Not far from Calicut, there is a temple of the idolaters, encompassed with water like an island, built in the ancient manner, having a double row of pillars much like the church of St John de fonte at Rome, and in the middle of this temple is a stone altar, on which the people sacrifice to their idols. High up between the rows of pillars there is a vessel like a boat, two paces long, and filled with oil. Also, all round about the temple there are many trees, on which are hung an incredible number of lamps, and the temple itself is everywhere hung round with lamps, constantly burning. Every year, on the 25th of December, an infinite number of people resort to this temple, even from fifteen days journey all round the country, together with a vast number of priests, who sacrifice to the idols of the temple, after having washed in the water by which it is surrounded. Then the priests ascend to the boat which is filled with oil, from which they anoint the heads of all the people, and then proceed to the sacrifice. On one side of the altar, there is a most horrible figure of a devil, to whom the people lay their prayers, prostrate on the ground, and then depart each one to his home, believing that all their sins are forgiven them. On this occasion, the environs of the temple is considered a sanctuary, where no person may be arrested or troubled on any cause or pretence. I never saw so prodigious a number of people assembled in any one place, except in the city of Mecca.
Observations on various parts of India.
As there was no convenience for trade at Calicut, on account of war with the Portuguese, because the inhabitants in conjunction with the Mahometans had murdered 48 Portuguese while I was in that city, my faithful friend and companion Cociazenor the Persian, formerly mentioned, thought it best for us to depart from thence. Indeed, in revenge for that cruel murder, the Portuguese have ever since waged cruel war upon Calicut, doing infinite injury to the city and people. Wherefore, departing from thence by way of a fine river, we came to a city named Caicolon,