Page images
PDF
EPUB

SHIVÅLA GHÂT By permission of H.H. the Maharaja of Benares

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

MAX SINGH'S OBSERVATORY

129

calendar, which had become very erroneous owing to the inaccuracy of the then existing tables. He built

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

four other observatories, at Delhi, Muttra, Ujjain, and at Jaipur. The latter city was one of the bold designs planned and carried out by this remarkable man. A long stone staircase outside the observatory, on the 130 BENARES, THE SACRED CITY southern side, leads up to a single chamber recessed in the wall, where a number of Brahmins may be seen daily going through a series of gymnastic exercises very similar to the forms of physical culture now so much in vogue in Europe. The approach to the interior of the observatory is through a lane on the opposite side. Within there is not much of the original building left, except the great astronomical instruments invented by Jai Singh. They are not now in working order... .

Close by the approach to the observatory is a little temple known as Dalbhyeswar. Shiva's emblem is placed low down in a cistern within the shrine, and in times of drought water is poured in, so that the temple is filled up to the threshold, with the idea that it will act as a charm to compel rain. Near this is another small'temple, dedicated to Shiva as lord of Soma, the moon—the shining bowl from which the Vedic gods and the Pitris drunk their nectar of Soma-juice, and the place of all health-giving and healing herbs. This temple is much resorted to on account of the curative powers still attributed to the moon.

The next ghất downstream is Nepali Ghât, where, recessed in the stone embankment, and completely covered by the river in the rainy season, is a pretty little shrine of Ganga, the Ganges, represented as a female figure seated on a crocodile. Above it a staircase leads to the Nepalese temple, a very picturesque building, half-hidden by magnificent tamarind and pippal trees. It is built chiefly of wood and brick; the double-storied roof, with great projecting eaves supported by brackets, is characteristic of the architecture of Nepal and of other sub-Himalayan districts.

outil

THE NEPALESE TEMPLE

« PreviousContinue »