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Fortress Of Bowrie , In Rajpootana

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May 8, 1857
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Mohammed Abdulkarim
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Scenery and Places
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Humayun II

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The above image is found from the book The Indian Empire Illustrated, The London Printing and Publishing Company Limited



Ruined villages, of which, even prior to the revolt of 1857, there were already an abun¬ dance in India, are not, however, more plentiful than are the hill fortresses of the upper provinces, and of other parts of the country where mountain defences are possible. In such localities, it seems as if every little rajah or petty chief had, at some time or other, climbed an eminence, and intrenched himself within walls of mud or stone, according as his means would enable him, and opportunities for the purpose served r his eagles nest was then garrisoned by troops of adherents or retainers, armed with spears and bows, and rusty matchlocks, and every household became invested with a military character. Nor was this without sufficient cause, since when not engaged in combating an invading stranger, these chieftains were constantly at fend with each other, and had no security for life or property except when fortified upon heights they deemed inaccessible to a hostile force. The native idea, that safety was best found at great elevations, has doubtless greatly improved the appearance of the country in the bill districts ; and whatever modern fortifications of European construction may have gained in strength, they have certainly lost in picturesque effect, as is quite evident when the bastions and towers of the Mohammedan era are compared with the fortifications of the present age.

The country comprehended under the name of Raj poo tan a, embraces so many dis¬ tricts, that every variety of scenery is to be met with in it; but though the valley of Oodipoor, and other equally beautiful portions, are celebrated for the exquisite loveliness of their landscapes, the general character of the country is that of sterility. The landscape, therefore, represented in the plate as surrounding the fortress of Bowrie, may be considered a favourable specimen, as wood and water, which fail in many other tracts are there abundant. The banian supplies its umbrageous foliage to the scene; and the one represented in the engraving may suffice to give an accurate idea of the manner in which a whole grove is produced from the parent stem—each of the pendant fibres, upon reaching the ground, taking root, and affording support to the branch from which it has descended; thus enabling it to push out further, and fling down other supports, until at length a wide area round the original trunk is formed into avenues, which some¬ times cover several acres of ground. The natives, who regard this beautiful product of their country with great veneration, will never willingly consent that a banian tree shall be cut down or mutilated. The small fig produced by the banian, furnishes nutritious food to immense multitudes of monkeys, squirrels, peacocks, and various other denizens of the forests, who live among the branches of this father of trees; and, from the protec- ‘ tiou it thus affords to the inferior classes of the animal creation, it is not surprising that Hindoos should look upon it as a natural temple, and be inclined to pay it divine honours.

On the banks of the Nerbudda, a tree of this species covered a tract of ground 2,000 feet in circumference ; and only the principal stems (250 in number) were counted within that range. Travellers often seek the shelter of these natural pavilions; and the religions tribes of Hindoos are particularly fond of resting beneath their umbrageous canopy. Under many such, a resident Brahmin may be found; and in few instances are the devotees without an attendant priesthood.

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

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