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landlocked bay bordered on the left by a long and picturesque crenellated
wall, and passing through a narrow opening, we found ourselves in a second
division of the water; on the left, still the wall, with a
delightful-looking summer-house perched at a salient angle; on the right,
small wooded islands, the haunt of innumerable cormorants, who, with snaky
necks outstretched, watched us suspiciously from their eyrie.

A curious white bridge, very high in the centre, barred the view of the
main lake till, passing through the central arch, we found ourselves in a
scene of perfect enchantment. Before us the level sheet of molten silver
lay spread, reflecting the snowy palaces and summer-houses that stood amid
the palms and greenery of many tiny islands. On the left the city rose
from the water in a succession of temples and wide-terraced buildings,
culminating in the lofty pile of the Palace of the Maharana. Here, on this
enchanted lake, we rowed to and fro until the sun sank swiftly in the west
and the red gold glowed on temple and turret.

Then, with our catch, about 15 lbs. weight of most excellent fish, we
rowed back past the white city to the landing-place, and, in the gathering
dark, climbed the hillock upon which stood our host's bungalow.

We spent a week at Udaipur - a happy week, whose short days flew by far too
quickly. The weather was splendid; hot in the middle of the day - for the
season is late, and the monsoon has greatly failed in its cooling
duty - but delightful in morning and evening.

Rising one morning at early dawn, before the sun leaped above the eastern
hills, we took boat and rowed to one of the island palaces, where, after
fishing for mahseer, we breakfasted on a marble balcony overlooking the
ripples of the Pichola Lake, which lapped the feet of a group of great
marble elephants.

Not the least interesting expedition was to the south end of the lake one
afternoon to see the wild pigs fed. Traversing the whole length of the
Pichola, past the marble ghâts where the crimson-clad women washed and
chattered, while above them rose the roofs and temple domes of the fairy
city culminating in the walls and pinnacles of the palace - past the fleet
of queer green barges wherein the Maharana disports himself when
aquatically inclined, we left the many islands marble-crowned on our right;
and finally landed at a little jutting ledge of rock, whence a jungle
track led us in a few minutes to a terrace overlooking a rocky and steep
slope which fell away from the building near which we stood. The scene was
surprising! Hundreds of swine of all sorts and sizes, from grim slab-sided,
gaunt-headed old boars, whose ancient tusks showed menacing, to the
liveliest and sprightliest of little pigs playing hide-and-seek among
their staid relatives, were collected from the neighbouring jungle to
scramble for the daily dole of grain spread for them by the Maharana.

A cloud of dust rose thick in the air, stirred up by the busy feet and
snouts of the multitude, and grunts and squeals were loud and frequent as
a frisky party of younglings in their play would heedlessly bump up
against some short-tempered old boar, who in his turn would angrily butt a
too venturesome rival in the wind and send him, expostulating noisily,
down the hill!

Beyond the crowd of swine on the edge of the clearing, a few peacocks,
attracted by the prospect of a meal, held themselves strictly aloof from
the vulgar herd.

The whole city of Udaipur is a paradise for the artist - not a corner, not
a creature which does not seem to cry aloud to be painted. The only
difficulty in such _embarras de richesses_ of subject and such scantiness
of time, is to decide what not to do.

Hardly has the enthusiastic amateur sat down to delineate the stately pile
of the palace, soaring aloft amid its enveloping greenery, than he is
attracted by a fascinating glimpse of the lake, where, perhaps, a royal
elephant comes down to drink, or a crimson-clad bevy of Rajputni lasses
stoop to fill their brazen chatties with much chatter and laughter.

Bewildered by such wealth of subject, one is but too apt to sit at gaze,
and finally go home with merely a dozen pages of scribbles added to the
little canvas jotting-book!

The Palace of the Maharana is a very splendid pile of buildings, as seen
from some little distance crowning the ridge which rises to the south of
the lake, but it loses much of its beauty when closely viewed. It is, of
course, not to be compared architecturally with the master-works of Agra
and Delhi, and the internal decorations are usually tawdry and
uninteresting. The entrance is fine; the visitor ascends the steep street
to the principal gate, a massive portal, strengthened against the
battering of elephants by huge spikes, and decorated by a pair of these
animals in fresco-rampant. Beyond the first gate rises a second or inner
gate. On the right are huge stables where the royal elephants are kept,
and on the left stand a row of curious arches, beneath one of which the
Maharanas of old were wont to be weighed against bullion after a victory,
the equivalent to the royal avoirdupois being distributed as largesse to
his people!

