Long back, I had heard a song from Sneha Khanwalkar's MTV Sound Trippin show, which was created by the sounds of this town called Yellapur.
That song was not only good, but got me extremely curious about the Siddhis, who are an ethnic group of people who belong to the Bantu tribe from Southeast Africa. They are Afro -Indians to say the least, and I so wanted to meet them.
So we planned a trip to Sirsi and Yellapur. Sirsi has many waterfalls but all were so difficult to hike to , we only could visit one.
The next day we took shared cabs and went deep in to the forests of Yellapur
The cost is not much, around 60-100 bucks, and you get to talk to locals and understand where we could go to actually meet them and socialize.
Our objective was not see them like how people go to Goa to spot foreigners, but to actually take portraits, speak to them and even get to know more about their culture.
Here are some fun facts about Siddhis in Karnataka:
1. Language: They speak Marathi, a dialect which sounded a mix of Konkani and Kannada, and Kannada ofcourse.
2. Clothes: Just like any one of us. No one really has any connection with any village in Africa. So most of the women wear " Nighties" as we all call it, basically a maxi dress and the kids wear basic shorts and t shirt and dresses.
3. Culture and Religion : All of them have accepted any religion they find faith in. We found churches and mosques and temples across.
The Hindu Siddhis (women) wore bindi and bangles. So you could hardly differentiate them from the rest of us. They also cross marry. Like a Siddhi girl can marry a non Siddhi man and have babies.
4. They are warm and very welcoming, spoke to us in which ever language they found easy and played with us.