Schlagwort-Archiv: India

Jaipur to Agra, 7 March 1893

The loading of the numerous baggage on to the train proved to be an interminable affair, so that our special train could only depart at 9 o’clock in the morning. From Jaipur we were on the way to Agra and then to the hunting camps in the territory of Nepal.

The success of the previous train hunts made me devote the whole day to this original sport and therefore I stood with Clam on the platform of my wagon when the train departed eastwards on the line of the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway by the way of Bandikui and Bhartpur towards Agra. Shooting at full speed on all game that became visible, I killed in this manner 208 pieces, among them vultures, falcons, partridges, sand grouses and a large number of wild pigeons.

Towards evening we once again reached the territory of the maharaja of Bhartpur, where there was an abundance of nilgais. As we had already bagged many nilgais despite the maharaja’s prohibition to hunt them, I could not resist the temptation to shoot some more of this giant antelopes even less so now as someone passing through the territory of  Bhartpur than when I used to be a guest of the maharaja. The conductor of the train who was known to us as a passionate hunter — a fact revealed by his unusual dress choice of a hunting dress for a train director — had a train attendant act as a look-out with a spyglass on the roof of a wagon. This arrangement excellently proved itself as suddenly, in the midst of the thickest jungle, the train stopped and the train attendant rushed down and alerted me to a herd of nilgais grazing about 500 m distant from us. I descended from the wagon and sneaked up on them and bagged a strong beautifully colored male who was immediately packaged up and put into the wagon. The train dashed on again only to stop a half an hour later. Wurmbrand wounded a male nilgai but we couldn’t find it. Shortly before it became dark I sneaked up on two males and was lucky to bag them both. Thus we left the territory of Bhartpur with a catch of three nilgais in the hope that this time too our poaching would remain a secret to the maharaja.

ln Agra we had to switch trains. We found the seaman again who we had left there due to his illness with fever. As he had not recovered much we expedited him directly to Calcutta. Here too we sacked John and a second Indian servant, both of which had distinguished themselves by their laggardness.

We also took leave of Dr. v. Lorenz,  who was to go from Agra to Calcutta and then to Vienna, and continued our journey.

Links

  • Location: Agra, India
  • ANNO – on 07.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays Schiller’s “Kabale und Liebe“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Orpheus und Eurydike“.

Jaipur, 6 March 1893

Jaipur is famous for its animal fights which has an eager supporter in the person of the maharaja. He keeps a complete stable of animals for this sport which are specially trained for these activities. In earlier times, these fights only ended by incapacitation, until one of the contestants had been completely succumbed, but nowadays this has been changed by the English influence which tried to strip the fights of their bloody and cruel character so that the animals are separated just before the decisive moment. In our honor, a whole series of fights of varied kinds were organized.

In the courtyard where the day before the horses of the stable had made their show, now stood various animals ready for the fight. As before in Alwar, feathered fighters were set against one another — quails, partridges, rock partridges and common chicken. The most wild ardor of these partly extremely delicate fighters was, like in Alwar, worth a look and the calls of the eternal females, hens in cages, ablaze.

Multiple pairs of black-bucks, gazelles and Indian hog deer — the last ones especially fierce fighters, madly crashed into one another so that the shock of the antlers clashing could be heard widely — and fought fiercely. Rams and might sambar deer too that could only be separated again with much difficulties as well as buffaloes, storming into the arena like wall breakers, entered the place. A highlight of the spectacle was the fight between wild boars which were fighting in all age classes from the young boars to the capital eight-year-old boar. The latter one fought with the same determination as one can observe in our zoos during the rutting season.

To our great surprise two elephants were sent to fight against one another in the courtyard of the palace. For the organization of such fights, the maharaja keeps around twelve untamed elephants, all of which wear chains on their four feet and are housed in a separate stable. These wild fellows are not to be in contact with the tame animals. Elephant fights are reserved for especially important festivities for which the fighters are incited to a vicious mood with all kinds of techniques. Furthermore, the elephants are painted red. This color is said to have the same effect on them as on bulls. For these fights the enclosed courtyard has been covered with a very fine sand. The maharaja enjoys the spectacle from a raised pavilion on one side, while within the arena, galleries had been installed below which the people can lie safely behind a narrow door who have been tasked to incite the animals to fight.

On a sign by the maharaja the door was opened and a giant elephant armed with huge tusks entered the courtyard, looked around in surprise and started to follow the people in red who tried to infuriate the animal with shouts, stone throws and swinging of clothes but ran for cover as soon as the animal approached. Finally the smart animal accepted that all efforts were in vain and stood quietly in the middle of the courtyard. Now another elephant became visible out of another gate and quickly the two animals charged each other at a canter with raised trunks and ears extended. The crash of their two heads resounded, they tried to catch one another with the trunk, attacked one another with the tusks into the flank so that one nearly managed to lift the other into the air and chased each other around the courtyard.

Our excited expectations about the next stages of the fight was ended prematurely as the maharaja caring much about the animals‘ health had the two animals separated as soon as the fighting became more intense. This was achieved only at great effort and with the use of firecrackers thrown in between the fighters. These spectacles, by the way, tend to end not always so smoothly. At times, one has to lament the loss of life of a human as angry animals succeed from time to time to catch one or another of the guardians. Only a short time ago many people had been thus killed.

Still during the spectacle news arrived that about 19 km outside of the city, a tiger had been confirmed. We soon took off, covered the same way partly in the wagon partly on horseback on the same road we had taken the day before until we reached the ancient city of Amber and then turned right into a side valley where thanks to the good ground we could cover the remaining 16 km almost completely at a gallop. The hunting ground — a covered plain which was to be driven against the defensive line up on the ridge in the distance — is similar to that of the first unsuccessful tiger hunt. Today too I noticed to my horror the same artful preparations with high seats and park grounds as during the first hunt so that I braced myself for a similar result. The drive took a long time without the tiger making any appearance. I only saw a hyena, the first in India an the only intermezzo of the hunt.

A quick ride brought us back to the residence just in time for us to dress up in formal wear for the banquet of the maharaja at 8 o’clock. I had asked to cancel this festivity but the maharaja insisted not only because princes whom I had visited before had treated me to one too but especially as he felt compelled to compensate me for the unsuccessful hunts.  Crossing the palace’s courtyard illuminated like daylight by lampions and small oil lamps we entered the spacious hall of pillars in which a table had been set and where I was received by the maharaja. Unfortunately he retired after the greeting as his religious obligations did not permit him to share a meal at a dinner where I sat between Mrs. Peacock and one of her daughters. He only returned for the black coffee to the hall. Then four of the usual toasts were given — in the maharaja’s place spoke his minister.

After the dinner the whole ballet corps of Jaipur presented itself in its monotone dances and songs in front of the glittering illuminated courtyard.  The burden of governing doesn’t seem to impact the maharaja much. One should rather believe that his army of women living in a separate part of the palace, it is said 5000 in numbers, creates much more vexing sorrows. Still he seeks and finds his distraction there so that every evening until dawn he attends the productions of his dancers in one of the courtyards.

A firework marked the end of the feast. Smilingly the maharaja enjoyed watching the rockets, bangers, suns, Bengal lights, the cracking, spaying and whizzing of the illuminated sky and in the best of moods he pointed out pyrotechnical effects he liked particularly well.

Then we took leave of the charming hospitable maharaja, not without having to sacrifice another handkerchief to the sandalwood oil and the uniform to the wet flower garlands that were especially unkind to its golden lacing.

Links

  • Location:  Jaipur, India
  • ANNO – on 06.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Emperor heard mass in a small chapel in Montreux, Switzerland. Spain is having elections.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays „Fromont junior und Risler senior“,  while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents Massenet’s opera  „Werther“.

Jaipur, 5 March 1893

We first heard the Sunday mass in a small chapel and then drove, while it was raining, to the palace of the maharaja to undertake a detailed visit. The rain negated any chance of a tiger hunt that day. In the middle of the city and fully enclosed by crenelated wall, the complex of palaces, towers, halls, courtyards, stables, parks, gardens, ponds, which is called the „Palace of the Maharaja“  and has mostly owes its existence to Jai Singh covers a large area, whose long side is about 800 m wide. The favorable impression the whole complex makes at first sight by its size, the number and picturesque organization of the buildings, the charm of the tree and flower gardens is much lessened once one takes a closer look at these preciosities. Everywhere there are signs of major neglect. On most buildings, the original pure style has been crippled as the tasteful ornaments that had been nobly put in place have been augmented during the past and in modern times in a tasteless way or poorly restored. The pillars in the reception hall have been painted by a dilettante with amateurish designs in yellow and green, Hundreds of pigeons house without disturbance in the stone decorations of the hall. There one can see buildings that have been completely abandoned to decay. There one tries to resist the  natural deterioration by covering burst walls with a quick sky-blue paint job. Just next to the gorgeous garden equipped with water fountains and marble pathways, pigs and lean cows wallow themselves in a dung hill.

Our path led us to the stable in whose riding hall a number of well fed local horses with beautiful figures were presented in the usual manner in which the equerry worked rather merciless with a hard hand in order to achieve the levades, pirouettes, piaffes etc. Finally a pair of fat white horses were chased around at full speed in the longish courtyard of the stable until the poor animals, panting and puffing, had done their duty in displaying us sufficiently their velocity and performance. The saddle storage room was notable only by its colorful saddles and harnesses.

From the armory emerged a pestilential odor and a whiff of stale air. O, the sweet smells of India!

From the armory we made a kind of distance march across the gardens and garden houses of the palace to get to the famous crocodile ponds. These ponds are built as a square and contain dirty green water in which the crocodiles seem to feel especially comfortable. Due to the low temperature the animals were invisible at our arrival, but a guardian promised to attract them by plunging a piece of ox liver on a rope onto the water surface, shouting sweet words to his charges such as „come, my dear brother, come!“ The „brothers“ did not seem to have a desire for the bait, however, as they didn’t move and only meter long giant turtles snapped their heads out of the water to catch the tasty bait only to quickly disappear again. Finally after a long period of shouting a crocodile emerged out of the muddy water and slowly came on land to eat the liver there. In the next smaller pond, six large crocodiles were sunning themselves on the muddy banks, while long legged plovers whizzed around them.

