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The Island of Bamb& Devi. Sights and Scenes round about Bom- 
bay 7 

Malabar Hill, and Domestic Life of the English in Bombay . . 39 


The Island of Shastee, commonly called Salsette. Gharipoore, 
" the Town of Purification," or the Island and Caves of 
Elephanta 51 


Sampwallas, or Serpent- Charmers. Jadoowallahs, or Miracle- 
Performers. Nuzer-Bundyana, Mesmerizers. Yogees, Spirit- 
ual Jugglers, and Naga-Poojmi, or Serpent-Worship, in 
India 65 


The Pareees, or Fire- Worshippers, of Bombay. A Visit to a Fire- 
Priest and Astrologer. His Astral Predictions. The Gathas. 
Zoroaster. His Life and Religion. History of the Settle- 
ment of the Parsees in India 79 





Domestic Life of the Fire- Worshippers. The Zend-Avesta. Parsee 
Bites and Ceremonies at Birth, Marriage, Death, and Final 
Consignment to the Tower of Silence 105 


Hindoo Treatment of the Sick. Pundit's House Denied. Its 
Purification. Short Sketch of the Different Races and of 
the Origin of Castes and Creeds among the People of Hin- 
dostan 129 


A Visit to the House of Baboo Ram Chunder. His Wife. Raj- 
poot Wrestlers. Nautchnees, or Hindoo Ballet-Girls. A 
Hindoo Drama. Visit to a Nautchnees' School. Bayahdiers, 
or Dancing-Girls, attached to the Hindoo Temples. Profes- 
sion, Education, Dress, Character, Fate in Old Age and After 
Death. Cusbans, or Common Women. Marked Differences 
between these three Classes of Public Women 173 


From Bombay to Poonah, the Capital of the Raha Mastra, or the 
great Indian Kings. Campooly. The Ascent of the Bhor 
Ghauts. Khondala. Caves of Carlee or Karli. " Puja 
Chakra," or the famous Wheel-Worship of the Brahmans. 
Poonah. Kirki. A Visit to the Peishwa's Palace. Temple 
of Parvati. The Pundit and the Brahmin Priest at Prayer. 
Sanscrit and English Colleges at Poonah. Suttee Monu- 
ments at Sangam. Hindoo Bankers, etc 208 


The beautiful Hindoo Village of Wye. The Mahabaleshwar Hills. 
The Temple of the Gods. The Couch of Krishna. The 
Stone Image of the Cow from whose Mouth the Five Rivers 
of this Region are said to Spring. The Holy Tank. Satarah, 
the Star City of the Mahratta Empire. The Fort. The Pal- 
ace of Sivaji. Jejureh, the famous Hill-Temples where the 
Dancing-Girls of the Country are Recruited. The Mad Gos- 
sain, and the Story of his Ill-Fated Love. The Dancing-Girl 
Krayahnee 228 




From Satarah, the Star City of the great Mahratta Kings, to Dow- 
lutabad, the Abode of Fortune, and Aurungabad, the Golden 
City of the Mohgul Emperors. Tombs of Boorhan Ood Deen 
and Aurungzebe. Mausoleum of Rhabea Duranee. Sketch 
of the Mohgul Invasion of India. Manners, Customs, and 
Religious Ceremonies of the Mohammedans of Hindostan . 243 


The Temples of Ellora, the Holy Place of the Deccan. Nashik, 
the Land of the Ramayana. Sights and Scenes on the Banks 
of the Godaveri. Damaun, the most famous of the Indo- 
Portuguese Towns 270 


The Taptee River. Surat and its Environs. The Borahs and 
Kholees of Guzerat. Baroda, the Capital of the Guicowars. 
Fakeers, or Relic-Carriers, of Baroda. Cambay. Mount 
Aboo. Jain Temples on Mount Aboo, etc 286 


Calcutta, the City of the Black Venus, Kali. The River Hoog- 
ley. Cremation Towers. Chowringee, the Fashionable Sub- 
urb of Calcutta. The Black Hole. Battles of Plaseey and 
Assaye. The Brahmo-Somaj. Temple of Kali. Feast of 
Juggurnath. Benares and the Taj Mahal 303 


IN the following pages, gathered from voluminous notes of early 
travel, I have tried to give a faithful account of life in India, as 
well as of the sights and scenes visited by me, with my husband, 
before the days of railroad travel. 

It is well known that the introduction of the railroad into India 
has in no sense affected the life of the people, and has only very 
slightly modified the general appearance of the country. India is 
still what it was in the Vedic period, a land of peasant classes 5 she 
still invokes, as did the ancient Aryans in the Rig Veda, the " Khe- 
tra-pati," or the divinity of the soil, for blessings on the land. The 
Hindoo to-day lives, as did his forefathers, close to the heart of Na- 
ture, deifying the mountains, streams, woods, and lakes, while the 
sun, moon, stars, fire, water, earth, air, sky, and corn are his high- 
est deities. The most beautiful personification in the Ramayana 
of womanly grace and virtue is called Sita, " a furrow," showing 
how deep was the national reverence paid to the plough ; and to 
this day at the Bathsaptimi, the day on which the new sun is 
supposed to mount his heavenly chariot, a feast is observed in 
honor of the sun, and the ryots on this occasion decorate with 
flowers and paint their ploughs, and worship them as the saviors 
of the land. 

I do not, however, mean to say that India has made no progress 
whatever in all these years her imaginative and glorious youth 
has no doubt been succeeded by the calm reason of mature age 
but this transition has been gradual and progressive rather than 
fitful and sudden. 



The transfer of India by the East India Company to the British 
Crown, and the recent laws for the protection of the ryot or more 
properly the raiyat, a leaser of land held in perpetuity against 
the oppressions of the zemindars, or governmental landlords, with 
the right of underletting the land, have to an extraordinary degree 
awakened the inborn desire of the Hindoo to become possessor of the 
soil and to return to his hereditary occupation of agriculture. To 
these may be added the security which England has conferred upon 
India, now that she is no longer disturbed by frequent wars, which 
desolated the land, and every now and then forced the people to 
abandon their villages and fly to the jungles and mountains for 
safety, under the Afghans, Mohguls, Mahrattas, and other predatory 
chiefs. Among the lasting benefits to India it may be mentioned that 
sutteeism, infanticide, self-immolation to the idols, Thuggism, and 
slavery have all been partially, if not quite, abolished by the strong 
arm of the law. Railroads have been built, the country has been 
opened, schools established, civil service appointments thrown open 
to the natives and Europeans alike, good roads made, canals and 
huge reservoirs for water excavated, ancient water-courses reopened, 
giving an impetus to private enterprise and industry in every direc- 
tion. All these happy changes have been the result of the more 
liberal policy of England toward India since the days of the terri- 
ble mutiny of 1857 ; and it may fairly be hoped that British India 
has before her as glorious a future as her brilliant youth and ma- 
turity have foreshadowed for her. 

A. H. L. 

SUNNYSIDE, Halifax, Nova Scotia, > 
August 7, 1884. ) 



The Island of Bamba Devi. Sights and Scenes round about Bombay. 

IN that most delightful of all Indian months, the cool 
month of November, with the distant booming of a great 
gun that announced its arrival, the steamer from Aden 
came to anchor in the harbor of Bombay, bringing me 
among its many passengers. Here I was in this strange 
land, a young girl fresh from school, now entering upon 
a life so different, one which I was to lead through a long 
term of years. 

The sun shone through the mists and haze of the early 
dawn, and I could see from my cabin window, with a sense 
of mingled wonder and curiosity, the great stone quays and 
the long flights of stone steps which led to the beautiful 
island of Bombay, lying there like a gem in the water, and 
of which I knew nothing whatever, save that it was once 
the marriage-dowry of a queen of England. 

According to some authorities, it takes its name from 
two Portuguese words, " Buon Bahia," Good Bay ; but in 
reality it has a still more ancient origin, being called after 
a very beautiful Hindoo queen, afterward deified as Bam- 
ba Devi, who long before the days of Alexander the Great 
was the presiding genius of the land. She was worshipped 
as " Mahima Devi," or the Great Mother, in one of the 
oldest and largest Hindoo temples which formerly stood 
in the great plain now called the Esplanade. It was 



pulled down about a hundred years ago, and rebuilt near 
the Bhendee Bazaar, and is to this day called by her name 
and set apart to her peculiar service. 

The longer I looked on that bay, and on those ancient 
islands with their towers and spires, both pagan and Chris- 
tian, gleaming in the pure morning sunlight, the more I felt 
that it was one of the loveliest scenes in the world and one 
of the best worth admiring. 

The harbor is not only one of the safest known to nav- 
igators from all parts of the world, affording in its hollow 
rock-bound cup entire shelter from sudden storms to ves- 
sels of all burthens, large and small crafts of every imag- 
inable size and color, but it is in itself a bit of landlocked 
water unrivalled in picturesqueness, furnishing a variety 
of beautiful views at every point, and, one might almost 
say, at every passing moment. 

Its peculiar interest, however, depends much on the sea- 
son of the year, the brightness of the lights, the softness of 
the shadows, and the picturesque character of the number- 
less native boats, which, with their well-filled lateen sails, 
skim like white sea-birds on the surface of the waters. 

The islands of Salsette, Elephanta, and Versovah, 
abounding in luxuriant vegetation, rise like huge green 
temples out of the bay. A great part of its beauty, how- 
ever, is derived from the singularly shaped hills that are 
found in its vicinity. Old as the world, they appear to 
have gone through the hands of some gigantic architect 
some so exquisitely rounded, some regularly terraced, and 
others, again, sharply pointed, not unlike spires. Lifting 
themselves proudly above the broad glittering sea that 
bathes their palm-fringed base, they help to make the 
scenery distinct from that of any other bay in the world. 
Then, beyond question, there is nothing to equal in grace 
and beauty the palm forest. The cocoanut, the sago, the 


betel, the date, the wild plantain, and the palmyra, all clus- 
ter in such profusion here and there along the seashore that 
the whole seems too beautiful to be real, and you half ex- 
pect to see the island melt away like a dream before you. 

While I look on from the cabin window things take 
clearer shape and form. Far away is the dim outline of 
the mighty Ghauts, towering amid soft fleecy-white clouds, 
and extending farther than the eye can reach in the pur- 
ple distance. The striking views of the adjoining main- 
land, with ruins innumerable of chapels, convents, and 
monasteries erected by the Portuguese conquerors, all 
covered with a rich tangle of tropical foliage ; the strange 
shapes of pagan temples, each in its own peculiar style of 
architecture, Hindoo, Parsee, Jain, and Mohammedan; 
the noble remains of the old Mahratta * forts and castles, 
which in former days were the habitations of the famous 
Rajpoots, with a long line of native and European palaces, 
gradually unfold themselves under the golden haze of 
an Indian atmosphere. 

One sees in no other part of the world just such an 
assemblage as the passengers on an Indian-bound steamer. 
In the vessel that took me to Bombay the most touching 
object to my mind was a young married woman, who was 
looking anxiously out for her husband, a missionary in 
whose labors she was now about to share for the first time. 
He was weak, haggard, and spiritless, worn out, no doubt, 

* The name Mahratta is applied to all the Indo-European races who 
dwell in that portion of India extending from the A'rabian Sea on the 
west to the Satpura Mountains in the north, to which in ancient times 
was given the Sanskrit name of Maharashtra, or "the good country." 
The Mahrattas are Hindoos, divided like them into four castes the 
Brahmans, priests and professors ; the Kumbis, cultivators of the soil ; 
the Rajpoots, or warriors; and the Sudras, or menials. The Mahratta 
Brahmans are remarkable for the high physical, intellectual, and moral 
qualities of that caste. Their language, a fine sonorous and flexible 
tongue, is a dialect of the Sanskrit, called Mahratti. 


by his combined efforts to acquire a foreign language, 
convince an obstinate people, and bear the enervating in- 
fluence of a hot, muggy climate ; all of which was enough 
to break down the stoutest of frames and the most hope- 
fuLof spirits that England has ever produced. A num- 
ber of officers, civil and military, some in light-brown 
coats of China silk and wide-brimmed straw hats, others 
in frogged blue frocks and military caps, were seen press- 
ing through the crowd. A young cadet just out rushed 
into the open arms of a handsome officer, like himself, 
but older by twenty or thirty years. The deck was being 
fast cleared of its eager crowd. Everywhere the passen- 
gers were separating amid almost sad adieux, enlivened 
only by the oft-repeated promises to write to each other 
regularly promises which are never fulfilled. On the 
great continent of Asia all nations meet and hail each 
other as friends, only to part, perhaps never to meet again, 
as vessels do at sea. But we were all sincere enough at 
the moment, which is all that can be expected from trav- 
ellers scattering over the vast unknown land of India. I 
remember I was very greatly troubled because I was about 
to part from a gentle, blue-eyed young friend, a frank, 
bright, innocent young Scotch girl, who had become very 
dear to me during the most tedious and sultry part of our 
voyage from Aden to Bombay. 

We were thrown a good deal together, and were almost 
of the same age. One day, while passing through the 
Red Sea, we exchanged vows of eternal friendship. There 

was on board a sprightly young officer, Ensign W , to 

whom she was already secretly betrothed. "Why secretly 
she would not confide to me, or perhaps explain even to 
herself, for every one on the vessel knew it, and of her 
naturally tender and loving disposition, as well as of her 
peculiarly lonely position on board, being sent out under 


the charge of the captain. I only know that I shared her 
happiness and her anxiety, for she would have to break 
the news almost immediately to her father, whom she was 
expecting momentarily on board. She informed me that 
her father was a widower that she had come out to 
India expressly to keep house for him in some remote 
inland province somewhere in Guzerat. 

At last her father appeared on board, a fat, sun-burnt, 
frowzy-looking man, and inquired from the captain as 
to which was his daughter, in order to assert his owner- 
ship over her. Instead of rushing to greet a father, she 
shrank back and nervously clutched my arm ; and it was 
not strange. She had not seen him for many years ; in the 
mean time her mother had died, her little brothers and 
sisters had all died in their infancy ; she alone had sur- 
vived, and had been sent home to Scotland, where she had 
been educated by an aunt. Here, then, she was alone in the 
presence of an almost entire stranger, although he was her 
father ; and this is not an isolated case, but the fate of the 
thousands of European children who are born in India. 

No blood-relationship avails anything in such cases. 
The mysterious sanctities of a young girl's nature, be they 
more or less profound, interpose themselves as barriers 
between father and daughter at the best of times and 
under the happiest of circumstances. Those dim nooks and 
corners of her budding sentiment can only be reached by 
a mother, so justly called the mediator in the most an- 
cient language of the heart. 

Years after I learned that my young Scotch friend had 

married Ensign W , the young officer to whom she had 

engaged herself on her voyage out to India. But in one 
short year after her sweet blue eyes were closed for ever 
on this world. She died in giving birth to a daughter, 
who sleeps side by side with her young mother in the 


quiet little European burial-ground at Deesa, a British 
station on the confines of the great province of Guzerat. 
Very little was known about India until Alexander the 
Great led his conquering array across the Punjaub (or, 
more properly, " Panch jeeb," or five tongues, from the 
five rivers that water this portion of Northern India) to 
the banks of the Hydaspes and the Hyphasis. The ar- 
mies of Alexander had hitherto visited no country which 
was so fertile, populous, and abounding in the most valu- 
able productions of nature and art as that portion of 
India through which they marched. Fortunately for the 
Greeks, Alexander had with him a few men who were 
admirably qualified to observe and describe the country. 
At the mouth of the Indus the army and fleet of Alex- 
ander parted company. The troops proceeded by land. 
Nearchus took charge of the ships, sailed down the Indus, 
and from its mouth, round the southern coast of Asia, to 
the mouth of the Euphrates. The results of his observa- 
tions during the voyage were taken down and preserved. 
This expedition, undertaken 325 B. c., furnished a vast 
amount of information in regard to India, its extent and 
wonderful resources. Rome and most of her prosperous 
and civilized provinces were also very familiar with the 
silks, brocades, fine muslins, gems of great value, spices, 
and many other manufactures and products of the remote 
East. The Latin name of rice, Oryza sativa, is derived 
from the country, Orissa, whence the Romans first ob- 
tained it. During the so-called Dark Ages which fol- 
lowed the subversion of their Western Empire the trade 
with India was greatly diminished, though it never en- 
tirely ceased in parts of Europe, especially as some of the 
productions of the East had been consecrated to the ser- 
vices of the Roman Catholic ritual, and have ever since 
continued in request with the Christian churches of Greece 


and Rome. Even in the remote island of Great Britain, 
and in the semi-barbaric Saxon period, some of the pre- 
cious spices and scented woods of India had been carefully 
treasured by the Venerable Bede and his co-laborers in 
their bleak northern monastery, at Jarrow. In fact, at the 
very dawn of European civilization, under the good and 
wise Alfred the Great, English missionaries are said to 
have found their way to the coast of Malabar. 

The great seat of Eastern trade was, down to the elev- 
enth century, the city of Constantino the Great. Anialfi, 
Venice, and many other enterprising Italian republics 
acquired about this time great commercial importance, 
owing to their Eastern trade, which they extended to 
Egypt and the Persian Gulf. 

In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries some of the 
more adventurous Italians found their way to various 
parts of Hindostan. One of these, the famous Marco 
Paulo, has given to the world much curious information 
about the regions which lie between the Himalaya Moun- 
tains, the Indian Ocean, and the numerous islands border- 
ing on the Celestial Empire and on India proper. 

The first European traveller who has given us an 
account of the country near the island of Bombay was 
an Italian friar named Odoricus, who passed nearly a 
month at Tana or more properly Thanah where four 
of his family fell victims to the intolerant spirit of the 
natives, and suffered martyrdom. His narrative was pub- 
lished in Latin in 1330 A.. D. by William de Solanga. 
The first Englishman who visited the western coast of 
India was Thomas Stephens, of New College, Oxford. 
He reached Goa in October, 1579, and in the year 1608 
Pryard de Laval mentions him at the time as rector of 
a college at Salsette. 

It was during the early career of the famous Zehir-ed 


Deen Mohammed, a descendant of the renowned Genghis- 
khn, and the founder of the so-called Mohgul dynasty, 
better known by his common name of Baber, or "the 
Tiger/' that the Portuguese, whose maritime discoveries 
were beginning to produce, an important revolution in the 
commercial world, succeeded in accomplishing their long- 
desired object of finding a passage by the Cape of Good 
Hope to India. In the year 1498, just ten months and 
two days after leaving the port of Lisbon, Vasco da Gama 
landed on the coast of Malabar at Calicut, or more prop- 
erly Kale Khoda, " City of the Black Goddess." Calicut 
was at that period not only a very ancient seaport, but an 
extensive territory, which, stretching along the western 
coast of Southern India, reached from Bombay and the 
adjacent islands to Cape Comorin. It was, at an early 
period, so famous for its weaving and dyeing of cotton 
cloth that its name became identified with the manufac- 
tured fabric, whence the name calico. The dyeing of 
cotton cloths seems to have been in practice in India in 
very remote ages. Pliny as early as the first century men- 
tions in his Natural History that there existed in Egypt 
a wonderful method of dyeing white cloth. It is now gen- 
erally admitted that this ingenious art originated in India, 
and from that country found its way into Egypt. It was 
not till toward the middle of the seventeenth century that 
calico-printing was introduced into Europe. A know- 
ledge of the art was acquired by some of the servants in 
the service of the Dutch East India Company, and car- 
ried to Holland, whence it was introduced "in London in 
the year 1676. 

The town of Calicut, though repeatedly burnt and 
destroyed by Portuguese and Mohammedan conquerors, 
still stands, as it has done for many hundreds of years, on 
the seashore, in a somewhat low and exposed position, 


possessing neither a river nor any harbor within several 
miles of it, so that ships are compelled to cast anchor five 
or six miles from the landing-place, almost in mid-ocean. 
Its want of a convenient harbor does not seem to have 
detracted from its commercial importance. At the very 
beginning of the Eastern trade, when Constantinople was 
attracting to itself all the commerce of the East, Calicut 
was visited by vessels from Asia Minor, Egypt, and 
Arabia. It was so well known to the Arabians that in 
the seventeenth century a fanatical sect of Mohammedans 
named Moplahs immigrated to Calicut, and entered with 
great success into the commercial life of the city, and 
occupy in it, even to this day, a most important place, 
carrying on a very profitable trade between Calicut, the 
Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and various parts of India, its 
chief exports being rice, cocoanut, ginger, cardamoms, and 
sandal- and teak -wood. At the time of the landing of the 
Portuguese, Calicut is described as a fine city, with numer- 
ous magnificent buildings, among which a Brahmanical 
temple and college are especially mentioned, so remarkable 
were they for their size and architectural adornments. 

It would be out of place to enter into particulars of the 
long struggle that ensued, or the disgraceful acts of treachery 
and cruelty that attended the conquests of the Portuguese. 
It will suffice to say that in a very few years they w T ere 
firmly established in the south of India. Having possessed 
themselves of the large maritime city of Goa, they formed 
a regular government, headed by a viceroy appointed by 
the king of Portugal. They soon turned the trade of 
Hindostan and the Deccan into new and more profitable 
channels, thus depriving the Venetians, Genoese, and 
many other nations of all the advantages derived from 
their long-established European commerce between the 
Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, Egypt, and the Mediterranean 


Sea. From that time the Italians began to decline in 
wealth, influence, and prosperity until the close of the 
sixteenth and in the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
when the English, Dutch, and French, sailing round by 
the Cape of Good Hope, began to appear upon the scene. 
No sooner was this accomplished than the Portuguese, who 
had monopolized the commerce with Europe during the 
sixteenth century, lost (almost as rapidly as they had 
acquired it) their immense influence in the East. 

In 1585, Thomas Cavendish, one of the boldest and 
most adventurous navigators in the reign of Queen Eliza- 
beth, had accomplished successfully a two years' voyage 
round the world. Among other places, he had visited 
and explored the spice islands called the Moluccas, but 
his discoveries resulted in no permanent benefit to the 
British traders. In the year following an English expe- 
dition consisting of three vessels, under the command of 
Captain Raymond, was sent out to India, but its object 
was rather more warlike than commercial, as it was 
intended to cruise against the Portuguese. Sickness, ship- 
wreck, and other disasters overtook the vessels ; Captain 
Raymond, one of the most spirited men of his time, was 
lost without even having seen the Eldorado of his dreams, 
and Captain Lancaster, his second in command, returned 
home a sad and almost ruined man. Francis Drake, after- 
ward knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his many remark- 
able exploits at sea, succeeded in capturing five Portuguese 
vessels laden with the rich products of India. These, with 
the successes of the Levant Company and the accumulating 
information obtained from private sources, contributed to 
keep alive the excitement and to increase to an inordinate 
degree the desire of English traders and merchants for a 
more immediate participation in the Eastern commerce. 
Nevertheless, the ambition and jealousy of the British mer- 


chants were not fully aroused until they heard that the 
Dutch in 1595 had fitted out and despatched four ships to 
trade with India. 

Then the British merchants immediately set to work. 
A fund was raised by subscriptions of a number of indi- 
viduals amounting to 30,133 6s. Sd., a company was 
formed, and a committee of fifteen able men was elected 
to manage it, which was the origin of the " East India 
Company." On the 31st of December, 1600, just two 
hundred and eighty-four years ago, a royal charter of 
privileges was granted, conditionally for fifteen years, to 
the company. By means of this charter, and furnished 
with letters from Queen Elizabeth to various Eastern 
rajahs, who were probably unconscious of her existence, a 
squadron of five ships sailed on the 2d of May, 1601, from 
Torbay. It was placed under the command of Captain 
Lancaster, the companion of the unfortunate Raymond. 
Fortune now appeared to favor the brave Lancaster. 
The very first place which he and his crews visited was 
Acheen in the island of Sumatra. Owing to the fact that 
Northern Sumatra had already been repeatedly visited by 
European travellers, among whom were Marco Paulo, 
Friar Odoricus, and Nicolo Conti, Captain Lancaster was 
remarkably well received by Alaudin Shah, the then 
reigning sovereign ; and, to add to his good fortune, while 
cruising in the Straits of Malacca he succeeded in captur- 
ing a large and heavily-laden Portuguese vessel having on 
board a cargo of fine calicoes, spices, and some of the fine 
gold for which Acheen was then celebrated. Thus unex- 
pectedly enriched, he sailed away, and, entering the Straits 
of Angeer, landed at Bantam in the island of Java, where 
he established an agency the first germ of the great East 
India Company's factories and returned in safety to Eng- 
land in the autumn of the year 1603. For many years 


following the trading vessels of the East India Company 
made successful voyages to many of the best-known islands 
in the Indian Ocean, realizing immense profits, and return- 
ing home to enrich the company to such an extent as to 
excite the jealousy of the British government, which vainly 
attempted to limit the privileges of the royal charter granted 
to it by Queen Elizabeth. Not many years after the suc- 
cess of the company was assured by a firman of the great 
Mohgul emperor, confirming to them certain privileges, 
and, above all, authorizing their establishment of factories 
at some of the most important ports of Hindostan. 

The Dutch, who had dispossessed the Portuguese of 
their factory in Amboyna, one of the largest of the spice 
islands in the Molucca group, now began to regard the 
English traders with much jealousy. These, only eighteen 
in number, had established themselves in a defenceless 
house in town, trusting to the agreements and treaties they 
had made with the Dutch traders. The Dutch invited 
them in a friendly manner to pay a visit to their castle, 
fortified and garrisoned by two hundred men. The unsus- 
pecting English had no sooner entered the castle than they 
were seized, put to the rack and torture, and ten of the 
number, holding out firmly to the last, were put to death. 

During the memorable conflict between Charles I. and 
the Parliament nearly all foreign enterprise flagged. Dis- 
tracted by the great civil war that followed, the East India 
Company sank into comparative inaction. But no sooner 
was the great Oliver Cromwell at the head of affairs than 
he reconfirmed the privileges of the company, and gave 
every encouragement to its trade; he also compelled the 
Dutch government to pay the sum of 300,000, together 
with a grant of one of the smaller spice islands, as some 
compensation to the descendants of those who suffered in 
the " Amboyna massacre." 


A new charter was granted to the company by Charles 
II. in 1661, in which, in addition to the old privileges, 
new and important ones were given to them. They were 
vested with the right of full civil jurisdiction and military 
authority over all Europeans in their employment, as well 
as with the power of making war and concluding peace 
with the " infidels of India." In 1662, Charles II. mar- 
ried Catharine, princess of Portugal, who brought him a 
million pounds sterling and gifts of the island of Bombay 
and the fortress of Taugiers. In 1668, at the request of 
the company, Charles sold to them for a trifling sum of 
money the island of Bombay, granting to them shortly 
after the island of St. Helena, an equally convenient sta- 
tion for their merchantmen ; and at length, induced by the 
defensible character of the island and its convenient and 
most commodious harbor, the company transferred from 
Surat to Bombay the seat of their government. Thus the 
island of Bombay became the presidency over all their set- 
tlements, and from that moment numerous Oriental nations 
were attracted to the island, commerce rapidly increased, 
the native town began to spread, and the foundation of a 
great empire in India was securely laid. 

In no other part of the world are found so many races 
and peoples living side by side as in the island of Bombay. 
In the spacious streets and bazaars one meets Buddhists, 
Jains, Brahmans, Hindoos, Chinese, Musulmans (both Per- 
sians and Arabs), Seedees or Africans, Indo-Portuguese, 
Indo-Britons, Jews, Armenians, Afghans, Caucasians, Par- 
sees, Americans, and Europeans of all nationalities. The 
most important of all these are undoubtedly the Parsees. 
They are as a class the richest, most industrious, and most 
honorable of all the native populations. They are the 
most extensive merchants and land-owners in the island ; 
they share largely in foreign speculation both in the Euro- 


pean and mercantile houses. They hold to two principles 
as indispensable to their permanent success and efficiency 
in trade : First, that every Parsee in any part of the Indian 
empire shall be subject to the established government, 
whatever it may be. By this means they diffuse a spirit 
of obedience and promptitude among their co-religionists, 
whether in India, Persia, China, or Egypt, and are at once 
able to secure the co-operation of one and every member 
of the faith in any emergency that may demand the com- 
bined efforts of the entire sect. Secondly, that every Par- 
see, no matter what the accident of his birth, is the equal 
of his more prosperous fellow-laborers. 

The island of Bombay is separated from the mainland 
by an arm of the sea, and forms, in conjunction with the 
adjacent islands of Salsette on the north, Colabah and Old 
"Woman's Island on the south, a magnificent and well- 
sheltered harbor. Handsome causeways raised above the 
sea at high water span the narrow channels on the south, 
and connect Bombay with two of the most picturesque isl- 
ands I have ever seen. To the north, Bombay is again 
connected with Salsette by a causeway with a fine arched 
stone bridge, and yet another causeway has t>een thrown 
over the strait, so as to connect the great India Peninsular 
Railway with the mainland. Thus Bombay and the islands 
which surround it form a continuous breakwater extending 
from north to south for several miles. Toward the east lies 
the celebrated island of Elephanta; just opposite to the 
mouth of the harbor lies a thickly-wooded island of little 
elevation, with the exception of two remarkable projections 
which are shot upward almost perpendicularly from the 
level of the land, called Great and Little Caranja Hills. 

One of our first drives was to thejEort and town of 
Bombay. The latter is situated within the fort, and is 
almost a mile in length from the Apollo Gate to that of 


the bazaar, but hardly a quarter of a mile in its broadest 
part, from the Custom-house across the great Green to 
what is called Church gate. It is now called Fort George, 
and with its moats, drawbridges, and gateways is still in 
tolerably good repair. There are two gateways facing 
the beautiful harbor, having commodious wharfs and 
cranes built out from each, with a fine broad stone quay 
or landing-place for passengers. Passing through these 
gates, we visited the famous Bombay Castle, a regular 
quadrangle built of hard stone. In one of the bastions 
we saw a spacious reservoir for water. The fortifications 
are sufficiently formidable, and are frequently repaired, 
if not improved. Dungarree Hill, which commands the 
town, has now been included within the fort, by which 
accession the seaward points of the island are rendered 
extremely strong, the harbor being completely commanded 
by successive ranges of batteries placed one above the 
other. The Government House, a showy but a most 
inconvenient building, the old church, and a spacious 
Maidan, or Common, are also situated within the fort. 

The rise of the tides has been found such as to admit 
of the construction of docks on a truly magnificent scale. 
Indeed, the dry-dock of Bombay is said to be unequalled 
In the East for its immense size and convenience. It has 
been built with three divisions, each of which is furnished 
with a pair of strong gates, so that it is capable of receiv- 
ing three ships-of-the-line at a time. This operation is 
generally entrusted to Parsees, and executed with great 
rapidity and skill. These docks have sprung up here 
since the days when the island passed into the possession 
of the East India Company. Another remarkable feature 
of this part of Bombay is the so-called ropewalk, which 
is said to be equal to any in England (with the single 
exception of the king's yard at Portsmouth). Here rope 


cables and every variety of lesser cordage are manufac- 
tured in great abundance. The workmen can be seen 
seated under covered awnings diligently plying their 
respective occupations some cleaning the caiah, or cocoa- 
nut-husks, others plaiting, and yet again others twisting 
heavy ropes and cords. 

The Bombay dockyard is also worth visiting ; it is ad- 
mirably contrived, and abounds in fine stone warehouses 
well stocked with timber for building and repairing ves- 
sels and ships of all kinds and sizes, with forges, and 
well-instructed Parsees, who, among other qualifications, 
are counted the best ship-carpenters to be found in the 
East. Many of the merchantmen and ships-of-the-line 
in the service of the late East India Company have been 
built here from time to time, and are still built, of Mala- 
bar and Mylonghee teak-wood, which is much esteemed 
throughout India. One of the most magnificent teak 
forests, from which supplies of wood are obtained, lies on 
the north-western boundaries of the kingdom of Siam; 
the other on the western side of the Ghauts and all along 
the mountains lying north and east of the old Portuguese 
town of Bassein. They are floated down to Bombay by 
means of the numerous streams which descend from these 

Another curious feature is the celebrated cotton^press, 
of which there are a great many in use here marvellous 
in themselves, but more striking amid the mountains of 
cotton piled up waiting to be pressed before transportation 
to Europe, China, and other parts of the world. Not very 
far from these one comes upon a square around which 
cluster most of the European warehouses and the banks, 
huge blocks of masonry, dark and dismal as the tomb, im- 
pregnated with the odors of tea, coffee, spices, and every 
other known Indian commodity or manufacture. 


It was my first initiation to the commerce of the world 
to visit this spot. Previous to this day I had hardly so 
much as purchased a ribbon for myself, and could not con- 
ceive what trade really meant. But, driving here about 
ten o'clock one morning, the whole scene dawned upon 
me with peculiar force. The great square was thronged 
with a motley crowd of dark- and white-faced foreigners, 
all eager, jostling, and contending with each amid the con- 
fused hubbub of all languages and all manner of dialects. 
Here were strange specimens of every nationality and 
every phase of life, from the lordly English and Scotch 
merchants, the skilful and assiduous Parsees, to the half- 
nude, wretched-looking fakeers and beggars who haunt 
this spot in the hope of getting a few pice.* 

For six hours these masses of humanity struggle, work, 
barter, buy and sell, load and unload, and carry on the 
strangely-exciting warfare, not of flesh and blood, but of 
pounds, shillings, and pence, straining every nerve each 
to outdo his neighbor, to enrich himself, at great sacrifice 
of life, health, and at times even of honor, in the hope of 
returning to his native land to enjoy the spoils a hope 
which, alas! is realized only in rare instances. 

But at four o'clock, as if by magic, the eager, bustling, 
jostling crowd suddenly vanishes ; the din and confusion 
cease. Long lines of carriages and handsome equipages 
drive up to the great stone warehouses, and dash away 
with their white-faced occupants. Where is now the 
commerce of the world ? Gone with the powerful, all- 
grasping white man. A silence profound as the grave 
succeeds to the rush, noise, and turmoil of the day. In 
less than half an hour not a human being is to be seen 
anywhere, save the solitary begrimed watchmen seated 
here and there in dim nooks and corners, and the armed 
* Pieces of money each of the value of one-fourth of a penny. 


white-faced sentinels standing grim and silent at their 

On this first visit we were the last to quit the scene. 
Nothing ever made so deep and, I might truly say, so 
depressing an impression on my mind as the fierce and 
unnatural activity which pervaded this spot. 

A day or two after we drove through the markets or 
bazaars of the Parsees, or Fire-worshippers, and another 
and peculiar class of native traders called the Borahs the 
two most enterprising of the many different peoples who 
occupy this island. These markets, nearly three miles in 
extent, are perhaps the most picturesque in the world, 
composed entirely of lofty, handsome Oriental houses, 
with projecting lattice windows and wooden balconies 
elaborately carved and hung in many places with rich 
tapestries. The upper stories of the houses are the dwell- 
ings of the merchants and their families ; the lower por- 
tions are given up to stalls, shops, and alcoves where the 
most delicate fabrics and the most exquisite work of all 
kinds are manufactured by native artisans boxes, fans, 
drinking-cups carved out of cocoanut-shells, with stools, 
tables, chairs, and other articles of furniture for the homes 
of European residents, as well as for exportation. Here 
are made kinkaubs, or cloths of gold ; mulmuls, or mus- 
lins, of such transparent texture as to be called " running 
waters ;" and many other articles are wrought out here by 
half-nude, savage-looking men and women with tools of 
the rudest and most primitive kind. Nearly all the Ori- 
ental work done here, though very beautiful and delicate 
of its kind, is imitative, and it lacks that freedom and 
diversity so peculiar to European manufacture. 
, The street that Europeans most visit in this quarter, and 
the best worth seeing for its unmixed and purely Oriental 
character, is called the " Bhendee Bazaar:" It abounds 


in the queerest and most picturesque sights solemn mer- 
chants, turbaned and with long flowing robes, seated cross- 
legged in their dens smoking long hookas ; native women, 
handsomely dressed, in a variety of costumes, and half- 
nude beggars, who seem to beg for fun or for a wager ; 
cripples, vagabonds ; coolies with great heavy burdens on 
their backs, beneath which head and shoulders have dis- 
appeared, and only two bare legs can be seen struggling 
along amid the crowd ; peddlers yelling like fiends ; tur- 
baned Mohammedans ; Hindoo and Parsee ladies closely 
veiled, either on foot or in draped carriages drawn by 
milk-white bullocks instead of horses ; indolent loungers 
sleeping in the shade; dogs yelping and native soldiers 
crushing through this great crowded aisle of the Bhendee 
Bazaar. It is not only full of everything Oriental, but 
everything Occidental, even to the idols so largely manu- 
factured in Europe for the Indian markets from the cost- 
liest gems from the mines of Punnah and Golconda to the 
commonest English prints ; and since the introduction of 
free trade one can absolutely purchase English goods 
cheaper in this market than in the cities where they are 

After visiting Bhendee we came one day upon a most 
interesting portion of the bazaar, the Arabian horse- 
markets. Long lines of stables stretch along for some dis- 
tance, making a noble display of goodly Arabian steeds. 
These splendid high-bred creatures are greatly esteemed 
by the native traders, nawabs, and princes, as well as by 
the rich English merchants, and often bring fabulous 
prices. It was very pleasant to go through these stables 
and see the care and attention bestowed upon the horses 
by the native grooms, who, while washing, feeding, and 
rubbing them down, talk to them as if they were children. 
Our Hindoo scyce, or groom, while grooming his horse 


always told him everything that had happened to him 
during his absence on the previous evening, opening the 
conversation with, "Kaisah hai paiyarah? How art thou, 

Not far off there is a less picturesque but much more 
densely-crowded market called the "Chine Bazaar." It 
runs along the filthiest part of the city, and leads to a 
stone pier devoted to the native population and to the 
loading and unloading of native craft and vessels. The 
people who inhabit this part of the city are chiefly Las- 
cars, or native sailors, and foreigners from different parts 
of the East. On any day and at any hour one may see 
what seems the entire produce of the East piled on this 
stone wharf; merchandise and mankind are in great masses 
here. Every inch of ground is thronged with moving 
forms, presenting a wild masquerade of extravagant dress 
and of the most perfect undress. Everywhere there is 
more filth and dirt than is possible to conceive at first 
sight ; odors of ghee, or clarified butter, and fish in every 
stage of decomposition, assail you amid all manner of 
deafening sounds. 

On one occasion, when visiting this part of Bombay, I 
saw the landing of some pilgrims from Mecca a dirty, 
ill-looking set of men, but the moment they touched land 
the crowd was hushed ; they walked in file counting their 
beads through the parted crowds, who almost to a man 
salaamed in abject reverence to the holy strangers. 

I also saw some beautiful girls landed here, and that 
they were slaves, brought for p_riyate_jaje among the rich 
natives, I could not doubt. I afterward learned that 
women were brought here every year, and disposed of 
privately to fill the hareems of the rich Musulman mer- 
chants in spite of British laws. Riding through these 
bazaars, it has impressed me that whatever Great Britain 


might do for the improvement of the island of BamM Dvi 
in the way of governing it, it would take very many cen- 
turies before she could destroy its purely Oriental cha- 

At one time a very curious organization existed in Bom- 
bay for upward of thirty years, consisting of a body of 
forty or more individuals who bound themselves into a 
sort of secret society, the sole object of which was sys- 
tematic plunder. This society had in its employment 
about three hundred men as subordinates, instructed to 
receive goods stolen from the merchants' ships. The har- 
bor was the chief scene of their secret operations. Here 
those of the members who were on duty were ordered to 
distribute themselves at the various wharves and piers, 
whence boats went off to ships either when loading or 
unloading. These employe's of the secret society either 
detained the boats' crews in conversation, and thus pur- 
loined goods, or hired themselves for a veryjiow sum of 
money to work with them for the night. In this way 
they managed to drop into the water or into another and 
confederate boat some of the goods surreptitiously obtained. 
The plunder was then conveyed openly to the shore, and 
sold by auction next morning, without any attempt at con- 
ct-alinent, so far as the natives were concerned ; and as few 
Europeans frequented this part of the native town, they 
had no fear of detection. It is said that the books of this 
robber society were scrupulously kept, the division of the 
profits made with strict honesty, and, what is more re- 
markable still, two shares of the profits were bestowed on 
charitable institutions among the various tribes and castes 
of Bombay. It was not until the year 1843 that this 
secret robber, society was detected in some wholesale plun- 
der; the chiefs concerned in it were brought to justice 
and the whole thing broken up. 


The late East India Company, in order to protect the 
trade of the country against such societies, as well as 
against the hordes of pirates who have ever since the days 
of Alexander the Great infested the western coast of India, 
found it necessary to maintain an armed marine force. 

Not far from the extreme point of the Oriental bazaars, 
so full of mystery, romance, and dirt, is a spot I have often 
visited, called Co:labaji more properly Kalaaba, or Black 
Water where the sea is of the deepest blue, and where an 
entirely different picture is presented to the eye. Bunga- 
lows, as the better class of Indian houses are called, with 
broad, open, and shady verandahs, each with its beauti- 
fully kept garden, stretch along this promontory, making 
a charming scene. These are the residences of some of 
the wealthiest inhabitants of the island. Bright, airy- 
looking dwellings, nestling amid the most graceful ever- 
green foliage, and standing as they do between two bays, 
they occupy the most beautiful spot in Bombay. 

At the extreme end of this promontory are the Euro- 
pean barracks, built with reference to the exigencies of 
the climate and replete with comfort for the British sol- 
diers and their officers. It is really both pleasing and 
interesting to see that these are well cared for in this 
foreign land; but the curiosity and charm born in the 
native parts of the island, and especially in the bazaars, 
lessen by sure degrees as you see your countrymen quietly 
and comfortably established in a spot with which they 
seem so out of harmony in form and color. On the 
southern extremity of Colabah is the lighthouse, a grace- 
ful circular building standing on a desolate rock which 
stretches far into the sea and commands the entrance to 
the fort. It rises from the sea-level one hundred and fifty* 
feet, flashing its light to the distance of twenty-one miles. 
I remember going to the top of it one moonlight night. 


We remained there two or three hours, and saw the moon 
rise higher and higher, silently scattering the deep shadows 
one by one, revealing the half-hidden beauties of that 
strange shore ; and at length, when she climbed over head 
and looked down in the full splendor of her light, the 
mountain-ridges, feathered with wavy palms, the glim- 
mering peaks and spires of the land, were all magnifi- 
cently pictured in richest and softest colors in the polished 
mirror of the sea. 

The " Maidan^" or Plain, is a fine esplanade in front 
of the fort. Here passing European officers, and those Eu- 
ropeans who are obliged by business or any other circum- 
stance to live within the fort during the cool months, 
erect bungalows ; some of these are remarkably elegant 
buildings, but wholly unfit to resist the violence of the 
monsoon. At the moment that the early showers of rain 
announce the wet season these temporary homes vanish 
and their place is very soon occupied by a vast sheet of 
water. The Esplanade serves to separate the European 
from the native part of the island, the latter being vul- 
garly called the "Black Town." 

Toward the north of the island are scattered many pic- 
turesque and thriving villages amid native groves of man- 
goes, palms, and fine timber trees, cities of the dead, and 
some very interesting ruined portions once occupied by 
the Portuguese conquerors. 

The village of Girgaum, to the south of the island, is, 
however, the most picturesque and most densely popu- 
lated of all these native settlements. No other part of the 
island is so fascinating as night approaches. A blaze of 
light flashing on the surface of huge reservoirs of water, 
on citron- and orange-groves, flooding flagged courtyards 
surrounded with blooming tropical fruits and flowers, the 
brilliant colors and varieties of dress of the numerous at- 


tendants, male and female, together with the groups formed 
by different parties arriving or departing, with the sounds 
of all kinds of music and midnight revelry, altogether 
formed a coup d'ceil which I can never forget, and which 
can be only seen in a tropical climate. Parts of this vil- 
lage, I am told, are entirely given up to the dissipated and 
pleasure-seeking youths who may happen to be beguiled 
by these outward appearances. It presents a very different 
aspect in the morning light ; the cottages amid its palm- 
groves look so quiet and secluded that it is still more attrac- 
tive. In some parts there are vast plantations of cocoa- 
nut trees, with the neat little huts, here and there, of native 
planters stretching toward a portion of the island called 
the Back Bay. 

Lying on the opposite side of the palm-groves of Maza- 
gaum, a fishing village, about an hour's drive over a beau- 
tiful strand brings us to an interesting spot called Breach 
Candy. On our way, especially in the afternoon, we meet 
carriages full of handsome Parsee ladies, generally bril- 
liantly attired in their peculiar costumes, surrounded by 
numbers of happy-looking children, taking their evening 
airing. Grand mohguls and nabobs, driving out in mag- 
nificent European equipages, drawn by two and not infre- 
quently by four spirited Arabian horses, pass rapidly by. 
At length, leaving the grand and princely occupants of all 
these brilliant equipages, we arrive at a spot desolate and 
yet peaceful beyond description the cemeteries of the 
dead of all peoples and all creeds. No sound is heard. 
One solitary Hindoo, robed in pure white, with his bare 
shaved head, is praying over a smouldering spot covered 
with hot ashes, which shows signs of a body having been 
recently burned there. These graves are separated, it is 
true, but hardly distinguishable from one another. Deso- 
late homes of the dead, we cannot tell which are Christian 


and which pagan. All sleep quietly in the same dust. But 
kind nature has decked them in tender living green, with 
here and there a beautiful wild flower, while the ever- 
encroaching sea washes away every year, bit by bit, the 
tombs of Hindoo, Moslem, Jain, Buddhist, and Christian 

There is one place that one should not miss- seeing in 
Bombay, and that is the Pinjrapoore, or the Jain hospital 
for animals. It is one of the most peculiarly Oriental 
institutions in the East, and the largest to be found Jn 
India pagan in everything, even in that disposition which 
has become almost a natural instinct to the Hindoos, the 
Buddhists, and the Jains,* to feel respect not alone for what 
is stronger and more beautiful than themselves, but for 
what is weaker and more helpless, and even hideous. 
The Pinjrapoore is situated in one of the most densely- 
populated portions of the native town. 

We were conducted by two very civil men, low-caste 
Jains, into what appeared a large courtyard. A number 
of low sheds and several other courts ran all round it. 
I must confess I was greatly disappointed in the appear- 
ance of the building itself; it was mean and wretchedly 

* The Jains, a very curious sect found in India proper to-day, and 
known only to the learned in Enrope as the sole representatives in 
Hindostan of the once-numerous adherents to the tenets of Buddhism 
in that region, hold an intermediate place between Buddhists and 
Brahmans, but approach more closely to the Buddhists. They hold 
that Mahavira the hero, their greatest teacher, and the last of a number 
of deified spiritual legislators called by them Tirthankaras, was the pre- 
ceptor of the great Gautama, the Buddha, whose followers embrace 
nearly three-fourths of the human race even to-day. They have, like 
the Brahmans, castes, and abstain most rigorously from flesh of all 
kinds. But, on the other hand, like the Buddhists of Siam, Burmah, 
Japan, etc., they disavow the sacredness of the Vedas and the Hindoo 
gods, but in their place worship twenty-four sanctified legislators or 


dirty. But as for the aspect of the inmates, it was at 
once both ludicrous and pathetic. I felt inclined to laugh 
and cry by turns. Never was such a medley of sick and 
aged animals seen anywhere else. A number of sick oxen 
were undergoing treatment at the hands of several native 
physicians who live near the hospital, and whose sole care 
is to attend to its inmates. One poor old, lean cow was 
having her leg dressed, and she seemed to be pretty con- 
scious of the physician's kind intentions, for she stood per- 
fe^ctly still and quiet during the operation, which must 
have lasted an hour at least. The other aged and sick 
cattle, some blind, others scarred, not a few with bandages 
over their eyes or with halting steps, presented a singularly 
pathetic sight. We passed into several small courtyards 
where cats and dogs and many aged greyhounds find a 
pleasant home. Some of these were old and infirm to 
such a degree that it was painful to look at them. One 
big dog was pointed out to me by one of the men as the 
" bura kahnah wallah," one who delighted in big dinners ; 
they certainly did not aid in fattening him, for he was the 
leanest creature I have ever seen. 

The monkey part of the hospital was the most enter- 
taining. A big ape supported itself on crutches ; another 
sick inmate was lying stretched full length on the floor, 
gazing most piteously into tfie keeper's face. It seemed 
to be an object of deep interest to all the other monkeys, 
who clustered around it. The native doctor shook his 
head solemnly, and if it had been a human being he could 
not have said more tenderly, "Bachara! bachara! whoo 
murta hai " (" Poor thing ! poor thing ! she is dying "). 
Almost all of the infirm inmates looked on their dying 
comrade with peculiar intelligence in their faces, as if they 
had a sort of vague idea of what was happening. As I 
looked on, I could not doubt but that each one had some- 


how divined the meaning of the doctor's foreboding shake 
of the head. 

In these compartments were collected, as it almost 
seemed, every known quadruped and biped on the face 
of the globe. Old elephants, dilapidated buffaloes, de- 
plumed ravens, vultures, and buzzards hobnobbed together 
with gray-bearded goats and most foolish-looking old 
rams ; rats, mice, rabbits, hens, herons, lame ducks, for- 
lorn old cocks, and sparrows, jackals, old owls, and geese, 
live here in harmony side by side. I have been shown 
through palaces which interested me less. 

We waited to see this curious medley of inmates dine. 
When the food which suited each class was being conveyed 
by a band of attendant boys to their various pens, troughs, 
etc., the noise and confusion were deafening. The monkeys 
in particular, with the peacocks birds the most sacred to 
the Hindoos and Jains raised such a howl and were so 
importunate to be served first that we were glad to escape. 
Such is the extreme limit to which Oriental charity is car- 
ried. At first sight it seemed absurd beyond words. 

Nevertheless, there is something very noble and touch- 
ing about this " infirmary " for the brute creation. Every 
one who finds any animal wounded, sick, aged, or dying 
is authorized to bring it here, and here it is really well 
cared for until death comes to relieve it from all suffering. 
Who can estimate the power of an institution that is con- 
tinually caring for the dumb mutes of the animal king- 
dom, who bear not only man's burdens, but his harshness 
and neglect, with the patience of almost sanctified beings ? 

In my first week in Bombay I received an invitation to 
a grand dimieivparty to be given at the house of a rich 

East Indian lady, a Mrs. C , the widow of what is 

called in British India an uncovenanted officer. So great 
is the prestige attached to the word " officer " in the East 



that every man is an officer of some sort or other, from 
the brigadier to the private soldier. A civilian, conse- 
quently, is an uncovenanted officer, and as for the mer- 
chants, they are Mohguls, nabobs, Badishas, or Kuda- 

wunds. Mrs. C 's house was situated near Parel, 

formerly " Nonpareil," a most lovely part of the island. 
Our carriage drove through a long wide avenue of fine 
trees, and brought us before a large one-storied stone 
building, pillared and with a spacious flight of stone steps 
leading to it. On the steps were half a dozen handsomely- 
dressed servants in long flowing white robes called "an- 
grakas," crimson-and-gold striped turbans, and bright blue- 
and-gold cumberbunds, or scarfs, folded round their waists ; 
the effect was certainly striking. These salaamed to us, 
and with stately dignity advanced and helped us to alight. 
We were then shown by another band of ushers, magnifi- 
cently dressed, into a sumptuously furnished apartment, 
where we laid aside our light wrappings. A fresh troop 
of dusky-hued, richly-draped, and turbaned individuals 
marshalled us into the grand drawing-room, where we 
found the rich widow seated on a yellow satin ottoman 
surrounded by a bevy of ladies and gentlemen. The 
ladies all wore low-necked dresses of the most exquisitely 
delicate Indian fabrics, Chinese crapes, gauzes, mulmuls, 
and silks ; and some of them were young and beautiful. 
At dinner numbers of dusky-hued attendants moved 
about us so softly that they did not seem to touch the 
floor with their feet ; gliding noiselessly in and out, offer- 
ing us costly viands and sparkling wines, laying down 
plates and removing them so dexterously as not to make 
the faintest sound, they seemed even to repress their 
breathing. Everything was done with magical effect. 
The punkahs overhead moved softly to and fro ; the light 
fell from cocoanut-oil chandeliers in peculiarly softened 


splendor on the rare flowers, the glass, and the silver 
below. Everything went on with the ease and precision 
of clockwork, without the faintest echo of a click or 
sound. Even those domestics who did not wait at din- 
ner-table stood with arms folded across their breasts under 
the shadows of doors or pillars, waiting their turn to serve, 
and so still and motionless were they that they might 
almost, save for the glitter in their eyes, have passed for 
bronze statues. 

They impressed me very unpleasantly, and that in spite 
of all the laughter and merriment, the exaltation of Brit- 
ish power and British supremacy in India. I had, some- 
how, a feeling of reserved force pervading those mute, 
motionless figures around us, and I involuntarily felt, for 
the first time, that it was a very solemn affair for the 
Briton to be in India luxuriating on her soil and on her 

With those dark, restless eyes watching every turn, 
motion, and expression of our faces, in vain were the 
delicious coffee and the sumptuous dinner, the music of 
the fountains playing before each window. I was anxious 
to escape. If I laughed or talked or moved, those dark 
eyes seemed to observe me, even when they were seem- 
ingly fixed on vacancy. If I had dared, I believe I 
should have risen and gone away. But of course this 
would have been a shocking breach of etiquette, so I sat 
still, hushing secret perturbations and longing for dinner 
to end. 

The conversation continued in a lively strain. I noticed 
that every one seemed to have a pet theory about home 
government and how it could best be administered ; all of 
which I was then too young to comprehend, but I did 
comprehend, and that very painfully, that no one seemed 
to mind those dark, silent, stationary figures any more 


than if they had been hewn out of stone. On coming 
out of that house I drew a long deep sigh of relief and 
felt just as if I had escaped from some imminent danger. 

There are no less than three_government residences in 
the island of Bombay. One is within the walls of the 
fort, used for holding special meetings of the council dur- 
bars, or assemblies, and for various other public business. 
It has little or no architectural beauty, and looks more 
like a stadthouse in a German free city. The one at 
Malabar Point is a charming English cottage, situated 
on a rocky and well-wooded promontory, commanding a 
beautiful view of the sea, and is often washed by the sea- 
spray during stormy weather. The third is at Parel a 
magnificent building, said to have been founded on the 
remains of an old Jesuit college which flourished here 
during the Portuguese supremacy in India. It was 
bought by a Parsee, from whom it was purchased by the 
East India government about a century ago and fitted up 
in its present style. A noble flight of stone steps leads to 
the entrance-hall, whence a fine staircase opens into two 
of the most spacious rooms I have ever seen in Bombay, 
about eighty feet long, one above the other, and each very 
handsomely furnished. It commands a fine view of the 
town and harbor. 

There is a curious rock at the extreme point of Malabar 
Hill which is very difficult to approach at high tide. Here 
are the remains of an ancient Hindoo temple, and a hole 
famous as a place of resort for Hindoo devotees, who 
endure great hardships in order to get access to the hole 
and pass. through it, believing that in doing so they are 
regenerated, born again, and purified from all their sins. 

Among the places worth attention in the neighborhood 
of Bombay are Byculla and Mazagaum. The former has 
a fine English school-house for all classes of children. It 



is placed under the supervision of a number of English 
ladies of high rank, who take turns in visiting it. 

Mazagaum is a very old part of the island of Bombay, 
formerly a fishing village, which its name indicates, but 
now a densely-populated town, inhabited chiefly by the 
descendants of the early Portuguese settlers. The Roman 
Catholic church here is a most venerable and picturesque 
building, standing under the shadow of great forest trees. 
Their foliage is certainly magnificent beyond description. 
The mango, the tamarind, the graceful peepul, and the 
banyan attain great height and breadth, and are covered 
with marvellous specimens of huge parasitic creepers and 
plants forming miles of sheltered walks. The fruit-bear- 
ing trees come to great perfection here. But with all its 
beauty the spot is considered so unhealthy that it is often 
called the " white man's grave." 

I have seldom seen a pleasanter sight than that which 
is presented at Mazagaum on every Sunday morning in 
the year, when the whole native Christian population 
turns out to church almost simultaneously. The streets 
are filled with handsome women and children. The 
women in their long flowing mantles and costumes, half 
Hindoo and half European, are very picturesque. But 
the men and boys present an appearance at once both 
grotesque and ludicrous. Most of them are dressed as 
Europeans, and not a few as English and Portuguese 
generals; gold lace, plumed hats, helmets, and striped 
pantaloons are the prevailing fashion. They seem to 
have no idea of the fitness of things. Their passion for 
European dress is carried to such an extreme that I have 
seen a native * Portuguese sailing down the lane without 

* The descendants of the early Portuguese settlers who have inter- 
married with the Hindoos and other castes of India, and now form a 
very large portion of the population of Bombay and Goa. 


any shoes on his feet, but sporting the military dress, with 
the cocked hat and feathers, of some English general. 
This love of dress is exceedingly queer, but it is quite as 
much a characteristic of the Portuguese men of education 
and culture in India as of the more ignorant and illiterate. 


Malabar Hill, and Domestic Life of the English in Bombay. . 

MY first stay in Bombay was a comparatively short one, 
and was spent partly with friends at Colabah and partly 
in tents on the great green in front of Fort George. 

My stepfather being connected with the engineer or pub- 
lic works department at the military station of Poonah, 
my life for a year or two was passed at that strange city. 
Upon the occasion of my marriage, however, I returned 
to Bombay for a settled residence, from which time I be- 
gan my real experience of life in India. 

We established ourselves at Malabar Hill, in a house 
completely isolated from the rest of the world, where my 
husband and I took up the study of the Sanskrit and 
Hindostanee languages. Malabar Hill is a rocky prom- ~-\ 
ontory on the south of the island of Bombay, and covered 
with beautiful houses, many of which are almost palaces. 
At its highest point, detached and alone, stands a lofty 
tower, the largest " dohkma," or " tower of silence," of the 
Parsees. Here the followers of Zoroaster deposit their 
dead. It is rendered not the less sombre by the birds of 
prey that hover around it in great numbers. 

There are two other and smaller towers of silence on 
the island, all erected in the most isolated positions. No 
one is ever allowed to approach them save the Fire-priests 
and those who carry their dead. These strange towers 
or tombs are mysterious, grand, and barbaric in their very 



forms at their base screened by huge branching trees from 
all human observation, open only to the blue sky ; the free 
air, and the gloomy birds of prey hovering always near. 

On the other side of this much-dreaded spot, and not 
far from a forest of palms which descends in graceful 
undulations to the very base of the hill, stood a solitary 
house, called by every one " Morgan's Folly." For full 
ten years it had found no occupant. Its owner and 
builder, having returned to England with broken for- 
tunes and failing health, had entrusted the renting of it 
to a Parsee agent. By a happy accident this lonely house 
was discovered by my husband, who had it at once re- 
paired, furnished, and fitted up for our use, and here we 
took up our abode after a few weeks' residence at Parel. 

I wish I could do justice to this singular abode, on the 
portals of which the monosyllable " Whim " might fully 
be inscribed. It was the caprice of a rich English cotton- 
merchant, whose love for the feathered tribe amounted to 
an absorbing passion. The house was therefore designed 
and built at great cost to serve the double purpose of hu- 
man and bird habitation. Foolish, capricious, extrava- 
gant, and incorrigible as he was called by every one, I for 
my part conceived an affection for this strange English- 
man who built this fanciful place in which were passed 
the first few years of my married life. 

Two fine roads led to the " Aviary," as we named the 
house, one of which was cut into the hillside and descended 
to the base of the hill, whence at low tide you might step 
from rock to rock away out into the bay. The other was 
connected with a beautiful road wliich winds along Mala- 
bar Hill, affording a favorite carriage-drive for the resi- 
dents of the island. 

As for the house, it was the most curious bit of archi- 
tecture one had ever seen so fanciful, it seemed more like 


something that belonged rather to the mysterious land we 
visit in our dreams than to an actual house made of solid 
stone and wood standing fast, bound to the hard, dull, 
practical earth. 

The building consisted only of two stories, of great 
length, and a high chamber, called the "Teak Tower," 
which rose above the east corner of the house and com- 
manded the most extensive and beautiful views to be 
found anywhere on the island. The upper story was the 
part designed for human habitation. The wood of which 
it was built was a fine-grained teak and very durable. 
The balcony, running all around the upper story, was 
elaborately carved. The lower part was chiefly of stone 
pillars, enclosing a spacious ground-floor united by screens 
of fine open wire wrought in Oriental patterns of the 
Persian rose and the Buddhistic lily. The pillars rested 
firmly on broad stone foundations, and the open wire walls 
let in all the wind, rain, and sunshine that the feathered 
inhabitants for whom the enclosure was intended could 
possibly desire. 

But this was not all : on the ground-floor of the hall 
flourished some beautiful fruit-bearing trees. Right under 
our bedroom chamber stood that most exquisite of Indian 
trees, " the gold-mohur acacia," with its rich clusters of 
golden flowers ; the slender, graceful papiya, with its 
heavy drooping leaves and round fruit of a rich yellow 
when ripe, so much sought after by birds. One gigantic 
baobab, which had stood here, no doubt, for centuries, for 
whose growth and preservation the builder had made 
ample provision by leaving a well or circular opening 
through the lower and upper stories and in the roof, gave 
the house the singular appearance of growing around a 
great tree. Forcing themselves through this opening to 
the sky, the branches of the baobab shot straight up on one 


side and overshadowed the tower chamber, covering it, 
after each rainy season, with masses of fragrant blossoms 
and fine fruit. It was very evident that in the course of 
time there would be, possibly, a prolonged but mighty 
struggle between the house and the tree, which should go 
first, and it was not hard to tell, for already the tree had 
found its way to the open sky, and its branches were seen 
pushing here and there and penetrating the woodwork of 
the chambers adjoining. There were one or two more 
trees that deserve mention. These were a beautiful Chi- 
nese pine and a heart-shaped peepul. The ground-floor 
of this hall was covered with weeds and a perfect jungle 
of brushwood. The gardener told me that it abounded 
in all kinds of reptiles, but I never saw any signs of them 
until some large snakes were called out one morning by a 
party of samp-wallahs, or snake-charmers. The fruit 
trees had long ceased to bear, and were gradually crowd- 
ing out and killing each other. 

All the more rare and beautiful birds with which Mr. 
Morgan had stocked this place had died or taken flight 
to homes less confined ; only a few still remained. Among 
them were the sooruk, or scarlet breast, an exquisite 
singer ; the maina, the Java sparrow, the bulbul or In- 
dian nightingale, and the zeenah, a little quarrelsome 
brown and red-spotted bird, all hardy birds. They lin- 
gered here, partly from association and partly because of 
the grain still thrown in and around the " Aviary " morn- 
ing and evening by the pious Hindoo employed by the 
Parsee agent to look after the garden. 

The tower chamber was our favorite sitting-room be- 
cause of its splendid views and being removed from the 
noise and vicinity of our servants. It was simply fur- 
nished a table, a few chairs, mostly of cane, a couple of 
sofas and a Persian carpet, with gauze nettings to every 


door and window to keep out our worst foes, the gnats, 
flies, and mosquitoes. The rest of the house was fur- 
nished with the same severe simplicity; there were no 
curtains, no blinds, no carpets ; the floors as well as the 
walls were painted in subdued half-tints, which gave them 
the air of being very handsomely fitted up. 

In this place I began my first attempt at housekeeping 
in the East, and I can truly say, without the least exag- 
geration, that for months the house kept itself and my 
numerous servants kept me. To begin with, there were 
too many servants for so quiet and unpretending a house- 
hold, but I soon found it would be still more difficult to 
do with fewer : " dustoor" custom, was flung into my face 
morning, noon, and night. I implored my husband to 
send half of them away, but if he sent one off, either the 
whole gang disappeared like a flash or else the work of 
the banished servant was scrupulously avoided by every 
one in the establishment. There was, in short, a servant 
for every distinct thing to be done in the house. There 
was a khansamah, or native butler, a high-caste Hindoo, 
who was supposed to keep all the servants in order, but 
who invariably incited a revolution in the camp if I 
wished anything to be done my way and not his. Then 
there was a cook, a Ming (a name for a certain race natives 
of Madras), who got drunk whenever we happened to have 
friends to dinner; there was a cook's mate, who was in- 
clined to be musical just as we were going to sleep ; there 
was a buttee-wattah, or lamplighter, a stripling, some near 
relation of the butler's, whose friends and relatives were 
always dying, and who asked permission three times in 
the course of a few months to be allowed to go and bury 
his mother. When I very gently, because of his flowing 
tears and doleful expression of face, reminded him that he 
had already buried or burned her twice, he burst into a 


passionate sob and said, " Oh ! that one was my aunt's 
mother, and the last one my father's mother, but this is 
my own, own mother." Of course I had to let him go off 
for two or three days, and the butler too, who was also a 
mourner. Then there were besides these an ayah, or 
lady's-maid; a dhoby, or washerman, who came to the 
house once a week for the clothes, and stayed away some- 
times for three weeks, owing to that chronic epidemic, 
death, in the family ; a bheestie, who filled the tubs in the 
bathroom with water, and did nothing else; a jarroo- 
wallah, who only came each morning and swept the house 
and grounds, and then disappeared till the next time ; a 
coachman, a groom, a pundit, or professor of Oriental lan- 
guages ; and lastly, a tailor, whose name was Tom. He, 
Tom, was a Portuguese Christian, and attended to the 
mending of the household linen and the making of our 
clothes. He was the least manageable of the whole lot. 
He would not answer to the name " boy," a generic name 
for servants in India and a corruption of the Hindostanee 
word bhai, brother, but insisted on being called "Tom." 
This put me very often into an awkward position, as this 
was the familiar name by which I had learned to call my 
husband, not knowing that there was another "Tom" 
attached to him from his bachelor establishment. Once 
or twice, forgetting this fact, I happened to call " Tom ! 
Tom !" after my husband, who was hurrying off to town, 
when who should pop into my chamber but the grinning 
tailor-boy, balancing a pair of huge scissors on his right 
ear and with a number of needles full of long threads 
stuck into his woolly head, which served him as a needle- 
case ? There was nothing left me but to change my hus- 
band's name. 

