of Chhattar Singh—The oligarchy, on his death, offer the gaddi of Marwar to the house of Idar—Rejected—Reasons—Raja Man entreated to resume the reins of power—Evidence that his madness was feigned—The Raja dissatisfied with certain stipulations of the treaty—A British officer sent to Jodhpur—Akhai Chand chief of the civil administration—Salim Singh of Pokaran chief minister—Opposition led by Fateh Raj—British troops offered to be placed at the Raja’s disposal—Offer rejected—Reasons—British Agent returns to Ajmer—Permanent Agent appointed to the court of Raja Man—Arrives at Jodhpur—Condition of the capital—Interview’s with the Raja—Objects to be attained described—Agent leaves Jodhpur—General sequestrations of the fiefs—Raja Man apparently relapses into his old apathy—His deep dissimulation—Circumvents and seizes the faction—Their wealth sequestrated—Their ignominious death—Immense resources derived from sequestrations—Raja Man’s thirst for blood—Fails to entrap the chiefs—The Nimaj chief attacked—His gallant defence—Slain—The Pokaran chief escapes—Fateh Raj becomes minister—Raja Man’s speech to him—Nimaj attacked—Surrender—Raja Man’s infamous violation of his pledge—Noble conduct of the mercenary commander—Voluntary exile of the whole aristocracy of Marwar—Received by the neighbouring princes—Man’s gross ingratitude to Anar Singh—The exiled chiefs apply to the British Government, which refuses to mediate—Raja Man loses the opportunity of fixing the constitution of Marwar—Reflections 1089
Extent and population of Marwar—Classification of inhabitants—Jats—Rajputs, sacerdotal, commercial, and servile tribes—Soil—Agricultural products—Natural productions—Salt lakes—Marble and limestone quarries—Tin, lead, and iron mines—Alum—Manufactures—Commercial marts—Transit trade—Pali, the emporium of Western India—Mercantile classes—Khadataras and Oswals—Kitars, or caravans—Imports and exports enumerated—Charans, the guardians of the caravans—Commercial decline—Causes—Opium monopoly—Fairs of Mundwa and Balotra—Administration of justice—Punishments—Raja Bijai Singh’s clemency to prisoners, who are maintained by private charity—Gaol deliveries on eclipses, births, and accession of princes—Sagun, or ordeals: fire, water, burning oil—Panchayats—Fiscal revenues and regulations—Batai, or corn-rent—Shahnahs and Kanwaris—Taxes—Anga, or capitation tax—Ghaswali, or pasturage—Kewari, or door tax; how originated—Sair, or imposts; their amount—Dhanis, or collectors—Revenues from the salt-lakes—Tandas, or caravans engaged in this trade—Aggregate revenues—Military resources—Mercenaries—Feudal quotas—Schedule of feoffs—Qualification of a cavalier 1104
xxiiOrigin of the State of Bikaner—Bika, the founder—Condition of the aboriginal Jats or Getes—The number and extensive diffusion of this Scythic race, still a majority of the peasantry in Western Rajputana, and perhaps in Northern India—Their pursuits pastoral, their government patriarchal, their religion of a mixed kind—List of the Jat cantons of Bikaner at the irruption of Bika—Causes of the success of Bika—Voluntary surrender of the supremacy of the Jat elders to Bika—Conditions—Characteristic of the Getic people throughout India—Proofs—Invasion of the Johyas by Bika and his Jat subjects—Account of the Johyas—Conquered by Bika—He wrests Bagor from the Bhattis, and founds Bikaner, the capital, A.D. 1489—His uncle Kandhal makes conquests to the north—Death of Bika—His son Nunkaran succeeds—Makes conquests from the Bhattis—His son Jeth succeeds—Enlarges the power of Bikaner—Rae Singh succeeds—The Jats of Bikaner lose their liberties—The State rises to importance—Rae Singh’s connexion with Akbar—His honours and power—The Johyas revolt and are exterminated—Traditions of Alexander the Great amongst the ruins of the Johyas—Examined—The Punia Jats vanquished by Ram Singh the Raja’s brother—Their subjection imperfect—Rae Singh’s daughter weds Prince Salim, afterwards Jahangir—Rae Singh succeeded by his son Karan—The three eldest sons of Karan fall in the imperial service—Anup Singh, the youngest, succeeds—Quells a rebellion in Kabul—His death uncertain—Sarup Singh succeeds—He is killed—Shujawan Singh, Zorawar Singh, Gaj Singh, and Raj Singh succeed—The latter poisoned by his brother by another mother, who usurps the throne, though opposed by the chiefs—He murders the rightful heir, his nephew—Civil war—Muster-roll of the chiefs—The usurper attacks Jodhpur—Present state of Bikaner—Account of Bidavati 1123
Actual condition and capabilities of Bikaner—Causes of its deterioration—Extent—Population—Jats—Sarasvati Brahmans—Charans—Malis and Nais—Chuhras and Thoris—Rajputs—Face of the country—Grain and vegetable productions—Implements of husbandry—Water—Salt lakes—Local physiography—Mineral productions—Unctuous clay—Animal productions—Commerce and manufactures—Fairs—Government and revenues—The fisc—Dhuan, or hearth-tax—Anga, or capitation-tax—Sair, or imposts—Paseti, or plough-tax—Malba, or ancient land-tax—Extraordinary and irregular resources—Feudal levies—Household troops 1145
Bhatner, its origin and denomination—Historical celebrity of the Jats of Bhatner—Emigration of Bersi—Succeeded by Bhairon—Embraces Islamism—Rao Dalich—Husain Khan, Husain Mahmud, Imam Mahmud, and Bahadur Khan—Zabita Khan, the present ruler—Condition of the country—Changes in its physical aspect—Ruins of ancient buildings—Promising scene for archaeological inquiries—Zoological and botanical curiosities—List of the ancient towns—Relics of the arrow-head character found in the desert 1163
Jaisalmer—The derivation of its name—The Rajputs of Jaisalmer called Bhattis, are of the Yadu race—Descended from Bharat, king of Bharatavarsha, or Indo-Scythia—Restricted bounds of India of modern invention—The ancient Hindus a naval people—First seats of the Yadus in India, Prayaga, Mathura, and Dwarka—Their international wars—Hari, king of Mathura and Dwarka, leader of the Yadus—Dispersion of his family—His great-grandsons Nabha and Khira—Nabha driven from Dwarka, becomes prince of Marusthali, conjectured to be the Maru, or Merv, of Iran—Jareja and Judbhan, the sons of Khira—The former founds the Sindsamma dynasty, and Judbhan becomes prince of Bahra in the Panjab—Prithibahu succeeds to Nabha in Maru—His son Bahu—His posterity—Raja Gaj founds Gajni—Attacked by the kings of Syria and Khorasan, who are repulsed—Raja Gaj attacks Kashmir—His marriage—Second invasion from Khorasan—The Syrian king conjectured to be Antiochus—Oracle predicts the loss of Gajni—Gaj slain—Gajni taken—Prince Salbahan arrives in the Panjab—Founds the city of Salbahana, S. 72—Conquers the Panjab—Marries the daughter of Jaipal Tuar of Delhi—Reconquers Gajni—Is succeeded by Baland—His numerous offspring—Their conquests—Conjecture regarding the Jadon tribe of Yusufzai, that the Afghans are Yadus, not Yahudis, or Jews—Baland resides at Salbahana—Assigns Gajni to his grandson Chakito, who becomes a convert to Islam and king of Khorasan—The Chakito Mongols descended from him—Baland dies—His son Bhatti succeeds—Changes the patronymic of Yadu, or Jadon, to Bhatti—Succeeded by Mangal Rao—His brother Masur Rao and sons cross the Gara and take possession of the Lakhi jungle—Degradation of the sons of Mangal Rao—They lose their rank as Rajputs—Their offspring styled Aboharias and Jats—Tribe of Tak—The capital of Taxiles discovered—Mangal Rao arrives in the Indian desert—Its tribes—His son, Majam Rao, marries a princess of Umarkot—His son Kehar—Alliance with the Deora of Jalor—The foundation of Tanot laid—Kehar succeeds—Tanot attacked by the Baraha tribe—Tanot completed, S. 787—Peace with the Barahas—Reflections 1169
xxivRao Kehar, contemporary of the Caliph Al Walid—His offspring become heads of tribes—Kehar, the first who extended his conquests to the plains—He is slain—Tano succeeds—He assails the Barahas and Langahas—Tanot invested by the prince of Multan, who is defeated—Rao Tano espouses the daughter of the Buta chief—His progeny—Tano finds a concealed treasure—Erects the castle of Bijnot—Tano dies—Succeeded by Bijai Rae—He assails the Baraha tribe, who conspire with the Langahas to attack the Bhatti prince—Treacherous massacre of Bijai Rae and his kindred—Deoraj saved by a Brahman—Tanot taken—Inhabitants put to the sword—Deoraj joins his mother in Butaban—Erects Derawar, which is assailed by the Buta chief, who is circumvented and put to death by Deoraj—The Bhatti prince is visited by a Jogi, whose disciple he becomes—Title changed from Rao to Rawal—Deoraj massacres the Langahas, who acknowledge his supremacy—Account of the Langaha tribe—Deoraj conquers Lodorva, capital of the Lodra Rajputs—Avenges an insult of the prince of Dhar—Singular trait of patriotic devotion—Assaults Dhar—Returns to Lodorva—Excavates lakes in Khadal—Assassinated—Succeeded by Rawal Mund, who revenges his father’s death—His son Bachera espouses the daughter of Balabhsen, of Patan Anhilwara—Contemporaries of Mahmud of Ghazni—Captures a caravan of horses—The Pahu Bhattis conquer Pugal from the Johyas—Dusaj, son of Bachera, attacks the Khichis—Proceeds with his three brothers to the land of Kher, where they espouse the Guhilot chief’s daughters—Important synchronisms—Bachera dies—Dusaj succeeds—Attacked by the Sodha prince Hamir, in whose reign the Ghaggar ceased to flow through the desert—Traditional couplet—Sons of Dusaj—The youngest, Lanja Bijairae, marries the daughter of Siddhraj Solanki, king of Anhilwara—The other sons of Dusaj, Jaisal, and Bijairae—Bhojdeo, son of Lanja Bijairae, becomes lord of Lodorva on the death of Dusaj—Jaisal conspires against his nephew Bhojdeo—Solicits aid from the Sultan of Ghor, whom he joins at Aror—Swears allegiance to the Sultan—Obtains his aid to dispossess Bhojdeo—Lodorva attacked and plundered—Bhojdeo slain—Jaisal becomes Rawal of the Bhattis—Abandons Lodorva as too exposed—Discovers a site for a new capital—Prophetic inscription on the Brahmsarkund, or fountain—Founds Jaisalmer—Jaisal dies, and is succeeded by Salbahan II. 1190
xxvPreliminary observations—The early history of the Bhattis not devoid of interest—Traces of their ancient manners and religion—The chronicle resumed—Jaisal survives the change of capital twelve years—The heir of Kailan banished—Salbahan, his younger brother, succeeds—Expedition against the Kathi—Their supposed origin—Application from the Yadu prince of Badarinath for a prince to fill the vacant gaddi—During Salbahan’s absence his son Bijal usurps the gaddi—Salbahan retires to Khadal, and falls in battle against the Baloch—Bijal commits suicide—Kailan recalled and placed on the gaddi—His issue form clans—Khizr Khan Baloch again invades Khadal—Kailan attacks him, and avenges his father’s death—Death of Kailan—Succeeded by Chachak Deo—He expels the Chana Rajputs—Defeats the Sodhas of Umarkot—The Rathors lately arrived in the desert become troublesome—Important synchronisms—Death of Chachak—He is succeeded by his grandson Karan, to the prejudice of the elder, Jethsi, who leaves Jaisalmer—Redresses the wrongs of a Baraha Rajput—Karan dies—Succeeded by Lakhansen—His imbecile character—Replaced by his son Punpal, who is dethroned and banished—His grandson, Raningdeo, establishes himself at Marot and Pugal—On the deposal of Punpal, Jethsi is recalled and placed on the gaddi—He affords a refuge to the Parihar prince of Mandor, when attacked by Alau-d-din—The sons of Jethsi carry off the imperial tribute of Tatta and Multan—The king determines to invade Jaisalmer—Jethsi and his sons prepare for the storm—Jaisalmer invested—First assault repulsed—The Bhattis keep an army in the field—Rawal Jethsi dies—The siege continues—Singular friendship between his son Ratan and one of the besieging generals—Mulraj succeeds—General assault—Again defeated—Garrison reduced to great extremity—Council of war—Determination to perform the sakha—Generous conduct of the Muhammadan friend of Ratan to his sons—Final assault—Rawal Mulraj and Ratan and their chief kin fall in battle—Jaisalmer taken, dismantled, and abandoned 1206
xxviThe Rathors of Mewa settle amidst the ruins of Jaisalmer—Driven out by the Bhatti chieftain Dudu, who is elected Rawal—He carries off the stud of Firoz Shah—Second storm and sakha of Jaisalmer—Dudu slain—Moghul invasion of India—The Bhatti princes obtain their liberty—Rawal Gharsi re-establishes Jaisalmer—Kehar, son of Deoraj—Disclosure of his destiny by a prodigy—Is adopted by the wife of Rawal Gharsi, who is assassinated by the tribe of Jaisar—Kehar proclaimed—Bimaladevi becomes sati—The succession entailed on the sons of Hamir—Matrimonial overture to Jetha from Mewar—Engagement broken off—The brothers slain—Penitential act of Rao Raning—Offspring of Kehar—Soma the elder departs with his basai and settles at Girab—Sons of Rao Raning become Muslims to avenge their father’s death—Consequent forfeiture of their inheritance—They mix with the Aboharia Bhattis—Kailan, the third son of Kehar, settles in the forfeited lands—Drives the Dahyas from Khadal—Kailan erects the fortress of Kara on the Bias or Gara—Assailed by the Johyas and Langahas under Amir Khan Korai, who is defeated—Subdues the Chahils and Mohils—Extends his authority to the Panjnad—Rao Kailan marries into the Samma family—Account of the Samma race—He seizes on the Samma dominions—Makes the river Indus his boundary—Kailan dies—Succeeded by Chachak—Makes Marot his headquarters—League headed by the chief of Multan against Chachak, who invades that territory, and returns with a rich booty to Marot—A second victory—Leaves a garrison in the Panjab—Defeats Maipal, chief of the Dhundis—Asini-, or Aswini-Kot—Its supposed position—Anecdote—Feud with Satalmer—Its consequences—Alliance with Haibat Khan—Rao Chachak invades Pilibanga—The Khokhars or Ghakkars described—The Langahas drive his garrison from Dhuniapur—Rao Chachak falls sick—Challenges the prince of Multan—Reaches Dhuniapur—Rites preparatory to the combat—Worship of the sword—Chachak is slain with all his bands—Kumbha, hitherto insane, avenges his father’s feud—Birsal re-establishes Dhuniapur—Repairs to Kahror—Assailed by the Langahas and Baloch—Defeats them—Chronicle of Jaisalmer resumed—Rawal Bersi meets Rao Birsal on his return from his expedition in the Panjab—Conquest of Multan by Babur—Probable conversion of the Bhattis of the Panjab—Rawal Bersi, Jeth, Nunkaran, Bhim, Manohardas, and Sabal Singh, six generations 1215
xxviiJaisalmer becomes a fief of the empire—Changes in the succession—Sabal Singh serves with the Bhatti contingent—His services obtain him the gaddi of Jaisalmer—Boundaries of Jaisalmer at the period of Babur’s invasion—Sabal succeeded by his son, Amra Singh, who leads the tika-daur into the Baloch territory—Crowned on the field of victory—Demands a relief from his subjects to portion his daughter—Puts a chief to death who refuses—Revolt of the Chana Rajputs—The Bhatti chiefs retaliate the inroads of the Rathors of Bikaner—Origin of frontier-feuds—Bhattis gain a victory—The princes of Jaisalmer and Bikaner are involved in the feuds of their vassals—Raja Anup Singh calls on all his chiefs to revenge the disgrace—Invasion of Jaisalmer—The invaders defeated—The Rawal recovers Pugal—Makes Barmer tributary—Amra dies—Succeeded by Jaswant—The chronicle closes—Decline of Jaisalmer—Pugal—Barmer—Phalodi wrested from her by the Rathors—Importance of these transactions to the British Government—Khadal to the Gara seized by the Daudputras—Akhai Singh succeeds—His uncle, Tej Singh, usurps the government—The usurper assassinated during the ceremony of Las—Akhai Singh recovers the gaddi—Reigns forty years—Bahawal Khan seizes on Khadal—Rawal Mulraj—Sarup Singh Mehta made minister—His hatred of the Bhatti nobles—Conspiracy against him by the heir-apparent, Rae Singh—Deposal and confinement of the Rawal—The prince proclaimed—Refuses to occupy the gaddi—Mulraj emancipated by a Rajputni—Resumption of the gaddi—The prince Rae Singh receives the black khilat of banishment—Retires to Jodhpur—Outlawry of the Bhatti nobles—Their lands sequestrated and castles destroyed—After twelve years restored to their lands—Rae Singh decapitates a merchant—Returns to Jaisalmer—Sent to the fortress of Dewa—Salim Singh becomes minister—His character—Falls into the hands of his enemies, but is saved by the magnanimity of Zorawar Singh—Plans his destruction, through his own brother’s wife—Zorawar is poisoned—The Mehta then assassinates her and her husband—Fires the castle of Dewa—Rae Singh burnt to death—Murder of his sons—The minister proclaims Gaj Singh—Younger sons of Mulraj fly to Bikaner—The longest reigns in the Rajput annals are during ministerial usurpation—Retrospective view of the Bhatti history—Reflections 1225
Rawal Mulraj enters into treaty with the English—The Raja dies—His grandson, Gaj Singh, proclaimed—He becomes a mere puppet in the minister’s hands—Third article of the treaty—Inequality of the alliance—Its importance to Jaisalmer—Consequences to be apprehended by the British Government—Dangers attending the enlarging the circle of our political connexions—Importance of Jaisalmer in the event of Russian invasion—British occupation of the valley of the Indus considered—Salim Singh’s administration resumed—His rapacity and tyranny increase—Wishes his office to be hereditary—Report of the British Agent to his Government—Paliwals self-exiled—Bankers’ families kept as hostages—Revenues arising from confiscation—Wealth of the minister—Border feud detailed to exemplify the interference of the paramount power—The Maldots of Baru—Their history—Nearly exterminated by the Rathors of Bikaner—Stimulated by the minister Salim Singh—Cause of this treachery—He calls for British interference—Granted—Result—Rawal Gaj Singh arrives at Udaipur—Marries the Rana’s daughter—Influence of this lady 1235
Geographical position of Jaisalmer—Its superficial area—List of its chief towns—Population—Jaisalmer chiefly desert—Magra, a rocky ridge, traced from Cutch—Sars, or salt-marshes—Kanod Sar—Soil—Productions—Husbandry—Manufactures—Commerce—Kitars, or caravans—Articles of trade—Revenues—Land and transit taxes—Dani, or Collector—Amount of land-tax exacted from the cultivator—Dhuan, or hearth-tax—Thali, or tax on food—Dand, or forced contribution—Citizens refuse to pay—Enormous wealth accumulated by the minister by extortion—Establishments—Expenditure—Tribes—Bhattis—Their moral estimation—Personal appearance and dress—Their predilection for opium and tobacco—Paliwals, their history—Numbers, wealth, employment—Curious rite or worship—Pali coins—Pokharna Brahmans—Title—Numbers—Singular typical worship—Race of Jat—Castle of Jaisalmer 1244


Portrait of Colonel James Tod Frontispiece
Kanhaiya and Rādha 630
Columns of Temples at Chandrāvati 670
Portraits of a Rājputni, a Rājput, a Gūsāīn, etc. 708
Valley of Udaipur 760
Citadel of the Hill Fortress of Kūmbhalmer 776
Jain Temple in the Fortress of Kūmbhalmer 780
Ruins in Kūmbhalmer 782
Koli and Bhīl; Chāran or Bard 788
Jāt Peasant of Mārwār. Rājput Foot Soldier of Mārwār 812
Town and Fort of Jodhpur 820
Rock Sculptures at Mandor; Chāmunda, Kankāli 842
Rock Sculptures at Mandor; Mallināth, Nāthji 844
Rock Sculptures at Mandor; Rāmdeo Rāthor, Pābuji, etc. 846
Rock Sculptures at Mandor; Gūga the Chauhān, Harbuji Sānkhla 848
Rock Sculptures at Mandor; Mehaji Mangalia 850
Paiks of Mārwār 860
Durga Dās; Mahārāja Sher Singh of Rian 866
The Sacred Lake of Pushkar in Mārwār 892
Ancient Jain Temple at Ajmer 896
Fortress and Town of Ajmer 900
Castle of Bhinai 904
Source of the Berach River, and Hunting Seat of the Rāna 910
Bridge of Nūrābād 914
The late Mahārāja Sir Sumer Singh, of Jodhpur (b. 1901; d. 1918), and his brother, the present Mahārāja Ummed Singh (b. 1903) 928
Horoscope of Rāja Abhai Singh Page 1019

BOOK IV—Continued


Influence of the Priesthood.

—In all ages the ascendancy of the hierarchy is observable; it is a tribute paid to religion through her organs. Could the lavish endowments and extensive immunities of the various religious establishments in Rajasthan be assumed as criteria of the morality of the inhabitants, we should be authorized to assign them a high station in the scale of excellence. But they more frequently prove the reverse of their position; especially the territorial endowments, often the fruits of a death-bed repentance,[1] which, prompted by superstition or fear, compounds for past crimes by posthumous profusion, although vanity not rarely lends her powerful aid. There is scarcely a State in Rajputana in which one-fifth of the soil is not assigned for the support of the temples, their ministers, the secular Brahmans, bards, and [508] genealogists. But the evil was not always so extensive; the abuse is of modern growth.

Weighing of Princes against Gold.

—An anecdote related of the Rajas of Marwar and Amber, always rivals in war, love, and folly, 590will illustrate the motives of these dismemberments. During the annual pilgrimage to the sacred lake of Pushkar, it is the custom for these lords of the earth to weigh their persons against all that is rare, in gold, gems, and precious cloths; which are afterwards distributed to the priests.[2] The Amber chief had the advantage of a full treasury and a fertile soil, to which his rival could oppose a more extended sway over a braver race; but his country was proverbially poor, and at Pushkar, the weight of the purse ranks above the deeds of the sword. As these princes were suspended in the scale, the Amber Raja, who was balanced against the more costly material, indirectly taunted his brother-in-law on the poverty of his offerings, who would gladly, like the Roman, have made up the deficiency with his sword. But the Marwar prince had a minister of tact, at whose suggestion he challenged his rival (of Amber) to equal him in the magnitude of his gift to the Brahmans. On the gage being accepted, the Rathor exclaimed, “Perpetual charity (sasan)[3] of all the lands held by the Brahmans in Marwar!” His unreflecting rival had commenced the redemption of his pledge, when his minister stopped the half-uttered vow, which would have impoverished the family for ever; for there were ten Brahmans in Amber who followed secular employments, cultivating or holding lands in usufruct, to one in Marwar. Had these lords of the earth been left to their misguided vanity, the fisc of each state would have been seriously curtailed.

Grants to Brāhmans and Devotees.

—The Brahmans, Sannyasis, and Gosains are not behind those professional flatterers, the Bards; and many a princely name would have been forgotten but for the record of the gift of land. In Mewar, the lands in sasan, or religious grants, amount in value to one-fifth of the 591revenue of the State, and the greater proportion of these has arisen out of the prodigal mismanagement of the last century. The dilapidated state of the country, on the general pacification in A.D. 1818, afforded a noble opportunity to redeem in part these alienations, without the penalty of denunciation attached to the resumer of sacred charities. But death, famine, and exile, which had left but few of the grantees in a capacity to return and reoccupy the lands, in vain coalesced to restore the fisc of Mewar. The Rana dreaded a “sixty thousand [509] years’ residence in hell,” and some of the finest land of his country is doomed to remain unproductive. In this predicament is the township of Menal,[4] with 50,000 bighas (16,000 acres), which with the exception of a nook where some few have established themselves, claiming to be descendants of the original holders, are condemned to sterility, owing to the agricultural proprietors and the rent-receiving Brahmans being dead; and apathy united to superstition admits their claims without inquiry.

The antiquary, who has dipped into the records of the dark period in European church history, can have ocular illustration in Rajasthan of traditions which may in Europe appear questionable. The vision of the Bishop of Orleans,[5] who saw Charles Martel in the depths of hell, undergoing the tortures of the damned, for having stripped the churches of their possessions, “thereby rendering himself guilty of the sins of all those who had endowed them,” would receive implicit credence from every Hindu, whose ecclesiastical economy might both yield and derive illustration from a comparison, not only with that of Europe, but with the more ancient Egyptian and Jewish systems, whose endowments, as explained by Moses and Ezekiel, bear a strong analogy to his 592own. The disposition of landed property in Egypt, as amongst the ancient Hindus, was immemorially vested in the cultivator; and it was only through Joseph’s ministry in the famine that “the land became Pharaoh’s, as the Egyptians sold every man his field.”[6] And the coincidence is manifest even in the tax imposed on them as occupants of their inheritance, being one-fifth of the crops to the king, while the maximum rate among the Hindus is a sixth.[7] The Hindus also, in visitations such as that which occasioned the dispossession of the ryots of Egypt, can mortgage or sell their patrimony (bapota). Joseph did not attempt to infringe the privileges of the sacred order when the whole of Egypt became crown-land, “except the lands of the priests, which became not Pharaoh’s”; and these priests, according to Diodorus, held for themselves and the sacrifices no less than one-third of the lands of Egypt. But we learn from [510] Herodotus, that Sesostris, who ruled after Joseph’s ministry, restored the lands to the people, reserving the customary tax or tribute.[8]

The prelates of the middle ages of Europe were often completely feudal nobles, swearing fealty and paying homage as did the lay lords.[9] In Rajasthan, the sacerdotal caste not bound to the altar may hold lands and perform the duties of vassalage:[10] but of late years, when land has been assigned to religious establishments, no reservation has been made of fiscal rights, territorial or commercial. This is, however, an innovation; since, formerly, princes never granted, along with territorial assignments, the prerogative of dispensing justice, of levying transit duties, or exemption from personal service of the feudal tenant who held on the land thus assigned. Well may Rajput heirs exclaim with the grandson of Clovis, “our exchequer is impoverished, and our riches are transferred to the clergy.”[11] But Chilperic had the courage to recall the grants of his predecessors, which, however, the pious Gontram re-established. Many Gontrams could be found, though but few Chilperics, in Rajasthan: we have, indeed, 593one in Jograj,[12] the Rana’s ancestor, almost a contemporary of the Merovingian king, who not only resumed all the lands of the Brahmans, but put many of them to death, and expelled the rest his dominions.[13]

It may be doubted whether vanity and shame are not sufficient in themselves to prevent a resumption of the lands of the Mangtas or mendicants, as they style all those ‘who extend the palm,’ without the dreaded penalty, which operates very slightly on the sub-vassal or cultivator, who, having no superfluity, defies their anathemas when they attempt to wrest from him, by virtue of the crown-grant, any of his long-established rights. By these, the threat of impure transmigration is despised; and the Brahman may spill his blood on the threshold of his dwelling or in the field in dispute, which will be relinquished by the owner but with his life. The Pat Rani, or chief queen, on the death of Prince Amra, the heir-apparent, in 1818, bestowed a grant of fifteen bighas of land, in one of the central districts, on a Brahman who had assisted in the funeral rites of her son. With grant in hand [511], he hastened to the Jat proprietor, and desired him to make over to him the patch of land. The latter coolly replied that he would give him all the prince had a right to, namely the tax. The Brahman threatened to spill his own blood if he did not obey the command, and gave himself a gash in a limb; but the Jat was inflexible, and declared that he would not surrender his patrimony (bapota) even if he slew himself.[14] In short, the

594ryot of Mewar would reply, even to his sovereign, if he demanded his field, in the very words of Naboth to Ahab, king of Israel, when he demanded the vineyard contiguous to the palace: “The Lord forbid it me that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.”

Tithes, Temples.

—But the tithes, and other small and legally established rights of the hierarchy, are still religiously maintained. The village temple and the village priest are always objects of veneration to the industrious husbandman, on whom superstition acts more powerfully than on the bold marauding Rajput, who does not hesitate to demand salvamenta (rakhwali) from the lands of Kanhaiya or Eklinga. But the poor ryot of the nineteenth century of Vikrama has the same fears as the peasants of Charlemagne, who were made to believe that the ears of corn found empty had been devoured by infernal spirits, reported to have said they owed their feast to the non-payment of tithes.[15]

Political Influence of Brāhmans.

—The political influence of the Brahmans is frequently exemplified in cases alike prejudicial to the interests of society and the personal welfare of the sovereign. The latter is often surrounded by lay-Brahmans as confidential servants, in the capacities of butler, keeper of the wardrobe, or seneschal,[16] besides the Guru or domestic chaplain, who to the duty of ghostly comforter sometimes joins that of [512] astrologer 595and physician, in which case God help the prince![17] These Gurus and Purohits, having the education of the children, acquire immense influence, and are not backward in improving “the greatness thrust upon them.” They are all continually importuning their prince for grants of land for themselves and the shrines they are attached to; and every chief, as well as every influential domestic, takes advantage of ephemeral favour to increase the endowments of his tutelary divinity. The Peshwas of Satara are the most striking out of numerous examples.

In the dark ages of Europe the monks are said to have prostituted their knowledge of writing to the forging of charters in their own favour: a practice not easily detected in the days of ignorance.[18] The Brahmans, in like manner, do not scruple to employ this method of augmenting the wealth of their shrines; and superstition and indolence combine to support the deception 596There is not a doubt that the grand charter of Nathdwara was a forgery, in which the prince’s butler was bribed to aid; and report alleges that the Rana secretly favoured an artifice which regard to opinion prevented him from overtly promulgating. Although the copper-plate had been buried under ground, and came out disguised with a coating of verdigris, there were marks which proved the date of its execution to be false. I have seen charters which, it has been gravely asserted, were granted by Rama upwards of three thousand years ago! Such is the origin assigned to one found in a well at the ancient Brahmpuri, in the valley of the capital. If there be sceptics as to its validity, they are silent ones; and this copper-plate of the brazen age [513] is worth gold to the proprietor.[19] A census[20] of the three central districts of Mewar discovered that more than twenty thousand acres of these fertile lands, irrigated by the Berach and Banas rivers, were distributed in isolated portions, of which the mendicant castes had the chief share, and which proved fertile sources of dispute to the husbandman and the officers of the revenue. From the mass of title-deeds of every description by which these lands were held, one deserves to be selected, on account of its being pretended to have been written and bestowed on the incumbent’s ancestor by the deity upwards of three centuries ago, and which has been maintained as a bona-fide grant of Krishna[21] ever since. By such credulity and apathy are the Rajput States influenced: yet let the reader check any rising feeling of contempt for Hindu legislation, and cast a retrospective glance at the page of European church history, where he will observe in the time of the most potent of our monarchs that the clergy possessed one-half of the soil:[22] and the chronicles of France will show him Charlemagne on his death-bed, bequeathing two-thirds of his domains to the church, deeming the remaining third sufficient for the ambition of four sons. The same dread of futurity, and the hope to expiate the sins of a life, at its 597close, by gifts to the organs of religion, is the motive for these unwise alienations, whether in Europe or in Asia. Some of these establishments, and particularly that at Nathdwara, made a proper use of their revenues in keeping up the Sada-Brat, or perpetual charity, though it is chiefly distributed to religious pilgrims: but among the many complaints made of the misapplication of the funds, the diminution of this hospitable right is one; while, at other shrines, the avarice of the priests is observable in the coarseness of the food dressed for sacrifice and offering.

Tithes levied by Brāhmans.

—Besides the crown-grants to the greater establishments, the Brahmans received petty tithes from the agriculturist, and a small duty from the trader, as mapa or metage, throughout every township, corresponding with the scale of the village-chapel. An inscription found by the author at the town of Palod,[23] and dated nearly seven centuries back, affords a good specimen of the claims of the village [514] priesthood. The following are among the items. The serana, or a ser, in every maund, being the fortieth part of the grain of the unalu, or summer-harvest; the karpa, or a bundle from every sheaf of the autumnal crops, whether makai (Indian corn), bajra or juar (maize) [millet], or the other grains peculiar to that season.[24]

They also derive a tithe from the oil-mill and sugar-mill, and receive a kansa or platter of food on all rejoicings, as births, marriages, etc., with charai, or the right of pasturage on the village common; and where they have become possessed of landed property they have halma, or unpaid labour in man and beasts, and implements, for its culture: an exaction well known in Europe as one of the detested corvées of the feudal system of France,[25] the abolition of which was the sole boon the English husbandman obtained by the charter of Runymede. Both the chieftain and the priest exact halma in Rajasthan; but in that country it is mitigated, and abuse is prevented, by a sentiment unknown to the feudal despot of the middle ages of Europe, and 598which, though difficult to define, acts imperceptibly, having its source in accordance of belief, patriarchal manners, and clannish attachments.

Privileges of Saivas and Jains.

—I shall now briefly consider the privileges of the Saivas and Jains—the orthodox and heterodox sects of Mewar; and then proceed to those of Vishnu, whose worship is the most prevalent in these countries, and which I am inclined to regard as of more recent origin.

Worship of Siva.

—Mahadeva, or Iswara, is the tutelary divinity of the Rajputs in Mewar; and from the early annals of the dynasty appears to have been, with his consort Isani, the sole object of Guhilot adoration. Iswara is adored under the epithet of Eklinga,[26] and is either worshipped in his monolithic symbol, or as Iswara Chaumukhi, the quadriform divinity, represented by a bust with four faces. The sacred bull, Nandi, has his altar attached to all the shrines of Iswara, as was that of Mneves or Apis to those of the Egyptian Osiris. Nandi has occasionally his separate shrines, and there is one in the valley of Udaipur which has the reputation of being oracular as regards the seasons. The bull was the steed of Iswara, and [515] carried him in battle; he is often represented upon it, with his consort Isani, at full speed. I will not stop to inquire whether the Grecian fable of the rape of Europa[27] by the tauriform Jupiter may not be derived, with much more of their mythology, from the Hindu pantheon; whether that pantheon was originally erected on the Indus, or 599the Ganges, or the more central scene of early civilization, the banks of the Oxus. The bull was offered to Mithras by the Persian, and opposed as it now appears to Hindu faith, he formerly bled on the altars of the Sun-god, on which not only the Baldan,[28] ‘offering of the bull,’ was made, but human sacrifices.[29] We do not learn that the Egyptian priesthood presented the kindred of Apis to Osiris, but as they were not prohibited from eating beef, they may have done so.

The Temple of Eklinga.

—The shrine of Eklinga is situated in a defile about six [twelve] miles north of Udaipur. The hills towering around it on all sides are of the primitive formation, and their scarped summits are clustered with honeycombs.[30] There are abundant small springs of water, which keep verdant numerous shrubs, the flowers of which are acceptable to the deity; especially the kaner or oleander, which grows in great 600luxuriance on the Aravalli. Groves of bamboo and mango were formerly common, according to tradition; but although it is deemed sacrilege to thin the groves of Bal,[31] the bamboo has been nearly destroyed: there are, however, still many trees sacred to the deity scattered around. It would be difficult to convey a just [516] idea of a temple so complicated in its details. It is of the form commonly styled pagoda, and, like all the ancient temples of Siva, its sikhara, or pinnacle, is pyramidal. The various orders of Hindu sacred architecture are distinguished by the form of the sikhara, which is the portion springing from and surmounting the perpendicular walls of the body of the temple. The sikhara of those of Siva is invariably pyramidal, and its sides vary with the base, whether square or oblong. The apex is crowned with an ornamental figure, as a sphinx, an urn, a ball, or a lion, which is called the kalas. When the sikhara is but the frustum of a pyramid, it is often surmounted by a row of lions, as at Bijolia. The fane of Eklinga is of white marble and of ample dimensions. Under an open-vaulted temple supported by columns, and fronting the four-faced divinity, is the brazen bull Nandi, of the natural size; it is cast, and of excellent proportions. The figure is perfect, except where the shot or hammer of an infidel invader has penetrated its hollow flank in search of treasure. Within the quadrangle are miniature shrines, containing some of the minor divinities.[32] The high-priest of Eklinga, like all his order, is doomed to celibacy, and 601the office is continued by adopted disciples. Of such spiritual descents they calculate sixty-four since the Sage Harita, whose benediction obtained for the Guhilot Rajput the sovereignty of Chitor, when driven from Saurashtra by the Parthians.

The priests of Eklinga are termed Gosain or Goswami, which signifies ‘control over the senses’! The distinguishing mark of the faith of Siva is the crescent on the forehead:[33] the hair is braided and forms a tiara round the head, and with its folds a chaplet of the lotus-seed is often entwined. They smear the body with ashes, and use garments dyed of an orange hue. They bury their dead in a sitting [517] posture, and erect tumuli over them, which are generally conical in form.[34] It is not uncommon for priestesses to officiate in the temple of Siva. There is a numerous class of Gosains who have adopted celibacy, and who yet follow secular employments both in commerce and arms. The mercantile Gosains[35] are amongst the richest individuals in India, and there are several at Udaipur who enjoy high favour, and who were found very useful when the Mahrattas demanded a war-contribution, as their privileged character did not prevent their being offered and taken as hostages for its payment. The Gosains who profess arms, partake of the character of the knights of St. John of Jerusalem. They live in monasteries scattered over the country, possess lands, and beg, or serve for pay when called upon. As defensive soldiers, they are good. Siva, their patron, is the god of war, and like him they make great use of intoxicating herbs, and even of spirituous liquors. In Mewar they can always muster many hundreds of the Kanphara[36] Jogi, or ‘split-ear ascetics,’ so called from the habit of piercing the ear and placing therein a ring of the conch-shell, which is their battle-trumpet. 602Both Brahmans and Rajputs, and even Gujars, can belong to this order, a particular account of whose internal discipline and economy could not fail to be interesting. The poet Chand gives an animated description of the body-guard of the King of Kanauj, which was composed of these monastic warriors.

Priestly Functions of the Mewār Rānas.

—The Ranas of Mewar, as the diwans, or vicegerents of Siva, when they visit the temple supersede the high priest in his duties, and perform the ceremonies, which the reigning prince does with peculiar correctness and grace.[37]

Privileges of Jains.

—The shrine of Eklinga is endowed with twenty-four large villages from the fisc, besides parcels of land from the chieftains; but the privileges of the tutelary divinity have been waning since Kanhaiya fixed his residence amongst them; and as the priests of Apollo complained that the god was driven from the sacred mount [518] Govardhana, in Vraj, by the influence of those of Jupiter[38] with Shah Jahan, the latter may now lament that the day of retribution has arrived, when propitiation to the Preserver is deemed more important than to the Destroyer. This may arise from the personal character of the high priests, who, from their vicinity to the court, can scarcely avoid mingling in its intrigues, and thence lose in character: even the Ranis do not hesitate to take mortgages on the estates of Bholanath.[39] We shall not further enlarge on the immunities to Eklinga, or the forms in which they are conveyed, as these will be fully discussed in the account of the shrine of Krishna; but proceed to notice the privileges of the heterodox Jains—the Vidyavan[40] or Magi of Rajasthan. The numbers and power of 603these sectarians are little known to Europeans, who take it for granted that they are few and dispersed. To prove the extent of their religious and political power, it will suffice to remark that the pontiff of the Khadatara-gachchha,[41] one of the many branches of this faith, has 11,000 clerical disciples scattered over India; that a single community, the Osi or Oswal,[42] numbers 100,000 families; and that more than half [519] of the mercantile wealth of India passes through the hands of the Jain laity. Rajasthan and Saurashtra are the cradles of the Buddhist or Jain faith, and three out of their five sacred mounts, namely, Abu, Palitana,[43] and Girnar, are in these countries. The officers 604of the State and revenue are chiefly of the Jain laity, as are the majority of the bankers, from Lahore to the ocean. The chief magistrate and assessors of justice, in Udaipur and most of the towns of Rajasthan, are of this sect; and as their voluntary duties are confined to civil cases, they are as competent in these as they are the reverse in criminal cases, from their tenets forbidding the shedding of blood. To this leading feature in their religion they owe their political debasement: for Kumarpal, the last king of Anhilwara of the Jain faith, would not march his armies in the rains, from the unavoidable sacrifice of animal life that must have ensued. The strict Jain does not even maintain a lamp during that season, lest it should attract moths to their destruction.

Absence of Intolerance.

—The period of sectarian intolerance is now past; and as far as my observation goes, the ministers of Vishnu, Siva, and Buddha view each other without malignity; which feeling never appears to have influenced the laity of either sect, who are indiscriminately respectful to the ministers of all religions, whatever be their tenets. It is sufficient that their office is one of sanctity, and that they are ministers of the Divinity, who, they say, excludes the homage of none, in whatever tongue or whatever manner he is sought; and with this spirit of entire toleration, the devout missionary, or Mulla, would in no country meet more security or hospitable courtesy than among the Rajputs. They must, however, adopt the toleration they would find practised towards themselves, and not exclude, as some of them do, the races of Surya and Chandra from divine mercy, who, with less arrogance, and more reliance on the compassionate nature of the Creator, say, he has established a variety of paths by which the good may attain beatitude.

Mewar has, from the most remote period, afforded a refuge to 605the followers of the Jain faith, which was the religion of Valabhi, the first capital of the Rana’s ancestors, and many monuments attest the support this family has granted to its [520] professors in all the vicissitudes of their fortunes. One of the best preserved monumental remains in India is a column most elaborately sculptured, full seventy feet in height, dedicated to Parsvanath, in Chitor.[44] The noblest remains of sacred architecture, not in Mewar only, but throughout Western India, are Buddhist or Jain:[45] and the many ancient cities where this religion was fostered, have inscriptions which evince their prosperity in these countries, with whose history their own is interwoven. In fine, the necrological records of the Jains bear witness to their having occupied a distinguished place in Rajput society; and the privileges they still enjoy, prove that they are not overlooked. It is not my intention to say more on the past or present history of these sectarians, than may be necessary to show the footing on which their establishments are placed; to which end little is required beyond copies of a few simple warrants and ordinances in their favour.[46] Hereafter I may endeavour to add something to the knowledge already possessed of these deists of Rajasthan, whose singular communities contain mines of knowledge hitherto inaccessible to Europeans. The libraries of Jaisalmer in the desert, of Anhilwara, the cradle of their faith, of Cambay, and other places of minor importance, consist of thousands of volumes. These are under the control, not of the priests alone, but of communities of the most wealthy and respectable amongst the laity, and are preserved in the crypts of their temples, which precaution ensured their preservation, as well as that of the statues of their deified teachers, when the temples themselves were destroyed by the Muhammadan invaders, who paid more deference to the images of Buddha than those of Siva or Vishnu. The preservation of the former may be owing to the natural formation of their statues; for while many of Adinath, of Nemi, and of Parsva have escaped the hammer, there is scarcely an 606Apollo or a Venus, of any antiquity, entire, from Lahore to Rameswaram. The two arms of these theists sufficed for their protection; while the statues of the polytheists have met with no mercy.

Grant of Rāna Rāj Singh.

—No. V.[47] is the translation of a grant by the celebrated Rana Raj Singh, the gallant and successful opponent of Aurangzeb in many a battle. It is at once of a general and special nature, containing a confirmation of the old privileges of the sect, and a mark of favour to a priest of some distinction, called Mana. It is well known [521] that the first law of the Jains, like that of the ancient Athenian lawgiver Triptolemus, is, “Thou shalt not kill,” a precept applicable to every sentient thing. The first clause of this edict, in conformity thereto, prohibits all innovation upon this cherished principle; while the second declares that even the life which is forfeited to the laws is immortal (amara) if the victim but passes near their abodes. The third article defines the extent of saran, or sanctuary, the dearest privilege of the races of these regions. The fourth article sanctions the tithes, both on agricultural and commercial produce; and makes no distinction between the Jain priests and those of Siva and Vishnu in this source of income, which will be more fully detailed in the account of Nathdwara. The fifth article is the particular gift to the priest; and the whole closes with the usual anathema against such as may infringe the ordinance.

The Jain Retreat.

—The edicts Nos. VI. and VII.,[48] engraved on pillars of stone in the towns of Rasmi and Bakrol, further illustrate the scrupulous observances of the Rana’s house towards the Jains; where, in compliance with their peculiar doctrine, the oil-mill and the potter’s wheel suspend their revolutions for the four months in the year when insects most abound.[49] Many others of a similar character could be furnished, but these remarks may be concluded with an instance of the influence of the Jains on Rajput society, which passed immediately under the Author’s 607eye. In the midst of a sacrifice to the god of war, when the victims were rapidly falling by the scimitar, a request preferred by one of them for the life of a goat or a buffalo on the point of immolation, met instant compliance, and the animal, become amara or immortal, with a garland thrown round his neck, was led off in triumph from the blood-stained spot.


—This is the most celebrated of the fanes of the Hindu Apollo. Its etymology is ‘the portal (dwara) of the god’ (nath), of the same import as his more ancient shrine of Dwarka[50] at the ‘world’s end.’ Nathdwara is twenty-two [thirty] miles N.N.E. of Udaipur, on the right bank of the Banas. Although the principal resort of the followers of Vishnu, it has nothing very remarkable in its structure or situation. It owes its celebrity entirely to the image of Krishna, said to [522] be the same that has been worshipped at Mathura ever since his deification, between eleven and twelve hundred years before Christ.[51] As containing the representative of the mildest of the gods of Hind, Nathdwara is one of the most frequented places of pilgrimage, though it must want that attraction to the classical Hindu which the caves of Gaya, the shores of the distant Dwarka, or the pastoral Vraj,[52] the place of the nativity of Krishna, present to his imagination; for though the groves of Vindra,[53] in which 608Kanhaiya disported with the Gopis, no longer resound to the echoes of his flute; though the waters of the Yamuna[54] are daily polluted with the blood of the sacred kine, still it is the holy land of the pilgrim, the sacred Jordan of his fancy, on whose banks he may sit and weep, as did the banished Israelite of old, the glories of Mathura, his Jerusalem!

It was in the reign of Aurangzeb that the pastoral divinity was exiled from Vraj, that classic soil which, during a period of two thousand eight hundred years, had been the sanctuary of his worshippers. He had been compelled to occasional flights during the visitations of Mahmud and the first dynasties of Afghan invaders; though the more tolerant of the Mogul kings not only reinstated him, but were suspected of dividing their faith between Kanhaiya and the prophet. Akbar was an enthusiast in the mystic poetry of Jayadeva, which paints in glowing colours the loves of Kanhaiya and Radha, in which lovely personification the refined Hindu abjures all sensual interpretation, asserting its character of pure spiritual love.[55]

The Mughals and Krishna Worship.

—Jahangir, by birth half a Rajput, was equally indulgent to the worship of Kanhaiya: but Shah Jahan, also the son of a Rajput princess, inclined to the [523] doctrines of Siva, in which he was initiated by Siddhrup the Sannyasi. Sectarian animosity is more virulent than faiths totally dissimilar. Here we see Hindu depressing Hindu: the followers of Siva oppressing those of Kanhaiya; the priests of Jupiter driving the pastoral Apollo from the Parnassus of Vraj. At the intercession, however, of a princess of Udaipur, he was replaced on his altar, where he remained till Aurangzeb became emperor of the Moguls. In such detestation did the Hindus hold 609this intolerant king, that in like manner as they supposed the beneficent Akbar to be the devout Mukund in a former birth, so they make the tyrant’s body enclose the soul of Kalyavana the foe of Krishna, ere his apotheosis, from whom he fled to Dwarka, and thence acquired the name of Ranchhor.[56]

The Image of Krishna removed to Mewār. Founding of Nāthdwāra.

—When Aurangzeb proscribed Kanhaiya, and rendered his shrines impure throughout Vraj, Rana Raj Singh “offered the heads of one hundred thousand Rajputs for his service,” and the god was conducted by the route of Kotah and Rampura to Mewar. An omen decided the spot of his future residence. As he journeyed to gain the capital of the Sesodias the chariot-wheel sunk deep into the earth and defied extrication; upon which the Saguni (augur) interpreted the pleasure of the god, that he desired to dwell there. This circumstance occurred at an inconsiderable village called Siarh, in the fief of Delwara, one of the sixteen nobles of Mewar. Rejoiced at this decided manifestation of favour, the chief hastened to make a perpetual gift of the village and its lands, which was speedily confirmed by the patent of the Rana.[57] Nathji (the god) was removed from his car, and in due time a temple was erected for his reception, when the hamlet of Siarh became the town of Nathdwara, which now contains many thousand inhabitants of all denominations, who, reposing under the especial protection of the god, are exempt from every mortal tribunal. The site is not uninteresting, nor devoid of the means of defence. To the east it is shut in by a cluster of hills, and to the westward flows the Banas, which nearly bathes the extreme points of the hills. Within these bounds is the sanctuary (saran) of Kanhaiya, where the criminal is free from pursuit; nor dare the rod of justice appear on the mount, or the foot of the pursuer pass the stream; neither within it can blood be spilt, for the pastoral Kanhaiya delights not in offerings of 610this kind [524].[58] The territory contains within its precincts abundant space for the town, the temple, and the establishments of the priests, as well as for the numerous resident worshippers, and the constant influx of votaries from the most distant regions,
From Samarcand, by Oxus, Temir’s throne,
Down to the golden Chersonese,

who find abundant shelter from the noontide blaze in the groves of tamarind, pipal, and semal,[59] where they listen to the mystic hymns of Jayadeva. Here those whom ambition has cloyed, superstition unsettled, satiety disgusted, commerce ruined, or crime disquieted, may be found as ascetic attendants on the mildest of the gods of India. Determined upon renouncing the world, they first renounce the ties that bind them to it, whether family, friends, or fortune, and placing their wealth at the disposal of the deity, stipulate only for a portion of the food dressed for him, and to be permitted to prostrate themselves before him till their allotted time is expired. Here no blood-stained sacrifice scares the timid devotee; no austerities terrify, or tedious ceremonies fatigue him; he is taught to cherish the hope that he has only to ask for mercy in order to obtain it; and to believe that the compassionate deity who guarded the lapwing’s nest[60] in the 611midst of myriads of combatants, who gave beatitude to the courtesan[61] who as the wall crushed her pronounced the name of ‘Rama,’ will not withhold it from him who has quitted the world and its allurements that he may live only in his presence, be fed by the food prepared for himself, and yield up his last sigh invoking the name of Hari. There [525] have been two hundred individuals at a time, many of whom, stipulating merely for food, raiment, and funeral rites, have abandoned all to pass their days in devotion at the shrine: men of every condition, Rajput merchant, and mechanic; and where sincerity of devotion is the sole expiation, and gifts outweigh penance, they must feel the road smooth to the haven of hope.

Benefactions to Nāthdwāra.

—The dead stock of Krishna’s shrine is augmented chiefly by those who hold life “unstable as the dew-drop on the lotus”; and who are happy to barter “the wealth of Ormuz and of Ind” for the intercessional prayers of the high priest, and his passport to Haripur, the heaven of Hari. From the banks of the Indus to the mouths of the Ganges, from the coasts of the Peninsula to the shores of the Red Sea, the gifts of gratitude or of fear are lavishly poured in; and though the unsettled aspect of the last half-century curtailed the transmission of the more bulky but least valuable benefactions, it less affected the bills of exchange from the successful sons of commerce, or the legacies of the dead. The safe arrival of a galleon from Sofala or Arabia produced as much to the shrine as to the insurance office, for Kanhaiya is the Saint Nicholas of the Hindu navigator, as was Apollo to the Grecian and Celtic sailors, who purchased the charmed arrows of the god to calm the troubled 612sea.[62] A storm accordingly yields in proportion to its violence, or to the nerve of the owner of the vessel. The appearance of a long-denied heir might deprive him of half his patrimony, and force him to lament his parent’s distrust in natural causes; while the accidental mistake of touching forbidden food on particular fasts requires expiation, not by flagellation or seclusion, but by the penance of the purse.

There is no donation too great or too trifling for the acceptance of Krishna, from the baronial estate to a patch of meadowland; from the gemmed coronet to adorn his image, to the widow’s mite; nor, as before observed, is there a principality [526] in India which does not diminish its fisc to add to his revenues. What effect the milder rites of the shepherd-god have produced on the adorers of Siva we know not, but assuredly Eklinga, the tutelary divinity of Mewar, has to complain of being defrauded of half his dues since Kanhaiya transferred his abode from the Yamuna to the Banas; for the revenues assigned to Kanhaiya, who under the epithet of ‘Yellow mantle’[63] has a distinguished niche in the domestic chapel of the Rana, far exceed those of the Avenger. The grants or patents of Hindupati,[64] defining the 613privileges and immunities of the shrine, are curious documents.[65]

Rights of Sanctuary.

—The extension of the sanctuary beyond the vicinage of the shrine became a subject of much animadversion; and in delegating judicial authority over the whole of the villages in the grant to the priests, the Rana committed the temporal welfare of his subjects to a class of men not apt to be lenient in the collection of their dues, which not unfrequently led to bloodshed. In alienating the other royalties, especially the transit duties, he was censured even by the zealots. Yet, however important such concessions, they were of subordinate value to the rights of sanctuary, which were extended to the whole of the towns in the grant, thereby multiplying the places of refuge for crime, already too numerous.

Violation of Sanctuary.

—In all ages and countries the rights of sanctuary have been admitted, and however they may be abused, their institution sprung from humane motives. To check the impulse of revenge and to shelter the weak from oppression are noble objects, and the surest test of a nation’s independence is the extent to which they are carried. From the remotest times saran has been the most valued privilege of the Rajputs, the lowest of whom deems his house a refuge against the most powerful. But we merely propose to discuss the sanctuary of holy places, and more immediately that of the shrine of Kanhaiya. When Moses, after the Exodus, made a division of the lands of Canaan amongst the Israelites, and appointed “six cities to be the refuge of him who had slain unwittingly, from the avenger of blood,”[66] the intention was not to afford facilities for eluding justice, but to check the hasty impulse of revenge; for the slayer was only to be protected “until he stood before the congregation for judgment, or until the death of the high-priest” [527], which event appears to have been considered as the termination of revenge.[67] The infraction of political sanctuary (saran torna) 614often gives rise to the most inveterate feuds; and its abuse by the priests is highly prejudicial to society. Moses appointed but six cities of refuge to the whole Levite tribe; but the Rana has assigned more to one shrine than the entire possessions of that branch of the Israelites who had but forty-two cities, while Kanhaiya has forty-six.[68] The motive of sanctuary in Rajasthan may have been originally the same as that of the divine legislator; but the privilege has been abused, and the most notorious criminals deem the temple their best safeguard. Yet some princes have been found hardy enough to violate, though indirectly, the sacred saran. Zalim Singh of Kotah, a zealot in all the observances of religion, had the boldness to draw the line when selfish priestcraft interfered with his police; and though he would not demand the culprit, or sacrilegiously drag him from the altar, he has forced him thence by prohibiting the admission of food, and threatening to build up the door of the temple. It was thus the Greeks evaded the laws, and compelled the criminal’s surrender by kindling fires around the sanctuary.[69] The towns of Kanhaiya did not often abuse their privilege; but the Author once had to interpose, where a priest of Eklinga gave asylum to a felon who had committed murder within the bounds of his domain of Pahona. As this town, of eight thousand rupees annual revenue belonging to the fisc, had been gained by a forged charter, the Author was glad to seize on the occasion to recommend its resumption, though he thereby incurred the penalty for seizing church land, namely “sixty thousand years in hell.” The unusual occurrence created a sensation, but it was so indisputably just that not a voice was raised in opposition.

Endowments of Nāthdwāra.

—Let us revert to the endowments of Nathdwara. Herodotus[70] furnishes a powerful instance of 615the estimation in which sacred offerings were held by the nations of antiquity. He observes that these were transmitted from the remotest nations of Scythia to Delos in Greece; a range far less extensive than the offerings to the [528] Dewal of Apollo in Mewar. The spices of the isles of the Indian archipelago; the balmy spoils of Araby the blest; the nard or frankincense of Tartary; the raisins and pistachios of Persia; every variety of saccharine preparation, from the shakkarkhand (sugar-candy) of the celestial empire, with which the god sweetens his evening repast, to the more common sort which enters into the peras of Mathura, the food of his infancy;[71] the shawls of Kashmir, the silks of Bengal, the scarfs of Benares, the brocades of Gujarat,
... the flower and choice
Of many provinces from bound to bound,

all contribute to enrich the shrine of Nathdwara. But it is with the votaries of the maritime provinces of India that he has most reason to be satisfied; in the commercial cities of Surat, Cambay, Muskat-mandavi, etc., etc., where the Mukhyas, or comptrollers deputed by the high priest, reside, to collect the benefactions, and transmit them as occasion requires. A deputy resides on the part of the high priest at Multan, who invests the distant worshippers with the initiative cordon and necklace. Even from Samarkand the pilgrims repair with their offerings; and a sum, seldom less than ten thousand rupees, is annually transmitted by the votaries from the Arabian ports of Muscat, Mocha, and Jiddah; which contribution is probably augmented not only by the votaries who dwell at the mouths of the Volga[72] [529], 616but by the Samoyede[73] of Siberia. There is not a petty retailer professing the Vishnu creed who does not carry a tithe of his 617trade to the stores: and thus caravans of thirty and forty cars, double-yoked, pass twice or thrice annually by the upper road to Nathdwara. These pious bounties are not allowed to moulder in the bhandars: the apparel is distributed with a liberal hand as the gift of the deity to those who evince their devotion; and the edibles enter daily into the various food prepared at the shrine.

Food offered to Deities.

—It has been remarked by the celebrated Goguet[74] that the custom of offering food to the object of divine homage had its origin in a principle of gratitude, the repast being deemed hallowed by presenting the first portion to him who gave it, since the devotee was unable to conceive aught more acceptable than that whereby life is sustained. From the earliest period such offerings have been tendered; and in the burnt-offering (hom) of Abel, of the firstling of the flock, and the first portion of the repast presented by the Rajput to Annadeva[75] ‘the nourisher,’ the motive is the same. But the parsad (such is the denomination of the food sacred to Kanhaiya) is deemed unlucky, if not unholy; a prejudice arising from the heterogeneous sources whence it is supplied—often from bequests of the dead. The Mukhyas [530] of the temple accordingly carry the sacred food to wheresoever the votaries dwell, which proves an irresistible stimulus to backward zeal, and produces an ample return. At 618the same time are transmitted, as from the god, dresses of honour corresponding in material and value with the rank of the receiver: a diadem, or fillet of satin and gold, embroidered; a dagla, or quilted coat of gold or silver brocade for the cold weather; a scarf of blue and gold; or if to one who prizes the gift less for its intrinsic worth than as a mark of special favour, a fragment of the garland worn on some festival by the god; or a simple necklace, by which he is inaugurated amongst the elect.[76]

Lands dedicated to the Shrine.

—It has been mentioned that the lands of Mewar appropriated to the shrine are equal in value to a baronial appanage, and, as before observed, there is not a principality in India which does not assign a portion of its domain or revenue to this object. The Hara princes of Kotah and Bundi are almost exclusive worshippers of Kanhaiya, and the regent Zalim Singh is devoted to the maintenance of the dignity of the establishment. Everything at Kotah appertains to Kanhaiya. The prince has but the usufruct of the palace, for which £12,000 are annually transmitted to the shrine. The grand lake east of the town, with all its finny tenants, is under his especial protection;[77] and the extensive suburb adjoining, with its rents, lands, and transit duties, all belong to the god. Zalim Singh moreover transmits to the high priest the most valuable shawls, broadcloths, and horses; and throughout the long period of predatory warfare he maintained two Nishans,[78] of a hundred firelocks each, for the protection of the temple.temple. His favourite son also, a child of love, is called Gordhandas, the ‘slave of Gordhan,’ one of the many titles of Kanhaiya. The prince of Marwar went mad from the murder of the high priest of Jalandhara, the epithet 619given to Kanhaiya in that State; and the Raja of Sheopur,[79] the last of the Gaurs, lost his sovereignty by abandoning the worship of Har for that of Hari. The ‘slave’ of Radha[80] (such was the name of this prince) almost lived in the temple, and used to dance before the statue. Had he upheld the rights of him who wields [531] the trident, the tutelary deity of his capital, Sivapur, instead of the unwarlike divinity whose unpropitious title of Ranchhor should never be borne by the martial Rajput, his fall would have been more dignified, though it could not have been retarded when the overwhelming torrent of the Mahrattas under Sindhia swept Rajwara.[81]

Grants to the High Priest.

—A distinction is made between the grants to the temple and those for the personal use of the pontiff, who at least affects never to apply any portion of the former to his own use, and he can scarcely have occasion to do so; but when from the stores of Apollo could be purchased the spices of the isles, the fruits of Persia, and the brocades of Gujarat, we may indulge our scepticism in questioning this forbearance: but the abuse has been rectified, and traffic banished from the temple. The personal grant (Appendix, No. XI.) to the high priest ought alone to have sufficed for his household expenditure, being twenty thousand rupees per annum, equal to £10,000 in Europe. But the ten thousand towns of Mewar, from each of which he levied a crown, now exist only in the old rent-roll, and the heralds of Apollo would in vain attempt to collect their tribute from two thousand villages.

The Appendix, No. XII., being a grant of privileges to a minor shrine of Kanhaiya, in his character of Muralidhar or ‘flute-player,’ contains much information on the minutiae of benefactions, and will afford a good idea of the nature of these revenues.

Effects of Krishna-worship on the Rājputs.

—The predominance 620of the mild doctrines of Kanhaiya over the dark rites of Siva, is doubtless beneficial to Rajput society. Were the prevention of female immolation the sole good resulting from their prevalence, that alone would conciliate our partiality; a real worshipper of Vishnu should forbid his wife following him to the pyre, as did recently the Bundi prince. In fact, their tenderness to animal life is carried to nearly as great an excess as with the Jains, who shed no blood. Celibacy is not imposed upon the priests of Kanhaiya, as upon those of Siva: on the contrary, they are enjoined to marry, and the priestly office is hereditary by descent. Their wives do not burn, but are committed, like themselves, to the earth. They inculcate tenderness towards all beings; though whether this feeling influences the mass, must depend on the soil which receives the seed, for the outward ceremonies of religion cost far less effort than the practice or essentials. I have often [532] smiled at the incessant aspirations of the Macchiavelli of Rajasthan, Zalim Singh, who, while he ejaculated the name of the god as he told his beads, was inwardly absorbed by mundane affairs; and when one word would have prevented a civil war, and saved his reputation from the stain of disloyalty to his prince, he was, to use his own words, “at fourscore years and upwards, laying the foundation for another century of life.” And thus it is with the prince of Marwar, who esteems the life of a man or a goat of equal value when prompted by revenge to take it. Hope may silence the reproaches of conscience, and gifts and ceremonies may be deemed atonement for a deviation from the first principle of their religion—a benevolence which should comprehend every animated thing. But fortunately the princely worshippers of Kanhaiya are few in number: it is to the sons of commerce we must look for the effects of these doctrines; and it is my pride and duty to declare that I have known men of both sects, Vaishnava and Jain, whose integrity was spotless, and whose philanthropy was unbounded.

1. Manu commands, “Should the king be near his end through some incurable disease, he must bestow on the priests all his riches accumulated from legal fines: and having duly committed his kingdom to his son, let him seek death in battle, or, if there be no war, by abstaining from food” (Laws, ix. 323). The annals of all the Rajput States afford instances of obedience to this text of their divine legislator. [The injunction to seek death by starvation is an addition by the commentator, and is not included in the original text.]

2. [The practice of a devotee weighing himself against gold was common in ancient Hindu times, was known as tulāpurushadāna, and is still performed by the Mahārāja of Travancore (Thurston, Tribes and Castes of S. India, vii. 202 ff.; BG, i. Part ii. 415; Forbes, Rāsmāla, 84). Akbar used to have himself weighed against precious substances twice a year, on his solar and lunar birthdays, the articles being given to Brāhmans, and Jahāngīr followed the same custom (Āīn, i. 266 ff.; Elliot-Dowson v. 307, 453; Memoirs of Jahāngīr, trans. Rogers-Beveridge, 78, 81, 111, 183).]

3. [Sāsan, a grant by charter of rent-free lands, made in favour of Brāhmans and devotees. For the formula used in such grants see Barnett, Antiquities of India, 129.]

4. [Menāl, Mahānāl, ‘the great chasm,’ in the Begun Estate, E. Mewār.]

5. “Saint Eucher, évêque d’Orléans, eut une vision qui étonna les princes. Il faut que je rapporte à ce sujet la lettre que les évêques, assemblés à Reims, écrivent à Louis-le-Germanique, qui étoit entré dans les terres de Charles le Chauve, parce qu’elle est très-propre à nous faire voir quel étoit, dans ces temps-là, l’état des choses, et la situation des esprits. Ils disent que ‘Saint Eucher ayant été ravi dans le ciel, il vit Charles Martel tourmenté dans l’enfer inférieur par l’ordre des saints qui doivent assister avec Jésus-Christ au jugement dernier; qu’il avoit été condamné à cette peine avant le temps pour avoir dépouillé les églises de leurs biens, et s’être par là rendu coupable des péchés de tous ceux qui les avoient dotées’” (Montesquieu, L’Esprit des Lois, livre xxxi. chap. xi. p. 460).

6. Genesis xlvii. 20-26.

7. Manu, Laws, vii. 130.

8. Origin of Laws and Government, vol. i. p. 54, and vol. ii. p. 13. [Herodotus ii. 109.]

9. Hallam, Middle Ages, vol. ii. p. 212.

10. “A Brahman unable to subsist by his duties just mentioned (sacerdotal), may live by the duty of a soldier” (Manu x. 81).

11. Montesquieu.

12. [One of the legendary Rānas, twenty-fifth on the list, to whom no date can be assigned.]

13. “Le clergé recevoit tant, qu’il faut que, dans les trois races, on lui ait donné plusieurs fois tous les biens du royaume. Mais si les rois, la noblesse, et le peuple, trouvèrent le moyen de leur donner tous leurs biens, ils ne trouvèrent pas moins celui de les leur ôter” (Montesquieu, L’Esprit des Lois, livre xxxi. chap. x.).

14. These worshippers of God and Mammon, when threats fail, have recourse to maiming, and even destroying, themselves, to gain their object. In 1820, one of the confidential servants of the Rana demanded payment of the petty tax called gugri, of one rupee on each house, from some Brahmans who dwelt in the village, and which had always been received from them. They refused payment, and on being pressed, four of them stabbed themselves mortally. Their bodies were placed upon biers, and funeral rites withheld till punishment should be inflicted on the priest-killer. But for once superstition was disregarded, and the rights of the Brahmans in this community were resumed. See Appendix to this Part, No. I [p. 644].

15. “Mais le bas peuple n’est guère capable d’abandonner ses intérêts par des exemples. Le synode de Francfort lui présenta un motif plus pressant pour payer les dîmes. On y fit un capitulaire dans lequel il est dit que, dans la dernière famine, on avoit trouvé les épis de blé vides, qu’ils avoient été dévorés par les démons, et qu’on avoit entendu leurs voix qui reprochoient de n’avoir pas payé la dîme: et, en conséquence, il fut ordonné à tous ceux qui tenoient les biens ecclésiastiques de payer la dîme, et, en conséquence encore, on l’ordonna à tous” (L’Esprit des Lois, livre xxxi. chap. xii.).

16. These lay Brahmans are not wanting in energy or courage; the sword is as familiar to them as the mala (chaplet). The grandfather of Ramnath, the present worthy seneschal of the Rana, was governor of the turbulent district of Jahazpur, which has never been so well ruled since. He left a curious piece of advice to his successors, inculcating vigorous measures. “With two thousand men you may eat khichri; with one thousand dalbhat; with five hundred juti (the shoe)” Khichri is a savoury mess of pulse, rice, butter, and spices; dalbhat is simple rice and pulse; the shoe is indelible disgrace.

17. Manu, in his rules on government, commands the king to impart his momentous counsel and entrust all transactions to a learned and distinguished Brahman (Laws, vii. 58). There is no being more aristocratic in his ideas than the secular Brahman or priest, who deems the bare name a passport to respect. The Kulin Brahman of Bengal piques himself upon this title of nobility granted by the last Hindu king of Kanauj (whence they migrated to Bengal), and in virtue of which his alliance in matrimony is courted. But although Manu has imposed obligations towards the Brahman little short of adoration, these are limited to the “learned in the Vedas”: he classes the unlearned Brahman with “an elephant made of wood, or an antelope of leather”; nullities, save in name. And he adds further, that “as liberality to a fool is useless, so is a Brahman useless if he read not the holy texts”: comparing the person who gives to such an one, to a husbandman “who, sowing seed in a barren soil, reaps no gain”; so the Brahman “obtains no reward in heaven.” These sentiments are repeated in numerous texts, holding out the most powerful inducements to the sacerdotal class to cultivate their minds, since their power consists solely in their wisdom. For such, there are no privileges too extensive, no homage too great. “A king, even though dying with want, must not receive any tax from a Brahman learned in the Vedas.” His person is sacred. “Never shall the king slay a Brahman, though convicted of all possible crimes,” is a premium at least to unbounded insolence, and unfits them for members of society, more especially for soldiers; banishment, with person and property untouched, is the declared punishment for even the most heinous crimes. “A Brahman may seize without hesitation, if he be distressed for a subsistence, the goods of his Sudra slave.” But the following text is the climax: “What prince could gain wealth by oppressing these [Brahmans], who, if angry, could frame other worlds, and regents of worlds, and could give birth to new gods and mortals?” (Manu, Laws, ii. iii. vii. viii. ix.).

18. Hallam’s Middle Ages, vol. i. p. 204.

19. These forgeries of charters cannot be considered as invalidating the arguments drawn from them, as we may rest assured nothing is introduced foreign to custom, in the items of the deeds.

20. Suggested by the Author, and executed under his superintendence, who waded through all these documents, and translated upwards of a hundred of the most curious.

21. See the Appendix to this Part, No. II [p. 644].

22. Hallam.

23. See Appendix to this Part, No. III [p. 645].

24. Each bundle consists of a specified number of ears, which are roasted and eaten in the unripe state with a little salt. [A ser or seer = 2·057 lbs. avoirdupois.]

25. Dict. de l’Ancien Régime, p. 131, art. “Corvée.”

26. That is, with one (ek) lingam or phallus—the symbol of worship being a single cylindrical or conical stone. There are others, termed Sahaslinga and Kotiswara, with a thousand or a million of phallic representatives, all minutely carved on the monolithic emblem, having then much resemblance to the symbol of Bacchus, whose orgies, both in Egypt and Greece, are the counterpart of those of the Hindu Baghis, thus called from being clad in a tiger’s or leopard’s hide: Bacchus had the panther’s for his covering. There is a very ancient temple to Kotiswara at the embouchure of the eastern arm of the Indus; and here are many to Sahaslinga in the peninsula of Saurashtra. [Bacchus has no connexion with a Hindu tiger-god.]

27. It might have appeared fanciful, some time ago, to have given a Sanskrit derivation to a Greek proper name: but Europa might be derived from Surupa, ‘of the beautiful face’—the initial syllable su and eu having the same signification in both languages, namely, goodRupa is ‘countenance.’ [Europa is probably Assyrian ereb, irib, ‘land of the rising sun’ (EB, ix. 907). Another explanation is that it is a cult title, meaning ‘goddess of the flourishing willow-withies’ (A. B. Cook, Zeus, 531).]

28. In this sacrifice four altars are erected, for offering the flesh to the four gods, Lakshmi-Narayana, Umamaheswar, Brahma, and Ananta. The nine planets, and Prithu, or the earth, with her ten guardian-deities, are worshipped. Five Vilwa, five Khadira, five Palasha, and five Udumbara posts are to be erected, and a bull tied to each post. Clarified butter is burnt on the altar, and pieces of the flesh of the slaughtered animals placed thereon. This sacrifice was very common (Ward, On the Religion of the Hindus, vol. ii. p. 263). [Balidāna, ‘an offering to the gods.’]

29. First a covered altar is to be prepared; sixteen posts are then to be erected of various woods; a golden image of a man, and an iron one of a goat, with golden images of Vishnu and Lakshmi, a silver one of Siva, with a golden bull, and a silver one of Garuda ‘the eagle,’ are placed upon the altar. Animals, as goats, sheep, etc., are tied to the posts, and to one of them, of the wood of the mimosa, is to be tied the human victim. Fire is to be kindled by means of a burning glass. The sacrificing priest, hota, strews the grass called dub or immortal, round the sacred fire. Then follows the burnt sacrifice to the ten guardian deities of the earth—to the nine planets, and to the Hindu Triad, to each of whom clarified butter is poured on the sacred fire one thousand times. Another burnt-sacrifice, to the sixty-four inferior gods, follows, which is succeeded by the sacrifice and offering of all the other animals tied to the posts. The human sacrifice concludes, the sacrificing priest offering pieces of the flesh of the victim to each god as he circumambulates the altar (ibid, 260).

30. This is to be taken in its literal sense; the economy of the bee being displayed in the formation of extensive colonies which inhabit large masses of black comb adhering to the summits of the rocks. According to the legends of these tracts, they were called in as auxiliaries on Muhammadan invasions, and are said to have thrown the enemy more than once into confusion. [Stories of idols protected from desecration by swarms of hornets are common (BG, viii. 401; Sleeman, Rambles, 54).]

31. See Appendix to this Part, No. IV [p. 645].

32. In June 1806 I was present at a meeting between the Rana and Sindhia at the shrine of Eklinga. The rapacious Mahratta had just forced the passes to the Rana’s capital, which was the commencement of a series of aggressions involving one of the most tragical events in the history of Mewar—the immolation of the Princess Krishna and the subsequent ruin of the country. I was then an attaché of the British embassy to the Mahratta prince, who carried the ambassador to the meeting to increase his consequence. In March 1818 I again visited the shrine, on my way to Udaipur, but under very different circumstances—to announce the deliverance of the family from oppression, and to labour for its prosperity. While standing without the sanctuary, looking at the quadriform divinity, and musing on the changes of the intervening twelve years, my meditations were broken by an old Rajput chieftain, who, saluting me, invited me to enter and adore Baba Adam, ‘Father Adam,’ as he termed the phallic emblem. I excused myself on account of my boots, which I said I could not remove, and that with them I would not cross the threshold: a reply which pleased them, and preceded me to the Rana’s court.

33. Siva is represented with three eyes: hence his title of Trinetra and Trilochan, the Triophthalmic Jupiter of the Greeks. From the fire of the central eye of Siva is to proceed Pralaya, or the final destruction of the universe: this eye placed vertically, resembling the flame of a taper, is a distinguishing mark on the foreheads of his votaries.

34. I have seen a cemetery of these, each of very small dimensions, which may be described as so many concentric rings of earth, diminishing to the apex, crowned with a cylindrical stone pillar. One of the disciples of Siva was performing rites to the manes, strewing leaves of an evergreen [probably bel, Aegle marmelos] and sprinkling water over the graves.

35. For a description of these, vide Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 217.

36. [The more usual form is Kanphata, with the same meaning.]

37. The copy of the Siva Purana which I presented to the Royal Asiatic Society was obtained for me by the Rana from the temple of Eklinga.

38. Jiva-pitri, the ‘Father of Life,’ would be a very proper epithet for Mahadeva, the creative ‘power,’ whose Olympus is Kailas. [Jīva-pitri means ‘a child whose father is alive.’ Jupiter=Skt. Dyaus-pitā.]

39. Bholanath, or the ‘Simple God,’ is one of the epithets of Siva, whose want of reflection is so great that he would give away his own divinity if asked.

40. Vidyavan, the ‘Man of Secrets or Knowledge,’ is the term used by way of reproach to the Jains, having the import of magician. Their opponents believe them to be possessed of supernatural skill; and it is recorded of the celebrated Amara, author of the Kosa or dictionary called after him, that he raculously’raculously’ “made the full moon appear on Amavas”—the ides of the month, when the planet is invisible.

41. Khadatara signifies ‘true’ [?], an epithet of distinction which was bestowed by that great supporter of the Buddhists or Jains, Siddharaj, king of Anhilwara Patan, on one of the branches (gachchha), in a grand religious disputation (badha) at that capital in the eleventh century. The celebrated Hemacharya was head of the Khadatara-gachchha; and his spiritual descendant honoured Udaipur with his presence in his visit to his dioceses in the desert in 1821. My own Yati tutor was a disciple of Hemacharya, and his pattravali, or pedigree, registered his descent by spiritual successions from him. [For the Jain gachchhas see Bühler, The Indian Sect of the Jainas, 77 ff. As usual, the author confounds Jains with Buddhists.] This pontiff was a man of extensive learning and of estimable character. He was versed in all the ancient inscriptions, to which no key now exists, and deciphered one for me which had been long unintelligible. His travelling library was of considerable extent, though chiefly composed of works relating to the ceremonies of his religion: it was in the charge of two of his disciples remarkable for talent, and who, like himself, were perfectly acquainted with all these ancient characters. The pontiff kindly permitted my Yati to bring for my inspection some of the letters of invitation written by his flocks in the desert. These were rolls, some of them several feet in length, containing pictured delineations of their wishes. One from Bikaner represented that city, in one division of which was the school or college of the Jains, where the Yatis were all portrayed at their various studies. In another part, a procession of them was quitting the southern gate of the city, the head of which was in the act of delivering a scroll to a messenger, while the pontiff was seen with his cortège advancing in the distance. To show the respect in which these high priests of the Jains are held, the princes of Rajputana invariably advance outside the walls of their capital to receive and conduct them to it—a mark of respect paid only to princes. On the occasion of the high priest of the Khadataras passing through Udaipur, as above alluded to, the Rana received him with every distinction.

42. So called from the town of Osi or Osian, in Marwar [about 30 miles N. of Jodhpur city].

43. Palitana, or ‘the abode of the Pali’ [?], is the name of the town at the foot of the sacred mount Satrunjaya (signifying ‘victorious over the foe’), on which the Jain temples are sacred to Buddhiswara, or the ‘Lord of the Buddhists’ [?]. I have little doubt that the name of Palitana is derived from the pastoral (pali) Scythic invaders bringing the Buddhist faith in their train—a faith which appears to me not indigenous to India [?]. Palestine, which, with the whole of Syria and Egypt, was ruled by the Hyksos or Shepherd kings, who for a season expelled the old Coptic race, may have had a similar import to the Palitana founded by the Indo-Scythic Pali. The Author visited all these sacred mounts. [The Author describes Pālitāna in WI, 274 ff.; see also BG, viii. 603 f. All this confusion between Buddhists and Jains and the suggested derivation, in which the Author unfortunately relied on Wilford (Asiatic Researches, iii. 72 ff., viii. 321), are out of date.]

44. [The Kīrtti-Stambha, erected by a merchant named Jīja in the twelfth century A.D., and dedicated to Ādināth, the first Jain Tīrthakara (Fergusson, Hist. Indian Architecture, ii. 57 ff.; Erskine ii. A. 104).]

45. [Buddhism and Jainism are again confused. For Buddhist remains in Rājputāna see IGI, xxi. 103.]

46. See Appendix to this Part [p. 645].

47. See Appendix to this part [p. 645].

48. See Appendix to this article [p. 646].

49. [This is the Pachusan, the four months of Jain retreat, the Vassa or Vassavāsa of the Buddhists. It was held in the rainy season, during which travelling was forbidden, in order to avoid injury to the insect life which abounds at this time (BG, ix. Part i. 113 f.; Kern, Manual of Indian Buddhism, 80 f.).]

