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0579 Serindia : vol.1
Serindia : vol.1 / Page 579 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000183
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line marking an ancient canal, I had received the impression that they were much-decayed ruins of Stûpas of the usual type. Though the solidity of the brickwork suggested considerable antiquity, the hope of interesting archaeological finds seemed slight. But even then my attention was arrested by the curious appearance which the smallest of the mounds, M. in (the second from the right, as shown in Fig. Iii after excavation), presented. From the topmost débris, above what seemed a disproportionately large base, the outline of the crown of a little well-preserved dome was seen just emerging.

When the clearing of the débris was begun at the foot of this mound and towards the Discovery of east where it lay heavier than elsewhere, there soon appeared the broken remnant, about shrine. 2 feet 6 inches across, of a narrow terrace or passage which seemed once to have run round the sides of the supposed main base, about 29 feet 6 inches square (see plan in Plate 32). Its least injured portion was traced along the middle of the east face, as seen in Fig. i 19, which shows the structure after partial clearing. The floor lay about two feet above the ground level, which here did not seem to have undergone erosion to any appreciable extent. As soon as the débris of fallen brickwork had been removed from the outside, I quickly realized that the solid masonry then laid bare was not a base at all, but belonged to the walls of a shrine, square outside but circular within, which had once been surmounted by a dome and enclosed a small Stûpa in its centre. It was the crown of this solid Stûpa dome which had caught my eye on the first rapid survey, and the indication it now gave as to the architectural disposition of the interior greatly facilitated systematic clearing. Heavy masses of débris, fallen from the vaulting and the higher portions of the walls, had completely blocked up the circular passage, slightly over six feet wide, left around the Stûpa base, which, too, was circular and measured nine feet in diameter. The débris, still lying in places to a height of eight feet and more from the original floor, had afforded protection to the Stûpa and allowed its plastered surface and the elaborate mouldings of its base to survive to a considerable extent. On the west side, however, treasure-seekers, probably operating of old, had made a broad cutting right through the wall of the cella where the entrance must once have been, and penetrating the débris layers between had, as we soon found, burrowed into the base of the Stûpa itself.

The remaining structural features of the ruin, as seen when the clearing had been completed, Structural

may also be conveniently described here. The interior of the circular cella had been lit by windows features of


passing through the centre of the side walls, which were approximately orientated to the south,

east, and north. The width of the windows was 2 feet 3 inches, and their lowest portions, which

alone were extant, reached down to a level of 2 feet 8 inches above the floor. Owing to the cutting

already referred to, the dimensions of the doorway which had once led through the west wall could

no longer be determined. The masonry enclosing the domed cella was four feet thick at the windows,

increasing to fully ten feet where it filled the squared corners. It consisted of sun-dried bricks,

fairly hard and plentifully mixed with straw, measuring i6 by ro inches, with a thickness of 5 inches.

The construction of the dome which must once have surmounted the cella could no longer be

determined, as the walls which had carried it were everywhere broken below the line where the

spring is likely to have begun. Nor did the remains of the floor of the outside passage which must

have enclosed the square cella furnish any indication as to its width, the height of the roof, etc.

But we may safely assume that if this passage had outside walls, and was not merely constructed

as a kind of circumambulatory veranda, they must have been pierced by windows corresponding

to those of the cella walls, to permit the interior of the shrine to be lighted adequately.

The small Scapa occupying the centre of the cella, as seen in Fig. 125, was on the whole well Circular

preserved, except for the hole burrowed into the base by ' treasure-seekers ' and the damage which Stûpa base.