But this was by no means the beginning and end of 
my troubles of housekeeping in Bombay. I happened to 


awake very early one Sunday morning. It was a lovely 
sunrise : the first blush of dawn was mounting the horizon ; 
the trees in the garden were unfolding their leaves ; birds 
of all colors were perched upon their branches opening 
their " ruby eyes " on a newly-born day. But as I stood 
there, entranced with the beauty of a tropical sunrise, my 
eyes fell on the figure of Tom the tailor going off to early 
mass attired in my husband's best dress-coat and an em- 
broidered vest which had been a chief object of my girl- 
ish admiration. In addition to these he sported pointed 
shoes, worked stockings one of the finest pair in my 
possession and a frill six inches deep projecting from his 
shirt-front, with a huge cocked hat, over which he held 
one of my smallest parasols to protect him from the mild- 
est of morning suns, which had only just mounted the hill- 
side. When I remonstrated with him on his return from 
chapel, he burst into a passion of tears and sobs and flood- 
ed me with such replies as these : " Your godship, you are 
my father and mother ; an unkind, unjust word from your 
divine voice will break your poor slave's heart and consign 
him in the prime of his youth to a lonely and desolate 
grave," etc. I absolutely began to feel that he w r as the 
injured party, and that I was anything but a kind, gen- 
erous mistress and a Christian. It ended in my present- 
ing him with the clothes he had worn, but nevertheless 
he went about the house for days in a state of sorrowful 
dejection at my unkindness, which he persisted in saying 
had caused his heart to bleed to death. 

Not long after this in a rash moment we resolved to 
give a dinner-party to some of our friends in Bombay, 

and to invite the rich East Indian widow, Mrs. C , 

who had shown us many kindnesses. Never in my life 
did I pass through a more perplexing and fiery ordeal. 

The viands were all ordered and sent from town, and 


had arrived in good season. But no sooner had they 
been deposited in the kitchen than the butler reported, in 
his quiet and unconcerned manner, that the cook had gone 
off to town to get help, and would probably not return in 
time to prepare the dinner. The butler and the lamp- 
lighter were Hindoos, and could not touch beef or ham, 
or, in fact, any kind of flesh. The butler had no objec- 
tion to putting these articles on the table when cooked, 
but as for cooking them, he would lose caste. There was 
nothing left to be done but for Tom the tailor-boy and I 
who, being Christians, had no such scruples to set 
about and cook the dinner. 

About four o'clock everything was in a fair way toward 
being cooked, the capons, ham, soup, and vegetables were 
all in their places on the fire, when suddenly the cook 
returned, looking very strange; I thought he was only 
tired and sleepy. He insisted on taking possession of the 
kitchen, declaring that it almost broke his heart to see me 
spoiling my nice dress and ruining my complexion over 
the fire. "What am I good for," said he, striking an 
attitude and looking queerer than ever, "but to cook 
you a grand dinner and be your slave for ever ?" Thus 
assured, I quitted the kitchen with all the dinner cooking 
away at great speed, and betook myself to making various 
other preparations. It was almost the dinner-hour before 
I was fairly through with the glasses and dessert and a 
thousand and one of the many requirements of a Euro- 
pean dinner-party. No sooner had I put the last touches 
to my toilette than my husband returned with two unex- 
pected guests, which called my attention at once, so that 
I had no opportunity to revisit the kitchen to see that all 
was as it should be. 

The last of the guests had no sooner arrived than the 
butler threw open the dining-room door and announced in 


a solemn tone, " Kannah teyar hai Sahibloke " (" Dinner 
waits, ladies and gentlemen"). 

We marched gayly in, eager, happy, and very hungry. 
But, alas ! no sooner was the soup-tureen uncovered than 
I divined from my husband's expression that something 
was wrong. The soup was sent away with some playful 
apology, but when dish after dish was set on the table, 
uncovered, and removed without my husband's even mak- 
ing a pretence of offering the guests anything to eat, it was 
too much for me. 

At this juncture kind-hearted Mrs. C came to my 

rescue by saying, " Let us all go off to the kitchen and 
find out what is the matter with the cook," and coming to 
my side, gave me an opportunity to recover myself, which 
I did under her gentle smile and oft-repeated adage, " My 
dear, accidents will happen in the best regulated families." 

The gentlemen returned from their survey of the kitchen 
and reported that the -cook was "drunk and sound asleep 
in the middle of the floor," and that the remainder of the 
dinner was burnt to cinders, but still in the pots on the 
range. If it had not been for the kind-hearted Mrs. 

C , I do not know what we should have done. She 

insisted on our all driving out to her house and taking 
tea with her. 

I must not omit to mention another incident which is 
characteristic of life in India. My husband was in the 
commissariat department of the army, and had a great 
deal to do with native dealers. The Parsees, however, 
because of their honesty, had the monopoly of the con- 
tracts for supplying the British troops in Bombay. One 
morning a number of Boralis* were ushered into the 

* The Borahs are natives of Guzerat, converted to Islamism about 
five and a half centuries ago*. They are remarkable for their extraor- 
dinary intelligence in trade. The name " Borah " signifies merchant 


" Aviary," and laid before me on the table what seemed 
to be a tray filled with sugar candy, raisins, and almonds. 
Not understanding the meaning of this gift, and not hav- 
ing quite outgrown my love for sweets, I took up a hand- 
ful of the good things, when, to my surprise, I found 
lying below the candy a number of gold coins called 
"mohurs." I hastened to inform my husband of the 
magnificent present waiting for him, but he no sooner 
heard of it then he turned the Borahs out, tray and all. 
It was simply an attempt to obtain contracts by bribery. 
The Borahs seemed in no way discomfited ; they bowed 
most politely on my husband's prompt dismissal, and de- 
parted as if it were with them no unusual occurrence to 
be turned out of doors. 

Such are some few of the most prominent features of 
housekeeping and life in India. 

The native servants have some good points, however. 
They will rarely quit your service, even to better their 
fortunes, unless driven away. They contrive, too, to have 
their own way without ever being disrespectful to you. 
They bow or salaam at all times, move so softly about the 
house with bare feet that you hardly ever know that they 
are there, and, on the whole, they attend pretty well to 
their own peculiar province in the household ; but as for 
helping in what is not their province, it is not to be 

They are never away a day except for sudden deaths, 

in the Guzerati dialect. These Borahs are a distinct sect, followers of 
one Moolah Allih, who is buried in the old city of Cambay. They 
pay reverence to Mohammed Hussain, called in the records of the 
Crusaders "The Prince of the Assassins" and also "the Old Man of 
the Mountains." They transmit a fifth of their gains to the Saiyads 
of Medinah, and pay eleemosynary contributions to the chief of their 
learned men, who distribute alms among the poor. (See Asiatic Re~ 
searches, paper by H. T. Colebrook.) 


which take place in the various branches of their friends 
or relatives once a week, on an average. They are always 
clean, arrayed in their long flowing white robes and hand- 
some turbans, and they never address you without some 
flattering or grandiloquent phrase, which helps not a little 
to smooth over your wounded pride. 

Our pundit,* Govind, was not a servant, but a high- 
bred gentleman. He came to the " Aviary " morning and 
evening to give us lessons in Hindostanee and Sanskrit. 
He was a learned high-caste Brahman and a remarkably 
interesting specimen of a Hindoo gentleman. 

Almost directly to the right of the " Aviary " was the 
government summer-house already mentioned ; just oppo- 
site, situated on the summit of a steep acclivity overlook- 
ing the sea, was a grand stone house, the home of our^ 
Parsee friend and commissariat contractor. On the west, 
embowered in a thick grove of mango and tamarind trees, 
was the prettiest of little Hindoo villages, the village of 
Walkeshwar, sacred to the god of the strand or beach. 

We spent a day here on a certain festal occasion accom- 
panied by Govind, our pundit. We lunched under the 
porch of the Hindoo temple by permission obtained 
through our pundit. Perfectly nude dusky children were 
clambering about the stones watching us with eager curi- 
osity. Our visit here was to witness the feast of Rama, the 
hero of one of the Hindoo epic poems, Ramay&na, and 
his wife, Seeta, which did not begin until the afternoon. 
Hindoo women, black-eyed and singularly graceful in 
their movements, adorned with gayly-colored robes and 
most antique-looking bracelets and armlets, went to and 
from the pool, still called " Rama Talai," or Rama's Pool, 
bearing water in jars piled in tiers on their heads, others 
bathing and frolicking in the pool. There were at the 

* A professor of Sanskrit or other branches of Indian literature. 


same time some dozen Brahman priests at prayer, seem- 
ingly abstracted from the scenes around them, going 
through with all kinds of motions with their bodies while 
their lips moved incessantly, but inaudibly, in prayer and 
praise. Our pundit told us that this was the traditional spot 
where the hero Rama rested when on his way to Lanka 
(Ceylon) to recover from the tyrant Rawana his beautiful 
wife, Seeta. 

The Rama Talai stands in a group of small temples 
some of which are very pretty surrounded by gardens. 
About two in the afternoon the officiating priests began to 
arrive, followed by thousands of Hindoos. The doors of 
the temple were thrown open to all comers. The priests 
placed themselves at the foot of the shrines, on each of 
,which were several idols Siva, the chief god, above, and 
Rama and Seeta below. The people poured forth their 
offerings to the priests. Those who could not get into the 
temples pressed around the sacred pool, throwing them- 
selves into its holy waters and coming out free from all 
impurities. A great many young women with peculiarly 
interesting faces were kneeling outside of the temples and 
praying, with their eyes closed and their hands folded, for 
some especial blessing. It was an interesting sight, but for 
the fakeers and gossains, who make a disgusting spectacle 
of themselves, and, strange to say, are encouraged by the 
pure, mild, and modest Brahman priests to do so. As it 
was, we returned home shocked with the nudity and filth 
of these sacred beggars, but very much impressed with 
the perfectly pure and religious nature of the Hindoos, 
who have very beautiful forms and faces, and even those 
that are not absolutely beautiful have so much grace and 
gentleness about them that they attract the eye and re- 
main impressed on the memory with something of the 
charm of a beautiful painting. 



The Island of Shashtee, commonly called Salsette. Gharipoore, " the 
Town of Purification," or the Island and Caves of Elephanta. 

EARLY one morning, after almost a week's preparation 
for the trip, we found ourselves in a large roomy bunder- 
boat flying before the wind straight for the beautiful island 
of Salsettej. which lies to the north and is united to the 
smaller island of Bombay by a causeway erected during 
the administration of Governor Duncan, chiefly to enable 
the natives of the larger islands to bring their produce to 
the Bombay markets. 

Presently we entered upon a wonderful river, flowing 
through the land out of the sea and dividing this island 
from the continent, at the very mouth of which are the 
bleak, barren island and mountains of Trombav^ the latter 
rising up nine hundred feet high. We passed along reefs 
of gold, now over wide swamps, our boat riding above and 
crushing down the tall waving grass, and anon we would 
suddenly shoot almost within touch of dark hollow caverns, 
and looking up see the high beetling cliffs piled one above 
the other, surmounted by the ruins of some of old Portu- 
guese or Mahratta forts or castles, covered with wild flowers 
and huge creeping plants. The scenes along the banks of 
this river are wild and romantic enough to satisfy the most 
enthusiastic lover of nature. We cast anchor at length at 
Tannah, having reached "a land all sun and blossom, trees 
as high as heaven, amid every bird that sings." 

Tannah, the chief town of the island of Salsette, was 



taken by the troops of the East India Company in the 
year 1774, and by a treaty then entered into the Mah- 
ratta king, Raghu Nauth, ceded in perpetuity to the com- 
pany Bassein with its dependencies, the island of Salsette, 
the entire districts of Jainbhosir and other valuable prov- 
inces adjoining it in Guzerat. It is chiefly inhabited by 
Roman Catholic Christians, the majority of whom are con- 
verts from Hindooism. The interior of the island is in- 
habited by a peculiar tribe of peasants who are to this day 
in a condition as wild as the Bheels and Konds of Guzerat 
and Central India. These peasants are burners of char- 
coal ; they dwell together among the hills, but apart from 
all other tribes, and have neither intercourse nor any social 
bond with the Hindoos of the plain. At stated times they 
bring down their loads of charcoal in rude carts drawn by 
buffaloes to particular spots, whence it is carried away by 
the Hindoo or Portuguese buyer, who, according to a set- 
tled custom among them, deposits in its place rice, clothing, 
and iron tools. This excessive shyness is said to be owing 
to the contempt in which the natives, as outcasts, are held 
by their Hindoo neighbors. 

We were met on our landing by a very polite and 
obliging native Portuguese, the elder brother of my hus- 
band's tailor Tom, in whose company we walked about 
the town and at whose house we stayed during our visit. 

Tannah, the chief town of the island of Salsette, takes 
its name from the beautiful river which flows at its base, 
and which was anciently called Tainnah-D&o, " the Limb 
of God." It runs deep and narrow in front of the town. 
It is a place of great antiquity, probably dating back to 
the days of Vicramaditya, of whose universal and benef- 
icent rule, 57 B. C., tradition is yet eloquent throughout 
India. The ruins here are few and not very interesting. 
There are some massive walls of a great square building 


that was once a Mahratta citadel, and some ponderous old 
arches that have fallen and are now covered with beautiful 
wild creepers ; also a Hindoo temple, a vast, shapeless mass 
of architecture, but almost animate with the innumerable 
gods and goddesses that grin and smirk at one from every 
cornice and entablature of the building. There is here a 
small but perfect little fortress, from which, during the 
last Mahratta war, the famous Trimbukjee escaped, occu- 
pied by a small European garrison. The government 
prison is also well worth visiting. "We were surprised to 
see the manner in which the prisoners of all ranks, creeds, 
and nationalities worked together within these walls. Most 
of the prisoners, however, were of the Takhor race. They 
were busily employed in the manufacture of very valuable 
striped cotton stuffs much prized by the natives for scarfs, 
cumberbunds, and waist-cloths. 

The cavern temples that are found in this island are 
the chief objects of interest. 

On the morning following our arrival, furnished with 
two guides and accompanied by our pundit, we started 
off to visit some of these remarkable excavations in the 
mountains that stretch across the middle of this island. 
At first, the road, though very narrow and rugged, lies 
through a most beautiful valley formed by hills of mod- 
erate height, covered with forests to their summits, with 
here and there patches of bare rock, while the ravines and 
the valley itself were planted with groves of mangoes and 
several varieties of the palm. For some time we saw but 
few traces of inhabitants ; we passed during a ride of more 
than eight miles but one small village, a collection of most 
miserable-looking huts, a few half-starved looking chil- 
dren, and a troop of pariah dogs, who rushed out to bark 
at us. 

At another small village, named Vlar^we came upon 


what seemed a jungle, open in some parts and in others 
densely thick, abounding in hyenas, tigers, panthers, and 
the wild-boar ; passing through this 'with anything but 
pleasurable feelings, we reached Toolsej, named after a 
famous Hindoo goddess who, like the Greek Clytie, loved 
some Hindoo god, and was by him, out of pity for her 
unrequited passion, transformed into the beautiful toolsey- 
plant, whence her name. This is a lovely spot, encircled 
with hills, the highest of which is Khennari, its face per- 
forated with no less than one hundred cavern temples. 
Under a fine banyan tree which stands in an open plain 
we passed the night. In northern latitudes one can form 
no idea of the peculiar beauty of the night with a bright 
moon shining overhead. 

Almost at dawn next morning we set off for the tem- 
ples. The ascent to the Khennari Hills is somewhat 
steep and difficult, but after a hard climb we gained a 
platform, and was confronted by a stone porch leading 
into an arched cavern temple of great majesty and beauty. 
These cavern temples are scattered over both sides of a 
high rocky hill at many different elevations, consisting of 
no less than six stories or tiers of caverns, of various sizes 
and forms, all excavated out of the rocky surface of the 
mountain and connected with each other by narrow stone 
steps cut in the rock. The facades and great court are 
most imposing. 

Entering through a fine lofty portico, we saw a little to 
the left hand a curious octagonal pillar, detached from the 
rock and surmounted by three well-carved lions seated 
back to back. Passing this, we were suddenly introduced 
into an elaborately carved vestibule, at the end of which 
is a colossal statue of Buddha, with his hands raised in 
the attitude of benediction. The stone screen which here 
separates the vestibule from the body of the temple is 


covered with a row of male and female figures half nude ; 
the expression of the faces of these figures is remarkably 
calm and thoughtful, and the whole is executed with con- 
siderable spirit. Above them the rocks are carved into a 
profusion of graceful sculptures. 

The great temple or cave is divided into three aisles 
by regular colonnades of octagonal pillars; of these, the 
twelve on each side nearest the entrance are ornamented 
with exquisitely carved bases and capitals in the style usual 
in Indian temples. The arch of the vault is occupied by 
a dagoba or mausoleum, perhaps of some early disciple of 
Buddha. It is cylindrical in the shaft and surmounted by 
a cupola. On the right and left of the portico are two 
colossal figures of Buddha, perhaps twenty feet in height.* 
The ceiling of this cave is arched semicircularly and or- 
namented with slender ribs of fine teak-wood, disposed as 
if for the support of the ponderous dome overhead, but 
in reality for the floral decorations which on solemn occa- 

* The following extract from Dr. Bird's Caves of Western India may 
prove interesting to the curious reader: 

" The tope (a monument erected over a Buddhist relic, sometimes 
resembling a pagoda) at Khanari was opened by me in 1839. The 
largest, being selected for examination, was penetrated from above to 
the base, which was built of stone. In this tope the workmen found 
two small copper urns, in one of which were a ruby, a pearl, and a 
small piece of gold mixed with the ashes. In this urn there was also 
a small gold box containing a piece of cloth ; and in the other ashes 
(probably of some cremated saint) and a silver box were also found. 
Outside, a circular stone was found, and to it were fixed two copper 
plates in the Salh or cave characters. The inscriptions read thus: 
' Whatever meritorious acts proceed from cause of these the source 
Tathagata (Buddha) has declared ; the opposing principle of these the 
great one of golden origin has also demonstrated ; ' or, in other words, 
Whatever merit may proceed from these acts, Buddha has explained its 
source to you, and also the opposite principle of these acts ; he has also 
demonstrated to you the one of golden origin. This discovery estab- 
lishes the fact that these caves are of Buddhist origin, and probably 
date from the beginning of the Christian era." 


sions were hung from them. A flight of steps cut into 
the same mountain leads by various intricate paths to 
smaller caves or cells, consisting only of a portico and two 
small chambers, with everywhere seats for the disciples or 
the recluse cut into the rock. To each cave there is a cis- 
tern for the preservation of rain-water, some larger and 
more elegantly carved and finished than others. The 
whole appearance of this excavated hill of Khennari is 
that of a Buddhist monastic city, the cells and temples, 
the apartments and cisterns, hewn in the rocky sides of 
the mountain. 

On Sunday we attended the Roman Catholic church, 
which is a stone's throw from the home of our Portuguese 
friends. Early on Sunday morning the streets were filled 
with men, women, and children, entirely of the Portuguese 
population. The men were, with a few exceptions, quietly 
dressed in the ordinary European attire, which the ma- 
jority don only on stated occasions, with the black silk hat 
of modern fashion, carrying prayer-books, fans, and foot- 
stools of the ladies of their party. It was a pleasant sight. 
The Portuguese here are entirely independent of the Ro- 
mish Church, and from simple contact have adopted the 
mode of life and a great many superstitions of the Hin- 
doos. One finds everywhere in India not only Hindoo- 
ized Mohammedans, but Hindooized Christians. Their 
priests are natives of the country, under the jurisdiction 
of the archbishop of Goa, who is a sort of Indian pope. 
Their worship is so much more pagan than Christian that 
when in a Roman Catholic church in any part of India 
one finds it difficult to believe that it is not the worship 
of Khrishna or Brahm. 

The native Portuguese are darker than the darkest of 
the better class of Indians, showing a mixed and degener- 
ate race. 


I accompanied our host and his family to church. The 
children were charming with their little pink trowsers, 
lace over-slips, pink shoes, and were adorned with jewels ; 
the only difference between the dresses of the little boy 
and the girls was that the boy sported a hat like that 
seen in the pictures of Bonaparte, which gave him a most 
whimsical air, and the little girls had white handkerchiefs 
tied neatly under their chins. I took little Marium's 
hand, and off we went ; looking toward the deep flowing 
river, I saw a string of Brahman priests marching sol- 
emnly along the steep banks preparatory to beginning 
their morning services, for our Sabbath is also their day 
of sacrifice and prayer to Suriya, the sun-god. I was 
very much tempted to abandon my Christian friends and 
follow the Brahman priests, but I restrained myself, and 
was soon within the temple of Jesus Christ. I say de- 
signedly the temple of Jesus Christ. It was crowded with 
images perhaps one ought to say idols of God the 
Father, Christ the Son, the Virgin Mother, and the Holy 
Ghost, besides quantities of relics, sacred vessels, tapers, 
candles, incense-burners swinging from the roof, flowers 
both natural and artificial, and all kinds of beads and 
shells on the altar. High above the altar was a great por- 
celain figure of the Virgin jewelled and crowned as queen 
of heaven, with her arms stretched out in benediction. 

We pressed in. The service had not begun. All the 
men, women, and children prostrated themselves some at 
full length ; others, being crowded for room, squatted 
down and touched the brick pavement with their out- 
spread open palms and then their foreheads ; after which 
the rich, among whom were classed my friends, took their 
seats, and the crowd remained kneeling on the bare floor. 
Presently the priests, of whom there were no less than a 
dozen, appeared, gaudily dressed in tinsel and lace, and 


took their places before the altar, keeping their heads 
covered. Now the service began, which consisted of some 
chants in a kind of Latin known only to the priests, and 
not fully understood even by them, with dressings and 
undressings, perpetual genuflexions, turning from the 
altar to the people, swinging of censers, marching and 
countermarching with the baby figure of Christ and a 
pretty wax doll which represented the mother ; these the 
men, women, and children kissed with apparently genuine 
pleasure. This done, boys dressed as angels in long white 
robes and with wings attached to their shoulders, entered, 
each bearing a lighted candle and a lily, as do the Buddh- 
ists at prayer, chanting some beautiful hymn, of which no 
one understood a word, and even the music was wild and 
Oriental. Then finally came the ringing of multitudinous 
little bells (another Buddhist custom when about to ex- 
hibit a tooth or any other relic of Buddha), and up rose 
the Host, as large as an ordinary fan, composed of glutin- 
ous rice. In the centre was a white spot, and around it 
rays of gold proceeding outward. All fell upon their 
faces ; little Marium and I alone were the lookers-on, but 
suddenly my gentle hostess gave her little daughter a vig- 
orous push, which sent her head foremost to the floor, 
whispering, " The body of God ! " I bowed my head out 
of respect for the poor human hearts that worshipped here, 
and not without a deep sense of humiliation at witnessing 
the complicated and ingenious ceremonies by which these 
ecclesiastics, an outgrowth of the Church of Rome, culti- 
vate and foster the credulity and ignorance of the people, 
whom they teach to rely more on certain forms and the 
supernatural agencies of the Virgin and relics of deceased 
saints than upon religious and moral truths. After the 
"body of God" a bone of some martyred Indian saint 
who had been converted to Christianity was held up for 


adoration ; again the people bowed down ; and then came 
the end, the benediction, amid more ringing of bells and 
swinging of censers. 

Who can witness these imbecilities and not hold the na- 
tive Portuguese clergy accountable for withholding the 
true knowledge, the simple teachings of Jesus, the true 
Bread of life, and for substituting superstitions and page- 
antries not one whit superior to, but in some respects even 
more degrading than, the most debasing paganism which 
they have supplanted ? Forms are the same, the names 
alone have been changed ; otherwise, the Roman Catholic- 
ism I have everywhere witnessed in India is essentially the 
same as the lowest forms of paganism. 

Before dawn next morning we took leave of our kind 
friends, and in our comfortable bunder-boat started for the 
island of Elephanta, or Gharipooie, After a couple of 
hours or more of pleasant sailing we reached the island. 
I found it larger and more beautiful than I had expected. 
A good part of it is under cultivation, especially all around 
a village of tolerable size, above which a couple of clearly- 
defined hills rise from the sea to a considerable height. 
The view as you ascend to the right is simply magnificent : 
the twin mountains seem to be knit together by a grand 
old forest, the one rising slightly higher than the other. 
The name " Elephanta " was given to it, some say, by the 
Greeks, others by the Portuguese conquerors ; however that 
may be, the name of the caves was anciently " Ghari- 
poore," or, "the Town of the Rock," or, according to 
some, "the Town of Purification." 

We ascended a long flight of stone steps, in the wake 
of a party of fakeers, Hindoo priests, and half-nude men 
beating tomtoms, which at length brought us to a very 
handsome and spacious platform shaded with some fine 
old trees. 


Here the party of Hindoo priests, drummers, and fa- 
keers sat down to rest, while we went on a short distance 
and reached the entrance to the famous caves of Ele- 
phanta. The principal cave is of great extent, excavated 
out of the solid rock ; the colossal columns of the portico 
seem to hold up the mountain above them. On either 
side of the entrance great creepers come down in heavy 
masses over the mountain. Rows and rows of columns 
handsomely ornamented appear within, growing beauti- 
fully less in the distance and vanishing amid gloomy 
shadows and a thousand fantastic shapes. The gateway 
or porch is still in excellent preservation ; it leads directly 
through the heart of the mountain. The different shrines, 
which contain objects of Hindoo worship, are placed on 
each side. In the centre there is seen by the light of 
torches a majestic altar of stone, now in a state of decay, 
supporting a gigantic bust of three noble heads, two of 
which are in profile. The Hindoo Trinity, Maha DSo, the 
Great God, commonly called Brahm, the Hindoo Creator, 
occupies the centre in full relief. The eyes are half closed, 
the expression serene and tranquil. It seems to be carved 
from a living model, and is a perfect Oriental ideal of 
masculine beauty, with the delicate and refined outline of 
the features and the deep contemplation expressed in those 
large downcast eyes. The forehead is crowned with a 
lofty diadem exquisitely carved, not unlike the mitres 
worn by the bishops of the Roman Church ; the right 
arm, which is very much broken, once grasped the head 
of a cobra da capello, which, our pundit explained to us, 
here typifies in its sublimest sense the masculine or crea- 
tive energy of the world. 

Siva, to whom this cavern temple is said to be dedicated, 
and who is seen in another compartment with his consort 
Parvati, with a chaplet of skulls round his neck, eight- 

v& . : . ''.. ' 


handed, and bearing the cobra, and whose name in San- 
skrit signifies either happiness or pleasure, is seen in profile 
on the right. In a hand outstretched from the altar he 
also grasps a cobra, but with its hood extended wide. In 
his hand the character *of the symbol is transformed with 
the god into that of the avenger or destroyer. The god's 
mouth is distorted with grimaces, and he puts out the tip 
of his tongue, by which, according to our pundit and 
guide, he mocks at the sensualist, and says as plainly as 
our Bible, " The wages of sin is death." 

On the left side of Maha Deo is Vishnu, in the grand 
character of preserver; the head is very noble and the 
face of no common beauty ; it wears a tender and smiling 
expression. He no longer holds the symbol at once of 
masculine creative energy and of sensuality, but a peculiar 
oblong lotos-shaped cup or flower, the higher and purer 
symbol of maternity. Our pundit gave this wonderful 
bit of sculpture, which reaches from the low altar to the 
ceiling of the temple, the name of "Maha Trimourtri, 
the Great Three-in-One." By some it is called Bhava 
Natria, "Love threefold." Whatever else it may be 
called, it certainly makes a wonderful impression seen 
high above from the principal aisle, guarded on all sides 
by gigantic and well-proportioned caryatides. The shape 
of the largest cave is cruciform and resembles the plan of 
an ancient basilica. 

The massiveness and strength of the pillars, which find 
their deep foundations in the earth below, supporting the 
elephant-shaped mountain above, is rendered more and 
more striking by the thousand and one scenes of Hindoo, 
and particularly Saivic,* mythology, in part solemn and 

* The Saivi Hindoos are those who worship Siva or Shiva, one of 
the Brahman Trinity, as chief god ; the lingam or phallus is sacred to 
him. Their chief act of worship is performed on the fourteenth night 


majestic, and in part grotesque and absurd, that fill every 
part of the walls ; gods and goddesses, heroes and .mon- 
sters, almost stand out of the rocks. Here are carved 
strong and clear the story of the babe Krishna and the 
slaughter of the infants by his uncle Cansa. Everywhere 
are curious and venerable specimens of sculpture, which, 
though shamefully mutilated in parts, still show so high 
an advance in art, and possess so indescribable an aspect 
of animated life, that one half expects the stone figures to 
move or to speak. A great number of the pillars have 
been undermined by the accumulation of water in the cav- 
ern temple ; the capitals of some and parts of the shafts 
of others remain suspended from the ceiling like huge 
stalactites. Enormous creepers and trees have forced 
themselves through certain cracks and crevices in the 
mountain, and the whole scene is very wild and pagan ; 
which enhances the beauty and mysterious appearance of 
the caves. 

On going through a passage guarded by stone lions the 
pundit took a little tin box out of his pocket, opened it, and 
scattered some odoriferous snuff on the head of the lions, 
and then took a little pinch himself. His explanation 
was, that he had taken cold, and snuff was his remedy for 
it. "But," said I, "the stone lions haven't taken cold 
too ?" " Oh, that," said he, " was a propitiatory offering, 
lest I should sneeze in their sacred presence." 

of the dark half of every moon. They fast during the day, and at 
night repair to their temples, repeat the names of their god of which 
there are no less than one thousand, all expressive of certain spiritual 
and physical qualities, passions, acts, etc. pour the leaves of the bheel 
tree, sacred to Shiva, because they are heart-shaped, over the lingam, 
then rub it with oil, and finally sprinkle it with consecrated water. At 
the Shivaratri, or the night of Shiva, which falls once a year on a dark 
night, a fair is held at the caves of Elephanta during the day, and a 
night-vigil from eight o'clock till five in the morning, accompanied 
with music, prayer, and other strange ceremonies. 


As we went out of the great stone porch the declining 
sun sent a long line of light through the aisle, the wind 
blew softly, and the island stretched away green and 
beautiful, surrounded with the sea all a-glitter with the 
rosy hues of the setting sun. In many places we noticed 
traces of color, but everywhere are to be seen the ruthless 
mutilations this cave has suffered both from the conquer- 
ing Mohammedan and Portuguese soldiers ; most of the 
colossal statues are defaced and broken, the arms and 
limbs of innumerable figures are prostrate. Long lines 
of pictured story and inscriptions are effaced, but there 
are still standing rows and rows of gods and goddesses, 
their heads crowned with garlands. These figures, al- 
though much defaced, still show that the artist carved 
some of the female forms with only one breast, like the 
famed Amazons of Greek story. The temple or city of 
purification was desecrated centuries ago, and it is now 
deserted, save for an annual fair and occasional visits 
from Brahmans and fakeers ; it can boast of none of the 
splendors of its palmy days. 

About fifteen miles from " Gorabunder," on the main- 
land, lies Basseiu or, as it was anciently called, Vassai 
once a proud city and the chief seat of the early Portu- 
guese settlers in this part of India. But for nearly three- 
quarters of a century it has ceased to be inhabited. The 
city is of considerable size, and surrounded by a regular 
fortification of rampart and bastions. It is kept locked 
up under a small body of soldiers and an English con- 
ductor of ordnance. 

By permission obtained from the authorities at Bombay 
we spent a very interesting day wandering over this de- 
serted city, its ruined towers, cloisters, convents, monas- 
teries, and churches, that once belonged to the Jesuits, 
which are here crumbling away unheard of and unnoticed. 


The only building in good repair is a small pagoda raised 
over a Mahratta saint amid a display of the most melan- 
choly of ruined houses, churches, and colleges. In the 
vast jungle-covered cemetery of the dead Portuguese are 
the tombs of the great Don Loren9o and the famous Al- 
buquerque. In one of the largest of the churches there 
is a monument to a certain lady, Donna Maria de Souza, 
of the date of 1606. 

Bassein was wrested from the Mahrattas by the Portu- 
guese in 1532 A. D. But the Mahrattas laid siege to it 
again under the renowned Chinaje Apa, brother of the 
Peishwa Baji Rao, and after a desperate struggle the 
Portuguese were forced to capitulate. It is said that the 
English in Bombay might have saved them this defeat 
and humiliation, but from a feeling of jealousy of the 
power and influence of the Portuguese in India refused 
them all aid, except that of advancing fifteen hundred 
rupees, for which they took some very valuable church 
plate and some brass guns, which were actually removed 
from the defence of Bassein as security. They were finally 
induced, however, to make some amends for this barbarous 
treatment of fellow-Christians, and sent boats with a strong 
escort to convey the refugees to Bombay, whence they 
started for Goa, but were once more attacked and almost 
annihilated by the Mahrattas. In 1780 the English at- 
tacked, stormed, and captured the city of Bassein once 
more from the fierce Mahrattas, and have held it ever 
since, a melancholy monument of the departed greatness 
of the Portuguese conquerors. Such is the fate of conquer- 
ing nations. It can hardly be doubted that if the Eng- 
lish were now expelled from India the few relics left of their 
religion, their power, and their civil and military magnif- 
icence would be swept rapidly away, and would in the course 
of a century or two leave not a trace behind them. 


Sampwallahs, or Serpent-Charmers. Jadoowallahs, or Miracle-per- 
formers. Nuzer-bundyana, Mesmerizers. Yogees, Spiritual Jug- 
glers, and Naga-Poojmi, or Serpent-Worship, in India. 

LIFE in the East is altogether so novel, so full of 
dramatic sights and sounds, that one's curiosity seems to 
grow with the abundant nourishment it finds everywhere. 
Now one sees a Mohammedan funeral, or the procession of 
gorgeous Taboots of Moslems, or gods of the Hindoos; 
anon the body of a Hindoo or a Parsee borne on an open 
bier by white-robed priests, the one to be burned, the 
other to be abandoned to birds of prey in their strange 
silent " towers of the dead." Sometimes a gay procession 
of dancing-girls, followed by troops of men and elephants 
richly caparisoned, waltzing all the way to the temple and 
keeping time to the pipes, cymbals, and the beating of 
most discordant drums ; at others, a poor funeral of some 
low-caste person, quiet and unpretending an open bier, 
on it perhaps an only child in its every-day soiled gar- 
ments, followed by women wailing and beating their 
breasts and throwing dust on their heads. This wailing 
is inexpressibly mournful. One morning, as I sat at work 
in my room, there came floating upon the breeze toward 
the "Aviary" a sharp, penetrating, and very peculiar cry. 
While I listened there came another and another of these 
unearthly sounds; again they were repeated, and all at 
once there appeared in sight a band of half-naked men 
accompanied by two women and a perfectly nude little 

5 65 


child all so strange and weird-looking that I almost felt 
the victim of some illusion. 

They were a band of samgwallahs, or serpent-charmers, 
and in rather a bewildered state of mind I watched the 
gang approach the front of the house and take their places 
around the doorsteps. Having deposited their bags and 
baskets, they proceeded to salaam before me. I could not 
summon resolution to send them away, as my curiosity 
was gradually getting better of my fears, nor could I 
bring myself to witness their performance in the absence 
of my husband. I therefore sent a message to the one 
who seemed the headman of the band by my " ayah," or 
maid, to inquire if they would not go away now and re- 
turn in the afternoon about four o'clock. "Return? 
Why, what is to prevent us from remaining just where 
we are until the master comes home?" I could see no 
just reason save my own fears to have them lounging 
around my lonely house, and in spite of these concluded 
to let them stay. 

Strange it was to see these, to me almost supernatural 
men and women, enjoying themselves as naturally and 
innocently for three or four full hours as did this com- 
pany of wild serpent-charmers and jugglers. The two 
women of the party searched for the most delicate and 
polished pebbles to be found in the gravelled walks of 
the garden, and entertained themselves by digging holes 
in the sand and rolling their pebbles with great skill into 
these, hitting off one with another, and seeming to think 
it capital sport. Some of the men took some caiah, or 
cocoanut-fibre, out of their bags and proceeded to twist a 
rope out of it. Some lighted long pipes and began to 
smoke quietly, stroking down the cobra de capellos, who 
would poke their heads from under the baskets by their 
sides. The boy of the party had a bit of rag spread for 



him under an adjoining tree, and here he stretched him- 
self at full length to sleep, with a basket of snakes for his 
pillow. Every now and then the upper lid of this basket 
seemed to open and a snake would thrust out his head, as 
if to survey the sleeping boy, then as suddenly withdraw. 
All the while the beautiful sea gleamed and sparkled and 
dashed against the rocks in front of the "Aviary," and 
completed this strange picture. 

A little after four o'clock my husband arrived, and, 
seated on the steps of the "Aviary," we witnessed some 
most astonishing performances. Before beginning his 
music, and while the women were girding themselves for 
action, the snake-charmer paid us some very startling and 
original compliments. All at once, seizing his bagpipe- 
like instrument and puffing out his polished black cheeks, 
he produced the same queer melody that I had first heard, 
with its endless reverberations, creating a strange effect 
upon one's nerves. The women kept time to these sounds 
by motions the most gently waving that one could con- 
ceive of. When the sounds were low and faint they 
waved their arms and bent downward in graceful undu- 
lating curves ; then again, as the sounds began to be shrill 
and piercing, they raised their arms aloft, turned up their 
faces to the sky, and, poised on tiptoe, beat a rhythmic 
movement to the sound. The dance was in itself a won- 
der of grace and flexibility. But, strangest sight of all, 
the serpents_were equally moved. In raising their heads 
they had thrown off the covers of the baskets, and pres- 
ently every snake, large and small and there were no 
less than six had begun to take part in this dance, their 
eyes glistening, their forked tongues extended, their hoods 
spread to the utmost ; they raised themselves on the abdo- 
men and swayed their heads to and fro, following the 
movements of the charmers and seemingly ravished with 


the strange sounds. There was not a doubt in my mind, 
as I watched the serpents, that they distinguished the 
varieties of sound, for with every rise and fall of the 
music they kept time with their inflated hoods and 
slender forms. 

Suddenly the serpent-charmer started to his feet and 
began a wild circular movement, accompanied with wilder 
and more energetic sounds, which were reverberated from 
every rock of the hill. After a few minutes he stood still, 
and, taking for a moment the instrument from his mouth, 
uttered a sudden " Ah ! " short, sharp, and guttural, and 
all at once resumed his former movements both of sound 
and action. We involuntarily turned our eyes in the di- 
rection of those of the serpent-charmer, and noticed a 
slight movement in the grass and brushwood that covered 
the ground-floor of the " Aviary ; " and as we looked the 
head and neck of a cobra de capello of large size rose 
above the grass. The strange reptile approached nearer 
and nearer. He passed with folded hood through the 
open wirework of the "Aviary." Out of it, he once 
more unfolded his hood, and, waving it to and fro, looked 
like one suddenly awakened to some subtle and purely 
spiritual influence ; he leaped rather than crept toward the 
sound of the charmer ; every curve, every change of mo- 
tion, and every movement of the body betrayed an ex- 
quisite apprehension of the peculiar waves of the melody. 
The serpent, followed by another more slender in pro- 
portions, leaped almost into the arms of the charmer, 
and, swinging their bodies to and fro, both snakes seem- 
ed to give themselves up to the enchantment of sound. 
Very slowly but deliberately the serpent-charmer dropped 
one hand, and, stooping over the head of the largest ser- 
pent, playing all the while, grappled it just under the 
head by the thumb and forefinger and handed it to one of 


the men. This done, he proceeded to enchant and capture 
the smaller snake, which was accomplished in the same 
way. Then he dropped his instrument, took a curious 
flint knife out of his bag, and, pressing tightly the wind- 
pipe of each of the serpents in turn, cut out the bags con- 
taining the poisonous fluid and dropped the deadly rep- 
tiles, now rendered for ever harmless, into the bags. This 
was done in broad daylight, in the open air, where no de- 
ception could have been practised. 

Some persons have suggested that these two snakes 
might have been brought by the band and let loose in the 
"Aviary." Even if this were so, it could not destroy the 
mystery of the influence which certain sounds evidently 
exercised over the serpents, who voluntarily returned to 
captivity even before the poison-bag had been cut out, the 
removal of which, according to all testimony, renders 
them harmless and agreeable pets. As far as my obser- 
vation went, I am inclined to believe that these snakes 
were perfectly wild till caught by the serpent-charmer. 

"When I asked him by what power he compelled these 
snakes to abandon their holes and come out to hear his 
music, his reply was characteristic. " Asmani ka jore se, 
Maim Sahib," translated into English, would mean, " By 
the secret power of the heavenly motions." 

The other tricks of the band were very wonderful, but 
not as absorbing as serpent-charming. They appeared to 
cause a seed to bud, grow, blossom, and bear fruit in the 
open air in a short space of time and with but few con- 
trivances. They showed us a mango-seed, which they 

* - y} _ -- * J 

planted before our eyes in a pot of prepared soil brought 
with them ; this they watered again and again with a pe- 
culiar liquid, also in their possession. Each time that 
there was a positive growth in the tree the round basket 
which covered it was removed, and our attention called 


to the fact that it was growing. When the tree had out- 
grown the basket a large cloth was thrown over it. Fi- 
nally, it was presented to us full grown, and, though 
dwarfed in stature, with ripe mangoes hanging from its 
branches. They invited me to taste the fruit, which I 
did, and found it decidedly inferior in flavor to the most 
ordinary mango produced in the natural way. The curi- 
ous part of this feat is this, that the tree itself, supposing 
they carried it about with them, had that fresh and vigor- 
ous look of active life and growth which it could not 
possibly retain out of the" earth in a hot climate for any 
length of time without a very delicate and careful know- 
ledge of how to preserve plant-life on the part of these 
apparently savage jugglers. I have also seen them pro- 
duce flowers on plants in the same way. 

A great many other feats and tricks were performed, 
such as throwing up a top, and not only catching it on the 
end of a slender stick, but balancing it on the point of the 
nose, and causing it, without any new impetus to stop or 
to go on spinning at the request of the spectator. 

Some of the tricks are called 'nMzzerbwnd, "blindfold- 
ing " or mesmerizing the spectator. A ring is placed in 
your hand and you are requested to hold the hand tightly 
between your folded knees, and when you look again you 
find a little dust. One of these tricks, called khano-nuz- 
zerbund, "ears and eyes bound," is that of a small boy 
being put into a basket and made to disappear and reap- 
pear. Our juggler produced a small basket and beckoned 
to the boy to get into it, which he did ; two of the men 
then produced instruments that looked like flageolets and 
began to play, moving round the head of the child. This 
seemed to have a peculiar effect on the boy, who appeared 
like one in paroxysms of pain. It was very distressing to 
witness his convulsions, and even while we looked the 


child began to disappear in the basket. The moment he 
was out of sight the musicians seized long knives and fell 
upon the basket and pierced it with many thrusts, and it 
seemed certain that the child was not in it, nor could we 
see him anywhere. Presently they straightened out the 
basket and resumed their music, when, all at once, from 
afar the clear answering voice of the child was heard ; 
nearer and nearer came the sound, until the basket swelled 
and distended, and, lo ! there was the boy peering from 
under the lid serene and smiling. 

These jugglers call themselves JddooHW^llahs, and are 
of the same tribe as the Yogees who follow the Moham- 
medan processions and cut themselves with knives and 
sharpened flints in order to extract money from the more 
tender-hearted of the crowds who always frequent such 
spectacles. The name of Jadoo-wallah is a corruption 
of the words Yahdeo- Wallah, "filled with god-power." 
The common people believe that these powers are be- 
stowed upon them by the gods, and thus do everything 
and anything in their power to propitiate the goodwill 
of the Jadoo-wallahs. As acrobats they far surpass the 
Europeans. One of the men who performed for us re- 
ceived on his right shoulder, as lightly as if it had been a 
feather, a heavy weight which was dropped from an over- 
hanging branch of a tree above. 

It was dusk before the jugglers and serpent-charmers 
finished their astonishing feats and performances. We 
handed them five rupees, and they were delighted witli 
this liberality, though I had feared they would not think 
it enough. They departed with the usual benediction, 
" Both burrus Jeho Sahib loke. Tumarra bucha k bucha 
Ingrage kfc guddee per bait jowoh " (" Long may you live, 
gentlefolk, and may your children's children seat them- 
selves on the British throne"). 


Not long after we had an opportunity of witnessing the 
grand serpent-festival held in Bombay and other parts of 
Hindostan in the months of July and August. It is called 
" the EjMaScPJ^HiL" literally, " serpent-worship." There 
are many tribes in India who have assumed the name of 
Nagas or Serpents from the earliest times. Diodorus sup- 
poses that the snake had been used as their crest or ban- 
ner. There are three kinds of serpent-worship practised 
in India, and each is peculiar to a distinct class of people, 
although all the natives of India, except the Mohammedans, 
either from dread of the deadly serpent or from a feeling 
of veneration, join in the festival of the naga-poojmi. 

The first of these is the worship paid to the serpent by 
the high-caste Brahmans, who adopted the early serpent- 
worship from the non- Aryan populations, placing the ser- 
pent, as a symbol of the masculine energy of the world, 
in the hand and sometimes around the head of Brahma, 
the chief god of their trinity; they adroitly represent 
that on the day sacred to the serpent, Krishna, their last 
incarnation, slew the great serpent Kali, who was just in 
the act of swallowing up the sun and moon. The second 
is the worship made to the serpent-gods carved in their 
temples by the non- Aryan and low-caste races of India, by 
whom the serpent is regarded in the light of a benefactor 
and friend, and to whom it was at one time customary to 
offer annually a human victim to propitiate its deadly 
sting. And, last of all, is the worship paid to it by the 
professional snake-charmer, to whom the art of taming the 
serpent has been transmitted from father to son, and in 
whose eyes the serpent is an oracle of wisdom, the har- 
binger of all good things, and last, but not least, a means 
of livelihood to the tribe. 

On the last day of the waning moon at the end of July 
we rode out, accompanied by a party of friends, to the native 


part of the city, where we were told the chief of the ser- 
pent-worshippers were assembled. Here we found an im- 
mense throng of men and women gayly dressed, bands of 
handsome dancing-girls in flowing veils and glittering 
jewels, and rows of young maidens beautifully attired, 
with offerings of rice and milk, and some with fruit and 
flowers tastefully arranged in baskets which they carried 
on their heads ; others with baskets filled with such flowers 
as serpents are reported to delight in the champu, the 
marigold, the water-lily, the tuberose, and quantities of 
the snake-plant commonly called sampk&mah, " the mother 
of the serpent." We passed through the crowd and suc- 
ceeded in reaching the centre of a great maidan, or open 
plain, where we stood. 

Not far off clustered a vast number of serpents, with 
their charmers and worshippers. Immediately behind this 
curious assembly was a temple dedicated to the snake-god. 
From within these walls the lights, kept burning in great 
numbers, could be seen pale and ghastly amid the daylight, 
and the sounds of the tomtom and gongs beat in honor 
of the idol were heard ; some noble old peepul trees sur- 
rounded the temple. Right in front of the temple were 
placed great basins containing milk and a preparation of 
rice and milk called khir, for the serpents. Those, how- 
ever, that fed out of the basins were mostly all tame; 
they coiled in and out and round about the worshippers in 
a careless and easy manner. But farther on, beyond the 
stone basins and amid flowers and floods of sunshine, 
women dancing and men and boys singing, might be seen 
the deadly cobra de capellos now aril then inflating their 
hoods and keeping time to the music. 

The Brahman worship of the serpent is characteristic. 
Regarding the snake purely as a symbol, each priest pre- 
pares a clay figure of a cobra and winds it when in a plas- 


tic state round a tall pole, the upper part of which is 
ornamented with a ring, which in its turn typifies the 
feminine powers of nature. 

On the day of the festival thousands of Brahmans, each 
with his pole thus ornamented, accompanied by musicians 
and dancing-girls, the former playing on their instruments 
and the latter keeping time to the music and performing a 
mystic circular dance, surrounded by half-naked fakeers 
and gossains, who keep shouting and leaping about, trav- 
erse the length and breadth of the native town till they 
reach their temples. Entering these, they plant their 
poles in front of the shrine of Siva, after which they 
make over the clay serpent a wave-offering of fire, pouring 
over it the oil pressed from the "telah," or sesamum- 
seed, sacred to the serpent, and repeat the prayer, " Life 
has sway over all in earth and heaven; protect v us as 
a mother her children; grant us life, prosperity, wis- 
dom," etc. 

On this day every Hindoo and Brahman woman places 
seven wicks in a dish of silver or other metal, fills the 
dish with telah oil, and at nightfall waves it around the 
portals and windows of her house. When her husband 
returns he makes her a present, generally of a scarf, and 
she then performs a curious and very mysterious rite: 
placing her hands on her own hip-joints, and touching his 
with the tips of her fingers, she prostrates herself before 
him and implores for him, from the god of the day, re- 
newed vigor, health, and strength. 

The Nagas, or low-caste serpent-worshippers, assemble 
with the snake-charmers in open plains, where all the 
tame snakes in the country are brought together. After 
having fed these creatures, they offer up prayers, each to 
his own deity, but mostly to the god Siva, for long life 
and for protection from its deadly bite, making offerings 


of the snake-plant, and to the priests of little lamps lighted 
with one or two wicks for the altars. 

The common people in the Hindoo villages also make 
clay images of the cobra and pray to them. Most of the 
abandoned characters turn out on the occasion of these 
festivals, and the night is spent in licentious merriment, 
music, and song, while the snake-charmers, jugglers, and 
Yogees obtain large sums of money and presents from the 
people, who regard them in the light of divine benefactors 
to their race. 

To understand the worship paid to serpents we must re- 
member that the earliest feeling which mankind had of a 
relation to invisible powers must have been a compound 
of dread and gratitude, and in the mingling of these emo- 
tions dread predominated. The dreaded serpent alone, 
says Fergusson,* without arms or wings or any of the 
usual appliances of locomotion, still moves with singular 
celerity and grace ; its form is full of elegance, its colors 
are often very beautiful, its eyes are bright and piercing. 
A serpent can creep, spring, climb, swim, expand, constrict, 
suspend itself by the tail, burrow in the ground, and even 
raise its body almost erect. Its muscular irritability is 
remarkably great and persistent, depending on its ner- 
vous energy. The heart palpitates long after death ; the 
jaws open and shut even when the head is severed from 
the body ; the outer skin is shed more than once, and the 
ancients believed that by this means the snake renewed its 
youth. It does not need food for long periods when cast- 
ing its skin. It often changes color at will, and, above 
all, its longevity is so great as still to make the super- 
stitious ascribe to it immortality. It makes no nest (ex- 
cept in the case of the python, who hatches her eggs by 
the heat of her own body) ; no food is stored for the 
* See Fergusson's Tree- and Serpent- Worship. 


young, who are born with all powers in full perfection. 
Then the poison of a serpent is so deadly and subtile that 
it excites in the heart of the savage the greatest dread and 
mystery, and even more startling and terrible than the 
poison of the cobra is the flash-like spring and fascination 
of the boa constrictor, the instantaneous embrace, the 
crushed-out life, all accomplished faster than the human 
eye can follow. These are the powers that must have im- 
pressed the primitive races of the East with dread and 
terror, and wherever the serpent was found, there he 
seems to have been propitiated by man with prayers, sup- 
plications, and all forms of worship. It is perhaps strange 
that the serpent in the early period of the worship was 
not so much dreaded as loved whether from a feeling 
that it was not as deadly as it has in its power to be, or 
for some other reason, it is now impossible to determine. 
However, in the history of this peculiar religion it is 
found that in course of time the serpent began to be re- 
garded as the harbinger of good gifts, the teacher of wis- 
dom, the symbol of subtlety, the oracle of the future, and 
even the healer of all diseases. 

All the gods, and even the kings and queens, of the old 
world are usually represented with serpents coiling about 
their heads or arms. The Hindoos most probably adopted 
this symbol of the serpent from the aboriginal populations 
among whom they settled. "Sanee," the oldest rock- 
sculpture of the Hindoo " Saturn," the presiding deity of 
the seventh day of the week, has serpents for her belts or 
rings. She rides on a raven, a bird of ill omen sacred to 
her, and no Hindoo will undertake any new enterprise on 
the day over which she presides. As one wanders through 
the forests of India one finds that many of the finest trees 
served as altars to a generation long gone by. Their 
huge old trunks have been hollowed out and carved in the 


form of oriel chapels or windows, in the inmost recesses 
of which may be still traced the faint remains of what 
was intended to represent the cobra de capello or hooded 
serpent of India. 

Sacredjrees. have from very early times shared a portion 
of the homage paid to serpents. It would appear that 
while the serpent was made to symbolize both the benef- 
icent and dreaded powers of nature, the tree represented 
man. The wondrous spectacle of a new creation every 
year, the forest trees gathering their fresh leaves every 
spring, became to the primitive man a steadfast promise 
of a similar resurrection, and perhaps caused him to asso- 
ciate the tree with the serpent because of the analogies 
that exist between them. The one shedding its leaves, 
the other its skin, their mutual inactivity in winter, their 
awakening to life in the spring, their longevity, the twig- 
like form of the serpent, and a last, but not least, import- 
ant fact is this, that wherever, in India, the deadly 
serpent is found, there also abounds the mungoose,* or 
snake-plant, with convex flower-clusters and long ser- 
pentine roots, possessing the mysterious power to cure the 
deadly bite of a snake. 

Thus, in the course of time, the serpent became an end- 
less writing on the wall, so full was it of mysterious sig- 
nificance and dread to the ancient races of the world. In 
fact, serpents play an important part in the mythology of 
every nation of the earth. Even to-day the snake-charm- 
ers will tell you that the circles on the head of the cobra 
de capello are spiritual eyes which enable it to distinguish 

* This plant is named after a large rat common in India and called 
mungoose by the natives. It is said to have a deadly antipathy to 
snakes of all kinds. It will hunt and destroy them wherever they are 
found. If, however, the mungoose happens to be bitten by a snake, it 
is said that it instinctively runs to this plant, gnaws at its roots, and 
thus cures itself of the poison. 


between good and bad men. If a good man is bitten to 
death, they account for it by declaring that he must have 
committed some deadly sin in a former state of existence, 
hence his punishment in this. 

It will not be amiss to conclude this chapter with a 
mention of some of the symbols for which the serpent 
stood in ancient times. It stands for the higher and lower 
forms of the creative energy of nature ; for the emblem 
of evil ; for wisdom and subtlety, as we all know, being 
self-supporting from the moment of birth ; for immor- 
tality, because of its fabled longevity ; for death, for new 
birth, and resurrection, from its casting its skin and from 
its awakening in spring from the torpor of winter. In 
the oldest hieroglyphics the serpent with its tail in its 
mouth stood for cycles of time, for the horizon, for eter- 
nity, and for life to come. Twined around the crown of 
ancient Oriental kings and queens, it symbolized the fatal 
sting lurking beneath the power entrusted to them ; and 
bound round the royal sceptre, it typified national life, 
vigor, and strength. 


The Parsees, or Fire- Worshippers, of Bombay. A Visit to a Fire- 
priest and Astrologer. His Astral Predictions. The Gathas. 
Zoroaster. His Life and Religion. History of the Settlement of 
the Parsees in India. 

THE race which more than others attracted my atten- 
tion in India was thej^arsees in Bombay. As we drove 
almost daily to or from the fort to Malabar Point, we 
passed a Fire-temple, and there are also two others in the 
old fort. These are held very sacred, and none but Par- 
sees are allowed to enter them. The one, however, which 
stood between the fort and our house was less guarded, 
by which means it was more accessible to strangers and 

At my earnest request, I was invited by the wife of our 
Parsee neighbor to witness the worship of this interesting 
people. It was on the occasion of the " Khurdad-Sal," 
the anniversary of the birthday of Zoroaster, that I re- 
paired to the above-mentioned Fire-temple. Seeing a 
large crowd centred about the building, I ventured to 
peep in, in the hope of seeing my friend. No one paid 
the slightest attention to me; presently a young Parsee 
lad came forward and conducted me to a quiet corner, and 
I found myself the sole spectator of a very curious and 
interesting worship performed by the Fire-priests alone, 
with a crowd of Parsee women and children, and some 
very aged Parsee men scattered here and there among 

The building was quite small, circular in shape, with a 



sort of pent roof, small iron-grated windows, and an iron- 
bound door, which was padlocked the moment the service 
was over. Under the central arch of the temple was a 
low altar on which burned a clear bright fire ; the smoke 
had no means of escaping but through the windows, which 
made the place rather unpleasant to stay in for any length 
of time. A number of priests clad in simple white robes 
and quite unadorned fed the sacred fire* with the dif- 

* Minute instructions for the preparation of this sacred fire in case of 
its accidental extinction or in the first building of a temple are given in 
the " Fargard," one of the books of the Zend-Avesta. Fires from six- 
teen different places are necessary. One of the most indispensable in- 
gredients in the building of the Fire is the flame by which a dead body 
is burned, though the body itself is held as the most impure of all 
things. Still, the fire which has consumed it is essential, as contain- 
ing the most mysterious of all created substances, " electricity," which 
is thought to be more abundant in the human body than elsewhere in 
nature; it is called "nacupaka." This fire is purified by a very extra- 
ordinary process. A certain number of holes are prepared in the ground 
called " handareza," or, in modern Parsee, " andaza," a measure. The 
fire is then placed in each of these holes in turn, prayed over by the 
chief priest with closed eyes, and blown over with the breath, already 
purified by the prayers just uttered. 

The dyer's fire, the potter's, the glass-blower's, blacksmith's, brick- 
layer's, gold- and silversmith's, with phosphorus, beeswax, odoriferous 
gums, many different kinds of wood, the ashes of the rose and jessa- 
mine-flower, salt of various kinds, etc., all these fires and substances 
must be brought, after having been purified by the prayers said over 
them, to one and the same hearth or altar, called in the ancient Peh- 
levi Daityo-gatus, now corrupted into " Dadhgah." The collective fire, 
combined into one and thus obtained, represents the essence of nature, 
the mystic wine of the poets, pervading the whole universe, even to 
the most distant stars. This "mystic wine" or " life- water " is held to 
be the cause of all the growth, vigor, and splendor of the physical and 
mental qualities of animals, men, birds, beasts, and plants. It is there- 
fore regarded with the deepest reverence. Before the collection and 
preparation of this fire the priests who are to take part in the cere- 
mony must undergo great purification for nine nights, nine being the 
most sacred number, as it is the period in which the human offspring 
is perfected. The priest must drink the urine of a cow, sit on stones 


ferent kinds of precious woods, and while some chanted, 
passing each his sacred thread through the fingers of his 
hands, others dropped perfumes and consecrated oil into 
the Fire. 

The Parsee women and children sat or stood around 
this central fire, most of them beautifully dressed. I was 
struck with the beauty and nobility of their faces as they 
worshipped here with their hands folded, their eyes closed, 
listening reverently to the chants or praying silently to 

A great many silver trays full of fruit, sweetmeats, and 
white robes were placed on one side, offerings from the 
women to the Fire-priests. 

At the close of the service the entire congregation folded 
their hands across their breasts, and, having bowed their 
heads, retired, leaving the priests to heap precious fuel on 
the sacred fire, so as to preserve it from going out, for 
which purpose the temple is regularly visited during each 
day, and the fire is carefully preserved from year to year 
by certain priests who take turns to perform this most 
religious duty. 

One evening we went to visit, by appointment, one of 
the oldest Fire-priests in Bombay, who was also a famous 
astrologer. The appointment was made by our nearest 

European neighbor on Malabar Hill, a Mr. S , an 

Englishman who had lived a long time in India, and one 
of our intimate friends. Although Mr. S was per- 
sonally acquainted with him, the old priest had declined 
to receive strangers until prevailed upon to do so by Mr. 
S 's Parsee friend and partner in business. 

within the enclosures of certain magic circles; while moving from one 
circle to another he must rub his body with cow-urine, and then with 
sand, and lastly wash himself from head to foot nine times in pure 
cold water. 


We started about six o'clock in the evening, and after 
a long drive through the Parsee settlement of the native 
town and through a crowded and noisy bazaar, our car- 
riage drew up before a high, dilapidated wooden build- 
ing. The balcony projected into the street, supported by 
rickety wooden pillars, under which there was a small 

garden filled chiefly with herbs and plants. Mr. S , 

who had often visited the house and was familiar with 
its ways, led us through the little garden and up a great 
flight of wooden steps into a corridor or hall, crossing 
which we at length stood before a very old door which 
was slightly ajar, through the opening of which a light 

streamed upon us in the dark passage. Mr. S tapped, 

and a voice feeble and tremulous bade us enter. We did 
so, and in another moment we were standing side by side 
with an old Fire-priest, perhaps the oldest in the world. 
He did not move or speak, or even turn his eyes upon 

An old Ethiopian servant present pointed to us to be 
seated on some cushions near by until his master had 
finished his evening prayer. We silently took our places 
on the seats and looked on. In the centre of the room, 
which was woefully shabby and coarsely built, stood a 
three-legged stand, and on it was a round earthen lamp 
filled with cocoanut oil and containing depressions at the 
sides for wicks, of which there were just seven burning. 
Before it stood the Fire-priest, his dress, a long dingy- 
looking robe which might once have been white, flowing 
down to his emaciated feet, which were bare. But as his 
lips moved in prayer, and his thin dark fingers passed 
over and over his sacred thread or girdle, that mystic em- 
blem of his faith, there was an indescribable reflection of 
some unseen interior light on his wan and pallid features ; 
he hardly looked old, so wonderfully was his countenance 


lit up with a serene and beautiful expression of peace and 

The floor of the room was made of planks roughly 
hewn and rudely put together. A number of curious old 
parchments were piled up on one side; pots, earthen 
lamps, vases, flowers, shawls, carpets, bedding, and a 
number of embroidered silk cushions lay in seeming con- 
fusion about the floor. The Ethiopian attendant, who 
looked almost as old as his master, grinned at us from his 
corner, showing plainly that he had lost nearly all his 
teeth ; but no word was spoken. 

His prayers over, the aged Fire-priest put off his long 
robe and dark conical cap, which were replaced by a short 
gray angraka, or coat, and close-fitting skull-cap, reveal- 
ing a few locks of long scanty gray hair. He then turned 

to Mr. S , took both his hands kindly in his own, and 

saluted him by raising them to his forehead three times, 
and then he did the same to us. 

After an interval of about an hour or so spent in pleas- 
ant conversation, during which we learned that the Dus- 
toor or Fire-priest Bhejah was a native of Surat, and had 
come to the island of Bombay about forty years before with 
his family, every member of whom he had survived save 
some distant connections still living in Surat, we begged 
him to read our horoscopes for us. 

The old Dustoor rose at once, as if pleased at our 
request, and with great alacrity led the way through a 
long narrow passage and up another old wooden staircase 
into a small chamber open to the sky by a curious contri- 
vance, a sort of trapdoor, which was let down in rainy 
weather. There was a bench in one corner of this room ; 
in the middle a circular table which revolved on a pivot, 
painted with curious hieroglyphics, and beside it a three- 
legged stool. As soon as we had taken our seats on the 


bench, the Dustoor drew out from under the table a board 
chequered black and red and a piece of chalk, and, taking 
the dim horn lantern that stood in a niche in the wall, set 
it on the table. This done, he turned to me and ques- 
tioned me very closely in Hindostauee about the day, year, 
hour, and almost moment, of my birth. All such ques- 
tions as I had it in my power to reply to he put down in 
what seemed to me signs and figures in one of the squares 
on his peculiar black and red board. 

