The Travels of Monsieur de Thévenot Into the Levant in Three Parts
About this text
The Travels of Monsieur de Thevenot Into the Levant in Three Parts was published in 1687. It was written by Jean de Thévenot. It describes the Frenchman’s travails in Persia and India. It is divided into three volumes. De Theunot was born in 1633. His wealth enabled him to travel widely. He was a polyglot and a natural scientist. He died in 1667. Selections have been made from Volume III of The travels of Monsieur de Thévenot. de Thévenot’s experiences of different Indian places such as Delhi, Agra, Surat and Goa are given along with a look at feasts that take place at the turning of the new year. Primary Reading de Thévenot, Jean, The Travels of Monsieur de Thévenot Into the Levant in Three Parts, H. Clark. Suggested Reading Tavernier, Jean Baptiste, Travels in India, Volume 1, Oxford University Press Tavernier, Jean Baptiste, Travels in India, Volume 2, Oxford University Press
Monsieur de Thevenot
In Three Parts.
III. The EASTINDIES.
Newly done out of French.
Licensed, Decemb. 2. 1686.
RO. L'ESTRANGE. LONDON, Printed by H. Clark, for H. Faithorne, J. Adamson, C. Skegnes, and T. Newborough, Booksellers in St. Paul's ChurchYard, MDCLXXXVII.
PUBLISHED BY H. Clark
PUBLISHED FOR H. Faithorne, J. Adamson, C. Skegnes, and T. Newborough
The Great Mogul descends in direct line from Tamerlan, whose Successours that setled in the Indies, took to themselves the Name of Moguls, that they might be distinguished from those to whom that Prince left Zagatay, Corassan, Persia, and other Countries to be Governed after him. They thought that that name might contribute much to the Glory of their Family, because by taking it they would more easily persuade Men, that they are of the Race of Ginguiscan, the First Emperour of the Ancient Moguls, who had carried it above Twelve Ages before them, and who under that Title began the Greatest and most Powerful Empire in the World.
Mogul was heretofore the Name of a mighty People, who inhabited a vast Country at the extremity of East Tartary, towards the North, which some have called Mogul, others Mongul and Mongal, and others Mogulistan, where Ginguis Can was Born. That Emperour or Great Chan, reduced it wholly under his Obedience, before he undertook the Conquest of the rest of Asia; and his Subjects, as well as he, were called Moguls. This gave occasion to those of India, to take the same name, thereby to signifie that they are descended from him.
As for the Genealogy of Tamerlan, it must be examined some where else than in the relation of Travels, if one would know the truth of it, because of the diversity of opinions that are to be found amongst the Oriental writers upon that subject.
Tamerlan had already given great jealousie to the Indians, by Conquering the Province of Gazna, which had been sometimes in their dependance, though lying a great deal on this side of the Indies, and which in his own lifetime was Possessed by Pir Muhemmed, Son of his Eldest Son Gayeteddin, but when Mirza Baber, who descended from the Third Son of that Emperour, retreated thither after the loss of Maurenahor or Zagatay, he bestirred himself so well in setling his Dominion there, as he did in some other Countries of the Indies that lay next to him, and were, according to the Lebeltaric, (he Reigned Fourty three Years,) that his Son Humayon had no great difficulty to get Footing in Judostan after the death of his Father, which happened in the Year 1530 and who had already made some unsuccessful attempts in that Country. This young Prince made himself Master of Candahar, Caboul, and many other Towns, the greatest part whereof he lost sometime after by the Valour of Chaalem King of Bengale and Deran; but he recovered them in process of time by the means of Tahmas Kings of Persia, whose Sister he Married, and having carried his Conquest farther on, he made Delby the Capital of his Kingdom.
His Son Ecbar Succeded him; and having joyned a great many Provinces of Judostan to those which his Father left him, died in the Year 1604.
Selim his Eldest Son, was immediately Crowned by the Name of Gehanguir; and having Reigned Three and twenty Years, and enlarged the Conquest, he died in the Year 1627.
After his death, his Grandson Boulloquoy Reigned about Three Months, but he was strangled by Order of Sultan Corom, a Rebel Son of Gehanguir, who having made sure of the Empire, took to himself the Name of Chagehan in the Year 1628.
Seeing Blood and Rebellion raised him to the Throne, he had experience of the same disorders amongst his Children, which he had caused to his Father; for through their jealousie his Empire was almost always in confusion, and at length fell into the hands of Auranzeb the Third of his Four Sons, who Reigns at present.
In mounting to the Throne, this Prince imitated the crimes of his Father; for he put to death Dara his Eldest Brother, imprisoned Mourad his other Brother who confided in him, and clapt up his own Father in Prison, who died Five or Six Years after, about the end of the Year 1666.
The Great Mogul is certainly a most Powerful Prince, as we may Judge by his Riches, Armies, and the number of People that are within the extent of his Empire. His yearly Revenues, they say, mount to above Three hundred and thirty French Millions. The Canon Name, which is a Register containing a List of his Forces, makes it appear, that that Prince entertains Three hundred thousand Horse, of which betwixt Thirty and Thirty five thousand, with ten thousand Foot are for a Guard to his Person both in time of Peace and War, and are commonly quartered in those places where he keeps his Court. This Empire extends from East to West above Four hundred Leagues, and from North to South above Five hundred, and that vast space, (excepting some Mountains and Deserts,) is so full of Towns, Castles, Burroughs and Villages, and by consequence of Inhabitants who till the Land, or emprove it by manufactures, and the commerce which that Country affords, that it is easie to judge of the Power of the King who is Master thereof.
The true bounds of his Empire are to the West, Macran or Sinde and Candahar; to the East, it reaches beyond the Ganges; to the South it is limited by Decan, the great Sea and the Gulf of Bengale; and to the North by the Tartars. The exageration of many Travellers, concerning the extent of the Countries of this great King of the Indies, was the cause that I made it my business to consult the most knowing Men, that I might learn what they thought of the greatness of it, and what now I write is their Opinion.
They affirm not as some do, that when the Mogul makes War, he sends Three hundred thousand Horse into the field. They say, indeed, that he pays so many; but seeing the chief Revenues, or to say better, the rewards of the Great Men, consist particularly in the pay which they have for more or fewer Troopers, it is certain that they hardly keep on Foot one half of the Men they are appointed to have; so that when the Great Mogul marches upon any expedition of War, his Army exceeds not an Hundred and fifty thousand Horse, with very few Foot, though he have betwixt Three and four hundred thousand Mouths in the Army.
Besides, I was informed by any Indian who pretends to know the Map of his Country, that they reckon no more but twenty Provinces within the extent of Mogulistan in the Indies, and that they who have reckoned more, have not been well informed of their number, since of one Province they have made two or three.
This Indian had a list of the Princes Revenues calculated for the twenty Provinces, and I made no doubt of the truth of his System; but I had rather call them Governments, and say that every Government contains several Provinces. I shall observe the Revenues of the Governments, in the discription I give of them, and shall call each Government a Province, that I may not vary from the memoires which I have; and as I entered the Indies by the Province of Guzerat, so I shall describe it before the others.
THe Province of Guzerat, which was heretofore a Kingdom, fell into the Possession of the Great Mogul Ecbar, about the year 1565. He was called into it by a great Lord, to whom the King of Guzerat, Sultan Mamoet gave the general Government thereof, when being near his death, he trusted him with the tuition and regency of his only Son, in the Year 1545, or 1546 during the Reign of Humayon the Father of Ecbar.
The ambition of that Governour who was envied by all the great Men of the Kingdom of Guzerat, that were his declared Enemies, and against whom he resolved to maintain himself at the cost of his own lawful Prince, made him betake himself to the King Mogul, under pretext of soliciting his protection for his Pupil named Mudafer, who was already of Age, but not yet of sufficient Authority to maintain his Guardian against the faction of the great Men whom he had provoked. Ecbar entered Guzerat with an Army, and subdued all those who offered to make head against him, and whom the Governour accused of being Enemies to his King: But instead of being satisfied with one Town which with its Territories had been promised him, he seized the whole Kingdom, and made the King and Governour Prisoners. That unfortunate Prince being never after able to recover it again; not but that having made his escape, he attempted once again to have reestablished himself, but his efforts were in vain, for he was overcome, and made Prisoner a second time, so that despair at length made him destroy himself.
