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weather, is, in parts, covered over with an awning, under which the people walk. From this road innumerable stairs, chiefly of stone, pass up the banks, and communicate with the alleys and streets leading into

the city.

One of the flights of stairs rising up from the Panchgangá Ghát enters a large building, known as Lakshmaņbála, which it ascends, and then issues into a lane at the summit of the bank, leading into the streets of the city. The building, although presenting an extensive frontage towards the river, is, in reality, hardly more than a mere casemate to the bank. It is used as a temple, and is dedicated to Lakshmaṇbála. The principal room is in an upper story, the roof of which is supported on carved wooden pillars of a deep black colour. The walls are embellished with paintings, many of which are representations of green trees, while others are pictures set in frames. Devotees are seated in the room, counting their beads, and muttering to themselves the names of their gods. Music is also performed, the plaintive strains of which fall upon the ear pleasingly. Near the players, at one end of the room, are three idols, in a row. That in the centre is dressed in blue, and has a blue turban on his head, and a garland thrown over his shoulders, hanging down in front. On his left is a gilded disk, let into the wall, displaying nose, eyes, cheeks, and mouth, and a nimbus, and is intended as a representation of the Sun. On his right is a disk, representing the Moon, made of a pale metal, probably silver, and exhibiting the various parts of the face, as in the case of the Sun,

but without gilding or glory. A few feet in front of these idols, a small lamp is kept burning. The worshippers pass in and out of this room, and perform their devotions as though it were an ordinary temple. It is the only temple in Benares, however, so far as my observation has extended, in which persons, seating themselves on the floor, engage formally in religious exercises. The temples in Benares, and in Northern India generally, with their courts, porches, and subordinate shrines, though they, in some instances, cover a considerable area, are, for the greater part, of very narrow dimensions, and contain only one small room, in which, besides the presiding deity, several inferior divinities are frequently placed, leaving not room enough for a dozen persons to present their offerings at one and the same time, and to observe the prescribed ceremonies in an orderly manner.

Ascending another series of stairs from the Panchgangá Ghát, you approach the lofty mosque of Aurungzeb, known, by the natives, as "Mádhudás ká Dewhrá." The edifice itself is above the bank of the river; but its foundations sink deep into the ground; and their enormous stone breastworks extend far down the bank. Indeed, it is said that the foundations of the mosque are as deep as the building is high. Although more than a century and a half has elapsed since this structure was reared, yet it appears as solid and strong as on the day of its completion. The massive pile is on the very edge of a steep bank or cliff; yet not a stone of it has been loosened. There is a high wall, next to the street running by the western side of the mosque,

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which is continued round to the north-east corner. А door in the northern wall opens the way into the enclosure, in full front of the mosque; the latter being situated on its southern side. From the eastern side commences the long flight of stone stairs descending to the river. The enclosure is not sufficiently spacious to give the observer an ample view of the minarets; but, nevertheless, it is extensive enough to enable him to gain a satisfactory idea of their symmetry and elegance. The mosque itself exhibits nothing striking, and, indeed, can hardly be called beautiful. It is plain and common-place; and, were it not for the minarets rising above, it would not be accounted a noticeable object in Benares. The minarets themselves have a delicate gracefulness about them which it is impossible to portray in words; and my photographic representation fails to convey the exactness and exquisiteness of the reality. I do not remember their exact height; but it is not less than one hundred and fifty feet, reckoning from the floor of the mosque. When it is remembered that the bank of the river on which this edifice stands is nearly the same number of feet above the bed of the stream, it will at once be perceived that the minarets occupy a very prominent position in a panoramic view of the city. Although many of the buildings of Benares, especially those in the neighbourhood of the gháts, are of a great height, yet they are all overtopped by the minarets, the clear forms of which, pointing upwards to the sky, may be discerned at the distance of many miles from the city. They were, originally, some fifty feet higher than they now

are, and were cut down to their present height, in consequence of exhibiting signs of weakness and insecurity. There is a staircase in each tower, from the summit of which you gain a complete view of Benares and its suburbs, and of a portion of the surrounding country; but the ascent and descent are attended with considerable fatigue.

It is astonishing that this mosque, although so much visited by Europeans, and regarded, by them, as one of the chief sights of Benares, should be almost abandoned by the Mohammedans. On Fridays, a small number of the faithful assemble within its walls for religious purposes, but on no other day; and, during the remaining six days of the week, it is handed over to the care of two men. These consist of a Mulla and his. servant, who alone have charge of the building. It seems that the office held by the Mullá was formerly held by his ancestors, who received it, possibly, from Aurungzeb himself.

A small village was, at one time, in possession of the mosque, from the proceeds of which its expenses were partially paid: but it has lapsed to the Government; and, consequently, the expenses of repairing and cleaning the mosque, so far as I was able to learn, are defrayed by the contributions of visitors. Its existence in this part of city, which is almost entirely inhabited by Hindus, affords the strongest proof of the rancour and violence with which the emperor Aurungzeb opposed the idolatrous practices of the people, and endeavoured to propagate his own religion. Tradition says, that, on the site of the mosque, a temple once

stood, which was removed in order to make room for it; and there is every reason to believe that the tradition is true. The Government takes care of the minarets, and keeps them in order.

The temple of Kámeswar, in the northern division of Benares, is one of the few temples, in the city, not of comparatively modern date; and yet, like them, it by no means belongs to a very distant epoch. It is remarkable, also, for the vast accumulation of shrines and images within its boundaries. At the entrance, towards the street, is a temple, with a group of deities inside, who are supposed to guard the passage. Passing along, we come to the first court, in which is a kettledrum, which is beaten at intervals during the day, in honour of the presiding divinity. Proceeding into the second court, an extraordinary sight presents itself. The entire area of the quadrangle is literally filled with temples, so that it seems impossible to insert another. The quadrangle is not large, when compared with some others in Benares. All the temples are painted red, and have short steeples. The principal one is dedicated to Kámanánáth, or Kámeswar, the Lord of Desire, who, according to Hindu belief, assists his worshippers in the realization of whatever they aspire to achieve. Another temple is inhabited by the god Rám, Sítá (his wife), the goddess Lakshmí, and the Sun. The temples altogether amount to ten or a dozen, each containing several idols.

On the north side of the enclosure is a peepul tree; and on a platform, surrounding its base, is a group of idols. One of these is Narsinh, an incarnation of

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