Mr. Santosh Misra shares with us an interesting and lesser known story of tattoo culture in Chhattisgarh. A tribe called 'Ram Nami' are known to tattoo every inch of their body by the word 'Ram' (in Hindi), which refers to Lord Rama.
Unlike city dwellers, the lifestyle of tribes is very sustainable. One has to spend time with them to understand how they live with minimal or no adverse environmental, economical and social impact. They live off their land. Everything ranging from their dwellings, dresses and cooking practices are environmentally responsible. Their dances and songs are made to complement important events like festivals, marriages and crop harvest.
Chhattisgarh Tourism has brought out and documented the aboriginals of this region. It is an amazing model of strengthening ones own roots through tourism rather than aping the west.
|Bison Maria dance | Image source: www.esamskriti.com|
|Tribal performances in Sirpur Dance and Music festival|
I must appreciate the Chhattisgarh tourism board website for following responsible tourism practices by educating travellers to not treat tribals as objects of amusement and put them through the test of judgement and evaluation. They rather advise travellers to involve culturally, and have mutual respect and nurturing.
Without such initiatives, the indigenous tribes and cultures of India will dwindle away only to be overtaken by western modernism and unsustainable lifestyle.
Ancient cities: We have all studied in our books about Harappa, Mohenjo Daro, Mesopotamia, and Egyptian civilizations. But, we do not know about the ancient city that flourished in Sirpur belt 2600 years ago. Dr. Arun K. Sharma, who is a passionate archaeologist and has a voice with power much more than that of a young man takes us on a walk across ancient temples built in vedic architecture. He shows us around the 'Surang Tilla' temple that belongs to 6th century BC. The architects built a structure from Dolomite that survived a massive earthquake in 10th century without a crack in its walls. Mr. Arun tells us about how technologically advance Indian architects were that they could create air vacuum in a building's foundation without the availability of modern equipment. The massive earthquake of 10th century literally bent and curved the stairs of the temple but it couldn't break them.
|Dr. Arun K. Sharma showing us around 'Surang Tilla'|
We walk across a historic market where merchants travelled from as far as China and middle east for trading of rice and iron ore. The market is very well planned with a dock for receiving ships, excellent drainage system, a watch tower and space for storing grains without effecting them from weather and rodents.
|6th century trading market in Sirpur|
|The terracotta temple of Lakshman in Sirpur|
|Bull fight shown in Sirpur Buddhist vihara|
I visited Chhattisgarh for only three days, but this region has so much to offer that I might have to come back again and again and each time I will bring back for you a new and intriguing story.
Note: This story is produced in association with Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. All the opinions are unbiased and are based on personal experience as on Jan 2015.
Travel Writer, Photographer, Public Speaker, Entrepreneur in Responsible Rural Travel @ www.thefolktales.com. As a travel writer, my work is published in The Hindu, Huffington Post, National Geographic Traveler and The Alternative