Mathura A District Memoir Chapter-9

ब्रज डिस्कवरी एक ज्ञानकोश
यहां जाएं: भ्रमण, खोज
Mathura A District Memoir By F.S.Growse


ON their arrival at Brinda-ban, the first shrine which the Gosains erected was one in honour of the eponymous goddess Brinda Devi. Of this no traces now remain, if (as some say) it stood in the Seva Kunj, which is now a large walled garden with a masonry tank near the Ras Mandal. Their fame spread so rapidly that in 1573 the Emperor Akbar was induced to pay them a visit, and was taken blindfold into the sacred enclosure of the Nidhban [1] where such a marvellous vision was revealed to him, that he was fain to acknowledge the place as indeed holy ground. Hence the cordial support which he gave to the attendant Rajas, when they expressed their wish to erect a series of buildings more worthy of the local divinity.
The four temples, commenced in honour of this event, still remain, though in a ruinous and hitherto sadly neglected condition. They bear the titles of Gobind Deva, Gopi-nath, Jugal-Kishor and Madan Mohan. The first named is not only the finest of this particular series, but is the most impressive religions edifice that Hindu art has ever produced, at least in Upper India. The body of the building is in the form of a Greek cross, the nave being a hundred feet in length and the breadth across the transepts the same. The central compart ment is surmounted by a dome of singularly graceful proportions; and the four arms of the cross are roofed by a waggon vault of pointed form, not, as is usual in Hindu architecture, composed of overlapping brackets, but constructed of true radiating arches as in our Gothic cathedrals. The walls have an average thickness of ten feet and are pierced in two stages, the upper stage being a regular triforium, to which access is obtained by an internal staircase, as in the somewhat later temple of Radha Ballabh, which will be described further on. This triforium is a reproduction of Muhammadan design, while the work both above and below it is purely Hindu.[2] It should be noted, however, that the arches are decorative only, not constructural : the spandrels in the head might be—and, as a fact, for the most part had been—struck out, leaving only the lintel supported on the straight jambs, without any injury to the stability of the building. They have been re-inserted in the course of the recent resto ration. At the east entrance of the nave there is a small narthex fifteen feet deep; and at the west end, between two niches and incased in a rich canopy of sculpture, a square-headed doorway leads into the choir. a chamber some twenty feet by twenty. Beyond this was the sacrarium[3] flanked on either side by a lateral chapel; each of these three cells being of the same dimen sions as the choir, and like it vaulted by a lofty dome. The general effect of the interior is not unlike that produced by Saint Paul's Cathedral in London. The latter building has greatly the advantage in size, but in the other, the central dome is more elegant, while the richer decoration of the wall surface and the natural glow of the red sandstone supply that relief and warmth of colouring which are so lamentably deficient in its western rival.
The ground-plan is so similar to that of many European churches as to suggest the idea that the architect was assisted by the Jesuit missionaries, who were people of considerable influence at Akbar's court : were this really the case, the temple would be one of the most eclectic buildings in the world, having a Christian ground-plan, a Hindu elevation, and a roof of modified Saracenic character. But the surmise, though a curious one, must not be too closely pressed; for some of the temples at Khajurao, by Mahoba, are of similar design and of much earlier date; nor is it very likely that the Jesuits would have interested themselves in the construction of a heathen fane. Such action on their part, supposing them to have taken it, would find a parallel in the persist ency with which the Duke of York (afterwards James II.) stood out for the provision of two side chapels in Wren's design for the Protestant cathedral of St. Paul's,—a building which he hoped in the course of his reign to recover for the Catholics.
It would seem that, according to the original design, there were to have been five towers; one over the central dome, and the other four covering respectively the choir, sacrarium, and two chapels.[4]The sacrarium has been utterly razed to the ground [5] the chapel towers were never completed, and that over the choir, though the most perfect, has still lost several of its upper stages. This last was of slighter elevation than the others, occupying the same relative position as the spirelet over the Sanctus bell in western ecclesiology. The loss of the towers and of the lofty arcaded parapet that surmounted the walls has terribly marred the effect of the exterior and given it a heavy stunted appear¬ance; while, as a further disfigurement, a plain masonry wall had been run along the top of the centre dome. It is generally believed that this was built by Aurangzeb for the purpose of desecrating the temple, though it is also said to have been put up by the Hindus themselves to assist in some grand illumi¬nation. It either case it was an ugly modern excrescence, and its removal was the very first step taken at the commencement of the recent repairs. [6]
Under one of the niches at the west end of the nave is a tablet with a long Sanskrit inscription. This has unfortunately been too much mutilated to allow of transcription, but so much of it as can be deciphered records the fact that the temple was built in sambat 1647, i.e., A.D. 1590, under the direction of the two Gurus, Rupa and Sanatana. As it was in verse, it probably com bined a minimum of information with an excess of verbosity, and its loss is not greatly to be regretted. The following is taken from the exterior of the north-west chapel, where it is cut into the wall some ten feet from the ground, and is of considerable interest :—

संबत् ३४ श्री शकवंध अकबर शाह राज श्री कर्मकुल श्री
पृथिराजाधिराज वंश महाराज श्रीभगवंतदाससुत श्री
महाराजाधिराज श्रीमानसिंहदेव श्री बृंदाबन जोग पीठस्थान
मंदिर कराजौ श्री गोविन्ददेव को कामउपरि श्रीकल्याणदास
आज्ञाकारी माणिकचंद चोपाङ शिल्पकारि गोविन्ददास दील-
वलि कारिगरु: द:। गोरषदसुवींभवलृ ।।

" In the 34th year of the era inaugurated by the reign of the Emperor Akbar, Sri Maharaj Man Sinh Deva, son of Maharaj Bhagavan Das, of the family of Maharaj Prithiraj, founded, at the holy station of Brinda-ban, this temple of Gobind Deva. The head of the works, Kalyan Das, the Assistant Superintendent, Manik Chand Chopar (?), the architect, Gobind Das of Delhi, the mason, Gorakh Das." There is some mistake in the engraving of the last words, which seem to be intended for Subham bhavatu, like the Latin `Felix, faustumque sit.'
The Rao Prithi Singh mentioned in the above was one of the ancestors of the present Maharaja of Jaypur. He had seventeen sons, of whom twelve came to man's estate, and to each of them he assigned a separate appanage, which, collectively, is known as the twelve kothris of Amber. Raja Man Sinh, the founder of the temple, was his great-grandson.
He was appointed by Akbar successively Governor of the districts along the Indus, of Kabul, and of Bihar. By his exertions the whole of Orisa and Eastern Bengal were re-annexed; and so highly were his merits appre ciated at court, that, though a Hindu, he was raised to a higher rank than any other officer in the realm. He married a sister of Lakshmi Narayan, Raja of Koch Bihar, and at the time of his decease, which was in the ninth year of the reign of Jahangir, he had living one son, Bhao Sinh, who succeeded him upon the throne of Amber, and died in 1621, A.D. [7]There is a tradition to the effect that Akbar, at the last, jealous of his powerful vassal and desirous to rid himself of him, had a confection prepared, part of which contained poison; but caught in his own snare, he presented the innoxious portion to the Raja and ate that drugged with death himself. The unworthy deed is explained by Man Sinh's design, which apparently had reached the Emperor's ears, to alter the succession in favour of Khusrau, his nephew, instead of Salim [8]
In anticipation of a visit from Aurangzeb, the image of the god was transferred to Jaypur, and the Gosain of the temple there has ever since been regarded as the head of the endowment. The name of the present incumbent is Syam Sundar, who has two agents, resident at Brindaban. There was said to be still in existence at Jaypur the original plan of the temple, showing its five towers, but on inspection I found that the painting, which is on the wall of one of the rooms in the old palace at Amber, was not a plan of the temple at all, but an imaginary view of the town of Brinda-ban, in which all the temples are represented as exactly alike, distinguishable only by their names, which are written above them. However, local tradition is fully agreed as to the number and position of the towers, while their architectural character can be determined beyond a doubt by comparison with the smaller temples of the same age and style, the ruins of which still remain. It is therefore not a little strange that of all the architects who have described this famous building, not one has noticed its most characteristic feature—the harmonious combination of dome and spire—which is still quoted as the great crux of modern art, though nearly 300 years ago the difficulty was solved by the Hindus with character istic grace and ingenuity.
