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F. S. GROWSE, B.C.S.; 

M. A., OxON; C.I. E.; 

Magistrate and Collector of Bulandshahr ; 

Felloio of the Calcutta University. 

Though the groves of Brinda, in with Krishna disported with the Gopis, no 
longer resound to the echoes of his flute; though the waters of the Jauiuna are 
daily polluted with the blood of the sacred kine ; still it is the holy laud of 
the pilgrim, the sacred Jordan of his fancy, on whose banks he may sit and 
weep, as did the banished Israelite of old, for the glories of Mathura, his 
Jerusalem. — Tod. 


Revised and Abridged. 



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T\7R\m %m xim ciwg T=Rsam 









This Memoir was originally intended to form one of the uniform series of 
local histories compiled by order of the Government. Its main object was 
therefore to serve as a book of reference for the use of district officers ; thus 
it touches upon many topics which the general reader will condemn as trivial and 
uninteresting, and in the earlier chapters the explanations are more detailed and 
minute than the professed student of history and archaeology will probably deem 
at all necessary. But a local memoir can never be a severely artistic perform- 
ance. On a small scale it resembles a dictionary or encyclopaedia and must, if 
complete, be composed of very heterogeneous materials, out of which those who 
have occasion to consult it must select what they require for their own purposes, 
without concluding that whatever is superfluous for them is equally familiar or 
distasteful to other people. 

As good libraries of standard works of reference are scarcely to be 
found anywhere in India out of the presidency towns, I have invariably given in 
full the very words of my authorities, both ancient and modern. And if I have 
occasion to mention any historical character — though he may have achieved some- 
what more than a mere local reputation — I still narrate succinctly all the mate- 
rial facts of his life rather than take them for granted as already known. Thus, 
before quoting the Chinese Pilgrims, I explain under what circumstances they 
■wrote : and when describing the Mathura Observatory, I introduce an account 
of the famous royal astronomer by whom it was constructed. Hence my pages 
are not unfrequently overcrowded with names and dates which must give them 
rather a repellent appearance ; but I shall be compensated for this reproach if 
residents on the spot find iu them an answer to all enquiries, without occasion 
to consult other authorities, which, though possibly far from obscure, may still 
under the circumstances be difficult to obtain. 

I dwell at considerable length on the legends connected with the deified 
Krishna, the tutelary divinity of the district : because, however puerile and com- 
paratively modern many of them may be, they have materially affected the whole 
course of local history and are still household words, to which allusion is con- 
stantly made in conversation, either to animate a description or enforce an 

The great years of famine and the mutiny of 1857, though the latter 
was a. calamity much more bghtly felt in this neighbourhood than in many other 

520 19 


parts of India, yet form the eras, by which the date of all domestic occurrences 
is ordinarily calculated, and both subjects have therefore been duly noticed. 
But there has been no need to enter much into general history, for Mathura 
has never been a political centre, except during the short period when it formed 
the theatre for the display of the ambitious projects of Siiraj Mall and his 
immediate successors on the throne of Bharat-pur. All its special interest is 
derived from its religious associations in connection with the Vaishnava sects* — 
far outnumbering all other Hindu divisions— of whom some took birth here, all 
regard it as their Holy Land. Thus, the space devoted to the consideration of 
the doctrines which they profess and the observances which they practise could 
scarcely be curtailed without impairing the fidelity of the sketch by suppression 
of the appropriate local colouring. It may also be desirable to explain that the 
long extracts of Hindi poetry from local writers of the last two centuries have 
been inserted not only as a propos of the subject to which they refer, but also 
as affording the most unmistakeable proofs of what the language of the country 
really is. No such specimens could be given of indigenous Urdu literature, 
simply because it is non-existent and is as foreign to the people at large as English. 

So much irreparable damage has been done in past years from simple 
ignorance as to the value of ancient architectural remains, that I have been 
careful to describe in full every building in the district which possesses the 
slightest historical or artistic interest. I have also given a complete resume of 
all the results hitherto obtained in archaeological research among the relics of 
an earlier age, and have added a sketch of the development of the local style 
of architecture, as it exists at the present day. 

Besides noting the characteristics of peculiar castes, I have given an 
account of the origin and present status of all the principal residents in the 
district, mentioning every particular of any interest connected with their family 
history or personal qualifications. Only a few such persons of special repute 
will be found included in the general narrative ; the remainder have been 
relegated to the more strictly topographical sequel, where they are noticed in 
connection with their estates. Upon purely agricultural statistics I touch 
very briefly ; all such matters have been most ably discussed by the officer in 
charge of the hist settlement. 

The village lists, which occupied a considerable space in the first and 
second editions, have now been omitted in consequence of my inability — here at 
Bulandshahr — to obtain the detailed results of the last census. I believe they 
had been found useful by district officials. No one who has not had experience 
in matters of the kind eau form any idea of the labour and vexation involved in 


the preparation for the first time of such tables, when the materials on which they 
are based consist exclusively of manuscripts written in the Persian character. 
An attempt to secure accuracy induces a feeling of absolute despair ; for the 
names of the places and people mentioned can only be verified on the spot, 
inasmuch as they are too obscure to be tested by reference to other authorities, 
and the words as written, if not absolutely illegible, can be read at least three 
or four different ways. 

A remark, originally consisting of no more than three or four lines in my 
first edition, has been expanded into a thorough discussion on the etymology 
of local names, which occupies the whole of Chapter XII. It incidentally 
disposes of several crude theories on the subject, which have been advanced by 
scholars of more or less distinction under a misconception as to the historical 
growth of the modern vernacular of Upper India. The conclusions at which 
I arrive can scarcely be disputed, but they will probably be ignored as too fatal 
to whimsical speculation. 

In the matter of transliteration I have been more consistent than was 
prescribed of necessity, in the belief that compromise is always an evil, and in 
this matter is exceptionally so ; for with a definite orthography there is no 
reason whatever why in the course of two or three generations the immense 
diversity of Indian alphabets, which at present form such an obstacle to literary 
intercourse and intellectual progress, should not all be abolished and the Roman 
character substituted in their stead. 

As to the word ' Mathura' itself, the place has had an historical existence 
for more than 2,000 years, and may reasonably demur to appearing in its old 
age under such a vulgar and offensive form as ' Muttra,' which represents 
neither the correct pronunciation nor the etymology. Though it has been 
visited by Europeans of many different nationalities, it was never so mutilated 
till it fell into the hands of the English, now eighty years ago. Even the 
Chinese, with a language that renders transliteration all but impossible, repre- 
sent it, more correctly than we have hitherto done, under the form Mothulo. 
Mathura Das, or some similar compound, is a name very frequently given by 
Hiudus to a child who has been born after a pilgrimage to the holy city, and 
it is always so spelt. Hence results the egregious absurdity that in any 
official list ' Mathura Das of Mathura' appears as ' Mathura Das of Muttra,' 
with two utterly different spellings for one and the same word. 


£■ F. S. GROTYSE. 

April 21st, 1882. J 


a unaccented is like 

a in India. 

d accented is like 

a „ bath. 

e is always long, like 

$ „ fete. 

i unaccented is like 

i „ India. 

i accented is like 

i „ elite. 

u unaccented is like 

u „ put. 

u accented is like 

u ,, rural. 

o is always long, like 

o „ oval. 

ai is like 

ai „ aisle. 

au is like 

ou „ cloud. 

The consonants are pronounced as in English: th as in boot-hook, never as in 
father ; g is always hard, as in gag ; y is always a consonant, and c, (/ and x 
are not used at all. The fixed sound of each letter never varies ; and it is, 
therefore, impossible for any person of the most ordinary intelligence to hesitate 
for a moment as to the correct way of pronouncing a word the first time he sees 
it. Without the slightest knowledge of the language, he may read a page of a 
Romanized Sanskrit or Hindustani book to an Indian audience, and be perfectly 
intelligible, if he will only take the trouble to remember the few simple rules 
given above. 



Chapter I.— Tho modern district ; its conformation, extent, and 
divisions at different periods. The character of the 
people and their language. The predominant castes : 
the Jats and their origin; the Chaubes; the Ahivasis ; 
the Gaurua Tbakurs. The Jains and their temples. 
The principal families; the Seth; the Raja of Hathras ; 
the Rais of Sa'dabad. Agricultural classification of 
■ - land; canals; famines. The Delhi road and its Sarais 1 

CHAPTER II.— Mathura sacked by Mahmud of Gbazni, 1017 A. D. 
Its treatment by the Delhi emperors. Rise and pro- 
gress of the Jat power. Massacre at Mathura, 1757 
A.D. Battle of Barsana, 1775. Execution of Ghulam 
Kadir, 1788. British occupation, 1803. Battle of 
Dig, 1801. Mutiny, 1857... ... ... 32 

CHAPTER III. — The story of Krishna, the tutelary divinity of Mathura 50 

Chapter IV. — The Braj-mandal, the Ban-jatra and the Holi ... 71 

CHAPTER V.— The Buddhist city of Mathura and its antiquities ... 103 

Chapter VI. — The Hindu city of Mathura ... ... 126 

Chapter VII. — The city of Mathura (concluded) : its European insti- 
tutions and museum ... ... ... 159 

Notes on Chapter VII— 

1. List of local Governors in the 17th century ... ... 175 

2. Names of the city quarters, or mahallas ... ... 176 

3. Principal buildings in the city of Mathura ... ... 177 

4. Calendar of festivals ... ... ... ... 179 

Chapter VIII. — Brindaban and tho Vaishnava reformers. The four 
Sampradayas. The Bengali Vaishnavas. The Radha- 
vallabhis. The Rddhd-sudhd-nidhi and the Chaurdsi 
Pada of Swami Hari Vans. Swami Hari Das and 
the Sddhdran Siddhdnt. The Maluk-Dasis. The 
Pran-nathis and the Khjdmat-ndma. The Byom Sdr 
and Suni Sdr ... ... ... ... 184 

( 2 ) 


Chapter IX. — Brindaban and its temples. The temple of Gobind 
Deva ; of Madan Mohan ; of Gopinath ; of Jugal- 
Kishor ; of Radha-Ballabh. The Lala Babu's temple : 
the Seth's temple ; the Sah's temple ; the Rani of 
Tikari's temple ; the Maharaja of Gwalior's temple. 
The Bharat-pur Kunjes. The municipality ... 241 

Notes to Chapter IX. — 

1. Calendar of local festivals at Brindaban ... ... 267 

2. List of river-side Ghats ... ••• ... 270 

3. Names of mahallas or city quarters ... ... 271 

Chapter X. — Mahaban ; Gokul and the Vallabhacharis ; Baladeva 

and its Pandes ... ... ••• 272 

Notes to Chapter X. — 

1. Vallabhacharya literature ... ... ••• 295 

2. Specimen of the Chaurasi Varta ... ... ••• »&• 

Chapter XL — The three hill-places of Mathura: Gobardhan, Barsana, 

and Nandgamv ... ... ... 299 

Chapter XII.— The etymology of local names in Northern India, as 

exemplified in the district of Mathura ... ... 318 

Chapter XHT. — Pargana Topography— 

Pargana Kosi ... ... ... 357 

Pargana Chhata ... ... ... 371 

Pargana Mathura ... ... ... 379 

Pargana Mat ... ... ... 385 

Pargaua Mahaban ... ... ... 396 

Pargana Sa'dabad ... ... ... 403 

Appendices — 

A. Casto : its origin and development ... ^ 407 

B. The Catholic Church ... ... ... ... 417 

C. Indigenous trees ... ... ... ... 421 

Glossary ... ••• ••• ••• ••■ 426 


Seth Gobind Das, C.S.I, (frontispiece). 

Seth Raghunath Das ... 

Seth Lachhman Das ... ... ... 

Raja Hari Narayan Sinh, of Hathras 
Environs of Mathura ... ... 

The Siva Tal, Mathura 

The Visrant Ghat ... 

Tho Sati Burj 

Cenotaph in tho Seth's garden ••• 

The City Gate, Mathura 

The Catholic Church ... 

The Museum 

Bacchanalian sculpture from Pali Khera (two plates) 

Group of antiquities ... ... ... 

The Seth's temple 

Temple of Gobind Deva, Brindaban 

Ditto ditto, showing side chapel 

Ditto ditto, ground-plan ... 
Temple of Madan Mohan 

Ditto ground-plan ... 

Temple of Gopi-nath ... 
Temple of Jugal-kishor ... ... 

Temple of Radha Ballabh (ground-plan) 
Tho Idol-car 

Temple of Radha Gopal (ground-plan) ... 

The Manasi Ganga, Gobardhan ... u. 

The temple of Harideva, Gobardhan (ground-plan) 
The tomb of Maharaja Baladeva Sinh, Gobardhan 
The Kusum Sarovar, Gobardhan ... 
Map of the district ... ... 

The school, Auraugabad ... 

Interior of the Catholic Church ... 





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The modern district of Mathura is one of the five which together make up the 
Agra Division of the North West Provinces. It has an area of 1,453 square 
miles, with a population of 671,690, the vast majority of whom, viz., 611,626, 
are Hindus. 

In the year 1803, when its area was first included in British territory, part 
of it was administered from Agra and part from Sa'dabad. This arrangement 
continued till 1832, wdien the city of Mathura was recognized as the most fitting 
centre of local government and, superseding the village of Sa'dabad, gave its 
name to a new district, comprising eight tahsilis, viz., Aring, Sahar, and Kosi, 
on the right bank of the Jamuna, ; and on the left, Mat, Noh-jhil, Mahaban, 
Sa'dabad, and Jalesar. In 1860, Mat and Noh-jhil were united, with the former 
as the head-quarters of the Tahsildar ; and in 1868 the revenue offices at Aring 
were transferred to Mathura, but the general boundaries remained unchanged. 

The district, however, as thus constituted, was of a most inconvenient shape. 
Its outline was that of a carpenter's square, of which the two parallelograms 
were nearly equal in extent; the upper one lying due north and south, while 
the other at right angles to it stretched due eastward below. The capital, situ- 
ated at the interior angle of junction, was more accessible from the contiguous 
district of Aligarh and the independent State of Bharat-pur than from the 
greater part of its own territory. The Jalesar pargana was the most remote 
of all ; its two chief towns, Awa and Jalesar, being respectively 55 and 43 
miles from the local Courts, a greater distance than separated them from the 
capitals of four other districts. 


This, under any conditions, would have boon justly considered an inconve- 
nience, and there were peculiar circumstances which rendered it exceptionally 
so. The transfer of a very large proportion of the land from the old proprietary 
village communities to wealthy strangers had created a wide-spread feeling of 
restlessness and impatience, which was certainly intensified by the remoteness 
of the Courts and the consequent unwillingness to have recourse to them for 
the settlement of a dispute in its incipient stages. Hence the frequent occur- 
rence of serious outrages, such as burglaries and highway robberies, which were 
often carried out with more or less impunity, notwithstanding the number of 
people that must have been privy to their commission. However willing the 
authorities of the different districts were to act in concert, investigation on the 
part of the police was greatly hampered by the readiness with which the crimi- 
nals could escape across the border and disperse themselves through the five 
districts of Mathura, Agra, Mainpuri, Eta, and Aligarh. Thus, though a local 
administrator is naturally jealous of any change calculated to diminish the im- 
portance of his charge, and Jalesar was unquestionably the richest portion of the 
district, still it was generally admitted by each successive Magistrate and Col- 
lector that its exchange for a tract of country with much fewer natural advan- 
tages would be a most politic and beneficial measure.* 

The matter, which had often before been under the consideration of Gov- 
ernment, was at last settled towards the close of the year 1874, when Jalesar 
was finally struck off from Mathura. At first it was attached to Agra ; but six 
years later it was again transferred and joined on to Eta, which was then raised 
to the rank of a full district. No other territory had been given in compensa- 
tion till 1879, when 84 villages, constituting the pargana of Farrah, were 
taken from Agra and added on to the Mathura tahsili. The district has thus 

* In the ffrst edition of this work, written before the change had been effected, I thus sum- 
marized the points of difference between the Jalesar and the other parganas :■ — The Jalesar 
pargana affords a marked contrast to all the rest of the diBtric% from which it differs no less 
in soil and scenery than in the character and social status of the population. In the other six 
parganas wheat, indigo, and rice are seldom or never to be seen, here they form the staple 
crops ; there the pasturage is abundant and every villager Iims his herd of cattle, here all the 
land is arable and no more cattle are kept than are barely enough to work the pkugh; there 
the country is doited with natural woods and groves, but has no enclosed oichards, here the 
mango and other fruit trees are freely planted and thrive well, but there is no jungle; there 
the village communities still for the most part retain possession of their ancestral lauds, here 
they have been ousted almost completely by modern capitalists ; there the Jats constitute the 
great muss of the population, here they occupy one solitary village ; there the Muhammadans 
have never gained any permanent footing and every spot is impregnated with Hindu traditions, 
here what, local history there is is mainly associated with Muhammadau families. 


been rendered much more manageable and compact. It is now in the sha] i 
an imperfect crescent, with its convex side to the south-west and its horns and 
hollow centre on the left bank of the river looking upwards to the north-east 
The eastern portion is a lair specimen of tin/ land ordinarily found in the Doab. 
It is abundantly watered, both by wells and rivers, and is carefully cultivated. 
Its luxuriant crops and fine orchards indicate the fertility of the soil and render 
the landscape not unpleasing to the eye; but though far the more valuable parr 
of the district for the purposes of the farmer and the economist, it possesses 
few historical associations to detain the antiquary. On the other hand, the west- 
ern side of the district, though comparatively poor in natural products, is rich 
in mythological legend, and contains in the towns of Mathura and Brinda-han 
a series of the master-pieces of modern Hindu architecture. Its still greater 
wealth in earlier times is attested by the extraordinary merit of the few speci- 
mens which have survived the torrent of Muhammadan barbarism and the more 
slowly corroding lapse of time. 

Yet, widely as the two tracts of country differ in character, there is reason 
to believe that their first union dates from a very early period. Thus, Varaha 
Mihira, writing in the latter half of the fifth century of the Christian era, seem- 
to speak of Mathura as consisting at that time also of two very dissimilar por- 
tions. For, in the 16th section of the Brihat Sanhita, he includes its eastern 
half, with all river lands (such as is the Doab), under the protection of the planet 
Budha— that is, Mercury ; and the western half, with the Bharatas and Purohits 
and other managers of religious ceremonies (classes which still to the present 
day form the mass of the population of western Mathura, and more particularly 
so if the Bharatas are taken to mean the Bharat-pur Jats) under the tutelage of 
Jiva — that is, Jupiter. The Chinese pilgrim, Hwen Thsang, may also be adduc- 
ed as a witness to the same effect. He visited India in the seventh century 
after Christ, and describes the circumference of the kingdom of Mathura as 
5,000 U, i. e., 950 miles, taking the Chinese It as not quite one-fifth of an English 
mile. The people, he says, are of a soft and easy nature and delight to per- 
form meritorious works with a view to a future life. The soil is rich and fertile 
and specially adapted to the cultivation of grain. Cotton stuffs of fine texture 
are also here obtainable and gold ; while the mango trees* are so abundant that 
they form complete forests — the fruit being of two varieties, a smaller kind, 
which turns yellow as it ripens, and a larger, which remains always green. 
From this description it would appear that the then kingdom of Mathura 

♦The fruit intended is prohibit/ the mango, dmra ; but the word as given in Chinese is 
an-mo-lo-ho, which might also stanJ for dmlikd, the tamarind, or timid, the Pliyllanthus embliea. 

4 MATHl'RX in the time of akbar. 

extended east of the capital along the Doab in the direction of Mainpnri ; for 
there the mango flourishes most luxuriantly and almost every village boasts a fine 
grove ; whereas in Western Mathura it will scarcely grow at all except under 
the most careful treatment. In support of this inference it may be observed 
that, notwithstanding the number of monasteries and stupas mentioned by the 
Buddhist pilgrims as existing in the kingdom of Mathura, comparatively few 
traces of any such buildings have been discovered in the modern district, ex- 
cept in the immediate neighbourhood of the capital. In Mainpuri, on the con- 
trary, and more especially on the side where it is nearest to Mathura, fragments 
of Buddhist sculpture may be seen lying in almost every village. In all pro- 
bability the territory of Mathura, at the time of Hwen Thsang's visit, included 
not only the eastern balf of the modern district, but also some small part of Agra 
and the whole of the Shikohahad and Mustafabad parganas of Mainpuri ; while 
the remainder of the present Mainpuri district formed a portion of the kingdom 
of Sankasya, which extended to the borders of Kanauj. But all local recollec- 
tion of this exceptional period has absolutely perished, and the mutilated effigies 
of Buddha and Maya are replaced on their pedestals and adored as Brahma and 
Devi by the ignorant villagers, whose forefathers, after long struggles, had tri- 
umphed in their overthrow. 

In the time of the Emperor Akbar the land now included in the Mathura 
district formed parts of three different Sarkars, or Divisions — viz., Agra, Kol, and 

The Agra Sarkar comprised 33 mahals, four of which were Mathura, Ma- 
holi. Mangotla, and Maha-ban. Of these, the second, Maholi, (the Madhupuri 
of Sanskrit literature) is now quite an insignificant village and is so close to 
the city as almost to form one of its suburbs. The third, Mangotla or Magora, 
has disappeared altogether from the revenue-roll, having been divided into four 
pattis, or shares, which are now accounted so many distinct villages. The 
fourth, Maha-ban, in addition to its present area, included some ten villages of 
what is now the Sa'dabad pargana and the whole of Mat ; while Noh-jhil, lately 
united with Mat, was at that time the centre of pargana Noh,* which was in- 
cluded in the Kol Sarkar. The Sa'dabadf pargana had no independent exist- 
ence till the reign of Shahjahan, when his famous minister, Sa'dullah Khan, 

* There is another large town, bearing the smue strange name of Noli, at no great distance, 
but west of the Jaumna, in the district of Gur^auw. It is specially noted for its extensive 
salt works. 

t Dr. Hunter, in his Imperial Gazetteer, has thought proper to represent the name of this 
pargaua as Saidabad, which he corrects to Suyyidabad '. 


founded the town which still hears his name, and subordinated to it all the sur- 
rounding country, including part of Khandauli, which is now in the Agra dis- 

The Sahar Sarkar consisted of seven mahals, or parganas, and included the 
territory of Bharat-pur. Its home pargana comprised a large portion of the 
modern Mathura, district, extending from Kosi and Shergarh on the north to 
Aring on the south. It was not till after the dissolution of the Muhammadan 
power that Kosi was formed by the Jilts into a separate pargana ; as also was 
the case with Shahpur, near the Gurganw border, which is now merged again 
in Kosi. About the same unsettled period a separate pargana was formed of 
Gobardhan. Subsequently, Sahar dropped out of the list of Sarkars alto- 
gether ; great part of it, including its principal town, was subject to Bharat- 
pur, while the remainder came under the head of Mathura, then called Islam- 
pur or Islamabad. Since the mutiny, Sahar has ceased to give a name even to 
a pargana ; as the head-quarters of the Tahsildar were at that time removed, 
for greater safety, to the large fort-like saitie at Chhata. 

As might be expected from the almost total absence of the Muhammadan 
element in the population, the language of the people, as distinct from that of 
the official classes, is purely Hindi. In ordinary speech 'water' is jal ; 'land' 
is dharti; ' a father,' pita; ' grandson,' ndti (from the Sanskrit naptri), and 'time' 
is often samay. Generally speaking, the conventional Persian phrases of com- 
pliment are represented by Hindi equivalents, as for instance, ikbdl by pratdp 
and tashrif land by kripd karnd. The number of words absolutely peculiar to 
the district is probably very small ; for Braj Bhasha (and Western Mathura is 
coterminous with Braj), is the typical form of Hindi, to which other local varie- 
ties are assimilated as far as possible. A short list of some expressions that 
might strike a stranger as unusual has been prepared and will be found in the 
Appendix. In village reckonings, the Hindustani numerals, which are of sin- 
gularly irregular formation and therefore difficult to remember, are seldom 
employed in their integrity, and any sum above 20, except round numbers, is 
expressed by a periphrasis — thus, 75 is not pachhattar, but punch ghat assi, i.e., 
80 — 5 ; and 97 is not sattdnaice, but tin ghat sau, i.e., 100 — 3. In pronun- 
ciation there are some noticeable deviations from established usage ; thus — 1st, 
s is substituted for sh, as in sdmil for shdmil ; sumdr for shumdr : 2nd, eh 
takes the place of « as in Chita for Sitd, and occasionally vice versa; as in charsa 
for charcha : and 3rd, in the vowels there is little or no distinction between a 
a.nd i, thus we have Lakshmin for Lakshman. The prevalence of this latter 



vulgarism explains the fact of the word Brahman being ordinarily spelt in 
English as Brahmin. It is still more noticeable in the adjoining district of 
Mainpuri ; where, too, a generally becomes 6, as dado gayo, " he went," for 
ehald gaya—a provincialism equally common in the mouths of the Mathura 
peasants. It may also, as a grammatical peculiarity, be remarked that kari, 
the older form of the past participle of the verb karnd, ' to do,' is much more 
popular than its modern abbreviation, H ; ne, which is now generally recognized as 
the sign of the agent, is sometimes used in a very perplexing way, fur what it 
originally was, viz., the sign of the dative ; and the demonstrative pronouns 
with the open vowel terminations, ta and wd, are always preferred to the sibilant 
Urdu forms is and us. As for Muhammadan proper names, they have as foreign 
a sound and are as much corrupted as English ; for example, Wa-dr-ud-diu, 
Hiddyat-ullah and Tdj Muhammad would be known in their own village only 
as Waju, IJatu anil Taju, and would themselves be rather shy about claiming 
the longer title ; while Mauja, which stands for the Arabic Mauj-ud-din, is 
transformed so completely that it is no longer recognized as a specially Muham- 
madan name and is often given to Hindus. 

The merest glance at the map is sufficient proof of the almost exclusively 
Hindi character of the district. In the two typical parganas of Kosi and 
Chhatsi there are in all 172 villages, not one of which bears a name with the 
elsewhere familiar Persian termination of -dbdd. Less than a score of names 
altogether betray any admixture of a Muhammadan element, and even these are 
formed with some Hindi ending, as pur, nagar, or garh ; for instance, Akbar- 
pur, Sher-nagar, and Sher-garh. All the remainder, to any one but a philo- 
logical student, denote simply such and such a village, but have no connotation 
whatever, and are. at once set down as utterly barbarous and unmeaning. An 
entire chapter further on will be devoted to their special elucidation. The 
Muhammadans in their time made several attempts to remodel the local nomen- 
clature, the most conspicuous illustrations of the vain endeavour being the sub- 
stitution of Islampur for the venerable name of Mathura and of Muminabad for 
Brinda-ban. The former is still occasionally heard in the law Courts when 
documents of the last generation have to be recited ; and several others, though 
almost unknown in the places to which they refer, are regularly recorded in the 
register of the revenue officials. Thus, a village near Gobardhan is Parsoli to 
its inhabitants, but Muhammad-pur in the office ; and it would be possible i, 
live many years in Mathura before discovering that the extensive gardens oi 
the opposite side of the river were not properly described as being at Hans* 
ganj, but belonged to a place called Isa-pur; A yet more curious fact, and one 


which would scarcely he possible in any country but India, is this, that a name 
lias sometimes been changed simply through the mistake of a copying clerk. 
Thus, a village in the Kosi pargana had always been known as Chacholi till the 
name was inadvertently copied in the settlement papers as Piloli and has remained 
so ever since. Similarly with two populous villages, now called Great and Liti le 
Bharna, in the Chhata pargana : the Bharna Khurd of the record-room is Lohra 
Mama on the spot ; lohra being the Hindi equivalent for the more common chhotd, 
'little,' and Mama being the original name, which from the close resemblance 
in Nagari writing of m to bh has been corrupted by a clerical error into Bharna. 

As in almost every part of the country where Hindus are predominant, the 
population consists mainly of Bralnnans, Thakurs, and Baniyas ; but to tin- 
three classes a fourth of equal extent, the Jats, must be added as the specially 
distinctive element. During part of last century the ancestors of the Jat Raja, 
who still governs the border State of Bharat-pur, exercised sovereign power 
over nearly all the western half of the district ; and their influence on the country 
has been so great and so permanent in its results that they are justly entitled 
to first mention. Nothing more clearly indicated the alien character of the 
Jalesar pargana than the fact that in all its 203 villages the Jats occupied only 
one ; in Kosi and Maha-ban they hold more than half the entire number and in 
Chhiita at least one-third. 

It is said that the local traditions of Bayana and Bharat-pur point to Kanda- 
har as the parent country of the Jats, and attempts have been made* to prove 
their ancient power and renown by identifying them with certain tribes men- 
tioned by the later classical authors — the Xanthii of Strabo, the Xuthii of 
Dionysius of Samos, the Jatii of Pliny and Ptolemy — and at a more recent 
period with the Jats or Zaths, whom the Muhammadans found in Sindh when 
they first invaded that country.! These are the speculations of European 
scholars, which, it is needless to say, have never reached the ears of the persons 
most interested in the discussion. But lately the subject has attracted the 
attention of Native enquirers also, and a novel theory was propounded in a 
little Sanskrit pamphlet, entitled Jatharotpati, compiled by Sastri Angad 
Sarmma for the gratification of Pandit Griri Prasad, himself an accomplished 

*Cunumghiim's Arehajological Survey, Vol. II., page 56. 

fTod, however, considered the last-mentioned tribe quite distinct. He write9 : "The Jats 
or Jits, far move numerous than perhaps all the Rajput tribes put together, still retain their 
ancient appellation thruughout the whole of Sindh. They are amongst the oldest converts to 


Sanskrit scholar,* and a Jat by caste, who resided at Beswa on the Aligarh 
border. It is a catena of all the ancient texts mentioning the obscure tribe of 
the Jatharas, with whom the writer wishes to identify the modern Jats and so 
bring them into the ranks of the Kshatriyas. The origin of the Jatharas is 
related in very similar terms by all the authorities ; we select the passage from 
the Padma Parana as being the shortest. It runs as follows : — " Of old, 
when the world had been bereft, by the son of Bhrigu, of all the Kshatriya race, 
their daughters, seeing the land thus solitary and being desirous of conceiv- 
ing sons, laid hold of the Brahmans, and carefully cherishing the seed sown in 
their womb (jathara) brought forth Kshatriya sons called Jatharas. "t Now, 
there is no great intrinsic improbability in the hypothesis that the word Jathara 
has been shortened into Jat ; but if the one race is really descended from the 
other, it is exceedingly strange that the fact should never have been so stated be- 
fore. This difficulty might be met by replying that the Jats have always been, 
with very few exceptions, an illiterate class, who were not likely to trouble them- 
selves about mythological pedigrees ; while the story of their parentage would 
not be of sufficient interest to induce outsiders to investigate it. But a more 
unanswerable objection is found in a passage which the Sastri himself quotes 
from the Brihat Sanhita (XIV., 8). ThisJ places the home of the Jatharas 
in the south-eastern quarter, whereas it is certain that the Jats have come from 
the west. Probably the leaders of Jat society woidd refuse to accept as their 
progenitors either the Jatharas of the Beswa Pandit or the Sindhian Zaths of 
General Cunningham ; for the Bharat-pur princes affect to consider themselves 
as the same race with the Jadavas, and the Court bards in their panegyrics 
are always careful to style them Jadu-vansi. 

However, all these speculations and assumptions have little basis beyond a 
mere similarity of name, which is often a very delusive test ; and it is certain 

* He is the author of a Hiudi commentary on the White Yajur Veda. 

f^TSfU^Zlf ^T^' i^I^crf ^%^W. II 

sJT^TOT^ 5JJIi|FnSPT? q^TrTIT^qra^gT II 

513* yTRrf JTH tV??l fcfnjcjrqJT II 

T3T? SUTTER ^^ir mZlT^l ^T^T? II 


that whatever may have been the status of the Jats in remote antiquity, in 
historic times they were no way distinguished from other agricultural tribes, such 
as the Kurmis and Lodhas, till so recent a period as the beginning of last century. 

Many of the largest Jat communities in the district distinctly recognize the 
social inferiority of the caste, by representing themselves as having been degrad- 
ed from the rank of Thakurs on account of certain irregularities in their mar- 
riage customs or similar reasons. Thus, the Jats of the Godha sub-division, who 
occupy the 18 villages of the Ayra-khera circle in the Malta-ban pargana, trace 
their pedigree from a certain Thakur of the very ancient Pramar clan, who 
emigrated into these parts from Dim- in the Dakhin. They say that his sons, 
for want of more suitable alliances, married into Jat families in the neighbour- 
hood and thus came to be reckoned as Jats themselves. Similarly the Dangri 
Jats of the five Madera villages in the same pargana have a tradition, the accu- 
racy of which there seems no reason to dispute, that their ancestor, by name 
Kapiir, was a Sissodiya Thakur from Chitor. These facts are both curious in 
themselves and also conclusive as showing that the Jits have no claim to pure 
Kshatriya descent : but they throw ao light at all upon the origin of the tribe 
which the new immigrants found already settled in the country and with which 
they amalgamated : and as ihe name in its preseni form, does not occur in any 
literary record whatever till quite recur days, there must always remain some 
doubt about the matter. The sub-divisions are exceedingly numerous: one of 
the largest of them all being the Nohwsir, who derive their name from the town 
of Noh and form the bulk of the population throughout the whole of the Noh- 
jhil pargana. 

Of Brahmaus the mosl numerous class is the Sanadh, frequently called 
Sanaurhiya, and next the Gaur : but these will be found in every part of India, 
and claim no special investigation. The ( lhaubes of Mathura however, number- 
ing in all some 6,000 persons, are a peculiar race and must not be passed over 
so summarily. They are still very celebrated as wre tiers and. in the Mathura 
Mahatmya, their learning and other virtm - also are extolled in the most extra- 
vagant terms ; but either the writer was prejudiced or time has had a sadly de- 
teriorating effect They are now ordinarily described by their own country- 
men as a low and ignorant horde of rapacious mendicants. Like the Prag- 
walas at Allahabad, they are the recognized local ciccrones ; and they may 
always be seen with their portly forms lolling about near the most popular ghats 
md temples, ready to bear down upon the first pilgrim that approaches. One 
of their most noticeable peculiarities is that they are very reluctant to make a 



match with an outsider, ami if by any possibility it can be managed, will always 
find bridegrooms for their daughters among the residents of the town.* Hence 
the popular saying — 


Wm ^Z rJT =SR?T 5ITZJ 
which may be thus roughly rendered— 

M.tthura girls and Gokul cows 
Will never move while fate allows: 

because, as is implied, there is no other place where they are likely to be so 
well off. This custom results in two- other exceptional usages : first, that mar- 
riage contracts are often made while one, or e^en both, of the parties most con- 
cerned are still unborn ; and secondly., that little or no regard is paid to relative 
age ; thus a Chaube, if his friend has no available daughter to bestow upon him, 
will agree to wait for the first grand-daughter. Many years ago, a consider- 
able mi oration was made to Mainpuri, where the Mathuriya Chaubes now form 
a large and wealthy section of the community and are in every way of better 
repute than the parent stock. 

Another Brahmanical, or rather pseudo-Brahmauical, tribe almost peculiar 
to the district, though found also at the town of Hathras and in Mewat, is that 
of the Ahivasis, a name which scarcely any one beyond the borders of Mathura 
is likely to have heard, unless he has had dealings with them in the way of 
business.! They are largely employed as general carriers and have almost a 
complete monopoly of the trade in salt, and some of them have thus accpuired 

* Tieffentlialler mentions this as a peculiarity of the women of Gokul. He says : "Vis a vis 
d'Aurcngabad est un village nomme Gokul, ou l'on dit que demeuraient size mille femmes avec 
lcs quelles Krishna etait marie. Les femmes de ce village se distinguent in ce qutlles n'en sor- 
tent pas et ne se marient pas ailleurs." The writer, Father Joseph Tieffentlialler, a native of 
Bolzmo, in the Austrian Tyrol, came out to India as a Jesuit missionary in 1743 and remained 
in the country all the rest of his life, nearly 42 years. As he never resided long in any one 
place, his travels eventually extended over nearly the whole continent and supplied him with 
matter for several treatises which he composed in Latin. None of them have been published 
in that language ; but a French translation of his Indian Geography, from which the above 
extract is taken, appeared in 1736 at Berlin as the first volume of Bernoulli's Description de 
l'lnde. He died at Lucknow in July, 17S5, but was buried at Agra, where on the stone that 
covers his grave may still be read the words: " Pater Joseph Tieffenlhalhr, obnt Lucnoi 5 Julii f 
1785." This is at the back of the old Catholic Church (built by Walter Eeinhard), which stands 
in the Bame enclosure as the modern Cathedral, but has been long disused. I quote from him 
on several occasions rather on account of the rarity than the intrinsic value of the book. 

+ They are not mentioned either by Wilson or Elliot in their Glossaries. They have as many 
as seventy-two sub-divisk'nB, two of the principal of which are called Dighiya and Bajravat. 


considerable substance. They are also the hereditary proprietors of several vil- 
lages on the west of the Jamuna, chiefly in the pargana of Chhata, where they 
rather affect large brick-built houses, two or more stories in height and covering 
a considerable area of ground, but so faultily constructed that an uncracked wall 
is a noticeable phenomenon. Without exception they are utterly ignorant and 
illiterate, and it is popularly believed that the mother of the race was a Ohamar 
woman, who has influenced the character of her offspring more than the Brah- 
man father. The name is derived from alii, the great 'serpent' Kaliya, whom 
Krishna defeated ; and their first home is stated to have been the village of 
Sunrakh, which adjoins the Kali-mardan ghat at Brinda-ban. The Pandes of 
the great temple of Baladeva are all Ahivasis, and it is matter for regret that 
the revenues of so wealthy a shrine should be at the absolute disposal of a com- 
munity so extremely unlikely ever to make a good use of them. 

The main divisions of Thakurs in Mathuni are the Jadon and the Gaurua 
The former, however, are not recognized as equal in rank to the Jadons of Raj- 
putana, though their prinicipal representative, the Raja of Awa,* is one of the 
wealthiest landed proprietors in the whole ofk Upper India. The origin of the 
latter name is obscure, but it implies impure descent and is merely the generic 

*Now that Jalesar, the Raja's residence, lias been included in the Eta district, he can no 
longer be reckoned among the gentry of Mathura: but as part of his estate still lies here, it 
may be convenient to give, in the form of a note, a brief sketch of the family history. The 
pedigree begins only in the reign of Muhammad Shah (1720 — 1748 A. D.), when Thakur 
Chaturbhuj, a zarnindar of Nari in the Chhata pargana, came and settled at Jalesar, and 
was employed by the local governor in the professional capacity of a physician. His son, 
Bijay Sinn, for a short time also followed the vocation of his father, but was afterwards 
appointed toasmal! military command. The Jadon zamindars of some adjacent villages, having 
become involved in pecuniary difficulties, were assisted by Chaturblmj, now become a wealthy 
man, and his son, themselves also members of the Jadon clan. They thus acquired consider- 
able local influence, which was further extended by Bijay Sinh's eldest son, Bhakt Sinh. 
He was for a time in the service of Jawahir Sinh, the Maharaja of Bharat-pur, and also lent 
some support to Thakur Bahadur Sinh of Umargarh, from whom he received a grant of the 
village of Misa. A number of other villages, belonging to different Thakur clans, also passed 
into his hands ; and this accession of revenue enabled him to enlist under his standard a troop 
of marauding Mewatis, with whose aid he established himself, according to the custom of the 
time, as an independent free-booting chief. Finally he obtained a sanad from the Mahrattas 
authorizing him to build a fort at Awa. This was simply a yurhi with a circuit of mud walls. 
The present formidable stronghold was built by his successor, Hira Sinh. In the Mahratta 
war the latter was able to render some good service to the English ; and in 1838' it is said that 
his son, l'itambar Sinh, waB recognised as Raja by the then Governor-General, Lord Auckland. 
He died in 1845, leaving no issue of his own Bave one daughter, who was married to a Rajput 
chief in the Gwaliar territory. His son by adoption, Raja Prithi Sinh, a descendant of Thakur 
Bijay Sinh, the second of the family, died in July, 1876, leaving an infant heir, the present 
Riij.i, Chitra Ml Sinh, born 12th August, 1874 ; his mother being a member of the branch of 
the Nepal royal family residing at Banaras. The estate pays a Government revenue of 
Rs. 3,67,515. The sanad conferring the title is not forthcoming, nor is it known when it was 
conferred. It is said to have been given by a Rana of Udaipur. 


title which has as many subordinate branches as the original Thakur stock. 
Thus we have Gauruas, who call themselves — some Kachhwahas, some Jasawats, 
some Sissodiyas, and so on, throughout the whole series of Thakur clans. The 
last named are more commonly known as Bachhals from the Bachh-ban at Sehi, 
where their Guru always resides. According to their own traditions they emi- 
grated from Chitor some Ton or 800 years ago, but probably at rather a later 
period, after Alu-ud-din's famous siege of 1303. As they gave the name of 
Runera to one of their original settlements in the Mathura district, there can be 
little doubt that the emigration took place after the year 1202, when the Sove- 
reign of Chitor first assumed the title of Edna instead of the older Rdval. They 
now occupy as many as 24 villages in the Chhata pargana, and a few of the 
same clan — 872 souls in all — are also to be found in the Bhauganw and Bewar 
parganas of the Mainpuri district. 

The great majority of Baniyas in the district are Agarwalas. Of the Sarau- 
gis, whose ranks are recruited exclusively from the Baniya class, some few be- 
long to that suli-di\ i-ion. but most of tliem, including Seth Raghunath Das, are 
of the Khandel gachchha or got. They number in all 1593 only and are not 
making such rapid progres3 here as notably in the adjoining district of Mainpuri 
and in some other parts of India. In this centre of orthodoxy ' the naked gods' 
are held in unaffected horror by the great mass of Hindus, and the submission 
of any well-to-do convert is generally productive of local disturbance, as has 
been the case more than once at Kosi. The temples of the sect are therefore 
few and far between, and only to be found in the neighbourhood of the large 
trading marts. 

The principal one is that belonging to the Seth, which stands in the suburb 
of Kesopur. After ascending a flight of steps and entering the gate, the visitor 
finds himself in a square paved and cloistered court-yard with the temple 
opposite to him. It is a very plain solid building, arranged in three aisles, 
with the altar under a small di me in the centre aisle, one bay short of the end, 
so as to allow of a processional at the back. There are no windows, and the 
interior is lighted onh by the three small doors in the front, one in each aisle, 
which is a traditional feature in Jaini architecture. What with the want of 
light, the lowness of the vault, and the extreme heaviness of the piers, the 
general effect is more tha! oi a crypt than of a building so well raised above 
the ground as this really i •, It is .-aid that Jambu Swami here practised 
penance, and that his name is recorded in an old and almost effaced inscription 
on a stone slab tiiat is still preserved under the altar. He is reputed the last 
of the Kevalis; or divinely inspired teacher.-, being the pupil of Sudharma, who 



was the only surviving disciple of Mah&vira, the great apostle of the Digam- 
baras, as Parsva Nath was of the Svetambara sect. When the temple was built 
by Mani Ram, lie enshrined in it a figure of Chandra Prabhu, the second of 
the Tirthaukaras ; but a few years ago Seth Raghunath Das brought, from a 
ruined temple at Gwaliar, a large marble statue of Ajit Nath, which now 
occupies the place of honour. It is a seated figure of the conventional type, 
and beyond it there is nothing whatever of beauty or interest in the temple, 
which is as bare and unimpressive a place of worship as any Methodist meeting- 
house. The site, for some unexplained reason, is called the Chaurasi, and the 
temple itself is most popularly known by that name. An annual fair is held 
here, lasting for a week, from Kartik 5 to 12 : it was instituted in 1870 by 
Nain-Sukh, a Saraugi of Bharat-pur. In the city are two other Jain temples, 
both small and both dedicated to Pad ma Prabhu — the one in the Ghiya mandi, 
the other in the Chaubes' quarter. There are other temples out in the district 
at Kosi and Sahpau. 

The Muhammadans, who number only 58,088 in a total population of 
071,690, are not only numerically few but are also insignificant from their 
social position. A large proportion of them are the descendants of converts 
made by force of the sword in early days and are called Malakanas. They are 
almost exclusively of the Sunni persuasion, and the Shias have not a single 
mosque of their own, either in the city or elsewhere. In Western Mathura they 
nowhere form a considerable community, except at SMhpur, where they are 
the zamindars and constitute nearly half of the inhabitants of the town, and at 
Kosi, where they have been attracted by the large cattle-market, which they 
attend as butchers and dealers. To the east of the Jamuna they are rather 
more numerous and of somewhat higher stamp ; the head of the Muhammadan 
family seated at Sa'dabad ranking among the leading gentry of the district, 
There is also, at, Maha-ban, a Saiyid clan, who have been settled there for 
several centuries, being the descendants of Sufi Yahya of Mashhad, who 
recovered the fort from the Hindus in the reign of Ala-ud-din ; but they are 
not in very affluent circumstances and, beyond their respectable pedigree, have 
no other claim to distinction. The head of the family, Sardar Ali, officiated 
for a time as a tahsildar in the Mainpuri district. The ancestral estate consists, 
in addition to part of the township of Maha-ban, of the village of Goharpur 
and Nagara Bharu ; while some of his kinsmen are the proprietors of Shahpur 
Ghosna, where they have resided for several generations. 

Though more than half the population of the district is engaged in agricul- 
tural pursuits, the number of resident country gentlemen is exceptionally small. 



Two of the largest estates are religious endowments ; the one belonging to the 
Seth's temple at Brinda-ban, the other to the Gosain of Gokul. A third is 
enjoyed by absentees, the heirs of the Lala Babu, who are residents of Cal- 
cutta ; while several others of considerable value have been recently acquired 
by rich city merchants and traders. 

For many years past the most influential person in the district has been 
the head of the great banking firm of Hani Ram and Lakhmi Chand. The 
house has not only a wider and more substantial reputation than any other in 
the Norths-Western Provinces, but has few rivals in the whole of India. "With 
branch establishments in Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, and all the other great cen- 
tres of commerce, it is known everywhere, and from the Himalayas to Cape 
Comorin a security for any amount endorsed by the Mathura Seth is as readily 
convertible into cash as a Bank of England Note in London or Paris. The 
founder of the firm was a Gujarati Brahman of the Vallabhacharya persuasion. 
As he held the important post of ' Treasurer' to the Gwaliar State, he is thence 
always known as Parikh Ji, though, strictly speaking, that was only his official 
designation, and his real name was Gokul Das. Being childless and on bad 
terms with his only brother, he, at his death in 1826, bequeathed the whole of 
his immense wealth to Mani Bam, one of his office subordinates, for whom he 
had conceived a great affection ; notwithstanding that the latter was a Jaini, 
and thus the difference of religion between them so great, that it was impossible 
to adopt him formally as a son. As was to be expected, the will was fiercely 
disputed by the surviving brother ; but after a litigation which extended over 
several yeai - s, its validity was finally declared by the highest Court of appeal, 
and the property confirmed in Mani Ram's possession. On his death, in 1836, 
it devolved in great part upon the eldest of his three sons, the famous million- 
aire, Seth Lakhmi Chand, who died in 1866, leaving an only son, by name 
Raghunath Das. As the latter seemed scarcely to have inherited his father's 
talent for business, the management of affairs passed into the hands of his two 
uncles, Radha Krishan and Gobind Das. They became converts to Vaish- 
navism. under the influence of the learned scholar, Swami Rangacharya, whom 
they afterwards placed at the head of the great temple of Rang Ji, which they 
founded at Brinda-ban ; the only large establishment in all Upper India that is 
owned by the followers of Ramanuja. 

On the death of Radha Krishan in 1859, the sole surviving brother, 
Gobind Das, became the recognized head of rhe family. In acknowledgment of 
his muny distinguished public services, he was made a Companion of the 



Star of India on the 1st of January, 1877, when Her Majesty assumed the 
Imperial title. Unfortunately he did not live long to enjoy the well-merited 
honour, but died only twelve months afterwards, leaving as his joint heirs his 
two nephews, Raghunath Das, the son of Lakhmi Chand, and Lachhman Das, 
the son of Radha Krishan. For many years past the business has been mainly 
conducted by the head manager, Seth Mangi Lai, who is now also largely 
assisted by his two sons, Narayan D.'is and Srinivasa Das. The latter, who has 
charge of the Delhi branch, is an author as well as a man of business, and has 
published a Hindi drama of some merit entitled ' Randhir and Prem-mohini.' 
Narayan Das is the manager of the Brinda-ban Temple estate, and a very active 
member of the Municipal Committee, both there and at Mathura. For his per- 
sonal exertions in superintending the relief operations during the late severe 
famine he received a khilat of honour from the Lieutenant-Governor in a pub- 
lic Darbar held at Agra in the year 1880. 

At the time of the mutiny, when all the three brothers were still living, 
with Seth Lakhmi Chand as the senior partner, their loyalty was most con- 
spicuous. They warned the Collector, Mr. Thornhill, of the impending out- 
break a day before it actually took place ; and after it had occurred the)'' sent 
such immediate information to the authorities at Agra as enabled them to dis- 
arm and thus anticipate the mutiny of the other companies of the same Native 
Regiments, the 41th and the 67th, which were quartered there. After the 
houses iu the station had been burnt down, they sheltered the Collector and the 
other European residents in their house in the city till the 5th of July, when, 
on the approach of the Nimach force, they took boat and dropped down the 
river to Agra. After their departure the Seths took charge of the Government 
treasure and maintained public order. They also advanced large sums of 
money for Government purposes on different occasions, when other wealthy 
firms had positively refused to give any assistance ; and, so long as the disturb- 
ances lasted, they kept up at great expense, for which they never made any 
claim to reimbursement, a very large establishment for the purpose of procur- 
ing information and maintaining communication between Delhi and Agra. In 
acknowledgment of these services, the title of Rao Bahadur was conferred upon 
Seth Lakhmi Chand, with a khilat of Rs. 3,000. A grant was also made him 
of certain confiscated estates, yielding an annual revenue of Rs. lb", 123, nut- 
free for his own life and at half rates for another life. 

During the more than 20 years of peace which have now elapsed since those 
eventful days, the Seths, whenever occasion required, have shown themselves 

1(3 tha'kur data ra'm of hatiiras. 

equally liberal and public spirited. Thus, when Sir William Muir started his 
scheme for a Central College at Allahabad, they supported him with a subscrip- 
tion of Rs. 2,500 ; and in the famine of 1874, before the Government had put 
forth any appeal to the public, they spontaneously called a relief meeting and 
headed the list with a donation of Rs. 7,100. x\gain, when the construction of 
the Matbura and Hathras Light Railway was made conditional on its receiving 
a certain amount of local support, they at once took shares to the extent of a 
lakh and-a-half of rupees, simply with the view of furthering the wishes of Gov- 
ernment and promoting the prosperity of their native town : profit was certainlv 
not their object, as the money had to be withdrawn from other investments, 
where it was yielding a much higher rate of interest. In short, it has always 
been the practice of the family to devote a large proportion of their ample means 
+ o works of charity and general utility. Thus their great temple at Brinda-ban, 
built at a cost of 45 lakhs of rupees, is not only a place for religious worship, 
but includes also an alms-house for the relief of the indigent and a college 
where students are trained in Sanskrit literature and philosophy. Again, the 
city of Mathura, which has now become one of the handsomest in all Upper 
India, owes much of its striking appearance to the buildings erected in it by 
the Seths. It is also approached on either side, both from Delhi and from Agra, 
by a fine bridge constructed at the sole cost of Lakhmi Chand. To other 
works, which do not so conspicuously bear their names, they have been among 
th.e largest contributors, and it would be scarcely possible to find a single 
deserving institution in the neighbourhood, to which they have not given a 
helping hand. Even the Catholic Church received from them a donation of Rs. 
1,100, a fact that deserves mention as a signal illustration of their unsectarian 

The JYit family of highest ancestral rank in the district is the one repre- 
sented by the titular Raja of Hathras, who comes of the same stock as the Raja 
of Mursan. His two immediate predecessors were both men of mark in local 
history, and his pedigree, as will be seen from the accompanying sketch, is one 
of respectable antiquity. 

Makhan Sinh, the founder of the family, was an immigrant from Rajpu- 
tana, who settled in the neighbourhood of Mursan about the year I860 A. D.. 
His great-grandson, Thakur Nand Ram, who bore also the title of Faujdar. 
died in 1696, leaving 14 sons, of whom it is necessary to mention two only 
viz., Jaikaran Sinh and Jai Sinh. The great-grandson of the former was Raja 
Bhagavant Sinh of Mursan, aud of the latter Thakur Daya Rim of Hathras 





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tha'kur data. b^m of ha'thras. 17 

who, during the early years of British administration, were the two most power- 
ful chiefs in this part of the country. From a report made by the Acting 
Collector of Aligarh in 1808, we learn that the Mursan Raja's power extended 
at that time over the whole of Sa'dabad and Sonkh, while Mat, Maha-ban, 
Sonai, Raya Hasangarb, Sahpau and Khandauli, were all held by his kinsman 
at Hathras. Their title, however, does not appear to have been altogether un- 
questioned, for the writer goes on to say: — "The valuable and extensive par- 
ganas which they farmed were placed under their authority by Lord Lake, im- 
mediately after the conquest of these Provinces ; and they have since continued 
in their possession, as the resumption of them was considered to be calculated 
to excite dissatisfaction and as it was an object of temporary policy to conciliate 
their confidence." 

This unwise reluctance on the part of the paramount power to enquire into 
the validity of the title, by which its vassals held their estates, was naturally 
construed as a confession of weakness and hastened the very evils which it 
was intended to avert. Both chieftains claimed to be independent and assumed 
so menacing an attitude that it became necessary to dislodge them from their 
strongholds ; the climax of Daya Ram's recusancy being his refusal to surren- 
der four men charged with murder. A force was despatched against them 
under Major-General Marshall, and Mursan was reduced without difficulty. 
But Hathras, which was said to be one of the strongest forts in the country, its 
defences having been improved on the model of those carried out by British 
Engineers in the neighbouring fort of Aligarh, had to be subjected to a regular 
siege. It was invested on the 21st of February, 1817. Daya Ram, it is said, 
was anxious to negotiate, but was prevented from carrying out his intention by 
Nek Ram Sinh (his son by an akiri concubine), who even made an attempt to 
have his father assassinated as he was returning in a litter from the English 
camp. Hostilities, at all events, were continued, and on the 1st of March fire 
was opened on the fort from forty-five mortars and three breaching batteries 
of heavy guns. On the evening of the same day a magazine exploded and 
caused such general devastation that Daya Ram gave up all for lost and fled 
away by night on a little hunting pony, which took him the whole way to 
Bharat-pur. There Raja Randhir Sinh declined to run the risk of affording 
him protection, and he continued his flight to Jaypur. His fort was dismantled 
and his estates all confiscated, but he was allowed a pension of Rs. 1,000 a 
month for his personal maintenance. 

On his death in 1841, he was succeeded by his son, Thakur Gobind Sinh, 
who at the time of the mutiny in 1857 held only a portion of one village, 



Shahgarh, and that merely in mortgage. " With his antecedents," writes Mr. 
Bramley, the Magistrate of Aligarh, in his report to the Special Commissioner,. 
dated the 4th of May, 1858, " it would, perhaps, have been no matter for sur- 
prise had he, like others in his situation, taken part against the Government. 
However, his conduct has been eminently loyal. I am not aware that he at any 
time wavered. On the first call of the Magistrate and Collector of Mathuni, he 
came with his personal followers and servants to the assistance of that gentleman, 
and was shortly afterwards summoned to Aligarh ; there he remained through- 
out the disturbed period, ready to perform any services within his power ; and 
it was in a great measure due to him that the important town of Hathras was 
saved from plunder by the surrounding population. He accompanied the force- 
under Major Montgomery to Kol, and was present with his men in the action 
fought with the rebel followers of Muhammad Ghos Khan at Man Sinh's Bagh 
on the 24th of August. On the flight of the rebel Governor of Kol, he was put 
in charge of the town and was allowed to raise a body of men for this service. 
He held the town of Kol and assisted in collecting revenue and recovering 
plundered property till September 25th, when he was surprised by a Muham- 
madan rabble under Nasim-ullah and forced to leave the town with some loss 
of men. This service was one, I presume, of very considerable danger, for he 
was surrounded by a low and incensed Muhammadan population and on the 
high road of retreat of the Delhi rebels, while the support of Major Montgomery's- 
force at Hathras was distant and liable itself to be called away on any exigency 
occurring at Agra. 

" On the re-occupation of the Aligarh district Gobind Sinh resumed his 
post in the city, and by his good example rendered most important .aid in 
the work of restoring order. His followers have at all times been ready for 
any service and have been extremely useful in police duties and in escort- 
ing treasure to Agra and Bulandshahr ; in guarding ghats and watch- 
ing the advance of rebels ; in performing, indeed, the duties of regular 
troops. His loyalty has exposed him to considerable pecuniary loss ; his 
losses on September 25th being estimated at upwards of Es. 30,000, while 
his house at Brinda-ban was also plundered, by rebels returning from 
Delhi, to a much larger amount of ancestral property that cannot be re- 

In compensation for these losses and in acknowledgment of the very valua- 
ble services which he had rendered to Government by his family influence and 
personal energy, he received a grant of Rs. 50,000 in cash, together with a 


bXjX hari kXua'van sinh of hXthras. 19 

landed estate* lying in the districts of Mathura and Bulandshahr, and was also 
honoured with the title of Raja ; the sanad, signed by Lord Canning, being 
dated the 25th of June, 1858. 

Raja Gobiud Sinh was connected by marriage with the head of the Jut 
clan ; his wife, a daughter of Chaudhari Charan Sinh, being sister to Chaudhari 
Ratan Sinh, the maternal uncle of Maharaja Jasvant Sinh of Bharat-pur. 
This lady, the Rani Sahib Kunvar, is still living and manages her estate with 
much ability and discretion through the agency of Pandit Chitar Sinh, a very 
old friend of the family. At the time of her husband's decease in 1861, there 
was an infant son, but he died very soon after the father. As this event had 
been anticipated, the Raja had authorized his widow to adopt a son, and she 
selected for the purpose Hari Narayan Sinh, born in 1863, the son of Thakur 
Riip Sinh of Jatoi, a descendant, as was also Raja Gobind Sinh himself, of 
Thakur Nand Ram's younger son, Jai Sinh. This adoption was opposed by 
Kesri Sinh, the son of Nek Ram, who was the illegitimate offspring of Thakur 
Daya Ram. But the claim that he advanced on behalf of his own sons, Slier 
Sinh and Balavant Sinh, was rejected by the Judge of Agra in his order dated 
November, 1872, and his view of the case was afterwards upheld by the High 
Court on appeal. At the Dalhi Assemblage of the 1st of January, 1877, in 
honour of Her Majesty's assumption of the Imperial title, Raja Gobind Sinh's 
title was formally continued to Han Narayan Sinh for life. He resides with 
his mother, the Rani Sahib Kunvar, at Brhida-l>3n, where he has a handsome 
house on the bank of the Jamuna, opposite the Kesi ghat, and here, on the occa- 
sion of his marriage in February, 1877, he gave a grand entertainment to all 
the European residents of the station, including the officers of the Xth Royal 
Hussars. Though only 14 years of age, he played his part of host with perfect 
propriety and good breeding — taking a lady into dinner, sitting at the head 
of his table — though, of course, not eating anything — and making a little speeeh 
to return thanks after his health had been proposed. 

The only Muhammadan family of any importance is the one seated at 
Sa'dabad, This is a branch of the Lal-Khaai stock, which musters strongest in 
the Bulandshahr district, where several of its members are persons of high dis- 
tinction and own very large estates. 

* The estate consists — 1st, of the zarnindari of the township of Kol and some thops and gar- 
dens at Hathras, valued at Ks. 3,000; 2nd!y, of eight confiscated Giijar villages in the Chhata and 
Kosi parganas of the Mathura district, now assessed at over Us. 10,000; and 3rdiv, of five 
villages in the Bulandshahr district, assessed at Bs. 7,000. 

20 THE lXl-khXni family. 

They claim descent from Kunvar Pratap Sinh, a Bargujar Thakur of 
Rajaur, in Raj pu tana, who joined Prithi R;\j of Delhi in his expedition against 
Mahoba. On his way thither he assisted the Dor Raja of Kol in reducing a 
rebellion of the Minas, and was rewarded by receiving in marriage the Raja's 
daughter, with a dowry of 150 villages in the neighbourhood of Pahasu. The 
eleventh in descent from Pratap Sinh was Lai Sinh, who, though a Hindu, 
received from the Emperor Akbar the title of Khan ; whence the name Lal- 
Khani, by which the family is ordinarily designated. It was his grandson, 
Itimad R:ie, in the reign of Aurangzeb, who first embraced Muhaimnadanism. 
The seventh in descent from Itimad Rae was Nahar Ali Khan, who, with his 
nephew, Dunde Khan, held the fort of Kumona, in Bulandshahr, against the 
English, and thus forfeited his estate, which was conferred upon his relative, 
Mardan Ali Khan. 

The latter, who resided at Chhatari, which is still regarded as the chief 
seat of the family, was the purchaser of the Sa'dabad estate, which on his death 
passed to his eldest son, Husain Ali Khun, and is now held by the widow, the 
Thakurani Hakim-un-nissa. It yields an annual income of Rs. 48,569, derived 
from as many as 26 different villages. The Thakurani being childless, the pro- 
perty was long managed on her behalf by her husband's nephew, the late Kun- 
var Irshad Ali Khan. He died in 1876 and was succeeded by his son, Itimad 
Ali Khan, who is the present head of the family in this district. Several of 
bis relatives have other lands here. Thus his uncle, Nawab Sir Faiz Ali Khan, 
k. c.s.i. , owns the village of Nsinau ; and the villages of Chhava and Dauhai, 
yielding a net income of Rs. 1,993, belong to Thakurani Zeb-un-nissa, the widow 
of Kamr Ali Khan, Sir Faiz's uncle. Two other villages, Bahardoi and Narayan- 
pur, are the property of a minor, Grhulam Muhammad Khan, the son of Hidayat 
Ali Khan, who was adopted by Zuhur Ali Khan of Dharmpur on the failure of 
issue by his first wife ; they yield an income of Rs. 3,555. The relationship 
existing between all these persons will be best understood by a glance at the 
accompanying genealogical table. 

The family, in commemoration of their descent, retain the Hindu titles of 
Kunvar and Thakurani and have hitherto, in their marriage and other social 
customs, observed many old Hiudu usages. The tendency of the present gene-: 
ration is, however, rather to affect an ultra-rigid Muhammadanism ; and the 
head of the house, the Nawab of Chhatari, is an adherent of the Wahabis. 

Of the smaller estates in the district, some few belong to respectable old 
families of the yeoman type ; others have been recently acquired bv speculating 

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money-lenders ; but the far greater number are split up into infinitesimal Trac- 
tions among the whole village community. Owing to this prevalence of the 
Bhaiyachari system, as it is called, the small farmers who cultivate; their own 
hinds constitute a very large class, while the total of the non-proprietary 
classes is proportionately reduced. A. decided majority of the latter have no assured 
status, but are merely tenants-at-will. Throughout the district, all the land 
brought under the plough is classified under two heads,— -first, according to its 
productiveness ; secondly, according to its accessibility. The fields capable of 
artificial irrigation — and it is the supply of water which most influences tho 
amount (if produce — are styled chdhi, all others khaki; those nearest the village 
are known as bard, those rather more remote as manjhd, and the furthest away 
baihd* The combination of the two classes gives six varieties, and ordinarily 
no others are recognized, though along the course of the Jamuna the tracts 
of alluvial land are, as elsewhere, called hhddai — -the high sterile banks are 
hangar, and where broken into ravines behar ; a soil exceptionally sandy is 
bluer, sand-hills are pMh, and the levels between the hills pdlaj. 

The completion of the Agra Canal has been a great boon to the district. 
It traverses the entire length of Western Mathura, passing close to the towns 
of Kosi, Sahar, and A ring, and having as its extreme points Hathana to the 
north and Little Kosi to the south. It was officially opened by Sir William 
Muir on the 5th of March, 1874, and became available for irrigation purposes 
about the end of 1875, by which time its distributaries also had been con- 
structed. Its total length from Okhla to the Utangan river at Bihari below 
Fatihabad is 140 miles, and it commands an area of three-quarters of a million 
acres, of which probably one-third — that is 250,000 acres — will be annually 
irrigated. The cost has been above £710,000, while the net income will be 
about £58,000, being a return of 8 per cent. It will be practicable for boats 
and barges, both in its main line and its distributaries, and thus, instead of the 
shallow uncertain course of the Jamuna, there will be sure and easy naviga- 
tion between the three great cities of Delhi, Mathura, and Agra. One of the 
most immediate effects of tho canal will probably be a large diminution of the 
area under bajra and joar, which, by reason of their requiring no artificial irriga- 
tion, have hitherto been almost the only crops grown on much of the land. For, 

* It is exactly the same in Kussia. " All the arable land of the commune is divided into 
three concentric zones, which extend round the village: and these three zones are again 
divided into three fields according to the triennial arrangement of crops. More regard is 
paid to proximity than to fertility, as this varies very little in the same district in. llussia. 
The zones nearest the village are alone manured." — Lavehye's Primitive Property, 



with water ordinarily from 40 to 60 feet below the surface and a sand}' subsoil, 
the construction of a well is a costly and difficult undertaking. In future, wheat 
and barley, for which the soil when irrigated is well adapted, will be the staple 
produce ; indigo and opium, now almost unknown, will be gradually introduced; 
vegetables will be more largely cultivated and double-cropping will become the 
ordinary rule. Thus, not only will the yield per acre be increased by the facili- 
ties for irrigation, but the produce will be of an entirely different and much 
more valuable character. 

A scheme for extending the irrigation of the Ganges Canal through the 
parganas on the opposite — that is to say, the left — side of the Jamuna has long 
been held in view. The branch which takes off from the main canal at Dehra 
in the Merath district has by anticipation been termed the Mat branch, though 
its irrigation stops short in the Tappal pargana of Aligarh, one distribu- 
tary only irrigating a few villages north of Noh-jhil. The water-supply in 
the Ganges Canal is limited, and would not have sufficed for any further exten- 
sion ; but now that the Kanhpur branch is supplied from the new Lower 
Ganges Canal, a certain volume of water has become available, a portion of which 
has been allotted for the Mat branch extension. If the project be sanctioned 
in its entirety, the existing sub-branch will be widened to carry the additional 
supply and extended through the Tappal pargana, entering Noh-jhil in the vil- 
lage of Bhurc-ka. The course of the main supply line will pass along the water- 
shed of the Karwan and Jamuna Doab to the east of Bhure-ka, and then by the 
villages of Dandi>ara, Barnaul, Nasithi, and Arua till it crosses the Mat and 
Biiya road and the Light Railway. Thence it will extend to Karab, South, and 
Pachawar, where at its 40th mile it will end in three distributaries, which will 
carry the water as far as the Agra and Aligarh road. The scheme thus pro- 
vides for the irrigation of the parganas of Noh-jhil, Mat, Maha-ban, and that 
portion of Sa'dabad which lies to the west of the Karwan nadi. About five 
miles of the main line were excavated as a famine relief work in 1878; but 
operations were stopped inconsequence of financial difficulties, and it is doubtful 
whether they will be resumed. There is also a considerable amount of well- 
irrigation in Maha-ban and Sa'dabad, which renders the extension into those 
parganas a less pressing necessity. 

The district is one which has often suffered severely from drought. In 
1813-14 the neighbourhood of Sahar was one of the localities where the distress 
was most intense. Many died from hunger, and others were glad to sell their 
wives and children for a few rutees or even for a single meal. In 1825-26 the 

THE FAMINE OF 1837-38. 23 

whole of the territories known at that time as the Western Provinces were 
afflicted with a terrible drought. The rabi crops of the then Sa'dadad district 
wer3 estimated by Mr. Boddam, the Collector, as below the average by more 
than 200,000 mans; Maha-ban and Jalesar being the two parganas which suf- 
fered most. But the famine of 1837-38 was a far greater calamity, and still 
forms an epoch in native chronology under the name of ' the chaurdnawe,' or 
'the 94'; 1894 being its date according to the Hindu era. Though Matlmni. 
was not one of the districts most grievously afflicted, distress was still extreme, 
as appears from the report submitted by the Commissioner, Mr. Hamilton, 
after personal investigation. About Raya, Mat, and Maha-ban he found the 
crops scant}-, and the soil dry, and cultivated only in the immediate vicinity of 
masonry wells. About Mathura, the people were almost in despair from the 
wells fast turning so brackish ami salt as to destroy rather than refresh vege- 
tation. " All of the Aring and Gobardhan parganas (he w-rites) which came 
under my observation was an extensive arid waste, and for miles I rode over 
ground which had been both ploughed and sown, but in which the seed had not 
germinated and where there seemed no prospect of a harvest. The cattle in 
Aring were scarcely able to crawl, and they were collected in the village and 
suffered to pull at the thatch, the people declaring it useless to drive them forth 
to seek for pasture. Emigration had already commenced, and people of all 
classes appeared to be suffering." 

Of the famine of 1860-61 (commonly called the uth-sera, from the pre- 
valent bazar rate of eight sers only for the rupee) the following narrative was 
recorded by Mr. Eobertson, Officiating Collector : — " Among prosperous agri- 
culturists,'' he says, " about half the land usually brought under cultivation is 
irrigated, and irrigated lands alone produce crops this year. But though only 
half the crop procured in ordinary years was obtained by this class of cultiva- 
tors, the high price of com enabled them, while realizing considerable profits, 
to meet the Government demand without much difficulty. The poorer class of 
cultivators were, however, ruined, and with the poorest in the cities, taking 
advantage of the position of Mathura as one of the border famine tracts, they 
abandoned the district in large numbers, chiefly towards the close of 1860. 
Bather more than one-fourth of the agricultural emigrants have returned, and 
the quiet, unmurmuring industry with wdiich they have recommenced life is not 
a less pleasing feature than the total absence of agrarian outrage during the 
famine. The greatest number of deaths from starvation occurred during the' 
first three months of 1861, when the average per mensem was 497. During 

2-4 THE FAMINE OF 1860-61. 

the succeeding three months this average was reduced to 85, while the deaths 

in July and August were only five and six respectively. The total number of 
deaths during the eight months has been 1,758. Viewing the universality of 
the famine, these results sufficiently evidence the active co-operation in mea- 
sures of relief rendered by the native officials assisted by the police, and the 
people everywhere most pointedly express their obligation to the Government 
and English liberality. No return of the number of deaths caused by starva- 
tion seems to have been kept from October, 18G0, to January, 1861, but judg- 
ing by the subsequent returns, 250 per mensem might be considered as the 
highest average. Thus, the mortality caused by the famine in this district in 
the year 1860-61 may approximately be estimated at 2,500."* If such a large 
number of persons really died simply from starvation — and there seems no 
reason to doubt the fact — the arrangements for dispensing relief can scarcely 
have merited all the praise bestowed upon them. There was certainly no lack 
of funds towards the end, but possibly they came when it was almost too late. 
In the month of April some 8,000 men were employed daily on the Delhi road ; 
the local donations amounted to Rs. 16,227, and this sum was increased by a 
contribution of lis. 8,000 from the Agra Central Committee, and Rs. 5,300 
from Government, making a total of Rs. 29,528. An allotment of Es. 5,000 
was also made from the Central Committee for distribution among the indi- 
g mt agriculturists, that they might have wherewithal to purchase seed and 


At the present time the district has scarcely recovered from a series of 
disastrous seasons, resulting in a famine of exceptional severity and duration, 
which will leave melancholy traces behind it for many years yet to come. 
Both in 1875 and 1876 the rainfall was much below the average, and the crops 
on all unirrigated land proportionately small. In 1877 the entire period of 
the ordinary monsoon passed with scarcely a single shower, and it was not till 
the beginning of October, when almost all hope was over, that a heavy fall of 
rain was vouchsafed, which allowed the ground to be ploughed and seed to be 
sown for the ensuing year. The autumn crops, upon which the poorer classes 
mainly subsist, failed absolutely, and for the most part had never even been 
sown. As early as July, 1S77, the prices of every kind of grain were at 
famine rates, which continued steadily on the increase, while the commoner 
sorts were before long entirely exhausted. The distress in the villages was 

* Mr. Robertsou'B narrative has been copied from the original paper in the District Office. 
The other particulars have been extracted fro n Mr. Girdlcstone's ltcpurt on Past Famines, 
published by Government in isos. 

THE FAMINE OF 1877-78. 25 

naturally greatest among the agricultural labourers, who were thown out of all 
employ by the cessation of work in the fields, while even in the towns the petty 
handicraftsmen were unable to purchase sufficient food for their daily subsist- 
ence on account of the high prices that prevailed in the bazar. In addition to 
its normal population the city was further thronged by crowds of refugees from 
outside, from (he adjoining native states, more especially Bharat-pur, who were 
attracted by the fame of the many charitable institutions that exist both in the 
city itself and at Brinda-ban. No relief works on the part of the Government 
were started till October, when they were commenced in different places all 
over the district under the supervision of the resident Engineer. They con- 
sisted chiefly of the ordinary repairs and improvements to the roads, which are 
annually carried out after the cessation of the rains. The expense incurred 
under this head was Rs. 17,71)2, the average daily attendance being 5,519. 
On the 25th of November in the same year (1877) it was found necessary to 
open a poorhouse in the city for the relief of those who were too feeble to work. 
Here the daily average attendance was 890 ; but, on the 30th July, 1878, the 
number of inmates amounted to 2,139, and this was unquestionably the time 
when the distress was at its highest. The maximum attendance at the relief 
works, however, was not reached till a little later, vis., the 19th of August, 
when it was 20,483, but it would seem to have been artificially increased by 
the unnecessarily high rates which the Government was then paying. 

The rabi crops, sown after the fall of rain in October, 1877, had been fur- 
ther benefited by unusually heavy winter rains, and it was hoped that there 
would be a magnificent outturn. In the end, however, it proved to be even 
below the average, great damage having been done by the high winds which 
blew in February. Thus, though the spring harvest of 1878 gave some relief, 
it was but slight, and necessarily it could not affect at all the prices of the 
common autumn grains. The long-continued privation had also had its effect 
upon the people both physically and mentally, and they were less able to strug- 
gle against their misfortunes. The rains for 1878 were, moreover, very slight 
and partial and so long delayed that they had scarcely set in by the end of 
July, and thus it was, as already stated, that this month was the time when 
the famine was at its climax. In August and September matters steadily im- 
proved, and henceforth continued to do so ; but the poorhouse was not closed 
till the end of June, 1879. The total number of inmates had then been 
395,824, who had been relieved at a total cost of Rs. 43,070, of which sum 
Rs. 2,990 had been raised by private subscription and Rs. 3,500 was a grant 
from the Municipality. 



THE FAMINE OF 1877-78. 

Beside the repairs of the roads the other relief works undertaken and 
their cost were as follows: the excavation of the Jait tank, Rs. 6,787 ; the 
deepening of the Balbhadra tank, Rs. 5,770 ; and the levelling of the Jamalpur 
mounds, Rs. 7,238 : these adjoined the Magistrate's Court-house, and will be 
frequently mentioned hereafter as the site of a large Buddhist monastery. On 
tin! 11th of May, 1878, the earthwork of the Mathura and Achnera Railway 
was taken in hand and continued till the beginning of September, during which 
time it gave employment to 713,315 persons, at an expenditure of Rs. 56,G39. 
An extension of the Mat branch of the Ganges Canal was also commenced on 
the 30th July, and employed 570,351 persons, at a cost of Rs. 43,1-12, till its 
close on the 16th of October. There should also be added Rs. 6,370, which 
were spent by the Municipality through the District Engineer, in levelling 
some broken ground opposite the City Police Station. The total cost on all 
these relief works thus amounted to Rs. 1,80,630. No remission of revenue 
was granted by the Government, but advances for the purchase of bullocks and 
seed were distributed to the extent of Rs. 35,000.* 

The following tabular statement shows the mortality that prevailed during 
the worst months of this calamitous period : the total population of the district 
being 778,839 :— 




























































The metalling of the Delhi road, which has been incidentally mentioned as 
the principal relief work in 1860, was not only a boon at the time, but still con- 
tinues a source of the greatest advantage to the district. The old imperial 
thoroughfare, which connected the two capitals of Agra and Labor, kept closely 
to the same line, as is shown by the ponderous kos minars, which are found 
still standing at intervals of about three miles, and nowhere at any great 

* 1 saw nothing of the famine myself, as I left the district in April, 1S77, before it had 
begun. Selfishly, I am glad to haye escaped the sight ol so much misery; though, possibly, 
if I li:t 1 be< ii on the spot, my local experience might have proved useful both to the Government 
and the people. 


distance from the waysid'6. Here was the " delectable alley of trees, the most 
incomparable ever beheld," which the Emperor Jahangir enjoys the credit of 
having planted. That it was really a fine avenue is attested by the language 
of the sober Dutch topographer, John de Laet, who, in his India Vera, written 
in 1631, that is, early in the reign of Shahjahan, speaks of it in tho following 
terms : — » The whole of the country between Agra and Labor is well-watered 
and by far the most fertile part of India. It abounds in all kinds of produce, 
especially sugar. The highway is bordered on either side by trees which bear 
a fruit not unlike the mulberry,* and," as he adds in another place, " form a 
beautiful avenue." " At intervals of five or six coss," he continues, " there are 
saraes built cither by the king or by some of the nobles. In those travellers 
can find bed and lodging ; when a person has once taken posses-ion he cannot 
be turned out by any one." The glory of the road, however, seems to have 
been of short duration, for Bemier, writing only thirty years later, that is, in 
1G63, says : — " Between Delhi and Agra, a distance of fifty or sixty leagues, the 
whole road is cheerless and uninteresting ;" and even so late as 1825, Bishop 
Heber, on his way down to Calcutta, was apparently much struck with what 
he calls " the wildness of the country," but mentions no avenue, as he certainly 
would have done had one then existed. Thus it is clear that the more recent 
administrators of the district, since its incorporation into British territory, are 
the only persons entitled to the traveller's blessing for the magnificent and 
almost unbroken canopy of over-arching boughs, which now extends for more 
than thirty miles from the city of Mathura to the border of the Gurganw district, 
and forms a sufficient protection from even the mid-day glare of an Indian 
summer's sun. 

Though the country is now generally brought under cultivation, and can 
scarcely be described as even well wooded, there are still here and there many 
patches of w r aste land covered with low trees and jungle, which might be consi- 
dered to justify the Bishop's epithet of wild-looking. The herds of deer are so 
numerous that the traveller will seldom go many miles in any direction along a 
b) r e-road without seeing a black-buck, followed by his harem, bound across the 
path. The number has probably increased rather than diminished in late years, 

* In the original Latin text the word is morus, which Mr. Lethbridgc, in his scholarly 
English edition, translates by ' fig;' but I think 'mulberry ' a more accurate rendering, and 
that to be the tree intended. It is to this day largely used for roadside planting at Lahor, and 
still more so in the Peshawar valley and in Kabul and on theOxus. De Laet says it was only 
like the mulberry, and not that it positively was the mulberry, on account of the difference of 
the two varieties of the fruit, the Indian and the European, which is very considerable. In the 
Kashmir valley both are to be seen. 

28 de xaet's itinerary. 

as the roving and vagabond portion of the population, who used to keep 
them in check, were all disarmed after the mutiny. Complaints are now 
frequent of the damage done to the crops ; and in .some parts of the district 
yet more serious injury is occasioned by the increase in the number of 

The old Customs hedge, now happily abolished, used to run along the whole 
length of this road from Jait, seven miles out of Mathura, to the Gurganw 
border. Though in every other respect a source of much annoyance to the 
people living in its neighbourhood, the watchmen, who patrolled it night and 
day, were a great protection to travellers, and a highway robbery was never 
known to take place ; while on the corresponding road between Mathura and 
Agra they were at one time of frequent occurrence.* 

The quautity of sugarcane now grown in this part of the district is very 
inconsiderable. The case may have been different in De Laet's time ; but on 
other grounds there seems reason for believing that his descriptions are not 
drawn from actual observation, and are therefore not thoroughly trustworthy. 
For example, he gives the marches from Agra to Delhi as follows: — "From 
Agra, the residence of the king, to Rownoctan, twelve coss : to Bady, a sarae, 
ten ; to Achbarpore, twelve (this was formerly a considerable town, now it is 
only visited by pilgrims, who come on account of many holy Muhammadans 
buried here) ; to Hondle, thirteen coss ; to Pulwool, twelve ; to Fareedabad, twelve ; 
to Delhi, ten." Now, this passage requires much manipulation before it can be 
reconciled with established facts. Rownoctan, it may be presumed, would, if 
correctly spelt, appear in the form Raunak-than, meaning " a royal halting- 
place," and was probably merely the fashionable appellation, for the time, of 
the Hindu village of Rankata, which is still the first stage out of Agra. Bady 
or Bad, is a small village on the narrow strip of Bharat-pur territory which so 
inconveniently intersects the Agra and Mathura road. There has never been 
any sarae there ; the one intended is the Jamal-pur sarae, some three coss further 
on, at the entrance to the civil station. The fact that Mathura has dropt out of 
the Itinerary altogether, in favour of such an insignificant little hamlet as Bad, 

* This Inland Customs Line, which had uo parallel in the world except the great wall of 
China, was about ],2iiO miles in length, from the Tiipti to the Indus, and was maimed by an 
establishment of between 8,000 and 9,000 officers and men. It consisted of a barrier, chiefly in 
the form of a, thick, thorny hedge, along which were placed at short intervals more than 1,300 
guard posts. The cost was about £100,000 per annum, and the revenue realized about a 
million sterling ; the yearly import of salt from Kajputana being about 80,000 tons, of which 
on an average one-half came from the Bharat-pur State. 


is a striking illustration of the low estate to which the great Hindu city had 
been reduced at the time in question.* Again, the place with the Muhammadan 
tombs is not Akbar-pur, but the next village, Dotana ; and the large saraes at 
Ko-i and Chhata are both omitted. 

These saraes arc tine fort-like buildings, with massive battlemented walls 

and bastions and high-arched gateways. They are five in number: one at the 
entrance to the civil station ; the second at 'Azamabad, two miles beyond the 
city on the Delhi road ; another at Chaumuha ; the fourth at Chhata, and the 
fifth at Kosi. The first, which is smaller than the others and has been much 
modernized, f has for many years past been occupied by the police reserve, and 
is ordinarily called 'the Damdama.' The thn e latter arc generally ascribed by 
local tradition to Slier Shah, whose reign extended from 1540 to 1545, though 
it is also said that Itibar Khan was the name of the founder of the two at 
Mathura and Kosi, and A"?af Ivhan of the one at Chhata. It is probable that 
both traditions are based on facts : for at Chhata it is obvious at a glance that 
both the gateways are double buildings, half dating from one period and half 
from another. The inner front, which is plain and heavy, may be referred to 
Sher Shah, while the lighter and more elaborate stone front, looking towards 
the town, is a subsequent addition. As A'saf Khan is simply a title of honour 
(the ' Asaph the Eecorder' of the Old Testament) which was borne by several 
persons in succession, a little doubt arises at first as to the precise individual 
intended. The presumption, however, is strongly in favour of Abd-ul-majid, 
who was first Humayun's Diwan, and on Akbar's accession was appointed 
Governor of Delhi. The same post was held later on by Khwaja Itibar Khan, 
the reputed founder of the Kosi sarae. The general style of architecture is in 
exact conformity with that of similar buildings known to have been erected in 
Akbar's reign, such, for example, as the fort of Agra. The Chaumuha sarae| 

* Similarly, it will be seen that Tavernier, writing about 1650, recognizes Mathura as the 
name of a temple only, not of a town at all. 

f A range of vaulted chambers flanking the central gateway were pulled down by the Pub- 
lic Works Depart icnt in 187G, to make way for some modern buildings intended to answer 
the Bime purpose, but necessarily of much less substantial construction. The old cells had 
been rendered unsightly by the mud walls with which the arches ha 1 been closed ; but these 
excrescences could a!l have been cleared away at very slight expense. 

% Chaumuha is distorted by Tieffenthaler into Tschaomao. He speaks of its sarae as 
* : hotellerie belle et commode." 



is, moreover, always described in the old topographies as at Akbarpur.* This 
latter name is now restricted in application to a village some three miles dis- 
tant ; but in the 16th century local divisions were few in number and wide in 
extent, and beyond a doubt the foundation of the imperial sarae was the origin 
of the village name which has no-.. I 1 the spot that suggested it. The 

separate ce of Chaumuha is known to date from a very recent period, 

when the name was bestowed in consequence of the discovery of an ancient 
Jain sculpture, supposed by the ignorant rustics to represent the four-headed 
(chaumuha) god, Brahma. 

Though these sanies were primarily built mainly from selfish motives on 
the line of road traversed by the imperial camp, they were at the same time 
enormous boons to the general public ; for the highway was then beset with 
gangs of robbers, with whose vocation the law either dared not or cared not to 
interfere. On one occasion, in the reign of Jahangir, we read of a caravan 
having to stay six weeks at Mathura before it was thought strong enouo-h to 
proceed to Delhi ; no smaller number than 500 or 600 men being deemed ade- 
quate to encounter the dangers of the road. Now, the solitary traveller is so 
confident of protection that, rather than drive his cart up the steep ascent that 
conducts to the portals of the fortified enclosure, he prefers to spend the night 
unguarded on the open plain. Hence it con- 's that not one of the saraes is 
now applied to the precise purpose for which it was erected. At Chhata, one 
corner is occupied by the school, another by the offices of the tahsildar and 
local police, and a street with a double row of shops has recently been con- 
structed in the centre ; at Chaumuha the solid walls have in past years been 
undermined and carted away piecemeal for building materials ; and at Kosi, 
the principal bazar lies between the two gateways and forms the nucleus of the 

Still more complete destruction has overtaken the 'Azamabad sarae, which 
seems to have been the largest of the series, as it certainly was the plainest and 
the most modern. Its erection is ordinarily ascribed by the people on the spot 
to Prince 'Azam, the sou of Aurangzeb, being the only historical personage of 

* At Akbarpur, by the roadside is a large and very deep bauli approached by a flight of 
70 steps, once cased with stone, which has now been almost all stripped ofil and applied by the 
villagers to other purposes. Immediately adjoining are the ruins of a mosque aud tomb, and 
masonry tank 12 bighas in extent. The boundary walls of the latter are now for the most part 
broken down, and of the eight kiosques that crowned the extremities of the ghats only one 
remains. These extensive work- are said to have been constructed some two centuries ago by a 
converted Thakur named Dhakmal. A rftjbaha of the Agra Canal passes through the village 
lauds, an 1 a rest-house is being built at the point where it crosses the high road. 

the 'azamaba'd sara'e. 31 

the name with whom they are acquainted. But, as with the other buildings of 
the same character, its real founder was a local governor. 'Azam Khan Mir 
Muhammad Bakir, also called Iradat Khan, who was faujdar of Matlmra from 
1642 to 1645. In the latter year ho was superseded in office, as his age had 
rendered him unequal to the task of suppressing the constant outbreaks against 
the Government, and in 1648 he died.* As the new road does not pass im- 
mediately under the walls of the sarac, it had ceased to be of any use to tra- 
vellers ; and a few years ago, it was to a great extent demolished and the ma- 
terials used in paving the streets of the adjoining city. Though there was little 
or no architectural embellishment, the foundations were most securely laid, 
reaching down below the ground as many feet as the superstructure which 
they supported stood abovo it. Of this ocular demonstration was recently 
afforded, for one of the villagers in digging came upon what he hoped would 
prove the entrance to a subterranean treasure chamber ; but deeper exeava; i 
showed it to be only one of the line of arches forming the foundation of tlio 
sarae wall. The original mosque is still standing, but is little used for reli- 
gious purposes, as the village numbers only nine Muhammadans in a population 
of 343. They all live within the old ruinous enclosure. 

* For this and several other facts gathered from the Persian chronicles, I was indebted to 
the late Mr. Blochmann, the Secretary of the Calcutta Asiatic Society, a gentleman whose know- 
ledge of Muhammadan history and literature was as unlimited as was the courtesy with which he 
communicated it. 


mathura' SACKED BY MAHMVJD of ghazni, 1017 A.D. its treatment by the 

MUTINY, 1857. 

Atart from inscriptions and other fragmentary archaeological vestiges of its 
ancient glory, the first authentic contemporary record of Mathura, that we find 
in existing literature is dated the year 1017 A.D., when it was sacked by 
Mahmiid of Ghazui in his ninth invasion of India. The original source of 
information respecting Mahmiid's campaigns is the Tarikh Yamini of Al Utbi, 
who was himself secretary to the Sultan, though he did not accompany him in 
his expeditions. He mentions by name neither Mathura nor Maha-ban, but 
only describes certain localities, which have been so identified by Firishta and 
later historians. The place supposed to be Maha-ban he calls " the Fort of 
Kulchand," a Raja, who (he writes) " was, not without good reason, confident 
in his strength, for no one had fought against him and not been defeated. lie 
had vast territories, enormous wealth, a numerous and brave army, huge ele- 
phants, and strong forts that no enemy had been able to reduce. 'When he saw 
that the Sultan advanced against him, he drew up his army and elephants 
in a 'deep forest'* ready for action. But finding every attempt to repulse the 
invaders fail, the beleaguered infidels at last quitted the fort and tried to cross 
the broad river which flowed in its rear. When some 50,000 men had been 
killed or drowned, Kulchand took a dagger, with which he first slew his wife 
and then drove it into his own body. The Sultan obtained by this victory 185 
fine elephants besides other booty." In the neighbouring holy city, identified 
as Mathura, " he saw a building of exquisite structure, which the inhabitant 
declared to be the handiwork not of men but of Genii. f The town wall was 
constructed of solid stone, and had opening on to the river two gates, raised on 
high and massive basements to protect them from the floods. On the two sides 
of the city were thousands of houses with idol temples attached, all of masonry 
and strengthened with bars of iron ; and opposite them were other buildings 
supported on stout wooden pillars. In the middle of the city was a temple, 
larger and finer than the rest, to which neither painting nor description could 

* These words may be intended as a literal translation of the name " Mah;'t-lian." 
•(■ 1'ossibly "Jina," the name both of the Buddhist and Jaini deity, was the word actually 
used, which was mistaken for the Arabic "Jinn." 

MAHlltfD's SACK OF MATHURA. 1017 A.D. 33 

do justice. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it : — ' If any one wished to 
construct a building equal to it, lie would not be able to do so without expend- 
ing a hundred million dinars, and the work would occupy two hundred years, 
even though the most able and experienced workmen were employed.' Orders 
were given that all the temples should be burnt with naphtha and fire and 
levelled with the ground." The city was given up to plunder for twenty days. 
Among the spoil arc said to have been five great idols of pure gold with eyes 
of rubies and adornments of other precious stones, together with a vast number 
of smaller silver images, which, when broken up, formed a load for more than 
a hundred camels. The total value of the spoil has been estimated at three 
millions of rupees ; while the number of Hindus carried away into captivity 
exceeded 5,000. 

Nizam-ud-din, Firishta, and the other late Muhammadan historians take for 
granted that Mathura was at that time an exclusively Brahmanical city. It is 
possible that such was really the case ; but the original authorities leave the 
point open, and speak only in general terms of idolaters, a name equally appli- 
cable to Buddhists. Many of the temples, after being gutted of all their valu- 
able contents, were left standing, probably because they were too massive to 
admit of easy destruction. Some writers allege that the conqueror spared them 
on account of their exceeding beauty, founding this opinion on the eulogistic 
expressions employed by Mahmiid in his letter to the Governor of Ghazni quoted 
above. It is also stated that, on his return home, he introduced the Indiana 
style of architecture at his own capital, where he erected a splendid mosque, 
upon which he bestowed the name of ' the Celestial Bride.' But, however much 
he may have admired the magnificence of Mathura, it is clear that he was influ- 
enced by other motives than admiration in sparing the fabric of the temples : for 
the gold and silver images, which he did not hesitate to demolish, must have 
been of still more excellent workmanship. 

During the period of Muhammadan supremacy, the history of Mathura is 
almost a total blank. The natural dislike of the ruling power to be brought 
into close personal connection with such a centre of superstition divested the 
town of all political importance ; while the Hindu pilgrims, who still continued 
to frequent its impoverished shrines, were not invited to present, as the priest - 
were not anxious to receive, any lavish donation which would only excite the 
jealousy of the rival faith. Thus, while there are abundant remains of the 
earlier Buddhist period, there is not a single building, nor fragment of a 
building, which can be assigned to any year in the long interval between the 



invasion of Mahmiid in 1017 A.D. and the reign of Akbar in the latter half 
of the sixteenth century ; and it is only from the day when the Juts and 
Mahrattas began to be the virtual sovereigns of the country that any continuous 
series of monumental records exists. 

Nor can this be wondered at, since whenever the unfortunate city did 
attract the Emperor's notice, it became at once a mark for pillage and desecra- 
tion : and the more religious the sovereign, the more thorough the persecution. 
Take for example the following passage from the Tarikh-i-Daiidi of Abdullah 
(a writer in the reign of Jahangir), who is speaking of Sultan Sikandar Lodi 
(1 188 — 1516 A.D.), one of the most able and accomplished of all the occupants 
of the Delhi throne : " He was so zealous a Musalmau that he utterly destroyed 
many places of worship of the infidels, and left not a single vestige remaining 
of them. He entirely ruined the shrines of Mathura, that mine of heathen- 
ism, and turned their principal temples into sanies and colleges. Their stone 
images were given to the butchers to serve them as meat-weights, and all the 
Hindus in Mathura were strictly prohibited from shaving their heads and beards 
and performing their ablutions. lie thus put an end to all the idolatrous rites 
of the infidels there ; and no Hindu, if he wished to have his head or beard 
shaved, could get a barber to do it." In confirmation of the truth of this nar- 
rative, it may be observed that when the Muhammadan Governor Abd-un-Nabi, 
in 1661, built his great mosque as a first step towards the construction of the 
new city, of which he is virtually the founder, the ground which he selected 
for the purpose, and which was unquestionably an old temple site, had to be 
purchased from the butchers. 

During the glorious reign of Akbar, the one bright era in the dreary 
annals of Imperial misrule, there was full toleration at Mathura as in all other 
parts of his dominions. Of this an illustration is afforded by the following 
incident, which is narrated by Badauui : Among the persons held in high 
favour at the Court was a Shaikh, by name Abd-uu-Nabi, who occupied the 
distinguished position of Sadr-us-Sadur. A complaint was made to him by 
Kazi Abd-ur-Bahim of Mathura that a wealthy Brahman had appropriated 
some materials that had been collected for the building of a mosque, and not 
only used them in the construction of a temple, but, when remonstrated with, 
had, in the presence of a crowd of people, foully abused the Prophet and all 
his followers. The Brahman, when summoned to answer the charge, refused 
to come ; whereupon Ab-ul-FazI was sent to fetch him, and on his return re- 
ported that all the people of Mathura agreed in declaring that the Brahman 


had used abusive language. The doctors of the law accordingly gave it as 
their opinion — sonic that he should be put to death, others that he should be 
publicly disgraced and fined. The Shaikh was in favour of the capital punish- 
ment, and applied to the Emperor to have the sentence confirmed : but the 
latter would give no definite reply, and remarked that the Shaikh was respon- 
sible for the execution of the law and need not apply to him. The Brahman 
meanwhile was kept in prison, the Hindu ladies of the royal household using 
every endeavour to get him released, while the Emperor, out of regard for 
the Shaikh, hesitated about yielding to them. At last Abd-un-Nabi, after 
failing to elicit any definite instructions, returned home and issued orders for 
the Brahman's execution. "When the news reached the Emperor, he was 
very angry, and though he allowed Abd-un-Nabi to retain his post till his 
death, which occurred in 1583, he never took him into favour again. 

Jahangir, on his accession to the throne, continued to some extent his 
father's policy of religious tolerance ; but in the following reign of Shahjahan, 
we find Murshid Ali Khan, in the year 1636, made a commander of 2,000 
horse, and appointed by the Emperor Governor of Mathura and Maha-ban, 
with express instructions to be zealous in stamping out all rebellion and 
idolatry. The climax of wanton destruction was, however, attained by Aurang- 
zeb, the Oliver Cromwell of India, who, not content with demolishing the most 
sacred of its shrines, thought also to destroy even the ancient name of the city 
by substituting for it Islampur or Islamabad. 

Mathura was casually connected with two important events in this Empe- 
ror's life. Here was born, in 1639, his eldest son, Muhammad Sultan, who 
expiated the sin of primogeniture in the Oriental fashion by ending his days in 
a dungeon, as one of the first acts of his father, on his accession to the throne, 
was to confine him in the fortress of Gwaliar, where he died in 1665. In the 
last year of the reign of Shahjahan, Aurangzeb was again at Mathura, and 
here established his pretensions to the crown by compassing the death of his 
brother Murad. This was in 1658, a few days after the momentous battle of 
Samogarh,* in which the combined forces of the two princes had routed the 
army of the rightful heir, Dara. The conquerors encamped together, being 
apparently on the most cordial and affectionate terms ; and Aurangzeb, pro- 
testing that for himself he desired only some sequestered spot where, un- 
harrassed by the toils of government, he might pass his time in prayer and 

* Samogarh is a village, one march from Agra, since named, in honour of the event, Fatih- 
abad, ' the ji'.ace of victory.' 

36 REBELLION IN 1668 A.Di 

religious meditation, persistently addressed Murad by the royal title as the 
recognized successor of Shahjahan. The evening was spent at the banquet ; 
and when the wine cup had began to circulate freely, the pious Aurangzeb, 
feigning religious scruples, begged permission to retire. It would have been 
well for Murad had he also regarded the prohibition of the Kurdn. The 
stupor of intoxication soon overpowered him, and he was only restored to 
consciousness by a contemptuous kick from the foot of the brother who had 
just declared himself his faithful vassal. That same night the unfortunate 
Murad, heavily fettered, was sent a prisoner to Delhi and thrown into the 
fortress of SaHm-garh.* He, too, was subsecpiently removed to Gwaliar and 
there murdered. 

In spite of the agreeable reminiscences which a man of Aurangzeb's 
temperament must have cherished in connection with a place where an act of 
such unnatural perfidy had been successfully accomplished, his fanaticism was 
not a whit mitigated in favour of the city of Mathura. In 1(168, a local 
rebellion afforded him a fit pretext for a crusade against Hinduism. The 
insurgents had mustered at Sahora,-f a village in the Maha-ban pargana, where 
(as we learn from the Maasiri-i-Alamgiri) the Governor Abd-un-Xabi advanced 
to meet them. " He was at first victorious, and succeeded in killing the ring- 
leaders ; but in the middle of the fight he was struck by a bullet, and died the 
death of a martyr." It was he who, in the year 1661, had founded the Jama 
Masjid, which still remains, and is the most conspicuous building in the city 
which has grown up around it. He was followed in office by Saff-Shikan 
Khan ; but as he was not able to suppress the revolt, which began to assume 
formidable dimensions, he was removed at the end of the year 1669, and Hasan 
Ali Khan appointed Faujdar in his place. The ringleader of the disturbances, 
a Jat, by name Kokila, who bad plundered the Sa'dabad pargana, and was 
regarded as the instrument of Abd-un-Nabi's death, fell into the hands of the 
new Governor's Deputy, Shaikh Razi-ud-din, and was sent to Agra and there 

* Bernier, on whose narrative the above paragraph is founded, calls Salim-garh by the very 
English-looking name ' Slinger ;' a flue illustration of the absurdity of the phonetic system. 
By phonetic spelling I mean any arbitrary attempt to represent by written characters the sound 
of a word as pronounced by the voice without reference to its etymology. This would seem to be 
the most natural use of the term ; but as critics have objected, I add this explanation. 

■f As is always the case when an attempt is made to identify the local names mentioned by 
any historian who writes in the Persian character, it is extremely uncertain whether Sahora is 
really the village intended. The word as given in the manuscript begins with s and ends with a, 
and has an r in the middle ; but beyond that much it is impossible to predicate anything with 
certainty about it. 


executed.* A few months earlier, in February of the same year, during the 
fast of Bamazan, the time when religious bigotry would be must inflamed, 
Aurangzeb had descended in person on Mathura. The temple specially 
marked out for destruction was one built so recently as the reign of Jahangir, 
at a cost of thirty-three lakhs, by Bir Sinh Deva, Bundela, of Urcha. Beyond all 
doubt this was the lasi of the famous shrines of Kesava Deva, of which further 
mention will be made hereafter. To judge from the language of the author of 
the Maasir, its demolition was regarded as a death-blow to Hinduism. lie 
writes in the following triumphant strain : — " In a short time, with the help of 
numerous workmen, this seat of error was utterly broken down. Glory be to 
God that so difficult an undertaking has been successfully accomplished in the 
present auspicious reign, wherein so many dens of heathenism and idolatry 
have been destroyed 1 Seeing the power of Islam and the efficacy of true 
religion, the proud Rajas felt their breath burning in their throats and became 
a- dumb as a picture on a wall. The idols, large and small alike, all adorned 
with costly jewels, were carried away from the heathen shrine and taken to 
Agra, where they were buried under the steps of Nawab Kudsia Begam s 
mosque, so that people might trample upon them for ever." It was from tlii- 
event that Mathura was called Islamabad. 

In 1707 Aurangzeb died, and shortly after began the rule of the Jats 
of Bharat-pur. 

The founder of this royal house was ;l robber chief, by name Chura-mani, 
who built two petty forts in the villages of Thi'in and Sinsini,f a little south of 
Dig, from which he organized marauding expeditions, and even ventured to 
harass the rear of the imperial army on the occasion of Aurangzeb's expedition 
to the Dakhin. This statement is contradicted by Thornton in his Gazetteer, 
under the word Bharat-pur ; but his reasons for doing so are not very conclu- 
sive. He writes : — " Chura-mani did not become the leader of the Jats until after 
the death of Aurangzeb. Besides, the scene of the operations of the Jats was 
widely remote from that of the disasters of Aurangzeb, which occurred near 
Ahmad-nae\ar. According to the Sair-i-Muta-akhkhirin, during the strun-gle 
between Aurangzeb's sons, 'Azam and Muazzim, Chura-mani beset the camp of 
the latter for the purpose of plunder." This correction, if it really is one, is so 
slight as to be absolutely immaterial ; the army, which was led into the Dakhin 

* His son ami daughter were both brought up as Muhamrnndans, and eventually the girl 
married Shah Kuli, and the boy, who had received the name of Fiizil, became famous for his skill 
in reciting the Kuran. 

f From this place the Bharat-pur Raja's family derives its name of Sinsinwar. 



by Aurangzeb, was brought back by 'Azam after the Emperor's decease, and 
both fatber and sou died within four months of each other. 

A little later, Jay Sinh of Amber was commissioned by the two Saiyids, 
then in power at Delhi, to reduce the Jat freebooters. He invested their two 
strongholds, but could not succeed in making any impression upon them, and 
accordingly retired : only, however, to return almost immediately ; this time 
bringing with him a larger army, and also a local informant in the person of 
Badan Sinh, a younger brother of Chura-mani's, who, in consequence of some 
family feud, had been placed in confinement, from which be had contrived to 
escape and make his way to Jaypur. Thiin was then (1712 A.D.) again in- 
vested, and after a siege of six months taken and its fortifications demolished. 
Chura-inani and his son Muhkani lied the country, and Badan Sinh was for- 
mally proclaimed at Dig as leader of the Jats, with the title of Thakur. 

He is chiefly commemorated in. the Mathura district by the handsome 
mansion he built for himself at Sahar. This appears to have been his favour- 
ite residence in the latter years of his lii'e. Adjoining it is a very large tank, 
of which one side is faced with stone and the rest left unfinished, the work 
having probably been interrupted by his death. The house was occupied as a 
tahsili imiler the English Government till the mutiny, when all the records 
were transferred for greater safety to Chhata, which has ever since continued 
the head of the pargana, and the house at Sahar is now unoccupied and falling 
into ruin. He married into a family seated ;it Kamar, near Kosi, where also 
i~ a large masonry tank, and in connection with it a walled garden containing 
three Chhattris in memory of Chaudhri Maha Ram, Jat, and his wife and 
child. The Chaudhri was the Thakurani's brother, and it appears that her 
kinsmen were people of some wealth and importance, as the Castle Hill at 
Kamar is still crowned with several considerable edifices of brick and stone 
where they once resided. 

For some years before his death, Thakur Badan Sinh had retired alto- 
gether from public lite. To one of his younger sons, by name Pratap 
Sinh,* he had especially assigned the newly erected fort at Wayar, south- 
west of Bharat-pur, with the adjoining district, while the remainder of the 
Jat principality was administered by the eldest son, Suraj Mall. On his 
father's death, Suraj Mall assumed the title of Baja and fixed bis capital at 
Bharat-pur, from which place he had ejected the previous governor, a kinsman. 

* Two other sons were nimud Sobha 1! iiu and Bir Narayan. 


by name Khoma. The matrimonial alliances which he contracted indicate his 
inferiority to the Rajput princes of the adjoining territories, for one of his wives 
was a Kurmin, another a Malin, and the remainder of his own cast.', Jatnis. 
Yet, even at the commencement of his rule, he had achieved a conspicuous 
position, since, in 1748, we find him accepting the invitation of the Emperor 
Ahmad Sluih to join with Holkar, under the general command of the Vazir, 
Safdar Jang, in suppressing the revolt of the Itohillas. In the subsequent dis- 
pute that arose between Safdar Jang and Ghazi-ud-din, the grandson of 
old Nizam, the former fell into open rebellion and called in the assistance of 
the Jats, while his rival had recourse to the Mahrattas. Safdac, seeing the 
coalition against him too strong, withdrew to his vice-royalty of Audh, leaving 
Suraj Mall to hear alone the brunt of the battle. Bharat-pur was besieged, 
but had not been invested many days when Ghazi-ud-din, suspecting a secret 
understanding between his nominal allies, the Mahrattas and the Emperor, dis- 
continued his operations against the Jats and returned hastily to Delhi, where 
he deposed Ahmad Shah and raised Alamgir II. to the throne in his stead. 
This was in 1751. 

Three years later, when the army of Ahmad Shah Durani from Kan- 
dahar appeared before Delhi, Ghazi-ud-din, by whose indiscretion the invasion 
had been provoked, was admitted to pardon, in consideration of the heavy tri- 
bute which he undertook to collect from the Doab. Sardar Jahan Khan was 
de-patched on a like errand into the Jit territory ; but finding little to he 
gained there, as the entire populace had withdrawn into their numerous petty 
fortresses and his foraging parties were cut off by their sudden sallies, he fell 
back upon the city of Mathura, which he not only plundered of all its wealth, 
but further visited with a wholesale massacre of the inhabitants. 

In the second invasion of the Durani, consequent upon the assassination 
of the Emperor Alamgir II. in 1759, the infamous Ghazi-ud-din again 
appeared at the gates of Bharat-pur ; this time not with a hostile army, but as a 
suppliant for protection. By his unnatural persuasions a powerful Hindu 
confederacy was formed to oppose the progress of the Muhammadan, but was 
scattered for ever in the great battle of P;inipat, in January, 1761, when the 
dreams of Mahratta supremacy were finally dissolved. Siiraj Mall, foreseeing 
the inevitable result, withdrew his forces before the battle, and falling unex- 
pectedly upon Agra, ejected from it the garrison of his late allies and adopted 
it as his own favourite residence. Meanwhile, Shah Alam was recognized by 
the Durani as the rightful heir to the throne, but continued to hold his poor 

40 DEATH OF StfRAJ MALL, 17(14 A.D. 

semblance of a Court at Allahabad ; and, at Delhi, his son Mirza Jawan Bakht 
was placed in nominal charge of the Government under the active protectorate 
of the Rohilla, Najib-ud-daula. With this administrator of imperial power, 
Siiraj Mall, emboldened by past success, now essayed to try his strength. Ho 
put forth a claim to the Faujdarship of Farrnkh-nagar ; and when the envoy, 
sent from Delhi to confer with him on the subject, demurred to the transfer, he 
dismissed him most unceremoniously and at once advanced with an army to 
Shahdara on the Hindan, only six miles from the capital. Here, in bravado, 
he was amusing himself in the chase, accompanied by only his personal retinue, 
when he was surprised by a flying squadron of the enemy and put to death. 
His army coming leisurely up behind, under the command of his son Jawaliir 
Sinh, was charged by the Mughals, bearing the head of Siiraj Mall on a horse- 
man's lance as their standard, the first indication to the son of his father's 
death. The shock was too much for the Jats, who were put to flight, but still 
continued for three months hovering about Delhi in concert with Holkar. 
This was in 17(i4." r 

In spite of this temporary discomfiture, the Jats were now at the zenith 
of their power ; and Jawaliir had not been a year on the throne when he re- 
solved to provoke a quarrel with the Raja of Jaypur. Accordingly, without 
any previous intimation, he marched his troops through Jaypur territory 
with the ostensible design of visiting the holy lake of Pushkara. There his 
vanity was gratified by the sovereign of Marwar, Raja Bijay Sinh, who met 
him on terms of brotherly equality ; but he received warning from Jaypur 
that if he passed through Amber territory on his return, it would be considered 
a hostile aggression. As this was no more than he expected, he paid no regard 
fo the caution. A desperate conflict ensued ou his homeward route (1765 
A.D.), which resulted in the victory of the Kachhwahas, but a victory accom- 
panied with the death of almost every chieftain of note. Soon after, Jawaliir 
Sinh was murdered at Agra, at the instigation, as is supposed, of the Jaypur 

Siiraj Mall had left five sons, viz., Jawaliir Sinh, Rate Sinh, Naval Sinh, 
and Ranjit Sinh, and also an adopted son, Eardeva Bakhsh, is said 
to have picked up in the woods one day when hunting. On the death of 
-Jawaliir, iiatn succeeded, buthis rule was of very short duration. A pretended 

* A magnificent cenotaph was erected by Jawaliir binh in honour of his fattier ou the mar- 
gin of the Kusuin Sarovar, an artificial lake a short distauce from Gobardhan, and will be des- 
cribed in connection with that town. 


alchemist from Brinda-ban had obtained large sums of money from the 
credulous prince to prepare a process for the transmutation of the meaner 
metals into gold. When the day for the crucial experiment arrived and detec- 
tion had become inevitable, he assassinated his victim and fled.* 

His brother, Naval Sinh, succeeded, nominally as guardian for his infant 
nephew, Kesari, but virtually as Raja. The Mahrattas had now (1768) reco- 
vered from the disastrous battle of Panipat, and, re-asserting their old claim 
to tribute, invaded first Jaypur and then Bharat-pur, and mulcted both territo- 
ries in a very considerable sum. They then entered into an understanding 
with the Delhi Government which resulted in the restoration of Shah Alain to 
his ancestral capital. But as the only line of policy which they consistently 
maintained was the fomentation of perpetual quarrels, by which the strength 
of all parties in the State might be exhausted, they never remained long faith- 
ful to one side ; and, in the year 1772, we find them fighting with the Jats 
against the Imperialists. Naval Sinh, or, according to some accounts, his 
brother and successor, Ranjit Sinh, laid claim to the fort of Ballabhgarh held by 
another Jat chieftain. The latter applied to Delhi for help and a force was 
despatched for his relief; but it was too weak to resist the combined armies of 
Sindhia and Bharat-pur, and was driven back in disorder. The Mahrattas 
then pushed on to Delhi ; but finding the Commander-in-Chief, Niyaz Khan, 
ready to receive them, they, with incomparable versatility, at once made terms 
with him and even joined him in an expedition to Rohilkhand. 

