صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

respecting the Hindoos.

19

who laid himself down at every step, measuring the road to Juggernaut, by the length of his body, as a penance of merit to please the God.'

Outer Gate of Juggernaut, 12th June.

them on

A disaster has just occurred.---As I approached the gate, the pilgrims crowded from all quarters around me, and shouted, as they usually did when I passed

the road, an expression of welcome and respect. I was a little alarmed at their number, and looked round for my guard. A guard of soldiers had accompanied me from Cuttack, the last military station; but they were now about a quarter of a mile behind, with my servants and the baggage. The pilgrims cried out that they were entitled to some indulgence, that they were poor, they could not pay the tax; but I was not aware of their design. At ibis moment, when I was within a few yards of the gate, an old Sanyassee (or holy man) who had travelled some days by the side of my horse, came up and said, “Sir, you are in danger; the people are going to rush through the gate when it is opened for you.' I immediately dismounted, and endeavoured to escape to one side; but it was too late. The mob was now in motion, and with a tumultuous shout pressed violently towards the gate. The guard within seeing my danger opened it, and the multitude rushing through, carried me forward in the torrent a considerable space: so that I was literally borne into Juggernaut by the Hindoos them

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

selves. ' A distressing scene followed. As the number, and strength of the mob increased, the narrow way was choaked up by the mass of people ; and I apprehended that many of them would have been suffocated, or bruised to death. My horse was yet among them. But suddenly one of the side posts of the gate, which was of wood, gave way and fell to the ground. And perhaps this circumstance alone prevented the loss of lives. Notice of the event was immediately communicated to Mr. Hunter, the superintendant of the temple, who repaired to the spot, and sent an additional guard to the inner gate, lest the people should force that also; for there is an outer and an inner gate to the town of Juggernaut; but both of them are slightly con structed. Mr. Hunter told me that similar accidents sometimes occur, and that many have been crushed to death by the pressure of the mob. He added, that sometimes a body of pilgrims, (consisting chiefly of women and children and old men trusting to the physical weight of their mass, will make, what he called, a charge on the armed guards, and overwhelm them; the guards not being willing in such circumstances, to oppose their bayonets.

."

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Juggernaut, 14th June.

SI have seen Juggernaut. The scene at Buddruck is but the vestibule to Juggernaut. No record of ancient or modern history can give, I think, an adequate idea of this valley of death; it may be truly compared with the valley of Hinnom.' The idol called Juggernaut, has been considered as the Moloch of the present age; and he is justly so named, for the sacrifices offered up to him by self-devotement, are not less criminal, perhaps not less numerous, than those recorded of the Moloch of Canaan. Two other idols accompany Juggernaut, namely, Boloram and Shubudra, his brother and sister: for there are three Deities worshipped here. They receive equal adoration, and sit on thrones of nearly equal height.'

-This morning I viewed the Temple; a stupendous fabric, and truly commensurate with the extensive sway of the horrid king. As other temples are usually adorned with figures emblematical of their religion, so Juggernaut has representations (numerous and various) of that vice, which cons'tutes the essence of his wore ship. The walls and ga 2. covered with indecent emblems, in massive and

- Ipture.--I have also visited the sand plains by ti

places whitened with the bones of the pilgrini.

ner place a little way out of the town, called hy the English, the Golgo

tha, where the dead bodies are usually cast forth; an where dogs and vultures are ever seen.'*

' The grand Hindoo festival of the Rutt Jattra, takes place on the 18th inst. when the idol is to be brought forth to the people.

I reside during my stay here at the house of James Hunter, esq. the Company's collector of the tax on pilgrims, and superintendant of the temple, formerly a student in the College of Fort-William; by whom I am hospitably entertained, and also by Captain Patton, and Lieut. Woodcock, commanding the military force. Mr. Hunter distinguished himself at the College by his proficiency in the Oriental Language. He is gentleman of polished manners and of classical taste. The agreeable society of these gentlemen is very refreshing to my spirits in the midst of the present

I was surprised to see how little they seemed to be moved by the scenes of Juggernaut. They said they were now so accustomed to them, they thought

a

scenes.

* The vultures generally find out the prey first: and begin with the intestines; for the flesh of the body is too firm for tbeir beaks immediately after death. But the dogs soon receive notice of the circumstance, generally from seeing the Hurries, or corpse-carriers, returning from the place. On the approach of the dogs, the vultures retire a few yards, and wait till the body be sufficiently torn for easy deglutition. The vultures and dogs often feed together; and sometime begin their attack before the pilgrim be quite dead. There are four animals which are sometimes seen about a carcase, the dog, the jackal, the vulture, and the Hurgeela, or Adjutant, called by Pennant, the Gigantic Crane.

little of them. They had almost forgot their first impressions. Their houses are on the sea shore, about a mile or more from the temple. They cannot live nearer, on account of the offensive effluvia of the town. For independently of the enormity of the superstition, there are other circumstances which render Juggernaut noisome in an extreme degree. The senses are assailed by the squalid and ghastly appearance of the famished pilgrims ; many of whom die in the streets of want or of disease; while the devotees with clotted hair and painted flesh, are seen practising their various austerities, and modes of selftorture. Persons of both sexes, with little regard to concealment, sit down on the sands close to the town, in public view; and the SACRED BULLS walk about among

them and eat the ordure.'* · The vicinity of Juggernaut to the sea probably prevents the contagion, which otherwise would be produced by the putrefactions of the place.---There is scarcely any verdure to refresh the sight near Juggernaut ; the temple and town being nearly encompassed by hills of sand, which has been cast up in the lapse of ages surge of the ocean.

All is barren and desolate to the eye; and in the ear there is the never-intermitting sound of the roaring sea.'

by the

* This singular fact was pointed out to me by the gentlemen here. There is no vegetation for the sacred Bulls on the sand plains. They are fed generally with vegetables from the hands of the pilgrims.

« السابقةمتابعة »