MARCH 22, 1952
JAIPUR, India, Friday—Last Tuesday morning we started out at 8:30 and drove to the Agenta Caves. The director, who has been excavating here, accompanied us and showed us the best of the excavations. It would be impossible to cover all of them in a day or many days.
The difference between these caves and those at Ellora is that the emphasis here is on frescoes, most of which are badly damaged and probably can never be restored. But there are a few that are well worthwhile and show clearly the beauty that once was. Here, too, everything is hewn out of solid rock.
The caves are in a horseshoe shape in a ravine which is not as deep as our Grand Canyon but somewhat resembles it. The work was done during the First to the Sixth Centuries, though some are said to be even older than that. It is a strange, rather overwhelming human effort and a remarkable representation of Buddha and his followers.
On Wednesday morning we got up early and saw a number of the Ellora Caves that we had not seen before, some Buddhist and one Hindu. We looked again with greater care at the caves we had liked the best. On the whole, these caves are most imposing—breathtaking in their beauty, and, as works accomplished by man with tools of the early days, they are almost incredible.
I had a press conference the evening before leaving Aurangebad, otherwise these days and the one in Agra were entirely given up to sightseeing.
We arrived in Agra early enough in the afternoon to drive out to Akbars Fort, which was most interesting and part of it has remarkably well preserved. Then we drove back to see the Taj Mahal for the first time at sunset. But, finding mail at the Circuit House where we stayed, we delayed until the light was just beginning to fade. However we did see it first at about 6:30 p.m. Then we went to see some interesting religious dances.
After a quiet dinner we went back to see the Taj thoroughly by moonlight. I think of all the things I have seen in the world this is the most perfectly proportioned. The purity of the white marble makes the conception of the eternal purity of real love a very living thing. I escaped the guides as much as possible because I felt that this was perfection that one must feel and let sink in. It could not just be talked about.
Thursday morning we went back at seven o'clock to see it again by morning light and get some pictures. Again it was just as impressive as it had been before and I hated to leave it.
After breakfast we visited the fort built partly by the Mogul Emperor Shah-Jaham, who also put up the Taj Mahal, and after lunch we left for Jaipur. This is a beautiful town, laid out almost like a modern city, since it is only 200 years old.
In the late afternoon we visited another fortress high on a hill overlooking a deserted town which snakes and tigers are said to inhabit. Here we had a chance to ride on elephants. Dr. Gurewitsch and Miss Corr took the opportunity and I have regretted ever since not doing it also!
We returned in time for a very pleasant party at the Maharaja of Jaipur's and we later went to see a folk dance which celebrated the harvesting of the crops.