|CHAPTER 18 -- The route
from Masulipatam to Gandikota, a town and fortress in the Province of Carnatic;
and the Author's transactions with Mir Jumla, who commanded the Army of
the King of Golconda; in which also there is included a full description
[] .... We left Masulipatam on the 20th of July  at 5 p.m., and slept at a garden-- which, as I have said, is only half a league from the town, and belongs to the Dutch, the chief of whom accompanied us, and we amused ourselves pretty well during a good part of the night. The following day being the 21st, after having taken leave of the Dutch, we [] travelled 3 leagues, and slept at a place called Nilmol....
On the 27th [July] we arrived at a large borough called *Bezwada*, not having been able to accomplish this day more than a league and a half, on account of the quantity of water which flooded all the roads. We were obliged to halt till the 31st, as the rains had so much flooded the river that the boat could not hold its own against the swift current of the water, because they did not understand now to stretch ropes across the river. Besides which it required some time to enable the horses which the King of Persia was sending to the King of Golconda to cross over; they were then reduced to fifty, five of them having died at sea. They were being taken to Mir Jumla, who was the Nawab or Grand Vazir, because anything which he has not seen, or has not been approved by him, is not shown to the King, who buys nothing and receives no present except with the advice of his Prime Minister, who consequently must have the first view; and this, as I have said, was the reason which compelled us to go to the Nawab at Gandikota.
During the stay we made at Bezwada we visited many [] *pagodas*, the country being full of them, there being more there than in any other part of India, because, with the exception of the Governors of the place and some of the servants, who are Musalmans, all the people are idolaters. The pagoda in the town of Bezwada is very fine, but it is not enclosed by walls. Fifty-two columns of 20 feet in height or thereabouts support a flat floor of large cut stones. They are ornamented by many figures in relief, which represent fearful demons and numerous animals-- some of them being figures of demons with four horns, others with many legs and many tails, others which protrude their tongues, and others again in more ridiculous attitudes. There are similar figures carved in the stones of the floor, and in the intervals between each pair of columns the images of the gods are elevated on pedestals. The pagoda is in the middle of a large court, longer than it is wide, and the court is surrounded by walls which are enriched, inside and out, with the same figures as those on the pagoda. A gallery supported by sixty-six pillars, like a sort of cloister, runs all round the wall inside. This court is entered by a large gate, above which there are two great niches, one over the other, the first of which is supported by twelve pillars, and the second by eight. At the base of the columns of the pagoda there are old Indian inscriptions, which the priests of these idolaters have much difficulty in deciphering.
We went to see another pagoda, built on an elevation, and it is ascended by a staircase with 193 steps, each being 1 foot high. The pagoda is square, with a dome on top; there are figures in relief around the wall like those in the Bezwada pagoda. There is an idol seated in the middle, after the manner of the country, with crossed legs, and in this position it is about 4 feet in height. Its head is covered by a triple crown, from whence proceed four horns, and it [] has the face of a man turned towards the east. The pilgrims who come to worship at these pagodas, when entering, join their hands together and carry them to their foreheads, then they approach the idol waving them and repeating many times (the words) *Ram! Ram!* i.e., God! God! When close to it they sound a bell thrice, which is suspended from the idol itself, different parts of the face and body of which have previously been smeared with various colours. Some carry bottles of oil, with which they anoint the idol, and they make offerings to it of sugar, oil, and other articles of food-- the richest adding money.
There are sixty priests in attendance at this pagoda, who live with their wives and children on the offerings brought to the idol. But that the pilgrims may believe the god takes them, the priests leave them before the image for two days, and on the evening of the third appropriate them. When a pilgrim goes to the pagoda to be cured of some malady, he takes, according to his means, a representation in gold, silver, or copper, of the diseased member, which he presents to his god; he then begins to sing, this all the others do also after their offerings. In front of the door of the pagoda there is a flat roof supported by sixteen pillars, and opposite is another supported by four, where food is cooked for the priests of the pagoda. Towards the south a great platform has been dut in the mountain, where shade is afforded by numerous beautiful trees, and there is also a very fine well there. The pilgrims come from great distances, and if there are any poor among them the priests feed them from the alms which they receive from the rich who come there [] to pay their devotions. The principal festival of this pagoda is held in the month of October, at which time there is a great assemblage of people from all quarters.
