Category Archives: Trivia

Trivia: A visit to a Bhil village

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A Bhil home in the village we visited

During our Bundi trip we had a day long excursion to Bhimlat & Bijolia. On our way back in the evening we had stopped at one of the Bhil (community/tribe) village for a short while.

The interaction with them was effortless and they definitely loved the camera ūüôā I restrained myself to a very few clicks, as it seemed like objectifying them.

ABOUT THE BHILS

The word Bhil is derived from a Dravidian word meaning ‘bow‘ thus they are popularly known as the ‘bow men’. They are the¬†second largest tribal community of India and mainly found in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra.

As per legend, the Bhils trace their ancestry to Eklavya or the Nishada tribe though there are other several hypotheses about there origin. They were known to live in forests & mountains and were good huntsmen. Over many years now, they have either taken to agriculture or have migrated to cities for masonry and other manual labor. Their language is Bhili, which is an Indo Aryan language though now most speak the language of the state they reside in.

Drawings by this Bhil boy adorn the walls of his house

BHIL & TRIBAL ART

Art is integral to the Bhil community. They have rich cultural history and give much importance to dance and music. Ghoomar (traditional folk dance of Rajasthan & Sindh) is the most famous dance among the Bhils while Gair is the religious dance drama performed by the men in the Shravan month of July & August. The Bhils are talented in the sculptured work too, making beautiful horses, elephants, tigers, deities out of clay.

A Bhil’s life is expressed through his/her paintings. The Bhils, like all adivasis, live close to nature, so most of their drawings / paintings relate to it.¬†Upon visiting a Bhil household, one will discover a myriad of simple images of everyday life of the tribe adorning their mitti (mud) huts & walls.

Balu Lal, a young Bhil lad, we met at the village, uses his house wall as canvas and proudly calls himself a budding artist. He loves painting and the above photographs are a proof of it ūüôā

The distinguishing feature of Bhil art are dots. Pic: Google Searched

The dots used are the distinct identity of Bhil art and is symbolic. It is inspired by the maize kernels which is their staple food and crop. Each group of dots often represents a particular ancestor or deity. Also every artist composes the dots in distinctive patterns encoding each artwork with their signature visible to the trained eye.

Onset of sunset in the Bhil village

While we chatted with the Bhils we got to see the onset of a beautiful sunset. In fact we witnessed a bright, fiery sunset that day which till date is deeply etched in my mind!

 

The pretty line up of Bhil girls ‚̧

The girls were pretty & chirpy and as we bid them adieu I was happy that I could to capture this wonderful memorable photograph of theirs ūüôā

In Rajasthan, certain cities are named after the Bhil kings who once ruled the region. Kota, for instance got its name from Kotya Bhil; Bansara is derived from Bansiya Bhil; and Dungarpur is named after Dungariya Bhil.

 

‚Ķ.and, if you like what you just read, do ‚Äėlike it‚Äô &¬†‚Äėshare it‚Äô.¬†Non WordPress users please ‚Äėrate‚Äô it to express your appreciation¬†ūüôā¬†Also do not forget to¬†‚Äėfollow the blog‚Äô to remain updated about newer posts¬†‚̧¬†

 

HAPPY  TRAVELLING!
Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe

 

 

Trivia: Kerala Trip Take Offs

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My trip to Kerala had its highs and lows. While my passion for travelling and photography got a good deal, I had some tough time with the food (barring a couple of local food items) and weather. I loved being amidst the greenery, clean air and a simple slow paced way of life. Munnar being my favorite and already marked for a revisit.

Am sharing a few take offs from my trip that may help plan your trip better. This is basis my personal experience and with reference to the places that were on my itinerary (read about the places we visited here #KeralaNotings)

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My inputs on¬†food is based on my personal taste in food and its likes.¬†¬†If you have a strong¬†North Indian palate you may not be able to relish the¬†local cuisine (coconut base & oil being used extensively)¬†on a daily basis. Kerala is a delight for¬†non vegetarians with a variety to choose from especially sea food!¬†Basis preference, it is advised you ask your houseboat provider for another cuisine along with / other than their traditional cuisine while making the bookings and a cook who knows how to prepare¬†them. ¬†You can give a reminder¬†24/48 hrs before the ride. Food is cheap there and the highway joints will provide you with basic staple food menu. ¬†I remember being all excited about a traditional breakfast dish ‘puttu’ (steamed cylinders of ground rice layered with coconut) and then landing with a bad stomach and vomiting, maybe indigestion at its peak. Anyone trying it should initially take a small portion. While traveling from one place to another by road keep some light munchies handy. Here and there we enjoyed the kacha aam with chilli powder and yes they are extremely fast selling. Personally, I did not find the homemade chocolates, being sold, ¬†around the tourist spots, delectable. Do not carry food / snacks when inside¬†Periyar & Eravikulam National Park, you will not be allowed to carry them on your exploration. In case you need to carry some, to keep them in your car till you return.

