Schlagwort-Archiv: Nepal

Dechta Boli, 16 March 1893

We were still hopeful to catch tigers. For this reason, the camp had not been dismantled. As at 10 o’clock in the morning still no message had arrived, the resident ordered a hunt into a favorable part of the forest, that is a place where tigers used to roam. We did not see here a single tiger during the day-long hunt but much other game; thus I alone bagged 10  chitals, 9 Indian hog deer, one muntjac, one boar, one short-toed snake eagle, one hawk-like eagle of species unknown to me (Spizaetus nipalensis), — part of the Accipitridae — and much other fowl among them a gorgeous vermilion red minivet. Prónay killed a swamp deer with six antler points.

This hunt went across an open forest with a grass floor. Then after a great turn and after crossing of a river it became a contoured terrain  with mixed undergrowth. A large part of the numerous game here escaped — what happened only seldom — through the line of elephants. Still I managed to my joy a coup double of a chital and a boar, which crossed in front of me in their flight.

Suddenly there was a false alarm of a sighting of a panther, but the agitation which took hold of us in expectation soon turned into tragicomic disappointment; the promised panther turned out to be — a boar!

The hunt took us to a peninsula enclosed between two rivers which brought the line of shooters very close together so that each wanted to preempt the other with shots but these were quick and bad shots. Here the rifle was fired at the largest distance, there in commotion a piece of game was hit b< multiple gentlemen.

A small adventure was reserved for good Hodek. He had asked my permission to participate in the hunt: alone towards noon he became concerned about the hides and skins which had to be hanged up for drying and packaged. His sense of duty made him separate himself to return to camp, after his hauda driver, the native who sat with him inn the hauda, was closely instructed about the one hour trip to the camp.  When we returned to the camp in the evening from the hunt, Hodek was still not there. The clock struck 9 o’clock, when he reappeared before our eyes, justly not in agreement with the mahaut time and again missing the way for so many hours on his trip across half Nepal.


  • Location: Dechta Boli, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 16.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing  the ballet „Excelsior“.

Dechta Boli, 15 March 1893

As no tiger had killed, a general shooting was undertaken. We passed by a local village after crossing the river.

We could observe closely the poor reed huts as well as the primitive house and field equipment of the Nepalese. Around the huts, they have cleared some of the land of the jungle  which the natives cultivate.Despite their poverty and the feverish climate, the natives don’t look as worn down as their Indian neighbors, the Hindus. Many of the locals work with cattle and even take cattle from India on their pastures. But the sight of the herds is truly awful as the individual animals seem to consist only out of skin and bones. Sickness and predators namely tigers cause countless victims, as in the Tarai area cows and bulls are running around in a half-wild state, so that one often meets a herd in the midst of the forest far away from a settlement. Timidly, they run away from the elephants.

The hunting master led us into very difficult terrain in which we had climb regularly over ravines, inclines and gorges. It was said to contain bears; even if we had come face-to-face with  Ursus labiatus, we could not have shot it as we had all hands full holding on to the hauda to prevent being thrown out. As the order of the line had completely vanished as the smaller elephants could not keep up with the larger ones in this „crooked world“ (bucklige Welt), I asked the nephew of the maharaja to guide us out of this  wilderness into less difficult terrain.

Our wish was granted but this went against the original plans of the hunting masters. That is way we ventured rather aimlessly around in search of game without finding a good jungle. But the area offered something to hunt namely hares which we killed in sizeable numbers for India.

Finally it was decided to breakfast — always a good call — after which we did a nice hunt alongside a stream as the hunting masters recovered their bearings. At the shore we found numerous small game and once even — apparently — a panther was confirmed as suddenly the cry „cheetah, cheetah“ rang out. Many people said to have positively seen the panther, as it had occurred in similar circumstances, but despite the quickly formed circle with the usual skill, there was no result.


  • Location: Dechta Boli, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 15.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Emperor and the Empress will leave from Switzerland the next day, he returning to Vienna, she on her way to Genoa, with a potential stop in Lucerne.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Faust“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing  „Die Rantzau“.

Dechta Boli, 14 March 1893

Even though the camp in Barbatta valley had been well chosen and the surroundings were very promising for hunting as the events of the day before had shown, the camp was dismantled early in the morning and transferred 11 km east to Dechta Boli.

While the train column was going by the shortest way, we rode with around 100 elephants through thick jungle towards the new camping ground. Even though the hunting ground looked promising at first, we encountered not much game, so that I only bagged a crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) and a muntjac. Only close to the river on whose bank our already nearly completely pitched camp was rising,  peacocks and jungle hens took to the air of which we caught a few.

After the arrival in the camp, I saw the head shikari ride towards the forest jungle north of the river followed by a number of elephants,  which made me conclude that there was hope for a tiger hunt during this day. I did not misjudge the situation as only two hours later a messenger asked us to follow the head shikari to a certain spot where they had encircled a tiger in the jungle, in the middle of a gorgeous forest. I stood in a thickly overgrown basin out of which after a short time the tiger came rushing out with a roar, only to turn towards Clam, after it had been hit by two bullets of mine. Clam killed it with another shot and it crashed down into the grass. All this happened in only a few moments. Jubilating the Nepalese stood around the strong tiger which they had confirmed so well. It was carried back to the camp on the back of an elephant — an imposing view — where it was placed into the hands of Hodek.

Every time he strips a tiger of its skin, the natives surround him waiting for the moment in which the taxidermist has completed his work. Then they rush in like vultures on the tiger to get a piece as tiger meat is said to have especially  great healing power. As arcana, the liver and the fat are treasured the most.

When darkness came, we could see a jungle fire far away — a spectacle one can appreciate here often as the natives burn down the dry grass to promote the growth of new sprouts.


  • Location: Dechta Boli, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 14.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Die Welt, in der man sich langweilt“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Richard Wagner’s  „Rheingold“.