Meanwhile, the Jilts, thus lightly deserted, espoused the cause of Najaf s 
unsuccessful rival, Zabita Khan. But this was a most ill-judged move on their 
part : their troops were not only repulsed before Delhi, but their garrison was 
also ejected from Agra.f which they had held for the last 13 years since its 
occupation by Suraj Mall after the battle of Panipat in 17G1. From Agra the 
Vazir Najaf Khan hastily returned in the direction of the capital, and found 
Ranjit Sinh and the Jats encamped near Hodal. Dislodged from this position, 
they fell back upon Kot-ban and Kosi, which they occupied for nearly a fort- 

* It was probably this Ratn Sinh, for whom was commenced the large cbhattri near the 
Madan Mohan temple at Brinda-ban, where it is still to be seen in its unfinished state, as left at 
the time of his sudden death. 

t The commander of the Jat garrison in Agra was Dan Sahay, brother-in-law (sala) of 
Na^al Sinh. 



night, and then finally withdrew towards Dig ; but at Barsana were overtake! 
by the Vazir and a pitched battle ensued. The Jut infantry, 5,000 strong, wen 
commanded by Smnroo, or, to give him his proper name, Walter Reinhard, an 
adventurer who had first taken service under Ran jit's father, Suraj Mall.' 
The ranks of the Imperialists were broken by bis impetuous attack, and the Juts, 
feeling assured of victory, were following in reckless disorder, when the enemy 
rallied from their sudden panic, turned upon their pursuers, who were too si 
fcered to offer any solid resistance, and effectually routed them. They contriv- 
ed, however, to secure a retreat to Dig,f while the town of Barsana, which was 
then a very wealthy place, was given over to plunder, and several of the stately 
mansions recently erected almost destroyed in the search for bidden treasure. 

* He was a native of the Electorate of Treves and came out to India as a carpenter in the 
French navy. After serving under several native chiefs, but staying with none of them long, he 
joined one Gregory, an Armenian, who was high in the favour of Mir Kasim, the Nawabof Bengal. 
It was after the fall of Mongir that he did his employer the base service of putting to death all 
the English prisontrs who had l>een collected at l'atna ; a deed for which his name will ever be 
held in abhorrence. He next joined the Bharat-pui chief, and from him finally went over to 
Najaf Khan, from whom he received a grant of the pargana of Sardhana, then valued at 
six lakhs a year, and to whom he remained faithful for the rest of his life. He died in 
17?8. and was buried in the cemetery at Agra, where is also a church that he built, now disused, 
adjoining the new cathedral. The Begum, who had livid with him (she is said to have been 
originally a Kagrniri dancing girl) was recognized as his widow and succeeded to all his estate. 
In 1781 she was received into the Catholic Church, and in 17'.t2 married a French adventurer, a 
M. Le Yaisseau. He, however, inade himself so unpopular that her people revolted, under the 
leadership of a son of Reinhard's, Zafar-yab Khun. By an artifice, that she practised upon her hus- 
band, the latter was induced to commit suicide, and the disturbance was soon after quelled by the 
interventi' n of one of her. old servants, the famous George Thomas. In 1802 Zafar-ydb died, 
having a daughter, whom the Begam gave in marriage to a Mr. Dyce, an officer in her army. 
The issue was a son and two daughters, of whom the one married Captain Kose Troup, the other 
the Marquis of Briona. The son, David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre, wai adopted by the Begam, an 1 
on her in is:;u, succeeded to the estate. He married Mary Anne, the daughter of VI — 
count St. Vincent, and die! at Paris, in 1851. His widow, in 1802, married the Hon'ble George C. 
Weld Forester, who has now succeeded his brother as third Baron Forester. The Begam by her 
will left to the Catholic Cathedrals of Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, and Agra, Rs. 32,000 
i:s. 31800, Rs. 31,000, and Rs. 28,700, respectively ; to the Sardhana Cathedral which she 
herself had built, Rs. 95,000 ; to the school or .seminary there, called St. John's College, Rs. 05 Coo. 
to the poor of the place Rs 47,800, and to the Merath Chapel, also of her foundation, Rs. 12,50(1; 
The administration of the Sardhana endowments has for several years past formed the aubject of 
a dispute between the Roman Catholic Bishop of Agra, who had for some time acted us solo 
trustee, and Lady Forester, who, as the Begam's legal representative, claims to act as a trustee 
also: until it is settled the interest on the money cannot be drawn. 

t According to local tradition, Naval Sinh died some 20 days after the battle of Barsana 

SIEGE OF AGRA, 1738 A.D. 43 

Dig was not reduced till March of the following year, 1776, the garrison escap- 
ing to the neighbouring castle of Kumbhir. The value of the spoil taken is 
said to have amounted to six lakhs of rupees. The whole of the country als< 
was reduced to subjection, and it was only at the intercession of the Rani 
Kishori, the widow of Siiraj Mall, that the conqueror allowed Eanjit Sinh to 
retain the fort of Bharat-pur with an extent of territory yielding an annual 
income of nine lakns. 

In 1782, the great minister, Najaf Khan, died ; and in 1786 Sindhia, 
who had been recognized as his successor in the administration of the empire, 
proceeded to demand arrears of tribute from tin: Rajputs of Jaypur. His claim 
was partly satisfied ; but finding that he persisted in exacting the full amount, 
the Rajas of Jaypur, Jodh-pur, and Udav-pur, joined by other minor chiefs, 
organized a formidable combination against him. The armies met at Lai 
and a battle ensued which extended over three days, but without any decisive 
result, till some 14,000 of Sindhia's infantry, who were in arrears of pay, went 
over to the enemy. In consequence of this defection, the Mahrattas fell back 
upon the Jats and secured the alliance of Ranjit Sinh by the restoration of Dig, 
which had been held by the Emperor since its capture by Najaf Khan in 1776, 
and by the cession of eleven parganas yielding a revenue of ten lakhs of rupees. 
The main object of the new allies was to raise the siege of Agra, which was 
then being invested by Ismail Beg, tic Imperial captain, in concert with Zab 
Khan's son, the infamous Ghulam Kadir. In a battle that took place near 
Fatihpur Sikri, the Jats and Mahrattas met a repulse, and were driven back 
upon Bharat-pur ; but later in the same year 1788, being reinforced by troo 
from the Dakkhin under Rami Khan, a brother of the officer in command of 
the besieged garrison, they finally raised the blockade, and the province of Agra 
ao-ain acknowledged Sindhia as its master. 

Ghularn Kadir had previously removed to Delhi and was endeavouring 
to persuade the Emperor to break off intercourse with the Mahrattas. Failinc- 
in this, he dropped all disguise and commenced firing upon the palace, and 
having in a few days taken possession of the city, he indulged in the most 
brutal excesses, and after insulting and torturing his miserable and defencele^ 
sovereign in every conceivable way, completed the tragedy by, at last, with his 
own dagger, robbing him of bis eye-sight. Sindhia, who had before been 
urgently summoned from Mathura, one of his favourite residences, on hearing 
of these horrors, sent a force to the relief of the city. Ghulam Kadir, who 


atrocities had disgusted all his adherents, fled to Merath, and endeavouring io 
escape from there at night alone on horseback, fell into a well from which he 
was unable to extricate himself. There he was found on the following morn- 
ing by a Brahman peasant by name Bliikha, who had him seized and taken to 
the Mahratta camp. Thence he was despatched to Sindhia at Mathura, who 
first sent him through the bazar on an ass with his head to the tail, and then 
had him mutilated of all his members one by one, his tongue being first torn 
out, and then his eyes, and subsequently his nose, ears and hands cut off. _ In 
this horrible condition he was despatched to Delhi ; but to anticipate his death 
from exhaustion, which seemed imminent, he was hanged on a tree by the road- 
side. It is said that his barbarous treatment of the Emperor, for which he 
suffered such a condign penalty, was in revenge for an injury inflicted upon 
him when a handsome child by Shah Alam, who converted him into a haram 

It was in 1803 that Mathura passed under British rule and became a mili- 
tary station on the line of frontier, which was then definitely extended to the 
Jamuna. This was at the termination of the successful war with Daulac Rao 
Sindhia ; when the independent French State, that had been established by 
Perron, and was beginning to assume formidable dimensions, had been extin- 
guished by the fall of Aligarh ; while the protectorate of the nominal sovereign 
of Delhi, transferred by the submission of the capital, invested the administra- 
tion of the Company with the prestige of Imperial sanction. At the same time 
a treaty was concluded with Ranjit Sinh, who with 5,000 horse had joined 
General Lake at Agra and thereby contributed to Sindhia's defeat. In return 
for this service he received a part of the districts of Kishangarh, Kathawar, 
Rewiiri, Gokul and Sahar. 

In September of the following year Mathura was held for a few days by the 
troops of Holkar Jasavant Rao ; but on the arrival of reinforcements from Agra, 
was re-occupied by the British finally and permanently. Meanwhile, Holkar 
had advanced upon Delhi, but the defence was so gallantly conducted by 
Ochterlony that the assault was a signal failure. His army broke up into two 
divisions, one of which was pursued to the neighbourhood of Farrukhabad, 
and there totally dispersed by General Lake ; while the other was overtaken by 
General Fraser between Dig and Gobardhan and defeated with great slaughter. 
In this latter engagement the brilliant victory was purchased by the death of 
the officer in command, who was brought into Mathura fatally wounded, and 


survived only a few days. He was buried in the Cantonment Cemetery, where 
a monument* is orected to his memory with the following inscription : — 

" Sacred to the memory of Major-General Henry Fraser, of His Majesty's nth Regiment -: 
Foot, who commanded the British Army at the battle of Deig on the 13th of November, 1804, 
ml liy his judgment and valour achieved an important and glorious victory. He died in con- 
sequence of a wound he received when leading on the troops, and was interred here on the a.itb 
of November, 1804, in the 40th year of his age. The army lament his loss with the deepest 
sorrow ; his country regards his heroic conduct with grateful admiration ; history will record 
his fame and perpetuate the glory of his illustrious deeds." 

Holkar, who had fled for refuge to the fort of Bharat-pur, was pursued 
by General Lake and his surrender demanded ; but Ranjit refused to give 
him up. The fort was thereupon besieged ; Ranjit made a memorable defence, 
and repelled four assaults with a loss to the besiegers of 3,000 men, but finally 
made overtures for peace, which were accepted on the 4th of May, 1805. A 
new treaty was concluded, by which he agreed to pay an indemnity of twenty 
lakhs of rupees, seven of which were subsequently remitted, and was guaran- 
teed in the territories which ho held previously to the accession of the British 
Government. The parganas granted to him in 1803 were resumed. 

Ranjit died that same year, leaving four sons, — Randhir, Baladeva, 
Harideva, and Lachhman. He was succeeded by the eldest, Randhir, who 
died in 1822, leaving the throne to his brother, Baladeva. t After a rule of 
about 18 months he died, leaving a son, Balavant, then six years of age. He 
was recognized by the British Government, but his cousin, Durjan Sal, who 
had also advanced claims to the succession on Randhir's death, rose up against 
him and had him cast into prison. Sir David Ochterlony, the Resident at 
Delhi, promptly moved out a force in support of the rightful heir, but their 
march was stopped by a peremptory order from Lord Amherst, who, in 
accordance with the disastrous policy of non-interference which was then in 
vogue, considered that the recognition of the heir-apparent during the life of 
his father did not impose on the Government any obligation to maintain him 
in opposition to the presumed wishes of the chiefs and people. Vast prepara- 
tions were made, with the secret support of the neighbouring Rajput and 
Mahratta States, and at last, when the excitement threatened a protracted war, 
the Governor-General reluctantly confirmed the eloquent representations of 

* To judge from the extreme clumsiness both of the design and execution, the irregular 
spacing of the inscription, and the quaint shape of some of the letters, this must have been one 
of the very first attempts of a native mason to work on European instructions. 

t Randhir Siuh and Baladeva Sinh are commemorated by two handsome chhattries on the 
margin of the Mauasi Ganga at Gobardhan. 



Sir Charles Metcalfe and consented to the deposition of the usurper. After 
a siege that extended over nearly six weeks, Bharat-pur was stormed by Lord 
Combermere on the 18th of January, 1826. Durjan Sal was taken prisoner 
to Allahabad, and the young Maharaja established on the throne under the 
regency of his mother and the superintendence of a political agent.* He 
died in 1853 and was succeeded by his only son, Jasavant Singh, the present 
sovereign, who enjoys a revenue of about Its. 21,00,000 derived from a territory 
of 1,974 square miles in extent, with a population of 650,000. 

With 1801 began a period of undisturbed peace and rapid growth of pros- 
perity for the city of Mathura, which in 1832 was made the capital of a new 
district, then formed out of parts of the old districts of Agra and Sa'dabad ; 
nor does any event claim notice till we come down to the year 1857. It was 
on the 14th of May in that eventful year that news arrived of the mutiny at 
Merath. Mr. Mark Thornhill, who was then Magistrate and Collector of the 
district, withGlmlam Husain as Deputy Collector, sent an immediate requisition 
for aid to Bharat-pur. Captain Nixon, the political agent, accompanied by 
< 'haudhari Rata Sinn, chief of the five Sardars, and Gobardhan Sinh, the 
Faujdar, came with a small force to Kosi on the northern border of the district 
and there stayed for a time in readiness to check the approach of the Mewaris 
of Gurgaon and the other rebels from Delhi. Mr. Thornhill had meanwhile 
removed to Chhata, a small town on the high-road some eight miles short of 
Kosi, as being a place which was at once a centre of disaffection, and at the 
same time possessed in its fortified sarue a stronghold capable of long resistance 
against it. The first outbreak, however, was at Mathura itself. The sum of 
money then in the district treasury amounted to rather more than 5i lakhs, 
and arrangements had been made for its despatch to Agra, with the exception 
of one lakh kept in reserve for local requirements. The escort consisted of a 
company of soldiers from the cantonments, supported by another company 
which had come over from Agra for the purpose. t The chests were being put 

* The Iiani of Balavaat Sinh was a native of Dhadhu in the Sa'dabad pargana, where in 
a garden with a double chhaitri erected by her in memory of two of her relatives. 

f There were present at the time Mr. Elliot Colvin. the son of the Lieutenant-Governor, 
xhu had been sent fro n Agra to supersede Mr. Clifford, laid up by severe fever ; Lieutenant 
( rraham, one of the officers of the Treasury Guard ; Mr. Joyce, the head clerk, and two of his 
ibordinates, by name Hashman, As they werecutotf from the civil station by the rebels, who 
c ccupied fie' intermediate ground, they made their way into the city to the Seth, by whom they 
were helped on to Mr. Thornhill's camp at Chhata. Mr. Nicholls, the Chaplain, with his w n, 
and child and a Native Christian nurse, took refuge in the Collector's house, and wailed there 
for some time in hopes of being joined by the others ; but ou hearing that the jail was broken 
open, they lied to Agra. 


on the carts, when one of the stibadars suddenly called out ' hoshiydr, sipdhi,' 
' look alive, my man,' which was evidently a preconcerted signal ; and at onco 
a shot was fired, which killed Lieutenant Burlton, commandant of the escort, 
dead on the spot.* The rebels than seized the treasure, together with the pri- 
vate effects of the residents in the station, which were also ready to be trans- 
ported to Agra, and went off in a body to the Magistrate's Court-house, which 
they set on fire, destroying all the records, aud then took the road to Delhi. 
But first they broke open the jail and carried all the prisoners with them as far 
as the city, where they got smiths to strike off their fetters. Besides Lieutenant 
Burlton, one of the treasury officials also was killed. An attempt was made to 
check the rebel body as it marched through Chhata, but it was quite ineffectual, 
and on the 31st of May they entered the towii of Kosi. There, after burning 
down the Customs bungalow and pillaging the police-station, they proceeded to 
plunder the tahsili. But some Rs. 150 was all they could find in the treasury, 
and most of the records also escaped them. The townspeople and most of the 
adjoining villages remained well-affected to the Government ; and subsequently, 
as a reward, one year's revenue demand was remitted and a grant of Rs. 50 
made to each headman. Mr. Thoruhill and the other Europeans with him now 
determined to abandon their position at Chhata and return to Mathura, where 
they took refuge in the city in the house of Seth Lakhmi Chand. While there 
a report came that the Jats had set up a Raja, one Devi Sinn, at Raya, on the 
other side of the Jamuna. His reign was of no long continuance, for the Kota 
Contingent, which happened to be on the spot at the time, seized and hanged 
him with little ceremony. But as soon as this was accomplished, they them- 
selves mutinied ; and Mr. Thoruhill, who had accompanied them to Raya, had 
to make a hasty flight back to Mathura, bringing some small treasure in tin- 
buggy with him. 

On the 6th of July, the mutineers of Montr and Niinach, on their retreat 
from Agra, entered the city. In anticipation of their arrival, Mr. Thornhill, 
disguised as a native and accompanied by a trusty jamadar, Dilawar Khan, 
started to flee to Agra. When they reached Aurangabad, only some four 
miles on the way, they found the whole country on both sides of the road in 

* The site of the old Court-house is now utterly out of the beaten track aud is all over- 
grown with dense vegetation, among which may be seen a plain but very substantial stoue table 
tomb, with the following inscription : " Sacred to the memory of Lieutenant F. H. C. Burlton, 
67th Native Infantry, who was shot by a detachment of his regiment and of the 11th Native 
Infantry near this spot on the 30th of May, 1857. This tomb is erected by his brother 


the possession of the rebels. The men whom the Seth had despatched as 
m escort took fright and decamped ; but the jamadar, by his adroit answers 
to all enquiries, was enabled to divert suspicion and bring Mr. Thornhill safely 
through to Agra. On the suppression of the disturbances, he received, as a 
reward for his loyalty, a small piece of land on the Brinda-ban road, just out- 
side Mathura, called after the name of a Bairagi who had once lived there, 

Though the rebels stayed (wo days in Mathura before they passed on to 
Delhi, the city was not given up to general plunder, partly in consequence of 
the prudent management of Seth Mangi Lai, who levied a contribution, accord- 
ing to their means, on all the principal inhabitants. At this time Seth Lakh- 
mi Chand was at Dig, but the greater part of his establishment remained 
behind and rendered Government the most valuable assistance by the des- 
patch of intelligence. Order in the city was chiefly maintained by Mir Imdad 
Ali Khan, tahsildar of Kosi, who had been specially appointed Deputy Col- 

On the 2Gth of September, the rebels, in their retreat from Delhi, again 
issed through Mathura. Their stay on this occasion lasted for a week, and 
creat oppression was practised on the inhabitants, both here and in the neigh- 
bouring town of Brinda-ban. They were only diverted from general pillage 
by the influence of one of their own leaders, a subadar from Nimach, by name 
Hira Sinh, who prevailed upon them to spare the Holy City. For a few days 
there was a show of regular government ; some of the chief officers in the 
Collector's court, sueh as the Sadr Kanungo, Rahmat-ullah, the Sarishtadar, 
Manohar Lai, and Wazir Ali, one of the muharrirs, were taken by force and 
compelled to issue the orders of the new administrators ; while Maulvi Karamat 
Ali was proclaimed in the Jama Masjid as the Viceroy of the Delhi Emperor. 
It would seem that he also was an involuntary tool in their hands, as he was 
subsequently put on his trial, but acquitted. He is since dead. It is said that 
during their stay in the city the rebels found their most obliging friends 
among the Mathuriya Chaubes, who, perhaps, more than any others, have grown 
rich and fat under the tolerance of British rule. After threatening Brinda-ban 
with their cannon and levying a contribution on the inhabitants, they moved 
uway to Hathras and Bareli. Mir Imdad Ali and the Seth returned from 
Bharat-pur; and in October Mr. Thornhill arrived from Agra with a company 
of troops, which in the following month he marched up to Chhata. There the 
rebel zamindars had taken possession of the fortified sarde, and one of its 


bastions had to be blown up before an entry could be effected: at the same time 
the town was set on fire and partially destroyed, and twenty-two of the lead- 
ing men were shot. A few days previously, Mir Imdad Ali with Nathu Lai, 
tahsildar of Sahtir, had gone up into the Kosi pargana and restored order among 
the Giijars there, who alone of all the natives of the district had been active 
promoters of disaffection. While engaged in their suppression, Imdad Ali 
received a gun-shot wound in the chest, but fortunately it had no fatal result. 
He is now Deputy Collector of Muradabad, with a special additional allowance 
of Rs. 150 per mensem, and has been made a C.S.I. By the end of November 
general tranquillity was restored ; but it was not till July, 1858, that the 
treasury was transferred from the Seth's house in the city to the Police lines in 
the civil station.* In Christmas week of the following year, 1859, the Viceroy 
held a Darbar, in which many honours were conferred upon different individuals, 
and in particular the ten villages, which the Gujars had forfeited by their open 
rebellion, were bestowed upon Raja Gobind Sinh of Hiithras, in acknowledg- 
ment of his distinguished loyalty and good services. The value of this grant 
has been largely diminished by the persistent lawlessness of the ejected Gujars, 
who have always sullenly resented the loss of their estates. 

"Here it remained till after the completion, in 1861, of the new Court-house and district 
offices, which, with important results to archaeological research, as will hereafter be shown, were 
rebuilt ou a new site. 




Of all the sacred places in India, none enjoys a greater popularity than the 
capital of Braj, the holy city of Mathuni. For nine months in the year festival 
follows upon festival in rapid succession, and the ghats and temples are daily 
thronged with new troops of way-worn pilgrims. So great is the sanctity of 
the spot that its panegyrists do not hesitate to declare that a single day spent at 
Mathuni is more meritorious than a lifetime passed at Banaras. All this cele- 
brity is due to the fact of its being the reputed birth-place of the demi-god 
Krishna ; hence it must be a matter of some interest to ascertain who this famous 
hero was, and what were the acts by which he achieved immortality. 

The attempt to extract a grain of historical truth from an accumulation of 
mythological legend is an interesting, but not very satisfactory, undertaking : 
there is always a risk that the theorist's kernel of fact may be itself as imaginary 
as the accretions which envelop it. However, reduced to its simplest elements, 
the story of Krishna runs as follows : — At a very remote period, a branch of 
the great Jadav clan settled on the banks of the Jamuna and made Mathuni 
their capital city. Here Krishna was born. At the time of his birth, Ugrasen, 
the rightful occupant of the throne, had been deposed by his own son, Kansa, 
who, relying on the support of Jarasandha, King of Magadha, whose daughter 
he had married, ruled the country with a rod of iron, outraging alike both o-ods 
and men. Krishna, who was a cousin of the usurper, but had been brought up 
in obscurity and employed in the tending of cattle, raised the standard of revolt, 
defeated and slew Kansa, and restored Ugrasen to the throne of his ancestors. 

All authorities lay great stress on the religious persecution that had prevail- 
ed under the tyranny of Kansa, from which fact it has been surmised that he 
was a convert to Buddhism, zealous in the propagation of his adopted faith; and 
that Krishna owes much of his renown to the gratitude of the Bnihmans who 
under bis championship, recovered their ancient influence. If, however 1000 
B. C. is accepted as the approximate date of the Great War in which Krishna 
took part, it is clear that his contemporary, Kansa, cannot have been a Bud- 
dhist, since the founder of that religion, according to the now most fenerally 
accepted chronology, died in the year 477 B. C, being then about 60 years of ao-e. 


Possibly lie may have been a Jaini, for the antiquity of that religion* is now 
thoroughly established ; it has even been conjectured that Buddha himself was a 
disciple of Mahavira, the last of the Jaini Tirthankaras.f Or the struggle may 
have been between the votaries of Siva and Vishnu ; in which case Krishna, the 
apostle of the latter faction, would find a natural enemy in the King of Kash- 
mir, a country where Saivism has always predominated. On this hypothesis, 
Kansa was the conservative monarch, and Krishna the innovator: a position 
which has been inverted by tbe poets, influenced by the political events of their 
own times. 

To avenge the death of his son-in-law, Jarasandha marched an army against 

Mathura, and was supported by tbe powerful king of some western country. 

who is thence styled Kala-Yavana : for Yavana in Sanskrit, while it corresponds 

originally to the Arabic Yiindn (Ionia) denotes secondarily — like Vildi/at in the 

modern vernacular — any foreign, and specially any western, country. The 

actual personage was probably tbe King of Kashmir, Gonanda I., who is 

known to have accompanied Jarasandha ; though the description would be 

more applicable to one of the Bactrian sovereigns of the Panjab. It is true thej 

had not penetrated into India till some hundreds of years after Krishna : but 

their power was well established at the time when the Mahabharat was written 

to record his achievements : hence the anachronism. Similarly, in the Bhagavat 

Purana, which was written after the Muhammadan invasion, the description 

of the Yavana king is largely coloured by the author's feelings towards the 

only western power with which he was acquainted. Originally, as above 

stated, the word denoted the Greeks, and the Greeks only.f But the Greeks 

were the foremost, the most dreaded of all the Mlechhas (i. e., Barbarians) and 

thus Yavana came to be applied to the most prominent Mlechha power for the 

time being, whatever it might happen to be. When the Muhammadans trod in 

the steps of the Greeks, they became the chief Mlechhas, and they also were 

consequently styled Yavanas. 

* The oldest Jain inscription that has as yet been discovered is one from the hill Indra- 
giri at Sravana Belgola in the South of India. It records an emigration of Jainis from Ujayin 
under the leadership of Swiimi Bhadra Bahu, accounted the last of the Sruta Kevalis, who was 
accompanied by Chandragupta, King of Pataliputra. As the inscription gives a list of Bhadra 
Bahu's successors, it is clearly not contemporary with the events which it records; but it may 
be inferred from the archaic form of tbe letters that it dates from the third century B. C. 

f More recent research, however, has revealed the fact that the Gotania Swimi, who was 
Mahavira's pupil, was not a Ksbatriya by caste, as was Sakya Muni, the Buddha, but a Brahman 
of the well-known Gautama family, whose personal name was lndra-hhuti. 

% This, however, is stoutly denied by Dr. Kajendra Lai Mittra. See his IndvAryans. 


Krishna eventually found it desirable to abandon Mathura, and withthe whole 
clan of Yadavs retired to the Bay of Kachh. There he founded the flourishing 
city of Dwaraka, which at some later period was totally submerged in the sea. 
While he was reigning at Dwaraka, the great war for the throne of Indrapras- 
tha (Delhi) arose between the five sons of P;indu and Durjodhan, the son of 
Dhritarashtra. Krishna allied himself with the Pandav princes, who were his 
cousins on the mother's side, and was the main cause of their ultimate triumph.. 
Before its commencement Krishna had invaded Magadha, marching by a cir- 
cuitous route through Tirhiit and so taking Jarasandha by surprise : his capital 
was forced to surrender, and he himself slain in battle. Still, after his death, 
Kama, a cousin of Krishna's of illegitimate birth, was placed on the throne of 
Mathura and maintained there by the influence of the Kauravas, Krishna's ene- 
mies : a clear proof that the hitter's retirement to Dwaraka was involuntary. 

Whether the above narrative has or has not any historical foundation, it is 

certain that Krishna was celebrated as a gallant warrior prince for many ages 

before he was metamorphosed into the amatory swain who now, under the title 

of Kanhaiya, is worshipped throughout India. He is first mentioned in the 

Mahabharat, the most voluminous of all Sanskrit poems, consisting in the 

printed edition of 91,000 couplets. There he figures simply as the King of 

Dwaraka and ally of the Pandavs ; nor in the whole length of the poem, of which 

he is to a great extent the hero, is any allusion whatever made to his early 

life, except in one disputed passage. Hence it may be presumed that his boyish 

frolics at, Mathura and Brinda-ban, which now alone dwell in popular memory, 

are all subsequent inventions. They are related at length in the Harivansa, 

which is a comparatively modern sequel to the Mahabharat,* and with still 

greater circumstantiality in some of the later Puranas, which probably in their 

present form date no further back than the tenth century after Christ. So rapid 

has been the development of the original idea when once planted in the congenial 

soil of the sensuous East, that while in none of the more genuine Puranas, 

even those specially devoted to the inculcation of Vaishnava doctrines, is so 

much as the name mentioned of his favourite mistress, Radha: she now is jointly 

enthroned with him in every shrine and claims a full half of popular devotion. 

Among ordinary Hindus the recognized authority for his life and exploits is 

* Though many episodes of later date have beeu interpolated, the composition of the main 
body of the Mahabharat may with some confidence be referred to the second or third century 
before Christ. 








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the Bhagavat Purana,* or rather its tenth Book, which has been translated into 
every form of the modern vernacular. The Hindi version, entitled the Prei I 
Sagar, is the one held in most repute. In constructing the following legend 
of Krishna, in his popular character as the tutelary divinity of Mathura, the 
Vishnu Purana has been adopted as the basis of the narrative, while many 
supplementary incidents have been extracted from the Bhagavat, and occasional 
references made to the Harivansa. 

In the days when Kama was king of Ajodhya, there stood near the bank of 
the Jamuna a dense forest, once the stronghold of the terrible giant Madhu, 
who called it after his own name, Madhu-ban. On his death it passed into the 
hand of his son, Lavana, who in the pride of his superhuman strength sent an 
insolent challenge to Rama, provoking him to single combat. The god-like 
hero disdained the easy victory for himself, but, to relieve the world of such an 
oppressor, sent his youngest brother, Satrughna, who vanquished and slew the 
giant, hewed down the wood in which he had entrenched himself, and on its 
sitet founded the city of Mathura. The family of Bhoja, a remote descendant 
of the great Jadu, the common father of all the Jadav race, occupied the throne 
for many generations. The last of the line was King Ugrasen. In his house 
Kansa was born, and was nurtured by the king as his own son, though in truth 
he had no earthly father, but was the great demon Kalanemi incarnate. Aa 
soon as he came to man's estate he deposed the aged monarch, seated himself 
>n the throne, and filled the city with carnage and desolation. The priests and 
sacred cattle were ruthlessly massacred and the temples of the gods defiled 
with blood. Heaven was besieged with prayers for deliverance from such a 
monster, nor were the prayers unheared. A supernatural voice declared to 
Kansa that an avenger would be born in the person of the eighth son of 
his kinsman, Vasudeva. Now, Vasudeva had married Devaki, a niece of 
King Ugrasen, and was living away from the court in retirement at the hill 
of Gobardhan. In the hope of defeating the prediction, Kansa immediately 
summoned them to Mathura and there kept them closely watched. $ From 

* The Bh&gavat is written in a more elegant style than any of the other Puranas,and is 
traditionally ascribed to the grammarian Bopadeva, who flourished at the Court of Hemadri, 
Rr,.ja of Devagiri or Daulatabad, in the twelfth or thirteenth century after Christ. 

| The present Madhu-ban is near the village of Maholi, some five miles from Mathura and 
from the bank of the Jamuna. The site, however, as now recognized, must be very ancient, since 
it is the ban which has given its name to the village ; Maholi being a corruption of the original 
form, Madhupuri. 

t The site of their prison-house, called the Kara-grah, or more commonly Janm-bhumi, t> e., 
'■ birth-place,' is still marked by a email temple in Mathura near the Potara-knnd. 



year to year, as each successive child was born, it was taken and delivered to 
the tyrant, and lay him consigned to death. When Devaki became pregnant 
for the seventh time, the embryo was miraculously transferred to the womb of 
Kohini, another wife of Vasudeva, living at Gokul, on the- opposite bank of the 
Jamuna, and a report was circulated that the mother had miscarried from the 
effects of her long imprisonment and constant anxiety. The child thus marvel- 
lously preserved was first called Sankarshana,* but afterwards received the 
name of Balanim or Baladcva, under which he has become famous to all 

Another year elapsed, and on the eighth of the dark fortnight of the month 
of Bhadonf Devaki was delivered of her eighth son, the immortal Krishna. 
Vasudeva took the babe in his arms and, favoured by the darkness of the night 
and the direct interposition of heaven, passed through the prison guards, who 
were charmed to sleep, and fled with his precious burden to the Jamuna. It 
was then the season of the rains, and the mighty river was pouring down a 
wild and resistless flood of waters. But he fearlessly stepped into the eddying 
torrent : at the first step that he advanced the wave reached the foot of the 
child slumbering in his arms ; then, marvellous to relate, the waters were stilled 
at the touch of the divine infant and could rise no higher,} and in a moment 
of time the wayfarer had traversed the torrent's broad expanse and emerged in 
safety on the opposito shore. § Herej he met Nanda, the chief herdsman of 
Gokul, whose wife, Jasoda, at that very time had given birth to a daughter, 
no earthly child, however, save in semblance, but the delusive power Joganidr.'i. 
Vasudeva dexterously exchanged the two infants and, returning, placed the 
female child in the bed of Devaki. At once it began to cry. The guards 
rushed in and carried it off to the tyrant. He, assured that it was the very 
child of fate, snatched it furiously from their hands and dashed it to the 

* Signifying • extraction,' ;'. e., from his mother's womb. The word is also explained to mean 
'drawing furrows with the plough,' and would thus be paralleled by Balarama's other names of 
Halayudha, Haladhara, and Ilalabhrit. 

t On this day is celebrated the annual festival in honour of Krishna's birth, called Janm 

% This incident is popularly commemorated by a native toy called ' Vasudeva Katora ' ot 
which i;rcat numbers are manufactured at Mathura. It is a brass cup with the figure of a man iu 
it carrying a child at his side, and is so contrived that when water is poured into it it cannot rise 
above the child's foot, but is then carried off by a hidden duet and runs out at the bottom til! 
the cup is empty. 

The landing-place is still shown at Gokul and called 'Utt .rcsvar Ghat.' 


ground : but how great his terror when he sees it rise resplendent in celestid 
beauty and ascend to heaven, there to be adored as the great goddess Di 
Kansa started from his momentary stupor, frantic with rage, and cursing the 
gods as his enemies, issued savage orders that every one should be put to death 
who dared to offer them sacrifice, and that diligent search should be made 
for all young children, that the infant son of Devaki, wherever concealed, 
might perish amongst the number. Judging these precautions to be sufficient, 
and that nothing further was to be dreaded from the parents, he set Vasudeva 
and Devaki at liberty. The former at once hastened to see Nanda, who had 
come over to Mathura to pay his yearly tribute to the king, and after congra- 
tulating him on Jasoda's having presented him with a son, begged him to take 
back to Gokul Rohini's boy, Balaram, and let the two children be brought np 
together. To this Nanda gladly assented, and so it came to pass that the I 
brothers, Krishna and Balaram, spent the days of their childhood tog. ' 
Gokul, under the care of their foster-mother Jasoda. 

They had not been there long, when one night the witch Piitana, hove : 
about for some mischief to do in the service of Kansa, saw the babe Krishna 
lying asleep, and took him up in her arms and began to suckle him with her 
own devil's milk. A mortal child would have been poisoned at the first drop, 
but Krishna drew the breast with such strength that her life's blood was drain- 
ed with the milk, and the hideous fiend, terrifying the whole country of Braj with 
her groans of agony, fell lifeless to the ground. Another day Jasoda had gone 
down to the river-bank to wash some clothes, and had left the child asl 
under one of the waggons. Ho all at once woke up hungry, and kicking out 
with his baby foot upset the big cart, full as it was of pans and pails of milk. 
When Jasoda came running back to see what all the noise was about, she 
found him in the midst of the broken fragments quietly asleep again, as if 
nothing had happened. Again, one of Kansa's attendant demons, by name 
Trinavart, hoping to destroy the child, came and swept him off in a whirlwind, 
but the child was too much for him and made that his last journey to Braj.f 

The older the boy grew, the more troublesome did Jasoda find him ; he 
would crawl about everywhere on his hands and knees, getting into the cattle- 
sheds and pulling the calves by their tails, upsetting the pans of milk and whey, 
sticking his fingers into the curds and butter, and daubing his face and clothes 

* The scene of this transformation is laid at the Jog Ghat in Mathura, so called from the 
child Joganidra. 

f The event is commemorated by a small cell at Mahaban, in which the demon whirlwind 
is represented by a pair of enormous, wings overshadowing the infant Krishna. 


all over; and one day she got so angry with him that she put a cord round his waist 
and tied him to the great wooden mortar* while she went to look after her house- 
hold affairs. No sooner was her back turned than the child, in his efforts to get 
loose, dragged away with him the heavy wooden block till it got fixed between two 
immense Arjun trees that were growing in the court-yard. It was wedged tight 
only for a minute, one more pull and down came the two enormous trunks with 
a thundering crash. Up ran the neighbours, expecting an earthquake at least, 
and found the village half buried under the branches of the fallen trees, with 
the child between the two shattered stems laughing at the mischief he had 
caused, t 

Alarmed at these successive portents, Nanda determined upon removing to 
some other locality and selected the neighbourhood of Brinda-ban as affording 
the best pasturage for the cattle. Here the boys lived till they were seven 
years old, not so much in Brinda-ban itself as in the copses on the opposite bank 
of the river, near the town of Mat ; there they wandered about, merrily disport- 
ing themselves, decking their heads with plumes of peacocks' feathers, string- 
ing long wreaths of wild flowers round their necks and making sweet music 
with their rustic pipes.f At evening-tide they drove the cows home to the pens, 
and joined in frolicsome sports with the herdsmen's children under the shade 
of the great Bhandir tree.§ 

But even in their new home they were not secure from demoniacal 
ression. When they had come to five years of age, and were grazing their 

* From this incident Krishna derives his popular name of Damodar, from dam a cord, and 
udar, the body. The mortar, or nlukhula, is generally a solid block of wood, three or four feet 
high, hollowed out at the top into the shape of a basin. 

f The traditionary scene of all these adventures is laid, not at Gokul, as might have been 
anticipated, but at Mahaban, which is now a distinct town further inland. There are shown the 
jugal arjun k: ihaur, ' or site of the two Arjun trees,' and the spots where Putana, Trinavart, and 
Sakatasur, or the cart demon (for in the Bhagavat the cart is said to have been upset by the 
'.itirveution of an evil spirit), met their fate. The village of Koila, on the opposite bank, is 
said to derive its name from the fact that the ' ashes' from Putana's funeral pile floated down 
there; or that Vasudeva, when crossing the river and thinking he was about to tink, called out 
for some one to take the child, saying ' Koi le, koi le.' 

t From these childish sports, Krishna derives his popular names of Dan-mdli, ' the wearer 
of a chaplet of wild flowers,' and Bansi-dluir and Murli-dhar, ' the flute-player.' Hence, too, the 
strolling singers, who frequent the fairs held on Krishna's fete days, attire themselves in high- 
crowned caps decked with peacocks' feathers. 

§ The Bhiindir-ban is a dense thicket of ber and other low prickly shrubs in the hamlet of 
Chhihiri, a little above Mat. In the centre is an open space with a small modern temple and 
well. The Bhandir bat is an old tree a few hundred yards outside the grove. 

trauma's submission. .37 

cattle on the bank of the Jamuna the demon Bachhasur made an open onset 
against them.* When he had received the reward of his temerity, the demon 
Bakasur tried the efficacy of stratagem. Transforming himself into a crane of 
gigantic proportions he perched on the hill-side, and when the cowherd's child- 
ren came to gaze at the monstrous apparition, snapped them all up one alter fchi 
other. But Krishna made such a hot mouthful that he was only too glad to 
drop him ; and as soon as the boy set his feet on the ground again, he seized 
the monster by his long bill and rent him in twain. 

On another day, as their playmate Toshf and some of the other children 
were rambling about, they spied what they took to be the mouth of a great chasm 
in the rock. It was in truth the expanded jaws of the serpent-king Aghasur, 
and as the boys were peeping in he drew a deep breath and sucked them all 
down. But Krishna bid them be of good cheer, and swelled his body to such 
a size that the serpent burst, and the children stept out upon the plain un- 

Again, as they lay lazily one sultry noon under a Kadamb tree enjoj 
their lunch, the calves strayed away quite out of sight.| In fact, the jealous 
god Brahma had stolen them. When the loss was detected, all ran off in differ- 
ent directions to look for them ; but Krishna took a shorter plan, and as .-- 
as he found himself alone, created other cattle exactly like them to take their 
place. He then waited a little for his companions' return ; but when no signs 
of them appeared, he guessed, as was really the case, that they too had been stol 
by Brahma ; so without more ado he continued the work of creation, and call- 
ed into existence another group of children identical in appearance with the 
absentees. Meanwhile, Brahma had dropped off into one of his periodical dozes, 
and waking up after the lapse of a year, chuckled to himself over the for- 
lorn condition of Braj, without cither cattle or children. But when he got. 
there and began to look about him, he found everything just the same as before : 
then he made his submission to Krishna, and acknowledged him to be his lord 
and master. 

One day, as Krishna was strolling by himself along the bank of the Jamuna, 
he came to a creek by the side of which grew a tall Kadamb tree. He 

* This adventure gives its name to the Bachh-ban near Sehi. 

f Hence the name of the village Tosh in the Mathura pargana. 

X The scene of this adventure is laid at Khadira-ban, near lihaira. The kftadira is a species 
of acacia. The Sanskrit word assumes in Prakrit the form hhmra. 



climbed the tree and took a plunge into the water. Now, this recess was the 
haunt of a savage dragon, by name Kaliya, who at one started from the depth, 
coiled himself round the intruder, and fastened upon him with his poisonous 
fangs. The alarm spread, and Nanda, Jasoda and Balaram, and all the neigh- 
bours came running, frightened out of their senses, and found Krishna stiD and 
motionless, enveloped in the dragon's coils. The sight was so terrible that all 
stood as if spell-bound ; but Krishna with a smile gently shook off the serpent's 
folds, and seizing the hooded monster by one of his many heads, pressed 
it- down upon the margin of the stream and danced upon it, till the poor 
wretch was so torn and lacerated that his wives all came from their watery 
cells and threw themselves at Krishna's feet and begged for mercy. The 
dragon himself in a feeble voice sued for pardon ; then the beneficent divinity 
not only spared his life and allowed him to depart with all his family to the 
island of Ramanak, but further assured him that be would ever thereafter bear 
upon his brow the impress of the divine feet, seeing which no enemy would 
dare to molest him.'' 

After this, as the two boys were straying with their herds from wood to 
wood, they came to a large palm-grove (tal-ban), where they began shaking 
the trees to bring down the fruit. Now, in this grove there dwelt a demon, 
by name Dhenuk, who, hearing the fruit fall, rushed past in the form of an 
ass and gave Balaram a flying kick full on the breast with both his hind legs. 
But before his legs could again reach the ground, Balaram seized them in his 
powerful grasp, and whirling the demon round his head hurled the carcase 
on to the top of one of the tallest trees, causing the fruit to drop like rain. 
The bovs then returned to their station at the Bhiindir fig-tree, and that 
very night, while they were in Bhadra-banf close by, there came on a 
violent storm. The tall dry grass was kindled by the lightning and the 
whole forest was in a blaze. Off scampered the cattle, and the herdsmen too, 
but Krishna called to the cowards to stop and close their eyes for a minute. 

* One of the ghats at Brinda-ban is named, in commemoration of this event, Eali-mardan, 
or Kali-dah, and the, or rather u, Kadanib tree is etill shown there. 

f Bliadra-ban occupies a high point on the left bank of the Jamuna, some three miles 
above Mat. With the usual fate of Hindi words, it is transformed in the official map of the 
district into the Persian Bahddur-ban, Between it and Bhandir-ban is a large straggling wood 
called mekh-ban. This, it is said, was open ground, till one day, many years ago, some great 
man encamped there, and all the stakes to which his horses had been tethered took root and 
grew up. 

balara'm. .">9 

When they opened them again, the cows wore all standing in their pens, 
and the moon shone calmly down on the waving l'orest trees and rustling 

Another day Krishna and Balaram wore running a race up to the Bhandir 
tree with their playmate Sridama, when the demon Pralamba came and asked to 
make a fourth. In the race Pralamba was beaten by Balaram, and so, accord- 
ing to the rules of the game, had to carry him on his bar!; from the goal to 
the starting-point. No sooner was Balaram on his shoulders than Pralamba 
ran off' with him at the top of his speed, and recovering his proper diabolical 
form made sure of destroying him. But Balaram soon taught him differently, 
and squeezed him so tightly with his knees, and dealt him such cruel blows on 
the head with his fists, that his skull and ribs were broken, and no life left in 
the monster. Seeing this feat of strength, his comrades loudly greeted him 
with the name of Balaram, ' Rama the strong,'* which title he ever after 

But who so frolicsome as the boy Krishna ? Seeing the fair maids of Braj 
performing their ablutions in the Jamuna, he stole along the bank, and picking 
up the clothes of which they had divested themselves, climbed up with them 
into a Kadamb tree. There ho mocked the frightened girls as they came 
shivering out of the water ; nor would he yield a particle of vestment till all 
had ranged before him in a row, and with clasped and uplifted hands most 
piteously entreated him. Thus the boy-god taught his votaries that submis- 
sion to the divine will was a more excellent virtue even than modesty.t 

At the end of the rains all the herdsmen began to busy themselves in pre- 
paring a great sacrifice in honour of Indra, as a token of their gratitude for 
the refreshing showers he had bestowed upon the earth. But Krishna, who 
had already made sport of Brahma, thought lightly enough of Indra's claims 

* Balaram, under the name of Belus, is described by Latin writers as the Indian Hercules 
and said to be one of the tutelary divinities of Mathura. Patanjali also, the celebrated Gram- 
marian, a native of Gonda in Oudli, whose most probable date is 150 B. C, clearly refers to 
Krishna as a divinity and to Kansa's death at his hands as a current tradition, both popular and 
ancient ; the events in the hero's life forming the subject of different poems, from which he 
quotes lines or parts of lines as examples of grammatical rules. Thus, whatever the date of the 
eighteen Puranas, as we now have them, Pauranik mythology and the local cultus of Krishna 
and Balaram at Mathura must be of higher antiquity than has been represented by some Euro- 
pean scholars. 

t This popular incident is commemorated by the Chir Ghat at Siyara ; chir meaning clothes. 
The same name is frequently given to the Chain Ghat at Brinda-ban, which is also so called iu 
the Vraja-bhakti-vildsa, written 1553 A.D. 


and said to Nanda : — " Tho forests where we tend our cattle cluster round si 
foot of the hills, and it is the spirits of the hills that we ought rather to 
worship. They can assume any shapes they please, and if we slight them, will 
surely transform themselves into lions and wolves and destroy both us and our 
herds." The people of Braj were convinced by these arguments, and taking 
all the rich gifts they had prepared, set out for Gobardhan, where they solemnly 
circumambulated the mountain and presented their offerings to the new divi- 
tity. Krishna himself, in the character of the mountain gods, stood forth on 
the highest peak and accepted the adoration of the assembled crowd, while a 
fictitious image in his own proper person joined humbly in the ranks of tin 

When Indra saw himself thus defrauded of the promised sacrifice, he was 
very wrath, and summoning the clouds from every quarter of heaven, bid them 
all descend upon Braj in one fearful and unbroken torrent. In an instant 
the sky was overhung with impenetrable gloom, and it was only by the vivid 
flashes of lightning that the terrified herdsmen could see their houses and cattle 
beaten down and swept away by the irresistible deluge. The ruin was but 
for a moment ; with one hand Krishna uprooted the mountain from its base, 
and balancing it on tho tip of his finger called all the people under its cover. 
There they remained secure for seven days and nights and the storms of In- 
dra beat harmlessly on the summit of the uplifted range : while Krishna stood 
erect and smiling, nor once did his finger tremble beneath the weight. When 
Indra found his passion fruitless, the heavens again became clear ; the people 
of Braj stepped forth from under Gobardhan, and Krishna quietly restored it 
to its original site. Then Indra, moved with desire to behold and worship tin 
incarnate god, mounted his elephant Airavata and descended upon the plains of 
Braj. There he adored Krishna in his humble pastoral guise, and saluting 
him by the new titles of Upendra* and Gobind placed under his special 
protection his own son the hero Arjun, who had then taken birth at Indra- 
prasthain the family of Pandu. 

* The title Upeudra was evidently conferred upon Krishna before the full development oi 
the Vaishnava School ; for however Pauranik writers may attempt to explain it, the only gram- 
matical meaning of the compound is 'a lesser Indra.' As Krishna has long been considered 
much the greater go J of the two, the title h;;s fallen into disrepute and is now seldom used. 
Similarly with ' Gobind'; its true meaning in not, as implied in the text, ' the Indra of cows,' 
I ut simply ' a finder, or ' tender of cows,' from the root ' vid.' The Hindus themselves prefer to 
explain Upendra as meaning simply Indra's younger brother,' Vishnu, in the dwarf incarnation, 
i ag been born as the son of Kasyapa, who was also Indra's father. 


When Krishna had completed his twelfth year, Nanda, in accordance with 
a vow that he had made, went with all his family to perform a special devotion 
at the temple of Devi. At night, when they were asleep, a huge boa-con- 
strictor laid hold of Nanda by the toe and would speedily have devoured him ; 
but Krishna, hearing his foster-father's cries, ran to his side and lightly set his 
foot on the great serpent's head. At the very touch the monster was trans- 
formed and assumed the figure of a lovely youth ; for ages ago a Ganymede of 
heaven's court by name Sudarsan, in the pride of beauty and exalted birth, had 
vexed the holy sage Angiras, when deep in divine contemplation, by dancing 
backwards and forwards before him, and by his curse had been metamorphosed 
into a snake, in that vile shape to expiate his offence until the advent of the 
gracious Krishna. 

Beholding all the glorious deeds that he had performed, the maids of Braj 
could not restrain their admiration. Drawn from their lonely homes by the 
low sweet notes of his seductive pipe, they floated around him in rapturous 
love, and through the moonlight autumn nights joined with him in the circling 
dance, passing from glade to glade in ever increasing ecstasy of devotion. To 
whatever theme his voice was attuned, their song had but one burden — his per- 
fect beauty ; and as they mingled in the mystic maze, with eyes closed in the 
intensity of voluptuous passion, each nymph as she grasped the hand of her 
partner thrilled at the touch, as though the hand were Krishna's, and dreamed 
herself alone supremely blest in the enjoyment of his undivided affection. 
Radha, fairest of the fair, reigned queen of the revels, and so languished in the 
heavenly delights of his embraces, that all consciousness of earth and self was 

One night, as the choir of attendant damsels followed through the woods 
the notes of his wayward pipe, a lustful giant, by name Sankhehiir, attempted 
to intercept them. Then Krishna showed himself no tirnorous gallant, but cast- 
ing crown and flute to the ground pursued the ravisher, and seizing him from 
behind by his shaggy hair, cut off his head, and taking the precious jewel 
which he had worn on his front presented it to Balaram. 

* Any sketch of Krishna's adventures would be greatly defective which contained no allusion 
to his celebrated amours with the Gopis, or milkmaids of Braj. it is the one incident in his 
life upon which modern Hindu wi iters love to lavish all the resources of their eloquence. Yet 
in the original authorities it occupies a no more prominent place in the narrative than that which 
has been assigned it above. Iu pictorial representations of the ' circular dance'or Basmandal, 
whatever the number of the Gopis introduced, so often is the figure of Krishna repeated. Thus 
each Gopi can claim him as a partner, while 3gain, in the centre of the circle, he stands iu la^er 
form with his favourite Kadha. 



Yet once again was the dance of love rudely interrupted. The demon 
Arishta, disguised as a gigantic bull, dashed upon the scene and made straight 
for Krishna. The intrepid youth, smiling, awaited the attack, and seizing him 
by the horns forced down his head to the ground; then twisting the monster's 
neck as it had been a wet rag, he wrenched one of the horns from the socket 
and with it so belaboured the brute that no life was left in his body. Then all 
the herdsmen rejoiced; but the crime of violating even the semblance of a bull 
could not remain unexpiated. So all the sacred streams and places of pilgrim- 
age, obedient to Krishna's summons, came in bodily shape to Gobardhan and 
poured from their holy urns into two deep reservoirs prepared for the occasion.* 
There Krishna bathed, and by the efficacy of this concentrated essence of sanc- 
tity was washed clean of the pollution he had incurred. 

When Kansa heard of the marvellous acts performed by the two boys at 
Brindii-ban he trembled with fear and recognized the fated avengers, who had 
eluded all his cruel vigilance and would yet wreak his doom. After pondering 
for a while what stratagem to adopt, he proclaimed a great tournay of arms, 
making sure that if they were induced to come to Mathuni aud enter the lists as 
combatants, they would be inevitably destroyed by his two champions Chanur 
aud Mushtika. Of all the Jadav tribe Akrur was the only chieftain in whose 
integrity the tyrant could confide : he accordingly was despatched with an 
invitation to Nanda and all his family to attend the coming festival. But though 
Akriir started at once on his mission, Kansa was too restless to wait the result : 
the demon Kesin, terror of the woods of Brinda-ban, was ordered to try his 
strength against them or ever they left their home. Disguised as a wild horse, 
the monster rushed amongst the herds, scattering them in all directions. Krishna 
alone stood calmly in his way, and when the demoniacal steed bearing down 
upon him with wide-extended jaws made as though it would devour him, he 
thrust his arm down the gaping throat and, with a mighty heave, burst the 
huge body asunder, splitting it into two equal portions right down the back 
from nose to tail.f 

* These are the famous tanks of Radhu-kund, which is the next village to Gobardhan ; while 
Aring, a contraction for Arishta-gauw, is the scene of the combat with the bull. 

t There are two ghats at Brinda-ban named after this adventure : the first Kcsi Ghat, where 
the monster was slain ; the second Chain Ghat, where Krishna ' rested' and bathed. It is from 
this exploit, according to Tauranik etymology, that Krishna derives his popular name of Kesava. 
The name, however, is more ancient than the legend, and ;signifies Bimply the long-haired, 
' crinitus,' or radiant, an appropriate epithet if Krishna be taken for the Indian Apollo. 

Krishna's return to mathura'. 63 

All unconcerned at this stupendous encounter, Krishna returned to his 
childish sports and was enjoying a game of hlind-rnan's buff, when the demon 
Byom.isur came up in guise as a cowherd .and asked to join the party. After 
a little, he proposed to vary the amusement by a turn at wolf-and-goats, and 
then lyino- in ambush and transforming himself into a real wolf he fell upon 
the children, one by one, and tore them in pieces, till Krishna, detecting his 
wiles, dragged him from his cover and, seizing him by the throat, beat him to 

At this juncture, Akrur* arrived with his treacherous invitation: it was at 
once accepted, and the boys in high glee started for Mathura, Nanda also and 
all the village encampment accompanying them. Just outside the city they 
met the king's washerman and his train of donkeys laden with bundles of 
clothes, which he was taking back fresh washed from the river-side to the 
palace. What bettor opportunity could be desired for country boys, who had 
never before left the woods and had no clothes fit to wear. They at once made 
a rush at the bundles and, tearing them open, arrayed themselves in the finery 
just as it came to hand, without any regard for fit or colour; then on they went 
again, laughing heartily at their own mountebank appearance, till a good tailor 
called them into his shop, and there cut and snipped and stitched away till he 
turned them out in the very height of fashion : and to complete their costume, 
the mdli Sudaina gave them each a nosegay of flowers. So going through the 
streets like young princes, there met them the poor hump-backed woman 
Kubja, and Krishna, as he passed, putting one foot on her feet and one hand 
under her chin, stretched out her body straight as a dart.f 

In the court-yard before the palace was displayed the monstrous bow, the test 
of skill and strength in the coming encounter of arms. None but a giant could 
bend it ; but Krishna took it up in sport, and it snapped in his fingers like a twig. 
Out ran the king's guards, hearing the crash of the broken beam, but all perished 
at the touch of the invincible child : not one survived to tell how death was dealt. 

When they had seen all the sights of the city, they returned to Nanda, who 
had been much disquieted by their long absence, and on the morrow repaired 
to the arena, where Kansa was enthroned in state on a high dais overlooking 

* Akrur is the name of a hamlet betwsen Mathura and Brinda-ban. 

t "Kubja's well" in Mathura commemorates this event. It is on the Delhi road, a little 
beyond the Katra. Nearly opposite, a carved pillar from a Buddhist railing has been set up and 
is worshipped as Parrati. 


the lists. At the entrance they were confronted by the savage elephant Kuvala- 
yapida, upon whom Kansa relied to trample them to death. But Krishna, after 
sporting with it for a while, seized it at last by the tail, and whirling it round 
his head dashed it lifeless to the ground. Then, each bearing one of its tusks, 
the two boys stepped into the ring and challenged all comers. Chanur was 
matched against Krishna, Mushtika against Bahrain. The struggle was no 
sooner begun than ended : both the king's champions were thrown and rose 
no more. Then Kansa started from his throne, and cried aloud to his guards 
to seize and put to death the two rash boys with their father Vasudeva — for his 
sons he knew they were — and the old King Ugrasen. But Krishna with one 
bound sprung upon the dais, seized the tyrant by the hair as he vainly sought 
to fly, and hurled him down the giddy height into the ravine below.* Then 
they dragged the lifeless body to the bank of the Jamuna, and there by the 
water's edge at last sat down to 'rest,' whence the place is known to this day 
as the ' Visrant' Ghat.t Now that justice had been satisfied, Krishna was too 
righteous to insult the dead ; he comforted the widows of the fallen monarch, 
and bid them celebrate the funeral rites with all due form, and himself applied 
the torch to the pyre. Then Ugrasen was reseated on his ancient throne, and 
Mathura once more knew peace and security. 

As Krishna was determined on a lengthened-stay, he persuaded Nan da to 
return alone to Brind;i-ban and console bis foster-mother Jasoda with tidings of 
his welfare. He and Balaram then underwent the ceremonies of caste-initia- 
tion, which had been neglected during their sojourn with the herdsmen ; and, 
after a few days, proceeded to Ujjayin, there to pursue the prescribed course 
of study under the Kasya sage Sandipani. The rapidity with which they 
mastered every science soon betrayed their divinity ; and as they prepared to 
leave, their instructor loll at their feet and begged of them a boon — namely, the 
restoration of his son, who had been engulfed by the waves of the sea when on 
a pilgrimage to Prabhasa. Ocean was summoned to answer the charge, and 
taxed the demon Panchajana with the crime. Krishna at once plunged into 
the unfathomable depth and dragged the monster lifeless to the surface. Then 

* Kansa's Hill and the Rang-Bhumi, or 'arena,' with an image of IiangCBvar Maliadeva, 
where the bow was broken, the elephant killed and the champion wrestlers defeated, are still sacred 
sites immediately outside the city of Mathura, opposite the new dispensary. 

f The Visrant Ghat, or Resling Gluit, is the most sacred spot in all Mathura. It occupies 
the centre of the river frost, and is thus made a prominent object, though it has no special 
architectural beauty. 


with Balaram lie invaded the city of the dead and claimed from Jama the 
Brahman's son, whom they took back with them to the light of day and 
restored to his enraptured parents. The shell in which the demon had dwelt 
(whence his title Sankhasur) was ever thereafter borne by the hern as his 
special emblem* under the name of Panchajanya. 

Meanwhile, the widows of King Kansa had fled to Magadha, their native 
land, and implored their father, Jarasandha, to take up arms and avenge theii 
murdered lord. Scarcely had Krishna returned to Mathura when the assem- 
bled hosts invested the city. The gallant prince did not wait the attack ; but, 
accompanied by Balaram, sallied forth, routed the enemy and took Jarasan- 
dha prisoner. Compassionating the utterness of his defeat, they allowed him 
to return to his own country, where, unmoved by the generosity of his victors, 
•he immediately began to raise a new army on a still larger scale than the pre- 
ceding, and again invaded the dominions of Ugrasen. Seventeen times did 
Jarasandha renew the attack, seventeen times was he repulsed by Krishna. 
Finding it vain to continue the struggle alone, he at last called to his aid King 
K:ila-yavana,t who with his barbarous hordes from the far west, bore down 
upon the devoted city of Mathura. That very night Krishna bade arise on 
the remote shore of the Bay of Kachh the stately Fort of Dvvaraka, and 
thither, in a moment of time, transferred the whole of his faithful people : the 
first intimation that reached them of their changed abode was the sound of the 
roaring waves when they woke en the following morning. He then returned 
to do battle against the allied invaders ; but being hard pressed by the barba- 
rian king, he fled and took refuge in a cave, where the holy Muehkunda was 
sleeping, and there concealed himself. "When the Yavana arrived, he took the 
sleeper to be Krishna and spurned him with his foot, whereupon Muehkunda 
awoke and with a glance reduced him to ashes. $ But meanwhile Mathura had 

* The legend has been invented to explain why the sankha, or conch-shell, is employed as a 
religious emblem: the simpler reason is to be found in the fact of its constant nse as an auxi- 
liary to temple worship. In consequence of a slight similarity in the name, this incident is popu- 
larly connected with the village of Sonsa in the Mathura pargana, without much regard to the 
exigencies of the narrative, since l'rabhasa, where 1'anchajana was slain, is far away on the 
shore of the Western Ocean in Gujarat. 

f The soul of Kala-yavana is Bupposed in a second birth to have animated the body of the 
tyrannical Aurangzeb. 

X The traditional scene of this event is laid at Muchkund, a lake three miles to the 
west of Dholpur, where two bathing fairs are annually held : the one in May, the other at the 
beginning of September. The lake has as many as 114 temples on its banks, though none are 
of great antiquity. It covers an area of 41 acres and lies in a natural hollow of great depth, 



fallen into the hands of Jarasandha, who forthwith destroyed all the palaces 
and temples and every memento of the former dynasty, and erected new build- 
ings in their place as monuments of his own conquest.* 

Thenceforth Krishna reigned with great glory at Dwaraka ; and not many 
days had elapsed when, fired with the report of the matchless beauty of the 
princess Rukmini, daughter of Bhishmak, king of Kundina in the country 
of Vidarbha, he broke in upon the marriage feast, and carried her off before 
the very eyes of her betrothed, the Ghanderi king Sisupal.f After this he 
contracted many other splendid alliances, even to the number of sixteen thou- 
sand and one hundred, and became the father of a hundred and eighty thou- 
sand sons.t In the Great War he took up arms with his five cousins, the 
Pandav princes, to terminate the tyranny of Duryodhau ; and accompanied 
by Bhima and Arjuna, invaded Magadha, and taking Jarasandha by surprise, 
put him to death and burnt his capital : and many other noble achievements 
did he perform, which are written iu the chronicles of Dwaraka ; but Mathura 
saw him no more, and the legends of Mathura are ended. 

To many persons it will appear profane to institute a comparison between 
the inspired oracles of Ghristianity and the fictions of Hinduism. But if we 

filled in the rains by the drainage of the neighbourhood and fed throughout the year by a num- 
ber of springs, which hare their source iu the surrounding sand-stone hills. The local legend 
is that Raj;i Muchkund, after a long and holy life, desired to find rest in death. The gods de- 
nied his prayer, but allowed him to repose for centuries in sleep and decree! that any one who 
disturbed him should be consumed by fire. Krishna, in his flight from Kala-yavana, chanced 
to paBS the place where the Raja slept and, without disturbing him, threw a cloth over his face 
and concealed himself close by. Soon after arrived Kila-yavana, who, concluding that the 
sleeper was the enemy he sought, rudely awoke him and was iustantly consumed. After this 
Krishna remained with the Raja tor some days and finding that no water was to be had nearer 
than the Chambal, he stamped his foot and so caused a depression in the rock, which immedi- 
ately filled with water and now forms the lake. 

* As Magadha became the great centre of Buddhism, and indeed derives its latter name 
of Bihar from the numerous Viharas, or Buddhist monasteries, which it contained, its king Ja- 
rasan.iha and his son-iu-law Kansa have been described by the orthodox writers of the Maha* 
bh.irat and Sri Bhagavat with all the animus they felt against the professors of that religion, 
though in reality it had not come into existence till BO;ne 400 years after Jarasandha 's death. 
Thus the narrative of Krishna's retreat to Dwaraka and the subsequent demolition of Hindu 
Mathura, besides its primary signification, represents also in mythological language the great 
historical fact, attested by the notices of contemporary travellers and the results of recent an- 
tiquarian research, that for a time Brahmanism was almost eradicated from Central India and 
Buddhism established as the national religion. 

t Sisupal was first cousin to Krishna; his mother, Srutadcvi, being Vasudeva's sister. 

X These extravagant numbers are merely intended to indicate the wide diffusion and power 
of the great Jadava (vulgarly Jadou) clan, 


fairly consider the legend as above sketched, and allow for a slight element or* 
the grotesque and that tendency to exaggerate which is inalienable from 
Oriental imagination, we shall find nothing incongruous with the primary idea 
of a beneficent divinity manifested in the flesh in order to deliver the world 
from oppression and restore the practice of true religion. Even as regards the 
greatest stumbling-block, viz., the ' Panchadyaya,' or five chapters of the Bhaga- 
vat, which describe Krishna's amours with the Gopis, the language is 
scarcely, if at all, more glowing and impassioned than that employed in ' the 
song of songs, which is Solomon's;' and if theologians maintain that the latter 
must be mystical because inspired, how can a similar defence be denied to tho 
Hindu philosopher? As to those wayward caprices of the child-god, for which 
no adequate explanation can be assigned, the Brahman, without any deroga- 
tion from his intellect, may regard them as the sport of the Almighty, the 
mysterious dealings of an inscrutable Providence, styled in Sanskrit termino- 
logy mdyd, and in the language of Holy Church sapientia — sapientia ludens 
Omni tempore, ludens in orbe terrarum. 

Attempts have also been made to establish a definite and immediate 
connection between tho Hindu narrative and at least the earlier chapters of 
S. Matthew's Gospel. But I think without success. There is an obvious simi- 
larity of sound between the names Christ and Krishna ; Herod's massacre of 
the innocents may be compared with the massacre of the children of Mathura 
by Kansa ; the flight into Egypt with the flight to Gokul ; as Christ had a 
forerunner of supernatural birth in the person of S. John the Baptist, so had 
Krishna in Balaram ; and as tho infant Saviour was cradled in a manger and 
first worshipped by shepherds, though descended from the royal house of 
Judah, so Krishna, though a near kinsman of the reigning prince, was brought 
up amongst cattle and first manifested his divinity to herdsmen.* The infer- 
ence drawn from these coincidences is corroborated by an ecclesiastical tradi- 
tion that the Gospel which S. Thomas the Apostle brought with him to India 

♦Hindu pictures of the infant Krishna in the arms of his foster-mother Jasodd, with a 
glory encircling the heads both of mother and child and a background of Oriental scenery, 
might often pass for Indian representations of Christ and the Madonna. Professor Weber 
has written at great length to argue a connection between them. But few Bcenes (as remarked 
by Dr. Kajendralala Mitra) could be more natural or indigenous in any country than that of a 
woman nursing a child, and in delineating it in one country it is all but utterly impossible to 
design something which would not occur to other artists in other parts of the world. The 
relation of original and copy in such case can be inferred only from the details, the technical 
treatment, general arrangement and style of execution; and in these respects there is no simU 
larity between the Hindu painting and the Byzantine Madonna quoted by Professor Weber. 


was that of S. Matthew, and that when his relics were discovered, a copy of it 
was found to have been buried with him. It is further to be noted that the 
special Vaislmava tenets of the unity of the Godhead and of salvation by faith 
are said to have been introduced by Narada from the Sweta-dwipa, an 
unknown region, which if the word be interpreted to mean ' White-man's land,' 
might well be identified with Christian Europe. It is, on the other hand, 
absolutely certain that the name of Krishna, however late the full development 
of the legendary cycle, was celebrated throughout India long before the Chris- 
tian era ; thus the only possible hypothesis is that some pandit, struck by the 
marvellous circumstances of our Lord's infancy as related in the Gospel, trans- 
ferred them to his own indigenous mythology, and on account of the similarity 
of name selected Krishna as their hero. It is quite possible that a new life of 
Krishna may in this way have been constructed out of incidents borrowed 
from Christian records, since we know as a fact of literary history that the 
converse process has been actually performed. Thus Fr. Beschi, who was in 
India from 1700 to 1742, in the hope of supplanting the Kamayana, composed, 
on the model of that famous Hindu epic, a poem of 8,615 stanzas divided into 
30 cantos, called the Tembavani, or Unfading Garland, in which every adven- 
ture, miracle and achievement recorded of the national hero, Rama, was elabo- 
rately paralleled by events in the life of Christ. It may be added that the 
Harivansa, which possibly is as old* as any of the Vaishnava Puranas, was 
certainly written by a stranger to the country of Braj ;| and not only so, but 
it further shows distinct traces of a southern origin, as in its description of the 
exclusively Dakkini festival, the Punjal: and it is only in the south of India that 

* It is quoted by Biruni (born 970, died 1038 A. D.) as a standard authority in his time. 

t The proof of this statement is that all his topographical descriptions are utterly irrecon- 
cilable with facts. Thus lie mentions that Krishna and Balarama -were brought up at a spot 
selected by Nanda on the bank of the Jamuna near the hill of Gobardhan (Canto 61). Now. 
Gobardhau is some fifteen miles from the river ; and the neighbourhood of Gokula and Mahaban, 
which all other written authorities and also ancient tradition agree in declaring to hare been the 
scene of Krishna's infancy, is several miles further distant from the ridge and on the other side 
of the Jamuna. Again, Tal-ban is described (Canto 79) as lying north of Gobardhan — 

^f^TrT rfrlT CRT l*Q rTT^H S^rl 

It is south-east of Gobardhan and with the city of Mathura between it and Brinda-ban, though 
in the Bluigavat it is said to be close to the latter town. 8o also Bhandir-ban is represented 
iu the Harivansa as being on the same side of the river as the Kali-Jlardan Ghat, being in reality 
nearly opposite to it. 


a Brahman would be likely to meet with Christian traditions. There the Church 
has had a continuous, though a feeble and struggling existence, from the very 
earliest Apostolic times*'' down to the present : and it must he admitted that 
there is no intrinsic improbability in supposing that the narrative ot the Gospel 
may have exercised on some Hindu sectarian a similar influence to that which 
the Pentateuch and the Talmud had on the founder of Islam. Nor are the 
differences between the authentic legends of Judaism and the perversions of them 
that appear in the Kuran very much greater than those which distinguish the 
life of Christ from the life of Krishna. But alter all that can be urged there 
is no historical basis for the supposed connection between the two narratives, 
which probably would never have been suggested but for the similarity of 
name. Now, that is certainly a purely accidental coincidence ; for Christos is 
as obviously a Greek as Krishna is a Sanskrit formation, and the roots from 
which the two words are severally derived are entirely different. 

The similarity of doctrine is perhaps a yet more curious phenomenon, and 
Dr. Lorinser, in his German version of the Bhagavad Gita, which is the most 

* According to Eusebius, the Apostle who visited India was not Thomas, but Bartholomew 
There is, however, no earlier tradition to confirm the latter name ; while the' Acts of S. Thomas' — 
though apocryphal— are mentioned by F.piphanius, who was consecrated Bishop of Salamis about 
3GS A.D., and are attributed by Photiua to Lucius Charinas, by later scholars to Bardesanes at the 
end of the second century. Anyhow, they are ancient, and as it would hare been against the 
writer's interest to contradict established facts, the probability is that his historical ground- 
work— S. Thomas' visit to India — is correct. That Christianity still continued to exist there, 
after the time of the Apostles, is proved by the statement of Eusebius that Pantanus, the teacher 
of Clemens Alexandrious, visited the country in the second century and brought backwi.h 
him to Alexandria a copy of the Hebrew Gospel of S. Matthew. S. Chrysostom also speaks of a 
translation into the Indian tongue of a Gospel or Catechism ; a Metropolitan of Persia and India 
attended the Council of Nice ; and the heresiarch Mani, put to death about 272 A.D., wrote an 
Epistle to the Indians. Much stress, however, must not be laid on these latter facts, since India 
in early times was a term of very wide extent. According to tradition S. Thomas founded seven 
Churches iu Malabar, the names of which are given and are certainly old ; and in the sixth cen- 
tury, Cosmas Indico-pleustes, a Byzantine monk, speaks of a Church at Male (Malabar) with a 
Bishop in the town of Kalliena (Kalyin) w ho had been conscecrated in Persia. The sculptured 
crosses which S. Francis Xavierand other Catholic Missionaries supposed to be relics of S. Thomas 
have Pahlavi inscriptions, from the character of which it is surmised that they arc not of earlier 
date than the seventh or eighth century. The old connection between Malabar and Edessa is proba- 
bly to be explained by the fact that S. Thomas was, as Eusebius and other ecclesiastical iiistorians 
describe him, the Apostle of Edessa, while Pahlavi, which is an Aramean dialect of Assyria, may 
well have been known and used as far north as that city, since it was the language of the Persian 
Court. From Antioch, which is not many miles distant from ancient Edessa, and to which the 
E lessa Church was made Bubject, the Malabar Christians have from a very early period received 
their Bishops. 



authoritative exponent of Vaishnava tenets, has attempted to point out that it 
contains many coincidences with and references to the New Testament. As 
Dr. Muir has very justly observed, there is no doubt a general resemblance 
between the manner in which Krishna asserts his own divine nature, enjoins 
devotion to his person and sets forth the blessing which will result to his votaries 
from such worship on the one hand, and the language of the fourth Gospel on 
the other. But the immediate introduction of the Bible into the explanation of 
the Bhagavad Gita is at least premature. For though some of the parallels are 
curious, the ethics and the religion of different peoples are not so different 
from one another that here and there coincidence should not be expected to 
be found. Most of the verses cited exhibit no very close resemblance to Biblical 
texts and are only such as might naturally have occurred spontaneously to an 
Indian writer. And more particularly with regard to the doctrine of ' faith' 
bhakti may be a modern term, but sraddha, in much the same sense, is found 
even in the hymns of the Rig Veda. 

A striking example of the insufficiency of mere coincidence in name and 
event, to establish a material connection between the legends of any two 
reigions, is afforded by the narrative of Buddha's temptation as given in the 
Lalita Vistara. In all such cases the metaphysical resemblance tends to prove 
the identity of the religious idea in all ages of the world and among all races 
of mankind ; but any historical connection, in the absence of historical proof, is 
purely hypothetical. The story of the Temptation in the fourth Chapter of 
S. Matthew's Gospel, which was undergone after a long fast and before the 
commencement of our Lord's active ministry, is exactly paralleled by the cir- 
cumstances of Buddha's victory over tho assaults of the Evil One, after he had 
completed his six years of penance and before he began his public career as a 
national Reformer. But the Lalita Vistara is anterior in date to the Christian 
revelation, and therefore caunot have borrowed from it ; while it is also certain 
that the Buddhist legend can never have reached S. Matthew's ears, and there- 
fore any connection between the two narratives is absolutely impossible. My 
belief is that all the supposed connection between Christ and Krishna is equally 



Not only the city of Mathuni, but with it the whole of the western half oi'ili 
district, has a special interest of its own as the birth-place and abiding home of 
Vaishnava Hinduism. It is about 42 miles in length, with an average breadth 
of 30 miles, and is intersected throughout by the river Jamuna. On the risrht 
bank of the stream are the parganas of Kosi and Ghhata — so named after their 
principal towns — with the home pargana below them to the south ; and on the 
left bank the united parganas of Mat and Noh-jhil, with half the pargana of 
Maha-ban as far east as the town of Baladeva. This extent of country is almost 
absolutely identical with the Braj-mandal of Hindu topography ; the circuit of 
84 kos in the neighbourhood of Gokul and Brinda-ban, where the divine 
brothers Krishna and Balaram grazed their herds. 

The first aspect of the country is a little disappointing to the student of San- 
skrit literature, who has been led by the glowing eulogiums of the poets to antici- 
pate a second vale of Tempe. A similarly unfavourable impression is generally 
produced upon the mind of any chance traveller, who is carried rapidly alono- 
the dusty high-road, and can scarcely see beyond the hideous strip of broken 
ground which the engineers reserve on either side, in order to supply the 
soil required for annual repairs. As this strip is never systematically levelled, 
but is dug up into irregular pits and hollows, the size and depth of which are 
determined solely by the requirements of the moment, the effect is unsightly 
enough to spoil any landscape. The following unflattering description is that 
given by Mons. Victor Jacquemont, who came out to India on a scientific 
mission on behalf of the Paris Museum of Natural History, and passed through 
Agra and Mathura on his way to the Himalayas in the cold weather of 1829-30. 
" Nothing," he writes, " can be less picturesque than the Jamuna. The soil is 
sandy and the cultivated fields are intermingled with waste tracks, where scarce- 
ly anything will grow but the Capparis aphi/lla and one or two kinds of 
zysyphus. There is little wheat ; barley is the prevailing cereal, with peas, 
sesamum, and cotton. In the immediate neighbourhood of the villages the 
Tamarix articulata gives a little shade with its delicate foliage, which is super- 
latively graceful no doubt, but as melancholy as that of the pine, which it 
strangely resembles. The villages are far apart from one another and present 
■every appearance of decay. Most of them are surrounded by strong walls 


flanked with towers, but their circuit often encloses only a few miserable cot- 
tages." After a lapse of 50 years the above description is still fairly appli- 
cable. The villages are now more populous and the mud walls by which fchej 
were protected, being no longer required, have been gradully levelled with tho 
ground. But the general features remain unchanged. The soil, being poor 
and thin, is unfavourable to the growth of most large forest trees ; the mango 
and shisham, the glory of the lower Dual), are conspicuously absent, and their 
place is most inadequately supplied by the nim, fards, and various species ul 
the tig tribe. For the same reason the dust in any ordinary weather is deep 
on all tho thoroughfares and, if the slightest air is stirring, rises in a dense cloud, 
and veils tho whole landscape in an impenetrable haze. The Jamuna, the one 
great river of Braj, during eight months of the year meanders sullenly, a mere 
rivulet, between wide expanses of sand, bounded by monotonous flats of arable 
land, or high banks, which the rapidly expended force of contributory torrents has 
cracked and broken into ugly chasms and stony ravines, naked of all vegetation. 

As the limits of Braj from north to south on one side are defined by the 
high lands to the east of the Jamuna, so are they on the other side by the hill 
ranges of Bharat-pur; but there are few peaks of conspicuous height and the 
general outline is tame and unimpressive. The villages, though large, are meanly 
built, and betray the untidiness characteristic of Jats and Giijars, who form the 
bulk of the population. From a distance they are often picturesque, being 
built on the slope of natural or artificial mounds, and thus gaining dignity 
by elevation. But on nearer approach they are found to consist of labyrinths of 
the narrowest lanes winding between the mud walls of large enclosures, which 
are rather cattle-yards than houses. At the base of the hill is ordinarily a 
broad circle of meadow land, studded with low trees, which afford grateful 
-hide and pasturage for the cattle ; while the large pond, from which the earth 
was dug to construct the village site, supplies them throughout the year with 
water. These natural woods commonly consist of pilu, cJthonkar, and hadamb 
trees, among which are always interspersed clumps of hard with its leafless 
evergreen twigs and bright-coloured flower and fruit. Tho pasendit, pdpri, 
ami, hingot, 'join!:, barna, and dim also occur, but less frequently ; though the 
last-named, the Sanskrit dhava, at Barsana clothes the whole of the hill-side. 
At sun-rise and sun-set the thoroughfares are all but impassable, as the strag- 
gling herds of oxen and buffaloes leave and return to the homestead: for in the 
straitened precincts of an ordinary village arc stalled every night from 500 or 
600 to 1,000 head of cattle, at least equalling, often outnumbering, the human, 


The general poverty of the district forms the motif of the following popular 
Hindi couplet, in which Krishna's neglect to enrich the land of his birth with 
any choicer product than the karil, or wild caper, is cited as an illustration of 
his wilfulness: 

^1T ^W X^^H sift If ^r#T TJTTl I 
5FT^ *1 WW cfifT S2T Sal 3H TTlff 1! 

which may be thus done into English : 

Krishna, you see, will never lose his wayward whims and vapours ; 
For Kabul teeu:B with luscious fruit, while Braj boasts only capers. 

In the rains however, at which season of the year all pilgrimages are made, 
the Jamuna is a mighty stream, a mile or more broad; its many contributory 
torrents and all the ponds and lakes, with which the district abounds, are filled to 
overflowing; the rocks and hills are clothed with foliage, the dusty plain is trans- 
formed into a green sward, and the smiling prospect goes far to justify the warm- 
est panegyrics of the Hindu poets, whose appreciation of the scenery, it must be 
remembered, has been further intensified by religious enthusiasm. Even at all 
seasons of the year the landscape has a quiet charm of its own ; a sudden turn in 
the winding lane reveals a grassy knoll with stone-built well and overhanging 
pipal; or some sacred grove, where gleaming tufts of karil and the white-blossomed 
ariisa weed are dotted about between the groups of weird pilu trees with their 
clusters of tiny berries and strangely gnarled and twisted trunks, all entangled 
in a dense undergrowth of prickly her and tens and chhonkar: while in the centre, 
bordered with flowering oleander and nivdra, a still cool lake reflects the modest 
shrine and well-fenced bush of tulsi that surmount the raised terrace, from which 
a broad flight of steps, gift of some thankful pilgrim from afar, leads down to 
the water's edge. The most pleasing architectural works in the district are the 
large masonry tanks, which are very numerous and often display excellent tasti 
in design and skill in execution. The temples, though in some instances of 
considerable size, are all, excepting those in the three towns of Mathura, 
Brinda-ban and Gobardhan, utterly devoid of artistic merit. 

To a very recent period almosttho whole of this large area was pasture and 
woodland and, as we have already remarked, many of the villages an' .-till 
environed with belts of trees. These are variously designated as ghana, jhdri, 
r.akhyu, ban, or khandi* and are often of considerable extent. Thus, the Koki- 

* When the last term is used, the name of the most prevalent kind of tree is always added, 
as for instance Itadamb-hhandi, 



Ia-ban at Great Bathan covers 723 acres ; the rakliya at Kamar more than 
1,000; and in the contiguous villages of Pisaya and Karahla the rakliya and 
kadamb-khandi together amount to nearly as much. The year of the great 
famine, 1838 A. D., is invariably given as the date when the land began to be 
largely reclaimed ; the immediate cause being the number of new roads which 
were then opened out for the purpose of affording employment to the starving 

Almost every spot is traditionally connected with some event in the life of 
Krishna or of his mythical mistress Badha, sometimes to the prejudice of an 
earlier divinity. Thus, two prominent peaks in tbe Bharat-pur range are crowned 
with the villages of Nand-ganw and Barsana : of which the former is venerated 
as the home of Krishna's foster-father Nanda, and the latter as the residence 
of Badha's parents, Vrisha-bhanu and Kirat.* Both legends are now as impli- 
citly credited as the fact that Krishna was born at Mathura ; while in reality, 
the name Nand-ganw, the sole foundation for the belief, is an ingenious substi- 
tution for Nandisvar, a title of Maha-deva, and Barsana is a corruption of 
Brahma-sanu, the hill of Brahma. Only the Giri-raj at Gobardhan was, accord- 
in or to the original distribution, dedicated to Vishnu, the second person of the 
tri-murti, or Hindu trinity; though now he is recognized as the tutelary divi- 
nity at all three hill-places. Similarly, Bhau-ganw, on the right bank of the 
Jamuna, was clearly so called from Bhava, one of the eight manifestations of 
Siva ; but the name is now generally modified to Bhay-ganw, and is supposed 
to commemorate the alarm {Ohay) felt in the neighbourhood at the time when 
Nanda, bathing in the river, was carried off by the god Varuna. A masonry 
landing-place on the water's edge called Nand-Ghat, with a small temple, dat- 
ing only from last century, are the foundation and support of the local legend. 
Of a still more obsolete cultus, viz., snake-worship, faint indications may be 
detected in a few local names and customs. Thus, at Jait, on the highroad to 
Delhi, there is an ancient five-headed Naga, carved in stone, by the side of a 
small tankt which occupies the centre of a low plain adjoining the village. It 
stands some four feet above the surface of the ground, while- its fail was sup- 
posed to reach away to the Kali-mardan Ghat at Brinda-ban, a distance of seven 
miles. A slight excavation at the base of the figure has, for a few years at 

* Kirat is the only name popularly known in the locality ; in the Padma Purana it appears 
in its more correct form as Kirttida: in the Brahma Vaivarta she is called Kalavati. Iv may also 
be mentioned that Vrisha-bhanu is always pronounced Brikh-bhan. 

t This tank was re-excavated as a famine relief work in the year 187S at a cost of lis. 0,787. 


least, dispelled the local superstition. So again, at the village of Paigiinv, a 
grove and lake called respectively Pai-ban and Pai-ban-kund are the scene of 
an annual fair known as the Barasi Ndga ji mcla. This is now regarded more 
as the anniversary of the death of a certain Mahant; but in all probability it 
dates from a much earlier period, and the village name would seem to be 
derived from the large offerings of milk (payas) with which it is usual to pro- 
pitiate the Naga, or serpent-god. 

Till the close of the lGth century, except in the neighbourhood of the one 
great thoroughfare, there was only here and there a scattered hamlet in the 
midst of unreclaimed woodland. The Vaishnava cultus then first developed 
into its present form under the influence of Rupa and Sanatana, the celebrated 
Bengali Gosains of Brinda-ban ; and it is not improbable that they were the 
authors of the Brahma Vaivarta Parana,* the recognized Sanskrit authority for 
all the modern local legends. It was their disciple, Narsiyan Bhatt, who first 
established the Ban-jatra and Ras-lila, and it was from him that every lake and 
grove in the circuit of Braj received a distinctive name, in addition to the some 
seven or eight spots which alone are mentioned in the earlier Puranas. In the 
course of time, small villages sprung up in the neighbourhood of the different shrines 
bearing the same name with them, though perhaps in a slightly modified form. 
Thus the khadira-han, or ' acacia grove,' gives its name to the village of Khaira; 
and the anjan polJtar, on whose green bank Krishna pencilled his lady's eye- 
brows with anjan, gives its name to the village of Ajnokh, occasionally written 
at greater length Ajnokhari. Similarly, when Krishna's home was fixed at 
Nand-ganw and Radha's at Barsana, a grove half-way between the two hills 
was fancifully selected as the spot where the youthful couple nsed to meet to 
enjoy the delights of love. There a temple was built with the title of Radha- 
Raman, and the village that grew up under its walls was called Sanket, that is, 

* The Brahma Vaivarta Purana is, as all critics admit, an essentially modern composition, 
and Professor Wilson has stated his belief that it emanated from the sect of the Vallabhacharis, 
or Gosains of Gokul. Their great ancestor settled there about the year 1489 A. D. The popular 
Hindi authority for Radha's Life and Loves is the Braj Bilas of Braj-vasi Das. The precise date 
of the poem, sambat 1800, corresponding to 1743 A. D., is given in the following line— 

gp=m Jem titim tjjct sit^t 

so -o 

Another work of high repute is the Sir Sagar of Sur Das Ji (one of the disciples of the 
great religious teacher Ramauand) as edited and expanded by Krishninand Vyasa. 


'place of assignation.* Thus we may readily fall in with Hindu prejudices, 
and admit that many of the names on the map are etymologically connected with 
events in Krishna's life, and yet deny that those events have any real connec- 
tion with the spot, inasmuch as neither the village nor the local name had any 
existence till centuries after the incidents occurred which they are supposed to 

The really old local names are almost all derived from the physical 
character of the country, which has always been celebrated for its wide extent of 
pasture land and many herds of cattle. Thus Gokul means originally a herd of 
kine ; Gobardhan a rearer of kine ; Mat is so called from mat, a milk-pail : and 
Dadhigunw (contracted into Dah-ganw) in the Kosi pargana, from dadhi, 'curds.' 
Thus, too, ' Braj' in the first instance means ' a herd,' from the root vraj, ' ro 
go,' in allusion to the constant moves of nomadic tribes. And hence it arises 
that in the earliest; authorities for Krishna's adventures, both Vraja and Gokula 
are used to denote, not the definite localities now bearing those names, but any 
chance spot temporarily used for stalling cattle ; inattention to this archaism 
has led to much confusion in assigning sites to the various legends. The word 
' Mathura' also is probably connected with the Sanskrit root math, 'to churn ;' 

* The temple dedicated to Radha Rauian, which was built by Rup Ram, of Barsana, is in 
precisely the same style as the one at Nand-ganw, though ou rather a smaller scale. The exterior 
has an imposing appearance, and is visible from a considerable distance, but there is nothing 
worth seeing inside, the workmanship being of a clumsy description, and the whole of the clois- 
tered court-yard crowded with the meanest hovels. There is, however, a pretty view from the top 
of the walls. The original shrine, which Rup Ram restored, is ascribed to Todar Mall, Akbar's 
fiinou3 minister. The little temple of Bihari (otherwise called Sija, Mahal), built by a 
Raja of Bardwan, seems to be accounted much more sacred. It stands in a walled garden, all 
overgrown with hins jungle, in which is a high J/iuld with several baitkaks and other holy spots 
marked by inscribed commemorative tablets set up by one of Sindhia's Generals (as at Paitha and 
other places in the neighbourhood) in sambat 1885. It is here, on the occasion of any jdtra, that 
ths spectacles of Krishna's marriage is represented as a scene in the Ras Lila. The Krishna-kund 
is a large sheet of water, fifty yards square, with masonry steps on one of its sides. In the 
village are three large and handsome dwelling-houses, built in the reign of Siiraj Mall, by one of 
his officials, Jauhari Mall of Fatihabad, and Baid to have been reduced to their present ruinous 
condition by the succeeding occupant of the Bharat-pur throne, the Raja Jawahir Sinh. The 
Vihvala-kuud is a few hundred yards from the village on the road to Karahla. It is of stone, and 
has on its margin a temple of Devi, built by a Maharaja of Gwalior. The Douian-bau is within 
the boundaries of Nand-ganw, but is about the same distance from that town as it is from Bijwari 
and Sanket. It is a very pretty spot, of the same character as Pisaya, and of considerable extent ; 
the name being always explained to mean ' the double wood,' as if a corruption of do van. At 
either extremity is a large pond embosomed in the trees, the one called Puran-inasi, ' the full 
moon,' theother Rundki jhuudki, 'jingle jingle.' A few lields beyond is the Kamal-pur grove. 


the churn forming a prominent feature in all poetical descriptions of the local 
scenery. Take, for example, the following lines from the Harivansa, 33'J5 : — 

cf3JFH5TTSHi|?T 3fqH5^I5^m* I 

n^R^RXfT^ll Sfpfjqi ^HrJ^R II 

" A fine country of many pasture-lands and well-nurtured people, full ot 
ropes for tethering cattle, resonant with the voice of the sputtering churn, and 
flowing with butter-milk ; where the soil is ever moist with milky froth, and 
the stick with its circling cord sputters merrily in the pail as the girls spin it 

And, again, in section 73 of the same poem — 

gijTj =q f5TCRJ!J HJRTSKlif^Tl il 

" In homesteads gladdened by the sputtering churn." 

In many cases a false analogy has suggested a mythological derivation- 
Thus, all native scholars see in Mathura an allusion to Madhu-mathan, a title of 
Krishna. Again, the word Bathan is still current in some parts of India to 
designate a pasture ground, and in that sense has given a name to two exten- 
sive parishes in Kosi ; but as the term is not a familiar one thereabouts, a 
legend was invented in explanation, and it was said that here Balarama ' sat 
down' (baithen) to wait for Krishna. The myth was accepted ; a lake imme- 
diately outside the village was styled Bal-bhadra kund, was furnished with a 
handsome masonry ghat by Riip Ram, the Katara of Barsana, and is now regard- 
ed as positive proof of the popular etymology which connects the place with 
Balarama. Of Rup Ram, the Katara, further mention will be made in connec- 
tion with his birth-place, Barsana. There is scarcely a sacred site in the whole 
of Braj which does not exhibit some ruinous record, in the shape of temple or 
tank, of his unbounded wealth and liberality. His descendant in the fourth 
degree, a worthy man, by name Lakshman Das, lives in a corner of one of his 
ancestor's palaces and is dependent on charity for his daily bread. The present 
owners of many of the villages which Riip Ram so munificently endowed 
are the heirs of the Lala Babu, of whom also an account will be given 
further on. 



In the VaraM Parana, or rather in the interpolated section of that work 
known as the Mathura Mahatmya, the Mathura Mandal is described as twenty 
yqjanas in extent. 

xhi 3^ ^t: ^tht iram s^mcil.: u 

" My Mathura circle is one of twenty yojanas ; by bathing at any place 
therein a man is redeemed from all his sins." 

And taking the yojana as 7 miles and the kos as If mile, 20 yqjanas would 
be nearly equal to 84 kos, the popular estimate of the distance travelled by the 
pilgrims in performing the Pari-krama, or ' perambulation' of Braj. It is pro- 
bable that if an accurate measurement were made, this would be found a very 
rough approximation to the actual length of the way ; though liberal allowance 
must be made for the constant ins and outs, turns and returns, which ultimately 
result in the circuit of a not very wide-spread area. There can be no doubt 
that the number 81, which in ancient Indian territorial divisions occurs as fre- 
quently as a hundred in English counties, and which enters largely into every 
cycle of Hindu legend and cosmogony, was originally selected for such general 
adoption as being the multiple of the number of months in the year with the 
number of days in the week. It is therefore peculiarly appropriate in connec- 
tion with the Braj Mandal ; if Krishna, in whose honour the perambulation is 
performed, be regarded as the Indian Apollo, or Sun-God. Thus, the magnifi- 
cent temple in Kashmir, dedicated to the sun under the title of Martand, has a 
colonnade of exactly 84 pillars.* 

It is sometimes said that the circle originally must have been of wider extent 
than now, since the city of Mathura, which is described as its centre, is more 
than 30 miles distant from the most northern point, Kotban, and only six from 
Tarsi to the south ; and Elliot in his glossary quotes the following couplet as 
fixing its limits : — 

frl cJT^ct f cl %H15 3cl gTJ|q 5RT Ufa II 

g-31 %ITTCt ifiTS *I *^T TT^ WW II 


" On one side Bar, on another Sona, on the third the town of Surasen ; 
these are the limits of the Braj Chaurasi, the Mathura circle.'* 

* Mr. Fergusson, iii his Indi'ln Architecture, doubtB whether this temple was ever really dedi- 
cated to the sua. In so doing he only betrays his wonted linguistic ignorance. Martand is not, 
as he supposes, simply a place-name, without aDy known connotation, hut is the actual dedi- 
cation title of the temple itself. 


According to tliw authority the area has been diminished by one half ; as 
Bar is in the Aligarh district, Sona, famous for its hot sulphur spring*, is in 
Gur-ganw ; while the ' Surasen ka ganw' is supposed to be Batesar,* a place of 
some note on the Jamuna and the scene of a large horse fair held on the full 
moon of Kartik. It might equally mean any town in the kingdom of Mathura, 
or even the capital itself, as King Ugrasen, whom Krishna restored to the 
throne, is sometimes styled Surasen. Thus, too, Arrian mentions Mathura as 
a chief town of the Suraseni, a people specially devoted to the worship of Her- 
cules, who may be identified with Balarama : and Manu (II., 19) clearly in- 
tends Mathura by Surasenaf when he includes that country with Kuru-kshetra, 
Panchala and Matsya, in the region of Brahmarshi, as distinguished from 
Brakmavarta. But though it must be admitted that the circle is sometimes 
drawn with a wider circumference, as will be seen in tho sequel to this chapter, 
still it is not certain which of the two rests upon the better authority. In any 
case, the lines above quoted cannot be of great antiquity, seeing that they con- 
tain the Persian word hadd;% and, as regards the unequal distances between 
the city of Mathura and different points on the circumference, it has only to 
be remembered that the circle is an ideal one, and any point within its outer 
verge may be roughly regarded as its centre. 

As the anniversary of Krishna's birth is kept in the month of Bhadon, it is 
then that the perambulation takes place, and a series of melas is held at the dif- 
ferent woods, where the rds-lild is celebrated. This is an unwritten religious 
drama, which represents the most popular incidents in the life of Krishna, and 
thus corresponds very closely with the miracle plays of mediasval Christendom. 
The arrangement of the performances forms the recognized occupation of a 
class of Brahmans residing chiefly in the villages of Karahla and Pisaya who 
are called Rasdharis and have no other profession or means of livelihood. The 
complete series of representations extends over a month or more, each scene 

* Father Tieffenthaler, in his Geography of India, makes the following mention of Batesar : — 
"Lieu celebre et bien bati sur le Djemna, 28 milles d'Agra. Une multitude de peuple B'y 
rassemble pour se laver dans ce fleuve et pour celebrer une foire en Octoljre. On rend un culte 
ici dans beaucoup de temples batis but le Djemna, a Mahadeo taut revert 1 de tout l'univers 
adonne a la luxure; car Mahadeo est le Priape des anciens qu'encensent, ah quelle honte! toutes 
les nations." 

% It is however possible, though I think improbable, that had may here stand for the Sanskrit 
lirada, a lake. 


being acted on the very spot with which the original event is traditionally con- 
nected. The marriage scene, as performed at Sanket, is the only one that 
I have had the fortune to witness : with a garden-terrace for a stage, a grey stone 
temple for back-ground, the bright moon over head, and an occasional flambeau 
that shot a flickering gleam over the central tableau framed in its deep border 
of intent and sympathizing faces, the spectacle was a pretty one and was marked 
by a total absence of anything even verging upon indecorum. The cost of 
the whole perambulation with the performances at the different stations on the 
route is provided by some one wealthy individual, often a trader from Bombay 
or other distant part of India ; and as he is always accompanied by a large 
gathering of friends and retainers, numbering at least 200 or 300 persons, the 
outlay is seldom less than lis. 5,000 or Ks. (5,000. The local Gosain, whom he 
acknowledges as his spiritual director, organizes all the arrangements through 
one of the Rasdharis, who collects the troupe (or mandali as it is called) of 
singers and musicians, and himself takes the chief part in the performance, 
declaiming in set recitative with the mandaliiov chorus, while the children who 
personate Rad'ha and Krishna act only in dumb show. 

The number of sacred places, woods, groves, ponds, wells, hills, and 
temples— all to be visited in fixed order — is very considerable ; there are 
generally reckoned five hills, eleven rocks, four lakes, eighty-four ponds, 
and twelve wells ; but the twelve bans or woods, and the twenty-four upaban.s 
or groves, are the characteristic feature of the pilgrimage, which is thence 
called the Ban-Jatra. The numbers 12 and 24 have been arbitrarily selected 
on account of their mystic significance ; and few of the local pandits, if 
required to enumerate either group offhand, would be able to complete the 
total without some recourse to guesswork. A little Hindi manual for the 
guidance of pilgrims has been published at Mathura and is the popular 
authority on the subject. The compiler, however great his local knowledge and 
priestly reputation, has certainly no pretensions to accuracy of scholarship. 
His attempts at etymology are, as a rule, absolutely grotesque, as in the 
two sufficiently obvious names of Khaira (for Khadira) and Sher-garh (from 
the Emperor Sher Shah), the one of which he derives from khedna, ' to 
drive cattle,' and the other, still more preposterously, from sihara, <a marriage 
crown.' The list which he gives is as follows, his faulty orthography in some 
of the words being corrected : — 

The 12 Bans : Madhu-ban, Tal-ban, Kumud-ban, Bahula-ban, Kam-ban 
Khadira-ban, Brinda-ban, Bhadra-ban, Bhandir-ban, Bel-ban, Loha-ban and 

MADHU-BAN. < s l 

The 24 Upabans : Grokul, Gobardhan, Barsana, Nand-ganw, Sanket, Para- 
madra, Aring, Sessai, Mat, Uncha-ganw, Khel-ban, Sri-kund, Gandharv-ban, 
Parsoli, Bilcbiu, Bachh-ban, Adi-badri, Karahla, Ajnokh, Pisaya, Kokila-ban, 
Dadbi-ganw, Kot-ban, and Raval. 

This list bears internal evidence of some antiquity in its want of close 
correspondence with existing facts ; since several of the places, though retaining 
their traditionary repute, have now nothing that can be dignified with the name 
cither of wood or grovo ; while others are known only by the villagers in the 
immediate neighbourhood and have been supplanted in popular estimation by 
rival sites of more easy access or greater natural attractions. 

Starting from Mathura, the pilgrims made their first halt at Madhu-ban, 
in the village of Maboli, some four or five miles to the south-west of the city. 
Here, according to the Puranas, Rama's brother, Satrughna, after hewing down 
the forest stronghold of the giant Madhu, founded on its site the town of 
Madhu-puri. All native scholars regard this as merely another name for 
Mathura, regardless of the fact that the locality is several miles from the river, 
while Mathura has always, from the earliest period, been described as situate 
on its immediate bank. The confusion between the two places runs apparently 
through the whole of classical Sanskrit literature; as, lor example, in the 
Harivansa (Canto 95) we find the city founded by Satrughna distinctly called, 
not Madhu-puri, but Mathura, which Bhima, the king of Gobardhan, is repre- 
sented as annexing : — 


" When Sumitra's delight, prince Satrughna, had killed Lavana, he cut- 
down the forest of Madhu, and in the place of that Madhu-ban founded the 
present city of Mathura* Then, after Rama and Bharata had left the world, 
and the two sons of Sumitra had taken their place in heaven, Bhima, in order 
to consolidate his dominions, brought the city, which had formerly been inde- 
pendent, under the sway of his own family." 



Some reminiscence of the ancient importance of Maholi would seem to have 
long survived ; for though so close to Mathura, it was, in Akbar's time and 
for many years subsequently, the head of a local division. By the sacred 
wood is a pond called Madhu-kund and a temple dedicated to Krishna under 
his title of Ohatur-bhuj, where an annual mela is held on the 11th of the dark 
fortnight of Bhadon. 

From Maholi, the pilgrims turn south to Tal-ban, ' the palm grove,' where 
Balarama was attacked by the demon Dhcnuk. The village in which it is 
situated is called Tarsi, probably in allusion to the legend ; though locally the 
name is referred only to the founder, one Tara Chand, a Kachhwaha Thakur, 
who in quite modern time moved to it from Satoha, a place a few miles off on 
the road to Gobardhan. They then visit Kumud-ban, ' of the many water-lilies,' 
in Uncha-ganw, and Bahula-ban in Bathi, where the cow Bahula, being seized 
by a tiger, begged the savage beast to spare her life for a few minutes, while she 
went away and gave suck to her little one. On her return, bringing the calf 
with her, the tiger vanished and Krishna appeared in his stead ; for it was the 
<rod himself who had made this test of her truthfulness. The event is comme- 
morated by the little shrine of Bahula Clue, still standing on the margin of the 
Krishna-kund.* They next pass through the villages of Tos, Jakhin-ganw, 
and Mukharai, and arrive at Radha-kund, where are the two famous tanks 

* The village of Bathi, has long been held mu;ifi, by the Gurus of the Raja of Bharatpur, 
for the use of the temple of Sita Ram, of which they are the hereditary mahants. The shrine 
stands within the walls of the village fort, built by Mahant Ram Kishan Das in the time of Su- 
raj Mall. The first zamindars were Kalais, but more recently Brahman'; and Kachhwahas. They 
have sold 8 biswas of their estate to the muifidar, which have now been made a separate mahal. 
The sacred grove of Bahula-ban. from which the place derives its name (originally Bahulavati) 
is separated from the village by a large pond, which has three broad flights of masonry steps in 
front of the little cell called the Go Maudir. In this is a bas-relief of the famous cow and its 
calf with their divine protector. Close by is a modern temple of liadha Krishan or Bihari Ji. 
On the other side of the water is a ruinous temple in the old style of architecture, dedicated to 
Murli Manohar, with a sikhara of curvilinear outline over the god, and a mandap with three 
open arches on either side to serve as the nave. The buildings in the fort are of substantial cha- 
racter and comprise, besides the temple and ordinary domestic offices, a court-room with stone 
arcades, the roof of which conmands a very extensive view of the country round as far as Ma- 
thura, Brindaban, and Nandgawn. The front of the temple of Sita Ram is an interesting and 
successful specimen of architectural eclecticism ; the pillars being thoroughly Hindu in their 
proportions, but with capitals of semi-Corinthian design ; not unlike some early adaptations of 
, Greek models found in the ruined cities of the Euzufzai. The Gosain belongs to the Sri Sam- 
pradiiya. The ban is one of the stations of the Bau-jatia, and the mela is held in it on Bhadon 
.badi 12. 


prepared for Krishna's expiatory ablution after he had slain the hull Arishta.* 
Thence they pass on to Gobardhan, scene of many a marvellous incident, and 
visit all the sacred sites in its neighbourhood ; the village of Basai, where the 
two divine children with their foster-parents once came and dwelt (basde) ; the 
Kallol-kund by the throve of Arin£ ; Madhuri-kund ; Mor-ban, the haunt of the 
peacock, and Chandra-sarovar, ' the moon lake ;' where Brahma, joining with 
the Gopfs in the mystic dance, was so enraptured with delight that, all uncon- 
scious of the fleeting hours, he allowed the single night to extend over a period 
of six months. This is at a village called Parsoli by the people, but which 
appears on the maps and in the revenue-roll only as Muhammad-pur. The 
tank is a fine octagonal basin with stono ghats, the work of Raja, Nahar Sinh 
of Bharat-pur. After a visit to Paitha,f where the people of Braj 'came in' 
(paithd) to take shelter from the storms of Indra under the uplifted range, 
they pass along the heights of the Giri-raj to Anyor,| ' the other side,' and so by 
many sacred rocks, as Sugandhi-sila, Sinduri-sila, and Sundar-sila, with its 
temple of Gobardhan-nath, to Gopal-pur, Bilchhu, and Ganthauli, where the 
marriage 'knot' {gdnth) was tied, that confirmed the union of Radha and 

* Aring, which is on the road from Mathura to Gobardhan, and only a few miles distant from 
Rridha-kund, is supposed to have been the place where the bull was slain, and to have derived is 
name, originally Arishta-ganw, fro'n the event. 

f At Paitha the original temple of Chatur-bhuj is said to have been destroyed by Aurangzeb. 
Its successor, which also is now in ruins, was probably built on the old foundations, as it com- 
prised a nave, choir, and sacrarium, each of the two latter cells being surmounted by a sihhara. 
It thus bore a general resemblance to the temples of Akbar's reign at Brinda-ban. The nave 
is unroofed, aud both the towers partly demolished ; what remains perfect is only of brick and 
quiteplain and unornamented. It stands in the kadamb-khandi (107 bighas). which spreads over 
the low ground at the foot of the village Kliera ; its deepest hollows forming the Narayan 
Sarovar, which is only a succession of ponds with here and there a flight of masonry steps. 
A cave is shown, which is believed to reach the whole way to Gobardhan, and to be the one that 
the people of Braj went into (paitha) to save themselves from the wrath of Indra. On the road 
to Gohardhan near Parsoli is the Moha-ban, and in it a lingam called Mohesvar Mahadeva, that is 
said to be simk an immense depth in the ground, and will never allow itself to be covered over. 
Several attempts have been made to build a temple over it ; but whenever the roof began to he put 
on, the walls were sure to fall in This and several other of the sacred 6ites in the neighbourhood 
are marked by inscribed tablets set up last century by an officer under Sindhia. 

J Here aTe two ancient temples dedicated to Gobind Deva and Baladeva, and a sacred tank, 
called Gobiud kund, ascribed to Rani Padmavati, the waters of which are supposed lo be very 
efficacious in the cure of leprosy. The Pind-dan, or offerings to the dead, in the ceremonials of 
the Sraddh, have as much virtue here as even at Gaya. There are 40 acres of woodland. The 
original occupants are said to have been Krrars. After the mutiny the village was conferred 
for a time onChaudhari Daulat Sinh, but eventually restoted to the existing zamindir. 

84 barsXna. 

Then, following the line of frontier, the pilgrims arrive at K;im-ban, now 
the head-quarters of a tahsili in Bharat-pur territory, 39 miles from Mathura, 
with the Luk-luk cave, where the boys played blind-man's buff ; and Aghasur's 
cave, where the demon of that name was destroyed ; and leaving Kanwaro- 
ganWj enter again upon British ground near the village of Uncha-ganw, with 
its ancient temple of Baladeva. High on the peak above is Barsana, with its 
series of temples dedicated to Larliji, where Radha was brought up by her 
parents, Brikhhbhan and Kirat ; and in the glade below, Dohani-kund near 
Chaksauli, where as Jasoda was cleansing her milk-pail (dohani) she first saw 
the youthful pair together, and vowed that one day they should be husband and 
wife. There too is Preni Sarovar, or love lake, where first the amorous tale 
was told : and Sankari Khor, ' the narrow opening ' between the hills, where 
Krishna lay in ambush and levied his toll ot milk on the Gopis as they came 
in from Gahvarban, the ' thick forest' beyond. Next are visited Sanket, the 
place of assignation : Rithora, home of Chandra vali, Badha's faithful attendant : 
and Nand-ganw, long the residence of Nanda and Jasoda, with the great lake 
Pan-Sarovar at the foot of the hill, where Krishna morning and evening drove 
his foster-father's cattle to water [pan): Next in order come Karahla,* with 
its fine kadamb trees ; Kamai, where one of Ktidha's humble friends was 
honoured by a visit from her lord and mistress in the course of their rambles : 
Ajnokh,t where Krishna pencilled his lady's eyebrows with anjan as she 
reclined in careless mood on the green sward : and Pisaya,} where she found 

* Karahla, or, as it is often spelt, Karhela, is locally derived from har hilna, the movements 
of the hands in the rds-Uld. At the Tillage or Little Marna, a pond bears the same name — kar- 
heli-kund — which is there explained as harm hilna, equivalent to pap mochan. But in the Mainpuri 
district is a large town called Karhal — the same word in a slightly modified form — where neither 
of the above etymologies could hold. The name is more probably connected with a simple natural 
feature, viz., the abundance of the hard plant at each place. 

t Ajnokb, or, in its fuller form, Ajnokhari, is a contraction for Anjan Pokhar, 'the anjan 

t Bhdhho pisdyo is, in the language of the country, a common expression for 'hungry and 
thirsty.' But most of these derivations are quoted, not for their philological value, but as show- 
ing how thoroughly the whole country side is impregnated with the legends of Krishna, when 
some allusion to him is detected in every village name. In the Vraja-biiakti vihlsa l'isayo is 
called Pipasa-vana; but it would seem really to be a corruption oipaxaiya. it is one of the most 
picturesque spots in the whole district, beirg of very great extent, and in the centre consisting of 
a series of open glades leading one into the other, each encircled with a deep belt of magnificent 
kadamb trees, interspersed witli a few specimens of thepdpri, pasendu, dhdk and sahora, of lower 
growth. These glades, which are often of such regular outline that they scarcely seem to be of 
natural formation, art popularly known as the bdvan cltauk or '52 courts,' though they are not. 


him fainting with ( thirst,' and revived him with a draught of water. Then 
still bearing due north the pilgrims come to Khadira-ban, ' the acacia grove," 
in Khaira; Kumar-bam and Javak-ban in Jau, where Krishna tinged his lady's 
feet with the red Javak dye, and Kokila-ban, ever musical with the voice of 
'the cuckoo' ; and- so arrive at the base of Charan Pahar in. Little Bathan, the 
favoured spot, where the minstrel god delighted most to stop and play his 
Mute, and where Indra descended from heaven on his elephant Airavata, to do 
him homage, as is to this day attested by the prints- of the divine ' feet' charan, 
impressed upon the rock. 