From the reign of Aurangzeb to the present time not a single step had ever been taken to ensure the preservation from farther decay of this most interesting architectural monument. It was looked upon by the people in the neighbourhood convenient quarry, where every house-builder was at liberty to excavate for materials; while large trees had been allowed to grow up in the fissures of the walls, and in the course of a few more summers their spreading roots would have caused irreparable damage. Accordingly, after an ineffectual attempt to enlist the sympathies of the Archaeological Department, the writer took the op portunity of Sir William Muir's presence in the district, on tour, to solicit the adoption on the part of the Government of some means for averting a catastrophe that every student of architecture throughout the world would have regarded as a national disgrace. Unfortunately he declined to sanction any grant from Pro vincial funds, but allowed a representation of the ruinous condition of the tem ple and its special interest to be made to the Government of India, for communica tion to the Maharaja of Jaypur, as the representative of the founder.[9] .His Highness immediately recognized the claim that the building had upon him and made no difficulty about supplying tho small sum of Rs. 5,000, which had been estimated by the Superintending Engineer as sufficient to defray the cost of all absolutely essential repairs.[10] The work was taken in hand at the beginning of August, 1873. The obtrusive wall erected by the Muhammadans on the top of the dome was demolished; the interior cleared of several unsightly party-walls and other modern excrescences; and outside, all the debris was removed, which had accumulated round the base of the building to the astonishing height of eight feet and in some places even more, entirely concealing the handsomely moulded plinth; a considerable increase was thus made to the elevation of the building—the one point in which, since the loss of the original parapet and towers, the design had appeared defective. Many of the houses which had been allowed to crowd the courtyard close up to the very walls of the temple wets taken down, and two broad approaches opened out from the great eastern portal and the south transept. Previously, the only access was by a narrow winding lane; and there was not a single point from which it was possible to obtain a com plete view of the fabric. The next thing undertaken was the removal of a huge masonry pillar that had been inserted under the north bay of the nave to support a broken lintel. This was effected by pinning up the fractured stone with three strong iron bolts; a simple and economical contrivance, suggested by Mr. Inglis, Executive Engineer on the Agra Canal, in lieu of the costly and tedious process of insert ing a new lintel and meanwhile supporting the wall by a masonry arch, which, though temporary, would have required most careful and substantial construc tion, on account of the enormous mass resting upon it.
On the south side of the choir stood a large domed and pillared chhattri of very handsome and harmonious design, though erected 40 years later than the temple. The following inscription is rudely cut on one of its four pillars :-

संबत् १६९३ वरषे कातिक वदि ५ शुभदिने हजस्त श्री
श्री श्री शाहजहां राज्ये राणा श्रीअमरसिंहजी को बेटो राजा
श्रीभीमजी री राणी श्री रंभावती चौषंडी सौराई छैजी ।।

"In the year Sambat 1693 (i.e., 1836 A.D.), on an auspicious day, Kartik Badi 5, in the reign of the Emperor Shahjahan, this monument was erected by Rani Rambhavati, widow of Raja Bhim, the son of Rana Amar Sinh. "
This Rana Amar Sinh, though one of the most gallant princes of his line, was the first sovereign of Mewar who had to stoop to acknowledge himself a vassal of the Delhi Emperor : not without a manful struggle, in which it is said that he fought against Jahangir's forces in as many as seventeen pitched battles. He was succeeded on the throne, in 1621 A. D., by his eldest son, Karan Sinh; while the younger, the Bhim of the inscription, being high in the favour of Prince Khuram, received also the title of Raja with a grant of territory on the Banas, where he built himself a capital, called Rajmahal. He did not, however, long enjoy his honours; in his friendship for the young prince he induced him to conspire against his elder brother, Parviz, the rightful heir to the throne, and, in the disturbances that ensued he was slain; while Prince Khuram took refuge at the court of Udaypur till his father's death, in 1628 A. D., summoned him to ascend the throne of Delhi with the title of Shahjahan.
As the monument was in a very ruinous condition and had been rendered still more insecure by reducing the level of the ground round its foundations, it was taken down and re-erected on the platform that marks the site of the old sacrarium, where it serves to conceal the bare rubble wall that rises behind it.
These works had more than exhausted the petty sum of Rs. 5,000, which (as remarked at the time) was barely enough to pay for the scaffolding required for a complete restoration; but in the meantime Sir John Strachey had succeeded to the Government of these Provinces, and he speedily showed his interest in the matter by making a liberal grant from public funds. With this the roof of the entire building was thoroughly repaired; the whole of the upper part of the east front, which was in a most perilous state, was taken down and rebuilt; and the pillars, brackets, and eaves of the external arcades on the north and south sides, together with the porches at the four corners of the central dome, were all renewed. A complete restoration was also effected of the jag-mohan (or choir) tower, excepting only that the finial and a few stages of stone-work immediately under it were not added; for they had entirely perished and, in the absence of the original design, Sir John Strachey would not allow me to replace them. As a general principle the introduction of any new work under such circumstances is much to be deprecated, but in this particular case there could not be any doubt as to the exact character and dimensions of the missing portions, since the stages of the tower diminish from the bottom upwards in regular proportion and all bear the same ornamentation. Certainly, the pic turesque effect would have been immensely enhanced by giving the tower the pyramidal finish intended for it, instead of leaving it with its present stunted appearance.
The work was conducted under my own personal supervision without any professional assistance, except Mr. Inglis's suggestion, which I have duly chronicled, up to March, 1877, when Sir George Couper, who had two months previously been confirmed as Sir John Strachey's successor; suddenly ordered my transfer from the district. The restoration would most assuredly never have been undertaken but for my exertions, and as I had been engaged upon it so long, it was naturally a disappointment to me not to be allowed to com plete it. However, all that was absolutely essential had been accomplished and for the comparatively modest outlay of Rs. 38,865, nearly a lakh less than the Public Works estimate. [11]Mr. Fergusson, in his Indian Architecture, speaks of this temple as `one of the most interesting and elegant in India, and the only one, perhaps, from which a European architect might borrow a few hints. I should myself have thought that ‘solemn’ or ‘imposing’ was a more appropriate term than ‘elegant’ for so massive a building, and that the suggestions that might be derived from its study were ‘many’ rather than ‘few;’ but the criticism is at all events in intention a complimentary one. It is, however, unfortunate that the author of a book which will long and deservedly be accepted as an authority was not able to obtain more satisfactory information regarding so notable a chef d'aeuvre. The, ground-plan that he supplies is extremely incorrect; for it gives in faint lines, as if destroyed, the choir, or jag-mohan, which happens to be in more perfect preservation than any other part of the fabric, and it entirely omits the two chapels that flank the cella on either side and are integral portions of the design. The cella itself is also omitted; though for this there I was more excuse, since it was razed to the ground by Aurangzeb and not a vestige of it now remains; though the rough rubble wall of the choir shows where it had been attached.
These two parts of the building, the sacrarium and the choir, were certainly completed, towers and all. They alone were indispensably necessary for liturgical purposes and were therefore the first taken in hand, in the same way as in mediaeval times the corresponding parts of a cathedral were often in use for many years before the nave was added. In clearing the basement, comparatively few fragments of carved stone were discovered imbedded in the soil. There are some built up into the adjoining houses, but chiefly corbels and shafts, which were clearly taken from the lower stories of the temple. No fragments of the upper stages of the towers have been brought to light; from which fact alone it might reasonably be con jectured that they were never finished. This was certainly the case with the two side chapels; and the large blocks lying on the top of their walls, ready to be placed in position, are just as they were left by the original builders, when the work for some unexplained reason was suddenly interrupted. Probably, as in so many other similar cases, it was the death of the founder which brought everything to a stand-still. The tower over the central dome was also, as I conjecture, never carried higher than we now see it; but the open arcades, which crowned the facade, though not a fragment of them now remains, were probably put up, as the stones of the parapet still show the dents of the pillars. The magnificent effect which they would have had may be gathered from a view of the temple in the Gwaliar fort; which, though some 600 years earlier in date, is in general arrangement the nearest parallel to the Brinda-ban fane, and would seem to have supplied Min Sinh with a model. It has been sub jected to the most barbarous treatment, but has at last attracted the attention of Government, and is now being restored under the superintendence of Major Keith, an officer of unbounded archchaeological enthusiasm. There is no more interesting specimen of architecture to be found in all India.
A modern temple, under the old dedication, has been erected within the precincts and absorbs the whole of the endowment. The ordinary annual income amounts to Rs. 17,500; but by far the greater part of this, viz., Rs. 13,000, is made up by votive offerings. The fixed estate includes one village in Alwar and another in Jaypur, but consists principally of house property in the town of Brinda-ban, where is also a large orchard, called Radha Bagh. This has been greatly diminished in area by a long series of encroachments; and a temple, dedicated to Ban Bihari, has now been built in it, at a cost of Rs. 15,000, by Raja Jay Sinh Deova, Chief of Charkhari, in Bundelkhand. About a hundred years ago it must have been very extensive and densely wooded, as Father Tieffenthaller, in his notice of Brinda-ban, describes it in the following terms :—" L'endroit est convert de beaucoup d'arbres et resemble a un bois sacre des anciens; il est triste par le morne silence qui y regne, quoiqu' agreable par I'ombre epaisse des arbres, desquels on n'ose arracher un rameau, ni mine une feuille; ce serait un grand delft." The site of the Seth's temple was also purchased from the Gobind Deva estate, and a further subsidy of Rs. 102 a year is still paid on its account.
