Last week Kim, Szandra and I were lucky enough to be the first international visitors to the rural village of Amadubi. It is home to people from the Santhal tribe and is the site of our rural tourism project. I wrote a LOT of text in my last post, so as promised this one is full of pictures instead. It was such a special day!
The entrance to the Amadubi site. The hand-carved terracotta was even more beautiful up close.
The stone placed last year to open the site to visitors – they opened it on world tourism day: September 27. (This is now obviously my new favourite holiday)
These women welcomed us to Amadubi with garlands of marigolds
This is the complex that houses the library, cultural centre (museum), and gurukul (teaching/ learning centre)
The archway is decorated in the traditional tribal architecture style, complete with a glass mosaic. The building felt authentic and was obvious to see that it was consistent with the natural architecture style of the village itself that we drove through to get to the site.
The cultural centre is full of cultural artifacts like tools, masks and musical instruments. We learned about many different artifacts and aspects of life in the village. It felt like a natural extension of the village for tourists to enjoy as well as a place for villagers to congregate to learn, teach, and celebrate together.
Action shot of one of the few times I’ve picked up a broom. Who likes cleaning? Not me.
Displaying the history of building the site
Demonstrating one of the musical instruments that is made out of a turtle shell.
The entrance to the library has this unique painting on the wall
Welcome to Amadubi! The grounds are so green
Infrastructure for the pond. The soil is very porous here so it is a challenge to hold water
We went to check out one of the two tourist cottages
From floor to ceiling, this cottage was adorable
We were pleasantly surprised by the amenities for tourists and the quality of the accommodations available on site. The cottages were well-equipped, modern, fanned, clean, and inviting. Sadly we hadn’t planned to stay the night.
View from the other side of the cottage. The bathroom is through the doorway that Szandra is standing in.
This was a pleasant surprise for a such a remote location!
Discussing first impressions of the facilities
We can model more than just financials!
Throughout the day, we were treated to refreshing snacks.
Coconuts and sweets! Yum yum yum!!
The view from the cottage is so lovely.
What better place to discuss key success factors than in everyone’s favourite place? This is the circular kutir – intentionally created public space to gather, talk, and eat.
A very important feature for me: shade from the scorching sun.
Discussing the importance of the arts with Samik Bandyopadhyay
View from the front of one of the two kutirs.
Delicious local food including rice, vegetables, and fish served on traditional plates. It doesn’t get more organic than this.
Note that the rims on the plates are an important feature if you are eating in the traditional way, with your hands.
I can’t say that we’ve mastered the traditional eating style yet, but our stomachs were happy nonetheless!
After lunch we took a walk around the grounds as the dancers prepared themselves. This is the view from close to the stage. You can see the two tourist cottages and circular kutir. Prior to this trip I had no idea what rural India looked like, but I didn’t expect clear blue skies, green grass, and only the birds chirping. The serene atmosphere was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The head of the village welcomed everyone and introduced the first dance performance. This was a workshop on skill and capacity building for youth on traditional art, music, dance, and craft of Jharkhand (the state).
The dancers were in traditional dress and used the entire stage.
Led by the musicians. One of the songs was a traditional tribal piece that was back-and-forth, where the men and women sang responses to one another.
Break between performances to discuss what we just saw and what we will see next.
Szandra and I were invited up on stage to join the dancers – it was great fun!
The men singing a classic song
Big milestone this week! This is the location of the centre we visited, and it is officially ON THE MAP! Google maps, that is.