Thev then pass on through Padhi-gamv, where Krishna stayed behind to 
divert himself with the milk-maids, having sent Baladeva on ahead with the cows 
to wait for him at Bathan : and so reach Kot-ban, the northernmost point of 
the perambulation. The first village on the homeward route is Sessai (a hamlet 
of Hathana), where Krishna revealed his divinity by assuming the emblems of 
Narayan and reclining under the canopying heads of the great serpent Sesha, 
of whom Baladeva was an incarnation ; but the vision was all too high a mysterj 
for the herdsmen's simple daughters, who begged the two boys to doff such fan- 
tastic guise and once more, as they were wont, join them in the sprightly dance.* 
Then, reaching the Jamuna, at Khel-ban by Shergarh,f where Krishna's tem- 
ples were, decked with ' the marriage weath' (sihara), they follow the course of 
the river through Bihar-ban in Pir-pur, and by Chirghat in the village of Siyara, 
where the frolicsome god stolef the bathers' ' clothes' (clrir), and arrive at Nand- 
ghat. Here Nanda, bathing one night, was carried off by the myrmidons of the 
sea-god Varuna, who had long been lying in wait for this very purpose, since 

really bo many. They all swarm with troops) of monkeys. On the eastern border the jungle is 
of more ordinary character, with rigged pilu and renja trees and karil bushes ; but to the west, 
where a pretty view is obtained of the temple-crowned heights of Bars;ina in the distance, almost 
every tree is accompanied by a stem of the ami, which here grows to a considerable height and 
scents the whole air with its masses of flower, which both in perfume aud appearance much 
resemble the English honeysuckle. Adjoining the village is a pond called Kishori-kund and two 
temples, visited by the Ban-jatra pilgrims, Bhadon sudi 9. 

* According to the Vishnu Purina, this transformation was not effected for the benefit of 
the Gopis, but was a vision vouchsafed to Akrur on the bank of the Jamuna the day he fetched 
the boys from Brinda-ban to attend the tourney at Mathura. 

f This is a curious specimen of perverted etymology, illustrating the persistency with which 
Hindus and Muhammadans each go their own way and ignore the other's existence. The town 
unqestionably derives its name from a large fort, of which the ruins still remain, built by the 
Emperor Sher Shah. 

X In the Vishnu Puiana this famous incident is not mentioned at all. 



their master knew that Krishna would at once follow to recover his foster-father, 
and thus, the depths of ocean, too, no less than earth, would be gladdened with 
the vision of the incarnate deity. The adjoining village of Bhay-ganw derives 
its name from the 'terror' (bhay) that ensued on the news of Nanda's disappear- 
ance. The pilgrims next pass throngh Bachh-ban, where the demon Bach- 
hi'isur was slain; the two villages of Basai, where the Gopis were first 'subdued' 
(bas-di) by the power of love ; Atas, Nari-semri,* Chhatikra, and Akriir, where 
Kansa's perfidious invitation to the contest of arms was received; and wend 
their way beneath the temple of Bhatrond, where one day, when the boys' stock 
of provisions had run short, some Brahmans' wives supplied their wants, though 
the husbands, to whom application was first made, had churlishly refused."f So 

* A large fair, called the Nau Durga, is held at the village of Nari-Semri during the dark 
fortnight of Chait. the commencement of the Hindu year. The same f« stival is a'so celebrated 
at Sanchauli in the Kobi pargana and at Xagar-Kot in Gtii-gSnw, though not on precisely the 
same days. The word Semri is a corruption of Syaniala-k:, with reference to the ancient shrine 
of Devi, who has Syatnala for one of her names (compare ximikn, 'an ant-hill,' for syamikaX 
The present temple is a small modern budding, with nothing at all noteworthy about it. It 
stands on the margin of a fine large piece of water, and in connection with it are two small 
dharmsdlas, lately built by pilgrims from Agra. A much larger building for the same purpose 
was commenced by a baniya before the mutiny, but the work was stopt by his death. The offer- 
ings ordinarily amount to at least Es. 2,000 a year, and are enjoyed in turn by three groups of 
shareholders, »«., the zamindars of Sernri old village, of Birja-ka-nagara and of Devi Sinh-ka- 
nagara, to each of whom a turn conies every third year. They had always spent the whole of the 
money on their own private uses, but at my suggestion they all agreed to give an annual sum of 
Rs 150 to expend on conservancy during the fair time and on local improvements. The first 
work to have bi en taken in hand was the completion of the baniya's rest-house. I estimated the 
cost at Kb. 1,050 and had begun to collect bricks and stone and mortar, when my transfer from 
the district took place, and the project immediately fell through. If the work had once been 
started, the pilgrims would have gladly contributed to it ; and in addition to the dharmsdla, which 
was of very substantial construction, so far as it had gone, there would soon have been a masonry 
ghat to the pond and a plantation of trees round about the temple. But Dii< aliier visum e.-l. The 
principal fair begins on the new moon of Chait and lasts for nine days On the sixth there is a very 
large gathering at the rival shrine of the same goddess at Sanchauli : but during all the remain- 
der of the time the Agra and Delhi road is crowded day and night with foot passengers and vehi- 
cles of every description. Fortunately none of the visitors for religious purposes stay more than 
a few hours: and thus, though it is the most popular melfi in the whole district, there is never 
any very great crowd at any one particular time, for as one set of people comes, another goes. 
Special days are even assigned to particular castes and localities: thus the Agra people have one 
day, the Jadons of the neighbourhood another, the Gauruas a third, and so on. The second fair 
is held on the Akh-tij, the third day of the bright fortnight of Baiaakh. 

t To commemorate the event, a fair called the Bhatmela is held on the spot on the full 
moon of Kartik. Compare the Btory of David repulsed by the churlish Nabal, but afterwards 
succoured by his wife Abigail. 


thoy arrive at Brinda-ban, where many a sacred ghat and venerable shrine claim 
devout attention. 

The pilgrims then cross the river and visit the tangled thickets of Bel-ban 
in Jahangi'r-pur; the town of Mat with the adjoining woods of Bhadra-ban, 
scene of the great conflagration, and Bhandir-ban, where the son of Rohini 
first received his distinctive title of Bala-rama, i.e., Rama the strong, in conse- 
quence of the prowess he had displayed in vanquishing the demon Pralamba ; 
Dangoli, where Krishna dropt his ' staff (dang)* and the fair lake of Man- 
sarovar,f scene of a fit of lover's 'pottishness' (man). Then follow the villages 
of Piparauli, with its broad spreading pipal trees; Loha-ban, perpetuating the 
defeat of the demon LohasurJ ; Gopalpur, favourite station of the herdsmen, and 
Raval, where Radius mother, Kirat, lived with her father, Surbhan, till she went 
to join her husband at Barsana. Next comes Burhiya-ka-khera, home of the 

* The name Dingoli is really derived ftom the position of the village on the ' liiuii rivir 
hank,' which is also called dang. 

f The name is probably derived from the tree lodha 01- lodhra. The demon slain by Krishna 
is styled Loha-jangha in late local Sanskrit literature, but apparently is not mentioned at all in any 
ancient work. Here is a pond called Krishna-kund, and a temple of Gopinath, built in the old 
style with a shrine and porch, each surmounted by a siihttra, the one over the god being much 
the higher of the two. The doorways have square lintels and jambs of stone witli a band of 
carving. The date assigned to the bnilding is 1712, which is probably not far from correct. 
Outside is the lower part of a red sandstone figure set in the ground, called Lohasur Daitya, the 
upper part much worn by the knives and mattocks that are sharpened upon it. Here are made 
offerings of iron (/«/«i) which become the perquisite of a family of Maha Brahmans living in 
Mathura. The Sanadh Brahman at the temple has only the offerings that are made specially 
there. About the Krishna-kund is a Kadamb-khandi of rather stunted growth, and some very 
fine pipal trees. Immediately under the roots of one of them is a small well, called Gop kua, 
■which always has water in it, though the pond dries up in the month of Jeth. Over it is a 
stone rudely carved with two figures said to represent Gopis. A small shrine on the opposite 
side of the kund has beeu erected over some sculptures of no great antiquity, which were found 
in the pond. I arranged with the Goktil Gosiins to have the ban planted with trees, which 
when grown up would be a great boon to the pilgrims. They were getting ou well when I left, 
but probably no further care will now be taken for their maintenance. 

J The irovar on the borders of Piini-ganw is a lake of no great depth or extent and in 
the hot weather most of it dries up. Lakhrni Das, a Gosain of the Ridha Ballabh persuasion, 
owns the whole of the village and has a little hermitage on the bank, prettily situated 
in the midst of some venerable jaman trees, the remains of an old garden, said to have 
beeu planted by a Raja of Ballabh-garh, to whom is also ascribed a chhalln, with a ribbed 
stone roof. There are two small and plain modern shrines, one of which was built by Mohani, 
the Rani of Suraj Mall, who is commemorated by the Ganga Mohan Kiatj at Brinda-ban. 
The adjoining ghana, or wool, spreads over several hundreds of acres and is quite differ- 
ent in character from any other in Braj, the trees being all, with scarcely an exception, babul, 


old dame whose son had taken in marriage Radha's companion, Manvati. The 
fickle Krishna saw and loved, and in order to gratify his passion undisturbed, 
assumed the husband's form. The unsuspecting bride received him fondly to 
her arms ; while the good mother was enjoined to keep close watch below and, 
if any one came to the door pretending to be her son by no means to open to 
him, but rather, if he persisted, pelt him with brick-bats till he ran away. So 
the honest man lost his wife and got his head broken into the bargain. 

After leaving the scene of this merry jest, the pilgrims pass on to Bandi- 
sanw, a name commemorative of Jasoda's two faithful domestics, Bandi and Anan- 
di, and arrive at Baladeva, with its wealthy temple dedicated in honour of that 
divinity and his spouse, Revati. Then, beyond the village of Hathaura, are the 
two river landing-places, Ckinta-baran, ' the end of doubt,' and Brahnianda, 
'creation,' ghat. Here Krishna's playmates came running to tell Jasodd that 
the naughty boy had filled his mouth with mud. She took up a stick to 
punish him, but he, to. prove the story false, unclosed his lips and showed her 
there, within the compass of his baby cheeks, the whole 'created' universe with 
all its worlds and circling seas distinct. Close by is the town of Maha-ban 
famous for many incidents in Krishna's infancy, where he was rocked in the 
cradle, and received his name from the great pandit Garg, and where he put 
to death Pritana and the other evil spirits whom Kansa had commissioned to 
destroy him. At Gokul, on the river-bank, are innumerable shrines and tem- 
ples dedicated to the god under some one or other of his favourite titles, Madan 
Mohan, Madhava Rae, Brajesvara, Gokul-nath, Navanit-priya, and Dwaraka-nath: 
and when all have been duly honoured with a visit, the weary pilgrims finally 
recross the stream and sit down to rest at the point from which they started, 
the Visrant Ghat, the holiest place in the holy city of Mathura. 

remja, or chlionkar, three kindred species of acacia. Part of it lies within the borders of- 
Arua and Piparauli ; but by far the greater part is in l J ani-ganw and is the property of the 
Maharaja of Bharatpur, who has frequently bcem tempted to sell the timber and convert it 
into firewood. It is much to be hoped that he will always withhold his consent from an 
act which would destroy all the beauty of the scene and be so offensive to the religious 
sentiments of his fellow Hindus. There are no relics of antiquity, nor indeed could there 
be ; for both lake and wood are all in the k'iddnr, or alluvial land, which at no very 
distant period must have been the bed of the Jamuua ; it is still flooded by it in the rains. 
Though a legend has been invented to connect the place with Kadha and Krishna, the name as 
originally bestowed probably bore reference to the Miinasa lake on Mount Kailas in the Ilirna- 
lay as, sacred to Mahadeva. 

rXdhX's homes, . 89 

As may be gathered from the above narrative, it is only the twelve bans 
that, as a rule, are connected with the Pauranik legends of Krishna and Bala- 
nima, and these are all specified by name in the Mathura Mahatmya. On the 
other hand, the twenty-four upabans refer mainly to Radha's adventures, and 
have no ancient authority whatever Of the entire number, only three were, till 
quite recent times, places of any note, viz., Gokul, Gobardhan, and Radha-kund, 
and their exceptional character admits of easy explanation: Gokul, in all classi- 
cal Sanskrit literature, is the same as Maha-ban, which is included among the 
bans ; Gobardhan is as much a centre of sanctity as Mathuni itself, and is only 
for the sake of uniformity inserted in either. list ; while Radha-kund, as the 
name denotes, is the one primary source from which the goddess derives her 
modern reputation. It is now insisted that the parallelism is in all respects 
complete; for, as Krishna has four special dwelling-places, Mathura, Malm-ban, 
Gobardhan, and Nand-ganw, so has Puidha four also in exact correspondence, 
viz., Brinda-ban, Raval,* Radha-kund, and Barsana. 

The perambulation, as traced in the foregoing sketch, is the one ordinarily 
performed, and includes all the most popular shrines; but a far more elaborate 
enumeration of the holy places of Braj is given in a Sanskrit work, existing 
only in manuscript, entitled Vraja-bhakti-vilasa. It is of no great antiquity, 
having been compiled, in the year 1553 A.D., by the Narayan Bhatt, who has 
been already mentioned.! He is said to have been a resident of Uncha-ganw near 
Barsana, but he describes himself as writing at Sri-kund, i. e., Radha-kund. It 
is divided into 13 sections extending over 108 leaves, and is professedly based 
on the Paramahansa Sanhita. It specifies as many as 133 bans or woods, 91 on 

* Rival is still included in the perambulation of Gokul, and till the foundation of the new 
temple of Larli Ji at Barsana was a much more popular place of pilgrimage than it is now. 
Probably the whole of old Rival has been washed away by the Jamuni, and a similar fate 
threatens before long to overtake the present temple of Larli Ji, built by Kushil, Seth, in the 
early part of this century. The river wall, by which it was protected, has already in great 
measure fallen. The Pujiri, Chhote Lai, has a sanad dated the 20th year of Muhammad Shah 
(1739 A.D.) in which the Vazir Karm-ud-din Khan assigns Rup Chand, the then Pujiri, one 
rupee a day for his support from the revenues of the Mahi-ban tahsil. There is a garden sur- 
rounded by a substantial wall, from the top of which there is a good view of the City and 
Cantonments of Mathura. In its centre is a pavilion with stone arcades in the same style as 
the temple and built by the same Seth. About one-half of the village land is cut up by ravines 
and unculturable. Some years ago there used to be a ferry here and a large colony of boatmen, 
wh ) were all thrown out of employ when the feny was closed and a pontoon bridge substituted 
for the old bridge of boats between Malhuri and Hansganj. 

f The colophon of the Vraja-bhakti-vilasa runs as follows : — Srirnad Bhaskar-atmaja-Nari- 
yana Bhatta-virachite Vraja-bhakti-vilase Paramahansa-sanhitodaharane Vraja-Mahitmya-niru 
pane Vana-yitra-prasange Vraja-yatra-prasangike trayodasV dhyayah. 



the right bank of the Jamnna and 42 on the left, and groups them under differ- 
ent heads as follows: — 

I.— The 12 Bans : 1, Maha-ban ; 2, Kiimya-ban ; 3, Kokila-ban ; 4, Tal-ban; 
5, Kumud-ban ; 6, Blmndir-ban ; 7, Chhatra-ban ;* 8, Khadira-ban ;9, Loha- 
ban, 10, Bhadra-ban ; 11, Bahula-ban ; 12, Vilva-ban, i. e., Bel-ban. 

II. — The 12 Upabans: 1, Brahma-ban; 2, Apsara-ban ; 3, Vihvala-ban ; 
4, Kadamb-ban ; 5, Svarna-ban ; 6, Surabhi-ban ; 7, Prem-ban ;■(• 8, Mayiira, 
i.e., Mor-ban ; 9, Manengiti-ban ; 10, Sesha-saiyi-ban ; 11, Narada-ban ; 12, 

III.— The 12 Prati-bans: 1, Ranka-ban; 2, Varta-ban; 3, Karahla; 4, 
Kamya-ban ; 5, Anjana-ban ; 6, Kama-ban ; 7, Krishna-kshipanaka ; 8, Nanda- 
prekshana ; 9, Indra-ban; 10, Siksha-ban ; 11, Chandravati-ban; 12, Lohaban.f 

IV. — The 12 Adhi-bans: 1, Mathura; 2, Radha-kund; 3, Nanda-grama.; 
4, Gata-sthana ; 5, Lalita-grama ; (!, Brisha-bhanu-pur ;§ 7, Gokul ; 8, Baladeva ; 
9, Gobardhan ; 10, Java-ban ; 11, Brinda-ban; 12, Sanket. 

V.— The 5 Sevya-bans; VI. the 12 Tapo-bans; VII. the 12 Moksha-bans; 
VIII. the 12 Kama-bans ; IX. the 12 Artha-bans ; X. the 12 Dharma-bans ; 
XI. the 12 Siddhi-bans — all of which the reader will probably think it unne- 
cessary to enumerate in detail. 

To every ban is assigned its own tutelary divinity; thus Halayudha 
(Baladeva) is the patron of Maha-ban ; Gopimith of Kam-ban ; Nata-vara of 
Kokila-ban ; Damodar of Tal-ban ; Kesava of Kumud-ban ; Sridhara of Bhandir- 
ban ; Hari of Chhatra-ban; Narayan of Khadira-ban; Hayagriva of Bhadra- 
ban ; Padma-nabha of Bahula-ban ; JanardaJia of Bel-ban ; Adi-vadrisvara of 
Paramananda ; Paramesvara of Kam-ban (prati-ban) ; Jasoda-nandan of Naiul- 
ganw; Gokulchandrama of Gokul ;Murlidhar of Karahla ; Lila-kamala-lochana 
of Hasya-ban ; Lokesvara of Upahara-ban ; Lankadhipa-kula-dhvansi of Jahnu- 
ban; and Srishatsilankshyana of Bhuvana-ban. 

* Chhatra-ban represents the town of Chhata. The only spot mentioned in conned ion with 
it is the Suraj-kund, a pond which still exists and bears the same name, but is not now held 
in much regard. 

t Surabhi-ban adjoins Gobardhan. Near Prem-ban is the l'rem-Barovar. 

t The one Loha-ban on the right bank of the river is described as the scene of the destruction 
of Jaiiirandha's armies; the other, on ihe left bank, is more correctly styled Loha-jungha-ban. 

§ Bi isha-bhauu-pur is intended ub the Sanskrit original of Barsana, but incorrectly so. 

THE HOU. 91 

The four last-named woods are given as the limits of the Braj Mandal in 
the following sloka, and it is distinctly noted that the city of Mathura is at the 
same distance, viz., 21 kos, from each one of them : — 

The Pandits, who were asked to reconcile these limits with those mentioned 
in the Hindi couplet previously quoted, declared Hasya-ban in the east to be 
the same as Barhadd in Aligarh: Upahara-ban in the west as Sona in Gurganw- 
Jahnu-ban to the south the same as Siirasen-ka-ganw, or Batesar; and Bhuvana- 
ban to the north, Bhiikhan-ban near Shergarh. The identification is probably 
little more than conjectural ; but a superstition, which is at once both comparatively 
modern and also practically obsolete, scarcely deserves a more protracted inves- 
tigation than has already been bestowed upon it. 

Next to the Ban-jatra, the most popular local festvity is the Holi, which is 
observed for several days in succession at different localities. Several of the usages 
are, I believe, entirely unknown beyond the limits of Braj, even to the people of 
the country ; and, so far as I could ascertain by enquiries, they had never been 
witnessed by any European. Accordingly, as the festival fell unusually early 
in 1877, while the weather was still cool enough to allow of a mid- day ride without 
serious inconvenience, I took advantage of the opportunity thus afforded me and 
made the round of all the principal villages in the Chhata and Kosi parganas where 
the rejoicings of the Phiil Dol, for so these Hindu Saturnalia are popularly termed, 
are celebrated with any peculiarities, visiting each place on its special fete-day. 
The following is an account of what I saw : — 

Feb. 22nd, Barsdna, the Ramjila Holi. — In the middle of the town is a 
small open square, about which are grouped the stately mansions and temples 
built by the great families who resided here during the first half of the 18th 
century. A seat in the balcony over the gateway of the house still occupied 
by the impoverished descendants of the famous Katara, Riip Ram, the founder 
of Barsana's short-lived magnificence, commands a full view of the humours 
of the crowd below. The cheeriness of the holiday-makers as they throng the 
narrow winding streets on their way to and from the central square, where 
they break up into groups of bright and ever-varying combinations of colour ; 
with the buffooneries of the village clowns and the grotesque dances of the 
lusty swains, who with castanets in hand caricature in their movements the 
conventional graces of the Indian ballet-girl, 


Crispum sub crotalo docta movere lalus, 

all make up a sufficiently amusing spectacle ; but these are only interludes 
and accessories to the great event of the day. This is a sham fight between 
the men from the neighbouring village of Nand-gadw and the Barsana ladies, 
the wives of the Gosains of the temple of Larli Ji, which stands high on the 
crest of the rock that overlooks the arena. The women have their mantles 
drawn down over their faces and are armed with long heavy bambus, with 
which they deal their opponents many shrewd blows on the head and shoulders. 
The latter defend themselves as best they can with round leather shields and 
stags' horns. As they dodge in and out amongst the crowd and now and 
again have their flight cut off and are driven back upon the band of excited 
viragoes, many laughable incidents occur. Not unfrequently blood is drawn, 
but an accident of the kind is regarded rather as an omen of good fortune and 
has never been known to give rise to any ill-feeling. Whenever the fury of 
their female assailants appears to be subsiding, it is again excited by the men 
shouting at them snatches of the following ribald rhymes. They are not 
worth translation, since they consist of nothing but the repetition of the 
abusive word sdld, applied to every person and thing in Barsana. That town 
being the reputed home of Radhtl, the bride, its people are styled her brothers ; 
while the Nand-ganw men account themselves the brothers of Krishna, the 
bridegroom: — 

^IT^T^ HIcU HTT ^ 3THH3TT » 

^pnfaxri ^?rc sbstc hit % hjthihstt i 

lm 3|t H=*fl HTT ^IT qrTUcin; || 
SITU clifraT HWl HT* HTT HpqHelTT I 
ctT^ra't VlTHitslK *IIT fl!JTOTI^T5IIT I 
^IFITXtrT Hl^TUrl HIT HIT *sW milT I 


Feb. 23rd, Nand-gdnw.— Another sham fight, as on tho preceding day, 
only with the characters reversed ; the women on this occasion being tho 
wives of the Gosains of the Nand-ganw temple, and their antagonists the 
men of Barsana. The combatants are drawn up more in battle-array, instead 
of skirmishing by twos and threes, and rally round a small yellow pennon that 
is carried in their midst ; but the show is less picturesque in its accessories, 
being held on a very dusty spot outside the town, and was more of a Phallic 

Feb. 21th, the Holi. Phdlen. — Hero is a sacred pond called Prahlad- 
kund, and the fact of its having preserved its original name gives a clue, 
as in so many parallel cases, to the older form of the name now borne by the 
village. Local pandits would derive the word phdlen from the verb phdrna, 
" to tear in pieces,'' with a reference to the fate of Prahlad's impious father, 
Iliranya-Kasipu : but such a formation would be contrary both to rule and to 
experience, and the word is, beyond a doubt, a corruption of Prahlada-grama. 

Arriving at the village about an hour before sunset, I found a crowd of 
some 5,000 people closely packed in the narrow spaces on the margin of the 
pond and swarming over the tops of the houses and the branches of all the 
trees in the neighbourhood. A large bonfire had been stacked half-way 
between the pond and a little shrine dedicated to Prahlad, inside which the 
Khera-pat, or Panda, who was to take the chief part in the performance of the 
day, was sitting tell«% his beads. At 6 p. M. the pile was lit, and, being com- 
posed of the most inflammable materials, at once burst into such a tremendous 
blaze that I felt myself scorching, though the little hillock where I was seated 
was a good many yards away. However, the lads of the village kept on 
running close round it, jumping and dancing and brandishing their lathis, 
while the Panda went down and dipped in the pond and then, with his 
dripping pagri and dhoti on, ran back and made a feint of passing through 
the fire. In reality he only jumped over the outermost verge of the smoul- 
dering ashes and then dashed into his cell again, much to the dissatisfaction 
of the spectators, who say that the former incumbent used to do it much 
more thoroughly. If on the next recurrence of the festival the Panda shows 
himself equally timid, the village proprietors threaten to eject him, as 
an impostor, from the land which he holds rent-free simply on the score of his 
being fire-proof. 

Feb. 28th, Kosi*— After sitting a little while at a nach of the ordinary 
character, given, by one of the principal traders in the town, I went on to see 



the chaupdis, or more special Holi performances, got up by the different bodies 
of Jat zamindars, each in their own quarter of the town. The dancers, exclu- 
sively men and boys, are all members of the proprietory clan, and are 
all dressed alike in a very high-waisted full- skirted white robe, reaching to 
the ankles, called a jhagd, with a red pagri, in which is set at the back of the 
head a long tinsel plume, kalangi, to represent the peacock feathers with which 
Krishna was wont to adorn himself as he rambled through the woods. The 
women stand at one end of the court-yard with their mantle drawn over their 
faces and holding long lathis, with which, at a later period of the proceedings, 
they join in the Holi sports. Opposite them are the bandsmen with drums, 
cymbals and timbrels, and at their back other men with sticks and green 
twigs, which they brandish about over their heads. The space in the 
middle is circled by torch-bearers and kept clear for the dancers, who are 
generally six in number, only one pair dancing at a time. Each performer, 
in the dress as above described, has a knife or dagger in his right hand and 
its scabbard in his left. At first, darting forward, they make a feint of thrust- 
ing at the women or other spectators, and then pointing the knife to their own 
breast they whirl round and round, generally backwards, the pace growing 
faster and more furious and the clash of the band louder and louder, till at 
last they sink down, with their flowing robe spread out all round them, in 
a sort of curtsey, and retire into the back ground, to be succeeded by another 
pair of performers. After a pair of men comes a pair of boys, and so on 
alternately with very little variation in the action. Between the dances a 
verse or two of a song is sung, and at the end comes the Holi khelna. This is 
a very monotonous performance. The women stand in a line, their faces 
veiled, and each with a lathi ornamented with bands of metal and gaudy 
pendents, like the Bacchantes of old with the thyrsus, and an equal number 
of men oppose them at a few yards' interval. The latter advance slowly with 
a defiant air and continue shouting snatches of scurrilous song till they are 
close upon the women, who then thrust out their lathis, and without uttering 
a word follow them as they turn their back and retreat to their original stand- 
ing-place. Arrived there, they let the women form again in line as they were 
at first and then again advance upon them precisely as before, and so it 
goes on till their repertory of songs is exhausted, or they have no voice left 
to sing them. To complete my description I here give some specimens 
of these sdkhis or verses, and have added notes to all the words that seemed 
likely to require explanation. They are many of them too coarse aud at the 
same time too stupid to make it desirable for me to translate them in full. 


=P*T XT7T1 ^1 ^Jfl I 

g| 5i«R H W s*i*|ziT ^TT^ftTTrl ^ifl II <t II 


1T^*T ^ft TTTTU I 


Iw tTk spsn ^ is in ^i?r hm s^itt n 
^tt gfa ^i f n 1 1 5ia a irare ^rct i 
%r ijt are* h *mf\ %jjt1 sircnft ^t^t muft h 

^fa 1TTITT 31 *3T3T rTTJ ofm ^J} ll6 II * II 

Tl^ $til 3^inff *r *( I 

li 3*1 WW %5T ^ ^iq If XJ^TtI ^ *I5R si II ? II 

fi*3T=R % 5R ^lf 5*3»lfa § Ufa I 

W^T ^TUsl ^tT^i *3K Ufa f^T^f snn I 
5J3T=R ^ ^"^2^ ^T^TT^T -*ZJ\m II l| II 

tt^ 5iw srel wt I 

li 3M ^ ^Tlf SRlD 3JH irfl^T W II £ II 

JT^ ^TIH %^ lT<t I 

SIT 3T FT SRclI sr ^T# 'StRl *HRi %tCt II 

rTT^T 5R3JT ffiTO ^H ojj^ SN1 ^'iR 5r7T %lff II 
3^cT ti^i^ ^n^r w 3T3T Sis* TUHX. ^T^O II ^ II 

1. Krishna says to Udho : Ask her if she will come. She set the kardhi on the Are the firBt 

thing in the evening and will slip out at midnight. 

2. Jabi, then: jaycgi laj tihdri. you will be put to shame. 

3. Dilyiri, sadness. 

6. Whether you give or whether vou refnse 

7. Apni apni jori, in pairs, two and two : morchang, or mohchang, a Jew'B-narp. Gdgar, ajar: 

GAori for ghdli, mixed. 


tiT^i % ira TjRT ^Tl l»PTO ^ f^SiRl II 
StT^J TfraT S3W S^RT I 

W ^m T5RT efr^ 3i'f^ I 

*^ ^T WW, § T,| *^ srasjjfi ^3.1?? I! 10 n 

5fa ^ JITIT U^falTT win ^R utt^ t^tl 'I St D 

5fd w *ara s^rut xRttf i^ra crr^r 5gn^ n 

5?T^3 ^^T ^ ^ TU^T *f.U^ ~H II <R I! 

sJSJ^im^ §i 33? SPFF W SIT V* W^ SjiTT I) 
SJSii Fi^ 5IST S?TT Ulrli 31*5 FR ^i 3^tj II t? II 

531 ^fJT Q^ %mX cfi^ST 5^5 %K TP3T *ITfT II 18 II 

8. Kautian for 'faun sd ; Adna, clothes ; garix d, a pot. 

9. I'ija, for i>ijiye 

10. A'u/, happiness . 

11, Baiyin, for fcdn/i, arm. 

12. Khaela, au ornament that hangs percent from the elbow. 

13, Muhero, a mess of rice aud sour milk. 


fq JT?^SR 7K\ ^7T?T tRTT^T *l m ^W^ ^TT mm ^TT II RM II 

rT of efiifT fftff STOra* 5T»ft ^^ ^ ^ 1 3Tf 2(TT H II 15 II 

£fi=l R^i^r TAX "3% ^T^I I 

JlKl^ %T^T H^T^T^T TreXTT^ fa^ =KT^T fll^t II 1© H 

%Tfi Wr\ XT Tim T.m 33if! I 

in j*%?\ mj traT t^^^it i fi ^t %m ^z ^iff n t c n 

^JT ^ITTl^cin 3JW XW\ WTrft I 

nT3t ins^ il *si3i% fi ^fT ^ii jtCt ItKt II qa II 

March 1st, Kosi. — Spend an hour or two in the afternoon as a spectator 
of the Holi sports at the Goinati-Kund. Each of the six Jut villages of the 
Denda Pal* has two or more chaupdis, which come up one after the other in a 
long procession, stopping at short intervals on the way to dance in the manner 
above described, but several at a time instead of in single pairs. One of the 
performers executed a pas de seul mounted on a daf, or large timbrel, which was 
supported on the shoul lers of four other men of his troupe. Bands of mummers 
(or twangs) were also to be seen, oneset attired as Muhammadan fakirs; another 
(ghdyalon led sivdng) as wounded warriors, painted with streaks, as it were of 
blood, and with sword-blades and daggers so bound on to their neck and arms 

15. St/ahi, a woman's dopaita. 
Jliagd, a man's dre6S. 

16. Adhbar, in the middle. 

Bard, an ornament worn by women on the elbow. 

17. Suk, the planet Venus, which is regarded as auspicious . 
Chalan, the same as the more common gauna. 

18. Jori, for zori, zabrdasti. 
Jam, lust, passion. 

19. Dyaus, the day-time. 
Khaddna, a clay pit. 
* Any subdivision of a Jat clan is called a Pal, and the town of Kosi is the centre of one 
such sub-division, which is known as the Denda Pal. 



and other parts of the body that they seemed to be transfixed by them. Some 
long iron rods were actually thrust through their protruded tongue and their 
cheeks, and in this ghastly guise and with drawn swords in their hands, with 
which they kept on dealing and parrying blows, the pair of combatants peram- 
bulated the crowd. 

March2nd. — At 2 p.m. ride over toBathen for the Holanga mela, and find a 
place reserved for me on a raised terrace at the junction of fourstreets in the cen- 
tre of the village. Every avenue was closely packed with the densest throng, 
and the house-tops seemed like gardens of flowers with the bright dresses of the 
women. Most of them were Jats by caste and wore their distinctive costume, a 
petticoat of coarse country stuff worked by their own hands with figures of birds, 
beasts, and men, of most grotesque design, and a mantle thickly sewn all ovei 
with discs of talc, which flash like mirrors in the sun and quite dazzle the 
sight. The performers in the chaupdi could scarcely force their way through tin- 
crowd, much loss dance, but the noise of the band that followed close at their 
heels made up for all shortcomings. There was a great deal of singing, of a 
very vociferous and probably also a very licentious character ; but my ears 
were not offended, for in the general din it was impossible to distinguish a 
single word. Handfuls of red powder (abir) mixed with tiny particles of 
glistening talc were thrown about, up to the balconies above and down on the 
heads of the people below, and seen through this atmosphere of coloured 
cloud, the frantic gestures of the throng, their white clothes and faces all 
stained with red and yellow patches, and the great timbrels with bunches of 
peacocks' feathers, artifical flowers and tinsel stars stuck in their rim, borne 
above the players' heads and now and again tossed up high in the air, com- 
bined to form a curious and picturesque spectacle. After the music came a 
posse of rustics each bearing a rough jagged branch of the prickly acacia, 
stript of its leaves, and in their centre one man with a small yellow pennon on 
a long staff, yellow being the colour appropriate to the Spring season ami the 
God of Love. The whole party slowly made its way through the village to an 
open plain outside, where the crowd assembled cannot have numbered less 
than 15,000. Here a circular arena was cleared and about a hundred of the 
Bathen Jatnis were drawn up in a line, each with a long bambu in her hands, 
and confronting them an equal number of the bough-men who are all from the 
neighbouring village of Jan. A sham fight ensued, the women trying to beat 
down the thorny bushes and force their way to the flag. A man or two got a 
cut in the face, but the most perfect good humour prevailed, except when an 

VEESES BY StfR D^g. 99 

outsider from some other village attempted to join in the play ; he was at once 
hustled out with kicks and blows that meant mischief. The women were 
backed up by their own husbands, who stood behind and encouraged them by 
word, but did not move a hand to strike. When it was all over, many of the 
spectators ran into the arena and rolled over and over in the dust, or streaked 
themselves with it on the forehead, taking it as the dust hallowed by the feet 
of Krishna and the Gopis. 

The forenoon had been devoted to the recitation of Hindi poems appro- 
priate to the occasion. I was not on the spot in time enough to hear any of 
this, but with some difficulty I obtained for a few days the loan of the volume 
that was used, and have copied from it three short pieces. The actual M.S. is 
of no greater antiquity than 1776 A. D., the colophon at the end, in the curious 
mixture of Sanskrit and Hindi affected by village pandits, standing thus : 

Sambat 1852 Bhadrapad audi 2 dwitiya, rabibdr, likhitam idam pustakam, 
Sri Gopdl Das CJiaran-Pahari*-madhye parhan drthi Sri Seva Das Bari 
Bathain vdsi : 

but probably many successive copies have been made since the original was 
thumbed to pieces. The first stanzas, which are rather prettily worded, 
ire, or at least profess to be, the composition of the famous blind poet Stir 

II ^ II 
=3HT^T<3 l^R 3TgJR Rif ^JTT VZ tR II 

^urc*i wix zOk^k *z%feM Ck m ii 

HTW^f Cm ^J7^T XKUT^ *\?m WR ^ II 

* Charan-Fahfiri is the name of a small detacheil rock, of the same character as the 
Bharat pur range, that crop* up above the grouml in the village of Little Buthen. 


*rc urn?* faf^snir ra^srai ^ vy 5?r ^ " 

" Thy ways are past knowing, fall of compassion, Supreme Intelligent 
unapproachable, unfathomable beyond the cognizance of the senses, movin 
in fashion mysterious. 

" A lion, most mighty in strength and courage, dies of hunger ; a snake 
fills his belly without labour and without exertion. 

" Now a straw sinks in the water, now a stone floats : he plants an ocean 
in the desert, a flood fills it all round. 

" The empty is filled, the full is upset, by his grace it is filled again ; the 
lotus blossoms from the rock and fire burns in the water. 

" A king becomes a beggar and again a beggar a king with umbrella 
over his head : even the guiltiest (says Sur Das) in an instant is saved, if the 
Lord helps him the least." 

The second piece, in a somewhat similar strain, is by Damodar Das : 


^1 37^11 T^t f%^ "^T3i TISnTrl ^flff tJc^T II 
^5 tR-J^T JJ7SU $T W^T srm ^TTf WIT I 
T3R T5^ =?ScI HrJT^ ^T^T §TO ^^^T II 


"Come, my soul, adore Nand-lala (i. c, Krishna), whether living in the 
house or in the woods (i. e., whether a man of the world or a hermit), there is 
no other help to lay hold of. 

" The Veda, the Pun'mas, and the Law declare that nothing is better than 
this ; every day honour increases four-fold, like the moon in its degrees.. 


" Who has wealth ? who has house and fortune ? who has son and wife ? 
says Damodar, nought will remain secure in the world : it is gone in a 

The third piece, an encomium of the blooming Spring, is too simple to 
require any translation : 


7m& craft ^cFT a^T^R ^3^ XR3 TEST I 
^3^ ^T^f ^^^ S«T TflTft mrf r\ *&\c\^ II 

^^^ 3TH 5|cJIT3 SWSiITT ^TCFI =ra^ ^m^ I 

5^ wz srI ^rafteRT fl^fi iwra g?i 11 

qg^ft oJT% ^T^ »5im3 5FTra5T li f H II 

The only divinities who are now popularly commemorated at the Holi 
Festival are Radha, Krishna, and Balarama ; but its connection with them 
can only be of modern date. The institution of the Ban-jatra and the 
Ras-lila, and all the local legends that they involve is (as has been already 
stated) traceable to one of the Brinda-ban Gosains at the beginning of the 17th 
century A. D. The fact, though studiously ignored by the Hindus of Mathuni, 
is distinctly stated in the Bhakt-mala, the work which they admit to be of 
paramount authority on such matters. But the scenes that I have described 
carry back the mind of the European spectator to a far earlier period and are 
clearly relics, perhaps the most unchanged that exist in any part of the world, 
of the primitive worship of the powers of nature on the return of Spring. Such 
were the old English merry-makings on May Day and, still more closely paral- 
lel the Phallic orgies of Imperial Rome as described by Juvenal. When I was 
listening to the din of the village band at Bathen, it appeared to be the very 
scene depicted in the lines — 

Plangebant alias proceris tympana palmis, 
Aut tereti tenuis tinnitus asre ciebant ; 
Multis raucisonos efflabant cornua bombos, 
Barbaraque horribili stridebat tibia canta. 


Or, again, in the words of Catullus — 

Leve tympanum remugit, cava cymbala recrepant, 
Ubi sacra sancta acutis ululatibus agitant, 
Quatiuntque terga tauri teneris cava digitis: 
while the actors in the chaupdi with dagger in hand recalled the pictures of the 
G'orybantes or Phrygian priests of Cybele, the very persons to whom the poet 
refers. In Greece the Indian Holi found its equivalent in the Dionysia, when 
the phallus, the symbol of the fertility of nature, was borne in procession, as it 
now is here, and when it was thought a disgrace to remain sober. In like 
manner the Gosains and other actors in the Indian show are quite as much 
inspired in their frenzied action by their copious preliminary libations as by the 
excitement of the scene and the barbarous music of the drums, cymbals, and 
timbrels that accompany them. 



Apart from its connection with the deified Krishna, the city of Mathura has 
been a place of note from the most distant antiquity. In Buddhist times it 
was one of the centres of that religion, and its sacred shrines and relics at- 
tracted pilgrims even from China, two of whom have left records of their travels. 
The first, by name Fa Hian, spent, as he informs us, three years in Western 
Asia, visiting all the places connected with events in the life of the great teacher 
or of his immediate successors ; his main object being to collect authentic 
copies of the oldest theological texts and commentaries, to take back with him 
to his own country. Commencing his journey from Tibet, he passed succes- 
sively through Kashmir, Kabul, Kandahar, and the Panjab, and so arrived in 
Central India, the madliya-des of Hindu geographers. Here the first kingdom 
that he entered was Mathura, with its capital of the same name situate on the 
bank of the Jamuna. All the people from the highest to the lowest were staunch 
Buddhists, and maintained that they had been so ever since the time of Sakya 
Muni's translation. This statement must be accepted with considerable reserve, 
since other evidence tends to show that Hinduism was the prevalent religion 
during part of the interval between Buddha's death and Fa Hian's visit, which 
was made about the year 400 A. D. He assures us, however, that many of 
the ecclesiastical establishments possessed copper plates engraved with the ori- 
ginal deeds of endowment in attestation of their antiquity. In the capital — 
where he rested a whole month — and its vicinity, on the opposite banks of the 
river, were twenty monasteries, containing in all some 3,000 monks. There 
were, moreover, six relic-towers, or stiipas, of which the most famous was the 
one erected in honour of the great apostle Sari-putra. The five other stiipas 
are also mentioned byname ; two of them commemorated respectively Ananda, 
the special patron of religious women, and Mudgala-putra, the great doctor of 
Samddhi or contemplative devotion. The remaining three were dedicated to 
the cultus of the Abhi-dharma, the Sutra, and the Vinaya divisions of the 
sacred books, treating respectively of Metaphysics, Beligion, and Morality, 
and known in Buddhist literature by the collective name of the Tri-pitaka 
or ' three baskets.' 


Some 200 years later, Hwen Thsang, another pilgrim from the Flowery- 
Laud, was impelled by like religious zeal to spend sixteen years, from 62i) to 
G45 A.D., travelling throughout India. On his return to China, he compiled, 
by special command of the Emperor, a work in twelve Books entitled ' Memoirs 
of Western Countries,' giving succinct geographical descriptions of all the 
kingdoms, amounting in number to 128, that he had either personally visited, 
or of which he had been able to acquire authentic information. After his death, 
two of his disciples, wishing to individualize the record of their master's adven- 
tures, compiled in ten Books a special narrative of his life and Indian travels. 
This has been translated into French by the great Orientalist, Mons. S. Julien. 
Mathurd is described as being 20 li, or four miles in circumference, and as con- 
taining still, as in the days of Fa Hian, 20 monasteries. But the number of 
resident monks had been reduced to 2,000, and five temples had been erected to 
Brahmanical divinities ; both facts indicating the gradual decline of Buddhism. 
There were three stupas, built by King Asoka, and many spots were shown 
where the four former Buddhas hud left the marks of their feet. Several other 
Mitpas were reverenced as containing relics of the holy disciples of Sakya Muni, 
viz., Sari-putra, Mudgalayana, Purna-maitrayani-putra, Upali, Ananda, Rahula, 
Manjusri, and other Bodhi-satwas. Every year (he writes) in the months of 
the three long fasts (the first, fifth, and ninth) and on the six monthly fasts the 
religious assemble in crowds at these stupas, and make their several offerings 
at the one which is the object of their devotion. The followers of Abhi-dharma 
offer to Sari-putra, and those who practise contemplation (dht/una) to Mudgal- 
ayana. Those who adhere to the Sutras pay their homage to Purna-maitra- 
yani-putra ; those who stud}- the Vinaya honour Upali ; religious women 
honour Ananda ; those who have not yet been fully instructed (catechumens) 
honour Rahula ; those who study the Maha-yana honour all the Bodhi-satwas.* 
Banners enriched with pearls float in the air, and gorgeous umbrellas are 
grouped in procession. Clouds of incense and constant showers of flowers 
obscure the sight of the sun and moon. The king and his ministers apply 
themselves with zeal to the practice of meritorious Avorks. Five or six li — i.e., 
about a mile and a quarter— to the east of the town is a monastery on a hill, 
the sides of which have been excavated to allow of the construction of cells. 
The approach is by a ravine. It is said to have been built by the venerable 
Upagupta. In its centre may be seen a stupa which encloses some nail-parings 

* A BoJhi-Batwa is defined as a being who haB arrived at Buprenie wisdom (iuaVii), and yet 
consents to remain as a creature (sadoo) for the good of men. 


of the Tathagata. At a hill to the north of this monastery is a cave in the 
rock, twenty feet high and thirty feet broad, where had been collected an 
immense number of little bambu spikes, each only four inches long. When a 
married couple, whom the venerable Upagupta had converted and instructed, 
obtained the rank of Arhat, * he added a spike. But he took no note of other per- 
sons, even though they had attained the same degree of sanctity. Twenty-four 
or 25 li to the south-east of this cave was a large dry tank with a stiipa by its 
side, where it was said that one day as Buddha was pacing up and down, he was 
offered some honey by a monkey, which he graciously told him to mix with water 
and divide among the monks. The monkey was so charmed at the condescension 
that he forgot where he was, and in his ecstasy fell over into the tank and was 
drowned : as a reward for his meritorious conduct, when he next took birth, it 
was in human form. A little to the north of this tank was a wood with seyeral 
stt'ipas to mark the spots that had been hallowed by the presence of the four 
earlier Buddhas, and where 1,250 famous teachers of the law, such as Sari- 
putra and Mudgala-putra, had given themselves up to meditation. When the 
Tathagata (he adds) lived in the'world, he often travelled in this kingdom, and 
monuments have been erected in every place where he expounded the law. 

The Lalita Vistara, which is the oldest and most authentic record that the 
Buddhists possess, gives a most elaborate account of Ssikya Muni's early 
adventures, and of the six years of preliminary penance and seclusion that he 
spent in the woods of Uruvilva (now Buddh Gaya) before he commenced 
his public ministry ; but the narrative terminates abruptly with his departure 
for Bamiras, which was- the first place to which he betook himself after 
he had attained to the fulness of perfect knowledge. There is no equally 
trustworthy and consecutive record of the second and more important half o£ 
his life — the 40 years which he spent in the promulgation of his new creed — and 
it is therefore impossible to say at what period he paid those frequent visits to 
Mathura of which Hwen , Thsang speaks. There is, however, no reason to 
doubt that they were paid ; for the place was one of much importance in his 
time and, like every other new teacher, it was the great centres of population 
that he laboured most, to influence. In Beal's translation of the Chinese ver- 
sion of the Abhinishkramana Sutra we find Mathura styled the capital of all 
Jambu-dwipa, and on that account it was one of the first suggested as a fit 
place for Buddha to take birth in. He rejected it, however, on the ground that 
the king by whom it was ruled, a powerful monarch, Subahu by name, was a 

* Aa Arhat is a saint who lias attained to the fourth grade in the scale of perfection. 



heretic. The objections to other large cities were, either that the king's pedi- 
gree had some flaw ; or that he was a Brahman, not a Kshatriya by caste ; 
or that he had already a large family ; or that the people were insubordinate 
and self-willed. Bananas and Ujaiyin were considered unworthy for a similar 
reason as Mathura, viz., that at the former there were four heretical schools of 
philosophy, and that the king of the latter did not believe in a future state. 
The use of the word ' heretical ' is to be noted, for it clearly indicates that 
Buddha did not intend to break entirely with Hinduism ; or rather, like the 
English ' Eeformers ' of the 16th century, and Dr. Dollinger and his "old Catho- 
lics" on the continent of Europe at the present day, or Balm Kesav Chandra 
Sen in Calcutta, or, in short, like all subverters of established systems, he found 
it politic to disguise the novelty of his theories by retaining the old terminology, 
and thus investing them with the prestige of a spurious antiquity. 

In consequence of the changes in religion and the long lapse of time, the 
whole of the ancient Buddhist buildings described by the Chinese pilgrims had 
been overthrown, buried, and forgotten, till quite recently, when some fragments 
of them have been again brought to light. The first discovery was made by 
( reneral < 'unningham, in 1853, who noticed some capitals and pillars lying about 
within the enclosure of the Katra, the site of the Hindu temple of Kesava 
Deva. A subsequent search revealed the architrave of a gateway and other 
sculptures, including in particular a standing figure of Buddha, three and-a- 
half feet high, which was found at the bottom of a well, with an inscription 
at its base recording the gift of the statue to the ' Yasa Vihara,' or ' Convent 
of Glory,' which may be taken as the name of one of the Buddhist establish- 
ments that had existed on the spot. The date of the presentation was recorded 
in figures which could not be certainly deciphered.'* 

A far more important discovery was made in 1860, in digging the foun- 
dation of the Magistrate and Collector's new court-house. The site selected for 
this building was an extensive mound overhanging the Agra road at the en- 
trance to the civil station. It had always been regarded as merely the remains 
of a series of brick-kilns, and had been further protected against exploration 
by the fact that it was crowned by a small mosque. This was, for military 
reasons, blown down during the mutiny ; and afterwards, on clearing away the 
rubbish and excavating for the new foundations, it was found to have been 
erected, in accordance with the common usage of the Muhammadan conquerors, 
upon the ruins of a destroyed temple. A number of Buddhist statues, pillars, 

* Tiiis ttatue was oue of those removed by Dr. l'luyfair to the Museum at Agra. 

Darvasuj IttL tUa 






■oUactcr's Edi'je- 

Note.— This sketch has been drawn by eye only, and makes no claim to absolute accuracy j but it 
is correct enough to be useful for visitors. 


and basso-relievos, were disinterred ; and the inscriptions, as partially deci- 
phered, would seem to indicate that the mound was occupied by several dif- 
ferent monasteries ; three of which, according to General Cunningham, bon 
the names of Sarrghamittra-sada Yiliara, Huvishka vihara, and Kundokhara,' 
or as it may he read, Kmida-Suka Vihara. On the pedestal of a sealed figure 
was found recorded the first half of a king's name, Vasu ; the latter part 
was broken away, but the lacuna should probably he supplied with the word 
' deva," as a group of figures inscribed with the name of King Vasudeva 
and date 87 was discovered in 1871 at a neighbouring mound called 
the ' Kankali tila.' The most numerous remains were portions of stone railine 
of the particular type used to enclose Buddhist shrines and monuments. The 
whole were made over to the Agra museum, where the railings were roughly put 
together in such a way as to indicate the original arrangement. The entire 
collection has since been again removed elsewhere, I believe to Allahabad ; but 
as there is no proper building for their reception there, nobody appears to 
know anything about them, and it is very much to be regretted that they were 
ever allowed to be taken from Mathura. Many of the pillars were marked 
with figures as a guide to the builder ; and thus we learn that one set, for they 
were. of various sizes, consisted of at least as many as 129 pieces. There were 
also found three large seated figures of Buddha, of which two were full, the 
third a little less than life-size ; and the bases of some 30 large columns. It was 
liiefly round these bases that the inscriptions were engraved. One of the most 
noticeable fragments was a stone hand, measuring a foot across the palm, which 
must have belonged to a statue not less than from 20 to 24 feet in height. 

Most of the sculptures were executed in common red sandstone and were 
of indifferent workmanship, in every way inferior to the specimens more 
recently discovered at other mounds in the neighbourhood. The most artistic 
was the figure of a dancing-girl, rather more than half life-size, in a tolerably 
natural and graceful attiiude.f Like the so-called figure of Silenus, discovered 
by James Prinsep in 1836, of which a detailed description will be given fur- 
ther on, it was thought that it might have been the work of a Greek artist. 
This conjecture, though I do not accept it myself, involves no historical diffi- 
culty, since in the Yuga-Purana of the Gargi-Sanhita, written about the yea* 

* It must be admitted that Kundokhara, i.e., Kunda-pushkara, is a. very questionable com- 
pound, since the two members of which it is composed would bear each precisely the same 

t Two representations of this figure are given in Cunningham's Archaeological Survey, 
Vol. I., page 240. 

108 mathurX conquered by the greeks. 

50 B. C, it is explicitly stated that Mathura was reduced by the Greeks, and that 
their victorious armies advanced into the very heart of Hindustan, even as far 
as Patali-putra. The text is as follows: — - 

clef; ^T^irWT^RJ tt^T^T^ TTZTCfrreiT i 

" Then those hateful conquerors., the Greeks, after reducing Saketa,* tli- 
country of Panchala and Mathura, will take Kusuma-dhvaja (Patali-putra) ; 
and when Pushpa-pura (i. e., Patali-putra) is taken, every province will assuredly 
become disordered." 

In close proximity to the mound where the antiquities, which we have des- 
cribed above were discovered is a large walled enclosure, called the Damdama, 
for some years past occupied by the reserves of the district police, but originally 
one of a series of sanies erected in the time of the Delhi Emperors along the 
road between the two royal residences of Agra and Delhi. Hence the adjoin- 
ing hamlet derives its name of Sarae Jamalpur ; and for the sake of conver- 
nience, when future reference is made to the mound, it will be by that title. 
As it is at some distance to the south-east of the katra, the traditional site of 
ancient Mathura, and so far agrees with the position assigned by Hwen Thsang 
to the stupa erected to commemorate Buddha's interview with the monkey, 
there is plausible ground for identifying the two places. The identification is 
confirmed by the discovery of the inscription with the name Kundo-khara or 
Kundasuka ; for, whichever way the word is read, it would seem to contain a 
reference to a tank (Jmnda), and a tank was the characteristic feature of Hwen 
Thsang's monkey stupa. It at first appears a little strange that there should 
be, as the inscriptions lead us to infer, four separate monasteries on one hill, 
but General Cunningham states that in Parma, where Buddhism is still the 
national religion, such juxtaposition is by no means uncommon. 

* The siege of Saketa is ascertained to have taken place early in the reign of Menander, 
who ascended the throne in the year 144 B. C, Pushpa-mitra being at that time King of Patali- 
putra. The Girgi Sanhita is an ancient and extremely rare work, of which only five M.SS — 
all apparently imperfect— are as yet known to be in existence. Three are in European 
libraries ; one belongs to Dr Kern, who was the first to call attention to the work in the Preface 

to his edition of Varaha Mihira's ljrihat Sanhita, in which it is frequently quoted; and 

the fifth haB been recently discovered by Or. B.uhler. 


Transcripts and translations of many of these inscriptions have been since 
made by different scholars and have been published by General Cunningham in 
Volume III. of his Archaeological Survey ; but they are for the most part of a 
very tentative character and leave much room for uncertainty, both as regards 
reading and interpretation.* They are all brief votive records, giving only the 
name of the obscure donor, accompanied by some stereotyped religious formula. 
The dates, which it would be specially interesting to ascertain, are indicated by 
figures, the value of which has been definitely determined ; but the era to which 
they refer is still matter of dispute. Dr. Rr.jendra-lala Mitra has consistently 
maintained from the first that it is the Saka era, beginning from 76 A. D. ; and 
if so, the series ranges between 120 and 206 A. D. But the era intended 
might also be that of Vikramaditya, or of the Seleucida?, or of Buddha's 
Nirvana, or of the particular monarch whose name is specified. 

Before the discovery of these and similar inscriptions, the history of India, 
from the invasion of Alexander the Great to that by Mahmud of Ghazni, was 
almost an absolute blank, in which however the name of Vikramaditya, the repu- 
ted founder of the era still most in vogue among Hindus, enjoyed such universal 
celebrity that it seemed impossible for any question to be raised regarding 
him. This solitary stand-point has completely given way under the weight 
of modern researches, and not only Vikramaditya's paramount sovereignty, 
but even his existence, is now denied, and that by disputants who will scarcely 
find a single other matter on which to agree. Mr. Fergusson writes t '' No 
authentic traces exist of any king bearing the name or title of Vikramaditya 
having lived in the first century before Christ ; nor" — though here his assertion 
will be disputed — " has it been possible to point to any event as occurring B. C. 
56, which was of sufficient importance to give rise to the institution of an era 
for its commemoration." Similarly, Professor Bhau Daji, of Bombay, declared 
that he knew of no inscription, dated in this Sambat, before the eleventh cen- 
tury of the Christian era ; and, though this appears to be carrying incredulity 
a little too far, General Cunningham, upon whose accuracy every reliance can 
be placed, says that the earliest inscription of the Vikramaditya era, that he 
has seen, bears date 811, that is A. D. 754. Now, if the era was really 

* It may be hoped that Dr. Hoernle of the Calcutta Madrasa will at some time find leisure to 
revise and translate the whole series of these early inscriptions. There is no one in India, or even 
among European scholars, who is equally qualified for the task by his knowledge of Sanskrit, 
of literary Vrakrit and of the modern vernacular, which last is often of the greatest service in 
supplying parallel examples of colloquial usage. His corrected readings of the inscriptions from, 
the Bhaihat stupa, as published in the Indian Antiquary, are a triumph of scholarly ingenuity. 



established before the birth of Christ, it is difficult to understand why it should 
have lain so long dormant and then have become so curiously revived and so 
generally adopted. 

Various solutions of the difficulty have been attempted. It has been 
definitely ascertained that the title Vikramaditya was borne by a king Sri 
Harsha, who reigned at Ujaiyin, in the first half of the sixth century A. J)., 
and General Cunningham conjectures with some probability that it was he 
who restored the general use of the old era (which had been to a great extent 
superseded by the introduction of the Saka era in 70 A. D.) and made it 
his own, simply by changing its name to that which it now bears. The king 
by whom it was really established about the year 57 B. C. he conceives to have 
been the Indo-Scythian Kanishka. 

This is a personage who as yet scarcely figures at all in histories intended 
for 'the general reader ; but it is certain that he was one of the greatest sover- 
eigns that ever held sway in Upper India and, if not the first to introduce Bud- 
dhism, was at least the one who definitely established it as the state religion. 
The Sanskrit Chronicle, entitled the Raja-Tarangini, mentions among the 
successors of the great Asoka, in the latter half of the century immediately 
preceding the birth of Christ, three kings of foreign descent named Hushka 
(or Huvishka), Jushka, and Kanishka. The later Muhammadau writers 
represent them as brothers : but it is not so stated in the original text, the 
words of which are simply as follows :— 

<o no 

vim T,}^mm hut nmi: 3iraRJH!ia i 

i( There, too, the three kings, Hushka, Jushka, and Kanishka, bom 
of Turushka descent, monarchs of eminent virtue. In their exalted reign a 
great part of the region of Kashmir was occupied by peripatetic Buddhist 

Their dominions are known to have included Kabul, Kashmir, and the 
Panjab ; and recently discovered inscriptions imply that their sway extended 
thence as far south as Mathura. It is true that many of the religious buildings 
in holy places have been founded by foreign princes, who had no territorial 


connection with the neighbourhood ; but there seems to have been some special 
bond of union between Mathura and Kashmir. Incredible as it has been deemed 
by most geographers, it is yet within the range of possibility, as pointed out 
by Professor Wilson, that Ptolemy intended, by the close similarity of 
names, to indicate a connection between Kaainjpta vtro ras tov Bt,od o-nvu koI toO 
"2,ai>ho/3a\ kcll tov PoaBtos -ny/ds — that is, Kasperia, or Kashmir, at the 
sources of the Vitasta, the Chandra-bhaga, and the Ravi— and the Kash- 
peircei, dwelling lower down on the Vindhva range and the banks of the 
Jamuna, one of whose chief towns was Mathura. For, further, Ptolemy repre- 
sents ?;' wavlwov X<I/pa ' the country of Pandu,' as lying in the neigbour- 
hood of the Vitasta, or Jhelam ; while Arrian, quoting from Megasthenes, says 
it derived its name from Pandoea, the daughter of Hercules, the divinity 
specially venerated by the Suraseni on the Jamuna. Thus, as i.t would seem, he 
identifies Mathura, the chief town of the Suraseni, with Pandoea. Balarama, 
one of its two tutelary divinities, may be certainly recognized as Belus, the 
Indian Hercules ; while, if wo allow for a little distortion of the original 
legend, Pritha, another name of Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas and sister 
of Krishna and Balarama's father, Vasudeva, may be considered the native 
form which was corrupted into Pandosa. 

In historical illustration of the same line of argument, it may be remarked 
that Gonauda I., the king of Kashmir contemporary with Krishna, is related 
(Raja-Tarangini, I., 59) to have been a kinsman of Jarasandha and to have 
assisted him in the siege of Mathura.* He was slain there on the bank of the 
Kalindi, i.e., the Jamuna, by Balarama. His son and successor, Damodara, a 
few years later, thinking to avenge his father's death, made an attack on a party 
of Krishna's friends, as they were returning from a wedding at Gandhara near 
the Indus, but himself met his death at that hero's hands. The nest occupant 
of the throne of Mathura in succession to Jarasandha was Kama, the faithful 
ally of the Kauravas, against whom the great war was waged by Krishna and 
the Pandavas. Gonanda II., the son of Damodara, was too young to take any 

" Gonauda, the king of Kashmir, having been summoned by bis relation, Jarasandha, to his 
assistance, besieged with a mighty army Krishna's city of Mathura." 


part in the protracted struggle ; but the reigning houses of Mathura and Kash- 
mir acknowledged a common enemy in Krishna, and the fact appears to have 
conduced to a friendly feeling between the two families, which lasted for many 
generations. Thus we read in the Raja-Tarangini (IV., 512)* that when 
Jayapida, who reigned over Kashmir at the end of the eighth century after 
Christ, built his new capital of Jayapura, a stately temple was founded there 
and dedicated to Mahsideva uuder the title of Achesvara, by Acha, the son-in- 
law of Pramoda, the king of Mathura. f 

Three inscriptions have been found bearing the name of Kanishka.f Of 
these one is dated 9, another 28 ; in the third the year has unfortunately been 
broken away. The memorials of his successor, the Maharaja Huvishka,§ are 
more numerous, and the dates range from 33 to 50. In one instance, however, 
the gift is distinctly made to the king's Vihara, which does not necessarily 
imply that the king was still living at the time ; and the same may have been 
the intention of the other inscriptions ; since the grammatical construction of 
the words, which give the king's name and titles in the genitive case, is a little 
doubtful, the word upon which they depend not being clearly expressed. 
Huvishka was succeeded by Vasudeva, who, notwithstanding his purely Indian 
name, must be referred to the same dynasty, since ordinarily he is honoured 
with the same distinctive titles, Maharaja Rdjatirdja Devaputra ; and for 
Devaputra is in one legend substituted Shdhi, by which the Indo-Scythian 
Princes were specially distinguished. On gold coins, moreover, his name is 
given in Greek characters, Bazodeo. 

irsrarr: jmis^ ^urnm h^tctch: i 

•f I have not been able to trace king Pramoda's name elsewhere. He may have been one of 
the seven Naga (or, according to another MS., Mauna) princes, whom the Vayu Purana men- 
tions as destined to reign over Mathura — 

umi ^ tjfi ?izri ^t*TT ^fT^fl^rl HJJ § 1 

-Li <t ' 

" The seven Nagas will possess the pleasant city of Mathura." 
X On his coins his name appears in the form Kanerki. 
§ On coins the name Huvishka is given as Ooerki. 


In an article contributed to the Indian Antiquary for 1881 Dr. Oldenberg 
of Berlin seeks to identify the great Kanishka, not, as General Cunningham has 
done, with the mythical Vikramaditya, but with the founder of the Saka era in 
78 A.D., thus supporting the same chronological theory as Dr. Mitra. The 
Kuskana dynasty, to which Kanishka belonged, seems to have first established 
itself about 24 B.C. in the person of Hermaens. The coins of this Prince, in 
which he is styled Basilevs Soter, are well known to numismatists, as also are 
those of his three successors, who bear the barbarous names of Kozulokad- 
phises, Kozolakadaphes and Ooemakadphises. The Chinese speak of this dynasty 
as of great power in India in 159 A.D., but after the death of Vasudeva c. 178 
A.D. it rapidly declined and was altogether extinguished about the year of our 
era 220. After a century of darkness, regarding which nothing is known, the 
Guptas rose to power in 319 A.D. and held the throne, for five generations, 
till about 480 A.D., when they were deposed by the Vallabhis, who, however, 
continued to date events by the same era as their predecessors. The Satrapas 
or Kshatrapas, who are commemorated by an inscription at Mathura, dated in 
the reign of the Satrap Saudasa, probably employed a local era of their own 
dynasty. This appears to have been founded in Gujarat about 100 A.D. and 
to have continued in power for three centuries, when it was overthrown by 
the Guptas. 

Mr. Thomas, the celebrated numismatist, has broached a theory that the 
era intended is that of the Seleucidaj, which commenced on the last of Octo- 
ber, 310 B. C. The long interval of time between this date and either the 
Vikramaditya or the Saka initial year would seem to render his hypothesis 
altogether untenable, as being utterly subversive of accepted chronology. 
But from such an inscription as that of Kanishka with the date Sambat 9 he 
does not deduce the year 303 B. C. (that is 312-9), but rather supposes that 
as we ourselves ordinarily write 75 for 1875, so the Indo-Scythians wrote 9 
for 309 ; and thus Sambat 9 might correspond with the year 3 B.C. A 
curious confirmation of this view may be observed in the fact that the inscrip- 
tions, in which the dates range from 9 to 98, employ a division of the year 
into the three seasons, Grishma, Varsha, and Hemanta — that is to say, the hot 
weather, the rains and the winter ; and the day is specified as (for example) 
the 11th of the 4th month of the particular season. In only one of the 
Mathura inscriptions is the date above a hundred, viz., 135 ; and here the 
division of time is according to the Hindu Calendar still in use, the particular 
month named being Pushya, Hence it may be inferred that this inscription 



belongs to an entirely different series and may very probably refer to the 
Saka era. 

The Seleucidan era is obionsly one that might have recommended itself 
to a dynasty of mixed Greek descent ; but another that might with equal or 
even greater probability have been employed is the Kashmffian era used by 
Kalhana in the last three books of his Raja-Tarangini, and which is still familiar 
to the Brahmans of that country. It is otherwise called the era of the Sap- 
tarshis and dates from the secular procession of Ursa Major, Chaitra sudi 1 of 
the 2Gth year of the Kali-yuga, 3076 B.C. It is known to be a fact and is 
not a mere hypothesis that when this era is used, the hundreds are generally 
omitted. The chronological difficulties involved in these inscriptions seem 
therefore almost to defy solution; for the era may commence either in March, 
3076 B.C., or in October, 312 B.C., or in 57 B.C., or in 78 A.D. There is 
further a difficulty in considering that any one era can be intended ; for one 
inscription has been found, dated 47, mentioning Huvishka as king, while 
two others bearing Vasudeva's name are dated respectively 44 and 83, which 
would thus make Vasudeva at once the predecessor and the successor of 
Huvishka. The simplest way of meeting this difficulty would be to refer the 
figures to the year of the king's reign, and a small fragment of an inscrip- 
tion that I found in the Jamalpur mound bears the words... shkasya rdji/a- 
samvatsare 28 Hemant 3 div., of which the most obious translation would 
be ' On the day of the third winter month of the 28th year of the 

reign of Kanishka' (as the name it would seem must have been). Nor 
need any difficulty be occasioned by the use of the word Sambat to 
denote the year of a monarch's reign. For though modern practice resi 
tricts the term exclusively to the Vikramaditya era, such was not always the 
case : witness the inscription on the temple of Gobind Deva at Brinda-ban — 
Sambat 34 Sri Sakabandh Akhar Shah raj — ' in the 34th year of the reign of 
the Emperor Akbar.' But the height to which the figures run is fatal to this 
theory, and a final solution to the mystery has yet to be sought. 

About half-a-mile due west of the Jamalpur mound is a small one on the 
edge of the Circular Road, where I found the lower extremities of two large 
seated figures, in red sandstone : the one a Buddha, with an inscription at the 
base, of which the only words legible are : varsha mdse 2 divas 6, ' on the 6th 
day of the 2nd month of the rains.' The other is almost a facsimile of a 
sculpture figured at page 36 of Mr. Oldham's Memoir of Ghazipur, among 
the antiquities found at a place called Aonrihar. It is well executed and 


represents a woman with her left hand clasping an infant in her lap. One 
foot rests on an elaborately ornamented stool, the other is doubled under her 
body. There are five small accessory figures, one in front and two on either 
side at the back. 

Between this mound and Jamalpur is an extensive ridge, which I spent some 
days in exploring, but found nothing of interest. The most likely place in this 
immediate neighbourhood that yet remains to be examined is a mound at the 
back of the. jail and within its outer precincts. I brought away one figure 
from it. Close by is an enormous pit out of which earth was taken to con- 
struct the mud walls of the enclosure. As this is objectionable from a sanitary 
point of view as well as unsightly, prison labour might with advantage be 
employed in levelling the mound and using the earth to fill up the pit ; by which 
means two objects would be obtained. 

After my transfer from the district, the Jamalpnr mound, which had 
so often been explored before with valuable results, was completely levelled, 
at a cost of Its. 7,236, the work having been sanctioned by Government 
as a famine relief operation. A largo number of miscellaneous sculptures 
was discovered, of which I have received no definite description. But the 
more prominent object is a life-size statue of Buddha, which is very finely 
executed and, when found, was in excellent preservation, though unfortunately 
broken in two pieces by a fracture just above the ankles.* On the base is an 
inscription in Tali characters, of which a transcript has been sent me by 
a clever native draughtsman. I decipher it as follows : — 

" Deyadharmayam Sakya-bhikshu Yasa-dittasya. Yad atra punyam, tad 
bhavatu mata-pitrok sukka rya pdddliya yatam cha sarvva-satv-anuttarajnana- 

I have probably misread some of the letters printed in italics, for as they 
stand they yield no sense. The remainder I translate as follows : 

" This is the votive offering of the Buddhist monk Yasa-ditta. If there 
is any merit in it, may it work for the good of his father and mother and 
for the propagation of perfect knowlege throughout the world." 

* The face of this statue was a really beautiful piece of sculpture, of far more artistic 
character than in auy other figure that has yet been discovered. However, not the slightest 
care was taken to preserve it from injury; and the nose was soon broken off, either by some 
bigoted iconoclastic Muhamuiadan, or by some child in the mere spirit of mischief. The 
disfigurement is irreparable, aud that it should have been allowed to occur is not very creditable 
to the local authorities. 


In Sanskrit the primary meaning of dei/a-dharma is ' the duty of giving ;' 
but in Pali it ordinarily stands for 'the gift' itself. The literal signification 
of tho monks' name, Yasa-ditta is ' Resplendent with glory' ; ditto, being 
the Pali, Prakrit, or Hindi form of the Sanskrit dipta, by a rule of Vararuchi's, 
under which tho example given is sutta (the modern sotci) for supta. Vdpti, 
' the propagation,' is from the root vap, to sow ; from which also comes the 
Hindi word bap, a father,' like the Latin sator from sero. 

A second inscription of some length commences with the words Mahd- 
rdja,v/a Devaputrasya Huvishkasya Samvatsare 51 Hemanta mdsa 1 div. ..., 
but I have not been able to read further, as the only transcript that I have 
received is a very imperfect one. A great number of fragmentary sculptures 
of different kinds were also discovered, as I understand, and some of them 
have been photographed for General Cunningham, who spent several days at 
Mathura for the purpose of exmamining them. An account may possibly 
appear in some future volume of his Archaeological Survey ; but already four 
years have elapsed and not a sign has been made. 

After General Cunningham's visit a third inscribed slab was found of which 
a transcript was made and sent. It begins with the word siddham ; then appa- 
rently followed the date, but unfortunately there is here a flaw in the stone, 
After the flaw is the word etasya* The second line begins with Bhagavat. 
In the third line is the name Mathura ; at the end of the sixth line mdtapi- 
troh ; in the middle of the seventh line lhavatu sarvva. 

Incidental allusion has already been made to the Kankali, or, as it is occa- 
sionally called, the Jaini Tila.f This is an extensive mound on the side of the 
Agra and Delhi road, between the Bharat-pur and Dig gates of the city. A frag- 

* The word following etasya begins with the letters pu — the remainder being defaced — 
and was probably purvai/e. This phrase etasya purvatje is of frequent occurrence in these in- 
scriptions and is translated by General Cunningham 'on this very date'. I do not think it 
can bear such a meaning. It might be literally rendered 'after this;' but it is really an 
expletive like the Hindi ilgc, or occasionally the Sanskrit tad-anantaram, with which an Indian 
correspondent generally begius a letter— after the stereotyped complimentary exordium — and 
which, in the absence of full stopB and capital letters, serves to indicate a transition to a new 

t By the roadside, between the Kankali Tila and the Siva Tal, there is a handsome chhatri 
built in 1873, in memory of Chaubc Genda, Purohit to the Raja of Jhalrti-pattan. It was 
intended to add a rest-house ; but, in consequence of a complaint made by the District Engineer, 
the design was abandoned and the chhatri itself has never been thoroughly completed. The 
building is so ornamental that I hoped an encroachment of a few inches on to the side of the 
road might have been pardoned, but my suggestion to that effect was summarily scouted. 

THE KANKAll TfLA. 117 

ment of a carved Buddhist pillar is set up in a mean little shed on its summit and 
does duty for the goddess Kankali, to whom it is dedicated. A few years ago, 
the hill was partially trenched, when two colossal statues of Buddha in his 
character of teacher were discovered. They are each seven and-a-half feet in 
height, and are probably now in the Allahabad museum. Whatever else was found 
was collected on the same spot as the remains from the Jamalpur mound, and 
it is therefore possible (as no accurate note was made at the time) that some of 
the specimens referred to the latter locality were not really found there ; but 
there is no doubt as to the inscriptions, and this is the only point of any 
importance. Further excavations resulted in the discovery of several muti- 
lated statues of finer stone and superior execution, and it was thought that 
many more might still remain buried ; as the adjoining fields for a considerable 
distance were strewn with fragments applied to all sorts of vile purposes. A 
large figure of an elephant— unfortunately without its trunk — standing on the 
capital of a pillar and in all respects similar to the well-known example at San- 
kisa, but of much coarser work, was found in 1871 in a neigbouriug garden. 
On the front of the abacus is engraved an inscription with the name of King 
Huvishka and date ' Sambat 39.' Another inscription, containing the name of 
King Kanishka, with date ' Sambat 9,' was discovered the same day on the 
mound itself below a square pillar carved with four nude figures, one on each 
face. This is of special interest, inasmuch as nude figures are always con- 
sidered a distinctive mark of the Jain sect, which was supposed to be a late 
perversion of Buddhism ; an opinion, however, which most scholars have now 
abandoned. Mahavira the 21th and last of the great Jinas died in 526 B.C., 
while the Nirvana, or death, of Buddha, the founder of the rival faith, has 
finally been determined as having taken place in 477 B.C. Indeed, it was sug- 
gested by Colebrooke, though further research would seem to have disproved 
the theory, that Buddha was actually a disciple of Mahavira's. 

Among other sculptures found here while I was in the district may be 
mentioned the Hollowing : — ■ 

1st. — A life-size seated figure with an elaborately carved nimbus and long 
hair flowing over the shoulders and down the back. The head is lost. 2nd. — 
A teacher of the law standing between two tiers of small figures seated in the 
attitude of contemplation, with a Caliban-like monster sprawling over the top 
of the canopy above his head. The arms and feet of the principal figure are 
missing : but with this exception the group is in good preservation and is well 
executed. 3rd. — A spandril of a doorway carved with the representation of a 



triumphal column with a bell capital surmounted by winged lions supporting 
the figure of an elephant. The reverse has an ornamental border enclosing a 
short inscription in which the name of the donor is given as Mugali-putra. 
4th.— A chaumukhi, or pillar of four (headless) Buddhas, seated back to bark, 
well executed in fine white stone. 5th. — A chaumukhi. of four standing nude 
figures, roughly carved in coarse red sandstone. 6th.— A pair of columns, 
iH feet high, characteristically carved with three horizontal bands of conven- 
tional foliage and festoons, which are slightly suggestive of a classic model. 
1th. — A cross-bar of a Buddhist railing with a sculptured medallion on either 
side. 8th. — A small seated figure with six persons standing in a line below, 
three on each side of a chakra which they are adoring. There is an inscription 
in one line as follows : — 

Siddham. Jivikasya datta SJiikshusya viharasya ; 

Which I would translate thus : ' May it prosper ; the gift of Jivika, a 
mendicant, for the monastery." 

It is worthy of remark that no definite line of foundation has ever bee] 
brought to light nor any large remains of plain masonry superstructure : but only 
a confused medley of broken statues without even the pedestals on which they 
must have been originally erected. This suggests a suspicion that possibly 
there never was a temple on the site, but that the sculptures were brought 
from different places in the neighbourhood and here thrown into a pit by the 
Muhammadans to be buried. They clearly belong to two very different periods. 
The more ancient are roughly carved in coarse red sandstone and. whenever 
there is any lettering, it is in Pali ; the more modern display much higher 
artistic skill, are executed in much finer material, and all the inscriptions are in 
the Nagari character, one being apparently dated in the twelfth century after 
Christ. But upon the whole I conclude that the discovery of no foundations 
in situ is rather to be explained by the fact that the mound has long served as a 
quarry, and that bricks and small blocks of stone, being more useful for ordinary 
building purposes, would all be removed, when cumbrous and at the same time 
broken statues might be left undisturbed. 

It is possible that here may have stood the Upagupta monastery, mentioned 
by Hwen Thsang. As there is no trace of any large tank in ii^ immediati 
] roximity, it was more probably the site of a monastery than of a stiipa. For a 
tank was almost a necessary concomitant of the latter : its excavation sup] lying 
the em Hi for the construction of the mound, in the centre of which the relics 
were deposited. Hence a different procedure has to be adopted in exploring a 


mound believed to have been a stupa from what would be followed in other 
cases. Unless the object be to discover the relics, it is ordinarily a waste of 
labour to cut deep into its centre ; for the images which surmounted it must 
have fallen down outside its base, where they have been gradually buried by 
the crumbling away of the stupa over them and will be found at no great depth 
below the surface. But, in the case of a temple or monastery, the mound is 
itself the ruined building ; if Muhammadans were the destroyers, it was 
generally utilized as the substructure of a mosque. The Upagupta monas- 
tery, it is true, is said to have comprised a stupa also, but it would appeal- from 
the way in which it is mentioned to have been comparatively a small one : it 
may well have formed the raised centre of the Kankali Tila, into which I dug 
and found nothing. 

But whatever the purpose of the original buildings, it i< clear that the hill 
was frequented as a religious site tor upwards of a thousand years. Some of 
the statues are unmistakeably Buddhist and about coeval with the institution 
of Christianity ; while others are as clearly Jain and one of these is dated 
Sambat 1134. Either the Jains succeeded the Buddhists in the same way as 
Protestants have taken the place of Catholics in our English Cathedrals ; or 
the two rival sects may have existed together, like Greek and Latin Christians 
in the holy places of Jerusalem. 

Hwen Thsang describes the Upagupta monastery as lying to the east of 
the town and the Kankali Tila is a little to the east of the katra, which was 
certainly the centre of the old Buddhist city, the local tradition to that effect 
having been confirmed by the large number of antiquities recently found in its 
neighbourhood. The only difficulty in so considering it arises from the fact 
that Mathura has at all times been represented as standing on the bank of 
the Jamuna, while the katra is nearly a mile away from it. Popularly, this 
objection is removed by an appeal to the appearance of the ground, which has 
evidently been affected by fluvial action, and also by the present habits of the 
river, which is persistent in endeavouring to desert its present channel in favour 
of one still more to the east. The stream, it is said, may have so worked its 
way between the natural hills and artificial mounds that the temples, which 
once stood on its east bank, found themselves on the west, while those that 
were originally on the western verge of the river were eventually left far in- 
land. This was the view taken by Tavcrnier more than two centuries ago,* 
who was so far influenced by the popular tradition and the appearance of the 

* The edition from which I translate was published at Faria in 1577, 

120 tavernier's mention of the old course of the river. 

country as to assert positively, not only that the course of the river haci 
changed, but that the change, had taken place quite recently. His words are 
as follows:— "At Cheka Sera" (by which he must intend the Shahganj sarae, 
then recently built) " may be seen one of the largest pagodas in all India. Con- 
nected with it is a hospital for monkeys, not only for those that are ordinarily 
on the spot, but also for any that may come from the surrounding country, 
and Hindus are employed to feed them. This pagoda is called Matura, and 
was once held in much greater veneration by the heathen than it is now ; 
the reason being that the Jamuna used to flow at its foot, and so the 
Hindus, whether natives, or strangers who had come from a distance on a 
pilgrimage for purposes of devotion, had facilities for bathing in the river 
both before they entered the pagoda and also before eating when they went 
away. For they must not eat without bathing, and they believe that their 
sins are best effaced by a dip in flowing water. But for some years past 
the river has taken a turn to the north, and now flows at the distance of a 
Jcos or more ; whence it comes about that the shrine is less frequented by pil- 
grims than it used to be." 

The third of the principal Buddhist sites is the vicinity of the katra. Here, 
at the back of the temple of Bhiitesvar Mahadeva, is rather a high hill of very 
limited area, on the top of which stood, till removed by the writer, a Buddhist 
pillar of unusually large dimensions. It is carved in front with a female 
figure, nearly life-size, bearing an umbrella, and above her head is a grotesque 
bas-relief representing two monkeys, a bird, and a misshapen human dwarf. 
Immediately opposite the temple is a large ruinous tank, called Balbhadra 
Kund, with a skirting wall, into which had been built up some good specimens 
of the cross-bars of a Buddhist railing. From an adjoining well was recovered 
a plain pillar neasuring four feet seven inches in height by eleven inches in 
breadth, carved in front merely with two roses. The elliptical holes in the sides 
of the pillar were too large for the cross-bars, which must have belonged to a 
smaller range. They measure only one foot three inches in length, and are 
enriched with various devices, such as a rose, a lotus, some winged monster, 
&c. These were eleven in number : four of the most perfect were taken away 
by General Cunningham, the rest are still in situ. Built into the verandah 
of a chavpdl close by were five other Buddhist pillars of elaborate design and 
almost perfect preservation. It is said that there was originally a sixth, which 
some years ago was sent down to Calcutta ; there it has been followed by two 
more ; the remaining three were left, by the writer, for the local museum, 


where possibly they may now have been placed. They are each four feet four 
inches in height and eleven inches broad ; the front is carved with a standing 
female figure, wiiose feet rest upon a crouching monster. In an upper com- 
partment, divided off by a band of Buddhist railing, are two demi-figures, male 
and female, in amorous attitudes, of very superior execution. On one pillar 
the principal figure is represented as gathering up her drapery, in another as 
painting her face with the aid of a mirror, and in the third as supporting with 
one hand a wine-jar and in the other, which hangs down by her side, holding 
a bunch of grapes. Each of these figures is entirely devoid of clothing : the 
drapery mentioned as belonging to one of them is simply being gathered up 
from behind. They have, however, a profusion of ornaments — karas on the 
ankles, a belt round the waist, a mohan mala on the neck, kam-phuls in the 
ears, and bdju-banJ, chiiri, and pahunehi on the arms and wrists. There are also 
three bas-reliefs at the back of each pillar ; the subject of one is most grossly 
indecent ; another represents Buddha's mother, Maya Devi, with the sal tree 
under which she gave birth to her son. A fragment of a pillar from one of 
the smaller concentric circles of this same set was at some time sent to Labor, 
and is now to be seen in the museum there. 

General Cunningham, in his Archaeological Report, has identified the 
Upagupta monastery with the Yasa Vihara inside the katra ; but in all 
probability he would not now adhere to this theory. At the time when 
he advanced it, he had never visited the Kankali Tila, and was also under 
the impression that the Fort had always been, as it now is, the centre 
of the city. Even then, to maintain his theory, he was obliged to have 
recourse to a very violent expedient and in the text of the Chinese pilgrim 
alter the word ' east' to ' west,' because, he writes, " a mile to the east would 
take us to the low ground on the opposite bank of the Jamuna, where no ruins 
exist ;" forgetting apparently Fa Hian's distinct statement that in his time 
there were monasteries on both sides of the river, and being also unaware 
that there are heights on the left bank, at Isapur* and Mahaban, where Bud- 
dhist remains have been found. The topographical descriptions of the two 
pilgrims may be reconciled with existing facts without any tampering with 
the text of their narrative. Taking the katra, or the adjoining shrine of 

* At Isapur, almost facing the Visrant Ghat is the Duvasa tila, a high mound of artificial 
formation, with some modern buildings on its summit, enclosed within a bastioned wall, part of 
■which has been lately restored. A small nude Btatue of a female figure has been found here, and 
there are also the remains of a bduli constructed of large blocks of red Bandstone fitted together 
without cement and therefore probably of early date. 



Bhiitesvar, as the omphalos of the ancient city and the probable site of the 
great stupa of Sariputra, a short distance to the east will hring us to the 
Kankali Tiki, i. e., the monastery of Upagupta ; the Jamalpur mound has 
already been identified with the monkey stupa ; while some mounds to the 
north, that will shortly be mentioned, may have been " the stiipas of the four 
earlier Buddhas and other great teachers of the law." 

Close at the back of the Balbhadra Kund and the katra is a range of hills 
of considerable elevation, commonly called dhtil hot, literally ' dust-heaps,' the 
name given to the accumulation of refuse that collects outside a city, and so 
corresponding precisely to the Monte Testaccio at Borne. Some of these are, 
however, clearly of natural formation and probably indicate the old course of 
the Jamuna or its tributaries. Others are the walls of the old city, which in 
places are still of great height. They can be traced in a continuous line from 
the Rangesvar Mahadeo on the Kans ka tiki outside the Holi gate of new 
Mathura, across the Agra road, to the temple of Bluitesvar, and thence round 
by an orchard called the Uthaigira ka bagh, where the highest point is crowned 
by a small Bairagi's cell, at the back of Ivesav Dev and between it and tlie Seth s 
Chaurasi temple, to the shrine of Gartesvar, 'the God of the Moat,' and so on 
to the Mahavidya hill and the temple of Gokarnesvar near the Sarasvati Sangam. 

At the distance of about a mile to the south-west of these ancient ram- 
parts, at the junction of the boundaries of the township of Mathura and the vil- 
lages of Bakirpur and Giridharpur, is a group of some twelve or fourteen cir- 
cular mounds, commonly known as the Chauwara mounds, from a rest-house 
that once stood thei'e ; Chauwdva and Chaupdl being different forms of the same 
word, like gopdla and gwala. They are strewn with fragments of brick and 
stone and would seem all to have been stiipas. As they are to the north of the 
Jamalpur mound, they may with great probability be identified with the stupas 
described by Hwen Thsang as lying to the north of the monkey tank and mark- 
ing the spots that had been hallowed by the presence of the 1,250 famous 
teachers of the law. 

In the year 1868, the new road to Sonkh was carried through one of these 
mounds, and in the centre was disclosed a masonry ceil containing a small gold 
reliquary, the size and shape of a pill-box. Inside was a tooth, the safe-guard 
of which was the sole object of box, cell, and hill ; but it was thrown away as 
of no value. The box was preserved on account of the material and has been 
given to the writer by Mr. Hind the district engineer, whose workmen had 
discovered it. 


Another mound was, as I am informed, examined, by General Cunningham 
in 1872, when, on sinking a well through its centre, he found, at a depth of 13i 
feet from the summit, a small steatite relic casket imbedded in a mass of un- 
burnt bricks. Here I found subsequently the head of a colossal figure of very 
Egyptian cast of features with a round hole in its forehead, in which was once 
set a ruby or other precious stone. The lower part of a large seated Buddha 
was also unearthed with an inscription in the Pali character on the ledge 
beneath, of which the first three words read Mahdmjasi/a Devaputrasya Huvish- 
kasya, i. e., 'of the great king, the heaven-born Huvishka,' followed by the date 
sam 33, gri 1, di 8, 'the 8th day of the 1st summer month of the 33rd year.' 
The remainder has not been deciphered with any certainty. I found also seve- 
ral cross-bars and uprights of Buddhist rails of different sizes and a great number 
of small fragments of male and female figures, animals, grotesques, and decora- 
tive patterns, showing that the sculptures here must have been far more varied 
in design than at most of the other sites. One of the uprights has a well-executed 
and decently draped figure of a dancing-girl, with the right hand raised and 
two fingers placed upon her chin. The lower part of the post has been broken 
away, carrying with it her feet and the third of the three groups at the back. Of 
tin- two groups that remain, the upper one represents two seated figures, appa- 
rently a teacher and his disciple, with two attendants standing in the back-ground, 
and has a single line of inscription below, recording the donor's name. The 
second group shows a sacred tree, enclosed with the conventional rails, and a 
pilgrim on either side approaching in an attitude of veneration. The only 
other sculpture deserving special notice is a small bas-relief that represents a 
capacious throne resembling a garden chair of rustic wood-work, with a foot- 
stool in front of it and some drapery spread over the seat, on which is placed 
a relic casket. In the back-ground are two figures leaning over the high back 
of the chair. Their peculiarly furtive attitude is characteristic of the style ; 
almost every group includes one or more figures peeping over a balcony, or a 
curtain, or from behind a tree. On this stone was found a copper coin so much 
corroded that no legend was visible, but bearing in its centre a running figure, 
which was the device employed both by Kanishka and Huvishka. I had gteal 
hopes of discovering another inscription here, as I had picked up a small frag- 
ment with the letters , that is, 'Budhanam,' cut very clear and deep ; but 
my search was unsuccessful. Digging in the field some twenty paces from 
the base of the mound, I came upon the original pavement only two or three 
feet below the surface, with three large square graduated pedestals, ranged in 
close line, one overthrown, the other two erect. A capital, found by General 


Cunningham in 1872, measuring 3ft. X 2 X 2, and carved with four winged lions 
and bulls conjoined, probably belonged to one of the pillars that had surmount- 
ed these pedestals. Thay have been put in the local museum, together with the 
antiquities above described and the knee of a colossal statue found by General 
Cunningham in sinking the well through the centre of the mound. A large dry 
tank, adjoining the mound, is proved to be also of Buddhist construction, as I had 
anticipated ; for I found in one of the mounds on its margin a broken stone 
inscribed with the letters jU.\l that is, 'Danain Chh.' 

Between the Kankali Tila and these Chauwara mounds, all the fields are 
dotted with others, so close together and so much worn by time that they can scarcely 
be distinguished from the natural level of the ground. One that I searched, 
after an exploration extending over several days, yielded nothing beyond a 
few arabesque fragments and, at a depth of six feet below the surface, a small 
pediment containing in a niche, flanked by fabulous monsters and surmounted 
by the mystic wheel, a figure of Buddha, canopied by a many-headed serpent 
and seated on a lion throne. A mound immediately adjoining the pillar that 
marks the boundary of the township of Mathura and the villages of Maholi 
and Pali-khera, lying due south of the Kankali Tila and east of the Girdhar- 
pur mound, has yielded a strange squat figure of a dwarf, three feet nine 
inches high and two feet broad, of uncertain antiquity ; and at another mound, 
just outside the Pali-khera, village site, I came upon the counter-part of Colo- 
nel Stacey's so-called Silenus, which he found in 183(3 and placed in the Asiatic 
Society's Museum in Calcutta, where it still is. A full description of this 
curious sculpture will be given in another chapter. On further excavating the 
mound, in which I found it, I discovered in situ three bell-shaped bases of large 
columns at 13 feet distance from one another, at the three corners of a square ; 
the fourth had completely disappeared. In clearing the space between them I 
came upon some small figures of baked clay, glazed, of a bluish colour, similar 
in character to the toys still sold at Hindu fairs ; also a few small fragments 
of carved stone and some corroded pieces of metal bangles. According to 
village tradition this khera was the fort of a demon, Nonasur ; the exploration 
proves it to have been a Buddhist site; it adjoins a temple court, of the early 
part of the 17th century, now occupied by a married Bairagi as an ordinary 
dwelling-house. Close by, on the border of the hamlet of Dhan Sinh, is a 
small Buddhist rail (now reverenced as the village Devi) with the usual figure of 
Buddha's mother under the sal tree on its front, and three roses at the back. 
A few paces further on is the central portion of a very large Buddhist pillar, 
with a head on either side, the exact counter-part of one that I extracted from 
the Chhatthi Palna at Mahaban. 


The hill known as the Kans ka Tila just outside the south, or, as it is called, 
the Holi Gate of the city, is supposed to be the one from the summit of which 
the tyrant of that name was tumbled down by Krishna. General Cunningham 
suggests that this might be one of the seven great sttipas mentioned by the 
Chinese pilgrims, and adds that oh the north of the city there are two hills still 
bearing the names of Anand and Vinayaka, titles which they specify. But in 
this it appears that he was misinformed, as no such localities can be traced. 
Of the hills to the north of Mathura, the most conspicuous are the Kailas and 
Mahal* or Jaysinhpu-ra khera, sometimes called the Ganes from the Ghat of that 
name which is immediately below it. An Anant tirtha, easily to be confounded 
with Anand, is noted in the Mathura Mahatraya ; and the fact that Vinayaka, 
besides its Buddhist meaning, is also an epithet of Ganes, may have given rise 
to an error in the other name. The Kans ka Tila certainly appears to be pri- 
marily of natural formation and hence to have been selected as the river 
boundary of the old city wall. The whole country, indeed, has been broken up 
into heights and hollows of indefinite number and extent : but most ancient 
Buddhist sites must be looked for at a greater distance from the river and out- 
side the modern city, in what is now open country at the back of the katra, 
and in the direction of Maholi, the ancient Madhu-puri, where the aboriginal 
Madhu held his court. Subsequently to his defeat, the Aryan city was 
built in the neighbourhood of the present Katra and the temple of Bhiitesvar ; 
and, being the seat of the new Government, it appropriated in a special way 
the name which formerly had denoted, not the capital, but the whole extent of 
territory. This view is confirmed by observing that, philologically, ' Mathura ' 
appears a more fitting name for a country than for a city, and one that could 
be applied to the latter only inferentially. The present city is the third in 
order and has for its centre the Fort ; as the second had the temple of Bhutesvar, 
and the first the grove of Madhu-ban. Thus, speaking generally, the further 
we move back from the city in the direction of Maholi, the older will probably 
be the date of any antiquities that may be discovered. 

* So called from a dwelliag-kouse that was built there by Sawae Jay Sink. 




On the decline of Buddhism, Mathura acquired that character for sanctity 
which it still retains, as the reputed birth-place of the deified Krishna. Or,, 
more probably, the triumph of Buddhism was a mere episode, on the conclu- 
sion of which the city recovered a character which it had before enjoyed at a, 
much earlier period ; for it may be inferred from the language of the Greek 
geographers that Bxahrnanism was in their time the religion of the country,, 
while Hindu tradition is uniform in maintaining its claims both to holiness and, 
antiquity. Thus it is represented, as the second of the capitals of the Lunar 
race, which were in succession Prayag, Mathura, Knsasthali, and Dwaraka : 
and in the following well-known couplet it is ranked among the seven sanc-^ 
tuaries of Hindustan : — 

Kasi Kanti cha Mdydkhya twayedhyi Dwaravatyapi 
Mathuravantika chaita sapta puryo tra mokshadah. 

"Kasi (i.e., Banaras), Kanti (probably Kanchi), Maya {i.e.,. Haridwar)^ 
with Ayodhya, Dwaravati, Mathura, and Avantikii, are the seven cities of. 

At the present day it has no lack of stately edifices, with which, as described 
of old in the Harivansa, " it rises beautiful as the cresent moon over the dark 
stream of the Jamuna ;* but they are all modern. The neighbourhood is 
crowded with sacred sites, which for many generations have been reverenced' 
as the traditionary scenes of Krishna's adventures ; but, thanks to Muhammadan- 
intolerance, there is not a single building of any antiquity cither in the city itselt 
or its environs. Its most famous temple — that dedicated to Kesava Deva — was 
destroyed, as already mentioned, in 1669, the eleventh year of the reign of the 
ienoclastic Aurangzeb. The mosque erected on its ruins is a building of little 
architectural value, but the natural advantages of its lofty and isolated position 
render it a striking feature in the landscape. The so-called katra, in which it 
stands, a place to which frequent allusion has been made in the previous chapter, 
is an oblong enclosure, like a sarde, 104 feet in length by 653 feet in breadth. 
In its centre is a raised terrace, 172 feet long and 86 feet broad, upon wnicl 

* ^^^TTrfi^IIJT ZJ*RTrfirJ3Tfri?IT II Uariyansa, 3,J0O. 


now stands the mosque, occupying its entire length, but only 60 feet of its 
breadth. About five feet lower is another terrace, measuring 286 feet by 268. 
There may still be observed, let into the Muhammadan pavement, some votive 
tablets with Nagari inscriptions, dated Sambat 1713 and 1720, corresponding 
to 1656 and 1663 A. D. In the latter year the temple attracted the notice of 
the traveller Bernier, who writes : — " Between Delhi and Agra, a distance of 
fifty or sixty leagues, there are no fine towns ; the whole road is cheerless and 
uninteresting ; nothing is worthy of observation but Mathura, where an an- 
cient and magnificent pagan temple is still to be seen." The plinth of tho 
temple-wall may be traced to this day at the back of the mosque and at right 
angles to it for a distance of 163 feet ; but not a vestige of the superstruc- 
ture has been allowed to remain. 

The following description of this famous building is given by Tavernier, 
who visited it about the year 1650. He writes : — " After the temples of Jagre- 
nath and Banarous, the most important is that of Matura, about 18 kos* from 
Agra on the road to Delhi. It is one of the most sumptuous edifices in all 
India, and the place where there used to be formerly the greatest concourse of 
pilgrims ; but now they are not so many, the Hindus having gradually lost 
their previous veneration for the temple, on account of the Jamuna, which 
used to pass close by, now having changed its bed and formed a new channel 
half a league away. For, after bathing in the river, they lose too much time 
in returning to the temple, and on the way might come across something to 
render them unclean. 

" The temple is of such a vast size that, though in a hollow, one can see it five 
or six kos off, the building being very lofty and very magnificent. The stone 
used in it is of a reddish tint, brought from a large quarry near Agra. It splits 
like our slate, and you can have slabs 15 feet long and nine or ten broad and only 
some six inches thick ; in fact, you can split them just as you like and according 
to your requirements, while you can also have fine columns. The whole of the 
fort at Agra, the walls of Jehanabad, the king's palace, and some of the 
houses of the nobles are built of this stone. To return to the temple. — It is set 
on a large octagonal platform, which is all faced with cut stone, and has round 
about it two bands of many kinds of animals, but particularly monkeys, in relief ; 

* Here he states the distance correctly ; but in another place he gives the Btages from Delhi 
to Agra as follows :— " From Delhi to Badelpoura, 8 Ao.« ; from Badelpoura to l'clwel ki sera, 
18 ; from Pelwel ki sera to Cot ki sera (Kosi) 15 ; from Cot ki sera to Chcki sera (Mathura, « Cheki' 
standing for 'Shihki') 16; from Cheki sera to Goodki sera, 5 ; from Gooki sera to Agra. 
One stage must have been oaiitted at the end. 


the one band being only two feet off the ground level, the other two feet from 
the top. The ascent is by two staircases of 15 or 16 steps each ; the steps 
being only two feet in length, so that two people cannot mount abreast. One of 
these staircases leads to the grand entrance of the temple, the other to the back 
of the choir. The temple, however, occupies only half the platform, the other 
half making a grand square in front. Like other temples, it is in the form of a 
cross, and has a great dome in the middle with two rather smaller at the end. 
Outside, the building is covered from top to bottom with figures of animals, 
such as rams, monkeys, and elephants, carved in stone : and all round there are 
nothing but niches occupied by different monsters. In each of the three towers 
there are, at every stage from the base to the pinnacle, windows five or six feet 
high, each provided with a kind of balcony where four persons can sit. Each 
balcony is covered with a little vault, supported some by four, others by eight 
columns arranged in pairs and all touching. Round these towers there are yet 
more niches full of figures representing demons ; one has four arms, another 
four legs ; some, human heads on bodies of horned beasts with long tails twining 
round their thighs. There are also many figures of monkeys, and it is quite 
shocking to have before one's eyes such a host of monstrosities. 

" The pagoda has only one entrance, which is very lofty, with many columns 
and images of men and beasts on either side. The choir is enclosed by a screen 
composed of stone pillars, five or 6 inches in diameter, and no one is allowed 
inside but the chief Brahmans, who make use of a little secret door which I could 
not discover. When in the temple, I asked some of the Brahmans if I could 
see the great Ram Ram, meaning the great idol. They replied that if I would 
give them something, they would go and ask permission of their superior :* 
which they did as soon as I had put in their hands a couple of rupees After 
waiting about half an hour, the Brahmans opened a door on the inside in the 
middle of the screen — outside, the screen is entirely closed — and, at about 15 or 
16 feet from the door, I saw, as it were, a square altar, covered with old gold 

* Regarding the veneration paid to the head of the temple. Tavemier, in another place, 
relates the following anecdote : — " While I was at Agra, in the year 16-42, a very odd thing hap- 
pened. A Hindu hroker in Dutch employ, by name Voldas, some SO or so years of age, received 
tidings of the death of the chief Brahman, that is to say, the high priest of the temple of 
Mathura. He at once went to the head of the office and begged him to take his accounts and 
finish them off, for as his high priest was dead he wished to die too, that he might serve the holj- 
man in the other world. Directly his accounts had been inspected, he got into his carriage 
together with some relations who followed him, and as he had taken nothing cither to eat or 
drink since the news had reached him, he died on the road, without ever expressing a wish 
for any food." 


and silver brocade, and on it the great idol that they call Ram Earn. The head 
only is visible and is of very black marble, with what seemed to be two rubies 
for eyes. The whole body from the neck to the feet was covered with an 
embroidered robe of red velvet and no arms could be seen. There were two 
other idols, one on either side, two feet high, or thereabouts, and got up in the 
■same style, only with white faces ; these they Called Becchor. I also noticed in 
the temple a structure 15 or 16" feet square, and from 12 to 15 feet high, 
covered with coloured clothes representing all sorts of demons. This structure 
was raised on four little wheels, and they told me it was the moveable altar 
on which they set the great god on high feast days, when he goes to visit the 
other gods, and when they take him to the river with all the people on their 
chief holiday." 

From the above description, the temple Would seem to have been crowded 
with coarse figure-sculptures, and not in such pure taste as the somewhat older. 
temple of Govind Deva at Brinda-ban ; but it must still have been a most 
sumptuous and imposing edifice, and we cannot but detest the bigotry of the 
barbarian who destroyed it. At the time of its demolition it had been in exist- 
ence only some fifty years, but it is certain that an earlier shrine, or series of 
shrines, on the same site and under the same dedication, had been famous for 
many ages. Thus it is said in the Varaha Purana— 

Na Kesava samo deva na Mathura sarno dvija, 
" No god like Kesava, and no Brahman like a Mathuriya Chaube. " 

In still earlier times the site now wrested by the Muhammadans from the 
Hindus had been seized by the Hindus themselves to the prejudice of another 
religion, as is attested by the Buddhist remains which we have already describ- 
ed as found there. 

With regard to the change in the course of the stream, all engineers whom 
I have consulted are unanimous in declaring that the main channel of the 
Jamuna can never in historic time have been at the foot of the temple, as 
Tavernier imagined. The traces of fluvial action, which he observed, are 
uumistakeable, but they date from the most remote antiquity. This, however, 
need not occasion any difficulty : for, as Madhu-puri, the first capital, was 
established at a point which clearly the Jamuna could never have reached, there 
is no improbability in supposing that the second capital also, though much 
nearer the stream, was not actually on its bank. The temples which Fa Hian 
mentions as being on the other side of the river were probably situate at Isapur 
and Maha-ban. It is also to be noted that a tributary stream, the bed of which 



is now partly occupied by the Delhi road, did certainly flow past the katra. This 
being joined, at the point still called the Sangam, or ' confluence, ' by another 
considerable water-course from the opposite direction, fell into the channel now 
crossed by the Seth's bridge, and so reached the Jarnuna. 

In anticipation of Aurangzeb's raid, the ancient image of Kesava Deva 
was removed by Ram Raj Sinh of Mewar, and was set up on the spot where, 
as they journeyed, the wheels of the chariot sank in the deep sand and refused 
to be extricated. It happened to be an obscure little village, then called Siarh, 
on the Bansis, 22 miles north-east of Udaypur. But the old name is now lost 
in the celebrity of the temple of Nath Ji, ' the Lord," which gives its designation 
to the town of Nath-dwara, which has grown up round it.* This is the most 
highly venerated of all the statues of Krishna. There are seven others of great 
repute, which also deserve mention here, as a large proportion of them came 
from the neighbourhood of Mathura, viz., Nava-nita, which is also at Nath-dwara ; 
Mathura-nath at Kota ; Dwaraka-nath at Kankarauli, brought from Kanauj ; 
Bal Kishan at Surat, from Maha-ban ; Bitthal-nath or Pandu-rang at Kota, 
from Banaras ; Madan Mohan from Brinda-ban ; and Gokul-nath and Goknl 
chandrama, both from Gokul. These two last were at Jaypur till a few years 
ago, when, in consequence of the Maharaja's dislike to all the votaries of 
Vishnu, they were removed to Kam-ban in Bharat-pur territory. In all pro- 
bability before very long they will be brought back to their original homes. 

At the back of the katra is the modern temple of Kesava Deva, a cloistered 
quadrangle of no particular archtectural merit and, except on special occasions. 

* It is described, iu the lately published report of the Indian Survey Department, as "a 
large walled city on the right bank of the Bands river. On the north-east and south it is surround- 
ed by hills, but to the west, across the river, which here takes a very sharp bend, it is fairly 
open. It has the reputation of being an enormously wealthy city, which I have no doubt is 
true, as it is a great place of pilgrimage ; every pilgrim giving what he can as an offering at the 
shriue of Srinath. Amongst the more valuable presents given to the Brahmans, are elephants 
and cattle ; large herds of the latter graze on the hills to the east of the city, where there is a 
regular cattle farm surrounded by a high wall and guarded by sepoys ; the cows in milk receive 
a daily ration of grain, all sorts mixed, which is boiled in an immense iron caldron. About 
two years ago the Mahant, or head Go^ain, of Nath-dwara, became troublesome, ignoring all 
orders of the Darbar, and otherwise misconducted himself to such an extent (hat it was found 
necessary to send a force against him. It was supposed that he would resist, but on seeing some 
gunB commanding his city, he gave in ; he was banished to Mathui a and his sou allowed to take 
his place; but at the same time 300 sepoys, under the orders of a Kamdar, appointed by the 
Darbar, were stationed there toensure his good behaviour. Even now it is a place rather to be 
avoided, as the Brahmans are a very independent set and apt to he insolent on very small 
provoca'ion. All fishing and shooting is strictly prohibited within the ground belonging to 
this city. 


little frequented, in consequence of its distance from the main town. It is 
supported by an annual endowment of Its. 1,027, the rents of the village of 
Undi in the Chhata pargana. Close by is a very large quadrangular tank of 
solid masonry, called the Potara-kund, in which, as the name denotes, Krish- 
na's ' baby linen' was washed. There is little or no architectural decoration, 
but the great size and massiveness of the work render it imposing, while the 
effect is much enhanced by the venerable trees which overhang the enclosing 
wall. Unfortunately, the soil is so porous that the supply of water is rapidly 
absorbed, and in every season but the rains the long flights of steps are drv to 
their very base. Its last restoration was made, at considerable cost, in 1850, by 
the Kamdar of the Gwaliar Raj. It might now be easily filled from the canal. 
A small cell on the margin of the tank, called indifferent! v Kara-grab., 'the 
prison-house, ' or Janm-bhumi, ' the birth-place, ' marks the spot where Yasu- 
deva and Devaki were kept in confinement, and where their son Krishna was 
born. The adjoining suburb, in its name Mallpura, commemorate-, it is said, 
Ivansa's two famous mallas, i. e., ' wrestlers, ' Chanura and Mushtika. At the 
back of the Potara-kund and within the circuit of the Dhul-kot, or old ramparts 
of the city, is a very large mound (where a railway engineer had a house 
before the Mutiny) which would seem to have been the site of some large Bud- 
dhist establishment. It is strewn with broken bits of stone and fragments of 
sculpture, and I found in particular two large but headless and armless and other- 
wise mutilated figures of Buddha seated and fully clothed. In this respect they 
agreed with all the figures found in this particular neighbourhood, as also in 
the position of the han'ds, which are not crossed on the feet, but the right is 
raised in admonition, while the left rests on the thigh. At the Kankali tila the 
statues are mostly nude ; and at the Jamalpur mound they are more commonly 
standing than seated. 

In connection with the discovery of Buddhist antiquities, allusion has already 
been made to the temple of Bhutesvar Mahadeva, which overlooks the old and 
ruinous Balbhadra-kund. In its present form it is a quadrangle of ordinary 
character with pyramidal tower and cloister built by the Mahrattas towards the 
end of last century. The site has probably been occupied by successive reli- 
gious buildings from most remote antiquity, and was at one time the centre of 
the town of Mathura, which has now moved away from it more than a mile to 
the east. In the earlier days of Brahmanism, before the development of the 
Krishna cultus, it may bo surmised that Bhutesvar was the special local 
divinity. There are in Braj three other shrines of Mahadeva, which are also of 
high traditional repute in spite of the meanness of their modern accessories, 


viv., Kamesvar at Kama, Chakresvar at Gobardban, and Gopesvar at Brinda* 
ban. A mela is held by the Balbhadra-kund on the full moon of Sravan, the 
feast of the Saliino. The pond was partially cleaned out and repaired as a relict 
work during the late famine, and, as the Aring navigation channel terminates 
in a reservoir close by, there will now be no difficulty in keeping it always filled 
with water. This branch of the canal has a length of eight or nine miles, 
with two locks, one at Ganesra, the other immediately opposite the Chaurasi 
temple. For some little distance it runs directly under the Dhiil-kot, or old 
city wall. 

