PERILS AND DETOURS
first town we entered in the country of Malabar was that of Abi Sardar
which is small, and is situated on a large estuary of the sea. We next
came to the city of Kakanwar, which is large, and also upon an estuary
of the sea. It abounds in the sugar-cane. The Sultan is an infidel. He
sent his son as a pledge to our vessel, and we landed accordingly, and
were honourably received. He also sent presents to the ship, as marks of
respect to the Emperor of India. It is a custom with them, that every vessel
which passes by one of their ports shall enter it, and give a present to
its Sultan; in this case they let it pass, but otherwise they make war
upon it with their vessels; they then board it out of contempt, and impose
a double fine upon the cargo, just in proportion to the advantage they
usually gain from merchants entering their country.
arrived at the city of Manjarun, which is situated upon a large estuary
of the sea, called the "estuary of the wolf," and which is the greatest
estuary in the country of Malabar. In this place are some of the greatest
merchants of Persia and Yemen. Ginger and black pepper are here in great
abundance. The king of this place is the greatest of the kings of Malabar,
and in it are about four thousand Mohammedan merchants. The king made us
land, and sent us a present.
came to the town of Hili, which is large and situated upon an estuary of
the sea. As far as this place come the ships of China, but they do not
go beyond it; nor do they enter any harbour, except that of this place,
of Kalikut, and of Kawlam.
city of Hili is much revered both by the Mohammedans and infidels, on account
of a mosque, the source of light and of blessings, which is found in it.
To this seafaring persons make and pay their vows, whence its treasury
is derived, which is placed under the control of the principal Moslem.
The mosque maintains a preacher, and has within it several students as
well as readers of the Koran, and persons who teach writing.
THE MIRACULOUS TREE OF DADKANNAN
arrived at the city of Jurkannan, the king of which is one of the greatest
on these coasts. We next came to Dadkannan, which is a large city abounding
with gardens, and situated upon a mouth of the sea. In this are found the
betel leaf and nut, the cocoa-nut and colocassia. Without the city is a
large pond for retaining water, about which are gardens. The king is an
infidel. His grandfather, who had become Mohammedan, built its mosque and
made the pond. The cause of the grandfather's receiving Islamism was a
tree, over which he had built the mosque.
tree is a very great wonder; its leaves are green, and like those of the
fig, except only that they are soft. The tree is called Darakhti Shahadet
(the tree of testimony), darakht meaning tree. I was told in these
parts, that this tree does not generally drop its leaves; but, at the season
of autumn in e very year, one of them changes its color, first to yellow,
then to red; and that upon this is written, with the pen of power, "There
is no God but God; Mohammed is the Prophet of God"; and that this leaf
alone falls. Very many Mohammedans, who were worthy of belief, told me
this; and said that they had witnessed its fall, and had read the writing;
and further, that every year, at the time of the fall, credible persons
among the Mohammedans, as well as others of the infidels, sat beneath the
tree waiting for the fall of the leaf: and when this took place, that the
one half was taken by the Mohammedans, as a blessing, and for the purpose
of curing their diseases; and the other, by the king of the infidel city,
and laid up in his treasury as a blessing; and that this is constantly
received among them.
the grandfather of the present king could read the Arabic; he witnessed,
therefore, the fall of the leaf, read the inscription, and, understanding
its import, became a Mohammedan accordingly. At the time of his death he
appointed his son, who was a violent infidel, to succeed him. This man
adhered to his own religion, cut down the tree, tore up its roots, and
effaced every vestige of it. After two years the tree grew, and regained
its original state, and in this it now is. This king died suddenly; and
none of his infidel descendants, since his time, has done any thing to
THE SHIPS OF KALIKUT
came to the city of Fattan (Pattan), the greater part of the inhabitants
of which are Brahmins, who are held in great estimation among the Hindoos.
In this place there was not one Mohammedan. Without it was a mosque, to
which the Mohammedan strangers resort. It is said to have been built by
certain merchants, and afterwards to have been destroyed by one of the
Brahmins, who had removed the roof of it to his own house. On the following
night, however, this house was entirely burnt, and in it the Brahmin, his
followers, and all his children. They then restored the mosque, and in
future abstained from injuring it; whence it became the resort of the Mohammedan
this we came to the city of Fandaraina, a beautiful and large place, abounding
with gardens and markets. In this the Mohammedans have three districts,
in each of which is a mosque, with a judge and preacher.
came to Kalikut, one of the great ports of the district of Malabar, and
in which merchants from all parts are found. The king of this place is
an infidel, who shaves his chin just as the Haidari Fakeers of Room [=Constantinople]
do. When we approached this place, the people came out to meet us, and
with a large concourse brought us into the port. The greatest part of the
Mohammedan merchants of this place are so wealthy, that one of them can
purchase the whole freightage of such vessels as put in here; and fit out
others like them.
we waited three months for the season to set sail for China: for there
is only one season in the year in which the sea of China is navigable.
