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THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA.

MORRISON AND GIBB, EDINBURGH,

PRINTERS TO HER MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE.

The Imperial Gazetteer of India.

SIR WILLIAM WILSON HUNTER, K.C.S.I.,

CLE., B.A., LL.D.

ADDITIONAL METilBER OF THE VICEROY'S LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, AND DIRECTOR-GENERAL

OF STATISTICS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA;

VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA ; HONORARY OR FOREIGN MEMBER OF THE ROYAL INSTITUTE OF NETHERLANDS INDIA AT THE HAGUE, OF THE INSTITUTO VASCO

DA GAMA OF PORTUGUESE INDIA, OF THE DUTCH SOCIETY IN JAVA, AND OF

THE ETHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY, LONDON ; HONORARY FELLOW OF

THE PUNJAB UNIVERSITY ; ORDINARY FELLOW OF THE

ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY, THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY, ETC.

VOLUME XIII.

SIROHI TO ZUMKhX.

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH CENTER

GEOPHYSICS

RESEARCH LIBRARY

SECOND EDITION.

TRUBNER & CO., LONDON, 1887.

DS

/.|3

UNIV. OF MASSACHUSETTS

JiT BOSTON - LlBnAlU'

IMPERIAL GAZETTEER

OF

INDIA.

VOLUME XIII.

Sirohi.Native State in the Rajputana Agency under the Govern- ment of India, lying between lat. 24° 22' and 25° 16' n., and between

long.

72°

22'

and

73°

18'

e.

Population (1881) 142,903 souls.

Estimated

area,

3020 square miles.

Sirohi is bounded on the north by

Marwar or Jodhpur, on the east by Mewar or Udaipur, on the south by

Palanpur and the Mahi Kantha States of Edar and Danta, and on the

west by Jodhpur.

Physical Aspects.The country is much intersected and broken up by hills and rocky ranges. The main feature is Mount Abu, the highest

peak of which rises 5653 feet above sea-level ;

it is situated at the

extremity of the Aravalli Mountain chain, being partially separated

from the main range by a narrow valley.

That range, running from

south-west to north-east, divides

the State into two not very unequal

portions.

The western half is comparatively open and level, and more

populous and better cultivated than the other.

Both portions, beinf'

situated at the foot of the hill range, are intersected by numerous

watercourses or ndlds, which become torrents of greater or less volume

in the rainy season, but are dry during the remainder of the year. From the line of water-parting the streams discharge into the rivers Loni

and Bands.

The lower slopes of the Aravalli range in Sirohi are clothed

with dense forest ; and the country generally is dotted with low rocky

hills, which, as a rule, are thickly covered with jungle, consisting chiefly

of the dhao tree

(Anogeissus pendula) mixed with khair (Acacia

Catechu), babul {\c2ic\2i arabica), ber (Zizyphus Jujuba), and Euj:)horbia.

The only river of any importance is the Western Bands.

Within the

limits of the State this river is not perennial ; it usually ceases to flow

VOL. XIII.

A

2

SIROHI.

as the hot season commences, and only deep pools are then to be

found.

It is subject, during the rains, to occasional floods ;

but these

rapidly subside, leaving the stream fordable and the water clear and

good.

The Bands, rising

in the Aravalli Hills, flows through the

State into Gujarat, and after passing the cantonment of Disa, is finally

lost in the Rann of Cutch (Kachchh).

There are remains of many

fine artificial lakes in Sirohi, but no lakes or jhih at present exist, with

the exception of the Nakhi Talao on Mount Abu.

The nature of the

subsoil of Sirohi appears, as a rule, to be unsuited to the

artificial

storage of water, for in the village tanks the water generally subsides

very rapidly after the end of the rainy season.

The depth at which

water is found below the surface varies a good deal in different parts of

the State.

Thus, in the north-east, the wells are from 90 to 100 feet

deep, and the water is generally brackish.

In the north-west, water is

more easily found, at from 70 to 90 feet ; while in the eastern Districts,

water of good quality is found at depths varying from 15 to 60 feet, the

depth required to

be sunk decreasing towards the south.

In the

w^estern Districts, the depth of the wells is generally 60 to 70 feet ; and

at Sirohi town, and in its neighbourhood, water is often scarce and of

inferior quality.

The geological formation of the Aravalli range is granite overlying

blue slate.

The valleys exhibit variegated quartz and schistose slate.

Rocks of gneiss and syenite appear at intervals.

