August 2016 | The Top Post !

Agriculture and people of Odisha

Agriculture and people of Odisha

                                                        - a photo essay

Odisha is a state where a large population, more than 60%, depends on the income from the agriculture although it contributes merely 15% to the state GDP. Odisha is fast growing state of India, and the modern industry is just entering in the state. The major industry in the state is Mining and metallurgy related. 

Farmers from some part of Odisha like Sambalpur, where the water is available throughout the year, takes two to three crops per year. But otherwise, the farming is done in the Monsoon season. The most preferred crop is paddy, which is also a primary staple food and rice is preferred with the fish. Favourite rice recipe is famous 'Pakhala' especially in the summer season. Tribals ferment the boiled rice mixed with herbs to make Handia.

Due to the various support schemes started by the state and central government, farmers are opting for modern practices and farming technologies. Tractors, seeders, irrigation equipment, are commonly used. However, poor one still use the classical method, a pair of bulls. A bicycle is a preferred mode of short distance, up to 5 kilometres, transportation for obvious reasons: cheap, affordable, easy maintenance. It is a typical picture where women use cycle, a family uses a cycle and obviously children too.

Water is available is in plenty in Monsoon season from June to September. An extensive network of rivers which pass through this region to meet the Sea of Bengal keeps the water level up to maintain the area green throughout the year. Villagers store the water in a small pond and is used for daily activities.

Adults, mainly women of the house, work tirelessly in the field to make most from the season. Working starts early in the morning and is finished before sunset, making the working hours somewhere from 10 to 12 hours daily. Availability of school for almost every village has raised the literacy level up indeed. However, the drop-out rate, is still higher in the rural area. Children prefer to either earn or work in the fields than to go to school. 

Wandering Destination: Jagdalpur

Wandering Destination: Jagdalpur

Jagdalpur, administrative headquarters of Bastar district, is the third largest city in the Chattisgarh state of India. The earlier city served as the capital of the state of Bastar. The city is known for nearby natural tourist attractions such as waterfalls, caves, biodiversity, and the dense jungles. 

The Bastar district is situated very near to the state boundaries of Maharashtra, Telangana, and Odisha. Bastar is the home to many of India's tribes including, major among them are Gond, Abhuj Maria, Bhatra Bhatra further subdivided into many other tribes. Bastar and surrounding districts are infamous for the Naxalites operation which takes advantage of the geography of the place. In this post, I am listing some of the small and nearby places within the city which can be visited after the main attractions like waterfalls and caves.

Danteshwari Temple:

A small ancient temple built by the kings of Bastar at the entrance of Bastar Palace for inhabiting their family Goddess, Devi Danteshwari. Devi Danteshwari is the Goddess of entire Bastar, worshipped by tribals and other community. A major temple of Danteshwari is located in infamous Dantewada town.

Bastar Palace:

Few meters ahead of Danteshwari temple, the old palace of the Bastar state is still standing tall. During British rule, it served as the headquarters of Bastar Kingdom. It was built by the rulers of Bastar State when the capital of Bastar kingdom was shifted from Barsur to Jagdalpur. Currently, the major part of the palace is being renovated while rest is used as a government office.

Dalpat Sagar Lake:

Dalpat Sagar Lake is one of the biggest artificial lakes in Chhattisgarh. It was built by Raja Dalpat Deo Kakatiya over 400 years ago to harvest rainwater. There is an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the centre island of the Dalpat Sagar. Due to the negligence of the municipal authorities, the charm it had three years back when it was renovated, is entirely lost. The lake is full with water hyacinth; the construction is ruined and people are misusing the property.

Balaji Temple:

The Sri Venkateshwara Swamy Temple (Balaji Temple) in Jagdalpur is built by the members of Andhra Association. Balaji perhaps being the most sacred deity for Andhraites, forced to have Balaji temple in their town of Jagdalpur. 

Nearby Attractions:

Travelling tips:

1. Stay at Jagdalpur and hire a taxi to visit nearby attractions. Public transportation is almost absent. A private vehicle is the best option. Road to all the tourist spots are absolutely in good condition, and the destination is easy to approach.

2. While travelling in the outskirts of Jagdalpur (in the rural area), make sure you have a local guide with you. Nearby areas are considered to be the major Naxalite influenced area. Do not forget to inform local police before you visit.

3. Photographing in the above-mentioned area may prove dangerous. First, a tourist cannot anticipate the thought process of locals. An outsider cannot control any objection raised by the localities. You never know, what might create a tense situation. Tribal people are assumed to be hot-headed. A person with the camera can be misunderstood as a threat or problem by the Naxalites. Furthermore, people understand a very little Hindi or any other language than local. 

Second reason is the alcohol. Alcohol made from rice, dates is consumed by both men and women and is a vital part of their culture. But aftereffects of drinking alcohol, no matter how it is made, are same everywhere on earth. I was told, these people don't care about law especially under the influence of alcohol.

These were the cautionary words. In general, people are good and cooperative once they understand why you are photographing. Here comes the importance of the local person accompanying you. Once you establish a connection with people, photography is easier. People are shy to the camera and don't want to get photographed. Trick to talk to them but don't insist too much. Alcohol and various types of meat are sold in weekly markets. The in charge CRPF office may tell you not to take the photographs of such may-be-controversial objects, so respect it.

4. Buy locally made stuff like decorative items made of wood and copper. If you buy from the weekly tribal market, it will cost you half as compared to major city markets.

5. If you are vegetarian, some good marwadi restaurants are available in Jagdalpur. An unlimited and delicious meal may cost you around 60 to 80 rupees in the city and nearby places. If you are non-vegetarian, do enjoy local chicken breed on the restaurants near to the waterfalls. 

Wandering Destination: Balaji Temple, Jagdalpur

Wandering Destination: Balaji Temple, Jagdalpur

The Sri Venkateshwara Swamy Temple (Balaji Temple) in Jagdalpur is built by the members of Andhra Association. Balaji perhaps being the most sacred deity for andhraites, forced to have Balaji temple in their own town of Jagdalpur. 

The temple is built over about half an acre square premise also hosts Ganesh Temple, idols of different Hindu gods and ample space to organise major events. As it seats on the boundary of the town near Dalpat Sagar lake, ambience is peaceful. Temple opens at five in the evening when the time so apt to experience the busy sky and a cool breeze.

Some tips:

1. Temple open at 5:00 OM in the evening and remains open till 9 PM.
2. Photography is allowed inside the premises but not inside the temples.

How to reach: