Category: India, 2018

On The Road to Kakiriguma

October 21

Breakfast at the lodge then set off for what will be a long day on the road, but broken up by several stops.

Our first stop is in Kotpad to walk around and see textiles made by tantes, who are weavers (tanta means loom). This is not a tribal village, but walking through it and looking and walking into people’s homes gives me some sense of how they live. Sometimes he speaks too fast and when he asks if I understand, I tell him, “no, you’ve got to slow down, and talk to me as if I’m a five-year old child”.

Our next stop was in Garh padder, a primitive Dharua Gond village. People here live a most simple life and, again, walking around is interesting and instructive. Prashant is able to explain a great deal of what we see and to talk to people.

We have a really delicious Indian lunch at a hotel that Prashant knows then move on to Koraput, the district headquarters, where we visit a small tribal museum. The half hour or so we spend there is worthwhile in giving me a preview of what we’ll see in the Hill Tribes.

The third village we visit, janiguda, is inhabited by the Bada Paroja tribe. Prashant is clearly known by the people in the village. He jokes with them and gives them biscuits as we walk around. I’m not all that comfortable in this village (not a physical fear). Many of the people seem drunk, which is a big issue in all the tribal villages.

From here we drive to my final hotel, Chandoori Sai. I’m to be here five nights and was looking forward to unpacking and relaxing. I’m not at all happy with the arrangement, which has me in a single room in a two-bedroom cottage for the first night, then sharing the cottage with a Spanish couple who will move into the second bedroom for two nights, after which I’ll be switched to another room for the last two nights. Not sure anything can be done about it, but I’ve written to my travel agent already to complain. I’ll survive, but it’s not the way I was planning to end my trip.

Up for dinner, where I join the French group that stayed at the Kanker Palace with me and who I ran into at the festival in Jagdalpur. They have been very welcoming to me, which I’ve appreciated. We’re served some outstanding pizza and gnocchi and a tasty apple pie for dessert. Not exactly what I came to India for, but I’ll take it.

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