BHOPAL: Palki, a traditional wooden palanquin of Midnapore, West Bengal, is the third ‘Exhibit of the Week’ of the month.
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS), Bhopal, displayed the exhibit on its social media pages on Monday. Collected from the folk community of Midnapore, West Bengal in 1997, the length, height and width of the exhibit is 389.5 cm, 90 cm and width 67 cm respectively.
Museum assistant keeper Sudeepa Roy said that the object is made out of wood, having a rectangular box at the center, supported by two round wooden poles on both sides for lifting and carrying purposes. It is painted with floral designs reflecting the aesthetic sense of the maker. Various motifs like the lotus flower, flowerpot, elephant, tiger, and conch used in the palki are believed to be auspicious. The sliding door at one side of the palanquin with its spacious sitting place allows the bride to travel safely.
The Dusadhs of Purulia district, West Bengal, were primarily employed as palanquin bearers at marriage ceremonies. With the advent of modern means of transportation, the use of Palanquin gradually vanished from this alluring tradition of the State,” Roy said.
Director of the museum Praveen Kumar Mishra, said the palanquin is perceived to be an ancient medium of wheelless transport used by humans. For many centuries, this human-powered enclosed vehicle also served as an elite form of transport in many cultures. In India, the traditional use of palanquin has a symbolic attachment to the wedding ceremony.
This palanquin from West Bengal reflects the glorious tradition of bidding the bride farewell at the wedding time. In various provinces of the State, wedding palanquins are traditionally owned by the Raut community. It was probably a good investment for the owner who could rent it out many times, he said.