I could not getting time these days to complete my travel story on Niyamgiri hills due to my unpredictable work nature, but today while waiting for my connecting flight to Patna at Delhi airport for about three hours give me opportunity to write this post (my favorite travel mode is train, but it is very difficult to get a reservation in trains during seasons-puja holiday, without reservation its horrible to travel in trains, even won’t get space to put your leg inside compartment. So I compelled to fly in Air India which have also no direct flight to Patna, first I have to fly Delhi and from there next flight to Patna )
Niyamgiri is the land of Dongrias; Dongria is a sub tribe of Kondha tribe. Khondha is an indigenous tribal group seen in the jungle-villages of Rayagada District of Orissa, but this sub tribe- Dongrias can be seen in Niyamgiri areas only .Dongria word came from the word Donger meaning hill and Donggria mean dwellers of the hill. The dongrias themselves call them Jharnia – jharana mean streams, because they totally depended upon the streams for their daily needs and agriculture needs and every Dongria villages are settled near streams. Their staple food is mandia (Ragi- finger millet) and corn which can be easily grown hill sides by burning forests.
Dongria Kondhs are ardent believers of nature and they least thought about the developments around. They make the houses with mud and use palm leaves for roofing. Men folks with their wives remain in jungle or agriculture field during day time and only children, young girls, sick and old aged can be seen in villages during the hours. I visited many dongria villages but could not see a single male in villages.
Their belief in god is strongly linked with the nature, as everything natural on earth is their god like as, earth is their goddess Dharani (supreme), Bhima is the god look after the crops, Takranj is the god helps to protect from disease and what more, the hill niyamgiri itself is a god namely Niyam Raja who protect from unnatural deaths.
These people adopting nuclear family norms and their strong belief in their gods and disbelief in modernization keep them away from main stream, however the constant touches of tribal welfare workers and NGO’s helped a bit to come down in nearest markets and sells or in barter of vegetables, fruits and fire woods they purchases salt and other most necessity items. Their needs are limited even they won’t take medicines for treatment either any health worker given it to them they keep it on the walls of house only, never take it. The villagers are cent percent illiterate.