Title: 14 Year Young Traveller Shares His Learning From His Recent Visit To Bastar | unexploredbastar
Meta Description: Read about the experiences of a 14-year old traveller as he shares his learning from his recent visit to ‘Incredible Bastar’. Keywords include bastar tour package and bastar tourism.
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By Paras Nigam
On the night of 31 December 2019, a day before my flight, I was petrified. Honestly, never in my wildest dreams had I thought of starting the New Year from a village. However, as I boarded the flight I told myself that since there was nothing much that could be done, I might as well enjoy my visit to this village which my dad always referred to as ‘Incredible Bastar’.
I landed in Raipur and headed for the bus terminal to board a bus for Dhamtari. Dhamtari is located eighteen kilometers from Jabarra village, which was my destination. When I saw the ‘Adivasis’, I never thought that I would be welcomed with such warmth and love. I stayed with the ‘Gond Tribe’ who were very caring and for the guest as God, and hence had to be looked after. They treated us with a lot of love, and we were served the typical tribal food in the ‘Sargi Leaf’.
Without wasting much time, we walked around the village and began absorbing the beautiful ways of life like how they lived, dressed, and functioned. To my surprise, I discovered that they were self-sufficient and lived off the land.
The tribals too were excited about seeing us and were extremely magnanimous in sharing with us their homes and culture. Going to a village, learning archery, and to top it all using it to catch fish in the backwaters of the Indrawati river was like a dream come true.
The next morning all of us left for an interesting walk through the dense forests consisting of multiple medicinal plants. How self-sufficient this village was that in some ways they did not need to be touched, I felt. We stopped by to see the cave of a bear and a leopard, living surprisingly as neighbors, in a world of human animosity.
On returning to the village, we had paan Rotis with delicious chutney for breakfast cooked by the ladies on a hot stove.
On the way back to the hut we came across an ‘Anganwari’. My mother and I stopped there for a while and taught the young and sweet children some songs which are often sung in primary schools in the cities.
Later in the day, we departed for a tribal mela traveling through the deep jungle where three of us were seated on one bike. The festival of Madai was being celebrated and we were welcomed by the village head with garlands while we watched the men on whom the Devi had transcended, dance in trance. The men did not bleed despite hitting themselves with sharp metal chains. I was petrified on seeing this kind of culture which was beyond my comprehension.
The next day we headed for Jagdalpur, Bastar. I reached a friend’s house and after staying with his family for three days I experienced a bond of love, in fact, a very strong one. They treated me with so much love and we reciprocated it too. This time nothing was transactional, like in the cities.
On the fourth day, time was flying, and soon this lovely holiday was coming to an end. We went to see the Kailash Caves and walking the dark interiors with less oxygen was an experience I can not describe. I saw the ‘stalactites’ created from the icicle of dripping water from the roof and the ‘stalagmites’ grew from the floor. It was one of my best experiences. Each stalagmite seemed to bear the shape and form of an Indian God. This was truly remarkable. An experience I would love to share with my friends and Geography teacher to score an A+. 😊!!
I also plugged around the cave with the local guide and shared the need to preserve our natural heritage and environment with as many as I could.
‘Nangur tribal market, eating samosa matar, tasting fermented drinks made from plants by the tribes was another enthralling experience.
As we were heading towards ‘Tirathgadh Falls’ we stopped by in a ‘junior school for the tribal children. It was interesting to teach them the concept of framing simple sentences in English. I loved every minute of my experience with the children. Surprisingly, the girls in the school outnumbered the boys. India is changing!
The Tirathgadh Falls were divine, and the sound of the falling water droplets sounded pleasant to my ears. The next day I visited the Chitrokote, went on a boat ride to the site for natural lingas, and visited the old Shiva temple.
At the temple, I got a chance to play Cricket and face some talented local bowlers where I realized that being passionate about something is the real key to success.
I also visited ‘Tamda ghoomar’ which in my perspective was the most impressive cascade as I was able to walk in the water before it fell into the gorge. I sat in the middle of the water aimlessly looking into the sky.
Finally, I got a chance to visit Dholkal which I had been waiting for so long. It was more than an hour long steep climb to the Ganesh idol where my father and I lay down on the rocks after having tested our dexterity. Looking over Bijapur from 3000ft felt amazing.
On reaching home in Jagdalpur which had actually become one by now, I was sad since it was now time to leave. None of us were happy to board the night bus to Raipur and bid goodbye to the beautiful family which had become a part of us. So, we held onto our tears, bid goodbye, and promised to keep in touch. It was a boring eight-hour bus ride where we all slept. On reaching Raipur the next morning we freshened ourselves at a hotel and drove off into the interiors to see the Ramnami Tribe Festival.
The Ramnamis have the word ‘Ram’ tattooed on their body.
The trip was not only an experiential, but a mystical one too. I am so glad to have explored ‘Unexplored Bastar’.