One British observer of the processions wrote:
And then came a splendid creature covered with silver and gold and carrying a silver howdah in which sat His Excellency Lord Curzon [the viceroy, or governor of India, ruling in the name of the British monarch] and his lovely lady. . . . They came slowly and majestically along, followed by a train of forty or fifty more magnificent animals, all decked and painted and bedizened with cloth of gold and dazzling frontlet pieces and great hanging ornaments over their ears, some wearing silver anklets which clashed and all having bells which sounded boom-boom tinkle-tinkle.
—From "Mrs. MacPherson's Journal of the Durbar," quoted in The Men Who Ruled India by Philip Mason