50. Dwarka is at the point called Jagat Khunt, of the Saurashtra peninsula. Ka is the mark of the genitive case [?]: Dwarkanath would be the ‘gate of the god’ [‘Lord of Dvārakā’].

51. Fifty-seven descents are given, both in their sacred and profane genealogies, from Krishna to the princes supposed to have been contemporary with Vikramaditya. The Yadu Bhatti or Shama Bhatti (the Ahsham Bhatti of Abu-l Fazl) [Āīn, ii. 339], draw their pedigree from Krishna or Yadunath, as do the Jarejas of Cutch.

52. With Mathura as a centre and a radius of eighty miles, describe a circle: all within it is Vraj, which was the seat of whatever was refined in Hinduism, and whose language, the Vraj-bhasha, was the purest dialect of India. Vraj is tantamount to the land of the Suraseni, derived from Sursen, the ancestor of Krishna, whose capital, Surpuri, is about fifty miles south of Mathura on the Yamuna (Jumna). The remains of this city (Surpuri) the Author had the pleasure of discovering. The province of the Surseni, or Suraseni, is defined by Manu [Laws, ii. 19, vii. 193, who calls them Surasenakas], and particularly mentioned by the historians of Alexander.

53. Vindravana, or the ‘forests of Vindra,’ in which were placed many temples sacred to Kanhaiya, is on the Yamuna, a few miles above Mathura. A pilgrimage to this temple is indispensable to the true votary of Krishna.

54. This river is called the Kal Yamuna, or black Yamuna, and Kalidah or the ‘black pool,’ from Kanhaiya having destroyed the hydra Kaliya which infested it. Jayadeva calls the Yamuna ‘the blue daughter of the sun.’

55. [The popular worship of Krishna and Rādha is decidedly erotic.] It affords an example of the Hindu doctrine of the Metempsychosis, as well as of the regard which Akbar’s toleration had obtained him, to mention, that they held his body to be animated by the soul of a celebrated Hindu gymnosophist: in support of which they say he (Akbar) went to his accustomed spot of penance (tapasya) at the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges, and excavated the implements, namely, the tongs, gourd, and deer-skin, of his anchorite existence. [For the tale of Akbar and the Brāhman Mukunda see Asiatic Researches, ix. 158.]

56. Ran, the ‘field of battle,’ chhor, from chhorna, ‘to abandon.’ Hence Ranchhor, one of the titles under which Krishna is worshipped at Dwarka, is most unpropitious to the martial Rajput. Kalyavana, the foe from whom he fled, and who is figured as a serpent, is doubtless the Tak, the ancient foe of the Yadus, who slew Janamejaya, emperor of the Pandus. [Kālyavana has been identified with Gonanda I. of Kashmīr, but was more probably one of the Bactrian chiefs of the Panjāb (Growse, Mathura, 3rd ed. 56).]

57. See Appendix to this Part, No. VIII [p. 647].

58. [The right of sanctuary was maintained until quite recent times (Erskine ii. A. 120).]

59. The cotton tree, Bombax malabaracum, which grows to an immense height.

60. Whoever has unhooded the falcon at a lapwing, or even scared one from her nest, need not be told of its peculiarly distressing scream, as if appealing to sympathy. The allusion here is to the lapwing scared from her nest, as the rival armies of the Kurus and Pandus joined in battle, when the compassionate Krishna, taking from an elephant’s neck a war-bell (viraghanta), covered the nest, in order to protect it. When the majority of the feudal nobles of Marwar became self-exiled, to avoid the almost demoniac fury of their sovereign, since his alliance with the British Government, Anar Singh, the chief of Ahor, a fine specimen of the Rathor Rajput, brave, intelligent, and amiable, was one day lamenting, that while all India was enjoying tranquillity under the shield of Britain, they alone were suffering from the caprice of a tyrant; concluding a powerful appeal to my personal interposition with the foregoing allegory, and observing on the beauty of the office of mediator: “You are all-powerful,” added he, “and we may be of little account in the grand scale of affairs; but Krishna condescended to protect even the lapwing’s egg in the midst of battle.” This brave man knew my anxiety to make their peace with their sovereign, and being acquainted with the allegory, I replied with some fervour, in the same strain, “Would to God, Thakur Sahib, I had the viraghanta to protect you.” The effect was instantaneous, and the eye of this manly chieftain, who had often fearlessly encountered the foe in battle, filled with tears as, holding out his hand, he said, “At least you listen to our griefs, and speak the language of friendship. Say but the word, and you may command the services of twenty thousand Rathors.” There is, indeed, no human being more susceptible of excitement, and, under it, of being led to any desperate purpose, whether for good or for evil, than the Rajput.

61. Chand, the bard, gives this instance of the compassionate nature of Krishna, taken, as well as the former, from the Mahabharata. [On Krishna worship see J. Kennedy, JRAS, October 1907, p. 960 ff.]

62. Near the town of Avranches, on the coast of Normandy, is a rock called Mont St. Michel, in ancient times sacred to the Galli or Celtic Apollo, or Belenus; a name which the author from whom we quote observes, “certainly came from the East, and proves that the littoral provinces of Gaul were visited by the Phoenicians.”—“A college of Druidical priestesses was established there, who sold to seafaring men certain arrows endowed with the peculiar virtue of allaying storms, if shot into the waves by a young mariner. Upon the vessel arriving safe, the young archer was sent by the crew to offer thanks and rewards to the priestesses. His presents were accepted in the most graceful manner; and at his departure the fair priestesses, who had received his embraces, presented to him a number of shells, which afterwards he never failed to use in adorning his person” (Tour through France).

When the early Christian warrior consecrated this mount to his protector St. Michel, its name was changed from Mons Jovis (being dedicated to Jupiter) to Tumba, supposed from tumulus, a mound; but as the Saxons and Celts placed pillars on all these mounts, dedicated to the Sun-god Belenus, Bal, or Apollo, it is not unlikely that Tumba is from the Sanskrit thambha, or sthambha, ‘a pillar’ [?].

63. [Pītāmbara.]

64. Hindupati, vulgo Hindupat, ‘chief of the Hindu race,’ is a title justly appertaining to the Ranas of Mewar. It has, however, been assumed by chieftains scarcely superior to some of his vassals, though with some degree of pretension by Sivaji, who, had he been spared, might have worked the redemption of his nation, and of the Rana’s house, from which he sprung.

65. See Appendix to this paper, Nos. IX. and X. [p. 647].

66. Numbers, chap. xxxv. 11, 12.

67. Numbers, chap. xxxv. 25, and Joshua, chap. xx. 6. There was an ancient law of Athens analogous to the Mosaic, by which he who committed ‘chance-medley’ should fly the country for a year, during which his relatives made satisfaction to the relatives of the deceased. The Greeks had asyla for every description of criminals, which could not be violated without infamy. Gibbon [ed. W. Smith, iv. 377 f.] gives a memorable instance of disregard to the sanctuary of St. Julian in Auvergne, by the soldiers of the Frank king Theodoric, who divided the spoils of the altar, and made the priests captives: an impiety not only unsanctioned by the son of Clovis, but punished by the death of the offenders, the restoration of the plunder, and the extension of the right of sanctuary five miles around the sepulchre of the holy martyr.

68. [The chief sanctuaries in Rājputāna are: Nāgor; Barli, a few miles distant; Chaupāsni; Udaimandir and Mahmandir, close to Jodhpur. The system is a serious obstacle to the detection of crime (General Hervey, Some Records of Crime, i. 122 f., ii. 327 ff.).]

69. [Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, 3rd ed. i. 235.]

70. [iv. 33; L. R. Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, iv. 101 ff.]

71. [Perā, a sweetmeat made of cream, sugar and spices, for which Mathura is famous.]

72. Pallas gives an admirable and evidently faithful account of the worship of Krishna and other Hindu divinities in the city of Astrakhan, where a Hindu mercantile colony is established. They are termed Multani, from the place whence they migrated—Multan, near the Indus. This class of merchants of the Hindu faith is disseminated over all the countries, from the Indus to the Caspian: and it would have been interesting had the professor given us any account of their period of settlement on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. In costume and feature, as represented in the plate given by that author, they have nothing to denote their origin; though their divinities might be seated on any altar on the Ganges. The Multanis of Indeskoi Dvor, or ‘Indian court,’ at Astrakhan, have erected a pantheon, in which Krishna, the god of all Vaishnava merchants, is seated in front of Jagannath, Rama, and his brothers, who stand in the background; while Siva and his consort Ashtabhuja ‘the eight-armed,’ form an intermediate line, in which is also placed a statue which Pallas denominates Murali; but Pallas mistook the flute (murali) of the divine Krishna for a rod. The principal figure we shall describe in his own words. “In the middle was placed a small idol with a very high bonnet, called Gupaledshi. At its right there was a large black stone, and on the left two smaller ones of the same colour, brought from the Ganges, and regarded by the Hindus as sacred. These fossils were of the species called Sankara, and appeared to be an impression of a bivalve muscle.” Minute as is the description, our judgment is further aided by the plate. Gupaledshi is evidently Gopalji, the pastoral deity of Vraj (from gao, a cow, and pala, a herdsman). The head-dress worn by him and all the others is precisely that still worn by Krishna, in the sacred dance at Mathura: and so minute is the delineation that even the pera or sugar-ball is represented, although the professor appears to have been ignorant of its use, as he does not name it. He has likewise omitted to notice the representation of the sacred mount of Govardhana, which separates him from the Hindu Jove and the turreted Cybele (Durga), his consort. The black stones are the Salagramas, worshipped by all Vaishnavas. In the names of ‘Nhandigana and Gori,’ though the first is called a lion saddled, and the other a male divinity, we easily recognise Nandi, the bull-attendant (Gana) of Siva and his consort Gauri. Were all travellers to describe what they see with the same accuracy as Pallas, they would confer important obligations on society, and might defy criticism. It is with heartfelt satisfaction I have to record, from the authority of a gentleman who has dwelt amongst the Hindkis of Astrakhan, that distance from their ancient abodes has not deteriorated their character for uprightness. Mr. Mitchell, from whose knowledge of Oriental languages the Royal Asiatic Society will some day derive benefit, says that the reputation of these Hindu colonists, of whom there are about five hundred families, stands very high, and that they bear a preference over all the merchants of other nations settled in this great commercial city.

73. Other travellers besides Pallas have described Hinduism as existing in the remote parts of the Russian empire, and if nominal resemblances may be admitted, we would instance the strong analogy between the Samoyedes and Tchoudes of Siberia and Finland and the Syama Yadus and Joudes of India [?]. The languages of the two former races are said to have a strong affinity, and are classed as Hindu-Germanic by M. Klaproth, on whose learned work, Asia Polyglotta, M. Rémusat has given the world an interesting critique, in his Mélanges Asiatiques (tome i. p. 267), in which he traces these tribes to Central Asia; thus approaching the land of the Getae or Yuti. Now the Yutis and Yadus have much in their early history to warrant the assertion of more than nominal analogy. The annals of the Yadus of Jaisalmer state that long anterior to Vikrama they held dominion from Ghazni to Samarkand: that they established themselves in those regions after the Mahabharata, or great war; and were again impelled, on the rise of Islamism, within the Indus. As Yadus of the race of Sham or Syam (a title of Krishna), they would be Sama-Yadus; in like manner as the Bhatti tribe are called Shama-bhatti, the Ahsham Bhatti of Abu-l Fazl. The race of Joude was existing near the Indus in the Emperor Babur’s time, who describes them as occupying the mountainous range in the first Duab, the very spot mentioned in the annals of the Yadus as their place of halt, on quitting India twelve centuries before Christ, and thence called Jadu or Yadu-ka-dang, the ‘hills of Jadu or Yadu.’ The peopling of all these regions, from the Indus to remote Tartary, is attributed to the race of Ayu or Indu, both signifying the moon, of which are the Haihayas, Aswas (Asi), Yadus, etc., who spread a common language over all Western Asia. Amongst the few words of Hindu-Germanic origin which M. Rémusat gives to prove affinity between the Finnish and Samoyede languages is Miel, Mod, dans le dialecte Caucasien, et Méd, en Slave,” and which, as well as mead, the drink of the Scandinavian warrior, is from the Sanskrit Madhu, a bee [honey]. Hence intoxicating beverage is termed Madhva, which supplies another epithet for Krishna, Madhu or Madhava. [These speculations possess no value.]

74. Origin of Laws and Government.

75. Literally ‘the giver of food.’

76. Kanhaiya ka kantha bāndhna, ‘to bind on [the neck] the chaplet of Kanhaiya,’ is the initiatory step.

77. I had one day thrown my net into this lake, which abounded with a variety of fish, when my pastime was interrupted by a message from the regent, Zalim Singh: “Tell Captain Tod that Kotah and all around it are at his disposal; but these fish belong to Kanhaiya.” I, of course, immediately desisted, and the fish were returned to the safeguard of the deity. [The killing of fish at certain lakes and streams is forbidden on account of their harmlessness (ahimsā), and thus naturally associated with the cult of a gentle deity like Krishna, and because they are believed to contain the spirits of the dead (Stein, Rājatarangini, i. 185; Crooke, Things Indian, 221 ff.).]

78. A Nishan, or standard, is synonymous with a company.

79. Sheopur or Sivapur, the city of Sheo or Siva, the god of war, whose battle-shout is Har; and hence one of Vishnu’s epithets, as Hari is that of Krishna or Kanhaiya.

80. Radha was the name of the chief of the Gopis or nymphs of Vraj, and the beloved of Kanhaiya.

81. In October 1807 I rambled through all these countries, then scarcely known by name to us. At that time Sheopur was independent, and its prince treated me with the greatest hospitality. In 1809 I witnessed its fall, when following with the embassy in the train of the Mahratta leader. [It is now included in the Gwalior State (IGI, xxii. 271 f.).]




—Hari, Krishna, familiarly Kanhaiya,[1] was of the celebrated tribe of Yadu, the founder of the fifty-six tribes[2] who obtained the universal sovereignty of India, and descended from Yayati, the third son[3] of Swayambhuva Manu,[4] or ‘The Man, Lord of the earth,’ whose daughter Ila[5] (Terra) was espoused by Budha (Mercury), son of Chandra[6] (the Moon), whence the Yadus are styled Chandravansi, or ‘children of the moon.’ Budha was therefore worshipped as the great [533] ancestor (Pitrideva) of the lunar race; and previous to the apotheosis of Krishna, was adored by all the Yadu race. The principal shrine of Budha was at Dwarka, where he still receives adoration as Budha Trivikrama.[7] Kanhaiya lived towards the conclusion of the brazen age, calculated to have been about 1100 to 1200 years before Christ.[8] He was born to the inheritance of Vraj, 622the country of the Suraseni, comprehending the territory round Mathura for a space of eighty miles, of which he was unjustly deprived in his infancy by his relative Kansa. From its vicinity to Delhi we may infer either that there was no lord paramount amongst the Yadus of this period, or that Krishna’s family held as vassals of Hastinapur, then, with Indraprastha or Delhi, the chief seat of Yadu power. There were two princes named Surasen amongst the immediate predecessors of Krishna: one, his grandfather, the other eight generations anterior. Which of these was the founder of Suryapur on the Yamuna, the capital of the Yadus,[9] we know not, but we may assume that the first gave his name to the region around Mathura, described by Arrian as the country of the Suraseni. Alexander was in India probably about eight centuries after the deification of Krishna, and it is satisfactory to find that the inquiries he instituted into the genealogy of the dynasty then ruling on the [534] Yamuna correspond very closely with those of the Yadus of this distant period; and combined with what Arrian says of the origin of the Pandus, it appears indisputable that the descendants of this powerful branch of the Yadus ruled on the Yamuna when the Macedonian erected the 623altars of Greece on the Indus. That the personage whose epithets of Krishna-Syam designate his colour as ‘the Black Prince,’ was in fact a distinguished chief of the Yadus, there is not a shadow of doubt; nor that, after his death, they placed him among the gods as an incarnation of Vishnu or the Sun; and from this period we may induce the Hindu notion of their Trinity. Arrian[10] enumerates the names of Boudyas (Βουδύας) and Kradeuas (Κραδεύας) amongst the early ancestors of the tribe then in power, which would alone convince us that Alexander had access to the genealogies of the Puranas; for we can have little hesitation in affirming these to be Budha and Kroshti, ancestors of Krishna; and that “Mathora and Cleisobora, the chief cities of the Suraseni,” are the Mathura and Suryapur occupied by the descendants of Sursen.[11] Had Arrian afforded as many hints for discussing the analogy between the Hindu and Grecian Apollos as he has for the Hercules of Thebes and India, we might have come to a conclusion that the three chief divinities[12] of Egypt, Greece, and India had their altars first erected on the Indus, Ganges, and Jumna.

Sun and Moon Worship.

—The earliest objects of adoration in these regions were the sun and moon, whose names designated the two grand races, Surya and Chandra of Indu. Budha, son of Indu, married Ila, a grandchild of Surya, from which union sprung the Indu race. They deified their ancestor Budha, who continued to be the chief object of adoration until Krishna: hence the worship of Balnath[13] and Budha[14] were coeval. That the Nomadic tribes of Arabia, as well as those of Tartary and India, adored the same objects, we learn from the earliest writers; and Job, the probable contemporary of Hasti, the founder of the first capital of the Yadus on the Ganges, boasts in the midst of his griefs that he had always remained uncorrupted by the Sabaeism which surrounded him. “If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness, and my mouth had kissed my hand, this also were an iniquity to be punished by the 624judge, for I should have denied the [535] God that is above.”[15] That there were many Hindus who, professing a pure monotheism like Job, never kissed the hand either to Surya or his herald Budha, we may easily credit from the sublimity of the notions of the ‘One God,’ expressed both by the ancients and moderns, by poets and by princes, of both races;[16] but more especially by the sons of Budha, who for ages bowed not before graven images, and deemed it impious to raise a temple to
The Spirit in whose honour shrines are weak.

Hence the Jains, the chief sect of the Buddhists,[17] so called from adoring the spirit (Jina), were untinctured with idolatry until the apotheosis of Krishna,[18] whose mysteries superseded the simpler worship of Budha. Neminath (the deified Nemi) was the pontiff of Budha, and not only the contemporary of Krishna, but a Yadu, and his near relation; and both had epithets denoting their complexion; for Arishta, the surname of Nemi, has the same import as Syam and Krishna, ‘the black,’ though the latter is of a less Ethiopic hue than Nemi.[19] It was anterior to this schism amongst the sons of Budha that the creative power was degraded under sensual forms, when the pillar rose to Bal or Surya in Syria and on the Ganges: and the serpent, “subtlest beast of all the field,” worshipped as the emblem of wisdom (Budha), was conjoined with the symbol of the creative power, as at the shrine of Eklinga, where the brazen serpent is wreathed round the lingam.[20] Budha’s descendants, the Indus, preserved 625the Ophite sign of their race, when Krishna’s followers adopted the eagle as his symbol. These, with the adorers of Surya, form the three idolatrous classes of India, not confined to its modern [536] restricted definition, but that of antiquity, when Industhan or Indu-Scythia extended from the Ganges to the Caspian. In support of the position that the existing polytheism was unknown on the rise of Vaishnavism, we may state, that in none of the ancient genealogies do the names of such deities appear as proper names in society, a practice now common; and it is even recorded that the rites of magic, the worship of the host of heaven, and of idols, were introduced from Kashmir, between the periods of Krishna and Vikrama. The powers of nature were personified, and each quality, mental and physical, had its emblem, which the Brahmans taught the ignorant to adopt as realities, till the pantheon become so crowded that life would be too short to acquire even the nomenclature of their ‘thirty-three millions of gods.’[21] No object was too high or too base, from the glorious Orb to the Rampi, or paring-knife of the shoemaker. In illustration of the increase of polytheism, I shall describe the seven forms under which Krishna is worshipped, whose statues are established in the various capitals of Rajasthan, and are occasionally brought together at the festival of Annakuta at Nathdwara.

The international wars of the Suryas and the Yadu races, as described in the Ramayana and Mahabharata, are lost between allegory and literal interpretation. The Suryas, or Saivas, were depressed; and the Indus, who counted ‘fifty-six’ grand tribes, under the appellations of Takshak, ‘serpent,’ Aswa, ‘horse,’ Sasa, ‘hare,’ etc., etc., had paramount sway. Krishna’s schism produced a new type, that of the eagle, and the wars of 626the schismatics were depicted under their respective emblems, the eagle and serpent, of which latter were the Kauravas and Takshaks,[22] the political adversaries of the Pandus, the relatives of Krishna. The [537] allegory of Krishna’s eagle pursuing the serpent Budha, and recovering the books of science and religion with which he fled, is an historical fact disguised: namely, that of Krishna incorporating the doctrines of Budha with his own after the expulsion of the sect from India. Dare we further attempt to lift the veil from this mystery, and trace from the seat of redemption of lost science its original source?[23] The Gulf of Cutch, the point where the serpent attempted to escape, has been from time immemorial to the present day the entrepôt for the commerce of Sofala, the Red Sea, Egypt, and Arabia. There 627Budha Trivikrama, or Mercury, has been and is yet invoked by the Indian mariners, especially the pirates of Dwarka. Did Budha or Mercury come from, or escape to the Nile? Is he the Hermes of Egypt to whom the ‘four books of science,’ like the four Vedas[24] of the Hindus, were sacred? The statues of Nemi,[25] the representative of Budha, exactly resemble in feature the bust of young Memnon.[26]

I have already observed that Krishna, before his own deification, worshipped his great ancestor Budha; and his temple at Dwarka rose over the ancient shrine of the latter, which yet stands. In an inscription from the cave of Gaya their characters are conjoined: “Hari who is Budha.” According to Western mythology, Apollo and Mercury exchanged symbols, the caduceus for the lyre; so likewise in India their characters intermingle: and even the Saiva propitiates Hari as the mediator and disposer of the ‘divine spark’ (jyoti) to its reunion with the ‘parent-flame’:—thus, like Mercury, he may be said to be the conveyer of the souls of the dead. Accordingly in funeral lamentation his name only is invoked, and Hari-bol! Hari-bol! is emphatically pronounced by those conveying the corpse to its final abode. The vahan (qu. the Saxon van?) or celestial car of Krishna, in which the souls (ansa) of the just are conveyed to Suryamandal, the ‘mansion of the sun,’ is painted like himself, blue (indicative of space, or as Ouranos), with the eagle’s head; and here he partakes of the Mercury of the [538] Greeks, and of Oulios, the preserver or saviour, one of the titles of Apollo at Delos.[27]


The Forms of Krishna.

—The Tatar nations, who are all of Indu race, like the Rajputs and German tribes, adored the moon as a male divinity, and to his son, Budha, they assign the same character of mediator. The serpent is alike the symbol of the Budha of the Hindus, the Hermes of the Egyptians, and the Mercury of Greece: and the allegory of the dragon’s teeth, the origin of letters, brought by Cadmus from Egypt, is a version of the Hindu fable of Kanhaiya (Apollo) wresting the Vedas (secrets) from Budha or wisdom (Hermes), under his sign, the serpent or dragon. We might still further elucidate the resemblance, and by an analysis of the titles and attributes of the Hindu Apollo, prove that from the Yamuna may have been supplied the various incarnations of this divinity, which peopled the pantheons of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. As Nomios, who attended the herds of Admetus, we have Nonita,[28] the infantine appellation of Kanhaiya, when he pastured the kine of Kesava in the woods of Vindra, whence the ceremony of the sons of princes assuming the crook, and on particular days tending the flocks.[29] As Muralidhara, or the ‘flute-holder,’ Kanhaiya is the god of music; and in giving him the shepherd’s reed instead of the vina or lyre, we may conjecture that the simple bamboo (bans) which formed the first flute (bansli) was in use before the chahtara,[30] the Grecian cithara,[31] the first invented lyre of Apollo. Thus from the six-wired 629instrument of the Hindus we have the Greek cithara, the English cithern, and the Spanish guitar of modern [539] days. The Greeks, following the Egyptians, had but six notes, with their lettered symbols; and it was reserved for the Italians to add a seventh. Guido Aretine, a monk in the thirteenth century, has the credit of this. I, however, believe the Hindus numbered theirs from the heavenly bodies—the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn,—hence they had the regular octave, with its semi-tones: and as, in the pruriency of their fancy, they converted the ascending and descending notes into grahas, or planetary bodies, so they may have added them to the harmonious numbers, and produced the nauragini, their nine modes of music.[32] Could we affirm that the hymns composed and set to music by Jayadeva, nearly three thousand years ago,[33] and still chanted in honour of the Apollo of Vraj, had been handed down with the sentiments of these mystic compositions (and Sir W. Jones sanctions the idea), we should say, from their simplicity, that the musicians of that age had only the diatonic scale; but we have every reason to believe, from the very elaborate character of their written music, which is painful and discordant to the ear from its minuteness of subdivision, that they had also the chromatic scale, said to have been invented by Timotheus in the time of Alexander, who might have carried it from the banks of the Indus.

The Rāsmandal Dance.

—In the mystic dance, the Rasmandal, yet imitated on the annual festival sacred to the sun-god Hari, he is represented with a radiant crown in a dancing attitude, playing on the flute to the nymphs encircling him, each holding a musical instrument.
630In song and dance about the sacred hill;
Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere
Of planets and of fixed in all her wheels
Resembles nearest; mazes intricate,
Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular
Then most, when most irregular they seem;
And in their motions harmony divine
So smooths her charming tones that God’s own ear
Listens delighted.
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book v. 619-27.

These nymphs are also called the nauragini, from raga, a mode of song over which each presides, and naurasa, or ‘nine passions,’ excited by the powers [540] of harmony. May we not in this trace the origin of Apollo and the sacred nine? In the manner described above, the rasmandal is typical of the zodiacal phenomena; and in each sign a musical nymph is sculptured in alto-relievo, in the vaulted temples dedicated to the god,[34] or in secular edifices by way of ornament, as in the triumphal column of Chitor. On the festival of the Janam,[35] or ‘birth-day,’ there is a scenic representation of Kanhaiya and the Gopis: when are rehearsed in the mellifluous accents of the Ionic land of Vraj, the songs of Jayadeva, as addressed by Kanhaiya to Radha and her companions. A specimen of these, as translated by that elegant scholar, Sir W. Jones, may not be considered inappropriate here.

The Songs of Jayadeva.

—I have had occasion to remark elsewhere,[36] that the Rajput bards, like the heroic Scalds of the north, lose no opportunity of lauding themselves; of which Jayadeva, the bard of the Yadus, has set an eminent example in the opening of ‘the songs of Govinda.’

“If thy soul be delighted with the remembrance of Hari, or sensible to the raptures of love, listen to the voice of Jayadeva, whose notes are both sweet and brilliant.”

To face page 630.

631The poet opens the first interview of Krishna and Radha with an animated description of a night in the rainy season, in which Hari is represented as a wanderer, and Radha, daughter of the shepherd Nanda, is sent to offer him shelter in their cot.[37] Nanda thus speaks to Radha: “The firmament is obscured by clouds; the woodlands are black with Tamala trees; that youth who roves in the forest will be fearful in the gloom of night; go, my daughter, bring the wanderer to my rustic mansion. Such was the command of Nanda the herdsman, and hence arose the love of Radha and Madhava.”[38]

The poet proceeds to apostrophize Hari, which the Hindu bard terms rupaka, or ‘personal description’:

“Oh thou who reclinest on the bosom of Kamala, whose ears flame with gems, and whose locks are embellished with sylvan flowers; thou, from whom the [541] day-star derived his effulgence, who slewest the venom-breathing Kaliya, who beamedst like a sun on the tribe of Yadu, that flourished like a lotus; thou, who sittest on the plumage of Garuda, who sippest nectar from the radiant lips of Padma, as the fluttering chakora drinks the moonbeams; be victorious, O Hari.”

Jayadeva then introduces Hari in the society of the pastoral nymphs of Vraj, whom he groups with admirable skill, expressing the passion by which each is animated towards the youthful prince with great warmth and elegance of diction. But Radha, indignant that he should divide with them the affection she deemed exclusively her own, flies his presence. Hari, repentant and alarmed, now searches the forest for his beloved, giving vent at each step to impassioned grief. “Woe is me! she feels a sense of injured honour, and has departed in wrath. How will she conduct herself? How will she express her pain in so long a separation? What is wealth to me? What are numerous attendants? What the pleasures of the world? How can I invite thee to return? Grant me but a sight of thee, oh! lovely Radha, for my passion torments me. O God of love! mistake me not for Siva. Wound me not again. I love already but too passionately; yet have I lost my beloved. Brace not thy bow, thou conqueror of the world! My heart is already pierced by arrows from Radha’s eyes, black and keen as those of the antelope.”

632Radha relents and sends a damsel in quest of Hari, whom she finds in a solitary arbour on the banks of the Yamuna. She describes her mistress as animated by the same despair which controls him:

“Her face is like a water-lily veiled in the dew of tears, and her eyes are as moons eclipsed. She draws thy picture and worships it, and at the close of every sentence exclaims, ‘O Madhava, at thy feet am I fallen!’ Then she figures thee standing before her: she sighs, she smiles, she mourns, she weeps. Her abode, the forest—herself through thy absence is become a timid roe, and love is the tiger who springs on her, like Yama, the genius of death. So emaciated is her beautiful body, that even the light garland which waves o’er her bosom is a load. The palm of her hand supports her aching temple, motionless as the crescent rising at eve. Thus, O divine healer, by the nectar of thy love [542] must Radha be restored to health; and if thou refusest, thy heart must be harder than the thunder-stone.”[39]

The damsel returns to Radha and reports the condition of Hari, mourning her absence: “Even the hum of the bee distracts him. Misery sits fixed in his heart, and every returning night adds anguish to anguish.” She then recommends Radha to seek him. “Delay not, O loveliest of women; follow the lord of thy heart. Having bound his locks with forest flowers, he hastens to yon arbour, where a soft gale breathes over the banks of Yamuna, and there pronouncing thy name, he modulates his divine reed. Leave behind thee, O friend, the ring which tinkles on thy delicate ankle when thou sportest in the dance. Cast over thee thy azure mantle and run to the shady bower.”

But Radha, too weak to move, is thus reported to Hari by the same fair mediator: “She looks eagerly on all sides in hope of thy approach: she advances a few steps and falls languid to the ground. She weaves bracelets of fresh leaves, and looking at herself in sport, exclaims, behold the vanquisher of Madhu! Then she repeats the name of Hari, and catching at a dark blue cloud,[40] strives to embrace it, saying, ‘It is my beloved who approaches.’”

633Midnight arrives, but neither Hari nor the damsel returns, when she gives herself up to the frenzy of despair, exclaiming: “The perfidy of my friend rends my heart. Bring disease and death, O gale of Malaya! receive me in thy azure wave, O sister of Yama,[41] that the ardour of my heart may be allayed.”

The repentant Hari at length returns, and in speech well calculated to win forgiveness, thus pleads his pardon:

“Oh! grant me a draught of honey from the lotus of thy mouth: or if thou art inexorable, grant me death from the arrows of thine eyes; make thy arms my chains: thou art my ornament; thou art the pearl in the ocean of my mortal birth! Thine eyes, which nature formed like blue water-lilies, are become through thy resentment like petals of the crimson lotus! Thy silence affects me; oh! speak with the voice of music, and let thy sweet accents allay my ardour” [543].

“Radha with timid joy, darting her eyes on Govinda while she musically sounded the rings of her ankles and the bells of her zone,[42] entered the mystic bower of her beloved. His heart was agitated by her sight, as the waves of the deep are affected by the lunar orb.[43] From his graceful waist flowed a pale yellow robe,[44] which resembled the golden dust of the water-lily scattered over its blue petals.[45] His locks interwoven with blossoms, were like a cloud variegated by the moonbeam. Tears of transport gushed in a stream from the full eyes of Radha, and their watery glances beamed on her best beloved. Even shame, which had before taken its abode in their dark pupils, was itself ashamed,[46] and departed when the fawn-eyed Radha gazed on the bright face of Krishna.”

634The poet proceeds to describe Apollo’s bower on the sable Yamuna, as ‘Love’s recess’; and sanctifies it as

... The ground
Where early Love his Psyche’s zone unbound.[47]

In the morning the blue god aids in Radha’s simple toilet. He stains her eye with antimony “which would make the blackest bee envious,” places “a circle of musk on her forehead,” and intertwines “a chaplet of flowers and peacock’s feathers in her dark tresses,” replacing “the zone of golden bells.” The bard concludes as he commenced, with an eulogium on the inspirations of his muse, which it is evident were set to music. “Whatever is delightful in the modes of music, whatever is graceful in the fine strains of poetry, whatever is exquisite in the sweet art of love, let the happy and wise learn from the songs of Jayadeva.”

The Rāsmandal Dance.

—This mystic dance, the rasmandal, appears analogous to the Pyrrhic dance, or the fire-dance of the Egyptians. The movements of those who personate the deity and his fair companions are full [544] of grace, and the dialogue is replete with harmony.[48] The Chaubes[49] of Mathura and Vindravana have considerable reputation as vocalists; and the effect of the modulated and deep tones of the adult blending with the clear treble of the juvenile performers, while the time is marked by the cymbal or the soothing monotony of the tabor, accompanied occasionally by the murali or flute, is very pleasing.


—We have a Parnassus in Govardhana, from which sacred hill the god derives one of his principal epithets, Gordhan or Gordhannath, ‘God of the mount of wealth.’[50] Here he first gave proofs of miraculous power, and a cave in this hill was the first shrine, on his apotheosis, whence his miracles and oracles were made known to the Yadus. From this cave (gupha) is derived another of his titles—Guphnath, ‘Lord of the cave,’ distinct from his epithet Gopinath, ‘Lord of the Gopis,’[51] or pastoral nymphs. On the annual festival held at Govardhana, the sacred mount is purified with copious oblations of milk, for which all the cows of the district are in requisition.

Cave Worship of Krishna.

—The worship of Krishna in ancient days, like that of Apollo amongst the Greeks, was chiefly celebrated in caves, of which there were many scattered over India. The most remarkable were those of Govardhana in Vraj; Gaya in Bihar; Gopnath on the shores of Saurashtra; and Jalandhara[52] on the Indus. In these dark and mysterious retreats superstition had her full influence over the votaries who sought the commands and deprecated the wrath of the deity: but, as the Mukhya told the author, “the age of oracles and miracles is past”; and the new wheel, which was miraculously furnished each revolving year to supply the place of that which first indicated his desire to abide at Nathdwara, is no longer forthcoming. The old one, which was the signal of his wish, is, however, preserved as a relic, and greatly reverenced. The statue now worshipped at Nathdwara, as the representative of ‘the god of the mount’ [545], is said to be the identical image raised in the cave of Govardhana, and brought thence by the high priest Balba.[53]

Krishna a Dragon-Slayer.

—As the destroyer of Kaliyanag, ‘the black serpent,’ which infested the waters of the Yamuna, Kanhaiya has the character of the Pythic Apollo. He is represented dragging the monster from the ‘black stream,’ and bruising him with his foot. He had, however, many battles with his hydra-foe ere he vanquished him, and he was once driven by Kalayavana from Vraj to Dwarka, whence his title of Ranchhor. Here we have the old allegory of the schismatic wars of the Buddhists and Vaishnavas.

Parallels to Krishna in other Mythologies.

—Diodorus informs us that Kan was one of the titles of the Egyptian Apollo as the sun; and this is the common contraction for Kanhaiya, whose colour is a dark cerulean blue (nila): and hence his name Nilanath, who, like the Apollo of the Nile, is depicted with the human form and eagle-head, with a lotus in his hand. S and H are permutable letters in the Bhakha, and Syam or Sham, the god of the Yamuna, may be the Ham or Hammon of Egypt. Hari accompanied Rama to Lanka, as did the Egyptian Apollo, Rameses-Sesostris, on his expedition to India: both were attended in their expedition by an army of Satyrs, or tribes bearing the names of different animals: and as we have the Aswas, the Takshaks, and the Sasas of the Yadu tribes, typified under the horse, the serpent, and the hare, so the races of Surya, of which Rama was the head, may have been designated Riksh and Hanuman, or bears and monkeys. The distance of the Nile from the Indian shore forms no objection; the sail spread for Ceylon could waft the vessel to the Red Sea, which the fleets of Tyre, of Solomon, and Hiram covered about this very time. That the Hindus navigated the ocean from the earliest ages, the traces of their religion in the isles of the Indian archipelago sufficiently attest; but on this subject we have already said enough.

The coincidence between the most common epithets of the Apollos of Greece and India, as applied to the sun, are peculiarly striking. Hari, as Bhannath, ‘the lord of beams,’ is Phoebus, and his heaven is Haripur (Heliopolis), or ‘city of Hari.’[54] Helios (Ἥλιος) was a title of Apollo, whence the Greeks had their 637Elysium, the Haripur or Bhanthan (the abode of the sun), the highest of the [546] heavens or abodes of bliss of the martial Rajput. Hence the eagle (the emblem of Hari as the sun)[55] was adopted by the western warrior as the symbol of victory.

The Di Majores of the Rajput are the same in number and title as amongst the Greeks and Romans, being the deities who figuratively preside over the planetary system. Their grades of bliss are therefore in unison with the eccentricity of orbit of the planet named. On this account Chandra or Indu, the moon, being a mere satellite of Ila, the earth, though probably originating the name of the Indu race, is inferior in the scale of blissful abodes to that of his son Budha or Mercury, whose heliacal appearance gave him importance even with the sons of Vaivasvata, the sun. From the poetic seers of the martial races we learn that there are two distinct places of reward; the one essentially spiritual, the other of a material nature. The bard inculcates that the warrior who falls in battle in the fulfilment of his duty, “who abandons life through the wave of steel,” will know no “second birth,” but that the unconfined spark (jyotis) will reunite to the parent orb. The doctrine of transmigration through a variety of hideous forms may be considered as a series of purgatories.

The Greeks and Celts worshipped Apollo under the title of Carneios,[56] which “selon le scholiaste de Théocrite” is derived from Carnos, “qui ne prophétisoit que des malheurs aux Héraclides lors de leur incursion dans le Péloponnèse. Un d’eux appelé Hippotés, le tua d’un coup de flèche.” Now one of the titles of the Hindu Apollo is Karna, ‘the radiant’; from karna, ‘a ray’: and when he led the remains of the Harikulas in company 638with Baldeva (the god of strength), and Yudhishthira, after the great international war, into the Peloponnesus of Saurashtra, they were attacked by the aboriginal Bhils, one of whom slew the divine Karna with an arrow. The Bhils claim to be of Hayavansa, or the race of Haya, whose chief seat was at Maheswar on the Nerbudda: the assassin of Karna would consequently be Hayaputra, or descendant of Haya[57] [547].

The most celebrated of the monuments commonly termed Druidic, scattered throughout Europe, is at Carnac in Brittany, on which coast the Celtic Apollo had his shrines, and was propitiated under the title of Karneios, and this monument may be considered at once sacred to the manes of the warriors and the sun-god Karneios. Thus the Roman Saturnalia, the carnivale, has a better etymology in the festival to Karneios, as the sun, than in the ‘adieu to flesh’ during the fast. The character of this festival is entirely oriental, and accompanied with the licentiousness which belonged to the celebration of the powers of nature. Even now, although Christianity has banished the grosser forms, it partakes more of a Pagan than a Christian ceremony.

The Annakūta Festival.

—Of the festivals of Krishna the Annakuta is the most remarkable;[58] when the seven statues were brought from the different capitals of Rajasthan, and mountains (kuta) of food (anna) piled up for their repast, at a given signal are levelled by the myriads of votaries assembled from all parts. About eighty years ago, on a memorable assemblage at the Annakuta, before warfare had devastated Rajasthan, and circumscribed the means of the faithful disciples of Hari, amongst the multitude of Vaishnavas of every region were almost all the Rajput princes; Rana Arsi of Mewar, Raja Bijai Singh of Marwar, Raja Gaj Singh of Bikaner, and Bahadur Singh of Kishangarh. Rana Arsi presented to the god a tora, or massive golden anklet-chain set with emeralds: Bijai Singh a diamond necklace worth 639twenty-five thousand rupees: the other princes according to their means. They were followed by an old woman of Surat, with infirm step and shaking head, who deposited four coppers in the hand of the high-priest, which were received with a gracious smile, not vouchsafed to the lords of the earth. “The Rand is in luck,” whispered the chief of Kishangarh to the Rana. Soon afterwards the statue of Hari was brought forth, when the same old woman placed at its feet a bill of exchange for seventy thousand rupees. The mighty were humbled, and the smile of the Gosain was explained. Such gifts, and to a yet greater amount, are, or were, by no means uncommon from the sons of commerce, who are only known to belong to the flock from the distinguishing necklace of the sect.[59]

Interruption of Worship.

—The predatory system which reduced these countries to a state of the most degraded anarchy, greatly diminished the number of pilgrimages to Nathdwara [548]; and the gods of Vraj had sufficient prescience to know that they could guard neither their priests nor followers from the Pathan and Mahratta, to whom the crown of the god, or the nathna (nose-jewel) of Radha, would be alike acceptable: nor would they have scrupled to retain both the deities and priests as hostages for such imposition as they might deem within their means. Accordingly, of late years, there had been no congress of the gods of Vraj, who remained fixtures on their altars till the halcyon days of A.D. 1818 permitted their liberation.[60]

Seven Forms of Krishna.

—The seven statues of Kanhaiya were brought together by the high-priest Balba, who established 640the festival of the Annakuta. They remained in the same sanctuary until the time of Girdhari, the grandson of Balba, who having seven sons, gave to each a rupa or statue, and whose descendants continue in the office of priest. The names and present abodes of the gods are as follows:

Nathji, the god, or Gordhannath, god of the mount Nathdwara.

1. Nonita Nathdwara.
2. Mathuranath Kotah.
3. Dwarkanath Kankroli.[61]
4. Gokulnath, or Gokulchandrama Jaipur.
5. Yadunath Surat.
6. Vitthalnath[62] Kotah.
7. Madan Mohana Jaipur.

Nathji is not enumerated amongst the forms; he stands supreme.

Nonita, or Nonanda, the juvenile Kanhaiya, has his altar separate, though close to Nathji. He is also styled Balamukund, ‘the blessed child,’[63] and is depicted as an infant with pera[64] or comfit-ball in his hand. This image, which was one of the penates of a former age, and which, since the destruction of the shrines of [549] Krishna by the Islamites, had lain in the Yamuna, attached itself to the sacerdotal zone (Janeo) of the high-priest Balba, while he was performing his ablutions, who, carrying it home, placed it in a niche of the temple and worshipped it: and Nonanda yet receives the peculiar homage of the high-priest and his family as their household divinity. Of the second image, Mathuranath, there is no particular mention: it was at one time at Khamnor in Mewar, but is now at Kotah.

Balkrishna, the third son, had Dwarkanath, which statue, now at Kankroli in Mewar, is asserted to be the identical image that 641received the adoration of Raja Amaraka, a prince of the solar race who lived in the Satya Yuga, or silver age. The ‘god of the mount’ revealed himself in a dream to his high-priest, and told him of the domicile of this his representative at Kanauj. Thither Balba repaired, and having obtained it from the Brahman, appointed Damodardas Khatri to officiate at his altar.

The fourth statue, that of Gokulnath, or Gokul Chandrama (i.e. the moon of Gokul), had an equally mysterious origin, having been discovered in a deep ravine on the banks of the river; Balba assigned it to his brother-in-law. Gokul is an island on the Jumna,[65] a few miles below Mathura, and celebrated in the early history of the pastoral divinity. The residence of this image at Jaipur does not deprive the little island of its honours as a place of pilgrimage; for the ‘god of Gokul’ has an altar on the original site, and his rites are performed by an aged priestess, who disowns the jurisdiction of the high-priest of Nathdwara, both in the spiritual and temporal concerns of her shrine; and who, to the no small scandal of all who are interested in Apollo, appealed from the fiat of the high-priest to the British court of justice. The royal grants of the Mogul emperors were produced, which proved the right to lie in the high-priest, though a long period of almost undisturbed authority had created a feeling of independent control in the family of the priestess, which they desired might continue. A compromise ensued, when the Author was instrumental in restoring harmony to the shrines of Apollo.

The fifth, Yadunath, is the deified ancestor of the whole Yadu race. This image, now at Surat, formerly adorned the shrine of Mahaban near Mathura which was destroyed by Mahmud [550].

The sixth, Vitthalnath, or Pandurang,[66] was found in the Ganges at Benares, Samvat 1572 (A.D. 1516), from which we may judge of their habit of multiplying divinities.

The seventh, Madan Mohana, ‘he who intoxicates with desire,’ the seductive lover of Radha and the Gopis, has his rites performed by a female. The present priestess of Mohana is the mother of Damodara, the supreme head of all who adore the Apollo of Vraj.


The Pontiff of Nāthdwāra.

—I am not aware of the precise period of Balba Acharya, who thus collected the seven images of Krishna now in Rajasthan; but he must have lived about the time of the last of the Lodi kings, at the period of the conquest of India by the Moguls (A.D. 1526). The present pontiff, Damodara, as before said, is his lineal descendant; and whether in addressing him verbally or by letter he is styled Maharaja or ‘great prince.’[67]

As the supreme head of the Vishnu sect his person is held to be Ansa, or ‘a portion of the divinity’; and it is maintained that so late as the father of the present incumbent, the god manifested himself and conversed with the high-priest. The present pontiff is now about thirty years of age. He is of a benign aspect, with much dignity of demeanour: courteous, yet exacting the homage due to his high calling: meek, as becomes the priest of Govinda, but with the finished manners of one accustomed to the first society. His features are finely moulded, and his complexion good. He is about the middle size, though as he rises to no mortal, I could not exactly judge of his height. When I saw him he had one only daughter, to whom he is much attached. He has but one wife, nor does Krishna allow polygamy to his priest. In times of danger, like some of his prototypes in the dark ages of Europe, he poised the lance, and found it more effective than spiritual anathemas, against those who would first adore the god, and then plunder him. Such were the Mahratta chiefs, Jaswant Rao Holkar and Bapu Sindhia. Damodara accordingly made the [551] tour of his extensive diocese at the head of four hundred horse, two standards of foot, and two field-pieces. He rode the finest mares in the country; laid aside his 643pontificals for the quilted dagla, and was summoned to matins by the kettle-drum instead of the bell and cymbal. In this he only imitated Kanhaiya, who often mixed in the ranks of battle, and “dyed his saffron robe in the red-stained field.” Had Damodara been captured on one of these occasions by any marauding Pathan, and incarcerated, as he assuredly would have been, for ransom, the marauder might have replied to the Rana, as did the Plantagenet king to the Pope, when the surrender of the captive church-militant bishop was demanded, “Is this thy son Joseph’s coat?” But, notwithstanding this display of martial principle, which covered with a helmet the shaven crown, his conduct and character are amiable and unexceptionable, and he furnishes a striking contrast to the late head of the Vishnu establishments in Marwar, who commenced with the care of his master’s conscience, and ended with that of the State; meek and unassuming till he added temporal[68] to spiritual power, which developed unlimited pride, with all the qualities that too often wait on “a little brief authority,” and to the display of which he fell a victim. Damodara,[69] similarly circumstanced, might have evinced the same failings, and have met the same end; but though endeavours were made to give him political influence at the Rana’s court, yet, partly from his own good sense, and partly through the dissuasion of the Nestor of Kotah (Zalim Singh), he was not entrained in the vortex of its intrigues, which must have involved the sacrifice of wealth and the proper dignity of his station [552].

1. [Derived, through the Prākrit, from Krishna.]

2. Chhappan kula Yadava.

3. Qu. Japhet? [?].

4. Also called Vaivaswata Manu—‘the man, son of the sun.’

5. Ila, the earth—the Saxon Ertha. The Germans chiefly worshipped Tuisco or Teutates and Ertha, who are the Budha or Ila of the Rajputs [?].

6. A male divinity with the Rajputs, the Tatars, and ancient Germans.

7. ‘Triple Energy’ [‘he who strides over the three worlds’], the Hermes Triplex of the Egyptians. [There is no cult of Budha at Dwārka.]

8. I shall here subjoin an extract of the rise and progress of Vaishnavism as written at my desire by the Mukhya of the temple:

“Twenty-five years of the Dwapar (the brazen age) were yet unexpired, when the incarnation (avatar) of Sri Krishna took place. Of these, eleven were passed at Gokul,[A] and fourteen at Mathura. There he used to manifest himself personally, especially at Govardhan. But when the Kaliyug (the iron age) commenced, he retired to Dwarka, an island separated by the ocean from Bharatkand,[B] where he passed a hundred years before he went to heaven. In Samvat 937 (A.D. 881) God decreed that the Hindu faith should be overturned, and that the Turushka[C] should rule. Then the jizya, or capitation tax, was inflicted on the head of the Hindu. Their faith also suffered much from the Jains and the various infidel (asura) sects which abounded. The Jains were so hostile, that Brahma manifested himself in the shape of Sankaracharya who destroyed them and their religion at Benares. In Gujarat, by their magic, they made the moon appear at Amavas.[D] Sankara foretold to its prince, Siddhraj,[E] the flood then approaching, who escaped in a boat and fled to Toda, on which occasion all the Vidyas[F] (magicians) in that country perished.” [For a more correct version of Krishna’s legend see Growse, Mathura, 3rd ed.; for Vaishnavism, R. G. Bhandarkar, “Vaisnavism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems,” in Grundriss Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde, 1913.

A. A small town in the Jumna, below Mathura. Hence one of Krishna’s titles is Gokulnath, ‘Lord of Gokul.’

B. The channel which separates the island of Dwarka from the mainland is filled up, except in spring tides. I passed it when it was dry.

C. We possess no record of the invasion of India in A.D. 881, by the Turki tribes, half a century after Mamun’s expedition from Zabulistan against Chitor, in the reign of Rawal Khuman [?].

D. The ides of the month, when the moon is obscured.

E. He ruled Samvat 1151 (A.D. 1095) to S. 1201 (A.D. 1145).

F. Still used as a term of reproach to the Jains and Buddhists, in which, and other points, as Ari (the foe, qu. Aria?), they bear a strong resemblance to the followers of the Arian Zardusht, or Zoroaster. Amongst other peculiarities, the ancient Persian fire-worshipper, like the present Jain, placed a bandage over the mouth while worshipping.

9. For an account of the discovery of the remains of this ancient city, see Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 314.

10. [Arrian, Indika, viii.]

11. [Growse (Mathura, 279) suggests that Cleisobora is Krishnapura, ‘Krishna’s city.’]

12. Hercules, Mercury, and Apollo; Balaram, Budha, and Kanhaiya.

13. The ‘God Bal,’ the Vivifier, the Sun [?].

14. Budha signifies ‘wisdom.’

15. Job chap. xxxi. 26, 27, 28.

16. Chand, the bard, after having separately invoked the three persons of the Hindu triad, says that he who believes them distinct, “hell will be his portion.”

17. [The Jains were not a Buddhist sect.]

18. A very curious cause was assigned by an eminent Jain priest for the innovation of enshrining and worshipping the forms of the twenty-four pontiffs: namely, that the worship of Kanhaiya, before and after the apotheosis, became quite a rage amongst the women, who crowded his shrines, drawing after them all the youth of the Jains; and that, in consequence, they made a statue of Neminath to counteract a fervour that threatened the existence of their faith. It is seldom we are furnished with such rational reasons for religious changes.

19. [Neminātha was the twenty-second Jain Tīrthakara or deified saint. Arishta means ‘unhurt, perfect.’]

20. It was the serpent (Budha) who ravished Ila, daughter of Ikshwaku, the son of Manu, whence the distinctive epithet of his descendants in the East, Manus, or men, the very tradition on an ancient sculptured column in the south of India, which evidently points to the primeval mystery. In Portici there is an exact lingam entwined with a brazen serpent, brought from the temple of Isis at Pompeii: and many of the same kind, in mosaic, decorate the floors of the dwelling-houses. But the most singular coincidence is in the wreaths of lingams and the yoni over the door of the minor temple of Isis at Pompeii; while on another front is painted the rape of Venus by Mercury (Budha and Ila). The Lunar race, according to the Puranas, are the issue of the rape of Ila by Budha. Aphah is a serpent in Hebrew. Ahi and Sarpa are two of its many appellations in Sanskrit. [These speculations are now obsolete.]

21. Taintīs kror devata.

22. The Mahabharata records constant wars from ancient times amongst the children of Surya (the sun), and the Tak or Takshak (serpent races). The horse of the sun, liberated preparatory to sacrifice, by the father of Rama, was seized by the Takshak Ananta; and Janamejaya, king of Delhi, grandson of Pandu, was killed by one of the same race. In both instances the Takshak is literally rendered the snake. The successor of Janamejaya carried war into the seats of this Tak or serpent race, and is said to have sacrificed 20,000 of them in revenge; but although it is specifically stated that he subsequently compelled them to sign tributary engagements (paenama), the Brahmans have nevertheless distorted a plain historical fact by a literal and puerile interpretation. The Paraitakai (Mountain-Tak) of Alexander were doubtless of this race, as was his ally Taxiles, which appellation was titular, as he was called Omphis till his father’s death. It is even probable that this name is the Greek Ὄφις, in which they recognized the tribe of the Tak or Snake. Taxiles may be compounded of is, ‘lord or chief,’ sila, ‘rock or mountain,’ and Tak, ‘lord of the mountain Tak,’ whose capital was in the range west of the Indus. We are indebted to the Emperor Babur for the exact position of the capital of this celebrated race, which he passed in his route of conquest. We have, however, an intermediate notice of it between Alexander and Babur, in the early history of the Yadu Bhatti, who came in conflict with the Taks on their expulsion from Zabulistan and settlement in the Panjab. [The Paraitakai or Paraitakenai have no connexion with Tāk or Takshak, the first part of the name perhaps representing Skt. parvata, ‘a mountain,’ or pahār in the modern dialect. They lived in the hill country between the rivers Oxus and Jaxartes (McCrindle, Alexander, 57). Omphis represents the Āmbhi, king of Taxila, a name supposed to mean ‘rock of the Tāk tribe’ (ibid. 413; Smith, EHI, 60), or, more probably, ‘city of cut stone.’]

23. The Buddhists appeared in this peninsula and the adjacent continent was the cradle of Buddhism, and here are three of the ‘five’ sacred mounts of their faith, i.e. Girnar, Satrunjaya and Abu. The Author purposes giving, hereafter, an account of his journey through these classic regions. [He refers to Jains; Buddhism arose in Bihār.]

24. The Buddhists and Jains are stigmatized as Vidyavan, which, signifying ‘possessed of science,’ is interpreted ‘magician.’

25. He is called Arishta-Nemi, ‘the black Nemi,’ from his complexion.

26. [The connexion of Hindu with Egyptian beliefs is no longer admitted.]

27. The Sun-god (Kan, according to Diodorus) is the Minos of the Egyptians. The hieroglyphics at Turin represent him with the head of an ibis, or eagle, with an altar before him, on which a shade places his offerings, namely, a goose, cakes of bread, and flowers of the lotus, and awaits in humble attitude his doom. In Sanskrit the same word means soul, goose, and swan [?], and the Hindu poet is always punning upon it; though it might be deemed a levity to represent the immaterial portion under so unclassical an emblem. The lotus flowers are alike sacred to the Kan of the Egyptians as to Kanhaiya the mediator of the Hindus, and both are painted blue and bird-headed. The claims of Kanhaiya (contracted Kan) as the sun divinity of the Hindus will be abundantly illustrated in the account of the festivals. [The above theories are obsolete.]

28. I do not mean to derive any aid from the resemblance of names, which is here merely accidental. [Nonīta probably = Navanīta, ‘fresh butter,’ a dairy god (Macdonell-Keith, Vedic Index, i. 437).]

29. When I heard the octogenarian ruler of Kotah ask his grandson, “Bapalal, have you been tending the cows to-day?” my surprise was converted into pleasure on the origin of the custom being thus classically explained.

30. From chha, ‘six,’ and tar, ‘a string or wire.’

31. Strabo says the Greeks consider music as originating from Thrace and Asia, of which countries were Orpheus, Musaeus, etc.; and that others “who regard all Asia, as far as India, as a country sacred to Dionysus (Bacchus), attribute to that country the invention of nearly all the science of music. We perceive them sometimes describing the cithara of the Asiatic, and sometimes applying to flutes the epithet of Phrygian. The names of certain instruments, such as the nabla, and others likewise, are taken from barbarous tongues.” This nabla of Strabo is possibly the tabla, the small tabor of India. If Strabo took his orthography from the Persian or Arabic, a single point would constitute the difference between the N (ن) and the T (ﺕ). [The Arabic tabl, tabla, has no connexion with Greek νάβλα, Hebrew nevel.]

32. An account of the state of musical science amongst the Hindus of early ages, and a comparison between it and that of Europe, is yet a desideratum in Oriental literature. From what we already know of the science, it appears to have attained a theoretical precision yet unknown to Europe, and that at a period when even Greece was little removed from barbarism. The inspirations of the bards of the first ages were all set to music; and the children of the most powerful potentates sang the episodes of the great epics of Valmiki and Vyasa. There is a distinguished member of the Royal Asiatic Society, and perhaps the only one, who could fill up this hiatus; and we may hope that the leisure and inclination of the Right Honourable Sir Gore Ousely will tempt him to enlighten us on this most interesting point.

33. [The lyrical drama of Jayadeva, Gītagovinda, dates from the twelfth century A.D. (Macdonell, Hist. Sanskrit Literature, 344 f.).]

34. I have often been struck with a characteristic analogy in the sculptures of the most ancient Saxon cathedrals in England and on the Continent, to Kanhaiya and the Gopis. Both may be intended to represent divine harmony. Did the Asi and Jits of Scandinavia, the ancestors of the Saxons, bring them from Asia?

35. [The Janamashtami, Krishna’s birthday, is celebrated on the 8th dark half of Sāwan (July-August).]

36. Trans. Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 146.

37. [Rādha was daughter of Vrishabhānu.]

38. Madho in the dialect of Vraj.

39. We meet with various little philosophical phenomena used as similes in this rhapsody of Jayadeva. These aërolites, mentioned by a poet the contemporary of David and Solomon, are but recently known to the European philosopher. [But one was worshipped at Rome in B.C. 204.]

40. This is, in allusion to the colour of Krishna, a dark blue.

41. The Indian Pluto; she is addressing the Yamuna.

42. Thus the ancient statues do not present merely the sculptor’s fancy in the zone of bells with which they are ornamented.

43. This is a favourite metaphor with the bards of India, to describe the alternations of the exciting causes of love; and it is yet more important as showing that Jayadeva was the philosopher as well as the poet of nature, in making the action of the moon upon the tides the basis of this beautiful simile.

44. This yellow robe or mantle furnishes another title of the Sun-god, namely, Pitambara, typical of the resplendence which precedes his rising and setting.

45. It will be again necessary to call to mind the colour of Krishna, to appreciate this elegant metaphor.

46. This idea is quite new.

47. Childe Harold, Canto iii.

48. The anniversary of the birth of Kanhaiya is celebrated with splendour at Sindhia’s court, where the author frequently witnessed it, during a ten years’ residence.

49. The priests of Kanhaiya, probably so called from the chob or club with which, on the annual festival, they assault the castle of Kansa, the tyrant usurper of Krishna’s birthright, who, like Herod, ordered the slaughter of all the youth of Vraj, that Krishna might not escape. These Chaubēs are most likely the Sobii of Alexander, who occupied the chief towns of the Panjab, and who, according to Arrian, worshipped Hercules (Hari-kul-es, chief of the race of Hari), and were armed with clubs. The mimic assault of Kansa’s castle by some hundreds of these robust church militants, with their long clubs covered with iron rings, is well worth seeing. [The Chaubē Brāhmans of Mathura do not take their name from Chob, ‘a club,’ but from Skt. Chaturvedin, ‘learned in the four Vedas.’ By the Sobii the Author means the Sibi or Sivaya, inhabiting a district between the Hydaspes and the Indus (McCrindle, Alexander, 366). They have no possible connexion with the Mathura Chaubēs.]

50. [Govardhana means ‘nourisher of cattle.’]

51. [The title Guphanātha is not recorded.]

52. Jalandhara on the Indus is described by the Emperor Babur as a very singular spot, having numerous caves. The deity of the caves of Jalandhara is the tutelary deity of the Prince of Marwar. [When the body of Daksha was cut up, the breast fell at Jālandhar; the Daitya king, Jālandhara, was crushed by Siva under the Jawālamukhi hill (Āīn, ii. 314 f.).]

53. [Cave worship does not seem to be specially connected with the cult of Krishna. The mention of the cave at Govardhan seems to refer to the legend of Krishna protecting the people of Braj from a storm sent by Indra, by holding the hill over them (Growse, op. cit. 60). The Gaya caves are Buddhistic, and have no connexion with Krishna (IGI, xii. 198 f.). Guphanāth does not seem to be a Krishna title, and the cave of Gopnāth in Kāthiāwar is said to derive its name from Gopsinghji, a Gohil prince, who reigned in the sixteenth century (BG, viii. 445).]

54. “In Hebrew heres signifies the sun, but in Arabic the meaning of the radical word is to guard, preserve; and of haris, guardian, preserver” (Volney’s Ruins of Empires, p. 316). [Needless to say, Elysium (Ἠλύσιον πεδίον) has no connexion with Ἥλιος, the sun.]

55. The heaven of Vishnu, Vaikuntha, is entirely of gold, and 80,000 miles in circumference. Its edifices, pillars, and ornaments are composed of precious stones. The crystal waters of the Ganges form a river in Vaikuntha, where are lakes filled with blue, red, and white water-lilies, each of a hundred and even a thousand petals. On a throne glorious as the meridian sun resting on water-lilies, is Vishnu, with Lakshmi or Sri, the goddess of abundance (the Ceres of the Egyptians and Greeks), on his right hand, surrounded by spirits who constantly celebrate the praise of Vishnu and Lakshmi, who are served by his votaries, and to whom the eagle (garuda) is door-keeper (Extract from the Mahabharata—See Ward on the History and Religion of the Hindus, vol. ii. p. 14).

56. [Apollo Κάρνειος was probably ‘the horned god,’ connected with κέρας, ‘a horn,’ as a deity of herdsmen (Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, iv. 131).]

57. Supposing these coincidences in the fabulous history of the ancient nations of Greece and Asia to be merely fortuitous, they must excite interest; but conjoined with various others in the history of the Herikulas of India and the Heraclidae of Greece, I cannot resist the idea that they were connected [?].

58. [The Annakūta festival, held on the first day of the light half of Kārttik (Oct.-Nov.). This was the old name of the hill which Krishna held aloft to protect his people (Growse, op. cit. 300).]

59. Gibbon records a similar offering of 200,000 sesterces to the Roman church, by a stranger, in the reign of Decius [ed. W. Smith, ii. 199].

60. I enjoyed no small degree of favour with the supreme pontiff of the shrine of Apollo and all his votaries, for effecting a meeting of the seven statues of Vishnu in 1820. In contriving this I had not only to reconcile ancient animosities between the priests of the different shrines, in order to obtain a free passport for the gods, but to pledge myself to the princes in whose capitals they were established, for their safe return: for they dreaded lest bribery might entice the priests to fix them elsewhere, which would have involved their loss of sanctity, dignity, and prosperity. It cost me no little trouble, and still more anxiety, to keep the assembled multitudes at peace with each other, for they are as outrageous as any sectarians in contesting the supreme power and worth of their respective forms (rupa). Yet they all separated, not only without violence, but without even any attempt at robbery, so common on such occasions.

61. [Kānkroli, 36 miles N.E. of Udaipur city: the image is said to have been brought from Mathura A.D. 1669 (Erskine ii. A. 113).]

62. [The form of Vishnu worshipped at Pāndharpur in Sholapur District. The name is probably a local corruption of Vishnupati, ‘Lord Vishnu,’ through the forms Bistu or Bittu (IA, iv. 361).]

63. [Said to mean ‘the child, giver of liberation.’]

64. The pera of Mathura can only be made from the waters of the Yamuna, from whence it is still conveyed to Nonanda at Nathdwara, and with curds forms his evening repast.

65. [Gokul is not an island, but a suburb of Mahāban in Mathura District.]

66. [Pāndurang is said to mean ‘white-coloured’; but others believe it to be the Sanskritized form of Pandaraga, that is, ‘belonging to Pandargē,’ the old name of Pāndharpur (BG, xx. 423).]

67. Gosain is a title more applicable to the célibataire worshippers of Hara than of Hari—of Jupiter than of Apollo. It is alleged that the Emperor Akbar first bestowed this epithet on the high-priest of Krishna, whose rites attracted his regard. They were previously called Dikshit, ‘one who performs sacrifice,’ a name given to a very numerous class of Brahmans. The Gotrācharya, or genealogical creed of the high-priest, is as follows: “Tailang Brahman, Bharadwaja gotra,[A] Gurukula,[B] Taittari sakha; i.e. Brahman of Telingana, of the tribe of Bharadwaja, of the race of Guru, of the branch Taittari.”

A. Bhāradwaja was a celebrated founder of a sect in the early ages.

B. Guru is an epithet applied to Vrishapati, ‘Lord of the bull,’ the Indian Jupiter, who is called the Guru, preceptor or guardian of the gods. [Brihaspati, ‘Lord of prayer,’ the regent of the planet Jupiter, is confused with Vrishapati. ‘Lord of the bull,’ an epithet of Siva.]

68. The high-priest of Jalandharnath used to appear at the head of a cavalcade far more numerous than any feudal lord of Marwar. A sketch of this personage will appear elsewhere. These Brahmans were not a jot behind the ecclesiastical lords of the Middle Ages, who are thus characterized: “Les seigneurs ecclésiatiques, malgré l’humilité chrétienne, ne se sont pas montrés moins orgueilleux que les nobles laïcs. Le doyen du chapitre de Notre Dame du Port, à Clermont, pour montrer sa grande noblesse, officiait avec toute la pompe féodale. Étant à l’autel, il avait l’oiseau sur la perche gauche, et on portait devant lui la hallebarde; on la lui portait aussi de la même manière pendant qu’on chantait l’évangile, et aux processions il avait lui-même l’oiseau sur le poing, et il marchait à la tête de ses serviteurs, menant ses chiens de chasse” (Dict. de l’Anc. Régime, p. 380).

69. The first letter I received on reaching England after my long residence in India was from this priest, filled with anxious expressions for my health, and speedy return to protect the lands and sacred kine of Apollo.



No. I

Grant of the Rathor Rani, the Queen-Mother of Udaipur, on the death of her Son, the Heir-Apparent, Prince Amra.

Siddh Sri Bari[a4.20.1] Rathorji to the Patels and inhabitants of Girwa.[a4.20.2] The four bighas of land, belonging to the Jat Roga, have been assigned to the Brahman Kishna on the Anta Samya (final epoch) of Lalji.[a4.20.3] Let him possess the rents thereof.[a4.20.4] The dues for wood and forage (khar lakar) contributions (barar) are renounced by the State in favour of the Brahmans.

Samvat 1875, Amavas 15th of Asoj, A.D. 1819.

No. II

Grant held by a Brahman of Birkhera.

“A Brahman’s orphan was compelled by hunger to seek sustenance in driving an oil-mill; instead of oil the receptacle was filled with blood. The frightened oilman demanded of the child who he was; ‘A Brahman’s orphan,’ was the reply. Alarmed at the enormity of his guilt in thus employing the son of a priest, he covered the palm of his hand with earth, in which he sowed the tulasi seed,[5] and went on a pilgrimage to Dwarka. 645He demanded the presence (darsana) of the god; the priests pointed to the ocean, when he plunged in, and had an interview with Dwarkanath, who presented him with a written order on the Rana for forty-five bighas of land. He returned and threw the writing before the Rana, on the steps of the temple of Jagannath. The Rana read the writing of the god, placed it on his head, and immediately made out the grant. This is three hundred and fifty years ago, as recorded by an inscription on stone, and his descendant, Kosala, yet enjoys it.”

(A true Translation.)             J. Tod.


The Palod inscription is unfortunately mislaid; but in searching for it, another was discovered from Aner, four miles south-west of the ancient Morwan, where there is a temple to the four-armed divinity (Chaturbhuja), endowed in Samvat 1570, by Rana Jagat Singh [553]. On one of the pillars of the temple is inscribed a voluntary gift made in Samvat 1845, and signed by the village Panch, of the first-fruits of the harvest, namely, two sers and a half (five pounds weight) from each khal[6] of the spring, and the same of the autumnal harvests.

No. IV

Sri Amra Sing (II.) etc., etc.

Whereas the shrine of Sri Pratap-Iswara (the God of Fortune) has been erected in the meadows of Rasmi, all the groves and trees are sacred to him; whoever cuts down any of them is an offender to the State, and shall pay a fine of three hundred rupees, and the ass[7] shall be the portion of the officers of government who suffer it.

Pus. 14, Samvat 1712 (A.D. 1656).

No. V

Maharana Sri Raj Singh, commanding.

To the Nobles, Ministers, Patels,[8] Patwaris,[8] of the ten thousand [villages] of Mewar (das sahas Mewar-ra), according to your stations—read!

1. From remote times, the temples and dwellings of the Jains 646have been authorized; let none therefore within their boundaries carry animals to slaughter—this is their ancient privilege.

2. Whatever life, whether man or animal, passes their abode for the purpose of being killed, is saved (amara).[9]

3. Traitors to the State, robbers, felons escaped confinement, who may fly for sanctuary (saran) to the dwellings (upasra)[10] of the Yatis,[11] shall not there be seized by the servants of the court.

4. The kunchi[12] (handful) at harvest, the mutthi (handful) of kirana, the charity lands (dholi), grounds, and houses, established by them in the various towns, shall be maintained.

5. This ordinance is issued in consequence of the representation of the Rikh[13] Mana, to whom is granted fifteen bighas of adhan[14] land, and twenty-five of maleti.[14] The same quantity of each kind in each of the districts of Nimach and Nimbahera.—Total in three districts, forty-five bighas of adhan, and seventy-five of mal[15] [554].

On seeing this ordinance, let the land be measured and assigned, and let none molest the Yatis, but foster their privileges. Cursed be he who infringes them—the cow to the Hindu—the hog and corpse to the Musalman.

(By command.)
Samvat 1749, Magh sudi 5th, A.D. 1693.     Sah Dyal (Minister).

No. VI

Maharaja Chhattar Singh (one of the Rana’s sons), commanding.

In the town of Rasmi, whoever slays sheep, buffaloes, goats, or other living thing, is a criminal to the State; his house, cattle, and effects shall be forfeited, and himself expelled the village.

(By command).
Pus Sudi 14, Samvat 1705, A.D. 1649.      The Pancholi Damaka Das.


Maharana Jai Singh to the inhabitants of Bakrol; printers, potters, oilmen, etc., etc., commanding.

From the 11th Asarh (June) to the full moon of Asoj (September), none shall drain the waters of the lake; no oil-mill shall work, or earthen vessel be made, during these the four rainy months.[16]


Maharana Sri Jagat Singh II., commanding.

The village of Siarh in the hills, of one thousand rupees yearly rent, having been chosen by Nathji (the god) for his residence, and given up by Rana Raghude,[17] I have confirmed it. The Gosain[18] and his heirs shall enjoy it for ever.

Samvat 1793, A.D. 1737.

No. IX

Siddh Sri Maharaja Dhiraj, Maharana Sri Bhim Singhji, commanding.

The undermentioned towns and villages were presented to Sriji[19] by copper-plate. The revenues (hasil), [20] contributions (barar), taxes, dues (lagat-be-lagat), trees, shrubs, foundations and boundaries (nim-sim), shall all belong to Sriji. If of my seed, none will ever dispute this [555].

The ancient copper-plate being lost, I have thus renewed it.

648Here follows a list of thirty-four entire towns and villages, many from the fisc, or confirmations of the grants of the chiefs, besides various parcels of arable land, from twenty to one hundred and fifty bighas, in forty-six more villages, from chiefs of every class, and patches of meadowland (bira) in twenty more.

No. X

Sri Maharana Bhima Singhji, commanding.

To the towns of Sriji, or to the [personal] lands of the Gosainji,[21] no molestation shall be offered. No warrants or exactions shall be issued or levied upon them. All complaints, suits, or matters, in which justice is required, originating in Nathdwara, shall be settled there; none shall interfere therein, and the decisions of the Gosainji I shall invariably confirm. The town and transit duties[22] (of Nathdwara and villages pertaining thereto), the assay (parkhai)[22] fees from the public markets, duties on precious metals (kasoti),[4.a.22] all brokerage (dalali), and dues collected at the four gates; all contributions and taxes of whatever kind, are presented as an offering to Sriji; let the income thereof be placed in Sriji’s coffers.

All the products of foreign countries imported by the Vaishnavas,[23] whether domestic or foreign, and intended for consumption at Nathdwara,[24] shall be exempt from duties. The right of sanctuary (saran) of Sriji, both in the town and in all his other villages,[25] will be maintained: the Almighty will take cognisance of any innovation. Wherefore, let all chiefs, farmers of duties, beware of molesting the goods of Nathji (the god), and wherever such may halt, let guards be provided for their security, and let each chief convey them through his bounds in safety. If of my blood, or if my servants, this warrant will be obeyed for ever and for ever. Whoever resumes this grant will be a caterpillar in hell during 60,000 years.

649By command—through the chief butler (Paneri) Eklingdas: written by Surat Singh, son of Nathji Pancholi, Magh sudi 1st, Samvat 1865; A.D. 1809.

No. XI

Personal grant to the high-priest, Damodarji Maharaj. 6000 Swasti Sri, from the abode at Udaipur, Maharana Sri Bhim Singhji, commanding [556].

To all the chieftains, landholders, managers of the crown and deorhi[26] lands, to all Patels, etc., etc., etc. As an offering to the Sri Gosainji two rupees have been granted in every village throughout Mewar, one in each harvest—let no opposition be made thereto. If of my kin or issue, none will revoke this—the an (oath of allegiance) be upon his head. By command, through Parihara Mayaram, Samvat 1860, Jeth sudi 5th Mangalwar; A.D. 1804.

At one side of the patent, in the Rana’s own hand, “An offering to Sri Girdhariji[27] Maharaj—If of my issue none will disobey—who dares, may the Almighty punish!”


Maharana Bhim Singh, commanding.

To the Mandir (minster) of Sri Murali Manohar (flute delighting), situated on the dam of the lake at Mandalgarh, the following grant has been made, with all the dues, income, and privileges, viz.:

1. The hamlet called Kotwalkhera, with all thereto appertaining.

2. Three rupees’ worth of saffron monthly from the transit duty chabutra.[28]

3. From the police-office of Mandalgarh:

Three tunics (baga) for the idol on each festival, viz. Ashtami, Jaljatra, and Vasant Panchami.[29]

Five rupees’ worth of oil[30] on the Jaljatra, and two and a half in the full moon of Karttik [Oct.-Nov.].

6504. Both gardens under the dam of the lake, with all the fruits and flowers thereof.

5. The Inch[31] on all the vegetables appertaining to the prince.

6. Kunchi and dalali, or the handful at harvest, and all brokerage.

7. The income arising from the sale of the estates is to be applied to the repairs of the temple and dam.

Margsir [Nov.-Dec.] Sudi 1, Samvat 1866; A.D. 1810 [557].

a4.20.1. The great Rathor queen. There were two of this tribe; she was the queen-mother.

a4.20.2. [The tract in the centre of the State, including Udaipur city.]

a4.20.3. An endearing epithet, applied to children, from larla, beloved.

a4.20.4. It is customary to call these grants to religious orders ‘grants of land,’ although they entitle only the rents thereof; for there is no seizin of the land itself, as numerous inscriptions testify, and which, as well as the present, prove the proprietary right to be in the cultivator only. The tamba-pattra,[a4.20.4.A] or copper-plate patent (by which such grants are probably designated) of Yasodharman,[a4.20.4.B] the Pramara prince of Ujjain, seven hundred years ago, is good evidence that the rents only are granted; he commands the crown tenants of the two villages assigned to the temple “to pay all dues as they arise—money-rent—first share of produce,” not a word of seizing of the soil. See Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. i. p. 223.

a4.20.4.A. To distinguish them from grants of land to feudal tenants, which patents (patta) are manuscript.

a4.20.4.B. [He defeated Mihiragula, leader of the White Huns, about A.D. 528 (Smith, EHI, 318).]

5. [The sacred basil plant, Ocymum sanctum.]

6. A khal is one of the heaps after the corn is thrashed out, about five maunds [400 lbs.].

7. The gadha-ghal is a punishment unknown in any but the Hindu code; the hieroglyphic import appears on the pillar, and must be seen to be understood.

8. Revenue officers.

9. Literally ‘immortal,’ from mara, ‘death,’ and the privative prefix.

10. Schools or colleges of the Yatis.

11. Priests of the Jains.

12. Kunchi and mutthi are both a ‘handful’; the first is applied to grain in the stalk at harvest time; the other to such edibles in merchandise as sugar, raisins, etc., collectively termed kirana.

13. Rikh[rishi] is an ancient title applied to the highest class of priests; Rikh-Rikhsha-Rikhiswara, applied to royalty in old times.

14. Adhan is the richest land, lying under the protection of the town walls; mal or maleti land is land not irrigated from wells.

15. In all a hundred and twenty bighas, or about forty acres.

16. [For the annual Jain retreat see p. 606, above.]

17. The chief of Delwara.

18. There are other grants later than this, which prove that all grants were renewed in every new reign. This grant also proves that no chief has the power to alienate without his sovereign’s sanction.

19. Epithet indicative of the greatness of the deity.

20. Here is another proof that the sovereign can only alienate the revenues (hasil); and though everything upon and about the grant, yet not the soil. The nim-sim is almost as powerful an expression as the old grant to the Rawdons—

“From earth to heaven,
From heaven to hell,
For thee and thine
Therein to dwell.”

21. The high-priest.

22. All these are royalties, and the Rana was much blamed, even by his Vaishnava ministers, for sacrificing them even to Kanhaiya.

23. Followers of Vishnu, Krishna, or Kanhaiya, chiefly mercantile.

24. Many merchants, by the connivance of the conductors of the caravans of Nathji’s goods, contrived to smuggle their goods to Nathdwara, and to the disgrace of the high-priest or his underlings, this traffic was sold for their personal advantage. It was a delicate thing to search these caravans, or to prevent the loss to the State from the evasion of the duties. The Rana durst not interfere lest he might incur the penalty of his own anathemas. The Author’s influence with the high-priest put a stop to this.

25. This extent of sanctuary is an innovation of the present Rana’s, with many others equally unwise.

26. Lands for the queens or others of the immediate household.

27. Father of the present high-priest, Damodarji.

28. [Office, properly ‘a platform.’]

29. [Festivals of Krishna’s birthday, the water festival, the spring festival.]

30. Amongst the items of the Chartulary of Dunfermline is the tithe of the oil of the Greenland whale fisheries.

31. A handful of every basket of vegetables sold in the public markets.


The Importance of Mythology.

—It has been observed by that philosophical traveller, Dr. Clarke, that, “by a proper attention to the vestiges of ancient superstition, we are sometimes enabled to refer a whole people to their original ancestors, with as much, if not more certainty, than by observations made upon their language; because the superstition is engrafted upon the stock, but the language is liable to change.”[1] Impressed with the justness, as well as the originality of the remark, I shall adopt it as my guide in the observations I propose to make on the religious festivals and superstitions of Mewar. However important may be the study of military, civil, and political history, the science is incomplete without mythological history; and he is little imbued with the spirit of philosophy who can perceive in the fables of antiquity nothing but the extravagance of a fervid imagination. Did no other consequence result from the study of mythology than the fact that, in all ages and countries, man has desecrated his reason, and voluntarily reduced himself below the level of the brutes that perish, it must provoke inquiry into the cause of this degradation. Such an investigation would develop, not only the source of history, the handmaid of the arts and sciences, but the origin and application of the latter, in a theogony typical of the seasons, their changes, and products. Thus mythology may be considered the parent of all history.

