People of Bastar

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1. This album consists of pictures taken during the six days was in Dantewada/Jagdalpur for Bastar Dussehra. Towards end at a huge open ground, Kumdakot (a sal grove), where Rath Parikama is celebrated. A day after the chariot is stolen the king visits here to offer cooked rice of the new harvest to the Goddess. At this ground saw this lady – gentle and lovely smile.

2. Lady in centre belongs to the Bison Horn Maria tribe. She was amongst the best dancers – observed her in Dantewada and Jagdalpur.

3. Close to Chitrakoot Waterfalls at village Lohandiguda is a HAAT or market held every Friday. Just loved the look. Something very special about her.

4. Saw him at Kumdakot (a sal grove) as referred to in pic one. Red turban means he is leader of the village.

5. Again at Kumdakot (a sal grove) met this dashing guy with a lovely turban, notice the number of rings on fingers. With dance artists-Bison Horn Maria adivasis.

6. On Dussehra day the ‘Devi Maoli’ is brought to Jiya Dera for public darshan. About 7.30 pm the Devi Maoli is taken in a procession to Bastar Palace. Bison Horn Marias led the procession. U see them relaxing before the dance begins. Left of pic Adivasi has a mobile phone very common. On his back brown color is a water bottle.

7. Chitrakoot Waterfalls - at point where we get into boat men row the boats for tourists (Rs 50/ per head) whilst women make lovely bhajiya and chai. Potato pakodas and besin / udat ki dal ka mix with tomato chutney. Super stuff.

8. Again at Kumdakot (a sal grove). Got to see many adivasis there.

9. Weekly Haat Market at village Lohandiguda near Chitrakoot Waterfalls. Smiling women. By and large women allowed me to click pictures.

10. Outside Ma Danteswari Mandir GOUR Dance by Bison Horn Marias. Loved the performance. It has the right rhythm and made me dance too.

11. Ladies at Bastar village weekly haat i.e. held on Thursday.

12. Not sure where I met this lady, perhaps at one of the weekly markets. Ladies sport a small turban on their heads.

13. Loved this woman. Outside Ma Danteswari Mandir many sit in a row with devotees offering them rice – also saw similar custom in Kashi on the banks of the Ganga during Dev Deepavali.

14. Bright girls at YUVA BPO Dantewada. They have to undergo about 45 days training before working in the BPO. Megha from village Bacheli district Dantewada. I asked her why she had joined & if family was ok. She said wanted to supplement family income & family supportive. On right of pic in black is Reshma from village Geedam district Dantewada.

15. Just outside my hotel in Jagdalpur saw this women. Loved the eco-friendly stuff that she sells. Adivasis give her the basic material which she then makes ready for sale. Bastar should export such eco-friendly stuff and bamboo products to other parts of India in a big way.

16. 2 days before Dussehra at Ma Danteswari Mandir the Devi Maoli is taken in a procession from Dantewada to Jagdalpur. Huge crowds visit the mandir that day. Local people set up kitchens and give prasad to devotees. U see an adivasi family. Many of them wear saris, the younger generation salwar suit.

17. Just outside Bastar Palace in Jagdalpur met these women. Lady on right of pic elder retains earlier way of dressing. Lady on left younger drapes sari like others do.

18. At Kumdakot (a sal grove) ground best performing artists.

19. In Dantewada you see me as a Bison Horn Maria. What is worn on the head is ‘Bison Horn’ and the whistle is called Cowry. The dholak type is called MANDAR. Devi Maoli procession moves in cars from Dantewada to Jagdalpur, stops at various places for devotees to have darshan. This is just outside the town.

20. At Kumdakot (a sal grove) ground locals with a Chinese tourist. Surprised and happy to see a group of about six Chinese tourists. May their tribe increase?

21. In dance mode coming out of the Ma Danteswari Mandir complex. Lady right of pic has in her hand is called a TIRUD. When they dance musical tune comes by shaking the tirud. Dancing on bridge outside Dantewada town. A water tank sprinkles water on the road before artists perform hence you see water on the road.

22. In Dantewada saw women driving E-scooters. District Collector, Saurabh Kuma r said, “We have seen that if the women in the family are sustainably employed, they spend a higher proportion of their earnings on education and healthcare, which leads to a holistic development of the region.” Each vehicle costs Rs 1.6 lakhs, women pay about 20% of the cost in 5-6 instalments. Firstpost.com 8/4/2018.

23. Outside Dantewada met this family, very happy to be clicked. Seemed like a family under stress. Pray for their well-being and happiness.

24. Bastar village Haat Market.

25. Group of Bengalis from Kolkata outside Ma Danteswari Mandir.

26. Just loved the serene look, met her outside Bastar Palace I think.

27. Flower market Jagdalpur.

28. At Ma Danteshwari Mandir many bhandaras gave prasad to devotees.

29. YUVA. Boy in blue shirt Santosh from village Gollaguda in Bijapur district (BPO in Dantewada district). I asked him if parents were concerned about his well-being at call centre. He said no problems has a video call with family every night. How do you manage that I asked? Laughed - thanks to JIO.

30. You see me with best lady performers from the Bison Horn Maria community. A big thanks for lovely performances over 4 days. I love Bastar – friendly people, gentle music, great art and culture. Decent hotels and food likeable too. Plan a visit now.