|CHAPTER 6 -- The route
from Ispahan to Agra, through Kandahar.
[] .... *Multan* is a town where quantities of *calicoes* are made, and they used to be all carried to *Thatta* before the sands had obstructed the mouth of the river; but since the passage has [] been closed for large vessels they are taken to Agra, and from Agra to Surat, as are also some of the goods which are made at Lahore. As this carriage is very expensive, only a few merchants go to make investments either at Multan or Lahore, and indeed many of the artisans have deserted; this has much diminished the revenues of the Emperor in these provinces. Multan is the place from whence all the Banians migrate who come to trade in Persia, where they follow the same occupation as the Jews, as I have elsewhere said, and they surpass them in their usury. They have a special law which permits them on certain days to eat fowls, and they have only one wife between two or three brothers, of whom the eldest is regarded as the father of the children. Numerous Baladins [masc. form of Baladine] and *Baladines*, who hail from this town, spread themselves in diverse parts of Persia....
[] .... *Kabul* is a large town, fairly well fortified, and it is there the people of *Usbek* come every year to sell their horses; they estimate that the trade in them amounts annually to more than 60,000 [rupees]. They take there from Persia also, many sheep and other cattle, and it is the great meeting-place for Tartary, India, and Persia. You can obtain wine there, and articles of food are very cheap....
[] .... *Attock* is a town situated on a promontory where two great rivers meet. It is one of the best fortresses of the Great Mogul, and they do not permit any stranger to enter it if he does not hold a passport from the emperor. The Reverend Jesuit Father Roux, and his companion, wishing to go by this route to Ispahan, and not having obtained a passport from the Emperor, were sent back from thence, and returned to Lahore, where they embarked upon the river to go to *Sind*, from whence they passed into Persia....
[] .... *Lahore* is the capital of a kingdom, and is built on one of the five rivers which descend from the mountains of the north to go to swell the Indus, and give the name of *Punjab* to all the region which they water. This river [the Ravi] at the present day flows at a quarter of a league distant from the town, being liable to change its bed, and the neighbouring fields often sustain much damage from its great overflowings. The town is large, and extends more than a coss in length, but the greater part of the houses, which are higher than those of Agra and Delhi, are falling into ruins, the excessive rains having overthrown a large number. The palace of the Emperor is rather fine, and is no longer, as it was formerly, on the margin of the river, which has withdrawn, as I have said, about a quarter of a league. One can obtain wine at Lahore.
I shall remark, en passant [=in passing], that after leaving Lahore, and the kingdom of *Kashmir* which adjoins it on the north, all the women are naturally unprovided with hair on any part of the body, and the men have very little of it on the chin....
[] .... Before proceeding further it should be remarked that nearly all the way from Lahore to Delhi, and from Delhi to Agra, is like a continuous avenue planted throughout with beautiful trees on both sides, which is very pleasant to the view; but in some places they have been allowed to perish and the people have not taken care to plant others.
*Delhi* is a large town, near the river Jumna, which runs from north to south, then from west to east, and after having passed Agra and Khajwa, loses itself in the *Ganges*. Since Shah Jahan has caused the new town of Jahanabad [=*Shahjahanabad*] to be built, to which he has given his name, and where he preferred to reside rather than at Agra, because the climate is more temperate, Delhi has become much broken down and is nearly all in ruins, only sufficient of it remaining standing to afford a habitation to the poor. There are narrow streets and houses of bamboo as in all India, and only three or four nobles of the court reside at Delhi, in large enclosures, in which they have their tents pitched. Here also the Reverend Jesuit Father who was at the court had his dwelling.
Jahanabad, like Delhi, is a great straggling town, and a simple wall separates them. All the houses of private persons are large enclosures, in the middle of which is the dwelling, so that no one can approach the place where the [] women are shut up. The greater part of the nobles do not live in the town, but have their houses outside, so as to be near the water. When entering Jahanabad from the Delhi side, a long and wide street is to be seen, where, on both sides, there are arches under which the merchants carry on their business, and overhead there is a kind of platform [the Faiz Bazaar]. This street leads to the great square, where the Emperor's palace is; and there is another very straight and wide one, which leads to the same square near another gate of the palace, in which there are the houses of the principal merchants who keep no shops.
