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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

20.593684, 78.96288

Fri. 9. [9 January 1903] With extraordinary energy I got up at 7 and
rode off at 8.30 to Old Delhi. I went first to Ferozabad and saw
Ashoka's Lat. The fortress is entirely ruined but great masses of wall
standing and fallen give one an idea of what it must have been. The
town to which it belonged stretched to Hindu Rao's house. The Lat
stands on the 3 storied and much ruined Kotila in which some very
poor people live. It is of highly polished red sandstone and looks
almost like granite. The inscription is quite clear - for him who can
read. Buddhism is still proclaimed though none will read or mark[?].
Next to Indraput where I rode in at the great gateway (the other 2 are
shut and the vultures sit undisturbed on the top of the pavilions above
the gates) and was taken in hand by a charming Muslim who showed
me round. I rode through the town of hovels to the exquisite Pathan
Mosque, Kona Killa Musjed, which is in perfect repair. Sher Shah built
it in 1541. It is most lovely in detail, inlaid and covered with
inscriptions. The inside equally good: beautiful pendentives in the
smaller domes. The minarets are tiny, like small chimneys - so were
those of the earliest mosque in Ahmedabad [Ahmadabad]. I climbed
up to the Sher Mandil 1555, Humayun's library, falling down the steps
of which he died, and had a wonderful view of the town and H.'s tomb.
I photographed a potter spinning the dust of dead empires into pots.
[Verse added at top of page:] Perhaps the vessel that with fugitive/
Articulation answered, once did live/ And drink - and ah! the passive
lip I pressed,/ How many kisses might it take and give. My friend told
me that a lady had once been murdered by the Hindu inhabitants in
the Sher Mandil, since when he had been appointed guide. He gave
me 2 oranges when I left. I rode on a mile by a cross road to
Humayun's tomb which is a fine great pile, inlaid with white marble
and yellow sandstone in bold patterns and standing high up on its
platform. Here Hodson shot the princes, Bahadur Shah's sons.
Oleanders and other shrubs were in full flower. A small boy in a
purple coat showed me the way to Nizam ud din's tomb. Through a
doorway I passed into a court where there is a deep tank and a
charming pavilion or two on the edge of it. Then into another court with
fine red sandstone gates which contains the marble tomb of Nizam ud
Din, the greatest of the Chisti family (1652) a charming pavilion in white
marble, lattice work screens and big blinds hanging between the
pillars. There were lots of people sitting about and the place is
evidently very holy. Near this, behind a marble screen is Jehanara's
tomb, with the grass growing rank upon it according to her wish, and
behind in another court is Khusran's the famous poet who died in 1312
- a great tree grows all across and shades the court - a most suitable
resting place for the Tutu i Hind. There is a fine modern tomb of
columns near. Lots of big tombs round which I cd not visit. Nizam ud
din was the founder of Thuggism. So I rode home and got in at 12.
Eat fruit in Sibyl's room and went back to my tent, dressed and
packed till lunch. Afterwards we took our luggage down to the station
and then drove on to the polo where some Rainpur chiefs were
playing in the final between Alwar and Jodhpore [Jodhpur] was going
on - a fine game, but a walkover for Alwar. Sat with Mrs Moncrieff and
Miss Muir and had tea - it was the Rajputana [Rajasthan] chiefs' party;
saw Mr Biddulph Mr Schuster and Flora and met Arthur as we came
away at 4.30. Changed and shut our boxes and got to the station at 6
when we saw to all our arrangements and dined. Mr Biddulph also
appeared and dined. Had a carriage to ourselves and went to bed
with the bands of the Durbar playing us to sleep.

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