Sunday, October 2, 2011

Palki the Legendary vehicle of Ancient India


         The Duli and Palki was a type of legendary vehicle of ancient India. They belong to a class of wheel less human-powered transport. During medieval India Palki were used as most essential wedding transportation means. Brides were carried to the bridegrooms' places by palki. It was also used to be the conveyance for noble Indian women as well as for Indian landlords of that time.

A palanquin, also known as palki, derived its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Palanki' for a bed or couch. A palki was bigger in size and made of wood. There were doors on both sides. A long cylindrical pole was attached to it lengthways through the middle. A palki is carried by six or four men, known as Beharas, bearers of special caste or class who held the pole at both ends. 

On the other hand a Duli or dooly is a cot or frame, suspended by the four corners from a bamboo pole, was carried by two bearers and usually accommodated a single passenger. Special songs known as 'Palki Songs' were also sung on these occasions. It is not truly known that when the palanquin as vehicle was used first. Palanquins are mentioned in literature as early as the Ramayana (250.BC). 

Some other examples of palki type litter vehicles also seen in other parts of medieval Asia include lectica (ancient Rome), jiao (China), sedan chairs (England), palanquin (also known as palki) (Bangladesh, India), and gama (Korea), Woh (Thailand), and Tahtırevan (Turkey).

Some different sorts of palanquin stretched the boundary of Asia and quickly spread through the western culture. The European traders in Bengal in the 17th and 18th centuries extensively used palanquin to visit local markets and carry their cargo. They got so much used to the palanquin mode of transport that even a newcomer who joined as a writer in the company's service at a very nominal salary indulged himself in buying a palki and maintaining an establishment for it.

Palanquin were imported into Spain first and spread into France and then England.  During the 17th -18th centuries, palanquins became so popular among European traders in Bengal, so much so that in 1758 an order was issued prohibiting their purchase by certain lower-ranking employees. The fact only indicates that palki was in those days what a motor car is today.

By the mid-nineteenth century, the Europeans by and large stopped using palanquins. But until the end of the nineteenth century, the Babus (Landlords) and aristocratic natives commonly used palanquins as their means of transport. 

Palanquin as a mode of transport began to decline from the mid-nineteenth century when steamer and rail communications started and general transportation began to improve. With the development of roads and highways and increasing use of animal carts and carriages the palanquin as a means of transport faced extinction. 

The introduction of rickshaws in the 1930s' and ever expanding communication system popularity of motorized vehicles have now made palki an institution of the past.
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1 comment:

  1. OH MY GOD! There are so many grammatical errors in this article..the article was quite good but its the grammatical errors that is a nuisance here..please correct all the grammatical errors because this is media and you're making a fool out of yourself with this..