Contributed by Pratik Sharma
Bastar is an unexplored, unknown land of bounty with rich layers to its culture and history. ‘Bastar’ is located inChhattisgarh comprising of the Bastar, Dantewada and Kanker districts. Currently, it is spread over 10,000 sq kms and is home to tribal communities which are more than 3000 years old. The Megalithic Gond, Maria and Muria tribes largely inhabit the region, making it culturally and demographically unique and different. Surrounded by Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, it poses a hybrid blend of Odia and Andhra culture. Gondi is the main language in the region followed by Halbi. Bastar is predominantly an agricultural area, with rice being the major crop grown in kharifseason. The tribalsdepend on the forests for food security and employment. The forests are also rich with Bauxite deposits, especially the Bailadila mountain ranges which support two thriving steel plants. The influence of the vibrant tribal lifestyle can be in seen in the region’s famous handicrafts which use the lost wax technique to make decorative items like jewelry and pots. Bastar’s wood craft and bell metal artifacts show a great deal of skill and finesse and are unique. The 75 day long Dussehrafestival showcases interesting elements of tribal life. Thefestival starts in July and ends in October, overlapping with the Navratra, but is not connected to the more popular legend of Lord Ram’s win over Ravan. BastarDussehra is a great way to immerse yourself in this ancient culture and to witness the vibrant colours of tribal lifestyle! The air is filled with joy and effervescence of celebration mixed with taste of local brews and authentic tribal food. The palace was built by and still is inhibited by the rulers of the Bhanj Deo dynasty which took over Bastar from the Kakatiyas. Maharaja PravirBhanjDeo was the ruler of Bastar state during Independence. The tribals and locals worship him and believe that the Maharaja had some supernatural powers. The Palace has a rich collection of rarepictures, portraits of the royal family and collectable masterpieces of tribal handicraft from the region.
Contributed by:- Pratik Sharma