King George V, Delhi Durbar (1911) and his jolly good tiger hunting trip in India and Nepal - brief Photo journey

King George V and Queen Mary, grandparents of Queen Elizabeth

King George V; Queen Mary, by W. & D. DowneyNational Portrait Gallery

Coronation pak, Delhi. Delhi durbar of 1911

 Above image:  The Delhi Durbar of 1911, a British Royal extravaganza, with King George V and Queen Mary seated upon the makeshift or jerry-rigged  dais. The official ceremonies lasted from 7 December to 16 December, with the Durbar itself occurring on Tuesday, 12 December. It was attended by the 1st Earl of Lytton—Viceroy of India, Maharajahs, Nawabs and intellectuals. This was the culmination of transfer of control of much of India from the highly corrupt and unethical British East India Company to The Crown. Actually the Crown took over the direct administration soon after 1858 itself. The Delhi Durbar, often referred to as ''The Greatest Show on Earth'' in the entire British Empire, was s show of pomp, power and pelf on one hand and  of vanity, vulgarism and egoism on the other.  To elderly people like me it was a  sort of Barnum  and Bailey Circus, comical on one side and narcissism on the other.  A sort of consolidation of the British supremacy as  the British rulers were in their heyday; the ''Union Jack'' was flying in every continent across the globe. The frontline freedom fighters were highly critical of this .administrative extravaganza  when the quality of live for the natives were abysmally low.  ............................

Delhi, the venue of Delhi Durbar.

Above image:   Commemorative Obelisk at Coronation Park, Delhi, erected at the exact place where King George V and Queen Mary sat in 'Delhi Durbar' of 1911 while declaring the shifting of capital of British Raj from Calcutta to Delhi.  In the past it was the venue of the Delhi Durbar of 1877 when Queen Victoria was proclaimed the Empress of India. Later it was used to celebrate the accession of King Edward VII in 1903, and, finally, it was here that the Durbar commemorating the coronation of King George V as Emperor of India took place on 12 December 1911, subsequent to his coronation at Westminster Abbey in June 1911....................

King George V's statue , New Delhi. /

Above image:  King George V's statue was shifted in the 1960s from the canopy opposite India Gate. It was relocated on a plinth in Coronation Park, directly opposite the Obelisk. 

1858 -1947. British Raj (Crown rule),
A brief note on Delhi Durbar of 1911:

01. George V ascended to the throne following the death of  his father, King Edward VII.

1011 imperial Cadet Corps, Delhi station.
Pictured:  The Imperial Cadet Corps stand outside of the Delhi railway station during the Delhi Durbar in December 1911. The Durbar was held to commemorate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary.............................

02. The royal couple King George and Queen Mary'  traveled to India five months after coronation alongside Queen Mary at Westminster Abbey on June 22, 1911.

03. Their coronation in India took place  108  years ago in Delhi, the capital city of India. 

04. India's Delhi Durbar ceremony was held in 1911 to  specifically proclaim them as Emperor and Empress of India. At that point of time, George V headed the  the Largest Empire where the Sun had never set.

Pictured:  Queen Mary rides in an open top carriage past a guard of honor lining the street during her tour of the area 104 years ago. In 1911, a whooping sum of  £600,000 was approved for the Durbar and maintenance of the visiting local rulers. An additional £300,000 was borne by the Government of India to pay for eighty thousand Army troops in the parades and security for the event.....................

05. Ironically, it was the exploitation of  the Indian subcontinent,- its people, vast lands, wealthy  Maharajahs and Nawabs and, most importantly its vast revenue  by the British that helped Britain become the largest Imperial power in the world!!

Sea of humanity. Delhi durbar of 1911  BBC

06. More than 250,000   people attended the ceremony – which proclaimed them emperor and empress of the country – to pay their respects to the English king and queen.....................

Delhi Durbar and the royals.

Pictured:: Delhi Durbar was held to celebrate the coronation............

07. For the 2 week-long celebration, a huge Tent City was erected over an area of 25 square miles to house not only the King and Queen, but a quarter-of-a-million spectators, including nearly 500 Indian Maharajahs and princes. 

08. The organizers perfectly cleaned the place to keep it spic and span. As part of it, they did not want to take any chance with the rats ; Believe it or not, 90,000 rats had been put down before the opening of the  vast camp.

09. A narrow-gauge railway with 18 stations made it easy to travel around it for the benefits of the visitor.

10. If you think, the British Government's treasury in London  bore all the expenses incurred on the Delhi Durbar, you are wrong. Indian tax payers, Indian royalty and the British India government carried the financial burden. 

11. Although the parade for the King’s arrival was spectacular and breath-taking,  the Maharajash’ procession along with their retinue  alone was five miles long and included 6,000 men and 200 camels - it was not entirely successful. No doubt, it was the ''Greatest Show (Circus) on Earth''.

12 .The Maharajahs and Nawabs, armed with British peerage and fancy titles, depending on their closeness and donation of priceless gift to the royals, on their part, vied with one another in their open display of  their finery and opulence  as they paraded past awash with rich, dazzling jewellery that would have made king George and his consort jealous. Perhaps, they might have wished to have them too, leaving the royal rulers bare to the minimum!

13. Former Gaekwar of Baroda, Maharajah Sayyaji Rao III, caused a flutter at the ceremony when he gave one quick bow to the couple before turning and walking away laughing – defying the British colonial rule which stated people must bow three times and back away without turning when approaching the English king and queen.

Richest Indian ruler bowing before the royal couple, Delhi.

Pictured: The Nizam of Hyderabad pays homage. Osman Ali Khan, Asif Jah VII became the last Nizam of Hyderabad in 1911. Until his rule ended in 1948, he remained the richest man in the world. He owned a fleet of Rolls Royce cars, etc like the Maharajah of Mysore....................................

