Flag of the British East India Company - Credit: Yaddah
The East India Company was formed in 1600 to deal with trade between England and the East Indies, though they ended up trading mainly with India and China instead. By the 18th century, the Company had gained military and administrative power over large areas of India. Following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British Crown took control of India (as the newly-formed British Raj) and in 1874 the East India Company was dissolved.
The Juma (or Jama) Masjid in Delhi is the largest mosque in India. It was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in 1656 and is situated opposite the historic Red Fort, which is also referred to in The Far Pavilions.
Cholera is a disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae and can be transmitted to humans through contaminated food or water. The symptoms of cholera include vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps and dehydration. If untreated, cholera can be fatal and was a serious illness in the 19th century. In developed countries it is no longer a major health threat, but is still common in poorer parts of the world.
The sal tree, Shorea robusta, is found in Southern Asia, particularly India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It can grow as high as 30-35m tall, with a trunk of 2-2.5m diameter. Sal trees are an important source of hardwood timber used in construction.