This is the pleasantest Province of Judostan, though it be not the largest. The Nardaba, Tapty, and many other Rivers that water it, render it very fertile, and the Fields of Guzerat look green in all the seasons of the Year, because of the Corn and Rice that cover them, and the various kinds of Trees, which continually bear Fruit.
The most considerable part of Guzerat is towards the Sea, on which the Towns of Surrat and Cambaye stand, whose Ports are the best of all Mogulistan. But seeing Amedabad is the Capital Town of the Province, it is but reasonable we should treat of it before we speak of the rest.
February the First I parted from Surrat to go to that Town, and going out at Baroche Gate, I marched streight North. Two hours after I crossed the River Tapty, in a Boat big enough, but very incommodious for taking in of Chariots, because the sides of it were two foot high. Eight men were forced to carry mine, after they had taken out the Oxen, and I was about half an hour in crossing that River. I continued my Journey by the Town of Beriao, the River of Kim, which I crossed with the same trouble that I had done the Tapty, by the Town of Ouclisser, the River of Nerdaba, and at length I arrived at the Town of Baroche, which is distant from Surrat and the Sea, Twenty Cosses which makes about Ten French Leagues, because a Cosse which is a Measure amongst the Indians for the distance of places, is about half a League. Baroche lies in 21 degrees 55 minutes North Latitude. The fortress of Baroche is large and square, standing on a Hill, which makes it to be seen at a great distance. It is one of the chief strengths of the Kingdom, and had heretofore a very large Jurisdiction. The Town lies upon the side, and at the foot of the Hill, looking towards the River of Nerdaba. It is environed with Stone-Walls about three Fathom high, which are flanked by large round Towers at Thirty or Thirty five Paces distance one from another.
The Bazards or Market-places are in a great Street at the foot of the Hill; and there it is that those Cotten-Stuffs are made, which are called Bastas, and which are sold in so great plenty in the Indies.
The Hill being high and hard to be mounted, it might be a very easie matter to put the fortress in a condition not to fear any Attack, but at present it is so much slighted, that there are several great breaches in the Walls to the Land side, which no body thinks of repairing. In that Town there are Mosques and Pagodes, that's to say, Temples of the Heathen, as well above as below. The Riverwater is excellent for whitening of Cloaths, and they are brought from all parts to be whitened there. There is little or no other Trade there, but of Agates; but most of those are Sold at Cambaye. There is great abundance of Peacocks in the Country about Baroche. The Dutch have a Factor there for the quick dispatch and clearing at the Custom-house, the other sorts of Cloaths that come from Amedabad and elsewhere, because since all Goods must pay duties as they enter and come out of Baroche, there would always happen confusion, if the care of that were referred to the carriers who transport them.
Leaving Baroche, I continued my Journey Northwards, to the little Town of Sourban, which is seven Leagues distant from Baroche, and then having crossed the Brook Dader, and several Villages, I arrived at Debca which lies on the side of a Wood seven Leagues from Sourban. The Inhabitants of this Town were formerly such as are called MerdiCoura or Anthropophagi, Maneaters,and it is not very many Years since Mans flesh was there publickly sold in the Markets. That place seems to be a nest of Robbers; the Inhabitants who are for the most part Armed with Swords, are a most impudent sort of People: In what posture soever you be, they continually stare you in the Face, and with so much boldness, that let one say what he pleases to them, there is no making of them to withdraw: Passengers that know them, are always upon their Guard, nay, and are obliged to carry a Lance with them, when they go to do their needs.
Next day we parted from thence and went to Petnad, a little Town seven Leagues and a half from Debca, and arrived there, having first past the Gulf or River of Mai, where there is a Watch to secure the Rode. We found in our way two great Tanquiez and a great number of Monkies of an extraordinary bigness. These Tanquiez are standing Ponds or reservations of Rainwater; there are many of them in the Indies, and commonly there is great care taken in looking after them, because Wells being rare in that Country, there is an extream need of these publick reservatories, by reason of the continual thirst which the heat causes in all Animals there, and some of them are as big as Lakes or large Ponds. Next we came to the Town of Sousentra, where we say a very lovely Well, which I shall not describe in this place, because it is almost like to that of Amedabad, whereof I shall speak in its proper place. From thence we went to Mader which is six Leagues and a half from Petnad. Upon the Road we saw an infinite number of Apes of all sorts, not only upon the Trees in the Fields, but even those also by the way side, which were not in the least afraid of any body. I severall times endeavoured to make them flie with my Arms, but they stirr'd not, and cried their pou pou like mad, which is, as I think, the houp houp of which Monsieur de la Boulaye speaks.
We went next to Gitbag, five Leagues from Mader, we met a great many Colies, which are a People of a Caste or tribe of Gentiles, who have no fixed Habitation, but wander from Village to Village, and carry all they have about with them. Their chief business is to pick [Page 8] and clean the Cotten, and when they have no more to do in one Village, they go to another. In this Village of Gitbag, there is a pretty handsome Garden of the Kings: I walked in it; it lies along the side of a reservatory, and I saw a great many Monkies and Peacocks therein. The dwelling which remains appears to have been handsome, but it is let run to ruin; and a Royalhouse, not far off, is in very bad repair also. It is but two Leagues and a half from Gitbag to Amedabad.
The Town of Surrat lies in one and twenty Degrees and some Minutes of North Latitude, and is watered by the River Tapty. When I came there, the Walls of it were only of Earth, and almost all ruinous; but they were beginning to build them of Brick, a Fathom and a half thick; they gave them but the same height; and nevertheless they design'd to fortifie the place as strong as it could be made; because of the Irruption that a Raja, (of whom I shall speak hereafter) had made into it some time before. However the Ingeneer hath committed a considerable fault in the setting out of his Walls: He hath built them so near the Fort, that the Town will be safe from the Canon of the Castle, and those who defend it may easily be galled by Musquet-shot from the Town.
These new Walls render the Town much less than it was before; for a great many Houses made of Canes that formerly were within its Precinct are now left out, for which, those who are concerned pretend Reparation. Surrat is but of an indifferent bigness, and it is hard to tell exactly the number of its Inhabitants, because the seasons render it unequal: There are a great many all the Year round; but in the time of the Monsoon, that is to say, in the time when Ships can go and come to the Indies without danger, in the Months of January, February, March, and even in April, the Town is so full of People, that Lodgings can hardly be had, and the three Suburbs are all full.
It is inhabited by Indians, Persians, Arabians, Turks, Franks, Armenians, and other Christians: In the mean time its usual Inhabitants are reduc'd to three Orders, amongst whom, indeed, neither the Franks nor other Christians are comprehended, because they are but in a small number in comparison of those who profess another Religion. These three sorts of Inhabitants are either Moors, Heathens, or Parsis; by the word Moors are understood all the Mahometans, Moguls, Persians, Arabians or Turks that are in the Indies, though they be not uniform in their Religion, the one being Sunnis and the others Chiais: I have observed the difference betwixt them in my Second Part. The Inhabitants of the Second Order are called Gentils or Heathens, and these adore Idols, of whom also there are several sorts. Those of the third rank are the Parsis, who are likewise called Gaures or Atechperest, Adorers of the Fire: These profess the Religion of the Ancient Persians, and they retreated into the Indies, when Calyfe Omar reduced the Kingdom of Persia under the power of the Mahometans. There are People vastly rich in Surrat, and a Banian a Friend of mine, called Vargivora, is reckoned to be worth at least eight Millions. The English and Dutch have their Houses there, which are called Lodges and Factories: They have very pretty Appartments, and the English have settled the general Staple of their trade there. There may be very well an hundred Catholick Families in Surrat.
