Charles Alfred Browne.

An introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; online

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upper country, extending from the Kistna
to the southern extremity of Mysore, from
the Paeen Ghat^ or country " below the
passes." The term "Ceded Districts"
was given to the province in 1800, when
it was ceded or given up by the nizam
of Hyderabad to the British. The ori-
ginal name of this province was " Karna-
tuk, or Karnata Desum," subsequently
misapplied by both Mahomedans and
Europeans to the Paeenghat country, to
which it is now exclusively appropriated,
although no part of the ancient "Kur-
nata" was below the mountains.

inhabit- With the exception of a few thousand
Pathans, the inhabitants of this province
are all Hindoos ; generally they are more
robust and active than the people of the
Paeenghat countries, and of a bolder cha-
racter. The total population is estimated
at 2,200,000.

History. This province formed the principal
portion of the ancient Hindoo kingdom
of the Kurnatuk, a name .which was sub-
sequently misapplied by the Mahomedans
and Europeans to the country below the
ghats, now known as the Carnatic. It
was afterwards conquered by the raja of
Bijanagur, after whose overthrow, it coi>
tinued for a long series of years in great
disorder ; its central situation causing it



History, to become the common battle field of
the successive Mahomedan and Mahratta
rulers of the adjacent provinces. Ulti-
mately on the conquest of Mysore by the
English, a treaty was concluded with the
nizam of Hyderabad and the Mahrattas,
by which these districts were transferred
to the British Government.

Religion. Principally Hindooism,

Language. Kanarese in the western districts, and
in the northern and eastern, Teloogoo.


Northern Carnatic.


North, the small river Gundigama,
which separates it from the Guntoor dis-
trict of the northern Circars ; east, the
south, the Pennar, dividing it from

the eas-
from the


Central Carnatic ; and west,
tern mountains, separating it
Ceded Districts.




It is divided into the districts of Ongole,
and part of Nellore.

The Gundigama, which flows into the
sea near Moodapilly ; the Pennar, and
several small streams.

Towards its western boundary this pro-
vince is hilly, but for the greater part it
is level and open, and tolerably fertile.


Produc- Rice and other grains are cultivated,
but the chief article of product is salt ;
which is manufactured in large quantities
on the coast, for exportation. There are
also copper mines.

Towns. The principal towns are Ongole and


Ongole is situated near the coast, about
150 miles northward from Madras. It is
a small irregularly built town.

Nellore is situated on the south side of
the Pennar, a few miles from the coast,
about 100 miles north of Madras. It is
a populous town, and the capital of the

In 1787, a peasant, while ploughing
near this town, discovered beneath the
remains of a small Hindoo temple, under
ground, a little pot, containing various
Roman coins and medals of the second
century. They were all of pure gold, and
many of them fresh and beautiful, al-
though nearly sixteen hundred years old.

Name. J n Hindoo geography this province

formed part of what was denominated
the Undra-desum. Its present name of
Carnatic has been given to it by the Eng-
lish, on account of its being included in
the dominions of the nabob of the Car-
natic, though properly not applicable to it.

inhabit- Hindoos and Mahornedans.


History. This province originally formed part of
the Hindoo sovereignty of the Undra-de-
sum, the rajas of which, about the begin-
ning of the Christian era, were possessed


History. o f considerable powers. It was first inva-
ded by the Mahomedans during the 14th
century. It afterwards became depen-
dent upon the principality of Cuddapa,
from which it was transferred to the do-
minions of the nabob of the Carnatic, by
whom it was ceded to the British with
the rest of his territories in 1801.

Religion. Hindooism and Mahomedanism.

Language. TeloogOO.




North, the Portuguese territories of
Goa, and the Dooab ; east, the Ceded
Districts and Mysore ; south, Malabar ;
and west, the sea.

This province is divided into two parts?
called north and south Kanara. North
Kanara is divided into the districts of
Soonda and Biljee, above the mountains ;
and Unkola, Honawur, or Oonnoor, and
Koondapoor, below the mountains.

Soonda was formerly an independent
principality under a Hindoo raja, and was
a populous and well cultivated district ;
but being for many years the principal
seat of war between the Mahrattas and
Mysoreans, it became completely ruined.

The districts of Unkola and Honawur
are commonly designated by the natives
the Hoiga country.