Within the gates, a long and wide terrace stretches along the entire front
of the Palace, on the face of which is emblazoned the Sun of Mewar, the
emblem of the Sesodias. This terrace was evidently the happy home of a
great number of cows, peacocks, geese, and pigeons, which stalked calmly
enough, among the motley crowd of natives, and gave one the impression of
a glorified farmyard. The building itself, like most Indian palaces, is
composed of a heterogeneous agglomeration in all sorts of sizes and styles.
Each successive Maharana having apparently added a bit here and a bit
there as his capricious fancy prompted.

Jane visited the armoury to-day with the Resident, who went to choose a
shield to be presented by the Maharana to the Victoria Museum at Calcutta.
I chose to go sketching, and was derided by Jane for missing such a chance
of seeing what is not shown to visitors as a rule. She whisked away in
great pomp in the Residential chariot, preceded by two prancing sowars on
horseback, and subsequently thus related her experiences: -

* * * * *

"We really drove up far too fast to the Palace, I was so much interested
in the delightful streets; and we just whizzed past the innumerable
shrines and queer shops, and frescoed walls, where extraordinary lions and
tigers, and Rajput warriors, riding in wide petticoats on prancing steeds,
were depicted in flaming colours. I wanted, too, to gaze at the native
women, in their accordion-pleated, dancing frocks of crimson or dark blue;
but it seemed to be the correct thing for a 'Personage' to drive as fast
as possible, and try to run over a few people just to show them what
unconsidered trifles they were. Well, we were received at the entrance to
the Palace by one of the Prime Ministers. There are two Prime
Ministers - one to criticise and frustrate the schemes of the other; the
result being, as the Resident remarked, that it is not easy to get any
business done. Our Prime Minister was dressed in a coat of royal purple
velvet, on his head was wound a big green turban, and round his neck hung
a lovely necklet of pearls and emeralds, with a pendant of the same, he
had also earrings to match. It was truly pitiful to see such ornaments
wasted on a fat old man."

"Going up a narrow and rather steep staircase, we came to a small hall
full of retainers of his Highness, waiting until it should please him to
appear and breakfast with them, for it is the custom of the Maharana to
make that meal a sort of public function. In the middle of the hall
reposed a big bull, evidently very much at ease and quite at home!"

"A few more steps brought us to the door of the armoury. This is small and
badly arranged, which seems a pity, as there were some lovely things.
Chain armour and inlaid suits lay about the floor in heaps; and we were
shown the saddle used by Akbar during the last siege of Chitor. The most
remarkable things, however, were the Rajput shields, of which there were
some beautiful specimens. They are circular, not large, and made, some of
tortoiseshell, some of polished hippo hide, &c. One was inlaid with great
emeralds, a second had bosses of turquoise, and a really lovely one was
inlaid with fine Jaipur enamel in blue and green. There were swords simply
encrusted with jewels - one with a hilt of carved crystal; another was a
curiously-modelled dog's head in smooth silver, and I noticed a beauty in
pale jade. Altogether it was a most fascinating collection, different from,
but in its way quite as interesting, as the fine armoury at Madrid."

Thus did Jane triumph over me with her description of what she had seen
and what I had missed; and I had been trying to delineate the Temple of
Jagganath, and had been disastrously defeated, for it is indeed a
complicated piece of drawing, and the children, both large and small,
crowded round me to my great hindrance. Therefore, it was not until I had
been soothed with an excellent lunch, and the contents of a very long
tumbler, that I felt strong enough to take an intelligent interest in the
contents of the Maharana's curiosity-shop!

_Monday, October_ 30. - The more we see of Udaipur the more we are charmed
with it. The whole place is so absolutely unspoilt by modernism, is so
purely Eastern - and ancient Eastern at that - that we feel as though we
were in a little world far apart from the great one where steam and
electricity shatter the nerves, and drive their victims through life at
high pressure.

