Oggi potete scaricare un libro sull’India del 1913. Come era consuetudine allora, il libro è illustrato anche se a differenza di altri libri del periodo molte illustrazioni sono in bianco nero.
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THE BURIED CITY‘
India at last, with its forests and its jungles. The sun dawns on a forest of vegetation, an ocean of eternal
greenery ; whilst a boundless plain of mystery and silence stretches from my feet to the extreme horizon.
I watch the light dawning on this silent wilderness of green from the summit of a hill that rises like an
island out of the plains. It is India of the forests and the jungles, though veiled in mist. In the centre of
Ceylon, sheltered by interlacing trees, there is a spotof profoundest peace : it is the place where the marvellous Anuradhapura stood — the city which was buried in a night of leaves more than two thousandyears ago. The day breaks slowly through a leaden sky, thick with storm and gloom. The midnight hour is striking now in France, but here the earth presentsthis region of crumbling ruins to the sun once more.
Where can the wonderful town be ? I look round,like a sailor searching from the mast across the sea, but nothing of human origin is visible. Nothing but trees, trees everywhere, trees in serried ranks, a rolling forest which loses itself in illimitable distance. Lower down there are lakes, inhabited by crocodiles, where herds of wild elephants come at dusk to drink. From the forest and the jungles the morning call of birds is heard.
But are there no traces of the marvellous city left ?
Here and there, however, are some curious green and wooded hills, which rise in a strangely regular fashion above the leafy plains. They are the towers of old temples and giant dagabas, built two centuries before the reign of Christ ; the forest has been unable
^ This is the literal translation of the Indian name. Anurad-hapura was destroyed at the commencement of our era by the
great Malabar invasion.to destroy them, but has wrapped them in its green winding-sheet, covering them gradually with its soil, its roots, its monkeys, and its trailing growths. The place where men worshipped in the earliest times of Buddha
is still nobly marked, and the sacred city which slumbers under all these overhanging branches is still here.
Even this hill on which I stand was once a sacred Idagaba — built by myriads of the faithful in honour |of their prophet, the forerunner and brother of Jesus. The pediment is guarded by a row of elephants carved in stone, and by gods whose features time has now obliterated. What a delirium of prayer and adoration, and what a din of crashing music must have daily filled this temple in the olden times !
” The Temples and the Palaces of Anuradhapura are numberless, and their golden cupolas and pavilions I shimmer in the sun. In the streets are crowds of soldiers armed with bows and arrows. Elephants, horses, chariots, and countless multitudes pass in a continual turmoil. There are jugglers, dancers, and musicians from many lands, whose timbals gleam<with golden ornaments.” ^
Now there is silence, shadow, and green night ; ?men have passed away and the forest has closed on ‘■everything. The wakening morning shines on all ;.these buried ruins as calmly as it shone on the virgin forest in the first dawnings of creation. I
Before visiting the mainland, I must wait some days in Ceylon for the reply of a noble Maharajah whose
guest I am to be, and I have preferred to seek shelterhere, rather than in the vulgar towns of the coast.