chap, xiii PILGRIMAGES 191
among the most important persons in the troop fans with handles 7 or 8
feet long, and covered with plates of gold and silver, the fan being at
the end in the form of a kiln-shovel of 2 to 3 feet in diameter, and
covered with the same brocade as the pallankeens. It is surrounded with
peacock feathers, and makes a great current of air ; to it bells are
sometimes attached to give a kind of music,1 and there are
generally five or six of these fans to drive away the flies from the
face of the idol; those who carry them take turns from time to time,
like those who carry the pallankeens, so that many may share in this
honourable task. This custom should not appear more strange to us than
that which I have seen practised in Saxony, and in many other parts of
Germany, where, while a funeral oration for a man or a woman is
delivered in the church, the body reposes at full length on a bier
which is uncovered, and the people on both sides fan it constantly,
when it is summer time, to drive away the flies attracted to the face
of the deceased, who has then no more power of feeling than an idol.
the year 1653, on the road from Golkonda to Surat in company with M.
d'Ardiliere, of whom I have elsewhere spoken, we met near Daulatabad
more than 2,000 persons, including men, women, and children, who came
from the direction of Tatta 2 with their idol, which they
carried in a rich pallankeen, on their way to visit the great idol of
the pagoda at Tirupati. The idol was laid on a mattress of red crimson
velvet, and the covering and cushions were of the same stuff. The
bamboo or stick which served to carry the pallankeen was covered with
gold and silver brocade, and no one except the Brahmans had permission
to. approach it. We saw this long procession pass, and we could not help
1 And to scare evil spirits.
s M. Joret (I.c. p.
131) is probably mistaken in assuming that this occasion of meeting
pilgrims is identical with one described in vol. i. 236, which took
place in the year 1652 at Emelipata, i. e. Vemulakota, a stage between
Gandikota and Golkonda. He adds as a further mistake of Tavernier's
that M. d'Ardiliere had died before 1653. (See Preface.) As we know
that Tavernier went back to Golkonda in 1653, and was in Surat in 1654,
he may very possibly have met the pilgrims exactly as he aayB, when on
Ms return towards the end of 1653.