Ringed in by a rampart of arid hills, beyond which the scrub-covered
desert stretches for miles, the peaceful city of Udaipur lies secluded in
an oasis, whose centre is a turquoise lake. High in his palace the
Maharana rules in feudal state, and, like Aytoun's Scottish Cavalier,

"A thousand vassals dwelt around - all of his kindred they,
And not a man of all that clan has ever ceased to pray
For the royal race he loves so well."

For to his subjects the Maharana is little less than a divinity, for is he
not a direct descendant of the Sun? Likewise is he not the chief of the
only royal house of Rajputana, who disdained to purchase Mogul friendship
at the price of giving a daughter in marriage to the Mohammedan?

There are greater personages among the ruling Princes of India, according
to British ruling - Hyderabad, for instance. And in the matter of
precedence and the number of guns for ceremonial salutation, the Chief of
Mewar - like other poor but proud nobles - is treated rather according to
his actual power than the cloudless blue of his blood. Hence he is
extremely unwilling to put himself in a position where he might fail to
obtain the honour which he considers due to him. He was most averse from
attending the Delhi Durbar, but such pressure was put upon him that he was
induced to proceed thither in his special train running, as far as
Chitorgarh, upon his own special railway. He reached Delhi, and his
sponsors rejoiced that they had indeed got him to the water, although they
had not exactly induced him to drink. As a matter of fact, the Maharana,
having gone to Delhi to please the British authorities, promptly returned
to Udaipur to please himself, alleging a terrific headache as reason for
instant departure from the capital, without his having left his very own
specially reserved first-class compartment!

He may not be a willing guest, but he is evidently disposed to be an
excellent host, for great preparations are toward for the reception of the
Prince of Wales, who is expected in the course of a fortnight or so.

The Residency, too, is being swept and garnished, the garden already
looking like a miniature camp, with tents for the suite all among the
flower-beds.

_Tuesday, October_ 31. - A day or two ago we arose betimes, and before
sunrise embarked in the State gig (which was always, apparently, placed at
our host's disposal on demand), and set forth to catch fish for our
breakfast, and then proceed to eat the same on one of the island palaces
on the lake. We did not catch many fish - the mahseer were shy that
morning - but fortunately we did not entirely depend on the caprices of the
mahseer for our sustenance, and a remarkably well-fed and contented
quartette we were when we got into the gig while the day was yet young,
and rowed home as quickly as might be in order to escape the heat which at
noonday is still great.

This afternoon we went for a (to us) novel tea picnic. A State elephant
appeared by request, and we climbed upon him with ladders, and he
proceeded to roll leisurely along at the rate of about two and a half
miles an hour towards the foot of a hill, on the top of which stood a
small summer palace.

The afternoon was warm, and the rhythmic pace drowsy, but our steed was
determined to amuse us and benefit himself. So he blew great blasts of
spray at his own forelegs and chest to cool himself, and now and then made
shocking bad shots at so large a target, and, getting a trifle too much
elevation, nearly swept us from our lofty perch.

Fortunately his stock of spray gave out ere long, or he found that the
increasing gradient of the hill took all his breath, for we were left at
leisure to admire the widening view until we reached the top.

Here we had tea in one of the cool halls, and then sat watching the sun
sink towards the hills that stretch to Mount Aboo.

To the south-east lay Udaipur, milk-white along the margin of its "marléd"
waters.

On our way home we met with an adventure. While prattling to my hostess, I
observed that our toes were rising unduly, the saddle or howdah being
seated somewhat after the fashion of an outside car. Glancing over my
shoulder I descried Jane and her partner far below their proper level. The
howdah was coming round, and our steed was eleven feet high! Agonised
yells to the gentleman who guided the deliberate steps of the pachyderm
from a coign of vantage on the back of his neck, awoke him to an
appreciation of the situation. The elephant was "hove to" with all
possible despatch, and we crawled off his back with the greatest celerity.
We then sat down by the roadside and superintended the righting of the
saddle and the tautening of the girths by several natives, who "took in
the slack" with an energy that must have made the poor elephant very
"uncomfy" about the waist! I secretly hoped it was hurting him horribly,
as I had not forgiven him for his practical jokes on the way up.

We had no more thrills. Resuming our motor 'bus, in due course, we were
landed opposite the top of our host's verandah, whereupon the beast shut
himself up like a three-foot rule, and we got to ground.