Barbatta Valley, 13 March 1893

Early in the morning, there was a vivid commotion going on in the camp at Dakna Bagh, which was to be dismantled and moved 10 km South-east to the Barbatta valley. The dismantling of such a large camp like ours takes quite some time and thus started already at dawn. Two hours before the departure, our tents were jiggled so the idea of rest and sleep became impossible. Firstly, they dismantled the cooking and dining tent, then the other dwellings and finally ours. In a long row stood the pack camels to be burdened with the tents. Each camel carries on one side the canvas rolled around the tent poles and on the other side the stakes in a large bag. The elephants are saddled, the draft animals put in front of the carts on which is the baggage and the tent equipment. What doesn’t find a spot in the carts is carried on the strong shoulders of numerous coolies.

Finally the caravan was ready to depart — a long colorful vivid column which we could observe from the height of our riding elephant. In the front, in goose steps, all elephants with haudas, then the camels with their burdens, then the coolies with objects of all kind on their poles, not excluding object for the most intimate purpose. Guarded by an armed escort follow the carts drawn by the most miraculous teams. Here one sees four ox and bull teams. There a two animal team formed by a bull and a cow shares the path and the burden. There a meager young head of cattle  is exerting itself  to draw a cart; on each vehicle a Nepalese official, called Babu, is throning over; there sits proudly the cook, well nourished as  it behooves,  Here bed blankets are fluttering out of a cart upon which guinea fowl is gaily cackling; Death bringing rifles are stored in intimate togetherness with cooking tools in this vehicle. That one carries the box with the literary utensils, the transportable wine cellar and all of Hodek’s poisons. Now and then one of the wagons will get stuck in the loose earth of the path and has to be laboriously freed by an extra team. After many dangers the column arrived in good order at the new camping location where the soldiers of the escort are quickly setting out the space and the tent city is quickly built in a charming spot of earth in the shadow of mighty shala trees.

On the camping site we were met with the good news that tigers were in the jungle where we hunted two days before. The shikaris asked to go out as an advance to confirm the tigers and if so, close the circle. We were expected to await good news and then follow on riding elephants; in the meantime we did what we could not abstain from, that is, we enjoyed eating breakfast. After the end of this, one after another of our entourage disappeared into his newly built home to enjoy a sweet rest. Soon the whole camp was in a gently sleep.

Suddenly we were shaken up — the news floated from tent to tent: six tigers are confirmed. All ideas about rest and sleep were at an end. Everybody rushed out of the tents, jumped into the saddle and off we went in the swamp region where a closed circle was already waiting for us. Here the six tigers were soon reduced to a single one, although an extremely strong specimen that received the elephants venturing into the jungle with a roar, immediately stood up and ran around in the high grass without becoming visible. Finally I fired into the thicket where I had falsely expected the tiger. Wurmbrand followed my example, missed until Clam, whose elephant was attacking the tiger wounded the tiger and finished it off with a shot.

Under a gorgeous sunset — the Himalaya, with a strong tempest coming up above it, was shining in livid colors — we returned to our forest camp.


  • Location: Barbatta Valley, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 13.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Die Neue Freie Presse uses the Monday issue to continue Franz Ferdinand’s recap. In Switzerland, meanwhile, Emperor Franz Joseph paid a visit to Geneva.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Die Tochter des Herrn Fabricius“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing  „Gringoire“.
Franz Ferdinand's trip is continued until 22 February.

Franz Ferdinand’s trip is continued until 22 February.

Dakna Bagh, 12 March 1893

During the night it had been raining very much so that no tiger had been confirmed despite the smiling morning sky. The resident therefore proposed a general shooting that was to start straight outside the camp and proceed in a big half circle  and end back at the camp in the evening. Business kept the resident from participating in the hunt whose directions he transferred to the expedition’s doctor. The latter transfer seemed to disturb the natives. We too would have been under the competent direction of a Nepalese. As soon as the line had been formed, the first shots rang out at the plentiful game. I shot a strong boar, Clam a porcupine. Also shot were multiple deer as well as peacocks and francolins that flew up in front of us.

We might have hunted for about half an hour when to the right of me Kinsky fired a bullet and the cry of „cheetah, cheetah“ (panther) was heard. A huge commotion took hold of the long line. The shikaris shouted their commands, the mahauts incited their elephants with merciless beats to their fastest pace and I started to believe that the worst disorder, total chaos, had been created when to my surprise I saw a regular circle was formed and the shikaris rode in its middle to flush out the encircled panther. The speed and security in which the Nepalese manage to advance and withdraw the wings of a long line of elephants to form a circle around a certain spot is truly to be admired. The panther at which Kinsky’s bullet was intended had sought shelter in the middle of the circle in a small bush in a cat-like manner but soon jumped out and was now killed by Kinsky with two bullets. It was a strong male animal with clear beautifully speckled skin.

After this interesting „intermezzo“  our hunt was continued in which I bagged first some muntjacs that rose very close to the elephant and fled like hares, barely visible in the high grass. A chital with very strong antlers and three animals from a pack fell to me soon thereafter.

I was just occupying myself with the loading of the four pieces onto elephants when again bullet shots rang out in quick succession with the cry of „cheetah, cheetah“. Prónay and Stockinger had fired upon a panther in the high grass and missed. With my fast elephant I arrived just in time to see the panther sneaking away into the jungle. I fired and hit the panther, shouting at the others not to fire as the animal was already dead, when the panther suddenly rose again and with a mighty roar broke through the not completely closed ring.

Never to be seen again, I thought but I didn’t take the sharp eyes and the skills of the natives into account. While it would have been impossible for us to determine the direction the panther had taken, the shikaris took note and soon had encircled the fugitive again. This time too, he managed to break through despite being severely wounded and before we could fire a secure shot. It retreated, followed à vue in a wild chase by us to a porcupine burrow and was soon encircled again. The mahauts saw the panther go down at the edge of the tunnel and showed us the spot which I couldn’t make out due to the yellow grass. Finally, the situations proved too much for the panther and it emerged in full flight and attacked an elephant jumping with both forelegs onto the elephant’s back where it was finally caught by Pronay’s shot. Even though my first bullet sat in the shoulder, the panther had had the strength to escape twice and attack an elephant, — certainly a proof of an astonishing tenacity of life.

