Zakaríya son of Muhammad son of Mahmúd is surnamed Kazwíní, from the town of Kazwín or Kasbín in Persia, where he was born. He was not a traveller, but compiled his works from the writings of Istakhrí, Ibn Haukal, and others, whom he re­gularly cites as his authorities. His works were written just after the middle of the thirteenth century, about 661 A.H. (1263 A.D.) according to Casiri, or 674 (1275 A.D.) according to Haji Khalfa. He has been called the Pliny of the East. He was author of the work called 'Ajáibu-l Makhlúkát wa Gharáibu-l Maujudát, “Wonders of things created, and marvels of things existing,” also of the Ásáru-l Bilád wa Akhbáru-l 'Ibád, “Mo­numents of countries, and memoirs of men.” A few extracts have been taken from the last work, containing matter derived from other sources than the books previously quoted.

M. Reinaud, in his introduction to Aboulfeda, ascribes to Kazwíní the authorship of the work called 'Ajáibu-l buldán, “Wonders of Countries.” He found the contents of this work to be in the main identical with those of the Asáru-l bilád, but containing more bio­graphical notices. This opinion is confirmed by a short Persian account of a work called “Bahru-l buldán,” which is among Sir H. Elliot's MSS., and seems to have been written expressly for him. There is no copy of the work itself among the MSS., though Sir H. Elliot must once have had one in his possession. The notice says, “The Bahru-l buldán is not a distinct work, but is a Persian translation of the Ásáru-l Bilád wa Akhbáru-l 'Ibád, well known in the world by the name 'Ajaibu-l buldán, written in Arabic by Zakaríya bin Muhammad Kazwíní.” It is curious, however, that the 'Ajáibu-l buldán* is frequently quoted by Kazwíní in the Ásáru-l bilad, as being the work of Mis'ar bin Muhalhil,—a traveller who went to China and India about 331 A.H. (942 A.D.). Several instances of this will be found in the following extracts. It is hard to believe that Kazwíní thus quoted his own work, or that he would refer the authorship of his own book to another person. If then, Kazwíní is really the author of a work called 'Ajáibu-l buldán, it is only reasonable to conclude that he adopted the title of his predecessor's work. Mis'ar bin Muhalhil is quoted by Yákút in his great Dictionary, and the fragments which he and Kaz-wíní preserved have been selected and published with a Latin translation by M. Kurd de Schlœzer.* There is another Persian translation of the Ásáru-l bilád among Sir H. Elliot's MSS., bearing the title “Sairu-l bilád.” This MS. is called an “abstract,” and was copied, and perhaps “abstracted,” expressly for Sir H. Elliot, from a copy in the possession of Mr. J. Bardoe Elliott. The articles relating to India are given in full, but the others are greatly abbreviated. This work is said to be very scarce.


KÚLAM.—A large city in India. Mis'ar bin Muhalhil, who visited the place, says that he did not see either a temple or an idol there. When their king dies the people of the place choose another from China. There is no physician in India except in this city. The buildings are curious, for the pillars are (covered with) shells from the backs of fishes. The inhabitants do not eat fish, nor do they slaughter animals, but they eat carrion. They manufacture clay vessels, which are sold in our cities like those of China, but they are not the same, because the clay of China is harder than that of Kúlam, and bears the fire better. The vessels of Kúlam are blackish, but those of China are whiter than all others. There are places here where the teak tree grows to a very great height, exceeding even a hundred cubits. Brazil wood, ratans, and kaná also grow here in abundance. Rhubarb grows here, the leaves of which are the Sázaju-l Hindí, Indian leaf, and are held in high esteem as a medicine for the eyes. They bring here various sorts of aloe wood, camphor, and frankincense. Aloe wood is also brought hither from the islands beyond the equator, where no one has ever gone and seen the tree. Water comes into it from the north. There is a mine of yellow sulphur here, and a mine of copper, the condensed smoke of which makes excellent vitriol.