The Emperor's palace is a good half league in circuit. The walls are of fine cut stone, with battlements, and at every tenth battlement there is a tower. The fosses [=moats] are full of water and are lined with cut stone. The principal gate has nothing magnificent about it, nor has the first court, where the nobles are permitted to enter on their elephants.
Leading from this court there is a long and wide passage which has on both sides handsome porticoes, under which there are many small chambers where some of the horse-guards lodge. These porticoes are elevated about two feet from the ground, and the horses, which are fastened to rings outside, take their feed on the edge. In certain places there are large doors which lead to different apartments, as to that of the women, and to the Judges' court. In the middle of this passage there is a channel full of water, which leaves a good roadway on either side, and forms little basins at equal distances. This long passage leads to a large court where the *Umrahs*, i.e., the great nobles of the kingdom, who resemble the *Bashas* in Turkey, and the Khans in Persia, constitute [] the bodyguard. There are low chambers around this court for their use, and their horses are tethered outside their doors.
From this second court a third is entered by a large gate, by the side of which there is, as it were, a small room raised two or three feet from the ground. It is where the royal wardrobe [the "Tosha-khana"] is kept, and whence the *khilat* is obtained whenever the Emperor wishes to honour a stranger or one of his subjects. A little farther on, over the same gate, is the place where the drums, trumpets, and hautboys are kept [the "Naubat-khana" or "Naqqar-khana"], which are heard some moments before the Emperor ascends his throne of justice, to give notice to the Omrahs, and again when the Emperor is about to rise.
When entering this third court you face the *Divan* [the "Divan-i Khas," also known as the "Chihal-situn," or "forty-pillared"] where the Emperor gives audience. It is a grand hall elevated some four feet above the ground floor, and open on three sides. Thirty-two marble columns sustain as many arches, and these columns are about four feet square with their pedestals and some mouldings. When Shah Jahan commenced the building of this hall he intended that it should be enriched throughout by wonderful works in mosaic, like those in the chapel of the Grand Duke in Italy; but having made a trial upon two or three pillars to the height of two or three feet, he considered that it would be impossible to find enough stones for so considerable a design, and that moreover it would cost an enormous sum of money; this compelled him to stop the work, and content himself with a representation of different flowers.
In the middle of this hall, and near the side overlooking the court, as in a theatre, they place the throne when the Emperor comes to give audience and administer justice. It is a small bed of the size of our camp beds, with its four columns, the canopy, the back, a bolster, and counterpane; all of which are covered with diamonds.
[] When the Emperor takes his seat, however, they spread on the bed a cover of gold brocade, or of some other rich quilted stuff [=fabric], and he ascends it by three small steps of two feet in length. On one side of the bed there is a parasol [the "Aftab-gir," or "Sun-seizer"] elevated on a handle of the length of a short pike, and to each column of the bed one of the Emperor's weapons is attached, to one his shield, to another his sword, next his bow, his quiver, and arrows, and other things of that kind.
In the court below the throne there is a space twenty feet square, surrounded by balustrades, which on some occasions are covered with plates of silver, and at others with plates of gold. At the four corners of this space the four Secretaries of State are seated, who both in civil as well as criminal matters fulfill the role of advocates. Several nobles place themselves around the balustrade, and here also is placed the music, which is heard while the Emperor is in the Divan. This music is sweet and pleasant, and makes so little sound that it does not disturb those present from the serious occupations in which they are engaged. When the Emperor is seated on his throne, some great noble stands by him, most frequently his own children.
Between eleven o'clock and noon the *Nawab* [the *Vazir*, Ja'far Khan], who is the first Minister of State, like the Grand Vizier in Turkey, comes to make a report on what has passed in the chamber where he presides, which is at the entry of the first court, and when he has finished speaking, the Emperor rises. But it must be remarked that from the time the Emperor seats himself on his throne till he rises, no one, whosoever he may be, is allowed to leave the palace; though I am bound to say that the Emperor was pleased to exempt me from this rule, which is general for every one-- and here, in a few words, is how it occurred.
