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are those who know not what it is to proceed in virtue, or recede from vice. They say the world is without beginning, without end, without a Creator."
The universal power of the religious sentiment is manifested in the immense labour and expense bestowed on places of worship in all ages and nations. Stupendous works of this kind remain as vestiges of ancient Hindostan. The sight of them fills the beholder with astonishment, especially when he reflects that they were produced by the persevering toil of an indolent people, whose favourite maxim is, " It is better to sit still than to walk, better to sleep than be awake, and death is best of all.” The most remarkable are subterranean temples cut through the heart of mountains, inch by inch, in the solid rock.
On the island of Salsette, likewise called Kennery, near Bombay, are celebrated excavations of this description, capable of containing thousands of inhabitants. The largest temple is ninety feet long and thirty-eight wide, with a spacious portico, and a lofty, fluted, concave roof, which gives it a majestic appearance. Two rows of columns, thirty-four in number, form an area in the centre; the capitals of many of them are elephants' heads, others formed of lotus leaves and blossoms. On each side of the portico stands a colossal statue, and various groups of smaller figures face the entrance. This was consecrated to Bouddha, and contains manifold representations of him. His principal image, sitting cross-legged, with hair knotted all over his head, is surrounded with small sculptured fig. ures in relief, probably intended to illustrate his history. There are two other temples nearly as large, numerous chapels, and apartments apparently intended for hermits; also benches, open courts, and tanks for rain-water, all hewn out of very hard stone, and ornamented with sculptures. There are some inscriptions on the walls, but the characters bear no resemblance to any of the various alphabets now used in India. It is a language lost to the memory of man, and has not yet been deciphered. In another grotto temple between Bombay and Poonah, Bouddha is represented in the same attitude, with knotted hair, and surrounded by crowds of worshippers. Bramins ascribe its construction to Evil Spirits, called Rakshasas, and forbid any religious ceremony to be performed in it.
The island of Elephanta, not far from Salsette, takes its name from a huge stone elephant, in ruinous condition. The excavations here are truly wonderful, though the design and execution is more rude than the architeeture at Salsette. The principal temple is itself one hundred and thirty feet in length, and the same in breadth; not including numerous apartments and chapels connected with it. The whole is hewn solely out of rock, and forms a complete grotto. Being lower than the great subterranean temple at Salsette, it has a more cavernous appearance. Twenty-six pillars and sixteen pilasters support the mass of rock which serves for a roof. At the entrance is & statue of the Hindoo Trinity. Brahma, serenely majestic, is in the centre; on one side is Vishnu, with a mild countenance; on the other is Siva, with a severe aspect, holding the serpent Cobra do Capello in one hand, pomegranates and lotus-blossoms in the other. This colossal image, thirteen feet high, almost fills the space from floor to roof. Ganesa, god of Wisdom, is near Brahma, with a style in his hand, ready for writing. Several gigantic figures are in attendance. Serpents are everywhere twisting about, enfolding the statues. The figures on the walls are in such bold relief, that they merely adhere to the rock by their backs. Among the numerous symbols, the Triangle is conspicuous. Hindoos attached mystic signification to its three sides, and generally placed it in their temples. It was often composed of lotus plants, with an Eye in the centre. Every thing indicates that this temple was dedicated to the worship of Siva. The Symbol of Generation is placed in one recess, and another is occupied by a huge image of his Sacred Bull. His own likeness occurs in every variety. In one place, he is represented half man and half woman; in another, he appears as the Destroyer, with a serpent, a sword, and a necklace of skulls. On the
richly-sculptured walls, he is represented as receiving his bride Parvati, from Cama, God of Love, and conducting her to his Paradise of Kailasa. They are accompanied by a numerous train of gods and goddesses. A great variety of small aerial beings hover round them in graceful attitudes, but generally with a heavy, sleepy look. The number of statues and sculptures in relief is immense. Adjoining the temple are two baths, with walls beautifully carved, the roof and cornice painted in mosaic patterns, the colours of which are still brilliant. Bramins confess that it is impossible to assign any date to these wonderful structures. All tradition of their origin is lost in the misty past. Every thing proves their antiquity to be exceedingly great. The rock is of clay-porphyry, one of the very hardest species of stone. It is supposed that it could not have been cut without the aid of a peculiar kind of steel, called Wudz, for which India was celebrated, even in ancient times. Yet this material, apparently indestructible, is yielding under the slow pressure of ages. Many of the sculptures are so dissolved by action of the atmosphere, that it is difficult to trace their forms. What a long lapse of time it must have taken to corrode such a flinty material !