South Kanara occupies the remaining
part of the province, southward from



Divisions. Koondapoor. It is called by the natives
the Toolva country*




With the exception of the open plains
of Soonda above the ghats, the whole of
Kanara may be described as a rocky
mountainous country, intersected by nu-
merous small rivers running from the
mountains to the sea ; exceedingly fertile,
and abounding with lofty forests. The
rains generally commence in May, and
last until October.

Its chief productions are rice, in great
abundance, large quantities being con-
stantly exported to other parts of India,
and to Arabia. Teak and other woods,
pepper and spices, sandal and sugar. The
cattle are very small, and are little em-
ployed, the cultivation being chiefly done
by hand. There are no manufactures.

There are few towns or villages in any
part of the interior, the natives generally
residing on their farms. On the coast,
however, there are several. The princi-
pal of these are Sedashegur, Honawur, or
Oonnoor, and Koondapoor, in north Ka-
nara, and Mangalore in south Kanara.

Honawur was formerly a place of con-
siderable trade, Hyder Ali having estab-
lished a dock-yard for building ships of
war there ; but it was afterwards entirely
destroyed by Tippoo Sooltan. The Por-
tuguese erected a fort at this place as
early as 1505. There is a lake here of
great extent, reaching nearly to the moun-
tains, and abounding with fish.

Mangalore, called also Kowrial Bun-






dur, is a flourishing town, situated in lat.
12 53' N. long. 74 57' E. It stands
on a small peninsula, formed by a lake or
backwater, which is separated from the
sea by a beach of sand. The town is
large, and built round the sides of the
peninsula, in the centre of which was the
fort. This place is celebrated on account
of its long siege in 1783, by Tippoo
Sooltan, who, though he had a large army,
and was assisted by the French, was re-
pulsed in every attempt, and completely
defeated by a weak garrison under Colo-
nel Campbell. On the peace in 1784, the
town was given back to Tippoo, who then
destroyed all that remained of the fort.

Travelling distance from Madras 440
miles, from Bangalore 230.

Above the ghats is the town of Soonda,
formerly populous and flourishing, and
the capital of the district, but now nearly
a ruin.

The name Kanara, which is a corrup-
tion of Kurnata, was first given to this
part of India by the Mahomedans. It
does not properly belong to it, and has
never been known by the natives, who do
not use it.

The inhabitants of this province, called
by the English the Kanarese, are com-
posed of several distinct classes. The
first is that of the Brahmins, amounting to
about one-sixth of the whole population.
The next principal class, in the interior, is
that of the Nairs, who are the chief far-
mers. Slavery is common throughout
the province, most of the cultivators





being slaves, either by caste, as the Baka-
doora, and Batadoora castes in the Toolva
district, or by purchase. The inhabitants
of the coast are principally Maplays.
These are Mahometans, descendants of
Arab settlers, and are the chief traders of
the province. Their first arrival from the
Red Sea is supposed to have taken place
as far back as the time of Alexander the
Great, or B. C. 827. The total popula-
tion is estimated at about 800,000.

According to Hindoo tradition, this
province was formerly under the govern-
ment of Ravana, the king of Lunka, (or
Ceylon.) It continued undisturbed under
a Hindoo dynasty, until 1763, when it
was subdued by Hyder Ali ; and on the
conquest of the Mysore dominions in
1799, it was transferred to the British.

Hindooism and Mahomedanism are the
prevailing systems of religion, though
there are also several thousand called
Christians, of the Romish Church, the
descendants of settlers invited into the
province from the Konkan, in the time of
the Hindoo rajas, by whom they were
much favoured. The Jain sect of Hin-
doos is also numerous ; this and the adja-
cent province of Malabar being now the
only part of India in which the Jains are
found in a collected state, though indivi-
duals of the sect are scattered throughout
the country.

Language. The language of this province is a
branch of the Karnata or Kanarese, in-
termixed with Teloogoo and Mahratee.




Bound- This province is bounded on the north

by the Dooab and Ceded Districts ; east,
by the mountains separating it from the
Carnatic, Baramahal, and Salem ; south,
by Coimbatoor ; and west, by Koorg,
Malabar, and Kanara.

Divisions. Jt is divided into three great districts,
namely, Chutrkul or Chittledroog, Nug-
gur or Bednore, and Puttun or Seringa-
patam, the largest of the three.

Chittledroog, which occupies the north-
ern part of the province, consists of an
extensive open plain. It is not very fer-
tile, not being well supplied with water,
but it abounds with sheep.

