Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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ears. Some of the inhabitants of the Wdkwdk island
are of black colour. In our countries there is a great
demand for them as slaves. People fetch from thence
the black ebony-wood ; it is the pith of a tree, the other
parts of which are thrown away, whilst the kinds of
wood called mulammci and shauhat and the yellow
sandal-wood are brought from the country of the Zanj

In former times there were pearl-banks in the bay
of Sarandib (Ceylon), but at present they have been
abandoned. Since the Sarandib pearls have disap¬
peared, other pearls have been found at Sufala in the
country of the Zanj, so that people say the pearls of
Sarandib have migrated to Sufala.

India has the tropical rains in summer, which is called O" ^^^

^             ,                                               ,                    rainfall in

varshakdla, and these rains are the more copious and India,
last the longer the more northward the situation of a
province of India is, and the less it is intersected by
ranges of mountains. The people of Miiltan used to
tell me that they have no varshakdla, but the more
northern provinces nearer the mountains have the var¬
shakdla. In Bhatal and Indravedi it begins with the
month Ashadha, and it rains continually for four
months as though water-buckets were poured out. In
provinces still farther northward, round the mountains
of Kashmir up to the peak of J'ddari between Dunpur
and Barshawar, copious rain falls during two and a half
months, beginning with the month Sravana. However,
on the other side of this peak there is no rainfall; for
the clouds in the north are very heavy, and do not rise
much above the surface. When, then, they reach the
mountains, the mountain-sides strike against them, and
the clouds are pressed like olives or grapes, in conse¬
quence of which the rain pours down, and the clouds
never pass beyond the mountains. Therefore Kashmir
has no varshakdla, but continual snowfall during two
and a half months, beginning with Magha, and shortly
  Page 211