Balaghat, bullock cart, Chanderi, countryside, dykes, handweaving, Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh - Hindustan ka Dil Dekho, Maut ka kuan, meena bazaar, Mehndiwada, merry-go-round, Paddy Field, Paddy Threshing, Pauni, Post Harvest, rural Madhya Pradesh, Rural tourism, Sal Forest, Sarai Van, Village Fair, Village Mela, villages, Waraseoni, Wind Winnowing
My last memory of Madhya Pradesh(M.P) is strolling along the fields in one of the villages. I had spent the morning bird-watching among the tall trees in the Sal forest, listening to the enchanting music of bansuri (flute) travelling from a distance and had a simple but tasty meal.
I had shown up in this part of M.P to relax and rejuvenate myself. And I am happy that I spent nearly a month here. It gave me the time, space and natural beauty to think and appreciate the beauty which is nowhere to be found in the cities.
I pen this post from Bangalore and while I was flipping through these photos, it reminds me of those sunshine days. Planning to visit the countryside? Here is my list which would make you yearn to visit the villages. And these villages are still little cut off from the mainstream city. Many of you might have spent your childhood in the village and this might refresh your memories as it did for me.
1) Escape into the Woods of the Countryside
I was in the small village of Pauni in the district of Balaghat. The forest here are mostly of dense and tall Sal trees locally known as ‘Sarai Van‘. The tree trunks are long and straight and the air is filled with a strong and sweet fragrance. Just sit among the trees and you would be able to enjoy the sound of woodpecker, dove, sunbird, flowerpecker and all simultaneously. Sal Forest
2) Observe the Life on the Paddy Farm
Depending on the season you can observe the farmers and the paddy fields. I was visiting during the winter season just when the harvest was over. If you want to enjoy the lush green paddy fields you must time your visit during monsoon.
I got an opportunity to learn about the post harvest of paddy. Cut and dried sheaves of paddy harvest was piled up in the stretch of fields. The farmers were busy threshing the paddy and winnowing. Most of the farmers still practiced traditional techniques of farming here instead of the mechanized farming.
Paddy Threshing(This is also called Gahani in local language)
Wind Winnowing of the Paddy
3) Go Back in Time at The Village Mela
Colourful Village Mela
I traveled back in time when I visited the colourful village mela. It reminded me of the meena bazaars and local disneylands that used to setup in small towns twice a year and how eagerly we waited for these. When there was no concept of malls, supermarkets or theaters, meena bazaar was one of those few sources of entertainment and it used to be fun and not so boring as these closed, suffocating malls.
Enjoying the Merry-Go-Round
You could enjoy a ride on the merry-go-round or enjoy the daring ‘Maut ka Kuan‘ or just walk along the stalls with colourful sweets and toys. You would see those plastic cars, whistles, dolls etc which are rarely seen in city shops these days. Just relive those memories.
Maut ka Kuan Performance
4) Visit Weekly Bazaars
The Village Melas happen mostly after the harvest festival. If you do not get an opportunity to experience the mela plan to visit the weekly bazaars in any of the villages.
I walked into the weekly bazaars of 2-3 villages. Most of these bazaars were similar – a place for people to purchase daily need items like grocery, vegetables, pottery etc. I was surprised to see the local washing soaps of times when Nirma or Rin were not into existence and these are still being used by the villagers here.
Local Soaps (Photo taken from Mobile)
5) Enjoy a ride on the Bullock Cart
Enjoying a bullock cart ride
6) Walk through the Paddy Fields
This is a completely different walking experience ;). Walk to the center of the paddy fields on the narrow dykes(medh). Don’t lose yourself in the verdant green beauty of the paddy fields as you need to watch out for the slushy water passages through the mud path
Walking through the Paddy Fields
7) Experience Local Art
Every village has artisans practicing different art forms. Keep you eyes open while strolling around in the village.
I came across a nearby village Mehndiwada in Waraseoni where villagers handwove Chanderi Saris at home. The 100 year old traditional hand weaving machines were used for these beautiful, intricate work.
8) Village Hopping
The best way to feel the village is just stroll around the villages. Take a cycle or any motorbike and you can hop from one village to another. In a range of 10kms there would be around 5-6 villages. You could see stretch and stretch of fields, villagers working in the fields, the cattle and the mud houses. The evening looks beautiful and pure with a sweet fragrance in the air maybe of the cowdung cake used as fuel.
Scenic View of the Village
9) Try Local Cuisine
The best part of travelling is that you get to try the local cuisine of the place. The food in the village is simple but tasty. The traditional way of cooking on the chulha adds to the taste of the cuisine.
Sweet dish prepared from pumpkin (known as Buliya)
Traditional Way of Cooking
10) Follow the Tiger’s Trail
MadhyaPradesh has a rich biodiversity. It is home to 9 National parks and 25 sanctuaries. You could plan to visit one of the closest to your destination. I was very close to the Kanha National Park. But was not lucky enough to spot the tiger. Inspite of that the safari was wonderful and the winter was showing its magic with the beautiful mist all over the forest and we could spot lot of beautiful birds and other animals.
Kanha Reserve Forest
Have you been to a countryside in Madhya Pradesh? Share your experiences with us.
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