Ikka, Tanga aur Lucknow

Among many old vehicles; Ikka, Tanga, Bagghi and Khadh-khadha are still prevalent in various parts of the city. Even though all four of them are horse driven, there is slight difference between them in terms of use and seating. The difference between Ikka and Tanga is interesting. Ikka is one or two seater horse driven cart where as Tanga is multi-seater. Travelling in Ikka must have been a private affair than in Tanga. Both were a usual carriage and have been widely used since nawabi era and colonial times. The use of Tanga has seen innovations and changes in every period, for instance in 19th century Tangas were open where as in colonial times they were shed covered. In earlier times these was used in almost all parts of Lucknow, whereas now it is only limited near Bada Imambara, Charbagh, etc. Bagghi is a four wheeled horse driven cart with spacious and comfortable seating arrangement along with good leg spacing. It was considered as royal and luxurious. Now a day the use of Bagghi is prevalent in marriages which carry the groom to the wedding. In earlier times, Bagghi was used to transport anyone from the royal family or even the ruler. Khadh-khada is also a form of a cart used to transport luggage or material. The horse is attached to a cart in order to carry materials. We often see construction materials or raw materials being transported with the use of Khadh-khada. It is widely used because transporting goods is cheaper in a Khadh-khadha than fuel driven vehicles.

The tradition of horse pulled vehicles in India dates back to many centuries. In earlier times due to absence of fuel driven vehicles, horse pulled carts were widely used. In Lucknow, you could still see the use of these vehicles in many parts of the city. With the passage of time and competition with fuel driven vehicles, the traditional horse driven carts and their use is facing decline. An annual Ikka and Tanga rally is organised in Lucknow Mahotsava every winter. If one wishes to experience the glory of these vehicles that were once the soul of the city, it is advisable to take a stroll in the old city of Lucknow in a tanga. It not only transports one to the past of the city but also gives a dosage of an entertaining and informative day with the driver who recites his version of history of Lucknow!

Credit : Intern – Nishita Banerjee