Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/22

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is not to be found here. A nameless tomb occurs upon the summit, probably that of a Mohammedan saint, for the Hindoos do not usually bury their dead. This personage, whoever he may be, having received his apotheosis, would be equally venerated by the professors of both religions. The Mohammedans of India, and especially of Bengal, forgetful that their creed assures them that there is but one God, have no objection to worship at the shrine of some holy person deified in the imaginations of his votaries; while the Hindoos are of so idolatrous a nature, that they will not pass any altar without dropping a flower upon it by way of offering. The reverence for the dead, which is a distinguishing trait of the natives of India, is strongly manifested in the lonely tombs which occupy great numbers of the heights in the vicinity of Rajmhal. Wherever the traveller comes upon one of those mausoleums, however neglected and apparently deserted the place may be, he is certain to find the traces of pious care from human hands. The precincts of the tomb may, perhaps, be the haunt of a solitary jackal, or other beast of prey, too little accustomed to man's intrusion to be alarmed at his approach; and yet even when it would seem that the prowling savage was sole tenant of the wild, the newly-swept pavement, strewed with fresh flowers, shews that some human being has recently performed a daily task. Frequently it is impossible to guess who has been at the pains to keep the shrine free from the pollutions of bats and birds; but occasionally, scarcely more human in his outward form than the savage denizens of these deep solitudes, the attendant fakeer will appear upon the scene, his long, matted locks, and the distinguishing marks of his caste and calling, chalk and dirt, forming his sole attire. Money would appear to be perfectly superfluous to personages so independent in the way of clothing, lodging, and, in all probability, food; but though in some cases it is not solicited, it is generally acceptable, and the offered rupee disappears in a marvellous manner, since, there being no garments, there can be no pockets.

All the mooring-places within a day's sail of Colgong, are distinguished for their surpassing beauty; and indeed the whole voyage down to Calcutta conducts the traveller through scenes of the softest enchantment. Rajmhal, in particular, excites the attention of all who have any taste for picturesque scenery, the ruins of its once splendid palaces now adding a melancholy interest to the landscape. The origin of this royal city, stretching into remote antiquity, is lost in the obscurity which hangs over the early history of the Hindoo dynasties of India, but retaining its dignity and importance after the Mohammedan conquests, it remained the capital of Bengal during a splendid succession of princes, who embellished it with the tasteful architecture for which they were famed. The stone principally found in these interesting remains is a red granite, and its colour, decayed by age, harmonises well with the lichens and weeds which have flung themselves over every "coigne of vantage," and the trees that now spread their umbrageous foliage over quadrangle and court. Occasionally we find a mixture of marble, the favourite material of the luxurious Moguls, and brought into fashion about the reign of Acbar. A hall of noble dimensions, erected by the sultan Shujah, the unfortunate brother of Aurungzebe, lined throughout with marble, a product rare in Bengal, has been advantageously, though not very happily, employed as a receptacle for coals, for the supply of the steamers which are now common upon the Ganges:— "to what base uses may we come at last!" This hall, one of the few remaining evidences to attest the