William Wilson Hunter.

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some 20 miles it forms the boundary between the two Provinces,
after which it flows entirely within the limits of Bengal for 40 miles
farther, and then once more separates the Provinces for 12 miles of
its course. Thence it enters the limits of Bengal, flowing between the
Districts of Champaran and Muzaffarpur (Tirhiit) on the north-east,
and Saran on the south-west. It finally joins the Ganges just opposite
Patna, in lat. 25° 49' 53" n., and long. 85° 13' 45" e. The Gandak is
a snow-fed stream, issuing from the hills at Tribeni ghdt, in the north-
west of Champaran, but it soon afterwards acquires the character of a
deltaic river. Its banks generally rise above the level of the surround-
ing country, and floods accordingly often inundate large tracts of the
low-lying land on either side. It has no tributaries in its course
through the plains, and the drainage of the neighbouring region sets
not towards it, but away from it. The lowest discharge of water into
the Ganges, towards the end of March, amounts to 10,391 cubic feet
per second ; the highest recorded flood volume is 266,000 cubic feet
per second. During a great part of its course, the river is enclosed
by protective embankments. Where it issues from the hills it has
a clear and rapid current of considerable volume, never fordable,
full of rapids and whirlpools, and navigable with difficulty. Rafts
of timber come down the stream from Nepal, and these, with the


sunken snags, render navigation perilous. Grain and sugar are sent
down from Gorakhpur District; and during the rains, boats of 1000
maiinds burthen can make their way up stream as far as Lalganj in
Tirhiit. The down traffic is more considerable than the up trade,
and a register kept for four months of 1868 showed an export of
26,300 tons of produce during that period.

Gandak, Little. — River in the North- Western Provinces ; rises in
the Nepal Hills, and enters Gorakhpur District about 8 miles west of
the Great Gandak; flows parallel with the latter channel southward
through the District, and empties itself into the Gogra (Ghagra) at
Sunaria, just within the limits of Saran in Bengal, in lat. 25° 41' n.,
long. 85° 14' 30" E. Except in the rains, it has a small stream only 20
yards in breadth, and fordable in most places.

Gandava. — PoHtical capital of the Province of Kachhi, Baluchistan,
situated on the Mula Pass route, 40 miles south-west from Bagh. Lat.
28° 32' N., long. 67° 32' E. A fortified place, built apparently on an
artificial mound. The winter residence of the Khan of Khelat, whose
palace w^as described as the only respectable edifice in the place.
This building was almost entirely destroyed by the great floods of
1874. Here also is the Khan's garden within a walled enclosure.
Only periodical visits are paid by the Khan to the town, and the
population therefore is probably a fluctuating one.

Gandevi. — Sub-division of the Gaekwar of Baroda's territory,
Guzerat, Bombay Presidency. Population (1881) 27,762 persons, or
617 to the square mile. Area, 45 square miles. Bounded on the north
and west by the Jalalpur Sub-division of Surat District, and on the
east and south by the Chikhli and Balsar Sub-divisions of the same
District. Land revenue (1879-80), ^14,988. The Sub-division is for
the most part flat, with but few small elevations, and not well w^atered.
The soil is black.

Gandevi. — Town in the Gandevi Sub-division, Baroda territory,
Guzerat, Bombay Presidency, distant 3 miles from the Amalsar
station of the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway, and 28
miles south-east of Surat. Latitude 20° 47' 30" n., longitude 73° 3' e.
Population (188 1) 7082, namely, 4844 .Hindus, 1522 Muhammadans,
662 Parsis, 53 Jains, and i Christian. The town is the head-quarters
station of the vahivdtddr and the faujddr^ and contains a post-office,
dispensary, and an Anglo-vernacular school. Large tank and small
temple. Grain, molasses, ghi^ and castor-oil are the principal articles
of trade.

Gandgarh. — Range of hills in Rawal Pindi and Hazara Districts,
Punjab, being the western portion of General Cunningham's outer or
sub-Himalayan range. Lat. 33° 57' n., long. 72° 46' e. These hills
take their rise in Hazara, and, projecting into Rawal Pindi, end in the


lofty mountain which specially bears the name of Gandgarh. The
northern escarpment toward the valley of Chach descends by gentle
cultivated slopes into the fertile vale at its feet ; but the remaining
sides form rugged and precipitous cliffs, intersected by ravines, through
which the tributaries of the little river Haroh have cut themselves deep

Gandha Madan. — One of the principal peaks in the Orissa Tribu-
tary States, Bengal; situated in Keunjhar State. Lat. 21° 38' 12" n.,
long. 85° 32' 56" E. ; height, 3479 feet.

