From the 1st July 1897 until the end of October the office was at headquarters, Poona, where the general work done during that time comprised the preparation of the Progress Report for the past year, the printing of the photographic negatives, and the preparation of the drawings plotted during the previous season, especially those of the beautiful enamelled tile work of Sind which were continued. The preparation of the lists of remains in His Highness the Nizam's Dominions was carried on as far as the returns received allowed, and well nigh completed.* Two drawings were sent to Calcutta for the Technical Art Series, both of which were reproduced.Programme
2. It was my intention last touring season to have continued my investigations at Brahmanbad, Vijnot, and other old sites in Sind, the preliminary excavation work of the previous season having proved so interesting and full of promise. But it was impossible to carry on excavation work over these large areas without extra funds, and since Government were not prepared to incur any further expenditure last year, I submitted an alternative programme allowing the further prosecution of the Sind work to stand over for the present. This alternative programme provided for a tour through the eastern parts of the Satara and western portions of the Sholapur districts, and the examination of the country around Bassein, Sopara, and Borivl in the Thana district.L'asurna Karanjkop P'ates vara
3. Starting from Poona on the 8th November our first camp was pitched at about two miles west of Koregaon and on the Satara-Pandharpur high road. Beside an old dilapidated temple at Lasurna, remains were visited at Karanjkop and Patesvara, the latter consisting of some small caves in a hill six miles south-east of Satara, but at none was there anything of much interest.Na'gna'thva'di
4. From Koregaon we moved camp to Khatgun, and thence on by Khatav to Vaduj, looking up the old temple at Nagnathvadi at which place there should have been, according to our Lists, "a genuine snake temple" with an old inscription, but it was found to be no other than an ordinary old temple of Mahadeva, the shrine of which is full of water. It is said that a snake occasionally makes its appearance here. It would be strange indeed if one was not sometimes found in this cool retreat.
5. At Khatgun there is nothing of much importance. Near a little insignificant shrine by the side of the river, to the north of the town, are some viragals or memorial stones, similar to those at the temple of Bhairoba at Khatav. The ruins of a little shrine, that once had some pretensions to architectural merit, lie on the plain a short distance to the north-east of the town. Another ruin, which might have concerned us more, was that of a wayside travellers' bungalow, had there not been a very commodious and comfortable one near by. Owing to the extension of irrigation work off the river here the country was found looking beautifully green and fresh with no signs of famine, The roads, which would have been otherwise excellent, were intersected at frequent intervals by the beds of deep water-courses, and, as these were not bridged, the resulting switchback tracks were anything but comfortable for wheeled traffic.Khata'v
6. But at Khatav we found some remains that did interest us,-several old temples of the Hemadpanti class. Among these, that of Naganatha, across the stream bed upon the north-west of the town, was the most complete and deserving of notice. It occupies a conspicuous position upon high ground, and has an open front with a neatly ornamented facade. Ganapati presides over the shrine door while the linga is established within. The s'ikhara or spire has gone. Beside it is a little shrine of Ganapati which, having the outer casing of its walls gone, shews the manner of building and the rough backs of the blocks forming the inner shell, This method of construction was seen better later on at Segaon. The temple of Somes'vara in the fields across the stream, on the north of the town, though less in size, is similar in design to that of Naganatha, but it was never finished, much of its decoration being traced out on the walls but not carved. The temple of Bhairoba in the village is a long clumsily built old shrine, on either side of the entrance doorway of which stands a roughly carved viraqa (1) .The temple of Narayanadeva near by consists of a partly ruined old temple repaired and added to with brick and mortar masonry and a wooden tiled mandapa or hall in front. Within the shrine Narayanadeva presides, but in a niche of the inner hall, now a window sill, is placed a linga. There is rather a good doorway inserted in the entrance to the courtyard.See photographs 1538 and 1539
7. Vaduj itself has nothing in our line save a very neat and handy little rest-house, but it formed a convenient centre from which to visit the villages of Ka'tarkhata'v five miles to the east, Gursala five miles to the south, and Kurauli four miles to the west. At the first place is the old temple of Kataresvara, of similar construction to that of Naganatha at Khatav. The pillars are better finished. Along the face of the facade wall are several indecent figures in panels. This building, however, has portions of its original old brick tower remaining shewing that it rose after the Chalukyan style with cusped arches as at Kasivisvesvara at Lakkundi. The brick-work has had a thin layer of plaster over it. Where a part of the Walls has fallen at the back may be seen the mode of filling in, namely, with boulders eight to twelve inches in diameter set in a grouting of white mud. See photographs 1540 and 1541
