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is to attract the attention of the god,-for it is possible he may be asleep, or otherwise occupied, -and to fix it upon himself. The adoration of an idolater is sometimes distressingly solemn. His whole soul seems to be over-awed, but with what sentiments it is impossible to affirm ; and the solemnity, if any, is singularly transient, and lasts only so long as he is in the presence of the idol. It is difficult to analyse his feelings, or to affirm precisely that they are of this or of that nature: nevertheless, there can be little doubt that his mind is occasionally filled with dread and anxiety, amounting, it may be, to alarm. The idolater cherishes no love for the idols he worships, but, on the contrary, regards them as beings to be feared, and, therefore, to be propitiated by adoration and suitable offerings. Nearly all the worshippers engage in their devotions in a quiet, orderly, and decent manner, but with manifest perfunctoriness, and with little or no thought beyond the desire to perform thoroughly the task they have set themselves, even to the minutest particular.
The temple of Bisheswar is situated in the midst of a quadrangle, covered in with a roof, above which the tower of the temple is seen. At each corner is a dome, and, at the south-east corner, a temple sacred to S'iva. When observed in the distance, from the elevation of the roof, the building presents three distinct divisions. The first is the spire of a temple of Mahadeva, whose base is in the quadrangle below; the second is a large gilded dome; and the third is the gilded tower of the temple of Bisheswar itself. These three objects are all in a row, in the centre of the quadrangle, filling
up most of the space from one side to the other. The carving upon them is not particularly striking; but the dome and tower glittering in the sun look like vast masses of burnished gold. They are, however, only covered with gold leaf, which is spread over plates of copper overlaying the stones beneath. The expense of gilding them was borne by the late Maharaja Runjeet Sinh, of Lahore. The tower, dome, and spire terminate, severally, in a sharp point. Attached to the first is a high pole bearing a small flag and tipped with a trident. The temple of Bisheśwar, including the tower, is fiftyone feet in height. The space between the temples of Bisheswar and Mahadeva, beneath the dome, is used as a belfry; and as many as nine bells are suspended in it. One is of elegant workmanship, and was presented to the temple by the Raja of Nepal.
Outside the enclosure, to the north, is a large collection of deities, raised upon a platform, called by the natives the court of Mahadeva. They are, for the most part, male and female emblems. Several small idols likewise are built into the wall flanking this court. These are evidently not of modern manufacture. Their age, however, does not seem to be known. The probability is, that they were taken from the ruins of the old temple of Bisheśwar, which stood to the north-west of the present structure, and was demolished by the Emperor Aurungzeb in the seventeenth century. Extensive remains of this ancient temple are still visible. They form a large portion of the western wall of the Mohammedan mosque, which was built upon its site by this bigoted oppressor of the Hindus. Judging from the
proportions of these ruins, it is manifest that the former temple of Bisheswar must have been both loftier and more capacious than the existing structure; and the courtyard is four or five times more spacious than the entire area occupied by the modern temple. The architecture of the ruins seems to be of a mixed character, and composed both of Jaina and Hindu orders. Indeed, it is not impossible that a few slight traces of Buddhist architecture might be detected, also. What makes this latter supposition plausible is, that, on three sides of the perpendicular face of the terrace on which the mosque stands, Buddhist pillars, of a simple and very early type, forming recesses or rooms, but which were, originally, in all probability, cloisters, are distinctly visible.
The mosque, though not small, is by no means an imposing object. It is plain and uninteresting, and displays scarcely any carving or ornament. Within and without, its walls are besmeared with a dirty whitewash, mixed with a little colouring matter. Its most interesting feature is a row of Buddhist or Hindu columns in the front elevation. The presence of this mosque, located, from motives of insult, in a place held so sacred by the Hindus, and around which their closest sympathies are gathered, is a constant source of heart-burnings and feuds both to Hindus and Mohammedans. The former, while unwillingly allowing the latter to retain the mosque, claim the courtyard between it and the wall as their own. Consequently, they will not permit the Mohammedans to enter the mosque by more than one public entrance, which, instead of being in front of that building, is
situated on one side of it. The Mohammedans have many times wished to build a gateway in the midst of the spacious platform in front of the mosque ; but, although they once erected one, they were not suffered to make use of it, on account of the excitement that the circumstance occasioned among the Hindu population, which was only allayed by the timely interference of the Magistrate of Benares. The gateway still stands; but the space between the pillars has been filled up. A peepul tree, adored as a god, overhangs both the gateway and the road; but the Hindus will not allow the Mohammedans to pluck a single leaf from it. The Government, as a kind of trustee of the mosque, still pays, periodically, or did so not long since, the interest of money belonging to it, deposited in the Treasury, notwithstanding the Act lately passed forbidding such a practice.
Between the mosque and the temple of Bisheswar is the famous well known as Gyán Bápí or Gyán Kúp, “well of knowledge,” in which, as the natives believe, the god Siva resides. Tradition says, that, once on a time, no rain fell in Benares for the space of twelve years, and that, in consequence, great distress was experienced by the inhabitants. In order to provide water for the people, and so to relieve them from the terrible calamity which had befallen them, a ķishi,— one of the mythical beings, not exactly divine, and certainly not mortal, who, to the number of many thousands, are reverenced by the Hindus, -grasping the trident of Siva, dug up the earth at this spot, and forthwith there issued from beneath a copious
supply of water. Siva, on becoming acquainted with the circumstance, promised to take up his abode in the well, and to reside there for ever. It is stated, moreover, that, on occasion of the destruction of the old temple of Bisheswar, a priest took the idol of the temple and threw it down for safety. The natives visit this well in multitudes, and cast in water or flowers, and other offerings, as a sacrifice to the deity below. The compound mixture thus produced is necessarily in a constant state of putrefaction, and emits a most disgusting stench. The well is surrounded by a handsome low-roofed colonnade, the stone pillars of which are in four rows, and are upwards of forty in number. The building is small, but has been designed and executed with considerable taste. It is of very recent date, having been erected in the year 1828, by "Sri Maut Baija Bai," widow of “Sri Maut Dowlat Rao Sindhia Bahadoor," of Gwalior.
Immediately to the east of this colonnade is the figure of a large bull, about seven feet high, cut in stone, dedicated to the god Mahadeva; and a few steps further east is a temple built in honour of the same deity. The bull is a gift of the Raja of Nepal; and the temple, of the Rani of Hyderabad. On the south side of the colonnade is an iron palisade, in the enclosure of which are two small shrines, one of white marble, the other of stone, and between them a scaffolding of carved stone, from which a bell is suspended.
Standing in this courtyard, the chief objects in which have been thus briefly described, and looking beyond in a north-westerly direction, the eye falls on a temple about