Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 57-59. Ed. *ZDJ*

Book 1, Chapter 22: The Abdar Khana

His Majesty calls this source of life "the water of immortality," and has committed the care of this department to proper persons. He does not drink much, but pays much attention to this matter. Both at home and on travels he drinks Ganges water. Some trustworthy persons are stationed on the banks of that river, who dispatch the water in sealed jars. When the court was at the capital Agra and in Fathpur, the water came from the district of Sorun, but now that his Majesty is in the Panjab, the water is brought from Hardwar. For the cooking of the food, rain­water or water taken from the Jamna and the Chanab is used, mixed with a little Ganges water. On journeys and hunting parties, his Majesty, from his predilection for good water, appoints experienced men as water-tasters.

Saltpetre, which in gunpowder produces the explosive heat, is used by his Majesty as a means for cooling water, and is thus a source of joy for great and small. Saltpetre is a saline earth. They fill with it a perforated vessel, and pour some water over it, and collecting what drops through, they boil it, clean it, and let it crystallize. One ser of water is then put into a goglet of pewter, or silver, or any other such metal, and the mouth closed. Then two and a half sers of saltpetre are thrown into a vessel, together with five sers of water, and in this mixture the goglet is stirred about for a quarter of an hour, when the water in the goglet will become cold. The price of saltpetre varies from 3/4 to 4 mans per rupee.

Since the thirtieth year of the Divine Era, when the imperial standards were erected in the Panjab, snow and ice have come into use. Ice is brought by land and water, by post carriages or bearers, from the district of Panhan, in the northern mountains, about forty-five kos from Lahor. The dealers derive a considerable profit, two to three sers of ice being sold per rupee. The greatest profit is derived when the ice is brought by water, next when by carriages, and least when by bearers. The inhabitants of the mountains bring it in loads, and sell it in piles containing from 25 to 30 sers, at the rate of 5 dams. If they have to bring it very far, it costs 24 d. 17 j.: if the distance be an average one, 15 d.

Out of the ten boats employed for the transport of ice, one arrives daily at the capital, each being manned by four boatmen. The ice bundles contain from six to twelve sers, according to the temperature. A carriage brings two loads. There are fourteen stages, where the horses are changed, and besides, one elephant is used. Twelve pieces of ten to four sers arrive daily. By this kind of transport, a ser of ice costs in winter 3 d. 21 j.; during the rains 14 d. 20 j.; in the intermediate time 9 d. 21.5 j.; and in the average, 5 d  and 15.5 j. If it is brought by bearers, twenty-eight men are required for the fourteen stages. They bring every day one load containing four parcels.  In the beginning of the year, the ice costs 5 d. 19.5 j.; in the middle 16 d 2.5 j.; and in the end 19 d. 15 5/8 j. per ser; in the average 8 7/8 d.

All ranks use it in summer; the nobles use it throughout the whole year.

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