MULTÁN.—[Kazwíní quotes Istakhrí at some length, but gives addi­tional particulars from other writers.] Mis'ar bin Muhalhil says that it is the last city of India bordering on China.* It is a large fortified and impregnable city, and is held in high esteem by the Hindus and Chinese, for it contains a temple which is for them a place of worship and pilgrimage, as Mecca is for the Muham-madans. The inhabitants are Musulmans and infidels, but the government is in the hands of the former. The infidels have a large temple there and a great idol (budd). The chief mosque is near this temple. Islám prevails there, and its orders and interdicts are obeyed. All this is related by Mis'ar bin Muhalhil * * * The same author says that the summit of the temple is 300 cubits [zará'], and the height of the idol is 20 cubits. The houses of the servants and devotees are around the temple, and there are no idol worshippers in Multán besides those who dwell in these precincts [kasr] * * * The ruler of Multán does not abolish this idol, because he takes the large offerings which are brought to it, and disburses certain sums to the attendants for their maintenance. When the Indians make an attack upon the town, the Musulmáns bring out the idol, and when the infidels see it (about to be) broken or burnt, they retire. Ibnu-l Fakíh says that an Indian came to this idol, and placed upon his head a crown of cotton, daubed with pitch; he did the same with his fingers, and having set fire to it he staid before the idol until it was burnt.

SAIMÚR.—A city of Hind near the confines of Sind. The people are very beautiful and handsome, from being born of Turk and Indian parents. There are Musulmáns, Christians, Jews, and Fire-worshippers there. The merchandize of the Turks is conveyed hither, and the aloes called Saimúrí are named from this place. The temple of Saimúr is an idol temple, on the summit of a high eminence, under the charge of keepers. There are idols in it of turquoise and baijádak,* which are highly venerated. In the city there are mosques, Christian churches, synagogues, and Fire temples. The infidels do not slaughter animals, nor do they eat flesh, fish, or eggs; but there are some who will eat animals that have fallen down precipices, or that have been gored to death, but they do not eat those that have died a natural death. This informa­tion has been derived from Mis'ar bin Muhalhil, author of the 'Ajáibu-l buldán, who travelled into various countries and recorded their wonders.

SOMNÁT.—A celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnát. This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honour among the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel. The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand. They believed that the souls of men used to meet there after separation from the body, and that the idol used to incorporate them at its pleasure in other bodies, in accordance with their doctrine of transmigration. The ebb and flow of the tide was considered to be the worship paid to the idol by the sea. Everything of the most precious was brought there as offerings, and the temple was endowed with more than 10,000 villages. There is a river (the Ganges) which is held sacred, between which and Somnát the distance is 200 parasangs. They used to bring the water of this river to Somnát every day, and wash the temple with it. A thousand brahmans were employed in worshipping the idol and attending on the visitors, and 500 damsels sung and danced at the door—all these were maintained upon the endowments of the temple. The edifice was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak, covered with lead. The shrine of the idol was dark, but was lighted by jewelled chandeliers of great value. Near it was a chain of gold weighing 200 mans. When a portion (watch) of the night closed, this chain used to be shaken like bells to rouse a fresh lot of brahmans to perform worship. When the Sultán Yamínu-d Daula Mahmúd bin Subuktigín went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnát, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans. He arrived there in the middle of Zí-l k'ada, 416 A.H. (December, 1025 A.D.). The Indians made a desperate resistance. They would go weeping and crying for help into the temple, and then issue forth to battle and fight till all were killed. The number of the slain exceeded 50,000. The king looked upon the idol with wonder, and gave orders for the seizing of the spoil, and the appropriation of the treasures. There were many idols of gold and silver and vessels set with jewels, all of which had been sent there by the greatest personages in India. The value of the things found in the temples of the idols exceeded twenty thousand thousand dínárs.* When the king asked his com­panions what they had to say about the marvel of the idol, and of its staying in the air without prop or support, several maintained that it was upheld by some hidden support. The king directed a person to go and feel all around and above and below it with a spear, which he did, but met with no obstacle. One of the atten­dants then stated his opinion that the canopy was made of loadstone, and the idol of iron, and that the ingenious builder had skilfully contrived that the magnet should not exercise a greater force on any one side—hence the idol was suspended in the middle. Some coincided, others differed. Permission was obtained from the Sultán to remove some stones from the top of the canopy to settle the point. When two stones were removed from the summit the idol swerved on one side, when more were taken away it inclined still further, until at last it rested on the ground.

TAIFAND.—An impregnable fortress upon the summit of a moun­tain in India, to which there is only one way of access. On the top of this mountain there is water, cultivated land, and all necessary food. Yamínu-d daula Mahmud bin Subuktigín in the year 414 A.H. (1023 A.D.) besieged it for a long time, but at length reduced its garrison to extremities. There were 500 elephants on the mountain. The garrison asked quarter, and it was granted, and the fortress was confirmed to its master on payment of tribute. The lord of the fortress presented many gifts to the Sultán, among which was a bird in the form of a dove. When food containing poison was presented to this bird, tears would fall from its eyes, and the tear drops were converted into stone, which stone being broken and placed upon a wound, it would heal up. This bird is found only in this place, and does not thrive elsewhere.