We allowed us and the brave elephants a short pause with a breakfast after the hunting successes, which may be justly be called well deserved. The collector’s drive, however, did not leave me completely alone during this pause so that I was always scanning the area for prey. Here I was very lucky as I found close to our location the skin of a 5 m long python in the grass. After the pause the hunt resumed.

The terrain we were hunting in was especially rich in game, namely in species that are very rare. Clam and I each killed a jerboa, I also killed two Indian civets; A rich booty for us offered a jungle overgrown with ferns and lianas, a favorite location of bronze pigeons and jungle hens. When these beautiful hens with their yellow and metallic gleaming feathers and the red crests walked in front of us, we could believe to be in a chicken coop. They fly as fast as our partridges. Usually, though, one sees them only seldom as they are very fast and always run away and only start to fly at the edge of the jungle o at a stream. We were, however, very fortunate to bag 52 jungle hens in total.

The day’s total result was 160 pieces among them 16 deer of different species. In the camp in the evening, the resident assured us — and the Nepalese concurred — that such a huge result has never been achieved in one day. No wonder that there was a very good mood among the hunting companions and the results offered almost inexhaustible topics for entertaining talks.

In large hunts one has to overcome numerous terrain obstacles, namely streams and deeply cut and swampy ditches and gorges. The streams cover the plain in meander curves. The banks are steep, fragile and have a sharp inclination. To descend over such a shore bank, the elephants stand at the edge and glide down on the front legs in an avalanche of sand and earth, while the rear legs wait until the front legs are on firm ground. Mounting a steeply inclining bank, the elephant presses its head, trunk and tusk against the ground, advances its fore legs and draws the rest of the boy after it.


  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 12.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. Die Neue Presse offers a recap of Franz Ferdinand’s journey from Bombay to Agra. Empress Elisabeth, it is said, will continue her journey after her ongoing stay in Switzerland to Genoa and then by ship to Corfu.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy “Der Erbförster“ and the comedy „Krieg im Frieden“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Meyerbeer’s opera „Die Hugenotten“.
Die Neue Presse 12 March 1893 - Franz Ferdinand's journey from Bombay to Agra.

Die Neue Presse 12 March 1893 – Franz Ferdinand’s journey from Bombay to Agra.

Die Neue Freie Presse - Recap of Franz Ferdiand'S trip from Bombay to Agra, conitunued

Die Neue Freie Presse – Recap of Franz Ferdiand’s trip from Bombay to Agra, conitunued.



Dakna Bagh, 11 March 1893

The evening before the sky had been completely clear and a sea of stars were twinkling down on us. During the night the weather changed, though. A torrential rain awakened us from our sleep and also in the morning it was raining cats and dogs. Nevertheless it was time to hunt and even more so as two good messages arrived during breakfast. The first one said that a tiger had caught a head of cattle in a small settlement about 15 km distant from the camp and had been confirmed by the peasants. The second one said that hunters sent out with elephants near the camp had seen two tigers enter the jungle and had encircled them there on the spot. No time to hesitate. Quickly we mounted the fast elephants and hurried to the spot where the circle had been formed.

The resident quickly assigned every one to a position, the remaining gaps were closed by riding elephants and three shikaris advanced like the day before into the interior of the circle. On my right side there was a young forest, on my left a jungle of high reeds. After only a few moments I heard elephant guides shout on my right, their animals being in commotion and through the reeds I see a tiger-like predator flee towards the jungle. In the moment when it wanted to jump into the jungle, I shot two times and thought to have scored. The shikaris were still running around in the grass and the reeds until Kinsky and three of his neighbors fire when I saw the grass in the jungle move as if a large head of cattle was dying. I rode to the spot and found a very strong, already dying panther there killed by Kinsky, while on the spot where I had fired lay an extremely strong, dark colored panther with two shots in the chest. The two bullets entered so close next to each other that they were found one on top of the other on the rear shoulder blade when the panther was prepared. The error of the shikaris to initially take panthers for tigers can be explained by the rare strong size of the panthers. Killing a panther filled me with even more joy as it was my first kill of one.  But it was far from being over yet! Better things were bound to come.

The hunting council consisting of the resident and local leaders of the expedition decided to go after the tiger that had eaten a peasant’s head of cattle for breakfast despite the distance of 15 km. What matters distance to enthusiastic Nimrods if there is hope to catch a tiger!

When we arrived on the spot, the shikaris who were meeting us reported good news of three confirmed tigers but difficulties with the jungle. The first part of the message was electrifying, so we could hardly await the arrival of all elephants. The second message was not discouraging even if crossing the jungle was very difficult. We had to enter a thick forest overgrown with lianas which offered a picturesque view but also forced us to fight for every step. Elephants and knives had to work together to create a path. A consequence of the impenetrable thicket was that a shikari with his assigned shooters, among them Wurmbrand, Clam and Kinsky, lost his bearing and I arrived only with Prónay and the English gentlemen on the spot where the circle was to be closed.

The tall grass thicket in which the tiger was said to be had a diameter of barely 50 paces and formed a regular circle enclosed by a dense ring of trees. Before one could get to track the tigers, the elephants had to do hard work. They had to crush all trees at the edge of the jungle on a 10 meter band so that a tiger could not escape under the cover of a tree and there was no obstacle in the way in case a tiger attacked an elephant. In the incredible short time of a quarter of an hour this Herculean task was completed. The elephants pushed their head and tusks against the strongest trees, snapping them like straws. Bushes and smaller trees were rooted out with the help of the trunk. It seemed like this work was effortless for these mighty animals.

