Raipur, Oct 29 (IANS) India's tribal culture came to life as the second edition of the National Tribal Dance Festival was inaugurated at the Science College Ground, Raipur, by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in presence of the Chief Guest Hemant Soren, Jharkhand Chief Minister; Tamradhwaj Sahu, Chhattisgarh Tourism Minister; Amarjeet Bhagat, Chhattisgarh Culture Minister and other dignitaries.
An initiative of the Chhattisgarh Tourism Board under the tourism development plans of the state government, the inaugural day witnessed participation of tribal dance groups from various states and Union Territories of India and international participation from Nigeria, Palestine, Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), Uzbekistan and Mali portraying and celebrating their respective tribal folk culture.
The festival began with a procession of all tribal groups in traditional outfits through the venue. Tribal dance forms from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir showcased the vibrant and diverse culture of India.
Competing for a reward of Rs five, three and two lakh, the participating tribal groups exhibited the best of the culture through dance performances on wedding ceremonies, traditional festivals, and rituals, social dances like harvest dance, among others.
The dance forms in the wedding ceremony category featured Gour Sing from Chhattisgarh, Karma from Madhya Pradesh, Dhimsa from Andhra Pradesh, Gojari from Jammu & Kashmir, Kadsa from Jharkhand, Guryaballu from Andhra Pradesh, among others.
The dance forms in the category of traditional festivals and rituals featured Karma from Chhattisgarh, Gussadi Dhimsa from Telangana, Urav from Jharkhand, Sidi Goma from Gujarat.
International participation featured dance groups from the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), Nigeria, Mali, Palestine and Uzbekistan who introduced the audiences to their respective cultures through their high-energy dance forms.
The Tribal conclave, an important component of the festival is a confluence of experts, scholars and practitioners to explore new ideas that can create opportunities for the tribal communities of Chhattisgarh. The first day of the conclave delved into topics from responsible tourism to tribal art and craft, and the market to popularizing local cuisine and wellness.
In the panel discussion 'Responsible Tourism in the Post-Covid World', Yashwant Kumar, Managing Director, Chhattisgarh Tourism Board; Jeet Singh Arya, Founder of travel start-up 'Unexplored Bastar'; Sunny and Deeptie Raj, owners of the eco-resort Bhoramdeo Jungle Retreat and Anjuna Dhir, Executive Director, The Responsible Tourism Society of India, moderated by Yasmin Kidwai, Festival Curator and Event Director highlighted on the need to create valuable experiences for domestic tourists and the importance of making tourism sustainable by involving local communities.
Tribal art and crafts and the market talked about the need for revival and preservation of traditional crafts. Panelists Ayush Shrivastav and Gaurav Kushwaha, Founders of Lokabazar.in Bastar's first handicraft e-commerce start-up; Rashmi Dhanwani, Founder of Art X Company; Chaitsi Ahuja, Founder of Brown Living and Asif Khan, Founder of Nature Escape, discussed how digital platforms can be combined with traditional crafts to create opportunities for artisans to explore new markets.
Food is an important way of retaining a cultural identity. In the panel 'Popularizing Local Cuisine' Manish Mehrotra, the Celebrity Chef of the renowned restaurant Indian Accent; Anoothi Vishal, Culinary Historian, Author, and Curator; Prateek Sadhu, Executive Chef and Co-owner of Mumbai-based restaurant Masque and Raziya Shaikh, Director of Bastar Foods talked about the ways in which local cuisine can be highlighted to enhance the tourist experience. This engaging discussion delved into the avenues that can be created to popularize the cuisine of Chhattisgarh and encourage food entrepreneurs.