8. The temples at Gursala were of special interest. That of Somalinga in the village has its spire intact. The total disappearance of the spires or sikharas of the great majority of the old Chalukyan and Hemadpanti temples has seemed unaccountable. The finely carved stone spires of many that are left naturally led one to believe that they were all in that material. But this shrine, the Katarkhatav one, and a few we found in Hyderabad territory show that brick spires were in as much, if not greater use than those of stone, whether on account of the greater lightness of the mass or cheaper mode of construction it is difficult to say. But there is no doubt that the lighter brick-work was more easily ruined and then became a very desirable material for building the huts of the villagers around. Stone appropriated from the old temples would have required masons to handle it, whereas the veriest child could run up a mud and brick wall. At Kokamthan, near Kopargaon, in the Ahmadnagar district, is an old temple with a decorated brick spire, but it is so like the lower stone-work in appearance that it requires a close inspection to see the real nature of the material. The brick in these cases has been moulded for its position, and has been covered with a thin coat of plaster, which, from intent or ago, bears much the same tint as the lower stone-work. The temple of Somalinga is a very solidly built structure, whose walls are severely plain. The pillars within are also plain but are well proportioned. See photograph 1542
9. The temple of Ramalinga, outside the village, is a neat little combination of kunda or tank and shrine, the latter standing upon the west margin of the tank and forming part of the one general design. There is a row of the usual grossly indecent figures on the front wall of the temple. The tank is square with flights of steps leading down to the water's edge from an inside platform which runs around some distance below ground level, a stair leading down to it from the eastern side opposite the shrine. See photographs 1543 and 1544
10. At Kurauli we found nothing of importance. Our first information when afar off was that there was a very fine temple here; as our touring brought us nearer it became a Hemadpanti temple, but plain; and when we reached Vaduj we were told it was a comparatively recent shrine having been built but a short time ago. It loomed large in the hazy distance of hearsay, but turned out on close inspection not to be worth the journey to it. Locally, in Hindu eyes, it is considered of some note, some miraculous noise emanating under certain conditions from its linga.Va'varhira
11. Leaving Vaduj we made tracts northwards towards the large temple at Shngnapur on the confines of the Satara district where it abuts on the valley of the Nira. This took us through the plague-stricken village of Dahivadi. On the way, ten miles north by east from Dahivadi, we camped at the village of Vavarhira where we found a small old temple of Somalinga whose spire is much in the same style as that of the same deity at Gursala, but plainer and clumsier. Two men were despatched to Mhasvad to take impressions of an old Kanarese inscription at the old temple there which records a gift of lands to the temple of Siddhesvara by a subordinate chief of Jagadekamalla in the 10th year of his reign.Shingna'pur
12. Shingnapur, with its celebrated temple and fine large tank, is situated in a depression in the hills upon the very crest of the high table-land which here falls abruptly into the valley of the Nira. From the hills around, and especially from the court of the great temple which is perched upon the highest summit, a magnificent view of the country below is obtained, from Phaltan to Malsiras and even further. The river peeps out at intervals like short lengths of silver thread upon brown velvet, while the tree-sheltered villages dotted along its course indicate its meanderings. This would have been an ideal spot for the late eclipse parties had it not been so far off the line of rail. For lying as it does well within the shadow band, the great elevation, the purity of the air, the possibilities presented in the erection and shelter of the instruments, and the grand sight of the shadow slipping silently away across the far extending landscape below, and visible for many miles, made this a most desirable spot.
13. The great temple of Sambhu Mahadeva is situated about three-quarters of a mile west of the village upon the highest point of the range and is a conspicuous object all around for many miles. Beneath the main temple, upon the north side, is the older one of Amritesvara, while around them both, upon the sloping eastern and northern side of the hill, nestles the little village of Brahman ministrants A broad flight of steps leads down under two great archways to the plain beneath where it joins the road which connects the hill with the village. On either side of this road are dharmasalas or rest-houses, wells, and samadhs or tombs. The present temple of Sambhu Mahadeva is a reconstruction of an older one, or rather a new building entirely erected upon the site of an older, the pillars, lintels, &c., of which lie about the hill. The columns of the present temple are copied from those of the older, but the work is not quit so good. The lower temple of Amritesvara, which is said to have been in existence before the big one, is of much the same style of work. It is in a very shattered condition and is dangerously unsafe for use, but people use it nevertheless, and stand about unconcernedly under tons of cracked masses of stone whose temporary props look as if they might collapse at any moment.See photographs 1545, 1546, and 1547.