When we were there we found a woman who had been three days in the temple without once leaving it, asking the idol from time to time, as she had lost her husband, how she should bring up her children and support them. We inquired from one of the priests why this woman had received no reply, and if she would receive one. He said that it was necessary that she should await the will of their god, and that he would then answer what she asked. I immediately suspected some deception, and in order to discover what it was, resolved to enter the pagoda, especially as all the priests were atsent at their dinner; there being only one at the door, of whom I freed myself by asking him to go to fetch me some water at a fountain, which was situated two or three musket shots away from the place.
I then entered the temple, when the woman, on catching a glimpse of me, redoubled her cries; for, as no light entered the pagoda except by the door, it was very dark inside. I entered, feeling my way in order to ascertain what took place behind the statue, where I found there was a hole through which a man could enter, and where without doubt the priest concealed himself and made the idol speak by his mouth. I was not able to accomplish this before the priest whom I had begged to go to obtain water for me returned and found me still in the pagoda. He cursed me because I had profaned, as he said, his temple, but we soon became friends by means of two rupees which I placed in his hands, and at the same time he offered me *betel*.
On the 31st we left Bezwada and crossed the [Kistna] river, which goes to the mine of Gani or Kollur. It was then nearly half a league wide, on account of the heavy rains which had fallen during eight or nine days. After having travelled [] a league on the other wide of the river, we found a large pagoda built on a platform which is ascended by fifteen or twenty steps. There was an image there of a cow [Nandi] in black marble, and numerous idols of 4 or 5 feet in height, which were all deformed, one having many heads, another many arms and many legs, another many horns, and the most hideous are the most adored and receive most offerings....
[] .... On the 11th [August[ we only went as far as *Pulicat*, [] which is but 4 leagues from Senepgond, and of these 4 leagues we marched more than one in the sea, our horses in many places having the water nearly to the saddle. There is also another road, but it is longer by 2 or 3 leagues. Pulicat is a fort belonging to the Dutch, who occupy the whole length of the coast of *Coromandel*; it is here they have their factory, and here the Chief of all those who live in the territory of the King of Golconda resides. There are generally about 200 soldiers in garrison in this fort, besides many merchants who reside there for trade, and other persons who, after having served the Company for their full term, have retired to this place. Some natives of the country have be degrees also congregated here, so that Pulicat is today like a small town. Between the town and the fort a large open space is left, so that the fort is not incommoded by the town. The bastions are furnished with good guns, and the sea washes at the foot, but there is no port, and it is only a roadstead.
We remained in the town till the evening of the following day, and the Governor would not allow us to dine elsewhere but at his table. He was the Sieur Pite, a German of the town of Bremen. We received all kinds of attention from him, and he took us three times round the fort on the walls, where one could easily walk. The manner in which the inhabitants procure water for drinking is somewhat remarkable. When the tide is out they go on the sand as close to the sea as possible, and on making holes there, they find sweet water, which is excellent.
On the 12th [August] at sunset we left Pulicat, and on the following day, at 10 o'clock A.M., arrived at Madras, otherwise called Fort St. George, which belongs to the English, and of which I have elsewhere spoken [in Chapter 15]-- having travelled only [] 7 or 8 leagues this day. We went to stay at the Convent of the Capuchins, where we found the Rev. Father Ephraim of Nevers and the Rev. Father Zenon of Baugé, of whom I have also spoken in preceding chapters [especially Chapter 15]. On the 14th [August] we went to the fort to visit the English President, and we dined with him....