Gandhol. — Petty State in Kathiawar, Bombay Presidency ; consisting
of I village, with i independent tribute-payer. Population (1881) 191.
Estimated revenue, ;^2oo; tribute of ;£^io, 6s. is paid to the Gaekwar
of Baroda, and i6s. to Junagarh.

Gandikot {^ The Fort of the Gorge ;^ GtuijicottaJi). — Mountain fortress
in Kadapa (Cuddapah) District, Madras Presidency ; situated in the
Yerramalai Mountains, 1670 feet above sea-level. Latitude 14° 48' n.,
longitude 78" 20' e. The fort, with its temple (endowed by the earliest
of the Vijayanagar kings), was a famous stronghold in ancient days.
Built (according to Ferishta) in 1589, it was captured by Golconda, and
held by Mir Jamla ; later it was the capital of one of the five Circars
(Sarkars) of the Karnatic Haidardbad Balaghat, until absorbed by the
Pathan Nawab of Cuddapah. It was here that Fateh Naik, the father
of the great Haidar, first distinguished himself. Haidar improved and
garrisoned the fort, which was captured by Captain Little in the first
war with Tipii in 1791. 'The strong natural fortress of Gandikot
must in olden times have been impregnable. Perched on the scarped
rock that overhangs at a height of some 300 feet the winding Pennar,
this picturesque group of buildings, military and religious together,
illustrate the wild secluded life which to a Hindu robber chief seemed
to be grandeur. Cut off from all but those who sought (and could
climb innumerable stairs) to see him, he surrounded himself at once
with temples and bastions, with a crowd of priests and a rabble of
soldiers ; and yet no sooner was the impregnable fort attacked, than it
belied its name, and yielded to treachery or fear. The fort of Gandikot
was, however, one of the most important in the Cuddapah country. It
was the key to the valley of the Pennar, and its name frequently occurs
in the account of ancient struggles' — (Gribble). The population of
Gandikot town (1881) was 973.

Ganeswari. — River in the Garo Hills District, Assam, rising in
lat. 25° 18' N., long. 90° 49' E., on the skirts of a hill called Kailas.
Its course lies southwards into Maimansingh District, through a hme-
stone formation, in which there are some large stalactite caverns. Its
rocky banks form scenery of a picturesque beauty.

Ganga Bal. — Small lake in Kashmir. — See Gangal.


Gangaikandapur {Gangd-kanda-puram (Tamil), 'The city visited by
the Ganges,' from a well in the temple mythically connected with the
Ganges ; sometimes also called Gaugdiko/idu Solapur, or 'The city of the
Chola king, Gangai').— Town and temple in Trichinopoli District, Madras
Presidency. Situated in latitude 11° i2'3o"n., longitude 79° 30' e., about
6 miles to the east of Jaiamkondu Solapuram ; connected with Udaiyar-
polaiyam by the Chellambaram road, and i mile distant from the great
Trunk Road running from Tanjore to South Arcot. The village is purely
agricultural, (d(d per cent, of the population being cultivators. Close to
the village is one of the most remarkable but least known temples in
Southern India. The building consists of one large enclosure, measuring
584 feet by 372. This was evidently once well fortified by a strong sur-
rounding stone wall, with batteries at each corner. In 1836, however,
the batteries were almost entirely destroyed, and the wall removed, to pro-
vide materials for the dam across the river Coleroon known as the Lower
Anient, which was then under construction. In the place of the old
wall, a low one of stone has been built on two sides of the enclosure,
but the other sides have been left open. The vimana in the centre of
the courtyard is a very conspicuous building, and strikes the eye from a
great distance. The pyramid surrounding it reaches a height of 174
feet. The ruins of six gopiras, or gate pyramids, surmount different
parts of the building. That over the eastern entrance to the main
enclosure was evidently once a very fine structure, being built entirely
of stone except at the very top. It is now almost completely in ruins.
All the lower part of the centre building is covered with inscriptions,
which have not as yet been deciphered. Dr. Caldwell is of opinion
that this temple is one of the great, if not the greatest, of present Hindu
temples, and that the old and splendid temple of Tanjore is probably
merely a model of it. Tradition says that the village was once one of
the principal seats of the Chola kings ; and there is no doubt that it
was formerly a much more important place than it now is. Northward
from its site runs an embankment 16 miles long, provided with several
substantial sluices, and of great strength, which in former times must
have formed one of the largest reservoirs in India. This huge tank or
lake was filled partly by a channel from^ the Coleroon river, upwards of
60 miles in length, which enters it at its southern end ; and partly by a
smaller channel from the Vellar, which entered it on the north. Traces
of both these channels still remain. The tank has been ruined and
useless for very many years, and its bed is now almost wholly over-
grown with high and thick jungle. It is said, traditionally, that its ruin
was wilful, and the act of an invading army. ' All round the Pagoda
and village, but completely overgrown with jungle, are some remains of
ancient buildings, now much resembling the mounds or " heaps " which
indicate the site of ancient Babylon, but in which the village elders

