Village Life in Bastar
Village Life in Bastar

Bastar Beyond City Lights – Embracing Village Life and Tribal Food

What are the few things that’ll come to your mind when I say the word village? Probably some huts made of mud, women carrying water in earthen pots, kids playing and a hand pump. And what if I told you that I just got to experience village life and tribal food in Bastar?

In my earlier posts, I shared my experience of witnessing some of the best waterfalls in Bastar. That was followed by a Bastar heritage walk where I learned more about the tribes, culture and traditions of the place. To extend that experience, I was suggested to experience village life and tribal food in Bastar. Once again thanks to Culture Devi for arranging this for me. You can also book a similar experience by getting in touch with Culture Devi.

Bastar Village Experience

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that the Bastar division has 7 districts and each of them has many villages that are home to distinct tribes. Dhrurwa, Muria, and Gond are some of the tribes. To promote tourism in the region, they are providing us with an opportunity to experience village life along with tribal food in Bastar.

The village experience can range from simply a meal at a village household, a tour of the village or a stay. The meals cost Rs 100 per head while the stay can cost ₹1500 (and upwards) for a one-night stay. You can tailor this to your needs and can do a village tour with a meal or your stay. Compared to what we pay at fancy restaurants in cities that provide the village experience, this meal is extremely affordable and you eat in a real village household!

My Village Experience In Bastar

I’ve said this earlier as well, and I’ll repeat, since I was short on time I opted for the lunch and the village tour. If I had time on hand I would have surely opted for a stay at a village household. I went for this experience after returning from Tirathgarh Waterfall. I had an extremely tiring hike and the lunch after that was required.

My guide Umesh took me to a nearby village named Karkapara. The names of the villages in the region are named after the people. For instance, there was a village nearby called Patelpara. So that was an interesting thing to know. We took a detour from Tirathgarh to the village and I had Panchayat music being played in my head. there were lush green paddy farms on both sides of the road, yes there was a pakka road until the house we were going to.

Village Life in Bastar
Village Life in Bastar

I saw huts, pakka houses and a lot of cattle and kids playing their games. This was how I had imagined a village. We reached the house where we were going to have our meal. There was a courtyard enough to tease city dwellers like me. In the middle of the courtyard, there is a Tulsi plant. We crossed that and we had another courtyard, this one with a cattle hut where the household had their buffaloes. An uncommon sight in cities.

The household also had a farm where they grew vegetables and fruits. They had ridge gourd, potatoes, beans, rice, some other grains and fruits as well. They took us on a short tour of their farm and it was an amazing experience. I had never seen a ridge gourd plant, or a guava tree as well. Most of the produce was sold off in the weekly bazaars while some of it was for their use. The beans that were to be cooked for us were taken fresh from the plant. I mean that’s called from farm to plate!

Village Food Experience

After touring the household and their farms, it was time for lunch. We were seated in one of the rooms along with Umesh ji and other members of the family. We spoke about the house, the life in the village, schools, markets, hospitals and everything else. Most of these things are quite common in the cities, but not so much in the village.

Tribal and local food in Bastar
Tribal and local food in Bastar

As we discussed, one of the ladies of the house, put out plates and bowls made from leaves in front of us. I remember having a meal in something similar during my childhood days in Banaras. The food was piping hot, there was rice, beans subzi, dal, and saag. It was one of the most straightforward preparations that I’ve had anywhere outside of home.

Being the rice bowl of India, Chhattisgarh has a wide variety of rice. The rice here is usually small in size and there are aromatic variants as well. I loved the rice and the piping hot dal. The dal was simple, had a basic tadka and that’s it. I relished rice, dal and saag more than anything. On top of it, the whole house sitting together and eating was a good sight. I loved the rice so much, that we got a few kgs of it packed and brought to Hyderabad.

Village Tour

Post lunch, we interacted with the elders of the family as well as the kids. We then went around the village to see the facilities as Umesh Ji talked us through the experience. We visited a local Anganwadi where kids had just finished their lunch. We also the village centre which was a gathering place for all festivities.

Exploring Karkapara Village in Bastar
Exploring Karkapara Village

Being home to tribals, there are some interesting traditions that they follow. Like they paint a wall with all the gods and goddesses, who would be present on a particular day. These can be animals or superhuman characters. Not everyone can make these drawings. But it signifies that all these deities stay here and come for the festivities. Quite a tradition. Have you ever heard of something like this?

The village overall was spotless and lively. There was electricity and mobile network which further improved the lives of the locals. More than anything, just a 5-minute walk in any direction would lead you to vast green fields and an endless sky. Something we city dwellers pay to experience.

An experience of a lifetime

My village experience in Bastar was one of a kind in a long time. Though it wasn’t originally planned, Culture Devi added it to the plan and I’m glad she did. Right from visiting the village and the household, to trying out local food. The interactions we had were so pure and rustic that we wanted it to go on and on. Even without an air conditioner, the place was cool and breezy. They grow their food and eat it. Clean air, nutritious food and a healthy life, what else does one need?

If you’re heading to Bastar, experiencing the local village life is something you have on your itinerary. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and won’t mind spending more time in the villages during my next trip.

That’s about it for the blog post, let me know your thoughts in the comments below, tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM on Instagram or Get In Touch.

About Atulmaharaj

A seasoned blogger and a content marketer for close to a decade now. I write about Food, Technology, Lifestyle, Travel, and Finance related posts. Blogging brings me joy and the best part is I get to read and e-meet so many amazing bloggers! PS: I'm also the founder for :) Favorite Quote: "Traveling is like reading a book, one who hasn't traveled, hasn't turned a page.

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  1. Seems you had a refreshing experience. And the on the wall looks magnificent

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