Colonial India Bungalow With Punkah, Old Photo 1870
Old 1870 photograph of a colonial bungalow with punkah. A bit rare to find a photograph showing two huge punkahs in 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 from the floor level. The inscription on the back is in French and translated it 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 furnished with beautiful furniture, artifacts, and of course the beautiful overhanging punkahs. Conspicuously the two huge punkahs proportionately show the vastness of the room.
The punkahs swish back and forth by pulling a rope attached to it generating a fairly good amount of breeze. It is operated by a number of attendants also called punkawallahs day and night, he is specially designated for the job. Almost all colonial bungalows in British or French Indian homes were equipped with punkahs before 1900. But discontinued after the advent of electric supply. Click on the photo for better view
See also post- Life In British India Era, Old Photo 1865. 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