The city of Lakhnautī, which in past times was the Capital of Bengal, was founded by Sangaldīb. It is said that at the time when Firūz Rāi, the Rājah of Hindūstān, being defeated by Rus­tam Dastan,* fled to Tirhūt, and from there fleeing to the moun­tains of Jhārkhand* and Gondwārah,* died, Rustam Dastan, who was displeased with his insolence, not bestowing the kingdom of Hindūstān on the Rājah’s children, awarded the sovereignty of Hindūstān to a Hindū, named Sūraj.* Sūraj became a powerful Rājah, subjugated the kingdom of the Dakhīn and also the king­dom of Bengal. When Sūraj died and the sovereignty passed to his son, Bahraj, disturbances occurring in all parts of the kingdom, ambition showed itself in every head, and at length a Brahmin, named Kēdār, coming out from the mountains of Sawālik, and becoming victorious after fightings possessed himself of the reins of sovereignty. Towards the end of his reign, a person named Sangal­dīb,* emerging from the environs of Kuch, which adjoins the limits of Bengal, brought to his subjection, first, the countries of Bengal and Behār, and then fighting against Kēdār became victorious, and building the city of Lakhnautī,* made it his capital. And for two thousand years it remained the Capital of Bengal. In the time of the Mughul Emperors it became ruined, and instead of it Tandāh became the Viceregal Capital. Afterwards Tandāh was also ruined, and Jahāngīrnagar, and lastly Murshidābād, became the Viceregal Capital. The reason for the name of Gaur is unknown, but it is guessed that in the period of the rule of the sons of Nojgorīah, perhaps this name was given. And Emperor Humāyun, considering Gaur an inauspicious name, changed it to Jinnatābad. This city at present is in complete ruin, and has become the haunt of lions and tigers. Excepting traces of gates of the fort, and dilapidated buildings, and the mosque, and founda­tions of the building of Qadam-Rasūl, nothing else exists.

The place where monarchs dwelt in gardens with friends,
Has become the abode of crows and vultures and the haunt of lions and jackals!

Gaur contained a large fort, traces whereof are still visible. On the eastern side of the city are the lakes of Jhatiāh and Bhatīah and other lakes, and the embankment* continues from that to this time, though it was stronger and kept out the flood of water in the rainy season, when the city was in a flourishing condition. At present, in the rainy season, boats pass across it, and every­thing is inundated. Towards the north of the Fort, to the dis­tance of one kos, a large building of ancient times existed, and also a tank called Peāsbārī— the water where of was noxious, who­ever drank it became attacked with bowl-diseases and died. It is said that in past times, criminals were imprisoned in that tank, and by drinking the water of it they immediately died. And Emperor Akbar, taking pity, put a stop to this form of punishment.


The city of Murshidābād* is a large town situate on the banks of the river Bhāgīratī. Both banks of the river are populated. In the beginning, a merchant named Makhsūs Khān built a serai or guest-house there, and called the place Makhsūsābād. The houses of a few shop-keepers were placed there. In the reign of Emperor Aurangzīb Alamgīr, Nawāb Jāfar Khān Nasiri, who held the office of Dīwān of Orissa, received the title of Kārtalab Khān and obtained the office of Dīwān of Bengal. After his arrival at Jahāngīrnagar, otherwise called Dhākah (Dacca), which at that time was the Viceregal Capital and where from before Prince Azīm-u-shān, who had been appointed Vice­roy by Emperor|Aurangzīb (as will be setforth here after) lived, finding that he (Jāfar Khān) could not pull on with the Prince, put forward the pretext that the mahals of Bengal were at a long distance from that place (Dacca), separated himself from association with the Prince, and established himself at Makhsūsābād, and placed there the Āmlās of Zemindārs, and Qānūngos and other officials employed in connection with the Revenue Administration of Crown-lands. And at Dugharīah, which was quite a wilderness, he erected a palace, established the Board of Revenue (Dewānkhānah) and the Court of Exchequer, and made collections of the Imperial revenue. And when he was appointed permanently Sūbahdār (Viceroy) of Bengal and Orissa in addition to the office of Dīwan, with the title of Murshid Qūli Khān and with the gift of a valuable Khil‘at, and of the standard and the Naqārah (a royal drum) and the advancement of Mansab, on arrival at Makhsūsābād, he improved the city, and called it after his own name “Murshidābād.” And establishing a mint* there, he had the words “struck at Murshidābād” inscribed on the coins. From that time, this city became the Viceregal seat. It is a beautiful city. Its inhabitants, in the society of the Sūbāhdārs, being thrown into contact with the people of Delhi, in point of refinement of manners and conversation, resemble the people of Hindūstān, unlike those of other parts of Bengal. Amongst its buildings, none that was seen was note­worthy, except the Imāmbarah building, which was erected by Nawāb Sirāju-d-daulah. Its praise is beyond description; its equal is not to be found in the whole of Hindūstān. Although at present one-tenth of it does not exist, yet a remnant of it is a fair specimen of the original edifice. These two verses of Maulāna ‘Urfi Shīrāzī,* (May peace of God be on him!) being found to be apposite to the present case, are transcribed below:—

How much of morning is known to the dwellers at its gate,
In that in its neighbourhood, the sunset has no access;
Wonderful is the fairness of the building, that in gazing at it,
The glance does not turn back to the socket from the sight of the wall!

And the palaces of Mūtījhīl* and Hīrājīhl, which were most beautiful, at present have been dug up from their foundations, and are in complete ruin.


The Ports of Hūghlī and Sātgāon* are at a distance of half a karoh from each other. In former times, Sātgāon was a large city, thickly populated, and was the seat of a Governor. And the factories of the Christian Portugese, and of other traders were also there. When Sātgāon fell into ruin owing to its river silt­ing up, the port of Hūghlī became populous. The Faujdārs of this port had always been appointed directly by the Emperors of Delhi, and had little concern with the Nāzims or Viceroys of Bengal. Nawāb Jāfar Khān brought the office of Faujdār of this port within his jurisdiction, as an appendage to the Nizāmat and Dīwānī of Bengal, as will be mentioned hereafter, if God pleases. And in that the abovementioned Nawāb placed the centre of the financial resources of the country of Bengal upon the customs-duties levied from traders, he maintained peaceful and liberal relations with the merchants of England, China, Persia, and Tūrān, and beyond the legitimate imports he did not levy one dam oppressively or against the established usage. Hence the port of Hūghlī, in his time, became more populous than before. And merchants of all the ports of Arabia and Ajam,* and English Christians who were ship-owners and wealthy Mughuls made their quarters there; but the credit of the Mughul merchants was greater than that of merchants belonging to other classes. The English were absolutely prohibited from erecting towers and build­ing bazārs and forts and moats. After this, when oppression and extortion of the Faujdārs increased, the port of Hūghlī declined, and Calcutta owing to the liberality and protection afforded by the English, and the lightness of the duties levied there, became populous.