The reverence of the crocodiles is taken so seriously here that the relatives did not help a young woman who fell into the crocodile pond and was being attacked and crying for help. They left her to her own fate instead of saving her in order not to injure the holy animals.

As no news about the tiger had arrived in the residence towards noon we went again hunting in the surroundings of the city. Following again the stream where I had bagged two purple swamp hens I bagged five more specimens of this beautiful species. When I also shot a jungle boar which was fleeing from me in the swamp, this was considered a hunting offense by the English gentlemen who were escorting me as they reserve these animals for the  pigsticking — analog to shooting foxes on English holy ground dedicated to fox hunting. They implored me vehemently  to never again to perform such a misdeed.

We had just started to hunt  black-bucks  when a rider on a foaming horse arrived with the news that a panther had been surrounded. Quickly we rushed to the city to fetch Kinsky who had remained behind only to unfortunately encounter a terrible omen — the wife of the resident wished us „Good luck“, thus destroying any hope for us hunters about a favorable outcome of the hunt.

The panther had been confirmed in a valley basin close to the city to where elephants took us, namely to the foot of a ridge which we climbed up not without difficulties due to pebbles. Having reached the top, the shooters occupied two ridges above the valley basin covered with stones and bushes. On the third ridge a thick defense of drivers had been set up which descended towards the panther with the intent of pushing the panther at me or if that didn’t work and it would break through towards the rear against other shooters. The plan therefore was not bad. Its execution was even more deplorable.

The shikaris pointed out the spot where the panther had been resting and from where the drivers which advanced with as much prudence as much slowness with shouts and stone throws made him flee so that I had a view of about 200 paces onto the opposite ridge through the bushes where I should be able to see it. The next moment it should have stepped into the open field where I could take aim at it. Unfortunately, a shikari posted next to me suddenly shouted „Chita“ (panther) to warn the drivers. Then these send a hail of stones and rocks against the feared animal. The panther reverses his direction. I fired at random at a distance of around 300 m. Prónay and Clam followed my example — unfortunately without success, in full flight the panther had crashed through the defense of the drivers and had disappeared.

The flood of my discontent heaped upon the cowardly shikaris and drivers was interrupted by a shikari who rushed in to report that the panther had been surrounded in another valley. Now a wild chase started: each shikari picked one or two shooters and a number of drivers and ran with those blindly to some point at the edge of the valley or the ridge. Everyone claimed to have seen the panther. The drivers advanced without planning, shouting and crying here, hitting the bushes there out of which emerged only terrified blackbirds, there like titans sending rocks tumbling down into the valley. The shooters had to go down into the valley as soon as they had reached their position on the ridge, only to ascend another ridge. Soon it was said that the panther was in the valley, soon that it was in the hills. Against the prevalent confusion, the resident who was in charge of the hunt was powerless so that the events took their turn without direction. Only after the sun had disappeared behind the mountains, we succeeded to restore some sort of order and to arrange a halfway planned drive. Unfortunately, it was all in vain. Not a trace of the panther, and only a sambar deer became the victim of a bullet fired by Clam.

Returned to the residence, we participated in the dinner there with the ladies of the house but not without apprehension that our tiredness took its toll on our being able to contribute to an entertaining conversation.

Links

  • Location:  Jaipur, India
  • ANNO – on 05.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. In his inaugural speech to congress, President Cleveland of the United States proclaimed that his government will do the utmost to sustain the financial credit during these volatile times.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays „Die Ahnfrau“ in the afternoon and „Kriemhilde“ in the evening, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents Mozart’s opera  „Die Zauberflöte“.

Jaipur, 4 March 1893

I spent the free time until reliable news about the confirmation of a tiger arrived to see the sights of Jaipur, in the main the museum owned by the maharaja and managed by  Dr. Hendley. The museum is located beyond the city walls in the gorgeous city park of around 28 ha and made an excellent impression by its wealth and suitable organization of its objects as well as their surprisingly good condition. The museum shows that Dr. Hendley guards his assigned treasures with lust and love and works with fervor on the collections.

In the spacious halls of the ground floor are all sorts of industrial art products of India arranged by states and production locations and clearly grouped. Of the products of primitive manual labor of the natives such as very simple ornaments and idols to the very precious products of industrial art, all stages and phases of the development of industrial art are demonstrated.

On the first floor is a rich natural science collection. This serves especially to educate the natives with direct objects as Dr. Hendley works from the correct principle that this sort of education has the strongest sustaining influence. In this departments are skeletons and cross sections of house animals, illustrations of their illnesses, their food — in another room one finds all poisonous snakes of India, the most common medicinal plants, the materials used for construction etc. Each object is suitable described on a sign and hosted in a systematically correct and easily comprehensible manner.

A special department presents with terracotta figures that have been very artistically modelled and extremely accurately painted scenes of popular life in India in a vivid representation. A cabinet  displays in this way all the trades of India, another one presents popular customs, marriages, banquets and funerals; a cross section of a house shows its rooms and its occupants doing their daily activities. All sorts of fakirs with their sick forms of self-inflicted harm are shown too. To my satisfaction Dr. Hendley was ready to arrange a collection of such models and send them to Vienna.

Around the museum, the maharaja’s zoological garden extends itself as an additional treasure of the city park. This vivarium made a very favorable impression on me not only by its cleanliness but also by the good looks of the animals, a sign of their especially good care: Even more so as the animals in the zoological gardens of India which I have already visited,  were all not well cared for. Large aviaries contain numerous and very interesting birds among them species of magpies and cuckoos with colorful glittering feathers, as well as swamp and water fowl of all kinds. The family of carnivores is very completely represented. As are the monkey species among whom a baboon (Hamadryas) stands especially high in the public’s favor as it, very mean, making the most horrible faces, bombards all spectators to their vivid pleasure with stones and sand. A nice house containing tame otters and a collection of deer deserve a special mention.

Exciting was a fight between two rhinos in which the two thick-skins had turned some sort of disagreement into an especially bitter fight, that only ended by the intervention of some caretakers armed with poles. Strange is the local custom to paint the rhinos fully in a gleaming black color.

The visit to the zoological garden was followed by a visit to the industrial art school in the city where, similar to Tellery’s institute in Delhi, a  large number of workers were occupied in the production of ornaments and artistic objects. In a drawing room boys were instructed for their future profession in drawing models.

Returned to the residence we learned — for fast delivery of news from the hunting area a relay service between it and the city had been established — that due to the cool weather no tiger had been confirmed. We therefore hunted black-bucks in the surrounding area of the city.

Already during the drive to Jaipur I had noticed the multitude of black-bucks out of the railway wagon and their strong horns, an observation whose correctness this hunt confirmed. As the males were not only much stronger but also more numerous than in Hyderabad. The hunting ground was a reserve of the maharaja where nobody but him and the resident were allowed to shoot. But it seems neither of these gentlemen were eager hunters of the game. That is why the black-bucks here were not as timid as elsewhere. I used a terribly bumpy ox cart for the hunt in whose presence the game did not flee. I communicated with the driver of the cart who was extremely talkative and offered many stories by miming as well as possible.  In this manner I bagged next to a small pond a young black-necked stork, some Indian bar-headed geese (Anser indicus), as well as eight black-bucks and one Chinkara- gazelle, the latter one with a coup double on that one and a black-buck. Many of the bagged bucks were truly capital specimens. The other gentlemen who had hunted in various directions returned with nine black-bucks.

At the end I hunted along the stream and bagged two beautiful sky-blue colored purple swamphens (Porphyrio poliocephalus), a valuable addition to my collection.

After the dinner attended by Mrs. Peacock with her daughters, numerous weapons dealer arrived in front of the residence and displayed their treasures and enticed us to purchases.

Links

  • Location:  Jaipur, India
  • ANNO – on 04.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a comedy „Gönnerschaften“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents the opera  „Merlin“.

Jaipur, 3 March 1893

The festive receptions in India follow one another: but the resemble one another as little as do the cities. Each reception offers a new spectacle of oriental splendor and originality in which the characteristic peculiarity of the state or its ruler are expressed. On the platform of Jaipur were waiting the maharaja Sir Mahdo Singh Bahadur, the vice-royal agent of Rajputana Colonel Bradford, the resident of Jaipur Colonel Peacock and the state dignitaries. After the mutual salutations and presentations we drove in a ceremonial wagon for a half hour through one of the strangest and interesting cordons.

The maharaja does not provide any troops for the Indo-British government. There also is no English garrison in Jaipur. In case of war, however, the state has the obligation to provide 400 two-wheel transport wagons with a 1000 well trained ponies and 666 men. A detachment of this train had been organized next to the station —  the men in green uniforms — to form the cordon.

The infantry and cavalry of the maharaja which continued to form a cordon are a ludicrous and colorful horde. Among the infantry stand next to teenagers old men with silvery beards; the guns some of which carried on defective straps others on ropes were some of the most ancient almost incredible systems, even including flintlock and wall guns;  the uniform which is designed after European troop patterns was noticeable by a state of pitiful deterioration into rags despite the occassion of a parade. The officers  looked — if this was possible — even worse than the men; the orders did not seem to make much impression on the detachments. The state of the cavalry was not better, the horses small and badly kept, the saddles nearly desolate in condition, The look of the troops of the maharaja tells at first sight that he, despite being a Rajput, shows no interest in his army. He prefers to spend all his time, it is said, in the harem.

A splendid impression, however, did make the entourage and servants of the maharaja which wore very colorful clothes and carried sticks with flags which had stripes in various colors. My question about the meaning of the different colored stripes was answered that they are marks of victories. For every victory achieved by a Rajput prince he received from the Grand Mughal the right to decorate the emblems and flags with special clearly defined color stripes to commemorate the victories won. These stripes are thus something comparable to the honorful decorations of the German heraldry or the special decorations that ornament the flags of some of our regiments.