The Castle is built upon the side of the River at the South end of the Town, to defend the entry against those that would attack it, by the Tapty. It is a Fort of a reasonable bigness, square and flanked at each corner by a large Tower. The Ditches on three sides are filled with Sea-water, and the fourth side which is to the West is washed by the River. Several pieces of Canon appear on it mounted; and the Revenues of the King that are collected in the Province are kept there, which are never sent to Court but by express Orders. The entry to it is on the West side by a [Page 16] lovely Gate which is in the Bazar or Meidan: The Custom-house is hard by, and that Castle has a particular Governour, as the Town has another.
The Houses of this Town on which the Inhabitants have been willing to lay out Money, are flat as in Persia, and pretty well built; but they cost dear, because there is no Stone in the Countrey; seeing they are forc'd to make use of Brick and Lime, a great deal of Timber is employ'd, which must be brought from Daman by Sea, the Wood of the Countrey which is brought a great way off, being much dearer because of the Land-Carriage.
Brick and Lime are very dear also; and one cannot build an ordinary House at less charge than five or six hundred Livres for Brick, and twice as much for Lime. The Houses are covered with Tiles made half round, and half an Inch thick, but ill burnt; so that they look still white when they are used, and do not last; and it is for that reason that the Bricklayers lay them double, and make them to keep whole. Canes which they call Bambous serve for Laths to fasten the Tiles to; and the Carpenters work which supports all this, is only made of pieces of round Timber: Such Houses as these are for the Rich; but those the meaner sort of People live in, are made of Canes, and covered with the branches of Palm-trees.
Now, it is better building in the Indies in the time of Rain, than in fair weather, because the heat is so great, and the force of the Sun so violent, when the Heavens are clear, that every thing dries before it be consolidate, and cracks and chinks in a trice; whereas Rain tempers that heat, and hindering the Operation of the Sun, the Mason-work has time to dry. When it rains the Work-men have no more to do, but to cover their Work with Wax-cloath, but in dry weather there is no remedy; all that can be done is to lay wet Tiles upon the Work as fast as they have made an end of it; but they dry so soon, that they give but little help. The Streets of Surrat are large and even, but they are not paved, and there is no considerable publick Building within the Precinct of the Town.
The Christians and Mahometans there eat commonly Cow-beef,not only because it is better than the Flesh of Oxen, but also because the Oxen are employed in Plowing the Land, and carrying all Loads. The Mutton that is eaten there, is pretty good; but besides that, they have Pullets, Chickens, Pidgeons, Pigs, and all sorts of wild Fowl. They make use of the Oyl of Cnicus silvestris, or wild Saffron with their Food; it is the best in the Indies, and that of Sesamum which is common also, is not so good.
They eat Graps in Surrat from the beginning of February, to the end of April, but they have no very good taste. Some think that the reason of that is, because they suffer them not to ripen enough: Nevertheless the Dutch who let them hang on the Vine as long as they can, make a Wine of them which is so eager, that it cannot be drunk without Sugar. The white Grapes are big and fair to the Eye, and they are brought to Surrat, from a little Town called Naapoura, in the Province of Balagate, and four days Journey from Surrat.
The Strong-water of this Country is no better than the Wine, that which is commonly drunk, is made of Jagre or black Sugar put into Water with the bark of the tree Baboul, to give it some force; and then all are Distilled together. They make a Strong-water also of Tary which they Distil; But these Strong-waters are nothing so good as our Brandy, no more than those they draw from Rice, Sugar and Dates. The Vinegar they use is also made of Jagre infused in Water. There are some that put Spoil-traisins in it when they have any; but to make it better, they mingle Tary with it, and set it for several days in the Sun.
AT Surrat as elsewhere, there are diverse kinds of Weights and Measures. That which is called Candy, is of twenty Mans, but the most common Weight used in Trade is the Man, which contains fourty Serra or Pounds, and the Pound of Surrat contains fourteen Ounces, or five and thirty Toles. All Gold and Silver is weighed by the Tole, and the Tole contains fourty Mangelis, which makes fifty six of our Caracts, or thirty two Vales, or otherwise fourscore and sixteen Gengys. The Vale contains three Gongys, and two Toles a third and a half, answers to an Ounce of Paris weight, and a Tole weighs as much as a Roupie. The Man weighs fourty Pound weight all the Indies over, but these Pounds or Serres vary according to different Countries: For instance, the Pounds of Surrat are greater than those of Golconda, and by consequence the Man is bigger also: The Serre or Pound of Surrat weighs no more but fourteen Ounces; and that of Agra weighs twenty eight. Great sums of Money are reckoned by Leks, Croiels or Courous, Padans, and Nil . An hundred thousand Roupies make a Lek, an hundred thousand Lek a Courou, an hundred thousand Courous a Padan, and an hundred thousand Padans a Nil. The great Lords have Roupies of Gold, which are worth about one and twenty French Livres; but since they pass not commonly in Trade, and that they are only Coined for the most part, to be made presents of, I shall only speak of those of Silver. The Silver Roupie is as big as an Abassy of Persia, but much thicker, it weighs a Tole; It passes commonly for thirty French Sols, but it is not worth above nine and twenty. They yearly Coin Roupies; and the new ones during the year they are Coined in, are valued a Pecha more than those of the foregoing year, because the Coiners pretend that the Silver daily wears: The truth is, when I came to Surrat, the Roupies were worth thirty three Pechas and a half, and when I left it, the same were worth but thirty two and a half. They have Roupies and quarter pieces also.
The Abassis that are brought from Persia, pass only for ninteen Pechas, which are about sixteen French Sols and a half. There is also a Mogole Silver-Coin, called Mahmoudy, which is worth about eleven Sols and a half. The Pecha is a piece of Copper-Money as big and thick as a Roupie, it is worth somewhat more than ten French Deniers, and weighs six of our Drachms.
They give threescore and eight Baden or bitter Almonds for a Pecha. These Almonds that pass for Money at Surrat, come from Persia, and are the Fruit of a shrub that grows on the Rocks. There are also half Pechas. It is to be observed that the Silver Money of the Great Mogul is finer than any other, for whenever a Stranger enters the Empire, he is made to change the Silver he hath, whether Piastres or Abassis, into the Money of the Country, and at the same time they are melted down, and the Silver refined for the Coyning of Roupies.
THe Bar of Surrat, where Ships come at present, is not its true Port; at best it can be called but a Road; and I had reason to say in the beginning of this Book, that it is called the Bar because of the Banks of Sand which hinder Ships from coming farther in. The truth is, there is so little Water there, that though the Vessels be unloaded, the ordinary Tides are not sufficient to bring them up, and they are obliged to wait [Page 27] a Spring-tide; but then they come up to Surrat, especially when they want to be careen'd. Small Barks come easily up to the Town with the least Tides.
The true Port of Surrat is Sovaly, two Leagues from the Bar. It is distant from the Town four Leagues and a half; and to go to it by Land, they cross the River at the Town. All Vessels heretofore came to an Anchor in this Port, where the Ground is good; but because the Customs were often stolen there, it is prohibited, and no Ship hath gone thither since the Year One thousand six hundred and sixty, but the English and Dutch who are suffered to Anchor there still, and have their several Magazins in that place. That Port affords them a fair opportunity of getting ashore what they please Custom-free; and the Coaches of the Governours, Commanders, or Presidents of these two Nations, who often take the Air thereabouts, might easily carry off any thing of small bulk from on board their Ships. They have even Gardens at Sovaly by the Seaside, and each a small Harbour, where they put their Boats or Barks; so that it is their own fault if they save not a great many things without paying Custom.
Since the Prohibition made to other Nations of coming to Anchor at Sovaly, there are always a great many Vessels at the Bar, though it be an incommodious Road for them; for Ships come from Persia, Arabia Faelix, and generally from all Countries of the Indies as formerly; so that the Prohibition of putting in to Sovaly hath nothing lessened the Customs which yield the King yearly, twelve Lecks of Roupies, each Leck being worth about an hundred thousand French Livres. The Master of the Custom-House is a Moor, and has his Commission from the Governour of Surrat. The Clerks are Banians, and the rest of the Officers of the Custom-House, as Waiters, Porters, and others, are also Moors, and they are called the Pions of the Custom-House.
