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Contribution to the History of the Wheeled Vehicle in India

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Jean Deloche

Appendices

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1. The Wheel with Paired Cross-Bars: a Matter for Investigation

1The wheel with paired cross-bars, seen everywhere in the northern plains, is puzzling. It appears more ‘primitive’ than the radially spoked wheel, but it is not represented on any ancient monuments and paintings before the 16th century (fig. XV, e & f).

2We could assume that this type of wheel was considered ‘commonplace’ by the artists who preferred the radially spoked wheel for its symbolic value in scenes illustrating Buddhist or Brahmanic legendary stories. When we look at the wheels of the Sanchi chariots, we notice that they have a decorative character and that their morphology does not differ from the Wheel of Law, shown in Buddhist monuments.

  • 190 See Desai 1970, pl. V, relief from Aihole, copper plate from the Dharwar Kannada Research Institut (...)

3If we compare the four-spoked wheels of the Pattadakal carts with the cakra of the royal emblems of the Chalukyas of Badami and of the Gangas,190 we find the same resemblance.

4The wheels of the divine chariots depicted in Hindu temples also have a specific structure. In Konarak, each wheel of the temple car consists of 8 main and 8 secondary spokes, corresponding, according to Indian cosmology, to the various points covered by the sun.

  • 191 Mishra 1971, pp. 134–135. In ancient India, the Sun god is sometimes represented on a vehicle simi (...)

5The number of spokes of the Jagannatha car at the Ratha-yātrā of Puri is also symbolic; 16 in number corresponding to the 16 kalā or divine principles; of the Balabhadra car, 14 in number, corresponding to the 14 worlds; finally of Subhadra, 12 in number, corresponding to the 12 months of the year.191

6Elsewhere, the same notion is found on solid wheels decorated with a stylised lotus with a certain number of petals.

Fig. XXI. Development of the types of wheels in India.

7However, we do not find this type of wheel with paired cross-bars which run completely through the hub from one segment of the felloe anywhere else. It is an Indian creation.

8We can evoke the wheel made of two decentred paired cross-bars perpendicular to an axial bar, a model of which was found at Mercurago, Italy, dated 1200 B.C.; this type of wheel is also seen on Greek vases from the 4th century B. C. and still exists today in Sinkiang.

  • 192 See Needham 1965, vol. IV, pp. 2, 78, 78–80, footnote c.
  • 193 See Wheeler 1953, pl. XXVII; Mackay 1938, vol. II, pl. XXXV, p. 47.

9We can also bring to mind the wheel made of four decentred cross-bars crossing each other perpendicularly on either side of the hub, as seen in Aveiro, Portugal, or the wheel of the Chinese cart, known as Hui-hsien (4th or 3rd century B.C.) which, as well as the spokes, has a pair of cross-bars on either side of the hub, as in certain carts in Cambodia.192 Regarding the Indian subcontinent, it is interesting to note that in the geometric signs of Mohanjo Daro scripts, a six-spoked wheel is represented.193

10The wheel with paired cross-bars is not a recent invention. It existed long before the 16th century. If we cannot follow its evolution it is because of the inadequacy of the sources.

11Here, as a working hypothesis, we have tried to show the development of the wheelwright’s art in the construction of this type of cross-bar wheel in North India (fig. XXI).

12The following stages can be considered.

A. Wheel with paired cross-bars (fig. XXI, a-d)

  • 194 Along with the Mercurago cart, Italy, dating from the Bronze Age, of the Branosera cart (Palencia, (...)

13a. To lighten the weight of the solid wheel, two openings are made on either side of the diametral beam (fig. XXI, a) (as is the case with the present Sindhi bullock cart);194

14b. The two outer beams, having being made lighter (thus flimsy), are strengthened by two parallel bars perpendicularly crossing the diametral beam on either side of the hole for the axle (fig. XXI, b);

15c. The diametral beam is brought down to a circular hub through which two parallel bars are added (fig. XXI, c) (as is the case with some present Gujarati bullock carts);

16d. Two more parallel bars are sufficient to make a wheel with three pairs of two parallel bars, which, in the course of time, become lighter with a thin felloe (fig. XXI, d).

B. Radially spoked wheels (fig. XXI, e, f)

17The radially spoked wheel, attested from the Vedic period, consists of 4 to 24 spokes (fig. XXI, e). The number of spokes today (see supra) is relatively fixed according to the types of vehicles: 14 for light carriages used for travelling, 12 for country carts or 10 when the wheel is smaller.

18Regarding the radially spoked wheels with thick felloes found in Rajasthan, it seems that they originate from the solid wheel, through the cross-bar wheel and the radially spoked wheel (fig. XXI, c, f).

2. Examples of Country Carts: Bihar, Panjab, Tamilnadu

A. Bihar Country Carts (after Grierson 1926, pp. 7–42)

19Grierson, in Bihar Peasant Life, has given a very detailed description of the country carts used in Bihar: the chakṛā, a large farm cart, the saggaṛ, a simpler vehicle for carrying country produce, the bahal, a light cart for passengers and the ekkā, a small horse carriage with shafts.