[] .... On the 22nd [August], in the morning, we left Madras and, after having travelled 6 leagues, arrived at a large village called Serravaron [=Cholavaram]. On the 23rd, having travelled 7 leagues, we came to Oudecot [Uttukottai]. This is a day's march through a flat and somewhat sandy country. On both sides there are groves of *bamboo*. It is a kind of cane which is very tall, sometimes equalling in height our loftiest forest trees. Some of these forests are so thick that it is impossible for a man to enter them, and an enormous number of *monkeys* are found in them. Those on one side of the road are so hostile to those on the other, that none can venture to pass from one side to the other without running the risk of being at once strangled. While at Pulicat, the Governor told us that when we passed through these woods we should enjoy the opportunity, as he had done, of making the monkeys fight, and this is the way which is employed to bring it about. Throughout all this country at every league the road is closed by gates and barricades, where a strict watch is kept, and all passers-by are questioned whence they come and whither they are going, so that a traveller can without danger and in perfect safety carry his gold in his hand.
In [] all these places rice can be bought, and those who wish to enjoy the amusement of making the monkeys fight place five or six baskets of rice in the road at forty or fifty paces distant the one from the other, and close to each five or six sticks, two feet long and an inch thick. The baskets being thus placed and uncovered, everyone withdraws a whort distance, and immediately the monkeys are to be seen on both sides descending from the bamboos and leaving the jungle to approach the baskets full of rice. They spend half an hour showing their teeth at one another before approaching the baskets; sometimes they advance, sometimes they retire, fearing to come to close quarters. At length the females, particularly those having young ones, which they carry in their arms as a woman carries her child, which are bolder than the males, approach the baskets, and when about to stretch out their heads to eat, the males of the other side of the jungle immediately advance to prevent them and bite them. Those of the other side then advance, and both parties becoming furious they take up the sticks near the baskets, and immediately a fierce combat ensues. The weakest, being at length compelled to give way, withdraw into the jungle, some with broken heads, others maimed in some member, while those who remain masters of the field eat their fill of rice. It is true, however, that when they begin to be satisfied they allow some of the females of the other party to come and eat with them....
On the 26th [August] we travelled 9 leagues, and halted at Courua [Kuruva], but could get no supplies, either for the men or [] the mounts, whether oxen or horses, and ours had to content themselves with a little grass which was cut for them. Kuruva is renowned for its pagoda, and on arrival there we saw several companies of military marching, some with handpikes, others with guns, and others with sticks, going to join one of the principal captains of Mir Jumla's army, on a hill near Kuruva, where he had pitched his tent. The place is very pleasant, and derives its coolness from numerous trees and fountains. As soon as we learnt that this officer was so near at hand, we set out in order to salute him, and found him in his tent with many nobles, chiefs of the country, all idolaters.
After [our] having saluted him and made him a present of a pair of pocket pistols decorated with silver, and two yards of Dutch flame-coloured cloth, he asked why we had come into the country, and we replied that we came to see Mir Jumla, Commander-in-Chief of the King of Golconda, to transact some business with him. At this reply he treated us kindly, and having observed that he supposed us to be Dutchmen, we told him we were not of that country, but were Frenchmen. The captain, not having any previous knowledge of our nation, detained us a long time to acquaint himself with our forms of government, and the greatness of our King. While he kept us in this way the *sufra* was spread, and then all the idolatrous nobles withdrew, as they do not eat anything cooked by Musalmans. Having found that we had not the same scruples, he invited us to supper, but we declined, because it was late, and we wished to rejoin our people. But we had scarcely arrived at our tent when we saw three men, each with a large dish of *pulao* on his head, which the captain had sent us. Before [our] leaving him he invited us to remain for the following day to enjoy elephant-hunting, but as we did not wish to lose time we excused ourselves, and told him that our business compelled us to proceed.
