“We are coming now to Ahmedabad, which is in Gujrat, or Goozerat, for you take your choice in regard to many of these Indian names; and this city is its chief town, and the second in the province of Bombay. It was formerly one of the largest and most magnificent cities of the East, as the ruins still indicate. It contains several elegant mosques, but the town has not more than a seventh part of its former population of nine hundred thousand,” said Sir Modava, as he opened a travelling-bag, and took from it a large bundle of photographs.
“Oodeypore is the capital of a Rajputana state; and its palace is said to be the largest and most magnificent in India, though the town has a population of less than forty thousand. The maharajah entertained the Prince of Wales in it when he made his progress through the country. It is built in the mountains, and it would be a troublesome journey for us to reach it. The next city of any importance to which we shall come is Jeypore, and we shall dine there.”
When the train stopped for water a lunch was sent to the compartments, to which all the passengers now retired for the rest of the day. At Jeypore dinner was served, good enough, though not elaborate. At the table Sir Modava passed around some photographs of the place, including the palace of the Maharajah, the Golden Kiosk, and the temples of the valley of Ambir. It was impossible to visit all the wonderful structures on the road without spending at least a year in the country; and a dozen volumes would hardly contain the description of them. The palace at Jeypore is half a mile long, and contains one seventh of the area of the town.
Though the railroad passed within fifty miles of Delhi, the train sped on its way to the north all night and nearly the whole of the next day, arriving at Lahore at five in the afternoon. No towns of any considerable importance were passed during this long stretch of 540 miles. Though Lord Tremlyn and Sir Modava, with their friends, were invited to the residence of the lieutenant-governor, the party went to the Victoria Hotel, for the viscount thought it would be an imposition to quarter them on the chief authority, being eighteen in number.
“We are now in the Punjab, the north-western corner of India,” said the Hindu gentleman, when they were seated in the parlor of the hotel. “It is watered by the Indus and five of its branches, on one of which, the Ravi, Lahore is situated. Punjab means five rivers. It has a population of more than twenty-five million; and, General Noury, it has more Mohammedans than the whole of Morocco. I will not give you any more statistics, for I fear you would not remember them.”
“Thank you, Sir Modava,” added Mr. Woolridge.