Coming home, I saw two lionesses and three cubs on the road.
The Gir Forest, a few days later
Left early this morning to look for nilgai; very near a village spotted a lioness and her three-month-old cub. Near the road lay the kill: a big buffalo cow, belly open, intestines and tail already disposed of.
On the road, we met several ox carts and peasants on foot and warned them of the lions ahead. A detour would be safest, we told them. But lions here are very much part of the life of the villagers. The peasants, armed with sticks and stones, thanked us, but proceeded.
Rhino capture at the Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary, Assam
The rhino capture was postponed until my arrival. The Philadelphia Zoo bought a young female rhino two years ago, and now they ordered a young male. For that reason everything was arranged—pits were dug, and elephants were kept ready to drive rhinos toward the pits during the following night, the safest time for bringing in a captured rhino. However, this morning a report came that a rhino had fallen into one of the pits. The ranger, Mr. Das, went out to the pit, and I went with him to watch the capture—the rhino has to be roped and moved into a cage.
Roping a rhino is complicated, but getting him into the cage is a very complex and strenuous job. This difficulty was increased by the fact that the cage took a long time to arrive at the pit; it was very hot and the rhino suffered from the exposure to the sun. By the time the cage was brought it was noon, and the rhino, no doubt exhausted from not only the heat but his resistance to his capture, collapsed while being pulled into the cage and died. Mr. Das was terribly upset.
Photographing the rhinos from a "hideout"
Since rhinos are so easily frightened off, I decided to try my luck today by making use of Ellis Dungan's hideout, which is a kind of machan made of hides, a most makeshift contraption, absolutely no protection against a bad-tempered rhino. But I got into the hideout, crouched there, hoping to be able to photograph some rhinos; Das and his three elephants were supposed to round them up and drive them past me. And they did. One rhino was particularly obliging, stopping directly in front of my hideout, quietly looked around, then wandered off. At one point, he was no more than two feet away from me, which was a most thrilling experience.
On a March day, the monkey temple in Benares
Monkeys everywhere. Completely unpredictable. One approaches me quietly for peanuts, which I give him, but suddenly, for no good reason, he starts yelling and all the monkeys scatter. A little beggar boy comes in to tell me one of the monkeys has snatched away one of my shoes which I left at the door. Lots of children gather and, led by the beggar boy, a chase begins. The monkey is chased everywhere, on the roof, up and down, in and out of rooms and yards. Finally they catch him and bring me the shoe triumphantly.
A morning ride on the Ganges
People bathing, saying their prayers, washing their clothes, doing exercises; pigeons sitting on bamboo rafts in the river; a corpse clad in red ready for burning; cows standing at the river's edge drinking, walking away, dogs playing—a strange world, impenetrable, immensely peaceful.