Of the many little shrines that cluster about the Balbhadra-kund, one is 
dedicated to Balarama under his title of Dau-ji, ' the elder brother ;' another 
to Ganes, and a third to Nar-Sinha, ' the man-lion,' the fourth incarnation 
of Vishnu. According to the legend, there was an impious king, by name 
Hiranya Kasipu, who claimed universal sovereignty over all powers on earth, 
in heaven, and hell. No one had the hardihood to oppose him, save his own 
son, the pious prince Prahlad, who was for ever singing the praises of the 
great god Vishnu. " If," said the king, " your god is everywhere present, 
let him now show himself in this pillar which I strike." At the word the 
pillar parted in twain and revealed the god in terrible form, half lion half 
man, who seized the boastful monarch and tore him in pieces and devoured him. 

In an adjoining orchard called the Kazi's Bagh is a small modern moscpie, 
and in connection with it a curious square building of red sand-stone. It now 
encloses a Mubammadan tomb, and in all probability was originally constructed 
for that purpose, though it has nothing Saracenic about it and is a good 
specimen of the pure Hindu style of architecture, with characteristic columns and 
square architraves supported on brackets instead of arches. Similarly, almost all 
the oldest buildings that now remain in and about the city are houses or tombs, 
that were constructed for Muhammadans by Hindus and in purely Hindu style. 
At the present day all the new buildings are intended for Hindu use, but 
their architectural forms have been greatly modified by Mubammadan influ- 

After leaving the great entrance to the katra, the Dehli road passes a ma- 
sonry well* called ' Kubja's' in commemoration of tho miracle which Krishna 
wrought in straightening the hump-backed maiden who met him there. The 

* Immediately opposite the well a fragment of a sculptured Buddhist pillar has beeu set up, and 
receives religious honours as representing the Hindu goddess Devi. 


tan to the right loads into the city by the Brinda-ban gate, under the Ambarisha 
hill, and past the Shahganj sarae, which has a once handsome, but now sadly 
ruinons, stone front. In the Muliainmadan burial-ground, on the opposite side 
of the street, is a fine large stone Chhattri, similar to the one near the Idgah at 
Maha-bau, which commemorates Ali Khan, the local Governor of that town. It 
is probably of the reign of Akbar, and is said to cover the ashes of a certain 
Khwaja. Nearer the roadside is an unfinished square stone building with very 
eleo-aut tracery, which is said to have been commenced as the monument 
of some grandee of Darbhanga. The handsome bridge which here crosses the 
natural water-course known as the Sarasvati Sangam, or ' confluence of the 
Sarasvati,' was built by Seth Lakhmi Chand in 1849. 

To the right of it is a temple of Mahadeva, which forms a very conspicuous 
object. It was built in the year 1850 by Ajudhya Prasad of Lucknow, and 
the court-yard is in the debased style of architecture for which that city is no- 
torious. Close by is a walled garden with another temple to the same divinity 
and a much frequented stone ghat on the river-bank, all constructed at the cost 
of Sri Gopal, the head of tbe money-changers in the city, who is now represent- 
ed by his son Radha Krishan. Round the garden wall on the inner side are 
frooms for the accommodation of pilgrims, the arches being filled in with doors 
and panels of reticulated tracery, in wood. A daily distribution of grain is here 
■made to the poor. The adjoining hill is called Kailas, and on its slope is the 
shrine of Gokarnesvar, who is represented as a giant seated figure, with enormous 
eyes and long hair and beard and moustaches. In one hand is what appears to 
be a wine cup, in the other some flowers or grapes. The stone is much worn. 
The figure is certainly of great antiquity and might have been originally intend- 
ed to represent some Indo-Scythian king. In a niche in the wall are two small 
statues, about 1£ foot high, called by the Brahmans Sati and Parvati. They 
really are both well executed and early figures of Buddha, seated and preaching. 
One has lost the right hand. In the same set of buildings is the tomb of Gauta- 
ma Rishi. Now, Gokarna is the name of a place near the Malabar coast where 
Bhagirath practised austerities before he brought down the Ganges from 
heaven, and Gotama (not Gautama) is the author of some of the hymns in 
the Rig Veda $ so that both names might be connected with Hinduism ; but 
•both are also Buddhist, and this fact, combined with the existence of unmis- 
takeably Buddhist sculptures on the spot, may be taken as proof that this is 
one of the old Buddhist sites. Gautama, it need scarcely be said, is one of the 
■commonest names of Buddha himself, and Gokarnesvar is one of the eight great 
Vita-ragas, or passionless deified saints. 



Immediately under the bridge is a shrine hearing the singular name of 
Gargi S&rgi, or as it is sometimes called the Great and Little Pathawari. 
They are said to have been the two wives of Gokarn, who when translated 
to heaven became the equal of Mahadeva. The mantra to be repeated in honour 
of the younger lady runs as follows : — 

WR 3T3 ^TK S^T re^5TTO?ft il 

" Honour to thee, divine Sargi, the Rishi's beautiful wife, happy mother; 
beneficent incarnation of Gauri, ever bestowing success." 

Here are several other groups of rude vermilion-stained stones, some in. 
the open, some housed in shrines of their own, which do duty for Bhairav, 
Sitala Devi, and Masani. Two fragments are of Buddhist type : one a rail, the 
other a sculpture of Maya Devi standing under a pillar with bell-shaped capi- 
tal. Opposite the Kailas hill, across the road, is an open plain, where the 
sports of the Earn Lila are celebrated on the festival of the Dasahara. Close 
by is a tank called the Sarasvati-kund, measuring 125 feet square. Owing to 
some fault in the construction, it is almost always dry, and the adjoininc build- 
ings have also rather a ruinous and deserted appearance. "We learn, however 
from the following inscription, which is on a tablet over the entrance to the 
temnle, that the last restoration was completed so recently as the year 1846 : 

3Scli <g# T$ rJTUrl ^qZJT ^JM Wfffl SnlFFST 7JO q^ go <j£0? || 

The above, which exhibits several peculiarities, both in style and phraseo- 
logy, may be rendered as follows : — " Baladeva Gosain, resident of the Da- 
savatar Gali of Mathura, the devoted servantofthe venerable contemplative ascetic 
the right reverend Swami Paramhans, thoroughly restored from ruin the Saras- 
vati-kund, and built this new tomple and iu due form set. up a god in it. His agents 


were Chhote Lai and Mannii Lai, Samidhs ; the head of the works Chunni : 
the cost Rs. 2,735. Kiirtik audi 13th, Sambat 1903." TheSwaini's actual name 
was Narayan, and his disciple, Baladeva, was a foundling whom he picked up 
in the street. Both were Pandits of high local repute. 

At no great distance is the temple of Maha Vidya, Devi. The original image 
with that dedication is said to have been set up by the Pandavas ; the present 
shrine, a Sikhara of ordinary character in a small quadrangle, was built by the 
Peshwa towards the end of last century. The hill upon which it stands is ascended 
by flights of masonry steps between 30 and 40 in number. At the foot is a small 
dry tank, completely overgown with a dense jungle of her, pUu, and kins. In the 
court-yard, which occupies the entire plateau, is a karil tree said to be of enormous 
age, under which were to be seen, among other fragments, a Buddhist pillar 
carved with the figure of Maya Devi under the sal-tree, and a square stone box 
with a seated Buddha on each of its four sides. Two melas are held here on 
the 8th of the light fortnight of Chait and Kuwar. This again, like Gokarnesvar, 
is unquestionably one of the old Buddhist sites, with its name still unchanged ; 
for Mahavidya or Vidya Devi is, strictly speaking, a Buddhist goddess. 

The Jaysinh-pura Khera, which overlooks the Sarasvati Sangam and is sepa- 
rated by a deep ravine from the Mahavidya hill, is of great extent and has been 
tunnelled all over in search for bricks. Several Buddhist sculptures have been 
found at different timeo and collected at a shrine of Chamund Devi, which is 
immediately under the khera at the back of Seth Mangi Lai's new garden, 
whence I brought away some of the best for the museum. Across the road, 
under Jay Sinh's old palace, I found, in the bed of the river, near the ghat 
erected by one of Sindhia's generals and hence called the Senapati's, a draped. 
Buddhist figure of the earliest period,, with a Pali inscription at the base, so 
much obliterated by the washermen, who had used it for beating linen upon, 
that only a few letters here and there were legible. The figure had lost both 
head and hands, but was otherwise in good preservation; 

At several of the holy places, as we have had occasion to remark, a large tank 
forms one of the principal features ; but the only one that can be called a success 
is the Siva tal, not far from the Kankali tila. This is a spacious quadrangular 
basin of great depth and always well supplied with water. It is enclosed in 
high boundary wall with corner kiosques and a small arched doorway in the- 
centre of three of its sides. On the fourth side is the slope for watering cattle 
or. ' go-ghat,' with two memorial inscriptions facing each other, the one in. 


Sanskrit, the other in Persian ; from which we learn that the tank was con* 
structed by order of Raja Patni Mall (of Banaras) in the year 1807 A.D. :— 

ssfm^TTTjTUjrgFf m^ri ^mm^t fajw 

rlWIr^lTf%ra: firlT Tw vzwi Iff ^ TT^lf^: 

" In the holy circuit of Mathnra, reverenced by the gods, pure home of the 
Votaries of Siva, is a sacred place, whose virtues are told in the Varaha Parana, 
inaccessible by men save through the efficacy of virtuous deeds performed in a 
previous state of existence ; chief of all sacred places, giver of special graces : 
a pellucid lake, whose praises no length of time would suffice fully to tell. After 
a careful survey and employing the best of architects, who adorned it with 
tracery of varied design, the ceremony of its donation was performed by Raja 
Patni Mall through the Brahmans, causing gladness like that which arises from 
the touch of the foot of Vishnu, rejoicing even the gods. In the year of the 
(4) oceans, the (6) members, the (8) elephants, and the (solitary) moon (that is, 
Sambat 1804) on Friday, the 10th of the light fortnight of the month Jeth." 

cyli-e JU «..».*•• ^> tj^^/^i ^'j * |»^ £ iJ- M ^l C^y* f^~ lj*' u^^u*^ 

" He is the one who is asked for help and who is constantly worshipped. The 
famous remains of this ancient shrine in the neighbourhood of Mathnra, the 
place of pilgrimage from all six quarters, have now been renewed. When the 









old buildings of the Siva tal were restored by that generous and benevolent 
founder, the goal of good deeds, the b'estower of benefits on all the people of the 
world, the centre of public gratitude, Raja Patni Mall, Bahadur, fountain of 
excellent virtue ; then the year pf its construction — for the remembrance of all 
the world — was found to be 1222. Thought (or the poet Zaka) suggested the 
following tarikk according to the abjad reckoning [illegible] water of life." 

The design and execution are both of singular excellence and reflect the high- 
est credit on the architect whom he employed ; the sculptured arcades, which pro- 
ject far into the centre of the basin and break up the long flights of steps into 
three compartments on each side, being especially graceful. The place is visited 
by a large number of bathers from the neigbourhood every morning and is 
the scene of an annual mela held on the 11th of the dark fortnight of the month 
Bhadon. Outside the enclosure is a small temple in the same style of architec- 
ture dedicated to Mahadeva under the title of Achalesvar. In the Manoharpur 
quarter oi the city is a large temple of this Raja's foundation, bearing the title 
of Dirgha Vishnu. The name is unusual and refers to the 'gigantic' stature 
which the boy Krishna assumed when he entered the arena to fight with Kansa's 
champions, Chanura and Mushtika. The Raja's dwelling-house is still stand- 
ing, on the Nakarchi tila, and was recently occupied for a time as a normal 
school for the training of female teachers. He is further commemorated by 
another small shrine near the Holi gate of the city, which he rebuilt in honour 
of Vira-bhadra, the terrible being created by Siva and Devi in their wrath, to 
disturb the sacrifice of Daksha, a ceremony to which they had not been invited. 
His great ambition was to rebuild the ancient temple of Kesava Deva, and 
with this view he had gradually acquired a considerable part of the site. But 
as some of the Muhammadans, who had occupied the ground for nearly two 
centuries, refused to be bought out and the law upheld them in their refusal, 
he was at last, and after great expense had been incurred, reluctantly obliged 
to abandon the idea. Should a stranger visit the tank early in the morning 
and enquire of any Hindu he meets there by whom it was constructed, he will 
find considerable difficulty in eliciting a straightforward answer. The Raja, 
it is said, was a man of such delicate constitution that he never could take at 
one time more than a very few morsels even of the simplest food ; hence arises a 
belief that any one, who mentions him by name the first thing in the morning, 
will, like him, have to pass the day fasting. 

From the katra, the centre of all the localities which we have hitherto been 
describing, a fine broad road has been carried through the high ridge, which 



appears to have been at one time part of the mediaeval city wall, down to the 
ed<- r e of the river. On the right-hand side is the stone-cutters' quarter with the 
small old temple of Bankhandi Mahiideva, near which is a high mound, lying back 
from the main streets between the dispensary and the kotwali, and now crown- 
ed by a ruinous little shrine dedicated to Bihari ; from this I brought a Bud- 
dhist pillar, bearing the figure of a dancing-girl, with a leonine monster at her 
feet and over her head a group representing a teacher of the law seated under an 
umbrella addressing an audience often persons. To the left of the road is the 
suburb of Manoharpur, with a mosque which, as we learn from the following 
inscription over the centre arch, was erected hi the year 1158 Hijri, i. e. 1745 
A.D., during the reign of Muhammad Shah : — 


•■•; &-. . - , ' S / ' ^_-) kJ 

" In the reign of Shah Muhammad Shah, Abdurrashid built this mosque : 
thought suggested the tdrikh, ' He built a beautiful mosque.' '' [A. H. 1158 ;• 
or A.D. 1745]. 

From an adjoining street, where it had been built up into a mud wall, I 
removed to the museum a stone fragment of exceptional interest. It is only a 
small headless seated nude figure and, to judge from the style of the sculpture 
and the ill-formed letters in the Pali inscription at the base, is of no very 
great antiquity. Under it is a row of six. standing figures, three on either 
side of a central chukra. The inscription records nothing whatever beyond 
the date, but this is given both in words and figures as follows : Samnatsare 
sapta panydse 57 hemanta tritiye divase trayadasc asya purvayam, that is to 
say ' in tin; year fifty-seven (57) on the thirteenth day of the third winter 
month.' It is curious in two ways : first, because it definitely fixes, beyond 
any possibility of doubt, the value of the symbol representing 50 ; and 
secondly, because if the date is really the year 57 of the same era as that 
employed in the inscriptions of Kanishka and Huvishka, it is the earliest 
unmistakeable Jaina figure yet found in the neighbourhood. The computation 
by seasons certainly favours the idea of antiquity and the argument for its 
modern date, derived from the character of the sculpture and of the lettering, 
may be deceptive ; for at any period different styles both of carving and writing 
may exist simultaneously ; yet probably the solution of the difficulty is to be 
found in Mr. Thomas's theory already mentioned, according to which the date 
is not given in full, hut specifies only the year of the century, omitting the 
century itself, as being at the time well known. 


Tn the streets are many broken Buddhist pillars and other sculptures. Tho- 
road was constructed in the collectorate of Mr. Best, and in the progress of the 
work a column was found bearing an inscription in some ancient character ; to 
reduce the size of the stone, the inscribed face was ruthlessly cut away, and it 
was then converted into a buttress for a bridge. As it approaches the river, the 
road opens out into a fine square, with graceful arcades of carved stone. 
These are the property of the Maharaja of Bharat-pur and Gosain Purushottam 
Lai, and, though ordinarily they have rather a deserted appearance, on the 
©casion of any great local festival they let for as much as Rs. 2 to 3 each a 
day- On the other side of the square opposite the road' is a pontoon bridge, 
which was opened for traffic in 1870. The tolls were farmed for the large sum 
of Rs. 40,500 a year: whence it is obvious that any reasonable outlay incurred 
in its construction- would' soon have been repaid. But, unfortunately, everything 
was sacrificed to a false economy ; it was made so narrow that it could not 
allow of two carts passing, and so weak that it could not bear even a single cart 
if heavily laden. Thus it was no sooner opened than it broke down ; and 
repairs were in constant progress, till the- night of the 13th of August, 1871, 
when it was completely swept away by a heavy flood. It was immediately re- 
constructed ; but it is impossible that it should ever present a satisfactory ap- 
pearance, while at the same time its cost has been excessive. It may be hoped 
that it will, before many years are over, be superseded by a masonry bridge in 
connection wath the railway, which at present pays for its use a fixed annual 
sum of Rs. 4,044 : its original value having been put at Rs. 1,15,566. 

The city stretches for about a mile and-a-half along the right bank of 
the Jamuna, and from the opposite side has a very striking and picturesque 
appearance, which is owing not a little to the broken character of the ground on 
which it is built. AVere it not for this peculiarity of site, the almost total 
absence of towers and spires would be felt as a great drawback ; for all the 
large modern temples have no sikharas, as are usually seen in similar edifices, 
but are simple cloistered quadrangles of uniform height. The only exceptions- 
are the lofty minarets of the Jama Masjid on the one side, and the campanile of 
the English Church seen through the trees in the distance below. 

Looking up the stream, the most prominent object is the old Fort, or rather 
its massive sub-structure, for that is all that now remains, called by the people 
Kans-ka-kila. Whatever its legendary antiquity, it was rebuilt in historical 
times by Raja Man Sinh of Jaypur, the chief of the Hindu princes at Akbar's 
Court. At a later period it was the occasional residence of Man Siuh's still more- 
famous successor on the throne of Amber, the great astronomer Sawai Jay 


Sinh, who commenced his long reign of 44 years in 1&99 A.D. Till the day 
of his death he was engaged in almost constant warfare, but is less known to pos- 
terity by his military successes, brilliant though they were, than by his enlight- 
ened civil administration and still more exceptional literary achievements. At 
the outset he made a false move ; for in the war of succession that ensued upon 
the death of Aurangzeb, he attached himself to prince Bedar Bakht and fought 
by his side in the fatal battle of Dhol-pur. One of the firsb acts of Shah Alam, 
on his consequent elevation to the throne, was to sequester the principality of 
Amber. An Imperial Governor was sent to take possession, but Jay Sinh drove 
him out sword in hand, and then formed a league with Ajit Sinh of Marwar for 
mutual protection. From that day forward he was prominently concerned in all 
the troubles and warfare of that anarchic period, but never again on the losing 
side. In 1721, ho was appointed Governor of the Province of Agra and later of 
Malwa ; but he gradually loosened his connection with the Court of Delhi, from 
a conviction that the dissolution of the Muhammadan empire was inevitable, and 
concluded terms with the Mahrattas. At his accession, Amber consisted only of 
the three parganas of Amber, Deosa, and Barsao, as the Shaikhawats had made 
themselves independent and the western tracts had been attached to Ajmer. 
He not only recovered all that his ancestors had lost, but further extended his 
frontiers by the reduction of the Bargtijars of Dcoti and Rajaur and made his 
State worthy to be called the dominious of a Raja— a title which he was the 
first of his line to assume. The new capital, which lie founded, he called after 
his own name Jaypur, and it is still to the present day the only native city in 
India built upon a regular plan ; the only one also, it must unfortunately 
be added, in which the street architecture is absolutely bad and systematically 
false and pretentious ; though it is the fashion for Anglo-Indians to admire it. 
He is said to have been assisted in the execution of his design by an architect 
from Bengal. 

In consequence of his profound knowledge of astronomy, he wasentrusted by 
Muhammad Shah with the reformation of the calendar. To ensure that amount 
of accuracy which he considered the small instruments in ordinary use must 
always fail to command, he constructed observatories with instruments of his 
own invention on a gigantic scale. One of these was on the top of the Mathura 
Fort, the others at Delhi, Jaypur, Ujaiyin, ami Banaras. His success was 
so signal that he was able to detect errors in the tables of De la Hire, which 
had been communicated to him by the King of Portugal. His own tables wore 
completed in 172.S and are those still used by native astronomers. He died 


in 1743. His voluminous correspondence is said by Tod* still to exist and 
his acts to be recorded in a miscellaneous diary entitled Kalpadruma and a 
collection of anecdotes called the Eksau nau <jun Jay Sink M. 

The whole of the Mathura observatory has now disappeared. A little be- 
fore the mutiny the buildings were sold to the great Government contractor, 
Joti Prasad, who destroyed them for the sake of the materials. Certainly, they 
had ceased to be of any practical use ; but they were of interest, both in the 
history of science and as a memorial of one of the most remarkable men in 
the long line of Indian sovereigns and their inconsiderate demolition is a 
matter for regret. The old hall of audience, which is outside the actual Fort, 
is a handsome and substantial building divided into three aisles by ranges of 
red sand-stone pillars. Soon after the mutiny it was converted into a school 
and, in order to render it as unsightly as such Government buildings ordinarily 
are, the front arches were all blocked up with a mud wall which concealed 
every trace of them. Quite by an accident I discovered their existence and, after 
opening them out again, filled in their heads with iron bars set in a wooden 
frame and the lower part with a slight masonry wall, thus preserving all the 
architectural effect without any sacrifice of convenience. 

About the centre of the river front is the most sacred of all the ghats, 
marking the spot where Krishna sat down to take ' rest ' after he had slain 
the tyrant Kansa and hence called the ' Visrant' Ghat. The small open court 
has a series of marble arches facing the water, which distinguishes it from all the 
other landing-places ; and on the other three sides are various buildings erected 
at intervals during the last century and-a-half by several princely families ; 
but none of them possesses any architectural beauty. The river here swarms 
with turtles of an enormous size, which are considered in a way sacred, and 
generally receive a handful or two of grain from every visitor. Close by is a 
natural water-course, said to have been caused by the passage of Kansa's 
giant body, as it was dragged down to the river to be burnt, and hence called 
the ' Kans Khar/ The following lines in the Vishnu Purana are alleged in 
support of the tradition : — 

" By the trailing body of Kansa, with its prodigious weight, a channel was 
made as by the rush of a mighty stream. " 

* From whom all the facts in the above narrative of Jay Sinn's life are borrowed, 


142 THE visrXnt gha't. 

It is now arched over, like the Fleet river in London* and'for many years 
formed one of the main sewers of the town ; a circumstance which possibly did 
not affect the sanctity, but certainly detracted somewhat from the material 
purity of this favourite bathing place. It is now being closed, as it was 
ihxoueht to have contributed not a little to the abnormal sickness which has 
lately prevailed in the city. 

Wite reference to this spot a story is told in the Bhakt Mala, of Kesav 
Bhatt, one of the most celebrated of the Vaishnava teachers. After spreading 
his doctrines through all the chief cities of India and demolishing every 
argument that the most learned Pandits could bring against him, he was him- 
self unable to reply to the questions put him by Chaitanya, though at the time 
a child only seven years of age. Thereupon he abandoned the career of a 
controversialist and retired to his native country Kashmir, where he remained 
in solitude, absorbed in humble and devout meditation, till roused to action 
by news of the tyranny that prevailed at Mathura. For the Muhammadans 
had set up a diabolical engine at the Visrant Ghat, which perforce circumcised 
every Hindu who went there to' bathe. Hearing this, he gathered together 
a thousand of his disciples and on arriving at Mathura, went straight to the 
spot, where the Governor's myrmidons set upon him and thought to bring him 
too under the yoke of Islam. But he broke the engine in pieces and threw it 
into the river. An army was then sent against him, but not a man of it 
escaped ; for he slew the greater number with the sword and the rest were dri- 
ven into the Jamuna and drowned. 

For this legend it is possible there may be some slight historical foundation ; 
the next to be told can at the best be regarded as only a pious fiction. It is 
given in the Mathura Mahatmya, or Religious Chronicle of Mathura, which 
is an interpolation on the Varaha Purana, though of sufficient extent to be 
itself divided into 29 sections. After expatiating in the most extravagant 
terms on the learning, piety and other virtues of the Mathuriya Chaubes, 
and the incomparable sanctity of the city in which they dwell, it briefly 
enumerates the twelve Vanas, or woods, that are included in the perambulation 
of the land of Braj, and then at greater length describes the principal shrines 
which the pilgrim is bound to visit in the capital itself. As a rule, no attempt 
is made to explain either the names borne by the different holy places, or the 
origin of their reputed sanctity; but their virtue- is attested by the recital of 
some of the miracles, which have been worked through their supernatural 
influence, such as the following : — ■ 













" Once upon a time there was a Brahman living at Ujjaiyin, who neg- 
lected all his religious duties, never bathed, never said a prayer, never went 
near a temple. One night, when out with a gang of thieves, he was surprised 
by the city watchmen, and in running away from them fell down a dry well 
and broke his neck. His ghost was doomed to haunt the place, and was so 
fierce that it would tear to pieces and devour every one who came near it. 
This went on for many years, till at last one day a band of travellers happened 
to pitch their tents by the well, and among their number was a very holy and 
learned Brahman. So soon as he knew how the neighbourhood was afflicte I, 
he had recourse to his spells and compelled the evil spirit to appear before him. 
Discovering, in the course of his examination, that the wretched creature had 
in his lifetime been a Brahman, he was moved with pity for him and promised 
to do all in his power to alleviate his sentence. Whereupon the ghost begged 
him to go straight to Mathura, and bathe on his behalf at the Visrant Ghat, 
1 for,' said he, ' I once in my life went into a temple of Vi-hnu, and heard the 
priest repeat this holy name and tell it< wondrous saving power.' The Brah- 
man had often bathed there and readily agreed to transfer the merit of on" 
such ablution. The words of consent had no sooner passed his lips than the 
guilty soul was absolved from all further suffering."* 

* To a devout Hindu, who believes that Krishna was an incarnation of the Deity, and that 
he hallowed with his presence the place now called the Visrant Ghat, there is no intrinsic ab- 
surdity in the legend as above quoted. It can be paralleled in all its particulars by manv that 
have been recorded for the edification of the faithful by canonized saints of the Church. That 
the merit of good deeds can be transferred — the point upon which the story mainly turns is a 
cardinal Catholic doctrine; and as to the dying in Bin and yet being saved through the efficacy 
of a formal act of devotion, take the following example from the page-: of Ci. Alphonsus Liguori : — 
" A certain Canon was reciting some prayers in honour of the Divine Mother, and, whilst doing 
so, fell into the river Seine and was drowned. Being in mortal sin, the devils came to take 
him to hell. In the same moment Mary appeared and said, 'How do you dare to take possession 
of one who died in the act of praising me ? ' Then addressing herself to the sinner, she sail, 
« Now change thy life and nourish devotion to my Conception.' He returned to life and became 
a Keligious." Here the concluding words correspond precisely with the finale of the story of 
the barber Tinduk, as told on the next page. In short, the Hindu in his ideas of divine worship, 
of the religious life, of the efficacy cf faith and good works, of the earnest sympathy of the 
Divine Being with human distress, and His occasional miraculous intervention for its relief, falls 
little, if at all, short of Catholic truth. Unhappily he has no clear perception of the true God to 
whom the devotion, which he understands so well, should alone be paid : yet for all this draw- 
back, Hinduism remains in one aspect divine, which is more than can be said either of Islam 
or of Protestantism. They are both essentially human inventions in direct antagonism to the 
truth, while Hinduism is a genuine natural religion, which only needs to be sustained aud com- 
pleted by Revelation. Thus S. Augustine says of the heathen of old : " Res ipsa qua; nunc 


On the other Side of this sacred spot, a number of minor ghats stretch Up and 
down the river, those to the north being called the uttar kot and those to the 
south the dakshin kot. They are invariably represented as twenty-four in all, 
twelve in either set ; but there is a considerable discrepancy as to the parti- 
cular names. The following list was supplied by a Pandit of high local repute, 
Makhan Misr, a Gaur Brahman, from whose extensive library of manuscripts I 
was able to procure almost every Sanskrit work that I had occasion to consult. 

To the north : Ganes Ghat ; Manasa Ghat ; Dasasvamedha Ghat, under the 
hill of Ambarisha ; Chakra-tirtha Ghat ; Krislma-Ganga Ghat, with the shrine 
of Kalinjaresvar Mahadeva ; Som-tirtha Ghat, more commonly called Vasudeva 
Ghat or Shaikh Ghat ; Brahmalok Ghat ; Ghantabharan Ghat : Dhara-patan 
Ghat ; Sangaman-tirtha Ghat, otherwise called Vaikunth Ghat ; Nava-tirtha 
Ghat ; and Asikunda Ghat. 

To the south : Avimukta Ghat ; Visranti Ghat ; Prag Ghat ; Kankhal 
Ghat ; Tinduk Ghat ; Siirya Ghat ; Chinta-mani Ghat ; Dhfuva Ghat ; Rishi 
Ghat ; Moksha Ghat ; Koti Ghat ; and Buddh Ghat. 

The more common division is to include the Avimukta Ghat in the first, 
set, from which the Manasa is then omitted ; to except the Visrant Ghat alto- 
gether from the number of the twenty-four ; and to begin the second series 
with the Balabhadra and the Jog Ghat. By the former of these two are the 
Satghara or ' seven chapels,' commemorating Krishna's seven favourite titles, 
and the shrine of Gata Sram or ' ended toil.' The Jog Ghat is supposed to 
mark the spot where Joga-Nidra, the infant daughter of Nanda and Jasoda, 
whom Vasudeva had substituted for his own child Krishna, was dashed to the 
ground by Kansa and thence in new form ascended to heaven as the goddess 
Durga. Between it and the Piiig Ghat (where is the shrine of Beni Madho) 
is one of more modern date called Sringar Ghat, with two temples dedicated 
respectively to Pipalesvar Mahadeva and Batuk-nath : by Prag Ghat is also 
the shrine of Ramesvar Mahadeva. Two other ghats occupy far more con- 
spicuous sites than any of the above, but are included iu no list, as being 
devoid of any legendary reputation. The first bears the name of Sami Ghat, 

Christiana religio nuncupatur, erat apud antiquos, uec defuit ab initio generis humani quouBque 
Christ us veuiret in earue, nude vera religio, quoe jam erat, ccepit appellari Christiana." It is upon 
this principle that the Church has admitted into the calendar, among her canonized saints, 
certain worthies of the old dispensation, such as the Machabees, with reference to whom S. Gregory 
Nazianzen, in a sermon preached on their feast day, declares it to be a pious opinion " ueminem 
corum, qui ante christi adventum martyrio consumuiati Bunt, id sine fide in Christum consequi 


not, as might be Supposed, a corruption of swdmi, but of Sdmhne, l opposite,' as 
it faces the main street of the city, where is a mansion of carved stone built by 
the famous Rup Ram, Katara, of Barsana. The second is the Bengali Ghat, at 
the foot of the pontoon bridge and close to a large house, the property of the 
Raja of Jhalra-patfcan. It is so called from having been built by the Gosain of 
the temple of Gobind Deva at Brinda-ban, the head of the Bengali Vaishnavas, 
who has a residence on the opposite side of the street. The end of the ghat adjoining 
the Raja of Jhalra-pattan's house has been left unfinished, as the right to the 
<*round forms the subject of ;; dispute between the Raja and the Gosain. 

Most of the ghats refer in their names to well-known legends and are of no 
special historical or architectural interest. The list is appropriately headed 
by one dedicated to Ganes, the god invoked at the commencement of every 
undertakin ■■- ; the second and third are both sacred to Siva — the one com- 
memorating the Manasa lake, a famous place of pilgrimage on mount Kailas 
in the Himalayas ; the other the Dasasvamedh Ghat, the holiest spot in Siva's 
city of Banaras. The fourth or Chakra-tirtha,. with the hill of Ambarisha, 
refers to Vishnu's magic discus, chakra, with which he defended his votary 
Ambarisha against the assaults of the Sivite Durvasas. The hill is between 
60 and 70 feet high, and according to popular rumour there is in the centre 
of it a cave containing an enormous treasure. I did not expect to discover 
this, but as General Cunningham had told me of a gold coin of Apollodotus 
that had been found there, I got some men to dig, thinking it not unlikely 
something might turn up. The only reward for my trouble was a small 
fragment of Buddhist sculpture representing a devotee under a niche with 
the rail pattern below and the capitals of the pillars of Indo-Ionic type. This 
however was sufficient proof of the great antiquity and also of the Buddhist 
oceupation of the mound. 

The temple of Mahadeva at the Ganga Krishan Ghat has some very rich and 
delicate reticulated stone tracery, and all the work about this ghat is exception- 
ally good, both in design and execution. It was done, a little before the mutiny, 
under the immediate superientendence of the Brahman then in charge of the 
shrine, Baladeva Byas by name. The title Kalinjaresvar would seem to be a 
mistake for Kalindisvar : Kalindi being a name of the Jamuna, which takes its 
rise in the Kalinda range. A little above the ghat is an old red stone chhattri, 
which has a singularly graceful finial. 

A little below the Sami Ghat is a small mosque and group of tombs com- 
memorating a Muhammadan saint, Makhdiim Shah Wilayat, of Hirat. The 



tombs date apparently from the sixteenth century and the architecture is in 
all its details so essentially of Hindu design that, were it not for the word 
' Allah' introduced here and there into the sculptured decorations, there would 
be nothing to distinguish them from Hindu chhattris. The Muhammadans 
call this the Shaikh Ghat, while the Hindus maintain that the word is not 
Shaikh, but Shesh, the name of the thousand-headed serpent that forms 
Vishnu's couch and canopy. This is probable enough, for the final cerebral 
sibilant is vulgarly pronounced and indeed often written as the guttural 
kh. After long dispute between the two parties as to who should have 
the privilege of rebuilding the ghat, the work was taken in hand in 1875 
by Vilayat Husain, the Seth's house agent, who also added a mosque and 
gave no little offence thereby. He died in 1871), leaving one minaret of the 
mosque still unfinished. 

The word Ghantabharan (which would be derived from glianta, 'a bell. 
and hharan, 'bearing,') is in the Vraj-bhakti-vilas perhaps more correctly 
written Ghantabhan, bhan meaning ' sound.' The allusion is to the bell, by ■ 
the ringing of which Vishnu is roused from his four months' slumber on the 
11th of the month Kartik. 

The name Dkarapatan (from dhard, ' a stream,,' and patan, ' falling,') pro- 
bably referred primarily to the position of the ghat, which is on a projecting 
point where it bears the full force of the ' fall of the stream.' But in the Mahat- 
mya it is explained by the following legend : — " Once upon a time, a woman, 
whose home was on the bank of tbe Gauges, came on a pilgrimage to Mathura 
aud arrived there on the 12th of Kartik. As she was stepping into a boat near 
tlie place where now is the Dhara-patan Ghat, she fell over and was drowned. 
By virtue of this immersion in the sacred flood, she was born again in an exalted 
position as the daughter of the king of Banaras, and, under the name of the Rani 
Pivari, was married to Kshatra-dhanu, the king of Sunishtra, by whom she 
had seven sons and five daughters. Upon one occasion when the royal pair 
were comparing notes, it came to light that he too had undergone a very simi- 
lar experience : for, originally he had been a wild savage who had come over 
to Mathura from the Naimisha forest and was crossing the Jamuna with his 
shoes balanced on the top of his head, when they fell off into the water. He 
dipped down to recover them and was swept away by the torrent and 
drowned. Every stain of sin being thus washed out of his body, when he again 
took birth it was no longer as a barbarous Nishadha, or wild man of the woods, 
but as a noble Kshatriya king." 


Dhruva who gives a name to one of the most southern of the ghats was, 
according to the legend, the son of a king by name Uttana-pada. Indignant 
at the slights put upon him by his stepmother, he left his father's palace to make 
a name for himself in the world. By the advice of the seven great Rishis, 
Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Kratu, Pulaha, and Vasishta, he repaired to 
Madhu-ban near Mathura, and there, absorbed in the contemplation of Vishnu, 
continued for seven years a course of the severest penance. At last the god 
appeared to him in person and promised to grant him any boon he might desire. 
His request was for a station exalted above every station and which should en- 
dure for ever ; whereupon he was translated to heaven as the polar star togethei 
with his mother Suniti. 

On the Dhruva tSa, or hill at the back of the ghat, is a small temple, built 
Samhat 189A, in place of an older shrine, of which the ruins remain close by, 
dedicated to Dhruva Ji. Here I found a set of Buddhist posts, with the cross 
rails and top bar all complete, cut out of a single slab of stone, measuring two 
feet two inches square. The Pujuris, or priests in charge, by name Damodar 
Das and Chhote Lai, belong to the Sanakadi or Nimbarak Sampradaya of 
Vaishnavas, and produce a manuscript pedigree in Sanskrit in proof of their 
direct spiritual descent from Kesava Bhatt, one of Niinbarak's successors, who 
is regarded as the head of the secular, or Grihastha, sub-division of the sect, as 
his brother-in-law, Hari Vyasa, was of the celibate, or Virakta, order. In 
the temple are figures of Radha Krishan, whom the Nimbaraks have adopted 
as their special patrons. The list of superiors, or Guru-parampara, as it is 
called, runs as follows : — 

I.— 1 Hansavatar ; 2 Sanakadi ; 3 Narada; 4 Nimbarak Swami: all deified 

II.— 1 Srinivasacharya ; 2 Biswacharya ; 3 Purushottam ; 4 Bilasa ; 5 
Sariipa ; 6 Madhava ; 7 Balbhadra ; 8 Padma ; 9 Syama ; 10 Gopala ; 11 Kri- 
pala ; 12 Deva : all distingushed by the title of Acharya. 

HI.— 1 Sundar Bhatt ; 2 Padma-nabha ; 3 Sri Rama-chandra ; 4 Baman ; 
5 Sri Krishna ; 6 Padmakara ; 7 Sravan ; 8 Bhuri ; 9 Madhava ; 10 Syama ; 
11 Gopala ; 12 Sn-bal, or Balbhadra ; 13 Gopinath ; 14 Kesava ; 15 Gangal ; 
16 Kesava Kashmiri ; 17 Sri Bhatt ; 18 Kesava Bimani : all bearing the title 
of Bhatt. 

IV.— 1 Giridhar Gosain ; 2 Ballabh Lai ; 3 Mukund Lai ; 4 Nand Lai ; 5 
Mohan Lai ; 6 Rain Ji Lai ; 7 Manu Lai ; 8 Radha Lai ; 9 Kanhaiya Lai ; and 
10 Damodar Das : all bearing the title of Gosain. 


The Nimbaraks have also a temple at Brindaban, dedicated to Rasak 
Bihari, and some account of their tenets will be given in connection with that 
town. Their distinguishing sectarial mark consists of two white perpendicular 
Streaks on the forehead with a black spot in the centre. The natural parents of 
their founder are said to have been named Aruna Risfbi and Jayanti. 

The Tinduk Ghat, according to the Mahatmya, is so called after a barber 
who lived at Kampilya, the capital of Panchala, in the reign of King Devadatta. 
After losinc all his family, he came to live at Mathura and there practised such 
rigorous austerities and bathed so constantly in the sanctifying stream of the 
•Tamuna, that after death he took birth once more as a high-caste Brahman. 

The legend of the Asikunda Ghat is told on this wise : — A pious king, by 
name Sumati, had started on a pilgrimage, but died before he was able to com- 
plete it. His son, Vimati, on succeeding to the throne, was visited by the sage 
Narad, who, at the time of taking his departure, uttered this oracular sentence : 
' A pious son settles his father's debts.' After consulting with his ministers, 
the prince concluded that the debt was a debt of vengeance, which he was 
bound to exact from the places of pilgrimages, which had tempted his father to 
undertake the fatal journey. Accordingly, having ascertained that every holy 
place paid an annual visit in the season of the rains to the city of Mathura, he 
assembled an army and marched thither with full intent to destroy them all. 
They fled in terror to Kalpa-grama to implore the aid of Vishnu, who at last 
yielded to their entreaties, and assuming the form of a boar joined in combat 
with King Vimati on the bank of the Jamuna and slew him. In the fray, the 
point of the divine sword, i a,si, , snapped off and fell to the ground ; whence the 
ghat to this day is called Asi-kuuda Ghat, and the plain adjoining it Varahu 
Kshetra, or ' the field of the boar.' 

Before finally leaving the river-side, one other building claims a few words 
viz., ' the Sati Burj.' This is a slender quadrangular tower of red sand-stono 
commemorating the self-sacrifice of some faithful wife. According to the best 
authenticated tradition, she is said to have been the queen of Raja Bihar Mai 
of Jaypur and the mother of the famous Raja Bhagavan Das, by whom the 
monument was erected in the year 1570 A.D. It has, as it now stands, a total 
height of 55 feet and is in four stories: the lowest forms a solid basement ; the 
second and third are lighted by square windows and are supplied with an inter- 
nal staircase. The exterior is ornamented with rude bas-reliefs of elephants 
and other devices, but -is in a very ruinous condition. The tower was originally 












of much greater height ; but all the upper part was destroyed, it is said, 1>\- 
Aurangzeb. The exceedingly ugly and incongruous plaster dome, which now 
surmounts the building, was apparently added about the beginning of the pre- 
sent century. It no doubt helps to preserve what yet remains of the original 
work, but it sadly detracts from its architectural effect. I had hoped that the 
reigning Maharaja might be induced to undertake the complete restoration of 
this interesting family monument, and if the matter had been properly repre- 
sented to him, lie would in all probability have consented to do so. It is not at 
all likely that anything will be done now ; but the design that I had prepared 
may be thought worthy of preservation. No small amount of time and thought, 
was bestowed upon it : and I hoj>e that architects will consider it both a 
pleasing objeot in itself and also a faithful reproduction of the destroyed 

At the time when it was built, that is, at the end of the 16th century, it 
may be presumed that, the city of Mathura occupied its old position in the 
neighbourhood of the katra, and that the river-bank was used as the ordinary 
place for the cremation of the dead. Several cenotaphs of about the same 
period still remain, being mostly in old Hindu style, with brackets of good 
and varied design. The two largest bear the dates 1638 and 1715 Sambat, 
coresponding to 1 5 S 1 and 1638 A.D. They had all been taken possession of 
by the Chaubes. who blocked up the arches with mud or rough brick-work 
and converted them into lodging-houses, which they rented to pilgrims. In 
1875 I had them all opened out when widening and paving the street along the 
river-bank. This work was left unfinished, but enough had been done to ren- 
der the street, though still narrow, the most picturesque in the city. Many 
of the ghats had been repaired, while the removal of a number of obstructions 
had opened out a view not only of the river but also of the houses and temples 
on the land site. Some of these are very graceful specimens of architecture, 
in particular the house of Purnshottam Lai, the Gokul Gosain, close to the 
Bengali ghat, which has a most elaborate facade and a balcony displaying a 
great variety of patterns of reticulated tracery. 

Immediately below the last of the ghats and opposite (lie Sadr Bazar, 
which has a population of some 6,000 souls and forms a small town by itself, 
entirely distinct both from the city and the European quarter, are two large 
walled gardens on the river-bank. One of these, called the Jamuna bagh, is 
the property of the Seth. It is well kept up and contains two very handsome 
chhattris, or cenotaphs, iu memory of Parikh Ji, the founder of the family, and 



Mani Ram, his successor. The latter, buffi; in the year of the chauranawe 
famine, 1837 A.D., is of exceedingly beautiful and elaborate design : perhaps 
the most perfect specimen ever executed of the reticulated stone tracery, for 
which Mathura is famous. It has been purposely made a little lower and 
smaller then the earlier monument, the eaves of which at one corner complete- 
ly overhang it. The adjoining garden, which may be of even greater extent,, 
has a small house and enclosed court-yard, in the native style, on the bank of 
the river, and, in the centre, an obelisk of white stone raised on a very high and 
substantial plinth of the same material with the following inscription : " Erect- 
ed to the memory of Robert Sutherland, Colonel in Rlaharaj Daulat Rao Scin- 
dia's service, who departed this life on the 20th July, 1804, aged 36 years. 
Also in rememberance of his son, C. P. Sutherland (a very promising youth), 
who died at Hindia on the 14th October, 1801, aged 3 years. " The monu- 
ment is kept in repair by the grandson, Captain S. S. Sutherland, of the 
Police Department. Colonel Sutherland was the officer whom De Boigne, on 
his retirement in 1795, left in command of the brigade stationed at Mathuni, one 
of three that he had raised in the service of Madho Ji Sindhia. The Mahratta 
Commander-in-Chief, who also had his head-quarters at Mathura, was at that 
time one Jagu Bapu, who was probably the Senapat of whom local tradition 
still speaks. In 1797 he was superseded by Perron, to whom Daulat Rao 
had given the supreme command of all his forces and who thereupon establish- 
ed himself at Kol, as virtual sovereign of the country. In the following year 
he discharged Sutherland for intriguing with the other Mahratta chiefs, but not 
long after he recovered his post through the interest of his father-in-law, 
Colonel John Hessing, to whose memory is erected the very fine monument in 
the Catholic cemetry at Agra, which Jacquemont considered superior to the Taj. 
In 1813 Sutherland, like the other British officers in Sindhia's service, 
received a pension from the Government, but he lived only one year to enjoy 

On a rising ground in the very heart of the city stands the Jama Masjid, 
erected in the year 1661 A.D., by Abd-un-Nabi Khan, the local Governor. 
The following inscription seems very clearly to indicate that it was erected on 
the ruins of a Hindu temple : — 

I^JJ liJj.*-» i_— Jj l_£>;«! J^ ti-AJyA * il*J|j ^iJt^iK vjCJU sU &f)U 
L>j t\Sl~..* ^yj\ Uj Si. ^lik^XAJI^^ jl iS * JUL.- .|jj| ei~-| ^WJ <dJ|j.*2aj 
l^ijtj u^i.? Jfh^i 6 J^sJI/:^ Jy*^ ^'M * ft sJU^i^ ..»' iJ.jl OjSU-^ (;iO^*i 

















1. In the reign of Shah Alamgir Muhiuddia Walmillah, the king of 
the world, Aurangzeb, who is adorned with justice, 

2. The lustre of Islam shone forth to the glory of God ; for Abd-un-Nabi 
Khan built this beautiful mosque. 

3. This second ' Holy Temple' caused the idols to bow down in worship. 
You will now see the true moaning of the text, ' Truth came and error vanished. 
['Koran, XVII. 83'.] 

4. Whilst I searched for a tdriJch, a. voice came from blissful Truth, 
ordering me to say ' Abd-un-Nabi Khan is the builder of this beautiful 
mosque.' A.II. 1071, or 1660-61. 

ota| .Uu(,j lii^L Jo f*. \c:U * iiUi; ^.jL& ,*--«ts. <isuw» ^v>| 

1. l\lay this Jama Masjid of majestic structure shine forth for ever like 
the hearts of the pious ! 

2. Its roof is high like aspirations of love ; its court-yard is wide like 
the arena of thought. * 

The founder is first mentioned by tho Muhammadan. historians as fighting, 
on the side of Dara Shikoh at the battle of Samogarh in 1(>58. About a 
week after the defeat, he joined Aurangzeb and was immediately appointed 
faujdar of Itawa. This office he retained only till the following year, when 
he was transfered to Sirhind and thence, after a few months, to Mathura. 
Here he remained from August, 1660, to May, 1068, when, as we have already 
mentioned, he met his death at Sahora, a village in the Maha-ban pargana 
on the opposite side of the Jamuna, while engaged in quelling a popular 
dmeute. The author of the Maasir-i-Alamgiri says of him: — " He was an 
excellent and pious man, and as courageous in war as successful in his admin- 
istration. He has left a mosque in Mathura as a monument, which, for a long 
time to come, will remind people of him. Muhammad Anwar, his nephew, 
received from His Majesty a mourning dress of honour ; but the property of 
the deceased lapsed (according to custom) to the State, and the Imperial 
Mutasaddis reported it to be 93,000 gold muhrs, 13,00,000 rupees, and 

* For this and other translations from, the Persian I am indebted to the kindness of the 
late Mr. Blochmann, whose immense fund of information was always at the service of all 
eaquirers, and whose untimely death is an irreparable loss to the Calcutta Branch of the. Asiatic 
Society, of which he was for many years the Secretary. 

152 EARTHQUAKE OF 1803 A. D. 

14,50,000 rupees' worth of property." The architecture of his mosque is not 
of particularly graceful character, but there are four lofty minarets, and as 
these and other parts of the building were originally veneered with bright- 
coloured plaster mosaics, of which a few panels still remain, it must at one 
time have presented a brilliant appearance.* 

It was greatly injured by an earthquake which took place, strange to say, 
in 1803, the very year in which the country was first brought under British 
rule. The following account of this most exceptional event is copied from 
pages 57 and 58 of ' The Asiatic Annual Register ' for 1804 : — 

Dreadful Earthquake. 

Mathurd, September 24, 1803. 

" On the night between the 31st August and the 1st of September, at 
half-an-hour after midnight, a severe shock of an earthquake was felt at this 
place, which lasted for many minutes and was violent beyond the memory of 
man. Probably not a living creature in the place but was roused from his 
slumbers by the alarm and felt its effects. Many of the pucka buildings 
were cast down and zans'.nas, hitherto unassailed by violence were deserted, 
and their fair inhabitants took refuge in the streets and in the fields, seek- 
ing protection with men, whose visages it would otherwise have disgraced 
them to behold. The night was calm and enjoyed the full influence of a 
bright moon. 

" In the morning very extensive fissures were observed in the fields, which 
had been caused by the percussion of the night before, through which water 
rose with great, violence and continues to run to the present date, though its 
violence has gradually abated. This has been a great benefit to the neighbour- 
ing ryots, as they were thence enabled to draw the water over their parched 

* Father Tieft'enthaller, who visited Mathura in 1745, after meutioniug the two mosques, 
says that Abd-un-Nabi was a convert from Hinduism, a statement for which there seems to be 
no authority. He describes the mosaics as " un ouvrage plombe en diverscs eouleurs et incruste 
i la manure dont sont vernis les poeles in Allemagne." " La ville," he says, " est entoure d'une 
levee de terre, et obeit aujourdhui an Djit. Auparavant elle etait sous lea ordrea du Raja di 
Djepour a qui I'empereur Mogo) en avait confie le gouvernement :" i. e., Raja Jay Sinh, who 
died 1743. He goes on to describe the streets as narrow and dirty and most of the buildings 
as in ruins; the fort very large and massive, like a mountain of hewn stone, with an observa- 
tory, which was only a feeble imitation of the one at Jaypur, but with the advantage of being 
much bitter raised. The only other spot that he particularises is the Viarant ghat. Jaeque- 
mont's description is in very similar terms : be Bays : " The streets are the narrowest, the crook- 
edest, the steepest aud dirtiest that 1 have ever seen.'' 


" The principal mosque of the place, erected on an eminence by the 
famous Ghazi Khan, as a token of his triumph over the infidelity of the Hindus, 
has been shattered to pieces, and a considerable part of the dome was swallowed 
up during the opening of the earth. 

"Several slighter shocks have since occurred, but I do not hear they have 
occasioned any further damage."* 

The above description certainly exaggerates and also to some extent mis- 
represents the effects of the shock upon the mosque. The gateway was cracked 
from top to bottom, the upper part of one of the great minarets was thrown 
down and one of the little corner kiosques of the mosque itself was also destroyed, 
but the dome was uninjured. In 1875 the Sa'dabad family started a sub- 
scription for the repairs of the building and over Rs. 5,000 were collected. 
This sum I expended on the restoration of the fallen minaret andkiosque and of 
the two hujras or alcoves at the sides of the court-yard. Several of the shops 
that disfigured the approaches were also bought up and demolished. As soon 
as I left, the work came to a standstill. 

The mosque now appears out of place as the largest and most conspicuous 
edifice in what is otherwise a purely Hindu city, and there is also every rea- 
son to suppose that it was founded on the ruins of a pagan temple. But at 
the same time it should be observed that all the buildings by which it is now 
surrounded are of more modern date than itself. It was not planted in the 
midst of a Hindu population ; but the city, as we now see it, has grown up 
under its shadow. Old Mathura had been so often looted and harried by the 
Muhammadans that, as has been noted in other parts of this work, it had 
actually ceased to exist as a city at all. It was a place of pilgrimage, as it 
had ever been ; there were saraes for the accommodation of travellers and 
ruins of temples and a few resident families of Brahmans to act as cicerones, 
living for the most part in the precincts of the great temple of Kesava Deva, or 
still further away towards Madhuban ; but it was as much a scene of desolation 
as Goa with its churches and convents now is, and on the spot where the pre- 
sent Mathura stands there was no town till Abd-un-Nabi founded it. The 
whole of the land was in the possession of Muhammadans. The ground, 
which he selected as the site of his mosque, he purchased from some butchers, 
and the remainder he obtained from a family of Kazis, whose descendants 
still occupy what is called the Kushk Mahalla, one of the very few quarters 

* For the knowledge of thiB curious letter I am indebted to the courtesy of Mr. A. Constable, 
of the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway, who sent me a copy of it. 



of the city that are known by a Persian name. They continued to be regard- 
ed as the zamindars of the township till the time of the Juts, when Saiyid 
Bakir, their then head, quarrelled with the local governor, and being afraid 
of the consequences made over all his rights to some Chaubes and others. 
When the English Government took possession, the Chaubes' title was alone 
recognized and the first settlement was made with one of their number, Shio 
Lai, as mukaddam. A claim was brought forward by Imam Bakhsh, a son of 
the Saiyid abovenamed, but he died before it could bo heard, and the suit thus 
faHing through has never since been revived. In 1812, the then Ghaube land- 
holders, Bishna, Ajita, Shio Lai, Ghisa and Jwala, styling themselves mukad- 
dams, made over their rights to the Lala Babu, who engaged to pay them Rs. 150 
a year and 5 per cent, on his collections. The area so transferred, according 
to the settlement of 1841, was only 568 bighas 11 biswas ; but in the revision 
of records the Lala Babu's widow had herself entered as owner of every rood 
of land, excepting only such as was or had been rent-free, and the agreement 
was with her as sole zamindar of the township of Mathura. On the strength 
of this she claimed to exercise over the whole city the same rights that a 
zamindar can claim in any petty village ; but, after oft>renewed litigation, 
these extravagant claims have been set aside, and by the new settlement the 
property of her heirs is shown as a separate thok, the muafi and resumed muafi 
grants forming another, while the Jamuna sands, used for melon cultiva- 
tion, all nazul lands and the streets and city generally are shown as Govern- 
ment property.* 

From the mosque as a central point diverge the main thoroughfares, lead- 
ing respectively towards Brinda-ban, Dig, Bharat-pur.f and the civil station. 
They are somewhat broader than is usual in Indian cities, having an average 
breadth of 24 feet, and were first opened out at the instance of Mr. E. F. 
Taylor hi 1843. A number of houses were demolished for the purpose, but, 
in every instance, all claim to compensation was waived. Seth Lakhmi 
(Jhand's loss, thus voluntarily sustained for the public good, was estimated at 
a lakh of rupees, as he had recently completed some handsome premises, 
which had to be taken down and rebuilt. 

* Vide a report on the Proprietory Rights claimed by the heirs of the Lala Babu, drawn 
up by Mr. Whiteway, Settlement Utfieer, in 1875. 

•f Close to the mosque on the left-hand of the Bhsrat-pur gate bazar is a high hill with 
very stefp ascent, all built over. On the summit, which is called Sit.ila ghat, may be seen many 
fragments of Bu-idhist pillars and bas-reliefs, and an armless seated figure, the size of life. 


These streets have now, throughout their entire length and breadth, been 
paved by the municipality with substantial stone flags brought from the Bharat- 
pur quaries.* The total cost has been Rs. 1,38,663. Many of the towns- 
people and more particularly the pilgrims, who go about barefooted, are by no 
means pleased with the result ; for in the winter the stone is too cold to be 
pleasant to tread upon, while in the summer again, even at sunset, the streets 
do not cool down as they used to do aforetime, but retain their heat through 
the greater part of the night. As is the custom in the East, many mean tumble 
down hovelsf are allowed here and there to obtrude themselves upon th>- 
view ; but the majority of the buildings that face the principal thoroughfares 
are of handsome and imposing character. With only two exceptions all have 
been erected during the seventy years of British rule. The first of the two 
exceptional buildings is a large red sandstone house, called Chaube Ji ka Burj, 
which may be as old as the time of Akbar. The walls are divided into square 
panels, in each of which, boldly carved in low relief, is a vase filled with flowers, 
executed in a manner which is highly effective, but which has quite gone out of 
fashion at tho present day, when pierced tracery is more appreciated. The 
second is a temple near the turn to the Sati Burj. This is remarkable for along 
balcony supported on brackets quaintly carved to represent elephants. Many 
of these had been built up with masonry, either by the Hindus to protect the 
animal form from iconoclastic bigotry, or else by the Muhammadans themselves 
to conceal it from view. This unsightly casing was at last removed in 1875. 

In all the modern buildings, whether secular or religious, the design is 
of very similar character. The front is of carved stone with a grand central 
archway and arcades on both sides let out as shops on the ground floor. Storey 
upon storey above are projecting balconies supported on quaint corbels, the 
arches being filled in with the most minute reticulated tracery of an infinite 
variety of pattern, and protected from the weather by broad eaves, the under- 
surface of which is brightly painted. One of the most noticeable buildings in 
point of size, though the decorations perhaps are scarcely so elegant as in some 
of the latter examples, is the temple of Dwarakadhis, founded by the Gwaliar 
treasurer, Parikh Ji, and visited in 1825 by Bishop Heber, who in his journal 
describes it as follows .■ — " In the centre, or nearly so, of the town, Colonel 

• This important work was commenced in November, 1857. 

t As an indication that many of the houses are not of the most substantial 
may be observed that, after three days of ex. tptionally heavy rain in the month of August, 1873 , 
aB many as 6 OOD were officially reported to have come down; 14 persons, chiefly children, having 
been crushed to death under the ruins. 


Penny took us into the court of a beautiful temple or dwell'ng-house, for it 
seemed to be designed for both in one, lately built and not yet quite finished, 
by Gokul Pati Sinh, Sindhia's treasurer, and who has also a principal share in 
a great native banking-house, one branch of which is fixed at Mathura. The 
building is enclosed by a small but richly carved gateway with a flight of steps 
which leads from the street to a square court, cloistered round, and containing 
in the centre a building, also square, supported by a triple row of pillars, all 
which, as well as the ceiling, are richly carved, painted, and gilt. The effect 
internally is much like that of the Egyptian tomb, of which the model was 
exhibited in London by Belzoni ; externally, the carving is very beautiful. The 
cloisters round were represented to me as the intended habitations of the Brah- 
mans attached to the fane ; and in front, towards the street, were to be apart- 
ments for the founder on his occasional visits to Mathura." To show how differ- 
ently the same building sometimes impresses different people, it may be men- 
tioned that Jaequemont, only four years later, describes the temple as like no- 
thing but a barrack or cotton factory : but possibly he may have seen it soon 
after the festival of the Diwali, when, according to barbarous Hindu custom, 
the whole of the stone front is beautified with a thick coat of whitewash. This 
gentleman's architectural ideas were, however, a little peculiar. Thus he says, 
of the Jama Masjid at Agra, that the bad taste of the design and the coarseness 
of the materials are good reason for leaving it to the ravages of time ; that the 
tomb of Itimad-ud-daula is in the most execrable taste ; that the Taj, though 
pretty, cannot be called elegant ; and that the only building in Agra which is 
really a pure specimen of oriental architecture is the tomb of Colonel Hessing 
in the Catholic cemetery, the work of ' a poor devil' called Latif. His theolo- 
gical views would seem to have been equally warped, for in another place he 
thus expresses himself.- — " Of all the follies and misfortunes of humanity, reli- 
gion is the one which is the most wearisome and the least profitable to study."' 

The Dwarakadhis temple has always been in the hands of the Vallabha- 
eharyas, the sect to which the founder belonged. It is now administered by 
the Grosain who is the hereditary lord of the much older and yet wealthier shrine 
with the same name at Kankarauli in Udaypur (see page 130). Hitherto the 
expenses of the Mathura establishments have been defrayed by annual grants 
from the Seth's estate; but the firm has lately made an absolute transfer to the 
Gosain of landed property yielding an income of Rs. 2-5,000 ; thus religiously 
carrying out the intention of their ancestor, though in so doing they further the 
interests of a sect not a little antagonistic to the one of which they themselves 
are members. 








On the opposite side of the street is the palace of the princes of Bharat-pur. 
The lofty and highly enriched entrance gateway was added by Raja Ralavant 
Sinh, and the magnificent brass doors by the present Raja. Close by is the 
mansion of Seth Lakhmi Chand, built at a cost of Rs. 1,00,000. The latest of 
the architectural works with which the city is decorated, and one of the most 
admirable for elegance and elaboration, is a temple near the Chhata Bazar built 
by Deva Chand Bohra, and completed only at the end of the year 1871. What- 
ever other buildings there are of any note will be found enumerated in the list 
at the end of the next chapter. In most cases the greatest amount of finish has 
been bestowed upon the street front, while the interior court is small and con- 
fined ; and the practice of having only a single gate both for entrance and exit 
occasions great, and sometimes dangerous, crowding on high feast days. It is, 
as before remarked, a peculiarity of the Mathura temple architecture to have no 
tower over the seat of the god. 

If the new city was ever surrounded by walls, not a vestige of them now 
remains, though the four principal entrances are still called the Brinda-ban, Dig, 
Bharat-pur, and Holi gates. The last-named is the approach from the Civil 
Station, and here a lofty and elaborately sculptured stone arch has been erected 
over the roadway, in accordance with an elegant design in the local style, sup- 
plied by Yusuf, the municipal architect, a man of very excepiional tasto and 
ability. As the work was commenced at the instance of the late Mr. Bradford 
Hardinge, who was for several years Collector of the district, and took a most 
lively interest in all the city improvements, it is named in his honour* ' tho 
Hardinge arch," though it is not very often so called. Since his death, it has been 
surmounted by a cupola, which was intended at some future time to receive a 
clock, with four corner kiosquas, the cost of these additions being Rs. 3,493. 
Two shops in uniform style were also built in 1875, one on either side, at a 
further cost of Rs. 1,<521, in order to receive and conceal the ponderous staged 
buttresses, which the engineers in the Public Works Department had thought it 
necessary to add. The expenditure on the gate itself was Rs. 8,617, making 
a total of Rs. 13,731. 

As may be inferred from the above remarks stone-carving, the only indi- 
genous art of which Mathura can boast, is carried to great perfection. All the 
temples afford specimens of elegant design in panels of reticulated tracery 
[j'ili), as also do the chhatris of the Seth's family in the Jamuna bagh. The 

* The littic marble tablet, on which the name has been inscribed iu the straightest and most 
uncompromising Kom n capitals, is a conspicuous disfignrement and looks exactly like an auction 
ticket. The Engineer who inserted it cannot have had much of an eye for harmony oi effect. 



only other specialities are of very minor importance. One is the manufac- 
ture of little brass images, which, though of exceedingly coarse execution, com- 
mand a large sale among pilgrims and visitors, especially the religious toy 
called Vasudeva Katora (described at page 54); the other the manufacture 
of paper. This is made in three sizes. The smallest, which is chiefly in demand, 
is called Man-Sinhi and varies in price, according to quality, from Rs. 1-8 to 
Rs. 2-6 a fjaddi or bundle ; the medium size, called Bichanda, sells for Rs. 4 a 
g-addi ; and the larger size, called Syalkoti, for Rs. 10. The factories are some 
100 in number and can turn out in the course of the day -150 gaddis, every 
ftaddi containing 10 dastas of 24 takhtas, or sheets, each. There is also a 
kind of string made which is much appreciated by natives. It is chiefly used 
for lowering lotas, the ordinary brass drinking cups of the country, into wells 
to draw water with. The price is about three or four anas for 40 yards. A 
coloured variety is made for temple use. 


The City of Mathura' {concluded) : its European institutions and 


A light railway, on the metre gauge, 29i miles in length, which was opened 
for traffic on the 19th of October, 1875, now connects the city with thi 
East India Line, which it joins at the Hathras Road station., The cost was 
Rs. 9,55,868, being about Rs. 30,000 a mile, including rolling stock and every- 
thing else. Of this amount Rs. 3,24,100 were contributed by local shareholders, 
and the balance, Rs. 6,31,763, came from Provincial Funds. Interest is 
guaranteed at the rate of 4 per cent, per annum, with a moiety of the surplus 
earnings that may at any time be realized. The line has proved an unques- 
tionable success and its yearly earnings continue to show a steady increase. But 
the principal shareholders — including the Seth, who invested as much as a lakh 
and-a-half in it — were certainly not attracted by the largeness of the pecuniary 
profit ; for 12 per cent, is the lowest return which Indian capitalists ordina- 
rily receive for their money. They were entirely influenced by a highly com- 
mendable public spirit and a desire to support the local European authorities, 
who had shown themselves personally interested in the matter.* The ultimate 
success of the line has now been secured by its junction with the Rajputana 
State Railway. The distance being only some 25 miles, the earthwork was car- 
ried out during the late famine, and the scheme is now completed but for the 
bridge over the Jamuna. In the design that has been supplied there are 12 
spans of 98 feet each, with passage both for road and railway traffic and two 
foot-paths, at an estimated cost of Rs. 3,00,000. As the receipts from tolls 
on the existing pontoon bridge are about Rs. 45,000 per annum, even a larger 
expenditure might safely be incurred. Cross sections of the river have been 
obtained, and a series of borings taken, which show a flood channel of 1,000 
feet and clay foundations underlying the sand at 33 feet. The site is in every 
way well suited for the purpose and presents no special engineering difficulties ; 
but the construction of so large a bridge must necessarily be a work of time, and 
before it is completed it is probable that the line will have been extended from 
its other end, the Hathras terminus, to Farukhabad and so on to Cawnpur, the 

* Next to the Seth — longo intervallo — the largest number of shares were taken up by my- 
self ; for at that time I never expected to be moved from the district. 

160 THE MATHURA' municipality. 

groat centre of the commerce of Upper India. As yet, the line labours under very 
serious disadvantages from being so very short and from the necessity of 
breaking bulk at the little wayside station of Mendu, the Hathras Road junc- 
tion. Consequently, traders who have goods to despatch to Hathras find it 
cheaper and more expeditious to send them all the way by road, rather than 
to hire carts to take them over the pontoon bridge and then unlade them at 
the station and wait hours, or it may be days, before a truck is available to 
carry them on. Thus the goods traffic is very small, and it is only the passen- 
gers who make the line pay. These are mostly pilgrims, who rather prefer to 
loiter on the way and do not object to spending two hours and fifty minutes 
in travelling a distance of 21)^ miles. As the train runs along the side of the 
road, there are daily opportunities for challenging it to a race, and it must be 
a very indifferent country pony which does not succeed in beatino- it. 

The Municipality has a population of 55,7u'3, of whom 10,00(> are Muham- 
madans. The annual income is a little under Rs. 00,000 ; derived, in the absence 
of any special trade, almost exclusively from an octroi tax on articles of food 
the consumption of which is naturally very large and out of all proportion to the 
resident population, in consequence of the frequent influx of huge troops of pil- 
grims. The celebrity among natives of the Mathura peri, a particular kind of 
sweetment, also contributes to the same result. Besides the permanent main- 
tenance of a large police and conservancy establishment, the entire cost of pav- 
ing the city streets has been defrayed out of municipal funds, and a fixed pro- 
portion is anually allotted for the support of different educational establish- 

The High School, a large hall in a very un-Oriental style of architecture. 
was opened by Sir William Muir on the 21st January, 1870. It was 
erected at a cost of Hs. 13,000, of which sum Rs. 2,000 were collected by 
voluntary subscription, Rs. 3,000 were voted by the municipality, and the 
balence of Rs. 8,000 granted by Government.* The City Dispensary, imme- 
diately opposite the Kans-ka-tila and adjoining the Munsif's Court, has 
accommodation for 20 in-door patients ; there is an ordinary attendance per 

* The School, Court-house, and Trotestant Church are — fortunately, as I think — the only local 
buildings of any importance, in the construction of which the Public Works Department has bad 
any hand. I have never been able to understand why a large and costly staff of European en<*i- 
mcrs should be kept up at all, except for Bueh Imperial undertakings as Railways, Military Roads 
air I Canals. The finest buildings in the country date from before our arrival in it, and the descend- 
ants of the men who designed and executed them are still employed by the natives themselves for 
their temples, tanks, palaces, and mosques. If the Government utilized the same agency, there 
would be a great saving in cost and an equal gain in artistic result. 






















diem of 50 applicants for out-door relief, and it is in every respect a well -mana- 
ged and useful institution. 

The Cantonments, which are of considerable extent, occupy some broken and 
undulating ground along the river-side between the city and the civil lines. 
In consequence of the facilities for obtaining an abundant supply of grass in the 
neighbourhood, they are always occupied by an English cavalry regiment. The 
barracks are very widely scattered, an arrangement which doubtless is attended 
with some inconveniences, but is apparently conducive to the health of the troops, 
for there is no station in India where there is less sickness* — a happy result, which 
is also due in part to the dryness of the climate during the greater part of the 
year and the excellence of the natural drainage in the rains. 

The English Church, consecrated by Bishop Dealtry in December, 1856, is 
in a nondescript style of architecture, but has a not inelegant Italian campanile, 
which is visible from a long distance. The interior has been lately enriched by 
a stained-glass window in memory of a young officer of the 10th Hussars, who 
met his death by an accideut while out pig-sticking near Shergarh. 

The adjoining compound was for many years occupied by a miserably 
mean and dilapidated shed, which was most appropriately dedicated to 
St. Francis, the Apostle of Poverty, and served as a Catholic Chapel. This was 
taken down in January, 1874, and on the 18th of the same month, being the 
feast of the Holy Name, the first stone was laid of the new building, which bears 
the title of the Sacred Heart. The ground-plan and general proportions arc in 
accordance with ordinary Gothic precedent, but all the sculptured details, 
whether in wood or stone, are purely Oriental iu design. The carving in the 
tympanum of the three doorways, the tracery in the windows, both of the aisles 
and the clerestory, and the highly decorated altar iu the Lady Chapel, may all 
be noted as favourable specimens of native art. The dome which surmounts 
the choir is the only feature which I hesitate to pronounce a success, as seen 
from the outside ; its interior effect is very good. I originally intended it to 
be a copy of a Hindu sikhara, such as that of the temple of Madan Mohan at 
Briudaban ; but fearing that this might prove an offence to clerical prejudices, 
I eventually altered it into a dome of the Russian type, which also is distinctly 
of Eastern origin and therefore so far in keeping with the rest of the building. 
As every compromise must, it fails of being entirely satisfactory. 

The eastern half of the Church, consisting of the apse, choir, and two 
transepts, was roofed in and roughly fitted up for the celebration of Mass by 

* Occasional}'/ it has so happened that erery single ward in the hospital has been empty. 



All Saints' Day, 1874, only nine months after the work had been commenced. 
The nave and aisles were then taken in hand, and on the recurrence of the 
same feast, two years later, in 1876, the entire edifice was solemnly blessed by 
the Bishop of Agra. On that occasion the interior presented a very striking 
appearance, the floor being spread with handsome Persian carpets, and a profu- 
sion of large crystal chandeliers suspended in all the inter-columniations ; while 
the Bishop's throne of white marble was surmounted by a canopy of silk and 
cloth of gold ; magnificent baldaciiinos, also of gold embroidery, were suspend- 
ed above the three altars, and the entire sanctuary was draped from top to bot- 
tom with costly Indian tapestry. These beautiful accessories, several thousands 
of rupees in value, were kindly lent by the Seths, the Raja of Hathras and 
other leading members of the Hindu community, many of whom had also assist- 
ed with handsome pecuniary donations. As a further indication of their liberal 
sentiments, they themselves attended the function in the evening — the first 
public act of Christian worship at which the) r had ever been present — and ex- 
pressed themselves as being much impressed by the elaborate ceremonial and the 
Gregorian tones, which latter they identified with their own immemorial Vedic 
chants. In consequence of my transfer from the district, the building, though 
complete in essentials, will ever remain architecturally unfinished. The west- 
ern facade is flanked by two stone stair-turrets (one built at the cost of Lala 
Syam Sundar Das) which have only been brought up to the level of the aisle 
roof, though it was intended to raise them much higher and put bells in them. 
There were also to have been four kiosques at the corners of the dome, for the 
reception of statues, but two only have been executed ; the roof of the transepts 
was to have been raised to a level with that of the nave, and the plain parapet 
of the aisles would have been replaced by one of carved stone. The High Altar, 
moreover, is only a temporary erection of brick and plaster. I was at work up- 
on the Tabernacle for it, when I received Sir George Couper's orders to go ; and 
naturally enough they were a great blow to me. The total cost had been 
lbs. 18,100. 

In the civil station most of the houses are large and commodious and, being 
the property of the Seth, the most liberal of landlords, are never allowed to 
offend the eye by falling out of repair. One built immediately after the mutiny 
for the use of the Collector of the district is an exceptionally handsome and sub- 
stantial edifice. The Court-house, as already mentioned on page 106, was com- 
pleted in the year 1861, and has a long and rather imposing facade; but though 
it stands at a distance of not more than 100 yards from the high road, the 
ground in front of it has been so carelessly planted that a person, who had no 



professional business to take him there, might live within a stone's throw for 
years and never be aware of its existence. In immediate proximity are the offi- 
ces of the Tahsildar, a singularly mean and insignificant range of buildings, as 
if purposely made so to serve for a fcil to another building which stands in 
.•aine enclosure. 

This is now used, or (as perhaps it would be more correct to say) at the 
time of my leaving the district was intended to be used, as a Museum. It was 
commenced by Mr. Thornhill, the Magistrate and Collector of the district, who 
raised the money for the purpose by public subscription, intending to make of 
it a rest-house for the reception of native gentlemen of rank, whenever they had 
occasion to visit head-quarters. Though close to the Courts, which would be a 
convenience, it is too far from the bazar to suit native tastes, and even if it had 
been completed according to the original design, it is not probable that it would 
ever have been occupied. After an expenditure of lis. 30,000, the work wa 
interrupted by the mutiny. When order had been restored, the new Collector, 
Mr. Best, with a perversity by no means uncommon in the records of Indian 
local administration, set himself at once, not to complete, but to mutilate, his 
predecessor's handiwork. It was intended that the building should stand in ex- 
tensive grounds of its own, where it would certainly have had a very pleasing 
architectural effect ; but instead of this the high road was brought immediately 
in front of it, so as to cut it off entirely from the new public garden ; the offices 
of the Tahsildar were built on one side, and on the other was run up, at a most 
awkward angle, a high masonry wall ; a rough thatched roof was thrown over 
its centre court ; doorways were introduced in different places where they were 
not wanted and only served as disfigurements, and the unfortunate building 
was then nick-named " Thornhill's Folly" and abandoned to utter neglect. 

It remained thus till 1874, when the idea of converting it into a Museum 
received the support of Sir John Strachey, who sanctioned from provincial 
funds a grant-in-aid of lis. 3,500. The first step taken was to raise the centre 
court by the addition of a clerestory, with windows of reticulated stone tracery, 
and to cover it with a stone vault, in which (so far as constructional peculiari- 
ties are concerned) I reproduced the roof of the now ruined temple of Harideva, 
at Gobardhan. The cost amounted to Its. 5,336. A porch was afterwards 
added at a further outlay of Rs. 8,494 ; but for this I am not responsible. It is 
a beautiful design, well executed, and so far it reflects great credit on Yusuf, 
the Municipal architect ; but it is too delicate for an exterior facade on the side 
of a dusty road. Something plainer would have answered the purpose as well, 
besides having a more harmonious effect. After my transfer, operations at once 


came to a stand-still and the valuable collection of antiquities I had left behind 
me remained utterly uncared for, till I took upon myself to represent the 
matter to the local Government. I was thereupon allowed to submit plans and 
estimates for the completion of the lower story by filling in the doors and win- 
dows, without which the building could not possibly be used, and my proposals 
were sanctioned. When I last visited Mathura, the work had made good 
progress, and I believe has now been finished for some time ; but many of 
the most interesting sculptures are still lying about in the compound of my old 

Though the cost of the building has been so very considerable, nearly 
Es. 44,000, it is only of small dimensions ; but the whole wall surface in the 
central court is a mass of geometric and flowered decorations of the most artis- 
tic character. The bands of natural foliage — a feature introduced by Mr. Thorn- 
hill's own fancy — are very boldly cut and in thernselvei decidedly handsome 
but they are not altogether in accord with the conventional designs of native 
style by which they are surrounded. 

The following inscription is worked into the cornice of the central hall : — 

l)l!j«a*«ijj i_5 a tJ;}>'*;5' <*^* (J^^* ^fr- * u: ^* , *'5 ; *>s~«»j ^&* ■=£*"] ^>\ (J'****] li33 ^ 
& j.^ao ^=5 ij.j a i^t^jj.jj.i'.^.^a law # jC-d i_jU».!y| o.y^ ,W.*J $ ^s ';; 

U>; ^j*^- 1 i-i-j jj^J rfJ lOjjy* "^ y^« * «g^ l*i A-i;^^.-! i i2*$y& jC*d ^J •=■> 

,»*«•** I A 1 i^w JUas IMC ii- 

" The State having thought good to promote the ease of its subjects, gave 
intimation to the Magistrate and Collector, ; who then, by the co-operation of 
the chief men of Mathura, had this house for travellers built with the choicest 
carved work.* Its doors and walls are polished like a mirror ; in its sculpture 
every kind of flower-bed appears in view ; its width and height were assigned 
in harmonious proportion ; from top to bottom it is well shaped and well 
balanced. It may very properly be compared to the dome of Afrasyab, or it may 

* Upon the word munubbat, which is used here to denote arabesque carving, the late Mr. 
Blocumunn communicated the following note:— "The Arabic nabata means 'to plant,' and the 
intensive form of the verb has either the same signification or that of 'causing to appear like 
plants' : hence munabbat comes to mean ' traced with flowers,' and may be compared with mus- 
hajjar, ' caused to appear like trees,' which is the word applied to silk with tree-patterns on 
ii," like the more common ' biita-ddr.' 


justly bo styled the palace of an emperor. One who saw its magnificence 
(or the poet Shaukat on seeing it) composed this tarikh, so elegant a rest-houso 
makes even the flower garden envious. " 

As the building afforded such very scant accommodation, I proposed to 
make it not a general, but simply an architectural and antiquarian museum, 
arranging in it, in chronological series, specimens of all the different styles that 
have prevailed in the neighbourhood from the reign of the Indo-Scythian K.i- 
nishka, in the century immediately before Christ, down to the Victorian period 
which would be illustrated in perfection by the building itself. 

It cannot be denied that it is high time for some such institution to bo 
established ; for in an ancient city like Mathura interesting relics of tho past, 
even when no definite search is being made for them, are constantly cropping 
up ; and unless there is some easily accessible place to which they can be con- 
signed for custody, they run an imminent risk of being no sooner found than 
destroyed. Inscriptions in particular, despite their exceptional value in the 
eyes of the antiquary, are more likely to perish than anything else, since they 
have no beauty to recommend them to the ordinary observer. Tims, us already 
mentioned, a pillar, the whole surface of which is said to have been covered 
with writing, was found in 18(!0 in making a road on the site of the old city 
wall. There was no one on the spot at the time who took any interest in such 
matters, and the thrifty engineer, thinking such a fine large block of stone ought 
not to be wasted, had it neatly squared and made into a buttress for a bridge. 
Another inscribed fragment, which had formed the base of a large seated statue, 
had been set up by a subordinate in the Public "Works Department to protect a 
culvert on the high road through cantonments, from which position I rescued it. 
It bears the words Ma/idrajasya Deva-putrasya Humshkasya rdjya sam. 50 
lie 3 di 2, and is of value as an unquestionably early example of the same 
symbol, which in tho inscription of doubtful age given at page 138 is 
explained in words as denoting ' fifty.' A third illustration of official indiffer- 
ence to archaeological interests, though here the culprit was not an engineer, 
but the Collector himself, is afforded by the base of a pillar, which, after it 
had been accidentally dug up, was plastered and whitewashed and imbedded 
in one of the side pillars of the Tahsili gateway, where I re-discovered it, 
when the gateway was pulled down to improve the approach. The words are 
cut in bold clear letters, which for the most part admit of being deciphered with 
certainty, as follows: Ayam kumbliaka ddnam bhikshunam Survyasya Buddha- 

mkshitasya clia prakitakdnam. Anantyam(!) deya dharmma pa nam. 

Sarvasa prakitakdnam arya dakshitaye bhavatu. The purport of this would be: 


166 the pa'li-khera sculpture. 

" This base is the gift of the mendicants Surya and Buddha-rakshita, pra7iita- 
kas. A religious donation in perpetuity. May it be in every way a blessing to 
the prahitakas." A question has been raised by Professor Kern, with reference 
to another inscription, in which also a bhikshu was mentioned as a donor, on 
the score that a mendicant was a very unlikely person to contribute towards 
the expenses of any building, since, as he says, ' monks have nothing to give 
awav, all to receive.' But in this particular instance the reading and meaning 
are both unmistakeably clear, nor is the fact really at all inconsistent with 
Hindu usage. In this very district I can point to two large masonry tanks, 
costing each some thousands of rupees, which have been constructed by men- 
dicants, bairagis, .nit (if alms that they had in a long course of years begged for 
the purpose. The word prahitaka, if I am right in so reading it, is of doubtful 
signification. It might mean either ' messenger' or ' committee-man ;' a com- 
missioner or a commissionaire. 

The other inscriptions have for the most part been already noticed in the 
preceding chapters, when describing the places where they were found. 

As a work of art, the most pleasing specimen of sculpture is the Yasa-ditta 
statue of Buddha, noticed at page 115 ; but archteologically the most curious 
object in the collection is certainly the large carved block which I discovered at 
Palikhera in the cold weather of 1873-74. On one side is represented a group 
of six persons, the principal figure being a man of much abdominal development, 
who is seated in complete nudity on a rock, or low stool, with a large cup in 
in his hand. At his knee is a little child ; two attendants stand at the back ; and 
in the front two women are seen approaching, of whom the foremost bears a 
cup and the second a bunch of grapes. Their dress is a long skirt with a 
shorter jacket over it ; shoes on the feet and a turban on the head. The two 
cups are curiously made ; the lower end of the curved handle being attached 
to the bottom of the stem instead of the bowl. On the opposite side of the 
block the same male figure is seen in a state of helpless intoxication, supported 
on his seat from behind by two attendants, the one male, the other female. 
By his right knee stands the child as before, and opposite him to the left was 
apparently another boy, of somewhat larger growth, but this figure has been 
much mutilated. The male attendant wears a mantle, fastened at the neck by 
a fibula and hanging from the shoulder in vandyked folds, which are ven 
suggestive of late Greek design. 

The stone on which these two groupsare carved measures three feet ten inches 

in height, three feet in breadth and one loot lour inches in thickness, and the top 


has been scooped out so as to form as it were a shallow circular basin. A block, of 
precisely the same dimensions ami carved with two similar groups, was discovered 
somewhere near Mathura, the precise locality not having been placed on record, 
by Colonel Stacy in the year L836, who deposited it in the < lalcutta museum, where 
it still is. His idea was that the principal figure represented Silenus, that the 
sculptors were Bactrian Greeks, and that their work was meant to be a tazza, or 
rather a pedestal for the support of a tazza or large sacrificial vase. These 
opinions were endorsed by James Prinsep, and have prevailed to the present 
day. I believe them however to be erroneous, though not unnaturally suggest- 
ed by a general resemblance to some such a picture as is given in Woolner's 
Pygmalion of — 

" Weak-kneed Si'e iub puffin?, on both sides 
Uph lil by grinning slaves, who plied the cup 
Wherein two nymphs squeezed juice of dusky grapes." 

Of the two groups on the Stacy stone one represents the drunkard after he 
has drained the cup, and is almost identical with that above described. The 
other exhibits an entirely different scene in the story, though some of the 
characters appear to be the same. There are four figures— two male and two 
female — standing under the'shade of a tree with long clusters of drooping flow- 
ers. The first figure to the right is a female dressed in a long skirt and upper 
jacket, with a narrow scarf thrown over her arms. Her right hand is grasped 
by her male companion, who has his left arm round her neck. He is entirely 
naked, save for a very short pair of drawers barely reaching to the middle of 
the thigh, and a shawl which may be supposed to hang loosely at his back, but 
in front shows only the ends tied loosely in a knot under his chin. Behind him 
and with her back to his back is another female dressed as the first, but with 
elaborate bangles covering nearly half the fore-arm. Her male companion 
seems to be turning away as if on the point of taking his leave. He wears light 
drawers reaching to the ankles and a thin muslin tunic, fitting close to the body 
and terminating a little below the knees. On the ground at the feet of each of 
the male figures is a covered cup. 

As to the names of the personages concerned and the particular story which 
the sculptor intended to represent, I am not able to offer any suggestion. Pro- 
bably, when Buddhist literature has been more largely studied, the legend thus 
illustrated will be brought to light. The general purport of the three scenes 
appear to me unmistakeable. In the first the two male conspirators are per- 
suading their female companions to take part in the plot, the nature of the plot 
being indicated by the two cups at their feet. In the second the venerable 


ascetic has been seduced by their wiles into tasting the dangerous draught; one 
of the two cups is in his hand, the other is ready to follow. In the third one, 
of which there are two representations, the cups have been quaffed, and he is 
reeling from their effects. 

Obviously all this has nothing to do with Silenus ; the discovery of the 
second block, which supplies the missing scene in the drama, makes it quite 
clear that some entirely different personage is intended. The tazza theory may 
also be dismissed ; for the shallow bason at the top of the stone seems to be 
nothing more than the bed for the reception of a round pillar. A sacrificial 
vase was a not uncommon offering among the Greeks ; and if the carving had 
been shown to represent a Greek legend, there would have been no great 
improbability in supposing that the work had been executed for a foreigner 
who employed it in accordance with his own national usage. But in dedicat- 
ing a cup to one of his own divinities, he would not decorate it with scenes from 
Hindu mythology ; while, on the other hand, the offering of a cup of such 
dimensions to any monastery or shrine on the part of a Buddhist is both 
unprecedented and intrinsically improbable. 

Finally, as to the nationality of the artist. The foliage, it must be ob- 
served, is identical in character with what is seen on many Buddhist pillars found 
in the immediate neighbourhood and generally in connection with figures of Maya 
Devi ; whence it may be presumed that it is intended to represent the sal tree, 
under which Buddha was born, though it is by no means a correct representa- 
tion of that tree. The other minor accessories are also, with one exception, either 
clearly Indian, or at least not strikingly un-Indian : such as the earrings and 
bangles worn by the female figures and the feet either bare or certainly not shod 
with sandals : the one exception being the mantle of the male attendant in 
the drunken scene. Considering the local character of all the other accessories, I 
find it impossible to agree with General Cunningham in ascribing the work to a 
foreign artist, " one of a small body of Bactrian sculptors, wdio found employ- 
ment among the wealthy Buddhists at Mathura, as in later days Europeans were 
employed under the Mughal emperors. " The thoroughly Indian character of 
the details seems to me, as to Br. Mitra, decisive proof that the sculptor was a 
native of the country ; nor do I think it very strange that he should represent 
one of the less important characters as clothed in a modified Greek costume, since 
it is an established historical fact that Mathura was included in the Bactrian 
Empire, and the Greek style of dress cannot have been altogether unfamiliar to 
him. The artificial folds of the drapery were probably borrowed from what he 
saw.on coins. 





Ih th'e Hindu Pantheon tlie only personage said to have been of wine-bib- 
Biiig propensities is Balar&ma himself, one of the tutelary divinities of Ma- 
th ura ; and it is probably he who was intended to be represented by a second 
Bacchanalian figure included in the museum, collection. This is a mutilated 
statue brought from the village of Kukargama, in the Sa'dabad pargana.* He 
stands under the conventional canopy of serpents' heads, with a garland of 
wild-flowers (ban-main) thrown across his body ; his right hand is raised above 
his head in wild gesticulation and in his left hand he holds a cup very similar 
to the one shown in the Pali-khera sculpture. His head-dress closely resem- 
bles Krishna's distinctive' ornament, the mukut ; but it may be only the spiral 
coil of hair observable in the Sanchi and Amaravati sculptures. In any case, 
the inference must not be presed too far ; for, first, the hooded snake is as con- 
stant an accompaniment of Sakya Muni as of Balarama ; and secondly, a third 
sculpture of an equally Bacchanalian character is unmistakeably Buddhist. 
This is a rudely executed figure of a fat little fellow, who has both his hands 
raised above his hand, and holds in one a cup, in the other a bunch of graj 
The head with its close curling hair leaves no doubt that Buddha is the person 
intended ; though possibly in the days of his youth, when " ho dwelt still in his 
palace and indulged himself in all carnal pleasures."' Or it might be a cari- 
cature of Buddhism as regarded from the point of view of a Brahmanical 

*At Kukargama is an ancient shrine of Kukar Devi, where a incla is held on the festival 
of the Phul-dol, Chait badi 7. Though in a dilapidated condition, the building is quite a modern 
cue, a small dome supported on plain brick arches; but on the floor, which is raised several feet 
above the level of the ground, is a plinth, 4 feet 8 inches square, formed of massive blocks of a 
hard and closely grained grey stone. The mouldings are bold and simple, like what may be seen 
in the oldest Kashmir temples. One side of the plinth is imperfect an 1 the stone has also been 
removed from the centre, leaving a circular hollow, which the villagers think was a well. But 
more probably the shrine was originally one of Mahadeva, an 1 this was the bed in which a 
round lingam had been set. In a corner of the building were two mutilated sculptures of similar 
design, and it was the more perfect of these two that I removed to Mathura. A sketch of it 
may be seen in Volume XLIV. of the Journal of the Calcutta Asiatic Society's Journal for ISTo. 
A few paces from the shrine is a small brick platform, level with the grouud, which is said 
to cover the grave of the dog (Kuhura) from whom the village is suppose 1 to derive its name : 
and pc-r-ons bitten by a dog are brought here to be cured. The adjoining pond called Kurha (for 
Kuhum-ha) is said to have been constructed by a Banjara. Very large bricks are occasionally 
dug up out of it, as also from the village Khera ; one measured 1 foot 5 inches in length by 10 
inches in breadth and :s in thickness, another 1 font 7 inc'ies x 9 inches x 2\ inches. It is of 
interest to observe that on the west coast of the Gulf of Cambay, 20 miles south of Bhaonagar,- 
is another place now called Kukar, the ancient name of which, as appears from an inscription 
found there, was. Kokata; but the derivation is uncertain. The old Jit zaminiars are Gahlot, 
or Sisodiya, Thakurs from Sahpau. 



However, Buddhism itself, thoagh originally a system of abstractions 
and negations, was not long before it assumed a concrete development. 
In one of its schools, which from the indecency of many of the figures 
that have been discovered would seem to have been very popular at Ma- 
thura, debauchery of the most degrading description was positively inculcat- 
ed as the surest means for attaining perfection. The authority for theso 
abominable doctrines, which, in the absence of literary proof might have 
been considered an impossible outcome of such teaching as that of Sakya 
Muni, is a Sanskrit composition called Tathdgata Guhjnka, or Guhya sama.' 
gha, 'the collection of secrets,' of which the first published notice is thai 
given by Dr. Rajendra Lala Mittra in the introduction to his edition of 
the Lalita Vistara. He describes it as having all the characteristics of the 
worst specimens of the Hindu Tantras. The professed object, in either case, 
is devotion of the highest kind — absolute and unconditional — at the sacrifice 
of all worldly attachments, wishes, and aspirations ; but in working it out 
theories are indulged in and practices enjoined, which are at once the most 
revolting and horrible that human depravity could imagine. A shroud of 
mystery alone seems to prevent their true character from being seen ; but 
divested of it, works of this description would deserve to be burnt by the com- 
mon hangman. Looking at them philosophically, the great wonder is that a 
system of religion, so pure and so lofty in its aspirations as Buddhism, could 
lie made to ally itself with such pestilent dogmas and practices. Perfection is 
described as attainable not by austerity, privations and painful rigorous obser- 
vances, but by the enjoyment of all the pleasures of the world, some of which 
are described with a minuteness of detail which is simply revolting. The 
figures of nude dancing-girls in lascivious attitudes with other obscene repre- 
sentations, that occur on many of the Buddhist pillars in the museum, are 
clear indications of the popularity which this corrupt system had acquired in 
the neighbourhood. The two figures of female monsters, each with a child in 
its lap, which it is preparing to tear in pieces ami devour, are in all probabi- 
lity to be referred to the same school : though they appear also in the Hindu 
Tantras and under the same name, that of Dakini. In the oldest sculptures the 
figures are all decently draped, and it has been the custom to regard them 
only as Buddhist, and all the nude or otherwise objectionable representations 
as Jaini. But this is an error arising out of the popular Hindu prejudice 
against what they call in reproach ' the worship of the naked gods.' The on, 
cry is simply an interested one and has no foundation in fact : for though 
many Hindu temples, especially in Bengal, are disfigured by horrible obscenities, 


I know of no Jaini templo in which there is anything to shock the most 
sensitive delicacy ; while the length to which some of the recognized followers 
of Buddha could go in the deification of lust has been sufficiently shown by 
Dr. Mitra's description of the Guhya samagha. And this, it should be added, 
though hitherto almost unknown to European students, is no obscure treatise, 
but is one of the nine most important works to which divine worship is con- 
stantly offered by the Buddhists of Nepal. 

Of the different styles of architecture that have prevailed in the district, the 
memory of the earliest, the Indo-Greek, is preserved by a single small fragment, 
found in the Ambarisha hill, where a niche is supported by columns with Ionic 
capitals.' Of the succeeding style, the Indo-Scythian, there are a few actual 
architectural remains and a considerable number of sculptured representa- 
tions. No complete column has been recovered ; but the plain square bases, 
cut into four Mops, found at the Chauwara mounds, belong to this period, as 
also the bell-shaped capital, surmounted by an inscribed abacus with an ele- 
phant standing upon it, brought from a garden near the Kankali tila. It is 
dated the year 39, in the reign of Huvishka. In the sculptures, where an 
arcade is shown, the abacus usually supports a pair of winged linns, crouch- 
ing back to back ; but in a fragment from the Kankali tila, where the column i.s 
meant for an isolated one, it. bears an elephant. In this last example the 
shaft appears to be round, but it is more commonly shown as octagonal. The 
round bases, of which such a large number were unearthed from the Jamalpur 
mounds, many of them inscribed with the names of the donors, would seem 
to have been used for the support of statues. The name by which they are 
designated in the inscriptions is Kumbhaka. The miniature pediments, carved 
as a diaper or wall decoration, show that the temple fronts presented the same 
appearance as in the Nasik caves. This was peculiarly the Buddhist style and 
died with the religion to whose service it had been dedicated. After it came 
the mediaeval Brahmanic style, which was prevalent all over Upper India in 
the time of Prithi Raj and the Muhamnradan conquest. In this the bell- 
shaped capital appears as a vase with masses of dependent foliage at its four 
corners. These have not only a very graceful effect, but are also of much 
constructional significance, since they counteract the weakness which would 
otherwise have resulted from the attenuation of the vase at its base and neck. 
The shaft itself frequently springs from a similar vase set upon a moulded 
base. In early examples, as in a pair of columns from the Kankali tila and 
a fragment from Shergarh, the shaft has a central band of drooping lily-like 
flowers, with festoons dependent from them. Later on, instead of the band 


a frrotesque face is introduced, with the moustaches prolonged into fanciful 
arabesque continuations, and strings of pearls substituted for the festoons, 
or a knotted scarf is grasped in the teeth and bangs half down to the base with 
a bell attached to its end. < tecasionally the entire shaft or some one of its faces 
is enriched with bands of foliage. Probably for the sake of securing greater 
height, a second capital was added at the top, either in plain cushion shape, 
or carved into the semblance of two squat monsters supporting the architrave 
on their head and upraised hands. For still loftier buildings it was the prac- 
tice to set two columns of similar character one on the other, crowning the 
uppermost with the detached capital as above described ; and afterwards it 
became the fashion to make even short columns with a notch in the middle, so 
as to give them the appearance of being in two pieces. Examples of this 
peculiarity may be seen in the Chhatthi Palna at Maha-ban and the Dargah 
at Noh-jhil. The custom, which prevailed to a very late period, of varying 
the shape of a shaft by making it square at bottom, then an octagon, and then 
polygonal, is probably of different origin and was only a device for securing 
an appearance of lightness. 

From about the year 1200 A.D. the architectural history of Mathura is an 
absolute blank till the middle of the 16th century, when, under the beneficent 
sway of the Emperor Akbar, the eclectic style, so characteristic of his own 
religious views, produced the magnificent series of temples, which even in their 
ruin arc still to be admired at Brinda-ban. The temple of Radha Ballabh, in that 
town, built in the next reign, that of Jahangir, is the last example of the style. 
Its characteristic note can scarcely be defined as the fusion, but rather as the 
parallel exhibition of the Hindu and Muhammadan method. Thus in a facade 
one story, or one compartment, shows a succession of multifoil saracenic arches, 
while above and below, or on either side, every opening is square-headed with 
the architrave supported on projecting brackets. The one is purely Muham- 
madan, the other is as distinctly Hindu ; yet, without any attempt made to 
disguise the fact beyond the judicious avoidance of all exaggerated peculiarities 
in either style, the juxta position of the two causes no sentiment of incongruity. 
If in any art it were possible to revive the dead, or if it were in human nature 
ever to return absolutely upon the past, this style would seem to be the one for 
our architects to copy. But simple retrogression is impossible. Every period 
has an environment of its own, which, however studiously ignored in artificial 
imitations, must have its effect in any spontaneous development of the artistic 
faculty. The principle, however, is as applicable as ever, though it will deal with 
altered materials and be manifested in novel phenomena. Indian architecture, as 












now in vogue at Mathura, is the result of Muhammadan influences working upon 
a Hindu basis. The extraordinary power that resulted from the first introduc- 
tion of the new element is all but exhausted ; the system requires once more to 
be invigorated from without. A single touch of genius might restore it to more 
than all its pristine activity by wedding it to the European Gothic, to which it 
has a strong natural affinity. The product would be a style that would satisfy 
all the practical requirements of modern civilization, and at the same time 
display the union of oriental and western idea, in a concrete form, which both 
nationalities could appreciate. The combination of dome and spire, the dream' 
of our last great Gothic architect, but which he died without accomplishing, 
would follow spontaneously ; and Anglo-Indian architecture, no longer a bye- 
word for Philistinism and vulgarity, might spread through the length and 
breadth of the empire with as much success as Indo-Greek art in the days of 
Alexander, or Hindu-Saracenic art in the reign of Akbar. 

The eclecticism of the last-named period, which has suggested the above 
remarks, was followed by the Jat style, of which the best examples are the 
tombs and palaces erected by Suraj Mall, the founder of the Bharatpur dynasty, 
and his immediate successors. In these the arch is thoroughly naturalized ; 
the details are also in the main dictated by Muhammadan precedent, but they 
are carried out with much of the old Hindu solidity and exuberance of fanci- 
ful decoration. The arcade of the Ganga Mohan Kunj at Brinda-ban is a 
very fine specimen of this style at its best. In later buildings, as in those 
on the bank of the Manasi Ganga at Gobardhan, the mouldings are shallower 
and the wall-ornamentation consists of nothing but an endless succession of 
niches and vases repeated with wearisome uniformity. The Baugala, or ob- 
long alcove, with a vaulted roof of curvilinear outline, is always a prominent 
feature iu this style and is introduced into some part of every facade. From 
the name it may be inferred that it was borrowed from Bengal and was pro- 
bably intended as a copy of the ordinary cottage roof made of bent bainbus. 
It does not appear in Upper India till the reign of Aurangzeb ; the earliest 
example in Mathura being the alcoves of the mosque built by Ahd-un- 
Nabi in 1661 A.D. 

The style in vogue at the present day is the legitimate descendant of tho 
above, and differs from it in precisely the same way as Perpendicular differs- 
from Decorated Gothic. It has greater lightness, but less freedom : more elabora- 
tion in details, but less vigour in conception. The panelling of the walls and 
piers is often filled in with extremely delicate arabesques of intricate design ; 



but the effect is scarcely in proportion to the labour expended upon them ; for 
the work is too slightly raised and too minute to catch the eye at any distance. 
Thus the first impression is one of flatness and a want of accentuation ; artis- 
tic defects for which no refinement of detail can adequately compensate. The 
pierced tracery, however, of the screens and balconies is as good in character 
as in execution. The geometrical patterns are old traditions and can be classi- 
fied under a few well-defined heads, but they admit of almost infinite modi- 
fications under skilful treatment. They are cut with great mathematical nicety, 
the pattern being drawn on both sides of the slab, which is half chiselled 
through from one side and then turned over and completed from the other. 
The temples that line both sides of the High Street in the city, the monument 
to Seth Mani Rain in the Jamuna bagh and the porch of the museum itself 
are fine specimens of the style, and are conclusive proofs that, in Mathura at 
all events, architecture is, to this day, no mere galvanized revival of the past, 
but is still a living and progressive art. If a model of some one of the best 
and most typical buildings in each of the late styles were added to the 
museum collection of antiquities, as was my intention, the series would give 
• a complete view of the architectural history of the district, from which a 
student would be able to gather much instruction. A specimen of modern 
official architecture (?), as conceived by our Engineers in the Public Works 
Department, should further be placed in juxtaposition with them, as a model 
also, but a model of everything to be avoided. 

Immediately opposite the museum is the Public Garden, in which the museum 
itself ought to have been placed. It contains a considerable variety of choice 
trees ami shrubs, but unfortunately it has not been laid out with much taste, 
and its area is too large to be kept in good order out of the funds that are 
allowed for its maintenance. It was extended a few years ago, so as to include 
the site of a large mound and tank. The former was levelled and the latter 
filled up. During the progress of the work a number of copper coins were dis- 
covered, which may very possibly have been of the same date as the adjoining 
Buddhist monastery ; but being of no intrinsic value, there was no one on the 
spot who cared to preserve them. A little further on is the Jail, constructed 
on the approved radiating principle, and sufficiently strong under ordinary 
circumstances to ensure the safe-guard of native prisoners, though an European 
would probably find its walls not very difficult either to scale or breakthrough. 
This exhausts the list of public institutions and objects of interest ; whence it 
may be rightly inferred that the English quarter of Mathura is as dull 
and common-place as most other Indian stations. Still, in the rains it has a 


pleasant park-like appearance with its wide expanse of green sward, reserved 
for military uses from the encroachments of the plough ; its well-kept roads 
with substantial bridges to span the frequent ravines ; and the long avenues 
of trees that half conceal the thatched and verandahed bungalows that lie 
behind, each in its own enclosure of garden and pasture land ; while in the 
distant back-ground an occasional glimpse is caught of the broad stream of the 

I.— 'List of Governors of Mathura' in the 17th Century. 

1629. Mirza Isa Tarkhan ; who gave his name to the suburb of Isa- 
pur (now more commonly called Hans-ganj), on the opposite bank of the 

1636. Murshid Kuli Khan, promoted, at the time of his appointment, to 
be commander of 2,000 horse, as an incentive to be zealous in stamping out 
idolatry and rebellion. From him the suburb of Murshid-pur derives its 

1630. Allah Virdi Khan. After holding office for three years, some 
disloyal expressions to which he had given utterance were reported to the emperor, 
who thereupon confiscated his estates and removed him to Delhi. 

1642. Azam Khan Mir Muhammad Bakir, also called Irsidat Khan. He 
is commemorated by the Azam-abad Sarae, which he founded (see page 31), 
and by the two villages of Azam-pur and Bakir-pur. He came of a noble 
family seated at Sawa in Persia, and having attached himself to the service of 
Asaf Khan Mirza Jafar, the distinguished poet and courtier, soon after became 
his son-in-law and was introduced to the notice of the Emperor Jahangir. He 
thus gained his firsr appointment under the Crown ; but his subsequent promo- 
tion was due to the influence of Yamin-ud-ilaula, Asaf Khan IV., the father of 
Mumtaz Mahall, the favourite wife of Shahjahan. On the accession of that 
monarch he was appointed commander of 5,000, and served with distinction in 
the Dakhiu in the war against the rebel Khan Jahan Lodi and in the opera- 
tions against the Nizam Shahi's troops. In the fifth year of the reign, he was 
made Governor of Bengal in succession to Kasiin Khan Juwaini. Three 
years later he was transferred to Allahabad, but did not remain there long, 
bein"' moved in the very next year to Gujarat, as Subadar. In the twelfth year 
of Shahjahan his daughter was married to prince Shuja, who had by her a son 
named Zain-ul-abidin. From 1642 to 1645 he was Governor of Mathur&, but 



in the latter year, as he did not act with sufficient vigour against the Hindu 
malcontents, his advanced age was made the pretext for transferring him to 
Bihar. Three years later he received orders for Kashmir ; but as he objected 
to the cold climate of that country he was allowed to exchange it for Jaun-pnr, 
where he died in 1648, at the age of 7(3. He is described in the Naasir-ul- 
I'mara as a man of most estimable character, but very harsh in his mode of 
collecting the State revenue. Azamgarh, the capital of the district of that name 
in the Banaras Division, was also founded by him. 

1645. Makramat Khan, formerly Governor of Delhi. 

1658. Jafar, son of Allah Virdi Khan. 

1659. Kasim Khan, transferred from Muradiibad, but murdered on his 
way down. 

1660. Abd-un-Nabi, founder of the Jama Masjid (see page 150). 

1668. Saft-Shikan Khan. Fails in quelling the rebellion. 

1669. Hasan Ali Khan. During his incumbency the great temple of 
Kesava Deva was destroyed. 

1676. Sultan Kuli Khan, 

II. — Names of the City Quarters, or Mahallas. 

1 Mandavi Rani. 


2 Bair&g-pura. 


3 Khirki Bisati. 


4 Naya-bas. 


5 Arjun-pura. 


6 Tek-narnaul. 


7 Gali Seru Kasera. 


8 Gali Ravaliya. 


9 Gali Ram-pal. 


10 Tek Rami Khati. 


11 Gali Mathura Me- 




12 Bazar Ohauk. 


13 Gali Bhairon. 

O 9 


14 Gali Thathera. 


15 Lai Darwaza. 


16 Gali Lohiva. 


17 Gali Nanda. 


18 Teli-para 


19 Tila Chaubc. 


Brindaban Darwaza, 

Gher Gobindi. 
Gali Gopa Shah. 
Shah-ganj Darwaza 
Chakra Tirath. 
Krishan Ganga. 
Kans k;'i kila. 
Hanuman tila, 
Zer masjid. 
^;imi Ghat. 
Makhdiim Shah. 
Asi-kunda Ghat. 
Visrant Ghat. 
Gali Dasavatar. 
Gosain (J hat. 

40 Kil-math. 

41 Syam Ghat. 

42 Ram Ghat. 

43 Ramji-dwara. 

44 Bihari-pura. 

45 Ballabh Ghat. 

46 Maru Gali. 

47 Bengali Ghat. 

48 Kala Mahal. 
•19 Chuna kankar. 

50 Chamarhana. 

51 Gopal-pura. 

52 Sarai Raja Bha- 


53 Sengal-pura. 

54 Chhonkar-para, 

55 Mir-ganj. 

56 Holi Darwaza. 

57 Sitala Gali. 

58 Kampu Ghat. 



II. — Names of the City Quarters or 

Mauallas — {concluded). 


Dharmsala Raja 

76" Gujarhana. 

/ 93 Manik chauk. 

Awa (built by Raj6 

77 Roshan-ganj. 

94 Gaja Paesa. 

Pitambar Sinh). 

78 Bhar-kigali. 

95 Ghati Bitthal Rae. 


Dhruva Ghat. 

79 Kliii-ki Dalpat Rao. 

96 Sitala Ghati. 


Dhruva ti'la. 

80 Taj-pura. 

97 Nakarchi tila. 


Bal tila. 

81 Chaubachcha. 

98 Guiar Ghati. 


Bar.'i Jay Kam Das. 

82 Sat Ghara. 

99 Gali Kalal. 



83 Chhathi Bazar. 

100 Kaserat. 



84 Gali Pathakan. 

101 Gali Durga Chand. 



85 Mandar Parikh 


102 Bazaz.i. 


( Ihhagan-purai 

86 Kazi-para. 

103 Mandavi Ghiya. 



87 Nava Bazar (from 

104 Gali Dhiisaron ki. 


Chhah kathauti. 

Mr. Thorn ton's time). 

105 Manohar-pura. 



88 Ghati chikne r 


106 Ka~-ai-]iara. 


Bharatpur Darwaza. 

haron ki. 

107 Kesopura, 



89 Gali Gotawala. 

108 Mandavi Ram D 


Sitala Paesa. 

90 Gata sram. 

109 Matiya Darwaza. 


Maholi Pol. 

91 Ratn kund. 

110 Dig Darwaza. 


Nagra Paesa. 

92 Chhonka-par.'i. 

Ill Mahalla khakroban. 

III. — Principal Buildings in the City of Mathura'. 

1. Hardinge Arch, or Holi Darwaza, forming the Agra gate of the city, 
erected by the municipality at a cost of Rs. 13,731. 

2. Temple ofRadha Kishan, founded by Deva Chand, Bohra, of Tenda- 
Khera near Jabalpur, in 1870-71. Cost Rs. 40,000. In the Chhata Bazar. 

3. Temple of Bijay Gobhid, in the Satghara Mahalla, built in 1867 by 
Rijay Ram, Bohra, of Dattia, at a cost of Rs. 65,000. 

4. Temple of Bala Deva, in the Khans-khar Bazar, built in 1865 by Kush- 
ali Ram, Bohra, of Sher-garh, at a cost of Rs. 25,000. 

5. Temple of Bhairav Nath, in the Lobars' quarter, built by Bishan Lai, 
Khattri, at a cost of Rs. 10,000. It is better known by the name of Sarvar 
Sultan, as it contains a chapel dedicated in honor of that famous Muhammadan 
saint, regarding whom it may be of interest to subjoin a few particulars. The 
parent shrine, situate in desert country at the mouth of a pass leading into 
Kandahar, is served by a company of some 1,650 priests besides women and 
children ; who, with the exception of a small grant from Government yielding 
an annual income of only Rs. 350, are entirely dependent for subsistence on the 
charity of pilgrims. The shrine is equally reverenced by Hindus, Sikhs, and 
Muhammadaus, and it is said to be visited in the course of a year by as many 



as 200,000 people of all castes and denominations, who come chiefly frdm the 
Panjab and Sindh. The saint in his lifetime was so eminent for his universal 
benevolence and liberality (whence his title of sakki) that he is believed still 
to retain after death the power and will to grant every petition that is present- 
ed to him. A,t the large fair held in February, March and April, the shrine is 
crowded with applicants, many of whom beg for aid in money. As the shrine 
is poor and supported by charity, this cannot be given on the spot ; but the 
petitioner is told to name some liberal-minded person, upon whom an order is 
then written and sealed with the great seal of the temple and handed to the 
applicant. When presented by him to the person, on whom it was drawn, it is 
not unfrequently honoured. Such a parwiina, drawn on one Muhammad Khan 
Afghan, was found on the fakir Nawab Shah, who in 1871 made a murderous 
attack on the Secretary of the Labor Municipality. A report on the peculiar 
circumstances of the case was submitted to Government, and it is from it that 
the above sketch has been extracted in explanation of the singular fact that a 
Muhammadan saint has been enthroned as a deity in a Hindu temple in the 
most exclusive of ad Hindu cities. 

f!. Ternple of G-ata-sram, near the Visrant Ghat, built by Pran-nath 
Sastri, at a cost of Es. 25,000, about the year 1800. 

