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Archaeological Survey of India Report of A Tour Through the Bengal Provinces (Volume 8)

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Item Code: NAW453
Author: J. D. Beglar and A. Cunningham
Language: English
Edition: 2000
Pages: 258 (22 b/w Illustrations)
Other Details 11.00 X 7.00 inch
Weight 710 gm
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Book Description

Mr. BEGLAR began the tour described in the present volume at Patna on the Ganges, where he was led to examine the question of the ancient course of the Son river. This question he has discussed at considerable length, and with much acuteness. I have myself lately gone over all the country to the south of Patna,. when I made a searching enquiry into the subject, and the result of my investigation most amply confirms all that Mr. Beglar has advanced. He has clearly established the fact that a large river bed is traceable from Tarirh (near Daiidnagar) on the Son, eid Rampur-chai and Kyal to Siddhrampur and Sonbhadr on the Puinpin river. Now there can be no doubt that Siddh rampur is the same place as Siddhasrampur, which was certainly on the Son; and the name of Sonbhadr speaks for itself, as Sonabhadra is one of the well-known names of the river at the present day. The lower course of the present Painpin river was therefore the ancient course of. the Son, the junction taking place at Sonbhadr. The Murhar river then joined the Son 4. miles to the west of Jahanabad. Both sand and boulder stones were found at Nima, on the present course of the Murhar, when digging for the foundations of a bridge between Bankipur and Jahan- Abad. I made numerous diggings still further to the east, and at Pakaoli, Pathariya Jhil, and Kasha Patna, all to the south of the present city, I found coarse red sand and boulder stones. Similar sand is also said to be found at Chilbil, A miles to the south of Phulwari, and near Maholi on the lower course of the Pimpin. Putting all these facts together, it would appear that the Son must formerly have flowed from a point close to Daiidnagar to Siddhrampur, and thence to Sonbhadr on the Pinpin, from which it followed the present course of the Panpin and Murhar rivers to Chilbil, south of Phulwari, where it turned first to the east as far as Panch-Pahari, and then to the south-east, finally joining the Ganges at Fatuha. The long tract of low ground in this direction is noticed by Buchanan. It. is almost destitute of trees, and the inundation waters of the Son, Pinpin, and Murhar still find their way down’ this old bed to the Ganges, ‘This is the old channel to which Buchanan gives the name of Mar-son, the "dead or‘ deserted Son." The courses of the Ganges and Son would thus have been nearly parallel for many miles, and in this narrow tract, lying between the two rivers, was situated the famous city of Pataliputra or Palibothra, the capital of the Gangetic Provinces. The site was exactly similar to that of Hamirpur in the long narrow strip of land between the Jumna and Betwa rivers. Connected with Palibothra Mr. Beglar has broached a theory that the Erannoboas of the Greeks was not identi- cal with the Son, because’ " both Pliny and Arrian mention the Son and Erannoboas as distinct rivers " [p. 4]. But the very same objection holds good as to the Gandak being the other large river, as Pliny mentions the Condochates as well as the Erannoboas. There is another fatal objec- tion to the identification of the Gandak with the Eranno- boas, as the Gandak is a female river, while the Hiranyabéhe (or Erannaboas) is a male river like the Sona, whose wooing of the Narbada river is a well-known legend. I may add that, according to Patanjali, the city of Pataliputra was actually situated on the Son (Anu Gangam Pédtalipu- fram) ; and as Mr. Beglar himself has shown in the previous discussion that the old course of the Son flowed past the southern side of the city, then the Son, on which Pataliputra stood, must be the same river as the Erannoboas, on which Palibothra stood.

To the south of Patna Mr. Beglar visited Telddha or Leléra, a place which Mr. Broadley has described, and which I have identified with the 7i-lo-tse-kia of Hwen Thsang. Mr. Fergusson has objected to this identification that I "persist" in calling the monastery Tiladaka, "though M. Julien calls it Tilacakya.* It is true that M. Julien So names it in two places (I, 139, and II, 439); but in athird place (I, 211) he calls it Tilataka, and in his index, at the end of volume III, he gives both readings, Ti-lo-tse-kia or Tiladhaka, and Ti-lo-shi-kia or 1-la-ca-kia. But with re- gard to this latter reading he adds: "mais peut-etre que dans ce mot, ou chi (ca) a le méme groupe phonetique que tse (dha), it faut reconnaitre la transcription fautive de Tiladhaka." Here it will be seen that M. Julien himself gives the preference to the reading of Tiladaka which I have adopted, and as the Chinese syllable tse is the usual representative of the Sanskrit cerebral d or ¢ (just as we say nasheon for nation), I thought it very probable that it was the same place as the Tilldra of our maps. The proper name of this place is Telddha, the Tillara of Mr. Broadley. Here Mr. Beglar. found the short inscription which Mr. Broadley describes as illegible, but in which he read the word Samvat. The inscription is -on the architrave of the entrance to an old Masjid which is built of Hindu materials. It opens with the words Sri Lelédhaka; and there is no trace whatever of the word Samvat. During the past cold season I paid a visit to Telddha where I obtained a small Buddhist figure, with an inscription round the head opening with the words

Telédhakya véstavyam.

With these two ancient evidences of the old name of Teleddhaka, and with the modern spelling of the name as Telddha, I believe that my identification of it with Hwen Thsang’s monastery of Ziladhaka is now placed beyond all doubt.

In his account of Rajgir Mr. Beglar has broached a theory regarding the Sattapanni cave, which, in my opinion, is quite untenable. I believe that the only cave in these hills which has any claim to be identified with the famous Sattapani cave is the artificial cave now called Son-bhandar.

This is the only one that has been regularly cut and formed with chisel, like those at Barabar. It bears also on the outside a row of socket holes, for the ends of the wooden beams of an outer apartment, which agrees with the descrip- tion of the hall prepared by Ajatasatru for the reception of the 500 monks who formed the first Buddhist Synod. Lastly, this cave is situated in the south face of the Baibh4r moun- tain, exactly as described in the Pali annals of Burma.

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