Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rayakote, 1858

Photo Title – ‘Gate of the Hill Fort Ryakotta', from the photograph album by Capt. Linnaeus Tripe, 'Photographic Views of Ryacotta'; South India, 1858.

Original Transcript from pages of Rare Book Society of India

This photograph is part of the album he produced of Ryacotta, or Royacottah, and the Salem district. This is an extract of the accompanying text published with the image in 1860:

'Near the massive gateway represented in the view, there is said to be a subterraneous passage, and a story is told of the place which illustrates the great hold which the British Government possesses on the fidelity of the native troops. It is thus related by Mr. J.W.B. Dykes C.S. in his ‘Salem an Indian collectorate,’ page 348.

‘Down this mysterious chasm some five or six adventurous Sipahis [Hindu for soldier, meaning here an Indian soldier] had once rashly wandered in search of treasure said to be hidden there. They never came back, and their troubled spirits were nightly heard wailing around the rock. In those days the castle was guarded at all hours, and each night as the clock struck twelve, the sentry at the gate heard a wild and unearthly voice asking three times over, “Where is my family.” The boldest of the garrison were afraid and for three successive nights none durst answer, but at last one more courageous than the rest, when the sad question was once more put, “Where is my family,” loudly replied, “In Raya Vellore, in Raya Vellore, drawing a pension, drawing a pension,” and then say the Sipahis, the ghosts went down to their long home, glad, and for ever. Their families safe, the ghostly minds were at rest and the ill starred treasure-seekers troubled their comrades no more.'

Source: V&A, London.

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