Nuggur is situated in the midst of the
western mountains, and is for the greater
part covered with forest, producing abun-
dance of sandal wood, pepper, betel, and
cardamoms. This district was formerly
an independent principality under a Hin-
doo raja. In 1762 it was conquered by
Hyder AH, who annexed it to Mysore,
with which it has since remained.

The Puttun district is partly moun-
tainous, and partly plain, and abounds
with rocky hills and forest.

Rivers. The principal rivers are the Toombu-

dra, Vedavutti, Pennar, Panar, Palar,


Rivers. an( j Cavery, all of which, except the Ca-
very, have their sources in this province.

General This province presents every variety of
tion. appearance in its different districts. It
is enclosed on two sides by the Eastern
and Western mountains, or ghats, and thus
forms an elevated table-land, from which
rise clusters of lofty hills, containing the
sources of nearly all the rivers which
water the low countries adjacent. The
altitude of the level land varies from 1800
to 3,000 feet above the sea. Sivagunga,
which is the highest hill in the province,
is 4,600 feet above the sea.

Produc- Mysore produces rice, rag-gv, wheat,
tions. j j.1 i ?V

and other grains ; sugar, betel, opium,

castor-oil, and various other articles.
Raggy, or ragee, is the grain principally
cultivated, as it forms the food of all the
poorer classes. The western forests yield
rich supplies of sandal, and other valuable
woods. Sheep are very numerous, red,
white, and black, and there is also an in-
ferior breed of horses. Mysore abounds
in iron ore, which is worked by the na-
tives, but in a very imperfect manner.
Its principal manufactures are black and
white cumlies and woollen carpets, and
shawls. Cotton manufactures are few,
and of inferior quality.

Towns. The principal towns are Hurryhur,

Chittledroog, Nuggur, Simooga, Sera,
Colar, Bangalore, Seringapatam, and

Chittledroog is a fortified town and
strong hill fort, the capital of the district,


Towns. situated in lat. ] 4 4' N. long. 76 30' E.
By the natives it is called " Seetla Doorg,"
which signifies "the spotted fortress" and
also " Chuttra kul," " the umbrella rock"' 1
The fort stands on a cluster of rocky hills,
the highest peak of which is about 800
feet above the plain. The ascent is partly
by steps, and partly by notches cut in the
steep and smooth surface of the rock.
There are in the fort two fine tanks of
water, several pagodas, and a deep well
sunk in the rock, as a magazine for ghee.
Chittledroog is famous for the variety and
excellence of its fruits.

Travelling distance from Madras 350
miles, from Bangalore 140,

In a dell among the mountains, a short
distance to the west of Chittledroog, there
is a curious suite of dark subterranean
apartments, which probably were formerly
the habitations of devotees.

Nuggur, or Bednore, is the capital of
the district so called, and was formerly a
large and very rich city. In 1763 it was
taken and plundered by Hyder Ali, who
then changed its name from Bednore to
Hyder Nuggur. In 1783 it was captured,
and again plundered by an English detach-
ment under General Matthews. Soon
after which it was besieged by Tippoo
Sooltan, assisted by the French, and forced
to surrender. General Matthews and
many of the officers were afterwards poi-
soned by the Sooltan's order, and most of
the soldiers put to death in their prisons.
It is now in ruins, and almost depopulated.

Travelling distance from Bangalore
214 miles.

Simooga is situated on the western



Towns. bank of the river Toonga, about 50 miles
easterly from Nuggur. This was former-
ly a large and populous town, but has
fallen into decay, having been twice com-
pletely devastated by the Mahrattas in
1790 and 1798. In 1790 a battle was
fought close to this town, between a de-
tachment of Bombay troops, consisting of
not more than 800 men, under Captain
Little, and a Mysore force of 10,000, un-
der Mahomed Ruza, one of Tippoo^s best
generals. The English were completely
victorious, after an obstinate contest.
The Mahratta army, under Purseram
Bhow, looked on at a distance, taking no
part whatever in the engagement, but
employed themselves very actively, as
soon as it was over, in plundering the
town, and slaughtering the defenceless

Sera is situated about 90 miles north-
erly from Seringapatam. In 1644 it was
conquered by the Bejapoor Mahomedans,
and became for a time the capital of a
Mahomedan principality, until subdued
by Hyder All, since which period it suf-
fered so much from the constant w r ars be-
tween the Mysoreans and the Mahrattas,
that it gradually fell into ruins, and is
now a place of little consequence. It is
still inhabited principally by Mahome-
dans, and contains a large stone musjid.