14. We now descended into the valley by an excellent ghat road which at the foot, unfortunately, ends nowhere, disappearing entirely among the boulders and ravines of the hill torrent beds, so that we had a few miles of rough broken country to cross before we came upon the Phaltan-Pandharpur road.But for ease of locomotion there was not much to choose between this and many long stretches of the highway where very rough road metal had been thrown down six inches deep during the famine operations, and where our cartmen had the privilege of rolling it for a trifling sum paid at the toll tars.Na'thaputa
15. Nathaputa, the town we struck, is about seven miles north-east of Shingnapur, and here we found the two large old temples of Girijapati and Parvatesvara, coarsely constructed and not very interesting. Between Shingnapur and Nathaputa, and about a couple of miles from the latter place is a small old temple of Mahadeva with a complete sikhara of the same type as those of Vavarhira and Gursala.Ma'lsiras
16. Ten miles eastward our camp was next pitched at Malsiras. Here there are two old temples-that of Somesvara just inside the north-east gate of the town and that of Mahabalesvara, a short distance outside to the north-east on the bank of the stream The former stands upon a high basement and is much ruined, the shrine without its tower, and some of the pillars and beams of the mandapa alone standing. Carved blocks for the ceiling lie about, and the temple generally looks as if it had been left unfinished. The other shrine is rather a mean little building, though old. This is in better state of preservation than the first. See photograph 1548
17. Still continuing eastward we found some interesting remains at Velapur. Here by the roadside, just outside the village, is a plain but well preserved old stone temple with a well built dharamsala or rest-house beside it. Around the temple, set up in the ground, and all more or less buried by the additional accumulation of the earth of ages, are about twenty well carved viragals or memorial stones. There are seven in one line which were almost half buried while the rest are scattered about. They represent battle scenes where the hero distinguishes and extinguishes himself, and linga worship. They are a very interesting collection, but are uncared for. They might, with advantage, be placed leaning against the wall of the old temple, which is not used, on the lee-side. Upon the far side of the adjacent tank is another double-shrined old temple of the Hemadpanti class, of the same general plan as that of the old temple on the bank of the tank at Mhaisa in the Nizam's Dominions. In the village is the temple of Hara-Naresvara which is a conglomeration buildings, the core of which is a triple shrined old temple but of poor construction. At the side of the steps leading down to a square tank in front is an inscription which records the setting up of a kalasa by Brahmadevarana, a subordinate chief under the king Praudhapratapachakravartin Sri Ramachandradeva in Saka 1227. Another partly abraided inscription on a rough block of stone near the entrance of the temple records a gift of lands by the chief Johadeva in Samvat 1222 during the same king's reign. Just inside the eastern gateway of the village is a large slab bearing a representation of Gaja-Lakshmi. See photographs 1549, 1550, 1551, 1552, 1553 and 1554.
18. Between Velapur and Pandharpur we found an old temple, partly in ruins, in the village of Segaon, which, from the manner in which the walls have given way, disclosing the interior structure of the same, serves as an excellent example shewing how the walls of these buildings were erected. In the photograph the outer and inner casings or shells, each with one face dressed and the inner rough, are distinctly seen and the dry boulder filling in reveals itself. It will be seen from the photograph (No. 1555) that there is practically no bonding between the inner and outer faces of the walls, which owe their stability to the weight of the blocks composing them. The filling in is thus always tending to burst the asunder, and so we often find that ruin to these old shrines is generally in this direction, in fact, many an interior stands intact where, from within, one would hardly imagine the building at all damaged, whereas outside the walls have been entirely stript of their outer shells and the filling in has rolled away.
19. We now arrive at Pandharpur, to reach which place the pious Hindu will cheerfully run the gauntlet of cholera, plague,dacoit, days of weary travel, and exacting priests, so holy is this spot in his eyes. The great temple of Vithoba is the centre of this pilgrimage. Four times a year, but more especially on two of these occasions, pilgrims congregate in thousands from far and near, coming by train, by bullock cart, afoot, pony-back, and even on all fours, measuring their lengths in dots and dashes along the whole length of their dusty journey. Some of the latter cunningly mark out the forward limit of each stretch with a short cane or stick, thus gaining a couple of feet extra, more or less, upon each length. On arrival at Pandharpur they soon fall into the toils of the priests, who discover their family names in their respective lists and appropriate them accordingly, constituting themselves their spiritual and mundane ministrants for the period of their stay in the town, which is generally regulated by the amount of wealth the devotee possesses, but more often by the amount of that wealth that can be squeezed out of him by his wily guide. Having bathed in the river and off his moustache, if he has one, the pilgrim is taken to visit Vithoba, Rakhamai Devi, and the minor deities who patiently await him in the many smaller shrines surrounding the main one. Here he gets absolution and various other favours and privileges according to the size of his purse. For Vithoba is a respector of persons. He has not yet risen to that lofty position whence he can afford to look down with indifference upon the paltry merits and pecuniary of man. The open-handed pilgrim he receives in his best clothes and jewels, and the more of the latter are piled on the more that open hand contains. Vithoba is said to have come originally from Dwarka on a visit to a certain youth Pundalika who constrained the god to take up his abode there. How he came, or the date of his coming, no man knows; these are idle questions: he came and that is enough. But though we cannot tell when he arrived, we can make a shrewd guess as to when his temple was built for him, at any rate the one he occupies at present. It is a more or less recent structure, but there are of older temples about the town and evidences that this particular one has been in part built from the materials of a more ancient shrine, but whether it stood on the site of the present it is hard to say. That the present is a lineal descendant of an older shrine to the same deity there is little doubt, for an inscription upon a pilaster of a former temple, now used as a beam overhead in the present, tells us, in Kanarese and Sanskrit, that the Hoysala king Vira-Somesvara in Samvat 1159 (A.D. 1237) gave a gift of gold to the god Vitthala, which is the older form of Vithoba. Portions of this inscription, in its new position, are covered by the overlapping of the capitals of the pillars below it. Again, between the present temple and the river is a portion of an old temple converted into a chavdi or police station. The pillars are here all standing in their original positions, and upon one of these is an inscription in Sanskrit verse recording the fact that a subordinate chief Kesavamandalika performed the Aptoryama sacrifice in the temple of Panduranga Vitthala on the banks of the Bhimarathi in Samvat 1192 (A.D. 1270). From this it certainly appears that this was the original temple of Vitoba . Between this again and the river are the remains of two other small shrines. The present temple of Vitoba which is shut in upon all sidoes with houses, has been built in instalments, the sikhara or spire having been erected within the last fifty years; the substructure might go back two hundred years, hardly more. Being so shut in we could not get a photograph of the temple.
