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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

27.0410218, 88.2662745

Fri. 13 [13 February 1903] Got to Silliguri [Shiliguri] at 6.30. Half an
hour before I sighted, far, unbelievably far up in the sky, the white
summits of Kinchinjunga [Kanchenjunga] like a white pale dream hung
up in heaven. Breakfasted and got into a delightful light railway. All
the people had Mongol faces with flat set eyes. 7 miles off, at
Sorkna[?], through delicious plain with woods bare rice fields and
clumps of bamboo, we began to rise. So up and up through forests
winding up the flanks of the hills and looking down wonderful wooded
gorges to the plains, misty with the rising heat of the day. Tea
gardens on the slopes. The line made wonderful complete loops
and reverses. The villages mostly built of old oil tins. We rose 7000
ft. Lunched at Kurseong [Karsiyang] an amusing place where the
women tried to sell us turquoise ornaments (11.30). Got to Ghoom
about 1 where we first saw a Buddhist shrine set round with praying
flags. Darjeeling [Darjiling] at 1.45, very cold, the mts hidden in mists,
but the enormous incredible size of the foothills told one what to
expect. Found the Russells. After lunch H [Hugo] and I went to Bhutia
Busti to see the Buddhist temple. A disagreeable old Lama showed it
to us - there were praying wheels and cylinders which rang bells and
inside 3 statues - the Goru who carried Buddhism into Thibet [Tibet] in
the centre, on one side the Figure of Life and on the other I think
Buddha himself. The town is all up and down, the slopes sprinkled
with Bamboo and marvellous views down the valleys. The Lamas
refused to dance. Walked home through a park. Windy and dusty.
Dined with the Russells and early to bed. We have a Nepalese
bearer called Jitman.

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