PLACES OF INTEREST

GOREGAON.

Goregaon, in Salsette about eighteen miles north of Bombay, is a station on the Baroda railway. The traffic returns show no goods but an increase in passengers from 29,630 in 1873 to 46,785 in 1880. Near Goregaon are some interesting early Hindu remains. About a mile to the south-east, on the way to the Jogeshvari caves, are carved stones which seem to belong to a temple of the twelfth century, and, near Akurli, about three miles to the north-east, in the direction of the Kanheri caves, is the Padan rock on whose bald head are carvings and writings, perhaps between the first and the fifth century A.D., apparently an odd mixture of Buddhist and Brahman symbols.

About a mile south-east of the village in the outer face of the back wall of the Goregaon temple is a spirited lion's head, and a few yards off a fine well apparently of old dressed stones. These stones were brought from a ruined temple on the river bank, about a quarter of a mile north of their present site, in ground thickly overgrown with brushwood and with a tall notable pipal tree. Under a big banian tree, overgrown by its roots, is the capital of a pillar and a seated figure apparently of Bhairav. Close to the large pipal about fifty yards south-east, in a thorn thicket, is an old broken bull with bell necklace, and near it a mound apparently with remains of old bricks. In an open field about forty yards to the south is an unfinished Ganpati.

About three miles north-east of Goregaon station, in a small wooden temple within the lands of the deserted village of Akurli, is an image of Devi, known as Karsangli Devi. This image is said to have been found at the bottom of a pond about thirty years ago, and was set up and provided with a temple by a large Hindu land owner Mr. Bhau Rasul. A few years ago (1875) a childless Hindu made a vow to the goddess and in due course his wife had a son. Since then a yearly fair has been held on Magh fullmoon (January-February). It is attended by about 1000 Hindus, besides some Musalmans and Parsis.

Padan.

In the forest and brushwood lands, about 500 yards east of this temple rises a great dome of black trap known as the padan. From the west it rises with a gentle bush-covered slope to a bare flat top, and ends eastward in a sheer cliff about 200 feet high. The hill lies five or six miles west of Kanheri, and the black cleft in which the Kanheri caves are cut, and above, the patch of brushwood, that marks the site of one of the old burial mounds, can be clearly seen. The country between rises in long slopes, the upper slopes covered with teak and other timber, the lower thick with a forest of brab palms. The name padan is probably modern Marathi and means a resting-place for cattle, which, in the rainy months, are said to leave the wet lowlands and come to rest on the smooth dry hill-top.

Two local stories explain the sanctity of the hill. According to one account, a supernatural cow, which lived on the hill-top and hated the sight of man, was once pursued and disappeared into the rock through a small hole, under a gnarled old tamarind tree, at the north-west side of the hill top. The hole looks artificial as if the mouth of a ruined shrine or cell. Kathkaris sometimes enter in search of porcupine quills and are said to be able to crawl for some distance. According to the other story, the hill is called Homacha Dongar from a holy woman who lived on the top and offered herself as a fire sacrifice. That it was a holy place and a dwelling of sages appears from some of the inscriptions which mention the names of sages and speak of pleasure grounds, aramas. There is a pond to the west of the hill, which is said to have been lined with dressed stones and may have been connected with the hill by a flight of steps. Of the steps no trace remains.

Going up from the north, there are, on the top, near the north end and along the west crest, remains of dressed stones and of foundations or retaining walls. In different parts of the bare smooth top are carved tracings of feet: Two pairs of cow's feet (3"), two pairs of calf's feet (2") close by, four toeless feet (one pair 10" X 5", the other 8" X 4") said to be the feet of a man and of a woman, two large sized feet with marked toes (1' 1" X 5"), and some distance off the prints of a child's feet. There are also the Buddhist wheel 9" in diameter, a Buddhist trident 1' 6" across, two conch shells (one 1' 8" x 9", the other 8" x 5"), a round looking-glass with a handle (1'6"x9"), two jugs (one 8"x4', the other 10"x8") and a water pot (1' 2" X 9"). Near several of these carvings short writings have been cut. There are twelve writings all undated, but from the form of the letters estimated to vary between the first and sixth centuries A D. Near the two large human footprints is a group of seven short writings. One of these, in letters of about the first century, runs: ' The sage Musala;' a second, of about the same age, 'The footstep (seat) of Nandi,' a third and fourth, in letters of about the second or third century, reads ' Musaladatta' the same name as the first; a fifth, of about the same age, is ' The step of Rama; and a sixth, also of the second or third century, ' Ja (Ji?) rasandhadatta, probably the name of a sage. [These inscriptions are contributed by Pandit Bhagvanlal Indraji. The first inscription reads: ' Sadhamusala' probably for ' Sidhamusala,' (Sk.) 'Siddhamusala ;' the second Nandi paam, (Sk.) Nandipadam; and the fifth ' Rama ikamo,' (Sk.) Ramavikramah. The rest are as in the text.] The seventh inscription is the formula of the northern Buddhists, 'The object of those (the Adi-Buddhas) who for the sake of religion came into the world (before him, that is before Gautama) the Tathagata (that is he who came as they came, namely Gautama) has explained; what they forbad the great Shramana (that is Gautama) tells as follows:' The letters are of about the sixth century and are written in the southern style of that century.[The letters run, ' Ye dharmmahetu, prabhava hetusteshan Tathagato hyavadatteshan-cha yo nirodha evamvadi Mahashravana.' This is a little incorrect in its spelling, dharmma should be dharmma, hetusteshan should be hetunteshan, and Mahashravana should be Mahashramana. This formula is written at the end of many Buddhist books, and is repeated as a spell or mantra by the Nepalese Buddhists when they offer fried rice to Buddha after worship. It is often found below images of Buddha later than the fifth century.

The formula is differently interpreted. Some take it as an independent verse; others, as in the text, take it to be the first of two verses, the other verse giving what is forbidden.] Besides this group there are four scattered inscriptions in letters whose forms seem to be of about the first century. One of these is ' The western pleasure-grounds of the Vasaka mountain;' the second, opposite to the first, is 'And the eastern pleasure-grounds of Kosikaya (Sk. Kausikeya);' the third is ' Bamhachari (Sk. Brahmachari) Vi (Ma?) kara did....... the farmers;' and the fourth is ' The mountain, the residence of monks all around.' [The first inscription reads: ' Pavatasa Vasasa aramo aparilo' (Sk.) ' Parvatasya Vasakasya aramah aparasthah;' the second, Kosikayasa udao arama cha, (Sk.) Kaushikeyasya udayah aramashcha; the third, ' Bamhachari Vi (Ma ?) Karahi Kudu(m)bika....... Kato, (Sk.) Brahmachari Vi (Ma?) Karaih Kutumbika....... Kritah ;' and the fourth, Pavato abhunto sidhavasati (Sk.) Parvatabhyantah siddhavasatih.]

The top of the rock is about 350 feet long by 130 broad. At the south edge of the crest are the remains of a retaining wall and broken pieces of dressed stone, which seem to mark the site of small Buddhist shrines or temples. There are said to be no caves in the east face of the hill, but this side was not examined.