Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

13._Quem deus vult perdere, prius dementat_.

14.  The judge cleverly combines the opinions of the adherents of both sects.

CHAPTER 26

Artificial Lakes in Bundelkhand—­Hindoo, Greek, and Roman Faith.

On the 11th[1] we came on twelve miles to the town of Bamhauri, whence extends to the south-west a ridge of high and bare quartz hills, towering above all others, curling and foaming at the top, like a wave ready to burst, when suddenly arrested by the hand of Omnipotence, and turned into white stone.  The soil all the way is wretchedly poor in quality, being formed of the detritus of syenitic and quartz rocks, and very thin.  Bamhauri is a nice little town,[2] beautifully situated on the bank of a fine lake, the waters of which preserved during the late famine the population of this and six other small towns, which are situated near its borders, and have their lands irrigated from it.  Besides water for their fields, this lake yielded the people abundance of water-chestnuts[3] and fish.  In the driest season the water has been found sufficient to supply the wants of all the people of those towns and villages, and those of all the country around, as far as the people can avail themselves of it.

This large lake is formed by an artificial bank or wall at the south-east end, which rests one arm upon the high range of quartz rocks, which run along its south-west side for several miles, looking down into the clear deep water, and forming a beautiful landscape.

From this pretty town, Ludhaura, where the great marriage had lately taken place, was in sight, and only four miles distant.[4] It was, I learnt, the residence of the present Raja of Orchha, before the death of his brother called him to the throne.  Many people were returning from the ceremonies of the marriage of ‘salagram’ with ‘Tulasi’; who told me that the concourse had been immense—­at least one hundred and fifty thousand; and that the Raja had feasted them all for four days during the progress of the ceremonies, but that they were obliged to defray their expenses going and coming, except when they came by special invitation to do honour to the occasion, as in the case of my little friend the Sagar high priest, Janki Sewak.  They told me that they called this festival the ’Dhanuk jag’;[5] and that Janakraj, the father of Sita, had in his possession the ‘dhanuk’, or immortal bow of Parasram, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, with which he exterminated all the Kshatriyas, or original military class of India, and which required no less than four thousand men to raise it on one end.[6] The prince offered his daughter in marriage to any man who should bend this bow.  Hundreds of heroes and demigods aspired to the hand of the fair Sita, and essayed to bend the bow; but all in vain, till young Ram, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu,[7] then a lad of only ten years of age, came; and at

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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