20The chakṛā is shown in figs. XXII & XXIII. A view of the complete full-sized bullock cart with long bamboo poles projecting from each side is given in fig. XXII, A; the wheel is also delineated in fig. XXII, B: the felloe is made of six segments, the spokes of varying thickness run completely through the hub, forming six double spokes; the body of the cart forms a long, strongly built, arched triangle, with a square frame at the back (fig. XXIII, A); each wheel has a separate axle; the outside supports of the axle are a V-shaped double strut called tulāvā and a curved branch of wood called paiñjanī, pulled tightly up against the axle (fig. XXIII, B); inside there are two supports, corresponding to the tulāvā (fig. XXIII, C); a set of taut strings which passes under the cart keeps the body curved (fig. XXIII, D).

21In fig. XXIV are the drawings of the other carts.

22The saggaṛ (fig. XXIV, a) is a lighter cart, made almost entirely of bamboo. It differs from the chakṛā on two points: there is only one axle which runs through a block of wood right across the underside of the cart from wheel to wheel, and the body is a flat triangle (not arched); sometimes the wheels are protected by a board outside.

23The bahal (fig. XXIV, b) is almost the same as the chakṛā, except that it is more lightly built. When it has four wheels it is called a rath.

24The ekkā (fig. XXIV, c) looks like the bahal, but it is a vehicle with two shafts. As in the saggaṛ, there is only one axle strengthened inside by a short metal tube; outside the wheels there is a pair of tulāvā, but no paiñjanī; the body of the cart consists of cross-pieces of bamboo supported by wooden posts; the driver’s seat is also made of pieces of bamboo which run underneath; the shafts consist of two curved bamboos joined by sticks, with a brass cap fitting on their ends; a canopy can be attached to the body.

B. Panjab Country Carts (after Baden Powell 1872, pp. 246–251)

25The wheeled vehicles of Panjab have been summarily described by Baden Powell who mentions three common forms of carriages: the gāḍḍā or chakḍā, or country cart, the bahlī, a carriage for the conveyance of people and the ekkā drawn by one horse. These vehicles do not differ much from the country carts of Bihar and the names of the various components of the vehicles are almost the same.

Fig. XXII. Bihar country, carts, chakṛā: A, view in profile; B, wheel (after Grierson 1926, f.p. 25, 29).

Fig. XXIII. Bihar country carts chakṛā: details, A, plan of the body of the cart; B, device for keeping the paiñjanī tied to the rear of the cart; C, inside supports of the wheel; D, device for keeping the body curved (after Grierson 1926, f.p. 32, 35).

Fig. XXIV. Bihar country carts: saggaṛ, bahal, ekkā (after Grierson 1926, pp. 38, 39, 41).

Fig. XXV. Panjab country carts: A, plan of the gāḍḍā or chakḍā: a-a, ūd, wooden pieces; b-b, tekānī, cross-bar; d-d, paiñjanī, curved wood; B, bahlī: a-a, phar, bamboo; c-c, tekānī, cross-bar; c’-c’, āṅk, cross-bar; k-k, bamboo; h-h, paiñjanī, curved wood; C, ekkā: a-a, shafts; b-b, g-g, wooden bars; c-c, axle; D, canopy; E, wheel (after Baden Powell 1872, f.p. 247).

26The plan of the gāḍḍā is shown in fig. XXV, a: it consists of two stout wooden pieces that are kept in place by cross-bars forming a triangle, at the tip of which the yoke is transversally tied; outside the wheel there is a paiñjanī supporting the axle.

27The drawing of the bahli in fig. XXV, b represents the body of the cart and the outside supports of the axle: tulāvā and paiñjanī.

28The sketch of the ekkā in fig. XXV, c delineates the two shafts made of upper and lower bamboo poles with cross-sticks and the framework.

29Fig. XXIV, d depicts the canopy which can be fixed onto the frame. The wheel of the cart in fig. XXV, e is made of a heavy felloe with six pieces that are deeply mortised into one another and no tyre.

C. Tamilnadu Country Carts (after a survey made by the author)

30Fig. XXVI, A shows the common bullock cart (māṭṭu vaṇṭi) and its components: wheel, felloe, hub and body.

31The body consists of a flat platform made of two longitudinal pieces and four cross-planks with a pole; in the middle there is a block of wood through which the axle runs, strengthened by a metal tube. The wheel, 1.50 m in diameter, consists of the hub, the felloe comprising six pieces and 12 spokes.

32The handcart (fig. XXVI, B), or kai vaṇṭi, is built on the same principle, but with two shafts.