After the servants came around 300 court musicians who made hellish noises with a great variety of instruments. Especially prominent was a choir of a mounted wind section some of whose tubes were over 3 m in length — true trumpets of Jericho. Then followed the court shikaris and the servants in charge of the menagerie,  in green uniforms armed with rifles; plus the court armorer with the rifles of the maharaja and the most splendid pieces from the armory — precious guns, gorgeous lances, spears, horns etc. The procession concluded with the stable: numerous, glitteringly attired well fed horses, mostly beautiful Indian stallions, fantastically painted and decorated elephants with gilded haudas and precious blankets. Finally in great number, „court camels“ and as teams for wagons „court oxen“. The latter ones were covered in green or red blankets and ha their horns gilded for the occasion or wrapped in green cloth. Multiple music bands placed in different spots rendered our anthem in all kinds of key and tempi.

To the sound of the thunder of a three-cannon battery we entered the English residence where we set up our quarter as guests of the maharaja. In front of the gates of the palace stood an honor guard — consisting of thieves. This elite formation of Jaipur has been recruited from among the robbers who terrorized the land. The maharaja could only end this terror by transforming the thieves into an uniformed life guard, a process that is not without analogy in some places at home which shows that poachers can become forest rangers.  The Jaipur thieves discovered that their new job offered a reasonably pleasant life with little hardship and relinquished their former trade and now stand guard in front of public buildings.

In the residence I was received by Mrs. Peacock, the wife of the resident, with her two daughters and their educator. I and Wurmbrand were housed in the palace itself while the other gentlemen had a tent camp near by. With respect to the understandable desire for more comfort and greater quietness I would have preferred to join the others in the tent camp, but this was not according to Mrs. Peacock’s wishes who did want to take charge of our hospitality and common entertainment. This probably means we will be forced to spend the evening in the awful dress coats, after we have returned tired from the hunt, and dine and talk with the ladies dressed in grand gala according to the English style instead of being able to chat with the gentlemen in an open atmosphere about the day’s events.

The maharaja had escorted me to the residence and wanted to pay me his official visit after a short break which he used to make a tour of the garden. This could only take place after a short delay as the reloading of the three-cannon battery under whose thunder the visit should happen took longer than expected. Finally the first shot rang out. The maharaja arrived and the ceremony of offering attar and pan as well as the garlanding proceeded as usual.

Tall and of a hearty stature, the maharaja is an impressive man which was even made more apparent by the rich clothes and the gorgeous jewels — he wore besides other precious gems a gorgeous sabre sprinkled with large diamonds. The physiognomy of the prince however showed an expression of complete passiveness. I missed the fire in his eye which the smart eyes of noble Rajputs tends to sparkle and believed those willingly who said that the maharaja was a compliant tool in the hands of England. Adopted by his predecessor Ram Singh (1835 to 1880) the current prince of Jaipur, from a sideline of the ancient dynasty of the Kachwaha-Rajputs,  he has inherited their blood but not their drive.

The earlier Kachwaha princes still knew how to conquer by arms the territory that their tribe ruled over since 967, to enlarge and preserve it as well as to improve the capitals of the land, Amber and Jaipur, by the peaceful arts to metropoles whose buildings can compete with the most famous works of Indian architecture in size and beauty. Thus the splendor of Amber, once the seat of the Minas and after their subjugation for nearly seven centuries (until 1728) the capital of the territory that is now called Jaipur,  created by the marble buildings of Man Singh and Siwai Jai Singh was the envy even of the Grand Mughal Shah Jehan. Jaipur built by Jhai Singh II., „the astronomer“ (1699 to 1742) is one of the most beautiful places of India thanks to its elegant beauty — due to the regularity of its layout and due to the luxurious buildings, palaces and gardens.

The history of the land tells about countless feats of arms as well as of many smart and brave princes. Finally conquered by the superior forces of the Grand Mughals, the princes of the kingdom Amber-Jaipur knew to sustain their power in becoming the key commanders of the Mughals whose armies they led to victory which are remembered today as we learned during our arrival by the flags of the Jaipur troops.

Later Jaipur, whose princes had become tired of the rule of the decadent Mughals, asked the maharattas to come as liberators into their lands and was involved in the long feuds which ended only with the subjugation of the maharatta states by the English. Already in the year 1803 did the maharaja of Jaipur notice the shift in politics and enter into a relationship with the Anglo-Indian power. British troops helped the Rajputana states to liberate themselves from the rule of the maharattas.

Thus at least returned to independence in a way  the state of Jaipur has been a welcome ally at the side of England and entertains the best relations with the Anglo-Indian crown since the government of Ram Singh and clearly since the accession to the throne of the current maharaja. At present Jaipur provides, as stated previously, only supply troops to the contingent of the Anglo-Indian army. The local armed forces — around 1000 artillerymen with 281 cannons of all kind in 31 forts, 16.000 infantrymen and 4500 cavalrymen — are as the keen eye already observed during the arrival badly armed, clothed and mounted. At least they could defend their territory with these troops in case of a war and given the size of the population and the rich means of the land they could be easily increased in size and better equipped.

On an area of 39.500 km2 with two million inhabitants, Jaipur is thanks to a thoroughly plain landscape well supplied with water and thus very fertile. Thanks to its numerous industrious and mercantile population it is one of the most booming states of Rajputana. The annual income of the maharaja is said to be 4.5 million guilders in Austrian currency.

As soon as the maharaja had left with a silent greeting I drove, having again waited for the firing of the cannons, guided by the sound of their thunder to the city to the palace of the prince where I had to pay my return visit. As the way to the palace was quite long and lead in an avenue to the city gate as the residence was located at considerable distance outside the city.

Jaipur is located at the foot of a range of hills which are part of the spurs of the Arawali mountains. This range of hills encloses the city on three sides. The city stands on the ground of a former sea basin that borders to the south first on irrigated gardens and then on sandy terrain. Here a steep incline protects the city by an elevated fort, the hill range descends towards the norths and holds at the edge of a wooden gorge the old residential city of Amber. The location of Jaipur in the valley basin open to the south offers the nearly 160.000 inhabitants of the city enough space for further expansion. The river in the west of Jaipur that leads into the Chambal river, the large pond Man sagar, artificial water containers and fountains supply the city and its green surroundings with drinking and industrial water. The water of the upper river, the favorable climate, the cleanliness of the broad flagstone roads, the numerous gardens, the large squares, the road illuminations — all these advantages combine to make Jaipur a very healthy city.

In Jaipur that was like all Rajput cities was heavily fortified and enclosed by a tall wall two strange aspects are remarkable: namely the broad streets built at right angles which seemed to belong more to a modern city than here and the shared rose colored paint of the houses. The latter tastelessness dates back to the visit of the Prince of Wales when on the order of the maharaja all buildings had to be painted in the same color, even though, it is said, many houses had had interesting old frescoes. Thus the maharaja Ram Singh’s preference for rose or more correctly strawberry colors has soiled the whole city. Also of poor taste is a sign of „Welcome“ that is visible from every spot in the city and had also been painted for the honor of the Prince of Wales into the mountain side in giant dimensions with white rocks and white oily colors. For my honor, the sign had been refreshed.

O the day of our arrival colors by the way played a role in another aspect in Jaipur. They celebrated at the moment over several days the so called Holi feast, a spring feast of the Hindus that starts with masquerades and dances and often escalates into real orgies in which huge quantities of alcohol are consumed. The activity of the feast consists mainly in the citizens throwing a red powder called  phag or abir at each other — the left overs of the colors used by the priest to decorate the idol of Krishna during the feast. The consequence is that the majority of the population presents itself with their faces and clothes covered in red powder. Even though the color red is preferred in this joke, dark-blue, green and yellow are not frowned upon either. One can even see boys during the Holi feast covered in hideous manner in all colors of the rainbow go from house to house in the company of music bands. The maharaja uses to participate on the first day by personally throwing powder in the streets.

It is told that the maharaja of Indor tested a very strange summary practice during the last feast of Holi to provide his women the pleasure of being dusted with red powder at the same time. He had the women led to a courtyard, loaded a cannon with red powder and fired it into the poor beings of whom around twelve died for this „joke“.

The maharaja received me, expecting my return visit, surrounded by his dignitaries in an open hall of pillars of the palace. At the court of Jaipur, they have this laudable practice of having lots of dancers perform in front of the throne chairs during state visits. A spectacle that attracts naturally all attention of the people present and thus permits to limit the exchange of courteous phrases to the minimum necessary.

Still during the performance, a message arrived that confirmed the presence of a tiger close to the city and that we should make haste to go to the hunting ground. Quickly we made our compliments to the maharaja and rushed to the residence to get rifles and hunters and then drove South-east for about 7 km beyond the city to a spot where horses were waiting for us. On the way we drove past numerous ruins of temples and palaces among which that ancient one that rises out of a pond is particularly noteworthy.

Following a well maintained road on horseback we crossed the picturesque hilly countryside. In the first valley which we entered after going over a ridge of the hill range is a pond enclosed by tall trees in a nice manner. The pond is closed by an embankment that holds back the water coming down from the hills. Above the pond, on an incline of the wooden hill rises the now deserted palace built by Man Singh in the year 1600 at the time when Amber still was the capital of the kingdom and was inhabited by the maharajas. The short time left did not allow us to visit the interior of this famous building, its courts, halls and pavilions. From outside we could only observe the huge dimensions of this princely palace with its long multi-storeys that reminded me of the buildings in Jodhpur and Gwalior.

The city of Amber, located at the western end of the pond,  is destroyed in the largest part today and bare, only a few priestly families live around a few of the numerous palace and temple ruins that are grouped picturesquely between leafy trees. Their pointy domes, pillars, small towers and terraces are characteristic for the former greatness and beauty. Almost completely preserved are the ancient city gates as well as the fortifications which run in a zig-zag from strategically selected points in the back of the city on the hills.  These forts with their numerous small works and watch towers which send their flanking walls with crenellated watchtowers out into the valley look down as if in proud grief upon the remains of the once so splendid Amber, which now is dead and deserted, a solemn monument to the spectator about the fate of large cities.