The next temple to be described, viz., that of Madan Mohan, one of Krish na's innumerable titles, stands at the upper end of the town on a high cliff near the Kali-mardan, or as it is more commonly called, the Kali-dah Ghat, where the god trampled on the head of the great serpent Kali. The story of its foundation is given as follows in the Bhakt Sindhu of Lachman Das, which is a modernized version of the Bhakt Mala. In this poem it is stated that the image of Gobind Ji was found by Rupa and Sanatan at Nand-ganw, where they had dug it up in a cattle-shed (Go-khirk men se nikar aye, tate Gobind nam dharaye), thence they brought it to Brinda-ban and erected it on the site of the present temple near the Brahm kund. They Went daily to the neighbouring villages (Brinda-ban being at that time an uninhabited forest) and to Mathura to beg; and one day a man in the city gave Sanatan an image of Madan Mohan, which he took and set up near the Kali-dah Ghat on the Duhsasan hill. There, too, he built for himself a little hut to live in and gave the place the name of the Pasukandan Ghat, because the road was so steep and bad that no cattle could go along it [12] (nichau unchau dekhi bisheshan Pasu-kandan wah Ghat kahai, tahan, baithi mansukh lahai). One day a merchant from Multan in the Panjab, a khattri by caste, named Ram Das, but more familiarly known as Kapuri, came down the river with a boat-load of merchandise bound for Agra, but stuck on a sand-bank near the Kali-dah Ghat. After trying in vain for three days to get off, he determined to discover the local divinity and implore his assistance. So he came on shore, climbed up the hill, and there found Sanatan, who told him to address his prayer to Madan Mohan. He did so, and his boat immediately be gan to float. When he had sold all his goods at Agra he came and brought the price to Sanatan, who told him to build a temple with it. This he did and added the Ghat also, all of red stone.
The temple, as we now see it, consists of a nave 57 feet long, with a choir of 20 feet square at the west end, and a sanctuary of the same dimensions beyond. The nave has three openings on either side and a square door at the east end, immediately outside of which the ground has a precipitous drop of some 9 or 10 feet; thus the only entrance is from the side. Its total height would seem to have been only about 22 feet, but its vaulted roof has entirely disappeared; the upper part of the choir tower has also been destroyed. That surmounting the sacrarium is a plain octagon of curvilinear outline tapering towards the summit. Attached to its south side is a tower-crowned chapel of similar character, but much more highly enriched, the whole of its exterior sur face being covered with sculptured panels; its proportions are also much more elegant. Over its single door, which is at the east end, is a Sanskrit inscription, given first in Bengali and then in Nagari characters, which ruus as follows:

हर इव गुरुवंशो यत्पिता रामचन्द्रो
गुणिमणिरिव पुत्रो यस्य राधा वसंत: ।
सकृत सुकृतराशि: श्रीगुणानन्दनामा
व्यधित विधवदेन्मन्दिरं नन्दसूनो: ।।

“Of Guru descent, a compeer of Mahadeva, whose father was Ramachandra, whose son was Radha Vasant, jewel of good men; that mass of virtue, by name Sri Gunanand, dedicated in approved fashion this temple to the son of Nanda (Nandkishor, i. e., Krishna).
The above had never been copied before, and as the letters were raised, instead of incised, and also much worn, a transcript was a matter of some little difficulty. The Brahman in charge of the shrine had certainly never troubled himself to take one, for he declared the inscription to be absolutely illegible or at least unintelligible, even if the letters could be deciphered. The information given is not very perspicuous except as to the name of the founder, and there is no indication of a date, but it would certainly be later than that of the main building (which was the work of Ram Das). The court-yard is entered, after the ascent of a flight of steps, through a massive square gateway with a pyrami dal tower, which groups very effectively with the two towers of the temple. As, the buildings are not only in ruins, but also from peculiarities of style ill-adapt ed to modern requirements, they are seldom, if ever, used for religious service, which is ordinarily performed in an elegant and substantial edifice erected on the other side of the street under the shadow of the older fane. The annual income is estimated at Rs.10,100, of which sum, Rs. 8,000 are the voluntary offerings of the faithful, while only Rs. 2,100 are derived from permanent endowment. [13] A branch establishment at Radha Kund with the same dedication is also suppor ted from the funds of the parent house.
The nave, ruinous as it is, was evidently to a great extent rebuilt in com paratively recent times, the old materials being utilised as far as possible, but when they ran short, the place of stone being supplied by brick. A side post of one of the doors on the south side of the nave bears an inscription with the date Sambat 1684 (A.D. 1827), but it simply records a successful pilgrimage made by a native of Kanauj in that year. In 1875 I greatly improved the appearance of the temple by reducing the level of the ground round the chapel, the plinth of which had been completely buried, and by removing a number of buildings from inside the nave and from the front of the chapel door. A bound ary wall was also thrown down, and a new approach to the court-yard opened out from the east with a flight of masonry steps up the ascent. The latter were constructed by the municipality at a cost of Rs. 200: the rest of the expense was borne by the Gosain.
The original image of Madan Mohan is now at Karauli, where Raja Gopal Sinh, who reigned from 1725 to 1757 A D., built a new temple for its reception, after he had obtained it from his brother-in-law, the Raja of Jaypur. The Gosain whom he placed in charge was a Bengali from Murshidabad, by name Ram Kishor; the name of the present incumbent is Mohan Kishor. He has an endowment in land which brings in a yearly income of Rs. 27,000. The god is fed seven times a day, the two principal meals being the raj-bhog at mid-day and the sayana at sleeping time. At the other five only a light repast is offered, of sweetmeats, &c.; these are called the mangal arti, which takes place at dawn; the dhup, at 8 A.m.; the sringar, at 11 A.M.; dhup, again at 3 P. M.; and sandhyarti, at dusk.
With reference to this temple, a curious anecdote is told in the Bhakta Mala of a devout Vaishnava, by name Sur Das. He was Governor (Amin) of Sandila in Akbar's reign, and on one occasion consumed all the revenues of his district in entertaining the priests and pilgrims at the temple. The treasure chests were duly despatched to Delhi, but when opened were found to contain nothing but stones. Such exaggerated devotion failed to commend itself even to the Hindu minister, Todar Mall, who threw the enthusiast into prison ; but the grateful god could not forget his faithful servant and speedily moved the indul gent emperor to order his release. The panegyric on Sur Das stands thus in the text of the original poem : the explanatory narrative, as added by Priya Das, is too long to copy.

श्रीमदनमोहन सूरदास की नाम शृंखला जोरी अटल ।।
गांन काव्य गुन राशि सुंहृद सहचरि अवतारी ।
राधाकृष्ण उपास्य रहस्य सुख के अधिकारी ।।
नवरस मुख्य सिंगार विविध भांतिन करि गायौ ।
बदन उच्चरत वेर सहस नाइन है धायौ ।।
अंगीकार की अवधि यह ज्यौं आख्या भ्राता जलज ।
श्री मदनमोहन सूरदास की नाम शृंखला जोरी अटल ।।

Joined together like two links in a chain are the god Madan Mohan and Sur Das, that paragon of excellence in verse and song, incarnation of the good and beneficent, votary of Radha Krishan, master of mystic delights. Manifold his songs of love; the muse of love, queen of the nine, came dancing on foot [14] to the melodies that he uttered; his persuasiveness as unbounded as that of the fabled twin brothers [15] Joined together like two links in a chain are the god Madan Mohan and Sur Das."
