Colonial India Bungalow With Punkah, 1870 Photo

Colonial India Bungalow With Punkah, 1870 Photo

An 1870 photo of a colonial bungalow with punkah. Rare to find two huge punkahs in a single room of a colonial bungalow. The Punkah is a strip of cloth attached to a lengthwise wooden slab hanging from the ceiling. One or two attendants are required to pull the cord attached to the punkahs.

The other end of the  cord leads to the outside normally to a verandah. The text on the back of the photo reads “Chandernagor- living room in the house.” Chandernagor or  Chandannagar today is a part of West Bengal. At one time it was a French colony from 1696 to 1952 (256 years). The photo shows a tastefully furnished living room with beautiful furniture, artifacts, and of course the unmissable overhanging punkahs.

The two huge punkahs proportionately show the vastness of the room. The swishing of the punkahs creates a fairly good breeze. Operated by faithful servants called punkawallahs day and night. To withstand the oppressive Indian summer heat no colonial home was without a punkah. However, once the electric fan appeared on the scene the use of the Punkahs greatly diminished.

See posts- Life In British India Era, Old Photo 1865., and Malabar Hill Bungalow With Punkah – Old Photo 1890.

Read more- Punkah: The Hand Operated Ceiling Fans of Colonial India

Did you know- the word Bungalow originated from Bengali referring to a huge commodious house 

More from the collection- Raja Ravi Varma’s “Birth of Shakuntala” Oleograph c1894., Maharaja Of Travancore Chithira Thirunal – Old Postcard 1955., Chinese Boats On The Malabar Coast – Old Print 1746

Photo Details

Year -


Photograph Size -

8 x 6 inches

Photographer -

Unknown British Indian photographer