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Mahometans, who as furiously destroyed every monument and curious vestige not expressive of their doctrine, as they were actuated by a blind zeal in its propagation and support, have endeavoured to claim the construction of this pillar, and over the Hindoo record, they have engraved the names of many of their emperors, since the time of Babr. *
This pillar, which bears the mark of great antiquity, clearly evinces that Allahabad was a place of importance long before the æra of the Mahometan conquest of India. We should pass indeed a contemptuous, not to say an unjust censure, on the understanding of the ancient Hindoos, did we suppose that they had overlooked a situation, at once so favourable to the performance of their religious duties, and so happily adapted to the enjoyments of life. Almost as many cities have been brought forward by modern writers to prefer their claims to the Polybertha of India, asof old, contested for the birth-place of Homer. Monsieur d’Anville, the celebrated French geographer, seems to give the palm to Allahabad. Strabo has made mention of a grand causeway, leading from Polybortha into the interior parts of the country, and as such structures are durable and conspicuous, it is to be supposed that some remains of this road would have yet been visible ; but on a careful examination I could not discover its most distant trace. A mound of earth appears on the western shore of the Ganges,
* The first Emperor of the race of Timur, who sat on the throne of Hindoftan.
extending about a mile in a line with the river where it approaches the fort, which has been evidently thrown up to prevent the stream in the seasons of the floods, from overflowing or injuring the town.
In touching on the subject of Allahabad, it is necessary to notice the tomb of Sultan Khusro. This mausoleum, about a mile to the eastward of the town, stands in the midst of a spacious garden enclosed with a high wall, and well supplied with a variety of flower and fruit trees, but from want of culture they look rugged and barren. Being clad in the Mahometan habit, and intimating a desire to offer up my prayers at the royal fhrine, I was immediately admitted. The public edifices of the Mahometans being constructed of the worst fpecies of what is termed the Gothic order, they cannot afford much pleasure to the European eye, which is now taught to regard only the more simple and chaste proportions of art. * Yet the tomb of Khusro, though comprising few of the rules of architecture, hath in its
appearance fomething peculiarly pleasing, and diffuses around it an air of melancholy, congenially suited to the purpose of its foundation. The building is nearly a square, raised from the ground by a low flight of steps, and has a vaulted roof in the form of a dome, whose outside is covered with tiles of a fine clay, stained with a diversity of colours, on which the reflection of
* This opinion does not presume to include the monuments at Agra, which have deserved the warmest approbation of our celebrated artists.
the sun produces a pleasing effect. No fund being established for supporting this monument, it cannot long survive the numerous edifices now scattered in ruins through the environs of Allahabad. Adjoining to the tomb of Khusro, is one of a smaller size, which a mendicant informed me was erected in commemoration of one of the female branches of the imperial family. Some Mahometan priests who live in the garden, keep the inside of the mausoleum decently clean, and the different appurtenances are still in good preservation, particularly the wooden bier in which the body is said to be deposited.* Observing a sınall curtain spread on the wall, I drew it aside, and must confess to you that I was impressed
sensible awe, on discovering the figure of an open hand, engraved on black marble : when I adverted to the nature of the place, and the use to which it had been applied, I at first supposed that this representation denoted the hand, or the power of the Deity; but a farther recollection informed me, that Mahomed, Ali, Fatima,t Hussin, and Hussein, were described by this emblem ; and that in compliance with the law which excludes all works of sculpture and painting from Mahometan worship, it had been covered.
The Allahabad districts once paid into the royal treasury a re
with a very
* Sultan Khusro, the eldest son of Tehanquir, died A. D. 1622.
+ Fatima, the daughter of Mahomed, was married to Ali, and had two sons, Huffin and Hufsein.
veune of between seventy and eighty lacks of rupees, but such is the impoverished and depopulated state of the Vizier's country, that it is at this day reduced to a fourth of that amount.' Shaistah Khan, who was appointed by Aurungzebe to govern the provinces of Bengal and Bahar after the death of Amir Jumlah,* hath left many monuments of his liberality in the vicinity of Allahabad. On an insulated rock in the Jumna, near the city, and at a small distance from the south shore, he built a lofty apartment, which is cooled by the refreshing winds of the river, and commands a dirtant and wildly diversified view. A Persian inscription which I transcribed, says that Mahomed Shirreef, in the year of the Hegira, 1055,+ finished this airy seat of pleasure by order of Shaistah Khan.-But from great men and their splendid works, let me defcend to more trivial concerns, and to some account of my private adventures.
INDIA, you know, hath ever been famed for affording conve · nient places of accomodation to the traveller, who at the diltance of eight and ten miles, seldom fails meeting with a public lodging, or a reservoir of water, where he may perform his ablu . tions, and quench his thirst. As the greater part of the inhabi • tants of India, from a simplicity of life, and the clement state of their climate, have but few superfluous wants; a night defence
* The officer employed by Aurungzebe to oppose Sultan Shujah.
against the fun and rain, a small portion of cloathing, with plain food, constitute a large share of their real ones. In the economy of Karawan Serah,* or as it is usually called the Serauce, is conducted by better regulations, and its conveniencies more sensible felt, than in the southern parts of India. An inclosed area, the interior sides of which contain small apartments, fronting inwards with a principal gate-way, is appropriated in every village of note, to the use of travellers. + The stationary tenants of the serauce, I many of them women, and some of them very pretty, approach the traveller on his entrance, and in alluring language describe to him the various excellencies of their feveral lodgings. When the choice is made, (which is often
perplexing, fo many are the inducements thrown out on all sides of him) a bed § is laid out for his repose--a smoaking pipe is brought, and the utensils cleaned, for preparing his repast. The necessary
* Keravanserah is a Persee and Arabic compound of Kar, signifying business, rawax the participle of the verb rufteen, to go, move, proceed, &c. and of ferah, an habitation. The Tucktravan, a vehicle used by travellers in many parts of Asia, is composed of the words, tuckt, a seat, or board, and the aforementioned participle. I have ventured to insert these etymologies for the use of those who are not conversant in the Persian Language.
+ Shere Shah, who drove Humaim from the throne of Delhi, in 1542, is said to have been the first Mahometan who established Karavanferahs in India.
This fact, also recorded in Dow's history, is well known amongst the natives. --Shere Shah built the fort of Rhotas, and the mausoleum of Sasseram. I The serauces at this day are usually given in rent.
This piece of furniture, of very simple construction, has low feet, with the fides and ends formed of bamboo or common rough wood, and the bottom of laced cords.