Page images
PDF
EPUB

to the east, and supported by three rows of pillars, five in each row. The pillars in the second row have deep scroll carvings on their sides, with ornamented corners, consisting of lotos seed-pods, one on another. Each pillar is seven feet nine inches high, including the capital; and the latter is two feet six inches in length, and two feet four inches in width. The capitals of the outer pillars are somewhat larger than those of the inner, and are in the form of a cross, the extremities being rounded off; while the upper surface of each limb exhibits a convex curve, the line of which rises higher, in proportion as it recedes from the extremity. The architrave is about a foot in thickness; and on it rests the flat stone roof. Seven niches are placed, at intervals, round the three walls of the room. The entire building is of stone. The western wall, on its outer side, is strengthened by a buttress, at the base of which runs a beautifully carved band, eleven inches broad, which projects a couple of inches from the wall; and below it is a cornice, ten inches in width and seven in depth, bearing on its front a broad band of elegant carving. While the building itself can hardly be regarded as original, there can be no doubt of the antiquity of the pillars,—which belonged, probably, to some Buddhist cloister,—and of the modern character of the walls.

A few steps off is an enclosure, in the form of an irregular parallelogram; a wall being on either side, and two small buildings at its extremities. That situated on the northern extremity is, in some respects, like the mosque just described. Its carvings, however, are not all similar; and its ornamented band is of a very ancient type. There is a small building, used as a Rauza, or mausoleum, attached to its north-west angle, and sustained by ancient pillars and modern walls. The building is surmounted by a low cupola, of primitive construction. It is not unlikely, that, originally, there were cloisters on this bank of the Kund, and that the three small buildings just described were, all, at one time, connected together.

The edifice at the southern extremity of the enclosure well exemplifies the old Hindu and Buddhist method of making a roof, by the imposition of stone beams, one upon another, cross-wise and corner-wise, until they meet in the middle. The roof of this building exhibits a mass of such beams, piled upon each other, exactly like the roof of a house which children build with their little wooden bricks. A second object of interest here is a cut stone screen, which serves the purpose of a window.

Nearly a hundred and fifty feet to the east of the lastmentioned buildings is another, which has, evidently, been erected from old materials, and is of doubtful antiquity. It has four pillars, two outer and two inner, exclusive of others imbedded in the walls, and has five recesses on its three sides. The carvings have been, to some extent, obliterated by the whitewash with which the mosque is besmeared.

Still further eastwards, at a distance of seventyfive feet, is a terrace, walled round by a stone breastwork, forty-eight feet long by thirty-six feet broad, on which stand four profusely carved columns, supporting an ancient roof, the remains probably of a Chaitya or Buddhist temple, or of its innermost shrine. Its position is exactly opposite the Buddhist temple to the west, still to be described, from which it is distant five hundred and fifty feet. The columns are seven feet seven inches in height, including the base, and are elaborately ornamented ; in which respect they differ from the pillars of the other temple, which, in large measure, are destitute of ornamentation. The four sides of the base display an elegant carving of a vase with flowers drooping low over the brim,-a device always found, in these parts, in Buddhist shrine-pillars. The well-known representation of a face with a floreated scroll streaming forth from the mouth, eyes, and moustache, is repeated four times on each column; and above it runs a band of beads, each of which is nearly an inch in diameter. An arc of the sun's disk rests upon this band; and, higher up, the column becomes octagonal. It then becomes quadrilateral again; and on each side is a chaste design, exceedingly well executed, of an overflowing vase. The pillar is crowned with a capital, beneath which is a broad double moulding. The cornice above the architrave is, also, beautifully cut. But the ceiling of this shrine, consisting of overlapping stones, built as before described, is, perhaps, its most striking feature. Each stone is richly carved, and was, originally, coloured ; while representations of suns and lotoses are depicted upon them in bold relief. Taking it altogether, this little remnant of antiquity is, as a work of art, a striking proof of the delicacy in taste and expertness in chiselling of the architects of those times, and also of the degeneracy of their successors.

This Chaitya seems to have been the eastern extremity of the range of ancient buildings under notice. Leaving it, the boundary line took a southerly direction, and, probably, included several buildings of the same character as those on the northern side; but only very faint traces of their foundations are, at most, visible. The boundary line, however, on its southern side, takes in a remarkable structure, consisting of a massive stone breastwork, one hundred and thirty feet long, ninety feet wide, and five feet four inches high, sustaining a terrace now used as a Mohammedan burial-ground. The breastwork is, in some places, in decay; yet, to a great extent, it is in good condition. Its stones, especially where exposed in the foundations, have mason-marks upon them; and some as many as three symbols in a row. It is surmounted by a cornice, six inches deep. Ascending the terrace, no buildings besides Mohammedan tombs are visible; but it is probable that an extensive Buddhist edifice stood on this spacious area. On the western side, exactly in the centre, is a projecting buttress, originally the Sinhásan or throne of Buddha, round which the moulding also runs. On this spot may have stood a gigantio figure of Buddha, visible to every one entering the court; for such we hold it to have been originally. Indeed, the large terraces which have been described may, all, have been cloistered courts, where disciples and devotees congregated for religious purposes.

An inspection of the Atállah and Jama mosques at Jaunpore, formerly Buddhist monasteries, confirms this view.

The most remarkable of these ruins still remains. This

« PreviousContinue »