7. Temple of Dwarakadhis commonly called the Setlvs temple, in the 
Asikunda Bazar, built by P;irikh Ji, in 1815, at a cost of Ks. 20,000. 

8. House of the Bharat-pur Rajas, with gateway added by the late Raja 
Balavant Sinh. 

9. House of Scth Lakhmi Chand, built in 1845 at a cost of Rs. 1,00,000. 

10. Temple of Madan Mohan, by the Sami Ghat, built by Seth Anant 
Ram of Chiiri by Ram-garb, in 1859, at a cost of Rs. 20,000. 

11. Temple of Gobardhan Nath, built by Seth Kushal, commonly called 
Seth Babti, kamdar of the Barodara Raja, in 1830. 

12. Temple of Bihari Ji, built by Chhakki Lai and Kanhaiya Lai, bankers 
of Mhow near Nimach, in 1850, at at a cost of Rs. 25,000, by the Sami Ghat : 
has a handsome court-yard as well as external facade. 

13. Temple of Gobind Deva, near the Nakarchi tila, built by Gaur Sahay 
Mall and Ghan-Syam Das, his son, Seths of Chiiri, in 1848, with their resi- 
dences and that of Ghau-Syam's uncle, Ramchandra, adjoining. 

14. Temple of Gopi-nath, by the Sai.ii Ghat, built by Gulraj and Jagan- 
nath, Seths of Chun, in 18(>6, at a cost of Rs. 30,000. 


15. Temple of Baladeva, near the Hardinge Arch, built by Bala, Ahir, a 
servant of Seth Lakhmi < 'hand, an a dwelling-house, about the year 1820, at a 
cost of Rs. 50,000, and sold to Rae Bai, a baniya's wife, who converted it 
into a temple. 

16. Temple of Mohan JSin the Satghara Mahalla, built about 70 year-- 
ago by Kripa Ram, Bohra : more commonly known as Daukala Kunj, after 
the Chaube who was the founder's purohit. 

I 7. Temple of Madan Mohan, in the Asikunda Mahalla, built by Dhanraj, 
Bohra, of Aligarh. 

18. Temple of Gobardhan Nath, in the Kans-khar, built by Devi Das, 
Bohra, of Urai. 

19. Temple of Dirgha Vishnu, by the street leading to the Bharat-pur 
gate, built by Raja Patni Mall of Banaras. 

20. The Sati Burj, or ' faithful widow's tower,' built by Raja Bhagavan 
Das in 1570. 

21. The mosque of Abd-un-Nabi Khan, built 1662. 

22. The mosque of Aurangzeb, built 1669, on the site of the temple of 
Kcsava Deva. 

IV. — Calendar of Festivals observed in the City of Mathura\ 

Chait Sudi [April 1-15). 
1 . Chait Sudi 8. — Durga Ashtami. Held at the temple of Mahavidya Devi. 
•>. Chait Sudi 9. — Ram Navami. Held at the Ram Ji Dwara. 
Baisdkh {April — May). 

3. Baisdkh Sudi 14. — Nar Sinh lila. Held at Gor-para, Manik Chauk, 
and the temple cf Dwarakadhis. 

4. Baisdkh full moon. — Perambulation of Mathuni, called Ban-bihar, start- 
ing from the Visniut Ghat; tho only one made in the night. 

5. Jeth Sudi 10. — The Jeth Dasahara. In the middle of tho day, bath- 
ino- at the Dasasvamedh Ghat ; in the evening kite-flying from the Gokarnes- 
var hill. 

6. Jeth full moon.— Jal-jatra, All the principal people bring the water 
for the ablution of the god into the temples on their own shoulders in little 
silver urns. 


Asdrh [June — July)\ 

7. Asdrh Sudi 2. — Rath-jatra. 

8. Asdrh Sudi 11.— Principal perambulation of Mathura and Brinda-ban 
before the god takes his four months' sleep ; called jugal jori ki parikramd. 
The people start early in the morning either from the Visrant, or some other 
Ghat nearer their home, and after passing by the Sarasvati kund continue 
their way for about a mile along the Delhi road. The majority then make a 
straight cut across to Brinda-ban, while the others go on first to the Garur 
Gobind shrine at Chhatikra. This is the longest perambulation made and is 
said to be of 20 kos. All return to Mathura the same day ; any one who fails to 
do so being thought to lose the whole benefit of his pilgrimage. 

!>. Asdrh full moon. — Byas-puno. In the morning the Guru is formally 
reverenced ; in the evening there are wrestling matches, and the Pandits 
assemble on the hills or house-tops for the ; pavan pariksha,' or watching of 
the wind ; from which they predict when the rains will commence and what 
sort of a season there will be. When tho wind is from the north, as it was in 
1879, it is thought to be a good sign ; and certainly the rain that year 

Srdvan (July — August). 

lOi Srdvan Sudi 3. — Commonly called Tij ka mela. Wrestling matches 
near the temple of Bhiitesvar Mahadeva. 

11. Srdvan Sudi 5. — The Panch Tirath mela begins. A pilgrimage starts 
from the Visrant Ghat for Madhu-ban ; proceeds on the next day to San- 
tanu kund at Satoha and the Gyan-bauli near the Katra; on the third day to 
Gokarnesvar ; on the fourth to the shrine of Garur Gobind at Chhatikra* and 
on the fifth to the Brahm kund at Brinda-ban, 

12. Srdvan Sudi 11.— Perambulation of Mathura and Pavitra-dharan, or 
offering of Brahmanical threads to the Tliakur. 

13. Srdvan full moon. — The Saluno or Raksha-bandhan. Wrestling 
matches in different orchards near the temple of Bhutesvar. 

Bhddon (August — September). 

14. Bhddon Badi 8.— Janni Ashtami ; Krishna's birthday. A fast till 

* Chhatikra, on the Dehli road, was founded by Maim, Jam.i, mid Ror, three Kachwahas, 

who are said to have come from Rjl fourteen geuerations, i.e., about 300 years ago. Their 


15. Bhdilon Sudi 11. — A special pilgrimage to Madhu-ban, Tal-ban, and 
Kumud-ban. The general Ban-jatra also commences and lasts for 15 days. 

16. Bhddon Sudi 14. — The Anant Chaudas. The Pairaki, or swimming 
festival, is held every Thursday in Sravan and Bhadon, but the principal day 
is the last Thursday before the Anant Chaudas, when there is a, very great 
concourse of people, occupying the walls of the old fort and all the river-side 
ghats. Then" is no racing : but the swimmers, almost all of whom have with 
them large hollow gourds, or inflated skins for occasional support, perform 
a variety of strange antics in the water ; while some are mounted upon 
grotesque structures in the shape of horses, or peacocks, or different kinds of 
carriages. The scene, which is an amusing one, is best witnessed from a barge 
towed up the stream to the highest ghat near Jaysinghpura, where the swim- 
mers start, and allowed to drop down with the current to the pontoon bridge. 
About sunset there is a rude display of fireworks accompanied with much 
smoke and noise ; but the swimmers remain in the water some two or three 
hours longer, when the proceedings terminate with music and dancing in the 
streets of the city. 

Kuvdr ( September — October). 

17. Kuvdr llnli 8. — Perambulation of the city followed by five days' festi- 
vities, during which it is customary to make a great number of little pewter 

descendants now retain only 1 i biswa, the rest having been sold to the mahant of the temple of Syam 
Sundar at Brinda-ban, who is also muafidar. They say that the name of the place, when their 
ancestors first occupied it, was the same as now, and that it refers to the six (chlta) sakhis, or 
companions of Kadha, whose gupt bhavan, or unseen abode, is one of the sites visited by pilgrims. 
Another local explanation of the name is that it refers to the six villages, each of which had to 
cede part of its land to form the Kachhwahds' new settlement. There is a rakhya, wherein the 
trees are chiefly kadambs of small growth, though old, mixed with dhak, nirn, karil, and hins, 
and in it is a highly venerated shrine, dedicated to Garur Gobind. The present building, which 
is small and perfectly plain, enshriaes a black stone image of the god Gobind mounted on Garur. 
Close by is a cave with a longish flight of winding steps simply dug in the soil, but no one can 
penetrate to the end on account of the fleas with which the place swarms. On Sivan Sudi 8. 
during the panch lirat/t ki mela, the temple is visited by the largest number of pilgrims. There 
is a second fair on the day after the Holi, and a third on the full moon of Jetli. The revenue of 
the village all goes to the temple of Syam Sundar at Brinda-ban. The local shrine Inn no endow- 
ment. In a field immediately adjoining the homestead are some fragments of Buddhist rails. 
These were probably brought from the Gobind-kund, about a mile away, where some ancient 
building irust once have stood. For digging the foundations of the small masonry ghat there, 
20 years or so ago, it is said that some large sculptures were discovered ; but as they were muti- 
lated, no one took the trouble to remove them. I told Kurha — the Pujari— to let me know when 
the tank was dry enough to allow of excavations being made, but I left the district before any 
such opportunity occurred. 



figures called sdnjhi, representing Krishna and the GopiS, in whose honour 
also there are performances, all through the night, of the Ras dance. 

18. Kuvdr Sudi 8. — Meghnad Lila, or representation of the death of Ba- 
van's son Megh-nad". This is the first of the three great days of the Ram 
Lila, which is held on the open plain near the temple of Mahavidya. The 
entire series of performances, which commences from the new moon, includes 
most of the leading events in the Biimayaua, such as the tournament, the 
defeat of Taraka, the departure into exile, Bharat's expedition to Chitra-kiit, 
the mutilation of Surpa-nakha, the rape of Sita, the meeting with Sugriv, and 
the building of the bridge. A separate day is assigned to each incident, but the 
first six or seven acts of the drama are not invariably the same, and it is only 
on the 8th, 9th, and 10th days that many people assemble to see the show. 

19. Kuvdr Sudi 9. — Kumbhakaran Lila, with representation of the death 
of Ravan's brother, Kumbhakaran. 

20. Kuvdr Sudi 10. — Last day of the Dasahara, with representation of 
Rama's final victory over Ravan. Though this fete attracts a large concourse of 
people, the show is a very poor one and the display of fireworks much inferior 
to what may be seen in many second-rate Hindu cities. 

21. Kuvdr Sudi 11. — Bharat Milap. A platform is erected in the street 
under the Jama Masjid, on which is enacted a respresentation of the meeting at 
Ajudhya between Prince Bharat and Rama, Sita and Lakshman, ou their re- 
turn from their wanderings. For the whole distance from that central spot 
to the Holi Gate not only the thoroughfare itself, but all the balconies and 
tops of the houses are crowded with people in gay holiday attire ; and as the 
fronts of all the principal buildings are also draped with party-coloured hang- 
ings, and the shops dressed up to look their best, the result is a very picturesque 
spectacle, which is more pleasing to the European eye than any other feast in 
the Hindu calendar ; the throng, however, is so dense that it is rather a 
hazardous matter to drive a carriage through it. 

22. Kuvdr full moon — Sarad-puno. Throughout the night visits ace paid 
to the different temples. 

Kdiiik (October — November). 

23. Kdrtik neio moon— Diwali, or Dip-dan — feast of lamps. 

24. Kdrtik Sutli 1. — Anna-kut. The same observances as at Gobardhan, 
but on a smaller scale. 


25. Kdrtik Sitdi — Dhobi-maran Lila. Held near the Brinda-ban gate to 
commemorate Krisbna'a spoliation of Kansa's washerman. 

2G. Kdrtik Sudi 8. — Gocharan, or pasturing the cattle. Held in tho 
evening at the Gopal Bagh on the Agra Eoad, 

27. Kdrtik Sudi 9.— Akhay-Navami. The second great perambulation of 
the city, beginning immediately after midnight. 

28. Kdrtik Sudi 10. — Kans badh ka mela, at the Rangesvar Mahadeva, 
Towards evening, a large wicker figure of Kans is brought out on to the road, 
when two boys, dressed to represent Krishna and Baladeva, and mounted either 
on horses or an elephant, give the signal, with the staves all wreathed with 
flowers that they have iu their hands, for an assault upon the monster. 
In a few minutes it is torn to shreds and tatters by the Chaubes and a proces- 
sion is then made to the Visrant Ghat. 

22. Kdrtik Sudi 11. — Deotthan. The awakening of the god from his four 
months' slumber. A similar perambulation as on Asarh (Midi 1 1. 

Mdgh (January — February) . 
30. Magh Sudi 5.— Basant Panchami. The return of spring ; correspond- 
ing to the English May-day. 

Phdlgun (February — March). 
31 Phdlgun full moon. — The Holi, or Indian saturnalia. 
Chait badi (March 15— DO). 

32, Chait Badi 1. — Gathering at tho temple of Kesava Deva. 

33. Chait Badi 5.— Phul-dol. Processions with flowers and music ami 


brinda-ban and the vaishnava reformers. 

Some six miles above Mathura is a point where the right bank of the Jamun4 
assumes the appearance of a peninsula, owing to the eccentricity of the stream, 
which first makes an abrupt turn to the north and then as sudden a return upon 
its accustomed southern course. Here, washed on three of its sides by the 
sacred flood, stands the town of Brinda-ban, at the present day a rich and 
prosperous municipality, and for several centuries past one of the most holy 
places of the Hindus. A little higher up the stream a similar promontory 
occurs, and in both cases the curious formation is traditionally ascribed to the 
resentment of Baladeva. He, it is said, forgetful one day of bis habitual 
reserve, and emulous of his younger brother's popular graces, led out the 
Gopis for a dance upon the sands. But he performed his part so badly, that 
the Jamuna could not forbear from taunting him with his failure and recom- 
mending him never again to exhibit so clumsy an imitation of Krishna's agile 
movements. The stalwart god was much vexed at this criticism and, taking 
up the heavy plough which he had but that moment laid aside, he drew with 
it so deep a furrow from the shore that the unfortunate river, perforce, fell into 
it, was drawn helplessly away and has never since been able to recover its 
original channel. 

Such is the local rendering of the legend ; but in the Puranas and other 
early Sanskrit authorities the story is differently told, in this wise ; that as 
Balarama was roaming through the woods of Brinda-ban, he found concealed 
in the cleft of a kadamb tree some spirituous liquor, which he at once con- 
sumed with his usual avidity. Heated by intoxication he longed, above all 
things, for a bathe in the river, and seeing the Jamuna at some little distance, 
he shouted for it to come near. The stream, however, remained deaf to his 
summons ; whereupon the infuriated god took up his ploughshare and breaking 
down the bank drew the water into a new channel and forced it to follow 
wherever he led. In the Bhagavata it is added that the Jamuna is still to be 
seen following the course along which she was thus dragged. Professor Wilson, 
in his edition of the Vishnu Purana, says, " The legend probably alludes to 
the construction of canals from the Jamuna for the purpose of irrigation ; and 
the works of the Muhammadans in this way, which are well known, were no 
Ion lii proceded by similar canals dug by the order of Eindo princes." Upon this 


suggestion it may be remarked, first, that in Upper India, with the sole excep- 
tion of the canal constructed by Firoz Shah (1351-1388 A.D.) for the supply of 
the city of Hisar, no irrigation works of any extent are known ever to have been 
executed either by Hindus or Muhammadans : certainly there are no traces of 
any such operations in the neighbourhood of Brinda-ban ; and secondly, both 
legends rrpn -nit the Jamuna itself as diverted from its straight course into a 
single winding channel, not as divided into a multiplicity of streams. Hence 
it may more reasonably be inferred that the still existing involution of the river 
is the sole foundation for the myth. 

The high road from Mathura to Brinda-ban passes through two villages, 
Jay-sinh-pur and Ahalya-ganj, and about half way crosses a deep ravine by a 
bridge that bears the following inscription : — Sri. Pul Banwdyd MaMrdj Dex 
mukh Bdld-bai Sahib beti Mahdrdj M&dho Ji Saindhiya Bahadur Ki ne marfat 
KhazdncM Mdnik Chand ki, Jisukh kdrkun, ffumdshta Mahtdb Rde ne sambat 1890, 
mahina asdrh badi 10 guruvdsare. Close by is a masonry tank, quite recently 
completed, which also has a commemorative inscription as follows: Taldb 
banw&yd Laid Kishan Ldl beta Fakir Chand Sahukdr, jdt Dhusar, Rahnewala 
Dilli ke ne, sambat 1929 mutabik san 1872 Tsvi. That the bridge should have 
been built by a daughter of the Maharaja of Gwaliar and the tank constructed 
by a banker of Delhi, both strangers to the locality, is an example of the benefits 
which the district enjoys from its reputation for sanctity. As the road between 
the two towns is always thronged with pilgrims, the number of these costly 
votive offerings is sure to be largely increased in course of time ; but at present 
the country on either side has rather a waste and desolate appearance, with 
fewer gardens and houses than would be expected on a thoroughfare connecting 
two places of such popular resort. An explanation is afforded by the fact that 
the present road is of quite recent construction. Its predecessor kept much closer 
to the Jamuna, lying just along the khddar lands — which in the rains form 
part of the river bed — and then among the ravines, where it was periodically 
destroyed by the rush of water from the land. This is now almost entirely 
disused ; but for the first two miles out of Brindaban its course is marked by 
lines of trees and several works of considerable magnitude. The first is a large 
garden more than 40 bighas in extent, surrounded by a masonry wall and sup- 
plied with water from a distance by long aqueducts.* In its centre is a stone 
temple of some size, and among the trees, with which the grounds are ever- 

* By some extraordinary misconception Dr. Hunter in his Imperial Gazetteer speaks of this 
garden aqueduct as if it were an elaborate system of works for supplying the whole town with 



crowded, some venerable specimens of the khirni form an imposing avenue. 
The garden bears the name of Kushal, a wealthy Seth from Gujarat, at whose 
expense it was constructed, and who also founded one of the largest temples 
in the city of Mathura. A little beyond, on the opposite side of the way, in a 
piece of waste ground, which was once an orchard, is a large and handsome 
bduli of red sand-stone, with a flight of 57 steps leading down to the level of 
the water. This was the gift of Ahalya Bai, the celebrated Mahratta Queen of 
Indor, who died in 1795. It is still in perfect preservation, but quite unused. 
Further on, in the hamlet of Akriir, on the verge of a cliff overlooking a wide 
expanse of alluvial land, is the temple of Bhat-rond, a solitary tower containing 
an image of Bihari Ji. In front of it is a forlorn little court-yard with walls 
and entrance gateway all crumbling into ruin. Opposite is a large garden 
of the Seth's, and on the roadway that runs between, a fair, called the Bhat-mela, 
is held on the full moon of Kartik ; when sweetmeats are scrambled among the 
crowd by the visitors of higher rank, seated on the top of the gate. The word 
Bhat-rond is always popularly connected with the incident in Krishna's life 
which the mela commemorates — how that he and his brother Balaram one day, 
having forgotten to supply themselves with provisions before leaving home, had 
to borrow a meal of rice {bhdt) from some Brahmans' wives — but the true 
etymology (though an orthodox Hindu would regard the suggestion as heretical) 
refers, like most of the local names in the neighbourhood, merely to physi- 
cal phenomena, aud Bhat-rond maybe translated 'tide-wall,' or 'break- 

Similarly, the word Brinda-ban is derived from an obvious physical feature, 
and when first attached to the spot signified no more than the ' tulsi grove ;' 
brindd and tulsi being synonymous terms, used indifferently to denote the sacred 
aromatic herb known to botanists as Ocymum sanctum. But this explanation 
is tar too simple to find favour with the more modern and extravagant school 
of Vaishnava sectaries ; and in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, a mythical per- 
sonage has been invented bearing the name of Vrinda. According to thai. 
spurious composition (Brah. Vai, v. iv. 2) the deified Radha, though inhabit- 
ing the Paradise of Goloka, was not exempt from human passions, and in a fit 
of jealousy condemned a Gopa by name Sridama to descend upon earth in the 
form of the demon Sankhachura. He, in retaliation, sentenced her to become 
a nymph of Brinda-ban and there accordingly she was born, being, as was 
supposed, the daughter of Kedara, but in reality the divine mistress of Krishna : 
and it was simply his love for her which induced the god to leave his solitary 
throne in heaven and become incarnate. Hence in the following list of Radha's 


titles, as given by the same authority (Brah. Vai., v. iv. 17), there are three 
which refer to her predilection for Brinda-ban : — 

RdrUut, Riiscxniri. HasuriWnu, Rdxikesvari, 
Krishna-pranddhikd, Krishna-priyd, KrisJina-sicariipini, 
Krishnd, 1 rinddvani, Vrindd, Vrinddvana-vinodini } 
Chanddvati, < 'hdndra-kdntd, Sata-chandra-nihhdnand) 
A rishna- vdmdnga-sambhiHtd, Paramdnanda-rilpini* 

In the Padma Purana, Radha's incarnation is explained in somewhat differ- 
ent fashion; thai Vishnu being enamoured of Vrindd, the wife of Jalandhara, 

the gods, in their desire to cure him of Ids guilty passion, begged of Lakshmi 
the gift of certain seeds. These, when sown, came up as the tulsi, mdlati and 
dhdtri plants, winch assumed female forms of such beauty that Vishnu on seeing 

them lost all regard for the former object of his affections. 

There is no reason to suppose that Brinda-ban was ever the seat of any 
large Buddhist establishment ; and though from the very earliest period of Brah- 
manical history it has eiy'oyed high repute as a sacred place of pilgrimage, it 
is probable that for many centuries it was merely a wild uninhabited jungle, a 
description still applicable to Bhandir-ban, on the opposite side of the river, a 
spot of equal celebrity in Sanskrit literature. Its most ancient temples, four 
in number, take us back only to the reign of our own Queen Elizabeth; the 
stately courts that adorn the river bank and attest the wealth and magnificence 
of the Bharat-pur Rajas, date only from the middle of last century; while the 
space now occupied by a series of the largest and most magnificent shrines ever 
erected in Upper India was, fifty years ago, an unclaimed belt of wood-land and 
pasture-ground for cattle. Now that communication has been established with 
the remotest parts of India, every year sees some splendid addition made to 
the artistic treasures of the town ; as wealthy devotees recognize in the stability 
and tolerance of British rule an assurance that their pious donations will be 
completed in peace and remain undisturbed in perpetuity. 

"When Father Tieffenthaler visited Brinda-ban, in 1754, he noticed only one 
long street, but states that this was adorned with handsome, not to say magnifi- 
cent, buildings of beautifully carved stone, which had been erected by different 
Hindu Rajas and nobles, cither for mere display, or as occasional residences, or 
as embellishments that would be acceptable to the local divinity. The absurdity 

* " Ridha, queen of the dance, constant at the dance, queen of the dancer ; dearer than 
Krishna's life, Krishna's delight, Krishna's counter-part; Krishna, Brinda, Brinda-ban born, 
sporting at Brinda-ban ; moon-like spouse of the moon-like go.l, with face bright as a hundred 
moons ; created as the left half of Krishna's body, incarnation of heavenly bliss." 


of people coming from long distances merely for the sake of (lying on holy 
ground, all among the monkeys — which he describes as a most intolerable 
nuisance — together with the frantic idolatry that he saw rampant all around, and 
the grotesque resemblance of the Bairagis to the hermits and ascetics of the ear- 
lier ages of Christianity, seem to have given the worthy missionary such a shock 
that his remarks on the buildings are singularly vague and indiscriminating. 

Mons. Victor Jacquemont' who passed through Brinda-ban in the cold 
weather of 1829-30, has left rather a fuller description. Ho says, "This is a 
very ancient city, and I should say of more importance even than Mathura. It 
is considered one of the most sacred of all among the Hindus, an advantage 
which Mathura, also possesses, but in a less degree. Its temples are visited by 
multitudes of pilgrims, who perform their ablutions in the river at the differ- 
ent ghats, which arc very fine. All the buildings are constructed of red sand- 
stone, of a closer grain and of a lighter ami less disagreeable colour than that 
used at Agra : it comes from the neighbourhood of Jaypur, a distance of 200 
miles. Two of these temples have the pyramidal form peculiar to the early 
Hindu style, but without the little turrets which in the similar buildings at 
Benares seem to spring out of the main tower that determines the shape of 
the edifice. They have a better effect, from being more simple, but are half 
in ruins." (The temples that he means are Madan Mohan and Jugal Kishor). 
" A larger and more ancient ruin is that of a temple of unusual form. The 
interior of the nave is like that of a Gothic church ; though a village church 
only, so far as size goes. A quantity of grotesque sculpture is pendent from the 
dome, and might be taken for pieces of turned wood.* An immense number of 
bells, large and small, are carved in relief on the supporting pillars and on the 
walls, worked in the same stiff and ungainly style. Many of the independent 
Rajas of the west, and some of their ministers (who have robbed them well no 
doubt) are now building at Brinda-ban in a different style, which, though less 
original, is in better taste, and are indulging in the costly ornamentation of 
pierced stone tracery. Next to Benares, Brinda-ban is the largest purely Hindu 
city that I have seen. I could not discover in it a single mosque. Its suburbs 
are thickly planted with fine trees, which appear from a distance like an island 
of verdure in the sandy plain." (These are the large gardens beyond the tem- 
ple of Madan Mohan, on the old Delhi road.) " The Doab, which can be seen 

* The description of the temple of Gobind Deva in Thornton's Gazetteer contains 
the following sentence, which had often puzzled me. He says: — "From the vaulted roof 
depend numerous idols rudely carved in wood. " He has evidently misunderstood Mons. 
Jacquemont's meaning, who referB not to any idols, but to the curious quasi-pendentives, like fir- 
;anes, that ornament the dome. 


from the 'top of'ths temples, stretching away on the opposite side of the Jamuna 
i.s still barer than the country 0ii 'I'" right bank.' 

At the present time there are within the limits of the municipality about a 
thousand temples, including, of course, many which, strictly speaking, are mere- 
ly private chapels, and thirty-two ghats constructed by different princely bene- 
factors. The tanks of reputed sanctity are only two in number. The first is 
the Brahm Kuad at the back of the Seth's temple ; it is now in a very ruinous 
condition, and the stone kiosques at its four corners have in part fallen, in part 
been occupied by vagrants, who have closed up the arches with mud walls and 
converted them into dwelling-places. I had begun to effect a clearance and make 
arrangements for their complete repair when my transfer took place and put an 
immediate stop to this and all similar improvements. The other, called Goviud 
Kund, is in an out-of-the-way spot near the Mathura road. Hitherto it 
had been little more than a natural pond, but has latclj' been enclosed on 
all four sides with masonry walls and flights of steps, at a cost of Rs. 30,000, 
by Chaudharani Kali Sundari from Rajshahi in Bengal. To these may be 
added, as a third, a masonry tank in what is called the Kewar-ban. This is a 
grove of pipal, gular, and kadamb trees which stands a, little off the Mathura 
road near the turn to the Madaa Mohan temple. It is a halting-place in the 
Banjatra, and the name is popularly said to be a corruption of Tdn vdrl, l who 
lit it ?' with reference to the forest conflagration, or davdnal, of which the 
traditional scene is more commonly laid at Bhadra-ban, on the opposite bank 
of the river. There is a small temple of Davanal Bihari, with a cloistered 
court-yard for the reception of pilgrims. The Gosain is a Nimbarak. A 
more likely derivation for the name would be the Sanskrit word kaivalya, 
meaning final beatitude. Adjoining the ban is a large walled garden, belonging 
to the Tehri Raja, which has long been abandoned on account of the badness 
of the water. The peacocks and monkeys, with which the town abounds, enjoy 
the benefit of special endowments bequeathed by deceased Rajas of Kota ami 
Bharat-pur. There are also some fifty chhattras, or dole-houses, for the distri- 
bution of alms to indigent humanity, and extraordinary donations are not unfre- 
quently made by royal and distinguished visitors. Thus the Raja of Datia, a 
few years ago, made an offering to every single shrine and every single Brahman 
that was found in the city. The whole population amounts to 21,000, of which 
the Brahmans, Bairagis and Vaishnavas together make up about one half. In 
the time of the emperors, the Muhammadans made a futile attempt to abolish 
the ancient name, Brinda-ban, and in its stead substitute that of Muminabad ; 
but now, more wisely, they leave the place to its own Hindu name and devices and 



keep themselves as clear of it as possible. Thus, besides an occasional official, 
there are in Brinda-ban no followers of the prophet beyond only some fifty fami- 
lies, who live close together in its outskirts and an* all of the humblest order, 
such as oilmen, lime-burners and the like. They have not, a single public 
mosque nor even a karbala in which to deposit the tombs of Hasan and Husain 
on the feast of the Muharram, but have to bring them into Mathura to be 

It is still customary to consider the religion of the Hindus as a compact 
system, which has existed continuously and without any material change ever 
since the remote and almost pre-historic period when it finally abandoned the 
comparatively simple form of worship inculcated by the ritual of the Vedas. 
The real facts, however, are far different. So far as it is possible to compare 
natural with revealed religion, the course oi Hinduism and Christianity has 
been identical in character ; both were subjected to a violent disruption, which 
occurred in the two quarters of the globe nearly simultaneously, and which is 
still attested by the multitude of uncouth fragments into which the ancient 
edifice was disintegrated as it fell. In the west, the revival of ancient litera- 
ture and the study of forgotten systems of philosophy stimulated enquiry into 
the validity of those theological conclusions which previously had been unhesi- 
tatingly accepted — from ignorance that any counter-theory could be honestly 
maintained by thinking men. Similarly, in the east, the Muhammadan inva- 
sion and the consequent contact with new races and new modes of thought 
brought home to the Indian moralist that his old basis of faith was too narrow : 
that the division of the human species into the four Manava castes and an outer 
world of barbarians was too much at variance with facts to be accepted as satis- 
factory, and that the ancient inspired oracles, if rightly interpreted, must dis- 
close some means of salvation applicable to all men alike, without respect to 
colour or nationality. The professed object of the Reformers was the same in 
Asia as in Europe — to discover the real purpose for which the second Person 
of the Trinity became incarnate ; to disencumber the truth, as He had revealed 
it, from the accretions of later superstition ; to abolish the extravagant preten- 
sions of a dominant class and to restore a simpler and more severelv intellec- 
tual form of public worship.* In Upper India the Tyranny of tin' Mahamma- 
dans was too tangible a fact to allow of the hope, or even the wish, that the con- 
querors and conquered could ever coalesce in one common faith : but in the 

*• Thus, as it may be interesting to note, the r.ralitua Sum , i of I le pre.s nt day is no i-olated 
movement, but only the most modern of a long scries o£ similar reactions against current Buoer- 


Dakhin and the remote regions of Eastern Bengal, to which the sword of Islam 
had scarcely extended, and where no inveterate antipathy had been created, the 
contingency appeared less improbable. Accordingly, it was in those parts of 
India that the great teachers of the reformed Vaishnava creed first meditated 
and reduced to system those doctrines, which it was the one object of all their 
later life to promulgate throughout Hindustan. It was their ambition to elabo- 
rate a scheme so broad and yet so orthodox that it might satisfy the require- 
ments of the Hindu and yet not exclude the Muhammadan, who was to be ad- 
mitted on equal terms into the new fraternity ; all mankind becoming one great 
family and every caste distinction being utterly abolished. 

Hence it is by no means correct to assert of modern Hinduism that it is 
essentially a non-proselytizing religion; accidentally it has become so, but only 
from concession to the prejudices of the outside world and in direct opposition 
to the tenets of its founders. Their initial success was necessarily due to their 
intense zeal in proselytizing, and was marvellously rapid. At the present day 
their followers constitute the more influential, and it may be even numerically 
the larger half of the Plindu population: but precisely as in Europe so in 
India no two men of the reformed sects, however immaterial their doctrinal 
differences, can be induced to amalgamate; each forms a new caste more 
bigoted and exclusive than any of those which it was intended to supersede, 
while the founder has became a deified character, for whom it is necessary to 
erect a new niche in the very Pantheou he had laboured to destroy. The 
only point upon which all the Vaishnavas sects theoretically agree is the rever- 
ence with which they profess to regard the Bhagavad Gita as the authoritative ex- 
position of their creed. In practice their studies — if they study at all — are direct- 
ed exclusively to much more modern compositions, couched in their own verna- 
cular, the Braj Bhilsha,. Of these the work held in highest repute by all the 
Brinda-ban sects is the Bhakt-mala, or Legends of the Saints, written by 
Nabha Ji in the reign of Akbar or Jahangir. Its very first couplet is a 
compendium of the theory upon which the whole Vaishnava reform was based : 

Bkakt-bhakti-Bhagavant-guru, chatura mini, vapu ek : 

which declares that there is a divinity in every true believer, whether learned 
or unlearned, and irrespective of all caste distinctions. Thus the religious 
teachers that it celebrates are represented, not as rival disputants — which their 
descendants have become — but as all animated by one faith, which varied only 
in expression ; and as all fellow-workers in a common cause, viz., the moral and 
spiritual elevation of their countrymen. Nor can it be denied that the writing 

192 THE bhakt mXlX. 

•of many of the -actual leaders of the movement are instinct with a spirit of 
asceticism and detachment from the world and a sincere piety, which are very 
different from the ordinary outcome of Hinduism. But in no case did this 
catholic simplicity last for more than a single generation. The great teacher 
had no sooner passed away than his very first successor hedged round his little 
band of followers with new caste restrictions, formulated a series of narrow 
dogmas out of what had been intended as comprehensive exhortations to holiness 
and good works ; and substituted for an interior devotion and mystical love — 
which were at least pure in intent, though perhaps scarcely attainable in practice 
by ordinary humanity — an extravagant system of outward worship with all the 
sensual accompaniments of gross and material passion. 

The Bhakt-mala, though an infallible oracle, is an exceedingly obscure one. 
and requires a practised hierophant for its interpretation. It gives no legend 
at length, but consists throughout of a series of the briefest allusions to legends, 
which are supposed to be already well-known. Without some such previous 
knowledge the poem is absolutely unintelligible. Its concise notices have 
therefore been expanded into more complete lives by different modern writers, 
both in Hindi and Sanskrit. One of these paraphrases is entitled the Bhakt 
Siudhu, and the author, by name Laksliman, is said to have taken great pains 
to verify his facts. But though his success may satisfy the Hindu mind, which 
is constitutionally tolerant of chronological inaccuracy, he falls very far below 
the requirements of European criticism. His work is however useful, since it 
gives a number of floating traditions, which could otherwise be gathered only 
from oral communications with the Gosains of the different sects, who, as ;i 
rule, are very averse to speak on such matters with outsiders. 

The four main divisions, or Sampradayas, as they are called, of the reformed 
Yaishnavas are the Sri Vaishnava, the Nirnbarak Yaishnava, the Madhva 
Vaishnava, and the Vishnu Swami. The last sect is now virtually extinct ; 
for though the name is occasionally retained, their doctrines were entirely re- 
modelled in the sixteenth century by the famous Gokul Gosain Vallabhucluirya, 
after whom his adherents are ordinarily styled either Vallabhacharyas or 
Gokulastha Gosains. Their history and tenets will find more appropriate place 
in connection with the town of Gokul, which is still their head-quarters. 

The Sri Sampradaya was altogether unknown at Brinda-ban till quite re- 
cently, when the two brothers of Seth Lakhmi Ohand, after abjuring the Jaini 
faith, were enlisted in its ranks, and by the advice of the Guru, who had re- 
ceived their submission, founded at enormous cost the great temple of Bang Ji. 












TWOFOLD DIVISION OF THE snr samit.apXya. i:>,: 

It is the most ancient and the most respectable of the four reformed Vaishnava 
communities, and is based on the teaching of Ramanuja, who flourished in the 
11th or 12th century of the Christian era. The whole of his life was spent in 
the Dakliin, where he is said to have established no less than Tim monasteries, 
of which the chief were al K&nchi and Sri Ranga. The standard authorities 
for his theological system are certain Sanskrit treatise.- of his own composition 
entitled the Sri Bh&shya, Gita Bhashya, Vedartha Sangraha, Vedanta Pradipa 
and Vedanta Sara. All the more popular works are composed in the dialects 
of the south, and the establishment at Brinda-ban is attended exclusively by 
foreigners, (he rites and ceremonies there observed exciting little interest among 
the Hindus of the neighbourhood, who are quite ignorant of their meaning. 
The sectarial mark by which the Sri Vaishnavas may be distinguished consists 
of two white perpendicular streaks down the forehead, joined by a cross line at 
the root of the nose, with a streak of red between. Their child' dogma, called 
A isishthadwaita, is the assertion that Vishnu, the one Supreme God, though 
invisible as cause, is as effect, visible in a secondary form in material creation. 

They differ in one marked respect from the mass of (he people at Brinda- 
ban, in that they refuse to recognise Radha as an object of religious adoration, 
In this they arc in complete accord with all the older authorities, which either 
illy ignore her existence, or regard her simply as Krishna's mistress and 
Rukmini as his wife. Their mantra or formula of initiation, corresponding to the 
Innomine Patris, &c, of Christian Baptism, is said to be Om R&m&yanarnflh, that 
is, ' Om, reverence to Rama.' This Sampradaya is divided into two sects, the 
Tenkalai and the Vadakalai. They differ on two points of doctrine, which 
however arc considered of much less importance than what seems to outsiders a 
very trivial matter, viz., a slight variation in the mode of making the sectarial 
mark on the forehead. The followers of the Tenkalai extend its middle line 
a little way down the nose itself, while the Vadakalai terminate it exactly at 
the bridge. The doctrinal points of difference are as follows : the Tenkalai 
maintain that the female energy of the god-head, though divine, is still a finite 
creature that serves only as a mediator or minister {purusfta-kdra) to introduce 
the soul into the presence of the Deity ; while the Vadakalai regard it as 
infinite and uncreated, and in itself a means (upai/a) by which salvation can 
be secured. The second point of difference is a parallel to the controversy 
between the Calvinists and Arminians in the Christian Church. The Vada- 
kalai, with the latter, insist on the concomitancv of the human will in the work 
of salvation, and represent the soul that lays hold of God as a young monkey 
which grasps its mother in order to be conveyed to a place of safety. The 



Tenkalai, on the contrary, maintain the irresistibility of divine grace and tile 
utter helplessness of the soul, till it is seized and carried off like a kitten by its 
mother from the danger that threatens it. From these two curious but apt 
illustrations the one doctrine is known as the mankata U&hora-nydya, the other as 
the marjalctrkishora-wyaya : that is to say ' the young monkey theory,' or 'the 
kitten theory.' The habitues of the Seth's temple are all of the Tenkalai persua- 

The Nimbarak Vaishnavas, as mentioned in a previous chapter, have one 
of their oldest shrines on the Dhruva hill at Mathura. laterally interpreted, the 
word Nimbarak means 'the sun in a nim tree ;' a curious designation, which is 
explained as follows. The founder of the sect, an ascetic by name Bhaskara- 
charya, had invited a Bairagi to dine with him and had prepared everything 
for his reception, but unfortunately delayed to go and fetch his guest till after sun- 
set. Now, the holy man was forbidden by the rules of his order to eat except in 
the day-time and was greatly afraid that he would be compelled to practise an 
unwilling abstinence : but at the solicitation of his host, the sun-god, Suraj 
Narayan, descended upon the nim free, under which the repasl was spread, and 
continued beaming upon them fill the claims of hunger were fully satisfied. 
Thenceforth the saint was known by the name of Nimbarka or Nimbaditya. 
His special tenets are little known ; for. unlike the other Sampradayas, his 
followers fso far as can be ascertained) have no special literature of their own> 
either in Sanskrit or Hindi ; a fact which they ordinarily explain by saying that all 
their books were burnt by Aurangzeb, the conventional bite noire of Indian 
history, who is made responsible for every act of destruction. Host of the 
solitary asci tie.; who have their little hermitages in the different sacred groves, 
with which the district abounds, belong to the Nimbarak persuasion. Many of 
them are pious, simple-minded men, leading such a chaste and studious life, 
that it may charitably be hoped of them that in the eye of God they are 
Christians "by the baptism of desire, i. e., according to S.Thomas Aquinas, by 
the grace of having the will to obtain salvation by fulfilling the commands of 
God, even though from invincible ignorance they know not the true Church. 
The one who has a cell in the Kokila-ban assured me that tin- distinctive doc- 
trines of his sect were not absolutely unwritten (as i.-. ordinarily supposed), but 
are comprised in ten Sanskrit couplets that form the basis of a commentary in 
as many thousands. One of his disciples, a very intelligent and argumentative 
theological student, gave me a sketch of his belief which may be here quoted 
a- a proof that the esoteric doctrines of the Vaishnavas generally have little in 
lommon with the gross idolatry which the Christian Missionary is too often 


content to demolish as the equivalent of Hinduism. So far is this from heing 
the case, that many of their dogmas are not only ol an eminently philosophical 
character, bul arc also much less repugnant to Catholic truth than either tho 
colourless abstractions of the Brahma Samaj, or the defiant materialism into 
which the greater part, of Europe is rapidly lapsing. 

Tims their doctrine of salvation by faith is thought by many scholars to have 
been directly borrowed from the Gospel ; while another article in their creed, 
which is less known, but is equally striking in its divergence from ordinary 
Hindu sentiment, is the continuance of conscious individual existence in a future 
world, when the highest reward of the good will be, not extinction, hut the en- 
joyment of tin' visible presence of the divinity, whom they have faithfully 
served while on earth : a stale therefore absolutely identical with heaven, as our 
theologians define it. The one infinite and invisible God, who is the only real 
existence, is, they maintain, the only proper object of man's devoul contemplar ' 
tion. 13 ut as the incomprehensible is utterly beyond the reach of human faculties, 
lie is partially manifested for our behoof in the book of creation, in which 
natural objects are the letters of the universal alphabel and express the senti- 
ments of the Divine Author. A printed page, however, conveys no meaning to 
anyone hut a scholar, and i< liable to lie misunderstood even by him ; so, too, 
with the book of the world. Whether the traditional scenes of Krishna's 
adventures have been rightly determined is a matter oi' little consequence, if only 
a visit to them excites the believer's religious enthusiasm. The places at-' mere 
symbols of no value in themselves : tin.' idea they convey is the direct emanation 
from the spirit of the author. But it may be equally well expressed by different 
types ; in the same way as two copies of a book may be word for word the 
same in sound and sense, though entirely different in appearance, one being 
written in Nagari, the other in English characters. To enquire into the cause 
of the diversity between the religious symbols adopted by diffei ?nt nationali- 
ties may be an interesting study, but is not one that can affect the basis of faith. 
And thus it matters little whether Radha and Krishna were ever real personages ; 
the mysteries of divine love, which they symbolize, remain, though the symbols 
disappear ; in tho same way as a poem may have existed long before it was 
committed to writing, and may be remembered long after the writing has been 
destroyed. The transcription is a relief to the mind ; but though obviously 
advantageous on the whole, still in minor points it may rather have the effect of 
stereotyping error : for no material form, however perfect and semi-divine, can 
ever be created without containing in itself an element of deception ; its 
appearance varies according to the point of view and the distance from which. 


it is regarded. It is to convictions of this kind that must be attributed the 
utter indifference of the Hindu to chronological accuracy and historical research. 
The annals of Hindustan date only from its conquest by the Muharnmadans — 
a people whose faith is based on the misconception of a fact, as the Hindus" 
is on the corrupt embodiment of a conception. Thus the literature of the 
former deals exclusively with events ; of the latter with ideas. 

At Bathi another Bairagi of the same Sampradayaj by name Gobardhan 
Das, who knew most of the Bhagavad Gita by heart, told me that their chief 
seat was at Salimabad in Jodhpur territory, where the Gosain had a complete 
library of the literature of the sect. He quoted some of the books by name, 
the Siddhanta Batnanjali, the Girivajra, the Ratna-mala, the Setukti, the Jahna- 
vi, and the Ratna-manjusha ; but he could not specify the authors, or give any 
definite information as to their contents. Neither could he give a clear expla- 
nation of any difference of doctrine between his own sect and the Sri Vaishnavas. 
Like Ram Das, the Pandit at Kokila-ban, the great point on which he insisted 
was that all visible creation is a shadow of the Creator and is therefore true in 
a measure, though void of all substantial and independent existence. A view 
which is aptly represented by the lines : — 

" The -mi, (he moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains? 
Are not these, soul, the vision of him who reigns ? 
Is not the vision He ? tho' He be not that which He seems ? 
Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams ? 
All we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool :" 

the illustration given in the last line being the very one which these Hindu 
dreamers most frequently bring forward. 

The Madhva Vaishnavas form a scattered and not very numerous commu- 
nity, and none of their temples, either at Brinda-ban or elsewhere in the district, 
are of any note. Their founder, Madhvacharya, was a native of Southern 
India, born in the year 1199 A. D. The temple where he ordinarily resided is 
still in existence at a place called LTdipi. Here he had set up a miraculous image 
of Krishna, made with the hero Arjun's own hands, which had been casually 
thrown as ballast into a ship from Dwaraka, which was wrecked on the Malabar 
coast. He is said to have been only nine years of age when he composed the 
Bhasha or commentary on the Gita, which his disciples accept as of divine 
authority. Their distinctive doctrine is the assertion of an essential Duality 
(Dwaita) between the Jivatma, or principle of life, and the Paramatma, or 
Supreme Being. Their scctarial mark consists of two perpendicular white lines 


down the forehead, joined at the root of the nose and with a straight black 
streak between, terminating in a round mark made with turmeric. 

In addition to these four original Sampradayas, then' are three schools of 
more modern origin, called respectively Bengali, orGauriya Vaishnavas, liadha 
Vallabhis and the disciples of Swdmi Hari Das. 

The first-named community has had a more marked influence on Brinda-ban 
than any of the others, since it was ( 'haitanya, the founder of the sect, whoso 
immediate disciples were its first temple builders. He was born at Nadiya in 
Bengal, in 1485 A. D., and in his youth is said to have married a daughter of 
VallabMcharya. However that may be, when he had arrived at the age of 24 
he formally resigned all connection with secular and domestic affairs and com- 
menced his career as a religious teacher. After spending six years in pilgrim- 
ages between Mathura and Jagannath, he finally settled down at the latter place, 
where, in 1527 A.D., being then only 42 years old, he disappeared from (he 
world. There is reason to believe that he was drowned in the sea, into which 
he had walked in an ecstasy, mistaking it for the shallow waters of the Jamuna, 
where he saw, in a vision, Krishna sporting with the Gopis. His life and 
doctrines are recorded in a most voluminous Bengali work entitled Chaifcanya 
Charitiimrita, composed in 1590 by one of his disciples, Krishna Das. Two of 
his colleagues, Adwaitanand and Nityanand, who, like himself, are styled Maha 
Prabhus, presided over his establishments in Bangal ; while other six Gosains 
settled at Brinda-ban. Apart from metaphysical subtleties, which naturally have 
but little hold on the minds of the populace, the special tenet of the Bengali 
Vaishnavas is the all-sufficiency of faith in the divine Krishna; such faith being 
adequately expressed by the mere repetition of his name without any added 
prayer or concomitant feeling of genuine devotion. Thus roughly stated, the 
doctrine appears absurd; and possibly its true bearing is as little regarded by 
many of the more ignorant among the Vaishnavas themselves as it is by the 
majority of superficial outside observers. It is, however, a legitimate deduction 
from sound principles .• for it may be presumed that the formal act of devotion 
would never have been commenced had it not been prompted at the outset by 
a devotional intention, which intention is virtually continued so long as the act 
is in performance. And to quote from a manual of a purer faith, " it is not 
necessary that the intention should be actual throughout ; it is sufficient if we 
pray in a human manner; and for this only a virtual intention is required; 
that is to say, an intention which has been actual and is supposed to continue, 
although, through inadvertence or distraction, we may have lost sight of it." 


198 THE brindX-ban gosXins. 

The sectorial mark consists of two white perpend icular streaks down the 
forehead, united at the root of the nose and continued to near the tip. Another 
characteristic is the use of a rosary of 108 beads made of the wood of the tulsi. 

The recognized leaders of the Brinda-ban community were by name Riipa 
and Sanutana, the authors of several doctrinal commentaries and also, as is said, 
of the Mathura Mahatmya. With them were associated a nephew, named 
Jiva, wdio founded the temple of Radha Damodar, and Gopal Bhatt, founder of 
the temple of Radha Raman, together with some others of less note, whose 
names vary in different lists.* In the Bhakta Mala they are enumerated as 
follows : — 

XllWi ^U3R XliR WZ ^^T: f%cl 5T^I I 


^!R5=lf? ^JT^T^ "^IT'3i^ra HWT*TH W'l STRTT I 

f mzw tifas^i ^ ^ra-^TfT ir ^m 

*The Tuzuk mentions another famous Gosain of somewhat later date, 1619 A. D., by name 
Jadu-Kup, who came from Ujjaiyin to Mathura, and who had been visited both by Akbar and 

•f Hasldmat would be literally 'a plum in the palm of the hand,' that is to say, a little 
thing completely in one's grasp. A similar phrase occurs in the Kam;iyana of Tulsi Das, Book I., 
30. Kartal-gat dmalak samdn. 

the ra'dha' vallabhis. 199 


" Sri Riipa and Sanatan and Sri Jiva Gosain wore as a deep lake filled with 
water of devotion. With (hem prayer was ever ripe and in season and never 
bitter to the taste. Firmly fixed at Brinda-ban, full of devotion to the feet of 
the dual god, with their hands writing hooks and with their soul fixed on the 
formless idea, they held in their grasp all the essence of divine love, able to 
resolve the mysteries of the scriptures, worshippers of the all-blissful, ever 
staunch in faith. Sri Rupa and Sanatan and Sri Jiva Gosain were as a deep 
lake filled with water of devotion. 

" These are they who met together at Brinda-ban and tasted all its sweet- 
ness. Gopal Bhatt, who beautified the temple of Radha Raman with all that 
he possessed ; Hrishikes and Bhagavan Das and Bithal-vipul, that ocean of 
grace : Jagannath of Thanesar ; the great sage Loknath ; Madhu and Sri 
Rang ; the two Pandits named Krishan Das, who had mastered Hari in all his 
parts ; Ghamandi, servant of Jugal Kishor, and Bhiigarbha, the rigid ascetic. 
These are they who met together at Brinda-ban and tasted all its sweetness." 

The founder of the Radha Vallabhis was by name Hari Vans. His father, 
Vyasa, was a Gaur Brahman of Deva-ban in the Saharanpur district, who had 
long been childless. He was in the service of the Emperor and on one occa- 
sion was attending him on the march from Agra, when at last his wife, Tara, 
gave birth to a son at the little village of Bad, near Mathura, in the Sambat 
year 1559. In grateful recognition of their answered prayers, the parents 
named the child after the god they had invoked, and called him Hari Vans, i.e., 
Hari's issue. "When he had grown up, he took to himself a wife, by name 
Rukmini, and had by her two sons and one daughter. Of the sons, the elder, 
Mohan Chand, died childless ; the descendants of the younger, Gopinath, are 
still at Devaban. After settling the daughter in marriage, he determined to 
abandon the world and lead the life of an ascetic. With this resolution he set 
out alone on the road to Brinda-ban and had reached Charthaval, near Hodal, 
when there met him a Brahman, who presented him with his two daughters and 
insisted upon his marrying them, on the strength of a divine command, which 
he said he had received in a vision. He further gave him an image of Krishna 

* In the above passage the words underlined are proper names. 


with the title of Radha Vallabh, which on his arrival at Brinda-ban was set np 
by Hari Vans in a temple that he had founded between the Jugal and the 
Koliya ghats on the bank of the Jam una. Originally he had belonged to the 
Madhvacharya Sampradaya and from them and the Nimbaraks, who also claim 
him, his doctrine and ritual were professedly derived. But in consequence of 
the mysterious incident, by which he had been induced to forego his intention 
of leading a celibate life and take to himself two now wives ; or rather in con- 
sequence of his strong natural passions, which he was unable to suppress and 
therefore invented a fiction to excuse, his devotion was all directed not to 
Krishna himself, except in a very secondary degree, but to his fabled mistress 
Radha, whom he deified as the goddess of lust. So abominable a system was 
naturally viewed at first with no little amazement, as is clear from the language 
of the Bhakt Mala, which is as follows : — 

II *T^ II 

^liRcraTTqii *T3R srt fim san stra srrfa w u 

SRoi^f^T ZHm r\%\w\ cRTrT W3T II 

Tkva TWa tff 3T3 ^R^ZT 3^3 ^rl^irj || 

sstlK^^^fif WT5R 5RT fffl 3?irT ^T3i oJTR 1 II 
Translation of the text of K\bha Jr. 

" The Grosain Sri Hari Vans : who can understand all at once his method 
of devotion? with whom the feet of blessed Radha were the highest object of 
worship ; a most staunchrsouled devotee ; who made himself the page in wait- 
ing on the divine pair in their bower of love ; who gloried in the enjoyment of 
the remnants of all that was offered at their shrine ; a servant who never pleaded 
obligation or dispensation : a votary of incomparable zeal. Account him blessed 
who follows in the path of Vyasa's greal son, the Gosain Sri Hari Vans ; who 
can understand all at once his method of devotion ?" 

In the gloss, or supplement of Priya Das, composed in the year Sunbat 
1709, the same sentiment is expanded and a reference made to the legend of 
the Brahman and his two daughters. 



sfr5T3fT fftn ^T3i 5HUR*! *I3T <5fR 
Trail fl^T^ TTT^t UTS? ffOU T <2JT! 3f I 

3^ Zfi) fftlT^fg ^SFf T3ig mf 5 I 
fara ilT fa^l ^5 ^TT HR^R fwaf 

f%m fa^i ara Hg f^^T ^1 *tt|^ I 

TTTJ5 =qTT* ^3 TT%5F faf^ ^flJfi 
fan ^vn*T IK^raT 5l "3TTf^g I 

ml 3^txr §fiT sriw s^t ^ttt ^tt 

3^3>"T %IT =TTl U^ SIH WR^ I 

cRWl it^ ^TTrl XfW ~R^m H ^IRsf I 
Tlfa=fiT^*WT?T ^raT ^T T^T^T st 

3l| fa^R gtraTC c^I^q fq^TT 
T33T *fe f%R f^T HT^ ^TJT ^T I 
fafa T3^l TH TT4 HT^tT 3tT m^T 3T 

JT^ TIT ^5RH 3ifl ^RTlti ^tt cfi^ 

^1 UH flT5 ^if ^TT flf ^m ^T II 



" Would you kuow the one point in a thousand of Sri Hit Ji's ways ? he 
adored Radha first and after her Krishna. A most strange and unnatural 
fashion, that none could even faintly comprehend save by his favour. He obli- 
terated all distinction between obligation and dispensation ; his beloved was in 
his heart : he lived only as her servant, singing the praises of the divinity 
night and day. All the faithful know his many edifying and holy actions ; 
why tell and repeat them, since they are famous already. 

" He left his home and came ; his passion for Radha anil Krishna had so 
grown : but you must know Hari had given an order to a wealthy Brahman : 
' Bestow your two daughters in marriage, taking my name, and know that their 
issue shall be famous throughout the world. By their means my worship shall 
spread among my faithful people, a path for the pathless, of high renown.' 
Obedient to the loving order he went home ; the delight of all was past telling, 
for it was more than the mind could even conceive. Radha's dear spouse gave 
the gracious command : ' Publish abroad my worship and the delights of my 
sylvan abode.' He drank in with his very eyes the essence of bliss and gave 
it to every client who supported the cause of the female divinity. Night and 
day imbibing the honeyed draught of sweet song and cherishing it in his soul, 
with no thought but for Syama and Syarn. How is it possible to declare such 
incomparable merit ? the soul is enraptured at the sound more than at that of 
any other name." 

By his later wives he had two sons, Braj Chand and Krishan Chand, of whom 
the latter built a temple to Radha Mohan, which is still in the possession of his 
descendants. The former was the ancestor of the present Gosains of the temple 
of Radha Vallabh, the chief shrine of the sect. This was built by one of his 
disciples, a Kayath named Sundar Das, who held the appointment of treasurer 
at Delhi. One of the pillars in the front gives the date as Sambat 1683. An 
earlier inscription, of 1641, was noticed by Professor Wilson, but this would 
seem to have been over the gateway leading into the outer court, which since 
then has fallen down and been removed. On the opposite side of the street is a 
monument to the founder, which however the present generation of Gosains 
are too ungrateful to keep in repair. They are the descendants of Braj Chand's 
four sons, Sundar-Bar, Radha Ballabh Das, Braj-Bhukhan and Nagar Bar Ji ; 
and the heads of the four families so derived are now Daya Lai, Mauohar 
Ballabh, Sundar Lai and the infant son of Kanhaiya Lai. 

the rXdhX-sudhX-nidhi. 203 

Hari Vans was himself the author of two poems ; the one, the Chaurdsi Pada, 
or ' 84 Stanzas,' in Hindi ; the other the Rddhd Surf/id Nidhi, or ' Treasury 
of Radha's Delights,' in 170 Sanskrit couplets. The latter, though not much 
read, is held in great esteem and, regarded solely as a piece of highly impas- 
sioned erotic verse, it is a spirited and poetic composition. There is a good 
Hindi commentary upon it by one Bansidhar, dated Sambat 1820. As MSS. 
are scarce and Sanskritists may like to see a specimen of the text, I subjoin the 
first 25 and the last couplet in the original, followed by a translation:— 


1 O "00 ^ n£> s*j 

^3W5RTOI^ra^r!Sli|R fi TTf^^T^TJUT^Ri *RXjm II 3 II 

Cfl nO n^ nO n*> <J 

SrlTOinf cl§*n3§^rc*M TT^TIWT^Wl T3SaR r <4R*lf^T B c || 

204 the bXdhX-sudhX-nidhi. 

cmzjv. sfi^T^ flfarTT wu 3^pg^^T3^WR|f^rf Tfa^sari: n qq II 

?r«i fif!^ HMT^ig^ ?1 ^TOUH SR3T ^^fa^^^Tci II 18 II 

gig ^c^nm ^ftrfTWTmr ^f 1T 52^^ ^ ^fw wm n qy n 

nO NO s*> ^ ^> 

HT ^T^^^ft^SW^: THrlT qR^^FT TTT IWT^tHt II q<= II 

sO no so X nO ° nO-O 

THE rXdiiX-stjdh^-nidhi. 205 

STTlfaifi clef gpJ^T HoRTIT^j Tl'Sgjm WJfqTR T^Irin^rT^ II ^ II 

x nO o ^* o x 

t3^HlTTfcI3i^T%^T?WlT TT^frm^ 7W H^TSra-.gKSTT II ^ « 


^rl^TvSa 5R^5B^51Tr^I TflXTrlT ^TC II 1 Q li 
f%*!^rU ^ITrSTO^raifafa: ^HIW II o || 

NO G- >. 


1. " Hail to the home of Vrisha-bluinu's daughter, by whom once and again 
even Madhn-suclan — whose ways are scarce intelligible to the greatest sages — ■ 
was made happy, as she playfully raised the border of her robe and fanned hirn 
with its delicious breeze. 

2. "Hail to the majesty of Vrisha-bhanu's daughter, the holy dust of whose 
lotus feet, beyond the conception of Brahma, Siva and the other gods, is alto- 
gether supcrnaturally glorious, and whose glance moistened with compassion 
is like a shower of the refined essence of all good things. 

3. " I call to mind the dust of the feet of Radhika, a powder of infinite 
virtue, that incontinently and at once reduces to subjection the great power, that 
was beyond the ken even of Brahma, Rudra, Sukadeva, Nurada, Bhishnia and 
the other divine personages. 

4. " I call to mind the dust of the feet of Radhika, which the noble milk- 
maids placed upon their head and so attained an honour much desired by the 



votaries of the god with the peacock crest, dust that like the cow of heaven yields 
the fullness of enjoyment to all who worship with rapturous emotion. 

5. " Glory to the goddess of the bower, who with an embrace the quintes- 
sence of heavenly bliss, like a bountiful wave of ambrosia, sprinkled and restored 
to life the son of Nanda, swooning under the stroke of Love's thousand arrows. 

6. " When will there visit us that essence of the ocean of delight, the face 
of Radha with sweet coy glances, bewildering us with the brilliance of ever 
twinkling sportive play, a store-house of every element of embodied sweetness ? 

7. " When shall I become the handmaid to sweep the court-yard of the 
bower of love for the all-blissful daughter of Vrisha-bhanu, among whose servants 
oft and again every day are heard the soft tones of the peacock-crested god? 

8. " my soul, leave at a distance all the host of the great, and affection- 
ately hie to the woods of Brindii-ban : here Radha's name is as a flood of nectar 
on the soul for the beatification of the pious, a store-house of all that is divine. 

9. " When shall I hear the voice of blessed Radha, that fountain of delights 
crying 'Nay, Nay,' with knitted brows, as some gallant suitor, fallen at her feet, 
begs for the rapturous joy of her embrace ? 

10. " When, oh when, will Radhika show me favour, that incarnation of 
the fullness of the ocean of perfect love, the marvellous glory of the glistening 
splendour of whose lotus feet was seen among the herdsmen's wives ? 

11. "When shall I attain to the blissful vision of the golddess of the- 
blooming bowers of the woods of Brinda-ban, her eyes all tremulous with love, 
and the different members of her body like the waves of an overflowing ocean 
of delight ? 

12. "0 queen of Brinda-ban, I betake me to thy lotus feet, fraught with 
the honeyed flood of love's ambrosia, which planted in Madhu-pati's heart, 
assuaged by their grateful coolness the fierce fever of desire. 

13. " Fain would my soul loiter in the woods sacred to Radha's loves, 
where the sprays of the creepers have been plucked by Radha's hands, where the 
fragrant soil blossoms with Radha's footprints, and where the frequent birds 
are madly garrulous with Radha's praises. 

14. " When, daughter of Vrisha-bhanu, shall I experience the conceit 
induced by excess of voluptuous dalliance, I your handmaid, charged with the 
message, ' Come and enjoy Krishna's dainties, ' and answered with the smile, 
' Only stay, friend, till night comes.' 


15. " Ah ! when shall I behold Radha, with downcast eyes,bashfully steal- 
ing a distant "-lance at the moon-like orb of the face of the lord of lovers, as she 
trips with twinkling feet, all graceful in her movements, to the music of her 
own bangles ? 

16. " When, Radha, will you fall asleep, while my hands caress your 
feet, after I have tenderly bathed you and fed you with sweet things, wearied 
with your vigil through a night of dalliance in the inmost bower, in the 
delicious embrace of your paragon of lovers ? 

17. " that the ocean of wit, the singular ocean of love's delights, the 
ocean of tenderness, the ocean of exuberant pitifulness, the ocean of loveliness, 
the ocean of ambrosial beauty and grace, the ocean of wantonness, blessed 
Radhika, would manifest herself in my soul ! 

18. "0 that the daughter of Vrisha-bhanu, looking up all tremulous and 
glistening in every limb like the flowering champa, would clasp me in her arms, 
charmed by my chanted praises of Syam-sundar, as she listens for the sound of 
his pipe ! 

19. " Blessed Radhika, cool me with the multiplicity of love that breathes 
in the swan-like melody of the girdle that binds your loins reddened with 
dalliance, and in the tinkling of the bangles, like the buzzing of bees, clustered 
round your sweet lotus feet. 

20. " Blessed Radhika, wreathed with the surge of a Ganges wave of 
heavenly dalliance, with lovely lotus face and navel as a whirl in the stream, 
hastening on to the confluence with Krishna, that ocean of sweetness, draw 
near to me. 

21. " When, blessed Radhika, shall I rest upon my head your lotus feet, 
Govind's life and all, that ever rain down upon the faithful abundant torrents 
of the honeyed flood of the ocean of perfect love ? 

22. " When, Radha, stately as an elephant in gait, shall I accompany 
you to the bower of assignation to show the way, bearing divinely sweet sandal 
wood and perfumes and spices, as you march in the excitement of love's rapture? 

23. " blessed Radha, having gone to some secluded slope of the 
Jamuna and there rubbing with fragrant unguents your ambrosial limbs, the very 
life of Love, when shall I see your prince of lusty swains, with longing eyes, 
mounted on some high kadamb tree ? 

208 the chaurXsi pada. 

24. "When, blessed Radhika, shall I behold your heavenly face, clustered — 
as if with bees — with wanton curls, like some lotus blossoming in a lake of 
purest love, or a moon swelling an ocean of enjoyment, an ocean of delight. 

25. " Ah ! the name of Radlni, perfection of loveliness, perfection of delight, 
sole perfection of happiness, perfection of pity, perfection of honeyed beauty 
and grace, perfection of wit, perfection of the rapturous joys of love, perfection 
of all the most perfect that my soul can conceive ! 

170. " ye wise, if there be any one desirous of transcendental happiness, 
let him fill the pitcher of his ears and drink in this panegyric, called the JRasa- 
sudhd-nidhi, or ' Treasury of Love's delights." 

The Hindu poem, the Chaurdsi Pada, is much more popular, and most of 
the Gosains know at least some of its stanzas by heart. There is a commentary 
upon it by Lok-nath, dated Sambat 1855, and another in verse, called the Rahasya 
artha-nirujiana by Rasik Lai, written in Sambat 1734. Neither of the two, 
however, is of much assistance to the student ; all the simple passages being 
paraphrased with wearisome prolixity, while real difficulties are generally skip- 
ped. I subjoin the text and translation of the first 12 stanzas: — 


II % II 

ill! %T? ^T^T SnT %l| W\k Wll 
wt ^TT% inf T4l| T4t! 5nT T3TTT I 
Wirt m W3rfl 3T* XZHTSi ^hlR *j 

at ^t r\^ ir vm r infw fnxr 

^TR 3UfS3i THHI TflrW flfli WIT I 
^ll liH Si*! ^cTCJTR ^?R II 

THE chaurXsi pada. 209 

II 3 II 
Jiti^ Trains, ff ttt? ruift ^ upt ^ 5W1 srr srw^t n 

if ssRmfllRBi^r ^^R §=Irl WlfT TTTVJSRRSr^ln W^l JlaPTITi^Rt II 

II 5 II 

am *w ^t^ ts Fias *Kci sre Itaf! ^mura i 

w^s. twI fairer rasm 'srasRicjfsT ^^ira jjrt <*?t^*t?t i 

v3 ^ O 

% sTiti rrircsj sr JT3^n Tm *i ^q sfa wfe mwz s^ » 


II 8 II 

^TST ^T S^rfl FITT ^SR ^T^5 W^T fas^ ^fJTO5& *H3rI *Ttr§ ?f j 
^\^ ST^cT ^ §*IR*T ERTfal T^^fofifl ^*U 3^ ^P3i H^ I! 
^fa* m^5R ^g fa^cl g??p 3ig f%T ^TJTrf gfafT J?T^T £f ^ 
5&W ^R 33K TTUrT Efi^ ^ ^R 3*R 3g=T ^UTrT 51=1 ^ || 

gnitlT ^ttH rifc u^3 THrrrT =€ft =ra rail ^rirr f%l sci etc } 

II % II 
=35^ JWTcl ?mfflf3* *i *TC cRTJcl fllffl 1^ ^TTT^T 3T I 

* NO S3 N3 

^T^^rin ^w*m vioiflt *&ik Fi3f% xm *Rcf ^r=if% u* I! 

=K^ Steffi* TT%Irl HMT^f^ *TCcRT2J ^Tl^TH VJTJTCTC | 


THITT JTO % 3RT Wficl f^cjrl =3rR TSTfflf*!I Vtt 3R II 

sum ^m 'sriit nfsci sr^i jtr ^tft jm wxn mmx I 

W »snflrJlRsi^- Tim UtTIR *TT?^ ^fa HT 3<1 R^TrfT It.: 



ii S n 

5RH ^c\T ^^rfl TPTOT «1TTW m^rT ^T^ %TT| *R I 

so SO "" 

3^ojffF ^§ra 3* *IR ^I* T*m JTl^ ^*l ^ H 

VO so so 

s3T ^trg^ t%TH ^3 ^3H3 ^ i^ I 

ii xm T^TT3?T II 

W^\ R^lTSffl ^rt ^^Mtu* ^=Tr M^ITCT I 

si» ^a ^ii 

^jffl *5Rim ^SRTTJT TIT^T* ?RR ^Wcl *TfTFt tlT %ffl || 

so so SO cs t> 

ra3*r xfiT3*f TMlra Rfflri ^rc ^^^^^ttit ^ ind i 

>o Cs 

%TB^T TSTCFni ^R *PR^ rTT^^ ^JW Rafael *tl€ II 


m^R ure hkw tr trcra^ tTm ^t^t brit^ m; ^tCt i 

?TK ^fTJT WaT 5R5if TRTfT HT^I *^R ^T^rT Itft II 

!Rs3* nsjfi: R^fTRi ^^r^t raw ras^ ttr^cT w€t I 
fgg^ tt^t^ h^t? u^Tfari ftra htM^st orti ri tCt ii 

^m %ffl =I=g^rarJ *fR STR ^T^rlTfafsR 3;UfI 3K%rfr I 

<■ so so so 

% stiff elf R=I3I cfiTcl 5fir<RH 1RET ^TXl JTT^igf^ ^l6 II 

II c || 

Will ^m m ?R ^?5R Cl I 

^SoTft ^cKJcl TJR?f *TS RT^m* TWR HT5R d II 

r^t trcrtj s33r! Tfi^^mm i^'cwf ^ti^ gn s^ci ^f^ ^t ft i 


II 5. II 
*ira mm^i ra^R ift itwh f%5Frs3 f%g tt€t i 

JT^T ^Tf«R IW ^M TRJ3R Jim fWR f^Kl II 

^Tt^ t%%^t «rofm ^ti^t us^rft ^m re?: ^r<t i 


II 1.0 || 
=Ftrl Sif?I 5F3 Trra ^TTf ^^ jf^S if^ 

&j'm wzv fiiirc sjthCt Jj^JTrrrc 

sO CO s3 

ir w 3;tifd iR^m ^tm f^m^t wiw ^tt^ 

^TK ^R3;m UUU 51 if 3TfT II 


II 11 II 
Tm^ w,^{ sF^rafr TraTlR firos^r 

S3 s3 

TT5RRW SRHSefa ^fT5 -STTW^t I 


^fTT5 JR7 ^51 TT^ZI ?1SrT SlfjRT I 

v S3CS S3 cs 

llTWsm del ^R^T W51IW=fi I 


212 THE chaubXsi pada. 

fifi3Ii?ra3?Rf%cT sfa ^T^fT fqit ^1? ^ 

j*pt sfici afcms nm^ sRim^t I 

flTl^TR STOrf TTR tl^cl ^T^ ^fl^T IK 
tqSTaTcI ^m ^f^T ^5H *m*RT I 


%ono <a 

n ^ ii 

=3^T1 TTT^I^ ST^IT 5 * m flrl TTUH^R 



so Cs Cs 

SJloIrl i-M^H UTT^T ^RT3=ft I 

On so 

gretsre: f%^2 ^it inwrai*im Hit 


SSRSWH3 USUI ^1 =Jm tf^sft I 

s*> vO 


fci^rew Wai ifiof ^5T hiFhr ^rara^ i^f^ 

so sO> S3 so 


Translation of the first twelve Stanzas of the ChaurXsi pada. 

I . " Whatever my Beloved doeth is pleasing to me ; and whatever is pleasing 
to me, that my Beloved doeth. The place where I would be is in my Beloved's 
eyes ; and my Beloved would fain be the apple of my eyes. My Love is dearer 
to me than body, soul, or life ; and my Love would lose a thousand lives 

TOE chaueXsi pada. 213 

for me. Rejoice, Sri Hit Hari Vans ! the loving pair, one dark, one fair, are 
like two cygnets ; tell me who can separate wave from water ?* 

II. " my Beloved, has the fair spoken ? this is surely a beautiful night : 
the lightning is folded in the lusty cloud's embrace. friend, where is the 
woman who would quarrel with so exquisite a prince of gallants ? Rejoice, Sri 
Hari Vans ! dear Radhika hearkened with her ears and with voluptuous emotion 
joined in love's delights, t 

III. "At day-break the wanton pair, crowned with victory in love's conflict, 
were all-exuberant. On her face are frequent beads of labour's dew, and all 
the adornments of her person are in disarray, the paint-spot on her brow is all 
but effaced by heat, ami the straggling curls upon her lotus face resemble 
roaming bees. (Rejoice, Sri Hit Hari Vans !) her eyes are red with love's 
colours and her voice and loins feeble and relaxed. 

IV. " Your face, fair dame, to-day is full of joy, betokening your happi- 
ness and delight in the intercourse with your Beloved. Your voice is languid 
and tremulous, your cheeks aflame, and both your weary eyes are red with 
sleeplessness ; your pretty tiluh half effaced, the flowers on your head faded, 
and the parting of your hair as if you had never made it at all. The Bounti- 
ful one of his grace refused you no boon, as you coyly took the hem of 
your robe between your teeth. Why shrink away so demurely ? you have 
changed clothes with your Beloved, and the dark-hued swain has subdued you 
a- completely as though ho had been tutored by a hundred Loves. The 
garland on his breast is faded, the clasp of his waist-belt loose (Rejoice, Sri 
Hit Hari Vans !) as he comes from his couch in the bower. 

V. " To-day at dawn there was a shower of rapture in the bower, where 
the happy pair were delighting themselves, one dark, one fair, bright with all 
gay colours, as she tripped with dainty foot upon the floor. Great Syam, the 
glorious lord of love, had his flower wreath stained with the saffron dye of her 
breasts, and was embellished with the scratches of his darling's nails : she too 
was marked by the hands of her jewel of lovers. The happy pair in an ecstasy 

* That is to say, it is nothing strange that Radha and Krishna should take such mutual 
delight in one another, since they are in fact one and are as inseparable as a wave and the water 
of which the wave is composed. 

t The first line is a question put to Krishna by one of Kadha's maids, asking him if her mis- 
tress had promised him an interview. The second line is a remark whicli she turns and makes to 
one of her own companions. 



of affection make sweet song, stealing each other's heart (Rejoice, Sri Hit Hari 
Vans !) the bard is fain to praise, but the drone of a bee is as good as his in- 
effectual rhyme. 

VI. " Who so clever, pretty damsel, whom her lover comes to meet, 
stealing through the night ? Why shrink so coyly at my words ? Your 
eyes are suffused and red with love's excitement, your bosom is marked with 
his nails, you are dressed in his clothes, and your voice is tremulous. (Rejoice, 
Sri Hit Hari Vans !) Radha's amorous lord has been mad with love. 

VII. " To-day the lusty swain and blooming dame are sporting in their 
pleasant bower. list ! great and incomparable is the mutual affection of 
the happy pair, on the heavenly* plain of Brinda-ban. The ground gleams 
bright with coral and crystal and there is a strong odour of camphor. A 
dainty couch of soft leaves is spread, on which the dark groom and his 
fair bride recline, intent upon the joys and delights of dalliance, their lotus 
cheeks stained with red streaks of betel juice. There is a charming strug- 
gle between dark hands and fair to loose the string that binds her skirt. 
Beholdiuo- herself as in a mirror in the necklace on Hari's breast, the silly 
girl is troubled by delusion and begins to fret, till her lover wagging his 
pretty chin shows her that she has been looking only at her own shadow. 
Listening to her honeyed voice, as again and again she cries ' Nay, nay,' 
Lalita and the others take a furtive peep (Rejoice, Sri Hit Hari Vans!) till 
tossing her hands in affected passion she snaps his jewelled necklet. 

VIII. " Ah, red indeed are your lotus eyes, lazily languishing and 
inflamed by night-long watch, and their collyrium all faded. From your 
drooping eyelids shoots a glance like a bolt, that strikes your swain as it 
were a deer and he cannot stir. (Rejoice, Sri Hit Hari Vans !) damsel, 
voluptuous in motion as the swan, your eyes deceive even the wasps and bees. 

IX. " Radha and Mohan are such a dainty pair, he dark and beautiful 
as the sapphire, she with body of golden lustre : Hari with a tilak on his 
broad forehead and the Fair with a roll streak amidst the tresses of her 
hair : the lord like a stately elephant in gait and the daughter of Vrisha- 
bhanu like an elephant queen : the damsel in a blue vesture and Mohan in 
yellow with a red khaur on his forehead (Rejoice, Sri Hit Hari Vans !) 
Radha's amorous lord is dyed deep with love's colours. 

X. " To-day the damsel and her swain take delight in novel ways. 
What can I say ? they are altogether exquisite in every limb ; sporting 

Abhut, not created, self-produced, divine. 

the chaurXsi pada. 215 

together with arms about each other's neck and cheek to cheek, by such 
delicious contact making a circle of wanton delight. As they dance, the 
dark swain and the fair damsel, pipe and drum and cymbal blend in sweet 
concert with the tinkling of the bangles on her wrists and ankles and the 
girdle round her waist. Sri Hit Hari Vans, rejoicing at the sight of the 
damsels' dancing and their measured paces, tears his soul from his body and 
lays them both at their feet. 

XL " The pavilion is a bright and charming spot ; R&dha and Hari 
are in glistening attire and the full-orbed autumnal moon is resplendent in 
the heaven. The dark-hued swain and nymph of golden sheen, as they toy 
together, show like the lightning's flash and sombre cloud. In saffron ves- 
ture he and she in scarlet ; their affection deep beyond compare ; and the 
air, cool, soft and laden with perfumes. Their couch is made of leaves and 
blossoms and he woos her in dulcet tones, while coyly the fair one repulse3 
his every advance. Love tortures Mohan's soul, as he touches her bosom, 
or waist-band, or wreath, and timorously she cries 'off, off.' Pleasant is 
tho sporting of the glorious lord, close-locked in oft-repeated embrace, and 
like an earth-reviving river is the flood of his passion. 

XII. " Come Radhii, you knowing one, your paragon of lovers has 
started a dance on the bank of the Jamuna's stream. Bevies of damsels 
are dancing in all the abandonment of delight ; the joyous pipe gives forth 
a stirring sound. Near the Bansi-bat, a sweetly pretty spot, where the 
spicy air breathes with delicious softness, where the half-opened jasmine fills 
the world with overpowering fragrance, beneath the clear radiance of the 
autumnal full moon, the milkmaids with raptured eyes are gazing on your 
glorious lord, all beautiful from head to foot, quick to remove love's every 
pain. Put your arms about his neck, fair dame, pride of the world, and 
lapped in the bosom of the Ocean of delight, disport yourself with Syam in 
his blooming bower." 

If ever the language of the brothel was borrowed for temple use, it has 
been so here. But, strange to say, the Gosains, who accept as their Gospel 
these sensuous ravings of a morbid imagination, are for the most part highly 
respectable married men, who contrast rather favourably, both in sobriety 
of life and intellectual acquirements, with the professors of rival sects that 
are based on more reputable authorities. Several of them have a good know- 
ledge of literary Hindi ; but their proficiency in Sanskrit is not very high ; 
the best informed among them being unable to resolve into its constituent 


elements ami explain the not very recondite compound suduruha, which will be 
found in the second stanza of the Radha-sudhi. 

To indicate the fervour of his passionate love for his divine mistress, 
Hari Vans assumed the title of Hit Ji and is popularly better known by 
this name than by the one which he received from his parents. His most 
famous disciple was Vyas Ji of Orchha, of whom various legends are report- 
ed. On his first visit to the Swami he found him busy cooking, but at 
once propounded some knotty theological problem. The sage without any 
hesitation solved the difficulty, but first threw away the whole of the food 
he had prepared, with the remark that no man could attend properly to two 
things at once. Vyas was so struck by this procedure that he then and 
there enrolled himself as his disciple, and in a short space of time conceived 
•such an affection for Brinda-ban that he was most reluctant to leave it even 
to return to his wife and children. At last, however, he forced himself to 
go, but had not been with them long before he determined that they should 
themselves disown him, and accordingly he one day in their presence took 
and ate some food from a scavenger's hand. After this act of social excom- 
munication he was allowed to return to Brinda-ban, where he spent the 
remainder of his life and where his samc'ulh, or tomb, is still to be seen. 

Another disciple, Dhruva Das, was a a voluminous writer and composed 
as many as 42 poems, of which the following is a list: 1, Jiv-dasa; 2, Baid- 
gyan ; 3, Man-siksha ; 4, Brindaban-sat ; 5, Bhakt-namavali ; 6, Brihadbaman 
Puran ; 7, Khyal Hulas ; 8, Siddkant Bichar ; !), Priti-chovani ; 10, Anand- 
ashtak; 11, Bkajanashtak; 12, Bhajan-kundaliya; 13, Bhajan-sat; 14, Sringar- 
: 15, Man-sringar; Hi, Hit-sringar ; 17, Sabha-mandal ; 18, Bas-mukta- 
vali; 19, Ras-hiravali ; 20, Ras-ratnavali ; 21, Premavali; 22. SriPriyaJiki 
namavali; 23, Rahasya-manjari ; 24, Sukh-manjari ; 25, Rati-manjari ; 26, 
Nek-man jari : 27, Ban-bihar; 28, Ras-bihar ; 29, Rang-hulas ; 30, Rang- 
bihar: 31, Rang-binod; 32, Anand-dasa; 33, Rahasya-lata ; 34, Anand-lata; 35, 
Anurag-lata; 36, Prem-lata; 37, Ras-anand ; 38, Jugal-dhyan; 39, Nirtya- 
bilas;40, Dan-lila; 41, Man-lila ; 42, Braj-lila. 

Other poems by different members of the same sect are the Sevak-bani, 
the Ballabh-rasik ki bani and the Guru-pratap, by Damodar Das; the Hari- 
nam-mahima by Damodar Swami: the Sri Rap Lai Ji ka ashtaka, by Hit 
Ballabh ; and the Hari-nam-beli, the Sri Lai Ji badhai ami the Sri Liirili Juki 
badhai by Brinda-ban Das. 

swXmi hari dXs. 217 

The only one of the three more important modern schools which yet remains 
to be mentioned is that founded by Swami Hari Das. The Gosains, his des- 
cendants, who now, with their wives and children, number some 500 persons, own 
one of the most conspicuous of the modern temples, which is dedicated to Krishna 
under his title of Bihari Ji, or in more popular phrase Banke Bihari. This is 
not only their head-quarters, but appears to be the only temple in all India of 
which they have exclusive possession. It has lately been rebuilt at a cost of 
Ks. 70,000 ; a sum which has been raised in the course of 13 years by the 
contributions of their clients from far and near. It is a large square red sand- 
stone block of plain, but exceedingly substantial, character, with a very effective 
central gateway of white stone. This has yet to be completed by the addition 
of an upper story ; but even as it stands, the delicacy of its surface carving, 
and the extremely bold projection of its eaves, render it a pleasing specimen of 
the style of architecture now in vogue at Brinda-ban — one of the few places in 
the civilized world where architecture is not a laboriously studied reproduction 
of a dead past, but a still living art, which is constantly developing by a process 
of spontaneous growth. The estate is divided into two shares or bats, according 
to the descent of the Gosains. Their founder was himself a celibate; but his 
brother Jagannath had three sons, Megh Syam, Murari Das and Gopinath Das, 
of whom the third died childless, the other two being the ancestors of the pre- 
sent generation. As is usual in such cases, the two families are at war with 
one another, and have more than once been obliged to invoke the assistance of 
the law to prevent a serious breach of the peace. Beyond the saintliness of 
their ancestor, but few of them have any claim to respect, either on account of 
their learning — for the majority of them cannot even read — or for the correct- 
ness of their morals. There are, however, two exceptions to the general rule 

one for each bat — in the person of the Gosains Jagadis and Kishor Chand; 
both of whom are fairly well read, within the narrow limits of their own sec- 
tarian literature, beyond which they have never dreamed of venturing 

In the original Bhakt-mala of Nabha Ji, the stanza referring to Hari Das 
stands as follows: 

?^ I 
^ST^fefR 3gYcI SRI Tf%=R ^1U lR3ra 3iT II 


218 swXmi hari da's. 

»JttTFT gTC 3T3 TW 3T7R ^TSJT <5TO sfi II 

3ITWft 3^TrI ER TRW W^ ?K5T^ Sfil II 

which may be tlms translated: 

"Tell we now of Hari Das, the pride of Xsdhir, who sealed the list of the 
saints; who, bound by a vow to the perpetual repetition of the two names of 
Kunj-bihari, was ever beholding the sportive actions of the god, the lord of the 
Gopis' delights; who was a very Gandharv in melodious song and propitiated 
Syam and Syama, presenting them with tbe daintiest food in daily sacrifice and 
feeding the peacocks and monkeys and fish; at whose door a king stood waiting 
in hope of an interview; Hari Das, the pride of Asdhfr, who sealed the list of 
the saints." 

This is followed by the Gloss, or Supplement of Priya Das: 

ifagmraf? ^m %tI «mi *rra ml 1 11 

^IZTI $ira TOT BJT^T *tf?l **=* W3JT. ofW 

^rczh ^ tr^f^f xii tot f%xr "«mS » 
onfall Haifa 5B^t h tstoi Hi^rariT 


*lf%5R 3^1TT U3 *m^ STST^ II 

sO -<i NO • 

fsfi^i rra mm sref ^t^t fara *tt?zt ii 

which may be thus rendered: 

" Who can tell all the perfections of Sri Swami Hari Das, who by ever 
muttering in prayer the sacred name came to be the very seal of devotion. 
Some one brought him perfume that ho valued very highly; he took and threw 
it down on the bank; the other thought it wasted. Said the sage, knowing his 
thoughts: 'Take and show him the god:' he slightly raised the curtain; all 


was drenched with perfume. The philosopher's stone he cast into the water, 
then gave instruction: many are the legends of the kind." 

Probably few will deny that at least in this particular passage the disciple 
is more obscure than his master; and the obscurity, which is a sufficiently pro- 
minent feature in the English translation, is far greater in the Hindi text, where 
no indication is given of a change of person, and a single form answers indiffer- 
ently for every tense of a verb and every case of a noun. The Bhakt-Sindhu 
expands the two stanzas into a poem of 211 couplets and supplies a key to all 
the allusions in the following detailed narrative : 

Brahm-dhir, a Sanadh Brahman of a village now called Haridaspur, near 
Kol, had a son, Gyandhir, who entertained a special devotion for Krishna under 
his form of Giridhari — ' the mountain-supporter' — and thus made frequent pil- 
grimages to the holy hill of Gobardhan. On one such occasion he took to him- 
self a wife at Mathura, and she in due time bore him a son, whom he named As- 
dhir. The latter eventually married a daughter of Ganga-dhar, a Brahman of 
Raj pur — a small village adjoining Brinda-ban — who on the 8th of the dark fort- 
night of the month of Bhadon in the samba t year 1441 give birth to Hari Das. 
Form his earliest childhood he gave indications of his future sanctity, and instead 
of joining in play with other children was always engaged in prayer and religious 
meditation. In spite of his parents' entreaties he made a vow 7 of celibacy, and at 
the age of 25 retired to a solitary hermitage by the Man Sarovar, a natural lake 
on the left bank of the Jamuna, opposite Brinda-ban. He afterwards removed 
to the Nidh-ban in that town, and there formally received his first disciple, 
Bithal-Bipul, who was his own maternal uncle. His fame soon spread far and 
wide, and among his many visitors was one day a Khattri from Delhi, by name 
Dayal Das, who had by accident discovered the philosopher's stone, which trans- 
muted into gold everything with which it was brought in contact. This he 
presented as a great treasure to the Swami, who however tossed it away into the 
Jamuna ; but then seeing the giver's vexation, he took him to the margin of the 
stream and bade him take up a handful of sand out of the water. When he 
had done so, each single grain seemed to be a facsimile of the stone that had 
been thrown away and, when tested, was found to possess precisely the same 
virtue. Thus the Khattri was made to understand that the saints stand in no 
need of earthly riches, but are complete in themselves ; and he forthwith joined 
the number of Hari Das's disciples. 

Some thieves, however, hearing that the sage had been presented with the 
philosopher's stone, one day when he was bathing, took the opportunity of 


stealing his sdlagrdm, which they thought might be it. On discovering it to be 
useless for their purpose, they threw it away under a bush, and as the saint in 
his search for it happened to pass by the spot, the stone itself found voice to tell 
him where it lay. From that time forth he received every morning by mira- 
culous agency a gold coin, out of which he was to provide the temple-offerings 
(bho'/) and to spend whatever remained over in the purchase of grain wherewith 
to feed the fish in the Jamuna and the peacocks and monkeys on its banks. 

One day a Kayath made him an offering of a bottle of atar worth Rs. 1,000, 
and was greatly mortified to see the Swami drop it carelessly on the ground, so 
that the bottle was broken and the precious essence all wasted. But on being 
taken to the temple he found that his gift had been accepted by the god, for the 
whole building was fragrant with its perfume. 

Again, a minstrel at the court of the Dehli Emperor had an incorrigibly 
stupid son, who was thereupon expelled in disgrace. In his wanderings he 
happened to come to Brinda-bun, and there threw himself down on the road to 
sleep. In the early morning the Swami, going from the Nidh-ban to bathe, 
stumbled over him, and after hearing his story gave him the name of Tan-sen, 
and by the mere exercise of his will converted him at once into a most accom- 
plished musician. On his return to Delhi, the Emperor was astonished at the 
brilliancy of his performance, and determined himself to pay a visit to Brinda-ban 
and see the master under whom he had studied. Accordingly, when he was 
next at Agra, he came over to Mathura, and rode out as far as Bhat-rond — 
half-way — whence he proceeded on foot to the Nidh-ban. The saint received 
his old pupil very graciously, but took no notice of his royal companion, though 
he knew perfectly well who he was. At last, as the Emperor continued beg- 
ging that ho might be of some service, he took him to the Bihari ghat close by, 
which for the nonce appeared as if each one of its steps was a single precious 
stone set in a border of gold ; and there showing him one step with a slight flaw 
in it, asked him to replace it by another. This was a work beyond the capacity 
even of the great Emperor, who thereupon contented himself with making a 
small endowment for the support of the sacred monkeys and peacocks and then 
went his way after receiving a most wearisome amount of good advice. 

No further incident is recorded in the life of Hari Das, the date of whose 
death is given as Sambat 153-7. He was succeeded as Mahant by his uncle 
Bithal-Bipul ; and he by Bihari Das. The latter was so absorbed in enthu- 
siasm that a Sarasvat Brahman, of PanjaW extraction, by name Jagannath, 
was brought over from Kol to administer the affairs of the temple ; and after 


his death the succession was continued through several other names, which it 
seems unnecessary to transcribe. 

Thus far the narrative of the Bhakt-Sindhu ; which, it will be seen, affords 
an explanation of the obscure allusions in the Bhakt-Mala to the two presenta- 
tions of the atar and the philosopher's stone, the daily feeding of the monkeys 
and peacocks and the Emperor's visit. In other matters, however, it is not at 
all in accord with the traditions accepted by the Swami's descendants ; for they 
say that he was not a Sanadh by caste, but a Sarasvat ; that his family came not 
from Kol or Jalesar, but from Uchch near Multan, and that he lived not four 
centuries ago, but at the most only three. It would seem that the author of the 
Bhakt-Sindhu was the partisan of a schism in the community, which occurred 
about 50 years or so ago, and that he has moulded his facts accordingly ; for 
the Jajiannath whom he brings over from Kol is not named in a genuine list 
of the Mahants, which will be given hereafter. That he is utterly at fault in 
his dates, Sambat 1441 — 1537, is obvious at a glance ; for the Emperor who 
visited Brinda-ban was certainly Akbar, and he did not ascend the throne till 
Sambat 1612. It is true that Professor Wilson, in his Religious Sects of the 
Hindus, where he mentions Hari Das, describes him as a disciple and faithful 
companion of Chaitanya, who was born in 1485 and died in 1527 A. D. But 
although Hari Das had imbibed the spirit of Chaitanya's teaching, I know of 
no ground for maintaining that there was any personal intercourse between the 
two ; had it been so, that fact would scarcely have escaped record in the Bhakt- 
Mala or some one of its modern paraphrases. Moreover, I have by me a small 
pothi of 6S0 leaves, which gives a complete list of all the Mahants and their 
writings from the founder down to the date of the MS., which is Sambat 1825. 
The list is as follows : Swami Hari Das, Bithal Bipul, Biharini Das, Nagari 
Das, Saras Das, Naval Das, Narhar Das, Rasik Das, and Lalit-Kishori, other- 
wise called Lalit-mohani Das. Allowing 20 years for each incumbency, which 
is rather a high average, since only an elderly man would be elected for the post, 
the date of Hari Das's death is thrown back only as far as Sambat 1665. His 
writings, moreover, are not more archaic in style than the poems of Tulsi Das, 
who died in Sambat 1680 ; and therefore on all grounds we may fairly conclude 
as an established fact that he flourished at the end of the 16th ami the beinuniufl: 
of the 17th century A. D., in the reigns of the Emperors Akbar and Jahangir. 

Each of the Mahants named in the above list is described as being the dis- 
ciple of his immediate predecessor, and each composed some devotional poems, 
which are known as sakhis, chaubolas, or padas. The most voluminous writer 
is Bihariui Das, whose padas occupy G84 pages. In many of them he expresses 



the intensity of his mystical devotion in terms of exaggerated warmth, which 
are more suggestive of an earthly than a divine passion. But the short extract 
that follows is of a different character, and is of special interest as confirming 
the conclusion already stated as to the date of Hari Das ; since it mentions by • 
name both the Emperor Akbar and also the death of his famous friend Birbar, 
which occurred in 1590 A.D. 


9if T Tlf T lJcT3i ^T II 

ssifa ^tr m mm urn ?^ iffs ^ci ^ ft^tot f^rg* u 

Xti ^otfcl =J¥ M?rT ^JT 31VR =lf «XT cfTTorr || 
7Kr\ Sm\ fllfr ^ T%13IT fiff^T ^ ^ITf sifi 'srasrr l» 

T&rom fazmn * m <%wt. tiq Tins t ^t^ zktcit. ii 

frlfW ^ 3rlfl d^lt *I^5l 1 TOTcI #iR % ^T II 
Tjm^ ^tTq IRt^^H^ *?Rl SUT5 T^nTc, «2>3irl q^r It 

" Why boastest thou thyself, mortal man ? thy body shall be the prey of 
dogs and jackals, though without shame or fear thou now goest delicately. This 
is known throughout the world to be the end of all : a great man was the Brah- 
man Birbar, yet he died, and at his death the Emperor Akbar was sad of heart, 
nor himself longer lived nor aught availed. When gods or demons breathe out 
their life, Death holds them in his maw, suspended, neither here nor there, but 
in an intermediate state. All astray and swelling with pride, on whom is thy 
trust ? Adore Hari's blessed lotus feet ; to roam and wander about from house 
to house is all vanity. By the strong aid of Hari Das, Biharini Das has found 
and laid hold of the Almighty." 

The founder of the sect has himself left only two short poems, filling 41 
leaves, entitled Sddhdran Siddhdnt and Ris he pada. The former is here given 
both in the original text and in a translation. Most of the habitues of the 

* One MS. for svasan nikusat reads tras ni/iasi na sukat. 

f Rtmthna has the same meaning as the more common term jugdli harnd, 'to ruminate,' 
like a cow. 

the sXdhXran siddhXnt. 223 

temple know the greater part of it by heart, though I have ascertained that very 
few of them have more than the vaguest general idea of the meaning. Even the 
best-informed of the Pujaris — Kishori Chand — who went over it carefully with 
me, supplied an interpretation of some passages which after consulation with 
other Pandits I could see was quite untenable and was obliged to reject. The 
connection of ideas and the grammatical construction are often so involved that 
it is highly probable my version may still be not altogether free of errors, 
though I have done my best to eliminate them. The doctrine inculcated does 
not appear to differ in any essential point from the ordinary teaching of the 
other Vaishnava sects : the great duties of man, by the practice of which he 
may have an assured hope of attaining to ultimate salvation, being defined as 
submission to the divine will, detachment from the world, and an unquestioning 
faith in the mystery of the incarnation. 

II o || ^ sTt^WTI I^T^flrT fTT^TT^m^ffT T^cT II o || 

ii ^mriwra II 

•ggiwr wilt cm Tumii r^iil r^til TTiacli 11 IK II 

tiK m ^^ ura wi §m 3iiT I\t^ ^ *fe yfix. ii 

^qn ii =*m^T *twt fswr ^Tii tit ^R slri %i cm *wt wft n 


fq^TT ^ aRW ^1 rKTJTCTIT *1T Sf%^^I tlficlT3? ZiK II q II 
^iTf^T =ra ^tfl HI^lfT fi m^ ^3 1T3 ^TTiHTfT T^IFH II 

mx mszuinN to^t vuvtv m cfr i iRm ii 

Sllfl rW^i fir! rniH rW flcT efiU 3S[ ^tr^TTR II 

so SO so 

4Ttfft3T33t ^rtfll 5IITTTl^^f%lTfT JJRfaSi ^T^TTR II * II 
efic}^ ^[Sli JFR afl s3rl WcT UI^ ^3 5RR ^ ^fa^T WJ II 

Cv C? so 

sflrT WTcT mjr\ ^tf% TTWT ^ifl^I T*^ HT ^tf II 

sO so 

ifife ^ro^i^^r fgiT<r rim ^li^iT S«I §H f?I3 Tlfl ^ 


IK W%T iR *T^T ?5tf% R JJH «TC rR ^T II 

i%R ^Ik t^r ctI^t ra^ra?! 'smtii n 
^r^jq^ ^fr ^t=fft ^t xr^i r^in traifi ii 

efiff 1R313 JTN WT '^T^ r^I ^^ 1 •SHTJ^^I » « C 

Ii ?pi F?^T=T?T II 

% ir ^t^t ^ f%*TK^5n ?trai ^ s^rc^sfti ^ifi mfi sfl ti? * 

liRsn "sfl^ iftfasH lit qK55T R %T"p II 


5RT1 wTtSTS WJT afl^ ITT rW cli| R ^T^ II ij II 

ai5 ^ttoqn; *f;t 11 

f%rl R ^Ic| ^TI=T ^RTra 1l\r\X R 111 ^TIT^T U 

R TOt 5T5T H^TSX. R WTW ^"tfrTT II 

Efifl fR^ra 3RclT T3TZIT %T f^l §flPC ^^ ^T II £ II 

ff H HT 9^ SRSJc'R^rai *IT ft^ 3i ^T*T ^Jl ffrl ^ ^1^ qfllsl II 

^ firr gft^r srr^rancnti **ii ^niii ^it3 ^ni»T » 

IR^I flri S^T ir!r TJT TT^TS II 

^T* flrt ^T ^T T*T ^*TEf T3R Scft^T II 

«RTW 1K3TO Tlrl 5R1^ f^WRl^l ^TC R^Tl ^l^T " s » 

ffR^T =^K 9» «ra II 

5EIT Wll c£IT 3"3TX[ ^m ^J<R TO » 

g^j^ra Ri^i^t ^tt ^t^ ^ra 11 

cfil ^TITT^TH f^^TT 3<TT T5RT f5TlT<1 Riff *re II c II 

^raK ^raa; i^rar *fra ^ ipr ^TC *fa ^w^r^ra u 

NO -O ^ 

tr gztTT at ^rw ite ^^ra II 

the sXdhXran siddhXnt. 225 

a>fg ?R5ig ^| w\^ UTTO?} ^ iff ti ^TTj ^T^^'^ra 11 a u 

m Zfi^T <*■% ^fff oII^Trf 'qSlfr fa?*?* I cfiTO || 
ClU ^Wr\ oT^TTf ^% ^WT *13T l^rfT 5^1^ If 
3iTW ^T1R3T?J JTW^W 3RrTT cR^T^T fl| II 
cl=T cfi^ ^ ^?TfT oT5T ^Tcfct ^d ^ITO II 10 || 
3^T f fa FITTR SRT ^U^lfa II 

swirl ^tii iR^^n^i fqwr ■st^fi if =n~ffa II 

3)1 ^I1K5T^ cUIfT TTOfil ^olf^lITt f^rU^fa II 11 II 

^st^rIit sr3i=rIt if^mT^ wrei ^Ti^ft n 

TTI 5tT§H^rei gift ^WrR^T ^R rR ^SR ^ ift^TfJ » 

sOTlfKSre^ ^W ^TRT ^^II^ITff ^T facl dfl m^T ^TI^fT II I s ? I! 


WTT^T^HTf ^=1 *sR II 

^RJT3 ^T3=m3 TTaW5 ^H lif^T fl 1*1 II 

^1 sntftsra xtt f%n 3tt^t ntroiti^i ^ ii ib n 

Hl| T tffa ^ gift % gm5R=TtiT vfari ^tR ^q'W flCrlR^ gff fl II 
^ifa ^ nifg^ 3f ii ^SJUT xffacl J$T=R 3RI "ssii ^IT? ^ elf cl II 
4sTr lifl wfaaR %rt 3icT §5f?f T5^r 5RTJT ^T^ ^m tff rl II 

§fa »!niK3T5 1J?K Uffi H cfifs^ TT 5iR t* f ^ WH Ulcf II 18 || 


226 the sAdhXran siddhXnt. 

cTf^ ETC S^JoRT ^TW^n II 

TTT^n ^ITrT TTlff T^t <T ^TT flTT, HUW^ ^fl RRT ^TW^T II 

sfiiR^ralf ^iiff fit ^rail *srra w xrj ^jit] t%r cR}t Ct giw^ft n <w n 

WS) cJTfT ST^ cfiR T3tJT=frIll IK m*K II 
f^fg T5^r =RcT 3^rrlll alp* TUT^IiT WHX II 

*tRj wR^ra ^rl f%|II *T1^T STO^T^T *n»TC II IS II 

smrrcfim srR ^xfi =ttti ^u 2tt>i ins n 

f?^ of ira g^ri ^i^^ifi iiifT ^T^r fsR ^T^i II 

gRl lR3m Jflrl ^T <JWT fsriTft ^^ ^It ^3 ^T35 II 1^ II 

^rm ht *t^»t vr^ *rdn ?m rim *tln w^t^Ri n 
^tw urn ^ifs ^rRhIt ?m sol srcwi srct n 

^ITfT SItrl % bTtoI ^i?( RlWtl iniiT f%H ^SXt *T^Rt II 

5RTW 1K5TO ora 53m facl^lii 31**11 *TT^ ii t c ii 

SfTFfT ^ ^T^T IK fl^I * *R 3»TT ^TrT *15J 3TI5 II 

^ra =3R% W^l^^T « ^ SRIT 3>*h ^TI5 II 

'cRUS ifT=RH3 TI5W3 W3JT ^PPC Rp*TT5 II 


iingjj^tra ifw£ lis *nft ^T3 ii 


ER?1 J5niTT5ra aJTTR 3T^ fifllfl fl^ffl ^ ^T21T3 II '« II 
Translation of the SiddhXnta of SwA'mr Hari DXs. 

Rag Bibhds. 

1. " Hari, as thou disposest, so all things abide. If I would shape my 
course in any different fashion, tell me whose tracks could I follow. If I would 
do my own will, how can I do it, if thou boldest me back ? (The lords of Sri 
Hari Das are Syama, and Kunj-bihari). Put a bird in a cage, and for all its 
fluttering it cannot get away. 

2. " Bihari, Biharini, none else has any power ; all depends on your 
grace. Why babble of vain systems of happiness ? they are all pernicious. To 
him who loves you, show love, bestowers of happiness (the lords of Sri Har Das 
are Syama and Kunj-bihari), the supporters of all living creatures. 

3. " At times the soul takes flight hither or thither ; but it finds no greater 
joy. Discipline it in every way and keep it under, or you will suffer. 
Beautiful as a myriad Loves is Bihari ; and Pleasure and all delights dwell in 
his presence (the lords of Sri Hari Das are Syama and Kimj-bihiiri) be ever 
contemplating his manifold aspects. 

4. " Worship Hari, worship Hari, nor desert him out of regard for thy 
mortal body. Covet not, covet not the least particle of wealth. It will come 
to you unsought, as naturally as one eyelid droops upon the other. Says Sri 
Hari Das, as comes death, so comes wealth, of itself (or like death, so is 
wealth — an evil). 

Rag BildvaU. 

5. " Hari, there is no such destroyer as I am, and no such restorer as 
thou art :* betwixt me and thee there is a contest. Whichever wins or loses, 
there is no breaking of the condition. Thy game of illusion is wide-spead in 
diverse ways : saints are bewildered by it and myriads are led astray. Says 
Hari Das, I win, thou losest, but there is no change in thy love. 

* For a similar expression of the same sentiment compare the following lines of Siir; 
Mere pdpan so, Hari, hari hau— Main garua, turn men lial tlwra,nthahMii pichimari hau. 'OHari, 
you are vanquished by my sinfulness ; I am so heavy and you so slight, that you get badly 

228 the sa'dhXran siddha'nt. 

(?. " ye faithful, this is a good election : waver not in mind ; enter into 
yourselves in contemplation and be not stragglers. Wander not from house to 
house, nor be in doubt as to your own father's door. Says Sri Hari Das, what 
is God's doing, is as fixed as Mount Sumeru has become. 

7. " Set your affection on the lotus-eyed, in comparison with whose love 
all love is worthless ; or on the conversation of the saints : that so the sin of 
your soul may be effaced. The love of Hari is like the durable dye of the mad- 
der ; but the love of the world is like a stain of saffron that lasts only for two 
days. Says Hari Das, set your affection on Bfhari, and he knowing your heart 
will remain with you for ever. 

8. " A straw is at the mercy of the wind, that blows it about as it will and 
carries it whither it pleases. So is the realm of Brahma, or of Siva, or this 
present world. Says Sri Hari Das : this is my conclusion, I have seen none 
such as Bihari. 

9. " Man is like a fish in the ocean of the world, and other living creatures 
of various species are as the crocodiles and alligators, while the soul like the 
wind spreads the entangling net of desire. Again, avarice is as a cage, and the 
avaricious as divers, and the four objects of life as four compartments of the cage. 
Says Hari Das, those creatures only can escape whoever embrace the feet of the 
son of bliss. 

10. " Fool, why are you slothful in Hari's praises ? Death goeth about with 
his arrows ready. He heedeth not whether it be in season or out of season, but 
has ever his bow on his shoulder. What avail heaps of pearls and other jewels 
and elephants tied up at your gate ? Says Sri Hari Das, though your queen 
in rich attire await you in her chamber, all goes for nothing when the darkness 
of your last day draweth nigh. 

11. " See the cleverness of these people: having no regard for Han's lotus 
feet, their life is spent to no purpose ; when the angel of death comes and 
encompasses them he does what seemeth him good. Says Sri Hari Das : then is 
he only found long-lived, who has taken Kunj-bihari to his soul. 

12. " Set your heart upon securing his love. With water-pot in hand per- 
ambulate the ways of Braj and, stringing the beads of your rosary, wander 
through Brinda-ban and the lesser groves. As a cow watches her own calf and 
a doc its own fawns and has an eye for none other (the lords of Sri Hari Das 
are Syama and Kunj-bihari) be your meditation on them as well balanced as 
a milk-pail on the head. 

the sXdha'ran siddha'nt. 229 

Rdfj Kalydn. 

13. " All is Hari's mere sport, a mirage pervading the universe without 
either germ or plant. The pride of wealth, tho pride of youth, the pride i 
power, are all like the crow among birds. Says Sri Hari Das, know this of a 
surety, all is but as a gathering on a feast-day, that is quickly dispersed. 

14. "0 sister, how happy arc the docs who worship the lotus-eyed, each with 

her own lord. Happy too tho calves that drink in the melody of his pipe in 

their ears as in a cup from which no drop can be spilt. The birds too are like 

holy men, who daily do him service, free from lust, passion, and avarice. 

Hearken, Sri Hari Das, my husband is a difficulty ; he will not let me go, but 

holds mo fast. 

Rdg Bardri. 

15. " friend, as I was going along the road, he laid hold of my milk-pail 
and my dress ; I would not yield to him unless he paid me for luck. ' O 
clever milk-maid, you have bewitched my boy with the lustre of the go-rochan 
patch on your forehead' (0 lord of Sri Hari Das), this is the justice we get 
here ; do not stay in this town, pretty one.* 

Rag Kanlirau. 

16. " clever Hari, thou makest the false appear true ; night and day thou 
art weaving and unweaving : thou art an ocean of deceit. Though thou afi'ectest 
the woman f in form and name, thou art more than man. Hearken ye all to 
Hari Das and know of a truth it is but as when one wakes out of sleep. 

17. " The love of the world has been tested ; there is no real accord. See, 
from the king to the beggar, natures differ and no match can be found. The days 
of many births are past for ever ; so pass not thou. Hearken to Hari Das, 
who has found a good friend in Bihari ; may all find the like. 

18. " People have gone astray ; well they have gone, but take thy rosary and 
stray not thou. To leave thy own lord for another is to be like a strumpet 
among women. Syama declares : those men rebel against me who prefer another, 
and those too (says Hari Das) who make great sacrifice to the gods and per- 
form laboured funeral rites for departed ancestors, j 

* In two of the three MSS. of the poem that I have consulted, stanzas 14 and 15 are omitted 
and they appear clearly to he an interpolation by some later hand, being quite out of keeping 
with the context. They must be regarded as a dialogue between two of the Gopis and Jasoda. 

f In this stanza it is the god's illusive power, or Maya, that is addressed, rather than the god 

% Thus the Vaishnavas, when they perform a Sraddh, do not repeat the names of their owa 
ancestors, but substi'ute the names of Krishna, Pradyumna, and Aniruddh. 


230 THE malt5k dXsis. 

19. " Worship Hari from the heart as long as you live ; all thing3 else are 
vain. It is only a matter of four* days, what need of much baggage. From 
pride of wealth, from pride of youth, from pride of power, you have lost your- 
self in mere village squabbles. Says Hari Das, it is greed that has destroyed 
you ; where will a complaint lie. 

20. " In the depth of the delights of an ocean of love how can men reach a 
landing-place ? Admitting his helplessnessf he cries, What way of escape 
is open ? No one's arrows fly straight, for all his boasting in street and market- 
place. Says Sri Hari Das : know Bihari to be a god who overlooks all defects 
in his votaries." 

