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Jehanabad, some fourteen miles from Sasseram. But Shere Shah in his turn must yield the palm to Asoca, who made highways, regularly milestoned and shaded with peepul and mango trees, throughout his kingdom, dug wells at the distance of every cross, erected dhurmsalas for the use of man and beast, hospitals for the sick, and rest-houses for the wayworn at night.
The country improves as you approach Benares. The road to that city is under a beautiful avenue. Shere Shah's tomb is visible from many miles off-a very good proof of the flat, level character of the country. We met a European lady travelling alone with her child. She dared not have done this three years ago, when she was sure to have been beset, like Milton's Lady in the Comus, by lots of budmashes.
To the Hindoos, the Caramnassa is the very antipodes of the Ganges. Not more does a dip in the river flowing from Shiva's head insure salvation, than is perdition threatened to be the consequence of the same act in the other river. In days gone by the ferryman had need of especial care against raising a splash by the oar, and jeopardizing the eternal welfare of the passengers. Poor people, who could not afford for ferrying, were forded on the shoulders of men-the touch of a drop of the cursed waters was imperilling enough. No such step has to be taken now. The munificence of a wealthy Hindoo—Raja Putni Mull of Benares*_has
** The same re-built a temple at Muttra, which cost 70,000 Rupees, made a stone tank there at a cost of three lacs, a well at Jwala-mukhi, which cost 90,000 Rs. ; he spent 90,000 Rs. on a ghaut at Hurdwar; 60,000 Rs. on a Serai at Brindabun : on these and other public works he spent eight lacs of rupees, for which Lord W. Bentinck made him a Raja. He has recorded, in four languages, on this bridge, the fact
The River Caramnassa.
raised a substantial bridge of stone over the river, to which in former years extended the frontiers that have in our day been pushed up to Peshawur. The Caramnassa is 300 feet wide, and rises 30 feet in the rains. The sand in its bed is 20 feet deep.
The real tradition is lost which has laid the Caramnassa under a ban, and in its place has been invented the following legend. The aspiring Rajah Trisanku had exalted himself among the gods, by his prayers and penances. But he was kicked out headlong from Swerga by Shiva, and arrested half-way in his fall, where he remains suspended — tugged this way by gravitation, and to the other drawn by the merit of his penances. He lies with his head downward, and his saliva falling into the Caramnassa is the cause of its desecration. The legend, if good for nothing else, is an apt illustration of the position of Young Bengal. The religious prayers and penances of the one might be taken for the education and enlightenment of the other. Longing after Swerga might be interpreted into a longing for the privileges of the conqueror—and expulsion is another word for exclusion. The wrath of Shiva is akin to the exterminating principle of the Blood-and-Scalp-School members. And hanging in the air is illustrative of that midway position, in which an educated Hindoo is placed between his orthodox countrymen on the one hand, and the race of his conquerors on the other. of his erecting it; the foundation had been previously laid by the prime minister of Poona, who spent three lacs on it. The bridge was designed by James Prinsep.'— Calcutta Review, No. XLI.
October 25th. It was past four in the morning. The driver awoke us, and announced the tidings of our arrival before Benares. In a few minutes we were upon the river-side, straining our eyes to catch a glimpse of the Holy City that rests upon the trident of Mahadeo. But a soft murky gloom still hung upon the prospect, and we could descry only the shadowy outlines of the city upon the opposite bank. The Ganges, flowing past below it, 'glided at her own sweet will.' From her surface rose misty exhalations, as if in incense to the wrathful Deity of the Hindoo Pantheon. The mighty city lay hushed in repose, excepting the sounds of the nagara from some temple, that came mellowed across the waters, and fell in a pleasing cadence upon
As daylight gradually poured itself, thousands of spires, temples, shrines, minarets, domes, palaces, and ghauts, were laid bare to the sight-disclosing a most panoramic view. The city of Shiva, the great stronghold of Hindooism, the holiest shrine for pilgrimage in India, and the nucleus of the wealth, grandeur, and fashion of Hindoostan, now clearly stood out in view,— rising with her tiara of proud towers, into airy
distance. From having heard, and read, and dreamt of Benares for many a year, we now gazed upon that city, and realized the longings into which one is led by its prestige.
The first view is magnificent, and answers all expectations. The lofty bank, and the graceful bend of the river in the form of a half moon, give to Benares the advantage of being seen drawn out in all its length, and presented in all its details. In Bishop Heber's opinion, one has a very good view of Benares from a boat. But seen from the opposite bank, the city “looks right glorious.' From there, the photographer can at once take in the whole river-frontage from one end to the other-summed up of flighty ghauts lining the entire length of the bank, and a close array of buildings and temples, each jostling, as it were, to peep one over the other's head.
Doubtless, the elevated site of Benares upon a high steepy bank, has given rise to the story of its being founded on the trident of Shiva, and its exemption from the shock of all earthquakes. But it is to be doubted whether old Biseswara did not feel a quake at the explosion occurring some ten years ago, when a fleet of boats carrying ammunition happened to take fire below the Raj-ghaut. It is next to a certainty that he must have had a proof then of his abode upon the terra-firma -of his city being of the earth earthy.'
Not a little interesting feature in the landscape is the river. The right side, too, has its beauties to attract the eye. It had been designed to found a rival city upon this bank, and call it Vyas-Kasi.
The design originated not, as it has been mystified in the Poorans, on the part of Vyas to avenge his personal wrongs and insults on the Shivites, but on the part of the Vishnuvites themselves, to establish the pre-eminence of their sect by aiming a deadly blow at the power of their opponents. It was not Vyas who had been ill-received and ill-treated at Benares, but it was the Vishnuvites who had been opposed and denied a footing in the city so devoted to Shiva. In the conflict waged between the two great sects of the Hindoo world, each party has always sought to strengthen the cause of its superstition by the sanction of great names.
There is no name so venerated in the Hindoo Shastras as that of the compiler of the Ved-Sanghitas. By that name is the sect of the Vishnuvites honoured at its head, and its veteran authority was quoted to lend a countenance to their proceedings in the foundation of a new Kasi on the right bank of the Ganges. But sentimental Vishnuvism failed to draw away men from a superstition which promised immediate gratification to their fleshly cravings, and no rival Vishnuvite town ever rose on the opposite bank of Benares to threaten the religious dominancy of the Shivites. Failing in their ambitious project, the Vishnuvites became the laughing-stock of their adversaries. They were taunted with being metamorphosed into asses on their death at their much-vaunted town. The nucleus of that city has become the country-seat of the Rajah of Benares. But he takes the most punctilious care not jeopardize his soul in that accursed