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Notes on the Geography of Pakistan: Lahore: the Old City: Photo 8

world pictures Pakistan: Lahore: the Old City

Close-up. The striking feature, of course, is the jharoka, borrowed straight from the Hall of Public Audience in the Lahore Fort.

It looks fancy, but hold on. Here's a description of one such house; it comes from G.C. Walker's Gazetteer of Lahore, 1893-4. "The houses, though lofty and to all appearances well built from the outside yet inside are much cramped for space and ill-ventilated. They generally consist of three or four stories, built of burnt bricks laid in mortar. Very few have even a courtyard in front. On the basement floor is a small dark room, in which the women of the house spend most of their day, spinning, cleaning cotton, or working at their needles. Next to this room is a small cell, perhaps 5 or 6 feet square, in which the grain is soaked for cooking, generally by an old woman who has no other means of earning her livelihood. On the floor above is a small room used as a kitchen, from which perhaps a window opens out into a narrow alley outside, or a sky-light lets in light from above. Adjoining it are two small rooms (kothies)of which one is used for a general store-room and the other as a depository for the family valuables. The third floor generally has three sleeping rooms, all are very small and ill-ventilated and hemmed in on three sides by the walls of adjoining houses. In these also property can be stored and if necessary food is cooked. The fourth floor contains but one small room at the back, the remainder being an open place in front of a corner of which is a small latrine. This space and the open roof above are used as a sleeping shed; the latrine is the only convenience of the sort available to all residents of the house, male or female; an open drain (parnalah)leads down the front wall of the house into the alley below, where it is carried off by an open saucer gutter into the main drain in the adjoining street." (Quoted in Aijazuddin, 2003, p. 78.)

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