Schlagwort-Archiv: India

At Sea to Singapore, 30 March 1893

During the night, the cabins were filled with hot air. The sun had been shining hotly on the day before and a muggy air lay over the Hugli and the swamps. Despite many improvements that had been made in my cabin, the temperature in it never fell below 30° Celsius in the night and sleep when it finally overcame by closing the tired eyes was not refreshing.

Early in the morning the anchor was raised and guided by an old English pilot, whose face reminded us of Falstaff’s common physiognomy, drove down the Hugli. The shore had the completely dismal character typical of the lower part of the delta, no green, only colorless swinging reeds of the type Typha elephantina, which are called „Hugli“ in Bengal and also have given their name to the river.

The Hugli river is the most important branch of the Ganges delta and has already at Diamond Harbour a width of 3889 m; at the mouth it is 22.224 m wide. Nevertheless this branch of the river causes important difficulties to shipping due to the continuous shifting of the breaking sea and sand banks, so that ships often required multiple days to reach the open sea. Even the beaching of ships during the trip down the river is not uncommon. Even though the course the ships were taking was marked by guard ships, skillful pilots are necessary to guide the ships safely though the labyrinth of obstacles.

At 3 o’clock in the afternoon the pilot transfers to a small sailing brig. The shore is now visible only in a distant, nebulous schemes. A last glance is given towards the Indian landmass — and we are swimming in the open sea to new distant voyage destinations.

India has sunken into the ocean — India of whom myths and fairy tale news had arrived in the distant west since crusted times  and is emerging out of the darkness of the mythical period into the historical present, to form the foundation of England’s power and thus seems to play an important factor in Europe’s fate — which attracts conqueror and explorers, scientists, merchants and tourists — that has inspired poets, artists and writers. As the source of a autochthonous culture many thousands of years old which has created delightful bedazzling masterworks of art, as well as somber hideous customs from the dark side of humankind — as the great location of an agitated and all too often cruel history in which millions of lives were lost on the battlefield and streams of blood spilled, great empires rose and flourished only to perish — a territory of almost inexhaustible wealth in goods of all kinds, India has a profound influence on our thoughts and dreams.

It is a magic influence out of the distance which the country emanates and to which I have succumbed when I decided to travel towards India. One and a half month I have traveled across India — a short time and still I managed to gather a plethora of impressions of the most varied kind, which I consider an enduring gain, a permanent enrichment. The full care which the government of Her Majesty the Empress of India has given to my voyage, the splendid hospitality which I enjoyed on Indian soil have ensured the full success of the voyage despite the shortness of the stay. I have seen a large part of this jewel of the British crown, gained insights into the character, life and activities of the people and had many opportunities to form an opinion about the cultural relations and conditions of the country as well as appreciate its political situation and the deeply branched out administration.

As image by image passes in front of the spectator in a changing diorama, so I revisited all impressions I received, all ideas triggered. Driven by the locomotive which engorges all distances, I rush across the Indian plain, climb steep inclines where earlier only sumpters and carriers marched under heavy burdens. I walk around in the shining chaotic streets of Bombay and Calcutta’s huge merchant shops which in their modern structure resemble an old trunk grafted with cuttings bearing luxurious fruits. All the other cities that I saw, the martial and artistic structures I wandered around in, the evidence, partially already in ruins, of a glorious past. Sparkling with precious jewels, the maharajas and rajas appear, led by the Nizam of Hydarabad, on the courts and whose palaces I paid a visit: in the distance the great historic figures of the Mughal empire appear who had shaped India’s history with astonishing and intimidating signs, bequeathed posterity artistic treasures in marvellous buildings; these potentates are followed by their armies in colorful splendid dress and armed with fantastic weapons, ready for a bloody struggle; to the sound of music English and native troops march past in a parade, uniformed in modern sobriety and armed with breech-loading rifles; festive receptions and processions in which the preference of the orient for color and splendid presentation is pulsating with unbroken force and a strange scene develops around me in a picturesque surrounding: in the circle of cherished companions I go to Nepal, distant from all civilization, to hunt. Marriage and burial processions pass me by; the smoke of burned Hindus rises into the sky, while the waters of the holy Ganges hissing a ceremonial grievance about the human madness that has endured over thousands of years; in dark temples I see humans fall as sacrifices and I think I heard a last terrifying cry of a poor women condemned to death on the pyre …

Thus the present and the past, truth and invention, flow together almost indistinguishably while thinking about the time spent in India.

