Delhi, India

Friday, June 14, 1929

Started things out with a rush today (a good omen for a bad day) and went down on the Chandri Chowk to buy the place out—soap, boxes, books, cloth, soles, and a big time. We were broke by noon so hurried back to the Chequers to get our boxes off for home.

Finally got these off at five. My money didn’t come from Calcutta this afternoon as we had hoped it would. Our rush was all for naught and our hopes of getting a night train for Agra went to smash. Have to wait over another day now. Tough—as I have $50 to get to Colombo on.

Delhi is India’s winter capital and Simla, the summer. A mile outside the Delhi Gate the British are building a New Delhi, probably on India’s money. At any rate, it will someday be a magnificent place. Turning off the main road south, toward the right, you pass under an imposing new archway. Looking down wide Kingsway, one sees at a mile distance, the government buildings, some still in course of construction. They form a most imposing group of edifices. Three long rows of growing trees grace each side of the road, while on each side, between them, long tanks of water lead the distance to the red sandstone buildings.

Gardens are being made, statues being set up, and trees planted. Encircling this vast campus are the tropic-styled homes of the Europeans, white sandstone against a background of green grass and trees. From the elevation of the government buildings, one can look out over a broad flat plain from which scores of large domes of mausoleums protrude, ruined walls of ancient cities resist time, and dim in the distance, the Kutb Minar, one of the wonders of India.

Nearby, on Parliament Road, is a ruined observatory, Jantar Mantar, erected like those at Jaipur, Benares, etc by Maharajah Jai Singh of Jaipur about 1725 A.D. There is an immense equatorial dial, named by the Raja “Prince of Dials,” having a base of 104 feet and height of 56 feet 7 inches. To the south are two circular structures, with niches in the walls to enable the ascension and  declension of the stars to be marked on them.

Returning through the crowded (including dozens of sacred cows) bazaars and down “Nautch Dancer Street,” we arrived very late for dinner, made even more so by Miss Tennant who called us up to see her. Both she and Miss Frost had a sort of sunstroke from the intense heat of Delhi about the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. It must have been well up toward 115° or 120°, judging from temperatures similar in other parts nearby. Miss Frost has a weak heart and I guess very nearly passed out. She is still not so well off while Miss T is enjoying (?) her first day with a fever. She talked on at great length of this heat wave which killed many people in Delhi—and on the arrival of the Calcutta Express in Delhi there were found three Europeans in 1st and 2nd unconscious and three natives in 3rd dead. Doubtless she is letting her imagination run loose a little, but there must be some truth to it for a soldier staying at the hotel told me this morning of the heat—said three Tommies died of it in one week in his camp from going about with wet towels on their heads. We missed the worst by being in Kashmir. The heat is the forerunner of the monsoons which are about due here. They will cool things off some.

Bought a Physics book today and expect to do some studying in the future. Just as if I knew how to speak French.

The bad day is to a sad tune—$9.12. I’m all set now though, baggage cut down, nothing to send home, nothing to buy. A good Scotchman from now on!

Comments are closed.