A sedan chair is an enclosed chair that is borne on poles by two bearers. Though the term sedan chair is used in the English translation of the novel, the actual Indian term commonly used for such chairs is the “Palanquin” or “Palki.”
Palanquins were used in Ancient Indian for traveling by the women, the aged and the rich. In its simplest form, a palanquin consisted of a central space with seating arrangement, and with scaffolding on either side for bearers to carry it. Two to four or six people used to carry it and were known as "Boyees." For longer distance, another team of bearers accompanied, to give relief to the tired bearers.
Palanquins are mentioned in literature as early as the Ramayana (250BC.) and have featured in historical writings of Domingo Paes (1522), Ceasar Fredrick (1567-68), Peter Mundy (1632), Edward Terry (1652-60), Captain Basil Hall (1822).