India is often called a land of wonders. I prefer to call it a land of riddles and see the proof in its contrasts that are often in close interaction without moderation and, when they are not beyond a satisfyingly rational explanation, still create difficulties and often cause strange and surprising effects. A newly arrived visitor is bombarded with so many impressions at the beginning that it bewilders the senses so that he tries to resist until he learns to control it and judge it correctly. The superficial observer is in danger to be tricked by a certain uniformity of the appearances in the most varied fields — and still what inexhaustible wealth of variety is encountered once one understands how to look out for it!

The land itself is marked on the one hand by a monotonous and on the other hand by a contrasting landscape. Large almost limitless plains extend themselves to the discover their limits at the foot of the mightiest mountain giant of this earth. Where hills break the plains, barren stony inclines covered in small thorny bushes rise but one may find in this hilly terrain some views which are really beautiful. Hot, dry, arid, bearing the character of a desert, the landscape lies in front of us. There it is criss-crossed by countless streams, small and mighty rivers in whose areas a rich green vegetations blossoms and agricultural products of all kind are growing. Areas whose character of it s flora does not forebode the force of a tropical climate are neighbours to areas with the richest tropical trappings. Whole areas bereft of any agricultural attraction are followed by those that would cause even the most spoiled friend of nature to break out in admiration and delight. In a final insight, I declare the Himalaya as the pearl of India, in so far as I am able to judge. Someone who wants to enjoy nature should go there as the other parts of India I have travelled through will provide little satisfaction.

Large parts of the country seemed to be barren and deserted, without any human settlement, then there are villages and cities packed closely together in the most confined spaces. Among the multitude of cities which were spread out on the land alongside our travel route — we have seen a  good number of them and may speculate from that about the others —  is perhaps not a single one that does not resemble another but also differ sharply from all the others in a very strange  aspect.

In so many parts of India one believes one could wander for days without meeting a human while in other places the density of the population has reached an almost unbelievable level. Not less difficult to comprehend is the countless masses of population groups which are in the most imaginable intertwined colorful mixture in India and which is in so many relations balanced and equalized but in other views in sharp contrast from one to another. The most conspicuous contrast to me was between the seemingly somewhat weak, faint and indecisive Hindus and the Rajputs as well as the Ghurkas who — large, strong and beautifully built — in all their character show their martial past and soldierly bearing and energy.

In a surprising intermingling are numerous religions and sect-like branches of them, so Christendom with its different creeds, Brahmanism, Buddhism Islam and many other doctrines. Close to the delicate flowers of the religious life are raw fetishism, grow real aberrations of religious madness such as the fakirs creating trouble in the open streets , the disgusting obscene rites and customs which we have seen in temples, true madness that we witnessed in Benares. Great works and enterprises undertaken in a religious fervor as a tribute to human love pull our noble strings, while a brutal disregard of any kind of piety lets us tremble and aversion grows in places where the dead are burned and thrown half-charred into the water, when we enter a room to see sick and ailing animals await their end.  The sublime and the common, the beautiful and the ugly, the earnest and the ridiculous are encountering one another harshly in India’s large areas.

Millions of Indians live at a level of poverty and  penury that makes a mockery out of all human dignity and surpasses everything by far that we believe to be possible. In miserable leafy huts live, vegetate and perish generations of humans whose misery appears even more extreme as it contrasts with the remains of the former splendor and  grandeur, of a shining, luxurious wealth that reigns at the courts and palaces of the maharajas and rajas.

Great Britain has constructed in steady work the canals and locks out of which Western civilization flows into India. But it is like oil that floats above the water and does not penetrate into the depth and does not mix itself. The great mass of the people in India is still living at a level of civilization which it had reached centuries before and had held on to with perseverance. Even today the manufacturing of artistic products that are well known in Europe’s markets and admired by the experts  is produced in the most primitive manner known to the ancients and performed with a simple forked wooden point as the plow had been used since ancient times is still in use today to plow the fields, so that Indian wheat enters into competition on the world market with the European product made with a steam plow.

Among all the puzzling impressions in India there is hardly a larger one that England manages to control a population of nearly 300 millions — and a subservience in all of India towards England even if some parts of India enjoy a larger or smaller relative grade of self-determination or are only included in the British sphere of interest. This impression is all the more striking as England’s power in India is expressed only in a small number of her sons, in a tiny army. Whatever fate today’s British India will have, it is not only a tribute to England’s and its national character’s glory that it managed to constitute, to maintain and enlarge its dominion, but it also is a sign of the superiority of Western civilization.

