… accustomed to living out of a suitcase, he penned a wry poem in “A Ballade of bad Entertainment”, also known as “A Ballade of Dak Bungalows,” about the primitive food available in government-run lodging houses.Background
Dak is, I believe, in Urdu, a word with two meanings—(a) stage on a road, as in stage-coach, and (b) post, as a postman usually ran or walked a stage and then was relieved by another man. In my day Dakwala was a postman or a Government messenger who brought letters.See also:
Dak-bungalow was the word, lasting from Kipling's to my time, for the Government bungalows put up for travellers along the main roads and principal district roads. Government officials had the first use of them and other people could only use them, and had to pay a fee, if they were not needed by officials. The users paid for supplies, fire-wood, grass, chickens, eggs, paraffin, which were supplied him and his ponies, etc., by the Khansamah, a sort of butler, or the Durwan, a care- taker.
As nearly all travellers brought their own servants, stores and bedding, the bungalow usually provided tables, chairs, beds, crockery, lamps, etc. A register was kept in which the traveller had to record the date and time of his coming and going, and any payments made.