This was a work of some time, for every now and then 
he seemed doubtful of his operations, rubbing out and re- 
placing the signs and figures .in new squares. When he 
had scrawled on the board to his satisfaction he began to 
compare it with the hieroglyphics on his revolving table, 
deciphering and studying the stars on each of his tablets 
with the utmost care. He then turned up his wan face 
and began to gaze alternately at the bit of sky seen 
through the open trapdoor and to examine the strange 
hieroglyphics on the table. The stars presiding at my 
birth were evidently unpropitious. He foretold for me 
many deaths among relations and friends, long and cruel 
separations by strange seas and oceans being placed be- 
tween my friends and me ; softening it off, however, by 
predicting a long life, a happy old age, and a numerous 
progeny of grand- and great-grandchildren ; which, in- 
deed, are the chief sources of happiness in the Parsee 

He then foretold my husband's future, which was even 
less auspicious, saying that a great shadow of one of the 
planets would cross his path in middle life, which if he 
survived he would live to a good old age, etc., etc. 

It was not what the old astrologer and Fire-priest said 
so much as his perfect faith in his own rendering of the 
position of the stars that most impressed me. The float- 


ing locks of gray hair, the serious brow, the deep, 
thoughtful, contemplative look on that face, were all 
very striking : his head full of the mystery of the stars 
and his heart ever revolving the secret destiny of human 
life were as strange and marked as any of the many lives 
whose future he believed he could so easily decipher. 

In the Zend-Avesta or, more properly, the Avesta- 
Zand the religious books of the Parsees, we find the 
Gathas, or sacred hymns, of the ancient Fire-priests, and 
these in their turn may be traced directly to the Rig 
Vedas, the oldest of the Aryan Scriptures, a collection of a 
thousand hymns, more or less, called " Mantras," or Mind- 
born songs, composed and recited by various priests and 
poets, the earliest of whom lived about three thousand, 
and the latest not far from twenty-six hundred, years ago. 
These hymns, some of which are very beautiful, composed 
and sung long before the Aryans left their home in the 
Hindoo Kush* Mountains, were inspired by its soaring 
mountains "roofs of the world," as they called them 
capped with snow, clear blue skies, and by the rush- 
ing waters leaping in gladness out of the heart of the 

" They found the mountains ever near mighty to de- 
fend them, the lakes and rivers eager to serve thern."f 
" Sparkling bright with mighty splendor, she carries the 
clouds across the plains ; the uncouquered Siudhui, Indus, 
the quickest of the quick, like a beautiful mare, a sight 
to see ; by their swiftness, depth, as well as by the sweet- 
ness of their waters; the birds by their delicious warb- 
ling ; the winds by the fragrant dust of flowers which they 

* The "Hindoo Kush," name for the Caucasian Mountains. 

f See Max Miiller's The Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 195, "The 
Giithas, or Sacred Songs of the Parsees." See Haug's essays on "the 


bore along on their invisible wings, the clouds by their re- 
freshing shadows." 

Light, as seen in the sun, moon, and stars, dawn and 
sunrise, fire in all its mysterious forms the spark struck 
from the flint, the fire that burned their oblations, the 
holy flames that were lighted on the domestic hearth be- 
came their earliest objects of worship. These they cele- 
brate in the Rig Vexla, and in these they saw, with their 
deep intuitive insight, thousands of years ago, an "all- 
productive cosmic energy/' 

Thus, the simple act of rubbing two dried pieces of 
wood together in order to obtain fire became a religious 
ceremony, and the tiny flint which served to kindle fire 
became their first idol, and gave those ancient Aryans the 
first hint of the wonderous power of heat, at once their 
god, the ministering angel of their lives, and their first 
step toward civilization. 

This vital fire of the universe, with every upward dart 
of flame issuing out of the cold, hard rock, starting out 
of dried wood, streaming in jets spontaneously out of the 
heart of the earth itself, and flaming luridly from moun- 
tain-tops, was an object so full of mystery, so potent, ever 
present, even when invisible, ever within call, lurking in 
the rock and air, water and tree, waiting to be called into 
life, vanishing at a breath, naturally became the highest 
symbol of the unseen to those primitive worshippers of 

The early Aryan priest, who was to his race what our 
poets and thinkers are to us to-day, on awakening at dawn 
turned his face to the east, and, waiting for the light, 
cried, "Arise! arise! the breath of our life has come, the 
darkness has fled." The fire had to be kindled by men. 
" She, the Dawn, brought us light by striking down dark- 
ness. Shine for us with thy best rays, Q thou bright 


Dawn ! thou who lengthenest our lives, thou beloved of 
all, thou mother of the morning clouds, leader of the days, 
gold-colored and lovely to behold !" When the sun at 
last climbed the mountain-tops and shone upon his wor- 
shipper, he sang a deeper hymn of joy to the Creator : 
" In the beginning there arose the source of golden light. 
He was the first-born lord of all that is. He established 
the earth and the sky. He gives us life, he gives us 
strength whose shadow is immortality, whose absence is 
death he who through his power is the only king of 
this breathing and awakening world."* 

These songs were not only sung, but transmitted from 
father to son, long before the age of a written alphabet, as 
a sacred, inviolable inheritance, preserved from century to 
century in the religious memory of the Aryan priest, even 
as they were recited to us evening after evening at the 
" Aviary " by our modern pundit without book or notes 
or text. 

The pictures these songs present of the deep religious 
and poetic fervor of the early Aryans, both before and 
after their descent into the plains of India, of their pas- 
toral and agricultural life, divided into separate and dis- 
tinct classes, as priest, king, shepherd, warrior, and tiller 
of the soil, are in themselves the most comprehensive and 
valuable of historical records. 

The first and most important fact to be found in the 
study of these hymns is that every home, every dwelling, 
has its own altar, which is the family hearth, called the 
"dadgah" by the Fire- worshippers that "holy of holies" 
of which father and mother were priest and priestess. This 
fire is the ancient " avesta," to which were attached three 
mystical interpretations first, "womanly purity;" second, 
the " inviolability of the family ;" and third, " the sacred- 
* See Max Miiller's Chips from a Ctfrman Workshop. 


ness attached to the mother as the transmitter of human 

There is no doubt that from the Assyrians, Chaldeans, 
and the early Iranians, who were then one with the purer 
Hindoos of to-day, this worship of nature, and especially 
of fire in its triple significance, was propagated southward 
among the Egyptians, westward among the Greeks, and 
by them introduced into Italy. 

The Greeks met together to worship in their Prytaneia. 
Here they consulted together for the public good, and 
there was a constant fire burning on the altar, which was 
called " vesta." The Vestal Virgins of the Romans had 
their origin in the same idea. Many of the oldest and 
some of the most modern usages still to be found among 
the Parsees, Hindoos, Jews, Greeks, Mohammedans, and 
Roman Catholics bear reference to this early worship of 
the " household fire," and many of the problems, puzzles, 
and contradictions that are found in the religious symbols 
of the world stand clear and evident when submitted to 
this light. 

The word " Light " is used in the New Testament as 
the highest symbol of Christ " the Light of the world," 
" the Light that lighteth every man who cometh into the 
world." Every instance also of God's acceptance of sacri- 
fice and prayer in the Old Testament is made evident to 
the people through the medium of fire, as seen in the case 
of David, in the dedication of Solomon's temple, and when 
Elijah demanded that extraordinary proof from Jehovah 
that Baal was not God. From Genesis to the Revelation, 
from the first offerings of Cain and Abel to "the city 
that had no need of a sun, neither of the moon, to shine 
in it, for the glory of the Lord did lighten it and the 
Lamb is the light thereof," this symbol of light is 
the dearest to the human heart, and ever recurring and 


conspicuous as the fittest and purest to be applied to the 

It is as a symbol, not as a material element, that the 
worshippers of fire have clung to it through all times; 
and their adherence and tenacity are all the more remark- 
able when we consider the changes that have passed over 
all primitive institutions. We ourselves have had a suc- 
cession of different religions and gods the divinities of 
the Phoenicians, then those of the Greeks and Romans, 
which superseded the terrible gods of the Norsemen and 
the aboriginal deities of the Druids, our ancestors. All 
these in time have given place to the sublime teachings 
of Christ. Our religious forms are changing even to-day 
as religious convictions become wider, deeper, and more 
comprehensive than ever. 

But the Parsees, those ancient Sun- and Fire-worship- 
pers, still offer up their prayers in the old Pehlevi a lan- 
guage which is the elder sister of the ancient Sanskrit 
in which the Zend-Avesta, the sacred books of the 
Zoroastrians, are written, and older by far than the cunei- 
form inscriptions of Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes ; * still 
wear the same old conical cap in the form of ascending 
flame, preserved in the shape of the bishop's mitre in the 
Christian symbolic dress; still adhere to the rites, cere- 
monies, manners, and customs peculiar to their earliest 
fathers, invoking the invisible fire upon which they 
called centuries before the building of the temple of 

The race has survived the destruction of Babylon and 
Assyria outlived the beautiful gods of the Greeks, who 
beat them down by land and sea. It has persistently 
overcome the hatred and persecution of the Scythian and 
Tartar hordes, the rage and fury of the Moslems, the 
* See Max Mullens Science of Religion, Lecture IV., page iii. 


intolerance and prejudice of all sects and nations, and, 
strange to say, even when placed between the currents of 
new ideas, which ceaselessly move and transform those 
around them, the Fire- worshipper, like the Jew, stands 
alone, as if he were beyond time and above change. 

From the time of Xerxes, four hundred and eighty-six 
years B. c., we have to date the decline of the Persian em- 
pire. Even the old heroic name of Iran Ayiran, from 
the Sanskrit Ariya, "the noble" has passed away for 
the word Persia, which, whether we apply it to the 
country, to the people, or to the language, is a misnomer. 
Pars, or Fars, is only a province of the great empire of 
" Iran." It was owing to the fact that the language of 
its chief city, Shiraz, was considered the most elegant and 
fashionable speech of the Iranians that the name of the 
province Pars was gradually used to distinguish the peo- 
ple, the entire country, and the language. 

To the ancient world Zoroastrianism was known by the 
name of " Mazdasnah " or " Mazday_asnah," the doctrine 
of "universal knowledge." It was revealed by the "Pure 
Spirit," called also the " Excellent Word," pure, efficacious 
" the word that Zoroaster has conveyed to men," which 
is the " Good Law." The priests were called Madhi, or 
middlemen, go-betweens, corrupted into Magi, which name 
is very commonly applied to the priests of the Zoroastrian 
religion by the Greek authors, beginning with Herodotus, 
who had travelled in Media and confounded the name of 
the priests of Magism and the Median religion with that 
of Zoroastrianism. 

It is impossible to fix exactly the era when the great 
reformer Zarathustra " splendor of gold " lived. The 
Greek and Roman historians make him very ancient. 
Xanthos of Lydia, 470 B. c., the first Greek writer who 
mentions Zoroaster, is convinced that he must have flour- 


ished about six hundred years before the Trojan war. 
Aristotle and Eudoxus place his era even earlier. Be- 
rosus, the Chaldean priest and historian, who translated 
the history of his native country, Babylonia, into the 
Greek language, and dedicated the work to Antiochus, 
one of the Greek kings of Syria, makes him a king, or 
rather founder of a dynasty which reigned over Babylon 
between 2200 and 2000 B. c.* The Fire- worshippers 
hold that their great priest and reformer lived about five 
hundred and fifty years B. c. They identify him with 
the great Kavan-Vistaspa of the Zend-Avesta, called 
Khai Gustasp in the Shahnamah.'f But it is very evi- 
dent that even the ancient Persians themselves were very 
uncertain as to who this Kavan Vistaspa was. It is clear, 
however, that Darius's father, who was also named Vis- 

* See Rawlinson's Ancient Monarchies, where he identifies Zoroaster 
with the celebrated Median king Kudur-Xakhunta, and says : "A king 
of Elam, whose court was held at Susa, led in the year B. c. 2286 (or a 
little earlier) an expedition against the cities of Chaldsea, succeeded in 
carrying all before him, ravaged the country, took the towns, plundered 
the temples, and bore off the images of the deities which the Babylon- 
ians especially reverenced. This king's name, which was Kudur-Nak- 
hunta, is thought to be the exact equivalent of one which has a world- 
wide celebrity to wit, Zoroaster. Now, according to Polyhistor, who 
certainly repeats Berosus, Zoroaster was the first of those eight Median 
kings who composed the second dynasty in Chaldaea and occupied the 
throne from about B. c. 2286 to 2052. The Medes are represented by 
him as capturing Babylon at this time, and imposing themselves as 
rulers upon the country. Eight kings reign in the space of 234 or 224 
years, after which we hear no more of Medes, the sovereignty being (as 
it would seem) recovered by the natives. The coincidences of the con- 
quest, the date, the foreign sovereignty, and the name Zoroaster, tend 
to identify the Median dynasty of Berosus with a period of Susanian 
supremacy which the monuments show to have been established in 
Chaldaea at a date not long subsequent to the reigns of Urukh and 
Ilgi, and to have lasted for a considerable period." 

t A collection of heroic poems on the ancient histories of Persia and 
her kings, by Firdoosi. 


taspa, and the Kavan-Vistaspa of the Zend-Avesta and 
the Shahnamah, were entirely distinct persons. 

There is very little doubt that this confusion of opin- 
ions is owing to the similarity of names. A very common 
habit even in India to-day is to name persons after heroic 
kings, great priests, or even after the gods, without any 
mark being added to distinguish them in after years ; and 
when any period of time has elapsed it is almost irnpos- 
ible to separate the personality of the father from the son, 
or the disciple from the teacher, or the priest from the god. 
Zoroaster, or rather " Zara Thustra," means illustrious 
like gold, or, in another sense, simply high priest ; and 
this being taken afterward as the proper name of the cel- 
ebrated priest and reformer of ancient Iran, gave rise to 
the endless confusion of dates and opinions which has 
always prevailed with regard to the age in which he lived. 

There is, however, internal evidence in the language 
and religion which he reformed that he lived at a very 
early age, and there are many traces of his great antiquity 
in the Zend-Avesta itself. First, that he stands at the 
head of the extensive Zend literature,* which must have 
required centuries for its growth, and which was already 
in a state of perfection when Buddha, the founder of 
Buddhism, was born, from four to five hundred years 
before Christ; and secondly, that he is expressly called 
Aryana Vedgo, " the celebrated one," in the Aryan home 
whence the Aryans, now called Hindoos, emigrated in 
times immemorial. This title, Martin Haug justly ob- 
serves, would not have been given him had his followers 
not believed him living at that early time. Under no cir- 
cumstance can we assign to him a later date than the year 
1000 B.C. 

* See Martin Hang's Esuays on the Sacred Language, Writings, and 
Religion of the Parsees. 


The causes which led to the schism between the early 
Fire-worshippers may be readily learned from the Zend- 
Avesta, where the gods of the dissenters are called "dSvas" 
(to whence our word devil) by the orthodox " Soshyantos," 
or Fire-priests. It was a vital and successful struggle 
against that form of the early religion which inclined to 
Brahmanism, and later to open idolatry. Thus, for in- 
stance, the V6dic gods Aditya, Mitra, Yaruna, and Indra 
became the devils of the Zoroastrian religion ; and this 
struggle must have taken place when Indra was declared 
the chief of the gods by a large portion of the Aryans, 
before they had immigrated into Hindostan proper. In 
the later period of Vdic literature we find Indra at the 
head of the gods; then in the great epics, the Maha- 
bharata and Ramayana, he gives place to the Trimourtri, 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. A compromise was thus ef- 
fected between the esoteric doctrine of the metaphysicians 
and the common forms of worship, giving rise to what 
was henceforth to constitute the orthodox system of belief 
of the Brahmanic caste. The Vdic pantheon, however, 
is not altogether discarded in the Zend-Avesta ; the exist- 
ence of the old gods is recognized, but in a very different 
way from that of the mysterious triple divinity which rep- 
resents not only the eternal, infinite soul, but Brahma 
himself in his active relation to mundane occurrences; 
and moreover, as the Trimourtri is never alluded to in 
the Zend-Avesta, where most of the other Vdic gods are 
named, we are obliged to fix the religious struggle at a 
much earlier date than that assigned to the Indian poems. 

The only source whence we derive anything like re- 
liable historical facts, and those of the most meagre kind, 
respecting this great reformer Zoroaster, is in the Yasnahs, 
where he is distinguished by his family name S'pitama. 
His father's name was Poorooshaspa. Of his children, 


only his son S'pitama and his daughter Poroochista are 
mentioned. In these fragments, rather than books, he 
appears to us as a real man, earnest, strong, and true, just 
and generous in every act of his life, taking a prominent 
part in the history of his country and the welfare of his 
fellow-creatures. It was he who struck a deathblow to 
the idolatrous practices that had crept in among the Fire- 
priests who established in his own country a new com- 
munity, governed by new laws ; he called upon every man 
to take his part in the battle between good and evil, add- 
ing the firm assurance that good will always prevail. In 
his own works he calls himself a " Dutah " i. e. " a 
messenger " sent by the great Ahura-Mazda. His ideal 
of home, of father and mother living together under one 
roof in freedom and love and unity, cemented by a su- 
preme and unalterable bond of love and friendship, has 
never yet been equalled save by Christianity. 

This remarkable reformer, according to the Yasnahs, 
was born in the sacerdotal city of Eagha, near Teheran, 
the capital of Persia. His father was an aged priest named 
Poorooshaspa, a man noted for his purity of life. Like 
all such histories, his birth was miraculously ordained.* 
One evening as Poorooshaspa and Dhogdha his wife, a 
childless old couple, were praying in a lonely place, the 
atmosphere around them became suddenly luminous. They 
looked up, and saw a form of exquisite beauty standing in 
the midst of a bright cloud, and as they gazed upon this 
beautiful vision there was handed to them a cup fashion- 
ed out of an amethyst filled with the wine of heaven. 
" Drink this," said the angel, " and renew your youth, for 

* The Persian writers of the Middle Ages ascribed to Zoroaster a 
long series of prodigies and miracles without end; to which both 
Pliny and Eubulus, giving the last echoes of popular traditions, 


Ahura-Mazda has chosen you to bring a savior into the 
world." Having drank the wine, they became the parents 
of one son, S'pitama. 

It is related that the ruler of the city of Ragha sought 
to destroy the child; at his command he was snatched 
from his mother's arms and thrown into a narrow lane 
where cattle passed, in the hope that they might tread him 
to death ; but, lo ! in the evening a sensible and motherly 
cow brought him on her horns to his weeping, disconsolate 
mother. Then again, by the order of the same cruel gov- 
ernor, he was cast into a blazing fire ; but he lay there 
unscathed, smiling so serenely upon his persecutors that 
they were at once converted into friends. In fact, every 
attempt made by enemies to destroy the infant is said to 
have been arrested by divine agency. At last the child 
was permitted to grow up unmolested with his friends and 
relatives, who were among his earliest followers. 

Zoroaster did not so much reveal a new religion as re- 
form the old Fire-worship of his country. He abolished 
stone images, necromancy, magic, witchcraft, all of which 
were identified with the worship of fire. He investigated 
astrology, and confirmed its practices as true and elevating. 
He inspired the old materialistic teaching of the Fire- 
priests with a new and more spiritual meaning. He made 
Avar on the idolatrous practices of his fellow-men, and 
banished from Iran all who still bowed down before wood 
and stone. At the age of thirty he completed a new code 
of laws, and also the Zend-Avesta, with the Izeshnee, a 
still more sacred book. He distinctly recognized, above 
and beyond all manifestions of sun, light, or fire, a purer, 
higher, unconditioned Being.* When moved by deepest 
awe he bowed his head and reverently called this Being 

* The Uncreated, the Eternal. He has had no beginning, and will 
have no end. The Yasnahs. 


"the Truth of the Truth, the Wisdom of the Wise, the 
Purity of the Pure." So also in his famous prayer of one- 
and-twenty words, " The world is produced, and all that 
is good in thought, word, and deed, because of the Truth." 

The problem of the origin^ofjeyil, the most difficult to 
be solved, seems to have been constantly before his mind. 
It seemed to him impossible that the Truth, whom he con- 
ceived to be eternally pure, good, just, and perfect, had 
created evil. The ancient Aryans attributed the struggles 
in the physical world around them to the strife between 
good and evil ; Zoroaster seized this idea, applied it with 
the deepest emphasis to the moral and spiritual world, and 
it became the basis of his system of dualism. Together 
with Ahura-Mazda, the good principle, he admitted the 
existence of an evil principle or spirit equal in power and 
of a similar nature * Angra Mainyus ; in Persian Ahri- 
man. This spirit is the author of all moral and physical 
evil, sin, disease, suffering, and death. 

All things, created by Ahura-Mazda pronouncing the 
creating, pre-existing word " Honover," were pure, per- 
fect, and beautiful as himself until spoiled by the evil in- 
fluence of Ahriman. And though Ahriman, like Ahura- 
Mazda, has been eternal and self-existing in the past, 
Zoroaster declares that a day will come when three great 
prophets will arise, Ukhsyad-eremah, "the increasing 
Light," Ukhsyad-eretah, " the increasing Truth," A9tvad- 
ereta, "self-existent Truth," who will convert all man- 
kind; everything created will become as pure as on the 

* To reconcile the existence of these two absolute Beings, coequal and 
coeternal, the doctrine of the Zarvanians was conceived in later times. 
This sect, which flourished about the time of Alexander the Great, 
supposed an unconditioned existence prior and superior to Ahura- 
Mazda, Ormuzd, and Ahriman, called " time without limit," Zaravan- 
Akarana, from whom emanated the two spirits or principles of good 
and evil. 


first day when it issued from the breath of the " Wisest 
of all Intelligence," and Ahriman will be destroyed and 
disappear for ever. 

Such is the real doctrine of Zoroaster, while the hymns 
of the Zend-Avesta glow and burn with the assurance of 
the mystic and essential life of the soul with the spiritual 
essence of all pure thought. The pure heavens are like 
light ; thought is likened to a drop of pure light, and the 
departing spirit has a sunbeam for its guide to conduct it 
to immortal light. 

In the Gathas, or Songs, he says : " God appears in the 
best thought, the truest speech, and the sincerest action. 
He gives through his pure spirit health, prosperity, devo- 
tion " (which, more properly translated, ought to be " love "), 
" and eternity to this universe. He is the Father of all 
truth and the Mother of all tenderness." 

It is very remarkable that the early Aryans looked 
upon disease, deformity, and weakness in the same light 
that we are apt to regard the depraved and vicious. 
Health was the first and greatest boon, the gift they sup- 
plicated most earnestly from heaven. Health first, then 
immortality. They seemed to loathe consumption and 
scrofula, and many of their most energetic prayers are 
supplications to the Deity to be preserved "from this 
hateful indwelling sin," as they termed it. Their laws 
for the happy treatment of women, especially in certain 
conditions of health, of which I shall treat in the chapter 
on their domestic life, is full of that reverence for her 
health and happiness, as well as those of her offspring, 
which is seen to penetrate the whole life of the Fire-wor- 
shipper, passing as it did in the course of time into a rigid 
etiquette. Stern as it is, it is infinitely better than the 
careless indifference with which the mother, "the trans- 
mitter of human life," is so often regarded among us. 



In the Zend-Avesta we find a mojral_cojle. almost as 
perfect as our own, with rather a singular account of the 
creation. In one of the books, called " Desater," it would 
seem all animals being created except man, the dog was 
dreadfully lonely, and that man was created only out 
of compassion for him; and no sooner was man formed 
than all the animals, save the dog, broke out into open 
rebellion against the Great Spirit for having favored man 
with speech, reason, and immortality. 

As in Genesis, so in the Desater, the Great Spirit brought 
the animals to Gelshadeng and made them subject to him, 
and he it was who divided them into seven classes. There 
is a curious dialogue that passed between the seven great 
sages of Persia and the seven different animals, and the 
reasons given why some are made fierce, others harmless, 
and yet others beneficent. In some passages great vene- 
ration is expressed for the cow, and great aversion to some 
animals, and to the human corpse ; this is not permitted 
either to find a resting-place in the earth or in the fire, 
because of the sacredness of both these elements ; and it is 
commanded that it be abandoned to birds of prey or to 
absorption by the air in enclosures set apart for the purpose. 

However, in spite of many things that seem childish 
and absurd in their books (the unprejudiced student is not 
always certain that the right meaning of the text has been 
rendered, for the language is full of difficulties), yet so 
much is clear: that the "G&thas" are very beautiful 
hymns and full of true religious feeling. They are ad- 
dressed to the household fire, to the sun, moon, and stars, 
to the spirit of the hills, mountains, trees, birds, and flow- 
ers, to the earth, air, and sea. The earth is often called 
the " infinite, the all-nourishing cow," and the sun is con- 
sequently, by the same figure, designated " the fiery-winged 
one, the immortal bull." 


Then there are prayers and songs to the spirits of the 
righteous dead, to the seven high angels around the throne, 
the planets then known. The most spiritual are those ad- 
dressed to Ahura-Mazda, "the Everlasting Light," who 
is described as an ineffable Being, full of brightness and 
glory. Zoroaster discovers God in the eternal invisible 
Fire. His wonder and joy over the first kindling of the 
flame arose from the spiritual symbolism that interpreted 
all nature to him. In it he recognizes the type of the 
immortal Light and the spiritual resurrection of the soul. 
Thrilling with religious fervor, he bows before the radiant 
light as the most subtle and all-dissolving element, and in 
feeling its mystery acknowledges the mystery of God,, its 
Supreme Creator. 

Thus, all the rites and ceremonies of the ancient Fire- 
worshippers abound in symbols which typify the operations 
of nature, not only in the heavens, but also in the hidden 
recesses of the earth. They attribute the maturing of 
precious gems and metals to the peculiar influence of the 
sun, moon, and stars ; and it is a curious fact that they 
called the seven metals by the very same names by which 
they denominated the seven planets, and the same peculiar 
hieroglyphic characters are used to this day to distinguish 
both. Among them certain stones represented certain vir- 
tues, and not a few were famed for their magical properties. 
The months of the year were spirits who exerted their in- 
fluence over certain precious stones, which in their turn 
had power over the destiny of any person born during the 
period of their sway. Thus each month has its own pre- 
siding genius in the heavens and its appropriate symbol in 
the heart of the earth, bound up with the life and character 
of the individual born under their combined influence. 
The garnet, symbol of the presiding spirit of January, 
means constancy; the amethyst, of February, sincerity; 


the bloodstone, of March, courage and presence of mind ; 
the diamond, of April, innocence; the emerald, of May, 
love ; the agate, of June, health and long life ; the car- 
nelian, of July, contentment ; sardonyx, of August, happi- 
ness ; chrysolite, of September, antidote against madness, 
sane mind ; opal, of October, hope ; topaz, of November, 
fidelity; turquoise, of December, prosperity. 

Rings are still used among the more superstitious of 
the Parsees as charms and talismans against the evil eye, 
demons, and most of the ills inherent to the human flesh. 
Sometimes the virtue exists in the stone, sometimes in the 
magical letters engraved upon it, which are thought to 
have the power to preserve the owner from thunder, 
lightning, witchcraft, the evil eye, from sin, and from tak- 
ing cold even when exposed to biting frosts and storms. 

The ancient history of the Fire-worshippers presents no 
nobler picture than that of Zoroaster traversing the wilds 
of Persia to preach a purer doctrine to his fellow-men. 
Before his death he is said to have reduced the twenty- 
one books he had written to three immortal maxims: 
Pure thoughts, Pure words, Pure deeds. "All pure 
thought is spirit-worship, or religion," said he, going at 
once to the root of the matter, " and all pure actions are 
fed by the immortal dew of heaven ; " this dew is virtue, 
and he calls it the vapor which the pure-hearted inhale 
from the heart of the eternal Sun. 

What a nation does thoroughly, she does for all time. 
So it was with the ancient Persians : centuries after the 
death of their great teacher they kept their faith in one 
God firm and inviolate amid the mogt_crushing ^pfirse- 
qotion. On the final conquest of Persia the unrelenting 
soldiers of the Caliphat forced at the point of the sword 
one hundred thousand persons daily to abjure their faith. 
Thousands upen thousands were slaughtered daily ; only a 


few escaped and fled to the mountains of Khorasan, taking 
with them a lamp lighted from the sacred Fire. From 
these mountains they were again driven forth by the Mo- 
hammedans four hundred years after, and the little band 
of Zoroastrians fled once more, to the beautiful island of 
Ormuzd, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Here perse- 
cution still followed them, and, driven out again, the little 
colony put to sea, still taking with them their sacred lamp, 
which had been preserved from extinction through all those 
troublous years. 

They had hardly lost sight of land when a terrific storm 
overtook them, and their little fleet was soon deprived of 
all hope of escape. Voluntarily exiled from their native 
land, they had fled from place to place for protection ; the 
mountains refused to hide them, the earth to shelter them, 
and now even the sea and all the elements rose up against 
them all but their little feeble lamp, which, according to 
their historians, continued to burn brightly in spite of the 
dreadful storm. At length the high priest of Zoroaster 
resolved to hoist their sacred lamp as a signal to the 
tempest-driven little fleet to join in prayer. Up rose the 
horn lantern containing the sacred light to the masthead 
of the dahstur's (or high priest's) vessel. The little fleet 
of boats and ships tried to draw near to the precious bea- 
con, but the winds blew and the tempest beat upon their 
vessels. All undismayed, straining their utmost and peering 
through the gloom, they turned them in the direction of the 
sacred light. Then up above the din and roar of that 
angry surging sea the prayer of that faithful little com- 
pany ascended to the Invisible, the shining Ahura-Mazda, 
for help in their sore distress. 

Next morning the storm had abated, and they landed 
at IMvaij on the coast of Western Hindostan, where they 
disembarked, and remained nineteen years, whence they 


migrated in a body to Sajan, twenty-four miles south of 
Damaun. The Hindoo king, Ranah Jayadeva, granted an 
asylum to the fugitives. 

After centuries of cruel persecution the exiles at length 
found refuge from the enemies of their faith among the 
Hindoos, who had separated from them in the dim dawn 
of history because of a religious feud, but whose antago- 
nism touched only names and other non-essential rites, 
the worship of light as the Creator's highest symbol re- 
maining unchanged for both. Though they had drifted 
farther and farther apart, the latter in the multiplying of 
symbols, while the former gradually dispensed with even 
those they once regarded as a part of their worship, they 
still remained united in their worship of fire. 

In 721 A. D. they erected their first Fire-temple on In- 
dian soil at Sajan, and the sacred fire was once more kin- 
dled on its altars by means of their little lamp, the flame 
of which they had so religiously preserved. To the Fire- 
worshipper this first temple on Indian soil seemed a 
resurrection of hope, of reality, striking deep into their 
fervent hearts and binding them to one another by a 
subtler and diviner fire. From this time the Parsees rose 
to importance in India. They greatly aided the Portu- 
guese and Dutch settlers in the establishment of mills 
and factories all along the coast of Guzerat. Owing to 
their enterprising spirit, Surat, Cambay, and Baroda grew 
into large and influential cities and attracted all the exten- 
sive commerce of the East. When the island of Bombay 
was ceded to the British a colony of Parsees emigrated 
thither, and, having purchased a part of Malabar Hill 
from the British, built there a Fire-temple and a tower of 
silence, or tomb for the reception of their dead, and here 
was brought the same sacred fire and rekindled once more 
on the altar of their first temple in Bombay. 


No country in the world has witnessed so many revo- 
lutions as Persia. Nevertheless, the moral and physical 
condition of the Fire-worshippers, who are still found cen- 
tring about Yezd and Ispahan, has remained much the 
same as when they called the country their own. They cer- 
tainly are superior in moral character to the Mohammed- 
ans of Persia to-day. In the garden adjoining the harem 
of the present shah none are employed save Zoroastrians, 
and this is because of their national character for purity. 
As for the Parsee women, they are remarkable for their 
chastity, an unchaste woman being unkown among them. 

In Persia, however, the Parsees are subject to heavy 
taxation, from which the Moslem population is entirely 
free, and the distress to which the poorer Parsees are re- 
duced in order to pay this tax is deplorable. Unheard-of 
cruelties are practised, and many as a last resource aban- 
don their homes to escape the extortions of the annual tax- 
gatherer. All means of instruction are also closed to the 
children of the Fire-worshippers in Persia. " The Par- 
sees of Bombay, hearing of the distress of their co-relig- 
ionists, have recently caused schools to be established in 
various parts of Persia, where instruction is imparted gra- 
tuitously to the children of the Zoroastriaus." 

When we remember that the Parsees of Bombay are 
the descendants of a small colony of ancient Fire-worship- 
pers who emigrated from Persia more than a thousand 
years ago under circumstances the most overwhelming, it 
is a matter of wonder that this people should have risen 
with the progress of British power in India to wealth, 
honor, and dignity in every condition of life. More than 
once, even after they had established themselves in Guze- 
rat, they were all but decimated by the sword of the con- 
quering Moslem. But up again they rose each time, cre- 
ating anew the old life, starting afresh on the same old 


basis, nothing discouraged, remembering with deeper 
appreciation the old promise of their earliest priest and 
founder, " that to persevering mortals the blessed immor- 
tals are swift/' 

It is impossible not to be struck with the life and his- 
tory of this people a history of endless defeat and perse- 
cution, a life of the closest unity and steadfastness. And 
this oneness of purpose, by which they have distinguished 
themselves for so many centuries, has a still closer relation 
to their moral and religious character. Whatever may be 
the errors and defects of the religion of the Fire-worship- 
per, the comprehensiveness and unity of his national cha- 
racter demand our respect and admiration. 


Domestic Life of the Fire-worshippers. The Zend-Avesta. Parsee 
Bites and Ceremonies at Birth, Marriage, Death, and Final Con- 
signment to the Tower of Silence. 

BEFORE we cross the private threshold with a view to 
take a peep at the domestic life of the Parsees it may be 
well to state that " Avesta," in one of its deepest significa- 
tions, is said to be the symbol of womanly fervor and 
purity. Among the early Zoroastrians it was consecrated 
in the fire that burned on the hearth, which typified the 
inviolability of the family, through which the sacredness 
attached to Asha * as the centre and preserver of the order 

* " It cannot be denied," says Max Miiller in his Origin and Growth 
of Religion, " that in the Avesta, as in the Veda, Asha may often be trans- 
lated by purity, and that it is most frequently used in reference to the 
proper performance of the sacrifices. Here the Asha consists in what 
is called 'good thoughts, good words, good deeds good meaning cere- 
monially good or correct, without a false pronunciation, without a 
mistake in -the sacrifice. But there are passages which show that 
Zoroaster also recognized the existence of a kosmos or rita. He also 
tells how the mornings go, and the noons, and the nights, and how 
they follow that which has been traced for them ; he too admires the 
perfect friendship between the sun and the moon and the harmonies of 
living nature, the miracles of every birth, and how at the right time 
there is food for the mother to give her child. 

" As in the Veda, so in the Avesta, the universe follows the Asha, the 
worlds are the creation of Asha. The faithful while on earth pray for 
the maintenance of Asha, while after death they will join Ormuzd in 
the highest heaven, the abode of Asha. The pious worshipper pro- 
tects the Asha ; the world grows and prospers by Asha. The highest 
law of the world is Asha, and the highest ideal of the believer is to 
become Ashavan, possessed of Asha i. e. righteousness." 



of the universe is reflected upon and consecrated in the 
mother as the immediate centre of the home, " the trans- 
mitter of human life," and the preserver of family bonds. 

The ancient Fire-worshippers are commanded in their 
religious books to watch over the wpman_jin the home. 
It is a religious obligation. In the first male child centre 
the past, present, and future glory of the father. Chil- 
dren have always been the desire, " the crown of glory/' 
to an Oriental. Thus the mother became in the Zend- 
Avesta the " holy mystic one," through whom man him- 
self was born again as a son. She was the goddess of 
abundance, the irradiator of his hearth and home. 

While the procreative and nutritive offices of woman 
called forth deep religious enthusiasm and veneration, the 
peculiar physical difference which these entailed on her 
appealed to a dawning sense of chivalric generosity ; and 
it was a tender regard for her physical liabilities that first 
led to the institution of distinct rules for her life at times 
and seasons when she was most likely to be overworked, 
oppressed, or unduly taxed; and these rules time has 
rendered fixed and absolute as the Medo-Persic laws. 
But all through this rigidness of custom are seen not only 
a tenderness for the weakness of woman, but a high ap- 
preciation of her ideality and beauty. 

"A wife cannot be set aside, save for the crime of 
adultery alone. She may be superseded because of bar- 
renness, but not a beloved and virtuous wife. It is better 
to be childless here and hereafter than to wound or grieve 
her for a moment. And in any case let her not be set 
aside but by her own consent and free will." In all such 
cases she must be supported and cared for tenderly until 
death. It was an unpardonable offence against God to 
leave a wife destitute and without support. Unmarried 
daughters a very rare occurrence among the Parsees are 


entitled to an equal share of the mother's estate. A wife 
is not responsible for the debts of husband or son, whereas 
they are held strictly responsible for hers, and the son is 
enjoined, as the highest duty to the gods, to support his 
mother after the death of her husband. In a husband 
habitual vices such as profligacy, intemperance, cruelty 
insanity, and impotence, were held sufficient excuse for 
aversion. She was neither to be punished nor deprived 
of her property in any such case. 

A father is strictly forbidden to sell his daughter i. e. 
to take money in any shape whatever when giving her in 
marriage, but is enjoined, on the contrary, to furnish her 
with a handsome dowry. 

The Parsee woman is as independent in her home and 
marriage relations as the European, although the universal 
seclusion of high-born Hindoo and Mohammedan women 
has not been without its influence on her domestic life. 
The first use of the veil among the Persian women was as 
a symbol of dignity and honor rather than of concealment 
from motives of modesty. In the early days of the Zo- 
roastrians woman was held not so much as an equal, but 
as something superior in the home. In social rights and 
home-duties the husband and wife shared alike, and side 
by side they ministered to the holy fires on their house- 
hold hearths. In the " Prajapatya " form, which, though 
V&dic, is equally binding on the Fire-worshipper, the bride 
and bridegroom are distinctly enjoined to perform together 
their civil and religious duties. But the poetic love and 
reverence which surrounded woman in the early days of 
the Aryans, and which is still unsurpassed in all their 
literature, struck deeper than laws or rules, and in a burst 
of generous and spiritual enthusiasm " all men were com- 
manded to bow the knee in filial reverence before the 
mother of a family, declaring a mother to be greater, more 


blessed, than a thousand fathers." Thus we see how much 
the simple fact of maternity tended to elevate woman in 
the home. And the desire to foster and protect her led* 
these early worshippers to typify womanly purity as ever 
sacred, and as ever ready to comfort and cheer the heart 
of man as is the carefully-watched fire that burned on 
their altars. 

But, alas ! the rules and obligations which were orig- 
inally intended for her safety and happiness are now forged 
into iron fetters to bind her, too often a willing slave, to 
the caprice of man, and have been used, and still are urged, 
against her higher advancement to the privileges of a lib- 
eral education. 

Nevertheless, there are among the Parsees even to-day a 
few old-fashioned observances which might be introduced 
with great advantage to the wife and mother among the 
laboring and even richer classes of European nations. 
For instance, even in the poorest families there are cer- 
tain dayj^ when the woman is considered unfit to cook, 
wash, bake, sweep the floor, or light the house-lamp. So 
strenuous are the laws against her working at these times 
that among certain persons her touch is held to pollute 
the thing or person that comes into close contact with her. 
She is forbidden to perform even the lighter offices which 
may fall to her share in the house. She separates herself 
from the family on such occasions. If she is too poor to 
keep a servant, her husband is enjoined to do her part of 
the housework in addition to his own outdoor labor, what- 
ever that may be. The same rules apply to all female 

During pregnancy woman is held sacred among both 
Persians and Hindoos. Their laws are fixed and absolute 
on all points relating to maternity, whereas in European 
countries women are often treated with less kindness and 


consideration than the household and domestic animals. 
Disregarded by man, she is too apt to neglect and over- 
work herself at such times. But in the Parsee code of 
laws maternity and childbirth are protected by deep re- 
ligious obligations. "All harsh words, anger, sorrow, 
anything that will occasion pain of mind and body, are to 
be kept away fr^m the woman with child." " She is for- 
bidden all strong drink, all unhealthy intercourse with 
neighbors and friends ; she cannot travel from home or 
from place to place, or look upon unsightly objects, or 
listen to any but pleasant and familiar sounds." In fact, 
woman at such times is to be guarded with an especial re- 
ligious care, " as the household priestess or divinity, who 
is on the eve of unveiling the future greatness and glory 
of the family by the gift of a male child." 

Another and a very old superstition among the early Ar- 
yans and Parsees, if we may call these tender observances 
by such a name, is that the living, thinking, intelligent 
soul (which is held to be distinct from the life) of the 
child takes up its habitation in the heart and pulse of the 
unborn babe forty-nine days, or seven times seven sunrises 
and sunsets, before its advent into the world. This curi- 
ous belief makes them regard the mother at such times as 
overshadowed by the presence of a divine being. Hence, 
before the " holy breath " has animated the unborn babe 
the mother is conveyed with religious care to the ground- 
floor of the house. There are both spiritual and physical 
reasons for this step : that she may not be disturbed by 
the ordinary household cares and jars; that the child 
should enter into the world on the solid breast of the great 
mother of all, the earth ; and that she may not undergo 
the fatigue of climbing stairs, which Oriental women very 
much dislike. Here she remains fifty days, and some- 
times even more, before, and forty days after, the birth of 


her child, tenderly cared for by every member of the 
family, for to neglect her at such a time is to forfeit the 
blessings of the seven high angels who are about the 
throne of Ahura-Mazda. 

In the centre of her chamber there is an enclosed spot, 
sometimes provided with a cot, and all around it is a low 
wall or a light fence to guard off all irreverent approach. 
At the time of delivery her women place her in this sacred 
spot, and here, in the heart and centre of the Fire-wor- 
shipper's home, the newborn child is ushered into the 

Among the Hindoos, and even among the more unedu- 
cated of the Parsees, these observances have lost their 
original signification, and have dwindled down not only 
to a mere ritual ceremony, but are corrupted into a gross 
superstition. The poor mother is now looked upon as being 
impure,* and her seclusion from the rest of the family 
necessary to preserve the entire household from the much- 
dreaded pollution of childbirth; therefore none of the 
members of the household will approach or touch the 
mother not from a fear of harming her, but rather of 
pollution to themselves until forty days after her con- 
finement and after she has undergone a series of purifica- 
tions and performed a great many sacramental rites. 

The whole course of the future life is carefully traced 
out for every child that is born unto the world. First of 

* It is now very difficult to ascertain at what period the " dual prin- 
ciple " of good and evil formulated by Zoroaster was first applied to the 
sexes. It is clear, however, that in course of time the masculine energy 
came to be regarded as good and holy, and the feminine as evil and un- 
holy ; and there is no doubt that from that time the original idea of the 
mother as the household priestess or divinity underwent a slow but radi- 
cal change ; and at length the fall of woman from the lofty place assigned 
to her in the early Vedic and Zoroastrian religions became an accom- 
plished fact. 


all, at the moment of birth it is the duty of the nurse and 
midwife to carefully observe the time, the hour, the signs, 
and marks, and any and every unusual occurrence which 
may happen at the moment of delivery, particularly the 
aspect of the heavens at the time of day ; if at night, the 
appearance of the moon and stars, and all such phenom. 
ena. All these and the exact moment of the infant's birth 
are noted down. The newborn child is also carefully ex- 
amined as to its physical conditions, and these also are* 
commented upon and set down for the use of the astrol- 
oger. The mother too has especial attention bestowed 
upon her ; incense is kept burning at her bedside ; she is 
fumigated twice a day by means of a censer in which 
odoriferous gums are burnt; tapers are lit and sent as 
offerings to the Fire-temples, with wine, fruit, flowers, 
sweet oils, and frankincense and myrrh. 

On the seventh day after the birth of the child an 
astrologer and priest are invited to determine the horo- 
scope of the newborn infant. The former, having ascer- 
tained the moment of birth and all other notable things 
with regard to mother and child, begins by drawing on a 
wooden board a set of hieroglyphics in chalk as curious 
as they are complicated, and his dexterity in counting and 
recounting the stars under whose influence the child is 
supposed to be born is marvellous; after which all the 
assembled relatives press forward, especially the father, 
eager and trembling to hear the astrologer predict in a 
solemn voice the future life and prospects of the newborn 

According to these curious speculations, if the child is 
born at the point of Cancer he will be a great man ; if at 
the point of Capricorn, he w r ill be a great priest and re- 
former. Under the influence of the planet Saturn he will 
be distinguished for intelligence (though some priests hold 


the influence of Saturn to be dark and sinister over hu- 
man life); if under Jupiter, for power and physical 
strength. If he happens to be born at the moment of the 
arrival of the sun at the summer solstice, the child is 
looked upon as the favorite of Heaven, and every good 
fbrtune is predicted as the result. Should the planet Mars 
preside at the time of birth, they foretell great trouble 
and sorrow ; if Mercury, poverty and early death ; under 
Venus, contentment and peace; and under the moon, a 
numerous progeny. The astrologer then enumerates the 
names which are the most appropriate for the child to 
bear, so as to mark his or her astral relations ; the parents 
make a choice of one of them. The Fire-priest then 
takes the babe and places it on his knees, waves a lamp 
lighted from the sacred fire over it, calls aloud its name, 
and implores Ahura-Mazda to fulfil all the good and avert 
all the evil predicted by the stars of heaven at the hour 
of its birth. 

After the expiration of the forty days, and having un- 
dergone seven purifications by fire and smoke and various 
incense fumigations, the mother returns to the family cir- 
cle as before, but is exempted from much arduous work 
while nursing her infant. 

I was fortunate enough to be present one evening at the 
house of Shet Dorabjee, a Parsee merchant of Bombay, 
when one of their most beautiful services was held. It 
was the simple act of lighting their evening lamp, which 
in every Parsee household is one of the most sacred 
duties. This lamp is poetically called "the dispeller of 
darkness." It is always lighted in the evening, but goes 
out at dawn. Besides this, an earthen and ever-burning 
lamp is preserved in almost all Parsee homes. 

On the occasion when I happened to be present at the 
house of Shet Dorabjee the front door was gently closed 


at twilight. The family, of whom there were no less, 
than forty-five persons, assembled around this "hearth- 
lamp." My charming hostess and friend, the lady Shet 
Dorabjee, repaired to the secret chamber, kindled her 
torch at the perpetual fire, mingled its flame with her 
breath by lightly blowing on it, returned, and lighted the 
hearth-lamp. Then the family all stood up father, 
mother, sisters, brothers, children, and grandchildren no 
stranger being allowed to join the circle. I stood aside 
and quietly watched the scene. With their arms crossed 
upon their breasts while the mother was lighting the 
evening lamp, they repeated this prayer (of which I eb- 
tained the translation): "O Ahura-Mazda, thou who 
dwellest where the sun never shines, where the lightnings 
flash not, from that world, thy secret hiding-place, kindle 
our hearts to worship the pure Lord of Purity ;" to which 
the whole family responded, " So be it, O Divine Illumi- 

Consecration into the Zoroastrian religion takes place 
in the seventh year of a child's life. First comes the 
strange purification by washing the child's body and face 
with the urine of the cow. This curious and disgusting 
custom is said to be handed down from the most ancient 
times, when this liquid was regarded as a very effective 
remedy against any disorder of the bodily organs. This 
done, a prayer is repeated, and the body is bathed again 
in pure water. There is a second and a third process, 
each called purification ; the second consists of standing 
face to face with the fire, and praying to the Light with- 
out beginning or end ; the third in repeating, with arms 
crossed, the Zoroastrian creed and acknowledging the 
truth of the Zoroastrian religion. 

The child is then seated before the high priest, who 
puts on him a linen garment of nine seams and a woollen 



girdle of seventy-two threads. These are the exact num- 
ber of the sacred books of the Fire-worshippers. These 
two are called the " garments of the pure and faithful," 
and the whole ceremony is concluded with a benediction 
of fire and prayer, the former being waved round and 
round over the child, and the latter being chanted. 

The last and peculiar initiation takes place when the 
youth^haJ'attained his fourteenth year. He stands clad 
in pure white among the priests and his assembled rela- 
tives and friends in the Fire-temple. Here he repeats 
his vows; the priests warn him of certain temptations 
that will beset his youth and manhood, and the shame 
and suffering that will follow him through life if he 
should prove unfaithful to the higher instincts of his 
nature. They then invite him to drink the " homa " or 
"soma" juice, and to join them in practising purity in 
thought, word, and deed. 

The^onia/' or moon-plant, is a round smooth twin- 
ing plant peculiar to the Aravalli Hills ; it is also found 
in the deserts north of Delhi and in the mountain-passes 
of the Bolan, and it is imported into Bombay. It possesses 
not only medicinal, but, when allowed to ferment, slightly 
intoxicating, properties. It is the privilege of the Fire- 
priests and the most devout of the congregation to par- 
take once a month, at the time of the new moon, of this 
intoxicating juice. Those who are about to partake of it 
generally abstain from food from sunrise till noon, which 
is the hour for celebrating this ceremony. 

A day or two before the appearance of the new moon 
the stalks of this plant are bruised with the tender shoots 
of the acacia and with pomegranates, extracting thereby 
an acrid greenish juice. This is put in a strainer of goat's 
hair, after which it must be pressed through by the priest's 
fingers ; this juice, mixed with barley and clarified butter, 


is allowed to ferment, when it forms the "soma wine." 
On the first morning after the new moon is seen in the 
heavens the Fire-priests repair to their temple, where, 
after certain prayers and chants, the soma-juice is drawn 
off in a vessel ; a portion is thrown into a sacred well as 
a libation to the earth, a ladleful is drank by the priests, 
and the residue is handed round to the people who are 
present. The priests then join hands and wait for the 
stimulating properties to reach the brain, whereupon they 
wheel round chanting a hymn full of mystical meaning. 

Strange as it may seem to us, the exhilarating property 
of this drink is supposed to shadow forth the presence of 
divine life in the soul, and this life of thought and emo- 
tion is often poetically called "wine" "the wine that 
fills creation's cup." * 

The Parsees in worshipping the sun turn their faces to 
the rising luminary, and, holding before them branches 
of certain trees, chant aloud. In our early-morning rides 
on Malabar Hill, as the sun made his first appearance 
above the horizon, the white-robed priests of Iran were 
always before us, crowding the summit of the hill ; they 
could be seen with their faces turned eastward, with 
branches of acacia raised aloft in their hands, singing 
their morning hymn to the god of day.f 

We knew personally several of the Fire-priests of 
Bombay. They seemed less intelligent than the ordinary 
Parsees, and some of them went through their religious 
duties mechanically and without any of that religious fer- 
vor that I had noticed in the Brahmans ; but I have seen 
others who were both intelligent and extremely devout. 

* Omar Khy&m, astronomer-poet of Persia, 

t The earliest mention of this practice is found in the eighth chapter 
and sixteenth verse of Ezekiel, where that prophet complains that the 
Jews turn their backs upon the temple to worship the sun. 


Among the Fire-worshippers the marriage of one's chil- 
dren is the first and earliest consideration. Marriage is 
held a high sacred and religious obligation, and mothers 
often pledge their children in marriage before they are 
born, and if their children prove of the right sex their 
pledge is held sacred. In most cases, however, the priests 
are the go-betweens or the matchmakers. This is held as 
one of the most important of the ministerial duties that 
fall to the care of a Fire-priest. As soon as a Parsee 
sees what he and his wife consider an eligible mate for his 
son or daughter, direct negotiations are opened with the 
parents by means of the Fire-priest, who calls on the par- 
ties, and after some few preliminary questions with regard 
to the temper and disposition of the proposed mother-in- 
law on the part of the relatives of the young maiden, the 
Fire-priest (who cannot proceed until he has examined 
the respective horoscopes) demands the birth-paper of the 
little maiden in question, who, perhaps all unconscious of 
what is going on, may be frequently seen hiding behind 
her mother and peering timidly at the white-robed Fire- 
priest who is about to decide one of the most important 
events of her future life. 

Everything depends on the positions of their respective 
stars. The stars once declared favorable, however, mat- 
ters proceed rapidly and the betrothal takes place. This 
consists of an exchange of dresses from the parents of the 
young couple ; but so rigid are their rules that the accept- 
ance of this simple gift is held by each of the parents as 
the sign of an indissoluble bond between the children. 

Even the day for the celebration of the marriage (after 
the children have arrived at the respective ages of eighteen 
for the boy and fifteen to sixteen for the maiden) is selected 
by the Fire-priests. Indeed, there are only a few days in 
the year held propitious for marriage by both the Hin- 


doo and Parsee. So many marriages take place on these 
favored days that to a stranger it would appear as if the 
entire native population was being married off. 

We were invited to the celebration of the marriage of 
Munchejee Sorabjee's daughter, a very beautiful girl and 
a great heiress in her own right, her late uncle having left 
her a very large fortune. We arrived early, so as to wit- 
ness the whole ceremony from beginning to end. 

It was a lovely place near Mazagaum. The house was 
approached through grand old groves ; there were rustic 
seats here and there, and inviting grassy slopes whence 
one could catch glimpses of the distant sea. We were 
shown into a spacious hall, where we took our places, 
with several other European guests, on divans arranged 
along the walls. 

Just before sunset the bridegroom's party arrived in 
full dress of pure white, all save the turban, which was of 
a dark chocolate color, ornamented with precious stones. 
Each of the gentlemen attached to the bridegroom's party 
had garlands of white flowers around his neck. Behind 
these came a long row of Fire-priests in flowing white 
linen robes, white turbans, and long white silk scarfs. 

The nuptial ceremony must always be held on the 
ground-floor, and after all the guests, some three or four 
hundred Parsees, had taken their places round the hall, 
there was heard a gentle buzz of expectation. All eyes 
turned involuntarily to the great lofty door at the west- 
ern extremity of the room. It opened, and for a moment 
the young bride stood still, hesitating at the threshold 
of the unknown future before her. Presently both bride 
and bridegroom entered. I never saw a more graceful 
or more beautiful creature than this young Parsee bride. 
Her dress was exquisitely simple white satin trousers 
fastened at the ankle, above a pale blue silk bodice cov- 


ered with some sort of rich white embroidery, and over it 
all, wound round her whole person, half veiling her face, 
was a semi-transparent flowing scarf, every curve and 
twist of which was arranged with the most artistic effect. 
They walked in .side by side. A murmur of delight ran 
through the audience at the delicate downcast face, 'the 
grace, and the beauty of the half-veiled maiden figure 
before us. When the couple reached the centre of the 
hall they bowed down and performed a sort of mystic 
prostration to Mother Earth in the presence of the Fire- 
priests. They then stood up, joined hands, and waited 
for the auspicious moment. All eyes were turned upon 
the youthful pair ; every one was almost breathless with 
tender expectation, save the Fire-priests, who watched the 
sunlight fading out of the sky. With the vanishing of 
the last shimmering gleam of light the ceremony began. 
Torches and lamps were kindled with fire from their tem- 
ple by the Fire-priests, who approached the young couple, 
and, waving round them the sacred light, sprinkled them 
with consecrated water; then taking an immense "purda," 
or veil, placed it over one of their number and over the 
bride and groom, who were shrouded beneath its folds for 
some minutes; meanwhile other priests chanted the fol- 
lowing hymn : " O man, in the name of the great Ahura- 
Mazda, be ever pure and faithful, and bright in good 
actions as the immortal Light. Be ever worthy of all 
praise and honor in the heart of this woman, now thy 
wife. May the spirits of fire, sun, and water give thee 
wisdom ! May the peaceful earth, whose fragrance is ex- 
cellent, whose breasts contain the heavenly drink, fill thee 
with the purity of the Pure and the benevolence of the 
great Yohoo mano (beneficent spirit) toward this woman 
thy wife!" 

Then the chant is addressed to the bride : " O woman 


of mysterious body, be thou immortal like Kosru (one of 
the fixed stars). Be full of understanding for thyself, 
thy husband, and the fruit of thy body, as a capacious 
vessel full of love, fervid as the sun by day, tender and 
pure as the moon by night; heavy laden as the cow 
(clouds) with moisture " (meaning heavy laden with kind- 
ness, as the clouds with moisture). " Be serene, be wise, 
be steady as the fixed stars. May Ahura-Mazda give you 
fire for brightness and purity, the sun for exalted rule ! 
May the shadowless night give you the moon for increase 
and the sky for life everlasting!" 

The instant the chanting which was drawled out in 
monotone by the assembly of the Fire-priests ceased the 
great white veil was withdrawn, and the young couple 
were man and wife. 

The bride then, blushing scarlet and looking if possible 
still more lovely than before, received the eager and hearty 
congratulations of her friends and relatives, who pressed 
around her and embraced her. Her mother and aunts 
wept with joy and poured tender benedictions on her 
young head. It was a trying ordeal for the poor girl. I 
noted every shade of feeling that passed over her face. 
She wore a look of constraint, every now and then blush- 
ing crimson ; she bit her lips in order to keep herself from 
giving way to her own conflicting emotions. 

After this came the bridegroom's turn to salute and be 
saluted by his own and his wife's relatives. A knot of 
gay young Parsee gentlemen surrounded him with wel- 
come sounds of greeting and laughter when the next im- 
portant part of the ceremony began. A young Parsee lad, 
magnificently dressed, appeared, bringing in a large bowl 
of milk, and a charmingly dressed young maiden ad- 
vanced, the younger sister of the bride, with a chook, or 
vest, belonging to the newly-made wife. 


That " there is only one step from the sublime to the 
ridiculous " is only too true, for this rare and unique cere- 
mony was absolutely concluded by the Fire-priests wash- 
ing the toes of the bridegroom in the milk, and then they 
rubbed his face all over with the cast-off garment of his 
wife. As far as I could understand, the one was a sign 
of the great future happiness in store for the husband, 
and the other that he was no longer his own master, but 
henceforth under petticoat government. It is but just to 
add that most of the Parsee gentlemen present seemed to 
have outgrown this ridiculous custom, but the ladies 
smirked and giggled and seemed to enjoy it immensely. 

After this came the end. The happy but confused- 
looking young couple retired (dripping with rose and jes- 
samine waters showered over them) to their new abode, 
which in most cases is in the paternal home of the hus- 

The Parsees have but few festivals ; the birthday of 
Zoroaster and their New Year's Day are the most import- 
ant. The former is held in the month of October, and 
it is a sight worth seeing. The men, women, and children, 
magnificently dressed in gold-wrought silks and flashing 
jewels, crowd the Fire-temples with offerings of fruit and 
flowers. Long processions of priests robed in pure white 
take turns in officiating, and chant after chant ascends 
from the temples to the shining Ahura-Mazda, accom- 
panied with invocations to the spirits of the righteous 
dead, and to the seven high angels around the throne. 
The beautiful half-veiled women, the lovely children, the 
noble-looking fathers of families with their numberless 
sons standing at their right hand, and the priests mag- 
nifying and feeding the sacred flame from sunrise to sun- 
set, form a sight as inspiring as it is novel. 

Their Noow Rooz, or New Year's Day, is observed very 



much as we do ours. The poor and destitute of all castes 
and creeds have alms, food, and clothes distributed to 
them by the rich and great, poor relations receive pres- 
ents, and among friends kindly visits and gifts are ex- 

The i costiune of this peculiar people is exceedingly 
simple, and said to be made obligatory on them by the 
rajah of Saian on their first landing on Indian soil. That 
of the man consists of a long seamless muslin or silk shirt 
or tunic reaching to the knees, a woollen girdle with tassels, 
and a pair of silk trousers ; when going out he puts on a 
sort of tunic, with a short silk vest over it ; the modern 
Parsee gentlemen has also adopted shoes and stockings. 
The cap or turban by which a Parsee is distinguished is 
bound round a frame in the form of a little round tower, 
slightly higher on the right side. The stuff of which it 
is constructed is a peculiar manufacture made at Surat ex- 
pressly for the Parsee turban. It is a sort of stiff paper- 
muslin, figured, and generally of a dark-red or chocolate 
color, bound round the frame smoothly, till it is made to 
assume this one particular form of a conical tower (typical 
of their earliest Fire-temple), around which emeralds and 
rubies are arranged on great festal occasions. 

The Parsee women that I met and visited in Bombay 
were, on the whole, remarkably good-looking as girls; 
before they conceal their fine curly hair they are really 
beautiful, and the children among the loveliest and hap- 
piest to be found in the East. 

The women are fair-complexioned, with a delicate bru- 
nette tinge, with large eyes and regular features, often ex- 
quisitely formed, owing to their dress being freed from 
anything like pressure on the body ; but they rob them- 
selves of a part of their beauty by the custom of conceal- 
ing their beautiful hair under white linen bands bound 


around the brow. They wear very wide silk trousers, 
gathered and fastened at the ankles, over this a silk tunic, 
often descending in graceful folds to the feet and bound 
at the waist, while a deep, wide scarf of silk or some other 
light texture gracefully drapes the whole person and serves 
at once the double purpose of a head-dress and a veil. 

They occupy in their homes a much more honorable po- 
sition than either the Hindoo or Moslem women. They 
enjoy almost as much freedom as European women. I 
used to meet them in the streets and bazaars, driving in 
their open carriages, surrounded by their bright, happy- 
looking children. 

So careful are the Parsees of their national honor that 
in the whole island of Bombay there exists neither pau- 
pers nor prostitutes among the followers of this religion. 
Polygamy is unknown among them. A wife can only be 
put away for immoral conduct. She is tried by the Pun- 
chayet or Parsee court, and if found guilty repudiated 
amid the whole assembly ; formerly she was put to death. 

The ceremonies attending the death of a Parsee are 
very singular. When a person is about to die he is con- 
veyed to the ground-floor, washed in consecrated water, 
and his face anointed with holy oil. A lamp or lamps 
lighted from the sacred fire in the temple are placed by 
the dying man's bed, and priests stand before him with 
folded arms crossed on their breasts, and pray for him in 
a most earnest and beautiful chant. When life becomes 
quite extinct the body is clothed in a new white cotton 
shirt of nine seams and a sort of apron, which is thrown 
over the face. This is bound by a new and sacred girdle 
of seventy-two threads. The body is then placed on an 
oblong stone on the floor. 

But the most curious part of all is, that along with the 
Fire-priests the house-dog is brought in, and after they 


have offered up prayer and praise in the presence of the 
assembled family, the dog is taken up to the dead body 
of his friend and master and exhorted to conduct him 
safely into paradise. If the dog should lick affection- 
ately, as heretofore, the face, or even hands or feet, of his 
dead friend, it is held as a most auspicious sign of the 
dead man's ready admittance into heaven. It is but just 
to add here that the more refined and intelligent Parsees 
have outgrown this absurd custom and superstition ; but 
the more ignorant certainly believe that every dog has an 
angel spirit residing in some star, whence it issues forth to 
convey the souls of the good safely into heaven.* 

When the time for the removal of the body approaches, 
lamps lighted from the sacred fires burn around the corpse. 
The priests stand face to face with the dead, singing praises 
to the immortal Light; finally, their last prayer or exhor- 
tation to the dead soul is chanted. This done, the body, 
covered with white garments, the hands crossed on the 
breast, is laid on a long open bier. A number of priests 
robed in pure white carry the bier to the dohkma or tower 
of silence, and there the long procession of friends and 
relatives stand in a circle praying with arms folded, heads 
bowed, and lips moving silently, while the Fire-priests 
place the dead body on a long slide and slip it on the iron 
gratings of this strange circular tomb, to be devoured by 
birds of prey. 

On the third day they pray again in the Fire-temple 
that the soul of the dead may ascend to heaven, for, ac- 
cording to their sacred books, on the third day "he reaches 
Mithra (Sun-god), rising above the mountains resplendent 
in his own spotless purity ;" then he comes to the bridge 
of the "Gatherer" where he is asked as to the conduct of 

* The dog is also brought in to be looked at by the dying man when 
at his last gasp. 



his soul while living in the world. If he is pure, a beau- 
tiful, tall, swift spirit, called Serosh, comes thither with a 
dog, a nine-knotted hook, and the twigs of the "Barsom;" 
these things are considered efficacious for keeping off evil 
spirits and guiding him over the heavenly bridge (Chin- 
vat). Here a most exquisite form meets him, lovely and 
smiling, and when he questions the beautiful maiden, " Who 
art thou shining so brightly on the wide shore ?" she re- 
plies, " I am all thy good works, pure thoughts, and pure 
words, O man." She then takes his hand, leads him smil- 
ing and joyous to the archangel Yohoo mano, who rises 
from his golden throne and speaks thus to the soul: "How 
happy it is that you have come here to us from mortality 
to immortality !" Then the soul goes joyfully to Ahura- 
Mazda, and resides for ever with the immortal saints, prais- 
ing the unbegotten, self-created Light. 

Though the Fire- worshippers believe in the resurrection, 
they do not hold that it is to be made in the same body ; 
their reverence therefore follows the soul, and not the body 
deserted by its spiritual tenant, while their reverence for 
the earth, water, and fire is so profound that they hold 
burial, cremation, or even casting the ashes into the waters, 
a sacrilege against the elements. The original idea in ex- 
posing the body to the weather was Brahmanic that of 
absorption by the elements. The dead body was restored 
to the sun, air, and sky, to be reunited and launched on 
the bosom of that "vast Illimitable" whence it had sprung. 

