Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/154

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ground-plans of the most celebrated Hindoo and Bhoodist temples in India, and on the islands of Ceylon and Java, with a view of illustrating a history of the rise, progress, and influence of these two systems of worship in different parts of Asia; and also with a view of collecting materials for a history of the state of the Hindoo and Bhoodist systems of architecture in ancient and modern times. This drawing is of the more importance at the present period, as it is understood that a communication has recently taken place between the Prince-Royal of Bavaria and Sir Alexander Johnston, relative to the best mode of sending out to India a commission composed of persons conversant in different branches of science, for the purpose of carrying into effect the plan formed by Sir Alexander Johnston, so far back as the period in which he was President of His Majesty's council assembled for the purpose of examining into the state and condition of Ceylon. A detailed description of the ruins of the temple Borro Boedoor may be found in the second volume of Crawford's work on the islands of the Eastern archipelago, and also in the second volume of the octavo edition of Raffles' History of Java.


Formerly the European traveller in India, who saw, on approaching one of those numerous ghauts or landing-places which form so striking and so peculiar a feature of its rivers, a more than usual concourse of people assembled, might entertain the disgreeable expectation of finding the preparation for a Suttee. The abolition of this dreadful rite throughout the Company's territories, has prevented the enactment of many hideous scenes, which are still common in the states under native jurisdiction. Though the sacrifice may be performed in any convenient place, the banks of a river are always chosen in preference, bathing being one of the preliminary observances enjoined to the victim.

The Suttee commemorated in the accompanying engraving, was performed in the immediate neighbourhood of Baroda, during the period in which Sir James Carnac, then a major in the Company's service, was political resident. The circumstances connected with the immolation now recorded, which are related by Capt. Grindlay, who was present at the last sad scene, are of a very romantic nature, and calculated to invest what is generally a mere brutal exhibition, with a high degree of interest. The Suttee was a young Brahminee woman from the Deccan, married to a person of her own caste, holding an appointment as writer under one of the military chiefs of Dowlah Rao Scindiah, and absent from his home at the time. One night the death of her husband was communicated to her in a dream; and, strongly impressed with the truth of the revelation, she became a prey to anxiety and grief. Shortly afterwards, as she was returning to her cottage with a pot of water upon her head, an occupation always performed by females of her class, a circumstance happened which confirmed her worst apprehensions. She had placed her necklace, the symbol of her married state, on the top of the jar, and, a crow alighting, flew away with it. This dreadful omen produced a conviction amounting to certainty, that the fatal event had taken place. Throwing down the vessel, and loosening her hair, she returned to her desolate home, declaring her intention to join her husband in the grave.

The circumstance being reported to the British resident, he immediately repaired to the house of the presumed widow, with the humane intention of dissuading her from her rash resolution. Finding his efforts unavailing, he engaged the assistance of the native