VOL. IV. 2 G


point out the various parts of an extensive and magnificent palace.
When this palace was in existence, Ganga-kanda-puram was the wealthy
and flourishing capital of a small monarchy ; and the great tank spread
fertility and industry over miles and miles of what is now trackless
forest' (Pharaoh). It has more than once been projected to restore
this magnificent work, and to supply it by a channel from the Upper

Gangal. — Tank or small lake in Kashmir State ; on the Harmukh
mountain, near the north-eastern boundary of the valley. Latitude
34° 37' N., longitude 74° 58' e. Length, \\ mile; breadth, 300 yards.
Remarkable only for its sanctity in the eyes of the Hindus, who make
pilgrimages to its banks, and throw into the waters such fragments
of the bones of their relatives as remain unconsumed after the funeral
cremation. Large temple sacred to Siva in his form of Mahadeva.
An annual fair is held here.

Gangapur. — Town in Jaipur State, Rajputana. Population (1881)
5880, namely, 5264 Hindus, 534 Muhammadans, and 82 'others.'

Gangaru.— Town in Muzaffarnagar District, North-Western Pro-
vinces. — See Gangiru.

Gangawali.— Seaport at the mouth of the Gangawali river, North
Kdnara District, Bombay Presidency. Latitude 14° 36' n., longitude
74° 21' E. Population (i 881) 982. In the Ankola customs' division.
Imports for eight years ending 1881-82 averaged ;£"4i8, and exports
;;£"2o63. Famous temple to the goddess Ganga, wife of Siva. The
site also of a timber depot under the Forest Department.

Ganges. — The great river of Northern India, formed by the drainage
of the southern ranges of the Himalayas. This magnificent stream,
which in its lower course supplies the river system of Bengal, rises in
the Garhwal State, in lat. 30° 56' 4" n., and long. 79° 6' 40" e., and falls
into the Bay of Bengal after a course of 1557 miles. It issues under the
name of the Bhagirathi from an ice-cave at the foot of an Himalayan
snow-bed above Gangotri, 13,800 feet above the level of the sea. During
its earlier passage through the southern spurs of the Himalayas, it
receives the Jahnavi from the north-west, and subsequently the Alak-
NANDA, after which the united stream takes the name of the Ganges.
Deo Prayag, the point of junction, is a celebrated place of pilgrimage,
as is also Gangotri, the source of the parent stream. At Sukhi it pierces
through the Himalayas, and turns south-west to Hardwar, also a place
of great sanctity. Thence it proceeds by a tortuous course through
the Districts of Dehra Diin, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr,
and Farukhabad, in which last District it receives the Ramganga. At
Allahabad the type of the river changes. Heretofore, the Ganges has
been little more than a series of shoals, pools, and rapids, except, of
course, during the melting of the snows and the rainy season. At


Allahabad, however, dd'^ miles from its source, it receives the Jumna, a
mighty confluent, which also takes its rise in the Himalayas, to the west
of the sources of the Ganges. The combined river winds eastward by
south-east through the North- Western Provinces, receiving the Giimti
and the Gogra. The point of junction of each of these streams has
more or less claim to sanctity. But the tongue of land at Allahabad,
where the Jumna and the Ganges join, is the true Prayag, the place of
pilgrimage, to which hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus repair to
wash away their sins in the sacred river. Here is held, every twelfth
year, the great himbh fair {^tiela), when the planet Jupiter is in Aquarius
{kiimbk), and the sun in Aries. The last kumbh mela, in 1882, was
attended by from 800,000 to 1,000,000 persons. Pilgrims came from
all parts of India, from Kashmir and Madras, and from Kandahar and
Calcutta. The fair began on the first day of Migh (5th January), and
lasted till the full moon of that month on the 3rd February. The most
strict observers keep the whole month as a period of sanctity, bathing
daily at the confluence of the two rivers, fasting by day, and altogether
abstaining from all but the commonest food. Such devotees are called
kalap-bdshi (good-livers).

