PLACES OF INTEREST

LONAD.

Lona'd is an alienated village, about four miles north of Kalyan, and six miles south-east of Bhiwndi. The village lies about half a mile north of the Ulhas river, in a bare rice flat, broken by low grass uplands. Some of the fields are hedged with prickly pear, and the level of the rice grounds is broken by a few groups of mangoes and tall single brab palms.

Remains.

To the north stretch low rolling bare hills with the great cleft head of Mahuli towering behind. To the south, the winding line of the Kalyan creek, is marked by rows of brab palms, and beyond are low rounded hills, and, in the distance the jagged crest of Malanggad, the long even-topped crags of Tavli, and to the left the single peak of Chanderi. A group of Buddhist caves of the sixth or seventh century in a glen about a mile north of the village, a group of sculpture perhaps of the tenth century in a shed about half a mile to the south of the village, a ruined Shaiv temple of the eleventh or twelfth century in the heart of the village, the mention of another temple in a beautifully cut land-grant stone dated A.D. 1239 (S. 1161), in a field close to the group of sculpture, and the sites of several other temples and old buildings, show that Lonad was a place of religious interest from the seventh to the thirteenth century.

From Bhiwndi, after seeing the old mosque and tombs and the traces of earlier Hindu buildings at Sonavli, [Details are given under Sonavli.] a rough country track leads about three miles east to Chaudharpada, a hamlet about half a mile south of Lonad. On the way, about a mile to the west, in Lonad limits, is a sun and moon grant-stone much worn with the date A.D. 1184 (S. 1106). At Chaudharpada, under a small badly repaired tile roof, on a plinth about three feet high, are a finely carved ling and a well-cut and well-preserved group (2' 7" x 2' 2") of a four-armed Mahadev with Parvati on his left knee. In Mahadev's upper right hand is a trident, and in his lower right hand, a citron; in his upper left hand a snake and in his under left hand a lotus. Parvati's hair is gathered in a big knot at the back of her neck. She has large earrings, well-carved bracelets and necklace, and the ends of her robe are clearly shown. The work is probably of about the tenth century. About 100 yards to the east, lying on the ground, is an inscribed slab of trap 6' 2" x 1' 5" x 10". At the top are the sun and moon with an urn-shaped water pot between them; below is a clear cut writing of twenty-three lines in Devanagari character and Sanskrit language; below the writing is the usual ass-curse.

Inscription.

The writing begins with an invocation to Sumpeshvar [In another place the name is given as Shompeshvar.] Mahadev and records a grant by Apararka's son Keshidev in Shak 1161 (A.D. 1239) on Monday, Magh Vadya 14th, i.e. Mahashivratri or the great night of Shiv (January-February). The grant is described as having been made in front of the image of the god (Sumpeshvar). It presents a village named Brahmapuri to the poet Soman ' devoted to the worship of Shompeshvar.' The names of four ling ministrants or batukas are given, Somnayak, Ramnayak, Govindnayak, and Naonayak, and a grant to them is recorded of Majaspalli (?) in Bapgram, evidently the modern Babgaon about half a mile to the south of Chaudharpada.

The temple of Sumpeshvar referred to in this grant seems to have stood on a mound about fifty yards north of where the grant-stone is lying. The ground is full of old bricks and large dressed stones. It was close to this that the above-mentioned Mahadev and Parvati group was found. At two other places one about sixty yards to the north, the other about 100 yards to the west of this mound, are traces of old bricks and raised plots the sites of old buildings.

Temple.

In the village of Lonad, about a quarter of a mile to the north, is a ruined temple of Rameshvar, built of well-dressed slabs of trap fitted without mortar and with cross-corner domes in the Chalukyan or Hemadpanti style, perhaps about the eleventh century. The temple was entered from the east; the shrine was in the west, and, in front of the shrine, was a hall with a central dome, and apparently two side shrines to the north and south. There is no trace of the entrance porch, and the roof of the hall has fallen and been carried away, leaving only small sections of the outer rim of the dome. There are remains of the side shrines, and, in the west, the walls of the vestibule or passage to the shrine. On the passage walls, about eight feet from the ground, are two belts of figure sculptures each about a foot broad. Some of the groups of sculpture are indecent. The roof of the passage in front of the shrine remains, and in the ceiling is a finely carved lotus stone. A door, seven feet by three and a half, leads to the shrine, which is below the level of the ground and is reached by four steps. The shrine measures about nine and a half feet square and has walls of plain dressed stone. On the north wall, about five feet from the ground, is a stone shelf for worship-vessels, and, about five feet higher, groups of little pilasters, standing out from the wall, support the outer rim of a dome which rises in three tiers to a finely carved lotus-flower key-stone. The object of worship is a made ling; the ministrant is the headman of the village an Agri by caste; the offerings are flowers. The shrine is in good repair. It is interesting as showing the arrangements of the ruined Ambarnath shrine which it closely resembles. Both have the channel, some feet up the wall, through which water is poured to deluge the god in seasons of short rainfall. The carving is probably about the eleventh century. The temple is much smaller and more, ruined than the Ambarnath temple, and does not seem to have been nearly so richly carved.

