CHAPTER 12 -- The route from Surat to Goa, and from Goa to Golconda by Bijapur.

    [[142]] .... Travellers can from Surat to Goa partly by land and partly by sea, but the road is very bad by land, especially from Daman to Rajapur. Most travellers prefer the sea route, and hiring an almadier, which is a kind of row-boat, they go from point to point up to Goa, notwithstanding that the Malabaris, who are the pirates of India, are much to be feared along these coasts, as I shall presently describe....

    The principal danger which has to be encountered on these coasts is, as I have said, the risk of falling into the hands of [[143]] the Malabaris, who are fanatical Musalmans and very cruel to Christians.... They seldom venture farther to sea than from 20 to 25 leagues; whenever the Portuguese capture any of these pirates they either hang them straight off or throw them into the sea. These Malabaris number 200 and sometimes as many as 230 men on each vessel, and they set sail in squadrons of from ten to fifteen vessels to the attack of a big ship; they do not fear cannon. They at once come alongside and throw numbers of fire-pots on the deck, which cause much injury if care be not taken to provide against them. For as the habits of the pirates are well known, immediately they are seen all the scuttles on deck are closed and it is flooded with water, so that the fire-pots cannot take effect....

[[144]] .... I was at breakfast at Surat with the English President, named Fremelin, when he received a letter from Captain Clerc, which stated that he was enslaved by the *Zamorin*, who is the most powerful king on the *Malabar* coast. This prince would not leave the English in the power of these savages [the Malabaris who had captured them], as they were in danger of their lives.... The President immediately sent the money [to ransom them], and I saw them return, some in good health, but others broken down by fever....

    [[145]] Having mentioned *Daman*, I shall now describe in a few words how that town was besieged by Aurangzeb, who reigns at present. Many believe that elephants have a great effect in war; this is undoubtedly true, but not always in the way which is imagined, for it often happens that instead of ravaging the ranks of the enemy, they turn upon those who drove them, and who are expecting an altogether different result, as Aurangzeb experienced at the siege of this city. He had been twenty days before Daman, and had arranged to make the assault on a Sunday, believing that Christians, like Jews, would not defend themselves on their Sabbath. The Commandant in Daman was an old soldier who had served in France, with three of his sons, whom he had with him then. There were in the place 800 men, both gentlemen and other brave soldiers, who had come from many places to take part in the defence and show their valour. For although the army of the Great Mogul consisted of more than 40,000 men, he was unable to prevent Daman being relieved from the sea, because he had no vessels and could not invest the place except by land.

On the Sunday that he intended to make the assault, the Governor of Daman, in accordance with what had been settled at the council of war, caused mass to be said immediately after midnight, and then ordered a sortie to be made with all the cavalry and a part of the infantry, who were at first to attack on the side where there were 200 elephants. They threw a quantity of fireworks among them, which frightened them so much in the darkness of the night, that without knowing whither they went, and their drivers not being able to restrain them, they turned against the besiegers with such fury that in two or three hours half the army ofr Aurangzeb was destroyed, and three days later the siege was raised. Since that time the Prince has not cared to have anything more to do with Christians....

    [[146]] .... *Bijapur* is a large town which has nothing remarkable about it, either as regards public edifices or trade. The King's palace is large enough indeed, but badly built, and what causes the approach to it to be difficult is that in the moat which surrounds it, and which is full of water, there are many crocodiles. The King of Bijapur has three good ports in his kingdom: these are Bijapur, *Dabhol*, and *Kareputtun*. [[147]] The last named is the best of all, and the sea washes the foot of the mountain, where, close to land, there is from 14 to 15 fathoms of water. On the top of the mountain there is a fort with a natural supply ofr water, and although not commanded by anything, since the King has been at peace with the Portuguese he has abandoned it.

    Kareputtun is only five days' journey from Goa northwards, and Raibagh, where the King of Bijapur disposes of his *pepper*, is about the same distance from Kareputtun to the east. The King of Bijpur, like the King of Golconda, was formerly a tributary of the *Great Mogul*, but is so no longer.

    This kingdom has been in trouble for some time on account of the rebellion of the *Naik* *Shivaji*, who was, on the establishment of the King of Bijapur, what we call in France, Captain of the Guards. His father had been guilty of misconduct, for which the King arrested him and put him in prison, where he remained for a long time till he died. The young Shivaji, his son, thereupon conceived so strong a hatred for the King that he became a chief of bandits, and as he was both courteous and liberal, he had as many followers, both cavalry and infantry, as he cared for, and in a short time he got together an army, the soldiers, on the report of his liberality, coming to join him from all sides.

He was thus in a position to undertake some enterprise, when the King of Bijapur died without children, and accordingly, without any great difficulty, he became master of a portion of the Malabar coast, including Rajapur, Rasigar [Rakshasagudda?], [[148]] Kareputtun, Dabhol, and other places. It is said that during the demolition of the fortifications of Rasigar he found immense treasure, and with this he supported his forces, by whom he was well served because they were always very well paid.

    Some years before the death of the King, the Queen, as she had no children, adopted a boy, upon whom she had bestowed all her affection, and she brought him up, as I have already said, with the greatest care in the doctrines of the [*Shia*] sect of 'Ali. On the King's death she caused this adopted son to be declared King, and Shivaji, as he then possessed an army, continued the war, and for some time caused trouble during the regency of the Queen. A treaty was concluded on condition that Shivaji should retain, as vassal of the King, all the country which he had taken, the King receiving half the revenue. When the young King was, by this peace, established on the throne, the Queen, his mother, undertook the pilgrimage to Mecca, and while I was at Ispahan she passed through on her return.

    Returning now to the journey to Goa. When I left Surat for my second visit to Goa I embarked on a Dutch vessel called the Maestricht, which carried me to Vengurla, where I arrived on the 11th of January 1648.

    *Vengurla* is a large town, situated half a league from the sea, in the kingdom of Bijapur. It has one of the best anchorages in all India, and the Dutch always came there for supplies when they blockaded Goa, and they still supply there the ships which they employ to trade in many parts of india, for excellent water and very good rice can be procured at Vengurla. [[149]] This town is also much renowned on account of its *cardamoms*, which the orientals esteem as the best of spices, and as they are cultivated only in this country, are very scarce and dear. Coarse cotton cloths for home consumption are made there too, and a sort of matting called tuti [=*jute*], which is only used for wrapping up merchandise.

    Hence it is not so much for commerce as for supplies which can be obtained at Vengurla, that the Dutch Company maintain an establishment there. For, as I have said, not only all the vessels which come from Batavia, Japan, Bengal, Ceylon, and other places, and those which sail for Surat, the Red Sea, Hormuz, Bassora [Basra], etc., both in going and returning, anchor in the *roads* at Vengurla, but also when the Dutch are at war with the Portuguese, and are blockading the bar at Goa, where they ordinarily keep eight or ten vessels, they send their small boats to Vengurla to obtain provisions. For they hold the mouth of the river during eight months of the year, so that nothing can enter Goa by sea during that time. It should be remarked in connection with this subject that the bar at Goa is closed for a part of the year by sand, cast up by the south and west winds which precede the great rains, and to such an extent that there is only from a foot to a foot and a half of water for the passage of very small boats. But when the great rains begin to fall, the waters, which rise rapidly, soon remove the sands and open the passage to large vessels.

 ~~ next chapter ~~ Glossary ~~ Volume 1 ~~ Tavernier index page ~~ fwp's main page ~~