The Evolution of the Pichkari

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From humble beginnings, pichkaris have come to define the festival of colours. Holi is never complete without the weight of a water gun tapping at your side as you march along the streets, looking for fresh victims to use your weapon on. Lord Krishna started the trend, playfully spraying the gopis of the village with water from his modest bamboo pichkari. Little did he realise that centuries later, his pranks would spark off a rage, inspiring high-end gizmos still masquerading as pichkaris, but in reality being miniature scientific marvels in themselves.

From simple bamboo squirters, they took on the more advanced form of steel and brass cylinders with a wooden handle that had to be pulled to allow water to enter and then pushed to release it at the intended person. Plastic guns followed. These branched into attractive variants in pretty colours and different sizes and shapes – pink sea horses, blue pistols and green dragons. Within a span of few years, they have evolved into the complex contraptions that we now arm ourselves with every Holi. They come in shapes as diverse as trishools to Spiderman to racing cars, robots and even Pokemon! You can have them with tanks so that you don’t have to scuttle to the bucket every time your pichkari runs out of water. You can opt for more than one nozzle so you can drench all your pesky friends at one go while they’re still taking aim with their technologically challenged water guns. You can choose to have many channels to fill in different colours and watch your friends turn green quite literally.

While you could easily get the best pichkari in the shop for a mere 30 bucks just a few years back, luxury pichkaris of the new age have changed all that. Now, be prepared to shell out a good Rs 200 for a decent pichkari with the essential accessories like a water tank with a capacity of atleast 3 litres and upto Rs500 for a 10-litre tank.

Pichkaris are no more about just plain fun, they are a matter of prestige and pride for the owner, a means to climb up the social ladder among your peers. From a plain little bamboo stick to its present hi-tech form, the pichkari has travelled a long way. Here’s wishing it a long life and hoping that it continues drenching unsuspecting souls every Holi!


Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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