I always wanted to experience traditional Ugadi celebration in Hyderabad. I asked my friends where I could go to see the festivities but I did not get any inputs. Its more of a family affair. Desperate to capture the flavour of the festival, a friend and me set out on our endeavor and try our luck to the outskirts of Hyderabad.
Ugadi comes from two Sanskrit words yuga (era) and ādi (beginning). Ugadi marks the first day of new year according to Saka calendar.
We started early morning; the sky with the rising sun was beautiful.
For most people it is celebrating time but for farmers, it is the time to reap what they sowed – its the harvest festival.
We saw this farmer getting and started his work of reaping. The smell of the fields was enchanting.
While we were taking pictures, we saw a mobile breakfast seller.
Then Rajesh stopped at a place where there was a lot of water, I really could not understand why he stopped. Then I noticed these huge bubbles. I have never seen something like this. I came to know that these are methane gas bubbles (and little carbon dioxide) produced by natural anaerobic fermentation of cow manure. Bio-gas mixture of gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen.
Muggulu is a painting drawn with rice powder or chalk powder in Indian houses. These are thought to bring prosperity to home. In the olden days, they were used to be drawn with coarse rice powder which served as food for the ants, birds and other creatures. This is also a welcome sign for Godess Lakshmi.
Since it was the first day of the year all houses and shops were decorated with mango leaves.
We then went to a cattle shed where there was a lot of buffaloes.
One of the village houses. They all were very neat and clean. The floor is waxed with cow-dung which is considered to have antiseptic properties and keeps the house free from disease.
We continued our journey…
Ugadi Pachadi (literally sauce in telugu) is an essential part of Ugadi. A sweet and sour pachadi or chutney made of tantalizing ingredients like raw mango, tamarind, jaggery and neem flowers.
Some of the Muggulu are elaborate and colourful. Traditionally, natural colours are used for these.
Then we saw something that transported me to my childhood.
This game of Kancha or goti with glass marbles (or ‘kancha’) used to be a polupar game now limited to the villages. Unfortunately, these outdoor games have now been replaced by ‘Angry birds’ and other games on an iPad.
We passed by some toddy extractors. Its a pastime to drink toddy and chat in these areas.
I also tried some. Since it was early morning, it was quite sweet.
We stopped at a village to witness the celebrations. This old scooter again carried me down the memory lane when my father took me and my brother for rides.
The entrance of most of the houses were painted with vibrant colours.
Mango leaves were being hung to the entrance for the celebrations.
We took a walk in the village. There was an old lady selling earthern pots.
She was wearing some very old and traditional toe and leg rings.
This was a potters house. Sadly, the demand for these pots have plummeted. We use them only during some festivals.
We finally reached our destination for the day – Bhoodan Pochampally weaver’s village.
About Bhoodan Pochampally –
Surrounded by hills and lush green field, Pochampally is a group of about a hundred villages. The primary occupation is Ikat weaving (or tie and dye weaving). The way the transfer of design and colouring is done in a unique way. The fabric is cotton, silk and sico – a mix of silk and cotton.
Pochampally has a very interesting history. This village was ruled by landlords and most of the villagers were did not possess any land.
In 1951, Acharya Vinoba Bhave came to this village and requested if the villagers could do something to provide land to the landless. Two of the local landlords donated 250 acres of land to them. This marked the beginning of a huge movement called “Bhoodan movement” and became the biggest land reform movement in India. Hence the name ‘Bhoodan Pochampally’ came into being. (Bhoo means land and dan means donate)
Since it was Ugadi, most of the weavers were not working. Fortunately, we found one were the family was busy weaving. We greeted and talked and then took pictures around.
In 1999, a young weaver C Mallesham from Pochampally village developed a machine for automating the time consuming and tedious process of winding yarn which was recognized and awarded by National Innovation Foundation.
Watch him speak on INKTalks –
How to go:
Pochampally is just 60 kilometers from Hyderabad and is very easily accessible.
Watching the villagers spin, interact with the kids, shopping of sarees.
Some Requests for visitors –
1. Do not litter. Take back the garbage that you brought.
2. Be respectful to the villagers, they are taking out time for you.
3. Ask for permission and take off your shoes before you enter a house
4. Don’t intrude their privacy.
5. You can support them by buying some stuff. They manufacture excellent class silk saris.
This post will be incomplete without a big Thanks to my friend and guide Rajesh Pamnani. He drove me to the places and is also a great source of motivation for me.
Thanks to SONY for the camera Sony A99 with a Zeiss 24-70mm.
Thank you for reading. I will soon be back with another interesting place. You might like to read my previous posts.
This article is written by Saurabh Chatterjee. He is a travel photographer and a photographer trainer. He strives to ‘make every camera-owner a great photographer through his Photography workshops and Photo Tours.