20. Leaving Pandharpur we continued our journey northwards to Birsi getting copies made of an inscription at Waphla near Shetphal on the way. From Birsi Road a man was sent to Mohol to copy two inscriptions. The plague and the necessary precautions which made traveling difficult, prevented our going further eastward to a few places round about Sholapur. We did not know sufficient of these remains to warrant the risk of going after them through plague-stricken country so turned westward and proceeded to Jeur from which place we visited the villages of Vangi and Warkut where there were some remains-at the former place ruins of some small old shrines, at the latter a number of old sculptures.Bassein.
21. Finishing with the Deccan, camp was moved to, Bassein in the Konka and work was resumed at the old fort. A long and interesting account of the Portuguese doings at Bassein and the building of the fort is given in Dr. Da Cunha's Bassein. What I known as the inner citadel, and which is generally looked upon as a potion of the whole fort as we now see it, is really the old Muhammadan fort which was destroyed by Nuno Da Cunha and subsequently rebuilt by him in 1536 as recorded in an inscription on the S.-W. bastion. The Muhammadan walls were not completely razed to the ground, and the portions which were left standing, upon which the Portuguese rebuilt, are still plainly distinguishable as Musalman work, the more regular courses of ashlar work contrasting, with the rough hastily built rubble above. Again in the Muhammadan work may be seen frequent fragments of carved stones from Hindu temples which doubtless the Muhammadans overthrew to build their walls with. The Portuguese we are told did the same afterwards with the Muslim masjids. Later on, the fort being found very small and unsuitable for the increased garrison necessary, the larger fort was built outside and around the old one. Beside the fragments of Hindu work found in the old walls, several large carved stones lie about within the fort and one block lies close beside the travelers' bungalow. The side posts of the main doorway of the Portuguese church at Nirmal, a few miles north of Basin, are two carved pilasters from a Hindu temple. The Portuguese, have destroyed all that the Muhammadans had left, both of their own and their predecessor's work, the Inquisition having been more intolerant than Islam.
22. The old churches and other Portuguese buildings within the fort are very interesting but they are fast falling, into decay, and little can be done with the majority of them, such hopeless ruins have they become; but a few of the principal ones might be kept in better repair. They are fairly safe from wanton destruction, the whole interior of the fort being held on long lease by Mr. Littlewood, who resides on the spot, and takes a great interest in the buildings. See photographs 1556 to 1563.
23. A very interesting thing that I discovered there was the presence of Sind tilework in the Church of the Jesuits. It had been used as a dado on either side near the altar end of the church as well as in the gallery. The imprints of the square tiles in the mortar setting, with fragments adhering, and a whole tile from this building in the possession of Mr. Littleood, are sufficient evidence of their use here. But no trace of them was found elsewhere. This church was built in 1548 and repaired in subsequent times. The only connection between the Portuguese and Sind appears to have been about the year 1555 when an embassy arrived at Bassein from Mirza Isa, Chief of Tatta, asking the assistance of the Portuguese against Sultan Mahmud with whom he was then at war. This request was complied with and 700 men sailed under Pedro Barreto Rolim. These arrived at Tatta to find they were not required, and, being exasperated by the refusal of the Tatta Governor, Mirzd Isa being away at the front at the time, to pay the expenses of the fleet, the Portuguese, finding the city unprotected and defenseless, fell upon it and sacked it. "Barreto landed his men, entered the city, and in the fury killed above 8000 persons, and destroyed by fire the value of above two millions of gold, after loading the vessels with one of the richest booties that had been taken in Asia." This then no doubt accounts for the presence of these tiles in the walls of the Church of the Jesuits at Bassein. The Dabgir Masjid, still standings at Tatta, was then a new building profusely decorated with enamelled coloured tiles. It was the predecessor of the present Jami Masjid.
