Malabar Hill Bungalow With Punkah – Old Photo 1890
This is an old 1890 photo of an interior of a bungalow with punkah at Malabar Hill, Bombay (now Mumbai). Before the coming of electric fans, the hand-pulled punkahs were in vogue. Which greatly helped in lightening the terrible Indian summer heat for the Europeans. A set of men called Punkah Coolies took turns in swishing the punkahs by hand pulling it day and night.
Punkahs were ubiquitous to homes, offices, clubs, and so on. As shown here hanging from a ceiling of an interior of Malabar Hill Bungalow in Bombay, now Mumbai. Malabar Hill was part of one of the seven islands named “Bombay”. The seven islands comprised of Colaba, Little Colaba, Bombay, Mazagaon, Parel, Worli, and Mahim.
Unified into a single landmass by reclamation a task that was undertaken by the British from the mid-1600s to the mid-1800s. East India Company encouraged various business communities to settle down in Mumbai for business and trade. In the process, many Europeans made a beeline too by establishing their businesses in the Fort area. Many Europeans settled down in the Fort area many also settled down outside this area one of them being Malabar Hill. Which today is a posh address of Mumbai. Unfortunately, these old British Bungalows have now disappeared for more swanky modern homes.
Did you know- the electric fan replaced the punkahs at the beginning of the 20th century. But used more in military barracks and large buildings before entering homes and other establishments.