Pride of Andhra Pradesh
A Few Facts about the museum
(Dr. Shankar Chatterjee, Hyderabad)
The Araku Tribal Museum is the centre of some of the rich artefacts, related to the Eastern Ghats Tribal Culture. Construction of the museum was initiated in the year 1994 by Somesh Kumar IAS, Project Officer, Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) Paderu and completed in the year 1996. There are altogether five blocks in the tribal museum.
1) MUSEUM OF TRIBAL HABITAT
2) PHOTO & JEWELLERY GALLARY
3) MUTTADHAAR HOUSE
4) SEEDS GALLARY
5) AGRICULTURE GALLARY
The objective of setting up the museum is to preserve and display the dominant traits of original tribal culture, traditional handicrafts, and fine arts of ancient tribes, the display of beautiful artefacts, intricate ornaments and exquisite textiles of the tribes. The museum has been designed to showcase tribal lifestyle in motion, starting with a kitchen that displays utensils made of iron and mud. The passages within the museum that connect the various sections are constructed of mud walls adorned with drawings and artwork made by tribals.
Displayed further ahead are differences in house constructions that signify tribal hierarchy. Araku Tribal Museum consists of two sections, the first one displaying some extremely rare artefacts belonging to the Eastern Ghats Tribal Culture. Another section of the Museum showcases the local tribal dances of Mayuri and Dimsa, with their beautifully coloured mannequins dressed in vivacious clothing and accessories to match.
Based on the museum and local literature a few pieces of information are presented about the aborigines of Araku Valley. It is pertinent to mention that in earlier days, aborigines (also known as Adivasi, which means original dwellers) used to hunt animals and collect fruits from the forests. I appreciate setting up the museum as it has depicted different tribal cultures of Araku Valley with proper information. Various tribal communities such as Khord, B. Mallis, Bagata, Gadaba, Koya, Nokadora, Savara and a few others inhabit the region.
Hunting Festival: The tribal people in the earlier days of Araku Valley in April used to celebrate the festival of hunting. The physically sound male people in a group with their pet dogs used to visit the deep forest. And after entering the forest, small and small groups spread to different places with their dogs and weapons like spears and arrows used to hunt the animals.
At other times they used to go for hunting but that was only for surviving. In that time hunting walls, hunting knives etc. were made to sharpen weapons and prepare for hunting.
Randagore / Kitchen: All the aborigines in the area constructed earthen stoves for cooking inside their homes. Cooking materials were collected from the forest, and earthen pots, earthenware and wooden spatulas were used for cooking.
Debtagore / Worship Room: The aboriginal tribes of the region strongly believe in Almighty God. They firmly believed that the source of the creation was Almighty God and that all their troubles would be removed if they pray to God for all their troubles in times of problem. But that divine form was completely different compared to others. They worshipped nature and Sun.
Kora Dora / Dhos Khorbhar / Traditional Beliefs and Worship: In Earlier days to address any family problem, quarrel, or for any major issue, goats/ chickens/ pigs/ pigeons with new nuts, and five-coloured flowers, were offered to God by the priest during the evening near the three streams on the outskirts of the village, or near the river, after that sacrifices were made.
Goth Meet / Nestarikam/ Friendly Gesture: This means friendship in the local language. Festivals, celebrations and good deeds used to take place throughout the year. At this time, they were politely approached by the same community in the same village, or another community to make a goth meet/friendship with them. The invites visited friends’ homes with their families they handcuffed each other and swear wholeheartedly that this friendship would continue for generations to come. From that day onwards on any occasion anywhere they would remove their shoes/chappals with respect to each other and swear with both hands together to greet affectionately as Juwar Goth Babu. This friendship is more important than blood ties.
More Facts about Tribal culture: In the museum, there is information about the Bhajniya tribe. Bhajniya people play traditional musical instruments. These inter alia include Thudumu, Lidaka, Dappu, Sonnai etc. The music was very melodious, so everyone dances at that time.
Mandrukhia is a festival celebrated during the month of March that is in Chitra Masam. On this occasion, they cook food, and all the villagers eat together.
Goror soum jogad : In the museum, the household utensils which were used at that time can also be found known as Goror soum jogad.
(The author Dr. Shankar Chatterjee is a former Professor & Head (CPME), NIRD & PR, Hyderabad, Express his gratitude to Ganapathi Naidu, Tourism Marketing Executive, ITDA Paderu , Alluri Seetharam Raju (Dist) for his support to provide the information)