After the elephants had also trampled down the grass in front of the line of shooters, the shikaris advanced towards the middle of the jungle. One of the elephants soon trumpeted to mark the presence of a tiger that quickly tried to escape in full flight between me and one of the English gentlemen. Terrified by the sudden appearance of the tiger, some of the younger elephants started to break but where brought back in line by hard beatings. My elephant stood still like a pillar. Forced back by the shouting, the tiger returned into the jungle but not before my neighbor had tried to fire just before me in the heat of the moment. Fortunately, he missed and I sent a bullet after the tiger which was answered with a roar out of the jungle cover.  The shikaris rode incessantly within the thicket so that soon after the first tiger a second one ran out on which I fired twice and Crawford once.

Led by the shots into the right direction the lost shooters finally arrived and took up their positions in the circle whereas Clam and Kinsky  came to stand beside me. Within the circle, the level of activity rose. The elephants trumpeted, the tigers roared. Suddenly, a tiger turned towards a retreating elephant and jumped on its back clawing both paws in it.

Similarly critical was the situation when an elephant fell during a sharp turn and was attacked by a wounded tiger which put the mahaut and the shikari in danger to be thrown down and caught by the tiger. These serious Intermezzi ended without accident as the tigers aborted  their attacks and returned into the grass where I hit the already wounded tiger. Kinsky shot, shortly after he arrived there, the tiger wounded by me — a splendid specimen. A few minutes later two healthy roaring tigers darted out in close sequence in huge leaps towards Clam’s elephant. Crawford killed one, Clam the other beast.

On the other side of the circle in the mean time, a rapid fire was opened which resulted in a shot up minor tiger in tatters which was awarded to the English doctor of the expedition. The participation of the doctor in the hunt did not find the approval of my personal huntsman who was of the opinion that a doctor should stay in camp with the wounded. Fortunately there were none despite some of the gentlemen eagerly shooting at every bush that seemed to move and even the heavy paradox rifle of one of the shooters sent its load directly above our heads. No consideration was taken in terms of who was closest to a tiger and who was therefore suited to shoot. But we always knew who among us had shot first and who scored, so that there was no doubt, as we furthermore knew our own shots, that I had shot two and Clam one tiger. Otherwise it would have been difficult to decide as all tigers were full of holes like a sieve.

Thus today too resulted in five tigers. To catch in two days of not particularly favorable weather ten tigers and two panthers was indeed hunter’s luck that nobody of us had dared to dream about.  This splendid result could only be achieved by excellent organization of the hunts, the skill and enthusiasm of the natives whom I can not credit high enough As the brave hathis (elephants) had especially distinguished themselves, we dispensed them as a reward from a planned general shooting and returned directly linea recta to the camp where we sent a courier to the 41 km distant telegraph office to transmit our hunting successes  home.

Hodek used his artistic hands on the bagged tigers while we duly celebrated the day’s results.


  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 11.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays “Der Veilchentreffer“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing Massenet’s „Manon“.
Th Wiener Salonblatt reports which Royals have announced their attentance in the world fair in Chicago besides Franz Ferdinand.

Th Wiener Salonblatt of 12 March 1893, p.3, reports which Royals have announced their attendance in the world fair in Chicago besides Franz Ferdinand.

Dakna Bagh, 10 March 1893

Towards 9 o’clock in the morning we departed for a hunt in a swamp thickly covered with reeds in which multiple tigers had been confirmed. The terrain was of a very different character than the one of the day before. It was an extended swamp in which there were patches of nearly impenetrable reeds that offered good cover for the tigers. We cut down a few stalks of the local reed that can grow up to a height of 6 m, a length one might consider incredible. In the usual manner and speed a circle was formed on the most suitable spot. Unfortunately without result — not every jungle was housing five tigers. Even if we had no opportunity to shoot, it was interesting enough to observe the enthusiasm and skill of the natives. Here every movement is done without shouts and waste of time only with short commands, in a military manner, so that the Nepalese distinguished themselves very positively from their Indian brethren for whom indecisiveness and noise seem to be indispensable ingredients of every hunt.

The shikaris excused themselves for the failure and wanted to try their luck again. They formed two more circles but also without success, so that only two of the rare swamp francolins were the only spoils of this hunt. I fired and wounded a huge crocodile that was sunning itself on a small island without being able to catch it as it disappeared into the muddy water after the shot.

The shikaris explained their lack of success by the fact that the water has risen because of the recent rainfalls and has driven away most tigers. In fact, the water in the swamp stood so high that the bellies of our elephants disappeared in the mud. They could only advance with difficulty. After an exhaustive march through the deep swamp we permitted our brave elephants a little rest. Later we crossed, again in a long line, an area in which shala trees alternated with jungles. Here there were rich pickings. Among others, Wurmbrand shot a noticeably strong boar and Kinsky killed a swamp deer as did I too.

The swamp deer that as its name reveals usually stays in wet marsh  is an uncommon type of game which distinguishes itself mostly by its far superior size to the big game at home. Its characteristic attributes are long beard-like hair on the shoulders, the inch-long oval tear sacs and the foot-long tail; the color of its coat is similar to our big game. The animals are a bit less fully and more clearly colored than our deer. Immediately afterwards I bagged my first porcupine which appeared near my elephant and offered a very strange comic sight in its flight. The total result of the hunt was 57 pieces of various types of game.

Crossing one of the swamp streams I was put in an uncomfortable situation: My especially large and heavy elephant was stuck  in a deep spot and was sinking in more and more the heavier he struggled to get on. Its movements became so frantic that I had to hold on to the wall of the hauda with all my force, clutching my rifles. Finally, the big belt of the haudas tore in two so that I expected every moment to fall with all hunting equipment into the water but the elephant, finally realizing that it was in a critical situation, suddenly stopped, regained its calm for a while and then pushed the trunk against the ground to distribute the weight more evenly and worked its way out of the difficult situation.


  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 10.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays “Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing a potpourri „Wiener Walzer“

Dakna Bagh, 9 March 1893

In the morning, good news arrived. Tigers had killed multiple heads of cattle not far from the camp. Soon we were rushing to the meeting place on riding elephants, while our entourage followed on hunting elephants. The Nepalese riding elephants are saddled like horses and advance very quickly so that their use is much preferred especially on longer trips to the hunting elephants with their heaving haudas. Arrived at the hunting ground we had to wait for the confirmation of the tigers by the advance party of shikaris.