24. A very curious thing in the Bassein fort is the shell bath. This is a small water cistern the whole of the exterior of which is decorated with sea shells set thickly together in cement to form patterns on the surface of the walls. On the front wall, under the steps, are miniature grottoes let in and formed of great masses of rock crystal. The walls were further embellished with coloured China plates fixed in at intervals, but these have now been broken away.Pa'rol
25. Twelve miles as the crow flies northeast from Bassein, on the other side of Tungar Hill, is the small hamlet of Parol, near which are the ruins of at least three small old shrines. These seem to have been all Saiva temples in the northern style. The stones of these temples have been left for the most part whole, they fell, there having been no modern buildings erected upon this side of Tungar, and it would have been a costly business to have carried them all round the hill to the other side. See photographs 1564, 1565 and 1566.
26. From Parol we moved camp to Sopara which is situated about six miles north of Bassein. The place is very fully described in the Thana Gazetteer, and also in a paper read by the late Dr. Bhagvanlal Indraji before the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and published in their Journal, in both of which a detailed account is given of the opening of a stupa or burial mound at that place by him and Sir James Campbell. My visit to the place was with the object of ascertaining what Hindu remains were to be found there. That ancient Hindu temples did exist in this part of the country is without doubt, the many fragments found in the villages around testifying to this, but so complete has been their destruction at the hands of the Muhammadans and Portuguese that their very sites have become obliterated. It was then with a great deal of satisfaction that I discovered and unearthed the foundations of a large Hindu temple at Sopara itself. The moulded walls of the basement had been built most of the way round the mandapa or hall. We excavated and opened out the walls as far as the funds at our disposal would permit. The temple had only been commenced and had been abandoned for some reason, at least this is what the general appearance leads me to think. The length of the main building, judging from the extent of the plan disclosed, would have been about 120 feet exclusive of the platform on which it stood or the Nandi pavilion which possibly stood on the smaller mound on the west side of the site. From the sculptures lying about, and a fragment of a huge linga, I believe the temple to have been intended for a Saiva shrine. But it was never finished, the foundation of the shrine not having been laid, the unfinished walls stopping short just where the shrine would have joined the hall. The sculptures lying about around the mound, in an adjacent garden, at the temple on the west bank of the Ramakunda, on the east bank of the great Gastalov, and on the west bank of the Nirmal tank, I believe were all intended for this same temple. The great figure of Brahmadeva at the temple on the west bank of the Ramakunda (see photograph No. 1567) is an unfinished work, it being left in the rough, so is one of the figures on the bank of the Nirmal tank which is merely blocked out and is lying where the masons left it. The reason for them being s scattered will be explained further on.
27. But more interesting still was the discovery of another Buddhist stupa and relic box, the latter, alas, empty. In building the foundations of the temple just mentioned the workmen dug into a brick mound which was the remnant of a stupa, and it was through this mound that the foundation walls of the shrine were to have passed. The bricks are of the large and ancient kind and are firmly laid. Just below the top surface of the mound, buried in earth and debris, but standing upright upon the undisturbed brick-work below it, we found a stone cylindrical relic box with looking lid. It was some little time before we found out how to open it, but two broad arrows, one on the lid and one on the box, were noticed under the dust, and when the lid was turned round so as to bring these facing each other it lifted out easily. The height of the box is 17¼ inches, while its greatest diameter is 17¼ inches. Having a very slight bulge in the middle it had somewhat the appearance of a small barrel. It was not finished and polished like the box found by Sir James, but was left roughly chiseled. In this respect it was still not so primitive looking a receptacle as that which held the relics in the Great Boria stupa near Junagad, which consisted merely of a great square block of stone with a hole in the middle covered by a thinner but rough slab. Close beside the box we found the bottom of a small square chamber built round with stones and just large enough to hold the box comfortably. The sides of this chamber, which appears to have been built in the heart of the brick-work, were probably broken down when taking the box out. In the mound not far from the box was found the lower part of a small marble image of Buddha or a Jina, seated, measuring 3¾ inches across the knees, being thus slightly larger than the bronze images found in Sir James' box. As there are only the hands and the legs left, it being broken of at the waist, and the surface of the marble being much corroded, it is difficult to say whether it is Buddhist or Jaina. Another small fragment of carved blackstone was also found with the upper part of a similar figure upon it, which looks like a chip from the frame which surrounded an image or the back of a simahsana or lion-throne. Only two ways of accounting for the presence of the empty relic box occur to me. Either the builders of the later temple, in cutting into the mound, came across the box and emptied it of its contents, or, it