Photo Essay: Portraits from Bastar- the Dussehra celebration

The goddess or Devi of Dantewada, it is said, visits her sister every Dussehra and halts for the night at Jagdalpur. The Devi is then led in a procession to the palace of the erstwhile king of Bastar

Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao
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Sunil Umarao

Dussehra at Jagdalpur is a colourful festival. Villagers gather with their deities in palanquins. In the evening they dance with the gods, with the palanquins on their shoulder. The goddess or Devi of Dantewada, it is said, visits her sister every Dussehra and halts for the night at Jagdalpur. The Devi is then led in a procession to the palace of the erstwhile king of Bastar.

Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao
Photo by Sunil Umarao

Schools, court compound and even the corridors at the palace are opened to the tribals for the night halt. Most come as family and carry their cooking utensils. These portraits were shot the next morning when villagers went about their daily chores. The early autumn light and spontaneity of the subjects to the camera helped capture the natural expressions. Most of them were dressed for the occasion and seemed relaxed.

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