Bangalore is a large fortified town, sit-
uated about 200 miles nearly due west
from Madras. It is one of the principal
military stations of the English, and much
resorted to by them on account of its cli-
mate, which is much more temperate and
healthful, than that of the low country.


Towns. Th e cantonment, which is extensive and
well arranged, stands about two miles
from the Petta. The fort is weak, and
only calculated for defence against a na-
tive enemy. There are coarse cloth and
silk manufactories at this place. Banga-
lore is famous for its gardens, which pro-
duce a great variety of fruits, and excel-
lent vegetables.

Travelling distance from Mysore 85

Seringapatam is situated on a small
island in the Cavery, in lat. 12 25' N.
long. 76 45' E. The island is about four
miles in length, and one and a half in
breadth ; the town occupying about a
mile at one end of it. The town was first
built in about 1630, and became the capi-
tal of Mysore under Hyder All. The fort
was constructed chiefly by Tippoo Sool-
tan, assisted by French engineers, but with
little skill ; the works being faulty, and
not strong. On an eminence in the centre
of the island, at some distance from the
fort, stands a large and well built village
or town, called Shuhr-Gunjam. In a gar-
den adjoining, amidst some choultries and
a musjid, is the mausoleum of Hyder, in
which are the remains of Hyder himself,
his wife, and Tippoo Sooltan. The pro-
per name of this place is Sree-runga-
puttunum, but in Mysore it is generally
called merely Puttunum. After the res-
toration of the Hindoo raja, and during
the administration of the deewan Purnea,
a bridge was built across the northern
branch of the Cavery ; which, although
unskilfully constructed, is an extraordina-
ry work, and very much to Purnea's credit.


Towns. i n 1792 Seringapatam was besieged by

the English under Lord Cornwallis. On
the night of the 6th February of that
yeai% Lord Cornwallis attacked Tippoo's
camp, which was under the walls of the
fort, within a strong bound hedge, fur-
nished with redoubts, and defended by
about 40,000 infantry, besides a body of
cavalry. For this attack Lord Cornwallis
selected 2,800 Europeans, and 6,000 Na-
tives, without any artillery. It was com-
pletely successful. The camp was storm-
ed, 80 guns were captured, and the My-
soreans driven inside the fort with great
loss. Preparations were then made to
attack the fort, when Tippoo submitted,
and made peace, with the cession of half
his dominions. In 1799, war again break-
ing out, Seringapatam was besieged by
the English a second time, under General
Harris. On the 4th May, at about 2
o'clock in the afternoon, the place was
carried by storm, in the course of which,
Tippoo was killed. The island was after-
wards annexed to the English territories,
but being remarkably unhealthy, has since
been abandoned.

Travelling distance from Bangalore 80
miles, from Madras 296.

Mysore, the ancient and present capi-
tal of the province, is situated about 9
miles south from Seringapatam. The
town is large and populous, and the fort,
which is separated from it, is built in imi-
tation of the European style. The raja's
palace is inside the fort, and the British
residency, on a rising ground, a short dis-
tance outside. A large tank extends from
near the fort, towards the foot of Mysore


Towns. hJH 9 which is a conical mountain, about
],000 feet high, rising from the plain at 5
miles distance from the city. On the
summit is a house belonging to the Bri-
tish residency, and on the south-western
declivity, in the midst of a Brahmin vil-
lage, there are two pagodas of great re-
pute, to which the raja is accustomed to
make an annual visit. Lower down, on
the same part of the hill, is a figure of a
bull, 16 feet high, cut out of the rock.

The name Mysore, or as it is termed by
the natives Mysoor, is a corruption of
Mahesh Usoora, a fabulous monster of
Hindoo mythology.

inhabit- The inhabitants of the province, or
Mysoreans, are chiefly Hindoos, and they
are generally stouter and taller than the
people of the Carnatic. There are also
considerable numbers of Mahometans dis-
persed through different parts. The total
population is estimated at about 3,000,000.