In the mean time, 200 elephants were assembled under the direction of young Jamshir. The huge thick-skins all in a row created an imposing sight.  A the side of very old animals stood small, barely two-year-old elephants. One of the latter ones had taken up the role of clown and teased its companions without interruption and did all kinds of bad stuff. As further events would show, due to it being unaccustomed with hunting, it misbehaved much during the hunt, greeting each discovered head of game with a blow of its trumpet, sometimes reversed course and ran away until the blows by its driver compelled its return to duty. A young elephant with such a sunny disposition creates much hilarity by its funny movements of its huge mass. Only the difficulties of a long transport home made me abstain from buying one of these companions for my country.

After always 20 driver elephants was inserted a hauda elephant, for which purpose they used dignified old men who had participated in many animal fights and had shown a calm demeanor and fearlessness. Each of the driver elephants carries besides the mahaut also a man whose job it is to treat the animal with a wooden cudgel. The treatment of the elephants by its guardians was very unkind as even the slightest misbehavior or even just to change to a faster pace resulted in a beating that made blood flow down the sides of the elephants.

In the middle as well on the flanks of the long line of elephants, commanders took charge to keep the line intact. Furthermore, the head shikari was on patrol, giving his orders by marching up and down the line on a very fast elephant.

After a wait of half an hour, the shikaris sent out returned with the message that a tiger has been confirmed in a thick jungle. Quickly we climbed up into the haudas, the line of elephant turned to the left and marched quickly one after the other into the woods.

These woods contain mostly tall shala trees that are entwined by lianas thick as an arm and have a thick canopy of leaves overhead. The ground is covered in knee-high, very thick yellow grass which resembles our reeds. Some of the jungles have clearings where the grass is growing especially luxuriously and reaches such a height that one can just see over the top of it while standing the hauda. Obscured by such grass, the area is criss-crossed by torrents, clefts and pools. Game of all kind is finding safe cover there and constructs formal tunnels where it rests or sneakingly grazes and hunts. Here roam the tigers and panthers, from small predators such as the jackal, the small Indian civet (Viverricula malaccensis), the different mongeese; packs of wild boards burst out of swampy areas. Beautifully spotted chitals (Cervus axis), the Indian hog deer with its roebuck-like antlers and the red-brown muntjac (Cervulus muntjac) are found here, while the mighty  swamp deer or barasinga (Cervus duvauceli) and the sambar deer are rarely seen. The porcupine builds its long-winded burrow;  sometimes there are hispid hares (Lepus hispidus)  which resemble guinea pigs and the common Indian hare.

Among the birds, one can observe peacocks most frequently which are here not considered holy and may be shot, as well as francolins, the very rare swamp francolin (Francolinus gularis) and the beautiful Bankiva hen, usually called common red jungle fowl (Gallus ferrugineus)  from which our house chickens descend. On many barren trees sit various kinds of eagles, vultures and falcons while nosy crows and common ravens with hoarse cries circle the place where a dying or killed animal is lying. Sometimes, one meets a gray hornbill (Ocyceros birostris), a yellow oriole with black head (Oriolus melanocephalus), a gorgeous scarlet minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus), as well as various colorful woodpeckers;  among the pigeons, it is especially the splendid common emerald dove (Chalcophaps indica) with its metallic green and violet feathers that attracts our attention; timid owls with silent wing strokes rush out of holes in the trees; from all sides are heard the cries of the parrots. Monkeys which are very common in Nepal we are not allowed to shoot as the natives consider them holy.

We might have ridden about one and a half kilometers in silence one after the other, when suddenly the head shikari sent one part of the elephants and shooters towards the right, the other towards the left and had us quickly form a circle so that the clearing where we were was surrounded by an impenetrable ring of elephants. In the middle of the clearing stood two meter high thick cane brake and grass. As the circle had a diameter of under 80 m, we who were not used to this kind of hunting  doubted how a tiger could be  kept in such a small place or even confirmed after all the noise caused by the set-up of the circle. Soon I would be proved wrong.

When the circle had closed, three shikaris on especially reliable elephants rode into the thick grass. After a while, one of the elephants, trumpeted loudly and jumped forward with a raised trunk and extended ears, a clear sign that it had met a tiger. Soon I saw the top of the grass move but only weakly as if a snake or a small animal was moving on the ground — no doubt, a tiger was in the circle. Our attention was strained to the utmost.

Without interruption, the shikaris rode around in the jungle; every moment, one of the elephants trumpeted; the top of the grass moved soon here, soon there, sometimes very close — but I couldn’t see the tiger.

After almost a quarter of an hour of extreme tension for all shooters, during which the elephants were closing in, the tiger finally tried to break out of the circle by lunging towards the resident with a huge roar. Driven back by the shouting of the elephant drivers, the tiger ran in full flight past about 20 elephants and was on the verge of returning into the thick grass cover when I fired. The resident and my hunter had seen the tiger fall after my shot but I was not completely sure as there had been only one tiger confirmed but consul general Stockinger, on the opposite side, soon fired multiple shots into the thicket. Now Crawford and Prónay fired as well; furthermore, a shikari reported that the tiger I had shot was dying at the location of the shooting:  thus, there had to be multiple tigers in the circle.

In reality, all order was soon broken. Multiple gentlemen got too excited and stormed in instead of staying at their position as ordered and what was part of the practice. The elephant drivers incited to rush entered the circle where a rapid fire started on everything that moved. Like my neighbor, I had in the beginning waited for the shooters to return to their camp. When we saw that they wouldn’t return, we followed their example and did likewise. After a few steps of my elephant into the high grass, a tiger jumped up in a more cleared spot. I shot. At this moment I see a second tiger emerge from a tunnel of reeds, shouted  »rok« and fired. To my joy, this tiger lay dying in front of me too.