The temple of Gopinath, which may be slightly the earliest of the series, is said to have been built by Raesil Ji, a grandson of the founder of the Shaikhawat branch of the Kachhwaha Thakurs. He distinguished himself so greatly in the repulse of an Afghan invasion, that Akbar bestowed upon him the title of Darbari, with a grant of land and the important command of 1,250 horse. He also accompanied his liege lord, Raja Man Sinh of Amber, against the Mewar Rana Pratap, and further distinguished himself in the expedition to Kabul. The date of his death is not known. The temple, of which he is the reputed founder, corresponds very closely both in style and dimensions with that of Madan Mohan, already described, and has a similar chapel attached to the south side of the sacrarium. It is, however, in a far more ruinous condition; the nave has entirely disappeared; the three towers have been levelled with the roof; and the entrance gateway of the court-yard is tottering to its fall. The special feature of the building is a curious arcade of three bracket arches, serving apparently no constructural purpose, but merely added as an ornamental screen to the south wall, which already had a fine boldly moulded plinth and re quired no further adornment. The terrace on which this arcade stands has a carved stone front, which had been buried for years, till I uncovered it. The choir arch is of handsome design, elaborately decorated with arabesque sculp tures. It was partly concealed from view by mean sheds which had been built up against it, all of which I caused to be pulled down; but the interior is still used as a stable, and the north side is blocked by the modern temple. This was built about the year 1821 by a Bengali Kayath, Nand Kumar Ghos, who also built the new temple of Madan Mohan. The votive offerings here made are estimated at Rs. 3,000 a year, in addition to which there is an endowment fielding an annual income of Rs. 1,200 [16]
The temple of Jugal Kishor, the fourth of the old series, stands at the lower end of the town near the Kesi Ghat. Its construction is referred to the year Sambat 1684, i. e., 1627 A. D., in the reign of Jahangir, and the founder's name is preserved as Non-Karan. He is said to have been a Chauhan Thakur; but it is not improbable that he was the elder brother of Raesil, who built the temple of Gopinath. The choir, which is slightly larger than in the other examples, being 25 feet square, has the principal entrance, as usual, at the east end, but is peculiar in having also, both north and south, a small doorway under a hood supported on eight closely-set brackets carved into the form of elephants. The nave has been completely destroyed. The choir arch is an interesting composition with a fan-light, so to speak, of pierced tracery in the head of the arch, and a group above representing Krishna supporting the Gobardhan hill. I had caused the whole of the building to be cleared out, removing from the upper room of the tower an accumulation of pigeons dung more than four feet deep; and at my suggestion the municipal committee had rented the temple for a rupee a month to ensure its always being kept clean and unoccupied for the ready inspection of visitors. As soon as I left the district, the new magistrate vetoed this arrangement, and I suppose the place is now once more a cattle shed.
The somewhat later temple of Radha Ballabh has been already mentioned in the previous chapter. It is in itself a handsome building and is further of special architectural interest as the last example of the early eclectic style. The ground plan is much the same as in the temple of Harideva at Gobardhan and the work is of the same character, but carried out on a larger scale. The nave has an eastern facade, 34 feet broad, which is in three stages, the upper and lower Hindu, and the one between them purely Muhammadan in character. The interior is a fine vaulted hall (63 ft. X 20 ft.) with a double tier of open ings north and south; those in the lower story having brackets and architraves and those above being Muhammadan arches, as in the middle story of the front. These latter open into a narrow gallery with small clerestory windows looking on to the street. Below, the three centre bays of the colonnade are open doorways, and the two at either end are occupied by the staircase that leads to the upper gallery. Some of the carved panels of the stone ceiling have fallen; but the outer roof, a steep gable, also of stone, is as yet perfect. Some trees however have taken root between the slabs and unless carefully removed must event ually destroy it. The actual shrine, or cella, as also at the temple of Gobind Deva was demolished by Aurangzeb and only the plinth remains, upon which a room has been built, which is used as a kitchen. As no mosque was ever erected at Brinda-ban, it is not a little strange that Mr. Fergusson in his History of Indian Architecture, when speaking of this very locality, should venture to say: " It does not appear proven that the Moslems did wantonly throw down the temples of the Hindus, except when they wanted the materials for the erection of mosques or other buildings." A thorough repair of roof, eaves and east front would cost Rs. 4,500, and as a typical example of architecture, the building is worth the outlay. A modern temple has been erected on the south side, and the nave of the old fabric has long been entirely disused. In fact this is the last temple in the neighbourhood in which a nave was built at all. In the modern style it is so completely obsolete that its distinctive name even is forgotten.
These five temples form a most interesting architectural series, and if Mr. Fergusson had ever been able to visit Brinda-ban or to procure photographs of them, it is possible that be would not have found the origin of the Hindu sikhara such an inscrutable mystery as he declares it to be. He conjectures that the external form may have been simply a constructural necessity resulting from the employment internally of a very tall pointed horizontal arch, like that of the Treasury at Mycenea. But so far as my experience extends, no such arch was ever used in a Hindu temple. On the contrary, the cella, over which the sikhara is built, is separated from the more public part of the building by a solid wall pierced only by a doorway small enough to be easily closed; while the chamber itself is of no great height and is covered in with a vaulted ceiling, as to the shape of which nothing could be learnt from a view of the sikhara outside; and vice versa. Thus at the great temple of Gobind Deva the central dome of the nave (or porch as Mr. Fergusson very inappropriately calls it) is perfect; but it is impossible to determine from thence with any certainty what world have been the outline and proportions of the tower that the architect proposed to raise over it. I have no question in my own (Hind that the origin of the sikhara is to be found in the Buddhist stupa. Nor do I detect any violent break in the development. The lower story of the modern temple which, though most commonly square, is occasionally, as in the Madan Mohan and Radha Ballabh examples, an octagon, and therefore a near approach to a circle, is repre sented by the masonry plinth of the relic-mound; the high curvilinear roof by the swelling contour of the earthen hill, and the pinnacle with its peculiar base by the Buddhist rails and umbrella on the top of a Dagoba. From the original stupa to the temple of Parsvanath at Khajurao of the 11th century, the towers of Madan Mohan and Jugal Kishor at Brinda-ban of the 16th, and the temple of Vishveshvar at Banaras, the gradation seems to be easy and continuous.
From a note at the foot of page 32 of his ‘Cave Temples’ it appears that Mr. Fergusson has been rather nettled by my exposure of his frequent inaccuracies and—having no excuse to offer—attempts to divert attention from them by ridiculing the view I have here advanced as to the origin of the sikhara. From the nature of the case it is simply a theory,—and whether it be right or wrong—in its integrity it must be incapable of positive proof. He is therefore not bound to accept it; but it certainly is rash of him to maintain, as a counter-theory, that the Brindaban sikharas are the result of an attempt on the part of Hindu architects to assimilate with their own traditional forms the novel beauty of the Muhammadan dome. The suggestion is absurd and admits of the easiest refutation, nor do I for a moment suppose that Mr. Fergusson ever seriously enter- tained it : it is simply employed as a polemical diversion. The type of an Orissan temple in the 6th and 7th centuries A.D., while Buddhism was still a power in the land and long before the Muhammadans had ever entered it, is illustrated by Dr. Rajendra Lal Mitra in his ‘Indo-Aryans,’ by a wood-cut which is copied in the margin. It will be seen that the general contour is identical with that of the Brinda-ban shrines : and in the facades of the Jain caves at Gwaliar similar sikharas are everywhere to be seen.
Of the smaller temples some have been casually mentioned in connection with their founders. Though of ancient date, they have been often renewed and possess no special architectural merit. The same may be said of the Bengali temple of Sringar Bat, near the Madan Mohan, which, however, enjoys an annual income of Rs. 13,500, divided among three shareholders, who each take the religious services for four months at a time. The village of Jahangirpur on the opposite bank of the river, including the sacred grove of Bel-ban, forms part of the endowment. The temple of Radha Damodar has a special claim to distinction from the fact that it contains the ashes of Jiva, its founder, as also of his two uncles, the Gosains Rupa and Sanatan, the founders of the temple of Gobind Deva, who in their life-time had expressed a wish to be buried together within its precincts. Their joint anniversary is celebrated in the month of Sawan, when the three shrines are visited by great crowds of Bengalis, who, according to custom, make each some small offering. The proceeds used to be divided between the priests of the two temples; but in 1875 ,the Radha Damodar Mahant made an attempt to engross the whole by excluding , the Govind Deva people from any participation in the ceremony. The plea advanced was that they were renegades from Vaishnavism since the time that they had complied with the Jaypur Maharaj’s order and marked their foreheads with the three lines that indicate a votary of Siva.Their exclusive was naturally resented by the Govind Deva Mahant,who claimed the immemorial right of free access to his founder’s tomb,and as there seemed cause to anticipate that the two rival factions would come to blows,precautions were taken to suppress all external manifestations whatever , much to the chagrin of the Radha Damodar claimants,who had prepared to signalize their triumph by a display of exceptional magnificence.
Of the modern temples,five claim special notice. The first in time of erection is the temple of Krishna Chandrama , built about the year 1810, at a cost of 25 lakhs, by the wealthy Bengali Kayath, Krishna Chandra Sinh, better known as the Lila Baba. It stands in a large court-yard, which is Iaid out, not very tastefully, as a garden, and is enclosed by a lofty wall of solid masonry, with an arched gateway at either end. The building is of quadrangular form, 160 feet in length, with a front central compartment of three arches and a lateral colonnade of five bays reaching back on either side towards the cella. The workmanship throughout is of excellent character, and the stone has been carefully selected. The two towers, or sikharas, are singularly plain, but have been wisely so designed that their smooth polished surface may remain unsul lied by rain and dust.