The road became worse and more stony so that we could advance only step by step until we finally arrived at the hunting ground where we mounted elephants. The location of the drive — a jungle-like overgrown mountain side that led into some sort of valley basin — was promising; less attractive were the artificial preparations made and which were not fit for a tiger hunt. There were two large hunting platforms made out of tall planks to which led a small sand covered foot path that had been slashed into the thick jungle. If one considers how long the natives must have used in their usual laggardness to construct such an installation and the noise they must have made in doing so must have reverberated across the valley. Thus there was no doubt that any tiger living here must have been disturbed greatly. It will also have had ample time to inspect those artificial installations closely so that it will never be in their proximity again.

The terrain was well enclosed; on the one side there was an old fortress wall on the other a rocky ledge and in the valley it was closed by a long row of elephants. The result of the drive went according to my misgivings. A large number of drivers had been used; among them multiple hundreds of soldiers which thrashed through the jungle with their sabres. Everywhere there was much shouting, small rockets were fired, music bands were playing — but the tiger made no appearance near the platforms on one of which I had taken up position while the other gentlemen were on the second one. For one moment, there had been a great commotion among the drivers. It was said that the tiger had escaped towards the rear. The drivers were sent back and forward again which they did at an even slower pace and with more prudence than before but with the same negative result as during the first time. When the drive ended, I bagged a sambar deer fleeing from the drivers nearby.

In the most wonderful moonshine we rode home. Like in a dream the quiet lake lay in front of us below the mountain castle and the ruins of the city — a view that partly compensated for the hunting failure.

Links

  • Location:  Jaipur, India
  • ANNO – on 03.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Emperor and the Empress paid a visit to beautiful Chillon castle in Switzerland. The Empress shopped a lot, considered habitual by the reported.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a drama „Deborah“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents again Gounod’s „Margarethe (Faust)“.

Jodhpur, 2 March 1893

Jodhpur’s reputation of being one of the best locations in all of India for pigsticking made me willingly agree to Sir Pratap Singh’s proposition to use the morning for pigsticking.  To get a goo catch meant to get up early. The wild boars use to come down from the hills in the night to forage in the plains and return already at dawn to their places in steep gorges of the mountain ranges to rest during the hot daytime hours. As a boar hunt on horseback is impossible in the hills of Jodhpur, one has to catch the moment when the wild game is leaving their foraging grounds but still is in the plains.

Thus we departed towards 4 o’clock in the morning. In gorgeous moonlight and cool agreeable morning air we drove first in carriages to the hills close to the fort and then continued on horseback on a flagstone road far into the plain where we awaited the dawn spread out in a picket line. Finally the eastern horizon added a reddish tint and the moonlight faded away and the shapes of surrounding objects became clearly visible.  While we were attentively watching at our post, Harji Singh escorted by a skillful rider had advanced a few hundred paces to explore. A short time later, Harji made a sign and the two riders galopped back in the direction of our location.

Soon the chase started with a rapid run. The landscape where the pigsticking took place is in our perception not truly suite for such a fast gallop. High grass which hides where the horses step alternates with thorny bushes and stone slabs. Now and then there are small gorges and deep holes in places where drifts of boars have burrowed. Used to this, our horses ran at full pace with astonishing skill evading obstacles which, however, saw some of the riders fall. Our poor General Protheroe fell so baldy that his whole body remained paralyzed for some time.

I rode an especially proficient Arabian stallion Sir Pratap Singh had chosen for me and had the pleasure to be the first to strike a boar with the lance which then was finished off by Harji. It was a strong piece with beautiful tusks. My stallion behaved very skillfully. As I had struck the boar for the first time, it turned on me and drove between the legs of my horse which the brave stallion countered by jumping over the boar.

After this promising start the chase picked up speed. As soon as the sun had risen the boars were returning to the hills. From all sides came whole drifts and also individual pieces. As we were only allowed to chase male boars we had to pick out those pieces we were allowed to hunt so that there was quite a number of aborted chases as it was only at close range that one could distinguish that one had hunted a female animal or a young animal.

We hunted at first in two parties which were led by Pratap Singh and Major Beatson, but soon some of the gentlemen separated themselves from their party and chased after a piece pursued by the other party; at times both parties united themselves for a common chase. The toughest and longest runs were made by the weaker pieces while the strong boars soon stood their ground and attacked anyone who came too close. The boars of Jodhpur were much meaner and aggressive than the ones we chased in Gwalior and went blindly after the horses so that many of those were wounded.

When Harji Singh told me during the hunt that he knew where a boar was hiding in a thorny bush, we rode to the spot. There Harji Singh jumped right into the thorns which have been piled up by the local peasants which made a strong boar with extremely beautiful tusks flee in the opposite direction of the rider. I caught the boar after a few jumps.

A particularly bad boy was the last boar that we chased. It led us into a thicket of thorns where it attacked everyone who came into its sight. Even the soldiers who stood nearby as attendants were not spared. We had agreed that Wurmbrand who had not yet bagged a boar should kill this one but unfortunately he arrived too late. A soldier who was harshly attacked by the animal, let it run into the spear whereas the force of impact made the spear splinter. Thus ended the chase. The boars had all reached the mountains. The sun stood high up in the sky and we returned home with our catch — 22 boars.

The result of that days pigsticking was extremely satisfying so that I count the pigsticking in Jodhpur as one of the most cheerful and exciting hunts I have experienced in my life. The sport’s attractiveness was intensified by the participation of the local hunters. Sir Pratap Singh was very pleased to see us so satisfied and could not stop talking about how well we performed in this task and asked me from his heart to accept the small Arabian stallion as a gift that I had ridden during all the four runs and with which I had killed four boars. All my arguments and objections — especially that the animal would have to travel a considerable distance to arrive in my home and that I would not want to deprive my friend Pratap Singh of such a proficient horse — remained without result. I had to accept the gift and made the resolution to send the friendly spender a present of a Lippizaner after my return home.

In the afternoon, sportive events were also on the program. First, however, it was the turn of the twelve-year-old son of the maharaja, Maharaj Kunwar Sardar Singh, to show us various fencing lessons, first fencing with a stick. The young gentleman showed himself to be very skilled and agile and struck at his teacher with glee who gave him from time to time a hit on the turban. Later this was switched to fencing with wooden swords and then with swords and shields. In the end we congratulated the young fencer which seemed to make him cheerful and proud.

The boy’s education is a felicitous combination of corporal and mental training. The former is provided by various forms of fencing, exercising and riding under attentive supervision and assures a healthy strong development of the child. The mental training is rationally organized and shows remarkable results as I could deduct from the astonishing questions and remarks of this boy about Austria. Even though I am aware that this method used to educate a young prince is not suitable for our situation at home nor for the average education of our children, still it automatically made me compare what I saw here.

The neglect of the training of the body and the excess of mental strains that are often hasty and only burden the memory lets the allround development of our growing young generation shrivel and sets up all too often a basis for future corporal ailments in our young citizens. It is however a difficult pedagogical problem to select the right relationship between corporal and mental training for the average learner of mankind. It deserves to be rewarded that namely in recent times there have been some purposeful efforts to solve this. Still we are far from attaining the goals. I talk about a rational training of the body suitable for the different ages and development phases, not only from a hygienic but also from an ethical point of view. In the same circumstances a healthy well developed and strong man will perform better in the critical and difficult moments of life than the lamentable product of the overburdening greenhouse culture of the mind that starts to become ill just at the time it should bloom and prosper. Even the most proficient knowledge of the classics, the most intimate familiarity with the subtle secrets of mathematics will nor replace those aspects which make a man a man. A suitable training of the body for our youth seems to me not too costly — I dare say this despite the risk of being accused of having a backward looking attitude —  even if it comes at the price of an important reduction of scientific knowledge as it will not cause a lowering of the mental capabilities but only defer the amount of detailed knowledge to the future — mens sana in corpore sano.

Attending the productions of the future maharaja I could not resist a smile thinking about the way a child of the same age would be presented at home to guests. When the happy time is over during which the main task of the new citizen of the earth is to gain weight, the supporting influence of physical education mostly ceases. The mind is no everything. The child has to learn as much as early as possible. That is the only ambition. Fathers and mothers ask not if the boy runs, jumps, exercises, fences but which class he is in, how successful he is learning, what languages he is speaking. If it is appropriate the tormented child has to offer immediately a proof of its skills.

To the mistaken education methods that focus almost exclusively on the mental education is added a second ambition that becomes even more popular in wide parts of the population that is to send their sons to higher education — an ambition which separates the peasant’s son from the father’s plow, the honest artisan’s son from the father’s profession and adding to the mental proletariat that is mostly also a corporal one. Social politicians and assenting commissions would be better informed about this topic.

On the same meadow where two days ago the polo game had taken place, the brave men of Jodhpur now presented us some riding games, among the already encountered tent-pegging, in which the young son of the maharaja eagerly joined in on a 17 hands tall white horse. Then the cutting in two of goats at a gallop (goat-cutting). At the latter truly Asian game, the rider has to ride at full speed past a dead sheep which is hanging from a derrick and cut the sheep in two with a sharpened sabre. Only if the sheep half falls down after a single stroke, the exercise is considered valid. This time five sheep were hung at intervals of fifty paces. Here too it was Harji Singh who stood out, riding my stallion and slashing right and left cut all sheep in two with a single stroke.

Who has had the opportunity to observe the men of Jodhpur in their half warrior-like, half equestrian games, their skill and audacity, may confirm like us the ruling opinion that the Rajputs truly are the most outstanding and bravest warriors of India.

In a carriage drawn by two very elegant Arabian white horses the maharaja arrived after the end of the riding games and invited us to attend a large competition of his best wrestlers. As the maharaja was already old and heavy to enjoy another sport he finds distraction in training a bunch of the most outstanding wrestlers — more than a hundred in numbers —  all from the Punjab. At the court of Jodhpur these fighters receive in special schools the necessary education by trainers in daily exercices lasting many hours and suitable food. The wrestlers were nourished with limited drinking but plenty of milk and butter but had to abstain from all food and drink the day before a fight. The maharaja is very interested in his charges, knows the capabilities of each one and determines the fighters who would wrestle one another. After the very demanding fights, the wrestlers are given money prizes of 100 rupees each.

