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…

Odisha’s Tulsi Chauras – Devotion in Terracotta

Oh Tulasi You who are beloved of Vishnu You who fulfil the wishes of the devout I will bathe you You are the mother of the world Give me the blessings of Vishnu   Oh Tulasi Within your roots are all sacred places of the world And inside your stem live all the Gods and…

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 anglicised 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…

Dola Jatra – The other Rath Yatra

When world was water, you became a tireless vessel of the Vedas. You, in Pisces form, Keshava: conqueror of the world, Hari!   When this heavy earth you carried on your callused tortoise back, how venerable you were, Keshava: conqueror of the world, Hari!   A blemish on the hare-marked moon, the earth became as…

Theyyam – God’s Own Dance

2 am is not exactly a time when people are expected to stay awake let alone dance or perform a divine ritual. But then Theyyam is unlike any dance or worship ritual ever experienced. It is the dance of the Gods themselves when they come calling on the people. A disambiguation of the Sanskrit word…

Jawai – Where Leopards are Locals

‘We went to India not only to observe the changes that had occurred since my former visit, 23 years ago, at the conclusion of our Philippine war, but also to visit places of interest, see something of the military air and ground forms, visit some old friends and acquaintances and then have a good tiger…

Water and Thar Desert – Stories from Indo-Pak Border

Sau sāndiya, saukarahalā, pūt, nipūti hoe Mehadlā to buthān hi bahlā, honi ho so hoe A hundred she camels, a hundred camels, all left childless, What is destined to be will be, even so a few drops of rain would be a blessing. Depiction of drought in one of the folk songs sung in the…