As rightly quoted by French scholar Romain Rolland “If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India”. But why to visit India? There are at least thousands of prompt individual reasons to do so. Rich art &culture, age old heritage, scenic beauty, wonderful wildlife and so on. This article may not summarise the vast diversified indigenous spheres of extraordinarily deviant country but one can surely get a glimpse of its aura, but little differently.
Few aberrant things which will leave anyone awestruck.
- Lath mar Holi – Tradition of beating with sticks
Holi is one of the biggest festivals in India where it is believed that splashing colour and spreading love, forgetting and forgiving , playing and laughing, signifies the victory over evil. But Holi in Banaras is a little different with one of their indigenous practice called “Lath mar Holi”. Re-enacting a mythological story which says Lord Krishna came to Banaras to tease Radha and her friends, but in return he and his friends got beaten up and chased away by them. Therefore, the men from Nandgaon, the village Krishna is said to be from, get beaten up by the local women with bamboo sticks but the men are given a shield to protect them. This mock fight defines the purity of their happiness and uplift the occasion of Holi in the area.
Image source: http://archive.indianexpress.com
- Jewellery – to look ugly
Women from Apatani tribe, Arunachal Pradesh adorn their noses with most unconventional way. They insert wooden plugs which are large circular nose plugs, known as yapping hurlo into their nostrils. They change the plugs with age and size of the plugs ends up being upto 2-3 centimetres across. This practiceis believed to be historically done to all Apatani women once they hit puberty to mark them as adult. This is done to make them look ugly so that they should not be considered as war booty. The Apatani women were considered as the most beautiful women among all Arunachali Tribes so neighbouring tribes used to attack them and kidnap the women. Hence they started wearing nose plugs and tattooing their face to look unattractive. But this has been shredding with time and women born mostly after 1970 have been abandoning this practice gradually.
Image source: https://ruralindiaonline.org
- The Twin Villages – All in pairs.
Mohammadpur Umri, Located in Dhumanganj area in Allahabad district is a live example of nature’s ultimate creation. Strangely due to an undefined factor, out of Umri’s total population of 6000 people, more than 100 are identical twins. Under very unusual statistics for twin births, Umri has received a global significance due to which many scientific research has been carried out. According to village elders this is some kind of God’s grace and they believe that there is some magic in its soil, which makes them distinct in the world. This cloning has started from 1931. Initially the rate of twin birth was less but with time it has been soaring greatly. Interestingly, this twin process is not limited to humans alone, the chicken in the village produce egg with two yolks and even buffalos and cows give birth to twins. Scientists from Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) are working on the samples of Umri to find the relevant reason for this phenomenon.
Similarly, Kodinhi in Kerala has also demonstrated such traits. This rural village consists of 2000 families and among them 400 pairs of twin continue to be a mystery to researchers. A signboard that reads “Welcome to the God’s own Twins Village Kodinhi” attracts many visitors and the villagers also welcome them with warmth. The first association on Twins in India which is Twins and Kins also started in Kodinhi and their population is a stimulating point in knowing the absolute factor which has given the place this beautiful but abstract phenomenon. Many have emphasized on the genetics of the population but there are few speculations on air, soil and water playing a role in this, but this is yet to receive any scientific explanation.
- Chaprah – Red Chutney with Red Ants
In terms of dishes, India has a larger variety to offer. Chutneys have played an important role in many Indian delicacies. But Baster district of Chhattisgarh has given a new definition to chutney. Baster, being surrounded by jungles and wild plants, red ants are found in abundance and so the locals of Baster fully utilise them. Their food includes “Chaprah Ki Chutney” which is made with red ants and their dried eggs along with salt, ginger, garlic and lots of red chillies. The white larvae of these ants are sour in taste and the spices which are added to it enhance the flavour to another level. This ant chutney is enriched with Vitamin b12, Zinc and many minerasl and proteins which are beneficial to health. The term Chaprah means leaf basket and refers to the nest of the ants. Hunting of these red ants is a favourite pastime of the young. The nest is harvested before sunrise.
Image source: mantraindian.blogspot.com
- Bullet Baba Shrine – Temple for Motorcycle Rider
Amidst all the religions and deities, a temple in Jodhpur shows an uncustomary practice of worshipping motorcycle, a bullet bike. About 50 km from Jodhpur, Rajasthan on the Jodhpur- Pali highway, bikers have this religious hotspot also known as “Om Banna Sthan” or “Om Banna Mandir”. The explanation for the establishment of this temple goes with a story of a fatal accident. About two decades ago, Om Singh Rathore, son of a local village leader met with an accident on this particular road. Police took away the motorcycle and kept it in the police station. But the very next day the bike was not in its place rather it was found in the accident spot. The police again hauled away the bike to the police station and chained it and punctured the tyre. But amazingly it was again found on the accident spot the next day. This is how the bullet baba shrine came into existence. Local people believed that the soul of the bullet baba will take care of everyone who cross this highway taking his blessing. Holding to the belief bikers, drivers and tourists out of curiosity or in faith visit the temple. Also, it has been believed that the offering for bullet baba is whisky once the wish has been fulfilled the worshippers should come again with a bottle of whisky.
Image source: The Renewable India
A country sharing border with seven countries and peacefully living with several religions and languages,India is home to innumerable castes and tribes, as well as to more than hundreds of major and minor linguistic groups. These groups come from several language families and are unrelated to one another. This in itself sums up to be a rare citation for an unconventional phenomenon. With welcoming nature and warm hearts, India always attracts tourists and it will continue to do so.