Image Courtsey : Wikipedia

We all know about Marco Polo of the 13th century and his travels to India and the description he gave about the Kakatiya Kingdom. But he overlooked in history, about this learned man of 16th century, Pietro Della Valle, a polymath traveller who visited South India and documented the miraculous lives of this country. He mostly explored Persian alchemy and when he went to Bagdad he married an Assyrian Maani Gioerida. And at the suggestion of his professor, he embarked on his journey to India.

After travelling in Persia with his wife Maani, It’s about 1623 that he travelled to South India on an English Ship. Through Surat, he went further down and there he met King Vekatappa Nayaka of Keladi as well as many local rulers, but longed to meet a master. When he’s Persia, the king Shah Abbas told him to meet Queen Abbakka Chowta, where he met the queen and made an elaborate description of her.  

He said that “Her Complexion was as black as that of a natural Ethiopian. She was girded at the waist, with a plain piece of thick white Cotton, and barefoot…From the waist upwards the Queen was naked, saving that she had a cloth tied around about her Head, and hanging a little down upon her Breast and Shoulders. In brief, her aspect and habit represented rather a dirty Kitchen wench, or Laundress, than a delicate and noble Queen; whereupon I said within myself. She was little at home, but, rising at break of day, went forthwith to her Works and there stayed till dinner; and as soon as dinner was done returned thither again and remained there till night. By which action I observed something in her of the spirit of Shah Abbas King of Persia and concluded it no wonder that she hath always she’d herself like him, that is, active and vigorous in actions of war and weighty affairs. Moreover they said that at night she was employ’d a good while in giving Audience and doing Justice to her Subjects; so that it was better to go and speak to her in the field, while she was viewing her Workmen, than in the house. She looks about forty years, although the Portuguese had described her to me as much older!”.

-Viswanath Venkat Dasari

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