Charles Alfred Browne.

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

. (page 6 of 26)
Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 6 of 26)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Towns. ig situated in lat. 26 55' N. long. 75
37' E. This is considered to be the
handsomest, and most regularly built
town in India, many of its streets being
equal in appearance to those of European
cities. The present town is of modern
origin having been planned and built for
the Raja Jey Sing, a celebrated chief in
the time of the Emperor Aurungzeb, by
an Italian architect.

Travelling distance from Delhi 156
miles, from Bombay 740.

Ajmeer, formerly the capital of the
province, stands at the bottom of a for-
tified hill, in lat. 26 3V N. long. 74 28'
E. This was formerly a large and opu-
lent city, and occasionally the residence
of the Emperor of Delhi. The English
had a trading factory here in 1616. It
was nearly ruined* during the disorders
which followed upon the dissolution of
the Mooghul empire, and the establish-
ment of the Mahratta power ; but since
its transfer to the British in 1818, it has
greatly improved, and is now a hand-
some town, second only to Jeypoor.

At Nusseerabad, 15 miles from Aj-
meer, is a British cantonment.

Chi fore stands in lat. 24 52' N. long.
74 45' E. This was for many centuries
the capital of the principality of Odey-
poor, and much celebrated for its strength
and riches. It was several times cap-
tured by the Mahomedans, but was
never permanently retained by them.
It is still a fine town, and contains many
temples, and other buildings remarkably
well constructed, particularly two towers
of white marble, about ]00 feet high, and


Towns. finely carved, dedicated to Siva. The
fort, which was formerly considered one
of the strongest in India, stands on a
steep rock, overlooking the town, and
about four miles in length.

Odeypoor, the present capital, is situ-
ated in lat. 24 35' N. long. 73 44' E.
It stands on the border of a large lake,
which on the other sides is enclosed by
ranges of wild and rugged hills. The
palaces and garden residences on the
borders of the lake, are all of marble,
highly sculptured. Images, toys, and a
great variety of articles of marble, and
rock crystal, are sent from this place to
the neighbouring provinces.

Neemuch, situated about 40 miles to
the south, eastward of Chitore, is the
principal British station in this province.

Travelling distance from Delhi 372

Boondee is situated in lat. 25 28' N.
long. 75 30' E. It is a handsome well
built city, and the residence of the raja
of the district.

Kota, the capital of the district stands
on the east side of the Chumbul, about
150 miles to the south, eastward of Aj-
meer. It is a large and populous place,
and contains some handsome buildings of
white marble.

Name. This province derives its name of Aj-

meer from that of the city of Ajmeer,
which was its Mahomedan capital; but
it is more commonly designated as Raj-
pootana, or the country of the Rajpoots,
from its being the seat of the principal
Rajpoot principalities of India.


^ntf*" Rajpoots, Jats, Bhatteeas, Bheels, and
a small proportion of Mahomedans.

The Rajpoots are usually divided into
two great tribes, the Rahtores and the
Chouhan-Teesodiya. They have always
been celebrated throughout India as a
brave and hardy race and were always
held in high estimation by the emperors
of Delhi, who were accustomed to em-
ploy their chiefs in the most important
military commands. They were never
conquered by the Mahomedans, though
they acknowledged the emperor of Delhi
as their superior, and served as auxili-
aries in the Mooghul armies. They are
unhappily much addicted to the use of
opium, the pernicious effects of which
have become very apparent in the dete-
rioration of their race, in both mind and

The Jats are Hindoos of a lower class,
much inferior in every respect to the
Rajpoots, who hold them in strict sub-
jection, and deny the claim which they
advance to be considered, of Rajpoot
origin. They are generally of short sta-
ture, black, and ill-looking.

The Bhattees were originally shep-
herds, but have long been noted as a
plundering tribe, remarkable for carrying
on their depredations on foot, and for the
length and rapidity of their excursions.
Their chiefs were originally Rajpoots, but
are now Mahomedans, as are also the
majority of the people.

The total population is estimated at
not more than four millions.