Nor then is the voyage undertaken, except in vessels of the three descriptions
following: the greatest is called a junk, the middling sized a zaw, the
least a kakam. The sails of these vessels are made of cane-reeds, woven
together like a mat; which, when they put into port, they leave standing
in the wind. In some of these vessels there will be employed a thousand
men, six hundred of these sailors, and four hundred soldiers. Each of the
larger ships is followed by three others, a middle-sized, a third-, and
a fourth-sized. These vessels are nowhere made except in the city of El
Zaitun in China, or in Sin Kilan, which is Sin El Sin. They row in these
ships with large oars, which may be compared to great masts, over some
of which five and twenty men will be stationed, who work standing. The
commander of each vessel is a great Emir. In the large ships too they sow
garden herbs and ginger, which they cultivate in cisterns (made for that
purpose and) placed on the sides of them. In these also are houses constructed
of wood, in which the higher officers reside with their wives: but these
they do not hire out to the merchants. Every vessel, therefore, is like
an independent city. Of such ships as these, Chinese individuals will sometimes
have large numbers: and, generally, the Chinese are the richest people
in the world.
A TERRIBLE STORM DISRUPTS THE CHINA
when the season for setting out had arrived, the Emperor of Hindustan appointed
one of the junks, of the thirteen that were in the port, for our voyage.
El Malik Sambul, therefore, who had been commissioned to present the gift,
and Zahir Oddin, went on board: and to the former was the present carried.
I also sent my baggage, servants, and slave-girls on board, but was told
by one of them, before I could leave the shore, that the cabin which had
been assigned to me was so small, that it would not take the baggage and
slave girls. I went, therefore to the commander, who said, There is no
remedy for this; if you wish to have a larger, you had better get into
one of the kakams (third-sized vessels): there you will find larger cabins,
and such as you want. I accordingly ordered my property to be put into
the kakam. This was in the afternoon of Thursday, and I myself remained
on shore for the purpose of attending divine service on the Friday.
the night, however, the sea arose, when some of the junks struck upon the
shore, and the greatest part of those on board were drowned; and the rest
were saved by swimming. Some of the junks, too, sailed off, and what became
of them I know not. The vessel in which the present was stowed, kept on
the sea till morning, when it struck on the shore, and all on board perished,
and the wealth was lost. I had, indeed, seen from the shore the Emperor's
servants, with El Malik Sambul and Zahir Oddin, prostrating themselves
almost distracted: for the terror of the sea was such as not to be got
rid of. I myself had remained on shore, having with me my prostration carpet
and ten dinars, which had been given me by some holy men. These I kept
as a blessing, for the kakam had sailed off with my property and followers.
The missionaries [=representatives] of the King of China were on board
another junk, which struck upon the shore also. Some of them were saved
and brought to land, and afterwards clothed by the Chinese merchants.
told that the kakam in which my property was, must have put into Kawlam
[=Quilon]. I proceeded, therefore, to that place by the river. It is situated
at the distance of ten days from Kalikut. After five days I came to Kanjarkara,
which stands on the top of a hill, is inhabited by Jews, and governed by
an Emir who pays tribute to the King of Kawlam. All the trees (we saw)
upon the banks of this river, as well as upon the seashores, were those
of the cinnamon and bakam, which constitute the fuel of the inhabitants:
and with this we cooked our food. Upon the tenth day we arrived at Kawlam,
which is the last city on the Malabar coast. In this place is a large number
of Mohammedan merchants; but the king is an infidel. In this place I remained
a considerable time, but heard nothing of the kakam and my property. I
was afraid to return to the Emperor, who would have said, How came you
to leave the present, and stay upon the shore? for I knew what sort of
a man he was, in cases of this kind. I also advised with some of the Mohammedans,
who dissuaded me from returning, and said:, He will condemn you because
you left the present: you had better, therefore, return by the river to
AN INTERVAL WITH THE KING OF HINAUR
betook myself to Jamal Oddin, King of Hinaur [=Onore], by sea, who, when
I came near, met me and received me honourably, and then appointed me a
house with a suitable maintenance. He was about to attend on divine service
in the mosque, and commanded me to accompany him. I then became attached
to the mosque, and read daily a khatma [=complete Qur'an reading] or two.
At this time the King was preparing an expedition against the island of
Sindabur. For this purpose he had prepared two and fifty vessels, which,
when ready, he ordered me to attend with him for the expedition. Upon this
occasion I opened the Koran, in search of an omen; and, in the first words
of the first leaf which I laid my hand upon, was frequent mention of the
name of God, and (the promise) that he would certainly assist those who
assisted him. I was greatly delighted with this; and, when the King came
to the evening prayer, I told him of it, and requested to be allowed to
accompany him. He was much surprised at the omen, and prepared to set out
in person. After this he went on board one of the vessels, taking me with
him, and then we sailed. When we got to the island of Sindabur, we found
the people prepared to resist us, and a hard battle was accordingly fought.
We carried the place, however, by divine permission, by assault. After
this the King gave me a slave girl, with clothing and other necessaries;
and I resided with him some months.
requested permission to make a journey to Kawlam, to inquire after the
kakam with my goods. He gave me permission, after obtaining a promise that
I would return to him. I then left him for Hinaur, and then proceeded to
Fakanawr, and thence to Manjarur, thence to Hili, Jarafattan, Badafattan,
Fandaraina, and Kalikut, mention of which has already been made. I next
came to the city of Shaliat, where the shaliats are made, and hence they
derive their name. This is a fine city: I remained at it some time, and
there heard that the kakam had returned to China, and that my slave girl
had died in it: and I was much distressed on her account. The infidels,
too, had seized upon my property, and my followers had been dispersed among
the Chinese and others.
returned to Sindabur to the King Jamal Oddin, at the time when an infidel
king was besieging the town with his troops. I left the place, therefore,
and made for the Maldive Islands, at which, after ten days, I arrived.
*on to chapter 8*