" At Carli,” says Bishop Heber, “is another remarkable cave hewn in a precipice. The apartments were evidently intended for hermits, and some of them are ornamented with great beauty. The entrance to the temple is under a noble arch. Within the portico are alto-relievo figures of colossal elephants; heads, tusks, and trunks very boldly projecting from the wall. On each side of them is a Mahout, or driver, very well carved, and a houdah with two persons seated in it. The screens on each side the door are covered with alto-relievos of men and women, whom the Hindoos explain to be religious enthusiasts, attendants on the deity. The columns inside are carved with singular beauty. Each of the capitals consists of a large cap, like a bell, finely carved, and surmounted by two elephants, with their trunks intertwined, each carrying a man and
woman on their backs. These are likewise explained to be saints.” The image of Bouddha, surrounded by worshippers, occurs in many places in this grotto, consequently Bramins say it was made by Evil Spirits. There are numerous inscriptions in unknown characters.
But the most marvellous of all grotto temples are those at Ellora, almost in the exact centre of India, near Deogur, which signifies The Holy Mountain. These excavations are hewn within a chain of mountains, embracing a circuit of six miles, arranged in horse-shoe form, and principally composed of very hard red granite. Here are a series of temples cut in rock, some of them two and even three stories high. The largest takes its name from Siva's Paradise, called Kailasa. It is a hundred feet high, and a hundred and forty-two feet long. On each side of the colonnades at the entrance are huge Sphinxes. A row of enormous elephants seem to sustain the superincumbent roek, and produce an imposing effect. There are many large temples, sometimes joining each other, sometimes separated by intervals, occupied with smaller temples. The extent and number of these extraordinary subterranean works can hardly be imagined. There are entire pyramidal temples, standing in open courts, peristyles, staircases, bridges, tanks, chapels, porticoes, obelisks, columns, and a great number of colossal statues, from ten to twelve feet high. On the right and left of the temples are chambers cut out of the rock, apparently for the convenience of priests belonging to the sanctuary. In some places, a large enclo sure is surrounded by rows of columns, which sustain three galleries, one above another. An immense number of small grottoes seem to have been intended for the reception of thousands of pilgrims. On some of the walls are inscriptions in Sanscrit. Porticoes, columns and walls are everywhere covered with sculptures, many of them painted in bright colours, which still retain their brilliancy. Travellers declare that "the variety, richness and skill displayed in these ornaments surpass all description.” Mr. Erskine says: “The first view of this desolate religious city is grand and striking, but melancholy. The number and magnificence of the subterranean temples, the extent and loftiness of some, the endless diversity of sculpture in others, the variety of curious foliage, of minute tracery, highly wrought pillars, rich mythological designs, sacred shrines, and colossal statues, astonish and distract the mind. The empire, whose pride they must have been, has passed away, and left not a memorial behind it.” The images of deities, either entire statues, or carved in bold relief, are counted by thousands. In fact this collection of temples seems intended to embrace the worship of them all. One is consecrated to Siva and Parvati, whose marriage festival is represented on the walls. Another is dedicated to Vishnu and his beautiful consort Another contains a colossal statue of Indra seated on a recumbent elephant, and his wife Indrani on a recumbent lion. Rama and his wife Sita occupy another, whose walls are sculptured with his battles, described in the Ramayana. One of the temples is dedicated to Visvacarma, the celestial architect, said to have built Vishnu's palace in Paradise. The age of these stupendous structures is as difficult to be determined as those at Elephanta and Salsette, but the superior workmanship is supposed to indicate that they are less ancient. At whatever epoch they were commenced, it must have taken centuries to complete them. As the Bramins have no record of their origin, they say they were built before the Cali Yug, by Visvacarma himself, assisted by Vishnu.
Beside these subterranean excavations, there are won. derful structures, hewn in solid rock, above the surface of the earth. Such are the Seven Pagodas, very ancient monuments on the Coromandel coast, about thirty-five miles south of Madras. On the summit of a hill is a vast collection of temples and other buildings, columns, porticoes, and massive walls, almost entirely cut from the solid rock of the hill. As one approaches the coast, it has the appearance of a royal town. A large proportion of the buildings are covered by the sea, and may be seen far out under the water. It is conjectured that they were en