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Visiting the villages near Kavant, India

There are no new places to visit. Tauck Tours has run out of destinations.” This was a statement made recently at my  book club  by a member talking about the future of travel.

At the time I was a little skeptical, but it stuck in my mind. Recently on a trip to India I visited a place that my guess is that Taulk Tours  hasn’t yet discovered. Nothing wrong with that but for me it was fascinating. Traveling with the Jim Cline Photography Tour, I journeyed to Kavant—a small town in  eastern Gujarat where the Rathwa tribal people live.

Village near Kavant, India
Village near Kavant, India

I love visiting  remote, isolated places where people go about their daily lives providing for their families, living lives very different from my own. Seeing first hand that in many basic ways we are all  the same in the love of our families and friends, cherishing relationships.

Near Kavant, India
Near Kavant, India

We visited some of the small hamlets of Rathwa tribes in the area. I worried a bit about intruding and discussed this in a recent blog post called “Did you feel like a voyeur?” Quick answer is no. Our local guide told us that we provided more entertainment for the local people than we could imagine with our strange clothes, cameras around our necks and our interest in their lives.

 

Young lady curious about us.
Young lady curious about us.

I loved the experience meeting people like this woman. We traded stories through the local guide and I learned that like myself she has three grandchildren. She lead me to the small temple in the village—the size some walk-in closets in middle class neighborhoods in the U.S. Her pride was palpable even though we couldn’t communicate with words.

Lovely Lady near Kavant, India
Lovely grandmother near Kavant, India

I was amused to see the satellite dish on the roof. Odd juxtaposition in a place where people live in homes with dirt floors, no running water and a very basic level of comfort.

Village Temple
Village Temple
Village Temple
Village Temple

Water was obtained from a village pump and dishwashing happened in front of the homes.

Carrying water in village near Kavant
Carrying water in village near Kavant
Washing Dishes
Washing Dishes

Here’s a basic kitchen in one of these homes. As you can see everything is well organized and clean.

Kitchen
Kitchen

The people were so welcoming. They seemed happy to have us take pictures, posing endlessly. I wished I had some way of providing prints for them to keep.

We experienced snippets of every day life including  having to jump out of the way when small animals raced down the main path in the village after grazing in a nearby field. I also saw a man with his still. He made wine in the area behind his home. He seemed quite proud of his operation. This is interesting because Gujarat is a “dry” province.

the animals come home
the animals come home
making wine
making wine
Baby taking a nap outside
Baby taking a nap outside

Probably one of most interesting sights were the Pithora Paintings in some of the homes. The Rathwa people worship Pithora, their ancestral God and paint their mud walls beautifully depicting Pithora and scenes of every day life.  These paintings find their roots in cave paintings, thousands of years old.

They typically include the seven horses representing the seven hills in the area.  Things like fields, trees, farms, wild life, birds, sun and moon are present along with other elements of Rathwa life.  The painting process takes several days.  The Rathwas hold a celebration of song and dance when one is completed.

We learned that one person in the village was appointed to learn how to do this painting while everyone in the group showed measurable pride of this colorful religious artwork. I don’t know who had more fun–us taking photos or the villagers watching us capturing images of their culture.

Taking pictures
Taking pictures
Enjoying our visit
Enjoying our visit
Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

Comments

6 Comments
  1. posted by
    Peggy DePersia
    Oct 2, 2017 Reply

    Fascinating!
    The leading image of the young girl reminded me of the iconic image of a similarly young girl that appeared on the cover of National Geographic decades ago. It is a lovely photo with wonderful light.

    • posted by
      mary lockrow
      Oct 2, 2017 Reply

      absolutely stunning…..how much we can learn by just sharing our lives with others.

      • posted by
        smithsj
        Oct 3, 2017 Reply

        Mary, I appreciate your comment. Yes, we can learn so much. I agree.

    • posted by
      smithsj
      Oct 3, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Peggy, for your nice comment. Much appreciated.

  2. posted by
    richard Edelen
    Oct 3, 2017 Reply

    Very nice Susan , Your photos and the explanation of their lives are great.

    • posted by
      smithsj
      Oct 3, 2017 Reply

      Thanks, Rick. I appreciate your comment. It was a special experience to share the lives of the Rathwa people, even for a brief time.

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