The Aboriginal Tribes.

—With regard, however, to the rude tribes who still inhabit the mountains and fastnesses of India, 651and who may be regarded as the aborigines of that country, the converse of this doctrine is more probable. Not their language only, but [558] their superstitions, differ from those of the Rajputs: though, from a desire to rise above their natural condition, they have engrafted upon their own the most popular mythologies of their civilized conquerors, who from the north gradually spread themselves over the continent and peninsula, even to the remote isles of the Indian Ocean. Of the primitive inhabitants we may enumerate the Minas, the Meras, the Gonds, the Bhils, the Sahariyas, the Savaras, the Abhiras, the Gujars, and those who inhabit the forests of the Nerbudda, the Son, the Mahanadi, the mountains of Sarguja, and the lesser Nagpur; many of whom are still but little removed from savage life, and whose dialects are as various as their manners. These are content to be called the ‘sons of the earth,’[2] or ‘children of the forest,’[3] while their conquerors, the Rajputs, arrogate celestial descent.[4] How soon after the flood the Suryas, or sun-worshippers, entered India Proper, must ever remain uncertain.[5] It is sufficient that they were anterior in date to the Indus, or races tracing their descent from the moon (Ind); as the migration of the latter from the central lands of Indo-Scythia was antecedent to that of the Agnikulas, or fire-worshippers, of the Snake race, claiming Takshak as their original progenitor. The Suryas,[6] who migrated both to the East and West, as population became redundant in these fertile regions, may be considered the Celtic, as the Indu-Getae may be accounted the Gothic, races of India.[7] To attempt to discriminate these different races, and mark the shades which once separated them, after a system of priestcraft has amalgamated the mass, and identified their superstitions, would be 652fruitless; but the observer of ancient customs may, with the imperfect guidance of peculiar rites, discover things, and even names, totally incongruous with the Brahmanical system, and which could never have originated within the Indus or Atak,—the Rubicon of Gangetic antiquaries, who fear to look beyond that stream for the origin of tribes. A residence amongst the Rajputs would lead to a disregard of such boundaries, either to the moral or physical man, as the annals of Mewar abundantly testify.

Comparative Study of Festivals.

—Sir Wm. Jones remarks, “If the festivals of the old Greeks, Persians, Romans [559], Egyptians, and Goths could be arranged with exactness in the same form with the Indian, there would be found a striking resemblance among them; and an attentive comparison of them all might throw great light on the religion, and perhaps on the history, of the primitive world.”

Analogies to Rājput Customs in Northern Europe.

—In treating of the festivals and superstitions of the Rajputs, wherever there may appear to be a fair ground for supposing an analogy with those of other nations of antiquity, I shall not hesitate to pursue it. The proper names of many of the martial Rajputs would alone point out the necessity of seeking for a solution of them out of the explored paths; and where Sanskrit derivation cannot be assigned, as it happens in many instances, we are not, therefore, warranted in the hasty conclusion that the names must have been adopted since the conquests of Mahmud or Shihabu-d-din, events of comparatively modern date. Let us at once admit the hypothesis of Pinkerton,—the establishment of an original Indu-Getic or Indo-Scythic empire, “extending from the Caspian to the Ganges”; or if this conjecture be too extensive or too vague, let us fix the centre of this Madhya-Bhumi in the fertile region of Sogdiana;[8] and from the lights which modern history affords on the many migrations from this nursery of mankind, 653even since the time of Muhammad, let us form an opinion of those which have not been recorded, or have been conveyed by the Hindus only in imperfect allegory; and with the aid of ancient customs, obsolete words, and proper names, trace them to Indo-Scythic colonies grafted on the parent stock. The Puranas themselves bear testimony to the incorporation of Scythic tribes with the Hindus, and to the continual irruptions of the Saka, the Pahlavas, the Yavanas,[9] the Turushkas, names conspicuous amongst the races of Central Asia, and recorded in the pages of the earliest Western historians. Even so early as the period of Rama, when furious international wars were carried on between the military and sacerdotal classes for supremacy, we have the names of these tribes recorded as auxiliaries [560] to the priesthood; who, while admitting them to fight under the banners of Siva, would not scruple to stamp them with the seal of Hinduism. In this manner, beyond a doubt, at a much later period than the events in the Ramayana, these tribes from the North either forced themselves among, or were incorporated with, ‘the races of the sun.’ When, therefore, we meet with rites in Rajputana and in ancient Scandinavia, such as were practised amongst the Getic nations on the Oxus, why should we hesitate to assign the origin of both to this region of earliest civilization? When we see the ancient Asii, and the Iutae, or Jutes, taking omens from the white steed of Thor, shut up in the temple at Upsala; and in like manner, the Rajput of past days offering the same animal in sacrifice to the sun, and his modern descendant taking the omen from his neigh, why are we to refuse our assent to the common origin of the superstition practised by the Getae of the Oxus? Again, when we find the ‘homage to the sword’ performed by all the Getic races of antiquity in Dacia, on the Baltic, as well as by the modern Rajput, shall we draw no conclusion from this testimony of the father of history, who declares that such rites 654were practised on the Jaxartes in the very dawn of knowledge?[10] Moreover, why hesitate to give Eastern etymologies for Eastern rites, though found on the Baltic? The antiquary of the North (Mallet) may thus be assisted to the etymon of ‘Tir-sing,’ the enchanted sword of Angantýr, in tir, ‘water,’ and singh, ‘a lion’; i.e. in water or spirit like a lion; for even pani, the common epithet for water, is applied metaphorically to ‘spirit.’[11]

It would be less difficult to find Sanskrit derivations for many of the proper names in the Edda, than to give a Sanskrit analysis of many common amongst the Rajputs, which we must trace to an Indo-Scythic root:[12] such as Eyvorsél, Udila, Attitai, Pujun, Hamira,[13] and numerous other proper names of warriors. Of tribes: the Kathi, Rajpali, Mohila, Sariaspah, Aswaria (qu. Assyrian?), Banaphar, Kamari, Silara, Dahima, etc. Of mountains: Drinodhar, Arbuda, Aravalli, Aravindha (the root ara, or mountain, being Scythic, and the expletive adjunct Sanskrit), ‘the hill of Budha,’ ‘of strength,’ ‘of limit.’ To all such as cannot be [561] resolved into the cognate language of India, what origin can we assign but Scythic?[14]

Festivals in Mewār. Naurātri Festival.

—In a memoir prepared for me by a well-informed public officer in the Rana’s court, on the chief festivals celebrated in Mewar, he commenced with those following the autumnal equinox, in the month Asoj or Aswini, 655opening with the Nauratri, sacred to the god of war. Their fasts are in general regulated by the moon; although the most remarkable are solar, especially those of the equinoxes and solstices, and the Sankrantis, or days on which the sun enters a new sign. The Hindu solar year anciently commenced on the winter solstice, in the month Pausha, and was emphatically called ‘the morning of the gods’; also Sivaratri, or night of Siva, analogous, as has been before remarked, to the ‘mother night,’ which ushered in the new year of the Scandinavian Asi, and other nations of Asiatic origin dwelling in the north.

The Repose of Vishnu.

—They term the summer solstice in the month of Asarh, ‘the night of the gods,’ because Vishnu (as the sun) reposes during the four rainy months on his serpent couch. The lunar year of 360 days was more ancient than the solar, and 656commenced with the month of Asoj or Aswini: “the moon being at the full when that name was imposed on the first lunar station of the Hindu ecliptic.”[15]

According to another authority, the festivals commenced on Amavas, or the Ides of Chait, near which the vernal equinox falls, the opening of the modern solar year; when, in like manner as at the commencement of the lunar year in Asoj, they [562] dedicate the first nine days of Chait (also called Nauratri) to Iswara and his consort Isani.

Having thus specified both modes of reckoning for the opening of the solar and lunar years, I shall not commence the abstract of the festivals of Mewar with either, but follow the more ancient division of time, when the year closed with the winter solstice in the month of Pus, consequently opening the new year with Magh. By this arrangement, we shall commence with the spring festivals, and let the days dedicated to mirth and gaiety follow each other; preferring the natural to the astrological year, which will enable us to preserve the analogy with the northern nations of Europe, who also reckoned from the winter solstice. The Hindu divides the year into six seasons, each of two months; namely, Vasanta, Grishma, Varsha, Sarad, Sisira, Sita; or spring, summer, rainy, sultry, dewy, and cold.

It is not, however, my intention to detail all the fasts and festivals which the Rajput of Mewar holds in common with the Hindu nation, but chiefly those restricted to that State, or such as are celebrated with local peculiarity, or striking analogies to those of Egypt, Greece, or Scandinavia. The goddess who presides over mirth and idleness preferred holding her court amidst the ruins of Udaipur to searching elsewhere for a dwelling. This determination to be happy amidst calamity, individual and national, has made the court proverbial in Rajwara, in the adage, ‘sat bara, aur nau teohara,’ i.e. nine holidays out of seven days. Although many of these festivals are common to India, and their maintenance is enjoined by religion, yet not only the prolongation and repetition of some, but the entire institution of others, as well as the peculiar splendour of their solemnization, originate with the prince; proving how much individual example may influenceinfluence the manners of a nation.


Spring Festival, Vasant Panchami.

—By the arrangement we have adopted, the lovely Vasanti, goddess of the spring, will usher in the festivals of Mewar. In 1819 her rites were celebrated in the kalends of January, and even then, on the verge of the tropic, her birth was premature.

The opening of the spring being on the 5th of the month Magha, is thence called the Vasant panchami, which in 1819 fell on the 30th of January; consequently the first of Pus (the antecedent month), the beginning of the old Hindu [563] year, or ‘the morning of the gods,’ fell on the 25th of December. The Vasant continues forty days after the panchami, or initiative fifth, during which the utmost license prevails in action and in speech; the lower classes regale even to intoxication on every kind of stimulating confection and spirituous beverage, and the most respectable individuals, who would at other times be shocked to utter an indelicate allusion, roam about with the groups of bacchanals, reciting stanzas of the warmest description in praise of the powers of nature, as did the conscript fathers of Rome during the Saturnalia. In this season, when the barriers of rank are thrown down, and the spirit of democracy is let loose, though never abused, even the wild Bhil, or savage Mer, will leave his forest or mountain shade to mingle in the revelries of the capital; and decorating his ebon hair or tattered turban with a garland of jessamine, will join the clamorous parties which perambulate the streets of the capital. These orgies are, however, reserved for the conclusion of the forty days sacred to the goddess of nature.

Bhān Saptami Festival.

—Two days following the initiative fifth is the Bhan saptami or ‘seventh [day] of the sun,’ also called ‘the birth of the sun,’ with various other metaphorical denominations.[16] On this day there is a grand procession of the Rana, his chiefs and vassals, to the Chaugan, where the sun is worshipped. At the Jaipur court, whose princes claim descent from Kusa, the second son of Rama, the Bhan saptami is peculiarly sacred. The chariot of the sun, drawn by eight horses, is taken from the temple dedicated to that orb, and moved in procession: a ceremony otherwise never observed but on the inauguration of a new prince.

Sun Worship.

—In the mythology of the Rajputs, of which we have a better idea from their heroic poetry than from the legends of the Brahmans, the sun-god is the deity they are most anxious to propitiate; and in his honour they fearlessly expend their blood in battle, from the hope of being received into his mansion. Their highest heaven is accordingly the Bhanuthan or Bhanuloka, the ‘region of the sun’: and like the Indu-Scythic Getae, the Rajput warrior of the early ages sacrificed the horse in his honour,[17] and dedicated to him the first day of the week, namely, Adityawar, contracted to Itwar, also called Thawara[18] [564].

The more we attend to the warlike mythology of the north, the more apparent is its analogy with that of the Rajputs, and the stronger ground is there for assuming that both races inherited their creed from the common land of the Yuti of the Jaxartes. What is a more proper etymon for Scandinavian, the abode of the warriors who destroyed the Roman power, than Skanda, the Mars or Kumara of the Rajputs? perhaps the origin of the Cimbri, derived by Mallet from koempfer, ‘to fight.’

Thor, in the eleventh fable of the Edda, is denominated Asa-Thor,[19] the ‘lord Thor,’ called the Celtic Mars by the Romans. The chariot of Thor is ignobly yoked compared with the car of Surya; but in the substitution of the he-goats for the seven-headed horse Saptasva we have but the change of an adjunct depending on clime, when the Yuti migrated from the plains of Scythia, of which the horse is a native, to Yutland, of whose mountains the goat was an inhabitant prior to any of the race of Asi. The northern warrior makes the palace of the sun-god Thor the most splendid of the celestial abodes, “in which are 659five hundred and forty halls”: vying with the Suryamandala, the supreme heaven of the Rajput. Whence such notions of the Aswa races of the Ganges, and the Asi of Scandinavia, but from the Scythic Saka, who adored the solar divinity under the name of ‘Gaeto-Syrus,’[20] the Surya of the Sachha Rajput; and as, according to the commentator on the Edda, “the ancient people of the north pronounced the th as the English now do ss,” the sun-god Thor becomes Sor, and is identified still more with Surya whose worship no doubt gave the name to that extensive portion of Asia called Συρία, as it did to the small peninsula of the Sauras, still peopled by tribes of Scythic origin. The Sol of the Romans has probably the same Celto-Etrurian origin; with those tribes the sun was the great object of adoration, and their grand festival, the winter solstice, was called Yule, Hiul, Houl, “which even at this day signifies the Sun, in the language of Bas-Bretagne and Cornwall.”[21] On the conversion of the descendants of these Scythic Yeuts, who, according to [565] Herodotus, sacrificed the horse (Hi) to the sun (El), the name of the Pagan jubilee of the solstice was transferred to the day of Christ’s nativity, which is thus still held in remembrance by their descendants of the north.[22]

Sun Worship at Udaipur.

—At Udaipur the sun has universal precedence; his portal (Suryapol) is the chief entrance to the city; his name gives dignity to the chief apartment or hall (Suryamahall) of the palace; and from the balcony of the sun (Suryagokhra) the descendant of Rama shows himself in the dark monsoon as the sun’s representative. A huge painted sun of gypsum in high relief, with gilded rays, adorns the hall of audience, and in front of it is the throne. As already mentioned, the sacred standard bears his image,[23] as does that Scythic part of the regalia called the changi, a disc of black felt or ostrich feathers, with a 660plate of gold to represent the sun in its centre, borne upon a pole. The royal parasol is termed kirania, in allusion to its shape, like a ray (kiran) of the orb. The last day but one of the month of Magha is called Sivaratri (night of Siva), and is held peculiarly sacred by the Rana, who is styled the Regent of Siva. It is a rigid fast, and the night is passed in vigils, and rites to the phallic representative of Siva.

The Spring Hunt.

—The merry month of Phalgun is ushered in with the Aheria, or spring-hunt.[24] The preceding day the Rana distributes to all his chiefs and servants either a dress of green, or some portion thereof, in which all appear habited on the morrow, whenever the astrologer has fixed the hour for sallying forth to slay the boar to Gauri, the Ceres of the Rajputs: the Aheria is therefore called the Mahurat ka shikar, or the chase fixed astrologically. As their success on this occasion is ominous of future good, no means are neglected to secure it, either by scouts previously discovering the lair, or the desperate efforts of the hunters to slay the boar when roused. With the sovereign and his sons all the chiefs sally forth, each on his best steed, and all animated by the desire to surpass each other in acts of prowess and dexterity. It is very rare that in some one of the passes or recesses of the valley the hog is not found; the spot is then surrounded by the [566] hunters, whose vociferations soon start the dukkara,[25] and frequently a drove of hogs. Then each cavalier impels his steed, and with lance or sword, regardless of rock, ravine, or tree, presses on the bristly foe, whose knowledge of the country is of no avail when thus circumvented, and the ground soon reeks with gore, in which not unfrequently is mixed that of horse or rider. On the last occasion there occurred fewer casualties than usual; though the Chondawat Hamira, whom we nicknamed the ‘Red Riever,’ had his leg broken, and the second 661son of Sheodan Singh, a near relation of the Rana, had his neighbour’s lance driven through his arm. The young chief of Salumbar was amongst the distinguished of this day’s sport. It would appal even an English fox-hunter to see the Rajputs driving their steeds at full speed, bounding like the antelope over every barrier—the thick jungle covert, or rocky steep bare of soil or vegetation,—with their lances balanced in the air, or leaning on the saddle-bow slashing at the boar.

The royal kitchen moves out on this occasion, and in some chosen spot the repast is prepared, of which all partake, for the hog is the favourite food of the Rajput, as it was of the heroes of Scandinavia. Nor is the munawwar piyala, or invitation cup, forgotten; and having feasted, and thrice slain their bristly antagonist, they return to the capital, where fame had already spread their exploits—the deeds done by the barchhi (lance) of Padma,[26] or the khanda (sword) blow of Hamira,[27] which lopped the head of the foe of Gauri. Even this martial amusement, the Aheria, has a religious origin. The boar is the enemy of Gauri of the Rajputs; it was so held of Isis by the Egyptians, of Ceres by the Greeks, of Freya by the north-man, whose favourite food was the hog: and of such importance was it deemed by the Franks, that the second chapter of the Salic law is entirely penal with regard to the stealers of swine. The heroes of the Edda, even in Valhalla, feed on the fat of the wild boar Saehrimner, while “the illustrious father of armies fattens his wolves Geri and Freki, and takes no other nourishment himself than the interrupted quaffing of wine”: quite the picture of Har, the Rajput god of war, and his sons the Bhairavas, Krodha, and Kala, metaphorically called the ‘sons of slaughter.’ We need hardly repeat that the cup of the Scandinavian god of war, like that of the Rajputs, is the human skull (khopra) [567].[28]

The Phāg or Holi Festival.

—As Phalgun advances, the bacchanalian mirth increases; groups are continually patrolling the streets, throwing a crimson powder at each other, or ejecting a solution of it from syringes, so that the garments and visages of all are one mass of crimson. On the 8th, emphatically called 662the Phag, the Rana joins the queens and their attendants in the palace, when all restraint is removed and mirth is unlimited. But the most brilliant sight is the playing of the Holi on horseback, on the terrace in front of the palace. Each chief who chooses to join has a plentiful supply of missiles, formed of thin plates of mica or talc, enclosing this crimson powder, called abira, which with the most graceful and dextrous horsemanship they dart at each other, pursuing, caprioling, and jesting. This part of it much resembles the Saturnalia of Rome of this day, when similar missiles are scattered at the Carnivâle. The last day or Punon ends the Holi, when the Nakkaras from the Tripolia summon all the chiefs with their retinues to attend their prince, and accompany him in procession to the Chaugan, their Champ de Mars. In the centre of this is a long sala or hall, the ascent to which is by a flight of steps: the roof is supported by square columns without any walls, so that the court is entirely open. Here, surrounded by his chiefs, the Rana passes an hour, listening to the songs in praise of Holika, while a scurrilous kavya or couplet from some wag in the crowd reminds him, that exalted rank is no protection against the license of the spring Saturnalia; though ‘the Diwan of Eklinga’ has not to reproach himself with a failure of obedience to the rites of the goddess, having fulfilled the command ‘to multiply,’ more than any individual in his kingdom.[29] While the Rana and his chiefs are thus amused above, the buffoons and itinerant groups mix with the cavalcade, throw powder in their eyes, or deluge their garments with the crimson solution. To resent it would only expose the sensitive party to be laughed at, and draw upon him a host of these bacchanals: so that no alternative exists between keeping entirely aloof or mixing in the fray [568].[30]

663On the last day, the Rana feasts his chiefs, and the camp breaks up with the distribution of khanda nariyal, or swords and coco-nuts, to the chiefs and all “whom the king delighteth to honour.” These khandas are but ‘of lath,’ in shape like the Andrea Ferrara, or long cut-and-thrust, the favourite weapon of the Rajput. They are painted in various ways, like Harlequin’s sword, and meant as a burlesque, in unison with the character of the day, when war is banished, and the multiplication,[31] not the destruction, of man is the behest of the goddess who rules the spring. At nightfall, the forty days conclude with ‘the burning of the Holi,’ when they light large fires, into which various substances, as well as the crimson abira, are thrown, and around which groups of children are dancing and screaming in the streets like so many infernals. Until three hours after sunrise of the new month of Chait, these orgies are continued with increased vigour, when the natives bathe, change their garments, worship, and return to the rank of sober citizens; and princes and chiefs receive gifts from their domestics.[32]


—The first of this month is the Samvatsara (vulg. Chamchari), or anniversary of the death of the Rana’s father, to whose memory solemn rites are performed both in the palace and at Ara, the royal cemetery, metaphorically termed Mahasati, or place of ‘great faith.’ Thither the Rana repairs, and offers oblations to the manes of his father; and after purifying in the Gangabheva, a rivulet which flows through the middle of ‘the abode of silence,’ he returns to the palace.

On the 3rd, the whole of the royal insignia proceeds to Bedla, the residence of the Chauhan chief (one of the Sixteen), within the valley of the capital, in order to convey the Rao to court. The Rana advances to the Ganesa Deori[33] to receive him; when, 664after salutation, the sovereign and his chief return to the great hall of assembly, hand in hand, but that of the Chauhan above or upon his sovereign’s. In this ceremony we have another singular memorial of the glorious days of Mewar, when almost every chieftain established by deeds of devotion a right to the eternal gratitude of their princes; the decay of whose [569] power but serves to hallow such reminiscences. It is in these little acts of courteous condescension, deviations from the formal routine of reception, that we recognize the traces of Rajput history; for inquiry into these customs will reveal the incident which gave birth to each, and curiosity will be amply repaid, in a lesson at once of political and moral import. For my own part, I never heard the kettledrum of my friend Raj Kalyan strike at the sacred barrier, the Tripolia, without recalling the glorious memory ofmemory of his ancestor at the Thermopylae of Mewar;[34] nor looked on the autograph lance, the symbol of the Chondawats, without recognizing the fidelity of the founder of the clan;[35] nor observed the honours paid to the Chauhans of Bedla and Kotharia, without the silent tribute of applause to the manes of their sires.

Sītala’s Festival.

—Chait badi sat, or ‘7th of [the dark fortnight] Chait,’ is in honour of the goddess Sitala, the protectress of children: all the matrons of the city proceed with their offerings to the shrine of the goddess, placed upon the very pinnacle of an isolated hill in the valley. In every point of view, this divinity is the twin-sister of the Mater Montana,[36] the guardian of infants amongst the Romans, the Grecian or Phrygian Cybele.

Birthday of the Rana.

—This is also the Rana’s birthday,[37] on which occasion all classes flock with gifts and good wishes that “the king may live for ever”; but it is in the penetralia of the Rawala, where the profane eye enters not, that the greatest festivities of this day are kept.

New Year’s Day. The Festival of Flowers.

—Chait Sudi 1st (15th of the month) is the opening of the luni-solar year of Vikramaditya. Ceremonies, which more especially appertain to the Nauratri of Asoj, are performed on this day; and the sword is worshipped 665in the palace. But such rites are subordinate to those of the fair divinity, who still rules over this the smiling portion of the year. Vasanti has ripened into the fragrant Flora, and all the fair of the capital, as well as the other sex, repair to the gardens and groves, where parties assemble, regale, and swing, adorned with chaplets of roses, jessamine, or oleander, when the Naulakha gardens may vie with the Tivoli of Paris. They return in the evening to the city.

The Festival of Flowers.

—The Rajput Floralia ushers in the rites of the beneficent Gauri, which continue nine days, the number sacred to the creative [570] power. These vie with the Cerealia of Rome, or the more ancient rites of the goddess of the Nile: I shall therefore devote some space to a particular account of them.[38]

Ganggor Festival.

—Among the many remarkable festivals of Rajasthan, kept with peculiar brilliancy at Udaipur, is that in honour of Gauri, or Isani, the goddess of abundance, the Isis of Egypt, the Ceres of Greece. Like the Rajput Saturnalia, which it follows, it belongs to the vernal equinox, when nature in these regions proximate to the tropic is in the full expanse of her charms, and the matronly Gauri casts her golden mantle over the beauties of the verdant Vasanti.[39] Then the fruits exhibit their promise to the eye; the koil fills the ear with melody; the air is impregnated with aroma, and the crimson poppy contrasts with the spikes of golden grain, to form a wreath for the beneficent Gauri.

Gauri is one of the names of Isa or Parvati, wife of the greatest of the gods, Mahadeva or Iswara, who is conjoined with her in these rites, which almost exclusively appertain to the women. The meaning of Gauri is ‘yellow,’ emblematic of the ripened harvest, when the votaries of the goddess adore her effigies, which are those of a matron painted the colour of ripe corn; and though her image is represented with only two hands, in one of which she holds the lotos, which the Egyptians regarded as emblematic of reproduction, yet not unfrequently they equip her with the warlike conch, the discus, and the club, to denote that the goddess, whose gifts sustain life, is likewise accessary to the loss of it: uniting, as Gauri and Kali, the characters of life and death, like 666the Isis and Cybele of the Egyptians. But here she is only seen as Annapurna, the benefactress of mankind. The rites commence when the sun enters Aries (the opening of the Hindu year), by a deputation to a spot beyond the city, “to bring earth for the image of Gauri.”[40] When this is formed, a smaller one of Iswara is made, and they are placed together; a small trench is then excavated, in which barley is sown; the ground is irrigated and artificial heat supplied till the grain germinates, when the females join hands and dance round it, invoking the blessings of Gauri on their husbands.[41] The young corn is then taken up, distributed, and presented by the females to the men, who wear it in their turbans. Every wealthy family has its image, or at least every purwa or subdivision of the city. These and other [571] rites known only to the initiated having been performed for several days within doors, they decorate the images, and prepare to carry them in procession to the lake. During these days of preparation, nothing is talked of but Gauri’s departure from the palace; whether she will be as sumptuously apparelled as in the year gone by; whether an additional boat will be launched on the occasion; though not a few forget the goddess altogether in the recollection of the gazelle eyes (mrig-nayani) and serpentine locks (nagini-zulf)[42] of the beauteous handmaids who are selected to attend her. At length the hour arrives, the martial nakkaras give the signal “to the cannonier without,” and speculation is at rest when the guns on the summit of the castle of Eklinggarh announce that Gauri has commenced her excursion to the lake.

The Bathing of the Goddess.

—The cavalcade assembles on the magnificent terrace, and the Rana, surrounded by his nobles, leads the way to the boats, of a form as primitive as that which conveyed the Argonauts to Colchis. The scenery is admirably adapted for these fêtes, the ascent being gradual from the margin of the lake, which here forms a fine bay, and gently rising to the crest of the ridge on which the palace and dwellings of the chiefs are built. Every turret and balcony is crowded with spectators, 667from the palace to the water’s edge; and the ample flight of marble steps which intervene from the Tripolia, or triple portal, to the boats, is a dense mass of females in variegated robes, whose scarfs but half conceal their ebon tresses adorned with the rose and the jessamine. A more imposing or more exhilarating sight cannot be imagined than the entire population of a city thus assembled for the purpose of rejoicing; the countenance of every individual, from the prince to the peasant, dressed in smiles. Carry the eye to heaven, and it rests on ‘a sky without a cloud’: below is a magnificent lake, the even surface of the deep blue waters broken only by palaces of marble, whose arched piazzas are seen through the foliage of orange groves, plantain, and tamarind; while the vision is bounded by noble mountains, their peaks towering over each other, and composing an immense amphitheatre. Here the deformity of vice intrudes not; no object is degraded by inebriation: no tumultuous disorder or deafening clamour, but all await patiently, with eyes directed to the Tripolia, the appearance of Gauri. At length the procession is seen winding down the steep, and in the midst [572], borne on a pat,[43] or throne, gorgeously arrayed in yellow robes, and blazing with ‘barbaric pearl and gold,’ the goddess appears; on either side the two beauties wave the silver chamara over her head, while the more favoured damsels act as harbingers, preceding her with wands of silver: the whole chanting hymns. On her approach, the Rana, his chiefs and ministers rise and remain standing till the goddess is seated on her throne close to the water’s edge, when all bow, and the prince and court take their seats in the boats. The females then form a circle around the goddess, unite hands, and with a measured step and various graceful inclinations of the body, keeping time by beating the palms at particular cadences, move round the image singing hymns, some in honour of the goddess of abundance, others on love and chivalry; and embodying little episodes of national achievements, occasionally sprinkled with double entendre, which excites a smile and significant nod from the chiefs, and an inclination of the head of the fair choristers. The festival being entirely female, not a single male mixed in the immense groups, and even Iswara himself, the husband of Gauri, attracts no attention, as appears from his ascetic or mendicant form begging his dole 668from the bounteous and universal mother. It is taken for granted that the goddess is occupied in bathing all the time she remains, and ancient tradition says death was the penalty of any male intruding on these solemnities; but the present prince deems them so fitted for amusement, that he has even instituted a second Ganggor. Some hours are thus consumed, while easy and good-humoured conversation is carried on. At length, the ablutions over, the goddess is taken up, and conveyed to the palace with the same forms and state. The Rana and his chiefs then unmoor their boats, and are rowed round the margin of the lake, to visit in succession the other images of the goddess, around which female groups are chanting and worshipping, as already described, with which ceremonies the evening closes, when the whole terminates with a grand display of fireworks, the finale of each of the three days dedicated to Gauri.

Considerable resemblance is to be discerned between this festival of Gauri and that in honour of the Egyptian Diana[44] at Bubastis, and Isis at Busiris, within the [573] Delta of the Nile, of which Herodotus says: “They who celebrate those of Diana embark in vessels; the women strike their tabors, the men their flutes; the rest of both sexes clap their hands, and join in chorus. Whatever city they approach, the vessels are brought on shore; the women use ungracious language, dance, and indelicately throw about their garments.”[45] Wherever the rites of Isis prevailed, we find the boat introduced as an essential emblem in her worship, whether in the heart of Rajasthan, on the banks of the Nile, or in the woods of Germany. Bryant[46] 669furnishes an interesting account from Diodorus and Curtius, illustrated by drawings from Pocock, from the temple of Luxor, near Carnac, in the Thebaid, of ‘the ship of Isis,’ carrying an ark; and from a male figure therein, this learned person thinks it bears a mysterious allusion to the deluge. I am inclined to deem the personage in the ark Osiris, husband of Isis, the type of the sun arrived in the sign of Aries (of which the ram’s heads ornamenting both the prow and stem of the vessel are typical), the harbinger of the annual fertilizing inundation of the Nile: evincing identity of origin as an equinoctial festival with that of Gauri (Isis) of the Indu-Scythic races of Rajasthan.

The German Suevi adored Isis, and also introduced a ship in her worship, for which Tacitus[47] is at a loss to account, and with his usual candour says he has no materials whence to investigate the origin of a worship denoting the foreign origin of the tribe. This Isis of the Suevi was evidently a form of Ertha, the chief divinity of all the Saxon races, who, with her consort Teutates or Hesus[48] (Mercury), were the chief deities of both the Celtic and early Gothic races: the [574] Budha and Ila of the Rajputs; in short, the earth,[49] the prolific mother, the Isis of Egypt, the Ceres of Greece, the Annapurna (giver of food) of the Rajputs. On some ancient temples dedicated to this Hindu Ceres we have sculptured on the frieze and pedestal of the columns the emblem of abundance, termed the kamakumbha, or vessel of desire, a vase of elegant form, from which branches of the palm are gracefully pendent. Herodotus says that similar water-vessels, filled 670with wheat and barley, were carried in the festival of Isis; and all who have attended to Egyptian antiquities are aware that the god Canopus is depicted under the form of a water-jar, or Nilometer, whose covering bears the head of Osiris.

The Agastya Festival.

—To render the analogy perfect between the vessels emblematic of the Isis of the Nile and the Ganges, there is a festival sacred to the sage Agastya, who presides over the star Canopus, when the sun enters Virgo (Kanya). The kamakumbha is then personified under the epithet kumbhayoni, and the votary is instructed to pour water into a sea-shell, in which having placed white flowers and unground rice, turning his face to the south, he offers it with this incantation: “Hail, Kumbhayoni, born in the sight of Mitra and Varuna (the sun and water divinities), bright as the blossom of the kusa (grass), who sprung from Agni (fire) and the Maruts.” By the prefix of Ganga (the river) to Gauri, we see that the Ganggor festival is essentially sacred to a river-goddess, affording additional proof of the common origin of the rites of the Isis of Egypt and India.

The Egyptians, according to Plutarch, considered the Nile as flowing from Osiris, in like manner as the Hindu poet describes the fair Ganga flowing from the head of Iswara, which Sir W. Jones thus classically paints in his hymn to Ganga:

Above the reach of mortal ken,
On blest Coilasa’s top, where every stem
Glowed with a vegetable gem,
Mahesa stood, the dread and joy of men;
While Parvati, to gain a boon,
Fixed on his locks a beamy moon,
And hid his frontal eye in jocund play,
With reluctant sweet delay;
All nature straight was locked in dim eclipse,
Till Brahmins pure, with hallowed lips
And warbled prayers, restored the day,
When Ganga from his brow, with heavenly fingers prest,
Sprang radiant, and descending, graced the caverns of the west [575].

To face page 670.

The Goddess Ganga.

—Ganga, the river-goddess, like the Nile, is the type of fertility, and like that celebrated stream, has her source amidst the eternal glaciers of Chandragiri or Somagiri (the mountains of the moon); the higher peaks of the gigantic 671Himalaya, where Parvati is represented as ornamenting the tiara of Iswara “with a beamy moon.” In this metaphor, and in his title of Somanatha (lord of the moon), we again have evidence of Iswara, or Siva, after representing the sun, having the satellite moon as his ornament.[50] His Olympus, Kailasa, is studded with that majestic pine, the cedar; thence he is called Kedarnath, ‘lord of the cedar-trees.’[51] The mysteries of Osiris and those of Eleusis[52] were of the same character, commemorative of the first germ of civilization, the culture of the earth, under a variety of names, Ertha, Isis, Diana, Ceres, Ila. It is a curious fact that in the terra-cotta images of Isis, frequently excavated about her temple at Paestum,[53] she holds in her right hand an exact representation of the Hindu lingam and yoni combined; and on the Indian expedition to Egypt, our Hindu soldiers deemed themselves amongst the altars of their own god Iswara (Osiris), from the abundance of his emblematic representatives.

The Aghori Ascetics.

—In the festival of Ganggor, as before mentioned, Iswara yields to his consort Gauri, and occupies an unimportant position near her at the water’s edge, meanly clad, smoking intoxicating herbs, and, whether by accident or design, holding the stalk of an onion in full blossom as a mace or club—a plant regarded by some of the Egyptians with veneration, and held by the Hindus generally in detestation: and why they should on such an occasion thus degrade Iswara, I know not. Onion-juice is reluctantly taken when prescribed medicinally, as a powerful stimulant, by those who would reject spirituous liquors; and there are classes, as the Aghori, that worship Iswara in his most degraded form, who will not only devour raw flesh, but that of man; and to whom it is a matter of perfect 672indifference whether the victim was slaughtered or died a natural death.death. For the honour of humanity, such monsters are few in number; but that they practise [576] these deeds I can testify, from a personal visit to their haunts, where I saw the cave of one of these Troglodyte monsters, in which by his own command he was inhumed; and which will remain closed, until curiosity and incredulity greater than mine may disturb the bones of the Aghori of Abu.

The ὠμοφαγία, or eating raw flesh with the blood, was a part of the secret mysteries of Osiris, in commemoration of the happy change in the condition of mankind from savage to civilized life, and intended to deter by disgust the return thereto.[54]

The Buddhists pursued this idea to excess; and in honour of Adiswara, the First, who from his abode of Meru taught them the arts of agriculture, they altogether abandoned that type of savage life, the eating of the flesh of animals,[55] and confined themselves to the fruits of the earth. With these sectarian anti-idolaters, who are almost all of Rajput descent, the beneficent Lakshmi, Sri, or Gauri, is an object of sincere devotion.

Affinities of Hindu to other Mythologies.

—But we must close this digression; for such is the affinity between the mythology of India, Greece, and Egypt, that a bare recapitulation of the numerous surnames of the Hindu goddess of abundance would lead us beyond reasonable limits; all are forms of Parvati or Durga Mata, the Mater Montana of Greece and Rome, an epithet of Cybele or Vesta (according to Diodorus), as the guardian goddess of children, one of the characters of the Rajput ‘Mother of the Mount,’ whose shrine crowns many a pinnacle in Mewar; and who, with the prolific Gauri, is amongst the amiable forms of the universal mother, whose functions are more varied and extensive than her sisters of Egypt and of Greece. Like the Ephesian Diana, Durga wears the crescent on her head. She is also ‘the turreted Cybele,’ the guardian goddess of all places of strength (durga),[56] and like her she is drawn or carried by the lion. As Mata Janavi, ‘the Mother of Births,’ she is Juno 673Lucina: as Padma, ‘whose throne is the lotos,’ she is the fair Isis of the Nile: as Tripura,[57] ‘governing the three worlds,’ and Atmadevi, ‘the Goddess of Souls,’ she is the Hecate Triformis of the Greeks. In short, her power is manifested under every form from the birth, and all the [577] intermediate stages until death; whether Janavi, Gauri, or the terrific Kali, the Proserpine or Kalligeneia of the West.

Whoever desires to witness one of the most imposing and pleasing of Hindu festivals, let him repair to Udaipur, and behold the rites of the lotus-queen Padma, the Gauri of Rajasthan.

Chait (Sudi) 8th, which, being after the Ides, is the 23rd of the month, is sacred to Devi, the goddess of every tribe; she is called Asokashtami, and being the ninth night (nauratri) from the opening of their Floralia, they perform the homa, or sacrifice of fire. On this day a grand procession takes place to the Chaugan, and every Rajput worships his tutelary divinity.

The Birth of Rāma.

—Chait (Sudi) 9th is the anniversary of Rama, the grand beacon of the solar race, kept with great rejoicings at Udaipur. Horses and elephants are worshipped, and all the implements of war. A procession takes place to the Chaugan, and the succeeding day, called the Dasahra or tenth, is celebrated in Asoj.

The Festival of Kamadeva.

—The last days of spring are dedicated to Kamadeva, the god of love. The scorching winds of the hot season are already beginning to blow, when Flora droops her head, and “the god of love turns anchorite”; yet the rose continues to blossom, and affords the most fragrant chaplets for the Rajputnis, amidst all the heats of summer. Of this the queen of flowers, the jessamine (chameli), white and yellow, the mogra,[58] the champaka, that flourish in extreme heat, the ladies form garlands, which they twine in their dark hair, weave into bracelets, or wear as pendent collars. There is no city in the East where the adorations of the sex to Kamadeva are more fervent than in ‘the city of the rising sun’ (Udayapura). On the 13th and 14th of Chait they sing hymns handed down by the sacred bards:

“Hail, god of the flowery bow:[59] hail, warrior with a fish on 674thy banner! hail, powerful divinity, who causeth the firmness of the sage to forsake him!”

“Glory to Madana, to Kama,[60] the god of gods; to Him by whom Brahma [578], Vishnu, Siva, and Indra are filled with emotions of rapture!”—Bhavishya Purana.[61]

Festivals in the month Baisākh: April-May.

—There is but one festival in this month of any note, when the grand procession denominated the ‘Nakkara ki aswari’ (from the equestrians being summoned, as already described, by the grand kettledrums from the Tripolia), takes place; and this is against the canons of the Hindu church, being instituted by the present Rana in S. 1847, a memorable year in the calendar. It was in this year, on the 2nd of Baisakh, that he commanded a repetition of the rites of Gauri, by the name of the Little Ganggor; but this act of impiety was marked by a sudden rise of the waters of the Pichola, the bursting of the huge embankment, and the inundation of the lake’s banks, to the destruction of one-third of the capital: life, property, mansions, trees, all were swept away in the tremendous rush of water, whose ravages are still marked by the site of streets and bazaars now converted into gardens or places of recreation, containing thousands of acres within the walls, subdivided by hedges of the cactus, the natural fence of Mewar, which alike thrives in the valley or covers the most barren spots of her highest hills. But although the superstitious look grave, and add that a son was also taken from him on this very day, yet the Rana persists in maintaining the fête he established; the barge is manned, he and his chiefs circumnavigate the Pichola, regale on ma’ajun, and terrify Varuna (the water-god) with the pyrotechnic exhibitions.

Although the court calendar of Udaipur notices only those festivals on which State processions occur, yet there are many minor fêtes, which are neither unimportant nor uninteresting. We shall enumerate a few, alike in Baisakh, Jeth, and Asarh, which are blank as to the Nakkara Aswari.

Savitrivrata Festival.

—On the 29th Baisakh there is a fast common to India peculiar to the women, who perform certain rites under the sacred fig-tree (the vata or pipal), to preserve 675them from widowhood; and hence the name of the fast Savitri-vrata.[62]

Festivals in the month Jeth: May-June.

—On the 2nd of Jeth, when the sun is in the zenith, the Rajput ladies commemorate the birth of the sea-born goddess Rambha, the queen of the naiads or Apsaras,[63] whose birth, like that of Venus, was from the froth of the waters; and [579] hence the Rajput bards designate all the fair messengers of heaven by the name of Apsaras, who summon the ‘chosen’ from the field of battle, and convey him to the ‘mansion of the sun.’[64]

The Aranya-Shashthi Festival.

—On the 6th of Jeth the ladies have another festival called the Aranya Shashthi, because on this day those desirous of offspring walk in the woods (aranya) to gather and eat certain herbs. Sir W. Jones has remarked the analogy between this and the Druidic ceremony of gathering the mistletoe (also on the Shashthi, or 6th day of the moon), as a preservative against sterility.

Festivals in the month Āsārh: June-July.

—Asarh, the initiative month of the periodical rains, has no particular festivity at Udaipur, though in other parts of India the Rathayatra, or procession of the car of Vishnu or Jagannatha (lord of the universe) is well known: this is on the 2nd and the 11th, ‘the night of the gods,’ when Vishnu (the sun) reposes four months.

Festivals in the month Sāwan: July-August.

—Sawan, classically Sravana. There are two important festivals, with processions, in this month.

The Tij.

—The third, emphatically called ‘the Tij’ (third), is sacred to the mountain goddess Parvati, being the day on which, after long austerities, she was reunited to Siva: she accordingly declared it holy, and proclaimed that whoever invoked her on that day should possess whatever was desired. The Tij is 676accordingly reverenced by the women, and the husbandman of Rajasthan, who deems it a most favourable day to take possession of land, or to reinhabit a deserted dwelling. When on the expulsion of the predatory powers from the devoted lands of Mewar, proclamations were disseminated far and wide, recalling the expatriated inhabitants, they showed their love of country by obedience to the summons. Collecting their goods and chattels, they congregated from all parts, but assembled at a common rendezvous to make their entry to the bapota, ‘land of their sires,’ on the Tij of Sawan. On this fortunate occasion, a band of three hundred men, women, and children, with colours flying, drums beating, the females taking precedence with brass vessels of water on their heads, and chanting the suhaila (song of joy), entered the town of Kapasan, to revisit their desolate dwellings [580], and return thanks on their long-abandoned altars to Parvati[65] for a happiness they had never contemplated.

Red garments are worn by all classes on this day, and at Jaipur clothes of this colour are presented by the Raja to all the chiefs. At that court the Tij is kept with more honour than at Udaipur. An image of Parvati on the Tij, richly attired, is borne on a throne by women chanting hymns, attended by the prince and his nobles. On this day, fathers present red garments and stuffs to their daughters.

The Nāgpanchami Festival: Serpent Worship.

—The 5th is the Nagpanchami, or day set apart for the propitiation of the chief of the reptile race, the Naga or serpent. Few subjects have more occupied the notice of the learned world than the mysteries of Ophite worship, which are to be traced wherever there existed a remnant of civilization, or indeed of humanity; among the savages of the savannahs[66] of America, and the magi of Fars, with whom it was the type of evil,—their Ahrimanes.[67] The Nagas, or serpent-genii of the Rajputs, have a semi-human structure, precisely as Diodorus describes the snake-mother of 677the Scythae, in whose country originated this serpent-worship, engrafted on the tenets of Zardusht, of the Puranas of the priesthood of Egypt, and on the fables of early Greece.[68] Dupuis, Volney, and other expounders of the mystery, have given an astronomical solution to what they deem a varied ramification of an ancient fable, of which that of Greece, ‘the dragon guarding the fruits of Hesperides,’ may be considered the most elegant version. Had these learned men seen those ancient sculptures in India, which represent ‘the fall,’ they might have changed their opinion. The traditions of the Jains or Buddhists (originating in the land of the Takshaks,[69] or Turkistan) assert the creation of the human species in pairs, called jugal, who fed off the ever-fructifying kalpa-vriksha, which possesses all the characters of the Tree of Life, like it bearing
Ambrosial fruit of vegetable gold;

which was termed amrita, and rendered them immortal. A drawing, brought by [581] Colonel Coombs, from a sculptured column in a cave temple in the south of India, represents the first pair at the foot of this ambrosial tree, and a serpent entwined among the heavily laden boughs, presenting to them some of the fruit from his mouth. The tempter appears to be at that part of his discourse, when

... his words, replete with guile,
Into her heart too easy entrance won:
Fixed on the fruit she gazed.

This is a curious subject to be engraved on an ancient pagan temple; if Jain or Buddhist, the interest would be considerably enhanced. On this festival, at Udaipur, as well as throughout India, they strew particular plants about the threshold, to prevent the entrance of reptiles.

The Rākhi Festival.

—This festival, which is held on the last day of Sawan, was instituted in honour of the good genii, when Durvasas the sage instructed Salono (the genius or nymph presiding over the month of Sawan) to bind on rakhis, or bracelets, as charms to avert evil. The ministers of religion and females alone are privileged to bestow these charmed wrist-bands. The ladies of 678Rajasthan, either by their handmaids or the family priests, send a bracelet as the token of their esteem to such as they adopt as brothers, who return gifts in acknowledgement of the honour. The claims thus acquired by the fair are far stronger than those of consanguinity: for illustration of which I may refer to an incident already related in the annals of this house.[70] Sisters also present their brothers with clothes on this day, who make an offering of gold in return.[71]

This day is hailed by the Brahmans as indemnifying them for their expenditure of silk and spangles, with which they decorate the wrists of all who are likely to make a proper return.

Festivals in the month Bhādon: August-September.

—On the 3rd there is a grand procession to the Chaugan; and the 8th, or Ashtami, is the birth of Krishna, which will be described at large in an account of Nathdwara. There are several holidays in this month, when the periodical [582] rains are in full descent; but that on the last but one (Sudi 14, or 29th) is the most remarkable.

Ancestor Worship.

—On this day[72] commences the worship of the ancestorial manes (the Pitrideva, or father-gods) of the Rajputs, which continues for fifteen days. The Rana goes to the cemetery at Ara, and performs at the cenotaph of each of his forefathers the rites enjoined, consisting of ablutions, prayers, and the hanging of garlands of flowers, and leaves sacred to the dead, on their monuments. Every chieftain does the same amongst the altars of the ‘great ancients’ (bara burha); or, if absent from their estates, they accompany their sovereign to Ara.

1. Travels in Scandinavia, vol. i. p. 33.

2. Bhumiputra.

3. Vanaputra.

4. Suryas and Induputras.

5. [For the Vedic cult of Sūrya see Macdonell, “Vedic Mythology,” Grundriss der Indo-Arischen Philologie und Altertumskunde, 1897, p. 30 ff.]

6. The Sauromatae or Sarmatians of early Europe, as well as the Syrians, were most probably colonies of the same Suryavansi who simultaneously peopled the shores of the Caspian and Mediterranean, and the banks of the Indus and Ganges. Many of the tribes described by Strabo as dwelling around the Caspian are enumerated amongst the thirty-six royal races of India. One of these, the Sakasenae, supposed to be the ancestors of our own Saxon race, settled themselves on the Araxes in Armenia, adjoining Albania. [There are no grounds for these comparisons.]

7. [There are no grounds for this classification.]

8. Long after the overthrow of the Greek kingdom of Bactria by the Yuti or Getes [Sakas] this region was popular and flourishing. In the year 120 before Christ, De Guignes says: “Dans ce pays on trouvait d’excellens grains, du vin de vigne, plus de cent villes, tant grandes que petites. Il est aussi fait mention du Tahia situé au midi du Gihon, et où il y a de grandes villes murées. Le général chinois y vit des toiles de l’Inde et autres marchandises, etc., etc.” (Hist. Gén. des Huns, vol. i. p. 51).

9. Yavan or Javan is a celebrated link of the Indu (lunar) genealogical chain; nor need we go to Ionia for it, though the Ionians may be a colony descended from Javan, the ninth from Yayati, who was the third son of Ayu, the ancestor of the Hindu as well as of the Tatar Induvansi. [Yavana is the general term for a foreigner, especially the non-Hindu tribes of the N.W. Frontier, and those beyond them.] The Asuras, who are so often described as invaders of India, and which word has ordinarily a mere irreligious acceptation, I firmly believe to mean the Assyrians. [This theory was adopted by J. Fergusson, Cave Temples of India, 34.]

10. [Such analogies of custom do not prove ethnical identity.]

11. [The theory breaks down, because the name of the sword of Argantýr was Tyrfing, or better Tyrfingr, the derivation of which word, as Mr. H. M. Chadwick kindly informs me, according to Vigfússon’s Icelandic Dictionary, is from tyrfi, a resinous fir-tree used for kindling a fire, because the sword flamed like resinous wood.]

12. See Turner’s History of Anglo-Saxons for Indo-Scythic words.

13. There were no less than four distinguished leaders of this name amongst the vassals of the last Rajput emperor of Delhi; and one of them, who turned traitor to his sovereign and joined Shihabu-d-din, was actually a Scythian, and of the Gakkhar race, which maintained their ancient habits of polyandry even in Babur’s time. The Haoli Rao Hamira was lord of Kangra and the Gakkhars of Pamir.

14. Turner, when discussing the history of the Sakai, or Sakaseni, of the Caspian, whom he justly supposes to be the Saxons of the Baltic, takes occasion to introduce some words of Scythic origin (preserved by ancient writers), to almost every one of which, without straining etymology, we may give a Sanskrit origin. [There is no ground for ascribing a Scythic origin to the proper names in the text.]

  Scythic. Sanskrit or Bhakha.
Exampaios sacred ways Agham is the sacred book; pai and pada, a foot; pantha, a path.
Arimu one Ad is the first; whence Adima, or man.
Spou an eye.  
Oior a man.  
Pata to kill Badh, to kill.
Tahiti the chief deity is Vesta Tap is heat or flame; the type of Vesta.
Papaios ”     ” Jupiter Baba, or Bapa, the universal father. The Hindu Jiva-pitri, or Father of Life [?].
Oitosuros ”     ”   Apollo Aitiswara, or Sun-God, applicable to Vishnu, who has every attribute of Apollo; from ait, contraction of aditya, the sun.
or Aripasa
”     ”   Venus Apsaras because born from the froth or essence, ‘sara,’ of the waters, ‘ap’ [‘going in the water’].
Thamimasadus ”     ”   Neptune Thoenatha; or God of the Waters.
Apia wife of Papaios, or Earth Amba, Ama, Uma, is the universal mother; wife of ‘Baba Adam,’ as they term the universal father.

See Turner’s History of the Anglo-Saxons, vol. i. p. 35. [Many of the identifications are obsolete.]

15. Sir W. Jones, “On the Lunar Year of the Hindus,” Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. p. 257.

16. Bhaskara saptami, in honour of the sun, as a form of Vishnu (Varaha Purana) Makari, from the sun entering the constellation Makara (Pisces), the first of the solar Magha (see Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. p. 273).

17. See Vol. I. p. 91.

18. This word appears to have the same import as Thor, the sun-god and war divinity of the Scandinavians. [? Thāwar, Saturday; Skt. sthāvara, ‘stationary.’]

19. Odin is also called As or ‘lord’; the Gauls also called him Oes or Es, and with a Latin termination Hesus, whom Lucan calls Esus; Edda, vol. ii. pp. 45-6. The celebrated translator of these invaluable remnants of ancient superstitions, by which alone light can be thrown on the origin of nations, observes that Es or Oes is the name for God with all the Celtic races. So it was with the Tuscans, doubtless from the Sanskrit, or rather from a more provincial tongue, the common contraction of Iswara, the Egyptian Osiris, the Persian Syr, the sun-god. [These words have, of course, no connexion. Syria perhaps derives its name from the Suri, a north-Euphratian tribe (Encyclopaedia Biblica, iv. 4845).]

20. Which Mallet, from Hesychius, interprets ‘good star.’ [The name Goetosyrus or Octosyrus (Herodotus iv. 59) is so uncertain in form that it is useless to propose etymologies for it (E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks, 86). Rawlinson (Herodotus, 3rd ed. ii. 93) compares Greek αἴθος, Skt. sūrya, in the sense ‘bright, burning Sun.’]

21. Mallet’s Northern Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 42.

22. [Much of this is from Sir W. Jones, Wilford and Paterson (Asiatic Researches, i. 253, iii. 141, viii. 48). Herodotus (i. 216) ascribes the custom of Sun sacrifice to the Massagetae.]

23. [The Mughal emperors followed the same practice (Manucci i. 98).]

24. In his delight for this diversion, the Rajput evinces his Scythic propensity. The grand hunts of the last Chauhan emperor often led him into warfare, for Prithiraj was a poacher of the first magnitude, and one of his battles with the Tatars was while engaged in field sports on the Ravi. The heir of Jenghiz Khan was chief huntsman, the highest office of the State amongst the Scythic Tatars; as Ajanbahu, alike celebrated in either field of war and sport, was chief huntsman to the Chauhan emperor of Delhi, whose bard enters minutely into the subject, describing all the variety of dogs of chase.

25. A hog in Hindi; in Persian khuk, nearly our hog [?].

26. Chief of Salumbar.

27. Chief of Hamirgarh.

28. [On the slaughter of the boar representing a corn-spirit see Sir J. Frazer, The Golden Bough, 3rd ed. Part v. vol. i. 298 ff.; Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 2nd ed. 290 f.]

29. He has been the father of more than one hundred children, legitimate and illegitimate, though very few are living.

30. That this can be done without any loss of dignity by the Sahib log (a name European gentlemen have assumed) is well known to those who may have partaken of the hospitalities of that honourable man, and brave and zealous officer, Colonel James Skinner, C.B., at Hansi. That his example is worthy of imitation in the mode of commanding, is best evinced by the implicit and cheerful obedience his men pay to his instructions when removed from his personal control. He has passed through the ordeal of nearly thirty years of unremitted service, and from the glorious days of Delhi and Laswari under Lake, to the last siege of Bharatpur, James Skinner has been second to none. In obtaining for this gallant and modest officer the order of the Bath, Lord Combermere must have been applauded by every person who knows the worth of him who bears it, which includes the whole army of Bengal. [James Skinner, 1778-1841. See Compton, Military Adventurers, 389 ff.; Buckland, Dict. Indian Biography, s.v.]

31. Evinced in the presentation of the sriphala, the fruit of Sri, which is the coco-nut, emblematic of fruitfulness.

32. Another point of resemblance to the Roman Saturnalia.

33. A hall so called in honour of Ganesa, or Janus, whose effigies adorn the entrance. [Janus probably = Dianus: Ganesa, ‘lord of the troops of inferior deities’ (gana).]

34. See p. 394.

35. See p. 324.

36. [See Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, viii. 868 f.]

37. It fell on the 18th March 1819.

38. [For festivals in honour of Gauri see IA, xxxv. (1906) 61.]

39. Personification of spring.

40. Here we have Gauri as the type of the earth.

41. [The Gardens of Adonis, for which see Sir J. Frazer, Adonis, Attis, Osiris, 3rd ed. i. 236 ff.]

42. Here the Hindu mixes Persian with his Sanskrit, and produces the mongrel dialect Hindi.

43. Takht, Pat, Persian and Sanskrit, alike meaning board.

44. The Ephesian Diana is the twin sister of Gauri, and can have a Sanskrit derivation in Devianna, ‘the goddess of food,’ contracted Deanna, though commonly Anna-de or Anna-devi, and Annapurna, ‘filling with food,’ or the nourisher, the name applied by ‘the mother of mankind,’ when she places the repast before the messenger of heaven:

“Heavenly Stranger, please to taste
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom
All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,
To us for food and for delight, hath caused
The earth to yield.”
Paradise Lost, Bk. v. 397-401.

[Diana is the feminine form of Dianus, Janus.]

45. ii. 59-64.

46. Analysis of Ancient Mythology, p. 312.

47. [Germania, ix.]

48. Hesus is probably derived from Iswara, or Isa, the god. Toth was the Egyptian, and Teutates the Scandinavian, Mercury. I have elsewhere attempted to trace the origin of the Suevi, Su, or Yeuts of Yeutland (Jutland), to Yute, Getae, or Jat, of Central Asia, who carried thence the religion of Buddha into India as well as to the Baltic. There is little doubt that the races called Jotner, Jaeter, Jotuns, Jacts, and Yeuts, who followed the Asi into Scandinavia, migrated from the Jaxartes, the land of the great Getae (Massagetae); the leader was supposed to be endued with supernatural powers, like the Buddhist, called Vidiavan, or magician, whose haunts adjoined Aria, the cradle of the Magi. They are designated Aripunta [?], under the sign of a serpent, the type of Budha; or Ahriman, ‘the foe of man.’ [Much of this crude speculation is taken from Wilford (Asiatic Researches, iii. 133).]

49. The German Ertha, to show her kindred to the Ila of the Rajputs, had her car drawn by a cow, under which form the Hindus typify the earth (prithivi).

50. Let it be borne in mind that Indu, Chandra, Soma, are all epithets for ‘the moon,’ or as he is classically styled (in an inscription of the famous Kumarpal, which I discovered in Chitor), Nisanath, the ruler of darkness (Nisa).

51. [Kedārnāth has, of course, no connexion with the cedar tree. The origin of the name ‘Lord of Kedār’ is unknown; probably Kedār was an old cult title of Siva.]

52. I have before remarked that a Sanskrit etymology might be given to this word in Ila and Isa, i.e. ‘the goddess of the earth’ [?] [p. 636, note].

53. I was informed at Naples that four thousand of these were dug out of one spot, and I obtained while at Paestum many fragments and heads of this goddess.

54. Prichard’s Researches into the Physical History of Man, p. 369. [For a full discussion of ὠμοφαγία see Miss J. E. Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, 483 ff.]

55. The Buddhists of Tartary make no scruple of eating flesh.

56. Durga, ‘a fort’; as Suvarnadurg, ‘the golden castle,’ etc., etc.

57. Literally Tripoli, ‘the three cities,’ pura, polis.

58. [The double jasmin (Michelia champaka).]

59. Cupid’s bow is formed of a garland of flowers.

60. Madana, he who intoxicates with desire (kama), both epithets of the god of love. The festivals on the 13th and 14th are called Madana trayodasi (the tenth) and Chaturdasi (fourteenth).

61. Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. p. 278.

62. [Savitri-vrata means ‘the vow to Savitri,’ and has no connexion with the vata or banyan-tree. But the tree is worshipped in connexion with it on 15th light or dark fortnight of the month Jeth (Census Report, Baroda, 1901, i. 127).]

63. Ap, ‘water,’ and sara, ‘froth or essence.’ [The word means ‘going in the waters, or between the waters of the clouds.’]

64. The Romans held the calends of June (generally Jeth) sacred to the goddess Carna, significant of the sun. Carneus was the sun-god of the Celts, and a name of Apollo at Sparta, and other Grecian cities. The Karneia was a festival in honour of Apollo.

65. The story of the vigils of Parvati, preparatory to her being reunited to her lord, consequent to her sacrifice as Sati, is the counterpart of the Grecian fable of Cybele, her passion for, and marriage with, the youth Atys or Papas, the Baba, or universal father, of the Hindus.

66. How did a word of Persian growth come to signify ‘the boundless brake’ of the new world?

67. Ari, ‘a foe’; manus, ‘man.’ [Angro Mainyush, ‘destructive spirit.’]

68. [There is no reason to believe that snake-worship was not independently practised in India.]

69. This is the snake-race of India, the foes of the Pandus.

70. See p. 364.

71. I returned from three to five pieces of gold for the rakhis sent by my adopted sisters; from one of whom, the sister of the Rana, I annually received this pledge by one of her handmaids; three of them I have yet in my possession, though I never saw the donor, who is now no more. I had, likewise, some presented through the family priest, from the Bundi queen-mother, with whom I have conversed for hours, though she was invisible to me; and from the ladies of rank of the chieftains’ families, but one of whom I ever beheld, though they often called upon me for the performance of brotherly offices in consequence of such tie. There is a delicacy in this custom, with which the bond uniting the cavaliers of Europe to the service of the fair, in the days of chivalry, will not compare.

72. Sacred to Vishnu, with the title of Ananta, or infinite—Bhavishyottara. (See Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. p. 291.) Here Vishnu appears as ‘lord of the manes.’



Khadga Sthapana, Sword Worship.

—The festival in which this imposing rite occurs is the Nauratri,[1] sacred to the god of war, commencing on the first of the month Asoj. It is essentially martial, and confined to the Rajput, who on the departure of the monsoon finds himself at liberty to indulge his passion whether for rapine or revenge, both which in these tropical regions are necessarily suspended during the rains. Arguing from the order of the passions, we may presume that the first objects of emblematic worship were connected with war [583], and we accordingly find the highest reverence paid to arms by every nation of antiquity. The Scythic warrior of Central Asia, the intrepid Gete, admitted no meaner representative of the god of battle than his own scimitar.[2] He worshipped it, he swore by it; it was buried with him, in order that he might appear before the martial divinity in the other world as became his worshipper on earth: for the Gete of Transoxiana, from the earliest ages, not only believed in the soul’s immortality, and in the doctrine of rewards and punishments hereafter, but, according to the father of history, he was a monotheist; of which fact he has left a memorable proof in the punishment of the celebrated Anacharsis, who, on his return from a visit to Thales and his brother philosophers of Greece, attempted to introduce into the land of the Saka (Sakatai) the corrupted polytheism of Athens.

If we look westward from this the central land of earliest 680civilization, to Dacia, Thrace, Pannonia, the seats of the Thyssagetae or western Getae, we find the same form of adoration addressed to the emblem of Mars, as mentioned by Xenophon in his memorable retreat, and practised by Alaric and his Goths, centuries afterwards, in the Acropolis of Athens. If we transport ourselves to the shores of Scandinavia, amongst the Cimbri and Getae of Jutland, to the Ultima Thule, wherever the name of Gete prevails, we shall find the same adoration paid by the Getic warrior to his sword.

The Frisian Frank also of Gothic race, adhered to this worship, and transmitted it with the other rites of the Getic warrior of the Jaxartes; such as the adoration of the steed, sacred to the sun, the great god of the Massagetae, as well as of the Rajput, who sacrificed it at the annual feast, or with his arms and wife burnt it on his funeral pile. Even the kings of the ‘second race’ kept up the religion of their Scythic sires from the Jaxartes, and the bones of the war-horse of Chilperic were exhumed with those of the monarch. These rites, as well as those long-cherished chivalrous notions, for which the Salian Franks have ever been conspicuous [584], had their birth in Central Asia; for though contact with the more polished Arab softened the harsh character of the western warrior, his thirst for glory, the romantic charm which fed his passion, and his desire to please the fair, he inherited from his ancestors on the shores of the Baltic, which were colonized from the Oxus. Whether Charlemagne addressed his sword as Joyeuse,[3] or the Scandinavian hero Angantýr as the enchanted blade Tyrfing (Hialmar’s bane), each came from one common origin, the people which invented the custom of Khadga Sthapana, or ‘adoration of the sword.’ But neither the falchion ‘made by the dwarfs for Suafurlama,’ nor the redoubled sword of Bayard with which he dubbed the first Francis,—not even the enchanted brand of Ariosto’s hero, can for a moment compare with the double-edged khanda (scimitar) annually worshipped by the chivalry of Mewar. Before I descant on this monstrous blade, I shall give an abstract of the ceremonies on each of the nine days sacred to the god of war.

The Dasahra Festival.

—On the 1st of Asoj, after fasting, ablution, and prayer on the part of the prince and his household, the double-edged khanda is removed from the hall of arms 681(ayudhsala), and having received the homage (puja) of the court, it is carried in procession to the Kishanpol (gate of Kishan), where it is delivered to the Raj Jogi,[4] the Mahants, and band of Jogis assembled in front of the temple of Devi ‘the goddess,’ adjoining the portal of Kishan.[5] By these, the monastic militant adorers of Hara, the god of battle, the brand emblematic of the divinity is placed[6] on the altar before the image of his divine consort. At three in the afternoon the nakkaras, or grand kettle-drums, proclaim from the Tripolia[7] the signal for the assemblage of the chiefs with their retainers; and the Rana and his cavalcade proceed direct to the stables, when a buffalo is sacrificed in honour of the war-horse. Thence the procession moves to the temple of Devi, where the Raja Krishan (Godi) has proceeded. Upon this, the Rana seats himself close to the Raj Jogi, presents two pieces of [585] silver and a coco-nut, performs homage to the sword (khadga), and returns to the palace.

Asoj 2nd. In similar state he proceeds to the Chaugan, their Champ de Mars, where a buffalo is sacrificed; and on the same day another buffalo victim is felled by the nervous arm of a Rajput, near the Toranpol, or triumphal gate. In the evening the Rana goes to the temple of Amba Mata, the universal mother, when several goats and buffaloes bleed to the goddess.

The 3rd. Procession to the Chaugan, when another buffalo is offered; and in the afternoon five buffaloes and two rams are sacrificed to Harsiddh Mata.[8]

On the 4th, as on every one of the nine days, the first visit is to the Champ de Mars: the day opens with the slaughter of a buffalo. The Rana proceeds to the temple of Devi, when he worships the sword, and the standard of the Raj Jogi, to whom, as the high-priest of Siva, the god of war, he pays homage, and 682makes offering of sugar, and a garland of roses. A buffalo having been previously fixed to a stake near the temple, the Rana sacrifices him with his own hand, by piercing him from his travelling throne (raised on men’s shoulders and surrounded by his vassals) with an arrow. In the days of his strength, he seldom failed almost to bury the feather in the flank of the victim; but on the last occasion his enfeebled arm made him exclaim with Prithiraj, when, captive and blind, he was brought forth to amuse the Tartar despot, “I draw not the bow as in the days of yore.”

On the 5th, after the usual sacrifice at the Chaugan, and an elephant fight, the procession marches to the temple of Asapurna (Hope); a buffalo and a ram are offered to the goddess adored by all the Rajputs, and the tutelary divinity of the Chauhans. On this day the lives of some victims are spared at the intercession of the Nagar-Seth, or chief-magistrate,[9] and those of his faith, the Jains.

On the 6th, the Rana visits the Chaugan, but makes no sacrifice. In the afternoon, prayers and victims to Devi; and in the evening the Rana visits Bhikharinath, the chief of the Kanphara Jogis, or split-ear ascetics.ascetics.

The 7th. After the daily routine at the Chaugan, and sacrifices to Devi (the goddess of destruction), the chief equerry is commanded to adorn the steeds with their new caparisons, and lead them to be bathed in the lake. At night, the sacred fire (hom) is kindled, and a buffalo and a ram are sacrificed to Devi; the Jogis [586] are called up and feasted on boiled rice and sweetmeats. On the conclusion of this day, the Rana and his chieftains visit the hermitage of Sukharia Baba, an anchorite of the Jogi sect.

8th. There is the homa, or fire-sacrifice in the palace. In the afternoon, the prince, with a select cavalcade, proceeds to the village of Samina, beyond the city walls, and visits a celebrated Gosain.[10]

9th. There is no morning procession. The horses from the royal stables, as well as those of the chieftains, are taken to the 683lake, and bathed by their grooms, and on returning from purification they are caparisoned in their new housings, led forth, and receive the homage of their riders, and the Rana bestows a largess on the master of the horse, the equerries, and grooms. At three in the afternoon, the nakkaras having thrice sounded, the whole State insignia, under a select band, proceed to Mount Matachal, and bring home the sword. When its arrival in the court of the palace is announced, the Rana advances and receives it with due homage from the hands of the Raj Jogi, who is presented with a khilat; while the Mahant, who has performed all the austerities during the nine days, has his patra[11] filled with gold and silver coin. The whole of the Jogis are regaled, and presents are made to their chiefs. The elephants and horses again receive homage, and the sword, the shield, and spear are worshipped within the palace. At three in the morning the prince takes repose.

The 10th, or Dasahra,[12] is a festival universally known in India, and respected by all classes, although entirely military, being commemorative of the day on which the deified Rama commenced his expedition to Lanka for the redemption of Sita;[13] the ‘tenth of Asoj’ is consequently deemed by the Rajput a fortunate day for warlike enterprise. The day commences with a visit from the [587] prince or chieftain to his spiritual guide. Tents and carpets are prepared at the Chaugan or Matachal mount, where the artillery is sent; and in the afternoon the Rana, his chiefs, and their retainers repair to the field of Mars, worship the khejra tree,[14] liberate the nilkanth or jay (sacred to Rama), and return amidst a discharge of guns.

68411th. In the morning, the Rana, with all the State insignia, the kettledrums sounding in the rear, proceeds towards the Matachal mount, and takes the muster of his troops, amidst discharges of cannon, tilting, and display of horsemanship. The spectacle is imposing even in the decline of this house. The hilarity of the party, the diversified costume, the various forms, colours, and decorations of the turbans, in which some have the heron plume, or sprigs from some shrub sacred to the god of war; the clusters of lances, shining matchlocks, and black bucklers, the scarlet housings of the steeds, and waving pennons, recall forcibly the glorious days of the devoted Sanga, or the immortal Partap, who on such occasions collected round the black changi and crimson banner of Mewar a band of sixteen thousand of his own kin and clan, whose lives were their lord’s and their country’s. The shops and bazaars are ornamented with festoons of flowers and branches of trees, while the costliest cloths and brocades are extended on screens, to do honour to their prince; the toran (or triumphal arch) is placed before the tent, on a column of which he places one hand as he alights, and before entering makes several circumambulations. All present offer their nazars to the prince, the artillery fires, and the bards raise ‘the song of praise,’ celebrating the glories of the past; the fame of Samra, who fell with thirteen thousand of his kin on the Ghaggar; of Arsi and his twelve brave sons, who gave themselves as victims for the salvation of Chitor; of Kumbha, Lakha, Sanga, Partap, Amra, Raj, all descended of the blood of Rama, whose exploits, three thousand five hundred years before, they are met to celebrate. The situation of Matachal is well calculated for such a spectacle, as indeed is the whole ground from the palace through the Delhi portal to the mount, on which is erected one of the several castles commanding the approaches to the city. The fort is dedicated to Mata, though it would not long remain stable (achal) before a battery of thirty-six pounders. The guns are drawn up about the termination of the slope of the natural glacis; the Rana and his court remain on horseback [588] half up the ascent; and while every chief or vassal is at liberty to leave his ranks, and “witch the world with noble horsemanship,” there is nothing tumultuous, nothing offensive in their mirth.

The steeds purchased since the last festival are named, and as the cavalcade returns, their grooms repeat the appellations 685of each as the word is passed by the master of the horse; as Baj Raj, ‘the royal steed’; Hayamor, ‘the chief of horses’; Manika, ‘the gem’; Bajra, ‘the thunderbolt,’ etc., etc. On returning to the palace, gifts are presented by the Rana to his chiefs. The Chauhan chief of Kotharia claims the apparel which his prince wears on this day, in token of the fidelity of his ancestor to the minor, Udai Singh, in Akbar’s wars. To others, a fillet or balaband for the turban is presented; but all such compliments are regulated by precedent or immediate merit.

The Toran Arch.

—Thus terminates the Nauratri festival sacred to the god of war, which in every point of view is analogous to the autumnal festival of the Scythic warlike nations, when these princes took the muster of their armies, and performed the same rites to the great celestial luminary.[15] I have presented to the antiquarian reader these details, because it is in minute particulars that analogous customs are detected. Thus the temporary toran, or triumphal arch, erected in front of the tent at Mount Mataehala would scarcely claim the least notice, but that we discover even in this emblem the origin of the triumphal arches of antiquity, with many other rites which may be traced to the Indo-Scythic races of Asia. The toran in its original form consisted of two columns and an architrave, constituting the number three, sacred to Hara, the god of war. In the progress of the arts the architrave gave way to the Hindu arch, which consisted of two or more ribs without the keystone, the apex being the perpendicular junction of the archivaults; nor is the arc of the toran semicircular, or any segment of a circle, but with that graceful curvature which stamps with originality one of the arches of the Normans, who may have brought it from their ancient seats on the Oxus, whence it may also have been [589] carried within the Indus. The cromlech, or trilithic altar in the centre 686of all those monuments called Druidic, is most probably a toran, sacred to the Sun-god Belenus, like Har, or Balsiva, the god of battle, to whom as soon as a temple is raised the toran is erected, and many of these are exquisitely beautiful.


—An interesting essay might be written on portes and torans, their names and attributes, and the genii presiding as their guardians. Amongst all the nations of antiquity, the portal has had its peculiar veneration: to pass it was a privilege regarded as a mark of honour. The Jew Haman, in the true Oriental style, took post at the king’s gate as an inexpugnable position. The most pompous court in Europe takes its title from its porte, where, as at Udaipur, all alight. The Tripolia, or triple portal, the entry to the magnificent terrace in front of the Rana’s palace, consists, like the Roman arcs of triumph, of three arches, still preserving the numeral sacred to the god of battle, one of whose titles is Tripura, which may be rendered Tripoli, or lord of the three places of abode, or cities, but applied in its extensive sense to the three worlds, heaven, earth, and hell. From the Sanskrit Pola we have the Greek πύλη, a gate, or pass; and in the guardian or Polia, the πυλωρός or porter; while to this langue mère our own language is indebted, not only for its portes and porters, but its doors (dwara).[16] Pylos signified also a pass; so in Sanskrit these natural barriers are called Palas, and hence the poetical epithet applied to the aboriginal mountain tribes of Rajasthan, namely, Palipati and Palindra, ‘lords of the pass.’[17]


—One of the most important of the Roman divinities was Janus, whence Januae, or portals, of which he was the guardian.[18] A resemblance between the Ganesa of the Hindu pantheon and the Roman Janus has been pointed out by Sir W. Jones, but his analogy extended little beyond nominal similarity. The fable of the birth of Ganesa furnishes us with the origin of the worship of Janus, and as it has never been given, I shall transcribe it from the bard Chand. Ganesa is the chief of the genii[19] attendant on the god of war, and was expressly formed by 687Uma, the Hindu Juno, to guard the entrance of her caverned retreat in the [590] Caucasus, where she took refuge from the tyranny of the lord of Kailasa (Olympus), whose throne is fixed amidst eternal snows on the summit of this peak of the gigantic Caucasus (Koh-khasa).[20]

“Strife arose between Mahadeo and the faithful Parvati: she fled to the mountains and took refuge in a cave. A crystal fountain tempted her to bathe, but shame was awakened; she dreaded being seen. Rubbing her frame, she made an image of man; with her nail she sprinkled it with the water of life, and placed it as guardian at the entrance of the cave.” Engrossed with the recollection of Parvati,[21] Siva went to Karttikeya[22] for tidings of his mother, and together they searched each valley and recess, and at length reached the spot where a figure was placed at the entrance of a cavern. As the chief of the gods prepared to explore this retreat, he was stopped by the Polia. In a rage he struck off his head with his discus (chakra), and in the gloom discovered the object of his search. Surprised and dismayed, she demanded how he obtained ingress: “Was there no guardian at the entrance?” The furious Siva replied that he had cut off his head. On hearing this, the mountain-goddess was enraged, and weeping, exclaimed, “You have destroyed my child.” The god, determined to recall him to life, decollated a young elephant, replaced the head he had cut off, and naming him Ganesa, decreed that in every resolve his name should be the first invoked.

688Invocation of the Bard to Ganesa.

“Oh, Ganesa! thou art a mighty lord; thy single tusk[23] is beautiful, and demands the tribute of praise from the Indra of song.[24] Thou art the chief of the human race; the destroyer of unclean spirits; the remover of fevers, whether daily or tertian. Thy bard sounds thy praise; let my work be accomplished!”

Thus Ganesa is the chief of the Di minores of the Hindu pantheon, as the etymology of the word indicates,[25] and like Janus, was entrusted with the gates of heaven [591]; while of his right to preside over peace and war, the fable related affords abundant testimony. Ganesa is the first invoked and propitiated[26] on every undertaking, whether warlike or pacific. The warrior implores his counsel; the banker indites his name at the commencement of every letter; the architect places his image in the foundation of every edifice; and the figure of Ganesa is either sculptured or painted at the door of every house as a protection against evil. Our Hindu Janus is represented as four-armed, and holding the disk (chakra), the war-shell, the club, and the lotos. Ganesa is not, however, bifrons, like the Roman guardian of portals. In every transaction he is adi, or the first, though the Hindu does not, like the Roman, open the year with his name. I shall conclude with remarking that one of the portes of every Hindu city is named the Ganesa Pol, as well as some conspicuous entrance to the palace: thus Udaipur has its Ganesa dwara, who also gives a name to the hall, the Ganesa deori; and his shrine will be found on the ascent of every sacred mount, as at Abu, where it is placed close to a fountain on the abrupt face about twelve hundred feet from the base. There is likewise a hill sacred to him in Mewar called Ganesa Gir, tantamount to the Mons Janiculum of the eternal city. The companion of this divinity is a rat, who indirectly receives a portion of homage, and with full as much right as the bird emblematic of Minerva.[27]

689We have abandoned the temple of the warlike divinity (Devi), the sword of Mars, and the triumphal toran, to invoke Ganesa. It will have been remarked that the Rana aids himself to dismount by placing his hand on one of the columns of the toran, an act which is pregnant with a martial allusion, as are indeed the entire ceremonials of the “worship of the sword.”

Analogies to Western Customs. Oaths by the Sword.

—It might be deemed folly to trace the rites and superstitions of so remote an age and nation to Central Asia; but when we find the superstitions of the Indo-Scythic Getae prevailing within the Indus, in Dacia, and on the shores of the Baltic, we may assume their common origin; for although the worship of arms has prevailed among all warlike tribes, there is a peculiar respect paid to the sword amongst the Getic races. The Greeks and Romans paid devotion to their arms, and swore by them. The Greeks brought their habits from ancient Thrace, where the custom existed of presenting as the greatest gift that peculiar kind of sword called acinaces,[28] which we dare not derive from the Indo-Scythic or Sanskrit asi, a [592] sword. When Xenophon,[29] on his retreat, reached the court of Seuthes, he agreed to attach his corps to the service of the Thracian. His officers on introduction, in the true Oriental style, presented their nazars, or gifts of homage, excepting Xenophon, who, deeming himself too exalted to make the common offering, presented his sword, probably only to be touched in recognition of his services being accepted. The most powerful oath of the Rajput, next to his sovereign’s throne (gaddi ka an), is by his arms, ya silah ka an, ‘by this weapon!’ as, suiting the action to the word, he puts his hand on his dagger, never absent from his girdle. Dhal, tarwar, ka an, ‘by my sword and shield!’ The shield is deemed the only fit vessel or salver on which to present gifts; and accordingly at a Rajput court, shawls, brocades, scarfs, and jewels are always spread before the guest on bucklers.[30]

In the Runic “incantation of Hervor,” daughter of Angantýr, at the tomb of her father, she invokes the dead to deliver the enchanted brand Tyrfing, or “Hjalmr’s bane,” which, according 690to Getic custom, was buried in his tomb; she adjures him and his brothers “by all their arms, their shields, etc.” It is depicted with great force, and, translated, would deeply interest a Rajput, who might deem it the spell by which the Khanda of Hamira, which he annually worships, was obtained.


