Schlagwort-Archiv: Tandur

Tandur, 23 January 1893

Even though the council of the experienced hunters had decided to leave camp early to have time for multiple hunts, it was already 10 o’clock, due to fatal propensity for unpunctuality and time waste of the local Europeans and also the natives, when we finally did move. The time to departure was shortened by a sport new to me — an improvised falcon hunt. Some Hindus from Hyderabad had brought along trained falcons and a captured heron which they set free in the camp. As soon as the heron had reached a certain distance, they removed a falcon’s cap and swiftly the falcon flew towards the escaping heron, ascended up into the sky and then descended like a flash upon the heron striking it with its claws to the ground. Then it struck the heron’s back with its claws and beak and started to gorge. Two more falcons were launched into the air. They expertly caught a dead crow thrown up in the air.

But more important matters were awaiting us. Again we were promised much: the tiger must have certainly killed, they must certainly be between two of the tracking groups as their roars had been heard.

We rode on the same path as the day before until we reached the large tamarind where we again held a meeting for consultation. Every one of us was selected to mount on an elephant. It was the first time I sat in a hâuda. A peculiar, strange feeling to hover above the ground in a tub-like container on the back of a giant animal. With every step of the elephant it moved back and forth like in a ship. Even the mounting is difficult but not without comic effects: The elephant kneels down. One steps up over the rear legs on the inclined back and then hoists oneself into the hâuda. The elephant then stands up again, first with the front legs, then follow the short rear legs, so that the hâuda is almost horizontal but it is recommended to hold on tight to avoid being swept out.

The elephant is led by the Mahawat who sits on the animal’s head and indicates both speed and direction with a sharp hook (Gadschbag) , pricking the skin now right now left. The animal and its guide are living together in harmony despite the often un gentle treatment of the animal. The Mahawat talks without interruption with the smart animal and it fulfills with all the guide’s wishes, in sitting down on command, lifting one foot in the air to let the Mahawat mount the elephant, to raise the trunk and lower it, and it does whatever the guide demands. If the elephant turns naughty which happens from time to time, it is kicked sharply in the trunk which is answered by a trumpet-like cry. When the elephant come to a stream, they drink with their trunks or they pump it into their mouth so that if the heat is harsh and the flies to vexing, they can take some of the water from the mouth with the trunk and spray it over their body. Some Mahawat let their animals lay down and take a bath like this. Against flies, the elephants are very sensitive despite their thick skin: They chase them away with a large twig which they tear from a tree. One should not assume an elephant will stand still even for a minute. It will chase away flies that harry it or eat grass or leaves or swivel the trunk in the air — with one word, the hauda is permanently moving what makes it extraordinarily difficult to shoot safely from it.

At a small pond, the shikaris showed me a large tiger track that were said to be at least two days old. On a hill covered with bushes, we were placed in line at a distance of around 100 m each: first Stockinger and Prónay, then Wurmbrand, Clam, me, at the right flank Kinsky.

In front of our positions, there were natives sitting on tall trees reaching out of the bushes whose task it was to indicate the presence of a tiger with a large red cloth and point in the direction it was moving,

Due to our bad calculations, we had to wait in our positions for one and a half hours before the tracking started, which was not appreciated given the heat and the constantly shifting elephants. Finally the signal was given to start the hunt: Four drumbeats.  Soon we could hear the infernal cries of the trackers around 1000 m away, together with shots fired into the air, trumpet blasts, drumbeats and the screed of ratchets. With utmost attention we were waiting for the tiger to appear out of the jungle at any moment now. What did not appear, was a tiger. Instead we saw the trackers come closer — they were about 300 of them, constantly moving and exceedingly cautious, usually one behind the other standing in the most convenient spots, as these people obviously have great respect about tigers and are unwilling to advance before they have thrown a stone into the next bush so that even a small distance of a few 100 meters took a relatively long time for them to cover.

The natives of this region did not make a good impression on me as they seemed to be not very courageous, unreliable, not skillful and rather careless. If one wants to explain something to them or give them an order, it takes a long time as all shout and cry amongst themselves and then do the opposite of what they were requested to do.

