Friday, 22 March 2013

PHOTO DIARY: Markets in Tribal India (Onkadelli, Orissa)

A Bonda tribal woman at Onkadelli Market near Koraput (Orissa, India)
Photo © Chris Raven
The Raven brothers visit the colourful Onkadelli market in OrissaIndia, where tribal villagers meet once a week to stock up on supplies and socialize.

Photography Chris Raven & Simon Raven

Around 10am in the morning, dozens of tribal people from communities living in the forest descend on the village of Onkadelli by foot, travelling from as far as 20km away. The tribal women wear little more than colourful red, yellow and white beads, ornate metal jewellery and large heavy metal silver rings around their necks.

Rings around the neck at Onkadelli Market (Orissa, India)
Photo © Chris Raven
Photography at Onkadelli is a subject of controversy. A trade over the years has evolved between tourists and tribal villagers in which Rs10 exchanges hands in return for a photograph. If possible we recommend purchasing the food the tribal villagers are selling or a stunning selection of art and crafts, from tribal jewellery to bows and arrows.

Lively market for the local tribal people. It's a time to stock up. Photo © Simon Raven
While visiting the market you might also like to try the local alcohol which many of the local villagers sell and consume at the far end of the street. Here you will find many of the tribal men, who dress more simply and wear coloured scarves tied around their heads. The strong alcohol is served and consumed in wooden ladles by the local villagers at the roadside and if tried will most certainly help lubricate a morning of exploration into tribal India.

The strong local booze at Onkadelli market, Orissa, consumed in
wooden ladles. Photo © Simon Raven
Getting there: Close to the slightly more popular tourist centre of Jeypore, Koraput has emerged over the past few years as a convenient point from which to visit the small but popular Onkadelli Thursday market. In addition to the stunning Hindu Temple and a dramatic Muslim Mosque, Koraput has an excellent tribal museum providing a fantastic introduction to tribal life in the region. Faded photos of villagers from the Bonda, Gadaba, Malic and Didai tribes are hung on walls above glass cases displaying tribal jewellery, weapons, tools, pipes and textiles.

A car and driver can be arranged close to the tribal museum for around Rs1500. The journey passes through pristine forests, rural villages and the town of Jeypore on a two hour drive into the bumpy back country.

1 comment:

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