At the south-east

corner of Sirohi, the Aravalli range takes a sweep to the south-west,

enclosing a hilly tract called the bhakar.

In this tract the rocks are

primitive and metamorphic, with schists and limestone. Mica is found

in large quantities.

Near the village of Jariwao, on the south-eastern

frontier of the State, are the marble quarries of that name, from which

the celebrated Jain temples of Abu are said to have been built.

The

granite of Abu is used to a considerable extent for building, and the blue slate which underlies the granite is well adapted for paving and

other purposes.

It is said that a copper-mine was formerly worked in

the hilly range above the town of Sirohi.

Although a considerable portion of Sirohi is covered with tree and

bush jungle, the forests,

strictly speaking, may be considered as con-

fined to the slopes of Abu and the belt of forest round its base.

In

the bhaka7\ there are here and there hills and valleys well wooded with

valuable timber, such as the timru or ebony (Diospyros Ebenum),

dJiaman (Cordia Macleodii), siris (Albizzia Lebbek), hu/dru, the large

dhao^ and others.

shrubs are found.

On the slopes of Abu a great variety of trees and

The most common are the bamboo, mango, siris,

dhao of various kinds, Jdmi/n (Eugenia Jambolana), kachnar, etc.

Tigers are numerous, and destroy a great number of cattle.

Bears

and leopards are common.

Both sdmbhar and chiial deer were also

SIROHL

3

numerous, till the great famine of 1868-69, during which numbers of

them either died, or were killed by the Bhils for food.

Antelopes are

scarce, but chikara (ravine deer) and the four-horned deer are to be

found in parts.

Field rats are abundant

in the sandy portions of the

State.

Hares are very common.

The grey partridge abounds, the

painted and black partridge are rare.

Quail of several kinds and sand-

grouse are everywhere met with.

Florican visit the country for a short

time during the rains. Jungle and spur fowl are found in the hilly

parts of the State.

The fish are few and almost entirely confined to

the Banas river ; they are chiefly the rohu, imirrel^ pat'i, and chilwa.

History.The present ruling family of Sirohi are Deora Rajputs,

a branch

of the

great Chauhan clan,

and claim

to

be directly

descended from Deo Raj, a descendant of Prithwi Raj, the Chauhan

King of Delhi.

The earliest known inhabitants of Sirohi were the

Bhils.

The first Rajputs to settle in the country were the Gehlots.

They were soon followed by the Pramara Rajputs, who appear to have

been a powerfiil race, and to have had their capital at Chandrawati.

The ruins of this place prove it to have been at one time a large and

flourishing city.

The Pramaras were succeeded by the Chauhan Rajputs, who seem to

have first established themselves in the country about 1152 a.d., but

who only dispossessed the Pramaras after a long series of years and

much fighting.

The Pramaras are said to have taken up their last

refuge on Mount Abu, where remains of extensive fortifications are still

to be seen.

Being unable to drive them from their stronghold, the

Deora Chauhans had recourse to stratagem. They sent a proposal that

the Pramaras should bring twelve of their daughters to be married into

the Chauhan tribe,

and thus establish a friendship.

The proposal

being accepted, the story runs that the twelve girls were accompanied

to Bhadeli, a village near the southern

border of Sirohi, by nearly all

the Pramaras.

The Chauhans then fell upon them, massacred the

majority, and pursuing the survivors back to Abu, gained possession of

that place.

It is said that the descendants of Pramaras now inhabit

Abu, and, in memory

of this

act

of treachery,

never allow their

daughters to go down to the plains to be married.

During the reign of Sains Mall (about 1425 a.d.), the Rana Kambaji

of Chittor obtained permission to take refuge at Achilgarh on Mount

Abu, when flying from the Mughal Emperor.

On the retreat of the

imperial army, the son of Sains Mall sent word to the Rana to return to

his own country ; but the latter, having found what a strong position

Abu was, refused to leave, and had eventually to be driven out by

force.

In consequence of this, no other Raja was ever allowed to go up

to Abu; and this custom remained in force till

1836, when, through

the intervention of Colonel Spiers (at that time in political charge at

4

SIROHL

Sirohi), Maharana Jawan Singh of Udaipur was permitted to proceed to

Abu on a pilgrimage to the temples.

Since then the prohibition has

been withdrawn, and many chiefs of Rajputana have visited Abu.

During the early years of the present century, the State of Sirohi

suffered much from wars with Jodhpur, and the constant marauding

of the wild

its subjects.

Mina tribes.

