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Description of India by Wassaf


I thought I will share the following with you. The following description of India was written by Abdullah, son of Fazlu-llah, of Shiraz, commonly know as Wassaf -- the panegyrist around the year 1300CE in his book "Tazjiyatu-l amsar wa tajriyatu-l asar".

The description is self explanatory -- but in order to dispel any doubt that people might have about the description, please the read last paragraph on this post about what the writer has to say about his description.

The following is quoted from "The History of India as told by its own historians" vol. 3 By Eliot and Dawson, pp. 28-30.

Vinod Kumar


Eulogium upon the Countries of Hind.

India, according to the concurrent opinion of all writers, is

the most agreeable abode on the earth, and the most pleasant

quarter of the world. Its dust is purer than air, and its air

purer than purity itself; its delightful plains resemble the garden

of Paradise, and the particles of its earth are like rubies and corals'

Some commentators upon the Kuran, in the explanation of the

account of Adam(Peace be to him !) have stated, that when

our first father, having received the order to " go down," was

about to descend from the gardens pleasant to the soul and

delightful to the eye, to the wretched world below, the all-

embracing grace of God made some of the mountains of the

Isle of Ceylon to be the place of his descent.' This land is

distinguished from all parts of the globe by its extreme temper-

ateness, and by the purity of its water and air. If he had

fallen at once from the best to the worst, the change would have

caused the annihilation of his health and the destruction of his limbs.

Indeed, the charms of the country and the softness of the air, together

with the variety of its wealth, precious metals, stones, and other

abundant productions, are beyond description. The leaves, the bark,

 and the exudations of the trees, the grass, and the woods of that

country are cloves, spikenard, aloe-wood, sandal, camphor,

nd the fragrant wood of Mandal. White amber is the dregs of its sea,

and its indigo and red Bakham wood are cosmetics and rouge for the

face; the thorns and wormwoods of its fields are regulators of the

source of life, and are useful electuaries in the art of healing for the

throes of adverse fortune; its icy water ia a ball of mumiya for the

fractures of the world; and the benefits of its commerce display the

peculiarities of alchemy; the hedges of its fields refresh the heart like

the influence of the stars , and the margins and edges of its regions

are bed-fellows of loveliness; its myrobalans impart.the blackness of

youthful hair; and its peppercorns put the mole of the face of beauty

on the fire of envy; its rubies and cor-nelians are like the lips and

cheeks of charming girls ; its light- shedding recesses are all mines

of coined gold ; and its treasuries and depositories are like oceans

full of polished gems; its trees are in continual freshness and verdure;

and the zephyrs of its air are pure and odoriferous; the various birds

of its boughs are sweet-singing parrots, and the pheasants of its gardens

are all like graceful peacocks,

" If it is asserted that Paradise is in India, Be not surprised because

Paradise itself is not comparable to it." If any one suppose that these

selected epithets exceed all bounds, and think the author indulges

in exaggeration and hy- perbole, let him, after a deep reflection

on this matter, ask his own heart whether, since the days of Adam

 till the present from East to West or from North to South, there

has ever been a country, to which people export gold, silver,

commodities, and curiosities, and from which, in exchange, they

bring away only thorns, dregs, dust, pebbles, and various aromatic roots,

and from which money has never been sent to any place for the purchase

of goods. If, by the will of God, he still deems my narrative to be overcharged

 with hyperbole, still he must admit these praises to be deservedly and

justly applied. With all its diverse qualities and properties, it is reported

that the extent of that territory is equal to the breadth of heaven."