The Parsees also hold all birds sacred, as a sort of spirit- 
ual agent of universal purification, through whose agency 
all gross, unclean substances pass into healthy conditions. 
For these reasons the towers of silence which receive the 
dead spoil are open to the sky, and by means of the bird 
of prey it re-enters almost immediately into the domain 
of life and health and purity. 


From the universal testimony of pagan or Christian 
travellers we find that the Fire-worshippers of India are 
thought to be more honorable in their dealings with one 
another, and even with strangers, than the generality of 
Asiatics, and even than those peoples professing Christi- 
anity. They rarely resort to written contracts, as their 
word is the best bond. Benevolence is said to flow in 
their veins, so conspicuous have they become for their love 
of charity. The Rev. Mr. Avington, during his stay at 
Surat so early as 1698, bore testimony to the fact that the 
Parsees there were ever more ready to provide for the 
comfort and support of the poor and suffering than even 
the Christians ; and this reputation they bear to this day 
in India. The Bombay government voted thanks so far 
back as 1790 to Sorabjee Muncherjee, who during the 
scarcity that prevailed at that time daily fed at his own 
expense two thousand people, comprising Jews, Chris- 
tians, Mohammedans, and Hindoos. Mrs. Graham, in 
her journal of a residence in India, declares that she was 
enraptured with the simplicity, purity, and never-ceasing 
kindliness of the Parsee community ; and every one in 
India is familiar w r ith the name of that very prince of 
benevolence and kindliness, the venerable Parsee baronet 
Sir Jamsetjee Jeeboy, knighted by the queen of England 
for his unbounded charities, which are not only unsur- 
passed, but without a parallel, in ancient or modern 
times. He has done more in his lifetime for Western In- 
dia, in feeding the poor, releasing unhappy prisoners for 
debt, building causeways, founding schools and colleges 
for the education of all castes and conditions of men and 
women, erecting hospitals for the relief of the suffering 
poor, benevolent institutions for the deformed, spacious 
resting-places, or dhurrum-salas, for weary travellers in 
all parts of India, stupendous aqueducts, wells, and tanks, 


than any other single individual, or even the East India 
Company, for the benefit of mankind. Connected with 
the Grant Medical College of Bombay is the noble hos- 
pital, the gift of this Parsee baronet; and only a few 
years ago his family erected a hospital for incurables 
near it. An ophthalmic hospital has been opened and en- 
dowed by another liberal Parsee, Cowasjee Jehangheer. 

The late Sir Jamsetjee commenced life in Bombay at 
the early age of twelve as a street peddler, selling old 
bottles, and was called "Bottle- wallah " to the day of his 

In the short space of two centuries of u^disturbedjnj 
dustry the Parsees have placed themselves in competition 
with the foremost of the Europeans in India. In liber^ 
ality and enterprise they rank with the merchant-princes 
of England, and may be justly compared to the most 
famous merchants that America has produced in the last 
century, and yet no question has ever been raised as to 
the commercial integrity of the Parsees. In the Indian 
banks and various other stock companies the Parsees are 
prime movers. They are almost the exclusive owners of 
all the trading-steamers that now navigate the Indian and 
China seas. They are great landholders, and many of the 
finest residences in the island of Bombay are owned by 
Parsees. They have shared largely in introducing rail- 
ways into India. Jamsetjee Dorabjee is now considered 
the foremost railroad contractor in India. The most dif- 
ficult passes extending from the Thull Ghauts to the Kust- 
sarah Mountains, covered with wild jungles, full of trap 
hills, mountain-torrents at one season of the year, and 
devoid of water at another, were laid open and made as 
easy of travel by railroad as the most finished roads in 
England or America. Many English officers of the en- 
gineer department have declared the building of this rail- 


road across the Thull Ghauts and Kustsarah a more ardu- 
ous undertaking than that of the great Pacific Railroad 
across the American continent. 

Europe, during the great American War deprived sud- 
denly of one of the chief products so necessary to her in- 
dustries, resorted to India for cotton, and all at once the 
island of Bombay became not only the great centre of 
trade, but soon attracted to herself merchants and traders 
in cotton from the four quarters of the globe, each and 
all eagerly competing for the same prize, the monopoly of 
the cotton-market. Enormous fortunes were amassed in an 
incredibly short space of time, and for a brief period the 
whole commerce of the great East and West seemed to 
flow into the port of the small island of Bombay. Mis- 
informed by the English press, and seemingly unwilling 
to investigate for themselves the true nature of the almost 
superhuman struggle carried on between kinsmen for the 
preservation of State rights and the suppression of slavery 
on the American continent, this eager crowd only foresaw 
what seemed the most natural, the utter destruction of the 
great republic of the United States and the magnificent 
future for themselves springing from the very ashes of 
this ruin. Thus assured, and blinded to every other con- 
sideration, even the wise and hitherto prudent merchants 
of Bombay became dazzled with the prospects in view, 
and launched forth into the most gigantic enterprises and 
into rash schemes for the utmost development of one and 
all the various resources of the country. Everywhere this 
feverish, insatiable thirst to profit by a great nation's ap- 
proaching destruction displayed itself. Men and women 
who had never dreamed of speculating in stocks, the rich 
with his hundreds of thousands and the poor with hardly 
a few rupees to his name, master and servant, were alike 
seized with the distemper called by the few who looked 


calmly on " Rupea-Dewana/' "the rupee-mad." How 
changed was the once happy population ! What anxious 
faces, revealing lines of thought and care, of midnight 
toil, of mingled fear and hope! Still, the great drama 
went on, and for a short period immense fortunes were 
made in a day. But no sooner had the whole island 
gained sufficient encouragement to set on foot her gigantic 
schemes and rash enterprises, no sooner had she at one 
final throw staked all on the ruin of the Northern States, 
than came the appalling intelligence of General Lee's defeat. 
A fearful revulsion followed : sudden panic seized the 
busy world enclosed in the small compass of the Bombay 
" Commercial Square." Like a flock of birds, the bus- 
iness population took wing and vanished out of sight. 
The banks were closed, flourishing houses collapsed, firms 
disappeared, and an almost universal ruin stared every one 
in the face. The very atmosphere was filled with the de- 
spair of men who had so rashly staked all and lost all. 

Painful as the lesson has been, it was a wholesome one, 
not only for all classes of merchants in British India, but 
for Old England herself. The merchants of Bombay are 
once more in their counting-rooms and warehouses, the 
banks are as firmly established as ever, with a richer ex- 
perience and a more profound insight into the laws which 
govern the moral as well as the business world ; they yet 
bid fair to render the beautiful island of Bamba Devi the 
heart and centre of all the commerce of the East, even as 
she is now, owing to her remarkable sanitary conditions, 
the healthiest city in India. She is the second city in the 
British empire in point of numbers, having a population 
of six hundred thousand, and an average to the square 
mile exceeding that of London ; nevertheless, the average 
death-rate for the past five years has been the same as 
that of London. 


Hindoo Treatment of the Sick. Pundit's House Defiled. Its Purifi- 
cation. Short Sketch of the Different Races and of the Origin of 
Castes and Creeds among the Peoples of Hindostan. 

THE Hindoo treatment of the sick is quite peculiar, and 
I once had an opportunity to witness some of its curious 
features during the illness of my Sanskrit teacher, the 
pundit Govind. I was fortunate in this, since only ex- 
ceptional circumstances permit a European to pollute 
with his presence the dwelling of a high-caste Brahman. 
Every one knows that caste still holds the Hindoos under 
an iron rule, but it is difficult for us of the Western 
World to realize, without actual experience, the tenacity 
with which its mandates are obeyed even in an extremity. 

For several days Govind had not presented himself to 
give his usual morning lesson at the " Aviary." I feared 
he was ill, but did not venture to visit him, lest my very 
shadow might pollute his dwelling and place him in an 
unpleasant dilemma with the rest of his high-caste friends. 
I began to be alarmed, however, on the third morning of 
Govind's absence, and was on the point of starting off to 
his house, when I observed a native woman coming toward 
the "Aviary," her scarlet saree fluttering in the breeze 
and making quite a pretty picture in the distance. 

I hastened to the doorstep to meet the stranger. She 
salaamed to me, but positively declined to enter the house. 
As she did so she flung back her scarf or covering, and 
from the sectarian mark on her forehead I knew that she 

V 129 


was a high-caste Brahmanee. She stood for a few min- 
utes breathless and silent, and I do not remember ever 
having seen a more delicate and sensitive-looking girl. 
The saree, which was a scarlet muslin cloth of Indian 
manufacture, and decorated with a handsome border, cov- 
ered her person from head to foot, leaving the left arm 
and shoulder bare. ' I noticed that she had sandals on her 
feet and a number of bangles round her arms and ankles. 
Her shining black hair was tied in a massive knot behind 
and fastened by a gold pin, which also served to secure 
the end of her saree as a veil and covering for her head. 
Her features, form, arms, hands, and feet were of the most 
exquisite type, and her complexion of a rich chocolate- 

She at length lifted her dark eyes brimming with tears, 
and with a slightly quivering voice said, " Beebee saihib 
tora douva daoh kuda ka wasta ; Govind ka jahn jata hai " 
(" Lady, for God's sake give me a little medicine ; Govind's 
life is passing away "). 

I inquired the nature of his complaint, but all I could 
learn from the young woman was that Govind's stomach 
and legs had gone away, and that his head was fast fol- 
lowing his heels, which is the Oriental phraseology for 
extreme prostration. 

I seized a small bottle of brandy, a physician's mixture 
at hand for cholera morbus, and some quinine, and started 
with the Brahmanee for the home of Govind the pundit. 
In less than half an hour we stood before a mean, 
wretched-looking bamboo dwelling, the walls of which 
were plastered with mud and covered over with an attap * 
roof. It stood in the middle of a small patch of ground 
neatly smeared over with cowordure. In the centre of 
* A species of palm-leaf dried and stitched together, much used all 
over Hindostan in roofing houses and sheds. 


this yard was a flourishing plant growing out of a large 
earthen pot buried in the ground the Indian "mehn- 
dee " * (sacred to the goddess Bhawanee), called Lawsonia 
by English botanists. It was in full blossom, with small 
delicate, fragrant flowers resembling the clematis. 

The sky was very much overcast, portending soon a 
shower or thunderstorm ; the air was hot and sultry. I 
stood for a moment or two before the half-open door of 
the little hut, whence proceeded a low, faint, tremulous 
sound which I recognized as the voice of Govind, my 
teacher, enfeebled by his illness. As I stood there hesi- 
tating to enter, the pretty little Brahmanee dropped on her 
knees before the door, and, having saluted the presiding 
genius of the dwelling three times, advanced, creeping 
softly in on her knees. At length I summoned courage 
enough to walk in, but I did so in my stockings, leaving 
my shoes on the doorsill. Even this was, as I afterward 
learned, desecration to the Brahman's household. 

On a low charpie, or native cot, standing apart within 
an enclosure formed by a mud wall a few inches in height, 
lay the pundit, his eyes closed, his features shrunk and 
wasted. The little woman, who I divined was his wife, 
had already taken her place at his feet, which she kept 
rubbing in a listless way, the sad expression deepening on 
her dark but beautiful face, the great tears brimming her 
eyes and coursing one after another all unheeded down 
her cheeks. 

The dwelling consisted of two apartments. Through a 

* Most of the high-caste Hindoo women cultivate this plant for the 
purpose of dyeing their nails and finger-tips. The dye is prepared by 
bruising the leaves and moistening them with a little lime-water. 
This mixture is then applied to the nails, tips of the fingers, palms of 
the hands, and sometimes even to the soles of the feet, which in a 
short time become dyed of a reddish-orange color. The stain remains 
on the skin until it wears off. 



doorway to which there was no door I saw an old woman 
seated by a rude fire on the floor in the adjoining room 
cooking some rice in an earthen pot, and before her on the 
floor were a board and a rolling-pin, with which she had 
been rolling out some wheaten cakes, piled, already baked, 
in a copper platter by the fire. The moment I entered 
the hut she turned her shrivelled features, and, seeing a 
white woman, she gave a shrill cry ; then, stretching out 
her bare, bony arms, implored me in piteous tones to be- 
gone. "But, lady," said I, trying to appease her, "I 
cannot go away. Govind is very ill, and I have some 
medicine here that may cure him." 

Hearing her still entreating me to begone, Bhawanee 
begged her to let me stay and give the medicine to Go- 
vind ; at which the poor old woman, shuddering, retreated 
to the inner apartment, resumed for a time her cries, ut- 
tering them in a loud voice and in a tone at once piercing 
and imperious, " You dare not come in here ! you dare not ! 
What reason have you for daring to give my son medi- 
cine? I want you hateful In)rage (English) to know 
that I would rather have him die, rather have him die, 
than be polluted by your vile drinks, made of devils' 
blood and pig's flesh ; I would rather have him die." 
Rocking herself to and fro, she kept her strange glittering, 
dark eyes fixed upon me, and repeated, lowering her voice 
more and more gradually, " I would rather have him 
die," till she seemed to be talking to herself. I really 
thought she was delirious or perhaps out of her mind ; 
but Bhawanee whispered to me, " She is very old and very 
cross, and sometimes possessed of a devil." 

All the noise made by the old woman did not seem to 
disturb her son, who was in a deep sleep, his respiration 
so heavy and labored, and his pallor so death-like, that I 
almost feared he was dying. But at the end of half an 


hour he stirred and made a vain attempt to turn on his 
side ; failing, he gave a look toward the foot of the bed, 
where his sorrow-stricken wife sat still and mute. Meet- 
ing his gaze, she crept to the head of the bed, and, taking 
his hand tenderly in hers, sobbed out in broken accents, 
"Govind duva piuh, tora duva piuh" ("Govind, drink 
some medicine just a little of the medicine"). 

The pundit opened wide his half-closed eyes, looked 
full and inquiringly into his wife's face, and then turned 
them upon me. If I had been the very lowest wretch on 
the face of the earth, he could not have been more startled 
and horrified than he seemed at my presence. He almost 
sprang up, but in another second fell back on the bed, 
and, putting his hands before his face, cried feebly to his 
wife, " Wife, wife, what have you done ?" 

There was deep sympathy in the voice of the poor 
young woman as she exclaimed, " Oh, Govind, I thought 
you were dying. I did not know what else to do, and 
Doorah has been gone since morning, and is not yet 
returned. Oh, please take the lady's medicine. Never 
mind about caste; we can do 'puja' for it, and be re- 
stored ;" and the poor woman began to sob as if her heart 
would break. 

" What are my sufferings and death, that you should 
create so much disturbance about them ?" feebly moaned 
Goviud. "Let me die, oh, let me die quietly!" and 
again the deadly pallor overspread his face. 

"Govind," said I in a very energetic tone, "drink 
this." I had already poured out a little brandy into an 
earthen lota or cup, which his wife handed me, and giv- 
ing it back to her said, " Put it to his lips ; he will be 
better as soon as he has swallowed a little of it." 

Poor Bhawanee, nervous and trembling from head to 
foot, tried, and tried in vain, to persuade her husband to 


take even a mouthful of the medicine. Each time that 
she presented the lota to his lips he would put it aside, 
and turn away his face, muttering, "Better to die than 
pollute myself with what I am forbidden to touch." 

The old woman, who had never taken her eyes off me, 
hearing his voice, began to moan, " Oh, beloved son, die, 
die, but do not touch their unholy drinks." 

I did not know what to do, but, inspired by poor Bha- 
wanee's entreating look, which, though she said not a 
word, plainly urged me to persevere, I once more en- 
deavored to get the patient to swallow a little of the 
brandy. " Govind," said I, " do get over your scruples, 
which are well enough in health, but absurd in your fast- 
failing condition. Drink a mouthful of this ; it will help 
to revive you until your doctor comes. No one need ever 
know that you have tasted brandy ; I promise you to keep 
it a profound secret." 

" Do, oh do !" urged his wife " eke gutta piuh take 
only one gulp." 

" Much or little, a drop or a whole bottle, are all the 
same to me," groaned the poor pundit. " You may not 
speak of it, lady, and no one, no one may know it, but 
how can I conceal the fact from myself?" 

I felt it was useless to persuade the patient to try the 
remedies I had brought with me. 

At this moment we not only heard the sound of ap- 
proaching feet, but a sudden clap of thunder, preceded by 
a flash of lightning, almost blinded us as we sat in the 
hut, and down came a deluging rain. Bhawanee rose, 
and in a state of great agitation begged me to retire by 
the back door ; but, casting her eyes on my stocking feet, 
and apprehending that my European shoes on the thresh- 
old of her dwelling had already betrayed my presence to 
her friends, she begged me to keep my place, when in 


walked, all dripping, three strange-looking men, accom- 
panied by Doorah, her sister, who had been despatched in 
the early morning in search of a doctor, a priest, and a 

Bhawanee rose and bowed before them, and so did the 
old woman from her place in the inner room. It was 
comforting to see the poor woman's expression, which till 
now had been full of despair, replaced by a look of child- 
like confidence and trust, though I doubted whether the 
Hindoo priest, doctor, or soothsayer could do much to- 
ward helping the sick man. 

The doctor, who was a tall, dark, and rather handsome 
high-caste Hindoo, placed himself near the bedside of 
Govind and proceeded to feel his skin, pulse, and chest 
and to examine the condition of his tongue, eyes, and nails. 

Meanwhile, the Brahman priest requested a pitcher of 
water and an empty bowl. Furnished with these by 
Doorah, Bhawanee ? s sister, he sat himself down in the 
middle of the room and began to transfer the water from 
the empty bowl, drop by drop, repeating over 
the "Gayatree," the holiest text of the Vdas, 
the most sacred and effacious prayer of the Brahmans, and 
thought \>y them to be absolutely necessary to salvation, 
while the soothsayer sat apart waiting his turn to perform 
certain magical enchantments for the benefit of the poor 
sick man. The latter opened his eyes once more and looked 
at his Guru,* or priest, and said solemnly, " I am dying." 

* A "Gum" is a spiritual guide, a Brahman ecclesiastic, invested 
with the power of attending births, deathbeds, marriages, and settling 
all such questions as effect Hindoo caste and all its duties and obliga- 
tions. A Guru is generally an ascetic of peculiar sanctity, and is often 
worshipped as an incarnate deity. This office descends from father to 
son. The Gurus comprise a very large and influential body of men, 
occupying the chief cities of India, wielding a despotic power over the 
people, as their curse is dreaded by all ranks and conditions of people. 


" Dying ? you are not dying/' said the doctor. " I will 
soon make you well," whereupon he opened a bag and 
drew out of it some pieces of iron, which he placed on a 
charcoal fire. While these were being heated he took out 
various roots and dried herbs and began to rub them on a 
small stone, occasionally moistening the stone with a little 
water. Having compounded several queer, dark -looking 
doses, he, to my utter astonishment, deliberately began 
pinching, thumping, and slapping poor Govind now on 
his back, anon on the soles of his feet. His sides, palms, 
shoulders, elbows, knee-joints were all slapped and beaten. 
This done, he branded with the hot pieces of iron the poor 
patient on the pit of his stomach, the inside of his arms, 
and the calves of his legs ; then administered his queer- 
looking doses, which the unhappy-looking Govind swal- 
lowed without a sign of remonstrance ; and, finally cover- 
ing him from head to foot with a thick quilt, the Hindoo 
physician beckoned to the soothsayer to complete the 

The soothsayer robed himself in a dress covered with 
strange designs of men exorcising fiends, put on a cap to 
which was attached two or three long cords, at the end of 
which hung little brooms made of kusah-grass (a grass 
sacred to the Hindoo gods). He then took up the pan of 
burning coals and scattered them over the quilt which 
covered the patient ; these he brushed off as rapidly as 
possible with the sacred brooms hanging from his cap. 
This was to dispossess the sick man of some extraordinary 
but invisible devil, which he then drove out at the door, 
running after the spirit and howling terrific invectives on it 
for having dared to enter the " divine precincts occupied 
by the liver of a Brahman." All this while the Guru, or 
priest, prayed, chanting in a monotonous tone, over each 
drop of water that passed from the pitcher to the bowl, 


and each of which was supposed to carry off with it the 
cholera of the sick man. 

Strange to say, violent and absurd as were the remedies 
administered to poor Govind, he not only bore them pa- 
tiently, but seemed better ; a profuse perspiration having 
broken out upon him, it was looked upon as a most hope- 
ful sign and an especial interposition of Brahm. 

In another hour the rain ceased ; Govind had fallen into 
a peaceful sleep; Bhawanee's face was irradiated with 
smiles ; the old woman was setting out their mid-day re- 
past on a mat in the adjoining apartment. I returned 
home, promising to call and see Bhawanee on the follow- 
ing day. The next day, when I started off, I fully ex- 
pected to hear that Goviud had passed away ; but when I 
reached the outer gate of the yard enclosing Govind's 
dwelling I found the pundit, although looking weak and 
feeble enough, seated on a small stone holding in his left 
"hand three blades of kusah-grass. The old woman, who 
was in the act of tying up the lock of sacred hair on his 
head in some mystical form, shouted to me to keep off. 
I stood at a distance and looked on. He was evidently 
undergoing the purification ceremony. Bhawanee, who 
smiled sweetly at me, was holding before her husband a 
bowl of water, which he first sipped, then flung a little of 
it toward the horizon, and washed his hands, ears, breast, 
eyes, nose, shoulders, and feet, repeating over each mem- 
ber a prayer. His wife then brought him a stick of lighted 
wood from the household fire ; he breathed over it, repeat- 
ing the mystic word " Aum," " O divine Spirit, resplend- 
ent Fire, purify me from all uncleanliness." He then 
placed the sacred grass on his right ear (Gtinga, the sacred 
river, is supposed to have its source in the right ear of 
Brahm, the sacrificial fire (or life) in Brahm's nostrils, so 
that when the pundit touched these members of his per- 


son with fire and water all the impurity entailed by my 
visit to his house on the previous day passed away). 
Finally he took some sacred mud out of a pot which was 
handed to him by his wife, and made the holy mark, the 
circle and the cross of his caste and race, on his brow. 

Meanwhile, Doorah, the sister, had been purifying the 
hut. First it was sprinkled all over with holy water, 
smeared with cow-ordure, and lastly fumigated with cer- 
tain gums a very sensible proceeding in a hot, moist cli- 
mate like that of Bombay. 

And at length the poor pundit, restored to his normal 
condition of holiness, was once more assisted into his bed 
by his tender and loving wife. I smiled at them from a 
distance, and went my way regretting more keenly than 
ever we were so separated from one another that the sim- 
plest act of kind interest on my part should entail on the 
whole household a series of purificatory rites to last for 
seven days. 

As long as there exist in social life certain laws, man- 
ners, and customs by which the civilized man is distin- 
guished from the savage, the gentleman from the cow- 
herd, the high-born dame from her lowly maid, so long 
will caste, which is nothing more or less than social 
grades, complicate the lives and destinies not only of the 
races of the East, but of the West. The three great prob- 
lems which yet remain to be solved by the British in India 
are to do away with the degradation of man by caste, the 
bondage of woman by custom, and the deterioration of 
childhood through the influence of the one and the other. 

Caste on Indian soil was not in its beginning an entirely 
arbitrary institution ; it was at first the natural expression 
of a high-bred and highly-sensitive race toward an inferior 
and savage population among which they had settled. It 
took centuries before caste was established on Indian soil, 


and nearly a thousand years before it became incorporated 
in the sacred books of the Brahmans in its present form. 
But the moment that divine authority was claimed for it, 
that moment it became to the God-fearing races of the 
East a law so subtle, so intricate, and yet so absolute, that 
the most daring as well as the most abject could not hope 
to escape its iron rule. 

From the remotest times there has been a ceaseless 
march of tribes and races into the vast peninsula called 
Hindostan, from which there is no easy outlet, east or 
west, north or south ; all points are equally difficult and 
impassable mountain-barriers on the north, with ranges 
of mountains and circling seas on every other side. Never- 
theless, pouring across the Indus and straggling down the 
narrow defiles and passes of the Himalayas, came wave 
after wave of immigration, pushing the earlier populations 
farther and farther into the hills and forest-boundaries of 
the occupied land. Each wave, borne down by the later 
arrival, disappeared or retreated deeper and deeper into 
the heart of the country till the whole of India was over- 
flooded by the great Aryan invasion. 

In no part of the world are there found so many re- 
mains of distinct tribes and races of men as in Hindostan 
proper. Everywhere in the forests, in the most inaccess- 
ible mountain-regions of the peninsula, and all along the 
sea-coast, are tribes and races who seem to have been 
hemmed in where we now find them. The vast plains 
of the regions of the Indus and the Ganges afforded no 
place of refuge to the retreating barbarians. Hence, with 
the exception of some few who were absorbed into the 
population of Lower Bengal, the Aryans drove all before 
them, even the Tamuls, a partly-civilized people, who, 
having swept the earlier inhabitants southward, were in 
their turn forced south. 


From the latitude of the Vindhyan chain down to 
Cape Comorin, and in the forests of Ceylon, the aborig- 
inal populations of India are still to be met with, living 
in detached communities, distinct in physical appearance, 
manners, customs, and religions, not only from the Hin- 
doos, Tamuls, Moslems, and Parsees, but from one another. 

Nothing annoyed our pundit so much as when he heard 
me call my bhistee, or water-man, " a Hindoo :" " Hin- 
doo nay, maim sahib, whoo jungly-wallah hai " (" Not Hin- 
doo-man, but a savage of the forest "). And, to tell the 
truth, one could not fail to notice between the Hindoo 
pundit and the coolie-bhistee as marked a difference as 
one sees between a high-bred American gentleman of the 
Anglo-Saxon race and the newly-emancipated American 

In crossing the Indus one comes upon the relics of 
ancient races in the dark-complexioned, diminutive, but 
powerfully athletic natives of Guzerat, many of whom are 
now the coolies or porters of Bombay. Again, scattered 
over the Vindhyan and Satpurah mountains and the 
banks of the Nerbudda and Tapti are other tribes of a 
very peculiar race called Bheels or Bhils, probably from 
the Sanskrit word " bhil," which signifies " separate " or 
"outcasts." The legends of these tribes, one and all, 
trace their origin to the union of the god Mahadtto 
with a beautiful woman met by him in a forest. From 
this union sprang a sort of giant distinguished by his 
ugliness and vice, who, after having perpetrated a series 
of horrible crimes, killed the sacred Brahmanic bull of 
the god, and was banished to the wilderness of Jodhpoor. 
The history of the Rajpoot princes of Jodhpoor and Odh- 
poor corroborates this account of the Bhil emigration. 
The Bhats,* or minstrels, of the Bhils still reside in Raj- 

* The Bhats and Charans, the bards and genealogists of these tribes, 










pootana, and make yearly visits to the countries of the 
various Bhil tribes to celebrate festal seasons with music 
and song. The celebrated Ndir Singh, a Bhilahah (that 
is, one sprung from the marriage of a Rajpoot with a 
Bhil woman), was one of the most formidable freebooters 
of his time until the establishment of an English settle- 
ment at Mhau,* when he was compelled to discharge his 
foreign adherents and renounce plundering, f 

The Bhils are short in stature, thick-set, almost black, 
with wiry hair and beard, but extraordinarily active and 
capable of enduring great fatigue, delighting in flesh of 
all kinds and intoxicating drinks, with which no Brahman 
will ever pollute his sacred lips. The chiefs of the Bhils 
are called Bhomiyahs, and are generally of the Bhilalah 
or mixed race. They exercise the most absolute power 
over their subjects ; each chief is styled a " dhani," or lord, 
and the most atrocious crimes are often committed at his 
bidding. In order to limit this absolute power, however, 

are remarkable for their power of reciting from memory whole epics 
describing the birth, exploits, and death of the various Bhil chiefs. 
They will also devote themselves to death or to receive the most cruel 
mutilations in order to keep a promise, accomplish a vow, recover a 
debt, or to obtain any end which might be secured by inspiring others 
with superstitious reverence and dread. A Bhat of Viramghaw in 
1806 put his little daughter, a beautiful girl of seven years old, to 
death by decapitation, and with her blood, which he carried in an 
earthen vessel, he sprinkled the gate of the Malliah Rajah's castle, 
and thus compelled him to pay a debt to the Gaikwar for which he 
had become security. 

* The British established in 1825 a Bhil agency in Central India, 
and organized a Bhil corps in order to utilize the warlike instincts of 
the various Bhil tribes. This brave body of men, who have dis- 
tinguished themselves in war, have recently done good service in aid- 
ing to put down the predatory habits of their countrymen. They are 
slowly becoming cultivators of the soil, though still unwilling to rent 
land and thus bind themselves to fixed habits for any length of time. 

f A remarkable account of a residence with Nddir, and of some of 
his murderous exploits, will be found in the Autobiography of Luifullah. 


there are certain religious officers called " tarwis," or heads 
of tribes, whose counsel must be attended to by the chiefs. 
The worship of the Bhils is paid to Mahadeo, the high 
god, and Devi his consort, the goddess of small-pox. 
A great number of infernal deities are also propitiated 
by yearly offerings and pilgrimages to their respective 

While the Bhil men are brutal, cruel, and drunken, it 
is a remarkable fact that the Bhil women are chaste, 
gentle, and almost always very good-looking.* 

Driven southward by the conquering Rajpoots, num- 
bers of the Bhils adopted the savage life of freebooters 
and robbers, which they still retain, and the more wealthy 
settled in Guzerat and Candeish, where most richly-orna- 
mented temples and rock-shrines are to be found to-day, 
and such as remained with the Rajpoots became hardy 
cultivators of the soil or the bravest of watchmen when 
employed as guards. 

In character they are sensitive on points of honor 
among themselves, but desperate foes, revenging them- 
selves, sometimes years after, for any grievance perpe- 
trated against one of their tribe. I rgmember an incident 
related to me by my mother which is characteristic of the 
Bhil freebooters and robbers. My stepfather was ap- 
pointed to survey the public road newly opened from 
Cambay to the confines of the great and then almost un- 
known province of Guzerat. She had decided to accom- 
pany him on his long and hazardous journey. Having 
acquired a fair knowledge of the Guzerati language, she 
proved, as he had hoped, an invaluable aid in settling dis- 
putes about payments of money for work done, and in 

* The great reforms which have been effected in many of these 
tribes have been very materially assisted by the influence of the Bhil 


directing and instructing such of the Bhils, Khands, and 
other tribes as were employed on the roads. Furnished 
with a sepoy guard and a large amount of government 
money to defray the expenses of the road repairs, they 
travelled for some time unmolested through the strange 
country. On one occasion, however, they had pitched 
their tents in the village of Balmere, and had retired for 
the night. My stepfather, fatigued with a hard day's ride 
over the roads, slept soundly. The guards patrolled the 
little encampment, which consisted of three tents, two for 
the servants and sepoys on duty, and the other, a double- 
poled tent, consisting of two rooms with a double wall of 
canvas around it, for the family. The tumbril which 
conveyed the government money from place to place stood 
in the corner of the room, near the cot on which my 
mother slept. My stepfather occupied the adjoining room. 
A small lamp stood burning on the tumbril, and the key 
had been carelessly left in the treasure-box. 

About midnight my mother was suddenly aroused by a 
slight shuffling noise. She raised her head, and, looking 
toward the spot whence the sound proceeded, was horrified 
at seeing the shadows of the nude figures of several men 
passing between the outer and inner walls of the tent. 
Presently a gang of Bhil robbers opened the tent-door and 
stood before her, confronting her, armed with bows and 
poisoned arrows. There were six men in all, with nothing 
on their persons but langoutis * of straw round their loins, 
and their bodies highly greased, so as to slip away from 
the grasp of any person who attempted to seize and hold 

Divining that their object was to rob the tumbril, the 
brave lady, without uttering a single cry, sprang to her 

* A strip of cloth worn by the lower population of India around the 


feet, standing erect and seemingly fearless, and gazed 
defiantly at them. For a moment or two the foremost 
robbers seemed to hesitate. Then the one of the gang 
nearest her addressed her in Guzerati, and said, " Woman, 
we do not desire to hurt you ; we only mean to possess 
ourselves of what we need, the money in that cart there ;" 
saying which, he attempted to advance toward the tum- 
bril. To scream for help would imperil her own and 
her husband's life, for these freebooters would at once use 
their poisoned arrows ; but to permit them quietly to rob 
the government treasury would be almost as fatal, entail- 
ing on them endless delay, trouble, and perhaps even 
unjust suspicion at head-quarters. The intrepid wife 
suddenly remembered that the Bhils had a superstitious 
reverence for the person of woman, and before they had 
time to reach the tumbril she flung herself on her face 
and hands across their path, and said solemnly in Guze- 
rati, "Only by stepping over a woman's body can you 
obtain possession of what is entrusted to the care of her 
husband." There she lay, not daring to utter another 
word, trembling from head to foot, and anticipating mo- 
mentary death from their cruel arrows. 

Minute after minute passed away, but she still did not 
dare to open her eyes or even turn her head toward them. 
After lying there for nearly half an hour, which seemed 
almost an eternity of agonizing suspense, and unable to 
endure it any longer, she ventured timidly to glance in 
the direction of the robbers, and, lo ! their places were 
empty; the tent-door was closed. The Bhil freebooters, 
hearing this strange being address them in their own 
language, hurling at them one of their most formidable 
threats, had vanished as softly as they had entered the 
tent, vanquished by the presence of mind shown by a 
delicate woman. 


On another occasion the military chaplain at Desa, a 
British station in Guzerat, was on his way to seek change 
of air at Mount Aboo. At dusk one evening he found 
himself surrounded by a gang of Bhil robbers ; his trav- 
elling-wagon was stopped, his driver took to his heels and 
fled ; his servants too had gone on ahead. Not knowing 
what to do, he addressed them in Guzerati, and said, " I 
am not a rich man ; I am a poor servant of God, a Chris- 
tian priest in search of health." Immediately the chief 
of the gang gave orders that he should not be hurt. 
They stripped him, however, and divided among them- 
selves whatever they could find. Two of the gang, pre- 
senting their short daggers to the poor clergyman, made 
him march before them in his shirt for some distance. 
Every time that he turned to remonstrate with the rob- 
bers they pricked him slightly with their pointed daggers, 
till at length he resolved to take no further notice of 
them. On and on he went. A great darkness had over- 
taken him ;' almost fainting from fatigue, he sank to the 
ground unable to take another step, when, to his surprise, 
he found that the robbers had departed, leaving him to 
pursue his way through a wild jungle. He spent an 
anxious night in the forest, retraced his steps to the vil- 
lage, and by complaining to the headman was at once 
furnished with a guard and every facility to pursue his 
journey, the law here being that if robbery or murder is 
perpetrated in the vicinity of a village, the headman is 
obliged to make ample restitution ; and he has the power 
to levy a fine on the community to indemnify himself for 
all the expenses that such acts entail on him as patel, or 
governor, of the village. The reverend clergyman always 
maintained that his escape from death on this occasion was 
owing to the fact of his being able to address the robbers 
in their own tongue. 


South of the Nerbudda, and in the very heart of the 
Vindhyan chain, are the Gondsj* so called from their 
habitual nudity a race of the lowest type, jet-black skin, 
stunted, thick-lipped, and with small, deep-set eyes. This 
race is often called by the Hindoos Angorees i. e. canni- 
bals. They live in miserable huts, surrounded by swine, 
poultry, buffaloes, and dogs, without any industries, lit- 
erature, or priesthood, and with few ceremonials of any 
kind whatever worshippers of serpents, demons, or any- 
thing, in fact, that inspires them with dread, to whom 
they sometimes sacrifice their children or captives taken 
in war. Such religious rites as prevail among them are 
conducted .by the aged and honored members of their 
tribe, both male and female. 

Verging on the Gondwana f are the hilly provinces of 
Orissa, inhabited by the Khands, no doubt a tribe 
slightly in advance in physical type and civilization of 
their neighbors, the Gonds, the Thugs, and Sourahs. 
They regard the earth-spirit as in rebellion against the 
Supreme Deity. To the earth-spirit they direct their 
prayers, and seek to propitiate her by human sacrifices. 

* The Gonds are supposed to be the aborigines of the Sagar and 
Nagpoor provinces, and have much in common with the Khandsor 
Khands, another tribe of North Sarkar. They have dialects peculiar 
to themselves, and which have no affinity whatever with the Sanskrit, 
but probably are akin to that of the Dravidian stock. They kept up 
their old religious custom of human sacrifice until 1835-45, when the 
strong arm of the English interfered and has almost put a stop to it. 

f Gondwana has been thought by some Oriental scholars to be the 
ancient Chedi, which was ruled by the great Sisupal, who is said to 
have governed India about the time of the appearance of Krishna 
(the last of the incarnations of Brahm) on earth. They identify 
Chanderi, his ancient capital, with the modern Chanda, a city in Brit- 
ish India in the Nagpoor division of the Central Provinces, and 
abounding in fine remains of huge reservoirs for water, cave-temples, 
and the curious tombs of the aboriginal Gond kings. 


Their victims are called " Meriah " * by the Oriyahs, and 
Kudatee by the Khands. These victims must not belong 
to their tribes nor to the Brahman caste. They are pur- 
chased, or more generally kidnapped, from the surround- 
ing districts by persons called Panwhas, who are attached 
to their villages for these and other peculiar offices. They 
may be either male or female, and as consecrated persons 
are treated with great kindness. To the " Meriah " youth 
or maiden a portion of land is assigned, with farming 
stock. He or she is also permitted to marry and bear chil- 
dren, who in turn become victims. If a " Meriah " youth 
form an attachment to the daughter or even wife of a 
Khand, the relatives indulge him in his wishes^ regarding 
it as an especial favor. These sacrifices take place annu- 
ally, when the sun is in his highest point in the heavens. 
The victim is selected by casting of lots. The ceremony 
lasts three days, and is always attended by a large con- 
course of people of both sexes. The first day of the ap- 
proaching sacrifice is spent in feasting, merriment, and 
prayers, which go hand in hand with wild revelry of all 
kinds. On the second morning the victim who is to pro- 
pitiate the earth-goddess is washed, attired in a flowing 
white robe, and conducted, with music, beating of drums, 
blowing of horns and rude reed instruments, to the sacred 
groves preserved for these rites. Here the assembled com- 
munity implore the earth-goddess Tari (called Pennu by 
the Shanars and Davee by the Rajpoots, who have in 
great measure been tainted by their contact with these 
hill-tribes) to accept the sacrifice about to be offered, and 
to bless their land with increase of corn, wine, cattle, and 
so forth. After the offering up of prayer the victim, 
whether male or female, stands up before the assembly, 

* Meriah means " death-doomed," and Kudatee, " dedicated to the 


draws forth his glittering knife, and passes his hand three 
times over its sharp edge. He then deliberately steps up 
to the rude altar of Tari, lays down his knife upon it, and, 
bowing his head, worships the insatiable earth-goddess; 
then snatching up the knife, he cries, " Drink of my blood 
and be appeased, O Tari," etc., etc. He waves it aloft 
three times and plunges it into his side. Leaning toward 
the earth, which he desires to propitiate in behalf of his 
fellow-men, he slowly draws out the knife, pours his life- 
blood out upon her parched and thirsty soil, and expires 
at the foot of the dreaded altar raised to her name. Hon- 
ored as no other creature in the land, reared for death, the 
" Meriah,'^ or doomed one, exults in the performance of 
this self-sacrifice with a consciousness of being a savior of 
the countiy, and has never been known to evade or escape 
the doom in store for him. 

After this horrible sacrifice the human victim is cut 
into small pieces, and each head of a Khand or Gond 
family obtains a shred or infinitesimal portion of the 
body, which he buries in his field to please the spirit of 
the earth. This is believed to aid not a little in render- 
ing the soil rich and fertile. 

The ThugSj or " stranglers," are not unlike the Gonds 
in physical appearance and natural characteristics. They 
live by robbery and murder, and are banded together by 
certain vows which they religiously follow. One sect of 
Thugs are called Phansigars, or " throttlers." It is their 
practice to strangle wayfarers, whence their name, and 
appropriate such spoils as may fall to their lot in these 
onslaughts. Efforts have been made, through the British 
government, to put a stop to both these religious atrocities 
of the Meriah and the Thugs, and in some parts of the 
country with great success. 

The Jadejas are a branch of the great Samma tribe once 


so powerful in Sindh ; they assumed this title from a cele- 
brated chief named Jada. Their arrival in Guzerat dates 
from 800 A. D. The remarkable characteristic of this 
tribe is their systematic murder of all their female chil- 
dren. Another branch of the Jadejas settled in Kach, or 
Cutch. These differ materially from their brethren in 
Guzerat. They are half Musulmans and half Hindoos, 
believe in the Kuran, worship Mohammedan saints, swear 
by Allah, eat, drink, and smoke with the followers of the 
Prophet. But, on the other hand, they do not undergo 
circumcision, and adore all kinds of images of wood and 
stone. In appearance they are fine, tall men, light-com- 
plexioned, handsome-featured, and have singularly long 
whiskers, which are often allowed to come down to the 
breast. They owe their good looks to their mothers, who 
are either bought or kidnapped from other tribes ; no fe- 
males of their own are ever reared. 

The Kalhis (another curious tribe) are evidently a north- 
ern race ; they are tall, well-formed, with regular features, 
aquiline nose, blue or gray eyes, and soft dark-brown hair. 
The sun is their chief deity. On the Mandevan Hills, 
near Thau, is a temple to the sun, said to have been 
erected by the Kalhis on their first arrival in Guzerat. 
In this temple there is a huge image of the Sun-god with 
a halo round its head. The symbol of the sun with the 
words, " Sri suryagni shakh " (" the witness of the holy 
sun") is affixed to all official documents and deeds of 

A number of tribes may be found in the district of 
Bilaspoor, which forms the upper half of the basin of 
the river Maha-Nadi the Gonds, already mentioned, the 
Kanwars, Bhumias, Bingwars, and Dhanwars all differ- 
ing among themselves in physical characteristics, customs, 
manners, and certain religious observances. Among the 


Hindoos here are two tribes which deserve particular 
mention the Chamars, or Chamar- wallahs, and the 
Pankhas. The former take their name from their deal- 
ing in " chamar," or " leather." They are the shoemaker 
and leather-trading castes of the Hindoo communities, and 
have always been held in great contempt by the high-class 
Brahmans and Hindoos. About sixty years ago a relig- 
ious movement was inaugurated by one of the Chamars 
named Ghasi-Dhas. He represented himself as a mes- 
senger from God sent to teach men the unity of God and 
the equality of men. He was the means of liberating his 
tribe from the trammels of caste ; he prohibited the wor- 
ship of idols or images, and enjoined that prayers should 
be offered up to the Supreme Being, whose spirit should 
be ever present to their minds without any visible sign or 
representation. The followers of the new faith call them- 
selves "Satmanes" or the "worshippers of Satyan, the 
truth." Ghasi-Dhas was their first high 'priest; he died 
1850. His son succeeded him, but was assassinated by 
some Hindoo fanatic, but his grandson is the present high 
priest of the Chamars. 

The " Pankhas," or weavers, are also deists of a very 
high order ; they are the followers of a religious reformer 
named Kahbir, who flourished about the fifteenth century. 
There is very little difference between the Kahbir-Pank- 
has and the Satmanes-Chamars in their worship and relig- 
ion. The .province of Sindh derives its name from the 
Sanskrit word "Sindhu," "ocean or flood," which name 
the Aryans of the Vfcdie period who were settled about 
the sixth century B. c. in the Panjaub and along the Indus 
gave to that river. In the third " Ashtaka" and the sixth 
" Adhyaya " there appears to be a distinct mention of the 
Indus River in the twelfth verse, which runs as follows : 
" Thou hast spread abroad upon the earth by thy power 


the swollen Sinclhu when arrested (on its course)." * The 
Indus is still called Siudhu throughout its course from 
Kalabagh to Atak ; it is sometimes locally termed Atak. 
From Kalabagh to Bahkhar is the upper Indus, and from 
Bahkhar to the sea the lower Indus. It begins to rise in 
March and falls in September, but, unlike the Ganges and 
the Mississippi, it does not submerge its delta or inundate 
the valley through which it passes to any great extent. 
Its floods are irregular and partial, pouring sometimes 
for years on the right bank, and then on the left, so 
that even at the height of the freshets the Persian wheel 
may be seen at work watering the fields on either bank. 

The principal tribes of Sindh are the Beluchis and the 
Jate, or Sindhis, once Hindoos, but converted to Islam under 
the Khalifs f of the house Ommayyah. The Sindhis are 
taller, stronger, more robust, and muscular than the natives 
of India ; they belong chiefly to the Hanifah sect of Mo- 
hammedans. Their language is a strange mixture of Ara- 
bic and Sanskrit words, the noun being borrowed from 
the Sanskrit, and the verb from the Persian or Arabic 
grammar. The Beluchis are a mountain-tribe ; they are 
superior to the Jats or Siudhs, fairer, more powerfully 
formed, very hardy, not deficient in courage under brave 
leaders, and extremely temperate. The Beluchi women 
are remarkably faithful and devoted as wives, and those 
of the Mari tribe often follow their husbands to battle. 

One of the peculiarities of the Hindoos of Sindh is 
that they have no outcast tribes among them, like the 
Parwaris, or Pariahs, Pasis, and Khandalas of Hindostan ; 

* See Introduction to (he Second Book of the Riy- Veda, by H. H. Wil- 
don, p. xvii. 

f Khalif, or Caliph, successor or vicar of Mohammed, from Khalifah, 
nn Arabic title given to the acknowledged successors of Mohammed, 
who were regarded as invested with supreme dignity and power in all 
matters relating to religion and civil polity. 


and many of the Musulmans of Sindh are followers of 
Nanak* and Govind his disciple. 

Farther north, in the Afghan districts, numerous warlike 
tribes are found. Afghans, properly so called, distinguish 
themselves from the aboriginal populations. The chief 
clans or tribes of the Afghans are the Duranis, south-west of 
the Afghan plateau ; the Ghilzais, the strongest and most 
warlike of the Afghans, occupying the highlands north of 
Kandhar (this tribe is noted for its deep-rooted hostility 
to foreigners, and especially to the British); the Yusuf- 
zais, north of Peshwar ; and the Khakars, who are chiefly 
the highlanders of this region. Of the non- Afghan tribes 
very little is known ; those that have come under the 
notice of the British officers are no doubt mostly a mixed 
race, descendants of the Aryans and Turanians. The 
purest of these are the Parsivans, the Kizibashes, the 
Hindikis, and the Jats, all more or less closely allied to 
the Persians and Hindoos in language, manners, and cus- 
toms. The Eimak, the Hazaras, Tajiks, and the Khohis- 
tans are semi-nomadic tribes Mohammedans; some are 
of the Shiahf and others of the Sunni sect. 

As a race, the Afghans are a very handsome, athletic 

* A Mohammedan reformer and founder of the Sikh religion. He 
preached about the fourteenth century against the abuses of the Mo- 
hammedan religion, and inaugurated the spiritual worship of God 
alone. One day, when Nanak lay on the ground absorbed in devotion, 
with his feet toward Mecca, a Moslem priest, seeing him, cried, " Base 
infidel ! how darest thou turn thy feet toward the house of Allah ? " 
Nanak answered, " And thou, turn them if thou canst toward any spot 
where the awful house of God is not." 

f The Shiahs and Sunnis are the two most important Mohammedan 
sects. The Sunnis hold the " Sunnat," or traditions of Mohammed, as 
of nearly equal authority to the Kuran, and they revere equally the 
four successors of the Prophet, Abu-Bahkr, Omar, Usman, and Ali. 
The Shiahs, on the other hand, reject the traditions, and do not ac- 
knowledge the successors of the Prophet as Khalifahs. 


people, with fair complexion, aquiline nose, and flowing 
black, brown, and sometimes even red, hair, which the 
'men wear long, falling in soft curls over the shoulders. 
The women are beautiful, and often of fair rosy complex- 
ion, dark eyes and hair, which they wear under a skull- 
cap, with two long braids falling to the waist behind, 
finished off with silk tassels. Since the Mohammedan 
conquest the custom of excluding women from the society 
of the male members of the family has been introduced 
into Afghanistan, and is now rigidly enforced. 

In the very apex of India, the hilly districts of 
Southern Madras, are numerous early races and tribes, 
distinct and peculiar to themselves, of whom the Tudas 
and Cholas are most worthy of notice. The former is as 
superior in type to the latter as the Caucasian is to the 
Mongolian. The Tudas are chiefly found in the Nil- 
gherry Hills; they are tall, athletic, and well-formed. 
Their women, though dark, are singularly pleasing when 
young. The comparatively treeless character of these 
hills indicates that in former times large spaces were 
cleared and cultivated, though at present the Tudas seem 
to prefer roaming about the hills and leading a nomadic life. 

In the Dhendigal and neighboring Wynadd Hills ap- 
pear other tribes, apparently the oldest of all the primi- 
tive races of India, and of the lowest type of humanity. 
They are called Shanars, and are clothed, if at all, with 
the bark of trees, using bows and arrows, and subsisting 
chiefly on roots, wild honey, and reptiles. Short in 
stature and agile as monkeys, living without habitations 
among trees, they penetrate the jungle with marvellous 
speed, and seem only a step removed from the orang- 
outang of Borneo and Sumatra. There is no doubt that 
these wild people, if not indigenous to the soil, occupied at 
one time a large portion of this country, and are the re- 


mains of that " monkey race " whom the first Aryan in- 
vaders met with, and who, with their leader Hanuman, 
figure so largely in the old poems as the allies of Rama 
in his conquest of Ceylon. 

Among these numerous but isolated relics of aboriginal 
populations there is another and superior race, divided 
into several distinct nationalities, such as the Tamuls, 
Telingus, and Canarese, who people the greater part of 
Southern India. Nevertheless, between them and those 
still later Aryans the difference, both mental and physi- 
cal, is plainly seen. 

There are still current in Southern India a number of 
languages and dialects, which, though largely intermixed 
with Sanskrit terms in consequence of Aryan conquest 
and civilization, belong to distinct families of languages. 
The most comprehensive of these are the Tamul, Telingu, 
and Carnatic, showing the existence of separate nations at 
the time of the Aryan conquest. The Tamul language 
has no inconsiderable literature of its own. 

The MaJirattas, whose chief seat is in the Deccan, be- 
long to still another race, although there is now among 
them a larger infusion of Aryan blood than is to be found 
farther south in India. 

In the van of Aryan imigration settling along the 
plains of the Ganges from Hurdwar down to the eastern 
frontier of Oude and the Eaj-Mahal Hills were the Brah- 
mans, founders of the great cities Hastinapoora ("abode 
of elephants "), Indraspatha, Delhi, Canouge on the Doab, 
Ayodhya (Oude), Benares, and Palibothra (Patna). They 
concentrated themselves in the upper part of the Ganges val- 
ley, but did not attempt to pass into Lower Bengal, as may 
be seen to-day by the physical and mental inferiority of the 
Bengalees to the populations of Northern Hindostan. 

All travellers and historians agree in stating that the 


early Aryan settlers in the valley of the Ganges closely 
resembled the Hellenic race in Greece in almost every 
feature of their military, domestic, and social life. They 
were split up into a number of small states or commu- 
nities. The Kshatryas, though originating in their mili- 
tary profession, and not in a single family, were not unlike 
the Heraclidse, who became the royal race of the Pelo- 
ponnesus. But in process of time these Kshatryas were ab- 
sorbed into the Rajpoots, who are supposed to have arrived 
in India about the time of Alexander's invasion of the 
Panjaub. They settled where we find them to-day, in the 
neighborhood of Rohilcund and Bundelcund, and shortly 
after them came the Jats, another branch of the Indo- 
European or Aryan family, thus completing the four great 
waves of the so-named Pandya, or white-faced, immigra- 
tion the Brahmans, Kshatryas, the Rajpoots, and the 
Jats. It was the Brahmans who founded the celebrated 
Pandhya kingdom, so called from their white skins, and 
established the " Meerassee " system i. e. an aristocracy of 
equality among the four conquering races. They shared 
the land equally among themselves, and regarded all 
others as servants or subjects. 

In this primitive village-system the Brahman, or priest 
and poet, the Pundit, or schoolmaster, the Vakeel, or 
pleader, were as essential as food and drink to the com- 
munity. Priest, teacher, and pleader by virtue of their 
high functions enjoyed peculiar and unquestioned privi- 
leges : land free of all tax was religiously assigned to 
them, and servants to cultivate it for their use were at- 
tached to the grant. 

In each and every Hindoo village or town which has 
retained its old form the children even to-day are able to 
read, write, and cipher. But wherever the village-system 
has been swept away by foreign and other influences there 


the village school has also disappeared with it. A trial 
by jury, called " punchayet," was also a part of the prim- 
itive system of self-government instituted by the early 
Brahmans : each party named two or more arbitrators, 
and the judge one; the jury could not in any case be 
composed of less than five persons, whence the name 
"punchayet" five just ones. In difficult cases the in- 
fluence of the heads and elders of the village was brought 
to bear upon the contending parties, and the administra- 
tion of justice was so pure in those days that the saying 
" In the punchayet is God " became proverbial. 

Out of these marked mental and physical differences 
grew up the monstrous and extraordinary system of caste 
in India. Not that caste does not exist in some degree 
everywhere throughout the world. In the British Isles it 
is as fixed and absolute as a Medo-Persic law, and even 
among Americans a marked social inequality exists. Caste 
naturally sprang up with the first mingling of the con- 
quering and conquered races on Indian soil. At first the 
distinctions of class and rank were no more marked than 
that of an English peasant and the lord of a domain, or 
that of the negro girl and her mistress in the United 
States to-day. But the proud, white-skinned Brahmans, 
in order to guard the purity of their own " blue blood," 
and to rivet their own ascendency, invented at length a 
distinct and most binding code of laws, and then claimed 
for them the divine authority of the Vedas. 

Of the four great castes that we read so much about, 
three only were fixed Brahmans, Kshatrvas. and the 
Vaisyas. This last was the common Aryan people, and 
they were not separated from their superiors by any harsh 
distinctions. But the Sudras, " the threefold black men," 
among whom the Aryan population established them- 
selves, all the non- Aryan races and tribes of the peninsula 



of Hindostan, were kept off by a wide gulf and the most 
galling marks of inferiority. The Sudra could not read 
the Vedas nor join in their religious meetings. He could 
not cook their food, or even serve in their houses ; he was 
unclean, gross, sensual, irreligious, and therefore an abom- 
ination to the noble white-faced Aryan. 

The code of Manu, with all its " unparalleled arrogance " 
toward the Sudra, was founded rather upon what a high- 
bred Brahman ought to be than with any deliberate intent 
to degrade the Sudra. But with its practice came that in- 
evitable deterioration to the moral character of the Brah- 
mans themselves, who forgot that the humblest man has a 
right to the same sanctity of life and character as the 
highest. The lower the Brahman sank in his spiritual 
and moral nature, the more he tried to hedge himself 
about with artificial claims to the reverence of the peoples 
around him, until finally the code of Manu swelled into 
minute details. Reaching the unborn child of Aryan 
parents, it directed its nursing in the cradle, it shaped 
the training of the youth, and regulated the actions of his 
perfect manhood as son, husband, and father. Food, rai- 
ment, exercise, religious and social duties, must be brought 
into subjection to its sovereign voice, and in the course of 
time it was inseparably interwoven with every domestic 
usage, every personal and social habit. From the cradle 
to the grave it undertakes to regulate and control every 
desire, every inclination, every movement, of the inner 
and outer man. Such is the code of Manu. 

In spite of these laws, however, there flourished Sudra 
kings and Sudra communities, influenced though not ab- 
sorbed by the Aryan population. Sudra kings were invited 
to the court of the great Yudishthlra* and treated with 

* One of the greatest of Aryan kings mentioned in the Maha- 


marked respect and courtesy ; indeed, this word " Kiriya " 
or " Kritya " (courtesy) was held to be the distinguishing 
mark of a high-bred Brahman. The Sudras in their turn 
soon caught the infection of caste feeling, and were not 
slow in adopting the same distinctions among themselves. 

From being at first a sign of superiority of race, it 
gradually took form and extended to every branch and 
profession. Priest, teacher, soldier, sailor, tinker, tai- 
lor, robber, murderer, and beggar, was each one fixed 
immovably and for ever in his place and grade, and 
no earthly power could draw him into any other. Every 
one piqued himself on his particular caste ; each man 
confined himself sternly to his own perfect circle. There 
was hope for every man who belonged to a caste, so 
that even those fallen from caste bound themselves to- 
gether in a brotherhood and called themselves Pariahs, 
"outcasts," which in time became a large and distinct 
caste. "Even in the lowest depths they found a lower 

So monstrous and deteriorating was this system that in 
the course of time, losing sight of its original purpose, it 
separated the Aryans themselves, for whose especial pres- 
ervation and union it was designed, by distinctions and 
restrictions almost as galling as those it had formerly im- 
posed only on the Sudras. 

Nevertheless, it had its noble features, and did good 
work for a time. The high advancement to which the 
Indo-European art, literature, painting, music, and archi- 
tecture attained was due to the leadership of the Brah- 
man civilization. It was an aristocracy to rule and edu- 
cate the masses, which everywhere exhibited a uniform 
inferiority. But even with all the help of caste and the 
inflexible code of Manu to preserve them on every side, 
the proud white-faced Aryans did not long escape the de- 


teriorating influences both of the climate in which they 
had settled and the debasing usages of the non- Aryan 
populations around them. 

The most degrading practice that sprang up in time on 
Indian soil was asceticism. The amount and the terrible 
nature of this self-imposed penance practised by the Hin- 
doos exceed anything known in the world, and are almost 
inconceivable to any ordinary European, whose first in- 
stinct is self-preservation. Ablutions and commands of 
personal cleanliness, which formed a part of the code of 
Mauu, have increased in number, and also the penalties 
attached to their violation to such a degree that now-a-days 
a Brahman or Hindoo is defiled by the most trifling acci- 
dent of place or touch. To eat with the left hand, to 
sneeze when he is praying, to gape in the presence of the 
sacrificial fire, to touch one of a low caste, are all pollu- 
tions. In fact, the very shadow of an Englishman or a 
Sudra falling on his cooking-pot renders it obligatory on 
him to buiy his meal in the earth and to throw away his 
pot if earthen ; if not, it must undergo seven purifications 
before it is in a sufficiently holy condition to boil the rice 
sacred to the Brahman. The simple contact with pig's fat 
in the cartridges made the sepoys, who believed they were 
thus lost to caste and to heaven, willing and terrible tools 
in the hands of the arch-enemy of British power in the 
East. Nairn Sahib, or, more properly speaking, Dundoo 
Punt, who, in order to revenge a private wrong the lapse 
to the East Indian Company, on the death of his uncle 
and royal father by adoption, of a large territory be- 
queathed to him worked upon the caste-prejudices of the 
sepoys until he maddened them into committing the most 
fiendish acts ever recorded in Indian history. But the 
original code does not so regard the eating of pork. If a 
Brahman purposely eat pork he shall be degraded, but if 


he has partaken of it involuntarily or through another's 
connivance, a penance and purification are sufficient for 
full atonement. 

Thus, injunctions originally designed as rules of pure 
living and high-breeding, cleanliness, abstinence, kindli- 
ness, charity, and courtesy, have been so multiplied and 
distorted that it is now difficult even for the most precise 
and devout Brahman to carry them all faithfully into 
practice. And if Christian teachers and reformers were 
seriously minded to overthrow this vast system of caste in 
India, they could successfully do so by quoting the Vedas 
and the code of Manu, which prescribe no such arbitrary 
rules of life as now exist in India. It is our want of 
knowledge, and that of most of the modern Brahmans, 
which still holds them in their old fetters, rendering the ef- 
forts to free them of little avail, for we know not how nor 
where to begin the attack on such a strong fortress as caste 
and custom are to these blind followers of law and order. 

Centuries after the consolidation of the Brahman power 
and system of caste there arose a strong-souled Aryan, a 
prince by birth, a republican at heart, and a reformer by 
nature, called Sakya Suddartha, who no sooner became of 
age than he suddenly began to deny the inspiration of the 
Vedas, the divine right of Brahmans to the priesthood, 
and the obligations of caste. He offered equality of birth- 
right and of spiritual office alike to all men and women. 
Sudra, Pariah, Khandala, bond or free, were of one and 
the same great family. He went about declaring all men 
brothers. This was the strong point of Buddhism. The 
new religion spread at once. It ravished the hearts and 
kindled the imaginations of many Aryans, but chiefly the 
non-Aryan nations. Everywhere it was received with 
enthusiasm. Brahmanism and caste received their first 
great shock, from which they have never wholly recovered. 


Monastic orders first arose among the Buddhists, and as 
caste was abolished the monasteries were open to all men, 
and even to women, who were bound over to celibacy and 
self-renunciation. These Buddhist priests went about 
preaching their new religion to the common people, and 
found ready acceptance with them. Barefooted, with 
shaven heads, eyebrows, and chins, wearing a yellow dress 
instead of the pure white robes of the Brahmans, they 
seemed indeed lower than the lowest Pariahs. They built 
lowly chapels, and had regular services in them, chanting 
a prescribed liturgy, offering harmless sacrifices of incense, 
lighted tapers, rice, wine, oil, and flowers, and taking the 
lily instead of the Brahmanic lotos as the emblem of the 
purity of their faith. 

Buddhism spread with amazing rapidity, and flourished 
for some time on Indian soil. During the reign of the 
celebrated Indian king Asoka, three centuries more or less 
before Christ, it was the dominant religion of India, 
about which time it was also introduced by Buddhist 
missionaries into Ceylon, China, and the Japanese Archi- 
pelago. At length, the Brahmans, recovering from the 
lethargy that seemed to have overtaken them, joined all 
their forces, and, rising en masse everywhere against these 
dissenters from the Veclas and from the old code of 
Manu, drove out of Hindostan proper those whom they 
could not put to death. The Buddhists finally found 
refuge in Guzerat and ready acceptance among the early 
primitive races ; and here the new religion reached its 
highest prosperity, but began to decline in the eighth or 
ninth century after Christ. At this juncture a new sect 
arose under the leadership of one Jaina, or saint, a man 
of great purity of character, who undertook to correct the 
many errors which had crept into Buddhism. Veneration 
and worship of deified men, confined by the Buddhists 


some to five and others to seven saints, were extended 
by the Jains to twenty-four, of whom colossal statues in 
black or white marble were set up in their temples. Ten- 
derness and respect for animal life they carried to an ex- 
treme point, which has led to the establishment of the 
hospitals for infirm aged animals in different parts of 
India. In its essence Jainism agrees with Buddhism. It 
rejects the inspiration of the Vedas, has no animal sacri- 
fices, pays no respect to fire. But in order to escape the 
unremitting persecution of the Brahman priesthood it 
admits caste, and even the worship of the chief Hindoo 
gods. Thus Jainism secured that toleration on Indian 
soil which was never extended to Buddhism, the very 
birthplace of Buddha having been rendered a wilderness 
and untenanted by man through the rage and fury of 
Brahmanic persecution. 

Brahmanjsm, finding itself once more in the ascend- 
ency, proceeded with great tact to incorporate into its 
ritual all the divinities, the rites, and the ceremonies 
peculiar to the non-Aryan populations. In Southern 
India Vishnoo is worshipped under the name and character 
of Jaggernath (or Juggernaut), "Lord of the universe;" 
but in Northern Hindostan this worship is mingled with 
that of Rama and Krishna, two Aryan heroes, whom the 
Brahmans with great political adroitness represent as later 
incarnations of both Vishnoo and Jaggernath. The pre- 
Aryan Mahrattas and Marwhars were brought to believe 
their supreme deities, Cando-ba, and Virabudra, as incar- 
nations of Siva, and so on, until at length every god, hero, 
or saint belonging to the pre-historic inhabitants of Asia 
found a place in the Brahmanic calendar of incarnations 
of gods and goddesses. 

Monotheism and polytheism exist side by side ; purity 
and vice are only different expressions of a system as com- 


plex as life itself. Through all manners, acts, and usages, 
the most trivial or the most momentous, the Brahman 
religion flows in perpetual symbolism and stamps every- 
thing with its seal and mark. The pure Hindoos live in 
a network of observances, the smallest infraction of which 
involves the most terrible social degradation and loss of 
caste. They are bound by observances for rising, for sit- 
ting, for eating, drinking, sleeping, bathing; for birth, 
marriage, and death ; for the sites of their homes and 
even the positions of their doors and windows. 