History. This province was, in early times, the


History. sea t o f one of the principal Rajpoot
sovereignties in India. The raja of
Ajmeer appears to have been a powerful
monarch, when India was invaded by
Sooltan Mahmood of Ghuznee, and was
one of those who entered into the un-
successful confederacy with the raja of
Lahore against that monarch in 1008.
, Subsequently, Pritwee, the raja of -Aj-
meer, was adopted by the raja of Delhi,
his maternal grandfather, who had no son,
and on whose death the two kingdoms
were united. This gave great oifence to
the raja of Kanoje, who also was a grand-
son of the raja of Delhi, and brought on
a war between them. The Mahomedans
did not fail to take advantage of their
dissensions, and in 1191 they entered the
province of Delhi under Shuhab-ood-
deen, afterwards known by the name
of Mahomed Ghouree. They were how-
ever defeated with great slaughter by
Pritwee raja, and Shuhab-ood-deen was
compelled to fly with the wreck of his
army to Lahore. Having obtained rein-
forcements from Ghuznee, Shuhab-ood-
deen, in 1 193, again advanced. Pritwee
raja met him with a vast army, numer-
ous allies having joined him from the
other states: but his former success had
rendered the raja too confident, and ex-
posed him to a surprise which led to his
total defeat. Pritwee raja was taken in
the pursuit, and put to death in cold
blood by the Mahomedans ; Ajmeer was
taken, and thousands of the inhabitants
slaughtered, after which Shuhab-ood-deen
made over the kingdom to a relation of
Pritwee raja, under an engagement for a


History, heavy tribute. A long series of disor-
ders followed, and the kingdom was
eventually divided into a number of in-
dependent principalities which, on the
establishment of the empire of Delhi, be-
came nominally subject to the Maho-
medan government. It was never tho-
roughly subdued, and, though numbered
amongst the regular provinces of the em-
pire, always retained a sort of indepen-
dence ; paying an annual tribute, and
furnishing a certain number of troops
to the emperor ; but in other respects re-
maining under the rule of its own prin-
ces. This continued till the dissolution
of the Mooghul empire in 1748, when
the Rajpoot chiefs assumed entire inde-
pendence. The province was then for
many years desolated by internal wars,
and by repeated invasions of the Mah-
rattas, who, about the beginning of the
present century, were upon the point of
effecting the complete conquest of the
whole country, w r hen their progress was
stopped by their becoming engaged in a
war with the English. The peace which
followed was again broken in ]807, when
a contest arose between the rajas of
Jeypoor and Joudpoor, each claiming the
honour of marrying the daughter of the
raja of Odeypoor. Both parties called
in the aid of the neighbouring Mahratta
chiefs, who, while they pretended to act
as their allies, in reality occupied them-
selves only in plundering the country.
The province was thus involved in so
much distress, and suffered so severely
from the devastations of the Mahrattas,
that the whole of the Rajpoot chiefs


History, repeatedly entreated to be admitted into
an alliance with the British Government.
This was for some time refused, the British
Government not wishing to interfere, but
consequent upon the second war between
the Mahrattas and the English in 1817,
it was at length conceded, and the Raj-
poot principalities have ever since re-
mained at peace, under the protection of
the British Government. The province
is now divided under the following chiefs.
1st, The rana of Odeypoor, mentioned in
the early Mahomedan histories as the
rana of Chitore, who holds the highest
rank in the estimation of the Rajpoots,
on account of his belonging to what is
considered, by them, to be the purest fa-
mily of their race, though his territories
are much reduced. 2nd, The raja of
Joudpoor, who is also styled the Rahtore
raja, being of that tribe. 3rd, The raja
of Jeypoor, formerly called Jynnggur, and
also Ambher. 4th, The rajas of Jussul-
meer, Bikaneer, Kota, and Booncle. Un-
der these are a number of Thakoors, or
chiefs, and others of inferior authority ;
each principality constituting a feudal

Religion. Generally Hindooism. In the western
parts there are a good many Jains. The
Mahomedans are in the proportion of
about one to ten.

Language. Hindoostanee.




B ariel d " North, Delhi ; east, Oude and Allaha-

bad ; south, Malwa ; west, Ajmeer.

Divisions. Narnool, Agra, Aligurh, Furrukhabad,
Etaweh, Macheree or Alvar, Bhurtpoor r
Gualior, Gohud, Kalpee.

The tract of country between the Gan-
ges and Jumna, comprehending the dis-
tricts of Aligurh, Furrukhabad and Eta-
weh, is also commonly designated the
Dooab from doo two, and ab river.

Ganges, Jumna, Chumbul, and several
smaller streams. The Chumbul rises in
Malwa, and flows northerly and easterly
into the Jumna, running between the
districts of Bhurtpoor and Gualior.

