Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains/Borro Boedoor

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Borro Boedoor.

BORRO BOEDOOR.

The Bhoodist religion has, in the island of Java, wholly given place to the doctrines of Brahma; and so little is known concerning the era in which it flourished, that opinions are divided respecting the period of its introduction; some authors supposing that it preceded the present prevailing system of faith, while others maintain that it had a later origin. Amid the numerous Bhoodist monuments still in existence in places where the religious worship formerly performed in them has disappeared, none possess a greater degree of interest and beauty than the temple at Borro Boedoor. It is situated eighteen miles to the north-west from Yngyacarta, and is very extensive, and solidly built. The image of Bhood, in the contemplative attitude, which is always the characteristic of this deity, is placed in each of the series of niches stretching along the edifice, which is altogether strikingly dissimilar to the remains to be found upon the continent of India, dedicated to the same purpose.

The interior of Java, though the island has been so long in the possession of a European power, is little known. Whatever information the Dutch colonists may have obtained concerning the country of their residence, is kept to themselves, the jealousy of the government rendering it unwilling that the attention of the civilized world should be called to a scene which it has been the policy of the authorities to render as little attractive as possible. The antiquities of the island of Java are altogether very interesting, and, during the period in which it was in the possession of the British, were visited by many gentlemen of learning and research; the numerous avocations, however, which employed the time and attention of those who held appointments under the government, and the brief interval of our occupation, prevented the most anxious inquirers from taking more than a cursory glance.

The changes now in progress in the Eastern archipelago, will, in all probability, lead to some alteration in the internal government of Java, which cannot much longer exist under the present system. The Dutch must, sooner or later, consent to forego many of their favourite doctrines, and either relinquish the monopolies to which they cling so fondly, or lose the remnant of their possessions in India.

There is perhaps no place in the world more easily susceptible of improvement than Java, whether we regard the extent and value of its natural products, or the spirit and industry of its native inhabitants. Oppressed in every way, they have been compelled, after a few vain struggles, to submit to a despotism which admits not a hope of advantage to the multitude; but this short-sighted policy in a government whose true interest it is to make the people subservient to its rule, rich and happy, must be changed for a more liberal system. Free ports, upon the same principle as that at Singapore, will be springing up in all directions in the archipelago; and the total loss of its trade, already declining, will oblige the Dutch authorities either to adopt the changes which circumstances so loudly call for, or to cede the country to others.

The drawing from which this engraving was made was taken by a Dutch officer before the restoration of the island of Java by the English to its former government, and was sent to Sir Alexander Johnston by his friend the late Colonel Mackenzie, who was at that time the chief engineer in the British service, for the purpose of being placed in a collection of drawings which Sir Alexander Johnston was employed in forming. The object which Sir Alexander had at heart, was the gathering together of drawings and 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.