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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

Jaipur was built upon a regular and prearranged plan


_Saturday,

October 21._--One is apt to be cross and fussed and generally upset on being landed on a strange platform in the dark at 5.30 A.M., as we were at Jaipur, but much solace lay in the fact that a comfortable carriage stood waiting us and a most kind and genial host received us on the broad verandah of his bungalow, and the cheering fact was borne in upon us that we shall have henceforward but little to do with Indian hotels.

How one appreciates a large, cool room, good servants, good food, and last, but not least, the society of one's kind, after two or three weeks of racket and discomfort by road and rail.

A restful morning enlivened us sufficiently to enjoy a garden party at the Residency in the afternoon, where not only the English society, but a large number of native gentlemen, were playing lawn-tennis with laudable energy.

After Kashmir, where Sir Amar Singh is the only native who mixes at all with the English, it was interesting to see and meet on terms of good-fellowship these Rajput aristocrats.

_Sunday, October_ 22.--The city of Jaipur is, I think, principally interesting as being modern and enlightened among those of the native states.

When the ancient city of Amber was abandoned, principally on account of its scanty water-supply, Jaipur was built upon a regular and prearranged plan, having a great

wide street down the centre, crossed by two large thoroughfares at right angles, thus dividing the town into six rectangular blocks.

We drove into the city in the afternoon, and were much impressed by its airiness and cleanliness. The houses are all coated with pink stucco, picked out with white, which, in the bright atmosphere, has, at a little distance, a charming effect. On closer inspection the real tawdriness and want of solidity of the work become painfully apparent, and the designs in white upon the pink, in which the wayward fancy of each householder runs riot, generally leave much to be desired, both in design and execution.

The broad, clean main streets were a perfect kaleidoscope of colour and movement. Men in pink pugarees--in lemon-coloured--in emerald green; women in blood-red saris, bearing shining brass pots upon their heads, all talking, shouting, jostling--a large family of monkeys on a neighbouring roof added their quota of conversation--calm oxen, often with red-painted horns and pink-streaked bodies, camels, asses, horses, strolled about or pushed their way through the throng. No Hindu cow would ever dream of making way for anybody. Yes, though! Here comes an elephant rolling along, and the holy ones with humps discreetly retire aside, covering their retreat before a _force majeure_ by stepping up to the nearest greengrocer's stall and abstracting a generous mouthful of the most succulent of his wares.

Rising in the midst of a lovely garden, just outside the city, is the Albert Hall, a remarkably fine structure, built in accordance with the best traditions of Mohammedan architecture adapted to modern requirements by our host, the designer. It contains both a museum of the products of Rajputana, and also an instructive collection of objects of art and science, gathered together for the edification of the intelligent native.


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