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“About a mile higher up, there is a cave on the left bank of the river, which is said to have been constructed by the king for devotional purposes. The river having forced its way into this cave, has carried away a considerable portion of it, and its appearance is doubtless very much altered from what it was; but in its present condition, there is no reason for supposing it to be a work of art.
“Above this again, at a considerable elevation on the side of the mountain, there is a natural niche in the bare rock, and above it a mass which from the river appears to the naked eye to be a group of figures with as much resemblance to humanity as idols generally possess. The only people now frequenting this region—the gold-washers—believe them to be gods, and worship them as such ; and being in view of the cave, if the latter ever was used as a place of worship, it may have been for the adoration of these gigantic figures. A telescope dissolves the illusion of their bearing any resemblance to gods or mortals, and of course a closer inspection would do the same. But no one has ever ventured to approach the phenomenon, and if they did, they would consider the reality as the illusion, and report with some truth that the mysterious figure blended into the mass of rock as they approached, and consequently that a closer inspection of their awful forms than that obtained from the view at the cave, was not given to mortal eyes.”
After their discovery by Captain Dalton, the knowledge of the existence of these forts had wholly disappeared among the local planters, and even among the Assamese, and it was not until one of the authors, while shooting in the forest near the Buroi river, was fortunate enough to stumble across them, that any knowledge of them existed in the district. As we have been able to bring a considerable amount of new information to light, both as regards the fortifications themselves, and as to the legends relating to them, it has seemed worth while to bring the whole information on the matter together.
The River Buroi is a short river draining a portion of the lower Himalayas in the district of Darrang in Assam, and while still in the hills passes through country inhabited by the Mongolian tribe of Daphlas. It finally enters the Brahmaputra, a little to the east of Behāli Mukh. For the greater part of the year the upper river is only approachable by a road which runs right back from the river at Gomiri Ghat to the hills, and then by a path along their base through the Singli Tea Estate. This path is shown as the “Singli Path” in the rough sketch in Fig. 1. During the greater part of the early months of the year it is however also possible to approach this part of the river by elephant along the banks of the river, and also with some difficulty on horseback.
The fortifications of which we speak are situated just over the boundary line of British territory in the independent Daphla country.