Tuesday, November 11, 2014

90. DHER WARRA,— CAVES OF ELLORA

एलोरा की गुफाओं पर केप्टिन रॉबर्ट आर एन इलियट ने
"VIEWS IN THE EAST COMPRISING INDIA, CANTON, AND 0 9 THE SHORES OF THE RED SEA".
में निम्नवत वर्णन किया-

'DHER WARRA—CAVES OF ELLORA'.
      "THE Dher Warra is the cave at the southern extremity of the excavations at Ellora; and as the name that it now bears signifies “ Quarters of the Dhairs,” (the writer believes, scavengers,) it is considered, by the Brahmins, as unworthy to be entered even by European visitors; and they remon strated with the‘ person who gives this short account of it, upon what they considered such an act of degradation, as the entering this cave would exhibit. At first they refused even to approach the entrance; but when they found that their remonstrances were made in vain, in a few days their scru ples gave way, and they walked in and out, while the sketch from which this plate is made was in progress, without any apparent feelings of compunction. That the present name has nothing whatever to do with the original object of this grand excavation, which is dedicated to Boodh, is very appa rent; and its dedication to Boodh would no more apply as an objection in the mind of the Brahmin, so as to prevent him from condescending to go into it, than it would in the case of the Biswa Kurm, or any other Boodh cavern at Ellora, into which they go without hesitation. In Captain Sykes’s account of the Caves of Ellora, to be found in the third volume of the Bombay Transactions, and from which large extracts have already been made in the course of this work, there is the following account of this excavation :—“ The next and last caves (there are some lesser ones attached to this grand temple) are those called the Dher Warra. They are divided from the Biswa Kurm only by a Nullah, the water of which is precipitated over the front of one of them. The Brahmins usually endeavour to avoid taking the visitor to see these caves, from the idea of pollution with which they have associated them. The caves are all dedicated to Boodh, and have been very highly finished; but many of the pillars of the grand cave have fallen and been removed; they were less bulky than the pillars in other caves, and consequently more elegant. The principal cave is frequently occupied by cattle and goats; and the accumulated filth, and myriads of fleas that blacken you in an instant, render the appellation of Dher Warra much more appropriate, from local causes, than the name of any other cave at Ellora. Boodh every ~where appears; and the principal figure in the sanctuary of each cave is colossal. There are frequent sculptures of the Now Grah (nine planets) on the walls. The Dharpals (door-keepers) to the sanctuary, in the cave nearest Biswa Kurm, have highly wrought caps. In the centre of one cap is a sitting figure of Boodh; and in the centre of the cap of the other Dharpal, is the hemi spherical figure, (or Phallus,) which has doubtless some mystical affinity to the idol. The attendants of Sew, (or Siva, the great Brahminical idol,) in a similar manner wear his symbols in their caps.” The Dher Warra is certainly more simple, both as to its form as well as ornament, than any other excavation at Ellora; but its magnitude, and the fine rows of columns that run along on either side, renders the general view of it, from the entrance, from under which the sketch was taken, as imposing, or more so, than in the case of any other of the grand assemblage of caves that the range at Ellora presents. The front is very open, and there is no exterior ornament; but there are gigantic sitting figures, (if the writer’s recollec tion serves him,) about the entrance of the lesser of this set of caves, one especially that would, from the position it occu pies under the rock, form a beautiful piece of foreground to the whole side-face view of the hill out of which these exca vations are so laboriously and curiously wrought. The principal cave, which is the one here represented, may be about a hundred feet long, by forty feet in breadth, not including the recesses that are seen on either side in the representation. The two long stripes of stone that run from front to rear of this cave are remarkable; and Sir Charles Malet, in his account of the caves of Ellora, (see the 6th vol. of the Asiatic Researches,) describes them as intended for seats, either for students, scribes, or sellers of commodities, a convenient passage lying between them up to the idol at the end of the cave. The last is not at all an improbable idea, as to the purpose for which these seats were left, and applied, considering the trading spirit of the Hindoos, and the custom of the exposure of goods for sale at all religious festivals, and places of pilgrimage, at this day. In a letter of Sir Charles Malet’s, annexed to the descrip tion of the caves alluded to above, and addressed to Sir John Shore, who was then president of the Asiatic Society, and bearing the date of December, 1794, there is the following striking passage on the supposed cause of such works as the caves of Ellora having ever been imdertaken and completed. “ The ancient Brahmins avoided the contamination of cities, and affected the purity and simplicity of rural retirement; when far removed from observation, the imagination of their disciples probably enhanced the merit of their sanctity. To aleviate the austerities, and to gratify the devout propensities of these holy men, naturally became objects of pious emula tion. Under this influence, the munificence of princes may have been engaged to provide them retreats, which, sanctified by the symbols of their adoration, were at once suited in simplicity and seclusion to those for whom they were intended, and in grandeur to the magnificence of their founders. Thus,
power and wealth may have been combined, under the guid ance of enthusiasm, to produce monuments scarce less extraordinary, or less permanent, though less conspicuous, and less known, than the Pyramids of Egypt.” “ And, though the high antiquity of the generality of these excavations is incontrovertible, being lost in fable, and vulgarly ascribed to the preternatural power of the five Pandoo brothers; yet,” says Sir Charles Malet, “there are exceptions, of which I saw an instance in a hill in the neigh bourhood of Aurungabad, where there are two excavations, but of inconsiderable dimensions, formed, as I was credibly assured by Rajah Paur Sing, one of the Rajpoot Ameers, of Aurungzebe’s court, as a place of retirement during his attendance on that monarch.” It is _certainly somewhat remarkable, that there should not only be no account of the period at which such stupendous and beautiful works as the Caves of Ellora were executed, in Hindoo history or tradition; but that even no clue should be found, by which the searching spirit of the present possessors of India might be able solve a question of so much interest, as the origin of these extra ordinary excavations involves. The silence of the Greek writers on this subject is perplexing, as it may be supposed that the power of India began to decline, from the time that the conquering armies of Alexander the Great first penetrated Hindoostan ; so that in all probability the caves existed before that period." Pages-

Reference:
"VIEWS IN THE EAST COMPRISING INDIA, CANTON, AND 0 9 THE SHORES OF THE RED SEA".

   WITH HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE ILLUSTRATIONS.
BY CAPTAIN ROBERT ELLIOT, R.N.

VOL. 1. - 2.
LONDON:
H. FISHER, SON, & CO. NEWGATE STREET.
1833.


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