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- Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet - 30/42 -

Exactly underneath the tombs, in the main body of the building, one descends to a marble vault, where there are two others precisely similar in shape, but without any inscription or ornament whatever, and under these latter the mortal remains of the famous Shah Jehan and Mumtaz repose in peace. Over the queen's tomb, in the very centre of the interior, a single ostrich egg was suspended by an almost invisible thread, probably to shadow forth something of the meaning of the "Resurgam" affixed to monuments elsewhere. On either side, without the mausoleum, are two buildings facing inwards, one of which is a mosque, built in red granite and white marble; and the whole are profusely ornamented with carvings in marble, which would take an age to examine thoroughly, and which produce an effect quite incapable of being adequately portrayed by either pen or pencil.

In one of these edifices, among the inlaid work and arabesques, and not far from the mortal remains of the departed King and Queen, we found a curious and interesting inscription, which seems to have been hitherto unmentioned by the many travellers who have visited the sacred spot. It was prominently placed and easily decipherable, being in unusually large letters, and in that character which might be called the "UNEIFORM," of which so many valuable specimens exist in all parts of the known globe.

It ran thus : --


The sentence appeared unfinished, and one or two words were probably required to complete the sense, but from similar existing records there could be no difficulty in filling in the missing syllables.

It was curious, however, to reflect what the feeling could have been that stayed the writer's hand, and prevented him from finishing his graceful tribute to the mighty dead.

Mumtaz, from whose name the word "Taj" is derived (the letter "z" being incapable of being pronounced by many natives except as a "j"),was the daughter of the famous Noor Jehan's brother Asoph Khan. Shah Jehan followed his queen in A.D. 1665, and was laid in the building which he had himself originally designed in her honour alone.

With Noor Jehan and Jehangeer the case was reversed. The conqueror of the world ended his career in A.D. 1627, and the partner of all his Cashmerian wanderings, and many adventures, who wore no colour but white after his death, finally rejoined him in a tomb which she had raised to his memory at Lahore.

Having paid due homage to the beauty of the far-famed mausoleum, we went to the Fort, and, after visiting the Ram Bagh, the Ikmam Dowlah, and the various palaces built by Akbar Shah, once more took the road, and were soon again galloping through the dust, morning bringing us to the bungalow of Bewah. From this we again made for Ghoorsahagunge and Cawnpore, and by rail to Allahabad, there completing a circuit of travel extending to between two and three thousand miles:

"In heat and cold We'd roved o'er many a hill and many a dale, Through many a wood and many an open ground, In sunshine and in shade, in wet and fair, Thoughtful or blithe of heart as might befall Our best companions, now the driving winds, And now the trotting brooks and whispering trees, And now the music of our own quick steps With many a short-lived thought that passed between And disappeared."

And now but one day more remains of our six months' leave. The 31st of October sees us again fairly in the hands of the authorities. Brothers in arms, who during our absence have been having "all work and no play," receive us with warm and disinterested welcome. The Q.M.G. is hauled away in triumph by a swarm of fellow black-legs to glad the squaw-like partner of his sooty bosom. The last remnants of the expedition are fairly broken up, and already the days when we went gipsying have passed away "a long time ago."


Miles. Allahabad Cawnpore 120 Ghoorsahagunge 72 Etawah 73 Kurga 72 Delhi 51 Kurnaul 73 Umballa 45 Kalka 40 Kussowlie 9 Simla 40 Hureepore 20 Kalka 29 Umballa 40 Thikanmajura 36 Jullundur 61 Umritsur 59 Lahore 35 Gugerwalla 39 Goojerat 30 Bimber 27 Serai Saidabad 12 Nowshera 11 Chungas 11 Rajaori 12 Thanna 12 Burrumgulla 11 Poshana 6 Peer Punjal 9 Poshana 9 Aliabad 11 Heerpore 13 Shupayon 6 Ramoon 9 Sirinugger 14 Wuler by water Islamabad ,, Atchabull 6 Vernagh 11 Islamabad 15 Sirinugger by water Gunberbull ,, Kungur 11 Gundisursing 12 Soonamurg 14 Foot of the Hills 9 Pandras 24 Dras 8 Tusgam 14 Chungun 12 Pushkoom 10 Waka 13 Khurboo 10 Lamieroo 12 Nurila 16 Suspul 14 Egnemo 10 Ladak 18 Chunga 18 Hemis 2 Ladak 20 Pitok 4 Egnemo 14 Suspul 10 Nurila 14 Lamieroo 16 Khurboo 12 Waka 10 Pushkoom 13 Thambis 14 Sankoo 16 Sooroo 12 Among the Mountains 11 Ditto 14 Sucknez 11 Bragnion 14 Peer 16 Nowbogh 9 Kukunath 10 Atchabull 8 Islamabad 6 Sirinugger by water Baramoula ,, Nowshera 8 Uree 15 Chukothee 15 Hutteian 14 Chukar 9 Mehra 6 Dunna 6 Puttun 6 Dewul 9 Muree 11 Rawul Pindee 37 Gugerkhan 30 Jhelum 37 Goojerat 31 Gugerwalla 30 Lahore 39 Umritsur 35 Jullundur 59 Loodiana 32 Umballa 71 Kurnaul 45 Ghureekulla 36 Delhi 36 Allyghur 79 Agra 50 Bewah 82 Ghoorsahagunge 79 Cawnpore 72 Allahabad 120

Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet - 30/42

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