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You will have a lot of options for souvenirs / shopping. I found the Khadi Gramodhyog Bhavan (Pallimukku, Ernakulam) to be a good & decently priced option to buy souvenirs. Retail outlets in plantations on the Kumily –¬†Thekkady highway are¬†the best place to buy spices. Kasavu sari from any Kasavukada showroom, kathakali masks & nettippattam can also be bought from shops around popular¬†temples. Oh yes, some banana, tapioca, jack fruit chips too! I loved their chikki (peanut candy) … different from the ones we get here… its yummm!! Avoid shopping in Princess Street /Fort Kochi as prices are high lest you are rally good at bargaining. You may indulge in incense or ittar (concentrated¬†perfume) purchase there but remember, to bargain. ¬†Not to forget the Lulu mall (second largest mall in India) for brand shopping or just whiling some evening time. Things you can buy as souvenirs: aranmula kannadi (metal mirror), kasavu saree, kettuvallam (houseboat), chundan vallom (snake boat). nettipattam (elephant caparison), kathakali masks or paintings, coir products, mural paintings, nettoor petti (traditional jewelry box), spices, ayurvedic produce, tea and coffee from their plantation’s retail outet.

With regards to clothing, you may need light woolens in Munnar & other hilly places while for the rest comfortable cotton dresses along with a pair of good walking shoes. If temples are on your itinerary, its advisable to look up the temple dress code rules before visiting. The men, as well as male kids, in most temples are to wear mundu (dhoti) and be bare chested while entering the inner sanctum. For the women, most temples allow them to wear a saree or a salwar/churidar-kameez with dupatta.

Google search: Dec weather details


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was definitely not in my good books since I am not comfortable in hot and humid climate that too in November!! So barring Munnar and to some extent Thekkady I was miserable. Carry water proof sunscreen, umbrellas/caps and dresses suitable to such weather. Keep yourself well hydrated and eat light. Since Kerala is a place of backwaters carry mosquito repellent.

 

And, when in Kerala do not forget to indulge in the traditional ayurvedic spa treatments. There are plenty of massage spa / parlours around so do make sure you narrow down on an authentic one. Your hotels would have an in house spa or tie up with some. At the end of the day a shirodhara abhiyangam would be great way to unwind ūüėé

Please ensure you do online reservation for the Eravikulam National Park and Periyar National Park & Wildlife Sanctuary in advance. Also you should be at the venue much ahead of the time slot chosen to collect the physical ticket for which you need to be in a long queue (during tourist season). Also at the Periyar a person can purchase only two tickets at the max (note this if you are planning to get your tickets on the spot). Another thing, you are not allowed to carry any eatables in the main section of the parks so please keep this in mind.

While on the houseboat kids may tend to get restless. Do have a plan to keep them engaged ūüėÄ The houseboats get docked at a village in the evening for the day. Since its winter the sunsets early so ensure you tell your steersman¬†to reach the place while the sun is still up. Else you may miss enjoying touring the village and enjoying its scenic life.

As a rule always always carry small denomination money. I have this habit instilled in me by my parents since my hostel days. It stands me in good stead and saved us a lot of panic due to sudden demonetization on the very day of our arrival.

 

….and, if you like what you just read, do ‚Äėlike it‚Äô &¬†‚Äėshare it‚Äô. Non WordPress users please ‘rate’ it to express your appreciation ūüôā¬†Also do not forget to¬†‚Äėfollow the blog’ to remain updated about newer posts¬†‚̧¬†


HAPPY  TRAVELLING!
Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe

 

Trivia: Who are these rats in Karni Mata Temple?

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We all wonder about the rats and their significance when we hear, read about or visit this famous rat temple. I was curious too! Our cab driver shared an interesting piece about the rats in Karni Mata temple.

Karni mata had struck a deal with Yamraj, “Lord of Death” when he had come to take her step son who had drowned. She wanted his life to be restored but it could not be done since he had taken a rebirth. An argument ensued which resulted in an agreement¬†that all her (Charan) clan/ tribe people would turn into rat after death until it was time for rebirth as a human.

The rats known as kabhas are believed to the souls of departed charan people, thus, considered holy. 

Folklore also states the presence of a white rat amidst thousands of brown ones. It is said that its ma Karni herself and the sighting of this rat is considered highly auspicious. Some say there are more than one white rat ….. they being the immediate family of Karni mata.

Interesting isn’t it? No wonder it is said travelling¬†turns one into an interesting story teller!

 

….and, if you like what you just read, do ‚Äėlike it‚Äô &¬†‚Äėshare it‚Äô. Non WordPress users please ‘rate’ it to express your appreciation ūüôā¬†Also do not forget to¬†‚Äėfollow the blog’ to remain updated about newer posts¬†‚̧¬†


HAPPY  TRAVELLING!
Monika Ohson / TravelerInMe