Lifescapes Gallery

17 / Nov / 2010
A Conversation with God
Kuruba Dance, Kabini Photograph: Ganesh H. Shankar Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

A Conversation with God

When you wish to speak to a god, you need a language so elevated, it beseeches Him to listen. For the Kurubas, followers of the Hindu god Shiva and the original tribal inhabitants of Kabini, there can only be one medium of communication: dance! Shiva is the cosmic dancer of the Hindu pantheon, and while the Kurubas worship Him in various forms like Beera and Byra, they also pay obeisance to Goddess Durga in the form of Yellamma and Chowdamma. Universally, while music may be food for the soul, in Kabini it’s also a means to ensure food for the body. The Kurubas use music and dance to propitiate the gods for better harvests, and as a show of gratitude for a good crop. The Atiketti is the welcome dance, and is performed to invite the gods to marriages, house warming and naming ceremonies, crop planting and other auspicious beginnings. They also invite an ancestor, or Sundajjan, to be part of the ceremony, and this spirit obliges them by possessing the body of the village purohit or holy man. The second dance is the Addige, which invokes the spirits of Shiva, Durga and the Sundajjan who take turns to speak through the Purohit. Through him, the village is advised on the annual crop, solutions to problems, and organization of community work. The final dance is the Aadi, which is a thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, timely rains, and the wellbeing of the village. Pride of place in a Kuruba settlement goes to the Daval, a drum made of wood and leather, and the Kalaal, a native flute made of wood, bamboo and grass straw, which are elevated to the level of spiritual objects. After all, these are not merely musical instruments that accompany a dance, but a direct line to the almighty’s ear.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 at 11:36 am and is filed under Culture . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Devarajan says:

    hey guys

    am sure with this kind of articles you can make nice coffee table types to promte the resorts. just a thought.

  2. Orange County Resorts says:

    Dear Readers,

    We respect and appreciate your views on the photo. Orange County was, and is continuously being improved based on such valuable feedback. We just wanted to reiterate a couple of points with regard to Lifescapes.

    Lifescapes is after all an attempt at portraying ‘Life’ at our destinations and we launched the same with the objective of showcasing nature and culture. On our contact programme with photographers, we found that culture photographers were difficult to find. There are obviously more lovers of nature than our own culture .

    Through Lifescapes, we hope to kindle your interest in our rich and diverse cultural heritage as much as in our natural environment. With migration to the cities on the rise, rural Lifescapes are fast disappearing. The scene depicted in the above picture is already… almost history.

    Ganesh, a respected photographer, has this to say about his photograph:

    “To me, photography goes well beyond portraying realism – that is beyond faithfully reproducing something as is. The camera, left to itself, does what it is good at – ‘copying’. So what is it that I bring in as a photographer beyond merely ‘copying’?

    During this dance, I was fascinated by the torch light and rhythmic movement of the tribal dance. I deliberately tried to portray the movement by creating a blur using slow shutter speed (1.3 seconds using a tripod), to render the poetic movement. I could have used flash and easily frozen the people, but then decided against it, because I felt it would not do justice to what I was witnessing. As a photographer, I thought it fitting to leave something behind for the viewers to ponder over in the image.”

    And we at Orange County thought Ganesh had a point. An outstanding print of this photograph, which he graciously gifted to us, will be the first photo that will be showcased in a public area at Orange County, Kabini.

    Warm Regards,
    The Lifescapes Team, Orange County Resorts

  3. Swati Katoch says:

    Reallly goood 1. i have seeen thattttt!

  4. Nilesh Rathod says:

    Dear all at orange county,
    I congratulate the whole team and staff of Orange County for being awarded the World’s Leading Online Tourism Marketing Campaign 2010’. I love Orange County Resorts.


  5. Krishnan Unni says:

    Sorry to say this, I’m very disappointed with the picture as it is certainly not up to the standards I have come to expect from Lifescapes … The byline rocks as always … But I have come to expect great pictures from you guys after such glorious pictures, each and every one of which I have saved and had as my desktop wallpaper ..

  6. Dr Sameer R. Rao says:

    Very nice image, almost like a painting. Brings back the memories of those evenings at Orange County kabini.

  7. Dr. Satish Sharma says:

    Congrats for the awards.
    You guys deserve it.
    Nice article on the kuruba dance.
    Though everything is a little hazy in the image.
    Well told story, bt for once, a highly disappointing image.
    I’m sure there must have been better ways to show a dance in motion?

  8. Muhammed Nahar says:

    Surely an interesting note crafted with excellent documentation combined with brilliant narration. Appreciate the team orange county for bringing such innovative and meaningful approach in the tourism domain … Look forward for more in the similar lines …

  9. B.Ashok says:

    Who ever writes your articles – kudos to him / her. Superb. I never miss to read this particular article of yours. Except this foto your photographs on earlier articles are to be treasured and in fact is my screen savers. Superb work day in and out and month after month. My sincere appreciation to the team. Bravo. Cheers.

  10. Sanjay Ojha says:

    Sorry but I wanted to say that for the first time, I am disappointed with this picture. All the pictures so far under “Lifescapes” are pictures that you would like to have in your album but other than narration on this picture, there was nothing great and at least I do not have any thing to admire about this picture.

  11. ramya subramanian says:

    We cherish that windy, chilly evening of dance with the Kurubas. My daughter and I were delighted to be able to join in those deceptively simple steps. The taste of the corn and sweet potatoes still lingers…

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