Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

Camels go on a Pilgrimage with their Tribal Masters to pray

I am in Kutch. One of the districts of Gujarat. Which is one of the 28 states of India.

This little portion tucked away in a corner of India bordering the desert is an amazing mosaic of diverse cultures. Of tribes and sub tribes – and their unique ways of life.
Being here reminds me that India is so so delightful! That the wonders never cease. Every trip exposes me to one more unknown facet – one more awing legend, one more practice, one more stimulating, mind opening practice!

One lifetime is certainly not enough to even get a glimpse of all the cultural aspects of India .,… the idea of reincarnation sounds very attractive now ………it will allow me enough time to see all of this beautiful country!

So let me begin again. I am in Kutch.

On a nearby hill there is a temple, home to a Goddess, commonly called Maata.  Rabari tribes have immense faith in this Maata and once a year a fair is held at the temple in her honor.

So families from all over the region arrive at the temple to offer worship.

Sounds like any other fair in India?

Now comes the unique delightful part :

The devotees – who are tribal herders, walk miles and miles from their villages to come to this remote temple to worship. But they do not come alone. They bring their women and children. And they bring their herds. Of goats and sheep and camels. To worship and ask for blessings.

What blessing might a sheep ask for I wonder. Goddess please make my wool siky? What might the camels ask for? I cannot even begin to imagine! And I would ask them but I do not know the camel-dialect that these herders are so fluent in.

So here they all gather together on this particular day every year, humans and herds, to pray to their goddess, asking for blessings and offering gratitude.

And here I am with my camera to witness the event.
A few photos from this unique and delightful gathering.

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The fair had just begun, and worshippers were just arriving – but I had to leave….


October 2, 2012

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