We sat surrounded by numerous dignitaries in a large tent in front of which extended the fighting arena filled with white sand. A large crowd surrounded it and participated vividly in the individual phases of the fight. Especially the trainers of the individual wrestlers acted like maniacs and shouted without interruption advice to their charges.  Multiple supervisors guided the fights and looked out that the clearly set rules were enforced. The overall direction was in the hands of a Herculean man tall as a tree, a former wrestler who was known by the title of „the hero“ and used to be the best and undefeated champion of all India.

The wrestlers advanced naked but for a loincloth in pairs into a circle. On a sign by the maharaja the wrestling started. Six pairs entered into the arena. Here there were always wrestlers from different schools set against each other. A circumstance which motivated the wrestlers to give their best. Especially exciting was a fight between a very corpulent wrestler and a more slim colleague. The wrestling ended with a defeat for the colossus which resulted in the victor — both wrestlers were almost unconscious from exhaustion and collapsed — being taken into the arms of his trainer and acclaimed by the crowd.  Each fight was decided finished if one of the wrestler was on the ground with both shoulders. Even if a wrestler had been thrown, he often turned so aptly that he did not lay on his back.

The tenacity, endurance and resistance of these people is admirable as nearly all fights took between 40 and 50 minutes. Given such a complete education of these wrestlers it is easy to explain how an English champion who had arrived in Jodhpur to challenge the wrestlers was defeated after only a few minutes. For two hours we watched the interesting spectacle. Then it was time to think about the dinner as our train was to depart at 9 o’clock in the evening.

At the station we said good-bye to Sir Pratap Singh, Harji Singh, Major Beatson and the other gentlemen whom we came to love during our too short stay here in Jodhpur. Pratap Singh affirmed that of all Europeans whom he has met he would cherish nobody as much as me and my compatriots. We replied to these words with the assurance that only the long before planned route met an end to our stay and confirmed accurately that the Rajputs could count on our full sympathies. We also had the gentlemen promise to visit us in Vienna. Then they shouted in German „Waidmannsheil!“ a word we had taught them — the train started to move and we left Jodhpur from which we departed not without emotion.

Clear moonlight illuminated the mountain and valley while we rushed towards Jaipur. Before midnight, shining red rose on the horizon and a half an hour later we drove right through a large bush fire. The high dry grass was ablaze. Fast as lightning the flames rushed along the ground attacking one strip after the other. Like fiery giant snakes the unchained element rolled on. In red fiery pillars rose the thick smoke up into the night sky, crackling, cracking, rattling as if small caliber guns fired. In billions of sparks the fire was consuming the plain.

Links

  • Location:  Jodhpur, India
  • ANNO – on 02.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The second issue of „Die Waffen nieder!“ by the pacifist Bertha von Suttner has been published.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a drama „Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents again „Die Rantzau“.

Jodhpur, 1 March 1893

While the larger part of our group rode out for a morning pigsticking, I wanted to hunt close to Jodhpur with Wurmbrand on the advice of a few shikaris. We drove about 3 km outside the city in the company of the resident who did not participate actively in the hunt due to his fragility. There we were received by the drivers and the hunting master, a very young man whose disheveled looks made him half a shikari but we later learned that he occupied the position of a commander of all the infantry in Jodhpur.

The hunting ground was a sandy moor with sparse bushes. Only now and then there was a field or ein dry area with high grass. At first we met only an incredible number of reddish brown rats that had their burrows in the sand and hurried around without interruption. Then there were numerous quails in the high grass of whom I shot quite a few. Otherwise it looked quite bleak in regard to the promised game. I then shot some eagles and falcons that were of species unknown to me.  Finally not even the quails made their appearance any more so that after wading for over three hours I was returning not much satisfied to Jodhpur when a herd of chinkara gazelles became visible in the distance. We quickly decided to appropriate a wagon with a zebu ox team in whose cover we approached the shy game so that I could bag a strong male.

Excited by my hunting success, the shikaris now led us to a new hunting location where we met a number of gazelle herds and shot some bucks and females at a distance. In the heat of the hunt, the hunting party had spread out so that the individual shooters were no longer aware of the others and fired vividly at the gazelles but in the direction of the other hunters.  This resulted in bullets criss-crossing the air and everyone, even those that might be great heroes otherwise, thought their safety in flight.

After this cheerful episode, I drove to Mandur, located about 5 km to the north of Jodhpur in the hillside. Once the prosperous residence of the princes of the kingdom of Marwar,  the city decayed having been devastated repeatedly during the wars of the Rajputs since Rao Jodha had shifted his residence to Jodhpur. Today only parts of the former palace and fort as well as the burial grounds and grave monuments of the princes remain. Eight of those grave monuments are in good condition. They lie close to each other and display a mix of different styles, reminding me of Sas Bahu temple in Gwalior in their main style. These are Jaina buildings on whose exteriors everywhere appear numerous figures from the Indian sagas.

On the spot where those mausoleums stand is the place where the princes after their death and their wives were burnt. The 120 wives of the maharaja Jaswant Singh, however, are said to have regarded the fire death as a holy duty so that they marched on foot to the distant Kabul where their lord and master had died to be burnt there as the saga tells it. The most outstanding cenotaphs are that of maharaja Takat Singh (died 1873), on whose grave the princely family and the dignitaries offer sacrifices and presents twice per year as well as those of Rao Maldeo, Mota Radscha Ude Singh, Sur Singh and Dewal (sanctuary) Ajit Singh, remarkable by its beautiful architecture and size .

Between the fruit gardens one sees the remains of the former palace. There stood surrounded by high shadow giving trees a sort of pavilion decorated with cut out ornaments from Agra. Then followed parts of buildings and temples with deep now ruined water basins. A certain contrast to the otherwise quiet places and rooms is formed by a temple still visited by believers today which has awfully painted high reliefs in vermilion and gold leaves of the faces of the goddess Kali, Krishna and the elephant god. A wild looking fakir with a mane sits here chanting renouncing the world on a raised stone, living from alms.

The temple continues the well conserved gallery of gods and heroes with images of the first Rajputana princes in larger than life lightly painted high reliefs made out of plaster which is glazed over by stone ware. All princes have fierce expressions and are on horseback with rich weapons as well as various attributes of their power. The creator of these works of art seems to have made a mistake in the coloring of the horses as all horses are either sky-blue or rose-red. Of interest is the observation that the clothes, weapons, jewelry and armor of the riders who used to wear them hundreds of years ago differ but little from those in use today.

While the pulsating life of people in western countries brings change at a fast pace that lead to deep changes in various areas, the native culture and art in India changes but little even during the passing of centuries.  This slow progress of the popular culture rests both on the reason that culture and art have deep roots dating back to ancient times and that the Indians cherish their traditions and customs partly due to their deep connection with religion partly due to the caste system which transmits everything from generation to generation.

On the way back to our camp we were approached by a brother of the maharaja, Kishur Singh, a very jovial gentleman with a friendly smile in front of his country house. He greeted us which made me sacrifice another handkerchief to the sandalwood oil and I was finally covered with flowers and garlands like an opera diva by Kishur and all his entourage.

In the evening the full moon spread its mild light over our camp, the fort and the many surrounding fortifications which rose in ghostly shapes on the horizon. A deep quietness only now and then broken by the howls of a jackal or the chirp of a little owl. After I had completed the letters to be sent home, I wandered around for a long time in thoughts and dreams among the outworks of the fort.

Links

  • Location:  Jodhpur, India
  • ANNO – on 01.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Austrian Emperor is travelling incognito as a „Bavarian Prince“ to Switzerland to meet the Empress. After a short stop in the morning in Zurich, the Emperor arrived in Territet at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. The Emperor will probably stay there until the 5th of March. Arm in arm, the Emperor and the Empress walked to the Hôtel des Alpes.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a drama „Die Ahnfrau“ (as a replacement), while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents „Der Postillon von Longjumeau“.

Jodhpur, 28 February 1893

Next to Ajmer the railway meets the spurs of the Arawali mountains that constitute the western border of the huge plain of the Ganges river. Composed out of shale, quartz and gneiss, the Arawali mountains is remarkable geologically through its folds, geographically due to its separator role between East Rajputana and the plains of Marwar which already are part of the desert or more correctly the basin of the Thar desert. The ridge of the Arawali may once in an earlier era have constituted the sea coast in which the hill lands of Jodhpur may have been an island. Scarcely cultivated and inhabited, poor in water and rich in sand, this part of West Rajputanas we were crossing apparently has the same landscape character as the land around Alwar. The valley of a width of 16 to 24 km seem to be enclosed by mountain ridges; cultivated land alternates with extended areas of moors that offer domicile where sweet water and bushes provide drink and cover  to whole packs of wild boars as well as gazelles and black-bucks.

From far away we could already see, across the empty plain, the sandstone hills, the castle hill, the fort and individual palaces of Jodhpur. At 9 o’clock in the morning our train rolled into the station.

On the platform we were received by Jaswant Singh Bahadur, the maharaja of Jodhpur or as his reign is also called of Marwar, the British resident Colonel Abbott and the dignitaries of the powerful Rajput princes. All wore their fashionable national costumes; the dress of the maharaja was decorated with precious emeralds and rubies. The reception was sparkling in any dimension. Outside the station a large crowd was expecting us while troops formed a cordon. These soldiers as well as our escorts were part of the cavalry regiment which the maharaja provides to the English government. Richly decorated elephants with valuable gild-embroidered blankets and the princely stable have also been present en pleine parade. The cavalry regiment looks splendid and is the most beautiful I have yet seen in India. Made up of through and through well bred persons  on excellent mostly local horses. The uniform consists of a white coat with salmon red belts and white trousers, light gray turbans with a silver aigrette; the armament were lances with pennons and carbines – a picturesque sight.

