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brass, copper, and other metals. oreover, the shops are illuminated. In the bazar of Chaukhambhá, the shopkeepers make an exhibition of carthen images. It is customary, on this day, for the richer classes in the city to purchase metal vessels in the Thatherí Bazar.
26. The Anark-Chaudas Melá, held at Mir Ghát, and in the Bhadaini Ward, in the month of Kártik, on the 14th day of the decline of the moon. On this night, the Monkey-god, Hanumán, is believed to have been born. About three o'clock on the following morning, Hindus rub scented oil and other perfumes on their bodies, and bathe in warm water, with certain religious ceremonies, which they imagine to be a preservative from disease during the coming year. At sunrise, newly clad in their winter clothing, they proceed to the shrines of Hanumán, at the two places above referred to.
27. The Diwali Melá, held throughout the city, on the 15th day of the waning moon in Kártik. This is a day of great and general rejoicing with the Hindus, in which the Mohammedans, also, to some extent, participate. The whole city is illuminated; and even the poorest man lights his little chirág or tiny lamp, and places it before his door. The wells, and temples, and idols, and, indeed, every spot of any interest at all to the natives, is decorated with one or more of these lamps. Sweetmeats and parched grain are distributed amongst friends, and are given to the poor. The festival is in honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. During the night of the Diwali, it is the custom with all the people, high and low, and of every caste, to gamble ;
and many persons who will not gamble at any other time will do so at this season. The custom has a most demoralizing and vicious influence on the minds of the people generally.
28. The Yamadwitíyá (vulgarly, Jamditiya) Melá, held at Jam Ghát, on the 2nd day of Kártik, light fortnight. This festival has reference to the mutual attachment of Yama and his sister Yamí; and, accordingly, brothers, on this day, receive from their sisters the tilak or religious symbol affixed to the forehead, and join in their entertainments, hoping thereby to escape the miseries of hell. They first bathe in the Ganges at Jam Ghát, and then dine at the houses of their sisters, giving them presents in return. To bathe in the river Jumna on this day is, also, believed to have the same effect of delivering from future punishment.
29. The Kártik Púrņimá Melá, held at the Panch Ganga Ghát, on the last day of Kártik. During the whole of this month it is regarded as specially meritorious to bathe at this ghát every morning at sunrise. On the last day multitudes bathe here; and, in the evening, the ghát is illuminated. Formerly
Formerly pugilistic combats used to take place; but they have now ceased.
30. The Barná Piyála Melá, held at Chaukhá Ghát and Sivapur, on the 1st Tuesday or Saturday of Aghan. People of the lower castes resort to Chaukhá Ghát, and there offer wine or sherbet, mixed with bháng,-a highly intoxicating drug much eaten by the Brahmans, -in honour of Kalká and Sahjá, the former being a Brahman woman, and the latter a chamáyin, or woman of
the sweeper caste. They then proceed to the village of Sivapur, and spend the day in revelry, returning home on the following morning.
31. The Panchkosi Melá, held at Sivapur on the 7th and 8th of the declining moon ip Aghan. The pilgrimage along the Panchkosí road, or sacred boundary of Benares, occupies five days. On the fourth day, when the procession reaches Sivapur, people from the city go out to meet the pilgrims at this place, and unite with them in merry-making.
32. The Lotá-bhanțá Melá, held at Piśáchmochan, on the 14th day of Aghan. Many persons from the city and from the neighbouring villages, of both sexes, bathe together in the Piśáchmochan Tank, in the morning. Afterwards they remain there for some hours, make bread or cakes, which they cook and eat with roasted Bhanțá or the egg-plant, which abounds at this season. By way of ridicule, the melá was origi. nally called Rotá-bhantá, in allusion to the bread (roti) and bhanțá which are eaten there; but the name has latterly been changed to Lotá-bhanțá, in allusion, I suppose, to the loļá or drinking vessel used on the occasion. Persons of respectability visit the Tank on the 14th of the light fortnight of the month Pús, and again on the 14th of the waning moon of the same month, for the performance of religious ceremonies.
33. The Nagarpradakshaná Melá, held at Chaukhá Ghát and Barhiyá Tank, on the 15th day of Aghan. This consists of a pilgrimage round the city, performed in two days, on the first of which the pilgrims stay at Chaukhá Ghát. Formerly a set of licentious vagabonds used to perform the Krishna Lílá here, but the abominable practice is now discontinued.
34. The Gaņeś Chauth Melá, held at Bará Gaņeś, on the 4th day of the declining moon in Mágh.
The temple of Bará Gaņeś, the god of learning, is visited on this day. It is customary for vidyarthis or young students of Sanskrit, to stand in different parts of the temple from sunrise to sunset, until the rising of the moon, under the belief that praying there in this posture will make them learned.
35. The Vedavyás Melá, held at the Fort and in the Tank at Rámnagar, on every Monday of Mágh. The temple of Vedavyás, the celebrated compiler of the Vedas, is situated within the Maharaja of Benares' Fort at Rámnagar. On this day Hindus from the city worship the idol in the temple, and then bathe in the Tank. The crowd of votaries is greatest on the last Monday of the month.
36. The Siva-rátrí Melá, held at the Bisheswar and Baijnath Temples, on the 14th day of the declining moon in Phágun. This is a general fast-day in honour of Siva, the chief god of the city. The temples referred to are much crowded with worshippers during the day.
37. The Holi Melá, held throughout the city, from the 11th to the 15th day of Phágun. This festival is chiefly noted for obscene representations, and the use of abusive language. No woman can venture into the streets, on these days, without being exposed to insult. All classes join in it; and, as the grossly indecent festival is immensely popular in the city, it is very difficult for the Government to interfere beyond the suppression of licentious pictures, and, to some extent, the general giving of abuse. Still, I think that public morality loudly demands active and even stringent measures on the part of the Government; and I am satisfied that they would meet with the approval of all right-minded natives. On the Púrņimá, or last day of the month, the people burn the Holiká, or piles of wood, in their respective wards, the expense being raised by subscription. No regular melá is held in any one place; but in every ward there is much festivity and merry-making. Many wear coloured clothes, and discharge red water on passers-by.
38. The Dharaddi Melá, held at Daśáśamedh and Chausathi, on the first day of the waning moon in Chait. On this day the people cast upon each other the ashes of the Holiká pile burnt on the previous day, and then wash themselves, and change their coloured clothes. Crowds of people, with obscene shows, come in the evening, from opposite directions, to the Daśáśamedh Ghát, where multitudes of natives of all ranks, some on the banks, and others in boats on the river, assemble to witness the immoral spectacle. On returning from the ghát, the people visit the shrine of Chausathi Deví or goddess.
39. The Búrwa-Mangal Melá, held on the river Ganges, the Tuesday after the Holi Festival. Formerly it was customary for Hindus to visit the temple of Durga on the first Tuesday following the Holi; but Raja Cheit Singh added to this melá what is called the Búrwá Mangal. On this occasion, a very considerable portion of the inhabitants of the city spend