Temples, Tribes and Tigers of Eastern India

Each year the festival of Dussehra celebrates the Hindu god Rama’s victory over the demon king Ravana and the triumph of good over evil. Primarily a Hindu festival, in the tribal regions of Chattisgarh of Eastern India however, the various tribes of the Bastar people celebrate Bastar Dessehra in memory of their Goddess ‘Danteshwari Mai’.

The Bastar include Gond, Bhatra, Muria, Abhuj Maria, Bison Horn Maria, Halbaa and Dhurvaa tribes and sub-tribes. Each tribe has developed its own dialects and differs from each other in their costume, eating habits, customs, traditions and even worship different forms of their gods and goddesses. Many tribals still live in deep forests and avoid mixing with outsiders in order to protect their own unique culture.

The Bastar were the earliest people to work with metal and have expertise in making beautiful figurines of tribal gods, votive animals, oil lamps, carts and animals. They are also known for their arts & crafts and colorful festivals, with the annual ten-day
Bastar Dussehra festival held in Jagadalpur being the largest and most important.

We journey from the rich historic Kalingan temples of Bhubaneswar, Konark and Puri through the state of Odisha to Chattisgarh and its many tribal villages and markets, spending two full days at the colorful Bastar Dussehra festival. We then stay three nights in a luxury tented camp at Kanha National Park and take several safaris  in search of Royal Bengal Tiger before returning to Delhi.

Muria tribal dance

Visiting:

  • Delhi (2 nights)
  • Bhubaneswar (2), Mukteswar, Rajarani, Udaygiri Caves, Pipli, Konark
  • Puri (1), Chilka Lake
  • Gopalpur (1), Tattoo-faced Kondh tribal village
  • Baliguda (1), Dongaria
  • Chandoori Sai (4), Bonda tribal market, Kunduli tribal market, Laxmipur tribal market, Kotpad weaving village, Bison Horn tribal village, Tokapal tribal market
  • Jagadalpur (4), Bastar Dussehra festival (2 days)
  • Kanker (2)
  • Kanha National Park (3)
  • Delhi (2)

Click here to download the Temples Tribes and Tigers of East India brochure