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it the capital and royal residence of Tiastanus. The ruins of numerous other great cities have been discovered in different parts of the empire. Taxila, situated where Attock now stands, on the eastern bank of the Indus, and where Alexander crossed that river, was the capital of the country lying between the Indus and Hydaspes, or Behut. Lahore appears to have been the capital of Porus, prince of the country named the Punjab, lying between the Hydaspes and Hesudrus, or Setlege. Palibothra, to which place Megasthenes was sent as ambassador by Seleucus Nicator, to Sandrocotus,* was the capital of the Prasii. This city, said to have been eighty stadia, or ten miles in length, and fifteen stadia, or about two miles in breadth, is supposed by Major Rennell to have been situated where Patna now stands; which, he says, was anciently named by the Hindus Patelpoother, but according to Sir William Jones, Pataliputra. But Canoge, supposed to be the Ca
* See note A, in Appendix.
linapaxa, or Calinipaxa of Pliny,—which is situated on the right bank of the Ganges, near the spot where the Calini or Calinuddy river joins it, and which was founded about 1000 years before our era,-is said by Ferishta to have once been the capital of those regions. The Indian histories are full of accounts of the grandeur of this city, and even in the sixth century of our æra, when it had greatly declined from its former populousness, wealth, and magnificence, it was said to contain 30,000 shops, in which betel-nut was sold.* Gour called also Lucknouti, supposed to be the Gangia Regia of Ptolemy, stood on the left bank of the Ganges, about twenty-five miles below Rajemahal ; no part of the site of ancient Gour, however, is now nearer to the present bank of the Ganges than four miles; and some parts of it, which are said to have been originally washed by that river, are
* The betel or arrék nut, with the leaf of an aromatic plant, named generally Pahn, is almost universally chewed by the natives of India.
now twelve miles from it; but such deviations of rivers from their original course are of frequent occurrence.* Rennell, from the authority of Dow, says, that about 730 years before Christ, it was the capital of Bengal; and, as it appears to have been situated in the dominions of the prince called by the Greeks Sandrocotus, who had usurped the government, it is possible that he may have removed his residence from Gour to Palibothra; or, it is possible that the seat of government may have been changed by his predecessors for reasons with which we are unacquainted. Gour was in some degree restored by Akber, in A.D. 1575, but is now in ruins." In taking the extent of these at the most moderate calculation," says Rennell, "it is not less than fifteen miles in length along the old bank of the Ganges, and from two to three in
* "However, a small stream that communicates with the Ganges now runs by its west side, and is navigable during the rainy season. On the east side it has the Mahanada river, which is always navigable, and communicates with the Ganges."-Rennell.
breadth. Several villages stand on part of its site; the remainder is either covered with thick forests, the habitations of tigers and other beasts of prey; or become arable land, whose soil is chiefly composed of brick-dust." We are told by Ferishita that it was deserted on account of the general unhealthiness of its air, which, perhaps, may have been occasioned by the change of the course of the river; but Rennell says that the present inhabitants informed him that it had been deserted during a pestilence, and had not again been peopled.*
"The principal ruins now to be seen, are a mosque lined with black marble, elaborately wrought; and two gates of the citadel, which are strikingly grand and lofty. These fabrics, and some few others, appear to owe their duration to the nature of their materials, which are less marketable, and more difficult to separate, than those of the ordinary brick buildings, which have been, and continue to be, an article of merchandize; and are transported to Moorshedabad, Mauldah, and other places, for the purpose of building. These bricks are of the most solid texture of any I ever saw; and have preserved the sharpness of their edges, and smoothness of their surfaces, through a series of ages.
It is not, indeed, impossible that all the three places, Gour, Canoge, and Palibothra, may have been occasionally, or at different periods, used as capitals of the Prasii, as we have known both Agra and Dehly to have been of Hindustan during the last two centuries. But Ayodhya, which was situated near the present site of Fyzabad, is supposed to have been the chief city of all those parts of India, before any of the above mentioned places. Sir William Jones, in speaking of Audh, or Ayodhya,
The situation of Gour was highly convenient for the capital of Bengal and Bahar, as united under one government, being nearly centrical with respect to the populous parts of those provinces, and near the junction of the principal rivers that compose that extraordinary inland navigation, for which those provinces are famed; and, moreover, secured by the Ganges and other rivers, on the only quarter from which Bengal has any cause for apprehension"-Rennell.
The mosque was probably raised by Akber, the other buildings may have been of much more ancient date. We find in Stewart's account of Bengal, that Gour was the capital of a Mohammedan dynasty two centuries before Akber.