A quiet and remote district in Chhattisgarh, Bastar is home to the most distinctive tribal communities of Gond, Maria, Bhatra and more. These ethnic groups comprise 70% of the district’s population but stay hidden in the shadows of the dense forests and grasslands, far from the prying eyes of the modern civilization. For a comfortable journey to this part of the country, book a cab in Raipur. But once you reach out to this amazing community and learn about their culture and tradition, you would be overwhelmed by their sense of artistry, aesthetics and skilled craftsmanship. The most popular of all tribal communities, is the Gond tribe, settled in Kondagoan and Jagdalpur.
The tribal art of Bastar, a dying art form, is finding its way back to the modern society, and being resurrected by global media, travel enthusiasts and adventurers, who have discovered the hidden potential of these indigenous people.
Art and crafts of Bastar tribes
The true beauty of these ethnic art forms comes from the fact that they are made of all naturally sourced materials, found in the region – forests, mines and rivers. Bastar being a mining haven for iron ore, the tribal people mostly use iron and its scraps to make magnificent figurines, idols and more. The ethnic tribes of Bastar are among the first people to develop expertise in working with metal, along with various other kinds of handicrafts.
The most common art forms found in this district are:
Terracotta crafts of Bastar are widely known. They are made with the finest quality of clay from the Indravati River, shaped into exotic forms and dried in the scorching summer sun, to render the best clay art you would have ever seen. Most of the terracotta works consist of votive animals that are locally found – elephants, deer, tigers, birds. Some communities also make decorative household items like oil lamps, candle holders, etc.
Bell metal crafts or Dhokra
One of the most unique kinds of traditional crafts of India, the Dhokra style involves molding and shaping bell metals into beautiful figurines, religious idols of local and mythology, and home décor items. Each and every piece is hand-made, using the vanishing wax system, and is characterized by fine metal pipes and wires, wound into spirals. Dhokra handicrafts are mostly found in Jagdalpur, Kondagaon and Narayanpur areas and is a traditional art form, passed down through generations.
The dense wilderness of Bastar have abundance of bamboo forests which provide the perfect raw materials for bamboo handicrafts. The leaves are woven and made into mats and baskets, while the stem is cut and chiseled down to form knick knacks that depict local culture – fishing traps, hunting tools, lamps and baskets. Wall hangings made from bamboo reflect the stories of the tribes and their philosophies.
For the saree connoisseurs, Kosa saree is a familiar name. For those unaware, it’s a traditional textile, made from a silk-like worm, found in the wild of Bastar. It is then woven and dyed in the tribal homes, to give you the finest quality of fabric called Kosa, which is used for garments, upholstery and draperies.
Home to finest quality Sal, Teak, and white wood, the forests around Bastar districts make for ample natural resource for exquisite wood crafts. Carved to perfection, the local tribes tell their tales on wooden wall décor, tribal gods and figurines. Also adding to the skilful artistry are small furniture, toys and artsy pieces.
A tour of the tribal communities of Bastar and their indigenous art forms, is undoubtedly an experience to cherish. When you book a cab with Savaari Car Rentals, you’ll be able to explore Bastar and the art that it offers till your heart’s content. And when you reach out to these ethnic people, you would feel a sense of nostalgia and a touch of your own roots, because, when something is hand-made by people in their homes, the consciousness with which it is made, is more significant than the thing itself.