New Toy Soldiers - Made in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Main Procession - Page 1

The proceedings opened on December 29, 1902, and the viceroy and his royal guests were received at the train station within the city, and then conducted a parade of elephants through the city streets and then out through a gate. The guests included royals from almost all of the princely states of India, including Maharajahs, Rajahs, Nawabs, and other minor chiefs.

Station Platform

Lord and Lady Curzon at the Station, on their elephant

This picture was a main source for me when I made the 4 elephants of the aides-de-camps. They are standing at the Station entrance, waiting for the Curzons' elephant to go by.

Lord Curzon's elephant

The Durbar Route

The State Entry and the Elephant Procession was perhaps in itself the most striking and to the Western mind the most impressive spectacle. The flower of Indian Nobility mounted on magnificent elephants resplendent in cloth of gold, with rich saddle cloths laden with priceless embroidery almost sweeping the ground on their side.

The Maharajas elephants at Queen's Road, outside the train station, waiting for the Main Procession to begin

Here is where the elephants waited for Curzon's elephant to lead the Procession. They must have been there a while until it began. This was a great spot to take pictures of the elephants, still without their maharajas and standing still, not walking. I have a few shots taken from this particular stage. One in particular was a glass slide that I bought, from the Rewa elephant, that I used for the last elephant I made.

This is the larger file that I could upload. The original image is way more neat than this. I enclose a detail below. The elephants were standing in the order that they went in each column, right column on the right side of the street, left column on the left, as you'll see in the picture above. Rewa was on the left column, fifth in order. At his side in Quen's Street, before Rewa, was Indore, and after him in the left column was Orchha. The servants that you see closer belong to this last elephant. The guy with the earring, to the left of the elephant clothes, was the one standing outside the howda, to the left of the maharaja. The one by the trunk was one of the guards. Check the elephant picture and you'll see what I'm talking about.

423-424-425-426-427 - The Rewa Group,  Delhi Durbar 1903 (Click to enlarge)
423-424-425-426-427 - The Rewa Group, Delhi Durbar 1903
The neatness of this photographs is very inspiring at the time of sculpting

A detail of the elephant's earrings and clothes


Here and there a trunk waved a fan or curved upwards as if saluting. Howdahs of every pattern were to be seen, high and low, long and short, silvered over or bedizened with gold, balanced on the broad backs, draped in yellow and red, purple and blue and green. Long silver chains depended on either side of the massive heads and made a musical jingle at every step. Men with maces marched alongside in some instances, and attendants held bright-coloured umbrellas over the heads of the Chiefs, who sat in every attitude in their howdahs.

The Main Procession walking along Queen's Road

Fifty elephants were invited to participate in the Main Procession. But they were Fourty Eight indeed.
The Gaekwar of Baroda could not attend until a couple of days later because of the death of the Maharani, the wife of the later Gaekwar. The elephant of Cutch had to be separated from the rest close to the beginning, because the elephant went mad and didn't follow any orders. Finally, the Maharaja of Udaipur arrived 2 days later because of the illness of his son

The Procession turning the corner at Queen's Road towards Elgin Road

Khas Road, the path that the elephants took to cross the Champ de Mars, the space between the Red Fort and the Jumma Masjid

All the Retinue elephants, from all the states (166 in total) stood side by side along the side of Elgin Road, in front of the Red Fort, and saluted the Main Procession as the elephants passed. When the head elephants (6 with aides-de camps, 1 for Lord and Lady Curzon and 1 for the Duke and Duchess of Connaught) and the 48 Maharajas turned into Khas Road, the Retinues elephants prepared to follow them in their way through Delhi.
As the head of the elephant procession passed, there came slowly and in duly regulated order the highest nobility of India, in all the glory and pomp that our imaginations have ever pictured. His Highness the Nizam and the Maharaja of Mysore led, the Maharajas of Travancore, and Kashmir coming next, and we were soon deep in admiration at the display of the gold and silver howdahs, sumptuous clothes, richly embroidered, the sheen of jewels, the bright colours of turbans and apparel and the kaleidoscopic effects that were revealed as the procession skirted the Jama Musjid

The Main Procession beginning their turn around the Jumma Masjid.

The first turn of the Procession. The Red Fort at the distance.

The Champs de Mars, crowded in the Main Procession morning

The Procession from the back, at the first corner of the Jumma Masjid

The last 4 elephants of the Main Procession: Janjira, Manipur, Keng Tung and Möng Nai (the Shan states)

One of the spectators point of view, in Khas Road

The head of the Retinues Procession, in front of the Jumma Masjid. The Baby Elephant from Rewa is going in front.

More Retainers by the Jumma Masjid

The Retainers at the first turn. The elephant of the executioner of Rewa is the closest to the camera.


After the route around the Jumma, the elephants went towards Delhi's main street, the famous Chadni Chawk.

Chadni Chawk street

The Main Procession passing in front of the Town Hall: Orchha, Kotah, Datia and Karauli

The Durbar itself was held on January 1, 1903, in a large amphitheater on the plain beyond the Ridge at Delhi; the site of the Imperial Assemblage of 1877. The 1903 Durbar was one of the finest spectacles India had ever seen during the Colonial rule - the parade of the Native Retainers at the Coronation Durbar. Dunlop Smith turned what many Englishmen expected to be shambles into a magnificent spectacle. The Native Princes were delighted that he had shown their pageantry to such good effect.

The Retainers Procession in front of the Town Hall

The Main Procession in Chadni Chawk

The official elephants at the end of Chadni Chawk

The Procession turning at the end of Chadni Chawk st.

The Procession towards the city gates


The Durbar included sports, music and competitions and a review of 34,000 troops. An investiture, a state ball, the biggest display of Indian arts and crafts ever assembled and a very popular review of a delegation of retainers from some of the states were further highlights of the event.
The event was entitled the 'Native chief's retainers review' and attracted considerable press interest in both India and Britain.

The elephants leaving the city

The official elephants outside the city, at the saluting point

The Retainers at the saluting point, leaving towards their camps