Tribal splendor in Odisha
Very often tribal communities maintain a secluded life, but the 62 tribes of Odisha have always remained an enigma for any socio-cultural community. They express their cultural identity and distinctiveness in their social organization, language, rituals and festivals. A sojourn into their life is an unusual adventurous journey that you will fondly remember for years to come.
Odisha, popular as a state with varied tribal cultures, also houses a living museum that is pluri-centric and displays multiplex tribal life style, besides giving due recognition to the state’s ingenious tribal excellence.
The “Museum of Tribal Arts and Artifacts” popularly known as Tribal Museum, and also conceptually labeled as “Museum of Man” was established in 1953. The artifacts exhibited here are collected from different tribal groups and PTGs of Odisha, besides facilitating visitors to enrich their knowledge on tribal people, their society and culture.
The main museum building showcases dress and ornaments, personal belongings, arts and photographs, hunting & fishing implements, household objects, dance and musical instruments and Dhokra Items. The “Museum of Man” also enshrines tribal deities like Dharani Penu (Goddess Earth) of DongriaKandha, LadriDokriDeo (Village Deity) and BhandarDokriDeo (Snake Deity) of Durua Tribe, and Manduasum of LanjiaSaora to name a few.
These and 14 other replicas are displayed in the courtyard that talks about the supernatural beliefs of the tribes. A walk through the “Museum of Man,” will give you a quaint picture of Odisha’s tribal world, in all its glory.
To know more, you may visit their website at http://www.scstrti.in/#
A major portion of the tribal habitat is hilly and forested, and the major settlements are beside rivers that have alluvial plains. Tribal economy is characterized as subsistence oriented. The subsistence economy is based mainly on collecting, hunting and fishing or a combination of hunting and collecting with shifting cultivation. Based on their economic disposition, the tribal communities in Odisha were categorized into hunters, collectors and gatherers (Kharia, Mankidi, Mankidia and Birhor tribes in forests of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts), cattle-herders (Koya tribe of the Malkangiri District), simple artisans (Mahali and Kol-Lohara tribes near the SanthalPargana division of Jharkhand), and hill and shifting cultivators (Juang and Bhuyan in the northern Odisha, Kondh, Saora, Koya, Parenga, Didayi, Dharua and Bondo in southern Odisha) to name a few.