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Museum of the Asiatic Society in Calcutta. Mr. E. Thomas (late Judge of Benares), and Dr. F. Hall, also, following in the track of these great explorers, both made interesting discoveries. A considerable number of the Sárnáth relics have been deposited in the Government College of Benares, and are found both in the Museum and in the College grounds.
The ruins at Sárnáth consist of two towers,—separated by a distance of about half a mile or thereabouts, — and of the walls and foundations of buildings which, for many years, remained covered over with earth, but have been lately exhumed. Moreover, there is a vast amount of broken bricks lying thickly scattered over the plain, some of which are grooved and carved, while all are hard and well-seasoned. Here and there, too, a statue, more or less mutilated, is to be seen. Near a stream which flows to the north of the plain, is a large stone figure, the base of which is imbedded in the soil. This may have been a representation of Buddha; but it is now worshipped by the Hindus, who profess to derive great benefit from their homage to it. The figure is so mutilated, that it is difficult to say what it was originally.
The account given of the great tower by Major-General Cunningham, in his Archæological Report, printed in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (vol. xxxii.), is so elaborate and exhaustive, and, withal, so interesting, that, although lengthy, I give the extract almost entire. He says: “The Buddhist Stupa called Dhamek is a solid round tower, ninety-three feet in diameter at base, and one hundred and ten feet in
height above the surrounding ruins, but one hundred and twenty-eight feet above the general level of the country. The foundation or basement, which is made of very large bricks, has a depth of twenty-eight feet below the level of the ruins, but is sunk only ten feet below the surface of the country. The lower part of the tower, to a height of forty-three feet, is built entirely of stone from one of the Chunar quarries; and, with the exception of the upper five courses, the whole of this part of the building is a solid mass of stone; and each stone, even in the very heart of the mass, is secured to its neighbours by iron cramps. The upper part of the tower is built entirely of large bricks; but, as the outer facing has long ago disappeared, there is nothing now left to show whether it was formerly cased with stone, or only plastered over, and coloured to imitate the stone-work of the lower portion. I infer, however, that it was plastered; because the existing stonework terminates with the same course all round the building, a length of two hundred and ninety-two feet. Had the upper part been cased with stone, it is scarcely possible that the whole should have disappeared so completely that not even a single block out of so many thousands should not remain in its original position. In one part I observed some projecting bricks, which appeared very like the remains of a moulding at the base of the dome. On the top I found a small brick cap, eight feet in diameter and only four feet high. From its size, I infer that this was the ruin of the base of a small pinnacle, about ten feet square, which, most probably, once supported a stone umbrella. I infer this, because the
figures of Buddha, the Teacher, are usually represented as seated under an umbrella.
“The lower part of the monument has eight projecting faces, each twenty-one feet six inches in width, with intervals of fifteen feet between them. In each of the faces, at a height of twenty-four feet above the ground, there is a semi-circular headed niche, five and a half feet in width, and the same in height. In each of the niches there is a pedestal, one foot in height, and slightly hollowed on the top, to receive the base of a statue ; but the statues themselves have long disappeared, and I did not find the fragment of one, in my excavation at the base of the monument. There can be little doubt, however, that all the eight statues represented Buddha, the Preacher, in the usual form, with his hands raised before his breast, and the thumb and forefinger of the right hand placed on the little finger of the left hand, for the purpose of enforcing his argument. Judging by the dimensions of the niches, the statues must have been of life-size.
“From the level of the base of the niches, the eight projecting faces lessen in width to five feet at the top; but the diminution is not uniform, as it begins gradually at first, and increases as it approaches the top. The outline of the slope may have been, possibly, intended for a curve; but it looks much more like three sides of a large polygon. Around the niches, seven of the faces are more or less richly decorated with a profusion of flowering foliage. The carving on some of the faces has been completed; but, on others, it is little more than half finished, while the south face is altogether plain. On