A Journey through Kondh Territory, a Tribe that Once Sacrificed Humans

‘Life is because of the Gods; with their sacrifice they gave us life, which nourishes life’ An Ancient Mesoamerican Belief In 1521 CE, when the Spanish explorer Hemán Cortťs conquered the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan what amazed him was the high intensity of human sacrifices performed in the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in honour of their…

Mishings of Majuli – An Anthropological Journey

Year 2017! Bipin Sivaji Dhane, a young alumnus of IIT Kharagpur visits Majuli and it was love at first sight. Bipin left his lucrative job in cosmopolitan Singapore to start a school in a remote village for the children of Mishing Tribe. A new journey was embarked upon through partnering with local Mishing community leaders…

Splendours of Sonepur – In the land of Ramayana’s Lanka

Sirpur in Chhattisgarh (also known as Mahakosala) was the seat of power for Panduvamsa at a time when political turmoil was at its peak in East-Central India. During the reign of Mahasivagupta Balarjuna in the beginning of the 9th century CE, Mahakosala had been invaded by Rastrakutas from Deccan. With little hope for revival, a…

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…

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…

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…

Mawphlang Sacred Forest – A Photo Story

Its no secret that India’s northeast is treasure-trove of many fascinating places. Ranging from varied natural wonders, age old archeological remains, living cultural sites of various tribes to religious places of mythological importance, India’s incredible north-east has it all! While on my trip to Meghalaya, I got an opportunity to visit one such interesting place – the…