Sec. i] SIMHAPURA REVISITED 57
The built-up mound on the Marti hillock which, judging by its size and position, can represent only a much decayed stüpa, and the ruined shrine by its side correspond exactly to the `tope and Deva temple' mentioned by Hsüan-tsang in close proximity to each other. As to the ruined temple, we have seen that it dates back well before the pilgrim's visit, and the same can be safely assumed also of the `Stapa mound', though neither of my visits offered an opportunity for its excavation.15
Accepting then the location at Marti of the Jaina site described by the pilgrim, we shall have to look for the capital of Sithhapura north-westwards at the distance of 40 or 50 li indicated. Now this distance, whether we take the li at its usual value of one-fifth of a mile on the flat ground or one-fourth on hilly ground, is certainly greater than the one along the road between Marti and Ketâs, which measurement with the chain showed to be 4 miles. General Cunningham had at first felt inclined to place the capital of Sirhhapura on the rocky ridge of Kotéra rising steeply some 200 feet above Ketâs to the west. But though I found the top of the ridge covered for some distance with rough stones from completely decayed dwellings, the very confined space there available, only some 80 yards across at the top, made its occupation by an important town appear to me unlikely. Taking into account the recorded distance and bearing from Marti, I am led to believe it far more probable that the large village of Du1miâl, some 3 miles to the north-west of Ketâs, marks the position of the town of Sililhapura. The antiquity and former importance of the place is abundantly attested by the great quantity of ancient coins, dating from issues of Graeco-Indian rulers downwards, which are annually collected after rain at and around it." I must hence regret that considerations of time did not allow me to make a closer survey of the locality.
felt `very much inclined to believe that the pilgrim did not visit the place on this occasion and that he obtained his information about it at Takshasila and elsewhere'. Cf. Travels of Tuang Chwang, i. p. 251 sq. No definite ground for this belief is given.
As far as my personal acquaintance with localities mentioned in Hsüan-tsang's Hsi yu-cbi goes—and it extends from the Pamirs and Lop to Swat and Rajgir—such exact descriptions of details of scenery are given by the pilgrim only for places which he must have visited in person.
I may note that Hsüan-tsang's reference to the `dragons, fish and other water tribes' might well have been suggested by the plentiful eels to be found in the Marti pools, and that to thé `cavernous depths' in which they are said to move about, by the numerous deep cavities which the stream has cut into the foot of the hillock.
15 Here a curious piece of information gathered from Devi Dyal, the aged Brahman Purohita of Chôa Saidan Shah, may find mention. At an inquiry held by me in 1890 among the village elders concerning the materials quarried from Marti, he mentioned having heard from his father that travelling sâdbus had described the ruined temple as having been built `before the time of Raja Man' by a Jain minister as a place of prayer and meditation for mendicant priests. Is it possible that tenacity of Jaina tradition had retained some faint recollection of the sanctity originally attaching to the spot ?
16 Among those purchased by me at Ketas in 1889 and declared to have been found at Dulmial were a rare copper coin of Queen Agathokleia, and coins of Straton and Indo-Scythian kings as well as of the Gupta dynasty.