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

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 270  

270                            DESCRIPTION OF

floor was covered entirely with carpets of the richest silk,
of immense length and breadth. A tent, called the aspek,
was pitched outside, larger than the hall, to which it
joined by the top. It spread over half the court, and was
completely enclosed by a great balustrade, covered with
plates of silver. Its supporters were pillars overlaid with
silver, three of which were as thick and as high as the
mast of a bai-que, the others smaller. The outside of this
magnificent tent was red, and the inside lined with elegant
Maslipatam chintzes,^ figured expressly for that very pur¬
pose with flowers so natural and colours so vivid, that the
tent seemed to be encompassed with real parterres.

As to the arcade galleries round the court, every Omrah
had received orders to decorate one of them at his own
expense, and there appeared a spirit of emulation who
should best acquit himself to the Monarch's satisfaction.
Consequently all the arcades and galleries were covered
from top to bottom with brocade, and the pavement with
rich carpets.

On the third day of the festival, the King, and after
him several Omrahs^ were weighed with a great deal of
ceremony in large scales, which, as well as the weights,
are, they say, of solid gold. I recollect that all the
courtiers expressed much joy when it was found that
Aureng-Zebe weighed two pounds more than the year

Similar festivals are held every year, but never before
were they celebrated with equal splendour and expense.
It is thought that the principal inducement with the King
for the extraordinary magnificence disjjlayed on this
occasion was to afford to the merchants an opportunity of
disposing of the quantities of brocades, which the war had

^ Chittes in the original, a corruption of the word chint, the Indian
name, whence chintz. The best came from Masulipatam (Maslipatam)
on the Madras coast.    See p. 362.

^ Many curious details concerning this ceremony are to be found in
the Ain, vol. i. pp. 266, 267.
  Page 270