Of all great rivers of India, none can compare in sanctity with the
Ganges, or Mother Ganga, as she is affectionately called by devout
Hindus. From her source in the Himalayas to her mouth in the Bay
of Bengal, every foot of her course is holy ground ; and many of the
other sacred rivers of India borrow their sanctity from a supposed
underground connection with her waters. It is interesting to observe
that this superstition is not to be found in the earliest books of Sanskrit
literature, composed at a time when the primitive Aryan race had not
yet penetrated into the great plain of Eastern Hindustan. The legend
of the Ganges first appears in the two epic poems of the Mahabharata
and Ramayana, and affords abundant scope for the mytho-poetic faculty
subsequently displayed in the voluminous literature of the Puranas.
In this legend, which admits of numerous variations, the three supreme
gods of the Hindu Pantheon— Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva— each per-
form a conspicuous part, so that the Ganges has been preserved from
sectarian associations. The human dramatis personce in the story are
localized as princes of Ayodhya, the modern Gudh. Ganga herself is
described as the daughter of the Himalayas, who is persuaded, after
infinite solicitation, to shed her purifying stream upon the sinful
earth. The ice-cavern beneath the glacier at Gangotri, from which
the river springs, is represented as the tangled hair of the god Siva.
The names of Bhagirathi and Sagar have a prominent place in the

After the lapse of twenty centuries, and the rise and fall of rival
religions, veneration for the Ganges still figures as a chief article in


the creed of modern Hinduism. The pre-eminently sacred spots on
its banks — Gangotri, Hardwar, Allahabad, Benares, and Sagar
Island at its mouth — are frequented by thousands of pilgrims from
every Province of the peninsula. Even at the present day, the six
years' pilgrimage from the source to the mouth, and back again, known
as Pradaks/wta, is performed by many ; and a few fanatical devotees
may yet be seen wearily accomplishing this meritorious penance by
' measuring their length.' To bathe in the Ganges, especially at the
great stated festivals, will wash away the stain of sin ; and those who
have thus purified themselves carry back bottles of the sacred water to
their less fortunate relations. To die and be buried on the river bank
is a passport to eternal bliss. Even to exclaim ' Ganga, Ganga,' at the
distance of a hundred leagues, will atone for the sins committed during
three previous lives.

The river thus reverenced by the Hindus deserves their homage by
reason of its exceptional utility for agriculture and navigation. None
of the other rivers of India approach the Ganges in beneficence.
The Brahmaputra and the Indus may have longer streams, as measured
by the geographer, but the upper courses of both lie hidden within the
unknown recesses of the Himalayas. Not one of the great rivers
of Central or Southern India is navigable in the proper sense of the
term. The Ganges begins to distribute fertility as soon as it reaches
the plains, within 200 miles of its sources ; and at the same point it
becomes in some sort navigable. Thenceforwards it rolls majestically
down to the sea in a bountiful stream, which never becomes a merely
destructive torrent in the rains, and never dwindles away in the hottest
summer. If somewhat diminished by irrigation, its volume is forthwith
restored by numerous great tributaries ; and the wide area of its river
basin receives annually a sufficient rainfall to maintain the supply in
every part. Embankments are in few places required to restrain its
inundations, for the alluvial silt which it spills over its banks year by
year affords to the fields a top-dressing of inexhaustible fertility. If
one crop be drowned by the flood, the cultivator calculates that his
second crop will abundantly requite him.

Shortly after passing the holy city of Benares, the Ganges enters Behar,
and after receiving an important tributary, the Son (Soane), from the
south, passes Patna, and obtains another accession to its volume from
the Gandak, which rises in Nepal. Farther to the east, it receives the
Kusi, and then, skirting the Rajmahal Hills, turns sharply to the south-
ward, passing near the site of the ruined city of Gaur. By this time it
has approached to within 240 miles, as the crow flies, from the sea.
About 20 miles farther on, it begins to branch out over the level
country, and this spot marks the commencement of the Delta, 220
miles in a straight line, or nearly 300 by the windings of the