When I was given an interesting insight into the relations and administration of India and the confusing intertwined threads which are reunited in Old England’s organizing and distributing hand, I have to thank in particular for the openness with which the English spoke about the Indian institutions and relations in front of strangers and the way they disclose even weaknesses without reserve. In spite of such weaknesses, the English can present truly great successes in India – the art of government and colonial policy have been triumphant. Weapons, money and diplomatic arts, which found in the jealousy and discord of the local princes suitable objects,  had to be combined. And when now and then, in the mostly peaceful struggle of England with opposing forces of all kinds, the nicety of emotions is sometimes missing which alone allows to be very severe in the selection of means, who is to blame them?

India is indisputably a jewel in the British crown and therefore England has to care for its possession like for a treasure. While it enjoys the possession of India, England has to fear and plan in advance. It may be that experienced continental and colonial politicians regard the idea of an Imperial Confederation, a closer union of the British colonies among themselves and with the mother country as a chimera – I dare say that this would organize the parts spread out across the globe into a common organism which would allow England to preserve its powerful position more emphatically than in its current state of only a loose aggregation of the parts.


  • Location: At Sea to Singapore
  • ANNO – on 30.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater until 1st April.

Calcutta Diamond Harbour, 29 March 1893

In the morning at 7 o’clock we arrived in Calcutta and were received by the military secretary of the vice king and his adjutant at the station. These gentlemen escorted us to Government House where I was greeted by the vice king who was visibly pleased with the satisfying conclusion of my Indian journey.

The morning was fully spent with ordering the packaging and dispatch of the treasures intended to be sent home that had been bought in India. I then went to the city to do some shopping and namely to complete my collection of photographies of the places visited. Towards noon I paid a visit to Lady Landsdowne and took lunch with the vice-royal pair. Our gracious hosts and we were then photographed as a group.

I also paid a visit to poor Beresford, who fell badly a few days before, to say good-bye to him and took leave from my dear travel companions at Calcutta station, consul general  Stockinger, who had escorted us during all the voyage in India and was now bound for home. We regard Stockinger not only a very gracious and charming companion but also a very thorough expert on India where he has made great contributions for our country during his ten years‘ stay here, while always showing a keen and enduring interest for all aspects of India.

After a two hour drive through an area criss-crossed by numerous streams and swamps, we finally arrived  in Diamond Harbour where I was received by the ship’s commander v. Becker to escort me in a lateral canal in the gala boat to „SMS Elisabeth“ which anchored at Hugli. I was very glad to see our beautiful ship again after an absence of one and a half months and to stand again on a piece of native ground. The anthem was played, the crew was assembled in the salute positions and the guns thundered when I embarked. On board I was greeted by the gentlemen of the staff who had many interesting events to tell from their long voyage from Goa, Colombo, Trincomali to Calcutta, the places where „Elisabeth“ had called.

Only after sunset did the muggy weather relent a bit and a fresh wind offer some cool air, when we were united to a good-bye dinner on the  afterdeck with the English gentlemen. The cook Bussatto made his best efforts, the ship band played the most beautiful melodies so that regardless of the impending separation from our travel companions there was soon a very good mood and everybody expressed the hope to see one another soon, compensating for the pain of separation. Still we were unhappy to see Kinsky as well as the English gentlemen, General Protheroe, Captain Fairholme and Mr. Crawford depart as we had become used to their company during the shared trip crossing India from here to there and sharing impressions and adventures. We had so much grown together as a group of companions that the separation felt like a painful rift of a common band. The friends from whom we were soon to be separated were not only agreeable companions but had made important contributions to the success of the voyage: Kinsky had made careful preparations, the English gentlemen led with care and insight all journeys and expeditions in the relentless pursuit to make the voyage a true pleasure.

The four Sowars, native cavalry NCOs of General Protheroe’s brigade who had participated in the whole voyage and had admirably comported themselves as well as performed their duties rigorously, namely guarding the baggage and the rifles, had come on board too They couldn’t be more astonished about the splendid ship — they had never seen a warship before — the ship band  delighted them very much. Showered with presents the returned to the land.

When Kinsky, General Protheroe, Captain Fairholme and Crawford after a heartfelt good-bye pushed off from the ship towards midnight, I had the signal lights ignited and the English anthem played. With three shouts of hurrah the voyage companion departed into the dark of the night.


