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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 Panchkosi Mela, held at Sivapur on the 7th and 8th of the declining moon in Aghan. The pilgrimage along the Panchkosi 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 Lota-bhanta Mela, held at Pisachmochan, on the 14th day of Aghan. Many persons from the city and from the neighbouring villages, of both sexes, bathe together in the Pisachmochan Tank, in the morning. Afterwards they remain there for some hours, make bread or cakes, which they cook and eat with roasted Bhanta or the egg-plant, which abounds at this season. By way of ridicule, the meld was originally called Rold-bhanld, in allusion to the bread (roll) and blzazzld which are eaten there; but the name has latterly been changed to Lolri-bhazzgfd, in allusion, I suppose, to the lold or drinking vessel used on the occasion. Persons of respectability visit the Tank on the 14th of the light fortnight of the month Bus, and again on the 14th of the waning moon of the same month, for the performance of religious ceremonies.

33. The Nagarpradakshana Mela, held at Ohaukha Ghat 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 Chaukha Ghat. Formerly a set of licentious vagabonds

used to perform the Krishna Lila here, but the abominable practice is now discontinued.

34. The Ganes Chauth Mela, held at Bara Ganes, on the 4th day of the declining moon in Magh. The temple of Bara Ganes, the god of learning, is visited on this day. It is customary for vz'dydrthis 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 Vedavyas Mela, held at the Fort and in the. Tank at Ramnagar, on every Monday of Magh. The temple of Vedavyas, the celebrated compiler of the Vedas, is situated within the Maharaja of Benares’ Fort at Ramnagar. 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 Mela, held at the Bisheswar and Baijnath Temples, on the 14th day of the declining moon in Phagun. 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 H01i Mela, held throughout the city, from the 11th to the 15th day of Phagun. 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 diflicult for the Government to interfere beyond

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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 Pumima, or last day of the month, the people burn the Holika, or piles of wood, in their respective wards, the expense being raised by subscription. No regular meld 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 Mela, held at Dasasamedh 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 Holika 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 Dasasamedh Ghat, where multitudes of natives of all ranks, some on the banks, and others in boats on the river, assemble to witness the immoral spectacle. On returning from the ghat, the people visit the shrine of

Ohausathi Devi or goddess. 39. The Burwa-Mangal Mela, held on the river

Ganges, the Tuesday after the H01i Festival. Formerly it was customary for Hindus to visit the temple of Durga on the first Tuesday following the Holi ; but Raja Cheit Singh added to this meld what is called the Burwa 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 Buddhuwa Mangal (Budh, Wednesday), but is now corrupted into Burwa Mangal.

40. The Dangal Mela, held at the temple of Jaganwith and at Ramnagar, on the Thursday following the Burwa 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 Ramnagar. This meld is of recent date.

CHAPTER XVIII.

THE Buddhist Ruins at Sarnath-Their Antiquity-Summary of the Narratives of Fa Hian and Hiouen Thsang, respecting the buildings formerly existing at Samath 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 Chaukandi Tower.-—The I'S'ipattana Hall, or Abode of Buddhist Devotees-Remains of Vihara or Temple-monastery.—Small Building, containing Sixty Sculptures.—The Seal Ohaityas.—The Buddhist Formula-S'akya Muni, the historical Buddha—His visit to Benares.—Spread of Buddhism from Benares.—Decline of Buddhism in India.—Destruction of Buddhist Structures at Sarnath, by fire.—Fa1l 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

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