The dwellings of Hindoos vary according to their 
means. The poorer have only one apartment, which 
must be smeared over once a week with a solution of 
the ordure of the cow. The better classes always have a 
courtyard and a verandah, where strangers, and even 
Europeans, may be received without risk of contamina- 
tion. Very often the walls of the dwellings are covered 
with frescoes and paintings. The entrance to the dwelling 
is always placed, out of respect to the sun, facing the 
east, but a little to one side. Every morning at an early 
hour the Hindoo wife or mother of the home may be seen 
cleansing her house and her utensils for cooking, eating, 
and drinking. This done, she will wash or smear with 
cow-ordure the space about her dwelling. After this puri- 
fication the wife will proceed to ornament the front of the 
door, which in itself is held sacred to the Brahman, with 
the form of a lotos-flower. This she makes out of a so- 
lution of lime or chalk, and imprints it on the door and 
on the space in front of it. This flower is emblematic of 
the name of God, too pure to be uttered, but supposed to 
bestow a magical charm on the dwelling on which it is 

* The sectarian marks of the Hindoos vary with their caste and the 
deity to whom they attach themselves. The high-caste Brahman makes 


No one is so scrupulous with regard to personal neat- 
ness, purity, and cleanliness as the true Hindoo woman. 
The Hindoo sacraments are ten in number, with five daily 
duties that are as obligatory on the Brahman as are the 
sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church. The first 
sacrament begins with the unborn babe ; it is the concep- 
tional sacrament. Attended by the mother of a large 
family, the young wife repairs to a temple with a peculiar 
cake made of rice, sugar, and ghee (clarified butter), and 
with a fresh cocoanut. The goddess invoked on such oc- 
casions is Lakshina, the consort of Indra. They first 
offer up a prayer before her shrine, meditate on her glori- 
ous progeny of gods and heroes, then implore her kindly 
interposition in behalf of the young woman who is to 
become a mother ; after which the elder matron breaks the 
cocoanut and pours the liquid out as an offering to the 
goddess, and part of the cake and cocoanut is brought 
home and distributed among the members of the family. 

The next ceremony is a very profound one, and has an 
especial reference to the quickening of life in the babe. 

only a circular mark with a little sacred mud of the Ganges, and mixed 
with water, on his forehead. This is symbolic of the mystic word " Aum." 
The followers of Vishnoo, a second grade of Brahmans, use a species 
of clay brought from a pool, Dhwaiaka, in which the seven shepherd- 
esses, who are always represented with Krishna, are supposed to have 
drowned themselves on hearing of the death of their favorite hero. 
This mark is a circle with a straight line passing through, symbolizing 
the regenerative powers of nature. The Mahadeo sect wear two straight 
lines on the brow ; the one on the right stands for God, the one on the 
left for man, a transverse streak of red lime : a preparation of turmeric 
and lime is used ; it means God and man united. A great many wear 
the mark of Vishnoo's weapon with which he is supposed to have 
killed the searmonster to rescue from destruction the three Vfidas. The 
followers of Siva, one of the four great sects of Hindoos, wear a com- 
plex mark of circle and cross combined, made with the ashes of burnt 
cow-ordure, symbolizing the destruction of all sin and the beatitude in 
store for the pure and holy. 


The mother, shrouded in pure white from head to foot, 
accompanied by an elder female and mother of a large 
family, with her husband and father repair to the temple. 
One or more Brahman priests are invited to preside on 
this occasion. Oil, flowers, and lighted tapers are offered 
to Maliadeo the Great God. The priest pours the oil 
presented on a lighted lamp, then performs a wave-offer- 
ing over the head of the expectant mother, praying, " O 
thou who art light, thou art also life and seed. Accept 
our sacrifice and make the new life thou hast created in 
secret visible in beauty and strength and power of intel- 
lect." After which offerings according to the wealth of 
the parties are made to the priests. There is one more 
important ceremony, similar in character to the others. 
All these sacraments are performed only in the case of the 
first child. 

The birth ceremony takes place on the birth of every 
child. On this occasion a Brahman priest and an astrol- 
oger are invited. The mother of a large family and the 
grandmother are generally present. Before dividing the 
umbilical cord fire is waved over the child, a drop of 
honey and butter out of a golden spoon is put on his lips, 
after which the cord is severed. This is a very sacred 
ceremony, called " Jahu Karan " (" introduction to life "), 
and is performed with prayer, indicating that as the 
child's life is now severed from the parent life, so is all 
life at some time or other parted from the Central Life, 
but yet dependent on that as the infant is on the tender 
care of a mother. The father then draws near and looks 
upon the face of his son or daughter for the first time, at 
which he must take a piece of gold in his hand, offer a 
sacrifice to Brahma, and anoint the forehead of the child 
with ghee which has first been presented to Brahma. A 
string of nine threads of cotton, with five blades of durba- 


grass, must be bound by the father round the wrist of the 
child, indicating that the life matured by nine months is 
to be made perfect by the five daily sacraments or duties. 
This done, the astrologer casts the horoscope of the child, 
which is carefully written down, whether good or evil, 
and is confided to the father. This paper is generally 
burned with the person at death. 

When the infant is a month old, and the new moon is 
first seen, he is presented to it as his progenitor with a 
solemn prayer. After which the naming takes place. 
The child's nearest relatives are invited. A Brahman 
priest waves over it a lamp, then sprinkles holy water, 
and calls aloud its name as he anoints the ears, eyes, nose, 
and breast of the child with clarified butter. This done, 
a little dress prepared for the child is put on for the first 

When the teeth begin to appear a grand religious ser- 
vice takes place, and its first food of milk and rice is 
given to it after it has been consecrated by the priest. At 
three years of age the prescribed religious ceremony con- 
nected with the shaving off of the boy's hair takes place, 
and the consecration of the single lock left on the top of 
the head. Next comes the investiture of the sacred 
thread, performed only in the case of the male child. 

Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen the youth 
formally presents himself before the temple to be ad- 
mitted to the order to which he belongs. He is placed 
on a stone near a sacred tank in the precincts of a Hindoo 
temple ; he is then washed in pure water by the priests 
robed in spotless white garments ; the holy " Gayatri " is 
repeated in his right ear by one priest, while the other 
breathes over him the mystic trisyllable of " Aum, Aum, 
Aum," after which he is invested with a new sacred 


Marriage is also a sacrament. The male may be mar- 
ried at any time after the " mung," or investiture of the 
sacred thread; the time for this ceremony varies among 
the different castes. The female, however, must not be 
under ten years of age, and as she is obliged to be several 
years younger than the male, he is generally from sixteen 
to eighteen at the time of marriage. 

Particular rules are laid down to be observed in the 
choice of a wife. She must not have any physical or 
moral defects ; she must have an agreeable voice, sweet- 
sounding name, graceful proportions, elegant movements, 
fine teeth, hair, and eyes. Deformity inherited or consti- 
tutional delicacy, or disease of any kind, weak eyes, im- 
perfect digestion, an inauspicious name, or lack of re- 
spectable lineage, always operate as strong impediments to 
marriage. Once the choice is made by the parents, then 
the particular months and junctions of the planets are 
consulted by the josh is or Hindoo astrologers: the birth- 
papers of both parties are first examined, followed by a 
profound study of the stars, which sometimes takes a year 
to be completed, after which a writing called the Lagan- 
patrika is prepared, in which the day, the hour, the names 
of the parties, and the position of the planets are put 
down, and one of the eight different kinds of marriages 
mentioned in the Shastras prescribed as the most fitting in 
view of the astral relations of husband and wife. These 
eight different kinds of marriages, however, are more or 
less similar, and vary only when the different castes inter- 
marry one with the other. This intermarriage is always 
attended with loss of caste. The ceremony observed by 
the Brah manic caste is the most interesting, and is called 
" Brahma" from the sacredness attached to the rite. The 
bridegroom is obliged to prepare himself by certain 
prayers and ablutions before he can be presented to his 


future wife, whom he often sees for the first time, but of 
whose charms, graces of person, and character he is fully 
informed beforehand. Robed in pure white, anointed 
with holy oil, and wearing garlands of fresh flowers around 
his neck, he goes in procession, accompanied by his friends 
and relatives, to the bride's house, where he and his 
friends are welcomed as guests by the bride's father. The 
future wife is allowed to appear, and is generally veiled, 
so that even then the young couple do not see very much 
of each other. 

On the afternoon of the day appointed for the wedding 
company to assemble at the house of the bride's father a 
raised platform is placed at one end of the hall ; here the 
bridegroom takes his place, surrounded by the priests. 
Presently the bride enters the room accompanied by her 
father, who does homage to his future son and places his 
daughter at his right hand. After this a young priest 
enters bearing a large censer containing a charcoal fire, 
which is placed at their feet, and is emblematic of their 
warm affection. Two priests stand before them holding 
each a lighted torch in his hands, reciting some very beau- 
tiful prayers ; meanwhile the bride rises and treads three 
times on a stone and mutter * placed beside her, and which 
is meant to indicate that the cares and duties she is now 
about to assume as a married woman will be carefully ob- 
served. The bridegroom then makes an oblation of oil 
and frankincense to the fire, as typical of his gratitude to 
the gods for the blessing which is now about to crown his 
life; this done, the priest hands him a torch, which he 
takes and waves three times around the person of his 
bride, signifying that his love will always surround and 
brighten her existence ; he then drops it into the pan or 
censer at their feet. The bride now scatters a handful of 
* A mill or grinder, used for grinding rice and wheat. 


rice and a little oil as an oblation to the gods. The chant 
having ceased, the father steps up, and, taking a new up- 
per and a lower garment, clothes the person of his daugh- 
ter ; he then fastens the end of her dress to the skirts of 
her lover's robe, and, taking the bride's hand, he places it 
in that of the bridegroom, binding them together with a 
mystic cord which is made of their sacred grass, typifying 
the delicacy of the marriage-tie, the strength and solidity 
of which depends not so much on the fragile cord which 
binds them, as on the individual will and resolution not 
to break it asunder. Then, conducted by the bridegroom, 
the young bride steps seven times around the sacred fire, 
repeating the marriage vows, the priests chant the nuptial 
hymn, and the marriage is consummated. 

Every act of the Brahmanic ritual is symbolic. Thus 
in the evening of the same day, after sunset, the bride- 
groom sees his blushing little bride alone for the first 
time ; he takes her by the hand, seats her on a bull's hide, 
which in its turn is symbolic of several spiritual and phys- 
ical facts, one of which points to his power to support 
and protect her. Seated side by side, they quietly watch 
the . rising of the polar star ; pointing it out to her, he re- 
peats, " Let us be steady, stable, serene, for ever abiding in 
each other's love, as that immovable and deathless star." 
Having sat in silent contemplation, they partake of their 
first meal together. The bridegroom remains three days 
at the house of the bride's father ; on the fourth day he 
conducts his wife to his own, or, as it sometimes happens, 
to his father's house, in solemn procession. The Hindoo 
women are remarkably devoted as wives and mothers: 
instances of conjugal infidelity among the high caste are 
unknown, and extremely rare even among the lower castes 
of the Hindoo women. 

The ceremonies attending the dead are worthy of brief 


notice here. The last moments of a Brahman are gener- 
ally made very impressive by the prayers and recitations 
that take place around his dying pillow, the chief aim of 
which is to concentrate the thoughts of the departing soul 
on the fact that life is the master of death. " The sun 
rises out of life and sets into life ; so does the soul of a 
pure Brahman. Life sways to-day, and it will sway to- 
morrow, O Brahman ! Life is immortal ; death but con- 
ceals the fact as the garment covers the body. Hasten, O 
soul, to the Unseen, for unseen he sees, unheard he hears, 
unknown he knows. As by footprints one finds cattle, so 
may thy soul, O Sadhwan (pure one), find the indestruc- 
tible Soul," etc., etc. 

The moment life is fled the high priest bends over the 
corpse with his hands folded on his breast and repeats a 
prayer. After which the near female relatives indulge in 
the most dismal howls and shrieks as expressions of their 
grief and lamentation. The body is then bathed by the 
priests, perfumed, decked with flowers, and placed on a 
temporary bier or litter. This is borne along through the 
chief thoroughfares, preceded by men who carpet with cer- 
tain pieces of cloth the entire way ; women follow, howling 
and weeping and casting dust on their heads. The funeral 
pyre, formed of dried wood, is three or four feet high and 
over six feet long ; the corpse is laid on it, and over it is 
poured oil, clarified butter, and flowers made of fragrant 
woods. The priests stand around, sprinkle the body with 
holy water, and repeat a number of prayers which very 
clearly point to the mystery which enfolds all animate 
and inanimate life, within and without, and express earn- 
est hopes that the body now about to be consumed may 
not draw down the soul to enter another body again. The 
nearest relative then applies the fire and the body is con- 
sumed. They who watch the fire repeat to themselves 


long passages from the Shastras and the Puranas on the 
vanity of human life and the deathless nature of the soul, 
after which they purify themselves before returning home. 
Eleven days after death the Shrada, or purificatory cere- 
monies, are performed by the heir, and in his absence the 
next nearest relative ; then every month for a year, and 
lastly on the anniversary of his death. 

Brahmans are held unclean for ten days after the death 
of a relative, the military caste for twelve, the mercantile 
for fifteen, and the Sudra for thirty. Among the Hin- 
doos the body is burnt, except only in case of infants 
under two years, when it is buried. The " Shrada " is a 
ceremony very much like mass performed in the Roman 
Catholic Church for the souls of the dead who are in 
purgatory. Prayers are offered by the high priest and 
the nearest relatives, accompanied with gifts and offerings 
of rice, flowers, oil, and water, in order to free the deceased 
soul from a purificatory abode in which it is held, and to 
enable it to ascend to the heaven where its progenitors are 
thought to be united to the universal Soul. 

The worship of the Brahmans and the high-caste Hin- 
doos, though complicated by trivialities, is in its essence 
very simple and pure. The Brahmans do not themselves 
worship the idols in the temples, although they encourage 
the inferior castes and races to do so. Every act of a 
Brahman's life is stamped with a religious character, even 
as every breath that he draws is held to be a part of that 
" Divine Soul " that exists in the heart of all beings. 

As the Brahman priests accommodated their religious 
beliefs to suit the popular mind, so have the Roman 
Catholic missionaries and priests effected a compromise 
between Hindooism and Christianity in India, and East- 
ern Christianity has assumed features as foreign to the 
sublime teachings of Christ as demon- and serpent-wor- 


ship are foreign to the pure and natural religion of the 

It is only by examining the existences of all the differ- 
ent races and layers of populations, and the mingling of so 
many and such conflicting religions, that we can rightly 
understand the India of to-day with her hydra-headed 
creeds, dogmas, and castes. 


A Visit to the House of Baboo Ram Chunder. His Wife. Rajpoot 
Wrestlers. Nautchnees, or Hindoo Ballet-Girls. A Hindoo Drama. 
Visit to a Nautchnees' School. Bayahdiers, or Dancing-Girls, 
attached to the Hindoo Temples. Profession, Education, Dress, Cha- 
racter, Fate in Old Age and after Death. Cusbans, or Common Wo- 
men. Marked Differences between these three Classes of Public 

AMONG the most interesting of the rich Hindoos whose 
acquaintance we made during our long residence in Bom- 
bay was one Baboo Ram Chunder. A wealthy gentle- 
man, educated in all the learning of the East as well as 
in English, possessing quite an appreciative intelligence 
on most English topics, but nevertheless a pure Hindoo 
in mind and character, clinging with peculiar affection to 
the manners, customs, and religion of his forefathers, and 
struggling to the last degree to counteract the vulgar and 
popular superstitions of modern Brahmanism, though not 
a member of the Brahmo-Somaj,* he left nothing undone 

* A new school of the Brahmanic order " Brahmo-Somaj," mean- 
ing an assembly in the name of God. This Church has connected 
itself with every progressive movement in India. The originator of 
this social and religious movement was Rajah Rammahun Roy, a 
very learned man. In 1818 he published, for the benefit of his own 
countrymen, selections from the teachings of Jesus, taken from the 
Gospels, in Sanskrit and Bengali, calling the book " The Precepts of 
Jesus, the Guide to Peace and Happiness." He died and was buried 
in England in 1833. Rammahun Roy built a church in Calcutta, 
where the Brahmo-Somaj still hold their worship. The members 
belonging to this new school of religious thought are estimated at 



to revive the pure and simple teachings of the Vdas. It 
was his custom to give every year a grand entertainment 
at his residence, to which he occasionally invited his Euro- 
pean friends. 

One morning Ram Chunder called in person at the 
"Aviary " to invite us to one of these to take place on 
the following evening, and promised me if I would be 
present not only a rare treat in the performance of a 
newly-arranged Hindoo drama from the poem of " Nalopa- 
kyanama," but also an introduction to his wife and child. 

Ram Chunder's house, though not far from the vicinity 
of the Bhendee Bazaar, stood apart, surrounded by a well- 
built wall. The building was a large white-stuccoed dwell- 
ing decorated with rich carvings. There were two courts 
an inner and outer court. We were received by a num- 
ber of richly-attired attendants, and conducted through 
several dimly-iighted passages into a spacious apartment. 
It was a circular hall or pavilion with a fountain, and a 
garden with gravel-walks and a large area in the centre. 
The pavilion itself was decorated in the Oriental style, 
hung with kinkaub (or gold-wrought) curtains and pea- 
cocks' feathers ; the floors were inlaid with mosaics of 
brilliant colors ; the roof and pillars were decorated with 
rich gold mouldings; and the whole would have been 
very Affective but for the melange of European ornaments 
that were disposed around on the walls, tables, and shelves 
clocks, antique pictures, statues, celestial and terrestrial 
globes, and a profusion of common glassware of the most 
brilliant colors. 

ten thousand. The women have a separate prayer-meeting from the 
men. Their form of worship is very simple singing of hymns adapted 
from the Vedas or from the Brahmanasu, or Brahman Aspirations, the 
Christian Bible, and extempore prayer, followed by an exhortation on 
morality and purity of thought and character. The late Mr. Keshub 
Chunder Sen was everywhere recognized as their chief leader. 


Ram Chunder, a young man not over thirty, with re- 
markably courteous manners, with that refinement and 
delicacy which are the distinguishing characteristics of a 
high-bred Hindoo, rose and bowed before us, touching his 
forehead with his folded hands, and then placed us on his 
right hand. In person he was rather stout, with pecu- 
liarly fine eyes and a benevolent expression of counte- 
nance, though he was darker in complexion than most of 
the Brahmans. His dress on this occasion was unusually 
rich and strikingly picturesque. He wore trousers of a 
deep crimson satin ; over this a long white musliu " an- 
graka," or tunic, reaching almost to the knees ; over this 
again he wore a short vest of purple velvet embroidered 
with gold braid. A scarf of finest cashmere was bound 
around his waist, in the folds of which there shone the 
jewelled hilt of a dagger. On his head was a white tur- 
ban of stupendous size encircled with a string of large 
pearls; on his feet were European stockings and a pair 
of antique Indian slippers embroidered with many-colored 
silks and fine seed-pearls. 

Thus attired, he was a gorgeous figure, and, like a true 
high-born Hindoo, he sat quietly in his place, except that 
every now and then he rose and bowed with folded hands 
to each guest as he entered and pointed out their places, 
reseating himself quietly and simply. There was no sign 
of bustle or expectation, nor any conversation to speak of. 
In course of the evening about twenty native and two or 
three European gentlemen were assembled in the pavil- 
ion. The Europeans were on the right, the native gen- 
tlemen on the left, and Ram Chunder in the middle. No 
native ladies were visible, but from the sounds of female 
voices behind the curtain it was evident they were not 
far off. 

Richly-dressed native pages, stationed at the back of 


each guest, waved to and fro perfumed punkahs of pea- 
cock and ostrich feathers. After the usual ceremony of 
passing around to the guests sherbet in golden cups and 
" paun suparee," or betel-leaf and the areca-nut done up 
in gold-leaf, the performance began. 

A herald dressed like a Hindoo angel, with wings, tail, 
and beak of a bird and the body of a young boy, an- 
nounced with a peculiar cry, half natural and half bird- 
like, the presence of the Rajpoot athletes ; and in stepped 
some ten men, their daggers gleaming in the dim light of 
the pavilion, which flickered on the gravelled space in 
front and barely lighted the surrounding garden, in the 
centre of which stood a fountain. The Rajpoots were in 
the prime of life, displaying great symmetry of form and 
development of muscular power. Their heads were close- 
ly shaven, with the exception of a long lock of hair bound 
in a knot at the top of their heads ; their dress consisted 
of a pair of red silk drawers descending halfway to the 
knee and bound tightly around the waist with a scarf of 
many colors. 

The wrestlers advanced, performing a sort of war- 
dance ; they disposed of their daggers by putting them in 
their topknots; they then salaamed before the audience 
and began the contest. Each slapped violently the inside 
of his arms and thighs; then, at a given signal, each 
seized his opponent by the waist. One placed his fore- 
head against the other's breast; they then struggled, 
twisted, and tossed each other about, showing great skill 
and adroitness in keeping their feet and warding off blows. 
Suddenly, with a peculiar jerk, one of the wrestlers almost 
at the same moment dashed his opponent to the ground, 
and drawing forth his dagger stood flourishing it over the 
fallen victim. At this juncture a strain of music wild 
but tender swept from the farther end of the pavilion, 


seemingly given forth to arrest the premeditated thrust of 
the exultant victor. 

They listen with heads slightly turned to one side; 
presently their grim, bloodthirsty expressions give place 
to looks of delight and wonder. All at once their faces 
break into smiles ; simultaneously they drop their uplifted 
daggers, release their knees from the breasts of their pros- 
trate foes, stoop, and, taking a little earth from the grav- 
elled walk, scatter it over their heads as a sign that the 
victor himself is vanquished, salaam to the spectators, and 
retire amid deafening shouts of applause. 

After this the musicians struck up some lively Hindoo 
airs, and at length the heavy curtains from one side of 
the pavilion curled up like a lotus-flower at sunset, and 
there appeared a long line of girls advancing in a meas- 
ured step and keeping time to the music. They stood on 
a platform almost facing us. Some of them were extra- 
ordinarily beautiful, one girl in particular. The face was 
of the purest oval, the features regular, the eyes large, 
dark, and almond-shaped, the complexion pale olive, with 
a slight blush of the most delicate pink on the cheeks, 
and the mouth was half pouting and almost infantile in 
its round curves, but with an expression of dejection and 
sorrow lingering about the corners which told better than 
words of weariness of the life to which she was doomed. 
For my part, it was difficult for me to remove my eyes 
from that pensive and beautiful face. Every now and 
then I found myself trying to picture her strange life, 
wondering who she was and how her parents could ever 
have had the heart to doom her to such a profession. 

The Xautchnees, or dancing-girls, of whom there were 

no less than eighteen, were all dressed in that exquisite 

Oriental costume peculiar to them, each one in a different 

shade or in distinct colors, but so carefully chosen that this 



mass of color harmonized with wonderful effect. First, 
'they wore bright-colored silk vests and drawers that fitted 
tightly to the body and revealed a part of the neck, arms, 
and legs ; a full, transparent petticoat attached low down 
almost on the hips, leaving an uncovered margin all 
around the form from the waist of the bodice to where 
the skirt was secured on the hips; over this a saree of 
some gauze-like texture bound lightly over the whole 
person, the whole so draped as to encircle the figure like a 
halo at every point, and, finally, thrown over the head and 
drooping over the face in a most bewitching veil. The 
hair was combed smoothly back and tied in a knot behind, 
while on the forehead, ears, neck, arms, wrists, ankles, and 
toes were a profusion of dazzling ornaments. 

With head modestly inclined, downcast eyes, and clasped 
hands they stood silent for some little time, in strong re- 
lief against a wall fretted with fantastic Oriental carvings. 
The herald again gave the signal for the music to strike 
up. A burst of wild Oriental melody flooded the pa- 
vilion, and all at once the Nautchnees started to their feet. 
Poised on tiptoe, with arms raised aloft over their heads, 
they began to whirl and float and glide about in a maze 
of rhythmic movement, fluttering and quivering and 
waving before us like aspen-leaves moved by a strong 
breeze. It must have cost them years of labor to have 
arrived at such ease and precision of movement. The 
dance was a miracle of art, and all the more fascinating 
because of the rare beauty of the performers. 

Then came the cup-dance, which was performed by the 
lovely girl who had so captivated my fancy. She ad- 
vanced with slow and solemn step to the centre of the 
platform, and, taking up a tier of four or five cups fitting 
close into one another, she placed this tier on her head 
and immediately began to move her arms, head, and feet 



in such gently undulating waves that one imagined the 
cups, which were all the time balanced on her head, were 
floating about her person, and seemingly everywhere ex- 
cept where she so dextrously poised and maintained them. 
This dance was concluded by a cup being filled with 
sherbet and placed in the middle of the platform. Re- 
moving the cups from her head, the dancer, her eyes 
glowing, her breast heaving, swept toward the filled cup 
as if drawn to it by some spell, round and round, now 
approaching, now retreating, till finally, as if unable to 
resist the enchantment, she gave one long sweep around it, 
and, clasping her arms tightly behind her, lay full length 
on the pavement, and taking up with her lips the brim- 
ming cup drained its contents without spilling a drop. 
Then, putting it down empty, she rose with the utmost 
grace and bowed her head before us, her arms still firmly 
clasped behind her. The grace, beauty, and elegance of 
her movements were incomparable ; the spectators were 
too deeply interested even to applaud her. She retired 
amid a profound and significant silence to her place. 

Presently a tall, slim, graceful girl took her place on 
the platform with a gay smile on her face. An attendant 
fastened on her head a wicker wheel about three feet in 
diameter ; it was bound firmly to the crown of her head, 
and all around it were cords placed at equal distances, each 
having a slipknot secured by means of a glass bead. In 
her left hand she held a basket of eggs. When the music 
struck up once more she took an egg, inserted it into a 
knot, and gave it a peculiarly energetic little jerk, which 
somehow fastened it firmly in its place. As soon as all 
the eggs were thus firmly bound in the slipknots round 
the wheel on her head, she gave a rapid whirl, sent them 
flying around, while she preserved the movement with her 
feet, keeping time to the music. Away she whirled, the 


eggs revolving round her. The slightest false movement 
would bring them together in a general crash. After con- 
tinuing this about a quarter of an hour, she seized a cord 
with a swift but sure grasp, detached from it the inserted 
egg, managing the slipknot with marvellous dexterity, 
dancing all the while, till every egg was detached and 
placed in her basket; after which she advanced, and, 
kneeling before us, begged us to examine the eggs whether 
real or fictitious. Of course the eggs were real, and she 
was almost overwhelmed with shouts of "Khoup ! khoup ! 
Matjaka! matjaka!" "Fine! fine! beautiful!" And then 
the Nautchnees vanished from the pavilion. 

During the interval that followed the pages went round 
with goulab-dhanees, or bottles with rose-water, to sprinkle 
the guests. 

Suddenly the cry of the herald announced a new scene. 
The heavy curtain slowly folded up and a long line of 
male actors, superbly attired as Oriental kings and princes 
from different parts of the East, entered and took their 
places on the divans ranged along the farther end of the 
pavilion. Ram Chunder approached us and informed me 
that the piece about to be represented was a pure Hindoo 
drama, a beautiful episode from the Sanskrit epic Mahd- 
bhdrata, called " Nalopakyanama, or, The Story of Nala." 

After the kings and princes had seated themselves, in 
came a string of attendants arrayed in gold and gleaming 
armor, who took their places behind the royal personages 
on the divans. Then came twelve maidens attired in cloth 
of gold and fantastic head-gear, belonging to the ancient 
Vedic period. Each of these girls had a cithara in her 
hands; they disposed themselves on seats to the left of 
the pavilion. After these a shrill cry of many voices 
announced the gods Indra, Agni, Varuna, and Yama, 
and in stalked four men splendidly robed, bearing gold 


wands, with serpents coiling around them, in their hands, 
and lotos-shaped crowns richly jewelled on their heads. 
Their raiment was one blaze of tinsel and glass jewels, 
made to shine with all the brilliancy of real gems. 

Then came the hero Nala, with faded flowers on his 
tiara, dust on his garments, and looking picturesque 
enough with his bright scarf thrown across his shoulders, 
but travel-stained and very commonplace in the presence 
of so much gold and finer}'. 

Nala was the hero to whom the matchless Damayanti, 
" whose beauty disturbed the souls of gods and men," had 
pledged her love, in spite of the proposition he brought 
her from the four gods to choose one of them and reign 
the unrivalled queen of the highest heaven. Damayanti, 
desirous of averting from her well-beloved Nala the ven- 
geance of the gods, invites all her suitors to the " Swa- 
yamvara;" that is, a public choice of a husband by the 
lady, according to the custom of that age, assuring Nala 
that then there will be no cause of blame to him, as she 
will choose him in the presence of the gods themselves. 
Hence the presence of the four gods among the assembled 
princes suitors for the hand of the lovely Damayauti. 

The herald once more gave the signal for the perform- 
ance to begin. The musicians struck their citharas and 
recited in musical intonations the chief parts of the drama 
of Nala. At a certain part of the recitation the curtain 
descended, and in a few moments went up again. During 
this interval the gods were transformed into the likeness 
of Nala, presenting five Nalas instead of one ; which the 
singers explained was a trick of the gods by which they 
hoped to bewilder poor Damayanti and perhaps induce 
her, in her ignorance of which were the gods and which 
Nala, to select one of their divine number as her future 
husband. The interest of the drama was centred among 


these four suitors of Damayanti, each the counterpart of 
the favored Nala. 

The music at this point rose and fell, now vibrating in 
low tender accents, and anon rising in wild, startling em- 
phasis of expression. At this moment the curtain parted 
and there stood the cup-dancer with her quiet yet entran- 
cing beauty. Calmly she entered, looking down and medi- 
tating, as we were told, on the object of her affections. 
Her dress was exquisite of its kind and character; I 
never saw its counterpart on a Nautchnee before or after. 
It was a long gown without sleeves, falling from her 
shoulders to her feet, open at the throat, exposing a part 
of the neck and breast and the whole arm from the 
shoulder. It was very full, but of the most delicate tex- 
ture, revealing the whole outline of a very lovely form. 
A bright border of variegated silk ran down the front 
and round the hem of this ancient V&dic garment, and it 
was fastened at the waist by a rich silk scarf. Her hair 
fell back, flowing down to her feet; on her head was a 
curious crown of an antique pattern, and over it all was 
thrown a long veil that streamed on the floor, and was of 
such transparent texture that it looked like woven sun- 

Such was the impersonation of the Vedic beauty Dama- 
yanti. When she reached the centre of the circular pavilion 
she lifted her eyes, and, seeing five Nalas instead of one, 
started backward, clasped her lovely arms on her bosom, 
and, rocking herself gently to and fro, moaned, " Alas ! 
alas ! there are five Nalas, all so like my own true sinless 
chief. How shall I discover the one to whom alone I have 
pledged my undying love ?" 

At this juncture the music ceased and a deep silence fell 
upon the audience. Every eye was riveted on that lovely 
creature seemingly overcome with the tide of sorrow and 


uncertainty that swept over her. Suddenly pausing in her 
moans, she turned up her fine eyes to the sky, and with 
some new inward light dawning as it were upon her 
troubled soul said audibly, " To the gods alone I will 
trust If they are indeed gods, they will not deceive a 
poor mortal woman like me." 

Then, quivering and trembling, with flushed cheeks 
and lustrous eyes, she folded her hands and knelt in 
reverence before the gods and prayed aloud, and said, " O 
ye gods, as in word or thought I swerve not from my love 
and faith to Nala, so I here adjure you to resume your 
immortal forms and reveal to me my Nala, that I may in 
your holy presence choose him for my pure and sinless 

Kneeling there with her face turned up, her hands 
folded, the outlines of her beautiful form made even more 
lovely by the half-softened halo of light shed over her 
from above, she seemed like some beautiful vision, and 
not a thing of flesh and blood. I never witnessed any- 
thing more truly exquisite and tender in its simple woman- 
hood than this rendering of the beautiful Vedic character 
of Damayanti. 

Again the voices of the musicians were heard interpret- 
ing for us the thoughts and feelings of the gods : " We 
are filled with wonder at her steadfast love and peerless 
beauty," etc., etc. Once more the curtain is dropped, and 
presently it folds up again, revealing the forms of the four 
bright gods as at first in all the splendor of their robes, 
crowned and flashing with jewels, and fragrant with the 
garlands of fresh flowers that hang around their necks. 

Damayanti rose from her bended knees. With pleased 
and childlike wonder she gazed at the gods one moment, 
then turned to her own true Nala, who stood before her in 
striking contrast to the gods, with moisture on his brow, 


dust on his garments, soiled head-dress and faded garland. 
But on recognizing him as the true Nala she folded her 
hands in sudden rapture and gave a cry of joy ; then, re- 
moving from her own neck her garland of mohgree- 
flowers, moved with quiet grace toward her lover, knelt 
and kissed the hem of his dusty robe, arose and threw 
around his neck her own fresh, radiant wreath of flowers, 
saying, " So I choose for my lord and husband Nish&dah's 
noble king." At this speech a sound of wild sorrow burst 
from the rejected suitors, but the gods shouted, "Well 
done ! well done !" Then the happy Nala, turning to the 
blushing Damayanti, said, " Since, O maiden, you have 
chosen me for your husband in the presence of the gods, 
know this, that I will ever be your faithful lover, delight 
in your words, your looks, your thoughts, and so long as 
this soul inhabits this body, so long as the moon turns to 
the sun till the sun grows cold and ceases to shine, so long 
shall I be thine, and thine only." 

One more loud shout from the herald, the curtaiu 
dropped, the play and the day were over, for it was just 
twelve o'clock. 

The Oriental and European guests took their leave of 
their amiable host with much salaaming and many expres- 
sions of delight, for the play had been arranged by Ram 
Chunder himself. 

After a few minutes our host kindly conducted me to 
an inner apartment of his dwelling to introduce me, as he 
had promised, to his wife, who had already quitted her 
place behind the curtains, whence she and her maids had 
witnessed the performance, and had retired to her own 
rooms, which were (as in the case of all rich Hindoos or 
even Mohammedans) separate from those occupied by her 
husband. Traversing a long and narrow passage, we 
came to an arched doorway, with a dark silk curtain 



hanging before it, guarded by two women seated on either 
side. They rose and salaamed to us, and Ram Chunder, 
instead of walking in as any ordinary European husband 
would have done, inquired of them if the lady Kesineh 
had retired. 

" No, your lordship," replied the ceremonious Hindoo 
maid-servant; "she waits yours and the English lady's 

On which Ram Chunder drew aside the heavy drapery 
and bade me enter, saying, " I will return for you in a 
quarter of an hour or so." 

Left alone, I stepped into a dimly-lighted but spacious 
room, at the farther end of which I saw seated a Hindoo 
lady surrounded by several female attendants. 

As far as I could observe in the dim light, she was 
dark, but handsome and dressed like the generality of 
Hindoo women, only that her veil, instead of being drawn 
over her head, was thrown back, and trailed on the floor 
beside her. She did not rise to greet me, but salaamed to 
me from her place, and patted a cushion close by her as 
an invitation for me to be seated. This was, as I soon 
found, owing to the fact that her little daughter, lying 
half asleep in a little Hindoo cradle close by, was hold- 
ing her hand, and she feared to disturb her. I sat down 
and looked over into the cradle ; there lay a soft plump, 
brown child, a little girl of about two years of age, per- 
fectly nude, with a string of gold coins around her neck 
and each of her arms. In the presence of such perfect 
innocence and trust the narrow distinctions of races and 
creeds seemed to fade away : I only felt here was another 
woman like myself, and she a mother; and, in truth, I 
could not have long felt otherwise, in spite of any preju- 
dices I may have had ; Kesineh was too natural and simple 
a creature for one to feel anything but at home with her. 


The first words that she said to me, after satisfying her- 
self that little " Brownee " (as I always called her) was 
asleep, were, "How long have you been married?" Then, 
" What does your husband look like ? How old are you ? 
Where do you live?" etc., etc. My answers seemed to 
please her very much, for she patted my knee and laughed 
softly, and said, " Oh, heart ! oh, heart ! how happy you 
must be!" 

We then talked about her own life. She told me that 
she had been married four years, that she had hoped 
" Brownee " was going to be a son, " but she turned out 
a daughter after all," said poor Kesineh with a sigh. 
" Do you love her less for that ?" I inquired. " Oh no, 
indeed," said Kesinfeh quickly ; " I think I love her more, 
but my lord would have been better pleased with me if 
she had been a son instead of a daughter." " But," said 
I, trying to comfort her for her disappointment, " it was 
not your fault that your child happened to be a daughter." 
" Oh yes," said the lady with great energy, " it was my 
own fault. I committed the sin of marrying my own 
brother in a former state of existence; thus I am now 
doomed to have a daughter for my first-born child in 
this." I did not know what to say to this odd explana- 
tion, and there was a pause, but at length I ventured to 
suggest that whether it was so or not she must admit that 
little "Brownee" was a treasure. "Oh yes," said Kesineh 
with joyful emphasis "a lovely, bewildering little thing;" 
and she leaned lovingly over the little sleeper. 

I noticed that in everything this Hindoo lady said or 
did there was no affectation of voice or manner, no effort 
to please or entertain me, but a simple and natural ex- 
pression of herself. 

When it was time for me to go I put her one question 
which I longed most to have answered : " Who is that 


very beautiful Nautchnee who danced the cup-dance and 
performed the part of Damayanti this evening ?" 

"I do not know," said the lady Kesineh with great 
interest in her manner. "Is she not beautiful? The 
Nautchnees were hired for this evening. I would like to 
know who she is too." 

Then, turning to one of her attendants, who was listen- 
ing to every word we said with a smile on her face, 
she inquired, " Ummah, do you know the owner of the 
Nautchnees who were here to-night?" 

" Yes, my lady," replied the woman. 

" If you hear anything about her you will let me know, 
for I have fallen in love with her," said I, half in jest and 
half in earnest. " Mah mi ! mah mi !" laughed Kesineli 
" so have I. She is a heart-distracting creature. Every 
one who saw her dance and act will dream of her to-night. 
Mah mi ! mah mi ! how proud she must feel !" 

I wished her good-night in the strictest Hindoo fashion, 
taught me by the pundit. 

"Ram, Ram," said I, "dev& Ram!"* Putting my 
folded hands to my brow and stooping, I lightly kissed 
the little sleeper in the cradle. 

The very next moment Kesineh had sprung up, and, 
putting her arms around my neck, she laid her brow 
against mine and repeated that tender Hindoo farewell 
than which there is nothing more exquisite in human 
language : " The gods send that neither sun nor wind, 
neither rain nor any earthly sorrow, brush by thee too 
roughly, my friend." 

Content and pleased with my new acquaintance, we 
parted, but not without my promise to visit her again. 

The dancing-girls of India may be divided into three 
classes : the Nautchnees, who are actresses, or ballet-girls, 
. * " Rama, Kama, the god Kama, bless you !" 


or both ; the Bayahdiers, or Bhayadhyas, dedicated by 
their parents in childhood as votive offerings to certain 
temples, and consecrated to them at the age of woman- 
hood ; and the common " Cusban," a grade even lower 
than either of these, whose ranks are chiefly supplied from 
the abandoned Mohammedan women, the Purwarees, the 
lowest of all castes in Central India, as well as from the 
disaffected runaways of either of the two former and more 
reputable professions. The Cusban, therefore, is the scum 
and refuse of the lowest-caste females in India. 

One day, accompanied by Kesineh, I visited a Nautch- 
nee establishment of which the beautiful dancing-girl who 
so much attracted me was an inmate. It was kept by a 
native man and his wife, named respectively Dhanut and 
Saineh Bebee. We drove to it in a Hindoo carriage, a 
round seat for two or more persons placed on wheels, 
drawn by a pair of milk-white bullocks, and covered with 
a curious conical structure of wicker work hung with crim- 
son silk curtains. We took our places on two cushions 
cross-legged; the driver sat in front, and with a sharp 
crack of the whip started the bullocks at a brisk trot and 
sent us bumping up and down. On our way we caught 
glimpses of a population even more strange than those to be 
met daily in the parts of the island more frequented by Euro- 
peans. The dirtiness of a low-caste, poverty-stricken Orien- 
tal street is inconceivable. Filth reigned supreme in some 
of the lanes and alleys through which we passed. A rank 
vegetation clothed everything; trees hung with many- 
colored festoons of leaves and flowers formed thick tap- 
estries of foliage on the right and on the left. 

There is no country in the world (save the beautiful 
island of Ceylon) that is kinder to the sluggard. The 
poorest soil will grow certain qualities of fruit and cocoa- 
nut palms. The native population in some parts here 


seemed almost too indolent to move out of the way of our 
carriage-wheels, but they were peaceful enough. Stones, 
old broken bits of earthenware, wheels, broken litters, 
impeded the way, and cows, dogs, hens, chickens, pigs, 
ducks, and children less clad than any of these, roamed 
idly about in the streets and gutters or narrow lanes. As 
a rule, no refuse or rubbish of any kind whatever is re- 
moved, but is left to accident and the action of natural 
chemistry. Burnt-down huts covered over with the ever- 
ready parasitic plants, old wells and tanks filled with stag- 
nant water abounding in frogs,, water-snakes, and all 
kinds of reptiles, add to the sluggish appearance of the 
place. Gayly-dressed native women, idle men among 
whom may be seen some poor depraved British tars and 
male and female hucksters of fruit and sweetmeats, com- 
plete the picture. 

The Nautchnees' establishment was a curious building 
surrounded by a high wall. We entered through a gate, 
and were at once conducted by a couple of old women 
across a paved courtyard planted all around with the 
mohgree, oleander, and tall red and white rose trees. 
Passing this, we were introduced into a great bare hall, 
with low seats ranged around the walls, curtained all 
along the farther end of the room, into which inner 
chambers seemed to open. Here we took our places. 
One of the old women stayed by us, while the other went 
off to announce our visit to the head lady of the estab- 

The great slave-markets which we have all read so 
much about, where tender young girls are bought and 
sold as if they were cattle, no longer exist in British 
India, but the amount of traffic of the kind that is still 
carried on everywhere is incredible, although the fact is 
vigorously denied by both the buyer and the seller. In 


many cases these Nautchnees are not bought, but hired 
for a term of years, for money paid not to the girls them- 
selves, but to parents or friends. In the course of time 
the parents die or move away, and the girl, after having 
given her best days to her employers, finds herself with- 
out money, friends, or social ties, and is glad enough to 
spend the remainder of her life in instructing the younger 
members of the establishment of which, with the fidelity 
so natural to Oriental women, she considers herself a 
member, and therefore bound for life to promote its 

After a few moments Sainah Bebee came in to greet the 
lady Kesineh. She salaamed most deferentially to us, and 
took her place on the floor. She was a woman about fifty 
and a native of Afghanistan, tall and finely formed. She 
spoke of difficulty in procuring respectable young girls to 
fill the places of those who ran away, were sold to certain 
rich admirers for wives or concubines, or died. It would 
appear that the lowest, or Cusban, class was largely in- 
creasing, whereas that of the Nautchnees was fast dimin- 
ishing. On my questioning the old lady about the 
average life of the Nautchnees, she could give me no 
clear estimate, but intimated very decidedly that they 
generally died young. 

At my especial request we were shown into the exer- 
cising-room and almost over the entire establishment. 
There were over a hundred girls, of all ages, and all 
shades of complexion from dark-brown to a pale delicate 
olive, going through their exercises at the time. The 
hall was composed of bamboo trellis-work, and was light, 
spacious, and airy enough. From the roof hung all sorts 
of gymnastic apparatus, rude but curious ropes to which 
the girls clung as they whirled round on tiptoe ; wheels 
on which they were made to walk in order to learn a 


peculiar circular dance called " chakranee " (from " chak," 
y wheel) ; slipknots into which they fastened one arm or 
one leg, thus holding it motionless while they exercised 
the other ; cups, revolving balls, which they sprang up to 
catch ; and heaps of fragile cords, with which they spin 
round and round, and if any one of these snap under too 
great a pressure, they are punished, though never very 

Altogether, it was a strange sight. Most of the girls 
from ten to fourteen had nothing on but a short tight pair 
of drawers ; the older ones had tight short-sleeved bodices 
in addition to the drawers; and those under ten were naked. 
They were all good-looking ; a few here and there were 
beautiful. The delicate and refined outline of their fea- 
tures, the soft tint of their rich complexions, the dreamy 
expression of their large, dark, quiet eyes, added to great 
symmetry of form, made them strangely fascinating. 

The teachers were all middle-aged women, some of 
whom looked prematurely old. The girls are taught to 
repeat poems and plays, but no books are used. 

The dormitories in this establishment were bare rooms ; 
the girls all slept on mats or cushions on the floor. 
Each had a lota, or drinking-cup, a little mirror, and a 
native box in which to keep her clothes. The more 
finished and accomplished Nautchnees had rooms to 
themselves. I went into one of these. It was matted, 
and was very simply furnished. A tier of boxes in 
which her jewels and robes were kept, a cot, a few brass 
lotas, fans, cojas, or water-holders, with some tiny look- 
ing-glasses ranged along the wall, and this was all. 

I inquired for the beautiful Nautchnee who had inter- 
ested me. Her name was Khangee ; she was a Soodahnee 
by birth. The Soodahs are a military race or tribe in- 
habiting parts of the province of Cutch ; they find their 


chief wealth in the beauty of their daughters, and for one 
of the Soodahnees a rich Mohammedan will pay from a 
thousand to ten thousand rupees.* Rajahs, wealthy Mo- 
hammedan merchants, and proprietors of dancing-girls 
often despatch their emissaries to Cutch, Cabool, Cash- 
mere, and Rajpootana in search of beautiful women. 
The fame of the Cashmerian and Soodah women has 
spread far and wide, and often some beautiful creature is 
picked up out of the hovels of Thur, Booly, or Cashmere 
and transplanted to the gorgeous pomp of a royal harem. 
The Rajpoots intermarry with the Soodah and Cashmerian 
women, and, being naturally a handsome race, they have 
preserved by this means that physical beauty of which 
they are "so justly proud. 

Veiy little was known of Khangee's history beyond the 
fact that she was a Soodahnee by birth. She was bought 
at an early age from her parents, who were poor and oc- 
cupied a hovel in the village of Thur in Cutch, and sold 
to this establishment when in her seventh year, and was 
almost as ignorant of her parentage as a newly-born babe. 
At the time of our visit she had been hired with a party 
of Nautchnees to assist in the marriage-celebration which 
was to take place at the house of a rich Bunyah, or Hin- 
doo grain-merchant. 

These Nautehnees often marry well, and become chaste 
wives and mothers of large families. The four requisites 
for a Nautchnee are bright eyes, fine teeth, long hair, and 
a perfect symmetry of form and feature. A small black 
mole between the eyebrows or on either cheek will en- 
hance her value to an extraordinary degree. 

The utter friendlessness, the quiet submission, expressed 
in the actions and faces of the young girls, and even of 
the little children, we had seen exercising and acquiring 
* The value of a rupee is about forty-five American cents. 


their different parts that morning, were very pathetic. 
There was none of the impetuosity of youth nor of the 
joyousness of childhood. It is a sad and dreary picture, 
these parentless children of the East living for some rich 
man's pleasure, and dying as they live, often unloved and 
uucared for by any relative or friend. 

"Bayahdier" is the name generally applied by the 
French ancHPortuguese to the dancing-girls attached to 
temples.* They are distinct from the Nautchnees, and 
are held sacred as priestesses. In case of sickness, fam- 
ine, or other individual or social calamity Hindoo parents 
will repair to the temple and there vow to dedicate a 
daughter, sometimes yet unborn, to the service of Siva, 
provided the gods avert the threatened danger. Such 
vows are also made by barren women, who promise, if 
the curse of barrenness be removed, to dedicate to Siva 
their first-born daughter ; and all such vows are religiously 
performed. When the child thus consecrated is born, the 
first thing that is necessary is for the father to repair to 
the temple and register her name as a devotee of the 
temple, break a cocoanut at the shrine of Siva, and take 
from the hand of the Brahman priest a little holy oil, 
shaindoor, a sort of red paint, and mud obtained from the 
Granges ; with which he returns to mark the newly-born 
child. From this moment she is looked upon as a priest- 
ess, and is exempt from all household or any other em- 
ployment. At the age of five she attends the temple 
daily, where she is taught by the priests to read, chant, 
sing, and dance in the schools attached to it. When the 
girl has reached womanhood she undergoes certain puri- 

* Their names vary with the language. I have heard them called 
" Khoo mattees " in parts of Guzerat ; also " Dhayahtees " in the 
Deccan, and Bhaladhya in parts of Western India, from Sanskrit 
"bala," youth, and "dhya," tenderness. 


fications. Holy oil and grated sandal- wood are rubbed 
over her person ; she is then bathed, perfumed, fumigated, 
dressed in a robe peculiar to these priestesses a full petti- 
coat with a handsome border, short enough to show her 
feet and ankles, which are covered with jewels; a very 
short boddice, and over this is thrown a spotted muslin 
veil ; the hair is ornamented with jewels of gold and sil- 
ver, as are the neck, arms, and throat. She then enters 
the temple, takes her place near the stone image of Siva ; 
generally her right hand is bound to that of the holy im- 
age, her forehead is marked with his sign, and she con- 
firms the vow made by her parents to dedicate her body to 
the service and maintenance of the temple. With some 
few advantages of education, this temple-service may be 
regarded as one of the most corrupt and depraving insti- 
tutions of the Hindoos injurious alike to the moral and 
physical welfare of the community at large, and moreover 
debasing to the character of the Brahman priests them- 
selves in their open recognition and encouragement of 
vice. These poor devotees often accept their fate with 
that stolid indifference peculiar to the Orientals, and are 
taught to believe that their immoralities are sacred to the 
god to whom they are dedicated. 

The services on the death of one of these priestesses are 
peculiar. When at the point of death a mud idol of Siva 
is placed in her arms. Her mouth, eyes, nose, and ears 
are rubbed with holy oil, and then touched with flame 
obtained from a sacrificial fire, to purify from the taint 
of her impure life ; in her hands are placed the toolsi * 

* Ocymum or sweet basil. This plant has a very dark-blue flower, 
and hence, like the large bluish-black bees of India, is held sacred to 
Krishna and his amours. A fable, however, is told in the Puranas 
concerning the metamorphosis of the nymph Toolasi (by Krishna) into 
the shrub which has since borne her name, because he could not return 
her love. 


flowers, and her body is robed in pure white ; after which 
she is made to repeat a hymn praying that as she has con- 
secrated her body to the service of the gods, so may her 
soul be freed from rebirth and reunited to the Infinite 
Soul. If she is too feeble to repeat this prayer, the priests 
chant it in her dying ear. When life becomes extinct she 
is carried to a quiet spot in the vicinity of the temple, 
burned, and her ashes buried then and there. Sometimes 
a fellow-sister will plant a toolsi or moghree tree on the 
site, but no monument ever marks the spot where these 
poor priestesses of passion are cremated. 

These devotees are never taken in marriage ; they are 
looked upon as the brides of their various deities ; they 
are generally childless. If a woman happens to have a 
child, however, she is sole arbitress of its fate, and in no 
instance has she ever been known to dedicate it to the life 
to which she has been doomed. She generally hands it 
over to her parents or nearest relatives as a substitute for 

There are hospitals and asylums for the sick, infirm, 
and aged of this class of women, though from all I could 
learn very few arrive at old age. 

The Cusban, or lowest class of dancing-women, is very 
largely recruited from runaways from these Hindoo tem- 
ples, and it is said that in course of time they become the 
most abandoned and desperate of the native community. 

Even the most intelligent people, unless they have made 
a special study of India, can have no idea of the marked 
differences that exist between the Brahmans and these dif- 
ferent classes of women. The pure Brahman, with the 
three other Aryan castes in so far as they have not inter- 
married with the aborigines, are of Caucasian type. In 
the northern provinces they are not brown, but of a com- 
plexion almost as fair as that of many dark Europeans. 


Both the men and women are distinguished by symmetry 
of form, fine soft hair, and beautiful eyes. Their ideal 
of beauty is similar to ours, with this exception: that 
they have adhered more closely in matters of dress to 
the original simplicity of form than Europeans have 

Theatrical representations, such as that of Ram Chun- 
der, are much in vogue. The dramatic art in Hindostan 
about the period of the Christian era was of a high and 
lofty character. It was the great school wherein kings, 
warriors, and soldiers were taught the purest ideals of 
chivalry and manly and womanly purity of character; 
but at the present time it has greatly degenerated, al- 
though in many parts of India the more enlightened 
Hindoos are trying to restore it once more to its true and 
original place among the high arts. Everywhere theat- 
rical exhibitions are held, often in the open air or under 
temporary sheds. The actresses are the Nautchnees, and 
a respectable Hindoo woman will rarely attend these pub- 
lic places. The native Roman Catholics in Southern In- 
dia and Ceylon have also religious dramas, in no way 
superior to those of the Hindoos ; the overshadowing of 
the Virgin, the birth of Christ, the crucifixion, and so 
forth, are very similar to the scenes represented of Krishna 
and the Hindoo incarnation. 

Social dancing does not exist among the nations of the 
East, and it is considered highly indecorous for a Hindoo 
woman of pure character to dance. Even the Nautchnees, 
if they become wives or even concubines to rich men, as 
often happens, abandon all such practices ; and their chil- 
dren are never allowed to know their mother's early pro- 
fession, so deep is the national sentiment with regard to 
the domestic relations of a wife and mother. 

Public reading of popular poems, histories, and dramas 


as a source of amusement is very common all through 
Northern and Southern Hindostan. The reading is al- 
ways performed in parts. A wealthy Hindoo will engage 
a number of professional readers to perform the task, and 
every one who wishes to hear may do so. The readers 
always take their places in an open verandah, and the 
people in large numbers seat themselves around within 
hearing distance. The recitation is given ; each person 
performs his or her part in the prescribed order with a 
musical cadence. The expositor gives a free translation 
for the benefit of the people, who are thus made acquainted 
with the most celebrated Hindoo works. 

Chess is a favorite game among the Hindoos, and it is 
one of the most ancient, alluded to even in their earliest 
productions, and quite common among all classes and 
grades of society. This game is peculiarly adapted to the 
Hindoo mind, in which quiet thought, perspicacity, and 
shrewdness are so strongly marked. Cards with the 
figures of their gods and goddesses are a source of great 
amusement; the women are much given to this indoor 
recreation. The Ashta-Kasti is a game played on a board 
of twenty-five squares with sixteen cowries or small shells. 
It is played by four persons, and is finished when one of 
the pieces, traversing the length and breadth of the board, 
enters first into the central square. Mohgali * Patan is a 
favorite game among the superior classes of Hindoo women. 
It is a representation of a battle between the Mohgals and 
Patans. The battle-field is accurately drawn ; on one side 
is the Mohgal army, and on the other the Patan. Hindoo 
ladies play it with great skill. Another military game, 
the Pasha, played on ninety-six squares and with sixteen 
pieces, is played with great vigor and amid peals of laughter. 
The moves are regulated by the throws of dice. Among 

* This word is generally pronounced Mohgvl by the natives of India. 


the outdoor sports are kite-flying, throwing the sling, bat- 
and-ball, croquet on horseback, wrestling, running, boat- 
ing, boxing, and hunting. Itinerant jugglers are every- 
where patronized. 

Musical recreations are most popular of all, and not 
only from the temples and palaces, but from the humblest 
hut of the poorest peasant, sweet sounds everywhere greet 
the ear. When an instrument cannot be had the voice is 
substituted; men seated in clusters under trees by the 
wayside beguile the evening hours with song after song. 
The common bhistee at the water's edge, the farmer at the 
plough, the cart-driver, the boatman, the shepherd, the 
warrior, the spinner at her wheel, and the mother beside 
the cradle, all delight in song, giving great effect to tender 
or spiritual sentiments by the measured or animated tones 
of chant, psalm, or song as it may happen to be. 

Instrumental, and even vocal music, though held among 
the fine arts, has not attained great eminence, yet no peo- 
ple are more susceptible to its peculiar charms than the 
Hindoos. The word " sang-gheeta," or symphony, im- 
plies not only the union of voices and instruments, but 
suitable action. 

Musical treatises always combine "gdna," the measure 
of poetry, "vadya," instrumental sound, and "uritya," 
dancing. The most remarkable of their musical compo- 
sitions are The Ragar Navah, "The Sea of Passion;" 
Sabha-Vinodah, " The Delight of the Assemblies ;" Sang- 
gheeta-Derpana, " The Mirror of Song ;" Raga Nibhoda, 
" The Doctrine of Musical Modes." All these works ex- 
plain more or less the laws of harmony, the division of 
musical sounds into scales, etc., enunciation, cadence, rising 
and falling variations, long and short accentuations, and 
rules for playing the vina and other musical instruments. 
The vina is the most common ; it is not unlike a guitar, 


five or six feet long, with seven or more strings, and a 
large gourd at each end of the finger-board. 

Music, like almost everything else in India, is thought 
to be of divine origin. The gamut is called swaragrama, 
and is uttered as Sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha, ne. Little cir- 
cles, ellipses, crescents, chains, curves, lines, straight, hori- 
zontal, or perpendicular, are employed as notes. The 
close of each strain is always marked by a flower, especi- 
ally the rose and lotus. 

The mode of dress of the Hindoo is both simple and 
suitable to the climate. The men wear a cloth called 
dhotee bound round the loins, with an upper vest, of cot- 
ton or silk according to the wealth of the wearer, over it. 
This angraka, or coat, is very graceful, generally of pure 
white, and descending to the ankles ; it is bound around 
the waist by a colored shawl or scarf called cumberbund. 
A white muslin turban artistically wound around the head 
and sandals complete the attire. On festive occasions a 
gay handkerchief is thrown over the right shoulder, which 
adds very much to the picturesqueness of the dress. 

The women wear a cloth, or saree, some yards in length, 
often edged with a rich and delicate embroidery of gold 
or silver, descending to the feet. They gather this into a 
point in front, and fasten it around their waists with or 
without belts, as the case may be. They then twist the 
rest most gracefully around the entire person, after which 
it is thrown over the head and made to serve both as a 
bonnet and a veiL It is very becoming, and, wrought 
over with delicate Oriental devices of fine texture, lends a 
peculiar charm to the most ordinary features. A bright 
silk boddice is worn under the saree, and the whole dress 
accords well with the sweet, modest grace and beauty 
which characterize the pure Hindoo woman. 

They also wear a profusjpn of jewels, and ears, nose, 


arms, wrists, ankles, toes, and fingers are often bedecked 
with them. In some instances all their wealth is thus 
preserved. The hair, which is often very luxuriant, is 
combed back in the ordinary European style, and is tied 
in a knot behind. Rich women often fasten it with a 
band of gold bound around the entire head and very ex- 
pensive ornamental gold pins. The Hindoo women pos- 
sess in a far greater degree than Europeans an eye for 
color. The most ignorant of them have the peculiar art 
of selecting strong and brilliant contrasts in color, and so 
disposing them on their persons as to make a perfect 

There is a marked difference between the moral and so- 
cial character of the Hindoo and the Mohammedan wo- 
men of India. The Hindoo woman does not occupy that 
position in society which she is so eminently fitted to 
grace, and which is accorded to women in Europe and 
America ; but she is by no means as degraded as is so 
frequently represented by travellers, who are apt to mis- 
take the common street-women with whom they are 
brought into contact for the wife and mother of an ordi- 
nary Hindoo home. It is difficult for a stranger to find 
out what an Indian woman is at home, though he may 
have encountered many a bedizened female in the streets 
which he takes for her. 

The influence of the Hindoo woman is seen and felt all 
through the history of India, and is very marked in the 
annals of British rule. Though the political changes, the 
invasion, and despotism of Mohammedan rule may have 
forced upon them the seclusion now so general, it is evi- 
dent that they once occupied a very different position in 
society, from the testimony of their earliest writers and 
the dramatic representations of domestic life and manners 
still extant. 


One of the most startling facts is, that among the Asi- 
atic rulers of India who have heroically resisted foreign 
invasion the women of Hindostan have distinguished 
themselves almost as much as the men. Lakshmi Baiee, 
the queen of Jahnsee, held the entire British army in 
check for the space of twenty-four hours by her wonderful 
generalship, and she would probably have come off vic- 
torious if she had not been shot down by the enemy. 
After the battle Sir Hugh Rose, the English commander, 
declared that the best man on the enemy's side was the 
brave queen Lakshmi Baiee. Another courageous and 
noble woman, Aus Khoor, was placed by the British 
government on the throne of Pattiala, an utterly disor- 
ganized and revolted state in the Panjaub. In less than 
one year she had by her wise and effective administration 
changed the whole condition of the country, subjugated 
the rebellious cities and villages, increased the revenues, 
and established order, security, and peace everywhere. 
Alleah Baiee, the Mahratta queen of Malwah, devoted her- 
self for the space of twenty years with unremitting as- 
siduity to the happiness and welfare of her people, so 
that Hindoos, Buddhists, Jains, Parsees, and Mohammed- 
ans united in blessing her beneficent rule ; and of so rare 
a modesty was this woman that she ordered a book which 
extolled her virtues to be destroyed, saying, "Could I 
have been so infamous as to neglect the welfare and hap- 
piness of my subjects?" 

In the historical notices of the rule of Hind6stanee 
women nothing is more conspicuous than their fine, intui- 
tive sense of honor and justice. Clive, Hastings, Wel- 
lesley, and other governors-general of India, have all ac- 
knowledged their high appreciation of the character of 
the Hindoo women they have known, declaring that in 
many instances, under the administration of Ranees and 


Begums, India has been more prosperous and better gov- 
erned than under the rule of the native rajahs. 

The present ruler of Bhopal is a lady of high moral 
and intellectual attainments; both she and her mother, 
who preceded her as head of the state, have displayed the 
highest capacity for administration. Both have been ap- 
pointed knights of the Star of India by the empress of 
India, Queen Victoria, and their territory is the best 
governed native state in India. 

Very recently the queen of England created her Asi- 
atic sisters, the queens of Oude and Pattiala, knights of 
the Star of India in appreciation of their wise and benef- 
icent rule over their respective kingdoms. 

During the dreadful ravages of the French and Eng- 
lish, or the Carnatic War, the Hindoo women adminis- 
tered to the wounded and suffering European soldiers of 
both nations with equal tenderness and impartiality, caus- 
ing one of the English generals to report to head-quarters, 
"But for the Indian women, who better understand the 
qualities of love and tenderness than we Europeans, I 
should have left half of my wounded soldiers to die on 
the battle-field. They washed the toiling feet of the poor 
tired soldiers, stanched their flowing wounds, and bore 
them in their united arms from the strife of the battle- 
field to the quiet and shelter of their own little huts." 

In that interesting narrative of occurrences at Benares 
during the latter days of the month of June, 1857, fur- 
nished by a soldier of the Seventy-eighth Highlanders, 
are several incidents characteristic of the devotion and 
self-abnegation of the Hindoo women. This regiment or 
company of soldiers, in its work of retaliation upon the 
Indian mutineers, often set fire to whole villages in order 
to punish the rebel sepoys sheltered by them. On one of 
these occasions a humane Highlander, after having rescued 


several persons from the fire, rushed into the flames to save 
a young woman seated calmly by a dying man, whose lips 
she was wetting with some siste * while the fire was raging 
around her. No inducement of self-preservation could 
prevail with her to quit his side till they were both car- 
ried out. 

Tenderness and self-devotion, as I said before, are the 
chief characteristics of the pure Hindoo woman. Her 
love for her offspring amounts to a passion, and she is 
rarely known to speak hastily, much less to strike or ill 
use her child. Her devotion as a wife has no parallel in 
the history of the world. Marriage is a sacred, indissolu- 
ble bond, which even death itself cannot destroy, and the 
patient, much -enduring women of India took the terrible 
yoke of sutteeism upon them in becoming wives as calmly 
as the young English or American girl puts on her bridal 
veil, and have gone to the funeral pile for centuries with- 
out a murmur. 

In the purer and more ancient period of Indian civili- 
zation it was not customary to force a widow upon the fu- 
neral pyre of her husband. But the fearful prospects of 
Hindoo widowhood, which made her future existence ap- 
pear to her a long, wearisome, and distasteful series of sad 
duties, made her gladly choose death rather than life. 
Besides which, she died honored and happy, having by 
her death redeemed her husband from a thousand years 
or penance. By degrees, this fearful practice, fostered by 
the priests and poets of India, became a sacred tradition 
carefully handed down from mother to daughter, and at 
last came to be regarded as a sublime sacrifice on the mar- 
riage altar. The practice of sutteeism has been virtually 
abolished by the British government on British-Indian 

* A peculiar little seed from which a cooling drink is prepared. A 
preparation of rice and water, when cooled, is often called " siste." 


soil, but to this day women will perform painful journeys 
to places still governed by native princes in order to burn 
themselves alive. 

