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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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1 entry, paper

19.946133, 75.221652

Mon 15. [15 December 1902] Got to Munmar at 2.20 and left at 7. I
had 4 peaceful hours' sleep in the waiting room but H. [Hugo] didn't
fare so well as there were people coming in and out all night. Up at
6.30, had some breakfast and washed. Most curious country - flat
plains with fantastic hills rising out of them crowned with rocks that look
like castles. At Rotugaon[?] plague inspection. Tuberoses flowering
here, but the country is very flat, quite burnt up, some yellow flowering
shrubs. Reached Daulatabad at 10.45 and found an excellent
breakfast awaiting us and an old couple called Miller. We
established ourselves in the Dak Bunglo which is an enchanting little
place with 2 bedrooms, a dining room and a deep verandah. Our
tonga was waiting and we set off after lunch driving through
Daulatabad a great expanse of ruins walled round with fine
battlemented walls. To the W. is a magnificent fort high up on a tufa
hill some 1000 ft high the base of which is an artificial (I think)
perpendicular wall of rock for about 100 ft. The town was Aurungzib's
southernmost capital but the fort is a good deal older than his time
though he strengthened it. Above the town is a fine dammed reservoir
holding a lot of water. We drove and walked up the very steep hill
and then all along the top to Roza [Khuldabad (Rauza)], an
enchanting walled town nearly deserted. We went quickly through its
temples and palaces and through a big Muhammadan cemetery
outside and past the Nizam's Rest House for visitors and so down
and down to the plain again and at the foot of the hill are the caves.
Ellora itself is a little village a mile away in the plain. 2 o'clock we
turned first to the left and saw the Buddhist caves of which the
Vichwakarma with a very beautiful facade is the finest but there are
some beautiful and interesting ones further along. There are a two
storied and a 3 storied cave - both Shiwa I think and a fine Shiwa
cave, [space left blank] with a little free standing portico in the court in
front of it. Next had some soda water and biscuits it being then past 2
and went on to the Keylas, a most wonderful Dravidian temple cut out
of the solid rock but free standing with courts and shrines and towers
and domes and pillared halls all covered with carving. The great hall
on the first floor has a polished floor. 2 Elephants in the court - the
whole surrounded with pillared niches. From thence we walked a
long way in the sun to the Jain caves which are perhaps the most
charming of all. Many storied and leading one into the other and
covered with exquisite delicate low relief. The grave Tirthankers
were a curious contrast to the wild groups in the Shiva caves, the
exaggerated action, 6 or 8 arms flinging round the heads of the
figures, legs lifted at right angles in the dance, confused medleys of
groups peering out with elephants' or eagles' heads. All the hill side
was sweet with a white flowering shrub that smelt like Jasmine. So up
the hill walking and past the Nizam's Rest House and on to Rozah
where we stopped to see Aurungzib's tomb. A paved slope led up to
a domed gateway built by a famous courtezan through which we
entered into a marble court with an exquisite white Nakar Khana on
the right and a tank in front of the mosque at the entrance. People
washing in the water. On the left a door way led into a kind of
passage court at one side of which the Holder of the World is buried
behind a small openwork screen, his grave with no monument at all
over it but a green tree shading it and a tiny green plant growing from
it. Behind are the tombs of his daughter and a famous saint [space
left blank] in another marble court. The saint's tomb was opened for
me - the chamber smelt sweet of flowers placed on the grave. Across
the road is another exquisite court and behind it the tomb of [space
left blank]. In order to defray the expenses of building it silver
bubbled up through the pavement - I was shown some bubbles in the
stones still and the doorway of the tomb is enclosed with worked
silver. We ran short of small coin and I was obliged to reward one of
our cicerones with a loaf of bread which he received with joy. So
back through the sunset, the castle of Daulatabad standing black
against it and home to the station. We sat in our bungalow and
watched the full moon rise behind a hill and then to dinner at 6.30 -
chicken soup, chichen sulmi, roast chicken and custard pudding -
delicious. Sat a little on the verandah watching the moon and so to
bed after a delicious bath.

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