The Real Nomads!

It all happened because of the small girl. She was at the hand pump, washing her face. We were visiting the museum at Sirpur. And that is when I met the real nomads!

There were a lot of people camping in its grounds. I started kidding around with the children, soon they wanted a photo. That was the ice breaker, the kids started talking to me and the adults followed suit.

The Story Teller at Sirpur

Suddenly the man sitting in the middle announced to me in Hindi, “we are from a place near Nasik and we are coming from Jagganath Puri and we would go to Shirdi in Maharashtra.” That caught my attention like anything, for the ground was full of children and women. There was an elderly couple and their belongings were scattered all over the place. Fire was lit in at least two places. It was soon obvious to me that they were spending the night in the open.

Sirpur, Chhattisgarh
With their Belongings in the Ground at Sirpur

They told me that when they are on the road, they put all their belongings in the jugad (motorized cart) they have. Children also travel in the same cart. Elderly might take a bus for a while but generally they walk all through the way! Now that sounded like traveling in true nomadic style and suddenly I felt like such  loser!

They ask for a camping ground once they reach a new place. Then they go around the town asking for bhiksha (food, probably money too) and that is how they are supposed to fund their travel!

Engrossed in the Pictures

They are actually farmers in their village in Maharashtra, so they are not without means. They take such a religious journey once in every 5-6 years and for that duration they live like nomads.

The ladies offered me tea and allowed me to take selfies with them! One of the bloggers, Gaurav, tried to talk to the ladies and he got no reply! Next day, he had a chat with men and I am waiting to read his account.

True Nomads
The Farzi Nomads with True Nomads

It was one of those occasions when I didn’t even have a candy with me to offer to the kids. It did not feel appropriate to offer them money for tea or for kids. I felt very bad that I had nothing to give them in return for their hospitality!

Late at night at the Hiuen Tsang Resort I woke up at night in my room. I was finding it cold and I put on another sweater before I curled up tightly in the blanket. I thought of those small faces, sleeping out in the open. Then I drifted back to sleep again.

26 thoughts on “The Real Nomads!”

    • Well I met the kids again the next day too and they looked fresh and naughty. They were people of means, they just do the religious travel in this fashion every 5-6 years.

    • Indrani I never thought religion would be so deeply connected to travel but then I hardly ever think, because on second thoughts it is quite obvious.

  1. I used to think that the nomads had all settled down somewhere or the other. This is interesting. I wish the Govt took this issue a little seriously. Why no Development for them?

    • Matheikal they became nomads for the religious yatra, otherwise they live in a village.

    • Thank you Shruti, I will try to pick it up once I come back from a break around Feb 1.

  2. The Archaeological Survey of India has established a museum in the Laxman tempale piremises ,wher some of the rare statues collected in shirpur hav been kept along with several others Architectural memories. These pieces are related to Shaiva, Vaishnav, Buddha and jain religion..

  3. Wow admire how you got chatting with them! Such interesting faces, people and stories! And what an interesting way to travel… wonder if I can ever do that!

  4. Ohh! I wonder why do they take risk! I can’t imagine sleeping out in the open place that too in winter!!! But, as Indrani said, it seems their dreams, hopes and faith in God only help them stay strong!

  5. Fantastic feeling. Testify the fact that millions of Indians are on pilgrimage at any point of time. Hats off to such pilgrims who do not bother fr physical comforts. Have seen many such in kumbh mela.

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