The warmth of acceptance and share of happiness filled us in a rare jungle village is so special to be spoken out!!
Long road ride's most tremendous part is that it would immediately break the routine bounded habits of home, home town or all those easy choices. More over it could flexibly bear more diversions than those rigid short term plans, spending a day or couple of hours around places outer the pre-planned schedule got practically more feasible.
What if local people dont want to pretend to impress or address some what "privileged" tourist or traveler in us, its easy to be one among them for a while. Feeling like embracing a realistic shade of life with out prejudice.
GARDOLLI VILLAGE OF SIDDI PEOPLE
Gardolli is one of the community villages in Yellapur- Dandeli region of Karnataka. Very special people who have been living in this jungle for decades with incredible life features . We set a rain drive through the Kali tiger reserve of Dandeli, reached Gardolli on July 2019, When monsoon were completely wet the roads and every corners of their settlement.
I had no first hand information on Siddi People rather a few threads from here and there. All it says they belonged to one of the special tribal communities of India.
Last night at "Dandeli Jungle inn home stay", Our well spoken host Kumar assisted me for gathering route information to find any of Siddis Settlements in the region. There were no certain plan but had decided to reach their village any how, talk, spend time with locals, set a walk around the homes and back.
Meeting this peaceful people would tell how diverse is our living in this country. Life formed, bloomed and flourished here is through enormous unheard ethnical roots, greater acceptance and adaptation with in all other differences. Siddi People are originally from East African region, were brought to India during the Arab & Portuguese Era. (historians have multiple stands). They were slaves and mostly assigned to sail the giant ships to hunt down the sea routes and establish trade domination. Evidence says South Indian rulers had African ethnic people in their knight troupe for centuries.
Its believed that they were pure African people left in the Jungle side of Konkan and western region of India after the complicated trade and war era of Europeans in Indian Subcontinent. Portuguese & Arab had powerful trade domination across western coast of India including Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, there by this community is found in certain areas of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Cultural assimilation and slowly evolving syncretic culture originally represent the Indian living , can be found portrayed here. A few people & their community who were not in the list of invaders and foreign traders history in India. Not ever privileged or have a glorified past of dealing wealth and power .
Karnataka is my favorite state in south for long road drives, more than a dozen past road trips in this large state, didn't let me explore its half yet .So this time my priority was to catch Bijapur for sure as it located far from my regular highways of Konkan,coast. Gardolli some how came in the day plan from Dandeli Stay. Dandeli is one of major towns near by and Siddi People has many settlement around the outskirt of this town.
A few wet stretch off roading to Magod Fall blown my rear tyre near Yellapur town, during the repair work found a few kids going school yesterday; in which two of them were look differently adorable . Beautiful healthy kids have super cool spiral hair, lovely dark skin tone, glowing eyes and were gracefully running along other native Kannada kids. A Puncture in fact spoiled our plan to find the settlement area near by on the same day.
Gardolli is one among the several interior villages of Siddis in India, As advised by of home-stay guy, we tried to drive east of Dandeli to catch the village . Later one forest officer helped us on road, gave route idea that is 25 kilometers far along Jungle side. He also assured that in weekends most them would be in market for shopping household items and stationary.
Reached Gardolli on a heavily raining day, mostly women and kids were sitting at their home door steps. Some were throwing eyes to raining road in front and got lazy in quick monsoon cold. Kids were running in mud water; car slowly entered the small road between two rows of old homes built in baked bricks. All these are roofed with red clay tiles, painted in blue, gray and white shades, vegetables and flower garden grow around, home walls have multiple religious signs , holy basil plant, and many aspects of a poor village in its rustic charm.
A few were curiously watching us and had no idea on two new faces in their locality.
We met Camila in a short walk.
One of the Siddi Community members in Gardolli, she smiles from heart and found to be very much welcoming..
Up on few minutes conversation, she taken us her home,where house walls hanged with religious frames of Jesus, saints and her family photos.
Camila works at Goa and her daughter is studying in near by city. This interior jungle village has no higher education institution or training centers, so those kids completing school education should have to move out for the study in cities like Bangalore, Hubli etc.
Camila's daughter Saritha also joined us for a while, the paper decoration done for her birthday celebration is still colors the living room. It still gives a charm to this vintage home. Gardolli's old Siddi homes are mud brick made, having larger hall and multiple bed rooms.
We just stepped out her home where small kids joined behind us with laugh and curios questions.
Mr. Richard is Pursuing his graduation at Bangalore. I got him for my further roam in the community. He could answer better in English, and we were happy to follow him to see the surroundings and scratch a little information out .
Siddi People get married with in their community only, so their physical features remain incredibly unique. When majority elders works in fields, youngsters find better skilled jobs at cities, teenagers pursuing education in cities in these days.
What about finding partner from out side the community?
"Yea, It happens very rarely up any love affairs" , normally it goes with in the community structures.
"Here every one follows Christianity and we have a small church also". I guess church helps them for finding higher studies.
It was still raining, We were walking under umbrella , One of the villagers just appeared with his morning catch. He was so happy with three of local fresh water fish pined in guava tree stump.
Being with local people and finding some of the simplest life examples would come across every trip.
I love to spend time with people who can share a lot in their unpolished ascends, informal reactions and more over improving lessons of generosity.
Villages have more happiness than anywhere in any starvation or struggle. Visiting Gardolli was my best south Indian real life experience during the Indo- Nepal Road trip.
Gardolli is a basic fragile village there a common tourist cant find anything interesting . It was all about going for a peacefully designed ride to finding people rather monuments or other attraction.
Your trip to Gradolli is just to spend time with loving people and making a roam in the lush fields along some one belong to them. Siddi Tribes are proud Indian natives and of course they add an extra ordinary charm to worlds most diverse land of enormous ethnic groups.
Siddi people follow Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. Though Gardoli community has Christian roots, majority in the northern state and east Pakistan are Muslims. Best understanding of visiting Gardolli is that we have no barriers in life for sharing the brother hood, raising life with everyone from every where; even if continents and nations exists for other reasons.