Six or seven days previously they had captured five *elephants*, three of which had escaped, and it was these which they were [] pursuing; and ten or twelve of the poor peasants who assisted in capturing them had been killed. We informed ourselves of the manner in which they hunt, and this is what we ascertained. Certain passages are cut in the jungle, in which holes are excavated and covered with branches with a little earth on top. The hunters, with shouts and the noise of drums, to which they add fire-darts, drive the elephant into these passages, when coming on the holes it falls in and is unable to get out again. The hunters then place ropes and chains on it, which they pass under the belly, and bind the trunk and the legs, afterwards employing special machines to hoist the animal up. Nevertheless, out of five which had been taken three escaped, as I have said, although they had still some chains and cords about their bodies, and even on their legs.
These people told us an astonishing thing, which is wonderful if one could believe it. It is, that elephants which have once been caught and have escaped, if driven into the jungle are always on their guard, and tear off a large branch of a tree with their trunks, with which they go along sounding everywhere before putting down their feet, to see if there are any holes, so as not to be caught a second time. It was this which made the hunters, who gave us this description, despair of being able to recapture the three elephants which had escaped. If we had been certain of witnessing this wonderful precaution of the elephant, no matter how pressing our business we should have willingly waited for two or three days. This captain who had received us so well was a sort of Brigadier, and commanded 3,000 or 4,000 men who were stationed half a league off.
On the 27th [August], having marched two hours, we came to a large village, where we saw the two elephants [] which had been captured. Each of these wild elephants was between two tame ones, and around the wild ones there were six men with fire-darts, who spoke to the animals when feeding them, saying in their language, "Take that and eat it." They gave them small wisps of hay, pieces of black sugar, rice cooked in water, and pounded peppercorns. When the while elephant would not do what was ordered, the men told the tame elephants to beat him; this they immediately did, one striking him on the forehead and head with his trunk, and if he attempted to revenge himself, the other struck him from his side, so that the poor elephant knew not where to turn; this taught him to obey....
[] .... On the 29th, after a march of nine hours, we arrived at [] Outemeda [Vontimitta], where there is one of the grandest pagodas in the whole of India. It is built of large cut stones, and has three towers whereon are many deformed figures cut in relief. It is surrounded by many small chambers for the dwellings of the priests of the pagoda, and 500 paces off there is a great *tank*, upon the borders of which there are many small pagodas of 8 or 10 feet square, and in each of them an idol in the form of a demon, with a *Brahmin* who takes care that any stranger who is not of their faith does not come to bathe or draw water from the tank. If a stranger wants water, some is given him in earthen pots, and if by chance the pot touches the vessel of the stranger the pot is broken....
As for charity, they are very liberal, for to every traveller who is in want and asks alms, they give to eat and drink of whatever they may happen to have. You meet many women on these roads, some of whom always keep fire to light the *tobacco* of travellers, and to those who have no tobacco they even lend a pipe [=*huqqa*]. Others go there to cook rice with *kichari*, which is a grain like our hemp-seed; others, too, cook beans [=*dal*(?)], because the water in which they are cooked never causes pleurisy to those who are overheated. There are among these women some who have vowed to perform this charity for travellers during a period of seven or eight years; others for more or less time according to their convenience, and they give each traveller bean water and rice water to drink, and two or three handfuls of this cooked rice to eat. Other [] women are to be seen on the high roads and in the fields following horses, oxen, and cows; these have vowed to eat nothing but what they find undigested in these animals' droppings.
As neither barley nor oats are to be had in this country, the cattle are fed on certain large and hard peas [=*gram*], which are first crushed between two grindstones and then allowed to steep for half an hour, for they are very hard and consequently difficult of digestion. The horses are given some of these peas every evening, and in the morning they receive about two pounds of coarse black sugar [=*jaggery*], which resembles wax, kneaded with an equal weight of flour and a pound of butter [=*ghee*], of which mixture the grooms make pellets or small balls, and force them down the horses' throats; otherwise they would not eat them. Afterwards their mouths are washed, especially the teeth, which are covered with the paste, because this gives them a dislike to this kind of food. During the daytime the horses are given some grass [=*doob*] which is torn up in the fields, roots and all, and is most carefully washed so that no earth remains....
