If you are in Kolkata, a ride in hand pulled rickshaws is must and if you feel for these rickshaw puller pay them extra. I was not able to decide if I should get on to these rickshaws and ask folks to pull. Somehow I felt bad by having this thought, but finally planned to have a ride.
During our trip to Kolkata, we saw these rickshaw everywhere and they look very interesting. At times, I felt like holding one of them and dragging in the streets.
Throughout my trip I was wondering that why these folks are still running these rickshaws and why don't they migrate to cycle rickshaws. And as per commute cost in Kolkata, these rickshaws are expensive. So I was wondering how many people use these rickshaws. But most of them seemed busy. At places, we also noticed cycle rickshaws which can be a tough competition for these hand pulled rickshaws.
After coming back from Kolkata, I tried to search more about hand pulled Rickshaws and it seems that hand pulled rickshaws were invented in Japan and then adopted by most of the other countries in Asia.
There are another disturbing thing for me. There were many of the rickshaw pullers were bare feet. I don't know the reason, but it must be difficult especially in summers.
When we spent more time around the city, we realized that rickshaw pullers have good business in the city and since the charges are also high, they must be making reasonably good money on daily basis. We had less than 2-3 minutes ride for 30 rs, although I am sure that mathematics would not be as simple :).
These hand pulled rickshaws can be seen narrow streets as well as wider roads around North & South Kolkata.