The

State became

Many of the Thakurs

in

the

too weak

to protect

south threw off their

allegiance, and placed themselves under the protection of Palanpur

and the Sirohi State was nigh being dismembered.

Under these cir-

cumstances, in 1817, Rao Sheo Singh, then Regent, sought the pro-

tection of the British Government.

Captain Tod was at that time the

Political Agent in Western Rajputana;

and

after

making close

inquiry into the history and relations of the two States, he disallowed

the pretensions of Jodhpur to suzerainty over Sirohi. In 1823, a treaty was finally coiicluded between the British Govern-

ment and the Sirohi State.

Many of the Thakurs were in rebellion,

supported by the wild Minas of the hills ; but they were eventually

reduced to submission.

Rao Sheo Singh did good service during the

Mutiny of 1857, in consideration of which he received a remission of

half his tribute, which is now fixed at ^:688.

The Rao of Sirohi in

1845 made over to the British Government some lands on Mount Abu,

for the establishment of a

sanitarium.

The present Rao is named

Kesari Singh ; he is entitled to

a salute of 15 guns, and holds a sariad

giving rights of adoption.

Population.— i:hQ Census of 1881 returned the population of Sirohi

State at 142,903, residing in i town and 365 villages, and occupying

30,532

males,

houses.

Males

76,132, and

females 66,771; proportion of

53-3 per cent.

According to the religious classification, Hindus

mimb'er 123,633, or 86-5 per cent.; Jains, 16,137, or 11-3 per cent;

Muhammadans, 2935; Christians, 179; and 'others,' 19.

The State

contains a considerable number of Brahmans (13,288) and religious

mendicants. The Baniyas and Mahajans (17,317) fo a very nume-

rous class ; they are mostly Oswals and Porewals, followers of the Jain

^The Rajputs

religion. clans, or septs of clans.

(13,466) are divided

into twelve different

They are the dominant race, although not

numerically the largest class. The greater portion are Deora Chauhans ;

next in order come the Sesodia and Rahtor clans, who are about equal

in number.

Rajputs, who are not J agirda rs or the immediate relatives

oijdgirddrs, gain their living as State servants, soldiers, and cultivators

they belong to the diwali band, or protectors of the villages, and culti- Kalbis, Rabaris, and Dhers are also numerous.

vate free of land-tax.

Aboriginal tribes and tribes of half-blood, including Bhils, Girasias, and

Minds, form a considerable section of the population.

The Girasias are

principally confined to the bhakar or hilly tract in the south-east corner

SIROHL

5

of Sirohi.

They were formerly great

plunderers, but have now settled

down to agriculture.

They are said to be the descendants of Rajputs,

married to Bhil women.

Minas and Bhi'ls have always been trouble-

some races, with a hereditary taste for plundering.

Speaking generally,

the Minas may be said to occupy the

north, and the Bhils the western

part of Sirohi. There are some Kolis who are believed to have immi-

grated from Gujarat.

They have now settled down as cultivators, and

are principally found in the eastern and southern districts.

The

Musalmans mostly consist of tahsilddrs and sepoys, and a few colonies

of Cutch (Kachchh) Bohras at Madar and Sirohi.

The language of

Sirohi is a patois of Marwari and Gujarati. Agriculture^ etc.The principal spring crops {rabi) are wheat, barley, gram, and mustard (Brassica campestris), from which a kind of oil is

prepared, much used by the people.

Wheat and barley are the staple

crops ; on these being reaped, many of the fields are at once ploughed

up and sown with two kinds of small grain called kardng and chaina^

which come to maturity ver}' quickly, and are cut before the rains set

in.

Manure is used every second or third year ; but no rotation of

crops is practised, the same land being sown with wheat or barley year

after year.

The chief

rain crops

{kkarif) are Indian

corn,

bdjra

(Pennisetum typhoideum), jnung (Phaseolus Mungo), moth (Phaseolus aconitifoHus), arad (Phaseolus Mungo, var. radiatus), kulath (Dolichos

biflorus), and guar (Cyamopsis psoralioides).

Cotton and ambari or

san (Hibiscus cannabinus), a kind of hemp, are grown in small

quantities for local consumption.

Til^ kuri (Sesamum indicum), kuri

(Panicum miliaceum), basthi^ kudra, mal, and sai?iwatat scce only grown

in walar cultivation, i.e. by cutting down and burning the jungle on the

hill-sides, and sowing the seed in the ashes.

This mode of cultivation

is very popular with the wild tribes of Girasias, Bhils, and Minas, and

has proved most destructive to the Aravalli forests.