  • Location: Calcutta, India
  • ANNO – on 29.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater until 1st April.
Franz Ferdinand is leaving India, in good health. Wiener Salonblatt 2. April 1893, p. 4

Franz Ferdinand is leaving India, in good health. Wiener Salonblatt 2. April 1893, p. 4

Lucknow to Calcutta, 28 March 1893

On the familiar line we rushed towards Calcutta. Everywhere the fruits in the field were ripe and people were hard at work to harvest crops and fruits. The heat had considerably increased and was nearly intolerable within the wagons. The atmosphere  lay sweltering and sticky in the country-side that extended itself in a melancholic  gray in gray in our sight. A hot wind  whirled thick clouds of dust into the air — thus the Indian plain made a quite desolate impression during the time of our departure.


  • Location: Mughalsarai, India
  • ANNO – on 28.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater until 1st April.

Sohela to Lucknow, 27 March 1893

Even though the railway was only being constructed, as already stated, and only the base layer had been rather sloppily, nevertheless a train was put on provisional rails that took us and our baggage at a slow speed from Sohela up to the border river of Sarda where the railway bridge was being completed. Here our baggage was carried by coolies across a pontoon bridge nearby while we reached the opposite shore in a boat guided by a railway engineer. This proved to be a difficult task as the gentleman knew very little about naval matters and sent the boat twice into sand banks in the middle of the river so that we were stuck amidst the waves until wading coolies managed to liberate us out of this unedifying situation.

At the other shore a special train was waiting that took us, after everything had been loaded, on the line of the Rohilkund Kumaon Railway to Lucknow. A heavy storm raged in the sky with thunder and lightning and the first drops of rain started to fall when the train departed, First the railway crossed beautiful jungles, similar to those we had found in Nepal, with teak and shala woods. Then the landscape changed to the monotonous character of the Indian plain. We passed the time with sleeping and reading until we arrived towards 7 o’clock in the evening at Lucknow. As we had to change wagons and the transfer of the baggage made an immediate departure impossible, we used the pause to a stroll in the mild night in which the moon was shining brightly.

At  11 o’clock we entered the train that took us without interruption first on the line of the Oudh and Rohilkund Railway via Jaunpur and Benares to Moghal Sarai and from there on the line of the East Indian Railway to Calcutta.


  • Location: Lucknow, India
  • ANNO – on 27.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the comic opera „Freund Fritz“.

Bhanderia to Sohela, 26 March 1893

Today it was time to say good-bye to beautiful Nepal; saying good-bye to the Nepalese natives, namely the hunting masters and shikaris, those splendid fellows who gained our highest esteem during our all too short stay; saying good-bye to our brave Hathis that had carried us faithfully and diligently for three weeks on many difficult marches and hunts.

Filled with the most beautiful memories of this successful and extremely interesting hunting journey, of strange events and of a fancy-free life in tents in the natural jungle we left Nepal. As if heaven wanted to make our departure very painful, the day was gorgeous and cloudless. The blue mountains and the glacier peaks gave a parting salute to us. The green jungle with its mighty shala trees lay very invitingly in front of us, so that we started to another tiger hunt.

Almost everyone of the brave Nepalese came to express his regrets of our departure. The uncle and nephew of the maharaja had turned out in full dress for their final attendance call. The former wore a colonel’s uniform, the latter one of a captain in the Nepalese guard. The uniform consisted of a darkblue, enlaced coat and similarly decorated pants made out of a thick barracan cloth. The headdress was formed solely out of a gold circlet with a golden cockade which was ornamented more or less richly with gemstones to distinguish the different ranks. I presented the two gentlemen with my photograph and also a large gilded hunting knife, truly monstrous weapons, which caused quite a bit of pleasure for the brave gentlemen. They placed the weapons immediately on their uniforms and had their picture taken in this outfit.

Then it was the turn of the lower civil servants, the mahauts, the soldiers of the escort, with one word, everyone of this small people, in whose land we had spent three weeks in the most agreeable manner, came to pay their respect and to perform their selam, after which the people were paid. It was a pretty picture to see them march past, the mahauts on their elephants in front.  receiving pay and tips and expressing their thanks. A comical appearance made our native post master who, having just received his pay, asked for a certificate that confirmed the honest means of getting into possession of this sum.

The others all asked for written references confirming „good behavior“, a request whose granting kept us at work all morning as the writing, signing and sealing of the letters went on without end.  The people expressed real joy about the red-white of the stamp of my chamber administration as these were also the national colors of Nepal.

Finally the camp was dismantled and everything packaged. On our elephant, we waved to all our friends a final salute of good-bye; then the caravan started moving to cross the border and advance south towards Sohela, the next camp location. We had intended to hunt during the march on Indian territory up to Sohela as there were, just as in Nepal, favorable jungles but the Nepalese, uncle and nephew of the maharaja, would not move into Anglo-Indian territory for any reason.

