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Jains, more like good mediators than heretics, tried but failed to effect a compromise between the two sects.
Shergotty abounds with many Gayalese scouts on the look-out for pilgrims. A gang of them had become very troublesome in offering to convey us to their sacred city.
But the coz of our tradesman, becoming the spokesman of our company, out-swore, out-argued, and out-laughed them all, at the top of his voice. They had scarcely shown their backs, before another set of creatures demanded our notice. It was a collection of the lame, the leprous, the blind, and the decrepit, most of whom were festering under raw and hideous sores, and exhibited a wasting from malady and want of food that threatened to terminate in a speedy consignment to the grave. All that is revolting or disgusting in disease and deformity was laid bare and exposed to the view, and the sight was too much for the nerves, which received a shock that discomposed us as much as we could have been by the sight of a man hauled up
to the gallows. The most fearful object among them all was a woman who had lost both her lips, and showed a horrible array of teeth in a perpetual grin. The doctor felt an interest, which it is his vocation to do. But for us laymen, we made haste to retire from the scene by manifesting our sympathy by means of a little eleemosynary aid. The greater number of these wretched beings were but victims of their own vices. There is a secret even in the trade of beggary—there is a reason why so many beggars have collected themselves at this spot. It is because they have found it to their advantage to
Oomga.—The River Soane.
make their stand at a place through which there is not a day that some men or other have not occasion to pass on to Gaya, distributing alms in their progress, and moralizing to the world that the path to heaven lies through the gateway of charity.
Night caused us to miss the antiquities of Oomga, which lies fourteen miles west of Shergotty, near the dawk-bungalow of Muddunpore. Once this was the seat of a branch of the old Pal kings of Bengal, but the spot is now quite deserted and in ruins. There is a temple of Juggernauth here 400 years old, and 60 feet high, founded by a Raja, Bhoyrub Indra, said to have been descended from a collateral branch of the ChandraVansa princes, and who, subverting the throne of the ancient dynasty, flourished subsequent to the period when the Rajpoot Chiefs of Central India made their crusades against the Buddhists of Gaya. The older lingams of Shiva, set up in this close neighbourhood to the scenes of Buddha's labours, are the first evidences of the encroachments of Shivaism over Buddhism.
October 24th.-The Soane! the Soane! the Hiraniabhya of the ancient Maghadas and Prachii, -and the Erranaboas of Arrian and Pliny, an identification that must silence all future dispute about the site of Palibothra, situated, as stated by Megasthenes, at the junction of the Ganges and Erranaboas. The majestic river lay stretched in its broad expanse-- dashing onwards its golden tribute bent to pay. The bed, more than three miles wide, fully justifies the third-rate rank which the Greeks assigned to it among the Indian
rivers falling within their observation. Half the bed is now a dry waste of sand, over which the gharry had to be drawn by a team of four bullocks, while coolies pushed it from behind. The water has a clear, bluish appearance. As we crossed, a light breeze sprung up to break the glassy surface of the stream into beautiful crisps. The eye wandered over a lonely but charming valley, disclosing a varied scene of wooded hills and luxuriant valleys. The hills of Rotas, forming a noble background to the scene, and changing their appearance as we shifted our ground, were caught from several points of view.
The Nerbudda and the Soane were to have been married, says the legend. Like a true Hindoo bride and bridegroom, they had never seen each other, the one to woo, and the other to be won. The day of their nuptials arrived. ller majesty, the Nerbudda, became anxious to know what sort of a personage her affianced was, and she deputed a handmaid, by the name of Jhola, to bring her a report. Meanwhile, his majesty the Soane was approaching at the slow and stately pace of an Indian bridegroom. He met Jhola on the way, and was at once captivated -and she, nothing loath,' yielded to his caresses. The Queen was no sooner apprized, than she rushed forward in a towering passion, and with one foot sent the Soane rolling back to the east, whence he came, and with the other kicked little Jhola sprawling after him—resolving for herself to keep on a westernly course, and remain a virgin queen all her life. The truth of this fiction may well be seen at
Omerkuntuck, where the Nerbudda flows on to the west: the Soane, taking a westerly course for a few miles, turns off suddenly to the opposite direction, and is joined by the little stream of the Jhola before it descends the great cascade.
Deyree has a charming site upon a bold and lofty bank, immediately overlooking the river. mounted upon the walls of its intrenchment, points at the ghaut itself to protect it from hostile approach ! The intrenchment calls to mind the days of the Mutiny. On the left shore of the Soane, we trod on the soil of ancient Kikata—the modern Shahabad.
From Deyree to Rotas is a trip of 20 miles. Personal observation confirms the truth of the impregnability of the hill-fort, the most celebrated in all Indian history. From all accounts Rotas is said to have been founded by Rohitas—though authorities differ as to the age in which he flourished.* Raja Nala—of Nal Dummun celebrity—losing his patrimonial inheritance of Rotas, and becoming a fugitive, met with all those reverses, the relation of which is the grand source of delight to all the Hindoos—and a soft-savder to their princes in misfortune.
* “Rajah Harishchundra has no sons, and worships Varuna, in order to obtain a son, promising to sacrifice to him his first-born : he has a son in consequence, named Rohita : but when Varuna claims his victim, the king delays the sacrifice under various pretexts, from time to time, until Rohita attains adolescence, when his father communicates to him the fate for which he was destined : Rohita refuses submission, and spends several years in the forests, away from home : he at last meets there with Ajigartha, a Rishi, in great distress, and persuades him to part with his second son, Suneshepas, to be substituted for Rohita, as an offering to Varuna : the bargain is concluded, and Suneshepas is about to be sacrificed, when, by the advice of Viswamitra, one of the officiating priests, he appeals to the gods, and is ultimately liberated. (Aitareya Brahmana.) Menu alludes to the story, and says that Ajigartha incurred no guilt by giving up his son to be sacrificed, as it was to preserve himself and family from perishing with hunger.' This is one account from Wilson's translation of the Rig Veda. The following is another. The Cuchawa or Cushwa race claims descent from Cush, the second son of Rama, king of
The castle stands on a spur some 2000 feet high. Shere Shah's stratagem to make himself its master is very clever to read, but betrays the poverty of the military art in his age. The artificial works of Raja Maun to strengthen the castle have been in ruins for a long time.
Out of fourteen gateways, Tieffenthaler saw that ten of them had been already walled up prior to his visit. In our own days, Ummer Sing held the neglected and ruinous fort of Rotas for several months against a strong British force.
No doubt, the future historian would hesitate to deny to Koer Sing and Ummer Sing, the valour and enterprising spirit which belong to the lineal descendant of the ancient Khetrya and Rajpoot. They were men worthy to have lived in a better age, and to have died in a better cause. By nature and fortune were they qualified to have distinguished themselves as historic characters. But in their infatuation they entered upon a bubble scheme, the bursting of which no sane man could doubt. They raised the standard for national independence, and anticipated that event at least two
Koshala, whose capital was in Ayodia, the modern Oude. Cush, or some of his immediate offspring, is said to have migrated from the parental abode, and erected the celebrated castle of Rotas, or Rohitas, on the Soane, whence, in the lapse of generations, another distinguished scion, Raja Nal, migrated westward, and in A.D. 295, founded the kingdom and city of Nurwar, or classically Nishida.' – Tod's Rajasthan, vol. ii. p. 346.