was an older stupa than the other and possibly originally contained the relics found in the latter. In the latter case it is easy to suppose that the old mound had become ruinous, and that at some revival of Buddhist authority in the locality at a later period a new mound was constructed, a new relic box was made to hold the relics, and that the latter had been transferred, the bronze images replacing the small marble ones. The finish and polish of the later box and the bronze images suggest a later period. With regard to these images Dr. Bagwanlal in his paper says there are certain reasons for considering them of later date than the period he is otherwise inclined to assign as that of the stupa, viz. the middle of the second century after Christ. "I can, " he says, " explain this only by supposing that about the seventh or eighth century the top was opened for repairs, when new images and probably new copper and silver caskets were put in instead of the old ones, which had been spoiled by damp and verdigris". The Kolhapur relic box, now in the museum of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Bombay, was a roughly made square stone box with neither polish or finish whose early date is fixed by an inscription upon it in pure Maurya or Asoka characters. A portion of a similar rough square box I found in what appears to have been the basement of a brick stupa between Borivli and Kanheri, some fifteen miles south-east of Sopara. In either case those who emptied it of its contents did not at first know its secret "open sesame," for they did just what we commenced to do, to lever up the lid by inserting an instrument under the lip of the lid, and so clipped away fragments from it. It will be noticed that the height of the box is practically the same as that of Sir James', viz., 17¼ inches against 17½ probably intended as one gaz, the old standard measure or Indian cubit. Its exterior diameter is also 17¼ inches, so that it seems to have been cut from a block which was an exact cubic gaz, The later box is greater in diameter, but the height inside again agrees. But the interior diameter of my box is much less, being only 10½ inches, so that only six instead of eight such marble images as that of which I have a fragment could be placed around inside, unless this happens to have been a larger image than the rest, just as one of the bronze images was much larger than the remaining seven. I would be rather inclined to think the eight images were in this case placed either outside and around the relic box in the mound or in niches upon simhasanas round the exterior of the stupa, for in addition to the small fragment of a simhasana mentioned above, which is in black stone I have a portion of a small lion, rampant, which formed part (the back) of a marble simhasanas.
28. But this was not all that we found in this mound whilst unearthing the basement of the temple. We got no less than 31 old coins of sorts in copper lead, and silver. The older ones, which are of the Buddhist period, are much corroded. Upon two is the kurma or tortoise symbol, some have the cross and circles, and others a lion, while one is a small silver Gupta coin (?). Several Muhammadan ones are among them, chiefly of the kings of Ahmadabad, one being a specially fine silver coin of Mahmud. Having been away on leave for three months, I have not yet had these coins satisfactorily examined.
29. I visited the hill of Brahmatekdi or Vakala, about two miles south-west of Sopara. An account of it is given in Dr. Indraji's paper, as well as in the Gazetteer. Here he found "four inscribed blocks of basalt, the letters much resembling those used in the fragment of the Asoka edict. The inscriptions are all of the same ago and consist of personal names in the genitive case." These do not now exist there now; they seem to have been taken away, and I could got no information regarding them. He says: "As noticed above, Inscription I. is cut on a stone which lay close to a circle of undressed blocks of basalt, and apparently belonging to it. This seems to show that the circle is connected with Satrumardana, whoso name is carved on the stone in the genitive case, and that in the same way the other inscribed stones originally belonged to other circles. Though the meaning of these circles of undressed stones is not certain they seem to be memorial circles, probably tombs. One of them was opened, but yielded nothing, except some enamelled pieces of earthenware. Two other circles on the hill top were also opened, but after digging two feet below the surface, the work was stopped, as the ground was a mass of large blocks of stone which seem never to have been moved." The hill, as he says, is thickly overgrown with karand bushes, with here and there some brab palm and rayan trees. I had a great area over the top cleared of this bushwood, but could find no trace of tomb circles. One could imagine the blocks forming rude circular and oblong figures, but these same blocks were planted there by nature and have never been arranged by the hand of man. The hill, like the Tuling hill, two miles north-east of Sopara, and Vajirgad hill, two and a half south-west of Sopara, is a huge basaltic dyke in which the rook rises at an angle, having a slant towards the west, in hexagonal columnar formation. These columns crack through transversely as well, and the hill, like the others, has probably been a quarry from time immemorial. The blocks forming the "circles" are but the outcrop of these columns which in the quarrying have accidentally assumed these shapes, the intervening spaces having filled with earth, These basaltic blocks wore extensively used in the building of the great fort at Bassein where they may be seen like the shafts of hexagonal pillars lying transversely in the masonry of the walls presenting sections on the exterior face.