[] Wishing one day, while the Emperor was in the Divan, to leave the palace on urgent business which could not by any means be deferred, the Captain of the guards caught me by the arm, and told me roughly that I should not pass out. I argued with him some time, but at length, seeing that he would treat me with violence, I put my hand to my canjare [=*khanjar*], and would have struck him in the rage I was in, if three or four guards, who saw my action, had not restrained me. Happily for me the Nawab, who was uncle of the Emperor, passed at the moment, and being informed of the subject of our quarrel, ordered the Captain of the guards to let me go out. He reported to the Emperor in due course what had occurred, and in the evening the Nawab sent one of his people to tell me that His Majesty had notified that I might enter and leave the palace as I pleased while he was in the Divan, for which I went on the following day to thank the Nawab.
Towards the middle of the same court there is a small channel which is about six inches wide, where, while the Emperor is on his seat of justice, all strangers who attend the audience must stop. They are not allowed to pass it without being called, and even ambassadors themselves are not exempted from this rule. When an ambassador has arrived at the channel, the officer in charge of the introductions calls out towards the Divan, where the Emperor is seated, that such an ambassador wishes to speak to His Majesty. Then a Secretary of State repeats it to the Emperor, who very often does not appear to hear, but some time after lifts his eyes, and throwing them upon the ambassador, conveys a sign through the same Secretary that he may approach.
From the hall of the Divan you pass on the left to a terrace from whence you see the river, and thence the Emperor enters [] a small chamber from which he passes into his *harem*. It was in this little chamber I had my first audience with His Majesty, as I shall elsewhere relate.
To the left of this same court where the Divan is situated there is a small well-built mosque [apparently a predecessor of the Moti Masjid], the dome of which is entirely covered by lead, and so thoroughly well gilt that some indeed believe that the whole is of massive gold. This is where the Emperor goes daily to pray, save on Friday, when he visits the Grand Mosque [Jama Masjid], which is very magnificent, and is situated on a lofty platform higher than the houses of the town, and it is reached by many grand flights of stairs. On the day the Emperor goes to the mosque, a large net five or six feet in height is stretched round these stairs lest the elephants might approach them, and out of the respect with which the mosque is regarded.
The right side of the court is occupied by porticoes which form a long gallery, elevated about six inches above the ground, and the whole extent of these porticoes constitutes the Emperor's stables, to which there are several doors. They are always full of very fine horses, the least valuable of which has cost 3,000 écus, and some are worth up to 10,000 écus. In front of each door of the stables hangs a kind of screen made of bamboos split like our osiers; but unlike the way in which we weave our little twigs of osier with osier itself, the bamboo is woven with twisted silk representing flowers, and the work is very elaborate and requires much patience. These screens serve to prevent the flies from tormenting the horses, but that is not deemed sufficient, for two grooms are [] assigned to each horse, one of whom is generally occupied in fanning it. There are also screens stretched before the porticoes, as before the doors of the stables, which are lowered and elevated according to necessity; and the floor of the gallery is covered with beautiful carpets, which are taken up in the evening in order to spread the bedding of the horses. This bedding is made of the horse's own droppings dried in the sun, and afterwards somewhat crushed.
The horses imported into India, whether from Persia or Arabia, or the country of the *Usbeks*, undergo a complete change of food, for in India they are given neither hay nor oats. Each horse receives for its portion in the morning two or three balls made of wheaten flour and butter [*ghee*], of the size of our penny rolls. There is much difficulty in accustoming them to this kind of food, and often four or five months pass before it can be accomplished. The groom is obliged to hold the horse's tongue in one hand, and with the other he has to force the ball down its throat. In the sugar-cane or millet season they are given some at midday; and in the evening, an hour or two before sunset, they receive a measure of chick-peas [*gram*] which the groom has crushed between two stones and steeped in water. These take the place of hay and oats. As for the other stables of the Emperor, where he has also some fine horses, they are poor places, badly built, and do not deserve to be mentioned.
is a fine river with large boats upon it, and, after passing Agra, it loses
its name in the Ganges at Allahabad. The Emperor keeps many small brigantines
[boats] at Jahanabad for pleasure, and they are highly decorated after
the manner of the country.
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