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Mr. Goldingham.* Mr. Chambers observes, that the name as here pronounced, Mavalipuram, is Tamulic, or in the language vulgarly called Malabar; but that the proper name in Hindū and Sanscrit is, Maha-Balipur, or the city of the Great Bali. Besides the places formed by excavations in the rocks, the remains of numerous buildings are to be traced on the surface of the hill, as well as on the plain below it. After passing several objects of inferior note, the first that attracts attention in mounting the hill, is a small Hindu temple, covered with sculpture, and hewn out of a single detached mass of granite, about twenty-six feet in height, nearly the same in length, and about fourteen in breadth. Within it, is a Lingam, and an inscription on the walls, in a character now unknown to the Hindus. Mr. Chambers remarks, that it neither resembles the Devanagari, nor any of the characters connected with or derived from it. Contiguous to this, the
* Asiatic Researches, vol. v. p. 69.
surface of the rock, for about ninety feet in extent, is covered with sculptures, the most conspicuous of which is a gigantic figure of Krishna; near him are, his favorite Arjoun, in the attitude of prayer, and a venerable figure, said to be the father of Arjoun. Among the figures of several animals, there is one, which the Brahmins name Singam, or lion, but which is not an exact resemblance of that animal; nor is this surprising, as the lion is not an inbabitant of this part of Asia; but in the same group the elephant, monkey, and other figures, are executed with spirit and fidelity.-At a small distance are the ruins of some temples built of brick surrounded by a wall of stone, and an excavation in the rock, fronting the east, the massive roof of which is supported by rows of columns, but now so much corroded by the air of the sea, as to render it impossible to form a just idea of their original shape. A little farther on is a more spacious excavation, now used as a Choultry, or place of accommodation for travellers. Figures, sculptured
on the wall fronting the entrance into it, represent Krishna attending the herds of Ananda, the Admetus of the Hindus; from which circumstance Krishen is called Goupaul, or the Cowherd, as Apollo in this quality was named by the Greeks, Nomius. In the group is a man playing on a flageolet to a child, and a figure of Krishen larger than life, attended by Goppias, or nymphs, who may be termed the Hindū muses.
On the pavement of this room, is another inscription, in characters also now unintelligible. The ascent of the hill from hence, is at first gradual and easy, and where otherwise, it is rendered so by steps shaped out of the rock. A winding staircase leads to a temple likewise cut out of the rock in it are several figures in relief, which being sheltered from the sea-air, by fronting the west, are in perfect preservation. The top of the hill is strewed with fragments, said to be the remains of a palace. At one end of a rectangular polished slab of granite, ten feet in length, with steps to ascend to it, is the figure of a
Singham couchant; the Brahmins of the place call this slab the couch of Dhermah Rajah. Further on, is a reservoir cut into the rock, which is said to have been, originally, a bath for the use of the female inhabitants of the palace. Descending over immense fragments of stone, is a spacious excavation destined as a temple of Siva, who in the centre compartment, is represented of large stature, with four arms, the left foot resting on a bull couchant. Near him on the left is a small figure of Brahma, one of Vishnu, and another of the goddess Parvati. At one end of this temple is a gigantic figure of Vishnu sleeping, his head reclining on an immense hooded snake rolled in numerous coils, and having several heads, so disposed as to form a canopy with their heads over the head of the God.* At the opposite end of this temple is the consort of Siva, with eight arms, and mounted on a Singham; fronting her, a gigantic
* See description of the rock of Jehangueery, supra, vol. i. p. 97, note.
figure of human shape with the head of a buffalo; between them a man suspended with his head downward. The goddess has several warlike weapons, and some armed attendants of diminutive size. The monster opposite to her with the head of the Buffalo, is armed with a club. In the character of Durga, and protectress of the virtuous, she is supposed to be rescuing from the figure with the head of the buffalo, the person represented as suspended between them.
On a spot considerably elevated over this excavated temple, is a smaller one, wrought out of a single block of granite, and similar to one already described. Within it, is a slab of polished granite, resembling the one called by the Brahmins, the couch of Dhermah. Adjoining is another temple of nearly equal dimensions, but in a rude state, and which evidently had never been finished. On the plain at the bottom of the hill, is a village, chiefly inhabited by Brahmins. Near to it are remains of many stone edifices, and a large tank surrounded