The “Rawal Pindi” arrived in dock this afternoon and we went down to see the passengers disembark. Very interesting to see passengers of all nationalities and in varied costumes. Called to see Edward Rose of the Atlas Insurance Co. Knew him as a little boy […]
Left by launch at 9am for Elephanta Island, seven miles across the bay. Got news that there was little hope for the King and our return saw the flags flying at half mast. This was at 12:30pm, or 7am English time, and on landing we saw placards with the words “The King Emperor Dead”. It gave one a queer sensation. All business came to a standstill and even the barber’s shop in the hotel was closed. There are caves on Elephanta Island after the style of those at Ajanta but cannot be compared for workmanship and the state of preservation with Ajanta. Thirteen hundred years old, they stand on the top of a hill and it is a very good walk up the steps to them. There were several natives with chairs on long poles waiting for a job and I allowed four of them to carry me up for two rupees. The other walked. The natives earned the money. Bombay is a fine city with a population of 1 and a quarter million. Good wide streets and fine buildings and appears to be well provided with sports and recreation grounds. One wonders what the result would be if Britain lifted her control, withdrew her troops and gave India what Congress is clamouring for – Home Rule. There are so many states – religions and castes. Four hundred million people – many of whom are ready to fly at one another’s throats. A few immensely rich and the great majority intensely poor. Some of the public men say that India, like the rest of the world, is suffering from over-education. From what I have seen in India – let the millions of the lower castes get a bit of that education and able to think and reason for themselves and these agitators will soon be squealing for British protection. Great improvements have been brought about under British Rule but a lot more has to be done in the way of sanitation – teaching the natives cleanliness and improving their mode of living – housing – clothing and footwear and stopping the filthy habit of chewing betel nut. Also stopping the practice of sipping water out of what are supposed to be holy rivers or tanks in which the natives bathe – wash their dirty clothes – throw dead babies and the remains of the fires on which dead bodies are burned. The conserving of water, judging by the wide river beds, almost dry when we saw them, a lot must run to waste and water is required in quantity for sanitation and irrigation.
A rickshaw drive round the Gem lake, Mount Abu and through the bazaars which are the cleanest and neatest we have seen in India. Mount Abu is very hilly and rocky and we got some splendid views going round the Lake. Afterwards we drove to the famous Dilwara Temples by rickshaw – 3 men to each. One can hardly describe these temples after seeing so much carving in marble and stone during our tour. There are two Jain Temples of white marble and there are two more temples but they are of stone and just ordinary. The marble temples make one gasp at the work – the ceiling, pillars, walls, recesses – every one of a different design and every piece of marble covered with carving. The first temple – Adinath – was started in A.D 1032 and is said to have cost 185,600,000 rupees, or £12,400,000 and took fourteen years to build. Nimmath Temple was built 200 years later and cost £10,000,000 and is even more magnificent, if that is possible. Some of the ceiling carvings are so delicate that the marble is almost transparent. One corridor has ten large marble, knotted ropes, etc., are all wonderfully and delicately carved. In my opinion these are the most wonderful and beautiful buildings we have seen so far. On our way to Mt. Abu we changed trains at Ajmere and having an hour to spare took a taxi and drove round the bazaars – to the Mosque and to a beautiful lake, otherwise it was the usual Indian town – clouds of dust caused in all parts of India by the natives stirring up the dust with cane brooms. Supposed to be sweeping the streets, the only results I have been able to see is that they create a continuous cloud of dust. Caught the 4:22pm train for Bombay.