The conversation with the maharaja, who seems to be around 50 years of age and has a shaggy black beard and looks sinister into the world, was dragging itself out as Crawford had to translate every word into Hindustani.

The Rajputana state Marwar or Jodhpur, apparently founded by Rao Siaji, a nephew of maharaja Jaj Chands, king of Kanauj on the right bank of the Ganges river. Founded in the year 1211 AD it has since been conspicuous for the bravery of its princes and warriors.

Among the princes of Jodhpur are most remarkable: Rao Jodha, the founder of the new capital named after him, Jodpur (1459); Rao Maldeo, during whose reign the Grand Mughal Akbar made war on Marwar (1561); Rao Maldeo’s son, Chander Sen who resisted the Grand Mughal for 17 years; Rao Ude Singh, who was given the title of Mota Raja and new lands by the Grand Mughals; Sur Singh (died 1620) and Gaj Singh, whose son (died 1638), called Dalthamban, »the defence of the enemy«, both great warriors; the equally learned and militant Jaswant Singh who came to power in 1638 and was feared even by Aurengzeb, and finally Takat Singh (died 1873), of a side line of the ruling dynasty who chose the English side during the uprising of 1837. The son of Takat Singh is the ruling maharaja, under whose government  Jodhpur,  with a few cloudy exceptions,  has been associated with England by a peace treaty in the year1803 and remains faithful to the British crown, has undertaken modern reforms and continues to bloom in a peaceful manner.

We saw then the descendant of the Rathors, Jaswant Singh, a principal tribe of the old Aryan sun dynasty, a great nephew of the sun kings whose actions are sung about in the national epic Ramayana, whose cities and residences used to fill the area of the two rivers Ganges and Yamuna in the distant past. The not especially numerous Rajputs are of a noble blood and are not only acknowledged by the people but also by old English  genealogical works as the descendants of the glorious dynasty of the very ancient sun kings.

The house of Jaswant Singh is among the blooming powerful and respected royal houses of  Rajputana and is able to trace his lineage to truly royal blood. Still despite the marriage arrangements between the members of the house and the Mughal dynasty there have been  repeated conflicts and wars between Jodhpur and Udaipur as the ruling family of Udaipur, also proud about its pure blood lineage, considered any relation with the Jodhpur dynasty that was now related to the house of the Grand Mughals as a misalliance. This conflict could only be resolved in the manner that the sons from marriages with princesses from the house of Udaipur were given precedence in the succession among the princes of Jodhpur.

The state of Jodhpur covers around 95.000 km with about three million inhabitants among which are 86 percent Hindus, in the majority Rajputs, 10 percent Jainas and 4 percent Muslims. Grain, opium, some cotton, tobacco and sugar cane, fruit, cattle, hides and wool, marble ware from Makrana, as well as salt are the main product of the land. Great salt deposits are at the bottom of the basin which are laid bare by weathering out. During the rainy season the basin forms the Sambar lake of 480 km2. The commercial exploitation of these deposits that produce on average 300.000 English tons of table salt annually  has been transferred to the English government in the year 1870. It manages and exploits this largest of all Indian salt works in a rational manner.

A few irregulars excepted, the army numbers 256 artillerymen with 75 usable guns, 3162 cavalrymen on horses and camels and 3653 infantrymen. Plus the maharaja provides a regiment of 600 cavalrymen for the use of the English government — perhaps the best mounted and equipped troops in the Imperial Service Troops in India, the contingents of the Indian princes under supervision by the English government.

Besides the ceremonial carriage on the right rode the maharaja’s brother, Maharaj Adhiraj Colonel Sir Pratap Singh, the all powerful reformer of Jodhpur who combines an number of titles in his person. He is the first minister (Awal Musahib) in charge of the administration and commands also all the troops of his brother whose advisor he is in all manners. An  energetic, expressive face confirms the chancellor and generalissimus of Jodhpur’s capabilities in all his jobs. He rode a beautiful English thoroughbred that he has bought on the occasion of the jubilee of the queen in England. On the left of the carriage rode Harji Singh, an adjutant of the maharaja, an exceptionally beautiful young man who excels in all kinds of sports, namely at polo and pigsticking, as a true Rajput confirming edginess and endurance an is said to be unsurpassed in his performance. A born rider, he makes an excellent figure in the saddle has enviable posture and seems to have merged with his horse.

In some kind of garden, Paota Bag, close to Rai-ka Bag,  the residence of the maharaja in the East of the city, a tent camp had been set up in Indian splendor and waste of space that formed a small city of its own, like the others already used. In my house completely covered with precious rugs I found a number of Geneva play clocks and works which seemed to be a special preferred toy of the maharaja. In front of the tent camp a park-like avenue with water fountains, marble statues and shade-giving trees; everywhere stood wagons, riding horses even bicycles at our convenience; complete caravans of camels carried without interruption water in large gourds to bind the nasty dust.

A half hour after my arrival the maharaja appeared in a sparkling attire surrounded by dignitaries and his personal guards to pay his official visit to me which went according to the local protocol. He and I on two throne chairs. On the right of us the European, on the left of us the Indian entourage; some translated phrases as a binder. During an artificial break, the English resident rose and presented me to the Indian courtiers. I then handed attar and pan to the maharaja, garlanded him with flowers and offered him a few drops of the mean sandalwood and rose oil on his handkerchief. Official visits are usually the only occasion for Indians to use this object of civilization. Usually they are satisfied with simpler means.

The visit had to naturally be followed by a return visit, to which I was escorted by two native gentlemen to the residence of the maharaja under the uninterrupted saluting thunder of the batteries at the court of justice, a building constructed only recently in Indian style.

This palace is a strange round building with also round projecting towers which resembles a greenhouse or an exhibition pavilion. The glaring white paint blinds the eye by its reflection of the sun light. In the souterrain were open galleries for horses. On a very steep stone ramp without steps which led directly to the first floor, my friend Jaswant Singh received me, while his soldiers presented arms in the courtyard and a regimental band played our anthem as a quick polka. The first floor of the palace contains only a round reception hall with small side rooms which are decorated with rather tasteless European images and knick-knacks. The return visit differed from the visit to the maharaja only that it was my turn to suffer in that I was marked with sandalwood oil and chewed betel for the first time accepting the danger of having my teeth turn red. I found it incredibly hot and tasting acerbic as well as making thirsty.

Among all the natives of India which I have seen up to now I prefer the Rajputs of which only relatively few are of pure blood descent whereas every other Hindu who has come into wealth and honor tries to add to his luster by an apocryphal Rajput pedigree. The men are tall, strong, lean with black mustaches and full beards which they brush upwards in an original manner and even bind around their ears. They have a martial, soldierly posture differing positively from the rest of the mostly flabby and casual Hindus. Their bearing is striking at first sight and is probably due to their century-old occupation in wars. Always the various princes and tribes, even neighboring villages, have lived in wild feud amongst one another. Always there was war,  raids and bloody enterprises. Even today where not even ten thousand true Rajputs are serving in the English Sepoy army, every male Rajput carries his sharp sword. Even the coachman on his seat carries a sword in his belt. Also the character of the land is witness to the struggles of times past as every city, even every small village, every palace is fortified with walls, ditches and bastions in the most inventive way. On numerous mountains one can still see ring walls and observation towers as well as small castles which the individual princes had built against the raids of their unruly neighbors.

The martial character of the Rajputs is apparently linked to their excellent riding skills. Nowhere have I seen such skilled natural riders, so good and well kept horses as in Jodhpur. During the present peaceful time the Rajputs are devoted to riding sports and are  keen in pigsticking, as well as polo in which they beat all Englishmen thanks to their riding skills. Most prominent in riding activities are Sir Pratap Singh and Harji Singh, as well as Major Beatson, a charming and brave officer who has assimilated to the local customs and passions, rides together with the natives and enjoys their special confidence and respect. He has been sent to Jodhpur three years ago to organize the Imperial Service Troops of this state. Major Beatson told me that it was a true pleasure working with the people of Jodhpur. They had shown so much goodwill and it had been very easy to build an excellent troop.

The rest of the day was spent in visiting the city and its sights. The city has around 60.000 inhabitants and is situated on the southern foot of the mountain ridge which rises out of the plain. It is enclosed by a long wall with seven gates. First I guided my steps to the bazaar, the place in Indian cities where the soul of the people displays itself in its original manner and offers rich material for the ethnographic collector.

Jodhpur is remarkable as the location of a developed commercial activity which is performed by a notable part of the inhabitants as overall an important part of the population of India is actively seeking employment in the enterprises of various industries.

Trade of all kind, from the trade in field products against simple goods up to the speculation in world trade goods and railway stocks, mortgages and bills of exchange is the job of around ten million Indians of different races, castes and confessions. The merchants who deal wholesale and do money-lending are since ancient times Mahajan, »big men«, as are the grocers, traders, marketeers, peddlers all organized in castes according to industry and united in guilds and associations. The influence of them in commerce is so important that for the main trading spots even European firms join them.

Ranked below the Brahmins and the Rajputs, the nobles, the bankers (Parikh) as well as the merchants (Rakam bechnewala) and money changers (Sarraf) play as an important role in the cities as the retail traders (Churdafarosh), the resellers, the shop keepers and the money lenders do in the plains. The kings of the Indian trade are the Parsi merchants whose bills of exchange are respected in the Anglo-Indian empire as well as in London and in the Chinese harbors. For the wealth and the munificence of these Parsis numerous public buildings and foundations are testimonies. The most numerous of the traders‘ castes are those of the Baniyas who mostly engage in export. The most original figures are among the Bandscharis, a sort of freight handlers who are well armed and brave and travel across the country in ox caravans.

