The capital city turns into a kaleidoscope of tribal communities of the state during the annual ethnic festival celebrating the lifestyle and culture of tribals, the Adivasi Mela is organized by the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Department. The unique fair showcases the life and living habits of the 62 communities at one place. The unique fortnight-long festival dates back to 1951 when it was first held in Cuttack. Later it was shifted to Bhubaneswar. Though it went into a hiatus from 1962 to 1967, it was revived later and has been a regular annual event from 1982 onwards. The festival showcases various aspects of tribal life and culture starting from tribal art and craft, dance and culture, rituals and festivals, jewellery and so on.
The venue, the Adivasi Exhibition Ground in Bhubaneswar, transforms into a tribal village wherein a section is skillfully crafted into a tribal `haat’ (market) while another section includes a series of striking replicas of tribal houses of various communities giving a clear idea of tribal lifestyle. While one section is dedicated to the display of tribal art and culture with kiosks on various aspects including a tribal art gallery, painted and created by tribal people participating in the fair, other sections illustrate the various development projects for tribal welfare initiated by the State Government. These also give a picture of the growth of the tribal areas.
Among the various attractions at the market, tribal artifacts and crafts are the most sought after. Priced anywhere between Rs 10 to Rs 50,000 the crafts include metal works like Dhokra, colourful wooden masks, stunning terracotta items and much more. The participation in the tribal festival includes members from Self Help Groups (SHGs), NGOs, government bodies for tribal development and government undertakings from 21 Integrated Tribal Development Agencies of primitive tribal groups. Tribal women members of these bodies sell their products at the stalls set up in the ‘haat’ or market area.
The event also includes handicraft and textiles section, food pavilion and a theme pavilion. The theme pavilion depicts the works of Orissa Tribal Livelihood Project. The theme changes every year. Adivasi Mela not only attracts visitors who wish to collect natural products made by the tribals, but also art lovers. To add to the unforgettable experience the fair offers a cultural extravaganza every evening with colourful tribal dance and music. The cultural programmes witnesses huge turnouts every evening of the festival.
The bouquet of tribal dances staged in the evening give the viewers an idea of the social and cultural lifestyle of the communities. From accessories and attires to the rituals they portray in their dance, the tribal artists give astounding and vivid representation of their traditions. Among some of the most striking dances featured at the Adivasi Mela are the Kolha dance of Karanjia, Kutia Kandha dance of Belghar, Kisan dance of Kuchinda, Lanjia Saora dance of Puttasing, Desia Kandha dance of Balliguda to mention a few.
|Mela Dates||Month of January every year|
|Venue||Adivasi Ground, Unit -1, Bhubaneswar|