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Delhi Durbar 1903
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Activities
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Activities

The Imperial Durbar

...'On the first day of January 1903, with a wealth of ceremonial and with a spectacular gorgeousness, unapproached by any previous display, His Imperial Majesty, King Edward the VII, was proclaimed Emperor of India. Princes and mighty Chiefs had assembled to do him honor and to yield obeisance to him in the person of His Viceroy.
On the plain outside the City was built an Amphitheatre extensive enough to accommodate the immense concourse os spectators drawn from the whole world. Its shape was that of a gigantic horse-shoe. A Daïs surmounted by a cupola projected from its center and on the Daïs were the throne chairs for His Excellency the Viceroy and His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught.
By 12 o’clock, the vast Amphitheatre and its numerous tiers of seats was nearly filled, and the Mutiny Veterans marched into the Arena preceded by a band. These old warriors, to whom the very ground they were treading was full of terrible and glorious memories, were greeted on every hand by loud and spontaneous cheering.
Then in all the brilliance of oriental splendour came the Ruling Chiefs and Princes of India, each in his Coach or Carriage resplendent with silver and gold and escorted by Lancers and numerous attendants.
Outside the Amphitheatre stretching away almost to the horizon, battery after battery and regiment after regiment of India’s gallant army were drawn up; 40.000 men of all arms. His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught drove up with an escort of the 9th Lancers and the 15th Bengal Lancers. He was received by a Royal Salute. Thirty one guns were fired and the National Anthem was played by the bands gathered in the Arena.
A few minutes later, His Excellency the Viceroy drove up escorted by a British Cavalry Regiment, the Imperial Cadet Corps and a Native Cavalry Regiment, in addition to His Excellency’s Body guard. He was received with Royal honours. The Guns fired a Royal Salute. The National Anthem was played and Viceregal Standard was hoisted.
The Herald, Major Maxwell with the trumpeters rode up to the Daïs with flourishes of trumpets and at the Command of the Viceroy, he read the Imperial Proclamation. One undred and one guns were fired and the Royal Standard was hoisted, the massed bands playing the National Anthem.
His Excellency the Viceroy then read the King-Emperor’s Message and addressed the assemblage.'...

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The opening of the Exhibition of Art Manufactures

...'The whole India had been searched and its choicest treasures were gathered together in the Exhibition building. Nearly every exhibit was chosen by the personal selection of the director, Sir George Watt.
In the Loan Collection, every province had contributed its rarest and most beautiful treasures, from Kashmir to Travancore, from Bombay to Burmah, the whole peninsula combined to freely and generously despatch its costliest treasures to help demonstrate the artistic resources of the land.'...

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On January 3rd, The viceroy Lord Curzon received the Mutiny Veterans on the lawn in front of his residence.

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On the same day and on the 5th, two assault-of-arms were held in the Amphitheatre. Some of the events held there were the Musical Ride of the I.Battery and the 15th Hussars, Gymnastic displays by the Army gymnastic staff, and the running drill of the 15th Sikh.

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The Church Service

January 4th, the Church Service, at the Polo Ground

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...'Fifteen full bands accompanying a Choir of nearly 500 soldiers provided the music. The Choir
being stationed at the farther side of the extensive ground, were provided with Megaphones
through which they sang'...

 

January 8

The Great Review

That day, 35000 troops were reviewed: artillery, cavalry, British and Native infantry, the
Maharaja of Patiala's troops and the Bikanir Camel Corps.

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The Sporting Events

The two principal ones were the two polo cups, The International Cup and The Native Army Cup. The International Cup was won by the Alwar Team, and the cup was presented by the Viceroy, carried on a huge elephant richly caparisoned escorted by soldiers on camels and horses



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January 10 was the last of the Durbar gatherings. The Viceroy left Delhi at mid-day. The Station
platform was crowded with Chiefs and Princes and other distinguished visitors for the farewell.
Lord and Lady Curzon's train was preceeded by the one that carried the Duke and Duchess of
Connaught. Everybody at the Station waved goodbye while the National Anthem and a roar of guns were heard.

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