The founder's ancestor, Babu Murli Mohan Sinh, on of one Har Krishna Sinh, was a wealthy merchant and landed proprietor at Kandi in Murshidabad. His heir, Bihari Lal Sinh, had three sons, Radha Gobind, Ganga Gobind, and Radha Charan : of these, the last-named,on inheriting his share of the paternal estate,broke off connection with the rest of the family and has dropped out of sight. Radha Gobind took service under Allah Virdi Khan and Siraj-ud-daula, Nawabs of Murshidabad, and was by them promoted to posts of high honour. A rest-house for travellers and a temple of Radha Ballabh, which he founded, are still in existence. He died without issue, leaving his property to his brother, Ganga Gobind, who took a prominent part in the revision of the Bengal settle ment under Lord William Bentinck, in 1828. He built a number of dharmasalas for the reception of pilgrims and four temples at Ramchandrapur in Nadiya. These latter have all been washed away by the river, but the images of the gods were transferred to Kandi. He also maintained several Sanskrit schools in Nadiya; and distinguished himself by the extraordinary pomp with which he celebrated his father's obsequies, spending, moreover, every year on the anni versary of his death a lakh of rupees in religious observances. Ganga Gobind's son, Pran Krishan Sinh, still further augmented his magnificent patrimony before it passed in succession to his son, Krishan Chandra Sinh, better known under the soubriquet of ' the Lala Babu. He held office first in Bardwan and then in Orisa, and, when about thirty years of age, came to settle in the holy land of Braj. In connexion with his temple at Brinda-ban he founded also a rest-house, where a large number of pilgrims are still daily fed; the annual cost of the whole establishment being, as is stated, Rs. 22,000. He also enclosed the sacred tanks at Radha-kund with handsome ghats and terraces of stone at the cost of lakh. When some forty years of age, he renounced the world, and in the character of a Bairagi continued for two years to wander about the woods and plains of Braj, begging his bread from day to day till the time of his death, which was? accidentally caused by the kick of of a horse at Gobardhan. [17] He was frequently accompanied in his rambles by Mani Ram, father of the famous Seth Lakhmi Chand, who also had adopted the life of an ascetic. In the course of the ten years which the Lala Babu spent as a worldling in the Mathura district, he contrived to buy up all the villages most noted as places of pilgrimage in a manner which strikingly illustrates his hereditary capacity for busi ness. The zamindars were assured that he had no pecuniary object in view, but only the strict preservation of the hallowed spots. Again, as in the days of Krishna, they would become the secluded haunts of the monkey and the peacock, while the former proprietors would remain undisturbed, the happy guardians of so many new Arcadias. Thus the wise man from the East picked up one estate after another at a price in every case far below the real value, aid in some instances for a purely nominal sum. However binding his fair promises may have been on the conscience of the pious Babu, they were never recorded on paper, and therefore are naturally ignored by his absentee descend-ants and their agents, from whom any appeal ad misericordiam on the part of the impoverished representatives of the old owners of the soil meets with very consideration. The villages which he acquired in the Mathura district scant in number, viz., in the Kosi Pargana, Jau; in Chhata, Nandganw, Barsana, Sanket, Karhela, Garhi, and Hathiya; and in the home pargana,Mathura, Jait, Maholi, and Nabi-pur; all these, except the last, being more or Less places of pilgrimage. To these must be added the four Gujar villages of Pirpur, Gualalpur, Chamar-garhi, and Dhimri. For Nandganw he gave Rs. 900; Barsana, Rs. 600; for Sanket, Rs. 800; and for Karhela, Rs. 500; the annual revenue derived from these places being now as follows: from Nandganw, Rs 6712; from Barsana Rs. 3,109; from Sanket, Rs. 1,642; and from Karhela,Rs 1900. It may also be noted that payment was invariably made in Brinda- ban rupees, which are worth only thirteen or fourteen anas each. The Babu further purchased seventy-two villages in Aligarh and Bulandshahr from Raja Bir Sinh, Chauhan; but twelve of these were sold at auction in the time of his heir, Babu Sri Narayan Sinh. This latter, being a minor at his father's death, remained for a time under the tutelage of his mother, the Rani Kaithani, who again, on his decease, when only thirty years old, managed the estate till the coming of age of the two sons whom his widows had been specially autho rized to adopt. The elder of the two, Pratap Chandra, founded an English school at Kandi and a dispensary at Calcutta. He was for some time a Mem ber of the Legislative Council of Bengal, received from Government the title of Bahadur, and was enrolled as a Companion of the Star of India. He died in 1867, leaving four sons, Giris-chandra (since deceased), Puran-chandra, Kanti-chandra, and Sarad-chandra. The younger brother, Isvar-chandra, who died in 1863, left an only son, Indra-chandra, who now enjoys half the estate, the other half being divided between his three cousins. Daring their minority the property was under the control of the Court of Wards; the General Manager being Mr. Robert Harvey of Calcutta. The gross rental of the lands in the Mathura district is Rs. 76,738, upon which the Government demand, including the 10 per cent. cess, is Rs. 49,496. The value of the property when taken in charge was estimated at Rs. 2,40,193; it has now increased to Rs. 3,80,892.The great temple, founded by Seths Gobind Das and Radha Krishan, brothers of the famous millionaire Lakhmi Chand, is dedicated to Rang Ji, or Sri Ranga Nath, that being the special name of Vishnu most affected by Ramanuja, the founder of the Sri Sampradaya. It is built in the Madras style, in accordance with plans supplied by their guru, the great Sanskrit scholar, Swami Rangacharya, a native of that part of India. [18]
The works were commenced in 1845 and completed in 1851, at a cost of 45 lakhs of rupees. The outer walls measure 773 feet in length by 440 in breadth, and enclose a fine tank and garden in addition to the actual temple-court. This latter has lofty gate-towers, or gopuras, covered with a profusion of coarse sculpture. In front of the god is erected a pillar, or dhvaja stambha, of copper gilt, sixty feet in height, and also sunk some twenty-four feet more below the surface of the ground. This alone cost Rs. 10,000. The principal or western entrance of the outer court is surmounted by a pavilion, ninety-three feet high, constructed in the Mathura style after the design of a native artist. In its graceful outlines and the elegance of its reticulated tracery, it presents a striking contrast to the heavy and misshapen masses of the Madras Gopura, which rises immediately in front of it. A little to one side of the entrance is a detached shed, in which the god's rath, or carriage, is kept. It is an enormous wooden tower in several stages, with monstrous effigies at the corners, and is brought out only once a year in the month of Chait during the festival of the Brahmotsav. The mela lasts for ten days, on each of which the god is taken in state from the temple along the road, a distance of 690 yards, to a garden where a pavilion has been erected for his reception. The proces sion is always attended with torches, music, and incense, and some military display contributed by the Raja of Bharatpur. On the day when the rath is used, the image, composed of the eight metals, is seated in the centre of the car, with attendant Brahmans standing on either side to fan it with chauris. Each of the Seths, with the rest of the throng, gives an occasional hand to the ropes by which the ponderous machine is drawn; and by dint of much exertion, the distance is ordinarily accomplished in the space of about two and-a-half hours. On the evening of the following day there is a grand display of fire-works, to which all the European residents of the station are invited, and which attracts a large crowd of natives from the country round about. On other days when the rath is not brought out, the god has a wide choice of vehicles, being borne now on a palki, a richly gilt 'tabernacle' (punya-kothi), a throne (sinhasan), or a tree, either the kadamb, or the tree of Paradise (kalpa-vriksha); now on some demi-god, as the sun or the moon, Garura, Hanuman, or Sesha; now again on some animal, as a horse, an elephant, a lion, a swan, or the fabulous eight-footed Sarabha. The ordinary cost of one of these celebrations is about Rs. 5,000, while the annual expenses of the whole establishment amount to no less than Rs. 57,000, the largest item in that total being Rs. 30,000 for the bhog or food, which after being presented to the god is then consumed by the priests or given away in charity. Every day 500 of the Sri Vaishnava sect are fed at the temple, and every morning up to ten o'clock a dole of flour is given to anyone of any denomination who chooses to apply for it.
The endowment consists of thirty-three villages, yielding a gross income of Rs. 1,17,000, on which the Government demand amounts to Rs. 64,000. Of the thirty-three villages, thirteen, including one quarter of Brinda-ban, are in the Mathura, and twenty in the Agra district. The votive offerings amount on an average to Rs. 2,000 a year, and there is further a sum invested in the funds which yields in annual interest as much as Rs. 11,800. In 1868, the whole estate was transferred by the Swami—the deed of transfer bearing a stamp of Rs. 2,000-to a committee of management, who on his death were bound to appoint a successor. This arrangement was necessitated by the bad conduct of his son Srinivasacharya—named according to family custom after the grandfather—who, far from being a scholar like his father, is barely edu cated up to the ordinary level of his countrymen : while his profligacy is open and notorious. Immorality and priestly dignity, it is true, are not universally accounted as incompatible qualities; but the scandal in his case is augmented by the ceremonial pollution he occurs from his habit of familiar intercourse with the lowest classes of the people, while his reckless extravagance knows no bounds. Since his father's death he receives a fixed allowance for his maintenance; but another Guru has been brought up from Madras to conduct the temple services, and the estate is entirely under the control of the committee. This consists of six members, of whom the most active is Seth Narayan Das. He is also appointed general attorney for the trustees, and all the temple property, valued at about 20 lakhs, is entered in his name. Since the new arrangement, there has been no falling off in the splendour of the festivals or in the liberality with which the different charities are maintained, while at the same time the estate has been improved and the cost of establishment reduced.