30. Sopara was in ancient days a port of some importance, and, whether we accept the identification of the place with the Ophir of Solomon or not, there is no doubt that it was at one time a chief port on this coast; and it was for over two thousand five hundred years, as the Thana Gazetteer asserts, an important religious and trade centre. In comparatively recent times, before the Bolinj and Sopara creek parted company by drying up in the middle, small vessels were able to reach Sopara by meandering up or down one of these narrowand tortuous waterways, distances of at least ten and fifteen miles respectively from the open sea. One can hardly imagine large ships, such as are known to have come all the way from Arabia and even Egypt, taking this course to get to Sopara, for such large vessels, without steam, would have been most unwieldy and difficult to manoeuvre up the narrow stream, and, moreover, it would have been a most risky thing for foreign merchant vessels to have been so landlocked in a strange country, where they might have been cut off with the greatest ease at any moment in their retreat to the sea. A superficial examination of the country has enabled me to suggest a more direct, shorter, and broader seaway to Sopara. It will be noticed from the map that there is a continuous string of tanks sweeping round from near the sea at Nirmal right up to Sopara and the Khira tank. If we connect these and join them on to the entrance of the Nirmal creek we have as fine a waterway as we could wish, only two miles from the open sea and free from the many windings of the river. Were not these tanks so connected in ancient times ? That the sea at one time encroached moreupon the land, there is no doubt. The land extending from Nirmal across to Manikpur is now all low-lying salt land. The two tanks at Nirmal are separated only by an embaked roadway, while the space between them and the long Gas tank is low-lying land hardly raised above the level of the tanks. On the west side of the great Nirmal tank, towards the south end, I found an old cutting or broad canal, now dry, connecting the creek with the tank. The villagers could tell me nothing of this, except the surmise that it was probably cut to let out the surplus water of the tank into the sea, which seems absurd, seeing that the tank never holds its full of water, and all that it does hold is wanted for irrigation. In April there was but a small pool of water in it near Nirmal village from which water channels were cut across its dry bed in various directions to the surrounding fields. Could this cutting have been a canal intended to keep open the communication with the sea when the natural channel began to fail. Moreover, on examining the broken banks of the Gas tank on the side nearest the village, I found, several feet above present water level, a deep stratum of shell sand extending along that side, which was becoming consolidated and could be taken out in hard flakes. This, I should think, was formed by the sea when it flowed up to the walls of Sopara. I had not time or means to trace the extent of this sand-bed.
31. I have already spoken of sculptures, one of them unfinished, lying on the west bank of the Nirmal tank, and there are images and other carved ceiling and capital blocks lying on the east bank of Gas tank. These seem to be just lying where the sculptors had been working at them, for at the second place the ground around is full to some depth of stone chips. The blocks were possibly brought by sea from some place along the coast where good stone in suitable lengths for the purpose was obtainable, and were landed at various points along the banks of the creek where the workmen were engaged in hundreds preparing the material for the new temple at Sopara.Borivli
32. Our next camp was at Borivli about ten miles south of Bassein Road Station. Years ago wlhen proceeding from the Kanheri Caves to the Borivli Station I had noticed, not far from the latter place, two or three sites of Buddhist buildings but was never able until this season to go back and examine them. One site is on a knoll about a mile east by south from the railway station. Scattered about upon it are some small stone dagobas, whole and in fragments, with remains of brick-work and signs of platforms. An examination of this spot and some light excavation seemed to show that the dagobas were but votive offerings of some sort and were not connected with any building upon that site. The only thing we found was a red cornelian drilled bead exactly like many of those we found in the ruins of Brahmanabad in Sind. About a quarter of a mile further is a small temple connected with the hamlet of Devi-ka-Para. Beside it is the site of some Buddhist building or stupa. In the centre was a well-laid brick platform, while around it on all four sides ran one or more walls, the traces of the foundations and some of the masonry remaining. There was not sufficient left from which to form any opinion as to what the building was. A few carved stones lie about with Buddhist symbols upon them showing that a substantial structure of some sort existed here. The bottom portion of a square stone receptacle was un- earthed from the debris which looked as if it were part of a relic box similar to the Kolhapur relic box in the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society's Museum, Bombay. I remember distinctly to have seen a second site like the first, but during my present visit, though I hunted for it through the fields and jungle, I could not find it.Ambarna'th
33. Leaving Borivli, our last visit of the season was to the temple of Ambarnatha near Kalyan. We had on a previous occasion visited this temple when we photographed it and made several drawings of detail. We then also took an impression of an important Sanskrit inscription upon it, but owing to the roughness of the surface the date had not come out well in the impression and it was impossible to get it better by that method. As considerable doubt has been entertained about the date the initial figure hitherto taken for 7 being perhaps a 9, I took a mould of the inscription in paper and from this made a plaster cast which gives a perfect copy, from which a photograph shows all it is possible to see in the original. Still the point is not yet definitely decided, but Mr. Fleet inclines to the belief that the figure, which is of an unusual shape, is a 9. Taking the date, then, as S.S. 982 (A.D. 1060) there is no difficulty in reconciling it with the date of the temple as indicated, by its architectural style.
34. On the 1st of May I returned to head-quarters, and having obtained three months' privilege leave I handed over charge of my office to Mr. Beale, Acting Principal of the College of Science, Poona, who kindly took charge for me on the 20th May after office hours. During the past season, 19 sheets of drawings were made in the field, 30 photographic negatives were taken, and 20 impressions of inscriptions were made.
35. The manuscript Lists of Remains in His Highness the Nizam's territory were finished and forwarded by me to the Government of India for transmission, with their instructions, to the press.