Agra is one of the largest Provinces of Mogulistan, and its Capital Town which bears the same Name, is the greatest Town of the Indies. It is distant from Surrat about two hundred and ten Leagues, which they make commonly in five and thirty or six and thirty days Journey of Caravan, and it lies in the Latitude of twenty eight degrees and half on the River Gemna, which some call Geminy, and Pliny Jomanes. This River hath its source in the Mountains to the North of Dehly, from whence descending towards this Town, and receiving several rivulets in its course, it makes a very considerable River. It runs by Agra, and having traversed several Countries, falls into the Ganges at the great Town of Halbas. There is no need of taking the pains that some have done, to have recourse to Bacchus for illustrating Agra by an ancient Name. Before King Ecbar, it was no more but a Bourg which had a little Castle of Earth, and pretended to no privilege over its Neighbours upon account of Antiquity; and indeed, there were never any marks of that to be found. That Prince being pleased with the seat of it, joyned several Villages thereunto: He gave them the form of a Town by other buildings which he raised, and called it after his own Name EcbarAbad, the habitation of Ecbar, where he established the seat of his Empire, in the year One thousand five hundred threescore and six. His declaration of that was enough to People it; for when the Merchants came to understand that the Court was there, they came from all parts, and not only the Banian Traders flocked thither, but Christians also of all Perswasions, as well as Mahometans, who strove in emulation who should furnish it with greatest variety of Goods; and seeing that Prince called the Jesuits thither, and gave them a Pension to subsist on, Catholick Merchants made no scruple to come and live there, and to this day these Fathers take the care of Spirituals, and teach their Children.
Though this Prince pretended to make Agra a place of consequence, yet he Fortified it not neither with ramparts, Walls, nor Bastions, but only with a Ditch, hopeing to make it so strong in Soldiers and Inhabitants, that it should not need to fear the attempts of any Enemy. The Castle was the first thing that was built, which he resolved to make the biggest at that time in the Indies: and the situation of the old one appearing good and commodious, he caused it to be demolished, and the foundations of the present to be laid. It was begirt with a Wall of Stone and Brick terrassed in several places, which is twenty Cubits high, and betwixt the Castle and River a large place was left for the exercises the King should think fit to divert himself with.
The Kings Palace is in the Castle. It contains three Courts adorned all round with Porches and Galleries that are Painted and Gilt; nay there are some peeces covered with plates of Gold. Under the Galleries of the first Court, there are Lodgings made for the Kings Guards: The Officers Lodgings are in the second; and in the third, the stately appartments of the King and his Ladies; from whence he goes commonly to a lovely Divan which looks to the River, there to please himself with seeing Elephants fight, his Troops exercise, and Plays which he orders to be made upon the Water, or in the open place.
This Palace is accompanied with five and twenty or thirty other very large ones, all in a line, which belong to the Princes and other great Lords of Court; and all together afford a most delightful prospect to those who are on the other side of the River, which would be a great deal more agreeable, were it not for the long Gardenwalls,which contribute much to the rendering the Town so long as it is. There are upon the same line several less Palaces and other Buildings. All being desirous to enjoy the lovely prospect and convenience of the Water of the Gemna, endeavoured to purchase ground on that side, which is the cause that the Town is very long but narrow, and excepting some fair Streets that are in it, all the rest are very narrow, and without Symmetry.
Before the Kings Palace, there is a very large Square, and twelve other besides of less extent within the Town. But that which makes the Beauty of Agra besides the Palaces I have mentioned, are the Quervanseras which are above threescore in number; and some of them have six large Courts with their Portico's, that give entry to very commodious Appartments, where stranger Merchants have their Lodgings: There are above eight hundred Baths in the Town, and a great number of Mosques, of which some serve for Sanctuary. There are many magnificent Sepulchres in it also, several great Men having had the ambition to build their own in their own lifetime, or to erect Monuments to the memory of their Forefathers.
King Gebanguir caused one to be built for King Ecbar his Father, upon an eminence of the Town. It surpasses in magnificnce all those of the Grand Signiors, but the fairest of all, is that which Cha-Gehan erected in honour of one of his Wives called Tadge-Mehal, whom he tenderly loved, and whose death had almost cost him his life. I know that the Learned and curious Mr. Bernier hath taken memoires of it, and therefore I did not take the pains to be exactly informed of that work. Only so much I'll say that this King having sent for all the able Architects of the Indies to Agra, he appointed a Council of them for contriving and perfecting the Tomb which he intended to Erect, and having setled Salaries upon them, he ordered them to spare no cost in making the finest Mausoleum in the World, if they could. They compleated it after their manner, and succeeded to his satisfaction.
The stately Garden into which all the parts of that Mausoleum are distributed, the great Pavillions with their Fronts, the beautiful Porches, the lofty dome that covers the Tomb, the lovely disposition of its Pillars, the raising of Arches which support a great many Galleries, Quiochques and Terrasses, make it apparent enough that the Indians are not ignorant in Architecture. It is true, the manner of it seems odd to Europeans; yet it hath its excellency, and though it be not like that of the Greeks and other Ancients, yet the Fabrick may be said to be very lovely. The Indians say that it was twenty years in building, that as many Men as could labour in that great work were employed, and that it was never interrupted during that long space of time.
This King hath not had the same tenderness for the memory of his Father Gehanguir, as for that of his Wife Tadge-Mehal; for he hath raised no magnificent Monument for him: And that Great Mogul is Interred in a Garden, where his Tomb is only Painted upon the portal.
Now after all the Air of Agra is very incommodious in the Summertime, and it is very likely that the excessive heat which scorches the Sands that environ this Town, was one of the chief causes which made King Cha-Gehan change the Climate, and chuse to live at Dehly. Little thought this Prince that one day he would be forced to live at Agra, what aversion soever he had to it, and far less still, that he should be Prisoner there in his own Palace, and so end his days in affliction and trouble. That misfortune though, befel him, and AuranZeb his third Son, was the cause of it, who having got the better of his Brothers, both by cunning and force, made sure of the Kings Person and Treasures, by means of Soldiers whom he craftily slipt into the Palace, and under whose Custody the King was kept till he died.
So soon as Auranzeb knew that his Father was in his Power, he made himself be proclaimed King: He held his Court at Dehly, and no party was made for the unfortunate King, though many had been raised by his bounty and liberalities. From that time forward AuranZeb Reigned without trouble; and the King his Father dying in Prison about the end of the year One thousand six hundred sixty six, he enjoyed at ease the Empire, and that so famous Throne of the Moguls, which he had left in the Prisoners appartment to divert him with. He added to the precious Stones that were set about it, those of the Princes his Brothers, and particularly the Jewels of BegumSaheb his Sister, who died after her Father; and whose death, (as it was said,) was hastened by Poison. And in fine, he became absolute Master of all, after he had overcome and put to death DaraCha his Eldest Brother, whom Cha-Gehan had designed for the Crown. That King is Interred on the other side of the River, in a Monument which he began, but is not finished.
The Town of Agra is Populous as a great Town ought to be, but not so as to be able to send out Two hundred thousand sighting men into the Field, as some have written. The Palaces and Gardens take up the greatest part of it, so that its extent is no infallible Argument of the number of its Inhabitants. The ordinary Houses are low, and those of the commoner sort of People are but Straw, containing but few People a piece; and the truth is, one may walk the Streets without being crouded, and meet with no throng but when the Court is there: But at that time, I have been told there is great confusion, and infinite numbers of People to be seen; and no wonder indeed, seeing the Streets are narrow, and that the King besides his Houshold, (who are many,) is always attended by an Army for his Guard; and the Rajas, Omras, Mansepdars and other great Men, have great Retinues, and most part of the Merchants also follow the Court, not to reckon a vast number of Tradesmen, and thousands of followers who have all their subsistence from it.
