PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

Western Odisha's bauxite-rich Niyamgiri mountains are the sole home of the state's Dongria Kondh Adivasis

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

Weddings are simple and intimate events, with communities coming together to share tasks. Here, youth from neighbouring villages are on their way to a wedding ceremony (in the year 2009) to play the dhap, a popular local instrument

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

The band members reach the venue amid song and music

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

Unlike in several communities, where the woman's consent is assumed, the Dongria Kondhs emphasise the willingness of the bride. For her marriage, Telidi has accepted Lodo Sikakka as the groom

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

Women from the community accompany Telidi with brass pitchers on their heads to collect water from a perennial mountain spring. Rice is cooked with these waters, and then offered by the bride to Dharani Penu (the Earth Goddess)

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

The young friends of the bride dance all the way to Lakhpadar, the village of the groom, eagerly watched on by other villagers

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

The beats of the dhaps are integrated into the dance

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

And the dancing gathers momentum

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

Meanwhile, other villagers help to prepare the wedding feast – usually rice, lentils and meat cooked on firewood with minimal oil and spice, and then served on leaf plates

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

Children of the community await the feast

PHOTO • Purusottam Thakur

And this little girl is pleased by the day's events

Purusottam Thakur

Purusottam Thakur is a 2015 PARI Fellow, and a freelance journalist, photographer and documentary filmmaker who mainly reports from Chhattisgarh and Odisha. He also works for the Azim Premji Foundation.

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