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Things Seen in Northern India by T.L. Pennell

Theodore Leighton Pennell [1867-1912], Things Seen in Northern India“Things Seen in…” seems to have been a series of guidebooks aimed at European visitors to foreign parts in the early 20th Century – roughly the equivalent of today’s Lonely Planet Guides. Who better to write the entry for Northern Indian than the veteran medical missionary to the region Theodore Leighton Pennell [1867-1912]. It would provides excellent background information for anyone studying India in that period. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing me with a copy to digitise. This book is in the public domain.

It is worth comparing Pennell’s experiences with those of Edward Petter, a Brethren Missionary-Salesman who travelled extensively in India during the 1880s. You can read his letters from India in 1887-1888, 1888-1889 and 1889-1890.

Theodore Leighton Pennell [1867-1912], Things Seen in Northern India. London: Seeley, Service & Co., 1913. Hbk. pp.253. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  1. First Impressions
  2. The People of the Country
  3. The Country and its Climate
  4. Modes of Travel
  5. Rajputana and the Native States of the North
  6. Dehli and its Empire
  7. The Religious Romance of the North
  8. Where Faiths are Born
  9. Rural Life
  10. The Mountaineers of the Borderlands

Chapter 1: First Impressions

Every morning since leaving Aden the traveller has looked eastward over an unbroken expanse of sea and sky, but, on the fifth morning, he must be up betimes to receive the first salutations of the East.

The harbour of Bombay ranks with those of Naples, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro, and it is alive with the craft of all nations, while its wharves are piled high with the merchandise the East and the West.

First you descry the revolving gleam of the lighthouse off Colaba Point, and then a long, low shoreline on your port bow. As you draw nearer you see the crescent-shaped bay culminating in Malabar Hill over to the left, where the fashionable residences of the rich merchants and officials nestle among beautiful hanging gardens, and then you dimly descry the fine public buildings lining the bay itself. Cocoanut palms are gleaming and waving in the light, and whispering to you the welcome of the sunny East Over on your starboard bow you see the lovely palm-covered islands that stud the harbour, on one of which are the wonderful caves of Elephanta. [Continue reading]

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