33Fig. XXVI shows the horse carriage or kutirai vaṇṭi, consisting of a platform made of nine longitudinal pieces and six cross-bars, hung upon two springs, with two shafts, panelled sides and roof; the wheel, 1.35 m in diameter, consists of the hub, the felloe made of seven pieces, and 14 spokes.

Fig. XXVI. Tamilnadu country carts: A, māttu vaṇṭi, B, kai vaṇṭi (after photos by the author).

Fig. XXVII. Tamilnadu country carts: kutirai vaṇṭi (after photos by the author).

3. Litters and Palanquins

34To the analysis of the wheeled vehicles, we can add the vehicles carried by men: litters and palanquins.

An aristocratic means of transport

  • 195 For some village residents it even has religious significance: at the spring festival (Holī), in t (...)
  • 196 Vyas 1967, p. 252; Auboyer 1961, pp. 127, 160, 330.

35Litter or palanquin transport was not open to everyone.195 It is said in classical texts that this type of vehicle was mainly used by sovereigns and nobles.196

  • 197 A custom also adopted by the Hindu nobility, according to Ashraf 1935, pp. 245–246.

36It was the same during the Muslim period, and it is likely that the influence of Islam, especially the custom of draping a curtain screening women from the sight of men (pardāh), has increased the popularity of this means of transport, which allowed high society women to travel without being noticed.197

  • 198 Paryaṅka (Skr.), a bed, a couch; pallakki (Kan.), pallakī (Tel.), pālkī (H.).
  • 199 See Dupeuty-Trahon 1838, p. 220; Grose 1758, p. 253. Meer Hasan Ali 1917, p. 147, mentions that, i (...)
  • 200 Aḥkām-i-’Ālamgīrī, quoted by Sarkar 1963, p. 131.
  • 201 Russel 1916, vol. III, p. 293.

37The use of the palanquin198 was strictly regulated. It was a privilege granted by the sovereigns to people of high distinction and the person who enjoyed the use of it was called pālkī niśīn.199 The Mughal emperor reserved the sole right to travel in a pālkī to the great mosque on Friday and the men in high places who dared to infringe this rule were severely reprimanded.200 Europeans adopted this custom in the territories controlled by them. In 1591, the viceroy of Goa, Albuquerque, made it known to the people of the settlement that it was forbidden, on pain of fine or imprisonment, to use a palanquin without permission. In Bombay and Madras the same restriction existed, and natives had to acquire authorisation from the English governor.201

Sources

  • 202 See Rāmāyaṇa, IV, 38–9, V, 6, VI, 115–115, etc.

38It is not easy to write the history of these vehicles because we lack precise descriptions and particularly representations before the Mughal period. We ignore the form of those which are mentioned in ancient texts.202 The litter, a framework, often covered and curtained, and stretched between two parallel bars, is depicted from the beginning of the Christian era; while the palanquin, a bed carried by means of a single pole only appears in iconography at a late period (12th century).

39The two types of carriage are found in the Rajput, Mughal and Himalayan paintings (15th–18th century), depicting processions or marriages, such as the svayaṃvara of Damayanti, as well as in drawings and etchings of European origin.

40The examination of these documents shows that the litter carried by means of two shafts was almost exclusively reserved for the travels of sovereigns and women of the harem, or in temple ceremonies for the transport of heavy statues, whereas the litter carried by means of a single pole, or the palanquin, with its box suspended from a straight or bent bamboo pole, was used for the long distance transport of travellers of distinction.

A. Litters Carried by Means of Two Shafts

  • 203 Stupa of Amaravati (2nd c. A.D.), relief of vedikā preserved in the Indian Museum, Calcutta; relie (...)

41The most ancient representations of litters, or vehicles suspended between two shafts and carried by men, would date from the beginnings of the Christian era. At Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda vehicles are depicted that are made of a rectangular or circular platform, covered and curtained, suspended between shafts, perhaps corresponding to the caturaśrayāna mentioned by Kalidasa (fig. XXVIII, a).203

  • 204 One of the litters has a roof that takes the form of a three-lobed arch (see Foucher 1905, vol. I, (...)
  • 205 See Yazdani 1930–55, Part II, pp. 10, 11, 21 and pls. XII, XIII, XXIII.
  • 206 See in particular, for Akbar’s period, Verma 1978, p. 107, pl. LXIX, figs. 18–20; for Aurangzeb’s (...)

42This type of vehicle is also represented in Gandharan art,204 in some frescoes of Ajanta205 and it is commonly seen in miniatures of a more recent period.206

  • 207 ‘This tact is a species of magnificent tabernacle, with painted and gilt pillars and glass windows (...)
  • 208 Bernier 1983, p. 372.

43In the days of the Mughals, the emperor was carried in a takht-i-ravān or ‘travelling throne’, described by Bernier,207 and the women of the harem in a similar vehicle called cauḍol or caṇḍol, ‘covered with magnificent silk nets of many colours, enriched with embroidery fringes, and beautiful tassels’ (fig. XXVIII, d).208

  • 209 See Hobson-Jobson, p. 615; Seir Mutaqherin, vol. III, p. 4 n. 5, vol. IV, p. 62 n. 43; Meer Hassan (...)