Across Thar desert on whose edge lie the growing cities of Rajputana move from Afghanistan, Herat, Kabul, Ghasna, Kandahar and from Kelat in Baluchistan trading caravans to the enticing rich lands between the rivers of Hindustan, guarding their wares, their animals and women with care and looking in the sandy hills for fountains, bushes and prairie grass; making a stop where peasants in the scarce villages have dug for drinking water to irrigate gardens and offer a drink to humans and the animals. Hyenas and wolves are criss-crossing the plains of Thar; more dangerous than the predators are the Rajput thieving knights for the caravans and the herds in their meadows. Living in their tiny old castles and ambushing with their men and ambushing the retail traders and the shepherds to plunder them.

How important the development of the trading spirit in Marwar has been since ancient times, is shown in the name of all traders in North-western India which are called Marwani, derived from  Marwar (Jodhpur). Today, however, Marwar has long lost its importance as a focal trading location in North-western India. Instead it is neighboring Ajmer with its Jaina merchants and its famous bazaar palaces which is reputed to be the  main money market of Rajputana.

Still there is much activity going on in the bazaar of Jodhpur among sellers and buyers, whereas the sellers are divided into categories in the different parts of the bazaar or more precisely in their own bazaars. We walked through the bazaar of the cobblers and tanners, situated outside the city gate. The cobblers and tanners are among the lowest castes as they are considered unclean due to them treating the hides of holy animals. Furthermore we visited the bazaar for metal wares, that of the money changers and the food sellers etc.

In the middle of the city I had multiple opportunities to admire the rich ornaments on the fronts of the stone house as well as the beautiful gates decorated with metal. Nearly every house looks like a work of art. Multiple larger palaces of rich Rajputs are notable by their extensive ornamentation and which often includes on the right and left side of the gate stone elephants with mahaut and hauda at an impressive size. Many days one could spend to observe the original and interesting forms of the houses and memorize them.

My sightseeing led me, accompanied by a cheering and shouting crowd into a side street where a native made a sign to approach to show us an old strange fountain which is built in three levels one on top of the other formed by pillars and whose water levels leads through fifty steps. The water seemed bad and foul. That, however, did not hold back a number of Hindu women to bath in the fountain in very airy costumes and to wash their clothes. In this activity, these naiads of Jodhpur were not only disturbed in their activity and work but had to endure the sneering laughter of the crowd which had followed us to the fountain.

One peculiarity of Jodhpur is the small number of religious buildings. A few larger temples apart, among which it is worth to mention the temple that contains the university of Telaiti-ka-mahal, one can see only now and then small house chapels dedicated to the elephant god. The reason for this is the character of the Rajputs who despite religious beliefs were opposed to the creeping influence of the Brahmins and therefore did not encourage the construction and maintenance of temples.

In this the inhabitants of Jodhpur are supported by their current minister Maharaj Sir Pratap Singh who is trying to limit the bogus activities of the Brahmins who are intent on exploiting the believers.

Sir Pratap Singh, a widely travelled man who had visited also our own imperial city and knew to talk about it with pleasure displays a keen knowledge of human nature, a clear view and practical sense. It is due to him that the pomp of the marriage ceremonies that used to take days and vere always very costly even ruinous even for very wealthy families has been forbidden by the government and the act of marriage made into a simple procedure. For the execution of this reform, Sir Pratap Singh himself gave a good example by having his daughter marry without festivities and on the day of marriage had the groom and bride kneel and gave them his blessing and declared them man and wife. This clearly simple procedure served as a drastic example for the population in combination with the general prohibition, so that the wasteful and often quite raw traditional marriage feasts in Jodhpur have come to an end.

Through various small alleys in which always curious faces stared out of the houses, we came to the foot of the mountain on which lies the fort with its towers, walls and palaces proudly looking down upon the city. Majestically it rises a nearly impregnable castle with 100 m high walls and strong towers on stone cone. whose northern face falls almost vertically to the plain. A steep, paved path covered by the gates led close to the dropping sides of the stone in numerous curves in a zig-zag manner up to the fort. Every gate on this ascent has living quarters for the guards and is armed with antiquated guns. Some of the external gates are covered with iron spikes like in Gwalior which also serve the purpose to defend against charging elephants during a siege.

As my companion, Major Beatson, a thorough expert on the history of Jodhpur, told me that in an earlier attack on the fort it proved futile to crash one of the gates due to these iron spikes. Finally a number of courageous Rajputs had bound cloth around the eyes of their horses to get past this obstacle and rode with force against the gate and the lower iron studded planks and crashed through even though it crushed horse and rider in the breach.

On the walls of the uppermost gate through which one enters the interior of the fort one can see the impression of tiny female hands. These hand signs covered in golden and silver colors is a reminder of a sad chapter in India’s moral history, about Sati or the burning of widows whose incredible practice is derived from the the voluntary death in the fire of Sati the niece of Brahma and is considered so holy by orthodox Hindus even today so that despite the actions of the English governments which punishes promoters of Sati as murderers a case of widow burning happened not long ago. Here in the castle of Jodhpur every widow of a maharaja put her hand colored red upon the white washed wall before she went up to the pyre. These only marks of their earthly presence of their female being destroyed by fire was seen as a sign of marital fidelity and embellished with gold and silver for the highest veneration. What horrible pain of death had these poor victims of fanatical blindness  to endure on their last walk. What anguish had these youthful hearts of these poor women to go through in view of the burning pyre amidst a shouting crowd, whose hot flames would soon consume her cruelly and turn her into a heap of dead ashes!

After our pass through the gate we met a guard consisting of artillerymen. From here it continued between high walls to the palace which was inhabited from the time of Rao Jodha, the founder of the fort (1459), to Takat Singh (died 1873) by the maharajas. The exterior of this sandstone building has been richly decorated with ornaments whose delicate patterns reminded me of the wall ornaments in Agra. The interior of the palace holds rich treasures, precious weapons, gems and jewels.

Even though the weapon collection is displayed in a semi-dark room, we were still able to survey the weapons collections, especially the very rich and interesting collection. Next to the entrance all, the visitors to this admirable collection will notice that strangely formed lances and beautifully carved powder horns made out of ivory or sea shells. Furthermore there were multiple splendid specimens of those characteristic Rajput swords in numerous display cases. Plus outstanding blades richly in-laid with gold  as well as knives with beautiful stone grips. A completely gilded armor reminds one in the construction and  the painting of the desired kind reminds people that they were promised certain advantages.

The most valuable in the armor hall are the rifles which show the development of guns in Rajputana from ancient times to the present. Arquebuses of the most primitive kind with narrow short barrels are examples of the first guns. Then followed a number of muskets with flintlock mechanisms and strangely crescent-shaped barrels of whose form I was unaware. The rifles used by the maharajas for hunting are decorated over and over especially on the locks and the barrel with rich gold ornaments. From the smallest carbine to the long duck hunting rifles, all types and all kinds of Indian guns are represented. Among the newer hunting rifles one finds many European makes here which despite its oriental splendor have been crafted in London or Suhl. Finally there also shields, spears, lances and strangely shaped maces.

Remarkable is the content of the safely kept treasury. The range of the collected valuables can be explained by the fact that the maharajas of Jodhpur, despite ruling over only a small territory, have participated in the campaigns across half of India under the Grand Mughals Akbar, Jehangir, Aurengzeb and temporarily have been vice-kings of Dekhan, Mahva and Gujerat. As mighty warlords, governors and courtiers, the maharajas acquired partly as spoils of war partly as gifts these treasures which would be the pride of every imperial palace. The value of the precious stones, jewels and pearls in the treasury of Jodhput is said to be many millions but remains unknown as the superstitious belief of the Rajputs prevents the creation of an estimate which is said to bring ill luck. A single collier of emeralds and pearls with diamond drops in the size of dove eggs which the son of the maharaja wore during my reception may be worth  400.000 to 500.000 guilders. Of such colliers, the treasure counts at least a dozen. At its side are sparkling a number of diadems one of which, decorated with gorgeous diamonds and rubies, was particularly impressive. Furthermore there are six display cases filled with the most valuable agraffes, bracelets, braces, rings and jewels of all kinds. Marked by the clarity, fire, color, pure water, in short all the advantages, the precious stones held here gain in value and beauty by their tasteful fittings. Shields, dinner services and fittings out of pure gold, real gems of the enamel industry of Jaipur, ceremonial harnesses made out of silver for horses and elephants, silver and golden tent poles complete the glittering collection of the treasury whose splendor and pomp is characteristic for the court of Jodhpur.

The remaining rooms of the castle palace whose architectural and ornamental decoration is due to the maharajas Takat, Ajit and Abhey  offered our now already quite demanding eyes not much that is remarkable. Only a thoroughly in gold decorated chamber with facet mirrors whose wall ornaments should drastic scenes from Indian sagas and the lives of the maharajas is worthy of mention here. A true joy was the panoramic view from the flat roof of the palace over Jodhpur and the surrounding area. Towards the south and east one can see the sharply delineated bare mountains covered in walls and castles. Towards the north and west extends the plains of the Thar region in whose yellow glittering area cone-shaped hills surrounded by areas of blue air emerge like giant mole hills. At our feet, all around the abruptly falling sides of the castle hill is the city of Jodhpur.

The sight from there is captivating and unique. We miss the grandiose lines, the audacious profiles, the melting colors of the high altitude mountain panoramas, but it still makes a strong impression on us by its immense area and its moody colors. Painted yellow in yellow, criss-crossed by glowing points, the melancholic plain extends as far as the human eye can see.

We watched the streets of Jodhpur and the houses  and the stone walls with their bastions which encloses the city. As the main fortification, like an eagle’s nest in the midst above the city towers the castle hill which rises opposite but still within the enclosing walls in the north of the fort where a high stone ledge rises that has been integrated into the system of fortifications as from that position the fort on the castle hill can be taken under fire and has been damaged.  In consideration of this and the fact that more modern further reaching guns can threaten the fort from that knoll, the ruling maharaja has given the order to level the knoll. During our visit in Jodhpur the execution of this gigantic task had already been started. To completely secure the fort, a battery is being built on the northern side which fully covers its area.

Between the knoll and the castle hill lies a small lonely valley in which a large number of undecorated grave monuments are visible — these are the monuments of brave warriors killed during the sieges of the fort, enemies and friends alike have been buried there. The struggle which has cost those men their lives was about water, which broke out about the pond in that valley, apparently valuable enough to spill blood to gain water in this area with scarce sources of water.