Of the villages that form the endowment, three in Mahaban and two in Jalesar were conferred on the temple by Raja Man Sinh of Jaypur. Though the lawful heir to the throne, he never took his seat upon it. He was the posthumous son of Raja Prithi Sinh, on whose death, in 1779 A. D, the surviv ing brother, Pratap Sinh, claimed the succession. The nephew's right was sub sequently upheld by Daulat Rao Sindhia, but the young prince was devoted to letters and religion, and on being assured of an annual income of Rs. 30,000, he gladly relinquished the royal title and retired to Brinda-ban. Here he spent the remainder of his days in the practice of the most rigid austerities, till death overtook him at the age of 70, in 1848. For 27 years he had remained sitting cross-legged in one position, never moving from his seat but once a week when nature compelled him to withdraw. Five days before his death he predicted his coming end and solemnly bequeathed to the Seth the care of his old ser vants; one of whom, Lakshmi Narayan Byas, was manager of the temple estate, till his death in 1874.
If the effect of the Seths' lavish endowment is impaired by the ill-judged adoption of a foreign style of architecture, still more is this error apparent in the temple of Radha Raman, completed within the last few years. The founder is Sah Kundan Lal, of Lakhnau, who has built on a design suggested by the modern secular buildings of that city. The principal entrance to the court-yard is, in a grandiose way, decidedly effective; and the temple itself is con structed of the most costly materials and fronted with a colonnade of spiral marble pillars, each shaft being of a single piece, which though rather too attenuated are unquestionably elegant. The mechanical execution is also good; but all is rendered of no avail by the abominable taste of the design. The facade with its uncouth pediment, flanked by sprawling monsters, and its row of life-size female figures in meretricious, but at the same time most ungrace ful, attitudes, resembles nothing so much as a disreputable London casino : a severe, though doubtless unintended, satire, on the part of the architect, on the character of the divinity to whom it is consecrated. Ten lakhs of rupees are said to have been wasted on its construction.
In striking contrast to this tasteless edifice is the temple of Radha Indra Kishor, built by Rani Indrajit Kunvar, widow of Het Kam, Brahman zamindar, of Tikari by Gaya. It was six years in building, and was completed at the end of 1871. It is a square of seventy feet divided into three aisles of five bays each, with a fourth space of equal dimensions for the reception of the god. The sikhara is surmounted with a copper kalas, or finial, heavily gilt, which alone cost Rs. 5,000. The piers are composed of four conjoined pillars, each shaft being a single piece of stone, brought from the Paharpur quarry in Bharatpur territory. The building is raised on a high and enriched plinth, and the entire design is singularly light and graceful. Its cost has been three lakhs.
The temple of Radha Gopal, built by the Maharaja of Gwaliar under the direction of his guru Brahmachari Giridhari Das, is also entitled to some special notice. The interior is an exact counterpart of an Italian church and would be an excellent model for our architects to follow, since it secures to perfection both free ventilation and a softened light. It consists of a nave 58 feet long, with four aisles, two on either side, a sacraium 21 feet in depth and a narthex of the same dimensions at the entrance. The outer aisles of the nave, instead of being closed in with solid walls, have open arches stopped only with wooden bars; and the tier of windows above gives on to a balcony and verandah. Thus any glare of light is impossible. The building was opened for religious service in 1860, and as it stands has cost four lakhs of rupees. The exterior has a mean and un sightly appearance, which might be obviated by the substitution of reticulated stone tracery for the wooden bars of the outer arches below and a more sub­stantial balcony and verandah in lieu of the present ricketty erection above. An entrance gateway is now being added.
There are in Brinda-ban no secular buildings of any great antiquity. The oldest is the court, or Ghera, as it is called, of Sawai Jay Sinh, the founder of Jaypur, who made Brinda-ban an occasional residence during the time that he was Governor of the Province of Agra (1721-1728). It is a large walled enclosure with a pavilion at one end, consisting of two aisles divided into five bays by piers of coupled columns of red sandstone. The river front of the town has a succession of ghats reaching for a distance of about a mile and a-half. Their beauty has been greatly marred by the religious mendicants who have taken possession of all the graceful stone kiosques and utilized them for cooking-places, blocking up the arches with mud walls and blackening the carved work with the smoke of their fires. I cleared out a great many, but left the task unfinished. The one highest up the streams is the Kali-mardan Ghat with the kadamb tree from which Krishna plunged into the water to encounter the great serpent Kaliya; and the lowest at the other end is Kesi Ghat, where he slew the equine lemon of that name. Near the latter are two handsome mansions built by the Ranis Kishori and Lachhmi, consorts of Ranjit Sinh and Randhir Sinh, two successive Rajas of Bharatpur. In both the arrangement is identical with that of a medieval college, carried out on a miniature scale, but with extreme elaboration of detail. The buildings are disposed in the form of a quadrangle, with an enriched gateway in the centre of one front and opposite it the chapel, of more imposing elevation than the ordinary domestic apartments, which constitute the two flanks of the square. In Rani Lachhmi’s kunj (such being the distinctive name for a building of this character), the temple front is a very rich and graceful composition. It has a colonnade of five arches standing on a high plinth, which, like every part of the wall surface, is covered with the most delicate carving and is shaded, above by unusually broad eaves which have a wavy pattern on their under-surface and are supported on bold brackets. The work of the elder Rani is of much plainer character; and third kunj, which stands a little lower down the river, close to the temple of Dhir Samir [20] built by Thakur Badan Sinh, the father of Suraj Mall, the first of the Bharatpur Rajas, though large, has no architectural pretensions whatever. The most striking of the whole series is, however, the Ganga Mohan Kunj, built in the next generation by Ganga, Suraj Mall's Rani. The river front, which is all that was ever completed, has a high and massive basement story, which on the land side, as seen from the interior of the court, becomes a mere plinth for the support of a majestic double cloister with broad and lofty arch and massive clustered pier. The style is precisely the same as that which prevails in the Garden Palace at Dig, a work of the same chief; who, however rude and un cultured himself, appears to have been able to appreciate and command the ser vices of the highest available talent whether in the arts of war or peace. His son, Ratn Sinh, would seem to have inherited his father's architectural proclivities, for he had commenced what promised to be a very large and handsome mausoleum for the reception of his own funeral ashes, but died before the work had advanced beyond the first story. This is in one of the large gardens outside the town beyond the Madan Mohan temple, and has not been touched since his death.
A few years ago the town was exceedingly dirty and ill kept, but this state of things ceased from the introduction of a municipality. The conservancy arrangements are now of a most satisfactory character, and all the streets of any importance have been either paved or metalled. This unambitious, but most essential, work has, up to the present time, absorbed almost all the surplus income; the only exception being a house, intended to serve both for muni cipal meetings and also for the reception of European visitors, which I had not quite completed at the time of my transfer. It is in Indian style with carved stone pillars and arches to the verandahs and pierced tracery in the windows. As the ground about it had also been taken up for a garden, the whole would have formed a conspicuous ornament to the official quarter of the town, where all the other buildings are on the conventional and singularly prosaic D. P. W. type. Education, as conducted on European principles, has never made much way in the town, in spite of the efforts of the committee to promote it by the establishment of schools of different grades. Some of these have been closed altogether. The Tahsili school, completed in 1868 at a cost of Rs. 3,710, which included a donation of Rs. 500 from Swami Rangacharya, the head of the Seth's temple, still continues and has a room also for some anglo-ver nacular classes; but the number of pupils, through variable, is never very large. The children find it more lucrative and amusing to hang about the temples and act as guides to the pilgrims and sight-seers. The dispensary, also opened in 1868, cost the small sum of only Rs. 1,943; but as yet it has no accommo­dation for in-door patients. As such a large number of people come to Brinda -ban simply for the sake of dying there, while of the resident population nearly one-half are professed celibates, the proportion of births to deaths is almost in inverse ratio to that which prevails elsewhere; a circumstance which might well startle any one who was unacquainted with the exceptional character of the loca lity. The population by the recent census was 21,467, of whom 794 only were Muhammadans. The municipal income for the year 1871-72 was Rs. 17,549 and this may be regarded as a fair average. Of this sum Rs. 16,666 were derived from octroi collections; the tax on articles of food alone amounting to Rs. 13,248. These figures indicate very clearly, what might also be inferred from the preced ing sketch, that there is no local trade or manufacture, and that the town is maintained entirely by its temples and religious reputation. There was a mint (Taksal) established here by Daulat Rao Sindhia, in 1786, whence the name of the street called the Taksal-wali-Gali. When the Jats were in possession of the country, they transferred it to Bharatpur, where what are called Brinda bani rupees are still coined. They are especially used at weddings, and when there are many such festivities going on, the coin is sometimes valued at as much as 13 anas, but ordinarily sells for 12.