Cave.

About [With a few additions the account of the Lonad cave is from Mr. W. F. Sinclair's description in the Indian Antiquary, IV. 68. The sculpture readings are by Mr. Bhagvanlal Indraji.] a mile north of the village, in the east face of a small glen, is a Buddhist chapel or Chaitya cave, and two or three unfinished cells. From a narrow belt of rice land that runs up the glen, the hill sides rise covered with grass and rows of black trap boulders, with a sprinkling of thorn bushes, and, near the glen head, some teak coppice. A steep rough footpath leads to the chapel about 200 feet up the east side of the glen. The chapel consists of a double veranda and a hall, and an unfinished shrine. The eaves and roof of the outer veranda have fallen. It measures sixty-three feet long by nine broad and nine high. At the left end of the veranda is an underground cistern of good water, and, in a recess at the right end, is a large group of figures, a king surrounded by attendants, the figures life-size four feet high as they sit. The outer veranda is divided from the inner veranda by a row of three pillars and end pilasters. The pillars are square, three feet broad on each face, and six feet ten inches high. The capital of the pillar to the right is plain; the other pillars have rounded fluted capitals. In the face of the left end pilaster a modern Ganpati has been carved, and there is a modern ling in the veranda. Above the pillars, at the back of the veranda, runs a sculptured frieze of panels of human figures carved with skill and spirit, but about one-third defaced. The inner veranda measures about fifty feet by nine and nine feet high. The walls are plain. It opens into the hall by a central and two side doors. The central door, which measures seven and a half feet by four and a half, has side mouldings and two pilasters. Below, at each side, are two stools or pedestals, like a basket or jar carried on some one's head, hands clasping the sides to keep the jar steady. Over the door are the lightly-chiselled outlines of three tiny horseshoe arches. The left side door measures six feet ten inches high by three feet eight inches wide, and the right side door seven feet nine by three feet ten. They are plainer than the central door but have small standing side figures. The hall is about fifty feet long by eighteen broad, and ten or eleven high. In the centre of the back wall is an unfinished shrine. It has two rough modern images, smeared with redlead, Khandeshvari to the right and Mahishamardini or the buffalo-slayer to the left. The unfinished cells are a little up the hill to the left.

The chief interest in the cave is the sculptured group at the south end of the outer veranda, and the carved scroll that runs along the top of its inner face. The group in the south wall is a king and attendants. In the centre sits a beardless king, his right foot raised on the seat and his left foot hanging in the air and held by a woman who fondles or shampoes it. His right hand is broken, and his left hand rests near his left hip on a waistcloth of fine muslin which hardly shows. In front is a spittoon. Behind the king, on the right, a woman holds a guitar in her left hand, and the king's sword in her right, the hilt close to her right ear. Behind this woman are men and women servants, one with a wash-pot another with flowers. Above the king stands a woman, with her finger to her lip and a cymbal in her hand, [Laying the finger on the lip is a mark of respect. At Kalikat, in 1514, the princes stood in front of the Zamorin's throne, their swords withdrawn, and their left hands placed on their mouths out of respect. Stanley's Barbosa, 110.] and, beside her, are a man and a woman holding some article for the king's toilet. To the king's left is a woman with a purse in one hand and a cup-closed water-pot in the other. In the extreme left, a man seems to touch her right earring. Below two men, perhaps ministers, with close-curled hair, sit talking together. In the right, two men sit talking, and above them is a woman. The group is well-carved but damaged. It probably belongs to the sixth or seventh century. [This group closely resembles several sixth century paintings in Cave I. at Ajanta. The Hindu king, with his bevy of concubines and serving women, is a favourite topic with early Musalman and European travellers. At the close of the thirteenth century the Persian historian 'Abd-ul-lah Wassaf (Elliot and Dowson, III, 53) describes the ruler of Malabar when the day's duties were over, calling a thousand beautiful courtezans to wait on him, some as chamberlains, some as interpreters, and some as cup-bearers. Early in the sixteenth century (1501-1517) the Genoese traveller Barbosa (Stanley's Barbosa, 88) described the king of Narsingh or Vijayanagar, about thirty-five miles north-west of Belari, the rival of the Musalman states of Bijapur and Golkonda, as always waited on by women, who were of three classes, wives, concubines, and serving women. At the same time the Zamorin of Kalikat had always at court a thousand waiting women of good family to sweep his palaces and houses. This he did for state, because fifty would have been enough to keep the place swept. The women came to sweep and clean twice a day, each with a broom and a brass dish holding cowdung wetted in water. After sweeping, they smeared the ground with a thin coating of cowdung which dried immediately. The women took turns of serving, and, when the king visited a temple, the women marched in front of him spilling cowdung as they went. On certain occasions, he adds, the thousand women gave a great feast to the king. They met at the king's house much adorned with jewelry, gold belts, pearls, and many gold bracelets, rings with precious stones, ankle rings of gold on their legs, dressed from the waist down in very rich silk stuffs or very fine cotton. Their feet were bare, and, from the waist upwards they were bare, anointed with sandal and perfumes, their hair wreathed with flowers, and their ears adorned with rings of gold and precious stones. (Ditto 112, 113,114),