Finally, the rapid fire ended. Each of the gentlemen who had ridden into the circle at the beginning claimed to have shot a tiger. One shooter even claimed to have killed three tigers. I dismounted from the elephant to examine first the two tigers that I had shot so quickly in the grass. Unfortunately, both tigers also were caught in the concentric massive fire, one of which was shot in the rear leg and the other had two hits in the gaskin. The first animal bagged, a capital tigress, luckily only had the one hit by me which made the cat collapse.

There on the spot lay, besides the old tigress, also three almost adult tigers, apparently born last year. From the latter ones one was attributed to Captain Fairholme while arbitration awarded one of the two tigers which I had wounded to consul general Stockinger and the other to Prónay as the wound from the rear leg was caused by an expansive gun bullet which was only used by Prónay.

The division of the spoils was not so simple, as some of the gentlemen had, in the heat of the battle and the stress of a tiger hunt, fired a lot of shots. The total result of four tigers could have been larger by one, by the way, if we had bagged the tiger the natives claimed to have fled when the hunting circle had been relaxed allowing the fifth tiger to escape in the high grass. In any case, the beginning of the Nepalese expedition had proved fruitful and filled us with pleasure,  shared with the natives wo greeted us with not faked „selams“.

The resident ordered the hunt to continue. Soon a new circle had been closed in which the shikaris suspected a strong male tiger that had been troubling the area for quite some time. This assumption was wrong, however. Only a few beautiful jungle hens rose in terror and above our heads flew a hornbill with a white body and black yellow bands on its wings of rare size. It was part of a species I did not know.

The shikaris did not give up hope and went to look out with their elephants, while we ate  breakfast. Near the jungle site where we just had hunted we selected a place in the shade under a large shala tree and enjoyed our food until the cry „Bagh, Bagh“ (tiger) rang out. We jumped up and mounted our elephants as quickly as possible which were close by. I had just returned to my hauda when my mahaut pointed at the moving grass tops close to the spot where I had sat and whispered that a tiger was there. This seemed incredible to me as we had passed that spot during the closing of the second circle even though we were spaced out at a distance and had eaten breakfast only 20 paces away and talked loudly and laughed; I had even shot a jungle hen from there. And still it was just as the mahaut had said.

The most skillful and inventive natives closed the circle quickly with their elephants around the small grass bush, I entered and at the same moment a tiger jumped up to the right of me. I fired a shot at it while it was fleeing and started to attack a number of elephants of the circle who turned around trumpeting and snorting and made loud noises. After a few seconds, the tiger emerged again out of the grass into a small clearing where it was killed by Clam with a hit to the chest.

A number of shots were fired on the dying tiger, a terrible custom here which I do not approve as it casts doubt to whom the kill belongs and also because the large caliber guns that the English use destroy the beautiful skin. Mostly, however, because it is not proper for a hunter. But other customs govern hunting in India than at home. The difference is about that one between the views of a sportsman and a dedicated hunter.

Among the natives it was said that the last tiger, a strong male, was not identical with that which I had shot but that this one had escaped with a shot through the chin after he had attacked an elephant. I did not agree and believe to have missed the tiger in the high grass.

Happy about the bagged five tigers — a result in such a short time and under so remarkable circumstances probably seldom achieved — we ventured towards the camp. During the march we tried a large hunt, a so called  „general shooting“, where all elephants form a line in the jungle and every kind of game is fair game. Such a general shooting is very exciting as the hunter has to prepare himself for various game: soon there are wild boars, soon jackals, soon a small Indian civet, soon deer, peacocks or francolins and jungle hens which flee from the elephants or fly away. All along the line, shots rang out. One could distinguish shot from bullets by their sound and one could about guess what the neighbor had been shooting at. Our result was 51 pieces. I personally bagged two boars, multiple chitals, peacocks, francolins and a black-breasted Bengal bustard (Sypheotides bengalensis), which is in size between a dwarf bustard and our large bustard.

We spent the evening in the middle of the camp in a small dining tent in excellent mood, talking about the day’s events of the hunt.


  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 09.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays “Freund Fritz“ (a replacement for „Faust“), while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing  the opera „Merlin“.

Dakna Bagh, 8 March 1893

From Agra we took in a North-western direction to Aligarh the East Indian Railway, from Aligarh in North-eastern respectively Eastern direction the Oudh and Rohilkund Railway. At 6 o’clock in the morning we arrived in Bareilly and turned into the narrow gauge line of the Rohilkund Kumaon Railway which took us to the terminal stop at Pilibhit from where our grand expedition to Nepal would start. The morning was clear and sunny. Just after we had left the station at  Bareilly, the outlying mountains waved at us in a blueish haze. How happy I was to be able to greet mountains with green woods. Their sight lifted my spirits to the same elevated level as when I traveled towards Darjeeling. Soon emerged behind the outlying mountains the honorable peaks of the Himalaya mountains, gleaming white, full of ice and snow. A stark contrast — the yellow parched plain out of which rose the steep blueish gleaming outlying mountains and behind them, shining widely, the rising peaks of the Himalaya in majestic calm.

Already at 9 o’clock we arrived at Pilihhit where we were received by Mr. Macpherson, the collector of the district who supervised the arrangement for the transport to the camp. The closer we came to the Nepalese border, at first in carriages, the more luxurious became the vegetation until we drove through dense woods. A tree — shala tree (Shorea robusta), coveted for its wood — caught my attention due to its similarity to our oaks. Grass as tall as a human, as long as it had not been burned down, offered many excellent places to hide for the game as numerous clearings might suggest.

After each interval of about 10 km,  the horses were switched and after around 30 km the wagons were exchanged for elephants. The road went, having crossed a clear deep stream, soon across thick grass jungles and patches of woods, soon past single large trees under which meager withered cattle spent their poor existence. Numerous skeletons and vultures circling above indicates that a large number of them dies in the open jungle.

Arrived at the Sarda river which forms the border between Nepal and the British territory, we were received by the English resident in Nepal, Colonel H. Wylie, who was in charge of our expedition. Along the shore of the river stood an impressive number of 203 elephants that would serve us as riding and driving animals during the whole of our Nepalese hunting expedition.