Chait Sudi (April 1—15).
1.Chait Sudi 3.—Gangaur; adoration of Ganpati and Gauri. In the older Sanskrit calendars this day is generally named Saubhagya Sayana, and is appropriated to a special devotion in honour of the goddess Arundhati, which is recommended to be practised by all women who desire to lead a happy married life and escape the curse of early widowhood. At the present day the oblations to Gauri are accompanied by the repetition of the following un— couth formula, in commemoration of a Rani of Udaypur, who, after enjoying a life of the utmost domestic felicity, had the further happiness of dying at the same moment as her husband :
गोर गोर गनपति ईश्वर पूजे पारवती महेश पूजा छा आला गीला गोर
के सोना काटि काटिका दे टिमका दे रानी वरत करै वालादे रानी वरत करै वार गया
पारगया खेरा ले राजाने दिया
2. Chait Sudi 9.-Ram Navami. Rama’s birthday.
3. Chait Sudi 11.-Phul dol.
Baisakh (April—May)
Baisakh Sudi 3.—Akhay Tij. Among agriculturists, the day for set tling the accounts of the past harvest. Visits are paid to the image of Bihari, which on this festival only has the whole body exposed. The ceremony is hence called ‘Chandan baga ka darsan,’ as the idol, though besmeared with sandal wood (chandan), has no clothing (baga). The temple bhoy on this day consists exclu sively of kakris (a kind of cucumber), dal, and a mash made of wheat, barley, and chana ground up and mixed with sugar and ghi.
5. Baisakh Sudi. 9—Janaki Navami. Held at Akrur. Sita's birthday.
6. Baisakh Sudi 10.—Hit ji kaa utsav: at the Ras Mandal. Anniversary of the birth of the Gosain Hari Vans.
7. Baisakh Sudi 14.—Narsinh avatar.
Jeth (May—June)
8. Jeth Badi 2.—Perambulation, called Ban bihar ka parikrama. The distance traversed is between five and six miles, each pilgrim starting from the point which happens to be most convenient.
9. Jeth Badi 5.—The same, but at night.
10. Jeth Badi 11.—Ras Mandal.
11. Jeth Sudi 5.—Jal Jatra.
On the full moon of Jeth, Gaj-graha ka mela: representation of a fight between an elephant and a crocodile in the tank at the back of the Seth's temple
Asarh (June—July).
12. Asarh Sudi 2.—Rath Jatra. The god's collation, or bhog, consists on this day only of mangoes, jaman fruit and chana
13. Asarh full moon.—Dhio dhio ka mela at Madan Mohan, followed by the Pavan Pariksha.
Sravan (July—August).
14. Sravan Badi 5.—Radha Raman Ji ki dhio dhio. Mourning for the death of Gosain Gopal Bhatt, the founder of the temple.
15. Sravan Badi 8.—Gokulanand ka dhio dhio. Mourning for the death of Gosain Gokulanand.
16. Sravan Sudi 3.—Hindol, or Jhul-jatra. Swinging festival.
17. Sravan Sudi 9.—Fair at the Brahm Kund.
18. Sravan Sudi 11.—Pavitra-dharan, or presentation of Brahmanical threads.
19. Sravan full moon.—Fair at the Gyan-gudari.
Bhadon (August—September.)
20. Bhadon Badi 8.—Janm Ashtami. Krishna's birthday.
21. Bhadon Badi 9.—Climbing a greasy pole, which is set up outside the temple of Rang Ji, with a dhoti, a Iota, five sers of sweetmeats, and Rs. 5 on the top, for the man who can succeed in getting them. This takes place in the afterroom. In the evening, the Nandotsav, or festival in honour of Nanda, is held at the Sringar-bat, and continued through the night with music and dancing.
22. Bhadon Sudi 8.—Radha Ashtami. Radha's birthday. A large assemblage also at the Mauni Das ki tatti by the Nidh-ban, in honour of a saint who kept a vow of perpetual silence.
23. Bhadon Sudi 11.-Jal Jholni mela, or Karwatni, 'the turning of the god' in his four months' sleep.
Kuvar (September—October).
24. Kuvar Badi 11.—Festival of the Sanjhi, lasting for five days; and mela at the Brahm kund.
25. Kuvar Sudi 1.—Dan Lila at the Gyan-gudari and mela of the Kalpa vriksha.
26. Kuvar Sudi 10.—The Dasahara. Commemoration of Rama's conquest of Lanka.
27. Kuvar Sudi 11.—Perambulation.
Kartik (October—November).
28. Kartik new moon.—Dipotsav, or festival of lamps.
29. Kartik Sudi 1.—Anna kut, as at Gobardhan.
30. Kartik Sudi 8.—Perambulation and Go-charan.
31. Kartik Sudi 12.—Festival of the Davanal, or forest-conflagration.
32. Kartik Sudi 13.—Festival of Kesi Panay.
33. Kartik Sudi 14.—Nag-lila: at the Kali-mardan Ghat with procession of boats.
34. Kartik full moon.—Fair at Bhat-rond.
Agahn (November—December).
35.Agahn Badi 1.—Byahle-ka-mela, or marriage feast, at the Ras Mandal and Chain Ghat.
36.Agahn Badi 3.—Ram lila.
37. Agahn full moon—Dau ji-ka-mela, in honour of Balaram.
38. Agahn Sudi 5.—Bihari janmotsav, or birth of Bihari; also the Bha rat-milap.
Pus (December—January).
39. Pus Sudi 5 to 11.—Dhanur-mas otsav, observed at the Seths’ temple with processions issuing from the Vaikunth gate: ‘Dhanur’ being the sign Sagittarius. Throughout the month distribution of khichri (pulse and rice) is made at the temple of Radha Ballabh.
Magh (January—February).
40. Magh Sudi 5.—Basantotsav. The spring festival.
41. Phalgun Badi 11.—Festival at the Man-sarovar.
Phalgun (February—March).
42. Phalgun Sudi 11—Phut dol.
43. Phalgun full moon.—The Holi or Carnival.
Chait Badi (March 15th to 31st).