44There was another litter called nālkī, either open or covered, reserved for ‘princes of the first class’, ‘like a sedan in Europe with this difference only that the poles are carried by four or eight men and upon the shoulders’ (fig. XXVIII, b).209

  • 210 Forster 1798, vol. II, p. 2, gives the following description of the jhappān: ‘a species of carriag (...)

45To these should be added the Himalayan jhappān (fig. XXVIII, e), a portable chair carried by two pairs of men, each pair bearing a short bar on their shoulders from which the shafts of the chair are slung.210

B. Litters Carried by Means of a Single Pole, Palanquins

  • 211 See Yazdani 1927–28, p. 21, pl. F; Gupte and Mahajan 1962, pl. CXIX, 2, f.p. 209.
  • 212 For Konarak, Gangoli 1956, photo 78; for Basaralu, see photo by IFP-EFEO, No. 7470-3; for Sringeri (...)
  • 213 In particular, see the miniatures of Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, reproduced in Manuci 1966, vol (...)
  • 214 The best descriptions are given by Thévenot 1684, pp. 158–60; Grose 1758, p. 249; Ovington 1929, p (...)

46The palanquin, or vehicle carried by means of a single pole, straight or curved, resting on the shoulders of several men, appears for the first time in a fresco from Ellora (fig. XXIX, a) which, according to Yazdani, dates from the 12th century,211 then in some bas-reliefs from Konarak, Basaralu (12th century), Sringeri (14th century), Lodurva (15th century),212 finally in the miniatures of the Mughal period,213 and in the accounts of European travellers.214

Fig. XXVIII. Litters carried by means of two shafts: a, caturaśrayāna, after a relief decorating a vedikā of Amaravati (beginning of the Christian era), preserved in the Madras Museum (rep. from Sivaramamurti 1942, pl. X, fig. 20); b, nālkī, presented by the emperor to Mahadji Sindhiya (after a photo in CI. S. G., vol. I, Part IV, Gwalior Gazetteer, p. 102); c, royal litter, after a Mughal miniature in Bibliothèque nationale, Paris (rep. from Manucci 1966, vol. I, f.p. 112); d, caṇḍol, ‘queen’ s seat’, after a Mughal miniature in Bibliothèque nationale, Paris (rep. from Manucci 1966, vol. IV, f.p. 30); e, jhappān, Himalayan litter (after a drawing by Fane 1842, vol. I, p. 200).

  • 215 ‘It is a kind of couch with four feet, having on each side ballisters four or five inches high, an (...)
  • 216 Ā’in, vol. I, p. 264, vol. II, pp. 134, 138; Raychaudhuri 1953, p. 219.

47There were different kinds of palanquin depending on their form or the materials of their construction. Usually the pālkī consisted of a long cushioned seat hung from a bamboo which bent in an arch over the vehicle215 whose richness of decoration or degree of comfort varied according to the social status of its owner; hence the various names (sukh-pal, sukhāsan)216 that were given to the profusely ornate vehicles.

  • 217 See Solvyns 1811, s.v. d’jehalledar; Seir Mutaqherin, vol. I, pp. 282, 344, 399.
  • 218 Solvyns 1811, s.v. t’chaupar. ‘A caupala is to a palanquin (pālkī) what a cart is to a coach’. See(...)
  • 219 Buchanan, in Martin 1838, vol. III, p. 119.
  • 220 Solvyns 1811, s.v. mejanah. Buchanan, in Martin 1838, vol. II, p. 426, says that they are ‘the low (...)
  • 221 Except that the muḥāfah, being intended for women, was surrounded with curtains (Buchanan, in Mart (...)
  • 222 See Solvyns 1811, s.v. d’houly. ‘The douli is a small and simple palanquin whose bamboo is not ben (...)
  • 223 See Hobson-Jobson, p. 596, s.v. muncheel, manjeel. To designate this hammock-litter, the Portugues (...)
  • 224 See Hobson-Jobson, p. 296; Hamilton 1819, p. 233; B.D.G., Darjeeling, p. 136.
  • 225 This type of vehicle is still used to carry old or sick people in pilgrim centres, particularly in (...)

48One of the most sumptuous was the fringe palanquin (jhālardār pālkī), used only by men of high social position (fig. XXIX, b)217. But there were other vehicles of a more simple construction. The caupālā was an ordinary palanquin carried in ceremonies (fig. XXIX, c);218 the muḥāfah, a covered vehicle reserved for women; according to Buchanan,219 it was a kind of caupālā on which curtains were fixed (fig. XXIX, e); the structure of the miyānah or menā220 did not differ from the preceding vehicle with its Mughal pavilion roof (fig. XXIX, d); elsewhere, in certain regions no distinction was made between the two;221 the most ordinary vehicle, called ḍolī in the northern plains, (fig. XXIX, f),222 mañcāl, on the west coast223 and dāṇḍī224 in the Himalaya,225 consists of a cot or frame suspended by its four corners from a bamboo pole.