Some affirm that there are twenty five thousand Christian Families in Agra, but all do not agree in that. This indeed is certain, that there are few Heathen and Parsis in respect of Mahometans there, and these surpass all the other Sects in power, as they do in number. The Dutch have a Factory in the Town; but the English have none now, because it did not turn to account.
The Officers are the same as at Surrat, and do the same Duties, and it is just so in all the great Towns of the Empire. We told you that the Foursdar or Prevost, is to answer for all the Robberies committed in the Country; And that was the reason why Mr. Beber, one of the Envoys to the great Mogul, for the concerns of the East-India Company in France, having been Robbed, demanded from that Officer of Agra, the Sum of thirty one thousand two hundred Roupies, which he affirmed were taken from him. That Sum astonished the Foursdar who told him that he did not believe he had lost so much; and because the Envoy made Answer that the sum would certainly encrease, if he delayed to pay down the Money, and if he gave him time to call to mind a great many things which he had forgot; He wrote to the Great Mogul, and informed him that it was impossible that that Envoy could have lost so great a Sum. Monsieur Beber had also made his addresses at Court; but it being pretty difficult to give an equitable sentence in the Case, the King, that he might make an end of it, commanded the Foursdar to pay the Envoy fifteen thousand Roupies, and because he was wounded when he was Robbed, he ordered him out of his Exchequer, ten thousand Roupies for his Blood.
THe Province of Dehly bounds that of Agra to the North, and at present the Great Mogul Auranzeb keeps his Court in the chief City of it, which is about fourty five Leagues distant from Agra. In Indostan it is called Gehanabad, and elsewhere Dehly.
The Road betwixt these two Towns is very pleasant; it is that famous Alley or Walk one hundred and fifty Leagues in length, which King Gehanguir planted with Trees, and which reaches not only from Agra to Dehly, but even as far as Lahors. Each half League is marked with a kind of Turret: There are threescore and nine or threescore and ten of them betwixt the two Capital Cities, and besides there are little Serraglio's or Carvanseras, from Stage to Stage for lodging Travellers. However there is [Page 41] nothing worth the observing about these Serraglios, unless in that which is called Chekiserai, which is six Leagues from Agra. In that place there is the Ancient Temple of an Idol, and it may be reckoned amongst the largest and fairest Pagods of the Indies. It was more frequented than now it is, when the Gemna washed the Walls thereof, because of the convenience of Ablutions: But though that River hath fallen off almost half a League from it, yet many Indians still resort thither, who forget not to bring with them Food for the Apes that are kept in an Hospital built for them.
Though the Road I have been speaking of be tolerable, yet it hath many inconveniencies. One may meet with Tygres, Panthers and Lions upon it; and one had best also have a care of Robbers, and above all things not to suffer any body to come near one upon the Road. The cunningest Robbers in the World are in that Countrey. They use a certain Slip with a running-noose, which they can cast with so much slight about a Mans Neck, when they are within reach of him, that they never fail; so that they strangle him in a trice. They have another cunning trick also to catch Travellers with: They send out a handsome Woman upon the Road, who with her Hair deshevelled, seems to be all in Tears, sighing and complaining of some misfortune which she pretends has befallen her: Now as she takes the same way that the Traveller goes, he easily falls into Conversation with her, and finding her beautiful, offers her his assistance, which she accepts; but he hath no sooner taken her up behind him on Horseback, but she throws the snare about his Neck and strangles him, or at least stuns him, until the Robbers (who lie hid) come running in to her assistance and compleat what she hath begun. But besides that, there are Men in those quarters so skilful in casting the Snare, that they succeed as well at a distance as near at hand; and if an Ox or any other Beast belonging to a Caravan run away, as sometimes it happens, they fail not to catch it by the Neck.
There are three Towns of Dehly near to one another: The first (which is entirely destroy'd, and whereof some Ruins only remain,) was very ancient, and the learned Indians will have it to have been the Capital Town of the States of King Porus, so famous for the War which he maintained against Alexander the Great. It was nearer the Source of the Gemna than the two others that have been built since. The Indians say it had two and fifty Gates, and there is still at some distance from its Ruins, a Stonebridge, from whence a Way hath been made with lovely Trees on each side, which leads to the second Dehly, by the place where the Sepulchre of ChaHumayon is.
This Second Town of Dehly is that which was taken by the King, whom they call the first Conquerour of the Indies amongst the Modern Moguls, though his Father Mirzababer had invaded it before. It was then beautified with a great many stately Sepulchres of the Patan Kings, and other Monuments which rendred it a very lovely Town; but ChaGehan the Father of King Auranzeb, demolished it for the Building of Gehanabad.
Towards the Sepulchre of Humayon, there is a Pyramide or Obelisk of Stone, which by its unknown Characters shews a great Antiquity, and which is thought in the Indies to have been erected by Alexander's order, after the defeat of Porus. This I cannot believe, because I make no doubt, but that the Inscription would then have been in Greek, which is not so.
The Third Town of Dehly is joyned to the remains of the Second: Cha-Gehan resolving to imitate King Ecbar, and to give his Name to a new Town, caused this to be built of the Ruines of the Second Dehly, and called it GehanAbad: So the Indians call it at present, though amongst other Nations it still retains the Name of Dehly. It lies in an open Champian Countrey upon the brink of the Gemna, which hath its source in this Province, and runs into the Ganges. The Fortress of it is half a League in circuit, and hath good Walls with round Towers every ten Battlements, and Ditches full of Water, wharffed with Stone, as likewise lovely Gardens [Page 42] round it: And in this Fort is the Palace of the King, and all the Ensignes of the Royalty.
This Town of Dehly or Gehanabad, contrary to that of Agra or Ecbarabad, hath no Ditches but Walls filled up with Earth behind, and Towers. There is a place towards the Waterside for the fighting of Elephants, and other Exercises; and towards the Town there is another very large place, where the Raja's, who are in the Kings Pay encamp and keep Guard, and where many exercises are performed. The Market is also kept in that Square, and there Puppet-players, Juglers and Astrologers shew their tricks.
Here I should give a description of the inside of the Fort and Palace, and having begun with the two Elephants at the entry which carry two Warriours, speak of the Canal that enters into it; of the Streets that lead to the several Appartments; of the Officers and others who are upon the Parapets of these Streets on Duty; of the Portico's and stately Courts of Guard, where the Mansepdars and Emirs or Omras keep Guard; of the Halls where all sorts of Artisans, who have the Kings Pay work; of that great Court of the Amcas with its Arches, and the Consort that's made there; of the Amcas it self, that stately Hall adorn'd with thirty two MarblePillars, where the King (having all his Officers great and small standing before him, with their Hands across their Breasts) gives every Day at noon Audience to all who have recourse to his Justice.
I should also describe that other Court, and Innerhall where the Prince gives Audience to his Ministers, concerning the Affairs of his State, and Houshold, and where the Omras and other great Men repair every Evening to entertain the King in the Persian Language though they be of different Nations. In fine, all the particulars of the Palace ought to be described, without forgetting that stately Throne of Massive Gold with its Peacock, so much talked of in the Indies, which the Moguls say was begun by Tamerlan, though that be very unlikely: For to whom could King Humayon and his Father have entrusted it in the time of their disasters? Seeing the Spoils of the Patan Kings and other Sovereigns of the Indies, who were overcome by the Mogul Kings, are converted into Jewels and Precious Stones to adorn it, it is said to be worth above twenty Millions of Gold; but who can know the value thereof? since it depends on the Stones that make the Riches as well as the Beauty thereof, whose weight and excellency must be particularly examin'd, if one would judge of their worth, and by consequence, of the value of the Throne.