The inexorable flight of time brought us all too soon to the limit of our
stay at Udaipur. Early on Wednesday the 1st November, therefore, we bade
adieu to the capital of the State of Mewar, and, accompanied by our kind
host and hostess, set out to spend a day in exploring the ruined city of
Chitor before taking train for Bombay.

As we drove to the station, we passed the group of ancient "chatries" or
tombs of dead and gone Ranas of Mewar, and halted for a short inspection,
as, the train by which we were to travel to Chitorgarh being a "special,"
we were not bound to a precise moment for our appearance on the platform.

Jane, who is perfectly Athenian in her passion for novelty, decided to
travel on the engine, and proceeded to do so; until, at the first
halting-place, a grimy and somewhat dishevelled female climbed into our
carriage, and the next half-hour was fully occupied in scooping smuts out
of her eyes with teaspoons.

It had been arranged that an elephant should await our arrival at
Chitorgarh to take us up to the ancient city, but a careful search into
every nook and cranny failed to reveal the missing animal.

So my host and I set out on foot to cross a mile or so of plain which
spread in deceptive smoothness between us and the ascent to the city. What
seemed a serene and level track became quickly entangled in a maze of
rough little knobs and nullahs, and we took a vast amount of exercise
before arriving at the old bridge which spans the Gamberi River.

Meanwhile, towering over the scrubby bushes and surrounded by a dusty halo,
the dilatory pachyderm bore down upon us, and, after the mahout had been
interviewed in unmeasured terms by my host, went rolling slowly to the
station to pick up the ladies.

The ancient city of Chitor lies crumbling and desolate on the back of a
long, level-topped hill, which rises solitary to the height of some five
hundred feet above the far-stretching plain. Kipling likens it to a great
ship, up the sides of which the steep road slopes like a gangway. At the
foot lies the modern village, squalid but picturesque.

As we toil, perspiring, up the long ramp which for a weary mile slopes
sidelong up the scarped flank of the mountain, and pass through the seven
gates which guarded the way, and every one of which was the scene of many
a grim and bloody struggle, I will try to sketch the outline of the
history of the famous fort, for many centuries the headquarters of the
royal race of Mewar.

The Gehlotes, or (as they were afterwards styled) the Sesodias, claim
descent from the Sun through Manu, Icshwaca, and Rama Chandra, as indeed
do the other Rajput potentates of Jaipur, Marwar, and Bikanir, the Rana of
Mewar, however, taking precedence owing to his descent from Lava, the
eldest son of Rama.

The ancient dynasty of Mewar has fallen from its high estate, but the
history of its rise is lost in the mists of grey antiquity.

"We can trace the losses of Mewar, but with difficulty her acquisitions....
She was an old-established dynasty when all the other States were in
embryo." Long before Richard of the Lion-heart fared to Palestine to wrest
the Holy City from the infidel, "a hundred kings, its (Mewar's) allies and
dependants, had their thrones raised in Chitor," to defend it against the
sword of the Mohammedan; while overhead floated the banner displaying the
golden sun of Mewar on a crimson field.

Some centuries later the Crusaders brought to Europe from the plains of
Palestine the novel device of armorial bearings.

Chitor itself appears to have been in possession of the Mori princes until,
in A.D. 728, it was taken by Bappa, who, though of royal race, was brought
up in obscurity by the Bhils as an attendant on the sacred kine. This
shepherd prince, ancestor of the present Rana of Mewar, became a national
hero, and many legends are still current concerning him and his romantic
deeds. The story of his "amazing marriage," by which he succeeded in
wedding six hundred damsels all at once, is one of the most curious. Bappa,
while still a youth, was appealed to, one holiday, by the frolicsome
maidens of a neighbouring village, who, led by the daughter of the
Solankini chief of Nagda, in accordance with the custom upon this
particular saint's day, had come out to indulge in swinging, but who had
forgotten to supply themselves with a swinging-rope. Bappa agreed to get
them one if they would play his game first. This the young ladies readily
agreed to do; whereupon, all joining hands, he danced with them a certain
mystic number of times round a sacred tree.

"Regardless of their doom, the little victims played,"

and finally dispersed to their homes, entirely unconscious that they were
all as securely married to Bappa as though they had visited Gretna Green
with him.

Some time afterwards, upon the engagement of the Solankini maiden to an
eligible young man, the soothsayer, to whom application had been made with
regard to fixing a favourable and auspicious wedding-day, discovered from
certain lines in her hand that the girl was already married! Thus the
whole story came out, and no less than six hundred brides assumed the
title of Mrs. Bappa.