Hervor—“Awake, Angantýr! Hervor, the only daughter of thee and Suafu, doth awaken thee. Give me out of the tomb the tempered sword which the dwarfs made for Suafurlama.

“Can none of Eyvors’[31] sons speak with me out of the habitations of the dead? Hervardur,[31] Hurvardur?”[31]

The tomb at length opens, the inside of which appears on fire, and a reply is sung within:

Angantýr—“Daughter Hervor, full of spells to raise the dead, why dost thou call so? I was not buried either by father or friends; two who lived after me got Tyrfing, one of whom is now in possession thereof [593].”

Hervor—“The dead shall never enjoy rest unless Angantýr deliver me Tyrfing, that cleaveth shields, and killed Hjalmr.”[32]

Angantýr—“Young maid, thou art of manlike courage, who dost rove by night to tombs, with spear engraven with magic spells,[33] with helm and coat of mail, before the door of our hall.”

Hervor—“It is not good for thee to hide it.”

Angantýr—“The death of Hjalmr[34] lies under my shoulders; it is all wrapt up in fire: I know no maid that dares to take this sword in hand.”

Hervor—“I shall take in hand the sharp sword, if I may 691obtain it. I do not think that fire will burn which plays about the site of deceased men.”[35]

Angantýr—“Take and keep Hjalmr’s bane: touch but the edges of it, there is poison in them both;[36] it is a most cruel devourer of men.”[37]

The Magic Sword of Mewār.

—Tradition has hallowed the two-edged sword (khanda) of Mewar, by investing it with an origin as mysterious as “the bane of Hjalmr.” It is supposed to be the enchanted weapon fabricated by Viswakarma,[38] with which the Hindu Proserpine girded the founder of the race, and led him forth to the conquest of Chitor.[39] It remained the great heirloom of her princes till the sack of Chitor by the Tatar Ala, when Rana Arsi and eleven of his brave sons devoted themselves at the command of the guardian goddess of their race, and their capital falling into the hands of the invader, the last scion of Bappa became a fugitive amidst the mountains of the west. It was then the Tatar inducted the Sonigira Maldeo [594], as his lieutenant, into the capital of the Guhilots. The most celebrated of the poetic chronicles of Mewar gives an elaborate description of the subterranean palace in Chitor, in one of whose entrances the dreadful sacrifice was perpetuated to save the honour of Padmini and the fair of Chitor from the brutalized Tatars.[40] The curiosity of Maldeo was more powerful than his superstition, and he determined to explore these hidden abodes, though reputed to be guarded by the serpent genii attendant on Nagnaicha, the 692ancient divinity of its Takshak founders.[41] Whether it was through the identical caverned passage, and over the ashes of those martyred Kaminis,[42] that he made good his way into those rock-bound abodes, the legend says not; but though
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
And solitude,

the intrepid Maldeo paused not until he had penetrated to the very bounds of the abyss, where in a recess he beheld the snaky sorceress and her sister crew seated round a cauldron, in which the materials of their incantation were solving before a fire that served to illume this abode of horror. As he paused, the reverberation of his footsteps caused the infernal crew to look athwart the palpable obscure of their abode, and beholding the audacious mortal, they demanded his intent. The valiant Sonigira replied that he did not come as a spy,

With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of their realm,

but in search of the enchanted brand of the founder of the Guhilots. Soon they made proof of Maldeo’s hardihood. Uncovering the cauldron, he beheld a sight most appalling: amidst divers fragments of animals was the arm of an infant. A dish of this horrid repast was placed before him, and a silent signal made for him to eat. He obeyed, and returned the empty platter: it was proof sufficient of his worth to wear the enchanted blade, which, drawn forth from its secret abode, was put into the hand of Maldeo, who bowing, retired with the trophy [595].

Rana Hamira recovered this heirloom of his house, and with it the throne of Chitor, by his marriage with the daughter of the 693Sonigira, as related in the annals.[43] Another version says it was Hamira himself who obtained the enchanted sword, by his incantations to Charani Devi, or the goddess of the bards, whom he worshipped.

The Birth of Kumāra.

—We shall conclude this account of the military festival of Mewar with the birth of Kumara, the god of war, taken from the most celebrated of their mythological poems, the Ramayana, probably the most ancient book in the world.[44] “Mena, daughter of Meru, became the spouse of Himavat, from whose union sprung the beauteous Ganga, and her sister Uma. Ganga was sought in marriage by all the celestials; while Uma, after a long life of austerity, was espoused by Rudra.”[45] But neither sister was fortunate enough to have offspring, until Ganga became pregnant by Hutasana (regent of fire), and “Kumara, resplendent as the sun, illustrious as the moon, was produced from the side of Ganga.” The gods, with Indra at their head, carried him to the Krittikas[46] to be nursed, and he became their joint care. “As he resembled the fire in brightness, he received the name of Skanda, when the immortals, with Agni (fire) at their head, anointed him as general of the armies of the gods.”[47]—“Thus (the bard Valmiki speaks), oh! Rama, have I related the story of the production of Kumar.”

694This is a very curious relic of ancient mythology, in which we may trace the most material circumstances of the birth of the Roman divinity of war. Kumara (Mars) was the son of Jahnavi (Juno), and born, like the Romans, without sexual intercourse, but by the agency of Vulcan (regent of fire). Kumara has the peacock (sacred to Juno likewise) as his companion; and as the Grecian goddess is feigned to have her car drawn by peacocks, so Kumara (the evil-striker)[48] has a peacock for his steed [596]. Ganga, ‘the river goddess,’ has some of the attributes of Pallas, being like the Athenian maid (Ganga never married) born from the head of Jove. The bard of the silver age makes her fall from a glacier of Kailasa (Olympus) on the head of the father of the gods, and remain many years within the folds of his tiara (jata), until at length being liberated, she was precipitated into the plains of Aryavarta. It was in this escape that she burst her rocky barrier (the Himalaya), and on the birth of Kumara exposed those veins of gold called jambunadi, in colour like the jambu fruit, probably alluding to the veins of gold discovered in the rocks of the Ganges in those distant ages.

The Winter Season.

—The last day of the month Asoj ushers in the Hindu winter (sarad rit). On this day, nothing but white vestments and silver (chandi) ornaments are worn, in honour of the moon (Chandra), who gives his[49] name to the
Pale and common drudge
’Tween man and man.

695This year there was an entire intercalary month: such are called Laund. There is a procession of all the chiefs to the Chaugan; and on their return, a full court is held in the great hall, which breaks up with ‘obeisance to the lamp’ (jot ka mujra), whose light each reverences; when the candles are lit at home, every Rajput, from the prince to the owner of a “skin (charsa) of land,” seated on a white linen cloth, should worship his tutelary divinity, and feed the priests with sugar and milk.


—This month is peculiarly sacred to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, the Juno Moneta of the Romans. The 13th is called the Dhanteras, or thirteenth [day] of wealth, when gold and silver coin are worshipped, as the representatives of the goddess, by her votaries of all classes, but especially by the mercantile [597]. On the 14th, all anoint with oil, and make libations thereof to Yama, the judge of departed spirits. Worship (puja) is performed to the lamp, which represents the god of hell, and is thence called Yamadiwa, ‘the lamp of Pluto’; and on this day partial illumination takes place throughout the city.

The Diwāli, or Festival of Lamps.

—On the Amavas, or Ides of Karttik, is one of the most brilliant fètes of Rajasthan, called the Diwali, when every city, village, and encampment exhibits a blaze of splendour. The potters’ wheels revolve for weeks before solely in the manufacture of lamps (diwa), and from the palace to the peasant’s hut every one supplies himself with them, in proportion to his means, and arranges them according to his fancy. Stuffs, pieces of gold, and sweetmeats are carried in trays and consecrated at the temple of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, to whom the day is consecrated. The Rana on this occasion honours his prime minister with his presence to dinner; and this chief officer of the State, who is always of the mercantile caste, pours oil into a terra-cotta lamp, which his sovereign holds; the same libation of oil is permitted by each of the near relations of the minister. On this day, it is incumbent upon every votary of Lakshmi to try the chance of the dice, and from their success in the Diwali, the prince, the chief, the merchant, and the artisan foretell the state of their coffers for the ensuing year.

Lakshmi, though on this festival depicted under the type of riches, is evidently the beneficent Annapurna in another garb, 696for the agricultural community place a corn-measure filled with grain and adorned with flowers as her representative; or, if they adorn her effigies, they are those of Padma, the water-nymph, with a lotos in one hand, and the pasa (or fillet for the head) in the other. As Lakshmi was produced at “the Churning of the Ocean,” and hence called one of the “fourteen gems,” she is confounded with Rambha, chief of the Apsaras, the Venus of the Hindus. Though both were created from the froth (sara) of the waters (ap),[50] they are as distinct as the representations of riches and beauty can be. Lakshmi became the wife of Vishnu, or Kanhaiya, and is placed at the feet of his marine couch when he is floating on the chaotic waters. As his consort, she merges into the character of Sarasvati, the goddess of eloquence, and here we have the combination of Minerva and Apollo. As of Minerva, the owl [598] is the attendant of Lakshmi;[51] and when we reflect that the Egyptians, who furnished the Grecian pantheon, held these solemn festivals, also called “the feast of lamps,” in honour of Minerva at Sais, we may deduce the origin of this grand Oriental festival from that common mother-country in Central Asia, whence the Diwali radiated to remote China, the Nile, the Ganges, and the shores of the Tigris; for the Shab-i-barat of Islam is but “the feast of lamps” of the Rajputs. In all these there is a mixture of the attributes of Ceres and Proserpine, of Plutus and Pluto. Lakshmi partakes of the attributes of both the first, while Kuvera,[52] who is conjoined with her, is Plutus: as Yama is Pluto, the infernal judge. The consecrated lamps and the libations of oil are all dedicated to him; and “torches and flaming brands are likewise kindled and consecrated, to burn the bodies of kinsmen who may be dead in battle in a foreign land, and light them through the shades of death to the mansion of Yama.”[53]

Festival of Yama.

—To the infernal god Yama, who is “the son of the sun,” the second day following the Amavas, or Ides of Karttika, is also sacred; it is called the Bhratri dvitiya, or ‘the brothers’ second,’ because the river-goddess Yamuna on this day 697entertained her brother (bhratri) Yama, and is therefore consecrated to fraternal affection. At the hour of curfew (godhuli),[54] when the cattle return from the fields, the cow is worshipped, the herd having been previously tended. From this ceremony no rank is exempted on the preceding day, dedicated to Krishna: prince and peasant all become pastoral attendants on the cow, as the form of Prithivi,[55] or the earth.

The Annakūta Festival.

—The 1st (Sudi), or 16th of Karttika, is the grand festival of Annakuta, sacred to the Hindu Ceres, which will be described with its solemnities at Nathdwara. There is a State procession, horse-races, and elephant-fights at the Chaugan; the evening closes with a display of fireworks.

The Jaljātra Festival.

—The 14th (Sudi), or 29th, is another solemn festival in honour of Vishnu. It is called the Jaljatra, from being performed on the water (jal). The Rana, chiefs, ministers, and citizens go in procession to the lake, and adore the “spirit of the waters,” on which floating lights are placed, and the whole surface is illuminated by a grand display of pyrotechny. On this day “Vishnu rises from his slumber of four [599] months”;[56] a figurative expression to denote the sun’s emerging from the cloudy months of the periodical flood.

The Makara Sankrānti Festival.

—The next day (the Punim, or last day of Karttika), being the Makara sankranti, or autumnal equinox, when the sun enters the zodiacal sign Makara,[57] or Pisces, the Rana and chiefs proceed in state to the Chaugan, and play at ball on horseback. The entire last half of the month Karttika, from Amavas (the Ides) to the Punim, is sacred to Vishnu; who is declared by the Puranas to represent the sun, and whose worship, that of water, and the floating-lights placed thereon—all objects emblematic of fecundity—carry us back to the point whence we started—the adoration of the powers of nature: clearly proving all mythology to be universally founded on an astronomical basis.

Mitra Saptami, Bhāskara Saptami Festivals.

—In the remaining months of Aghan, or Margsir, and Pus, there are no festivals in which a state procession takes place, though in each there are marked days, kept not only by the Rajputs, but generally by the Hindu nation; especially that on the 7th of Aghan, which is called Mitra Saptami, or 7th of Mithras, and like the Bhaskara Saptami or the 7th of Magha, is sacred to the sun as a form of Vishnu. On this seventh day occurred the descent of the river-goddess (Ganga) from the foot of Vishnu; or the genius of fertilization, typified under the form of the river-goddess, proceeding from the sun, the vivifying principle, and impended over the head of Iswara, the divinity presiding over generation, in imitation of which his votary pours libations of water (if possible from the sacred river Ganga) over his emblem, the lingam or phallus: a comparison which is made by the bard Chand in an invocation to this god, for the sake of contrasting his own inferiority “to the mighty bards of old.”

“The head of Is[58] is in the skies; on his crown falls the ever-flowing stream (Ganga); but on his statue below, does not his votary pour the fluid from his patra?”


—No satisfactory etymology has ever been assigned for the phallic emblem of generation, adored by Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and even by the Christian, which may be from the same primeval language that formed the Sanskrit.

Phalisa is the ‘fructifier,’ from phala, ‘fruit,’ and Isa, ‘the god.’[59] Thus the type of Osiris can have a definite interpretation, still wanting to the lingam of Iswara [600]. Both deities presided over the streams which fertilized the countries in which they received divine honours: Osiris over the Nile, from ‘the mountains of the moon,’ in Ethiopia,[60] Iswara over the Indus[61] (also called the Nil), and the Ganges from Chandragiri, ‘the mountains of the moon,’ on a peak of whose glaciers he has his throne.


Siva and the Sun.

—Siva occasionally assumes the attributes of the sun-god; they especially appertain to Vishnu, who alone is styled “immortal, the one, creator, and uncreated”; and in whom centre all the qualities (gunan), which have peopled the Hindu pantheon with their ideal representatives. The bard Chand, who has embodied the theological tenets of the Rajputs in his prefatory invocation to every divinity who can aid his intent, apostrophizes Ganesa, and summons the goddess of eloquence (Sarasvati) “to make his tongue her abode”; deprecates the destroying power, “him whom wrath inhabits,” lest he should be cut off ere his book was finished; and lauding distinctly each member of the triad (trimurti), he finishes by declaring them one, and that “whoever believes them separate, hell will be his portion.” Of this One the sun is the great visible type, adored under a variety of names, as Surya, Mitra, Bhaskar, Vivasvat, Vishnu, Karna, or Kana, likewise an Egyptian epithet for the sun.[62]

The emblem of Vishnu is Garuda, or the eagle,[63] and the Sun-god both of the Egyptians and Hindus is typified with the bird’s head. Aruna (the dawn), brother of Garuda, is classically styled the charioteer of Vishnu, whose two sons, Sampati and Jatayu, attempting in imitation of their father to reach the sun, the wings of the former were burnt and he fell to the earth: of this the Greeks may have made their fable of Icarus.[64]

Festivals in Honour of Vishnu.

—In the chief zodiacal phenomena, observation will discover that Vishnu is still the object of worship. The Phuladola,[65] or Floralia, in the vernal equinox, is so called from the image of Vishnu being carried in a dola, or ark, covered with garlands of flowers (phula). Again, in the month of Asarh, the commencement of [601] the periodical rains, which 700date from the summer solstice, the image of Vishnu is carried on a car, and brought forth on the first appearance of the moon, the 11th of which being the solstice, is called “the night of the gods.” Then Vishnu reposes on his serpent-couch until the cessation of the flood on the 11th of Bhadon, when “he turns on his side.”[66]

The 4th is also dedicated to Vishnu under his infantine appellation Hari (Ἥλιος), because when a child “he hid himself in the moon.” We must not derogate from Sir W. Jones the merit of drawing attention to the analogy between these Hindu festivals on the equinoxes, and the Egyptian, called the entrance of Osiris into the moon, and his confinement in an ark. But that distinguished writer merely gives the hint, which the learned Bryant aids us to pursue, by bringing modern travellers to corroborate the ancient authorities: the drawings of Pocock from the sun temple of Luxor to illustrate Plutarch, Curtius, and Diodorus. Bryant comes to the same conclusion with regard to Osiris enclosed in the ark, which we adopt regarding Vishnu’s repose during the four months of inundation, the period of fertilization. I have already, in the rites of Annapurna, the Isis of the Egyptians, noticed the crescent form of the ark of Osiris, as well as the ram’s-head ornaments indicative of the vernal equinox, which the Egyptians called Phamenoth, being the birthday of Osiris, or the sun; the Phag, or Phalgun month of the Hindus; the Phagesia of the Greeks, sacred to Dionysus.[67]

The Argonauts.

—The expedition of Argonauts in search of the golden fleece is a version of the arkite worship of Osiris, the Dolayatra of the Hindus: and Sanskrit etymology, applied to the vessel of the Argonauts, will give the sun (argha) god’s (natha) entrance into the sign of the Ram. The Tauric and Hydra foes, with which Jason had to contend before he obtained the fleece of Aries, are the symbols of the sun-god, both of the Ganges and the Nile; and this fable, which has occupied almost every pen of antiquity, is clearly astronomical, as the names alone of the 701Arghanath, sons of Apollo, Mars, Mercury, Sol, Arcus or Argus,[68] Jupiter, Bacchus, etc., sufficiently testify, whose voyage is entirely celestial.

Egyptian Influence on Hindu Mythology.

—If it be destined that any portion of the veil which covers these ancient mysteries [602], connecting those of the Ganges with the Nile, shall be removed, it will be from the interpretation of the expedition of Rama, hitherto deemed almost as allegorical as that of the Arghanaths. I shall at once assume an opinion I have long entertained, that the western coast of the Red Sea was the Lanka of the memorable exploit in the history of the Hindus. If Alexander from the mouths of the Indus ventured to navigate those seas with his frail fleet of barks constructed in the Panjab, what might we not expect from the resources of the King of Kosala, the descendant of Sagara, emphatically called the sea-king, whose “60,000 sons” were so many mariners, and who has left his name as a memorial of his marine power at the island (Sagar) at the embouchure of the main arm of the Ganges, and to the ocean itself, also called Sagara? If the embarkation of Ramesa and his heroes for the redemption of Sita had been from the Gulph of Cutch, the grand emporium from the earliest ages, the voyage of Rama would have been but the prototype of that of the Macedonians; but local tradition has sanctified Rameswaram, the southern part of the peninsula, as the rendezvous of his armament. The currents in the Straits of Manar, curiosity, or a wish to obtain auxiliaries from this insular kingdom, may have prompted the visit to Ceylon; and hence the vestiges there found of this event. But even from this “utmost isle, Taprobane,” the voyage across the Erythrean Sea is only twenty-five degrees of longitude, which with a flowing sail they would run down in ten or twelve days. The only difficulty which occurs is in the synchronical existence of Rama and the Pharaoh[69] of Moses, which would tend to the opposite of my hypothesis, and show that India received her Phallic rites, her architecture, and symbolic mythology from the Nile, instead of planting them there.

“Est-ce l’Inde, la Phénicie, l’Éthiopie, la Chaldée, ou l’Égypte, 702qui a vu naître ce culte? ou bien le type en a-t-il été fourni aux habitans de ces contrées, par une nation plus ancienne encore?” asks an ingenious but anonymous French author, on the origin of the Phallic worship.[70] Ramesa, chief of the Suryas, or sun-born race, was king of the city designated from his mother, Kausalya, of which Ayodhya was the capital. His sons were Lava and Kusa, who originated the races we may term the Lavites and Kushites, or Kushwas of India.[71] Was then Kausalya [603] the mother of Ramesa, a native of Aethiopia,[72] or Kusadwipa, ‘the land of Cush’? Rama and Krishna are both painted blue (nila), holding the lotus, emblematic of the Nile. Their names are often identified. Ram-Krishna, the bird-headed divinity, is painted as the messenger of each, and the historians of both were contemporaries. That both were real princes there is no doubt, though Krishna assumed to be an incarnation of Vishnu, as Rama was of the sun. Of Rama’s family was Trisankha,[73] mother of the great apostle of Buddha, whose symbol was the serpent; and the followers of Buddha assert that Krishna and this apostle, whose statues are facsimiles of those of Memnon, were cousins. Were the Hermetic creed and Phallic rites therefore received from the Ethiopic Cush? Could emblematic relics be discovered in the caves of the Troglodytes, who inhabited the range of mountains on the Cushite shore of the Arabian straits, akin to those of Ellora and Elephanta,[74] whose style discloses physical, mythological, as well as architectural affinity to the Egyptian, the question would at once be set at rest.

I have derived the Phallus from Phalisa, the chief fruit. The Greeks, who either borrowed it from the Egyptians or had it from the same source, typified the Fructifier by a pineapple, the 703form of which resembles the Sitaphala,[75] or fruit of Sita, whose rape by Ravana carried Rama from the Ganges over many countries ere he recovered her.[76] In like manner Gauri, the Rajput Ceres, is typified under the coco-nut, or sriphala,[77] the chief of fruit, or fruit sacred to Sri, or Isa (Isis), whose other elegant emblem of abundance, the kamakumbha, is drawn with branches of the palmyra,[78] or coco-tree, gracefully pendent from the vase (kumbha).

The Sriphala[79] is accordingly presented to all the votaries of Iswara and Isa on the conclusion of the spring-festival of Phalguna, the Phagesia of the Greeks, the [604] Phamenoth of the Egyptian, and the Saturnalia of antiquity; a rejoicing at the renovation of the powers of nature; the empire of heat over cold—of light over darkness.[80]

704The analogy between the goddess of the spring Saturnalia, Phalguni, and the Phagesia of the Greeks, will excite surprise; the word is not derived from (φαγεῖν) eating, with the Rajput votaries of Holika, as with those of the Dionysia of the Greeks; but from phalguni, compounded of guna, ‘quality, virtue, or characteristic,’ and phala, ‘fruit’; in short, the fructifier. From φαλλός,[81] to which there is no definite meaning, the Egyptian had the festival Phallica, the Holika of the Hindus. Phula and phala, flower and fruit, are the roots of all, Floralia and Phalaria, the Phallus of Osiris, the Thyrsus of Bacchus, or Lingam of Iswara, symbolized by the Sriphala, or Ananas, the ‘food of the gods,’[82] or the Sitaphala of the Helen of Ayodhya.

From the existence of this worship in Congo at this day, the author already quoted asks if it may not have originated in Ethiopia, “qui, comme le témoignent plusieurs écrivains de l’antiquité, a fourni ses dieux à l’Égypte.“ On the first of the five complementary days called ”ἠπαγόμεναι ἡμέραι” preceding New Year’s Day, the Egyptians celebrated the birth of the sun-god Osiris, in a similar manner as the Hindus do their solstitial festival, “the morning of the gods,” the Hiul of Scandinavia; on which occasion, “on promenait en procession une figure d’Osiris, dont le Phallus était triple”; a number, he adds, expressing “la pluralité indéfinie.” The number three is sacred to Iswara, chief of the Trimurti or Triad, whose statue adorns the junction (sangam) of all triple streams; hence called Triveni, who is [605] Trinetra, or ‘three-eyed,’ and Tridanta, or ‘god of the trident’; Triloka, ‘god of the triple abode, heaven, earth, and hell’; Tripura, of the triple city, to whom the Tripoli or triple gates are sacred, and of which he has made Ganesa the Janitor, or guardian. The grotesque figure placed by the Hindus during the Saturnalia in the highways, and called Nathurama 705(the god Rama), is the counterpart of the figure described by Plutarch as representing Osiris, “ce soleil printanier,” in the Egyptian Saturnalia or Phamenoth. Even Ramisa and Ravana may, like Osiris and Typhon, be merely the ideal representatives of light and darkness; and the chaste Sita, spouse of the Surya prince, the astronomical Virgo, only a zodiacal sign.[83]

Wide Extension of Hindu Mythology.

—That a system of Hinduism pervaded the whole Babylonian and Assyrian empires, Scripture furnishes abundant proofs, in the mention of the various types of the sun-god Balnath, whose pillar adorned “every mount” and “every grove”; and to whose other representative, the brazen calf (nandi), the 15th of each month (amavas)[84] was especially sacred. It was not confined to these celebrated regions of the East, but was disseminated throughout the earth; because from the Aral to the Baltic, colonies were planted from that central region,[85] the cradle of the Suryas and the Indus, whose branches (sakha),[86] the Yavan, the Aswa, and the Meda, were the progenitors of the Ionians, the Assyrians, and the Medes;[87] while in later times, from the same teeming region, the Galati and Getae,[88] the Kelts and Goths, carried modifications of the system to the shores of Armorica and the Baltic, the cliffs of Caledonia, and the remote isles of the German Ocean. The monumental circles sacred to the sun-god Belenus at once existing in that central region,[89] in India,[90] and throughout Europe, is 706conclusive. The apotheosis of the patriarch Noah, whom the Hindu styles Manu-Vaivaswata, ‘the man, son of the sun,’ may have originated the Dolayatra of the Hindus, the ark of Osiris [606], the ship of Isis amongst the Suevi, in memory of “the forty days” noticed in the traditions of every nation of the earth.

The time may be approaching when this worship in the East, like the Egyptian, shall be only matter of tradition; although this is not likely to be effected by such summary means as were adopted by Cambyses, who slew the sacred Apis and whipped his priests, while their Greek and Roman conquerors adopted and embellished the Pantheon of the Nile.[91] But when Christianity reared her severe yet simple form, the divinities of the Nile, the Pantheon of Rome, and the Acropolis of Athens, could not abide her awful majesty. The temples of the Alexandrian Serapis were levelled by Theophilus,[92] while that of Osiris at Memphis became a church of Christ. “Muni de ses pouvoirs, et escorté d’une foule de moines, il mit en fuite les prêtres, brisa les idoles, démolit les temples, ou y établit des monastères.”[93] The period for thus subverting idolatry is passed: the religion of Christ is not of the sword, but one enjoining peace and goodwill on earth. But as from him “to whom much is given,” much will be required, the good and benevolent of the Hindu nations may have ulterior advantages over those Pharisees who would make a monopoly even of the virtues; who “see the mote in their neighbour’s eye, but cannot discern the beam in their own.” While, therefore, we strive to impart a purer taste and better faith, let us not imagine that the minds of those we would reform are the seats of impurity, because, in accordance with an idolatry coeval with the flood, they continue to worship mysteries opposed to our own modes of thinking [607].

1. Nauratri may be interpreted the nine days’ festival, or the ‘new night’ [?].

2. “It was natural enough,” says Gibbon, “that the Scythians should adore with peculiar devotion the god of war; but as they were incapable of forming either an abstract idea, or a corporeal representation, they worshipped their tutelar deity under the symbol of an iron cimeter. If the rites of Scythia were practised on this solemn occasion,[A] a lofty altar, or rather pile of faggots, three hundred yards in length and in breadth, was raised in a spacious plain; and the sword of Mars was placed erect on the summit of this rustic altar, which was annually consecrated by the blood of sheep, horses, and of the hundredth captive” (Gibbon’s Roman Empire, ed. W. Smith, iv. 194 f.).

A. Attila dictating the terms of peace with the envoys of Constantinople, at the city of Margus, in Upper Moesia.

3. St. Palaye, Memoirs of Ancient Chivalry, p. 305.

4. Raj Jogi is the chief of the ascetic warriors; the Mahants are commanders [the term being usually applied to the abbot of a monastery]. More will be said of this singular society when we discuss the religious institutions of Mewar.

5. The god Krishna is called Kishan in the dialects.

6. This is the sthapana of the sword, literally its inauguration or induction, for the purposes of adoration.

7. Tripolia, or triple portal.

8. [The chief centres of worship of Harsiddh Māta are Gāndhari and Ujjain. It is said that her image stood on the sea-shore, and that she used to swallow all the vessels that passed by (R. E. Enthoven, Folklore Notes Gujarāt, 5; BG, ix. Part i. 226).]

9. [Formerly an important personage, but his authority has now much decreased (BG, ix. Part i. 96).]

10. On this day sons visit and pay adoration to their fathers. The diet is chiefly of vegetables and fruits. Brahmans with their unmarried daughters are feasted, and receive garments called chunri from their chiefs. [This is a kind of cloth dyed by partly tying it in knots, which escape the action of the dye.]

11. The Jogi’s patra is not so revolting as that of their divinity Hara (the god of war), which is the human cranium; this is a hollow gourd.

12. From das, the numeral ten; the tenth. [It means ‘the feast that removes ten sins.’]

13. In this ancient story we are made acquainted with the distant maritime wars which the princes of India carried on. Even supposing Ravana’s abode to be the insular Ceylon, he must have been a very powerful prince to equip an armament sufficiently numerous to carry off from the remote kingdom of Kosala the wife of the great king of the Suryas. It is most improbable that a petty king of Ceylon could wage equal war with a potentate who held the chief dominion of India; whose father, Dasaratha, drove his victorious car (ratha) over every region (desa), and whose intercourse with the countries beyond the Brahmaputra is distinctly to be traced in the Ramayana. [Dasaratha has no connexion with desa: the name means ‘he who possesses ten (dasa) chariots (ratha).’]

14. [Prosopis spicigera.]

15. “A la première lune de chaque année, tous ces officiers, grands et petits, tenoient une assemblée générale à la cour du Tanjou, et y faisoient un sacrifice solennel: à la cinquième lune, ils s’assembloient à Lumtching, où ils sacrifioient au ciel, à la terre, aux esprits, et aux ancêtres. Il se tenoit encore une grande assemblée à Tai-lin dans l’automne, parce qu’alors les chevaux étoient plus gras, et on y faisoit en même-tems le dénombrement des hommes et des troupeaux; mais tous les jours le Tanjou sortoit de son camp, le matin pour adorer le soleil, et le soir la lune. Sa tente étoit placée à gauche, comme le côté le plus honorable chez ces peuples, et regardoit le couchant” (Avant J.-C. 209; L’Histoire Générale des Huns, vol. i. p. 24).

16. [There is no Skt. word pola, ‘gate’; the Hindi pol, paul is Skt. pura dvāra, ‘city entrance.’]

17. [The words pol and pāl are not connected.]

18. Hence may be found a good etymology of janizary, the guardian of the serai, a title left by the lords of Eastern Rome for the Porte. [Turkish yeni-tsheri, ‘new soldiery.’]

19. In Sanskrit gana (pronounced as gun), the jinn of the Persians, transmuted to genii; here is another instance in point of the alternation of the initial, and softened by being transplanted from Indo-Scythia to Persia, as Ganes was Janus at Rome. [Gana and Jinn, Ganesa and Janus, have no connexion.

20. The Casius Mons of Ptolemy. [The derivation of the word Caucasus is unknown.]

21. Parvati, ‘the mountain goddess,’ was called Sati, or ‘the faithful,’ in her former birth. She became the mother of Jahnavi, the river (Ganga) goddess.

22. Karttikeya, the son of Siva and Parvati, the Jupiter and Juno of the Hindu theogony, has the leading of the armies of the gods, delegated by his father; and his mother has presented to him her peacock, which is the steed of this warlike divinity. He is called Karttikeya from being nursed by six females called Krittika, who inhabit six of the seven stars composing the constellation of the Wain, or Ursa Major. Thus the Hindu Mars, born of Jupiter and Juno, and nursed by Ursa Major, is, like all other theogonies, an astronomical allegory. There is another legend of the birth of Mars, which I shall give in the text.

23. This elephant-headed divinity has but one tusk.

24. The bard thus modestly designates himself.

25. Chief (isa) of the gana (genii) or attendants on Siva.

26. So he was at Rome, and his statue held the keys of heaven in his right hand, and, like Ganesa, a rod (the ankus) in his left.

27. [The rat is the emblem of Ganesa probably because, like Apollo Smintheus, he protects the crops from vermin (Frazer, The Golden Bough, 3rd ed. Part v. vol. ii. 282 f.).]

28. [Persian āhanak, ‘a sword of steel.’]

29. [Anabasis, vii. 2.]

30. The Gothic invaders of Italy inaugurated their monarch by placing him upon a shield, and elevating him on their shoulders in the midst of his army.

31. All these proper names might have Oriental etymologies assigned to them; Eyvor-sail is the name of a celebrated Rajput hero of the Bhatti tribe, who were driven at an early period from the very heart of Scythia, and are of Yadu race.

32. This word can have a Sanskrit derivation from haya, ‘a horse’; marna, ‘to strike or kill’; Hjalmr, ‘the horse-slayer.’ [These theories are of no value.]

33. The custom of engraving incantations on weapons is also from the East, and thence adopted by the Muhammadan, as well as the use of phylacteries. The name of the goddess guarding the tribe is often inscribed, and I have had an entire copy of the Bhagavadgita taken from the turban of a Rajput killed in action: in like manner the Muhammadans place therein the Koran.

34. The metaphorical name of the sword Tyrfing.

35. I have already mentioned these fires (see p. 89), which the northern nations believed to issue from the tombs of their heroes, and which seemed to guard their ashes; them they called Hauga Elldr, or ‘the sepulchral fires,’ and they were supposed more especially to surround tombs which contained hidden treasures. These supernatural fires are termed Shihaba by the Rajputs. When the intrepid Scandinavian maiden observes that she is not afraid of the flame burning her, she is bolder than one of the boldest Rajputs, for Sri-kishan, who was shocked at the bare idea of going near these sepulchral lights, was one of the three non-commissioned officers who afterwards led thirty-two firelocks to the attack and defeat of 1500 Pindaris.

36. Like the Rajput Khanda, Tyrfing was double-edged; the poison of these edges is a truly Oriental idea.

37. This poem is from the Hervarer Saga, an ancient Icelandic history. See Edda, vol. ii. p. 192.

38. The Vulcan of the Hindus.

39. For an account of the initiation to arms of Bappa, the founder of the Guhilots, see p. 264 [Vol. I.].

40. See p. 311 [Vol. I.].

41. The Mori prince, from whom Bappa took Chitor, was of the Tak or Takshak race [?], of whom Nagnaicha or Nagini Mata was the mother, represented as half woman and half serpent; the sister of the mother of the Scythic race, according to their legends; so that the deeper we dive into these traditions, the stronger reason we shall find to assign a Scythic origin to all these tribes. As Bappa, the founder of the Guhilots, retired into Scythia and left his heirs to rule in India, I shall find fault with no antiquary who will throw overboard all the connexion between Kanaksen, the founder of the Valabhi empire, and Sumitra, the last of Rama’s line. Many rites of the Rama’s house are decidedly Scythic.

42. [Lovely maidens.]

43. See p. 317 [Vol. I.].

44. [“The kernel of the Rāmāyana was composed before 500 B.C., while the more recent portions was probably not added till the second century B.C., and later” (Macdonell, Hist. Sanskrit Literature, 309).]

45. One of the names of the divinity of war, whose images are covered with vermilion in imitation of blood. (Qy. the German roodur, ‘red’)[596]. [Rudra, ‘the roarer,’ originally “god of storms.”]

46. The Pleiades.

47. The festival of the birth of this son of Ganga, or Jahnavi, is on the 10th of Jeth. Sir W. Jones gives the following couplet from the Sancha: “On the 10th of Jyaishtha, on the bright half of the month, on the day of Mangala,[A] son of the earth, when the moon was in Hasta, this daughter of Jahnu brought from the rocks, and ploughed over the land inhabited by mortals.”

A. Mangala is one of the names (and perhaps one of the oldest) of the Hindu Mars (Kumara), to whom the Wodens-dag of the Northmen, the Mardi of the French, the Dies Martis of the Romans, are alike sacred. Mangala also means ‘happy,’ the reverse of the origin of Mongol, said to mean ‘sad’ [‘brave’]. The juxtaposition of the Rajput and Scandinavian days of the week will show that they have the same origin:

Rajput Scandinavian and Saxon.
Suryavar Sun-day.
Som, or Induvar Moon-day.
Budhvar Tuis-day.
Mangalvar Wodens-day.
Brihaspativar[a] Thors-day.
Sukravar[b] Frey-day.
Sani, or } -var Satur-day[c]
Sanichara }  

(a) Brihaspati, ‘he who rides on the bull’; the steed of the Rajput god of war [probably ‘lord of prayer,’ or ‘of increase,’ confounded in the original note with Vrishapati, ‘Lord of the bull,’ a title of Siva.]]

(b) Sukra is a Cyclop, regent of the planet Venus.]

(c) [See Max Müller, Selected Essays, 1881, ii. 460 ff.]]

48. [Kumāra probably means ‘easily dying.’]

49. It will be recollected that the moon with the Rajputs as with the Scandinavians is a male divinity. The Tatars, who also consider him a male divinity, pay him especial adoration in this autumnal month.

50. [Apsaras means ‘going in the waters, or in the waters of the clouds.’]

51. [The owl is a bird of ill omen, and does not seem to be associated with Lakshmi except in Bengal.]

52. The Hindu god of riches.

53. Yamala is the great god of the Finlanders (Clarke).

54. From go, ‘a cow’ [dhūli, ‘the dust raised by them as they return to the stall’].F

55. See anecdote in Chap. 21, which elucidates this practice of princes becoming herdsmen.

56. Matsya Purana. [Vishnu is generally said to wake on the Deothān, 11th light half of Kārttik.]

57. [Makara, a kind of shark or sea-monster, marks the 10th sign of the Zodiac, Capricorn.]

58. Iswara, Isa, or as pronounced, Is.

59. [Monier-Williams in his Sanskrit Dict. records no such form as phalīsa. φαλλός = Lat. palus, English pole, pale. The Author follows Wilford (Asiatic Researches, iii. 135 f.).]

60. ‘The land of the sun’ (aditya). [This is impossible. The true derivation is unknown; to the Greeks the word meant ‘swarthy-faced.’]

61. Ferishta calls the Indus the Nilab, or ‘blue waters’; it is also called Abusin, the ‘father of streams.’

62. According to Diodorus Siculus. [Rudra-Siva has a benign side to his character, and may be associated with the Sun (R. G. Bhandarkar, Vaisnavism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems, 105). But the Author, in his constant references to “Bāl”-Siva, has pressed this conception to an excessive length.]

63. The vulture and crane, which soar high in the heavens, are also called garuda, and vulgarly gidh. The ibis is of the crane or heron kind.

64. Phaeton was the son of Cephalus and Aurora. The former answers to the Hindu bird-headed messenger of the sun. Aruna is the Aurora of the Greeks, who with more taste have given the dawn a female character.

65. Also called Dolayatra.

66. Bhagavat and Matsya Puranas. See Sir W. Jones on the lunar year of the Hindus, Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. p. 286.

67. [Mr. F. Ll. Griffith tells me that this comes from a French translation of Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride, cap. xii. (birth of Osiris on the first of the epagomenal days). This entry of Osiris into the moon seems to mean his conception rather than his birth. Φαμενώθ is the name of the seventh month, about 25th February.]

68. Arka, ‘the sun,’ in Sanskrit. [This is due to Wilford (Asiatic Researches, iii. 134) and is, of course, impossible.]

69. Pha-ra is but a title, ‘the king.’ [Egyptian Pro, ‘the great house.’]

70. Des divinités génératives: ou du culte du Phallus chez les anciens et les modernes (Paris).

71. Of the former race the Ranas of Mewar, of the latter the princes of Narwar and Amber, are the representatives.

72. Aethiopia, ‘the country of the sun’; from Ait, contraction of Aditya. Aegypt may have the same etymology, Aitia [see p. 699 above].

73. [The Author may refer to Pārsvanātha, 23rd Jain Tīrthakara, whose symbol was his serpent; but his mother was Vāmadevi. Trisala was mother of the 24th Tīrthakara, Mahāvira or Vardhamāna, but his cognizance was a lion.]

74. It is absurd to talk of these being modern; decipher the characters thereon, and then pronounce their antiquity. [Ellora, 5th to 9th or 10th centuries A.D.; Elephanta, 8th to 10th (IGI, xii. 22, 4).]

75. Vulg. Sharifa.

76. Rama subjected her to the fiery ordeal, to discover whether her virtue had suffered while thus forcibly separated.

77. Vulg. Nariyal.

78. Palmyra is Sanskrit corrupted, and affords the etymology of Solomon’s city of the desert, Tadmor. The p, by the retrenchment of a single diacritical point, becomes ت t; and the ل (l) and د (d) being permutable, Pal becomes Tad, or Tal—the Palmyra, which is the Mor, or chief of trees; hence Tadmor, from its date-trees [?].

79. The Jayaphala, ‘the fruit of victory,’ is the nutmeg; or, as a native of Java, Javuphala, ‘fruit of Java,’ is most probably derived from Jayadiva, ‘the victorious isle.’ [The nutmeg is Jātiphala: Java is yavadwīpa, ‘island of barley.’]

80. The Kamari of the Saura tribes, or sun-worshippers of Saurashtra, claims descent from the bird-god of Vishnu (who aided Rama[A] to the discovery of Sita), and the Makara[B] or crocodile, and date the monstrous conception from that event, and their original abode from Sankodra Bet, or island of Sankodra. Whether to the Dioscorides at the entrance of the Arabian Gulf this name was given, evidently corrupted from Sankhadwara to Socotra, we shall not stop to inquire. Like the isle in the entrance of the Gulf of Cutch, it is the dwara or portal to the Sinus Arabicus, and the pearl-shell (sankha) there abounds. This tribe deduce their origin from Rama’s expedition, and allege that their Icthyiopic mother landed them where they still reside. Wild as is this fable, it adds support to this hypothesis. [The Sanskrit name of Bet Island (“Bate” in the text) is Sankhuddhāra, from the conch fishery. Socotra is Dwīpa Sukhadāra, ‘island of pleasure’ (not Sakhādāra, as in EB, xxv. 355) (Yule, Marco Polo, 1st ed. ii. 342).]

A. Rama and Vishnu interchange characters.

B. It is curious that the designation of the tribe Kamar is a transposition of Makar, for the final letter of each is mute.

81. See Lempriere, arts. Phagesia and Phallica. “L’Abbé Mignot pense que le Phallus est originaire de l’Assyrie et de la Chaldée, et que c’est de ce pays que l’usage de consacrer ce symbole de la génération a passé en Égypte. Il croit, d’après le savant Le Clerc, que le nom de ce symbole est phénicien: qu’il dérive de Phalou qui, dans cette langue, signifie une chose secrète et cachée, et du verbe phala, qui veut dire être tenu secret.”[A]

A. Des divinités génératives.

82. Anna, ‘food,’ and asa or isa, ‘the god.’ [Ananas comes from Brazilian Nana or Nanas (Yule, Hobson-Jobson, 2nd ed. 25).]

83. [It is unnecessary to discuss these theories, which are based on incorrect assumptions and obsolete etymologies.]

84. The Hindus divide the month into two portions called pakh or fortnights. The first is termed badi, reckoning from the 1st to the 15th, which day of partition is called amavas, answering to the Ides of the Romans, and held by the Hindus as it was by the Jews in great sanctity. The last division is termed sudi, and they recommence with the initial numeral, thence to the 30th or completion, called punim; thus instead of the 16th, 17th, etc., of the month, they say Sudi ekam (1st), Sudi duj (3rd).

85. Sogdiana and Transoxiana.

86. Hence the word Saka [?].

87. See Genealogical Table No. 2 for these names. The sons of the three Midas, pronounced Mede, founded kingdoms at the precise point of time, according to calculation from the number of kings, that Assyria was founded.

88. The former were more pastoral, and hence the origin of their name, corrupted to Keltoi. The Getae or Jats pursued the hunter’s occupation, living more by the chase, though these occupations are generally conjoined in the early stages of civilization.

89. Rubruquis and other travellers.

90. Colonel Mackenzie’s invaluable and gigantic collection.

91. Isis and Osiris, Serapis and Canopus, Apis and Ibis, adopted by the Romans, whose temples and images, yet preserved, will allow full scope to the Hindu antiquary for analysis of both systems. The temple of Serapis at Pozzuoli is quite Hindu in its ground plan.

92. In the reign of Theodosius.

93. Du Culte, etc., etc., p. 47.



The Character of the Rājput. Influence of Custom.

—The manners of a nation constitute the most interesting portion of its history, but a thorough knowledge of them must be the fruit of long and attentive observation: an axiom which applies to a people even less inaccessible than the Rajputs. The importance and necessity of such an illustration of the Rajput character, in a work like the present, call for and sanction the attempt, however inadequate the means. Of what value to mankind would be the interminable narrative of battles, were their moral causes and results passed by unheeded? Although both the Persian and Hindu annalists not unfrequently unite the characters of moralist and historian, it is in a manner unsuitable to the subject, according to the more refined taste of Europe. In the poetic annals of the Rajput, we see him check his war-chariot, and when he should be levelling his javelin, commence a discourse upon ethics; or when the battle is over, the Nestor or Ulysses of the host converts his tent into a lyceum, and delivers lectures on morals or manners. But the reflections which should follow, and form the corollary to each action, are never given; and even if they were, though we might comprehend the moral movements of a nation, we should still be unable to catch the minute shades of character that complete the picture of domestic life, and which are to be collected from those familiar sentiments uttered in social intercourse, when the mind unbends and nature throws aside the trammels of education and of ceremony. Such a picture would represent the manners, which are continually undergoing modifications, in contradistinction to the morals of society; the latter, having a fixed creed for their basis, are definite and unchangeable. The chal of the Rajput, like the mores of the Romans, or costumi of modern Italy, is significant alike of mental and external habit. In the moral point of view it is the path chalked out for him by the sages of antiquity [608]; in the personal, it is that which custom has rendered immutable. Kaisi buri chal men chalta, ‘in what a bad path does he march!’ says the moralist: Bap, Dada ki chal chhori, ‘he abandons 708the usages of his ancestors,’ says the stickler for custom, in Rajasthan.[1]

Rājput Morals.

—The grand features of morality are few, and nearly the same in every nation not positively barbarous. The principles contained in the Decalogue form the basis of every code—of Manu and of Muhammad, as well as of Moses. These are grand landmarks of the truth of divine history; and are confirmed by the less important traits of personal customs and religious rites, which nations the most remote from each other continue to hold in common. The Koran we know to have been founded on the Mosaic law; the Sastra of Manu, unconsciously, approaches still more to the Jewish Scriptures in spirit and intention; and from its pages might be formed a manual of moral instruction, which, if followed by the disciples of the framer, might put more favoured societies to the blush.

Variety of Customs due to Environment.

—As it has been observed in a former part of this work, the same religion governing all must tend to produce a certain degree of mental uniformity. The shades of moral distinction which separate these races are almost imperceptible: while you cannot pass any grand natural barrier without having the dissimilarity of customs and manners forced upon your observation. Whoever passes from upland Mewar, the country of the Sesodias, into the sandy flats of Marwar, the abode of the Rathors, would feel the force of this remark. Innovations proceeding from external causes, such as conquest by irreligious foes, and the birth of new sects and schisms, operate important changes in manners and customs. We can only pretend, however, to describe facts which are obvious, and those which history discloses, whence some notions may be formed of the prevailing traits of character in the Rajput; his ideas of virtue and vice, the social intercourse and familiar courtesies of Rajasthan, and their recreations, public and private.

“The manners of a people,” says the celebrated Goguet, “always bear a proportion to the progress they have made in the arts and sciences.” If by this test we trace the analogy between past and existing manners amongst the Rajputs, we must conclude at once that they have undergone a decided 709deterioration. Where can we look for sages like those whose systems of philosophy were the [609] prototypes of those of Greece: to whose works Plato, Thales, and Pythagoras were disciples? Where shall we find the astronomers, whose knowledge of the planetary system yet excites wonder in Europe, as well as the architects and sculptors, whose works claim our admiration, and the musicians, “who could make the mind oscillate from joy to sorrow, from tears to smiles, with the change of modes and varied intonation.”[2] The manners of those days must have corresponded with this advanced stage of refinement, as they must have suffered from its decline: yet the homage paid by Asiatics to precedent has preserved many relics of ancient customs, which have survived the causes that produced them.

Returned from Batlang in the Jumna.





Treatment of Women by the Rājputs.

—It is universally admitted that there is no better criterion of the refinement of a nation than the condition Of the fair sex therein. As it is elegantly expressed by Comte Ségur, “Leur sort est une boussole sûreune boussole sûre pour le premier regard d’un étranger qui arrive dans un pays inconnu.”[3] Unfortunately, the habitual seclusion of the higher classes of females in the East contracts the sphere of observation in regard to their influence on society; but, to borrow again from our ingenious author, “les hommes font les lois, les femmes font les mœurs”; and their incarceration in Rajasthan by no means lessens the application of the adage to that country. Like the magnetic power, however latent, their attraction is not the less certain. “C’est aux hommes à faire des grandes choses, c’est aux femmes à les inspirer,” is a maxim to which every Rajput cavalier would subscribe, with whom the age of chivalry is not fled, though ages of oppression have passed over him. He knows there is no retreat into which the report of a gallant action will not penetrate, and set fair hearts in motion to be the object of his search. The bards, those chroniclers of fame, like the Jongleurs of old, have everywhere access, to the palace as to the hamlet; and a brilliant exploit travels with all the rapidity of a comet, and clothed with the splendid decorations of poetry, from the 710Indian desert to the valley of the Jumna. If we cannot paint the Rajput dame as invested with all the privileges which Ségur assigns to the first woman, “compagne de l’homme et son égale, vivant par lui, pour lui, associée à son bonheur, à ses plaisirs, à la puissance qu’il exerçait sur ce vaste univers,” she is far removed from the condition which demands commiseration [610].

The Seclusion of Women.

—Like the ancient German or Scandinavian, the Rajput consults her in every transaction; from her ordinary actions he draws the omen of success, and he appends to her name the epithet of devi, or ‘godlike.’ The superficial observer, who applies his own standard to the customs of all nations, laments with an affected philanthropy the degraded condition of the Hindu female, in which sentiment he would find her little disposed to join. He particularly laments her want of liberty, and calls her seclusion imprisonment. Although I cordially unite with Ségur, who is at issue with his compatriot Montesquieu on this part of discipline, yet from the knowledge I do possess of the freedom, the respect, the happiness, which Rajput women enjoy, I am by no means inclined to deplore their state as one of captivity. The author of the Spirit of Laws, with the views of a closet philosopher, deems seclusion necessary from the irresistible influence of climate on the passions; while the chivalrous Ségur, with more knowledge of human nature, draws the very opposite conclusion, asserting all restraints to be injurious to morals. Of one thing we are certain, seclusion of females could only originate in a moderately advanced stage of civilization. Amongst hunters, pastors, and cultivators, the women were required to aid in all external pursuits, as well as internal economy. The Jews secluded not their women, and the well, where they assembled to draw water, was the place where marriages were contracted, as with the lower classes in Rajputana. The inundations of the Nile, each house of whose fertile valleys was isolated, is said to have created habits of secluding women with the Egyptians; and this argument might apply to the vast valleys of the Indus and Ganges first inhabited, and which might have diffused example with the spread of population. Assuredly, if India was colonized from the cradle of nations, Central Asia, they did not thence bring these notions within the Indus; for the Scythian women went to the opposite extreme, 711and were polyandrists.[4] The desire of eradicating those impure habits, described by Herodotus, that the slipper at the tent-door should no longer be a sign, may have originated the opposite extreme in a life of entire seclusion. Both polygamy and polyandry originated in a mistaken view of the animal economy, and of the first great command to people the earth: the one was general amongst all the nations [611] of antiquity; the other rare, though to be found in Scythia, India, and even amongst the Natchez, in the new world; but never with the Rajput, with whom monogamy existed during the patriarchal ages of India, as amongst the Egyptians.[5] Of all the nations of the world who have habituated the female to a restricted intercourse with society, whether Grecian, Roman, Egyptian, or Chinese, the Rajput has given least cause to provoke the sentiment of pity; for if deference and respect be proofs of civilization, Rajputana must be considered as redundant in evidence of it. The uxoriousness of the Rajput might be appealed to as indicative of the decay of national morals; “chez les barbares (says Ségur) les femmes ne sont rien: les mœurs de ces peuples s’adoucissent-t’-elles, on compte les femmes pour quelque chose: enfin, se corrompent-elles, les femmes sont tout”; and whether from this decay, or the more probable and amiable cause of seeking, in their society, consolation for the loss of power and independence, the women are nearly everything with the Rajput.

It is scarcely fair to quote Manu as an authority for the proper treatment of the fair sex, since many of his dicta by no means tend to elevate their condition. In his lengthened catalogue of things pure and impure he says, however, “The mouth of a woman is constantly pure,”[6] and he ranks it with the running waters and the sunbeam; he suggests that their names should be “agreeable, soft, clear, captivating the fancy, auspicious, ending in long vowels, resembling words of benediction.”[7]

712“Where females are honoured” (says Manu), “there the deities are pleased; but where dishonoured, there all religious rites become useless”: and he declares, “that in whatever house a woman not duly honoured pronounces an imprecation, that house, with all that belongs to it, shall utterly perish.”[8] “Strike not, even with a blossom, a wife guilty of a hundred faults,”[9] says another sage: a sentiment so delicate, that Reginald de Born, the prince of troubadours, never uttered any more refined.

However exalted the respect of the Rajput for the fair, he nevertheless holds that

Nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study household good [612].

The Chief of Sādri and his Wife.

—In the most tempestuous period of the history of Mewar, when the Ranas broke asunder the bonds which united them to the other chiefs of Rajasthan, and bestowed their daughters on the foreign nobles incorporated with the higher class of their own kin, the chief of Sadri, so often mentioned, had obtained a princess to wife. There was a hazard to domestic happiness in such unequal alliance, which the lord 713of Sadri soon experienced. To the courteous request, “Ranawatji, fill me a cup of water,” he received a contemptuous refusal, with the remark, that “The daughter of a hundred kings would not become cup-bearer to the chieftain of Sadri.”—“Very well,” replied the plain soldier, “you may return to your father’s house, if you can be of no use in mine.” A messenger was instantly sent to the court, and the message, with every aggravation, was made known; and she followed on the heels of her messenger. A summons soon arrived for the Sadri chief to attend his sovereign at the capital. He obeyed; and arrived in time to give his explanation just as the Rana was proceeding to hold a full court. As usual, the Sadri chief was placed on his sovereign’s right hand, and when the court broke up, the heir-apparent of Mewar, at a preconcerted sign, stood at the edge of the carpet, performing the menial office of holding the slippers of the chief. Shocked at such a mark of extreme respect, he stammered forth some words of homage, his unworthiness, etc.; to which the Rana replied, “As my son-in-law, no distinction too great can be conferred: take home your wife, she will never again refuse you a cup of water” [613].[10]

Could authority deemed divine ensure obedience to what is considered a virtue in all ages and countries, the conjugal duties of the Rajputs are comprehended in the following simple text: “Let mutual fidelity continue to death; this, in few words, may be considered as the supreme law between husband and wife.”[11]

Devotion of Rājput Women.

—That this law governed the 714Rajputs in past ages, as well as the present, in as great a degree as in other stages of society and other countries, we cannot doubt. Nor will the annals of any nation afford more numerous or more sublime instances of female devotion, than those of the Rajputs; and such would never have been recorded, were not the incentive likely to be revered and followed. How easy would it be to cite examples for every passion which can actuate the human mind! Do we desire to see a model of unbounded devotion, resignation, and love, let us take the picture of Sita, as painted by the Milton of their silver age, than which nothing more beautiful or sentimental may be culled even from Paradise Lost. Rama was about to abandon his faithful wife for the purpose of becoming a Vana-prastha or hermit, when she thus pours out her ardent desire to partake of his solitude.
A woman’s bliss is found, not in the smile
Of father, mother, friend, nor in herself:
Her husband is her only portion here,
Her heaven hereafter. If thou indeed
Depart this day into the forest drear,
I will precede, and smooth the thorny way.
A gay recluse
On thee attending, happy shall I feel
Within the honey-scented grove to roam,
For thou e’en here canst nourish and protect;
And therefore other friend I cannot need.
To-day most surely with thee will I go,
And thus resolved, I must not be deny’d.
Roots and wild fruit shall be my constant food;
Nor will I near thee add unto thy cares,
Nor lag behind, nor forest-food refuse,
But fearless traverse every hill and dale.
Thus could I sweetly pass a thousand years;
But without thee e’en heaven would lose its charms [614].
Pleased to embrace thy feet, I will reside
In the rough forest as my father’s house.
Void of all other wish, supremely thine,
Permit me this request—I will not grieve,
I will not burden thee—refuse me not.
But shouldst thou, Raghuvu, this prayer deny
Know, I resolve on death.
Vide Ward, On the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindus,
ed. 1815, ii. p. 308 ff. [Cp. Manu, vi. 2 ff.]

715The publication of Mr. Wilson’s specimens of the Hindu drama has put the English public in possession of very striking features of ancient Hindu manners, amongst which conjugal fidelity and affection stand eminently conspicuous. The Uttara Rama Charitra, the Vikrama and Urvasi, and the Mudra Rakshasa, contain many instances in point. In the latter piece occurs an example, in comparatively humble life, of the strong affection of a Hindu wife. Chandana Das, like Antonio in the Merchant of Venice, is doomed to die, to save his friend. His wife follows him to the scene of execution, with their only child, and the succeeding dialogue ensues:

Withdraw, my love, and lead our boy along.
Forgive me, husband,—to another world
Thy steps are bound, and not to foreign realms,
Whence in due time thou homeward wilt return;
No common farewell our leave-taking now
Admits, nor must the partner of thy fate
Leave thee to trace thy solitary way.
What dost thou mean?
To follow thee in death.
Think not of this—our boy’s yet tender years
Demand affectionate and guardian care.
I leave him to our household gods, nor fear
They will desert his youth:—come, my dear boy,
And bid thy sire a long and last farewell.

The Tale of Dewaldai.

—The annals of no nation on earth record a more ennobling or more magnanimous instance of female loyalty than that exemplified by Dewaldai, mother of the Bannaphar brothers, which will at once illustrate the manners of the Rajput fair, and their estimation and influence in society.

The last Hindu emperor of Delhi, the chivalrous Prithiraj of the Chauhan race, had abducted the daughter of the prince of Sameta. Some of the wounded who had covered his retreat were assailed and put to death by Parmal, the Chandel prince of Mahoba.[12] In order to avenge this insult, the emperor had no sooner conveyed his bride to Delhi than he invaded the territory of the Chandel, whose troops were cut to pieces at Sirswa,[13] the 716advanced post of his kingdom. While [615] pursuing his success, the Chandel called a council, and by the advice of his queen Malandevi demanded a truce of his adversary, on the plea of the absence of his chieftains Alha and Udala. The brother of the bard of Mahoba was the envoy, who found the Chauhan ready to cross the Pahuj. He presented his gifts, and adjured him, “as a true Rajput, not to take them at such disadvantage.” The gifts were accepted, and the Chauhan pledged himself, “albeit his warriors were eager for the fight,” to grant the truce demanded; and having dismissed the herald, he inquired of his own bard, the prophetic Chand, the cause of the disaffection which led to the banishment of the Bannaphar; to which he thus replies: “Jasraj was the leader of the armies of Mahoba when his sovereign was defeated and put to flight by the wild race of Gonds; Jasraj repulsed the foe, captured Garha their capital, and laid his head at his sovereign’s feet. Parmal returning with victory to Mahoba, in gratitude for his service, embraced the sons of Jasraj, and placed them in his honours and lands, while Malandevi the queen made no distinction between them and her son.” The fief of the young Bannaphar[14] chieftains was at the celebrated fortress Kalanjar, where their sovereign happening to see a fine mare belonging to Alha, desired to possess her, and being refused, so far forgot past services as to compel them to abandon the country. On retiring they fired the estates of the Parihara chief who had instigated their disgrace. With their mother and families they repaired to Kanauj, whose monarch received them with open arms, assigning lands for their maintenance. Having thus premised the cause of banishment, Chand conducts us to Kanauj, at the moment when Jagnakh the bard was addressing the exiles on the dangers of Mahoba.

War with Prithirāj.

—“The Chauhan is encamped on the plains of Mahoba; Narsingh and Birsingh have fallen, Sirswa is given to the flames, and the kingdom of Parmal laid waste by the Chauhan. For one month a truce has been obtained: while to you I am sent for aid in his griefs. Listen, O sons of Bannaphar; sad have been the days of Malandevi since you left Mahoba! Oft she looks towards Kanauj; and while she recalls you to 717mind, tears gush from her eyes and she exclaims, ‘The fame of the Chandel is departing’; but when gone, O sons of Jasraj, great will be your self-accusing sorrow: yet, think of Mahoba.”

“Destruction to Mahoba! Annihilation to the Chandel who, without fault [616], expelled us our home: in whose service fell our father, by whom his kingdom was extended. Send the slanderous Parihara—let him lead your armies against the heroes of Delhi. Our heads were the pillars of Mahoba; by us were the Gonds expelled, and their strongholds Deogarh and Chandbari added to his sway. We maintained the field against the Jadon, sacked Hindaun,[15] and planted his standard on the plains of Katehr.[16] It was I (continued Alha) who stopped the sword of the conquering Kachhwaha[17]—The amirs of the Sultan fled before us.—At Gaya we were victorious, and added Rewa[18] to his kingdom. Antarved[19] I gave to the flames, and levelled to the ground the towns of Mewat.[20] From ten princes did Jasraj bring spoil to Mahoba. This have we done; and the reward is exile from our home! Seven times have I received wounds in his service, and since my father’s death gained forty battles; and from seven has Udala conveyed the record of victory[21] to Parmal. Thrice my death seemed inevitable. The honour of his house I have upheld—yet exile is my reward!”

The bard replies—“The father of Parmal left him when a child to the care of Jasraj. Your father was in lieu of his own; the son should not abandon him when misfortune makes him call on you. The Rajput who abandons his sovereign in distress will be plunged into hell. Then place on your head the loyalty of your father. Can you desire to remain at Kanauj while he is in 718trouble, who expended thousands in rejoicings for your birth? Malandevi (the queen), who loves you as her own, presses your return. She bids me demand of Dewaldai fulfilment of the oft-repeated vow, that your life and Mahoba, when endangered, were inseparable. The breaker of vows, despised on earth, will be plunged into hell, there to remain while sun and moon endure.”

Dewaldai heard the message of the queen. “Let us fly to Mahoba,” she [617] exclaimed. Alha was silent, while Udala said aloud, “May evil spirits seize upon Mahoba!—Can we forget the day when, in distress, he drove us forth?—Return to Mahoba—let it stand or fall, it is the same to me; Kanauj is henceforth my home.”

“Would that the gods had made me barren,” said Dewaldai, “that I had never borne sons who thus abandon the paths of the Rajput, and refuse to succour their prince in danger!” Her heart bursting with grief, and her eyes raised to heaven, she continued: “Was it for this, O universal lord, thou mad’st me feel a mother’s pangs for these destroyers of Bannaphar’s fame? Unworthy offspring! the heart of the true Rajput dances with joy at the mere name of strife—but ye, degenerate, cannot be the sons of Jasraj—some carl must have stolen to my embrace, and from such ye must be sprung.” The young chiefs arose, their faces withered in sadness. “When we perish in defence of Mahoba, and covered with wounds, perform deeds that will leave a deathless name; when our heads roll in the field—when we embrace the valiant in fight, and treading in the footsteps of the brave, make resplendent the blood of both lines, even in the presence of the heroes of the Chauhan, then will our mother rejoice.”

The envoy having, by this loyal appeal of Dewaldai, attained the object of his mission, the brothers repair to the monarch of Kanauj,[22] in order to ask permission to return to Mahoba; this is granted, and they are dismissed with magnificent gifts, in which the bardic herald participated;[23] and the parting valediction was 719“preserve the faith of the Rajputs.” The omens during the march were of the worst kind: as Jagnakh expounded them, Alha with a smile replied, “O bard, though thou canst dive into the dark recesses of futurity, to the brave all omens are happy,[24] even though our heroes shall fall, and the fame of the Chandel must depart; thus in secret does my soul assure me.” The saras[25] was alone on the right—the eagle as he flew dropped his prey—the chakwa[26] “separated“separated from his mate—drops fell from the eyes of the warlike steed—the siyal[27] sent forth sounds of lamentation; spots were seen on the disc of the sun” [618]. The countenance of Lakhan fell;[28] these portents filled his soul with dismay: but Alha said, “though these omens bode death, yet death to the valiant, to the pure in faith, is an object of desire not of sorrow. The path of the Rajput is beset with difficulties, rugged, and filled with thorns; but he regards it not, so it but conducts to battle.”—“To carry joy to Parmala alone occupied their thoughts: the steeds bounded over the plain like the swift-footed deer.” The brothers, ere they reached Mahoba, halted to put on the saffron robe, the sign of “no quarter” with the Rajput warrior. The intelligence of their approach filled the Chandela prince with joy, who advanced to embrace his defenders, and conduct them to Mahoba; while the queen Malandevi came to greet Dewaldai, who with the herald bard paid homage, and returned with the queen to the city. Rich gifts were presented, gems resplendent with light. The queen sent for Alha, and extending her hands over his head, bestowed the asis[29] (blessing)(blessing) as kneeling he swore his head was with Mahoba, and then waved a vessel filled with pearls over his head, which were distributed to his followers.[30]

720The bardic herald was rewarded with four villages. We are then introduced to the Chauhan camp and council, where Chand the bard is expatiating on the return of the Bannaphars with the succours of Kanauj. He recommends his sovereign to send a herald to the Chandel to announce the expiration of the truce, and requiring him to meet him in the field, or abandon Mahoba. According to the bard’s advice, a dispatch was transmitted to Parmal, in which the cause of war was recapitulated—the murder of the wounded; and stating that, according to Rajput faith, he had granted seven days beyond the time demanded, “and although so many days had passed since succour had arrived from Kanauj, the lion-horn had not yet sounded (singhnad)”: adding, “if he abandon all desire of combat, let him proclaim his vassalage to Delhi, and abandon Mahoba.”

Parmal received the hostile message in despair; but calling his warriors around him, he replied to the herald of the Chauhan, that “on the day of the sun, the first of the month, he would join him in strife” [619].

“On the day sacred to Sukra (Friday), Prithiraj sounded the shell, while the drums thrice struck proclaimed the truce concluded.[31] The standard was brought forth, around which the warriors gathered; the cup circulated, the prospect of battle filled their souls with joy. They anointed their bodies with fragrant oils, while the celestial Apsaras with ambrosial oils and heavenly perfumes anointed their silver forms, tinged their eyelids, and prepared for the reception of heroes.[32] The sound of the war-shell reached Kailas; the abstraction of Iswara was at an end—joy seized his soul at the prospect of completing his chaplet of skulls (mundamala). The Yoginis danced with joy, their faces sparkled with delight, as they seized their vessels to drink the blood of the slain. The devourers of flesh, the Palankashas, sung 721songs of triumph at the game of battle between the Chauhan and Chandel.”

In another measure, the bard proceeds to contrast the occupations of his heroes and the celestials preparatory to the combat, which descriptions are termed rupaka. “The heroes gird on their armour, while the heavenly fair deck their persons. They place on their heads the helm crowned with the war-bell (viragantha), these adjust the corset; they draw the girths of the war-steed, the fair of the world of bliss bind the anklet of bells; nets of steel defend the turban’s fold, they braid their hair with golden flowers and gems; the warrior polishes his falchion—the fair tints the eyelid with anjan;[33] the hero points his dagger, the fair paints a heart on her forehead; he braces on his ample buckler—she places the resplendent orb in her ear; he binds his arms with a gauntlet of brass—she stains her hands with the henna. The hero decorates his hand with the tiger-claw[34]—the Apsaras ornaments with rings and golden bracelets; the warrior shakes the ponderous lance—the heavenly fair the garland of love[35] to decorate those who fall in the fight; she binds on a necklace of pearls, he a mala of the tulasi.[36] The warrior strings his bow—the fair assume their killing [620] glances. Once more the heroes look to their girths, while the celestial fair prepare their cars.”

After the bard has finished his rupaka, he exclaims, “Thus says Chand, the lord of verse; with my own eyes have I seen what I describe.” It is important to remark, that the national faith of the Rajput never questions the prophetic power of their chief bard, whom they call Trikala, or cognoscent of the past, the present, and the future—a character which the bard has enjoyed in all ages and climes; but Chand was the last whom they admitted to possess supernatural vision.

722We must now return to Mahoba, where a grand council had assembled at a final deliberation; at which, shaded by screens, the mother of the Bannaphars, and the queen Malandevi, were present. The latter thus opens the debate: “O mother of Alha, how may we succeed against the lord of the world?[37] If defeated, lost is Mahoba; if we pay tribute, we are loaded with shame.” Dewaldai recommends hearing seriatim the opinions of the chieftains, when Alha thus speaks: “Listen, O mother, to your son; he alone is of pure lineage who, placing loyalty on his head, abandons all thoughts of self, and lays down his life for his prince; my thoughts are only for Parmal. If she lives she will show herself a woman, or emanation of Parvati.[38] The warriors of Sambhar shall be cut in pieces. I will so illustrate the blood of my fathers, that my fame shall last for ever. My son Indal, O prince! I bequeath to you, and the fame of Dewaldai is in your keeping.”

The queen thus replies: “The warriors of the Chauhan are fierce as they are numerous; pay tribute, and save Mahoba.” The soul of Udala inflamed, and turning to the queen, “Why thought you not thus when you slew the defenceless? but then I was unheard. Whence now your wisdom? thrice I beseeched you to pardon. Nevertheless, Mahoba is safe while life remains in me, and in your cause, O Parmal! we shall espouse celestial brides.”

“Well have you spoken, my son,” said Dewaldai, “nothing now remains but to make thy parent’s milk resplendent by thy deeds. The call of the peasant driven [621] from his home meets the ear, and while we deliberate, our villages are given to the flames.” But Parmal replied: “Saturn[39] rules the day, to-morrow we shall meet the foe.” With indignation Alha turned to the king: “He who can look tamely on while the smoke ascends from his ruined towns, his fields laid waste, can be no Rajput—he who succumbs to fear when his country is invaded, his body will be plunged into the hell of hells, his soul a wanderer in the world of spirits for sixty thousand years; but the warrior 723who performs his duty will be received into the mansion of the sun, and his deeds will last for ever.”

But cowardice and cruelty always accompany each other, nor could all the speeches of the brothers “screw his courage to the sticking place.” Parmal went to his queen, and gave fresh vent to his lamentation. She upbraided his unmanly spirit, and bid him head his troops and go forth to the fight. The heroes embraced their wives for the last time, and with the dawn performed their pious rites. The Bannaphar offered oblations to the nine planets, and having adored the image of his tutelary god, he again put the chain round his neck;[40] then calling his son Indal, and Udala his brother, he once more poured forth his vows to the universal mother “that he would illustrate the name of Jasraj, and evince the pure blood derived from Dewaldai, whene’er he met the foe.”—“Nobly have you resolved,” said Udala, “and shall not my kirwan[41] also dazzle the eyes of Sambhar’s lord? shall he not retire from before me?”—“Farewell, my children,” said Dewaldai, “be true to your salt, and should you lose your heads for your prince, doubt not you will obtain the celestial crown.” Having ceased, the wives of both exclaimed, “What virtuous wife survives her lord? for thus says Gauriji,[42] ‘the woman, who survives her husband who falls in the field of battle, will never obtain bliss, but wander a discontented ghost in the region of unhallowed spirits.’”

This is sufficient to exhibit the supreme influence of women, not only on, but also in society.

The extract is taken from the Bardic historian, when Hindu customs were pure, and the Chauhan was paramount sovereign of India. It is worth while to compare it with another written six centuries after the conquest by the Muhammadans; although six dynasties—namely, Ghazni, Ghor, Khilji [622], Sayyid, Lodi, and Mogul, numbering more than thirty kings, had intervened, yet the same uncontrollable spirit was in full force, unchangeable even in misfortune. Both Hindu and Persian historians expatiate with delight on the anecdote; but we prefer the narrative of the ingenuous Bernier, under whose eye the incident occurred.


Jaswant Singh and his Wife.

—In the civil war for empire amongst the sons of Shah Jahan, when Aurangzeb opened his career by the deposal of his father and the murder of his brothers, the Rajputs, faithful to the emperor, determined to oppose him. Under the intrepid Rathor Jaswant Singh, thirty thousand Rajputs, chiefly of that clan, advanced to the Nerbudda, and with a magnanimity amounting to imprudence, they permitted the junction of Murad with Aurangzeb, who, under cover of artillery served by Frenchmen, crossed the river almost unopposed. Next morning the action commenced, which continued throughout the day. The Rajputs behaved with their usual bravery; but were surrounded on all sides, and by sunset left ten thousand dead on the field.[43] The Maharaja retreated to his own country, but his wife, a daughter of the Rana of Udaipur, “disdained (says Ferishta) to receive her lord, and shut the gates of the castle.”

Bernier, who was present, says, “I cannot forbear to relate the fierce reception which the daughter of the Rana gave to her husband Jeswunt Singh [Jessom Seingue], after his defeat and flight. When she heard he was nigh, and had understood what had passed in the battle; that he had fought with all possible courage; that he had but four or five hundred men left; and at last, no longer able to resist the enemy, had been forced to retreat; instead of sending some one to condole him in his misfortunes, she commanded in a dry mood to shut the gates of the castle, and not to let this infamous man enter; that he was not her husband; that the son-in-law of the great Rana could not have so mean a soul; that he was to remember, that being grafted into so illustrious a house, he was to imitate its virtue; in a word, he was to vanquish, or to die. A moment after, she was of another humour; she commands a pile of wood to be laid, that she might 725burn herself; that they abused her; that her husband must needs be dead; that it could not be otherwise. And a little while after, she was seen to change countenance, to [623] fall into a passion, and break into a thousand reproaches against him. In short, she remained thus transported eight or nine days, without being able to resolve to see her husband, till at last her mother coming, brought her in time to herself, composed by assuring her that as soon as the Raja had but refreshed himself he would raise another army to fight Aurangzeb, and repair his honour. By which story one may see,” says Bernier, “a pattern of the courage of the women in that country”; and he adds this philosophical corollary on this and the custom of satis, which he had witnessed: “There is nothing which opinion, prepossession, custom, hope, and the point of honour, may not make men do or suffer.”[44]

The Tale of Sanjogta.

—The romantic history of the Chauhan emperor of Delhi abounds in sketches of female character; and in the story of his carrying off Sanjogta, the princess of Kanauj, we have not only the individual portrait of the Helen of her country, but in it a faithful picture of the sex. We see her, from the moment when, rejecting the assembled princes, she threw the “garland of marriage” round the neck of her hero, the Chauhan, abandon herself to all the influences of passion—mix in a combat of five days’ continuance against her father’s array, witness his overthrow, and the carnage of both armies, and subsequently, by her seductive charms, lulling her lover into a neglect of every princely duty. Yet when the foes of his glory and power invade India, we see the enchantress at once start from her trance of pleasure, and exchanging the softer for the sterner passions, in accents not less strong because mingled with deep affection, she conjures him, while arming him for the battle, to die for his fame, declaring that she will join him in “the mansions of the sun.” Though it is difficult to extract, in passages sufficiently condensed, what may convey a just idea of this heroine, we shall attempt it in the bard’s own language, rendered into prose. He announces the tidings of invasion by the medium of a dream, which the Chauhan thus relates:

726“‘This night, while in the arms of sleep, a fair, beautiful as Rambha, rudely seized my arm; then she assailed you, and while you were struggling, a mighty elephant,[45] infuriated, and hideous as a demon, bore down upon me. Sleep fled—nor Rambha nor demon remained—but my heart was panting, and [624] my quivering lips muttering Har! Har![46] What is decreed the gods only know.’

“Sanjogta replied, ‘Victory and fame to my lord! O, sun of the Chauhans, in glory, or in pleasure, who has tasted so deeply as you? To die is the destiny not only of man but of the gods: all desire to throw off the old garment; but to die well is to live for ever. Think not of self, but of immortality; let your sword divide your foe, and I will be your ardhanga[47] hereafter.’

“The“The king sought the bard, who expounded the dream, and the Guru wrote an incantation, which he placed in his turban. A thousand brass vessels of fresh milk were poured in libations to the sun and moon. Ten buffaloes were sacrificed to the supporters of the globe, and gifts were made to all. But will offerings of blood or libations of milk arrest what is decreed? If by these man could undo what is ordained, would Nala or the Pandus have suffered as they did?”

While the warriors assemble in council to consult on the best mode of opposing the Sultan of Ghazni, the king leaves them to deliberate, in order to advise with Sanjogta. Her reply is curious:

“Who asks woman for advice? The world deems their understanding shallow; even when truths issue from their lips, none listen thereto. Yet what is the world without woman? We have the forms of Sakti[48] with the fire of Siva; we are at once thieves and sanctuaries; we are vessels of virtue and of vice—of knowledge and of ignorance. The man of wisdom, the astrologer, can from the books calculate the motion and course of the planets; but in the book of woman he is ignorant: and this is not a saying of to-day, it ever has been so: our book has not been mastered, therefore, to hide their ignorance, they say, 727in woman there is no wisdom! Yet woman shares your joys and your sorrows. Even when you depart from the mansion of the sun, we part not. Hunger and thirst we cheerfully partake with you; we are as the lakes, of which you are the swans; what are when absent from our bosoms?”

The army having assembled, and all being prepared to march against the Islamite, in the last great battle which subjugated India, the fair Sanjogta armed her lord for the encounter. InIn vain she sought the rings of his corslet; her eyes were [625] fixed on the face of the Chauhan, as those of the famished wretch who finds a piece of gold. The sound of the drum reached the ear of the Chauhan; it was as a death-knell on that of Sanjogta: and as he left her to head Delhi’s heroes, she vowed that henceforward water only should sustain her. “I shall see him again in the region of Surya, but never more in Yoginipur.”[49] Her prediction was fulfilled: her lord was routed, made captive and slain; and, faithful to her vow, she mounted the funeral pyre.

The Queen of Ganor.

—Were we called upon to give a pendant for Lucretia, it would be found in the queen of Ganor.[50] After having defended five fortresses against the foe, she retreated to her last stronghold on the Nerbudda, and had scarcely left the bark, when the assailants arrived in pursuit. The disheartened defenders were few in number, and the fortress was soon in possession of the foe, the founder of the family now ruling in Bhopal. The beauty of the queen of Ganor was an allurement only secondary to his desire for her country, and he invited her to reign over it and him. Denial would have been useless, and would have subjected her to instant coercion, for the Khan awaited her reply in the hall below; she therefore sent a message of assent, with a complimentary reflection on his gallant conduct and determination of pursuit; adding, that he merited her hand for his bravery, and might prepare for the nuptials, which should be celebrated on the terrace of the palace. She demanded two hours for unmolested preparation, that she might appear in appropriate attire, and with the distinction her own and his rank demanded.

728Ceremonials, on a scale of magnificence equal to the shortness of the time, were going on. The song of joy had already stifled the discordant voice of war, and at length the Khan was summoned to the terrace. Robed in the marriage garb presented to him by the queen, with a necklace and aigrette of superb jewels from the coffers of Ganor, he hastened to obey the mandate, and found that fame had not done justice to her charms. He was desired to be seated, and in conversation full of rapture on his side, hours were as minutes while he gazed on the beauty of the queen. But presently his countenance fell—he complained of heat; punkas and water were brought, but they availed him not, and he began to tear the bridal garments from his frame, when the queen thus addressed him [626]: “Know, Khan, that your last hour is come; our wedding and our death shall be sealed together. The vestments which cover you are poisoned; you had left me no other expedient to escape pollution.” While all were horror-struck by this declaration, she sprung from the battlements into the flood beneath. The Khan died in extreme torture, and was buried on the road to Bhopal; and, strange to say, a visit to his grave has the reputation of curing the tertian of that country.[51]

Rāja Jai Singh and his Wife.