The Maliik Dasis, another modern sect of limited importance, have one of 
their religious houses at Brinda-ban, with a temple dedicated to Bam Ji, near 
the Kesi ghat. Their founder, according to the most probable tradition, lived 
in the reign of Aurangzeb, and was a trader by occupation. He is said to have 
written a Hindi poem called the Dasratna, together with a few short Sdkhis 
and Padas in the same language ; but no specimen of his composition has ever 
been published, nor is it known what, if any, are the distinctive tenets of the 
sect. Probably, they will be found to differ in no material respect from the 
doctrines of faith and quietism as inculcated by Hari Das ; though, an impor- 
tant practical difference consists in the recognition of Bama, rather than Krishna, 
as the incarnation to be specially worshipped. I had intended to visit their 
Guru and collect from him the materials for a brief sketch of their history and 
literature, in order to complete this chapter ; but unfortunately I neglected to 
do so while at Mathura, and have now lost the opportunity of supplying the 

Another small and obscure sect, that of the Pran-nathis, is again one of the 
few, of whose literature Professor Wilson, in his essays on the religion of the 
Hindus, was unable to furnish a specimen. The sect has a single representa- 
tive at Mathura, and from him, before I loft, I obtained a copy of one of the 
poems of Pran-nath himself. 

It is very curious, both from the advanced liberalism of its theological ideas 
and also from the uncouthness of the lanffuage, in which tho construction of 
the sentences is purely Hindi, while tho vocabulary is mainly supplied from 

* The number ' four ' seems to be an allusion to the four stages of life : childhood, youth, 
manhood, and old age. 

t The word btkaryau is doubtful and probably corrupt, though given in all three MSS. 


Persian and Arabic sources. The writer, a Kshatriya by caste, lived at the 
beginning of the eighteenth century, and was under the special patronage of 
Chhattrasal, the famous Raja of Panna in Bundelkhand, who is commonly said 
by the Muhammadans to have been converted to Islam, though in reality he 
only went as far as Pran-nath, who endeavoured to make a compromise between 
the two religions. His followers are sometimes called Dhamis, from Dhdm, a 
name of the supreme spirit, or Parmatma, and like the Sikhs and several of 
the later Hindu sects are not idolators, so far that they do not make or rever- 
ence any image of the divinity, but if they have any temple at all, the only 
object of religious veneration which it contains is a copy of the works of the 
founder. His treatises, which, as usual, are ail in verse, are fourteen in num- 
ber, none of them of very great length, and bear the following titles :— 1, The 
book of Puis ; 2, of Prakas ; 3, of Shat-rit ; 4, of Kalas ; 5, of Sanandh ; 6, of 
Kirantan ; 7, of Khulasa ; 8, of Khel-bat ; 9, of Prakrama Illahi Dulhan (an 
allegory in which the Church, or ; Bride of God,' is represented as a holy city) ; 
10, of Sugar Singar ; 11, of Bare Singiir ; 12, of Sidhi Bhasa ; 13, of Marafat 
Sagar ; 14, of Kiyamat-nama. The shortest is the last, of which I now pro- 
ceed to give the text, followed by an attempt at a translation, which I am 
afraid is not altogether free from error, as I am not much versed in Kuranic 
literature and may have misunderstood some of the allusions. The owner of 
the MS., Karak Das by name, though professing so liberal a creed, was not a 
particularly enlightened follower of his master, for I found it impossible to 
convince him that the Isa of the Kuran, so repeatedly mentioned by Pran-nath, 
was really the same as the incarnate God worshipped by the English. Like 
most of the Bairagis and Gosains with whom I have talked, his idea was that 
the fiery and impetuous foreign rulers of the country were Suraj-bansis, or 
descendants of the sun, and that the sun was the only God they recognized, as 
■was evidenced by their keeping the Sunday holy in his honour. 

But, without further preface, to proceed to the text of the poem. It stands 
as follows :— 

n #fK ii 

^IrfTl UTO3i SFTfa rWT^ W* *% 33JH II 1 II 

%t *t% ^ra 3*m flrcsrc *if *wt it f rank u 

^WarRW ^ Sfa ^'HTC ScO WTST ^T=R II ^ II 



m^ f5^ wreft ^ren y^i 

3T HJ3T WT^f 33 9T*fa 

^i i^gi tor mm* *ril 

^1^1 ^1H sjTfl ?i^ 

*? in ^ivi forffi 5RTlt 
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234 THE 

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the kiya'mat-na'ma. 235 

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^ ft*3 1I3T^ 11$ STTOrag Silt cf^I$ || 81 || 


The Day of Judgment. 

" Go tell the chosen people ; arise ye faithful, the day of judgment is at hand. 
I speak according to the Kuran and make my declaration before you. All ye 
heads of the chosen people, stand up and attend. The Testament ( Wasiyat- 
ndma)* gives evidence : Eleven centuries shall he completed after the blessing 
of the world by the Kuran and by him who was merciful to the poor. A voice 
shall come from the tabernacle and Gabrielf shall take them to the appointed 
place. For three days, there shall be gloom and confusion, and the door of re- 
pentance shall be closed. And what ? shall there be any other way ?| Nay, 
no one shall be able to befriend his neighbour. § 

" Say now what shall be the duration of this life, and what the clear signs of 
the coming of the last day. Christ shall reign for forty years, as is written in 
the 28th Sipara. Hindus and Musalmans shall both alike bring their creed to 
the same point. And what shall come about, when the Kuran has thus been 
taken away ? this is a matter which I would have you now attentively con- 

" When 991 years are past, then the Lord Christ will come. This is written 
in the 11th Sipara: I will not quote a word wrongly. || The spirit of God 

* Wadyat-ndma is, I believe, a general name, including both the Kuran and the Hadis, which 
together make up the Muhammadan rule of faith ; but I have not been able to trace the parti- 
cular tradition, to which reference is here made, as specifying the exact number of years that 
are to elapse before Christ's second coming. 

t Gabriel is accounted God's ordinary messenger: but here, I should rather have looked for 
Israfil, whose duty it will be to sound the trumpet at the last day. 

J Iteves may possibly stand for ravish. 
§ Khcs is for khwesh, ' a kinsman.' 

I) In spite of this emphatic assertion, the quotation would appear to be incorrect, for the 
llth Sipara contains no bucIi prophecy. 

236 the kiya'mat-na'ma. 

{i.e., Christ) shall be clothed in vesture of two different kinds ; so it is stated 
in the Kuran. This is in the 6th Sipara ; whoever doubts me may see it there 
for himself. These now are the years of Christ, as I am going to state in de- 
tail. Take ten, eleven, and twelve thirty times (that it is say 10 + 11 + 12 X 30 
=990). Then Christ shall reign 40 years. The other 70 years that remain 
(after 990 + 40, to make up 1,100) are for the bridge Sirat. The saints will 
cross it like a flash of lightning ; the pious with the speed of a horse ; but as 
for the merely nominal believers who remain, for them there are 10 kinds of 
hell ;* the bridge Sirat is like the edge of a sword, they fall or they get cut in 
pi eces — none cross over. This is stated in the Amiyat Salum ; go and look at 
it carefully. The statement is clear, but your heart is too blind to see it. Christ 
stands for 10, f the Imam for 11, and in the 12th century, then shall be the 
perfect day-break. This is written in the Am Sipara, which is the 30th. 

" When Christ, Muhammad, and the Imam are come, every one will come 
and bow before them. But you should see not with the eyes of the body, but, 
after reflection, with the eyes of the soul. Azazil saw in person, but would not 
bow to Adam. Though he had done homage times without number, it all went 
for nothing. When they saw his pride,t the curse was pronounced and he 
became an outcast. Then Azazil asked a boon : ' Adam has become my enemy. 
I will pervert the ways of his descendants and reign in the hearts of them all.' 
Thus it was between Adam and Azazil, as is clearly stated in the 8th Sipara. You 
take after him in sense, but what can you do, since you are his offspring. You 
look for Dajjal § outside, but he sits at your heart, according to the curse. 

" You have not understood the meaning of the above ; listen to me now with 
the ears of the spirit. In like manner as He has always come, so will He come 
again. All the Prophets have been of Jewish race — look through them with 
the eyes of the soul— that is, they have sprung from the midst of Hindus, 
whom you call Kafirs. Search now among your own people ; the Lord ha3 
never been born among them. The races whom you call heathen will all 
be sanctified through him. The Lord thinks scorn of no man, but is compas- 
sionate to all who are humble. A veil is said to bo over the Lord's face. 
What ? do you not know this ? By the veil is meant ' among Hindus ;' mere 

* This is the Hindu computation ; the Muhanimadans reckon only seven hells, 
t This is intended to explain the curious calculation given ahove, ' ten, eleveD, and twelre 
multiplied hy thirty.' 

% Ak&T here would seem to stand for Ahavkdr. 

§ Dii/jdl, here the spirit of evil generally, ia properly the name of anti-Christ. 


reading Joes not convey the hidden intention ; if you look only to the letter, 
how can you grasp the spirit ? Thus is declared the glory of the Hindus, that 
the last of the Prophets shall be of them. And the Lord Christ, that great 
Prophet, was the king of the poor Jews. This is stated in the 5th Sipara ; if 
you do not believe me, go and examine the Kuran yourself. It is also stated in 
the Hindu books that Budh Kalauki will assuredly come. When he has come, 
he will make all alike ; east and west will both be under him. Some one will 
say, ' will both be at once ?' this, too, I will clear up, explaining the intention 
to the best of my ability ; without a guide you would not get at the truth. 
Kalanki, it is said, will be on a horse — this every one knows — and astrologers 
say that Vijayabhinand will make an end of the Kalijug. Now, the Gospel says 
that Christ is the head of all and that he will come and do justice. The Jews 
say that Moses is the greatest and that all will be saved through him. All 
follow different customs and proclaim the greatness of their own master. Thus 
idly qarrelling they fix upon different names ; but the end of all is the same, 
the supreme God. Each understands only his own language, but there is 
no real difference at bottom. All the scriptures bear witness that there are 
different names in different languages ; but truth and untruth are the two in- 
compatibles, and Maya and Brahm have to be distinguished from one another. 
In both worlds there was confusion ; some walking by the law of Hindu, others 
by the law of Muhammadan ceremonial. But knowledge has revealed the truth 
and made clear both heaven and earth : as the sun has made manifest* all crea- 
tion and harmonized the whole world, so the power of God bears witness to 
God ; he speaks and all obey. All who perform acts of religious worship do 
them to the Lord ; the word of the Most High has declared it so. It is writ- 
ten in the third Sipara that he opened the gates of the highest heaven. 

" The Lalit-ul-kadr (or night of power) has three contentions : on the third 
dawn the judgment will commence. The spirits and angels will appear in 
person, for it was on that night that they descended:! the blessings of a 
thousand months descended also. The chiefs will be formed into two compa- 
nies ; God will give them his orders and through them there shall be salvation. 

* For Kheluya. I propose to read Khulaya ; but even so the meaning elicited is not very 

t The allusions are to the chapter of the Kuran called the Siirat-ul-kadr, which is as follows : 
" Verily we have caused the Kuran to descend on the night of power. And who shall teach thee 
what the night of power is ? The night of power exceedeth a thousand months ; therein descend 
the angels and the spirit by permission of their Lord in erery matter; and all is peace till the 
breaking of the morn." 


238 THE byom sjLr of bakhta'war. 

This is abundantly attested by the Kuran ; the statement is in the Inn anzal nd 
chapter. After the third contention will be the dawn ; in the eleventh cen- 
tury it will be seen. 

And what is written in the first Sipara ? You must have seen that. They 
who accept the text kun* are to be called true believers. Now, if any one is a 
true believer, let him bear witness and prove the fact. Put off sloth ; be vigi- 
lant ; discard all pride of learning. He who hears with perfect faith t will 
be the first to believe. Afterwards, when the Lord has been revealed, all will 
believe. Heaven and hell will be disclosed, and none will be able to profit 
another. Lay your soul at your master's feet ; this is what Chhatrasal tells 

From the doctrine as laid down by Pran-Nath, that any one religion is as 
true as another, it is easy to advance to the conclusion that all religions are 
equally false. This is the view taken in the ' Byom Sar ' and ' Suni Sar,' two 
short poems written in the time of Thakur Daya Ram of Hathras, by one of 
his retainers, named Bakhtawar. Their purport is to show that all is vanity 
and that nothing, either in earth or in heaven, either visible or invisible, natural 
or supernatural, has any real existence. Several of the lines are almost literally 
translated from the Sanskrit Vedanta Sara of Sadananda Parivrajakaeharya, 
from which it would seem that the author, for all his atheism, did not contemplate 
any pronounced rupture with Hindu orthodoxy. He can scarcely be said to 
have founded a sect, though Professor Wilson speaks of his followers under the 
name of Sunya-vadis ; but in every age of Hinduism there have been a few 
isolated individuals, such as Jabsili and Charvaka, to whom such notions have 
recommended themselves. The following extracts are taken from a manuscript 
in the possession of Raja Hari Narayan Singh, the present representative of the 
chief, under whose patronage the poems were composed, 

Commencement of the Byom Sar. 

QjTsreR jji jcN 1 suit qz. It 35H ^\ziwi 3?nm si m^r a*ra f^TC h '( u 

^Tsm 3ST*ra ni ^qm m. ?mg rnir 5,3 njrim hr $to *tPt ^ i§r? ii 3 h 
Irr % ~z\ ^ra 1 t*pr It im^ sil s^i mrim jjr Tsrfa fgrfizrr It ^ n « i| 

*The text kun is the parallel of the MoBaic phrase, "and God said 'let there be light,' 
and there was light." 

•f//a -id- Yahin, 'perfect faith' is faith without seeing, which alone is meritorious; for all who 
see must perforce believe. 

THE BTOM S1&. 239 

wgnmi 5R 5bth i ?*ir rn?f cjh c?n3 ^zngr faiqr 55$ grift antral ^ h i ii 
jfr ^r §iTr ^r ft ^mi %r% fsmj ajra ^tt m^ ejr|iii =?R*ig % wrr^ n ^ 11 
s&fa ^q ^c? 5rrfw 1 afrcff % *rf if sin ^Tqfe ^ |f%q ^ttt ^Tq^n 5if% ii q ii 

3tTt 3TSI ^T i 5 ! rlfl ^351^ | ^fa ^"3 ^i Silt ^fl%S qi^ ^r?^ ^3 II £ II 
=5Tf^ ^3R 5pT qTT^m ^?T qit% 3fTT?; TOT| ^ |R qifa | l^FT t^ ^| gffT^H ?0|| 
33 ^ 3T3T qTT^ 1 igsf H ^T^r qi% *R3|^2RqTf^l5?r2»icFif^^|-%T%ii ^|| 

qT^re ^ ^qt si qraff ^ fsricT qra m^\ : ?rn*T'q If mli ^F^ =i ^ n ^ » 

=5T? ^T STT^T 1 5F5 ^ 1 ^f IT? ^f H3R ^ Tf ?T 1 qT% ^^t! ST? II ^3 II 
" This book is called the Byom Sar and contains the essence of the Vedas, 
excogitated by Sri Thakur Daya Ham. Between the Jamuna and the Sursari, 
(i. e., the Ganges) stands Hathras in the midst, in the holy land of Antarbed, 
where nought ill can thrive. There Thakur Daya Ram holds undisturbed sway, 
the fame of whose glory has spread through the whole universe — a thorn in the 
breast of his enemies, a root of joy to his friends, ever growing in splendour 
like the crescent moon. One Bakhtawar came and settled there and was fa- 
voured by the Thakur, who recognized his fidelity. Under the light of his 
gracious countenance, joy sprung up in his soul and he wrote the Science of 
Vanity for the enlightenment of the understanding. Be assured that all things 
are like the void of heaven, contained in a void, as when you look into yourself 
and see your own shadow. After long ruminating, the noble Thakur has elicited 
the cream of the matter. In accordance with his teaching, I publish these 
thoughts. Listen, ye men of sense, to my array of arguments ; first understand, 
then reply. The beginning of all things is in hollowness, hollow is also the 
end and hollow the middle ; so says the preacher. The highest, the lowest, and 
the mean are all hollow ; so the wise man has expounded. From nothing all 
things are born ; in nothing all things perish ; even the illimitable expanse of 
gky is all hollowness. What alone has no beginning, nor will ever have an end, 
and is still of one character, that is vacuum." 

Specimens of the Suni Sdr. 

T%rl 2%T fori §^T1 31% §3T1 1 S3 1^1 ^RT§ II 

*rafw mm *igf% sra ^m *i sw f3i wq 11 q n 

^ "*& ^O 

240 the suni sAn t 

s£» . O sO c*< 

*raf¥ tot farair rfi^ii tt^tw sw vf?7 Ct sfcn n 

sO ^> sO NO Cs Cv 

^r^ifw ts; ^ra wr %^T ti^t wt 3W sfst ^%fit n ? n 

TI^TTl ^5FT ^I^J m 3^T S3T1 3i* 71^7 5RT %^T II 

Cs Cs '■O C^ 

wi 5R^ st^j ^t otti sum ^ jre % m;crm n « » 

SO ^- ^O 

" All that is seen is nothing and is not really seen ; lord or no lord it is all 
one. Maya is nothing ; Brahm is nothing ; all is false and delusive. The 
world is all emptiness ; the egg of Brahma, the seven dwipas, the nine khands, 
the earth, the heaven, the moon, the glorious sun, all, all are emptiness ; so are 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahadeva ; so are Kurma and Seshnag. The teacher 
is nothing, the disciple nothing ; the ego and the non ego are alike nothing. The 
temple and the god are nought ; nought is the worship of nought and nought 
the prayer addressed to nought ; so know they who are enlightened by the 
influence of the Guru." 

53v?T 5mrT %1 WJT 33T5T 71^1 ^TT^ Tft S3T favWH II 

^r*3 nn^i^T fa^Tfu 331 tit ^nm rr3 Wr\j 11 q 11 
^rai ^T3^r ^fi s^i sw ^fi ti=t ^ isn 11 

=5111 ^1T UT^rTT TJ^fT tlrf^T 5H ^ TT^T 3oiT II S II 
ilT^^t^iJTH^HpIT T1W 35TR ^^Ff *ffl oTRJ || 
flfl ?KT mZ *t! *T<?T TT 3i^ 3»3 ^TT SR^ XfT^T II 3 II 


^g i?% ^r^ are. m ml ^ifs ^^ ^ *r^ ^toi! n 

$|| TI^ HTJ\Z | Vf if WSim 3STKFT ^*R^ II 8 
" The whole word was disconsolate, but is now gladdened for ever by the 
doctrine of Nihilism : it is plunged in joy and ecstatic delight, drunk with the 
wine of perfect knowledge. I enunciate the truth and doubt not ; I know 
neither prince nor beggar ; I court neither honour nor reverence ; I take a 
friend by the hand and seek none other ; what comes easily I accept and am 
contented ; a palace and a thicket to me are all the same ; the error of mmeand 
thine is obliterated ; nothing is loss, nothing is gain. To get such a teacher of 
the truth puts an end to the errors of a million of births. Such a teacher as 
has now been revealed— the incomparable Thakur Daya Bam." 



On their arrival at Brinda-ban, the first shrine which the Gosains erected 
was one in honour of the eponymous goddess Brinda Devi. Of this no traces 
now remain, if (as some say) it stood in the Seva Kunj, which is now a large 
walled garden with a masonry tank near the Ras Mandal. Their fame spread so 
rapidly that in 1573 the Emperor Akbar was induced to pay them a visit, and 
was taken blindfold into tho sacred enclosure of the Nidhban,* where such 
a marvellous vision was revealed to him, that he was fain to acknowledge the 
place as indeed holy ground. Hence the cordial support which he gave to tho 
attendant Rajas, when they expressed their wish to erect a series of buildings 
more worthy of the local divinity. 

Tho four temples, commenced in honour of this event, still remain, though in 
a ruinous and hitherto sadly neglected condition. They bear tho titles of 
Gobind Deva, Gopi-nath, Jugal-Kishor and Madan Mohan. The first named is 
not only the finest of this particular series, but is the most impressive religious 
edifice that Hindu art has ever produced, at least in Upper India. The body 
of the building is in the form of a Greek cross, the nave being a hundred feet 
in length and the breadth across the transepts the same. The central compart- 
ment is surmounted by a dome of singularly graceful proportions ; and the four 
arms of tho cross are roofed by a waggon vault of pointed form, not, as is usual 
in Hindu architecture, composed of overlapping brackets, but constructed of 
true radiating arches as in our Gothic cathedrals. The walls have an average- 
thickness of ten feet and are pierced in two stages, the upper stage being a 
regular triforium, to which access is obtained by an internal staircase, as in the 
somewhat later temple of Radha Ballabh, which will be described further on. 
This triforium is a reproduction of Muhammadan design, while the work both 
above and below it is purely Hindu, t It should be noted, however, that the 

* This is the local name of the actual Brinda grove, to which the town owes its origin. The 
spot so designated is now of very limited area, hemmed in on all sides by streets, but protected 
from further encroachment by a high maBonry wall. The name refers to the nine nidhis, or 
treasures, of Kuvera, the god of wealth. They are enumerated as follows : the Padma, Mahi- 
padma, Sankha, Makara, Kachhapa, Mukunda, Naud;i, Nila, and Kharva ; but it is not known in 
what precise sense each separate term is to be taken. For example, Padnia may mean simply 
a ' lotus,' or again, as a number, ' 10,000 millions,' or possibly, ' a ruby,' 

t Thus eclecticism, which after all is only natural growth directed by local circumstances, 
has for centuries past been the predominant characteristic of Mathura architecture. In most of 



arches are decorative only, not eonstructural : the spandrels in the head might 
be — and, as a fact, for the most part had been — struck out, leaving only the 
lintel supported on the straight jambs, without any injury to the stability of 
the building. They have been re-inserted in the course of the recent resto- 
ration. At the east entrance of the nave there is a small narthex fifteen feet 
deep ; and at the west end, between two niches and incased in a rich canopy of 
sculpture, a square-headed doorway leads into the choir, a chamber some 
twenty feet by twenty. Beyond this was the sacrarium,* flanked on either 
side by a lateral chapel ; each of these three cells being of the same dimen- 
sions as the choir, and like it vaulted by a lofty dome. The general effect of 
the interior is not unlike that produced by Saint Paul's Cathedral in London. 
The latter building has greatly the advantage in size, but in the other, the 
central dome is more elegant, while the richer decoration of the wall surface 
and the natural glow of the red sandstone supply that relief and warmth of 
colouring which are so lamentably deficient in its western rival. 

The ground-plan is so similar to that of many Europeau churches as to 
suggest the idea that the architect was assisted by the Jesuit missionaries, who 
were people of considerable influence at Akbar's court : were this really the 
case, the temple would be one of the most eclectic buildings in the world, having 
a Christian ground-plan, a Hindu elevation, and a roof of modified Saracenic 
character. But the surmise, though a curious one, must not be too closely 
pressed; for some of the temples at Khajurao, by Mahoba, are of similar design 
and of much earlier date ; nor is it very likely that the Jesuits would have 
interested themselves in the construction of a heathen fane. Such action on 
their part, supposing them to have taken it, would find a parallel in the persist- 
ency with which the Duke of York (afterwards James II.) stood out for the 
provision of two side chapels in Wren's design for the Protestant cathedral of 
St. Paul's, — a building which he hoped in the course of his reign to recover for 
the Catholics. 

It would seem that, according to the original design, there were to have 
been five towers ; one over the central dome, and the other four covering 

the new works that I took in hand, and notably in the Catholic Church, which I left unfinished, 
I conformed to the genius loci, and showed my recognition of its principles, not by a servile 
imitation of older examples, but rather by boldly modifying them in accordance with later re- 
quirements, and so developing novel combinations. 

* The Sanskrit terms for the component parts of a temple are— the nave, mandapa; the choir, 
antardla, and the sacrarium garbka griha. The more ordinary Hindi substitutes are — for the 
nave sabhd, and for the choir, jag-mohan ; while majidir, the temple, specially denotes the sacra- 
rium, and any side chapel is styled a mahall. 



















respectively tho choir, sacrarium, and two chapels.* The sacrarium has been 
utterly razed to the ground, f the chapel towers were never completed, and that 
over the choir, though the most perfect, has still lost several of its upper stages. 
This last was of slighter elevation than the others, occupying the same relative 
position as tho spirelet over the sanctus bell in western ecclesiologv. The loss 
of the towers and of the lofvy arcaded parapet that surmounted tho walls has 
terribly marred the effect of the exterior and given it a heavy stunted appear- 
ance ; while, as a further disfigurement, a plain masonry wall had been run 
along the top of the centre dome. It is generally believed that this was built 
by Auraugzeb for the purpose of desecrating the temple, though it is also said 
to have been put up by the Hindus themselves to assist in some grand illumi- 
nation. It either case it was an ugly modern excrescence, and its removal was 
the very first step taken at the commencement of the recent repairs.^ 

Under one of the niches at the west end of the nave is a tablet with a lono- 
Sanskrit inscription. This has unfortunately been too much mutilated to allow 
of transcription, but so much of it as can be deciphered records the fact that 
the temple was built in sambat 1047, i.e., A.D. 1590, under the direction of 
the two Gurus, lviipa and Sanatana. As it was in verse, it probably com- 
bined a minimum of information with an excess of verbosity, and its loss is 
not greatly to be regretted. The following is taken from the exterior of the 
north-west chapel, where it is cut into tho wall some ten feet from the ground, 
and is of considerable interest : — 

* The south-west chapel encloses a subterranean cell, called Fatal Devi, which is said by 
some to be the Gosains' original shrine in honour of the goddess Brinda. 

\ The sacrarium was roughly rebuilt in brick about the year 1854, and contains an image of 
Krishna in his character of Giridhari (the mountain-supporter), with two subordinate figures 
representing, the one Maha Frabhu, i.e., Chaitanya, the other Nityanand. 

X One section of this work originally appeared in the " Calcutta Review," and a correspond- 
ent, who saw it there, favoured me with the following note of a tradition as to the cause of the 
wall being built. He writes :— " Anrangzeb had often of an evening remarked .a very bright 
light shining in the far distant south-east horizon, and, in reply to his enquiries regarding it, was 
told that it was a light burning in a temple of great wealth and magnificence at Brinda-ban. 



" In the 34th year of the era inaugurated by the reign of the Emperor 
Akbar, Sri Maharaj Man Sinh Deva, son of Maharaj Bhagavan Das, of the 
family of Maharaj Prithiraj, founded, at the holy station of Brinda-ban, this 
temple of Gobind Deva. The head of the works, Kalyan Das, the Assistant 
Superintendent, Manik Chand (Jhopar (?), the architect, Gobind Das of Delhi, 
the mason, Gorakh Das." There is some mistake in the engraving of the 
last words, which seem to be intended for Subham bhavatu, like the Latin 
' Felix, faustumque sit.' 

The Riio Frithi Singh mentioned in the above was one of the ancestors of 
the present Maharaja of Jaypur. Ho had seventeen sons, of whom twelve 
came to man's estate, and to each of them he assigned a separate appanage, 
which, collectively, are known as the twelve hothris of Amber. Raja Man 
Sinh, the founder of the temple, was his great-grandson. 

He was appointed by Akbar successively Governor of the districts along 
the Indus, of Kabul, and of Bihar. By his exertions the whole of Orisa 
and Eastern Bengal were re-annexed ; and so highly were his merits appre- 
ciated at court, that, though a Hindu, he was raised to a higher rank than any 
other officer in the realm. He married a sister of Lakshmi Narayan, Raja of 
Koch Bihar, and at the time of his decease, which was in the ninth year of the 
reign of Jahangir, he had living one son, Bhao Sinh, who succeeded him upon 
the throne of Amber, and died in 1621, A.D.* There is a tradition to the 
effect that Akbar, at the last, jealous of his powerful vassal and desirous to rid 
himself of him, had a confection prepared, part of which contained poison ; but 
caught in his own snare, he presented the innoxious portion to the R;ija and 
ate that drugged with death himself. The unworthy deed is explained by 
Man Sinh's design, which apparently had reached the Emperor's ears, to alter 
the succession in favour of Khusrau, his nephew, instead of Salim.f 

He accordingly resolved that it should be effectually put out, and soon after sent some troops 
to the place, who plundered and threw down as much of the temple as they could, and then 
erected on the top of the ruins a mosque wall, where, in order to complete the desecration, the 
Emperor is said to have offered up his prayers." 

* Vide ProfesBor Blochmann's Ain-i-Akbari, p. 341. 

t The above tradition is quoted from Tod's Eajasthan. De Lait, as translated by Mr. 
Letbbridge, for Man Sinh substitutes the name of Mirza Gbizi Beg. 


In anticipation of a visit from Aurangzeb, the image of the god was 
transferred to Jaypur, and the Gos;iiu of the temple there has ever since been 
regarded as the head of the endowment. The name of the present incumbent 
is Syam Sundar, who has two agents, resident at Brinda-ban. There was 
said to be still in existence at Jaypur the original plan of the temple, showing 
its five towers, but on inspection I [found that the painting, which is on the 
wall of one of the rooms in the old palace at Amber, was not a plan of the 
temple at all, but an imaginary view of the town of Brinda-ban, in which all the 
temples are represented as exactly alike, distinguishable only by their names, 
which are written above them. However, local tradition is fully agreed as to 
the number and position of the towers, while their architectural character can be 
determined beyond a doubt by comparison with the smaller temples of the 
same age and style, the ruins of which still remain. It is therefore not a little 
strange that of all the architects who have described this famous building, not 
one has noticed its most characteristic feature — the harmonious combination 
of dome and spire — which is still quoted as the great crux of modern art, though 
nearly 300 years ago the difficulty was solved by the Hindus with character- 
istic grace and ingenuity. 

From the reign of Aurangzeb to the present time not a single step had ever 
been taken to ensure the preservation from further decay of this most interesting 
architectural monument. It was looked upon by the people in the neighbour- 
hood as a convenient quarry, where every house-builder was at liberty to excavate 
for materials ; while large trees had been allowed to grow up in the fissures of 
the walls, and in the course of a few more summers their spreading roots would 
have caused irreparable damage. Accordingly, after an ineffectual attempt to 
enlist the sympathies of the Archaeological Department, the writer took the op- 
portunity of Sir William Muir's presence in the district, on tour, to solicit the 
adoption on the part of the Government of some means for averting a catastrophe 
that every student of architecture throughout the world would have regarded as 
a national disgrace. Unfortunately he declined to sanction auy grant from Pro- 
vincial funds, but allowed a representation of the ruinous condition of the tem- 
ple and its special interest to be made to the Government of India, for communica- 
tion to the Maharaja of Jaypur, as the representative of the founder.* His 

• This line of action was, if I may be allowed to say so, extremely ill-advise. 1, since it amounted 
to a quasi-recognitiou of the Maharaja's proprietary right in the temple. This yea r, (1882,) one of his 
local agents, on the occasion of a we Iding in his family, gave an entertainment to his friends in the 
central space under the dome and thought nothing of whitewashing the walls and pillars of the 
interior up to about half their height, thus ruining the architectural effect, which depeuds so much 



Highness immediately recognized the claim that the building had upon him and 
made no difficulty about supplying the small sum of Rs. 5,000, which had been 
estimated by the Superintending Engineer as sufficient to defray the cost of all 
absolutely essential repairs.* The work was taken in hand at the beginning of 
August, 1873. The obtrusive wall erected by the Muhammadans on the top of 
the dome was demolished ; the interior cleared of several unsightly party-walls 
and other modern excrescences ; and outside, all the debris was removed, which 
had accumulated round the base of the building to the astonishing height of eight 
feet and in some places even more, entirely concealing the handsomely moulded 
plinth ; a considerable increase was thus made to the elevation of the building— 
the one point in which, since the loss of the original parapet and towers, the 
design had appeared defective. Many of the houses which had been allowed to 
crowd the courtyard close up to the very walls of the temple were taken down, 
and two broad approaches opened out from the great eastern portal and the 
south transept. Previously, the only access was by a narrow winding lane ; 
and there was not a single point from which it was possible to obtain a com- 
plete view of the fabric. 

The next thing undertaken was the removal of a huge masonry pillar that 
had been inserted under the north bay of the nave to support a broken lintel. 
This was effected by pinning up the fractured stone with three strong iron bolts ; 
a simple and economical contrivance, suggested by Mr. Inglis, Executive 
Engineer on the Agra Oanal, in lieu of the costly and tedious process of insert- 
ing a new lintel and meanwhile supporting the wall by a masonry arch, which, 
though temporary, would have required most careful and substantial construc- 
tion, on account of the enormous mass resting upon it. 

On the south side of the choir stood a large domed and pillared chhattri of 
yery handsome and harmonious design, though erected 40 years later than the 
temple. The following inscription is rudely cut on one of its four pillars : — 

sfufmaft ft thut m wrarefi %T*nst tiui iN! n 

on the rich glow of the red Band-atone. No notice was taken by the local authorities ; but, on my 
representing the matter to Government, prompt orders were issued to have the mischief as far as 
possible undone. 

* A revised estimate was afterwards prepared by the District Engineer, who put it at 
Be. 75,01)0 for the exterior and 3s. o~,857 for the interior, making a total of lis. 1,32,857. 







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"In the year Sambat 1693 (i. e., 1836 A.D.), on an auspicious day, 
K.irtik Badi 5, in the reign of the Emperor Shahjahan, this monument was 
erected by Rani Rambhavati, widow of Raja Bhiin, the son of Rana Amar 
Sinh. " 

This Rana Amar Sinh, though one of the most gallant princes of his 
line, was the first sovereign of Me war who had to stoop to acknowledge himself 
a vassal of the Delhi Emperor : not without a manful struggle, in which 
it is said that he fought against Jahangir's forces in as many as seventeen 
pitched battles. He was succeeded on the throne, in 1621 A. D., by his eldest 
son, Karan Sinh ; while the younger, the Bhim of the inscription, being high in 
the favour of Prince Khuram, received also the title of Raja with a grant of 
territory on the Bands, where he built himself a capital, called Rajmahal. He 
did not, however, long enjoy his honours ; in his friendship for the young 
prince he induced him to conspire against his elder brother, Parviz, the right- 
ful heir to the throne, and, in the disturbances that ensued lie was slain ; 
while Prince Khuram took refuge at the court of Udaypur till his father's 
death, in 11)28 A. D., summoned him to ascend the throne of Delhi with the 
title of Shahjahan. 

As the monument was in a very ruinous condition and had been rendered 
still more insecure by reducing the level of the ground round its foundations, 
it was taken down and re-erected on the platform that marks the site of 
the old sacrarium, where it serves to conceal the bare rubble wall that rises 
behind it. 

These works had more than exhausted the petty sum of Rs. 5,000, which 
( as remarked at the time ) was barely enough to pay for the scaffolding required 
for a complete restoration ; but in the meantime Sir John Strachey had succeeded 
to the Government of these Provinces, and he speedily showed his interest in 
the matter by making a liberal grant from public funds. With this the roof 
of the entire building was thoroughly repaired ; the whole of the upper part of 
the east front, which was in a most perilous state, was taken down and rebuilt ; 
and the pillars, brackets, and eaves of the external arcades on the north and 
south sides, together with the porches at the four corners of the central dome, 
were all renewed. A complete restoration was also effected of the jag-mohan 
(<»■ choir) tower, excepting only that the finial and a few stages of stone-work 
immediately under it were not added ; for they had entirely perished and, in 
the absence of the original design, Sir John Strachey would not allow me to 
replace them. As a general principle the introduction of any new work under 


such circumstances is much to be deprecated, but in this particular case there 
could not be any doubt as to the exact character and dimensions of the missiug 
portions, since the stages of the tower diminish from the bottom upwards in 
regular proportion and all bear the same ornamentation. Certainly, the pic- 
turesque effect would have been immensely enhanced by giving the tower the 
pyramidal finish intended for it, instead of leaving it with its present stunted 

The work was conducted under my own personal supervision without 
any professional ass'stance, except Mr. Inglis's suggestion, which I have duly 
chronicled, up to March, 1877, when Sir George Couper, who had two months 
previously been confirmed as Sir John Strachey's successor, suddenly ordered 
my transfer from the district. The restoration would most assuredly never 
have been undertaken but for my exertions, and as I had been engaged upon 
it so long, it was naturally a disappointment to me not to be allowed to com- 
plete it. However, all that was absolutely essential had been accomplished and 
for the comparatively modest outlay of Rs. 38,365, nearly a lakh less than the 
Public Works estimate.* 

Mr. Fergusson, in his Indian Architecture, speaks of this temple as " one 
of the most interesting and elegant in India, and the only one, perhaps, from 
which a European architect might borrow a few hints. I should myself have 
thought that ' solemn' or ' imposing' was a more appropriate term than ' elegant' 
for so massive a building, and that the suggestions that might be derived from 
its study were ' many' rather than ' few ;' but the criticism is at all events in 
intention a complimentary one. It is, however, unfortunate that the author 
of a book which will long and deservedly be accepted as an authority was 
not able to obtain more satisfactory information regarding so notable a chef 
d'eeuvre. The ground-plan that he supplies is extremely incorrect ; for it 
gives in faint lines, as if destroyed, the choir, or jag-mohan, which happens to 
be in more perfect preservation than any other part of the fabric, and it 
entirely omits the two chapels that flank the cella on either side and are integral 
portions of the design. The cella itself is also omitted ; though for this there 

*A Government Resolution on 'the Restoration of Temples in the Mathura District ' was pub- 
lished by Sir John Strachey on the 1st April, 1870, and iB exclusively occupied with my doings. 
The 6th paragraph begins as follows : " In respect of the work on the temple of Govind Ji at 
Brinda-ban, His Honor feels that the Government is much indebted to Mr. F. S. Growse for the 
able and ecnomical manner in which its partial restoration has been effected, and has no hesita- 
tion iu confiding to him its completion, without interference by any officer of the l'ublie Works 
Department subordinate to the Chief Engineer." 

Jtyv 2*8. 






5\ s% 


Scale &0 feet = I inch. 
4-0 20 o 4 -Q /est. 


was more excuse, since it was razed to the ground by Aurangzeb and not a 
vestige of it now remains ; though the rough rubble wall of the choir shows 
whore it had been attached. 

These two parts of the building, the sacrariurn and the choir, were cer- 
tainly completed, towers and all. They alone were indispensably necessary 
for liturgical purposes and were therefore the first taken in hand, in the same 
way as in mediaeval times the corresponding parts of a cathedral were often in 
use for many years before the nave was added. 

In clearing the basement, comparatively few fragments of carved stone 
were discovered imbedded in the soil. There are some built up into the ad- 
joining houses, but chiefly corbels and shafts, which were clearly taken from 
the lower stories of the temple. No fragments of the upper stages of the towers 
have been brought to light ; from which fact alone it might reasonably be con- 
jectured that they were never finished. This was certainly the case with the 
two side chapels ; and the large blocks lying on the top of their walls, ready to 
be placed in position, are just as they were left by the original builders, when 
the work for some unexplained reason was suddenly interrupted. Probably, 
as in so many other similar cases, it was the death of the founder which brought 
everything to a stand-still. The tower over the central dome was also, as I 
conjecture, never carried higher than we now see it ; but the open arcades, 
which crowned the facade, though not a fragment of them now remains, were 
probably put up, as the stones of the parapet still show the dents of the pillars. 
The magnificent effect which they would have had may be gathered from a 
view of the temple in the Qwaliar fort ; which, though some 600 years earlier 
in date, is in general arrangement the nearest parallel to the Brinda-ban fane, 
and would seem to have supplied Man Sinh with a model. It has been sub- 
jected to the most barbarous treatment, but has at last attracted the attention 
of Government, and is now being restored under the superintendence of Major 
Keith, an officer of unbounded archchajological enthusiasm. There is no more 
interesting specimen of architecture to be found in all India. 

A modern temple, under the old dedication, has been erected within the pre- 
cincts and absorbs the whole of the endowment. The ordinary annual income 
amounts to Rs. 17,500 ; but by far the greater part of this, viz., Rs. 13,000, is 
made up by votive offerings. The fixed estate includes one village in Alwar 
and another in Jaypur, but consists principally of house property in the town 
of Brinda-ban, where is also a large orchard, called Radha Bagh. This has 
been greatly diminished in area by a long series of encroachments ; and a temple, 
dedicated to Ban Bihari, has now been built in it, at a cost of Rs. 15,000, by 



Raja Jay Sinh Deova, Chief of Charkhari, in Bundelkhand. About a hundred 
years ago it must have been very extensive and densely wooded, as Father 
TieffenthaUer, in his notice of Brinda-ban, describes it in the following terms : — 
" L'endroit est couvert de beaucoup d'arbres et resemble a uu bois sacre des 
ancieus ; il est triste par le morne silence qui y regne, quoiqu' agreable par 
l'ombre epaisse des arbres, desqiiels on n'ose arracher un rameau, ni meme 
une feuille ; ce serait an grand delit."' The site of the Seth's temple was also 
purchased from the Gobind Deva estate, and a further subsidy of Rs. 102 a 
year is still paid on its account. 

The next temple to be described, viz., that of Madan Mohan, one of Krish- 
na's innumerable titles, stands at the upper end of the town on a high cliff 
near the Kali-mardan, or as it is more commonly called, the Kali-dab., 
where the god trampled on the head of the great serpent Kali. The story of 
its foundation is given as follows in the Bhakt Sindhu of Lachman Das, which 
is a modernized version of the Bhakt Mala. In this poem it is stated that the 
image of Gobind Ji was found by Rupa and Sanatan at Naud-ganw, where they 
had dug it up in a cattle-shed (Go-khirk men se nikar dye, tote Gobind nam 
dharaye), thence they brought it to Brinda-ban and erected it on the site of the 
present temple near the Brahm kund. They went daily to the neighbouring 
villages (Brinda-ban being at that time an uninhabited forest) and to Mathura to 
beg ; and one day a man in the city gave Sanatan an image of Madan Mohan, 
which he took and set up near the Kali-dah Ghat on the Duhsasan hill. There, 
too, he built for himself a little hut to live in and gave the place the name of the 
Pasukandan Ghat, because the road was so steep and bad that no cattle could 
go along it* (nicliau unvhau dekhi bisheshan Pasu-kandan wah Ghat kahdi, talidn 
baithi mansukh lahdi). One day a merchant from Multan in the Panjab, a 
khattri by caste, named Ram Das, but more familiarly known as Kapuri, came 
down the river with a boat-load of merchandise bound for Agra, but stuck on a 
sand-bank near the Kali-dah Ghat. After trying in vain for three days to get off, 
he determined to discover the local divinity and implore his assistance. So he 
came on shore, climbed up the hill, and there found Sanatan, who told him to 
address his prayer to Madan Mohan. He did so, and his boat immediately be- 
gan to float. When he had sold all his goods at Agra he came and brought the 
price to Sanatan, who told him to build a temple with it. This he did and 
added the Ghat also, all of red stone. 

* This derivation is a very absurd one, Kandan being a Persian word. The real name of the 
Ghat is the Sanskrit Frashandana, taken cither as a name of Siva, or as an epithet of the cliff, 
' Standing out.' 


















The tomple, as we now see it, consists of a nave 57 feet long, with a choir 
of 20 feet square at the west end, and a sanctuary of the same dimensions 
beyond. The nave has three openings on either side and a square door at the 
«ast end, immediately outside of which the ground has a precipitous drop of 
some 9 or 10 feet ; thus the only entrance is from the side. Its total height 
would seem to have been only about 22 feet, but its vaulted roof has entirely 
disappeared ; the upper part of the choir tower has also been destroyed. That 
surmounting the saera-ium is a plain octagon of curvilinear outline tapering to- 
wards the summit. Attached to its south side is a tower-crowned chapel of 
similar character, but much more highly enriched, the whole of its exterior sur- 
face being covered with sculptured panels; its proportions are also much more 
elegant. Over its single door, which is at the east end, is a Sanskrit inscription, 
<nven first in Bengali and then in Nagari characters, which runs as follows : — 

it ?^ TT^cf^tT vfrnni TUT^T 
TrnrnifiJiRsr xrti xrej tt^jt man: i 

vo -a 

" Of Guru descent, a compeer of Malnideva, whose father was Rnmchandra, 
whose son was Radha Vasant, jewel of good men ; that mass of virtue, by name 
Sri Gunanand, dedicated in approved fashion this temple to the son of Nanda 
(Naudkishor, i. e., Krishna)." 

The above had never been copied before, and as the letters were raised, 
instead of incised, and also much worn, a transcript was a matter of some little 
difficulty. The Brahman in charge of the shrine had certainly never troubled 
himself to take one, for he declared the inscription to be absolutely illegible or 
at least unintelligible, even if the letters could be deciphered. The information 
given is not very perspicuous except as to the name of the founder, and there 
is no indication of a date, but it would certainly be later than that of the main 
building (which was the work of Ham Das). The court-yard is entered, after 
the ascent of a flight of steps, through a massive square gateway with a pyrami- 
dal tower, which groups very effectively with the two towers of the temple. As 
the buildings are not only in ruins, but also from peculiarities of style ill-adapt- 
ed to modern requirements, they are seldom, if ever, used for religious service, 
which is ordinarily performed in an elegant and substantial edifice erected on the 
other side of the street under the shadow of the older fane. The annual income 


is estimated at Rs. 10,100, of which sum, Rs. 8,000 are the voluntary offerings 
of the faithful, while only Rs. 2,100 are derived from permanent endowment.* 
A branch establishment at Radha Kund with the same dedication is also suppor- 
ted from the funds of the parent house. 

The nave, ruinous as it is, was evidently to a great extent rebuilt in com- 
paratively recent times, the old materials being utilized as far as possible, but 
when they ran short, the place of stone being supplied by brick. A side post 
of one of the doors on the south side of the nave bears an inscription with the 
date Sambat 1681 ( A.D. 1827 ), but it simply records a successful pilgrimage 
made by a native of Kanauj in that year. In 1875 I greatly improved the 
appearance of the temple by reducing the level of the ground round the chapel, 
the plinth of which had been completely buried, and by removing a number of 
buildings from inside the nave and from the front of the chapel door. A bound- 
ary wall was also thrown down, and a new approach to the courtyard opened 
out from the east with a flight of masonry steps up the ascent. The latter 
were constructed by the municipality at a cost of Rs. 200 : the rest of the 
expense was borne by the Gosain. 

The original image of Madan Mohan is now at Karauli, where Raja Gopal 
Sinh, who reigned from 1725 to 1757 A D., built a new temple for its reception, 
after he had obtained it from his brother-in-law, the Raja of Jaypur. The 
Gosain whom he placed in charge was a Bengali from Murshidabad, by name 
RAm Kishor ; the name of the present incumbent is Mohan Kishor. He has an 
endowment in land which brings in a yearly income of Rs. 27,000. The god 
is fed seven times a day, the two principal meals being the rdj-bhog at mid- 
day and the sayana at sleeping time. At the other five only a light repast is 
offered, of sweetmeats, &c. ; these are called the mangal arti, which takes place 
at dawn ; the dhup, at t) a.m. ; the eringar, at 11 a. m. ; dMp, again at 3 p. m. ; 
and sandhyarti, at dusk. 

With reference to this temple, a curious anecdote is told in the Bhakta 
Mala of a devout Vaishnava, by name Sur Das. He was Governor (Amin) of 
Sandila in Akbar's reign, and on one occasion consumed all the revenues of his 
district in entertaining the priests and pilgrims at the temple. The treasure chests 
were duly despatched to Delhi, but when opened were found to contain nothing 
but stones. Such exaggerated devotion failed to commend itself even to the 
Hindu minister, Todar Mall, who threw the enthusiast into prison ; but the 

* Ob the road from Brinda-ban to Jait, within the boundaries of the Tillage of Sunrakh is a 
walled garden with a tank, called Earn Tal, part of tlie property of the temple of Madan Mohan. 

Tbye 25%. 



B R I N D A-B A N. 







zu n a i — K~~Vp tr\ 


•ft? <? .«; 

L,;i bVM . ■■■ ■/■. ■ ij^.^,^.^^.^^7^^ ^- 



grateful god could not forget bis faithful servant and speedily moved the indul- 
gent emperor to order his release. The panegyric on Stir Das Btands thus in 
the text of the original poem .- the explanatory narrative, as added by Priya 
Das, is too long to copy : — 

^w tt^j rerrc f%f%er ^rim^r =rk ifh i 

S(5H 3^Tfi ^r g^g m?^ j ^twr II 

jgl us^wtw^ srcsre sn ^rrn ^N^t %t€t ^?t ii 

Translation. — " Joined together like two links in a chain are the god Madan 
Mohan and Siir Das, that paragon of excellence in verse and song, incarnation 
of the good and beneficent, votary of Radha Krishan, master of mystic delights. 
Manifold his songs of love ; the muse of love, queen of the nine, came dancing 
on foot* to the melodies that he uttered ; his persuasiveness as unbouuded as 
that of the fabled twin brothers. f Joined together like two links in a chain are 
the sod Madan Mohan and Siir Das." 


The temple of Gopinath, which may be slightly the earliest of the series, 
is said to have been built by Raesil Ji, a grandson of the founder of the Shaikh- 
&wat branch of the Kachhwaha Thakurs. He distinguished himself so greatly 
in the repulse of an Afghan invasion, that Akbar bestowed upon him the title 
of Darbari, with a grant of land and the important command of 1,250 horse. 
He also accompanied his liege lord, Raja Man Sinh of Amber, against the 
Mewar Rana Pratap, and further distinguished himself in the expedition to 
Kabul. The date of his death is not known. The temple, of which he is the 
reputed founder, corresponds very closely both in style and dimensions with 
that of Madan Mohan, already described, and has a similar chapel attached to 
the south side of the sacrarium. It is, however, in a far more ruinous condition ; 

* Each Ras (the Hindu equivalent for the European Muse) has a special vehicle of its own, 
and the meaning appear* to be that the Ras Sringdr, or Erotic Muse, alighted on foot the better 
to catch the sound of his voice. 

f The fabled twin brothers are probably the two Gandharvas (heavenly musicians), who 
were metamorphosed into arjun trees till restored by Krishna to their proper form. 



the nave lias entirely disappeared ; the three towers have been levelled with 
the roof; and the entrance gateway of the court-yard is tottering to its fall. 
The special feature of the building is a curious arcade of three bracket arches, 
serving apparently no constructural purpose, but merely added as an ornamental 
screen to the south wall, which already had a fine boldly moulded plinth and re- 
quired no further adornment. The terrace on which this arcade stands has a 
carved stone front, which had been buried for years, till I uncovered it. The 
choir arch is of handsome design, elaborately decorated with arabesque sculp- 
tures. It was partly concealed from view by mean sheds which had been built 
up against it, all of which I caused to be pulled down ; but the interior is 
still used as a stable, and the north side is blocked by the modern temple. This 
was built about the year 1821 by a Bengali Kayath, Nand Kumar Ghos, wdio 
also built tin' new temple of Madan Mohan. The votive offerings here made 
are estimated at Rs. 3,000 a year, in addition to which there is an endowment 
yielding an annual income of Rs. 1,200.* 

The temple of Jugal Kishor, the fourth of the old scries, stands at the lower 
end of the town near the Kesi Ghat. Its construction is referred to the year 
Sambat. 16.S4, i. e., 1<>27 A. D., in the reign of Jahangir, and the founder's name 
is preserved as Non-Karan. He is said to have been a Chauhan Thakur ; but 
it is not improbable that he was the elder brother of Raesil, who built the 
temple of Gopinath. The choir, which is slightly larger than in the other 
examples, being 25 feet square, has the principal entrance, as usual, at the east 
end, but is peculiar in having also, both north and south, a small doorway under 
a hood supported on eight closely-set brackets carved into the form of elephants. 
The nave has been completely destroyed. The choir arch is an interesting 
composition with a fan-light, so to speak, of pierced tracery in the head of the 
arch, and a group above representing Krishna supporting the Gobardhan hill. 
I had caused the whole of the building to be cleared out, removing from the 
upper room of the tower an accumulation of pigeons' dung more than four feet 
deep ; and at my suggestion the municipal committee had rented the temple for 
a rupee a month to ensure its always being kept clean and unoccupied for the 
ready inspection of visitors. As soon as I left the district, the new magistrate 
vetoed this arrangement, and I suppose the place is now once more a cattle shed. 

The somewhat later temple of Radlni Ballabh has been already mentioned 
in the previous chapter. It is in itself a handsome building and is further of 
special architectural interest as the last example of the early eclectic style. 

* The Seth's Garden, where stands the Brahmotsava Pavilion, wub purchased from the tem- 
ple of Goyinith, and is still liable to an annual charge of lis. 18. 





The ground plan is much the same as in the temple of Harideva at Gobardhan 
and the work is of the same character, but carried out on a larger scale. The 
nave has an eastern facade, 34 feet broad, which is in three stages, the upper 
and lower Hindu, and the one between them purely Muhammadan in character. 
The interior is a fine vaulted hall (63 ft. X20 ft.) with a double tier of open- 
ings north and south ; those in the lower story having brackets and architraves 
and those above being Muhammadan arches, as in the middle story of the front. 
These latter open into a narrow gallery with small clerestory windows looking 
on to the street. Below, the three centre bays of the colonnade are open door- 
ways, and the two at either end are occupied by the staircase that leads to the 
upper gallery. Some of the carved panels of the stone ceiling have fallen ; but 
the outer roof, a steep gable, also of stone, is as yet perfect. Some trees how- 
ever have taken root between the slabs and unless carefully removed must event- 
ually destroy it. The actual shrine, or cella, as also at the temple of Gobind 
Deva. was demolished by Aurangzeb and only the plinth remains, upon which 3 
room has been built, which is used as a kitchen. As no mosque was ever erected 
at Brinda-ban, it is not a little strange that Mr. Fergusson in his History of 
Indian Architecture, when speaking of this very locality, should venture to say: 
" It does not appear proven that the Moslems did wantonly throw down the 
temples of the Hindus, except when they wanted the materials for the erection 
of mosques or other buildings." A thorough repair of roof, eaves and east front 
would cost Us. 4,500, and as a typical example of architecture, the building is 
worth the outlay. A modern temple has been erected on the south side, and 
the nave of the old fabric has lonor been entirely disused. In fact this is the 
last temple in the neighbourhood in which a nave was built at all. In the 
modern style it is so completely obsolete that its distinctive name even is 

These five temples form a most interesting architectural series, and if 
Mr. Fergusson had ever been able to visit Brinda-ban or to procure photographs 
of them, it is possible that he would not have found the origin of the Hindu 
sikhara such an inscrutable mystery as he declares it to be. He conjectures that 
the external form may have been simply a constructural necessity resulting 
from the employment internally of a very tall pointed horizontal arch, like that 
of the Treasury at Mycenae. But so far as my experience extends, no such 
arch was ever used in a Hindu temple. On the contrary, the cella, over which 
the sikhara is built, is separated from the more public part of thw building by 
a solid wall pierced only by a doorway small enough to be eashv closed; while 
the chamber itself is of no great height and is covered in with a vaulted ceiling, 
as to the shape of which nothing could be learnt from a view oi the sikhara 



outside ; and vice versa. Thus at the great temple of Gobind Deva the central 
dome of the nave (or porch as Mr. Fergusson very inappropriately calls it) is 
perfect; but it is impossible to determine from thence with any certainty what 
would have been the outline and proportions of the tower that the architect 
proposed to raise over it. I have no question in my own mind that the origin 
of the sikhara is to be found in the Buddhist stiipa. Nor do I detect any vio ent 
break in the development. The lower story of the modern temple which, though 
most commonly square, is occasionally, as in the Madan Mohan and Radha 
Ballabh examples, an octagon, and therefore a near approach to a circle, is repre- 
sented by the masonry plinth of the relic-mound ; the high curvilinear roof by 
the swelling contour of the earthen hill, and the pinnacle with its peculiar base 
by the Buddhist rails and umbrella on the top of a Dagoba. From the original 
stiipa to the temple of Parsvanath at Khajurao of the 11th century, the towers 
of Madan Mohan and Jugal Kishor at Brinda-ban of the Kith, and the temple 
of Vishveshvar at Banaras, the gradation seems to be easy and continuous. 

From a note at the foot of page 32 of his ' Cave Temples' it appears that 
Mr. Fergusson has been rather nettled by my exposure of his frequent inaccu- 
racies and — having no excuse to offer— attempts to divert attention from them 
by ridiculing the view I have here advanced as to the origin of the sikhara. 
From the nature of the case it is simply a theory,— and whether it be right 
t I — — i or wrong — in its integrity it must be incap- 
able of positive proof. He is therefore not 
bound to accept it ; but it certainly is rash of 
him to maintain, as a counter-theory, that the 
Brindaban sikharas are the result of an 
attempt on the part of Hindu architects to 
assimilate with their own traditional forms 
the novel beauty of the Muhammadan dome. 
The suggestion is absurd and admits of the 
easiest refutation, nor do I for a moment sup- 
pose that Mr. Fergusson ever seriously enter- 
tained it : it is simply employed as a polemical 
diversion. The type of an Orissan temple in 
the 6th and 7th centuries A.D., while Bud- 
dhism was still a power in the land and long 
before the Muhammadaiis had ever entered 
it, is illustrated by Dr. R;ijendra Lai Mitra 
in his 'Indo-Aryans,' by a wood-cut which is 
, I copied in the margin. It will be seen that the 

Page; Z56. 

7YFS x 18 Ft 


S4 F£x78F* 




'55 P* 



general contour is identical with that of the Brinda-ban shrines : and in the 
facades of the Jain caves at Gwaliar similar sikharas are everywhere to 
be seen. 

Of the smaller temples some have been casually mentioned in connection 
with their founders. Though of ancient date, they have been often renewed 
and possess no special architectural merit. The same may be said of the Bengali 
temple of Sringar Bat, near the Madan Mohan, which, however, enjoys an 
annual income of Its. 13,500, divided among three shareholders, who each take 
the religious services for four months at a time. The village of Jahangirpur 
on the opposite bank of the river, including the sacred grove of Bel-ban, forms 
part of the endowment. 

The temple of Radha Damodar has a special claim to distinction from the 
fact that it contains the ashes of Jiva, its founder, as also of his two uncles, 
the Gosains liiipa and Sanatan, the founders of the temple of Gobind Deva, 
who in their life-time had expressed a wish to be buried together within its 
precincts. Their joint anniversary is celebrated in the month of Sawan, when 
the three shrines are visited by great crowds of Bengalis, who, according to 
custom, make each some small offering. The proceeds used to be divided 
between the priests of the two temples ; but in 1875, the Radha Damodar Mahant 
made an attempt to engross the whole by excluding the Gobind Deva people 
from any participation in the ceremony. The plea advanced was that they 
were renegades from Vaishuavism since the time that they had complied with 
the Jaypur Maharaja's order and marked their foreheads with the three horizon- 
tal lines that indicate a votary of Siva. This exclusion was naturally resented 
by the Gobind Deva Mahant, who claimed the immemorial right of free access 
to his founder's tomb, and as there seemed cause to anticipate that the two rival 
factions would come co blows, precautions were taken to suppress all external 
manifestations whatever, much to the chagrin of the Radha Damodar claimants, 
who had prepared to signalize their triumph by a display of exceptional magni- 

Of the modern temples, five claim special notice. The first in time of erec- 
tion is the temple of Krishna Chandrama, built about the year 1810, at a cost 
of 25 lakhs, by the wealthy Bengali Kayath, Krishna Chandra Sinh, better 
known as the Liila Babu. It stands in a large court-yard, which is laid out, 
not very tastefully, as a garden, and is enclosed by a lofty wall of solid masonry, 
with an arched gateway at either end. The building is of quadrangular form, 
1(30 feet in length, with a front central compartment of three arches and a 


258 THE hlhA bXbu. 

lateral colonnade of five bays reaching back on either side towards the cella. 
The workmanship throughout is of excellent character, and the stone has been 
carefully selected. The two towers, or sikharas, are singularly plain, but have 
been wisely so designed that their smooth polished surface may remain unsul- 
lied by rain and dust. 

The founder's ancestor, Babu Murli Mohan Sinh, son of one Har Krishna 
Sinh, was a wealthy merchant and landed proprietor at Kandi in Murshidabad. 
His heir, Bihari Lai Sinh, had three sons, Badha Gobind, Ganga Gobind, and 
Badha Charan : of these, the last-named, on inheriting his share of the paternal 
estate, broke off connection with the rest of the family and has dropped out of 
sight. Badha Gobind took service under Allah Virdi Khan and Sinij-ud-daula, 
Nawabs of Murshidabad, and was by them promoted to posts of high honour. 
A rest-house for travellers and a temple of Badha Ballabh, which he founded, 
are still in existence. He died without issue, leaving his property to his brother, 
Ganga Gobind, who took a prominent part in the revision of the Bengal settle- 
ment under Lord William Bentinck, in 1828. He built a number of dharmsdlds 
for the reception of pilgrims and four temples at Bamchandrapur in Nadiya. 
These latter have all beim _ washed away by the river, but the images of the gods 
were transferred to Kandi. He also maintained several Sanskrit schools in 
Nadiya; and distinguished himself by the extraordinary pomp with which he 
celebrated his father's obsequies, spending, moreover, every year on the anni- 
versary of his death a lakh of rupees in religious observances. Ganga Gobind's 
son, Pran Krishan Sinh, still further augmented his magnificent patrimony 
before it passed in succession to his son, Krishan Chandra Sinh, better known 
under the soubriquet of ' the Lala Babu. He held office first in Bardwan and 
then in Ori'sa, and, when about thirty years of age, came to settle in the holv 
land of Braj. In connexion with his temple at Brinda-ban ho founded also a 
rest-house, where a largo number of pilgrims are still daily fed; the annual cost 
of the whole establishment being, as is stated, Bs. 22,000. He also enclosed 
the sacred tanks at Badha-kund with handsome ghats and terraces of stone at the 
cost of a lakh. When some forty years of age, he renounced the world, and in the 
character of a Bainigi continued for two years to wander about the woods and 
plains of Braj, begging his bread from day to day till the time of his death, which 
was accidentally caused by the kick of of a horse at Gobardhan.* He was 

» The following Hindi couplet is current in the district with reference to the death of the two 
millionaires, the Lala Babu and Tdrikh Ji : — 

Lala Balm margaya, ghora dosh lagrivc, 
Parikh ka kira pari; Bidhi sou ko bauae ? 


frequently accompanied in his rambles by Mani Earn, father of the famous Seth 
Lakhmi Ohand, who also had adopted the life of an ascetic. In the course of 
the ten years which the Lala Babu spent as a worldling in the Mathura dis- 
trict, ho contrived to buy up all the villages most noted as places of pilgrim- 
age in a manner which strikingly illustrates his hereditary capacity for busi- 
ness. The zamindars were assured that he had no pecuniary object in view, 
but only the strict preservation of the hallowed spots. Again, as in the days 
of Krishna, they would become the secluded haunts of the monkey and the 
peacock, while the former proprietors would remain undisturbed, the happy 
guardians of so many new Arcadias. Thus the wise man from the East picked 
up one estate after another at a price in every case far below the real value, 
and in some instances for a purely nominal sum. However binding his fair 
promises may have been on the conscience of the pious B.ibu. they were never 
recorded on paper, and therefore are naturally ignored by his absentee descend- 
ants and their agents, from whom any appeal ad misericor liam on the part of 
the impoverished representatives of the old owners of the soil meets with very 
scant consideration. The villages which he acquired in the Mathura district 
are fifteen in number, viz., in the Kosi Pargana, Jau ; in Chhata, Nandganw, 
Barsana, Sanket, Karhela, Garhi, and Hathiya ; and in the home pargana, 
Mathura, Jait, Mah'oli, and Nabi-pur ; all these, except the last, being more 
or less places of pilgrimage. To these must be added the four Giijar villages of 
Pirpur, Gulalpur, Chamar-garhi, and Dhiinri. For Nandganw he gave Rs. 900 ; 
for Barsana, Rs. 600 ; for Sanket, Rs. 800 ; and for Karhela, Rs. 500 ; the annual 
revenue derived from these places being now as follows : from Nandganw, 
Rs. 6,712 ; from Barsana Rs. 3,109 ; from Sanket, Rs. 1,642 ; and from Karhela, 
Rs. 1,900. It may also be noted that payment w'as invariably made in Brinda- 
ban rupees, which are worth only thirteen or fourteen anas each. The Babu 
further purchased seventy-two villages in Aligarh and Bulandshahr from 
Raja Bir Sinh, Chauhan ; but twelve of these were sold at auction in the time 
of his heir, Babu Sri Narayan Sinh. This latter, being a minor at his father's 
death, remained for a time under the tutelage of his mother, the Rani Kaithani, 
who again, on his decease, when only thirty years old, managed the estate till 
the coming of age of the two sons whom his widows had been specially autho- 
rized to adopt. The elder of the two, Pratap Chandra, founded an English 
school at Kiindi and a dispensary at Calcutta. He was for some time a Mem- 
ber of tho Legislative Council of Bengal, received from Government the title 
of Bahadur, and was enrolled as a Companion of the Star of India. He died 
in 1867, leaving four sons, Giris-chandra (since deceased), Puran-chandra, 

260 the seth's temple. 

Kanti-chandra, and Sarad-chandra. Tho younger brother, Isvar-chandra, who 
died in 1863, left an only son, Indra-chandra, who now enjoys half the estate, 
the other half being divided between his three cousins. During their minority 
the property was under the control of the Court of Wards ; the General 
Manager being Mr. Robert Harvey of Calcutta. The gross rental of the lands 
in the Mathura district is Rs. 70,738, upon which the Government demand, 
including the 10 per cent, cess, is Rs. 49,496. The value of the property when 
taken in charge was estimated at Rs. 2,40,193 ; it has now increased to 
Its. 3,80,892. 

The great temple, founded by Seths Gobind D;is and Radha Krishan, 
brothers of the famous millionaire Lakhmi Ohand, is dedicated to Rang Ji, or 
Sri Ranga Nath, that being the special name of Vishnu most affected by 
Ramanuja, the founder of the Sri Sampradaya. It is built in the Madras 
style, in accordance with plans supplied by their guru, the great Sanskrit 
scholar, Swami Rangacharya, a native of that part of India.* 

The works were commenced in 1845 and completed in 1851, at a cost 
of 45 lakhs of rupees. The outer walls measure 773 feet in length by 440 in 
breadth, and enclose a fine tank and garden in addition to the actual temple- 
court. This latter has lofty gate-towers, or (jopuras, covered with a profusion 
of coarse sculpture. In front of the god is erected a pillar, or dhvaja stambha, 
of copper gilt, sixty feet in height, and also sunk some twenty-four feet more 
below the surface of the ground. This alone cost Rs. 10,000. The principal 
or western entrance of the outer court is surmounted by a pavilion, ninety- 
three feet high, constructed in the Mathura style after the design of a native 
artist. In its graceful outlines and the elegance of its reticulated tracery, it 
presents a striking contrast to the heavy and misshapen masses of the Madras 
Gopura, which rises immediately in front of it. A little to one side of the 
entrance is a detached shed, in which the god's rath, or carriage, is kept. It 
is an enormous wooden tower in several stages, with monstrous effigies at the 

* He translated some of Ramanuja's works from the language of Southern India into 
Sanskrit, and was also the author of two polemical treatises in defence of the orthodoxy of 
Vaislmavism. The fir-t is a pamphlet entitled Dtirjana-kari-panchanana, which was written 
as an answer to eight questions propounded for solution by the Saivite Pandits of Jaypur. The 
Maharaja, not being convinced, had a rejoinder published under the name of Sajjana mano- 
nuranjana, which elicited a more elaborate work from the Swami, called Vyamoha-vidravanam, 
in which lie brought together a great number of texts from the canonical Scriptures of the 
Hindus in support of his own views and in refutation of those of bis opponents. He died on 
the 26th of March, 1874. 



corners, and is brought out only once a year in the month of Chait during tho 
festival of the Brahinotsav. The mela lasts for ten days, on each of which the 
god is taken in state from the temple along the road, a distance of 690 yards, 
to a garden where a pavilion has been erected for his reception. The proces- 
sion is always attended with torches, music, and incense, and some military 
display contributed by the Raja of Bharatpur. On the day when the rath is 
used, the image, composed of the eight metals, is seated in the centre of the car, 
with attendant Brahmans standing on either side to fan it with cliauries. Each 
of the Seths, with the rest of the throng, gives an occasional hand to the ropes by 
which the ponderous machine is drawn ; and by dint of much exertion, the 
distance is ordinarily accomplished in the space of about two and-a-half hours. 
On the evening of the following day there is a grand display of fire-works, to 
which all the European residents of the station are invited, and which attracts 
a large crowd of natives from tho country round about. On other days when 
the rath is not brought out, the god has a wide choice of vehicles, being borne 
now on a palki, a richly gilt ' tabernacle' (punya-kothi), a throne (sinhasan), or 
a tree, either the kadamb, or the tree of Paradise (kalpa-criksha); now on 
some demi-god, as the sun or the moon, Gartira, Hanuman, or Sesha ; now 
again on some animal, as a horse, an elephant, a lion, a swan, or the fabulous 
eight-footed Sarabha. The ordinary cost of one of these celebrations is about 
Rs. 5,000, while the annual expenses of the whole establishment amount to no 
less than Rs. 57,000, the largest item in that total being Rs. 30,000 for the bhog 
or food, which after being presented to the god is then consumed by the priests 
or given away in charity. Every day 500 of tho Sri Vaishnava sect are fed 
at the temple, and every morning up to ten o'clock a dole of flour is given to 
anyone of any denomination who chooses to apply for it. 

Tho endowment consists of thirty-three villages, yielding a gross income 
of Rs. 1,17,000, on which the Government demand amounts to Rs. 64,000. 
Of the thirty-three villages, thirteen, including one quarter of Brinda-ban, are 
in the Mathura, and twenty in the Agra district. The votive offerings amount 
on an average to Rs. 2,000 a year, and there is further a sum invested in the 
funds which yields in annual interest as much as Rs. 11,800. In 1868, the 
whole estate was transferred by the Swami — the deed of transfer bearing a 
stamp of Rs. 2,000 — to a committee of management, who on his death w r ere 
bound to appoint a successor. This arrangement was necessitated by the bad 
conduct of his son Srinivasaeharya — named according to family custom after 
the grandfather — who, far from being a scholar like his father, is barely edu- 
cated up to the ordinary level of his countrymen : while his profligacy is open 



and notorious. Immorality and priestly dignity, it is true, are not universally 
accounted as incompatible qualities ; but the scandal in his case is augmented 
by the ceremonial pollution he incurs from his habit of familiar intercourse 
with the lowest classes of the people, while his reckless extravagance knows 
no bounds. Since his father's death he receives a fixed allowance for his 
maintenance ; but another Guru has been brought up from Madras to conduct 
the temple services, and the estate is entirely under the control of the commit- 
tee. This consists of six members, of whom the most active is Seth Naniyan 
Das. He is also appointed general attorney for the trustees, and all the temple 
property, valued at about 20 lakhs, is entered in his name. Since the new 
arrangement, there has been no falling off in the splendour of the festivals or 
in the liberality with which the different charities are maintained, while at the 
same time the estate has been improved and the cost of establishment reduced. 

Of the villages that form the endowment, three in Mahaban and two in 
Jalesar were conferred on the temple by Raja Man Siuh of Jaypur. Though 
the lawful heir to the throne, he never took his seat upon it. He was the 
posthumous son of Raja Prithi Sinn, on whose death, in 1779 A. D , the surviv- 
ing brother, Pratap Sinh, claimed the succession. The nephew's right was sub- 
sequently upheld by Daulat Rao Sindhia, but the young prince was devoted 
to letters and religion, and on being assured of an annual income of Rs. 30,000, 
ho gladly relinquished the royal title and retired to Brinda-ban. Here he spent 
the remainder of his days in the practice of the most rigid austerities, till death 
overtook him at the age of 70, in 1848. For 27 years he had remained sitting 
cross-legged in one position, never moving from his seat but once a week when 
nature compelled him to withdraw. Five days before his death he predicted 
his coming end and solemnly bequeathed to the Seth the care of his old ser- 
vants ; one of whom, Lakshmi Narayan Byas, was manager of the temple estate, 
till his death in 1874. 

If the effect of the Seths' lavish endowment is impaired by the ill-judged 
adoption of a foreign style of architecture, still more is this error apparent in 
the temple of Radhi'i Raman, completed within the last few years. The founder 
is Sah Kundan Lai, of Lakhnau, who has built on a design suggested by the 
modern secular buildings of that city. The principal entrance to the court- 
yard is, in a grandiose way, decidedly effective; and the temple itself is con- 
structed of the most costly materials and fronted with a colonnade of spiral 
marblo pillars, each shaft being of a single piece, which though rather too 
attenuated are unquestionably elegant. The mechanical execution is also good; 

J'ag& 263. 




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but all is rendered of no avail by the abominable taste of the design. The 
facade with its uncouth pediment, flanked by sprawling monsters, and its row 
of life-size female figures in meretricious, but at the same time most ungrace- 
ful, attitudes, resembles nothing so much as a disreputable London casino : 
a severe, though doubtless unintended, satire, on the part of the architect, on the 
character of the divinity to whom it is consecrated. Ten lakhs of rupees are 
said to have been wasted on its construction.* 

In striking contrast to this tasteless edifice is the temple of Radha 
Indra Kishor, built by Rani Indrajit Kunvar, widow of Het Kam, Brahman 
zatnindar, of Tikari by Gaya. It was six years in building, and was completed 
at the end of 1871. It is a square of seventy feet divided into three aisles of 
five bays each, with a fourth space of equal dimensions for the reception of the 
god. The sikliara is surmounted with a copper kalas, or finial, heavily gilt, 
which alone cost Rs. 5,000. The piers are composed of four conjoined pillars, 
each shaft being a single piece of stone, brought from the Paharpur quarry in 
Bharatpur territory. The building is raised on a high and enriched plinth, 
and the entire design is singularly light and graceful. Its cost has been three 

The temple of Radha Gopal, built by the Maharaja of Gwaliar under the 
direction of his guru Brahmachari Giridhari Das, is also entitled to some special 
notice. The interior is an exact counterpart of an Italian church and would be an 
excellent model for our architects to follow, since it secures to perfection both 
free ventilation and a softened light. It consists of a nave 58 feet long, with 
four aisles, two on either side, a sacraium 21 feet in depth and a narthex of the 
same dimensions at the entrance. The outer aisles of the nave, instead of beino- 
closed in with solid walls, have open arches stopped only with wooden bars ; and 
the tier of windows above gives on to a balcony and verandah. Thus any glare 
of light is impossible. The building was opened for religious service in 1860 
and as it stands has cost four lakhs of rupees. The exterior has a mean and un- 
sightly appearance, which might be obviated by the substitution of reticulated 
stone tracery for the wooden bars of the outer arches below and a more sub- 
stantial balcony and verandah in lieu of the present ricketty erection above. An 
entrance gateway is now being added. 

* In imitation of the bad example thuB set, a new temple dedicated to Kadha Gopal was built 
in 1873 by Lala Braj Kishor, a wealthy resident of Shahjahanpur, where he is district treasurer. 
It has a long frontage facing one of the principal streets, with a continuous balcouy to the upper 
story, in which each pillar is a clumsily carved etone figure of a Sak/ii, or * dancing girl.' 


There are in Brinda-ban no secular buildings of any great antiquity. Th« 
oldest is the court, or Ghera, as it is called, of Sawai Jay Sinh, the founder 
of Jaypur, who made Brinda-ban an occasional residence during the time 
that he was Governor of the Province of Agra (1721-1728). It is a large 
walled enclosure with a pavilion at one end, consisting of two aisles divided into 
five bays by piers of coupled columns of red sandstone. The river front of the 
town has a succession of ghats reaching for a distance of about a mile and a-half. 
Their beauty has been greatly marred by the religious mendicants who have 
taken possession of all the graceful stone kiosques and utilized them for cooking- 
places, blocking up the arches with mud walls and blackening the carved work 
with the smoke of their fires. I cleared out a great many, but left the task 
unfinished. The one highest up the stream is the Kali-mardan Ghat with the 
kadamb tree from which Krishna plunged into the water to encounter the great 
serpent Kaliya ; and the lowest at the other end is Kesi Ghat, where he slew the 
equine demon of that name. Near the latter are two handsome mansions built 
by the Ranis Kishori and Lachhmi, consorts of Ranjit Sinh and Randhir Sinh, 
two successive Rajas of Bharatpur. In both the arrangement is identical 
with that of a mediaeval college, carried out on a miniature scale, but with 
extreme elaboration of detail. The buildings are disposed in the form 
of a quadrangle, with an enriched gateway in the centre of one front and 
opposite it the chapel, of more imposing elevation than the ordinary domestic 
apartments, which constitute tho two flanks of the square. In Rani Lachhmi's 
kunj (such being the distinctive name for a building of this character), the temple 
front is a very rich and graceful composition. It has a colonnade of five arches 
standing on a high plinth, which, like every part of the wall surface, is covered 
with the most delicate carving and is shaded above by unusually broad eaves 
which have a wavy pattern on their under-surface and are supported on bold 
brackets. The work of the elder Rani is of much plainer character ; and a third 
kunj, which stands a little lower down the river, close to the temple of Dhir 
Samir,* built by Thakur Badan Sinh, the father of Siiraj Mall, the first of the 
Bharatpur Rajas, though large, has no architectural pretensions whatever. The 
most striking of the whole series is, however, the Ganga Mohan Kunj, built in 

* In explanation of the title »f this temple, which means literally 'a soft breeze,' take the 
following line from the Gita GobinJa of Jayadeva : — 

Dhira-samire Yumund-lire vasatt vane vana-mdli t 
which may be thus translate.! — 

lie is waiting, flower-begarlanded, beneath the forest trees, 
White cool across the Jamuni steals the s-oft delicious brieve. 


the next generation by Ganga, Suraj Mall's Rani. The river front, which is 
all that was ever completed, has a high and massive basement story, which on 
the land side, as seen from the interior of the court, becomes a mere plinth for 
the support of a majestic doublo cloister with broad and lofty arch and massive 
clustered pier. The style is precisely the same as that which prevails in the 
Garden Palace at Dig, a work of the same chief ; who, however rude and un- 
cultured himself, appears to have been able to appreciate and command the ser- 
vices of the highest available talent whether in the arts of war or peace. His son, 
Ratn Sinh, would seem to have inherited his father's architectural proclivities, for 
he had commenced what promised to be a very large and handsome mausoleum 
for the reception of his own funeral ashes, but died before the work had advanced 
beyond the first story. This is in one of the largo gardens outside the town 
beyond the Madan Mohan temple, and has not been touched since his 

A few years ago the town was exceedingly dirty and ill kept, but this state 
of things ceased from the introduction of a municipality. The conservancy 
arrangements are now of a most satisfactory character, and all the streets of any 
importance have been either paved or metalled. This unambitious, but most 
essential, work has, up to the present time, absorbed almost all the surplus in- 
come; the only exception being a house, intended to serve both for muni- 
cipal meetings and also for the reception of European visitors, which 
I had not quite completed at the time of my transfer. It is in Indian style 
with carved stone pillars and arches to the verandahs and pierced tracery in 
the windows. As the ground about it had also been taken up for a garden, 
the whole would have formed a conspicuous ornament to the official quarter of 
the town, where all the other buildings are on the conventional and singularly 
prosaic D. P. W. type. Education, as conducted on European principles, has 
never made much way in the town, in spite of the efforts of the committee to 
promote it by the establishment of schools of different grades. Some of these 
have been closed altogether. The Tahsili school, completed in 1868 at a cost of 
Rs. 3,710, which included a donation of Rs. 500 from Swami Rangaeharya, the 
head of the Seth's temple, still continues and has a room also for some anglo-ver- 
nacular classes ; but the number of pupils, through variable, is never very large. 
The children find it more lucrative and amusing to hang about the temples and 
act as guides to the pilgrims and sight-seers. The dispensary, also opened in 
1868, cost the small sum of only Rs. 1,913 ; but as yet it has no accommo- 
dation for in-door patients. As such a large number of people come to Brinda- 
ban simply for the sake of dying there, while of the resident population nearly 



one-half are professed celibates, the proportion of births to deaths is almost in 
inverse ratio to that which prevails elsewhere ; a circumstance which might well 
startle any one who was unacquainted with the exceptional character of the loca- 
lity. The population by the recent census was 21,467, of whom 794 only were 
Muhammadans, The municipal income for the year 1871-72 was Rs. 17,549, 
and this may be regarded as a fair average. Of this sum Rs. 16,666 were derived 
from octroi collections ; the tax on articles of food alone amounting to Rs. 13,248. 
These figures indicate very clearly, what might also be inferred from the preced- 
ing sketch, that there is no local trade or manufacture, and that the town is 
maintained entirely by its temples and religious reputation. There was a mint 
(Taksdl) established here by Daulat Rao Sindhia, in 1786, whence the name of 
the street called the Taksal-wali-Gali. When the Jats were in possession of 
the country, they transferred it to Bharatpur, where what are called Brinda- 
bani rupees are still coined. They are especially used at weddings, and when 
there are many such festivities going on, the coin is sometimes valued at as 
much as 13 anas, but ordinarily sells for 12. 


I. — Calendar of Local Festivals at Brinda'-ban. 

Chait Sudi (April 1 — 15). 

1. Chait Sudi 3. — Gangaur; adoration of Ganpati and Gauri. In the 
older Sanskrit calendars this day is generally named Saubhagya Sayana, and 
is appropriated to a special devotion in honour of the goddess Arundhati, 
which is recommended to be practised by all women who desire to lead a happy 
married life and escape the curse of early widowhood. At the present day 
the oblations to Gauri are accompanied by the repetition of the following un- 
couth formula, in commemoration of a Rani of Udaypur, who, after enjoying 
a life of the utmost domestic felicity, had the further happiness of dying at the 
same moment as her husband : — 

% %rt m\z 5RTfeRT it feiTSRT ^ tr! mn *t ^J^Z. *RT 3*cT 5R^ 


2. Chait Sudi 9. — Ram Navami. Rama's birthday. 

3. Chait Sudi 11.— Phiil dol. 

Baiadkh {April — May). 

4. Baisakh Sudi 3. — Akhay Tij . Among agriculturists, the day for set- 
tling the accounts of the past harvest. Visits are paid to the image of Bihari, 
which on this festival only has the whole body exposed. The ceremony is hence 
called ' Chandan baga ka darsan,' as the idol, though besmeared with sandal wood 
(chandan), has no clothing (bdga). The temple bhog on this day consists exclu- 
sively of kahris (a kind of cucumber), ddl, and a mash made of wheat, barley, 
and chand ground up and mixed with sugar and ghi. 

5. Baisdkh Sudi. 9 — Janaki Navami. Held at Akrur. Sita's birthday. 

6. Baisdkh Sudi 10. — Hit ji ka utsav: at the Ras Mandal. Anniversary 
of the birth of the Gosain Hari Vans. 

7. Baisdkh Sudi 14. — Narsinh avatar. 

Jeth (May — June). 

8. Jeth Badi 2. — Perambulation, called Ban bihtir ka parikrama. The 
distance traversed is between five and six miles, each pilgrim starting from the 
point which happens to be most convenient. 


9. Jeth Badi 5. — The same, but at night. 

10. Jeth Badi 1 1 .— Ras Mandal. 

11. Jeth Sudi 5. — Jal Jatra. 

On the full moon of Jeth, Gaj-graha ka mela .• representation of a fight 
between an elephant and a crocodile in the tank at the back of the Seth's 

Asdrh [June — July). 

12. Asdrh Sudi 2. — Rath Jatra. The god's collation, or hhog, consists on 
this day only of mangoes, jdman fruit and chand. 

13. Asdrh full moon. — Dhio dhio ka mela at Madan Mohan, followed by 
the Pavan Pariksha. 

Srdvan (July — August). 

14. Srdvan Badi 5. — Radha Raman Ji ka dhio dhio. Mourning for the 
death of Gosain Gopsil Bhatt, the founder of the temple. 

15. Srdvan Badi 8. — Gokulanand ka dhio dhio. Mourning for the death 
of Gosain Gokulanand. 

16. Srdvan Sudi 3. — Hindol, or Jhul- jatra. Swinging festival. 

17. Srdvan Sudi 9. — Fair at the Brahm Kund. 

18. Srdvan Sudi 11. — Pavitra-dharan, or presentation of Brahmanical 

19. Srdvan full moon. — Fair at the Gyan-gudari. 

Bhddon (August — September.) 

20. Bhddon Badi 8. — Janm Ashtami. Krishna's birthday. 

21. Bhddon Badi 9. — Climbing a greasy pole, which is set up outside the 
temple of Rang Ji, with a dhoti, a lota, five sers of sweetmeats, and Rs. 5 on the 
top, for the man who can succeed in getting them. This takes place in the after- 
room. In the evening, the Nandotsav, or festival in honour of Nanda, is 
held at the Sringar-bat, and continued through the night with music and 

22. Bhddon Sudi 8. — Radha Ashtami. Radha's birthday. A large 
assemblage also at the Mauni Das ki tatti by the Nidh-ban, in honour of a saint 
■who kept a vow of perpetual silence. 

23. Bhddon Sudi 11. — Jal Jholni mela, or Karwatni, ' the turning of the 
god' in his four months' sleep. 

brinda'-ban calendar. 260 

Kuvdr (September — October). 

24. Kuvdr Badi 11. — Festival of the Sanjhi, lasting for five days ; and 
mela at the Bratim kund. 

25. Kuvdr Sudi 1. — Dan Lila at the Gyan-gudari and mela of the Kalpa- 

:><!. Kuvdr Sudi 10. — The Dasahara. Commemoration of Rama's conquest 
of Lanka. 

27. Kuvdr Sudi 11. — Perambulation. 

Kdrtik (October — November). 

28. Kdrtik new moon. — Dipotsav, or festival of lamps. 

29. Kdrtik Sudi 1. — Anna kiit, as at Gobardhan. 

30. Kdrtik Sudi 8. — Perambulation and Go-charan. 

31. Kdrtik Sudi 12. — Festival of the Davanal, or forest-conflagration. 

32. Kdrtik Sudi 13. — Festival of Kesi Danav. 

33. Kdrtik Sudi 14.— Nagdila : at the Kali-mardan Ghat with procession 
of boats. 

34. Kdrtik full moon. — Fair at Bhat-rond. 

Agahn (Xovember — December) . 

35. Agahn Badi 1.— Byahle-ka-mela, or marriage feast, at the Ras 
Mandal and Chain Ghat. 

36. Agahn Badi 3. — Ram lila. 

37. Agahn full moon. — Dau ji-ka-mela, in honour of Balaram. 

38. Agahn Sudi 5. — Bihari janmotsav, or birth of Bihari ; also the Bha- 

Pus (December — January). 

39. Pus Sudi 5 to 11. — Dhanur-mas otsav, observed at the Seths' temple 
with processions issuing from the Vaikunth gate : ' Dhanur' being the sign 
Sagittarius. Throughout the month distribution of khichri (pulse and rice) is 
made at the temple of Radha Ballabh. 

Mdgh (January — February). 

40. Mdgh Sudi 5. — Basantotsav. The spring festival. 

41. Phdlgun Badi 11. — Festival at the Man-sarovar. 



brindX-ban gha'ts. 

Phdlgun (February — March). 

42. Phdlgun Sudi 11.— Phul dol. 

43. Phdlgun full moon. — The Holi or Carnival. 

Chait Badi (March 15th to 31st). 

44. Chait Badi 1. — Dhurendi or sprinkling of the Holi-powder, and Dol jatra. 

45. Chait Badi 5. — Kali dahan and plnil dol. 

46. Brahmotsav. Festival at the Seth's temple, beginning Chait Badi t 
and lasting ten days. 

II. — List of River-side Gha'ts at Brinda'-ban. 

1 Madan Ter Ghat, built by Pandit 

Moti Lai. 

2 Ram-gol Ghat, built by the Gosain 

of the temple of Bihari Ji. 

3 Kali-daha Ghat, built by Holkar 


4 Gopal Ghat, built by Madan Pal, 

Raja of Kurauli. 

5 Nabhawala Ghat, built by Raja 

Hira Sinh of Nabha. 

6 Praskandan Ghat, re-built by 

Gosains of temple of Madan 

7 Siiraj Ghat. 

8 Koriya Ghat, said to be named 

after certain Gosains from Kol. 

9 Jugal Ghat, built by Hari Das and 

Gobind Das, Thakurs. 

10 Dhusar Ghat. 

11 Naya Ghat, built by Gosain Bha- 

jan Lai. 

12 Sriji Ghat, built by Raja of Jay- 


13 Bihar Ghat, built by Appa Ram 

from the Dakhin. 

14 Dhnrawara Ghat, built by Raja 

Randhir Sinh of Dlnira. 

15 Nagari Das. 

16 Bhim Ghat, built by the Raja of 


17 Andha (i.e., the dark or covered) 

Ghat, built by Raja Man of 
J ay pur. 

18 Tehriwara Ghat, built by the Raja 

of Tehri. 

19 Imla Ghat, 

20 Bardwan Ghat, built by a Raja of 


21 Barwara Ghat. 

22 Ranawat Ghat, built by the Rana 

of Udaypur. 

23 Singar Ghat, built by the Gosain 

of the temple of Singar- 

24 Ganga Mohan Ghat, built by 

Ganga, Rani of Siiraj Mall, of 

25 Gobind Ghat, built by Raja Man 

of Jaypur. 
2b' Himmat Bahadur's Ghat, built by 
Gosain Himmat Bahadur (see 
Chapter XI.) 

27 Chir Ghat or Chain Ghat, built by 

Malhar Rao, Holkar. 

28 Hanuman Ghat, built by Saw.ii 

Jay Sinh of Jaypur. 

29 Bhaunra Ghat, built by Sawai Jay 

Sinh of Jaypur. 

30 Kishor Rani's Ghat, built by Kis- 

hori, Rani of Siiraj Mall, of 

31 Pandawara Ghat, built by Chau- 

dhari Jagaunath, of Lakh- 

32 Kesi Ghat, built by the Bharatpur 

Rani, Lachhmi. 



III.— Names of Mahallas, or City Quarters at BrindX-ban. 

1 Gyan Gudari. 

2 Gopesvar Mahadeva. 

3 Bansi-bat. 

4 Gopinath Bagh. 

5 Bazar Gopinath. 

6 Brahin-kund. 

7 Bad ha Nivas. 

8 Kesi Ghat. 

9 Radha Raman. 

10 Nidh-ban. 

11 Pathar-pura. 

12 Nagara Gopinath. 

13 Ghera Gopinath. 

14 Nagara Gopal. 

15 ChirGhat. 

16 Mandi Darwaza. 

17 Ghera Gobind Ji. 

18 Nagara Gobind Ji. 

19 GaliTaksar. 

20 Ram Ji Dwara. 

21 Bazar Kanthiwara {i.e., sellers of 

rosaries and necklaces). 

22 Sewa Kunj. 

23 Kunj Gali. 

'24 By ;is ka Ghent. 

25 Singar-bat. 

26 Ras Mandal. 

27 Kishor-pura. 

28 Dhobiwari Gali. 

29 Rangi Lai ki Gali. 

30 Sukhan Mata Gali (i.e., street of 

dried-up small-pox), 

31 Purana Shahr {i.e., old town). 

32 Lariawara Gali. 

33 Gabdua ki Gali. 

34 Gobardhan Darwaza. 

35 Ahir-para. 

36 Dusait (the name, it is said, of a 

sub-division of the Sanadh 

37 Mahalla Barwara (from the number 

of bar trees). 

38 Ghera Madan Mohan. 

39 Bihari-pura. 

40 Purohit-wara. 

41 Mani-para. 

42 Gautam-para. 

43 Ath-khamba. 

44 Gobind bagh. 

45 Loi Bazar, (the blanket mart).* 

46 Retiya Bazar. 

47 Ban-khandi Mahadeva. 

48 Chhipi kiGali. 

49 Raewari Gali (occupied by Bhats, 

or bards, who are always distin- 
guished by the title Rae). 

50 Bundele ka Bagh. Bundela is the 

god propitiated in time of cholera. 
He is always represented as 
riding on a horse. When small- 
pox, the twin scourge of India, 
is raging, an ass is the animal 
to which offerings are made. 

51 Mathura Darwaza. 

52 Ghera Sawai Jay Sinh. 

53 Dhir Samir. 

54 Mauni Das ki tatti. 

55 Gahvar-ban. 

56 Gobind kund. 

57 Radha Bagh. 

* There is a large sale of Loi, or country blanketing, at Brinda-ban. The material iB 
imported chiefly from Marwar and Bikaner in an old and worn condition, bat is worked up 
again so thoroughly that natives count it as good as new. 


maha'-ban, gokul, and baladeva. 

The town of Maha-ban — population 6,182 — is some five or six miles from 
Mathnra, lower down the stream and on the opposite bank of the Jainuna. 
Though the country in its neighbourhood is now singularly bare, the name 
indicates that it must at one time have been densely wooded ; and so late as the 
year 1634 A,D. we find the Emperor Shahjahan ordering a hunt there and 
killing four tigers. It stands a little inland, about a mile distant from Gokul ; 
which latter place has appropriated the more famous name, though it is in 
reality only the water-side suburb of the ancient town. This is clearly indicated 
by the fact that all the traditional sites of Krishna's adventures, described in 
the Puranas as having taken place at Gokul, are shown at Maha-ban ; while the 
Gokul temples are essentially modern in all their associations : whatever celebrity 
they possess is derived from their having been founded by the descendants of 
Vallabha-charya, the great heresiarch of the sixteenth century. The existence 
of Gokul as a distinct town was no doubt long antecedent to its religious 
aggrandizement, and probably dates from the time when the old Hindu fort 
was occupied by a Muhammadan garrison and the Hindus expelled beyond its 
immediate precincts. 

Taking, then, Maha-ban as equivalent to the Gokul of Sanskrit literature, 
the connection between it and Mathnra has always been of a most intimate 
character. For, according to the legend, Krishna was born at the one and 
cradled at the other. Both, too, make their first appearance in history together 
and under most unfortunate circumstances, having been sacked by Mahmiid of 
Ghazni in the year 1017 A.D. From the effects of this catastrophe it would 
seem that Maha-ban was never able to recover itself. It is casually mentioned 
in connection with the year 1234 A.D., by Minhaj-i-Siraj, a contemporary 
writer, as one of the gathering places for the imperial army sent by Shams-ud- 
din against Kalanjar; and the Emperor Babar, in his memoirs, incidentally 
refers to it, as if it were a place of some importance still, in the year 1526 A.D. ; 
but the name occurs in the pages of no other chronicle ; and at the present day, 
though it is the seat of a tahsili, it can scarcely be called more than a consider- 
able village. Within the last few years, one or two large and handsome private 
residences have been built, with fronts of carved stone in the Mathura style ; 
but the temples are all exceedingly mean and of no antiquity. The largest and 


also the most sacred is thai dedicated to Mathura-nath, which boasts of a 
pyramidal tower, or sikhara, of some height aud bulk, but constructed only of 
brick and plaster. The Brahman in charge used to enjoy an endowment of 
Rs. 2 a day, the gift of Sindhia, but this has long lapsed. There are two other 
small shrines of some interest : in the one, the demon Trinavart is represented 
as a pair of enormous wings overhanging the infant god; the other bears the 
dedication of Maha Mall Rae, ' the great champion prince,' a title given to 
Krishna after his discomfiture of the various evil spirits sent against him by 

Great part of the town is occupied by a high hill, partly natural and partly 
artificial, extending over more than 100 bighas of land, where stood the old 
fort.* This is said to have been built by the same Rana Katehra of Mewar to 
whom is also ascribed the fort at Jalesar. According to a tradition current in 
the Main-puri district, he had been driven from his own country by an invasion 
of the Muhammadans, and took refuge with the Raja of Maha-ban, by name 
Digpal, whose daughter his son, Kanh Kunvar, subsequently married and by 
her became the ancestor of the tribe of Phatak Ahirs. It would seem that, on 
the death of his father-in-law, he succeeded to his dominions ; for he made a 
grant of the whole of the township of Maha-ban to his Purohits, or family 
priests, who were Sanadh Brahmans, of the Parasar clan. Their descendants' 
bear the distinctive title of Chaudhari, and still own two shares in Maha-ban, 
called Thok Chaudhariyan. The fort was recovered by the Muhammadans in the 
reign of Ala-ud-diu, by Sufi Yahya of Mashhad, who introduced himself and a 
party of soldiers inside the walls in litters, disguised as Hindu ladies who wished 
to visit the shrines of Syam Lala and Rohini. The Rana was killed, and one- 
third of the town was granted by the sovereign to Saiyid Yahya. This sharef 

* With the exception of the liila, or keep, the rest of the hill is known as the iot. 
f The division of proprietary rights in Maha-ban is of very perplexing character, the 
several shares being very different in extent from what their names seem to indicate. The 
total area is 6,529 bighas and 10 biswas, distributed as follows : — 
The 11 biswa Thok Chaudhariyan 
The 9 ditto ditto 

The Thok Saiyidat 
Free lands resumed by Government 
Common laud ... .... ... ••• 


One-third of the profits of the common land goes to the Saiyids ; the remaining two-thirds 
are then again sub-divided into three, of which one part goes to the 9 biswa thok and two to 
the 11 biswas. 














6,5 29 


274 the rXnX katehra. 

is still called Tliok Saiyidat, and is owned by his descendants ; the present head 
of the family being Sardar Ali, who officiated for a time as a Tahsildar in the 
Mainpuri district. The place where his great ancestor was buried is shown at 
the back of the Chhatthi Palna, but is unmarked by any monument. 

The story as told in different localities is so identical in all its main features 
Unit it may reasonably be accepted as based on fact ; but it is difficult to deter- 
mine an exact date for the event, or decide which of the Sissodia Princes of 
Chitor is intended by the personage styled 'the Rana Katehra.' Still, though 
certainty is unattainable, a conjectural date may be assigned with some amount 
of probability ; for as the Rana Katehra is represented as still living at the time 
when the fort of Maha-ban was recovered by Ala-ud-din, his flight from his 
own country cannot have occurred very long previously, and may plausibly 
be connected with Ala-ud-din's memorable sack of Chitor, which took place in 
the year 1303. If so, he can scarcely have been more than a cadet of the 
royal line ; for, according to accepted tradition, the actual Rana of Mewar and 
all his family had perished in the siege, with the exception only of the second 
son and his infant nephew, Hamir, the heir to the throne, who eventually not 
only recovered the ancient capital of his forefathers, but made it the centre of 
a far wider dominion than had ever previously acknowledged the Sissodia rule. 
The stratagem of introducing armed men disguised as women in closed litters 
into the heart of the enemy's camp had been successfully practised against Ala- 
ud-din himself after a former siege of Chitor, and had resulted in the escape of 
the captured Rana. This may have suggested the adoption of the same expedi- 
ent at Maha-ban, either in fact to the Sufi, who is said to have carried it into 
execution, or to the local legend-monger, who has used it as an embellishment 
to his narrative. 

The shrine of Syam Laid, to which allusion has been made above, still 
exists as a mean little cell, perched on the highest point of the fortifications on 
the side where they overlook the Jamuna. It is believed to mark the spot where 
Jasoda gave birth to Maya, or Joga-nidra, substituted by Vasudeva for the in- 
fant Krishna. But by far the most interesting building is a covered court 
called Nanda's Palace, or more commonly the Assi-Khamba, i.e., the eighty 
pillars. In its present form is was erected by the Muhammadans in the time of 
Aurangzeb out of older materials, to serve as a mosque, and as it now stands, 
it is divided, by five rows of sixteen pillars each, into four aisles, or rather into 
a centre and two narrower side aisles, with one broad outer cloister. The 
external pillars of this outer cloister are each of one massive shaft, cut into many 


narrow facts, with two horizontal bands of carving : the capitals arc decorated 
either with grotesque heads or the usual four squat figures. The pillars of the 
inner aisles vary much in design, some being exceedingly plain and others as 
richly ornamented with profuse and often graceful arabesques. Three of the 
more elaborate are called respectively the Satya, Treta and Dwapar Yug ; while 
the name of the Kali Yug is given to another somewhat plainer. All these 
interior pillars, however, agree in consisting as it were of two short columns set 
one upon the other. The style is precisely similar to that of the Hindu 
colonnades by the Kutb Minar at Delhi ; and both works may reasonably be 
referred to about the same age. As is it probable that the latter were not 
built in the years immediately preceding the fall of Delhi in 1194, so also it 
would seem that the columns at Maha-ban must have been sculptured before the 
assault of Mahmud in 1017 ; for after that date the place was too insignificant 
to be selected as the site of any elaborate edifice. Thus, Mr. Fergusson's con- 
jecture is confirmed, that the Delhi pillars are to be ascribed to the ninth or 
tenth century. He doubts whether the cloister there now stands as originally 
arranged by the Hindus, or whether it had boen taken down and re-arranced 
by the conquerors ; but concludes as most probable that the former was the case 
and that it was an open colonnade surrounding the palace of Prithi Raj " If 
so," he adds, " it is the only instance known of Hindu pillars being left undis- 
turbed." General Cunningham differs from this conclusion, and considers it 
utterly incredible that any architect, designing an original building and wishing 
to obtain height, should have recourse to such a rude expedient as constructing 
two distinct pillars, and then, without any disguise, piling up one on the top of 
the other. But such a design, however strange according to modern ideas did 
not, it is clear, offend the taste of the old Maha-ban architects, since we find 
them copying it for decorative purposes even when there was no constructural 
necessity for it. Thus some of the inner columns are really monoliths, and yet 
they have all the appearance of being in two pieces. 

A good illustration of this Hindu fancy for broken pillars may be seen at 
Noh-jhil, a town across the Ganges in the extreme north of the district. Here 
also is a Muhammadan dargah, constructed out of the wreck of a Hindu temple. 
The pillars, twenty in number, are very simple in character, but exceptional in 
two respects ; first, as being all of uniform design, which is quite anomalous 
in Hindu architecture ; secondly, as being, though of fair height, each cut out 
of a single piece of stone. The only decoration on the otherwise plain shaft 
consists of four deep scroll-shaped notches half-way between the base and 
capital ; the result of which is to make each column appear as if it were in 


two pieces. The explanation is obvious. In earlier days, when large blocks 
of stone were difficult to procure, there was also lack of sufficient art to con- 
ceal the unavoidable join in the structure. In course of time the eye became 
accustomed to the defect, and eventually required its apparent introduction 
even where it did not really exist. A similar conservatism may be traced 
in the art history of every nation, and more especially in religious art. In 
breaking up his columns into two pieces, and thus perpetuating, as a decora- 
tion, what in its origin had been a signal defect, the Hindu architect was 
unconsciously influenced by the same motive as the Greek, who to the very 
last continued to introduce, as prominent features in his temple facades, the 
metopes and triglyphs which had been necessities in the days of wooden con- 
struction, but had become unmeaning when repeated in stone. 

The two ancient Brahmanical temples on the Gwaliar rock, commonly 
known as the Sas Bahu, illustrate still more remarkably than the Noh-jhil dar- 
gah the way in which what was originally a constructural make-shift has subse- 
quently been adopted as a permanent architectural feature. In the larger of 
these two buildings the interior of the spacious nave is disfigured by four enor- 
mous columns, which occupy a square in the centre of the area and obstruct the 
view in every direction. It is evident at a glance that, though the work of the 
same architect as the rest of the fabric, they are utterly out of harmony with 
his first design. Necessity alone can have compelled him to introduce them as 
props for a falling roof ; while the shallowness and unfinished state of their sur- 
face sculpture further suggest that they were erected in great haste in order to 
avert a catastrophe which appeared imminent. They were as little contemplated 
at the outset as the inverted arches in Wells Cathedral, or as the rude struts in- 
serted by General Cunningham in this very same building to support the broken 
architraves of the upper story. In the smaller temple, which is of somewhat 
later date, the internal arrangement follows precisely the same lines, though 
here the lesser span of the roof rendered the detached pillars unnecessary, the 
massive walls being quite sufficient by themselves to support the small flat 
dome and the low tower that surmounted it. The central columns, however, 
are here so artistically treated, and are in such excellent proportion to the other 
parts of the building, having been designed with them and not subsequently 
intruded, that they are really decorative and add beauty to the interior. 

Both these temples, like that of Gobind Deva at Brinda-ban, to which they 
form a most valuable and interesting complement, originally consisted of three 
compartments— a fact which has not been previously noticed by any archaeologist 


In the larger Gwaliar temple the nave and the choir remain, but the sanctum, 
as is usually the case, has been totally destroyed by the Muhammadans. 
That it once existed, however, is evident from the fact that the choir is seen 
from the interior to have communicated with an apartment beyond, though 
the opening is now closed with blocks of stone. In the smaller of the two tem- 
ples the nave alone is perfect : the choir has utterly perished ; but the end wall 
of the sanctum still exists in situ, built up into the ramparts of the fort. Gene- 
ral Cunningham, in describing these buildings, has followed Mr. Fergusson in 
using, instead of 'nave,' the misleading word 'porch,' and has thus failed to 
notice the triple arrangement which otherwise could not have escaped him.* 

To return to the Chhatthi Palna. On a drum of one of the pillars is an 
inscription— now upside down— which I read as Hum ddsa kas ehiavi kam, 
meaning, it would seem, ' Column No. 91, the gift of Ram Das.' This would 
rather lead to the supposition that the pillars were all originally of one set and 
belonged to a single building, though it is quite possible that they may be the 
wreck of several different temples, all of which were overthrown by Mahunid of 
Ghazni, when he captured the fort in 1017. In either case there can be no 
question as to the Buddhist character of the building, or buildings, for I found 
let into the wall a small seated figure of Buddha, as also a cross-bar and a 
large upright of a Buddhist railing. The latter is ornamented with foliated 
circular disks, on one of which is represented a head with a most enormous 
chignon, and — what is unusual — has four oval sockets for cross-bars on either 
side instead of three. These columns and other fragments had probably 
been lying about for centuries till the Muhammadans, in the reign of 
Aurangzeb, after demolishing a modern Hindu temple, roughly put them 
together and set them up on its site as a makeshift for a mosque. When 
Father Tieffenthaller visited Maha-ban about the middle of last century, 
it seems that Hindus and Muhammadans were both in joint possession of the 
building, for he writes : " On voit a Maha-ban dans une grande maison portee 
par 80 colonnes, une peinture qui represente Krishna volant du lait en jettant 
le clair et jouant avec d'autres. Cet edifice a ete converti en partie en une 
mosquee, en partie en une pagode." But the connection of the building with 

* I would here notice, as I may nothave a better opportunity and it is afactof interest, that 
the third of the Gwaliar temples, commonly called the Tell hi mandir, about which General 
Cunningham hesitates to express an opinion, is certainly a Jain building. This is shown by the 
enormous height of the doorway, a feature peculiarly unbrahmanical, and by the two upper 
stories of the tower — as in the Buddh Gaya temple — which no Brahman would ever have thought 
■A allowing over the head of the god. 



Krishna or his worship, even at any earlier period, is entirely fictitious. That 
is to say, so far as concerns the actual fabric and the materials of which it is 
constructed : the site, as in so many other similar cases, has probably been 
associated with Hindu worship from very remote antiquity. In Sir John 
Strachey's time I obtained a grant of lis. 1,000 for the repair of the building, 
which had fallen into a very ruinous condition, and in digging the foundations 
of the new screen- walls (the old walls had been simply set on the ground without 
any foundation at all) I came upon a number of remains of the true Hindu 
temple, dating apparently from no further back than about the year 1500 A.D. 
The Iconoclast would not use these sculptures in the construction of his mosque, 
since they had too recently formed part of an idolatrous shrine, but had them 
buried out of sight ; while he had no scruple about utilizing the old Buddhist 
pillars. Whatever I dug up, I either let into the wall or brought over to 
Mathuni, for the local Museum. The roof of the present building, as constructed 
by the Muhammadans, is made up of any old slabs and broken pillars that 
first came to hand ; but two compartments are covered in with the small flat 
domes of the old temple, which are similar in character to the beautiful examples 
at Ajmer and Mount Abu. 

Mothers come here for their purification on the sixth day after childbirth 
— chhatthi pdja — whence the building is popularly known as the Chhatthi Palna, 
and it is visited by enormous crowds of people for several days about the anni- 
versary of Krishna's birth in the month of Bhadon. A representation of the 
infant god's cradle {palna) is displayed to view, with his foster-mother's churn 
and other domestic articles. The place being regarded not exactly as a temple, 
but as Nanda and Jasoda's actual dwelling-house, all persons, without regard 
to the religion they profess, are allowed to walk about in it with perfect freedom. 
Considering the size, the antiquity, the artistic excellence, the exceptional 
archaeological interest, the celebrity amongst natives, and the close proximity to 
Mathuni of this building, it is strange that it has never before been mentioned 
by any English writer. 

It is said that whenever foundations are sunk within the precincts of the 
fort, many fragments of sculpture — of Buddhist character, it may be presumed 
— have been brought to light ; but they have always been buried again or bro- 
ken up as building materials. Doubtless, Maha-ban was the site of some of 
those Buddhist monasteries which the Chinese pilgrim Fa Hian distinctly 
states existed in his time on both sides of the river. And further, whatever 
may be the exact Indian word concealed under the form Klisoboras, or Cliso- 


bora, given by Arrian and Pliny as the name of the town between which and 
Mathura the Jamunsi flowed — Amnis Jomanes in Gangem per Palibotliros decur- 
rit inter oppida Methora et Clisobora, Pliny, Hist. Nat. vi., 22 — it may be con- 
cluded with certainty that Maha-ban is the site intended.* Its other literary 
names are Brihad-vana, Brihad-aranya, Gokula, and Nandagrama ; and no one 
of these, it is true, in the slightest resembles the word Clisobora. But this 
might well be a corruption of ' Krishna- pura,' ' the city of Krishna,' a term used 
by the speaker as a descriptive title — and it would be a highly appropriate one 
— but taken by the foreign traveller for the ordinary proper name of the place. 
Colonel Tod thought Clisobora might be Batesar, and most subsecment English 
topographers seem to have blindly accepted the suggestion. There is, however, 
really no foundation for it beyond the surmise that Clisobora and Mathura were 
quoted as the two principal towns in the country, and that Batesar must have 
been a place of importance, because its older name was derived from the Siirasen, 
after whom the whole people were called Sauraseni. General Cunningham, in 
his ' Ancient Geography,' has thrown out a new theory and identifies Clisobora 
(read in one MS. as Cyrisoborka) with Brinda-ban, assuming that Kalikavartta, 
or 'Kalika's Whirlpool,' was an earlier name of the town, in allusion to Krish- 
na's combat with the serpent Kalika. But in the first place, the Jamunii does 
not flow between Mathura and Brinda-ban, seeing that both are on the same 
bank ; secondly, the ordinary name of the great serpent is not Kalika, but 
Kaliya ; and thirdly, it does not appear upon what authority it is stated that 
" the earlier name of the place was Kalikavartta." Upon this latter point, a 
reference was made to the great Brinda-ban Pandit, Swami Rangacharya, who, 
if any one, might be expected to speak with positive knowledge, and his reply 
was that in the course of all his reading, he had never met with Brinda-ban 
under any other name than that which it now bears. 