In 1834, while Dr. Burnes was residing at Cutch, a 
very remarkable case of sutteeism took place in that 
province. The only wife of Bhooj-Rhai, a wealthy and 
intimate friend of the rao or king, had, during her hus- 
band's illness, declared her intention of performing suttee 
at his death. When the time arrived the rao, at the in- 
stance of the British resident, expostulated with her, but 
all in vain. Protection was also offered her in the name 
of the British government, but her determination remained 
firm and unshaken. On the morning appointed for the 
burning of Bhooj-Rhai's body a funeral pyre was erected 
immediately in front of Rao Lakka's tomb. A spot was 
enclosed with a circle of bamboos, the tops of which were 
bound together in the form of a beehive, covered with 
dried grass and thorns ; the entrance was a small aperture 
on the left side. Crowds of gayly-dressed people flocked 
to the spot. The moment the victim, a remarkably hand- 
some woman about thirty, and most superbly dressed, ap- 
peared, accompanied by the Brahman priests, her relatives, 
and the dead body of her husband, the people greeted her 
with loud exclamations of praise and delight, poured forth 
benedictions on her head for her constancy and virtue, and 
showered flowers on her path as she was borne along; 
women pressed to touch the hem of her garments, hoping 
thereby to be absolved from all sin and preserved from all 
evil influences. 

Dr. Burnes addressed the woman, desiring to know 
whether the act she was about to perform was voluntary 
or enforced by the priests, and offered her again, on the 
part of the British government, a guarantee for the pro- 
tection of her life and property. Her answer was calmly 


heroic, and she could not be dissuaded from her purpose : 
" I die of my own free will," said she ; " give me back 
my husband and I will consent to live." Seeing that 
nothing could move her from her resolution, Dr. Burnes 
despatched a message to the rao requesting his interference. 
He returned answer that it was beyond his power to arrest 
the ceremony. Everything was done, but in vain, to save 
the life of this infatuated woman, and at length the cere- 
mony began. Accompanied by the officiating Brahmans, 
the widow walked seven times round the pyre, repeating 
the usual mantras or prayers, strewing rice and cowries 
(small shells) on the ground, sprinkling holy water over 
her friends and relatives and on the bystanders. She then 
removed her jewels and presented them to her nearest rela- 
tions with a glad smile. The Brahman priest then pre- 
sented her with a lighted torch ; taking it from his hand, 
she stepped through the fatal entrance and calmly seated 
herself within the pile. The body of her husband, wrappped 
in rich kinkaub (gold cloth), was then carried seven times 
round the pile, and finally laid across her knees. The 
door was left unclosed, in the hope that the deluded 
woman might yet repent and escape. Not a sigh, not a 
whisper, broke the death-like silence of the crowd. The 
intrepid woman held up her torch and ignited the pile. 
Presently a slight smoke, curling from the summit of the 
pyre, gave notice that the fiery ordeal had begun ; then 
came a tongue of flame darting with lightning rapidity to- 
ward the clear blue sky, announcing that the sacrifice was 
completed, though not a sound betrayed that a living vic- 
tim was within holding a dead corpse in her arms. So 
far as courage and silent, resolute determination went, she 
was more immovable than the dead clay she held in her 
last fiery embrace. At the sight of the ascending crack- 
ling flames wild shouts of exultation rent the air, the 


drums beat, the people clapped their hands in delighted 
applause, while the English spectators of the scene with- 
drew, bearing deep compassion in their hearts. 

After the fiery consummation had taken place, on the 
ground where the sadhwee, or "pure one/' had expired 
three chatties, or earthen vessels, full of consecrated balls 
of rice, were placed as offerings to the gods. 

The Bombay government notified the rao at once that 
the repetition of such inhuman atrocities would not again 
be overlooked.* This had no doubt some effect on His 
Highness, but nevertheless some time after this sacrifice 
the beautiful mother of the rao suddenly fell ill and died, 
and one of her female attendants voluntarily buried her- 
self alive near her mistress, in order that she should be in 
readiness to attend her in a future state. 

It is very difficult for the Western mind to comprehend 
this utter self-abnegation on the part of Hindoos, and it 
can only be accounted for by their deep faith in the uni- 
versal metamorphosis of life and the unreality of form. 
Maya f is illusion, the evanescent dream of life, which is 
only a " sleep between a sleep," the constant flow of form 
into form, of thought into thought, of life into other life. 
Even Brahm does not recognize himself in the second 
person : " I know when I am I, but who am I when I 
am thou ?" It renders individuality illusive, intangible, 
and uncertain, so that to the Hindoos life and possession 
assume a meaning entirely different from that with which 
we are disposed to regard them. It is true that life loses 
half its charms, but death is robbed of its terrors. Life is 
valued only in so far as they are prepared to lay it aside, 
or rather to change it for some other form ; for life and 

* See Outch, chapter vi., by Mr. Postans, 1839. 

f The illusion or unreality of all created things, according to Brah- 
man mystics. 


death are but the perpetual ebb and flow, the advance or 
retrograde, of soul toward " the Soul." Under this ardent 
faith, that everything above, below, beyond, God himself, 
is illusion, change, metamorphosis, is hidden the secret 
that helps them to endure suffering not only without a 
murmur, but with joy, and to count death itself a positive 
gain in the presence of the eternal, immutable, and solid 
fact of life to be found at last in the final reunion of the 
human with the divine life. This faith so potent, so ab- 
sorbing, so far reaching, has stamped a character hereditary 
and almost ineffaceable on the Hindoo mind. 

To-day Brahmanism is so expansive in character that it 
takes in every form and peculiarity of religious sentiment. 
The more earnest and spiritual have grand and magnificent 
theories of God that supply ample food for the imagination ; 
the tender have laws that reach down almost to vegetable 
life ; the ignorant and vulgar have attractive festivals and 
endless ceremonials suited to engage their attention ; the 
vicious and degraded have the loves and frivolities of the 
gods and heroes, whose lives encourage pursuit of sensual 
gratifications ; the devotee who abandons all that is sensual 
for spiritual insight has text upon text and example upon 
example, taken from the Puranas * and from the actual 
lives of saints, to support him in the effort of finding 
God at last. The self-sacrificing only quits an illusion 
for a reality, and the idolater who bows down before 
wood and stone believes that he sees before him only the 
form of a divine life hidden everywhere in matter. Thus 
highest religious thought and life and lowest sensual indul- 
gence meet together in the theology of the Brahmans. 

* The " Puranas," or Hindoo Antiquities, are by no means as ancient 
as they are named. They are eighteen volumes in all, but consisting 
of no less than one million six hundred thousand sacred lines treating 
of creation, mythology, tradition, and legend. 


From Bombay to Poonah, the capital of the Maha Kashtra, or the great 
Indian kings. Campooly. The Ascent of the Bhor Ghauts.* Khan- 
dala. Caves of Carlee or Karli. "Puja Chakra," or the famous 
Wheel-worship of the Brahmans. Poonah. Kirki. A Visit to the 
Peishwa's Palace. Temple of Parvati. The Pundit and the Brahman 
Priest at Prayer. Sanskrit and English Colleges at Poonah. Sut- 
tee Monuments at Sangam. Hindoo Bankers, etc. 

FROM the island of the ancient goddess Bamba D&vi to 
Poonah, the capital of the great Indian kings, one passes 
through the most extravagant contrasts of sights and scenes 
to be found anywhere in the wide world gorgeous tem- 
ples of gods and squallid dwellings of men ; fertile plains 
and arid wastes; towering hills crowned with ancient forts 
and temples, now lonely or deserted ; deep cave-structures 
in the hearts of isolated mountains, where still lie written 
in stone the romantic culture of a long-past age. 

Our dank, which was simply a native carriage furnished 
with horses instead of bullocks, trotted briskly along the 
magnificent " Lion Causeway." Passing rapidly the east- 
ern side of the island of Salsette to Thannah, and crossing 
the great viaduct and round the promontory of Parsek, we 
turned to the south, and emerged on a striking plain whose 
attractiveness increased at every mile of the road until we 
began the descent of the Bhpr Jjrhauts on the other side. 

* Bhor, a Mahratta word for the jujube tree, Zizyphus juj iiba, which is 
found among these mountains. The Ghauts, or " Landing-Stairs," are 
the two ranges of mountains extending along the eastern and western 
shores of the peninsula of Hindostan. The highest peaks in the north- 
western part are found in the Mali ablash war Mountains, the summer 
retreat of the Europeans of Bombay. 


In some parts our road lay over a great green floor soft 
as velvet, intersected with innumerable river-like channels, 
made in the lowlands by the ever-encroaching sea. Palm 
trees fringed these salt-water streams, dotted with hun- 
dreds of the fanciful sails of fishing-smacks, bunder-boats, 
and brightly painted canoes, all moving to and fro swiftly 
and silently under the shadows of the hills, which rise in 
fantastic broken forms on one side. There is no sound 
far or near to break the spell; the silent, forest-clad 
Ghauts and the whole sea-begirt valley lie asleep in that 
enchanted atmosphere. 

At sunset we reached the village of Campoolj, at the 
foot of the Ghauts a mean, dirty, and terribly unhealthy 
spot, situated immediately under the lofty barrier-wall of 
rock called the Bhor Ghauts, which props up the great 
table-land of the Deccan * an immense plateau, with large 
rivers, innumerable hills covered with forts, magnificent 
towns, cities, villages, and many millions of inhabitants. 

This enormous mountain-chain of the Deccan, the first 
of the steps that rise one above the other till they termi- 
nate in the great plateau of Thibet, the highest land of 
the Himalayas, starts up almost perpendicularly from the 
Konkan, or lowlands, and is securely fastened together by 
huge buttresses of primeval granite, naked and frightful to 
look upon in some places, and again singularly beautiful in 
others. A railroad aud a tunnel have since been built across 
this once almost inaccessible barrier, and is said to be " a 
noble piece of engineering," for the Ghauts extend over 
thirteen degrees of latitude and rise in some parts to a 
height of five thousand five hundred feet above the level 
of the sea. 

There was a fine bungalow, built by Bala Roa Angria 
for the accommodation of European travellers, at Cam- 

* From Dakshina (Sanskrit), " South Country." 


pooly, where we passed the first hours of the night to 
await some palanquins with their bearers that had already 
started up the Ghauts. This bungalow is only occupied 
by chance wayfarers. Here we took up our abode, and 
only a tribe of monkeys showed the least inclination to 
prevent our doing so. There were sixteen in all ; they 
were evidently enjoying themselves running in and out 
of the half-deserted building. A number on the roof 
were throwing down into the verandah the peculiar nut- 
like fruit of the large and graceful peepul trees that over- 
shadowed the house. Some were peeping in at the doors 
and windows, and some were swinging themselves from 
the rafters. The moment we appeared they showed regu- 
lar fight, screamed, chattered, and no doubt swore at us 
hard and fast in monkey fashion ; but, what seemed to me 
most curious, there was not a man in our service who 
would perform the unkind office of dispersing them from 
the bungalow. We had to send for our driver, who, being 
a Musulman, had no scruples of early ancestry or primi- 
tive divinities. He took off his cumberbund, or scarf, 
twisted it into a whip with a knot at the end, and des- 
patched the bulk of the tribe back into the forest whence 
they had come. Only one great black-bearded male mon- 
key remained on the roof in spite of the brandished rag ; 
when we were at supper this huge creature suddenly sus- 
pended himself downward by the tail, looked in upon us, 
and, opening his hideous jaws, uttered some fierce impreca- 
tions, which, as our pundit would say, " were perfectly intel- 
ligible, but not translatable/' and, having done this, he van- 
ished, and we saw nothing more of him for that evening. 
There is here a Hindoo temple, and a fine reservoir 
which occupies a quarter of a mile of ground. This res- 
ervoir and the adjoining temple, dedicated to Maha Deo, 
were built by that most subtle of Mahratta ministers, the 



famous Nana Furnaveez, whose real name was Balaji 
Jahnardhan. It is exceedingly well built ; the sides are 
lined and the banks paved with fine stoiie; steps lead 
everywhere to the edge of the water ; a magnificent ban- 
yan tree overshadows the artificial lake, and near it flour- 
ishes a fine grove of mango trees. 

On the opposite side of us men, women, and children 
were bathing, swimming and disporting themselves in the 
water. Some of the young women were symmetry it- 
self, with exquisitely-proportioned, slender forms, delicate 
hands and feet, finely-poised heads and necks. Their long 
hair streamed behind them in the water as they swam 
merrily about. Others were just stepping out of the tank 
arrayed in their graceful but dripping sarees, which they 
allow to dry on their persons while they proceed to fill 
their water-jars, and, piling them one above the other on 
their heads, depart to their respective homes. These wo- 
men seemed very innocent and child-like, and a closer ac- 
quaintance with several high-bred and true Hindoos proved 
that these were their distinguishing characteristics. 

At three o'clock next morning we began the ascent of 
the Ghauts in palanquins, or, as they are commonly called, 
palkees, with coolies to transport our baggage and provis- 
ions. About sunrise we reached a very remarkable point 
in these mountains, a deep and frightful-looking chasm. 
We alighted from our palkees and went over this part of 
the Ghauts on foot. At length we were directed as near 
as we dared to approach the spot where the mountain was 
split in two.* Not a sound was heard anywhere. As we 
stood there the shadows of the crags brightened every 

* This chain is now bridged over by a viaduct which once crumbled 
down and disappeared into the depths below in the presence of a brave 
English engine-driver, who had the good fortune to arrest the train, 
that was speeding on its way toward it, just, in time to save many valu- 
able lives. 


moment, now shimmered along the sides, and shed flicker- 
ing shafts of light far down upon the midnight darkness 
below. It was a glorious picture the depth below and 
the height above, on whose summits the plumes of the 
palm trees waved their branches to the rising sun. 

The atmosphere was remarkably clear, and this helped 
us to see a great distance with the naked eye. On one 
side gently-falling slopes gave place to abrupt precipices 
and innumerable peaks, and on the other far below were 
smiling plains, each more beautiful than the other in form 
and color, affording now and then most magical glimpses 
of green fields dotted with great reservoirs that looked 
like silvery spots, and cozy little Hindoo villages nestling 
amid charming groves and palm-plantations. 

As the story goes, the duke of Wellington, then a sim- 
ple colonel, cast all his guns into one of these reservoirs 
when he found no means of conveying them any farther, 
lest they should fall into the hands of the enemy, as he 
marched over the same road to Poonah and there quelled 
the famous Mahratta rebellion of 1802. 

Now on foot and now in palkees we at length ascended 
these Ghauts, sweeping round and round, now ascending, 
now descending, passing by dreadful precipices, drawing 
breath under quaint natural bowers, following winding 
paths, and coming suddenly upon foaming cascades leap- 
ing from rock to rock. So we went from beauty to ever- 
increasing beauty, till we reached the village of Khan- 
dala, on the very top of the mountain, near which a trav- 
ellers' bungalow stands with open arms or verandahs 
to receive us. And here was opened to us the full en- 
chantments of the fairyland through which we had been 
passing upward. All of a sudden from this high peak 
we beheld a most beautiful and varied picture sharp 
peaks of every form and shape and size, tremendous 


ravines, towering mountains, leaping waterfalls, sloping 
hillsides, and waving palms and mountain-forests, clearly 
outlined against a deep-blue sky, and over all these varied 
forms of nature the sunlight floats and melts, a sea of gold. 
No artist, however gifted, no pencil, however matchless, 
can catch and transfer to canvas the entrancing beauties 
of the views as seen from the top of the Bohr Ghauts and 
at such a moment. 

This lovely spot has for more than twenty years been 
the favorite retreat of the wealthy and change-seeking in- 
habitants of Bombay, and now that the railway is opened 
it is much more easily reached. 

The ravines in this neighborhood harbor many wild 
beasts, and it is said that at night tigers, leopards, and 
bears are often seen prowling about in search of prey. 
The natives raise wild shouts when they think they hear 
or see them, and thus frighten them away. 

The travellers' bungalow at Khandala is most pic- 
turesquely situated on the edge of a deep ravine. On the 
right is a small lake or reservoir adjoining the residence 
of the late Parsee knight, Sir Jamsetjee Jeeboy. To the 
east is a magnificent hill, called the Dukejs_ffose ? from 
its supposed likeness to that of Wellington. From this 
point there are splendid views. The pretty little moun- 
tain-village of Khandala is close by, and as we pass on to 
Karli we skirt the beautiful woods of Lanauli,* so often 
quoted in Mahratta song, once the hunting-grounds of the 
rulers of the Deccan, and still abounding in wild boars 
and other game. 

We spent four days at the bungalow here, and, what 
was more, saw every sun that rose and set on these moun- 
tains. Each day was a counterpart of the preceding one, 
clear and bright. We traversed some miles of the sur- 
* A small village on the Khandala Hills. 


rounding country to visit hill-forts, caves, and viharas, 
which abound in this neighborhood. 

Our next halting-place was at the village of Karli, a 
cluster of Hindoo houses hid amidst a fine grove of trees. 
There was a nice bungalow here, and even barracks to 
hold about two hundred men. 

The most famous cave is that of Karli. It far sur- 
passed those we had visited on the islands of Salsette and 
Elephanta, and took us very much by surprise. The 
caves are on a hill about two miles or more from the 
travellers' bungalow. We entered seemingly into the 
heart of the mountain, and found ourselves in the body 
of the temple or cave, which is separated from the side- 
aisles by fifteen columns of magnificent design and work- 
manship ; on each side, on the upper part of each of these 
columns, are two kneeling elephants, and on each elephant 
are two seated human figures, sometimes a male and fe- 
male, with their arms around each other's shoulders 
sometimes the figures are both female. The effect is re- 
markably striking. The chaitya* is plain and very solid, 
and behind it are seven plain octagonal pillars without any 
ornamentation. The interior of the temple seems to have 
been lined with woodwork. Right in front of the arched 
roof or hall is a second screen, as at the great cave at Sal- 
sette. It is composed of plain octagonal columns with 
pilasters. Over these is a mass of wall crowned with a 
superstructure of four dwarf pillars; the whole of this 
appears to have been covered with wooden ornaments. f 
These are thought to have been a broad balcony in front 
of the plain wall, supported by two bold wooden brackets 

* An immense hemispherical altar of stone with a kind of wooden 
umbrella spreading above, beneath which lies interred some relic of the 
god to whom the temple is dedicated. 

t See Fergusson's Rock-cut Temples of India, p. 27. 


from the two piers. This balcony is thought to have 
served the purpose of a music-gallery or nagara khanah, 
as are still found in the Jain temples to-day. Every- 
thing here is executed in the finest style ; the bas-reliefs, 
the windows, the doors, the halls, roofs, vestibules, and 
figures are each, one and all, beautifully executed. The 
colossal figure of the Buddha perched on a lotos throne, 
with angels hovering around him, his hands folded in 
everlasting repose resting on his knees, is grand and im- 
posing. On the walls are carved many a beautiful flower, 
some not unlike those we passed in our morning's ride, 
with strange characters and symbol after symbol replete 
with the wisdom of the Buddhists. Rows of half-nude 
gigantic women, elephants, lions, birds, and beasts relate 
in solid stone the triumphs of Buddhism over Brahman- 
ism. Dr. Stevenson dates the building of this temple at 
seventy years before Christ ; executed, according to him, 
by the emperor Devabhute, under the care of Xenocrates 
or Dheunuka-Kati. . There has been, however, much 
doubt thrown by recent explorers on the dates given by 
Dr. Stevenson. The inscriptions under the gateway are 
thought to place beyond dispute the dates of these scat- 
tered excavations, so similar in point of architecture, at 
the second century before Christ and not long after the 
great Buddhist dispersion from North-western Hindostan 
by the Brahmans. 

A number of queer-looking Brahman priests of the 
Sivite * sect, who take care of these caves and encourage 
pilgrims to them, came out to see us, and, finding our pun- 
dit to be a countryman, though he was not of their sect, 
invited us to witness their worship in a vihara adjoining. 

It was difficult to believe that the quiet, dark, handsome 
men who spoke to us could be such dupes as they seemed 
* Followers of the god Siva or Shiva. 


while at worship. In the largest of the caves was a 
huge, rude machine very like a common wheel, in the 
centre of which was a round place for a fire, and another 
and smaller fireplace on each of the seven spokes of the 
wheel. To the wheel was attached a long pole, and to 
this pole was tied a large-eyed, patient-looking Brahmanee 
cow with bells around her neck. To the cord which fast- 
ened these bells was tied a long rope, and this rope was 
held by a Yoghee, a sort of mystic Brahman priest, who 
had nothing on but a wisp of straw around his loins, and 
a half-starved-looking dog at his heels. 

The moment the sun sank behind the mountains a 
white-robed priest issued from one of the smaller caves 
and placed a little earthen lamp, containing a long wick 
and some cocoanut oil, in each one of the receptacles for 
the fires. This done, the deafening sounds of multitud- 
inous drums were heard from the secret recesses of the 
intermediate caves. At this, away went the Yoghee, the 
dog, the cow, and the wheel, with the seven tiny lamps 
revolving around the larger one in the centre. This 
furious dance continued, the dog barking, the cow lowing, 
and the drums beating, for an hour, and then another 
Yoghee stepped forward and relieved the first one. There 
were twelve priests, or rather ascetics, for the twelve 
hours of the night, and this was the celebrated "puja 
chakra," or wheel-worship, of the ancient Brahmans. 

We could not wait, of course, to see the end of this 
strange, wild, deafening performance. I nearly fainted 
from the oppressive heat and disagreeable odors of the 
cave, and was obliged to seek relief in the open air. 
Here we found the Yoghee who had begun the dance 
seated on a stone clothed in a long dusky mantle and evi- 
dently enjoying the evening breeze. He answered me in 
pure Hindostanee, and told me that the central fire or 


lamp represented the Surya, or the Sun, the smaller ones 
the seven planets, naming each one Soma, the Moon; 
Mangala, Mars; Buddh, Mercury; Virhaspati, Jupiter; 
Sukra, Venus ; Sani, Saturn ; Deva Bheemi, the Earth. 
The cow stood for Providence, or, as he termed it, the 
All-giver ; he himself for mankind ; while the dog was 
the emblem of the human family ; his dance was in honor 
of the solar system. 

A look of supreme satisfaction overspread his face 
as he informed me that the deep spiritual meaning which 
was conveyed to his heart was not in the wheel or 
in the fires, but in himself as he thought of the efficacy 
of the daily sacrifice which he offered to the gods, which 
convinced me that he at least firmly believed that the re- 
turn of the sun-god to his place in the heavens every morn- 
ing was due to his efforts and that of his brethren in per- 
forming from one end of the year to the other this self- 
imposed mystic night-dance in honor of the solar system. 

The moon had risen as we put our little tattoos' * faces 
Khandala-ward and trotted away from the Karli village 
and the Hindoo ascetics. We had a very amusing half- 
broken and half-rattling talk with our pundit, who in- 
sisted that there was nothing more holy in the way of 
worship than the "puja chakra," which we had just 
seen. When my husband irreverently inquired, " If the 
wheel-worship was not a gentle hint to the sun to be up 
and about his business every morning," our good guide 
and teacher became suddenly grave and silent, and not 
another word would he say to us on the subject of this 
curious worship. 

Next day we climbed a hill to see the oldjfort of Lok- 
garha, which was twice captured from the Mahrattas by 
the East India Company's generals. It occupies a com- 
* The Mahratta horses. 


manding position, and we enjoyed the view from it. 
This grand old Mahratta fortress is full of historical in- 
terest. It was here that the beautiful and astute widow 
of Nana Furnaveez, the most famous of the Mahratta 
ministers, took refuge, and the killadhar, or commander 
of the fort, obtained for her from General Wellesley not 
only a guarantee of safety, but an annual pension of twelve 
thousand rupees. On our return ride we passed through 
a wild but beautiful part of the hills. We saw and heard 
the stately pea-fowl that are found in this neighborhood ; 
they added very much to the wild, luxuriant beauty of 
the woods. 

On the following morning we bade adieu to the beau- 
tiful Bohr Ghauts. There was a great deal more of love- 
liness to be seen for many a mile until we reached the 
slope of the mountains, which is gradual rather than ab- 
rupt, as it is on the opposite side, and after that it was of 
no consequence at all where we looked. We were riding 
down a bleak, rugged, desolate country, slightly inclined ; 
this was that immense triangular plateau between the 
Ghaut districts on the east and west and the great Vind- 
hiya chain on the north. As we approached Poonah we 
found the views more interesting fields of wheat, maize, 
orchards of fruit trees, plantain-groves, and the peepul, 
tamarind, and palm waving above them all. When we 
reached the bridge that spans the Moota River, it was 
near sunset. A flood of light poured from the sky over 
hill and dale and valley, gilding with unusual brilliancy 
the venerable roofs of Parbuttee and the half-ruined tur- 
retted walls of the Peishwa's palace. 

Poonah, with the adjoining military station at Kirkee, 
where the scenery, owing to the junction of the Moota 
and MoolaJSivers, is very picturesque, has a very respect- 
able English population. But the majority of the natives 


are almost exclusively Brahmans of the Deccan and Hin- 
doos from various parts of Hindostan. 

This spot is famous in Mahratta annals. In 1599 
Poonah and Supah were made over to Mahlaji Bhonsli, 
grandfather of the renowned Sivaji, by the government 
of the Nizam. In 1750 it was made the capital of the 
Maharashtra empire under Balaji Baji Rao. It was once 
more seized and destroyed by the Nizam's forces, by Alih 
Shah, who had established the Mohgul empire at Haider- 
abad in the Deccan. And here again another battle 
took place in 1802, when Jeshwant Eao Holkar defeated 
the combined armies of the Peishwa and Scindhia. 

With our usual good-fortune we procured a house at 
Kirkee to stay in during our visit to this neighborhood. 
It was the residence of a moolah, a Mohammedan bishop, 
and must have been built many years ago. It is a beau- 
tiful spot. A British cavalry regiment is stationed here, 
and here was fought the battle in which the English 
gained one of their most remarkable Indian victories over 
the last Peishwa. 

The native city is divided into seven quarters and dedi- 
cated to the seven high angels or planets after whom the 
days of the week are named. 

The streets of the city of Poonah are more picturesque 
and far more Oriental than even those of Bombay. The 
principal street is long, wide, and furnished with side- 
walks, with shops of all sizes and all kinds of mer- 
chandise, having open fronts, and the goods are exposed 
on inclined platforms. The lanes and thoroughfares are 
thronged with people of all nationalities the sedate and 
white-robed Brahman; the handsome Hindoo; the refined 
and delicate-looking Hindoo woman in her flowing grace- 
ful saree and pretty red sandals (for in this city Moham- 
medan influence has not yet reached the point which it 


has in other parts of India, and the women are not cooped 
up in harems, but are met everywhere in the streets, tem- 
ples, and bazaars) ; the pompously-dressed Musulman, Arab, 
and Mahratta horsemen completely armed, prancing along 
on their splendid chargers ; Mahratta foot-soldiers with their 
lordly swagger, equipped with sword and shield and buck- 
ler ; emaciated devotees, fakeers, and mendicants of all de- 
nominations, some wholly nude, others clothed in the skins 
of wild beasts, and yet others covered with dust and paint 
and ashes of cow-ordure; fat, lazy-looking Brahmanee 
bulls; Jews, Parsees, native Portuguese Christians, and 
occasionally a British Mahratta sepoy in his neat undress 
uniform. This moving picture, so strange and incon- 
gruous, had the additional fascination of state elephants ; 
splendid cavalcades of the Peishwa's troops decked out in 
brilliant colors and accompanied by richly-caparisoned led 
horses ; camels trotting along at a quick pace to the sound 
of merry little tinkling bells suspended from their necks ; 
fighting rams, kept for combats, one of the favorite Mah- 
ratta pastimes, parading the streets in long rows, now 
leaping and batting at dreamy Brahmanee- cows. Add 
to all this that almost every day in the week there are 
crowded markets, religious processions, passing funerals 
with gayly-dressed corpses seated on the biers, looking 
ghastly enough on this dancing bubbling current of hu- 
man life, and some idea may be formed of the sights 
and scenes to be met with in the capital of the Mahratta 

At my first arrival at Poonah I remember seeing some 
Hindoo children at play in the square. They were play- 
ing at marbles in all respects like the English game, save 
that the boys had nothing in the world on but a sacred 
cord round their shoulders and some gold and silver orna- 
ments. New-born infants could not have been more un- 


conscious than they were. The boy who won, a lad about 
eight or nine, seemed the least elated of the party. The 
one who lost had a better time ; he clapped the winner on 
the back and cheered him all the way across the square, 
crying, " Khoop ! khoop !" (" Fine ! fine !"). There were 
thirty or more nude little fellows watching the play with 
intense interest, and evidently having the most enjoyment 
out of it, to judge from the wild shouts of applause with 
which they hailed the victor, screaming at the very top 
of their lungs, " Marliah ! marliah !" (" Beaten ! beaten !"). 
How many English or American boys would behave so 

It would be simply impossible to enumerate all the 
places of historical interest to be found here. The hill- 
sides are everywhere crowned with forts and religious and 
military strongholds, where many a battle has been fought 
and won, and many a treaty formed only to be broken, 
both by the servants of the East India Company and the 
contending Mahratta and Mohgul forces, on this debatable 
land of the Hindoos, Mohguls, and English conquerors. 

There are Bambura, or Bampoora, whence in former 
times an enormous gun, the Mahratta curfew, boomed sun- 
set warnings to honest men to betake themselves home ; 
and Dapooree, where Colonel Ford, C. B., built a palatial 
residenceTancl raised and commanded a brigade of mag- 
nificent Mahratta troops after the European fashion for 
the service of the Peishwa Baji Rao. 

At Chinchore, near by, a boy is still worshipped as God 
by the credulous natives. The originator of this curious 
deception was one Marabo, who is said to have restored 
sight to a blind girl, and who effected a like miraculous 
cure for the great Sivaji.* In order to prove his divinity, 

* Founder of the Mahratta empire, born at Junir, about fifty miles 
from Poonah, in the year 1627. 


this Marabo caused himself to be buried alive in a sitting 
posture with a holy book in his hands. His son succeeded 
' him as God. For several miracles performed by the lat- 
ter, especially the feat of transforming a piece of cow's 
flesh into roses, the emperor of Delhi, Alamghir, presented 
to this man-god Narayana eight villages in perpetuity. 

Then there is another curious old fort, Chakhan,* with 
its ramparts and parapets constructed, according to Hin- 
doo story, by an Abyssian chief named Palighar, A. D. 
1295. In 1818 it was captured by the troops of the East 
India Company. And last, but not least, there is the fa- 
mous Sing^garh, u the lion's den," a vast triangular-shaped 
fortress, where the brave Mahwalee soldiers, headed by the 
braver Tanaji Malysreh, Sivaji's general, fought against 
the Rajpoots. The latter lost his life after he had cap- 
tured from the Rajpoots this stronghold of the Mahrattas, 
causing Sivaji to exclaim, "The den is taken, but the 
lion, alas ! is slain." 

This fortress was finally captured by the English during 
the Mahratta and English war. The ascent is made by 
palanquins. Splendid trees and many a wild flower 
crown the hillsides, creeping over gate and tower and 
moat, spreading beauty and gladness where once was heard 
the perpetual war-cry of deadly combatants. 

We visited the Peishwa's palace. Our syce, or groom, 
looked like a bedizened prince as he led the way with his 
gay turban and brilliant sash. We kept close to his 
horse's heels, and the pundit, whose long white robe gave 
him the appearance of a lady on horseback, brought up 
the rear. 

The palace, temples, and pavilions of the late Peishwa 

* This fort is reputed to be of great antiquity, and was constructed 
by Palighar, but as to who he was, or how he got there, they do not 
pretend to know. 


all cluster about a most beautiful hill called Parbuttge, a 
corruption of the Sanskrit word Pharvati, " Sacred Moun- 
tain." A magnificent garden called " Hira Bdgh " (" the 
gem or diamond garden "), and a fine reservoir with an old 
pavilion on its bank, are some of the features of this sa- 
cred spot. The palace is in no way worthy of notice, and 
is fast crumbling away, but it is approached by a magnif- 
icent staircase of stone steps cut out of the mountain, and 
so gradual that we rode up it on horseback. The hill is 
covered with temples. The view is very fine ; seen over 
the lake with its pretty little tree-covered islands and wide 
fields studded with palm- and mango-plantations, it was 
one vast beautiful picture. 

Our syce pointed out to us the spot where a young 
Mahratta prince dashed himself headlong from his pa- 
vilion because he was publicly reprimanded for some 
breach of etiquette by his prime minister, Nana Furna- 

There was much to interest us, however, in the tem- 
ples, that are still kept in good repair, filled with the 
monstrous idols of the Hindoos ; and here are held great 
annual festivals in their honor. Over two hundred Brah- 
man priests worship here, and are supported by the vol- 
untary contributions made to their shrines. 

We went into the temple of Parvati. Our pundit led 
the way, accompanied by a singularly interesting Mahratta 
Brahman priest, but I noticed that the sectarian marks on 
his forehead and those on the pundit's were very different. 
The former wore the marks of Siva, two straight lines 
crossed, and the pundit those of Maha" D6o, two concen- 
tric circles with a straight line. Before our eyes had be- 
come accustomed to "the dim religious light" of this 
temple, the power of which the Hindoos so well under- 
stand, I looked and saw right in front of me, and imme- 


d lately at the foot of the altar, the prostrate figure of the 
pundit, and the Brahman priest beside him, their arms and 
hands stretched out, their faces hidden on the pavement, 
their limbs stiff and rigid, and their long white robes 
clinging to their persons. 

Within full sight and hearing of the beauty of Chris- 
tianity, with all the wonders and marvels of scientific dis- 
coveries taught hard by in the public native school and in 
the Sanskrit college, here were these men, neither of whom 
lacked intellectual training, bowing down to idols of wood 
and stone. Surely, the more earnest and spiritual of these 
lowly worshippers see something of the truth, beauty, and 
goodness of God, denied to less ardent natures, and only 
discernible with closed eyes and in moments of deep, silent 

There is a massive silver statue of Siva seated on the 
altar, holding on his knees his wife Parvati and their son 
Ganesa. These smaller idols, it is said, are of pure gold ; 
a princely fortune in precious gems adorns their head- 
dresses, their necks, and gleams out of their eyes. There 
were dusky arches and dingy, time-stained columns and 
all kinds of figures on the walls, and over them all a 
smoky atmosphere and an odor of incense mingled with 
that of burnt-offerings. 

We went out almost faster than we had gone in. Pun- 
dit and his guru, or spiritual guide, were still going through 
some genuflexions. A Brahman is a Brahman indeed, but 
are Christians always the followers of Jesus? We sat 
down on the steps of the temple, and by and by the pun- 
dit came out with his spiritual guide, looking calm and 

We visited the English school for the natives in the 
Budhwar * portion of the city, also the Sanskrit college, 

* The city of Poonah is divided into seven quarters, corresponding 


and saw there hundreds of handsome, eager-looking stu- 
dents, and we were assured that it produced men of very 
great learning, who could hold their own in Sanskrit, 
Mahratta, Hindostanee, and English even, with some of 
the greatest scholars in England, France, or Germany. 

A spot is shown at Sangam, not far from where we 
took up our abode, where the devoted Hindoo widows 
formerly underwent cremation with the dead bodies of 
their husbands. These monuments can only be seen 
when the water at Sangam (the spot where the Moola 
and Moota Rivers meet) is at its lowest ebb. They con- 
sist of flat stones or slabs laid in the river-bed, with two 
female feet engraved on each of them. Even in this, the 
most hideous and barbaric of Hindoo customs, is found 
lingering a beautiful and tender sentiment. The feet 
engraved on the slabs prove the willingness with which 
these unknown women followed their loved ones through 
the ordeal of a fiery death into the world beyond, and the 
meeting of the two rivers typifies the final reunion of their 

We visited a banker's office in the native city of Poonah. 
This bank, in which large sums are deposited and extensive 
business transacted, was nothing but a mud house plastered 
over within and without. The counter was an inclined 
platform reaching from the front to nearly the whole 
length of the building ; on it squatted, cross-legged, sur- 
rounded with bags of all kinds of money, a Mahratta 
banker with his handsome countenance and keen piercing 
black eyes, talking to his customers, discounting bills, and 
counting money with astonishing rapidity and ease. 

The bank where our pundit obtained his " hoondee," or 
money-order, was managed, in the absence of his father, 

to the days of the week. Budhwar, therefore, is the Wednesday quar- 
ter of the city. 


by a young Hindoo boy who could not have been over 
twelve years of age. This youthful cashier astonished us 
with his accuracy and quickness in counting and discount- 
ing money. His only account-book, as far as I could see, 
was a flat board covered with fine white sand. On this 
primitive slate he made all his calculations, writing them 
down with his forefinger. When he had finished he blew 
away the sand and handed over the amount due to pundit, 
with interest for odd days, etc., all calculated with the nicest 
accuracy down to the smallest fraction. We wondered very 
much to see these banking establishments left in the charge 
of such young lads, who sit there demurely and, what is 
more strange, securely until late at night, often amid 
heaps of gold, silver, and other coin left temptingly in 
full view; but one rarely hears of any attempt to rob 

The bankers' checks are written on a thick country- 
made paper ; every check has a secret mark or sign that 
renders forgery difficult. It is rolled up and fastened with 
gum- water, and thus laks * upon laks of rupees are circu- 
lated with ease and safety throughout the country. 

The European portion of the city of Poonah stands on 
a fine open plain. There are here wide fields, handsome 
barracks for the European soldiers, bungalows for their 
commanding officers, a hospital, a lunatic asylum, a pretty 
little church with reading-room and library adjoining. 
In fact, there is everything here to render the European 
comfortable and happy, except the temper of the people, 
who still cling to the recollections of old times, when 
Poonah was the capital of their own great kings and 
warriors, filled with all the pomp and parade of Oriental 

The late Sir Jamsetjee Jeeboy has erected a fine residence 
* A lak is one hundred thousand rupees. 


here; near it is a simple and unpretending Fire-temple 
for the benefit of the Parsees in this vicinity. 

The last of the many bright hours spent here we drove 
about the native town and enjoyed Poonah at night. 
Every house, fort, temple, palace, and hut was illumi- 
nated, those of the poor by a dim light, those of the tem- 
ples and palaces by innumerable tiny flames that flickered 
and gleamed in thousands of colors on the marbles and 
frescoes of the walls, floors, and verandahs. It seemed 
like passing through some fairy scene filled with the 
thousand and one pictures of the Arabian Nights. 


The beautiful Hindoo village of Wye. The Mahabaleshwar Hills. 
The Temple of the Gods. The Couch of Krishna. The Stone Im- 
age of the Cow from whose mouth the Five Rivers of this Region 
are said to Spring. The Holy Tank. Satarah, the Star City of the 
Mahratta Empire. The Fort. The Palace of Sivaji. Jejureh, 
the famous Hill-temples where the Dancing-girls of the Country 
are recruited. The Mad Gossain, and the Story of his Ill-fated 
Love. The Dancing-girl Krayahnee. 

WE made a journey from Poonah to the Mahabaleshwar 
Hills in a common bullock-cart, but through a country of 
unrivalled beauty. We spent a night and a day at the 
rural village of Wye. I have never seen any place where 
the charm of Oriental grace working through the pure 
Hindoo imagination has more forcibly stamped itself. 
The soil, the climate, the temples, the river, the wide- 
spreading trees, the sportive figures of the gods and god- 
desses, are all calculated to bring out in strong relief the 
characteristics of the adjoining mountains, which here as- 
sume a multitude of beautiful shapes, rising heavenward 
like innumerable battlemented towers, pinnacles, or spires, 
each loftier than the last and endowed with a certain air 
of individuality peculiar to these hills. One isolated rock 
near the village rears its flat-topped brow, crowned with 
an old Mahratta fort, more than a hundred feet high, sharp 
and abrupt, lending a singular picturesqueness to the 
smallest object under it. 

Wye stands on the left bank of the river Krishna, 
which is shaded by fine peepul and mango trees ; hand- 



some stone steps lead down to the edge of the swift-flow- 
ing waters, and are crowded all day long with figures of 
graceful men, women, and children sporting, bathing, 
drawing water, or lounging idly around. There was an 
irresistible freshness and quiet beauty about the gay, care- 
less life of the people, which was passed absolutely on the 
banks of the river. 

We had no sooner taken up our abode in the travellers' 
bungalow, which here commands a fine view, than the 
patel, or chief of the city, accompanied by several Brah- 
mans, paid us a visit, bringing us presents of fruit and 
flowers. I was much struck with the genial kindliness 
and courtesy of these men. 

We rose at dawn next morning to see this Hindoo com- 
munity perform in one body, on the banks of the Krishna, 
the peculiar ceremony of worshipping the sun. The peo- 
ple literally lined the banks of the river ; their faces were 
turned up to the sky, and as they stood in rows on the 
steps leading to the water's edge the effect was very im- 
pressive. They then simultaneously filled their palms 
with water, snuffed it up through their nostrils, and flung 
it toward the north-east, repeating certain prayers. After 
this they all proceeded to stand on one foot, then on the 
other, each holding in his hand an earthen bowl filled 
with clarified butter, with a lighted wick in the centre. 
Then they all together saluted the mighty luminary with 
folded hands raised to their foreheads, and then marched 
toward the west in imitation of his path through the 
heavens ; which terminated their sun-worship * for the 

We also visited the garden and palace of the Hast ins. 
Mohti Bagh, or " pearl garden," as the entire palace and 
grounds are called, is only a little distance from the village 
* Hindoos also worship the sun every evening. 


of Wye. The approach to the palace is through an en- 
chanting road formed of tall bamboos, mangoes, and tama- 
rind trees. Wye is a spot famed in Hindoo literature. 
Here the heroes of the Mahabharata spent their years of 
exile and expiation, and here they are said to have built 
many wonderful temples. The river is almost gemmed 
with beautiful temples in the finest style of Hindoo archi- 
tecture, owing to this historic fact or fiction, whichever it 
may be. The temples are filled with idols of heroes and 
heroines, and the city with Hindoo men and women of 
the finest type and utmost purity of character. 

We visited an old Brahman college here, which was 
once famous for the clever pundits it furnished to the 
country around. There were some students in one of the 
rooms; they were all young and good-looking, but had 
about them an air of decorous restraint and an expression 
of old age that were depressing to one's spirits. 

Passing through a luxuriant country full of venerable 
trees, groves, gardens, and wide fields, we stopped at the 
little village of Dhoom to see a famous temple. It was 
of fine stone, artistically built, but full of strange gods. 
An arched door led to one of the shrines, where there was 
an image of Siva. Vessels containing rice and flowers 
were before him, and the basin in front of the temple is 
something peculiarly beautiful. It is unique in form 
like a huge tulip-shaped cup, of pure white marble, with 
its rim most delicately carved into the petals of the lotos- 
flower. It is impossible to give any adequate idea of this 
exquisite bit of Hindoo sculpture. A pillar of white mar- 
ble with five heads of Siva, and the cobra de capello 
twisted round them, adds another charming attraction to 
this insignificant Brahman village. 

The ride up the Tai Ghauts was one of great beauty. 
Here and there in the dells and hollows were little patches 


of grass which looked at a distance very like a green 
velvet carpet. Low-growing wild plants, tall trees, and 
creepers were matted together in one network of green, 
yellow, red, blue, and purple. The views looking back 
were lovely. The noise of mountain-torrent and trick- 
ling waters in the midday heat was most refreshing. 

The ancient village of Mahabaleshwar is perched on a 
high table-land, and is said to be the most elevated por- 
tion of that interminable western range of Ghauts forming 
some of the highest ground between the Southern Ghauts 
and the Himalayas. The temple of Maha Deo stands close 
under a projecting rock on the very spot where, accord- 
ing to Brahmans here, the five sacred rivers of this region 
take their rise the Krishna, the Koina, and the Yena, 
which flow toward the Deccan, and the beautiful Savitri 
and Gaiutri, which, after leaping down the mountain-sides 
in many picturesque cascades and waterfalls, unite with 
other small streams to form quite a large river, at whose 
mouth stands Fort Victoria. There are no lovelier scenes 
than some of those formed by these two rivers, and espe- 
cially remarkable is the spot where they unite, flowing 
between deep and wooded banks till they lose themselves 
in a broad, quiet, placid stream. 

A large reservoir is excavated in front of the temple to 
receive the waters of the Krishna and Koina, and in front 
is a huge stone cow, through whose mouth the waters flow 
into it. All around this reservoir is a fine stone walk, and 
farther on are several cells where saints who have long 
abandoned the world still reside unseen, but not unheard, 
for night after night their voices, like the feeble wail of 
infants, are borne on the night air, imploring the gods 
in behalf of the lost, erring human race. Fiends, angels, 
heroes, demons, and gods are all worshipped here. 

The Brahman ascetics who have charge of these temples 


ring a bell to give notice that the deified beings have taken 
up their abode in their respective cells. Krishna, the last 
incarnation of the Hindoos, has also a couch prepared for 
him here. When the sound of this bell is heard all the 
inhabitants of this mountain-village betake themselves to 
a few moments' meditation. We saw some remarkably 
pretty women who were attached to this temple filling the 
lamps with oil and gathering flowers and fruit to lay be- 
fore the shrines ; but they seemed to be shy of Europeans, 
and would not notice us. 

The discoverer of this spot, so far as the English are 
concerned, for it has long been inhabited by the Brah- 
mans, was Colonel P. Lodwick. who, when stationed with 
his regiment at Satarah, undertook the exploration of 
these hills, and, pushing through forest, brushwood, and 
jungle, found himself at the edge of a high projecting 
rock, when a sudden turn brought him to the brink of 
a grand promontory formerly called " Sidney Point/' but 
now after the true discoverer. No sooner was the dis- 
covery of this delightful and most accessible mountain- 
region made known than Sir James Malcolm, then gov- 
ernor of Bombay, hastened to establish here a convales- 
cent hospital for European soldiers. In course of time 
good roads were constructed, partly by the British gov- 
ernment and partly by the rajah of Satarah. Parsee shop- 
keepers soon made their appearance, and in a few years a 
little British colony was transplanted here. There are 
now a little Protestant church, reading-room, library, 
hotel, barracks, handsome European villas and bungalows, 
with bridle-paths all along the most picturesque points. 
There is no more beautiful and heaUhful^mtajuim to be 
found anywhere in the East. We spent two delightful 
months, November and December, at the travellers' bun- 
galow. The weather was perfect clear, cold, and with- 



out any rain. With all the beauty with which a tropical 
climate surrounds the hillsides the temperature varied 
from 62 to 45 in the open air. The elevation, four 
thousand seven hundred feet above the level of the sea, 
places it beyond the influence of cholera and malaria, 
which are so deadly in many parts of India. The soil 
is scanty in some parts, but in many portions a rich mould 
of great depth is found, admirably adapted to agricultural 
purposes. The finest strawberries I ever saw in India 
were brought me one morning by the pundit, cultivated 
by the Brahmans on these hills as offerings to their gods. 
The hills are also covered with fine trees the willow, the 
jambul with its dazzling green foliage, the iron-wood, and 
the arrowroot plant. There are here several kinds of 
jessamines one, the night-blooming jessamine, a large 
and beautiful flower and peculiarly fragrant after sunset. 
Ferns abound : one called by the natives pryha khud, or 
"the lover's leap," is extraordinarily beautiful, but not 
very abundant. A plant resembling the yellow broom is 
also found here, but it far surpasses the latter in size and 
beauty of flowers. Bulbous and parasitical plants abound, 
and their flowers are much larger and far more beautiful 
than those found on the plains, and each plant has its 

To the sportsman the Mahabaleshwar Hills are a treas- 
ure-trove. The shikarees, or native hunters, are always at 
hand to lead the adventurous into the very lairs of tigers, 
panthers, bears, wolves, and to the resorts of all kinds of 
jungle-fowl. The monkeys in this neighborhood are 
generally the first to give notice of the vicinity of a tiger 
by their loud and reiterated cries resounding from tree 
to tree. The wild bison, for which this region was once 
famous, is now found only occasionally. A spot is shown 
where Lieutenant Hinds, a fine, athletic, noble-looking 


young English officer, over six feet in stature, was killed 
by one of these beasts. He and his shikaree had pursued 
the bison for some distance. Lieutenant Hinds had just 
taken his aim, when, in the twinkling of an eye, the infu- 
riated beast suddenly turned upon him, with one bound 
caught him upon his horns, and bore him thus wildly 
along through the forest, and finally dashed him headlong 
over some rocks. His mutilated body was found, and lies 
in the little Christian burial-ground here. 

In returning from the Mahabaleshwar Hills we took 
the Satarah road, the most picturesque of the three 'roads 
which lead up to the hills. It commands extensive and 
diversified views of all the country around the wild 
tangle of the forests, the towering peaks of the mountains, 
the bristling forts of the rock-bound city of the " North- 
ern Star," the ample fields dotting the landscape like huge 
green emeralds, and the Savitri and the Gaintri struggling 
through brake and forest dingle and many a deep shade to 
find each the other, till they meet at last just over the wide 
brow of a sharp cliff, and leap together in gladness and 
beauty down five hundred feet, dashing and tumbling 
over masses of rock, till they gain the low-lying lands, 
then move on in quiet, dreamy irregularity to lose each 
the other once more one amid the waters of the famous 
Krishna, and the other at Karar afar off. 

We turned off the road to visit a formidable tower- 
ing rock on which stands the old Mahratta fort of Pra- 
tapgarh. In the centre of it are found two lovely Hindoo 
temples one to Maha DSo, the high god, and the other to 
Bhawanee, who is at once the goddess of love and hatred 
with the attending Brahman priests officiating there. 
Somewhere under this fortress lies the head of the sim- 
ple-hearted Afzal Khan, the renowned Bijapoor general. 
Here was enacted by the hand of Sivaji, the founder of 


the great Mahratta empire, one of the darkest of the 
many tragedies with which the history of India abounds. 
Having induced, through false pretences, Afzal Khan to 
visit him unarmed and attended by one sole follower, 
Sivaji met the trusting foe with open arms and slew him 
when in the act of embracing him. Sayid Bunder, the 
faithful follower of the general, refused to surrender even 
on condition of having his life granted to him, and suffered 
the same fate as his master. There and then the signals 
agreed upon boomed forth from this old fort. The Mha- 
walis rushed from their places of concealment all along 
the hillside on the khan's retinue, stationed at the foot 
of the hill, and slaughtered and dispersed them. Thus 
Sivaji defeated the enemy and acquired at the same time 
great amount of treasure as well as reputation as a warrior. 

Satarah, or " the Star City," is full of antiquities and 
historical associations; every rock and hill and fortress 
has its own deadly secret sometimes more than one of 
murder, bloodshed, treachery, and triumph on the part 
of the Mohguls, Mahrattas, or British, besides other local 
interests. The town lies on a high slope or plain between 
two ranges of hills, one on the east and one on the west. 
The western hills have been occupied for many hundred 
years by the descendants of the early Mahratta Brahmans. 
They are covered with temples, huge, ancient, and solemn ; 
gods and goddesses in ivory and stone, admirably wrought, 
sit enshrined in each of these. The priests worship them 
merely for the sake of their age and number. Tall, gray- 
bearded monkeys abound on these hills, and while we 
stood gazing at one of the temples a troop of these crea- 
tures assembled on the roof and showed signs and symp- 
toms of great excitement or displeasure. 

The Satarah bazaar is peculiar and well worth visiting. 
The Mahratta women are as free and as unconfined in 


their movements almost as the English. They are dark- 
er and less good-looking than those at Wye and on the 

The flat-topped hills around absolutely bristle with forts 
that the "Mountain Rats," as Aurungzebe called the Mah- 
ratta warriors, loved to build everywhere. A zigzag path- 
way leads from the city up to the western gate of "Azim 
Tarah," the most renowned of these strongholds. If indi- 
vidual energy and vehement self-assertion indicate cha- 
racter, the Mahratta soldiers possess it to an extraordinary 
degree, over and over again proving themselves grandly 
capable of confronting the very dangers they had brought 
down upon themselves. This fort is full of stories of 
Mahratta exploits against their threefold enemies. It has 
been captured, lost, and recaptured over and over again. 
It was built by a King Panalah in 1192, and was once 
the state-prison of the great Sivaji. It was defended 
against the emperor Aurungzebe by Phryaji Phrabu, a 
brave hawaldar,* who had learned the art of war under 
Sivaji. When the Mohguls attempted to enter the " Star 
City" huge stones were rolled down the mountain-sides, 
and were as destructive as the discharge of artillery. 
Tarbhyat Khan, a Mohgul in the service of Aurungzebe, 
undertook to destroy it by mining the north-east angle, 
one of its strongest points. The mine was completed 
after months of severe labor; a storming-party was formed 
on the brow of the hill. Aurungzebe, confident of suc- 
cess, marshalled his men in brilliant array to see the 
attack. The first explosion crushed many of the Mah- 
ratta garrison to death, and was followed by another that 
rolled down great rocks upon the Mohguls, destroying, it 
is said, two thousand men at once. Animated by this dis- 
aster to the enemy, the garrison would have continued to 
* A Mahratta officer, but not of very high rank. 


hold out, but their supplies failed and they were obliged 
to capitulate. 

After the well-known rupture with Baji Row, the Eng- 
lish troops marched into Satarah, took possession of the 
fort, and installed as king Pra Thap Singh, the eldest son 
of Shah Hoo the Second. He was deposed, however, on 
account of a series of intrigues against the East India gov- 
ernment, and was imprisoned at Benares. Apa Saihib, 
the last of the descendants in a direct line of the great 
Sivaji, was then placed on the throne, but on his death 
the province, much to the indignation of the princes and 
people of Western India, was annexed to the possessions 
of the East India Company. It is but just to say that 
there were men among the court of directors who remem- 
bered, with Sir George Clark, then governor of Bombay, 
the treaty of 1819, and knew that the East India Com- 
pany had agreed to cede in perpetual sovereignty, to the 
rajah of Satarah and his heirs and successors, the terri- 
tories which he held, and they protested, but all in vain, 
against the annexation of Satarah, calling it "an act of 
unrighteous usurpation." Here, alas ! was laid the first 
seed of the "Sepoy mutiny," that terrible retribution 
which ten years after overtook not the guilty, but the 
innocent and faithful servants of the Company. 

On the west of the fort are a number of Hindoo tem- 
ples dedicated chiefly to Siva and to Bhawanee, the Indian 
Venus, who seems ever to have been a favorite with these 
hardy mountaineers. The view from the fort is one of 
the most charming in the world. The forms of the dif- 
ferent hills are quaint, and crowned with barbaric fort- 
resses and temples that are fast crumbling away to give 
place to a rich and tropical vegetation; the great plain 
below, dotted with the houses and gardens of the Euro- 
pean and native residents ; the lakes, the bazaars, the busy 


thoroughfares, and, far away for many a mile, a road, 
leaf-canopied and cool in the hottest midday sun, lined on 
each side with thousands of magnificent mango trees. 
These mango trees were planted by one of the native 
rulers in expiation of the murder of a noble Hindoo 
statesman, an envoy from Barodah. 

On the south-western side of the old town stands the 
antiquated palace of Sivaji. We were shown into an at- 
tractive chamber called the Jallah Mandir, the "water 
pavilion." Surrounded by a variety of beautiful creeping 
plants and almost encircled with water, it is cooled by 
quaint little Oriental fountains that splash and spirt up- 
ward all day long. This peculiar water-bound chamber 
is almost fairy-like. But the deity of this place is the 
huge sword with which the treacherous Sivaji slew his 
trusting foe, Afzah Khan, the general of Bijapoor. By a 
strange contradiction, this sword is called Bhawanee, the 
goddess of love, and the people believe that the sweet 
goddess has imparted to the old sword a charm which is 
deadly to the enemies of the Mahrattas. 

As we went back through the town we peeped into one 
or two of the temples. There were in them some curious 
old idols of heroes rather than gods, but they were as 
hideous as possible. A little farther on the ground was 
made lovely with immense numbers of wild flowers, red, 
yellow, and blue. 

From the Star City of the Deccan we went back a few 
days' journey and crossed the " Nira_bndge," one of the 
fine old Mahratta works, to visit the village and hill-tem- 
ples of Jijuhre. The village was insignificant enough, 
but the hill on which stands the temple of Khandoba, 
the warrior-god of the early Mahrattas, was very striking. 
It is flat-topped and rises abruptly from the surrounding 
plain, its entire surface covered with temples, gates, pil- 


lars, stone monuments of every conceivable object, and 
has the appearance of a huge cemetery. If it had not been 
for the presence of our pundit I doubt if we should have 
been allowed to visit this once-famous temple. 

We went up on foot through an odd mixture of gate- 
ways and pillars, all curiously carved, and here and there 
were stone figures of mythological birds arid beasts, 
abundantly provided with shaindoor, a kind of red paint, 
and offerings of flowers. The largest temple had an im- 
age of Khandoba, a terrific-looking monster. In one of 
the upper chambers there was a colossal drum that gave 
sunset warnings and served to call the priests, priestesses, 
and other attendants to prayers, midnight devotions, or 
revelries ; which latter are held on certain days, or rather 
nights, of the waxing moon. Aboutjwp hundred women, 
all young, many of them mere children, are attached to 
this temple, which is in every sense one of the relics of 
the ancient Mahratta usages before the introduction of 
Brahmanism. Many of these girls were scattered about 
in groups or were seen reclining at their ease in a semi- 
nude costume about the aisles of the temples, producing a 
charming Oriental effect, though one could not help shud- 
dering at the thought of their lives. And, in spite of the 
doom laid upon them even before they were born, many of 
them had singularly interesting, pensive faces. One girl 
who was pouring water into the vessels around the shrine 
of Khandoba was a picture of grace and adorned with 
glittering jewels. These strange priestesses of passion live 
in cells attached to the temples or are scattered m the ser- 
vice of their peculiar divinity around the temples in the 
neighborhood, but here they are yearly recruited, and here 
they are formally married as virgins to the idol of Siva or 
Khandoba, as the case may be. There are here long cor- 
ridors and intricate arrangement of passages, with little 


stairs leading up and down and around, where the girls 
are kept under the surveillance of old women who once 
were doomed to the same service. How inexplicable is 
such a life, looking at it from a Christian's point of view ! 
But with these poor devotees the more revenue they bring 
in for the temple the better their future life, in which they 
dream of becoming loved wives and mothers of divine 
sons and daughters in a heaven prepared for them. 

We noticed in our ramblings over this curious spot a 
strange-looking man, naked as the day on which he was 
born, his hair, long and streaked with gray, falling in 
masses around his naked shoulders, his hands and feet 
emaciated, the nails on his fingers and toes looking like 
huge claws, begrimed with dirt and masses of red paint, 
sitting alone, muttering all to himself and twirling in his 
hands an old battered-looking lota, or drinking-vessel, 
made of some dark metal. This was the mad gossain, or 
devotee, of Jijuhre. When we approached him he started 
up and took his place on the edge of a crumbling rock. 

This poor mad creature was an object of profound ven- 
eration and worship, and his story was as pathetic as it 
was singular. The spot on which he had seated himself 
had a peculiar interest to him, and he haunted it even in 
his maddest moments. It was called Dewanee-garh, " the 
maddening rock," because one of the priestesses of the 
temple leaped from it and was killed instantly. This 
girl's name was Krayahnee. It was said that on her mar- 
riage with the god Siva and her installation in the peculiar 
life of the temple it was found that she had conceived a 
strong passion for the mad gossain, then a young Mahratta 
noble named Hotah Bhow. He visited her frequently, 
and they were always seen together, and, as the noble was 
rich, the priests humored the girl in her singleness of de- 
votion, for she brought large sums of money to the tern- 


pie. But after a while Hotah Bhow ceased his visits to 
the temple, and Krayahnee was urged to take another 
lover. She pleaded a respite for one month, which was 
granted. In the mean time, through a Sudra, a male at- 
tendant on the temple, she sent Hotah Bhow a message, 
assuring him of her undying love and entreating him to 
aid her in her escape from the temple, saying that if he 
would do this for her she would willingly serve as a slave 
in his household. 

The Sudra, who was himself enamored of the beautiful 
priestess, took no pains to deliver the message, but brought 
back to the poor girl a fabricated answer from Hotah 
Bhow, advising her to make herself happy where the 
gods had placed her. 

Next morning Krayahnee was missed, and on the fol- 
lowing day her body was found crushed and mangled at 
the foot of Dewanee-garh. Tying her lota, or sacred 
vessel for ablutions, to her neck, she had leaped from the 
rock at dead of night. Mouths after, Hotah Bhow re- 
turned from a pilgrimage to Benares, and on hearing of 
the sad fate of Krayahnee became so melancholy that he 
betook himself to the severest course of asceticism known 
among the Hindoos, called " Gala Naik." Standing for 
hours on the spot whence the dancing-girl flung herself 
headlong, he threw back his head and gazed at the sun, 
holding in his hand the sole relic of his unhappy love, 
the battered lota. The priestesses of the temple, pitying 
his sorrows, took him food and fed him at stated intervals. 
But at length reason gave way under the severity of his 
expiation ; he forgot his vow to practise " Gala Naik " to 
the day of his death, and is now found wandering over 
the hillside or perched on the edge of Dewanee-garh, 
bereft of even the memory of his sorrows, but still 
clinging to the battered lota of Krayahnee, into which 


the priestesses of the temple pour his daily food and 

Weary of our climb and saddened by the recital of this 
story, we retraced our steps to the " dharrum-sala " of 
the village, and on the following morning started across 
the country of the Deccan from the Star City of the 
ancient Mahrattas for Aurungabad, the golden city of the 
great Mohgul Aurungzebe, and thence to the caves of 


From Satarah, the Star City of the great Mahratta Kings, to Dowlut- 
abad, the Abode of Fortune, and Aurungabad, the Golden City of the 
Mohgul Emperors. Tombs of Boorhan Ood Deen and Aurungzebe. 
Mausoleum of Rhabea Durance. Sketch of the Mohgul invasion 
of India. Manners, Customs, and Religious Ceremonies of the Mo- 
hammedans of Hindustan. 

OF all the places in the East, there is none more cele- 
brated in Oriental romance and song than the province 
which occupies the centre of the great table-land of the 
Deccan, called the Nizam's Dominion. Here the Mah- 
rattas, Rajpoots, Mohguls, French, and English have 
struggled for mastery. Here are the ancient Golkunda 
and HydejTvbad, the Abode of the Lion. In the reign 
of Mahmood Shah, so great was the renown of the Bah- 
mani * court that the celebrated Persian poet Hafiz deter- 
mined to visit it. " He embarked at Ormuzd, but the 
vessel encountering a tempest, the Iranian Horace at once 
abandoned the voyage and despatched instead an ode to 
Mahmood as his apology." From that time the songs of 
Hafiz became the favorite melodies at the Bahmani court. 

* So-called from Allahu Deen Hasain Shah Gangti Bahmani, who 
was the first Mohammedan king of Deccan, 1347 A. D. He was a native 
of Delhi and servant of one of the most learned Brahman astrologers, 
who was highly favored by the fierce conqueror Mohammed Tooghlak. 
Hasain greatly distinguished himself in battle with the imperial troops 
in storming Dowlutabiid. Penally, the emperor Naisirud Deen resigned 
to him the crown of Deccan. He very greatly extended his dominions 
under the advice of his early master the Brahman astrologer, Ganzu 
Bood, whom he appointed as his prime minister. 



In 1401, Firuz Shah, who had succeeded Mahmood in 
1397, sent from his kingdom an embassy with magnificent 
presents to the great conqueror Timoor Lang (Tamerlane), 
who conferred on him, in addition to the vast provinces 
he ruled over, the sovereignty of the kingdoms of Guze- 
rat and Malwah; which proved, however, troublesome 
acquisitions. It was he who caused that famous observ- 
atory (the ruins of which may still be seen on the Dowlut- 
abad Pass) to be built for his Brahman astronomer. The 
close of his reign is said to have been disastrous. His 
armies, bent on conquest, were defeated in a battle with 
D6o-Rai-Vijya-Naggur, and Firuz Shah was not only de- 
posed, but strangled, by his own brother in 1422. The 
ruthless murderer and brother of Firuz Shah was both a 
warlike and able monarch. He is known in Indian story 
as Ahmad Shah Bahmani. In 1432 he built the famous 
fort of Ahmedabad at Bidhar, still called after him ; and 
not only restored but beautified that ancient city, which 
more than two thousand years before had been famed in 
Sanskrit drama as the capital of the Rajah Bhima Selm, 
the loves of whose exquisitely chaste and beautiful 
daughter Damayanti and of Nala, the rajah of Malwah, 
are sung and acted to this day throughout Hindostan.* 

This province has been the most celebrated for the 
beauty and rare accomplishments of its Bahyadiers. 
They formed a large part of its population ; so much was 
the profession favored that many of these public dancers 
have become queens, and sons born to them have become 
kings and learned men. A beautiful and romantic story 
is still sung here of a Bahyadier named Amiuah. Hav- 
ing attracted the attention of Burlian Nizam Shah, she 

* It was translated from the Sanskrit into Persian verse by the poet 
Faizi of Iran, and acted, with all the Indian appendages of dress and 
character, at the court of the great Akbar. 


sent him word that she loved him, and, in spite of her 
profession, was worthy to be his wife. Doubting the sin- 
cerity of her assertion, Burhan Nizam Shah subjected her 
secretly, through a friend, to the most painful trials, in 
every one of which she gave evidence of an innate noble- 
ness of character. Thus, having proved the sincerity of 
her attachment, he married Aminah, who continued to 
be his favorite queen and counsellor even after he had 
espoused (from motives of policy) the princess of Bijapoor. 