He seems to have had a passion for matrimony, for when an old man he left
his children and his country, and carried his arms west to Khorassan,
where he wedded new wives and had a numerous offspring. He died at the age
of a hundred!

From the days of the very much married Bappa, until the time of Samarsi,
who was Prince of Chitor in the thirteenth century, the city continued to
flourish and increase in power and importance. Samarsi, having married
Pirtha, sister of Prithi Raj, the lord of Delhi, joined his brother-in-law
against Shabudin. For three days the battle raged, until the scale fell
finally in favour of Shabudin, and the combined forces of Delhi and Chitor
were almost annihilated. "Pirtha, on hearing of the loss of the battle,
her husband slain, her brother captive, and all the heroes of Delhi and
Cheetore 'asleep on the banks of the Caggar in a wave of the steel,'
joined her lord through the flames."

From that time forward the history of Chitor is but a tale of sack and
slaughter, relieved in its murkiest days by flashes of brilliant heroism
and self-sacrificing devotion while the chivalrous Rajputs struggled
vainly against the successive waves of the Mohammedan invasions, which in
a fierce flood for centuries swept over India, and deluged it with blood.

In the year 1275 Lakumsi became Rana of Chitor. His uncle Bheemsi had
married Padmani, a fair daughter of Ceylon, and her beauty was such that
the fame of it came to the ears of Alla-o-din, the Pathan Emperor.

He promptly attacked the fortress, but without success for a long period,
until he agreed to a compromise, declaring that if he could merely see the
Lady Padmani in a mirror he would be contented and raise the siege.

His request was granted, and, trusting to the honour of a Rajput, he
entered the city unattended, and was rewarded by a sight of this Eastern
Helen reflected in a mirror. Desirous of showing equal faith in a noble
enemy, Bheemsi accompanied Alla back to his lines, but there he was
captured and held to ransom, Padmani being the price.

Word was now sent to the Emperor that Padmani would be delivered to him,
and seven hundred covered litters were prepared to convey her and her
ladies to Delhi, but each litter was borne by six armed bearers, and
contained no "silver-bodied damsels with musky tresses," but only
steel-clad warriors, who, upon arrival in the Moslem camp, sprang from
their concealment as surprisingly as Pallas from the head of Zeus.

Alla-o-din was, however, not to be caught napping, and, being prepared for
all contingencies, a fierce combat took place, and the warriors of Chitor
were hard put to it to stand their ground until Bheemsi had escaped to the
stronghold on a fleet horse. Then the devoted remnant retreated, pursued
to the very gates by their foes. The flower of Chitor had perished, but
they had achieved their object. This was called the "half sack" of
Chitor.[1]

Fifteen years later, Alla-o-din once more attacked Chitor, and this time
the assaults were so deadly that the garrison was decimated and utter
annihilation stared the survivors in the face. Then to the Rana appeared
the guardian goddess of the city, who warned him that "if twelve who wear
the diadem bleed not for Chitor, the land will pass from the line." Now
the prince had twelve sons, and, in obedience to the goddess and in hope
of eventually saving their dynasty, eleven of them cheerfully headed
sorties on eleven following days, and were slain, until only Ajeysi, the
youngest, was left alive. Then the Kana prepared for the end. He sent the
boy Ajeysi with a small band by a secret way, and he escaped to Kailwarra,
so that the royal race of Chitor should not become extinct. Then the women
of the city, with the noble Padmani at their head, accepted the Johur;
"the funeral pyre being lighted within the great subterranean retreat,"
they steadfastly marched into the living grave rather than yield
themselves to the will of the conqueror. All being now ready for the last
act of the hideous drama, the Rana caused the gates to be opened, and with
his valiant remnant of an army fell upon the foe only to perish to a man,
and then, and not till then, did the victorious Alla set foot of a
conqueror within Chitor, where now no living thing remained to stay him
from razing her deserted temples to the ground. The palace of Padmani
alone was spared in this, the first "saka" of Chitor.[2]

The wrecked stronghold remained an appanage of the Mogul until Hamir, who,
though not the direct heir of Ajeysi, had gained the chieftainship through
his valour, and who, having married a ward of the Hindu governor of Chitor,


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