44. Chait Badi 1.—Dhurendi or sprinkling of the Holi-powder, and Dol jatra.
45. Chait Badi 5.-Kali dahan and phul dol.
46. Brahmotsav. Festival at the Seth's temple, beginning Chait Badi 2 and lasting ten days.
1 Madan Ter Ghat, built by Pandit Moti Lal.
2 Ram-gol Ghat, built by the Gosain of the temple of Bihari Ji.
3 Kali-daha Ghat, built by Holkar Rao.
4 Gopal Ghat, built by Madan Pal, Raja of Kurauli.
5 Nabhawala Ghat, built by Raja Hira Sinh of Nabha.
6 Praskandan Ghat, re-built by Gosains of temple of Madan .
7 Suraj Ghat.
8 Koriya Ghat, said to be named after certain Gosains from Kol.
9 Jugal Ghat, built by Hari Das and Gobind Das, Thakurs.
10 Dhusar Ghat.
11 Naya Ghat, built by Gosain Bhajan Lal. .
12 Sriji Ghat, built by Raja of Jaypur.
13 Bihar Ghat, built by Appa Ram from the Dakhin.
14 Dhurawara Ghat, built by Raja built by Randhir Sinh of Dhura.
15 Nagari Das.
16 Bhim Ghat, built by the Raja of Kota.
17 Andha (i.e., the dark or covered) Ghat, built by Raja Man of Jaypur.
18 Tehriwara Ghat, built by the Raja of Tehri.
19 Imla Ghat.
20 Bardwan Ghat, built by a Raja of Bardwan.
21 Barwara Ghat.
22 Ranawat Ghat, built of Udaypur.
23 Singar Ghat, built by the Gosain of the temple of Singarbat.
24 Ganga Mohan Ghat, built by Ganga, Rani of Suraj Mall, of Bharatpur.
25 Gobind Ghat, built by Raja Man of Jaypur.
26 Himmat Bahadur's Ghat, built by Gosain Himmat Bahadur (see Chapter XI.)
27 Chir Ghat or Chain Ghat built by Malhar Rao, Holkar.
28 Hanuman Ghat, built by Sawai Jay Sinh of Jaypur.
29 Bhaunra Ghat, built by Sawai Jay Sinh of Jaypur.
30 Kishor Rani's Ghat, built by Kishori, Rani of Suraj Mall, of Bharatpur.
31 Pandawara Ghat, built by Chandhari Jagannath, of Lakhnau.
32 Kesi Ghat, built by the Bharatpur Rani, Lachhmi.
1 Gyan Gudari.
2 Gopesvar Mahadeva.
3 Bansi-bat.
4 Gopinath Bagh.
5 Bazar Gopinath.
6 Brahm-kund.
7 Radha Nivas.
8 Kesi Ghat.
9 Radha Raman.
10 Nidh-ban.
11 Pathar-pura.
12 Nagara Gopinath.
13 Ghera Gopinath.
14 Nagara Gopal.
15 Chir Ghat.
16 Mandi Darwaza.
17 Ghera Gobind Ji.
8 Nagara Gobind Ji.
19 Gali Taksar.
20 Ram Ji Dwara.
21 Bazar Kanthiwara (i.e., sellers of rosaries and necklaces).
22 Sewa Kunj.
23 Kunj Gali.
24 Byas ka Ghera.
25 Singar-bat.
26 Ras Mandal.
27 Kishor-pura.
28 Dhobiwari Gali.
29 Rangi Lal ki Gali.
30 Sukhan Mata Gali (i.e., street of dried-up small-pox),
31. Purana Shahr(i.e. old town).
32 Lariawara Gali.
33 Gabdua ki Gali.
34 Gobardhan Darwaza.
35 Ahir-para.
36 Dusait (the name, it is said, of a sub-division of the Sanadh tribe).
37 Mahalla Barwara (from the number of bar trees).
38 Ghera Madan Mohan.
39 Bihari-pura.
40 Purohit-wara.
42 Gautam-para.
41 Mani-para.
43 Ath-khamba.
44 Gobind bagh.
45 Loi Bazar, (the blanket mart)[21]
46 Retiya Bazar.
47 Ban-khandi Mahadeva.
48 Chhipi ki Gali.
49 Raewari Gali (occupied by Bhats, or bards, who are always distinguished by the title Rae).
50 Bundele ka Bagh. Bundela is the god propitiated in time of cholera. He is always represented as riding on a horse. When small‑pox, the twin scourge of India, is raging, an ass is the animal to which offerings are made.
51 Mathura Darwaza.
52 Ghera Sawai Jay Sinh.
53 Dhir Samir
54 Mauni das ki tatti.
55 Gahvar-ban.
56 Gobind kund.
57 Radha Bagh.


  1. This is the local name of the actual Brinda grove, to which the town owes its origin. The spot so designated is now of very limited area, hemmed in on all sides by streets, but protected from further encroachment by a high masonry wall. The name refers to the nine nidhis, or tressures, of Kuvera, the god of wealth. They are enumerated as follows : the Padma, Mahapadma, Sankha, Makara, Kachhapa, Mukunda, Nanda, Nila, and Kharva; but it is not known in what precise sense each separate term is to be taken. For example, Padma may mean simply a 'lotus,' or again, as a number, '10,000 millions,' or possibly, 'a ruby
  2. Thus eclecticism, which after all is only natural growth directed by local circumstances, has for centuries past been the predominant characteristic of Mathura architecture. In most of the new works that I took in hand, and notably in the Catholic Church, which I left unfinished, I conformed to the genius loci, and showed my recognition of its principles, not by a servile imitation of older examples, but rather by boldly modifying them in accordance with later requirements, and so developing novel combinations.
  3. The Sanskrit terms for the component parts of a temple are-the nave, mandapa; the choir, antarala, and the sacrarium garbha griha. The more ordinary Hindi substitutes are-for the nave sabha, and for the choir, jag-mohan; while mandir, the temple, specially denotes the sacrarium, and any side chapel is styled a mahall
  4. The south west chapel encloses a subterranean cell, called patal Devi, which is said by some to be the Gosains' original shrine in honour of the goddess Brinda.
  5. The south west chapel encloses a subterranean cell, called patal Devi, which is said by some to be the Gosains' original shrine in honour of the goddess Brinda.
  6. One section of this work originally appeared in the Calcutta Review, and a correspondent, who saw it there, favoured me with the following note of a tradition as to the cause of the wall being built. He writes :- "Aurangzeb had often of an evening remarked a very bright light shining in the far distant south-east horizon, and, in reply to his enquiries regarding it, was told that it was a light burning in a temple of great wealth and magnificence at Brinda-ban.He accordingly resolved that it should be effectually put out, and soon after sent some troops to the place, who plundered and threw down as much of the temple as they could, and them erected on the top of the ruins a mosque wall, where, in order to complete the desecration, the Emperor is said to have offered up his prayers
  7. Vide Professor Blochmann's Ain-j-Akbari, p. 341
  8. (The above tradition is quoted from Tod's Rajasthan. De Laet, as translated by Mr. Lethbridge, for Man Sinh substitutes the name of Mirza Ghazi Beg
  9. This line of action was, if I may be allowed to say so, extremely ill-advised, since it amounted to a quasi-recognition of the Maharaja's proprietary right in the temple. This year, (1882,) one of his local agents, on the occasion of a wedding in his family, gave an entertainment to his friends in the central space under the dome and thought nothing of whitewashing the walls and pillars of the interior up to about half their height, thus ruining the architectural effect, which depends so much on the rich glow of the red sand-stone. No notice was taken by the local authorities; but, on my representing the matter to Government, prompt orders were issued to have the mischief as far as possible undone.
  10. A revised estimate was afterwards prepared by the District Engineer, who put is at Rs. 75,000 for the exterior and Rs. 57,857 for the interior, making a total of Rs. 1,32,857
  11. A Government Resolution on 'the Restoration of Temples in the Mathura District' was published by Sir John Strachey on the 1st April, 1876, and is exclusively occupied with my doings. The 6th paragraph begins as follows : "In respect of the work on the temple of Govind Ji at Brinda-ban, His Honour feels that the Government is much indebted to Mr. F.S. Growse for the able and economical manner in which its partial restoration has been effected, and has no hesitation in confiding to him its completion, without interference by any officer of the Public Works Department subordinate to the Chief Engineer.
  12. This derivation is a very absurd one, Kandan being a Persian word. The real name of the Ghat is the Sanskrit Praskandana, taken either as a name of Siva, or as an epithet of the cliff, 'standing out.'
  13. On the road from Brinda-ban Jait, within the boundaries of the village of Sunrakh, is a walled garden with a tank, called Ram Taj, part of the property of the temple of Madan Mohan
  14. Each Ras (the Hindu equivalent for the European Muse) has a special vehicle of its own, and the meaning appears to be that the Ras Sringar, or Erotic Muse, alighted on foot the better to catch the sound of his voice
  15. The fabled twin brothers are probably the two Gandharvas (heavenly musicians), who were metamorphosed into arjun trees till restored by Krishna to their proper form
  16. The Seth's Garden, where stands the Brahmotsava Pavilion, was purchased from the temple of Gopinath, and is still liable to an annual charge of Rs. 18
  17. The following Hindi couplet is current in the  district with reference to the dealth of the two millionaries,the Lala Babu and parikh Ji;-
    Lala Babu margaya,ghora dosh lagaye,
    Parikh ka kira para,Bidhi son ko basae?
  18. He translated some of Ramanuja's works from the language of Southern India into Sanskrit, and was also the author of two polemical treatises in defence of the orthodoxy of Vaishnavism. The first is a pamphlet entitled Durjana-kari-panchanana, which was written as an answer to eight questions propounded for solution by the Saivite Pandits of Jaypur. The Maharaja, not being convinced, had a rejoinder published under the name of Sajjana-manonuranjana, which elicited a more elaborate work from the Swami, called Vyamoha-vidravanam, in which elicited a more elaborate work from the Swami, called Vyamoha-vidravanam, in which he brought together a great number of texts from the canonical Scriptures of the Hindus in support of his own views and in refutation of those of his opponents. He died on the 26th of March, 1874
  19. In imitation of the bad example thus set, a new temple dedicated to Radha Gopal was built in 1873 by Lala Braj Kishor, a wealthy resident of Shahjahanpur, where he is district treasurer. It has a long frontage facing one of the principal streets, with a continuous balcony to the upper story, in which each pillar is a clumsily carved stone figure of a Sakhi, or 'dancing girl.'
  20. In explanation of the title of this temple, which means literally 'a soft breeze, 'take the following line from the Gita Gobinda of Jayadeva :-
    Dhira-samire Yamuna-lire vasalt vane vana-mali,
    which may be thus translated -
    He is waiting, flower-begarlanded, beneath the forest trees,
    Where cool across the Jamuna steals the soft delicious breeze.
  21. There is a large sale of Loi, or country blanketing, at Brinda-ban. The material is imported chiefly from Marwar and Bikaner in an old and worn condition, but is worked up again so thoroughly that natives count it as good as new
निजी टूल
Mathura A District Memoir