[] .... On the first day of September we made only 6 leagues, and halted at *Gandikota*. Only eight days since the Nawab had taken this town after a three months' seige, and he would not have taken it but for the aid of some Frenchmen who had quitted the Dutch service on account of the treatment they had received. He also had many English Dutch gunners, with two or three Italians, who gave him great aid in the capture of the place.
Gandikota is one of the fortified towns in the Kingdom of *Carnatic*. It is built on the summit of a high mountain, and the sole means of access to it is by a very difficult road, which is only 20 or 25 feet wide, and in certain parts only 7 or 8; the Nawab was then commencing to improve it. On the right of the road, which is cut in the mountain, there is a fearful precipice, at the base of which runs a large river [the Penner]. On the top of the mountain there is a small plain about a quarter of a league wide and a half a league long. It is cultivated with rice and millet, and watered by many small springs. At the level of the plain to the south, where the town is built on a point, the limits are formed by precipices, with two rivers which bound the point at the base; so that, for access to the town, there is but one gate on the plain side, and it is fortified in that direction with three good walls of cut stone, the ditches at their bases being faced with the same stone. Consequently, during the siege the inhabitants [] had to guard a space of only 400 or 500 paces wide. They had only two iron guns-- one a 12-pounder, the other 7 to 8; the first was placed on the gate, and the other on the point of a kind of bastion.
Until the Nawab found means to mount guns above he lost many men from the frequent sorties made by the besieged. The Raja who was in the town was considered to be one of the best and bravest commanders among the idolaters, and the Nawab, seeing at length that the place could not be taken unless guns were carried up to the heights, ordered all the Franks who were in the King's service as gunners to come to him, and promised each four months' wages in addition to their ordinary pay if they could find some means of conveying guns up to the heights. In this they were successful. They mounted four guns, with which they bombarded the place, and were so fortunate as to direct them against the gun mounted on the gate, which they soon rendered useless. When they had battered down half the gate of the town the besieged capitulated and evacuated the place under honourable conditions.
On the day we arrived the whole army was encamped at the base of the mountain in a plain, where there is a very fine river, and the Nawab was just ending the review of the cavalry, which were very smart. An English gunner, with his comrade, an Italian, seeing M. du Jardin and myself pass, and recognizing us to be Franks, as it was late, politely came to meet us, and invited us to spend the night with them. It was from them that we heard that there was a French gunner then in the town, named Claude *Maillé* of Bourges, and that he was engaged in casting some cannon which the Nawab wished to leave in the fort.
On the following day, the 2nd of the month, we ascended to the town and stopped at the house of Maillé, whom I had known at Batavia, where he was in the Dutch service, being employed as gardener to the General. He received us with much joy, and having first notified our arrival to the Nawab, he ordered them to provide immediately for lodging and [] necessary food, not only for ourselves, but also for our horses and oxen, during the stay that we were going to make at Gandikota.
On the 3rd [September] we went to call upon the Nawab, who had caused his tents to be pitched on the summit of the mountain, in the quarter bordering the road cut in the rock. He received us kindly, asking us if we were comfortably housed, and whether we had been supplied with the food which he had ordered for ourselves and horses. Then he inquired the cause of our visit, and we replied that we had brought some goods sufficientlychoice for the King, but that we had not gone to His Majesty before showing them to him-- well knowing that the King bought nothing of high price without his advice, and that, in any case, we considered such deference to be due to him. The Nawab assured us that our compliment had not displeased him, and after he had ordered *betel* to be presented to us we took our leave and returned to the town. We found all the gunners awaiting us, and we assembled at Maillé's house for supper, where the Nawab sent us two bottles of wine-- one Spanish, the other of Shiraz-- which is rare in this country. As for brandy, they have no lack of it, for they make it of *rice* and also *sugar*, of which there is an abundance in all these parts of India....
