The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - 'Diary of a Tour in the Naga Hills, 1922-1923' by Henry Balfour

caption: Guest of the Maharana; sightseeing around Udaipur
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 29.12.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Fri. Dec. 29.
text: I had a compartment to myself till Nasirabad, where Colonel Kidd, who had been shooting, got in. I found that he is a friend of Hutton & was in Manipur & Kohima with him. We arrived at Chitorgarh Station at about 6.30 a.m., & Col. Kidd & Capt. Eyre (adjutant) & I went to the Dak bungalow for early tea. They were charming companions & were going to visit the old fort of Chitorgarh, which stands on a high ridge about 3 miles from the station & in full view from it. I went on by the 8 a.m. train for Udaipur. Saw some white-necked black storks and some black-necked black-&-white storks with red legs; also Sarus Cranes, wild peacocks, common swallows and Blackbucks, The flat country was much dried up & brown, but got greener as Udaipur was approached. Hill ranges became more frequent. Arrived at Udaipur (Mewar State) at 12.30 p.m. H.H. the Maharana had sent a victoria & pair with red-coated driver to meet me. I drove to the Maharana's Guest House, my kit being brought along with my bearer in a tonga. The Guest House (M.R. Kazi, manager) is charmingly placed, overlooking the beautiful Fateh Sagar Lake. & stands upon Moti Magri ('Pearl' Hill). I had the Guest House all to myself; it is extremely nice & spacious. large bedroom with dressing-room & large verandah. An English-speaking chuprassi had been told off to show me the sights. After a change & an excellent tiffin, I went down to the head of the Pichola Lake & took a boat with 4 rowers. We passed under a bridge & passed islands occupied by cormorants & egrets etc. At a bathing ghat were a number of people bathing after having cremated a dead person. We passed on into the main Pichola Lake & along the front of the imposing array of temples and palaces standing high above the lake shore, a very impressive sight of buildings mostly white. I landed on Jag Niwar Island & visited the house which is beautiful outside & rather tawdry within, with much inlaid mirror work, crude paintings, an elaborate glass bedstead etc. Thence I was rowed to the Jag Mandir Island where there is another small palace, in which Shah Jehan lived for a time. A good garden occupies most of the island. From here I went to the end of the lake, to the Khar Odi (the chief shooting-box) where hundreds of wild boars, sows & young had assembled to be fed. They were very tame but fought amongst themselves & raised huge clouds of dust. In the building there is a deep arena where leopard versus boar fights are staged, the boar nearly always winning. A splendid view of the town & palaces is seen from here. After crossing to the Embankment I transferred with one of H.H.'s ministers, sent to meet me, to a carriage & drove back to the Guest House through the town, which is very picturesque. The streets are narrow & easily blocked. We were held up for some time by a dozen or so cows laden with straw. Another block was caused by one of the state elephants which filled the street & was a leisurely mover. I got back to the Guest House at 6 p.m. had tea & a bath, followed by an excellent dinner at 8. In the evenings, after sundown lots of wild pigs come and feed in the scrub immediately below the terrace of the Guest House. I saw many of them, some not twelve yards from where I stood, & I could hear them crunching and fighting long after it was too dark to see more than their dim forms in the moonlight. I turned in at 10 p.m. very tired.