PLACES OF INTEREST

MAGATHAN.

Ma'ga'than, about half a mile east of the Borivli station on the Baroda railway, is the site of the deserted village of Magathan. [In 1675 Fryer speaks of Magathan as a town and country seat, provided everywhere with churches. New Account, 73.] The village is held by a landlord or khot, and has been deserted for eight years. The sites of the houses may be seen on a rising ground overgrown with brushwood. All the remains seem to be modern, the ruins of cement-built houses. The Tulsi river, which runs about a mile to the north, is tidal to within a mile and a half of the village. At the foot of the mound, a little to the east, is a hole or quarry, apparently old. A little further, in a black round-topped mass of coarse rotten breccia, are cut the Magathan or Poinsar Caves, including a chapel cave on the south and a monastery cave on the north. To the north, in front of the monastery, is an open space surrounded by low rocks. The whole roof of the monastery has fallen in. The inside of the monastery shows that there has been a central hall, about twenty-five feet square and eight feet high, and two aisles on the east and west, with two plain pillars and two pilasters, the aisle twenty-five feet long and six feet deep. In the back wall are two plain cells about five feet square and five high. The only carving is, on the north pilaster of the east veranda, a mark like a crescent or a pair of sharp horns. Through the wall of the monastery a, passage leads into the chapel cave. The rock, which has worn into a rough surface like a pudding stone, has lost most of its carving. Enough remains to show that the work is late, perhaps of the sixth or seventh century. The image of Buddha can hardly be traced; it seems to have been seated. On the wall are the remains of some figures, one a seated Buddha. The pillars of the chapel veranda are cushion capitalled like those of Elephanta, probably older. To the south are other plain caves. To the east is a rock-cut cistern. Across the rice-fields, about 300 yards to the east, a flat surface of trap, about two feet above the level of the ground, has been hollowed into an underground cistern about forty yards into thirty, and ten feet deep. In the rock are two openings three feet five inches square. The rock between the two openings has fallen in. To the east the surface of the rock has been roughly hollowed into a trough. The village of Poinsar, after which the caves are sometimes named, lies about half a mile to the south.

Buddhist Tombs.

On the west bank of a double pond, about 200 yards north of the cistern, are two old Musalman tomb stones, rather finely carved with hanging chains. About 300 yards to the east, on a low mound covered with grass, karand bushes, and brab palms, are two Buddhist tombstones or daghobas. They are of dressed trap, about two feet three inches square at the foot, and rise, with moulding and flat bands, in a cone about three feet four long, about six feet round at the middle, and five near the top. On the top are traces of a broken Tee. To the west is a rough bush-covered mound of undressed stone, about three feet high, and nineteen feet by thirteen at the base. The tomb-stone or cone seems to have stood at the centre of this mound. Several big roughly dressed stones lie about. A yard or two to the north, hidden in thorn bushes and partly buried in the ground, stands a second tomb-stone of the same style and size as the first. The mound on which it stood seems to have been opened and searched. Some bricks are lying about. The age of the stone seems about the seventh or eighth century.

About forty yards east is a small burial mound, about four feet round and one foot high. Two hundred yards to the south-east, at the edge of the rice land, lying on the grass, is a big slab of trap, seven feet one inch high and one foot six inches broad. At the top it is carved into a big funereal urn, with heavy ears, tied with a hanging bow of ribbon. Below are three belts of figures cut in the slab. The story begins with the lowest belt, the figure of a dead man. In the middle of the belt above is a woman, the widow of the man below, who, supported by another woman on the left, prepares to throw herself into the funeral fire. On the right is a band of musicians. The belt above is in Shiv's heaven or kailas, where the husband and wife meet. The carving probably belongs to the tenth century. About two hundred yards further, near a pond, is an old well where, in the hot weather, carved stones are said to be seen. On the bank is an old water trough hewn out of a block of trap. About a hundred yards east, near the west bank of the Dev pond, stands a modern temple to the village gods. Inside of the temple, to the left of the village god, is a burial stone or daghoba, about one foot five inches high and two feet ten inches round the middle. The Tee at the top has been broken and an oil cup set in its place. A bench of old dressed stone runs round the wall, and some old stones are built into the wall. These stones were taken from a slightly raised site, a few yards to the south, where lines of old stones and bricks still leave the outline of a Buddhist monastery. The outer walls were of stone and enclosed a space about fifty feet square, apparently with a central hall and rows of side and end cells with brick partitions, the cells about eight feet by six. About ten yards in front of the village temple, is a stone finely carved with small umbrella-shaded daghobas. It probably belonged to a Buddhist temple of the sixth or seventh century. On the south bank of the Dev pond is a trap slab the upper face plain. About sixty yards to the south-east is an old well, seven feet across, of dressed stone neatly built in rings, the stones cut in different sizes, but most of them like bricks nine inches long by five broad and two thick. The well seems to be of the age of the Buddhist temple (7th century). A few yards to the east are two other holes, one apparently a well the other perhaps a bathing pool. Both are full of earth. At the south end of the steep bare knoll or rounded hill to the north of the Dev lake, perhaps about 200 feet above the level of the rice lands, is a brick burial mound about twenty-two feet round. It has been lately opened, either for its bricks or in search of treasure. From the burial mound the hill top rises to the north, a bare rock with a sprinkling of thorn bushes, apparently no signs of other burial mounds. The hill top has a fine view east up the wooded Tulsi valley, with the bush-crested spur of Kanheri on the horizon. Near the hill foot lies the green belt of brab palms, and to the west, beyond a stretch of rich rice lands and mango gardens, the watch-tower and Cathedral of Mandapeshvar stand out from the trees. About half a mile northwest of this hill, under a small gnarled tamarind tree, near the Tulsi river, about a third of a mile north-east of the Borivli station, stands a big slab of trap five feet high and eighteen inches broad. The top is carved into a funereal urn, and there are two eight inch belts of carving below. In the lower belt, on the left, is an elephant with a dead man under it, and, on the right, three archers. In the upper belt, on the right, are foot archers, and, on the left, a mounted archer. It is a palia or memorial stone of some chief who fell in battle, perhaps on the spot. The carving is probably of the eleventh or twelfth century. This stone is worshipped. The urn is brightened with red paint, and when the rice crop is carried a cock is offered to the stone and eaten by the owner of the field. A large plot of ground in which the stone stands is known as Kanherichi jaga. It seems to be the land which, an inscription in Kanheri cave 81 records, as given to the monastery by Aparenuka of Kalyan, about A.D. 177-196. It is a curious example of the great age of the names of some village fields.