The modern world has brought the ‘Pankahs’ from the Colonial Raj back!

Hardeep Singh, CONSULTANT-Luminous

The punkah, or the ceiling pankha as you may call it, is an interesting concept of delivering a soft breeze of air using a large swinging fan attached to the ceiling of any room. And though this concept dates back to the 6th century BC, it didn’t find much acceptance in India until the end of 18th century; when the British first introduced it in their courtrooms and offices to weather the hot and humid climate of the Indian subcontinent.

As you can see from the image, the pankha was a large swinging cloth suspended from a ceiling and pulled, by a pankhawala, with the help of a rope attached to it. In case of larger spaces, several pankhas were connected together with the help of strings and then swung in unison by a pankhawala who would pull the main rope at one end. During the early 18th century, electricity was not widely available and so there was a big dependence on pankhawalas for running these pankhas. But later, with a relatively abundant availability of electricity, these mechanical pankhas were replaced with power driven pankhas.

But with the beginning of the 20th century, these royal and elegant pankhas were replaced with electric rotational ceiling fans that found a huge demand in barracks and several other large buildings. And today, when the electric ceiling fans have taken over and the pankhas have become a thing of the past,the question that looms large is that have these Swinging Pankhas been consigned to the relics of the past?

Not really. Happily, for the very sophisticated urban space designers the stylised and motorised version of this Pankha is presented by a handful of European companies.They  add to the beauty and grandeur of the space where high ceilings are available.
Get surprised to see these modern motorised Pankhas?
Hotel Maurya in Patna houses such a modern Pankha in its banquet hall. What’s more interesting is the fact that this traditional fan concept has been keeping the guests cool for around three decades now. Here’s an image for you to see.

Have a look at some more international brands and their range below.

Courtesy: Hotel Mourya, Patna

Courtesy: Loft Wing Ceiling fan

Courtesy: Oliver Kessler , YouTube

Courtesy: Oliver Kessler, Pinterest