History. This province was under the dominion
of a succession of Hindoo rajas, until
] 760, when the government was seized by
the celebrated Hyder Ali. This indivi-
dual was the son of a poor adventurer,
and first entered the service of the raja of
Mysore as a private soldier, about the
year 1749. He soon distinguished him-
self by his bravery and skill, and obtained
great influence with Nunseraj, the dala-
wai or prime minister, who promoted him
to the command of the whole army, la
1760, finding himself sufficiently power-
ful, Hyder deposed and banished his
patron Nunseraj, and confining the iiomi-


History, na l raja, assumed the sovereignty of My-
sore. In 1780 he invaded the Carnatic,
which he desolated with fire and sword,
up to the very gates of Madras. The
English collected an army under Sir Eyre
Coote, who stopped Ryder's further pro-
gress, and defeated him in several battles ;
but being greatly assisted by the French,
Hyder was enabled to carry on the war
until the 9th December, 1782, when he
died, and was succeeded by his son Tip-
poo Sahib, who assumed the title of Sool-
tan. Tippoo was born in 1753, and
named after a Mahomedan Fukeer of
Arcot, for whom Hyder had a particular
veneration. Tippoo's elder brother, Kur-
eem Sahib, was set aside, being imbecile.
The Sooltan prosecuted the war, which
his father had commenced, until 1784,
when he made peace ; his French allies
being obliged to withdraw their aid, hos-
tilities between their nation and the Eng-
lish having ceased. In 1790, he unwisely
attacked the raja of Travancore, an ally
of the English. A war commenced in
consequence with the latter, which ter-
minated in March, 1792, in a peace con-
cluded by Lord Cornwallis, under the walls
of Seringapatam, at the cost of half of
Tippoo's dominions. This, however, had
not the effect of making the Sooltan more
prudent, and in 1799 a second war broke
out, which proved decisive. Seringapa-
tam was taken on the 4th May of that
year, by the English troops under General
Harris, and Tippoo was killed in the as-
sault. With Tippoo Sooltan terminated
the Mahomedan government, after a dura-
tion of only thirty-eight years. In June,


1799. the English placed upon the i
cud of Mysore, Krishna Oodiaver. then
six Tears of age, of the family of the an-
cient rajas, with whom the government
remained until 1831, when in consequence
of the long continued misrule of the raja,
and the cruel and rapacious conduct of the
Brahmins in power, a general insurrection
of the people broke out, which compelled
the British to interfere, and Mysore is
now under their rule.

.-. - -... ~ Hindoo ism and Mahomedanism.

The general language of the province
is the Karnataka, or Kanarese. The of-
ficial documents of the government are
usually written in Mahratee.



\ '- This province is bounded on the north

by Mysore, and Central Carnatic ; east,
by Central Carnatic; south, by Salem;
and west, by Mysore.

Its principal rivers are the Palar and
the Pa

This is a small province, situated

: L amongst the Eastern Mountains. It is

generally of a wild irregular appearance,

aud in former times was thickly studded

with formidable hill forts.


The valleys produce rice, and other
grains, but the articles principal] j culti-
vated are dry seed*, vegetables, and plan-
tations of cocoanuts and palms. The ma-
actures are coarse, and consist of lit-
tle besides inferior eumlies and cotton

1 -*"-* The principal towns are Venkatagherry .

- jnrh, Oossoor. Sooloogheny, Vaniam-
baddy. Rntnagherry, Kistnagherry, I

::a, Tripatoor, and Allambaddy.

Sitgurk is situated at the foot of the
mountains, a few miles from the Naikun-
airy ghat, or pass. There was formerly
a hill fort here, to which the name of Sat-
gurh properly belonged ; the petta being
called Lai pet. This place is BOW chiefly
noted on account of its gardens, which
produce abundance of fine fruit, particu-
larly oranges and mangoes.

Kistnagherry is a small town, situated
in lat. 12 32- N. long. 78 23T E. only
noticed on account of its fort, built upon
a very bare and steep mountain, of 700
feet perpendicular height ; several times
besieged, but never taken, except by sur-
prise. In 1791 the British troops at-
tempted to storm it, but were repulsed
with loss. The fortifications are now in
rui -

Ryacotta is about 15 miles to the east
of Kistnagherry. Its fort is built upon a
rocky mountain, 1150 feet in perpendicu-
lar height, and is a place of some strength ;
the present fortifications being principally
of English construction. It commands
one of the passes from the Canmtic into


Name. This province derives its name of Ba-

ramahal from its having been formerly di-
vided into twelve small districts.

inhabit- The inhabitants are principally Hin-
doos, with very few Mahomedans.

History. This province was originally subject to
the Hindoo sovereignty of Kurnatuk, and
on the dissolution of that kingdom fell
under the rule of a number of polygars,
or hill chieftains. Hyder Ali annexed it
to the dominions of Mysore, and in 1792
it was ceded by Tippoo Sooltan to the Bri-
tish, with whom it has since remained.

Religion. Hindooism and Mahornedanism.

Language. TeloogOO.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 13 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 13 of 26)