As soon as the trackers appeared, they had a long tale to tell: The tiger had been in the jungle, one man had seen it but the tiger managed to escape – a tale I thought was fiction. But we were at our wit’s end. We wanted to continue the hunt but our hunting director explained to us that he had first to discuss this with the shikaris, then send them out again. Besides, the trackers would require a pause which I found astonishing as they had started but one hour ago. Finally another lunch helped to gloss over the local misbehavior. Having lost further precious time in this unnecessary procedure, we continued the hunt at half past four o’clock to chase after a very certain track, at least they said so.

We rode on the elephants into a pleasant valley surrounded by steep rocky sides when one shikari came running, gesticulating wildly. He reported that he had heard the tiger roar nearby. At the same time, he showed the calf allegedly killed just now but whose decomposition proved the shikari an instant liar. It looked like it had died at least six days ago and had nearly completely up to the bones been eaten by vultures . On a tree nearby, twenty or more large vultures cared little about our presence and continued to sit there quietly watching us.

As the elephants could not stand on the large rocks, we climbed up on mighty trees on whose upper branches were laid poles to construct a most airy place which offered the opportunity to sit down as well provide a bit of cover by the leaves on the branches. We were set up in a half-circle of shooters and waited for the action to begin. The tracking completely looked like the first one, only it took even longer as the trackers displayed utmost respect towards the ravine where it was said that the calf had been killed. They shot into the ravine for not less than an hour and made all kinds of noice before they dared to enter it. The sun had set a long time ago, the moon and the stars were up on the sky when the trackers finally reached our position.

Shortly before that a large owl had flown straight out of the rock cliff to my tree. With a bullet I shot the bird which, placing itself a bit above my head, had looked at me astonished with its large yellow eyes. Soon thereafter, a mongoose ran past my tree but I failed to shot the timid animal.

It was soon getting dark so that we on our elephants had to return to the camp. From there a number of Hindus with torches were marching towards us. The failure of the hunt had a bit diminished our good mood so that Clam excited everyone to laughter when he took one of the torches and improvised some kind of Arabian fantasy together with Prónay.

I can not explain why this hunting expedition, despite extensive and expensive preparations, ended without success. I believe, however, not to be completely wrong if I suspect the reason for the failure lay mostly in the dullness and unreliability of the natives as well as the leadership of the expedition was assigned not only according to hunting skills but personal relations what might easily happen given the size and complications of this expedition.

Tomorrow we will have to leave camp and dismantle it. I had no proud feeling about having neither seen nor shot the long-awaited tiger. Still I had some sentiment of satisfaction, as the romantic stay in a tent city, the life in open air, had presented a rich contrast between civilization and wilderness and offered the opportunity to get accustomed to the natives in a casual manner. Thus, the three day expedition in the hunting camp of Tandur was in total a very interesting episode.

Unfortunately two of our company were sick: Kinsky as well one marine who we had taken along from the „Elisabeth“, both were heavily stricken by fever,


  • Location: near Tandur, India
  • ANNO – on 23.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers, The press is already filled with news about the upcoming wedding of Franz Ferdinand’s sister. The king of Württemberg and his wife already arrived yesterday in Vienna for this occasion and were received by the Emperor and the Viennese high society.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is performing a drama „Frau Susanne“, while the k.u.k Hof-Operntheater is repeating the performance of the ballet „Excelsior“.

Tandur, 22 January 1893

The English and native hunters did only want to leave camp at 11 o’clock explaining that the tigers are slower and easier to hunt at that hour. I did not agree with this late departure but followed the local customs. So we sent out our trackers and rifles with a number of elephants as an advance and followed half an hour later on the Nizam’s horses.

These horses are strangely broken in, or in our understanding, really broken for use. On their haunches, these horses are used to be constantly assisted by the rider to make bella figura, so that they prance around without interruption and rear up, which is barely tolerable for longer periods of time.

The tiger hunting area are low hilly ridges with bushes, with small ravines and valleys which remind me in character and view of the hills near Sopron.

Already in Bombay we received at least three telegrams a day which informed us that the tiger has killed at a certain place and that therefore success was nearly a certainty. Thus we were very hopeful and rode with joyful anticipation, We had hardly ridden a few miles and were close to the hunting spot when various shikaris came running and, vividly gesticulating, informed our hunting master Mr. Stevens. When I asked him he told me that the chances were not as high as originally expected, as the report about the killed calf was erroneous. It had torn itself away and was still alive and kicking.