Though I have had Memoirs given me of the Palace and that Throne, yet I'll say no more of them, because I make no doubt but that Monsieur Bernier, who hath lived many Years at the Court of the Great Mogul, in an honourable Employment, and commodious for having a perfect knowledge of the Fort, Palace, and all that is in them, will give a compleat description of the same. I am confident also that he will not omit the Town, the chief places whereof are the great Mosque with its Domes of white Marble, and the Carvansery of Begum-Saheb, that Princess whom we mentioned before. The two chief Streets of Dehly may be reckoned amongst the rarities of it, for they are wide, streight, and very long: They have Arches all along on both sides, which serve for Shops for those who have their Warehouse backwards. Over these Arches there is a Terraswalk to take the Air on when they come out of their Lodgings; and these Streets ending at the great Square and Castle, make the loveliest Prospect that can be seen in a Town. There is nothing else considerable in Dehly. The ordinary Houses are but of Earth and Canes; and the other Streets are so narrow, that they are altogether incommodious.
But that inconvenience seems to contribute somewhat to the Reputation of that Capital City of the Empire of the Mogul, for seeing there is an extraordinary croud in the Streets while the Court is there, the Indians are perswaded that it is the most populous City in the World; and nevertheless I have been told, that it appears to be a Desart when the King is absent. This will not seem strange if we consider, that the Court of the Grat Mogul is very [Page 43] numerous, because the great Men of the Empire are almost all there, who have vast retinues, because their Servants cost them but little in Diet and Cloaths; that that Court is attended by above thirty five thousand Horse, and ten or twelve thousand Foot, which may be called an Army; and that every Souldier hath his Wife, Children and Servants, who for the most part are married also, and have a great many Children as well as their Masters. If to these we add all the drudges and rascally People which Courts and Armies commonly draw after them, and then the great number of Merchants and other Trading People, who are obliged to stick to them, because in that Countrey there is no Trade nor Money to be got but at Court. When I say, we consider Dehly void of all those I have mentioned, and of many more still, it will easily be believed, that that Town is no great matter when the King is not there; and if there have been four hundred thousand Men in it when he was there, there hardly remains the sixth part in his absence. Let us now see what Arms the Moguls use.
AT Dehly are all sorts of Beasts that are known. The King hath many, and private Men who are Rich, have some also. They have Hawks there of all kinds; all kinds of Camels, Dromedaries, Mules, Asses, and Elephants. They have also Elks, and Rhinoceroses which are as big as the largest Oxen. The ordinary Oxen there, are less than ours. Buffles they have also, and those of Bengala are the dearest, because they are very stout, and are not at all afraid of Lions. Nor do they want Dogs of all sorts, but those which are brought from Maurenahar, or Transoxiane, are most esteemed for Hunting, though they be small: However the Indian Dogs are better for the Hare. They have also Stags, Lions and Leopards.
There is abundance of all sorts of Horses there. Besides the Country breed, which the Moguls make use of, and which are very good Horses; they have others also from the Country of the Ulbecks, Arabia, and Persia, those of Arabia being most esteemed, and the loveliest of all are constantly reserved for the King. They have neither Oats nor Barley given them in the Indies; so that Foreign Horses when they are brought thither, can hardly feed. The way they treat them is thus: Every Horse has a Groom, he curries and dresses him an hour before day, and so soon as it is day makes him drink; at seven of the Clock in the Morning, he gives him five or six balls of a composition called Donna, made of three Pounds of Flower, the weight of five Pechas of Butter, and of four Pechas of Jagre; these Balls are at first forced down his Throat, and so by degrees he is accustomed to that way of feeding, which in some Months after, he grows very fond of.
An hour after, the Groom gives the Horse Grass, and continues to do so at certain times, every hour of the day after; and about four of the Clock, after noon, he gives him three Pound of dried Pease bruised; he mingles Water with them, and sometimes a little Sugar, according to the disposition the Horse is in; and when Night is drawing on, he carefully prepares his Horses litter, which is of dry Dung, laid very thick, which he is very careful to provide. For that end, he gathers all that his Horse hath made, and when that is not sufficient, he buys from others, who are not so much concerned for the convenience of their Horses.
At Dehly, as elsewhere, they take care to adorn their Horses. The great Lords have Saddles and Housses Embroadered, and set sometimes with Pretious Stones, proportionably to the charge they intend to be at: But the finest Ornament, though of less cost, is made of six large flying tassels of long white Hair, taken out of the Tails of wild Oxen, that are to be found in some places of the Indies. Four of these large tassels fastened before and [Page 45] behind to the Saddle, hang down to the ground, and the other two are upon the Horses head; so that when the Rider spurs on his Horse to a full speed, or if there be any wind, these tassels flying in the Air, seem to be so many wings to the Horse, and yield a most pleasant prospect.
There are several sorts of Elephants at Dehly, as well as in the rest of the Indies; but those of Ceilan are preferred before all others, because they are the stoutest, though they be the least, and the Indians say that all other Elephants stand in awe of them. They go commonly in Troops, and then they offer violence to no body, but when they straggle from the rest, they are dangerous. There are always some of them that have the cunning and inclination to do mischief; and in the Country these are called, Robbers on the Highways, because if they meet a Man alone, they'll kill and eat him. Strong Elephants can carry forty Mans, at fourscore Pound weight the Man. Those of the Country of Golconda, Siam, Cochin, and Sumatra, are indeed, less esteemed than the Elephants of Ceilan, but they are much stronger, and surer footed in the Mountains; and that is the reason, why the great Men, (when they are to Travel,) provide themselves of those, rather than of the Elephants of Ceilan. However it may be said in general, that Elephants, of what Country or kind soever they be, are the surest footed of all Beasts of Carriage, because it is very rare to see them make a trip: But seeing it is chargeable to feed them, and that besides the Flesh they give them to eat, and the Strong-waters they drink, it costs at least half a Pistol a day for the Paste of Flower, Sugar and Butter, that must be given to a single one; there are but few that keep them: Nay, the great Lords themselves entertain no great number of them; and the Great Mogul has not above five hundred for the use of his houshold, in carrying the Women in their Mickdembers with grates (which are a sort of Cages) and the Baggage; and I have been assured, that he hath not above two hundred for the Wars, of which some are employed in carrying small Field-pieces upon their Carriages.
When an Elephant is in his ordinary disposition, his Governour can make him do what he pleases with his Trunck. That instrument, which many call a hand, hangs between their great Teeth, and is made of Cartilages or Gristles: He'll make them play several tricks with that Trunck; salute his friends, threaten those that displease him, beat whom he thinks fit, and could make them tear a Man into pieces in a trice, if he had a mind to it. The governour sits on the Elephants Neck, when he makes him do any thing, and with a prick of Iron in the end of a Stick, he commonly makes him Obey him. In a word, an Elephant is a very tractable Creature, provided he be not angry, nor in lust; but when he is so, the Governour himself is in much danger, and stands in need of a great deal of art, to avoid ruin; for then the Elephant turns all things topsy-turvy, and would make strange havock, if they did not stop him, as they commonly do, with fire-works that they throw at him. Elephanthunting is variously performed. In some places they make Pitfalls for them, by means whereof they fall into some hole or pit, from whence they are easily got out, when they have once entangled them well. In other places they make use of a tame Female, that is in season for the Male, whom they lead into a narrow place, and tie her there; by her cries she calls the Male to her, and when he is there, they shut him in, by means of some Rails made on purpose, which they raise, to hinder him from getting out; he having the Female in the mean time on his back, with whom he Copulates in that manner, contrary to the custom of all other Beasts. When he hath done, he attempts to be gone, but as he comes, and goes to find a passage out, the Huntsmen, who are either upon a Wall, or in some other high place, throw a great many small and great Ropes, with some Chains, by means whereof, they so pester and entangle his Trunck, and the rest of his Body, that afterwards they draw near him without danger; and so having taken some necessary cautions, they lead him to the company of two other tame Elephants, whom they have purposely brought [Page 46] with them, to shew him an example, or to threaten him if he be unruly.