Fig. XXIX. Litters carried by means of a single pole, palanquins: a, nobleman carried in a palanquin, after a fresco from the Kailasa, Ellora (rep. from Gupte & Mahajan 1962, pl. CXIX, 2, f.p. 209); b, jhālardār pālkī; c, caupālā; d, miyānah; e, muḥāfah; f, ḍolī (b–f, after etchings by Solvyns 1811, vol. III).

  • 226 Usually Europeans called all the palanquins with a straight bamboo pole ḍolī (not crescent-shaped)

49These examples show that according to the regions or the people the same vehicle could be called by different names and conversely the same term could designate different vehicles.226

C. European Influences

50With the arrival of Europeans and their gradual settling in the country, these vehicles had to undergo changes in order to give more comfort to the new masters. The native litters and palanquins were adapted to the reclining/cross-legged sitting position of the country, but Europeans, who were used to sitting on a chair found it difficult to bear this position; new models were therefore constructed to satisfy their needs.

  • 227 Grose 1758, p. 251; Williamson 1810, vol. I, p. 316. The new vehicles are described by Dupeuty-Tra (...)

51Grose says that, in the middle of the 18th century, some Englishmen in Bengal invented palanquins with the form of a chair instead of a bed, where one could sit more comfortably, and, in Bombay or Surat, sedan chair-shaped vehicles.227

Fig. XXX. Litters influenced by European designs: a, tāmjhām (tonjon), (after a drawing by Bushby 1931, f.p. 140); b, palanquin chair; c, bocā; d, long palanquin (b–d, after etchings by Solvyns 1811, vol. III).

Fig. XXXI. Litters in Bihar at the end of the nineteenth century: a, ḍolī; b, meānā; c, barahdarī (after Grierson 1926, f. pp. 43, 46, 47).

  • 228 Solvyns 1811, s.v. long palanquin, autre palanquin, boutcha.
  • 229 According to Calcutta Review, vol. XXV, 1860, p. 215, they used it in marriages to carry the bride
  • 230 It was a kind of jhappān, but with a single pole. See the references given by Hobson-Jobson, pp. 9 (...)

52At the end of the 18th century, Solvyns228 has drawn the long palanquin, used by Europeans of distinction (fig. XXX, d), the palanquin-chair, which resembles a sedan-chair, but with a single pole, favoured by high society women (fig. XXX, b) and the bocā, commonly used by the Portuguese229 (fig. XXX, c), which appears to be an elaborate form of the tāmjhām (tonjon) (fig. XXX, a), an open chair with poles extending at the back and front, used in hilly country.230

53In any case, it is remarkable that these vehicles, deeply influenced by European models, are suspended from a single bamboo pole, just like the native palanquins, and that the two shafts were not adopted in India. It is a feature of civilisation: the chair conformed to the customary practice of the new masters, but the support remained traditional, adapted to the usage and the mental structure of the bearers.

D. Litters in Bihar at the End of the Nineteenth Century

  • 231 Grierson 1926, pp. 45–46.

54At the end of the 19th century, Grierson231 made a survey of the litters in Bihar and found three kinds of litter with different names according to the localities. First the ḍolī, a simple bed suspended from a bamboo pole, with a base made of rough twine, used at marriages under the name nālkī or taṛtaṛvām (fig. XXXI, a), then, a more elaborate vehicle, called the meānā or mahaphā, with a domed roof, supported on eight pillars (fig. XXXI, b), and finally, a litter used by wealthy men called barahdarī, a native form of the European palanquin (fig. XXXI, c).

55The analysis of the vocabulary is significant: names such as takht-i-ravān or nālkī, which formerly indicated prestigious vehicles, today designate humble village litters, poorly decorated, used in local ceremonies, principally marriages. Thus, the palanquin, which played a considerable role in the daily life of the upper classes, is today a relic of the past.

Notes

190 See Desai 1970, pl. V, relief from Aihole, copper plate from the Dharwar Kannada Research Institute. On the symbolism of the wheel, see the article by Chandra 1981, pp. 207–215; the author specifically mentions that ‘it is a symbol of motion in its own right and not of some other god. Its worship was common among the primitive civilisation and is still prevalent among the Hindus in the form of Vishnu’s cakra, generally set on a standard, among the Buddhists as the Wheel of Law and among the Jainas as Siddha cakra […]. The worship of the wheel of the chariot among the Kshatriya Hindus on Daśami (10th bright day of Āśvin) signifies the worship of the old symbol of motion in its new form’.

191 Mishra 1971, pp. 134–135. In ancient India, the Sun god is sometimes represented on a vehicle similar to that of Sanchi (Pandey 1971, pls. 5–6).