Soon afterwards, natives arrived with whom the shikaris went into long consultation with the result that there was nothing to do today as the tiger had not killed anything and the best option was to return to camp. Bitterly disappointed by this message we breakfasted for comfort under a large tamarind and returned to camp by the same way we came under the certain expectation to find the tracked tiger.

As the clock only announced two o’clock, I with my gentlemen rode across the land to add something to my ornithological collection and enrich the kitchen table. In the cultivated fields where we expected to certainly meet some chicken or jackals we strangely found no game, in contrast the shores of the many small ponds and wet rice paddies were rich in common snipes and sandpipers so that we could hand our cook quite a number of animals.

Prior to our departure, I had had laid out a skinned sheep as bait near the native huts around our camp, so that I could, after our return to camp, kill within minutes 13 scavenger vultures (Neophron ginginianus) and 2 pariah kites (Milvus govinda).


  • Location: near Tandur, India
  • ANNO – on 22.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers, Empress Elisabeth is currently sightseeing in Sevilla. The readers are informed that the Empress ate some pastry in the Café Suizo, famous for its chocolate. Given the extremely harsh dietary regimen of the Empress, that information must have been noteworthy.
  • The Wiener Salonblatt carries a short report about Franz Ferdinand in India. Noteworthy is how Franz Ferdinand’s account completely ignores the presence of the black sheep, archduke Leopold Ferdinand who was finally recalled to be off Franz Ferdinand’s back.
The Archdukes Franz Ferdinand and Leopold Ferdinand are received by the dignitaries of Bombay.

The Archdukes Franz Ferdinand and Leopold Ferdinand are received by the dignitaries of Bombay. (Wiener Salonblatt, 22 January 1893, no. 4, p. 4)

  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is performing a tragedy by Grillparzer in the afternoon, „Sappho“, and a comedy in the evening „Der Störefried“, while the k.u.k Hof-Operntheater repeats once again its ballet combo in the afternoon and in the evening, it is time for Gounod’s opera „Margarethe (Faust)“.

Tandur, 21 January 1893

After a bad night spent in an unaccustomed way, the first thing I saw was the honor guard of the troops of the Nizam of Hyderabad which were receiving me in Wadi at the border of their „state“, more precisely a territory of a prince under British protection. Even though equipped with all the trappings of power and ruling an area of 214.000 km2 with 11.5 millions of inhabitants, the Nizam of Hyderabad or Golkonda is not really an independent but a tributary Maharaja, guarded by an English resident and a British occupation force under the pretense of protecting the Nizam.

I lay still in bed and could not leave it quickly and only watched through the window at the festively decorated station. The honor guard consisted of beautiful black people with twirled moustaches and sideburns.

The area we were driving through to Tandur was without charm, a large plain, only now and then broken by low ridges where cultivated areas alternate with large, bare and sterile areas on which barely a thorny bush grows and stone and where rock formations ad erratic blocks become visible. In the fields one can see the cultivation of flax, ricinus, jowari (a type of sorghum), cotton, maize and tobacco. Peculiar is the manner of plowing fields which still relies on very primitive plows, simple tree trunks with a root hook. The harrow is represented by tied brushwood and the fruit is simply uprooted by hand in places where scythes and sickles are unknown.

Everywhere one notices destroyed or decayed forts and other types of fortifications near the villages – as the houses of the natives are already built out of stone. These ruins are monuments to the time when the rajas and princes of the land were living in constant feud among themselves. Also there are Portuguese forts with round corner towers and crenellated walls still standing.