—We may give another anecdote illustrative of this extreme delicacy of sentiment, but without so tragical a conclusion. The celebrated Raja Jai Singh of Amber 729had espoused a princess of Haraoti, whose manners and garb, accordant with the simplicity of that provincial capital, subjected her to the badinage of the more refined court of Amber, whose ladies had added the imperial costume to their own native dress. One day being alone with the prince, he began playfully to contrast the sweeping jupe of Kotah with the more scanty robe of the belles of his own capital; and taking up a pair of scissors, said he would reduce it to an equality with the latter. Offended at such levity, she seized his sword, and assuming a threatening attitude, said, “that in the house to which she had the honour to belong, they were not habituated to jests of this nature; that mutual respect was the guardian, not only of happiness but of virtue”; and she assured him, that if he ever again so insulted her, he would find that the daughter of Kotah could use a sword more effectively than the prince of Amber the scissors; adding, that she would prevent any future scion of her house from being subjected to similar disrespect, by declaring such intermarriages talak, or forbidden, which interdict I believe yet exists.[52]

A Courageous Rājput Woman.

—I will append an anecdote related by the celebrated Zalim Singh, characteristic of the presence of mind, prowess, and physical strength of the Rajput women. To attend and aid in the minutiae of husbandry is by no means uncommon with them, as to dress and carry the meals of their husbands to the fields is a general practice. In the jungle which skirts the knolls of Pachpahar, a huge bear assaulted a Rajputni as she was carrying her husband’s dinner. As he approached with an air of gallantry upon his hind-legs, doubting whether the food or herself [627] were the intended prey, she retreated behind a large tree, round the trunk of which Bruin, still in his erect attitude, tried all his powers of circumvention to seize her. At length, half exhausted, she boldly grasped his paws, and with so vigorous a hold that he roared with pain, while in vain, with his short neck, did he endeavour to reach the powerful hand which fixed him. While she was in this dilemma, a Pardesi (a foreign soldier of the State) happened to be passing 730to the garrison of Gagraun, and she called out to him in a voice of such unconcern to come and release her for a time, that he complied without hesitation. She had not retired, however, above a dozen yards ere he called loudly for her return, being scarcely able to hold his new friend; but laughingly recommending perseverance, she hastened on, and soon returned with her husband, who laid the monster prostrate with his matchlock, and rescued the Pardesi from his unpleasing predicament.[53]

Such anecdotes might be multiplied ad infinitum; but I will conclude with one displaying the romantic chivalry of the Rajput, and the influence of the fair in the formation of character; it is taken from the annals of Jaisalmer, the most remote of the States of Rajasthan, and situated in the heart of the desert, of which it is an oasis.

The Wedding of Sādhu.

—Raningdeo was lord of Pugal, a fief of Jaisalmer; his heir, named Sadhu, was the terror of the desert, carrying his raids even to the valley of the Indus, and on the east to Nagor. Returning from a foray, with a train of captured camels and horses, he passed by Aurint, where dwelt Manik Rao, the chief of the Mohils, whose rule extended over 1440 villages. Being invited to partake of the hospitality of the Mohil, the heir of Pugal attracted the favourable regards of the old chieftain’s daughter:
She loved him for the dangers he had passed;

for he had the fame of being the first riever of the desert. Although betrothed to the heir of the Rathor of Mandor, she signified her wish to renounce the throne to be the bride of the chieftain of Pugal; and in spite of the dangers he provoked, and contrary to the Mohil chief’s advice, Sadhu, as a gallant Rajput, dared not reject the overture, and he promised “to accept the coco,”[54] if sent in form to Pugal [628]. In due time it came, and the nuptials were solemnized at Aurint. The dower was splendid; gems of high price, vessels of gold and silver, a golden bull, and a train of thirteen dewadharis,[55] or damsels of wisdom and penetration.

731Arankanwal, the slighted heir of Mandor, determined on revenge, and with four thousand Rathors planted himself in the path of Sadhu’s return, aided by the Sankhla Mehraj, whose son Sadhu had slain. Though entreated to add four thousand Mohils to his escort, Sadhu deemed his own gallant band of seven hundred Bhattis sufficient to convey his bride to his desert abode, and with difficulty accepted fifty, led by Meghraj, the brother of the bride.

The rivals encountered at Chondan, where Sadhu had halted to repose; but the brave Rathor scorned the advantage of numbers, and a series of single combats ensued, with all the forms of chivalry. The first who entered the lists was Jaitanga, of the Pahu clan, and of the kin of Sadhu. The enemy came upon him by surprise while reposing on the ground, his saddle-cloth for his couch, and the bridle of his steed twisted round his arm; he was soon recognized by the Sankhla, who had often encountered his prowess, on which he expatiated to Arankanwal, who sent an attendant to awake him; but the gallant Panch Kalyan (for such was the name of his steed) had already performed this service, and they found him upbraiding white-legs[56] for treading upon him. Like a true Rajput, toujours prêt,” he received the hostile message, and sent the envoy back with his compliments, and a request for some amal or opium, as he had lost his own supply. With all courtesy this was sent, and prepared by the domestics of his antagonist; after taking which he lay down to enjoy the customary siesta. As soon as he awoke, he prepared for the combat, girt on his armour, and having reminded Panch Kalyan of the fields he had won, and telling him to bear him well that day, he mounted and advanced. The son of Chonda admiring his sang-froid, and the address with which he guided his steed, commanded Jodha Chauhan, the leader of his party, to encounter the Pahu. “Their two-edged swords soon clashed in combat”; but the gigantic Chauhan fell beneath the Bhatti, who, warmed 732with the fight, plunged amidst his foes, encountering all he deemed worthy of his assault.

The fray thus begun, single combats and actions of equal parties followed, the [629] rivals looking on. At length Sadhu mounted: twice he charged the Rathor ranks, carrying death on his lance; each time he returned for the applause of his bride, who beheld the battle from her car. Six hundred of his foes had fallen, and nearly half his own warriors. He bade her a last adieu, while she exhorted him to the fight, saying, “she would witness his deeds, and if he fell, would follow him even in death.” Now he singled out his rival Arankanwal,[57] who was alike eager to end the strife, and blot out his disgrace in his blood. They met: some seconds were lost in a courteous contention, each yielding to his rival the first blow, at length dealt out by Sadhu on the neck of the disappointed Rathor. It was returned with the rapidity of lightning, and the daughter of the Mohil saw the steel descend on the head of her lover. Both fell prostrate to the earth: but Sadhu’s soul had sped; the Rathor had only swooned. With the fall of the leaders the battle ceased; and the fair cause of strife, Karamdevi, at once a virgin, a wife, and a widow, prepared to follow her affianced. Calling for a sword, with one arm she dissevered the other, desiring it might be conveyed to the father of her lord—“tell him such was his daughter.” The other she commanded to be struck off, and given, with her marriage jewels thereon, to the bard of the Mohils. The pile was prepared on the field of battle; and taking her lord in her embrace, she gave herself up to the devouring flames. The dissevered limbs were disposed of as commanded; the old Rao of Pugal caused the one to be burnt, and a tank was excavated on the spot, which is still called after the heroine, “the lake of Karamdevi.”

This encounter took place in S. 1462, A.D. 1406. The brunt of the battle fell on the Sankhlas, and only twenty-five out of three hundred and fifty left the field with their leader, Mehraj, himself severely wounded. The rejected lover had four brothers dangerously hurt; and in six months the wounds of Arankanwal opened afresh: he died, and the rites to the manes of these rivals 733in love, the chhamasa[58] of Sadhu, and the duadasa[59] of Arankanwal, were celebrated on the same day.

Without pausing to trace the moral springs of that devotion which influenced the Mohila maiden, we shall relate the sequel to the story (though out of place)[60] in illustration of the prosecution of feuds throughout Rajasthan. The fathers [630] now took up the quarrel of their sons; and as it was by the prowess of the Sankhla vassal of Mandor that the band of Sadhu was discomfited, the old Rao, Raningdeo, drew together the lances of Pugal, and carried destruction into the fief of Mehraj. The Sankhlas yield in valour to none of the brave races who inhabit the “region of death”; and Mehraj was the father of Harbuji Sankhla, the Palladin of Marudes, whose exploits are yet the theme of the erratic bards of Rajasthan. Whether he was unprepared for the assault, or overcome by numbers, three hundred of his kin and clan moistened the sand-hills of the Luni with their blood. Raningdeo, flushed with revenge and laden with spoil, had reached his own frontier, when he was overtaken by Chonda of Mandor, alike eager to avenge the loss of his son Arankanwal, and this destructive inroad on his vassal. A desperate conflict ensued, in which the Rao of Pugal was slain; and the Rathor returned in triumph to Mandor.

Unequal to cope with the princes of Mandor, the two remaining sons of Raningdeo, Tana and Mera, resolved to abandon their faith, in order to preserve the point of honour, and “to take up their father’s feud.”[61] At this period the king, Khizr Khan,[62] was at Multan; to him they went, and by offers of service and an open apostacy, obtained a force to march against Chonda, who had recently added Nagor to his growing dominions. While the brothers were thus negotiating, they were joined by Kilan, the third son of their common sovereign, the Rawal of Jaisalmer, who advised the use of chal, which with the Rajput means indifferently stratagem or treachery, so that it facilitates revenge. With the ostensible motive of ending their feuds, and restoring tranquillity to their borderers, whose sole occupation was watching, 734burning, and devastating, Kilan offered a daughter in marriage to Chonda, and went so far as to say, that if he suspected aught unfair, he would, though contrary to custom and his own dignity, send the Bhatti princess to Nagor. This course being deemed the wisest, Chonda acquiesced in his desire “to extinguish the feud (wair bujhana).”

Nāgor taken by Stratagem.

—Fifty covered chariots were prepared as the nuptial cortège, but which, instead of the bride and her handmaids, contained the bravest men of Pugal.[63] These were preceded by a train of horses led by Rajputs, of whom seven hundred also attended the camels laden with baggage, provisions, and gifts, while a small armed [631] retinue brought up the rear. The king’s troops, amounting to one thousand horse, remained at a cautious distance behind. Chonda left Nagor to meet the cavalcade and his bride, and had reached the chariots ere his suspicions were excited. Observing, however, some matters which little savoured of festivity, the Rathor commenced his retreat. Upon this the chiefs rushed from their chariots and camels, and the royal auxiliaries advancing, Chonda was assailed and fell at the gate of Nagor; and friend and foe entering the city together, a scene of general plunder commenced.

Once more the feud was balanced; a son and a father had fallen on each side, and the petty Rao of Pugal had bravely maintained the wair against the princes of Mandor. The point of honour had been carried to the utmost bound by both parties, and an opportunity of reconciliation was at hand, which prevented the shadow of disgrace either to him who made or him who accepted the overture. The Rathors dreaded the loss of the recent acquisition, Nagor, and proposed to the Bhattis to seal their pacification with the blood of their common foe. United, they fell on the spoil-encumbered Tatars, whom they slew to a man.[64] Their father’s feud thus revenged, the sons of Raningdeo (who, as apostates from their faith, could no longer hold Pugal in fief, which was retained by Kilan, who had aided their revenge) retired amongst the Aboharia Bhattis, and their descendants are now styled Momin Musalman Bhatti.

735From such anecdotes it will be obvious wherein consists the point of honour with the Rajputs; and it is not improbable that the very cause which has induced an opinion that females can have no influence on the lords of the creation, namely, their seclusion, operates powerfully in the contrary way.

Influence of Women on Rājput Society.

—In spite of this seclusion, the knowledge of their accomplishments and of their personal perfections, radiates wherever the itinerant bard can travel. Though invisible themselves, they can see; and accident often favours public report, and brings the object of renown within the sphere of personal observation: as in the case of Sadhu and the Mohila maiden. Placed behind screens, they see the youths of all countries, and there are occasions when permanent impressions are made, during tournaments and other martial exercises. Here we have just seen that the passion of the [632] daughter of the Mohil was fostered at the risk of the destruction not only of her father’s house, but also that of her lover; and as the fourteen hundred and forty towns, which owned the sway of the former, were not long after absorbed into the accumulating territory of Mandor, this insult may have been the cause of the extirpation of the Mohils, as it was of the Bhattis of Pugal.

The influence of women on Rajput society is marked in every page of Hindu history, from the most remote periods. What led to the wars of Rama? the rape of Sita. What rendered deadly the feuds of the Yadus? the insult to Draupadi. What made prince Nala an exile from Narwar? his love for Damayanti. What made Raja Bhartari abandon the throne of Avanti? the loss of Pingali. What subjected the Hindu to the dominion of the Islamite? the rape of the princess of Kanauj. In fine, the cause which overturned kingdoms, commuted the sceptre to the pilgrim’s staff, and formed the groundwork of all their grand epics, is woman. In ancient, and even in modern times, she had more than a negative in the choice of a husband, and this choice fell on the gallant and the gay. The fair Draupadi was the prize of the best archer, and the Pandu Bhima established his fame, and bore her from all the suitors of Kampila. The princess of Kanauj, when led through ranks of the princes of Hind, each hoping to be the object of her choice, threw the marriage-garland (barmala) over the neck of the effigy of the Chauhan, which her 736father in derision had placed as porter at the gate. Here was incense to fame and incentive to gallantry![65]

In the same manner, as related in another part of this work, did the princess of Kishangarh invite Rana Raj Singh to bear her from the impending union with the emperor of the Moguls; and abundant other instances could be adduced of the free agency of these invisibles.

It were superfluous to reason on the effects of traditional histories, such as these, on the minds and manners of the females of Rajasthan. They form the amusement of their lives, and the grand topic in all their conversaziones; they read them with the Purohit, and they have them sung by the itinerant bard or Dholi minstrel [633], who disseminates them wherever the Rajput name extends. The Rajput mother claims her full share in the glory of her son, who imbibes at the maternal fount his first rudiments of chivalry; and the importance of this parental instruction cannot be better illustrated than in the ever-recurring simile, “make thy mother’s milk resplendent”; the full force of which we have in the powerful, though overstrained expression of the Bundi queen’s joy on the announcement of the heroic death of her son: “the long-dried fountain at which he fed, jetted forth as she listened to the tale of his death, and the marble pavement, on which it fell, rent asunder.” Equally futile would it be to reason on the intensity of sentiment thus implanted in the infant Rajput, of whom we may say without metaphor, the shield is his cradle, and daggers his playthings; and with whom the first commandment is, “avenge thy father’s feud”; on which they can heap text upon text, from the days of the great Pandu moralist Vyasa to the not less influential bard of their nation, the Trikala Chand.

1. [“The custom handed down in regular succession since time immemorial among the four chief castes and the mixed races of that country, is called the conduct of virtuous men” (Manu, Laws, ii. 18).]

2. So says Valmiki, the author of the oldest epic in existence, the Ramayana [see p. 693 above].

3. Les Femmes, leur condition et leur influence dans l’ordre social, vol. i. p. 10.

4. So are some of the Hindu races in the mountainous districts about the Himalaya, and in other parts of India. This curious trait in ancient manners is deserving of investigation: it might throw some light on the early history of the world. [“Each man has but one wife, yet all the women are held in common: for this is a custom of the Massagetae, and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say” (Herodotus i. 216). For polyandry in India see Risley, The People of India, 2nd ed. 206 ff.]

5. [Polygamy does to some extent prevail (Census Report, Rājputāna, 1911, i. 157 f.)]

6. Laws, v. 130.

7. Ibid. ii. 33.

8. Digest of Hindu Law, Colebrooke, vol. ii. p. 209 [Manu iii. 55-8].

9. Of all the religions which have diversified mankind, whatever man might select, woman should choose the Christian. This alone gives her just rank in the scale of creation, whether arising from the demotic principle which pervades our faith, or the dignity conferred on the sex in being chosen to be the mother of the Saviour of man. In turning over the pages of Manu we find many mortifying texts, which I am inclined to regard as interpolations; as the following, so opposed to the beautiful sentiment above quoted: “A wife, a son, a servant, a pupil, and a younger brother, may be corrected when they commit faults with a rope, or the small thong of a cane” [viii. 299]. Such texts might lead us to adopt Ségur’s conclusions, that ever since the days of the patriarchs women were only brilliant slaves—victims, who exhibited, in the wreaths and floral coronets which bedecked them, the sacrifices to which they were destined. In the patriarchal ages their occupations were to season the viands, and bake the bread, and weave cloth for the tents: their recreations limited to respire the fresh evening air under the shade of a fig tree, and sing canticles to the Almighty. Such a fate, indeed, must appear to a Parisian dame, who passes her time between the Feydeau and Tivoli, and whose daily promenade is through the Champs Élysées, worse than death: yet there is no positive hardships in these employments, and it was but the fair division of labour in the primitive ages, and that which characterizes the Rajputni of the present day.

10. Manu lays down some plain and wholesome rules for the domestic conduct of the wife; above all, he recommends her to “preserve a cheerful temper,” and “frugality in domestic expenses” [Laws, v. 150]. Some of his texts savour, however, more of the anchorite than of a person conversant with mankind; and when he commands the husband to be reverenced as a god by the virtuous wife, even though enamoured of another woman, it may be justly doubted if ever he found obedience thereto; or the scarcely less difficult ordinance, “for a whole year let a husband bear with his wife who treats him with aversion,” after which probation he is permitted to separate [ix. 77]. It is very likely the Rajputs are more in the habit of quoting the first of these texts than of hearing the last: for although they have a choice at home, they are not ashamed to be the avowed admirers of the Aspasias and Phrynes of the capital; from the same cause which attracted Socrates and made Pericles a slave and which will continue until the united charms of the dance and the song are sanctioned to be practised by the légitimes within.

11. Manu ix. 101.

12. Parmāl or Paramardi Chandel (A.D. 1165-1203). He was defeated by Prithirāj Chauhān in 1182.]

13. On the Pahuj, and now belonging to the Bundela prince of Datia. The author has been over this field of battle.

14. [On the Bannāphar sept, from which sprang the heroes Alha and Udal, see Crooke, Tribes and Castes North-West Provinces, i. 137 ff.; their bravery forms the subject of numerous ballads (ASR, ii. 455 ff.).]

15. Hindaun was a town dependent on Bayana, the capital of the Jadons, whose descendants still occupy Karauli and Sri Mathura.

16. [The modern Rohilkhand Division.]

17. Rao Pajun of Amber, one of the great vassals of the Chauhan, and ancestor of the present Raja of Jaipur.

18. In the original, “the land of the Baghel to that of the Chandel.” Rewa is capital of [or leading State in] Baghelkhand, founded by the Baghela Rajputs, a branch of the Solanki kings of Anhilwara.

19. Antarved, the Duab, or Mesopotamia of the Jumna and Ganges.

20. A district S.W. of Delhi, notorious for the lawless habits of its inhabitants: a very ancient Hindu race, but the greater part forced proselytes to the faith of Islam. In the time of Prithiraj the chief of Mewat was one of his vassals.

21. Jayapattra, or ‘bulletin of victory.’

22. Jaichand was then king of this city, only second to Delhi. He was attacked in 1193 (A.D.) by Shihabu-d-din, after his conquest of the Chauhan, driven from his kingdom, and found a watery grave in the Ganges. [The battle was fought at Chandāwar in the Etāwa District, A.D. 1194 (Smith, EHI, 385).]

23. Jagnakh had two villages conferred upon him, besides an elephant and a dress.

24. [Compare Iliad, xii. 237 ff.]

25. The phenicopteros. [The great crane, Grus antigone.]

26. A large red duck, the emblem of fidelity with the Rajputs. [The Brahmani duck, Anas casarca.]

27. The jackal.

28. Commander of the succours of Kanauj.

29. Asis is a form of benediction only bestowed by females and priests: it is performed by clasping both hands over the person’s head, and waving a piece of silver or other valuable over him, which is bestowed in charity [the object being to disperse evil influence].

30. This is a very ancient ceremony, and is called Nicharavali [or ārti. The Author has frequently had a large salver filled with silver coin waved over his head, which was handed for distribution amongst his attendants. It is most appropriate from the fair, from whom also he has had this performed by their proxies, the family priest or female attendants.

31. The sankh, or war-shell, is thrice sounded, and the nakkaras strike thrice, when the army is to march; but should it after such proclamation remain on its ground, a scape-goat is slain in front of the imperial tent.

32. This picture recalls the remembrance of Hacon and the heroes of the north; with the Valkyries or choosers of the slain; the celestial maids of war of Scandinavia.

33. [Collyrium.]

34. Baghnakh or Naharnakh. [This weapon is best known by its use by Sivaji when he slew Afzu-l Khān in 1659 at Pratāpgarh (Grant Duff, Hist. Mahrattas, 78). Four specimens in the Indian Museum are described, with an illustration, by Hon. W. Egerton (Illustrated Handbook of Indian Arms, 115).]

35. Barmala.

36. Mala, a necklace. The tulasi [the plant Olymum sanctum] or rudraksha [the nuts of Elaeocarpus ganitrus, the former worn by Vaishnavas, the latter by Saivas] had the same estimation amongst the Hindus that the mistletoe had amongst the ancient Britons, and was always worn in battle as a charm.

37. Prithiraj.

38. A Rajput never names his wife. Here it is evidently optional to the widow to live or die, though Alha shows his wish for her society above. See chapter on Satis, which will follow.

39. Sanichar.

40. It was a jantar or phylactery of Hanuman the monkey deity; probably a magical stanza, with his image.

41. A crooked scimitar.

42. One of the names of Mena or Parvati. This passage will illustrate the subject of Satis in a future chapter.

43. “’Tis a pleasure (says Bernier) to see them with the fume of opium in their heads, embrace each other when the battle is to begin, and give their mutual farewells, as men resolved to die.” [Ed. 1914, p. 40. The battle of Dharmāt was fought on the banks of the river Sipra (IGI, xxi. 14 f.) on 15th April, 1658. Manucci was not present, but gives an account derived from Aurangzeb’s artillery officers of the battle at Dharmātpur, about 14 miles from Ujjain (i. 259 f., and see Jadunath Sarkar, Life of Aurangzeb, ii. 1 ff.). The latter (ii. 20 f.) speaks highly of the valour of Jaswant Singh, but Khāfi Khan (Elliot-Dowson vii. 219) says that he acted in a cowardly way. The account quoted by the author is not in the original work of Ferishta, but in Dow’s continuation (ed. 1812, iii. 206 f).].

44. Bernier’s History of the Late Revolution ofof the Empire of the Mogul, fol. p. 13, ed. 1684 [ed. 1914, p. 40 f., where a somewhat different version is given].

45. It is deemed unlucky to see this emblem of Ganesa in sleep.

46. The battle-shout of the Rajput. [Hara, a title of Siva.]

47. ‘Half-body,’ which we may render, in common phraseology, ‘other half.’

48. [The impersonation of the female energy.]

49. Delhi [“the city of the witch or sorceress”].

50. [The “Ganore” of the text possibly represents the town of Ganora in the Bānswāra State. There is another place of the same name in Gwalior.]

51. [Several of our best authorities—Sir Lauder Brunton, Sir G. Birdwood, Professors A. Keith and A. Doran of the Royal College of Surgeons—have kindly investigated the question of death by poisoned robes, of which various instances are reported in this work. The general result is that it is doubtful if any known poison could be used in this way. Sir Lauder Brunton remarks that a paste of the seeds of Abrus precatorius is used for killing animals. Dr. N. Chevers (Manual of Medical Jurisprudence in India, p. 299) writes: “Any one who has noticed how freely a robust person in India perspires through a thin garment can understand that, if a cloth were thoroughly impregnated with the cantharidine of that very powerful vesicant, the Telini, the result would be as dangerous as an extensive burn.” For telini (Mylabris punctum), used as a substitute for Cantharis vesicatoria, see Sir G. Watt (Dict. Economic Products of India, v. 309). Manucci (i. 149) says that Akbar placed such poisons in charge of a special officer. The stock classical case is that of Herakles killed by an ointment made from the blood of Nessus. An old writer, W. Ramesey (Of Poisons (1660), p. 14 f.) speaks of poisoning done in this way: but he regards some of “these and the like storeyes to be merely Fabulous ... and rather to be attributed to the Subtilty, Craft, and Malice of the Devill” (12 series, Notes and Queries, i. (1916) p. 417).]

52. The physician (unless he unite with his office that of ghostly comforter) has to feel the pulse of his patient with a curtain between them, through a rent, in which the arm is extended. [See the amusing account by Fryer (New Account of E. India and Persia, Hakluyt Society, ed. i. 326 f.).]

53. [This is a stock story (Risley, The People of India, 2nd ed. 179 f.; Rose, Glossary, ii. 220; cf. Herodotus v. 12).]

54. Sriphala.

55. Literally ‘lamp-holders’; such is the term applied to these handmaids; who invariably form a part of the daeja or ‘dower.’ [The custom of sending handmaids with the bride, the girls often becoming concubines of the bridegroom, is common (Russell, Tribes and Castes Central Provinces, i. 63, ii. 77). In Gujarāt they are known as Goli or Vadhāran, and are sometimes married to the Khawās, or male slaves of the harem (BG, ix. Part i. 147, 235).]

56. Panch Kalyan is generally, if not always, a chestnut, having four white legs, with a white nose and list or star.

57. Arankanwal, ‘the lotos of the desert,’ from aranya (Sanskrit), ‘a waste,’ and kamala (pronounced kanwal), ‘a lotos’: classically it should be written aranykamala; I write it as pronounced.

58. The rites to the manes on the completion of the ‘sixth month.’

59. The rites to the manes on the ‘twelfth day.’

60. The greater portion of these anecdotes, the foundation of national character, will appear in the respective annals.

61. Bap ra wair lena.

62. [Khizr Khān, of the Sayyid dynasty of Delhi, was left in charge by Timūr, and died A.D. 1421.]

63. [For this legend see Vol. I. p. 308 above.]

64. Khizr Khan succeeded to the throne of Delhi in A.D. 1414 [or rather, was left in charge of Delhi by Timūr, and died A.D. 1421], and according to the Jaisalmer annals the commencement of these feuds was in A.D. 1406.

65. The Samnite custom, so lauded by Montesquieu as the reward of youthful virtue, was akin in sentiment to the Rajput, except that the fair Rajputni made herself the sole judge of merit in her choice. It was more calculated for republican than aristocratic society: “On assembloit tous les jeunes gens, et on les jugeoit; celui qui était déclaré le meilleur de tout prenoit pour sa femme la fille qu’il vouloit: l’amour, la beauté, la chastité, la vertu, la naissance, les richesses même, tout cela était, pour ainsi dire, la dot de la vertu.” It would be difficult, adds Montesquieu, to imagine a more noble recompense, or one less expensive to a petty State, or more influential on the conduct of both sexes (L’Esprit des Lois, chap. xvi. livre vii.).



The Immolation of Women.

—We now proceed to consider another trait of Rajput character, exemplified in the practice of female immolation, and to inquire whether religion, custom, or affection has most share in such sacrifice. To arrive at the origin of this rite, we must trace it to the recesses of mythology, where we shall discover the precedent in the example of Sati, who to avenge an insult to Iswara, in her own father’s omission to ask her lord to an entertainment, consumed herself in the presence of the assembled gods. With this act of fealty (sati) the name of Daksha’s daughter has been identified; and her regeneration and reunion to her husband, as the mountain-nymph Mena, or Parvati, furnish the incentive to similar [634] acts. In the history of these celestial beings, the Rajputni has a memorable lesson before her, that no domestic differences can afford exemption from this proof of faith: for Jupiter and Juno were not more eminent examples of connubial discord than Mena and Siva, who was not only alike unfaithful, but more cruel, driving Mena from his Olympus (Kailas), and forcing her to seek refuge in the murky caverns of Caucasus. Female immolation, therefore, originated with the sun-worshipping Saivas, and was common to all those nations who adored this the most splendid object of the visible creation. Witness the Scythic Gete or Jat warrior of the Jaxartes, who devoted his wife, horse, arms, and slaves, to the flames; the “giant Gete” of Scandinavia, who forgot not on the shores of the Baltic his Transoxianian habits; and the Frisian Frank and Saxon descended from him, who ages after omitted only the female. Could we assign the primary cause of a custom so opposed to the first law of nature with the same certainty that we can prove its high antiquity, we might be enabled to devise some means for its abolition. The chief characteristic of Satiism is its expiating quality: for by this act of faith, the Sati not only makes atonement for the sins of her husband, and secures the remission of her own, but has the joyful assurance of reunion to the object whose beatitude she procures. Having once imbibed this doctrine, its fulfilment is powerfully aided by that heroism of character inherent to the Rajputni; though we see that the stimulant of religion requires no aid even 738in the timid female of Bengal, who, relying on the promise of regeneration, lays her head on the pyre with the most philosophical composure.

Nothing short of the abrogation of the doctrines which pronounce such sacrifices exculpatory can be effectual in preventing them; but this would be to overturn the fundamental article of their creed, the notion of metempsychosis. Further research may disclose means more attainable, and the sacred Shastras are at once the surest and the safest. Whoever has examined these is aware of the conflict of authorities for and against cremation; but a proper application of them (and they are the highest who give it not their sanction) has, I believe, never been resorted to. Vyasa, the chronicler of the Yadus, a race whose manners were decidedly Scythic, is the great advocate for female sacrifice: he (in the Mahabharata) pronounces the expiation perfect. But Manu inculcates no such doctrine [635]; and although the state of widowhood he recommends might be deemed onerous by the fair sex of the west, it would be considered little hardship in the east. “Let her emaciate her body, by living voluntarily on pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but let her not, when her lord is deceased, even pronounce the name of another man.” Again he says, “A virtuous wife ascends to heaven, if, after the decease of her lord, she devote herself to pious austerity; but a widow, who slights her deceased husband by marrying again, brings disgrace on herself here below, and shall be excluded from the seat of her lord.”[1]

These and many other texts, enjoining purity of life and manners to the widow, are to be found in this first authority, but none demanding such a cruel pledge of affection. Abstinence from the common pursuits of life, and entire self-denial, are rewarded by “high renown in this world, and in the next the abode of her husband”; and procure for her the title of “sadhwi, or the virtuous.” These are deemed sufficient pledges of affection by the first of sages.[2] So much has been written on this subject that we shall not pursue it further in this place; but proceed to consider a still more inhuman practice, infanticide.

739Although custom sanctions, and religion rewards, a Sati, the victim to marital selfishness, yet, to the honour of humanity, neither traditionary adage nor religious text can be quoted in support of a practice so revolting as infanticide. Man alone, of the whole animal creation, is equal to the task of destroying his offspring [636]: for instinct preserves what reason destroys. The wife is the sacrifice to his egotism, and the progeny of her own sex to his pride; and if the unconscious infant should escape the influence of the latter, she is only reserved to become the victim of the former at the period when life is most desirous of extension. If the female reasoned on her destiny, its hardships are sufficient to stifle all sense of joy, and produce indifference to life. When a female is born, no anxious inquiries await the mother—no greetings welcome the newcomer, who appears an 740intruder on the scene, which often closes in the hour of its birth. But the very silence with which a female birth is accompanied forcibly expresses sorrow; and we dare not say that many compunctious visitings do not obtrude themselves on those who, in accordance with custom and imagined necessity, are thus compelled to violate the sentiments of nature. Families may exult in the Satis which their cenotaphs portray,[3] but none ever heard a Rajput boast of the destruction of his infant progeny.

The Origin of Infanticide.

—What are the causes, we may ask, sufficiently powerful to induce the suppression of a feeling which every sentient being has in common for its offspring? To suppose the Rajput devoid of this sentiment would argue his deficiency in the ordinary attributes of humanity: often is he heard to exclaim, “Accursed the day when a woman child was born to me!” The same motive which studded Europe with convents, in which youth and beauty were immured until liberated by death, first prompted the Rajput to infanticide: and, however revolting the policy, it is perhaps kindness compared to incarceration. There can be no doubt that monastic seclusion, practised by the Frisians in France, the Langobardi in Italy, and the Visigoths in Spain, was brought from Central Asia, the cradle of the Goths.[4] It is, in fact, a modification of the same feeling which characterizes the Rajput and the ancient German warrior—the dread of dishonour to the fair: the former raises the poniard 741to the breast of his wife rather than witness her captivity, and he gives the opiate to the infant, whom, if he cannot portion and marry to her equal, he dare not see degraded [637].


—Although religion nowhere authorizes this barbarity, the laws which regulate marriage amongst the Rajputs powerfully promote infanticide. Not only is intermarriage prohibited between families of the same clan (khanp), but between those of the same tribe (got); and though centuries may have intervened since their separation, and branches thus transplanted may have lost their original patronymic, they can never be regrafted on the original stem: for instance, though eight centuries have separated the two grand subdivisions of the Guhilots, and the younger, the Sesodia, has superseded the elder, the Aharya, each ruling distinct States, a marriage between any of the branches would be deemed incestuous: the Sesodia is yet brother to the Aharya, and regards every female of the race as his sister. Every tribe has therefore to look abroad, to a race distinct from its own, for suitors for the females. Foreign war, international feuds, or other calamities affect tribes the most remote from each other; nor can war or famine thin the clans of Marwar, without diminishing the female population of Amber: thus both suffer in a twofold degree. Many virtuous and humane princes have endeavoured to check or mitigate an evil, in the eradication of which every parental feeling would co-operate. Sumptuary edicts alone can control it; and the Rajputs were never sufficiently enamoured of despotism to permit it to rule within their private dwellings. The plan proposed, and in some degree followed by the great Jai Singh of Amber, might with caution be pursued, and with great probability of success. He submitted to the prince of every Rajput State a decree, which was laid before a convocation of their respective vassals, in which he regulated the daeja or dower, and other marriage expenditure, with reference to the property of the vassal, limiting it to one year’s income of the estate. This plan was, however, frustrated by the vanity of the Chondawat of Salumbar, who expended on the marriage of his daughter a sum even greater than his sovereign could have afforded; and to have his name blazoned by the bards and genealogists, he sacrificed the beneficent views of one of the wisest of the Rajput race. Until vanity suffers itself to be controlled, and the aristocratic Rajput submit to republican 742simplicity,[5] the evils arising from nuptial profusion will not cease. Unfortunately, those who could check it find their interest in stimulating it, namely, the whole class of Mangtas [638] (mendicants), bards, minstrels, jugglers, Brahmans who assemble on these occasions, and pour forth their epithalamiums in praise of the virtue of liberality. The Bardais are the grand recorders of fame, and the volume of precedent is always recurred to, in citing the liberality of former chiefs; while the dread of their satire (visarva, literally ‘poison’)[6] shuts the eyes of the chiefs to consequences, and they are only anxious to maintain the reputation of their ancestors, though fraught with future ruin. “The Dahima emptied his coffers” (says Chand, the pole-star of the Rajputs) “on the marriage of his daughter with Prithiraj; but he filled them with the praises of mankind.” The same bard retails every article of these daejas or ‘dowers,’ which thus become precedents for future ages; and the “lakh pasarna,”[7] then established for the chief bardai, has become a model to posterity. Even now the Rana of Udaipur, in his season of poverty, at the recent marriage of his daughters bestowed “the gift of a lakh” on the chief bard; though the articles of gold, horses, clothes, etc., were included in the estimate, and at an undue valuation, which rendered the gift not quite so precious as in the days of the Chauhan. Were bonds taken from all the feudal chiefs, and a penal clause inserted, of forfeiture of their fief by all who exceeded a fixed nuptial expenditure, the axe would be laid to the root, the evil would be checked, and the heart of many a mother (and we may add father) be gladdened, by preserving at once the point of honour and their child. When ignorance declaims against the gratuitous love of murder amongst these brave men, our contempt is excited equally by its short-sighted conclusions, and the affected philanthropy which overlooks all remedy but the “sic volo.” Sir John Shore,[8] when acting on the suggestions of 743the benevolent Duncan for the suppression of this practice amongst the Rajkumars, judged more wisely as a politician, and more charitably in his estimate of human motives. “A prohibition,” says he, “enforced by the denunciation of the severest temporal penalties, would have had little efficacy in abolishing a custom which existed in opposition to the feelings of humanity and natural affection”; but “the sanction of that religion which the Rajkumars professed was appealed to in aid of the ordinances of civil authority; and an engagement binding themselves to desist from the barbarous practice was prepared, and circulated for signature amongst the Rajkumars.” It may well be doubted how far this influence could extend, when the root of the evil [639] remained untouched, though not unseen, as the philanthropic Duncan pointed out in the confession of the Rajkumars: “all unequivocally admitted it, but all did not fully acknowledge its atrocity; and the only reason they assigned for the inhuman practice was the great expense of procuring suitable matches for their daughters, if they allowed them to grow up.” The Rajkumar is one of the Chauhan sakha, chief of the Agnikulas, and in proportion to its high and well-deserved pretensions on the score of honour, it has more infanticides than any other of the “thirty-six royal races.” Amongst those of this race out of the pale of feudalism, and subjected to powers not Rajput, the practice is fourfold greater, from the increased pressure of the cause which gave it birth, and the difficulty of establishing their daughters in wedlock. Raja Jai Singh’s enactment went far to remedy this. Conjoin his plan with Mr. Duncan’s, provide dowers, and infanticide will cease. It is only by removing the cause that the consequences can be averted.[9]

As to the almost universality of this practice amongst the Jarejas, the leading cause, which will also operate to its continuance, has been entirely overlooked. The Jarejas were Rajputs, a subdivision of the Yadus; but by intermarriage with the Muhammadans, to whose faith they became proselytes, they lost their caste. Political causes have disunited them from the Muhammadans, and they desire again to be considered as pure Rajputs; but having been contaminated, no Rajput will intermarry with them. The owner of a hyde of land, whether Sesodia, 744Rathor, or Chauhan, would scorn the hand of a Jareja princess. Can the “sic volo” be applied to men who think in this fashion?


—Having thus pointed out the causes of the sacrifice of widows and of infants, I shall touch on the yet more awful rite of Johar, when a whole tribe may become extinct, of which several instances have been recorded in the annals of Mewar. To the fair of other lands the fate of the Rajputni must appear one of appalling hardship. In each stage of life death is ready to claim her; by the poppy at its dawn, by the flames in riper years; while the safety of the interval depending on the uncertainty of war, at no period is her existence worth a twelve-month’s purchase. The loss of a battle, or the capture of a city, is a signal to avoid captivity and its horrors, which to the Rajputni are worse than death. To the doctrines of Christianity Europe owes the boon of protection to the helpless and the fair, who are [640] comparatively safe amidst the vicissitudes of war; to which security the chivalry of the Middle Ages doubtless contributed. But it is singular that a nation so refined, so scrupulous in its ideas with regard to females, as the Rajput, should not have entered into some national compact to abandon such proof of success as the bondage[10] of the sex. We can enter into the feeling, and applaud the deed, which ensured the preservation of their honour by the fatal johar, when the foe was the brutalized Tatar. But the practice was common in the international wars of the Rajputs; and I possess numerous inscriptions (on stone and on brass) which record as the first token of victory the captive wives of the foeman. When “the mother of Sisera looked out of the window, and cried through the lattice, Why tarry the wheels of his chariot—have they not sped? have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two?”[11] we have a perfect picture of the Rajput mother expecting her son from the foray.

The Jewish law with regard to female captives was perfectly analogous to that of Manu; both declare them “lawful prize,” and both Moses and Manu establish rules sanctioning the marriage of such captives with the captors. “When a girl is made captive by her lover, after a victory over her kinsman,” marriage “is permitted by law.”[12] That forcible marriage in the Hindu law 745termed Rakshasa, namely, “the seizure of a maiden by force from her house while she weeps and calls for assistance, after her kinsman and friends have been slain in battle,”[13] is the counterpart of the ordinance regarding the usage of a captive in the Pentateuch,[14] excepting the “shaving of the head,” which is the sign of complete slavery with the Hindu.[15] When Hector, anticipating his fall, predicts the fate which awaits Andromache, he draws a forcible picture of the misery of the Rajput; but the latter, instead of a lachrymose and enervating harangue as he prepared for the battle with the same chance of defeat, would have spared her the pain of plying the “Argive loom” by her death. To prevent such degradation, the brave [641] Rajput has recourse to the johar, or immolation of every female of the family: nor can we doubt that, educated as are the females of that country, they gladly embrace such a refuge from pollution. Who would not be a Rajput in such a case? The very term widow (rand) is used in common parlance as one of reproach.[16]

Manu commands that whoever accosts a woman shall do so 746by the title of “sister,”[17] and that “way must be made for her, even as for the aged, for a priest, a prince, or a bridegroom”; and in the admirable text on the laws of hospitality, he ordains that “pregnant women, brides, and damsels shall have food before all the other guests”[18]; which, with various other texts, appears to indicate a time when women were less than now objects of restraint; a custom attributable to the paramount dominion of the Muhammadans, from whose rigid system the Hindus have borrowed. But so many conflicting texts are to be found in the pages of Manu, that we may pronounce the compilation never to have been the work of the same legislator: from whose dicta we may select with equal facility texts tending to degrade as to exalt the sex. For the following he would meet with many plaudits: “Let women be constantly supplied with ornaments at festivals and jubilees, for if the wife be not elegantly attired, she will not exhilarate her husband. A wife gaily adorned, the whole house is embellished.”[19] In the following text he pays an unequivocal compliment to her power: “A female is able to draw from the right path in this life, not a fool only, but even a sage, and can lead him in subjection to desire or to wrath.” With this acknowledgment from the very fountain of authority, we have some ground for asserting that les femmes font les mœurs, even in Rajputana; and that though immured and invisible, their influence on society is not less certain than if they moved in the glare of open day.

Position of Rājput Women.

—Most erroneous ideas have been formed of the Hindu female from the pictures drawn by those who never left the banks of the Ganges. They are represented [642] as degraded beings, and that not one in many thousands can even read. I would ask such travellers whether they know the name of Rajput, for there are few of the lowest chieftains whose daughters are not instructed both to read and write; though the customs of the country requiring much form in epistolary writing, only the signature is made to letters. But of their intellect, and knowledge of mankind, whoever has had to converse with a Rajputni guardian of her son’s rights, must draw a very different conclusion.[20] Though excluded by the 747Salic law of India from governing, they are declared to be fit regents during minority; and the history of India is filled with anecdotes of able and valiant females in this capacity.[21]

Rājput Character.

—The more prominent traits of character will be found disseminated throughout the annals; we shall therefore omit the customary summaries of nationalities, those fanciful debtor and creditor accounts, with their balanced amount, favourable or unfavourable according to the disposition of the observer; and from the anecdotes through these pages leave the reader to form his own judgement of the Rajput. High courage, patriotism, loyalty, honour, hospitality, and simplicity are qualities which must at once be conceded to them; and if we cannot vindicate them from charges to which human nature in every clime is obnoxious; if we are compelled to admit the deterioration of moral dignity, from the continual inroads of, and their consequent collision with, rapacious conquerors; we must yet admire the quantum of virtue which even oppression and bad example have failed to banish. The meaner vices of deceit and falsehood, which the delineators of national character attach to the Asiatic without distinction, I deny to be universal with the Rajputs, though some tribes may have been obliged from position to use these shields of the weak against continuous oppression. Every court in Rajasthan has [643] its characteristic epithet; and there is none held more contemptible than the affix 748of jhutha darbar, ‘the lying court,’ applied to Jaipur; while the most comprehensive measure of praise is the simple epithet of sachha,[22] ‘the truth-teller.’ Again, there are many shades between deceit and dissimulation: the one springs from natural depravity; the other may be assumed, as with the Rajput, in self-defence. But their laws, the mode of administering them, and the operation of external causes, must be attentively considered before we can form a just conclusion of the springs which regulate the character of a people. We must examine the opinions of the competent of past days, when political independence yet remained to the Rajputs, and not found our judgment of a nation upon a superficial knowledge of individuals. To this end I shall avail myself of the succinct but philosophical remarks of Abu-l-fazl, the wise minister of the wise Akbar, which are equally applicable to mankind at large, as to the particular people we are treating of. “If,” he says, speaking of the Hindus, “a diligent investigator were to examine the temper and disposition of the people of each tribe, he would find every individual differing in some respect or other. Some among them are virtuous in the highest degree, and others carry vice to the greatest excess. They are renowned for wisdom, disinterested friendship, obedience to their superiors, and many other virtues: but, at the same time, there are among them men whose hearts are obdurate and void of shame, turbulent spirits, who for the merest trifle will commit the greatest outrages.”[23]

Again: “The Hindus are religious, affable, courteous to strangers, cheerful, enamoured of knowledge, lovers of justice, able in business, grateful, admirers of truth, and of unbounded fidelity in all their dealings. Their character shines brightest in adversity. Their soldiers (the Rajputs) know not what it is to fly from the field of battle; but when the success of the combat becomes doubtful, they dismount from their horses, and throw away their lives in payment of the debt of valour.”[24]

I shall conclude this chapter with a sketch of their familiar habits, and a few of their indoor and outdoor recreations.

Introduction of Melons, Grapes, Tobacco, Opium: the Use of Opium.

—To Babur, the founder of the Mogul dynasty, India is 749indebted for the introduction [644] of its melons and grapes; and to his grandson Jahangir for tobacco.[25] For the introduction of opium we have no date, and it is not even mentioned in the poems of Chand.[26] This pernicious plant has robbed the Rajput of half his virtues; and while it obscures these, it heightens his vices, giving to his natural bravery a character of insane ferocity, and to the countenance, which would otherwise beam with intelligence, an air of imbecility. Like all stimulants, its effects are magical for a time; but the reaction is not less certain: and the faded form or amorphous bulk too often attest the debilitating influence of a drug which alike debases mind and body. In the more ancient epics we find no mention of the poppy-juice as now used, though the Rajput has at all times been accustomed to his madhava ra piyala, or ‘intoxicating cup.’ The essence,[27] whether of grain, of roots, or of flowers, still welcomes the guest, but is secondary to the opiate. Amal lar khana, ‘to eat opium together,’ is the most inviolable pledge; and an agreement ratified by this ceremony is stronger than any adjuration. If a Rajput pays a visit, the first question is, amal khaya? ‘have you had your opiate?’—amal khao, ‘take your opiate.’ On a birthday, when all the chiefs convene to congratulate their brother on another ‘knot to his years,’ the large cup is brought forth, a lump of opiate put therein, upon which water is poured, and by the aid of a stick a solution is made, to which each helps his neighbour, not with a glass, but with the hollow of his hand held to his mouth. To judge by the wry faces on this occasion, none can like it, and to get rid of the nauseous taste, comfit-balls are handed round. It is curious to observe the animation it inspires; a Rajput is 750fit for nothing without his amal, and I have often dismissed their men of business to refresh their intellects by a dose, for when its effects are dissipating they become mere logs [645].[28] Opium to the Rajput is more necessary than food, and a suggestion to the Rana to tax it highly was most unpopular. From the rising generation the author exacted promises that they would resist initiation in this vice, and many grew up in happy ignorance of the taste of opium. He will be the greatest friend to Rajasthan who perseveres in eradicating the evil. The valley of Udaipur is a poppy garden, of every hue and variety, whence the Hindu Sri may obtain a coronet more variegated than ever adorned the Isis of the Nile.

Pledge by eating Opium.

—A pledge once given by the Rajput, whether ratified by the “eating opium together,” “an exchange of turbans,” or the more simple act of “giving the right hand,” is maintained inviolable under all circumstances.

Hunting and other Sports.

—Their grand hunts have been described. The Rajput is fond of his dog and his gun. The former aids him in pulling down the boar or hare, and with the stalking-horse he will toil for hours after the deer. The greater 751chieftains have their ramnas or preserves, where poaching would be summarily punished, and where the slaughter of all kinds of beasts, elk, hog, hyena, tiger, boar, deer, wild-dog, wolf, or hare, is indiscriminate. Riding in the ring with the lance in tournaments, without the spike, the point being guarded; defence of the sword against the lance, with every variety of “noble horsemanship,” such as would render the most expert in Europe an easy prey to the active Rajput, are some of the chief exercises. Firing at a mark with a matchlock, in which they attain remarkable accuracy of aim; and in some parts of the country throwing a dart or javelin from horseback, are favourite amusements. The practice of the bow is likewise a main source of pastime, and in the manner there adopted it requires both dexterity and strength[29] [646]. The Rajput is not satisfied if he cannot bury his arrow either in the earthern target, or in the buffalo, to the feather. The use of the bow is hallowed; Arjuna’s bow in the “great war,” and that of the Chauhan king, Prithiraj, with which the former gained Draupadi and the latter the fair Sanjogta, are immortalized like that of Ulysses. In these martial exercises the youthful Rajput is early initiated, and that the sight of blood may be familiar, he is instructed, before he has strength to wield a sword, to practise with his boy’s scimitar on the heads of lambs and kids. His first successful essay on the animals ‘ferae naturae’ is a source of congratulation to his whole family.[30] In this manner the spirit of chivalry is continually fed, for everything around him speaks of arms and strife. His very amusements are warlike; and the dance and the song, the burthen of which is the record of his successful gallantry, so far from enervating, serve as fresh incitements to his courage.


—The exhibition of the Jethis, or wrestlers,[31] is another mode of killing time. It is a state concern for every prince or chief to entertain a certain number of these champions 752of the glove. Challenges are sent by the most celebrated from one court to another; and the event of the akhara, as the arena is termed, is looked to with great anxiety.


—No prince or chief is without his silah-khana, or armoury, where he passes hours in viewing and arranging his arms. Every favourite weapon, whether sword, matchlock, spear, dagger, or bow, has a distinctive epithet. The keeper of the armoury is one of the most confidential officers about the person of the prince. These arms are beautiful and costly. The sirohi,[32] or slightly curved blade, is formed like that of Damascus, and is the greatest favourite of all the variety of sabres throughout Rajputana. The long cut-and-thrust, like the Andrea Ferrara, is not uncommon; nor the khanda, or double-edged sword. The matchlocks both of Lahore and the country are often highly finished and inlaid with mother-of-pearl and gold: those of Bundi are the best. The shield of the rhinoceros-hide offers the best resistance, and is often ornamented with animals, beautifully painted, and enamelled in gold and silver. The bow is of buffalo-horn, and the arrows of reed, and barbed in a variety of fashions, as the crescent, the trident, the snake’s tongue, and other fanciful forms.

Sheodān Singh. Music.—The Maharaja Sheodan Singh (whose family are heirs presumptive to the throne) was one of my constant visitors; and the title of ‘adopted brother,’ which he conferred upon me, allowed him to make his visits unreasonably long. The Maharaja had many excellent qualities. He was the best shot in Mewar; he was well read in the classic literature of his nation; deeply versed in the secrets of the chronicles, not only of Mewar but of all Rajwara; conversant with all the mysteries of the bard, and could improvise on every occasion. He was a proficient in musical science [647], and could discourse most fluently on the whole theory of Sangita, which comprehends vocal and instrumental harmony. He could explain each of the ragas, or musical modes, which issued from the five mouths of Siva and his consort Mena, together with the almost endless variations of the ragas, to each of which are allotted six 753consorts or raginis. He had attached to his suite the first vocalists of Mewar, and occasionally favoured me by letting them sing at my house. The chief cantatrice had a superb voice, a contralto of great extent, and bore the familiar appellation of ‘Catalani.’ Her execution of all the basant or ‘spring-songs,’ and the megh or ‘cloud-songs’ of the monsoon, which are full of melody, was perfect. But she had a rival in a singer from Ujjain, and we made a point of having them together, that emulation might excite to excellence. The chieftain of Salumbar, the chief of the Saktawats, and others, frequently joined these parties, as well as the Maharaja: for all are partial to the dance and the song, during which conversation flows unrestrained. Saadatu-lla, whose execution on the guitar would have secured applause even at the Philharmonic, commanded mute attention when he played a tan or symphony, or when, taking any of the simple tappas of Ujjain as a theme, he wandered through a succession of voluntaries. In summer these little parties were held on the terrace or the house-top, where carpets were spread under an awning, while the cool breezes of the lake gave life after the exhaustion of a day passed under 96° of Fahrenheit. The subjects of their songs are various, love, glory, satire, etc. I was invited to similar assemblies by many of the chiefs; though none were so intellectual as those of the Maharaja. On birthdays or other festivals the chief Bardai often appears, or the bard of any other tribe who may happen to be present. Then all is mute attention, broken only by the emphatic “wah, wah!” the measured nod of the head, or fierce curl of the moustache, in token of approbation or the reverse.[33]

The Maharaja’s talents for amplification were undoubted, and by more than one of his friends this failing was attributed to his long residence at the court of Jaipur, whose cognomen will not have been forgotten. He had one day been amusing us with feats of his youth, his swimming from island to island, and [648] bestriding the alligators for an excursion.[34] Like Tell, he had 754placed a mark on his son’s head and hit it successfully. He could kill an eagle on the wing, and divide a ball on the edge of a knife, the knife itself unseen. While running on in this manner, my features betraying some incredulity, he insisted on redeeming his word. A day was accordingly appointed, and though labouring under an ague, he came with his favourite matchlocks. The more dangerous experiment was desisted from, and he commenced by dividing the ball on the knife. This he placed perpendicularly in the centre of an earthen vessel filled with water; and taking his station at about twenty paces, perforated the centre of the vessel, and allowed you to take up the fragments of the ball; having previously permitted you to load the piece, and examine the vessel, which he did not once approach himself. Another exhibition was striking an orange from a pole without perforating it. Again, he gave the option of loading to a bystander, and retreating a dozen paces, he knocked an orange off untouched by the ball, which, according to a preliminary proviso, could not be found: the orange was not even discoloured by the powder. He was an adept also at chess[35] and chaupar, and could carry on a conversation by stringing flowers in a peculiar manner. If he plumed himself upon his pretensions, his vanity was always veiled under a demeanour full of courtesy and grace; and Maharaja Sheodan Singh would be esteemed a well-bred and well-informed man at the most polished court of Europe.

Every chief has his band, vocal and instrumental; but Sindhia, some years since, carried away the most celebrated vocalists of Udaipur. The Rajputs are all partial to music. The tappa is the favourite measure. Its chief character is plaintive simplicity; and it is analogous to the Scotch, or perhaps still more to the Norman.[36]

755The Rana, who is a great patron of the art, has a small band of musicians, whose only instrument is the shahna, or hautboy. They played their national [649] tappas with great taste and feeling; and these strains, wafted from the lofty terrace of the palace in the silence of the night, produced a sensation of delight not unmixed with pain, which its peculiarly melancholy character excites. The Rana has also a few flute or flageolet players, who discourse most eloquent music. Indeed, we may enumerate this among the principal amusements of the Rajputs; and although it would be deemed indecorous to be a performer, the science forms a part of education.[37]

Who that has marched in the stillness of night through the mountainous regions of Central India, and heard the warder sound the turai from his turreted abode, perched like an eyrie on the mountain-top, can ever forget its graduated intensity of sound, or the emphatic ham! ham! “all’s well,”“all’s well,” which follows the lengthened blast of the cornet reverberating in every recess.[38]


—A species of bagpipe, so common to all the Celtic races of Europe, is not unknown to the Rajputs. It is called the mashak,[39] but is only the rudiment of that instrument whose 756peculiar influence on the physical, through the moral agency of man, is described by our own master-bard. They have likewise the double flageolet; but in the same ratio of perfection to that of Europe as the mashak to the heart-stirring pipe of the north. As to their lutes, guitars, and all the varieties of tintinnabulants (as Dr. Johnson would call them), it would fatigue without interesting the reader to enumerate them.

Literature among the Rajputs. Observatories.

—We now come to the literary attainments of the lords of Rajasthan, of whom there is none without sufficient clerkship to read his grant or agreement for rakhwali or blackmail; and none either so ignorant, or so proud, as the boasted ancestral wisdom of England, whose barons could not even sign their names to the great charter of their liberties. The Rana of Udaipur has unlimited command of [650] his pen, and his letters are admirable; but we may say of him nearly what was remarked of Charles the Second—“he never wrote a foolish thing, and seldom did a wise one.” The familiar epistolary correspondence of the princes and nobles of Rajasthan would exhibit abundant testimony of their powers of mind: they are sprinkled with classical allusions, and evince that knowledge of mankind which constant collision in society must produce. A collection of these letters, which exist in the archives of every principality, would prove that the princes of this country are upon a par with the rest of mankind, not only in natural understanding, but, taking their opportunities into account, even in its cultivation. The prince who in Europe could quote Hesiod and Homer with the freedom that the Rana does on all occasions Vyasa and Valmiki, would be accounted a prodigy; and there is not a divine who could make application of the ordinances of Moses with more facility than the Rana of those of their great lawgiver Manu. When they talk of the wisdom of their ancestors, it is not a mere figure of speech. The instruction of their princes is laid down in rules held sacred, and must have been far more onerous than any system of European university education, for scarcely a branch of human knowledge is omitted. But the cultivation of the mind, and the arts of polished life, must always flourish in the ratio of a nation’s 757prosperity, and from the decline of the one, we may date the deterioration of the other with the Rajput. The astronomer has now no patron to look to for reward; there is no Jai Singh to erect such stupendous observatories as he built at Delhi, Benares, Ujjain, and at his own capital;[40] to construct globes and armillary spheres, of which, according to their own and our system, the Kotah prince has two, each three feet in diameter. The same prince (Jai Singh) collated De la Hire’s tables with those of Ulugh Beg, and presented the result to the last emperor of Delhi, worthy the name of the Great Mogul. To these tables he gave the name of Zij Muhammad Shahi. It was Jai Singh who, as already mentioned, sought to establish sumptuary laws throughout the nation, to regulate marriages, and thereby prevent infanticide; and who left his name to the capital he founded, the first in Rajasthan.

But we cannot march over fifty miles of country without observing traces of the genius, talent, and wealth of past days: though—whether the more abstruse sciences, or the lighter arts which embellish life—all are now fast disappearing [651]. Whether in the tranquillity secured to them by the destruction of their predatory foes, these arts and sciences may revive, and the nation regain its elevated tone, is a problem which time alone can solve.

Household Furniture.

—In their household economy, their furniture and decorations, they remain unchanged during the lapse of a thousand years. No chairs, no couches adorn their sitting apartments, though the painted and gilded ceiling may be supported by columns of serpentine, and the walls one mass of mirrors, marble, or china;—nothing but a soft carpet, hidden by a white cloth, on which the guests seat themselves according to rank. In fine, the quaint description of the chaplain to the first embassy which England sent to India, more than two hundred years ago, applies now, as it probably will two hundred years hence. “And now for the furniture the greatest men have in them [their houses], it is curta supellex, very little, they (the rooms) being not beautified with hangings, nor with anything besides to line their walls; for they have no chairs, stools, couches, 758tables, beds enclosed with canopies, or curtains, in any of their rooms. And the truth is, that if they had them, the extreme heat would forbid the use of many of them; all their bravery is upon their floors, on which they spread most excellent carpets.”[41]


—It were useless to expatiate on dress, either male or female, the fashion varying in each province and tribe, though the texture and materials are everywhere the same: cotton in summer, and quilted chintz or broadcloth in winter. The ladies have only three articles of parure; the ghaghra, or ‘petticoat’; the kanchuli, ‘or corset’; and the dopatta, or ‘scarf,’ which is occasionally thrown over [652] the head as a veil. Ornaments are without number. For the men, trousers of every shape and calibre, a tunic girded with a ceinture, and a scarf, form the wardrobe of every Rajput. The turban is the most important part of the dress, and is the unerring mark of the tribe; the form and 759fashion are various, and its decorations differ according to time and circumstances. The balaband, or ‘silken fillet,’ was once valued as the mark of the sovereign’s favour, and was tantamount to the courtly “orders” of Europe. The colour of the turban and tunic varies with the season; and the changes are rung upon crimson, saffron, and purple, though white is by far the most common. Their shoes are mere slippers, and sandals are worn by the common classes. Boots are yet used in hunting or war, made of chamois leather, of which material the warrior often has a doublet, being more commodious, and less oppressive, than armour. The dagger or poniard is inseparable from the girdle.

Cookery, Medicine.

—The culinary art will be discussed elsewhere, together with the medical, which is very low, and usurped by empyrics, who waste alike the purse and health of the ignorant by the sale of aphrodisiacs, which are sought after with great avidity. Gums, metals, minerals, all are compounded, and for one preparation, while the author was at Udaipur, 7000 rupees (nearly £1000) were expended by the court-physician.


—Their superstitions, incantations, charms, and phylacteries against danger, mental or bodily, will appear more appropriately where the subject is incidently introduced [653].

To face page 760.

1. Manu, Laws, v. 157, 160, 161.

2. Were all Manu’s maxims on this head collected, and with other good authorities, printed, circulated, and supported by Hindu missionaries, who might be brought to advocate the abolition of Satiism, some good might be effected. Let every text tending to the respectability of widowhood be made prominent, and degrade the opponents by enumerating the weak points they abound in. Instance the polyandry which prevailed among the Pandus, whose high priest Vyasa was an illegitimate branch; though above all would be the efficacy of the abolition of polygamy, which in the lower classes leaves women destitute, and in the higher condemns them to mortification and neglect. Whatever result such a course might produce, there can be no danger in the experiment. Such sacrifices must operate powerfully on manners; and, barbarous as is the custom, yet while it springs from the same principle, it ought to improve the condition of women, from the fear that harsh treatment of them might defeat the atonement hereafter. Let the advocate for the abolition of this practice by the hand of power read attentively Mr. Colebrooke’s essay, “On the Duties of a Faithful Hindu Widow,” in the fourth volume of the Asiatic Researches [Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus, ed. 1858, p. 70 ff.], to correct the notion that there is no adequate religious ordinance for the horrid sacrifice. Mr. C. observes (p. 220): “Though an alternative be allowed, the Hindu legislators have shown themselves disposed to encourage widows to burn themselves with their husband’s corpse.” In this paper he will find too many authorities deemed sacred for its support; but it is only by knowing the full extent of the prejudices and carefully collecting the conflicting authorities, that we can provide the means to overcome it. Jahangir legislated for the abolition of this practice by successive ordinances. At first he commanded that no woman, being mother of a family, should under any circumstances be permitted, however willing, to immolate herself; and subsequently the prohibition was made entire when the slightest compulsion was required, “whatever the assurances of the people might be.” The royal commentator records no reaction. We might imitate Jahangir, and adopting the partially prohibitive ordinance, forbid the sacrifice where there was a family to rear. [The early texts on the subject of Sati have been collected by H. H. Wilson, Essays and Lectures chiefly on the Religion of the Hindus, 1881, ii. 270 ff. Also see Max Müller, Selected Essays on Language, Mythology, and Religion, 1881, i. 332 ff.

3. [On Sati shrines and records of their deaths at Bikaner see General G. Hervey, Some Records of Crime, i. 209 f., 238 ff.]

4. The Ghakkars, a Scythic race inhabiting the banks of the Indus, at an early period of history were given to infanticide. “It was a custom among them,” says Ferishta, “as soon as a female child was born, to carry her to the market-place and there proclaim aloud, holding the child in one hand and a knife in the other, that any person who wanted a wife might now take her; otherwise she was immediately put to death. By this means they had more men than women, which occasioned the custom of several husbands to one wife. When this wife was visited by one of her husbands, she set up a mark at the door, which being observed by any of the others who might be coming on the same errand, he immediately withdrew till the signal was taken away.”

[This quotation from Ferishta is taken from Dow (2nd ed. i. 138 f.). Compare Briggs’ trans., i. 183 f. This account is denied by the present members of the tribe (Rose, Glossary, ii. 275). Much that is said about them refers to the Khokhar tribe (Elliot-Dowson v. 166, note).]

5. Could they be induced to adopt the custom of the ancient Marsellois, infanticide might cease: “Marseille fut la plus sage des républiques de son temps: les dots ne pourraient passer cents écus en argent, et cinq en habits, dit Strabon” (De l’Esprit des Lois, chap. xv. liv. v. 21).

6. [Dr. L. P. Tesitori writes that the true form of this word is visar, ‘satire,’ which has no connexion with vis, ‘poison.’]

7. [This term and the custom of extravagant gifts at marriages still prevail. Pasārna means ‘to scatter, display’ (Russell, Tribes and Castes Central Provinces, ii. 256).]

8. [Asiatic Researches, iv. 353 f.; Calcutta Review, i. 377.]

9. [For recent measures proposed for reduction of marriage expenses, see Risley, The People of India, 2nd ed. 195 ff.]

10. Banda is ‘a bondsman’ in Persian; Bandi, ‘a female slave’ in Hindi. [These words have no connexion with “bondage.”]

11. Judges v. 28-30.

12. Manu, Laws, iii. 26.

13. Manu, Laws, iii. 33.

14. “When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife” (Deut. xxi. 10, 11, 12, 13).

15. [On head-shaving as a mark of slavery see Jātaka, Cambridge trans., v. 125; Anantha Krishna Iyer, Tribes and Castes of Cochin, ii. 337; BG, ix. Part i. 232.]

16. I remember in my subaltern days, and wanderings through countries then little known, one of my Rajput soldiers at the well, impatient for water, asked a woman for the rope and bucket by the uncivil term of rand: “Main Rajputni che,” ‘I am a Rajputni,’ she replied in the Hara dialect, to which tribe she belonged, “aur Rajput ki ma cho,” ‘and the mother of Rajputs.’ At the indignant reply the hands of the brave Kalyan were folded, and he asked her forgiveness by the endearing and respectful epithet of “mother.” It was soon granted, and filling his brass vessel, she dismissed him with the epithet of “son,” and a gentle reproof. Kalyan was himself a Rajput, and a bolder lives not, if he still exists; this was in 1807, and in 1817 he gained his sergeant’s knot, as one of the thirty-two firelocks of my guard, who led the attack, and defeated a camp of fifteen hundred Pindaris.

17. Laws, ii. 129.

18. Ibid. iii. 114.

19. Ibid. iii. 57, 60, 61, 62, 63.

20. I have conversed for hours with the Bundi queen-mother on the affairs of her government and welfare of her infant son, to whom I was left guardian by his dying father. She had adopted me as her brother; but the conversation was always in the presence of a third person in her confidence, and a curtain separated us. Her sentiments showed invariably a correct and extensive knowledge, which was equally apparent in her letters, of which I had many. I could give many similar instances.

21. Ferishta in his history [ii. 217 ff.] gives an animated picture of Durgavati, queen of Garha, defending the rights of her infant son against Akbar’s ambition. Like another Boadicea, she headed her army, and fought a desperate battle with Asaf Khan, in which she was wounded and defeated; but scorning flight, or to survive the loss of independence, she, like the antique Roman in such a predicament, slew herself on the field of battle. [For Durgāvati see Badaoni, trans. W. H. Lowe, ii. 65; Elliot-Dowson v. 169, 288, vi. 118 ff.; Sleeman, Rambles, 190 f.

Whoever desires to judge of the comparative fidelity of the translations of this writer, by Dow [ii. 224 ff.] and Briggs, cannot do better than refer to this very passage. The former has clothed it in all the trappings of Ossianic decoration: the latter gives “a plain unvarnished tale,” which ought to be the aim of every translator.

22. Sachha is very comprehensive; in common parlance it is the opposite of ‘untrue’; but it means ‘loyal, upright, just.’

23. [Āīn, iii. 114.]

24. [Ibid. iii. 8.]

25. The autobiography of both these noble Tatar princes are singular compositions, and may be given as standards of Eastern intellectual acquirement. They minutely note the progress of refinement and luxury. [The sweet melon was probably introduced from Persia, but some varieties of the plant seem to be indigenous. India, however, has a strong claim to ancient cultivation of the vine. Doubtless to the Portuguese may be assigned the credit of having conveyed both the tobacco plant and the knowledge of its properties to India and China (Watt, Econ. Dict. ii. 626, 628, vi. Part iv. 263, v. 361; Id. Comm. Prod. 437 f., 796, 1112; Yule, Hobson-Jobson, 2nd ed. 924 ff.)].

26. [If the Greeks discovered opium, the Arabs were chiefly concerned in disseminating in the East the knowledge of the plant and its uses (Watt, Econ. Dict. vi. Part i. 24 ff.; Comm. Prod. 846).]

27. ‘Araq, ‘essence’; whence arrack and rack.

28. Even in the midst of conversation, the eye closes and the head nods as the exciting cause is dissipating, and the countenance assumes a perfect vacuity of expression. Many a chief has taken his siesta in his chair while on a visit to me: an especial failing of my good friend Raj Kalyan of Sadri, the descendant of the brave Shama, who won “the right hand” of the prince at Haldighat. The lofty turban worn by the Raj, which distinguishes this tribe (the Jhala), was often on the point of tumbling into my lap, as he unconsciously nodded. When it is inconvenient to dissolve the opium, the chief carries it in his pocket, and presents it, as we would a pinch of snuff in Europe. In my subaltern days the chieftain of Senthal, in Jaipur, on paying me a visit, presented me with a piece of opium, which I took and laid on the table. Observing that I did not eat it, he said he should like to try the Farangi ka amal, ‘the opiate of the Franks.’ I sent him a bottle of powerful Schiedam, and to his inquiry as to the quantity of the dose, I told him he might take from an eighth to the half, as he desired exhilaration or oblivion. We were to have hunted the next morning; but having no sign of my friend, I was obliged to march without ascertaining the effect of the barter of aphim for the waters of Friesland; though I have no doubt that he found them quite Lethean. [The Rājputs ascribed a divine power to opium owing to the mental exhilaration caused by the drug: hence the taking of it with a chief was a form of solemn communion, and a renewal of the pledge of loyalty (Russell, Tribes and Castes, Central Provinces, i. 170, iii. 164, iv. 425). For opium drinking among Rājputs see Malcolm, Memoir, Central India, 2nd ed. ii. 146 f.; Forbes, Rāsmāla, 557)557).]

29. [The use of the bow has now disappeared except among forest tribes. For its use in Mogul times see Irvine, Army of the Indian Moghuls, 91 ff.]

30. The author has now before him a letter written by the queen-mother of Bundi desiring his rejoicings on Lalji, ‘the beloved’s,’ coup d’essai on a deer, which he had followed most pertinaciously to the death. On this occasion a court was held, and all the chiefs presented offerings and congratulations.

31. [For the Jethi wrestlers in S. India see Thurston, Tribes and Castes, ii. 456 ff.]

32. [It takes its name from the town where they were made. The blade is slightly curved, one specimen being rather narrower and lighter than the ordinary sword (talwār), (Egerton, Handbook of Indian Arms, 1880, p. 105; Irvine, Army of the Indian Moghuls, 76 f.).]

33. Poetic impromptus pass on these occasions unrestricted by the fear of the critic, though the long yawn now and then should have given the hint to my friend the Maharaja that his verses wanted Attic. But he had certainly talent, and he did not conceal his light, which shone the stronger from the darkness that surrounded him: for poverty is not the school of genius, and the trade of the schoolmaster has ever been the least lucrative in a capital where rapine has ruled.

34. There are two of these alligators quite familiar to the inhabitants of Udaipur, who come when called “from the vasty deep” for food; and I have often exasperated them by throwing an inflated bladder, which the monsters greedily received, only to dive away in angry disappointment. It was on these that my friend affirmed he had ventured.

35. Chaturanga, so called from imitating the formation of an army. The ‘four’ (chatur) ‘bodied’ (anga) array; or elephants, chariots, horse, and foot. His chief antagonist at chess was a blind man of the city. [Chaupar is played with oblong dice on a board with two transverse bars in the form of a cross, like chausar and pachīsī.]

36. The tappa belongs to the very extremity of India, being indigenous as far as the Indus and the countries watered by its arms; and though the peculiar measure is common in Rajasthan, the prefix of panjabi shows its origin. I have listened at Caen to the viola or hurdy-gurdy, till I could have fancied myself in Mewar.

37. Chand remarks of his hero, the Chauhan, that he was “master of the art,” both vocal and instrumental. Whether profane music was ever common may be doubted; but sacred music was a part of early education with the sons of kings. Rama and his brothers were celebrated for the harmonious execution of episodes from the grand epic, the Ramayana. The sacred canticles of Jayadeva were set to music, and apparently by himself, and are yet sung by the Chaubes. The inhabitants of the various monastic establishments chant their addresses to the deity; and I have listened with delight to the modulated cadences of the hermits, singing the praises of Pataliswara from their pinnacled abode of Abu. It would be injustice to touch incidentally on the merits of the minstrel Dholi, who sings the warlike compositions of the sacred Bardai of Rajasthan.

38. The turai is the sole instrument of the many of the trumpet kind which is not dissonant. The Kotah prince has the largest band, perhaps, in these countries; instruments of all kinds—stringed, wind, and percussion. But as it is formed by rule, in which the sacred and shrill conch-shell takes precedence, it must be allowed that it is anything but harmonious.

39. [Mashak is the name of the leather water-bag. One of the late Rājas of Jind in the Panjāb had a bagpipe band, the musicians wearing kilts and pink leggings to make them look like their Highland originals. The Yanādis, a forest tribe in Madras, play the bagpipe (Thurston, Tribes and Castes, vii. 431).]

40. [For these observatories see A. ff. Garrett, Pandit Chandradhar Guleri, The Jaipur Observatory and its Builder, Allahabad, 1902; Fanshawe, Delhi Past and Present, 247 f.; M. A. Sherring, The Sacred City of the Hindus, 131 ff.; Asiatic Researches, v. 177 ff.]

41. [E. Terry, A Voyage to East India, ed. 1777, p. 185.] Those who wish for an opinion “of the most excellent moralities which are to be observed amongst the people of these nations” cannot do better than read the 14th section of the observant, intelligent, and tolerant chaplain, who is more just, at least on one point, than the modern missionary, who denies to the Hindu filial affection. “And here I shall insert another most needful particular to my present purpose which deserves a most high commendation to be given unto that people in general, how poor and mean soever they be; and that is, the great exemplary care they manifest in their piety to their parents, that notwithstanding they serve for very little, but five shillings a moon for their whole livelihood and subsistence, yet if their parents be in want, they will impart, at the least, half of that little towards their necessities, choosing rather to want themselves than that their parents should suffer need.” It is in fact one of the first precepts of their religion. The Chaplain thus concludes his chapter “On the Moralities of the Hindu” [232 f.]: “O! what a sad thing is it for Christians to come short of Indians, even in moralities; come short of those, who themselves believe to come short of heaven!” The Chaplain closes his interesting and instructive work with the subject of Conversion, which is as remote from accomplishment at this day as it was at that distant period. “Well known it is that the Jesuits there, who, like the Pharisees that would ‘compass sea and land to make one proselyte’ (Matt. xxiii. 15), have sent into Christendom many large reports of their great conversions of infidels in East India. But all these boastings are but reports; the truth is, that they have there spilt the precious water of Baptism upon some few faces, working upon the necessity of some poor men, who for want of means, which they give them, are contented to wear crucifixes; but for want of knowledge in the doctrine of Christianity are only in name Christians.”[A]

A. A Voyage to East India, 427.



Leaving Udaipur.

October 11, 1819.—Two years had nearly sped since we entered the valley of Udaipur, the most diversified and most romantic spot on the continent of India. In all this time none of us had penetrated beyond the rocky barrier which formed the limit of our horizon, affording the vision a sweep of six miles radius. Each hill and dale, tower and tree, had become familiar to us; every altar, cenotaph, and shrine had furnished its legend, till tradition was exhausted. The ruins were explored, their inscriptions deciphered, each fantastic pinnacle had a name, and the most remarkable chieftains and servants of the court had epithets assigned to them, expressive of some quality or characteristic. We had our ‘Red Reaver,’ our ‘Roderic Dhu,’ and a ‘Falstaff,’ at the court; our ‘Catalani,’ our ‘Vestris,’ in the song or the ballet. We had our palace in the city, our cutter on the lake, our villa in the woods, our fairy-islands in the waters; streams to angle in, deer to [654] shoot, much, in short, to please the eye and gratify the taste:—yet did ennui intrude, and all panted to escape from the “happy valley,” to see what was in the world beyond the mountains. In all these twenty moons, the gigantic portals of Debari, which guard the entrance of the Girwa,[1] had not once creaked on their hinges for our egress; and though from incessant occupation I had wherewithal to lessen the taedium vitae, my companions not having such resources, 761it was in vain that, like the sage Imlac, I urged them not to feel dull in this “blissful captivity”: the scenery had become hideous, and I verily believe had there been any pinion-maker in the capital of the Sesodias, they would have essayed a flight, though it might have terminated in the lake. Never did Rasselas sigh more for escape. At length the day arrived, and although the change was to be from all that constitutes the enchantments of vision, from wood and water, dale and mountain, verdure and foliage, to the sterile plains of the sandy desert of Marwar, it was sufficient that it was change. Our party was composed of Captain Waugh, Lieutenant Carey, and Dr. Duncan, with the whole of the escort, consisting of two companies of foot and sixty of Skinner’s Horse, all alike delighted to quit the valley where each had suffered more or less from the prevalent fevers of the monsoon, during which the valley is peculiarly unhealthy, especially to foreigners, when the wells and reservoirs overflow from the springs which break in, impregnated with putrid vegetation and mineral poisons, covering the surface with a bluish oily fluid. The art of filtrating water to free it from impurities is unknown to the Rajputs, and with some shame I record that we did not make them wiser, though they are not strangers to the more simple process, adopted throughout the desert, of using potash and alum; the former to neutralize the salt and render the water more fit for culinary purposes; the latter to throw down the impurities held suspended. They also use an alkaline nut in washing, which by simply steeping emits a froth which is a good substitute for soap.[2]

On the 12th October, at five A.M., our trumpet sounded to horse, and we were not slow in obeying the summons; the “yellow boys” with their old native commandant looking even more cheerful than usual as we joined them. Skinner’s Horse[3] wear a jamah or tunic of yellow broadcloth, with scarlet turbans and cincture. Who [655] does not know that James Skinner’s men are the most orderly in the Company’s service, and that in every 762other qualification constituting the efficient soldier, they are second to none? On another signal which reverberated from the palace, where the drums announced that the descendant of Surya was no sluggard, we moved on through the yet silent capital towards the gate of the sun, where we found drawn up the quotas of Bhindar, Delwara, Amet, and Bansi, sent as an honorary guard by the Rana, to escort us to the frontiers. As they would have been an incumbrance to me and an inconvenience to the country, from their laxity of discipline, after chatting with their leader, during a sociable ride, I dismissed them at the pass, with my respects to the Rana and their several chieftains. We reached the camp before eight o’clock, the distance being only thirteen miles. The spot chosen (and where I afterwards built a residence) was a rising ground between the villages of Merta and Tus, sprinkled with trees, and for a space of four miles clear of the belt of forest which fringes the granite barriers of the valley. It commanded an entire view of the plains in the direction of Chitor, still covered, excepting a patch of cultivation here and there, with jungle. The tiger-mount, its preserves of game, and the mouldering hunting-seats of the Rana and his chieftains, were three miles to the north; to the south, a mile distant, we had the Berach River, abounding in trout; and the noble lake whence it issues, called after its founder the Udai Sagar, was not more than three to the west. For several reasons it was deemed advisable to choose a spot out of the valley; the health of the party, though not an unimportant, was not a principal motive for choosing such a distance from the court. The wretchedness in which we found it rendered a certain degree of interference requisite, and it was necessary that they should shake this off, in order to preserve their independence. It was dreaded lest the aid requested by the Rana, from the peculiar circumstances on our first going amongst them, might be construed as a precedent for the intrusion of advice on after occasions. The distance between the court and the agent of the British Government was calculated to diminish this impression, and obliged them also to trust to their own resources, after the machine was once set in motion. On the heights of Tus our tents were pitched, the escort paraded, and St. George’s flag displayed. Here camels, almost wild, were fitted for the first time with the pack-saddle, lamenting in discordant gutturals 763the [656] hardship of their fate, though luckily ignorant of the difference between grazing whither they listed in the happy valley, and carrying a load in “the region of death,” where they would only find the thorny mimosa or prickly phog[4] to satisfy their hunger.


