The City of BENARES has long been known to Europe as the principle seat of Hindoo learning and superstition, and as the stronghold of the Brahminical faith in modern times. Its extent and importance have been magnified in all ages, and its wonders depicted in colors far too vivid to be correct. But it has always possessed enough of real attraction to the curious in Indian manners and literature, and deservedly, therefore, occupies a prominent place in the relations of Indian Travellers. Amongst others of less note, the descriptions of TAVERNIER and HEBER will long continue to be read with interest:-the former, as a lively picture of Benaresw in 1668, before the prostration of its temples by AURUNGZEBE, and while there yet remained some vestiges of the splendor of its idolatries; the latter, as introducing the reader, in the amiable prelate's agreeable and instructive manner, to Benares, as it appeared to him on his visit in 1825.
The pencil, though not entirely idle, has hitherto done little to bring the Holy City to the notice of Europe. Sketches of the place, as viewed from the river, are indeed to be found in he volumes both of HEBER and LORD VALENTIA; but they are executed with little either of minuteness or fidelity. A fine drawing of Dusaswumedh Ghat is also to be met with in the magnificent Oriental Portfolio of DANIELL: but these detached views convey to the European reader a very faint idea of the town and its population,-certainly not enough to satisfy curiosity regarding a place which exhibits a larger remnant of the external characteristics of Hindoo taste and habits, than is to be met with in any other Eastern city within the pale of British dominion.
The specimens here presented to the public have no pretension to vie with the works of professional art, by which the cities of Europe have been illustrated. The collection of them amused a portion of the leisure of a ten years' official residence upon the spot; and they were intended, with several others, and a Map of the city, to illustrate the labors of a literary friend, whom other important duties have diverted from the present execution of his design. The only merit aimed at, has been that of faithful delineation. The Map was published in 1824: the views were produced In three series at considerable intervals, owing to the necessity of sending the original drawings to England to be executed in lithography under the charge of a relation, to whose interested exertions, the author is mainly indebted for their appearance before the world. The absence of a correcting hand, acquainted with the peculiarities of Indian costume and scenery, will account for some small errors which a critical eye may detect in several of the representations.
Some of the Plates have been engraved in Calcutta, and although very inferior to the advanced productions of the art at home, still it is hoped they will give a favourable idea of the capabilities of native artists.
A brief explanation accompanies each plate; but for the benefit of those not conversant with the subject, it has been deemed convenient to preface the whole with a few general observations on the antiquity, history and population of the town.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend