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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
GB/2/8/1/2/14
Creator
Gertrude Bell
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Language
English
Transcription

Sun 14. [14 December 1902] Off at 8.30 to Elephanta - our party being
an American woman 3 Frenchmen and an Englishman. Delicious
steam across the harbour but pretty hot. Got to the island at 10 - all
green with trees. Natives tried to sell us lovely green red and gold
beetles. Walked up some stone stairs to the temple. The big cave
has a small court before it and 2 courts on either side approached
through it lead to 2 smaller caves, both with Linga shrines. The one to
the left is approached up a few steps with lions on the top of the
balustrade. The big cave is very imposing. Short thick columns with
heavy fluted capitals support the roof. The lower part of the column is
square, the upper round and fluted and small figures are carved in the
angles where the square gives place to the round. The principle
carving[?] is the Trimurti, colossal heads and busts with a great
artistic effect. Expressionless clear cut strait featured, the triple Shiva
is the fitting deity of the cave. The groups round the walls have a fine
swingeing composition, full of movements and force though the Indian
knowledge of the human form leaves to be desired. There is a big
Linga Shrine in this cave. Left at 11 and got back to our hotel at 12.30.
Hurriedly dressed and off at 1.25 to Govt. House. Very pleasant
lunch, Pembrokes, Dartreys, Majoribanks, Mr Schuster; a Captain
Cartwright is I think the Gov's Secretary. I sat by Lord Northcote whom
I found most agreeable - talked to Lady N. a charming woman after
lunch. Lady Dartrey showed me the house and we came away at 3.
Drove back to the hotel and out to the Oliviers to tea - great difficulty in
finding their house which is opposite the Maha Lakshuni[?] Temple at
Breach Candy. Nice people - he showed me his china. The
Gascoynes there. Back between the moon and the sunset; dined
6.30 and off at 8. The Victoria station is Italian Gothic, the Cathedral
Byzantine, otherwise one wdn't know them apart. We are quite the
Indians - we don't turn a hair when we see a cow drawing a dog cart.
Most comfy carriages to ourselves, but it was so hot we didn't sleep
much.

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