October 13.—There being no greater trial of patience than the preparations for a march after a long halt, we left the camp at daybreak amidst the most discordant yells from the throats of a hundred camels, which drowned every attempt to be heard, while the elephants squeaked their delight in that peculiar treble which they emit when happy. There was one little fellow enjoying himself free from all restraints of curbs or pack-saddles, and inserting his proboscis into the sepoy’s baggage, whence he would extract a bag of flour, and move off, pursued by the owner; which was sure to produce shouts of mirth to add to the discord. This little representative of Ganesa was only eight years old, and not more than twelve hands high. He was a most agreeable pet, though the proofs he gave of his wisdom in trusting himself amidst the men when cooking their dinners, were sometimes disagreeable to them, but infinitely amusing to those who watched his actions. The rains having broken up unusually late, we found the boggy ground, on which we had to march, totally unable to bear the pressure of loaded cattle; even the ridges, which just showed their crests of quartz above the surface, were not safe. Our route was over a fine plain well wooded and watered, soil excellent, and studded with numerous large villages; yet all presenting uniformly the effects of warfare and rapine. The landscape, rendered the more interesting by our long incarceration in the valley, was abstractedly pleasing. On our left lay the mountains enclosing the capital, on one of whose elevated peaks are the ruins of Ratakot, overlooking all around; while to the east the eye might in vain seek for a boundary. We passed Deopur, once a township of some consequence, and forming part of the domain of the Bhanej,[5] Zalim Singh, the 764heir of Marwar, whose history, if it could be given here, would redeem the nobles of Rajputana from the charge of being of uncultivated intellect. In listening to [657] his biography, both time and place were unheeded; the narrator, my own venerable Guru,[6] had imbibed much of his varied knowledge from this accomplished chieftain, to whom arms and letters were alike familiar. He was the son of Raja Bijai Singh and a princess of Mewar: but domestic quarrels made it necessary to abandon the paternal for the maternal mansion, and a domain was assigned by the Rana, which put him on a footing with his own children. Without neglecting any of the martial amusements and exercises of the Rajput, he gave up all those hours, generally devoted to idleness, to the cultivation of letters. He was versed in philosophical theology, astronomy, and the history of his country; and in every branch of poesy, from the sacred canticles of Jayadeva to the couplets of the modern bard, he was an adept. He composed and improvised with facility, and his residence was the rendezvous for every bard of fame. That my respected tutor did not overrate his acquirements, I had the best proof in his own, for all which (and he rated them at an immeasurable distance compared with the subject of his eulogy) he held himself indebted to the heir of Marwar, who was at length slain in asserting his right to the throne in the desert.

Rām Singh and the Rāja of Narsinghgarh. The Oswāl Mahājans.

—After a four hours’ march, picking our way amidst swamps and treacherous bogs, we reached the advanced tents at Pallana. Like Deopur, it presented the spectacle of a ruin, a corner of which held all its inhabitants; the remains of temples and private edifices showed what it had once been. Both towns formerly belonged to the fisc of the Rana, who, with his usual improvidence, on the death of his nephew included them in the grant to the temple of Kanhaiya. I found at my tents the minister’s right hand, Ram Singh Mehta; Manikchand, the Diwan or factotum of the chieftain of Bhindar; and the ex-Raja 765of Narsinghgarh, now an exile at Udaipur.[7] The first was a fine specimen of the non-militant class of these countries, and although he had seldom passed the boundaries of Mewar, no country could produce a better specimen of a courteous gentleman: his figure tall, deportment easy, features regular and handsome, complexion fair, with a fine slightly-curled beard and mustachios jet black. Ram Singh, without being conceited, is aware that nature has been indulgent to him, and without any foppery he pays great attention to externals. He is always elegantly attired, and varies with good taste the colours of his turban and ceinture, though his loose tunics are always white; the aroma of the itr is the only mark of the dandy about him: and this forms no criterion [658], as our red coats attest, which receive a sprinkling at every visit. With his dagger and pendent tassel, and the balaband or purple cordon (the Rana’s gift) round his turban, behold the servant “whom the king delighteth to honour.” As he has to support himself by paying court to the Rana’s sister, the queens, and other fair influentials behind the curtain, his personal attraits are no slight auxiliaries. He is of the Jain faith, and of the tribe of Osi, which now reckons one hundred thousand families, all of Rajput origin, and descendants of the Agnikula stock. They proselytized in remote antiquity, and settling at the town of Osi in Marwar, retain this designation, or the still more common one of Oswal. It was from the Pramara and Solanki branches of the Agnikula race that these assumed the doctrines of Buddha or Jaina: not however from the ranks of the Brahmans, but, as I firmly believe, from that faith, whatever it was, which these Scythic or Takshak tribes brought from beyond the Indus. In like manner we found the Chauhan (also an Agnikula) regenerated by the Brahmans on Mount Abu; while the fourth tribe, the Parihara (ancient sovereigns of Kashmir), have left traces in the monuments of their capital, Mandor, that they espoused the then prevailing faith of Rajasthan, namely, that of Buddha.[8]


—Manikchand, also of the Jain faith, but of a different tribe (the Sambhari), was in all the reverse of Ram Singh. 766He was tall, thin, rather bent, and of swarthy complexion, and his tongue and his beads were in perpetual motion. He had mixed in all the intrigues of the last quarter of a century, and, setting Zalim Singh of Kotah aside, had more influenced events than any individual now alive. He was the organ of the Saktawats, and the steward and counsellor of the head of this clan, the Bhindar chief; and being accordingly the irreconcilable foe of the Chondawats, had employed all the resources of his talents and his credit to effect their humiliation. To this end, he has leagued with Sindis, Pathans, and Mahrattas, and would not have scrupled to coalesce with his Satanic Majesty, could he thereby have advanced their revenge: in pursuance of which he has been detained in confinement as a hostage, put to torture from inability to furnish the funds he would unhesitatingly promise for aid, and all the while sure of death if he fell into the hands of his political antagonists. His talent and general information made him always a welcome guest: which was wormwood to the Chondawats, who laid claim to a monopoly of patriotism, and stigmatized the Saktawats as the destroyers [659] of Mewar, though in truth both were equally blind to her interests in their contests for supremacy. He was now beyond fifty, and appeared much older; but was cheerful, good-humoured, and conversant in all the varied occurrences of the times. He at length completely established himself in the Rana’s good graces, who gave his elder son a confidential employment. Had he lived, he would have been conspicuous, for he had all the talent of his father, with the personal adjuncts possessed by Ram Singh; but being sensitive and proud, he swallowed poison, in consequence it was said of the severity of an undeserved rebuke from his father, and died generally regretted. I may here relate the end of poor Manika. It was on the ground we had just quitted that he visited me for the last time, on my return from the journey just commenced. He had obtained the contract for the whole transit duties of the State, at the rate of 250,000 rupees per annum. Whether from the corruption of his numerous deputy collectors, his own cupidity, or negligence, he professed his inability to fulfil the contract by nearly a sixth of the amount, though from his talents and promises, a perfect establishment of this important department, which had been taken from others on his account, was expected. It was difficult to judge charitably of his assertions, 767without giving occasion to his enemies to put a wrong construction on the motives. He pitched his tent near me, and requested an interview. He looked very disconsolate, and remarked, that he had seven several times left his tent, and as often turned back, the bird of omen having each time passed him on the adverse side; but that at length he had determined to disregard it, as having forfeited confidence, he was indifferent to the future. He admitted the profligacy of his inferiors, whom he had not sufficiently superintended, and took his leave, promising by assiduity to redeem his engagements, though his past character for intrigue made his asseverations doubtful. Again failing to make good his promises, or, as was surmised, having applied the funds to his own estate, he took saran with the Raja of Shahpura; where, mortified in all probability by the reflection of the exultation of his rivals over his disgrace, and having lost the confidence of his own chief when he obtained that of the Rana, he had recourse to the usual expedient of these countries when “perplexed in the extreme,”—took poison and died.

The Rāja of Narsinghgarh.

—The last of the trio of visitors on this occasion, the Raja of Narsinghgarh, is now, as before stated, in exile. He is of the tribe of Umat, one of thirty-six divisions [660] of the Pramaras,[9] settled during fifteen generations in Central India, and giving the name of Umatwara to the petty sovereignty of which Narsinghgarh is the capital. Placed in the very heart of the predatory hordes, the Pindaris and Mahrattas occupied almost every village that owned their sway, and compelled him to the degradation of living under Holkar’s orange standard, which waved over the battlements of his abode. To one or other of the great Mahratta leaders, Sindhia and Holkar, all the petty princes were made tributary dependents, and Umatwara had early acknowledged Holkar, paying the annual sum of eighty thousand rupees: but this vassalage did not secure the Raja from the ravages of the other spoliators, nor from the rapacity of the myrmidons of his immediate lord paramount. In 1817, when 768these countries, for the first time in many centuries, tasted the blessings of peace, Umatwara was, like Mewar, a mass of ruins, its fertile lands being overgrown with the thorny mimosa or the useful kesula. The Raja partook of the demoralization around him; he sought refuge in opium and arak from his miseries, and was totally unfitted to aid in the work of redemption when happier days shone upon them. His son Chain Singh contrived to escape these snares, and was found in every respect competent to cooperate in the work of renovation, and through the intervention of the British agent (Major Henley), an arrangement was effected by which the Raja retired on a stipend and the son carried on the duties of government in his name.[10]

It was unfortunate for these ancient races, that on the fortunate occasion presented in 1817-18, when both Sindhia and Holkar aimed at the overthrow of our power (the one treacherously cloaking his views, the other disclosing them in the field), our policy did not readily grasp it, to rescue all these States from ruin and dependence. Unfortunately, their peculiar history was little known, or it would have been easily perceived that they presented the exact materials we required between us and the entire occupation of the country. But there was then a strong notion afloat of a species of balance of power, and it was imagined that these demoralized and often humiliated Mahrattas were the fittest materials to throw into the scale—against I know not what, except ourselves: for assuredly the day of our reverses will be a jubilee to them, and will level every spear that they can bring against our existence. They would merit contempt if they acted [661] otherwise. Can they cease to remember that the orange flag which waved in triumph from the Sutlej to the Kistna has been replaced by the cross of St. George? But the snake which flutters in tortuous folds thereon, fitting crest for the wily Mahratta, is only scathed, and may yet call forth the lance of the red cross knight to give the coup de grace.[11] Let it then be remembered that, both as regards good policy and justice, we owe to these States—independence.

To what does our interference with Umatwara tend, but to realize the tribute of Holkar; to fix a millstone round their necks, 769which, notwithstanding the comparative happiness they enjoy, will keep them always repining, and to secure which will make our interference eternal. Had a due advantage been taken of the hostilities in 1817, it might have obviated these evils by sending the predatory sovereign of half a century’s duration to a more restricted sphere. It may be said that it is easy to devise plans years after the events which immediately called for them: these not only were mine at the time, but were suggested to the proper authorities; and I am still disposed to think my views correct.

After chatting some time with the two chiefs described, and presenting them with itr and pan,[12] they took leave.

Nāthdwāra.October 14.—Marched at daybreak, and found the route almost impracticable for camels, from the swampy nature of the soil. The country is much broken with irregular low ridges of micaceous schist, in the shape of a chine or hog’s back, the crest of which has throughout all its length a vein of quartz piercing the slate, and resembling a back-bone; the direction of these veins is uniformly N.N.E., and the inclination about 75° to the east. Crossed the Nathdwara ridge, about four hundred feet in height, and, like the hills encircling the valley, composed of a brown granite intersected with protruding veins of quartz, incumbent on blue compact slate. The ascent was a mile and a half east of the town, and on the summit, which is table-land, there are two small lakes, whence water-courses conduct streams on each side of the road to supply the temple and the town. There are noble trees planted on either side of these rivulets, forming a delightful shade. As we passed through the town to our encampment on the [662] opposite side of the Banas River, the inhabitants crowded the streets, shouting their grateful acknowledgments to the power which had redeemed the sacred precincts of Kanhaiya from the scenes of turpitude amidst which they had grown up. They were all looking forward with much pleasure to the approaching festival of Annakuta.

770October 15.—Halted to allow the baggage to join, which, partly from the swamps and partly from the intractable temper of the cattle, we have not seen since we parted company at Merta. Received a visit from the Mukhya of the temple, accompanied by a pilgrim in the person of a rich banker of Surat. A splendid quilted cloak of gold brocade, a blue scarf with a deep border of gold, and an embroidered band for the head, were brought to me as the gift of the god through his high-priest, in testimony of my zeal. I was also honoured with a tray of the sacred food, which consisted of all the dried fruits, spices, and aromatics of the East. In the evening I had a portion of the afternoon repast, consisting of a preparation of milk; but the days of simplicity are gone, and the Apollo of Vraj has his curds adulterated with rose-water and amber. Perhaps, with the exception of Lodi, where is fabricated the far-famed Parmesan, whose pastures maintain forty thousand kine, there is no other place known which possesses more than the city of the Hindu Apollo, though but a tenth of that of Lodi. But from the four thousand cows, the expenditure of milk and butter for the votaries of Kanhaiya may be judged. I was entertained with the opinions of the old banker on the miraculous and oracular power of the god of Nathdwara. He had just been permitted to prostrate himself before the car which conveyed the deity from the Yamuna, and held forth on the impiety of the age, in withholding the transmission of the miraculous wheels from heaven, which in former days came once in six months. The most devout alone are permitted to worship the chariot of Kanhaiya. The garments which decorate his representative are changed several times a day, to imitate the different stages of his existence, from the youthful Bala to the conqueror of Kansa; or, as the Surat devotee said in broken English, “Oh, sir, he be much great god; he first of all; and he change from de balak, or child, to de fierce chief, with de bow and arrow a hees hands”; while the old Mukhya, whose office it is to perambulate the whole continent of India as one of the couriers of Kanhaiya, lifted up his eyes as he ejaculated, “Sri Krishna! Sri Krishna!” I gave him a paper [663] addressed to all officers of the British Government who might pass through the lands of the church, recommending the protection of the peacocks and pipal trees, and to forbear polluting the precincts of the god with the blood of animals. To avoid offending against their prejudices in this particular, I 771crossed the river, and killed our fowls within our own sanctuary, and afterwards concealed the murder by burying the feathers.

Sagacity of Elephants. Usarwās.

October 16.—There is nothing so painful as sitting down inactive when the mind is bent upon an object. Our escort was yet labouring in the swamps, and as we could not be worse off than we were, we deemed it better to advance, and accordingly decamped in the afternoon, sending on a tent to Usarwas; but though the distance was only eight miles we were benighted, and had the comfort to find old Fateh, “the victorious,” floundering with his load in a bog, out of which he was picking his way in a desperate rage. It is generally the driver’s fault when such an accident occurs: for if there be but a foot’s breadth of sound footing, so sensible is the animal, that he is sure to avoid danger if left to his own discretion and the free use of his proboscis, with which he thumps the ground as he cautiously proceeds step by step, giving signals to his keeper of the safety or the reverse of advancing, as clearly as if he spoke. Fateh’s signals had been disregarded, and he was accordingly in a great passion at finding himself abused, and kept from his cakes and butter, of which he had always thirty pounds’ weight at sunset. The sagacity of the elephant is well known, and was in no instance better displayed than in the predicament above described. I have seen the huge monster in a position which to him must have been appalling; but, with an instinctive reliance on others, he awaited in tolerable patience the arrival of materials for his extrication, in the shape of fascines and logs of wood, which being thrown to him, he placed deliberately in front, and making a stout resistance with head, teeth, and foot, pressing the wood, he brought up one leg after the other in a most methodical and pioneer-like manner, till he delivered himself from his miry prison. Fateh did not require such aid; but, aware that the fault was not his, he soon indignantly shook the load off his back, and left them to get it out in any manner they chose.


—Waited to aid in reloading, and it being already dusk, pushed on with my dog Belle, who, observing a couple of animals, darted off into the jungles, and led me after her as fast as the devious paths in such a savage scene would permit. But I [664] soon saw her scampering down the height, the game, in the shape of two huge wolves, close at her heels, and delighted to 772find rescue at hand. I have no doubt their retreat from my favourite greyhound was a mere ruse de guerre to lead her beyond supporting distance, and they had nearly effected their object: they went off in a very sulky and leisurely manner. In my subaltern days, when with the subsidiary force in Gohad, I remember scouring the tremendous ravines near the Antri Pass to get a spear at a wolf, my companion (Lieut. now Lieut.-Col. T. D. Smith) and myself were soon surrounded by many scores of these hungry animals, who prowled about our camp all night, having carried off a child the night before. As we charged in one direction, they gave way; but kept upon our quarters without the least fear, and seemingly enjoyed the fun. I do not recollect whether it excited any other feeling than mirth. They showed no symptom of ferocity, or desire to make a meal of us; or a retreat from these ravines, with their superior topographical knowledge, would doubtless have been difficult.

The Banās River. The Fairy Gift Legend.

—We passed the Banas River, just escaping from the rock-bound barriers, our path almost in contact with the water to the left. The stream was clear as crystal, and of great depth; the banks low and verdant, and fringed with wood. It was a lovely, lonely spot, and well deserved to be consecrated by legendary tale. In ancient times, ere these valleys were trod by the infidel Tatar, coco-nuts were here presented to the genius of the river, whose arm appeared above the waters to receive them; but ever since some unhallowed hand threw a stone in lieu of a coco-nut, the arm has been withdrawn.[13] Few in fact lived, either to supply or keep alive the traditions which lend a charm to a journey through these wild scenes, though full of bogs and wolves. We reached our journey’s end very late, and though no tents were up, we had the consolation to spy the cook in a snug corner with a leg of mutton before some blazing logs, round which he had placed the wall of a tent to check the force of the mountain air. We all congregated round the cook’s fire, and were infinitely happier in the prospect before us, and with the heavens for our canopy, than with all our accustomed conveniences and fare. Every one this day had taken his own road, and each had his adventure to relate. Our repast was delicious; nor did any favourable 773account reach us of tents or other luxuries to mar our enjoyments, till midnight, when the fly of the doctor’s tent arrived, of which we availed ourselves as a protection against the heavy dews of [665] the night; and though our bivouac was in a ploughed field, and we were surrounded by wild beasts in a silent waste, they proved no drawbacks to the enjoyment of repose.

Halted the 17th, to collect the dislocated baggage; for although such scenes, seasoned with romance, might do very well for us, our followers were ignorant of the name of Ann Radcliffe or other conjurers; and though admirers of tradition, like myself, preferred it after dinner. Usarwas is a valuable village, but now thinly inhabited. It was recently given by the Rana, with his accustomed want of reflection, to a Charan bard, literally for an old song. But even this folly was surpassed on his bestowing the township of Sesoda,[14] in the valley in advance, the place from which his tribe takes its appellation, on another of the fraternity, named Kishna, his master bard, who has the art to make his royal patron believe that opportunity alone is wanting to render his name as famed as that of the illustrious Sanga, or the immortal Partap. I received and returned the visit of an ascetic Sannyasi, whose hermitage was perched upon a cliff not far from our tents. Like most of his brethren, he was intelligent, and had a considerable store of local and foreign legends at command. He was dressed in a loose orange-coloured anga or tunic, with a turban of the same material, in which was twisted a necklace of the lotus-kernel;[15] he had another in his hand, with which he repeated the name of the deity at intervals. He expressed his own surprise and the sentiments of the inhabitants at the tranquillity they enjoyed, without any tumultuary cause being discoverable; and said that we must be something more than human. This superstitious feeling for a while was felt as well by the prince and the turbulent chief, as by the anchorite of Usarwas.


October 18.—Marched at daybreak to Samecha, distance twelve miles. Again found our advanced elephant and 774breakfast-tent in a swamp: halted to extricate him from his difficulties. The road from Nathdwara is but a footpath, over or skirting a succession of low broken ridges, covered with prickly shrubs, as the Khair, the Karil, and Babul.[16] At the village of Gaon Gura, midway in the morning’s journey, we entered the alpine valley called the Shera Nala. The village of Gura is placed in the opening or break in the range through which the river flows, whose serpentine meanderings indicate the only road up this majestic valley. On the banks, or in its bed, which we frequently crossed, lay [666] the remainder of this day’s march. The valley varies in breadth, but is seldom less than half a mile, the hills rising boldly from their base; some with a fine and even surface covered with mango trees, others lifting their splintered pinnacles into the clouds. Nature has been lavish of her beauties to this romantic region. The gular or wild fig, the sitaphal or custard-apple, the peach or aru badam (almond-peach),[17] are indigenous and abundant; the banks of the stream are shaded by the withy, while the large trees, the useful mango and picturesque tamarind, the sacred pipal and bar, are abundantly scattered with many others, throughout. Nor has nature in vain appealed to human industry and ingenuity to second her intents.

Terrace Cultivation.

—From the margin of the stream on each side to the mountain’s base they have constructed a series of terraces rising over each other, whence by simple and ingenious methods they raise the waters to irrigate the rich crops of sugar-cane, cotton, and rice, which they cultivate upon them. Here we have a proof that ingenuity is the same, when prompted by necessity, in the Jura or the Aravalli. Wherever soil could be found, or time decomposed these primitive rocks, a barrier was raised. When discovered, should it be in a hollow below, or on the summit of a crag, it is alike greedily seized on: even there water is found, and if you leave the path below and ascend a hundred feet above the terraces, you will discover pools or reservoirs dammed in with massive trees, which serve to irrigate such insulated spots, or serve as nurseries to the young rice-plants. Not unfrequently, their labour is entirely destroyed, and the dykes swept away by the periodical inundations; for we observed the high-water mark in the trees considerably up the 775acclivity. The rice crop was abundant, and the juar [millet] or maize was thriving, but scanty; the standard autumnal crop which preceded it, the makai, or ‘Indian corn,’ had been entirely devoured by the locust. The sugar-cane, by far the most valuable product of this curious region, was very fine but sparingly cultivated, from the dread of this insect, which for the last three years had ravaged the valley. There are two species of locusts, which come in clouds, darkening the air, from the desert: the pharka and the tiri are their names;[18] the first is the great enemy of our incipient prosperity. I observed a colony some time ago proceeding eastward with a rustling, rushing sound, like a distant torrent, or the wind in a forest at the fall of the leaf. We have thus to struggle against natural and artificial obstacles to the rising energies of the country; and dread of the pharkas deters speculators [667] from renting this fertile tract, which almost entirely belongs to the fisc. Its natural fertility cannot be better demonstrated than in recording the success of an experiment, which produced five crops, from the same piece of ground, within thirteen months. It must, however, be understood that two of these are species of millet, which are cut in six weeks from the time of sowing. A patch of ground, for which the cultivator pays six rupees rent, will produce sugar-cane six hundred rupees in value: but the labour and expense of cultivation are heavy, and cupidity too often deprives the husbandman of the greater share of the fruits, ninety rupees having been taken in arbitrary taxes, besides his original rent.

The air of this elevated region gave vigour to the limbs, and appetite to the disordered stomach. There was an exhilarating fraîcheur, which made us quite frantic; the transition being from 96° of Fahrenheit to English summer heat. We breakfasted in a verdant spot under the shade of a noble fig-tree fanned by the cool breezes from the mountains.

Samecha Town. Rājpūt Bhūmias.

—Samecha consists of three separate hamlets, each of about one hundred houses. It is situated at the base of a mountain distinctively termed Rana Pag, from a well-known path, by which the Ranas secured their retreat to the upland wilds when hard pushed by the Moguls. 776It also leads direct to the capital of the district, avoiding the circuitous route we were pursuing. Samecha is occupied by the Kumbhawats, descendants of Rana Kumbha, who came in a body with their elders at their head to visit me, bringing the famed kakri[19] of the valley (often three feet in length), curds, and a kid as gifts. I rose to receive these Rajaputras, the Bhumias or yeomen of the valley; and though undistinguishable in dress from the commonest cultivator, I did homage to their descent. Indeed, they did not require the auxiliaries of dress, their appearance being so striking as to draw forth the spontaneous exclamation from my friends, “what noble-looking fellows!” Their tall and robust figures, sharp aquiline features, and flowing beards, with a native dignity of demeanour (though excepting their chiefs, who wore turbans and scarfs, they were in their usual labouring dresses, immense loose breeches and turbans), compelled respect and admiration. Formerly they gave one hundred matchlocks for garrison duty at Kumbhalmer; but the Mahrattas have pillaged and impoverished them. These are the real allodial tenants of the land, performing personal local service, and paying an annual quit-rent. I conciliated their good opinion by [668] talking of the deeds of old days, the recollection of which a Rajput never outlives. The assembly under the fig-tree was truly picturesque, and would have furnished a good subject for Gerard Dow. Our baggage joined us at Samecha; but many of our camels were already worn out by labouring through swamps, for which they are by nature incapacitated.

October 19.—Marched to Kelwara, the capital of this mountainous region, and the abode of the Ranas when driven from Chitor and the plains of the Banas; on which occasion these valleys received and maintained a great portion of the population of Mewar. There is not a rock or a stream that has not some legend attached to it, connected with these times. The valley presents the same features as already described. Passed a cleft in the mountain on the left, through which a stream rushes, called the “elephant’s pool”; a short cut may be made by the foot passenger to Kelwara, but it is too intricate for any unaccustomed to these wilds to venture. We could not ascertain the origin of the “elephant’s pool,” but it is most likely connected with ancient warfare. Passed the village of Murcha, held by a 777Rathor chieftain. On the margin of a small lake adjoining the village, a small and very neat sacrificial altar attracted my regard; and not satisfied with the reply that it was sati ka makan, ‘the place of faith,’ I sent to request the attendance of the village seer. It proved to be that of the ancestor of the occupant: a proof of devotion to her husband, who had fallen in the wars waged by Aurangzeb against this country; when, with a relic of her lord, she mounted the pyre. He is sculptured on horseback, with lance at rest, to denote that it is no churl to whom the record is devoted.

To face page 776.

Near the “elephant’s pool,” and at the village of Kherli, two roads diverge: one, by the Bargula nal or pass, conducts direct to Nathdwara; the other, leading to Rincher, and the celebrated shrine of the four-armed god,[20] famed as a place of pilgrimage. The range on our left terminating abruptly, we turned by Uladar to Kelwara, and encamped in a mango-grove, on a tableland half a mile north of the town. Here the valley enlarges, presenting a wild, picturesque, and rugged appearance. The barometer indicated about a thousand feet of elevation above the level of Udaipur, which is about two thousand above the sea: yet we were scarcely above the base of the alpine cliffs which towered around us on all sides. It was the point of divergence for the waters, which, from the numerous fountains in [669] these uplands, descended each declivity, to refresh the arid plains of Marwar to the west, and to swell the lakes of Mewar to the east. Previous to the damming of the stream which forms that little ocean, the Kankroli lake, it is asserted that the supply to the west was very scanty, nearly all flowing eastward, or through the valley; but since the formation of the lake, and consequent saturation of the intermediate region, the streams are ever flowing to the west. The spot where I encamped was at least five hundred feet lower than Aret pol, the first of the fortified barriers leading to Kumbhalmer, whose citadel rose more than seven hundred feet above the terre-pleine of its outworks beneath.

Kūmbhalmer Fort. Mahārāja Daulat Singh.—The Maharaja Daulat Singh, a near relative of the Rana, and governor of Kumbhalmer, attended by a numerous suite, the crimson standard, trumpets, kettledrums, seneschal, and bard, advanced several miles to meet and conduct me to the castle. According to 778etiquette, we both dismounted and embraced, and afterwards rode together conversing on the affairs of the province, and the generally altered condition of the country. Daulat Singh, being of the immediate kin of his sovereign, is one of the Babas or infants of Mewar, enumerated in the tribe called Ranawat, with the title of Maharaja. Setting aside the family of Sheodan Singh, he is the next in succession to the reigning family. He is one of the few over whom the general demoralization has had no power, and remains a simple-minded straightforward honest man; blunt, unassuming, and courteous. His rank and character particularly qualify him for the post he holds on this western frontier, which is the key to Marwar. It was in February 1818 that I obtained possession of this place (Kumbhalmer), by negotiating the arrears of the garrison. Gold is the cheapest, surest, and most expeditious of all generals in the East, amongst such mercenaries as we had to deal with, who change masters with the same facility as they would their turban. In twenty-four hours we were put in possession of the fort, and as we had not above one-third of the stipulated sum in ready cash, they without hesitation took a bill of exchange, written on the drum-head, on the mercantile town of Pali in Marwar: in such estimation is British faith held, even by the most lawless tribes of India! Next morning we saw them winding down the western declivity, while we quietly took our breakfast in an old ruined temple. During this agreeable employment, we were joined by Major Macleod, of the artillery, sent by General Donkin to report on the facilities of reducing the place by siege, and [670] his opinion being, that a gun could not be placed in position in less than six weeks, the grilling spared the European force in such a region was well worth the £4000 of arrears. My own escort and party remained in possession for a week, until the Rana sent his garrison. During these eight days our time was amply occupied in sketching and deciphering the monumental records of this singularly diversified spot. It would be vain to attempt describing the intricacies of approach to this far-famed abode, whose exterior is delineated by the pencil. A massive wall, with numerous towers and pierced battlements, having a strong resemblance to the Etruscan, encloses a space of some miles extent below, while the pinnacle or sikhara rises, like the crown of the Hindu Cybele, tier above tier of battlements, to the summit, which is crowned with the 779Badal Mahall, or ‘cloud-palace’ of the Ranas. Thence the eye ranges over the sandy deserts and the chaotic mass of mountains, which are on all sides covered with the cactus, which luxuriates amidst the rocks of the Aravalli. Besides the Aret[21] pol, or barrier thrown across the first narrow ascent, about one mile from Kelwara, there is a second called the Halla[22] pol, intermediate to the Hanuman[23] pol, the exterior gate of the fortress, between which and the summit there are three more, viz. the gate of victory, the sanguinary gate, and that of Rama, besides the last, or Chaugan[24] pol. The barometer stood, at half-past seven A.M., 26° 65´; thermometer 58° Fahr. at the Aret pol: and on the summit at nine, while the thermometer rose to 75°, the barometer had only descended 15´, and stood at 26° 50´,[25] though we had ascended full six hundred feet.

A Jain Temple.

—Admitting the last range as our guide, the peak of Kumbhalmer will be 3353[26] feet above the level of the ocean. Hence I laid down the positions of many towns far in the desert. Here were subjects to occupy the pencil at least for a month; but we had only time for one of the most interesting views, the Jain temple before the reader, and a sketch of the fortress itself, both finished on the spot. The design of this temple is truly classic. It consists only of the sanctuary, which has a vaulted dome and colonnaded portico all round. The architecture is undoubtedly Jain, which is as distinct in character from the Brahmanical as their religion. There is a chasteness and simplicity in this specimen of monotheistic worship, affording a wide contrast to the elaborately sculptured shrines of the Saivas, and [671] other polytheists of India. The extreme want of decoration best attests its antiquity, entitling us to attribute it to that period when Samprati Raja, of the family of Chandragupta, was paramount sovereign over all these regions (two hundred years before Christ);[27] to whom tradition ascribes the most ancient monuments 780of this faith, yet existing in Rajasthan and Saurashtra. The proportions and forms of the columns are especially distinct from the other temples, being slight and tapering instead of massive, the general characteristic of Hindu architecture; while the projecting cornices, which would absolutely deform shafts less slight, are peculiarly indicative of the Takshak architect.[28] Samprati was the fourth prince in descent from Chandragupta, of the Jain faith, and the ally of Seleucus, the Grecian sovereign of Bactriana. The fragments of Megasthenes, ambassador from Seleucus, record that this alliance was most intimate; that the daughter of the Rajput king was married to Seleucus, who, in return for elephants and other gifts, sent a body of Greek soldiers to serve Chandragupta. It is curious to contemplate the possibility, nay the probability, that the Jain temple now before the reader may have been designed by Grecian artists, or that the taste of the artists among the Rajputs may have been modelled after the Grecian. This was our temple of Theseus in Mewar. A massive monolithic emblem of black marble of the Hindu Pitrideva had been improperly introduced into the shrine of the worshippers of the “spirit alone.” Being erected on the rock, and chiselled from the syenite on which it stands, it may bid defiance to time. There was another sacred structure in its vicinity, likewise Jain, but of a distinct character; indeed, offering a perfect contrast to that described. It was three stories in height; each tier was decorated with numerous massive low columns, resting on a sculptured panelled parapet, and sustaining the roof of each story, which, being very low, admitted but a broken light to break the pervading gloom. I should imagine that the sacred architects of the East had studied effect equally with the preservers of learning and the arts in the dark period of Europe, when those monuments, which must ever be her pride, arose on the ruins of paganism. How far the Saxon or Scandinavian pagan contributed to the general design of such structures may be doubted; but that their decorations, especially the 781grotesque, have a powerful resemblance to the most ancient Hindu-Scythic, there is no question, as I shall hereafter more particularly point out [672].

In the Fortress of Kūmbhalmer.
To face page 780.

Who, that has a spark of imagination, but has felt the indescribable emotion which the gloom and silence of a Gothic cathedral excites? The very extent provokes a comparison humiliating to the pigmy spectator, and this is immeasurably increased when the site is the mountain pinnacle, where man and his works fade into nothing in contemplating the magnificent expanse of nature. The Hindu priest did not raise the temple for heterogeneous multitudes: he calculated that the mind would be more highly excited when left to its solitary devotions, amidst the silence of these cloistered columns, undisturbed save by the monotony of the passing bell, while the surrounding gloom is broken only by the flare of the censer as the incense mounts above the altar.

Temple of Māma Devi.

—It would present no distinct picture to the eye were I to describe each individual edifice within the scope of vision, either upwards towards the citadel, or below. Looking down from the Jain temple towards the pass, till the contracting gorge is lost in distance, the gradually diminishing space is filled with masses of ruin. I will only notice two of the most interesting. The first is dedicated to Mama Devi, ‘the mother of the gods,’ whose shrine is on the brow of the mountain overlooking the pass. The goddess is placed in the midst of her numerous family, including the greater and lesser divinities. They are all of the purest marble, each about three feet in height, and tolerably executed, though evidently since the decline of the art, of which very few good specimens exist executed within the last seven centuries. The temple is very simple and primitive, consisting but of a long hall, around which the gods are ranged, without either niche or altar.

The most interesting portion of this temple is its court, formed by a substantial wall enclosing a tolerable area. The interior of this wall had been entirely covered with immense tables of black marble, on which was inscribed the history of their gods, and, what was of infinitely greater importance, that of the mortal princes who had erected the tablets in their honour. But what a sight for the antiquary! Not one of the many tables was entire; the fragments were strewed about, or placed in position 782to receive the flesh-pots of the sons of Ishmael, the mercenary Rohilla Afghan [673].[29]

Memorial of Prithirāj and Tāra Bāi.

—On quitting the temple of Mama Devi, my attention was attracted by a simple monumental shrine on the opposite side of the valley, and almost in the gorge of the pass. It was most happily situated, being quite isolated, overlooking the road leading to Marwar, and consisted of a simple dome of very moderate dimensions, supported by columns, without any intervening object to obstruct the view of the little monumental altar arising out of the centre of the platform. It was the Sybilline temple of Tivoli in miniature. To it, over rock and ruin, I descended. Here repose the ashes of the Troubadour of Mewar, the gallant Prithiraj and his heroine wife, Tara Bai, whose lives and exploits fill many a page of the legendary romances of Mewar.

To face page 782.

This fair ‘star’ (tara) was the daughter of Rao Surthan, the chieftain of Badnor. He was of the Solanki tribe, the lineal descendant of the famed Balhara kings of Anhilwara. Thence expelled by the arms of Ala in the thirteenth century, they migrated to Central India, and obtained possession of Tonk-Toda and its lands on the Banas, which from remote times had been occupied (perhaps founded) by the Taks, and hence bore the name of Taksilanagar, familiarly Takatpur and Toda.[30] Surthan had been deprived of Toda by Lila the Afghan, and now 783occupied Badnor at the foot of the Aravalli, within the bounds of Mewar. Stimulated by the reverses of her family, and by the incentives of its ancient glory, Tara Bai, scorning the habiliments and occupations of her sex, learned to guide the war-horse, and throw with unerring aim the arrow from his back, even while at speed. Armed with the bow and quiver, and mounted on a fiery Kathiawar, she joined the cavalcade in their unsuccessful attempts to wrest Toda from the Afghan. Jaimall, the third son of Rana Raemall, in person made proposals for her hand. “Redeem Toda,” said the star of Badnor, “and my hand is thine.” He assented to the terms: but evincing a rude determination to be possessed of the prize ere he had earned it, he was slain by the indignant father. Prithiraj, the brother of the deceased, was then in exile in Marwar; he had just signalized his valour, and ensured his father’s forgiveness, the redemption of Godwar,[31] and the [674] catastrophe at Badnor determined him to accept the gage thrown down to Jaimall. Fame and the bard had carried the renown of Prithiraj far beyond the bounds of Mewar; the name alone was attractive to the fair, and when thereto he who bore it added all the chivalrous ardour of his prototype, the Chauhan, Tara Bai, with the sanction of her father, consented to be his, on the simple asseveration that “he would restore to them Toda, or he was no true Rajput.” The anniversary of the martyrdom of the sons of Ali was the season chosen for the exploit.[32] Prithiraj formed a select band of five hundred cavaliers, and accompanied by his bride, the fair Tara, who insisted on partaking his glory and his danger, he reached Toda at the moment the ta’aziya or bier containing the martyr-brothers was placed in the centre of the chauk or ‘square.’ The prince, Tara Bai, and the faithful Sengar chief, the inseparable companion of Prithiraj, left their cavalcade and joined the procession as it passed under the balcony of the palace in which the Afghan was putting on his dress preparatory to descending. Just as he had asked who were the strange horsemen that had joined the throng, the lance of Prithiraj and an arrow from the bow of his Amazonian bride stretched him on the floor. Before the crowd recovered from the panic, the three had reached the gate of the town, where their exit was obstructed by an elephant. Tara Bai with her 784scimitar divided his trunk, and the animal flying, they joined their cavalcade, which was close at hand.

The Afghans were encountered, and could not stand the attack. Those who did not fly were cut to pieces; and the gallant Prithiraj inducted the father of his bride into his inheritance. A brother of the Afghans, in his attempt to recover it, lost his life. The Nawab Mallu Khan then holding Ajmer determined to oppose the Sesodia prince in person; who, resolved upon being the assailant, advanced to Ajmer, encountered his foe in the camp at daybreak, and after great slaughter entered Garh Bitli, the citadel, with the fugitives. “By these acts,” says the chronicle, “his fame increased in Rajwara: one thousand Rajputs, animated by the same love of glory and devotion, gathered round the nakkaras of Prithiraj. Their swords shone in the heavens, and were dreaded on the earth; but they aided the defenceless.”

Another story is recorded and confirmed by Muhammadan writers as to the result, though they are ignorant of the impulse which prompted the act. Prithiraj on some [675] occasion found the Rana conversing familiarly with an ahadi[33] of the Malwa king, and feeling offended at the condescension, expressed himself with warmth. The Rana ironically replied: “You are a mighty seizer of kings; but for me, I desire to retain my land.” Prithiraj abruptly retired, collected his band, made for Nimach, where he soon gathered five thousand horse, and reaching Dipalpur, plundered it, and slew the governor. The king on hearing of the irruption left Mandu at the head of what troops he could collect; but the Rajput prince, in lieu of retreating, rapidly advanced and attacked the camp while refreshing after the march. Singling out the royal tent, occupied by eunuchs and females, the king was made captive, and placed on an express camel beside the prince, who warned the pursuers to follow peaceably, or he would put his majesty to death; adding that he intended him no harm, but that after having made him “touch his father’s feet,” he should restore him to liberty. Having carried him direct to Chitor and to his father’s presence, he turned to him saying, “Send for your friend the ahadi, and ask 785him who this is?” The Malwa king was detained a month within the walls of Chitor, and having paid his ransom in horses, was set at liberty with every demonstration of honour.[34] Prithiraj returned to Kumbhalmer, his residence, and passed his life in exploits like these from the age of fourteen to twenty-three, the admiration of the country and the theme of the bard.

It could not be expected that long life would be the lot of one who thus courted distinction, though it was closed neither by shot nor sabre, but by poison, when on the eve of prosecuting his unnatural feud against his brother Sanga, the place of whose retreat was made known by his marriage with the daughter of the chieftain of Srinagar, who had dared to give him protection in defiance of his threats.

At the same time he received a letter from his sister, written in great grief, complaining of the barbarous treatment of her lord, the Sirohi prince, from whose tyranny she begged to be delivered and to be restored to the paternal roof; since whenever he had indulged too freely in the ‘essence of the flower,’ or in opium, he used to place her under the bedstead, and leave her to sleep on the floor. Prithiraj instantly departed, reached Sirohi at midnight, scaled the palace, and interrupted the repose of Pabhu Rao by placing his poniard at his throat. His wife, notwithstanding his cruelty, complied with his humiliating appeal for mercy, and begged his life, which was granted on condition of his standing as a suppliant with his wife’s [676] shoes on his head, and touching her feet, the lowest mark of degradation. He obeyed, was forgiven, and embraced by Prithiraj, who became his guest during five days. Pabhu Rao was celebrated for a confection, of which he presented some to his brother at parting. He partook of it as he came in sight of Kumbhalmer; but on reaching the shrine of Mama Devi was unable to proceed. Here he sent a message to the fair Tara to come and bid him farewell; but so subtle was the poison, that death had overtaken him ere she descended from the citadel. Her resolution was soon formed; the pyre was erected, and with the mortal remains of the chivalrous Prithiraj in her embrace, she sought “the regions of the sun.” 786Such the end of the Sesodia prince, and the star of Badnor. From such instances we must form our opinion of the manners of these people. But for the poisoned confection of the chief of Sirohi, Prithiraj would have had the glory of opposing himself to Babur, instead of his heroic brother and successor, Sanga.[35] Whether, from his superior ardour of temperament, and the love of military glory which attracted similarly constituted minds to his fortunes, he would have been more successful than his brother, it is futile to conjecture.

The Frontier of Mārwār.October 20.—Halted till noon, that the men might dress their dinners, and prepare for the descent into “the region of death,” or Marwar. The pass by which we had to gain it was represented as terrific; but as both horse and elephant, with the aid of the hatchet, will pick their way wherever man can go, we determined to persevere. Struck the camp at noon, when the baggage filed off, halting ourselves till three; the escort and advanced tents, and part of the cuisine being ordered to clear the pass, while we designed to spend the night midway, in a spot forming the natural boundary of Mewar and Marwar, reported to be sufficiently capacious. Rumour had not magnified the difficulties of the descent, which we found strewed with our baggage, arresting all progress for a full hour. For nearly a mile there was but just breadth sufficient to admit the passage of a loaded elephant, the descent being at an angle of 55° with the horizon, and streams on either side rushing with a deafening roar over their rugged beds. As we gained a firmer footing at the base of this first descent, we found that the gallant Manika, the gift of my friend the Bundi prince, had missed his footing and rolled down the steep, breaking the cantle of the saddle; a little farther appeared the cook, hanging in dismay over the scattered implements of his art, his camel remonstrating against the [677] replacing of his kajavas or panniers. For another mile it became more gentle, when we passed under a tower of Kumbhalmer, erected on a scarped projection of the rock, full five hundred feet above us. The scenery was magnificent; the mountains rising on each side in every variety of form, and their summits, as they caught a ray of the departing sun, reflecting on our sombre path a momentary gleam from the masses of rose-coloured quartz which crested them. Noble 787forest trees covered every face of the hills and the bottom of the glen, through which, along the margin of the serpentine torrent which we repeatedly crossed, lay our path. Notwithstanding all our mishaps, partly from the novelty and grandeur of the scene, and partly from the invigorating coolness of the air, our mirth became wild and clamorous: a week before I was oppressed with a thousand ills; and now I trudged the rugged path, leaping the masses of granite which had rolled into the torrent.

There was one spot where the waters formed a pool or dah. Little Carey determined to trust to his pony to carry him across, but deviating to the left, just as I was leaping from a projecting ledge, to my horror, horse and rider disappeared. The shock was momentary, and a good ducking the only result, which in the end was the luckiest thing that could have befallen him. On reaching the Hathidarra, or ‘barrier of the elephant’ (a very appropriate designation for a mass of rock serving as a rampart to shut up the pass), where we had intended to remain the night, we found no spot capacious enough even for a single tent. Orders accordingly passed to the rear for the baggage to collect there, and wait the return of day to continue the march. The shades of night were fast descending, and we proceeded almost in utter darkness towards the banks of the stream, the roar of whose waters was our guide, and not a little perplexed by the tumultuous rush which issued from every glen, to join that we were seeking. Towards the termination of the descent the path became wider, and the voice of the waters of a deeper and hoarser tone, as they glided to gain the plains of Marwar. The vault of heaven, in which there was not a cloud, appeared as an arch to the perpendicular cliffs surrounding us on all sides, and the stars beamed with peculiar brilliancy from the confined space through which we viewed them. As we advanced in perfect silence, fancy busily at work on what might befall our straggling retinue from the ferocious tiger or plundering mountaineer, a gleam of light suddenly flashed upon us on emerging from the brushwood, and disclosed a party of dismounted cavaliers seated round their night-fires under some magnificent fig-trees [678].[36]

Meeting with the Mers.

—Halted, and called a council of war to determine our course: we had gained the spot our guides had assigned as the only fitting one for bivouac before we reached the 788plains beyond the mountains; it afforded shade from the dews, and plenty of water. The munitions de bouche having gone on was a good argument that we should follow; but darkness and five miles more of intricate forest, through a path from which the slightest deviation, right or left, might lead us into the jaws of a tiger, or the toils of the equally savage Mer, decided us to halt. We now took another look at the group above-mentioned. Though the excitement of the morning was pretty well chilled by cold and hunger (poor sharpeners of the imagination), it was impossible to contemplate the scene before us without a feeling of the highest interest. From twenty-five to thirty tall figures, armed at all points, were sitting or reposing in groups round their watch-fires, conversing and passing the pipe from hand to hand, while their long black locks, and motley-fashioned turbans, told that they belonged to Marudesa. A rude altar, raised in honour of some “gentle blood” shed by the murky mountaineer, served as a place of rest for the chief of the party, distinguished by the gold band in his turban, and his deer-skin doublet. I gave the usual salutation of “Rama, Rama,” to the chief and his party, and inquired after the health of their chieftain of Ghanerao, to whose courtesy I found I owed this mark of attention. This was the boundary between the two States of Marwar and Mewar, since the district of Godwar was lost by the latter about fifty years ago. The spot has been the scene of many a conflict, and a closer approach disclosed several other altars raised in honour of the slain; each represented a cavalier mounted on his war-steed, with his lance poised, denoting that in such attitude he fell in defending the pass, or redeeming the cattle from the plundering mountain Mer. A square tablet placed on each contained the date on which he gained “the mansions of the sun.” Midnight being past, and bringing no hope of our appetites growing by what they might feed upon, Dr. Duncan and Captain Waugh took the jhul, or broadcloth-housing, from the elephant, and rolling themselves in it, followed the example of the chieftain and reposed upon the ashes of the brave, on an altar adjoining the one he occupied. I soon left them in happy forgetfulness of tigers, Meras, hunger, and all the fatigues of the day, and joined the group to listen to the tale with which they enlivened the midnight hour. This I can repeat, but it would have required the pencil of a master to paint the scene. It was a subject for 789Salvator Rosa; though I should [679] have been perfectly satisfied with one of Captain Waugh’s delineations, had he been disposed at that moment to exert the pictorial art. Several of my friends had encountered the mountaineer on this very spot; and these humble cenotaphs, covering the ashes of their kin, recalled events not likely to be repeated in these halcyon days, when the names of Bhil and Mer cease to be the synonyms of plunderer. As there may be no place more appropriate for a sketch of the mountaineers, the reader may transport himself to the glen of Kumbhalmer, and listen to the history of one of the aboriginal tribes of Rajasthan [680].



(The Foresters of Rājputana.)
To face page 788.

1. The amphitheatre, or circle. [The valley of Udaipur.]

2. Sabun, in the lingua franca of India, signifies ‘soap.’ [The soap-nut tree (sapindus mukorossi), the fruit of which is used for washing clothes and the hair (Watt, Comm. Prod. 979).]

3. [Raised by James Skinner (1778-1841), known as “The Yellow Boys,” in 1823; 1st Irregular Cavalry (Skinner’s Horse), 1840; 1st Bengal Cavalry, 1861 (F. G. Cardew, Sketch of the Services of the Bengal Native Army to the Year 1895).]

4. [Calligonum polygonoides, a shrub on which camels live for the greater part of the year.]

5. Bhanej, or ‘nephew,’ a title of courtesy enjoyed by every chieftain who marries a daughter or immediate kinswoman of the Rana’s house. [When Bhīm Singh succeeded in 1793, his first act was to drive his uncle, Zālim Singh, the son of a Mewār princess, from Jodhpur. He took refuge in Udaipur, and passed the rest of his days in literary pursuits. He was a man of charm and ability, a gallant soldier, no mean poet. He died in the prime of life in British Merwāra in 1799 (Erskine iii. A. 70).]

6. My guide or instructor, Yati Gyanchandra, a priest of the Jain sect, who had been with me ten years. To him I owe much, for he entered into all my antiquarian pursuits with zeal.

7. [A chiefship in Central India under the Bhopāl Agency. In 1819 Subhāg Singh becoming imbecile was replaced by his son Chain Singh, after whose death in 1824 he was restored (IGI, xviii. 353).]

8. [As usual, Jainism and Buddhism are confounded.]

9. One of the four Agnikulas. [The Umats were not a distinguished tribe until Achal Singh, Dīwān of Narsinghgarh, married his son to a near relation of the Mahārāna of Udaipur, and since this alliance many of the principal Mālwa families eat with the Rājas of Umatwāra (Malcolm, Memoir of Central India, 2nd ed. ii. 130 f.). For a full and slightly different account see IGI, xviii. 382 ff.]

10. [Chain Singh quarrelled with the Political Agent, attacked the British forces at Sehore, and was killed in the battle in 1824 (IGI, xviii. 383).]

11. Sindhia’s flag is a snake argent on an orange field.

12. Pān, ‘the leaf’; parna and pattra, the Sanskrit for ‘a leaf’; and hence panna, ‘a leaf or sheet of paper’; and patra, ‘a plate of metal or sacrificial cup,’ because these vessels were first made of leaves. I was amused with the coincidence between the Sanskrit and Tuscan panna. That lovely subject by Raphael, the “Madonna impannata,” in the Pitti Palace at Florence, is so called from the subdued light admitted through the window, the panes of which are of paper. [The words have no connexion.]

13. [A variant of the well-known Fairy Gift legend (Crooke, Popular Religion and Folklore of N. India, 2nd ed. i. 287 ff.).]

14. [The home of the Rāna branch of Guhilots, who take the name of Sesodia from it, while Chitor was the capital of the Rāwal branch of the ruling house (Erskine ii. A. 15).]

15. [Lotus nuts are used for necklaces, but Sannyāsis usually wear those of the rudrāksha (Elaeocarpus ganitrus) (Watt, Econ. Dict. v. 345; Comm. Prod. 511).]

16. [Acacia catechu, Capparis aphylla, Acacia arabica.]

17. [Ficus glomerata, Annona squamosa, Prunus persica.]

18. [Our knowledge of Indian locusts is still imperfect, the best-known varieties being the Bombay and the North-West (Watt, Econ. Dict. vi. Part i. 154 f.; Comm. Prod. 686).]

19. [A kind of cucumber, Cucumis utilissimus (Watt, Comm. Prod. 439).]

20. [Chaturbhuja Vishnu.]

21. [‘The Barrier.’]

22. [‘The Onset.’]

23. [‘That of the monkey god,’ a common guardian of forts.]

24. [Chaugān, ‘the Parade Ground.’]

25. At four o’clock P.M., same position, thermometer 81°; barometer, 26° 85´.

26. [3658 feet.]

27. [Samprati was grandson of Asoka, and he is credited with the erection of many Jain buildings (Smith, EHI, 192 f.; BG, i. Part i. 15). From the picture of the temple given by the author, and from an inscription of the reign of Rāna Sangrām Singh (A.D. 1508-27), it could not have been more than three centuries old when he saw it (IA, ii. 205). There are two temples, one consisting of a square sanctuary with a vaulted dome, and surrounded by a colonnade of elegant pillars: the second is of peculiar design, having three stories, each tier being decorated with massive low columns (Erskine ii. A. 116).]

28. See note, p. 37, above.

29. These people assert their Coptic origin: being driven from Egypt by one of the Pharaohs, they wandered eastwards till they arrived under that peak of the mountains west of the Indus called Sulaiman-i-koh, or ‘Hill of Solomon,’ where they halted. Others draw their descent from the lost tribes. They are a very marked race, and as unsettled as their forefathers, serving everywhere. They are fine gallant men, and, when managed by such officers as Skinner, make excellent and orderly soldiers; but they evince great contempt for the eaters of swine, who are their abomination. [The Rohillas, ‘Highlanders,’ are a Pathān tribe which occupied Rohilkhand after the death of Aurangzeb, A.D. 1707 (Crooke, Tribes and Castes N.W.P. and Oudh, iv. 165 f.).]

30. From the ruins of its temples, remnants of Takshak architecture, the amateur might speedily fill a portfolio. This tract abounds with romantic scenery: Rajmahall on the Banas, Gokaran, and many others. Herbert calls Chitor the abode of Taxiles, the ally of Alexander. The Taks were all of the race of Puru, so that Porus is a generic, not a proper name. This Taksilanagar has been a large city. We owe thanks to the Emperor Babur, who has given us the position of the city of Taxiles, where Alexander left it, west of the Indus. [The Tāk tribe had no connexion with Chitor.]

31. See p. 344 [Vol. I.].

32. [The Muharram festival.]

33. [Ahadi, ‘single, alone,’ like our warrant-officer, a gentleman trooper in the Mughal service, so called because they offered their services singly, and did not attach themselves to any chief (Āīn, i. 20, note; Irvine, Army of the Indian Moghuls, 43).]

34. [This is the Rājput story which lacks confirmation from Muhammadan sources. The captive may have been Ghiyāsū-d-dīn of Mālwa, or Muzaffar Shāh of Gujarāt; but it is probably fiction invented by the Mewār bards (Erskine ii. A. 18).]

35. See Annals, p. 353.

36. The bar or banyan tree, Ficus Indica.


The Mer Tribe.

—The Mer or Mera is the mountaineer of Rajputana, and the country he inhabits is styled Merwara, or ‘the region of hills.’ The epithet is therefore merely local, for the Mer is but a branch of the Mina or Maina, one of the aborigines of India. He is also called Merot and Merawat; but these terminations only more correctly define his character of mountaineer.[1] Merwara is that portion of the Aravalli chain between Kumbhalmer and Ajmer, a space of about ninety miles in length, and varying in breadth from six to twenty. The general character of this magnificent rampart, in the natural and physical geography of Rajputana, is now sufficiently familiar. It rises from three to four thousand feet above the level of the sea, and abounds with a variety of natural productions. In short, I know no portion of the globe which would yield to the scientific traveller more abundant materials for observation than the alpine Aravalli. The architectural antiquary might fill his portfolio, and natural history would receive additions to her page in every department, 790and especially in botany and zoology.[2] I [681] should know no higher gratification than to be of a scientific party to anatomize completely this important portion of India. I would commence on the Gujarat, and finish on the Shaikhawat frontier. The party should consist of a skilful surveyor, to lay down on a large scale a topographical chart of the mountains; several gentlemen thoroughly versed in natural history; able architectural and landscape draughtsmen, and the antiquary to transcribe ancient inscriptions, as well as to depict the various races. The “Aravalli delineated,” by the hand of science, would form a most instructive and delightful work.

A minute account of the Mer, his habits and his history, would be no unimportant feature: but as this must be deferred, I will, in the meanwhile, furnish some details to supply the void.

The Mers are a branch of the Chitas, an important division of the Minas.[3] I shall elsewhere enter at large into the history of this race, which consists of as many branches as their conquerors, the Rajputs. All these wild races have the vanity to mingle their pedigree with that of their conquerors, though in doing so they stigmatize themselves. The Chita-Minas accordingly claim descent from a grandson of the last Chauhan emperor of Delhi. Anhul and Anup were the sons of Lakha, the nephew of the Chauhan king. The coco-nut was sent from Jaisalmer, offering princesses of that house in marriage: but an investigation into their maternal ancestry disclosed that they were the issue of a 791Mina concubine: and their birth being thus revealed, they became exiles from Ajmer, and associates with their maternal relatives.

Anhul espoused the daughter of a Mina chieftain, by whom he had Chita, whose descendants enjoy almost a monopoly of power in Merwara. The sons of Chita, who occupied the northern frontier near Ajmer, became Muhammadans about fifteen generations ago, when Duda, the sixteenth from the founder of the race, was created Dawad Khan by the Hakim of Ajmer; and as Hathun was his residence, the “Khan of Hathun” signified the chief of the Merots. Chang, Jhak, and Rajosi are the principal towns adjoining Hathun. Anup also took a Mina wife, by whom he had Barar, whose descendants have continued true [682] to their original tenets. Their chief places are Barar, Berawara, Mandila, etc. Though the progeny of these Minas may have been improved by the infusion of Rajput blood, they were always notorious for their lawless habits, and for the importance attached to them so far back as the period of Bisaldeo, the celebrated prince of Ajmer, whom the bard Chand states to have reduced them to submission, making them “carry water in the streets of Ajmer.” Like all mountaineers, they of course broke out whenever the hands of power were feeble. In the battle between the Chauhans of Ajmer and the Parihars of Mandor, a body of four thousand Mer bowmen served Nahar Rao, and defended the pass of the Aravalli against Prithiraj in this his first essay in arms. Chand thus describes them:[4] “Where hill joins hill, the Mer and Mina thronged. The Mandor chief commanded that the pass should be defended—four thousand heard and obeyed, each in form as the angel of death—men who never move without the omen, whose arrow never flies in vain—with frames like India’s bolt—faithful to their word, preservers of the land and the honour[5] of Mandor; whose fortresses have to this day remained unconquered—who bring the spoils of the plains to their dwellings. Of these in the dark recesses of the mountains four thousand lay concealed, their crescent-formed arrows beside them. Like the envenomed serpent, they wait in silence the advance of the foe.


Prithirāj attacks the Mers.

—“Tidings reached the Chauhan that the manly Mina, with bow in hand, stood in the mountain’s gorge. Who would be bold enough to force it? his rage was like the hungry lion’s when he views his prey. He called the brave Kana, and bade him observe those wretches as he commanded him to clear the pass. Bowing he departed, firm as the rock on which he trod. He advanced, but the mountaineer (Mer) was immovable as Sumeru. Their arrows, carrying death, fly like Indra’s bolts—they obscure the sun. Warriors fall from their steeds, resounding in their armour as a tree torn up by the blast. Kana quits the steed; hand to hand he encounters the foe; the feathery shafts, as they strike fire, appear like birds escaping from the flames. The lance flies through the breast, appearing at the back [683], like a fish escaping through the meshes of a net. The evil spirits dance in the mire of blood. The hero of the mountain[6] encountered Kana, and his blow made him reel; but like lightning it was returned, and the mountaineer fell: the crash was as the shaking of Sumeru. At this moment Nahar arrived, roaring like a tiger for his prey: he called aloud to revenge their chief, his brother,[7] and fresh vigour was infused into their souls. On the fall of the mountain-chief, the Chauhan commanded the ‘hymn of triumph’[8] to be sounded; it startled the mountaineer, but only to nerve his soul afresh. In person the Chauhan sought his foe. The son of Somesa is a bridegroom. His streaming standards flutter like the first falls of rain in Asarh, and as he steps on the bounds which separate Mandor from Ajmer, ‘Victory! victory!’ is proclaimed. Still the battle rages. Elephants roar, horses neigh, terror stalks everywhere. The aids of Girnar[9] and of Sind now appeared for Mandor, bearing banners of every colour, varied as the flowers of the spring. Both arrays were clad in mail; their eyes and their finger-nails alone were exposed; each invoked his tutelary protector as he wielded the dodhara.[10] Prithiraj was refulgent as Indra; the Parihar’s brightness was as the morning star; each was clad in armour of proof, immovable as gods in mortal form. The sword of the Chauhan descended on the steed of the Parihar; 793but as he fell, Nahar sprung erect, and they again darted on each other, their warriors forming a fortress around the persons of their lords. Then advanced the standards of the Pramar, like a black rolling cloud, while the lightnings flashed from his sword. Mohana, the brother of Mandor, received him; they first examined each other—then joining in the strife, the helm of the Pramar was cleft in twain. Now advanced Chawand, the Dahima; he grasped his iron lance,[11]—it pierced the Parihar, and the head appeared like a serpent looking through the door in his back. The flame (jyot) united with the fire from which it sprung, while the body fell on its parent earth. By his devotion the sins of his life were forgiven. Nobly did the tiger (Nahar) of Mandor meet the lion of the world. He called aloud, ‘Hold your ground as did Bal Raja of old.’ Again the battle rages—Durga gluts herself with blood [684]—the air resounds with the clash of arms and the rattling of banners—the Aswar[12] rains on the foe—Khetrpal[13] sports in the field of blood—Mahadeva fills his necklace—the eagle gluts itself on the slain—the mien of the warriors expands as does the lotos at the sunbeam—the war-song resounds—with a branch of the tulasi on the helm, adorned in the saffron robe, the warriors on either side salute each other.” The bard here exclaims, “But why should I enlarge on this encounter?”—but as this digression is merely for breathing time, we shall not follow him, the object being to introduce the mountain Mer, whom we now see hors de combat.

Character of the Mers.

—Admitting the exaggeration of the poet, the Mer appears to have been in the twelfth century what he is in the nineteenth, a bold, licentious marauder. He maintained himself throughout the whole of the Mogul domination, alternately succumbing and depredating; and since the Mahrattas crippled these countries, the Mer had regained all his consequence, and was rapidly encroaching upon his Rajput suzerain. But when in 1821 their excesses made it imperative to reduce their holds and fastnesses, they made no stand against the three battalions of sepoys sent against them, and the whole tract was 794compelled to obedience; not, however, till many of the descendants of Chita and Barar had suffered both in person and property.[14] The facility with which we reduced to entire subjection this extensive association of plunderers, for centuries the terror of these countries, occasioned no little astonishment to our allies. The resistance was indeed contemptible, and afforded a good argument against the prowess of those who had tolerated the existence of a gang at once so mischievous and weak. But this was leaping to a conclusion without looking beneath the surface, or to the moral and political revolution which enervated the arms of Mer and Mahratta, Pindari and Pathan. All rose to power from the common occupation of plunderers, aided by the national jealousies of the Rajputs. If the chieftains of Mewar leagued to assault the mountaineers, they found refuge and support in Marwar; and as their fortresses at all times presented a sanctuary, their Rawats or leaders obtained consequence amongst all parties by granting it. Every Mer community, accordingly, had a perfect understanding with the chieftain whose lands were contiguous to their own, and who enjoyed rights granted by the Rana over these nominal subjects. These rights were all of a feudal nature, as rakhwali or ‘blackmail’ [685], and those petty proofs of subordination, entitled in the feudal law of Europe “petit serjanterie.” The token might be a colt, a hawk, or a bullock, and a nazarana, or pecuniary acknowledgement, perhaps only of half-a-crown on the chieftain’s birthday, or on the Rajput Saturnalia, the Holi. But all these petty causes for assimilation between the Rajput and the lawless Mer were overlooked, as well as the more powerful one which rendered his arms of no avail. Every door was hermetically sealed against him; wherever he looked he saw a foe—the magical change bewildered him; and when their Khan and his adherents were assailed while in fancied security, and cut off in a midnight attack, his self-confidence was annihilated—he saw a red-coat in every glen, and called aloud for mercy.

The Merwāra Battalion.

—A corps of these mountaineers, commanded by English officers, has since been formed, and I have no doubt may become useful.[15] Notwithstanding their lawless 795habits, they did not neglect agriculture and embanking, as described in the valley of Shera Nala, and a district has been formed in Merwara which in time may yield a lakh of rupees annually to the state.

Marriage Customs.

—Some of their customs are so curious, and so different from those of their lowland neighbours, that we may mention a few. Leaving their superstitions as regards omens and auguries, the most singular part of their habits, till we give a detailed sketch of the Minas hereafter, I will notice the peculiarity of their notions towards females. The Mer, following the customary law handed down from his rude ancestry, and existing long before the written law of Manu, has no objection to a widow as a wife. This contract is termed nata, and his civilized master levies a fine or fee of a rupee and a quarter for the licence, termed kagli. On such marriage the bridegroom must omit in the maur, or nuptial coronet, the graceful palmyra leaf, and substitute a small branch of the sacred pipal wreathed in his turban. Many of the forms are according to the common Hindu ritual. The sat-phera, or seven perambulations round the jars filled with grain, piled over each other—the ganth-jora, or uniting the garments—and the hathleva, or junction of hands of bride and bridegroom, are followed by the Mers. Even the northern clans, who are converts to Islam, return to their ancient habits on this occasion, and have a Brahman priest to officiate. I discovered, on inquiring into the habits of the Mers, that they are not the only race which did not refuse to wed a widow, and that both Brahmans and Rajputs have from ancient times been accustomed not to consider it derogatory [686].[16] Of the former, the sacerdotal class, the Nagda[17] Brahmans, established at this town long before the Guhilots obtained power in Mewar. Of the Rajputs, they are all of the most ancient tribes, now the allodial vassals or Bhumias of Rajputana, as the Chinana, Kharwar, Uten, Daya, names better known in the mystic page of the 796chronicle than now, though occasionally met with in the valleys of the Aravalli. But this practice, so little known, gives rise to an opinion, that many of the scrupulous habits regarding women are the inventions of the priests of more modern days. The facilities for separation are equally simple. If tempers do not assimilate, or other causes prompt them to part, the husband tears a shred from his turban, which he gives to his wife, and with this simple bill of divorce, placing two jars filled with water on her head, she takes whatever path she pleases, and the first man who chooses to ease her of her load becomes her future lord. This mode of divorce is practised not only amongst all the Minas, but by Jats, Gujars, Ahirs, Malis, and other Sudra tribes. Jehar le aur nikali, ‘took the jar and went forth,’ is a common saying amongst the mountaineers of Merwara.

Oaths, Food, Omens.

—Their invocations and imprecations are peculiar. The Chita or northern Mer, since he became acquainted with the name of the prophet, swears by ‘Allah,’ or by his first proselyte ancestor, ‘Duda Dawad Khan,’ or the still more ancient head of the races, ‘Chita, Barar ka an‘. The southern Mers also use the latter oath: “By my allegiance to Chita and Barar”; and they likewise swear by the sun, ‘Suraj ka Sagun,’ and ‘Nath ka Sagun’; or their ascetic priest, called the Nath. The Muhammadan Mer will not now eat hog; the southron refuses nothing, though he respects the cow from the prejudices of those around him, and to please the Nath or Jogi, his spiritual guide. The partridge and the maloli,[18] or wag-tail, are the chief birds of omen with him, and the former ‘clamouring’ on the left, when he commences a foray, is a certain presage of success. To conclude; colonies of the Mers or Meras will be found as far north as the Chambal, and even in the peninsula of Saurashtra. Merwara is now in subjection to the Rana of Mewar, who has erected small forts amidst the most influential communities to overawe them. The whole tract has been assessed; the chiefs of the districts being brought to the Rana’s presence presented nazarana, swore fidelity, and received according to their rank gold bracelets or turbans. It was an era in the annals of Mewar to see the accumulated arms of Merwara piled upon the [687] terrace of the palace at the capital; but these measures were subsequent to our sojourn 797in the glen of Kumbhalmer, from which we have yet to issue to gain Marwar.

The Chief of Gokulgarh.

October 21.—All hailed the return of daylight with reverence. Captain Waugh and the Doctor uncoiled from the elephant’s jhul, and I issued from my palki, which had proved a welcome retreat against the chills of the night air. By thirst and hunger our appetite for the picturesque was considerably abated, and the contemplation of the spot where we had bivouaced in that philosophical spirit of silence, which all have experienced who have made a long march before breakfast, lost much of its romantic interest. Nevertheless, could I have consulted merely my own wishes, I would have allowed my friends and escort to follow the canteen, and have pursued an intricate path which branched off to the right, to have had the chance of an interview with the outlaw of Gokulgarh.

This petty chieftain, who enjoyed the distinctive epithet of outlaw (barwatia), was of the Sonigira clan (a branch of the Chauhans), who for centuries were the lords of Jalor. He was a vassal of Marwar, now sovereign of Jalor, and being expelled for his turbulence by his prince, he had taken post in the old ruined castle of Gokulgarh, on a cliff of the Aravalli, and had become the terror of the country. By his knowledge of the intricacies of the mountains, he eluded pursuit; and his misdeeds being not only connived at, but his spoils participated by the chief of Deogarh, in whose fief was his haunt, he was under no apprehension of surprise. Inability either to seize the Barwatia, or drive him from his retreat, formed a legitimate excuse for the resumption of Gokulgarh, and the dues of ‘blackmail’ he derived from its twelve dependent villages. The last act of the Sonigira was most flagrant; he intercepted in the plains of Godwar a marriage procession, and made captives the bridegroom and bride, whom he conveyed to Gokulgarh, where they long languished for want of ransom. A party was formed to lie in wait for him; but he escaped the snare, and his retreat was found empty. Such was the state of society in these districts. The form of outlawry is singular in this country, where the penal laws are satisfied with banishment, even in cases of treason, instead of the sanguinary law of civilization. The criminal against whom the sentence of exile is pronounced being called into his prince’s presence, is clad in black vestments, and placed 798upon a black steed, his arms and shield all of the same sombre hue of mourning and [688] disgrace; he is then left to gain the frontier by himself. This custom is very ancient: the Pandu brothers were ‘Barwatias’[19] from the Jumna three thousand years ago. The Jaisalmer annals relate the solemnity as practised towards one of their own princes; and the author, in the domestic dissensions of Kotah, received a letter from the prince, wherein he demands either that his rights should be conceded, or that the government would bestow the “black garment,” and leave him to his fate.

The Chief of Ghānērāo.

—Conversing on these and similar subjects with my Marwari friends, we threaded our way for five miles through the jungles of the pass, which we had nearly cleared, when we encountered the chieftain of Ghanerao at the head of his retinue, who of his own accord, and from a feeling of respect to his ancient sovereign the Rana, advanced thus far to do me honour. I felt the compliment infinitely the more, as it displayed that spirit of loyalty peculiar to the Rajput, though the step was dangerous with his jealous sovereign, and ultimately was prejudicial to him. After dismounting and embracing, we continued to ride to the tents, conversing on the past history of the province, of his prince, and the Rana, after whom he affectionately inquired. Ajit Singh is a noble-looking man, about thirty years of age, tall, fair, and sat his horse like a brave Rathor cavalier. Ghanerao is the chief town of Godwar, with the exception of the commercial Pali, and the garrison-post Desuri. From this important district the Rana could command four thousand Rathors holding lands on the tenure of service, of whom the Ghanerao chief, then one of the sixteen nobles of Mewar, was the head. Notwithstanding the course of events had transferred the province, and consequently his services, from the Rana of Udaipur to the Raja of Jodhpur, so difficult is it to eradicate old feelings of loyalty and attachment, that the present Thakur preferred having the sword of investiture bound on him by his ancient and yet nominal suzerain, rather than by his actual sovereign. For this undisguised mark of feeling, Ghanerao was denuded of its walls, which were levelled to the ground; a perpetual memento of disgrace and an incentive to vengeance: and whenever the day arrives that the Rana’s herald may salute him with the old motto, 799“Remember Kumbhalmer,” he will not be deaf to the call. To defend this post was the peculiar duty of his house, and often have his ancestors bled in maintaining it against the Mogul. Even now [689], such is the inveteracy with which the Rajput clings to his honours, that whenever the Ghanerao chief, or any of his near kin, attend the Rana’s court, he is saluted at the porte, or at the champ de Mars, by a silver mace-bearer from the Rana, with the ancient war-cry, “Remember Kumbhalmer,” and he still receives on all occasions of rejoicing a khilat from that prince. He has to boast of being of the Rana’s blood, and is by courtesy called “the nephew of Mewar.” The Thakur politely invited me to visit him; but I was aware that compliance would have involved him in difficulties with his jealous prince, and made excuses of fatigue, and the necessity of marching next morning, the motives of which he could not misunderstand.

Our march this morning was but short, and the last two miles were in the plains of Marwar, with merely an occasional rock. Carey joined us, congratulating himself on the ducking which had secured him better fare than we had enjoyed in the pass of Kumbhalmer, and which fastened both on Waugh and myself violent colds. The atmospheric change was most trying: emerging from the cold breezes of the mountains to 96° of Fahrenheit, the effect was most injurious: it was 58° in the morning of our descent into the glen. Alas! for my surviving barometer! Mahesh, my amanuensis, who had been entrusted with it, joined us next day, and told me the quicksilver had contrived to escape; so I lost the opportunity of comparing the level of the desert with the plains of Marwar.

The Chief of Rūpnagar.

October 27.—Halted to collect the scattered baggage, and to give the men rest; the day was nearly over before the whole came up, each party bringing lamentable reports of the disastrous descent. I received a visit from the chief of Rupnagar, who, like the Thakur of Ghanerao, owes a divided allegiance to the courts on each side the mountains. His castle, which gives him rank as one of the most conspicuous of the second grade of the Rana’s nobles, was visible from the camp, being placed on the western face of the mountains, and commanding a difficult passage across them. From thence he looks down upon Desuri and his ancient patrimony, now transferred with Godwar to the Rathor prince; and often has he 800measured his lance with the present occupants to retain his ancient bhum, the right derived from the cultivating proprietor of the soil. The chief of Rupnagar is of the Solanki race, a lineal descendant of the sovereigns of Nahrwala, and the inheritor [690] of the war-shell of the celebrated monarch Siddhraj,[20] one of the most powerful who ever sat on an eastern throne, and who occupied that of Anhilwara from A.D. 1094, during half a century, celebrated as a patron of literature and the arts. When in the thirteenth century this State was destroyed, the branches found refuge, as already described, in Mewar; for the ancestor of Rupnagar was brother to the father of “the star of Badnor,” and was invested with the estate and lands of Desuri by the same gallant prince who obtained her hand by the recovery of her father’s estates. The anecdote is worthy of relation, as showing that the Rajput will stop at nothing “to obtain land.” The intestine feuds amongst Rana Raemall’s sons, and his constant warfare with the kings of Delhi and Malwa, made his authority very uncertain in Godwar. The Mina and Mer possessed themselves of lands in the plains, and were supported by the Madrecha descendant of the once independent Chauhan sovereigns of Nadol, the ancient capital of this region. Sand, the Madrecha, had obtained possession of Desuri, the garrison town. To expel him, the prince had recourse to Sada, the Solanki, whose son was married to the daughter of the Madrecha. The bribe for the reward of this treachery was to be the grant in perpetuity of Desuri and its lands. Sada’s son readily entered into the scheme; and to afford facilities for its execution he went with his wife to reside at Desuri. It was long before an opportunity offered; but at length the marriage of the young Madrecha to the daughter of Sagra the Balecha was communicated to the Solanki by his son; who told his father “to watch the smoke ascending from the tower of Desuri,” as the signal for the attempt to get possession. Anxiously did Sand watch from his castle of Sodhgarh the preconcerted sign, and when the volume of black smoke ascended, he rushed down from the Aravalli at the head of his retainers. The mother-in-law of the young Solanki sent to know why he should make a smoke as if he were burning a corpse, when her son must be returning with his bride. Soon she heard the clash of arms; the Solankis had entered and fired the town, 801and the bridal party appeared before success was attained. Spears and swords were plied. “’Ware the bull!” (sand), said the Madrecha, as he encountered his foe. “My name is the lion (singh) who will [691] devour the bull,” replied the Solanki. The contest was fierce, but the Madrechas were slain, and in the morn Prithiraj was put in possession of Desuri. He drew out a grant upon the spot, inserting in it a curse against any of Sesodia blood who might break the bond which had restored the Rathor authority in Godwar. Although seventeen generations have passed since this event, the feud has continued between the descendants of the lion of Sodhgarh and the bull of Desuri, though the object of dissension is alienated from both.

The Chief of Ghānērāo. The Rājputs of Mewār and Mārwār compared.—I could well have dispensed with visits this day, the thermometer being 96°; I was besides devoured with inflammatory cold; but there was no declining another polite visit of the chieftain of Ghanerao. His retinue afforded a good opportunity of contrasting the Sesodia Rajput of fertile Mewar with the Rathors of Marwar, and which on the whole would have been favourable to the latter, if we confined our view to those of the valley of Udaipur, or the mountainous region of its southern limit, where climate and situation are decidedly unfavourable. There the Rajput may be said not only to deteriorate in muscular form and strength, but in that fairness of complexion which distinguishes him from the lower orders of Hindus. But the danger of generalizing on such matters will be apparent when it is known that there is a cause continually operating to check and diminish the deteriorating principle arising from the climate and situation (or, as the Rajput would say, from the hawa pani, ‘air and water’) of these unhealthy tracts; namely, the continual influx of the purest blood from every region in Rajputana: and the stream which would become corrupt if only flowing from the commingling of the Chondawats of Salumbar and the Jhalas of Gogunda (both mountainous districts), is refreshed by that of the Rathors of Godwar, the Chauhans of Haraoti, or the Bhatti of the desert. I speak from conviction, the chieftains above mentioned affording proofs of the evil resulting from such repeated intermarriages; for, to use their own adage, “a raven will produce a raven.” But though the personal appearance of the chieftain of Gogunda might exclude him from the table of the 802sixteen barons of Mewar, his son by a Rathor mother may be exhibited as a redeeming specimen of the Jhalas, and one in every way favourable of the Rajput of Mewar. On such occasion, also, as a formal visit, both chieftain and retainers appear under every advantage of dress and decoration; for even the form of the turban may improve the contour of the face, though [692] the Mertias of Ghanerao have nothing so decidedly peculiar in this way as those of other clans.

After some discourse on the history of past days, with which, like every respectable Rajput, I found him perfectly conversant, the Ghanerao chief took his leave with some courteous and friendly expressions. It is after such a conversation that the mind disposed to reflection will do justice to the intelligence of these people: I do not say this with reference to the baron of Ghanerao, but taking them generally. If by history we mean the relation of events in succession, with an account of the leading incidents connecting them, then are all the Rajputs versed in this science; for nothing is more common than to hear them detail their immediate ancestry or that of their prince for many generations, with the events which have marked their societies. It is immaterial whether he derives this knowledge from the chronicle, the chronicler, or both: it not only rescues him from the charge of ignorance, but suggests a comparison between him and those who constitute themselves judges of nationalities by no means unfavourable to the Rajput.