14,The most interesting and pathetic event was the Nizam of Hyderabad, then the richest man in the world, took  the bow before the visiting  British royal couple. 

15. Other ''tamasha'' included  a circus, performing elephants, thousands of retainers and a Chinese fort built for a mock battle. All these were  done with extra zeal to keep the royal couple in good spirits and cheers

16. When the celebrations  came to an end, with typically British efficiency, the entire canvas metropolis was disassembled in a week and disappeared as if no great event had taken place in that area before. 

A brief note on King George's hunting spree after the Delhi Durbar:
A manhunting tiger on horse back!

 Following the colorful Darbar  ceremony, it was time for George to relax away from the urban jungle and madding crowd. A fortnightly hectic royal duty of meeting so many dignitaries, obeying protocol formalities, in between mingling with partying  and having a barrel of fun with the British and Indian elite, etc..  fatigued His Excellency.  A hunting trip  to the jungles of Nepal was arranged for George who happened to be a  keen marksman. A time to cool off before heading back to London to resume his royal duties there. 

01. The Maharajah of Nepal, who himself was  a good hunter, had  spent months preparing for the King's visit and his royal hunt. To avoid,  inordinate delay or any hitch,  the Maharajah had his men  cut make-shift  roads for miles through the dense  jungle so the British party could join people from India to hunt the exotic creatures with considerable ease. This would avoid cumbersome trail-blazing in the dense and dangerous  jungle by the royal party.

02. King George soon began a hunting trip to Nepal at Nepal King's request. The ruler  of Nepal  had 645 elephants ready for the royal hunting expedition  and hundreds of trained hunters to round up  the wild animals to  make the shoot easy for George.

03. During the hunt to help the English king get the target right on the dot, animals were baited with bullocks  tied at the edge of thick jungles to entice tigers  and the royal king  and his helpers would be safely waiting for the wild animal. This would make the shoot easy for  king George,  something like cutting a big cake with a plastic knife!!

04. His hunting trails  in the jungles of Nepal  with the help of his ever present paraphernalia  and hunting specialists, saw the killing of 39 tigers, 18 rhinoceros and four bears over a period of 10-days.  He also shot many wild animals in the Terai forest. 

05.  During that era there were more than 100,000 tigers roaming India – today we have  less than 2,500. During the colonial period, we lost tigers in thousands as the trigger-happy Maharajahs and British higher-ups used to go on a hunting spree. Lots of tigers disappeared due to illegal poaching  and the number is dwindling because reproduction in captivity is a tough job. 

 06. The Maharajah of Nepal had presented to King George V. a vast collection of animals as gift  that included over seventy varieties, ranging from a young elephant and a rhinoceros calf to the wild ass of the Tibetan border, also the rare shou. They  and many other animals  survived the tough journey to England  and were sent to  the gardens of the Zoological Society in London.  (from Historical record of the Imperial visit to India, 1911, p.231_.

Presented below are some of the photo images taken 108 years ago of  a royal hunting journey in the jungles of Nepal and India undertaken by King George V and his consort during Indian coronation (Delhi Durbar, 1911):

King George V in Nepal.A perfect shooting at the herded animal

Pictured:  King George V of Great Britain is pictured hunting a tiger during the 10-day expedition in Nepal in 1911 - following the Delhi Durbar in India...................................

British king's  dead tigers trophies

Pictured: George V with the day's bag of three tigers, after a hunt (1911) The hunters are mounted on elephants.............................

King george V and dead tigers

Pictured: Members of George V's party take part in a tiger hunt which saw 39 tigers  killed  on a  10-day   trip .....

Hunting party of George V on the move.

Pictured: As part of hunting, animals baited with cattle tied up at the edges of the jungle, there were more than 100,000 tigers roaming in India; today it ha come down to only 2,500 or may be less. . Even today, illegal poaching continues unchecked; part of the reason is the tiger reserves are vast..........

The hunting party, India

Pictured: An outdoor hunting supper in the midst of jungle held during King George V's tour of India which saw all kinds of animals shot dead  in the thick jungle. The king was much delighted over his skill and marksmanship...........

Bravado!! King George V on hunting. Reddit

Above image:  King George V on a tiger hunt in Nepal, December 1911.He is sen with his kills including  bears.................

Above image:  King George V hunting trip in  Terai forest, Nepal, December 1911. The total count included  total of 39 tigers, 18 rhinoceroses and 4 bears were killed , besides others. Records from the time tell how the King shot one tiger, wounding it badly, before a second tiger was killed by the King with a 'snap-shot through the neck as if he had been a rabbit'......................

King George V hunting with Maharajah of Gwalior, Rajputana province- IndiaPinterest

The hunters and the hunted

Above image: ''What a waste of space cowardly Royalty.The army Indian beaters herded all the Tigers into a corner of a park, and then KGV popped them off from the complete safety of the elephant seat. These powder puffs called it "sport.... twisted. And we wonder why the Bengal Tiger is basically extinct today''.......................

 Pictured: King George V on a hunting trip in Nepal. It shows just how much social attitudes towards what would once have been considered a noble pursuit have changed. Here, he poses next with a huge Bengal tiger he shot...........................

George V hunting spree. a pile of killed tigers,

Pictured:  photo shows a servant standing beside a 'bag' of seven tigers, two rhino, and two bears....
As with the tiger, he 'dispatched' the wounded rhino. On a typical day the King would kill between four or five tigers, including one enormous specimen which measured 9ft 6 inches..........

Merciless  Indian and British nobility .

Lord Curzon and his wife. Tiger hunting in India-colonial era. SlidePlayer