The appearance of the country of the Nizam's Domin- 
ion, however, is not as full of interest as its history. 
Without forests of any extent, and with but few lakes, it 
is intersected by innumerable small streams or nullahs* 
and reservoirs, with occasional hills that rise iu curious 
detached blocks, as if accidentally dropped here and there 
by some Titans at play. 

After many days of a painful journey through wide 
fields of desolation and gigantic cities now crumbling 
away, we encamped at a dhurrum-sala f in the ancient city 
of Bidhar, once a place of great renown and the capital 
of the Mahratta kings, who seem to have shifted their 
capitals as the Bedouin does his tent. Attached to the 
dhurrum-sala were long sheds, places of shelter for the 
cattle, side by side with that of the human cattle. These 
had grass and fodder* provided for them gratuitously by 
the Brahmans in the vicinity. 

This old Mahratta town contains some very curious 
stone buildings carved with the figures of Hindoo gods 
and goddesses. Its chief attraction, however, is the beau- 
tiful Bidharee ware. We bought a little box and the 
bowl of a hookhah, which were very gracefully orna- 

* Creeks or water-courses, found full to overflowing in many places 
during the rainy season, but which often dry up in the hot months, 
f A free rest-house for travellers. 


merited with silver-work. The metal of which these arti- 
cles were manufactured is a jet-black compound of copper 
and tin which is capable of a high polish. The natives 
here seem happy and independent. We saw some very 
handsome Hindoo women in the bazaars, but the Moham- 
medan women were those of the lowest castes. 

The difficulties of the road very much increased after 
leaving Bidhar. We were bumped and battered over a 
stony road, nor was there anything to be seen but a great 
wilderness for many miles. When we inquired the dis- 
tance to the next halting-place our guide, who was very 
musical, stopped his song and replied, " Chulla joa oodhur 
hai " (" Go along ! it is there "). But where we could not 
make out. Finally, we were obliged to spend the night 
under a tree in our wagons not far from a great nullah 
which was thought unsafe to cross after sunset. On the 
opposite side of us was a large party of men and women, 
gossains and priests, fellow-travellers, with four wagon- 
loads of dancing-girls, some of whom were very interesting 
seen in the dusk. They were a troup of actors and ac- 
tresses returning from some village theatre to their head- 
quarters at Oude Gera, a city in this vicinity. 

A little after dawn next morning we crossed the nullah, 
which was by no means as dangerous as represented by 
our guide. Along the road we saw some beautiful wild 
flowers and trailing vines, among them a little hardy blos- 
som like the anemone, and of a lovely rose-color. In the 
afternoon of the next day we crossed the Godaveri, the 
famous Tyndis of the ancients, rising in the Thull Ghauts 
and flowing through the length and breadth of the great 
high plain of the Deccan to pour itself into the Bay of 
Bengal. We found no difficulty in fording the river at 
this season, when the rains were over. In some places its 
banks were high and steep, and here and there were strik- 


ing views of the country. "We met hosts of carts and na- 
tives on horses crossing the river at this point. After 
another long day's journey we took refuge at last at the 
dhurrum-sala at Aurungabad. From the verandah of the 
dhurrum-sala at this truly picturesque Mohammedan city 
is a most enchanting view the Dhuna River winding 
away through the plain ; the leafy woods, not very dense, 
but full of trees noble and stately; the lime-groves in 
full blossom sweetly scenting the air, while with pertina- 
cious grace the full-blown leaves of many creeping vines 
droop over the verandah to fan us gently in the evening 
breeze ; in the distance the domes, the tall, graceful min- 
arets, the shining roofs of mosques and palaces of the 
once-famous city of Arungabad amid eternally verdant 
gardens. Gradually the sun sets on the charming scene, 
but we still linger and gaze ; few lights are seen, but now 
and then a rushlight or the glimmer of a fire prepared for 
the evening meal. 

Twilight is deepening into darkness as we start for a 
walk, accompanied by pundit. We see in the distance a 
tall square tower, dark in color and crowned with half- 
ruined battlements, and behind it, far away, the mighty 
Dowlutabad, grim, silent and watchful, against the dusky 
sky. Some strangely weird-looking figures of priests and 
fakeers are returning from a mosque adjoining, and here 
and there a bright star shines softly upon the tombs of 
the dead Mohammedans buried on the summit of the far- 
off Piphlaghaut. 

Powlutabad, " the abode of fortune," with the fickleness 
of the goddess after whom it was named, fluctuated be- 
tween the Mohgul conquerors of the Deccan, the Raj- 
poots and Mahratta kings, for several centuries, till finally 
it passed into the possession of the East India Company. 
We obtained permission from the governor of the fort to 


visit this remarkable fortress, which is built on a rocky- 
hill, an isolated, prodigious block of stone, with a perpen- 
dicular scarp of nearly a hundred and fifty feet all round 
it. The summit is pointed like a cone, and capped with a 
curious old tower, on which is mounted a heavy brass gun. 
The only means of ascending the fort of Dowlutabad is 
through a narrow passage hewn out of the rock and lead- 
ing to a large subterranean chamber, whence a gallery, 
also excavated out of the heart of the hill, leads to the 
top. After traversing this gallery the road passes by the 
khilladar's (or governor's) house, a handsome building 
with an arched verandah. The fortress is protected by a 
fosse and a circular wall winding round the hill to the 
very summit ; the lowest part of the wall is made to en- 
close the little native town lying at its base, now deserted 
and fast crumbling away. The view from the summit is 
very inspiring ; we could see the country around, far and 
near, though there was a slight haze on the distant 

The revenues of the Soubah, or district of Dowlutabad, 
including that of Ahmed Nuggur, is said to have yielded 
the emperor Aurungzebe the sum of two hundred and 
fifty-nine laks of rupees. In 1758 this fortress fell for a 
short time into the hands of the French, but by the recall 
of M. Bussy it was once more captured by the Mohgul 
rulers of the Deccan. The Nizam's flag, that once floated 
so proudly over its summit, is now supplanted by that 
ever-aggressive standard, the union jack. 

Aurunffab&d, on the left bank of the Dhuna River, is 
one of the most disappointing of the old Mohgul cities, 
and is fast crumbling to decay. It was once the centre of 
Mohgul power in the Deccan. Aurungzebe removed his 
capital from Dehli to this spot, whence its name the 
" Golden Seat," owing to his chair of state being made of 


pure gold. The town is approached through a gateway 
which looks, like the rest of the place, old and dilapidated ; 
the streets, however, are broad, and some well paved. The 
gardens and reservoirs are numerous, but the whole at- 
mosphere of the town is strangely depressing. The groups 
of grave-looking Mohammedans pirs, or holy men, naked, 
filthy fakeers, and porters, who parade the streets, make it 
seem odd and grotesque, but do very little toward enliven- 
ing the town itself. It is surrounded by a wall flanked 
with towers at regular distances. The minarets, mosques, 
and some of the dwellings are still possessed of much 
architectual beauty. Among its most famous manufac- 
tures are fine kinkaubs, or gold- and silver-wrought silks, 
and dried fruits, which are sent to Bombay and other parts 
of India for sale. 

The palace of Aurungzebe stands on the south of the 
Dhuna River, and is only remarkable for its extent. It 
is full of dark chambers, narrow passages, stained ceilings 
and floors, that might once have been beautiful, but 
which now have an unwholsome look of mould and 

Having devoted an entire day to Aurungabad, we rode 
out on the following morning to Rowzah, "the city or 
garden of tombs," but most celebrated as the last resting- 
place of Aurungzebe. The town of Rowzah itself is a 
charming spot. It stands on the brow of a gentle hill, 
and the views from every part of it are very fine. There 
was an air of bustle and activity too among the people, 
and elaborate culture was everywhere manifest throughout 
its immediate neighborhood. Temples, mosques, holy 
places, groves, and gardens for the dead abound here, and 
the shops seemed well stocked. We had a beefsteak * for 
lunch, cooked in a Mohammedan " khanadhar," or restau- 
* Beef is never exposed for sale in a Hindoo city. 


rant. The houses are well built and extremely pictur- 
esque with their low projecting balconies. Many of the 
buildings are furnished with open courtyards in front. 
Sometimes a high wall encloses, as at Aurungabad, a group 
of buildings, the dwelling of some wealthy Mohammedan 
merchant with his hareem. Groups of well-dressed Mus- 
ulmans, with here and there a Mahratta or a Hindoo, 
were passing to and fro exchanging graceful salutations ; 
water-cariers, porters, and venders of fruit and cloth jos- 
tled one another in the streets; and from the balconies 
there peeped out at us now and then coquettish-looking 
young girls brilliantly attired, with here and there a face 
that displayed great beauty. 

Finally, we came to the famous Mohammedan cemetery. 
Here we paused a while at the tomb of the great Aurung- 
zebe, which lies near that of a saint called Bhooran Ood 
Deen. The mausoleum of the latter is more costly, and is 
held in even greater veneration, than that of the Mohgul 
emperor. It was covered with a handsome green velvet 
mantle, lamps were burning within, musicians were beat- 
ing their drums outside, and pirs, or holy men, were stand- 
ing around the tomb and reciting prayers for the dead and 
prostrating themselves at certain intervals. 

Outside the walls of the city of Aurungabad is the ob- 
ject best worth seeing, the tomb of the loving and faithful 
Rahbea Dhoorane, the favorite wife of Aurungzebe, though, 
at best, it is a poor copy of the famous Taj-Mahal at Agra. 
Arriving at the farthest edge of a wide path, the spires of 
the mausoleum rise before one amid a wide area of rich 
dark foliage. It stands alone and immediately behind the 
wall that separates it from the old palace of Aurungzebe. 
The approach is through a gateway. In front is a canal 
with a number of fountains at play. At the end of the 
avenue is the mausoleum itself. The windows are of very 


exquisite workmanship, reminding one of Rahbea herself. 
The tomb is quite low and unpretending, lying in the cen- 
tre of the building, and one has to descend a number of 
steps to look upon it. It is enclosed by a light and ele- 
gant marble screen, fancifully chiselled, looking like lace- 
work. On the tomb itself is laid a covering of scarlet 
velvet. The minarets at each of the corners are also full 
of beauty. To the left we pass through a fine Gothic arch 
gracefully carved, and enter a noble hall supported by 
fluted pillars and with handsome etchings along the walls 
and ceilings. It is now used for the assemblies of Mo- 
hammedan priests and bishops, who meet here from dif- 
ferent parts of the country twice every year to discuss 
matters bearing chiefly on the religious disputes that arise 
among themselves. 

Above even the last resting-place of the dead queen, 
and far beyond all the other features of interest in this 
mausoleum, is a little unique chamber that stands apart, 
surrounded with fragrant orange and sweet lime trees and 
clustering blossoms of rare tropical flowers. It is the 
loveliest retreat that the heart of man could have devised, 
and is still touched with the lingering romance of Rah- 
bea's love for and power over the proud Aurungzebe ; for 
here he often sought the beautiful queen for purposes of 
quiet meditation or relaxation from the cares of state, and 
here, if we may believe all the reports, Rahbea often knelt 
for hours before her husband pleading for the lives of men 
and women whom he had doomed to death. Amid all 
the cruelty, avarice, and bloodshed that stained the life of 
Aurungzebe, the tender picture which this little chamber 
conjures up is pure and refreshing. 

Mohammedan priests and pirs, or saints, are in constant 
attendance upon this tomb. Morning services are held 
here every Monday. Fahtiahs, or prayers, are offered for 


the dead queen and all other dead souls, portions of the 
Koran are read or chanted, and lamps are kept burning 
on especial festal nights. As we were leaving the place 
a number of Mohammedans entered the tomb to pray, 
and one of the pirs informed me that certain cures and 
miracles are yearly effected by the prayers offered up to 
the dead queen. 

We went to see the Friday "prayer-meeting" in the 
finest mosque of this once-princely Mohammedan city. 
The Jummah Musjid, as the great mosque is called, is a 
quiet, unpretending structure. From a distance it is im- 
posing, rather from the insignificance of the buildings in 
its vicinity than from any architectural claims of its own. 
But the interior is both simple and grand : the roof is ex- 
quisitely arched, and upheld by pillars of elegant design 
and workmanship. At the extreme end there is a raised 
platform whence the moolah * prays with his face turned 
toward Mecca, and behind this pulpit were hung heavy 
kinkaub curtains of native manufacture. The mosque 
was well filled, and the sight was both solemn and inspir- 
ing. More than a thousand men (with a few women sit- 
ting veiled and apart), all clad in flowing white robes, 
brilliant cumberbunds, and variegated turbans, rose, knelt, 
folded their hands and prostrated themselves simultaneous- 
ly. The earnest voice of the moolah, the deep responses 
of the assembled congregation, their expressions of devo- 
tion and self-abasement, were sufficient to bring Christian 
and pagan into sympathy. 

We rode next morning to the gardens and tomb of 
Shah Safid, "the pure saint." The rose, the jessamine, 
and the mohgre"\ bloomed here in great profusion; we 
noticed some beautiful birds hovering among the cypress 
and other trees, and we passed two splendid reservoirs full 
* Mohammedan bishop. f -A- white rose, scented like a jessamine. 


of fish, and enjoyed the quiet of this resting-place of the 
great friend and spiritual adviser of Aurungzebe. The 
mausoleum itself is a simple structure, without any archi- 
tectural adornments. We did not see any of the descend- 
ants of this famous Mohammedan saint, but some holy 
men who did the honors of the gardens showed us all that 
was worth seeing, and the cemetery was a very bright, 
cheerful place in the morning sun. 

There are four great eras in the history of India the 
early dominion of the Brahmans, the Turk and Moslem 
invasion, then that of the Mohguls, and finally the rise 
of British sovereignty in Hindostan. Before introducing 
the reader to the peculiar rites and ceremonies of the Mo- 
hammedans of Hindostan, I have thought that the most 
important events of Mohgul invasion and occupation of 
India would not be out of place here. 

It was about the beginning of the seventh century A. D. 
that first the Turks, and then the Afghans, obtained by 
means of their superior military discipline easy conquests 
over the Rajpoot chieftains. India was at this time in a 
most prosperous and happy condition, governed chiefly by 
the Brahmanic system of village communities. Each vil- 
lage was in itself a little republic, providing for and ad- 
ministering its own affairs through officers who were in 
all respects independent citizens, subject to none but the 
jurisdiction of the village itself, save in the case of war, 
when they volunteered to aid the Rajpoots in quelling 
such disturbances as arose. The Rajpoots, on the other 
hand, comprised the nobility and soldier-like chivalry of 
India. Romantic in their attachments, tenacious of their 
honor, devoted in their attentions to the softer sex,* they 

* The practice of female infanticide among the Rajpoots may be 
traced to the conquest of India by the Turks and Afghans. Too 
haughty to give his daughter in marriage to a conqueror and enemy, 


were ready to engage in deeds of daring and adventure. 
But, unhappily, they were divided into clans, each under 
its own chief, as among the Scotch Highlanders, which not 
infrequently were disturbed by internal feuds. They were 
easily subdued, one clan after another being dispersed or 
destroyed, until the greater part of Hindostan fell into the 
hands of the Moslem conquerors. 

The expedition of Sultan Mahmood, undertaken in 1024 
A. D., is the one most famed in Indian story. In the fair 
park-like province of Guzerat stood a wonderful Hindoo 
temple, none other than the famous temple of Swayan 
Nath, or "the Self-Existent," as the god was called. 
This god was worshipped here under the shape of a 
gigantic man formed of black stone. For his ablutions 
water was brought from the Ganjas, a thousand miles dis- 
tant. The priests, devotees, and ascetics of this temple 
were numbered by hundreds ; one thousand elephants be- 
longed to it and were maintained for the service of the 
god. Stationed about the temple in superb trappings, 
they added an imposing feature to this shrine on festal 
occasions ; banners of cloth of gold, standards of peacock- 
feathers gemmed with rare jewels, musical instruments of 
every kind and shape, with hundreds of hired musicians, 
formed part of the daily service here. Nor were these all : 
the dancing-girls attached to the temple were composed of 
the most beautiful women that India could furnish, and so 
great was the prestige of this shrine that kings dedicated 
their most beautiful daughters to enrich its coffers, in addi- 
tion to the revenues of two thousand villages that were 
ceded to it by the combined princes of Hindostan. 

Sultan Mahmood, who had seated himself on the throne 

and unwilling that she should many an inferior without a large dowry, 
the Rajpoot father got rid of the difficulties of his position by destroy- 
ing his female children at the moment of birth. 


of Delhi, heard one of the boasts uttered by the priests 
of this temple, and there and then vowed its destruction, 
placed himself at the head of his troops, and, marching 
four hundred miles overland through a barren and almost 
impassable country, advanced upon the environs of the 
temple, which were strongly fortified and garrisoned by 
Rajpoot soldiers. Twice the priests and soldiers of 
Swayan Nath beat back the Moslems, but in the third 
onslaught the latter bore down everything before them. 
In vain the Brahman priests implored them to spare the 
idol, offering the conqueror large sums of money for its 
ransom. Mali mood, regardless of their prayers and offers, 
gave the signal for its destruction. In an instant the huge 
god of stone was battered to pieces, and out of its hollow 
sides there rolled an immense treasure, jewels of incon- 
ceivable value. The spoils of this temple alone rendered 
the Mohguls all but invincible in the East. After sack- 
ing the temple they bore off in triumph its wondrous gates 
of sandal-wood inlaid with gold, and at the death of Mali- 
mood, in 1030, these gates adorned the splendid mausoleum 
erected over his remains. Eight hundred years after they 
were captured by the English troops and restored to the 
temple of Swayan Nath by the order of Lord Ellen- 
borough, then governor-general of India. 

The Mohammedan capital in India was established at 
Delhi by Khottub, who made himself master of that city, 
of which he had been governor, about the year 1215. He 
was succeeded by Altinash, who, like Khottub, rose to the 
state of an emperor from the condition of a slave. The 
capital was now permanently fixed at Delhi, and it was in 
the reign of this king that the beautiful round tower of 
Khottub Minar, the highest known column in the world, 
was built. It is a minaret of fine red granite inlaid with 
white marble and crowned with a magnificent dome. This 


Altinash was succeeded by his daughter Rhezeah, a woman 
of great natural ability, who administered the affairs of the 
kingdom with remarkable wisdom. Dressed as a sultan, 
she gave audience to her nobles and officers and heard and 
redressed the wrongs of her people. Nevertheless, the 
authority of these Mohammedan kings over the Rajpoot 
chiefs was very uncertain, for at every change in the gov- 
ernment, which was very frequent, the Hindoo princes 
attempted to recover their independence. Thus when the 
Gheiyas Tooklak (or Toghlak) possessed himself of the 
throne of Delhi, the greater part of India was in a state 
of revolt. 

Ferozee Shah, crowned emperor in 1351, greatly enriched 
and beautified the city of Delhi, built the great canal through 
the province of Delhi from the river Jumna to that of Cag- 
gar, two hundred miles of which have been reopened by 
the British government, thus fertilizing a vast tract of 
country which had long been a great desert. It was after 
the death of this prince that the Mohgul Timoor Lang 
(Tamerlane), who had conquered Persia, captured and 
destroyed the city of Delhi. Years after Timoor Lang's 
death one of his descendants, named Baber, once more 
established the Mohgul monarchy in India, about the 
year 1498, when the Portuguese maritime discoveries be- 
gan to make an important revolution in the commercial 

Baber was succeeded by the great emperor Homayoun, 
whose remains are marked by a magnificent tomb near 
Delhi. Akbar, his son, one of the wisest of the Mohgul 
rulers, had the prudence to marry a Hindoo princess, the 
daughter of Baharmal, the rajah of Jeypoor in the prov- 
ince of Rajpootana. He conquered the beautiful kingdom 
of Cashmere, one of the most enchanting spots in the 
world. He built the city and famous palace of Fettihpoor- 


Shikri in the province of Agra ; his palace of white mar- 
ble and a magnificent mosque are still to be seen in excel- 
lent preservation. It was in the reign of Akbar that 
Christian . missionaries first received a hearing at a Mo- 
hammedan court. They were sent to Agra by the bishop 
of Goa. On Friday evenings it was also the custom of 
this prince to assemble all the learned men around him for 
the purpose of holding free discussions, where Mohammed- 
ans, Christians, Jews, Brahmans, and Fire- worshippers 
gave their opinions and discoursed about the most inter- 
esting themes of the day without restraint or fear. He 
also instituted free public schools for Mohammedan and 
Hindoo children. 

Akbar died at Agra in 1605, and over his remains there 
still stands a splendid mausoleum of vast dimensions. He 
was succeeded by his son Selim, better known under the 
title which he assumed of Jehan Ghir, " conqueror of the 
world." The life and history of this king are the most 
romantic in the annals of India. 

Noor Jehan, " the Dawn of Life," so well known by the 
name of Noor Mahal, or " the Light of the Palace," was 
the daughter of a poor Persian adventurer, a noble in his 
own country, reduced by a series of misfortunes at home, 
which led him to seek better fortunes in India, accompa- 
nied by his wife and little daughter. The distressed con- 
dition of the poor father and mother and the beauty of 
the child attracted the attention of a rich merchant of 
( 'andiesh, whose caravan these Persians had been follow- 
ing in order to keep themselves from starving. It was 
through this merchant's influence that the father of the 
little Noor Jehan obtained the subordinate position of 
gatekeeper at the court of Akbar. Noor Jehan, who was 
in the habit of playing round the palace-gate, attracted 
the attention of Akbar. Struck with her beauty, he at 


once introduced the little maiden to his Rajpootanee wife, 
with whom she became a great favorite, and thus the little 
Noor Jehan became the playmate and companion of the 
young prince Selim. A deep attachment sprang up be- 
tween the children. But at length, when Noor Jehan at- 
tained the age of womanhood, her father suddenly with- 
drew her from the court and consummated a marriage for 
her with Shere Af khan, a rich nobleman of Bengal, and 
thus removed the beautiful girl from her dangerous royal 
lover Selim. Selim was also married about the same time 
by Akbar to a foreign princess of Kabool. But the mo- 
ment his father died, and Selim had ascended the throne 
under the name and title of Jehan Ghir, he determined to 
obtain the beautiful Noor Jehan for his wife. With this 
end in view he wrote to the viceroy of Bengal to seek 
some pretext to place Shere Af khan in confinement that 
he might the more readily succeed in his designs. Shere 
Af khan, suspecting some treachery on the part of the vice- 
roy, repaired to his house fully armed, and, as certain hos- 
tile steps confirmed his suspicions, he slew the viceroy 
as he attempted to lay hands on him, but the guards in 
waiting, hearing the cry of their master, rushed in and 
despatched Shere Af khan. That very night the emissa- 
ries of Jehan Ghir carried off Noor Jehan to Delhi. 

But Noor Jehan, prisoner as she felt herself at the court 
of her former lover, refused to listen to his proposals of 
marriage until he should prove himself innocent of her 
husband's murder. After several years Jehan Ghir satis- 
fied the beautiful widow that he had never intended Shere 
Af khan's death, but only his temporary imprisonment in 
order to obtain her for his queen. Finally, the nuptials 
of Noor Jehan and Jehan Ghir were celebrated with 
splendor. The power and influence exercised by this 
beautiful woman at the Mohammedan court was unparal- 


leled in the history of the Mohguls of India. Her name 
was associated with that of Jehan Ghir in the palace, in 
the council, on the throne, in the judgment-hall, and even 
on the coins of the country. Noor Mahal, or " the Light 
of the Palace," as she was ever after called, was more or 
less influenced by the counsels of her father, who was 
raised to the office of grand vizier, and is acknowledged 
to have been one of the best and wisest ministers who ever 
ruled at the court of a Mohammedan king. 

Mohabat Khan, a noble in the service of Jehan Ghir, 
had somehow incurred the displeasure of Noor Mahal, but 
being a man of great talents he was employed to quell a 
rebellion entered into by Shah Jehan, the eldest son of 
Jehan Ghir, to dethrone his father. Having defeated the 
son and won him over to his cause, Mohabat Khan took 
the father prisoner. No sooner did Noor Mahal hear of 
the captivity of her husband than she placed herself at 
the head of her troops, and, mounted on an elephant, pro- 
ceeded to give battle to Mohabat Khan and to rescue her 
husband. She was defeated, and fled to the court of La- 
hore for safety. But Mohabat, who had resolved to put 
Noor Mahal to death, extorted from Jehan Ghir a war- 
rant to that effect, and through letters which he caused 
Jehan Ghir to write he induced the unsuspecting and lov- 
ing wife to join her husband in captivity. Once in the 
enemy's camp, she saw that her death was determined 
upon. Professing herself willing to submit to her fate, 
she pleaded only a last interview with her husband, which 
Mohabat granted, but took care to be present himself. On 
the day appointed for her execution Noor Mahal quietly 
entered the presence of her unworthy husband and her 
implacable foe. She stood before them in deep silence, 
her hands clasped, her veil thrown back, and her beauty 
shining with an additional lustre through her flowing 


tears. Jehan Ghir burst into a passion of tears, and, 
throwing himself at the feet of his captor, pleaded so 
eloquently for her life that the heart of Mohabat was 
subdued. He not only granted her life, but, strange to 
say, became a friend to Noor Mahal, and finally restored 
her and her husband to the throne of Delhi. 

With but few exceptions, however, rebellions, assassin- 
ations, treachery, and misrule marked the reigns of all the 
Mohammedan emperors of India. Upon the death of 
Aurungzebe, the grandson of Jehan Ghir, the empire of 
Hindostan was divided by his command between his three 
sons, which partition led to a series of most disastrous civil 
wars, and, happily for the country, almost terminated the 
Moslem power in India. 

In 1738 the Persian emperor, Nahdir Shah, took Delhi 
with little effort. The night of the capture a report was 
raised that Nahdir Shah had died suddenly, and the popu- 
lace rose en masse and massacred over seven thousand Per- 
sian soldiers. On the following day Nahdir Shah gave the 
fearful command which almost decimated the population 
of Delhi, after which he reinstated the humbled monarch, 
Mohammed Shah, on the throne, and returned to Persia, 
carrying away with him treasure amounting to seventy 
million pounds sterling and the celebrated peacock throne 
of Shah Jehan. In 1760 the nominal king of Delhi, 
Alum Shah, became tributary to the East Indian Com- 

The Mohammedans of Hindostan, like those elsewhere, 
are divided into a number of sects, all more or less ac- 
knowledging the apostleship of Mohammed, but differing 
in their estimate of the inspiration of the Koran and other 
minor points of doctrine. TheSunnis, for instance, hold 
that the traditions of the Prophetare of equal authority 
with the Koran ; they therefore venerate the successors of 


Mohammed, Abu Bahkr, Omar, Usman, and AH, as di- 
vinely-appointed Khalifahs or teachers; the Arabs, Turks, 
Afghans, and the Rohillas of India more or less belong 
to the Sunni sect. These undertake long pilgrimages to 
Mekka, and are very tenacious on points of doctrine, 
often putting to death the heterodox of their own re- 
ligion. The _Shiahs, another very powerful sect of Mo- 
hammedans, wholly reject the "Sunnahs," or traditions, 
and with them the four successors of the Prophet. They 
perform pilgrimages, not to Mecca or Medinah, but to 
the tomb of Husain at Kaibelah. The Koran is their 
only guide. The Shiahs are found in the vicinity of 
Cabool, Oude, and parts of Bundelcund. 

The " Hanifi," as another sect of Mohammedans is 
called, are the disciples of Abu Hanifah, an Arabic theo- 
logian of great renown who flourished about the year 80 
of the Hejira. He denied predestination as unworthy 
of a divine and merciful Creator, and declared fate to be 
nothing more or less than the free will of the individual. 
He was thrown into prison for his bold utterances, and 
died there. Years after, Maluk Shah Seljuki erected a 
splendid mausoleum to his memory in Bagdad, to which 
spot his followers in Hindostan make special pilgrimages. 

The ShaffidSj again, are quite a distinct sect, so called 
from their leader Shaffid Abu Abdullah, another cele- 
brated Arabic divine. He was born in the city of Gaza 
in Palestine in the year 150 of the Hejira, but educated 
in Persia, where he composed most of his works on the- 
ology and jurisprudence. Some of his precepts are still 
taught in the Shaffid Mohammedan schools. This sect is 
scattered over the province of Najapatam and in the city 
of Nagpoore. 

The Maliki, still another of the Mohammedan denomi- 
nations, follow the teachings of one Malik Ibn Aus, a man 


of some learning, but whose works are filled with astrology 
and mysticism. Many of his followers are to be found 
among the mendicants and fakeers of Hindostan. 

The Hanbhali sect are not very numerous, but are said 
to be extremely dogmatic in their own belief. They ad- 
here to the precepts of the priest after whom they are 
called, and deny the divine origin of the Koran, holding 
only such maxims contained in it as are based on pure 
morality and monotheism. These comprise the most ad- 
vanced and enlightened schools of Mohammedans to be 
found in India to-day. 

Last, but not least, are the Suffis, a refined, learned, and 
mystical sect of Mohammedans. They are divided among 
themselves on doctrinal points : some are pure rationalists, 
others materialists, and yet others again pantheists ; the 
latter promulgate theories about the soul that are in form 
and idea similar to those of the high-caste and educated 

Such are the most important sects to be found among 
the Mohammedans of Hindostan. Their intermixture 
with the Hindoos has produced a number of minor sects 
and classes of Musulmans, as well as a very marked 
change in their manners and customs. The Hindoos 
seem to have very greatly influenced the Mohammedans. 
The feeling of caste and defilement and other Hindoo re- 
strictions have gradually assumed more and more import- 
ance in the Moslem mind in India. An Indian Moham- 
medan is hemmed about with endless observances reach- 
ing down even to preserving the sanctity of his pots and 
pans, as with the Brahmans. A Mohammedan will 
as religiously guard his " lota," or drinking-vessel, from 
defilement as if he were a high-caste Brahman, and super- 
stition attaches to all his surroundings and habiliments 
and actions to his earrings, which are worn as a charm, 


his sandals, his topi, or turban, his beard, and even his 
toe- and finger-nails, which can only be pared on certain 
days of the waxing moon. Thus it will be seen that the 
Mohammedan on Indian soil differs very greatly in his 
habits and feelings from the Mohammedan of Persia and 
Arabia. As the early Aryan accommodated himself to 
the deities and superstitions of the aboriginals, so the 
Mohammedan has greatly conformed to customs, man- 
ners, and superstitions indigenous almost to the soil of 

This socialfusipn is especially perceptible in the con- 
dition of the women of Hindostan. The Hindoo woman 
has gradually borrowed the seclusion of the zenana from 
her aristocratic Mohammedan sister (the hareem and the 
zenana are but different names for one and the same 
thing), while the latter in her turn has adopted many of 
the rules and endless ceremonies of the Hindoos. Thus, 
for instance, marriage among the Mohammedans must be 
contracted very early, and solemnized when the youth 
is eighteen and the maiden thirteen. The courtship is 
always carried on by some elderly females, who are in- 
structed to find out and report the charms of such young 
people among whose parents matrimonial connections are 
deemed desirable. This done, the astrologer, who is very 
often a Brahman, is consulted ; he examines the horoscope 
of the young couple and decides whether the marriage 
will be auspicious and when it shall take place, etc. After 
this comes the betrothal, consisting of no less than six dif- 
ferent ceremonies : First, a present of betel-leaves to the 
relatives of the young girl is given by the future bride- 
groom ; these leaves are often folded in fine gold tissue- 
paper and stuck with cloves ; each clove must be perfect, 
with the little blossom attached to the end of it. The 
second is called "sweet solicitations." The young man 


repairs to the young girl's house with attendants carrying 
presents, and in returning to his own bears back with him 
large presents of sweetmeats. This is followed by an im- 
portant ceremony called "treading the threshold." At 
dawn the young man stands before the door of the young 
girl's home, repeats a prayer, and boldly crosses the 
threshold ; here the mother embraces him, ties a colored 
handkerchief around his neck, puts a gold ring provided 
for the occasion on his finger, and fills his palms with 
money signs of her cordial acceptance of him as a fu- 
ture son. This is followed by a three days' visit to the 
future bride's home ; on each day he partakes of a meal 
every dish of which is some kind of sweetmeat ; on the 
fourth day he joins the family at their ordinary meal, 
where the ceremony of sharing the salt takes place. The 
young woman, closely veiled, is seated by her lover ; at 
the opening of the meal he takes some salt on his platter 
and transfers a part of it to her plate, and she does the 
same ; this little act renders the marriage contract sacred. 
The day previous to the wedding is spent in purification, 
bathing, and anointing of the bride and bridegroom at 
their respective homes. The ceremonies are much like 
those of the Brahmans. The person of the young girl is 
rubbed over with a compound of grain, flour, turmeric, 
ashes of rose-leaves, and fragrant gums mixed into a paste 
with sweet oil. This preparation is laid on the person of 
the young woman, and left to dry for an hour or two, 
after which she is bathed with seven waters, four hot and 
three cold. This done, her fingers, toes, tips of her ears, 
and all the joints of her body are anointed with a mix- 
ture of sandal-wood powder, ashes of burnt rose-buds, and 
sweet oil, after which she is sprinkled with rose-water, and 
conveyed, all closely veiled, to the mosque, where she re- 
peats seven Kalimahs for herself and her future husband. 


Oh this day a procession in order to exchange wedding- 
garments from one to the other takes place. 

The marriage ceremony is always performed in the 
evening. I was present at the marriage of the daughter 
of a moolah (or Mohammedan bishop) named Allih Bash- 
ka Deen, and the ceremony derived its chief attraction 
from the gentle loveliness of the bride and the beauty 
of her dress. She wore a purple silk petticoat embossed 
with a rich border of scattered bunches of flowers, each 
flower formed of various gems, while the leaves and stems 
were of Embroidered gold and silk threads. Her boddice 
was of the same material as the petticoat ; the entire vest 
was marked with circular rows of pearls and rubies. Her 
hair was parted in Greek style and confined at the back 
in a graceful knot bound by a fillet of gold ; on her brow 
rested a beautiful flashing star of diamonds. On her ears, 
neck, arms, breast, and* waist were a profusion of orna- 
ments. Her slippers, adorned with gold and seed pearls, 
were open at the heels, showing her henna-tinted feet, 
and curved up in front .toward the instep, while from her 
head flowed a delicate kinkaub scarf woven from gold 
threads of the finest texture and of a transparent, daz- 
zling, sunbeam-like appearance. This was folded grace- 
fully about her person and veiled her eyes and nose, leav- 
ing only her mouth and chin visible. 

While the guests, relatives, and friends of the bride 
were all assembled at the bishop's house the bridegroom 
had started off to perform what .is called the "shaba 
ghash," or nocturnal visit. Gayly dressed, handsomely 
mounted, the young Akbar Khauibni Ahbad, attended 
by his nearest relatives and friends and accompanied by a 
host of musicians, rode to the mosque at Kirki, where he 
offered up three distinct prayers one for the future wife, 
one for himself, and one for the happiness and success of 


all his undertakings, especially the one he was about to 
consummate. This done, he and his friends mounted 
and approached the house of the bride. The moment the 
cavalcade of the bridegroom appeared in sight a number 
of well-dressed young Mohammedans rushed to the gate 
of the courtyard, and with loud shouts most violently 
opposed his entrance, whereupon he scattered money in 
handfuls among them, which was the signal for them to 
give way. Here the youth dismounted, but was not per- 
mitted to walk into the house, for a stalwart-looking man 
took him up in his arms and attempted to rush in with 
him; here again he was once more resisted by another 
party of friends and relatives, till he again scattered a 
handful of gold coins among them, thus carrying out the 
Oriental saying: "He lined the path to his love with 
golden flowers." After this no further opposition was 
made. The bride and bridegroom, both veiled, the latter 
with two coverings over his face, took their places in the 
centre of the room, and every one stood up. The khazi, 
or judge, then stepped forward, and, having removed the 
double veil from the bridegroom's face, began the cere- 
mony. The young man repeated after him certain prayers 
one deprecating his own merits and attractions in com- 
parison with those of the bride after which came long 
repetitions from the Koran treating of fervor, love, and 
devotion, followed by repetitions of the Mohammedan 
creed and a general thanksgiving. At this point all the 
assembly prostrated themselves, the khazi joined the hands 
of the bride and bridegroom, the latter repeated word for 
word the marriage- vows, and the whole was concluded 
with a benediction, after which the bride, still veiled, was 
carried to the bridegroom's house, and he followed in her 
train, accompanied with music, beating of drums, and loud 
shouts of joy from his attendants and followers. 


On the birth of a child, if it happens to be a male, 
all the female attendants utter loud shouts of joy. The 
mother is kept on very simple diet, and obliged to drink 
water made hot by a heated horseshoe being plunged into 
it ; this has the power of guarding against internal devils, 
who are supposed to be very active on such occasions, 
lying in wait for mother and child. The moolah is then 
ushered into the chamber : he takes the child in his arms 
and repeats in his right ear the Mohammedan summons 
to prayer, and in his left the creed. A fakeer is then 
introduced : he dips his finger in some honey and puts 
it into the child's mouth before it has tasted any of its 
mother's milk, which is to ensure it all the luxuries of 
life. After these have retired an astrologer casts the 
horoscope of the child, and there and then predicts its 
future, which, good or bad, is accepted as fate and with- 
out a murmur. Meanwhile, the nearest relatives -assem- 
ble around the father and dress his hair with blades of 
grass a Hindoo observance, grass typifying the fragility 
of human life and affections and he in turn makes them 
presents according to his circumstances. 

The naming of the child takes place on the eighth day 
after birth. If a son, it is named after the father's clan or 
tribe ; if a daughter, after the mother's side of the family. 
The choice of the child's name depends on the day of its 
birth and the appearance of the planet under whose influ- 
ence it is supposed to be born, as much as on the parent- 
age. The mother remains apart from the household till 
the fortieth day after childbirth ; then she is bathed, fumi- 
gated, and purified, and so prepared to enter the mosque, 
where she oifers up thanks for her safe deliverance from 
the perils of childbirth, and either reads or has portions 
of the Koran read to her, offering a sacrifice of two goats 
for a son and one for a daughter. 


On the same day, in the afternoon, another ceremony is 
held that of shaving the hair of the child. A priest 
and a barber attend to this rite ; prayers are offered, water 
is sprinkled over the head of the child, and the hai^ shaved 
off is carried in procession to the water's edge, and then 
launched on a little raft to float down the river. By this 
ceremony all evil is guarded from the infancy and child- 
hood of Mohammedan children. Very often sacred locks 
are left on the top of the heads of Mohammedan children, 
like those of the Brahmans, and these locks are conse- 
crated to some saint or noble ancestor. 

The other ceremony worthy of notice here is that at- 
tending the death, and^_buria.l of the Mohammedans in 
India. When a Mohammedan is thought to be dying a 
priest is sent for, who prays before the family, then re- 
pairs to the sick chamber, where he exhorts the dying 
man to attend to the welfare of his soul, and proceeds to 
read the chapter on future life, rewards) and punishments, 
and the two most important creeds faith in God and in 
Mohammed as his prophet. After death the body is 
placed on a bier and conveyed with great pomp, beating 
of drums, wailing of women and near relatives, to the 
Musulman cemetery, where there are always tanks and 
utensils for bathing the dead before interment. Here the 
body is carefully washed seven times, and then perfumed 
with powdered sandal-wood, camphor, and myrrh. The 
forehead, hands, knees, and feet of the dead man are es- 
pecially rubbed ; these parts, having touched the earth at 
moments of prayer, are held more sacred than the rest of 
the body. The two great toes are then tied together; a 
shroud or winding-sheet, prepared by the dead man him- 
self, on which he has caused to be written from time to 
time the most beautiful passages from the Koran, is folded 
around him very firmly and around each arm. After this 


the body is replaced on the bier, every one salutes it, and 
the bearers carry it to the grave. Here all the friends and 
relatives stand in three rows, and at the head of every row 
is a priest, who solemnly begins the chant, consisting 
chiefly of prayers and confessions for the dead. The body 
is at length lowered into the grave with its face toward 
Mecca, and each relative, taking a little earth in his hand, 
repeats the solemn utterance of their Prophet, made in 
the name of God and his archangel Gabriel : " We cre- 
ated you, O man, out of earth, and we return you to the 
earth, and we shall raise you up again on the last day," 
and throws the earth -softly on the bier. The grave is 
then closed, and fatiahs, or prayers for the dead, are 
offered on the spot at stated seasons throughout the first 


The Temples of Ellora, the Holy Place of the Deccan. Nashik, the 
Land of the Ramayana. Sights and Scenes on the Banks of the 
Godaveri. Damaun, the most famous of the Indo-Portuguese 

WE bade adieu to the old historical city of the great 
Aurungzebe just as the first streak of sunlight was gilding 
the conical summit of the fortress of Dowlutabad, and, 
wending our way laboriously up the steep Pipla Ghaut, 
we emerged on the other side on a fertile plain planted 
with magnificent trees and covered with innumerable 
mausoleums and tombs, through which our bullocks made 
straight for the western boundary of the beautiful hill of 
Rauzah. Here we reached a spot of perfect tranquillity 
and beauty, but which must have been at some ancient 
time a scene of intense activity. The present little village 
of Kllora, consisting of a number of Hindoo dwellings, 
is almost hidden among groves of fine trees, and is only 
remarkable because it lies immediately at the foot of a 
high wall of rock in which the vast cayern-tempjes of 
this neighborhood are found and to which it owes its 

We alighted from our wagons on the verandah of a 
well-built pagoda ; near it was a fine reservoir with flights 
of broad stone steps leading down to the water's edge. On 
the bank or upper stonework of this reservoir are a num- 
ber of artistic little Hindoo temples or shrines, the roofs 
supported by light delicate pillars, giving an airy and grace- 



ful appearance to the whole village. As soon as Govind 
had gone through his prayers and ablutions we started off, 
accompanied by a couple of sage-looking Hindoo guides, 
for the cavern-temples. We followed our guides for some 
little distance, when they left the highroad and struck a 
narrow, steep path, and all at once, when we were least 
expecting it, a sudden turn brought us into the presence 
of the great " rock-cut temples " that render this spot the 
holiest of all places in the Deccan. Down went Govjnd 
and our guides prostrate on their faces and hands. 

The solitude, the quiet stillness of the spot, with the 
bright morning sun flooding hill and plain and pene- 
trating the depths of these excavations, were impressive. 
The temple before us was a large open court and deep 
vaulted chamber, massive and elaborately carved, and 
chiselled from the heart of the mountain itself, and rising 
up nearly a hundred feet. There were many other tem- 
ples in the hillside, with doorways, arches, pillars, win- 
dows, galleries, and verandahs, supported by solid stone 
pillars filled with figures of gods and goddesses, heroes, 
giants, birds, beasts, and reptiles of every shape quite 
enough to baffle the most careful student in anything like 
a thorough examination of their vast and intricate work- 

"We went in and out, climbing stone-cut steps up, down, 
and round about the caves, not knowing which temple to 
admire most or on which to bestow undivided attention. 
It would take weeks to explore them thoroughly. There 
is a very fine cavern-temple dedicated to Pur Sawanath, 
" the Lord of Purity," the twenty-third of the great saints 
of the Jains of this era.* An image resembling those 

* Pur Sawanath and Mah-vira, the twenty-third and twenty-fourth 
pontiffs of the present era of the Jains, seem to have superseded all the 
former saints in sanctity of character. They are described by the Jains 


that are seen of Buddha, stone tigers, and elephants bear 
up the altar on which he is seated ; from the middle of 
the altar there projects a curious wheel on which is carved 
the Hindoo astronomical table, and a seven-headed serpent 
is seen over the head of the god. 

Another very beautiful excavation, consisting of three 
temples or compartments, is dedicated to Jaggar-Nath 
Buddh, or "the Enlightened Lord of the Universe;" 
these temples are best known, however, by the name of 
Indra Sabha, or " the assembly of Indra." These caves 
are two-storied, containing images of Indra " the darter 
of the swift blue bolt," as he is called seated on a royal 
elephant, with his attendants about him, and of Indranee, 
his wife, riding on a couchant lion, with her son in her 
arms and her maids around her. The sacred trees of the 
Hindoos Kalpa Vriksha, the tree of the ages or of life 
are growing out of their heads ; on the one overshadowing 
Indra are carved peacocks, emblematic of royalty, and 
fruits resembling the rose-apple, sacred to love, grow on 

as having thirty-six superhuman attributes of mind and body beauty 
of form, fragrance of breath ; curling hair, which does not increase in 
length or decrease in quantity, the same qualities being attached to 
their beards and nails ; a white complexion, exemption from all im- 
purities, hunger, decay, bodily infirmity or disease of any kind. The 
spiritual attributes are those of justice, truth, faith, love, benevolence, 
freedom from all anger and all earthly desires, immense power of de- 
votion; hence of working miracles, of making themselves heard at vast 
distances, speaking intelligibly to men, animals, and gods, of material- 
izing spirits and conversing with them, and the power of scattering war, 
plague, famine, storms, death, sickness, or evil of any kind by their im- 
mediate presence. The heads of these Jain saints are always described 
as surrounded with a halo of light, whose brightness is greater and more 
far-reaching than that of the sun. The Brahmans, it is said, with great 
adroitness, in order to draw to these temples the Jain pilgrims from 
Guzerat, Bombay, and other parts of India, take care to represent their 
god Parshurama, an incarnation of Vishnu, to be none other than the 
Jain saint, Pur Sawanath. 


the one sprouting from the head of Indranee. This tem- 
ple is unrivalled for its beauty of form and sculpture. 

The next temple we visited was the Dho Mahal Lenah, 
" the double palace." It is full of figures and sculptured 
story celebrating the marriage of the god Siva with Par- 
vatee. It is an excavation of great depth and extent, filled 
with countless gods and goddesses, among which the figure 
of Yarna, the judge of the dead, commonly called Dhan- 
nah, is especially remarkable. Not far from this cavern- 
temple a lovely mountain-torrent comes leaping down in 
beautiful cascades. Near a wide pool is a rude cave with 
a deity in it called Davee, who draws multitudes of pil- 
grims to her shrine yearly because of her reputation for 
performing miracles. 

There is also a temple famous in Indian song and story 
called Khailahsah, or " highest heaven." The mountain 
has been penetrated to a great depth and height to make 
room for this wondrous bit of sculpture. Within an area 
stands a pagoda almost, if not quite, a hundred feet high. 
It is entered by a noble portico guarded by huge stone 
figures of men ; towering above it are, cut out of the hill, 
a music-gallery of the finest workmanship and five large 
chapels, and above all there is in front a spacious court 
terminating in three magnificent colonnades : huge col- 
umns uphold the music-gallery ; stone elephants, looking 
toward us, heave themselves out of this mass of rock- 
work, and right in front is a grand figure of the Hindoo 
goddess Lakshimi being crowned queen of heaven by stone 
elephants, that have raised themselves on their hind feet 
to pour water over her head from stone vessels grasped in 
their trunks. 

Everywhere we found fresh objects of wonder, and each 
new cave seemed the greatest marvel of all. The entire 
hillside is perforated with chatiyas, monasteries, pagodas, 



towers, spires, obelisks, galleries, and verandahs, all cut 
out of the solid rock.* Nothing could be wilder and 
more fantastic than the effect produced by these excava- 
tions, situated as they are amid natural scenes very wild 
and romantic waterfalls, ravines, gorges, old gnarled 
forest trees, and a dense undergrowth of brushwood. 

Naturally, freely, unexpectedly, as the tree grows, was 
the development of early Hindoo art. Everywhere one 
sees an unrestrained imagination breaking through and 
overleaping the bounds of judgment, reason, and even 
that intuitive sense of refinement to which the Hindoo 
mind is by no means a stranger. 

Our journey next was quite an adventurous one. We 
started straight across the high plain of the Deccan for 
the ThulljGjrhauts. In some parts the country is sandy 
and desolate, and in others well cultivated, but in no way 
remarkable till we reached the rugged but grandly moun- 
tainous country through which our road lay, circuitous 
and difficult, but wild and beautiful, as far as Nashik, or 
" the City of the Nose," sacred to the Hindoos for various 
local traditions, but above all as being the spot whence 
the Godaveri takes its rise. The real source of this 
famous river, however, is some eighteen or twenty miles 
distant, at Thrimbak. On our road lay a deep and dan- 
gerous nullah or creek, which we forded with much diffi- 
culty, assisted by a number of natives whom we were 
obliged to hire from a little village lying half a mile from 
its banks. Passing this, we saw the Ghauts for the first 
time, with their fine forests, and here and there a moun- 
tain-stream, not yet dried up by the hot summer sun, tum- 
bling down the mountain-sides or flowing over pebbly beds, 

* Those who desire to have a detailed account of these caves will find 
an admirable description of them given by Col. Sykes in the third vol- 
ume of the Bombay Asiatic Society's Transactions. 


sometimes gleaming into the sunlight and sometimes hidden 
in verdure, and anon lying in deep eddying pools at the 
foot of the Ghauts, that rise up grand and defiant on 
every side. 

"With their forests of foliage and rich jungles the Tbull 
Ghauts are a perpetual wonder and mystery to the natives, 
and the spot on which the handsome city of Xashik stand- 
is a paradise to the Brahmans. Through it the Godaveri, 
sometimes called the Gunga, flow's, spreading gladness and 
plenty everywhere. Here it was that Rama, with his beau- 
tiful wife Sita, spent the first days of their exile near a dark 
and dreadful forest, out of which issued the beautiful deer 
in pursuit of which he was obliged to leave Sita, who be- 
came an easy prey to his enemy Rawana. Here Laksh- 
man, the brother of Rama, cut off the nose of the giantess 
Sarp Naki, the snake-nosed sister of Rawana, from which 
event the city itself is named. 

There is doubtless an historical basis to all these local 
traditions, for Nashik. is a place of great antiquity, and is 
mentioned by Ptolemy by the name which it bears to-day. 
This land was no doubt at one time debatable ground be- 
tween the advancing Aryan tribes and the aboriginal set- 
tlers. Here the Buddhists took refuge from the persecu- 
tions of the orthodox Brahmans, excavating the temples 
and caves that abound in this region. 

Nashik is now a Brahman city in the fullest sense of 
the word. Brahrnanic power, influence, culture, and tra- 
dition are felt everywhere. Govind, our pundit, was in 
his best humor. It seems he had long desired to make a 
pilgrimage to this sacred spot, and here he was without 
any actual expense to himself and at the right moment. 
Nashik is said to have a population of from twenty-five 
to thirty thousand inhabitants, chiefly Brahmans of great 
wealth and famed for their religious sanctity of character. 


At the jatras, or tribe-meetings, a great concourse of 
Brahmans, Hindoos, Rajpoots, and Mahrattas from all 
parts of India pour into this city, and our visit happened 
at this time, for the pilgrims were arriving from all parts 
of the Eastern world. Most of the streets are, like those 
usually found in Oriental cities, narrow, ill-drained, and 
badly paved, but there are some that are well kept, and 
a fine broad thoroughfare leads almost, but not quite, 
through the centre of the city to the banks of the Godav- 
eri. The lofty houses of the Brahmans, many of which 
are three stories high and almost palatial in appearance, 
were thrown open to the strangers. Pilgrims thronged 
the streets and were encamped along the roadside in tents 
in the open air or under the shade of huge trees. High- 
ways lead everywhere down to the river, whose sanctity 
may be conceived from the vast numbers and character- 
istics of the temples that line its banks and dot the islands 
and rocks in the river-bed, nearly all built of a hard 
black rock capable of high polish, and some in the purest 
style of Hindoo architecture. 

As we were detained here a couple of days, being 
obliged to purchase a fresh pair of trotting bullocks in 
order to prosecute the rest of our journey, we determined 
to stay over and see the celebration of the Ho\i, one of the 
most curious festivals among the Hindoos. We took up 
our abode in the travellers' bungalow, some little distance 
from the native city, and looking out upon the English 
burying-ground. It is a charming spot, with a wild tangle 
of trees forming a sort of garden around it. 

The native town of Nashik seems to be divided into 
three parts, the handsome and well-built portion being oc- 
cupied by the wealthy Brahmans, vakeels, or lawyers, and 
gurus, or priests. The second division, which bears marks 
of great age and is not very sightly, is inhabited by mer- 


chants and traders in grain and other articles of Indian 
commerce. The bazaars are remarkably well stocked with 
shawls brought from Cashmere, silks and kinkaubs from 
Aurungabad, gowrakoo, a native manufacture of tobacco 
and used for smoking, and jaggery, a dark-brown sugar 
from Bombay. In the jewellers' shops we saw some very 
pretty specimens of gold and silver ornaments, such as are 
worn by Hindoo women. The vegetable and fruit mar- 
kets here are very fine. Among the fruits large trays of 
beautiful flowers were disposed, of which the rose of 
Nashik seemed to me the finest I had seen in India. 
Sheep, goats, and cows wander about the streets of the 
bazaar unmolested. Indeed, I saw cows putting their 
heads into the open grain-bags exposed on the shop-win- 
dows of the bunyas or grain-dealers, and have a good 
feed, for there was no one to hinder them. 

One day, as we were wandering about the streets of 
Nashik, we strayed into an open court, and thence through 
an arched entrance, into a large hall, where we suddenly 
came upon a company of men weaving a peculiar and 
beautiful Oriental silk. The loom was of the old-fash- 
ioned Indian type, set into the ground ; the upper thread 
was of a pale-gold color, and the lower of the most ex- 
quisite blue, and the fabric after it was woven had a little 
knot of yellow left on the surface, which gave it the ap- 
pearance in one light of being woven of gold threads, and 
in another light of pale blue. A number of women were 
seated close by preparing the silk thread for the weavers 
by means of a very rude spinning-wheel. 

From the bazaars we set off to visit some of the most 
artistic temples that embellish the banks of the Godavcri. 
There are five structures here to-day in great repute : the 
temples of Maha Deo, or the high god, Siva, Parvati, 
Indra, and Jaggar Nath y commonly called Juggernaut. 


Each of these temples has a large number of laymen, 
priests, and priestesses, or dancing-girls, attached to them. 
The dancing-girls were seen everywhere in the temples, on 
the banks of the river, and in the booths erected here and 
there, performing their various dances for the amusement 
of the pilgrims, and some of these girls were of the finest 
type that I have seen in any part of India. 

We went into the temple of Maha Deo, which contains 
some very rich and bold carvings. A figure of a god was 
seated on a stone altar, and all over the shrine were scat- 
tered flowers, oil, and red paint, or " shaindoor." At the 
door of this temple we saw seated a very old woman, who, 
they told me, was once a famous beauty and a priestess of 
this temple. She sat there muttering idly to herself and 
basking in the sunlight. Age had very forcibly set its 
seal upon her. Her skin was drawn into the most com- 
plicated network of wrinkles, her arms were almost de- 
void of flesh, and her limbs were as feeble and tottering 
as those of an infant just attempting to walk; but her 
eyes, large, dark, and piercing, still retained a great deal 
of their original beauty. The people, however, regarded 
her as one inspired, and the women attached to the temple 
had a tender care for her, taking her into an adjoining 
chamber every night to sleep, bringing her out to her ac- 
customed place eveiy morning, and feeding her at regular 

On the banks of the Godaveri is shown a spot where 
women without number have become suttees, or, as they 
called them here, Sadhwees, or " pure ones." At a very 
gentle curve of the river are the cremation-grounds of the 
Hindoos, and here the ashes of men burned at a distance 
are brought and scattered in the holy stream, which is 
thought to have its source in the heart of the great Maha 
Deo himself. 


Next morning, when we issued into the streets of 
Nashik once more, the scene that presented itself to our 
astonished gaze was that of a vast multitude gone mad. 
Crowds of women dressed in fantastic attire, especially iu 
white- and yellow-spotted muslin sarees, men in curious 
garbs, boys dressed like sprites or wholly nude and be- 
smeared with yellow paint, fakeers, gossains, ascetics, 
Hindoos, and Brahmans, were seen in the streets shouting, 
laughing, throwing red paint about ; rude jests were being 
passed ; women were addressed in obscene or ribald lan- 
guage; persons blindfolded in the streets were left to 
grope their way until they removed the bandage from 
their eyes, friends sent on bootless errands, etc. In fact, 
it was a complete saturnalia of the rudest and most gro- 
tesque description. It was the festival of the Holi* held 
in honor of Krishna's sportive character on the night of 
the full moon in the month of February. 

That evening we went out on the banks of the Godav- 
eri to see the termination of the festival, and it is simply 
impossible to describe the wild enthusiasm of this vast 
concourse of people. The banks of the river, the steps of 
the numberless temples, the courts within courts, the 
shrines, the altars, the great halls and music-galleries with 
forests of carved pillars, were closely packed with count- 
less throngs of white-robed priests, half-naked gossains, 
or sparkling dancing-girls, while thousands of men, wo- 
men, and children lined the banks of the Godaveri, eager 
and enthusiastic participants in the gay, bewildering scene. 
As we stood gazing at the strange spectacle we heard the 
wild, discordant sounds of various musical instruments, 
the shrill blast of innumerable conch-shells, and the deaf- 
ening beat of the tom-toms, whereupon huge fires began 

* A most popular Hindoo festival held all over Hindostan in honor 
of Krishna. 


to blaze almost simultaneously from shore to shore at 
regular distances, and everywhere round them groups of 
strangely dressed boys performed weird circular dances, 
holding each other's hands and going around them ; then, 
suddenly letting loose, they darted and leaped round and 
round one another and round the fire at the same time. 
This dance is ostensibly performed to commemorate the 
dance of the god Krishna with the seven gowpiahs, or 
milkmaids, but there is scarcely a doubt that this festival 
originally meant to typify the revolution of the planets 
round the sun. 

The light from these blazing fires streaming out upon 
the moonlit river, the wild discordant music, the hilarious 
shouts, the frantic dancers, the sparkle of the dancing- 
girls, the white-robed figures of the countless multitude, 
now flashing in sight in the glare of the firelight, and 
anon vanishing in the deep shadows beyond, the piles of 
black temples, the great trees with their arms bending 
down to the river or stretching toward the clear sky, all 
combined to render the last night of the festival of the 
Holi at Nashik a most weird and singularly fantastic sight. 

From the first to the last day of our visit here there 
was nowhere perceptible the least trace of European influ- 
ence on the people or in the city. The people and the 
city were just what they might have been in the days when 
Ptolemy wrote about the latter, purely and wholly Hindoo, 
and full of a Brahmanic atmosphere of religious mysticism 
a civilization quite different from anything we had ever 

There are a number of 'curious excavations in this neigh- 
borhood, about five miles from the town, in the side of a 
hill that overhangs the highway from Bombay. The hill 
as well as these cavern-temples is called Pandulgnd. We 
rode out on fine horses hired from a native stable close to 


the bazaar. The ride out was delightful, the views of the 
country at once grand and beautiful, but the excavations 
were much less interesting than had been reported to us 
by Govind, and in no way comparable to the wondrous 
structures of Ellora. There is one cave here, however, 
that has a superior finish. The roof is finely arched ; the 
dogaba, or memorial structure, stands at the end and is 
well executed. Another cave with idols of seated figures 
has a flat roof, and is not very interesting, save that near 
it is carved in a niche a huge figure of Buddha. The 
chief idol here is called Rajah Dhanna i. e. "judge of 
the dead " and is held most sacred by the pilgrims, who 
were now beginning to arrive here in strong numbers. 
The odors of the stuff with which the filthy gossains rub 
themselves and their altogether disgusting appearance sent 
us hastily back to our quiet lodge, and early next morn- 
ing we bade adieu for ever to Nashik. 

From Nashik to Trimbak, eighteen or twenty miles, the 
country is one of unrivalled beauty. Trimbak is a very 
sacred spot, where the Godaveri really takes its rise, and 
is wholly given up to the Hindoo and Brahman pilgrims, 
who were pouring into the place from all the country 
round. It is filled by a class of priests whose sole duty it 
is to instruct pilgrims in the right way to worship and to 
receive the gifts bestowed on the temples. The houses of 
these priests adjoin the temples ; they lodge the pilgrims 
without any charge, but each person generally leaves at 
the temple a gift which exceeds the cost of his stay. We 
had no time to examine the temples here, for we spent 
only a night at Trimbak, and started next morning, trav- 
ersing circuitous roads, crossing some small nullahs, and 
by dint of travelling all day and night reached the next 
important halting-place, which was no other than Damaun, 
a famous old Portuguese town. 


The tow" of T)a.tngri.n,, with its ramparts, gateways, and 
bastions, is picturesquely situated. There is on one side 
of it a fine old fortress baptized after a Christian saint 
and called the "Castle of St. Hieronymus," and on the 
other a deep, navigable river which still bears the favorite 
Hindoo name of Gunga. The country all round Damaun 
is well cultivated. The tara palm, the castor oil, the 
babool, or Acacia arabica,* were seen in the gardens 
and plantations. But the interior of the Portuguese town 
struck me as gloomy and exceedingly filthy, and, though 
it was full of people Mohammedans, Hindoos, and Chris- 
tians, with even Jews and Parsees it lacked that air of 
sprightliness and vivacity so noticeable in a purely Hin- 
doo population. It was neither one thing nor the other 
not wholly pagan, and only partially Christian. The Ro- 
man Catholic chapel here was once a grand mosque. 

Through the kind introduction of a Portuguese friend 
we were most cordially received in the home of a vener- 
able native Portuguese named Johnna Castello. The 
household consisted of himself and the families of two 
married sons ; one of the ladies was indisposed, but the 
other, Donna Caterina, did the honors of hostess in a sim- 
ple and unpretending manner. Our pundit had an out- 
house placed at his disposal. The establishment did not 
boast of many rooms, and those in which we were lodged 
were rough and poorly built of wood. Our meals con- 
sisted of rice and curry, fish, kabobsrf kid and fowl pillau, 
with a variety of fine fruits and vegetables. Our meals 
were served apart and in European style, but the quantity 

* A genus of leguminous trees and shrubs, usually with thorns and 
pinnate leaves, and of an airy and elegant appearance. It is found in 
all the tropical parts of both the Old World and the New, and also in 
Australia and Polynesia. A few species only are found in temperate 

f Small pieces of meat seasoned and roasted on a skewer. 


of onion and garlic with which almost every dish was 
seasoned helped much toward shortening our stay here. 
Besides which, it seemed to me that everything was 
pickled, from the pork (of which the native Portuguese 
are very fond) to the young bamboo-shoots. At every 
fresh course some half a dozen hot, biting pickles were 
handed around. 

My womanly curiosity led me into the kitchen of this 
very well-to-do Portuguese family. It was in keeping 
with the rest of the place. It was a low wooden struc- 
ture, black with smoke and age ; a long range of open fire- 
places, made of brick and mortar, ran along on one side ; 
on these earthen chatties, or earthen pots, were boiling 
away, some covered and others uncovered; but hanging 
from the roof above these pots were long lines of black- 
ened cobwebs that looked as if they had remained undis- 
turbed for a hundred years. The servants were all men, 
native Christians, and were overlooking the cooking or 
attending to various culinary duties. They were filthy 
beyond measure, and so was every nook and corner of the 
kitchen. The native Portuguese in this old-fashioned city 
of Damaun struck me as peculiarly uninteresting in their 
manners and appearance. We saw them in the streets, 
seated on the verandahs or doorsteps of their houses, chat- 
tering or laughing or quarrelling with their neighbors in 
shrill, harsh tones and with ungraceful gestures. In some 
aspects Oriental Christianity seems even more degrading 
than the worst form of paganism. 