October 28.—Marched at daybreak. The Thakur sent a confidential vassal to accompany me through his domain. We could now look around us, as we receded from the Alpine Aravalli, with nothing to obstruct the vision, over the fertile plains of Godwar. We passed near Ghanerao, whose isolated portals, without tower or curtain to connect them, have a most humiliating appearance. It is to Raja Bhim, some twenty years ago, that their chieftains owe this degradation, in order to lessen their ability to recover the province for its ancient master the Rana. It was indeed one of the gems of his crown, as it is the only dazzling one in that of Marwar. While we marched over its rich and beautiful plains, well watered, well wooded, and abounding in fine towns, I entered into conversation with the Rana’s envoy, who joined me on the march. Kishandas has already been mentioned as one of the few men of integrity and 803wisdom who had been spared to be useful to his country. He was a mine of ancient lore, and his years, his situation, and his character gave force to his sentiments of determined independence. He was as quick as touchwood, which propensity occasionally created a wordy war between me and my friend, who knew my respect for him. “Restore us Godwar,” was his abrupt salutation as he joined me on the march: to which, being a little vexed, as the point could not be agitated by our government, I said in reply, “Why did you [693] let them take it?—where has the Sesodia sword slept this half century?” Adding, “God Almighty never intended that the region on this side the mountains should belong to Mewar;—nature’s own hand has placed the limit between you.” The old envoy’s blood was roused as he exclaimed, “Even on this principle Godwar is ours, for nature has marked our limit by stronger features than mountains. Observe, as you advance, and you will find to the further limit of the province every shrub and flower common to Mewar; pass that limit but a few yards, and they are lost:
“Ānwal, ānwal Mewār:
Bāwal, bāwal Mārwār.

“Wherever the anwal puts forth its yellow blossoms, the land is of right ours; we want nothing more. Let them enjoy their stunted babuls, their karil, and the ak; but give us back our sacred pipal, and the anwal of the border.”[21] In truth, the transition is beyond credence marked: cross but a shallow brook, and you leave all that is magnificent in vegetation; the pipal, bar, and that species of the mimosa resembling the cypress, peculiar to Godwar, are exchanged for the prickly shrubs, as the wild caper, jawas, and many others, more useful than ornamental, on which the camel browses.[22] The argument was, however, more ingenious than just, and the old envoy was here substituting the effect for the cause; but he shall explain in his own words why Flora should be permitted to mark the line of demarcation instead of the rock-enthroned (Durga) Cybele. The legend now repeated is historical, and the leading incidents of it have already been touched upon;[23] I shall therefore condense the Pancholi’s description 804into a summary analysis of the cause why the couplet of the bard should be deemed “confirmation strong” of the bounds of kingdoms. These traditionary couplets, handed down from generation to generation, are the most powerful evidence of the past, and they are accordingly employed to illustrate the Khyats, or annals, of Rajputana. When, towards the conclusion of the fourteenth century, the founder of the Chondawats repaid the meditated treachery of Ranmall of Mandor by his death, he took possession of that capital and the entire country of the Rathors (then but of small extent), which he held for several years. The heir of Mandor became a fugitive, concealing himself in the fastnesses of the Aravalli, with little hope that [694] his name (Jodha) would become a patronymic, and that he would be honoured as the second founder of his country: that Mandor itself should be lost in Jodhpur. The recollection of the feud was almost extinct; the young Rana of Chitor had passed the years of Rajput minority, and Jodha continued a fugitive in the wilds of Bhandak-parao, with but a few horse in his train, indebted to the resources of some independents of the desert for the means of subsistence. He was discovered in this retreat by a Charan or bard, who, without aspiring to prophetic powers, revealed to him that the intercession of the queen-mother of Chitor had determined the Rana to restore him to Mandor. Whether the sister of Jodha, to give éclat to the restoration, wished it to have the appearance of a conquest, or whether Jodha, impatient for possession, took advantage of circumstances to make his entrance one of triumph, and thereby redeem the disgrace of a long and humiliating exile, it is difficult to decide; for while the annals of Mewar make the restoration an act of grace, those of Marwar give it all the colours of a triumph. Were the point worthy of discussion, we should say both accounts were correct. The Rana had transmitted the recall of Chonda from Mandor, but concealed from him the motive, and while Jodha even held in his possession the Rana’s letter of restoration, a concatenation of circumstances, in which “the omen” was predominant, occurred to make him anticipate his induction by a measure more consonant to the Rajput, a brilliant coup de main. Jodha had left his retreat in the Run[34] to make known to Harbuji Sankhla, Pabuji, and other rievers 805of the desert, the changes which the bard had communicated. While he was there, intelligence was brought that Chonda, in obedience to his sovereign’s command, had proceeded to Chitor. That same night “the bird of omen perched on Jodha’s lance, and the star which irradiated his birth shone bright upon it.” The bard of Mandor revealed the secret of heaven to Jodha, and the heroes in his train: “Ere that star descends in the west, your pennon will wave on the battlements of Mandor.” Unless, however, this “vision of glory” was merely mental, Jodha’s star must have been visible in daylight; for they could never have marched from the banks of the Luni, where the Sankhla resided, to Mandor, between its rising and setting. The elder son of Chonda had accompanied his father, and they had proceeded two coss in their [695] journey, when a sudden blaze appeared in Mandor: Chonda pursued his route, while his son Manja returned to Mandor. Jodha was already in possession; his an had been proclaimed, and the two other sons of Chonda had fallen in its defence. Manja, who fled, was overtaken and slain on the border. These tidings reached Chonda at the pass of the Aravalli; he instantly returned to Mandor, where he was met by Jodha, who showed him the letters of surrender for Mandor, and a command that he should fix with him the future boundary of each State. Chonda thought that there was no surer line of demarcation than that chalked out by the hand of nature; and he accordingly fixed that wherever the “yellow blossom” was found, the land should belong to his sovereign, and the bard was not slow in perpetuating the decree. Such is the origin of

Ānwal, ānwal Mewār:
Bāwal, bāwal Mārwār.

The brave and loyal founder of the Chondawats, who thus sacrificed his revenge to his sovereign’s commands, had his feelings in some degree propitiated by this arrangement, which secured the entire province of Godwar to his prince: his son Manja fell, as he touched the region of the anwalas, and this cession may have been in ‘mundkati,’ the compromise of the price of blood. By such traditional legends, not less true than strange, and to which the rock sculptures taken from Mandor bear evidence, even to the heroes who aided Jodha in his enterprise, the anwal of the Rajputs has been immortalized, like the humble broom of 806the French, whose planta-genesta has distinguished the loftiest name in chivalry, the proudest race emblazoned on the page of heraldry.

Notwithstanding the crops had been gathered, this tract contrasted favourably with Mewar, although amidst a comparative prosperity we could observe the traces of rapine; and numerous stories were rehearsed of the miseries inflicted on the people by the rapacious followers of Amir Khan. We crossed numerous small streams flowing from the Aravalli, all proceeding to join the “Salt River,” or Luni. The villages were large and more populous; yet was there a dulness, a want of that hilarity which pervaded the peasantry of Mewar, in spite of their misfortunes. The Rajputs partook of the feeling, the cause of which a little better acquaintance with their headquarters soon revealed. Mewar had passed through the period [696] of reaction, which in Marwar was about to display itself, and was left unfortunately to its own control, or with only the impulse of a long suppressed feeling of revenge in the bosom of its prince, and the wiles of a miscreant minister, who wished to keep him in durance, and the country in degradation.


—It creates a refreshing sensation to find the camp pitched in a cool and shaded spot; and at Nadol[35] we had this satisfaction. Here again there was no time for recreation, for there was abundant, nay, overwhelming matter both for the pen and the pencil; but my readers must be satisfied with the imperfect delineations of the first. Nadol is still a place of some consequence, though, but for its temples, we should not have supposed it to have been the capital of a province. With its neighbour, Narlai, five miles to the westward, it was the abode of a branch of the Chauhans of Ajmer, established at a very early period. From Nadol sprung the Deoras of Sirohi, and the Sonigiras of Jalor. The former still maintain their ground, in spite of all attempts of the Rathors; but the Sonigira, who was immortalized by his struggle against the second Ala, is blotted from the list of independent States; and this valuable domain, consisting of three hundred and sixty towns, is now incorporated with Jodhpur.

There is no spot in Rajputana that does not contain some record of the illustrious Chauhan; and though every race has 807had its career of glory, the sublimity of which, the annals of the Sesodias before the reader sufficiently attest, yet with all my partiality for those with whom I long resided, and with whose history I am best acquainted, my sense of justice compels me to assign the palm of martial intrepidity to the Chauhan over all the “royal races” of India. Even the bards, to whatever family they belong, appear to articulate the very name as if imbued with some peculiar energy, and dwell on its terminating nasal with peculiar complacency. Although they had always ranked high in the list of chivalry, yet the seal of the order was stamped on all who have the name of Chauhan, since the days of Prithiraj, the model of every Rajput, and who had a long line of fame to maintain. Of the many names familiar to the bard is Guga of Bhatinda, who with forty-seven sons “drank of the stream of the sword” on the banks of the Sutlej, in opposing Mahmud.[36] This conqueror proceeded through the desert to the attack of Ajmer, the chief abode of this race, where his arms were disgraced, the invader wounded, and forced to relinquish his enterprise [697]. In his route to Nahrwala and Somnath he passed Nadol,[37] whose prince hesitated not to measure his sword even with Mahmud. I was fortunate enough to obtain an inscription regarding this prince, the celebrated Lakha, said to be the founder of this branch from Ajmer, of which it was a fief—its date S. 1039 (A.D. 983).[38] The fortress attributed to Lakha is on the declivity 808of a low ridge to the westward of the town, with square towers of ancient form, and built of a very curious conglomerate of granite and gneiss, of which the rock on which it stands is composed. There was a second inscription, dated S. 1024 (A.D. 968), which made him the contemporary of the Rana’s ancestor, Sakti Kumar of Aitpur, a city also destroyed, more probably by the father of Mahmud. The Chauhan bards speak in very lofty terms of Rao Lakha, who “collected transit dues from the further gate of Anhilwara, and levied tribute from the prince of Chitor.”

Remains at Nādol.

—It is impossible to do full justice to the architectural remains, which are well worthy of the pencil. Here everything shows that the Jain faith was once predominant, and that their arts, like their religion, were of a character quite distinct from those of Siva. The temple of Mahavira, the last of their twenty-four apostles, is a very fine piece of architecture. Its vaulted roof is a perfect model of the most ancient style of dome in the East; probably invented anterior to the Roman. The principle is no doubt the same as the first substitute of the arch, and is that which marked the genius of Caesar in his bridge over the Rhone, and which appears over every mountain torrent of the ancient Helvetii, from whom he may have borrowed it.[39] The principle is that of a horizontal instead of a radiating pressure. At Nadol the stones are placed by a gradual projection one over the other, the apex being closed by a circular key-stone. The angles of all these projections being rounded off, the spectator looking up can only describe the vault as a series of gradually diminishing amulets or rings converging to the apex. The effect is very pleasing, though it furnishes a strong argument that the Hindus first became acquainted with the perfect arch through their conquerors. The toran, in front of the altar of Mahavira, is exquisitely sculptured, as well as several statues of marble, discovered about one hundred and fifty years ago in the bed of the river, when it changed its course. It is not unlikely that they were buried during Mahmud’s invasion. But [698] the 809most singular structure of Nadol is a reservoir, called the chana ki baoli, from the cost of it being paid by the return of a single grain of pulse (chana). The excavation is immense; the descent is by a flight of grey granite steps, and the sides are built up from the same materials by piling blocks upon blocks of enormous magnitude, without the least cement.

Inscriptions and Coins.

—My acquisitions here were considerable. Besides copies of inscriptions made by my Sanskrit scribes, I obtained two originals on brass. Of one of these, dated S. 1218, the memorial of Alandeva, I append a translation,[40] which may be considered curious as a formula of endowment of the Jains. I likewise procured several isolated MS. leaves of very great value, relative to the thirty-six royal races, to the ancient geography of India, and to the founding of ancient cities; also a catalogue of longevity of plants and animals, and an extract from a work concerning the descendants of Srenika and Samprati, the potent princes of the Jain faith between Mahavira and Vikrama. However meagre these fragments may be, I have incorporated their contents into my mosaic. I also made valuable additions to my collection of medals, for I obtained coins of Mahmud, Balban, and Ala, surnamed Khuni, or ‘the sanguinary’; and another of a conqueror equally meriting that title, Nadir Shah. But these were of little consequence compared with what one of my envoys brought from Narlai—a small bag full of curious hieroglyphical (if I may so use the term) medals of the Chauhan princes.[41] One side represents a warrior on horseback, compounded out of a character to which I have applied the above term; on some there was a bull; while others, retaining the original reverse, have on the obverse the titles of the first Islamite conquerors, in the same manner as the currency of France bears the effigies of Louis XVI. and the emblems of the Republic. Whoever will pay a visit to Nadol will find his labour amply rewarded; I had only leisure to glean a few of these relics, which yet formed a rich harvest. Narlai, Bali, Desuri, Sadri, all ancient seats of the Jains, will yield medals, MSS., and rare specimens of the architectural art. From Abu to Mandor, the 810antiquary might fill many portfolios, and collect matter for volumes of the ancient history of this people, for this is the cradle of their faith. That I was enabled to obtain so much during a rapid march through the country arose partly from previous [699] knowledge, partly from the extent of my means, for I had flying detachments to the right and left of my route, consisting of intelligent natives of each city, accompanied by pandits for deciphering, and others for collecting whatever was the object of research; who, at the close of each day, brought me the fruits of their inquiries. When any remarkable discovery was made, I followed it up in person, or by sending those in whom I could confide. This is not mentioned from a spirit of egotism, but to incite others to the pursuit by showing the rewards which await such research.


October 29.—Camp at Indara, eleven miles. This small town, placed on the north bank of one of the nameless feeders of the ‘salt river,’ is the boundary of Godwar; here the reign of the yellow anwal terminates, and here commences Marusthali, or ‘the region of death.’ The transition is great. We can look back upon fertility, and forward on aridity, which does not, however, imply sterility: for that cunning artist, nature, compensates the want of verdure and foliage to the inhabitants of the desert by many spontaneous bounties. An entire race of cucurbitaceous plants is the eleemosynary equivalent for the mango and exotics of the central lands of Rajputana; while indigenous poverty sends forth her commercial sons from Osi, Pali, and Pokaran, to bring wealth from the Ganges and the Kistna, to the Luni, or to the still more remote oasis, Jaisalmer. From Indara everything assumed a new character: the sand, of which we had before scarcely a sprinkling, became occasionally heavy; the shallow beds of the numerous streams were white with saline incrustations; and the vegetable creation had been gradually diminishing, from the giant race of the sacred fig-tree with leaf “broad as Amazonian targe,” to the dwarfish shrubs of the desert. At once the satiric stanza of the bard of a more favoured region was brought to my mind, and as I repeated it to my old friend the Rana’s envoy, he enjoyed the confession, and afresh urged his wish that nature should decide the question of their boundaries:
811Āk ra jhonpra,
Phog ra vār,
Bājra ri roti,
Motham hari dāl,
Dekho ho Raja, teri Marwar.
‘Huts of the āk,
Barriers of thorns,
Bread of maize,
Lentils of the vetch,
Behold Raja, your Marwar!’ [700].

Construction of Villages.

—The villages are of a construction totally distinct from anything we have seen, and more approaching the wigwam of the western world. Every commune is surrounded with a circumvallation of thorns, kanta ka kot, and the stacks of bhus, or ‘chaff,’ which are placed at intervals, give it the appearance of a respectable fortification. These bhus stacks are erected to provide provender for the cattle in scanty rainy seasons, when the parched earth denies grass, or full crops of maize. They are erected to the height of twenty or thirty feet, coated with a cement of earth and cow-dung, and with a sprinkling of thorns, to prevent the fowls of the air from reposing in them. In this manner, with a little fresh coating, they will exist ten years, being only resorted to on emergencies, when the kine may be said to devour the village walls. Their appearance is a great relief to the monotony of the march through the desert; which, however, cannot strictly be said to commence till you cross the Luni.


October 30.—A long march of twenty-one miles, in which there was little to record, brought us to Pali, the great commercial mart of western Rajwara. Like everything else in these regions it bore the marks of rapine; and as in the civil wars of this State its possession was of great importance to either party, the fortifications were razed at the desire of the inhabitants, who did not admire the noise of war within their gates. From the same feeling, when it was proposed to gird the sister mart, Bhilwara, with walls, the opposition to it was universal. The remnants of the walls lend it an air of desolation.[42] The town is overrated at ten thousand houses. As an emporium its reputation is of ancient 812date: and, politically, it is connected with the establishment of the reigning family in these regions. A community of Brahmans then held Pali in grant from the princes of Mandor: whence comes a numerous class, termed Paliwal, who follow mercantile pursuits. It was in S. 1212 (A.D. 1156) that Siahji, the founder of the Rathor dynasty and son to the emperor of Kanauj, passed Pali on his return from a pilgrimage from Dwarka to the Ganges. The Brahmans sent a deputation to relieve them from two great enemies to their repose, namely, the Minas of the Aravalli, and the lions, which had become very numerous. Siahji relieved them from both; but the opportunity “to acquire land” was too good to be lost, and on the festival of the Holi he put the leading Brahmans to death, and took possession of Pali.

The Commerce of Pāli.

—Commerce, in these regions, is the basis of liberty: even despotism is [701] compelled to leave it unrestrained. Pali, like Bhilwara, Jhalrapatan, Rani, and other marts, enjoys the right of electing its own magistrates, both for its municipal regulations, and the arbitration of all matters connected with commercial pursuits. It was commerce which freed Europe from the bondage of feudality; and the towns above cited only require the same happy geographical position, to play the part of the Hanse towns of Europe. Like Bhilwara, Pali has its own currency, which, amidst universal deterioration, it has retained undebased. From remote times, Pali has been the connecting link between the sea-coast and northern India. Commercial houses established at Muskat-Mandavi, Surat, and Navanagar transmit the products of Persia, Arabia, Africa, and Europe, receiving those of India and Thibet. To enumerate all the articles, it would be necessary to name the various products of each: from the coast, elephants’ teeth, rhinoceros’ hides, copper, tin, pewter, dates dried and moist,[43] of which there is an immense consumption in these regions; gum-arabic, borax, coco-nuts, broad-cloths, striped silks, called patang; various dyes, particularly the kermes or crimson; drugs, especially the oxides of arsenic and quicksilver; spices, sandal-wood, camphor, tea, momiai or mummy,[44] which is much sought after in medicine, and 813green glass (kanch). From Bahawalpur, soda (sajji),[45] the dyes called al[46] and majith,[47] matchlocks, dried fruits, asafoetida, Multan chintzes, and wood for household furniture. From Kotah and Malwa, opium and chintzes. From Jaipur, various cloths and sugars. From Bhuj, swords and horses.



To face page 812.

The exports of home production are the two staple articles of salt and woollens; to which we may add coarse cotton cloths, and paper made in the town of Pali. The lois, or blankets, are disseminated throughout India, and may be had at from four to sixty rupees per pair; scarfs and turbans are made of the same material, but not for exportation. But salt is the chief article of export, and the duties arising therefrom equal half the land revenue of the country. Of the agars, or ‘salt lakes,’ Pachbhadra, Phalodi, and Didwana are the principal, the first being several miles in circuit [702].

The commercial duties of Pali yielded 75,000 rupees annually, a large sum in a poor country like Marwar.

Chāran and Bhāt Carriers.

—The Charans and Bhats, or bards and genealogists, are the chief carriers of these regions: their sacred character overawes the lawless Rajput chief; and even the savage Koli and Bhil, and the plundering Sahariya of the desert, dread the anathema of these singular races, who conduct the caravans through the wildest and most desolate regions. The traveller avails himself of such convoy who desires to proceed to the coast by Jalor, Bhinmal, Sanchor, and Radhanpur, whence he may pursue his route to Surat, or Muskat-Mandavi.

Pungiri Temple.

—To the east of Pali about ten miles, there is an isolated hill, called Pungiri, ‘the hill of virtue,’ which is crowned with a small temple, said to have been conveyed by a Buddhist magician from Palitana in Saurashtra. Wherever this ancient and numerous sect exists, magical skill is always asserted. 814Here we found our old friend, Gough, who had been rambling to the south-west amongst Sahariya, Khosas,[48] and all the wild beings of these uncivilized tracts, in search of new breeds of horses. Halted to enjoy his society.

Kairla, 30th.

Rohat, 31st.


November 1.—Khankani, on the north bank of the Luni. There was nothing to arrest attention between Pali and the Luni: all is flat and lonely in the thirty miles which intervene. Our halts were at Kairla, which has two small salt lakes, whence its name; in fact, this superabundant product, khar, or salt, gives its name to streams and towns. Both Kairla and Rohat, the intermediate places of halt, are feudal estates, and both chiefs had been involved in the recent civil dissensions: Rohat was under the ban.

Bhāt Customs. Coercion by Threat of Human Sacrifice.

—Here I had an exemplification of the vulgar adage, “two of a trade,” etc. Pema Naik, the leader of one of the largest tandas, or caravans, which frequent the desert for salt, had left his convoy, and with his brethren came to exhibit his wounds and fractures received in a fray with the leaders of another caravan. Both were Bhats; Pema was the head of the Bamania Bhats, so called from the place of their abode, and he counted forty thousand beasts of burthen under his control. Shama had no distinctive epithet: he had no home separate from [703] his tanda. His little State when not in motion was on the highways; hence those who dwell entirely with their cattle are styled upapanti, ‘on the road.’ Shama had taken advantage of the greater portion of Pema’s caravan being detached to revenge an ancient feud; and had shown himself quite an adept in club-law, as the broken heads of his opponents disclosed. To reconcile them was impossible; and as the case was to be decided, not by the scales of abstract justice but by calculating which contributed most in duties, Pema by this summary process, more than from sympathy to his wounded honour, gained a victory by the exclusion of his rival. As before observed, these classes take advantage of their sacred character amongst the Rajputs to become the general 815carriers of the country: but the advantage which might result to the State from the respect paid to them is neutralized by their avarice and constant evasion of the payment of all established duties. A memorable example of this kind occurred during the reign of Amra the First with the ancestor of this same Pema. The Rana would not submit to the insolent demands of the Bhats, when they had recourse to one of the most sanguinary sacrifices ever recorded—the threat alone of which is generally sufficient to extort acquiescence and concession. But the firmness of Amra has been recorded: and he braved them. Collecting the elder portion of their community, men, women, and youths of both sexes, they made a sacrifice to the number of eighty souls with their daggers in the court of the palace. The blood of the victims was on the Rana’s head.[49] It was a species of excommunication, which would have unsettled a weaker reason; for the Rajput might repose after the murder of a Brahman, but that of the prophetic Vates would rise against him here and hereafter. For once they encountered a mind too strong to be shaken; Amra banished the whole fraternity of Bamania Bhats from his dominions, and the town of Bamani reverted to the fisc. The edict remained uncancelled until these days, when amongst the industrious of all classes whom the proclamations[50] brought once more to Mewar, came Pema and his brethren. Although tradition had preserved the causes of their exile, it had made no alteration in their sentiments and opinions, and the dagger was always at hand, to be sheathed in their own flesh whenever provocation called it from the girdle. Pema beset the Rana in all his rides, demanding a reduction [704] or rather abolition of duties for his tanda; and at length he took up a position on the terrace fronting the ‘balcony of the sun,’ threatening a chandni,[51] for such is the 816term applied to this suicidal revenge. The Rana, who had not the nerve of his ancestor, sent to me to beseech my interference: with his messenger, one from me returned to invite the Bhats to a settlement. They came, as fine, robust, intrepid a set as I ever saw. We soon came to issue: I urged that duties must be paid by all who chose to frequent the passes of Mewar, and that they would get nothing by their present silly mode of endeavouring to obtain remission; that if they would give a written agreement to abide by the scale of duties laid down, they should receive exemption for five hundred out of the forty thousand bullocks of their tanda, and be reinducted into Bamani; if not, there were daggers (showing them some on the table), and they might begin as soon as they pleased. I added that, in addition to Rana Amra’s penalty of banishment, I would recommend confiscation of their entire caravan. Pema was no fool: he accepted Bamani, and the muafi for five hundred, and that day received his gold bracelets and clothes of investiture for Bamani from the Rana.


November 2.—Jhalamand, ten miles. Although within one march of Jodhpur, we were obliged to make an intermediate halt, in order to arrange the ceremonials of reception; a grave matter with all the magnates of the East, who regulate all such affairs by slavish precedent and ancestral wisdom. On such a novel occasion as the reception of an English envoy at this desert court, they were a good deal puzzled how to act. They could very well comprehend how an ambassador direct from majesty should be received, and were not unfamiliar with the formula to be observed towards a viceregal legation. But the present case was an anomaly: the Governor of all India, of course, could appear only as the first servant of a commercial body, which, with whatever privileges invested, never could be made to rank with royalty or its immediate emanation. Accordingly, this always proved a clog to our diplomatic missions, until the diffusion of our power from the Indus to the ocean set speculation at rest on the formalities of reception of the Company’s ambassadors. On the other hand, the eternal rotation of military adventurers enjoying ephemeral power, such as the commanders of the myrmidons of Sindhia and Holkar, compelled all the Rajput princes to forgo much of their dignity; and men like Amir Khan, Jean Baptiste, or Bapu Sindhia, who but a [705] short time ago would 817have deemed themselves honoured with a seat in the ante-chamber, claimed equality of reception with princes. Each made it a subject for boasting, how far he had honoured himself by the humiliation of the descendant of the emperor of Kanauj, or the scion of Rama. At the same time, as the world is always deceived by externals, it was difficult to concede a reception less distinguished than that granted to the leader of a Mahratta horde; and here their darling precedent was available. To what distance did the Raja send the istikbal to meet Amir Khan? what was the rank of the chieftains so deputed? and to what point did the “offspring of the sun” condescend to advance in person to receive this “lord of the period”? All these, and many similar questions, were propounded through the Wakil, who had long been with me, to his sovereign, to whose presence he proceeded in order that they might be adjusted, while I halted at Jhalamand, only five miles from the capital. However individually we may despise these matters, we have no option, as public servants, but to demand the full measure of honour for those we represent. As the present would also regulate future receptions, I was compelled to urge that the Raja would best consult his own dignity by attending to that of the government I represented, and distinctly signified that it could never be tolerated that he should descend to the very foot of his castle to honour Amir Khan, and await the English envoy almost on the threshold of his palace. It ended, as such matters generally do in those countries, by a compromise: it was stipulated that the Raja should receive the mission in his palki or litter, at the central barrier of descent.[52] These preliminaries being arranged, we left Jhalamand in the afternoon, that we might not derange the habits of slumber of those who were to conduct us to the capital. About half-way we were met by the great feudatory chieftains of Pokaran and Nimaj, then lords of the ascendant, and the joint advisers of their sovereign. We dismounted, embraced, complimented each other in the customary phraseology; then remounted, and rode together until we reached the tents, where, after I had requested them to be the bearers of my homage to their sovereign, we mutually saluted and parted.

The Chief of Pokaran.

—Salim Singh[53] was the name of the lord of Pokaran, the most wealthy and the [706] most powerful of all the baronies of Marwar. His castle and estate (wrested from Jaisalmer) are in the very heart of the desert; the former is strong both by position and art. It is a family which has often shaken the foundation of the throne of Marwar. During four generations have its bold and turbulent chiefs made the most resolute of these monarchs tremble. Deo Singh, the great grandfather of the present chief, used to sleep in the hall of the royal palace, with five hundred of his Champawats, of which clan he is the chief. “The throne of Marwar is within the sheath of my dagger,” was the boast, as elsewhere mentioned, of this haughty noble to his sovereign. His son, Sabal Singh, followed his father’s steps, and even dethroned the great Bijai Singh: a cannon-shot relieved the prince from this terror of his reign. Sawai Singh, his son and successor, acted the same part towards Raja Bhim, and was involved in the civil wars which commenced in 1806, when he set up the pretender, Dhonkal Singh. The catastrophe of Nagor, in which Amir Khan acted the assassin of the Champawat and all his associates, relieved Raja Man from the evil genius of his house; and the honours this prince heaped on the son of the Champawat, in giving him the first office in the State, were but a trap to ensnare him. From this he escaped, or his life and the honours of Pokaran would have been lost together. Such is a rapid sketch of the family of the chief who was deputed to meet me. He was about thirty-five years of age; his appearance, though not prepossessing, was dignified and commanding. In person he was tall, but more powerful than athletic; his features were good, but his complexion was darker than in general amongst the chieftains of Marwar.

The Chief of Nīmāj.

—His companion, and associate in the councils of his prince, was in every point of personal appearance the reverse of this portrait. Surthan Singh was chief of the Udawats, a clan which can muster four thousand swords, all residing on the land skirting the Aravalli; and of which his 819residence Nimaj,[54] Raepur, and Chandawal are the principal fiefs. Surthan was a fine specimen of the Rajput; his figure tall and graceful; his complexion fair; his deportment manly and mild; in short, he was a thorough gentleman in appearance, understanding, and manners.

It would be impossible to relate here all the causes which involved him in the catastrophe from which his coadjutor escaped. It was the misfortune of Surthan to have been associated with Salim Singh; but his past services to his prince amply counterbalanced this party bias. It was he who prevented his sovereign from [707] sheathing a dagger in his heart on the disgraceful day at Parbatsar; and he was one of the four chieftains of all Marwar who adhered to his fortunes when beset by the united force of Rajputana. He was also one of the same four who redeemed the spoils of their country from the hands of the multitudinous array which assaulted Jodhpur in 1806, and whose fate carried mourning into every house of Rajasthan.[55] The death of Surthan Singh was a prodigal sacrifice, and caused a sensation of universal sorrow, in which I unfeignedly participated. His gallant bearing was the theme of universal admiration; nor can I give a better or a juster idea of the chivalrous Rajput than by inserting a literal translation of the letter conveying the account of his death, about eight months after my visit to Jodhpur.

“Jodhpur, 2d Asarh, or 28th June 1820.

“On the last day of Jeth (the 26th June), an hour before daybreak, the Raja sent the Aligols,[56] and all the quotas of the chiefs, to the number of eight thousand men, to attack Surthan Singh. They blockaded his dwelling in the city, upon which for three watches they kept up a constant fire of great guns and small arms. Surthan, with his brother Sur Singh, and his kindred and clan, after a gallant defence, at length sallied forth, attacked the foreigners sword in hand, and drove them back. But who can oppose their prince with success? The odds were too great, 820and both brothers fell nobly. Nagoji and forty of the bravest of the clan fell with the Thakur brothers, and forty were severely wounded. Eighty, who remained, made good their retreat with their arms to Nimaj.[57] Of the Raja’s troops, forty were killed on the spot, and one hundred were wounded. Twenty of the townsfolk suffered in the fray.

“The Pokaran chief, hearing of this, saddled; but the Maharaja sent Sheonath Singh of Kuchaman, the chief of Bhadrajan, and others, to give him confidence, and induce him to stay; but he is most anxious to get away. My nephew and fifteen of my followers were slain on this occasion. The Nimaj chief fell as became a Rathor. The world exclaims ‘applause,’ and both Hindu and Turk say he met [708] his death nobly. Sheonath Singh, Bakhtawar Singh, Rup Singh, and Anar Singh,[58] performed the funeral rites.”

Such is the Rajput, when the point of honour is at stake! Not a man of his clan would have surrendered while their chief lived to claim their lives; and those who retreated only preserved them for the support of the young lord of the Udawats [709]!

1. Meru is ‘a [fabulous] mountain’ in Sanskrit; Merawat and Merot, ‘of or belonging to the mountain.’ I have before remarked that the name of the Albanian mountaineer, Mainote, has the same signification. I know not the etymology of Mina, of which the Mer is a branch. [Needless to say, whatever the meaning of the title Mer may be, it has no connexion with Mt. Meru. The traditions of the Mers point to Mīna ancestry. For the Mīna tribe see Rose, Glossary, iii. 102 ff.; Watson, Rajputāna Gazetteer, i. A. 29 ff.]

2. I had hoped to have embodied these subjects with, and thereby greatly to have increased the interest, of my work; but just as Lord Hastings had granted my request, that an individual eminently qualified for those pursuits should join me, a Higher Power deemed it fit to deny what had been long near my heart.

The individual, John Tod, was a cousin of my own, and possessed an intellect of the highest order. He was only twenty-two years of age when he died, and had only been six months in India. He was an excellent classical scholar, well versed in modern languages and every branch of natural history. His manners, deportment, and appearance were all in unison with these talents. Had it pleased the Almighty to have spared him, this work would have been more worthy of the public notice. [An officer named Tod was murdered at Nāhar Magra, near Udaipur, in May 1804 (Malcolm, Memoir Central India, 2nd ed. i. 237).]

3. [The Mers are supposed to be a foreign tribe, like the Gurjaras and Mālavas, which passed into Kāthiāwār through the Panjāb, Sind, and N. Gujarāt (BG, i. Part i. 136 ff.; Elliot-Dowson i. 519 ff.).]

4. I cannot discover by what part of the range the invasion of Mandor was attempted; it might have been the pass we are now in, for it is evident it was not from the frontier of Ajmer.

5. Laj is properly ‘shame,’ which word is always used in lieu of honour: laj rakho, ‘preserve my shame,’ i.e. my honour from shame.

6. Parbat Vira.

7. The Parihar prince bestowed this epithet merely in compliment.

8. Sindhu Raga.

9. [The sacred Jain mountain in Kāthiāwār.]

10. With two (do) edges (dhara).

11. Sang is the iron lance, either wholly of iron, or having plates for about ten feet; these weapons are much used in combats from camels in the Desert.

12. ‘Sword’—Aswar in the dialect.

13. [The field guardian deity.]

14. [For an account of the Mer rebellion in 1820 and its suppression see Watson, Rājputāna Gazetteer, i. A. 14.]

15. [The 44th Merwāra Infantry, formerly known as the Merwāra Battalion, formed in 1822, did good service in the Mutiny of 1857, and in the Afghān campaign of 1878 (Watson, Gazetteer, i. A. 119 ff.; Cardew, Sketch of the Services of the Bengal Native Army, 338 ff.)].

16. [No class of Brāhmans or Rājputs, claiming respectability, now permits widow marriage.]

17. [Nāgda, near the shrine of Eklingji, one of the most ancient places in Mewār.]

18. [Elsewhere known as Khanjarīt or Khanjan, a well-known bird of omen.]

19. This term is a compound of bāhar and watan, literally ‘ex patria.’

20. He ruled from A.D. 1094 to 1143.

21. [Ānwal, āonla, Phyllanthus emblica; bāwal, babūl, Acacia arabica; karīl, Capparis aphylla; āk, Calotropis gigantea; pīpal, Ficus religiosa.]

22. [Bar, Ficus bengalensis; jawās, Hedysarum alhagi.]

23. See p. 325.

34. An alp, or spot in these mountainous regions, where springs, pasture, and other natural conveniences exist.

35. [About seventy miles south-south-west of Jodhpur city.]

36. [Bhatinda, now Govindgarh, in the Patiāla State (IGI, xii. 343). The author’s accounts of Gūga or Gugga are contradictory (see Index, s.v.). For this famous saga see Temple, Legends of the Panjāb, i. 121 ff., iii. 261 ff. The cult of the hero has passed as far south as Gujarāt, his festival being held on 9th dark half of Bhādon (Aug.-Sept.), known as Gūga navami (BG, ix. Part i. 524 f.).]

37. Ferishta, or his copyist, by a false arrangement of the points, has lost Nadole in Buzule, using the ب for the ن and the ذ for the د. [It was Kutbu-d-dīn who, on his way to Gujarāt, passed the forts of “Tilli and Buzule” (Dow, ed. 1812, i. 147). Briggs (Ferishta i. 196) writes “Baly and Nadole.” In the Tāju-l-Ma-āsir of Hasan Nizāmi the names are given as “Pāli and Nandūl” (Elliot-Dowson ii. 229). This illustrates the difficulty of tracing place names in the Muhammadan historians.]

38. [Towards the end of the tenth century, Lākhan or Lakshman Singh, a younger brother of Wākpatirāj, the Chauhān Rāja of Sāmbhar, settled at Nādol, and his descendants ruled the territory till their defeat by Kutbu-d-dīn Ibak in 1206-10 (Erskine iii. A. 181 f.).]

39. [The temple of Mahāvīra contains three inscriptions, dated A.D. 1609, recording its construction from charitable funds. Garrett disputes the author’s reference to Caesar, as the buildings are not superior to many others in Rājputāna (ASR, xxiii. (1887) 93).]

40. See Appendix, No. VII.]

41. These will appear more appropriately in a disquisition on Hindu medals found by me in India, in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society. [The well-known “Bull and Horseman” type (IGI, ii. 142 f.).]

42. [All traces of those walls have disappeared, but in Jūna or ‘Old’ Pāli there are some fine temples (ASR, xxiii. (1887) 86 ff.).]

43. The kharak and pind khajūr. [Kharak is the stage when the date becomes red or yellow, according to variety; pind, when it is quite ripe (Watt, Econ. Dict. vi. Part i. 205).]

44. Mom in the language of Egypt signifies ‘wax,’ says some ancient authority: so it is the usual name of that article in Persian. Mummy is probably thence derived. I remember playing a trick on old Silu, our khabardar [spy] at Sindhia’s camp, who had been solicited to obtain a piece of momiai for a chieftain’s wife. As we are supposed to possess everything valuable in the healing art, he would take no refusal; so I substituted a piece of indiarubber. [For the virtues of momiāi see Crooke, Popular Religion and Folklore of N. India, ii. 176 ff.]

45. [Barilla, Watt, Econ. Prod. 112 f.]

46. [Morinda citrifolia, ibid. 783 f.]

47. [Madder, Rubia cordifolia, ibid. 926 f.]

48. [The Khosa is a Baloch tribe, many of them found in Sind, where, it is said, they were given lands by the Emperor Humāyūn (Census Report, Baluchistan, 1901, i. 95 f.).]

49. [Numerous instances of this custom among Bhāts will be found in BG, ix. Part i. 209 ff.]

50. See Vol. I. p. 561.

51. [Platts (Hindustāni Dict., s.v.) gives chāndni, ‘moonlight’; chāndni mār-jāna, ‘to be moonstruck, paralysed by a stroke of the moon’; chāndni karan, ‘the practice of Brāhmans and others wounding themselves in order to extort the payment of a debt.’ Here the threat is fear of the ghost of the man who took his life. Sir G. Grierson notes that in Gujarāti and Marāthi chāndi karan means ‘to reduce to white ashes,’ hence ‘to ruin or destroy completely.’ Here chāndi, usually meaning ‘silver,’ means ‘anything white,’ and hence ‘white ashes.’ This, he suggests, seems to be a more probable explanation than ‘moonstruck.’]

52. Mr. Wilder, the superintendent of Ajmer, was deputed by General Sir D. Ochterlony, in December 1818, to the court of Jodhpur, and was very courteously received by the Raja.

53. The sibilant is the Shibboleth of the Rajput of Western India, and will always detect him. The ‘lion’ (singh) of Pokaran is degraded into ‘asafoetida’ (hing); as Halim Hing. [Pokaran, 85 miles N.W. of Jodhpur city, held by the premier noble of the Champāwat clan of Rāthors.]

54. [Nīmāj, about 60 miles E.S.E. of Jodhpur city, fief of a noble of the Udāwat Rāthors.]

55. See Vol. I. p. 539 for the murder of the princess of Udaipur, one of its results.

56. The mercenary Rohilla battalions, who are like the Walloons and independent companies which formed the first regular armies of Europe. [‘Alīgol, ‘noble troop’ (Yule, Hobson-Jobson, 2nd ed. 15).2nd ed. 15).]

57. Which they afterwards nobly defended during many months.

58. The last, a brave and excellent man, was the writer of this letter. He, who had sacrificed all to save his prince, and, as he told me himself, supported him, when proscribed by his predecessor, by the sale of all his property, even to his wife’s jewels, yet became an exile, to save his life from an overwhelming proscription. To the anomalous state of our alliances with these States is to be ascribed many of these mischiefs.

(From the south-east.)
To face page 820.


City and Fort of Jodhpur.

—The sand, since we crossed the Luni, had become gradually heavier, and was quite fatiguing as we approached the capital of “the region of death”; but the Marwaris and the camels appeared to move through it as briskly as our men would on the plains of the Ganges. The view before the reader will give a more correct idea of the ‘city of Jodha’ than the most laboured description. The fort is erected on a mole projecting from a low range of hills, so as to be almost isolated, while, being higher than the surrounding objects, it is not commanded. This table-ridge (mountain we can scarcely term it, since its most elevated portion is not more than three hundred feet in height) is a curious feature in these regions of 821uninterrupted aridity. It is about twenty-five miles in length, and, as far as I could determine from a bird’s-eye view and from report, between two and three in breadth, the capital being placed on the highest part at the southern extremity, and may be said to be detached from it. The northern point, which is the highest, and on which the palace is built, is less than three hundred feet. Everywhere it is scarped, but especially at this point, against which the batteries of the League[1] were directed in 1806, at least a hundred and twenty feet of perpendicular height. Strong walls and numerous round and square towers encircle the crest of the hill, encompassing a space of great extent, as may be judged from the dimensions of the base, said to be four miles in circuit. Seven barriers are thrown across the circuitous ascent, each having immense portals and their separate guards. There are two small lakes under the walls: the Rani Talab, or ‘Queen’s Lake,’ to the east; and the Gulab Sagar, or ‘Rose-water Sea,’ to the south, from [710] which the garrison draws up water in buckets. There is also inside a kund, or reservoir, about ninety feet in depth, excavated from the rock, which can be filled from these tanks; and there are likewise wells within, but the water is brackish. Within are many splendid edifices, and the Raja’s residence is a succession of palaces, each prince since the founder having left memorials of his architectural taste. The city to the eastward of the citadel is encompassed by a strong wall, three coss, or nearly six miles, in extent, on which a hundred and one bastions or towers are distributed; on the rampart are mounted several rahkalas[2] or swivels. There are seven gates to the capital, each bearing the name of the city to which it leads. The streets are very regular, and adorned with many handsome edifices of freestone, of which the ridge is composed. The number of families some years ago was stated to be 20,000, probably 80,000 souls, an estimate far too great for the present day.[3] The Gulab Sagar is the favourite lounge of the inhabitants, who recreate amongst its gardens; and, strange to say, the most incomparable pomegranates (anar) are produced in it, far superior even to those of Kabul, which they resemble in the peculiarity of being be-dana,

822‘without grain’: rather a misnomer for a fruit, the characteristic of which is its granulations; but this is in contradistinction to those of India, which are all grain and little pulp. The anars of the Kagli-ka-bagh, or ‘Ravens’ Garden,’ are sent to the most remote parts as presents. Their beautiful ruby tint affords an abundant resource for metaphor to the Rajput bard, who describes it as “sparkling in the ambrosial cup.”[4]

Reception by the Rāja.

—On the 4th the Raja received us with due form, advancing beyond the second gate of descent; when, after salutations and greetings, he returned according to etiquette. Giving him time to make his arrangements, we advanced slowly through lines of his clansmen to the upper area, where a display of grandeur met our view for which we were totally unprepared, and far eclipsing the simple and unostentatious state of the Rana. Here everything was imitative of the imperial court of Delhi, where the Rathor, long pre-eminent, had “the right hand of the king of the world.” Lines of gold and silver mace-bearers deafened us with the titles of “Raj-Raj-Iswara!” ‘the king, the lord of kings!’ into whose presence, through mazes of intricate courts filled with his chivalry, all hushed into that mysterious silence which is invariably observed on such occasions, we were at length ushered [711].

Rāja Mān Singh.

—The King of Maru arose from his throne, and advanced a few paces, when he again courteously received the envoy and suite, who were here introduced. The hall of reception was of great extent: from its numerous square columns it is styled Sahas stambha, ‘the thousand-columned hall.’ They were more massive than elegant; and being placed in parallel rows, at not more than twelve feet from each other, they gave an air of cumbrous, if not clumsy grandeur to an immense apartment, the ceiling of which was very low. About the centre, in a niche or recess, the royal gaddi or ‘cushion’ was placed, over which was raised a richly embroidered canopy, supported by silver-gilt columns. On the Rana’s right hand were placed those whom the king honoured, the chieftains of Pokaran and Nimaj, who would have been less at their ease had they known that all the distinctions they then enjoyed were meshes to ensnare them. Several other chieftains and civil officers, whose names would but little interest the reader, were placed around. The wakil, Bishan 823Ram, was seated near me, almost in front of the Raja. The conversation was desultory and entirely complimentary; affording, however, abundant opportunity to the Raja to display his proficiency in that mixed language, the Hindustani, which he spoke with great fluency and much greater purity than those who resided about the court at Delhi. In person the Raja is above the common height, possessing considerable dignity of manner, though accompanied by the stiffness of habitual restraint. His demeanour was commanding and altogether princely; but there was an entire absence of that natural majesty and grace which distinguished the prince of Udaipur, who won without exertion our spontaneous homage. The features of Raja Man are good: his eye is full of intelligence; and though the ensemble of his countenance almost denotes benevolence, yet there is ever and anon a doubtful expression, which, with a peculiarly formed forehead, gave a momentary cast of malignity to it. This might have been owing to that deep dissimulation, which had carried him through a trial of several years’ captivity, during which he acted the maniac and the religious enthusiast, until the assumed became in some measure his natural character.

The biography of Man Singh would afford a remarkable picture of human patience, fortitude, and constancy, never surpassed in any age or country. But in this school of adversity he also took lessons of cruelty: he learned therein to master or rather disguise his passions; and though he showed not the ferocity of the tiger, he acquired [712] the still more dangerous attribute of that animal—its cunning. At that very time, not long after he had emerged from his seclusion, while his features were modelled into an expression of complaisant self-content, indicative of a disdain of human greatness, he was weaving his web of destruction for numberless victims who were basking in the sunshine of his favour. The fate of one of them has been already related.[5]

Descent of the Rāthors.

—The Rathor, like many other dynasties not confined to the East, claims celestial descent. Of their Bhat, we may say what Gibbon does of the Belgic genealogist who traced the illustrious house of Este from Romulus, that “he riots in all the lust of fiction, and spins from his own bowels a lineage of some thousand years.” We are certain that there were sovereigns of Kanauj in the fifth century, and it is very probable 824that they ruled there prior to the era of Christianity. But this is accounted nothing by these lovers of antiquity, who never stop short of Swayambhuva,[6] and the ark, in which the antediluvian records of the Rathors may have been preserved with those of the De Courcys. But we will not revert to those “happy times, when a genealogical tree would strike its root into any soil, and the luxuriant plant could flourish and fructify without a seed of truth.” Then the ambition of the Rathor for a solar pedigree could be gratified without difficulty.

But it requires neither Bhat nor bard to illustrate its nobility: a series of splendid deeds which time cannot obliterate has emblazoned the Rathor name on the historical tablet. Where all these races have gained a place in the temple of fame, it is almost invidious to select; but truth compels me to place the Rathor with the Chauhan, on the very pinnacle. The names of Chonda and Jodha are sufficient to connect Siahji, the founder, a scion of Kanauj, with his descendant, Raja Man:[7] the rest

Were long to tell; how many battles fought;
How many kings destroyed, and kingdoms won.

Let us, therefore, put forth our palm to receive the itr from his august hand, and the pan, acknowledged by a profound salaam, and bringing the right hand to my cocked hat, which etiquette requires we should “apply to the proper use:—’tis for the head,” even in the presence. At all the native courts the head is covered, and the en bas left bare. It would be sadly indecorous to walk in soiled boots over their [713] delicate carpets, covered with white linen, the general seat. The slippers are left at the door, and it is neither inconvenient nor degrading to sit in your socks. The Raja presented me with an elephant and horse caparisoned, an aigrette, necklace, brocades, and shawls, with a portion according to rank to the gentlemen who accompanied me.

On the 6th I paid the Raja another visit, to discuss the affairs of his government. From a protracted conversation of several hours, at which only a single confidential personal attendant of the prince was present, I received the most convincing proofs of his intelligence, and minute knowledge of the past history, not of his own country alone, but of India in general. He was remarkably 825well read; and at this and other visits he afforded me much instruction. He had copies made for me of the chief histories of his family, which are now deposited in the library of the Royal Asiatic Society. He entered deeply into the events of his personal history, and recounted many of the expedients he was obliged to have recourse to in order to save his life, when, in consequence of the murder of his Guru (not only his spiritual but his temporal guide, counsellor, and friend), he relinquished the reins of power, and acquiesced in their assumption by his son. The whole transaction is still involved in mystery, which the Raja alone can unravel. We must enter so far into the State secrets of the court as to disclose the motive for such an act as the destruction of the brave Surthan, and introduce to the reader another high priest of the Rajputs as a pendant for the oracle of the Apollo of Nathdwara.

The parricidal murder of Raja Ajit has been the destruction of Marwar, and even “unto the third and fourth generation” Providence would seem to have visited the act with its vengeance. The crown, which in a few years more would have been transmitted by nature’s law, was torn from the brow of this brave prince, who has redeemed his lost inheritance from Aurangzeb, by the unhallowed arm of his eldest son Abhai Singh; instigated thereto by an imperial bribe of the viceroyalty of Gujarat. His brother, Bakhta Singh, was made almost independent in Nagor by the concession of Abhai and the sanad and titles of his sovereign; and the contests between their issue have moistened the sands of Marwar with the richest blood of her children. Such is the bane of feudal dominion—the parent of the noblest deeds and the deepest crimes.

Deonāthji, the High Priest.

—Raja Man, accordingly, came to the throne with all the advantages and [714] disadvantages of such a state of things; and he was actually defending his existence in Jalor against his cousin and sovereign, when an unexpected event released him from his perils, and placed him on the throne. Bhim Singh had destroyed almost every branch of the blood-royal, which might have served as a nucleus for those intestine wars which desolated the country, and young Man, the sole intervening obstacle to the full accomplishment of his wishes, was reduced to the last extremity, and on the eve of surrendering himself and Jalor to this merciless tyrant, when he was relieved 826from his perilous situation. He attributed his escape to the intercession of the high priest of Marwar, the spiritual leader of the Rathors. This hierarch bore the title of divinity, or Nathji: his praenomen of Deo or Deva was almost a repetition of his title; and both together, Deonath, cannot be better rendered than by ‘Lord God.’ Whether the intercession of this exalted personage was purely of a moral nature, as asserted, or whether Raja Bhim was removed from this vain world to the heaven of Indra by means less miraculous than prayer is a question on which various opinions are entertained; but all agree that nothing could have been better timed for young Man, the sole victim required to fill up the measure of Bhim’s sanguinary policy. When suicide was the sole alternative to avoid surrender to the fangs of this Herod of the Desert, the high priest, assuming the mantle of prophecy, pronounced that no capitulation was inscribed in the book of fate—whose page revealed brighter days for young Man. Such prophets are dangerous about the persons of princes, who seldom fail to find the means to prevent their oracles from being demented. A dose of poison, it is said, was deemed a necessary adjunct to render efficacious the prayers of the pontiff; and they conjointly extricated the young prince from a fate which was deemed inevitable, and placed him on the regal cushion of Marwar. The gratitude of Raja Man had no limits—no honours, no grants were sufficient to mark his sense of obligation. The royal mantle was hallowed by the tread of this sainted being; and the throne itself was exalted when Deonath condescended to share it with his master, who, while this proud priest muttered forth his mysterious benedictions, with folded hands stood before him to receive the consecrated garland. Lands in every district were conferred upon the Nath, until his estates, or rather those of the church of which he was the head, far exceeded in extent those of the proudest nobles of the land, his income [715] amounting to a tenth of the revenues of the State. During the few years he held the keys of his master’s conscience, which were conveniently employed to unlock the treasury, he erected no less than eighty-four mandirs, or places of worship, with monasteries adjoining them, for his well-fed lazy chelas or disciples, who lived at free quarters on the labour of the industrious. Deonath was a striking example of the identity of human nature, under whatever garb and in whatever clime; whether under the cowl 827or the coronet, in the cold clime of Europe, or in the deserts of India. This Wolsey of Marudes exercised his hourly-increasing power to the disgust and alienation of all but his infatuated prince. He leagued with the nominal minister, Induraj, and together they governed the prince and country. Such characters, when exceeding the sphere of their duties, expose religion to contempt. The degradation which the haughty grandees of Marwar experienced made murder in their eyes a venial offence, provoked as they were by the humiliations they underwent through the influence of this arrogant priest, whose character may be given in the language of Gibbon, merely substituting Deonath of Marwar for Paul of Samosata: “His ecclesiastical jurisdiction was venal and rapacious; he extorted frequent contributions from the most opulent of the faithful, and converted to his own use a considerable part of the public revenue. His council chamber and his throne, the splendour with which he appeared in public, the suppliant crowd who solicited his attention, and the perpetual hurry of business in which he was involved, were circumstances much better suited to the state of a civil magistrate than to the humility of a primitive bishop.”[8] But his “full-blown pride” at length burst under him. Sequestrations from the estates of the chief barons of Maru became frequent in order to swell his rent-roll for the support of his establishments; his retinue on ordinary occasions surpassed that of any chieftain, and not unfrequently he was attended by the whole insignia of the State—the prince attending on such ceremonies. On these occasions the proud Rajput felt that he folded his hands, not to his sovereign, but to his sovereign’s sovereign; to a vindictive and vainglorious priest, who, amidst the mummeries and artifices of religious rites, gratified an inordinate vanity, while he mortified their pride and diminished their revenues. The hatred of such men is soon followed by their vengeance; and though they would not dye their own daggers in his blood, they soon found agents in a race who know not mercy, the myrmidons of [716] that villain Amir Khan, under whose steel, and within the precincts of the palace, Deonath fell a victim. It has been surmised that Raja Man was privy to the murder; that if he did not command or even sanction it, he used no means to prevent it. There are but two in this life who can reveal this mystery—the 828Raja, and the bourreau en chéf of Rajasthan, the aforesaid Amir Khan.

The murder of the high priest was but a prolongation of the drama, in which we have already represented the treacherous destruction of the chieftain of Pokaran and his kindred; and the immolation of Krishna Kunwari, the Helen of Rajasthan. The attack on the gallant Surthan, who conducted us from Jhalamand to the capital, sprung from the seed which was planted so many years back; nor was he the last sacrifice: victim after victim followed in quick succession until the Caligula of the Desert, who could “smile and stab,” had either slain or exiled all the first chieftains of his State. It would be a tedious tale to unravel all these intrigues; yet some of them must be told, in order to account for the ferocity of this man, now a subordinate ally of the British Government in the East.

Accession of Rāja Mān Singh.

—It was in A.D. 1804[9] that Raja Man exchanged the defence of Jalor for the throne of Jodhpur. His predecessor, Raja Bhim, left a widow pregnant; she concealed the circumstance, and when delivered, contrived to convey the child in a basket to Sawai Singh of Pokaran. During two years he kept the secret: he at length convened the Marwar chieftains, with whose concurrence he communicated it to Raja Man, demanding the cession of Nagor and its dependencies as a domain for this infant, named Dhonkal Singh, the heir-apparent of Marwar. The Raja promised compliance if the mother confirmed the truth of the statement. Whether her personal fears overcame her maternal affection, or the whole was an imposture of Pokaran, she disclaimed the child. The chiefs, though not satisfied, were compelled to appear contented with the result of this appeal; and for some years the matter seemed at rest. But this calm was only the presage of a storm, which shook to its base the political edifice of Marwar, and let loose upon her cities a torrent of predatory foes; it dethroned her prince, and, what the planner could not have contemplated, involved his own destruction. The effects of this treachery have for ever destroyed all confidence between the chief and the entire feudal interest. The Pokaran chief, after failing to establish the [717] claims of Dhonkal Singh as pretender to the throne, sent him for safety 829to the Shaikhawat chief of Khetri,[10] one of the independent nobles of the Jaipur family. Here he left him till an opportunity again arrived to bring him upon the scene, which was afforded by the contest between the princes of Marwar and Jaipur for the hand of the Rana’s daughter. This rivalry, the effects of which are already related, and which brought into conflict all the northern powers of India, was, in fact, only the under-plot of the deep-laid policy of Sawai. When once the gauntlet was thrown down for the hand of this fair lady, the Pokaran chief stepped in with the pretended son of Raja Bhim, whose cause, from the unpopularity of Raja Man, soon brought to his standard almost all the feudality of Marwar. The measures which followed, and the catastrophe, the death of Krishna Kunwari, have already been related.[11] The assassination of the chief of Pokaran was simultaneous with these events; and it was shortly after that the murder of the pontiff Deonath took place.

Insanity of Rāja Mān Singh.

—After being relieved from all external foes by his own strength of mind, and the aid of a few friends whom no reverse could estrange from him, Raja Man either fell, or affected to fall, into a state of mental despondency bordering on insanity. Suspicious of every one, he would only eat from the hands of his wife, who prepared his food herself; he became sullen and morose; he neglected public business; and finally withdrew entirely from the world. The attempt to rouse him from this real or pretended stupor was fruitless; he did nothing but lament the death of Deonath, and pour forth prayers to the deity. In this state, he was easily induced to associate his son in the government, and he bestowed upon him with his own hand the tika of command. Chhattar Singh was the name of the prince, who was still in his minority; thoughtless, and of dissolute habits, he soon gave himself up to the guidance of a junta of the chiefs, who proclaimed Akhai Chand, of the mercantile caste, the chief civil minister of the State.

British Control of Mārwār. Restoration and Policy of Rāja Mān Singh.

—Such was the condition of Marwar from A.D. 1809 to 1817. At this period the progress of events made the English arbiters of the destinies of Rajasthan. The regent of Marwar sent an ambassador to treat; but before the treaties were ratified and exchanged the young regent was dead. Various causes were 830assigned [718] for his death: by some his dissolute habits, occasioning premature decay; by others, with more probability, the dagger of an indignant Rajput, the honour of whose daughter he had clandestinely attempted. Upon this event, and the change of political circumstances, the chiefs had no alternative but to turn to the secluded prince. If but one half is true that I have heard, and from authority of high credit, the occupations of the years which the Raja passed between the murder of the priest and the death of his son might be deemed an atonement for the deepest crimes. When messengers announced the fate of his son, and that State necessity recalled him to the helm of affairs, he appeared unable to comprehend them. He had so long acted the maniac that he had nearly become one: his beard was never touched, and his hair, clotted and foul, gave him an expression of idiocy; yet throughout these long years he was resolutely tenacious of life. The party who governed the son and the State had their own menials to wait upon him, and many were the attempts to poison him by their means; in avoiding which his simulated madness was so perfect that they deemed he had “a charmed life.” But he had one faithful servant, who throughout this dreadful trial never forsook him, and who carried him food in his turban to replace that which was suspected. When by degrees he was led to understand the emergency, and the necessity of leaving his prison, he persevered in his apparent indifference to everything earthly, until he gathered information and the means for a terrible reaction. The treaty with the English put the ball at his foot: he very soon perceived that he might command a force to put down disorder—such was even volunteered; but with admirable penetration he trusted to the impression of this knowledge amongst his chiefs, as a sufficient auxiliary. By disseminating it, he paralysed that spirit which maintained rights in the soil of Marwar nearly concurrent with those of the sovereign. No higher compliment could be paid to British ascendancy than the sentiments of Raja Man and his nobles; and no better illustration is on record of the opinion of our power than that its name alone served the Raja’s purpose in subjugating men, who, scarcely knowing fear, yet reposing partly on our justice, though mainly on the utter hopelessness of resisting us, were deprived of all moral courage.

In refusing the aid of a mere physical force, the Raja availed 831himself of another weapon; for by this artifice he threw the chiefs off their guard, who confided in his [719] assumed desire to forget the past. Intrigues for power and patronage seemed to strengthen this confidence; and Salim Singh of Pokaran, the military Maire du palais or Bhanjgarh, and Akhai Chand, retained as civil prime minister, were opposed by Jodhraj Singwi, who headed the aspirants to supplant them. The Raja complained of their interested squabbles, but neither party dreamed that they were fostered by him to cloak his deep-laid schemes. Akhai Chand had been minister throughout the son’s administration; the political and pecuniary transactions of the State were known chiefly to him; to cut him off would have been poor revenge, and Raja Man was determined not only to extract from him all the knowledge of State matters transacted during his seclusion, but to make himself master of his coffers, and neither would have been attained by simple murder. Akhai Chand was not blind to the dangers of his position; he dreaded the appui his sovereign derived from the English, and laboured to inspire the Raja with distrust of their motives. It suited his master’s views to flatter this opinion; and the minister and his adherents were lulled into a fatal security.

Maladministration of Rāja Mān Singh.

—Such were the schemes concocting when I visited this court, which were revealed by succeeding events. At this time the Raja appeared in a state of mental depression, involved in difficulties, cautious, fearful of a false step, and surrounded by the satellites of the miscreant Akhai Chand, who, if he could no longer incarcerate his person, endeavoured to seal up the mind of his prince from all communication with those who might stimulate him to exertion. But all his arts only served to entangle him in the web then weaving for his life. The Raja first made him the means of destroying the most powerful of his chieftains, Surthan being the primary sacrifice to his sanguinary proscription; many others followed, until the best of the feudal chieftains sought refuge from his fury in exile, and found the saran (sanctuary) they sought in the surrounding States, the majority in Mewar. The day of vengeance at length arrived, and the minister and his partisans were transferred from their position at the helm of the State to a dungeon. Deceived with hopes of life, and compelled by the application of some summary methods of torture, Akhai Chand gave in a schedule 832of forty lakhs of property, of which the Raja realized a large portion, and then dismissed him to the other world. Nagoji, the kiladar,[12] and Mulji Dandal, both favourites and advisers of the Raja’s [720] late son, returned on the strength of a general amnesty, and forgot they had been traitors. The wealth which prodigality had heaped upon them, consisting of many of the crown jewels, being recovered, their worldly accounts were settled by a cup of poison, and their bodies thrown over the battlements. Success, and the taste of blood, whetted rather than appeased the appetite of Raja Man. He was well seconded by the new minister, Fateh Raj, the deadly opponent of Akhai Chand, and all the clan of Champawats, whom he deemed the authors of the murder of his brother Induraj, slain at the same time with Deonath. Each day announced a numerous list of victims, either devoted to death, or imprisoned and stripped of their wealth. The enormous sum of a crore of rupees has been stated as the amount of the confiscations.

All these atrocities occurred within six months after my visit to this court, and about eighteen from the time it was received into protective alliance with the British Government. The anomalous condition of all our connexions with the Rajput States has already been described: and if illustration of those remarks be required, it is here in awful characters. We had tied up our own hands: “internal interference” had been renounced, and the sequestration of every merchant’s property, who was connected with the Mehta faction, and the exile of the nobles, had no limit but the will of a bloodthirsty and vindictive tyrant. The objects of his persecution made known everywhere the unparalleled hardships of their case, and asserted that nothing but respect for the British Government prevented their doing themselves justice. In no part of the past history of this State could such proscription of the majority of the kin and clan of the prince have taken place. The dread of our intervention, as an umpire favourable to their chief, deprived them of hope; they knew that if we were exasperated there was no saran to protect them. They had been more than twelve months in this afflicting condition when I left the country; nor have I heard that anything has been done to relieve them, or to adjust these intestine broils. It is abandoning them to that spirit of revenge which is a powerful 833ingredient in their nature, and held to be justifiable by any means when no other hope is left them. In all human probability, Raja Man will end his days by the same expedient which secured him from the fury of his predecessor.[13]

Interview with Rāja Mān Singh.

—Having lifted the mantle which veiled the future, my reader must forget all that [721] has been said to the disadvantage of Raja Man, and see only the dignified, the courteous, and the well-instructed gentleman and prince. I cannot think that the Raja had coolly formed to himself the plan of the sanguinary measures he subsequently pursued, and which it would require a much more extended narrative to describe. We discoursed freely on past history, in which he was well read, as also in Persian, and his own native dialects. He presented me with no less than six metrical chronicles of his house; of two, each containing seven thousand stanzas, I made a rough translation. In return, I had transcribed and sent to him Ferishta’s great History of the Mahomedan Power in India, and Khulasatu-t-tawarikh,[14] a valuable epitome of the history of Hindustan. I little imagined that I should then have to exhibit him otherwise than his demeanour and instructive discourse made him appear to me. In our graver conversation I was amused with a discourse on the rules of government, and instructions for the guidance of ambassadors, which my better acquaintance with Chand discovered to be derived from that writer. He carried me, accompanied by a single domestic, to various apartments in the palace, whence he directed my view across the vast plains of the desert, whose monarch I envied not. The low hills in the vicinity alone broke the continuity of this arid region, in which a few isolated nim trees were thinly scattered, to remind one of the absence of all that is grand in vegetation. After a visit of several hours, I descended to my tent, and found my friends, Captain Waugh and Major Gough, just returned from a successful chase of an antelope, which, with the aid of some Rohilla greyhounds, they had run down. I attributed their success to the heavy 834sands, on which I have witnessed many pulled down by dogs of little speed; but the secret was revealed on this animal being sent to the cuisinier. On depriving him of his hide, between it and the flesh the whole carcase was covered with a large, inert, amorphous white maggot. The flesh was buried in the sands, and no venison appeared again on my table while in India.[15]

Mandor. Rāthor Cenotaphs.

November 8.—I set out early this morning to ramble amidst the ruins of the ancient capital, Mandor, an important link in the chain of archaeological research, before the panchranga, or ‘five-coloured banner’ of Maru was prostrated to the crescent. Attended by an escort provided by the Raja, I left the perambulator behind; but as the journey occupied an hour and a quarter, and at a very slow pace, the distance must be under five miles. I proceeded through the Sojat gate, to [722] gain the road leading to Nagor; shortly after which I passed the Maha Mandir, or ‘Grand Minster,’ the funds for the erection of which were provided by Raja Man on his escape from ruin at Jalor. I skirted the range, gradually decreasing in height for three miles, in a N.N.E. direction. We then altered our course to N.N.W., and entered the gorge of the mountains which envelop all that is hallowed of the relics of the princes of this house. The pass is narrow; the cliffs are almost perpendicular, in which are numerous caves, the abodes of ascetics. The remains of fortifications thrown across, to bar the entrance of the foe to the ancient capital of the Pariharas, are still visible: a small stream of pure and sweet water issues from this opening, and had a watercourse under an archway. After proceeding a little farther, the interval widened, and passing through the village, which does not exceed two hundred houses, our attention was attracted by a line of lofty temples, rising in graduated succession. These proud monuments proved to be the cenotaphs of the Rathors, erected on the spots where the funeral pyre consumed the crowned heads of Maru, who seldom burnt alone, but were accompanied by all that made life agreeable or poisoned its enjoyment. The small brook already mentioned flows past the southern extremity of 835the chief line of monuments, which extend from south to north. At the former point stands that of Rao Maldeo, the gallant opponent of Sher Shah, the brave usurper of the throne of the Moguls. The farther point terminates with that of Maharaja Ajit Singh; while the princes in regular succession, namely, Sur Singh, Udai Singh, Gaj Singh, and Jaswant Singh, fill up the interval.

These dumb recorders of a nation’s history attest the epochs of Marwar’s glory, which commenced with Maldeo, and ended with the sons of Ajit. The temple-monument of Maldeo, which yet throws into shade the still more simple shrines of Chonda, and Jodha, contrasted with the magnificent mausoleum of Raja Ajit, reads us a lesson on the advancement of luxurious pomp in this desert State. The progression is uniform, both in magnitude and elegance, from Maldeo’s who opposed on equal terms the Afghan king (whose memorable words, “I had nearly lost the throne of India for a handful of barley,”[16] mark at once the gallantry and the poverty of those whom he encountered), to the last great prince Ajit. Even that of Raja Gaj is plain, compared to his successor’s. These monuments are all erected of a very close-grained freestone, of a dark brown or red [723] tint, with sufficient hardness to allow the sculptor to indulge his fancy. The style of architecture, or rather the composition, is mixed, partaking both of the Saivite and the Buddhist; but the details are decidedly Jain, more especially the columns, which are of the same model as those in Kumbhalmer. I speak more especially of those of Rajas Jaswant and Ajit, drawings of which, on a large scale, executed by the Raja’s chief architect, I brought to Europe; but which it would be too expensive to have engraved. They are raised on immense terraces, faced with large blocks of well-polished freestone. That of Jaswant is somewhat ponderous and massive; but Ajit’s rises with great elegance and perfect symmetry of proportion.

On ascending the terrace you enter through a lofty vaulted porch supported by handsome columns to the sanctum, which is a pyramidal temple, four stories in height, in the Saivite style, 836crowned by the sikhar and kalas, elsewhere described. The sculptural ornaments are worthy of admiration, both for their design and effect; and the numerous columns on the basement, and different stages of ascent, give an air of so much majesty that one might deem these monuments more fitting sepulture for the Egyptian Cheops than a shrine—over what? not even the ashes of the desert king, which were consigned in an urn to the bosom of the Ganges. If the foundations of these necrological monuments have been equally attended to with the superstructure, they bid fair to convey to remote posterity the recollection of as conspicuous a knot of princely characters as ever followed each other in the annals of any age or country. Let us place them in juxtaposition with the worthies of Mewar and the illustrious scions of Timur, and challenge the thrones of Europe to exhibit such a contemporaneous display of warriors, statesmen, or scholars.

Mewar.   Marwar.   Delhi.
Rana Sanga   Rao Maldeo   Babur and Sher Shah.
Rao Sur Singh   Humayun.
Rana Partap   Raja Udai Singh   Akbar.
Rana Amra I.
Rana Karan
} Raja Gaj Singh { Jahangir and
Shah Jahan.
Rana Raj   Raja Jaswant Singh   Aurangzeb.
Rana Jai Singh
Rana Amra II.
} Raja Ajit Singh { All the competitors for the throne after Farrukhsiyar [724].

From Maldeo to Udai le gros the first Raja (hitherto Raos) of Marwar, and the friend of Akbar, to Jaswant, the implacable foe of Aurangzeb, and Ajit, who redeemed his country from oppression, all were valiant men and patriotic princes.

“Where were the lions’ cubs,” I asked of my conductor, “the brave sons of Ajit, who erected this monument to his manes, and who added provinces to his dominions?” He pointed to two sheds, where the kriya karma[17] was performed; there was

No funeral urn
To mark their obsequies:

837but these lowly sheds told, in more forcible, more emphatic language, the cause of this abrupt transition from grandeur to humility than pen ever wrote; and furnished the moral epilogue to the eventful drama of the lives of these kings of the desert. Abhai Singh’s parricidal hand bereft his father of life; yet though his career was one splendid tissue of success and honour, leaving his dominions more than doubled, the contentions of his issue with that of his brother Bakhta Singh, alike accessory, it is said, to the crime, have entailed endless misery upon Marwar, and left them not the power, if they had the inclination, to house his ashes. In the same line with the parricide and his brave brother is the humble monument of the great Bijai Singh, whose life till towards its close was a continued tide of action. I could not avoid an exclamation of surprise: “Shame to the country,” I said, “that has neglected to enshrine the ashes of a name equal to the proudest!” His three sons, amongst them Zalim Singh, with the sketch of whom this narrative opened, have their shrines close to his; and but a few yards removed are those of Raja Bhim, and his elder brother Guman (who died in his minority), the father of the reigning prince, Raja Man. The last, which closed the line, pertained to Chhattar Singh, who, in all probability, was saved by death from the murder of his parent. I passed it in disgust, asking who had been so foolish as to entomb his ashes better than those of some of the worthies of his race? I found that it was the act of maternal fondness.

Ancestor Worship. Sati.

—The Amavas (the Ides) and the Sankrantis (when the sun enters a new sign of the Zodiac) of every month are sacred to the Pitrideva, on which days it is incumbent on the reigning prince to “give water” to his ancestors. But the ignorance of my conductor deprived me of much information which I anticipated [725]; and had I not been pretty well read in the chronicles of the Rathors, I should have little enjoyed this visit to a “nation’s dust.” They related one fact, which was sufficient to inspire horror. No less than sixty-four females accompanied the shade of Ajit to the mansion of the sun. But this is twenty short of the number who became Satis when Raja Budh Singh of Bundi was drowned! The monuments of this noble family of the Haras are far more explicit than those of the Rathors, for every such Sati is sculptured on a small altar in the centre of the cenotaph: which speaks in distinct language the all-powerful 838motive, vanity, the principal incentive to these tremendous sacrifices. Budh Singh was a contemporary of Ajit, and one of the most intrepid generals of Aurangzeb; the period elapsed is about one hundred and twenty years. Mark the difference! When his descendant, my valued friend, the Rao Raja Bishan Singh, died in 1821, his last commands were that none should give such a proof of their affection. He made me guardian of his infant heir;—in a few days I was at Bundi, and his commands were religiously obeyed.

In this account are enumerated the monumental relics below the fort. Upon the mountain, and beyond the walls of the fortress of Mandor, are the dewals of Rao Ranmall, Rao Ganga, and Chonda, who conquered Mandor from the Parihars. Within a hundred yards of this trio of worthies of this house is a spot set apart for the queens who die natural deaths. But this is anticipating; let me in form conduct my readers step by step from the cemetery of the Rathors to the Cyclopean city of the Parihars.

Whoever has seen Cortona, Volterra, or others of the ancient Tuscan cities can form a correct idea of the walls of Mandor, which are precisely of the same ponderous character. It is singular that the ancient races of India, as well as of Europe (and whose name of Pali is the synonym of Galati or Keltoi) should, in equal ignorance of the mechanical arts, have piled up these stupendous monuments, which might well induce their posterity to imagine “there were giants in those days.” This western region, in which I include nearly all Rajputana and Saurashtra, has been the peculiar abode of these “pastor kings,” who have left their names, their monuments, their religion and sacred character as the best records of their supremacy. The Rajpali, or ‘Royal Pastors,’ are enumerated as one of the thirty-six royal races of ancient days: the city of Palitana, ‘the abode of the Pali,’ in Saurashtra (built [726] at the foot of Mount Satrunjaya, sacred to Buddha), and Pali in Godwar, are at once evidences of their political consequence and the religion they brought with them; while the different nail-headed characters are claimed by their descendants, the sectarian Jains of the present day.[18] There is scarcely an ancient city in Rajputana whence I have not 839obtained copies of inscriptions from columns and rocks, or medals, gold, silver, and copper, bearing this antique character. All are memorials of these races, likewise termed Takshak, the Scythic conquerors of India, ancestors of many of the Rajputs, whose history the antiquary will one day become better acquainted with. The Parihara, it will be recollected, is one of the four Agnikulas: races who obtained a footing in India posterior to the Suryas and Indus. I omitted, however, to mention, in the sketch of the Pariharas, that they claim Kashmir as the country whence they migrated into India: the period is not assigned, but it was when the schismatic wars between the Saivites and Buddhists were carrying on; and it would appear that the former found proselytes and supporters in many of these Agnikulas. But of the numerical extent of the followers of this faith we have this powerful evidence, namely, that three-fourths of the mercantile classes of these regions are the descendants of the martial conquerors of India, and that seven out of the ten and a half niyats or tribes, with their innumerable branches, still profess the Jain faith, which, beyond controversy, was for ages paramount in this country.

The Walls of Mandor.

—Let us now ascend the paved causeway to this gigantic ruin, and leave the description of the serpentine Nagda, which I threaded to its source in the glen of Panchkunda, till our return. Half-way up the ascent is a noble baoli, or ‘reservoir,’ excavated from the solid rock, with a facing of cut stone and a noble flight of steps: on which, however, two enormous gulars[19] or wild fig-trees have taken root, and threaten it with premature destruction. This memorial bears the name of Nahar Rao, the last of the Parihars.[20] As I looked up to the stupendous walls,
Where time hath leant his hand, but broke his scythe,

I felt the full force of the sentiment of our heart-stricken Byron:

there is a power
And magic in the ruined battlement,
For which the palace of the present hour
Must yield its pomp, and wait till ages are its dower.

840Ages have rolled away since these were raised, and ages will yet roll on, and find [727] them immovable, unchanged. The immense blocks are piled upon, and closely fitted to, each other without any cement, the characteristic of all the Etruscan cities termed Cyclopean. We might indeed smuggle a section of Mandor into the pages of Micali,[21] amongst those of Todi or Volterra, without fear of detection. The walls, following the direction of the crest of the ridge, are irregular; and having been constructed long before artillery was thought of, the Parihar or Pali engineer was satisfied with placing the palace on the most commanding eminence, about the centre of the fortress. The bastions or towers are singularly massive, and like all the most antique, their form is square. Having both fever and ague upon me, I was incapable of tracing the direction of the walls, so as to form any correct judgement of the space they enclose; but satisfied with gaining the summit, I surveyed the ruin from the site of the palace of the Parihars. The remains, though scanty, are yet visible; but the materials have been used in the construction of the new capital Jodhpur, and in the cenotaphs described. A small range of the domestic temples of the palace, and some of the apartments, are yet distinctly to be traced; the sculptured ornaments of their portals prove them to have been the work of a Takshak or Buddhist architect. Symbolical figures are frequently seen carved on the large blocks of the walls, though probably intended merely as guides to the mason. These were chiefly Buddhist or Jain: as the quatre-feuille, the cross; though the mystic triangle, and triangle within a triangle ✡[22] (a sign of the Saivites, only, I believe), was also to be seen. The chief memorials of the Parihara are a gateway and magnificent Toran, or triumphal arch, placed towards the south-east angle of the castle. It is one mass of sculpture; but the pencil was wanting, 841and I had not leisure even to bring away a rude resemblance of this memento of some victory of the ancient lords of Mandor.

Thāna Pir.

—A little distance to the northward of my position is the Than or ‘station’ of a Muhammadan saint, a disciple of the celebrated Khwaja Kutab, whose shrine at Ajmer is celebrated. This of Thana Pir,[23] as they call him, was a place of great resort to the unsanctified Kafirs, the mercenary Sindis and Afghans, who long prowled about these regions in quest of [728] prey, or plunder, or both. Nearly in the same direction, beyond the walls, are the cenotaphs of the early Rathors and the Satis already mentioned; but tradition’s voice is mute as to the spot which contains the ashes of the Parihars. To the east and north-east, nature has formed at once a barrier to this antique castle, and a place of recreation for its inhabitants; a lengthened chasm in the whole face, appearing like a dark line, were it not for the superb foliage of gular, mango, and the sacred bar and pipal, which rise above the cleft, planted about the fountain and perpendicular cliffs of the Nagda, and which must have proved a luxurious retreat to the princes of Mandor from the reverberation of the sun’s rays on the rock-built palace; for there is but a scanty brushwood scattered over the surface, which is otherwise destitute of all vegetation.

Let us now descend by the same causeway to the glen of Panchkunda, where there is much to gratify both the lover of the picturesque and the architectural antiquary. At the foot of the causeway, terminated by a reservoir of good water, are two gateways, one conducting to the gardens and their palaces erected by the Rathors; the other, to the statues of the Paladins of the desert. Leaving both for a moment, I pursued the ‘serpentine’ rivulet to its fountain, where

Couched among fallen columns, in the shade
Of ruined walls that had survived the names
Of those who reared them,

I reposed in meditative indolence, overwhelmed with the recollections such scenes inspire. In a recess or cave is a rude altar sanctified by the name of Nahar Rao, the famed king of Mandor, who met in equal combat the chivalrous Chauhan in the pass of 842the Aravalli.[24] A Nai, or barber, performs worship to the manes of this illustrious Rajput, in whose praise Chand is most eloquent. Whence the choice of a barber as a priest I know not; but as he has the universal care of the material portion of the Rajput, being always chosen as the cook, so there may be reasons for his having had an interest in the immaterial part in olden days, the tradition of which may have been lost. There is a piece of sculpture containing nine figures, said to represent Ravana, who came from “th’utmost isle Taprobane,”[25] to marry the daughter of the sovereign of Mandor. There was a lengthened legend to account for the name of Nagda, or, ‘serpentine,’ being applied to the [729] rivulet, but it is too long to relate. We must therefore quit the fountain, where the gallant Prithiraj and his fair bride, the cause of strife between the Chauhans and Pariharas, may have reposed, and visit the most remarkable relic within the precincts of this singular place.