Even though this interfered with my hunting plans, I could not feel bad about the Nepalese strict refusal to break their complete isolation of their country from the Anglo-Indian territory. The constant concern of an annexation of their country by England seemed to be all too real, given the experience of the neighboring formerly independent princes, and the systematic limitation of traffic between Nepal and India seemed to be the only policy to preserve, at least for the present, Nepal’s independence.

The friendly relations, however, which we had with the Nepalese, perhaps intensified by the personal presents of the hunting knives made the representatives of the maharaja willing to offer special concessions. They were as follows: The Nepalese agreed to supply one hundred elephants under the command of a native captain especially for the purpose of our planned hunt on Anglo-Indian territory. But this was linked to the condition that these people were to return on the same evening with their elephants back to Nepalese territory.

On Indian ground we were received by an English official and  a chief forester who is in charge of around 115.000 hectares of the most beautiful teak and shala woods, a most precious stock. These forests were operated by some sort of selection cutting, i.e. the demand for wood for the government is met by cutting the most beautiful trunks in a forest area without there being a cultivation in our manner. The rejuvenation  takes place by spreading seeds. The new growth is left to nature.

In view of this mode of forestry, the task of the chief forester is mostly  limited to the construction of roads to transport the wood out of the forest, to the cutting of wooden ties for the local railway currently under construction in the district and protection of the forest. Given these elements of his duties, the chief forester does everything he can to prevent forest fires. He even asked us vividly during the hunt to refrain from smoking — a policy limitation that was in sharp contrast to the surrounding free nature.

We moved first along a recently constructed road through the forest, then turned south and formed a line for a hunt. Then we crossed a grass jungle that was very rich in furred game and water fowl so that we shot muntjacs, black boars and swamp deer, but the game was relatively timid and many a bullet missed its target in the grass. Then the chief forester proposed to go to an especially fine jungle, namely a wood surrounded by a stream at whose shore tall reeds were growing . But the brave man erred in regard to the quantity of game in this part of his district. The elephants only managed to advance at great difficulty as it was necessary to incessantly cross swampy spots and fallen trees. With the exception of metal storks and cormorants, we found no game here.

Finally we asked the head hunting master to cease further hunts in this terrain. He then lead us into a water jungle in which our elephants were nearly forced to swim and where only frightened water rails took flight.  It looked like the head hunting master did not know his assigned district very well and only special hunter’s luck led us by accident to an especially suitable hunting ground where we not only immediately discovered game but also namely peacocks.

Suddenly I heard a peacock cry loudly to the left of me and saw a whole flock take flight, a certain sign that a larger predator was in the jungle. Truly, the welcome cry of „Bagh! Bagh!“ soon rang out and by instinct all elephants rushed concentrically towards the spot where the cry was uttered. The circle was quickly formed, two shikaris rode for a long time within it. Finally the grass started moving, the elephants trumpeted — but instead of a tiger it was a very strong male boar that moved towards me. I shot it and ask myself if the drivers had shouted „Bagh“ just for fun? Given the great experience of the Nepalese this did not seem plausible but must have been true as there was no more movement within the circle and all mahauts rode up with their elephants to have a look at the boar.

Then a panther jumped between two elephants. The panther had been hiding motionless in the grass, escaped through the line in the confusion caused by the unexpected appearance and fled into the neighboring jungle without any possibility of firing a shot. Now it was the turn of the brave Nepalese again to display their skill. In no time we had encircled the panther again and I fired when I could see its skin through a small opening. The panther was wounded, fled into the grass and was just starting to jump at my elephant when the resident standing next to me killed it with a shot. The panther was small so that the large caliber bullet of the resident smashed in the whole head while my bullet sat between the breast and the neck.

Even though there were still some very inviting jungles close by, the Nepalese asked to return home with the majority of their elephants in order to reach the Nepalese territory before the sunset. We could not deny their request and thus we rode on riding elephants to the camp at  Sohela, at a distance of 16 km from the camp at Bhanderia, while the Nepalese marched north in long lines. How much we would have wanted to follow our hunting companions north!

The camp was close to the railway line under construction that was intended to lead from Mailani, a station of the Rohilkund Kumaon Railway, north over the Sarda river to close to the Nepalese border. The construction of this branch railway line serves mostly to develop the boundless woods close to the border which constitute an important but currently non-productive capital stock.

The last evening in the tent camp we devoted to the compiled listing of the hunting results  of our Nepalese expedition. It refreshed such rich memories of those felicitous and happy days!


  • Location: Sohela, India
  • ANNO – on 26.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed until 2nd April, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Excelsior“.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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)“.