The glories of Maha-ban are told in a special (interpolated) section 
of the Brahmanda Purana, called the Brihad-vana Mahatmya. In this, 

* The parallel passage in Arrian's India is as follows -.—Tovtov tov HpaicXia paXitrra 
irpis 2ovpat77)vuip -yEpaiptaOai, IvSikoV i'&vfos, Sv'o Tidk/ts /isydXai,, MeBopa. re 
kal kXtLCafiopa., kdi irora/xos laifiupms nXouroQoic/p'pei rrjr; xuio^v avTcvV . Ab 
both authors seem to be quoting from the same original, the insertion of the words per 
Palibothros in Pliny must be due to an error on the part of some copyist, misled by the frequent 
mention of Palibothra in the preceding paragraphs. The mistake cannot be credited to Pliny 
himself, who Axes the site of Palibothra as 415 miles to the east of the confluence of the Ganges 
and the Jamuna. The gods whom Arrian proceeds to describe under the names of Dionysui 
and Hercules correspond closely with Krishna and Balar una, who are still the local divinitieB 
of Mathura. 


its tirthas, or holy places, are reckoned to be twenty-one in number as 
follows : — 

Eka-rinsati-tirthena ynktam bhurvpindnvitam, 
Yamid-iirjiina punyatamam, Nanda-kiipam tathaiva cha t 
Ghintd-harana Bruhmdndam, kundam Sarasvatam tathd, 
Sarasvati sild tatra, Vishnu-kunda-samdnvitam, 
Karna-hipam, Krhluia-kundam, Gopa-k'Jpam tathaiva cha r 
Ramanam-ramana-sthdnam, Ndrada-sih&nam eva cha, 
JPutand-pdtana-sthdnam, Tiindvarttdkhya pdtanam, 
N anda-harmyam, Nanda-gcham, Ghdtam Ramana-samjnakam, 
Mathurdndthodbhavam kshetram puny am pdpaprandsanam, 
J anma-sthdnam tu Sheshasya, jananam Yoyamdyaya. 

The Piitana-patana-sthanam of the above lines is a ravine, commonly called 
Putana khar, which is crossed by the Mathura road a short distance outside the 
town. It is a mile or more in length, reaching down to the bank of the Jarnuna 
and, as the name denotes, is supposed to have been caused by the passage of 
Piitana's giant body, in the same way as the Kans Khar at Mathura. 

At the Brahmand ghat, where a rds, or 'sacred dance,' is held every Sunday, 
there is a small modern shrine of Mrittika Bihari and the remains of a chhattri 
built by one Mukund Sinh, the greater part of which has been washed away by 
the river. A Jaini sculpture, probably brought from the Chhatthi P&ina, is 
let into the front of the little platform, on which are placed balls of sand in 
the shape of the pera sweetmeat, to represent the lump of earth that the child 
Krishna stuffed into his mouth, and which Jasoda saw develope into a minia- 
ture universe. These are called the Brahmand he pera and are taken away by 
pilgrims as souvenirs of their visit. A pretty walk under the trees along the 
high bank of the river leads to the Chinta-haran ghat, a quarter of a mile lower 
down the stream, a secluded spot, where a Puis is held every Monday. There 
are no buildings save a Bairagi's cell. The Hindu cicerones never fail to speak 
with much enthusiasm of the liberality of Mir Sarfaraz AH, grandfather of 
Sardar AH, who never cut any of the timber for his own profit and allowed the 
pilgrims to make free use of it all : the property has now changed hands and 
the landlord's manorial rights are more strictly enforced. 

Between the town aud the sandy expanse called the Raman Reti is a small 
grove known as the Khelan Ban, with several trees of the Paras Pipar kind, 
which I have not seen elsewhere in this part of India, though in Bombay there 

MAHA'-BAN festivals. 281 

are avenues of it in some of i 1 1 < - streets of the city. The largest, which is in front 
of the Bairagi's cell, flowers profusely in the cold weather from November to 
February : the flowers, much resembling those of the cotton plant in form, are 
on first opening yellow and afterwards change their colour to red. The bud is 
exactly like an elongated acorn ; the leaves resemble those of the pipal, but are 
smaller. On the high bank overlooking the Raman Reti (where is held a fair 
on the 11 th of each Hindu month) are two handsome chJwitris to members of Ali 
Khan's family, of the same design as the one on the other side of the town, but 
in a more ruinous condition. The well close by is called the Gop Kiia. On the 
opposite bank, on what is an island in the rains, is the Koila Sarae, of much the 
same size as the one at Chaumuha. The gateways still retain their original 
wooden doors and are surmounted by corner chhattris as at Chhata. The whole 
area was occupied till 1871, when it was flooded by the river, which rose to an 
unusual height and carried away the city bridge, 18 pontoons of which were 
stranded here. Since then the site has been deserted, the villagers having all 
removed to higher ground. Outside one of the gates is a mosque and there are 
ruins of other edifices also — undermined and partly washed away by the 
r iver — including a square building said to have been a temple of Mahadeva, 
erected by Jawabir Sinh of Bharatpur : the foundations have been Laid bare to 
a depth of some six or seven feet 

The principal Hindu festivals observed in Maha-ban are the Rim Lila in 
the month of Kuvar, first set on foot by a late Tahsildar, Munshi Bhajan Lai ; 
the Putana mela, Kartik Sudi 6th ; the Jakhaiya mela, held on the Sundays of 
the month of Magh (there is a similar festival held at Paindhat in the Mustaf- 
abad pargana of the Mainpuri district, which is believed to have great influence 
on the fall of rain in the winter season) the Raman Reti, held on the sands of 
the Jamuna, Phalgun Sudi 11th ; and the Parikama, or Perambulation, Kartik 
Sudi 5th ; this includes the town of Gokul and village of Raval, at which latter 
place Radha's mother is said to have lived. 

The Muhammadans, who are only 1,704 in number, have several small 
mosques and two festivals. One of these, the Chatiyal Madar, is held on the 3rd of 
Jamada'l-awwal, in honour'of Saiyid Badia-ud-din, better known as Shall Madar, 
whose principal shrine is at Makhanpur on the Isan. His festivals, wherever 
held, are distinguished by the name of Chatiyal, meaning ' an open place,' and 
the hereditary hierophants bear the title of Khalifa. The second Muhammadan 
mela is the Urs Dargah of Shah Gilan, or Saiyid Makhdum. The dargah was 
built about a century ago by Nawab Sulaiman Beg. 




The town of Gokul — population 4,012 — being the head-quarters of the Valla- 
bhacharyas, or Gokulashta Gosains, is throughout the year crowded with pilgrims, 
of whom the majority come from Gujarat and Bombay, where the doctrines of 
the sect have been very widely propagated, more especially among the Bhattias 
and other mercantile classes. In many of its physical characteristics the place 
used to present a striking parallel to the presumed morality of its habitues, its 
streets being tortuous and unsavoury, its buildings unartistic, its environs waste 
and uninviting ; while to complete the analogy, though only five or six miles 
distant from Matlmni, it was cut off from easy access by the river, and was thus 
at once both near and remote, in the same way as its literature is modern and 
yet obscure. The picturesque appearance, which it presented from the opposite 
bank, was destroyed on nearer approach. For the temples, though they amount 
to a prodigious number and are many of them richly endowed, are nearly all 
modern in date and for the most part tasteless in design ; while the thorough- 
fares were in the rains mere channels for the floods which poured down through 
them to the Jamuna, and at all other seasons of the year were so rough and 
broken that the rudest wheeled vehicle could with difficulty make its way along 
them. Efforts were made for many years to improve its sanitation, but without 
the slightest result, for the Gosain Mnafidars were quite indifferent to any 
reform of the kind, and were well content to let things remain as they were. 
However, by personally interesting myself in the matter and putting an active 
and intelligent Tahsildar in local charge, 1 succeeded before I left the district 
in making it by universal consent one of the cleanest and neatest of towns, instead 
of being as formerly the very filthiest. It may be doubtful how long the reform 
will last, for constant supervision is necessary in consequence of the number of 
cattle driven within the walls every night, which render the place really what its 
name denotes, 'a cattle yard/ rather than an abode of men. Its most noteworthy 
ornament is a spacious masonry tank constructed some thirty years ago by a 
Seth named Chunna. The trees on its margin are always white with Hocks of 
large water-fowl of a quite distinct species from any to be found elsewhere in 
the neighbourhood. They are a new colony, being all descended from a few 
pairs which casually settled there no more than ten or twelve years ago. Their 
plumage is peculiar and ornamental, but not at all times easy to obtain, as the 
birds are considered to enjoy the benefit of sanctuary, and on one occasion, 
when a party of soldiers from the Mathura cantonments attempted to shoot a 
number of them, the townspeople rose en masse for their protection. Imme- 
diately opposite the tank and between it and the river I had a new school built, 

vallabba'cha'rya's career. 283 

occupying three sides of a quadrangle with an arched gateway of carved 
stone on the fourth side facing the street. The cost was Rs. 2,440, the whole 
of which sum was raised by local subscription save only lis. 500, which were 
allotted from the balance of the Government cess. A Sanskrit class has since 
been started, and so many wealthy pilgrims visit Gokul, who would be glad to 
spend their money on local institutions, if there were only some one to call their 
attention to them, that the school might easily be maintained as one of the 
largest and highest in the district. 

The great heresiareh, Vallabhacharya, from whom Gokul derives all its 
modern celebrity, was born in the year 1479 A. D., being the second son of 
Lakshman Bhatt, a Telinga Brahman of the Vishnu Swami Sampradaya. By 
the accident of birth, though not by descent, he can be claimed as a native of 
Upper India, having been born at Champaranya, a wild solitude in the neigh- 
bourhood of Banaras, whither his parents had travelled up from the south on 
a pilgrimage. Their stay in the holy city was cut short by a popular emeute, 
the result of religious intolerance ; and the mother, who was little in a condition 
to encounter the distress and fatigue of so hasty a flight, prematurely gave birth 
on the way to an eight months' child. Either from an exaggerated alarm as 
to their own peril, or, as was afterwards said, from a sublime confidence in the 
promised protection of Heaven, they laid the babe uuder a tree and" abandoned 
it to its fate. When some days had elapsed, and their fears had subsided, they 
cautiously retraced their steps, and finding the child still alive and uninjured 
on the very spot where he had been left, they took him with them to Banaras. 
After a very short stay there, they fixed their home at Gokul, where the child 
was placed under the tuition of the Pandit Narayan Bhatt, and in four months 
mastered the whole vast range of Sanskrit literature and philosophy. His fol- 
lowers, it may be remarked, are conscientious imitators of their founder in 
respect of the short time which they devote to their studies ; but the result in 
their case is more in accordance with ordinary experience, and their scholarship 
of the very slightest. When eleven years of age, he lost his father, and almost 
immediately afterwards commenced his career as a religious teacher. His ear- 
liest triumphs were achieved in Southern India, where he secured his first con- 
vert, Damodar Das ; and in a public disputation at Vijaynagar, the place where 
his mother's family resided, he refuted the arguments of the Court Pandits 
with such authority that even the King, Krishna Deva, was eonvinced by his 
eloquence and adopted the youthful stranger as his spiritual guide. Thence- 
forth his success was ensured ; and at every place that he visited, Ujaiyin, 
Banaras, Haridwar, and Allahabad, the new doctrines enlisted a multitude of 

284 vallabhXcha'rya's doctrines. 

adherents. A lifo of celibacy being utterly at variance with his ideas of a 
reasonable religion, he took to himself a wife at Banaras and became the father 
of two sons, Gopinath, born in 1511, and Bitthalnath in 151(3. His visits to 
Braj were long and frequent. There, in 1520, he founded at Gobardhan the 
great temple of Sri-nath ; and at Brinda-ban saw in a vision the god Krishna, 
who directed him to introduce a new devotion in his honor, wherein he 
should be adored in the form of a child under the title of Balkrishna or 
Bal Gopal ; which is still the cultus most affected by his descendants at the 
present day. His permanent home, however, was at Banaras, where he com- 
posed his theological works, of which the most extensive is a commentarv on 
the Bhagavad Gita, called the Subodhini, and where he died in the year 1531. 

He was succeeded in the pontificate by his seeond son, Bitthalnath, who 
propagated his father's doctrines with great zeal and success throughout all the 
south and west of India, and himself received 252 distinguished proselytes, 
whose acts are recorded in a Hindi work called the ' Do Sau Bavan Varta.' 
Finally, in 15(35, he settled down at Gokul and, at the age of seventy, breathed 
his last on the sacred hill of Gobardhan. By his two wives he had a family of 
seven sons, Giridhar, Gobind, Bal-krishan, Gokulnath, Raghunath, Jadunath 
and Ghansyam. Of these, the fourth, Gokulnath, is by far the most famous 
and his descendants in consequence claim some slight pre-eminence above their 
kinsmen. His principal representative is the Gosain at Bombay. 

Unlike other Hindu sects, in which the religious teachers are ordinarily un- 
married, all the Gosains among the Vallabhacharyas are invariably family men 
and engage freely in secular pursuits. They are the Epicureans of the east and 
are not ashamed to avow their belief that the ideal life consists rather in social 
enjoyment than in solitude and mortification. Such a creed is naturally des- 
tructive of all self-restraint even in matters where indulgence is by common 
consent held criminal ; and the profligacy to which it has given rise is so notori- 
ous that the late Maharaja of Jaypur was moved to expel from his capital the 
ancient image of Gokul Chandrama, for which the sect entertained a special 
veneration. He further conceived such a prejudice against Vaishnavas in o-eneral 
that all his subjects were compelled, before they appeared in his presence, to 
mark their forehead with the three horizontal lines that indicate a votary of Siva. 
The scandalous practices of the Gosains and the unnatural subserviency of the 
people in ministering to their gratification received a crushing eayposd in a cause 
cilibre for libel tried before the Supreme Court of Bombay in 1861, from the 
detailed narrative of which 1 have borrowed a considerable amount of information. 


The dogma of Brahma-Sambandh, or ' union with the divine, ' upon which 
Vallabhacharya constructed his whole system, was, as he declares, revealed to 
him by the Deity in person and recorded word for word as it was uttered. This 
inspired text is called the Siddhanta Rahasya, and being very brief and of quite 
exceptional interest, it is here given in full : — 

^minsnjq^r ng jmts^j Uf Tfafib I 

^ritmfaifMi ^tut: tNmn: mm n 
^mw: w^ts^ ^fwrt^n: sra^ n 

fa^fem: wqShs^sRiiiTsfN mm: i 


clSUT^lIb s^tara ^h^r q-Rixim I 
3rTT<llF^H rl-SIT =3 *5R*i 1^: II 

r\m ?im *W3J3 ^ifa ST^nT cm: I 
ifjJTriR m^pJSjmjS^TN ^Nf% I 

" At dead of night, on the 11th of the bright fortnight of Sravan, what is 
here written was declared to me, word for word, by God himself. Every sin, 
•whether of body or soul, is put away by union with the Creator ; of whatever 
kind the sin may be, whether 1st, original ; 2nd, accidental (i.e., born of time 



and place) ; 3rd, social or ceremonial (i.e., special offences defined by custom 
or the Vedas) ; 4th, sins of abetment ; or 5th, sins sensual.* No one of these is 
to be accounted any longer existent ; but when there is no union with the Creator 
there is no putting away of sin. Therefore, one should abstain from anything 
that has not been consecrated ; but when once a thing has been dedicated, the 
offerer may do with it what he likes : this is the rule. The God of gods will not 
accept any offering which has already been used by the owner. Therefore, at the 
outset of every action there should be unreserved offering. It is said by those 
of a different persuasion, ' what is once given cannot be taken away ; it is all 
God's ;' but as is the practice of servants on earth, so would we act in the 
dedication through which everything becomes God's. Ganges water is full of 
impurities ; and ' the holy Ganges' may be predicated of bad as well as good. 
Precisely the same in our case." 

The last four lines are rather obscurely expressed. The idea intended is that 
as servants! use what remains of that which they have prepared for their masters, 
so what we offer to God we may afterwards use for ourselves ; and as dirty 
water flowing into the Ganges becomes assimilated with the sacred stream, so 
vile humanity becomes purified by union with God. 

The practice of the sect has been modelled strictly in accordance with these 
instructions. A child is Krishna-ed (christened) while still an infant by the 
Gosain's putting on its neck a string of beads and repeating over it the formula 
called the Ashtakshar Mantra, sri Krishna saranam mama (Deus adjutorium 
meum), but before the neophyte can claim the privileges of full communion he 
has to undergo a rite similar to that of confirmation, and at the age of twelve 
or thereabouts, when ready to take upon himself the responsibilities of life, he 
initiates his career by a solemn dedication (samarpana) of all that he has and is 
to the God of his devotion. This oblation of tan, man, dhan, as it is popularly 

* There is a paraphrase cm the Siddhanta Rahasya by Gosain Gokuln&th, called Bhakti 
Siddhanta Vivriti; in which, with the characteristic fondneBs of Sanskrit commentators for 
scholastic refinements, he explains these terms in a much more narrow and technical sense than 
that which I have applied to them. As the text contains an uneven number of lines, it would 
appear at first si^ht to be imperfect: but this suspicion can scarcely be well founded, since in 
Gokulnath's time it Btood precisely as now. 

f Hence sevakdn, ' servants,' is the distinctive name for lay members of the VallabhJcharva 
community. The whole system of doctrine is known as ' Pushti milrg,' or way of happiness, and, 
its practice as ' Daivi jivan,' the Divine life. Their sectarial n:ark consists of two red perpendi- 
cular lines down the forehead, meeting in a curve at the root of the nose, with a red spot between 


expressed — that is, of body, soul, and substance — is couched in the following 
terras : — 

^ri sFifftair: win wi ^^^rni^r^rxmn^^wri franTsraiTra- 

" Om. The God Krishna is my refuge. Distracted by the infinite pain 
and torment caused by the separation from Krishna, which has extended over a 
s^ace of time measured by thousands of years, I now, to the holy Krishna, do 
dedicate my bodily faculties, my life, my soul, and its belongings, with my wife, 
my house, my children, my whole substance, and my own self. 0, Krishna ; I 
am thy servant."* 

Now, all this may be so interpreted as to convey a most unexceptionable 
meaning : that man should consecrate to God, wholly and without reserve, his 
body, soul, and substance, his every thought, word, and action, and all that he 
has, or does, or suffers, that such consecration is sufficient to hallow and ennoble 
the meanest actions of our ordinary life and is an effectual preservative from 
all evil, while even good works done withont such consecration are unprofitable 
and "have even the nature of sin."t This is the doctrine of Christianity, and 
it may be deduced from Vallabhacharya's revelation without forcing the sense 
of a single word. But though there may be some slight doubt as to his own 
views, there can be none as to those entertained by his most immediate succes- 
sors and transmitted by them to his disciples at the present day. For Gokul- 
nath, who is regarded as the most authoritative exponent of his grandfather's 
tenets, repeatedly insists in all his works, with the most marked emphasis, on the 
ahsolute identity of the Gosain with the Divinity4 In fact, he goes even a 
step beyond this, and represents the Gosain as so powerful a mediator that prac- 
tically his favour is of more importance to us than God's : for, if God is dis- 
pleased, the Gosain can deprecate his wrath ; but if the Gosain is displeased, 

* This formula is, I find, baaed on a passage in the Narada Pancharatra. 

■f The final climax states the doctrine of the Anglican, but not of the Catholic Church. 

X This extravagant doctrine pervades all the later Vaishnava schools, and is accepted by 
the disciples of Cliaitanya no less than by those of Vallabhacharya. The foundation upon which 
it rests is a Hue in the Bhagavat, where the Guru is styled Sarva-deva-maya, made up of all 

288 vaixabha'cha'rya theology. 

God will be affected towards us in the same way, and conciliation will then be 
impossible. When to this it is added that the Gosain obtains his position solely 
by birth, and that no defect, moral or intellectual, can impair his hereditary 
claim to the adoration of his followers, who are exhorted to close their eyes and 
ears to anything that tends to his discredit,* it is obvious that a door is opened 
to scandal of a most intolerable description. By the act of dedication, a man 
submits to the pleasure of the Gosain, as God's representative, not only the 
first fruits of his wealth, but also the virginity of his daughter or his newly- 
wedded wife ; while the doctrine of the Brahma Sambandh is explained to 
mean that such adulterous connection is the same as ecstatic union with the 
God, and the most meritorious act of devotion that can be performed. This 
glorification of immorality forms the only point in a large proportion of the 
stories in the Chaurasi Varta, or ' Accounts of Vallabhacharya's 84 great pro- 
selytes.' One of the most extravagant will be found given in full at the end of 
this chapter. The work commences with reference to the Revelation of the 
Siddhanta Rahasya, preceded by a brief colloquy between the Deity and the 
Gosain, of which the following words are the most important : — 

ricf *fi ^T^ra off rriTnvT ^m 95? %t sfN %x 


lli=t 1TET rT=J sBT3T3TC5fi ^TH 5R1 %T rTTT ^T5R it 

«0 NO 

" Vallabha. — You know the nature of life : that it is full of defects ; how 
can there be union between it and you ? 

" Krishna. — You will effect the union of the divinity with living crea- 
tures, and I will accept them. Yon will give your name to them, and all their 
sins shall be put away." 

Professor Wilson interprets this as merely the declaration of a philosophi- 
cal dogma, that life and spirit are identical ; but (it can scarcely be doubted) 
the passage means rather that human life can only be purified by bringing it 
into intimate connection with God, or in default of God, with God's repre- 
sentative, the Gosain. 

* ThiB is considered so essential a duty, that in the Dasa marma, or Vallabhacharya Deca- 
logue, ' See no faults,' stands as the Tenth Commandment. 


Such being the revolting character of their theological literature, it is easy 
to understand why the Vallabhsichiiryas have always shown a great reluctance 
to submit it to the criticism of the outer world of unbelievers, who might not 
be prepared to accept such advanced doctrines. Though there are several 
copyists at Gokul, whose sole occupation it is to make transcripts for the use 
of pilgrims, they would ordinarily refuse to sell a manuscript to any one who 
was not of their own denomination ; and none of their books had ever been 
published till quite recently, when two or three of the less esoteric were issued 
from Pandit Giri Prasad's Press at Beswa in the Aligarh district. However, 
as in many other forms of religion, and happily so in this case, practice is not 
always in accordance with doctrine. Though there may be much that is re- 
prehensible in the inner life of the Gosains, it is not at Gokul obtruded on the 
public and has never occasioned any open scandal ; while the present head of 
the community, Gosain Purushottam Lai, a descendant of Bitthalnath's sixth 
son, Jadunath, deserves honourable mention for exceptional liberality and 
enlightment. He is the head of the temple of Navanit-Priya, popularly called 
by way of pre-eminence, Raja Thakur,* and is the proprietor of the whole of 
the township of Gokul. His uncle and predecessor, Gobind Lai, died, leaving 
a widow, Janaki Bau Ji, and an only daughter. The latter, according to inva- 
riable custom, was married to a Bhatt, and by him had two sons by name 
Ran-ckor Ls'il and Gop Ji. But, as by Salic law neither of them could suc- 
ceed to the spiritual dignity, the widow adopted her nephew Purushottam, the 
son of her husband's brother, Braj Pal. The adoption was disputed by the two 
sons, who carried their suit in appeal even up to the Privy Council, and there 
were finally defeated. Under their mother's will, they enjoy a maintenance 
allowance of Rs. U00 a year, paid to the elder brother by the Gosain, and they 
have further retained — though under protest — all the property conferred by 
the Maharaja of Jodhpur on their common ancestor Murlidhar, the father of 
Gobind Lai and Braj Lai, who was the founder of the family's temporal pros- 
perity and was the first muiifidar of Gokul by grant from Sindhia. 

Gosain Purushottam Lai has one son, Raman Lai, through whom he is the 
grandfather of Braj Lai and Kanhaiya Lai. The latter of these has been 
adopted by Lachhman Ji, a descendant of Bitthalnath's fourth son, Gokulnath, 
and is now the Gosain of the temple bearing that title. Thus the two princi- 
pal endowments have both come into one branch of the family, and the Gosain 
is one of the very largest landowners and wealthiest residents in the district ; 

* He also presides over two temples dedicated to Baladeva and Madan Mohan near the 
Kankhal Ghat m Mathura, where he ordinarily resides. 



while he wields, at the same time, in virtue of his religious character, 
an influence which is absolutely unbounded among his own people, and 
very considerable in all classes of Hindu society. In the official world, how- 
ever, he is barely known even by name, as his estates are too well managed 
to bring him before the Courts, and ho is still so far fettered by the traditions 
of his order that he declines all social intercourse with Europeans, even of 
the highest rank : so much so, that when the Lieutenant-Governor of these 
Provinces visited the station in 1873, and being unaware of this peculiarity, 
expressed in writing a desire to see him, the invitation was not accepted. 
The compliment was prompted by the Gosain's annual gift of a prize of 
Rs. 300 for the student who passes first in the general Entrance Examination 
for the Calcutta University ; a donation which, under the circumstances, 
cannot have been suggested by any ulterior motive beyond a genuine desire for 
the furtherance of education. He has since converted it into a permanent 
endowment. In the same spirit, though he makes no claim to any high 
degree of scholarship himself, ho has maintained for some years past in the 
city of Mathura a Sanskrit school, which is attended by a large number of 
adults as well as boys, for whom he has secured very competent teachers. 
He has also contributed freely to the Gokul new school and — as a further 
proof of the liberality of his sentiments — he gave Rs. 400 towards the erection 
of the Catholic Church. 

At all the Vallabhacharya temples, the daily services are eight in number — 
viz., 1st, Mangala, the morning levee, a little after sun-rise, when the God is 
taken from his couch and bathed ; 2nd, Sringara, an hour and-a-half later, when 
the God is attired in all his jewels and seated on his throne ; 3rd, Gwala, after 
an interval of about three-quarters of an hour, when the God is supposed to be 
starting to graze his cattle in the woods of Braj ; 4th, Raj Bhog, the mid-day 
meal, which, after presentation, is consumed by the priests and distributed 
among the votaries who have assisted at the ceremonies ; 5th, Uttapan, about 
3 p. m., when the God awakes from his siesta ; (ith, Bhog, the evening 
collation ; 7th, Sandhya, the disrobing at sunset ; and 8th, Sayan, the retiring 
to rest. Upon all these occasions the ritual concerns only the priests, and 
the lay worshipper is simply a spectator, who evinces his reverence by 
any of the ordinary forms with which he would approach a human superior. 

On the full moon of Asarh there is a curious annual ceremony for the pur- 
I ■"-<• of ascertaining the agricultural prospects of the year. The priests placo 
little packets of the ashes of different staples, after weighing them, in the sane-. 

vallabhXcha'rya temples at gokul. 201 

tuary. The temple is then closed, but the night is spent in worship. In the 
morning the packets are examined. Should any of the packets have increased 
in weight, that particular article of produce will yield a good harvest ; and 
should they decrease, the harvest will be proportionately scanty. 

As has already been mentioned, none of the buildings present a very im- 
posing appearance. The three oldest, dedicated respectively to Gokulnath, 
Madan Mohan, and Bitthalmith, are ascribed to the year 1511 A.D. The last 
named, which is near the Jasoda Ghnt, has a small but richly decorated quad- 
rangle with bold brackets carved into the form of elephants and swans. It is 
quite uncared for and is rapidly falling into irreparable ruin. The most notable 
of the remainder are Dwaraka Nath, dating from 1546 A.D., Balkrishan, from 
1636, with an annual income of Rs. 4,420; Navanit Priya, or Dau Ji, the 
latter name being that of the Grosain, whose grandson, Giridhari Ji, is now in 
possession, with an income of Rs. 9,382 ; Braj Ratn, under Gosain Gokul Nath 
Ji, a descendant of Bitthalnath's younger son, Ghan Syam, with an income 
of Rs. 10,650; Sri Chandra ma, with Rs. 4,050, and Navanit Lai, Natwar, 
Mathures, Gopal Lai, and Braj es war ; all of these being quite modern. There 
are also two shrines in honour of Mahadeva, built by Bijay Sinh, Raja of Jodh- 
pur, in 1602. The principal melas are the Janin Ashtami, Krishna's birthday, 
in Bhadon, and Annkiit on the day after the new moon of Kartik. The Trimi- 
vart mela is also held, Kartik badi 4th, when paper figures of the demon are 
first paraded and then torn to pieces. The principal gate of the town is that 
called the Gandipura Darwaza. It is of stone with two corner turrets, but has 
never been completely finished. From it a road, about half a mile or so in 
length, runs between some very fine tamarind trees, which seem specially to affect 
the soil in this neighbourhood, down to Gandipura on the bank of the river, 
where is a baoli and a large house built by Manohar Lai, a Bhattia, now personal 
assistant at the Rewa Court. Below it is Ballabh ghat, with Koila immediately 
opposite on the right bank of the stream. This road is much frequented by 
pilgrims in the rains, and I had caused it to be widened and straightened, and 
the trustees of the Gokulnath temple had promised to metal it ; but probably 
this has not been done. 

One small speciality of Gokul is the manufacture of silver toys and orna- 
ments — figures of peacocks, cows, and other animals and devices — which are 
principally purchased as souvenirs by pilgrims. The designs are very conven- 
tional, and the work roughly finished ; but some littlo taste is often displayed, 
and when better models are supplied, they are copied with much readiness and 
ingenuity. The articles being of pure silver, are sold for their weight in rupees 


with the addition of two anas in the rupee for the work ; unless it is exception- 
ally well finished, when a somewhat higher rate is demanded. 

Baladeva, or Baldeo.* 

Some six miles beyond Maha-ban, a little to the right of the high road lead- 
ing to Sa'dabad and Jalesar, is the famous temple of Baladeva, in the centre of 
a modern town with a population of 2,835, which also bears the same name. 
The original village was called Rirha, and still exists, but only as a mean suburb 
occupied by the labouring classes. Adjoining the temple is a brick-built tank ? 
above 80 yards square, called variously Kshir Sugar, the 'sea of milk,' or Kshir 
Kund, or Balbhadra Kund. It is in a dilapidated condition, and the surface of 
the water is always covered with a repulsive thick green scum, which, however, 
does not deter the pilgrims either from drinking or bathing in it. Here it is 
said that Gosiiin Gokulnath was warned in a vision that a god lay concealed. 
Immediate search was made, and the statue of Baladeva, that has ever since 
been regarded as the tutelary divinity of the place, was revealed to the adoring 
gaze of the assembled multitude. Attempts were made to remove it to Gokul ; 
but as every cart broke down, either from the weight of the stone, or the reluc- 
tance of the God to change his abode, a shrine was erected for his reception on 
the spot, and an Ahivasi of Bhartiya, by name Kalysm, constituted guardian. 
From his two sons, Jamuua Das and Musiya, or Sukadeva, are descended the 
whole horde of Pandas, who now find the God a very valuable property. They 
have acquired, by purchase from the Jats, the old village of Rirha,f and are 
also considerable landowners in six other villages — viz., Artoni, Nera, Chhibarau, 
Kharaira, Nur-pur and Shahab-pur, whence they derive an annual income of 
Rs. 3,853. This estate, which was for the most part a grant from Sindhia, 
forms, however, but a small part of their wealth, as the offerings made at the 
shrine in the course of the year are estimated to yield a net profit of Rs. 30,000 
more. The Kshir-Sagar and all the fees paid by pilgrims bathing in it belong 
not to the temple Pandas, but to a community of Sanadh Brahmans. 

The temple, despite its popularity, is neither handsome nor well appointed. 
Its precincts include as many as eleven cloistered quadrangles, where accom- 

* The latter name represents the common pronunciation, which (as in all similar words) has 
become corrupted by the practice ot writing in Persian characters, which ate inadequate to 
express the va termination. 

t Besides the entire zamindari, the Pandas hold also 255^ bighas in Kirha as muafidars. Of 
this area, 79 bighas are occupied by buildings, while the remainder is either waste or orchard. 
As the township has no arable land attached to it, the name Baladeva does not appear at all in 
the district rent-roll. 


modation is provided for the pilgrims and resident priests. No definite charge 

is levied on the former, but they are expected to make a voluntary donation 

according to their means. Each court, or kunj, as it is called, bears the name 

of its founder as follows : — 1st, the Kunj of Rashk Lai of Agra and Lakhnau, 

1817 A.D. ; 2nd, of Bachharaj, Baniya, of Hathras, 1825 ; 3rd, of Naval Karan, 

Baniya, of Agra, 1868 ; 4th, of Bhirn Sen and Hulas Bai, Baniyas, of Mathun'i, 

1828 ; 5th, of Das Mai, Khattri, of Agra, 1801 ; 6th of Bhathieharya of Jaypur, 

1794 ; 7th of Gopal, Brahman, of Jaypur; 8th of Chiman Lai, of Mathura, 

1778 ; 9th, of Sada Ram, Khattri, of Agra, 1768 ; 10th, of Chunna, Halwai, of 

Bharat-pur, 1808 ; and 11th, of Piiran Chand, Pachauri, of Mana-ban, 1801. 

The actual temple, built by Seth Syam Diis, of Delhi, towards the end of last 

century, stands at the back of one of the inner courts, and on each of its three 

disengaged sides has an arcade of three bays with broad flanking piers. On 

each of these three sides a door gives access to the cella, which is surmounted 

by a squat pyramidal tower. In addition to the principal figure, Baladeva, 

who is generally very richly dressed and bedizened with jewels, it contains another 

life-sized statue, supposed to represent his spouse Revati. Apparently she was an 

after-thought, as she is put away in a corner, off the dais. In an adjoining court 

is shown the small vaulted chamber which served the God as a residence for the 

first century after his epiphany. Near tho tank is a shrine dedicated by Bihari 

Lai, Bohra, of Mursan, in 1803, to the honour of the god Harideva, and two 

stone chhatris in memory of the Pandas, Harideva and Jagannath. 

Two annual melas are held at Baladeva, the one Bhadon sudi 6th (commonly 
called Deo Chath), the other on the full moon of Agahn ; but there is probably 
not a single day in the course of the whole year in which the temple courts are 
not occupied by at least as many as a hundred pilgrims, who come from all parts 
of Northern India. The cost of the religious ceremonial cannot be much, but a 
charitable dole of an ana apiece is given to every applicant ; and as the Pandes 
with their families now number between 300 and 400 persons, the annual 
cost of their maintenance must be very considerable. After reasonable deduc- 
tions on these three heads — viz., temple expenses, charity, and maintenance of 
the priests, the balance of profits is calculated at over Rs, 30,000. There is 
ordinarily a division among the shareholders at the end of every three months, 
when they mako an allotment into twelve equal portions, that being the num- 
ber of tho principal sub-divisions of the clan, and then each sub-division makes a 
separate distribution among its own members. The votive offerings in the 
vast majority of cases are individually of very trifling amount ; but even so, 
their collective value is not altogether to be despised. Thus, poorer pilgrims, in 


294 THE AHIV/lSI pXndes. 

addition to a few copper coins, often present a piece of sugar ; and the heap of 
sugar accumulated in three or four days has been sold by auction for as much 
as Rs. 80. The shrine is a very popular one among all classes ; scarcely ever 
is an important venture made without a vow that the God shall receive a fixed 
share of the profits, if he bring it to a successful issue ; and even casual votaries, 
who have no special boon to beg, are often most lavish in their donations, either 
of money, horned cattle, carriages, horses, or other property. For example, a 
few years ago, Surajbh&n, a wealthy merchant of Agra, gave Rs. 4,000 worth 
of jewellery for the personal adornment of the God. 

It is unfortunate that the hereditary guardians of so wealthy a shrine 
should bo such a low and thriftless set as the Ahivasis are. The temple-garden 
occupies 52 bighas of land and was once a well-planted grove. It is now a 
dirty, unsightly waste, as the Pandes have gradually cut down all the trees for 
firewood, without a thought of replacing them. They have thus not only dete- 
riorated the value of their property, but also forfeited a grant that used to be 
made by the Maharaja of Bharat-pur for its maintenance. It is also asserted 
to be a common practice for the younger members of the clan, when they see 
any devotees prostrate in devotion before the god, to be very forward in assisting 
them to rise and leading them away, and to take the opportunity of despoiling 
them of any loose cash or valuable ornaments that they can lay their hands 
upon. It is believed that thefts of this kind are frequent ; though the victim 
generally prefers to accept the loss in silence, rather than incure the odium 
of bringing a charge, that there might not be legal evidence to substantiate, 
against a professedly religious community. It appears in every way desirable 
that some extra police should be maintained at the expense of the Pandes, 
and a constable or two kept permanently on duty in the inner court of the 
temple. As an illustration of the esteem in which learning is held in this large 
and wealthy Brahmanical town, it may be mentioned that the school is not only 
merely a primary one, but is also about the smallest and worst of its class in 
the whole district. 


1. — Catalogue of Vallabha'cha'rya Literature. 

I. — Sanskrit works ascribed to the founder himself, divided into two classes: 
First, commentaries of considerable length on older writings of authority, being 
four in number, viz., Bhagavata Tika Subodhini, Vyasa Sutra Bhashya, Jaimini 
Sdtra Bhashya, and Tattva Dipa Nibandha. None of these have I seen. Second- 
ly, seventeen very short original poems entitled — Siddhanta Rahasya, Siddhanta 
Muktavali, Pushti Pravaha Maryada, Antah-karanah Prabodha, Nava Ratna, 
Viveka Dhairyasraya, Krishnasraya, Bhakti Vardhani, Jala-bheda, Sannyaaa 
nirnaya, Nirodha-lakshana, Seva-phala, Bal-bodh, Chatur-sloki, Panch-sloki, 
Yamunashtakam, and Purushottama Sahasra-nama. Of all of these, except the 
last, I have obtained copies from Gokul. 

II. — Sanskrit works ascribed to Vallablmcharya's immediate successors. 
These also are, for the most part, very short. The principal are as follows : 
Sarvottama-stotram of Agni Kumar, Ratna Vivarna of Bitthalnath, Bhakti 
Siddhanta Vivriti of Gokulnath, Vallabhashtakam of Bitthalnath, Krishna 
Premamritam of Bitthalnath, Siksha Patram, Gokulasktakam, Prem-Amritam 
of Gokulnath, Sri VaUabha-bhavashtakam of Hari Das, Madhur Ashtakam, 
Saran Ashtakam, Namavali Acharya, Namavali Goswami, Siddhanta Bhavana, 
Virodha Lakshana, Srinagara Rasamandalu, Saranopadesa, Rasa-Sindhu, Kal- 
padruma, Mala Prasanga, and Chita Prabodha. 

III. — Works in the modern vernacular, i.e., the Braj-Bhasha. Such are the 
Nij Varta, Chaurasi Varta, Do Sau Bavan Varta, Dwadasa Kunja Pavitra 
Mandala, Purnamdsi, Nitya-sevaprakara, Rasa Bhavana Gokulnath, Vachan- 
amrita of Gokulnath, Braj Bilas of Braj-basi Das, Ban-Jatra, Vallabhakyana, 
Dhola, Nitya-pada, Sri Gobardhan-nath Ji ka Pragatya, Gosain Ji Pragatya, 
Lila Bhavana, Swarupa Bhavana, Guru Seva, Seva-prakara Miila Purusha, 
Dasa Marama, Vaishnava Battisi Lakshana, Chaui'asi Siksha, Otsava Pada, 
Yamuna Ji Pada, and others. 

II.— Specimen of the Tone and Style of popular VallabhIchArya 


The following story of 'how Krishan Das showed his devotion to the Go- 
sains' is extracted from the Chaurasi Varta, and is interesting as a specimen both 
of the dialect and religious superstition of the locality. Though written some 
two hundred years ago, it might, for all internal evidence to the contrary, have 
been taken down only yesterday, word for word, from the mouth of a village 


gossip. It does not contain a single archaic term, and in its nnartifieial 
style and rustic phraseology is an exact representation of the colloquial idiom 
of middle-class Hindus of the present century ; yet it has absolutely nothing 
in common with the language officially designated the vernacular of the 
country, either as regards the arrangement of the sentence or the choice of 
words ; the latter being all taken from the Hindi vocabulary, with the exception 
of three only — viz., haul, a. 'promise;' sauda, 'merchandise;' andkhabr, 'news.' 
These are inserted as if on purpose to show that the non-admission of a larger 
number was a spontaneous and not a pedantic exclusion. As to its purport, 
the eulogy which it bestows on the extraordinary sacrifice of personal decency 
and honour, merely for the sake of procuring the Gosains a good dinner, is so 
revolting to the principles of natural morality that itcondems the whole tenour 
of Vallabhacharya doctrine more strongly than any argument that could be 
adduced by an opponent. The style of the narrative is so easy and perspicuous 
that it can present no difficulty to the student, who alone will take an interest in 
the matter, and therefore I have not considered it necessary to add a translation : — 

sn <=sirqra oft *nm*R "^ mm frairareafl sjt^to ffRgfi enm 
^ fiansTa urn nm *i ti fi ih ^t wraslxr tra ?xm^ ih »sft 

ssfrqrawl R1TH*R ii *te3i 11*1 fl T?H l^f %f mWK IM^SR I3i3TC 


w frisra ?5R3T? im^' "sffargnNl hither % zim mi "%%& nm 

ER *3&{ %T ^1 liH A f W5re T1H I?t clT JITS II ^f ^T f SU^TO 

m m ^ra cm muaz.m ^i ^ in ^ii m^ mm m rair mw 3th 
cTt^ nm nm im ciii urn *i *rai ^h ^ik frausTQoff srt sdn ^tt 

*FRJ!I 5RT1^ ifTWTrl ^Ta^ 5?H!R ERRER VT R Isr m^ SR jq 

^nu* ^rq% n^ ri f^^R ert^ rurn §n ^cr srh ^fr5 ct=t §f%i ^t| 

%T ^1 IRRT oRfari W^T RlcZJ ST5R 3RcT I ^R t)lcT 1 ^T 


era in^i toi^t in *i Tumi m% ^r $¥ %t ^t^t cjtCt 53iT^ ^ 



TETTW^T ^lllTr! 1 §T ^3 ^S fa^TX ^RT^fi WR *R *J 311 *fU «cRT 
**T SH gR3T 5RT 1T3 3TCT Hi fig gT gfaXTT ^f ITS 3HH; SI^Tt fig 

gT sm 5f sjT art^rai ^i wit in li ht%i ^ tsr m^iif! fi win 

^Jra ^T5T ^iflt 1 §T 33 fig gi gfaUT ^' cfiWT %T 3iT5I 9R^ fff 
|j TTl^JfT rig gT PfJT ^ 13T %T^ =R^I fig gi ^fl ^it ST% ^TW^TT 

g^ 3ii TIQ13 f^^mT rlof gtqrgff ¥I5ft *rifcl *TT VQ1Z f^JT HT^ *ri*K 

in ffonsra gt ^t^ §t *ra If^ng mf^gi STnggfr eifrcfr irsfifraji 
m%$i *ftm tjit fig scTt §i «r?t in stit *ign: w gou^R in ttit- 
jtst? fag^n fig ^fff % =fit in jji tests ht T^graT fig fiCfgTrg 
ii oRit %t st% mmvt grwi fi ?nt i ^it tmk ftrai frg %t tj«rtt 

WZJ IfiT ^T ^g ^W 5T^T fig If^^T^I Sfff % giTR gTlfi ITCTg 
«^ HT^ ^oTi J^R 5i^J ^ ^ ST3T JT1TIRT3 T^IT iiT ^TR g?; 

jalsT^T^t tHfg ^TTmfi §t irts fsraT et^ ffw^R ^^ g^g^r % 
mg =J5iT35K sgfi TTfgsmgfr gmT 3Rci gifitsigsgTTTWjrfig 
gg gang ffwsre iraiN^ fig^^R m?iw\ zfc s^rln qif ^m 

JT^ *TT^ ^Ti^ ^^ ^TU ^T 5iR TOT^^aTT SRT %gi Sfiftsfi ^JJ^ S!TT- 

gfi iiT Txi tiT^ ^R ^ T^il aRR^' ^tsi^toTi ii ^ttt ^rrr jtgi ww 
3gTTn ^fT^re^: srk^ wim^is sit% ttwi fig ?fW3Tg sin %f 
g^: ^t^ fig ^n srci mTTTHT? z,m m^ ^fji v$v ^ fTt^t mj 

^c?J5TH 3 ^oH ^t 5iWt %T fpR gT gf=TUT %i ^Tt^i^T %T^T <$mj 

^fii %t %tw qrii ^brt %ra^r frm gT%r %t?t ^t giR§ m «^t t 
fig s^jt ^rm 3^^^T giftii ^T^f ^R« xrk %r ^h %r f^JTTT itu 
1 ^T ^g ^^ mw?f ii niTg*: ^tjttzi^ ^?f! ^fT g^T ^ f5^ lf> 
^Tilig^^ i^t §1 nm ^ eRra wlifn fiT^ fim ^uszm 



^ m\ ^1 5R# %T rW ^T Sfi^-JT 3HR Il3 5tf ^T5R ^TW^TXT ^T^l 

mm mvm sTra^i *tr sira"*r m^ *i ^fra «l i^g wi%t 

failure 3 3fR*JT 3^ ^STXf^ gi g^UXTT SRT ITS g>tR 3rtR51^T 
rig ofT Soft H 3T g^TXlT 3iT W^T UTf^fi 3>WT ilT T5R3F W*?f 

fig ^t sinful 3 regR^u^' wm^Rlfra gwwj^prasri 

nHI ^ ^T^I ^T Si^Tl %T tJW ^TH flel 5R gT SRI Xli *3T Sfi^j %T 

*r xiw ht *ta ^i *R ^tit ci=r ^t stfiral 5i mm ^w\ %t jtr*t 
?j efhg *rl 1 ^r v.m srr 5F$T *% rl®l ^^ ^1 ^ 3iWT %t r\ 

tTT^efi <fiWT SR^I r\ mi ERRl ^K ^=* ^T 3=froT ^ efi^n %T 7J^ 

srm ^T^i aiflTHl ^ifi^ fig gT ^t ^ ?swl %i ^i wrire ^i^ 
=5sra jr ?nth w %t i? en?* §h* gT sRtai %t ^reg^ irai ^iR 
*ig griifi It ^t sra tf%j %t *ri ^it eRinn i %t sg ^rc ^ft ^wt 
fig gi m\ Sf ^g ireiR It %t ^eg efiwi §t ^^ g^frai ^tr 

T%R3iT ^T TT^i ST%T W ^TT ^135 im illR^ 5^^'d 6RTT ^R SilJt 
%l^T 'SHHTO ^TT 3>rS AT cTC* ^T SfiRl} Irw f?H g^r it ^T$ gi 
Sffi l^t ^TRT TilTTXT^ ^MT "3T ^Tl^TTT^ ^5fWT ^R fjW5T^I W ^T 

g^Trai W fg^rfT sRRft %t ^tt ^tt ^xttt^ g«T ^R^ m ^Ct g win 

1 §!T rITT ^T tl^g IT TTT§ ^W Sf^THl ^t^T^T^Wf JJ!in*R ^ 

^ig ^g^i «5it ri=i gT g^uxiT ^t ^m JsTrargiii^T nWTTOH 
^ ttt^t^^ w&h vi$. ^W g^frai ^5t w^rg^Rr «lfr ^t fW3T?i 
ii ^fi^firn *wt riTri ^t ^^T ^t smg^Tzi %l ^iT^t xjt§ g^ 
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the three nill places of mathura' : gobardhan, barsa'na, and 


At a distance of three miles from the city of Mathuru, the road to Gobar- 
dhan runs through the village of Satoha, by the side of a large tank of very 
sacred repute, called Santanu Kund. The name commemorates a Raja Santanu 
who (as is said on the spot) here practised, through a long course of years, the 
severest religious austerities in the hope of obtaining a son. His wishes were 
at last gratified by a union with the goddess Ganga, who bore him Bhishma, one 
of the famous heroes of the Mahabharat. Every Sunday the place is frecmented 
by women who are desirous of issue, and a large fair is held there on the 6th 
of the light fortnight of Bhadon. The tank, which is of very considerable 
dimensions, was faced all round with stone, early last century, by Sawai Jay 
Sinh of Amber, but a great part of the masonry is now much dilapidated. In its 
centre is a high hill connected with the main land by a bridge. The sides of 
the island are covered with fine ritha trees, and on the summit, which is 
approached by a flight of fifty stone steps, is a small temple. Here it is incum- 
bent upon the female devotees, who would have their prayers effectual, to make 
eonib offering to the shrine, and inscribe on the ground or wall the mystic device 
called in Sanskrit Svastika and in Hindi Sathiya, the fylfot of Western eccle- 
siology. The local superstition is probably not a little confirmed by the acci- 
dental resemblance that the king's name bears to the Sanskrit word for ' children,' 
santdna. For, though Raja Santanu is a mythological personage of much ancient 
celebrity, being mentioned not only in several of the Puranas, but also in one 
of the hymns of the Rig Veda, he is not much known at the present day, and 
what is told of him at Satoha is a very confused jumble of the original legend. 
The signal and, according to Hindu ideas, absolutely fearful abnegation of self, 
there ascribed to the father, was undergone for his gratification by the dutiful 
son, who thence derived his name of Bhishma, ' the fearful.' For, in extreme 
old age, the Raja was anxious to wed again, but the parents of the fair girl on 
whom he fixed his affections would not consent to the union, since the fruit 
of the marriage would be debarred by Bhishma's seniority from the succession 
to the throne. The difficulty was removed by Bhishma's filial devotion, who 


took an oath to renounce his birthright and never to beget a son to revive the 
claim. Hence every religious Hindu accounts it a duty to make him amends 
for this want of direct descendants by once a year offering libations to Bhishma's 
spirit in the same way as to one of his own ancestors. The formula to be used 
is as follows: — " I present this water to the childless hero, Bhishma, of the race 
of Vyaghrapada, the chief of the house of Sankriti. May Bhishma, the son of 
Santanu, the speaker of truth and subjugater of his passions, obtain by this 
water the oblations due from sons and grandsons." 

The story in the Nirukta Vedanga relates to an earlier period in the king's 
life, if, indeed, it refers to the same personage at all, which has been doubted. 
It is there recorded that, on his father's death, Santanu took possession of 
the throne, though he had an elder brother, by name Devapi, living. This 
violation of the right of primogeniture caused the land to be afflicted with a 
drought of twelve years' continuance, which was only terminated by the recita- 
tion of a hymn of prayer (Rig Veda, x., 98) composed by Devapi himself, who 
had voluntarily adopted the life of a religious. The name Satoha is absurdly 
derived by the Brahmans of the place from sattu, ' bran,' which is said to have 
been the royal ascetic's only diet. In all probability it is formed from the word 
Santanu itself, combined with some locative affix, such as sthdna. 

Ten miles further to the west is the famous place of Hindu pilgrimage, 
Gobardhan, i.e., according to the literal meaning of the Sanskrit compound, 'the 
nurse of cattle.' The town, which is of considerable size, with a population of 
4,944, occupies a break in a narrow range of hill, which rises abruptly from the 
alluvial plain, and stretches in a south-easterly direction for a distance of some 
four or five miles, with an average elevation of about 100 feet. 

This is the hill which Krishna is fabled to have held aloft on the tip of his 
finger for seven days and nights to cover the people of Braj from the storms 
poured down upon them by Indra when deprived of his wonted sacrifices. In 
pictorial representations it always appears as an isolated conical peak which is 
as unlike the reality as possible. It is ordinarily styled by Hindus of the present 
day the Giri-raj, or royal hill, but in earlier literature is more frequently 
designated the Anna-kut. There is a firm belief in the neighbourhood that 
as the waters of the Jamuna are yearly decreasing in body, so too the sacred 
hill is steadily diminishing in height ; for in past times it was visible from Arin<* 
a town four or five miles distant, whereas now a few hundred yards are 


sufficient to remove it from sight. It may be hoped that the marvellous 
fact reconciles the credulous pilgrim to the insignificant appearance presented 
by the object of his adoration. It is accounted so holy that not a particle 
of the stone is allowed to be taken for any building purpose ; and even the road 
which crosses it at its lowest point, whero only a few fragments of the rock 
crop up above the ground, had to be carried over them by a paved causeway. 

The ridge attains its greatest elevation towards the south between the vil- 
lages of Jatipura and Anyor. Here, on the submit, was an ancient temple 
founded in the year 1520 A. D., by the famous Vallabhacharya of Gokul, and 
dedicated to Sri-nath. In anticipation of one of Aurangzeb's raids, the image 
of the god was removed to Nathdwara in Udaypur territory, and has remained 
there ever since. The temple on the Giri-raj was thus allowed to fall into ruin, 
and the wide walled enclosure now exhibits only long lines of foundations and 
steep nights of steps, with a small, untenanted, and quite modern shine. The 
plateau, however, commands a very extensive view of the neighbouring coun- 
try, both on the Mathura and the Bharatpur side, with the fort of Dig and the 
heights of Nand-ganw and Barsana in the distance. 

At the foot of the hill on one side is the little village of Jatipura with 
several temples, of which one, dedicated to Gokul-nath, though a very mean 
building in appearance, has considerable local celebrity. Its head is the 
Gosain of the temple with the same title at Gokul, and it is the annual scene 
of two religious solemnities, both celebrated on the day after the Dip-dan at 
Gobardhan. The first is the adoration of the sacred hill, called the Giri-raj 
Puja, and the second the Anna-kiit, or commemoration of Krishna's sacrifice. 
They are always accompanied by the renewal of a long-standing dispute be- 
tween the priests of the two rival temples of Sri-nath and Gokul-nath, the one 
of whom supplies the god, the other his shrine. The image of Gokul-nath, the 
traditional object of veneration, is brought over for the occasion from Gokul, 
and throughout the festival is kept in the Gokul-nath temple on the hill, except 
for a few hours on the morning after the Diwali, when it is exposed for worship 
on a separate pavilion. This building is the property of Giridhari Ji, the Sri-nath 
Gosain, who invariably protests against the intrusion. Party-feeling runs so 
hi <>h that it is generally found desirable a little before the anniversary to take 
heavy security from the principals on either side that there shall be no 
breach of the peace. The relationship between the Gosains is explained by the 

following table : — 



Damodar Ji, alias Dau Ji, 
Gosain of the temple of Sri-natb at Nathdwara. 

Lachhinan Ji, Gosain of temple = Chandravali Bau Ji Gobind Rao Ji, Gosain 

of Gokul-nath: died 1861 

(living). of temples of Navanit- 

Priya and Sri-nath, at 

Kanhaij'a Lai (adopted son), Giridhari Ji. 

grandson of Gosain Purushot- 
tam Lai. 

Immediately opposite Jatipura, and only parted from it by the intervening 
range, is the village of Anyor — literally ' the other side' — with the temple of 
Sri-nath on the summit between them. A little distance beyond both is the 
village of Puchbri, which, as the name denotes, is considered the ' extreme 
limit' of the Giri-raj. 

Kartik, the month in which most of Krishna's exploits are believed to have 
been performed, is the favorite time for the pari-krama, or ' perambulation' of 
the sacred hill. The dusty circular road which winds around its base has a length 
of seven fcos, that is, about twelve miles, and is frequently measured by devotees 
who at every step prostrate themselves at full length. When flat on the ground, 
they mark a line in the sand as far as their hands can reach, then rising they 
prostrate themselves again from the line so marked, and continue in the same 
style till the whole weary circuit has been accomplished. This ceremony, called 
Dandavati jmri-krama, occupies from a week to a fortnight, and is generally 
performed for wealthy sinners vicariously by the Brahmans of the place, who 
receive from Rs. 50 to Rs. 100 for their trouble and transfer all the merit of 
the act to their employers. The ceremony has been performed with a hundred 
and eight* prostrations at each step (that being the number of Kadha's names 
and of the beads in a Vaishnava rosary), it then occupied some two years, and 
was remunerated by a donation of Rs. 1,000. 

About the centre of the range stands the town of Gobardhan on the 
margin of a very large irregularly shaped masonry tank, called the Manasi 

* la Christian mysticism 107 is as sacred a number as 108 in Hindu. Thus the Emperor 
Justinian's great church of S. Sophia at Constantinople was supported by 107 coluinni), the 
numbsr of pillars in the House of Wisdom. 













THE mXnasi gangX. 303 

Ganga, supposed to have been called into existence by the mere action of the 
divine will (inwiasa). At one end the boundary is formed by the jutting crags 
of the holy hill ; on all other sides the water is approached by long nights of 
stone steps. It has frequently been repaired at great cost by the Rajas of 
Bharat-pur ; but is said to have been originally constructed in its present form 
by Raja Man Sinh of Jaypur, whose father built the adjoining temple of 
Harideva. There is also at Banaras a tank constructed by Man Sinh, called 
Man Sarovar, and by it a temple dedicated to Manesvar : facts which suggest 
a suspicion that the name ' Manasi 1 * is of much less antiquity than is popularly 
believed. Unfortunately, there is neither a natural spring, nor any constant 
artificial supply of water, and for half the year the tank is always dry. But 
ordinarily at the annual illumination, or Dip-dan, which occurs soon after the 
close of the rains, during the festival of the Diwali, a fine broad sheet of water 
reflects the light of the innumerable lamps, which are ranged tier above tier 
along the ghats and adjacent buildings, by the hundred thousand pilgrims with 
whom the town is then crowded. 

In the year 1871, as there was no heavy rain towards the end of the 
season, and the festival of the Diwali also fell later than usual, it so happened 
that on the bathing day, the 12th of November, the tank was entirely dry, 
with the exception of two or three green and muddy little puddles. To obviate 
this mischance, several holes were made and wells sunk in the area of the tank, 
■with one large pit, some 30 feet square and as many deep, in whose turbid 
waters many thousand pilgrims had the happiness of immersing themselves. For 
several hours no less than twenty-five persons a minute continued to descend, 
and as many to ascend, the steep and slippery steps ; while the yet more fetid 
patches of mud and water in other parts of the basin were quite as densely 
crowded. At night, the vast amphitheatre, dotted with groups of people and 
glimmering circles of light, presented a no less picturesque appearance than in 
previous years when it was a brimming lake. To the spectator from the garden 

* In devotional literature mdnasi has the sense of ' spiritual,' as in the Catholic phrase ' spiritual 
communion.' Thus it is related in the Bhakt Mala that Kaja Prithiraj, of Bikaner, being on a 
journey aDd unable to visit the shrine, for which he had a special devotion, imagined himself to 
be worshipping in the temple, and made a spiritual act of contemplation before the image (murli 
kd dhyaii mdnasi karte the). I'or two days his aspirations seemed to meet with no response, but 
on the third he became conscious of the divine presence. On enquiry it was found that for two 
days the god had been removed elsewhere, while the temple was under repair. lie then made a 
row to end his days at Mathura. The emperor, to spite him, put him in command of an expedi- 
tion to Kabul ; but when he felt his end approaching, he mounted a ca— el and hastened back to 
the holy city and there expired. 


side of the broad and deep expanse, as the line of demarkation between the !-teej> 
flights of steps and the irregular masses of building which immediately sur- 
mount them ceased to be perceptible, the town presented the perfect semblance 
of a long and lofty mountain range dotted with fire-lit villages ; while the clash 
of cymbals, the beat of drums, the occasional toll of bells from the adjoining 
temples, with the sudden and long-sustained cry of some enthusiastic band, 
vociferating the praises of mother Ganga, the clapping of hands that began 
scarce heard, but was quickly caught up and passed on from tier to tier, and 
prolonged into a wild tumult of applause, — all blended with the ceaseless mur- 
mur of the stirring crowd in a not discordant medley of exciting sound. Accord- 
ing to popular belief, the ill-omened drying up of the water, which had not 
occurred before in the memory of man, was the result of the curse of one 
Habib-ullah Shah, a Muhammadan fakir. He had built himself a hut on the 
top of the Giri-raj, to the annoyance of the priests of the neighbouring temple 
of Dau-Rae, who complained that the holy ground was defiled by the bones and 
other fragments of his unclean diet, and procured an order from the Civil Court 
for his ejectment. Thereupon the fakir disappeared, leaving a curse upon his 
persecutors ; and this bore fruit in the drying up of the healing waters of the 
Manasi Ganga. 

Close by is the famous temple of Hari-deva, erected during the tolerant 
reio-n of Akbar by Raja Bhagawan Das of Amber on a site long previously 
occupied by a succession of humbler fanes. It consists of a nave G8 feet in length 
and 20 feet broad, leading to a choir 20 feet square, with a sacrarium of about 
the same dimensions beyond. The nave has four openings on either side, of 
which three have arched heads, while the fourth nearest the door is covered by 
a square architrave supported by Hindu brackets. There are clerestory 
windows above, and the height is about 30 feet to the cornice, which is 
decorated at intervals with large projecting heads of elephants and sea- 
monsters. There was a double roof, each entirely of stone : the outer one 
a high pitched gable, the inner an arched ceiling, or rather the nearest 
approach to an arch ever seen in Hindu design. The centre was really flat, 
but it was so deeply coved at the sides that, the width of the building being 
inconsiderable, it had all the effect of a vault, and no doubt suggested the 
possibility of the true radiating vault, which we find in the temple of Govind 
Deva built by Bkagawan's son and successor, Man Sinh, at Brinda-ban. The 
construction is extremely massive, and even the exterior is still solemn and 
imposing, though the two towers which originally crowned the choir and 
sacrarium were long ago levelled with tho roof of the nave. The material 

Vage. 3 q^ 

& X C^ 




employed throughout the superstructure is red sandstone from the Bharat- 
pur quarries, while the foundations are composed of rough blocks of the 
stone found in the neighbourhood. These have been laid bare to the depth 
of several feet ; and a large deposit of earth all round the basement would 
much enhance the appearance as well as the stability of the building. 

Bihiiri Mall, the father of the reputed founder, was the first Rajput who 
attached himself to the court of a Mnhammadan emperor. He was chief of the 
Rajawat branch of the Kaehhwaha. Thakurs seated at Amber, and claimed to be 
eighteenth in descent from the founder of the family. The capital was subse- 
quently transferred to Jaypur in 1728 A.D. ; the present Maharaja being the 
thirty-fourth descendant of the original stock. In the battle of Sarnal, Bhagawan 
Das had the good fortune to save Akbar's life, and was subsequently appointed 
Governor of the Panjab. He died about the year 1590 at Labor. His daughter 
was married to prince Salim, who eventually became emperor under the 
title of Jahaugir ; the fruit of their marriage being the unfortunate prince 

The temple has a yearly income of some Rs. 2,300, derived from the two 
villages, Bhagosa and Lodhipuri, the latter estate being a recent grant, in lieu of 
an annual money donation of Rs. 500, on the part of the Raja of Bharat-pur, who 
further makes a fixed monthly offering to the shrine at the rate of one rupee per 
diem. The hereditary Gosains have long devoted the entire income to their 
own private uses, completely neglecting the fabric of the temple and its religious 
services.* In consequence of such short-sighted greed, the votive offerings at 
this, one of the most famous shrines in Upper India, have dwindled down to 
about Rs. 50 a year. Not only so, but, early in 1872, the roof of the nave, 
which had hitherto been quite perfect, began to give way. An attempt was 
made by the writer of this memoir to procure an order from the Civil Court 
authorising the expenditure, on the repair of the fabric, of the proceeds of the 
temple estate, which, iu consequence of the dispute among the shareholders, had 
for some months past been paid as a deposit into the district treasury and had 
accumulated to more than Rs. 3,000. There was no unwillingness on the part 
of the local Government to further the proposal, and an engineer was deputed 

* The estate is divided into twenty-four bats or shares, allotted among seventeen different 
families. It appeared that all were agreed as to the distribution, with the exception of one man 
by name Nirayan, who, in addition, to his own original share, claimed also as sole representative 
of a shareholder deceased. This claim was not admitted by the others, and the zaruindars con- 
tinued to pay the revenue as a deposit into the district treasury, till eventually the muafldars 
concurred in making a joiut application for its transfer to themselves. 



to examine and report on the probable cost. But an unfortunate delay occur- 
red in the Commissioner's office, the channel of correspondence, and meanwhile 
the whole of the roof fell in, with the exception of one compartment. This, 
however, would have been sufficient to serve as a model in the work of restora- 
tion. The estimate was made out for Rs. 8,767 ; and as there was a good 
balance in hand to begin upon, operations might have been commenced at once 
and completed without any difficulty in the course of two or three years. But 
no further orders were communicated by the superior authorities from April, 
when the estimate was suhmitted, till the following October, and in the interim 
a baniya from the neighbouring town of Aring, by name Chhitar Mall, hoping 
to immortalise himself at a moderate outlay, came to the relief of the temple 
proprietors and undertook to do all that was necessary at his own private cost. 
He accordingly ruthlessly demolished all that yet remained of the original roof, 
breaking down at the same time not a little of the curious cornice, and in its 
place simply threw across, from wall to wall, rough and unshapen wooden 
beams, of which the best that can be said is, that they may, for some few years, 
serve as a protection from the w r eather. But all that was unique and charac- 
teristic in the design has ceased to exist ; and thus another of the few pages in 
the fragmentary annals of Indian architecture has been blotted out for ever. 
Like the temple of Gobind Deva at Brinda-ban, it has none of the coarse 
figure sculpture which detract so largely from the artistic appearance of most 
Hindu religious buildings ; and though originally consecrated to idolatrous 
worship, it was in all points of construction equally well adapted for the public 
ceremonial of the purest faith. Had it been preserved as a national monument, 
it might at some day, in the future golden age, have been to Gobardhan what 
the Pagan Pantheon is now to Christian Rome. 

On the opposite side of the Manasi Ganga are two stately cenotaphs, or 
chhattris, to the memory of Randhir Sinh and Baladeva Sinh, Rajas of Bharat- 
pur. Both are of similiar design, consisting of a lofty and substantial square 
masonry terrace with corner kiosks and lateral alcoves, and in the centre the 
monument itself, still further raised on a richly decorated plinth. The cella, 
enclosed in a colonnade of five open arches on each side, is a square apartment 
surmounted by a dome, and having each wall divided into three bays, of which 
one is left for the doorway, and the remainder are filled in with reticulated 
tracery. The cloister has a small dome at each corner and the curious curvi- 
linear roof, distinctive of the style, over the central compartments. In the 
larger monument, the visitor's attention is specially directed to tho panels of 
the doors, painted in miniature with scenes from the life of Krishna, and to the 


















cornice, a flowered design of some vitreous material executed at Delhi. This 
commemorates Baladeva Sinh, who died in 1825, and was erected by his son 
and successor the late Raja Balavant Sinh, who was placed on the throne after 
the reduction of the fort of Bharat-pur by Lord Combermere in 1826. The 
British army figures conspicuously in the paintings on the ceilings of the 
pavilions.* R;'ija Bandhir Sinh, who is commemorated by the companion 
monument, was the elder brother and predecessor of Baladeva, and died in the 
year 1823. These chhatfcris are very elegantly grouped piles of building and 
have an extremely picturesque effect, which is heightened by the sheet of water 
in front of them. But from a purely architectural point of view, they are not 
of any great merit, and give the idea of having been executed by a contractor, 
who scamped the work to increase his own profit. The decorative details are 
mostly poor in themselves, and are repeated with a monotonous uniformity, 
which contrasts most disagreeably with the rich variety of design that distin- 
guishes all the more important buildings either in Mathura or Brinda-ban. Tho 
painting on the interior of the domes is also as heavy and tasteless as Hindu 
attempts at pictorial art generally are. 

A mile or so from tho town, on the borders of the parish of Ridha-kund, 
is a much more magnificent architectural group erected by Jawahir Singh in 
honour of his father Suraj Mall, the founder of the family, who met his death 
at Delhi in 1764 (see page 40). The principal tomb, which is 57 feet square, 
is of precisely the same style as the two already described. The best part of 
the design is the plinth, which is at once bold in outline and delicate in finish. 
With that curious blindness to practical requirements, which appears to have 
characterised the Hindu architect from the earliest period to the present tho 
decorated panels have been continued all round the four sides of the buildinc, 
without a blank space being left anywhere for the steps, which the heio-ht from 
the ground renders absolutely necessary. The Raja's monument is flanked 
on either side by one of somewhat less dimensions, comineinoratinf his two 
queens, Hansiyaf and Kishori. The lofty terrace upon which they stand is 
460 feet in length, with a long shallow pavilion serving as a screen at each end, 

* In the garden attached to this chhattri the Maharaja has a house, where he stays on his 
visits to the town ; but at all other times it is most obligingly placed at the disposal of European 

t Hans-ganj, on the bank of the Jamuna, immediately opposite Mathura, was founded by this 
Kani. In consequence of a diversion of the road which once passed through it, the village is 
now that most melancholy of all spectacles, a modern ruin ; though it comprises some spacious 
walled gardens, crowded with magnificent trees. 

308 GOSAIN HIMMAT baha'dur. 

and nine two-storied kiosks of varied outline to relieve the front. Attached to 
Eani Hansiya's monument is a smaller one in commemoration of a faithful 
attendant. Behind is an extensive garden, and in front, at the foot of the 
terrace, is an artificial lake, called the Kusum-Sarovar, 460 feet square ; the 
flights of stone steps on each side being broken into one central and four small- 
er side compartments by panelled and arcaded walls running out 60 feet into 
the water. On the north side, some progress had been made in the erection 
of a chhattri for Jawahir Singh, when the work was interrupted by Muhammadan 
inroad and never renewed. On the same side, the ghats of the lake are partly 
in ruins, and it is said were reduced to this condition, a very few years after 
their completion, by the Gosain Himmat Bahadur, who carried away the ma- 
terials to Brinda-ban, to be used in the construction of a ghat which still com- 
memorates his name there. Such a wanton exercise of power seems a little 
startling, and therefore it will not be out of place to explain a little in detail 
who this warlike Gosain was. A native of Bundel-khand, he became a pupil 
of Mahant Rajendra Giri, who had seceded from the Dasnamis,* or followers of 
Sankarachtirya, the most fanatical of all Hindu sectaries, and had joined the 
Saiva Nagas, a community characterized by equal turbulence unfettered by 
even a pretence of any religious motive. Through his instigations, Ali Baha- 
dur, an illegitimate grandson of Baji Rao, the first Peshwa, was induced to 
take up arms against Sindhia and establish himself in Bundel-khand as virtu- 
ally an independent sovereign. In 1802, Ah Bahadur fell at the siege of 
Kalanjar, leaving a son, Shamsher Bahadur. At first the heir was supported 
by Himmat, who, however, continued quietly to extend his own influence as 
far as possible ; and, on the combination of the Mahratta chiefs against the 
British Government, in which they were joined by Shamsher, foreseeing in 
their success an immediate diminution of his own authority, he determined to 
co-operate with the British. On the 4th of September, 1803, a treaty was 
concluded between Lord Wellesley and ' Amip-giri Himmat Bahadur,' by 
which nearly all the territory on the west bank of the Jamund from Kalpi to 
Allahabad was assigned to him. His death, however, occurred in the follow- 
ing year, when the lands were resumed and pensions in lieu thereof granted 
to his family. 

Other sacred spots in the town of Gobardhan are the temple of Chak- 
resvar Mahadeva, and four ponds called respectively Go-rochan, Dharm-rochan, 

* The ten names — whence the title Das-nami— arc tirtlw, dsrama, vana, aranya, sarasvati, 
pun, bhartxti, giri, parvata, and sdijara, one of which is attached to his personal name by every 
member of the order. 













Pap-moehan, and Rin-mochan. But these latter, even in the rains, are mere 
puddles, and all the rest of the year are quite dry ; while the former, in spite 
of its sanctity, is as mean a little building as it is possible to conceive. 

The break in the hill, traversed by the road from Mathnra to Dig, is 
called the Dan Ghat, and is supposed to be the spot where Krishna lay in wait 
to intercept the Gopis and levy a toll {dan) on the milk they were bringing 
into the town. A Brahman still sits at the receipt of custom, and extracts a 
copper coin or two from the passers-by. On the ridge overlooking the ghat 
stands the temple of Dan Rae. 

For many years past one of the most curious sights of the place has been 
an aged Hindu ascetic, who had bound himself by a vow of absolute silence. 
Whatever the hour of the day, or time of the year, or however long the inter- 
val that might have elapsed since a previous visit, a stranger was sure to find 
him sitting exactly on the same spot and in the same position, as if he had 
never once stirred ; a slight awning suspended over his head, and immediately 
in front of him a miniature shrine containing an emblem of the god. The half 
century, which was the limit of his vow, has at length expired ; but his tongue, 
bound for so many years, has now lost the power of uttering any articulate 
sound. In a little dog-kennel at the side sits another devotee, with his legs 
crossed under •him, ready to enter into conversation with all comers, and looking 
one of the happiest and most contented of mortals ; though the cell in which he 
has immured himself is so confined that he can neither stand up nor lie down in it. 

Subsequently to the cession by Sindhia in 1803, Gobardban was granted, 
free of assessment, to Knar Laelibman Smb., youngest son of Raja Ranjit Sink 
of Bharat-pur ; but on his death, in 182(>, it was resumed by the Government 
and annexed to the district of Agra. Of late years, the paramount power has 
been repeatedly solicited by the Bharat-pur Raja to cede it to him in exchange 
for other territory of equal value. It contains so many memorials of his ances- 
tors that the request is a very natural one for him to make, and it must be 
admitted that the Bharat-pur frontier stands greatly in need of rectification. 
It would, however, be most impolitic for the Government to make the desired 
concession, and thereby lose all control over a place so important, both from its 
position and its associations, as Gobardban. 

The following legend in the Ilarivansa (cap. 94) must be taken to refer 
to the foundation of the town, though apparently it has never hitherto been 
noticed in that connection. Among the descendants of Ikshvaku, who reigned 
at Ayodkya, was Haryasva, who took to wife Madhumati, the daughter of the 



giant Madhu. Being expelled from the throne by his elder brother, the king 
fled for refuge to the court of his father-in-law, who received him most affec- 
tionately and ceded him the whole of his dominions, excepting only the capital 
Madhuvana, which he reserved for his son Lavana. Thereupon, Haryasva 
built, on the sacred Girivara, a new royal residence, and consolidated the king- 
dom of Anarta, to which he subsequently annexed the country of Arupa, or (as 
it is otherwise and preferably read) Aniipa. The third in descent from Yadu, 
the son and successor of Haryasva, was Bhima, in whose reign Kama, the then 
sovereign of Ayodhya, commissioned Satrughna to destroy Lavana's fort of 
Madhuvana and erect in its stead the town of Mathura. After the departure 
of its founder, Mathura was annexed by Bhima, and continued in the posses- 
sion of his descendants down to Vasudeva. The most important lines in the 
text run thus : — 

Haryasvascha mahateja divye Girivarottame 
Nivesayamasa puram vasartham amaropamah 
Anartam nama tadrashtram surashtram Godhanayutam. 
Achirenaiva kalena samriddham pratyapadyata 
Anupa-vishayam chaiva vela-vana-vibhushitam. 

From the occurrence of the words Girivara and Godhana and the declared 
proximity to Mathura, it is clear that the capital of Haryasva must have 
been situate on the Giri-raj of Gobardhan ; and it is probable that the country 
of Aniipa was to some extent identical with the more modern Braj. Aniipa is 
once mentioned, in an earlier canto of the poem, as having been bestowed by 
king Prithu on the bard Siita. The name Anarta occurs also in canto X., 
where it is stated to have been settled by king Reva, the son of Saryati, who 
made Kusasthali its capital. In the Ramayana, IV., 43, it is described as a 
western region on the sea-coast, or at all events in that direction, and has there- 
fore been identified with Gujarat. Thus there would seem to have been an in- 
timate connection between Gujarat and Mathura, long anterior to Krishna's 
foundation of Dwaraka. 


BarsXna — population 2,773 — according to modern Hindu belief the home 
of Krishna's favourite mistress Radha, is a town which enjoyed a brief period of 
great prosperity about the middle of last century. It is built at the foot and 
on the slope of a ridge, originally dedicated to the god Brahma, which rises 
abruptly from the plain, near the Bharat-pur border of the Chhata pargana, to 
a height of some 200 feet at its extreme point, and runs in a south-westerly 
direction for about a quarter of a mile. Its summit is crowned by a series of 
temples in honour of Larli-Ji, a local title of Radha, meaning 'the beloved.' 
These were all erected at intervals within the last two hundred years, and now 
form a connected mass of building with a lofty wall enclosing the court in which 
they stand. Each of the successive shrines was on a somewhat grander scale 
than its predecessor, and was for a time honoured with the presence of the 
divinity ; but even the last and largest, in which she is now enthroned, is an 
edifice of no special pretension ; through seated, as it is, on the very brow of the 
rock, and seen in conjunction with the earlier buildings, it forms an imposing 
feature in the landscape to the spectator from the plain below. A long flight 
of stone steps, broken about half way by a temple in honour of Radha's grand- 
father, Mahi-bhan, leads down from the summit to the foot of the hill, where 
are two other small temples. One of them is dedicated to Radha's female com- 
panions, called the Sakhis, who are eight in number, as follows : Lalita, Visakha, 
Champaka-lata, Ranga-devi, Chitra-lekha, Dulekha, Sudevi, and Chandnivali. 
The other contains a life-size image of the mythical Brikh-bhan robed in appro- 
priate costume and supported on the one side by his daughter Radha, and on 
the other by Sridama, a Pauranik character, here for the nonce represented as 
her brother. 

The town consists almost entirely of magnificent mansions all in ruins, and 
lofty but crumbling walls now enclosing vast, desolate, dusty areas, which once 
were busy courts and markets or secluded pleasure grounds. All date from 
the time of Rup Ram, a Katara Brahman, who, having acquired great reputa- 
tion as a Pandit in the earlier part of last century, became Purohit to Bharat-pur, 

* Both these interesting places, as also Baladeva, are entirely omitted by Dr. Hunter in his 
Imperial Gazetteer, and all the places in the district that he does mention are described with re- 
markable inadequacy and inaccuracy. Apparently his test of the importance of auy locality is his 
own personal connection with it : hence the disproportionate length of some of the Bengal articles. 

312 Rtip ra'm of barsXna. 

Sindhia,* and Holkar, and was enriched by those princes with the most lavish 
donations, the whole of which he appears to have expended on the embellish- 
ment of Barsana and the other sacred places within the limits of Braj, his 
native country. Before his time, Barsana, if inhabited at all, was a mere 
hamlet of the adjoining village Ucha-ganw, which now, under its Gnjar land- 
lords, is a mean and miserable place, though it boasts the remains of a fort and 
an ancient and well-endowed temple, dedicated to Baladeva. Riip Ram was 
the founder of one of the now superseded temples of Larli Ji, with the stone 
staircase np the side of the hill. He also constructed tha largest market-place 
in the town, with as many, is it said, as sixty-four walled gardens ; a princely 
mansion for his own residence ; several small temples and chapels, and other 
courts and pavilions. One of the latter, a handsome arcaded building of carved 
stone, has for some years past been occupied by the Government as a police- 
station without any payment of rent or award of compensation, though the 
present representative of the family is living on the spot and is an absolute 
pauper. Three cenotaphs commemorating Riip Ram himself and two of his 
immediate relatives, stand by the side of a large stone tank with broad flights of 
steps and flanking towers, which he restored and brought into its present shape. 
This is esteemed sacred and commonly called Bhanokhar, that is, the tank of 
Brikha-bhan, Radha's reputed father. In connection with it is a smaller 
reservoir, named after her mother Kirat. On the margin of the Bhanokhar is 
a pleasure-house in three stories, known as the Jal-mahall. It is supported on 
a series of vaulted colonnades which open direct on to the water, for the conve- 
nience of the ladies of the family, who were thus enabled to bathe in perfect 
seclusion, as the two tanks and the palace are all enclosed in one courtyard by 
a lofty bastioned and embattled wall with tower-like gateways. f Besides these 
works, Riip Ram also constructed two other large masonry tanks, one for the 
convenience of a hamlet in the neighbourhood, which he settled and called after 
his own name Riip-nagar ; the second on the opposite side of the town, in the 
village of Ghazipur, is the sacred lake called Prem Sarovar, which he faced with 
octagonal stone ghats. Opposite the latter is a walled garden with an elegant 
domed monument, in the form of a Greek cross, to his brother Hem-raj. 

* It appears that Barsana was an occasional residence of Madho Iiao Sindhia ; for a treaty 
of hia with the Company, regarding trade at Baroch, dated the 3oth of September, 1785, was 
signed by him there, as also the supplementary article dated the following Jauuary. 

f Both the house and Bhanokhar hare been considerably damaged hy the new proprietor, 
who has rei] oved many of the larger slabs of stoue. 


Contemporary with Rup Bam, two other wealthy families resided at Bar- 
sana and were his rivals in magnificence. The head of the one family was 
Mohan Ram, a Lavania Brahman ; and of the other Lalji, a Tantia Thakur. 
It is said that the latter was by birth merely a common labourer, who went off 
to Lakhnau to make his fortune. There he became first a harkara, then a 
jamadar, and eventually the leading favourite at court. Towards the close of 
his life he begged permission to return to his native place and there leave some 
permanent memorial of the royal favour. The Nawab not only granted the 
request, but further presented him with carte blanche on the State treasury for 
the prosecution of his designs. Besides the stately mansion, now much dilapi- 
dated, he constructed a large bdoli, still in excellent preservation, and two wells, 
sunk at great expense in sandy tracts where previously all irrigation had been 

The sacred tank on the outskirts of the town called Priya-kund, or Piri- 
pokhar, was faced with stone by the Lavaniyas, who are further commemorated 
by a large katra, or market-place, the ruins of the vast and elaborate mansion 
where they resided, and the elegant stone chhattris at the foot of the hill. They 
held office under the Raja of Bharat-pur. and their present representative, Ram 
Naniyan, is now a Tahsildar in that territory. 

Barsana had scarcely been built, when, by the fortune of war, it was des- 
troyed beyond all hope of restoration, as has already been related in Chapter II 
of this memoir, page 42. As if this blow were not enough, in the year 1812 it 
sustained a further misfortune, when the Gaurua Thakurs, its zamindars, being 
in circumstances of difficulty and probably distrustful of the stability of British 
rule, then only recently established, were mad enough to transfer their whole 
estate to the oft-quoted Lala Babu for the paltry sum of Rs. 602 and the condi- 
tion of holding land on rather more favourable terms than other tenants. The 
parish now yields Government an annual rental of Rs. 3,109 and the absentee 
landlords about as much, while it receives nothing from them in return. Thus 
the appearance now presented by Barsana is a most forlorn and melancholy one. 

The hill is still, to a limited extent, known as Brahma-kd-pahdr or Brahma's 
hill : and hence it may be inferred with certainty that Barsana is a corruption 
of the Sanskrit compound Brahma-sdnx, which bears the same meaning. Its 
four prominent peaks are regarded as emblematic of the four-faced divinity, 
and are each crowned with some building ; the first with the group of temples 
dedicated to Larli Ji, the other three with smaller edifices, known respectively 
as the Man-mandir, the Dan-garh and the Mor-kutti. A second hill, of less 



extent and elevation, completes the amphitheatre in which the town is set, and 
the space between the two ranges gradually contracts to a narrow path, which 
barely allows a single traveller on foot to pass between the shelving crags that 
tower above him on either side. This pass is famous as the Sankari-kkor,* 
literally ' the narrow opening,' and is the scene of a mela (called the Burhi 
Lila) on the 13th of the month of Bhadon, often attended by as many as 10,000 
people. The crowds divide according to their sex and cluster about the rocks 
round two little shrines, erected on either side of the ravine for the temporary 
reception of figures of Radha and Krishna, and indulge to their heart's content 
in all the licentious banter appropriate to the occasion. At the other mouth of 
the pass is a deep dell between the two high peaks of the Man-Mandir and the 
Mor-kutti, with a masonry tank in the centre of a dense thicket called the 
Gahnvar-ban. A principal feature in the diversions of the day is the scram- 
bling of sweetmeats by the better class of visitors, seated on the terraces 
of the ' Peacock Pavilion' above, among the multitudes that throng the margin 
of the tank some 150 feet below. 

The essentially Hindi form of the title Larlf, equivalent to the Sanskrit 
Lalita, may be taken as an indication of the modern growth of the local cultus. 
Even in the Brahma Vaivarta, the last of the Puranas and the one specially 
devoted to Radha's praises, there is no authority for any such appellation. In 
the Vraja-bhakti-vilasa the mantra, or formula of incantation which the pril- 
grims are instructed to repeat, runs as follows: — 

Lalitu-sanyutam krishnam sarvaishu sakhibhir yutam 
Dhyaye tri-veni-kupa-sthani maha-rasa-kritotsavam. 

Nand-gXnw — population 3,253 — as the reputed home of Krishna's foster- 
father, with its spacious temple of Nand Rae Ji on the brow of the hill over- 
looking the village, is in all respects an exact parallel to Barsana. The dis- 
tance between the two places is only five miles, and when the kettle-drum is 
beaten at the one, it can be heard at the other. The temple of Nand Rae 
though large, is in a clumsy style of architecture and apparently dates only from 
the middle of last century. Its founder is said to have been one Rup Sinh, a 
Sinsinwar Jut, and it has an endowment of 826 bighas of rent-free land. It 
consists of an open nave, with choir and sacrarium beyond, the latter being 

* A similar use of the local form A'/ior, for Khol, may be observed iu the Tillage of Khaira, 
where isa pond ceded Chinta-Khori Kund, corresponding to the more common Sanskrit compound 
Cuiut i-haraua. 

THE pXn-sarovar. 315 

flanked on either side by a Rasoi and a Sejmahall, i.e., a cooking and sleeping 
apartment, and has two towers, or sikharas. It stands in the centre of a paved 
court-yard, surrounded by a lofty wall with corner kiosks, which command a 
very extensive view of the Bharat-pur hill and the level expanse of the Mathura 
district as far as Gobardhan. The village, which clusters at the foot and on the 
slope of the rock, is, for the most part, of a mean description, but contains a few 
handsome houses, more especially one erected by the famous Rup Ram of 
Barsana. With the exception of one temple dedicated to Manasa Devi all the 
remainder bear some title of the one popular divinity, such as Nar-sinha, Gopi- 
nath, Nritya-Gopal, Giridhari, Nanda-nandan, Radha-Mohan, and Jasoda- 
nandan. This last is on a larger scale than the others, and stands in a court- 
yard of its own, half way up the hill. It is much in the same style and apparently 
of the same date as the temple of Nand-Rae, or probably a little older ; an 
opinion which is confirmed by its being mentioned in the mantra, which runs as 
follows : — Yasodd-nandanam bande nanda-grdma-vanddhipam. A flight of 114 
broad steps, constructed of well-wrought stone from the Bharat-pur quarries, 
leads from the level of the plain up to the steep and narrow street which termi- 
nates at the main entrance of the great temple. The staircase was made at the 
cost of Balm Gaur Prasad of Calcutta, in the year 1818 A. D. At the foot of 
the hill is a large unfinished square with a range of stone buildings on one side 
for the accommodation of dealers and pilgrims, constructed by Siiraj Mall's 
Rani, the Rani Kishori. At the back is an extensive garden with some fine 
khirni trees, the property of the Raja of Bharat-pur. They are, however, gradu- 
ally disappearing, one by one every year, and no attempt is made to replace them. 
A little beyond this is the sacred lake now called Pan Sarovar, and supposed to 
be the pool where Krishna used to drive the cows to 'water' (pan). It is a 
magnificent sheet of water with noble masonry ghats on all its sides, the work 
of a Dowager Rani of Bnrdwan in 1747 A. D. It measures 810 feet by 378, 
and therefore covers all but six acres. It is said to be designed in the form 
of a ship ; but the resemblance is not very apparent to an uninformed observer. 
This is one of the four lakes of highest repute in Braj ; the others being the 
Chandra-sarovar at Parsoli by Gobardhan, the Prem-sarovar at Ghazipur 
near Barsana, and the Man-sarovar at Arua in the Mat pargana. On its 
margin is a little temple of Bihari, which bears on its front the following 
inscription : Sri Rddhd Gobind, Sri Gadddkar Chaitanya, Sri Rdran-sarovar 
Kunj Srimati Hani Rasyesvari Raja Kirtichand ki mdta Sri Raja Tilok Chand 
ji ki dddi ji rdj sube Bangdla Baradmdn Sri Sandtan Rup ki jaga men bandwe 
Gumdshta Sri Saphalya Rdm Das, Gokul Das sambat 1805. The following 


commemorates some later repairs in 1849 ; Sri Nandisvar men Ckkajju zamin- 
ddr lei patti men san 1155 sal, mail bhadra sudi men, Sri Pdvan wa fcunj paki 
bhayi, memdr Mohan Ldl, Chet Ram. Both these inscriptions are noticeable, 
since, in spite of their modern date, they preserve the old and now entirely 
obsolete name both of the village, Nandisvar (i.e., Mahadeva) instead of Nanda, 
and also of the lake, Pavan, 'the purifying,' instead of Pan, 'to drink.' Near 
the village is akadamb grove, called Udho ji kit kyar, and, according to popular 
belief, there are within the limits of Nand-ganw no less than fifty-six sacred 
lakes or hinds; though it is admitted that in this degenerate age all of them 
are not readily visible. In every instance the name is commemorative of 
Krishna and his friends and their pastoral occupations. 

Like Barsana and so many other of the holy places, Nand-ganw is part of 
the estate of the representatives of the Lala Babu, who, in 1811 A.D., acquired 
it for a merely nominal consideration from the then zamindars. One reason 
for their readiness to part with it is probably to be found in the fact, which has 
only recently come to my knowledge, that their title was a very questionable 
one. For the Pujaris of the temple have in their possession a sanad dated the 
30th vear of Alain Shah giving the whole of the village to their predecessors 
Paramanand and Rumkishan and their heirs in perpetuity. 

If the few squalid buildings which at present disfigure the square at the 
foot of the hill were removed, and replaced by a well, or temple, or other pub- 
lic edifice, and the line of shops completed on the other side, an exceedingly 
picturesque effect might be secured at a comparatively small cost. But it is 
needless to expect any local improvements from the absentee landlords, while 
the inhabitants are too impoverished to have a thought for anytliing beyond 
their daily bread. 

The above sketch of two comparatively unimportant places affords a good 
illustration of a curious transitional period in Indian history. After a chec- 
quered existence of five hundred years, there expired with Anrangzeb all the 
vital energy of the Muhammadan empire. The English power, In fated suc- 
cessor, was yet unconscious of its destiny and all reluctant to advance any 
claim to the vacant throne. Every petty chieftain, as for example Bharat-pur, 
scorning the narrow limits of his ancestral domains, pressed forward to grasp 
the glittering prize, and spared no outlay in the attempt t<> enlist iu his ser- 
vice the ablest men of any nationality, either like Samru to lead his armies in 
the field, or like liup Bam to direct his counsels in the cabinet. Thus men, 


whatever their rank in life, if only endowed by nature with genius or audacity, 
rose in an incredibly short space of time from obscurity to all but regal power. 
The wealth so rapidly secured was as profusely lavished ; nor was there any 
object in hoarding, when the next chance of war would cither increase the 
treasure ten-fold, or transfer it bodily to a victorious rival. Thus, a hamlet 
became in one day the centre of a princely court, crowded with magnificent 
buildings, and again, ere the architect had well completed his design, sunk with 
its founders into utter ruin and desolation. 



The Etymology of Local Names in Northern India, as exemplified 
in the District of Mathura'. 

In this, the concluding chapter of the general narrative, I propose to investi- 
gate the principles upon which the local nomenclature of Upper India has been 
and still is being unconsciously constructed. The inquiry is one of considerable 
importance to the student of language ; but it has never yet been approached 
in a scientific spirit, and the views which are here advanced respecting this 
terra incognita in the philologist's map must be regarded as a first exploration, 
which is unavoidably tentative and imperfect. Many points of detail will pos- 
sibly demand future rectification ; but the general outline of the subject, the 
fixed limits within which it is contained and some of its more characteristic 
features of interior development have, it is hoped, been satisfactorily ascertained 
and delineated with a fair amount of precision. 

It is not to be inferred from this prelude that a subject of such obvious inter- 
est has hitherto been totally neglected. On the contrary, it has given rise to a 
vast number of speculations, but all of the most haphazard description. And 
this from two causes ; the first being a perverse misconception as to the verna- 
cular language of the country ; and the second, the absence up to the present 
time of any list of names sufficiently complete to supply a basis for a really 
thorough induction. 

It seems a very obvious truism, and one that requires no elaborate defence to 
maintain, that the names of a country and of the places in it should ■prima facie, 
and in default of any direct evidence to the contrary, be referred to the language 
of the people who inhabit them rather than to any foreign source. This, how- 
ever, is the very point which most writers on the subject have failed to see. In 
order to explain why the founder of an Indian village gave his infant settlement 
the name, by which it is still known among his descendants, our laborious philo- 
logists have ransacked vocabularies of all the obscurest dialects of Europe, but 
have left their Sanskrit and Hindi dictionaries absolutely unopened. 

A more curious illustration of a deliberate resolve to ignore obvious facts 
for the sake of introducing a startling theory based on some obscure and 
utterly problematical analogy could scarcely be found than is afforded by 
Dr. Hunter in his Dissertation on non-Ayan languages. In this he refers 


the familiar local termination gdnw (which argument! gratia he spells gdng or 
gaong, though never so written in any Indian vernacular) to the Chinese Many, 
the Tibetan thiong, the Lepcha ki/ong, &c, &c, and refuses to acknowledge any 
connexion between it and the Sanskrit grama. Yet as certainly as Anglo- 
Saxon was once the language of England, so was Sanskrit of Upper India ; and 
it seems as reasonable to deny the relationship between grama and gdnw as be- 
tween the English affix bury or borough and the Saxon burg. The formation is 
strictly in accord with the rules laid dowu by the Prakrit grammarians centu- 
ries before the word gdniv had actually come in existence. Thus by Vararu- 
chi's Sutra — Sarvatra la-va-rdm, III., 3 — the letter r when compounded with 
another consonant, whether it stands first or last, is always to be elided ; as we 
see in the Hindi bat for the Sanskrit vdrta, in Icos for krosa, a measure of dis- 
tance, and in pern for preman, love. So grama passes into gduia, and whether 
this latter form or gdnw is used depends simply upon the will of the speaker ; 
one man calls the place where he lives Naugama, another calls it Nauganw, 
in the same way as it is optional to say Edinbro' or Edinborough. For in 
Hindi as in Sanskrit a nasal can always be inserted at pleasure, according to 
the memorial line — Savinduhdvindukayoh sgdd abhede na kalpanam: and the 
distinction between ni and v or w has always been very slightly marked ; for 
example, dhimar is the recognized literary Hindi form of the Sanskrit dhivar 
and at the present day villagers generally write Bhamdni for Shawdni, though 
the latter form only is admitted in printed books. If speculation is allowed 
to run riot with regard to the paternity of such a word as gdnw, every step in 
the descent of which is capable of the clearest proof, then philology is still a 
science of the future, and the whole history of language must be rewritten from 
the very commencement. 

Perhaps of all countries in the world, northern India is the one which for 
an investigation of this kind is the most self-contained and the least in need of 
alien analogies. Its literary records date from a very remote period : are, in 
fact, far more ancient than any architectural remains, or even than any well- 
authenticated site, or definitely established era, and they form a continuous and 
unbroken chain down to this very day. From the Sanskrit of the Vedas 
to the more polished language of the Epic poems, and through the Prakrit of the 
dramatists, the old Hindi of Chand and the Braj Bhasha of Tulsi Das, down to 
the current speech of the rural population of Mathura at the present time, the 
transitions are never violent, and at most points arc all but imperceptible. The 
language, as we clearly see from the specimens which we have of it in all its 
successive phases, is uniform and governed throughout by the same phonetic 


laws. And thus, neither from the intrinsic evidence of indigenous literature, 
nor from the facts recorded by history, is it permissible to infer the simultaneous 
existence in the country of an alien-speaking race at any period, to which it is 
reasonable to refer the foundation of places that still bear a distinctive name, 
prior to the Muhammadan invasion. The existence of such a race is simply 
assumed by those who find it convenient to represent as non- Aryan any forma- 
tion which their acquaintance with unwritten Aryan speech in its growth and 
decay is too superficial to enable them at once to identify. 

As local etymology is a subject which can only be investigated on the spot, 
and therefore lies beyond the range of European scholars, its study is necessarily 
affected by the prejudices peculiar to Anglo-Indian officials, who are so accus- 
tomed to communicate with their subordinates only through the medium of 
Urdu that most of them regard that lingua franca as being really what it is call- 
ed in official parlance, the vernacular of the country. This familiarity with the 
speech of the small Muhammadan section of the community, rather than with 
that of the Hindu masses, causes attention to be mainly directed to the study of 
Persian and Arabic, which are considered proper to the country, while Sanskrit 
is thought to be utterly dead, of no interest save to professional scholars and of 
no more practical import in determining the value of current phrases than 
Greek or Hebrew. 

The prejudice is to be regretted, as it frequently leads writers, even in the 
best informed London periodicals, to speak of India as if it were a purely 
Muhammadan country, and to urge upon the Government, as highly conciliatory, 
measures which — if taken — would most effectually alienate the sympathies of 
the vast majority. 

Neither Urdu, Persian, nor Arabic, is of much service in tracing the 

derivation of local names, and it is hastily concluded that words which are 

unintelligible when referred to those recognized sources must therefore be non- 
es o 

Indian, and may with as much probability be traced up to one foreign language 
as another. Any distortion of the name of a town or village which makes it 
bear some resemblance to a Persian or Arabic root, is ordinarily accepted as a 
plausible explanation ; thus Khanpur is substituted for Kanhpur, and Ghazipur 
for Gadhipur, Gadlii, the father of Visvamitra, being a character not very 
widely known ; while on the other hand a derivation from tho Sanskrit by the 
application of well-established but less popularly known phonetic and gramma- 
tical laws, is stigmatized as pedantic and honestly considered to be more far- 
fetched than a derivation from tho Basque or the Lithuanian. 


This may seem an exaggerated statement ; but I speak from personal 
experience and with special reference to a critic who wrote that he thought 
the identification of Maholi with Madhupuri far more improbable than its 
connection with the Basque and Toda word uri, which is said to mean ' a village.' 

Such philological vagaries have their birth in the unfortunate preference for 
Urdu, which the English Government has inherited from the former con- 
querors of the country, though without any of their good reasons for the pre- 
ference. They are further fostered by a wide-spread idea as to the character 
of the people ami the country, which in itself is perfectly correct, and wrong 
only in the particular application. The Hindus are an eminently conservative 
race, and their civilization dates from an extremely remote period. It is, there- 
fore, inferred that most of their existing towns and villages are of very ancient 
foundation and, if so, may bear names to which no parallel can be expected 
in the modern vernacular. This hypothesis is disproved by what has been said 
above as to the continuity of Indian speech : it is further at variance with all 
local traditions. The present centres of population, as any one can ascertain 
for himself, if he will only visit the spots instead of speculating about them in 
his study, are almost all subsequent in origin to the Muhammadan invasion. 
When they were founded, the language of the new settlers, whatever it may 
have been in pre-historic times, was certainly not TuraniaD, but Aryan, as it 
is now; and though any place, which had previously been inhabited, must 
already have borne some name, the cases in which that old name was retained 
would be very rare. Thus, it may be remarked in passing, the present discussion 
supplies no ethnical argument with regard to the original population of the 
country. The names, once regarded as barbarous, but now recognized as Aryan, 
must be abandoned as evidence of the existence of a non-Aryan race ; but, at 
the same time, since they are essentially modern, they cannot be taken as 
supporting the counter-theory. The names of the rivers, however, which also 
are mostlv Aryan, may fairly be quoted as bearing on the point ; for of all 
local names these are the least liable to change, as we see in America and our 
Colonies, where it is as exceptional to find a river with an English name as it is 
to find a town with an Indian one. And a still stronger and more numerously 
attested proof is afforded by the indigenous trees, nearly all of which (as may 
be seen from the list given in an appendix to this volume) have names that 
are unmistakably of Sanskrit origin. 

Moreover, Hindu conservatism, though it doubtless exists, is developed in 
a very different way from the principle known by the same name in Europe. 
Least of all is it shown in any regard for ancient buildings, whether temples 



or homesteads. Though ( Ihristianity is a modern faith as compared with Hin- 
duism, and though the history of English civilization begins only from a time 
when the brightest period of Indian history had already closed, the material 
evidences of either fact are found in inverse order in the two countries. There 
is not a single English county which does not contain a longer and more 
venerable series of secular and ecclesiastical edifices than can be supplied by 
an Indian district, or it might even be said by an entire Presidency. Thus the 
temple of Govind Deva at Brinda-ban, which is popularly known in the neigh- 
bourhood as ' the old temple' par excellence, dates only from the reign of Akbar, 
the contemporary of Elizabeth, and is therefore far more modern than any 
single village church in the whole of England, barring those that have been 
built since the revival by the present generation. The same also with MSS. 
The Hindus had a voluminous literature while the English were still unable to 
write ; but at the present day in India a MS 200 years old is more of a rarity 
than one five times that age in England. This complete disappearance from 
the surface of all material records of antiquity is no doubt attributable in great 
measure to the operation of the two most destructive forces in the known 
world, viz., white-ants and Muhammadans ; but the Hindus themselves are not 
altogether free from blame in the matter. As if from a reminiscence of their 
nomadic origin, with all their modern superstitious dislike to a move far from 
home, is combined an inveterate tendency to slip away gradually from the old 
landmarks. The movement is not necessitated by growth of population, which, 
as in London, for instance, can no longer be contained within the original city 
bounds, but is a result of the Oriental idiosyncracy that makes every man 
desire, not — in accordance with European ideas — to found a family or restore an 
old ancestral residence, but rather to leave some building exclusively comme- 
morative of himself, and to touch nothing that his predecessors have commenced, 
lest they should have all the credit of it with posterity. The history of Eng- 
land, which runs all in one cycle from the time of its first civilization, affords 
no ground for comparison ; but in mediaeval Italy the course of events was 
somewhat parallel, and, as in India, a second empire was built up on the ruins 
of a former one of equal or greater grandeur and extent. In it we find the 
modern cities retaining under some slight dialectical disguises the very same 
names as of old and occupying the same ground : in India, on the other hand, there 
is scarcely an historic site which is not now a desolation. Again, to pass from 
political to merely local disturbances : when London was rebuilt after (he Great 
Fire, its streets, in spite of all Wren's remonstrances, were laid out exactly as 
before, narrow and irregular as they had grown up piece by piece in the course 


of centuries, and with oven the churches on their old sites, though the lattei 

had become useless in consequence of the change in the national religion, 
which required one or two large arenas for the display of pulpit eloquence rather 
than many secluded oratories for private devotion. When a similar calamity 
befell an Indian city, as it often did, the position of the old shrines was 
generally marked by rude commemorative stones, but the people made no 
difficulty about abandoning the exact sites of their old homes, if equally eligible 
spots offered themselves in the neighbourhood. 

The same diversity of conservative ideas runs through the whole character : 
the Hindu quotes the practice of his father and grandfather and persuades 
himself that he is as they were, and that they were as their forefathers, uncon- 
scious of any change and ignoring the evidence of it that is afforded by ancient 
monuments, both literary and architectural. The former he prizes only for 
their connexion with the sect to which he himself belongs ; whatever is illus- 
trative of an alien faith he consigns to destruction without any regard for its 
history or artistic significance ; and in an ancient building, if it has fallen into 
disuse, he sees no beauty and can take no interest ; though this can scarcely 
be from the feeling that he can easily replace it with a better, a conviction 
which led our mediaeval architects to destroy without compunction any part 
of an earlier cathedral, however beautiful in itself, which had become decayed 
or too small for later requirments. In all these matters England is far more 
critically conservative ; believing in nothing, we tolerate everything ; and 
profoundly distrusting our own creative faculties, we preserve as models whatever 
we can rescue from the past, either in art or literature. 

These reflections may seem to wander rather far from the mark ; but they 
explain the curious equipoise that prevails in the Indian mind between a pro- 
found contempt for antiquity and an equally profound veneration for it. Tin- 
very slight regard in which ancient sites are held is illustrated by the use of 
the terms ' Little ' and ' Great ' as local prefixes. Inconsequence of the ten- 
dency to shift the centre of population, these seldom afford information as to 
the comparative area and importance of the two villages so distinguished : most 
frequently the one styled ' Little' will be the larger of the two. In some 
cases the prefix ' Great' implies only that when the common property was 
divided among the sons of the founder, the share so designated fell to the lot 
of the eldest ; but ordinarily it denotes the original village site, which has been 
wholly or at least partially abandoned, or so diminished by successive parti- 
tions that it has eventually become the smallest and least important of the 


The foregoing considerations will, I trust, be accepted as sufficiently 
demonstrating the reasonableness of my general position that local names in 
Upper India are, as a rule, of no very remote antiquity, and are prima facie 
referable to Sanskrit and Hindi rather than to any other language. Their 
formation has certainly been regulated by the same principles that we see 
underlying the local nomenclature of other civilized countries, and we may 
therefore expect to find them falling into three main groups, as follows : — 

I. Names compounded with an affix denoting place. 

II. Names compounded with an affix denoting possession. 

III. A more indefinite class, including all names without any affix at all; 
such words being for the most part either the name of the founder, or an 
epithet descriptive of some striking local feature. 

Running the eye over the list of villages in the Mathura district, we can 
at a glance detect abundant illustrations of each of these three classes. Thus 
under Class I. come such names as N:inak-pur, Pati-pura, Bich-puri, where the 
founder's name is combined with the local affix pur, pura, or puri, signifying 
'a town.' So also, Nau-garna, Uncha-gauw, Badan-garh, Chamar-garhi, Riip- 
nagar, Pal-kkera, Brinda-ban, Ahalya-ganj, Radha-kund, Mangal-khoh, Mall- 
sarai, and Nainu-patti. In all these instances the local affix is easy to be 
recognized as also the word to which it is attached. 

Of Class II. the illustrations are not quite so obvious and will mostly require 
special elucidation ; but some are self-evident, as for example Bhure-ka, 
where the affix is the ordinary sign of the genitive case ; Rane-ra, where it is 
the Marwari form of the same ; and Pipal-wara, where it represents the fami- 
liar wdld. 

Under Class III. come first such names as Siiraj, Misri, and Graju, which 
are known to have been borne by the founders ; and under the second sub-divi- 
sion, Gobardhan, ' productive in cattle ;' Sanket, ' a place of assignation :"' 
Khor, ' an opening between the hills;' Basai, ' a colony ;' and Pura, ' a town,' 
indicative of a period when towns were scarce ; with many others of similar 

Looking first for names that may be inclnded under Class I., we find that, 
by far the most numerous variety are those compounded with the affix pur. 
This might be expected, for precisely the same reason that ' ton' is the most 
common local ending in England. But we certainly should not expect to find 
so large a proportion unmistakably modern, with the former part of the com- 
pound commemorating cither a Muhammadan or a Hindu with a Persian name, 


or one who can bo proved in Fume other way to have lived only a few genera- 
tions ago, and with scarcely a single instance of a name that can with any pro- 
bability be referred to a really ancient date. As this fact is one of considerable 
importance to my argument, I must proceed to establish it beyond all possibility 
of cavil by yassing in review the entire series of names in which the ending 
occurs in each of the six parganas of the district. 

The Kosi pargana' comprises 61 villages, of which 9 end in pur ; viz., 
'Aziz-pur, Hasan-pur, Jalal-pur, Lal-pur, Nabi-pur, Fakhar-pur, Ram-pur, 
Shah-pur, and Shahzad-pur. Six of these are unmistakably post-Muhammadan, 
one is apparently so, and two arc of quite uncertain date. 

In the Chhata pargana there are 111 villages, and 16 of them have the pur 
ending ; viz., Adam-pur, Akbar-pur, Bazid-pur, Deva-pura — so called from a 
'temple' of Gopal, built by Muhkam Sinh, the ancestor of the present proprie- 
tors, whose Arabic name proves that he lived not many generations ago — Ghazi- 
pur, Gulal-pur, Jait-pur, Jamal-pur, Khan-pur, Lar-pur, Man pur, on the Barsana 
range — so called from the Man Mandir, the first erection of which cannot date 
from further back than the transfer of Radha's chief shrine from Raval to 
Barsana, which took place in the 15th or 16th century A.D. — Pir-pur, Saiyid-pur, 
Tatar-pur, Haji-pur, and Kamal-pur. Of these 16 names, 12 are unquestionably 
modern, and of the remaining 4, nothing can be said with certainty either one 
way or the other. 

Of the 163 villages in the Mathura pargana, as many as 32 have the pur 
ending ; viz., Alha-pur, said by local tradition to have been founded and so 
named only 200 years ago (the founder's descendants are still on the spot and 
most unlikely to detract from the antiquity of their family) ; A'zam-pur and 
Bakir-pur, both founded by A'zam Khan Mir Muhammad Bakir, who was 
Governor of Mathura from 1642 to 1645 ; Bhavan-pur ; Bija-pur, founded 200 
years ago by Bijay Sinh, Thakur, on land taken from the adjoining village of 
Nahrauli ; Daulat-pur ; Daum-pura, one of 11 villages founded by the sons 
of a Jat named Nainu at no very remote period, since the share which fell to 
the eldest of the sons is distinguished by the Persian epithet kaldn ; Giridhar- 
pur, probably the most ancient of the series, but still dating from times of 
modern history, having been founded by Giridhar, a Kachhwaha Thakur of 
Satoha, whose ancestors had migrated there from Amber ; Gobind-pur ; Hakim- 
pur ; Jamal-pur ; Jati-pura, founded by Gosain Bittkal-nath, the son of Val- 
labhacharya of Gokul, commonly called Jati Ji, about the year 1550 A.D. ; 
Jay Sinh-pura, founded by Sawae Jay Sinh of Amber about the year 1720 A.D. ; 



Kesopnr, so called from the famous temple of Kesava Deva, a fact which would 
sufficiently account for the name remaining unchanged, even though of ancient, 
date ; Lalpur, founded by a Thakur named Lalu, a member of the Gauruaclan, 
which is confessedly of late origin : Lal-pur, founded only a few generations 
ago by a Tartar Thakur, Laram ; Madan-pura, founded by an Ahir from the 
old village of Karnaul ; Madho-pur, dating 300 years ago, when it was formed 
out of lands taken from the adjoining villages and given to a Hindu retainer 
by Sah'm Shah ; Mirza-pur ; Muhammad-pur ; Mukund-pur, so called after a 
Mahratta founder ; Murshid-pur, founded by Murshid Kuli Khan, who was 
Governor of Mathura in 163(5 A.D. ; Nabi-pur founded by ' Abd-un-Nabi, Go- 
vernor from 16(50 to 1668 ; Panna-pur, founded in 1725 A.D. ; Raj-pur, near 
Brinda-ban, so named with reference to the Raj-Ghat, by a Sanadh Brahman 
from Kamar in the 16th century ; Ram-pur, named after the Ramtal, a place 
of pilgrimage there ; Rasul-pur ; Salim-pnr, dating from the reign of Salim 
Shah ; Askar-pur, a modern alternative name for Satoha ; Shah-pur ; and 
Dhak-pura. Of these 32 names, there are only five as to which any doubt can 
be entertained ; all the remainder are clearly modern. 