192 See Needham 1965, vol. IV, pp. 2, 78, 78–80, footnote c.

193 See Wheeler 1953, pl. XXVII; Mackay 1938, vol. II, pl. XXXV, p. 47.

194 Along with the Mercurago cart, Italy, dating from the Bronze Age, of the Branosera cart (Palencia, Spain, 19th century) and of the Mexican cart (1865) preserved at the Smithsonian Institution of Washington (Tarr 1979, p. 135 and drawings 174, 53–54, 73 & 74). In Burma, as well as vehicles with fine radially spoked wheels, carts with solid wheels and semi-solid wheels of the Sindhi type are found in the countryside; some of the hollowed out wheels are strengthened by a transversal band (photos reproduced in a book on Burmese Carts, published in 1991 in Rangoon, sent by P. Pichard).

195 For some village residents it even has religious significance: at the spring festival (Holī), in the villages of the North-West, people, after painting their houses with cow dung, draw a litter with its bearers on the walls and put incense and flowers in front of the images (Crooke 1906, s.v. kahar). In Mysore, during the Daśaharā festival, a strange ceremony took place in the Maharaja’s palace called palanquin worship (Nanjundayya 1928, vol. II, photo, f.p. 64).

196 Vyas 1967, p. 252; Auboyer 1961, pp. 127, 160, 330.

197 A custom also adopted by the Hindu nobility, according to Ashraf 1935, pp. 245–246.

198 Paryaṅka (Skr.), a bed, a couch; pallakki (Kan.), pallakī (Tel.), pālkī (H.).

199 See Dupeuty-Trahon 1838, p. 220; Grose 1758, p. 253. Meer Hasan Ali 1917, p. 147, mentions that, in Lakhnau, the pālkī and nālkī ‘are vehicles conferred on Native gentlemen with their titles which cannot be used by any persons than those who have received the grant from their sovereign and there is quite as much ambition to be thus distinguished in a Native court, as may be traced amongst the aspirants for the orders in the several European states’. It was the same in the Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagara, where, according to Nuniz 1962, p. 370, only the king and nobles could use the palanquin.

200 Aḥkām-i-’Ālamgīrī, quoted by Sarkar 1963, p. 131.

201 Russel 1916, vol. III, p. 293.

202 See Rāmāyaṇa, IV, 38–9, V, 6, VI, 115–115, etc.

203 Stupa of Amaravati (2nd c. A.D.), relief of vedikā preserved in the Indian Museum, Calcutta; relief decorating the balustrade of the stupa preserved in the Madras Museum and relief decorating a vedikā, preserved in the same museum (see Sivaramamurti 1942, pp. 140–141 and pl. X, figs. 20, 21; Fergusson 1868, p. 207 and pl. LXXXIV, fig. 1); relief of a vedikā preserved in the Nagarjunakonda Museum (see Krishna Murty 1977, p. 219, fig. XIV, 6 and pl. X). These four representations are found in Auboyer and Enault 1969, fasc. 1, pl. 35.

204 One of the litters has a roof that takes the form of a three-lobed arch (see Foucher 1905, vol. I, p. 312, fig. 159, p. 337, fig. 174 b; Ingholt 1957, p. 96, pl. 148). In the Mayamata (XXXI, 1–28) three types of litters are described: pīṭhā, śīkharā and mauṇḍi, consisting of a wooden frame with shafts, intended to carry statues during festivals.

205 See Yazdani 1930–55, Part II, pp. 10, 11, 21 and pls. XII, XIII, XXIII.

206 See in particular, for Akbar’s period, Verma 1978, p. 107, pl. LXIX, figs. 18–20; for Aurangzeb’s period, the miniatures of Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, reproduced in Manucci 1966, vol. I, f.p. 112, vol. IV, f.p. 30.

207 ‘This tact is a species of magnificent tabernacle, with painted and gilt pillars and glass windows, that are kept shut when the weather is bad. The four poles of this litter are covered either with scarlet or brocade, and decorated with deep fringes of silk and gold. At the end of each pole are stationed two strong and handsomely dressed men who are relieved by eight other men constantly in attendance’ (Bernier 1983, p. 370). Also see Hobson-Jobson, p. 210, and Irvine 1962, p. 210.

208 Bernier 1983, p. 372.

209 See Hobson-Jobson, p. 615; Seir Mutaqherin, vol. III, p. 4 n. 5, vol. IV, p. 62 n. 43; Meer Hassan Ali 1917, p. 143; in C.I.S.G., vol. I, Part IV, Gwalior Gazetteer, pp. 102–103, there are photos of two magnificent nālkī, gifts to Mahadji Sindhiya.