Military memories were awakened by the main battery of the fort situated on a small rock ledge which is called „peacock tail“ due to its form (Mordhaj) ; as here on the platform of the main battery there are laying under the open sky all kinds of strange guns from Ahmedabad, Ghasipur and elsewhere.  Each of these guns has a different caliber, an element which must have complicated their use. Similar is only their „beautiful“ pitch black paint. There we were also presented also some kind of mitrailleuse or infernal machine which looked like a peaceful seeding machine. The native artilleryman told me with a smile that the firing of these guns is difficult and may prove more damaging to the crew than to the enemy. Despite all of this, the maharaja is said to be very proud about his battery.

We could observe closely the activities and the swarming in the city below from this spot as the air was completely clear despite the considerable height we were in. We could even hear the usual shouts and noises of the citizens of Jodhpur common to all Indian cities.

Really impressive are the round bastion-like buttresses of the palace that descend below the windows down into the valley. On one of these round pillars I was shown the spot where the maharaja had climbed down on a rope during the night to secretly go to the city while he was still being under close supervision by his educators. For the return to the fort, the palace of his fathers, he used the same means of communication. Given the height difference of around  150 m between fort and valley which the young gentleman managed to cross with only a rope, we congratulated the climber on his imperturbability. The strings that attracted him so powerfully to the city so that he did not fear from such a daring undertaking must not have been less strong than the rope which held him during his descent and climb.

On a less strange serpentine road than the one we used in the ascent to the fort we descended to the city, crossed Jodhpur and went to a large field of grass outside the city walls where a game of polo was to be played in my honor. I was fascinated and enchanted by the skill of the local players and some of the Englishmen living in Jodhpur. Among all, the riding skills of Harji Singh and minister Sir Pratap Singh who counted more than fifty years but sent his horse flying like a young man and Major Beatson were all outstanding.

Despite the sharp turns and parades at the quickest pace, the players did not handle their horses roughly. They instead guided them with an astonishing smoothness and skill. We watched the captivating game for more than an hour and half.

Then it was time to return to the camp as the maharaja had announced his presence at a gala dinner at my place but he did not eat with us as a devout Hindu but only appeared at the end of the dinner when the mutual toasting started. Here the toast of the maharaja was not said by him personally as he did not speak English but by minister Sir Pratap Singh in his stead. An interpreter also translated the exciting conversation I had with the maharaja who despite his gruff exterior proved to be a friendly and witty gentleman.

After the dinner a large „nach“ feast surprised us. For that purpose a huge tent of a diameter of nearly 60 m had been set up in which the dancers performed in torch light and to monotonous music their not very moving art. The usual nasal singing was also not missing. The maharaja keeps a whole legion of dancers whose beauty is highly questionable. Age-wise all stages are represented in the court ballet corps of Jodhpur from children to matrons. In one aspect these ladies are different than the other representatives of dance in India, namely by them wearing an almost frightening number of skirts that turns their appearance into moving bells and that swirl around during the dance. Very comical was the enthusiasm of an elderly chief director or dancing master who pushed those ladies who wanted to take a break due to their exhaustion back into the round dance.

Links

  • Location:  Jodhpur, India
  • ANNO – on 28.02.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a drama „Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents „Bastien und Bastienne“ as well as „Freund Fritz“.

Siriska to Alwar, 27 February 1893

At half past 4 o’clock there was a big fire alarm in the camp as one of tents in the second row that had been abandoned the day before was ablaze and was consumed by the flames within minutes. Fortunately, there was no wind, so the fire did not spread.

The day was marvelous and made the separation from our beautiful camp at Sariska very difficult. We had spent such agreeable days in the camp that I will always remember my time spent there — namely my first two tigers. The official travel program strictly required me to depart. The maharaja of Jodhpur was expecting me the next morning and one has to treat Indian princes with care, especially if they are  in favor of the English government. So we said farewell to our hunting companions, the mahauts, shikaris and drivers and rode away in the fresh clear morning.

Halfway through the journey we met Mrs. Fraser, the resident’s wife,  to whom I let myself be introduced and with whom I rode for some distance thanking the lady for her amiable care during our stay in the camp. Mrs. Fraser who had participated repeatedly in tiger hunts originally had the intention to pitch her tent in our camp too as she deemed her presence useful to care for a sick person of the expedition or to arrange the flowers on the table. As I wanted to spare the lady the uncomfortable life in camp, I had asked General Protheroe already quite some time before the arrival to the camp to dissuade Mrs. Fraser from her idea. This turned into a prolonged diplomatic negotiation between the general and the resident which ended in the compromise of Mrs. Fraser pitching her own camp at some distance from ours. From there she bound and wove sweet little somethings for our hunting life — rewarding evil with kindness in noble female manner — adding sweets to the menu, decorating the tents with her own sketches, sending booklets for us to sign.

Our caravan from Sariska to Alwar was of considerable length. in front rode the mounted guard followed by us on horses then the servants, the scientists, partly on elephants partly in two-horse carriages then the camels and finally the huge baggage train with the kitchen, ammunition and the rifles on ox carts. In honor of the expedition leader it must be said that all went according to plan. When we arrived towards 11 o’clock in the morning at Alwar station, our baggage was quickly stowed while our chef Wutzier announced with satisfaction that a hot breakfast was ready in the dining wagon.

At the station the youthful maharaja Jai Singh paid his respects to see me off, presented me with his well done portrait, inspected my wagons and then had himself informed about the expedition where he displayed vivid satisfaction about the success of our tiger hunt.

The special train took us to Jodhpur where we were due to arrive the next morning. The Rajputana-Malwa part of the Bombay Baroda and Central India Railway which we first used runs south to Bandikui. From this intersection of the line leading east to Bhartpur and Agra and in the other direction towards Jodhpur the railway continues west to Jaipur and Phulera, then South-west by the way of Ajmir to Marwar. Here it is connected to the narrow gauge Jodhpore Bikanir Railway which leads to Jodhpur in a northwestern direction.

We had entered the train in Alwar which we had already used on our trip from Agra to Bhartpur. The train was staffed with the same crew which had shown its interest in hunting during the trip to Bhartpur which was the cause that shortly after departure from Alwar towards Bandikui we made an abrupt halt in open space. The hunting friends reported that they had seen gazelles nearby. I now advanced a few hundred meters and bagged a female gazelle as well as a  fawn while Wurmbrand shot a strong male. After this exciting success we continued our cheerful railway hunt in which we made three further stops to hunt black-bucks, so that I bagged a strong male and Clam a female. We stood on the platform of our wagon and fired at full speed on sitting, fleeing or flying game whereas we had to aim and fire differently than the common way. This incredibly entertaining way of hunting resulted in a booty of 130 pieces among which were one jackal, one brown eagle, various falcons and harriers, partridges, doves and parrots. The locals looked surprised and even more so did the station keepers when they saw the moving train out of which rang out shots without interruption until the approaching darkness made us return from the platform to the coupes.

Links

  • Ort:  Alwar, India
  • ANNO – on 27.02.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a drama „Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents the ballet „Tanzmärchen“.

Siriska, 26 February 1893

The beautiful clear day was preceded y a very cool night so that there were bad news about the tiger. Two tigers had indeed killed but not stayed in place and could not be confirmed. We had again to make do with an unorganized hunt to the ridges and lamented this even more as it was the final day in the camp at Sariska, and the weather seemed to improve.  The first drive led by the head shikari was executed with much clamor and the  usual disorganization but proved to be without success as expected. Only holy peacocks were flying above our heads; in the distance I saw a female nilgai with her calf. The hunting failure was partly compensated by the view of the landscape beyond the ridge where rocks and faces rose which reminded me vividly of out beautiful territories for the chamois hunt in the Alps..

Towards the end of the drive the chief professional hunter gave an incomprehensible order to my mahaut who was at his beck and call and led me around a small ridge to a ledge from where I could not see game nor drivers nor anyone of the gentlemen despite waiting one hour.  My vivid sign language with which I tried to communicate with the mahaut just resulted in the latter’s unrestrained cheers so that I had to accept my fate and wait. Finally the drivers and the head shikari appeared and the other gentlemen returned who had waited in vain for me on other side of the hill. The dear chief professional hunter had caused quite some disorganization but ordered now another drive.

A steep incline covered in vegetation was surrounded on two sides in a semicircle by shooters. But the drive took an eternity even though it was very limited until it was suddenly reported that a panther was in the area. Quickly more than half of the drivers had climbed on trees which they didn’t want to leave again under any circumstance. Everyone was shouting, the drive faltered and the heroes not yet up on the trees advanced very timidly until all emerged into a clearing together without having covered the thickets properly. Where was the panther now!

At the conclusion of this famous expedition a strong sambar deer jumped up and was wounded  by Prónay. The elephants then concentrically closed in on the deer in the jungle, The chief professional hunter did not seem pleased with the behavior of his own people as he was swearing without interruption for more than half an hour. Then he rode home and was not seen again that day.

We decided to test our lucky by venturing across the valley whereas we examined each small hill closely. The result did not meet our expectations by far as I only wounded a jackal and the gentlemen bagged various chickens and small birds. Some gazelles fleeing at a great distance were missed by the whole line.

With interest we watched how one of the elephants attacked the jackal wounded by me. With his raised trunk and braced ears the elephant advanced at a trot towards the jackal, kicked it back with one foreleg and trampled it to death with the hind-leg and continued to jump up and down on the dead victim. Having finished its deadly work, the colossus returned into a peaceful mood and marched on in a phlegmatic way. The hunt had sent us rather far away from the camp. The sun had already set behind the mountains and we rode back to the camp in the clear moonshine.

Links

  • Ort:  Sariska, India
  • ANNO – on 26.02.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Empress Elisabeth, meanwhile, has arrived in Switzerland where she will be staying in Territet near Montreux for the next few weeks.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays a comedy „Verbot und Befehl“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater presents the opera „Der Prophet“.