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

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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422               JOURNEY TO KACHEMIRE

The country, in certain parts,' he added, 'produces ex¬
cellent fruit, particularly melons, but the winters are most
severe, because of the deep snows.' The inhabitants
heretofore were Gentiles, but the great majority have
become Mahometan, as well as himself; of the sect of the
Chias, which is that of all Persia.

He spoke also of the attempt made by Chah-Jehan,
seventeen or eighteen years ago, to conquer Great Tibet, a
country frequently invaded by the Kings of Kachemire.^
The army, after a difficult march of sixteen days through
the mountains, besieged and took a fortress, which threw
the inhabitants into such consternation that the conquest
of the kingdom would no doubt have been completed if
the army had immediately crossed a certain celebrated and
rapid river, and marched boldly to the capital city. The
season, however, was advanced, and the governor of Kache¬
mire, who commanded the troops, apprehending he might
be overtaken by the snow, determined to retreat. He
placed a garrison in the fortress just captured, intending to
resume the invasion of the countiy early in the spring; but
that garrison most strangely and unexpectedly evacuated
the castle, either through fear of the enemy, or from want
of provisions, and Great Tibet escaped the meditated attack
that had been deferred to the next spring. That kingdom
being threatened with war by Aureng-Zebe, the King
despatched an ambassador when informed of the Mogol's
anival in Kachemire. The embassy was accompanied by
various presents, the productions of the countiy; such as
crystal, musk, a piece of jade,^ and those valuable white
tails taken from a species of cow peculiar to Great Tibet,
which are attached by way of ornament to the ears of
elephants.' The jade stone presented upon this occasion
was of an extraordinary size, and therefore very precious.

^ In 1638 when Ali Mardan Khan was Governor of Kashmir, i.e.
about twenty-seven years before Bernier visited Kashmir.

^ Jachen in the original, a corruption of Yashm, the Persian name
for this mineral, see p. 298.           ,                       ^ See p. 251,
  Page 422