river, from the Bay of Bengal. The main channel takes the name of
the Padma or Padda, and proceeds in a south-easterly direction, past
Pabna to Goalanda, where it is joined by the Jamuna, or main stream
of the Brahmaputra. The vast confluence of waters rushes towards
the sea, receiving further additions from the hill country on the east,
and forming a broad estuary known under the name of the Meghna,
which enters the Bay of Bengal near Noakhali. This estuary, however,
is only the largest and most easterly of a great number of mouths or
channels. The most westerly is the Hugli, which receives the waters
of the three westernmost distributary channels that start from the parent
Ganges in or near Murshidabad District. Between the Hiigli on the
west and the Meghna on the east, lies the Delta. The upper angle of
it consists of rich and fertile Districts, such as Murshidabad, Nadiya,
Jessor, and the Twenty-four Parganas. But towards its southern base,
resting on the sea, the country sinks into a series of great swamps,
intersected by a network of innumerable channels. This wild waste
is known as the Sundarbans, from the sundri tree, which grows in
abundance in the seaboard tracts. The most important channel for
navigation is the Hiigli, on which stands Calcutta, about 80 miles
from the mouth. Above this city, the navigation is almost entirely
conducted by native craft ; the modern facilities for traffic by rail, and
the increasing shoals in the river, having put an end to the previous
steamer communication, which pUed until about i860 to as high up as
Allahabad. In the upper portion of its course in the North-Western
Provinces, timber and bamboos form the bulk of the river trade ;
and in the lower part bordering on Bengal, stone, grain, and cotton.
Below Calcutta, important boat-routes through the Delta connect
the Hiigli with the eastern branches of the river, both for native
craft and steamers. The Ganges is essentially a river of great
cities : Calcutta, Monghyr, Patna, Benares lie on its course below its
union with the Jumna, and Allahabad at the junction of the two

Till within a recent period, the magnificent stream of the Ganges
formed almost the sole cliannel of traffic between Upper India and the
seaboard. The products not only of the river valley, but even the
cotton of the Central Provinces, used formerly to be conveyed by this
route to Calcutta. But though the opening of the railway has caused a
revolution in the channels of trade, heavy goods in bulk still follow the
old means of communication ; and the Ganges may yet rank as one
of the most frequented waterways in the world. In 1877-78, the total
imports from the interior into Calcutta were valued at 36 millions ster-
ling, of which 1 7 millions came rid the Gangetic channels ; country
boats carrying more than 14 millions, and river steamers (chiefly from
the eastwards) 3 millions. The downward traffic, as might be expected,


is most brisk in the rainy season, when the river comes down in flood.
During the rest of the year the boats make their way back up-stream,
often without cargoes, either helped by a favourable wind or laboriously
towed along the bank. The dimensions of the river traffic of Bengal
may be inferred from the following figures, which give the number of
boats passing certain registration stations in 1876-77 : — At Baman-
ghata, on the Circular Canal, 178,627 boats, of which 59,495 were
laden; at Hugh, 124,357, of which 73,233 were laden; at Patna,
61,571, of which 44,384 were laden; at Goalanda, 54,329, of which
42,249 were laden; at Sahibganj, 43,020, of which 30,798 were laden.
The river trade of Bengal with the North-Western Provinces and Oudh
will be seen from the following statistics for 1877-78: — Imports into
Bengal via the Ganges — oil-seeds, 2,619,818 maiuids ; food-grains,
952,521 7)iaunds ; sugar, 970,132 viau7ids ; cotton, 40,192 uiaiinds :
total of the four items, 4,582,663 mamids or 197,759 tons. Exports
from Bengal — food -grains (chiefly rice), 2,299,797 maimds ; salt,
481,820 maimds: total of these two items, 2,781,617 maiuids or
101,827 tons. Total of the foregoing items, upwards and down-
wards, 7,364,280 maimds or 269,586 tons. Those figures, however,
comprise but a portion of the river- borne traffic of the Ganges.
Among other commodities in the down - stream traffic may be
mentioned — (i) Timber and wood from the Bijnaur (Bijnor) forests to
Garhmukhtesar and Anupshahr, for transport to Agra and Delhi by
road, estimated at 20,000 maunds ; (2) Ditto, via the Ramganga
and Garra rivers to Farukhabad, Cawnpur, and Allahabad, 199,000
maunds ; (3) Grain and oil-seeds, from wharves west of Cawnpur to
Cawnpur and Allahabad, 258,000 maunds ; (4) Salt, from Farukhabad,
Cawnpur, and Allahabad, to wharves in the Benares Division, and to
Patna in Bengal, 60,000 maunds ; (5) Cotton from Allahabad and
Mirzapur to Benares and Patna, 59,000 maunds ; (6) Stone, from
wharves in Mirzapur District, to Bengal, 450,000 maunds., and many
Other articles of agricultural produce and commerce. In the up-stream
traffic, the only noticeable point is the import of rice from Hajipur
and Satna wharves in Benares. Articles of European commerce, such
as wheat, indigo, cotton, and saltpetre, mostly prefer the railway, as
also do the imports of Manchester piece-goods. But if we take into
consideration the new development of the export trade in oil-seeds, and

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 4) → online text (page 56 of 58)