The Palanquin

Weekend Stories by Trishikh

“Hun Huna re, Hun Huna… Hun Huna re, Hun Huna… Palki choooleyyy gogon toooleeeyyy (The Palanquin mooovesss under the skkkyyy),” rhythmically chanted the fast-moving group of twelve. A torchbearer bearer in front and one in the back provided the only lights casting dancing shadows of the men and a swinging wooden box amidst them on the pitch-black surroundings in the dead of night, cutting through the wild and scary belly of the Chilapata forest in the mystical northeastern lands of India’s West Bengal state.

The dense forest, rich in wildlife situated in the Dooars region of Alipurduar district forms an ancient elephant corridor between the present-day Jaldapara National Park and the Buxa Tiger Reserve. Back in the fifth century Anno Domini of the Julina calendar the area was home to the largest Rhinoceros populations, which has dwindled much in the modern-day. Leopards, however, have managed to thrive and still continue…

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