Northward of the Jumna the surface
of the province is in general flat and
open, and for the greater part very bare
of trees. Southward and westward it
becomes hilly and jungly. Though tra-
versed by several rivers, the province is
not well watered, and depends greatly
upon the periodical rains. The heat, dur-
ing the prevalence of the hot winds, is
intense, and the jungly districts very un-
healthy, but at other seasons, the climate
is generally temperate and occasionally



Rice is grown in the vicinity of the
rivers,, but the general cultivation is of



Prpduc- dry grains, as millet, barley, gram, &c.
The staple article of product is cotton.
The province also yields abundance of
indigo, with tobacco, sugar, saltpetre,
and salt. It has the common breeds of
cattle and sheep ; and horses of a good
description. Firewood is scarce through-
out the Dooab, and expensive. The
jungly districts swarm with peacocks,
which are held in great veneration by
the Natives. The only manufacture of
note is that of coarse cotton cloths.

Towns. Narnool, Nooh, Muttra, Agra, Dhol-

poor, Attaer, Anoopshuhr, Cowl, Moor-
saum, Secundra, Hatras, Furrukhabad,
Futihgurh, Kanoje, Mimpooree, Etaweh,
Bela, Alwur, Macheree, Rajgurh, Deeg,
Bhurtpoor, Beeana, Gualior, Antra, Pec-
hor, Nurwur, Bhind, Gohud, Jalown,
Kalpee, and Koonch.

Narnool, situated in lat. 28 5' N. long.
75 52' E. about 90 miles south-westerly
from Delhi, is the frontier town of the
territories belonging to the raja of Jy-
poor. It is a place of considerable anti-
quity, but at present of little importance.

Nooh, in lat, 27 5V N. long. 77 31'
E. is noted for the manufacture of culi-
nary salt, distinguished by the name of
"Salurnba" which is procured from salt
springs in the neighbourhood.

Muttra, or Mathura, is situated on the
west bank of the Jumna, in lat. 27 31'
N. long. 77 S3 7 E. This is a place of
great antiquity, much celebrated in the
legends of the Hindoos, by whom it is
supposed to be sacred, and mentioned as
an important city by the early Greek


Towns, geographers. On account of its position f
it is still considered one of the principal
towns of the province, and forms an
English military station. The pagodas
gwarin with large monkeys, peacocks, and
brahminee birds, all held sacred by the
Hindoo inhabitants.

Travelling distance from Delhi 98
miles, from Agra 36.

Agra stands on the southern side of
the Jumna in lat. 27 IT N. long. 77
53' E. During the reign of the Emperor
Akber, by whom it was greatly enlarged
and embellished, Agra was made the
capital of the Mooghul empire, and be-
came one of the most splendid cities in
India. The seat of government having
been subsequently re-established at Del-
hi, Agra greatly declined, and is now
much decayed. Amongst the still re-
maining edifices which bear witness of its
former grandeur, the most remarkable is
the Taj Mahal, erected by the Emperor
Shah Juhan, for the celebrated Noor Ju-
han ; and which is considered the most
beautiful and perfect specimen of oriental
'architecture in existence, unequalled by
any thing in India.

Cowl, or Koil, is situated in lat. 27
54' N. long. 78 E. two miles from the
fortress of Aligurh, with which it is con-
nected by a fine avenue of trees. It is
a large busy town, and the principal civil
station of the district.

Travelling distance from Agra 56 miles.

Hatras is situated in lat. 27 37' N.
long. 75 58' E. It is a busy town and
flourishing. Its fort, which was strong
and well built, was taken in, 1817 by the


Towns. British troops, (being then occupied by
a refractory chief,) and destroyed.

Travelling distance from Agra 35 miles.

Furrukhabad stands at a short dis-
tance from the bank of the Ganges in
lat. 27 24' N. long. 79 27' E. It is a
large and populous town, containing about
7,000 inhabitants, and is a place of con-
siderable commerce.

Travelling distance from Agra 112
miles, from Luknow 110, from Calcutta,
by way of Beerbhoom, 755.

Futihgurh is situated three miles to
the eastward of Furrukhabad. It is the
principal residence of the civil authori-
ties of the district, and is noted for the
manufacture of tents.

Kanoje is situated in lat. 27 4' N.
long. 79 47' E. about two miles distant
from the bank of the Ganges, with which
it communicates by means of a canal.
In the remote ages of Hindoo history,
Kanoje was a place of great renown, and
the capital of a powerful empire, which
existed at the time of the first Mahome-
dan invasion. Not the slightest vestige
now remains of the ancient Hindoo city,
all the existing buildings being of Maho-
medan and modern origin.

Travelling distance from Agra 217
miles, from Luknow 75, from Delhi 214,
from Calcutta 270.

Jlvar, or Alwur, is situated in lat. 27
44' N. long. 76 32' E. at the base of a
strongly fortified hill. It is the capital
of the Macheree rajahs territories.

Travelling distance from Agra 60 miles.

