The Museum’s collection of clay models and dioramas document the people, lifestyles, occupations and cultures of Mumbai from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Before the use of motorcars, palanquins were a popular mode of transport for the Europeans as well as the Indian elite. Wood carved palanquins fitted shutters and windows for privacy, as shown in this image, were popular with the elites. For the common people, a palanquin was fashioned by attaching ropes to a charpoi.

The community of palanquin bearers, known locally as 'bhois', were employed in this occupation. In Mumbai, this community settled near Parel in an area known even today as Bhoiwada.


  • Title: Palanquin bearers of old Bombay
  • Date: 1900/1935
  • Location: V&A Museum, Bombay
  • Physical Dimensions: L 24.3 cm X W 22.7 cm x H 58.7 cm
  • Material: Half baked terracotta clay and pigments, wooden palanquin
  • Gallery: Kamalnayan Bajaj Mumbai Gallery

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