CHĀMUNDA.                  KANKĀLI.
Rock Sculptures at Mandor.
To face page 842.

Images of Heroes.

—A short distance from the foot of the causeway, an archway opens into an enclosed court or area, in the retired part of which, and touching the mountain, is an extensive saloon; the roof is supported by a triple row of columns, of that light form peculiar to the Jains. Here are displayed, in all “the pomp and circumstance of war,” the statues of the knights-errant of the desert, armed cap-à-pie, bestriding steeds whose names are deathless as their riders’, all in the costume of the times in which they lived. They are cut out of the rock, but entirely detached from it, and larger than life. Though more conspicuous for strength than symmetry, the grim visages of these worthies, apparently frowning defiance, each attended by his pandu or squire, have a singularly pleasing effect. Each chieftain is armed with lance, sword, and buckler, with quiver and arrows, and poniard in his girdle. All are painted; but whether in the colours they were attached to, or according to the fancy of the architect, I know not. Before, however, entering this saloon, we pass a huge statue of Ganesa, placed as the guardian of the portal, having on each side the two Bhairavas, sons of the god of war. Then appears the statue of Chamunda 843(the goddess of destruction), and that of the terrific mother, Kankali, treading on the black demon Bhainsasur, in whose flank her tiger-courser has buried his bloodthirsty tongue: in each of her eight arms she holds a weapon of destruction. The black Bhairon (son of Time), with a sable flag, bearing argent a horse courant, marshals the way through the field of blood to his mother. Between her and the heroes whose lives passed “in devotion to the sword,” is a statue of the Nathji, or ‘spiritual guide’ of the Rathors: in one hand he holds his mala or ‘chaplet’; in the other his chhari or ‘patriarchal rod,’ for the guidance of his flock. Mallinath[26] heads the procession, mounted on a white charger, with a lance over his shoulder, to which is attached a flag; his quiver resting on his horse’s right flank, and his mistress, Padmavati, with a platter of food welcoming him from the raid, and who accompanied him when slain to Suryaloka, or ‘the mansion of the sun.’

Then follows Pabuji,[27] mounted on his famous charger ‘Black Caesar’ (Kesar [730] Kali), whose exploits are the theme of the itinerant bard and showman, who annually goes his round, exhibiting in pictorial delineations, while he recites in rhyme, the deeds of this warrior to the gossiping villagers of the desert.

Next comes Ramdeo[28] Rathor, a name famed in Marudesa, and in whose honour altars are raised in every Rajput village in the country.

Then we have the brave Harbuji Sankhla,[29] to whom Jodha was indebted for protection in his exile, and for the redemption of Mandor when seized by the Rana of Chitor.

Guga,[30] the Chauhan, who with his forty-seven sons fell defending the passage of the Sutlej on Mahmud’s invasion. Mehaji Mangalia brings up the rear, a famous chieftain of the Guhilot 844race. It would be tedious to relate any of the exploits of these worthies.

Taintīs Kula Devata Ra Thān.

—Another saloon, of similar architecture and still greater dimensions, adjoins that just described; it is termed Taintis kula[31] devata ra than, or ‘abode of the (tutelary) divinities of the thirty-three races’: in short, the Pantheon of the Rajputs. The statues are of gypsum, or stone covered with that substance; they are of large proportions. First, is the creator, Brahma; then Surya, ‘the sun-god,’ with his seven-headed steed; then the monkey-faced deity, Hanuman; Rama, and his beloved Sita; Kanhaiya, in the woods of Vraj, surrounded by the Gopis; and a most grave figure of Mahadeva, with a bull in his hand. These six, with the goddesses of life and death, and of wisdom, constitute the eight chief divinities of the Hindus; whose qualities and attributes, personified, form an assemblage for which St. Peter’s and the Vatican to boot would be a confined dwelling.

MALLINĀTH.                 NĀTHJI.
Rock Sculptures at Mandor.
To face page 844.

Palace and Gardens.—I now retired to the palace and gardens built by Raja Ajit; of which, however superb, it is impossible for the pen to give a definite idea. Suites of colonnaded halls, covered with sculpture of easy and even graceful execution, some with screens of lattice-work to secure the ladies from the public gaze, are on the lower range; while staircases lead to smaller apartments intended for repose. The gardens, though not extensive, as may be supposed, being confined within the adamantine walls reared by the hand of Nature, must be delightfully cool even in summer. Fountains, reservoirs, and water-courses, are everywhere interspersed; and though [731] the thermometer in the open air was 86°,[32] the cold within doors (if this be not a solecism, considering that there were no doors) was excessive. Some attention was paid to its culture; besides many indigenous shrubs, it boasted of some exotics. There was the golden champa,[33] whose 845aroma is overpowering, and if laid upon the pillow will produce headache; the pomegranate, at once “rich in flower and fruit”; the apple of Sita, or Sitaphala, which, from similitude of taste, we call the custard-apple; a delicious species of the plantain, whose broad, verdant, glossy leaf alone inspires the mind with the sensation of coolness; the mogra;[34] the chameli, or jessamine; and the queen of flowers, the barahmasha,[35] literally the ‘twelve-month,’ because it flowers throughout the year. It is a delightful spot, and I felt a peculiar interest in it. Let the reader imagine the picture of a solitary Englishman scribbling amidst the ruins of Mandor: in front a group of venerable mango-trees; a little further an enormous isolated tamarind, “planted by the hand of a juggler in the time of Nahar Rao, the last of the Pariharas, before whom he exhibited this proof of legerdemain,” and, as the legend goes, from whose branches the juggler met his death:[36] amidst its boughs the long-armed tribe, the allies of Rama, were skipping and chattering unmolested; while beneath, two Rathor Rajputs were stretched in sleep, their horses dozing beside them, standing as sedately as the statue of ‘Black Caesar’: a grenadier Sepoy of my escort parading by a camp-basket, containing the provender of the morning, completes the calm and quiet scene.

An Atīt Hermit.

—On the summit of the rock, across the narrow valley, several guphas, or caves, the abode of the hermit Atit,[37] were in sight. How the brains of these ascetics can stand the heat and confined air is a wonder, though, if they possessed any 846portion of that which is supposed to be necessary to the guidance of the machine, they would scarcely occupy such a position, nor consequently, the world’s attention. Mais tout est vanité, a cause which has produced ten times the number of saints that piety has, and ten times of ten these troglodyte philosophers. Having walked out on the terrace or house-top of the palace, to catch a sunbeam and scare away an ague which tormented me, I discovered one of these animals coiled up on a heap of bat’s dung [732], in a corner of an apartment of the palace. He was dreadfully emaciated, and but for the rolling of a pair of eyes in a visage covered with hair, there was nothing which betokened animation, much less humanity. There was none but the bat to dispute his reign, or “the spider which weaves its web in this palace of the Caesars.” I had no inclination to disturb the process of ratiocination, or to ask to which sect of philosophers belonged this Diogenes of Mandor, who might, if he had utterance, have desired me to walk downstairs, and not intercept the sunbeam for whose warmth we were competitors. The day was now nearly departed, and it was time for me to return to my friends in camp. I finished the evening by another visit to the knights of the desert; and inscribing my name on the foot of ‘Black Caesar,’ bade adieu to the ancient Mandor.

Rock Sculptures at Mandor.
To face page 846.

November 13.—The Raja having invited us to a dinner at the palace, we sallied forth, belted and padded, to partake of Rajput hospitality. He had made a request which will appear somewhat strange—that we would send our cuisine, as the fare of the desert might prove unpalatable; but this I had often seen done at Sindhia’s camp, when joints of mutton, fowls, and fricassees would diversify the provender of the Mahratta. I intimated that we had no apprehension that we should not do justice to the gastronomy of Jodhpur; however, we sent our tables, and some claret to drink long life to the king of Marudes. Having paid our respects to our host, he dismissed us with the complimentary wish that appetite might wait upon us, and, preceded by a host of gold and silver sticks, we were ushered into a hall, where we found the table literally covered with curries, pillaus, and ragouts of every kind, in which was not forgotten the haria mung Mandor ra, the ‘green pulse of Mandor,’ the favourite dish, next to rabri or maize-porridge, of the simple Rathor. Here, however, we saw displayed the dishes of both the Hindu and Musulman, and nearly all were 847served in silver. The curries were excellent, especially those of the vegetable tribes made of the pulses, the kakris or cucumbers, and of a miniature melon not larger than an egg, which grows spontaneously in these regions, and is transported by kasids, or runners, as presents, for many hundreds of miles around. The hall was an entire new building, and scarcely finished; it is erected on the northern projection of the rock, where the escarpment is most abrupt, and looks down upon the site of the batteries of the league of 1806. It is called the Man mahall [733], and, like the hall of audience, its flat roof is supported by numerous massive hewn columns. The view from it to the east is extensive, and we were told that the pinnacle of Kumbhalmer, though eighty miles distant, has been seen, in those clear days of the monsoon when the atmosphere is purified, after heavy showers, from the sand which is held suspended. Great care was taken that our meal should be uninterrupted, and that we should not be the lions to an hour’s amusement of the court. There was but one trivial occurrence to interrupt the decorum and attention of all present, and that was so slight that we only knew it after the entertainment was over. One of the menials of the court, either from ignorance or design, was inclined to evince contumely or bad breeding. It will be considered perhaps a singular circumstance that the Hindu should place before a European the vessels from which he himself eats: but a little fire purifies any metallic vessels from all such contamination; and on this point the high-blooded Rajput is less scrupulous than the bigoted Muhammadan, whom I have seen throw on the ground with contempt a cup from which his officer had drunk water on a march. But of earthenware there can be no purification. Now there was a handsome china bowl, for which some old dowager fancier of such articles would have almost become a supplicant, which having been filled with curds to the Sudra Farangis could no longer be used by the prince, and it was brought by this menial, perhaps with those words, to my native butler. Kali Khan, or, as we familiarly called him, ‘the black lord,’ was of a temper not to be trifled with; and as the domestic held it in his hand, saying, “Take it, it is no longer of any use to us,” he gave it a tap with his hand which sent it over the battlements, and coolly resuming his work, observed, “That is the way in which all useless things should be served”; a hint which, if reported to Raja Man, he seems to have acted on: for 848not many months after, the minister, Akhai Chand, who dreaded lest European influence should release his master from his faction and thraldom, was treated by him in the same manner as the china bowl by Kali Khan.

The Rāja visits the Author.

November 16.[38]—This day had been fixed for the Raja’s visits to the envoy. In order to display his grandeur, he sent his own suite of tents, which were erected near mine [734]. They were very extensive, modelled in every way after those of the Emperors of Delhi, and lined throughout with the royal colour, crimson: but this is an innovation, as will appear from the formulas yet preserved of his despatches, “from the foot of the throne, Jodhpur.” The tent, in fact, was a palace in miniature, the whole surrounded by walls of cloth, to keep at a distance the profane vulgar. The gaddi, or royal cushion and canopy, was placed in the central apartment. At three, all was noise and bustle in the castle and town; nakkaras were reverberating, trumpets sounding the alarm, that the King of Maru was about to visit the Farangi Wakil. As soon as the flags and pennant were observed winding down ‘the hill of strife’ (Jodhagir), I mounted, and with the gentlemen of my suite proceeded through the town to meet the Raja. Having complimented him en route, we returned and received him at the tents. The escort drawn up at the entrance of the tent presented arms, the officers saluting; a mark of attention which gratified him, as did the soldier-like appearance of the men. Hitherto, what he had seen of regulars belonging to the native powers was not calculated to give him a favourable impression of foot-soldiers, who are little esteemed by the equestrian order of Rajputana. His visit continued about an hour, when the shields were brought in, with jewels, brocades, shawls, and other finery, in all nineteen trays, being two less than I presented to the Rana of Udaipur. I likewise presented him with some arms of English manufacture, a telescope, and smaller things much valued by the Rajputs. After the final ceremony of perfumes, and itr-pan (which are admirable hints when you wish to get rid of a tiresome guest, though not so in this instance), the exterior wall was removed, and showed the caparisoned elephant and horses, which were part of the khilat. At the door of the tent we made our salaam, when the Raja gave me his hand, which, by the by, was his first salutation on receiving 849me. It is an ancient Rajput custom, and their bards continually allude to extending the right hand—“dextra extenta.

Rock Sculptures at Mandor.
To face page 848.

Taking Leave of the Rāja.

November 17.[39]—I went to take leave of the Raja: I had a long and interesting conversation on this our last interview. I left him in the full expectation that his energy of character would surmount the difficulties by which he was surrounded, though not without a struggle, and condign punishment to some of the miscreants, the misleaders of his son, the assassins of his minister and high priest, and consequently the authors of his humiliating and protracted incarceration [735]. Whether the first gratification of vengeance provoked his appetite, or whether the torrent of his rage, once impelled into motion, became too impetuous to be checked, so that his reason was actually disturbed by the sufferings he had undergone, it is certain he grew a demoniac; nor could any one, who had conversed with the bland, the gentlemanly, I might say gentle, Raja Man, have imagined that he concealed under this exterior a heart so malignant as his subsequent acts evinced. But the day of retribution must arrive; the men who wrote that dignified remonstrance, which is given in another place,[40] will not tamely bear their wrongs, and as they dare not levy war against their prince, who reposes under British protection, the dagger will doubtless find a way to reach him even in “the thousand-columned hall” of Jodhpur.

Besides the usual gifts at parting, which are matter of etiquette, and remain untouched by the individual, I accepted as a personal token of his favour, a sword, dagger, and buckler, which had belonged to one of his illustrious ancestors. The weight of the sword, which had often been “the angel of death,” would convince any one that it must have been a nervous arm which carried it through a day. With mutual good wishes, and a request for a literary correspondence, which was commenced but soon closed, I bade adieu to Raja Man and the capital of Marwar [736].

1. [Of Jagat Singh of Jaipur and Amīr Khān.]

2. [Rahkala is properly the carriage on which a field-piece is mounted: then, a swivel-gun (Irvine, Army of the Indian Moghuls, 140).]

3. [The population of the city in 1911 was 79,756.]

4. Amrit ra piyala.

5. See p. 820.

6. [‘The self-existent.’]

7. [The Rāthor dynasty of Kanauj is a myth (Smith, EHI, 385, note 1).]

8. [Decline and Fall, ed. W. Smith, ii. 262.]

9. The date of his accession is the 5th of the month Margsir, S. 1860 [A.D. 1803].

10. [About 80 miles N. of Jaipur city.]

11. Vol. I. page 535.

12. Commandant of the fortress [qil’adār].

13. [In 1839, in consequence of the misgovernment of Mān Singh, a force was sent by the British Government and Jodhpur was occupied. He entered into a treaty securing a cessation of his tyrannical acts. He died on September 5, 1843.]

14. [An abstract of the Khulāsatu-t-tawārīkh of Subhān Rāe is given in Elliot-Dowson viii. 5 ff.]

15. [Professor E. B. Poulton kindly sends a note from Colonel J. W. Yerbury, who writes: “Although no record exists of the occurrence of Hypoderma in Hindustan, I think there is no doubt that the maggots are the larvae of either H. diaua or H. acteon. They have been found in antelopes—Antelope saiga—and dorcas brought to Italy from the East.”]

16. [Sher Shāh, after his victory over Rāja Māldeo in A.D. 1544, said that “for a handful of millet (juār) he had almost lost the empire of India” (Ferishta ii. 123; Manucci i. 117). The author quotes this saying twice later on.]

17. [Funeral rite.]

18. [There is no evidence that the name Pālitāna is connected with a Pāli tribe.]

19. [Ficus glomerata.]

20. [Near the cave an inscription of Kakka Parihār, probably tenth century A.D., has recently been found (Erskine iii. A. 196)196).]

21. L’Italie avant la domination des Romains.

22. Amongst ancient coins and medals, excavated from the ruins of Ujjain and other ancient cities, I possess a perfect series with all the symbolic emblems of the twenty-four Jain apostles. The compound equilateral triangle is amongst them: perhaps there were masons in those days amongst the Pali. It is hardly necessary to state that this Trinitarian symbol (the double triangle) occurs on our (so-called) Gothic edifices, e.g. the beautiful abbey gate of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, erected about A.D. 1377. [See Count Goblet D’Alviella, The Migration of Symbols, 185 ff.]

23. [Erskine (iii. A. 197) calls him Tanna Pīr; the shrine was built in the time of Mahārāja Mān Singh, and is held in high estimation.]

24. See p. 793.

25. Tapu Ravana, ‘the isle of Ravana,’ wherever that may be. [Taprobane represents the river Tāmraparni, ‘the copper-coloured leaf’ (IGI, xxiii. 215).]

26. [Eldest son of Rāo Salkha, one of the early traditional ancestors of the Jodhpur chiefs, after whom the Mallāni district is named.]

27. [A Rāthor chief, who first brought the camel into use, and was noted for protecting cows.]

28. [A Tonwar or Tuar Rājput, of the family of Anangpāl of Delhi, now worshipped under the name of Rāmsāh Pīr.]

29. [A Panwār Rājput, of Bengti, near Phalodi, where his cart is still worshipped.]

30. [Gūgaji or Guggaji, already mentioned (p. 807 above), said to have been killed in battle with Fīroz Shāh of Delhi, at the end of the thirteenth century A.D.]

31. I imagine the word kula, or ‘race,’ of which, as often remarked, there are not thirty-three but thirty-six, has given rise to the assertion respecting the thirty-three crore or millions of gods of Hindustan [more probably only an indefinite number].

32. Thermometer 55°, 72°, 86°, 80° at daybreak, ten, two, and at sunset; on the 3rd November, the day of our arrival, the variations were 50°, 72°, 80°, and 75° at those hours.

33. [Michelia champaka.]

34. [The double jasmine, Jasminum zambak.]

35. [Sir D. Prain, who has kindly investigated this flower, identifies it with a species of Bauhinia. He remarks that “B. acuminata, which differs from B. purpurea and B. variegata, both in being a smaller plant and in beginning to flower when B. variegata does, goes on flowering all through the rains, and still continues to flower when B. purpurea is in blossom. It does not flower all the year round in Bengal, and I doubt if it does so in Rājputāna, though Balfour in his Cyclopaedia suggests that it does so. My idea is that the term bārah-māsha in Upper India should not be taken too literally, and that it is only a figurative way of saying that the particular Bauhinia is in flower alongside of both the others when flowering seasons are separated by half the year.”]

36. See the Autobiography of Jahangir, translated by that able Oriental scholar, Major Price [p. 96 f.], for the astonishing feats these jugglers perform in creating not only the tree but the fruit.

37. [The Atīt is a mendicant follower of Siva, and the term is usually equivalent to Sannyāsi.]

38. Thermometer 59°, 82°, 85°, 79°.

39. Thermometer 59°, 73°, 89°, 82°; at six, ten, two, and sunset.

40. See Vol. I. p. 228.




November 19.—We broke ground for Nandla, distant six miles. The first two miles from the capital was through deep sand; for the remainder of the journey the red sandstone protruded, which gives some relief to the footing of the traveller. About half-way we passed a small sheet of water, called after the mother of the pretender, Dhonkal Singh, the Shaikhawat Talao. This lady has constructed a dharmsala, or ‘hall for travellers,’ on its bank, where she has erected a statue of Hanuman, and a pillar to commemorate her own good works. Not a shrub of any magnitude occurs, for even the stunted khair[1] is rare in this plain of sand; which does not, however, appear unfavourable to the moth,[2] a vetch on which they feed the cattle. Near the village we crossed the Jogini, the same stream which we passed between Jhalamand and the capital, and which, joined by the Nagda from Mandor, falls into the Luni. The only supply of water for Nandla is procured from two wells dug on the margin of the stream. The water is abundant, and only four feet from the surface, but brackish. There are a hundred and twenty-five houses in Nandla, which is in the fief of the chieftain of Ahor. A few cenotaphs are on the banks of a tank, now dry. I went to look at them, but they contained names “unknown to fame.”


—Bisalpur, the next place, is distant six estimated coss of the country, and [737] thirteen miles one furlong by the perambulator: heavy sand the whole way. Nevertheless we saw traces of the last autumnal crop of bajra and juar, two species of millet, which form the chief food of the people of the desert; and the vetch was still in heaps. Bisalpur is situated on a rising ground; the houses are uniform in height and regularly built, and coated with a compost of mud and chaff, so that its appearance is picturesque. It is protected by a circumvallation of thorns, the kanta-ka-kot and the stacks of chaff, as described at Indara. They are pleasing to the eye, as is everything in such a place which shows the hand of industry. There was an ancient city here in former days, which was engulfed by an earthquake, 851though part of a gateway and the fragment of a wall still mark its site. No inscriptions were observed. The water is obtained from a lake.

Rock Sculptures at Mandor.
To face page 850.

Pachkalia, Bīchkalia.

November 21.—Pachkalia, or Bichkalia, five coss (11 miles 5 furlongs): crossed and encamped on the Jojri. The soil improving, of a brown sandy texture. Wheat and barley of excellent quality are grown on the banks of the river. It was a relief to meet once more a babul or a nim tree; even our Godwar cypress reared its head on the margin of the Jojri. Although now only containing a hundred houses, this was once a place of some importance. I found a defaced inscription, in which “the son of Sonang, S. 1224,” was still legible; but the mercenary Pathans have ruined the harvest of the antiquary. The village is a grant in fee to a Bhatti chieftain. Water is obtained from wells excavated on the margin of the river.


November 22.—Pipar, four coss (8 miles 2 furlongs). Pursued the course of the river, the most extended arm of the Luni, coming from the hills near Parbatsar, on the frontiers of Jaipur. Its course is marked by the trees already mentioned. The soil, a mixture of black earth and sand, is termed dhamani. Pipar is a town of 1500 houses, one-third of which are inhabited by the Oswals of the Jain faith, the chief merchants of all their country. There are also about two hundred families of Mahesris, or merchants of the Saiva caste. Pipar carries on a considerable traffic, and has a chintz manufactory, which employs thirty families. It is in the grant of the feudal chief of Nimaj, whose death has been already related. A cenotaph, dedicated to one of his ancestors, has been half destroyed by the Goths of India. Pipar is celebrated in the traditions of the desert as one of the cities [738] founded by Gandharvasen, the Pramara monarch of Avanti, prior to the Christian era.[3] The only inscription I discovered was in a temple of the sea-goddess Lakshmi. It bore the names of Bijai Singh and Delanji, Rajputs of the Guhilot race, with the ancient title of Rawal. It was a happy confirmation of the most ancient chronicle of Mewar, which divides the Guhilots into twenty-four sakha or branches, of which one is called ‘Piparia,’ doubtless from their having conquered this tract from the Takshak Pramara.

852There is an abundance of wells, from sixty to eighty feet in depth. Of one recently excavated, I obtained the following details of the strata, which may be gratifying to the geologist. The first twenty feet are composed entirely of that kind of earth called dhamani, chiefly decomposed sandstone with a mixture of black earth, in which occurs a stratum of bluish clay mixed with particles of quartz: this earth is called morar in Marwar, and morand in Jaipur. It was then necessary to cut through a rock of red granite[4] for thirty feet; then several feet of an almost milk-white steatite, succeeded by stalactitic concretions of sandstone and quartz.

Legend of the Sāmpu Lake.

—Good water is also obtained from a lake called the Sampu, which is connected with the tradition of the foundation of Pipar. A Brahman of the Pali tribe, whose name was Pipa, was in the habit of carrying milk to a deity of the Serpent (Takshak) race, whose retreat was on the banks of this lake, and who deposited two pieces of gold in return for the Paliwal’s offering. Being compelled to go to Nagor, he gave instructions to his son to perform his charitable office; but the youth, deeming it a good opportunity to become master of the treasure, took a stick with him, and when the serpent issued forth for his accustomed fare, he struck him violently; but the snake being “scotched, not killed,” retreated to his hole. The young Brahman related his adventure to his mother; when the good woman, dreading the vengeance of the serpentine deity, prepared a servant and bullock to convey her son to his father at Nagor. But what was her horror in the morning, when she went to call the youth, to find, instead of him, the huge serpent coiled up in his bed! Pipa, on his return, was inconsolable; but stifling his revenge, he propitiated the serpent with copious libations of milk. The scaly monster was conciliated, and revealed the stores he guarded to Pipa, commanding him to raise a monument which would transmit a knowledge of the event to future ages [739]. Hence Pipar arose from Pipa the Pali, and the name of the lake Sampu, from his benefactor the ‘serpent’ (sampa). All these allegorical tales regard the Takshak races, the followers of the religion of Buddha or Jaina, and their feuds with the Brahmanical sects. It is evident that Pipa the Pali worshipped both; and the very name 853induces a belief that the whole Paliwal caste are converts from Buddhism.[5]

Lākha Phulāni.

—There is a kund or fountain, called after Lakha Phulani, who ruled in ancient times at Phulra, in the farther corner of the desert, but carried his arms even to the ocean. Wherever I have travelled, tradition is loud in praise of Phulani, from the source of the Luni to its embouchure in the Delta of the Indus.[6]


November 23.—Madreo, five coss (10 miles 2 furlongs). Roads good; soil as yesterday, but the country very desolate; only stunted shrubs since we removed from the margin of the river. This is a moderate-sized village, with a tank of good water.


November 24.—Bharunda, four coss, or eight miles. The face of the country now changes materially; our route was over a low undulating ridge of sandstone, in which the stunted shrubs of this region find a bed. At one time the elevation was sufficiently great to allow the chasm through which the road passed to be dignified with the name of the Ghasuria Pass, in which a party of the Raja’s men is posted for defence, and the levy of transit duties. Bharunda is in the fief of Gopal Singh, the chief of Kuchaman, one of the most conspicuous of the Mertia clan. It consists of one hundred and fifty houses; the cultivators are Jats, as are those of all the preceding villages.

I paid a visit to the humble cenotaphs of Bharunda; one of 854them bore the name of Badan Singh, a sub-vassal of Kuchaman, who was slain in the heroic charge against De Boigne’s brigades, in the patriot field of Merta. His name claims the admiration of all who esteem loyalty and patriotism, the inherent virtues of the chivalrous Rajput. Raja Bijai Singh had resumed Bharunda, when the Thakur [740] retired to the adjacent court of Jaipur, where he was well received according to the hospitable customs of the Rajput, and had risen to favour at the period when the Mahrattas invaded his bapota, ‘the land of his fathers.’ Resentment was instantly sacrificed at the altar of patriotism; he put himself at the head of one hundred and fifty horse, and flew to his sovereign’s and his country’s defence. Unhappily, the whole Mahratta army interposed between him and his countrymen. To cut their way through all impediments was the instant resolve of Badan and his brave companions. They fell sword in hand upon a multitude; and, with the exception of a few, who forced their way (amongst whom was the chief whose monument is referred to), they were cut to pieces. Badan Singh lived to reach his ancient estate, which was restored to his family in token of his sovereign’s gratitude for the gallant deed. It is valued at seven thousand rupees annual rent, and has attached to it, as a condition, the service of defending this post. There was another small altar erected to the manes of Partap, who was killed in the defence of this pass against the army of Aurangzeb.


November 25.—Indawar, five coss (10 miles 2 furlongs). This place consists of two hundred houses; the cultivators are Jats. I have said little of these proprietors of the soil, a sturdy, independent, industrious race, who “venerate the plough,” and care little about the votaries of Mars or their concerns, so that they do not impose excessive taxes on them. They are a stout, well-built, though rather murky race. The village is assigned to the ex-prince of Sind, who derives his sole support from the liberality of the princes of Marwar. He is of the tribe called Kalhora,[7] and claims descent from the Abbassides of Persia. His family has been supplanted by the Talpuris, a branch of the 855Numris (the foxes) of Baluchistan, who now style themselves Afghans, but who are in fact one of the most numerous of the Getae or Jat colonies from Central Asia. But let us not wander from our subject.

I will beg the reader to descend seventy or eighty feet with me to view the stratification of Indawar. First, three feet of good soil; five feet of red sandy earth, mixed with particles of quartz; six feet of an unctuous indurated clay;[8] [741]—then follows a sand-rock, through which it was necessary to penetrate about sixty feet; this was succeeded by twenty feet of almost loose sand, with particles of pure quartz embedded; nodules and stalactitic concretions of sandstone, quartz, and mica, agglutinated together by a calcareous cement. The interior of the well throughout this last stratum is faced with masonry: the whole depth is more than sixty-five cubits, or forty yards. At this depth a spring of excellent water broke in upon the excavators, which supplies Indawar.


November 26.—Merta, four coss (9 miles 1 furlong). The whole march was one extended plain; the Aravalli towering about twenty-five miles to our right. To the west a wide waste, consisting of plains gently undulating, and covered with grass and underwood. Natural sterility is not the cause of this desert aspect, for the soil is rich; but the water is far beneath the surface, and they cannot depend upon the heavens. Juar, moth, and sesamum were cultivated to a considerable extent in the immediate vicinity of the villages, but the product had this season been scanty. The appearance of the town is imposing, its site being on a rising ground. The spires of the mosque which was erected on the ruins of a Hindu temple by the tyrant Aurangzeb overtop the more ponderous and unaspiring mandirs which surround it. Notwithstanding, this monarch was the object of universal execration to the whole Hindu race, more especially to the Rathors (whose sovereign, the brave Jaswant, together with his elder son, he put to death by poison, and kept Ajit twenty long years from his birthright, besides deluging their fields with the richest blood of his nobles); still, such is Hindu toleration, that a marble is placed, inscribed both in Hindi and Persian, to protect the mosque from violence. This mark of liberality proceeded from the pretender Dhonkal Singh, as if with a view 856of catching golden opinions from the demoralized Pathans, by whose aid he hoped to regain his rights. But how was he deceived! His advances were met by the foul assassination, at one fell swoop, of all his party, by the chief of these mercenaries, Amir Khan.

Merta was founded by Rao Duda of Mandor, whose son, the celebrated Maldeo, erected the castle, which he called Malkot.[9] Merta, with its three hundred and sixty townships, became the appanage of his son Jaimall, and gave its name of Mertia to the bravest of the brave clans of the Rathors. Jaimall [742] was destined to immortalize his name beyond the limits of Maru. Distrusted by his father, and likely to be deserving of suspicion, from the very ruse to which Sher Shah acknowledged he owed his safety, he was banished from Marwar. He was hospitably received by the Rana, who assigned to the heir of Mandor the rich district of Badnor, equalling his own in extent, and far richer in soil than the plains he had abandoned. How he testified his gratitude for this reception, nobler pens than mine have related. The great Akbar claimed the honour of having with his own hand sealed his fate: he immortalized the matchlock with which he effected it, and which was also the theme of Jahangir’s praise, who raised a statue in honour of this defender of Chitor and the rights of its infant prince.[10] Abu-l-fazl, Herbert, the chaplain to Sir T. Roe, Bernier, all honoured the name of Jaimall; and the chivalrous Lord Hastings, than whom none was better able to appreciate Rajput valour, manifested his respect by his desire to conciliate his descendant, the present brave baron of Badnor.[11]

The town of Merta covers a large space of ground, and is enclosed with a strong wall and bastions, composed of earth to the westward, but of freestone to the east. All, however, are in a state of decay, as well as the town itself, which is said to contain twenty thousand houses. Like most Hindu towns, there is a mixture of magnificence and poverty; a straw or mud hut adjoins a superb house of freestone, which “shames the meanness” of its neighbour. The castle is about a gun-shot to the south-west of the 857town, and encloses an area of a mile and a half. Some small sheets of water are on the eastern and western faces. There are plenty of wells about the town, but the water has an unpleasant taste, from filtering through a stiff clay. There are but two strata before water is found, which is about twenty-five feet from the surface: the first a black mould, succeeded by the clay, incumbent on a loose sand, filled with quartzose pebbles of all hues, and those stalactitic concretions which mark, throughout the entire line from Jodhpur to Ajmer, the stratum in which the springs find a current. There are many small lakes around the town, as the Dudasar, or ‘lake (sar) of Duda’; the Bejpa, the Durani, the Dangolia, etc.

The Battlefield.

—The plain of Merta is one continuous sepulchre, covered with altars to the manes of the warriors who, either in the civil wars which have distracted this State [743], or in the more patriotic strife with the southron Goths, have drenched it with their blood. It is impossible to pass over this memorable field without a reference to these acts; but they would be unintelligible without going to the very root of dissension, which not only introduced the Mahratta to decide the intestine broils of the Rajput States, but has entailed a perpetuity of discord on that of Marwar. I have already succinctly related the parricidal murder of Raja Ajit, which arose out of the politics of the imperial court, when the Sayyids of Barha[12]—the Warwicks of the East—deposed the Emperor Farrukhsiyar, and set up a puppet of their own. With his daughter (whose marriage with the emperor originated, as already recorded, the first grant of land to the East-India Company), he retired to his dominions, leaving his son Abhai Singh at court, and refusing his sanction to the nefarious schemes of the Sayyids. They threatened destruction to Marwar, declaring to the son of Ajit that the only mode of averting its ruin was his own elevation, and his subservience to their views, which object could only be obtained by his father’s deposal and death. Even the reasoning resorted to, as well as the dire purpose of the miscreants, is preserved, and may serve as an illustration of Rajput feeling. When Abhai Singh refused or hesitated, he was asked, “Ma bap ka sakha, ya zamin ka sakha?” which, though difficult to render with accuracy, may be translated: “Are you a branch (sakha) of the land or 858of your parents?” As before said, land is all in all to the Rajput; it is preferred to everything: Abhai’s reply may therefore be inferred. Immediate installation was to be the reward of his revenging the Sayyids. That nature could produce from the same stock two such monsters as the brothers who effected the deed, is, perhaps, hardly conceivable, and would, probably, not be credited, were not the fact proved beyond doubt. I should desire, for the honour of the Rajput race, whose advocate and apologist I candidly avow myself, to suppress the atrocious record: but truth is dearer even than Rajput character. Of the twelve sons of Ajit, Abhai Singh and Bakhta Singh were the two elder; both were by the same mother, a princess of Bundi. To Bakhta Singh, who was with his father, the eldest brother wrote, promising him the independent sovereignty of Nagor (where they then were), with its five hundred and fifty-five townships, as the price of murdering their common sire. Not only was the wretch unstartled by the proposition, but he executed the deed with his own hands, under circumstances of unparalleled atrocity. His [744] mother always dreaded the temperament and disposition of Bakhta, who was bold, haughty, impetuous, with a perpetual thirst for action; and she cautioned her husband never to admit him into his presence after dusk, or when unattended. But the Raja, whose physical strength was equal to his bravery, ridiculed her fears, observing, “Is he not my child? Besides, a slap on the face from me would annihilate the stripling.” Upon receiving the note from his brother, Bakhta, after taking leave of his father, concealed himself in a chamber adjoining that where his parents reposed. When all was still the murderer stole to the bed in which lay the authors of his existence, and from a pallet, on which were placed the arms of Ajit, he seized his sword, and coolly proceeded to exhaust those veins which contained the same blood that flowed in his own. In order that nothing might be wanting to complete the deed of horror, the mother was awakened by the blood of her lord moistening her bosom. Her cries awoke the faithful Rajputs who lay in the adjacent apartments, and who, bursting into the chamber, discovered their prince and father dead: “Treason had done its worst.” The assassin fled to the roof of the palace, barring the gates behind him, which resisted all attempts to force them until morning, when he threw into the court below the letter of his brother, 859exclaiming, “This put the Maharaja to death, not I.” Abhai Singh was now their sovereign; and it is the actual occupant of the throne whom the Rajput deems entitled to his devotion. Eighty-four Satis took place on this dire occasion, the parent of these unnatural regicidal and parricidal sons leading the funeral procession. So much was Ajit beloved, that even men devoted themselves on his pyre. Such was the tragical end of the great Ajit, lamented by his chiefs, and consecrated by the bard, in stanzas in honour of him and in execration of the assassins; which afford proof of the virtuous independence of the poetic chronicler of Rajasthan.
Bakhta, Bakhta, bāhira,
Kyūn māryo Ajmāl[13]
Hindwāni ro sevro
Turkāni ka sāl?
“Oh Bakhta, in evil hour
Why slew you Ajmāl,
The pillar of the Hindu,
The lance of the Turk?” [745][14]

The Sons of Ajīt Singh.

—Bakhta Singh obtained Nagor; and Abhai Singh was rewarded with the viceroyalty of Gujarat, which gift he repaid by aiding in its partition, and annexing the rich districts of Bhinmal, Sanchor, and others, to Marwar; on which occasion he added Jalor to the domain of his brother Bakhta, or, as the bard styles him, bad-bakhta, ‘the unfortunate.’ This additional reward of parricide has been the cause of all the civil wars of Marwar.

We may slightly notice the other sons of Ajit, whose issue affected the political society of Rajputana. Of these,

Devi Singh was given for adoption to Maha Singh, head of the Champawat clan, he having no heirs. Devi Singh then held Bhinmal, but which he could not retain against the Koli tribes around him, and Pokaran was given in exchange. Sabal Singh, Sawai Singh, and Salim Singh (whose escape from the fate of the chieftain of Nimaj has been noticed) are the lineal issue of this adoption.

860Anand Singh, another son of Ajit, was in like manner adopted into the independent State of Idar, and his issue are heirs-presumptive to the throne of Marwar.

Effects of Adoption.

—From these races we derive the knowledge of a curious fact, namely, that the issue of the younger brother maintains a claim, though adopted into a foreign and independent State; while all such claims are totally extinguished by adoption into a home clan. Under no circumstances could the issue of Devi Singh sit on the gaddi of Marwar; when adopted into the Champawat clan, he surrendered all claims derived from his birth, which were merged into his vassal rank. Still the recollection must give weight and influence; and it is evident from the boast of the haughty Devi Singh, when his head was on the block, that there is danger in these adoptions.

Abhai Singh died, leaving a memorial of his prowess in the splendid additions he made to his territories from the tottering empire of Delhi. He was succeeded by his son Ram Singh, on whose accession his uncle Bakhta sent his aged foster-mother, an important personage in Rajwara, with the tika and gifts,and gifts, and other symbols of congratulation. Ram Singh, who had all the impetuosity of his race, received the lady-ambassador with no friendly terms, asking her if his uncle had no better messenger to salute his new sovereign. He refused the gifts, and commanded her to tell his uncle to surrender Jalor. The offended dame [746] extenuated nothing of the insolence of the message. The reply was, however, courteous, implying that both Jalor and Nagor were at his disposal. The same sarcastic spirit soon precipitated matters between them in the following manner.

Kusal Singh of Awa, the premier noble of Marwar, and of all the clans of Champawat, more brave than courtly, was short in stature, sturdy, boorish, and blunt; he became the object of his young sovereign’s derision, who used to style him the gurji gandhak, or ‘turnspit dog,’ and who had once the audacity to say, “Come, gurji”; when he received the laconic reproof: “Yes; the gurji that dare bite the lion.”

To face page 860.

Brooding over this merited retort, he was guilty of another sarcasm, which closed the breach against all reconciliation. Seated one day in the garden of Mandor, he asked the same chief 861the name of a tree. “The champa,” was the reply, “and the pride of the garden, as I am of your Rajputs.” “Cut it down instantly,” said the prince; “root it out; nothing which bears the name of champa shall exist in Marwar.”

Kaniram of Asop, the chief of the next most powerful clan, the Kumpawat, was alike the object of this prince’s ridicule. His countenance, which was not “cast in nature’s finest mould,” became a butt for his wit, and he would familiarly say to him, ‘ao budha bandar,’ “Come along, old monkey.” Boiling with rage, the chief observed, “When the monkey begins to dance, you will have some mirth.” Leaving the court, with his brother chieftain of Awa, they collected their retainers and families, and marched to Nagor. Bakhta Singh was absent, but being advised by his locum tenens of his visitors, and of their quarrel with his nephew, he lost no time in joining them. It is said he expostulated with them, and offered himself as mediator; but they swore never again to look in the face of Ram Singh as their sovereign. They offered to place Bakhta Singh on the gaddi of Jodha; and threatened, if he refused, to abandon Marwar. He played the part of our Richard for a short time; but the habitual arrogance of his nephew soon brought matters to a crisis. As soon as he heard that the two leaders of all his vassals were received by his uncle, he addressed him, demanding the instant surrender of Jalor. Again he had the courtly reply: “He dare not contend against his sovereign; and if he came to visit him, he would meet him with a vessel of water.”[15] War, a [747] horrid civil war, was now decided on; the challenge was given and accepted, and the plains of Merta were fixed upon to determine this mortal strife, in which brother was to meet brother, and all the ties of kin were to be severed by the sword. The Mertia clans, the bravest, as they are the most loyal and devoted, of all the brave clans of Maru, united to a man under the sovereign’s standard; the chiefs of Rian, Budsa, Mihtri, Kholar, Bhorawar, Kuchaman, Alniawas, Jusari, Bokri, Bharunda, Irwa, Chandarun, collected around them every vassal who could wield a brand. Most of the clans of Jodha, attracted by the name of 862swamidharma, ‘fidelity to their lord,’ united themselves to the Mertias; though a few, as Ladnun, Nimbi, were on the adverse side; but the principal leaders, as Khairwa, Govindgarh, and Bhadrajun, were faithful to their salt. Of the services of others, Ram Singh’s insolence deprived him. Few remained neuter. But these defections were nothing to the loss of a body of five thousand Jareja auxiliaries, whom his connexion with a daughter of the prince of Bhuj brought to his aid. When the tents were moved outside the capital, an incident occurred which, while it illustrates the singular character of the Rajput, may be regarded as the real cause of the loss of sovereignty to Ram Singh. An inauspicious raven had perched upon the kanat, or wall of the tent in which was the Jareja queen, who, skilled in the art of the suguni[16] (augur), determined to avert it. Like all Rajputnis, who can use firearms on occasion, she seized a matchlock at hand, and, ere he “thrice croaked,” she shot him dead. The impetuous Raja, enraged at this instance of audacity and disrespect, without inquiry ordered the culprit to be dragged before him; nor was his anger assuaged when the name of the Rani was given. He reviled her in the grossest terms: “Tell the Rani,” he said, “to depart my dominions, and to return from whence she came.” She entreated and conjured him, by a regard to his own safety, to revoke the decree; but all in vain; and with difficulty could she obtain a short interview, but without effecting any change in her obdurate lord. Her last words were, “With my exile from your presence, you will lose the crown of Marwar.” She marched that instant, carrying with her the five thousand auxiliaries whose presence must have ensured his victory.

The Udawat clans, led by their chiefs of Nimaj, Raepur, and Raus, with all [748] the Karansots under the Thakur of Khinwasar, united their retainers with the Champawats and Kumpawats under the banners of Bakhta Singh.

Battle between Bakhta Singh and Rāja Rām Singh, A.D. 1752.

—Ram Singh’s array fell far short of his rival’s since the defection of the Jarejas; yet, trusting to the name of sovereign as “a tower of strength,” he boldly marched to the encounter, and when he reached the hostile field encamped near the Ajmer gate of Merta. His rival was not long behind, and marshalled his 863clans within three miles of the northern portal, called the gate of Nagor. The spot he chose had a sacred character, and was called Mataji ka Than, where there was a shrine of the Hindu Hecate, with a fountain said to have been constructed by the Pandavas.

Bakhta Singh commenced the battle. Leaving his camp standing, he advanced against his nephew and sovereign, whom he saluted with a general discharge of his artillery. A vigorous cannonade was continued on both sides throughout the day, without a single man seeking a closer encounter. It is no wonder they paused ere the sword was literally drawn. Here was no foreign foe to attack; brother met brother, friend encountered friend, and the blood which flowed in the veins of all the combatants was derived from one common fountain. The reluctance proceeded from the στοργή, the innate principle of natural affection. Evening advanced amidst peals of cannon, when an incident, which could only occur in an army of Rajputs, stopped the combat. On the banks of the Bejpa lake, the scene of strife, there is a monastery of Dadupanti ascetics, built by Raja Sur Singh. It was nearly midway between the rival armies, and the shot fell so thick amidst these recluses that they fled in a body, leaving only the old patriarch. Baba (father) Kishandeo disdained to follow his disciples, and to the repeated remonstrances from either party to withdraw, he replied, that if it was his fate to die by a shot he could not avert it; if not, the balls were innoxious: but although he feared not for himself, yet his gardens and monastery were not “charmed,” and he commanded them to fight no longer on that ground. The approach of night, and the sacred character of the old abbot Dadupanti, conspired to make both parties obey his commands, and they withdrew to their respective encampments.

The dawn found the armies in battle-array, each animated with a deadly determination. It was Raja Ram’s turn to open this day’s combat, and he led the van against his uncle. Burning with the recollection of the indignities he had [749] suffered, the chief of Awa, determined to show that “the cur could bite,” led his Champawats to the charge against his sovereign. Incited by loyalty and devotion “to the gaddi of Marwar,” reckless who was its occupant, the brave Mertias met his onset steel in hand. The ties of kin were forgotten, or if remembered, the sense of the 864unnatural strife added a kind of frenzy to their valour, and confirmed their resolution to conquer or die. Here the Mertia, fighting under the eye of this valiant though intemperate prince, had to maintain his ancient fame, as “the first sword of Maru.” There his antagonist, the Champawat, jealous of this reputation, had the like incentive, besides the obligation to revenge the insults offered to his chief. The conflict was awful: the chieftains of each valiant clan met hand to hand, singling out each other by name. Sher Singh, chief of all the Mertias, was the first who sealed his devotion by his death. His place was soon filled by his brother, burning for vengeance. Again he cheered on his Mertias to avenge the death of their lord, as he propelled his steed against the chief of the Champawats. They were the sons of two sisters of the Jaipur house, and had hitherto lived in amity and brotherly love, now exchanged for deadly hate. They encountered, when the “cur” bit the dust, and was borne from the field. The loss of their leaders only inflamed the vassals on both sides, and it was long before either yielded a foot of ground. But numbers, and the repeated charges of Bakhta Singh who led wherever his nephew could be found, at length prevailed; though not until the extinction of the clan of Mertia, who, despising all odds, fought unto the death. Besides their head of Rian, there fell the sub-vassals of Irwa, Sewara, Jusari, and Mithri, with his three gallant sons, and almost all their retainers.

The Death of the Mīthri Chief.

—There is nothing more chivalrous in the days of Edward and Cressy than the death of the heir of Mithri, who, with his father and brothers, sealed his fealty with his blood on this fatal field. He had long engaged the hand of a daughter of a chief of the Narukas, and was occupied with the marriage rites, when tidings reached him of the approach of the rebels to Merta. The knot had just been tied, their hands had been joined—but he was a Mertia—he unlocked his hand from that of the fair Naruki, to court the Apsaras in the field of battle. In the bridal vestments, with the nuptial coronet (maur) encircling his forehead, he took his station with his clan in the second day’s fight, and “obtained a bride in Indra’s [750] abode.”[17] The 865bards of Maru dwell with delight on the romantic glory of the youthful heir of Mithri, as they repeat in their Doric verse,
Kānān moti bulbula
Gal sonē ki māla
Assi kos khariya āya
Kunwar Mīthriwala.[18]

The paraphernalia here enumerated are very foreign to the cavalier of the west: “with pearls shining in his ears, and a golden chaplet round his neck, a space of eighty coss came the heir of Mithri.”

The virgin bride followed her lord from Jaipur, but instead of being met with the tabor and lute, and other signs of festivity, wail and lamentation awaited her within the lands of Mithri, where tidings came of the calamity which at once deprived this branch of the Mertias of all its supporters. Her part was soon taken; she commanded the pyre to be erected; and with the turban and tora[19] which adorned her lord on this fatal day, she followed his shade to the mansions of the sun. I sought out the cenotaph of this son of honour in the blood-stained field; but the only couronne immortelle I could wreathe on the sandy plain was supplied by the Bardai, whose song is full of martial fire as he recounts the gallantry of Kunwar Mithriwala.

The Mertias, and their compeers on the side of the prince, made sad havoc amongst their opponents; and they still maintain that it was owing to the artillery alone that they were defeated. Their brave and loyal leader, Sher Singh of Rian, had fruitlessly endeavoured to recall his brother-in-law from the path of treason, but ineffectually; he spoke with sarcasm of his means to supplant Ram Singh by his uncle. The reply of the old baron of Awa is characteristic: “At least I will turn the land upside down”; to which Sher Singh rejoined, angrily, he would do his best to prevent him. Thus they parted; nor did they meet again till in arms at Merta.

In surveying this field of slaughter, the eye discerns no point d’appui, no village or key of position, to be the object of a struggle: nothing to obstruct the doubly-gorged falconet, which has no 866terrors for the uncontrollable valour of the Rathor; it perceives but a level plain, extended to the horizon, and now covered with the memorials of this day’s strife. Here appears the colonnaded mausoleum, with its airy cupola; there the humble altar, with its simple record of the name, clan, and sakha of him whose ashes repose beneath, with the date of the event [751], inscribed in rude characters. Of these monumental records I had copies made of about a score; they furnish fresh evidence of the singular character of the Rajput.

Ram Singh retired within the walls of the city, which he barricaded; but it being too extensive to afford the chance of defence against the enemy, he formed the fatal resolution of calling to his aid the Mahrattas, who were then rising into notice. At midnight he fled to the south; and at Ujjain found the Mahratta leader, Jai Apa Sindhia, with whom he concerted measures for the invasion of his country. Meantime his uncle being master of the field, repaired, without loss of time, to the capital, where he was formally enthroned; and his an was proclaimed throughout Marwar. As skilful as he was resolute, he determined to meet on his frontier the threatened invasion, and accordingly advanced to Ajmer, in order to interpose between the Mahrattas and Jaipur, whose prince, Isari Singh,[20] was father-in-lawfather-in-law to his rival. He wrote him a laconic epistle, requiring him either instantly to unite with him in attacking the Mahrattas, or declare himself his foe. The Jaipur prince had many powerful reasons for not supporting Raja Bakhta, but he at the same time dreaded his enmity. In this extremity, he had recourse to an expedient too common in cases of difficulty. Concerting with his wife, a princess of Idar (then ruled by one of the sons of Ajit), the best mode of extrication from his difficulties, he required her aid to revenge the foul murder of Ajit, and to recover his son’s right. “In either case,” said he, “the sword must decide, for he leaves me no alternative: against him I have no hopes of success; and if I march to the aid of an assassin and usurper, I lose the good opinion of mankind.” In short, he made it appear that she alone could rescue him from his perils. It was therefore resolved to punish one crime by the commission of another. Isari Singh signified his assent; and to lull all suspicion, the Rathorni was to visit her uncle in his camp on the 867joint frontier of the three States of Mewar, Marwar, and Amber. A poisoned robe was the medium of revenge. Raja Bakhta, soon after the arrival of his niece, was declared in a fever; the physician was summoned: but the man of secrets, the Vaidya, declared he was beyond the reach of medicine, and bade him prepare for other scenes. The intrepid Rathor, yet undismayed, received the tidings even with a jest: “What, Suja,” said he, “no cure? Why do you take my lands and eat their produce, if you cannot combat my maladies? What is your art good for?” The Vaidya excavated a [752] small trench in the tent, which he filled with water; throwing into it some ingredient, the water became gelid. “This,” said he, “can be effected by human skill; but your case is beyond it: haste, perform the offices which religion demands.” With perfect composure he ordered the chiefs to assemble in his tent; and having recommended to their protection, and received their promise of defending the rights of his son, he summoned the ministers of religion into his presence. The last gifts to the church, and these her organs, were prepared; but with all his firmness, the anathema of the Satis, as they ascended the funeral pyre on which his hand had stretched his father, came into his mind; and as he repeated the ejaculation, “May your corpse be consumed in foreign land!” he remembered he was then on the border. The images which crossed his mental vision it is vain to surmise: he expired as he uttered these words; and over his remains, which were burnt on the spot, a cenotaph was erected, and is still called Bura Dewal, the ‘Shrine of Evil.’

To face page 866.

But for that foul stain, Raja Bakhta would have been one of the first princes of his race. It never gave birth to a bolder; and his wisdom was equal to his valour. Before the commission of that act, he was adored by his Rajputs. He was chiefly instrumental in the conquests made from Gujarat; and afterwards, in conjunction with his brother, in defeating the imperial viceroy, Sarbuland.[21] His elevation could not be called a usurpation, since Ram Singh was totally incapacitated, through his 868ungovernable passions, for sovereign sway; and the brave barons of Marwar, “all sons of the same father with their prince,” have always exercised the right of election, when physical incapacity rendered such a measure requisite. It is a right which their own customary laws, as well as the rules of justice, have rendered sacred. According to this principle, nearly all the feudality of Maru willingly recognized, and swore to maintain, the claims of his successor, Bijai Singh. The Rajas of Bikaner and Kishangarh, both independent branches of this house, gave in their assent. Bijai Singh was accordingly proclaimed and installed at Marot, and forthwith conducted to Merta.

The ex-prince, Ram Singh, accompanied Jai Apa to the siege of Kotah, and subsequently through Mewar, levying contributions as they passed to Ajmer. Here a dispute occurred between the brave Rathor and Sindhia, whose rapacious spirit for plunder received a severe reproof: nevertheless they crossed the frontier [753], and entered Marwar. Bijai Singh, with all the hereditary valour of his race, marched to meet the invaders, at the head of nearly all the chivalry of Maru, amounting to 200,000 men.

Battle of Merta, about A.D. 1756.

—The first day both armies encountered, they limited their hostility to a severe cannonade and partial actions, the inhabitants of Merta supplying the combatants with food, in which service many were killed; even the recluse Dadupantis ran the risk in this patriotic struggle, and several of the old patriarch’s disciples suffered. The second day passed in the same manner, with many desperate charges of cavalry, in which the Mahrattas invariably suffered, especially from a select body of 5000 select horse, all cased in armour, which nothing could withstand. The superior numerical strength of Ram Singh and his allies compelled Bijai Singh not to neglect the means of retreat. Throughout the first and second days’ combat, the cattle of the train had been kept yoked; on the third, they had carried them to a small rivulet in the rear to water. It was at the precise moment of time when the legion of cuirassiers were returning from a charge which had broken to pieces the Mahratta line, as they approached their friends, the word ‘daga’ spread like wildfire; they were mistaken for Ram Singh’s adherents, and a murderous shower of grape opened upon the flower of their own army, who were torn to pieces ere 869the fatal error was discovered. But such was the impression which this band of heroes had just made on the Mahrattas, that they feared to take advantage of this disaster. A feeling of horror pervaded the army of Bijai Singh, as the choice of their chivalry conveyed the slain and the wounded to the camp. A council of war was summoned, and the aid of superstition came to cool that valour which the Mahrattas, in spite of their numbers, could never subdue. The Raja was young—only twenty years of age; and being prudent as well as brave, he allowed experience to guide him. The Raja of Bikaner, of the same kin and clan, took the lead, and advised a retreat. In the accident related, he saw the hand of Providence, which had sent it to serve as a signal to desist. The Raja had a great stake to lose, and doubtless deemed it wise to preserve his auxiliaries for the defence of his own dominions. It was a case which required the energy of Bakhta: but the wavering opinion of the council soon spread throughout the camp, and was not unobserved by the enemy; nor was it till Bikaner marched off with his aid, towards the close of the day, that any advantage was taken of it [754]. Then Ram Singh at the head of a body of Rajputs and Mahrattas poured down upon them, and ‘sauve qui peut’ became the order of the day. To gain Merta was the main object of the discomfited and panic-struck Rathors; but many chiefs with their vassals marched direct for their estates. The guns were abandoned to their fate, and became the first proud trophy the Mahrattas gained over the dreaded Rajputs. The Raja of Kishangarh, also a Rathor, followed the example of his brother prince of Bikaner, and carried off his bands. Thus deserted by his dispirited and now dispersed barons, the young prince had no alternative but flight, and at midnight he took the route of Nagor. In the darkness he mistook the road, or was misled into that of Rain, whose chieftain was the companion of his flight. Calling him by name, Lal Singh, he desired him to regain the right path; but the orders of a sovereign at the head of a victorious army, and those of a fugitive prince, are occasionally received, even amongst Rajputs, with some shades of distinction. The chief begged permission, as he was near home, to visit his family and bring them with him. Too dignified to reply, the young prince remained silent and the Thakur of Rain[22] loitered in the rear. The Raja 870reached Kajwana, with only five of his cuirassiers (silahposh) as an escort. Here he could not halt with safety; but as he left the opposite barrier, his horse dropped down dead. He mounted another belonging to one of his attendants, and gained Deswal, three miles farther. Here the steeds, which had been labouring throughout the day under the weight of heavy armour, in addition to the usual burden of their riders, were too jaded to proceed; and Nagor was still sixteen miles distant. Leaving his worn-out escort, and concealing his rank, he bargained with a Jat to convey him before break of day to the gate of Nagor for the sum of five rupees. The peasant, after stipulating that the coin should be bijaishahis,[23] ‘the new currency,’ which still remains the standard, the common car of husbandry was brought forth, on which the king of Maru ascended, and was drawn by a pair of Nagori oxen. The royal fugitive was but little satisfied with their exertions, though their pace was good, and kept continually urging them, with the customary cry of “hank! hank!“ The honest Jat, conscious that his cattle did their best, at length lost all temper. Repeating the sounds ”hank! hank!” “Who are you,” asked he, “that are hurrying on at this rate? It were more becoming [755] that such a sturdy carl should be in the field with Bijai Singh at Merta, than posting in this manner to Nagor. One would suppose you had the southrons (dakkhinis) at your heels. Therefore be quiet, for not a jot faster shall I drive.” Morning broke, and Nagor was yet two miles distant: the Jat, turning round to view more attentively his impatient traveller, was overwhelmed with consternation when he recognized his prince. He leaped from the vehicle, horror-struck that he should have been sitting ‘on the same level’ with his sovereign, and absolutely refused to sin any longer against etiquette. “I pardon the occasion,” said the prince mildly; “obey.” The Jat resumed his seat, nor ceased exclaiming hank! hank! until he reached the gate of Nagor. Here the prince alighted, paid his price of conveyance, and dismissed the Jat of Deswal, with a promise of further recompense hereafter. On that day the enemy invested Nagor, but not before Bijai Singh had dispatched the chief of Harsor to defend the capital, and issued his proclamations to summon the ban of Marwar.

Resistance of Bijai Singh.

—During six months he defended himself gallantly in Nagor, against which the desultory Mahrattas, little accustomed to the operations of a siege, made no impression, while they suffered from the sallies of their alert antagonist. Encouraged by their inactivity, the young prince, imbued with all the native valour of his race, and impelled by that decisive energy of mind which characterized his father, determined upon a step which has immortalized his memory. He resolved to cut his way through the enemy, and solicit succours in person. He had a dromedary corps five hundred strong. Placing on these a devoted band of one thousand Rajputs, in the dead of night he passed the Mahratta lines unobserved, and made direct for Bikaner. Twenty-four hours sufficed to seat him on the same gaddi with its prince, and to reveal to him the melancholy fact, that here he had no hopes of succour. Denied by a branch of his own house, he resorted to a daring experiment upon the supporter of his antagonist. The next morning he was on his way, at the head of his dromedary escort, to the capital of the Kachhwahas, Jaipur. The “ships of the desert” soon conveyed him to that city. He halted under the walls, and sent a messenger to say that in person he had come to solicit his assistance.

Isari Singh, the son and successor of the great Sawai Jai Singh, had neither the talents of his father, nor even the firmness which was the common inheritance [756] of his race. He dreaded the rival Rathor; and the pusillanimity which made him become the assassin of the father, prompted him to a breach of the sacred laws of hospitality (which, with courage, is a virtue almost inseparable from a Rajput soul), and make a captive of the son. But the base design was defeated by an instance of devotion and resolution, which will serve to relieve the Rajput character from the dark shades which the faithful historian is sometimes forced to throw into the picture. Civil war is the parent of every crime, and severs all ties, moral and political; nor must it be expected that Rajputana should furnish the exception to a rule, which applies to all mankind in similar circumstances. The civil wars of England and France, during the conflicts of the White and Red Roses, and those of the League, will disclose scenes which would suffice to dye with the deepest hues an entire dynasty of the Rajputs. Let such deeds as the following 872be placed on the virtuous side of the account, and the crimes on the opposite side be ascribed to the peculiarities of their condition.

Devotion of the Mertias.

—The devoted sacrifice of Sher Singh, the chief of the Mertia clan, has already been recorded. When victory declared against the side he espoused, the victorious Bakhta Singh resumed the estates of Rian from his line, and conferred them on a younger branch of the family. Jawan Singh was the name of the individual, and he was now with the chosen band of the son of his benefactor, soliciting succour from the king of the Kachhwahas. He had married the daughter of the chief of Achrol, one of the great vassals of Jaipur, who was deep in the confidence of his sovereign, to whom he imparted his design to seize the person of his guest and suppliant at the interview he had granted. Aware that such a scheme could not be effected without bloodshed, the Achrol chieftain, desirous to save his son-in-law from danger, under an oath of secrecy revealed the plot, in order that he might secure himself. The Jaipur prince came to the ‘Travellers’ hall’ (dharmsala), where the Rathor had alighted; they embraced with cordiality, and seated themselves on the same gaddi together. While compliments were yet passing, the faithful Mertia, who, true to his pledge, had not even hinted to his master the danger that threatened him, placed himself immediately behind the Jaipur prince, sitting, as if accidentally, on the flowing skirt of his robe. The Raja, turning round to the leader of “the first of the swords of Maru,” remarked “Why, Thakur, have you taken a seat in the background to-day?” “The day requires it, Maharaja” [757], was the laconic reply: for the post of the Mertias was the sovereign’s right hand. Turning to his prince, he said, “Arise, depart, or your life or liberty is endangered.” Bijai Singh arose, and his treacherous host made an attempt to follow, but felt his design impeded by the position the loyal chief had taken on his garment, whose drawn dagger was already pointed to his heart, where he threatened to sheathe it if any hindrance was offered to the safe departure of his sovereign, to whom he coolly said, as the prince left the astonished assembly, “Send me word when you are mounted.” The brave Bijai Singh showed himself worthy of his servant, and soon sent to say, “He now only waited for him”: a message, the import of which was not understood by the treacherous Kachhwaha. The leader 873of the Mertias sheathed his dagger—arose—and coming in front of the Raja, made him a respectful obeisance. The Jaipur prince could not resist the impulse which such devotion was calculated to produce; he arose, returned the salutation, and giving vent to his feelings, observed aloud to his chiefs, “Behold a picture of fidelity! It is in vain to hope for success against such men as these.”

Bijai Singh returns to Nāgor.

—Foiled in all his endeavours, Bijai Singh had no resource but to regain Nagor, which he effected with the same celerity as he quitted it. Six months more passed away in the attempt to reduce Nagor; but though the siege was fruitless, not so were the efforts of his rival Ram Singh in other quarters, to whom almost all the country had submitted: Marot, Parbatsar, Pali, Sojat had received his flag; and besides the capital and the town he held in person, Jalor, Siwana, and Phalodi were the only places which had not been reduced. In this extremity, Bijai Singh listened to an offer to relieve him from these multiplied difficulties, which, in its consequences, alienated for ever the brightest gem in the crown of Marwar.

The Assassination of Jai Āpa Sindhia, A.D. 1759.

—A Rajput and an Afghan, both foot-soldiers on a small monthly pay, offered, if their families were provided for, to sacrifice themselves for his safety by the assassination of the Mahratta commander. Assuming the garb of camp-settlers, they approached the headquarters, feigning a violent quarrel. The simple Mahratta chief was performing his ablutions at the door of his tent, and as they approached they became more vociferous, and throwing a bundle of statements of account on the ground, begged he would decide between them. In this manner they came nearer and nearer, and as he listened to their story, one plunged his dagger in his side, exclaiming, “This for Nagor!” and “This for Jodhpur!” said his companion [758], as he repeated the mortal blow. The alarm was given; the Afghan was slain; but the Rajput called out “Thief!” and mingling with the throng, escaped by a drain into the town of Nagor.[24] Though the crime was rewarded, the 874Rathor refused to see the criminal. The siege continued, but in spite of every precaution, reinforcements both of men and provisions continued to be supplied. It ill suited the restless Mahratta to waste his time in these desert regions, which could be employed so much more profitably on richer lands: a compromise ensued, in which the cause of Ram Singh was abandoned, on stipulating for a fixed triennial tribute, and the surrender of the important fortress and district of Ajmer in full sovereignty to the Mahratta, in mundkati, or compensation for the blood of Jai Apa. The monsoon was then approaching; they broke up, and took possession of this important conquest, which, placed in the very heart of these regions, may be called the key of Rajputana.

The cross of St. George now waves over the battlements of Ajmer,[25] planted, if there is any truth in political declarations, not for the purpose of conquest, or to swell the revenues of British India, but to guard the liberties and the laws of these ancient principalities from rapine and disorder. It is to be hoped that this banner will never be otherwise employed, and that it may never be execrated by the brave Rajput.

The deserted Ram Singh continued to assert his rights with the same obstinacy by which he lost them; and for which he staked his life in no less than eighteen encounters against his uncle and cousin. At length, on the death of Isari Singh of Jaipur, having lost his main support, he accepted the Marwar share of the Salt Lake of Sambhar, and Jaipur relinquishing the other half, he resided there until his death [759].

1. [Acacia catechu.]

2. [The aconite-leaved kidney-bean, Phaseolus aconitifolius.]

3. [See p. 913, below.]

4. Specimens of all these I brought home.

5. [This seems to be merely an instance of serpent-worship.]

6. The traditional stanzas are invaluable for obtaining a knowledge both of ancient history and geography:

“Kasyapgarh, Surajpura,
Basakgarh, Tako,
Udhanigarh, Jagrupura,
Jo Phulgarh, i Lakho.”

In this stanza we have the names of six ancient cities in the desert, which belonged to Lakha, the Tako, Tak, or Takshak, i.e. of the race figuratively called the ‘serpent.’ [Many tales are told of Lākha Phulāni, who by one account was a Rāo of Cutch, slain fighting in Kāthiāwār (BG, v. 133, viii. 111 note). Others identify him with Lakha, son of Phulada, who defeated the Chaulukya king, Mūlarāja, in the eleventh century (ibid. i. Part i. 160). By another account, he was father-in-law of the great Siddharāja (Tod, WI, 179). He is mentioned twice later on. He was probably a powerful king of the desert, round whom many legends have collected.]

7. [The Kalhoras, closely allied to the Dāūdputras, rose to power in the Lower Indus valley at the end of the seventeenth century A.D. They trace their origin to Abbās, uncle of the Prophet. They were expelled by Fateh Ali of Tālpur, and the last of the Kalhoras fled to Jodhpur, where his descendants now hold distinguished rank (IGI, xxii. 397 ff.).]

8. Mr. Stokes, of the Royal Asiatic Society, pronounces it to be a steatite.

9. Rao Duda had three sons, besides Maldeo; namely: First, Raemall; second, Birsingh, who founded Amjera in Malwa, still held by his descendants; third, Ratan Singh, father of Mira Bai, the celebrated wife of Kumbha Rana.

10. [See Vol. I. p. 382, above.]

11. See Vol. I. p. 567.

12. [See Vol. I. p. 467, above.]

13. The bards give adjuncts to names in order to suit their rhymes: Ajit is the ‘invincible’; Ajmāl, a contraction of Ajayamāl, ‘wealth invincible.’

14. [Major Luard’s Pandit gives the word in the third line as sihara or sihra, the veil worn by the bridegroom to avert the Evil Eye.]

15. This reply refers to a custom analogous to the Scythic investiture, by offering “water and soil.” [The Kols and other forest tribes deliver a handful of soil to a purchaser of a piece of land (Macpherson, Memorials of Service, 64).]

16. Sugun pherna means to avert the omen of evil.

17. [The authority quoted by Compton (Military Adventurers, 61) speaks of the “serd kopperah wallas” (zard kaprawāla, ‘those wearing yellow wedding garments’), as the forlorn hope in the battle.]

18. [Major Luard’s Pandit reads in the first line bhalbhala, ‘a lustre,’ and in the third kharoho, ‘rode hard.’]

19. [A neck ornament.]

20. [Isari Singh, Mahārāja of Jaipur, A.D. 1742-60.]

21. [Nawāb Mubārizu-l-mulk, Governor of Gujarāt under Muhammad Shāh, from which office he was removed because he consented to pay blackmail (chauth) to the Marāthas. He refused to give up his post, and fell into disgrace. He was afterwards Governor of Allāhābād, and died A.D. 1745 (Beale, Dict. Oriental Biog. s.v.; BG, i. Part i. 304 ff.).]

22. Or Rahin in the map, on the road to Jahil from Merta.

23. [Coins made in the reign of Bijai Singh (A.D. 1753-93), (Webb, Currencies of the Hindu States of Rājputāna, 40).]

24. [According to Grant Duff (Hist. Mahrattas, 310), Bijai Singh, following the infamous example of his father in regard to Pīlaji Gāēkwār, engaged two persons who, on the promise of a rent-free estate (jāgīr), went to Jai Āpa as accredited envoys, and assassinated him. Hari Charan Dās (Elliot-Dowson viii. 210) says that the Rājput leader warned Jai Āpa to leave Mārwār. Jai Āpa abused him, and the Rājput killed him by a blow with his dagger. Three of the Rājput party were killed, and three, in spite of their wounds, escaped.]

25. [Surrendered to the British by Daulat Rāo Sindhia by treaty of June 25, 1818, and occupied by the Agent, Mr. Wilder, on July 28 of the same year.]



Mahādaji Sindhia, A.D. 1759-94. Battle of Lālsot, A.D. 1787.

—Mahadaji Sindhia succeeded to the command of the horde led by his relation, Jai Apa. He had the genius to discover that his southron horse would never compete with the Rajputs, and he set about improving that arm to which the Mahrattas finally owed success. This sagacious chief soon perceived that the political position of the great States of Rajasthan was most favourable to his views of establishing his power in this quarter. They were not only at variance with each other, but, as it has already appeared, were individually distracted with civil dissensions. The interference of the Rana of Udaipur had obtained for his nephew, Madho Singh, the gaddi of Jaipur; but this advantage was gained only through the introduction of the Mahrattas, and the establishment of a tribute, as in Marwar. This brave people felt the irksomeness of their chains, and wished to shake them off. Madho Singh’s reign was short; he was succeeded by Partap, who determined to free himself from this badge of dependence.[1] Accordingly, when Mahadaji Sindhia invaded his country, at the head of a powerful army, he called on the Rathors for aid. The cause was their own; and they jointly determined to redeem what had been lost. As the bard of the Rathors observes, they [760] forgot all their just grounds of offence[2] against the Jaipur court, and sent the flower of their chivalry under the chieftain of Rian, whose fidelity has been so recently recorded. At Tonga (the battle is also termed that of Lalsot), the rival armies encountered. The celebrated Mogul chiefs, Ismail Beg and Hamdani, added their forces to those of the combined Rajputs, and gained an entire victory, in which 876the Rathors had their full share of glory. The noble chief of Rian formed his Rathor horse into a dense mass, with which he charged and overwhelmed the flower of Sindhia’s army, composed of the regulars under the celebrated De Boigne.[3] Sindhia was driven from the field, and retired to Mathura; for years he did not recover the severity of this day. The Rathors sent a force under the Dhaibhai, which redeemed Ajmer, and annulled their tributary engagement.

Battle of Pātan, June 20, 1790.

—The genius of General Comte de Boigne ably seconded the energetic Sindhia. A regular force was equipped, far superior to any hitherto known, and was led into Rajputana to redeem the disgrace of Tonga. The warlike Rathors determined not to await the attack within their own limits, but marched their whole force to the northern frontier of Jaipur, and formed a junction with the Kachhwahas at the town of Patan (Tuarvati).[4] The words of the war-song, which the inspiring bards repeated as they advanced, are still current in Marwar; but an unlucky stanza, which a juvenile Charan had composed after the battle of Tonga, had completely alienated the Kachhwahas from their supporters, to whom they could not but acknowledge their inferiority:
Ūdhalti Amber né rākhi Rāthorān.
“The Rathors guarded the petticoats of Amber.”[5]

877This stanza was retained in recollection at the battle of Patan; and if universal [761] affirmation may be received as proof, it was the cause of its loss, and with it that of Rajput independence. National pride was humbled: a private agreement was entered into between the Mahrattas and Jaipurians, whereby the latter, on condition of keeping aloof during the fight, were to have their country secured from devastation. As usual, the Rathors charged up to the muzzles of De Boigne’s cannon, sweeping all before them: but receiving no support, they were torn piecemeal by showers of grape and compelled to abandon the field. Then, it is recorded, the brave Rathor showed the difference between fighting on parbhum, or ‘foreign land,’ and on his own native soil. Even the women, it is averred, plundered them of their horses on this disastrous day; so heart-broken had the traitorous conduct of their allies rendered them. The Jaipurians paid dearly for their revenge, and for the couplet which recorded it:

Ghoro, joro, pagri,
Mūcham Khag Mārwār,
Pānch rakam mel līdha
Pātan men Rāthor.[6]
“Horse, shoes, turban,
Mustachio, sword [of] Marwar,
Five things surrendered were
At Patan by the Rathor.”

Both these “ribald strains” are still the taunt of either race: by such base agencies are thrones overturned, and heroism rendered abortive!

When the fatal result of the battle of Patan was communicated to Raja Bijai Singh, he called a council of all his nobles, at which the independent branches of his family, the Rajas of Bikaner, Kishangarh, and Rupnagarh, assisted, for the cause was a common one. The Raja gave it as his own opinion, that it was better to 878fulfil the terms of the former treaty, on the murder of Jai Apa, acknowledge the cancelled tribute, and restore Ajmer, which they had recovered by a coup de main. His valorous chieftains opposed the degrading suggestion, and unanimously recommended that they should again try the chances of war ere they signed their humiliation. Their resolution swayed the prince, who issued his summons to every Rathor in his dominions to assemble under their Raja’s banner, once more planted on the ensanguined plains of Merta. A fine army was embodied; not a Rathor who could wield a sword but brought it for service in the cause of his country; and full thirty thousand men assembled on the 10th September 1790, determined to efface the recollections of Patan [762].

Battle of Merta, September 1790 A.D.

—There was one miscreant of Rathor race, who aided on this occasion to rivet his country’s chains, and his name shall be held up to execration—Bahadur Singh, the chief of Kishangarh. This traitor to his suzerain and race held, jointly with his brother of Rupnagarh, a domain of two hundred and ten townships: not a fief emanating from Marwar, but all by grant from the kings; still they received the tika, and acknowledged the supremacy of the head of Jodhpur. The brothers had quarrelled; Bahadur despoiled his brother of his share, and being deaf to all offers of mediation, Bijai Singh marched and re-inducted the oppressed chief into his capital, Rupnagarh. The fatal day of Patan occurred immediately after; and Bahadur, burning with revenge, repaired to De Boigne, and conducted him against his native land. Rupnagarh, it may be supposed, was his first object, and it will afford a good proof of the efficiency of the artillery of De Boigne, that he reduced it in twenty-four hours. Thence he proceeded to Ajmer, which he invested: and here the proposal was made by the Raja for its surrender, and for the fulfilment of the former treaty. Mahadaji in person remained at Ajmer, while his army, led by Lakwa, Jiwa-dada, Sudasheo Bhao, and other Mahratta leaders of horse, with the brigades of De Boigne and eighty pieces of cannon, advanced against the Rathors. The Mahrattas, preceding by one day’s march the regulars under De Boigne, encamped at Natria. The Rathor army was drawn out on the plains of Merta, one flank resting on the village of Dangiwas. Five miles separated the Rathors from the Mahrattas; De Boigne was yet in the rear, his guns being deep sunk in the sandy bed of the Luni. Here a 879golden opportunity was lost, which could never be regained, of deciding ‘horse to horse’ the claims of supremacy; but the evil genius of the Rathor again intervened: and as he was the victim at Patan to the jealousy of the Kachhwaha, so here he became the martyr to a meaner cause, the household jealousies of the civil ministers of his prince. It is customary in all the Rajput States, when the sovereign does not command in person, to send one of the civil ministers as his representative. Him the feudal chiefs will obey, but not one of their own body, at least without some hazard of dissension. Khub Chand Singwi, the first minister, was present with the Raja at the capital: Gangaram Bhandari and Bhimraj Singwi were with the army. Eager to efface the disgrace of Patan, the two great Rathor leaders, Sheo Singh of Awa, and Mahidas of Asop, who had sworn to free their country or die in the [763] attempt, demanded a general movement against the Mahrattas. This gallant impatience was seconded by all the other nobles, as well as by a successful attack on the foragers of the enemy, in which the Mahrattas lost all their cattle. But it was in vain they urged the raging ardour of their clans, the policy of taking advantage of it, and the absence of De Boigne, owing to whose admirable corps and well-appointed park the day at Patan was lost; Bhimraj silenced their clamour for the combat by producing a paper from the minister Khub Chand commanding them on their allegiance not to engage until the junction of Ismail Beg, already at Nagor. They fatally yielded obedience. De Boigne extricated his guns from the sands of Alniawas, and joined the main body. That night the Bikaner contingent, perceiving the state of things, and desirous to husband their resources to defend their own altars, withdrew. About an hour before day-break, De Boigne led his brigade to the attack, and completely surprised the unguarded Rajputs.[7] They were awoke by showers of grape-shot, which soon broke their position: all was confusion; the resistance was feeble. It was the camp of the irregular infantry and guns which broke, and endeavoured to gain Merta; and the civil commanders took to flight. The alarm reached the more distant quarters of the brothers-in-arms, the chiefs of Awa and Asop. The latter was famed for the immense quantity of opium he consumed; and with difficulty could his companion awake him, with the appalling tidings, “The camp has fled, and 880we are left alone!” “Well, brother, let us to horse.” Soon the gallant band of both was ready, and twenty-two chiefs of note drank opium together for the last time. They were joined by the leaders of other clans; and first and foremost the brave Mertias of Rian, of Alniawas, Irwa, Chanod, Govindgarh; in all four thousand Rathors. When mounted and formed in one dense mass, the Awa chieftain shortly addressed them: “Where can we fly, brothers? But can there be a Rathor who has ties stronger than shame (laj)? If any one exist who prefers his wife and children to honour, let him retire.” Deep silence was the only reply to this heroic appeal; and as the hand of each warrior was raised to his forehead, the Awa chief gave the word “Forward!” They soon came up with De Boigne’s brigade, well posted, and defended by eighty pieces of cannon. “Remember Patan!” was the cry, as, regardless of showers of grape, this heroic band charged up to the cannon’s mouth, driving everything before them, cutting [764] down the line which defended the guns, and passing on to assault the Mahrattas, who were flying in all directions to avoid their impetuous valour. Had there been a reserve at this moment, the day of Merta would have surpassed that of Tonga. But here the skill of De Boigne, and the discipline of his troops, were an overmatch for valour unsustained by discipline and discretion. The Rathor band had no infantry to secure their victory; the guns were wheeled round, the line was re-formed, and ready to receive them on their return. Fresh showers of shot and grape met their thinned ranks; scarcely one of the four thousand left the field. The chiefs of Asop, Irwa, Chanod, Govindgarh, Alniawas, Morira, and others of lesser note, were among the slain; and upon the heaps of wounded, surrounded by his gallant clan, lay the chief of Awa, pierced with seven-and-twenty wounds. He had lain insensible twenty-four hours, when an old servant, during the night, searched for and found him on the field. A heavy shower had fallen, which increased the miseries of the wounded. Blind and faint, the Thakur was dragged out from the bodies of the slain. A little opiate revived him; and they were carrying him off, when they were encountered by Lakwa’s harkaras in search of chiefs of note; the wounded Thakur was conveyed to the headquarters at Merta. Lakwa sent a surgeon to sew up his wounds; but he disdained the courtesy, and refused all aid, until the meanest of his wounded