[] .... On the 11th [September] all the Frank gunners went to the Nawab's tent, crying out that they had not been paid the four months' wages which they had been promised, and that if they were not paid they would go to take service elsewhere, upon which the Nawab put them off till the following day. On the 12th, he ordered them to be paid for three months, and promised to pay them the fourth at the close of the current month. They had no sooner received this money than they treated one another, and the *Baladines* received more than half of it.
On the 13th the Nawab went to the town to inspect the foundry which Maillé had erected by his orders. Maillé, as I have said, was from Bourges, and enlisted at Amsterdam for India. When he arrived at *Batavia*, the General, perceiving that he was skilful and very intelligent, kept him in his personal service to make some grottoes and fountains in his garden. But Maillé, being satisfied neither with his employment nor with the rough treatment of the General, found means to attach himself to the suite of M. Cheteur, who was sent from Batavia to the Nawab, then engaged in the siege of Gandikota. This Envoy having finished his business with the Nawab, Maillé, knowing that he would be leaving on the following day, took possession of the case and box of ointments belonging to the Ambassador's surgeon, and concealed himself until the Envoy had departed, without being able to find Maillé, in spite of all the search he could make, which had delayed his departure for some days.
As soon as Maillé heard that the Envoy was gone, he was appointed to the service of the Nawab as surgeon; and some time afterwards, having informed him that he was a good gunner and founder, he entered his service in that capacity. The Nawab having taken Gandikota, and desiring to mount some cannon inside the fort, where it was very difficult to carry them, proposed to Maillé to cast twenty pieces-- ten [] 48-pounders, and ten 24-pounders; this Maillé undertook to do. He was supplied with copper for this purpose from all quarters, and the Nawab collected a quantity of idols which had been removed from the pagodas which his army had visited.... In short, Maille did not succeed in making a single cannon, one being split, another incomplete; and so he relinquished all the work he had undertaken, and some time afterwards quitted the service of the Nawab.
On the 13th we went to the Nawab's tent to take leave and to hear what he had to say regarding the goods which we had shown him. But we were told that he was engaged in examining a number of criminals, who had been brought before him for immediate punishment....
[] .... On the 15th, at seven o'clock in the morning, we went to the Nawab, and immediately we were announced he invited us to enter his tent, where he was seated with two of his secretaries by him. According to the custom of the country-- where one goes with naked feet in slippers, without stockings, because wherever you enter you walk on a carpet, and sit in this country as in Turkey, and as our tailors do here-- the Nawab had the intervals between his toes full of letters, and he also held many between the fingers of his left hand. He drew them sometimes from his feet, sometimes from his hand, and sent replies through his two secretaries, writing some also himself. After the secretaries had finished the letters, he made them read them; and he then took them and affixed his seal himself, giving some to foot messengers, others to horsemen.
But it should be remarked that in India all the letters which Kings, Generals of Armies, and Governors of Provinces send by footmen [=*Pattamar*] go much faster than by horsemen, the reason being that at every two leagues there are small huts, where two or three runners are posted, and immediately when the carrier of a letter arrives at one of these huts he throws it to the others sitting at the entrance, and one of them takes it up and at once starts to run....
[] .... While we were with the Nawab he was informed that four prisoners, who were then at the door of the tent, had arrived. He remained more than half an hour without replying, writing continually and making his secretaries write, but at length he suddenly ordered the criminals to be brought in; and after having questioned them, and made them confess with their own mouths the crime of which they were accused....
Among these four prisoners
who were brought into his presence was one who had entered a house and
had slain a mother and her three infants. He was condemned forthwith to
have his feet and hands cut off, and to be thrown into a field near the
high road to end his days. Another had stolen on the high road, and the
Nawab ordered him to have his stomach slit open and to be flung in a drain.
I could not ascertain what the others had done, but both their heads were
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