Glimpses from a tribal land
Want to experience the tribal heritage of Odisha? Head to the ongoing Adivasi Mela at Bhubaneswar. While the cultural calendar of Bhubaneswar is dotted with several events in the months of winter, the most colourful among them is the Adivasi Mela.
Hosted at the Adivasi Ground in the Capital City of Odisha, the fortnight-long event that started on January 26 serves as a mini museum showcasing tribal heritage of this Eastern State.
Odisha has as many as 62 tribes and 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTGs). Hundreds of tribals from all over the State bring along with them a slice of their lives to the fair that is being hosted by the ST and SC Development Department, Government of Odisha. This year, the event has 170 stalls and the venue divided into various sections highlighting dwellings and lifestyle of tribals, arts and crafts and food practices.
The most interesting aspect of the fair is the 29 dummy huts that have come up at the venue and they focus of the living styles of the communities. These huts have been prepared by 21 Integrated Tribal Development Agencies (ITDAs) and eight PVTGs. All the tribal dwellings are replete with vegetable gardens, cow sheds, poultry pens and miniature structures housing the presiding deity of each community. Interestingly, a majority of tribal communities worship their deities outside their house. Each of the houses has been daubed with cow dung and red soil and beautiful paintings made on the walls with rice paste and vegetable dyes.
At the crafts section, visitors can explore tribal handicrafts like black Dokra, terracotta pottery, cane handicrafts, paddy craft, wooden sculptures and tribal jewellery. There are also tribal paintings on various themes and visitors can ask for customised paintings, get them painted on the spot and carry back home a personalised souvenir. At the open auditorium, cultural shows on tribal dance and music are being organised every evening.
A colourful food court offering traditional cuisines tempts the visitors’ palate. One can indulge in a variety of tribal cuisines, from the aromatic ‘Chicken Poda’, to delicious ‘Kangu Kheeri’, ‘Kandamula Poda Pitha’, ‘Rasi Laddoo’, ‘Mandia Poda Pitha’, spicy ‘Mudhi Mansa’ and ‘Buta Jhudanga Masala’. Forest produce like red potatoes, honey, tamarind, turmeric, varieties of mustard seeds, the medicinal herbs, spices, herbal juices, whole grains and pulses grown by tribal farmers are being sold in their purest form at the tribal haat.
Sources in the department said the fair had begun on the Republic Day of 1951 in shape of a small exhibition held at Cuttack, the then capital of Odisha. With shifting of the State Capital to Bhubaneswar, the annual event started here from 1954. This year, the fair would continue till February 9.
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