Mystical welcomes: Exploring the Unique Shower Gratuity Tradition in Ikkeri Court Through “The Travels of Peter Mundy”

Sketch by Peter Mundy from his account “The Travels of Peter Mundy”

From the account of “The Travels of Peter Mundy” in 1637, during his visit to an Ikkeri court to meet King Veerabhadra Nayaka of Keladi, he described a peculiar tradition that unfolds when individuals seek favor from their kings. Unlike conventional expressions, this tradition involves a welcoming shower of rain, providing relief from the scorching heat of this country in the mid-summer of south India.

A mussuck, a traditional container typically made from animal skin, serves as the vessel through which this magical rainfall is orchestrated. The process involves a skilled artisan manipulating the mussuck to release water in a controlled and artful manner.

In ancient times, the mussuck was used to carry portable drinking water and also to feed water to the plants.

“The Travels of Peter Mundy 1636-1637 AD Volume II Pg no 87

“At our Comming away came Divers of the Kings officers and servants to Demaund some gratuity, as is the Custom in these Countries When any receave any Favours From the[i]r Kings, lords or Masters, and are importunate and will hardly bee denied ; among the rest one who sometymes attendeth aboutt the King, carrying a skynne full of water which hee letts goe through a smalle pipe on his Fingers, which by him beeing squeezed or compressed, issues with a greatt Force, and striking against the Naile of his thumb or Finger is by thatt Meanes soe Dispersed thatt it resembles a Mist or a smalle shower of Raine, hardly to bee Discerned, butt the Moisure and coolenesse is easily Felt, soe thatt his Majesty May call for raine and have it at his pleasure, which is most likely in tyme of heats”

Peter Mundy, was a 17th-century British Merchant trader, traveler, and writer.

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