36. Under the heading of conservation and repairs to ancient monuments the following works were carried out.Ahmedabad
37. At Ahmedabad repairs were carried out at Rani Sipri's mosque and tomb, Rs. 257; Muhafiz Khan's mosque, Rs. 180; Shah Alam's Rauza, Rs. 1,484 (contribution work); special repairs to the Jami Masjid, Rs. 1,572 (contribution work) ; and the clearing of archaeological buildings in and around Ahmedebad, Rs. 236.Kaira Champa'nir
38. In the Kaira district, other than Champanir, Rs. 2o.7 were expended, while at Champanir itself special repairs to the Jami Masjid itself cost Rs. 192, while Rs. 129 were spent upon various other buildings at that place.Surat
39. At Surat Rs. 118 were laid out upon repairs to the famous old English, Dutch, and Armenian tombs.Ambarnath
40. In the Thana district the small sum of Rs. 24 only was spent upon minor repairs to the old temple at Ambarnath which I have already mentioned in paragraph 33.Koregaon
41. The well-known monument at Koregaon near Poona, raised to the memory of the officers who fell in that action, was repaired, the cost of which was Rs. 69.Bija'pur.
42. At Bijapur repairs were carried out at the Yakut-Mahal, Rs. 64; the mosque at the Gol Gumbaz used as a travellers' bungalow, Rs. 101; and general repairs to the other buildings, Rs. 590.Ba'da'mi
43. The maintenance of the caves at Badami cost Rs. 22.Elephanta
44. The maintenance of and repairs to caves, piers, and buildings at Elephanta in the Bombay harbour and special repairs to the custodian's quarters cost Rs. 1,931.Hukeri
45. In the Belgaum district Rs. 231 were expended upon repairs to the Muhammadan tombs used as a district bungalow at Hukeri.
46. In all then Rs. 7,417 have been spent on the conservation of ancient monuments in the Presidency during the year. But I have to protest again, for I have done it frequently before when estimates for the amounts have been sent me for countersignature, against several charges included in the above as they are not legitimate charges upon the grant for the conservation of ancient monuments. The Yakut Mahal at Bijipur is an old building which was converted into a residence, was subsequently used as a museum, and is again being used as a residence. It has absolutely nothing left about it to show its original character, and, as an ancient monument, counts for nothing. The mosque at the Gol Gumbaz is used as a travellers' bungalow, and all alterations or repairs to it in connection with its use as such can hardly be classed as conservation. Once more I must strongly protest against the charges at Elephanta for the upkeep of the custodian's bungalow and the piers so long as the amount of the entrance fees taken is not deducted from the outlay. I have already on two separate occasions refused to countersign the estimates for repairs to the Hukeri bungalow, as the tombs as such are not worth any outlay, the money being spent in maintaining them as a bungalow. Still these charges are entered in the statement of outlay incurred from Provincial Funds on the conservation of ancient monuments supplied me by the Secretary to Government in the Public Works Department.
47. I have still to submit as my programme for 1898-99 the one detailed in paragraph 66 of my last Progress Report for the year ending the 30th June 1897, but should Government not yet be able to grant the extra amount asked for the special excavation work, I propose the following alternative programame.
48. In Kathiawar certain places were visited by Dr. Burgess in the first years of the Survey, and were described in Volume III of our reports. Subsequently I visited the famous Jaina temples of Satrunjaya and made a thorough survey. Still there escaped several places of considerable interest in central and southern Kathiawar, I propose, therefore, to visit these places and survey what remains I may find at them. There are some very old and ornate temples at Than and Tarnetar between Wadhwan and Vankaner with Sitha, Saela, Kodinara, and A'nandapura in the neighbourhood. Verawal Patan, where is the famous temple of Somanatha from which Mahmud of Ghazni is said to have carried away the gates. The temple has been re-built, but an examination of the place would probably result in the discovery of some objects of early times beside the ruins of the old temple which is said still to stand on the sea-shore. Along the coast on either side are Mangrol, Una, Sutriapada, Kandvar, and Mandor, all with remains of which we have no very definite information. (See our Lists of Remains in the Bombay Presidency.) From Kathiawar I propose to go north to Mount Abu and Sadri. A short account with an illustration of the beautiful Jaina temple at the latter place is given in Fergusson's Indian and Eastern Architecture, page 240. On Mount Abu is the Devalvada group of old Jaina temples containing some of the loveliest marble work in India. These have never been systematically surveyed, and, having been built under the auspices of the Ydghela Kings of Patan, whose work we have already surveyed in many places in North Gujarat and at Dabhoi, it would be a pity for this, their finest work, to be omitted from our collection of material already in hand simply because it happens to be a few miles across the border. It also, with the temples of Satrunjaya, Girnar, and Taranga, completes the group of the most noted places of Jaina worship in this part of India, and it is the only place that has not been surveyed by us. We have previously crossed the border for antiquities into Mysore and Hyderbad territory, notably to survey the well-known caves at Elura and Ajanta.
Superintendent, Archeological Survey, Bombay
Poona, 15th September 1898.
|Return to the books||Return to the Digital South Asia Library homepage||Contact Information|
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.