In the afternoon of the same day, as we were walking 
about the town, we passed a wedding-procession .on its 
way to the Roman Catholic church, which served in some 
slight degree to soften the unfavorable impression produced 
by the people and the town. It was a gaudy sight. Sheets 
were spread along the street leading to the steps of the 


chapel; flowers, chiefly the oleander, the rose, and the 
mohgre* were scattered all over these sheets by dark- 
skinned Portuguese girls dressed in long white trousers 
and old-fashioned pink frocks. Presently the church- 
bells began to tinkle merrily, and a company of dark- 
hued damsels issued in full sight, dressed in tinsel and 
gold, with long white muslin veils, almost like the Hin- 
doo sarees, bound round their persons. The bride was 
closely veiled from head to foot in something that looked 
like the purdah^ worn by Mohammedan women. We 
could not see her, but I pleased myself with imagining 
that she was young and beautiful. Close to her were two 
young women bearing lighted torches, and in the foremost 
rank were two Portuguese priests, who led the way to the 
chapel (once a mosque), each bearing a silver-mounted 
crucifix. The bridegroom brought up the rear dressed as 
an English general, with a dark-blue embroidered frock- 
coat, golden epaulettes, scarlet pantaloons, sword, and a 
cocked hat with feathers, accompanied by at least twelve 
other native gentlemen similarly attired; but many of 
these grand-looking officers were barefooted. This gro- 
tesque procession rushed into the chapel in unseemly 
haste, and we followed. There was nothing very re- 
markable in the exterior of this chapel. But within, the 
principal altar was very richly adorned with gilt images 
of Christ, the Virgin, and saints, with handsome candle- 
sticks and a great deal of gold and tinsel. There seemed 
to be but few seats. Before the marriage ceremony began 
the bride dropped her purdah, or veil, and, to my sur- 
prise, I found that she was both ugly and old, and about 
to be married to the young fellow in the general's cos- 

* A white flower very much like a double jessamine, with much the 
Bame fragrance, 
t A veil that covers the whole person. 


tume, who certainly looked young enough to be her son. 
She was a rich old widow, which explained the matter. 
We did not wait to see the ceremony, as our stay here was 
limited to two days, and this was our last one in Damaun. 
After nightfall, as I looked out upon this strange, semi- 
Christian, semi-pagan city, old and weather-stained, poorly 
lighted, and upon that river named after a Hindoo goddess 
flowing by so sluggishly, but which, after the rainy season, 
often becomes a cruel foe to the peasant and cultivator, I 
felt somehow that it was one of the most dismal places in 
the world, in spite of its peculiar advantages of a rich soil 
and sea- views. Next morning, through the kind offices 
of our host, who assisted us in procuring a comfortable 
berth on board a native craft called a patemar,* we found 
ourselves sailing before a fine breeze, bound straight for 
Surat, one of the most ancient and well-known seaports 
of Western India. 

* A patemar is a coasting vessel, built generally in Bombay. It has 
prow and stern alike, double planked a handsome craft of about two 
hundred tons burden, with two masts and great wide lateen sails. 


The Taptee Biver. Surat and its Environs. The Borahs and Kho- 
lees of Guzerat.* Baroda, the Capital of the Guicowars. Fakeers, 
or Relic-Carriers, of Baroda. Cambay. Mount Aboo. Jain Tem- 
ples on Mount Aboo, etc. 

THE views along the Western Ghauts and the coast are 
very grand. We soon lost sight of all their varied beauty, 
and in a couple of days entered the splendid river Taptee, 
which flows broad and deep immediately under the walls 
of the city of Surat. 

Almost at the mouth of the Taptee stands a lovely little 
island ; opposite to this is a little town called Domus, a 
quaint, homelike-looking place, where Europeans spend 
the hot months. The river flows for miles through a 
richly-cultivated suburb of gardens, plantations, and beau- 
tiful houses, till it reaches the city, which is walled with 
bastions at certain points, but the walls and towers are 
fast crumbling away. At one extremity stands the famous 
old castle of Surat, about three hundred years old, looking 
older and more stained with time and age than even the 
fortress of Damaun. 

Surat has a double wall and twice twelve gates, inner 
and outer, communicating with one another. But its his- 
tory is even more varied and complicated than its " world- 
protecting " walls and wooden-leaved gates. It is written 
in the ruins found everywhere in the gardens, palaces of 
the nawabs, rajahs, and peishwas, as well as in the fac- 
tories of the Dutch, French, Portuguese, and English, 



most of which are now transformed into hospitals, lunatic 
asylums, hotels for European travellers, or pleasure- 
houses and grounds for wealthy natives. 

Here are also grand English and Dutch cemeteries, 
where many noted English and Dutch lie magnificently 
entombed in stately mausoleums, in order to impress the 
Oriental mind, which is always disposed to attach a cer- 
tain kind of sanctity to piles of brick, mortar, and stone, 
whether priest, prophet, or knave lie interred beneath. 

We tried to visit the " Pinjrapoore," or hospital for sick 
animals, here ; it seems to be arranged much on the same 
plan as that in Bombay, but this place was too filthy to 
enter, and in that respect much inferior. Attached to it 
are large granaries, where all the damaged grain of the 
bazaars is piled up for the use of the sick animals in the 
hospital; and this it is which has rendered this place a 
perfect pest-house of insects and vermin of all kinds. 

Fire-temples and towers of silence are numerous here, 
as Surat has a large Parsee community, who have been 
established in this region ever since the eighth century. 
The most curious and interesting people in this part of 
the world are the Borahs, the Jains, and Buniahs. 

The Borahs are divided into two classes, the traders and 
the cultivators. They are Hindoos converted to Moham- 
medanism ; they form the most active and industrious cul- 
tivators of the soil, as well as cotton- and cloth-merchants. 
Their dress, manners, and Language are the same as those 
of the Hindoos. Cotton is the chief staple. The Borahs 
occupy an entire street in Surat, and it is especially dis- 
tinguished as being the cleanest in the native town. Their 
houses are spacious and well built, with fine open bal- 
conies. Their women are well treated. They support 
here a number of Mohammedan priests, a bishop have a 
fine mosque wherein to worship, and one of the best col- 


leges in this part of the country, where the Borah youths 
receive a thorough commercial education. 

The jfoniahs are almost identical with the Borahs in 
their trading and commercial qualifications. They are the 
great grain-merchants here and everywhere. They are 
also divided into three classes the cultivators, the whole- 
sale merchant, and the petty retailer, who travels from 
village to village with his grain-bags on his shoulders. 
The Buniahs, however, are Hindoos in religion as well as 
by birth. 

The Jains, of whom mention has already been made, 
are seen in great numbers in the streets and bazaars. 
Their dress is a long white robe descending in full folds 
from the shoulders to the feet, and over the shoulders is 
thrown another long loose piece of white cloth ; the head 
and beard are closely shaven. But the most striking pe- 
culiarity is a bit of white cloth of fine texture which they 
wear over the mouth to prevent them from destroying,' 
by inhaling into their lungs, the minutest insect life. 
They are always found with a little broom in their hands, 
no matter where they go, so as to sweep the ground before 
seating themselves, with the same end in view the pres- 
ervation of all insect life; for this purpose they walk 
very slowly with their eyes cast on the ground. To de- 
stroy life, even unintentionally, is the inexpiable sin, and 
a Jain will not drink any water until he has strained it, 
nor will he take any meal or drink of any kind after sun- 
set, lest he should happen to devour some living thing. 
The Jains have some fine temples in this city. 

Surat was long in the possession of the Mohgul em- 
perors. In 1842 the last nawab died, and it passed into the 
hands of the East India Company. It is still a great 
trading city ; the surtee rassum, or manufactured silk of 
Surat, is very beautiful; the gold and silver ornaments 


sold in the bazaars are unique and of fine workmanship. 
Surat is also famous for the weaving of many varieties of 
cotton cloths ; these are usually woven in small chequered 
patterns with bright and elegant borders. Potteries are 
not only numerous, but some pottery of very fine form 
and quality is sold in the bazaars and is said to be of 
home manufacture. 

The last day we spent in Surat was passed in driving 
through the suburbs in a native wagon drawn by a fine 
pair of humpbacked white bullocks (zebus), who carried 
us rapidly over the ground. We alighted at the palace of 
the last nawab, called at once the " gift of God " and the 
" seat of oppression." Of its being the former there is no 
trace, but the shadow of the latter name seems still to fall 
upon the partially deserted place. Apart from the col- 
lection of Persian and Arabic manuscripts to be seen in a 
room adjoining the palace of the nawab, there is nothing 
to interest the curious visitor. With the removal of the 
Moslem flag that once waved so proudly over the citadel 
of Surat the glory of the Mohgul conquerors departed. 

The Mohgul quarter of the city is gradually falling into 
decay ; ruin and desolation mark the spot where many a 
noble pile of Moslem dwellings once stood. The very 
name of the Mohguls is almost a thing of the past, save 
that in household song and story their deeds will ever cast 
behind them a dark and terrible shadow. 

We left Surat, or rather Soo Rashtra, "the pleasant 
country," seated in a dhuinee, a native wagon on two 
wheels with a cloth canopy overhead, and drawn l>y a 
pair of large, handsome humped oxen, with a Bheel 
guide, the pundit, and two servants. We had traversed a 
large extent of country, halted under trees by the road>i<Io 
and at mean little dhtirruin-salas, without fear or molest- 
ation of any kind, with but few detentions, and only one 



accident to our wagon, which was repaired almost at once 
by applying to the headman of a village near by, who not 
only sent us a blacksmith, but came out to see the work 
done himself. The plan adopted in our travels through 
the Deccan we carried out in our entire journeyings 
through Guzerat and back i. e. to send the pundit to 
the governor of the town or to the headman of the vil- 
lage to ask escort and guide for the place itself as well as 
to the next station ; and in no instance were these unfaith- 
ful to the trust reposed in them. When they quitted us 
at the appointed station we generally made them a small 
present, which brought down upon us showers of bless- 
ings and unqualified praise. I did not doubt, however, 
that our good-fortune in this respect was owing to the dig- 
nified bearing and sanctified presence of our Brahman pun- 
dit. For the first few miles from Surat to Rata^goore, " the 
Jewel City," the road was deep and heavy, and our wagon 
dragged slowly along, but it was not long before we came 
out on a magnificent park-like country, which is the cha- 
racteristic of almost the whole vast province lying west of 
the Deccan. It was delightful to hear our Bheel guide 
singing in his deep sonorous voice as he trotted on by our 
side, in which music he was joined occasionally by our 
driver. One of his songs was intended to gratify Euro- 
pean hearts and ears (with the "inam," or present, in 
prospect, I suppose), the chorus of which was as follows : 

" Bur, bur, nashanee oorta hai, 

Ingraje Bhadhar ki, 
Mar lia rah Tipoo Sultan, 
Wo kaya lurta, haram ki." 

(" Behold proud England's flag unfurl 

And wave on every height. 
Beaten low lies Tippoo Sultan ; 
With England who dare fight?") 


This chorus was kept up with great animation until we 
reached the Jewel City, which is named after the exten- 
sive carnelian-mines in its neighborhood. Our measure 
of sleep at the miserable halting-place was stinted, for we 
started at dawn to visit the mines, situated some distance 
from the village along the slope of a picturesque hill. 
The road was literally covered with discarded pieces of 
carnelian. The mines were neither high nor deep. The 
entire face of the hill is perforated with galleries or pits 
that run in every direction. The gems are found im- 
bedded in a slimy black clay holding numerous organic 
remains. In some parts the pits are carried down thirty 
feet before the peculiar deposit in which the carnelian 
abounds is reached. It is also found in many other places 
here still unknown to Europeans, as the natives keep the 
secret, as far as it is possible, to themselves and even from 
one another. It was interesting to see the men working 
at the mines. They were very poorly clad, with only a 
langoutee, or waist-cloth, round them, and each division 
was superintended by a number of better-dressed men 
called sirdhars, or "head lords." The stones are col- 
lected in great quantities, then tried by means of another 
sharp stone prepared for the purpose. If they chip easily 
they are discarded, but if they have a firm, compact tex- 
ture and a deep-black color, they are selected, cleaned, and 
exposed on strips of rough straw mattings to the sun's rays 
for the space of a year or more, since the longer they are 
thus exposed the brighter the color and polish after bak- 
ing. The process of baking these stones is both curious 
and original. The rough stones are piled in small heaps 
on the ground, which is slightly hollowed out to receive 
them. Small earthen pots with holes in them are placed 
over each pile ; then a quantity of goat- or sheep-ordure 
is heaped up on each pot ; it is then kindled and allowed 


to smoulder all night. On the following morning the 
stones are carefully examined, and if they have acquired 
the deep bright tint peculiar to the carnelian known to 
commerce, they are ready for the jeweller's polish ; if not, 
they are once more subjected to the fire. The shops in 
Baroda, Cambay, and Ahmedab&d have great varieties 
of these stones for sale ; for they are not only carved into 
rings, beads, bangles, boxes, vases, bowls, and mouth- 
pieces for pipes, but idols for the Jain, Hindoo, and 
Buddhist temples are also fashioned out of them. 

Our journey from Ratanpoore to Baroda was through a 
very beautiful country, and, though it is said to be infested 
with Kholee and Bheel robbers, we passed through it with- 
out the least molestation. At one point of the road not far 
from Baroda we espied a thick wood above which towered 
the slender spires of some Hindoo temples. The moment 
these were seen our pundit, driver, and Bheel escort craved 
permission to retire for puja, or worship, for a few moments. 
The oxen were fastened to the branch of a tree by the road- 
side, and we alighted and walked about until our pious 
attendants had finished their devotions to the goddess 
Bhawanee, enshrined even here as the favorite of the 
reigning Mahratta kings. 

Baroda ? or Varodah, "the good water country," is now 
the capital of the Guicowars, which name means, literally, 
" owner of heads of cattle." It is the quaintest, the most 
densely populated, and independent city in this province. 

The first Guicowar, a peasant by the name of Pullahji, 
was employed as a domestic in the service of the Peishwa 
Baji Roa. He soon raised himself by means of his ex- 
traordinary military talents to the rank of a commanding 
officer of the Peishwa's troops. Shortly after, having won 
over the army, he declared his independence and estab- 
lished himself on the throne of the Peishwas in Guzerat. 


Having sprung from the hardy Khumbis, or cultivators 
of the soil, he was justly proud of his race, and assumed 
the ancient title of Guicowar. Whenever opportunity 
offered, Pullahji, bent on conquest, invaded the Peishwa's 
territories, carrying pillage and disorder through the 
richest provinces of Nagpoor Rajpootana. His succes- 
sors, however, have been obliged to employ the aid of the 
British troops to hold their own in these provinces, which 
are at best but partly subjugated. 

We crossed an old Hindoo bridge of curious structure 
consisting of arches placed one over the" other, and span- 
ning an impetuous but extraordinarily beautiful river still 
bearing the polished Sanskrit name of Vishwamitra y or 
" the friendly preserver." It flows strong~and swift for 
many miles through a deep rocky channel. Its banks are 
singularly striking in some parts, rising on either side 
from fifty to sixty feet. Its waters, instead of appearing 
friendly, seemed dark and turbulent, not unlike the bar- 
baric city which stretched along its banks. Temples, 
mosques, tombs, mausoleums, and dark, sombre-looking 
fortresses are seen everywhere ; great flights of stone steps 
lead to the fast-flowing river, and all day long these are 
crowded with men and women washing, bathing, or filling 
their water-jars. The suburbs of Baroda extend for miles, 
and in the most densely crowded part of the capital the 
streets are narrow and crooked, the houses mostly of wood, 
but built with a view of architectural effect. Some are 
almost like pretty Swiss chalets, and others not unlike 
Italian villas. At the cross-roads and in various parts of 
the streets and lanes are seen queer little temples with the 
oddest of gods and goddesses enshrined in them deities 
of the woods, fountains, streams, and even of the streets 
and over these fluttered the gay-colored flags of the 
Guicowar. As for the inhabitants of Baroda, as seen in the 


streets, verandahs, and shops, they are quite characteristic. 
Specimens of every Eastern nationality may be seen here, 
and, what is more, in the martial atmosphere of the place 
they seemed more like freebooters, murderers, and warriors 
than like the simple citizens of a great agricultural district 
such as Guzerat presents outside of her cities and towns. 

The city proper, or rather the citadel, is walled. It is 
entered by huge gateways guarded by soldiers, and made 
even more imposing by the lofty round towers that crown 
it on either side. It is divided into four portions, three 
of which are occupied by the nobility of the court of Gu- 
zerat, and the other by the palaces and buildings of the 
Guicowar himself. The antechamber of the palace is a 
huge stone structure supporting a many-storied wooden 
balcony, from the centre of which rises a lofty pyramidal 
clock-tower painted in various colors and looking fantastic 
beyond description. Here we saw the Guicowar going to 
worship at some temple ; he was preceded by a number of 
led horses and elephants splendidly caparisoned; then 
came his standard borne on a great elephant, followed by 
the Guicowar himself. After him came men on foot in 
scarlet dresses, and more elephants. The elephants here 
are trained for riding, hunting, war, and even as execu- 
tioners and combatants. 

The English station is very picturesquely situated, and 
is purely European in appearance. The contrast is all the 
more striking after seeing the citadel of the Guicowar. It 
is on the north bank of the river Vishwamitra, and not far 
from the great highway are the British residency and travel- 
lers' bungalow, where we were most comfortably lodged. 

One of the most ancient and curious temples to be seen 
here is situated at the west end of the suburbs of Baroda. 
It is called Ghai Da wale, " the cow temple." The front 
is imposing. A portico with granite pillars admits you 


into a series of vaulted chambers, and there are number- 
less idols of gods and goddesses enshrined in niches, 
with offerings of flowers before them and red paint 
sprinkled over their persons. A great many corridors 
lead to other chambers, cells, vaults, and mysterious re- 
treats that have sprung up round it owing to the vast 
number of priestesses called Pathars attached to it. 
Another feature of Baroda are the magnificent bowries, 
or wells, that are found here ; some are in themselves 
most exquisite pieces of architecture, and may be called 
temples built over reservoirs. The entrance to these well- 
temples are by five or more pavilions; thence a flight 
of stone steps leads to a second dome, which is arched, 
and under the outer dome, which is in its turn supported 
by lofty pillars and is pyramidal, then more steps and 
more pillars, until the level of the water is reached, which 
is again covered by a last and beautiful dome supported 
by innumerable short pillars. The largest of these wells 
in Baroda is called Nou Laki, or " Nine Laks," from its 
having cost that amount in building. It was erected by 
Suleiman, the governor of Baroda in A. H. (Mohammedan) 
807. The water is very delicious, and here people from 
all parts of the country assemble to drink mendicant 
Brah mans, gossains for alms, and fakeer carriers of relics 
to trade. The latter is not a mendicant, but a religious 
trader, whose chief claim to sanctity consists in the marks 
he wears on his brow and nose. These men go from place 
to place carrying their curious relics in curtained baskets 
slung across their shoulders; their shirts and cumberbunds 
are filled with balls, beads, and pins made from the wood 
of the toolie * and other sacred trees. They have beads of 
sandal and other woods strung into necklaces, bracelets, 

* A native name for a tree which is found in great abundance in 
this part of India, and held very sacred. 


armlets, and anklets, mud figures of gods and goddesses 
made of the sacred clay of the (ranges, the Godaveri, and 
the Brahmapootra, precious bones of saints and prophets 
carved into amulets, and any quantity of yellow threads 
as a preservative against the evil eye. Women and chil- 
dren flock round these relic-carriers, and in return for 
grain, cloth, silver, and gold they will fasten a small yel- 
low thread, a bead, an amulet, or a precious bit of some 
dead saint's bone these, however, they part with only for 
gold or silver around their wrists, arms, neck, and feet, 
to preserve the wearer not only from the evil eye, which 
is much dreaded in the East, but from all diseases and 
from sudden death. 

Once more in our native wagon, with a fresh guide and 
escort we started for Canabay, the Khambayat of the an- 
cients. We passed through a luxuriant country, for Guze- 
rat is indeed the garden of the East. The thriving villages 
enclosed with great hedges of prickly pear ; the pretty little 
wooden houses of moderate size, all built on the same plan, 
with farms, or cotton-plantations, or fruit-orchards of man- 
goes, tamarinds, etc., attached to them ; the two-storied 
houses of the priest, the village schoolmaster, and the 
headman, with their high verdant hedges shutting off the 
house from curious eyes and separating it from its neigh- 
bors, this all makes up a pretty picture. In the centre 
of these Guzerat villages there is generally a Hindoo tem- 
ple, and a space fenced or hedged in where all the villagers 
assemble for prayers, celebration of holidays, and other fes- 
tival gatherings. 

The Guzerati women are handsome, well-formed, and 
remarkably industrious ; many of them do all their weav- 
ing and spinning at home. Their chief food consists of 
eggs, fowls, milk, cream, and cheese : some of the Guzerat 
Brahrnaus will eat fowl and even game. The men are 


well-formed, athletic, and of fairer complexion than the 
natives of Southern India. 

Cambay^is a city of great antiquity and well known to 
early European travellers. In 1543, Queen Elizabeth of 
England sent a mission to Khambayat, with instructions 
to proceed thence to China. The Hindoos state that on 
the site of Cambay stood twelve hundred and eighty years 
ago an ancient Brahman city according to Forbes, the 
Camanes of Ptolemy. It derives its present name, how- 
ever, from a copper pillar, called " Khamb," dedicating it 
to the presiding deity of the place, the earth-goddess Devi ; 
the date on this pillar is a little before the eleventh cen- 
tury of our era. Cambay has an air of extreme sluggish- 
ness and rapid decay, and one cannot fail to see its change- 
ful history in its numerous foundations. Everywhere are 
remnants of many cities and many kinds and styles of archi- 
tecture, built one above the other. 

The travellers' bungalow here comprises the upper stories 
of a spacious stone building, once the English factory. It 
overlooks the entire city, which is built on an eminence, 
with its old walls perforated with holes for musketry, its 
fifty-two towers and ten gates guarded by soldiers, and 
also looks out upon the great Gulf of Cambay, than 
which I know nothing more formidable in nature. At 
low tide for miles out one sees only a vast plain, moist, 
strewn with shells, and intersected here and there with 
deep hollows and shifting sandbanks; but when the tide 
changes, and long before the waters appear in sight, are 
heard tremendous sounds, crash after crash, thunder after 
thunder, of the advancing tide, which comes in leaping like 
a huge monster, thirty to forty feet high, and breaks with 
terrific violence against the shore, carrying everything be- 
fore it. Ships and native vessels anchor at a point some 
miles down the gulf, where the tides are less strong. 


Cambay has witnessed many a dreadful scene of carnage 
by the Mohguls, Hindoos, Persians, and Rajpoots. The 
only objects of real interest here are subterranean Jain 
temples; they are situated in the Parsee district. The 
exterior, or rather upper part, of the temple would be 
insignificant but for the imposing statue of Parswanath, 
sculptured in white marble, surrounded by a host of 
smaller images, many of which are jewelled and. are sold 
as household deities. Our guide pointed to us a queer 
narrow opening at the side which led by means of steep 
steps to the underground temples which the Jains, like 
the early Christians, built for purposes of midnight as- 
sembly and worship in order to escape the persecution of 
the Mohammedan conquerors of Guzerat. 

Emerging from one of the gates of Cambay, we wended 
our way through ruins which are scattered all about the 
neighborhood. Now a broad paved pathway, now crum- 
bling tombs, anon ancient structures, a broken archway, a 
cluster of roofless pillars, or, again, dilapidated temples, 
mark the sites where stood rich and quaint habitations, 
temples, or pavilions of the ancient Hindoos. The rich- 
ness and luxuriance of nature seems to have vanished also 
from these ruinous suburbs, and our road was- no longer 
beautiful, but lay through a deep sandy plain until we 
entered the ancient capital of the great sultans, Ah&mad- 
abjid or Ahmedabad, one of the unrivalled cities of the 

The travellers' bungalow is a pleasant place, and every- 
thing in the way of living is as cheap and good as one 
could possibly desire. We engaged a very intelligent 
guide, who spoke Hindostanee well, to take us to the 
places best worth seeing. 

Our first drive was to Mirzapoor to see the Ranee-Ki- 
Musjid, or "the Queen's Mosque," an enchanting spot. 


The moment we alighted in front of it a very old fakeer, 
with a multitude of necklaces round his neck, came out to 
greet us, and for a rupee showed us about the place. The 
mosque and mausoleum here are both beautiful marble 
structures, erected to the memory of a princess, Rupa- 
vati. Her tomb, which is richly ornamented, is of a 
mixture of Moslem and Hindoo style of architecture. 
The dome is magnificently fretted, and pillars standing at 
each tower form a graceful colonnade around the tomb. 
But perhaps the chief and peculiar beauty was the situ- 
ation of these partially ruined monuments, amid a wild 
tangle of fruit and other trees where birds, squirrels, and 
monkeys find a pleasant home. The second mosque and 
tomb are not far off, dedicated to the memory of a Mo- 
hammedan queen called Ranee Sipra-Ki-Musjid, "the 
Queen Sipra's Mosque," one of the favorite wives of 
Ahmed Shah, the founder of the city. These are exquisite 
buildings too, and in the finest Saracenic style ; the pillars 
and minarets have an air of wonderful loftiness and beauty. 

The Kanch Ki-Musjid, or "Glass Mosque," and the 
Jummah-Musjid, are both remarkably beautiful struc- 
tures. The Glass Mosque, so called from the whiteness 
and purity" of the marble of which parts of it was built, 
has a graceful dome after the Turkish style, terminating 
in a crescent. The Juminah-Musjid is in the vicinity of 
the great street, "Manik Chouk," which contains the chief 
b;i/uars and markets of Ahmedabad. It is an oblong build- 
ing, with a fine open courtyard containing a reservoir for 
washing the feet of the worshipper before entering the 
precincts of the temple. The light elegant domes of this 
building are supported by graceful pillars, and its open 
arches, minarets, and facades are most exquisitely orna- 

The grand royal cemetery of Sarkhej lies several miles 


from the city of Ahmedabad a wondrous ruin, the an- 
cient summer residence of Ahmed Shah. To approach it 
one is obliged to cross a fine pebbly stream fordable at 
points, called the Saber-Muttee, properly Safer Muttee, 
"pure sand." The road leading to these vast ruined 
structures of palaces, hareems, mosques, tombs, and gar- 
dens is still paved in some parts. 

We were admitted by a saintly custodian, who became 
aifable the moment silver coins were dropped into his 
half-open palm. Gury Baksh, or " the bestower of vir- 
tue," the spiritual adviser of Ahmed Shah, lies interred 
here beneath a splendid monument which attracts crowds 
of pilgrims annually. The tomb and mosque were com- 
pleted by Khouttub-ood-din, the grandson of Ahmed 
Shah. The city is founded on the site of a very ancient 
and populous Hindoo town dedicated to and called after 
the goddess Ashawhalla, and is built out of the materials 
of one or more Hindoo cities which Ahmed Shah sacked 
and plundered, carrying away the stones, pillars, and mon- 
uments bit by bit. 

Ahmedabad was given up to the East India Company 
in 1818, and has been held by it ever since. It is impos- 
sible to do anything like justice to the beauties and 
attractions of this magnificent Mohammedan city. It 
abounds in stately monuments, mosques, mausoleums, pal- 
aces, great reservoirs, and gardens, in a more or less ruin- 
ous condition, but which show a high degree of civiliza- 
tion and point to a period when the Mohgul occupation 
of India was at its highest prosperity. 

Leaving Ahmedabad, we started for Mount Aboo. a 
place very little known, but one of the most beautiful 
spots in the world. The magnificent province of Guzerat 
is separated from Marwar on the north-east by a range of 
mountains in which are Mount Aboo and a beautiful 

,' - 


mountain-lake called Aboogoosh. Passing through Desa, 
a military station for European troops, and across the 
Bhanas River, our road lay for many weary days through 
patches of jungle more or less dense until we found our- 
selves at the pretty little Marwar village of Andara, 
which lies at the foot of Mount Aboo. There is a good 
path from the village to the summit of the mount, and 
here a beautiful lake, called after the saint " Aboo," who 
is said to have excavated the basin in which it lies with 
his nails, and it is therefore called Nakhi Taloa, " Nail 
Lake." It is an exquisitely shaded bit of water, and in 
its vicinity are found wonderful Jain temples built of pure 
white marble. Not far from this spot is the sanitarium 
for travellers, where we took up our abode, barracks for 
convalescent European soldiers, and a quiet, unpretending 
little Protestant church. 

The most important of the cavern-temples in the neigh- 
borhood are the Tij Phal and the Veiuahl Sail. One is 
dedicated to a Jain saint, Vrishab-Deva. It stands alone 
in a square court, and all around it are little cells with 
deities enshrined in them. A number of strange-looking 
priests worship here, making offerings of saffron, lamps 
fed with ghee, and incense in small brass pots. One priest 
deliberately asked us for some brandy, and, as we had 
none to give him, proposed instantly to go back with us 
if we would give him some, because he suffered from 
pains in his stomach. 

The temple dedicated to Parswanath, the great Jain 
teacher and saint, is an exquisite bit of architecture built 
of the purest white marble. From one of the vaulted 
roofs is suspended a cluster of flowers resembling the 
half-blown lotus, sculptured out of the rock ; its cup and 
petals are so beautifully carved that they are almost as 
delicate and transparent as the flower itself. Everywhere 


the flowers, fruits, birds, and animals indicate that the 
artists must have taken their models from nature. There 
is also a fine Rajpoot fortress here. The dog-rose, a beau- 
tiful Indian flower called seotee, the pomegranate, the wild 
grape, the apricot, are among the indigenous products of 
Mount Aboo. The mango tree also abounds here, the 
white and yellow jessamine, the balsam, and the golden 
champa, which is sacred to the gods ; but the rarest and 
most beautiful of all the plants is a parasite called by the 
natives ambathri, with lovely blue and white flowers, 
creeping, entwining, and blossoming around the largest 
forest trees. 

It was a beautiful morning on which we returned to 
Andara. It was not without deep regret that we bade 
adieu to this charming mountain-region and the Jain tem- 
ples enshrined within its heart. We turned again and 
again to take a last look at the bas-reliefs and the orna- 
ments wrought here with such grace and delicacy of de- 
sign as to become the despair of our more impetuous 
artists, before we could make up our minds to quit those 
extraordinarily beautiful monuments for ever. 


Calcutta, the City of the Black Venus, Kali. The Eiver Hoogley. 
Cremation-Towers. Chowringee, the Fashionable Suburb of Cal- 
cutta. The Black Hole. Battles of Plassey and Assaye. The 
Brahmo-Somaj. Temple of Kali. Feast of Juggurnath. Benares 
and the Taj Mahal. 

AFTER eight or nine days' steaming from the fair and 
picturesque island of Bombay our captain announced that 
we were about to enter the Hoogley, a river made famous 
in Indian song and story as " the strong arm of the beau- 
tiful goddess Guuga, the compassionate daughter of the 
proud Himalayas," but which is in reality a great muddy 
estuary. The burning sun poured down upon its heavy 
waters as they loomed out of the distant plain and rolled 
sluggishly toward the sea, every wave seeming to bear on 
its troubled brow an impress of the dark history of the 
land through which it has flowed for centuries. 

Late in the same evening the pilot-boat came out to 
meet us, and not long after we cast anchor at a place called 
Saugor, where there is a lighthouse. I remember distinctly 
the oppressive night we passed here, owing no doubt to the 
combined impurities rising out of the turbid waves and the 
fetid odors of the adjoining land. Early next morning we 
were again in motion, sailing up the dusky Hoogley. Its 
low, muddy banks were dotted with wretched-looking mud 
huts, relieved only by the ever-graceful palm trees that 
waved above them. What a contrast this river was to 
the clear, limpid, and joyous Krishna, the high-banked 



and proudly isolated Godaveri, the genial, broad-breasted 
Taptee, and the grand, impetuous Vishwamitra of West- 
ern India! 

Another day was nearly gone before we reached our 
moorings. We cast anchor once more amid a dense forest 
of masts, funnels, and native craft in the harbor of Cal- 
cutta. We were met at the Champhool Ghaut, or land- 
ing-place, by kind friends. Ascending a magnificent 
flight of stone steps and passing under a great archway, 
we hurried into a European carriage, and were driven 
rapidly from the strange conflicting mass of humanity 
that always abounds at a great seaport, but especially at 
the seaports of all the British settlements in India. 

The house of our friends here was in many respects 
furnished like a European dwelling, and one might al- 
most fancy himself in an English home but for the pil- 
lared halls ; the spacious chambers, with long punkahs or 
fans suspended from the ceilings, some of which are kept 
going night and day ; the dark, silent barefooted domes- 
tics, robed in pure white, who are seen gliding noiselessly 
to and fro, which lend a powerful magic charm, a flavor 
of the Arabian Nights, to the interior of even the most ordi- 
nary of British homes in the East. 

Calcutta, the capital of British India, still bears the 
name of the black goddess Kali, who is supposed to spread 
pestilence, famine, and death over the land of which she 
is the presiding deity whenever her altars are neglected 
and her thirst for vengeance unappeased. Unhealthy as 
the spot is, it was rendered infinitely more so by the in- 
numerable corpses that were until within a few years cast 
upon the waters of the Hoogley : the poverty-stricken 
inhabitants of the land, unable to pay the expenses of a 
funeral by cremation, committed their dead to these waters 
in the belief that its mystic current would purify them from 


all taint of sin. This, however, has been prohibited by 
the British authorities. Huge cremation-towers now re- 
ceive all bodies cast upon its waters, whence the never- 
dying flames are seen constantly ascending, dark and lurid, 
toward the tranquil blue sky. 

The town of Calcutta lies on the eastern bank of the 
Hoogley, which is the eastern arm of the old Ganges, and 
held almost as sacred as that river ; the natives daily re- 
pair in great numbers to its banks to offer up prayers and 
praises. Here also, amid the din and noise and hurry of 
native craft, trading vessels, and all manner of river com- 
merce, may be seen at any hour of the day or night the 
sick and dying of the Hindoo population stretched on the 
edge of the river's banks, half immersed in the sacred 
stream, their faces turned to the sky, convulsed or calm, 
breathing their lives away. 

At high water the Hoogley is nearly a mile broad in 
front of the town, and is very pleasant to look upon. 
Fine ships and steamers of all nations and countries lie 
here within sight and sound; picturesque-looking craft 
of every kind are seen gliding swiftly hither and thither. 
But at low water the scene suddenly changes ; the river 
becomes a shrunken and muddy ghost of itself, with filthy 
borders, whence myriad floating particles of miasma are 
wafted on the air to the poor humanity who are doomed 
to live and labor in its vicinity. 

After passing the triumphal archway you emerge on a 
spacious open area called the Meidan, or plain ; here all 
the principal roads part and meet, and here on either side 
one sees a grand display of really stately architecture. 
This is the handsome and fashionable suburb of Chow- 
ringee, and in every respect worthy of being called, as 
it is, "the City of Palaces." The houses are all Euro- 
pean, three and four stories high, some detached, others 



connected by handsome terraces or open sunny balconies, 
many with shady verandahs, high carriage-porches sup- 
ported by stately pillars, while not a few are rendered still 
more attractive and home-like with gay flower-gardens 
and fine forest and fruit trees, which latter are not as fine 
as those found in the gardens of Bombay, owing to the de- 
structive influence of the periodical cyclones that sweep 
over the valley of the Ganges. 

Our first drive was through this the European part of 
the city, which extends about five miles along the river. 
A noble and much-frequented esplanade divides the town 
from Fort William. On one side stands the new Govern- 
ment-house, said to have been erected by the marquis of 
Wellesley. It is a noble pile, an Ionic structure on a sim- 
ple rustic basement. A flight of stone steps leads to the 
north entrance. The south part of the building is orna- 
mented with a circular colonnade surmounted with a lofty 
dome. There are spacious corridors at each of the four 
corners, with circular passages leading to the private apart- 
ments of the family. This princely building contains mag- 
nificent chambers, some of which are richly decorated and 
filled with valuable portraits of the great viceroys of India. 
Near the Government-house stand the Town-hall, Treasury, 
and High Court ; opposite is Fort "William, commenced by 
Clive soon after the famous battle of Plassey in 1775, the 
most systematically-constructed fortress in India. It is 
said to have cost the East India Company the immense 
sum of one million pounds sterling. In shape it is an 
irregular octagon, with bombproof quarters for a garrison 
of no less than ten thousand men and with room for six 
hundred pieces of cannon. Toward the front it presents 
a regular massive appearance, and is not unlike most Euro- 
pean fortifications, but on the side overlooking the river it 
is strikingly varied and picturesque, owing to the extreme- 


ly irregular and broken character of the structure. It was 
designed to bear upon objects that might approach the town 
on either side of the river, and is eminently effective in ward- 
ing off danger. Immediately beyond the fort the fine 
steeple of the cathedral is seen rising pure and high above 
the surrounding foliage. There is also here a palatial 
residence for an Anglican bishop, and in 1844 the Rev. 
H. Heber was the first Christian divine appointed to this 
see, with a salary of five thousand pounds per annum. 

Here in this spot is found the secret of the marvellous 
success of that small band of intelligent Englishmen who 
first set out for India under the name and protection of 
trade. Here only a few years after their arrival they laid 
aside their intention of simple traders ; here they mounted 
their guns, enrolled armed bands of natives to assist them 
in their new position, made laws, punished evil-doers, re- 
warded the industrious and such as made no opposition to 
their pretensions ; and here from one step to another they 
finally became the legislators and rulers of the land. The 
city of Calcutta does not date farther back than the fa- 
mous battle of Plassey. The old fortified English factory 
was erected on a low marshy plain in the middle of a few 
straggling native villages, bordered on three sides by dense 
jungles infested with tigers. At that time it had a gar- 
rison of only three hundred men; nevertheless, that in- 
significant English stronghold became in a short time the 
depository of all the rich merchandise of the Gangetic 
valley, which excited the cupidity of many of the rajahs. 
In 1756, Nawab Surajah Dowlah attacked it with an im- 
mense army, and after a desperate resistance from the 
English merchants and soldiers of the fort he finally suc- 
ceeded in capturing it. Then followed the famous Black 
Hole tragedy, which Macaulay has so graphically de- 
scribed: "One hundred and forty-six persons were 


thrust into a dungeon twenty feet square ; driven into this 
cell at the point of the sword, the door was shut ruth- 
lessly upon them. When they realized the horrors of 
their position they strove to burst the door. They offered 
large bribes to the jailers, but all in vain. The nawab 
was asleep, and none dared to awaken him. At length 
the unhappy sufferers went mad with despair. They 
trampled each other down, fought for the places at the 
windows, fought for the pittance of water with which the 
cruel mercy of the murderers mocked their agonies, raved, 
prayed, blasphemed, implored the guards to fire among 
them. The jailers in the mean time held lights to the 
bars and shouted with laughter at the frantic struggles of 
their victims. At length the tumult died away in low 
gaspings and moanings. The day broke. The nawab 
had slept off his debauch, and permitted the doors to be 
opened. But it was some time before the soldiers could 
make a lane for the survivors by piling up on each side 
the heaps of corpses on which the burning climate had 
already begun to do its loathsome work. When at length 
a passage was made, twenty-three ghastly figures, such as 
their own mothers would not have known, staggered one 
by one out of the charnel-house. A pit was instantly 
dug. The dead bodies, one hundred and twenty-three in 
number, were flung into it promiscuously and covered 
up." Such was the terrible nature of the affair of the 
Black Hole. But the day of retribution was not far 

In order to understand the position of the East India 
Company at this time we must go back a few years. The 
jealousy that had sprung up between the French and 
English trading companies broke out into open hostilities 
at the moment of the declaration of war by Louis XV. in 
1744. The English were the first to receive reinforce- 


ments from home. Four English vessels, having pre- 
viously captured three* richly-laden French vessels on 
their voyage from Chiua, appeared off the coast of Coro- 
niandel in July, 1745. Dupleix, the governor at Pon- 
dicherry, apprehensive that, owing to the incomplete state 
of the fortifications and the insufficient garrison, the place 
would be taken, prevailed on the nawab Anwar Ou Deen 
to threaten to revenge upon the English at Madras any 
injury that the squadron should inflict upon the French 
possessions within the limits of his government. The 
Madras officials, intimidated by the authoritative language 
of the nawab, took immediate measures to prevent the 
English fleet from attacking Pondicherry. The English 
squadron, in obedience to the orders received, confined 
their hostile operations to the sea. 

In the following year an indecisive action took place 
between the English squadron and a French fleet under 
the command of La Bourdonnais ; after which the latter, 
having reinforced himself at Pondicherry, proceeded to 
attack the English at Madras. The town was bombarded 
for several days ; a few of the inhabitants were killed by 
an explosion of a bombshell. The English, knowing that 
the nawab, with all his countless forces, was on the side of 
the French, capitulated, on which the assailants entered 
the town and took it without the loss of a single life. 

Robert Clive, then only a writer in the East India 
Company's service, was among the persons who agreed to 
submit to La Bourdounais, on the express condition that 
the settlement should be restored on easy and honorable 
terms. At the time when Madras had reverted to the 
English, Clive had already exchanged the pen for the 
sword, and had risen to the rank of a colonel in the Knst 
India Company's .-crvice. On hearing of the atrocity of 
the Black Hole the English at Madras immediately de- 


spatched a naval and military forqe, the one under Admi- 
ral Watson, and the other under Colonel Clive, to punish 
the nawab and protect the English at Bengal. 

The bravery and "duplicity" of Clive, who believed 
in the adage, " similia similibus curantur," enabled him to 
succeed beyond the most sanguine expectations. Victory 
was followed by victory, and at length, at the battle of 
Plassey, Clive at the head of three thousand men, of 
whom less than one-third were English, and in the course 
of a single hour's conflict, routed the entire army of 
Snrajah Dowlah, consisting of fifty-five thousand armed 
men. Surajah Dowlah vanquished and deposed, his prime 
minister, Meer Jaffer, was appointed in the place of the 
master, whom he had not only deserted, but betrayed, and 
thus Meer Jaffer became at once the subject and tool of 
the English. 

The directors of the East India Company, on receiving 
the news of Clive's success, appointed him governor of 
their possessions in Bengal, and in 1760 Clive was raised 
to the peerage with an income of forty thousand pounds 
a year. 

Warren Hastings was the next Englishman who from 
the position of a clerk in an office at Calcutta rose to be 
the governor-general of British India. 

The kingdom of Mysore, whose lofty table-lands are 
swept by the cool breezes of the Indian Ocean, has always 
been inhabited by a more hardy and manly race than that 
which occupied the lower plains of Hindostan. Hyder 
Alee, an illiterate common soldier, impelled by a daring 
spirit of adventure, seized this kingdom of Mysore and 
seated himself on the throne of Seringapatam. The next 
step taken by this daring adventurer was even more start- 
ling. In the month of June, 1780, and when in his 
eightieth year, he led an immense army into the Carnatic, 


carrying slaughter and destruction wherever he appeared. 
Two small English armies, headed by Colonel Baillie and 
Sir Hector Muuro, tried in vain to check his course ; they 
were not only overwhelmed, but compelled to retreat, 
and it seemed as if the British empire in Southern India 
trembled on the very verge of destruction. It was this 
critical juncture that brought out the great genius of 
Warren Hastings. He at once took upon himself the su- 
preme direction of affaire, superseded the incapable coun- 
cil at Madras, and without loss of time despatched the 
brave veteran Sir Eyre Coote with a small but resolute 
force to the assistance of the English at Madras. At once 
the forces of Hyder Alee were checked, siege after siege 
was raised, until at length the English and Mohammedan 
armies met on the plains of Cuddalore, whence, after a 
desperate fight, the latter was driven in wild and dis- 
orderly confusion. Hyder Alee died two years after this 
defeat, bequeathing to his son, the famous Tippoo Saihib, 
his throne and his hatred of English domination. 

Very shortly after Warren Hastings, impeached by the 
House of Commons, resigned his office as governor-gen- 
eral of India, Then followed that famous trial which not 
only extended over seven years, but, when dismissed from 
the bar of the House of Lords, left Warren Hastings a 
ruined statesman and an insolvent debtor. The East In- 
dia Company, how r ever, came to his aid with an annuity 
of 4000 a year, and a loan, half of which was converted 
into a gift, of 50,000. 

During the administration of the next governor-general, 
Lord Cornwallis, the implacable Tippoo Saihib suffered a 
signal defeat. Sir John Shore followed Lord Cornwallis, 
and was succeeded by the earl of Mornington, the elder 
brother of the " Iron Duke." He no sooner arrived in 
India than Ids attention was called to the intrigues of the 


French with Tippoo Saihib, who were planning, with the 
assistance of fresh European troops, to drive the English 
out of Hindostan. The treachery of Tippoo was antici- 
pated by a declaration of war. On the 5th of March, 1798, 
a British army, commanded by General Harris, with the 
aid of several native powers, entered the territory of 
Mysore, stormed the city of Seringapatam, overthrew the 
dynasty of Tippoo Sultan, and annexed that magnificent 
province to the British dominions. 

The British had no sooner gained possession of the lofty 
table-lands of the Mysore than a new and more formidable 
enemy, the warlike and predatory tribes who inhabited the 
table-land of the Deccan, opposed their further progress. 
The most renowned of these kings, the rajahs of Berar, 
Scindia, and Holkar, formed the famous northern con- 
federacy under the leadership of a still more powerful 
chief, the Peishwa, whose government was at Poonah, the 
capital of the Deccan. The British were soon plunged 
into an extensive war with these wild and fierce northmen. 
On the 4th of September, 1803, the fort of Alleghur was 
taken by storm, and on the llth of the same month Gen- 
eral Lake met twenty thousand of these intrepid warriors, 
headed by able French officers, and defeated them, captur- 
ing Delhi, one of the most ancient capitals of Hindostan 
and the seat of the intolerant and luxurious Mohgul em- 
perors. Triumph followed triumph; Agra, Ahmednug- 
gur, and the golden city of Aurungabad surrendered. 

At length the united powers of Sciudia and the rajah 
of Nagpoor made one more desperate attempt to oppose 
the English power in the Deccan. The armies of the 
Mahratta kings were marshalled at the small village of 
Assaye to meet the British troops. On ascending the ris- 
ing ground to reconnoitre the enemy's forces, the English 
commander, who was no other than General Wellesley, 


perceived a vast host extending in a line along the oppo- 
site bank of the Kelnah River near its junction with the 
Jewah. Their right consisted entirely of cavalry, and 
their left was formed of infantry trained and disciplined by 
De Boigne, with over one hundred pieces of cannon, which 
rested on the fortified village of Assaye. These were com- 
pletely overthrown by Wellesley with a force not exceed- 
ing eight thousand men, and of whom not more thau 
fifteen hundred were English. 

The power of the Mahratta kings, once shaken at 
Assaye, was at length completely humbled on the plains 
of Argaum. They were compelled to sue for peace, which 
was only granted them at the expense of enormous, terri- 
tory. From this time British influence became paramount 
through the whole of Northern Hindostan, and these were 
the last and most famous of General Wellesley's conquests 
in India. He returned to England in 1805 to win for 
himself greater fame than even that which he achieved 
on Indian soil. 

Magnificent as is the city of Calcutta architecturally, it 
was considered at one time one of the most unhealthy of 
spots. The entire country is flat ; here and there are ex- 
tensive muddy lakes, breeding under a tropical sun malaria 
and all manner of diseases ; a line of dank, tangled forests 
still stretch across the land, and is not very distant from 
the town. In former times this jungle was the abode of 
innumerable wild beasts, and it is even now infested with 
jackals, who immediately after nightfall howl in sudden 
accord, uttering the most demon-like yells. These local 
disadvantages have been partially removed. The streets 
have been well and carefully drained ; many of the stag- 
nant, muddy pools have not only been filled up, but con- 
verted into blooming gardens; and the magnificent Bo- 
tanical Garden with which Mr. Hooker has enriched 


Calcutta is said by good judges to be the finest in the 
world. Nevertheless, the air is still impregnated to a 
certain extent with the impure exhalations arising from 
the low jungles in the vicinity of this city, called the 

From the palaces of the conquering Anglo-Indians the 
drive to the " Black Town/' as the native portion of the 
city is still called, is enough to discourage the most enthu- 
siastic of Christians in the world. This quarter of Cal- 
cutta stretches for some miles toward the north, present- 
ing at once a sad contrast to the stately and grand portion 
occupied by the English. The transition is all the more 
marked because of the architectural pretensions of the one 
and the rude mud habitations of the other. Here reside 
at least three-fourths of the entire population of Calcutta. 
The streets are more or less narrow, filthy, unpaved, and 
unswept. The houses are built principally of mud, bam- 
boo, or other coarse woods, swarming with an excess of 
population. Within this wretched vicinity are found no 
less than twenty entire bazaars extending from one end 
of the "Black Town" to the other, well stocked with 
goods from all parts of the world, rare and valuable prod- 
ucts of the Indian loom, shawls and paintings from Cash- 
mere, kinkaubs from Benares, teas and silks from China, 
spices, pearls, and precious stones from Ceylon, rupees 
from Pegii, coffee from Java and Arabia, nutmegs from 
Singapore; in fact, everything that the wide world has 
ever produced is displayed, in shops that are nothing but 
miserably patched mud or bamboo dwellings. Through 
these native bazaars the teeming population seemed to 
flow and gurgle unchanged through all changes of gov- 
ernors, constitutions, and rulers the same to-day, in type, 
character, feeling, religion, and occupation, as it was be- 
fore the beginning of the earliest known history. Here, 


assembled from the four winds of the heaven, were all the 
elements of an unspeakably motley crowd nut-brown, 
graceful Hindoo maidens tripping daintily with rows of 
water-jars nicely balanced on their heads; dark-hued 
young Hindoo men, all clean and washed, robed in pure 
white, laughing, talking, or loitering around; handsomely- 
dressed baboos as the native gentlemen of Bengal are 
called in Oriental costumes, but with European stockings 
and shoes, sauntering carelessly along ; dancing-girls bril- 
liantly attired; common street-women jewelled and be- 
dizened with innumerable trinkets and in their distinctive 
garb ; bheesties with water-skins on their backs ; Borahs, 
brokers, Brahmans, Musulmans, sepoys, fakeers, and gos- 
sains, in their peculiar costumes, shouting in manifold 
tongues and various dialects; and, above all, there may 
be seen strolling jugglers, snake-charmers, and fortune- 
tellers plying their curious arts and completing the pic- 
ture of an Oriental bazaar. 

In some of the streets a small stream of water, a rivulet 
of the sacred Granges, flows bright and clear through arti- 
ficial channels. Many of the native shops open on it, and 
all day long hosts of men, women, and children may be 
seen seated beside it, busy or idle, but always grateful for 
this truly precious gift of the gods. 

Calcutta boasts of a Sanskrit college of high repute, a 
Mohammedan, and an Anglo-Indian college, supported 
by the English government. The College of Fort Wil- 
liam, founded by the marquis of Wellesley, is chiefly used 
by Englishmen, who, having been partially educated at 
the College of Haylesbury, England, are instructed here 
in the Oriental languages and other branches of study 
necessary for their respective professions and callings in 

The government system of native education was estab- 


lished on the foundation of the Hindoo schools already in 
existence. These schools are divided into two classes or 
grades, the upper and lower schools. In the upper, by 
means of Sanskrit, the peculiar philosophy, literature, and 
religion of the Hindoos are taught ; the lower schools are 
to be found in every village, and may be numbered by 
tens of thousands; in these the teaching varies and is 
more or less dependent on the ability of the persons i. e. 
Brahmans who are employed to teach. Most of these 
village teachers are induced for about six pounds per an- 
num to attend a normal school for a year ; %fter having 
passed the required examination they are invited to take 
charge of some village school. 

There are eight great centres of education in British 
India, and each is wholly independent of the others. 
These are the three great presidencies of Bengal, Madras, 
and Bombay, Scindh, the North-western Provinces, Oude, 
the Central Provinces, and British Burmah. Each of these 
has its own special director of public instruction, with a 
staff of inspecting officers. Among the institutions that 
are wholly supported by the government may be classed 
the village school, in which the vernacular of the district 
is taught with a few other studies ; the zillah, or district 
school, in which the higher classes are often educated in 
English and prepared for the universities; the talook 
schools, which also are preparatory schools ; colleges with 
European professors, in which a thorough English edu- 
cation is imparted to the students, as are now found in the 
chief cities of Benares, Delhi, Agra, Lahore, Poonah, Mad- 
ras, and Calcutta; and the Elphinstone College at Bombay. 
Normal schools, technical colleges for medicine, engineer- 
ing, and surgery, mission and other private schools 
abound, besides which there are thousands of purely na- 
tive schools scattered throughout the vast territory of 


India, still existing under the old Brahmanic village sys- 
tem of education. 

Native female education is hardly begun by the govern- 
ment, and the task is very difficult, owing to the peculiar 
social restraints still imposed on the better class of Asiatic 
women. The Parsee female schools in Bombay are said 
to be the best supported and the most efficient in this re- 
spect. About twenty-five years ago Mr. Bethune opened 
in the city of Calcutta a school for native women. It was 
liberally supported by Lord Dalhousie, and since his death 
by the state* This was the beginning of a movement which 
has found great favor not only in Bengal, but in the North- 
western Provinces and the Punjaub. There are now in 
Bengal two normal schools for teachers and two hundred 
and forty-four schools for girls, with 4844 pupils. There 
are no fewer than six hundred and fifty schools in the 
Punjaub, with an aggregate of 20,534 pupils. These ele- 
mentary schools in the Punjaub, Lahore, and Umritsur 
are superintended solely by native gentlemen. In addition 
to these the zenana mission-work, carried on so success- 
fully by American and European missionary ladies, is 
slowly but surely preparing hundreds of women and chil- 
dren for a day that may ripen into better things ; like a 
grain of mustard-seed once cast into the right soil, it will 
stretch out strong boughs to the four corners of the earth 
for the birds to lodge under. 

Another school of religious thought, already mentioned, 
called the Brahmo-Somaj, "assembled in the name of God," 
is even more closely allied with the dawning freedom and 
emancipation of the Hindoos from the priestcraft and spirit- 
ual tyranny of the Brahman hierarchy. From this new 
school of religious thought a large party of about five 
thousand souls seceded some few years ago. They chose 
for their leader the able and astute philosopher, the late 


Keshub Chunder Sen, one of the most talented and spirit- 
ual men among the Hindoos of to-day. This association 
has a church in Calcutta, where the members meet once a 
week or oftener for the purposes of meditation and worship. 

Various means of improvement are now open to the 
British subjects of India. The English residents in Cal- 
cutta, Madras, and Bombay are among the most kind and 
liberal people in the world. Quite independent of the 
government establishments, they privately support a vast 
number of charitable institutions, and there is no end of 
societies for religious and other educational Objects; and 
although the changes effected in the religious and social 
condition of the majority of the peoples since the occu- 
pation of India by the British are hardly perceptible, 
nevertheless some very important steps have been taken 
toward ensuring the good of the people at large, espe- 
cially in the prohibition of sutteeism, infanticide, the ter- 
rific sacrifice of life that at one time characterized the fes- 
tival of the god Juggernath, not to speak of the tortures 
of maddened fanatics and self-condemned ascetics, the 
horrible practices of the Thugs and that of the Meriahs 
of Orissa. All these savage practices are more or less re- 
pressed by the constant and vigilant operation of protective 
laws instituted by the British rulers. 

Before leaving Calcutta we paid a visit to the Khali 
Ghaut, and alighted before a great hall with a towering 
but ungainly roof above it. This was the famous temple 
of the black goddess Kali. There was something more 
entangled, enchanted, and demon-like about this building 
and its interior than any other that I had ever entered 
in India. It was the festival of Juggernath. A num- 
ber of white- robed priests were preparing to place the 
grim goddess in a car and to lead her forth to grace the 
festival. The temple consisted of a vast number of low 


pillars; it was dimly lighted, and, although light was 
flooding the earth everywhere in great splendor, it was not 
allowed to enter here, but it worked its way hither and 
thither and quivered dubiously in unearthly tints on the 
face of the black goddess dimly visible in the distance. 
A more hideous and repulsive image can hardly be con- 
ceived by the heart of man than this veritable female fiend 
after whom the city of Calcutta is still named. 

No one seemed to object to our entering the temple, so 
we walked down the dim aisles and stood face to face with 
the grim and terrible Kali. It would be impossible to give 
utterance to the sense of horror that crept over me as I 
looked at this strange, enigmatic deity of the Bengalees. 
The black face was surmounted by long hair which had 
the appearance of innumerable serpents ; a red tongue 
protruded from the hideous mouth ; the expression of the 
eyes was strange and fierce, almost to madness ; she was 
furnished with four arms, in one of which she grasped a 
knife and in the other the head of a man ; in another pair 
of hands higher up she held a lotos and the chakra, or 
the wheel. Round her neck hung the skulls of murdered 
victims, and she stood on the body of a prostrate man, 
who is represented trumpeting forth her praises even 
while she is in the act of crushing him to death. 

The pundit explained to us the meaning of this horrible 
figure ; no further text was needed. This grim idol is to 
the Hindoos a fearful warning against sensuality. The 
lotos in the upper hand, which is the emblem of purity, 
and the wheel of retribution, are transformed in the lower 
hands into a knife and a bleeding human head. She puts 
out her tongue derisively, and crushes her victim all in- 
dicating, as plainly as our Bible, "The wages of sin is 
death." Human sacrifices were offered to her at no very 
remote period, but now, by order of the British govern- 


ment, the sacrifices to her are limited to goats and kids, 
which are offered to her every morning. 

As we were standing and looking at this strange idol, a 
number of barefooted priests came through a narrow court, 
entered the temple, and took their places beside the shrine. 
Two men very handsomely dressed approached from an 
opposite direction bearing a fine goat, which was tied by 
the feet, and laid it at the foot of the aJtar. Then one of 
the priests took from the altar a vase containing some red 
paint mixed with oil, with which he touched the forehead, 
fore feet, and breast of the goat ; he then sprinkled some 
consecrated water on it. This done, a low-caste man 
stepped up, took the poor palpitating beast, inserted its 
head into a curiously-fashioned guillotine, secured it there 
by means of a wooden pin, and then dealt it one blow ; 
the head was severed, and was presented to the officiating 
priests, and the executioner carried away the' body. Such 
offerings are made by both men and women as an atone- 
ment for personal offences. Thus the wrath of the black 
goddess of Calcutta is supposed to be appeased. Goats 
are also sacrificed to her by Hindoo women when they 
have had bad dreams or when they anticipate any calam- 
ity, in order to avert the coming evil. 

On the next day was the procession- of Juggernath. A 
wilder and more incongruous scene I never witnessed. 
We spent several hours in watching the procession, which, 
issuing from the native town, traverses a large circuit 
round the principal thoroughfares, pauses at the bank of 
the river, and then retires to the country-seat of the idol, 
some few miles from the temple. The idol is made of 
wood, is about six feet high, with a grim human counte- 
nance very unlike the carvings of Krishna to be found 
in other parts of India painted blue, and seated in a 
lofty chariot borne aloft on sixteen high wheels. It was 



drawn by long ropes held by thousands of enthusiastic 
men, women, and children, who often bribe the priests for 
the privilege of conducting the god to his country-house. 
A number of priests and gayly-dreesed priestesses, stand- 
ing on the platform of the chariot, chanted the praises of 
the " lord of life," while the people shouted, screamed, 
and clapped their hands amid the wild beating of drums 
and din of hundreds of native musical instruments. The 
air was heavy with the incense offered to the idol, while 
nature around seemed to be steeped in repose, myriads of 
bees murmured softly their idyllic hum among the way- 
side flowers, doves were seen nestling together among the 
shady leaves of huge pepul trees, and around the cool 
recesses of huge tanks and reservoirs numbers of peacocks 
sat or strutted quietly about, unfurling their glories to the 
noonday sun. More puzzling than even the festival of 
Juggernath is the curious state of things still existing in 
British India, for side by side with the Church of the 
Brahmo-Somaj, the advanced thought and intelligence of 
the educated baboos and other highly philosophic and cul- 
tivated natives of Bengal, are the temples of the goddess 
Kali and the strange festival of Juggernath. 

With regard to European influence, it must be admitted 
that it is hardly, if at all, felt by the majority of the na- 
tive population. The viceroy and the great English 
grandees are separated from the natives for whose inter- 
ests they are there by law and custom which nothing can 
overcome, and the officials around whom the whole Indian 
empire revolves are often ignorant of the Indian lan- 
guages, races, religious and social prejudices, and mode of 
life of the hundreds of provinces that lie within the rail- 
ways, while those beyond are to them, as the wilds of 
Africa, an undiscovered country. I have often heard gen- 
tlemen of great intelligence in other respects speak of the 


people of India with profound contempt, classing in one 
indistinguishable mass Brahmans, Hindoos, Parsees, Mo- 
hammedans, Arabians, Persians, Armenians, Turks, Jews, 
and other races too numerous to mention. 

Our next visit was to Benares, the far-famed ecclesias- 
tical metropolis of Hindostan. We rested full two hours 
just outside this sacred spot to enable our pundit to per- 
form the prescribed observances before entering this holy 
of holies. When he appeared before us he was bathed, 
shaved, anointed, and clothed in pure white, and even to 
his sandals he was a new man. He kept his eyes half 
closed, so that his thoughts should not be tempted to stray 
from the object of his deep contemplation. Presently we 
were joined by a crowd of pilgrims who passed into the 
city, some prostrating themselves full length as they dreAV 
near. In the morning light Benares presented a most 
imposing appearance : the buildings are lofty and mostly 
in the Hindoo style of architecture, stretching for several 
miles along the edge of the Ganges, from which ascends 
a long line of stone steps. Next morning we visited sev- 
eral of the Hindoo temples, especially the temple of the 
monkeys, which was one of the most ludicrous I have 
ever witnessed. A number of tame monkeys played about 
the temple even while the most solemn services were being 
performed within. The large area for the cremation of 
dead bodies sent hither from all parts of Hiudostan was 
the most astonishing thing I have ever seen, and the huge 
funeral pyres ever burning here produced on my mind an 
ever-memorable eifect. We were glad to turn our steps 
from the revolting sights and scenes of the cremation- 
ground to a beautiful mosque which stands as a symbol 
of Moslem power in the very heart of this Brahmanic city, 
towering up above the surrounding buildings on the site 
of a once magnificent Hindoo temple which was torn 



down, by the order of Aurungzebe, to give place to the 
present graceful structure. We remained for an hour or 
more within the walls of this mosque, and came away 
charmed with the glistening mosaics, the capitals of the 
columns, the vaults, ceilings, and arches, and the thousand 
and one mysterious optical illusions of light and shade 
caused by the wonderous architecture of the Moslems. 
Our next visit was to the Hindoo Sanskrit College, the 
most famous institution of learning in Hindostan, and 
well worth seeing. The students often assemble here at 
sunrise, and even after sunset, to continue their studies, 
and in no part of India do I remember meeting so many 
noble-looking young Hindoos as were assembled in these 
halls on the morning of our visit. 

From Benares we made a long and tedious dahk-jour- 
ney i. e. by changing horses at different stations to Agra, 
in the upper plains of India. The country we passed 
through was beautiful. The picturesque native villages 
of immemorial antiquity, their names, their fields, their 
hereditary offices and occupations, have come down to 
them out of a dim past and through countless generations, 
and everywhere we saw fields of millet and wheat, the 
flaming poppy, and the tall luscious sugar-cane plantations ; 
cream-colored, dreamy -looking oxen moving sleepily about 
in the fields or drawing water from the wells and tanks ; 
men, women, and children basking under the shade of 
huge trees or bathing languidly in the cool tanks, giving 
one the feeling of passing through dreamland. 

The great sight of sights at Agra, as every one now 
knows, is the famous Taj-Mahal, and hither we repaired 
the morning after our arrival ; and I must confess, though 
I had heard of it and read the many elaborate descriptions 
of it, I had no idea of its matchless beauty till I stood 
under its roof surrounded by its pillars and walls. It would 


take pages to describe the wonderful outlines of the win- 
dows, the ornaments of the walls, arches, domes, and min- 
arets, or even the exquisite carvings and arabesques of a 
single frieze; so that I will not attempt here what has 
already been so often done. The impression left on the 
mind is very deep and solemn. When I first caught sight 
of the Taj through the noble gateway at the entrance to 
the grounds, I experienced feelings of mingled awe and 
wonder, which increased in proportion as we examined it 
more closely. Even the enormous platform on which the 
Taj stands is of white marble, inlaid with precious stones, 
and all the lower parts outside of the building are also 
most elaborately and tastefully carved. The dome is per- 
fect in its proportions of pure white marble, with an ex- 
quisite minaret of gold. In the centre is the tomb of 
Noor Mahal, also called by her proper name, Mamtaz 
Mahal, the favorite wife and queen of Shah Jehan, built 
to her memory two centuries ago. Above the tomb is a 
mass of the most delicate inlaid work, and the screen-like 
wall which surrounds it is entirely composed of leaves and 
all sorts of flowers containing innumerable precious stones. 
The echoes of our voices produced the most wonderful re- 
verberations, impossible to imagine or adequately describe. 
We visited the Taj also by moonlight, and .found it a hun- 
dred-fold more enchanting. The gardens in which it 
stands are purely Oriental, and recalled to my mind many 
passages from the old Persian poets. There are lovely 
white marble fountains and tanks and promenades with 
inviting seats here and there for rest, while a profusion of 
fragrant flowers, shrubs, and the dark silent cypresses 
which stand like muffled mourners around the monument 
add a pathetic beauty to the lovely spot. 

Having seen the Taj, there was nothing left to do but 
to return to the "Aviary" on Malabar Hill. 


And now, as I close these brief sketches of life and 
travel in India, the romance, antiquity, the song, and 
story still stir the memory with the powerful enchant- 
ment of a land where all nature seems to lie dreaming in 
its glory of perpetual sunshine, warmth, and color. 




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