Page 53. " with halwa and jellabies "

Halwa from Bangladesh
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHalwa from Bangladesh - Credit: M. Tawsif Salam
Halwa is a type of sweet confectionery particularly popular in Asia and the Balkans.  It can be flour-based (often made from semolina, oil and sugar) or nut-butter based (made from sesame paste or sunflower seed butter).  Additional ingredients can include various types of fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains.

In India, halwa is most commonly made from ingredients such as semolina, carrot or chickpeas.

Halwa recipes from Awesome Cuisine

Page 54. " the temple of Vishnu "
Vishnu
Public DomainVishnu - Credit: Redtigerxyz

Vishnu is a major god in Hinduism.  He is known as the preserver of the universe, whereas the two other major Hindu gods, Brahma and Shiva, are regarded as the creator and the destroyer.  Vishnu is usually pictured with blue or black skin and four arms. 

Page 64. " Tuku, a little mongoose that had haunted Sita's courtyard "

Indian Gray Mongoose
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeIndian Gray Mongoose - Credit: J.M.Garg
The mongoose is a small carnivorous animal found mainly in southern Asia, southern Europe and Africa.  There are over 30 species of mongoose ranging in size from 1-4 feet long.  Some of them - such as Tuku, Ash's mongoose in The Far Pavilions, can be tamed and trained.  We are not told which species Tuku belongs to, but the picture shows an Indian Gray Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii). 

Page 67. " told her the story of Rama, whose beautiful wife had been stolen by the Demon King of Lanka "

Sita is kidnapped by the Demon King
Public DomainSita is kidnapped by the Demon King
The story of Rama and Sita forms part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, The Ramayana

Rama and his wife, Sita, are walking in the forest one day when Sita spots a beautiful deer.  She asks Rama to catch it for her, but as he disappears in pursuit of the deer, Sita is captured by Ravana, the Demon King.  With the help of Hanuman the monkey, Rama must attempt to defeat Ravana and rescue his wife.

You can read the story of Rama and Sita here.

 

Page 70. " Koda Dad was a Pathan "

Pathan girl
GNU Free Documentation LicensePathan girl - Credit: Afghana
The Pathan people live mainly in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.  They are also known as Pashtans or Pushtans.  They speak Pashto, an Indo-European language.  Most are Sunni Muslims, although a small number are Shia Muslims.

Page 72. " Ganesh with his elephant head "

Ganesh
Public DomainGanesh - Credit: Laurens
Ganesh, often spelled Ganesha, is a Hindu deity and the son of Shiva and Parvati.  He is portrayed with the head of an elephant and is regarded as the master of intellect and wisdom.