210 Forster 1798, vol. II, p. 2, gives the following description of the jhappān: ‘a species of carriage different from any seen in the Southern quarters of India. The frame of four slight pieces of wood is about 4 feet 1/2 long and 3 in breadth, with a bottom of cotton lacing or split canes interwoven. Two stout bamboo poles project 3 feet from the end of the frame and are fastened to its outward sides by iron rings. The extremities of these bamboos are loosely connected by folds of cords, into which is fixed, by closely twisting and binding at the centre, a thick pole, 3 feet long, and by these central poles, the litter, or as it is here called, the sampan, is supported on the shoulders of four men. This conveyance, you will see, affords no shelter against any inclemency of weather, which is braved at all seasons by these men of the mountains’. The jhappān was reserved for the nobles in Afghanistan (Elphinstone 1815, pp. 242–243). A good representation of this vehicle is found in Mundy 1832, vol. I, f.p. 313 and in Fane 1842, vol. 1, p. 200. The best one is perhaps a painting from Jammu dated circa 1753 (rep. from Archer 1973, vol. II, p. 147, Jammu, No. 46) showing a raja hunting. Today, this vehicle is still used as the bride’s litter in Himachal Pradesh. See the references given in Hobson-Jobson, pp. 462–463.

211 See Yazdani 1927–28, p. 21, pl. F; Gupte and Mahajan 1962, pl. CXIX, 2, f.p. 209.

212 For Konarak, Gangoli 1956, photo 78; for Basaralu, see photo by IFP-EFEO, No. 7470-3; for Sringeri, photo by the author; for Lodurva, photo by L’Hernault.

213 In particular, see the miniatures of Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, reproduced in Manuci 1966, vol. II, f.p. 168, vol. IV, f. pp. 86 and 115.

214 The best descriptions are given by Thévenot 1684, pp. 158–60; Grose 1758, p. 249; Ovington 1929, p. 152; Anquetil Duperron 1771, vol. I, I, pp. XXII–XXIII n. 1 and Dupeuty-Trahon 1838, pp. 218–20. Here we have copied (fig. XXIX, b-f) Solvyns’ etchings (Solvyns 1811, vol. III).

215 ‘It is a kind of couch with four feet, having on each side ballisters four or five inches high, and at the head and feet a backstay like a child’ s cradle, which sometimes is open like ballisters and sometimes closed and solid. This machine hangs by a long pole, which they call pambou, by means of two frames nailed to the feet of the couch, which are almost like to those that are put to the top of moving doors, to fasten hangings by; and these two frames which are the one at the head and the other at the opposite end have rings through which great ropes are put, that fasten and hang the couch to the pambou. […] Everyone adorns his palanquin according to his humour; some have them covered with plates of carved silver, and others have them only painted with flowers and other curiosities or beset round with guilt balls’(Thévenot 1949, p. 76).

216 Ā’in, vol. I, p. 264, vol. II, pp. 134, 138; Raychaudhuri 1953, p. 219.

217 See Solvyns 1811, s.v. d’jehalledar; Seir Mutaqherin, vol. I, pp. 282, 344, 399.

218 Solvyns 1811, s.v. t’chaupar. ‘A caupala is to a palanquin (pālkī) what a cart is to a coach’. See Seir Mutaqherin 1902, vol. II, p. 529 n. 276. Buchanan, in Martin 1838, vol. III, p. 119, says that in the district of Purniya, it was a kind of box, open at the sides, carried by means of a straight pole and used by middle classes.

219 Buchanan, in Martin 1838, vol. III, p. 119.

220 Solvyns 1811, s.v. mejanah. Buchanan, in Martin 1838, vol. II, p. 426, says that they are ‘the lowest kind of palanquins which are small litters suspended under a straight bamboo by which they are carried and shaded by a frame covered with cloth, do not admit the passenger to lie at length’. See Hobson-Jobson, p. 565.

221 Except that the muḥāfah, being intended for women, was surrounded with curtains (Buchanan, in Martin 1838, vol. II, p. 426).

222 See Solvyns 1811, s.v. d’houly. ‘The douli is a small and simple palanquin whose bamboo is not bent in an arch so that the sleeping position is the only one possible’ (Anquetil Duperron 1771, t. I, I, XLV n. 1); douly ‘is a kind of a palanquin for women; it is also a name given to a litter used for carrying sick and injured people’ (Dupeuty-Trahon 1838, p. 84). See the references given by Hobson-Jobson, pp. 313–314.

223 See Hobson-Jobson, p. 596, s.v. muncheel, manjeel. To designate this hammock-litter, the Portuguese used the word andor, andora or andolla; Careri 1949, p. 160, says that the difference between this vehicle and a palanquin is that it has straight bamboo. Della Valle 1892, vol. I, p. 610, makes the same remark. See Hobson-Jobson, p. 29. Della Valle 1892, vol. I, p. 183, mentions in the beginning of the 17th century a more primitive vehicle made of a kind of net hanging from a cane, called reti by the Portuguese. Russell 1877, vol. I, p. 232, presents the photo of a mañcāl in Goa, carried on the head.