Bhurtpoor, the capital of the Bhurt-
poor raja, one of the principal Jat Chief-


Towns. tains, is situated in lat. 27 17' N. long.
77 23' E. This place is much noted on
account of its seige in 1805 by the Eng-
lish, who four times assaulted it, and were
repulsed with severe loss. The raja,
however, fearing to continue his resist-
ance, sent his son to the English camp
with the keys of the fort, and submitted.
This chief, who so gallantly defended
his capital, died in 1824, and was suc-
ceeded by his son, who also died immedi-
ately afterwards; leaving a son, then seven
years of age, under the guardianship of
the mother and an uncle. In 1825, a
cousin of the young raja murdered the
uncle, and seized the person of the raja,
on which the British Government being
compelled to interfere, Bhurtpoor was
once more attacked by the English, and
in January, 1826, was taken by assault
after a seige of six weeks. The town was
subsequently restored to its lawful chief.

Travelling distance from Agra 35 miles.

Beeana stands on the banks of the
Ban-Gunga, in lat, 26 57' N. long. 77
8' E. It is a large and flourishing town,
and was the capital of the province be-
fore Agra.

Travelling distance from Agra 65 miles.

Gualior is situated in lat. 26 15' N.
long, 78 V E. Its fortress was reputed,
amongst the Natives, to be impregnable,
until taken by escalade in 1780 by a de-
tachment of British sepoys. It is now
the capital of the Sindia JVIahratta ter-

Travelling distance from Agra 74 miles,
from Delhi 200, from Nagpoor 380, from
Calcutta 800.

AGRA. v^

Towns. Kalpee is situated on the bank of the

Jumna, in lat. 26 10' N. long. 79 41' E.
It is a large and populous town, possess-
ing an extensive trade, and noted for the
manufacture of paper and sugar-candy.
Travelling distance from Agra 160
miles, from Calcutta 700.

Name. The present name of this province is

derived from that of its capital.

inhabit- Hindoos, including the Mewatties, and
Jats, and Mahomedans, among whom are
many Pathans. They are generally a
handsome robust race of men, much su-
perior to the natives of the more eastern
provinces. The Mewatties chiefly inha-
bit the Macheree country, occasionally
styled,, by Mahomedan writers, Mewat.
They have always been noted as a rude,
savage people, and are robbers by profes-
sion, from which circumstance they de-
rive their name ; but latterly in conse-
quence of the measures adopted by the
British Government, their character has
greatly improved. The Jats first attract-
ed notice in Hindoostan about the year
1700. When they migrated from the
banks of the Indus, and settled, chiefly
as agriculturists, in various parts of the
Dooab. Their subsequent progress was
remarkably rapid ; and during the civil
wars, carried on by the successors of Au-
rungzeb, they found means to possess
themselves of a large portion of country,
in which they built forts and accumulat-
ed treasure. They successively extend-
ed their power, until it embraced the
principal part of the province, but after


wards lost most of their acquisitions,
and by the end of the 18th century, were
restricted to the territory of Bhurtpoor.

History. This was formerly one of the most im-
portant of the Hindoo provinces, contain-
ing Kanoje, Muttra, and Bindrabund,
the seats of the most famous of the Hin-
doo kingdoms ; and still greatly venerat-
ed as places of pilgrimage. On the con-
quest of Delhi by the Mahomedans, Agra
also fell under their dominion ; and dur-
ing the reign of Akber, when the city of
Agra was for a time the capital, it be-
came the principal province of the Moo-
ghul empire. After the death of Au-
rungzeb it fell into great disorder, and
suffered much from the ravages of the
Jats and Mahrattas, who for many years
disputed the possession. This state of
things continued until 1805, when, con-
sequent upon the war between the Eng-
lish and the Mahrattas, the province was
added to the British territories ; the raja
of Bhurtpoor and a few other chiefs
holding their districts under the general
control of the English Government.

Religion. Hindooism and Mahomedanism.
Language. Hindoostanee and Mahrattee.


North, Ajmeer, from which it is sepa-
rated by the great sandy desert ; east



Bound- Gazerat, from which it is divided by the
Run ; south, the Sea ; west, the eastern-
most branch of the Sind, called the Lonee,
and a salt marsh separating it from

The southern boundary is formed by
an arm of the sea running inland, be-
tween Kuch and the Peninsula of Guze-
rat, and called the Gulf of Kuch.

Rivers. There are no rivers in this province,

with the exception of the Lonee, which
flows along its western frontier. During
the rainy season there are many streams,
but their channels are generally dry soon
after the rains cease.

