“What is a dak-bungalow?” asked Louis.
“It is one which answers the purpose of a hotel. I pointed one out to you at Baroda. Sometimes they are free so far as the rooms are concerned; but here the guest pays two rupees a day, or fifty cents of your money, and the food is furnished at a low price.”
“But this is not half so much of a place as I expected to find,” said Louis, after they had walked an hour, and it was time to return to the hotel.
“It is a place of considerable importance, though there are not so many temples, mosques, tombs, and other fine structures, as in many other cities of India; and I wondered that the commander had placed it in his list of places to be visited. Jeypore and Oodeypore would have been far more interesting to your party,” replied Sir Modava. “Yet you will see some of the finest structures in the country before you reach Calcutta.”
The company returned to the hotel at an early hour, and all of them were tired enough to retire at once. But they were up at six in the morning, and the four boys went out to explore the city by themselves for a couple of hours. Even at this early hour the ladies, old and young, were in the balconies, and they were much occupied in observing the latter. Though the yashmak, or veil, was not often used to cover the face, it appeared to have been only thrown back upon the head.
After breakfast carriages were at the door to convey the party to the more interesting sights of the city. At the request of Lord Tremlyn, they were driven first to the office of the lieutenant-governor, to whom they were presented. The government buildings are in Lawrence Hall Gardens, where there is also a memorial building in honor of Lord John Lawrence, the first lieutenant-governor, who won his distinction in subduing and ruling over the Punjab.
They were next conveyed to the mosque of Jehanghir, built of red stone, and so much like a score of other mosques that they were not much interested in the building. The mosque of Vazir Khan pleased them more; for it was a beautiful edifice, though crumbling before the ravages of time. But even here they were more pleased on observing the loafers around the entrance and in the court in front of it. An old bald-headed Hindu, with a beard as white as snow, was a study to the boys; and perhaps it was fortunate that the subject of their remarks did not understand English, or there might have been another war in the Punjab.
The cook-shops in the street were instructive to them, and they watched the customers with interest; but, as they had attempted to eat in a Turkish restaurant in Constantinople, they were content with looking on. The minarets of the Vazir Khan pleased all the party, for they were certainly very beautiful. They went to the Golden Temple of Amritsar in the afternoon, and were impressed with the beauty of its surroundings.