Page images

ruins are,

These ruins are situated at the north-west corner of the city, in the Alipore Mahalla, and are visible from the Ráj Ghát road, leading from the cantonments to the Ganges. The path conducting to the tank, or Kund, leaves the main road a short distance to the west of the 420th mile-stone. The tank commonly known as Bakaríyá Kuņd is about three hundred yards distant from this road; and upon the summit of its banks the

in the main, to be found. In the hot season very little water remains in the Kund; but, during the rains, it contains a considerable body of water. It is about five hundred and fifty feet in length, and two hundred and seventy-five in breadth.

On approaching the tank, you pass along the foot of a high mound, on its northern side, on the top of which lie several blocks of stone. Proceeding to the western bank, you perceive a massive breastwork, formed by large stones, bearing upon them various mason-marks,some of which are similar to those inscribed on the stones at Sárnáth,—and sustaining a solid platform or terrace, which runs by the side of the Kuņd to a great distance. This terrace is twenty feet above the tank, and supports two others of smaller dimensions, one above the other, each of which is girded by a breastwork of huge stones. The lower terrace is one hundred and thirty feet broad, two hundred and seventy feet long on its western face, and three hundred and thirty on its eastern face, overlooking the tank. It was, originally, held up by the wall of heavy stones just referred to; but this wall is, in many places, much broken down, especially towards the Kund, the great blocks lying in

[ocr errors]

disorder at its ancient base. Nevertheless, extensive portions are still standing. On the northern face, about seventy feet are visible; while the western wall, which extends two hundred and sixty-seven feet, is almost continuous throughout. The height of the terrace is uniform ; but the height of the wall varies greatly, owing partly to its being in a ruinous state, and partly to the circumstance of its forming, in one place, the flank of an old edifice, where it attains a height of at least thirty feet, measured from the ground on the western side, which is on a higher level than the tank. Two small windows or doorways open through this part of the wall; and over each a single stone projects, forming its eaves. The bare appearance which the wall would here have presented to the eye is provided against by a broad moulding half-way down, a foot in width, and by a noble cornice, parallel with it, above.

Ascending the terrace, you come to the building itself, which is occupied by Musalmans, one portion being partitioned off and used as a zenana. The beams and slabs constituting the roof are, in some cases, nine feet in length; and the roof is supported by three rows of immensely thick stone columns, the capitals of which are in the form of a cross. The cornice decorating the walls is not of modern narrowness, but is twelve inches deep, and is ornamented with carvings of various elegant devices. As the building is divided into two distinct sections, and, moreover, as the spaces between the pillars are, in several instances, filled up with a mud wall, it is impossible to gain a correct idea of its original character. The outer wall, on the western side, is strengthened by



a huge buttress of stone, fourteen feet wide and fifteen feet high.

With pillars, breastwork, and buttress, of such prodigious strength, it seems not improbable that, formerly, there were several stories above this lower one; but this point is merely conjectural, and is not easy to be decided. Moreover, it is not unlikely that other structures once existed along the border of the terrace, throughout a considerable portion of its extent, not only on its western, but also on its northern and eastern, sides.

Directly in front of the building just described are two other extensive elevations of the ground, or terraces, one over the other, as already stated. The lower elevation is eighty-six feet long by sixty-two and a half feet broad, and about four feet in height. The upper is forty-eight and a half feet by twenty-four feet, and is crowned with an ornamental cornice, which runs, in an unbroken band, throughout a large portion of the circuit of the terrace; but this may, possibly, be of a comparatively modern date, the Mohammedans having selected this spot for a mausoleum, and, in many cases, adopted the prevailing forms of ancient ornamentation. The breastworks of the two terraces, by which the enclosed soil is sustained, although they have been, evidently, at times, extensively repaired, appear as ancient as the neighbouring building.

Beyond the two upper terraces is another raised terrace, which, in all likelihood, was originally connected with one of them; but is now isolated from them. On this, possibly, stood a Buddhist shrine, connected, by a cloister, with a building on the main terrace. A short

distance further on, also, are remains of the foundations of what was, probably, another; but the traces of this are almost obliterated.

On the eastern side of the Kund is a mound,--two hundred and twenty feet long by ninety feet broad, running parallel with it, which might be taken for a mud embankment thrown up from the tank, were it not for the circumstance that layers of large Buddhist bricks, lying in situ, crop out from its side, and that upon its summit and slopes are numerous blocks of sculptured stones, symbols of bygone glory. One brick measured twenty inches in length; and the bricks of an entire layer were three inches and three quarters in thickness. Among the stones was an enormous segment of a kalas, or jagged circular stone found on the pinnacles of temples. The original kalas, of which this segment is exactly the fourth part, was not less than nine feet in diameter, and of proportionate thickness, and must have belonged to a temple of superior strength and dimensions. Several small kalases are lying not far from this segment. Eight of these were counted at one time. Ex

. cavations into the mound would, probably, throw some light on the buildings formerly standing here.

To the east of the mound is a small round structure, called Jogi-bír, on the site of which, we were informed, a devotee buried himself alive. It is made of earth

i but on the top is a hollow circular stone, the exterior surface of which is divided into sixteen equal sections, each of which exhibits the sculpture of a man, with one leg turned up, and the hands apparently grasping a garland, which encinctures and connects together all the

[ocr errors]

figures. The stone is in a reversed position. A portion of one similar to it, found at the foot of a tree, was afterwards removed, and forms one of a group of sculptured stones taken from Bakaríyá Kund, and photographed. Both these stones were, probably, capitals of highly-enriched columns.

To the south of the tank is a ghát, or broad flight of steps, the stones of which are scattered about in great disorder; so that, looking at it from a distance, it has the appearance of an utter ruin. And such it really is. But it is, nevertheless, a comparatively modern structure; for the stones of which it is composed, judging from the elaborate and finished carvings on many of them, have been contributions from fallen edifices in the neighbourhood.

At the south-west corner of the tank is a water-course, depressed considerably below the ground on either side. It is not improbable that, formerly, this was the main source of water-supply to the tank. To the south of this water-course, overhanging the Kund, is a huge breastwork of stone, on the top of which is a spacious courtyard, with a Mohammedan Dargah, or place of prayer. By reason of the carved stones used in the foundations, the underlying mortar, and the evident frequent repairs, it is difficult to say whether any portion of this breastwork, or of the buttress jutting out at its base, is really ancient, although some portions seem to be so. The buttress is continuous with the stone ghát, and merges into it.

To the east of the Dargah is a small mosque, thirtyseven feet long by nineteen feet and a half broad, open

« PreviousContinue »