There is so much

land in the State yet remaining uncultivated that the grazing grounds

are very extensive.

The agricultural tenures in Sirohi correspond with those generally

prevailing throughout Rajputana.

The

ruler is the actual and sole

owner of the land conquered by his ancestors.

Those that came with

him were granted portions of the conquered territory, on certain con-

ditions of fealty and military service, and became his umras or nobles ;

but the ruler still retained the ownership or bhum of the land.

To this

there are of course exceptions ; and the Girasias, the original inhabit-

ants of the

bhakar, still retain

their bhum rights.

The cultivators

generally are hereditary tenants, and cannot be ejected so long as they

pay the revenue regularly ; in fact, in such a sparsely populated country

as Sirohi, the cultivator is too valuable to be parted with.

There is a

large class in Sirohi called the diiuali band^ consisting of Rajputs, Bhils.

'

  • 6 SIROHL

Minds, and Kolfs, who cultivate land rent-free.

The

safety of the

village is in their hands, and they are bound to protect it.

Brahmans,

Charans, and Bhats also cultivate their land free, out of respect for

their religious duties.

In all the jd^ir estates the State receives a portion of the land

revenue and local taxes.

The rates vary, but in the principal estates

Rajputs pay three-eighths of the produce, and in others one-half. The cultivators get from two-thirds to three-fourths of the produce of the

crops, after deducting the haks (dues) of the village servants, as black-

smiths, carpenters, etc.

In some portions, especially to the north, the

State and jdgirddrs' shares of the rain crops are collected by a tax on

the ploughs, varying from 4s. to 8s. a plough. The gross revenue of the State in 1881-82 amounted to ;£i45924-

Since then a new source of income has been secured in the increased

rate of opium duty, which has been assimilated to that prevailing in

Marwdr.

Natural Calamities.Sirohi frequently suffers from drought.

The

years 1746,

1785,

181 2, 1813, and

1868-69 ^^^ recorded as having

been years of terrible famine. 75 per cent, of the cattle perished.

It

is

calculated that in the latter year

The distress was much increased

and prolonged by a

visitation of locusts, which

destroyed a great

portion of the rain crops.

Education^ Commu7iicatio7is^ etc.Education is but little sought after.

There are vernacular schools at the three

principal towns, Sirohi,

Rohera, and Madar.

In many of the villages, boys of the Baniya class

are taught to write and keep accounts by the village y^///. A dispensary

is supported by the State at the town of Sirohi.

There are post-offices

at Erinpura, Sirohi, Anadra, Abu road station, and Abu. The main

road through the State is that from Ajmere, through Marwar, Sirohi,

Palanpur, and the Gaekwar's territory, to Ahmadabad.

This road

enters Sirohi at Erinpura; and passing through the capital and along

the western side of Abu, leaves the State again about 2 miles south of

Madar, which is about 26 miles from the cantonment of Disa.

The

Rajputana-Malwa Railway, constructed on the metre gauge, which runs through the length of this State, passing just east of Mount Abu, was

opened in December 1880.

There is a jail at Sirohi.

Criminal suits are tried by the minister

at

the capital,

and

by iahsilddrs at

the head-quarters of districts.

There are no other courts in

Sirohi ;

all civil

suits are settled

by

panchdyats, or village assemblies.

The

military force of the State

consists of 2 guns, 108 cavalry, and 500 foot-soldiers.

Medical Aspects.The climate of Sirohi is, on the whole, dry and

healthy ; and there is a general freedom from epidemic diseases, which

is doubtless in a measure due to the sparseness of the population.

The

SIR OHI CAPITAL—SIRONJ,

7

heat is never so intense as in the North-Western Provinces or tlie

Punjab ; but on the other hand, the cold season is of much shorter

duration, and less bracing.

In the southern and eastern districts there-

is usually a fair amount of rain ; but over the rest of the State, the rain-

fall is frequently scant.

This is chiefly due to Mount Abu and the

Aravalli Hills attracting the clouds driven inland by the south-west

monsoon ; thus at x\bu the average annual rainfall is about 64 inches, while at Erinpura, less than 50 miles distant in a northerly direction, the

average fall is only between 12 and 15 inches.

The prevailing wind is

south-westerly.