224 See Hobson-Jobson, p. 296; Hamilton 1819, p. 233; B.D.G., Darjeeling, p. 136.

225 This type of vehicle is still used to carry old or sick people in pilgrim centres, particularly in hilly places.

226 Usually Europeans called all the palanquins with a straight bamboo pole ḍolī (not crescent-shaped)

227 Grose 1758, p. 251; Williamson 1810, vol. I, p. 316. The new vehicles are described by Dupeuty-Trahon 1838, pp. 218–220; he says that the palanquin used by Europeans is closed instead of being open like the one of the natives, that it looks like a square-shaped box, with painted panels and a door on either side, equipped with drawers and lamps for reading; he also notes that there are palanquins for women that have the shape of a sedan chair in which they can sit. Anquetil Duperron 1771, vol. I, I, p. XXIII, n. 1, mentions that ‘the English have armchairs in their palanquins in which they sit; the French adopt the sleeping position and have in a corner a small cabinet for provisions’.

228 Solvyns 1811, s.v. long palanquin, autre palanquin, boutcha.

229 According to Calcutta Review, vol. XXV, 1860, p. 215, they used it in marriages to carry the bride.

230 It was a kind of jhappān, but with a single pole. See the references given by Hobson-Jobson, pp. 930–931, to which should be added Heber 1828, vol. II, p. 182; Bushby 1931, pp. 138–140, with, f.p. 140, the plan of a tonjon. In Welsh 1830, vol. II, pp. 39–40, under the name of Tellichery chair, there are models of a palanquin-chair and a sedan-chair, used in Talashery, Kerala, circa 1830.

231 Grierson 1926, pp. 45–46.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. XXI. Development of the types of wheels in India.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 383k
Légende Fig. XXII. Bihar country, carts, chakṛā: A, view in profile; B, wheel (after Grierson 1926, f.p. 25, 29).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 346k
Légende Fig. XXIII. Bihar country carts chakṛā: details, A, plan of the body of the cart; B, device for keeping the paiñjanī tied to the rear of the cart; C, inside supports of the wheel; D, device for keeping the body curved (after Grierson 1926, f.p. 32, 35).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 341k
Légende Fig. XXIV. Bihar country carts: saggaṛ, bahal, ekkā (after Grierson 1926, pp. 38, 39, 41).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 419k
Légende Fig. XXV. Panjab country carts: A, plan of the gāḍḍā or chakḍā: a-a, ūd, wooden pieces; b-b, tekānī, cross-bar; d-d, paiñjanī, curved wood; B, bahlī: a-a, phar, bamboo; c-c, tekānī, cross-bar; c’-c’, āṅk, cross-bar; k-k, bamboo; h-h, paiñjanī, curved wood; C, ekkā: a-a, shafts; b-b, g-g, wooden bars; c-c, axle; D, canopy; E, wheel (after Baden Powell 1872, f.p. 247).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 308k
Légende Fig. XXVI. Tamilnadu country carts: A, māttu vaṇṭi, B, kai vaṇṭi (after photos by the author).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 435k
Légende Fig. XXVII. Tamilnadu country carts: kutirai vaṇṭi (after photos by the author).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 446k
Légende Fig. XXVIII. Litters carried by means of two shafts: a, caturaśrayāna, after a relief decorating a vedikā of Amaravati (beginning of the Christian era), preserved in the Madras Museum (rep. from Sivaramamurti 1942, pl. X, fig. 20); b, nālkī, presented by the emperor to Mahadji Sindhiya (after a photo in CI. S. G., vol. I, Part IV, Gwalior Gazetteer, p. 102); c, royal litter, after a Mughal miniature in Bibliothèque nationale, Paris (rep. from Manucci 1966, vol. I, f.p. 112); d, caṇḍol, ‘queen’ s seat’, after a Mughal miniature in Bibliothèque nationale, Paris (rep. from Manucci 1966, vol. IV, f.p. 30); e, jhappān, Himalayan litter (after a drawing by Fane 1842, vol. I, p. 200).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 327k
Légende Fig. XXIX. Litters carried by means of a single pole, palanquins: a, nobleman carried in a palanquin, after a fresco from the Kailasa, Ellora (rep. from Gupte & Mahajan 1962, pl. CXIX, 2, f.p. 209); b, jhālardār pālkī; c, caupālā; d, miyānah; e, muḥāfah; f, ḍolī (b–f, after etchings by Solvyns 1811, vol. III).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 404k
Légende Fig. XXX. Litters influenced by European designs: a, tāmjhām (tonjon), (after a drawing by Bushby 1931, f.p. 140); b, palanquin chair; c, bocā; d, long palanquin (b–d, after etchings by Solvyns 1811, vol. III).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 299k
Légende Fig. XXXI. Litters in Bihar at the end of the nineteenth century: a, ḍolī; b, meānā; c, barahdarī (after Grierson 1926, f. pp. 43, 46, 47).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/783/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 271k

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