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the sweeper caste. They then proceed to the village of Sivapur, and spend the day in revelry, returning home on the following morning.
31. The Panchkosí Melá, held at Sivapur on the 7th and 8th of the declining moon in Aghan. The pilgrimage along the Panchkosí road, or sacred boundary of Benares, occupies five days. On the fourth day, when the procession reaches Sivapur, people from the city go out to meet the pilgrims at this place, and unite with them in merry-making.
32. The Loța-bhanțá Melá, held at Piśáchmochan, on the 14th day of Aghan. Many persons from the city and from the neighbouring villages, of both sexes, bathe together in the Piśáchmochan Tank, in the morning. Afterwards they remain there for some hours, make bread or cakes, which they cook and eat with roasted Bhanțá or the egg-plant, which abounds at this season. By way of ridicule, the melá was originally called Rotá-bhanțá, in allusion to the bread (roți) and bhanțá which are eaten there; but the name has latterly been changed to Lotá-bhanțá, in allusion, I suppose, to the loțá or drinking vessel used on the occasion. Persons of respectability visit the Tank on the 14th of the light fortnight of the month Pús, and again on the 14th of the waning moon of the same month, for the performance of religious ceremonies.
33. The Nagarpradakshaņá Melá, held at Chaukhá Ghát and Barhiya Tank, on the 15th day of Aghan. This consists of a pilgrimage round the city, performed in two days, on the first of which the pilgrims stay at Chaukhá Ghát. Formerly a set of licentious vagabonds
used to perform the Krishna Lílá here, but the abominable practice is now discontinued.
34. The Gaņeś Chauth Melá, held at Bará Gaņeś, on the 4th day of the declining moon in Mágh. The temple of Bara Gaṇeś, the god of learning, is visited on this day. It is customary for vidyarthis or young students of Sanskrit, to stand in different parts of the temple from sunrise to sunset, until the rising of the moon, under the belief that praying there in this posture will make them learned. ,
35. The Vedavyás Melá, held at the Fort and in the Tank at Ramnagar, on every Monday of Mágh. The temple of Vedavyás, the celebrated compiler of the Vedas, is situated within the Maharaja of Benares’ Fort at Rámnagar. On this day Hindus from the city worship the idol in the temple, and then bathe in the Tank. The crowd of votaries is greatest on the last Monday of the month.
36. The Siva-ratri Melá, held at the Bisheswar and Baijnath Temples, on the 14th day of the declining moon in Phágun. This is a general fast-day in honour of Siva, the chief god of the city. The temples referred to are much crowded with worshippers during the day.
37. The Holí Melá, held throughout the city, from the 11th to the 15th day of Phágun. This festival is chiefly noted for obscene representations, and the use of abusive language. No woman can venture into the streets, on these days, without being exposed to insult. All classes join in it; and, as the grossly indecent festival is immensely popular in the city, it is very difficult for the Government to interfere beyond
the suppression of licentious pictures, and, to some extent, the general giving of abuse. Still, I think that public morality loudly demands active and even stringent measures on the part of the Government; and I am satisfied that they would meet with the approval of all right-minded natives. On the Púrņimá, or last day of the month, the people burn the Holiká, or piles of wood, in their respective wards, the expense being raised by subscription. No regular melá is held in any one place; but in every ward there is much festivity and merry-making. Many wear coloured clothes, and discharge red water on passers-by.
38. The Dharaddi Melá, held at Daśáśamedh and Chausathi, on the first day of the waning moon in Chait. On this day the people cast upon each other the ashes of the Holiká pile burnt on the previous day, and then wash themselves, and change their coloured clothes. Crowds of people, with obscene shows, come in the evening, from opposite directions, to the Daśáśamedh Ghát, where multitudes of natives of all ranks, some on the banks, and others in boats on the river, assemble to witness the immoral spectacle. turning from the ghát, the people visit the shrine of Chausathi Deví or goddess.
39. The Búrwa-Mangal Melá, held on the river Ganges, the Tuesday after the Holí Festival. Formerly it was customary for Hindus to visit the temple of Durga on the first Tuesday following the Holí; but Raja Cheit Singh added to this melá what is called the Búrwá Mangal. On this occasion, a very considerable portion of the inhabitants of the city spend
the night on the river, in large boats, some of which are beautifully decorated, where dancing and singing go on for hours. The scene is exceedingly picturesque; and its effect is much heightened by the brilliant lights on the large boats. The festival continues till the evening of Wednesday, and was originally called Buddhuwá Mangal (Budh, Wednesday), but is now corrupted into Búrwa Mangal.
40. The Dangal Melá, held at the temple of Jagannáth and at Rámnagar, on the Thursday following the Búrwa Mangal. This, too, is a singing and dancing festival. Singing parties proceed to the temple, accompanied by crowds of listeners; and boats, laden with people, attended by singing and dancing girls, row about the river, proceeding as far as Rámnagar. This melá is of recent date.
The Buddhist Ruins at Sárnáth—Their Antiquity.—Summary of the
Narratives of Fa Hian and Hiouen Thsang, respecting the buildings formerly existing at Sárnáth and in its neighbourhood.—Points of agreement in the Narratives.—Modern Explorers of the Ruins.—Extent and Nature of the Remains.—The Great Tower—Description of it by Major-General Cunningham, and Account of his Excavations. -Age of Buddhist Topes or Towers.—Remains of a Buddhist Monastery-Mr. Thomas's Account of them.—Discovery of large numbers of Statues and Bass-reliefs.—Excavated Chamber.—Foundation of an Ancient Tower—Major-General Cunningham's Description of it.—The Chaukandí Tower.— The l’sipattana Hall, or Abode of Buddhist Devotees.
Remains of Vihára or Temple-monastery.—Small Building, containing Sixty Sculptures. — The Seal Chaityas.—The Buddhist Formula.—S'ákya Muni, the historical Buddha-His visit to Benares.—Spread of Buddhism from Benares.—Decline of Buddhism in India. -Destruction of Buddhist Structures at Sárnáth, by fire.-Fall of Buddhism.
THESE ruins have, for years, excited much interest in the public mind, both on account of their antiquity and of their connexion with the Buddhist religion. The latest of them date, perhaps, from about the sixth or seventh century of the present era ; while the earliest may belong to a period several hundred years prior to that. Indeed, it is a historical fact, which admits of no question, that there were buildings in existence on this spot in the first ages of Buddhism ; and, although we can hardly suppose that remains of any