Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 242  

242                         DESCRIPTION OF

The fortifications, however, are very incomplete, as there
are neither ditches nor any other kind of additional
defence, if we except flanking towers of antique shape,
at intervals of about one hundred paces, and a bank
of earth forming a platform behind the walls, four or five
feet in thickness. Although these works encompass not
only the city but the citadel, yet their extent is less than
is generally supposed. I have accomplished the circuit
with ease in the space of three hours, and notwithstanding
I rode on horseback, I do not think my progress exceeded
a league per hour. In this computation I do not however
include the suburbs, which are considerable, comprising a
long chain of buildings on the side of Lahor, the extensive
remains of the old city, and three or four smaller suburbs.
By these additions the extent of the city is so much
increased that a straight line may be traced in it of more
than a league and a half; and though I cannot undertake
to define exactly the circumference, because these suburbs
are interspersed with extensive gardens and open spaces,
yet you must see that it is very great.

The citadel, which contains the Mehalle or Seraglio, and
the other royal apartments of which I shall have occasion
to speak hereafter, is round, or rather semicircular. It
commands a prospect of the river, from which it is
separated by a sandy space of considerable length and
width. On these sands are exhibited the combats of
elephants, and there the corps belonging to the Omrahs
or lords, and those of the Rajas or gentile princes, pass in
review before the Sovereign, who witnesses the spectacle
from the windows of the palace. The walls of the citadel,
as to their antique and round towers, resemble those of
the city, but being partly of brick, and partly of a red stone
which resembles marble, they have a better appearance.
The walls of the fortress likewise excel those of the town
in height, strength, and thickness, being capable of
admitting small field-pieces, which are pointed toward
the   city.    Except on  the side  of the river, the citadel
  Page 242