Dancing by the bonfire with the Baiga tribe

Photo of Banjaar Tola, Manjitola, Madhya Pradesh, India by Prathima

During my office trip to Kanha National Park, we stayed at the Taj Safari Lodge: Banjaar Tola. On our last evening there, the hotel arranged for a bonfire dinner with a dance performance by the Baiga tribe.

Drinks in hand, we watched the tribe dance around the bonfire, making music with unique instruments. We even joined in, trying to imitate their steps – something I never got the hang of, even after 10 rounds around the bonfire. Just call me Ms. Two Left Feet.

Later, we had a small chat with the hotel manager and I learnt some very interesting things about the tribe.

The Baiga tribe is a small, hardworking community in Kanha known for their self-sufficient ways of living. They even make their own liquor, which men and women of the tribe gleefully indulge in every evening. The hotel manager told us that husbands and wives enjoy drinking together. He joked that on days that the hotel would like them to perform for guests, they have to be requested to go slow on the liquor and that a drunk Baiga man needs the whole road to walk. Their love for liquor is quite ambitious, apparently. They also have a polygamous culture (the men, not the women). On a different note, the community is said to be completely devoid of crimes like rape and prostitution. How amazing is that!