Having crossed the river, I inaugurated my hunting expedition. On a sand bank in the river, three huge crocodiles were laying there which I tried to approach in vain as they disappeared into the water before I was close enough to shoot. Instead I bagged a beautiful ruddy shelduck.

It was as strange as spectacular to watch the 203 elephants cross the border river in a row. The river carries clear mountain water, is deep and rapid, similar to our Enns or Steyr. The water reached up to the back of the tallest elephants. the smaller ones had to swim. Here too the elephants proved their intelligence in sloping diagonally against the strong current. Without accident did the caravan arrive on the left shore and now we were in Nepal, the hunting el dorado where we would spend three weeks as a free hunter. In an area barley touched by civilization, in the midst of the wilderness where nature knows no bounds, where everything develops, grows, perishes without the regulating hand of man. Here we would hunt predators and observe animal life in the jungle. Full of the best of hopes we stepped on Nepalese ground. We had looked forward to the expedition during our whole trip and during much festive occasion our thoughts went longingly to the hunting camp and the tigers.

The first impression already was very favorable and promising. The majestic landscape so different from the mostly monotone Indian plain — in the background mountains, jungle everywhere — and a tent camp to my heart’s content were expecting us. There were no flower ornaments, no gardens with water fountains, no stone and mosaic decorations. Each of us had a small practical tent with a bed, a chair and a table, enough space to store the baggage, rifles and munitions. Around the tents camped large number of shikaris, the elephant and camel drivers and coolies who had to set up and pull down the camps. There, under mighty trees that offered shade, on a spot the people called „Dakna Bagh“ we set up camp and were hospitably received.

The state of Nepal is a strange and usually little known country that borders in the north on Tibet, the large neighbor of China, in the west and south on the Indian Northwest Provinces, in the east on Sikkim. Like Bhutan, from which it is separated by Sikkim, Nepal has retained its independence up to the present day from the Anglo-Indian Empire which rules over the whole Himalaya area with the exception of Nepal and Bhutan and thus controls the strategically important passes to Turkestan and Tibet. This fact has not been changed by Nepal’s recognition of an English suzerainty nor has the presence of a large number of Nepalese warriors, Ghurkas, among the sepoys in the Anglo-Indian army — 15 percent of the whole sepoy contingent of 110.000 men according to the last census. These Ghurkas or Khas, as these sturdy warlike highlanders of East Nepal, the district Ghurka, are called without distinction about the different races they are part of, only serve outside the borders of their homeland and, a small contingent of 1500 men apart which are regulated by the treaty of 1888, they only serve as volunteers under the English colors.

The English count the wiry, agile, fast marching and persevering Ghurkas among their best troops. The English soldiers especially the Highlanders get along splendidly with their Nepalese comrades. They are said to be especially gutsy and brave and attack with cold steel, their sharp curved knives, a way of fighting they prefer to than anything else.

The British resident in Nepal has, compared to the large power of British residents in the other Anglo-Indian states, little externally visible influence. He is, for example, restricted to keep within a range of 25 km around the capital of Nepal, Katmandu. He is not allowed to venture beyond this limit without special arrangement. The roads from and to India is assigned to the resident by the maharaja.  Anyhow Nepal by its location, formation and composition as well as the warlike nature of its inhabitants provides a very valuable fortress against any attacks to the Anglo-Indian Empire from the North-east, so that the British rulers of India do all in their diplomatic art to keep a good relationship with Nepal — which one day may still end with an occupation of this state.

The geographic location of Nepal is also very special. In the north, it borders on the large bare plateau between the Himalaya and the trans-Himalayan territory. It forms a 700 km long stretch that is but around 150 km wide. The northern border of it is protected by the main mountain range of the East Himalaya with Dhaulagiri as its western and Gaurisankar as its eastern end. The southern border of Nepal descends to the Ganges plain to the Tarai belt with its jungles and swamps.

Between the two borders, the actual place of Nepal seems to be a labyrinth of rocks, steep hillsides and deep gorges, in which only the outlying area of the Himalaya, the middle elevations of the mountains, the ridges and river valleys are inhabited and cultivated. In the numerous valleys that feed and fertilize the the rivers leading to the Ganges plains  they practice terrace cultivation and grow barley and also wheat. In the area that descends towards India, even rice is grown. Some areas, like the around 20 km long circular valley  in which lies Katmandu, the most important commercial place in the country, and Nayakot, the former winter residence of the princes of Nepal,  are known for their subtropical vegetation, gorgeous fruit gardens and rich woods at higher elevations. Iron and copper wares as well as paper from the fiber Daphne cannabina, resins and other forest products, furs, opium, wool, cloth, salt,  turquoise and gold powder, as well as small excellent horses and finally musk from the  once numerous musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) are besides agricultural products the main goods produced and exported out of Nepal. Trade links are strong both with Tibet, as well as with Northwest India even though it is burdened by all kinds of tariffs and taxes and the transport of goods over many of the passes is very difficult. In the year 1892, imports to Nepal were valued at 11,759.314 fl. in Austrian currency and exports out of this country amounted to  10,071.685 fl. in Austrian currency.

The geographic set-up of Nepal is in its details still little known as the maharaja who has an understandable aversion to cartographic surveys impedes the entry of Europeans and especially of scientists. Seldom only has a scientist managed to enter here an the largest part of the roads in the interior of Nepal have been explored only by disguised Pandits sent by the Anglo-Indian government. These natives are used to survey and explore areas closed to Europeans.

The Area of the state is estimated to be around 154.000 km2, the number of its inhabitants — census has to be replaced here by estimate — approximatively 3 millions.

The inhabitants of Nepal are a mixture of peoples in which the Tibetan element predominates but one finds much Aryan blood too. Especially the Ghurkas, or Khas claim even if this mostly wrong, to be true Hindus and to be members of the warrior caste of the Kshatriya. The type of the Nepalese is almost exclusively Mongolian.