After a 22 hour train ride from Wadi with the Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway we reached Tandur where a three day hunting expedition was planned. The Nawab Vicar ul-Umra, a cousin of the Nizam’s minister, followed by many Englishmen and shikaris, had come to welcome me at the station. Among those present was also the commander of the Nizam’s troops, Colonel Nevill ((Colonel Richard Nevill C.I.E.  entered the Nizam’s service in 1874 as Major, appointed Commander of the Indian Empire C.I.E. for services rendered to the Colonial and Indian exhibition in 1886 as representative of the Nizam. Died in 1896.)) who had entered our train already at Wadi and told me his life story in fine Viennese dialect even though he was born an Englishman. He had formerly served in our army and has been a captain of the Haller hussars, During the visit of His Majesty in Milan in the year 1857, Nevill served as an orderly of His Majesty. At the battle of Magenta, acting as adjutant to Gyulay, he had received the military honors cross with wartime service decoration. He retired honorably after that campaign and moved back to England from where he later went to India to enter into the service of the Nizam.  As Generalisso, he is said to occupy an important position at his court,

It took quite a long time until we were ready to go as the transfer of all the baggage necessary for the hunt required extensive time and the communication with the natives proved difficult. In their ardor they often picked the wrong pieces instead of the right ones. Finally, everything was ready. In a large golden coach drawn by four artillery horses we drove first through Tandur which still had walled enclosures and fortifications then some miles across the countryside to reach the hunting camp about 16 km distant which we were set to occupy during the next thee days. I was truly surprised to see a complete tent city in a large open square arrangement equipped with the highest possible level of comfort and luxury.

In the middle of the camp opposite its entrance stands the large dining hall tent. It offers room for a table for 20 persons and has a large parlor in front of it under a tent roof with the mo are the tents intended for us. Each one of us was allocated an individual tent with an excellent bed, a very elegant desk and some furniture and swell rugs. The tent for me had furthermore a flag pole with my standard on it and was remarkable by its size and has the appearance of a house. The 18 tents we occupied are surrounded by a separation wall outside of which stood 40 tents for the bands of servants, cooks, hunters and grooms. About 400 natives which were to serve as laborers and trackers are housed in leaf huts among which graze cows, buffaloes, goats and sheep in herds which would supply our daily meat as, to express it in military terms, the commissary requirements of our camp exceeded 500 men.

At the camp entrance stood a native honor guard of 30 men to which were added seven large elephants, intended for the coming hunting days, and 20 richly decorated majestic Arabian horses supervised by two equerries in green uniforms.

This hunting camp in a truly grand manner I owed to the Nizam of Hyderabad who had asked about my health by telegram and whether I was satisfied with the prepared accommodations,

After the arrival in the camp, the Nizam’s son was presented to me to whom I expressed with the help of an interpreter my pleasure about this grand reception in the Hyderabad territory.

Then we inspected the horses which were presented by the equerries of Nizam and the elephants whose long tusks were protected from splintering by thick, richly decorated iron rings,

As soon as our baggage had arrived, I changed into hunting dress and explored the surrounding area with Wurmbrand while other gentlemen went for a ride. During our short expedition I bagged many representatives of many new bird species unknown to me, among them tiny quails (Turnix dussumieri), — called „button-quail“ by the English — and doves, singing birds and chats.  On small tamarinds I found for the first time a large number of the artfully braided nests of weavers.

The flora was not very richly represented, only a bushlike Rosaceae with rich yellow flowers was noticed by me which found use as an offering in temples after the practical Indians found the gold sacrifices of former times too costly. Thus instead of yellow gold, they sacrifice yellow flowers  Who doesn’t remember the lamentations of Calchas about the decreasing propensity to sacrifice …

Very favorable news about the tigers arrived. It is said that they have seized a tied calf and were in a jungle nearby according to the shikaris. In the evening I received a telegram from Mr Jevers of Colombo which contained the good news that a large elephant probably the one I shot and wounded on 8th January. It was found dead about 1000 m from the place where I had shot it,


  • Location: near Tandur, India
  • ANNO – on 21.01.1893 in Austria’s newspapers, On its front page, the Neue Freie Presse informs its readers that the former Serbian king and queen have reconciled themselves after an earlier scene in Biarritz. In Bornemouth, England, was arrested Cornelius Herz, one of the key operators responsible for the Panama scandal, He is expected to be rendered to France for prosecution. The newspaper reports that Franz Ferdinand spent his time in Bombay mostly by sightseeing.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the comedy „Die Welt in der man sich langweilt“, while the k.u.k Hof-Operntheater had a special honorary event for invited guests, a théâtre paré.