The bareness of the upper part of the women's bodies in this and other early Hindu sculptures and paintings, is, perhaps, not an illustration of the ordinary women's dress of the time, but part of the respect due to the king or to the god in whose presence they are. Grose's [Voyage, I. 244 (1750-1770)] story of the Kanarese queen of Attinga, who ordered a woman's breasts to be cut off, because she came before her with her breasts covered, is a curious instance of the law of deferential uncovering. The stripping and making bare, sometimes, went even further than the waist. Ibn Batuta (1340) found that in Africa all women had to go unclothed into the presence of the Sultan of Melli, and Captain Speke (1860) found that at Uganda, also in Africa, stark-naked full-grown women were the valets. Other examples of less extreme forms of this law are given in Tylor's Early History of Mankind, 48-51, and Spencer's Ceremonial Institutions, 128-134. Traces of the law remain in the oriental baring of the feet, in the Hindu baring of the head and of the body down to the waist while performing religious ceremonies, including the ceremony of eating, in the Spanish uncloaking, and in the English unhatting. It, perhaps, has revived in the bare shoulders and arms of the full or evening dress of the higher classes of European women. Till the time of Charles II. (1660), the law was obeyed by the kings and queens of England, who, on the coronation day, stripped to the waist to receive the holy anointing.]

The scroll or cornice on the back wall of the outer veranda is divided by plain upright bands into panels about a foot square. Beginning from the left or north end, in the first panel is a man seated on a couch with a woman beside him. In the next are the broken figures of two men. In the third, from the left, come an elephant with two riders, a man running in front, and a man behind with a sword. From the right two men come running. In the fourth panel are an elephant and a crowned chief, who seems to give something to a man with an umbrella, perhaps a hermit. Beyond him are two or three hermit-like figures, one a woman. In the fifth panel a king lolls on a couch with one foot drawn up on the seat; in front is a spittoon; at the sides are two women, four seated men, and four women, one with a garland. In the sixth panel, a chief drives in a horse chariot, and a man of rank comes to meet him; behind are some men, one a musician and one a dwarf. In the seventh panel is a (broken) chariot with two children, and figures bringing something which is broken. In the eighth panel, in the left, are a woman with a child and something in her hand, a man of rank, then three men of rank with fine head-dresses; then a woman and two children; then two men standing. In the ninth panel two men sit in the centre one with his hand on his chin, the other with his chin on his knees; in the left are two broken standing figures. The next panels are lost. Above the right pillar the frieze can again be deciphered. In the first panel are broken figures in the left, perhaps musicians, then attendants, and, in the right, a woman seated on a chair, with a servant behind with a fly-whisk, and another with a toilet-case. In the next a central figure, a man of rank perhaps the chief's son or his minister, seems to be called by a mace or spear-bearer perhaps to go to the chief. In the next, the central figure of the last panel is seated before the chief; another man is seated in front. In the next is the spearman, a woman with a child, and a chief on a couch: the rest is broken. In the next a woman lies on a couch, surrounded by twelve women servants. In the next a man, either a chief or a monk, is seated in the centre: near him a man seems to be driven away; people sit or stand about. In the last a king and queen are seated, the queen with a child in her hand; about are women servants and a dwarf.

The veranda faces nearly south-west. Like most Buddhist caves it has a fine view up and across the little glen, and, to the south, over the lake and wood of Lonad, level rice lands with few trees and some ranges of low hills, across the Kalyan creek, to the dim picturesque crests of Malanggad, Tavli, and Chanderi.