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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 Jaipur

26.9124336, 75.7872709

Tues. 23 [23 December 1902] We left at 8 for Amber (pronounced
Amere) a delicious morning quite cold till the sun rose. Drove through
the town and out into a road bordered with tombs and great houses
with charming walls and little domed summerhouses on them. Full of
monkeys and green parrots. We got to Amber in about an hour, ie to
the bottom of a gorge running up into the hills. Here elephants and
bullock carts were waiting. We took one of the latter and creaked up
the hill, H. [Hugo] walking up one hill, under a gate, down a slope and
we found ourselves opposite the palace crowning the hill top with a
green lake below it and a little garden built out into the lake with steps
down to the water. Above the palace was a fort - indeed the fort walls
stretch all the way from Jeypore [Jaipur] here along the top of the hills.
We walked up into the palace between fortifications, went through a
big gate and found ourselves in a large court with trees in it and a
charming Nakar Khana opposite. Up a sloping passage on the left
we went into a dark court where there is the famous temple of Kali.
The daily goat had been killed at 7 - his blood was still to be seen on
a heap of sand. I took off my shoes and went quite up to the shrine.
Within was a hobgoblin with a black face and staring painted eyes
dressed in gold tinsel. There was one in a dark blue mantle chanting
from a Sanscrit book before the door, I asked him what he was
reading and he replied "The Puranas." We came down to the first
court and walked up an inclined path through the gate into the second
court in which is the beautiful columned Diwan i Khas. Another very
fine gate covered with charming coloured patterns took us into a
garden court on the left of which is the Jey Mandir a lovely series of
rooms, the arched roofs and the walls inlaid with alabaster and glass
work in stucco. A charming columned gallery looked out over the
lake with its garden built out into it and over the ruined deserted town
of mosques and temples and palaces and through a gap in the hills
over the wide plain. The opposite hillside was also crowned with
walls and forts. We went down a dark narrow stair into the marble
bath rooms of the zenana and then up again onto a terrace on the roof
where we went into the Sohaq Mundir through which fretted marble
windows the ladies looked onto the Durbars of the Diwan i Khas, and
into a charming series of rooms decorated with grey stucco and mica,
the Jas Mandir, right at the very top of all. We went down another way
to see a Hindu temple with a beautiful Sikra [space left blank] and a
porched carved with Krishna and Gopis and so through the ruined
deserted town peopled with monkeys to a mosque built in the time of
Akbar. On our way home we visited the Cenotaphs of the Muharajas,
lovely marble pavilions all carved and set in a garden. The best had
a Byzantine decoration of peacocks. Then to the Maharaja's College
where we sent in our card and were shown round by the Principal, an
aimiable [sic] Bengali Brahman. We saw little boys learning English
and heard them recite Godsaveourgraciousqueen and Fatherofall
many times over in - English? H. looked over an examination paper
and saw "the lakes of Scotland are Adeego and Ladogo" How little
one knows one's own country! We also saw a class of Jajputs,
Khohatriys[?] - taught apart from the others. All other castes mix. One
little boy recited "Hollowed be thy name," whereat our guide turned
and said pityingly "Dis boy sa--ys hollowed!" One small boy was
writing over and over "Here is cow" and another Judgment,
Judgment, Judment Judment. He was a Rajput. In the afternoon I
went to the top of the museum and had a lovely view. The desert
sand is creeping in on the E. and drying up the wells. That quarter is
abandoned. I also went to the Public Library, a charming place. Early
to bed.

IIIF Manifest