General This province may be described as
tion. consisting of two distinct portions. One
an immense salt morass, named the Run ;
the other an irregular hilly tract, com-
pletely insulated by the morass and the

The Run, which is estimated to cover
a surface of about 8000 square miles,
commences at the head of the Gulf of
Kuch, with which it communicates, and
sweeps round the whole of the northern
frontier of the province. It varies in
breadth from five to eighty miles across,
and during the rainy season forms a
large sheet of salt water. At other
times it presents a variety of appear-
ances, being in some parts dry barren
sand, in some deep swamps, in others,
shallow pools and lakes, elsewhere fields
of salt, and occasionally affording pas-
turage, and capable of cultivation. The
other portion of this province is inter^


General sected by a range of rocky barren hills,

Descrip- . *_, , s , , r

tion. running through the centre from east to
west. It is almost destitute of wood,
and has no water except as procured by
means of wells. The whole face of the
country near the hills is covered with
volcanic matter, and there is said to be
an extinct volcano eighteen miles to the
eastward of Lukhput Bundur. In 1819
Kuch was visited by a severe earthquake,
which nearly destroyed a number of
towns and forts, and filled the Run with
water. It appears probable that origi-
nally this province was an island.

P tio? UC ~ ^is province is not fertile, water be-
ing scarce and often salt, and the soil
either rocky or sandy. Its productions
are consequently few, the principal is
cotton, which is exported in exchange
for grain, from Sind and other provinces.
The horses of this province are however
considered the best in India. Camels
and goats also thrive, but the cattle are
of an inferior description. Iron and
alum are found in various parts, with
a species of coal, and abundance of bitu-
minous earths. Date trees grow in some
tracts, and produce fruit of good quality ;
but the cocoanut is reared with diffi-
culty, even on the coast. Salt is procur-
ed from the Run, the banks of which are
also much frequented by the wild ass.
This animal is much larger and stronger
than the domestic ass, and remarkably
swift, but very fierce and quite untame-
able. It is sometimes caught in pits,
but has never been domesticated. Its
flesh is esteemed good eating.

KUCH. 97

Towns. Lukhput-Bundur, Kowra, Bhooj, An-

jar, and Mandavie.

Lukhput-Bundur is situated on the
bank of the Lonee, in lat. 23 47' N.
long. 68 56' E. seventy-five miles west-
erly and northerly from Bhooj.

Kowra is remarkable for its situation
in the midst of the Run, which complete-
ly surrounds it. It is in lat. 23 46' N.
long. 69 44' E. thirty-eight miles to the
north of Bhooj.

Bhooj, the capital of the province, is
situated inland in lat. 23 35' N. long.
69 52' E. It is a modern town, having
been founded by the rao of Kuch, about
the commencement of the 17th century.
It is tolerably well built, and contains
about 20,000 inhabitants, among whom
are artists remarkable for their ingenuity
in working gold and silver. This town,
was nearly destroyed in June, 1819, by a
severe earthquake.

Travelling distance from Bombay 587

Anjar is situated in lat. 23 3' N.
long. 70 IT E. about ten miles from the
Gulf of Kuch. It contains about 10,000
inhabitants, and is the principal town of
the British district of Anjar. It was
much injured in 1819 by the earthquake,

Mandame, the principal seaport of the
province, is situated on the south coast in
lat. 22 50' N. long. 69 33' E. It pos-
sesses a tolerable harbour, and is a place
of considerable trade with the western
Coast of India, Sind, Arabia, and Africa,
but it has no manufactures of any note.
It is the most populous town in Kuch,
containing about 3 5,000 inhabitants, prin-


Towns. eipally Bhattias, Banyans, and Brah-
mins, with some Mahomedans and others.
Travelling distance from Bhooj 40

Name. The derivation of the name is not


inhabit- I n ancient times this province appears
to have been occupied entirely by pas-
toral tribes of Hindoos. At present its
inhabitants are principally Jahrejas of
Sind origin, Bhattias, and other tribes of
Hindoos, and a large proportion of Ma-
homedans. The Bhattias are a Hindoo
tribe, the principal merchants of the
{ country, actively engaged in trade with
Arabia and the west of India. As a
people, the inhabitants of this province,
or as they are generally styled, the
Kuchhees, may be described as the most
degraded in India. They are noted for
drunkenness and debauchery, and their
treachery is proverbial. Female infan-
ticide is universally practised by the
Jahrejas, even by tribes calling them-
selves Mahomedans. The Kuch pilots
and mariners however are noted for their
skill, and claim the merit of having first
instructed the Arabs in navigation and
ship building, though they still follow
the practice of their forefathers without

lUatory. Nothing is accurately known of the

Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 6 of 26)