Osakothi Rituals in Ganjam – An Anthropological Journey

A story goes – On the way to heaven, the five Pandava brothers had rested on the veranda of a Brahmin’s house, where no woman was ever blessed with the birth of a child. Arjuna came forward to intervene. He erected a kothi and a chammundia (a temporary shelter) with the help of arrows. Through…

The Heritage of Mahula Drink in Ganjam – An Anthropological Journey

Imagine 8th Century Odisha and in particular Bhubaneswar! A major Peeth of Tantra Sadhana practiced by a group of esoteric Shaivites, called Kapalikas, who worshiped Bhairava/Shiva and his consort Chamunda!! The central ritual of their tantric communion was to get indulged in alcohol and sexual intercourse.  Kapalaikas were masters in converting both ascetics and lay…

Dongria Kondhs of Nimayagiri – Mother Nature’s Own Children

70,000 years ago! When the ancestors of modern humans left Africa for Indian Subcontinent what would have first attracted them is the lush green environment fed by region’s greatest gift of nature, the monsoon. Over a few thousand years they were spread and adapted to various geographical regions. Over thousands of years sustaining in their…

Life in Terracotta – Tile Craft of Barpali

Our story begins at Gobekli Tepe in Eurasian Turkey. For archaeologists, Gobekli Tepe is a goldmine of information on Late Stone Age life, 12,000 years back in time, when world’s climate was at stake with the return of short Ice Age, known as the Younger Dryas. At this critical juncture of climate change, with its…

Dhokra – The Living Bronze Age Craft of Odisha

‘There is little Baluchi-style face with pouting lips and insolent look in the eye. She’s about 15 years old I should think, not mere, but she stand there with bangles all the way up her arm and nothing else on. A girl perfectly, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world. There is…

Kala Bhoomi – The Soul of Utkala

‘Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maratha Dravida, Utkala, Banga’ When Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore composed India’s national anthem he preferred the name Utkala, instead of Orissa, the anglicized name of Odisha or Kalinga, an ancient kingdom from the times of Ashoka. An art connoisseur and an artist himself, Tagore’s choice indicates his appreciation for Odisha’s unique art and…

Hire Benekal – India’s Megalithic Metropolis

1975…a small village of Lanjia Saoras in highlands of South Odisha! Ononti, a young woman Shaman starts to sing in parallel couplet in archaic Saora language, repeating each line but changing one word at a time to enrich the meaning!! Argalgalsi yuyunji                      bolongsi goden Argalgalsi yuyunji                      banardub goden…. She is calling the female shamans who…

Shigmotsav of Goa – Celebrating Life and Land

As the winter gets ready to make an exit from the land of Govapuri, when the fields are ready with the season’s harvest, the hard working peasant community gears up for the indigenous Shigmo festival. The festival that can be called as an exclusive legacy of Goa and its neighboring areas is the festival that…

Munsiyari Tribal Heritage Museum – A Bhotiya Love Affair

While strolling through the remote villages of Tehsil Munsiyari, shaded by the mighty Panchachuli and nestled in the Johar Valley of Kumaon region of the state of Uttarakhand, the remoteness of the region hardly escapes your notice. The sublime valley was once a bustling trade route to Tibet inhabited by the Himalayan trading and herding community, the Bhotiyas. Also known…