Hi Larkrise School -Â thanks very much for telling us about your food. It wasÂ fun to compare and contrast it with ours!Â And hello toÂ Warden Park School – how great that you celebrated Diwali – the food sounds delicious and the tiger masks looked fantastic. You must know that tigers are our national animal. We feel very privileged to have wild tigers living in our area, though recently a tiger killed a calf in Chembakolli, which means that the owner of the calf has lost a cow that would have provided him with milk in the future. On the other hand, the deer population is kept in check by the tigers, which is good because otherwise they graze on the farmers’ crops. The ways in which humans and wild animals share spaceÂ is a really interesting topic to discuss.
This week, our blog is coming to you from the students of Class 9, as we wanted to tell you about a trip we made recently. This is us with three other members of the group who went on the trip.
In order, you can see (back row left-right) Tariq (one of our supervisors), Srudilaya, Prasad, Mridul, Priya (one of our teachers), then (front row left-right) Nibuna, Badichi, Vijimol (one of our supervisors) and Nandini. Those of us in Class 9 are aged between 14 and 16.
The group trip we made was to Ranchi (the capital of the state of Jharkhand) in central India, to attend a tribal (adivasi) festival being held by the Central University of Jharkhand. Many of us were travelling on the train for the first time, and for almost everyone it was the longest journey we have made. Ranchi is over 2000 kilometres away from Gudalur – longer than the UK is from one end to the other. The train journey took over 40 hours and there were nearly 90 stops! During the night we slept in berths, andÂ in the day we played cards and chatted. Here’s our train:
39 of us wentÂ altogether from Gudalur. As well as the six of us and our supervisors, a lot of tribal people from our community attended the event. Our ages ranged from 14 to 65 and we represented all four tribes from the Nilgiri Hills: Paniya, Bettakurumba, Mullukurumba, Kattunaickan. You can see our whole group below.
We were really excited to arrive in Ranchi and to be staying in the university. This was the sign that greeted us on our arrival. The artwork had been done specially for the festival.
The festival was called Akhra, which refers to the place inÂ Â a village where adivasi people meet for cultural and social activities. Thousands of tribal people had come for the event, mainlyÂ from acrossÂ Â India but also from some other countries, like Bhutan. The festival lasted for three days. Here you can see the stage used for the event, with some of the delegates in traditional costume:
It was fascinating to see all different kinds of tribal clothing and accessories from around the country, like these beads and footwear from North India:
The festival was a fantastic celebration of tribal culture. There was a lot of delicious food, with specialitiesÂ likeÂ rice cooked in bambooÂ leaves, steamed momo dumplings, and butter tea. There were screenings of films made about and by adivasis and alsoÂ a lot of traditional crafts being demonstrated. We met weavers from Jahrkhand, Assam and Nagaland and they all showed us their different weaving processes and patterns. You can see one type of weaving here:
We also saw a lot ofÂ Adivasi artwork and we really enjoyed a photography exhibition of adivasi life from all over the country. Vidyodaya School had its own exhibition too – a lot of the photos we displayed were ones we had taken of Chembakolli and the forest. One of the best things about the festival was all the singing and dancing that took place. Lots of groups demonstrated their dances and then let everyone join in and learn. You can see some of the dancers below.
Sometimes the dancing lasted long in to the evening! The beat of the drumsÂ made everyone want to get involved. (As you can see above, there were some Â huge drums, made mostly from animal hides and wood.) We also taught some of our tribal dances to other people at the festival. The Paniya dance was especially popular.
We were really sad when the event came to end, but we were looking forward to coming back to Gudalur and telling everyone at school about what we’d seen and done. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it, and that you like the photosÂ we took.
Have you had any good school trips recently?
Images: ActionAid/ACCORD/AMS/VBVT 9th Standard