Of Tibetan origin were the princes too who were part of the Newar people who was, residing at Kirtipur next to Katmandu, were dethroned by the Ghurkas in 1707. The current ruling Ghurka house of Sahi claims to be descendants of the Rajput princes of Udaipur — whether this correct is another matter.

The Newars who live in the middle of the country around the capital are even today the most pure national element of Nepal. The political aspirations and the customs in the south and th west of the country are mostly of Hindu, the one in the north and east of Tibetan origin.

From 1792 on, after an unsuccessful campaign of the Ghurkas against Tibet, it was nominally part of the Chinese Empire for a short time and since then a tributary of it and has sought a close relationship with England which, however, led to bellicose complications with it (1814), which ended with the cession of the territories of Kumaon and Garwhal, all in the west of the country. The East-Indian company was also permitted at that time to engage in transit trade through Nepal to Tibet.  Of Nepal’s history one must further mention the war they made on Tibet in 1855 and the enlargement of the Nepalese territory towards the Brahmaputra (1867).

In lieu of the current maharaja, still a minor, Adhiraj Bikram Jamshir Jang (born 1874), the first minister Bir Jamshir Jang Rana Bahadur assumes the responsibility of governing. The elevated rank of the minster in Nepal is said to be a dangerous and mostly short one as ministers die a violent death after they have been in office for some time. There are numerous small parties in Nepal and if the minister of one party has been inconvenient or his influence has become to strong according to some at the court, he is simply killed.

The maharaja has an army which consists according to newer sources of 17.000 regular soldiers equipped with Enfield rifles and 13.000 irregular troops. The income of the prince are around 11,550.000 fl. in Austrian currency.

The capital and residence city Katmandu, in its architecture almost completely of Tibetan origin, has 70.000 inhabitants and lies in the middle of the county, 144 km distant from the closest railway station.

The territory in which we were intended to hunt for two weeks is the above mentioned Tarai region, a small swampy plain between the border river of Nepal, Sarda, and the outlying mountains of the Himalaya and known for its wealth in forests. On the order of the maharaja, even the tigers are in some way spared. Not without difficulties is it possible to get a permission to hunt in this hunter’s paradise. Usually only every second or third year is a large hunting expedition mounted which travels across the region for a few weeks.  In the last hunting expedition participated the since deceased Duke of Clarence; earlier the Duke of Orleans and, in the year 1875, the Prince of Wales have hunted here. The British resident of Nepal, whose intervention grants from time to time permission for English sportsmen to hunt in the border regions, stays often during the winter months here to try his luck in hunting.

Unfortunately the best hunting grounds of the country is notorious for the fever that is common there and scarcely populated as the population is being decimated by illnesses of all kind. The government does its utmost to repopulate the land, divides up land without charge and promotes establishments in all kinds of ways but up to now without achieving notable results.

Hunting expeditions of a size such as this one require to supply many humans and numerous animals which is especially difficult. We had to provide for 1223 men and 415 animals, including 203 elephants! If one considers that every day an elephant needs around 75 kg of straw or grass as well as bread and grains and that that food itself has to be transported from afar, one can conclude about the necessary size of the apparatus that can provide the daily provisions of the camp. The demands for our kitchen can only be met from Pilibhit, that is at a distance of 41 km, as the hunting grounds only supply what game we catch.

The arrangement of the hunts is organized by the resident together with an unle of the maharaja called Kesar Singh, and his son Prem Jamshir. The last one had been sent by the maharaja for this purpose.

As there was still time es when we arrived at Dakna Bagh, I asked to hunt in the surroundings of the camp. The resident then immediately ordered 50 elephants prepared for a hunt. In the area were we were one can only hunt with elephants as the jungle is much too high an thick for a pedestrian to penetrate or even drive out animals.  On the order of „line“ all elephants assembled in a straight line in only a few moments, the animals standing pretty close together. The shooters in their haudas are placed at certain intervals. Despite some irregularities in the terrain and numerous obstacles the line advances at full speed almost as it is the case in a well organized rabbit hunt in Bohemia.

Negative is only the known difficulty of shooting securely out of the hauda. Usually the circumstances don’t permit to have the elephant come to a stop. Thus the shooter has to fire while the huge mass is in motion. Only if one shoots with a ball which would otherwise be too risky, one calls the mahaut with the word „Rok“ (Halt), even though, as we have already experienced before, the hauda keeps moving despite the elephant stopping his motion. Thanks to the practice in the earlier hunting camps I managed to fire after a few days even with balls from a walking elephant.

The hunter’s success is highly dependent on the mahaut and on his comprehension of the hunter’s intentions. With the help of my very limited vocabulary of Hindi — rok halt, deihne right, beine left, sidah straight on, bohut acha very good, chelao quick etc. — the shooter tries to make his desires understandable to the mahaut who translates the wishes if he agrees with them to the elephants with the help of different tools_ Shouts and admonitions, kicks with the legs behind the ears, hits with a stick or even pricks with a pointed Kaschwar. If the mahaut does not agree with the hunter, he often starts a long but to us incomprehensible speech which concluded in the mahaut’s will being followed. Any force to make the mahaut follow the hunter’s orders only creates all too quickly discontent and anger in the mahaut’s chest or has the man who knows about his own importance break out in loud laughter in which the other mahauts join in and use unmistakable gestures to show their contempt of the hunter. At the beginning the hunter is the object of much scrutiny by the mahaut. If the shooter shows himself competent in the use of the rifle and a good shot, he starts to trust him and do his best to help him shoot out of a good position.

The hunt undertaken yielded an Indian hog deer (Cervus porcinus), multiple vultures, falcons and francolins, as well as a jackal.

Enchanted by this splendid spectacle of the setting sun’s rays upon the dramatically illuminated mountains we returned to the camp when it became dark.


  • Location: Dakna Bagh, Nepal
  • ANNO – on 08.03.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater plays “Die Eine weint, die Andere lacht“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing  the opera „Die Rantzau“.