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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

Jaipur is celebrated for its enamelling on gold


"Up

a steep and narrow path we mounted until we reached the courtyard of the ancient palace of the ruler of Amber, and there we alighted from our steed, and set out to explore the ruins. First we came to a small temple, ugly enough, but interesting, for here a goat is sacrificed every morning to Kali--a particularly hideous goddess, if the frescoes on the walls and the golden image in the sanctuary are in any way truthful! Formerly a human sacrifice was customary, but the unfortunate goat is found to fulfil modern requirements, since goddesses are more easily pleased or less pampered than of yore."

"The Palace, which dates from the seventeenth century, is chiefly remarkable for its magnificent situation, and for its court and hall of audience of marble and red sandstone."

"This work was so fine as to excite the jealousy of the Mogul Emperor, so the Prince of Amber had it promptly whitewashed--and whitewashed it remains to this day. Some of the brazen doors are remarkably fine, as also those of sandal-wood, inlaid with ivory, in the women's quarters."

"We climbed to the marble court on the roof, where, canopied only by the sky and lighted by the moon, nocturnal durbars were held. Now, in the glare of the noonday sun, we fully appreciated the value of an evening sitting, for it was impossible to remain grilling there, even though the view of the silent city below, falling in tier

after tier to the lake--the glare only broken here and there by patches of green garden--was superb. On either side rose the bare, rocky ridges, fort-crowned and looking formidable even in decay, while in front the dusty road stretched away into the haze of the dusty plains below. Of course, we should have visited the great Jain temples and other things worthy of note; but, alas! a green garden, whose palms overhung the lake, proved more attractive than even Jain temples, and a charming picnic on fruits and cool drinks strengthened us sufficiently to enable us to face the hot road home, buoyed up each mile by the nearer prospect of a tub."

* * * * *

Jaipur is celebrated for its enamelling on gold, so our host kindly sent for an eminent jeweller to come and show us some trifles. Expectant of a humble native carrying the usual bundle, we were much impressed when, in due time, a dignitary drove up in a remarkably well turned out carriage and pair. His servants were clad in a smart livery, and he himself was resplendent, with uncut emerald earrings, and the general appearance of a certain Savoy favourite as the "Rajah of Bong"!

Our spirits sank as he spread himself and his goods out upon the drawing-room floor, which speedily became a glittering chaos of gold and jewelled cups, umbrella handles, boxes, scent-bottles, and necklaces. Jane divided her admiration between a rope of fat pearls and a necklace of uncut emeralds, either of which might have been hers at the trifling price of some 7000 rupees, but we finally restricted our acquisitions to very modest proportions, and the stout jeweller departed, apparently no whit less cheerful than when he came.

The modern brass-work of Jaipur is somewhat attractive, and we bought various articles--a tall lamp-stand, an elephant bell, and a few ordinary bowls of excellent shape.

I have remarked before on the extreme tameness of, and the confidence shown by, wild creatures out here. A titmouse came and perched on the arm of my chair while sitting reading on the verandah at Gulmarg.


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