Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 distant and wildly diversified view. A Persian inscription which I transcribed, says that Mahomed . Shirreef, in the year of the Hegira 1055f, finished this airy seat of pleasure by order of Shaistah Khan.—But from great men and their splendid works, let me descend to more trivial concerns, and to some account of my Private adventures. INDIA, you know, hath ever been famed for affording convenient places of accommodation to the traveller, who, at the distance of eight or ten miles, seldom fails meeting with a public lodging, or a reservoir of water, where he may perform his ablutions, and quench his thirst. As the greater part of the inhabitants of India, from a simplicity of life, and the clement state of their climate, have but few superfluous wants, a slight defence against the sun and rain, a small portion of clothing, with plain food, constitute a large share of their real ones. In

* The officer employed by Aurungzebe to oppose Sultan Shujah, + A. D. 1645, r

Upper India, the oecouomy of Karawan Serah*, or, as it is usually called, the Serauce, is conducted by better regulations, and its conveniences more sensibly 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 f- The stationary tenants of the Serauce J, 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 several lodgings. When the choice is made (which is often perplexing, so many are the inducements thrown out on all sides of him) a bed§ is laid out

* Karavanserah is a Persee and Arabic compound of Kar, signify ingbusiness, raoan the participle of the verb ruftecn, to go, move, proceed, &c. andofwaA, 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.

f Shcre Shah, who drove Humaim from the throne of Delhi, in 1542, is said to have been the first Mahometan who established Kavavanserahs in India. This fact/also recorded in Dow's history, is well known amongst the natives.—Shcre Shah built the fort of Rhotas, and the mausoleum of Sasseram.

% The serauces at this day are usually given in rent.

\ This piece of furniture, of very simple construction, has low iaAf with the sides and ends formed of bamboo or common rough wood, and the bottom of laced cords.

[graphic]

for his repose,—asmoaking pipe is brought, and the utensils cleaned, for preparing his repast. The necessary sum is delivered into the hands generally of a girl, who procures the materials, and dresses his meal in a most expeditious manner. For two domestics and myself, tne horse. and his keeper, the whole of my daily expenditure amounted to a sum, which as you will not credit, I will not venture to note; and on days when I wasjnclined to feast, the addition of two or three pence procured a sumptuous fare, with the accompaniment of a sauce, which an alderman over his callipash might sigh for.

Adieu, my dear Sir.

I am yours, &c. &c.

[graphic]

LETTER W.

To I. D. F. Lucknow, 1st January, 1783. My DeAR SIR, MY last letter to you, written from Allahabad, contained some description of that place, with a farrago of desultory remarks arising from the moment, and hastily thrown together; but should the perusal have given a little amusement or information, I will contentedly sacrifice any claims to genius or method.—The following gives the detail of my journey from Allahabad to Lucknow, and though containing no matter of any substance, may afford you half an hour's relaxation. ON the 20th of December,<-after attending at the funeral ceremony performed in commemoration of Hussin and Hussein, or rather of the latter, I left Allahabad, and went no farther that day than Beghum." Serauce, a station of

* Beghum is the feminine gender of Begh, as Khanum is that of Khan; both titles of Tartar extraction: the latter has been often adopted by the female branches of the imperial family of Timur.

-

three cosses”. I will cursorily embrace this occasion of informing you, that Hussin and Hussein were the sons of Ali, the son-in-law and nephew of the Arabian prophet. During the war which the first Mahomet maintained against the Infidels (so the professor of the new faith denominated those of a different creed), Hussin was poisoned, and Hussein was slain in battle. They consequently became martyrs;–and the tomb of Hussein, which was erected in the vicinity of Bagdat, is held by the Sheahst in the same degree of veneration, with that of their prophet, by the other Mahometan sectaries. On the 21st,-eat my breakfast and smoaked my pipe at Tuttypour, or the place of victory.

On enquiry why a village so mean and small,

had been distinguished by so great a name, I was told, that in former times, some signal victory had been obtained there ; but my intelligencer knew nothing of the parties concerned. —In the evening, having this day travelled six cosses, I halted at Alum Chund, the north-west limit of the Allahabad districts. The country

had a barren and desolate aspect; the cause of

* Two British miles may be given to the average measurement of a coss.

f The Mahometans of the sect of Ali, are so called.

*

« PreviousContinue »