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: Audience with the Maharana; sightseeing around Udaipur
medium: diaries
date: 30.12.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Sat. Dec. 30.
text: In the morning I drove in the Maharaja's carriage to the Sajjan Niwas Gardens, to the Victoria Hall, a quite modern building, and looked at the collection of carnivora in cages. The gardens are fine & well-watered. The Samar Gardens is reserved for the heir apparent & contains a villa. I next drove to the Palace & went all over the "New palace" which is beautiful outside but very disappointing inside with its poor European furniture & wretched paintings. Among the chief embellishments of one of the drawing-rooms I was amused to see an ordinary bedroom cheval glass and two large upright European weighing-machines of the 'penny-in-the-slot' type! Eastward drift of European 'civilization', no doubt, but hardly progress! A meeting of East & West which is valde deflendus! There are very fine views from the windows & terraces, mostly over the Lake. On the way back to the Guest House I stopped at the Temple of Jagdish, or Jagganath Raiji, early XVII century. It is very finely carved all over and towers above the Gangor Ghat. Steps lead up to it from the street. It contains an image of Kali, & in front of the Temple is a shrine with a large brass figure of Garuda.
text: At 12.30 p.m. I drove to the Old Palace to be received by the Maharana (Sir Fateh Singh Bahadur, G.C.S.I., G.C.V.O.). Arriving through the Bari Pol (gate) I saw 13 of the State elephants tethered on the terrace. I was received by a courtier who took me to the Audience Room where H.H. was awaiting me, seated in state. One of the Court officials acted as interpreter. The Maharana, who is 74 years of age, was looking very well & certainly did not look his age. I gave him Sir Claude Hill's letter of introduction & thanked him cordially for his generous hospitality to me. This grand old conservative prince had certainly done me well, since not only am I his guest during my stay in Udaipur, but a carriage & pair had been at my disposal whenever I liked, and a boat on the Lake, but also I was promised a car to take me to Jai Samam and a small steam launch for an excursion on that lake.
text: After leaving the Maharana, I went over the Old palace which is quite interesting. From the terrace-roof there is a magnificent view over the town on one side & the lake on the other. A courtyard contains a number of peacocks (Indian, white & Japanese varieties), also some Chukar Partridges. Some of the rooms are decorated with glass-mosaic - animal figures cut out of glass & set in plaster, clever but flashy. The furniture (chairs, tables etc), striking but hardly attractive.
text: In the afternoon I drove to the Sahelion-ki-Bari (Slave Girl's Garden) along the Fateh Sagar Lake. Very nicely kept up & furnished with elaborate fountain tanks in which water shoots up all round in jets, in some through the beaks of birds & in another through the trunks of four large marble elephants. Afterwards I drove to the Victoria Hall in the Sajjan Aiwas Gardens to see the small museum there, not very interesting. The turban worn by Shah Jehan when living on Jagmandir Island is the chief treasure. I photographed a small Hindu temple near the Delhi Gate on my way back to the Guest House. In the evening the wild swine were feeding again just below the Guest house. I had a short walk down to the Fateh Sagar Lake after sundown.