The principal diseases are malarious fever and ague,

complicated with enlargement of the spleen. Dysentery often occurs at

the close of the rains, and during the early part of the cold season,

especially in the jungle tracts round the base of Abu. Sirohi.Capital of the Native State of Sirohi, Rajputana ;

situated

in lat. 24° 53' 12" N., and long. 72" 54' 28" e., 28

miles north of Abu

road station on the Rajputana-Malwa Railway, and 171 miles from

Ajmere. Population (18S1) 5699, namely, Hindus 5129, and Muham-

madans 570.

Manufacture of sword - blades, daggers, spears, and

knifes.

Sirol. Western suburb of Benares City.

See Sikrol.

Sironcha {Siiironchd).Town in Sironcha iahsil, Chanda District,

Central Provinces; situated in lat. 18° 51' n., and long. 80' i' e., on the left bank of the Pranhita river, 2 miles above its confluence with

the Godavari, and 120 miles south-south-east of Chanda town.

Popu-

lation (1881) 3476, namely, Hindus, 2961; Muhammadans, 452 ;

and

Christians, d^.

The public buildings and houses of the European

officials stand on a ridge formerly covered with dense jungle, which

slopes gradually northwards down to the village.

The summit com-

mands a fine view of the Pranhita, where it winds round a high bluff of sandstone, crowned by a ruined fort, built 160 years ago by direction of

Wali Haidar, a holy man, whose tomb within is held sacred.

Sironcha

has no manufactures, and little trade, except in articles of local con-

sumption. The town contains English and Telugu schools.

is sandy, and the drainage good.

The soil

%Y£QTi^.—Parga7ia and town in Tonk State, Rajputana, under the

control of the Bhopal Agency of Central India; situated in lat. 24° 6' 23" N., and long. 77° 43' 30" e., 78 miles north-west of Sagar (Saugor),

and 140 north-east of Ujjain. Population (1881) 1 1,356, namely, males

and females 5731. Hindus number 7383 ; Muhammadans, 3895 ;

Sironj is built at the foot of a pass connecting Malwd

5625,

and ' others,' 78.

with the table-land to the north.

It was once a large town, famed for

its muslins and chintzes, but is now much decayed.

One

fine hdzdi-

still remains, and there are many mosques.

Good water is abundant.

8

SIRPUI^—SIRSA.

granted to Amir Khan by Jaswant Rao Holkar; in 1809, the threaten-

ing attitude assumed towards Nagpur by Amir Khan led to the advance upon Sironj of a British force under Colonel Close ; subsequently, in

181 7, this town and district, with other territories, were guaranteed by

the British Government to the Amir.'

Sirpur.Chief town oi ^ix^m pafgand, Basim District, Berar. Lat.

20° 10' 30" N., long. 77° i' E.

Population (1867) 3555; not returned

separately in the Census Report of 1881.

Here is the

shrine of

Antariksh Parasnath, one of the most sacred resorts of the Jains.

The

tradition is, that Yelluk, a Raja of Ellichpur, found the idol on the banks

of a river, and his prayers for permission to transport it to his own city

were granted on condition of his not looking back. At Sirpur, however,

his faith became weak, and he looked back.

The idol instantly became

immovable, and it thus remained suspended in mid-air for many years.

Here still exists a small but ancient Jain

temple or shrine, having

a covered roof with pendants richly carved.

Post-office, first-grade

vernacular school, and police station.

Sirsa. British District in

the Lieutenant - Governorship of

the

Punjab, lying between 29° 13' and 30° 33' n. lat., and between 73°

56' and 75° 22' E. long.

2535275 souls.

Sirsa

is

Area, 3004 square miles.

Population (1881)

a

District

of the

Hissar Division.

It

is

bounded on the north-east by the District of Firozpur and the Native

State of Patiala, on the west by the river Sutlej

(Satlaj), on the south-

west by the Native States of Bahawalpur and Bikaner (Bickaneer), and

on the east by the District of Hissar. The administrative head-quarters are at the town of Sirsa.

Physical Aspects.The District of Sirsa is intermediate,

both in

geographical position and in physical features, between the barren

desert of Bikaner and the sandy but cultivated plains of the cis-Sutlej

States.

It forms for the most part a bare and treeless plateau, stretch-

ing from the valley of the little river Ghaggar on the east to the main

stream of the Sutlej on its north-western border.

Near the village

tanks, a few straggling bushes may be seen ; but, as a rule, the monotony

of the view is rarely broken by any larger vegetation. In the immediate

neighbourhood of the Sutlej, hoAvever, is a fertile alluvial tract {hitdr,

corresponding to the khddar of the North-Western Provinces), intersected by branches of the river, and flooded by their