In the Mat pargana are 141 villages, and 41 end in pur; viz., Abhay-pura, 
settled by a Jat, Abhay Sinh, from Kauhina ; Ahmad-pur ; Akbar-pur ; Aman- 
ullah-pur ; Badan-pur ; Baikunth-pur, founded according to local tradition 300 
years ago ; Baland-pur, founded in the 17th century by a Jat named Balavant ; 
Bali-pur, founded by Bali, a Jat from Bajana about 1750 A.D. ; Begam-pur ; 
Bulakpur ; Chand-pur, of modern Jat foundation ; Daulat-pur ; Faridam-pur ; 
Firoz-pur ; Hamza-pur ; Hasan-pur ; ' Inayat-pur ; Ja'far-pur ; Jahangir-pur ; 
Jat-pura, a modern off-shoot from the adjoining village of Shal ; Khan-pur ; 
Khwaja-pur ; Lal-pur, founded by a Jat from Parsauli ; Makhdiimpur ; Mir- 
pur ; Mubarak-pur ; Mu'in-ud-diupur ; Nabi-pur ; Nanak-pur, a modern off- 
shoot from Musmina ; Nausher-pur ; Kiir-pur ; Pabbi-pur ; Pati-pura, a mo- 
dern colony from the Jat village of Dunetiya ; Rae-pur, recently settled from 
Musmina ; Sadik-pur ; Sadr-pur ; Sakat-pur ; Sikandar-pur ; Suhag-pur ; Sul- 
tan-pur ; and Udhan-pur. As to the foundation of 6 out of these 41 villages 
nothing is known ; the remaining 35 are distinctly ascertained to be modern. 

Of the 203 villages in the Maha-ban pargana, 43 have the ending pur ; 
viz., ' Abd-un-Nabi-pur ; Ali-pur ; Amir-pur; Islam-pur; Bahadur-pur; 
Balaram-pur, recently founded by Sobha Rue, Kayath ; Bainirasi-pur, founded 
by a Brahman, Banarasi, who derived his own name from the modern appellation 
of the sacred city called of old Varanasi ; Bhankar-pur : Bichpori, of modern 
.1 at foundation ; Daulat-pur: Fath-pura; Ghiyas-pur; Gohar-pur; Habib-pur ; 

Etymology of local names. ,327 

Hayat-pur; Hasan-pur; Ibrahim-pur ; 'Isa-pur, founded by Mirza 'Isa Tarkhan, 
Governor of I\la t lnir:'i in 1H2!) A. D.; Jadon-pur ; Jagadia pur, founded by a 

Parasar, Jagadeva, whose descendants are still on the spot and claim no great 
antiquity; Jamalpur ; Jogi-pur ; Kalyanpur ; Kasim-pur ; Khan-pur ; K ishan- 
pur, recently settled from the village of Karab ; Lal-pur ; Manohar-pur ; 
Mohan-pur; Mubarak-pur; Muzaffar-pur ; Nabi-pur; Nasir-pur; Niir-pur; 
Rae-pur ; Saiyid-pur ; Shahab-pur ; Shah-pur ; Shahzad-pur : Sherpur ; Tay- 
yibpnr, and Zakariya-pur. Of these 43 villages, 35 are certainly quite modern : 
as to the remaining 8 nothing can be affirmed positively. 

The 6th and last pargana, Sa'dabad, contains 129 villages, of which 31 
have the ending pur; viz., Abhay-pura, of modern Jat foundation ; Bagh-pur, 
founded 300 years ago by a Jat named Bagh-raj ; Bahadur-pur ; Bijal-pur ; 
Chamar-pura ; Dhak-pura ; Fathullah-pur ; Ghatam-pur, founded in the reign 
of Shahjahan ; Hasan-pur ; Idal-pur : Mahabat-pur ; Makan-pur ; Manik-pur, 
of modern Jat foundation ; Mir-pur ; Narayan-pur, named after a Gosain of 
modern date, Niirayan Das : Nasir-pur ; Nasir-pur ; Nau-pura ; Rae-pura, of 
modern Thakur foundation ; Ram-pura, recently settled from Sahpau, by a 
Brahman named Man Mall ; Rashid-pur ; Sala-pur, founded b) r a Brahman named 
Sabala ; Salim-pur ; Samad-pur, settled not many generations ago by a Jat 
named Savadhan ; Sarmast-pur ; Shahbaz-pur ; Sher-pur, Sithara-pur, a modern 
off-shoot of Garumra ; Sultan-pur ; Taj-pur ; and Zari-pura. Of these 31 names, 
5 are doubtful, the other 2C are proved to be modern. 

Adding up the results thus obtained, we find that there are in the whole 
district 172 villages that exhibit the termination pur, and of these as many as 
141 are either obviously of modern origin, or are declared to be so by local 
tradition. It is also worthy of notice that in the above lists there has frequently 
been occasion to mention the name of the parent settlement from which a more 
recent colony has been derived ; but in no single instance does the older name 
show the pur ending. Yet pura or puri is no new word, nor is its use as a local 
affix new ; on the contrary we have the clearest literary proof that it has been 
very largely so employed from the very commencement of the Aryan occupa- 
tion of India. What, then, has become of all the older names in which it once 
appeared ? It is inconceivable that both name and place should in every 
instance have been so utterly destroyed as not to leave a trace behind ; and we are 
thus forced to accept the alternative conclusion that the affix has in course of 
tune so coalesced with the former part of the compound, that it ceases to be 
readily distinguishable from it. Now of names that are presumably ancient, it 
will be found that a considerable proportion termiuate in oli, auli, aur, auri, 


or aula. Thus, deducting from the 61 villages in the Kosi pargana, the nine 
that have the modern termination puri, we have 52 left, and among that number 7 
are of this character ; viz., Banchauli, (Jhacholi, Chandauri, Mahroli, Sanchauli. 
Sujauli, and Tumaula. Again, of the 95 villages that remain in the Chhata 
pargana after deduction of the 1(1 ending in puri, 1 5 have the oli affix ; viz., 
Ahori, Astoli, Baroli, Bharauli, Chaksauli, Darauli, Gangroli, Lodhauli, Man- 
groli, Parsoli, Pilhora, Rankoli, Rithora, and Taroli. Without continuing the 
list in wearisome detail through the other four parganas of the district, it will 
probably be admitted that, in earlier times, oli was as common a local affix as 
puri in modern times, and must represent some term of equally general and 
equally familiar signification. To proceed with the argument ; these names, 
though as a rule older than those ending in puri, are still many of them of no 
great antiquity and can be proved to belong to an Aryan period, when the lan- 
guage of the country was in essentials the same as it is now and the people 
inhabiting it bore much the same names as they do still. Thus Sanchauli is 
derived from Sanehi Devi, who has a temple there ; Sujauli from a founder Sujan, 
whose descendants are still the proprietors ; and Parsoli and Taroli from found- 
ers named respectively Parsa and Tara. It may be presumed with absolute 
certainty that these people, bearing such purely Indian names, whether they 
lived 5, 10, or 15 generations ago, knew no language but their own vernacular, 
and could not borrow from any foreign tongue the titles by which they chose to 
designate their new settlements. Thus Dr. Hunter, and those who have fol- 
lowed him in his speculations, may be correctly informed when they state that 
in Tamil, or Telugu, or Toda, or even in Basque, there is a word uri, or uru, or 
ur, which means ' village' ; but yet if this word was never current in the ordi- 
nary speech of Upper India, the founders of the villages quoted above cannot 
possibly have known of it. The attempt to borrow such a name as Sujauli or 
Maholi directly from the Basque is, when viewed under the light of local know- 
ledge, really more absurd than to derive Cannington from Kanhai/, or Dalhou- 
sie from Dala-hdsi, 'with pleasant foliage.' The misconception, as already 
observed, has risen from the erroneous idea that all village names are of remote 
antiquity, and may therefore be illustrated by philological analogies collected 
from all parts and ages of the world. In truth, uli or uri is simply puri with 
the initial consonant elided. Such an elision, removing as it docs the most 
distinctive element in the word, may appear at first sight highly improbable: it 
is, however, in strict accord with the rules of Hindi formation. The two first 
sutras of the second Book of Vararueh'fs Pr&krita-Prakasa in the clearest man- 
ner direct it to be made. The text stands thus : 


(1) Ayuktasydnadau. (2) Ka-ga-cha-ja-ta-da-pa-ya-vdm pruyo lopah. That 
is to say, the consonants k. g, ch, j, t, d, p, y, ami v, when single and non- 
iuitlal. are generally elided. And as a convincing proof that this is no mere 
grammatical figment, but a practical rule of very extrusive application, take 
the following familiar words, in which its influence is so obvious as to be unde- 
niable. By the elision of the prescribed consonant we obtain from the Sans- 
krit siikar, the Hindi mar, 'a pig' ; from kokila, koil, 'the cuckoo' ; from siichi, 
siii, 'a needle"; from tdtd, tdu, '& father's elder brother' ; from pada, pdo, 'a 
quarter' ; from kupa, kua, ' a well' ; from Praydg, Prdg, the Hindi name of 
Allahabad ; and from jlva, jia, ' life.' The rule, it is true, provides primarily 
that the letter to be elided must be non-initial ; but one of the examples given 
in the text is su uriso for su purusha, ' a good man' ; where the p is still elided, 
although it is the initial of the word purusha. This the commentator explains 
by declaring that " the initial letter of the last member of a compound must be 
considered as non-initial." Thus the mystery is solved, and Karnaul is at once 
seen to be Karna-pur ; Karauli, Kalyan-pur ; Taroli, Tara-pur ; and Sujauli, 

This practical application of the Prakrit grammarian's rule was first stated 
in my first edition of this Memoir. In my own mind it was so firmly estab- 
lished as an indisputable fact, and possessed in its extreme simplicity at 
least one of the great merits of all genuine discoveries, that I stated it very 
briefly and thought it unnecessary to bring forward any collateral arguments 
in its support. But I find that I much under-rated the strength of inveterate 
prejudices ; for with the exception of one reviewer in a London scientific 
journal, all other critics seemed to regard my theory as the ruero outcome of 
unpractical pedantry. I have therefore on the present occasion taken great 
pains to omit nothing, and I cannot believe that anyone, who will submit to the 
trouble of following my argument as I have now stated it, will still maintain 
'• that the direct derivation from the Turanian roots aid, ur, uri, is more 
probable than the forced and far-fetched Sanskrit derivation from one single 
root supported only by the theory of a grammarian, which may or may not have 
been put in practice in an unlettered age." The writer of the remarks I quote 
would seem to imagine that language was the invention of grammarians ; on 
the contrary, they are powerless to invent or even change a single word, and 
can merely codify the processes which are the result of unconscious action on 
the part of the unlettered masses. When Sujan-pur is converted in popular 
speech into Sujauli, it is not because in one rule Yararuchi has directed the 
elision of the initial p, and in another rule the elision of the final n ; but because 



a Hindu's organs of speech (as the grammarians had noticed to he the invari- 
able case) have a natural and unconscious tendency to the change.* This 
tendency in still existing in full force, and my observing it to be so in another 
local compound first suggested to me the identification of mi with puri. Thus 
the beautiful lake at GobarJhan with the mausoleum of the first of the Bharat- 
pur Rajas is called indifferently Kusum-sarovar, or Kusumokhar ; and at 
Barsana is a tank, called either Bhanokhar or Brikhbhan kti pokhar, after 
Radha's reputed father Brikh-bhan. Both in Kusumokhar and Bhanokhar it 
is evident that the latter part of the compound was originally pokhar, and in 
the same way as the initial p has been there elided, so also has it been in 
Sujauli and Maholi. The explanation of the last-mentioned word 'Maholi' is 
one of the most obvious and at the same time one of the most interesting results 
of my theory. It is the name of the village some four miles from Mathura, 
which has grown up in the vicinity of the sacred grove of Madhuban, where 
Rama's brother Satrughna destroyed the giant Madhu. On the site of the 
captured stronghold the hero is said to have built a city, called indiscriminately 
in Sanskrit literature Mathura or Madhu-puri : the fact, no doubt, being that 
Mathura was originally the name of the country, with Madhu-puri for its capital. 
In course of time the capital, like most Indian cities, gradually shifted its site, 
probably in order to follow the receding river ; while Madhu-puri itself, fixed by 
the locality of the wood that formed its centre, became first a suburb and finally 
an entirely distinct village. Simultaneously with these changes, the name of 
the country at large was attached par excellence to its chief city, and Madhu- 
puri in its obscurity became a prey to phonetic decay and was corrupted into 
Maholi. The transition is a simple one ; the h being substituted for dh by the 
rule II. 27 Kha-gha-tha-dha bhdm Halt, which gives us the Hindi bahira tot 
the Sanskrit badhira, ' deaf,' and balm for vadhii, ' a female relation.' 

It will be observed that Madhu-puri as a literary synonym for Mathura 
remains unchanged, and is transformed into Maholi only as the name of an 
insignificant village. Thus an easy solution is found for the difficulty raised 
by the same critic I have I efore quoted, who objects, "If it is possible in the 
lapse of time to elide the p of puri, why have not the oldest towns in India 
like Hastina-pur yielded to the change ? and in the case of more modern towns 
why do we not find the change half-effected, some middle place in the transition 
sta" e ?" To the former of these two questions 1 reply that a name when once 

* Thus the Agra shop-keepers, who hare converted Blunt-panj into Be!anganj, liars 
probably never heard of Vararuchi, but they have certainly, though unconsciously, followed 
hi9 rules. 


petrified in literature is preserved from colloquial detrition. Thus, of two 
places originally named alike, one may retain the genuine Sanskrit form, while 
the other becomes Prdkritized, according to their celebrity or otherwise. A 
parallel is afforded by the names of many English families : the elder branches 
retain the old spelling, however much at variance with modern pronunciation, 
as, for instance, Berkeley and Marjoribanks ; while the obscurer branches, who 
seldom had occasion to attach their signatures to any document, conform their 
spelling to the sound and appear in writing as Barkly and Marchbanks. Again, 
among those who retain the old form, some no longer pronounce the word in the 
old fashioned way, but alter its sound according to the more ordinary value of the 
letters in modern pronunciation.* Thus Hastinapur exists unchanged, by vir- 
tue of its historical fame ; had it been an obscure village it would probably have 
been corrupted into Hathaura. In fine, it may be accepted as a general rule 
that when the termination pur, pur a, or puri is found in full, the place is either 
comparatively modern, or if ancient is a place of pre-eminent note. The one 
exception to the rule is afforded by names in which the first element of the com- 
pound is a Persian or Arabic word. Some of them may be much older and yet 
not more distinguished than many of pure Hindu descent, from which the p has 
disappeared; but the explanation lies in the natural want of affinity betweea 
the two members of the compound, which would prevent them from coalescing, 
however long they might be bound together. 

To say that the actual process of transition can never be detected is not 
strictly in accordance with facts. The elision is not restricted to proper names, 
but is applicable to all words alike ; and in Hindi books written and printed at 
the present day it is optional with the writer to use exclusively either kokila, 
or koil ; sukar or siiar; kup or kua, or both indifferently. Again, to take a 
local illustration: Gobardhan, being a place of high repute, is always so spelt 
by well-informed people, but in vulgar writing it is contracted to Gordhan, 
and it is almost exceptional to come across a man whose name is Gobardhan 
Das, who does not acquiesce in the corruption. 

Next to pur, the local affix of most general signification and the one 
which we should therefore expect to find occupying the second place in popular 

* A case in point is afforded by ray own name, which is a corruption of the French yros 
and is from Ihe same root as the Sanskrit guru (in the nomin-itive case G ■m*) It has come down 
to me with the spelling unaltered for more th in 350 years ; but the ow, which was originally 
prom unced as in the word 'growth,' or rather as the ou in group, has gradually acquired the 
harsher sound which more commonly a taches to the diphthong, as in 'brown.' In Mathuri, 
curiously enough, I was always known by the Hindus as ' Guru Sahib,' and so got back to my 
original name. 


use is grdma, gama, or game. It occurs, however, far less frequently, at least 
in an unmutilated state. Thus of the 61 villages in the Kosi pargana there 
are onl) r two with this affix, viz., Dahi-ganw, named from the Dadhi-kund, 
and Pai-ganw from the Pai-ban-kund; dadhi and payas both meaning 'milk.' 
In the 111 Chhata villages there are four, viz., Bhau-ganw, Nand-ganw, Nati- 
gama, and Uncha-ganw. In the 163 Mathura villages there are six, viz., 
Bachh-ganWj Dhan-ganw, Jakhin-ganw, Naugama (properly Na-gama from its 
founder Naga), Nim-ganw, and Uncha-ganw. In the 141 Mat villages (here 
is only one, Tenti-ka-ganw, and this a name given by Raja Siiraj Mall — on 
account of the abundance of the karil plant with its fruit called tenti — to a place 
formerly known as Akbar-pur. In the 203 Mahaban villages only two, viz., 
Nim-ganw and Pani-ganwj and in the 129 S'adabad villages, four, viz., Kukar- 
gama, Naugama, Risgama, and Tasigau. The proportion is therefore little 
more than two per cent., and even of this small number the majority may 
reasonably be presumed to be of modern date. Thus Nau-gama in the Chhata 
pargana was formed in later Muhammadan times by a moiety of the popula- 
tion of the parent village Taroli, who under imperial pressure abandoned their 
ancestral faith and submitted to the yoke of Islam. Again the five or six 
villages, such as Bachh-ganw, Dahi-ganw, &c, that have sprung up round the 
sacred groves and lakes and retain the name of the tiratJi unaltered, simply 
substituting gdnw for the original ban or Icund, are almost certainly due to the 
followers of Vallabhacharya at the beginning of the 16th century, or to the 
Gosain who composed the modern Brahma-vaivarta Purana and first made 
these spots places of Vaislmava pilgrimage. It may therefore be inferred that 
in older names the termination grdma has, like puri, been so mutilated as to 
become difficult of recognition. The last name on the list, viz., Tasigau, is 
valuable as suggesting the character of the corruption, which it exhibits in a 
transitional stage. The final syllable, which is variably pronounced as gau, go, 
or gon, is unmistakably a distinct, word, and can only represent g&nw. The 
former part of the compound, which at first sight appears not a little obscure, 
is illustrated by a village in the Mathura pargana, Tasiha, a patti, or subdivision 
of the township of tSonkh, which is said to bear the name of one of the five sons 
of the Jut founder, the other four being Ajal, Asa, Piirna, and Sahjua. As these 
are clearly Hindi vocables, it may be presumed that Tasiha is so likewise, and 
we shall probably be right if we take it fir the Prakrit form of the .Sanskrit tishya, 
one of the lunar mansions, used in the sense of ' auspicious," in the same way 
as the more common Piisa, which represents the asterism Piishya. Thus, as the 
letter g can be elided under the same rule as the p inpuri, the original termination 


grama is not unfrequently reduced to the form on, in which not one letter of its 
older self remains. The niosl interesting example of this mutation isafforded 
by the, village Parson. Its meaning has so thoroughly died out that a local 
legend has been in existence for some generations which explains it thus : that 
two clays after Krishna had slain one of the monsters with which the country was 
infested, he was met at this snot by some of his adherents who asked him how 
long ago it was that he had done the deed, and he replied parson, 'the day before 
jresterday.' This is obviously as absurd as the kal kata, or 'yesterday's cutting,' 
told about Calcutta : for apart from other reasons the word in vogue in Krishna's 
time would have been not parson, but, its original form parsvas. However, the 
true etymology, which is yet more disguised by the fact that office clerks always 
change the r into I and call the place Palson, does not appear to have been ever 
suggested till now. Clearly the name was once Parasurama-ganw, or in its 
contracted form Parsaganw, and thence by regulartransition has passed through 
Parsanw into Parson. If proof were required, it is supplied by the fact that a 
large pond of ancient sacred repute immediately adjoining the village is called 

The sacred ponds and groves with which the country of Braj abounds 
are, as might naturally be expected, ordinarily much older than the villages 
on their margin ; and, as illustrated by the above example, it is always of 
the utmost importance to the philologist to ascertain their popular names. 
These are much less liable to corruption than the name of any village ; for as 
the tirath is visited solely on account of the divinity with whom it is tradition- 
ally associated, his name is in it preserved intact, while as an element in the 
word that designates the village (a place most connected in the mind with 
secular matters) its primary import is less considered and in a few generations 
may be totally forgotten. Thus the obscure name of a pond,* which can only 
be ascertained by a personal visit, often reveals the name of the local deity or 
it may be of the founder of the settlement, and in that gives a surer clue to 
the process of corruption in the village name than could ever be afforded by 
any amount of library research. For example, the resolution of such a word 

* Similarly in England it is the traditional names of the petty subdivisions of the village 
that are generally of most interest to the philologist. To quote the words of one of the most 
charming topographical writers of the present day : " Scores of the most singular names 
might be collected in every parish. It is the meadows and pastures which usually bear these desig- 
nations ; the p'oughed lands are often only known by their acreage, as the ten-acre piece or the 
twelve-acres. Sorae of them arc undoubtedly the personal names of the former owners. But in 
others ancient customs, allusions to traditions, fragments of history or of languages now extinct 
may survive" (ftouncabout a Great Estate.} 



as Senwa into its constituent elements might seem a hopeless undertaking ; but 
the clouds are dispelled on ascertaining that a neighbouring pond of reputed 
sanctity is known as Svamkund. Thence it may reasonably be inferred that 
the original form was Syam-ganw ; the final m of Syam and the initial g 
of gdnw being elided by the rules already quoted, and the consonant y passing 
into its cognate vowel. Other names in the district, in which the affix gdnw 
may be suspected to lurk in a similarly mutilated condition, are Jaiswa for 
Jay-sinh- ganw ; Basaun for Bishan-ganw ; Bhii'm for Bhim-ganw ; Badon for 
Badu-ganw* (Badu being for Sanskrit Badava) and Ohawa for Udha-ganw. 

Another word of yet wider signification than either puri or grama, and one 
which is known to have been extensively used as a local affix in early times, 
is Sthdna, or its Hindi equivalent thdna. And yet, strange to say, there is not 
a single village name in the whole district in which its presence is apparent. 
It probably exists, but if so, only in the very mutilated form of ha. Thus the 
village of Satoha on the road between Mathura and Gobardhan is famous for, 
and beyond any doubt whatever derives its name from, a sacred pond called 
Santanu-kund. The eponymous hero is a mythological character of such 
remote antiquity that he is barely remembered at all at the present day, and 
what is told about him on the spot is a strauge jumble of the original legend. 
The word Satoha therefore is no new creation, and it can scarcely be expected 
to have escaped from the wear and tear of ages to which it has been exposed, 
without undergoing even very material changes. The local wiseacres find an 
etymology in sattu, ' bran,' which they assert to have been Santanu's only 
food during the time that he was practising penance. But this is obviously 
absurd, and Satoha, I am convinced, is an abbreviation for Santanu-sthana. 
Instances are very frequent in which words of any length and specially proper 
names arc abbreviated by striking out all but the first syllable and simply 
adding the vowel u to the part retained. Thus in common village speech at the 
present day Kalyan is almost invariably addressed as Kalu, Bhagav;iu as Bhagu, 
Balavant as Balu, and Miilchand as Mulii. In the last example the long 
vowel of the first syllable is also shortened, and thus an exact parallel is afforded 
to the change from Santanu to Satu or Sato. Sato-thana then by ordinary rule, 
if only the th in the compound is regarded as non-initial, becomes Satohana ; 
and the further loss of the final na cannot be regarded as an insuperable difficulty. 

* Here, as Dr. Hoernlehas pointed out, Badon might be simply a corruption of Badava, as 
Jadon is for JYulava. But I think it more probable that, at the time, when the village was 
founded, the word Badava was no longer current in vernacular speech and had been superseded 
by the Hindi Badu, which by itself would not admit of expansion into Badon. 


An affix which has itself suffered from organic decay has a tendency to 
involve its support in the same destruction, and thus I feel no difficulty iu 
proceeding a step further and interpreting the word ' Paitha' on the same 
principles as in Satoha. It is the name of a large and apparently very ancient 
village with a temple of Ohatur-hhuj, rebuilt on tho foundations of an older 
shrine, which had been destroyed by Aurangzeb. At the back of the god's 
throne is a hollow in the ground, which has given rise to a local etymology of 
the usual unscientific character. For it is said to be the mouth of the cave 
into which the people of Braj ' entered' {paitha) when Krishna upheld the 
Giri-raj hill, which is about two miles distant from the village, in order to 
shelter them from the storm of Indra. Absurd as the legend is, it supplies a 
suggestion : for paithnd, the verb ' to enter,' is unquestionably formed from 
the Sanskrit pracishta ; and if we imagine a some.vhat analogous process in 
the case of the local name, and allow for the constant detrition of many cen- 
turies, we may recognizo in ' Paitha' the battered wreck of Pratishthana, 
which in Sanskrit is not an unusual name for a town. 

Sthali, a word very similar in meaning to sthdna, suffers precisely tho 
same fate when employed as an affix ; all its intermediate letters being slurred 
over, and only the first and last retained. Thus Kosi represents an original 
Kusa-sthali ; and Tarsi with the sacred grove of Tal-ban, where, according 
to the very ancient legend, Krishna put to death the demon Dhenuk, is for 

Karab, the name of a large village in the Mahaban pargana, is a 
solitary example of an affix, which I take to have been in full the Sanksrit 
vapra, ' a fort,' or ' field.' If so, it has suffered even more than sthali and has 
retained only one letter of its original self, viz., tho initial v or b. Since hazard- 
ing the above suggestion I have come across a fact which is the highest pos- 
sible testimony to its correctness : for a copper-plate grant of Dhruvascna, one 
of the Valabhi kings, trausbribed iu the Indian Antiquary, gives, Hastaka-vapra 
as the name of the place now called Hathab. 

Another termination, which we find occurring with sufficient frequency 
to warrant the presumption that it is an affix with a definite meaning of its 
own, is oi. There are five examples of it in the district, viz., Gindoi, Majhoi, 
Mandoi, Radoi, and Bahardoi. Of these tho most suggestive is the first, 
Gindoi. Here is a pond of ancient sacred repute, called Gendokhar-kund, 
which is the scene of an annual mela, the Phul Dol, held in the month of Phal- 
gun. Hence we may safely infer that Gindoi is a compound word with Genda 


for its first element. This is not an uncommon name for a Hindu, and its 
most obvious meaning would be ' a marygold.' So taken it would find a 
parallel in such proper names as Gulab, ' a rose ' ; Tulsi, the sacred herb so 
called ; Phul, ' a flower ' ; and Puhap, for the Sanskrit push]), with the same 
meaning. It may, however, lie doubted whether it did not in the first instance 
represent rather the Hindi gainda, for gajendra, ' an elephant. ' Besides pre- 
serving the name of the village founder, the term Gendokhar-kund is curious 
in another respect, as showing a complete popular forgetfulness of the mean- 
ing of the termination okhar at the time when the word kund with precisely 
the same import was added. English topography supplies a case exactly in 
point ; for Wansbeckwater is composed of three words, which all mean exact- 
ly the same thing, but were current in popular speech at different times, being 
respectively Danish, German, and English. But to return to Gindoi, which 
we have found to be a compound word with Genda for its first element, the 
termination oi yet remains to be considered. I take it to be vdpi, ' a pond.' 
In confirmation of this view it is worthy of note that in the Ghiror pargana of 
the Mainpuri district there is a village called oi, pur ct simple, surrounded on 
three sides by the river Arind, which in the rains becomes at that particular 
spot an enormous and almost stagnant sheet of water.* For such a place vdpi 
would be a highly appropriate name, and for the transition from vdpi to oai no- 
thing is required beyond the elision of the p and change of v into its cognate 
vowel. Prefixing Genda, we have Genda-oai, Gendavai, and finally Gindoi ; o 
being subsituted for au, and i for ai, by the following Sutras of Vararuehi, Auta 
ot I. 41, and T<1 dhairye I. 30. The latter rule, it is true, refers strictly only to 
the word dhairya, which becomes dhiram in Prakrit, butitseoms not unreasonable 
to give it a wider application. The above line of argument would command un- 
qualified assent if it could be shown that each of the places with the oi ending was 
in the neighbourhood of some considerable pond. There is such a one at Man- 
doi, called Acharya-kund ; and Bahardoi, founded at an early period by Tha- 
kurs from Ohitor, who only about o() years ago lost their proprietary rights and 
and now have all migrated elsewhere, is a, place subject to yearly inundations, 
as it immediately adjoins some low ground where a large body of water is 
always collected in the rains, lladoi I have never had an opportunity of seeing, 
and therefore cannot say whether its physical characteristics confirm or are at 
variance with my theory : but at Majhoi, which is a Gujar village on the 
bank of the Jamuna, there is certainly no vestige of any large pond, which 

* For this curious fact so strikingly illustrative of my theory, I am indebted to Mr. McCo- 
naghey, who conducted the last settlement of the Mainpuri district. 


would account for the affix vdpi. This one proved exception cnnnot, however, 
be regarded as a fatal objection ; for the same effect may result from very 
different causes ; as, for instance, the Hindi word bd r in the sense of ' a day 
of the week ' represents the Sankrit vara ; while if taken to mean ' water,* 
or ' a child,' it stands in the one case for vdri, in the other bala. Thus in the 
particular word Majhoi, the o may belong to the first element of the compound 
and the i be the affix of possession. 

Ana is another termination of somewhat rare occurrence. This is in all 
probability an abbreviation of the Sanskrit ai/ana, which means primarily 'a go- 
ing,' 'a road,' but is also used in the wider sense of simply ' place.' An ex- 
ample very much to the purpose is supplied by Vararuchi, or rather 
by his commentator Bhamaha, who incidentally mentions munjdna, ' a place 
producing the munja plant,' as the Prakrit equivalent for the Sanskrit maunjd- 
yana. The district contains nine places which exhibit this ending, viz., Do- 
tana, Halwana, Hathana, Mahrana, Sihana, Kaulana, Mirtana, Diwana, and 
Bars&na. Bat what was only suspected in the case of the Gindoi group, viz., 
that all the names do not really belong to the same category, is here suscep- 
tible of positive proof. But to take first some of the words in which at/ana 
seems an appropriate affix ; Sihaua, where is a pond called the ks/rir sdgar, may 
be for Kshiruyana ; Dotana, derived on the spot from ddnton, ' a tooth-brush,' 
which is suggestive of Buddhist legends and therefore of ancient sanctity, may 
well be for Devatayana ; Halwana, where an annual mela is celebrated in honour 
of Balarama, may have for its first element Hala-bhrit, a title of that hero, the 
final t being elided and the bh changed into v ; while the first syllable in the 
three names Hatluina, Kaulana, and Mirtana, may represent respectively 
Hasti, Komal, and Amrit ; Amrit Sinh being recorded by tradition as the 
founder of the last-named village. Bat the resemblance of Diwana and Bar- 
saua to any of the above is purely accidental. The former commemorates 
the Jilt founder, one Diwan Singh, whose name has been localized simply by 
the addition of the affix a, while Barsuna has a history of its own, and that a 
curious one. It is now famous as the reputed birth-place of Eadha, who is the 
only divinity that — fur the last two centuries at least — has been popularly as- 
sociated with the locality. But of old it was not so : the hill on which the mo- 
dern series of temples has been erected in her honour is of eccentric conforma- 
tion, with four boldly-marked peaks ; whence it is still regarded by the local 
Pandits as symbolical of the four-faced divinity, and styled Brahma kd pahdr, 
or ' Brahma's hill.' This lingering tradition gives a clue to the etymology : 
the latter part of the word being sdnu, which is identical in meaning with pahdr 



and the former part a corruption of Brahma. But this, the true origin of 
the word, had entirely dropped out of sight even in the lGth century, when 
the writer of the Vraja-bliakti-vilasa was reduced to invent the form Brisha- 
bhanu-pura as the Sanskrit equivalent for the Hindi Barsana. A somewhat 
similar fate has befallen the companion hill of Nand-ganw, which is now 
crowned with the temple of Nand Rae Ji, Krishna's reputed foster-father. Its 
real name, before Vaishnava influence had become so strong in the land, was 
Nandi-grama, by which title it was dedicated to Mahadeva in his charracter 
of Nandisvar ; and the second person of the Hindu trinity, who has now appro- 
priated all three of the sacred hills of Braj, was then in possession of only one, 

The local name Mai, or Mau, is found occasionally in all parts of Upper 
India and appears also in the Mathura district, though not with great fre- 
quency.* The one form seems to be only a broader pronunciation of the other 
in the same way as ndu is the ordinary village pronunciation for ndi, a barber,' 
the Sanskrit nupita, and raw, a flood, or rush of water, is for raya, or red, from 
the root ri, ' to go.' Twice the word stands by itself ; twice as an affix, 
viz., in Pipara-mai and Ris-mai ; once in connection with a more modern 
name of the same place, Mai Mirza-pur ; and twice, as in Bae-pur Mai and 
Bara Mai, where the exact relationship with the companion word may be a 
little doubtful. In most of these cases I consider it to be an abbreviation of 
the Sanskrit mahi, meaning 'land' or 'a landed estate.' The elision of the 
h is not according to any definite rule laid down by the Prakrit grammarians, 
but certainly agrees with vulgar practice : for example, the word muldna, 
' a month,' is always pronounced piaina ; and if it were given its full comple- 
ment of three syllables, a rustic would probably not understand what was 
meant. At Mai Mirzapur the tradition is that the name commemorates one 
Maya Bam ; and in the particular case, this very possibly may be so ; but 
obviously instances of this very restricted derivation would be rare. 

Nagar, ' a town,' has always been fairly popular as a local affix, and the 
Mathura district contains seven examples of the word so used, viz., Rupnagar, 
Sher-nagar, a second Biip-nagar, Ma'sum-nagar, Ram-nagar, Birnagar, and 
Raj-nagar. But it is hi modern times and as a prefix that it enters most 
largely into any catalogue of village names. As a rule, whenever now-a-days 
an over-crowded town throws out a branch settlement, which becomes of 

* Mr. Blochmann informed me that he had noted, with regard to this word ' Mau,' that it 
waB found all over the wide area extending from Western M&lwa to Eastern Audh, but did not 
Beem to occur in Bengal, Bihar, or Siudh. 


sufficient importance to claim a separate entry in the Government rent-roll, it 
is therein recorded as Nagla so-and-so, according to the name of the principal 
man in it. On the spot, Nagla Bali, to take a particular case, is more com« 
monly called Bali ka nagara ; and after the lapse of a few generations, if the 
new colony prospers, it drops the Nagara altogether, and is known simply as 
Bali. The transmutation of the word nagara into Nagla and its conversion 
from a suffix into a prefix are due solely to the proclivities of native revenue 
officials, who affect the Persian collocation of words rather than the Hindi, and 
always evince a prejudice against the letter r. It is interesting to observe that 
in England the Teutonic mode of compounding names differs from the Celtic, 
in the same way as in India the Hindi from the Urdu : for while the Celts 
spoke of Strath Clyde and Abertay, the Teutons preferred Clydesdale and 

The number of sacred woods and lakes in Braj accounts for the termi- 
nations ban and hind, which probably are not often met elsewhere. Examples 
of the former are Kot-ban, Bhadra-ban, Brinda-ban, Loha-ban and Maka-ban ; 
and of the latter, R;idha-kund and Madhuri-kund. The only name in this list, 
about which any doubt can be felt as to the exact derivation, is Loha-ban. It is 
said to commemorate Krishna's victory over a demon called Loha-jangha, i.e., 
Iron-leg ; and at the annual festival, offerings of ' iron' are made by the 
pilgrims. In the ordinary authorities for Krishna's life and adventures I 
certainly find no mention of any Loha-jangha, and as we shall see when we 
come to speak of the village Bandi, local customs are often based simply on an 
accidental coincidence of name, and prove nothing but the prevalent ignorance 
as to the true principles of philology. But in the Vrihat-katka, written by 
Somadeva in the reign of Harsha Deva, king of Kashmir, A. D. 1059-1071, 
Is a story of Loha-jangha, a Brahman of Mathura, who was miraculously con- 
veyed to Lanka : whence it may be inferred that at all events in the 11th 
century Loha-jangha, after whom the young Brahman was named by the 
romancer, was recognized as a local power ; and thus, though we need not sup- 
pose that any such monster ever existed, Loha-ban does in all probability derive 
its name from him. 

The few local affixes that yet remain recmire no lengthened notice ; of 
garh, or garhi, there are as many as twenty instances, viz., Nilkanth-garhi, a 
settlement of Jaesyar Thakurs ; Sker-garh, a fortress commanding the Jainuna, 
built in the reign of Sher Shah ; Chamar-garhi, a colony of the factious Giijar 
tribe ;Ahvaran-garhi ; Chinta-garhi and Rustam-garhi, founded by Gahlot Thakurs 
in the reign of Aurangzeb; Badan-garh, commemorating Thakur Badan Sinh, 


father of Siiraj Mall, the first Bharatpur Raja; Ikhu-Fath-garh, founded by one 
of Siiraj Mall's officers ; Birju-garhi, Chinta-garhi, Inayat-garhi, Kankar-garhi f 
Lal-garhi, Mana-garhi, Mani-garhi, Ram-garhi, Shankar-garhi, Tilka-garhi, 
Bharii-garhi, and Tal-garhi, all founded by Jats during the fiftv rears that 
elapsed between the establishment of their brief supremacy and the British 
annexation. The name will probably never be used again as a local affix ; and 
its extreme popularity during one half-century constitutes an interesting land- 
mark in Indian provincial history, as proof of the troubled character of the 
country, when no isolated habitation was thought secure unless protected by a 
circuit of wall and ditch. 

Kherd, as seen in Pali-kheni, Awa-khera, Pal-kheni, Aira-khera, Sar- 
kand-khera, and Sel-khera, invariably implies a state of comparative depriva- 
tion, which may be cither of people or of land, according as it arises either from 
the emigration of the greater part of its inhabitants to some entirely different 
locality, or by the formation of a number of subordinate hamlets in the neigh- 
bourhood, which divide among themselves all the cultivated area and leave the 
old bazar merely as a central spot for common meeting. 

Patti ordinarily implies a comparatively modern partition of family lands : 
thus the villages, into which the old township of M agora was divided by the 
four sons of the Tomar founder, are called after their names, Ajit-patti, Ghatam- 
patti, Jajan-patti, and Ram-patti : and similarly Bajana was divided bv the Jats 
into three villages known as Dilu-patti, Siii-patti, and Sulhin-patti. The other 
four places in the district that have this affix do not, however, bear out the 
above rule. They are Lorha-patti, Nainu-patti, Patti Bahrain, and Patti Sakti. 
Nether of these has any companion hamlet dating from the same time as itself; 
and Nainu-patti is a place of considerable antiquity, which long ago was split 
up into eleven distinct villages. 

Another word of precisely similar import is Tlwk. Tins is used in the 
Maha-ban pargana as an element in the name of five out of the six villages 
that constitute the Sonai circle, and which are called Thok Bindavani Thok 
Gyan, Thok Sam, and Thok Sumeru. 

Khoh is an exceptional affix, which occurs only once, in Mano-al-khoh 
the name of a village on a 'creek' of the old stream of the Jamuna. Tata a 
bank, is similarly found once only, in Jamunauta, which is a contraction for 

Of Sarde as an affix we have examples in A'zamabad Sarae, Jamal-pur 
Sarae, Mai Sarae, Sarae' Ali Khan, Sarae Daiid, and Sarae Salivahau. Only 


at the two first is there any Sarae actually in existence : both of these are 
large and substantial buildings creeled by local Governors on the line of tlie 
old Imperial road between Agra and Labor. The others were probably mere 
ranges of mud huts, like the ordinary Sarae of the present day, and have there- 
fore long since disappeared. 

The Persian terminations dbdd and ganj, which predominate so largely in 

some parts of India, have been little used in Hindi-speaking Mathura. Of dbdd 
there are only six examples, being an average of one to eaeh pargana, viz., 
A'zam-abad and Murshid-abad, each commemorating a local Governor in the 
reign of Aurangzeb ; Aurang-abad, dating from the same period ; Sa'dahad, the 
chief town on the demesne of Shah-jahan's minister Sa'dullah Khan ; and Asaf- 
abad, Bir-ali-abad, Gulshan-abad, and Salim-abad, named after founders of less 
historical distinction. 

Having thus passed in review every affix denoting 'place' that we have 
been able to identify, we proceed to consider the second class of names, viz., 
those in which the affix signifies 'possession.' The examples under this head 
are equally numerous and in a philological point of view of no less importance ; 
but the whole series is traversed by a single clue, and if this is grasped at the 
beginning, it is found to lead so directly from one formation to another, that it 
precludes all necessity of pausing for lengthy consideration at any particular 
stage of the argument. Obviously, the simplest mode of expressing possession 
is by attaching to the name of the owner the grammatical particle, whatever 
it may be, which in consequence of its familiar use has been selected as the 
special sign of the genitive or possessive case. This in modern Hindustani is 
led or Id, which we find employed in the following ten words, vie., Barka, 
Mahanki, Berka, Marhaka, Bhartiyaka, Bhureka, Kaneka, Marhuaka, Salaka, 
and Surka. In the last six names on the list the former part of the compound, 
viz., nhartiva, Bhun'i, &c, is known to be the name of the Jat founder of the 
village. Thus we have an indisputable proof that about a century ago it was 
not at all an uncommon thing to form names of places in this way. If no 
earlier examples of the formation occur, it is most reasonable to explain their 
absence by inferring, as in the case of puri, that in the course of time the rough 
edges, that once marked the place where the word and its affix joined, have 
become so worn and smoothed down that they can no longer be felt. Now by 
eliding the k — a very simple proceeding and one quite in accordance with rule 
— an amalgamation would be effected between the two elements of the com- 
pound which would totally alter their original apj larance ; and we have only 
to reinsert it to discover the meaning of many names otherwise unintelligible. 



Thus Bhalai, a settlement of Bhal Thakurs, is seen to represent Bhdl-ki (basti) ; 
Biighai is for Bagh-ki ; Madanai for Madan-ki ; Ughai for Ugra-ki ; Mahpai 
for MaMpa-ki ; Jonai for Jamuna-ki (Jaiuia being mentioned by Vararuchi as 
the Prakrit form of Yamuna) ; and Semri, with its ancient temple of Syamala 
Devi, for Syamala-ki. Similarly, Indau is for Indra-ka and Karnau for Kar- 
na-k;'i : the representation of a + a by au rather than d being almost an invari- 
able practice, as we see in rdu, a contraction for raja, pdnw for pada, ?iau for 
nam and tau for tdta. 

Kd, M, however, are not the only signs of the genitive case in use ; for in 
the Marwari dialect their place is occupied by rd, ri. Of this form, too, there 
are abundant examples, as might have been anticipated : for some centuries ago, 
migrations from Rajpiitana into Mathura were very frequent and in a less 
degree continue to the present day. Thus, we have Umraura, Lohrari, 
Ganesara, Bhun'iri, Puthri (from puth, a sand-hill), Bhainsara, Garumra (for 
Garuda-ra) and Bagharra, &c. At the last-named place the old village site is 
called 8her-ka-kherd, which puts the meaning of the word Bagharra beyond a 
doubt ; the reduplication of the r being purely phonetic. In other names the 
consonant has not been reduplicated, but the same effect has been produced by 
lengthening the vowel. Such are Kunjera (where is Kunj-ban), Rahera, 
Ranera (founded by Sissodia Thakurs, who named it after the Rand of Chitor, 
whence they had migrated), Maghera, Nonera, and Konkera, &c. 

The origin of the two particles kd and rd has been much disputed. I would 
suggest that they both represent an original kara, or kar. This we find used occa- 
sionally by Tulsi Das as a substantive ; as in the line tab kar as; vimoh ab yiahin ; 
' then the matter was so ; now there is no delusion.' More frequently it occurs 
as the sign of the genitive ; and even in the line quoted it might be regarded in 
that light, by supposing an ellipse of some such word as hdl, or vydpdr. The 
transition from the one use to the other being so easy, it can scarcely be doubted 
that the particle and the substantive are really the same identical word. The 
loss of the final r would naturally cause a lengthening of the vowel, and thus 
kar becomes kd. 

The alternative form rd may be explained by the elision of the initial k, 
which would ordinarily take place whenever kara was made the last member of 
a compound. Thus Rana-kara becomes Ranara or Ranera ; and the lengthen- 
ing of the final a is not at all an exceptional phenomenon. 

Not unfrequently, however, instead of being lengthened, the final a of the 
affix kara is dropt as well as the initial consonant. There consequently remains 


only the letter r, which we see appearing as a final in such words as Kumar, Sahar, 
Udhar, and Surir. Of these; Kaniar (for Kam-raj is probably an offshoot from the 
neighbouring town of Kam-ban in Bharatpur territory, a famous place of Vaish- 
nava pilgrimage ; while Sahar and Udhar must have been named after their 
respective founders, who in the one case is known to have been called Udho, or 
Udhan, and in the other was probably some Sabha. In Surir, which presents 
peculiar difficulties, we fortunately are not left to conjecture. For a local 
tradition attests that the town was once called Sugriv-ka Khera. The resemb- 
lance between the two names is slight that the people on the spot and the 
unphilological mind generally would not recognize any connection between 
them ; but according to rules already quoted Sugriv-ra would pass naturally 
into Surir, and the fact that it has done so is a strong confirmation of the 
truth of the rules. 

Another partiele that is commonly used for investing substantives with a 
possessive force is icdla, or ward. Of this, as a component in a village name, we 
have two illustrations in the district, viz., Pipalwara and Bhadanwara.* No satis- 
factory attempt has hitherto been made to explain the derivation and primary 
meaning either of this affix tcdla, or of the somewhat less common hard, 
which is used in a precisely similar way. I take the latter to represent the 
Sanskrit dhdra (from the root dhri) in the sense of ' holding ' or ' having,' 
as in the compounds chhattra- dhdra, 'having an umbrella,' danda-dhdra, ' hav- 
ing a stick.' The elision of the d is quite according to rule, as in bahira, ' deaf,' 
for badhira. Wdld, again, is I consider beyond any doubt the Sanskrit pdla, with 
the same signification of ' keeping or ' having.' The substitution of v for p 
is prescribed by Vararuchi in Sutra II., 15, who gives as an example the 
Prakrit sdvo for the Sanskrit sdpa, ' a curse.' Thus we have from ijo-pdla, ' a 
cow-keeper,' gowdla, and finally gwdla ; from ckaupdl the alternative form 
chauwdrd, and from kotta-pdla, ' the governor of a fort,' the familiar kotwdl. 

For the formation of adjectives that denote possession, the affix most 
frequently employed, both in Sanskrit and modern Hindustani, is i. Thus 
from dhan, ' wealth,' comes dhani, wealthy and from mala, ' a floral wreath' 
comes mdli, ' a florist.' Dr. Hunter, with much perverted ingenuity, has gone 
out of his way to suggest that the latter are an aboriginal and non-Aryan race 
and " take their name from the tribal term for man, male, from which many 

* It is curious to find in the English of the 9th century a word 'wara' used precisely in the 
same way. Thus the Mersewara, or marsh folk, were the dwellers in the reclaimed flats of 
Komney marsh : while the Cautwara inhabited the Caint, or open upland which still gives its 
name to the county of Kent. 


hill and forest people of northern and central India, possibly also the wholi 
Malay race of the Archipelago, are caUed. " I am not aware that in this theory- 
he has found any followers : whatever the origin of the Malays, there is no 
moro reason to suppose a connection between them and the Malis of our gar- 
dens, than between man, the biped, and man, a weight of 40 sers. As the let- 
ters of the alphabet are necessarily limited, it must occasionally happen that com- 
binations are formed which are quite independent of one another and yet in ap- 
pearance are identical. Among examples of the i affix we fiud in Mathura, from 
dldmar, 'a fisherman,' Dhimari, a fishing village on the bank of the Jamuna : 
from a founder Husain, a village Husaini ; from Pal, the favourite title of a 
Thnkur clan, Pali ; from Pingal, Pingari ; from babul, the acacia, Pabiiri ; from 
Kkajur, Khajuri : and from kincira, ' the river bank, ' Kinari A lengthened 
form of tho same affix is iya, which we find in Jagatiya and Khandiya. 

Another affix, which in ordinaiy Sanskrit literature occurs as frequently as 
t and with precisely the same signification, is vat, vati. In vulgar pronunciation 
the consonant v generally passes into the cognate vowel ; thus Bhagavati becomes 
Bhatroti, and Sarasvati, Sarsuti. I am therefore led to suspect that this is the affix 
which has been used in the formation of such village names as Kharot, Khatauta, 
Ajinothi, Bilothi, Kajirothi, Basonti, Bathi, Junsuthi, Sonoth, Badauth, Barauth, 
Dhanoti, and Tatarota. All these places are presumably old, and nothing can 
be stated with certainty as to the period of the foundation, but the only one of 
them in any way remarkable is Bathi. Here is the sacred grove of Bahula-ban, 
with the image of the cow Bahula, who (as told in the Itihas*) addressed such 
piteous supplications to a tiger who was about to destroy her, that the savage 
beast could not but spare her life. A meld in her honour is still held on the 
fourth day of Kuwar, called ' Bahula chaturthi.' In every other instance where 
the ban is a place of any celebrity, it has supplied the foundation for the village 
name, and has probably done so here too. The transition from Bahula-vati to 
Bathi presents no insuperable difficulty; for a similar change of the dental into the 
cerebral consonant has occurred in the Hindi pattan, ' a town,' and in murha, ' a 
fool,' for the Sanskrit mugdha ; the insertion of the aspirate is the only irregu- 
larity which it is not easy to explain. 

A third affix which can he more appropriately noticed hero than elsewhere, 
though it has a somewhat different force, is a. This implies primarily ' a pro- 
duct,' or ' result.' Thus from bo; the fruit, tree, comes (be name of the 

* A collection of stoiies supposed to have beeu related I y Bhima-sena while he lay wounded 
on the field of battle, 


village Bera, an orchard of her trees : from Nakar, a man's name meaning 
' lion,' Nahra ; from Parsu, an abbreviation for Parasu-ram, Parsua ; from Rue 
[Sen], Raya ; from Paramesvar Das, Pavesara ; and similarly Bisambbara, 
Dandisara, &c. 

We may now pass on to the first sub-division of class III., in which are in- 
cluded all such village names as originally were identical, without addition or 
alteration of any kind, with the names borne by the founders ; though the orgin- 
al identity, it must be remembered, is no guarantee against subsequent corrup- 
tion. One of the earliest examples in the district is afforded by the village Son, 
which is said to have been the capital of a Raja Son — or more probably Sohan 
— Pal, a Tomar Thakur from Delhi. Sonkh, Sonsa, and Sonoth, all three places 
in the immediate neighbourhood, would also seem to be named after him and to 
prove that he was an historical personage of at least considerable local impor- 
tance. Another interesting illustration, which must also be of early date, is 
found in the name Dham Sinha. Here Dham, which is the obsolete Prakrit 
form of dharma and is not understood at the present day, runs a great risk of beinc 
altered by people who aim at correctness, but lack knowledge, into the more in- 
telligible word dhan. In modern times this style of nomenclature has been so 
prevalent that a single pargana — Maha-ban — supplies us with the following ex- 
amples, viz., Birbal, Gaju, Misri, Bhiira, Siiraj, Baru, Rausanga, Nauranga, 
Mursena, Bansa, Bhojua, Bhi'ma, and Siir,. Of these, Rausanga forRup Sinha 
would scarcely have been recognizable but for the aid of local tradition. Occasion- 
ally the names of two brothers, or other joint founders, are combined, as we see in 
Sampat-jogi, Chiira-hansi, Bindu-bulaki, and Harnaul. The latter is a curious 
contraction for Hara Navala ; and as ' the swing' is one of the popular institutions 
of Braj, the word not unfrequently passes through a further corruption and is 
pronounced Hindol, which means a swing. This will probably before long give 
occasion to a legend and a local festival in honor of Radba and Krishna. 

Under the same head comes the apparently Muhammadan name Noh ; 
which, with the addition of the suffix jJdl, is the designation of a decayed 
town on the left bank of the Jamuna to the north of the district. At no 
very great distance, but on the other side of the river, in Gurganw, is a 
second Noh ; and a third is in the Jalesar pargana, which now forms part of 
the Eta district. So far as I have any certain knowledge, the name is not 
found in any other part of India, though it occurs in Central Asia ; for I learn 
from Colonel Godwin Austen that there is a Noh in Ladak or rather Rudok at 
the eastern end of the Pangang Lake, and on its very borders. The Yarkand 



expedition is also stated in the papers to have reached Leh viaKhotan, Kiria,Polu, 
and Noli, by the easternmost pass over the Kuen-lun mountains. Upon this point 
I may hope to acquire more definite information hereafter ; the best maps 
published up to the present time throw no light on the matter, for though they 
give the towns of Kiria and Kliotan, they do not show Noh, and its existence 
therefore requires confirmation. The three places in this neighbourhood all agree 
in being evidently of great antiquity, and also in the fact that each is close to 
a large sheet of water. The lake, or morass, at Noh jhil spreads in some years 
over an area measuring as much as six miles in length by one in breadth. It is 
no doubt to a great extent of artificial formation, having been excavated for the 
double purpose of supplying earth, with which to build the fort, and also of ren- 
dering it inaccessible when built. Tho inundated appearance of the country 
combines with the name to suggest a reminiscence of the Biblical Deluge and the 
Patriarch Noah. The proper spelling of his name, as Mr. Blochmann informed 
me, is Null, with the vowel ti and the Arabic h, while Baddoni, who twice* men- 
tions the town, in both places spells it with the imperceptible h ; in the Xin-i- 
Akbari, however, which herein agrees with invariable modern usage, the final 
letter is the Arabic h. But if a reference to the Deluge were intended, the 
word Noh would not have been used simply by itself ; standing as it does, it 
can scarcely be other than the name of the founder. Now (to quote Mr. 
Blochmann again) " Muhammadans use the name Null extremely rarely. Xdam, 
Musa, Yusuf, and Ayub are common ; but on looking over my lists of saints, 
companions of Muhammad, and other worthies of Islam, I do not find a single 
person with the name Nub ; and hence I would look upon a connection of Noh 
with Noah as very problematical. I would rather connect it with the Persian 
nuh, 'nine,' which when lengthened becomes noh, not mih; as the Persian dih, 
'a village,' becomes dek, not <7i/«." But if we abandon the Semitic name, it 
will be better, considering the purely Hindu character of the country, to try 
and fall back upon some Sanskrit root, and I am inclined to regard the name 
as a Muhammadan corruption of nava — not the adjective meaning ' now,' but a 
proper name— and with the It added either purposely to mark the distinction, 
or inadvertently in the same way as raja is in Persian characters incorrectly 
written rajah. In the Harivansa (line 1677) mention is made of a king 
Ushinara, of the family of Kakshoyu, who had five wives, Nriga, Krimi, Nava, 
Darva, and Drishadvati. They bore him each one son, and the boys were 

*Once as the scene of a fight between Ikbal Khan and Shams Khun of Bayana (A. H. 802), 
and again as the place where Mubarak Shah crossed the Janiuna for Jtrtoli. 


named Nriga, Krimi, Nava, Suvrata and Sivi ; of whom Nava reigned over 
Navanishtram ; Krimi over Kumila-puri ; Sivi, who is said to be the author of 
one of the hymns of the Rig Veda (X. 179), over the Sivayas, and Nriga over 
the Yaudheyas. In the Mahabharat the Usinaras are said to be a lower race 
of Kshatriyas. They are mentioned by Panini in a connection which seems 
to imply that they were settled in or near the Panjab ; and in the Aitareya 
Brahmana, Usinara is collocated with Kuril and Panchala. Again, Drishad- 
vati, the fifth of Usinara's wives, recalls to mind the unknown river of the 
same name, which is mentioned by Manu as one of the boundaries of Brah- 
mavarta, and in the Mahabharat as the southern boundary of Kurukshetra. 
From all this it may be inferrred that the Navarashtra, over which Usinara's 
third son Nava reigned, cannot have been far distant from Mathura and 
Gurganw; and its capital may well have been the very place which still bears 
his name under the corrupt form of Noh or Nauh. 

The second subdivision of class III. is of an extremely miscellaneous 
character and admits of no grouping, each name having a separate individuality 
of its own. Some of the more obvious examples have been already quoted : 
such as are Basai, 'a colony ;' for the Sanskrit vasati (which at the present day 
is more commonly abbreviated by the alternative mode into bast!) ; Chauki, ' an 
outpost' on the Gurganw road; Nagariya, 'a small hamlet ;' Barha, ' a 
removal;' Garhi, 'a fort;' Mai, 'an estate;' Khor, 'an opening' between the 
Barsana hills; Auyor, 'the other end' of the Gobardhan range; Pura, 'a 
town ;' Kheriya, 'a hill ;' and Toli, ' an allotment.' Others require more 
detailed explanation on account either of their intrinsic difficulty, or of the 
mythological disguise put upon them by the local pandits, who think there is no 
place in the whole of Braj which does not contain some allusion to Krishna. 
Thus they connect the word Mathura with the god's title of Madhu-mathan ; 
though the more natural derivation is from the rootmath direct, in its primary sense 
of ' churning ;' an exact grammatical parallel being found in the word ' bhidura, 
breakable,' a derivative from the root bhid, ' to break.' The name thus interpreted 
is singularly appropriate ; for Mathura has always been celebrated for its wide 
extent of pasture-land and many herds of cattle, and in all poetical descriptions of 
the local scenery ' the churn' is introduced as a prominent feature. I observe that 
Dr. Rajendralala Mitra in a learned article on the Yavanas, published in the 
Calcutta Asiatic Society's Journal, has incidentally remarked upon a passage in 
the Santi Parva of the Mahabharat, in which the word Madhura occurs, that 
this is the ancient form of Mathura. Now I should hesitate to dispute any state- 
ment deliberately made by so eminent a scholar, but this appears to be a mere 


obiter dictum, and I strongly doubt whether in the whole range of early San- 
skrit literature the capital of Braj is ever designated Madhura. In the particular 
passage which he quotes, Lassen regards the word as the name of a river, 
and that the well-known city in the Dakhin is in the vernacular always spelt 
Madhura in no way affects the argument ; for even if the two names are ety- 
mologically identical, which is probable but not certain, the dislike shown by 
all the languages of the south to the use of hard consonants is quite sufficient 
to account for the alteration. 

Similarly the name of the country, Braj, or Vraja, has nothing to do 
with the Vajra Sena, the son of Anirudh, who is said to have been crowned 
king of Mathura on Krishna's death ; but comes immediately from the root 
wo/, ' to go,' and is thus a highly appropriate designation for a land of nomadic 
herdsmen. Equally at fault is the mythological derivation of ' Bathen,' the 
name of two large villages in the Kosi pargana, where Balarama, it is said, ' sat 
down' [baithen) to wait for Krishna. Here, again, the real reference is to the 
pastoral character of the country, bathan being an archaic term to denote a graz- 
ing-ground. A still greater and more unnecessary perversion of etymological 
principles is afforded by the treatment of the word Khaira. This is popularly 
derived from the root khcdna, ' to drive cattle,' which was Krishna's special occu- 
pation as a boy : but it is in fact the regular contraction of the Sanskrit kha- 
dira, the Acacia Arabica, more commonly known as the babiil ; as is proved by 
the contiguity of the village to the Kliadira-baii, one of the twelve sacred groves. 
Other indigenous trees have contributed in like manner to the local nomencla- 
ture ; thus the lodhra, or Symplocos, would seem to have furnished a name for 
the village of Lohi in the Mat pargana : the Tinduk Ghat at Mathura is pro- 
bably so called not in honour of any pious ascetic, but with reference to the 
pasendit, or Diospyros, the Sanskrit tinduka, one of the most common trees in 
the district : and in the Sakra-ban, which gives its name to the village of Saka- 
raya, it would seem that the sakra intended is the tree, the Terminalia Arjuna, 
and not the god Indra, though he too is known by that title, which primarily 
means the strong or powerful. 

The most interesting example of an elaborate myth based solely on the 
misunderstanding of a local name is to be found in the village of Bandi. Here 
is a very popular shrine, sacred to Bandi Anandi, who are said to have been two 
servants of Jasoda's, whose special employment it was to collect the sweepings 
of the cow-shed and make them up into fuel. But in the inscription over the 
gateway leading into the court-yard of the temple, which is dated Sambat 


1575, there is do mention of Anandi whatever. Part is illegible, bnt the first 
words read clearly as follow : Svasti sri Sarvopari bir&jamdn Bandi •//. Tasya 
sevak, &c. From this it may be inferred that Anandi has been added in very 
recent times simply for the sake of the alliterative jingle, and because there 
happened to be a second old figure on the spot that required some distinctive 
name. The original word was Bandi alone. The Gokul Gosains support their 
theory as to its etymology by making the Gobar Lila at Bandi one of the re<m- 
lar scenes in the dramatic performances of the Ban-jatra ; but it is not accepted 
by the more old-fashioned residents of the village, who maintain that the local 
divinity was a recognized power long before the days of Krishna, who was 
brought there to offer at her shrine the first hair that was cut from his head. 
Their view as to the relative antiquity of the Bandi and the Mathura god is 
certainly correct ; for both the images now believed to represent Jasoda's domes- 
tic servants arc clearly effigies of the goddess Durga. In the one she appears 
with eight arms, triumphing over the demon Mahishasur ; in the other, which 
is a modern facsimile, made at Brinda-ban, after the mutilated original, she has 
four arms, two pendent and two raised above the head. Neither of them can 
represent a human handmaid ; and thus the}- at once disprove the modern story, 
which would seem to be based on nothing more substantial than the resemb- 
lance of the word bandi to the Persian banda, meaning ' a servant.' The real 
derivation would be from bandi/a, or vandi/a, the future participle of the verb 
vand, signifying ' venerable' or ' worshipful.' Thus, what was once an epithet of 
a particular image of Devi became after a time its distinctive name ; and event- 
ually, being referred by the ignorance of the people to a more ordinary term 
of current speech, has originated a legend and a local festival for which in fact 
there is no foundation whatever. 

The above is one illustration of a general rule that all presumably an- 
cient local names are entirely different in origin and meaning from any terms 
of current speech with which they may happen to be identical in form. 
Thus, as we have already seen, the village Parson has no connection with 
parson, the common adverb of time ; neither is Paitha so named, as being 
near the mouth of the cave into which the people of Braj ' entered' {jmitha). 
Again, Bal, a largo village in the Mathura pargana, is not so called as 
being the scene of one of Krishna's ' battles' (ra?-), as local Pandits say ; nor 
because the extensive woods round about it abound in rdl, or ' resin :' but 
rather it is a contraction of Raja-kula, ' a king's house ;' a compound of 
similar character with Gokul, a ' cow house,' the name of the town where 



Krishna was nurtured by the herdsman Nanda. Raval, a village in the same 
neighbourhood, the reputed home of Radha's maternal grandfather Surbhan, 
may be identical in meaning ; or it may even represent an original Itadha- 
kula, in which case it would be curious as affording the earliest authority for 
Radha's local existence and pre-eminent rank. Koila, again, is evidently not 
the bird called in Sanskrit Kokila and in Hindi Koil ; for who would dream 
of calling a place simply Cuckoo without any affix such as in the possible com- 
pound Cuckoo-town ? Neither is it the exclamation Koi Id, uttered by Vasu- 
deva as he was bearing the infant Krishna across the Jamuna ; for whatever 
the language then in vogue, it certainly was not modern Hindi : nor again, 
and for a similar reason, does the word Koila mean 'charcoal/ with a reference 
to the ashes of the witch Putana, washed across the stream from the town of 
Gokul. But it may be taken for granted that the final consonant stands for 
rd and has the possessive force of that particle, while the former member of 
the compound is either Koi, ' the water-lily,' or Koi, for Krora, ' a wild boar.' 
The extensive morass in the neighbourhood, well known to sportsmen as the 
Koila jhil, renders either derivation probable and appropriate. If the fact 
were not now placed on record, a few more years and the philologists who 
look for the origin of Indian names in every language, saving only the vernacu- 
lar of the country, would seize the opportunity of declaring Koila to be merely 
a mispronunciation of the English ' quail.' Similarly, it may reasonably be 
conjectured that Kukar-gama is not so called because a Banjara in his travels 
happened to bury beside the village pond a favourite dog (kulcar), though the 
slab supposed to cover the dog's grave is still shown ; but rather, as the village 
is certainly of ancient date and was colonized by Thakurs from Chitor, it is 
probable that its name commemorates the otherwise unknown founder, since 
Kukura occurs in the Mahabharat as the proper name of a king, and may 
therefore have been at one time in common use. To pass yet more rapidly 
over a few other illustrations of the same rule, that apparent identity is equi- 
valent to real difference : Kamar does not commemorate Krishna's gift of a 
blanket (kamal) to the shivering hermit Durvasas, but rather implies a migra- 
tion from the older town of Kama ; ' Aiuch' does not refer to the ' stretching' 
of Krishna's tent-ropes, through the real derivation is doubtful ; ' Jau' is not 
the imperative verb ' go,' but a corruption of ydva, ' lac ;' Marua, now altered 
by office copyists to Bharna, has no relation to the ' death' of one of Krishna's 
enemies ; and 'Jait' is not simply an abbreviation for jaitra, but (as shown by 
the village pronunciation Jaint) represents an original Jayanta, which occurs 
in Sanskrit as the name both of a river and a country. 


It must, however, be borne in mind that the application of this rule is 
restricted exclusively to local names of ancient date. Thus the name of the 
village Sanket is really identical with the Sanskrit word sanket, meaning ' an 
assignation' or ' rendezvous ;' the place which lies half-way between Barsana 
and Nandganw, the respective homes of Eadhii and Krishna, having been so 
called by the Gosains of the 16th century with the special object of localizing 
the legend. Similarly, Pisaya with its beautiful forest of kadamb trees, to 
which the author of the Vraja-bhakti-vilasa gives the Sanskrit title of Pipasa- 
vana, may really bear a name identical with the Hindi word pisaya, ' thirsty,' if 
the name was first assigned to the spot by the Gokul Gosains as a foundation 
for a story of Radha's bringing a draught of water for the relief of her 
exhausted lover. But this is questionable, since it appears that there is a place 
with the same name, but without any similar legend, in the Aligarh district : 
both are therefore most probably far anterior to the 16th century and 
susceptible of some entirely different explanation. The Aligarh Pisaya is, 
I find, described as having the largest jungle or grazing ground in that district ; 
and this suggests that the word may very well be a corruption of the Sanskrit 
pasavya, 'tit for cattle.' 

In all these and similar cases it is imposible to arrive at sound conclu- 
sions without a largo amount of local knowledge ; while the absurdity of the 
explanations advanced by the local Pandits demonstrates the equal necessity 
for acquaintance with at least the rudimentary laws of philological science. 
Scholastic speculations made without reference to physical features or to the 
facts of village history are always liable to summary disproof ; and no one with 
any respect for his own reputation should think of pronouncing off-hand upon 
the derivation of the name of any place regarding the circumstances of which 
he has not very definite information. For example, as the village Jati-pura 
is on the border of the Jat state of Bharat-pur, what could be more plausiblo 
than to say that it is so called as being a Jat colony ? but, as a fact, it has 
always been inhabited by Brahmans, and its founder was the Vallabhacharya 
Gosain, Bitthal-nath, who was popularly known by the name Jatiji. Similarly, 
while the Naugama in the Chhata pargana really connotes the meaning which 
the form of the word most obviously suggests, viz., new town, the Naugama 
near the city of Mathura stands for an original ndga-grdma, and commemo- 
rates its founder, Naga. As a parallel example in English topography take the 
town of Bridge-water ; the latter member of the compound referring not to 
nny stream, as would naturally be supposed, but to the Norman chief Walter, 
who built his castle there. Again, Lodhauli (in accordance with the principles 


stated in the earlier part of this chapter) might be at once set down as equi- 
valent to Lodha-puri ; but here, too, the caste of the residents forbids such a 
derivation, for they have always been not Lodhas, but Jadons ; and the modern 
name- is a perversion of Lalita-pnri. Phalen again and Siyara would be in- 
explicable but for the knowledge that they are built, the one on the margin of 
a pond, called Prahlad kund, and the other by the Chir Ghat, a very ancient 
and now comparatively neglected tirath on the Jamuna. The confusion 
between the letters s and ch is one of the peculiarities of the local dialect. Thus 
Amar Sinh is frequently called Amarchu ; the village of Parsua, in the mouths 
of the villagers on the spot, is indistinguishable from Pilchua ; Chakri, after 
becoming Saki, gives a name to Sakitra, where is an ancient shrine of Chak- 
resvar ; and so too Chira-hara becomes Siyara.* 

Although it may safely be laid down as a general principle of Indian 
toponymy that the majority of names arc capable of being traced up to Aryan 
roots, it is possible that the rule may have some exceptions. In the Mathura 
and Mainpuri districts there is a current tradition that the older occupants of 
the country were a people called Kah'irs. The name seems to support a theory 
advanced by Dr. Hunter in his Dissertation, where he quotes a statement from 
some Number of the Asiatic Society's Journal to the effect that the whole of 
India was once called Kolaria. On the strength of a number of names which 
he sees in the modem map, he concludes that the race, from whom that name 
was derived, once spread over every province from Burma to Malabar. He 
finds indications of their existence in the Kols of Central India ; the Kolas of 
Katwar; the Kolis of Gujarat; the Kolitas of Asam ; the Kalars, a robber 
caste in the Tamil country ; the Kalars of Tinnevelly, and the Kolis of 
Bombay, &c, &c. Upon most of these names, as I have no knowledge of the 
localities where they exist, I decline to offer any opinion whatever, and can 
only express my regret that Dr. Hunter has not exercised a little similar 
caution. For he proceeds to give a list of town-names, scattered as he says 
over the whole length and breadth of India, which seems to me of the very 
slightest value as a confirmation of his theory. No one should be better 
conversant than himself with the vagaries of phonetic spelling ; and yet ho 
gravely adduces as proof of the existence of a Kol race such names as Kulian- 
pur and Kullian ; though it is scarcely possible but that, if correctly spelt, they 

* Chira is itself a contraction for chivira, which shows that the elision of a simple conso- 
nant, which became the rule in Prakrit, was occasional also in pure Sanskrit. Similarly the 
Sanskrit word rija, ' seed,' which lexicographers derive from the root jan with the prefix vi, is, 
I conceive, simply a colloquial form of viryu, with which it is identical in meaning. 


would appear as Kalyanpur and Kalyan ; the latter being still a popular Hindi 
name and the Sanskrit for ' auspicious.' Moreover, if the race was ever so 
widely spread as he supposes, it is inconceivable that they should give their 
tribal name to the different towns they inhabited ; for such names under the 
supposed circumstances would have no distinctive force. For example, if the 
Hindus were suddenly to be swept out of India, the race that superseded them 
would not find a single village bearing such a name as Hindu-pur, or Hindu- 
ganw. Obviously it is only a country that derives its namo from a tribe, 
while towns and villages commemorate families and individuals. To ascertain 
who the Kalars were is certainly an interesting question, but one upon which 
it is as yet premature to speak positively. My own impression is that the 
name denotes a religious rather than an ethnological difference, and that they 
were — in this neighbourhood at all events — Buddhists or Jains. At many of 
the places from which they are said to have been ejected by the ancestors of 
the present Jat or Thakui families, I have found fragments of Buddhist or 
Jain sculpture, which can only have been the work of the older inhabitants, 
since it is certain that the race now in possession have never changed their 
religion. It is, of course, possible that these Kalars may have been non-Aryan 
Buddhists ; but the old village names, which in several cases remain unchanged 
to the present day, such as Aira, Madem, Byonhin, &c, though of doubtful 
derivation, have certainly anything but a foreign or un-Indian sound. 

These and a considerable number of other names yet require elucidation : 
but the words with which I prefaced the first edition of this work, in anticipa- 
tion of the present argument, have now, I trust, been so far substantiated that 
I may conclude by repeating them as a summary of actual results. "The 
study of a list of village names suggests two remarks of some little importance 
in the history of language. First, so many names that at a hasty glance 
appear utterly unmeaning can be positively traced back to original Sanskrit 
forms as to raise a presumption that the remainder, though more effectually 
disguised, will ultimately be found capable of similar treatment : a strong 
argument being thus afforded against those scholars who maintain that the 
modern vernacular is impregnated with a very large non-Aryan element. 
Secondly, the course of phonetic decay in all its stages is so strictly in accord 
with the rules laid down by the Prakrit grammarians, as to demonstrate that 
the Prakrit of the dramas (to which the rules particularly apply), even though 
extinct at the time when the dramas were written for the delectation of a 
learned audience, had once been the popular language of the country ; and as 
Anglo-Saxon imperceptibly developed into modern English, so has Prakrit 



been transmuted into modern Hindi, more by the gradual loss of its inflections 
than by the violent operation of any external influences." Thus the recogni- 
tion of Persian or any dialect of Persian as the vernacular of the country 
implies an historical untruth as regards the past, and can only be verified in 
the future by the obliteration of all existing traditions. 

The following list shows the changes of most frequent occurrence in the 
conversion of Sanskrit words into Hindi :— 

1. a + a, after the elision of a consonant, generally becomes au or ao; 
thus from pada we have pdo, or, by insertion of a nasal, pdnio ; from raid, rdo ; 
from tdta, 'father,' tdu; from ghdta, 'a wound,' ghdu; and from taddga, ' a pond' 
(itself derived from tata, a slope), taldo. So too in the Ramayana Rama occa- 
sionally appears in the form Rdu. 

2. Not unfrequently, however, a + n becomes e: thus from badara, the 
jujube, we have ber ; and from kadala, a plantain, Ma. A similar substitution 
of e for d takes place in semal, the cotton-tree, for sdlmali ; in sej, a couch, 
for saya ; and in terah, thirteen, for trayodasa. 

3. Conversely e+a is sometimes made equivalent to a + a: thus deva, 
after elision of the v, becomes ddu. 

4. bh becomes h : thus from abhira comes ahir, and from Tirabhukti, 
the name of a country, Tirhut. 

5. ch is elided : thus siichi, ' a needle,' becomes stii. 

6. dh becomes h : thus from badhira, ' deaf,' we have bahira ; from 
madhtha, ' the Bassia latifolia,' mahua ; from vadhu, ' a female relation,' bahu ; 
and, in the Ramayana, for krodhi, 'angry,' kohi. So too the possessive affix 
dhdra becomes lidra. 

7. d occasionally becomes I: thus from bhadra, 'good,' after elision of 
the conjunct r, we have bhala. This I again may be changed into r : thus 
from Vidarbha, the namo of a country, comes Birar. 

8. k is elided : thus vardhaki, ' a carpenter,' becomes barhai ; vrischika, 
' a scorpion,' bichhua ; and stikara, ' a pig,' suar. 

9. k may also become h: thus in the Ramayana aliha stands for alika, 
' false.' So also kh : thus mukha, after insertion of the nasal, becomes munh. 

10. I in a conjunct is elided : thus ralkala, ' the bark of a tree,' becomes 
bdkal. Occasionally also simple I ; as in okhla, ' a mortar,' for ulukhala. 


11. m and v are interchangeable : thus dhivara, 'a fisherman,' becomes 
dldmar ; gauna stands for gamana, Bhamani for Bhavdni, and kunvar for 
kumdra. Similarly jun, or jatin, in the sense of ' time,' stands for jdm, the 
Sanskrit ydma, the nasal being an insertion. So also in tho Gita Gobinda 
vdmana is made to rhyme with pdvana. 

12. A nasal can be inserted anywhere, as in game, 'a village,' for grdma, 
and in kaun, ' who,' for ho. 

13. p simple is elided : as in kua, ' a well,' for hupa ; bM&la, ' a king,' 
for bhupdld ; kait, the tree Feronia elephantum, for kapittha ; and aur, the 
conjunctive particle, for apara. So also when standing first in a conjunct ; 
thus from supta, 'asleep,' comes sota. It may also bo changed into v, as in 
gwdla, for gopdld, and kotiudl for kotta-pdla. 

14. r becomes n .• thus karavira, ' the oleander,' becomes kanavira, 
kanera, kanel. 

15. r in a conjunct is elided : thus grdma, ' a village,' becomes gam, or 
gdnw ; karma, 'an act,' kdm ; Srdvan, tho month so called, Sdvan; vdrtla, 
' business,' bat ; and vartman, ' a road,' bat, where the charge of the dental 
into the cerebral t compensates for the loss of the final man. 

16. s/» is converted into hh, optionally, whenever it occurs. Similarly 
the Greek /Spofo) represents the Sanskrit varsha, and in tho modern Cretan 
dialect becomes again vroshd. 

17. Cerebral t occasionally becomes r : thus from parkati, 'the Ficus 
venosa,' we have pdkar. 

18. t, when simple, is elided: thus from jdti-phal, 'a nut-meg,' comes 
jai-phal : and from Skald, the goddess of small-pox, siyar. Thus, too, in the 
Ramayana, Sitd frequently appears as Sia, or Slya. 

19. v when simple is elided : as in upas, 'a fast,' for upavds. 

20. Simple y is elided : as in mor, ' a peacock,' for mayura ; Prdg for 
Praydg ; and Ojlta, 'a particular caste,' for Upddhydya. 

21. The loss of one consonant in a conjunct receives compensation in 
the lengthening of the preceding vowel : thus we have nim for nimba ; ndti, 
'a grandson,' for naptri; dge, 'before,' for agre; dk, the plant Asclepias 
gigantea, for arkd ; ddhd, ' half,' for ardha ; and rita, ' empty,' for rikta. 

356 prXkrit philology. 

Any philological student who wishes to prosecute further inquiries in this 
interesting subject will find all the laws of euphonic mutation most exhaustively 
discussed and illustrated in Dr. Hcernle's Comparative Grammar of the Gaudian 
Languages, a work that appeared simultaneously with the former edition of this 
Memoir. Both for breadth of research and accuracy of analysis it is a book 
beyond all praise and may justly be ranked — in its own particular sphere — with 
the famous Grammar of Bopp, which forms the basis of all modern comparative 

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I. — Pargana Kosr. 

TnE pargana of Kosi is the most northern of the three on the western side of 
the Janium'i and borders on the district of Gurgaon. It is the smallest of the 
Mathura six, having an area of only 154 square miles. It yields an annual reve- 
nue of Rs. 1,52,013, Its villages, sixty-one in number, with six exceptions, are 
all bhaiy&chari, divided into infinitesimal shares among the whole of the com- 
munity ; so that, barring a few shopkeepers and menial servants, every resident 
is to some extent a proprietor. In the ordinary course of events, all would be, 
not only members of the same caste, but also descendants of one man, the 
founder of the settlement ; but in many instances, in spite of the right of pre- 
emption, several of the subordinate shares have been bought up by outsiders. 
A fresh assessment is made privately every year ; and, according to the amount 
of land actually under cultivation, each tenant proprietor pays his quota of the 
revenue at so much per bigha, and enjoys the remaining profits as his private 
income. The Government demand is realized through the head-men or lumber- 
dars, of whom there are generally several in each village. As a natural result 
of this minute sub-division of estates, there is not a single landed proprietor in 
the whole pargana of any social distinction. The two wealthiest inhabitants 
are both traders in the town of Kosi — Chunni Lai, son of Mohan Lai, and 
Kushali Ram, son of Lai Ji Mall — with incomes of Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 4,943 res- 
pectively. The former has no land at all, the other owns one small village. 

Of the six zamindari villages, only two were so previous to the last settlement; 
viz., Pakkar-pur, the property of Kushali Ram above mentioned, and Jau, a 
purchase of the Lata Biibu. The other four have acquired their exceptional 
character only within the last few years ; Garhi having been bought from the Jats 
by Sah Kundan Lai, of Lakhnau; Ma j hoi and Ram-pur having been conferred, 
after the mutiny, on Raja Gobind Singh, of Hathras, and Chauki on Shiv Sahay 
Mall, of Delhi, at the same time. One niahal of Chaundras has also quite re- 
cently been constituted into a zamindari ; and two or three other villages, now 
in the hands of money-lending mortgagees, will probably become so before long. 

The Muhammadans number only 8,093 out of a total population of 65,293, 
and, with the exception of a few scattered families, are almost confined to seven 
places, viz., Barha, Bisambhara, Dotana, Jalal-pur, Kosi, Mahroli, and Shahpur. 



At three of these, viz., Bisambhara, Dotana, and Jalal-pur, they even slightly 
out number the Hindus. 

The predominant Hindu castes ai-e Jats, Jadons and other Gaurua, i.e., 
spurious, Thakur tribes. There are also a considerable number of Giijars, 
though these latter have now in every place ceased to be proprietors. They 
muster stronger in the adjoining pargana of Chhata, and were ringleaders of 
disaffection during the mutiny. In consequence, eight of their villages — Majhoi 
and Ram-pur in Kosi, Basai, Husaini, Jatwari, Karahri, Khursi and Ujhani 
in Chhata — were confiscated and conferred on Raja Gobind Sinh. They had 
previously disposed of their four other Chhata villages, Chamar-garhi, Dhimri, 
Gulal-pur and Pir-pur, to the Lala Babii. The course of years has not reconciled 
the ejected community to their changed circumstances, and so recently as the 
29th of September, 1S72, the widowed Ranf s agent, Jay Ram Sinh, was, in 
result of a general conspiracy, barbarously murdered at night while sleeping in 
the Jatwari chaupdl. Six of the murderers were apprehended, and, after 
conviction of the crime, were sentenced to death, but one escaped from the jail 
before the sentence was executed. 

In the year 1857, the period, during which there was no recognition of 
government whatever, extended from the 12th of July to the 5th of December. 
With the exception of the Gujars, who assembled at Sher-garh and distinctly 
declared themselves independent, there was little or no ill-feeling towards the 
British Crown expressed by any class of the population ; though many persons 
took advantage of the favourable opportunity for paying off' old scores against 
ill neighbours, and especially for avenging themselves on their natural enemies, 
the patwdris, or village accountants, and Bolmis, or money-lenders. Thus 
there was a pitched battle between Hathana and the adjoining village of Banswa 
in Gurgaon ; the patwaris at Barha and Bisambhara had all their papers des- 
troyed ; at Pakharpur, Ganga Dan, bohra, was plundered by the zamindars of 
Kadona and Sirthala ; at Kotban, Dhan-raj, bohra, was only set at liberty on 
payment of a ransom ; and at Little Bathan, Lekhraj, bohra, after seeing all his 
papers seized and burnt, was himself put to death. The Jats of Kaiuar, after 
plundering Moti Ram, bohra, proceeded to turn the police out of the place, and 
raised a flame which spread across the border into the adjoining district. ; but 
they afterwards atoned for this indiscretion by the assistance which they gave to 
the Deputy Collector, Imdad AH, in suppressing the Gujars. 

The trees most commonly found growing wild in the pargana are the nim 
and the pilil, while every piece of waste ground (and there are several such 


tracts of large extent,) is dotted with clumps of karll. The soil is not suited to 
the growth of the mango, and there are scarcely any considerable orchards either 
of that or indeed of any other fruit tree ; the one at Shah-pur being the only 
notable exception. Of the total area of 97,301 acres, there are 71,490 of 
arable land ; the crops most extensively grown being jour, chana, and barley. 
The wheat sold at the Kosi market comes chiefly from across the Jamuna,. 
The number of wells has been much increased in late years and is now put 
at 1,379, of which 84b' are of masonry construction. The Jamuna, which forms 
the eastern boundary of the pargana, is crossed by ferries at Shah-pur, Khairal, 
and Majhoi. The new Agra Canal passes through the villages of Hathana, 
Kharot, Hasanpur Nagara, Kosi, Aziz-pur, Tumaula, and Dham Sinha, a length 
of ten miles, and is bridged at Kharot, Kosi, Aziz-pur, and Tumaula. The high 
road to Delhi traverses the centre of the pargana, passing through the town of 
Kosi and the villages of Kotban, Aziz-pur, and Dotana ; and from the town of 
Kosi there is a first-class unmetalled road to Sher-garh, a distance of eleven 
miles. The Halkabamli, or Primary, schools are twelve in number, being one 
for every five villages, an unusually favourable average : the attendance, how- 
ever, is scarcely so good as in some other parts of the district ; as it is difficult 
to convince a purely agricultural population that tending cattle is not always the 
most profitable occupation in which boys can be employed. 

In addition to the capital, there are only four places which merit special 
notice, viz., Bathan, Dotana, Kumar, and Shah-pur. 

Kosi is a flourishing municipality and busy market town, twenty-six miles 
from the city of Mathura, most advantageously situated in the very centre of 
the pargana to which it gives a name and on the high road to Delhi. As this 
road was only constructed as a relief work in the famine of 18(>0, it avoids all 
the most densely inhabited quarters, and the through traveller sees little from it 
but mud walls and the backs of houses. The Agra Canal runs nearly parallel to 
it still further back, with one bridge on the road leading to Majhoi and Sher-garh, 
and another at Aziz-pur, a mile out of the town on the road to Mathura. 

The zamindars are Juts, Shaikhs, and Brahmans ; but the population, 
which amounts to 11,231, consists chiefly of baniyas and Muhammadan kasdbs, 
or butchers, who are attracted to the place by its large trade in cotton and 
cattle. It is estimated that about 75,000 mans of cotton are collected in the 
course of the year and sent on down to Calcutta. 

* The outturn of cotton for the whole district was estimated in the year 1872-73 at 225,858 
mans ; the exportation therefore must be very considerable. 


The nakhhJids, or cattle market, is of large extent and supplied with every 
convenience — a fine masonry well, long ranges of feeding troughs, &c. On every 
beast sold the zamindars levy a toll of two anas, and the Chaudharis as much • 
in consideration for which payment they are bound to maintain two chaukidars 
for watch and ward, and also to keep the place clean and in repair. Prices, 
of course, vary considerably, but the following may be taken as the average 
rates : — Well-bullocks from Rs. 30 to Rs. 60 each; cart-bullocks from 
Rs. 50 to 75 ; a cow from Rs. 15 to 50 ; a calf from Rs. 10 to 30 ; a 
buffalo from Rs. 25 to 50 ; and a male buffalo calf from Rs. 2 to 10. There 
are two market days every week, on Tuesday and Wednesday ; and in 1868-69, 
when a tax of one and a quarter ana was levied on every beast sold, it yielded 
as much as Rs. 2,lS8-13-0 ; the zamindars' receipts at two anas a head and the 
Chaudharis' at the same rate amounted to Rs. 3,502-2-0 each. Takinrr Rs. 25 as 
an average price per head, which would be rather below than above the mark, the 
amount of money changing hands in the course of the year was Rs. 7,00,425. 
The exports of grain are put at 200,000 mans and there are in the town some 100 
hhattas, or cellars, ordinarily well filled with reserve stores for the consumption, 
not only of the residents, but also of the numerous travellers passing up and 
down the great thoroughfare on which the town stands, and who naturally take 
in at Kosi several days' supplies, both for themselves and their cattle. 
There is also very considerable business done in country cloth, as all the 
villages in the neighbourhood are purely agricultural, and supply most of their 
wants from the one central mart. 

As the town lies in a hollow, it is liable to be flooded after a few days' con- 
tinuance of heavy rain by a torrent which pours in upon it from Hodal. 
This was the case in 1873, when much damage was done to house property ; and 
the subsequent drying up of the waters — which was a tedious process, there 
being no outlet for their escape — was attended with very general and serious 
sickness. The only remedy lies in developing the natural line of drainage, and 
the necessity of some such operation has forced itself upon the notice of the 
canal department ; but no definite steps have yet been taken in the matter. 

The income of the municipality is about Rs. 12,000 per annum ; but this 
sum is a very inadequate test of the actual trade done, since there is no duty 
either on cotton or on cattle, excepting beasts intended for slaughter. 

The area of the parish is 2,277 acres, on which the Governmeut demand 
used to be Rs. 6,700 ; but the assessment was proved to be too severo by the 
distress it caused to the zamindars, and it was reduced to Rs. 4,790. 


The principal annual mela.i, or fairs, are — 1st, the Dasahara, only started 
between forty and fifty years ago by Lain Singh, khattri, and Darbari Singh, 
baniya ; 2nd, the Miiharram ; and 3rdly, the Phul-dol, on Chait badi 2, 
which is a general gathering for all the Jats of the Donda gal from Dah-ganw 
Kot-ban, Nabi-pur, Umraura, and Nagara Hasan-pur. 

In the centre of the town stands a large Sarae, covering nineaud-a-half biglias 
of land, with high embattled walls, corner kiosques, and two arched gateways, all 
of stone, ascribed to Khwaja I'tibar Khan, governor of Delhi, in the reign of 
the Emperor Akbar. On the inside there are ranges of vaulted apartments all 
round, and the principal lies between the two gateways. The building 
has been partially repaired by the municipality at a cost of Rs. 4,000, and if the 
inner area could be better laid out, it might form a remunerative property. At 
present it yields only an income of between Its. 300 and 400 a year ; even that 
being a considerable increase on what used to be realised. A large masonry 
tank, of nearly equal area with the sarae, dates from the same time, and is 
called the Ratnakar Kund, or more commonly r the ' pakka talao.' Unfortu- 
nately it is always dry except during the rains. The municipality were desir- 
ous of having it repaired, but it was found that the cost would amount to 
Rs. 3,500, a larger sum than the funds could afford. The enclosing walls are 
twenty feet high and the exact measurement is 620 by 400 feet. Three other 
tanks bear the names of Maya-kund, Bisakha-kund, and Gomati-kund, in 
allusion to places so styled at the holy city of Dwaraka, or Kusasthali — a cir- 
cumstance which has given rise to, or at least confirms, the popular belief that 
Kosi is only a contraction of Kusasthali. The Gomati-kund, near which the 
fair of the Phul-dol is held, Chait badi 2, is accounted the most sacred and 
is certainly the prettiest spot in the town. The pond is of considerable size, 
but of very irregular shape and has a large island in the middle. There are 
two or three masonry ghats, constructed by wealthy traders of the town, and 
on all sides of it there are a number of small shrines and temples overshadowed 
by fine kadamb, pipal, and bar trees, full of monkeys and peacocks ; while the 
tank itself is the favourite haunt of aquatic birds of different kinds. There are 
a few handsome and substantial private houses in the quarter of the town called 
Baladeva Ganj ; but as a rule the shops and other buildings have a very mean 
appearance ; and though there are a number of Hindu temples and four mosques, 
they, too, are all quite modern and few have any architectural pretensions. 

A little beyond the town on the Delhi side close to the new canal and not 
far from tho Idguh is a tirath called Mabhai, with a masonry tauk and temple, 



which is looked after by a Pandit of the Radha Ballabh sect, called Bal-mukund. 
When I went to see him, he would only talk in Sanskrit and derived the name 
of the place from Md bhaishih, ' fear not,' the exclamation of Krishna to the 
herdsmen when the forest was set on fire. But there was an old fort of the 
same name in the Bulandshahr district near the town of Khurja, where no 
such legendary explanation would be applicable. The word is a peculiar one, 
and I am unable to offer any suggestion regarding it. 

The Saraugis, or Jainis, have three temples at Kosi, dedicated respectively 
to Padma-Prabhu, the sixth of the Jinas or Tirthankaras ; Nein-mith, or 
Arishtanemi, the twenty-second ; and Mahavira, or Varddhamana the twenty- 
fourth and last of the series,* who is supposed to have died about the year 
500 B. C. A festival is held at the temple of Nem-mith, which is the smallest 
and most modern of the three, on the day after the full moon of Bhadon, when 
water is brought for the ablution of the idol from a well in a garden at some 
little distance. Any processional display, or beating of drums, or uttering of a 
party cry is so certain to result in a riot that extra police are always told off to 
prevent anything of the kind, and to confine every religious demonstration 
strictly within the walls of the temple. The antipathy to the rival faith on the 
part of the Vaishnava Hindus is so strong that it is ordinarily expressed by 
saying that it would be better, on meeting a mad elephant in a narrow street, 
to stand still and be trampled to death than to escape by crossing the threshold 
of a Jaini temple. 

As regards the essential matters of conservancy, water supply and road 
communication, the condition of the town is satisfactory and has been much 
improved by municipal action. Most of the streets are either metalled or paved, 
and lighted by lamps at night. A neat dispensary has been opened and is well 
attended, though as yet it has no accommodation for indoor patients. A small 
bungalow has been built for the meetings of the committee and for occasional 
use as a rest-house ; the ground between it and the dispensary being laid 
out as a garden for the supply of fruit and vegetables and as a decorative 
feature at the entrance of the town. Anew market was also designed with 
lines of substantial brick-built and stone-fronted shops of uniform character, 
arranged on three sides of a square, which was secured end levelled for the pur- 
pose. In order to further the speedy completion of a work which it was thought 
would so much improve both the appearance of the town and also the finances 

* Each Tirthankara has his own distinctive sign: Mahavira, a lion ; PaJma-Prabhu, a 
lotus ; Ncui-nath a conch ; Chandra- Prabliu, a moon, &c. ; and it is only by these marks that they 
can be distinguished troui one another, as all are sculptured in the ■ami' attitude. 


of the municipality, a loan of Its. 12,000 was contracted, with the sanction of 
Government, to be repaid in the course of four years by half-yearly instalments, 
beginning from October, 1874. Before application was made for the loan, 
Us. (3,000 had been already expended, and with a further allotment, to about 
the same extent, from ordinary municipal income, the market might have been 
completed by the end of 1878. But unexpected changes in the schedule of 
taxation reduced the octroi receipts so considerably that the annual income 
was nearly all exhausted by the charges for establishment, repairs, and the 
repayment of the loan. Thus the work dragged slowly on ; and since I have 
left the district has come, I believe, to a dead stand-still. At its commence- 
ment an illustration was afforded of the extraordinary mania with which the 
local baniyas are possessed for hoarding large quantities of grain. This they 
do in the hope that a year of famine will come when they will be able to 
realise a rapid fortune by selling their stores at enormously high rates. As 
the grain is simply thrown into a pit sunk in the ground, and no precautions 
taken to preserve it from the damp, in a few years the greater part of it be- 
comes quite unfit for human consumption, and its sale would only increase the 
general distress by spreading disease. This, however, is a consideration which 
has no influence on the mind of a baniya : he has a fixed method of squaring 
accounts with Providence, and holds that the foundation of a sumptuous temple, 
at the close of his life, is an ample atonement for all sins of fraud and peculation, 
and the only one which Divine justice is entitled to demand from him. Such 
a pit came to light after the heavy rains of 1873. Five of the shops then in 
course of construction began to settle and give way to such an extent that they 
had to be taken down On digging a few feet below the foundations to ascer- 
tain, if possible, the cause of the accident, a subterranean granary was revealed 
with an invoice stating that it had been filled in Sambat 1898 (1841 A.D.), and 
contained in all 1,303 mans of different kinds of grain. The greater part of 
this was so much damaged that it had to be destroyed, and the sale of the 
remainder realised only Rs. 324, which did not cover the cost incurred in dig- 
ging it out, filling up the pit, and rebuilding the shops. 

The tahsili school was built by the Public Works Department at a cost of 
Rs. 6,000. The police, maintained by the municipality on an annual grant 
ofRs. 1,800, are located in a corner of the sarae, with an entrance made 
through the old wall directly on to the high road, opposite the parao. The 
latter is the property of private individuals, who levy a toll on every animal or 
vehicle driven into its enclosure, —the rates being fixed by the municipality — 
and pay Rs. 10 a month for the monopoly. 


On the 31st of May, 1857, the rebels on their march to Delhi stopped at 
Kosi and, after burning down the Customs bungalow and ransacking the police 
station, proceeded to plunder the tahsili, but lis. 150 was all that they found 
in the treasury there The records were scattered to the four winds, but 
■were to a great extent subsequently recovered. The Musalmans of Dotana, 
the Jats of Aziz-pur, and the Giijars of Majhoi and R.'un-pur lent a willing hand 
to any deed of mischief ; but the townspeople and the inhabitants of the ad- 
joining villages of Hasan-pur Nagara, Umraura, Dah-ganw and .NaU-pur, gave 
what assistance they could in maintaining order, and as an acknowledgment 
of their good behaviour one year's jama was remitted and a grant of Rs. 50 
made to each lumberdar. The position of the town between Agra and Delhi 
and the strength of its fortified sarae have rendered it a place of some impor- 
tance at other periods of local disturbance. Thus, in 1774, the Jat Raja, 
Ran jit Sinh, on his retreat to Barsana, occupied it for some time and again, 
in 1282, after the death of Najaf Khan, his nephew', Mirza Shan , fled to it as a 
temporary refuge from before his rival Afrazyab Khan. 

Bathan, Great and Little, are two populous and extensive Jat villages 
(the former with a Halkabandi school) in the immediate neighbourhood of the 
town of Kosi. According to popular belief, the name is derived from the 
circumstance that Balarama here sat down ' (fiaithen) to wait for his brother 
Krishna' ; but like so many of the older local names, which are now fancifully 
connected with some mythological incident, the word is really descriptive simply 
of the natural features of the spot,' batJian being still employed in some parts 
of India to denote a pasture-ground for cattle. In the same way Brinda-ban, 
' the tulsi grove,' is now referred to a goddess Vrinda ; Loh-ban, 'the lodhri 
grove,' to a demon Loha-jangha ; and Kotban, ' the limit or last of the groves,' 
to a demon Kota, whose head was tossed to Sirthala, and his hands to Hatbana. 
On the outskirts of Great Bathan is an extensive sheet of water with a mason- 
ry ghat built by Riip Ram, the Katara of Barsana, which, by its name 
Balbhadra-Kund, has either occasioned, or at least serves to perpetuate the 
belief that Balarama was the eponymous hero of the place. Here, on Choit badi 
3, is held the Holanga Fair, when some 15,000 to 16,000 people assemble and 
a sham tight takes place between the women of Bathan, who are armed with 
clubs, and the men from the neighbouring village of Jav, who defend themselves 
with branches of the acacia. At a distance of two miles, between two smaller 
groves, each called Padar Ganga, the one in Bathan, the other in Jav, is Kokila- 
ban, the most celebrated in Hindi poetry of all the woods of Braj : so much bo, 


indeed, that the word is often used as a synonyme for ' the garden of Eden.' 
It comprises a wide and densely-wooded area,* the trees becoming thicker 
and thicker towards the centre, where a pretty natural lake spreads cool and 
clear, and reflects in its deep still waters the over-hanging branches of a magni- 
ficent banyan tree. It is connected with a masonry tank of very eccentric 
configuration, also the work of Rup Ram ; on the margin of which are several 
shrines and pavilions for the accommodation of pilgrims, who assemble here to 
the number of some 10,000, Bhadon sudi 10, when the Ras Lila is celebrated. 
There is also a walled garden, planted by a Seth of Mirzapur, who employed 
as his agent Ghan-pat Ram, one of the Kosi traders. It has a variety of 
shrubs and fruit trees ; but, like most native gardens, is rapidly becoming a 
tangled and impenetrable jungle. Adjoining it is a bdrah dari, or pavilion, 
constructed in 1870, by Nem Ji, another Kosi baniya, out of money left for the 
purpose by his brother Bansidhar. A fair is held in the grove every Saturday 
and a larger one on every full moon, when the principal diversion consists in 
seeing the immense swarms of monkeys fight for the grain that is scrambled 
among them. The Bainigi belongs to the Nimbarak Sampradaya. 

Between Kokila-ban and the village is another holy place, called Kabir-ban 
besides the Padar-Ganga. The origin of the word Padar is obscure: it is inter- 
preted by hara, 'green,' and therefore may be a corruption of the Sanskrit 
pddapa, ' a tree.'t 

At little Bathan, a curious ridge of rock, called Charan Pahar, crops up 
above the ground, the stone being of precisely the same character as at Barsana 
and Nand-ganw. It was once proposed to utilize some of it for engineering 
purposes, but such strenuous objections were raised that the design was never 
carried into execution. The name of the present hermit is Radhika Das. This, 
it is said, was one of the places where Krishna most delighted to stop and play 
his flute, and many of the stones are still supposed to bear the impress of his 
' feet,' charan. The hill is of very insignificant dimensions, having an average 
height of only some twenty or thirty feet, and a total length of at most a quarter 
of a mile. On the rock are several specimens of the tree called Indrajau 
IWrigktia tinctoria), which I have not seen elsewhere. In the cold weather it is 
almost entirely bare of leaves, but bears bunches of very long slender dark-green 

• H is 212 bighas in extent; 64 bighas being held rent-free by the Mahant of the Hermitage 
who »1bo haB all the pasturage and fallen timber of the whole area, with a further endowment of 
22 bighae of arable land in Jar. 

| Ii is mentioned by name in the Vraja-bhakti-rilasa ■i» r U"g TcJ^ 



pods, each pair cohering lightly at the tip. There is also an abundance of a 
scraggy shrub called Ganger, a species of Grewia (?) and a creeper with white 
sweet-scented flowers which may be the zedoavy. Its native name is nirbisi. 
In the small belt of jungle, which environs the hill, may also be found almost 
every variety of the curious inedible fruits for which Braj is noted, riz., the 
karil, piln, pasendu, hingot, barna, and anjan-rukh. A little beyond the neigh- 
bouring town of Kamar, just across the Gurgaon border, is a very similar ridge 
called the Biclior hill, from a large village of that name. 

DotXna, population 1,185, is a Muhammadan village on the high road 
between Kosi and Chhata with a number of old buildings which are sure to attract 
the traveller's attention. There are seven large tombs dating from the time of 
Shahjahan and Aurangzeb if not earlier (there are no inscriptions) three 
mosques of the same period, erected respectively by Inayat-ullah Khan, 
Kazi Haidar Khan and ltuh-ullah Khan ; a modern mosque founded by Abd-ul 
Barkat, and four small gardens. 

A masonry tank, which covers an area of 12 bighas and is in good > 
repair, though dry for the greater part of the year, is said to have been 
constructed by the village founder Kabir-ud-din Auliya. One of his most 
illustrious descendants was Sadullah Khan, from whom the town of Sadabad 
derives its name, the minister of Shahjahan, in whose reign Dotana is said to 
have been a large town. Shernagar originally belonged to the same family, and 
three members of it are commemorated by the three Pattis, called respectively 
Lai, Ruh-ullah and Malak. A distributary of the canal runs within a few- 
yards of the tank, which might easily be filled from it. Near it is the tomb of 
Kudus and Anwar, two of the village patriarchs. 

Many of the iarge brick houses in the village are in a most ruinous condi- 
tion, and the zamindars are now in poor circumstances. In the mutiny they 
joined the rebels in plundering the Kosi Tahsili, and part of their estate was 
confiscated and bestowed on Kunvar Sham Prasad, a Kashmiri, formerly 
Tahsildar of Maha-ban, who has transferred it to his sister, Maharani. The 
name Dotana is thought to be derived from Danton, a tooth-brush, and if so, 
is rather suggestive of Buddhist legends. The place is mentioned by Bishop 
Heber in his Journal, who writes : " January 7th, 1825. — Traversed a wild but 
more woody country to Dotana. Here I saw the first instance of a custom 
which I am told I shall see a good deal of in my southern journey, a number 
of women, about a dozen, who came with pitchers on their heads, dancing and 
singing to meet me. There is, if I recollect right, an account of this sort of dance 


in Kehama. They all professed to bo Gopis, or milk-maids, and are in fact, as 
the thanadar assured me, the wives and daughters of the Gwala caste. Their 
voices and style of singing were by no means unpleasant ; they had all the appear- 
ance of extreme poverty, and I thought a rupee well bestowed upon them, 
for which they were very thankful." There can be no doubt also that this is the 
place to which John de Laet, in 1631, alludes in his India Vera, though he 
calls it Akbar-pur, the name of the next village. "This was formerly a consi- 
derable town ; now it is only visited by pilgrims who come on account of many 
holy Muhammadans buried here." Annual fairs are still held in honor of 
three of these holy men, who are styled Hasan Shahid, Shah Xiz;im-ud-din, 
and Pir Shakar-ganj, alias Baba Farid. The shrines, however, are merely 
commemorative and not actual tombs ; for Hasan, ' the Martyr,' is probably 
Ali's son, the brother of Hussain ; Xizamud-din Aulia is buried at Delhi ; 
and the famous Farid-ud-din Ganj-i-Shakkar lies at Pak Patan near the 

Ka'mab, population 3,771, six miles from Kosi on the Gurgaon border, is still 
a populous Jiit town with a considerable trade in cotton ; but in the early part 
of last century was a place of much greater wealth and importance, when a daugh- 
ter of one of the principal families was taken in marriage by Thakur Badan Sinh 
of Sahar, the father of Suraj Mall, the first of the Bharat-pur Rajas. On the out- 
skirts of the town is a large walled garden with some monuments to his mother's 
relations, and immediately outside it a spacious masonry tank filled with water 
brought by aqueducts from the surrounding raUii/a. This is more than a thou- 
sand acres in extent, and according to village computation is three kos long, 
including the village, which occupies its centre. For the most part the trees are 
exclusively the pilu, or salvadora oleoides, very old, with hollow trunks and 
strangely gnarled and distorted branches. The fruit, which ripens in Jeth, is 
sweet and largely eaten by the poor, but as a rule not sold, though some is 
occasionally dried and exported. A Bairagi of the Nimharak Sampradaya, by 
name Mangal Das, has a hermitage with a small temple of Bihari Ji, in the 
midst of some fine kadamb trees, which form a conspicuous group at one end of 
the rakhya. He has a great reputation for sanctity and the offerings made 
during the last 30 years have enabled him to have a fine masonry tank con- 
structed, of great depth, at an outlay of Bs. 2,500 ; from its appearance it might 
be taken to have cost even more. It is filled to the brim in the rains, but soon 
becomes dry again ; a defect which he hopes to obviate by paving it at the bottom. 
It is about half a mile from the village and is a pretty spot. Had I remained 
in the district, I should have got the tank finished ; arrangements were being 


made when the order came for my transfer. At a rather greater distance in 
the opposite direction is a lake with unfinished stone ghats, the work of Raja 
Suraj Mall ; this is called Durvasas-kund, after the irascible saint of that name ; 
but there is no genuine tradition to connect him with the spot ; though it is 
sometimes said that the town derives its name from a ' blanket ' (kamal) with 
which Krishna persuaded him to cover his nakedness. Among the trees on the 
margin of the lake are some specimens of the Khanddr or Salvadora Punica. 
This is less common than the oleoides species, and is a prettier tree and blossoms 
earlier. Its fruit, however, is bitter and uneatable. In the town are several 
large brick mansions built by Chaudharis Jasavant Sinh and Sita Ram, the 
Raja's connections, and one of them has a fine gateway in three stories, which 
forms a conspicuous land mark : but all are now in ruins. At the back of the 
artificial hill on which they stand, and excavated to supply the earth for its 
construction, is a third tank of still greater extent than the other two, but of 
irregular outline, and with only an occasional flight of stone steps here and there 
on its margin. 

A temple of Siiraj Mall's foundation, dedicated to Mad an Mohan, is spe- 
cially affected by all the Jats of the Bahin-war pal,* who are accounted its 
chelas, or sons, and assemble here to the number of some 4,000, on Chait badi 
2 and the following day, to celebrate the mela of the Phul-dol. The school, a 
primary one, is not a very prosperous institution. The Chaukidari Act has been 
extended to the town ; but it yields a monthly income of only Rs. (JO, which, 
after payment of the establishment, leaves an utterly insignificant balance 
for local improvements. The only work of the kind which has been carried 
out is the metalling of the principal bazar. 

ShXh-PUR, under the Jats the head of a pargana, is a large but somewhat 
decayed village on the bank of the Jamuna, some ten miles to the north-east 
of Kosi. It is one of the very few places in this part of the country where 
the population is almost equally divided between the two great religions of 
India; there being, according to the census of 1881, as many as 1,137 
Muhammadans to 1,08-1 Hindus. The total area is 3,577 acres, of which 2,263 
are under the plough and 1,314 are unfilled. Of the arable land 612 acres are 
watered by wells, which number in all 63 and are many of masonry construc- 
tion. The Government demand is Rs. 3,907. The village was founded 

• Pdl is the peculiar name for any subdivision of Jats. In the Kosi Pargana, the principal 
Jat Pals in addition to the Bahin-war, who own Kumar and 11 other Tillages, are the Uenda, 
Lokana, and Uhatona. Similarly every sub-di vision of McwatiB is called a chhat. 


towards the middle of the sixteenth century, in the reign either of Sher Shah 
or Salim Shah by an officer of the Court known as Mir Ji, of Biluch extrac- 
tion, who called it Shahpur in honour of his royal master. The tomb of the 
founder still exists not far from the river bank on the road to Chaundras. 
It is a square building of red sandstone, surmounted by a dome and divided 
on each side into three bays by pillars and bracket arches of purely Hindu 
design. By cutting off the corners of the square and inserting at each angle an 
additional pillar the tomb on the inside assumes the form of a dodecagon. 
On the other side of the village, by the road to Bukharari, is another tomb, in 
memory of Lashkar Khan, a graudson of the village founder: it is solidly con- 
structed of brick and mortar, but quite plain and of ordinary design. Nearly 
opposite is the hamlet of Chauki with the remains of a fort erected by Nawab 
Ashraf Khan and Arif Khan, upon whom Shah-pur with other villages, yield- 
ing an annual revenue of Rs. 28,000, were conferred as a jagir for life by Lord 
Lake. There is a double circuit of mud walls with bastions and two gateways 
of masonry defended by outworks, and in the inner court a set of brick build- 
ings now fallen into ruin. This was the ordinary residence of the Nawab, 
and it was during his lifetime that Shah-pur enjoyed a brief spell of prosperity 
as a populous and important town. It would seem that the fort was not entirely 
the work of Ashraf Khan, but had been originally constructed some years