BULLOCK CART WHEEL / කරත්ත රෝදය / வண்டி சக்கரம்
As the sole mode of road transport for Sri Lankans not so long ago, the bullock cart not only aided in transportation for villagers on their journeys but also in relieving the burdens of their livelihoods, being used in carrying items such as wood, grain, hay, vending items and any heavy loads from kerosene to laundry over longer distances.
Traditionally…as a mode of commuting it was a symbol of social status with differing varieties used by the commoners and the elite. The thirikkale and the bakki karaththe, were often used by the higher echelons of traditional Sri Lankan society. The thirikkale, a single-seater bullock cart was used mainly for racing by their affluent owners. The comfortable bakki karaththe, so called due to its basin (bakki) like space at the bottom which allows legroom for its passengers to be seated comfortably was often used by the likes of the village headman or dignitaries. It was also considered an essential part of the wedding retinue in the past as the vehicle that the couple set out on, in their new wedded life.
The larger bara karaththe, driven by two bulls and its half the barabage, driven by a single bull were used by the common folk for travelling purposes and for the conveyance of heavy loads. Often when transporting grain rice the carts had a hood covering usually made out of dried coconut palm leaves for the protection of the staples from the elements.
Vendors transporting goods of all sorts in a procession of bara karaththe and barabage was a common sight in the olden days. An entourage as such travelled great distances in search of marketplaces for their goods and drew strength against loneliness and thieves as a coalition. In long journeys the larger bara karaththe was attached with a space for rest or sleep beneath its underbelly for the carter.
Picture and caption credits :- @samal.bandara
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