Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

Friday 26. [26 December 1902] Up at 5.30 and off at 6 to Fattehpore
Sikri [Fatehpur Sikri]. Bitter cold. I wore a cotton gown a sun hat and a
fur coat and a rug - the only way of meeting the varieties of the climate.
We drove through many villages and the country was all cultivated.
Later we saw the bullocks dragging up the water from the Noris in all
the fields. The Mainas, like fat Bubus[?], scarcely troubled to get out
of our way; there were also parrots, cranes, vultures and lovely blue
lilkant birds. The road was bordered with peepuls, siraz and seeso.
We got to F.S. at 10.30, through the outer wall, underneath the Nakar
Khahah where the musicians used to play when Akbar came in and
through the columned Diwan i Am where in a raised balcony between
pierced sandstone walls he gave judgement to the people. The Dak
B. is a most charming place, the old record office. Here we first
began to feel warm in the sun. We breakfasted and set off with
[space left blank] Chisti to see the place. First to the great mosque, a
splendid court containing 2 tombs, one of wonderful latticed marble
belonging to Sheikh Suleim Chisti with a mother of pearl canopy
inside. The carved lattice was full of bits of rags hung there by women
wishing for husbands or for sons. This Chisti was an ancestor of our
guide he kept repeating "I holy man" He gave me a little bunch of
jasmine flowers on a stick and a bit of some red sticky stuff wrapped
up in cotton wool which smelt strong of the smell of mosques. Then to
the mosque a fine great place with a magnificent door. Behind it is the
tomb of a little Chisti child who is supposed to have given his life that
Akbar might have a son. It was prophesied that he shd never have
one if he came to live at F.S. Further still are a charming house
belonging to Sheikh Suleim and a tiny mosque built for him by his
followers with the S shaped brackets which are on his tomb. These
two are older than Akbar's town. So down to a magnificent Basli into
which the people jump from the top of the mosque and down to the top
of the bath houses to photograph the great gate which is perhaps the
most splendid gate in the world. A fair was to be held 3 days later at
the end of Ramazan and the booths were already a setting[?] cages
of parrots and heaps of glass bracelets for sale. Past the mosque to
the Prime Minister's charming house, with Hindu brackets and
columns; then through the enormous horse and camel stable to
Birbal's house, a marvel of carving within and without and typically
Hindu. Along the terrace to the Jodh Bai's house and down to the tiny
mosque for the palace ladies and on to the Elephant gate outside
which are 2 headless elephants decapitated by Aurungzib. Down
below is a curious tower like a porcupine and merchants' houses.
The walls only go 2/3 [two thirds] round and are not here. There used
to be a lake below and is still in the rains. Back past Jodh Bai to
Mariam's house where there are traces of painting on the walls, one
an Annunciation. Then to the Panch Mahal where the children played
and to what our guide called the Goru's house with an elaborate Jain
porch and a curious arrangement of walls for hide and seek. Near it
is the Khas Mahal with an extraordinary central pillar going half way up
and supporting stone crossbeams - it has a heavy Hindu capital.
The court in front is marked for Pachisi. Then to the Turkish wife's
house, perhaps the loveliest of all with exquisite low relief designs -
pomegranates grapes flowers. So across a tank[?] to Akbar's Khab
Gah a lower room with a stone platform for a bed and a place for
water to lie all round beneath, a dining room, and above a charming
pavilion with Persian verses in his honour. Then into the Rajput wife's
house, a lovely court with fire places in the rooms and a temple on
one side There is a latticed sandstone room on the 1st floor standing
out and most lovely. A long passage between pavilions leads down
to the water gate. So back to the top of the Buland Darwaza and on
the way saw the Friday prayers in the mosque. Lovely view, but too
misty to see Agra. Back to the DB where we met the Wolvertons and
Jameses who had motored over. We were offered Peacock grill and
pigeon stew - we had the first and very tough it was! Off at 2.30 and
home at 5.30.

Reproduction Conditions
To obtain high resolution copies of any of these images and details of reproduction fees please contact us
IIIF Manifest