There are other Snares besides for catching of Elephants, and every Country hath its way. The Females go a Year with their young, and commonly they live about an hundred Years. Though these Beasts be of so great bulk and weight, yet they swim perfectly well, and delight to be in the Water: So that they commonly force them into it by Fireworks, when they are in rage, or when they would take them off from Fighting, wherein they have been engaged. This course is taken with the Elephants of the Great Mogul, who loves to see those vast moving bulks rush upon one another, with their Trunck, Head, and Teeth. All over the Indies, they who have the management of Elephants, never fail to lead them in the Morning to the River, or some other Water. The Beasts go in as deep as they can, and then stoop till the Water be over their Backs, that so their guides may wash them, and make them clean all over, whilst by little and little they raise their bodies up again.
There is a great Festival kept yearly at Dehly, on the Birthday of the King regnant. It is Celebrated amongst the People, much after the same manner as the Zinez of Turkey, which I described in my first Book, and lasts five days; It is Solemnized at Court with great Pomp. The Courts of the Palace are covered all over with Pavillions of Rich Stuffs; all that is magnificent in Pretious Stones, Gold and Silver is exposed to view in the Halls; particularly the great and glittering Throne, with those others that are carried about in progresses, which are likewise adorned with Jewels. The fairest Elephants decked with the richest Trappings, are from time to time brought out before the King, and the loveliest Horses in their turns also: and since the first Mogul Kings introduced a custom of being weighed in a Balance, to augment the pleasure of the solemnity, the King in being, never fails to do so.
The Balance wherein this is performed, seems to be very Rich. They say that the Chains are of Gold, and the two Scales which are set with Stones, appear likewise to be of Gold, as the Beam of the Balance does also, though some affirm that all is but Guilt. The King Richly attired, and shining with Jewels, goes into one of the Scales of the Balance, and sits on his Heels, and into the other are put little bales, so closely packt, that one cannot see what is within them: The People are made believe, that these little bales (which are often changed,) are full of Gold, Silver and Jewels, or of Rich Stuffs; and the Indians tell Strangers so, when they would brag of their Country, then they weigh the King with a great many things that are good to eat; and I believe that what is within the Bales, is not a whit more Pretious.
However when one is at the Solemnity, he must make as if he believed all that is told him, and be very attentive to the Publication of what the King weighs; for it is published, and then exactly set down in writing. When it appears in the Register, that the King weighs more than he did the year before, all testifie their Joy by Acclamations; but much more by rich Presents, which the Grandees, and the Ladies of the Haram make to him, when he is returned to his Throne; and these Presents amount commonly to several Millions. The King distributes, first a great quantity of Artificial Fruit and other knacks of Gold and Silver, which are brought to him in Golden Basons; but these knacks are so slight, that the profusion (which he makes in casting them promiscuously amongst the Princes, and other Great men of his Court, who croud one another to have their share,) lessens not the Treasure of his Exchequer; for I was assured that all these trifles would not cost one hundred thousand Crowns. And indeed, AuranZeb is reckoned a far greater Husband, than a great King ought to be: during five days, there is great rejoycing all over the Town, as well as in the Kings Palace, which is exprest by Presents, Feastings, Bonefires and Dances; and the King has a special care to give Orders, that the best Dancing-women and Baladines, be always at Court.
The Gentiles being great lovers of Play at Dice; there is much Gaming, during the five Festival days. They are so eager at it in Dehly and Benara, that there is a vast deal of Money lost there, and many People ruined. And I was told a Story of a Banian of Dehly, who played so deep at the last Festival, that he lost all his Money, Goods, House, Wife and Children. At length, he that won them, taking pity of him, gave him back his Wife and Children; but no more of all his Estate, than to the value of an hundred Crowns.
To conclude, The Province of Dehly, hath no great extent to the South-East,which is the side towards Agra; but is larger on the other sides, especially Eastwards, where it hath a great many Towns: The Ground about it is excellent, where it is not neglected, but in many parts it is.
The ground about the Capital City is very fertile; Wheat and Rice grow plentifully there. They have excellent Sugar also, and good Indigo, especially towards Chalimar, which is one of the Kings Countrey-houses, about two Leagues from Dehly, upon the way to Lahors. All sorts of Trees, and Fruit grow there also; but amongst others, the Ananas are exceeding good. I shall speak of them in the Description of the Kingdom of Bengala. It is specified in my Memoire, That this Province pays the Great Mogul yearly, between thirty seven and thirty eight Millions.
THe Memoires that were given me observe, that some days before the Festival, all the Palace was adorned; and especially, the Places and Halls, into which People were suffered to enter: There was nothing all over but Sattin, Velvet, Cloath and Plates of Gold: The Halls were hung with rich Stuffs, Flower'd with Gold and Silver: And that where the Great Mogul appear'd in his Throne, was the most magnificent of all: The Cloath of State that covered it, was all set with Pretious Stones; and the Floor was covered with a Persian Carpet of Gold and Silver Tissue. The other Halls had in like manner, their Cloaths of State; Their Foot-Carpets, and other Ornaments, and the Courts were also decked (the most considerable of them) with lovely Tents pitched there; though they were not so Pompous as those which are pitched in the Capital Cities of the Empire, upon a like Solemnity. The first day of the Feast, the Throne was placed in the Royal Hall, and was covered all over with the Jewels of the Crown; the number of them was the greater, that there was but one of the Kings Thrones [Page 50] brought; and that (as it is usual) the Jewels of the other little Thrones had been taken off, for the adorning of this.
The Festival began in the Serraglio, by a Fair that was kept there. The Ladies and Daughters of the great Lords, were permitted to come to it; and the Court-Ladies of less Quality, (who thought themselves witty enough to make their Court, by putting off the curious Things that they had brought thither) were the Shop-keepers: But these had not all the Trade to themselves; for the Wives of the Omras and Rajas (who were allowed to come in) opened Shop also, and brought with them the richest Goods they could find; and which they thought suited best with the King, and the Princesses of his Serraglio. Many had occasion by selling, and disputing pleasantly and wittily, about the Price of the things, which the King and his Wives came to cheapen, to make their Husbands Court; and to slip in Presents to those that could serve them in bettering their Fortune, or keeping them as they were.
The King and his Begum, pay'd often double value for a thing, when the Shop-keeper pleas'd them; but that was, when they rallied wittily and gentilely (as People of Quality commonly do) in buying and selling: And so it happened, that the wittiest and fairest were always most favoured. All these stranger Ladies, were entertained in the Serraglio with Feasting, and Dancings of Quenchenies, who are Women and Maids of a Caste of that name, having no other Profession but that of Dancing: And this Fair lasted five days.
It is true, The Commodities sold there, were not so fine, nor rich, as they would have been, had the Festival been kept in Dehly or Agra; but the best, and most pretious Things that were to be found in Azmer, and in the nearest Towns, were exposed to Sale there; wherewith the King was very well satisfied.
During these rejoycings of the Serraglio, The great Men, who kept Guard, entertained themselves at their Posts, or elsewhere; And there were a great many Tables served at the Kings charges, which gave them occasion to Celebrate the Neurous, or New Years Feast merrily.
The King appeared daily in the Amcas, at his usual hour, but not in extraordinary Magnificence before the seventh day; and then the Lords (who had every day changed Cloaths) appeared in their richest Apparel. They all went to salute the King, and His Majesty made them Presents, which were only some Galantries of small value, that did not cost him Four hundred thousand French Livres. The eighth and ninth days, The King also sat on his Throne, (when he was not Feasting with his Princess and Omras, in one of the OutHalls) where he made himself several times familiar with them; but that familiarity excused them not from making him Presents. There was neither Omra, nor Mansepdar, but made him very rich Presents; and that of the Governour, or Tributary of Azmer, was the most considerable of all. These Presents were reckoned in all, to amount to fourteen or fifteen Millions. The Festival concluded at Court, by a review of the Kings Elephants and Horses, pompously equipped; and in the Town by a great many Fireworks, that came after their Feasting. Gehanguir, indeed, gave not the Princes, and great Lords, the equivalent of the Presents they made him at this Solemnity: But he rewarded them afterwards by Offices, and Employments. And this is the course the King commonly takes with them, and few complain of it.
