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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
India ยป Udaipur

24.585445, 73.712479

Tues. 13 [13 January 1903] Drove out at 9.30 to the Rana's palace.
We were shown over the old part first by a high official. Through the
chief gate is a courtyard where some show horses stand and flocks of
crows and loiterers. Then up a stair into a big court full of people in
gay clothes and yellow caste marks. So up another stair to an
enchanting garden court beyond which is the Maharana's dining room
with a marble throne set in a basin for water and - an old billiard table.
Above are exquisite pavilions looking over the lake and the town.
Then we drove to an ugly new palace, furnished with crystal tables
and chairs, hideous carpets and many portraits of former Ranas,
photographs of Viceroys, enormous chandeliers, a copy of Friths
Derby Day etc. But the views, especially over a little garden out
towards the lake, were exquisite. Further on is a palace not yet
completed, making a semicircular end, set with pavilions, to the whole
- far from bad. Some of the rooms were charmingly decorated by a
kind of gesso with a high glaze on it, flowers and animals, extremely
pretty. The Rana is a descendant of Ram and[?] the representative
of Shiwa on earth. 2 of his sons have died and the 3rd and last is an
idiot and dying also. They are Sesodias of the Solar race. There
was a crystal bed in the 3rd palace with a red velvet mattress! Lovely
view of the Dudh Talao. Next we went into the stables, long narrow
court, with open sheds for stalls. Some showy[?] native horses were
being trained to stand - martingaled and with the feet bound out. Bad
horses I thought on the whole, specially the Arabs. Then to the
elephant stables where we saw the place the elephant fights take
place. There is a pretty court leading down from the main gate with a
row of open Hindu arches along the wall. So home. The Dartreys
turned up for the day. My cold very bad. At 3 we drove down to the
lake and found a boat which took us all along it, under the bridge, past
the Tripolya to our friend's house where we left a card on him. He
appeared to have very bad toothache. Then to the Jagmandir, too
enchanting with pavilions on the lake and a water garden with deep
stone divisions between the beds for water. Some of the modern
rooms built by the Rana's father were charmingly decorated in gesso
- one all with waterlilies or lotus, one painted with hunting scenes, one
with white waterbirds like a Japanese design. In the floors were
places for the water to squirt up and the shimmer of the sunlit lake
came up through every window. On the old part was a charming
decoration of inlaid talh[?], lovely patterns of vines and fruit trees. A
bathing tank with a marble slide to slide down - but the water very
nasty and slimy. There were 2 ..... in the courtyard. Then on to the
Newas Mandir, much older more gardens and more neglected, but
exquisite in its way and the views from it perfect. Then to the Khas at
the broken[?] wooded end of the lake, where we saw the wild pig fed
on the edge of the jungle, some 200 of them. Crows on their backs
and lots of peacocks and doves about. They were grabbling about
in the dust for remains of last night's corn. Some came quite near for
bales of flour and ghee. The Dartreys also appeared. In the middle
of the Khas is a court for tiger and pig fights and there are captive pigs
in cages. All on the edge of the jungle. Our landlord is very unhappy
because Udaipur does not suit him and he has bad headaches[?]
and Muni has collapsed with fever. The Dartreys dined.

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