Jaipur, India

Tuesday, April 30, 1929

Arrived in Ajmer about nine and had breakfast at the station. Frank and Mort took a carriage and rode around town. I didn’t feel well enough to go out in the heat, so stayed at the oven-station. Left at two—and what a ride! We were still in the great plain and for miles it stretched away, barren of everything except cactus, shrubs, and dwarf trees. Occasionally a plot of plowed ground rolled by as our train averaged just 17 miles an hour through waves of heat. We were languid, too hot to sleep, too hot to stay awake, everything you touch hot and swetty.

We pulled in Jaipur at 7:30, late, and parked in the station while Frank went out to find a hotel, having a letter of introduction here from the manager of the Udaipur Hotel, under same ownership. Meanwhile, Mort and I noticed a number of men and servants on the platform all dressed up and carrying large batons, knives, or swords. Mort suggested something was up and sure enough. In a few seconds up rolls a big special train of eight white cars and fitted out like a house and lot. A door opened in a parlor car and there stood His Highness the Maharaja of Jodhpur, and by him our friend Narpat Singh. The Maharaja of Jaipur arrived with his young nice-looking son.  Shortly after, Rao Raja Narpat Singh came out on the platform where Mort and I met him and were invited to go through the train to see it. Not much it hasn’t in the way of luxuries such as kelvinators, fans, little private rooms, bathrooms with tubs, etc. He wanted to show us the quarters of the Maharaja, but as the place was being used at present by His Highness, we couldn’t. Had some lemonade in the diner while the crowd gazed in through the windows. Frank arrived and joined the party. Some ritz for we bums, all dirty, hair uncombed, and unshaved.  Our host told us he had recently had his hair shaved off in mourning for a relative who died. Of course it was all covered up by the large turban, worn indoors as well as out. Two English ladies arrived for dinner, one quite pleasant, the other rather cold and reserved.

After a while we retired to the platform where dozens of natives were carrying big baskets of food into the train, a gift from the Maharaja of Jaipur.  We were again invited to the place where the royal party is to spend the next two months, to participate in this 100-mile or so hike that Narpat is planning on.

Our carriage was waiting at the door and soon we were going along fine, wide, paved roads under huge trees, homes and clubs at intervals—that might have qualified as one of our new suburbs—in the dark. The New Jaipur Hotel is one of three good hotels here, and is a dandy. Built for the tropics with large, airy, light rooms, and nice porches shaded by trees of the garden. Our letter got us a reduction from 12 rupees to 6 R with meals (which are plenty good, also large).

As I can only eat a little, I am only paying 5 R for mine. The first-class carriage has been reduced for us to 12 annas first hour, 8 the second, etc. But the tips!! The greatest thing is that for the first time in nearly a month and a half we have sheets over our beds, the latter placed on the upper porch in the open, all covered with mosquito netting. Our hot suite of 3 rooms, two small ones, one containing a real bathtub!, is OK.

Comments are closed.