Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bhawan, 1877

Bhawan [Mattan] by V. C. Prinsep. 1877.
From 'Imperial India; an artist's journals' (1879)
"The modern Martand, or Bawan, is over the edge of the plateau at another source of the Jhelum, which, having escaped the eye of the garden-making Jehanghire, has been turned by the pious Hindoo through two sacred tanks, and is now a holy shrine. The tanks are full of fish, a kind of tench, I should think, which it is the duty of the pilgrim to keep well fed with baked Indian corn. It is delightful to see the shoals of these dark green fish in the brilliant azure of the water. I made a sketch of the place from one corner, where squats each day an aged and very holy man, before whom the pilgrims come in flocks to prostrate themselves till their foreheads touch the ground. Unlike most holy men, this one is clean, and is moreover a very superior person, for seeing me surrounded and inconvenienced by fakirs, he sent his own servant to clear them away. I painted him into my sketch as an acknowledgement, and when I had finished made my lowest salaam. The old gentleman, being probably absorbed in a contemplation of the Deity, did not respond; or are piety and good manners incompatible?"

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