THe Kingdom or Province of Cachmir, hath to the West Caboulistan, to the East, part of Tibet; to the South, the Province of Lahors; and to the North, Tartarie: But these are its most remote limits; for it is bounded and encompassed on all hands by Mountains, and there is no entry into it, but by by-ways and narrow passes. This Countrey belonged sometimes to the Kings of Turquestan, and is one of those which were called Turchind, that is to say, the India of the Turks, or the Turky of the Indies.
The Waters of the Mountains that environ it, afford so many Springs and Rivulets, that they render it the most fertile Countrey of the Indies; and having pleasantly watered it, make a River called Tchenas, which having communicated its Waters for the transportation of Merchants Goods through the greatest part of the Kingdom, breaks out through the breach of a Mountain, and near the Town of Atoc, discharges it self into the Indies; but before it comes out, it is discharged by the name of a Lake, which is above four Leagues in circuit, and adorned with a great many Isles that look fresh and green, and with the Capital Town of the Province that stands almost on the banks thereof. Some would have this River to be the Moselle, but without any reason; for the Moselle runs through Caboulistan, and is the same that is now called Behat or Behar, because of the aromatick Plants that grow on the sides of it.
The Town of Cachmir, which bears the name of the Province, and which some call Syrenaquer, lies in the five and thirtieth degree of Latitude, and in the hundred and third of Longitude. This Capital City is about three quarters of a League in length, and half a League in breadth. It is about two Leagues from the Mountains, and hath no Walls. The Houses of it are built of Wood, which is brought from these Mountains, and for the most part are three Stories high, with a Garden, and some of them have a little Canal which reaches to the Lake, whither they go by Boat to take [Page 59] the Air. This little Kingdom is very populous, hath several Towns, and a great many Bourgs. It is full of lovely Plains, which are here and there intercepted by pleasant little Hills, and delightful Waters; Fruits it hath in abundance, with agreeable Verdures. The Mountains which are all Inhabited on the sides, afford so lovely a prospect by the great variety of Trees, amongst which stand Mosques, Palaces, and other Structures, that it is impossible perspective can furnish a more lovely Landskip. The Great Mogul hath a House of Pleasure there, wtih a stately Garden, and the Magnificence of all is so much the greater, that the King who built it, adorned it with the spoils of the Gentiles Temples, amongst which there are a great many pretious Things.
King Ecbar subdued this Kingdom, which was before possest by a King named Justafcan: He being Victorious in all places, wrote to this Prince that there was no appearance he could maintain a War against the Emperour of the Indies, to whom all other Princes submitted; that he advised him to do as they had done; and that he promised him, if he would submit willingly, without trying the fortune of War, he would use him better than he had done the rest; and that his Power instead of being lessened, should be encreased, seeing he was resolved to deny him nothing that he should ask. Justafcan (who was a peaceable Prince) thinking it enough to leave his Son in his Kingdom, came to wait upon the Great Mogul at the Town of Labors, trusting to his word: He payed him Hommage; and the Emperour having confirmed the Promise which he made to him in his Letters, treated him with all civility.
In the mean time Prince Jacob, Instafs Son, would not stop there: For being excited by the greatest part of the People of the Kingdom, who looked upon the Dominion of the Moguls as the most terrible thing imaginable; he caused himself to be proclaimed King, made all necessary preparations in the Countrey, and at the same time secured the Passes and Entries into it; which was not hard to be done, because there is no coming to it, but by streights and narrow passes which a few Men may defend. His Conduct highly displeased the Great Mogul, who thought at first that there was Intelligence betwixt the Father and Son; but he found at length, that there was none: And without offering any bad usage to the Father, he sent an Army against Cachmir, wherein he employed several great Lords and Officers of War, who had followed Justafcan. He had so gained them by his Civilities and Promises, that they were more devoted to him, than to their own Prince; and they being perfectly well acquainted with the streights and avenues of the Mountains, introduced the Moguls into the Kingdom, some through Places that belong to them, and others by Byways that could not possibly have been found, without the conduct of those who knew the Countrey exactly. They succeeded in their Design the more easily, that King Jacob thought of nothing but guarding the most dangerous places, and especially the Pass of Bamber, which is the easiest way for entring into Cachmir.
The Moguls having left part of their Army at Bamber, to amuse Prince Jacob, and his Forces marched towards the highest Mountains, whither the Omras of Cachmir led them: There they found small passages amongst the Rocks, that were not at all to be mistrusted: By these places they entred one after another, and at length, meeting in a place where the Rendezvous was appointed; they had Men enough to make a Body sufficiently able to surprize (as they did in the Nighttime)the Capital City which wanted Walls, where Jacob Can was taken. Nevertheless Ecbar pardoned him, and allowed Him and his Father, each of them a Pension for their subsistence: But he made sure of the Kingdom which he reduced into a Province; He annexed it to the Empire of Mogolistan, and his Successours have enjoyed it to this present, as the pleasantest Country in all their Empire. It yields not the Great Mogul yearly, above five or six hundred thousand French Livres.
THe Town of Goa (with its Isle of the same name,) which is likewise called Tilsoar, borders upon Viziapour, directly Southward; it lies in the Latitude of fifteen degrees and about forty minutes upon the River of Mandona, which discharges it self into the Sea two Leagues from Goa, and gives it one of the fairest Harbours in the World; some would have this Countrey to be part of Viziapour, but it is not; and when the Portuguese came there, it belonged to a Prince called Zabaim, who gave them [Page 93] trouble enough; nevertheless, Albuquerque made himself Master of it in February One thousand five hundred and ten, through the cowardize of the Inhabitants, who put him into possession of the Town and Fort, and took an Oath of Allegiance to the King of Portugal.
This Town hath good Walls, with Towers and great Guns, and the Isle it self is Walled round, with Gates towards the Land, to hinder the Slaves from running away, which they do not fear (towards the Sea) because all the little Isles and Peninsules that are there, belong to the Portuguese, and are full of their Subjects. This Isle is plentiful in Corn, Beasts and Fruit, and hath a great deal of good water. The City of Goa is the Capital of all those which the Portuguese are Masters of in the Indies. The ArchBishop, ViceRoy and Inquisitor General, have their Residence there; and all the Governours and Ecclesiastick and secular Officers of the other Countries (subject to the Portuguese Nation in the Indies) depend on it. Albuquerque was buried there in the year One thousand five hundred and sixteen, and St. Francis of Xavier in One thousand five hundred fifty two. The River of Mendova is held in no less veneration by the Bramens and other Idolaters, than Ganges is elsewhere, and at certain times, and upon certain Festival days, they flock thither from a far, to perform their Purifications. It is a great Town, and full of fair Churches, lovely Convents, and Palaces well beautified; there are several Orders of Religious, both Men and Women there, and the Jesuits alone have five publick Houses; few Nations in the World were so rich in the Indies as the Portuguese were, before their Commerce was ruined by the Dutch, but their vanity is the cause of their loss; and if they had feared the Dutch more than they did, they might have been still in a condition to give them the Law there, from which they are far enough at present.
There are a great many Gentiles about Goa, some of them worship Apes, and I observed elsewhere that in some places they have built Pagods to these Beasts. Most part of the Gentiles, Heads of Families in Viziapour, dress their own Victuals themselves; he that do's it having swept the place where he is to dress any thing, draws a Circle, and confines himself within it, with all that he is to make use of; if he stand in need of any thing else, it is given him at a distance, because no body is to enter within that Circle, and if any chanced to enter it, all would be prophaned, and the Cook would throw away what he had dressed, and be obliged to begin again. When the Victuals are ready, they are divided into three parts, The first part is for the Poor, the second for the Cow of the House, and the third Portion for the Familie, and of this third they make as many Commons as there are Persons; and seeing they think it not civil to give their leavings to the poor, they give them likewise to the Cow.