0Thursday. 14th [December 1905]—Jaipur
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14 December 1905 — Jaipur
Thursday. 14th [December 1905]. We got up early & were ready to start off soon after 8 when Mr Bajnanth came with the state carriage to take us off on an excursion to the old Fort at Amber. We passed through suburbs with native houses & gardens & temples along a road lined on each side with shady trees– In those trees we had our first view of wild monkeys which were jumping about from branch to branch playing and gibbering. We saw great dry water tanks & a dried lake in the midst of which stands the ruins of a large palace wh had to be abandoned on account of the disappearance of the water of the lake. A short way beyond this we came to the gate which closes the pass leading to Amber & soon found ourselves between low hills crowned with fortress walls. On the left stood the old Palace of Amber with the steep winding road leading up to it. The great tank at the foot of the rock is now also dry wh is a pity both for the inhabitants & for the picturesque. Here we found an elephant waiting for us—so we left the carriage—the huge beast was made to kneel down—a ladder was put against his side & I went up it on to his back. Nela & Mr B. got up on the other side. We were bidden to “hold tight” & then came a feeling as tho’ the earth was rocking. There was nothing in front of one to keep one safe & one had only to cling on to the iron bars at the sides. When once the creature was started it was not so bad & as he plodded on up the steep incline which lead to the Fort one saw all the plain beyond the Fortress appear—one looked another way & saw the ruins of the city of Amber which stretched to the plain & one realized the strength of the place. The sun was very hot & we were glad to get into the shade as soon as the dread moment of dismounting was over. We then went over the old Palace & I was agreeably surprised to find it was still in such good repair, as I had been led to expect nothing but ruin & desolation from the account given of it by Rudyard Kipling in his letters on India. Some of the rooms have even carpets rolled into a corner showing that they are ready for use when the Maharajah pays his yearly visit to the place. There were also a good many retainers about the place. The Zenana rooms & lattices were some of them lovely & the view looking out from the marble traceries magnificent. Having walked the endless halls & more rooms than I can remember we remounted our elephant & went down the hill to the Dak refreshment room where we had an excellent breakfast sent out for us by the proprietor of our hotel at Jaipur. Our friend Mr Bajnanth being a Hindu could not join us & sat in the verandah waiting till we were ready. There were 2 or 3 other tourists with their carriages & elephants waiting to carry them to the Fort & we saw some going up in bullock carts. We were sorry to drive away & leave this strange isolated place—an empty fortress in the midst of a ruined city. We returned to Jaipur by about noon having had a charming excursion– Our afternoon trip was to the Museum which was not very interesting—& we drove in the gardens & back to the hotel–

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